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Jesus was a communist

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alanjjohnstone
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Except by fanatical christians, this reference is generally accepted as a forgery.

I think you over-egg the pudding, ALB. Wiki appears to be more constrained in its claims.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

We should be aware that history interpretation constantly progresses and unless we consider there is a conspiracy among historians and theologists, the present predominant view is that some Jewish preacher called Jesus, originally a disciple of John the Baptist, did exist and had a small following which due to various complicated factors grew into a mass movement by fits and starts and incorporating other beliefs.

But as you said, we have strayed from the "communist" traditions of the early Christian movement.

While we sometimes highlight these traditions such as by a Party stall at the Diggers/Levellers commemorations, we do tend to decline any association with the early Church Fathers by endeavouring to link them to modern socialism and "convert" believers to socialism.

I believe the book's author's purpose is to expose the Christian propertarians as the real "heretics" to be exposed.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

Vin
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There's that reformist Corbyn rabbiting on about income and benefit cuts, anti trade union legistlation, poverty, homelessness, war  and lack of democracy when he should be here with the REAL revolutionaries deciding if Jesus was a socialist or perhaps helping to construct a REAL communist science 

I just don't understand why workers are turning to him. Perhaps it's because the only alternative is to be bored to death by irrelevant rubbish

Dave B
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i

 

Closer to home there are ‘apparently’ no contemporary references in the written record for the existance of Hadrians wall.

 

The earliest ones seem to date from the late 4thand early 5thcentury eg;

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustan_History#The_dating_problem

 

there are two anti Christian second century texts that assert jesus as a historical figure.

 

The passing of peregrinus by Lucian circa 170AD which describes Christians, in a derogatory tone, as communists and true doctrine by Celsus of a similar date.

 

Celsus describes JC as magician and con merchant of the david blaine type who learned how to do that kind of stuff whilst economic migrant or wage slave in Egypt and that his mother was unmarried fornicator who span yarn as part of her day job.

 

He was according to Celsus the product of a laison with a roman soldier as in the Life of Brian which is where they got it from.

 

That story was a continuing part of anti Christian Jewish material.

 

He was also accused of supernatural ‘black’ magic or sorcery which falls into a separate catergory.

 

Celsus even describes his physical appearance as short and having some kind of physical deformity.

 

One of earliest dateable christain texts is as below;

 

This passage clearly places Barnabas after the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70. But it also places Barnabas before the Bar Kochba Revoltof AD 132, after which there could have been no hope that the Romans would help to rebuild the temple. The document must come from the period between the two revolts. The place of origin remains an open question, although the Greek-speaking Eastern Mediterranean appears most probable

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_Barnabas#Origin

 

which includes;

 

 

Thou shalt communicate [in this context share ] in all things with thy neighbour; thou shalt not call things thine own; for if ye are partakers in common of things which are incorruptible, how much more [should you be] of those things which are corruptible!

 

he means, "to such men as know not how to procure food for themselves by labour and sweat, but seize on that of others in their iniquity, and although wearing an aspect of simplicity, are on the watch to plunder others."

 

ALB
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Since the silly season starts this week no doubt Vin will give us his permission to carry on discussing this.

The issue is not whether early christians existed. Of course they did. Nobody denies that. Lucian didn't really accept that Jesus was a historical figure. He says that this is what christians believed. The satirical story in which he mentions this, The Death of Peregrine, is a amusing read. Religious conmen were common at the time and both he and Celsus suggested that the supposed founder of christianity must have been one of them.

It's a pity Celsus's book didn't survive (i.e was destroyed by the christians) but, from the juicy extraxcts, it sounds a good read too. I think the Jews of the time also said Jesus was the bastard son of a Roman soldier.

Christian doctrine is generally agreed to have been elaborated by Paul (who was a historical person) but even he doesn't seem to have accepted that Jesus was a historical figure; only that he was a good idea.

Dave B
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Well there is a myth.

 

And that is that in the first two centuries anybody thought JC was a myth and not a historical figure.

 

Now you could say that the idea that JC was a myth was in fact present; but just because there is an absence of evidence for it doesn’t mean that is evidence of absence?

 

Adam’s Lucian analysis is disingenuous.

 

Passing of Peregrinus ridicules the Christians for being gullible in being taken in by fakes, free loading on Christian communes.

 

And thus seems to miss a trick then in not also accusing them of being gullible in believing their crucified sophist actually existed?

 

The poor fools have persuaded themselves above all that they are immortal and will live forever, from which it follows that they despise death and many of them willingly undergo imprisonment. Moreover, their first lawgiver taught them that they are all brothers of one another, when once they have sinned by denying the Greek gods, and by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living according to his laws. So, they despise all things equally and regard them as common property, accepting such teaching without any sort of clear proof. Accordingly, if any quack or trickster, who can press his advantage, comes among them he can acquire great wealth in a very short time by imposing on simple-minded people

 

‘that crucified sophist’ in the classical Greek is quite unequivocal which more precise a language than English?

 

 

[It looks like the story of freeloading on Christian communists is plaguarised from another Christian communist document called Didache generally believed to be late first early second century.

 

It has got stuff in it about Christian communists dealing with freeloaders.

 

The funeral pyre stuff in Passing of Peregrinus probably in connected to the myth of Err which has similarities to Christian theology; death decent to hell and resurrection etc Origen a bit of a Christian Platonist talked about the myth of Err in his contra Celsum]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_Er

ALB
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I think you are being even more keen to use Lucian's satire as evidence for Jesus's historical existence than the christians themselves:

http://lucianofsamosata.info/wiki/doku.php?id=2013:why-lucians-view-of-t...

Lucian (who lived in the 2nd century) only provides evidence of the existence of christians then (which no one denies) and what they were perceived to believe. At that time they would have just been one of a number of similar "saviour" cults (the name Jesus actually means saviour: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_(name).a powerful suggestion that he was just a mythical figure). Another of these, the cult of Adonis, was mentioned by Lucian in his essay "On the Syrian Goddess". Its devotees believed that Adonis died and was resurrected a couple of days later (sound familiar?).. Next you'll be arguing that Adonis was a historical person on the basis of the absence of evidence not being evidence of absence.

Incidentally, despite what Redmond says, Lucian should still be read today. He was an "Epicurean". They accepted that the gods existed but said that they had no influence on human affairs. The nearest you could get to atheism in those days. Lucian's satires on the cults and cultists of his day is amusing and still relevant for today.

gnome
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ALB wrote:

Next you'll be arguing that Adonis was a historical person on the basis of the absence of evidence not being evidence of absence.

Quite.  But one should set no store by that rather platitudinous turn of phrase; it could equally be used to justify belief in all manner of mumbo-jumbo simply because there's no evidence, at least at present, and may never be, to disprove it.  The burden of proof must surely rest with those making an assertion.

Dave B
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I think you are being even more keen to use Lucian's satire as evidence for Jesus's historical existence than the christians themselves:

http://lucianofsamosata.info/wiki/doku.php?id=2013:why-lucians-view-of-t...

Your link ends with ?

 

 

Lucian does confirm the Christians and Jesus, but how much of Lucian's view can be taken to be accurate?

 

I think Adonis which is an example you gave originating from 600BC and

 

The exact date when the legend of Adonis became integrated into Greek culture is still disputed. Walter Burkert questions whether Adonis had not from the very beginning come to Greece with Aphrodite.[22]"In Greece," Burkert concludes, "the special function of the Adonis legend is as an opportunity for the unbridled expression of emotion in the strictly circumscribed life of women, in contrast to the rigid order of polisand family with the official women's festivals in honour of Demeter." Both Greek and Near Eastern scholars have questioned this connection..

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis

 

 

Falls into a different historical catergory to JC

 

For whom circa 150 AD we have extensive contemporary detailed and allegedly historical literature.

 

The inclusion and overlaying of previous myth stories into the narrative isn’t disputed anymore than the sensational miracle narratives.

 

Even if the contemporary anti christian commentators attributed that to materialistic magic.

 

If, regarding the historical existance of JC, all of the contemporary christian material is pure forgery and all of the anti christian material is anti christians believing in the christian forgeries.

 

And Lucian being gullible in being taken in by the gullible; presumably the last laugh is on him?

 

Then it would be impossible to have any contemporary historical written record for the historicity of JC.

 

 And the sophist conclusion is in the predicate?

ALB
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It is absurd to claim that Lucian confirms the historical existence of Jesus. All he confirms is that christians existed (which nobody denies) and believed that Jesus had existed (a belief nobody denies either). If Lucian had been more acquainted with what the christians believed Jesus had done (wine into water, curing the blind, raising the dead, walking on water) he would have had the same fun, as a sceptic of such claims and religions, in taking the mickey out of them as he did in "The Death of Peregrinus" and "Alexander The Oracle Monger". He knew the type.

My nexrt witness is Paul of Tarsus who certainly existed and was in fact the real founder of christianity as a doctrine. As someone who spoke Greek he would have been well acquainted with saviour religions and turned the dissident Jewish sect that christianity started as into one. He lived at the same time as Jesus was supposed to have and was in Jerusalem at the same time that Jesus was supposed to be active as a miracle-worker. Yet he never mentions him as a real person, only as someone who appeared to him in a vision. See:

http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Is-Jesus-Christ-a-myth-Part-3-20150622

Why did he not mention Jesus as a person? Here's someone who could be a key witness but he says nothing. Talk about the absence of evidence !

Dave B
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Galatians 1:18-2:10, ‘Paul’

 

 

 

18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19 but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. 20 In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!

 

As Bart Erhman the ‘agnostic’ new testament scholar said to the mythicist Richard Carrier; no response.

 

“If Jesus had not existed you would have thought he brother would have known about it.”

 

The idea that Paul was the founder of Christianity is a position which can be disputed.

 

There is virtually nothing, or nothing really, in any of Pauls material to indicate that he was familiar with any ideological/theological material in the gospel material.

 

In fact it was as politically opposite as the economic classes that they came from.

 

As to people doing magic etc that was quite common and of little interest and not worthy of investigation by intellectuals; albeit according to Origen not so much mixing it with religion thus;

 

From contra Celsum

 

…but he [Celsus]  invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he [Celsus]  asserts

 

"that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous [….magic tricks…] powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god."………

 

Then we have this which would seem to be an allusion to the feeding of the 3753 etc

 

………But after this, Celsus, having a suspicion that the great works performed by Jesus, of which we have named a few out of a great number, would be brought forward to view, affects to grant that those statements may be true which are made regarding His cures, or His resurrection, or the feeding of a multitude with a few loaves, from which many fragments remained over, or those other stories which Celsus thinks the disciples have recorded as of a marvellous nature; and he adds:

 

"Well, let us believe that these were actually wrought by you." …….

Origen continues;

……….But then he immediately compares them to the tricks of jugglers, who profess to do more wonderful things, and to the feats performed by those who have been taught by Egyptians, who in the middle of the market-place, in return for a few obols, will impart the knowledge of their most venerated arts, and will expel demons from men, and dispel diseases, and invoke the souls of heroes, and exhibit expensive banquets, and tables, and dishes, and dainties having no real existence, and who will put in motion, as if alive, what are not really living animals, but which have only the appearance of life.

And he asks,

 

 "Since, then, these persons can perform such feats, shall we of necessity conclude that they are 'sons of God,' or must we admit that they are the proceedings of wicked men under the influence of an evil spirit?"

 

You see that by these expressions he allows, as it were, the existence of magic………

 

I think they were talking about hypnotism amongst other things.

 

Justyn Martry from circa 150AD talkings about non supernatural magicians and in particular a contemporary levitator who out did JC; who only managed the feat of walking on water which I suspect is less impressive than walking on air?

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