This blog is a mixture.
- It’s a blog for the ideas of my novel. The novel looks at Jesus in the context of the constant uprisings against the Roman Occupation that began 100 years before his preaching, and went on for 100 years afterwards… until the Romans finally leveled Jerusalem, and killed or enslaved and deported all the Jews, and banned them from the replacement city of Aelia Capitolina.
- It shows Jesus as leading a failed attempt to take over the Temple at Passover, and being executed for it by the Romans.
- It shows you that Jesus was a fundamentalist Jew. (There weren’t any Christians, that was a subsequent invention of Paul’s.) You read Jesus’ words and actions with the awareness that his “greatest commandment” is to recite the Shema, the fundamental Jewish prayer (“Hear, O Israel,”) – and practicing Jews do it multiple times a day. It’s Judaism 101. Jesus wanted Israel to turn back to the Covenant with God, and get rid of the idolatrous, uncircumcised, beard-shaving, pig-eating Westerners who were marching around the country without bothering to learn the language.
- Yes, it makes comparisons with modern Western invasions and occupations.
- So it carries all my grudges against the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Blair destruction of Iraq in the hope of oil money and imperial glory. 100 million of us around the world had protested and pointed out that it was going to lead to nothing but death, destruction and economic catastrophe at home and abroad. And here we are.
- It also carries the ironies of the current Westernized Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the cynical and heavy-handed Israeli destruction of the people who have been indigenous there for the past 2,000 years… a repetition of how the Jews slaughtered all the Canaanites and others who had been living in the area before Moses came along.
- So I think Moses was a genocidal barbarian (Deuteronomy 20: 16-18).
- And Jesus was a Jew, and more in tune with Osama bin Laden than anyone else.
- And St. Paul was an epileptic visionary who created Christianity out of a mishmash of Judaism, Mithraism, and bits of Egyptian and Roman mythologies and practices.
- And I have no respect for any monotheist who believes the earth was created in the past 10,000 years, or thinks the tribal legends of illiterate herdsmen have relevance for government policy today.
- Can anyone really believe the first chapter of Genesis, when it says that God created day and night on the first day… and then made the sun and moon on the fourth day? We live in a universe of a billion galaxies, each with a billion suns – and someone who can’t even figure out the relationship between daylight and sunshine is to be treated seriously?
- As for what the creative force behind a billion galaxies looks like, who knows. Call it God if you want… but where did it come from? Why is there anything at all?
- And I love polytheist mythologies, and they speak to the soul’s images and poetry and inner health – but they’re not literally true.
- And I loathe people who use religion as nothing but a way to make money, or to grab power. And I loathe people who use politics in that way, too. So I doubly loathe hypocritical politicians who mouth religious crap.
- But oh how I love it all, at the same time! What a planet! Unbelievable natural beauty and works of art, and the most appalling destruction and massacres, planet-wide pollution, and greed and ignorance. But what can you expect of a planet of 7 billion heavily-armed apes? Humans are simply mind-boggling, stumbling through the dark like reckless two-year-olds.
By the way, it’s also a blog for the novel itself. With links to the trade paperback and to the Kindle edition. But don’t expect to find all the blog’s ideas in the novel – it’s just a contrarian (realistic, commonsense) retelling of an old story from the point of view of, yes, the Western occupation. And yes, Jesus was crucified. No, he didn’t come back from the dead. So, do you want to see how he did all those miracles?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on Jesus being a false prophet, according to Judaism.
Thank you for writing such an interesting blog,
-Anonymous Liberal of Conservative descent
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From my reading of the Gospels and the texts quoted by Jesus and others in them, I think Jesus clearly believed he was a Jewish prophet. The proof of being a prophet is in Deuteronomy 18:22. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” (That’s God speaking, by the way.)
Jesus prophesied all kinds of Messianic Son-of-God-in-clouds-of-glory stuff that was all to take place within the lifetimes of his listeners, but none of it happened. Therefore, according to Deuteronomy, Jesus was a false prophet (regardless of how devout a Jew or how well-intentioned he was).
And as God says in Deuteronomy 18:20, “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.” And of course Jesus was.
From the point of view of Judaism, I’d say the accusation of false prophethood is well-founded.
Going to get your book! Excuse me, of course, but I have this hang-up: I think truth is stranger than fiction. Or at least its acceptance. Is there an epidemic of stupidity ravaging this country? (Never mind; rhetorical question.)
Well, keep up the good work anyway, just don’t expect to teach sanity to the insane. AND WATCH YOUR BACK!
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“greatest commandment” is to Love. Love God and Love your neighbour.
Jesus was a fundamentalist Jew. God’s Chosen People were the Jews, and “neighbours” were other Jews. Jesus was prepared to include Samaritans (whose religious beliefs are almost identical to Jewish belief, they only split after the time of Moses), but Romans to him were dogs and pigs. This is the whole point of the Shema Yisrael (“Hear, O Israel”) that Jesus was quoting (as all Jews are required to quote, several times a day) – Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
[…] Jesus, being gay and an otherwise fundamentalist Jew, would probably have […]
Luke 22:36, Jesus tells His remaining disciples, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.”
The only christian church worth attending nowadays is one where everyone shows up for a an hour of bible study then a pancake breakfast then 3 hours of militia training for the whole family.
I’ve been toying with a somewhat similar novel concept. My background is as a former NT scholar…very former. Now I study the probable origins of Christianity as a historian, not a believer. I find areas of similarity between our views, but also some differences. I think the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel (the original and the source for the others which were simply redactions of Mark) was an allegory or midrash to explain what happened to the Jews after the destruction of the temple, both after the 70 CE destruction and the final destruction in the 130’s CE resulting in the diaspora. As such, Mark was attempting to answer the question, “How can we be Jews without the temple sacrifices and being exiled from Judea?” Jesus was a literary creation, a stand-in for the Jewish people and an ultimate sacrifice. Emergent Christianity in the second century was in competition with emergent rabbinical Judaism for the future of the Jewish people.
Jesus wasn’t a historical person. The story about this character was set in a time and place, but was a historical fiction. Virtually all aspects of Mark’s “biography” can be found in the Jewish scriptures, wrenched out of their context, and cobbled together into a narrative parable, The Gospel of Mark.
Paul, writing many years prior to the first “biography” or humanizing of the Jesus character, was writing only about a heavenly being who had not lived on earth or in recent memory. Mark launched his bio much later using Paul’s methodology of finding hidden and heretofore secret meanings in the prophetic writings.
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The search for truth is what it’s all about.
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[…] Of course the “Immaculate Conception” is just an unscientific fairytale. It is far more likely that, as contemporary Jewish rumour had it, Mary got pregnant by a Roman soldier called Pantera, and that Joseph (through love or pity) took her away to have the child in his home town of Bethlehem rather than have her stoned to death as would have been likely for having sex before marriage, especially with one of the idolatrous, beard-shaving, pig-eating Western soldiers of the Occupation… […]
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