Jesus As Essene
'Teacher Of Righteousness'?
Chester Twarog

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "CHESTER TWAROG"
Subject: Re: Resurrection Mythologies
Date: Friday, January 26, 2001 8:18 PM

There are several books along this line. The best one, I think, that cuts through the whole thing, is Robert M. Price's Deconstructing Jesus, which posits a "Jesus agnosticism." His theory, begun by Albert Schweitzer, is that any attempt to construct a history of Jesus ends up being a theology, a reflection of the historian's theological views (be they Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Liberationist, materialistic, or whatever). To do this, one must accentuate some facts and ignore others. But, any attempt to come up with a balanced view ends in frustration, because there are things to be said for each of the viewpoints -- and things to be said against each of the viewpoints! Of course, Price could simply be "reflecting" his own agnosticism into his understanding of the Historical Jesus problem!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "CHESTER TWAROG"
Subject: Re: Resurrection Mythologies
Date: Friday, January 26, 2001 8:21 PM

Afterthought: G. A. Wells's books are the most thorough (and the most vicious) at positing that you cannot establish the historicity of Jesus at all. Check out my discussion of the Josephus problem.

And here's a review of the book, by another scholar, Earl Doherty, who disagrees with the "Historical Jesus" notion:
http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus/BkrvEll.htm

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

Graphic Rule

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "CHESTER TWAROG"
Subject: Re: Resurrection Mythologies
Date: Friday, January 26, 2001 8:50 PM

The point is that they're all from the same school -- Ellegard, Wells, Doherty, and a few others -- that of Jesus being entirely mythical and not historical at all. I don't know what Price, the Jesus Agnostic, has to say about all this, because he seems to ignore the "show me" angles of Wells and the others. Wells doesn't say that Jesus did not exist, but rather, that there is no evidence that he did exist: the arguments for the existence of a historical Jesus are wholly inadequate to make a case for his historicity. What the others seem to be doing, at this stage, is trying to construct the mythological origins of the Jesus myth.

Arthur Drews advocated a different variant of the "purely mythical" angle in his 1910 book, The Christ Myth, from which we have excerpted. The others tend to ignore him, possibly because his scholarship might not be up to par, but Drews's book is a fascinating read nonetheless. From a Jesus Agnostic standpoint -- that we can't really know -- I can dig in to any view point and end up having lots of fun with it.

Some of my favorites have been: Garner Ted Armstrong: Jesus as married rich man, not poor at all; Hyam Maccoby's Revolution in Judaea: Jesus as Pharisee, seeking to save his country from Roman occupation (very realistic, by the way, we have excerpted it); the book The Jesus Scroll: archaeologists at Masada found, in 1964, the skeleton in of a married Jesus, the last of the Hasmonaean line, who had before arranged the death of his cousin John and then faked his own death to hide from both Roman and Jewish authorities; and the admittedly fictional Behold The Man: historian rides a time machine, discovers that the son of Mary and Joseph is an idiot, sucking his thumb and rocking back and forth, saying, "Jee-zus! Jee-zus" -- so he decides to take over the role of the Jesus character so as not to tamper with history (though I would have gone ahead and tampered with history!). As you know, I have made quite a hobby of collecting Jesus books.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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