Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

Darwiniana header image 2

The Obi Wan Kenobi trick and the incredible vanishing ‘jesus’

December 26th, 2007 · 2 Comments

Comment on What if Jesus never existed? Nice try, Dawkins

David Fairthorne: Harpur is not the only one who thinks that Jesus never lived.

“The Jesus Puzzle” by Doherty points out that the New Testament epistles, written before the gospels, refer to Christ as divine, and make no mention of Jesus as a very recent historical figure. Doherty argues that the entire Gospel account of Jesus’ life and death was a literary fabrication.

Thanks for comment and reference. Feel free to submit more data on this if you like.
I can’t provide a defiinitive conclusion, but my opinion is that, despite the problems, the reality of someone we call ‘Jesus’ is probable.
If you pursue the question in relation to the Iliad, long thought to be a question of mythology, til Schliemann, you see that legends can, surprisingly, still reflect an historical reality, in this case transmitted over many centuries in verse form. A figure such as Agamemnon might thus be distantly echoed in the poem. That, of course, is not certain, and proves nothing in the case of the New Testament. If you reflect on my post some of the reasons for the confusion might emerge: we see, perhaps, a motive, however outlandish my own version of it, to veil the Jesus figure. The ambiguity might be deliberate. The question of surviving eyewitnesses, however confused, won’t quite go away. And even secondary near-witness participants, a considerable number of people, increase the odds against invention. But even without that a sense of a ‘someone’ behind the Q parables remains. That’s not unreasonable, a spiritual teacher among the Jews (someone later Sufis obsessively called one of their own–??). It’s the embroidering that generates the doubts.
That Paul and his epistles predate the Gospels is no objection. And Paul did exist. What about John the Baptist? Did he exist? A number of people have pointed to this triple play structure.
That Paul should abstract the thematic to his distinctive theology is explainable on its own terms, with or without Jesus. Isn’t it odd that he is the Johnny-on-the-spot almost immediately, with a complete corpus of materials ready to go, while everyone else is thrashing around in confusion, not able to grasp for another generation what hit them? The triple play, to use an ironic version of the ‘design inference’, is of course quite speculative, but we suspect a coordinated action, quite a brilliant scheme, to the extent we can piece it together, but one that seems to have gone awry at some point.
Keep in mind that Sufis can operate by proxy, and some early form of that, someone we don’t see orchestrating the ‘masterpiece that turned out flawed’.
Meanwhile the vision of Paul on the road to Damascus is pointedly apt, however ‘delusive’ Paul’s hallucinations. He catches the forward pass at that point, the old Obi Wan Kenobi trick, a church with a ghost.

Tags: religion

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The Obi Wan Kenobi trick and the incredible vanishing ‘jesus’ // Dec 26, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    […] The Obi Wan Kenobi trick and the incredible vanishing ‘jesus’ Doherty argues that the entire Gospel account of Jesus’ life and death was a literary fabrication. […]

  • 2 David Fairthorne // Dec 28, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Thanks for your interesting thoughts, “nemo”.

    I am not well versed in Christianity (having no religious affiliation), so it is not easy for me to counter your arguments. But I cannot help being intrigued by the idea that the supposed founder of the Christianity may not have actually existed as a human being.

    Earl Doherty’s opinion is that the first written account of the passion story occurs in the gospel according to Mark; he estimates that Mark (not the disciple) wrote his gospel about 90 CE, and that the other gospels were derived from Mark and the Q document, plus the fulfilment of prophecies made in the Old Testament. Doherty describes Mark’s gospel as a brilliant work of dramatic fiction, constructed by “midrash”, a Jewish method of interweaving of pre-existing stories.

    Undoubtedly the historicity of Jesus is a controversial question. In fact Doherty’s book “The Jesus Puzzle” was refuted in another book “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. Then Doherty wrote a second book, called “Challenging the Verdict”, opposing the arguments made by Strobel.

    A different approach to this question is taken in “The Jesus Mysteries” by Freke and Gandy, who argue that Jesus began as the Jewish version of mystery god-men such as Osiris, Dionysos, Attis and Mithras, none of whom are usually considered to have existed in human form!

Leave a Comment