Jesus (His Truth) 88. Jesus (His Truth) Jesus (His Truth)

The Forgotten Spiritual Teachings of Jesus


Apart from the words about Jesus of Galilee that appear in the "New Testament", there is virtually no evidence for Jesus' existence. References to Jesus, to a movement in response to him, and to people who were his followers only begin to appear years (and even decades) after the time when (as it is "reported" in the "New Testament") Jesus is commonly presumed to have lived - yet, there is no historical evidence for Jesus' existence that is contemporary with the time Jesus purportedly lived.

The books of the "New Testament" were written after Jesus' lifetime, even decades afterward. A large part of the "New Testament" is comprised of the letters of Paul of Tarsus - and, again, there is no evidence that Paul ever actually knew Jesus, nor does Paul claim in his writings to have actually seen Jesus when Jesus was alive. There is speculation (on the basis of scholarship) that Paul must have persecuted Jesus and Jesus' followers before he himself became a follower of Jesus, yet there is no historical evidence for it.

The writings of Paul refer to an already institutionalized tradition about Jesus, a tradition that is the basis for all of Paul's preaching. Paul was a church-maker, an institutionalizer who founded local churches. The work of Paul was based on his own teachings about how to "interpret" the presumed (or tradition bound) person of Jesus, rather than on the teachings and activities of Jesus himself. The fact of Jesus' physical existence had much less significance for Paul than Jesus' after-death status as a kind of "Heavenly" being.

The largest part of the content of the "New Testament" communicates about Paul and his institution-making. The Gospels (and chapter one of the "Book of Acts") are the only books of the "New Testament" with content that is presumed to be about Jesus himself. Nonetheless-insofar as the report of the Gospels is biographical at all - the Gospels, in fact, comprise an institutionalized biography. The Gospels tell about a Jesus who was "interpreted" by people after his death, often through stories contrived about him to coincide with suggestive prophecies within the "Old Testament", or the holy book of the Jews - stories claiming to present evidence of a likeness between Jesus and various Jewish "Messianic" characterizations that appear in the prophetic writings of the "Old Testament". In any case, the "likenesses" reported in the Gospels cannot be taken seriously as "eyewitness" observations of a presumably historical Jesus - they could only have been spoken about through a process of fabrication (or imaginative religious inventiveness).

All the stories in the Gospels about Jesus' early life before he began to preach are myths. They are a kind of literary creation for the purpose of establishing an institution, for the purpose of engendering public belief, for the purpose of presenting the character proposed to be Jesus of Galilee in the context of the Jewish prophetic tradition and the then present-day culture of Judaism, and intended to coincide with the expectations of the Jews (and the Gentiles) of the time.
Relative to nearly all of the life-stories about Jesus, the writers of the Gospels could not have been making use of information of a factual nature in order to "record" historical fact. Where, how, and from whom would they have acquired such information? And, indeed, if there were any fact-based source for those stories, why do the Gospels so markedly contradict one another relative to the details? In fact, the presence of remarkable contradictions between the separate accounts in the Gospels is one of the outstanding indicators that make it obvious that the Gospels are a form of literature, rather than of historical reporting.

The Gospels are a literature of religious propaganda - a form of religious fiction, made to convince people to join a particular institutional religious movement. However, the Gospels are not merely full of lies. Rather, the Gospels are, taken together, an outstanding example of a traditional kind of religious literature that is found in virtually all religious traditions.

While the Gospels are full of mostly fabricated details about Jesus' lifetime, there is, also, no evidence that the writers have actually quoted (rather than invented) what Jesus said when he was alive. Why is it, then, that, after his death, suddenly everybody "knew and remembered" all these things about him? For example, a private scene between Jesus and Pilate is described, and a dialogue is reported. Who would have known of the content of that conversation? No one - apart from Jesus and Pilate - could have heard these words. Pilate would not have reported it to anyone especially not any of Jesus' followers. Jesus would not have had time to tell anyone about it - for he was immediately taken away and, supposedly, crucified. While Jesus was suspended on the cross, he would not (under the circumstances) have reported his conversation with Pilate to the people nearby, so they could write it down for history. Nothing of the kind occurred.


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