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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:11 pm 
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Modern Scholarship Confirming Christ Conspiracy Contentions

I'm starting this thread with the hope that anyone who has come across good, modern scholarship which backs up contentions in the earlier edition of Christ Con or other mythicist works will post said resources here.

To get the balling rolling, here are some texts I'm listing in the Christ Con revision itself, in the preface, as confirming important aspects of my research. I will continue to update this list, which serves as the partial basis for a mythicist studies curriculum.

It should be noted that few of these individuals are declared mythicists; nor do I concur necessarily with all of their research. Some of them, such as William Walker's book, I haven't studied yet, so it may be removed down the line if it's not what I thought it was.

Anahita: Ancient Persian Goddess and Zoroastrian Yazata edited by Dr. Payam Nabarz
Buddha and Christ by Dr. Zacharias P. Thundy
Buddhism’s Relation to Christianity by Dr. Michael Lockwood
Forged by Dr. Bart Ehrman
Interpolations in the Pauline Letters by Dr. William Walker
Jesus: Neither God Nor Man by Earl Doherty
Osiris: Death and Afterlife of A God by Dr. Bojana Mojsov
Parallels: Mesoamerican and Middle Eastern Traditions by Diane E. Wirth
Pygmy Kitabu by Jean-Pierre Hallet
Religion Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah by Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou and Rev. Dr. John Barton
Riddle of the Resurrection by Dr. Tryggve Mettinger
The Bible Unearthed by Dr. Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman
The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark by Dr. Dennis R. MacDonald
The Jesus the Jews Never Knew by Frank Zindler
The Mysteries of Mithra by Dr. Payam Nabarz
The Pre-Nicene New Testament by Dr. Robert M. Price
Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquities by Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso
Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel by Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor

Please feel free to post other texts here you feel will be useful in this quest.

Also, I am collecting PDFs of copyright-free texts that are useful resources for mythicist studies. I will be making these texts available on a Christ Con/Jesus Myth study-guide DVD.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:47 pm 
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I've added Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah to the list above. This book by Oxford scholars Dr. Francesca and Rev. Dr. John Barton validates many of the claims in my chapter "The Myth of Hebrew Monotheism."

Here are a couple of nice juicy quotes that pretty much describe the ancient nature-worship and astrotheology in a nutshell.

From p. 28:

Quote:
As a rule, ancient Near Eastern religions were polytheistic, and the religions of Judah and Israel were no exception....

Since life in Syria-Palestine depended on rainfall, the most important role within the panthea was held by the weather god, who was reponsible for the lives of human beings, animals and vegetation... Well-known names of the weather god included Baal, Addu/Haddu and also YHWH. The female companion of the weather god was conceived as a mother goddess: here the goddesses Hepat, Shala and Asherah can be named.

Other important deities included Dagan, a god of the underworld and of grain; Rashpu, who was responsible for pestilence and also for protecting against pestilence; the sun god or sun goddesses, who was the god of justice and righteousness; and the moon god, who was responsible for all aspects of fertility. Deities of minor rank included artisan gods, messenger gods, spirits and demons, and also the kings who underwent divinization after their death.

The king was believed to be the son of the highest god and, as such, functioned as the deity's earthly governor....

As we can see, the pantheon is geared towards propitiating gods appropriate for the environs. Because this area tends to be arid and dry, the rain/weather god is the highest, rather than the sun god, who beats down more heat, adding to the problem. When the tribes are warring, gods like Yahweh become dominant.

This pattern of gods and goddesses adapted to or emphasized because of a particular environment is common throughout the world and represents a logical extension of religious/mystical thought. It is, in fact, one of the interesting aspects of the history of religion, as developed over the past several thousand years.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:26 pm 
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Egyptian Origin of the Book of Revelation - by John H. C. Pippy PhD.

http://www.revorigin.com/

"
Abstract:

This treatise compares a variety of well-known religious texts from ancient Egypt with scenes described in Christianity's Book of Revelation: texts include the Amduat; the Book of Gates; Books of the Heavens; Book of Caverns; Book of the Dead; Book of the Divine Cow and several others. Parallels found included the characteristics of all the main characters (e.g., Egypt's Apophis = Revelation's Satan), situations and activities in individual scenes (e.g., judgment scenes) as well as similar sequences of scenes (e.g., sequence from 2nd to 12th Divisions of the Book of Gates is similar to that of most Revelation's chapters 15-21). An especially remarkable similar sequence is that found between the 4th Division of the Amduat (which deals with the sun-god's perils along the torturous, zig-zag route through the Land of Sokar) and the 13th chapter of Revelation (which deals with the Revelation's 1st and 2nd beasts and the image of the 1st beast). It is concluded that almost all the major passages in the Book of Revelation have Egyptian parallels and can readily be interpreted from an Egyptian perspective. These include many parallel religious beliefs (found in the Book of the Dead and elsewhere) as well as catastrophic events known to have occurred in ancient Egypt. This research thus suggests that important religious texts from Egypt have played a pivotal role in the composition of the Book of Revelation. Its references to certain place-name, deities and events apparently represent corruptions of the book's original text -- text most likely penned in Egypt by a non-Egyptian author -- and an entire redacted version was later adopted into Christianity's corpus of literature."


"Target Audience: Primarily Egyptologists, although extensive ancient Egyptian backgrounds to most topics are provided to facilitate understanding by archeologists, Bible scholars and others with a special interest in Egyptology and ancient Christian literature."


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Gods in the Desert: Religions of the Ancient Near East by Dr. Glenn Holland
http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Desert-Religions-Ancient-Near/dp/0742562263

Quote:
"But what can we say about the religious influence of Egypt, Mesopotamia,
and Syria–Palestine at the beginning of the first century BCE, before the Roman
conquest? Perhaps most important, the goddess Isis became the central
deity of a mystery religion more widespread than any other in the ancient
Mediterranean world. The relevant aspects of Isis’s divine character for her mystery rituals were first her role in Osiris’s death and resurrection and second
her protection of Horus, both as a child and in his contests with Seth.
Together these mythic roles represented Isis’s power over life and death and
maternal love for those who made themselves her devotees."


Quote:
"Belief in divine recompense after death also necessitated a belief in resurrection,
the return of the body to life. The Jews, like the other peoples of
Syria–Palestine as well as the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians, believed
the self could not exist in any real sense apart from the body—this was why
those in Sheol were mere shadows. “Life” in any real sense necessarily meant
the life enjoyed as an embodied person. In the resurrection, the shades of
those chosen to “awake . . . to everlasting life” would be reunited with their
dead bodies, bodies given life once again by the divine breath/spirit."


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:00 am 
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Excellent stuff. Seems like some mainstream American academics are feeling empowered to speak the truth these days, possibly catching up with their European colleagues? Of course, they dare not go as far as so many in Europe who are more mythicistically inclined, so to speak.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:48 pm 
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False Witnesses: Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius

Here's another important new one from the European mythicist school, passed along to me by Dr. Christian Lindtner, whose own mythicist work in German should be added to the list. I've confined the books above to English, obviously, but we need a list of non-English mythicist titles as well.

Falsche Zeugen (False Witness) by Dr. Hermann Detering

I've run the German book promo page for through Google Translate and then cleaned it up a bit.

Quote:
False Witnesses
Extrabiblical Jesus Testimonies on Trial

Did Jesus really live? According to most theologians and historians, the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth is attested clearly by not only Christian but also non-Christian sources. Appealed to in particular as "key witnesses" are the ancient historians Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius as well as the Roman writer and governor of Bithynia, Pliny the Younger.

Modern methods of investigation, however, let shine the origins of Christianity in a new light. Is the section about the "wise man" Jesus really from the pen of Josephus? Was there really persecution of Christians under Emperor Nero? Is the "Chrestus" of Suetonius [reference] to Jesus? Are the "Christians- letters" of the younger Pliny at all authentic?

It turns out that the alleged "Jesus testimony" can testify to neither a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor to the existence of early Christianity in the first century. The negative historical results raise the question of the significance of history for the Christian faith.

From the Contents

Christian interpolations in Josephus * Tacitus: The burning of Rome and the "Neronian persecution of Christians" * Pliny the Younger - Persecution of Christians in Bithynia * life and work of the younger Pliny * Suetonius: Christ in Rome, Suetonius and his biographies of Roman emperors * Mara bar Serapion: the "wise king" * Thallus: A reference to the Passion story * The silence of non-Christian sources

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Here is a new review of Detering's book by Lindtner, edited and annotated by me.

Quote:
Dr. Detering's False Witnesses
by Dr. Christian Lindtner

Pope Benedikt XVI has stated what is, of course, the official view of all bishops, priests, theologians and orthodox Christians all around the world, namely: "Jesus is not a myth, he is a man of flesh and blood, he stands as a reality in history."

But can we really rely on the Pope in this regard? Is his opinion based merely on faith, or on sound scholarship? Can we be sure that this Pope is honest? Even the most critical Protestant theologians cling to a historical Jesus, e.g. Bultmann: "To doubt that Jesus really existed is unfounded, and not even worth a word of refutation."

But there are others who think otherwise and who will have nothing of such papal arrogance.

In Germany there was, for instance, Arthur Drews, and now there is, above all, Dr. Hermann Detering. In his new book, Falsche Zeugen: Ausserchristliche Jesuszeugnisse auf dem Prüfstand, Dr. Detering reviews the external non-Christian testimonies for Jesus, i.e., the well-known passages from Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius, as well as the less-known Mara bar Serapion and Thallus.

Dr. Detering's method is historical and philological, reminding us of the great Eduard Norden. All views expressed by German and foreign theologians, all pros and cons are taken into consideration. Detering's judgment is always informed, fair and mature.

The passage on Chrestus in Suetonius has nothing to do with Jesus known as Christus.

The remaining passages in Josephus etc. are shown, very convincingly and with many fine philological observations, to be later Christian interpolations.

The motive for making these interpolations is also obvious. Once they had decided to turn their mythical hero into a historical person, they had to fabricate evidence in support. And so they did. When have Christians, starting with Paul, have any problem with pia fraus [pious fraud], if good for the church?

It is, therefore, wrong of theologians to claim that we here have external evidence for the historicity of Jesus called Christ.

Dr. Detering does not deal with the internal evidence of the NT. To him, however, Christianity still retains a symbolic value, even if Jesus is just a myth, for: "The incarnation of the Logos is a grandiose religious idea." If looked upon as a historical fact that took place in the years 1-30, it becomes an intellectual monster.

For a historian who is familiar with Hellenistic religions and has no apologetic axe to grind, it ought to be fairly obvious that there is no solid internal evidence in the NT to support any claim of a historical Jesus. There were numerous "sons of God" in those days, and Jesus is just one of them. Nor should there be any doubt about the true identity of his heavenly father, ho patêr ho ouranios, i.e. Zeus.

When the Greeks spoke of the God, "ho theos," they meant Zeus. Zeus had many sons, typically called kings (anax, basileus), and Jesus is his Jewish son, and king of Israel. Mary was, alas, not the only virgin with whom Zeus had a son, as all theologians ought to keep in mind.

But theologians will want to ignore all these simple and obvious facts. They will want to ignore the excellent detective work of Dr. Detering, just as they ignored or defamed the work of Arthur Drews, and just as they have decided to ignore the fact that "the Greek of the New Testament (is) a patchwork of various passages from Buddhist scriptures, originally written in Sanskrit and Pâli" (Michael Lockwood, Buddhism's Relation to Christianity, Chennai 2010, p. 250).

If we share Dr. Detering's faith in the incarnation of the Logos as a grandiose religious idea, this must also imply a greater openness in regard to other Hellenistic religions, for we are here dealing with ideas that have Orphic and Pythagorean roots.

That, however, is another topic, about which one would like to hear more from Dr. Detering.

One of the very few things I missed in Dr. Detering's book was a discussion of Hadrian's letter to Servianus, where the Roman emperor (117-138) writes:...illic qui Serapim colunt, Christiani sunt et deuoti sunt Serapi, qui se Christi episcopos dicunt, etc. ["Those who worship Serapis are Christians, and these are those devoted to the service of Serapis, who call themselves the bishops of Christ."]

The contents of this letter does not suggest a later interpolatio christiana. Nor can it be taken as evidence of a historical Christ, rather on the contrary.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:31 pm 
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The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur

Quote:
This is Harpur's most radical and groundbreaking work to date, in which he digs deep into the origins of Christianity and how the early Christian church covered up all attempts to reveal the Bible as myth.

What began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists. As he reconsiders a lifetime of worship and study, Harpur reveals a cosmic faith built on these truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become.


Quote:
Amazon: Book Description
http://www.amazon.com/Pagan-Christ-Reco ... 0802714498
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
A provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.

For forty years, scholar and religious commentator Tom Harpur has challenged church orthodoxy and guided thousands of readers on subjects as controversial as the true nature of Christ and life after death. Now, in his most radical and groundbreaking work, Harpur digs deep into the origins of Christianity.

Long before the advent of Jesus Christ, the Egyptians and other peoples believed in the coming of a messiah, a virgin birth, a madonna and her child, and the incarnation of the spirit in flesh. While the early Christian church accepted these ancient truths as the very basis of Christianity, it disavowed their origins. What had begun as a universal belief system built on myth and allegory was transformed, by the third and fourth centuries A.D., into a ritualistic institution based on a literal interpretation of myths and symbols. But, as Tom Harpur argues in The Pagan Christ, "to take the Gospels literally as history or biography is to utterly miss their inner spiritual meaning."

At a time of religious extremism, Tom Harpur reveals the virtue of a cosmic faith based on ancient truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: Our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become. The Pagan Christ is a book of rare insight and power that will reilluminate the Bible and change the way we think about religion.


Most favored review wrote:
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful:
Review - The Pagan Christ, December 13, 2007
By Steven Nixon
This review is from: The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light (Hardcover)
Recently the CBC in Canada aired a program which examined the views put forward by Theologian Tom Harpur in his bestselling book - The Pagan Christ. Harpur's book challenged the literalist view of Christianity and it is not the first time this position has been brought to light.

The mythological figure of the dead and resurrected god-man have long been exposed as universal myth motif that has been enshrined by a long list of cultures predating Christianity as we know it today. The universality of this motif has been meticulously documented, not only by Harpur and one of his main references Gerald Massey, but also the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and more recently Joseph Campbell. Jung wrote a detailed account of the origins of Christian myth motifs in "Symbols of Transformation" first compiled in 1920. He was later followed by Joseph Campbell whose most recognized work amongst many was "The Hero With A Thousand Faces".

Massey's comparative examination of Christian religon and Egyptian myth produced a staggering number of points of comparison - roughly two hundred in number. His entire volume works are freely available online for examination. While the documentary focused mainly on the Egyptian figures of the Horus and Isis, they could have extended the list to many more mythological figures that share the same characteristics. A detailed comparative examination is included in Harpur's book and reveals a list that includes Tammuz, Adonis, Mithras, Dionysus, Krishna, amongst many others shared these key characteristics that are attributed exclusively to Christ - miraculous births, turning water into wine, death and resurrection, a spiritual leader accompanied by twelve disciples, to name only a few. Many of these motifs are not only confined to the Mediteranean cultures but can been seen in north american myths as well pointing to the fact that they are products of human imagination that attempt in symbolic form to enshrine the immeasurable value of the human spirit.

This spirit is viewed as the life force found in the human emotion of love and is in many cultures extended to be the source of a broader range of qualtities that include creativity, memory and in some instances the very "the seat of intelligence". The journey of the archetypical hero in all of these myths was an attempt to enshrine the journey of self-discovery in stories so that they would inspire this inward journey and in turn draw the power of this force outward to the benefit of society.

The path of literalism has left humanity and our collective psyche in a state of fragmentation by obsessing over the tribal peacock feathers of cultural forms and led us to our present deplorable state that can nowhere be seen more clearly in the eternal Greek tragedy of the middle east where the world's great religons face off in the endless insanity of war while they defend mythological belief structures that were originally intended to unite humanity by recognizing the common element of the human spirit, or as Joeseph Campbell aptly put it "they're dying for metaphors".

Harper's work is an attempt to draw those people whose adoration of the beauty and power of the human spirit has been lost in the outward projected symbolic forms of religon. The release of the outer forms is the first step in the journey to rediscover what myths were originally intended to represent - the inward journey of self-discovery. To inspire this journey is the goal of Harpur's book. The book is not anti-christian and the idea that it is anti-christian leaves one with great concern as to whether his critics even opened it. Harpur is not requesting that readers dismiss the human spirit, but embrace it on the hopes that as a species we can more forward united and in peace.

Steve - Toronto


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:00 am 
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For what it's worth, I have a thread about Harper's book addressing the usual criticisms here Tom Harper, Ward Gasque & Christ in Egypt

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:51 pm 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jesus_Mysteries

The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? is a 1999 book by British authors Timothy Freke, a philosophy and religions scholar, and Peter Gandy a classics scholar.

wiki wrote:
When the BBC approached N. T. Wright, asking him to debate Freke and Gandy concerning their thesis in The Jesus Mysteries, Wright replied that "this was like asking a professional astronomer to debate with the authors of a book claiming the moon was made of green cheese."[5]


ETA: I added the Wright comment to illustrate the hostile reception provided by entrenched mainstream opinion towards soundly argued new scholarship. It is a shame that Wright has such a flimsy grasp of the nature of evidence to compare his theological claims with empirical science. Christianity is not like astronomy, it is based on texts that have no objective validation.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:24 pm 
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Thanks, Robert.

Harpur's book is good as far as it goes, and it's important because he is a well-respected member of mainstream academia with a background in Christianity, serving as a Christian priest/theologian.

That being said, the work is not really groundbreaking or representative of "deep research." He is mostly rehashing Massey and Albert Churchward, et al., which is fine again for the reason in the first paragraph. But without my Christ in Egypt backing up Massey and the rest, Harpur's simply been shredded in the typical manner and ignored.

Harpur's work is a good backup of the same material I've publicized in my earlier works.

Here I'm very interested in citing material from completely different sources, especially historical/philological analysis from modern scholars who may not even know about the mythicist case, such as the texts above, which demonstrate individual themes included in the original edition of Christ Con. I marvel at how much well-researched scholarly material has come out since my book was published that demonstrates or essentially proves so many themes therein.

I know I'm missing a slew more, but, once again, the revision is ballooning out of control!

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:21 pm 
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Yesterday I bought a copy of Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization by Martin Bernal, Professor Emeritus of Government and Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. This book provoked major controversy regarding 'Afrocentric' hypotheses.

Websites
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Athena
http://www.theafrican.com/Magazine/Athena/intro.htm
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Athena-Afro ... roduct_top

In reading the introduction, I was struck by how Bernal's argument provides important support for the arguments of Christ Conspiracy and Christ in Egypt. He gives a detailed explanation of the racist motives for the construction of the modern "Aryan" view of Greek origins in the nineteenth century. Instead of the modern received prejudice, Bernal examines the neglected topic of Egyptian contribution to Greek civilization and outlines the evidence of systematic suppression.

I was recently debating the KRST anointing motif from Egypt, as explained by Massey and in CIE. Bernal's observation that there is far more Egyptian influence than is generally understood provides a strong support for a new paradigm regarding western history, language and identity.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:02 pm 
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Here's another good one.

Early Christianity and Ancient Astrology

Here's the summary:

Quote:
Early Christianity and Ancient Astrology explores a variety of responses to astrology, the most popular form of divination among early Christians in Greco-Roman antiquity. After a brief overview of ancient astrological theory and a survey of polemical responses to it, this book documents instances in which early Christian writers and communities incorporated astrology positively into their beliefs and practices. This study is of interest to students of early Christianity and of Greco-Roman religion and to those concerned with interfaith relations or with issues of Christian unity and diversity. It is particularly recommended for use in courses on the history of Christianity and on the religions of Greco-Roman antiquity.

Note especially Part B (p. 195ff): "Early Christian Accommodation of Astrology"

Quote:
It has been generally thought that early Christianity was ardently opposed to astrology right from the beginning. However, there are numerous examples of early Christian writers and groups which held more or less positive views of astrology and which found ways to accommodate elements of astrology within their theological systems.

Of course, we would contend that much more of early Christianity is astrological - or, more appropriately, astrotheological - than what is superficially evident. This astrotheological origin of Christianity, in fact, represents the real "Jesus mysteries," so to speak. If scholars of Christian origins aren't factoring in this information, they are missing a big piece of the puzzle - the biggest piece, in reality.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:41 pm 
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The Great Leap-Fraud: Social Economics of Religious Terrorism, Volume 1

http://fearless.taggon.com/

Quote:
Religious ignorance is as dangerous for societal stability as religious extremism. In The Great Leap-Fraud, author A. J. Deus shows that only through the cowardly behavior of a majority that is uneducated in religious questions can sectarian extremism and terrorism take shape and overtake societies. Modern civilizations fail to address the dangerous defect.

Based on a reassessment of primary documents from the beginning of Judaism through to the Reformation, The Great Leap-Fraud evaluates the Judaic scriptures of the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims for their potential to stir hatred, violence, and terrorism. It searches for messages in the scriptures that may alter the economic behavior of societies.

While providing an overview of three major religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—The Great Leap-Fraud uncovers a series of frauds and premeditated deployment of “prophets” with the goal to establish or redeem the Jewish state of Israel. It also uncovers how the vested interest of Christian historians has pushed the rise of Christianity unto Roman Emperors. Deus shows that the way humans think and act are strongly influenced by a culture driven by the norms of religious organizations, both past and present.


Code:
Professor Andrew Rippin of the University of Victoria explained to me that “Scholarship tends to work in slow, minute steps—and paradigm shifts are often only recognized after the fact.” The Great Leap-Fraud proposes such a shift for the Judaic religions, and it is not certain that it will hold the test of unbiased, professional scrutiny. Today’s knowledge about religious history is advanced enough that it is commonly accepted that much of it came from authors who must be mistrusted—Eusebius being a prime example, should his work not have fallen to a fifth or sixth-century re-edit. What isn’t known is what an alternative path would look like.
Put differently, what many professors in biblical studies and history have taught throughout their lives is patently false.
Understandably, that notion is hard to swallow. The here-proposed version of religious history shows a single secular motif for the invention of all three Judaic faiths that makes more sense than the spiritual idea of divine intervention by a singular God who comes out of nowhere in the historical context. Here, religious history is connected to real people and Jewish national interests. In the version supported by the consensus, neither the order of events nor the events themselves add up, and the best argument is that the less sense it makes, the more divinely inspired it must have been. The consensus of the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam appeared out of order and full of unrelated and isolated events, so much so that only with a leap of faith can the religious history of the consensus be swallowed by students interested in the past. The troubling thought is that nothing of value may have been learned.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:28 am 
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Here's another one that looks interesting. It's not by a major publisher, but it appears to be scholarly, although I haven't even given it a scan yet.

Quote:
The Gospel and the Zodiac

A provocative study by a Unitarian minister considers a theory that Jesus never existed historically but was a representation of an astrological theology, a possibility the author reveals is evidenced by the zodiacal appearances of other representative figures.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Hat tip to GA for this one.

Quote:
Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity and the Making of the New Testament

Why is the Resurrection of Christ so remote, almost non-existent in many early Christian writings of the first 140 years of Christianity? This is the first Patristic book to focus on the development of the belief in the Resurrection of Christ through the first centuries A.D. By Paul, Christ's Resurrection is regarded as the basis of Christian hope. In the fourth century it becomes a central Christian tenet. Today, it is even seen as the kick-start of the movement after Jesus' death on the cross. But what about the discrepancy in the first three centuries? This thought provoking book explores this core topic in Christian culture and theology. Taking a broad approach - including iconography, archaeology, history, philosophy, Jewish Studies and theology - Markus Vinzent offers innovative reading of well known texts complemented by rarely discussed evidence. "Christ's Resurrection in Early Christianity", takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the wilderness of unorthodox perspectives in the breadth of early Christian writings. It is an eye-opening experience with insights into the craftsmanship of early Christianity, the earliest existential debates about life and death, death and life. They all centred on the cross, on suffering, enduring and sacrifice.

In this book, Dr. Markus Vinzent, professor of History of Theology at King’s College London, University of Cambridge, avers that Marcion's "Gospel of the Lord" is Q, the hypothesized gospel source. I concluded in my books, starting with The Christ Conspiracy in 1999, that Marcion is "Ur-Markus" or, rather, "Ur-Lukas." Price has taken that position in his book The Pre-Nicene New Testament.

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Markus Vinzent, “The Resurrection of Christ in Second Century, Early Christianity”

Is Marcion ‘Q’ ?

In a recent fascinating and astoundingly controversial patristics seminar held at the University of Cambridge, Professor Markus Vinzent offered a précis of his soon to be published book: Christ’s Resurrection in Early Christianity. The focus of his presentation was the lack of attestation to the resurrection of Christ in early Christian literature between the time of Paul and Marcion.He posited that whilst Christ’s resurrection was a strong belief in Paul, it was of little interest to other early Christians; hence, once interest in Paul’s theology waned, so also did interest in the resurrection.

On his view, after Paul’s death there was a long period in which he was not in vogue and thus the resurrection was largely forgotten apart from notions of a general resurrection of the body but with the writings of Marcion, and the subsequent reaction to these, Christ’s resurrection slowly became a more formalised doctrine. He also states that had Marcion not put Paul’s letter together with a gospel, the resurrection of Christ would not have made it into the creed. In the midst of making this point, Vinzent made some other even more astonishing claims for those in the biblical studies world:

First, he believes that the first gospel to be produced in written form was from the hand of Marcion since there is no mention of the gospels before him. [Thank you!!]

Second: that the synoptics were written as a reaction to his gospel by rival theological schools at around the same time in Rome in the second century. On his view, if this is correct then the synoptic problem dissolves.

Third: that the other gospel writers embellished their gospels with Judaisms as prior to Irenaeus (Mileto etc) no one claimed that Marcion had shortened the gospel.

Fourth: when asked if he then thought that Marcion was in effect ‘Q’, Professor Vinzent affirmed that he believes this to be the case.

His book will be published in 2012, I, for one, am looking forward to its reception and the reaction produced; it promises to be exciting.

It may be that, as rumor had it, Apollonius of Tyana, traveling to the east, brought back a book or two - possibly Buddhist and/or Krishnaist - to Antioch, where it was reworked. Or, it may be that Buddhist monks sent to Antioch centuries earlier by Ashoka left texts or scholars who likewise were reworking texts during the first to second centuries. Or it could have been both, with Apollonius bringing back the text(s) for Buddhistic monks who reworked it.

It would make a good study to compare the hypothesized Marcion as found in Waite and Price with the Buddhist texts the MSV and SDP. The Lotus Sutra is available online in one or more translation into English.

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