Religion and Spiritualism

1412 Submissions

[2] viXra:1412.0244 [pdf] submitted on 2014-12-26 05:16:06

Review by an Outsider of Ancient History and New Testament Studies of "Maurice Casey (2014): Jesus. Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths"

Authors: Thomas Colignatus
Comments: 23 Pages.

Professor Casey's book opposes the historical evidence for Jesus to the mythical origin of the story. Historicism is generally accepted in academic New Testament Studies, mythicism is often adhered to by non-scholars on the internet. The review uses the analogy of Santa Claus to bring forth a point that may have been missed by both professor Casey and the mythicists who he wishes to expose. For Santa Claus there is the historical bishop Nicolas of Myra (Turkey) but it would be inaccurate to call him the "historical Santa Claus" since the origin of the story is rather the neolithical myth of the Norse god Wodan who rides the sky on the back of his horse Sleipnir. The Church imposed the story of Nicolas on the ancient myth in order to control the heresy. If the historical Jesus was a mere man, he couldn't have walked on water or risen from death, and the story of the resurrection reminds of many similary mythical stories from prehistoric times. For Jesus the religious meaning and the resurrection are the defining issue, for otherwise why tell the story from generation to generation ? If there was a historical preacher, healer and exorcist who got associated with already existing ancient myths of resurrection, then it becomes awkward to speak about a historical Jesus, just like with the "historical Santa Claus", because such historical Jesus is at distance from what defines him for the story that people consider relevant to relate. The review looks into the historical method, Crossley's & Casey's dating of Mark to 40 CE, the value of evidence of the Aramaic language, and some aspects of professor Casey's rejection of the mythical argument. The review is by an outsider of ancient history and New Testament Studies, as the author is an econometrician and teacher of mathematics. His interest is his proposal for a development of a multidisciplinary course on Jesus and the origin of Christianity, explained in his book The simple mathematics of Jesus (2012).
Category: Religion and Spiritualism

[1] viXra:1412.0243 [pdf] submitted on 2014-12-26 05:20:07

How a Mainstream Historical Method Creates Its Own Jesus

Authors: Thomas Colignatus
Comments: 44 Pages. Not quite a book review

Lendering (2014) "Israël verdeeld" (Israel divided) - henceforth JLIV - claims to present a history of the Jewish world in 180 BC - 70 AD. The book has mixed features of a scholarly book and a book to popularise historical findings for a general audience. JLIV frames Jesus as a historical figure. JLIV also discusses the historical method but not the criticism about it for its application to Jesus. The author adheres to the motto: "Relevance is the enemy of history" (J.P. Meier). The focus on the Jewish world in JLIV implies an emphasis on that Jesus was a Jew - and thus marginal to the Greek and Roman world. The implied argument is: Why would Greeks and Romans worship a Jew as their God ? JLIV does not explicitly discuss other scenario's than a historical Jesus. JLIV basically neglects the arguments of serious authors who analyse that Jesus did not exist as a historical figure, and thus is not even a legend but a myth. There are various scenarios how a Jesus as a mere idea could have come about. A possibility is that a sect of Hellenised Jews came upon the creation themselves. Another possibility is deliberate deception. JLIV does not put the Greek and Roman conquest of Israel en Judea at center stage that can explain this deception. The creed around Jesus might have been created by the Romans to pacify the religiously fanatical Jews. It is only after some centuries and by more processes that the Roman Empire eventually adopted the creed as its own, as a twist of history. For some readers it may matter whether Jesus really existed. For scientists it doesn't matter but for them science and truthfulness matter. The relevance that Meier and Lendering refer to is that people feel cheated and scientists feel distressed by religious authorities and 'scholars' who distort truth. To understand JLIV on the historical method and JLIV's response to the criticism on the historical Jesus, the readers of JLIV are not well served by JLIV itself. For this, one must look at other texts by Lendering. While Lendering may present JLIV as his position and answer, that position and answer isn't there, while what is presented elsewhere fails. Potential readers of JLIV are advised to wait for a second revised edition. Science can progress when authors are free to develop their argument but it is part of the process to respond to criticism.
Category: Religion and Spiritualism