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Thread: Unanswered Questions

  1. #1
    Sapere Aude Jack's Avatar
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    Unanswered Questions

    When I was a theist, two questions I had regarding the life of Jesus as recorded in the Bible were never answered by any of the most well-read Christians I asked.


    Thirty years later and no longer a theist, I still can't get a satisfactory explanation. I've read hundreds of Christian theological tomes as well as asked in forums where believers had plenty of opportunity to provide an answer, and still have not gotten a response. There are a few sects that have their own interpretation of the events I question, but their beliefs are not based on any Biblical scripture I've read.


    So if any Christian or Biblical scholar can provide insight into these questions, I'd appreciate it. And if they can't, I have to wonder why.


    1) Who recorded the youth of Jesus? It's obvious no one at the time realized what he was destined to become, so who had the presence of mind to record his birth and early years? If Jesus himself related these events later in life to those who recorded the New Testament, why is there no mention of his reminisces? And as a (temporary) human with a typically fallible memory, how accurate could he have been describing events 30 years old that occurred when he was less than 10 years old? In short, how did the Bible come to be able to record the early years of his life?


    2) Where was Jesus from his early teens to his late 20s? What did he do, where did he go? Why did no one record those years in the Bible?


    (Bonus question)
    According to the Bible, where were we before we were born? Were we who we are now? Were we sinful before birth as well as after? Why can no one remember their "life" before this incarnation, at least according to the Christian doctrine?


    I welcome your answers, even your best guesses.


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    wordryder wordryder's Avatar
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    The answer is, Robert Eisenman

    7th December 2011, 05:03 PM #1 Jack
    Have you read Robert Eisenman’s “James, the Brother of Jesus?” Or his “Code of the New Testament?”

    After reading these heavy-duty monuments to wordiness, researched by who knows how many years and assistants, Eisenman made Jesus go away for me, not abruptly, but definitively.

    In addition to being a biblical scholar, Eisenman is an anthropologist, knows 5 or 6 ancient languages and has had a first hand crack at translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, after years in court, fighting to get access. Tenacious, too, I’d say.

    I’m oversimplifying by saying he eliminates the possibility of Jesus, with a combination of pulling down language barriers on one hand and putting up Hebrew Traditions and Laws on the other--that inconveniently foreclose the issues of Mary’s virginity, the trial and death of Jesus and the family that supposedly raised him.

    Eisenman makes the case that it is James,the head Priest, who is the exemplar of the Old Testament Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem for 30 years, from 37-67 CE (who had a brother names Joses) and who, by the way, is mentioned by Josephus.

    The rare mention of anyone named Jesus (even though scriptures claim he was followed by thousands--which should have gotten someone’s attention at the time!) was in Josephus' records in passing. There were quite a few people who claimed to heal during this period as well. James was not one of them.

    Eisenman's detail is fascinating, as he supports his conclusion that James was the Virgin, according to the scrolls, Josephus and followed by records at Nag Hammadi.

    It would appear that, in opposition to the church of James the Just, Jesus was the necessary myth to support Roman conversion to monotheism that grew and expanded as the entity not-then-known as the Catholic church battled the nationalistic Hebrew church that denied the corrupt and incestuous Roman-associated Herodian family line entrance to the Hebrew temple.

    Paul, to whom credit is given as the founder of the Christian church, is also apparently a red herring. (Wringing of hands here and another great story for another time.)

    So then, my friend Jack, answer your questions about Jesus with a good read of Eisenman and feel comforted that perhaps you won’t have to wonder again about an enigma that engages a myth.

    I don’t recall a Bible discussion about where we are before being born, but I’ll see if I can find an answer and get back to you on that.

  3. #3
    Volcanic Erupter lsbskins1's Avatar
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    Now, I will admit I have not read it front to back, but I own James, The Brother of Jesus and don't recall it being a point that Jesus did not exist at all...or am I missing what you mean?
    All I see when I look down, something jumpin' on the ground, Scratchin' dirt, cluckin' in the barnyard -
    Tell me, could that be you?

    John Kay

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    wordryder wordryder's Avatar
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    Hi Isbskins1
    Agreed, Eisenman does not say Jesus didn't exist; he's really focused on James, making the point that it is James that led and kept the Hebrew tradition, not the Pharisees, et al, but read between the lines and even through the lines. You really do need to read it cover to cover. And then go to the "The New Testament Code." If you do that you begin to get an idea of how tradition and law pervaded the Hebrews' every day lives.

    It is here that you begin to see how impossible a life like the one that describes Jesus would have been, or even the lives of the family described in the scriptures.

    Let's just take one small example, on Jesus' trial as raised by Eisenman--I'm quoting here:

    "The same proclamation is repeated at 'the High Priest's house' in response to the patently absurd question, "are you the Christ, the Son of God" (we say 'patently absurd' because neither the language of 'the Christ,' or that of 'the Son of God' relative to the Jewish Messiah had even begun to circulate in Palestine at that time, so no one at 'the High Priest's house' would even have thought to phrase the questions in those terms)."

    Another subject, taken up with exhaustive discussion, is that of "blood" in Hebrew law and tradition. I'm just hitting the highlights when I say they were forbidden to eat any animal that had blood left in it (which means they had to bleed them dry!) and Hebrew men were forbidden to be with a woman during her menstrual cycle because blood was such an anathema.

    So here at the last supper we have Jesus telling his disciples to drink the wine, as though it is his blood, as a sacrificial covenant. In reality that should have shocked them right down to their socks, as it would have been so completely foreign to their cultural background.
    We might not have a record of "where Jesus spent his early years," but the "disciples" had led typical lives of typical traditional Hebrew values as indicated from the stories of where and how Jesus finds them.

    I know it's not easy, Eisenman is both pedantic and a terrible writer, but it's a matter of learning the background against which the Jesus story is told which is so important to absorb.
    It is compelling, I promise.

  5. #5
    Igneous Magma
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    Quote Quote by: Jack View Post
    1) Who recorded the youth of Jesus? It's obvious no one at the time realized what he was destined to become, so who had the presence of mind to record his birth and early years?
    It was probably Mary. She would have known what he would become because Gabriel had told her and because she was still a virgin when Jesus was born.

    2) Where was Jesus from his early teens to his late 20s? What did he do, where did he go? Why did no one record those years in the Bible?
    He lived in Nazareth.


    And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.
    Luke 4:16 ESV


    This explains why the people there were so surprised at his teaching.


    And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
    Matthew 13:53-58 ESV


    (Bonus question)
    According to the Bible, where were we before we were born? Were we who we are now? Were we sinful before birth as well as after?
    Our existence begins at our conception. God sometimes speaks of people before they are born but that is because of his omniscience, not because they already had any existence.

    We don't become guilty of sin until we reach the point of understanding the difference between right and wrong and choose to do what is wrong.
    God's invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
    Romans 1:20 ESV

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    wordryder wordryder's Avatar
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    He lived in Nazareth.

    And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.
    Luke 4:16 ESV
    Nazarene is a transliteration root word Zaddock and the Sons of Zaddock were the Hebrew sect responsible for maintaining the books of the Old Testament. Do you recall how upset the Catholic hierarchy became when the Dead Sea Scrolls' contents started trickling out that dealt with the time that Jesus supposedly lived? James was head of the church (for about 30 years) trying to hold Hebrew tradition to the Law and it was from there that the schism occurred and became two churches with the (Roman) Catholic church becoming dominant and, subsequently, doing a lot of transliteration to develop the story of Jesus, even to claiming Mary's virginity in order to support Jesus' divinity--when it was actually James who was the virgin priest, "perfect in the sight of God" and called "the Just One," in the DSS.

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