The Origins of Christianity and
the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ
by Acharya S
Around the world over the centuries, much has been written about religion, its meaning, its relevance and contribution to humanity. In the West particularly, sizable tomes have been composed speculating upon the nature and historical background of the main character of Western religions, Jesus Christ. Many have tried to dig into the precious few clues as to Jesus's identity and come up with a biographical sketch that either bolsters faith or reveals a more human side of this godman to which we can all relate. Obviously, considering the time and energy spent on them, the subjects of Christianity and its legendary founder are very important to the Western mind and culture.
Despite all of this literature continuously being cranked out and the significance of the issue, in the public at large there is a serious lack of formal and broad education regarding religion and mythology, and most individuals are highly uninformed in this area. Concerning the issue of Christianity, for example, the majority of people are taught in most schools and churches that Jesus Christ was an actual historical figure and that the only controversy regarding him is that some people accept him as the Son of God and the Messiah, while others do not. However, whereas this is the raging debate most evident in this field today, it is not the most important. Shocking as it may seem to the general populace, the most enduring and profound controversy in this subject is whether or not a person named Jesus Christ ever really existed.
Although this debate may not be evident from publications readily found in popular bookstores1, when one examines this issue closely, one will find a tremendous volume of literature that demonstrates, logically and intelligently, time and again that Jesus Christ is a mythological character along the same lines as the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian or other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths rather than historical figures2. Delving deeply into this large body of work, one uncovers evidence that the Jesus character is based upon much older myths and heroes from around the globe. One discovers that this story is not, therefore, a historical representation of a Jewish rebel carpenter who had physical incarnation in the Levant 2,000 years ago. In other words, it has been demonstrated continually for centuries that this character, Jesus Christ, was invented and did not depict a real person who was either the "son of God" or was "evemeristically" made into a superhuman by enthusiastic followers3.
History and Positions of the Debate
This controversy has existed from the very beginning, and the writings of the "Church Fathers" themselves reveal that they were constantly forced by the pagan intelligentsia to defend what the non-Christians and other Christians ("heretics")4 alike saw as a preposterous and fabricated yarn with absolutely no evidence of it ever having taken place in history. As Rev. Robert Taylor says, "And from the apostolic age downwards, in a never interrupted succession, but never so strongly and emphatically as in the most primitive times, was the existence of Christ as a man most strenuously denied."5 Emperor Julian, who, coming after the reign of the fanatical and murderous "good Christian" Constantine, returned rights to pagan worshippers, stated, "If anyone should wish to know the truth with respect to you Christians, he will find your impiety to be made up partly of the Jewish audacity, and partly of the indifference and confusion of the Gentiles, and that you have put together not the best, but the worst characteristics of them both."6 According to these learned dissenters, the New Testament could rightly be called, "Gospel Fictions."7
A century ago, mythicist Albert Churchward said, "The canonical gospels can be shown to be a collection of sayings from the Egyptian Mythos and Eschatology."8 In Forgery in Christianity, Joseph Wheless states, "The gospels are all priestly forgeries over a century after their pretended dates."9 Those who concocted some of the hundreds of "alternative" gospels and epistles that were being kicked about during the first several centuries C.E. have even admitted that they had forged the documents.10 Forgery during the first centuries of the Church's existence was admittedly rampant, so common in fact that a new phrase was coined to describe it: "pious fraud."11 Such prevarication is confessed to repeatedly in the Catholic Encyclopedia.12 Some of the "great" church fathers, such as Eusebius13, were determined by their own peers to be unbelievable liars who regularly wrote their own fictions of what "the Lord" said and did during "his" alleged sojourn upon the earth.14
The assertion that Jesus Christ is a myth can be proved not only through the works of dissenters and "pagans" who knew the truth - and who were viciously refuted or murdered for their battle against the Christian priests and "Church Fathers" fooling the masses with their fictions - but also through the very statements of the Christians themselves, who continuously disclose that they knew Jesus Christ was a myth founded upon more ancient deities located throughout the known ancient world. In fact, Pope Leo X, privy to the truth because of his high rank, made this curious declaration, "What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us!"15 (Emphasis added.) As Wheless says, "The proofs of my indictment are marvellously easy."
From their own admissions, the early Christians were incessantly under criticism by scholars of great repute who were impugned as "heathens" by their Christian adversaries. This group included many Gnostics, who strenuously objected to the carnalization of their deity, as the Christians can be shown to have taken many of the characteristics of their god and godman from the Gnostics, meaning "Ones who know," a loose designation applied to members of a variety of esoteric schools and brotherhoods. The refutations of the Christians against the Gnostics reveal that the Christian godman was an insult to the Gnostics, who held that their god could never take human form.16
It is very telling that the earliest Christian documents, the Epistles attributed to "Paul," never discuss a historical background of Jesus but deal exclusively with a spiritual being who was known to all gnostic sects for hundreds to thousands of years. The few "historical" references to an actual life of Jesus cited in the Epistles are demonstrably interpolations and forgeries, as are, according to Wheless, the Epistles themselves, as they were not written by "Paul."17 Aside from the brief reference to Pontius Pilate at 1 Timothy 6:13, an epistle dated ben Yehoshua to 144 CE and thus not written by Paul, the Pauline literature (as pointed out by Edouard Dujardin) "does not refer to Pilate18, or the Romans, or Caiaphas, or the Sanhedrin, or Herod19, or Judas, or the holy women, or any person in the gospel account of the Passion, and that it also never makes any allusion to them; lastly, that it mentions absolutely none of the events of the Passion, either directly or by way of allusion."20 Dujardin additionally relates that other early "Christian" writings such as Revelation do not mention any historical details or drama.21 Mangasarian notes that Paul also never quotes from Jesus's purported sermons and speeches, parables and prayers, nor does he mention Jesus's supernatural birth or any of his alleged wonders and miracles, all which one would presume would be very important to his followers, had such exploits and sayings been known prior to "Paul."22
Turning to the gospels themselves, which were composed between 170-180 C.E.22a, their pretended authors, the apostles, give sparse histories and genealogies of Jesus that contradict each other and themselves in numerous places. The birthdate of Jesus is depicted as having taken place at different times. His birth and childhood are not mentioned in "Mark," and although he is claimed in "Matthew" and "Luke" to have been "born of a virgin," his lineage is traced to the House of David through Joseph, such that he may "fulfill prophecy."23 He is said in the first three (Synoptic) gospels to have taught for one year before he died, while in "John" the number is three years. "Matthew" relates that Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount"24 before "the multitudes," while "Luke" says it was a private talk given only to the disciples. The accounts of his Passion and Resurrection differ utterly from each other, and no one states how old he was when he died.25 Wheless says, "The so-called 'canonical' books of the New Testament, as of the Old, are a mess of contradictions and confusions of text, to the present estimate of 150,000 and more 'variant readings,' as is well known and admitted."26 In addition, of the dozens of gospels, ones that were once considered canonical or genuine were later rejected as "apocryphal" or spurious, and vice versa. So much for the "infallible Word of God" and "infallible" Church! The confusion exists because the Christian plagiarists over the centuries were attempting to amalgamate and fuse practically every myth, fairytale, legend, doctrine or bit of wisdom they could pilfer from the innumerable different mystery religions and philosophies that existed at the time. In doing so, they forged, interpolated, mutilated, changed, and rewrote these texts for centuries.27
Basically, there are no non-biblical references to a historical Jesus by any known historian of the time during and after Jesus's purported advent. Walker says, "No literate person of his own time mentioned him in any known writing." Eminent Hellenistic Jewish historian and philosopher Philo (20 B.C.E.-50 C.E.), alive at the purported time of Jesus, makes no mention of him. Nor do any of the some 40 other historians who wrote during the first one to two centuries of the Common Era. "Enough of the writings of [these] authors . . . remain to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ."28 Their silence is deafening testimony against the historicizers.
In the entire works of the Jewish historian Josephus, which constitute many volumes, there are only two paragraphs that purport to refer to Jesus. Although much has been made of these "references," they have been dismissed by all scholars and even by Christian apologists as forgeries, as have been those referring to John the Baptist and James, "brother" of Jesus. Bishop Warburton labeled the Josephus interpolation regarding Jesus as "a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too."29 Wheless notes that, "The first mention ever made of this passage, and its text, are in the Church History of that 'very dishonest writer,' Bishop Eusebius, in the fourth century. . . CE [Catholic Encyclopedia] admits . . . the above cited passage was not known to Origen and the earlier patristic writers." Wheless, a lawyer, and Taylor, a minister, agree that it was Eusebius himself who forged the passage.
Regarding the letter to Trajan supposedly written by Pliny the Younger, which is one of the pitifully few "references" to Jesus or Christianity held up by Christians as evidence of the existence of Jesus, there is but one word that is applicable - "Christian" - and that has been demonstrated to be spurious, as is also suspected of the entire letter. Concerning the passage in the works of the historian Tacitus, who did not live during the purported time of Jesus but was born two decades after his purported death, this is also considered by competent scholars as an interpolation and forgery.30 Christian defenders also like to hold up the passage in Suetonius that refers to someone named "Chrestus" or "Chresto" as reference to their Savior; however, while some have speculated that there was a Roman man of that name at that time, the name "Chrestus" or "Chrestos," meaning "useful," was frequently held by freed slaves. Others opine that this passage is also an interpolation.
As these references and their constant regurgitation by Christian apologists, Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn says:
"The average Christian minister who has not read outside the pale of accredited Church authorities will impart to any parishioner making the inquiry the information that no event in history iis better attested by witness than the occurences in the Gospel narrative of Christ's life. He will go over the usual citation of the historians who mention Jesus and the letters claiming to have been written about him. When the credulous questioner, putting trust in the intelligence and good faith of his pastor, gets this answer, he goes away assured on the point of the veracity of the Gospel story. The pastor does not qualify his data with the information that the practice of forgery, fictionizing and fable was rampant in the early Church. In the simple interest of truth, then, it is important to examine the body of alleged testimony from secular history and see what credibility and authority it possess.
"First, as to the historians whose works record the existence of Jesus, the list comprises but four. They are Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius and Josephus. There are short paragraphs in the works of each of these, two in Josephus. The total quantity of this material is given by Harry Elmer Barnes in The Twilight of Christianity as some twenty-four lines. It may total a little more, perhaps twice that amount. This meager testimony constitutes the body or mass of the evidence of 'one of the best attested events in history.' Even if it could be accepted as indisputably authentic and reliable, it would be faltering support for an event that has dominated the thought of half the world for eighteen centuries.
"But what is the standing of this witness? Not even Catholic scholars of importance have dissented from a general agreement of academic investigators that these passages, one and all, must by put down as forgeries and interpolations by partisan Christian scribes who wished zealously to array the authority of these historians behind the historicity of the Gospel life of Jesus. A sum total of forty or fifty lines from secular history supporting the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, and they completely discredited!"30a
Of these "references," Dujardin says, "But even if they are authentic, and were derived from earlier sources, they would not carry us back earlier than the period in which the gospel legend took form, and so could attest only the legend of Jesus, and not his historicity." In any case, these scarce and brief "references" to a man who supposedly shook up the world can hardly be held up as proof of his existence, and it is absurd that the purported historicity of the entire Christian religion is founded upon them.31 As it is said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"; yet, no proof of any kind for the historicity of Jesus has ever existed or is forthcoming.
It is evident that there was no single historical person upon whom the Christian religion was founded, and that "Jesus Christ" is a compilation of legends, heroes, gods and godmen. There is not adequate room here to go into detail about each god or godman that contributed to the formation of the Jewish Jesus character; suffice it to say that there is plenty of documentation to show that this issue is not a question of "faith" or "belief." The truth is that during the era this character supposedly lived there was an extensive library at Alexandria and an incredibly nimble brotherhood network that stretched from Europe to China, and this information network had access to numerous manuscripts that told the same narrative portrayed in the New Testament with different place names and ethnicity for the characters. In actuality, the legend of Jesus nearly identically parallels the story of Krishna, for example, even in detail, as was presented by noted mythologist and scholar Gerald Massey over 100 years ago, as well as by Rev. Robert Taylor 160 years ago, among others.32 The Krishna tale as told in the Hindu Vedas has been dated to at least as far back as 1400 B.C.E.33 The same can be said of the well-woven Horus mythos, which also is practically identical, in detail, to the Jesus story, but which predates the Christian version by thousands of years.
The Jesus story incorporated elements from the tales of other deities recorded in this widespread area, such as many of the following world saviors and "sons of God," most or all of whom predate the Christian myth, and a number of whom were crucified or executed.33a
* Adad of Assyria
* Adonis, Apollo, Heracles ("Hercules") and Zeus of Greece
* Alcides of Thebes
* Attis of Phrygia
* Baal of Phoenicia
* Bali of Afghanistan
* Beddru of Japan
* Buddha of India
* Crite of Chaldea
* Deva Tat of Siam
* Hesus of the Druids
* Horus, Osiris, and Serapis of Egypt, whose long-haired, bearded appearance was adopted for the Christ character34
* Indra of Tibet/India
* Jao of Nepal
* Krishna of India
* Mikado of the Sintoos
* Mithra of Persia
* Odin of the Scandinavians
* Prometheus of Caucasus/Greece
* Quetzalcoatl of Mexico
* Salivahana of Bermuda
* Tammuz of Syria (who was, in a typical mythmaking move, later turned into the disciple Thomas35)
* Thor of the Gauls
* Universal Monarch of the Sibyls36
* Wittoba of the Bilingonese
* Xamolxis of Thrace
* Zarathustra/Zoroaster of Persia
* Zoar of the Bonzes