Ways of Christ

Part 3, several topics, theology and the churches.

An additional correction of modern commercial "Jesus disclosure stories".

In the website text some one-sided theological theories have already been directly or indirectly corrected - with the help of new methods and insights. Here another confusing best-seller story, full of "sensationalism", is spoken about. We don't promote these kinds of books, so the following text is meant only for those who know it and feel irritated about.

1. Related to the scrolls of Qumran these writers interpreted most biblical descriptions of Jesus as false.  Jesus and his disciples were supposed to have been simple guerrillas against the roman rule. *

They tried to make it more interesting with a conspiracy theory saying that 75% of the scriptures of Qumran - found 1947-1956 - would have been kept secret by mainly Catholic researchers. We do not need to defend the churches - but this information is simply wrong. The team investigating the old materials included Roman Catholic, various Protestant, Anglican, Jewish and even atheistic scientists. There was indeed some delay caused by their manifold interpretations of the small and damaged pieces of the old writings. But when the "sensational" book was published, 80% of the Qumran texts had already been published. In 1992 - one year before the "sensational" authors wrote another paperback saying that 75% had not yet been published - the rest of the Qumran-Texts had already been published.

When writing their interpretation, the authors had to produce and combine several daring theories, in order to achieve their result. According to them, the old writings were not pre-Christian, but from the time of Jesus **. However, they are obviously different in terms of background and time. The Community of Qumran existed for centuries. Neither can it be fully identified with the Essenes -as the authors attempt - nor with the militant "Zelotes", who later had the centre "Massada" some distance away.  One might compare Qumran with an ecological-spiritual community of our time.  They must have had contacts everywhere. They received some rites from the Essenes; the Priests of the temple at Jerusalem gave them a list of the temple' s treasure - which means they thought that the Qumran people had no direct relation to the conflicts with the Romans and so the list would be secure with them. They might also have had contacts to persons close to the Zelotes.

The authors wrote that the Essenes were not ascetic monks, but militant resisters against the Romans.  Everything handed down about the Essenes gives the impression that they would have been a pacifist, vegetarian, faithful Jewish-esoteric school, which withdrew from the world because of their Zoroastrian-like rules of purity.  So the authors mixed up Essenes and Zelotes without due reason.

According to the authors, John the Baptist, Jesus and Jacob (James), the (half-)brother of Jesus, all had the same "violent" ideas as the Essenes.  This theory - also based on the other previously mentioned constructions - cannot be based on the Qumran writings. It is not possible to clearly identify Jesus, Jacob and John in any of these writings.  The authors identified the "teacher of righteousness/justice", obviously a leading person in the community, with Jacob – without any kind of proof. The theory that this teacher of righteousness was a leader of militant people has no proof and is not very probable. It is possible that the community accepted him as the higher spiritual authority, compared with the degenerated authorities of the temple. Similarly, the descriptions of Jacob that have been handed down do not suggest a militant imagination. This Jacob -not the disciple Jacob, but the brother of Jesus, who guided the Early Christian community at Jerusalem - must have been extraordinarily tolerant and harmonious in his character. He was the very moderator of the disciples with their various opinions. He - spoken in images - had to sit between Peter and Paul, in order to hold the community together.

In order to state that Paul was a Roman agent, they had to construct another theory that the Romans captured Paul, in order to produce the "illusion" to the people of that time that he was one of the disciples of Jesus. (In our text "Ways of Christ", Paul's mystical experiences are said to be authentic, no matter what some traditional ideas of him may suggest, e.g. concerning women. This can be recognized by really and practically studying mystical experiences - something which the authors obviously did not do).

The Qumran documents are simply some of the many writings of the centuries about the life of Jesus. They give us some kind of an impression about some of the customs of that time and are, in some points, similar to some of the teachings of Jesus - of the Jesus as described, and not the imaginary, militant Jesus. Other writings are long since known as "apocryphal", some were found later - e.g. the writings of Naq Hammadi, to originate from a Christian group in Egypt. It is possible that John the Baptist was originally connected with the Essenes or with Qumran, or that he was at least accepted as an honoured guest. It is possible too, that Jesus met these interesting people. (But in our website "Ways of Christ" it is mentioned, that he met people of many different schools and that this does not mean he or his teachings originated from one of these schools.)

2. Other authors also joined in the previously mentioned speculation regarding Jesus with many details connected with Jewish history, but without resolving the mentioned contradictions. By reducing Jesus' resurrection in some parts of this literature to a historically tangible, pure resurrection ritual similar to that of the late Egyptian kings and possibly the Essenes and later traditions stemming from it, they withhold from the readers that renewing contribution that Jesus gave in this regard. It would not have damaged the relationships between historical groups such as the Essenes and the Order of the Templars if they had simply done without the anti-resurrection dogma. The purely mystical way of looking at the deeds carried out by Jesus already became lost in early Christian times because it was to difficult for some early Judo-Christian and Gnostic groups to understand and for this reason it is pointless trying to attempt to prove that what they had understood was the complete truth when one takes their beliefs into account. Others understood other parts of the truth, as shown, for instance, by the many early Christians who believed in a more universal significance of the resurrection; and there were also those who used the "paper for discussions" known as the "Gospel of Philip" in this regard. Paul, who was excellently suited to play the "bogey man", was not the only source of those traditions that kept the teachings of the physically and spiritually transforming nature of the Resurrection alive. Those who have some respect for the broadly accepted version handed down through the history of the churches can more easily approach the truth than those who thoughtlessly discard everything that does not agree with their beliefs.
When such activities lead to a continual defamation of Jesus Christ, it can have spiritual consequences that exceed a purely human matter.

3. There was also speculation about several "tombs with bones of Jesus" in Israel and elsewhere too. In the context of Middle East, with grave robbers - e.g. a bone case of such a tomb was stolen -; and where thousands of such cases are stored in museums, and where bones, if there, were given away for second burial, etc. it is almost impossible to get trustworthy recognitions about the persons. So the frequently used names on the cases do not prove anything.
Holistic historical research would not start from the assumption, that ressurection in the traditional meaning would not have been possible. Further - instead of taking up prophecy, that can be related to Jesus, only as a source for hopes of Jesus 2000 years ago - today one can take into account, that these inspirations may point to something real, not yet fathomed till it happens.

Additionally see: http://dukereligion.blogspot.com/2008/01/talpiot-tomb-controversy-revisited.html

* There is also more speculation about the life of Jesus, leading to various ideas. For example, one theory was that Jesus was a follower of the Cynicism school of philosophy, which had its origins in Greece… See also an update concerning Maria of Magdala. There was even more speculation: Jesus might have been Moses, or an egyptian Pharao, or Julius Cesar, or a bycantinic imperator(!). 

There are various stories about the unknown years of Jesus between the age of twelf and thirty - they may be partially possible. Among them there are journeys to Egypt, or to India. (Not to confuse with the theorie of surviving the crucifixion in India, mentioned critically in our chapter "crucifixion".
Nicolas Notovitch wrote 1894 about tibetan texts - not verifiable till now - with ancient reports of travellers abou Jesus ("Issa"). It is close to biblical tradition - however, it describes the role of Pilatus and the Pharisee concerning the crucifixion totally different . 

** Strangely enough, these types of books don't mention the fact that a very old Gospel text of the first century was also found at Qumran, which shows, when compared with today's texts, that texts were also handed down quite correctly.


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