2011 empire - religion - Christ Jesus Truth 

2011 - Exploring the Inevitable Truth

The New Testament


Sermon on the Mount,
illustration by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 19th Centrury.

Christ Jesus Truth

How do we know the truth? 

The truth is knowable.

The political editing that has evidently been applied to the New Testament during the two centuries in which it was written, following the life of Christ Jesus, doesn't make it worthless, though its content was evidently shaped to serve the system of empire.  Actually it would be surprising if this king of editing hadn't happened. 

So, how do we know that in the face of all the doctoring and editing of history that there was such a person as Christ Jesus, and what, if anything, that was passed on to us is true?

According to all evidence the man, Christ Jesus did exist, and did exist as a powerful spiritual leader who had probed the deep questions of human experience over a span of thirty years, and through inspiration, revelation, progressive experiences, had made a name for himself by preach and healing; who had also projected a divine image of mankind of such profundity and power that it scared the masters of the Roman empire to such an extend that they killed him for it. In this sense the greatness of the achievements of the man can be measured by the effect they had to shake up the world's largest empire at the time. He evidently caused shockwaves that sent tremors to the very core of the Roman Empire, which owned the region in which he lived. But this in itself does not prove that he existed; that we has a profound healer; and that he had a vital message for mankind. So how do we know that any of these three elements were real?

Critical scholars regard Paul's epistles (written 50-62) to be the earliest books written of the New Testament. They are referenced as early as c. 96 by Clement of Rome. Thirteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, of which seven are almost universally accepted, three are considered in some academic circles as other than Pauline for textual and grammatical reasons, and the other three are in dispute in those same circles. Paul apparently dictated all his epistles through a secretary (or amanuensis), who would usually paraphrase the gist of his message, as was the practice among 1st-century scribes. Paul's letters are largely written to churches which he had visited, since he was a great traveler, visiting Cyprus, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), mainland Greece, Crete, and Rome. His letters are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live. Still, he does not tell his correspondents (or the modern reader) much about the life of Jesus. His most explicit references are to the Last Supper [1 Cor. 11:17-34] and the crucifixion and resurrection.[1 Cor. 15] His specific references to Jesus' teaching are likewise sparse,[1 Cor. 7:10-11] [9:14] raising the question, which is still disputed, as to how consistent his account of the faith is with that of the four canonical Gospels, Acts, and the Epistle of James tell us. The view that Paul's Christ is very different from the historical Jesus has been expounded by Adolf Harnack among many others. Nevertheless, he provides the first written account of what it is to be a Christian, and thereby what Christian spirituality is.

Neither the Bible nor other history books says how or when Paul died. According to Christian (probably verbal) tradition, Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero around the mid-60s at Tre Fontane Abbey (English: Three Fountains Abbey). By comparison, the same tradition has Peter recognized as having been crucified upside-down. Paul's Roman citizenship may have accorded him the more merciful death by beheading.

Ref: Paul, the Apostle


The Gospel According to Thomas, 

There exists a fifth gospel, commonly referred to as the Gospel of Thomas. It is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical writing that simply lists Jesus' statements, a sayings-gospel. It was discovered fairly recently near Nag Hammadi, in Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library.

The Coptic language text, the second of seven contained in what modern-day scholars have designated as Codex II, is composed of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Almost half of these sayings resemble those found in the Canonical Gospels, while the other sayings were previously unknown.

The Gospel of Thomas is very different in tone and structure from other New Testament apocrypha and the four Canonical Gospels. Unlike the canonical Gospels, Thomas's gospel is not a narrative account of the life of Jesus; instead, it consists of logia (sayings) attributed to Jesus, sometimes stand-alone, sometimes embedded in short dialogues or parables. The text contains a possible allusion to the death of Jesus in logion 65  (Parable of the Wicked Tenants, paralleled in the Synoptic Gospels), but doesn't mention crucifixion, resurrection, or final judgement; nor does it mention a messianic understanding of Jesus. Since its discovery, many scholars see it as a proof for the existence of the so-called Q source, which might have been very similar in its form as a collection of sayings of Jesus without any accounts of his deeds or his life and death - a so-called "sayings gospel".

For Thomas, resurrection seems more a cognitive event of spiritual attainment, of a kind that is involving a certain discipline or asceticism.

Though differing in approach, scholars argue that several verses in the Gospel of John are best understood as responses to a Thomasine community and its beliefs. Pagels, for example, says that John's gospel makes two references to the inability of the world to recognize the divine light. In contrast, several of Thomas' sayings refer to the light born 'within'. John 1:9 ("...Light that lights every man born into the world") acknowledges Thomas' idea of the Light within. John also follows Thomas by personifying the Light as Jesus. John 14:16 ("I am the way, the truth, and the life...)


Example: The circumcision

Despite the favorable mention of James the Just, generally considered a "pro-circumcision" Christian, the Gospel of Thomas also dismisses circumcision:

His disciples said to him, "Is circumcision useful or not?" He said to them, "If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become profitable in every respect."


Example: Compare Thomas 8 SV

8. And Jesus said, "The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!"

with Matthew 13:47–50 NIV:

47"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Note that Thomas makes a distinction between large and small fish, whereas Matthew makes a distinction between good and bad fish. Furthermore, Thomas' version has only one fish remaining, whereas Matthew's version implies many good fish remaining. The manner in which each Gospel concludes the parable is also instructive. Thomas' version invites the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the interpretation of the saying, whereas Matthew provides an explanation connecting the text to an apocalyptic end of the age.


Example: the parable of the lost sheep, which is paralleled by Matthew, Luke, John, and Thomas.

This is the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12–14 NIV

12"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost."

This is the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15: 3-7 NIV

3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

This is the parable of the lost sheep in Thomas 107 SV

107. Jesus said, "The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, I love you more than the ninety-nine."

This is the lost sheep discourse in John 10: 1-18 NIV

1"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.

7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[1] He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

 

Ref. with many more details: Gospel of Thomas

See the Gospel of Thomas


Q-source

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were evidently written independently, each using Mark and a second document called "Q" as a source. Q is defined as the "common" material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark

Basing their reconstructions primarily on the Gospel of Thomas and the oldest layer of Q, they propose that Jesus functioned as a wisdom sage, rather than a Jewish rabbi,

Ref: Q-source


The Canonical Gospels

Strictly speaking, each gospel (and Acts) is anonymous. The Gospel of John is somewhat of an exception, although the author simply refers to himself as "the disciple Jesus loved" and claims to be a member of Jesus' inner circle. The identities of each author were agreed upon at an early date, certainly no later than the early 2nd century. It is likely that the issue of the authorship of each gospel had been settled at least somewhat earlier, as the earliest sources are in complete agreement on the issue. Indeed, no one questioned the early 2nd century consensus until the 18th century.

Few scholars today question the traditional claim that Luke the Evangelist, an associate of St. Paul who was probably not an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry, wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles. Scholars are more divided though differential to the traditional claim that Mark the Evangelist, an associate of St. Peter who might have been an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry, wrote the Gospel of Mark. Scholars are more divided over the traditional claim that Matthew the Apostle wrote the Gospel of Matthew and that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John. Opinion, however, is widely divided on this issue and there is no widespread consensus.

 


Evangelist Mathäus und der Engel by Rembrandt

Ref: New Testament

The authenticity of the historical factuality appears to have been questioned already in Rembrandt's time who is seen writing the gospels with someone standing behind his back, whispering in his ear - new history inspired by an angel, or by a messenger in the service of a different master?


And still, the question remains: How does one know the truth?

This is an old question that Plato developed an answer for with the Meno dialog. How can one Know the Truth? The answer is such that even a slave boy can prove to to himself some profound geometric truths based on personal experience by simply doing some basic discoveries of universal principle. What is true can be replicated, and what is a myth cannot. Inspired by the gospels, a New England woman was prompted to search for the underlying principles that were reflected in some of the healing work that the gospels and other stories of the Bible inspire. She is known as Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, and the founder of its church, and author of its textbook.

She writes of this experience: 

But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of
me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither
was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. - Paul.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and
hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. - Jesus.



(Christian Science discovered)
In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science. God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing.

(Mission of Christian Science)
This apodictical Principle points to the revelation of Immanuel, "God with us," - the sovereign ever-presence, delivering the children of men from every ill "that flesh is heir to." Through Christian Science, religion and medicine are inspired with a diviner nature and essence; fresh pinions are given to faith and understanding, and thoughts acquaint themselves intelligently with God. (S&H 107)

(Practical success)
Experiments have favored the fact that Mind governs the body, not in one instance, but in every instance. The indestructible faculties of Spirit exist without the conditions of matter and also without the false beliefs of a so-called material existence. Working out the rules of Science in practice, the author has restored health in cases of both acute and chronic disease in their severest forms. Secretions have been changed, the structure has been renewed, shortened limbs have been elongated, ankylosed joints have been made supple, and carious bones have been restored to healthy conditions. I have restored what is called the lost substance of lungs, and healthy organizations have been established where disease was organic. Christian Science heals organic disease as surely as it heals what is called functional, for it requires only a fuller understanding of the divine Principle of Christian Science to demonstrate the higher rule. (S&H 162)

Such experiences have bee replicated by countless people across more than a century of healing, mostly by people healing themselves with nothing more than the aid of her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The textbook itself contains 100 pages of healing experiences as a sample of the kind of work that had been accomplished.

If Christ Jesus had not existed and illustrated what can be accomplished, none of these healing experiences would likely have been possible, but with the discovery of the principle for it that was imbedded in Christ Jesus' work, amazing things have been achieved and rather quite naturally. They seem to tell us that the related aspects in Jesus' life were likely true.  Nevertheless, we have no knowledge of any man walking on water, or converting water into wine by spiritual means, or feeding 5000 people with a few loaves, and so forth, which appeared to have been hoaxes added into the story of Jesus' life for which no principle exists. We do a lot of this this kind of editing these days, creating science mythologies, like the global warming fantasies and the nuclear-fusion power delusion, and so forth.

It appear to be by this path, by the scientific replication in our time of the works attributed to Christ Jesus, that real story of Christ Jesus is being written. If an authentic version of the New Testament exists, it is likely that which is being written today by the spiritual achievements of teaching and healing, by which the truth becomes knowable.

 

Index: Empire - Religion

Religion: Creation Myths

Religion: Abraham Legends

Religion: Moses Legend

Empire Religion - New Testament

Religion: Christ Jesus Truth

Religion: Gospel of St. Thomas

Religion: The Decalogue

Empire Religion - Adultery

Empire Religion - Biofuels Depopulation Genocide

Empire Religion - Food Genocide

 


 

Also see: 

 


 

 Rolf Witzsche, author of books and novels on Christian Science, politics, science, and, love, and economics

Rolf Witzsche

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