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Atlanta Vampire Alliance [AVA]  |  Religion, Spirituality, & Philosophy  |  Christianity | Christian Mysticism | Enochian | Gnosticism | Hermeticism (Moderators: Merticus, SoulSplat, Eclecta, Maloryn, Zero)  |  Scholar Interview: Who Was the Historical Jesus? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Scholar Interview: Who Was the Historical Jesus?  (Read 8759 times)
SoulSplat
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« on: April 22, 2009, 04:17:00 pm »

SOURCE: Discovery News
LINK: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/04/03/historical-jesus-02.html

April 3, 2009 -- Biblical scholar Rachel Havrelock is a MythBuster in her own right, dispelling popular beliefs about Christianity. The University of Illinois at Chicago professor traveled to the Holy Land to co-host the Discovery Channel documentary "Who Was Jesus?" which premiers April 5, Palm Sunday.

Havrelock recently sat down to speak with Discovery News' Jennifer Viegas about the historical Jesus, what she feels are some common misconceptions, and the role women played during Christianity's earliest years.

Discovery News: What do you think is the most common misconception today about the Bible and its teachings?

Rachel Havrelock: That it was meant to present a very conservative, traditional viewpoint. You must remember that the concept of God was, and perhaps still is, a radical social idea. Rather than being beholden to an oligarchy, an individual can now answer to a deity. It created the possibility of an egalitarian society.

The core of Jesus' message was directed to the economically downtrodden, the poor farmers, laborers and others who had little power in their own lives. Jesus presented a radical social proposition that meant society could be reconfigured to allow for less inequity and more sharing.

DN: For Christian believers, there is no doubt that Jesus existed. Is there a strong argument for an historical Jesus, though, having lived sometime around the first century A.D.?

RH: Yes, I think there is. The evidence comes from the Bible itself, but not in the way you might suppose.

DN: Please explain.

RH: Certain details of Jesus' life simply don't fit with idealized notions of a Messiah. He's baptized by John the Baptist, a lesser figure according to the Gospels. He addresses women in his teachings and through his actions. He's from a backwater. These are aspects that seem to speak to the historical figure of Jesus of Nazareth.

DN: What information do we have about the "idealized Messiah?"

RH: The prophets of the Old Testament speak of a future king who will restore the Jews to their land and establish order and peace. This savior-king was projected into the future and gave rise to the idea of a Messiah.

Texts that are written in the time between the Old and New Testaments, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the book of Enoch, and the writings of Philo, develop the messianic idea. There are notions of what people need to do to prepare themselves for the Messiah to arrive and usher in the future.

Due to the prophecies, it was expected that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem and be a son of King David, who was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel, according to the Hebrew Bible. That perhaps is one reason why the genealogy in Matthew links Jesus to the House of David.

DN: But Jesus is said to have been born of a poor family in Nazareth, and he conducted much of his ministry at the Sea of Galilee?

RH: Precisely. There is no reason why Jesus should have come from Nazareth, which was never mentioned in the prophecies, or that he should have begun his work at the Sea of Galilee. These are just two of the incongruities that did not conform to the preexisting beliefs about the Messiah. It is therefore likely that Jesus actually did exist, since there is no reason for these mismatches.

DN: Why do you think Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist was yet another incongruity?

RH: Matthew has Jesus saying to John the Baptist, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Jesus was then baptized.

But the wording of the baptism accounts reveals embarrassment. Why should a son of God have to be baptized, since he should have been born without sin? It appears that John the Baptist was involved in creating another movement at around the same time as Jesus.

RH: There were many competing movements during this period. There was the Pharisees social movement, which later was re-established as Rabbinic Judaism, becoming Judaism today.

There was the Dead Sea Scroll community, which may have been a dropout, radical group that preferred to live outside of traditional society. All in one way or another addressed the oppression that the Jewish people felt, being colonized by the Roman Empire. The Jesus movement wound up displacing some of the others at the time.

DN: Is there any direct evidence for Jesus' existence outside of the Bible?

RH: Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, wrote of Jesus in the Greek version of the Antiquities of the Jews. He described Jesus as a "wise man" and a "doer of wonderful works." The fact that Josephus referenced Jesus reveals that stories about Jesus were already gaining momentum.

DN: What permitted Christianity to spread so quickly?

RH: Paul the apostle was a marketing genius. The notion of conversion targeted everyone, and along the way the message of Jesus was universalized. According to Paul, you didn't have to be ethnically Jewish, or follow the laws of Judaism, in order to follow Jesus.

DN: Who funded and supported Paul?

RH: He was supported mostly by wealthy widows. These were women with both money and autonomy. They bankrolled early Christianity. They also kept the teachings alive by holding services in their homes. Such "house churches" were common before cathedrals and other central meeting places were established.


DN: What were some of their names?

RH: Mary, or versions of that name were popular then, so there were a lot of Mary's! The Bible also mentions Priscilla, Rhoda, Dorcas and so many others.

DN: Were there any female disciples?

RH: Mary Magdalene was one prominent disciple. It's definitely a myth that there weren't any women disciples. And there is nothing in the Bible supporting that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. For some reason, her story was confused with an anecdote about a prostitute washing the feet of Jesus.

DN: What other Biblical-related myths, in your view, should be busted?

RH: It's commonly thought today that the heterosexual family, with a mother, father and children, was the only family unit sanctioned by the church. The early Christians instead put more emphasis on community that allowed for gender equality and where everyone was equal in the eyes of God.
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 09:26:37 am »

My theory on Jesus is that he was an Alchemist and a Pagan.  Either he created something along the lines of the Red Stone and had much more power than anyone else, or he just understood the Earth and the magic more than anyone else.  Then he used that knowledge to make himself a God.  My good friend Lady Circe, may the Goddess protect her soul, (who some of you Wiccans in the forum should know of) once said that she believes that Jesus was a Pagan and was simply misunderstood in what he said, and people twisted what he said to make their own lives better.
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belovedofdeath
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 01:48:45 pm »

My theory on Jesus is that he never existed.
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Sunshine1626
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2009, 03:45:50 am »

My theory on Jesus is that he was an Alchemist and a Pagan.  Either he created something along the lines of the Red Stone and had much more power than anyone else, or he just understood the Earth and the magic more than anyone else.  Then he used that knowledge to make himself a God.  My good friend Lady Circe, may the Goddess protect her soul, (who some of you Wiccans in the forum should know of) once said that she believes that Jesus was a Pagan and was simply misunderstood in what he said, and people twisted what he said to make their own lives better.
Interesting theory. Completely unsubstantiated, but interesting.. Alchemy died (or transformed into the actual science of Chemistry) because much of what alchemists were attempting to do was either impossible of improbable. What proof do you have that anything such as the "Red Stone" ever existed?

My theory on Jesus is that he never existed.
DN: Is there any direct evidence for Jesus' existence outside of the Bible?

RH: Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, wrote of Jesus in the Greek version of the Antiquities of the Jews. He described Jesus as a "wise man" and a "doer of wonderful works." The fact that Josephus referenced Jesus reveals that stories about Jesus were already gaining momentum.
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Sfinelli3
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2009, 02:39:46 pm »

No, Alchemy is not dead.  People still practice it and it is taught in some colleges, the major Alchemy institute is in California.  If you want specifics I'd be glad to provide.  Many more modern scientists and mathmeticians were Alchemists.  Isaac Newton was an Alchemist, he created the Black Dragon, a very famous Alchemic experiment.  And Nicholas Flamel was the most famous Alchemist, having made the first recorded Stone in all time, sometime in the mid 1300's.  He was born in 1330 and supposedly died in 1416.  He was 86, which didnt happen in those days.  Some people say he still lives, but not much is known after his recorded death in 1416.
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Maloryn
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2009, 08:05:22 pm »

And Nicholas Flamel was the most famous Alchemist

Think you'll find more people familiar with Saint-Germain, Thomas Aquinas, and Roger Bacon.

---Mal
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Sfinelli3
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 08:53:20 am »

Yes, if they've actually studied. 
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paindancer
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 12:29:39 am »

Jesus was a pagan?

Um... well, if you define pagan as any non-christian or non-jewish, then possibly, but he is quoted many times as believeing in one god, and not a pantheon of them.. so even that is a little but of a jump.

Its much more likely he was jewish, all things considered.

That dosnt mean he wasnt gifted, and very likely was.  But I dont think that had much to do with the religion he was born to.
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Paindancer
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2009, 04:41:00 pm »

of course Nicholas Flamel is still alive. He is in Harry Potter Smiley I find it sad that the only knowledge I have of this historical figure is from Harry Potter....sad. Be that as it may I'm hard pressed to believe that he really created a philosophers stone. In your opinion you may believe he did but you have no fact nor proof that it ever existed. So it can't be the only recorded stone in history because it was not recorded, merely commented on that it may have been formed. I need concrete proof before I can believe something is recorded fact.

Also what college in Cali are you commenting on? I looked it up and I do see the one in Santa Rosa Cali but that one seems to be more about Hypnosis.
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2009, 04:43:14 pm »

oh and i don't believe Jesus existed either.
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paindancer
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2009, 05:44:24 pm »

I think the historical evidence is there that he did in fact exist, too many cross cultural references to him outside of just the christian base.

But that evidence also points to him being married, umong other things.

Intersting things I have picked up, regarding arabic culture.  Even now, the mother holds a high position in the hosts party, where you can identify whos party it is by identifying the mother presiding over it.  So when you have the water to wine story.. and it says that Jesus was at a wedding party and his mother was there.... thats a pretty specific detail.

There are many corresponding stories between muslim and christian texts identifying Jesus as well.  Some schools of thought even say the two were the same person, Jesus  and Mohammed, but i personally think that a stretch.

Its easy to armchair this one, but its a fascinating study.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2009, 01:10:49 pm »

Anyone else feel that if Jesus was real and alive today that we would lock him up in a loony bin? I mean isn't that what we do to people like that now?
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paindancer
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2009, 01:57:27 pm »

Yes, the funny thing is Jesus has returned.  He was promply instutionalized in a hospital in the western Chicago suburbs.

Lucifer finds the situation funny, as he owns most of the stock in that particular hospital and its major insurance partner.

Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2009, 02:14:44 pm »

"I am the lord thy god! I AM THE LORD THY GOD!!!" -Patient
"Yes Frank I'm sure you are. Now if you don't mind please take the red pill and stop asking all the other patients to wash your feet with their hair" - Doctor
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Sfinelli3
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There was a boy. A very strange, enchanted boy.


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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2009, 03:01:28 pm »

the Dream Team?
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