Jesus Legend Sources--Wikipedia

Home | Intro to the Jesus legend articles | In the Gospels Jesus Was a Mortal--jk | Mark Describes Jesus' Gay Affair | SOURCE FOR JESUS LEGEND | SKEPTICISM ON HISTORICAL CHRIST by Catholic theologian | Published Commentary on the Previous Article | Fictional Christ--McKinsey | New Testament Studies, Professor Wells | EARLIEST CHRISTIANITY--Prof. Wells | Who Was Jesus--Prof. G. A. Wells | NO HISTORICAL JESUS, response to critic by Prof. Wells | Old Testament Messiah Prophecies and the Gospels | Balanced New Testament Analysis | THE HISTORICAL REFERENCES TO JESUS; A Scholarly Analysis | Jesus Legend Sources--Wikipedia | TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE NEW TESTAMENT | TEXTUAL PROBLEMS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT | THE HISTORICAL REFERENCES TO JESUS | Did Jesus Exist?--Walker | The Jesus Puzzle--Doherty | The Jesus Puzzle--Doherty, continued | NASTY JESUS & STUPID ADVISE | New Testament, Sources, Transmission, Variations, & Modifications | CONTRADICTIONS: New & Old Testaments | BIBLE CANON: History & Analysis Thereof | End of the World is soon, Bible Tells US--quotes

To draw the best reasonable conclusions about the New Testament requires a familiarity with the religious think of that period extending at least 300 years in both before and after the time of Herod. For that purpose California Skeptics has published a library of period materials.  This forms a foundation upon to draw reasonable inferences.  To further aid that process various scholarly commentaries have been published.


The Teacher of Righteousness is a figure found in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, most prominently in the Damascus Document (CD). This document speaks briefly of the origins of the sect, 390 years after the exile and after 20 years of 'groping' blindly for the way "God... raised for them a Teacher of Righteousness to guide them in the way of His heart" (CD 1:9-11). The Teacher claimed to have the proper of understanding of the Torah, being the one through whom God would reveal to the community “the hidden things in which Israel had gone astray” (CD 3:12-15). He also claimed to be an inspired interpreter of the prophets, as the one “to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of his servants the prophets” (1QpHab 7:5).

Other documents from the Dead Sea Scrolls portray the Teacher as being in heavy conflict against a figure termed the "Wicked Priest", which has led to several proposals for their identity:

It should be noted that scholars date the Damascus Document and the Dead Sea scrolls to the decades around the year 100 BCE, vastly predating the emergence of Christianity. This date would exclude both Hillel and James the Just, or any figure of early Christianity.

According to tradition, Hillel was a religious leader born in Babylon and lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod and Augusts.  Legendary stories attached to him, such as the ones in which his life parallels that of Moses.  Possible some of his teaching on love and peace influenced the New Testament story.  The love of your Jewish brethren he considered as the kernel of the entire Jewish teachings.  One story tells of his rebuking a rabbi for dismissing a gentile who wished to become a Jew.  Hillel said:  What is hateful to you, do not do your fellow:  this is the whole law; the rest is the explanation; go and learn (Shab. 31a).  See Lev xix:18. 


While many hold the Teacher of Righteousness to be an Essene, Gregory L. Doubna, of the Danish Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Copenhagen Kenmark (at hold him to be the Macabee king who Hycanus II, oldest son of Alexander Jannaeus (reigned c 103-76 BCE).  The power of the priesthood in that period resided with the king.  Hyrcanus II ruled from 76-76 BCE.  He was deposed by his younger brother Aristobulus II, and fled into exile.  The rivalry and civil war between these brothers is told in Josephus.  The Qumran texts which speak of the Teacher of Righteousness allude to Hyrcanus II during this period.  Hyrcanus II returned to power from 63 to 40 BCE.



A reasonable assessment


What is to be made of the Jesus legend?  I hold that the most reasonable supposition is that Jesus, like Frankenstein, was pieced together from parts out of the common stories and expectations of that period.  This process has numerous examples, even for historical figures such as Alexander the Great. What collected about Jesus lacked consistency, since different people and groups with differing beliefs contributed to the legend, and Mark fashioned the first Gospel from those parts.   Thus we have a Jesus of love and a Jesus of hell fire and damnation.  Early sects many of them held that Jesus was the greatest of profits, while some held him to be the son of god, which given the heavenly pantheon of that day does not entail the son of the one and only god. 


The Gnostic held to such a pantheon.  Many if them held that Yahweh was one of the lower deities.  Yahweh disobeyed Sophia, for She knew that a mixture of spirit and earth would be a very imperfect product.


The Jews were looking for a Messiah to come, one greater than the Maccabees.  They would lead the Jews in a struggle, aided by Yahweh, in which the covenant would be fulfilled:  The Jews would conquer the world, there seed would be more numerous than sand at the beach.  Christians, who looked to the Old Testament for guidance, conveniently changed the meaning of messiah to fit their huffing about Jesus. 



On the Jewish responsibility for the crucifixion of Jesus


It was popular with the audience for to tell less than flattering tales about unpopular people and groups.  The obstinacy of the Jews as to conversion to Christianity, their doctrine that he who claims to be the son of God is to be stoned, and the stories that they circulated about Jesus are sufficient reasons for them to be cast in the role of Christ killers.  There were disturbances with the Christians in Rome sufficient for Jews to be barred from the city.

Reasoning back, they would have concluded that the high priest during the traditional date for Jesus’ death would bring him before Pilate.  Expanding upon the Gospel of Mark, Matthew and John wrote of two trials, one before the High Priest Caiaphas, the other before Pilate.  The motif in Mark as to the corruption in the house of their god (Jesus and the money changers) is extended to the role of the High Priest at the trial of Jesus.  He was not capable of recognizing the true god.  Being so set in the Gospels, most Christians assume the Jews guilty as recorded in the book.


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