Origins of Christianity --Actual Evidence and Reason!

docphin5

Well-known member
(Please note that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the greatest archaeological discovery in the history of nation Israel so I am placing this OP in the Archaeology thread.)

Based on Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo's tractates, Paul's epistles, Nag Hammadi, and Trismegistic literature, it is readily apparent that the Gospel Jesus and John the Baptist are Jewish-Christian cyphers for Paul and the Teacher of Righteousness, respectively. I have touched on it in other posts but I think people have a hard time seeing it. Therefore, I put this graph together to help demonstrate how the GoMark evangelist came up with his story of Jesus and John the Baptist.

The graph below places key events and people in relation to each other for the right perspective. I think many times when we talk about historical events they tend to get lumped together as if they all happened at one time. We smash history together but that doesn't really represent what happened. Ideas evolved over time and at a later time the evangelists wrote a story smashing all the events together into a single story. Hundred of years later readers take the smashed story literally rather than realize it is the cliff notes version of what actually happened.


100 CEGospel of Mark smashes actual history of two Messianic figures (TOR and Paul) into a single story. Predicts a third Messianic figure to come.
50 CEPaul = inner "Anointed Jesus" allegorizing the Law and writing extensively of celestial Messiah
0 CEPhilo of Alexandria allegorizing the Law writing extensively about the "virgin birth" of the virtuous soul and the divine Logos.
50 BCKing Herod appointed by Rome
100 BCTeacher of Righteousness = "John the Baptist", who allegorizes the Law, baptizes fellow Jews into "new Covenant", martyred at Qumran by Pharisees
150 BCEssenes allegorizing the Law, synthesizing many apocryphal writings: Book of Jubilees, Enoch literature, Twelve patriarchs, Jasher, etc.
200 BC150 BC100 BC50 BC0 CE50 CE100 CE

The key points based on ACTUAL evidence and reason.

1) 100 BC: The Teacher of Righteousness (TOR) led a group of Jewish-Christians 100 years before the beginning of our era. He called his group "the Way" ("Oessnes" is what others called them, possibly meaning "doers of the Law") and he predicted two messianic figures IN THE FUTURE. One of those Messianic figures, namely, Yeshua (English= Joshua or Jesus) would present himself in approximately 50 Jubilee years. Water baptism was used to identify the coming Messianic figure, hence, the forerunner and baptizer of the coming Messiah. This is all in the Dead Sea Scrolls folks, --plain as Day!

2) 50 CE: Paul and James were self proclaimed leaders of the "Party of Christ". Paul led the party outside of Jerusalem and James led the party inside Palestine. They disagreed on matters of circumcision, Sabbath, Temple rituals, but on everything else they agreed. It led to some bitter disputes and division within the Essene community, especially, inside Jerusalem where Jewish life was centered around the Jewish Temple still standing.

3) 100 CE: Jewish Christians write GoMark to canonize the writings of the TOR and Paul as the leaders of the "Party of Christ". James, Peter, John, et. al., are presumably subordinate to Paul/inner Jesus in authority (as characterized in GoMark) because Temple rituals, circumcision, and Sabbath observance don't seem to matter anymore (the Jewish Temple no longer exists), just as Paul tried to tell everyone: it is what is on the inside that matters. Therefore, Jewish Christians conclude that the inner Jesus of Paul is the "true prophet". Later, Jewish Christians will compose "Acts of the Apostles" to heal the divide between Paul and James, Peter, and John, to wash over their differences as minor, although, in life, Paul and James were bitter opponents for the leadership of the "party of Christ".
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
1) 100 BC: The Teacher of Righteousness (TOR) led a group of Jewish-Christians 100 years before the beginning of our era. He called his group "the Way" ("Oessnes" is what others called them, possibly meaning "doers of the Law") and he predicted two messianic figures IN THE FUTURE. One of those Messianic figures, namely, Yeshua (English= Joshua or Jesus) would present himself in approximately 50 Jubilee years. Water baptism was used to identify the coming Messianic figure, hence, the forerunner and baptizer of the coming Messiah. This is all in the Dead Sea Scrolls folks, --plain as Day!
Most Jews were expecting a messiah or even two - one to be king, one to be high-priest. Nothing special with the Essenes there.

50 jubilee years would be 350 years, I think, so Jesus was early!

2) 50 CE: Paul and James were self proclaimed leaders of the "Party of Christ". Paul led the party outside of Jerusalem and James led the party inside Palestine. They disagreed on matters of circumcision, Sabbath, Temple rituals, but on everything else they agreed. It led to some bitter disputes and division within the Essene community, especially, inside Jerusalem where Jewish life was centered around the Jewish Temple still standing.
This is fair enough, the mainstream view except ther Essenes bit.

3) 100 CE: Jewish Christians write GoMark to canonize the writings of the TOR and Paul as the leaders of the "Party of Christ". James, Peter, John, et. al., are presumably subordinate to Paul/inner Jesus in authority (as characterized in GoMark) because Temple rituals, circumcision, and Sabbath observance don't seem to matter anymore (the Jewish Temple no longer exists), just as Paul tried to tell everyone: it is what is on the inside that matters. Therefore, Jewish Christians conclude that the inner Jesus of Paul is the "true prophet". Later, Jewish Christians will compose "Acts of the Apostles" to heal the divide between Paul and James, Peter, and John, to wash over their differences as minor, although, in life, Paul and James were bitter opponents for the leadership of the "party of Christ".
Mark is usually dated to about AD 70. I find it interesting that the passion is relatively fantasy-free, and I would say that is because it was written when witnesses were still around to keep the story straight. The other gospels were written later.

It seems to talk about a Jesus who was a man, but was adopted as the son of God at his baptism, which does not fit your scenario.

Do you think Acts is all made up?

ETA: What does Philo say of a virgin birth?
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Most Jews were expecting a messiah or even two - one to be king, one to be high-priest. Nothing special with the Essenes there.
But were most Jews getting their information about the coming Messiah from the Essenes? I have not come across any predictions from the Pharisees about the coming Messiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls represent one sect among three who hated the Pharisees. What did the other sects have to say about the coming Messiah, if anything?
50 jubilee years would be 350 years, I think, so Jesus was early!
A total of 2,500 jubilee years was the number of years from the beginning of creation to the end of time, according to the Book of Jubilees (50 jubilees x 50 years each = 2,500 jubilee years). The last 40 years of Jubilee time took place between Moses giving the Law and Yeshua (Joshua = Jesus) entering the promised land.

So, follow the line of thinking on this.

Since the Teacher of Righteousness styled himself the new "Moses" and he interpreted the "first Law" or Pentateuch, according to the "Book of Jubilees" or "Little Genesis", he then predicts his successor, namely, Yeshua, Son of Nun, according to the type, in 40 jubilee years. This is plausibly what Paul picked up on and claimed to be that person in whom the inner "Yeshua" lived. All the Jews would have known exactly who he was claiming to be, that is, the TOR's successor as predicted by the TOR himself in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But so did James the Just claim to be that successor, so everyone was confused which one really was the "true prophet". Not until both were dead (Pharisees killed James and Nero allegedly killed Paul) and the Temple layed in ruins did the general consensus (outside Jerusalem) decide Paul was the "true prophet". Subsequently, the evangelist of GoMark looking back through his telescope over the previous two hundred years paints a two-dimensional story essentially unfolding over three years. IOW, the evangelist compresses actual time to write his story in order to capture all the relevant events, the most important being, the handover from the TOR to Paul, according to the type, anointed prophet, namely, the new "Moses", to the anointed "Yeshua", respectively, who leads the "chosen ones" into the promised land.

"The sect's eschatological timetable allowed that there would be forty years [Jubilee time?] from the time of their Teacher's death to the final showdown between Good and Evil.

>> Very soon there will be no wicked man, I look where he was, he's not there.
This refers to all the wicked at the end of the forty years. When those years are completed, there will no longer be on the earth any wicked person."

(A new Translation, Dead Sea Scrolls, Wise, pg 249)

This is fair enough, the mainstream view except ther Essenes bit.


Mark is usually dated to about AD 70. I find it interesting that the passion is relatively fantasy-free, and I would say that is because it was written when witnesses were still around to keep the story straight. The other gospels were written later.
GoMark is equivalent to us looking up through a telescope into space. Through the Hubble telescope we see a two dimensional picture of time and events covering 13.8 billion years, except the evangelist's telescope covers two hundred years and his canvas where he paints his story (GoMark) covers essentially three years, ie., John the Baptist (TOR) passing the paton to Jesus (Paul) who preaches, in GoMark, for three years. He even characterizes the other apostles correctly, that is, Peter, James, and John are clueless what Jesus (Paul) meant to the point that Jesus even called Peter the adversary (or Satan). Go read Galatians again and Paul is really angry with the "so-called apostles" in Jerusalem.

It seems to talk about a Jesus who was a man, but was adopted as the son of God at his baptism, which does not fit your scenario.
It fits perfectly.

Paul was on his way to "Damascus" (code in the Dead Sea Scrolls for Qumran) to persecute members of "The Way" (how the Oessenes identified themselves in the Dead Sea Scrolls) when Paul had a revelation that he was all wrong. He subsequently spends three years in "Araba" ("the desert"; Qumran is in the desert) before starting his ministry. Three years is the time it takes to be initiated into the Oessene community which would have included water baptism. Therefore, Paul was baptized into the Essenes just as Jesus, in GoMark, was allegedly baptized by John the Baptist. Again, time is being compressed by the evangelist to capture the relevant events. Essenes would have known exactly what the author of GoMark was writing about.
Do you think Acts is all made up?
It is not considered reliable for history. It was written primarily to bring the Essene community together under Paul and (James, Peter, John) after the bitter divide that occurred when they were alive. Whoever wrote Acts of the Apostles was essentially messaging: Paul and (James, Peter, John) agreed on more things than they disagreed upon, despite what they said about each other.

ETA: What does Philo say of a virgin birth?
Lots and lots. He essentially hands the "virgin birth" theology to the evangelists on a platter, as well, as the celestial Messiah, aka, divine Logos. The evangelists were painting a picture using Philo's insights into jewish interpretations of scripture. Philo allegorized just as the Essenes did. In fact, one could make the argument that the Therapeutae in Alexandria, whom Philo associated with, were an offshoot of the Essenes who left Palestine when Pharisees exiled their leaders. Philo even explicitly praises the Essenes in Palestine.

"But, indeed, as Conybeare says:
The words, virgin, virginity, ever-virginal, occur on every other page of Philo. It is indeed Philo who first formulated the idea of the Word or ideal ordering principle of the cosmos being born of an ever-virgin soul, which conceives, because God the Father [El] sows into her His intelligible rays and divine seed, so begetting his only well-beloved son, the cosmos."

(Thrice Greatest Hermes, Vol 1, Mead, pg 152)
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
It can not be overstated how much the Book of Jubilees forms the foundation of Jewish-Christianity especially in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. For instance, the purpose of the Book of Jubilees served as a commentary or esoteric meaning for the Pentateuch which is magnified when applied by the Essenes in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Essenes emphasized the allegorical meaning of the Law, just as Philo and Paul did.

Take this verse from Jubilees followed by comments from Charles and combine it with the Dead Sea Scrolls where the TOR styles himself the new "Moses" ("a prophet like Moses"; Deut 18:5) revealing the secret meaning of the Law and it suggests that the Teacher of Righteousness may have been the author of Jubilees who is announcing the advent of the Messianic age. It is electric!

"And do thou write down for thyself all these words which I declare unto thee on this mountain, the first and the last, which shall come to pass in all the divisions of the days in the law and in the testimony and in the weeks and the jubilees unto eternity, until I descend and dwell with them throughout eternity." (Jubilees 1:26)

(Charles commentary): "These words appear to refer to the present work (as Singer p.15 has recognized), ie. Jubilees. Moses is to write it down at the dictation of the angel (vi. 1). It constitutes, so to say, the book of the second law. The Pentateuch, on the other hand, is "the book of the first law" (vi. 22), which was written by the angel himself. (i. 27). The latter [Pentateuch] is referred to again in xxx. 12, 21, 1. 6. In 4 Ezra xiv. 6 Moses is bidden to reveal the one, i.e., the Pentateuch, and conceal the other [i.e., Jubilees], the apocalyptic tradition." (The Book of Jubilees or Little Genesis, R.H. Charles, 1902, pg 7)

Views of the Author of The Book of Jubilees

And what does Charles say about the author's views about Messiah, the Messianic kingdom, the priesthood, the Law, Circumcision, the Sabbath, future life, angels and demons, etc.? Some of his comments are summarized as bullets below. It should be very interesting to any Christian who cares about the origins of their faith. This is where it began around 150 B.C.

* Messiah --"Although our author is an upholder of the Maccabean dynasty he still clings to the hope of a Messiah sprung from Judah. He makes, however, only one reference to this Messiah...The Messianic expectation showed no vigorous life throughout this century till it was identified with the Maccabean family."
(>> Docphin: Plese note that "Judah" in the Dead Sea scrolls is associated with the community of the Essenes. Therefore, is the expectation for a Messiah to arise from the Essene community (aka "Judah") as the Teacher of Righteousness asserts in the Dead Sea Scrolls?)

* Messianic Kingdom -- "it was to be brought about gradually by the progressive spiritual development of man and a corresponding transformation of nature. Its members were to attain to the full limit of 1000 years in happiness and peace...The last judgment was apparently to take place at its close...The writer of Jubilees, we can hardly doubt, thought that the era of the Messianic kingdom had already set in.

* Priesthood -- "in our text we have shown in the note xiii. 25, that the Maccabean high-priests deliberately adopted the title applied to him [Melchizedek] in Gen. xiv. It would be interesting to inquire how far the writer of the book of Hebrews was indebted to the history of the great Maccabean king-priests for the idea of the Melchizekekian priesthood"

* Future Life--"In our text all hope of a resurrection of the [human] body is abandoned. The souls of the righteous will enjoy a blessed immortality after death (xxiii. 31). This is the earliest attested instance of this expectation in the last two centuries B.C."
----
(Deut 18:5) "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [the TOR?] from among your brothers. You must listen to him."
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
We cannot know what actually happened, but we can look at how well different scenarios fit the evidence. With that in mind...

But were most Jews getting their information about the coming Messiah from the Essenes? I have not come across any predictions from the Pharisees about the coming Messiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls represent one sect among three who hated the Pharisees. What did the other sects have to say about the coming Messiah, if anything?
There is a big problem that our biggest source of the Pharisees is the NT, so we do not really know, but most Jews got their information from the last few books of the OT to be written, such a Daniel.

A total of 2,500 jubilee years was the number of years from the beginning of creation to the end of time, according to the Book of Jubilees (50 jubilees x 50 years each = 2,500 jubilee years). The last 40 years of Jubilee time took place between Moses giving the Law and Yeshua (Joshua = Jesus) entering the promised land.
I was thinking it was seven previously; you are right, it is fifty. But that means Jesus was way way too earlier. Or are you (they) counting from Moses?

So, follow the line of thinking on this.

Since the Teacher of Righteousness styled himself the new "Moses" and he interpreted the "first Law" or Pentateuch, according to the "Book of Jubilees" or "Little Genesis", he then predicts his successor, namely, Yeshua, Son of Nun, according to the type, in 40 jubilee years. This is plausibly what Paul picked up on and claimed to be that person in whom the inner "Yeshua" lived. All the Jews would have known exactly who he was claiming to be, that is, the TOR's successor as predicted by the TOR himself in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But so did James the Just claim to be that successor, so everyone was confused which one really was the "true prophet". Not until both were dead (Pharisees killed James and Nero allegedly killed Paul) and the Temple layed in ruins did the general consensus (outside Jerusalem) decide Paul was the "true prophet". Subsequently, the evangelist of GoMark looking back through his telescope over the previous two hundred years paints a two-dimensional story essentially unfolding over three years. IOW, the evangelist compresses actual time to write his story in order to capture all the relevant events, the most important being, the handover from the TOR to Paul, according to the type, anointed prophet, namely, the new "Moses", to the anointed "Yeshua", respectively, who leads the "chosen ones" into the promised land.
But Mark does not say Paul is the true prophet, he says Jesus is. I get there is an inner Jesus, but why not say that? Or just write a gospel about Paul?

I get what you are saying about the name Yeshua, and it seems plausible... but not convincing.

"The sect's eschatological timetable allowed that there would be forty years [Jubilee time?] from the time of their Teacher's death to the final showdown between Good and Evil.
>> Very soon there will be no wicked man, I look where he was, he's not there.
This refers to all the wicked at the end of the forty years. When those years are completed, there will no longer be on the earth any wicked person."

(A new Translation, Dead Sea Scrolls, Wise, pg 249)
People always predict the apocalypse is within a few years. The author of Daniel does this, Jesus does it, Paul does it. More recently, we see Harold Camping et al.

It is quite a reach to conclude he was referring to Jesus. The apocalypse did not come in forty years. Even 2000 years later there are still bad people around, so the prophesy fails.

Was Jesus still (mis)understood to be the subject of the prophesy? That seems reasonable; the Jews - or some of them - thought he was the messiah, which is presumably what the TOR was talking about. So okay, it does make sense to think Jesus was a title and not the guy's actual name, but why suppose he was Paul? It makes more sense, given the evidence, to suppose there was some other guy who became Jesus, and Paul came along later.

GoMark is equivalent to us looking up through a telescope into space. Through the Hubble telescope we see a two dimensional picture of time and events covering 13.8 billion years, except the evangelist's telescope covers two hundred years and his canvas where he paints his story (GoMark) covers essentially three years, ie., John the Baptist (TOR) passing the paton to Jesus (Paul) who preaches, in GoMark, for three years. He even characterizes the other apostles correctly, that is, Peter, James, and John are clueless what Jesus (Paul) meant to the point that Jesus even called Peter the adversary (or Satan). Go read Galatians again and Paul is really angry with the "so-called apostles" in Jerusalem.
There was definitely conflict between Paul and the others; that is very clear. I do not think it should surprise anyone that later writings - Acts in particular - try to gloss over that. So again, what you say is plausible, but not convincing.

Paul was on his way to "Damascus" (code in the Dead Sea Scrolls for Qumran) to persecute members of "The Way" (how the Oessenes identified themselves in the Dead Sea Scrolls) when Paul had a revelation that he was all wrong. He subsequently spends three years in "Araba" ("the desert"; Qumran is in the desert) before starting his ministry. Three years is the time it takes to be initiated into the Oessene community which would have included water baptism. Therefore, Paul was baptized into the Essenes just as Jesus, in GoMark, was allegedly baptized by John the Baptist. Again, time is being compressed by the evangelist to capture the relevant events. Essenes would have known exactly what the author of GoMark was writing about.
An alternative view is Paul was really going to Damascus to persecute whoever when he had a revelation. He said he spent three years in the desert because three years was commonly understood to be how long initiation took, and he wanted people to think he learnt about Christian directly from God, rather than second hand from the apostles which would indicate they were a higher authority than himself.

It is not considered reliable for history. It was written primarily to bring the Essene community together under Paul and (James, Peter, John) after the bitter divide that occurred when they were alive. Whoever wrote Acts of the Apostles was essentially messaging: Paul and (James, Peter, John) agreed on more things than they disagreed upon, despite what they said about each other.
There is a huge difference between "not considered reliable for history" and myth. I see no reason to think Acts is not broadly true. And that is despite accepting there was a deep rift between Paul and the others and that this was meant to heal that to some degree. By the time Acts was written, say AD 90, Paul had won; the gentile Christians were in the ascent, while Jewish Christians were either disappearing or had beliefs so different they were no longer considered Christians (thinking here of Ebionites), or both.

Lots and lots. He essentially hands the "virgin birth" theology to the evangelists on a platter, as well, as the celestial Messiah, aka, divine Logos. The evangelists were painting a picture using Philo's insights into jewish interpretations of scripture. Philo allegorized just as the Essenes did. In fact, one could make the argument that the Therapeutae in Alexandria, whom Philo associated with, were an offshoot of the Essenes who left Palestine when Pharisees exiled their leaders. Philo even explicitly praises the Essenes in Palestine.

"But, indeed, as Conybeare says:
The words, virgin, virginity, ever-virginal, occur on every other page of Philo. It is indeed Philo who first formulated the idea of the Word or ideal ordering principle of the cosmos being born of an ever-virgin soul, which conceives, because God the Father [El] sows into her His intelligible rays and divine seed, so begetting his only well-beloved son, the cosmos."

(Thrice Greatest Hermes, Vol 1, Mead, pg 152)
Thanks. I was curious because I find the idea that a Jew would expect the messiah to be born of a virgin to be unlikely, as he had to be of the seed of David. However, what you describe in this thread is something else entirely!
 

docphin5

Well-known member
We cannot know what actually happened, but we can look at how well different scenarios fit the evidence. With that in mind...


There is a big problem that our biggest source of the Pharisees is the NT, so we do not really know, but most Jews got their information from the last few books of the OT to be written, such a Daniel.


I was thinking it was seven previously; you are right, it is fifty. But that means Jesus was way way too earlier. Or are you (they) counting from Moses?
Right, they are counting the years in the Bible from Moses giving the Law TO Joshua entering the promised land = 40 years. This is what is written in Jubilees.

”there are forty-nine jubilees from the days of Adam until this day, and one week and two years: and there are forty years to come for learning the commandments of the Lord, until they pass over into the land of Canaan, crossing the Jordan to the west. And the jubilees will pass by until Israel is cleansed of all guilt..and dwells with confidence in the land, and there will be no more a Satan or any evil one, and the land will be clean from that time for evermore.”

However, these are not actual years but Jubilee years which have no correlation to actual time whatsoever, for example, there are ONLY 2,500 Jubilee years from creation of Adam to eternal peace (from beginning to end). The point the TOR is making in the Dead Sea Scrolls is that like Joshua following Moses in the Biblical story to lead the chosen ones, so will his successor follow him, —and that successor’s name, according to the type, is Joshua or Jesus (Hebrew= Yeshua).

Therefore, every Essene was expecting the coming anointed Messiah, according to the type, namely Yeshua. Paul explained in his letters that Yeshua is in all people to varying degrees. What makes the “anointed one” special is the power of divine reason/wisdom working through him. Wisdom is not something any one human controls but instead a gift of God under the stewardship of a human for the benefit of others.

”For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of 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” (Ephesians 3:1)

Therefore, others could claim the same wisdom to varying degrees which is problematic because what objective criteria determines who has the greater measure of wisdom. That, of course, lended to the conflict between James and Paul. Not until later were the Jewish Christians able to determine the “true prophet”, not least because he truly was “a light to the Gentiles”, as predicted by Isaiah. Whereas James Judaizing ideas died with the destruction of the Temple and eventually with the destruction of the Jewish nation.

But Mark does not say Paul is the true prophet, he says Jesus is. I get there is an inner Jesus, but why not say that? Or just write a gospel about Paul?
Right, there are several explanations for this. The best one being that Paul had been convicted and executed by a Roman emperor for being a Jewish rebel. Since Palestine continued to be a rebellious province then it wouldn’t be prudent to promote the Jewish Paul as the leader of their movement. So conceal the leader behind a mythical person who the Romans have no record of. The Jewish Christians would have known its esoteric meaning.

I get what you are saying about the name Yeshua, and it seems plausible... but not convincing.


People always predict the apocalypse is within a few years. The author of Daniel does this, Jesus does it, Paul does it. More recently, we see Harold Camping et al.
The fact that the world didn’t end in the first century was a critical weakness in the Essene theology. Or was it? According to the TOR there would be two more anointed figures, and presuming Paul was the “true prophet”, then Paul predicts Yeshua returns one more time, in the same way he came the first time, —as a gift of God under the stewardship of humans for the benefit of others.

The interesting thing is that the Biblical Joshua not only prepares his chosen ones BEFORE entering the “promised land”, he also leads them in battle to claim their inheritance. Is this what the inner Jesus of Paul was alluding to, that is, his return will be to evict his enemy from the land, aka, “final judgment”.

It is quite a reach to conclude he was referring to Jesus. The apocalypse did not come in forty years. Even 2000 years later there are still bad people around, so the prophesy fails.

Was Jesus still (mis)understood to be the subject of the prophesy? That seems reasonable; the Jews - or some of them - thought he was the messiah, which is presumably what the TOR was talking about. So okay, it does make sense to think Jesus was a title and not the guy's actual name, but why suppose he was Paul? It makes more sense, given the evidence, to suppose there was some other guy who became Jesus, and Paul came along later.
Lol. There is neither evidence for a superman Jesus reconstituting his decomposing body nor superman Jesus flying through the clouds. There is just many misled people unable to break free from the prejudice of the crowd. People are sheep and are unwilling to go against the prevailing opinion. Moreover, superman Jesus sounds way cooler than the inner Jesus of Paul. Ha ha!

There was definitely conflict between Paul and the others; that is very clear. I do not think it should surprise anyone that later writings - Acts in particular - try to gloss over that. So again, what you say is plausible, but not convincing.


An alternative view is Paul was really going to Damascus to persecute whoever when he had a revelation.
Makes no sense because the Jewish religious authorities had no power to arrest members of a religious group living in another Roman province. On the other hand, the charter for the Essene community is called “The Damascus Document” for a reason.
He said he spent three years in the desert because three years was commonly understood to be how long initiation took, and he wanted people to think he learnt about Christian directly from God, rather than second hand from the apostles which would indicate they were a higher authority than himself.
Where did the GoMark John the Baptist come from then? He appears from nowhere and disappears into oblivion overnight. Does that make sense? It makes more sense he was the leader of a religious sect at Qumran requiring baptism from Jews for forgiveness of sins. Logically, Paul would want to learn more about this teacher from the group itself, —at Qumran, in the desert!
There is a huge difference between "not considered reliable for history" and myth. I see no reason to think Acts is not broadly true. And that is despite accepting there was a deep rift between Paul and the others and that this was meant to heal that to some degree. By the time Acts was written, say AD 90, Paul had won; the gentile Christians were in the ascent, while Jewish Christians were either disappearing or had beliefs so different they were no longer considered Christians (thinking here of Ebionites), or both.


Thanks. I was curious because I find the idea that a Jew would expect the messiah to be born of a virgin to be unlikely, as he had to be of the seed of David. However, what you describe in this thread is something else entirely!
It is an alternative explanation based on extant writings available to the evangelists. It is this or superman Jesus. You are a smart guy, I trust you will make the better choice.
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
We cannot know what actually happened, but we can look at how well different scenarios fit the evidence. With that in mind...
An interesting piece of information that is somewhat connected to all this is how Simon was identified by the gnostics as the man who truly died, versus, the Gospel Jesus. Without context the idea seems to come out of nowhere and makes little sense. But it does make sense if the OP is correct. I will try to keep this as short as possible.

1) If the GoMark was written so that the Jesus and John the Baptist are cypher's for the inner Jesus of Paul and the inner spirit of the Teacher of Righteousness, respectively, then did the author of GoMark include an "easter egg" in the text about Paul for those who knew its esoteric meaning? Easter eggs in today's jargon are messages, images, or features, included in media for consumers to find. This is a fascinating idea albeit mostly speculative.

2) The gnostic Basilides stated that the person who actually died was Simon, and not Jesus in the Gospel story. Assume that Basilides knew Simon was the easter egg in the GoMark representing the actual Paul, in the sense that, Paul carried the cross of Jesus, according to Paul's letters. For instance,

a) (Galatians 6:2) "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

b) (6:14) "Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified TO ME, and I to the world."

c) (Phil 3:10) "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."

3) "Jesus" in the mind of the Essenes, to include Paul, is the Jewish name for the world-ordering power, the celestial messiah, who is saving pious, virtuous souls for the ideal world, aka, for the "promised land", and Paul was his apostle. In Greek theology, Jesus or Joshua, is equivalent to the reason (Greek: Logos), or mind, or wisdom (Greek: Sophia) of God (1 cor 1:24), --the light spark within man, and Paul was a heirophant for the Light or Truth. Therefore, it is Paul in the first century who carries the cross of the inner Jesus Christ and it is Paul who actually dies for Christ.

In that context, it makes sense that gnostics were ridiculing orthodoxy for taking mythical stories as historical events, when gnostics knew the stories held an esoteric meaning, for example, Simon was the easter egg in the text representing Paul, who actually carried the cross of Christ, and who actually died. Of course, orthodoxy didn't even try to understand the esoteric meaning of the GoMark. For them, there could only be one meaning, a literal one.

Following is an analysis of one gnostic writing, "The Second Discourse of Great Seth" From "The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: the Revised And Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts"

"The Second Discourse of Great Seth, is a message of Jesus about salvific knowledge and the true meaning of the crucifixion in the face of the theology of the emerging orthodox church...

The basic message of the text is that the Savior has come down from above into the cosmos...and requisitioned a human body, thrown out the previous tenant, and made it his place of residence...

What makes the crucifixion laughable is the ignorance of the powers [orthodoxy] who think they can execute the real, living Jesus....

The mention made of Simon in the text is reminiscent of the role of Simon of Cyrene in the New Testament (Matt 27:32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26), where it is said that he [Simon] carries the cross of Jesus, or it may call to mind the observations of Irenaeus (Against Heresies 1.24.4) and Epiphanius (Panarion 24.3), who claim that according to gnostic teacher Basildes, Simon of Cyrene was crucified in place of Jesus. Yet in the Second Discourse of Great Seth, Simon is never actually crucified, and Jesus says that it is "their man" that the world rulers put to death--the physical body that the heavenly Savior borrowed. Further, the comment by Jesus in the Second Discourse, "though they punished me, I did not die in actuality but only in appearance."


Keep in mind what Paul wrote in his letters, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Gal 2:20)

4) Another speculative connection to Paul with Simon of Cyrene is that Simon was the "“the father of Alexander and Rufus”, according to GoMark (Mark 15:21), which may have actually been converts of Paul: "It is speculated that the Rufus mentioned here may be the same man Paul greets in his letter to Rome, whom he calls “chosen in the Lord” and whose mother “has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 6:13) (Gotquestions.org)
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
I find this description of Moses in the Dead Sea Scrolls extremely interesting given the OP's explanation of the origins of Christianity.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Moses is an "anointed one" who is the "herald of glad tidings", meaning a Christ-figure who preaches "Good News".

"Cursed be the man who fails to preserve and carry out all the commandments of the Lord as spoken by Moses His anointed, ...He has spoken with the congregation of Israel face to face, as a man might speak with his friend;...He has let us peer within a consuming flame above the heavens...

Meanwhile Moses, the man of God, was with God in the cloud...God would speak through his mouth as though he were an angel; indeed, what herald of glad tidings was ever like him?...He was a man of piety..."

(A New Translation, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Wise, "A Moses Apocryphon", pg. 428")

...preceded by Wise's analysis (page 427)...

"Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are nearly a dozen different works that...assert by one device or another, that Moses was their author. The sheer number of these writings testifies to the overwhelming importance of Moses as the legitimator of religious ideas in Second Temple times...

Noteworthy is our author's description of Moses as an "anointed one". Nowhere does the Bible use this term of the famous lawgiver...In the same vein the writer calls Moses a "herald of glad tidings." Again, nowhere does the Bible us that term of Moses.".
.. (except as described below)

The Connection between "John the Baptist" and "The Teacher of Righteousness (100 B.C.), aka, "new Moses"

The Gospel "John the Baptist" as a cypher for the Teacher of Righteousness (see OP), whom the Dead Sea Scrolls describe as a "new Moses" (Wise) preaches "Good News" in announcing the coming anointed Messiah while baptizing and preaching the forgiveness of sins,

JUST AS the Dead Sea Scrolls attribute to the TOR and his "congregration", aka, "The Way".

"So with many other exhortations he [John the Baptist] preached Good News to the people." (Luke3:18)

People, this is just the tip of the iceberg, a single page in the 632+ pages that is a paradigm shift in the origins of Christianity. We should be jumping up and down with excitement because this is who we actually are and these are REAL people who actually lived and died for "the God Most High", aka, EL, who they served. Every Christian university in the world should be all over this, yet they are asleep, or drunk in the traditions, superstitions, and myths of their religion. IMO, this is evidence for a living God, namely, El, "the true God and Father" (1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6) who actually worked through real human people, i.e., the inner "Spirit" or inner "Yeshua", working salvation through the "El-ohim" or "gods" or "sons/daughters" (plural) of God (El-singular).

"For both Jews and Christians, the Dead Sea Scrolls group are the cousins we never knew we had; the scrolls themselves are lost letters from home." (ibid, pg 35)
 
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The Pixie

Well-known member
I find this description of Moses in the Dead Sea Scrolls extremely interesting given the OP's explanation of the origins of Christianity.

In the Dead Sea Scrolls, Moses is an "anointed one" who is the "herald of glad tidings", meaning a Christ-figure who preaches "Good News".

"Cursed be the man who fails to preserve and carry out all the commandments of the Lord as spoken by Moses His anointed, ...He has spoken with the congregation of Israel face to face, as a man might speak with his friend;...He has let us peer within a consuming flame above the heavens...
Brief comments...

This should not be a surprise. All the kings and all the high priests were anointed. Even Cyrus was anointed, and he was not even Jewish (Isaiah 45:1). Jesus was the messiah because he was thought to be the new king - and the king was believed to be the adopted son of God.

That said, being the king became a bigger deal after the captivity, and his arrival became associated with the coming of God's kingdom.

Noteworthy is our author's description of Moses as an "anointed one". Nowhere does the Bible use this term of the famous lawgiver...In the same vein the writer calls Moses a "herald of glad tidings." Again, nowhere does the Bible us that term of Moses.".
It is possible the anointing of the king started with David (or around then), though the anointing of priests was established back then (Exodus 28:41). Then later the myth developed extending it back in time to Moses.

I do not think anyone doubts that Moses was seen as very important.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Brief comments...

This should not be a surprise. All the kings and all the high priests were anointed. Even Cyrus was anointed, and he was not even Jewish (Isaiah 45:1). Jesus was the messiah because he was thought to be the new king - and the king was believed to be the adopted son of God.

That said, being the king became a bigger deal after the captivity, and his arrival became associated with the coming of God's kingdom.


It is possible the anointing of the king started with David (or around then), though the anointing of priests was established back then (Exodus 28:41). Then later the myth developed extending it back in time to Moses.

I do not think anyone doubts that Moses was seen as very important.
First, There is a difference between being anointed with oil as king and having the anointing of the holy spirit, aka, christ, messiah. (The former probably serves as a Type for the latter.). Not all kings anointed with oil were spirit filled kings.

Therefore, Cyrus was attributed by Isaiah with being a messiah, spirit-anointed foreign king who saved nation Israel from Babylonian rule but Cyrus was not anointed by oil to become king of nation Israel. Cyrus also likely was the leader of the Zoroastrian religion which arguably was incorporated into the Bible. There are many similarities between Jewish/Christianity and Zoroastrian religion, eg., light versus darkness, angeology, judgment, etc.

Second, the point Wise was making in his analysis is that the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSC) were claiming their leader to be the “new Moses” because the DSC were not written 1,200 years earlier. IOW, the TOR is writing about himself as the “new Moses” and claiming to be a preacher of ”glad tidings” or “good news” and a Messianic figure, just as John the Baptist was subsequently described by Gospel evangelists (200 years later). Moreover, no one else claims the Biblical Moses to be a Messianic figure or a preacher of “good news” except in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel accounts of John the Baptist and Jesus. See the connection?

The TOR as the “new Moses”, as prophet, as Messianic figure, is foretelling the coming Yeshua (Jesus or Joshua) as high priest (according to Melchizedek), as Messianic figure leading the “chosen ones” into the “promised land”, again; but this time the promised land is intelligible versus material. It is something the mind alone can perceive. He calls it in another place “the Temple of Adam” where the faithful gather, aka, “body of Christ”, according to Paul.

Not only that the TOR, as prophet, as Messianic figure, is foretelling the second coming of Yeshua (Jesus or Joshua) as military leader, as king (as the son of David?), as Messianic figure who claims his inheritance by evicting those who don’t belong, a “final judgment” of sorts.

Three Messianic figures of the “Last Days”: prophet, priest, and king.
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
Brief comments...
Check this out from the Gospel of John chapter 5 where "Jesus" associates "John the Baptist" with "Moses".

“If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another [John the Baptist] who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true.

You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.

He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his [John the Baptist's] Light.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they [the scriptures] that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

There is one ("
another") who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Given the existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrating that the "new Moses" allegorized the Law to be about the coming Christ ("he wrote of me") --632+ pages of writings; and directing the baptism of everyone, to include, the coming Messianic "Yeshua" (Joshua or Jesus), how can we not perceive that the author of GoJohn, himself, is making the connection between the Gospel John the Baptist and the TOR for those in his Jewish-Christian community? It was meant to be understood by them alone, ie, esoterically.

Now, all that needs to be done is make the connection between the Gospel Jesus and the inner Jesus of Paul. IOW, the Gospel Jesus is actually Paul honoring his predecessor, namely, the Teacher of Righteousness, and the author of GoJohn was concealing the actual history of the Essene community. Most likely to distract the Romans from following the scent of Paul (a condemned Jewish "rebel") to their community.
 
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docphin5

Well-known member
The “new Moses” like John the Baptist, per Wise (A new translation, the Dead Sea Scrolls, pg 593).

Speaking of the Temple Scroll Wise says,

The author has compiled here a new law for life in the land, a “new Deuteronomy” intended to guide Israel during the Last Days…while deliberately omitting the name of Moses…the total effect is electric: Moses speaks in the first person…

…there is a way to understand the contents of the work: as a new revelation to a “new Moses,”…

The basis for the belief was Deuteronomy 18:15, where Moses says,

“The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people.”

We see this expectation reflected in the Gospel of John, for example, in a question posed to John the Bapist: “Who are you?…Are you THE prophet?” (John 1:19-21).


Wise does not explicitly say so but did the author of the GoJohn have in mind the TOR when he wrote about John the Baptist indicating that there was uncertainty about the TOR’s claim to be the “new Moses”? Yet the author of GoJohn intended for his audience to take away that the TOR, the baptizer, indeed was who he claimed to be.
 

docphin5

Well-known member
Is the Teacher of Righteousness (TOR) the "Anointed One shall be cut off" (Dan. 9:26)?

The Essenes appeared to think so, per the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There are many opinions on who the "anointed one" is that was "cut off" but none, that I am aware of, associates the TOR with this person, which makes this post all the more important, if only to provide an alternative explanation based on evidence and reason.

Whether you believe in prophesy or not should be set aside because the point here is to demonstrate how the Essene's interpreted the "prophesy" fulfilled in the first century B.C.

Rough sketch for those who know the basic historical and Biblical context (Daniel 9)
586 B.C.: Babylon conquers Judah's king
538 B.C.: Cyrus of Persia assumes control of the Babylonian Empire
539 B.C.: Cyrus issues decree "word" allowing freedom of religion in all conquered lands. (see Cyrus-Cylinder) (1)
> ........... -483 years (sixty-nine weeks)
56 B.C.: Sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) AFTER "word" went forth "to restore and build Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:25) TO "an anointed one shall be cut off" (vs. 26).

Per Wise, the TOR was likely killed during the reign of John Hyrcanus II, king and high-priest of Palestine, from 63-40 B.C. (2), an interval of time which includes the predicted date of the anointed one's death, according to Daniel's prophesy.

Per the Essenes the "Wicked Priest" (aka Hyrcanus II) destroyed the Teacher of Righteousness on the Day of Atonement. (3)

Per the Essenes the "anointed one" who is "cut off" appears to be their Teacher of Righteousness (4).

In summary, the TOR might have been considered by the Essenes in the first century B.C. as the "anointed one" predicted to come by Daniel who was "cut off" by John Hyrcanus II, aka, "the Wicked Priest". Since, the TOR predicted TWO more anointed ones to come then there was the expectation by the Essenes for another theophany, or a reincarnation, of sorts, of their leader in a future person or persons.

But what happens next is for another generation to tell, as the Dead Sea Scrolls only include events of the first and second century B.C. A later generation would be Paul, and Philo who wrote in the first half of the first century, neither of which describes a solitary superman Jesus on earth. Paul's letters speak of a celestial Messiah who indwells his "chosen ones", presumably, including the TOR.

Subsequent to Paul and Philo another generation of Jewish-Christians decide to tell a fantastic story of two anointed ones who preach "Good News", "proclaim the year of the Lord's favor", "comfort all who mourn", and instructs others about all the periods of history to eternity.

Who else could these two ACTUALLY be but the founder of "The Way", namely the TOR, and his successor, namely, Paul, based on existing documents and actual history around that time? Simply, there is zero evidence for a superman Jesus in the first century as alleged in the Gospel stories.


References
1) "The Cylinder's text has traditionally been seen by biblical scholars as corroborative evidence of Cyrus' policy of the repatriation of the Jewish People following their Babylonian captivity, (an act that the Book of Ezra attributes to Cyrus), as the text refers to the restoration of cult sanctuaries and repatriation of deported peoples." (Wikipedia, Nov. 26, 2021)

2) "When Hyrcanus II became king, he renewed his efforts to destroy the Teacher and his group." (A new Translation, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Wise, pg 32).

3) "the Wicked Priest (aka Hyrcanus II) pursued the Teacher of Righteousness to destroy him in the heat of his anger at his place of exile (Qumran?). At the time set aside for the repose of the Day of Atonement he appeared to them to destroy them..." (ibid, pg 87)

4) "And the messenger is the Anointed of the Spirit of whom Daniel spoke, ["After the sixty-two weeks, an Anointed One shall be cut off" (Dan 9:26). The "messenger who brings ] GOOD NEWS, who announces salvation"] is the one of whom it is written, ["to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, the day of vengeance of our God;] to comfo[rt all who mourn (Isaiah 62:2). This scriptures interpretation:] he is to instruct them about all the periods of history to eter[nity] (Book of Jubilees?)..." (ibid, 592,593)
 
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