Aliases: Ysh, Yeshu, Krestos Iesous, Iesous Kristos
Location: Egypt, Judea, Syria, Asia Minor
Cities: Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus
Estimated Date: 0s A.D. - present

  1. He is the Son of God

    Like Dumuzi, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Apollo, Mithras, Vahagn, Krishna, and Baldr, he is the identified as the son of a god or goddess.
  2. He is the “Good Shepherd” and his disciples are fishermen

    Like Orpheus and Serapis, he is called the “Good Shepherd”. The shepherd motif is likewise shared by Dumuzi, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Osiris, Apollo, and Romulus. The fisherman motif is also used by Dumuzi.
  3. He is hung on a tree

    Like Dumuzi, Attis, and Osiris, Jesus is described as being hung on a tree or pole in Galatians, 1 Peter and Acts. The Talmud and Toledot also portray Jesus as a magician named Yeshu who was hung on a cabbage stalk because he put a spell on all that trees so that they would not allow his body to be hung, similar to the way Baldr's mother forces all plants on earth to promise not to harm him.
    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
    He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
    The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.
    And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
    And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.
  4. His followers are “born again”

    Like Osiris, his followers are said to be “born again”. Dionysus and Orpheus are likewise said to have been “born again”.
    Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again (or, from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
  5. He has a baptism sacrament performed for the remission of sin

    Like Apollo, Mithras, and Sol Invictus, he has a baptism to clean the sins of the past life away.
    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...
  6. He has a sacramental ritual of bread and wine where the wine is symbolically associated with blood

    Like Dionysus, the eating of bread and drinking of wine was ritually consumed to mark his death. Adonis likeiwse had ritual wine drinking to commemerate his death. Dumuzi, Ba'al Hadad and Orpheus also had associations with ritual meals of bread and water or wine. Ba'al Hadad and Osiris both have myths associating wine with blood.
    And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the (some manuscripts: new) covenant, which is poured out for many.

  7. Salvation is attained through his resurrection

    Like Dumuzi and Attis, the adherent's resurrection is intimately tied with Jesus' resurrection, especially through sympathizing with his death.
    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
    For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
  8. He is associated with the serpent pole

    In Numbers 21:6, Moses lifts up a bronze caduceus staff (Asherah pole?) named Nahushtan to heal the Israelites of “fiery serpents”, but this relic was later destroyed in the iconoclastic reformation of king Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4). Krishna's cousin Yudhishthira meets a fallen serpent god named Nahusha, who like Prometheus was banished from heaven for his hubris. John 3:14 equates Jesus with Moses' bronze serpent, saying both needed to be lifted up, and the fourth century archbishop John Chrysostom links Jesus directly with the serpent. The Greek Orthodox Church continues to celebrate the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross by reading from that Exodus verse, which is associated with both the Tree of Life and the Cross of Jesus.The caduceus staff is also associated with Dumuzi's heavenly companion Ningishzida as well as Apollo and Ascelpius, and the serpent totem is likewise linked to Dionysus, Orpheus and Attis' mother Cybele. The Talmud confirms that the followers of Jesus performed itinerant healings such as curing snakebites and warned not to use their services.
    At this, God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel. The people came and said to Moses, 'We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede for us with Yahweh to save us from these serpents.' Moses interceded for the people, and Yahweh replied, 'Make a fiery serpent and raise it as a standard. Anyone who is bitten and looks at it will survive.' Moses then made a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard, and anyone who was bitten by a serpent and looked at the bronze serpent survived.
    And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life...

    An image from Dura Europos, Syria of Jesus healing the paralytic.
    Dated to around 235 A.D., it is the earliest known image of Jesus.

  9. He is worshipped in mystery cults

    Like Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Orpheus, Osiris, Serapis, Apollo, Mithras, and Sol Invictus, the relationship between the death and resurrection of the god to the souls of the adherents are considered a deep inner mystery.
    For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation,as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. (This mystery is) that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
    And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables...
  10. He acts as a judge of the afterlife

    Like Osiris, he acts as a judge for where the soul resides after death.
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.”
    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
    The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.
  11. Philo does not make mention of him but does identify the Greek concept of the Logos with the Messiah, just as the Gospel of John does

    The first century Jewish Platonic philosopher Philo had a keen interest in Galilean religion but while he never refers to the historical Jesus, he does speak about a Son of God, identified with the Greek concept of the Logos, or “Word” of God, as in John 1:1. He also identifies the Logos with the Tzemach, “Righteous Branch”, or “Rise” of the East, a messianic figure in Zechariah 6:11-13, which even associates this Branch with a high priest who will sit at God's right hand named Joshua, a name often equated to Jesus, who is the son of Jehozadak, which is pretty close to Joseph. As Richard Carrier points out, it is easy to see how this Platonic interpretation of Zechariah could have evolved into the gospel story of a mythical Jesus. Philo's form of Hellenistic Judaism was so close to Christian theology that Emperor Constantine's Christian historian Eusebeus believed that Philo must have taken his ideas from the gospels.
    Then, taking the silver and gold, make a crown and place it on the head of the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak. And say this to him, "Yahweh Sabaoth [of Armies] says this: Here is a man whose name is Branch; where he is, there will be a branching out (and he will rebuild Yahweh's sanctuary). Yes, he is the one who will rebuild Yahweh's sanctuary; he will wear the royal insignia and sit on his throne and govern, with a priest on his right. Perfect peace will reign between these two.
  12. Philo's story of Carabbas is similar to the Passion story of Jesus

    Other elements of the Passion can be found in Philo‘s Flaccus, such as the taking of a madman named “Carabbas”, whose name is very similar Barabbas, the militant rebel, or “bandit”, who acts as a foil to Jesus in the first three gospels by being freed by the Jerusalem crowd in place of Jesus, symbolizing Jerusalem's fatal choice of the worldy Messiah over the heavenly one. Philo's Carabbas was herded by a mob to the gynasium where he was adorned with a paper crown and a doormat cloak, and then presided over a mock court with stickmen instead of spearmen followed by people saluting the madman or talking with him about the affairs of state, and referred to Carabbas by the Syrian kingly title “Maris” in reference to king Agrippa. This is paralleled by the Roman soldiers who treat Jesus as a madman by giving him a crown of thorns and a kingly cloak, spitting and striking him, and then falling to their knees in mock homage.
  13. Justus of Tiberias makes no mention of him

    The Jewish historian Justus of Tiberias, who blamed the failure of the first century Galilean rebellion on the Jewish general Josephus and was nearly executed by Emperor Vespasian, wrote a now-lost detailed history of the Jews from Moses to Agrippa II. According to the 9th-century patriarch of Constantinople, Photius, the history included nothing about Jesus, which the bishop attributed to Jewish bias.
    "I have read the chronology of Justus of Tiberias... and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth, he makes not one mention of Jesus, of what happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did."
    –Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 800s A.D.
  14. An analysis of the reference to him in Josephus indicates it is entirely forged

  15. After defecting to the Romans, Josephus wrote his own works, War of the Jews and Antiquities of the Jews, probably commissioned by Vespasian or his son Titus, in which Josephus blames much of destruction from the war on Messianic rebels who refused to surrender. There is in Antiquities about Jesus called the Testimonium Flavian, that scholars from the 19th century nearly unanimously declared a Christian forgery because it stated that Jesus was the Christ when Josephus had already previously linked the Messianic prophecies of the Jews to Vespasian and Titus. But opinion swung the other way in the 20th century when scholars began to see textual additions that appeared to obscure the more banal-sounding text, such as “a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man” and the late and overly-simplistic phrase “He was Christ”. So while most mythicists claim that the parsing of the passage is just wishful thinking, there actually are good reasons to make the separation. The problem is that there are even better reasons for thinking the no part of the passage could have come from Josephus, the prime reason being that the very next sentence speaks of “another sad calamity” that “put the Jews into disorder,” which could only possibly be referring to the sedition right before the Testimonium Flavian. And while many Christian writers had good reason to quote Josephus in their arguments, no one before the fourth century Constantinian chronicler Eusebius references it three times, so that some believe Eusebius is the forger. Josephus never uses the term “wonder-worker” but Eusebius uses it over 100 times, as well as the terms “wise man” and “Christian tribe”. Even the second century author Origen, who was so excited about a later reference in Antiquities to the supposed brother of Jesus, James, that he brings it up three times, fails to reference the Testimonium Flavian. Also, there is no way Josephus could have reacted to Jesus so positively if Jesus (somehow) actually did stop the sacrifices during the Cleansing of the Temple episode that led to his execution in the Synoptic gospels. Josephus condemns every other Messianic figure and rabble-rouser in his books so it would be unthinkable that he would react this way if Jesus had been executed for causing such a disturbance. because Josephus is a defender of the Flavians, Josephus explains why the Romans react with violence, sometimes blaming Jews and sometimes blaming lower-level Romans like Pilate, but in the redacted Testimonium Flavian, Josephus basically says that a wise, tolerant, beloved teacher of truth and wonder-worker was killed for no reason. In contrast, Bart Ehrman somehow reads the Testimonium Flavian as being simultaneously “neutral” and “negative” towards Jesus, probably because that is what would be expected. Leaving out the reason for Jesus’ death would be typical of a Christian redactor since the Cleansing of the Temple story has been obscured in subsequent Christian thought starting with the Gospel of John, which moved the episode to the beginning of the gospel to mask its relevance to Jesus’ death as portrayed in the Synoptics. Also, to say that Jesus won over “many of the Gentiles” sounds like a Christian retrocon given that the Synoptic gospels show little interaction between Jesus and Gentiles. Strangely, this anachronism has been used as an argument that it could not be a Christian statement since it does not derive from the gospels, but in fact the Gospel of John, later Christians in general, and Eusebius in particular actually do try to make the case that Jesus was in contact with Samaritans and Gentiles. A new linguistic and literary study by Paul Hopper concludes the entire passage is an interpolation. Although the other historical work by Josephus, War of the Jews, does not include any mention of Jesus, the Testimonium Flavian was interpolated into it at a later date.
    But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with sacred money…. However the Jews were not pleased…. So he [Pilate] bade the Jews himself to go away; but they boldly casting reproaches on him, he gave the soldiers that signal… and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not, nor did they spare them in the least… and thus an end was put to this sedition.

    [Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.]

    About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder; and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis in Rome….”
  16. The reference to his brother James in Josephus' Antiquities is probably a forgery also

    Josephus then brings up Jesus who is described as the brother of Christ. Given that this is only the second use of the word “Christ”, after that of the Testimonium Flavian, in a book filled with Jewish rebels, the use of the word in this context is strange. The Alexandrian theologian Origen seems to confirm the passage around 248 A.D., but he adds that Josephus blamed the fall of Jerusalem on the death of James, which though not technically true, could possibly have been misinterpreted by the proximety of the James passage to the events that bring about the war that causes the destruction of Jerusalem.In his book, The Jesus the Jews Never Knew, American Atheist editor Frank Zindler points out that the James verse makes Ananus ben Ananus into a villian who takes unwarranted authority to assemble a Sanhedrin of judges to condemn James, but in War of the Jews, he has only great things to say about him, and there is no mention of Agrippa replacing him after only three months (86). In fact, in War of the Jews, it is not the death of James but the death of his killer, Ananus, that brings about the destruction of Jerusalem! John Dominic Crossan also points out in his book, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, that there are a lot of problems with how an illitearte Galilean peasant like James could have become involved with the priestly circles within Jerusalem and then become so important that a high priest from a priestly family that dominated the city for 60 years would be deposed over it (135). Also, given that James was replaced by someone named Jesus, son of Damneus, another possibility is that the original passage may have identified James as the brother of that Jesus.
    AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, (23) who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. (24) Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.
    I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city. He was on other accounts also a venerable, and a very just man; and besides the grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and honor of which he was possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with regard to the meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer of a democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered.
  17. If “Paul” does not know the name of Jesus' mother, he probably did not know his brother

    The reference in Galatians 1:19 to James “the brother of the Lord” is an especially contentious issue between historicists and mythicists over whether “brother” is physical or spiritual, with the supreme irony that it is closely resembles the even more contentious debate between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions over whether the “brother” really referred to an extended family member like a “cousin” since Mary's perpetual virginity had become a theological sticking point in the sectarian conflict. The problem is that the gospels make it clear that Jesus' brothers had stayed in the village with their mother and never travelled with Jesus and in fact both the gospels of Mark and John say that Jesus’ brother did not believe in him. So there seems to be a huge gap of information between Jesus' life in the gospels, where James is a skeptic and after Jesus' death in Galatians, where James is the "pillar" or head of the Jerusalem Church while Cephas and John are just “apostles” or "messengers" like Paul, with Cephas cowtowing to James' underlings, who “Paul” calls “false brothers” (2:4). Luke-Acts says James, the brother of John, headed the Jerusalem Church until he was killed by “Herod” (Agrippa) shortly after prophets from Jerusalem came to Antioch (the same “false brothers” from Galatians?). Then suddenly another James replaces him without any explanation as to whether this is the 9th disicple, James son of Alphaeus, or James the brother of Jesus, or if the author/editor just forgot he killed the first James off! The Epistle to the Galatians references “James, Cephas and John” the same way the Synoptic gospels focus only on Peter, James and John, but if these three people are the same, then that implies “James the brother of the Lord” was James the son of Zebedee, the Jerusalem leader that Luke killed off. And while Peter is the head disciple in the Gospel of Matthew, Galatians has Paul upbraid Cephas for suddenlly following kosher laws in front of James' men! Had James been an actual physical brother of Jesus or Cephas an actual disciple of Jesus, it would be completely unthinkable that Paul could get away with upbraiding their authority without so much as an explanation. Nevertheless, if Jesus was born in the first century B.C., and the verse is interpreted using the Catholic tradition of “brother” meaning “extended family”, then there would far less of a need for Paul to explain why his authority trumped James. It is also very likely there has been interpolations to the text because Paul pointedly argues in Galatians 1:17 that he did not go to Jerusalem after his conversion, a point the author would only make if he were trying to dispute the story in Acts. The author then says he “returned” to Damascus without mentioning the fact that he went there in the first place, again taking the story in Acts for granted. Irenaeus only refers to the second trip to Jerusalem as if it is Paul’s first trip there, and the first trip to Jerusalem says he met Cephas there and stayed fifteen days, meeting no other apostles... except James “the brother of the Lord” (a verse that appears tacked on). The subsequent proclamation that “I am writing you no lie” is all the more suspicious as it makes no sense in Paul’s context but makes perfect sense if the line is an interpolation. The “first trip to Jerusalem” was perhaps originally a trip to Antioch since Peter is associated with that city in Galatians, the Gospel of Matthew and Antioch’s church tradition. Galatians 4:4 also says that Jesus was “born of woman”, which would be a pointless and uninformative statement without giving her name, something Paul should definitely have known if he had a long talk with James in Jerusalem as the epistle claims. The only point of saying he was “born of woman” is to contest an already established belief that he was not born of human parents, as the first canonizers of Paul, the Marcionites, believed, or if it was being used metaphorically, just as it is when Hagar is described as mankind’s earthly mother in 4:25-26.
  18. There are strong parallels between John the Baptist and the rebel prophet Theudas

    John the Baptist is attested in Josephus without any relationship to Jesus and Origen attests to him being in Josephus by the third century, so there is definitely a stronger case than the Testimonium Flavian for being authentic. But Josephus also refers to a rebel named Theudas who similarly gathers followers at the Jordan and is then beheaded. This may be the actual identity of the “John the Baptist cave” showing a crowned and beardless “John the Baptist” head. “Luke” also seems to be interested in it because he anachronistically had Gamaliel bring him up in a conversation. Theudas is also supposedly the name of the student of Paul who taught the Gnostic Valentinus. The fact that the legacy of Theudas tied up in rebellion may explain why his identity needed to be changed, redefining the Messianic rebel as a pacifist so as to avoid charges of rebellion against the Roman Empire. American Atheist editor Frank Zindler has argued that the Josephus passages are probably added in at a later date by a John the Baptist sect because they are right in the middle of another story about a war between Herod and Arteras, because John is sent into a castle in which Josephus just said Arteras was in command of, and also because a reference to Herod elsewhere gives an altogether different reason for Herod’s bad end. Also, a Greek Table of Contents fails to mention John while a Latin Table of Contents does have him. John the Baptist is not referenced by Philo or any Rabbinic source, so Zindler thinks John is either mythical or a figure from long before that time period. Rivka Nir, a Judaic Studies scholars at Tel Aliv has also pointed out in the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus that Joephus refers to him as "the Baptist", which is a Christian epithet, and that the polemical tone belongs to a non-Orhtodox Christian author. There are Aramaic scriptures from medieval times of a John the Baptist sect, the Mandaeans, have a Book of John the Baptist, which includes a conversation with Jesus. Mandaeans refer to Jesus as a “lying Messiah”, although the verse could be translated as “Book Messiah”, which could possibly mean “mythical Messiah”. (The Manaeans were still living in Iraq until the Iraq War, when their community collapsed and they fled to the surrounding countries.) The Pseudo-Clementine literature claims that Simon Magus was a follower of John the Baptist. An Arab historian named Aboulfatah, writing in the 1300s A.D., said that the followers of Dositheus, a rival of Simon Magus who is mentioned in the Pseudo-Clementine literature, also placed Simon Magus as living 100 B.C. Interestingly, bones in a Bulgarian medieval church that are claimed to be John the Baptist’s have been dated to the first century A.D.
  19. His Passion is very similar to that of Jesus son of Ananus

    Like the Jesus of the gospels, Jesus ben Ananus is another peasant who is said in Antiquities of the Jews to have predicted the destruction of the Second Temple. He bewails brides and bridegrooms just as the gospel Jesus bewails pregnant women and nursing mothers. He speaks to the general populace but is silent before the authorities rather than defend himself, similar to Jesus in the Synoptic gospels. He is questioned before the Roman procurator Albinus in a way similar to how the gospel Jesus is taken before Pilate. He is questioned and dismissed as a madman, also like in the gospels. Like the gospel Jesus, he is also whipped to the bone yet gives no ill words to his tormentors. The son of Ananus dies with the destruction of the Second Temple, similar to how the ripping of the temple curtain symbolizes its future destruction in the gospel.
  20. Mara Bar Serapion dates him to just before the Jewish Kingdom was abolished

    Most scholars date this passage to some time before the fall of Jerusalem in 73 A.D., but the tiny unsuccessful rebellion that never even saw a single king could hardly have been called a "kingdom". Rather, he is far more likely to be referring to the fall of Jerusalem to Pompey in 63 B.C.
    What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their Kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.
  21. Pliny only says that Christians sang songs to Jesus like he was a god

    The Roman magistrate Pliny the Younger attests that many Christians, who he claims he tortured despite doing nothing wrong, sang “a hymn to Christ as to a god”. Although many early German critics rejected it authenticity, most modern scholars accept it. Regardless of whether it is authentic, common knowledge of who Jesus was would have been unlikely and Pliny makes no suggestion that he has researched the figure, so an attestation to songs being sung to someone as if they are a god is hardly a ringing endorsement for historicity.
  22. Tacitus makes a reference to him, but it is probably just based on the gospel tradition

    The Roman Senator Tacitus, writing around 115 A.D., said that “Krestus” (Chrest), not “Kristus” (Christ), suffered death during the reign of Tiberias. The Marcionites were also known to refer to Jesus as Chrest instead of Christ. It also provides little proof for a historical Jesus because, as G.A. Wells pointed out: “[e]ven if records of executions in Palestine ninety years earlier were available, and even if it had been his practice to consult original documents (which, according to Fabia, 90, p. XIII, it was not), why should he have undertaken such an inquiry in this particular instance, when all he appears to have aimed at was to give his readers some idea of who these disreputable Christians are?” Other than the mention of Tiberias, which is new information not provided by the gospels but could be deduced from the name Pontius Pilate, there is little reason to believe his reference goes beyond the gospel tradition.
    “[Nero] inflicted the most exquisite tortures on those men, who, under the vulgar appellation of Christians, were already branded with deserved infamy. They derived their name and origin from Krestus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, had suffered death, by the sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate. For a while this superstition was checked; but it again burst forth, and not only spread itself over Judaea, the first seat of this miserable sect, but was even introduced to Rome, the common asylum which receives and protects whatever is atrocious.”
  23. Seutonius says the Jews were exiled from Rome due to “Krestus”

    Although many scholars follow the implication given by Acts and believe this quote from Seutonius is a reference to Jewish Christians being expelled due to their belief in Christ, the Biblical scholar Robert Van Voorst points out that the way the passage is normally translated, at the instigation of Chrest, fails to convey that Chrestus is the direct cause and is thus implied to be leading the disturbances in Rome. Another possibile consideration is that the word Chrestus, which means “Good One” or “Righteous One”, may have been a designation given to Zadokite rebels who took the title Teacher of Righteousness.
    Since the Jews constantly made disturbances because of the instegator Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.
    And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.
  24. His Wisdom Sayings are very similar to Cynic and Stoic philosophy

    Many of the teachings of the New Testament are very close to Cynic and Stoic philosophy. In Meditations, The Stoic Emperor Marcus Aurelius quotes Socrates’ pupil Antisthenes, saying, “It is royal to do good and be abused,” which can be compared to the beatitude found in the Gospel of Matthew, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (5:10). The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said that a Cynic had to love the man who was flogging him as well as spoke on the virtues of celibacy and even a brotherhood of man within a metaphysical “kingdom”. Nero’s Stoic tutor Seneca taught that it was a “petty and sorry person who will bite back when he is bitten” and the Old Testament Book of Lamentations exhorts the reader to “offer one’s cheek to the striker!” When the Father of Cynicism, Antistehenes, was criticized for keeping bad company, he replied that physicians were able to treat patients without becoming sick, just as Jesus was said to have replied that “it was not healthy that need a physician but the sick.” The Stoic philosopher Dio Chrysostom warned about seeking riches over wisdom because riches enslave people by worrying so much about it, just as Jesus said that one cannot be a servant of both God and money. The Stoic philosopher Gaius Musonius Rufus said “Whence do the little birds, which are much poorer than you, feed their young...?... Well, then, do they put away food and store it up? Not at all, and yet they rear their young and find sustenance for all that are born to them. The plea of poverty, therefore, is unjustified”, just as Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” The famously self-sufficient Cynics were said to own only three possessions: a staff, a cloak, and a knapsack, but the Synoptic gospels have Jesus tell his disciples to bring only the staff and the cloak and to take not even a knapsack as they were supposed to be fed for their services by the people they healed. Crossan suggests that the reason the disciples were supposed to out-Cynic the Cynics is because Cynics preached self-sufficiency on the urban street corner while rural desert travelers were dependent on compensation for their blessings and healings.
    To Hicetas: Do not be upset, Father, that I am called a dog and put on a double, coarse cloak, carry a knapsack over my shoulders, and have a staff in my hand... living as I do, not in conformity with popular opinion but according to nature, free under Zeus.

    [To Apolexis] I have laid aside most of the things that weigh down my knapsack, since I learned that for a plate a hollowed out loaf of bread suffices, as the hands do for a cup.

    [To Antipater] I hear that you say I am doing nothing unusual in wearing a double, ragged cloak and carrying a knapsack. Now I admit that none of these is extraordinary, but each of them is good when undertaken out of conscious determination.

    [To Anaxilaus] I have recently come to recognize myself to be Agamemnon, since for a scepter I have my staff and for a mantle the double, ragged cloak, and by way of exchange, my leather knapsack is a shield.

    [To Agesilaus] Life has a sufficient store in a knapsack.

    [To Crates] Remember that I started you on your lifelong poverty.... Consider the ragged cloak to be a lion’s skin, the staff a club, and the knapsack land and sea, from which you are fed. For thus would the spirit of Heracles [Hercules], mightier than every turn of fortune, stir in you.
    He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics (Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin). And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.”

    Jesus wearing Cynic’s pallium and Philosopher’s scroll,
    Dated early 300s A.D; Rome, Museo Nazionale delle Terme

  25. Almost no scripture outside the Gospels describe him as an itinerant preacher or exorcist or explains the exact circumstances regarding his death

    Other details of Jesus’ life and teachings are almost completely missing from Paul, and even the name of the following, called “the Church of God,” gives no credit to Jesus as founder. James and Peter are portrayed as competing apostles rather than literal disciples of Christ. Although the names of many otherwise unknown apostles are spoken of, no one from any of the gospels are mentioned, with the sole exception of Pontius Pilate in 1 Timothy, a late Pastoral epistle unknown to Christian writers before it was introduced into the Apostolic church’s canon by St. Irenaeus around 177 A.D. Rather than giving the impression of a small, recent sect based on the traditions handed down by a Galilean peasant, the Pauline epistles give the impression of a very large religion already divorced from Judaism and made up of divergent sects that followed the divine messages of various apostles. None of the early Christian epistles provide any literary evidence for Christ being identified with the same person as the gospel Jesus. This includes: James, Jude, 1 John, 1 Peter, Revelation, Hebrews, the apocryphal Shepherd of Hermas, the Didakhe, 1 Clement, and Barnabas. These epistles follow the same format as the Pauline epistles, making no mention of any gospel personalities or events. The earliest apocryphal epistles to positively identify Christ as a Galilean peasant crucified under Pontius Pilate are the epistles of Ignatius, which are obvious forgeries that were claimed to have somehow been written while in Roman custody while being transported to Rome to be martyred. The late pseudo-epistle 2 Peter says, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (1:16) It also denigrates “false teachers” who “secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them”, proving that many ancient Jesus sects believed the gospel story to be a fictional myth.
  26. His crucifixion symbolizes the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple

    The crucifixion of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark symbolizes the destruction of the Second Temple in many ways. Jesus is crucified along side two “bandits”, representing the zealots who fought among themselves and burned Jerusalem’s grain supplies before the city was overtaken by Titus. The darkness that covered the land represents the intense smoke that blanketed the sky as the temple burned. The cry that Jesus makes, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” would have been the typical Jewish response to the event. The curtain of the temple was torn in two as Jesus died. Simon the Cyrenian carrying the cross of Jesus represents the "false Messiah" Simon bar Kochba, proven by the fact that both have a son named Rufus, which in turn explains why he is executed in Jesus' place in Gnostic traditions like The Second Treatise of the Great Seth.
  27. An earlier version of the Gospel of John may have said he was the twin of Judas

    At the end of the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene mistook the risen Jesus for “the gardener.” Although this can be explained as just another motif of people not recognizing Jesus after he was raised, Gnostic scripture portrayed Judas “the twin” Thomas and Judas the betrayer as being one and the same person: the twin brother of Jesus. In the Toledot, it is a gardener (identified with Judas in one version) who moves Yeshu’s body to stop people from trampling his garden to visit the Messiah’s grave. Thus, in an earlier version of the gospel, Mary Magdalene may have thought the risen Jesus was Judas because they looked exactly alike.
  28. The canonical gospels are rewrites of heretical gospels

    In Against Heresies, written around 177 A.D., St. Irenaeus is the first to claim that there are only four legitimate gospels, based on the fact there are four winds, four corners of the earth, four visionary animals in the Book of Revelation, etc. He claimed that each of them was misused by a different Gnostic sect, but each of these gospels contain elements connecting it to that particular sect, which makes it far more likely that Irenaeus’ Apostolic Church adapted four heretical gospels for their own canon. For example, the Gospel of Matthew was used by Jewish Ebionites who still kept the Laws of Moses and it is in this gospel that Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.” The Gospel of Luke in turn was used by Docetic Marcionites who believed Jesus had no physical body and it is in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus walks through people and disappears when people try to stone him. The Valentians were most interested in God’s relationship to the universe and the principals of the Logos and Sophia, which would explain why John begins with a creation story involving the Logos and why it focuses so much more on Mary Magdalene, so much so that Catholic Magister Artium Ramon K. Jusino has argued that the identity of the “Disciple that Jesus Loved” was originally Mary Magdalene. The earliest gospel, Mark, is said to have been used by those who believed that Jesus and Christ were two entities, so that “Christ remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered.” This sect was also known as the Adoptionist because they believed that the spirit of Christ adopted the body of the gospel Jesus when he was baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist and that it left him when he was crucified, which fits the fact that the Gospel of Mark is the only gospel to introduce Jesus at his baptism with the Spirit acting as his prime motivator. This belief is consistent with the belief that the original Christ had already died.
Next Figure: Honi the Circle Drawer

The Dying-and-Rising Gods

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