posted on Dec, 25 2010 @ 10:44 AM
Merry Christmas, TFHMan.
I think Jesus was a disciple of John's. I don't think there was any schism. Jesus apparently continued to preach personal repentance as the best way
for Jews to align with God and achieve their temporal political objectives, like freedom from Roman rule or clientship.
Jesus' innovations were to take the Baptist's message to the belly of the beast, Jerusalem itself, and to add miracles to the sermons. John operated
from a fixed, remote base, and didn't do miracles. Jesus is also clearly depicted as training a cadre of apostles, where John seems to be a one-man
band. Except for Jesus' cadre, John would be another colorful anecdote of Josephus', and Jesus wouldn't even be a hypothesis.
So, I think Jesus took John's ministry up a notch, but I can't see that he changed the underlying message. Or, if he did, then it may have been
after John was killed, when Jesus would have been the senior living preacher of the movement.
Of course, we are far removed from these events, with little documentation to go on. Maybe Jesus didn't exist at all, and maybe John didn't either,
for that matter. Josephus wasn't a detail man, and everything we have of his we receive through interested Christian hands.
Maybe the two men existed, and there was a "private" parting of the ways that nobody knew about except them. (I am reminded of the "schism"
between Jung and Freud, public enough, but Jung always spoke well of Freud, even afer Freud died... what if all we knew about the split came from Jung
and his disciples?) And, as noted above, once John was dead, Jesus might have modified things however he pleased, and there would be no "schism."
A lot of things are possible. I do think that the best reason for a secular person to believe that Jesus actually existed is that John is attested by
apparently unaltered Josephus. If John existed, then what Jesus is said to have done, stripped to what was seen and heard, and stripped of the various
authors' religiously influenced interpretations, makes sense as "an obvious next step" and a plausible development in John's ministry.