'Who is this Messiah [Christ]? Who is Jesus?', and how has two millenia's been influenced by the legend's of one mythic-figure?
I wouldn't expect a laugh or two to this perhaps childish or elementary question for some, but I would like to hear others thoughts on this figure in the middle of the confusion I've had about this legend since a child, concerning the man, and the myth; for some reason I just can't accept the mainstream idea of Jesus Christ, I've asked myself many times, "who is this guy?"
I always wondered why Jesus supposedly said all those exalting statements of Himself; to identify himself with the 'Father in Heaven? 'his Father in secret, was the inner God or some external God? or is that all blasphemous jargon and Jesus is the only Son of God literally sitting next to His Fathers chair in Heaven?' The legend of the virgin-birth? anything about Him; discuss from what you understand or think about Him here.
Interesting question. When I started that last discussion I was pretty Christ-neutral--if anything, maybe even a little hostile to Christianity, but then I found myself defending him. But separating the historical Jesus from the BS and then the "Christos," supposing there is such a thing...it's quite difficult, because we don't really know how much of the gospels are really fabricated, whether we're talking about the canon or the "apocryphal" stuff.
There was a project done by Marcus Borg and some people trying to determine which parts of the Bible are historical and which are myth, assigning a color code to each verse, with each contributor voting on a scale of "definitely historical" to "definitely mythical." I'll see if I can find a link. Also of interest is Annie Besant's book, Esoteric Christianity.
The fact, as Paul has written, is that there is little consensus about Jesus-Christ. I think that the best starting point is to read (once again:) the canonical gospels and then the "apocryphal" ones, and make your own opinion.
Matthew's gospel is very interesting because in it Jesus speaks about "your Father in heaven" many times, so it doesn't seem that he thought he was "the one an only" son of God.
I'd say "literary elaboration" better than "mithologizacion" because the first is a neutral label and the second is not.
Everyone have a nice day (and night:)!!!
You're right, the fact that Paul's writings are the earliest parts of the NT raises the biggest trouble for the historian: we have no first-hand recordings of Jesus.
My opinion is that Jesus came from the Esenes, not from mainstream Judaism, but he went beyond Esenes' teachings, and that Jesus was somehow related to the "secret society" in Alexandria.
I prefer to deal with "literary elaboration" than with "mythologization" because the first is much broader and includes the second. I'd not say that John's gospel is the most "mythologized" but the most "elaborated", this elaboration including Greek ideas and allegorical miracles, as Michael has written.
I also think that some of the "apocaliptical" elements go all the way back to Jesus, but I'm also sure that those were altered and mythologized, and that the fall of Jerusalem after the "death" of Jesus was a good ocasion to add much to the original Jesus' sayings. Which are the original elements and which were added, only Jesus himself could say for certain.
And then we have the historical evolution of the Church and the "editing" of the gospels on Nicea Council, a Council sponsored by the Emperor, that adds political distorsion to the question.
So, as Theosophists, what should we make of the so-called "miracles"? They certainly don't seem any greater than many of things Madame Blavatsky claims to have witnessed and others have claimed to have seen her execute herself.
And my second question is what to make of the Gnostic scriptures. Most scholars have dated them at least a century after the existence of Jesus. Are the books of Thomas, Philip, Judas, and Mary to be regarded as genuine? I, for one, think so--but probably not the infancy Gospel of Thomas. I suppose--if he was really Jesus's brother--that he would know those sorts of things, but it seems pretty far-fetched to me, and smacks of the same attempts of the Book of John to turn Christ into an idol to be worshipped.
I've been following this forum and like all the comments in various ways. I won't belabor all the points brought up, but simply add that most here seem to agree that lots was added, left out and mistranslated, intentionally and unintentionally, at the Council of Nicaea and down through the centuries with the New Testament.
I would like to further comment on the "miracles" that Spencer brought up. I'm not opposed to, nor discount, paranormal phenomena, but I think in this instance they can be looked on as metaphysical metaphors and symbols. Take the "water into wine" story. Water is a symbol for "knowledge" and wine or blood for "wisdom." It means turning intellectual knowing, a first step, into an inner knowing, a living, first hand experience.
Calming the seas would be calming the "monkey mind." Walking on the waters after he calmed them, would be going about one's daily life in a calm equilibrium. And bringing sight to the blind to see would be bringing about a spiritual "seeing."
It seems to me that viewed from this angle, they have far more significance than just a sort of "magic show" that Jesus put on from time to time.
Also, it hasn't been brought up that the Vatican Library very likely has artifacts, old manuscripts, etc. locked in its deepest vaults that would blow the lid off all Christiandom if they ever came to light.
This is a question that has been researched in-depth by theosophers like Alvin Boyd Kuhn, and Gerald Massey, the famous Egyptologist from the 19th century. H.P. Blavatsky and De Purucker have written very extensively about it. Henk Spierenburg has compiled HPB's writings on the New Testament and the Gnostics in separate volumes. A must read for every theosopher. There are also people like Tom Harpur who has drawn heavily from Kuhn's writings in his work "The pagan Christ".
Yes, Henk Spierenburg's book on "The New Testament commentaries of H.P. Blavatsky" contains also references to the Old Testament. The footnotes are those of Henk himself, I think. I especially value his book about H.P. Blavatsky on the Gnostics, though.
This reminds me of the George W. Bush/Dan Rather controversy. By showing that Biblical sources are unreliable, the author comes to the conclusion that Jesus never existed. One doesn't follow the other.
At first, I was skeptical of all religions. The reason I initially considered Biblical Christianity is because it is the only belief system massively supported by historical evidence that can be objectively verified.
See historical evidence for the Bible that proves Jesus Christ did miracles and resurrected from the dead, revealing Him as God at:
You do not sound naive, but I appreciate your humble spirit.
At least for me, who was of a skeptical nature, it took me a long time to investigate 'religion' and consider things about the person of Christ, but finally I directly, humbly and respectfully asked God if He would reveal Himself to me, and without going into details, He mercifully did that.
I do not advocate 'religion' as this term is commonly understood today, meaning a set of rituals that hypothetically makes one acceptable to God, and in fact I have concluded this is not possible. No rituals can enable us to attain perfection, and even if they could this would not erase our past failings. Even worse, 'religion' often leads to spiritual pride, the most insidious form of evil.
What I do believe in is a humble, living, loving, day to day relationship with the living God, but I have found through knowledge and now by experience that reconciliation and new life only comes through Christ, and there are many deceivers in both the human and spirit world that must be avoided to find Him. Without death to self, there is no rising again in new life.
The kind of faith God asks for is a reasoned faith, as a naive faith can lead one into deception, but at some point those who genuinely seek truth and love will humbly do so wherever it leads, including whom and what to believe is real and follow.
If I may be of any service to you in your quest, please let me know.