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CFI Skeptics of Eugene Message Board › Historical Jesus

Historical Jesus

Bob H.
user 13348486
Eugene, OR
Post #: 3
At Movie Night (11/27) there was a discussion about whether Jesus ever lived.

I mentioned the work of Dr. Barbara Thiering who has done some impressive research on the Dead Sea Scrolls. As a result she postulates that there was a charismatic leader, and of the line of David, in the Essene sect at Qumran that matches the characteristics of Jesus. She had access to the scrolls and has spent years in the area. Her data and analysis seem like good science to me including the carbon-dating of one of the scrolls. I talked to a Jewish DSS scholar about her and he said he couldn't discount her ideas based on the data she presents. I was asked to post the names of her books:

"Jesus the Man": Most of the data, although detailed and rather dry. Concludes that Jesus "The Christ" lived until AD64, married Mary Magdalene, had three children and was "The Christ" Paul spoke of but was alive at the time. A pacifist and priest with a loyal following but only human. Explains a lot about the people of the time, including the particular priest with the designation "666". Nothing to do with the devil.

"Jesus of the Apocalypse": Life of Jesus after the near-death of the crucifixion and includes a translation of Revelations using a method in the DSS. It was a coded plan for a rebellion against the Romans in Judea that failed in 67AD. I tried translating a few sentences and it seems to work.

"The Book that Jesus Wrote": According to Thiering, the Gospel of John was authored by Jesus with help from Philip.

It's not relevant to me who Jesus was or wasn't but I have enjoyed the tale she has woven with apparently genuine data. Seems similar to The Da Vinci Code but without any conspiracies or twisting of historical facts. She admits she may be wrong but her data is better than the bible version!
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi Bob...I'm new here, but I'll jump in. This is an interesting topic, at least to me. I was raised Catholic and always took for granted that there was a Jesus, but as an adult when I researched it myself, I became less certain. I would agree that the DSS reflects some sort of apocalyptic sect with a charismatic leader...and roughly around the time that Jesus Christ was thought to exist. However, from Josephus we know of several such movements that existed. Josephus references Judas the Galilean, a figure known as "the Egyptian," Thudeus (sp?), as examples off the top of my head. Judas's sons apparently carried on for a few decades. Most of these, maybe even all, were ultimately killed by the Romans. The era is rich in possible inspirations for the Gospel Jesus. Josephus even recounts the story of Jesus Ben Ananias who caused a disruption in the Temple, pronouncing doom upon Jerusalem. He was taken before the leaders of Jerusalem and flogged until his bones were visible, still he refused to defend himself and continued his doomsaying. He was ultimately killed by the Romans, albeit by a seige engine rather than on a cross.

My feeling is that the Gospel Jesus is a cobbled together amalgam of several such figures merged into the Hellenistic-influenced Logos belief. I don't think the earliest Christians imagined a Jesus who had lived amongst them, but one who acted as an intermediary in heaven. That early Christ belief was historicized by later gospel writers, sometimes even using material from Josephus as a source.

That being said, the DSS are interesting documents with invaluable insight into the thinking of the times, some of which might be similar to early Christian beliefs. It is all coming out of the same primordial pool of thought.

What of the possibility that the righteous teacher of the DSS is John the Baptist or, following Eisenman, James?
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