1st-century Gospel of Mark fragment found?

The New Testament blogosphere is all abuzz with news of a purported papyrus discovery that comprises fragments of some 19 or more different Bible manuscripts, including a small piece of the Gospel of Mark. A Christian professor relates that “one of the world’s leading paleographers” has dated the Mark fragment to the first century, making it the earliest extant biblical text so far known. According to the professor, Dr. Daniel Wallace, this discovery will be published by the academic press E.J. Brill sometime within the coming year.

First of all, we must remain cautious about such declarations because we have ample precedent of overly enthusiastic interpretations of supposed biblically relevant artifacts and texts. One such artifact that immediately comes to mind is the Dead Sea scroll fragment 7Q5 touted by scholars Josep O’Callaghan Martínez and Carsten Thiede as another fragment from the Gospel of Mark, also enthusiastically dated to the first century. That effort fell flat, as it was not accepted by the mainstream scholarly community. Moreover, we have seen numerous examples of other hyped artifacts such as the so-called Jesus Family Tomb, James Ossuary and Tomb of Peter, etc., et al., all left in the dustbin of “pious fraud” or just plain fraud.

Paleography is not an exact science

Secondly, it should be kept in mind that paleography is an imprecise science, especially when it comes to this era, so if this thesis relies only on a fragment dated by one paleographer, we shouldn’t become too excited. The emphasis by some on the paleographer in this case not being a Christian – and therefore less likely to be biased – is immaterial if he nevertheless follows the mainstream timeline of Christian history and is attempting to push the date back as early as possible to make it fit that timeline. The reality is that, similar to carbon-14 dating, paleography has a + or – factor of about 25 to 50 (or more) years, meaning that even if the paleographer placed the papyrus at the end of the first century, it could in fact date to the middle of the second or even later. As New Testament scholar Dr. Larry Hurtado remarks:

..because paleographical dating can rarely be more precise than +/- 25 to 50 years, the proposed dating of many manuscripts will lie across two centuries…

About this particular discovery, Hurtado has already weigh in, likewise advising caution:

The identification and palaeographical dating of manuscripts requires huge expertise specific to the period and texts in question. Let’s wait and see whose judgement lies behind the claims.

Palaeographical dating can ever only be approximate, perhaps as narrow as 50 yrs plus or minus. Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more. It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items.

It is particularly difficult to make a palaeographical dating of a fragment, the smaller it is the more difficult. For such dating requires as many characters of the alphabet as possible and as many instances of them in the copy as possible to form a good judgement about the “hand”.

Although it ratchets up potential sales of a publication to make large claims and posit sensational inferences about items, it doesn’t help the sober scholarly work involved. It also doesn’t actually accrue any credit or greater credibility for the items or those involved in handling them.

I would be surprised if Brill publishes such an endeavor, if the conclusions are based only on one paleographic assessment. Other factors must be included, such as possible anachronisms, as well as the provenance, first appearance in the literary record, comparative literature, etc.

The Gospel of Mark papyrus fragment

On our forum, an image was posted that is claimed – but not yet verified – to be the fragment in question, which contains parts of several words from Mark 5:15-18. Let’s look at Mark 5:15-18, first in English, followed by the original Greek (textus receptus):

And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.

καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον καὶ ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγεῶνα καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐμβάντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς ἵνα ᾖ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ

Ancient Greek was originally written “as the ox plows” or in boustrophedon, which means back and forth from line to line, with no spaces or punctuation between words. In the Codex Sinaiticus (c. 330–360), one of the earliest extant Bible manuscripts, the writing is left to right, but it still has no punctuation and no spaces between the words. The lines are divided not at the end of words but according to syllables.

I have cropped the purported image of the Mark fragment and added its visible letters, along with a comparable passage from the Codex Sinaiticus, in which I have highlighted in red the fragment letters.

(I should note that the Greek letter Image in the fragment “αρακα” is the wackiest looking rho I’ve ever seen.)

Uncial script popular from 4th to 8th centuries AD/CE

The Mark inscription appears to be in uncial script, which, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “was the most common script used to write books from the 4th to the 8th century AD.” It seems impossible to pinpoint this fragment to the first century based solely on the paleography, especially since the inscription is in uncial.

Here are the Greek uncials:

(In this regard, it should be noted that the uncial lettering here is not all caps. The omega, for example, is lowercase, as is the alpha, after a fashion, and the lambda. In addition, the sigma is not the typical “s” shape but is a “c” in uncial.)

The demoniac and the swine

Let us take a look at the New Testament motif recorded in this fragment, for more clues as to its possible provenance and era:

And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.

This chapter (5) of Mark concerns a man with an “unclean spirit” who “lived among the tombs” of a certain country and who possessed supernatural strength and could not be bound. The possessed man wanders about forlornly until he sees Jesus, whom he worships and who rebukes the unclean spirit, which identifies itself as “Legion, for we are many.”

Nearby is a “great herd of swine,” and the legion beg Jesus to send them into the swine, which he does, driving the pigs into the sea, thus killing the demons as well. After the townsfolk freak out, Jesus goes to leave in a boat, and the demoniac begs to go along.

There are many reasons why this story cannot possibly be historical, not the least of which is the supernatural possession of a man by demons who identify themselves as “legion” and who are driven into swine and then somehow killed, even though they are already from the land of the dead. In addition to that incredible aspect of the story, the locale of the tale is garbled, with the country’s name, for example, recorded variously in different gospels and editions of the New Testament. Moreover, the only “seas” that could have received these swine are the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee, dozens of miles away from where this area was purported to be, i.e., Gadara or Gerasa.

Rather than representing implausible “history,” this theme is highly suggestive of the myth of the Egyptian afterlife god Osiris in the Hall of Judgment, driving off the devilish swine when the deceased petitioner goes before him. As related in Christ in Egypt (241), to quote W. Cooper:

Having quitted the boat of the river of Hades, the deceased is met by the god Anubis, who conducts him in safety through the devious windings of an intricate labyrinth, and leaves him at the threshold of the judgment-hall of Osiris, the hall of the Two Truths.

In the judgment hall, if the deceased is not sufficiently pure, he is changed into a pig and “reconveyed to earth by Anubis in a boat.” An impure or unclean spirit or deceased person wandering about the “tombs” of the afterlife is changed into a pig and sent into the abyss, so to speak, which is what the return to Earth would represent to the Egyptian faithful, a punishment whereby the deceased must continue on the path of purification. In the gospel story, the “impure spirits” are basically changed into pigs by the god. The demoniac begging to go with the savior in the boat sounds like a change of heart by the purified deceased wishing to return to life on Earth.

It appears that, like so much else of the Christian effort, this demons-swine motif was borrowed from another religion/mythology, in this case the Egyptian. The adoption of much Egyptian religion and mythology into Christianity began in earnest during the second century and continued for several centuries afterwards.

Conclusion

With all these factors, I suspect the provenance of this papyrus fragment is Egypt, possibly from or near St. Catherine’s Monastery. Again, I see no reason from a paleographical analysis of this small fragment alone to push its date into the first century, especially since it certainly could be from the second, third or later centuries and since there is no evidence that the canonical gospel of Mark as we have it existed at that time. Indeed, none of the canonical gospels clearly emerges into the historical record until the end of the second century.

Moreover, in his enthusiastic endorsement of this fragment – “if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection!” – Dr. Wallace has inadvertently admitted that, after 2,000 years of intensive efforts by New Testament scholars, archaeologists, paleographers, et al., we still have no credible, scientific evidence from the first century of the events in the gospel story.

Further Reading

When Were the Gospels Written?
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Is Jesus a Remake of Osiris?

71 Comments

Add a Comment
  1. Wow, that was quite a powerful response, Acharya. Quick too. Your knowledge of Greek as well as comparative mythology pays-off nicely once again. Well, it’s a kick in the pants or wind out of the sails for the bible thumpers and even the evemerist atheists who still want to cling on to that historical baby Jesus.

    It would be a blemish on the record of Brill if they published what these guys are claiming i.e. a 1st century Mark fragment, which looks more like 2nd/3rd century or later. But, as if that’s not enough, there’s a clear ancient Egyptian parallel to boot. This could turn out to support the mythicist argument once again; a mythical Jesus and a mid to late 2nd century gospel origin with plenty of “[i]borrowing[/i]” from ancient Egypt and elsewhere. You’ve already been demonstrating that for many years now.

    1. Thanks! Took me a little while actually to see the letters in the passages, but putting the Codex Sinaiticus version side by side did the trick.

  2. Much ado about nothing …
    It seems to me that most of these things make a big splash when they first hit the media, then fade into the woodwork shortly thereafter. Relics, shrouds, tombs, written fragments, ossuaries, bone fragments, etc., seem to pop up every year or so and have immense religious “meaning” attributed to them. Then, there’s an an article or two and I never hear about it again. Furthermore, even if something was found that was authentic and meaningful, it would be suppressed if it challenged the dominant paradigm. So, hey, whatever. :whistle:

  3. That rho…
    Damn, it’s times like these I kick myself for never having learned Greek. I’m really curious about that strange rho in “αρακα” now. I wonder if that has any significance, if it’s just some alternate form, or possibly a different letter altogether, and if so does that change the word itself and thus the meaning of the sentence? Only time will tell, I guess.

    1. I wondered about that rho myself, obviously. I originally thought it was either a sigma or a zeta, but the Markan verse has it as a rho, so that’s what I went with.

      It’s possible that this form has some special significance, which might give clues about its date and provenance. It may also be some quirk of the original scribe that could likewise help date it and establish its provenance.

      The question is, obviously, are there any other examples of same?

      1. Yeah, it really does look more like a zeta, doesn’t it? And a lower case one, at that.

  4. Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology
    I think Acharya S is stating the obvious here — but then some one has to do it and she does it well!

    These things are always absurd or, as the Italian-Jewish ‘absurdist’ play-write, Luigi Pirandello, once put it: “It is so, if you think so.”

    Yes, and these so-called ‘scholars’ who rush to confirm their absurdist views — i.e., what they wish to be true (it is so, if you think so) — are ‘absurd’ too.

  5. Gospel of Mark fragment
    I’m sure you’re hoping and praying to whatever you may hope and pray to that this, as all evidence (credible or not) to the truth of God, proves to be a fraud or can somehow otherwise be refuted. That’s very simple to do, you know. All you need to do is declare it bogus, that God and Jesus are bogus, and be done with it. Isn’t it the truth that IF God provided some irrefutable evidence of Himself and the essential truth of His recorded word, that you still wouldn’t honor or respect, much less worship Him?
    The intellectual failure of your position regarding God is in your fundamental misunderstanding and rejection of the issue of Faith as God prescribes it. “You” (apparently) demand “scientific” proof of God, when God has been perfectly clear that the essence of the plan of salvation (reconciliation), is totally predicated upon acceptance through FAITH.
    But you know this already, don’t you. 🙂

    1. This post has nothing to do with God. Where does it talk about God?

    2. intellectual failure?
      Is it rational and logical to believe in something based on ‘faith’? I think not. You might as well be worshiping Zeus or Mithra or any other deity that you prefer. That all requires faith, too.

  6. Love the analysis
    Acharya, thanks for the very interesting analysis of the document. Your writings are always exciting while remaining level-headed. This is a subject of study that requires multiple skills that I do not have. But I am absolutely fascinated by ancient writings and thankful that you have made this subject accessible to a wider audience at last.

  7. Your comment is mean spirited
    Alvin, why do you troll this site? It’s obvious you don’t care about the subject since your “faith” is all you need. Would you rather have it that all such research be stopped? A closed mind is nothing to be proud of.

    1. Thor
      I DEMAND to know what makes you people think you can believe in anything you want to!!! 👿

  8. Thank you. However, I did [i]not [/i]say that “uncial was not utilized until the 3rd century.” I was very specific and accurate in what I wrote, which was that the uncial script was [i]commonly used[/i] between the 3rd and 8th centuries.

    In reality, Wikipedia tends to be accurate in many such factual contentions because the articles on New Testament scholarship are heavily populated by Christian believers who frequently disallow anything outside of the mainstream scholarship.

    The contention does not rely on Wikipedia. It took a simple search to discover one possible source for the Wiki article:

    [i]Textual Scholarship[/i] by David C. Greetham (177) ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=Cu4G-D1bNPcC&pg=PA177&dq=uncials+third+to+eighth+centuries&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Uq1BT_G9MYnw0gG-gtzyBw&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=uncials%20%22third%20century-eighth%20century%22&f=false[/url])

    I agree, however, that the Wiki editors should cite all such facts.

  9. re: Gospel of Mark fragment
    [quote name=”Alvin D. Ambers”]All you need to do is declare it bogus, that God and Jesus are bogus….

    God isn’t bogus. Jesus, however, is.

    For years, even decades, I have asked Evangelicals one simple question” Can you cite even one example from contemporary history, other than Josephus, that proves that Jesus actually existed? I inevitably get the same response each time I ask. That response is absolute silence.

    Josephus mentions Jesus on only two occasions. The first instance is in reality a reference to James the Just, and Jesus is mentioned only in relation to James. The second reference is the so-called “Testimonium Flavium,” which has been proven to be a forgery.

    So stop trashing Acharya S. With the amount of education she has, I’m willing to admit that she has forgotten far more than you will ever know.

    1. re: Contemporary sources
      Can you cite even one example from contemporary history that Homer actually existed?

  10. Madness
    God … Alright then, God is infinite, therefore no creature being spiritual or material can plainly see or comprehend this infinite, for to be able to comprehend the infinite one must have the same nature, since in the whole creation everything is finite including the Univers, God cannot just show up with his “magic stick” and manifest himself the way we humans now days expect Him to do. That is why God stated that He is One not two not three not many, for it is against the infinites’ nature to create another infinite, it just cannot be done, infinite is infinite. I understand Acharya and I agree with her on many topics, and just like many other religions that use the materialistic intelect to understant and have proof of God in their doctrines and their proclamation of this or that being the right way, is as dangerous and erroneous to humanity as the results of it has showed in the course of human history. Religion of today is wrong, and the same is with those who try to understand or explain the Bible or any other scriptures in the literal sense, it will make no sense if you try to do so, the reason is that everything is symbolism and unless you know the meaning behind this symbolism you will never understand and perceive what you are actually looking for.

  11. Fake fake fake.
    This original looks spurious. It’s in at least two handwritings and the upper part is traced or overwritten. The parchment also shows signs of scraping and possible signs of other writings that have been omitted.

    We know that many of the fakes are made more plausible by writing on old parchment or papyrus. There is little possibility to analyse the ink for example, of such a small fragment. They even do not allow sampling or carbon dating of such samples on the grounds that the process will ruin the piece.
    Take for example the P52 fragment that is said to be the oldest. Nobody knows. It’s all guesswork and wishful thinking. The size keeps the damn thing out of the reach of real science. It’s a part of the whole trickery.

  12. Gospel of Mark Fragment!
    Hi. And thank you for your scholarly dsissertations they are always
    of great interest to me as my study in the subjects you command
    have an equal passion to establish ‘truth’ and fact, The former sadly,
    ‘truth’ has become but an interpretation, and that seems to apply to everything including justice!My passionate study has always beenin biblical/theology/and of course Egypt and their writings. I really wish I could own all your books my dear friend but money is not one of my passions, it is merely an idea for me, and an absolute
    necessity for others. The fragment:-As you must know, the earliest surviving fragment of the N.T. IS REPUTED TO BE THE PAPYRUS
    containing part of the Greek text of John18:31-33 and 37 dates from
    about AD 130. oNE SHOULD READ Enoch Powells study of the
    Gospels Mark/Matthew he was a brilliant Greek Scholar,it was on
    reading the Greek N,T. he realised it just was’nt true.! Much of the
    situation today is that scholarship has difficulty convincing what the
    Christian rigidly holds onto by ‘belief’ and really one can only speculate
    either way in sensible discourse what one can prove/disprove.
    The statement that God became incarnate as man is really a theological statement and not a historical one. Sucha great subject.

    I love your scholarship.

    JAFFRAY GEDDES
    POET/WRITER

  13. Reply …
    1. Carsten Thiede did not have significant corroboration and support for his claims. It was basically just two guys with the claim, and almost all experts and scholars did not go on board with them. (In addition, the fragment was so tiny, for him to claim what it was was a stretch in the first place.)

    2. This one seems to be in the process of being carefully vetted by numerous experts, and the affirmation from Wallace and others is significant.

    3. The fragment is significant in size in that we KNOW it is Mark (we assume). (As opposed to the fragment from Thiede that was so small, it could have been anything.)

    4. We don’t even know for certain if the image that Acharya analyzed is the actual fragment.

    5. Acharya says that uncial was not utilized until the 3rd century. Her source for this is Wikipedia, which in turn has NO source for this information. Personally, I would defer to paleontologists in their field of expertise rather than an unsourced article on Wikipedia.

    My two cents.

    1. I am looking at a fragment of Greek Exodus (7Q1/7QEx/7QpapLXXExodus – Dead Sea Scrolls) as I type this, dated to 100 BCE. It is written in Uncial script, with serifs. So, obviously the Wikipedia article is wrong, as is more often than not the case with controversial subjects and its “too many cooks in the kitchen” approach to information.

      http://www.trismegistos.org/tm/detail.php?tm=62295
      http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak//lxxjewpap/7QEx.jpg

      And, as a bonus and testament to the inaccuracy of Wikipedia articles from time to time (which is why at a college where I worked for several years, primary citations from Wikipedia could earn students an ‘F’ grade on a paper containing such citations as primary references), the article not too long ago was changed to read “from the 4th to 8th centuries AD.” Some editor substracted a century and nobody seems to have caught the error which has only been compounded by the change rather than corrected.

      Maybe they’ll correct it, this time around, when what I have posted is seen. 🙂

      1. Thanks, but my original post did not rely on Wikipedia at all. Nor was it inaccurate, as it simply said that the script was most commonly used from the 3rd to 8th centuries. No one said that it originated only during that time – that’s a misreading that would probably get someone failed as well.

        In the meantime, it appears that Wiki was changed to reflect what is in the Encyclopedia Britannica under “Roman uncial script“:

        Uncial was the most common script used to write books from the 4th to the 8th century AD.

        Again, note that here is the “most common script” or what was most commonly used during that period. It does not say that the script originated during that period. I have changed the original post to reflect this fact from the Encyclopedia Britannica, so there’s no need for Wikipedia, regardless of whether or not it is accurate.

        1. But, then, what is the point of using either Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia for dating purposes at all? Initially, it was being used to debunk an early date for a manuscript fragment of Mark as possibly being from the First Century. There is not really a point to using such information when we now know that Uncial was used since before the 1st Century, now is there?

  14. Jews raising pigs?
    My understanding of the Jewish religion is that they had nothing to do with pigs. They certainly did not eat them. So why was there a herd of pigs here in Judea so handy for the transfer of the evil spirits?
    My farming background also makes me question how far these pigs could run to go over an embankment into the water. Usually pigs will not run more than 1 or 2 hundred yards before collapsing of exhaustion. But I guess that in a myth anything can happen.

    1. Very good points! Thank you so much for your intelligent and insightful input.

      To my mind, the story is patently mythical.

  15. Considering the long history of pious frauds trying to make the bible seem like history, you’d think people would be a bit more critical minded when it comes to artifacts like this. But then again, some people never seem to learn from past mistakes.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if we keep seeing more and more “biblical” artifacts that gain a ridiculously high amount of attention and hype only to later be shown to either be frauds or to be real artifacts but with no genuine connection to any biblical tales or characters.

  16. Gosple of Mark Fragment Found
    Thank you as always Acharya S for your wonderful scholarship and service!!!

  17. re: Reply …
    [quote name=”DPierre”]
    5. Acharya says that uncial was not utilized until the 3rd century.[/quote]

    You are a liar. She said “The Mark inscription appears to be in uncial script, which was used commonly from the 3rd to 8th centuries AD/CE.”

    “Used commonly…”=/=”not utilized until…”

    [quote name=”DPierre”]Her source for this is Wikipedia, which in turn has NO source for this information. Personally, I would defer to paleontologists in their field of expertise rather than an unsourced article on Wikipedia.[quote]

    And what is your source that Wikipedia was her source? Because I don’t see “Wikipedia” anywhere in her article.

    It doesn’t seem as though you were paying attention while reading her article, but were instead just formulating knee-jerk responses as you went along.

    1. GodAllMytee wrote: “And what is your source that Wikipedia was her source?”

      If you put your cursor over the words “uncial script,” in the sentence that says, “uncial script, which was used commonly …,” it points to a Wikipedia link.

      I obviously read the article a lot more closely than you did, although you claim the opposite!

      ————–

      GodAllMytee wrote, “Used commonly…’=/=’not utilized until…”

      I inferred that she made the implication because the script is an essential part of her argument that the alleged fragment is “impossible” to be from the 1st century.

  18. Okay, now as far as Uncials in general, I haven’t come across any source yet, but Acharya did mention the usage of lower-case, and in that regard, in a very brief and easy Google Book search, I managed to find the following statement from Professor Linda I. House, Phd, in her book [b][i]Introductory Phonetics and Phonology: A Workbook Approach[/i][/b], page 242-
    [quote]”[b]Lowercase Miniscule Letters[/b]

    Lowercase or miniscule letters date to Uncial writing in the 3rd century. It was used from the 4th to the 8th centuries and the letters were derivatives of the capital version.”[/quote]

  19. Reply to D Pierre
    I guess I missed the part about her using wikipedia as a source. I would have thought that with her background and understanding of Greek, she would kow when something was utilized. Also I would expect her to kow if the fragment she was talking about was the correct one, not shoot from the hip about something she knew nothing about like some people seem to do.
    Once again I think this was a great article and she presents good information. B)

  20. Errant Demonic Understanding
    Thank you for the largely balanced treatment of this matter. It has certainly cut through the hype. Your understanding of demons, as treated in the Christian Scriptures, however, is rather off the mark. Demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God. They are immortal spiritual beings (created spiritual beings that have no in-built expectation of death). They are not from the place of the dead because they are not dead. Rather, they are very much alive. In the story referenced here they would not have been killed or destroyed by the actions of the swine, but consigned to a spiritual prison to await the final judgement.

    Again, thank you for the balanced scholarship. I could sincerely wish that many of those commenting here would go to the same effort to which you have gone, and leave their blatant biases at the door.

    1. Thank you for your kind regards and interest.

      Having been raised a Protestant Christian, I am well aware of the Christian concept of “demons,” as well as the concepts of same in numerous other cultures. They tend not to vary that much, nor are they incomprehensibly mysterious.

      My point here was that demons are typically depicted as residing in or emanating out of HELL 👿 , most assuredly the abode or land of the dead. I deliberately stated the concept in this way, because, obviously, some cultures do not believe that demons are immortal.

      For more on the history of the belief in “demons” and “devils,” see my book The Gospel According to Acharya S ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=Y-GfRToMY-8C&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22the+gospel+according+to+acharya+s%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PLBBT5r3BKPJ0AHNi5nDCA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22the%20devil%20is%20divine%22&f=false[/url]).

      1. Geresa
        I find it very interesting that you site this incident as having happened in or near Geresa – but I do not see that in the Bible. If true – it would indeed be a very strong point against the literal interpretation of the story but since I do not see in the scripture itself where this takes place I would like to know where you got the idea it happened so far from any sea. It is a very strong argument but seems to be based up a fact that is not a fact which makes it nothing but an assertion in the end. Please tell me where it said this happened near Geresa.

        Brian – an Agnostic

        1. Thank you.

          If you had followed the link I included above where I say “the locale of the tale is garbled, with the country’s name, for example, recorded variously in different gospels and editions of the New Testament ([url]http://books.google.com/books?id=IROnfpqd3aoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=who+was+jesus+murdock&hl=en&sa=X&ei=53lAT_bgHIPu0gGt8ZXtBw&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=gadarenes%2C%20gerasenes%20or%20gergesenes&f=false[/url]),” you would have seen that in various gospels and translations the location name for this biblical motif changes. Different Bible translations variously render the original term for the people of the area as “Gadarenes,” “Gerasenes” and “Gergesenes.” See Mar 5:1 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mar&c=5&t=KJV#vrsn/1[/url]), Luk 8:26 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=8&t=KJV#vrsn/26[/url]) and Luk 8:37 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=8&t=KJV#vrsn/37[/url]).

          The original Greek term at Mark 5:1 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mar&c=5&t=KJV#conc/1[/url]), Luke 8:26 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=8&t=KJV#conc/26[/url]) and Luke 8:37 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=8&t=KJV#conc/37[/url]) is Γαδαρηνός or “Gadarenes”

          Strong’s (1046 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1046&t=KJV[/url])) identifies these people as coming from “Gadara (a town east of the Jordan).” Strong’s further says that Gadara, “also called Gergesenes, was the capital of Peraea, situated opposite the south extremity of the Lake of Gennesaret to the south-east, but at some distance from the lake on the banks of the river Hieromax.”

          We further learn from Thayer’s Lexicon that the term Gadarenes is also rendered GERASHNOI and GERGESHNOI in different manuscripts. Thus, we have the different translations based on these varying manuscripts of the New Testament.

          In addition, “Gergesenes” is the term used in Matthew, as at 8:28 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=8&v=28&t=KJV#vrsn/28[/url]):

          [quote]And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. [/quote]
          Here again we see that the different translations render this term variously, as “Gadarenes” or “Gerasenes.” The original Greek of the Textus Receptus here is Γεργεσηνῶν or “Gergesenon,” although it is included as Γερασηνός or “Gerasenos” in the Blue Letter Bible ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=8&v=28&t=KJV#conc/28[/url]). Even here we can see the haphazard confusion between the terms.

          Strong’s (G1086 ([url]http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1086&t=KJV[/url])) lists these terms as interchangeable, as are the names “Gadara” and “Gergesa.” Thayer’s Lexicon names “Gerasa” as the “city situated in the southern part of Peraea,” the same as Gadara.

          It has thus been widely understood that the “Gadarenes” or “Gerasenes” in whose lands the demoniac supposedly dwelt “among the tombs” were inhabitants of this city or land of Gerasa. Even if we understand this episode to have taken place in Gadara – the two differing in the map included above – the distance remains implausible, as does the entire story.

  21. Interesting
    Of interest, will see what the experts determine in the future. However, doesn’t change the reality of religion, it is myth, legends, and fables woven into tradition.
    Thank you Acharya S. for your scholarship and setting me free of myth and fear!
    Best Wishes!

  22. re:
    [quote name=”DPierre”]
    I obviously read the article a lot more closely than you did, although you claim the opposite![/quote]

    No, you didn’t, you still made a false claim(that “Acharya says that uncial was not utilized until the 3rd century”, which she did not)
    and in this latest response of yours, you made another false claim:
    “I inferred that she made the implication”

    You didn’t merely “infer” that she made an implication, you flat out explicitly attributed to her something she did not state.

    “because the script is an essential part of [b][i]her argument[/i][/b] that the alleged fragment is &#34[u][b];impossible" to be from the 1st century[/b][/u].”

    “Impossible” to be from the 1st century- no, this was not “her argument”. As you have “impossible” in quotation marks there, here is the actual quote of her-
    “It seems impossible to [b][i][u]pinpoint[/u][/i][/b] this fragment to the first century based [b][i][u]solely on the paleography[/u][/i][/b], especially since the inscription is in uncial.”

    She means it will require more data from other fields to get a more specific dating. That is a far cry from forbidding it to be 1st century.

    “Impossible to be from the 1st century”=/=”impossible to PINPOINT to the 1st century cased SOLEY on paleography”.

    “Used commonly…”=/=”not utilized until…”

    That’s two strikes so far.

    But all is not bad.

    I must thank you for answering my sincere question I asked earlier:

    [quote]GodAllMytee wrote: "And what is your source that Wikipedia was her source?"

    If you put your cursor over the words "uncial script," in the sentence that says, "uncial script, which was used commonly …," it points to a Wikipedia link.
    [/quote]

    Thanks. Even one who pay as much attention while reading as I do (which is [b][i][u]very[/u][/i][/b] much), I have yet to develop the habit of guiding my eyes with my cursor. I still come from an old school generation that was used to reading books, before computers came along. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember books, but they didn’t come with cursors the way these computers do. Oh, well. Learn something new everyday.
    Just as you learned from my previous post that the fact about lowercase Greek uncial letters dating to the 3rd century CE is a fact that did not originate from Wikipedia, but can be found in scholarly publications quite easily with a Google Book search.
    [quote]Professor Linda I. House, Phd, in her book Introductory Phonetics and Phonology: A Workbook Approach, page 242-
    Quote:
    “Lowercase Miniscule Letters

    Lowercase or miniscule letters date to Uncial writing in the 3rd century. It was used from the 4th to the 8th centuries and the letters were derivatives of the capital version.”[/quote]

    And I think we’ve both come away from this dialogue wiser people for it.
    Thanks for the chat.
    Later.

  23. many from one
    Dear Acharya,

    Thanks again for being critical!

    As a footnote in my last book, “Jesus’ Godama Sources”, I note the connection between the Buddhist devil and the gospel demon who says he is “Many”. I didn’t mention that in Buddhist art demons of passion are sometimes represented with pigs, or a demon with a pig face.

    Next to it is another figure with a pig’s head, having in its right hand a straight sword, and in its left a small … On the right, midway down the picture, is Mara

    This is referenced in the tale around Thomas search for a priceless pearl, while the dragon sleeps (Naga) Thomas snatches the pearl, an eagle (Garuda, enemy of the nagas) guides him home (Hymn of the Pearl), later this will be shown to have come from the Lotus sutra parable of the prodigal son. . Patala is the name of the naga hell and it may be equated with pundarika hell, in which we could consider reading Saddharma Pundarika as ‘Good news to the hell dwellers” . The Lotus sutra Buddha says that he sees Buddha-children of the future asking him questions in his time. The Jesus of the Gnostic and canonical gospels was the only other figure to speak, in his time, to a future generation of followers living in an evil world which is also said to mark the end of the world age, or ‘Aeon’, which is not a concept known in non Hellenized Judaism but was a well known concept in Buddhism.
    As Nagas are always connected to trees and water, some see in the name “Nagarjuna” a reference to the Arjun tree, others see a reference to a town or sacred city and most often his name is explained as meaning “power over Nagas”. A popular folk etymology to Nagarjuna seems to be from Naga-jina and that he is depicted around seven other nagas has its obvious parallels with the European dragons, specifically the seven-headed Lotan (the Hebrew Yam—the sea).

    The Buddha would often say that an imposter that approaches Buddha will soon have his head split into seven. The Aztec dragon Xiuhcoatl also guards divine knowledge and is said to battle those of the underworld. The good doctor Jason drugged the dragon guarding the golden fleece, which many believe was obtained from a Himalayin creature.
    “And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name” Rev, 13:1

    Here, it is believed that the number seven symbolizes the seven mounds of Vatican, or Vate’s seven hills. There were also seven hills to Constantine’s Wall in Turkey. The seven headed dragon Lotan appears before Christianity and Saint John’s associating the number seven with the planets is well known. The Indians also had seven sages, not to be confused with the seven sages that are said to live until the end of the age (Chiranjivi), that were probably also representative of the seven stars (planets) and mention is made here of the Buddhist grouping of seven Buddhas before Godama in the very early Mahapadana sutta; in art, they are often represented by their stupa, or mound, later they turn into the twenty-four Buddhas.

    “And the twenty-four elders, and the four beasts, fell down and worsipped God that sat on the throne”-Revelation 19:4 & also a reference to these twenty-four in Rev. 4:4.

    When he took the throne, Buddha was likewise greeted by the twenty-four Buddhas and the four hevenly kings.

    Like the Buddhists, Saint John feels free to split the Devil, or the Antichrist, into many characters and the demon/s who Jesus sends into pigs tells him “My name is legion, for we are many”. The same is true of Buddha splitting into many Bodhisattvas which can be seen due to their overlapping legends (ex. Sitatapatra manifests from Avalokitesvara and shares identity with Mahamaya who can be Maracitta, but Buddha was first lord (mara) of the mind (citta). etc.., even male gods became female). In the Pistis Sophia we read that the 1st mystery being the 24th mystery, as there were 24 previous Buddhae in this age, the Pistis Sophia riddle is only the Mahayana way of saying that there are infinite Buddhi/Chrest. The point could be argued further, as I have showed in my book that the concept of “many from one” from the “Thus comes One” is Buddhist. However, keeping in mind that it was said the man who says he is legion was said to come from tombs (a place of death) and that the authors knew ‘mara’ also menat ‘the sea’, (where the demons go) , an excerpt from the Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary definition of mara, with my words in brackets, should suffice.

    Mara- Death. The later Buddhist theory of races of gods led to the figment of millions of Maras ruled over by a chief Mara. Thorn-apple [otherwise known as Devil’s weed, and I believe it was known as a “get high” drug to the Gnostics and Native Americans and certain Indians would combine the thorn-apple weed with cannabis weed.]

    In Vedic astrology, Rahu, like the Buddha’s “only son” Rahula, was born from maya (usually meaning illusionary but the Buddhist spin on Rahu defines “maya” as,”ignorance”) Rahu, Like the boy Jesus in the infancy Gospel, and like Isaiah’s Emmanuel who at one point does not know the difference between what is “right” and “wrong”, was believed to have been a little hell raiser who steels the seven rays when eclipsing the sun. In the Candima and Suriya suttas, Buddha threatens to split Rahu’s head into seven parts with lightening. This is John’s “the seven thunders” which, like Buddha, he also uses as a final warning and instructs John to hide the words of “the seven thunders”, or to hide, or “seal, with seven seals” the Mahayana sources just as the Perfection of Wisdom sutra was believed to have been hidden, onlyh Ever Weeping Bodhisattva is said to be able to crack the seals. In Tibet, it may be that Rahu gained two more heads when several new planets were discovered and he is sometimes shaped like a naga, or dragon. According to the Orphites, Dionysus was torn into seven pieces. Note: the legend of Rahula accidentally taking the aphrodisiac Buddha’s wife intended for him, found in the Mulasarvastivadin tradtition, has its direct parallel with the Roman legend around Cupid, who himself shares legends with Salivahana .

  24. Myth is not fable
    Many good comments above, much of it reminiscent of Tom Harpur and the Pagan Christ. In the spirit of Rollo May, however, myth is not fable or fairy tale. The truth in a myth is not found in the history of the story but in its message. A myth may or may not have enduring value, but if it allows a person to better engage transcendence and become a better human being, it has merit. We need our myths; what we don’t need is the literalism that strips it of its power and replaces love with power.

  25. Egypt begins restoring ancient boat near pyramids
    Speaking of boats; if the fragment from the gospel of Mark does in fact turn out to be Mark 5:15-18 then this will be more relevant as evidence of the influence of ancient Egypt onto Christianity.

    [quote]Egypt begins restoring ancient boat near pyramids ([url]http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/egypt-begins-restoring-ancient-boat-pyramids-15751994#.T0K2LvlZpc8[/url])

    “Archaeologists on Monday began restoration on a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the pyramids, one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions.

    The boat is one of two that were buried next to the Pharaoh Khufu, spokesmen for a joint Egyptian-Japanese team of archeologists said. The boats are believed to have been intended to carry pharaohs into the afterlife.

    Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza, the largest of the pyramids. Khufu, son of Snefru, was the second ruler of the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.” …..[/quote]

  26. The Paul Bunyan of the first century.
    The first “assumption” or “historical fact” (depending upon your perspective) is that Jesus was not a historical person but a mythical person; the Paul Bunyan of the first century.
    And we must accept the Gospels as mythology. The common mythologies of a god for a father and a mortal woman for a mother; born in a cave; a celestial event at the birth; the evil ruler killing all the little boys; wise men; scapegoat mythology; human sacrifice mythology; redeemer mythology; the 3 day death of the sun god mythology.
    So this scrap, no matter what the credibility or the dating, does not prove the existence of a Jesus in history, it only proves the existence of the mythology.

  27. Bad first assumption on your part.
    The fact that this myth keeps being recycled and is valued in the first place is that it points to something we humans need. Myths do not just fall out of the sky. They are archetypal images of human creativity that speak to a higher meaning than the stories that encapsule them. Jesus does not need to be a real human being to bring the value Jesus brings; his power is not in his historicity, but in the message contained in the story. People who want to argue about facts miss this. Life is real enough for most of us. We all need a little imagination in our spirituality to make it breathe.

  28. Jesus’ Buddha-boat
    Just wanted to remind people of the Buddha/Jesus boat parallel.

    The boat or captain pointing east is also an Egyptian motif which may be allegory for an Egyptian belief that they came from the east (geneticists have also suggested an Asian origin). The different sects of Jews also faced east, or the sun, with reverence.

    Buddha compares his religion to a boat and Jesus was known as a ship. The typical Buddhist church has a nave and side aisles endings in an apse. The altar room in the shape of an octagon is found. with the Buddhist wheel, in the earliest Christian churches. Besides being mentioned in the Surangama sutra the Buddhist octagon is the same as their wheel with eight spokes and its relation to the eight-sided yupa and Indra-killa is obvious. Also noted here is that the Arabesque floral designs in early Christian churches must have been borrowed from a Buddhist land because the same is found in Buddhist countries from China to Japan. In my paper on the Buddhist influence on the Goths I show the same complicated floral design, specifically with the crest symbol, appears first in Buddhist art. I also show that the majority of ancient Gothic art can be traced to Buddhist hands, these Goths also worshiped Virupaksa, or the “Lion Hero of the West”. After breaking his fast, Buddha was said to sit under the east side of the Bodhi tree facing west (to battle the Devil Mara) Holger Kersten has examined a Zoroastrian site in Turkey associated with Antioch and known to Apollonius which features Mithras, or Maitreya, facing west. The name Maitreya is thought to derive only from Metteya though we have another Buddhist vox-mistica as the radical root of -met can stand to mean “moderator”, as was Metatron who is the only one to sit in heaven besides God, same with Buddha and Maitreya. Most of all Maitreya is the mixer, or better yet, the “masher” of the Vedic cream, or ghrita (christo) that rises to the suface Massa, oe Messa, the S being commutable with the T , Metteya is also Messeya just as Sans. mata is masa. The vedic butter is called ghrita and the same word also means ‘annointed’,

    Furthermore, just as the Buddhists, the early Christian bishops had their churches built facing east in the shape of a boat . It is also interesting to note that symbolism of baptism by water often shows water falling from the sky to baptize Jesus just at it appears in Buddhist scriptures and art. The early Buddha downplayed the baptism cults of India that believed they could wash away sins with water, although, as usual, later Buddhists adopted this practice and some Buddhist kings and celebrity converts were sprinkled with water at their coronation, others, such as Asoka, were anointed with butter . Also in early Buddhism is the formulaic ending “washes away human corruption as water washes dirt” . In Vedic times, and later applied to Buddha, it was believed that when the world was formed Indra drove a sacrificial stake through the malleable earth causing ‘water of life’ to issue forth.

    Buddha compares his religion to a boat and Jesus was known as a ship. The typical Buddhist church has a nave and side aisles endings in an apse. The altar room in the shape of an octagon is also found first in Buddhism, besides being mentioned in the Surangama sutra the Buddhist octagon is the same as their wheel with eight spokes and its relation to the yupa and Indra-killa has already been mentioned. Also noted here is that the Arabesque floral designs in early Christian churches must have been borrowed from a Buddhist land because the same is found in Buddhist countries from China to Japan. In my paper on the Buddhist influence on the Goths I show the same complicated floral design, specifically with the crest symbol, appears first in Buddhist art. I also show that the majority of ancient Gothic art can be traced to Buddhist hands, these Goths also worshiped Virupaksa, or the “Lion Hero of the West”. After breaking his fast, Buddha was said to sit under the east side of the Bodhi tree facing west (to battle the Devil Mara) Holger Kersten has examined a Zoroastrian site in Turkey associated with several Antioch kings and known to Apollonius which features the future Zoroastrian hero facing west.

  29. Use your frontal lobes
    Well, there’s more piece of evidence that Jesus really existed! ((YAAAAwn) One would think that the most important man in history would have done a little writing or had someone write on his behalf. To me, this new discovery is nothing more than someone discovering another copy of an edited copy of a tale told by a mad man signifying nothing. To others, it is evidence that God loves you and if you don’t believe that He’ll torture you for eternity.

    Never underestimate the dangerous irrationality of the human species. They’re prone to instinctual irrationality for some reason. That’s why homo sapiens need laws and the other species on the axis don’t. Without laws we’d cease to exist as a species because homo sapiens are prone to impulse that is rooted in sex and violence. (Freud- Civilization and It’s Discontents)

  30. It’s a fraud–or a hoax.
    Acharya,

    You are confusing two, maybe three, different things.

    1) This electronic image of a fragment of a hand-copy of Codex Sinaiticus;

    2) A papyrus fragment of Mark dated paleographically to the first century;

    3) The “original Greek” of what is now known as Mark’s gospel.

    Inasmuch as only the first thing is available to look at, I’ll restrict my comments to it. It’s a letter-for-letter hand-copy of Codex Sinaiticus. Age? Almost certainly 21st century. Call it a fraud, or a hoax, or whatever–but it has nothing to do with the other two things.

    1. I’m sorry, but I don’t follow what you’re saying. There’s nothing confused here. I took an image of the supposed fragment, put the letters thereon in typeface and included a column from the Codex Sinaiticus of the relevant passages in Mark. I did so in order to show that the fragment was indeed from the relevant verses at Mark.

      There’s nothing confusing or confused about it.

  31. Revelations!
    I love Acharya’s articles and the comment threads that follow. I always wind up with a head-slapping moment of clarity from some source and wind up thinking, “Why didn’t I connect this-with-that! It’s right there!” Thanks to everyone for great thought-provoking excercises. Looking forward to my next epiphany.

  32. to Thor
    It’s called thinking and requires a lifetime of study and interaction with interesting people. Try it sometime.

  33. Gospel mof Mark
    I find it interesting that many reject it outright. That is an indication of either a closed mind or .. well never mind.

    I have seen arguments about Uncial script, yet such existed in the 1st century as is known.

    Others will take the potential range to the extreme end to reject it, yet ignore that it could easily fit within the needed time frame.

    Some descend to ad hominem attacks as though a man of faith cannot tell the truth,l but those with no faith can????? Typical; when no real argument actually exists, so denigrate the supporters.

    Even by some who evidently have a decent knowledge of the language and seem to be willing to dismiss it, with marginal evidence against it.

    Many just heap scorn it with their own unsubstantiated opinions.

    Question it, challenge it, but what I have read from many seems to be motivated by an urgent desire to discredit it so that even if true it can’t support anything that disagrees with their position.

    So far the wisest course is simply to see what is found by the scholars who are investigation it and then address, dare I say it, the facts.

    1. ^Response posted at the forum
      ^To spare you all the redundancy- [url]http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=24903#p24903[/url]

  34. Reject or accept it for what it is?
    What it is, is a fragment of a document. One way or the other, it’s not likely to be ‘earth-shattering’ proof either way. A thousand years from now, if someone finds a handwitten page from the Lord of the Rings it’s not going to prove that Hobbits were real.

  35. Fraggle Rock Ments
    Well done Dan Hopkins. Well Done!

    I’m not interested in the ‘new fragment’, as the story it symbolizes is as old as the world.

    Remember, Jesus was not surnamed ‘Christ’. ‘The Christ’ is a ‘Principle’, not a surname. I see many ‘Christs’ prior to 0AD.
    And no doubt, there will be others in the future.

    What is this incarnated ‘Principle’? How does one achieve it? How does it work?

    And the ‘Man’ hollowed out in the ‘Great Pyramid’ is placed in the Eastern Pyramid, facing West. “The Boats” x 2 ‘sistole’, ‘distole’

    I love Rick’s reply to Thor above 🙂 Great Posts…

  36. Hi Tim, Acharya has not made any claim that the image above of a fragment of Mark 5:15-18 is of the fragment Dr. Wallace et al are talking about. So, it has nothing to do with any prejudice. We are all waiting to find out which scripture of Mark it may be and hopefully an accurate date, including Acharya S.

    Paleography does have a tolerance of +/- 25 to 50 years so, her point with that is simply that Paleography alone will most likely not be able to pin-point a precise date.

    A major problem is that these types of hyperbolic religious claims have a habit of being pushed throughout that pesky lame stream liberal media just before Easter. I would not be surprised if this new fragment turns out to be a 2nd or 3rd century fragment.

  37. You obviously haven’t even read my conclusions supposedly based on my “prejudices.” Nor have you evidently read the stories about this supposed discovery, since Wallace most clearly HAS enthusiastically stated – on his own website ([url]http://www.dts.edu/read/wallace-new-testament-manscript-first-century/[/url]) – that a world-renowned paleographer dated the find to the first century. To wit, Wallace says:

    [quote]I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year… But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

    It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century….

    Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel….

    But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection![/quote]
    Moreover, as Pastor Pete says above, I clearly state that this image is “claimed” and “purported” to be the papyrus fragment in question. (I added “but not yet verified.” ) So far, no one has disproved that claim – if it’s not the pertinent fragment, what it is? Identification would take care of the issue.

    [i]You [/i]are jumping to conclusions based on [i]your [/i]prejudices, apparently.

  38. I think you’ve got the wrong papyrus in your graph
    I’ve heard Mr. Wallace interviewed and he claims the papyri have not been make public, so I question whether you have an actual picture of a part of the find in question. Wallace was very guarded when asked about it’s date and didn’t make any clear claims on its dating, saying the paleography is an inexact method and open to interpretation. You are jumping to conclusions based on your prejudices.

  39. Unique Attributes of Jesus’ Biography
    Objective analysis of an issue typically includes mining the raw data for clues to support alternative hypotheses. Certainly a great deal of research has evidenced Old and New Testament borrowing of preexisting mythology. Has anyone performed an objective search for, and analysis of, unique and unprecedented elements of Judeo Christian texts?

    For instance, is there a precedent for “Passover” in earlier traditions, or the taking of communion with bread as the flesh of a man and wine as his blood? References to love and forgiveness can be attributed to Buddha or Confucius, but can’t one argue credibly that some of the teachings of Jesus and elements of his purported biography are philosophically significant and unprecedented?

    Who else proclaimed with such clarity and conciseness “He without sin cast the first stone … Render to Caesar those things that are Caesar’s … Love your enemies”?

    Is there an academic argument to be made in favor of spiritually relevant and distinctly unique Judeo Christian rituals, acts and teachings? If such work is published, please direct me to it.

    Regards,

    Joe Morin

  40. Anubis & Bata, also called S-K in Tale of two Brot

    The Buddhists were taught to practice full smrti when eating, normally the word means reflection, in the sence that Socrates speaks of a baby being able to remember in Phaebo, but the Buddhist sense if reflecting on Buddha, and so the Chinese have translated to Sanskrit smrti as such.

    The Buddhist texts are filled with instances of Buddha offering his body up for food, previously I have pointed out that their famous Hare Jataka spread to the ancient Americas and that the Goths would adapt it to their myth of Rahu eclipsing the sun which has formed our “Jack and Jill” rhyme. Originally the fable taught young children not to drink to much mead, typical Buddhist moral.

    In the Buddhist legends there are also many instances of Buddha, or his disciples donating their eyes which occurs in the Sumedha Jataka and in Sama Jatakas. In the later Jataka, after the virgin birth of the Bodsat, his parents get attacked by a naga’s sweat (which is said to smell like death on a stick) and are blinded, they ask “what sin have we committed”, for the gospel reference look it up, or buy the book!

    As Jesus advises to pull out your eye if it offend thee probably referenced passion, as “looking at another’s wife with impure thoughts”. This meaning also is found in the Buddhist texts associated with the pulling out of the eyes.

    Early modern writers on the many Buddhist/Christian parallels often point out as a notable parallel the act of plucking out ones eye which is found in both faiths. As a Buddhist source, I have seen several authors cite Buddhaghosa and his story about a woman who comments to a Buddhist monk, “Blessed are those who look into your eyes”. The monk plucks out his eye and responds to her, “this eye?”. But the act of plucking out an eye is a reoccurring image in Buddhism and is found in the earliest of Buddhsim. In the Rukmavati Avadana, a bird eats the eye of a monk who remains still and is happy that he could feed the hungry bird. Some Christian apologists only cite Asvaghosa’s line attributed to Buddha , “better by far with red-hot iron pins bore out both your eyes, than encourage in yourself lustful thoughts”-. Also there is a Pali account of a certain nun named Subha where again the moral is around lustful thinking;

    “Plucking out her lovely eye,
    with mind unattached
    she felt no regret”-Subha Jivakambavanika, Thig 14:1

    Next, as proof that Jesus’ recommendation was first a Buddhist act of donating organs (or flesh for food”) I will quote a paragraph from the Avatamasaka sutra

    “Great enlightening beings give their eyes to those who come and ask for them, just as the enlightening beings Gladdening Practice, Moonlights King, and countless others gave theirs. When great enlightening beings give their eyes, they arouse a pure mind to give eyes; they arouse the mind of the eye of pure knowledge, a mind resting on the light of truth”

    In the previous text, in the chapter titled Ten Dedications, there are many stories about Buddhists donating organs, skin, and teeth, etc.. Jesus only recommends removing two organs, the eye and the male organ (Matthew 19:12, prohibited by the Jews). Seemingly contradicting this is that the Buddha never recommended cutting off the male organ, in fact, on one occasion it is recorded that the Buddha’s monks told him of a monk who cut off his penis in order to quell his lust, the Buddha replies, “That monk cut off the wrong thing!” Although Jesus recommends, or suggests, pulling out eyes and male castration, I am willing to accept that he meant not to tempt his listeners rather scare them. Nonetheless, as many early and modern Christians have castrated themselves we should consider that Jesus’ metaphorical speech was taken literally (ex. “this bread is my body”). And for this we have to blame the vagueness and open-endedness of Jesus’ speech and the gospels in general. Although one could argue that the spirit of Jesus’ teachings stood against abortion but we have no direct condemnation of such acts which were specifically forbidden in Buddhism and with the Greek doctors.

    Also, here it is noted that the legend around Asoka’s lotus-eyed son (Kunala) having his eyes torn out can be found in a variety of early European tales. Again, space only permits a brief summary: Probably the best known of these versions is the Merchant’s Tale, or in the Persian Bahar Danush, where a husband blinded with lust, is said to lose his sight and only regains his vision when he challenges a man in a pear tree (Jujube), which was allegory for gaining vision, or enlightenment, under the Bodhi tree. Other versions mention a “pear tree” which is an important tree in the Kunala Jataka which is not related to Asoka’s son Kunala. This is only mentioned because the massive Jatakas themselves were a pallet from which Buddhist missionaries would fabricate new stories suitable to their cultural location. Another possible coloring comes after the virgin birth of the Buddha in the Sama Jataka which has many parallels with the Gospels (also Odin pulls his eye out to offer it to the Ash tree nectar). Also in this story there is a naga who blinds Buddha’s parents under a tree. Next, comes a line that was changed to suit John 9; “My eyes are gone, what former sin have we committed?” They were blinded because in a former life they applied an ointment to a patient’s eye causing him to go blind. As in this story Buddha is killed by a poisonous arrow and resurrected after his parents forgave the executioner, the Sama Jataka also has parallels with Krishna’s death and the spear said to jab Jesus.

    In my book I show that the Ash tree of Odin was the Asvatha tree which was the Buddhist influenced Brahmins tree for Krishna. It was also the Bodhi tree, or the Pipal tree (Peepal – hind), or the Piphala, or, Bo-phala, or the Popl-ier, or the Pipal{of} Arya, or Buddha. Showing how “popular” the tree was, is that it is from this tree that we have our word “people” and the Buddhists represented all beings with the poplar tree, or with grass, this was used in Isaiah 44.

    I also show how the Greek mythology after 500 B.C. is built on Buddhist allegory and here I will point to Zeus Ash tree (Asvatha) which the leaves are always restless and the same was said of the Pipal and Poplar tree. Jesus curses the poplar also found with Budd, etc, etc..

    Much more in the Book “Jesus’ Godama sources”

  41. unbelief
    Ms. Murdoch… I do not understand how an atheist can comment on a document she doesn’t believe in the first place. If you ever are allowed, trusted by the Lord Himself with truth, and happen to be allowed to see a demonic spirit, you will never forget it or ever not believe again. I too was an unbeliever (in unclean spirits controlling and influencing others) until a another Jesus follower who had been allowed to see this, prayed i would and i DID. Won’t relate a story you wouldn’t believe anyway.

    1. Thank you.

      I don’t identify myself as an “atheist” per se, so not only is your assessment incorrect, but also it is irrelevant. Are you suggesting that only Christians can see the truth and determine the facts about this text?

      Well, I was born and raised a Christian for over 25 years, and a born-again Christian for a short while – does that qualify me to comment? In fact, chances are I was a Christian before you were born. My maternal grandfather’s lineage comes from Christian proselytizers arriving in the U.S. from England in 1630, in response to the call from the Pilgrims to send missionaries to convert the “heathen” natives.

      My 24th great-grandfather and mother were the Christian King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Christianity in my family runs back to the earliest times in Europe. My genetics are thus steeped in Christian understanding, which I bring to bear in my analyses.

      In any event, people all over the world are commenting on texts, inscriptions and assorted other artifacts that they don’t believe in and have never seen in person. If that practice were not common, scholarship in practically all fields would come to a screeching halt.

  42. New paradigm?
    Is the instruction “He without sin, cast the first stone” with precedent?

  43. Whether or not Homer existed is irrelevant. Many people accept that “Homer” could have been a conglomerate of individuals who created the exquisite Greek poetry of the Odyssey and Iliad over a period of centuries, taking its formal shape during the 9th century BCE.

    Moreover, during Homer’s era there were far fewer historians running around writing biographies. No one was claiming Homer had magical powers that caused him to be known far and wide, like the some two dozens passages in the New Testament that assert Jesus was famous throughout the known world. Even with all this purported hype, there is no contemporary record of such an individual, although, unlike Homer’s time, this era was one of the best documented in history.

    Also, no one is fighting wars over Homer. No one is following him zealously, often to the point of violent defense. So, whether or not he existed as a single person doesn’t affect us.

    What the issue of Homer as a possible conglomerate [i]does [/i]demonstrate is that this sort of thing was fairly common in antiquity. Another example would be the centuries of texts, traditions and doctrines pseudepigraphically attributed to the mythical figure “Hermes Trismegistus.” We are merely claiming that the “Jesus Christ” of the New Testament and Christian tradition is yet another of these conglomerate figures.

  44. What I think
    Acharya, I just want to say that I’m so pleased I’ve found you!
    Thank you very much for your will to enlightenment humankind!!!

  45. Credibility
    One of the hallmarks of honest debate and an honest journalist is to admit when you’ve made a mistake and to correct it.

    With that said, Acharya has done incredible damage to herself and her credibility by not acknowledging that the fragment that she has analyzed is [u][b]NOT[/b][/u] the fragment that has been discovered.

    Acharya has known this for quite some time now, but she has not posted or amended anything to note this.

    To be honest, I was quite interested in what the “freethinkers” had to say about this discovery.

    Now I am left with the impression that these people and this movement are just plain dishonest and really have no interest in truthfulness and honest debate.

    Very sad.

    1. LMAO!

      Who does this joker think he is? “DPierre” is some Catholic fanatic named “David F. Pierre.”

      Of course he’s going to trash somebody who’s disproving his stupid religion. He defends the Catholic Church against sex abuse charges!

      http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Priests-Falsely-Accused-Stories/dp/1466425334 ([url]http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Priests-Falsely-Accused-Stories/dp/1466425334[/url])

  46. DPierre, had you actually read the blog you would’ve noticed where she makes it clear that the image of the Mark passage has not yet been verified as THE fragment. She made no such claims so, before crying foul and going off about “[i]credibility[/i]” you may want to check yourself first.

    Acharya: [quote]On our forum, an image was posted that is claimed – [b][size=x-large]but not yet verified[/b] – to be the fragment in question…[/size][/quote]
    So, the question now is, do YOU have the integrity and character to admit that you just jumped the gun and made a sloppy and egregious error with your false accusation tossed at Acharya? We shall see who’s really “[i]dishonest[/i]” and “[i]interested in truthfulness and honest debate[/i].”

  47. speculation on reason why Mark’s Gospel written.
    This is just a speculation on the rationale behind the composition of Mark’s Gospel, on the popular view that it was the first Gospel, composed about 70AD. It has struck me for a long time that the opening of the Gospel comes across as self-consciously apologetic. It opens not with a nativity tale of Jesus, but with a story of someone called John instead.

    Most authorities seem to agree that John the Immerser was a real and authentic historical character, regardless of how his image was manipulated in mythical fashion by later factions with special interests.
    Anyway, the opening chapter of the Gospel reads to me something like this. ‘You all know about John the ‘Baptist’, and acknowledge his historical authenticity. Yes, well here we retell the popular story about him. But what you DONT know (and curiously that no-one seems to recall!!!) is that at the same time as John lived, there was ANOTHER Jewish religious teacher who was actually more important than John. And here is his story…..’

    And so from then on, a fabricated tale follows about Jesus of ‘Nazareth’ is put forward, for whom of course, there is absolutely no documented contemporary historical evidence. And both in this Gospel and the following ones, there is a whole series of incidents and suspicious admissions that ‘prove’ the superiority of Jesus over John.

    would anyone care to comment on this suggestion?

  48. Demon of Gedara and the Swine
    Obviously not a Jewish or Samaritan crowd in that narrative. Or is driving the herd of porkers (“trafe”, unclean) into the water suppose to encrypt some sly Hellenist parody against those persnickety Jews that haven’t the grace or decency to dine with them ?

  49. New article by Acharya S, 1-20-2015:

    Egyptian mummy mask discovered to contain verses from the Bible
    http://www.examiner.com/article/egyptian-mummy-mask-discovered-to-contain-verses-from-the-bible

  50. Well, unless you think that “Bible-thumpers” have the ability to mentally control the Carbon-14 tests that have now come out, it looks like you will have to reassess your conclusions.

    1. Not at all. In case you missed it the first time around, carbon-14 dating has an error range of + or – 80-150, so this purported papyrus fragment could date to the late second or early third century.

      For more information, see my latest article on this artifact:

      http://www.examiner.com/article/egyptian-mummy-mask-discovered-to-contain-verses-from-the-bible

      Things are not what they are being hyped to be.

  51. So, it is late January, 2017. Has the so-called first century fragment of the gospel of Mark been published yet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2015 Freethought Nation, Acharya S, D.M. Murdock & Stellar House Publishing
Skysa App Bar