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Switch to Forum Live View The Jesus Mysteries
10 years ago  ::  May 21, 2008 - 3:40PM #1
NotAnAtheistMama
Posts: 58
Has anyone else read this book?  I picked it up this weekend in a used bookstore and it's blown me away.  I'm not exactly sure what to think.
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 6:33AM #2
ElCid22
Posts: 1,156
[QUOTE=NotAnAtheistMama;514996]Has anyone else read this book?  I picked it up this weekend in a used bookstore and it's blown me away.  I'm not exactly sure what to think.[/QUOTE]

Tell us about it. Who wrote it?
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 10:53AM #3
NotAnAtheistMama
Posts: 58
I don't have the book at hand to name the authors (there are two), but the book basically premises that Jesus was a myth in the tradition of other myths before that.  They looked at the mystery cult of Osiris, which was later picked up by many other cultures, including Dionysus of the Greeks and Mithras (I believe that was the Persian name). 

When I was younger and really interested in all things ancient Egyptian, I had noticed that the myth of Osiris's death and reserrection was a lot like Christ's, but I didn't put two and two together--as in the Egyptian myth was older than the New Testament (it must have been there first, in other words).  These guys have done a lot of research on these older religions and found a lot of parallels.  The idea of a god who has come to earth in the flesh, who is killed, sometimes on a cross, who is born and buried in a cave (I've seen independent arguments that stables in biblical times were usually in caves), who rises on the third day, whose followers take wine as blood and bread as body in a holy communion.  Etc. connections. 

Their theory is that Jesus and the disciples never existed.  That the whole thing was the product of Hellenistic Jews trying to adapt the cult of Dionysus to fit in with Jewish history and Jewish expectations of a Messiah.  That the gospels were never intended to be read literally or historically.  That you are supposed to read them as an allegory in order to glean deeper meanings. 

They also contend that the gnostic church was the original Christian church.  That the way gnostics approached Christianity was the way it was meant to be approached from its inception.  That it was only people who didn't understand, who took it literally, that ended up winning the war for one catholic (as in universal) belief system.

The more I read about the original gnostic beliefs (still trying to figure out if the new gnostics believe the same), the more I said yeah, that's what I've come, independently, to believe too!  So I'm curious to learn more about gnosticisim, and yet at the same time, I find the idea that Jesus never existed to be disturbing.   That wasn't what I was raised on, you know?  Hell, that's not what much of anybody in the US was raised on.  And yet, the authors point out that of all the Roman writers, none wrote of a Jesus agitating in Palestine.  One Jewish writer out of many mentions someone whose name might link to Jesus's, but he only had 5 disciples and nothing else was mentioned about him.  Of course, there were a lot of people rising up to claim to be Joshua, the Messiah, at that time; it could have referred to any of them.  The one passage--I think it was a Roman writer--which has been linked to the historical Jesus has been proven (and not by these authors, but independent ones) to have been a forgery.  Something added in about 100 years after the history was written.  So, apparently there is NO written evidence from a contemporary source that can be linked to a historic Jesus.
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 12:33PM #4
upaava
Posts: 106
Greetings NAMama,

The research in the book-- which you can verify through your own research-- is, for the most part true. But the authors' conclusion that Jesus never existed does not follow from the fact that earlier traditions had similar stories. Another explanation for these similarities is that someone has continued to be born among us through the ages, living a similar life, teaching similar truths, and imparting similar traditions.

There is a new book out which presents this idea (Earth Mother our Womb of Life: and the coming new heaven). You can read more about this book at:  http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/It … 48279.aspx

From the book:
"...Long ago, many indigenous peoples were given their teachings by one they variously called Quetzlcoatl, Virachoca, Lord of Wind/Lord of Wind and Water, Masau’u, The Pale One/Healer/Prophet, and other names, who are prophesied to return at the end of our present World-Age. There are world religions having similar figures, also said to return at the end of the world, taking those to Paradise who have lived in a loving and unselfish way, having maintained their covenants with our Creator. Within the knowledge I have been given to share with you, as
I was taught by my mentors, there is an elder brother, a perfected soul from the Morning Star who has been guiding and guarding our world, and who has repeatedly returned through the ages to help our Earth and Her life to reach the Fifth World-Heaven. He has been known by different names to different peoples and religions. He is born as one of us facing all of the same trials and hardships as any upon the Earth as a true brother. During his life he becomes One with the Life and Power of God within the Living Heart of the Earth. He is then become the incarnate Earth-Heart/Core, the Christos, the Sun and the Son. As become One with our Earth’s Sacred Heart he can call upon Her power, God’s power, to cause changes in weather, to help to heal, and to produce other “miracles.” It is recorded in ancient records that the apostles of Jesus were carried by the Romans so their feet could not touch the ground, for “from the Earth do they receive power from their master.” Just as this perfected brother becomes the incarnate “Heart of the Earth” sometime following his birth among us, so is his mother the incarnate Earth Mother.

It is told that when this perfected ancestor comes clothed in all the frailties of man, facing every temptation of man, he strives unto death to overcome the world, to live a perfect life and upon succeeding— having become one with the Earth’s Heart-Soul and thus all the Earth’s life-- die for us (as he has done many times through the ages), redeeming the World so it, and all those who faithfully endure with Her can finally take up the throne of exaltation as the new Morning Star. Two of his other names are “Father Death,” and “Door-Keeper to the Fifth World..."

The Gnostics preserved and lived by original truths, which have been largely lost to our present age; truths that give a new appreciaiton for a perfected brother from the Morning Star who has been born as one of us down through time, and at some point in his lives becomes one with the living Earth Heart, our most imminent expression of the Great Spirit we call God.

with love and respect,
brother
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 3:21PM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,839
Yes, I read The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy when it was first published some years ago.

Other authors have similarly covered these issues, but Freke and Gandy probably made more of a splash--although not a very big one--with their contention that Jesus is entirely mythical.

I've since come to think that there are elements of the life's work of some radical Jewish preacher along with a substantial amount of adapted mythology comprising what we today know as the story of Jesus and his teachings.

The supernatural elements attributed to Jesus have so many definite parallels with older myths that I simply cannot believe there to be anything at all original about the biblical accounts of Jesus, nor do I believe that any such person as portrayed in the Gospels ever existed.

A little book entitled Gospel Fictions, probably out-of-print by now, by Randel Helms goes into the many ways in which the Gospels cannot possibly be true. It's the most clearcut and easily understood analysis I've read.

Bart Ehrman touches upon this issue in several of his books. His Lost Christianities is required reading, IMO, for anyone who doesn't know that what we know as "traditional" Christianity basically won out politically and ruthlessly eliminated other Christian sects. There were some very strange beliefs about the nature of Jesus forming the basis of more than one quite active early sect and much more variety of belief than we would think.

Postscript: Actually, I was mistaken about Gospel Fictions' availability. Just checked and found that it's still available via Amazon. Probably would have to be ordered from most commercial bookstores. Copies priced at only $1.00 are offered on my absolute favorite used book site online, www.abebooks.com
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 3:29PM #6
NotAnAtheistMama
Posts: 58
I wondered that myself... if Jesus was not some reoccuring person truly sent by God.  You know, the way the Dalai Lama keeps getting reincarnated.  After all, the gnostics believed in reincarnation; why wouldn't the god-man reincarnate?  Was Lao Tzu this mysterious god-man also?  And Buddha?  Both faiths are similar to what I have read of original gnostic Christianity and even the mystery cults (although, admittedly, I'm just starting to look at those). 

Call me crazy, but I believe in the Shroud of Turin.  Every time someone comes up with an answer of "how medieval people forged it", the answer only works for one or two elements and is the opposite of some other element.  As a medieval researcher, I know that medieval people weren't as stupid as some modern people would have us think, but at the same time, they weren't as ingenious as some forgery theorists would have us think either. 

But then, in the Osirus-Dinoysus cult, they believed in miracles. 

So maybe Jesus did come.  The theory that he didn't come is basing off the assumption that he was militant enough to get attention.  But Jesus was anti-militant.  Maybe he didn't attract as much attention as people assume.  Especially in light of a lot of militant "Messiahs" running around at the same time.  And the romans killed a lot of people, especially Jews.  Why would they have noticed this one man? 

What if Jesus was just a hierophant (high-learned man/priest) who inspired others to think and to come up with the gospels?  A man named Lao Tzu almost certainly did not exist and did not impart the Tao Te Ching to a gate guard before riding off into the desert sunset, but SOMEONE had to have some up with the Tao Te Ching.  Maybe several someones working in concert, or students refining a master's work over several generations.
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 6:55PM #7
ElCid22
Posts: 1,156
The enemies of Christ will go to any and every extreme to discredit Him, HIs followers, their institutions and way of life. Don't listen to them.
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 9:44PM #8
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,664
Simone Weil is one of my favorite people of all time. She was a Greek scholar, a teacher, a political innovator (who had the support of Charles DeGaul on one 'pet project', however too idealistic it might have been), a champion of the working class (who on 'summer vacations' worked alongside the working poor), a French resistor in WWII, a writer, a mystic, a Christian and a truly humble person. She was also supremely intelligent, vastly, with a heart of gold.

She had a theory about the present subject, that at other times in history there were people (and/or myths or allegories) that prefigured the life of Jesus. She felt this was deliberate on the part of 'Heaven' to prepare the world 'for-the-real-thing'.

Although essentially accepting Christ as who he claimed to be, she deliberately chose not to join the Catholic Church (she have several very good friends who were Priests) because she desired to always be a friend to those outside the Church who she also believed to possess Truth (some being those of the present subject).

She died (at the age of 42 I believe it was) because although she was very sick and needed proper nourishment (I think it was TB?) and friends talked her into 'retreating' to England, in the hospital there, she refused to eat more than her friends in France had to eat daily. She essentially, thus, starved herself to death. Her most famous book is called Waiting For God (most excellent).

That's all from memory. She wrote a book about the present subject which I have around here somewhere (which I haven't read all of, sadly). I'll try to find it, check my facts and give a short summary. ........I trust her.......we have "mutuality".
stardustpilgrim
Roses always come with thorns. Sometimes, thorns first, sometimes roses first, and, sometimes, thorns outside, roses inside, sometimes roses outside, thorns inside.

Someone who dreams of drinking wine at a cheerful banquet may wake up crying the next morning. Someone who dreams of crying may go off the next morning to enjoy the sport of the hunt. When we are in the midst of a dream, we do not know it's a dream. Sometimes we may even try to interpret our dreams while we are dreaming, but then we awake and realize it was a dream. Only after one is greatly awakened does one realize that it was all a great dream, while the fool thinks that he is awake and presumptuously aware. Chuang Tzu
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10 years ago  ::  May 22, 2008 - 9:53PM #9
stardustpilgrim
Posts: 5,664
Simone Weil's book is called Intimations of Christianity Among the Ancient Greeks.
sdp
Roses always come with thorns. Sometimes, thorns first, sometimes roses first, and, sometimes, thorns outside, roses inside, sometimes roses outside, thorns inside.

Someone who dreams of drinking wine at a cheerful banquet may wake up crying the next morning. Someone who dreams of crying may go off the next morning to enjoy the sport of the hunt. When we are in the midst of a dream, we do not know it's a dream. Sometimes we may even try to interpret our dreams while we are dreaming, but then we awake and realize it was a dream. Only after one is greatly awakened does one realize that it was all a great dream, while the fool thinks that he is awake and presumptuously aware. Chuang Tzu
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10 years ago  ::  May 23, 2008 - 6:36AM #10
ElCid22
Posts: 1,156
To me, Jesus is the Great Exemplar of humanity, the supreme healer, teacher and preacher, champion of the down-trodden, and martyr of ultimate truth. He left behind a powerful spirit that guides His followers, as they struggle to defeat evil in this life, and build Christ's kingdom on Earth. My entire life is devoted to the cause of Christ, and He very definitely is my Savior. I have no need for intricate theologies or over-worked, all-too-human legalisms. My purpose in life is to imitate Christ, the Great Master, the quintessential holy man, as best I can, trying endlessly to overcome my sinful nature.
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