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The Kernel of Truth in the New Testament

2015-12-16

At this time of year it is appropriate to discuss Jesus and to try to figure out  who he really was.  The recent publication of a reconstructed portrait of Jesus as a first century Jerusalem resident shows ever more vigor in historical study of this once obscure subject.

The Shroud  of Turn is a good example of the confusion that can arise if provenance is disputed.    The Shroud is, as we know through radiocarbon dating, an object created during the middle ages, and through pollen analysis, we can surmise it was made in Turkey or nearby.  Thus, as an historical object, the Shroud is interesting but cannot be expected to show a true likeness of Jesus Christ, “King of the Jews.”

To get a better likeness, it is first important to gather as much eyewitness evidence as possible.  The four “Gospels” of the New Testament (there are many more “gospels” in the Apocrypha) could none of them have been eyewitnesses; only “Q” (short for “Quellungen” or sources in German)  was arguably an eyewitness and that original text has been lost or mislaid.

There is one eyewitness who is unimpeachable and that is Josephus.  However, we do not have his original text and the earliest known text has Jesus, but in an obvious interpolation, probably inserted by second or third century Armenian divines.    The figure who most looks like Jesus in Josephus from an historical point of view is John the Baptist.

The stories of Paul are obvious inventions and cannot be verified.   His claim that the Messiah had already arrived in Jerusalem may only be trusted if we assume that the real Jesus was not named Jesus and is thus hidden in Josephus’ text.

My conclusion is that the person the Christians should be worshiping as their Messiah is John the Baptist.

My greetings for a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and a glorious Kwanzaa!  And a happy New Year.

 

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