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The Hijacking of Jesus. Paulianity and the Middle of the Road Doctrine

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posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 08:05 AM
reply to post by pieman

if we believe at all, we assume that jesus existed in some sense, and that the canonical gospels at least get the general details correct, we also know historically that pilate was governor of judea from ad 26 to 36AD, so if he crucified jesus, then it had to be between these dates and the earliest christ could have begun teaching is 23AD.

if jesus started teaching sometime between 23 and 33 AD, how could he have been the great teacher referred to in the DSS?

That's a good question and one I am able to answer. How could so young a man have such an effect on the people?

First of all, it should be said that I don't see any comparable teacher specifically named in the DSS. However, that's of little consequence to the fact that his sermons delivered similar messages; healing of both the spiritual and physical body as well as a concentration on the Messianic Rule.

He certainly fits the Essene mold.

Going to the facts with regard to 'Essene Community Rules' as presented in the DSS and further interpretation by Geza Vermes;

From The Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes (pg 41)

And all those who have entered the Covenant, granted to all Israel for ever, shall make their children who have reached the age of enrolment, swear with the oath of the Covenant. (CD xv, 5-6)

The Messianic Rule is more discursive. There, enrolment into the sect is represented as the climax of a childhood and youth spent in study. Teaching of the Bible and in the 'precepts of the Covenant' began long before the age of ten, at which age a boy embarked on a further ten years of instruction in the statutes.. it was not until after all this that he was finally ready.

From [his] youth they shall instruct him in the Book of Meditation and shall teach him, according to his age, the precepts of the Covenant. They [shall be edu]cated in the statutes for ten years... At the age of twenty years [he shall be] enrolled, that he may enter upon his alotted duties in the midst of his family (and) be joined to the holy congregation. (1QSa1,6-9)

As you can see, the education of children born to parents involved in the Essene communities is quite advanced. A man of more than 20 years, (as Jesus would have been), coupled with an assumed great intelligence and a charming charisma, could easily have been the teacher who enthralled the masses.

As a side note, it should be also stated here that with the Messianic Essenes, to which Christ was a possible sectary, the process of education was also avaiable to select women. Considering Mary and Joseph as well as Mary Magdalene, this is an interesting footnote which could have far reaching implications considering the NT and the Catholic reverence for both Mary's.



[edit on 24/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 06:12 PM
Setting the stage for a historical Jesus

A short history of the turmoil in Judaea and the why the Essenes finally retreated to the wilderness at Qumran

Uncertain Beginnings of the Essene Sects

from The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English by Geza Vermes (pg 58)

More significant as a cronological pointer is the dating, in the Damascus Document, of the sect's beginnings to 'The Age of Wrath', 390 years after the the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. This should bring us to 196 BCE but, as is well known, Jewish historians are not very reliable in their time-reckoning for the post-exilic era.

Damascus Document

The Damascus Document has been developed under several different names: the Zadokite Fragments, Damascus Covenant or Damascus Document. In 1896, Solomon Schechter, a Jewish scholar, discovered the document in the Geniza of the Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo where it was subsequently designated Cairo Damascus (CD) (VanderKam 56). Schechter published CD under the title Solomon Fragments of a Zadokite Work (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910). The title was influenced by the frequent mention of the "sons of Zadok" within the document (Wise 49). In 1947, the Community Rule (1QS) manuscript was discovered in cave one at Qumran. Scholars noticed a similarity between it and CD and much discussion was generated about its link to the Qumran community. At Qumran, Cave six proved to validate this hypothesis when an actual fragment of CD was found. Altogether there were eleven fragments, nine in cave four, one in cave five and one in cave six. The official edition of the cave four copies is Joseph M. Baumgarten, et al, Qumran Cave 4 XIII: The Damascus Document (4Q266-273) (DJD 18; Oxford: Clarendon, 1996). A critical edition was published as James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations, vol. 2, Damascus Document, War Scroll, and Related Documents (Wesminster John Knox, 1995).

from The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English cont. (pg 50 - 53)

Ptolomaic Greek Occupation

At the beginning of the second century BCE, Palestine Jewry passed through a state of crisis. Alexander the Great had conquered the Holy Land in 332 BCE and, after early uncertainties which followed his death, it became part of the empire of the Greeks in Egypt, know as the Ptolomies. During the third century, the Ptolomies avoided, as much as possible,interfering with the internal life of the Jewish nation and, while taxes were required to be paid, it remained under the rule of the High Priest and his council.


In other words, Greeks, Macedonians and Hellenized Phoeniceans took up permanent residence on Palestinian soil and the further spread of Greek civilization and culture was merely a matter of time.

With the conquest of the Holy Land by the Seleucids, or Syrian greeks, in 200 BCE, the first signs appeared of Jews succumbing to a foreign cultural influence. In the apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus, dated to the beginning of the second century BCE, its author, Jesus ben Sira, a sage from jerusalem, rages against those 'ungodly men' who have forsaken the Law of the Most High God. (xli,8). but the real trouble started when Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BCE) officially promoted a Hellenizing programme in Judaea that was embraced with eagerness by the Jewish elite. The leader of the modernistic faction was the brother of the High Priest Onias III. Known as Jesus among his compatriots, he adopted the Greek name of Jason, and set about transforming Jerusalem into a Hellenistic city...


But when in 167 he actually prohibited the practice of judaism under pain of death and re-dedicated the Jerusalem Sanctuary to Olympian Zeus, the 'abomination of desolation', the opponents of the Hellenizers finally rose up in violent resistance.


Led by Judas Maccabaeu and, after his death, by his brothers Jonathon and Simon, the fierce defenders of Judaism were able not only to restore Jewish worship in Jerusalem, but against all expectations even managed to eject the ruling Seleucids and to liberate Judaea.


Lastly, a major political change came about when Jonathon Maccabaeus, himself a priest but not a Zadokite, accepted in 153-152 BCE pontifical office from Alexander Balas, a usurper of the Seleucid throne.


For the conservatives this was an illegal seizure of power. But they were even more scandalized by the appointment, in 140BCE, following Jonathon's execution in 143-142 by the Syrian general Tryphon, of Simon Maccabee as High Priest and hereditary leader of the people by means of a decree passed by the Jewish national assembly.

From then on, until Pompey's transformation of the independant Jewish state into a Roman province in 63BCE, was ruled by a new dynasty of High Priests, later Priest-Kings, known as the Hasmonaeans after the grandfather of the Maccabees...


After Pompey's seizure of Jerusalem, the Asmonaean high priesthood continued for another 3 decades, but the political power formerly belonging to them passed to the Judaized Idumaean, Herod the Great, when he was promoted to the throne of Jerusalem by Rome in 37BCE. It is the last year or two of his reign - he died in 4 BCE - that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke date the birth of Jesus of Nazareth (Matth.ii,I;Lk. i,5)

Around 150 years prior to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Teacher of Righteousness gathered his followers to him and went into exile. They set up an encampment in one of the hottest, dryest, most inhospitable places you can imagine - The Wildeness of Judaea which, even today, is an empty place on the western shore of the Dead Sea near Jerico. There, they dutifully maintained strict adherance to the Torah while establishing a central community of celibate priests within a circle of small communities which held the families of the faithful.

- Jesus Chrst was crucified around 30 CE

- The Romans destroyed the Qumran communities around the middle of the first war against Rome (68CE)

- Finally, with the Fall of Masada in 73/74CE, the destruction of the Essenes was complete.

(with the exeption, possibly of James, brother of Jesus or James the Lesser, escaping towards the west, possibly ending up as far away as in Ireland with a company of survivorsi. But THAT is another topic for Conspiracies in Religion)

[edit on 24/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 08:56 PM
I happen to agree. So much has been suppressed with regards to the truth of the real man Jesus, where he lived in his lost years, his time in Qumron, Egypt, and the far East. Nobody claimed to witness his fdssurection, ascending in to the heavens with Moses and Elijah on both sides. But the Bible is the word of God written with God's fingers. hmmm...I am glad more information is being brought forth by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The idea that Jesus never existed is as incredulous as saying the holocaust never existed as well. Not to many man had time and history start based on a calculation of a man's birth before. Savior or not he had to be a very powerful thinker to influence the face of historical chain of events after his so-called death and ressurection.

posted on Mar, 24 2008 @ 09:45 PM
reply to post by Yechidah

Thank you for the valuable information you have provided throughout this thread.

It's difficult to work with dry material such as Vermes gives, but yet which so strongly supports the scant information we have so far been able to glean from Barrie Wilson's newspaper link and the interview of which I have a hardcopy. The book, though, has been ordered and will soon be in my hands.

Your input, so far, is much appreciated. Please don't stop.

There are some other authors which I plan on quoting, such Karen Armstrong and Tom Harpur as the thread attempts to reveal who Paul was and how much his influence has diverted Christianity from its original intent.

No doubt, at some point, we will have to include that strange character of Irish lore, Robert Graves, although the task scares me a bit. I've a copy of his Cladius the God and The White Goddess which lay on my coffee table promising veiled hints swimming in the archaic prose of the Old Celtic Church.

I'm almost afraid to look beyond Graves to the sheer volume of arcane material that I know is 'out there'.

This story is far from being built yet and, no doubt, much will be added in the months to come.

I'm going to next attempt a short '1 post' synopsis of the problems which plagued the researchers between 1946, when the scrolls were first discovered and on to the turmoil that kept this information from the public eye until well into the 90's. It IS part of the conspiracy slant, no matter how much the scholarly types dismiss the notion.

The DSS find was too important to those who pursue theology, the translations too upsetting to the 'established' clergy and the thirst for Truth of a public kept removed from drinking those bittersweet wines much too tragic.

[edit on 25/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 25 2008 @ 01:35 PM
I'm happy to report that, about mid-morning today, I received a call from my book-seller that Barrie Wilson's publication, How Jesus Became Christian had arrived. The book now sits in my study with the Acknowledgements, Prologue and opening chapter read. The Publisher in Canada is Random House and in the USA, it is St. Martin's Press.

Initial reactions:


- The book is purposely written for the layman, in terminology anyone, with even a basic grasp of the English language, can understand.
- The author lays out his purpose in writing this book clearly within the opening chapter.
- The author has the required credentials afforded to one who has spent decades studying the pertinent material, resulting in a book astute readers may accept as 'learned'.


There can be no direct quotes from this book as per copyrights specified within the cover, and, because paraphrasing is a devious sport at best, we are left to our own devices as to qualifying the information found within its pages.

This is not an insurmountable problem, though, since little of any value at all is unavailable through the power of Google. I will read Wilson's arguments, find the relevant material supporting (or not) those arguments and walk a parallel course, thus avoiding the pitfalls of Copyright Law.


As I look back on this thread at what has already been gleaned from various internet sites and from other book sources, I see that we are well on the way to establishing a concurrent study which is, and will remain, the sole property of this website alone.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:01 AM
The Jesus Movement in the first century AD needs further study in relation to this thread. Here we are confronted with a large group of people dedicated to a 'Historical Jesus'. A Jesus who taught, healed, rebelled against the elite and died on the cross for it.

A REAL Jesus, perhaps allied with the Essenes, who todays Christians would prefer to keep hidden away.

Although many Christians would like the information in the scrolls to be confined to the world of academia, it will increasingly impact traditional Christianity. Comparatively little was known about the Essenes, although ancient historians like Josephus and Philo wrote about them and were impressed by their lifestyle and their teachings. But until this century, it was assumed they were a monolithic group of believers, who lived in the Judean wilderness.

There were Essenes who lived a monk-like existence, isolated at Qumran, but there were also those who lived in family units in and around Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine. Just as the term "Christianity" encompasses a variety of beliefs and lifestyles, so does Essenism. And as the information contained in the scrolls is more widely disseminated, it becomes apparent that along with the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Essenes were an important religious influence in the time of Jesus

Paul's epiphany and the controversy which the deification of the historical Jesus caused;

Kerygmatic Sources of the Jesus Movement

After Jesus is crucified, there occurs a most unexpected eschatological experience in which certain men and women close to Jesus see evidence of him raised from the dead. It is beyond biblical scholarship to discuss the subjectivity or objectivity of the resurrection of Christ. Despite what some apologists claim, the resurrection narrative of Christ cannot be looked at historically; the Risen Christ is a theological question and a serious student of the Bible realizes that it cannot be seen as an event of history. When we speak of the resurrection, we are not speaking of history, rather, we are speaking of kerygma. This is important to keep in mind. What we can do is to look at how early Christians reacted to the kerygma of the first Easter in order to infer something about the belief in the resurrection of Christ. Our earliest written source is Paul who himself received the resurrection account from James and Peter in Jerusalem shortly after his own conversion. Paul taught the new Christains at Corinth (on the Peloponnese of the Greek mainland) for about a year and a half between 50-52 CE. After his stay at Corinth, Paul moved on to Ephesus for three years to preach there. While he was gone at Ephesus, the community at Corinth began interpreting Christian doctrine differently from Paul and these conflicts of doctrine were reported to him by concerned members of the Corinthian community (1 Cor. 1:11; 7:1; 16:15-18).

In chapter 15, Paul seeks to correct one of their misinterpretations regarding the resurrection in that the Corinthians denied the tenet of bodily resurrection (15:12). He tells them that they must believe in Jesus' resurrection, for, without it their faith is in vain (15:13-14). At this point we must distinguish a fundamental different between Hellenistic Greek thought, represented by those at Corinth, and Jewish apocalyptic thought, represented by Paul. For Paul (as for any Jew) the body is made in the image of God and ought to be held in the highest regard. The spirit or "soul" of every human (nephesh) was thought of as an essential component of the body in order to be a whole, living being. 11 This is why Paul's kerygma places an emphasis on the bodily resurrection of Christ; for Paul, Jesus' resurrection is evidence of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and God's rule on earth. To the Greeks at Corinth, however, the body (soma) was regarded as a "tomb" (sema) that imprisoned the soul (the rational mind or psyche). Since Pythagoras, the Greeks had developed a philosophy whereby the soul was thought to be immortal and existed after the death of the corporeal body. Much of the Orphic and Dionysian mysteries entailed purifying the soul in order to escape the prison of the body and ascend to the higher spheres (or heavens).

Thus, unlike Paul, the Greeks saw "flesh" and "spirit" as dichotomous existences where the body is clearly inferior to the spirit. Naturally, certain Christians at Corinth had interpreted Paul's preaching of the resurrection of Jesus as a spiritual resurrection of the soul, and not a bodily resurrection of the flesh. For them, Jesus' resurrection fit perfectly into their world-view which was informed by the centuries-old Orphic doctrines whereby the soul finds final release from the body at death. But Paul's first letter to the Church at Corinth corrects them on this misinterpretation. Paul reminds them that Christ "was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the Scriptures" (15:2-5). The first gospel account reaffirms this Jewish understanding of bodily resurrection by ending with the empty tomb as a powerful testimony of Christ's resurrection (Mk. 16:1-8). 12 Paul writes to the Romans that "the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead . . . will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you" (Rom. 8:10-12). The Greeks were horrified of such notions as a literal resurrection of the corpse as Paul taught in the Acts of the Apostles, so that when Paul teaches that those who repent will be bodily raised from the dead, some mock him (17:32). For Greeks and Christians then

This Greek hope [immortality after death] and Christian hope are diametrically opposed, for the former is based on the liberation of the body, while the latter has the resurrection as its foundation. . . . On this account the teaching of St. Paul was received coldly." 13

The debate between Jewish-Christians and Greek-Christians will resolve itself with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The community at Jerusalem that Jesus left to his brother James was largely destroyed silencing that trajectory which was closest to Jesus. After Jerusalem's destruction, the trajectories in the Diaspora (Greece and Egypt) will come to dominate mainstream Christianity. After Paul's death (perhaps during Nero's purges in 60 CE) and with the Jerusalem trajectory gone, Christianity will come to be dominated by the Greek philosophy and see the body as a tomb which imprisons the soul. Death is a release which frees the soul from the body so that the pure may rise to heaven to be with God.

More to come, including the strangely slow release of the information contained in the Dead sea Scrolls.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 02:59 PM
Further on the Jesus Movement

The Land of Eire and the Ancient Celtic Church

Saint Joseph of Arimathea and the establishment of Christianity after a journey to Ireland in the first century AD is a tantalizing clue as to the geographical extent to which the followers of the historical Jesus went to spread his word. The circumstances involving this wealthy but timid man are worthy for study.

Landing on the Irish shores at a place named ever thereafter as 'Weary All Hill', Joseph is said to have established the Church of Saint Mary at nearby Glastonbury where land was purchased by him .

It seems that our early British Church was founded by St. Joseph of Arimathea, that then St. Simon Zelotes the Apostle came, and was martyred, and then St. Paul sent Aristobulus, said to be the brother of St. Barnabas – and thought by some to be of the family of Herod – to be our first Bishop, and that he, too, was martyred. And I think that it is indisputable that St. Paul himself came and taught in Britain; and it is stated, but on less authority, that St. Peter came.

A couple of sites backing the legend up...

West Country legend has it that Joseph sailed around Land's End and headed for what was to eventually become Glastonbury in Somerset. Here his boat ran ashore and, together with his followers, he climbed a nearby hill to survey the surrounding land. Having brought with him a staff grown from Christ's Holy Crown of Thorns, he thrust it into the ground and announced that he and his twelve companions were "Weary All". The thorn staff immediately took miraculous root, and it can be seen there still on Wearyall Hill.

Joseph met with the local ruler and soon secured himself twelve hides of land at Glastonbury on which to build the first monastery in Britain. From here he became Britain's evangelist. So it is not surprising that the monarchies of that country wished to establish themselves as St. Joseph's descendants: especially considering the more pagan ancestors already claimed in their pedigrees. By marrying Joseph's daughter to a pre-Christian deity, the royal genealogists were able to show that Christianity had been victorious over the old pagan ways. But why specifically choose Beli Mawr as Anna's husband?

Joseph of Arimathea was a wealthy disciple of Jesus, who, according to the book of Matthew 27:57-60, asked Pontius Pilate for permission to take Jesus' dead body in order to prepare it for burial. He also provided the tomb where the crucified Lord was laid until his Resurrection. Joseph is mentioned in a few times in parallel passages in Mark, Luke and John, but nothing further is heard about his later activities.
Apocryphal legend, however, supplies us with the rest of his story by claiming that Joseph accompanied the Apostle Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene & others on a preaching mission to Gaul. Lazarus & Mary stayed in Marseilles, while the others travelled north. At the English Channel, St.Philip sent Joseph, with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire: the Island of Britain. The year AD 63 is commonly given for this "event", with AD 37 sometimes being put forth as an alternative.

The Essene connection (again)

The Essene-Culdee connection is confirmed by the researches of the 19th century antiquary, Godfrey Higgins, who in his erudite work The Celtic Druids (1829) states: “The result of all the inquiries which I have made into the history of the Culdees is, that they were the last remains of the Druids, who had been converted to Christianity, before the Roman Church got any footing in Britain. They were Pythagorean Druidical monks, probably Essenes, and this accounts for their easily embracing Christianity: for the Essenes were as nearly Christians as possible [5]

The Early Monarchies;

Early Welsh Genealogies show us that most of the Early British Monarchies claimed descent in one way or another from Beli Mawr (the Great) who can be identified with the Celtic God, Belenos. However, in his mortal form, Beli was said to have been the husband of Anna, the daughter of St. Joseph of Arimathea.

At first sight, this claim may seem quite extraordinary. St. Joseph was the man who had taken Christ's body down from the cross and given up his own tomb for Christ's last resting-place. Apocryphal legend tells us that Joseph of Arimathea was the Virgin Mary's paternal uncle. After the resurrection, he left Palestine with Saints Philip, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene & others, and sailed through the Mediterranean to Southern France. Lazarus & Mary stayed in Marseilles, while the others travelled north. At the English Channel, St.Philip sent Joseph, with twelve disciples, to establish Christianity in the most far-flung corner of the Roman Empire.

And a book I would like to read which still may be available;

Reprinted by popular demand, this book tells the story of St Joseph of Arimathea and the legend of his journey to Britain as a metal merchant seeking tin.

Tradition states that on this journey he was accompanied by none other than Jesus, who at this stage was a young boy. This title reveals the events of St Joseph's time at Glastonbury, and explores the legend behind this intriguing story.

All this prior to St Patrick and the 'ridding of the snakes'.
Just WHO were those 'snakes'? Could it have been the descendants of St Joseph and those Druids who had converted to the true Christianity before the Romans decided to slaughter them?

The rabbit hole is not only getting deeper, but it is also becoming wider and much lighter down there.


Edit to add link

[edit on 26/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 05:43 PM
yikes!! your going down a woolly path. it might be best to go back to that last crossroads.

to start with, glastonbury's in england, not ireland. more importantly, the gastonbury myths are a middle-ages invention to draw pilgrims. link

as for who brought christianity to the british isles and when, it's a rabbit hole, but if you search celtic christianity in wiki you'll have a good starting point for research.

you'll see that there wasn't a whole lot of roman orthodoxy until later, around the ninth or tenth century, hundreds of years after patrick. and there probably never were any snakes in ireland either, but thats a whole other ball game.

i think your looking in the wrong place if you want to discover pauls role in the early church.

[edit on 26-3-2008 by pieman]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 06:42 PM

Originally posted by pieman
yikes!! your going down a woolly path. it might be best to go back to that last crossroads.

Of that, there is no doubt... a wooly path indeed, full of myth and legend. That Joseph went to the British Isles is not backed up by anything concrete is certain.

to start with, glastonbury's in england, not ireland. more importantly, the gastonbury myths are a middle-ages invention to draw pilgrims. link

Thank you for pointing that out!

True. My mistake to say it was Ireland where he is speculated to have landed. It's said he landed in Britain at a place named 'Weary All Hill' near Glastonbury. I love myths, though, even if they can't be substanciated by the historical record. I look at them as 'ethereal clues', to be noted but not ignored.

It was a far-fetched side-track that I took and I have little to go on. (but nevertheless worth a look at, imo)

as for who brought christianity to the british isles and when, it's a rabbit hole, but if you search celtic christianity in wiki you'll have a good starting point for research.

There's this notion I have of it all (though I can't prove it), that there is a connection to the fabled story of Joseph of Arimathea coming to Britain, establishing a connection to the Druids, who were, over the centuries, driven into Ireland by the Romans and maintaining their faith by starting the Celtic Church which, though eventually weakened and subservient to Rome after some grand battles, did still manage to keep a bit alive. Then there's the Galbraiths and their travels to Scotland, Rosslyn Chapel and the entire Templar Century that came out of it. There's a trail there, but it's overgrown with wild grape vines.

you'll see that there wasn't a whole lot of roman orthodoxy until later, around the ninth or tenth century, hundreds of years after patrick. and there probably never were any snakes in ireland either, but thats a whole other ball game.

More likely it was the Mithraic cult the Roman soldiers brought to the British isles first.

i think your looking in the wrong place if you want to discover pauls role in the early church.

Other than the fact that the disciples were on the run from Paul, driving them ever westwards into Egypt and beyond. The notion of Joseph getting so far afield from Israel is still tantalizing, wouldn't you agree? Then there's the Coptic Church and its roots in Alexandria as well as the Ebionites.

Thanks for setting me straight on the likely location, though, lest this thread become a joke. Glastonbury is a very long way from Ireland. One note, though... the trail one walks to get up to the top of Glastonbury Hill is labyrinthine. The same labyrinth which is of Greek legend. It's well known that the Middle East had for centuries been Hellenized, so the Greek influence must have been powerful to those who followed the Jesus Movement, including Joseph of Arimathea.

The theory requires that there should once have been seven paths going completely round the Tor, all running along continuous terraces, with vertical connections between them. Weathering, trampling, and shiftings of soil and strata have made parts of this hypothetical scheme a matter of conjecture. Yet terraces can indeed be distinguished at seven different levels, and while they are not now continuous, they are more nearly so than a glance might suggest. Effects of light and shadow, variations at ground level, make it difficult to take in the whole system at any one time or from any one angle. Sometimes a path is hard to recognise when one is on it, yet easily visible from a distance. Sometimes a terrace is almost indiscernible from a distance, yet well defined when looked at from directly above or below.

Compared to;

Ariadne, fell in love with the brave youth from Athens, and helped him escape. She devised a plan and gave Theseus a ball of yarn (mitos) so he could find his way through the Labyrinth and kill the monster Minotaur.


I've even done a nice painting of the labyrinth


Edit to add painting

[edit on 26/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 09:43 PM
i'm enjoying this thread and you've gotten me thinking masqua, i hope you don't mind me picking holes where i see them and, now i'm thinking, i hope you won't mind me adding my thoughts.

2000 years ago the roman empire stretched from britan to asia minor, so there were probably people from the area around isreal in britan. there was also a lot of cultural exchange and trade, so the idea of joesph going to glastonbury is not beyond the realm of possibility. the thing is, if he did arrive at glastonbury as a tin trader with the young jesus in toe it wouldn't have been remarkable, it wouldn't have been noteworthy. no-one would have had any reason to care. nobody would have noticed. then the first mention heard of it is when some monks trying to drum up business, and it was business, for their abbey, spread the word about that he had been there a few hundred years earlier. logically it doesn't stand up, for me at least.

i've read a lot and watched a lot of stuff on the druids and celts in ireland and about early celtic christianity and there is a trail, i think. basically, pauls model for bringing christianity to a new society, like the gentile romans, was to absorb aspects of the pre-exsistant belief systems into the message he presented. to the ancient britons, by that i mean the people of the british isles as well as parts of western europe, certain things in nature were sacred such as wells and mountains and grottoes. in western europe, and ireland especially, there are a profusion of holy wells and springs, mountains with religious significance and grottoes. there was also a strongly feminine aspect to the belief system in place and so the feminine in catholicism is emphasized and at least one saint that i know of being nothing more than a beatified pre-existant goddess.

being a culture that was converted by the roman church early but not strongly influenced by roman culture itself we have a good case study, in the celtic church, of the methords used to preach the gospel by paul and his followers and in that we have a system by which it might be possible to extrapolate where pauline influence is strongest and perhaps get a picture of what parts of christianity are actually pauline and what is properly christian.

here are some links if your interested in my line of thought and to give you an idea of what i mean.
st. brigid
irish holy wells
the big momma, lourdes
croagh patrick

as far as the druids are concerned, we have a good understanding of their belief systems and practice from preserved mythology, archeology and historical reference and it's completely at odds to christianity on any number of levels. it would be hard to find common ground in my opinion.

it might also be worth remembering, in relation to the influence of hellenistic thought, that the brittish isles would have been easily accessible to the sea-faring greeks, i remember finding a referance in an irish legend to a garden in the east that contained a tree that grew golden apples that could grant imortality, and a greek legend with a garden to the west with the same tree, either the tree really existed or it's a good example of cross referance. i'll have to go through my books to look it up to find more details though.

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:50 PM

Originally posted by pieman
i hope you don't mind me picking holes where i see them and, now i'm thinking, i hope you won't mind me adding my thoughts.

Not in the least.

In fact, the opposite is true since the information available is so overwhelming. I'm literally swimming in books right now (pun intended). The fact that you are adding your comments is more than welcome and I'll be looking into whatever you add with great interest.

Trying to get a handle on something as hoary with age as this is can be a little daunting.

Here's a layman's synopsis so far;

Before the Greeks conquered Jerusalem , the people there had formed a religion which was based on the Law of Moses. After Alexander took over, a gradual erosion from different religions began to creep in over a span of 150 years.

People in power began to put up with more and more erosion of that initial religion, but the folks in the surrounding countryside still kept faithful to the old religion and ignored the changes the Greeks and the Jewish elite were making in the cities.

Some of these folk in the countryside began to be organized and looked at the elite in Jerusalem, as well as the Greeks, with dismay. This started the Essenes in various forms around 150 BC and the community of Qumran was built. These sectaries (as well as others in other places) started copying down everything they knew of the law of Moses just in case, because they wanted to preserve what was being systematically wiped out in Jerusalem. It got really bad at one point, if you read 2 Maccabee.

Time goes by and then the Romans took over and changed everything around again to their own kind of religion. About the same time a man was born who would (maybe) join the Essenes in the wilderness as a child and learn the Mysteries and the Law of Moses (Torah). By the time he was twenty, he was ready to go out and teach the people what he had learnt.

This man, Jesus, was exceptionally wise and the people flocked to hear his words. He was a prophet and a healer of great power and the ordinairy people loved him.

As he began to get more and more famous, he turned his eyes on Jerusalem and asked his followers to enter the city to try to return it to the original religion, but the Romans and the elite Jewry put him to death instead.

The followers of Jesus left the area completely, for fear of their lives.

Paul, who used to enjoy killing these followers for the Romans has a great idea... instead of killing the followers of Jesus, he would change Jesus into a God by giving him the power over death and have his body come back to life. It doesn't go over immediately, but the idea sticks and it 'pulls the teeth' of those followers of Jesus who are in the desert. Some, like Mark, join in a little, others, like Luke, join in a lot and some, like Matthew, James and Joseph, don't buy a word of it and disperse away from the Middle East, spreading the message that Jesus taught as far afield as they could.

The Essenes that remained in the Middle East are systematically killed off until the dramatic massacre at Masada. The elites in Jerusalem keep their mouths shut and allow the Romans to do as they wish, which saves their necks. But this is only temporary, because then Paul or somebody else blames the Elite Jews for killing Jesus. Bad for the Jews all around and, for the most part, they get scattered too.

Paul's message, 300 years later, becomes the Holy Roman Church and the followers of the historical Jesus fade into the shadows of distant lamds, to be rooted out over the centuries, tortured and murdered, until there is almost nothing left of them but myths and legends. What's left is a Christian religion formed out of political necessity (Constantine) which then goes on to become one of the worlds greatest religions EVER.

But, in 1946, a millenium and a half afterwards, the scrolls are found in the Qumran caves and the light clicks back on.

I know it's a very crude synopsis, but I think it gets the gist of the story.

The real point here, is to look at the scrolls and those little vestiges of the original Jesus movement and compare them. Assuming that Jesus preached the Essene message, which is in the scrolls, we should be able to find the major differences in the Pauline message, figure out why those differences are there and then figure out how it benefitted the Romans.

One thing for sure, Paul was no idiot... he was a genius. But, if the true message of Jesus was changed, then, what, exactly, is Christianity based on? Did Christ REALLY physically rise from the dead or was it his soul that lived on?

Another avenue to research is the Ebionites. Who were they and why did they feel Paul was an apostate?

[edit on 26/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:53 PM
reply to post by masqua

ARG! There is NO New Testament teaching in the Dead Sea Scrolls! It is all pre-Jesus stuff!


If you know an early Christian teaching in the Scrolls, cite it!

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:05 AM
Jesus was alive when those scrolls were still being written, but they were hidden AFTER he was killed.

The Scrolls are the Old Testament, the Law of Moses and the basis of the Torah. The New Testament was compiled later.

Don't forget that Jesus was a Jew.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:07 AM
reply to post by masqua

I know that. Are you implying that Jesus was purely a teacher of Judaism?

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:09 AM
reply to post by mageofzhalfir

He was a teacher of the Law of Moses.

The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise roughly 850 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the Wadi Qumran, near the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. The texts are of great significance, as they are practically the only remaining Biblical documents dating from before A.D. 100.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:11 AM
reply to post by pieman

Found this little tidbit;

It was long fondly imagined by Protestant and especially by Presbyterian writers that the Culdees had preserved Celtic Christianity, free from supposed Roman corruptions, in one remote corner of western Europe. This view was enshrined in Thomas Campbell’s Reullura:

Peace to their shades. The pure Culdees
Were Albyn’s earliest priests of God,
Ere yet an island of her seas
By foot of Saxon monk was trod.


posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:16 AM
I'm still unclear what actual evidence you have that this theory would be correct, especially in light of the fact that Jesus' public ministry doesn't square well with the fact that the Essenes were hermits. It's a fascinating theory, but I would like to see some evidence to support it.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 12:35 AM
They were exiles, not individual hermits. Read about Masada and you'll find that they were a large group, well organized and intelligent.


The Irish snakes;

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.

The suggestion that Saint Patrick went a bit cuckoo is down to earth and very realistic. After all, Christianising a pagan community is a burden (the phrase hell of a job would be suitable yet inappropriate) and escaping the stressful mission by spending several weeks without food or company exposed to the elements on a barren hilltop, might have caused undesirable side effects. We really have to consider the, rarely proclaimed and unpopular, option that hallucinations were the worst enemies of Saint Patrick on the Croagh Patrick.
The other, and widely accepted, reading is a metaphorical approach by which Saint Patrick didn't actually chased away black birds nor snakes, but instead he defeated whatever they represented. Unfortunately the storytellers and subsequently the scribes left us in the dark with an implicit metaphor as a result of which no modern man really knows what they implied, but broadly speaking there are two interpretations, both of which can be traced back to vanquishing dark powers of the ruling pagan religion.

Snakes figure prominently in many non-Christian religions and a pagan, to the early Holy Roman Church, is anyone who isn't a Catholic.

A caduceus (/kəˈduːsiəs/, -ʃəs, -ˈdjuː-; kerykeion in Greek) or Wand of Hermes is a typically depicted short herald's staff entwined by two snakes in the form of a double helix. In addition this staff is often winged. It was an ancient astrological symbol of commerce and is often depicted being carried in the left hand of Greek god Hermes, also known in Ancient Egypt as Thoth, the messenger and herald of the gods, conductor of the dead and protector of merchants and thieves. The caduceus is sometimes inaccurately used as a symbol for medicine, especially in North America, but the traditional medical symbol is the rod of Asclepius with only a single snake and no wings.

The 'snakes' of Ireland, which never existed, could be representations of a Greek influence. Maybe those Druids had some connection with the Ptolomaics after all.

[edit on 27/3/08 by masqua]

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by masqua

I believe you need to do more research.

"The accounts by Josephus and Philo show that the Essenes (Philo: Essaioi) led a strictly celibate but communal life — often compared by scholars to later Christian monastic living"

Jesus wasn't even close to living like a monk.

Furthermore, Masada has nothing to do with the Essenes.

"According to Josephus, a first-century Jewish Roman historian, Herod the Great fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War against the Roman Empire, a group of Judaic extremist rebels called the Sicarii took Masada from the Roman garrison stationed there."

The Sicarii lifestyle was diametrically opposed to that of the Essenes.

posted on Mar, 27 2008 @ 05:22 AM
reply to post by mageofzhalfir

Wiki can be fun when playing with 2,000 year old ideas and groups of rebels;

Since the 19th century attempts have been made to connect early Christianity and Pythagoreanism with the Essenes: It was suggested that Jesus of Nazareth was an Essene, and that Christianity evolved from this sect of Judaism, with which it shared many ideas and symbols.
According to Martin A. Larson, the now misunderstood Essenes were Jewish Pythagoreans who lived as monks. As vegetarian celibates in self-reliant communities who shunned marriage and family, they preached a coming war with the Sons of Darkness. As the Sons of Light, this reflected a separate influence from Zoroastrianism via their parent ideology of Pythagoreanism. According to Larson, both the Essenes and Pythagoreans resembled thiasoi, or cult units of the Orphic mysteries. John the Baptist is widely regarded to be a prime example of an Essene who had left the communal life (see Ant. 18.116-119), and it is thought they aspired to emulate their own founding Teacher of Righteousness who was crucified. However, J.B. Lightfoot's essay (On Some Points Connected with the Essenes) argues that attempts to find the roots of Essenism in Pythagoreanism and the roots of Christianity in Essenism are flawed. Authors such as Robert Eisenman present differing views that support the Essene/Early Christian connection.

The word sicarii is a Latin word meaning killers

Sicarii (Latin plural of Sicarius 'dagger-' or later contract- killer) is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, (probably) to an extremist splinter group[1] to the Jewish Zealots, (or insurgents) who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea:

Groups of zealots lived all over Palestine and were variously called Zadokites, Zealots, Sicarii, Essenes and Nazorenes. This word comes from "Nozrei ha-Brit": "keepers of the Covenant" which gave "Nozrim": a sect later known as Christians. Jesus was a Nazorene; he did not come from Nazareth, which did not exist at the time. The zealots were militant revolutionaries organising resistance to the Romans and their puppets.

You've proved nothing at all, but thanks for making me look.

[edit on 27/3/08 by masqua]

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