'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.

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Well this is an interesting topic..and somehow one I missed over the past few days or so..

and of course there is controversy around this topic as there has been for what? a few thousand years?

But for myself where I start personally is to recognize a few things..

Jesus and His disciples spoke Aramaic.. and you can see some smattering of Aramaic remaining like little isolated samples almost like peaks jutting up from a fog in the New Testament..

You can see examples here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramaic_of_Jesus#Aramaic_phrases_in_th...

Greek and Aramaic are very different languages and Aramaic idiom is something that cannot be easily translated..In my view George Lamsa was probably one of the few writers with an Aramaic background that understood this and wrote about it..

His book Gospel Light is an interesting read ..

In any event what I think is that the earliest verbal tradition of the saying of Jesus were passed down in Aramaic.. then you have translations into Greek and Coptic later.

Much of the Aramaic "originals" were lost in translation as the early church became Greek... and there was a divide between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile or Greek Christians that you see recorded in the book of Acts..

This divide was made worse when the Church in Jerusalem was pretty much destroyed by (1) Jews who viewed the early Christians or Nazoreans as heretics and (2) when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Legions around 71 AD and Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina and Jews were not permitted to return there .. also (3) with the diaspora valuable early evidences of the Jewish Christians were likely destroyed.

So the Christianity that emerged triumphant was by and large Greek speaking and distrustful of Hebrew/Aramaic.. You have the beginnings of antisemitism as well.. The Jews being "Christ killers"

So what has come down to us is a very garbled and poor translation of the early Gospel and layer on layer of scribal errors , forgeries and interpolations.. which continued from the second century until Erasmus..

A few things that come to mind from reading Lamsa are that some of the miracles that appear in Greek are products of misunderstandings.. One case in particular is that when Jesus is reported walking on water or on the sea of Galilee.. the Aramaic word for on and by is the same word. The Aramaic word for death when translated into Greek is "not here".. So when Mary asks where is Jesus she's told He is "not here" but in Aramaic that means "dead".

It's a fascinating study and a mystery exploring this area..Somewhere though almost lost to us are what remains of the teachings of Jesus..
Yes, no shortage of disagreement of course.

I recognize the not so unusual position that "what has come down to us is a very garbled and poor translation of the early Gospel and layer on layer of scribal errors , forgeries and interpolations.. which continued from the second century until Erasmus.."

This used to be a common position taught in academia and around Gnostic tradition.

Now that we have consistent first century manuscript evidence according to reputable documentary analysis and science though, how is this still a reasonable position? We can still say these things as though they might be true, but most recent evidence has largely relegated them to speculations that have now been disproven.

For a long time, it used to be said among skeptics (so-called higher critics) that Genesis couldn't have been written or edited by Moses because writing didn't exist yet, but the discovery of the Ebla tablets with thousands of written records by all classes of society from Assyria and surrounding areas completely disproved this. Many people still teach this and talk about it, but this objection, like objections to New Testament accuracy, has been removed by overwhelming physical evidence.
Yeah.. One of my favorite books is Bart Ehlman's "Misquoting Jesus" and I heartily recommend it:

http://www.amazon.com/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060...

and "Gospel Light" has been revised. I still have the earlier edition:

http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Light-Annotated-George-Lamsa/dp/096759...
Oh I must have missed your last point:

For a long time, it used to be said among skeptics (so-called higher critics) that Genesis couldn't have been written or edited by Moses because writing didn't exist yet, but the discovery of the Ebla tablets with thousands of written records by all classes of society from Assyria and surrounding areas completely disproved this.

I hadn't heard that but I doubt Moses Himself wrote the first five books of the Bible..and I'm no higher critic. All the references to Moses are in the third person and in Deuteronomy 34 can be found where Moses own passing is recorded.

Consider though that Moses was learned in all the wisdomof the Egyptians.. that says a lot to me..so He could read hieroglyphs if that is true and be familiar with all that wisdom of the ancient civilization.

“But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.”

- Acts 7:22

If you consider that Moses is really a part of a name.. that is Ra-meses or thut-moses you get a clue that when He was banished from Court the first part of His name was forbidden to be spoken.


I think Genesis came down from an oral tradition and most scholars identify actually three sources the Yahwist (J), the Elohist (E), and the Priestly source (P).
The idea of Moses writing the Torah is a late one from the Talmud which was written in the Christian era..
As to written language I've always believed that Phoenician and ancient Hebrew had a connection because ancient Hebrew letters were found inscribed in the ancient Sinai mining centers.. Of course the hand of God inscribed the ten commandments right? They were not in hieroglyphics apparently and no images was part of that tradition.

You mention the Ebla tablets an interesting find that some of the Biblical names are found in them suggests that the culture of the Hebrews was shared in the area..

But this doesn't mean in my view that the Bible is not inspired even though maybe inaccurate or misunderstood.. myth understood...

At least Hebrew was an ancient tongue while I believe we do not even have the words of Jesus in His own language...

and we still haven't really been addressing the topic of this thread!

Who was Jesus Christ? or Who is Jesus Christ? In my Faith Jesus was a Manifestaion of God Who perfectly reflected the attributes of God.. like Moses did.. So I accept that the Bible is inspired but also we have to acknowledge the scholars work in helping us understand this treasure of the spiritual heritage of humanity!
Hi Arthur, and thanks for your good comments. I agree with you about the Pentateuch and Genesis in some aspects.

Scholars did indeed propose three sources in the 'documentary hypothesis' as you say, but this so-called 'higher criticism' was founded on the idea that writing did not exist in the time of Moses or before (circa 1,500 B.C.). However, the thousands of Ebla tablets discovered in 1974-75 from all walks of life (e.g. every class of people wrote, not just some elite members) were dated to 2,000 B.C. to 2,500 B.C., so took away the foundation for this school of criticism. It is still popularly taught, however.

Among things found was a Sumerian creation account with the names of El and Yahweh, as well as a version of the great flood account from Babylon, the Epic of Gilgamesh, similar to the account in Genesis and dated at around 2,000 - 2,100 B.C. This kind of archeological evidence showed that sources for the original information about the God of the Bible, the Flood and other details in Genesis were much more ancient than proposed by the higher critics.

From a documentary standpoint, the entire book of Genesis, including its initial chapters, is written as an historical account. The chapter breaks aren't even there in the original, so it is a single document. The only reason many people dismiss Genesis 1-3 or Genesis 1-11 or whatever as historical is because they choose to believe in today's popular opinions of men who weren't there, instead of the claimed eyewitness accounts, who say they were there.

Consistent with ancient Babylonian practice, successive tablets in Genesis are keyed by a phrase that closes the previous account and opens the next one. The natural breaks in the book of Genesis are not by chapter, but by original author. Each eyewitness author closed their written account by the phrase "the generations of" (Heb. towledah), as 'written record of the origins of', not by chapter breaks (note Gen. 5:1, "book of the generations of". This phrase records the original authors testifying to their historical eyewitness accounts, which were apparently compiled and edited by Moses.

The original authors who 'signed' their historical testimonies are "the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 2:4), presumably dictated or written directly by God as the only eyewitness; Adam (Gen. 5:1), Noah (Gen. 6:9), the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1), Shem (Gen. 11:10), Terah (11;27), Isaac (Gen. 25:19), Jacob (Gen. 37:2), and Jacob's immediate descendants. Moses uses a similar formula in Exodus, using the term "names of", which begins in Ex. 1:1 as "names of the children of Israel" to close the Genesis account while continuing the historical record.

There is no documentary basis for considering the early part of Genesis as poetry, allegory, or anything other than the historical account it is, just as the rest of Genesis. People may disbelieve it as they choose, but it is not for documentary reasons based on up to date evidence.

Jesus was indeed a manifestation of God, but I believe He was a unique manifestation of God, in the sense that He provided powerful evidence that He was also the Creator (God) by miracles that defied natural scientific laws. Of course, naturalist skeptics deny such miracles can happen, in parallel with claiming God does not exist, and therefore that Jesus Christ could not be God. You may find the article The Creation Evolution Controversy - Miracles of God and False Prop... interesting, which compares the miracles of Christ with the basic laws of physics, and what those physics tell us about origins.

Again, I appreciate your good thoughts and discussion, thank you.
Scholars did indeed propose three sources in the 'documentary hypothesis' as you say, but this so-called 'higher criticism' was founded on the idea that writing did not exist in the time of Moses

That isn't though what I've found..

The sources of Genesis are found in the text itself and were woven together so there were different versions...not because there was "no writings".

It isn't based on "writing ...not existing":

Traditionally attributed to Moses, today most scholars accept that the Pentateuch is "a composite work, the product of many hands and periods.”[39] Genesis 1 and 2 are seen as the products of two separate authors, or schools: Genesis 1 is by an author, or school of authors, called the P (for Priestly), while Genesis 2 is by a different author or group of authors called J (for Jahwist — sometimes called non-P).

Please see: under Composition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesis_creation_narrative

I read the article you cite above and you are apparently citing youirself! That's a new one on me! Is that a circular kind of reference? I don't usually cite myself.. I cite others' work beside my own.

Of course you can believe Jesus is God! You're responding to the thread.. and that's the standard answer many Christians would believe in.
I found a better example of the textual hypothesis and as you can see it's based on the text itself and not because there was "no writing":

Modern scholars generally agree that there are three main literary sources within Genesis. Among these three groups of source documents, the two oldest are designated as “Yahwist” (or “J” for the German word for Yahweh) and “Elohist” (or “E”), respectively. These terms are derived from the distinctive name by which each author referred to God, either Yahweh or Elohim. The completed texts (rather than the various source materials) for the Yahwist compositions date from circa 950 b.c., and the Elohist compositions have been dated one to two centuries later. The third, later group of source texts, referred to as “Priestly” (or “P”), is believed to have been completed circa 538 to 450 b.c. The style of the P sources is somewhat different from that of J and E, in that P is more formal and more interested in factual information, such as geneologies and precise dates. J and E sources, on the other hand, tend to be more lyrical. Many scholars believe that the chapters of Genesis are comprised of a number of J, E, and P source documents that were at one time combined by a redactor (sometimes referred to as “R”).

See under "textual history" heading:

http://www.enotes.com/classical-medieval-criticism/genesis
Thanks, I read the links you provided, which continue to promote the documentary hypothesis. As I mentioned before, the documentary hypothesis is still being taught and believed, but has long been disproved. Please read the following articles, which are well referenced:

Correlating the Texts of Ancient Literature with the Old Testament
Mosaic Authorship of the Pentateuch
Some other info you might find interesting:

Most people today consider Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism to be the most ancient religions of China, which originated from about 1,000 to 500 B.C. However, ~1,500 years before this, the most ancient Chinese were apparently monotheistic, believing in a personal Creator, and the same Creator as mentioned in the book of Genesis! According to Chinese history, the Chinese language was invented by the first King of China (The ‘Yellow King’) and his assistant, and all the key facts of the first eleven chapters of Genesis can be recreated from their ancient pictographs, including a triune God never worshiped with idols, the creation of the universe, the creation and spiritual fall of man, a Noahic flood account, and the confusion of languages and dispersion at Babel! No collusion was possible here, especially since there were no known Christian missionaries to China until around 600 A.D. This is a fascinating study based on decades of collaborative research, and many books on the topic are available including the following that I recommend for those interested:

Kang/Nelson The Discovery of Genesis (in the Chinese Language). (St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House 1979)
http://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Genesis-Truths-Chinese-Language/dp/...
Nelson/Broadberry Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn’t Solve. (St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House 1994)
http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Mystery-Confucius-Couldnt-Solve/dp/05...
Nelson/Broadberry/Chock God’s Promise to the Chinese. (Dunlap, Tennessee: Read Books 1997)
http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Promise-Chinese-Ethel-Nelson/dp/0937869015

After the flood, archeology seems to indicate that in general, the human race recognized and worshiped the true God in peace for a number of years. Noah lived another 350 years after the flood, and Noah's and his son Japheth’s name have now been discovered at the foundation of independent ancestral records of many of the ancient tribes of Europe. Though these pagan tribes had no interest in God or the Bible, and certainly would have been hostile witnesses to any such concept, they revered their ancestry like almost all cultures. This further historical confirmation of Noah and his family as their progenitor from pagan, hostile witnesses provides rock solid evidence for historicity of the Biblical Noah and his family.

Cooper, Bill After the Flood: The Early Post-flood History of Europe Traced Back to Noah (West Sussex, England: New Wine Press 1995)
http://www.amazon.com/After-Flood-Post-flood-History-Europe/dp/1874...
I must simply point out that anyone paying attention to this forum would be advised to check the "critical reviews" of these books on the Amazon page where the books are listed.

For example, from a critical review of: Nelson/Broadberry "Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn’t Solve."

"Also, this book and the previous one share another set of problems. Nelson and her co-authors seem to have no idea that the origins of specific Chinese characters have been well understood for quite some time. They don't even recognize that the vast majority of characters are not simple indicative or compound indicative forms, as they would have us believe, but are semantic-phonetic compounds. They consistently miss this well-know point. It is obvious that they have never read a single work on this subject, but have simply made up their own stories out of whole cloth. This is nothing more than a work of imaginative fiction."

There is more in this review and on the other books listed. Certainly, these books have their adherents, but they are far from the final word on this subject.
Hi, this is in response to Michael's comment above.

I also encourage people to check out reviews of all sources I mentioned, both pro and con. I agree they are not the final word, but are very interesting and well researched works. Of course with any material like this, there will always be negative reviews by skeptics who don't believe the work, and at least as importantly don't want to believe it.

Overall Amazon reviews of the book Michael paints so negatively with his critical review excerpt is very positive (4 stars).

Although it cannot be absolutely proven of course, the case for the authenticity of Genesis is very strong when an objective and recent view of evidence is considered, and much stronger than the skeptic's case against it.
In reply to Miracles last comments, I don't consider myself a "skeptic" in the sense of a "mindless debunker." I'd say more of an open minded questioner. I'm also critical of mainstream reductionist/materialist science, though I don't throw all of that out the window. It has its proper place.

As for the miracles of Jesus, I feel that a symbolic interpretation is of more practrical spiritual value, but I'm certainly not opposed to some literal interpretation. As a long time student of parapsychology, I know that the paranormal is real. As a Realized Being and Adept he certainly would have access to metaphysical "laws", not yet known to present day physics. All of us can evolve to this level, and as Jesus said himself(I don't have the chapter and verse handy) that "things that I do, you shall do also, and more so."

We could go round and round on this Genesis argument on whether it's allegorical myth with symbolic meanings, or literal history, but it's a waste of time. Most mainstream Christians and all liberal Christians have long abandoned the "literal history" approach and it's only you evangelicals that hang onto it with a zealous fervor. I often wonder why, even though I was brought up in that tradition. Why must you evangelicals try to have everyone believe the same ideology as you? I'm not being mean spirited here or sarcastic. It's rather sad, in a way. More inter-faith dialogue is badly needed in this world, and it has to be on an equal respect basis.

Moving on, there are deeper metaphysical "waters" than are in the Bible.The Kabbalah for one. For instance, one of the central problems with the "Triune" Godhead you posit - God the Father, Jesus the son, and Holy Ghost - is it is missing the essential aspect of the Divine Feminine. it's too overheated with the Patriarchal.

For all of its problems, the Catholic Church at least put in the Virgin Mary. The Gnostics, the Kabbalah, esoteric Christianity and Christian and Jewish Mysticism have Sophia, the Goddess of Wisdom. And there's Mary Magdalene, one of the most important disciples of Jesus and given short shrift throughout Christian Church history, until recently with the "The Da Vinci Code" bringing her to the forefront again. Her gospel was even left out of the "canon" by the "wise" Church Fathers you seem to have so much faith in.

Frankly, I'm very surprised some of the women on this site haven't chimed in here on all this by now.

One thing we do agree on is that the orthodox history of humankind on this planet is incomplete. We differ in what's missing, though. I contend that the vast majority of archeological anomalies that the mainstream scientists ignore do not point to a literal "Garden of Eden," but to lost advanced civilizations, long before Biblical history, literal or not. The legends of Atlantis and Lemuria are more than legends. After their destruction, descendants survived, their advanced knowledge in many areas ending up being passed on in Egypt. Arthur E. Gregory quoted the verse from Acts stating stating that Moses studied and learned the "wisdom of Egypt." Notice, it doesn't say "heresies" or "false knowledge."

I'm painting in broad strokes here for brevity sake, of course. Joe wanted to open a new thread on the impact of the "lost gospels" in today's world. I would say, from my cruising around many metaphysical and spiritual websites in the the last year or so, that the main interest and momentum is a "back to Egypt" movement. A new investigation into the Mystery religion and advanced knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. I must say I'm playing catch-up here and this certainly would be a topic for a new forum.

Anyway, I find this much more exciting and productive than going over old ground in the Old and New Testaments and endless arguing dead end theological debates.

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