Christ: Myth or Reality?

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Christ: Myth or Reality?

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I. KRYVELEV

CHRIST: MYTH DR RIAUTY?

USSR ACADEMY Of SCllNCIS " Religious Studies in the USSR "

Series. 2

I. KRYVlllV

CHRIST: MYTH OR RIAUTY ?

"social Sciences Today" Editorial Board Moscow, 1987

Dea r reade r ! Anno t a t ions f o r our f uture pub l i c a t ion s a r e provided at the end o f this vo l ume . To p l ac e o rd e r s f o r t h e t o you , p l ea s e c ontac t t ho s e coun t ry wh ich d e a l i n Sov i e t V /0 "Me zhdunarodnaya Kn i gd', pub l ica t i o n s .

t i t l e s which a r e of int e r e s t f irms o r b ookshops in your l i t erature an d t rade w i t h t h e s o l e exp o r t e r o f Sov i e t

If y o u p l ac e your o r d e r in the Sov i e t Un ion i t s hou l d b ea r t he f o l l owing addre s s i n Rus s ian: Mara3MH N" 3 "KHMrM-RO'IToM" "AKaAeMKHMra" MM'IYPMHCKMM np., 12).

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0400000000-0 1 0 3 1 1 87 ( 1 ) 04 2 (02 ) -87

(117192, MocKaa,

EDITORIAL COUN C IL FEDOSEYEV P.N . , Academician , Cha irman GRI GULEVICH I . R . , Corr e s p ond ing Memb e r , US SR Academy o f Scienc e s , Deputy Cha irman EGOROV V . A . , Execut ive Secretary Memb e r s AFANASYEV V . G . , Academic ian ; ARBATOV G .A . , Academic ian ; BOGOMOLOV O . T . , Academic ian ; BROMLEY Yu . V . , Academic ian ; FROLOV I . T . , Corres pond ing Memb e r , USSR Academy o f Sc i enc e s ; GAPOCHKA M . P . , Cand . S c . ( Ph i l o s . ) ; GROMYKO An . A . , Corre spond ing Memb e r , USSR Academy of Sc ienc e s; GURYEV I . E . , D . Sc . (Econ . ) ; GVI SHIAN I J . M . , Academic ian ; KAPUSTIN E . I . , Corre spond ing Membe r , USSR Academy of Sc ience s ; KHACHATUROV T . S . , Academi c ian ; KHROMOV S . S . , D . Sc . ( H i s t . ) ; KOMKOV G . D . , D . Sc . ( H i s t . ) ; KOS TYUSHKO I . I . , D . Sc . (His t . ) ; KOVAL B . I . , D . Sc . ( H i s t. ) ; KOVALCHENKO I . D . , Co rre spond ing Member , USSR Academy of Sc ienc e s ; KUMANEV V . A . , D . S c . (Hi s t . ) ; KUZNETSOV D . V . , Cand . Sc. (Hi st . ) ; MARKOV D . F . , Academic ian ; MASLOVA N . I . ; MCHEDLOV M . P . , D . S c . (Ph i l o s . ) ; MOMJAN Kh . N . , D . Sc . ( Ph il o s.) ; NAROCHNI TSKY A . L . , Academician ; PIOTROV­ SKY B . B . , Academic ian ; PRIMAKOV E . M . , Academic ian ; SEMYONOV V . S . , D . Sc . ( Ph i l o s . ) ; SHAPOSHN IKOV V . S . ; SHIRYAEV Yu . S . , Correspond ing Memb e r , USSR Academy of S c ienc e s ; TIKHVINSKY S . L . , Academic ian ; T IMOFEYEV T . T . , Correspond ing Membe r , USSR Acad emy o f S c i enc e s ; TRUKHA­ NOVSKY V . G . , Corres pond ing Memb e r , U S S R Academy o f Sc ienc e s ; UDALTSOVA Z . V . , Corre spon d ing Membe r , US SR Academy of Sc ience s ; VINOGRADOV V . A . , Academic ian ; VOLSKY V . V . , Corre s ponding Memb e r , U S SR Academy of S c i ence s ; ZHILIN P . A . , Corres pon d ing Memb e r , U S S R Academy of Sc ienc e s . The co1.1.ec tion s in the "Re l :i,.g ious Stud i e s in the US SR" se rie s are pub lished under the e d i t o r ship of Io sif Gr i ­ gu l evic h Exec ut ive Sec re tary of the s e r i e s M . Goncharuk © " Soc ial Sc ienc e s Today " , 1 98 7 Repr int s autho r i sed with wr i t t en p ermi s s ion f rom the Ed i t o r ial Board

Ed itor ial o f f ic e : 3 3 /1 2 Arb a t , Mo s c ow , 1 2 1 8 1 8 , US S R

CONTENTS SOME INTRODUCTORY NOTES [.

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THE MANY IMAGE S OF CHRI S T



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Chr i s t the Man-and-God ( the Church ' s V iew )





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Champ ion o f Inne r Freedom (accord ing t o Fed o r Do s to evsky) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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An Ideal o f Mo ral P e r f e c t ion (accord ing to Leo T o l s to i )

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Revo l u t ionary and Reb e l (accord ing t o A. Vve d ensky , K . Kaut sky and other s )















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The Fa s c inat ing Hero-Suf f e r e r (ac c o rd ing to Erne s t Renan ) •





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Menta l ly I l l (accord ing to J . Me s l ier , A . B ine t-Sang l e and Ya . M int s ) •











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One o f the Prophet s of Juda i sm (accord ing t o L e o Baech , Eduard Meye r , and Joel Carmichae l ) . •

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Per s on i f ied Heavenl y Body (accord ing to A. N iemoyewsk i , A. Drews and o ther s ) Wh ich Image Is the True One ? I I . DID HE REALLY EXI S T ?









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Unfounded Conc lus ions Ba sed on Al l egedly Ideo l o g i ca l Cons i d e ra t ions •

























Ground l e s s As s e r tions Based on Rel i g ious and The o l o g i c a l Con s iderat ion s •

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I s I t Po s s ib l e Tha t He D id Not Ex i s t ?

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64 70 75 75 77

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Conj e c ture s : the Po s s ib l e and the Impo s s ib l e •

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The L i f e of Chr i s t A s To l d i n the Go s p e l s











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83 89

Informa t ion From Non-Evange l ical Source s

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A Po s s ib l e Var iant --"Someone Came By

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The Mo s t Probab l e Ver s i on

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I I I . CHRISTOLOGY IN MODERN THE OLOGICAL AND HISTORI C AL LITERATURE •













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1 38

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"The Co l l ap s e o f an Image "

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Kee p ing One ' s Fa ith b y Al l Mean s !

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" Suprah i s t o ry " Ins t e ad o f H i s t o ry

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Right and Lef t Trend s in Chr i s t o l ogy Han s Kung on the Prob l em o f Chr i s t

















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What Shoul d We Do Ab out J e su s ' B iography ? IV . IN L IE U OF CONCLUS ION

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205 207 212 2 2J

SOME INTRODUCTORY NOTE S Throughou t the l a s t two thou sand years the name Je su s Chr i s t ha s reverb era t e d in the page s of h i s t o ry and in the l ive s of mi l l ion s of peop l e . I t has p ene trated every sphere of pub l ic and pr iva te l if e . Good and ev il deeds have b e en c onuni t t ed in the name o f Chr i s t , a s have ac t s of great char i ty and ac t s of unb e l ievab l e c rue l ty . S l aveo •.me r s , apo l og i s t s of s e rf dom , cap i t a l i s t ent repre­ neu rs and c o l on ial is t s had u s ed i t to c over up and s anc­ t ify the i r s e l f - s eeking end s , wh i l e th e oppre s s ed invoked i t a s th ey imag ined pun i shment f o r the oppre s so r s and dreame d of an idea l s o c i a l orde r and a b e t t e r l if e . The image of Chr i s t that has f o rme d in the memo ry of peop l e spann ing nearly two mi l l enn ia i s one tha t i s mu l t ifac e t e d and c ont rad ic t o ry . On a s ub j e c t ive l eve l , too , peop l e ' s a t t i tude to­ wa rd s the p e r s on o f Chr i s t d i f f e r s wide l y , rang ing from reverenc e and a f f ec t ion to c on temp t and ha t e . Be twe en the s e two ext reme s are var iou s shad e s of favourab l e and unfavourab l e op in ions . Wi thou t enume ra t ing them here I sha ll me r e l y men t ion two d iame t r ical ly oppo s i t e views . For Ern s t Renan Chr i s t s t and s at an " inac c e s s ib l e su nuni t " of human grandeur . On the other hand , an unc om ­ promi s ingly negat ive evalua t i on of Chr i s t i s f ound in the work s of ph i l o s ophe rs of the French Enl i gh t en ment . My purp o s e a t th i s po int i s not to we i gh the me r i t s of one or ano ther s et of op in ion s , but rather to ind icate how far apart they can b e . I wan ted t o cal l the f i r s t chap ter o f th i s b o ok "The Image of Chr i s t in the Memory of the Peop l e Ove r the Age s " . Bu t it soon became c l ear tha t it is impo s s ib le t o wr i te abou t th e image of Ch r i s t as i f t h e image were a s ing l e one . For th ere has neve r b e en one un i f o rm c onc ep6

t ion o f th e p e r s ona li ty of Chr i s t in the con s c iousne s s o f peop le o r in li te rature , not even dur ing one p e r io d . In our t ime , too , there i s no s ing le image of Chr i s t , on ly wid e ly d ivergent var ian t s of i t . I have therefore c a ll e d the f ir s t chap t e r "The Many Image s of Chr i s t " and s ha l l con s ider s ome of them in i t . Th i s i s no t go ing to b e ea sy , f o r d i f f erent au th o r s app roach t h e que s t ion o f t h e p e r s ona l i ty of Chr i s t d i f ­ f e r en t l y . One s t re s s e s Jesus ' pu rely human t ra i t s ; an­ o t he � regards him as an a s c e t i c and prophet ; a third , a s a p o l i t ical leade r , mora l i s t and ph i l o sopher ; and a f ou r th c on s ider s Chr i s t to b e a my tho lo g i c a l f i gure . Each em­ pha s i s e s tho s e f ea tur e s wh ich f i t in wi th h i s own int er­ p r e t a t ion . The work s o f t he s e author s , therefore , g ive on the whol e an imp re s s ion of unu sual d iver s i ty . But th i s is only to be expec ted : it r e f l ec t s the d ive r s i t y of v iews hel d by d if f erent p e o p l e ab ou t the real or imag inary f ounder of Chr i s t ian i ty . L e t u s b eg in with the t e ach ing s of the Church on th i s sub j e c t .

I . THE MANY IMAGE S OF CHRI ST Chr i s t the Man-and-God (the Church ' s View ) There i s a va s t theo l o g ica l l i t erature d evo ted to th e sub j e c t of the image of Chr i s t , and th e r e we can f ind the mo s t d ive r s e in t e r pre t a t i on s o f th i s image wh i ch o f t en cont rad i c t one ano th e r . The onl y po in t on wh ich they agree is that Chr i s t ex i s t ed and wa s the f ounder o f Chr i s ­ t ian ity and o f t h e Chr i s t ian Church . Acc o r d ing to the New T e s t ament t rad i t ion Chr i s t ga­ thered around h im a group o f apo s t l e s and d i s c ip l e s who a f t e r h i s death b rough t th e new teach ing through mi s s ion­ a ry work to c oun t r i e s in the Med i t e r ranean . And f rom there Chr i s t ian i t y s p read to the who l e of Europ e . Acc o r d ­ ing t o Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l , Chr i s t named the apo s t l e P e t e r a s h i s suc c e s s o r , who wa s t o h ead the Church h e f ounded . In o r d e r t o unde r s t and the Chruch ' s int er p r e t a t ion o f the p e r s on o f Chr i s t , l e t u s turn to th e ma in o f f ic ial document on the Chr i s t ian doc t r in e , the C r e d o , a s we l l as some o f th e r e s o lu t ions adop ted by the ecumen i c a l c oun­ c i l s . The l a t t e r are a l s o o f f ic ial documen t s of the Chu rch and are regarded by it as ab s o l u t e t ruth . It shoul d b e s a i d , not f o r purpo s e s of c r i t i c ism , b u t as a ma t t e r of fac t , tha t the Chruch ' s doc t r ine on Chr i s t i s qu i t e vague , and i t i s di f f icu l t to d e s c r ib e i t i n any log icat , c on s i s t ent manner . Chr i s t ian the o l o g ians In the ir wr i t in g s th ey re ­ th ems e l v e s do no t deny th i s . f e r to some a sp ec t s of the Chr i s t ian dogma c onc ern ing t h e f ounder of Chr i s t ian i ty a s b e ing my s t er iou s , unf a thomab l e . In such c a s e s they u sual ly have recou r s e to the ac c e p t ed Church f o rmu l a : wha t canno t b e apprehended by the mind mu s t be b e l ieved as the supreme , ul t ima t e truth . Let u s

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examine the d oc t rin e on Chri s t which th e Church ho l d s t o b e t rue . F i r s t , the Credo . The Credo was adop t e d at two ecu­ men ical counc ils : the Counc i l of Nicaea ( A . D . 3 25 ) and the Counc i l of Constan t inop l e (A . D . 38 1 ) . The Counc i l o f N icaea approved t h e f ir s t s even ar t ic l e s o f t h e C r e d o , and the Counc il o f Con s tan t inop l e ado p t e d y e t ano ther f ive ar t i c l e s . The s e twe lve ar t ic l e s have reilld ined in tac t de s p i t e the numerous impa s s ioned d eba t e s ove r them tha t la s t ed s everal centu r i e s and shook the Chr i s t ian dogma and theo l ogy to the roo t s . And t o th i s very day they are the f oundat ion s o f Chr i s t ian i ty in wh ich none o f th e ma in Chu rches has ever vo iced any doub t . What doe s the Credo say abou t J e su s Chr i s t ? In th i s bas ic do cument o f the Chr i s t ian dogma J e s u s Chr i s t o c cup i e s a cen t ral p lace : ou t o f t h e twe lve ar t i ­ c l e s s ix ( f rom the s e cond t o the s eventh ) are devo t ed t o h im . The Credo says tha t w e mu s t b e l i eve " in o n e Lord , Je s u s Chr i s t" , who i s " the only Son of God, e t e rnal l y b e g o t­ ten of the Fa ther'' . He re we are immed iat e l y conf ron t e d with c e r t a in d i f f icu l t i e s . I f Je s u s Chri s t wa s b e go t t en , even if of God , th i s mu s t have o c curred at a s p e c i f ic t ime and the r e f o r e no t " e t e rnal ly " ; and if " e t e rna l l y " , then he had always exi s t e d and c ou l d no t have b e en b e go t t en . Th i s c ont rad ic t ion wa s no t e d b y Ar iu s ( d . A . D . 3 3 6 ) . He argued tha t s in c e J e s u s wa s b eg o t t en , i t meant that Je su s emerged f rom noth ing , tha t i s , he wa s c r ea t ed . Ar iu s c onc luded , therefore , that Chr i s t i s no t eve r la s t ­ ing . In other wo rd s , he i s n o t God bu t wa s c reat e d by God , even if h e were the mo s t perf e c t of God ' s c r eature s . Ar iu s ' v i ews were condemned by the Church a s h e r e sy . The s e c ond art ic l e a l s o say s that J e s u s i s "L igh t f rom L i gh t , t ru e God f rom true God , b ego t t en , n o t mad e , of one B e ing w i th the Fathe r " . In other word s , J e su s i s God , is b egot t en o f God t h e Fa t h e r and a t the same t ime f o rms one b e ing with the Fath e r . And J e su s wa s a l s o a "For u s men human b e ing , as the next art i c l e s t e l l u s . and for our salva t ion " Je su s came down f rom h eaven and b ecame " incarna t e " f rom the ho ly s p i r i t and the V irg in Mary , and "was made man " . So , Chr i s t the God temporar i ly a s sumed human f o rm and appeared on earth as the man J e su s . 9

He d i d th i s in order t o s ave s uf f e r ing mank ind tha t had gone a s t ray . Chr i s t fu l f i l l ed h i s mi s s ion by s ac r i f ic ing h ims e lf : "For our sak e he was c ruc i f ied under Pont iu s P i l a t e ; he suf f ered death and was b u r i e d ." In dy ing Chr i s t a t oned f or the s in s of mankind . H owever , he su f f er e d and d ied not a s God , bu t a s a man in whom God was emb o d i ed . The f if th art i c l e o f the Credo s ay s that on the third day a f t e r h is death J e su s ro s e aga in " in acc o rdance w i th the S c r ip ture s " . Then , the s ixth a r t i c l e t e l l s u s , he "as­ c ended in to h eaven and i s s e a t ed at the r igh t hand of the Fathe r " . S ome t ime in f u ture , s ay s the s eventh art ic l e , h e w i l l come again " in g l o ry t o j udge , the l iving and the dead" . And th i s t ime "h i s k ingdo m w i l l have no end " . Thu s , f rom the po in t o f v i ew of th e Chu rch , Chr i s t i s b o th God and man a nJ emb o d i e s b o th a d ivine and a hu­ man na ture . As God , Ch r i s t is the s ec ond p e r s on of the T r in i ty ; h i s s ign i f i cance l ie s ou t s id e t ime , it is e t e r­ na l . But a s man , J e su s ex i s te d in t ime ; he l ived ab ou t . th i r ty years o n ear th . Bu t here i s yet another comp l ica­ t ion . The Chu rch c on s ider s the human nature in Je su s to b e e t e rnal , j u s t l ike h i s divine nature , though th i s c ont ra­ d ic t s th e idea tha t he wa s b o rn , tha t i s , "wa s made man " at a s p e c i f ic moment . True , in future Je su s w il l aga in appear on earth , th i s t ime " in g lo ry " , wh ich sugg es t s that he w i l l appear not a s J e su s the man , but a s Chr i s t th e God . S t i l l , the Church tak e s th e po s i t ion t ha t th e two nature s of Ch r i s t are ind iv i s ib ly un i t ed in h im . But then , inexpl icab ly , the Church a l s o ho ld s that the s e two na ture s , wh i l e b e ing ind iv i s ib ly and in s eparab ly uni t ed , we re not " f u s e d " toge th er . How d id th e Church arr ive at th i s l og ical impa s s e ? I t d i d so in the c ou r s e of i t s f igh t aga in s t "h ere s ie s " that emerged a t i t s ecumen ical counc i l s . At the f ir s t of th e s e c ounc i l s , the C ounc il of N i­ caea (A.D . 32 5 ) , the v iews o f Ar iu s were dec l ared here t i c . At the th ird c ounc i l, th e Counc i l o f Ephe su s (A .D . 4 3 1 ) , N e s t o r iu s , p a t r iarch o f Con s tan t inop l e , wa s accu s ed o f h e r e s y f o r say ing tha t J e su s wa s not G od but on ly God ' s me s s enger and tha t God inhab i t ed the b ody of J e s u s a s he wou l d a templ e . At th e next , Cha l c edon ian Counc i l 10

(A.D. 4 5 1 ) , a p o in t o f v i ew oppo s i t e t o that o f N est or iu s wa s s t rongly c ondenme d . Th i s i s known a s the Monophy s i t e It wa s exp ounded by Eutychu s who h e l d that Chr i s t h e re s y . ha s only on e , d iv in e nature in wh ich h i s human na ture i s comp l et e l y immer s e d . Sub s equ ent l y , Monophy s i t i sm appeare d in a comp romi s e d f o rm known as the Monophyl e t ic do c t r in e ac c o r d ing t o wh i ch Chr i s t ex i s t s i n two nature s (one human and one d ivine ) , b u t ha s only one , d iv in e w il l . The thr e e sub s equ en t counc i l s cont inu ed t o b e occup i ­ e d w i th th i s qu e s t ion and t r i ed to f inG•a s o l u t ion that woul d not c o r r e s pond with e i th er Ne s t o r ian i sm , Monophys i t i sm or Monophy l e ti s m . Th i s c on t rove r sy over theo l o g i ­ cal f ine p o in t s p robab ly ref l ec t e d no t s o much a s earch f o r truth as the real re lat ion s h i p tha t ex i s t ed b e twe en the int e re s t s of r ival group ing s . For the rul ing e l i t e i t wa s imp o r tan t that i t s po in t o f v i ew shoul d b e uphel d a t al l t ime s so tha t it woul d appear infal l ib l e . Qu i t e real mat e r ial and p o l i t ical in t e r e s t s depended on th i s . Thu s , in o pp o s i t ion co the group s who s e ideo l o g ical ban­ ner wa s Ne s t or ian i sm i t was said tha t in Chr i s t two na­ ture s , one human and one d ivine , were ind iv i s ib ly and in­ s eparab ly un i t ed . At the same t ime it wa s nec e s sary t o oppo s e the Monophy s i t e s by in s i s t ing t h a t the s e two na­ t ur e s were not "f u s e d " toge ther . In the end one had l i t t l e cho ic e b u t to acc e p t the "my s t er ious " d i s c re pancy . On the who l e , Chr i s t ian i ty has reta ined th e dogma that there are two "nature s " and two "wi l l s " in Chr i s t . W i thou t dwe l l ing on th i s qu i t e inc omp rehen s ib l e argumen t , we shal l mer e l y take no t e o f i t and go on to o th e r p o in t s i n the Church ' s doc t r ine o n Chr i s t . As i s said in the Credo , Chr i s t i s in h eaven and ha s f o r n ear l y two thousand y ears s a t on the r igh t hand of God the Fa the r , wa i t ing for th e moment wh en he w i l l return to ear th to judge the l iving and the d ead . He d ied on earth as a weak , poor and humb l e man , bu t he w i l l c ome aga in " in g l o ry " , a s the Almigh ty and rul e r o f the un i­ ve r s e . What k ind of mi s s ion d id Chr i s t carry ou t dur ing h i s l i f e on e arth ? Acc o rd ing t o th e Church ' s t each ing s the mi s s ion wa s three f o l d : Chr i s t was p r o ph e t , h igh p r i e s t and k ing . The f i r s t o f the s e f unc t ion s i s f a i r l y c l ear . 11

Chr i s t

the God-and-man f o r e t o l d the inev i tab l e end of the wo r l d and h i s s e c ond c oming . He taugh t peop l e t h e tru th o f the rel ig i o n wh ich he f ounded . Th ing s are mo re c omp l i c a t e d regard ing the other two func t ions. The ma in du ty of the h igh pr ie s t wa s to o f f e r sac r i­ f ic e s t o God f o r the s in s of men . Je su s a s the h i gh p r i e s t fu l f i l l ed t h i s duty in an en t i r e l y new way . As a sac r i f i c e , wh ich wa s off e r ed in the name of a l l mank ind , he gave h i s own l ife . In so doing he exp iated the s in o f Adam and Eve a n d reconc i l ed men t o Go d who wa s i n a s ta t e o f c onf l ic t w i t h th em s in c e t h e Fa l l . On th i s po int , t o o , the Chr i s t ian d o c t r ine i s marked by c e r t a in amb i gu it i e s . Doe s Chr i s t ' s sac r i f ic e a tone for the s in o f Adam and Eve only or for a l l th e s in s man­ k ind ha s c ommi t t e d af t e r the Fal l ? Th e o l o g ical wr i t ings If we a s sume tha t man ' s usua l l y evade th i s que s t io n . mo ral c o r ru p t i on o r i g in a t e d in the s in o f Adam and Eve , then it s exp i a t i on through Ch r i s t's sac r i fic e wou l d re­ move the genera l s infulne s s o f man wh ich i s a con s e qu enc e of i t . But in tha t ca s e , why has not evil d i sappeared f rom the ea rth ? The Chu rch ' s an swer t o th i s qu e s t ion i s rather vagu e : Chr i s t ' s s ac r i f i c e remove d on ly the cu r s e f rom the e a r t h and f rom God ' s c reatu re s , wh i l e sa lvat ion wi l l take p l a c e onl y af t e r the s e c ond c oming . It i s al s o d if f icu l t t o und e r s tand Ch r i s t ' s rol e a s k ing , t h e la s t o f t h e th r e e f un c t ions h e p e r f o rmed o n earth . I f th i s r e f e r s t o h i s un ive r sal du t i e s as the se­ c ond p e r s on of the T r in i t y , th en no p a r t icular d if ficu l ty a r i s e s : God is the k ing o f the un ive r s e . Bu t here i t i s Chr i s t ' s d e e d s on ear th , d e e d s h e carr ied ou t a s a man , tha t are me ant . S o i t wou l d s e em tha t in t h i s l if e , too , Ch r i s t , though he was poor and p e r s ec u t e d , wa s n eve rthe­ l e s s a k ing , and no t only a "Juda ic k ing " , a s is said in the Go s p e l s ( Chr i s t ian th e o l o g ians lay no p a r t i c u l a r s t re s s on th e " Juda ic " na ture o f Ch r i s t ' s k ingdom) , b u t a k ing of a l l men . Th i s i s how th e auth o r i ta t ive theo l o g ian , Me t ropo l i­ tan Maka r iu s , d e s c r ib e s "the ma in ac t ion s in wh ich Je s u s Ch r i s t ' s k ing sh ip wa s reve a l ed " : f i r s t , th e mirac l e s wh e reby Chr i s t " showed h i s power over al l na ture , s pe c i 12

f i ca l l y , over h e l l and death ; s econd , h i s d e s c en t in t o he l l and t r iumph over h el l ; third , h i s r e su rr e c t ion and 11 1 t r iumph over death ; and f ou r th , h i s a s c en s ion •







Apparen t ly only the d e s c en t int o h e l l n e e d s s ome ex­ p lanat ion , s in c e it may be as sume d that the read er i s. mo re or l e s s fami l iar w i th th e o t h er d e e d s p e r f o rmed by Chr i s t a s k ing . Th i s e l ement o f the Chr i s t ian dogma i s bas e d o n the f o l l owin g t ex t f rom the F ir s t Ep i s t l e o f Peter : " Chr i s t al s o hath once suf f ered f o r s in s that he migh t b ring u s t o God , b e ing put t o d eath in th e f l e sh , b u t qu ickened by the S p i r i t : by wh ich a l so he went and preached into the s p i r i t s in p r i son" ( 3 : 1 8 - 1 9 ) . •



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In theo l o g ical l it eratur e a who l e s to ry has s p rung up around th i s t ex t . It i s said that du r ing the three day s b e f ore his r e su rrec t ion , wh i l e his b ody lay in the t omb , Chr is t , o r rather h is soul , t rave l l ed t o h el l . He c onqu ered the d e v i l and l ed al l p iou s men f rom the O l d In th i s way he showed h i s migh t T e s tamen t out o f h e l l . and p ower a s k ing . S o , in the Chu rch ' s t each ing s the image o f the c ru­ c i f i e d suf f er e r i s int e rwoven wi th the image of the h eavenl y o r even earthl y k ing . On the one hand , Chr i s t " suf f ered f o r u s , l eaving u s an examp l e , that y e shou l d f o l l ow h i s s t ep s " . O n t h e o th e r hand , Chr i s t w i l l come " t o j udge the qu ick and the dead " ; he is the rul er o f t h e wor l d and h o l d s u s i n awe by h is greatn e s s and might . S ince the Church i s Chri s t ' s r e p r e s entat ive on earth and as " the my s t ical b ody of Chr i s t " func t ion s and t each e s in h i s name , i t mu s t empha s i s e tho s e f eatures wh ich t e s t i f y t o Chr i s t ' s power and grandeu r . Th i s t end ency i s c l ear ly r e f l ec t ed in the dogma and p rac t ic e o f the Catho l ic Chu rch . The Roman Catho l ic Pop e s cal l thems e l ve s "v icar iu s Chr i s t i " , or Chr i s t ' s . depu t i e s . F o r them , of c o u r s e , i t i s impo r tant to em­ pha s i s e tho s e f eatur e s o f Chr i s t ' s p e r s onal i t y in wh ich h e appears not a s a wander ing p r eacher who suf f e red and was humb l e and f u l l o f me rcy , b u t as the ru l e r not only of the hear t s and minds of p e op l e but al s o of th e i� ear th­ ly fat e , a pr inc ip l e o f s t rength and power tha t is super­ ior t o al l ear thly powe r s. As Ch r i s t ' s depu t ie s on earth the Pope s c laim that they po s s e s s t h i s superhuman s t rength and power . 13

There were time s when the Pop e s not only c l a imed they had the p ower of ''k ing " over the whole worl d , bu t c ame c l o s e to p o s s e s sing t h i s power. In the Middl e Age s the Pop e s o f t en h e l d the monarc h s o f We s tern Europe in a s t a t e o f s ub ordina t ion . Today , o f cour s e , th ere i s no que s t ion of the Va t ican ru l ing over any c ountry , even i f t h e majority o f tha t c oun try ' s popu l a tion were Ca tho l ic s . Neverth e l e s s , th e c l aim to th e s t a tu s of a ''kingdom" i s no t ab andoned : the Vat ic an ex i s t s a s a n independen t s ta t e headed by th e Pop e . The ideologic a l j u s t if ica t ion f or thi s i s tha t Je su s , who f ounded the Roman Church through the a p o s t l e Pe t er, was no t only a h eavenly king , but a l s o a k ing o n e ar th . In the Orthodox Church--fir s t the Byzantine and then the Ru s sian Orthodox Church--th e s i tua t ion was s omewh a t dif f erent . H i s toric a l c ircums t anc e s did not perm i t t h e Or thodox Church to c l aim supremacy over the s e c u l ar In fac t , over many c en tur i e s the Church was au thor i tie s. sub o rd ina t e to the By zantine emperor s and Ru s s ian t sar s and gave i t s b l e s s ing to the l a t t er a s the embod iment o f the h eavenly k ing . The role of the h eaven l y k ing i t s e l f s t i l l b elonged t o Je su s Chr i s t. In icon s of the early Mid d l e Age s Chr i s t i s por tray­ e d not on l y a s a poor man who su f f ered martyrdom , as d e s ­ cr ib ed i n the Gos p e l s , b u t a l s o a s a king wear ing a c rown and wie l d ing a s c ep t er . The b ehaviour of the apos t l es and other s around him conf ormed t o the e l abora t e e tique t t e o f the By zan t ine c ourt. In many icons Chri s t i s shown toge ther w ith an emperor , wi th the ''king of king s " b l e s s ­ ing the r e a l k ing or p l acing a crown on h i s head. The t i t l e of the Byzan tine and l a t e r o f the Rus s ian emperor s inc luded the expr e s sion "the ano in ted " , wh ich is "Me s siah " in anc ien t Hebrew and "Chri s t o s " in Gre ek. There i s l it t l e of th e f o rg iving and gen t l e Chr i s t o f the Go s pe l s in the Church ' s repr e s en t a tion o f him . In i t s ro l e of a migh ty and t er r ib l e ru l er , the support and some t ime s the r ival of the emperor s , the owne r of mil lion s o f s erf s in the Midd l e Age s , and the execu tioner of tho s e who thought dif f eren t l y f rom i t and dared t o show even the s l i gh t e s t s ign of r e s i s t anc e ( su f fice i t to rec a l l the Inqu i sit ion) , the Church had ac ted in the name o f Chri s t . The r e f ore , i t wa s no t a l way s advant ageou s for the Church 14

to speak of Chr i s t ' s me rcy , l e t a l one nonr e s is tance to ev i l . Church o f f i c ia l s ref erred to th i s only when the oppre s s ed and exp l o i t ed b ecame re s t ive and it wa s nec e s ­ s a ry to pac ify them . The image o f Jesu s as a c onnno n man and a ma r tyr , poor , f org iv ing and ind if f erent to wor ldly good s , i s re­ ta ined by the Chu rch , howeve r . I t i s p a rt o f i t s ide o l o ­ g ical armour . A t t ime s the Church even empha s i s e s th i s image when t h e c ircum s t an ce s demand i t . B u t th i s happens rarely , wherea s Chr i s t th e rul e r , the k ing o f k ings , mo s t dread s ove r e i gn , h a s l ong occupied a c ent r al p l a c e in the Church ' s ideol ogy and t each ing s . Th i s tran s f o rma t ion o f Chr i s t in the prac t ic e and ideo logy of the Church was f ound unaccep tab l e by many b e ­ l ieve r s i n t h e p a s t , a s it i s s t i l l unacceptab l e to many b e l ieve r s t oday . In the almo s t two thou s and years of Chr is t ianity ' s ex i s t ence many s o c ia l movement s aga ins t the Church have b e en l aunch ed under the cal l f o r a re turn to the Chr is t o f the Go s pe l s , poor , humb l e , gen t l e and a l l -forgiving . Th i s c a l l h a s reta ined i t s appeal even t oday . In the l a s t c en tu ry the Church 's t each ing s on Ch r i s t wer e oppo s ed by such t i tanic f igure s o n que s t ions conc e rn­ ing man ' s s p i r i tual l if e as the great Ru s s ian wr i t e r s F e d o r Do s t o evsky and L e o To l s to i . Champ ion of Inner Freedom (acco rd ing t o Fedor Do s t o evsky ) Do s to ev sky ' s v iews on Chr i s t wer e mo s t e l o qu en t l y and powerful ly exp r e s s e d through the hero e s o f h i s nove l s . The f a s c ina t ing and pure-s ou l ed Pr inc e My shk in of The Idiot accu s e s the C a tho l ic Church of d is to r t ing the ima ge o f Ch ri s t : "Catho l i c i sm p reach e s a d i s to r t ed Chr i s t whom i t ha s mal igned and profaned , t h e ve ry reve r se o f Chr i s t . I t preach e s th e An t ichr i s t 112 •



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A s imilar v i ew i s expre s sed b y Sha tov in The Pos­ sessed: "Rome proc l a imed a Chr i s t who y i e l d ed to the th ird temp ta t ion and by t e l l ing th e who l e wo r l d tha t Ch r i s t c ou l d not s tand u p o n ear th withou t an earthly k ingdom Catho l i ci s m p r oc l a imed the An t ichr i s t and ru ined the en­ t i r e We s t ern wor l d . " 3 T he s t ory of the "third temp ta•





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t ion" , a s i s t o l d in the Go s p e l s , i s as f o l l ows : Sa tan took Je su s to a h i gh moun tain and showed h im a l l the k ing­ doms o f the worl d and the i r g l ory and said al l th e s e wou l d b e h i s i f h e wou l d "fal l and wo r sh ip me " . Je su s rej e c t ed the o f f er w i th ind igna t ion . For Sha tov , th i s mean t tha t the Chr i s t p r e s en t e d by the Church wa s one who cou l d not re s i s t the t emp tat ion o f wo r l d l y power and sold h im s e l f to An t ich r i s t f o r a me s s o f p o t tage . In The Karamazov Brothers Ivan Karamazov t o l d h i s b ro t h e r Al e sha about h i s p o em on the Inqu i s i t ion . I t has two h e r o e s : the Grand Inqu i s i t o r and Chr i st . 4 Th e Inqu i­ s i t o r wa s a card inal , a 9 0-y ear-o l d monk , c l ever , cyn ical and fana t ic . H i s fana t ic i sm wa s roo t e d no t in a b e l i e f i n G o d o r h i s c ruc if i e d s on , bu t i n a p r o u d con s c iou sne s s o f the g r ea tn e s s o f the Church and i t s mis s ion a s l eader of mank in d . Th e s ec ond h e r o , Chr i s t , appeared on ear th 1 5 0 0 y ea r s af t e r h i s re su rrec t ion . He move d s i l ently among the c rowd , with a s o f t smi l e of inf in i t e c ompa s s ion ; he was mod e s t and c omp l e t e l y de f en s e l e s s , und e r s tand ing everyth ing and f o r g ivin g everyth ing . Al though he u t t e r e d not a wo rd i n the p o em and p er f o rmed only one d eed--h e ra i se d a s even-year-o l d g i r l f rom t h e dead , wh i l e th e card ina l s p oke long and w i th great e l oqu enc e , the real hero o f the p o em i s Chr i s t th e God-and-man . Through the card inal ' s spe eches the Church ' s v i ew on Chr i s t wa s d i s­ c l o s e d , a s s een by Ivan Karamazov . In the p o em Chr i s t app ear s b e f o r e t h e reader i n an en t ir e l y n ew l ight , and i t i s b o th in t e re s t ing and impo r tan t t o l o ok in t o th i s conc ept ion of t h e p e r s onal i t y o f Ch r i s t . Th e event d e s c r ib e d in the p o em t o ok p lac e in the Span i sh c i ty of Sev i l le in the 1 6 th c en tu ry , at the he ight of the Inqu i s i t ion , when every day p e op l e were bu rn ed at the s take " f o r the g l o ry of God ". By th i s t ime 1 5 0 0 year s had pa s s ed s inc e Chr i s t "promi s ed t o c ome i n H i s gl ory " and s inc e t h e proph e t wro t e "Beh o l d I come qu ick­ ly " . Bu t mank ind awa i t ed h im with the same f a i th and w i th the same l ove . And on a h o l iday in summe r , in the square in f ron t of th e cath e d ral Ch r i s t app ear e d b e f ore "the peop l e who we re tormen t ed , su f f e r ing , r e ek ing of s in , b u t who l oved h im" . And they recogn i s ed h im . Ru sh ing t oward s h im th ey surrounded h im and f o l l owed h im . But a t that momen t the Grand Inqu i s i t o r appeared . He immed ia t e l y orde red h i s men to p lac e Ch r i s t under ar16

re s t , and in s tan t ly the crowd pros trated thems e l ve s as one man b ef ore the churchman . Tha t nigh t the Grand In­ qui si tor confron t e d Je su s who wa s k e p t in s o li tary c on­ fin emen t and heap e d reproach e s and accu sations on him . What chi e f l y inc ens ed the cardinal was Chris t ' s app ear­ anc e on earth . Why have you c ome to int erf ere in our a f f air s, he asks Chri s t . You have already handed over t o u s , t h e Church , " th e righ t to d ecide man ' s f a t e and o f cour s e cannot even think o f taking that righ t away from u s now" . And sin c e this is so , Chri s t is not n e e d e d on ear th ; inde e d , his pre s ence i s harmf u l and high ly danger­ ou s , according to the cardina l . From the Inquisitor ' s indic tment i t wou l d s e em tha t Chris t ' s fir s t c oming t o ear th , when Go d a s sume d human form , wa s e qua l l y harmful . From the cardinal ' s p oin t o f view , Je su s ' deed s on ear th revea l e d a lack of under s tanding of th e nature of man , who wa s a weak and rather s tupid creature . "There are thr e e forc e s on ear th , " said the Inqui sit or , "on l y thre e , t h a t can f orever conquer and impri s on the c on­ scienc e of the s e f eeb l e reb e l s f or th eir own happin e s s , and the s e are : miracle , my s t ery and au thority . " To gether they res tric t ed th e freedom o f p e o p l e , and that wa s good for mankind . For "there has n ever b e en anything more un­ b earab l e f or man and human s o cie ty than freedom " , "there i s nothing mor e worrying and t o rment ing f or p eo p l e than the search , onc e they are l ef t in freedom , f or s ome thing b ef ore which they can pro s tra t e them s e l ve s " . And J e s u s rej e c t ed a l l thre e ba sic princip l e s o f the lif e o f s o ­ cie ty which had given p e o p l e t h e fre edom t h a t saved them from f re edom . In s t ead , he cal l e d on them to f o l l ow him , en ticing th em wit h the idea that they c ou l d , with only hi s image b ef ore them a s their guid e , freely decide the ' qu e s tion o f what wa s good and wha t wa s evil . Thi s wa s di sas trou s . In what way did Jesu s oppo s e mirac l e , my s t ery and au thority ? The cardinal regard ed thi s opposition as an evil trend which incriminat e d J e s u s . J e s u s ' oppo sition to au thori ty s e ems c l ear enough : he rej e c t e d th e au th ori­ ty of th e Pharis e e s and the s crib e s , the Judaic high prie s t s and lawy er s . "Ye have h eard that it wa s said Bu t I say un t o you , " h e taugh t . As f or mys t ery , by ref erring t o i t , one c ou l d t each peop l e "to b lind l y obey , even again s t th eir conscienc e s " . In s t ead , J e su s had ap •





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p ea l ed t o th e f re e j u dgemen t of th e heart b a s e d on love . And la s t ly , Je s u s had d i s c r e d i t ed the idea o f mirac l e by twic e fa i l ing t o p e r f o rm on e : h e d id no t ca s t h ims e l f down f rom a h igh mountain wh en asked by Satan to do s o ; and h e d id no t c ome down f rom the c r o s s when the c rowd taun ted h im and cha l l enged h im t o c ome down and thu s save h ims e l f . said the card inal , the For t h e pas t 1 500 y ear s , Church had repa i red the damage Je s u s had done : "We have rec t i f i ed you r deed and b a s ed it on mirac le, rrry s ter']f and authority . " The Church had r e in t erp r e t e d J e s u s ' d e e d s and us ing J e su s ' name and au tho r i ty had entered in to an a l ­ l ianc e w i t h Sa tan , Ch r i s t ' s an t ipode . "Under s tand th i s , " sa id the card ina l , "we are w i th him, no t w i th you . Al ­ ready f o r a l ong t ime , f o r e ight hundred years we have b een with him, no t with you . " Why e i gh t hundred y e a r s , and no t one thou sand and f ive hundred y ear s ? Apparen t l y , Do s t o ev sky , or rather Ivan Karama zov , was not s p eak ing ab ou t th e Chr i s t ian Chu rch a s a who l e , bu t onl y ab out the Ca tho l ic Chu rch . In h i s o p in ion , the un i t y of Chr i s t ian i ty wa s sha t t er e d af t e r the s even th c ounc i l o f church e s , wh ich t h e Orthodox Church regarded as the l a s t ecumen ical c ounc i l . Af t e r tha t t h e Roman e p i s c opacy b roke away f rom t h e ma in s t r eam o f Chr i s t ian i t y and b ehave d in a mo s t dub iou s way-- i t might have s o l d i t s e l f t o the Dev i l . Of cour s e , t h e Ca­ tho l ic Church though t the same ab ou t th e Or thodox Church . Bu t we are n o t conc erne d h e r e w i th th i s a s p e c t of the que s t ion , but rather w i th the idea that Je su s ca l l ed on mank ind t o s t r ive for f reedom , thereby undermin ing f a i t h wh ich r e s t ed on mirac l e , my s t ery a n d au tho r i ty . How wel l -f ounded i s th i s idea ? I t i s t ru e tha t J e s u s twi c e d e c l ined t o perf orm a mirac l e , accord ing t o the Go s p e l narra t ive s . But the s ame nar rat ive s t ell us that he wo rked many mirac l e s . Je su s ' ac t iv i ty , if we do no t inc lude h i s p r each ing , con s i s t ed of mi rac u l ou s h ea l ing , ra i s ing the dead to l if e , in o th e r word s , th e p er f o rman c e o f mirac l e s . D id Je s u s do away w i th th e my s t ery of faith ? No . On th e con t rary , al l h i s s e rmon s are p ervaded by an a i r of my s t ery . Je s u s i s t h e son of G o d and th e s on o f man , who i s t o fu l f i l a my s t e r iou s m i s s ion o f a d ivine na ture .

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Fo r the p eo p l e who had gathered t-0 hear h im p reach h i s o r igin and h i s fu ture and the f u t ure o f h i s d i sc ip l e s wer e shrouded in my s t e ry . Tru e, J e s u s t a lked ab ou t h i s m i s ­ s ion , s ay ing tha t h e wou l d suf f er and d i e and l a ter r i s e f rom the dead and then c ome aga in in g l ory . Bu t a l l th i s was spoken i n a ve i l ed and en i gma t ic way, o f t en i n the f o rm o f parab l e s and al l egor ie s . When t h e apo s t l e s a sked Je su s why he s p ok e in parab l e� h e r ep l ied that i t wa s not h i s wish t o unrave l th e my s t e r i e s to t h e p e op l e . D i d J e s u s re f ra in f rom c i t in g the au thor i t i e s ? Of In the Go s p e l narra t ive s he cons tan t ly re­ cou r se, no t . f e rred t o wha t " i s wr i t t en " in th e s c r iptur e s and t o God h i s f a th e r . Wh i l e supp l emen t ing o r even o p p o s ing Old Te s t ament c onnna ndment s w i th n ew inj unc t ions , Je su s a t th e same t ime in s i s t e d that the " l aw " mu s t b e ob eyed : "One j ot o r one t i t t l e shal l in no w i s e pas s f rom the law , t il l a l l b e f ul f i l l e d " . Thu s , J e s u s wa s far f rom hav ing any n ih il i s t i c a t t i t u d e t oward s author i ty , a s is p o r t ray­ ed by t h e Inqu i s i t o r in Ivan Karamazov ' s p o em . I t i s t rue tha t in many r e s p ec t s the Chr i s t ian Church , and no t on ly the Catho l ic Church , but a l l o f i t s o ther b ranch e s , had moved away f rom Chr i s t ' s t each ing s a s i t i s f o rmu lat ed i n t h e New T e s tamen t . Bu t the Grand In­ qu i s i tor ' s d e s c r ip t ion o f Chr i s t ' s p er sona l ity and h i s t e ach ing s cann o t b e c o n s idered h i s t or ical ly authen t ic . Do s t o ev sky laid t h e b lame f o r the d i s t o r t ion o f Chr i s t ' s image a t th e door o f t h e Catho l ic Chu rch . I t had b e t rayed Ch r i s t and cont inu ed t o b e t ray h im , Do s t o ev­ sky wa s say ing in the s event i e s and e igh t i e s of the las t c entury . And he pred ic t ed tha t th i s h o r r ib l e b e t rayal o f Chr i s t ian ity wou l d i n f u tu r e a s s ume a n e w f o rm--the preach ing o f s o c ia l i s m by the Cath o l ic Church . Do s t o evsky had no sympa thy f o r s o c ia l i s t idea s . But wi th tha t acu t e h i s t o r i c a l p e r c e p t iven e s s tha t wa s cha­ ra c t e r is t ic of h im he f ore saw the g r ea t inf lu enc e they wou l d have in fu ture . Th e Ca tho l i c Chu rch , a c c o rd ing t o D o s t oev sky , had w i t h a dev i l i sh cunn ing adj u s t ed i t s e l f to th e h i s to rical s i tuat ion and adop t ed for i t s armament a l l id e a s that proved popular w i t h t h e ma s s e s . And i t wou l d al s o g e t ad j u s t ed to the idea o f s o c ia l i sm . I t wou l d say 70 th e peop l e : "Everyth ing that i s preach ed by the s o c ia l ­ i st s wa s al s o preached by Ch r i s t . " Thu s i t wou l d "onc e

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aga in d i s t o r t and b e t ray Ch r i s t " s ince s o c ial ism was n o t Chr i s t ' s i d eal . The t a s k o f soc ia l i sm " i s t o s e t t l e the fate o f mank ind no t acc o r d ing to the way of Chr i s t, but out s ide Go d and ou t s ide Chr i s t " . 5 Do s to evsky even a s c r ib ed th e eme rgenc e and s p r ead o f soc ial is t idea s t o the Catho l ic Church . For by "b e t ray­ ing " Ch r i s t i t b rough t ab ou t a reac t ion in the f o rm o f mat e r ia l i s m and athe i sm , thu s g iving r i s e to s o c ial ism . Th i s somewha t b izarre idea wa s pu t by Do s toev sky as f o l ­ lows : "Roman Catho l ic i sm , wh ich ha s s o l d Chr i s t f o r wo r l d ­ ly powe r and f or c ed mank ind t o turn away f rom it and wa s thu s the ma in cau s e of the r i s e of ma t e r ia lism and ath eism in Euro p e , th i s Catho l ic i sm natu ra l l y gave bjr th to s o ­ c ial i sm i n Europ e . 1 1 6 S o , i t wou l d b e easy f o r Ca tho l i ­ c i sm to adapt the image o f Chr i s t and o f Chr i s t ian ity t o soc ia l i sm . In s ome way s Do s to evsky c o r re c t l y f o r e saw the f u tu r e t rend o f devel opmen t . S o c ial i sm h a s indeed b ec ome t h e mo st powe r f u l and inf luen t ial ideo l o g ical and ma t e r ia l f o r c e in t h e wo r l d . And t h e Ca tho l i c Church i s qu it e ready t o f lirt with i t , u s ing the metho d s o f soc ial dema­ gogy . But, of cours e , Do s t o evsky ' s the o ry ab ou t the r o l e o f t h e Catho l ic Church in t h e r i s e o f s o c ial i sm and i t s h i s t o r ical d e st iny i s no t to b e taken s e r i ou s ly . W i t h al l h i s p e r c e p t ivene s s and p ene t ra t ion Do s t o ev­ sky was obv iou s ly b linde d by c e r tain reac t ionary ideas wh ich t o ok hold o f h im in the last p e riod o f h i s l if e . Thi s b l indn e s s l ed h im t o c on s ider tha t wh i l e the Catho ­ l ic Church d i st o r t e d the image o f Chr i s t the O r thodox Church p r e s erved i t . Al e sha Karamazov t o l d Ivan con c e rn­ ing th e Grand Inquisit o r : "The Or thodox Church had a d if ­ f erent conc e p t i on . " Do s to ev sky wrote in h i s d iary : "Th e l o st image of Chr i s t has b e en p r e s erved in a l l i t s l um i ­ nou s purity in t h e Orthodox Church . 1 1 7 Th i s wa s po s s ib l e , said Do sto ev sky , b ecau s e the Or thodox Church , b e ing sub ­ ord inat e t o the state , c ou l d not lay c la im to wo r l d l y powe r and h a d theref o r e t o concen t ra t e it s at tent ion o n s p i r itual val ue s . The f oundat ion o f the s e val u e s was s ome k ind of "Ru s s ian s o c ial i sm " emb o d i e d in th e imag e o f Chr i s t . It i s hard to und e r s t and what i s actual ly mean t by t h i s " so c ial i sm ". At any rat e , it wa s not about any rad ical change s in the l if e of peopl e , b u t ab out a "t en-

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d er , rec onc i l ing and a l l -f o r g iv ing d iv in e t ru th " a s r e ­ v ea l ed i n th e s ta t e o f mind and the v i e w s o f the o l d man zo s ima and Al e sha Karamazov and o f Maka r Ivanov ich in th e n ov e l Adol,e scent . And th i s " t ru t h " mu s t b e b a s e d on a ve ry vague and inf in i t e l y ab s t rac t image of Chr i s t . In oppo s ing the Or thodox Chu rch to th e Catho l ic Church on the ma t t e r of int e rp r e t a t ion o f Chr i s t ' s image , Do s t o evsky wa s turn ing a b l ind eye to many h i s t o r i c a l fac t s wh ich show tha t th e d i f f e r ence b e twe en t h e two church e s , b o th in the i r prac t i ca l ac t iv i ty and in th e i r t each ings , i s ve ry l it t l e indeed . The Or thodox Church , too , wa s engaged in the suppre s s ion o f here sy , though on a sma l l e r sca l e than the Catho l i c Chu rch. And if f o r the Orthodox Chu rch "wo r l dly power " wa s una t t a inab l e , it had " earthly po s s e s s ion s " inc l ud ing huge l and proper ty and hundred s o f thou sand s o f s er f s wh ich f o rmed the ec onomic b a s i s 0£ i t s au tho r i ty f o r many c en t u r ie s . I t , t oo , had a lway s g iven ideo l o g ical and ma t er ia l suppo r t t o the ex­ p l o i t e r s and oppr e s s or s o f the peo p l e by in t e rpret ing the image of Chr i s t in app rox ima t e ly th e same way as exp l o i ­ t e r s in t h e We s t t o whom t h e Ca thol ic Chu rch h a d " s o l d " Chr i s t . Th i s s i tua t ion wa s c l early s e en by ano t h e r g r e a t f i­ gure in Ru s s ian l it e ra ture , Leo T o l s to i . In h i s wr i t ing s the image of Chr i s t i s much mor e conc r e t e than in Do s t o ­ evsky ' s , o r at l ea s t mo r e und e r s tandab l e . An Ideal of Mo ral P e r f e c t ion (accord ing to Leo Tols t o i ) Un t i l h e wa s f if ty years o l d To l s to i ' s a t t itude t o the p e r s ona l ity o f Chr i s t wa s s im i l a r to that of the ma ­ j o r i ty o f h i s c on t empora r i e s , inc lud ing h i s f r i end s and re l a t ions . He had no par t ic u l a r quarr e l with the Church on th i s mat t e r , and th e r ea son is prob ab ly h e had not thought much ab o u t i t . Bu t later i t b e gan t o t r ouble h im h e wa s t o rmen t e d by doub t and a rgued w i th h ims e l f and wi th tho s e around h im . He p lunged in t o a s e r iou s s tudy of the prob l em . He imp roved h i s knowl edge of Greek in ? rde r to read the New T e s t amen t in the l anguage in wh i ch i t came down to u s , and s tu d i e d the th e o l o g i cal l i tera­ t u r e and a large numb e r o f h i s t o r i c a l wo rk s .

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Af t e r he had done a c o l o s sal amoun t of r e s earch on the sub j ec t h e f e l t he had f ound the answer to a qu e s t ion wh ich h e b e l ieved t o be o f the u tmo s t imp o r tance t o man , name l y , who Je su s wa s and wha t he taugh t . To the end o f h i s l if e , f o r a p e r i o d o f n ear ly th irty y ear s , To l s to i ex pounded h i s c onc e p t ion o f Chr i s t and Chr i s t ian i ty in nume rou s a r t ic l e s , b o ok s and l e t t e r s . I t wa s a conc ep t ion tha t d i f f ered sharp ly f rom that of the Chu rch . With charac t er is t ic s t ra i gh t f o rwardn e s s and f ear l e s sn e s s To l s t o i r e j e c t ed the autho r i ty of the Church as the in t e rp r e t e r of th e Chr i s t ian doc t r ine and a s a s o c ia l in s t i t u t i on in general . "Chr i s t , " To l s t o i sa id , "had never e s tab l i shed any h i erarchy o f th e church in the s en s e theo l ogy under s tand s i t . 1 1 8 I t had never b e en the a im o f the Chu rch , said To l s ­ t o i , t o p r e s erve th e pur i ty o f Chr i s t ' s t each ing s and t o "The Church is j u s t a wor d , t ran smi t them t o the p e op l e . a name f o r decep tion , a mean s through wh ich s ome p e op l e t ry t o ru l e over o th e r s . And there i s n o o th e r Church, nor can there b e any . On l y on th i s d ecep t ion have the h ideou s dogmas b een f o rmu la t ed , wh i ch mu t i la t e and c on­ c eal the t each ings . And the de i ty o f Je su s and the Holy Sp i r i t , the T r i n i t y , t h e V i r g in Mary "9 And th e Church had alway s in t erpre t e d the Ho ly Scr i p tu r e s in a way that su i t ed i t , and no t in a c c o rdan c e wi th the i r t ru e mean ing . .







T o l s to i d i d n o t cons ider the S c r i p tu r e s t o b e h o l y a s th i s word wa s unde r s t o o d by t h e Chu rch . He s poke o f the " impo s sib ly c on t rad i c t ory t ex t s of the P en tat euch , the P salms , the Go s p el s , the Ep i s t l e s , the Ac t s , that i s , everyth ing tha t i s cons idered to c omp r i s e the S c r i p ­ ture s " . 1 0 To l s to i c r i t i c i s e d the app roach o f tho s e theo­ log ian s who t r ied to f ind " the l ea s t c on t rad ic t o ry mean­ ing " of the t ex t s of the S c r ip tu r e s that were ob viou s ly incon s i s t ent . One mu s t , sa id To l s t o i , read the Go s p e l s on one ' s own , without the a i d of th e Chu rch , and ex t rac t f rom th em a c l ear c oncep t ion of the p e r sonal ity of Chr i s t and h i s t each ing s . Bu t what shou l d we do when we c ome upon the many contrad i c t o ry pas sage s in the Go s p e l s , when we d i s c over tha t th ey "are fu l l o f erro r s " and are amb iguou s in many place s ? Then , says T o l s to i , we mu s t acknowl edge that " th e conc e p t ion t o wh ich we are accu s t ome d , namely , tha t a l l 22

th e Go sp el s , a l l f ou r o f them wi th the i r ver s e s and l e t ­ t er s , a r e holy b o o k s , i s , o n t h e one h and , a vu l ga r de­ lu s i on , and on the o th e r , vu l ga r and harmf u l dec ep t ion " . 1 1 And th ey con t a in n o s p ec i a l my s t e r i e s wh i ch the human mind canno t g ra sp . Even i f we c on s id e r Je su s to b e Go d who had c ome to e a r th f rom heaven , i t i s s t i l l hard to ima g ine tha t h e reve a l ed h i s t ru th t o p e op l e wi th the a im o f c on c e a l ing i t in t ex t s tha t are ob scure t o the po in t of inc omprehen s ib i l i ty . And " if J e s u s i s not God , b u t a great man , it is even l e s s po s s ib l e tha t h i s t each ing s sh oul d g ive r i se to d i f f erent in t e rpre t a t ions" . 1 2 In o th e r wor d s , we mu s t f ind wha t i s c l ear in the t each in g s o f t h e Go sp e l s . Neverthe l e s s , the r e is much in the Go s p e l s tha t i s ob s c u r e and c on t rad ic tory . To l s to i doe s not deny th i s . He say s that we c an overc ome the d i f f icu l ty th i s p o s e s by in t e rpr e t ing the ob scure p a s sage in the l igh t o f tho s e p a s s ag e s who s e me aning i s p l a in . Such an approach i s c e r t a in l y not f l awl e s s , l o g ic a l ­ l y s p e ak ing . If, f o r in s t anc e , c onf ront ed with two t ex t s wh ich cont ra d ic t each other in th e ir mean ing we c on s ider one o f them t o be ob scure and the o ther t o be c l ea r , we may be gu i l ty o f a c e r t a in degree o f arb i t ra r in e s s . Fo r wha t may s e em incomp r eh en s ib l e to me may appear c l ea r and s imp l e to s ome one e l s e , and the o t h e r way round . And our cho i c e wi l l d e t e rmine wh ich text we a r e to regard a s im­ por tan t and whi ch t ex t a s b e ing of s e c ondary impor tanc e . The s t a r t in g po int o f To l s to i ' s c onc e p t ion i s there­ f o r e weak , and this i s a c c en tu a t ed b y the fac t tha t Tol s ­ t o i dec l ined b ef o r ehand t o prov i d e any proof tha t h i s po int o f v i ew wa s a c o r re c t one : " . . . The r e can b e no proof o f the t ruth o f my t e ach ing My t each ing is l i gh t , and whoever s e e s it ha s l ight and l i f e , and f o r h im proof i s need l e s s . Bu t whoever i s in darkn e s s mu s t c ome t o the l igh t . 1 1 1 3 Th i s i s , of c o u r s e , a rather sub j e c t ive ap­ proach . As we sha l l see l a t e r , To l s t o i ' s in t e r p re t a t ion of Chr i s t ' s p e r s onal i ty and h i s t each ing s , wh ich is b a s ed on s u ch an approach to the Go s p e l narra t ive s , is not f r e e f rom sub j e c t ivity and a rb i t rar in e s s . L e t u s n o w c on s ider To l s to i ' s po in t o f v iew. •







For Tol s t o i J e sus wa s a good , k ind and in t e l l igen t man , the fir s t man in h i story who under s t oo d how p eop l e 23

shou l d l ive in o r d e r to b e happy and wh o exp la ined h i s ab s o l u t e l y correc t doc t r in e to them . Je su s wa s no t God ; he never c a l l e d h ims e l f God . He spoke of h ims e l f a s the " son o f man " and o f God a s h i s f a th e r , b u t not in the sen s e th e s e wo r d s we r e in t erpre t ed by th e Chu rch . Ch r i s t ca l l ed a l l peop l e s on s o f man , inc lud ing h im s e l f . Ch r i s t "de s c r ib ed h i s r e l a t ion t o God and that o f a l l peop l e to God as the re l a t ion of the son t o the f a ther The s on In f o r e t e l l ing h i s un ion with of man i s the son of God . God af t e r his death h e d id no t a t all me an h is r i s ing t o h eaven and sit t ing on t h e r igh t hand o f God: ' I a m no t God ' s s on; I am the s on of God only in that I ful f i l Hi s w i l l ' . 11 1 4 The union w i t h God is symb o l i c rather than l i ­ t e ra l ; i t i s " in the s p ir i t " . But then how d id Chr i s t the man b e c ome God ? .

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The r e i s a s imp l e an swer to th i s . On th e on e hand , the "c rowd " wa s a t fau l t with i t s " c rude unde r s tand ing "; and on the other, the Chu rch h ad inc orrec t l y int e r p r e t e d the p e r s onal i ty o f Chr i st a n d h a d o n th i s b a s i s b u i l t u p i t s wel l -b e ing and i t s c l a im t o powe r and weal th . When "the c rowd b e gan to f o l l ow the new doc t r ine " , it was t o l d tha t Chr i s t was " a d iv in e p e r son and by h i s death gave u s the l aw o f sa lvat ion" . B u t "f rom t h e who l e doc tdne the crowd unde r s tood ab ove all that he i s d iv in e and i s there­ fore God, and tha t h is death has b rough t us s a lva t ion . Th i s c ru d e unde r s t and ing b ec ome s the p o s se s s ion of the c r owd , is mu t i l a t ed , and the who l e doc t r in e r e c ede s , a s th e f i r s t p l a c e i s t ak en up by t h e d iv in i ty and t h e sav ing qual ity of h is death Th i s i s cont rary t o the doc t r in e i t s e l f , but the r e a r e peop l e-- t each e r s --who unde r ­ t a k e t o rec onc i l e a n d t o exp la i n . . . " . 1 5 •



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Wha t the s e "t eache r s " p reach i s not t o l d in the Go s ­ pe l s . " In Je su s ' t eachings th ere i s n o t even a h in t that with h i s own b l ood he ha s r e deemed t h e human rac e who s e fa l l wa s b r ou gh t ab o u t by Adam , tha t G o d i s the Tr in i ty , tha t s e ven sac ramen t s are needed f o r s a lva t ion , tha t th e r e mu s t b e t:wo f orms o f c onnnu n ion , and s o on . " Moreover , " the the o ry ab out the f a l l of Adam and e te rna l l i f e in parad i s e and ab ou t the innno r t a l soul wh ich God b r ea thed int o Adam wa s unknown t o Ch r i s t who d id not ment ion i t or h in t e d a t it s ex i s t enc e by a s ing l e word " . 1 6 Th e same is t ru e o f th e doc t r in e ab ou t the re su rrec t ion of the dead : it wa s r e j ec t ed by Chr i s t . When Chr i s t s poke of "the r e 24

r o f the s on of man f rom the dead, he d id n o t sur ec t ion t ion in the f l e sh and h i s p e r sonal re surr ec­ n re surrec mea 17 t i o n, b u t the awaken ing o f l i f e in the name of God 1 1 . idea of a heavenly k ingdom sugge s t ing a s i t d id e A nd th r e wa s an af t erl if e wa s a l s o rej e c t e d by Chr i s t. the a t th " Th e b e l ie f in a fu ture p e r s onal l if e i s a vu l g a r and c ru de conc e p t ion ba s e d on a mix ing o f dream and d e a th and cha r ac t er i s t ic of al l p r im i t ive peopl e s . 1 1 1 8 It canno t b e a n inh erent p a r t o f Chr i s t ian i ty, or even o f Juda i s m . Th er e w i l l b e a heavenly k ingdom o n ear th, no t i n the superna tural s en s e , bu t in the s en s e tha t "al l p e op l e wil l b e b ro ther s ", tha t th e wor l d w i l l b e one wor l d and a l l peo p l e w i l l f lou r i sh i n p r o s p e r ity dur ing th e i r l if e on ea r th whi ch is th e ir onl y l if e . With such a rat ional i s t ic approach t o the Go s p e l nar­ ra t ive s , To l s t o i wou l d have t o rej e c t all the s t o r i e s abou t t h e mirac l e s Ch r i s t and h i s d i s c ip l e s p e r f o rmed and the do ing s of the Dev il , in part i c u l ar, the t emp t a t ions to wh ich Chr i s t wa s sub j ec t ed . He wou l d have to r e in t e r­ p r e t a l l the Gospel t ext s on wh i ch the Chr i s t ian cu l t i s b a s e d and wh ich were cont rary t o h i s own v iews. He d e ­ vo t ed much e f f o rt t o th i s t a sk , b u t t h e a rgument s he p u t f o rward i n suppo r t of h i s own p o int o f v i e w a r e not a l ­ way s very c onv incing . To l s t oi ob v iously had d if f icu l ty in deal ing wi th the que s t ion o f mirac l e s told in the Go s p e l s . He ignor e s the Immacu l a t e Conc e p t ion, Chr i s t ' s Re surrec t ion and A s c en s ion and many o th e r s imi l a r s to r i e s. And he t r ies t o exp l a in s ome of them in a way that sugge s t s there i s noth ing un­ usual ab ou t them . For in s t ance, th i s is how h e t el l s th e s t o ry ab ou t J e s u s ca lming a s t orm a t s ea : "They [ the Apo s t l e s ] r ou s e d h im [ Ch r i s t ] and s a i d , ' Teacher , do you not care that we w i l l p e r i sh ? ' And when the s to rm sub­ s ided, he s a i d, ' Why are you so f earfu l ? You have no f a i th in the l if e o f the s p i r i t ' . 1 1 1 9 The s t o ry a s t o l d in the Go s p e l i s a s f o l l ows : "And he aro se, and s a id un to the s e a, Peace , be s t i l l . And the wind c e a s e d, and there wa s a great calm And they f eared exc e e d ingly, and s a i d one to ano ther, Wha t manner of man i s th is, that even the w in d and the s e a ob ey h im ? " (Mark 4 : 3 9 , 4 1 ) . I n a s im i l a r way Tol s t o i interpre t s the s to ry ab o u t th e mirac l e o f f e ed ing f ive thou sand pe opl e •

25



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with f ive l oave s of b read and two f i sh e s . In s t ead of a mirac l e To l s to i t r ea t s the inc ident a s some th ing qu i t e ord ina ry . S t i l l , the f ac t c anno t b e igno red tha t in the Go s p e l s there a r e many s t o r i e s ab ou t mirac l e s. To l s t o i reluc t an t ­ ly admi t s th i s , a s he a l s o admi t s t h e f a c t tha t noth ing i s s a id. i n the Go s pe l s aga ins t f a i th in mirac l e s . To l s to i d ea l s w i th th is prob l em b y me r e l y s t a t ing tha t th e who l e s p i r i t o f Je su s ' teach ing s shows tha t J e s u s d id not r e ly on mirac l e s t o p rove the t ru thfu lne s s of h i s t each ing s . Th i s i s hardly a conv inc ing argumen t . In the Go s p e l s the mirac l e s p e r f o rmed by J e s u s are mainly s ignif icant as proof of h i s d iv ine mi s s ion . To l s t o i is s i l ent on th i s que s t io n . To l s to i ' s int e rp r e t a t ion o f the t emp t a t ion of Ch r i s t in the d e s e r t p rov ide s a good examp l e o f the way i n wh ich he t r i e s t o remove the superna tural e l ement f rom the b io­ graphy of Jc;>,su s . The f ir s t t emp t a t ion : "And the vo i c e o f th e f l e sh s a id t o h im [ f o l l owed by a r e f e r en c e to Ma t thew 4:3]. But J e s u s s a id to h im s e l f : if I c anno t make b r ead f rom s tone s , th en I am no t th e son of God ' s f l e sh , b u t of God ' s spirit . I l ive no t by b read � b u t by the sp i r i t . And my s p i r i t c an d i s regard f l e sh . " L O The s t o ry a s t o l d in Ma t thew ' s Go spe l i s a s f o l l ows : "Then wa s J e s u s l e d up of the Sp i r i t into th e w i l d e rne s s t o be t emp t e d of th e de­ vil And when the temp t e r came t o h im , h e sa id , If thou be the S on o f God , c ommand that the s e s t one s be made b read . Bu t h e answe r e d and sa id, It is wr i t ten Man sha l l n o t l ive b y b read a l on e , b u t b y every word that pro c e e d e th ou t o f the mou th of Go d " (Ma t th ew 4 : 1 , 3, 4). So i t wa s no t the vo ic e o f the f l e sh tha t t emp t e d J e s u s , b u t the D e ­ vil h ims e l f ! .







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The s e c ond tempta t ion : "And i t s e emed to h im tha t he wa s s tanding on the roof o f a t emp l e and the vo i c e o f the [ Luke 4:9 ]. But Je su s s a i d t o h im­ f l e sh s aid t o h im s e l f : I c an d i sregard f l e sh , b u t I c anno t g e t r id o f i t , b ec au s e I was b o rn of t h e s p i r i t in the f l e sh . " The s t o ry a s t o l d in Luke ' s Go s p e l i s a s f o l l ows : "And the d e v i l b rought h im [ Je su s ] to J e ru s al em , a n d s e t h im on a p in­ nac l e of the t emp l e, and s a id unt o h im , I f thou be the Son o f God , c a s t thys e l f down f rom henc e And J e s u s •



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26

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an s we r ing s a id unt o h im , I t i s s a id , Thou sha l t no t t emp t the L o rd thy Go d " (Luke 4 : 9 , 1 2 ) . A s we s e e , th i s i s ent i r e ly d i f f e rent f rom Tol s to i ' s ve r s ion . ' The th ird t emp t a t ion ( in Luke th i s i s the s e c ond temp ta t ion ; To l s t o i had changed the o r d er ) . Aga in the vo i c e o f the f l e sh is "at work " : "To Je su s appeared a l l the k ingdoms o n ear th and a l l the p e o p l e , how they l ive an d l ab our f o r the f l e sh , exp e c t ing a r eward from i t . 112 1 The r e l evant pas sage in Luke ' s Go s p e l i s a s f o l l ows : "And th e devil , taking h im up into a h i gh moun t a in , showed un­ t o h im a l l the k ingdoms of the wo r l d in a moment of t ime . And the dev i l s a id un t o h im . A l l th i s power w i l l I g ive thee , and th e g l ory of them I f thou th e r e f o re wi l t wo r sh i p me , a l l sha l l b e th ine . And J e su s answe r ed and s a i d un t o h im , G e t thee b eh ind me , S a t an " (Luke 4 : 5 -8 ; there is a n a l mo s t iden t ic a l p a s s a g e i n Ma t th ew 4 : 8 - 1 0 ) . •







We have compared To l s to i ' s ver s ions with tho s e in the Go spe l s n o t in order to c onvic t the wr i t e r o f m i s r e ­ pre s ent a t ion . To l s t o i h ims e l f had sa id that h e had s t ruck ou t much in the Go s p e l s wh ich h e f ound unac c e p t ab l e . The p o in t to be made h e r e i s that the c r i t e r ia To l s t o i u s e d i n d e l e t ing some p a s s age s a n d t h e t ex t s h e provided in the i r p l a c e c anno t be regarded a s s c ien t if ica l ly val i d ; they do not h e l p u s d is c over the ob j ec t ive h i s t o r i cal truth o f the mat t e r in qu e s t ion . Wha t we have h e r e is in f a c t a go s p e l no t a c c o rd ing t o Luke o r Mat thew , b u t a c ­ c o rd ing to Leo . T o l s t o i t re a t e d the parab l e s , who s e mo ra l s we re ob ­ v i ou s l y no t t o h i s l ik ing , in much th e same way . The f amous parab l e of the t a l en t s ( a t a l ent wa s a un i t of we ight in g o l d o r s i lve r ) , a c c o r d ing t o wh i ch a s l ave mu s t mu l t iply the wea l th of h i s ma s t e r , is r eworked b y To l s to i s o t h a t " the sp i r i t o f G o d i n peop l e " tak e s the p l ac e o f money . Surely , to mu l t iply the d ivine sp i r i t in p eop l e is a much wor t h i e r a im than a c qu i r ing go l d and s i lver . To l s to i c a refu l l y avo i d s tho s e pa s sage s in the Go s p e l s that have to do with the f ounda t ion o f the Church , the a f t er l i f e and the reward s and pun i shmen t s in i t , and the in s t i t u t ion of a new cu l t w i t h it s·r i t e s and c er ­ emon ie s . I t i s int e r e s t ing t o s e e h ow Tol s t o i t r e a t s the Gos­ pe l na rra t ive s ab out the l a s t supper and the r i t e of c om27

mun ion wh ich J e s u s taught h i s d i s c ip l e s . In the Go s p e l s the d e s c r ip t ion o f the s e even t s i s f a i r l y c onc r e t e and Je su s b roke b r ead and gave i t t o h is d i sc ip l e s c l ea r . say ing: "Take , e a t ; th i s i s my b o dy . " And he gave them wine and s a id " th i s is my b l o o d " . He a l s o s a i d to them : " th i s do in rememb ranc e o f me . " •



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Th i s e p i s o d e s erve s a s th e b a s i s o f the Chr i s t ian sac ramen t of commun ion , wh ich oc cup i e s a central p l a c e in the who l e cu l t . Bu t To l s t o i g ive s i t an ent i r e ly d i f f er ­ e n t in terpre t a t ion , and a very s imp l e one . In h i s na r ­ r a t ion Chr i s t s a y s t o h i s d i s c ip l e s a s he g ive s them b read and wine : "Rememb er me by th i s b read and wine . When you t ake wine rememb er my b l ood wh ich w i l l be s p i l l ed s o tha t you w i l l l ive w i thout s in; when you eat b read rememb e r my b ody wh i ch I g ive f o r your sake . 11 2 2 Ju s t an ac t o f remem­ b rance , and noth ing mo r e . Ac cord ing to t h e Chu rch ' s t each ing s , when the b e l iever e a t s the r i tua l b read d ipped in wine , a miracl e tak e s p l ace in s ide h im : the b read turns into the b o dy o f Chr i s t and the wine-- in to his b l ood . To l s to i s c o f f ed a t the r i tu a l , c a l l ing i t the God -eat ing r i te . The only thing tha t i n t er e s t e d To l s t o i ab out the Go s ­ p e l s and ab o u t Chr i s t ian i ty a s a who l e wa s the mo ral "For me , " he t each ing s tha t c an be ext ra c t ed f rom them . wro t e , " th e ma in que s t ion i s no t whe th e r Jesus Chr i s t wa s Go d and f rom whom the h o l y s p i r i t c a me and so on . I t i s a l s o u n impor tant and unne c e s s ary t o know when and who wro t e wh i ch G o s p e l s , and wh ich parab l e can b e a sc r ib e d t o Ch r i s t . Wha t i s impor tant f o r me i s the l igh t tha t h a s shone f o r 1 8 0 0 year s f o r mank ind , wh ich h a s shone and s t il l s h ine s f o r me 11 23 Here one c anno t b u t be s t ru ck b y the incon s i s t ency in the th ink ing of the great wr i t e r . To l s t o i knew very we l l wha t v i l e and c ru e l ac t s had b een c ommi t t ed in th e s e 1 8 00 yea r s by peop l e who cons idered th ems elve s f o l l ower s o f Chr i s t ' s t each ing s , and he had wra thf u l l y condemned the s e ac t s . The " l i gh t tha t sh ine s " had n o t in the l e a s t imp roved the mo ra l s o r the l if e o f peop l e . Bu t t h e mo ra l i s t in To l s t o i r e f u s ed to acknowl ­ edge th i s c ru c i a l ly impor tant c i rcums tanc e . •

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Ardent l y and t ir e l e s s l y To l s to i expounded the way of l if e , the l aws and s tandard s o f moral b ehaviour wh ich he b e l i eved Je su s Chr i s t had b e qu e a thed mank ind . But even 28

th en To l s t o i had to l e ave ou t s ome p o in t s and in t e r p r e t o th e r s sub j ec t iv e ly a n d arb i trar i l y . I n the e n d there r e ma in ed f ive c ommandment s who s e f u l f i lmen t , in To l s to i ' s op in i on , wou l d ensure the salva t ion o f man ' s s ou l . And f o r To l s t o i s a l va t ion d id not mean d e l ivery f rom the t o r­ men t s of h e l l , b u t the a t t a inment by man of s p ir i t u a l pe a c e a n d t h e j oy s o f l i f e . Th ey a r e : 1 . " T o o f f end n o one , a n d by n o a c t t o exc i te e v i l in o t h e r s , f o r ou t o f ev il c'ome s ev i l . " 2 . "To b e in a l l t h ing s chas t e , and no t t o qu i t the w i f e whom we have taken ; f o r the ab andon­ ing of wive s and the chang ing o f th em is the c au s e of a l l l o o s e l iv ing in the wo r l d . " 3 . "Never t o tak e a n o a th , b ec au s e we can p r om i s e no th ing , f o r man i s al t o g e ther in the hand s o f the F a the r , and o a th s are imp o s ed f o r wicked end s . " 4 . " No t to re s i s t ev i l , to b e ar wi th o f f ence s , and to do y e t mo re than is demanded to u s ; ne i th e r to j udge , nor to go t o l aw , f o r every man i s h ims e l f fu l l o f f au l t s , By s e ek ing r evenge men only t each and canno t t each . o th e r s to do the same . " 5 . "To make no d i s t in c t ion b e ­ tween o u r own coun trymen and f o r e igner s , f o r a l l men are the ch i l dren o f one Fa the r . 11 2 4 Of the s e the f ou r th c ommandmen t i s th e mo s t imp o rtan t . To l s to i regarded nonr e s i s t anc e t o ev i l a s t h e central po in t o f Chr i s t ' s t eachings . I t "un i t e s his t e a ch ing s into one ind iv i s ib l e who l e ; i t i s indeed a key to open al l door s " , s a i d To l s t o i . 2 5 In any s i tu a t ion , in any cond i ­ t ion s , i f someone want s t o do e v i l to you , your f ami l y o r y o u r ch i l dren , even to t h e weak e s t a n d mo s t d e f en se l e s s creature , and even i f the ev i l wi l l b e a n a s sau l t b y rob ­ b e r s or a mad dog , th e mo s t you can do i s to p u t you r s e l f i n t h e p l ac e o f t h e o n e who i s b e ing a s sau l t ed . An d i f a dog b i t e s y o u or y o u r ch i l dren , i f a robb er rob s and k i l l s you , th ere i s no s p e c i a l harm in i t . The imp o r tant th ing is tha t you mu s t no t v i o l a t e Chr i s t ' s c ommandment . But , o f cour s e , no one in h i s t ory h a s f o l l owed th i s commandment , though th e Gos p e l s are honou red b y a l l Chr i s t ian denomina t ions . So the commandment i s ine f f e c ­ t ive . To l s t o i knew th i s and h a d c o r r e c t l y ind i ca t e d the reason why th i s is s o . The c ommandment can be e f f e c t ive only when it i s "no t a d i c tum , but a ru l e wh ich mu s t b e ob s e rved , when i t i s a l aw" . The key that o p en s a l l do o r s w0 rk s only "when th i s k e y i s f o r c e d thr ough t h e l o ck " . On the o ther hand , "an accep tan c e o f t h i s p r inc ip l e a s a 29

d ic tum who s e fu l f ilmen t i s impo s s ib l e wi thou t superna ­ tural h e l p i s the de s truc t ion o f the who l e doc t r in e 1 1 , 26 Bu t in order t o g e t to the heart of the ma t t e r we nru s t a sk why i s i t tha t the Go s p e l s ' c a l l f or nonre s i s ­ tance t o ev i l h a s r ema ined only a d i c tum i n s t ead o f b e ­ coming a law o f b ehav iou r . I s the imp er f e c t human nature a t f aul t here ? And are there ground s for th ink ing that human nature w i l l imp rove to such an ex t ent that J e s u s ' commandme n t s , even re inf o r c e d by To l s t o i ' s appeal s , wi l l b e carr ied out and c e a s e b e ing mere wor d s ? Many years have gone by s ince Leo To l s t o i h i s own con c e p t ion of Chr i s t ' s teaching s . Bu t mandment on nonr e s i s tanc e to evil has rema ined l i ca l d ic tum wh i ch n o one app l i e s i n real l i f e

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made known the com­ an Evange ­

The same th ing can b e s a i d o f the o th e r c ommandment s of Chr i s t a s f o rmu l a t e d b y To l s to i . D i r e c t l y l inked w i t h t h e commandment o n nonre s i s t ance to evi l i s t h e c ommand­ men t no t to g ive o f f enc e . Ac c o rd ing t o Ma t th ew ' s Go s pe l , " who s oever i s angry w i th h i s b ro ther w i thou t a cau s e sha l l b e i n danger of the j udgemen t " (Ma t thew 5 : 2 2 ), . What if there i s " c aus e " ? I f one ' s "b ro ther " b ehave s b a d ­ ly toward s o n e and one ' s ang er aga in s t h im i s no t wi tho u t caus e , wi l l b e i t r i gh t t o b e angry ? No , says Tol s t o i , the commandment to o f f end no one i s uncond i t ional , and the phra s e "without a cau s e " g o t into the Go s p e l b y chance o r wa s p laced there b y i l l - in t en t i oned Chu rch o f f i c i a l s who we re a lway s t ry ing to d i s to r t Chr i s t ' s te ach ing s . •





The great s ignif i canc e Tol s t o i a t tached to the com­ mandmen t never to t ake an oa th a l s o d e s erve s a t t en t ion . To l s t o i s a i d that at f i r s t he f ound th i s c onnna ndment pu z z l ing : why indeed shou l d not one c onf irm one ' s wo r d s w i th a n oath , what i s s in f u l ab ou t i t ? And i s i t no t s t range that J e s u s shou l d p u t t h i s s e emin g l y un impo r tant ru l e nex t to th o s e hav ing to do w i th the b a s i c p r inc ip l e s o f human b ehav i our ? Af t e r l ong r e f l e c t ion , however , To l ­ s t o i found a n in t erpr e t a t i on o f the commandment wh i ch , in h i s op inion , f u l l y j u s t if ied the s ign i f i c ance g iven t o i t . The mat t e r concerns not any o a th , b u t th e oath of a l l e ­ g ianc e wh ich s ub j e c t s g ive t o the s t a t e , e sp e c ia l ly s o l ­ d i e r s . I s i t no t t h e tak i ng o f th i s oath , a s k s Tol s t o i , that i s prohib i t ed without whi ch i t wou l d b e impo s s ib l e to d iv i d e p e o p l e in to s ta t e s and th ere c o u l d b e no mi l i tary 30

e s t a t e s ? S o l d i e r s c onnn i t a c t s o f v i o l ence and they a r e To l s t o i t h e one s who t ak e t h e " o a t h o f al l e g ianc e " . in t e r p re t s the c onunandmen t a s a n anarch i s t ic r e j e c t ion o f th e s t a t e and p e o pl e ' s ob l i ga t ions t o i t . Thu s , f o r To l s t o i J e s u s wa s only a t eacher and p r eacher of mo ral s . And of a l l the e t h i c a l p r e c e p t s a t ­ t r ibu t ed t o J e s u s To l s t o i a c c e p t e d onl y tho s e wh ich c o ­ inc ided w i th h i s own v i ews . As w e have s e en , the r e i s mu ch i n the t each ings and ac t iv i t i e s o f J e s u s , a s t o l d in the Go s p e l s , tha t is c ont rary to the f ive c ommandmen t s f o r mu l a t ed by To l s t o i . Th i s f a c t wa s u s ed by th e o l o g ians and ideo l og i s t s o f the Chr i s t ian churche s in the i r a t t ack on To l s t o i sm . Of pa r t i c u l a r int e re s t is the r e f u t a t i on of T o l s t o i sm conta ined in the s p e e c h e s of the we l l -known f igu re in the renova t ion movemen t w i t h i n the Or thodox Church , Me tropo l i t an Al eksandr Vve d en sky . We sha l l c on­ s id er th i s in the n ex t s e c t ion wh i ch d ea l s w i th the c on­ cept ion o f Chr i s t as a soc ial r e f o rmer and reb e l . Revo lu t iona ry and Reb e l ( a c c o rd ing t o A . Vve densky , K . Kaut sky and o t h e r s ) Ac c o rd ing to Me t ropo l i t an Vvedensky , To l s t o i had comp l e t e ly d i s t or t e d the image o f Chr i s t by p o r t ray ing him as a pas s ive re s i s t e r . " I t i s hard t o ima g ine a more mon s t ro u s p ie c e o f c a l umny , " said Vve d en sky , " than the way in wh ich T o l s t o i ha s d i s graced Chr i s t . " Tol s t o i sm the r e f o r e pre s en t ed a mo re s e r ious threat t o Chr i s t ian i ty than a the i sm . Vved en sky pou red s c o rn o n the ima g e o f Chr i s t drawn b y To l s t o i : "A h e ro i n the s ty l e o f the Ger­ man Gr e t chen " , with " f l axen ha i r nea t l y p a r t e d in the mid d l e , dre s s ed in wh i t e , w i th pure wh i t e l i l ie s and a ga z e tha t no t i c e s none of the hor r o r s of the soc ial dra­ ma " , and so on . 2 7 To Vved en sky , Chr i s t appeared in an en t i r e l y d i f f e rent l igh t : a s a s t e rn and f o rmidab l e f igh t e r , p o l i t ic a l l eader and man o f a c t ion . What k ind of ac t iv i ty wa s J e su s engag ed in ? In re­ vo l u t iona ry s t ruggl e , rep l ied the me t r op o l i t an , and the s t ruggl e wa s su ch a deep-go ing one that a l l sub s e qu ent h i s t o ry of revo l u t i onary movemen t down t o our own t ime wa s a mere c ont inu a t ion of it and an emb o d iment of Chr i s t ' s t e ach ings . Even Marx i sm was no th ing b u t th e " Go s p e l p r int ed i n athe i s t i c l e t t e r s " . I t wa s n o u s e in s i s t ing , 31

a s athe i s t s d id , on the oppo s i t ion b e tween Ma rx i sm on the one hand , and Chr i s t ian i ty and r e l i g ion in genera l , "The ideas whi ch Marx i sm now r e f e r s t o in on the o th e r . oppo s i t ion t o Ch r i s t ian i ty , " s a id Vveden sky , " such a s t h e ideas o f b ro therhood , a c l a s s l e s s s t a tu s , . . . the idea s o f a c l a s s l e s s s ta t e , c l a s s l e s s human i ty , the c om­ ing ' Zukunf t ' [ fu tu r e --I . K . ] , when a l l wil l b e we l l f o r u s , a r e a l s o t h e ideas of Chr i s t ; they c o inc ide with h i s t each ing s ab out the human b r o th e rhood . 1 1 2 8 Vve d en sky wa s n o t th e f ir s t to c on s ider Chr i s t a s a revo l u t iona ry and s o c i a l i s t . Such in t e r p r e t a t ion h a s a l ong h i s to ry . The an t i -f eudal and an t i-c l e r ical h e re t i c a l move­ men t s in We s t e rn Europe in the Midd l e Age s d e r ived the ir in s p i r a t ion f r om the imag e o f Chr i s t a s a reb e l who c a l l ­ e d on the mas s e s t o tak e a rms a g a in s t the r i ch , t o de­ s t roy the soc ial orde r b a s ed on t h e i r power and t o s e t u p a new sys t em o n the p r inc i p l e s o f un ive r s a l equal ity , inc l ud ing equa l i ty i n the e c onomic sph e r e . For the here­ t ic s there wa s no l ack o f mat e r ia l f o r such an in terpre­ tat ion o f the image o f J e s u s , wh i ch they cou l d read i l y f ind i n the N ew Te s tamen t . Acc o rd ing to the Go s p e l s , J e s u s d i d n o t c a l l on a l l p e op l e t o f o l l ow h im , bu t on ly the t o i l e r s and the o p ­ pressed . He had no symp a thy wha t ever f o r the r ich . "Wo e un to you tha t are r ich ! " he t o l d them . He a l s o s a id : " I t i s ea s i e r f o r a c ame l to go through th e ey e of a needl e , than f o r a r i ch man to en t e r int o the k ingdom o f Go d " (Ma t thew 2 0 : 2 4 ) . The we l l -known parab l e ab ou t the r ich man and La zaru s a l s o revea l s J e s u s ' a t t itude to the r i ch . La zaru s , the b eggar , who sat at the ga t e o f the r ich man , l i e s in the b o s om o f Ab raham af t e r his d e a th , wh i l e the r ich man a f t e r h i s death suf f er s the e t ernal tormen t s o f he l l . C e r t a in d e ta i l s o f the l if e o f J e s u s have a l s o con­ t r ib u t e d t o h i s image a s a l eader and d e f ender o f the poo r . For in s t anc e , h e wa s th e s on o f a carpenter , he l ed a humb l e l if e , and he d ied on the c ro s s in the mid s t of ord inary p e o p l e . H e cho s e h i s d i s c i p l e s n o t f rom among the r ich , b u t f rom s imp l e f i shermen . What J e s u s s e t out to do , a s de s c r ib ed in the Go s 32

pe l s , may a l s o b e in t erp re t ed as a c a l l f o r revo l u t ion­ a ry a c t ions aga in s t the opp re s so r s . He s a i d : "Th ink n o t t h a t I am c ome to s end p e a c e o n earth : I c ame n o t t o s end p e ac e , bu t a swo r d " (Mat thew 1 1 : 34 ) . And sh o r t l y b ef o r e h i s arr e s t J e s u s o rd e r e d h i s d i s c i p l e s t o b u y swo r d s In mak ing armed a s saul t s on the l and l o r d s , ( Luk� 2 2 : 3 6 ) . in c l u d ing tho se who were memb er s o f the c l e rgy , the part i­ c ip ant s in th e h ere t ic a l movemen t s b e l ieved tha t they we re f o l l owing in the f o o t s t e p s of Chr i s t and carry in g out h i s t each ing s . Of c o u r s e , they c ou l d a l s o f ind exac t ly the oppo s i t e theme s i n t h e Go s p e l s . B u t i n s u ch c a s e s t h e reader u su a l l y f ind s wha t he wan t G t o f in d , wha t c o inc ide s w i th hi s in t e r e s t s an d t a s t e s and f ee l ings . Th i s app l i e s t o b o th ind ividua l s and s o c ia l group s . Und e r s t andab ly , re­ vo l u t ionary ma s s e s f i l l ed w i th Chr i s t ian p i e ty woul d b e at trac ted t o the th eme o f reb e l l ion and ha tred f o r the r ich in the New T e s t ament rather than to the theme o f nonre s i s tanc e t o evil . In the mid- 1 9 th century the movemen t of Chr i s t ian soc ial i sm emerged in We s tern Europ e . F e l ic i t e Lamenna i s , who is gene ral ly rega rded a s i t s f ounder , wa s a Catho l ic p r i e s t who l e f t th e Chruch t owa r d s t h e end of h i s l if e . H i s the s i s , wh ich he s t a t ed in nume r o u s wo rk s , i s tha t the s ign if icanc e o f Chr i s t ian i ty l i e s in i t s c a l l f o r the e s t ab l i shme n t o f equa l ity among men and f o r f re edom in the ir mu tua l re l a t ions . Al l o th e r a s p ec t s o f Ch r i s t ' s t each in g s , accord ing t o Lamenna i s , are sub o rd ina t e d t o the b a s i c idea o f reb u i l d ing s o c i e t y o n the p r inc i p l e s o f j u s t i c e , e qua i i cy and f reerlom . The p e r s ona l i ty o f Chr i s t , a s p r e s en t e d by th i s e l o qu en t and f iery advo c a t e o f Chr i s t ian s o c ia l i sm , i s a n emb o d imen t o f th e s e l o f ty p rinc ip l e s . Even u t op ian s o c i a l ism , f o r such of i t s adheren t s a s E t ienne Cab e t and W . We i t l ing , i s l inked w i t h a "re­ vo lu t i onary-s oc i a l i s t i c " int er p r e t a t ion o f th e image of Je su s . F o r in s tanc e , in advanc ing the idea o f c ommon p ro perty , Cab e t wro t e : "The mo ral of thi s n ew r e l i g ion wa s c ommon property Je su s Chr i s t enj o ined h i s d i s c ip l e s t o p r opaga t e and p r e ach th i s mo ral throu ghou t the wo r l d . La t er the apo s t l e s of the n ew god preached th i s new f a i th in Rome and th e Roman Emp ire and t o count .



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l e s s pro s e l y t e s . Sub s e qu en t l y Chr i s t ians f ormed thou sand s of c ommun i t i e s and a va s t repub l ic wh ich ext ended t o the who l e o f the Emp ire and wa s b a sed on the p rac t i c e o f b ro ­ therhood and c onnno n p ro p er ty . 11 29 In r e a l i t y no such re­ pub l ic ex i s t e d . The imp o rtant th ing for us t o no t e h e r e i s tha t Cab e t c on s idered Chr i s t to b e t h e au tho r o f a pro ­ grannne f o r e s t ab l i sh ing c onnn o n property . In h i s poem The Twe lve , wh ich i s ab ou t the work ing peop l e ' s f i gh t f o r l ib e ra t ion , the Ru s s ian p o e t Al eksandr B l ok u s e s the imagery o f a group of twelve Red Army men marching through "Wind wind /Ro a r ing the wide wo r l d ove r " t o c a rry ou t a revo lu t ionary a s s ignment , and march­ ing a t the head o f th i s g roup i s none o th e r than Je su s Chr i s t : •











. . . Onward s t il l the Twelve go s t r id ing ; In the i r rea r--a s ta rv ing cur ; And with b l oo dy b anner h a d in g , H idden by the howl ing s to rm , S a f e f rom human hur t o r harm , In a chap l e t of wh i t e ro s e s , S tepp ing through the p early snowdu s t , Shrouded in the snowy mi s t , In the d i s tanc e - -Je s u s Chr i s t . Fo r a l ong t ime the Church o f f icial dom r e s i s t e d the " revo l u t ionary " int e rpre t a t ion o f Je su s ' p e r s ona l i ty . The Vat ican s t rong l y c ondemned tho se who ac c e p t ed and approved o f i t . Th i s c an b e s e en in a numb e r of Chu rch documen t s go ing b ack t o the 1 9 3 0 s and 1 9 4 0 s . I n a rad io addr e s s b roadc a s t i n F eb rua ry 1 9 3 1 Pope P iu s XI c a l l ed o n the o p ­ pre s s e d and the oppre s s o r s to b e gu ided b y Chr i s t and n o t t o f o r g e t t h e s p i r itual wea l th tha t h a d b een accumu l a t ed over the a g e s . As rega r d s ma t e r i a l weal th , the Pope a s ­ sured h i s l i s t ener s tha t J e s u s h a d au tho r i s e d the "pro­ p e r t i e d " , tha t i s , cap i t a l i s t s , t o p re s erve and d i s t r i ­ b u t e it , and had command e d t h e p o o r " to submi t " t o th� ru l e r s as they wou l d t o Go d h im s el f . In Ru s s ia , b e f o r e the 1 9 1 7 S o c ial i s t Revo l u t i on , t h e Or tho dox Church a l s o s t r on g l y rej e c t ed any a t t emp t t o po in t o u t r evo l u t ionary t endenc i e s i n the p e r s onal ity o f Chr i s t a n d in h i s t each ing s . I n b ook s , pamph l e t s and a r t i c l e s and in l ec ture s at theo l o g ical s em ina r ie s , theo­ l og ian s t r ied to " expo s e " soc ial i sm and pu t an end t o the 34

dangerou s h e r e sy wh ich h e l d tha t Chr i s t wa s a s o c ial i s t . But a l rea dy f rom the end o f t h e l a s t c entury the " revo lu t i onary " in terpr e t a t ion of Chr i s t ' s image gradual ­ ly c ea s ed to b e un thinkab l e . In a r e s o l u t ion ado p t e d by �n Ang l i c an c onf er enc e in 1 8 84 i t wa s not ed tha t much t ha t wa s good and t ru e in s o c ia l i s m c ou l d b e f ound in the t each in g s o f Chr i s t . Such c once s s ion s to s o c ial i sm we re p r ob ab l y unavo idab l e : church o f f i c i a l s c ou l d no l onger igno r e the popu l a r ity o f soc ial is t idea s among the b road ma s s e s in a l l c oun t r i e s . The in t e r e s t ing thing t o no t e he r e i s that t h e Angl ican Church shou l d c on s ide r e d i t ne c e s s a ry under the c i rc ums tanc e s t o s eek t h e roo t s o f s uch i d e a s i n Chr is t ' s t each ing s . In r e c ent y e a r s the idea s of Chr i s t ian s o c ial i sm are b e ing mo re and mo re o f t en pub l ic i s e d by the Church of f i c ia l dom of a l l Chr is t ian d enomina t ions , inc lud ing th e Va t ic an . F o r ins tanc e , the Va t ic an read ily po in t s out the "p ro l e tar ian " o r i g in o f J e su s and i n honour o f h i s f a th e r who was a carpenter even c a l l s f o r the c e l eb ­ ra t ion o f May Day , n o t a s a day o f s o l idar ity o f work ing peo p l e aga in s t the oppre s so r s , but s imp ly as l ab ou r day . Howeve r , there are s e r iou s d i f f e r enc e s among c l e r ic a l c i rc l e s o n ma t t er s o f p o l i t ic a l t ac t i c s and o r i en t a t i on , and the r e f ore the image o f Ch r i s t i s a l s o in t e rp r e t ed by them d i f f e ren t l y . Let u s c on s i de r the mo t ive s f o r " r e ­ vo lut ion i s ing " Ch r i s t a n d Chr i s t ian i ty wh ich d if f er among d if f erent group s of c l ergymen and pub l ic f igu re s . Some o f them b e l ieve tha t t oday , when s o c ial i s m i s no t only a movement a n d an ide o l ogy , b u t a l s o a p owe r f u l int erna t i onal ec onom ic a n d p o l i t ical f or c e , i t wou l d b e unwi s e f o r t h e Church t o open l y upho l d i t s p r ev iou s po­ s i t ion and g ive unqu a l i f ied supp o r t t o cap i ta l i s m . For th em the image o f Chr i s t the s oc ial i s t i s a weapon again s t con temporary so c ia l i sm : why should anyone s t rug g l e f o r so c ial i sm , s o t o speak , if two tho u s and years a g o Chr i s t had p r each ed "real " and " t rue " s o c ial i sm wh i ch now only ne e d s t o be t ran s l a t ed into rea l i t y in a c c o rdanc e w i th th e t each ing s of Ch r i s t the God -and-man , and n o t w i t h wha t i s taught by the Marx i s t s ? The ma t t er b ecome s more c omp l i ca t ed , howeve r , when i t is s e en in an h i s t o r i cal p e r s p ec t ive . Inde e d , f o r a l ­ mo s t two thou sand y e a r s th e t ea ch ing s o f Chr i s t " t h e s o -

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c ia l i s t " have b een p r eached and peop l e have pro f e s s e d a f a i th in them , and y e t the i r l i f e h a s n o t re a l ly improv­ ed . Why ? In reply t o th i s que s t ion Chu rch suppo r t e r s re s o r t t o ab s t rac t argumen t s and vague the o l o g ic a l d i s ­ cou r s e wh ich in e f f e c t avo id the qu e s t ion a t i s sue wh i l e c re a t ing a n imp r e s s ion that the prob l em i s s o l ve d . They a s s e r t , f o r in s tanc e , tha t God ha s r e l ied on the f r e e w i l l o f peop l e , and they have to th i s d a y incorrec t ly und e r s tood Ch r i s t ' s b eh e s t s , and s o on . Then there are p ro g r e s s ive -minded peo p l e , inc lud ing c l ergymen , who s in c e r e ly s tand for p e a c e and an imp rove­ men t o f the l o t of the n a t ions . And it is in th i s c on­ nec t ion tha t they r e f e r t o the image o f Ch r i s t , int er­ p r e t ing it in a revo l u t ionary and s o c ial i s t s p i r i t . A p rominent repre s en t a t ive o f th i s g roup i s the l a t e Dean of Cant e rb ury Hewl e t t John son . He con s id e r e d tha t the b u i l d ing o f a s o c ia l i s t s o c i e t y in the S ov i e t Un ion wa s in fu l l c o n f o rmity with the s p ir i t of Chr i s t , and he d i d a g r e a t amoun t o f wo rk on an in t e rnat ional s c a l e t o pro­ mo t e p eac e and soc ial i sm . V i ews s im i l a r to tho s e o f Hewl e t t John s on are h e l d by t h e Lut h e ran the o l o g ian Emil Fuch s and F . C l a rk , an Eng l i shman . F rom the ir p o in t o f v i ew , the a ims of the s t rugg l e waged t o day b y suppo r t e r s o f s o c ial i sm c o in c i d e w i th the teach ings o f Chr i s t a s s e t f o r th i n th e Go spe l s . They even ma in ta in tha t the t ru e f o l lowe r s of Ch r i s t t o ­ day a r e t h e Commun i s t s a n d tho s e who , c oming af t e r them , s t and f o r a soc ia l i s t t ran s f o rma t ion o f soc i e ty . And i t d o e s n o t ma t t e r whe ther they b e l ieve in God and in Chr i s t a s a d iv in e p e r son . Indeed , Fuch s and C l a rk a r e no t in­ c l ined t o regard tho s e as Ch r i s t ians who are f o rma l l y p ious memb e r s o f Ch r i s t ian churc h e s b u t who i n r ea l i t y a r e engaged in p redatory p rac t ic e s i n acco rdan c e w i th th e ru l e s o f cap i t a l i s m and imp e r ial ism . Ob j ec t ive ly , such v i ews are in harmony w i th the ca l l f o r g iv ing sup p o r t t o the pro g res s ive a s p ira t ions and movemen t s o f our t ime . Bu t a r e there h i s t o r ic a l ground s f or c on s ider ing Chr i s t a s oc ial i s t , reb e l and revo lu t ionary ? Argument s in favour o f such an in t er p r e t a t ion a r e summed up in the b o ok Origins of Chris tian i ty by Karl Kaut sky . An exami­ na t ion o f the s e argumen t s may h e l p us d e t e rmine the ex­ t ent t o whi ch such an in t erpr e t a t ion is va l i d . 36

Be s id e s the s ay in g s of Chr i s t tha t are c r i t i c a l o f w ea l th and th e r ich , wh ich a r e f ound in t h e Go s pe l s and a r e u s ua l ly c i ted in s u ch c a s e s , Kau t sky pa id s p e c ial a t ­ t en t i on to t h e Ac t s of th e Apo s t l e s wh ich ind ic a t e that amon g th e early Chr i s t ians there wa s c onnnu nal own e r sh ip o f ma t e r ia l good s . At the earl ie s t s ta g e s of i t s ex i s t­ enc e , sa id Kau t sky , the Chr i s t ian c ommun ity "wa s chara c ­ t e r i s e d by a n e f f ec t ive , though undef ined c onnnu n ism , a re j e c t ion o f p r iva t e own e r s h ip , and a s t r iving t oward s a n ew , b e t ter soc ial order in wh ich a l l c l a s s d if f e r enc e s wo ul d b e e l imin a t e d th rough the d iv i s ion o f property " . 3 0 Th i s c onnnu n i s t s p i r i t c ou l d only have b e en d e r ived f rom the t each ings of Ch r i s t wh ich h i s f o l l owe r s a c c e p t ed and c ar r ied out in p rac t ic e . Kau t sky a cknowl edged and re p ea t e d ly po in t e d ou t , b o th in Origins of Chri stian ity and in h i s o ther wo rk s , tha t the c onnnu n i sm p rac t i sed among the early Chr i s t ian s wa s o f a rud imen t a ry charac t e r . Thu s , in s t ead o f c onnno n proper ty the r e wa s mo re or l e s s sy s t ema t ic d i v i s ion o f prope r ty among memb e r s o f t h e c ommun ity . The r e wa s n o que s t ion a t a l l of pub l ic owne r sh i p o f th e me ans of pro­ duc t ion , f o r th is c ommun i sm wa s c on sump t ion-o r i en t e d and egal i t a r ian in n a tu re . Ac c ord ing to Kau t sky , the pr in­ c ip l e rej ec t ing the in s t i t u t e o f p r iva t e p r o p e r ty wa s the mo s t impor tan t e l emen t . Rega rd l e s s o f how we a s s e s s the s y s t em tha t ex i s t ed in the early Chr i s t ian c onnnu n it i e s , it wou l d b e far-f e t ch­ ed to th ink tha t it ref l ec t ed the t each ing s o f Chr i s t . Here we mu s t con s id e r the c ond i t ions in wh ich the e a r l y Chr i s t ian s l ived . Sur rounded by "pagans " t h e y t ended t o un i t e in t o f a i r l y c l o s e-kn i t c ommun it i e s a n d or gan i s ed in­ t e rnal mu tual a i d on a l arge s c a l e . But the r e wa s no r e ­ o rgan i sa t ion o f the who l e of s o c i e ty o n new p r inc i p l e s . Th i s c an b e s e en in the f a c t t h a t memb e r s o f the c ommun i ty were adv i s ed t o s_e l l th e i r prope r ty and c on t r ib u t e th e mo n ey f rom the s a l e t o a c ommon fund . H a d there b e en a r eo rga n i s a t ion o f th e en t i re s o c ial sy s tem , the qu e s t i on Wo u l d a r i s e a s to who wou l d buy the proper t y . Kau t sky deduced the revo l u t ionary and reb e l l i o u s cha­ r a c t er of the t e ach ing s and a c t ivity o f Ch r i s t f rom h i s r o l e a s the Me s s iah . E i th e r J e su s tho ught o f h im s e l f a s t h e Me s s iah , i n wh ich c a s e he had t o take upon h ims e l f a l l 37

the r e s p o n s ib i l i t i e s of a p o l i t i c a l , s o c ial and even mi­ l i tary l eader , o r h e regarded h ims e l f as a p e a c e f u l , s u f ­ I t had t o b e on e o f the s e two th ings . f e r ing mar tyr . And Je s u s qu i t e d e f in i t e ly a s sumed the ro l e o f the Me s ­ s iah ! Bu t Kau t sky c ou l d n o t i gnore ano ther a s p e c t o f the image of Chr i s t , wh ich cons i s t s in the f a c t tha t Chr i s t preached nonre s i s t an c e t o ev i l and s o c ial p a s s i v i ty . How can th e s e two d iame t r i c a l ly oppo s i t e a s p e c t s b e re­ conc i l ed ? Kau t sky ' s answe r t o the qu e s t ion i s a s f o l ­ l ows : t h e mil i tant Me s s ian i c e l emen t s o f t h e image o f Je­ su s were the o r ig inal on e s , wh i l e an a t t i tude of nonre­ s i s tanc e and pas s ive wa i t ing c ame l a t e r . J e s u s c o u l d not have app ea red t o p eop l e wi th such mu tua l ly exc l u s ive f ea­ tur e s a t one and the same t ime . Such a concept ion can b e c o n s idered va l i d only if i t c a n b e p roved tha t t h e "reb e l l iou s " p a s sage s in the Go s ­ p e l s c ame b e f or e t h e pa s sage s o n nonre s is tance t o ev i l . But th i s h a s no t b een p roved . The r e f o r e , th i s who l e c on­ c e p t ion rema ins pu rely c onj e c tural , un s up p o r t e d by any s ound a rgumen t s . The r e i s ye t ano th er s t rong a rgumen t , in Kau t sky ' s o p in ion , wh i ch suppor t s the idea ab out the reb e l l iou s charac t e r o f Je su s ' t each ing s ; name l y , any o t h e r f o rm o f Me s s i an is m wou l d n o t have enj oyed th e succ e s s i t d id among non-Juda i c g roup s . Cou l d the o th e r p e o p l e s in the Roman Emp ire have b een in s p i r e d by a Me s s ian i sm that concerned the Jew s on ly ? No , say s Kau t sky . The suc c e s s o f Chr i s ­ t ian i ty o n a n int erna t iona l s c a l e can b e exp l a in ed i f i t i s a s sume d tha t i t advanc ed n o t s o much na t iona l i s t ic s l ogans and d emands a s c l a s s - o r iented one s . Me s s ian i sm and commun i sm were uni t ed in the t each ing s of J e s u s Ch r i s t , a n d onl y when they w e r e un i t ed d id they "b ec ome inv inc ib l e " . On ly when the "Me s s ian ic a s p ira t ion s " s ig­ n i f ied the " d e l ive ran c5! o f all wh o are p o o r " c ou l d they have me t with "a l ively re s p on s e among the poor of a l l nat ion s " . 3 1 If Chr i s t d i d n o t appear a s a l eader o f the oppre s s e d , regardl e s s o f t h e i r na t i onal i ty , but as a s t r i c t l y Ju d a i c Me s s iah , h i s t each ing s , s ay s Kau t sky , wou l d n o t have survived th e t e r r ib l e d e f ea t wh ich Juda i sm su f f ered in i t s na t iona l l ib e rat ion wa r s and the d e c l ine in wh i ch the idea o f Me s s ian i s m i t s e l f f e l l f o l l owing the se war s . 38

Th i s argumen t , t o o , is no t we l l -f ounded and rema ins o f a con j ec tural na ture . B e s i d e s , i t is inc on s i s t en t w i th Kau t sky ' s general t r ea tmen t of th e qu e s t ion . He c on s id e r s tha t J e s u s ' t each ing s , inh e r i ted by h i s imme ­ d ia t e d i s c i p l e s , s oon l o s t i t s revo l u t i onary chara c t e r . " The c ruc i f i ed Me s s iah , who came f rom the m id s t of the p ro l e tar ia t , " says Kau t sky , wa s ab l e t o conquer Rome and the wo rl d , "but he c onquered it not for the pro l e t a r i a t . " The d ia l ec t ic s o f h i s to ry wa s such tha t Chr i s t ian ity b e ­ came the b u l wark o f soc ial oppre s s ion , and th i s i s qu i t e und e r s tandab l e . "The cruc if ied Me s s iah wa s not the f i r s t , nor wa s he the l a s t c onqu e r o r who in the end turned the armi e s tha t had g iven h im vic t ory aga in s t h i s own peop l e and u s e d them t o sub j ug a t e i t . " Kau t sky rec a l l s Cae sar and Napo l eon who , t o o , "grew out o f the vic t o ry of demo c ­ racy " . 3 2 Bu t if we accep t the argument th a t the teach ing s of Je su s l o s t the i r revo lu t ionary charac t e r s o on af t e r h i s death ( th i s in i t se l f i s n o t imp o s s ib l e ) , we wou l d n o t b e ab l e t o exp la in the succe s s they had among t h e non-Jew i sh popu l a t ion of the Roman Emp ire wh ich wa s du e p rec i s e l y to the i r revo l u t ionary charac t e r . For the spread o f Chr i s ­ t ian i t y among t h e non-Jew i sh group s d id n o t take p l a c e in the early p e r i o d of i t s ex i s t enc e , bu t at a t ime when i t wou l d have l o s t i t s revo l u t iona ry s p i r i t . *

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Me t ro po l i tan Vve densky sa id du r ing a d eb a t e wi th Ana t o l i Lunachar sky , the P e op l e ' s Commi s s a r f o r Educ a t i ­ on , that everyb o dy woul d l ik e t o have Chr i s t i n h i s camp . Lunachar sky rep l ied : "But not we . We do no t need Chr i s t . 1 1 3 3 Th i s i s qu i t e t rue . But , a s Lunachar sky h im­ s e l f po in t e d out , th i s had noth ing to do w i th the a t t emp t to s o lve the p rob l em of the h i s t or ic i ty o f Ch r i s t . As with any o ther sc i en t if ic que s t ion , the important th ing here is to e s t ab l i sh the t ru th . The c la s s ic s of Marx i s m had on numerou s o c c a s ions comment e d on a t t emp t s t o f ind s im i l a r i t ie s b e twe en commu ­ ni sm and p r im i t ive Chr i s t ian i ty . The a im o f such a t t emp t s is , o n the one hand , t o "chr i s t ian i s e " the Commun i s t doc ­ t r ine , and on the o th e r , t o p o r t ray Chr i s t ian ity and i t s f oun d e r i n a revo l u t ionary-c ommun i s t l igh t . A typ ical ' examp l e o f such an a t t emp t is the r e c e n t l y pub l i shed b o ok 39

Je sus and the Pro le taria t b y H . Ro l f e s . 34

I t s purpo s e i s to show tha t the mo d e rn wo rk ing-c l a s s movement i s a me re c ont inua t i on of the t r ad i t ion that goe s b ack to Chr i s t . Po in t ing t o s im i l a r a t t emp t s Eng e l s n o t e d tha t " one of t h e f avo r i t e ax ioms i s tha t Chr i s t ian ity i s c om­ mun i sm" . Tho s e wh o h o l d th i s v i ew " t ry t o prove it by th e B ib l e , the s t a t e o f c ommun i ty the f ir s t Chr i s t ian s a r e s a id to have l ived , e tc . " . But , s a id Eng e l s , the g e ­ neral s p ir i t o f i t s do c t r ine s i s , neve r the l e s s , to t a l ly oppo s e d t o c ommun i sm . 3 5 Ind e e d , s c ien t if ic c ommun i sm d o e s n o t ne ed r e l ig iou s o r any other k ind of cove r . The Fa s c ina t ing Hero-Suf f e rer (a c c o rd ing t o E rne s t Renan ) In Europe in the s e c ond h a l f of the l a s t c en tury the in t e rpre t a t ion o f Ch r i s t wa s l argely inf l u enced by the p o r t ra i t o f Chr i s t d rawn by the F rench s cholar and wr i t e r E rne s t Renan i n h i s b ook Th e Life of Je sus , wh ich wa s f i r s t pub l i shed in 1 8 6 3 . Dur ing the l if e t ime o f Renan (he d i e d in 1 8 9 2 ) the b o ok went through d o z ens of ed i ­ t i on s in d i f f e ren t l anguage s , includ ing Ru s s ian . The s p e c t a c u l a r succ e s s of the b o ok i s p a r t l y exp l a ined b y t h e author ' s b r i l l iant l i t erary s ty l e a n d p a r t ly by t h e f a c t tha t Renan wa s ab l e t o c r e a t e a c omp l e t e a n d v ivid portra i t o f J e s u s the man w i th all the c o n t rad ic t ions o f a l iv ing human image . I t wa s only l a t e r and w i th much d if f icu l ty tha t s ch o l a r l y l i t e rature on Ch r i s t wa s ab l e to f ree i t s e l f f rom the s p e l l o f th is image and onc e aga in emb a rk on a p a t h of obj ec t ive h i s t o r i c a l re s earch . When s t il l a young man Renan abandoned h i s int ent ion of taking o rd e r s and devo t ed h ims e l f to s ch o l a r sh ip . H i s s cho l a r l y intere s t s a s a h i s t o r ian , however , we re int e r ­ twined w i t h the a s p irat ion o f an a r t i s t t o recrea t e the p a s t imag ina t ive ly . In h im the e ru d i t e scho l a r no t in­ f requen t l y c ame in t o c onf l ic t wi th the g i f t e d a r t i s t , and it wa s no t ,a lway s the s c h o l a r who emerged vic t o r i ou s . Thus , in The Life of Je sus i t i s the s ub j ec t ive a r t i s t ra ther than the imp a r t ial scho l a r who g o t the uppe r hand . Neve r the l e s s , Renan ' s po r t ra it of Chr i s t rema in s s ign i f i ­ c a n t i f o n l y b e cau s e o f the inf lu enc e i t h a d l ong exert ed on the v iews of s cho l a r s in the f i e l d . I t may b e no t e d tha t Chr i s t i an churche s o f a lmo s t a l l denomina t ions (ex­ cep t for a f ew Pro t e s tant b r anche s ) sharp ly d enounc ed the

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I t s pub l ic a t ion l ed t o a s t orm o f p r o t e s t a g a in s t b ook . it and i t s autho r . Th i s i s no t real l y surpr i s ing . Fo r in h i s a c c oun t o f the l if e o f J e s u s Renan t o t a l l y r e j e c t s the superna­ tural e l emen t s . Th e r e is no p l ac e in i t f o r the immacu­ late concep t ion and the re surrec t ion and the a s c en s ion o f Chr i s t . I t b e g in s wi th J e s u s ' b ir th and end s w i th h i s death . In h i s introduc t ion t o th e 1 3 th e d i t i on o f the b ook Renan c l early s t a t e s h i s p o s it ion on th i s que s t ion : " Once we accep t the sup erna tu ra l , w,e p l a c e our s e lve s o u t ­ s ide t h e r e a l m o f s c ien c e . As a resul t qu i t e un s c ien t i ­ f ic exp lana t ion s a r e t o l era t e d , t h e k ind o f exp l ana t ions wh i ch n o a s t ronome r , phy s ic i s t , chemi s t , g e o l og i s t or phy s io l o g i s t wou l d a c c e p t and wh ich no h i s t o r ian shou l d accep t e ither . W e r e j e c t the s up e rna tu ra l o n t h e s ame ground tha t we re j e c t the ex i s t en c e of centau r s and h ip ­ pogr if f s : nob ody h a s ever s e en them . I rej ec t the mi­ rac l es tha t are t o l d in the Go s p e l s . 11 3 6 To s ay that one shou l d rej e c t superna tu ra l phenomena b ecau s e no one has eve r s e en them d o e s not s ound p a r t icu­ lar ly c onv inc ing ; the re are mo re s e r ious argument s than tha t in f avour o f such a rej ec t ion . Bu t i t i s impor tant to no t e here tha t Renan t r i e s t o a dhere t o a rat ional i s ­ t ic po int o f view . Ph i l o soph ic a l ly h i s po s i t ion i s c l o s e t o tha t o f po s i t iv i sm . Thu s , i t i s n o t J e su s the mirac l e -wo rk e r that a t ­ t rac t e d Renan , who d i d n o t b e l ieve i n mirac l e s . Renan wa s mo re impre s s ed w i th the ou t s t and ing human qua l i t i e s wh ich h e s aw i n Chr i s t and ab ove a l l w i th the c o l o s s a l ro l e wh ich in h i s o p in ion Chr i s t p l ayed i n h i s t o ry . For Renan the r i s e o f Ch r i s t i an i ty wa s the mo s t imp o r t an t even t i n wo r l d h i s t o ry and J e s u s Chr i s t wa s the c r e a t o r o f t h a t event . Renan d id no t ob j e c t t o Je su s b e ing regarded a s th e " Son of God" . He b e l ieved tha t a "un ive r s a l c on s c i ence has decreed _the t i t i e o f Son o f God , and tha t wi th j u s ­ t ice , s ince h e ha s advanced re l ig ion a s n o o ther h a s tlone , or p robab l y eve r wi l l b e ab l e t o d o 1 1 . 3 7 Bu t in order to properly apprec ia t e th i s great man and his c on t r ibu t ion to the h i s t o ry o f mank ind , i t is n ec e s sary t o r id our s e lve s o f th e many wron g not ions wi th wh ich churchmen and theo­ l o g i an s had surrounded the image o f Chr i s t , d i s t o r t ing i t a s a r e su l t . 41

In the coun t l e s s numb e r o f interpre t a t ions o f the image of Chr i s t c o n t a ined in t h e wr i t ing s o f p io u s Chr i s ­ t o l o g i s t s ove r a p e r iod of nearly 2 000 year s there i s no t the s l igh te s t a t t emp t to e s t ab l i sh h is tor ical t ru th . A s f a r a s Chr i s t ians were c onc erned , a s Renan no t ed , the mo s t impo r t an t th ing wa s t o p rove tha t J e su s f u l f i l l ed a l l tha t wa s s a id in the Bo ok s of the Prophe t s and the P sa lms wh i ch wa s though t to be r e l a ted t o the Me s s iah . To ach ieve th i s goal a l l me ans we re c on s idered acc e p t ab l e . Thu s , O l d T e s t amen t t ex t s we r e u s e d to d e s c r ib e the l i f e o f Je su s , wh ich wa s en t i re l y a rb i t rary . Renan gave many examp l e s of t h i s . And , Renan no t e d , when Jewi sh the o l o ­ g ians po in t e d out t h a t the ir O l d T e s t ament t ex t s conta in­ ed no th ing s im i l a r to tha t wr i t t en by Chr i s t ian ex ege t e s they we re t o l d tha t they h a d d i s t o r t e d th e ir t ex t s o u t of s h e e r wickedn e s s . Renan h im s e l f h ad no need f o r such me tho d s . Th i s do e s n o t mean tha t a l l h i s a rgument s r e s t o n a s t r i c t ly obj ec t ive b a s i s . On the contrary , there i s much in them tha t i s arb it rary , sub j e c t ive , hypo th e t i c a l or s imp ly un t ru e . For h im , h i s own a r t i s t ic imag ina t ion provided a suf f ic i en t l y good b a s i s for them . Thu s , h e ignored the Go s p e l s nar ra t ive s wh ich appeared to h im t o b e implau s ib l e ( f ir s t o f a l l , the s t o r ie s ab out the mirac l e s and about superna tural ph enomena genera l ly ) , and gathered u p all the re s t w i th a s in g l e thread o f c onne c t e d narrat ive , f i l l ing the gap s e it h e r wi th h i s own inven t ion s o r s imp l y w i th e l egant and f in e wr i t ing . In th i s way he wa s ab l e to c r e ­ a t e a f a s c ina t ing image o f a t r a g i c hero who l ived , suf ­ f e re d and d ied f o r an i d e a wh i ch a f t e r h i s death c onquered the wo r l d . How c l o s e l y th i s image c orre sponds t o h i s t o r i­ c a l real i t i e s i s ano the r que s t ion , and we sha l l go int o th i s l a t e r on . Ac c o r d ing t o Renan , J e su s wa s a man of h i s t ime , in­ f lu enced by the geograph ica l and h i s to r i c a l mil ieu in wh i ch he grew up and in wh ich h i s p e r s onal i t y wa s f o rmed . He shared the i d e o l ogy o f h i s t ime , includ ing i t s i l lu­ s ion s . He c o u l d no t have had any suc c e s s o t herwi s e . For , s a i d Renan , a l l g r e a t th ing s are a c c omp l i shed by the p e op l e , and no one can l ead a p e o p l e wi thout shar ing i t s ideas . Renan c l e a r l y h in t e d tha t even i f J e s u s d id not b e l i eve eve ryth ing he p reached and re s o r t e d t o dec e p t ion

42

on o c c a s ion , th i s shou l d no t in any way make u s f e e l tha t he had comprom i s e d h im s e l f . D e c e p t ion d id n o t a l ways p l ay a nega t ive role in h i s t o ry : "No th ing great h a s b e en e s tab l i shed wh i ch d o e s no t re s t on a l e g end . 1 1 3 8 The f au l t here l ie s w i th man h ims e l f who wan t s t o b e Th i s i s par t i cu l arly t ru e o f th e p e op l e s o f d ec e ived . anc ien t Eas t , accord ing t o Renan . They had comp l e t e ly d i f f erent no t i ons o f t ru th and f a l s ehood f r om tho s e he l d b y Europeans . Renan wr i t e s : "Hone s ty a n d impo s ture are wo rd s wh i ch , in our r ig id c o n s c ienc e s , are oppo sed a s two irrec onc i l ab l e te rms . In th e Ea s t , they are c o nne c t e d by numb e r l e s s sub t l e l ink s and wind ing s The l i t eral t ru th has l i t t l e value to the Or i en t a l ; he s e e s everyth ing through the med ium of h i s ideas , h i s in tere s t s , and h i s p a s s i ons . 1 1 39 From such a p o i n t o f view one c an a t t r ib u t e b ehav iour that i s no t a l way s c o r re c t o r s incere to J e su s wi thou t c a s t ing any shadow on h i s mo ral image . •

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Such i s Renan ' s app roach to the Go s p e l s t o r i e s ab out the mirac l e s Je su s p er f o rmed . Renan admi t s tha t the s e s t o r i e s con t a in many l e gend s wh i ch eme rged l a t e r among the b e l ieve r s and we re p roduc t s of the i r my th i c a l imag ina­ t i on . Bu t he doe s no t ru l e out the p o s s ib i l i ty tha t s ome of the l e gend s corre s ponded to even t s tha t a c t ua l l y o c ­ curred . I t i s impo s s ib l e in th i s c a s e to d i s t ingu i sh b e ­ twe e n l e g end s a n d real even t s . But though the d e s c r ip t ion of the m irac l e s may be " t ru e " , tha t d o e s not prove tha t t h e supernatural event s d e s c r ib e d r ea l l y took p l a c e ; i t i s rather a mat t e r o f J e s u s consent ing t o p l ay a n "ac t ive ro l e " in s ome of the mirac l e s . What Renan is obviou s l y try ing t o d o h e r e i s t o render mo re "accep tab l e " the though t that J e s u s a t t ime s agreed to p r e t end that h e had p e r f o rmed a mira c l e u s ing me an s wh i ch , f r om our p o in t o f v i ew , are n o t s t r ic t l y hone s t . Bu t wha t wa s J e su s to do , exc l a ims Renan , i f in h i s t ime mira c l e s we re c on s i dered an unmi s t akab l e s ign o f d i ­ v in i ty and t h e symb o l of p rophe tho o d ? J e s u s wa s f a c e d w i th a d i l emma : he had e i th e r t o abandon h i s mi s s ion o r to b ec ome a mirac l e -wo rker . He cho s e the l a t t e r . So , J e s u s on l y y i e l ded t o t h e p r e s sure o f the t ime in wh i ch he l ived . He b ecame a mirac l e -worker and exo r c i s t aga ins t h i s wil l . Bu t Je s u s h ims e l f qu i t e read i l y y i e l d e d t o th i s 43

pre s sure . C l e a r l y c on t r a d ic t in g h imse l f Renan d e c l a re s tha t Je su s no t only b e l ieved in the mirac l e s he p e r f o rmed b u t had no t the s l igh t e s t idea ab o u t the na t u r a l order of th ing s and i t s l aws ; Je s u s knew no mo r e ab o u t the s e ma t ­ t e r s than h i s contemporar ie s . H e though t a s they d i d ab out mirac l e s , God , t h e dev i l , ang e l s and e v i l sp ir it s . In th i s r e s p ec t Je s u s wa s no t d i f f er e n t f rom h i s cont em­ p o r a r ie s . 4 0 Here one may n o t e a c e r t a in c omb inat ion o f dec e p t ion and s e l f -d e c ep t ion wh i ch , a c c o r d ing t o Renan , i s a general charac t e r i s t i c o f mo s t r e l ig ions . In the c a s e o f J e s u s s e l f -d e c e p t ion wa s al s o en­ c ouraged by the f a c t tha t h e wa s indeed ab l e to work mi­ rac l e s on s ome o c c a s ion s , namely , in heal ing the s i ck . The very p e r s o nal i ty of the phy s i c ian and the me tho d s he u s e s , says Renan , can have a b enef ic ial inf l uence on the nervo u s s y s tem o f a p a t ient . S ome t ime s j u s t a touch of the p a t ient b y s ome one s p e c ia l is wo r th mo re than all the In the c a s e of J e s u s med i c in e s a pharmacy can o f f e r . " the mere p l ea sure o f s e e ing h im cure s 1 1 . 4 1 Such inf luence i s e sp e c i a l l y s t r ong when th e p a t ient i s s uf f e r ing f rom nervo u s d i s e a s e s , wh ich in anc ient t ime s wer e l o oked upon a s a r e su l t o f the dev i l ' s hav ing entered the b o dy of the pat ient . The nervou s shock t h a t came f rom the touch by s omeone known a s a h e a l e r c ou l d cure one who wa s so po s s e s s e d . And t h i s c o u l d s t rengthen J e s u s ' f a i th in h ims e l f a s s omeone s p e c ial and enc ourage h im t o c on t inu e t h e p ra c t i c e o f mirac l e -wo rk ing . As p o r tr ayed by Renan Je su s wa s a man o f h i s t ime a l s o in h i s p e r s onal cha rac t e r . As a t rue Ga l i l e an he , unl ike the Jews , neve r made a show o f h i s p ie ty and moral upr ightne s s . "He d id no t fly f r om p l ea su r e ; he went wi l l ing l y t o marr iage f e a s t s . 1 1 4 2 J e s u s wa s a s imp l e , cheerful and k ind man , a man of the p e o p l e . He had none o f the haugh t ine s s of the Saddu c e e s or the hyp o c r i sy of the Phar i s ee s . In s ome way s h e wa s l ight -he a r t e d and care-free , l ike a l l inhab i t an t s of f er t i l e areas w i th a s o f t c l ima t e , and Ga l i l e e , J e s u s ' home l and , wa s such a place . ·

Renan even t r i e s to exp l a in J e s u s ' a t t i tude to l a ­ b o u r ( "Con s i d e r t h e l il ie s o f the f ie l d , h o w th ey grow ; they t o i l no t , ne i th e r do they s p in : And y e t I s ay unt o you , Tha t even S o l omon in a l l h i s gl ory wa s n o t arrayed 44

l ike one of the s e " (Ma t thew 6 : 2 8 -29 ) by r e f e rr ing t o the e f f e c t of c l ima t e on Je su s ' gene ral ou t l ook : "Lab our in c l ima t e s o f th i s k ind appear s u s e l e s s ; wha t _ i t g ive s is not e qual t o what i t co s t s Th i s contemp t , wh i ch , when i t i s no t cau s e d by i d l ene s s , con t r ibu t e s grea t ly to the e l eva t i on o f the s ou l , insp ired Je su s w i th s ome charm­ ing a p o l o gu e s : ' Lay no t up for you r s e lve s t r e a sure s upon e a r th ' . . . 4 3 .

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Be ing a s imp l e man , J e s u s wa s n o t p a r t i cu l a r l y we l l ­ e duc a ted . He d id no t know Greek , wh i ch wa s w i d e l y u s ed among the He l l en i s ed Sadducean e l i t e , or Gr eek l i t erature Mo r e ove r , Renan th ink s tha t Je su s wa s no t we l l -ver s e d in Juda ic "Law" and was far removed f r om the Rab b i n i c s chool that wa s even then b e g inn ing t o engage in scho l a s t i c ca­ su i s t ry f rom wh i ch the Talmud l a t e r emerged . Bu t here in l ie s one of the impor tant f a c e t s of J e s u s ' p e r s onal i ty : h i s mind had pre s e rved that f r e sh na ive t e wh i ch u s ua l ly wea r s o f f i n the cour se o f a b road educat ion . Never th e ­ l e s s , the l a ck o f a good educa t ion a n d theo l o g i c a l tra in­ ing proved t o be an ob s tac l e t o J e s u s ' wo rk as a p reache r .

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Nature had endowed J e s u s w i th w i t , r e s ou r c e f u lne s s and the g i f t o f a b r i l l i ant conve r s a t iona l i s t . But tha t wa s no t enough f o r someone en t e r ing on the career of a preache r . When J e s u s b e gan t o p r e a ch t o a wide aud i en c e he wa s ob l iged t o b e c ome a deb a t e r , j u r i s t , exe g e t e and theo l o g ian . He had to t ak e p a r t in no i sy d i s cu s s ions , in endl e s s s ch o l a s t i c b a t t l e s . Renan i s aggr i eved to s e e h i s h e r o f a l l i n t o s u ch a s i tu a t ion . Even when Je s u s went f rom d e f ence to a t t ack he wa s no t a lway s a t h i s b e s t : "We sh ou l d have p r e f e r r e d no t s e e ing h im some t ime s p l ay the part o f aggre s s or . 1 1 4 4 Je su s ' i nnat e ab i l i t i e s s ome t ime enab l e d h im t o emerge v i c t o r i ou s f r om a d i f f i c u l t s i tuat ion , though Re­ nan is no t p a r t i cu l a r l y imp re s s e d b y the l o g i c o f Jesu s ' argument s in such i n s tanc e s, wh i c h wa s weak . Neve rthe l e s s , o n s ome o c c a s i ons Je su s ' hand l ing o f a d i f f i c u l t s i tuat ion wa s b r i l l iant . Renan c i t e s a s an examp l e Je s u s ' answe r t o the crowd who want e d to know wha t t h e y shou ld do w i th a wo man taken in adu l t e ry . The an swer wa s a cunn ing and a t the same t ime a though t f u l one : "He that i s w i thout s in among you , l e t h im f i r s t ca s t a s t on e at h e r " ( John 8 : i ) . The preacher of t he new re l ig i on wa s a k ind and 45

f r i endly man . "His preach ing , " wr i t e s Renan , "was gent l e and p l ea s ing , b r e a th ing Nature and the perfume o f the f ie l d s . He l oved the f l ower s , and t o ok f r om them h i s mo s t charming l e s sons . The b irds o f heaven , the s e a , the mountains , and the games o f ch i l dren , furni shed in turn the sub j e c t of h i s ins truct ions . " 4 5 With h i s s o f tne s s and charm and h i s good l ooks , a s Renan imag ined h im , J e s u s was an a t tract ive man , e s pe c ial l y t o women . B u t when the s itua t i on r e qu ired he cou l d be s evere and imper iou s . Usua l l y m i l d in h i s manne r s , he b e c ame tran s f o rmed at the s l igh te s t oppo s it ion . Then h i s natural meekne s s l e f t h im and h i s s ternne s s insp i re d f e a r even in the apo s t l e s . Renan i s d e l ighted with the sarca s t ic way in wh i ch J e s u s devas t a t e d h i s enemi e s : "Ma s terp i e ce s of f ine ra i l ­ l e ry , the i r f e a t u r e s are wr i t t en i n l ine s o f f ir e upon the f l e sh o f the hypocr i t e and the f a l s e devo t e e . Incom­ parab l e tra i t s , wor thy of a s on of God ! A god a l one knows how t o k i l l a f t e r thi s f a sh ion , Socrat e s and Mo l iere only t ouched the skin . He car r ied f ir e and rage t o the very marrow . 11 4 6 C l early Renan is exaggerat ing here . There are only a few pa s s age s in the Go sp e l s wh i ch sugge s t the b r i l l iance of Je su s ' sarcasm on wh i ch Renan heap s such h i gh pra i s e . Wha t a ims d id Renan ' s hero pur su e with a l l h i s extraord inary qua l i t i e s o f mind and charac t e r ? Je s u s wa s t h e f ounder o f a new rel i g i on , even though it was bas e d on Juda i sm . He was a Jew and yet no t a Jew . Juda i sm wa s intended f o r " th e s ons o f Ab raham" . But J e s u s sa id t h a t a l l good men who f o l l owed him , irre spec t ive o f the ir nat i onal i t i e s , be came t h e s ons o f Ab raham . "He pro c l a imed the r i gh t s of man , no t the r i ght s of the Jew ; the r e l i g ion of man , no t the r e l ig ion o f the Jew ; the d e ­ l iverance of man , no t t h e d e l iverance o f t h e Jew , " de­ c l ar e s Renan . 4 7 W i th in Juda i s m and Juda ic s o c iety there had b een many a t temp t s t o rou s e the ma s s e s in the cau s e o f new r e l i g ious and pol i t i c a l doctr ine s , b u t none were nea r l y a s rad i c a l a s Jesu s ' idea s . Al l tho s e a t t emp t s wer e made i n the name o f the Juda i c "Law" . Je s u s was the f ir s t man to oppo s e i t . The new r e l i g ion wa s "a pur e re l ig ion , wi thout f orms , wi thout temp l e , and withou t p r i e s t " . 48 Renan d i s t in ­ gu i she s two a s p ec t s of th i s r e l i g i on , a n d h i s a t t i tudes t owards them are qu i te d i f f e rent . 46

On the one hand , there i s The Reve l a t ion , the p r e ­ d i c t i on t h a t t h e e n d o f t h e wor l d wa s near , the ca l l t o rep ent in ant i c ip a t ion o f Judgeme n t Day . Th i s i s a " fa l s e , c o l d , and impo s s ib l e idea 1 1 . 4 9 On the o th e r hand , there i s the " Se rmon on the Mount , the a p o theo s i s o f the weak , the l ove o f the p e o p l e , r e gard for the poor , and the r e -e s t ab l i shment o f all that is humb l e , true , and s imp l e " . 5 0 Renan f e l t deeply drawn toward s th i s a sp e c t of Je s u s ' t e ach ing s . And he grea t l y admi red the way in wh ich Chr i s t made known h i s mo ral doc t r ine t o the wo r l d : he d i d i t " a s an incomparab l e art i s t " . And we shou l d "par don h im h i s h o p e of a va in apocalyp s e , and o f a s e ­ cond coming i n great t r iumph upon t h e c l ou d s o f heaven" . 5 1 That i s n o t the mo s t imp ortant thing in Chr i s t ' s t e ach­ ing s ; wha t is imp o r t ant is a l iving and l if e -g iving mo ral doc t r ine wh i ch i� l inke d t o c e r t a in s o c ia l v i ews . Bu t when i t come s t o d e s cr ib ing th i s doc t r ine , Renan , who i s u sua l l y ar t i cu l a t e and even ve rb o s e , b ecome s qu i t e laconic . Wh a t i s the s o c ial me s s age o f J e s u s ' t each ing s ? Renan ' s answer i s : "Pure Ebionism--tha t i s , the doc t r ine tha t the poor ( eb ion im) a l one sha l l b e s aved , that the 1 1 5 2 Save d i n wh a t re i gn o f th e p o o r is approach ing sen s e , a n d f rom wha t , f r om the t o rmen t s o f h e l l o r f rom su f f e r in g s on earth cau s ed by s o c ia l inj u s t ice ? Apparent­ ly the l a t t e r . So , J e s u s ' a im wa s t o b r ing ab ou t a rad i­ cal imp rovemen t o f the l if e o f the p o o r and the depr ived . But , a s p r e s en t e d b y Renan , w i t h a l l h i s t a l en t f o r in­ f l a t ing the s l i gh t e s t h in t in to a who l e concep t ion , Chr i s t ' s s o c ial p rogrannne l o ok s rather inadequa t e ind e e d . •







As a spoke sman and l eader of th e p o o r , Chr i s t wa s o f cou r s e oppo s e d t o s o c ia l inequal i t y , t o t h e e c onomi c and p o l i t i c a l dominat ion by the r ich . He t r ie d to d e s troy wea l th and powe r . He wa s aga in s t any k i nd o f p ower and in th i s s e n s e he wa s an anarch i s t . Fo r h im , any o f f ic ia l wa s a natural enemy o f God ' s p e op l e and c iv i l ian gove rn­ men t wa s no th ing but abu s e of power . To s ome extent Chr i s t ' s ne gat ive a t t i tude to s ec u l � r author i ty wa s due t o h i s b e ing i l l - inf o rme d s ince he wa s "a man of t h e p e o p l e who h a d no idea o f po l i t i c s " . 5 3 S t i l l , the f a c t rema in s tha t J e su s wa s aga in s t any k ind o f author i t y . But de s p i t e such an . a t t i tude t o the powe r s tha t b e , 47

Chr i s t d i d no t try t o over throw the ex i s t ing au thor i t i e s . He t o l d h i s d i sc ip l e s tha t he wou l d b e p e r s e c u t ed and t o r tured , b u t he neve r though t of r e s o r t ing to armed re­ s i s t ance . He had a s im i l a r l y p a s s ive a t t i t ud e t owards the ex i s t ing s o c ia l order . " • • . He nev�r shows any d e ­ s ir e t o put h ims e l f i n t h e p l ace o f t h e r i ch and the powerful 1 1 , 5 4 and he d id no t t e l l the poor who f o l l owed h im t o s e i z e the p o sse s s ions of the r ich . Why ? Renan i s no t very c l ea r o n th i s p o in t ; f o r h e t r i e s t o igno re that a s p e c t of J e s u s t each ing s tha t i s c onne c t e d with the idea of the a p o c a l yp s e , for wh ich , a s h e t e l l s u s , the f ound e r o f Chr i s t ian i t y mus t b e f o rg iven . J e s u s p a i d no a t t en­ t ion to the b l e s s in g s o f th i s wor l d and t o wo r l d l y powe r b e cau s e he cons idered them t o b e unimp o r tant and va in i n the f ace o f t h e approach ing e n d o f the wo r l d wh ich wa s inev i t ab l e . Howeve r , J e s u s was no t a lways cons i s t ent in h i s a t ­ t i tude t o s e cu lar author i ty . F o r in s t anc e , h e s a id : " Render ther e f o re unt o Cae s ar the th ing s wh ich are C a e s a r ' s " (Ma t thew 2 2 : 2 1 ) . As regar d s the wea l th o f the s l aveowne r s , we can f ind in the Go sp e l s qu i t e a f ew pa­ rab l e s and s aying s in wh ich such wea l th is regarded as qu i t e l eg i t imat e . On th i s p o in t , t o o , Renan i s one- s id e d a n d fa i l s t o b e ob j ec t ive . Renan t r i e d , though w i thou t much s u c c e s s , t o uni t e into one who l e the t each ing s o f Chr i s t a s s e t f o r th i n the Go s p e l s . And in th i s a t t empt , to g ive h im h i s due , Renan d id no t s imp l if y the p sycho l o g i c a l p i c tu r e of J e s u s ' s u f ­ f e r ings and f e e l ing s dur in g h i s b r i e f l if e on ear th . As J e s u s ' p r each ing s b egan t o a t t r a c t mo r e and mo re f o l l ower s , h e f ound h ims e l f in an incre a s ing l y d i f f i cu l t p o s i t ion . H e d id no t know wha t to d o wi th the crowd s o f p e o p l e who wer e ready t o go whe reve r h e l ed them . Soon he ceas ed t o b e ma s t e r of the s i t ua t ion . "Carr ied away by th i s f earful p rogre s s ion of enthu s ia sm , " wr i t e s Renan , " and governed b y the ne ce s s i t i e s of a p r each ing b ecoming da i l y more exa l t e d , J e s u s wa s no l onge r f r e e ; he b e l onged t o h i s m i s s ion , and in one sens e , t o mank ind . 11 5 5 J e s u s ha d t o swim w i th the current tha t car r i e d h im . The s t rugg l e in J e su s ' mind b e tween two pr inc i p l e s , an apocalyp t ic and a wo r l d l y one , wh i ch wa s r e f l e c t e d in h i s b ehav iour , end ed with the v i c t o ry of the f ormer . And

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tha t meant no t r e s i s t ance and s t rugg l e , b u t mar t yrdom . Re a l i s ing t h i s , J e s u s went through a sp ir i tua l c r i s i s . In Renan ' s own word s : " Some t ime s one woul d have said that h i s re a s on wa s d i s turb e d . H i s di s c ip l e s a t t ime s though t h im mad . H i s enemie s dec l ared h im t o b e p o s s e s s ed . He su f f e red great men t a l angu i s h and a g i t a t ion . The great v i s ion o f the k ingdom o f God , g l i s t ening b e f o re his eyes , b e w i l de r e d h im . 1 1 5 6 And f ina l l y he made h i s d e c i s ion--h e woul d go t o h i s death . Th i s dec i s ion , a c c ord ing t o Renan , b rough t ab out a chan ge in h i s b ehav i ou r . From that mome n t on al l h e s i t a ­ t ion , a l l tac t i c a l manoeuvr ing ended . "Hence f o r th w e b e ­ ho l d Je s u s ent i r e l y h ims e l f ; h i s chara c t e r unc l ouded . The sub t l e t ie s o f the p o l emic , the credul i t y o f the thau ­ maturgus and of t h e exorc i s t are f o r g o t t en . The r e r ema in s only the inc ompa rab l e hero o f the Pa s s i on . 1 1 5 7 Here once again Renan interp r e t s the Go s p e l narra­ t ive s rather arb i t rar i l y . For " th e incomparab l e hero o f t h e pa s s ion" appeared r a t h e r f a int -he a r t e d a t t h e cr i t i c a l momen t . True , Renan no t e s that a t one p o int J e s u s wa s overc ome by f e a r and doub t and he wa s in a s t a t e o f weak­ ne s s wh i ch i s wo r s e than d e a th i t s e l f . Bu t , s ays Renan , that moment came b e f o r e Chr i s t made the h e r o i c de c i s ion "to dr ink the cup t o the d r e g s " . Af t e r that Chr i s t never hes itated . On the who l e Renan created a s t r ik ing and rather c om­ p l ex p sycho l o g i cal por t ra i t of a man who l ived a tragic l if e , and a very remarkab l e man , t o o . Indeed , Renan J s Je s u s had an aura of grandeur , and th e purely human pa s ­ s ions , contrad i c t ions and weakne s s e s tha t were inherent in h i s p e r s o nal ity were a l s o on a gr and s ca l e . Renan ' s por­ t r a i t o f Je s u s is a p s ycho l o g ical l y p l au s ib l e one . To s ome ex tent i t i s a l s o a p l au s ib l e one h i s t o r i c a l l y, though cr i t i c s a lmo s t unan imou s l y reproached Renan f o r having po r t rayed Je su s accord ing to h i s own conce p t ion o f a Par i­ s ian o f the S e c ond Emp i r e : impe tuou s and s ent iment a l , e l ­ e gan t and w i t t y and no t very con s i s t ent i n h i s wo rds and de e d s . But it i s undeniab l e tha t Renan had made a real e f f o r t t o see J e s u s aga ins t the h i s t o r i cal and geograph i ­ ca l b a ckground o f h i s t ime . The mo s t important thing ab out Renan ' s p o r t ra i t o f 49

Je s u s i s th a t i t i s in a large mea sure b a s ed on the ar­ t i s t ic imag inat ion o f a g if t ed wr i t e r rather than on the ob j e c t ive t e s t imon i e s of h i s to r i c a l do cumen t s . Menta l l y I l l (accord ing t o J . Me s l i e r , A . B ine t -Sang l e and Ya . Min t s ) I t i s hard t o s ay who wa s the f i r s t t o pu t f o rward such a d i sparag ing v i ew o f Chr i s t . The f ir s t c l ear s ta t e ­ ment o f i t i s f ound i n t h e b ook Te stament by Jean Me s l ier , a Fr ench Catho l ic pr i e s t who l ived a t the end of the 1 7 th and the b e g inn ing o f the 1 8 th c e ntury . I t b ec ame known only a f t e r h i s d e a t h tha t throughout h i s l if e h e · had b e en an unc omp romi s ing a th e i s t . Me s l ier ' s a t t i tude toward s a l l re l igion s , inc l u d ing Chr i s t ian i ty , wa s t o t a l l y nega t ive and ho s t i l e . The t one in wh i ch he §poke of re l ig i on and o f Chr i s t ian i t y and Chr i s t i s exc e e d ing l y cr i t i c a l , and the l anguage he u s e d on s u c h o c ca s i on s i s a lmo s t abu s ive . B u t h i s a t t i tude i s a n und e r s tandab l e one . Tha t wa s t h e t ime o f t h e Inqu i s i­ t ion when the Church had comp l e t e sway over the l ive s and f a t e of peopl e , if not ove r the i r mind s . Anyone who open­ ly vo iced oppo s i t ion , h owever m i l d , t o th e Chr i s t ian dog­ ma s r i sked b e ing burned a t the s t ake . Al l h i s l if e Me s ­ l ie r had t o k e e p h i s b e l ief s t o h i ms e l f wh i l e carry ing out h i s du t i e s as a rural p r ie s t . I t i s no t surpr i s ing , the r e f o re , that he shou l d b e s e e th ing with ange r and c ou l d f ind r e l i e f o n l y when he wa s a l one w i t h h i s manu s c r ip t . I t was a l s o a t ime whe n the s o c ia l atmo sphere wa s h igh l y charged , as t h e c ontrad i c t ions g r ew b e twe en t h e f eudal ar i s t o c racy , wh i ch had the b ack ing o f the Chur ch , and the b road ma s s e s who we re s t riving for change . In sho r t , i t wa s the eve o f the French Bourge o i s Revo l u t ion . Bu t no t only Me s l ier , b u t a l s o ide o l o g i s t s o f the French Enl igh t enment regarded Chr i s t ian i ty w i th und i s ­ gu i sed ho s t il i t y and contemp t . Vo l t a ire , Ho lbach , D i dero t and o th e r s t r ea t e d the sub j e c t of Chr i s t ian i t y and Chr i s t w i t h great s corn , sub j e c t ing i t t o angry and mer c i l e s s d enunc i a t ion . Me s l ie r spoke o f Chr i s t i n the s ame ve in . He ca l l ed Je su s Chr i s t "an ins ignif ican t p e r s on , who had ne i ther t a l e nt , inte l l igenc e , knowl edge , nor c l ever­ ne s s , and wa s comp l e t e l y d e s p i s ed in the wo r l d 1 1 . 58 Je su s 50

wa s no t only a "p i t i f u l f ana t ic and i l l -f a t ed hang e d man ", bu t a l s o "a madman " . By "madman" Me s l ie r had in mind no t j u s t ano ther t erm of abu s e , b u t men t a l d i so r d e r . Me s l i e r th ough t J e su s wa s mad i n t h e c l in i c a l s en s e o f the word . He o f t en u s ed th e wo rd "fana t i c " a s a synonym f o r " in­ san e " . In p a r t icular , he unde r t o ok "to p rove and t o show th a t he [ Ch r i s t--I . K. ] wa s r ea l ly a madman , a f ana t ic 1 1 . 5 9 As proof Me s l ie r c i t e s " f ir s t , t h e o p in ion o f Chr i s t he ld b y t h e peopl e ; s e c ond , Chr i s t ' s own thou gh t s and say in g s ; and third , Chr i s t ' s d e e d s and the manne r in wh i ch he a c t ed1 1 . 6 0 Me s l i e r th ink s that he ha s f ound many pas sag e s in the Go s p e l s showing that p e o p l e around J e s u s a t t ime s r e ­ garded h im a s men t a l l y abnorma l . E a c h t ime he s a id " s ome ­ thing tha t i s rude , f o o l i sh and non s en s ica l " , the Pha r i­ s e e s and the s c r ib er s s u s p e c t e d h im of b e ing po s s e s s e d by demon s . When Chr i s t " to l d the Jews that h e wa s g iv in g them h i s f l e sh t o e a t a n d h i s b l oo d t o d r ink " , even s ome of h i s d i s c ip l e s l e f t h im , c o r r e c t l y conc lud ing f rom t h i s s p e e ch that h e " i s noth ing b u t a madman ! 1 1 6 1 True , there were s omet ime s d i f f e r enc e s o f op in ion r egard ing h i s p e r ­ sonal i ty : " S ome s a i d h e wa s k ind , o th e r s s a id no , he was a s educ e r o f p e o p l e , wh i l e the maj o r i ty thought h e wa s in s ane and s a id he wa s po s se s s e d by the d emon and raved l ike a madman 1 1 6 2 Je s u s ' r e l a t ive s a l s o s u s p e c t ed h im to have l o s t h i s mind . Once , i t i s s a id in the Go s p e l s , they went look ing f or h im "b e c au s e p e o p l e say he ha s gone mad" . .





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Me s l ie r in terpre t e d the mee t ing b e tween J e s u s and Herod An t ipa s in th e s ame way . The t e t rarch (a ru l e r o f a fourth p a r t o f a k ingdom) though t t h a t a mi ra c l e -work e r h a d b e e n b r ou gh t t o h im who wou l d s h o w h im s ome thing in­ t e r e s t ing and en t e r t a in ing and e a g e r l y awa i t e d h i s arr i­ val . But a f t er speak ing t o J e s u s Herod r ea l i s ed tha t he had b e en talk ing t o a madman and s en t J e su s away . The Jews a c company ing h im mo cked h im as a l una t ic who imagin­ ed h ims e l f a k in g , put a cane in t o h i s h and ins t ead o f a "Al l th i s i s s c e p t e r and p l ayed other j oke s on h im . c l ear evidenc e , " wr i t e s Mes l ie r , "that p e o p l e regarded h im as a madman , a luna t ic and a f anat ic . 1 1 6 3 Me s l ie r then ref erred t o J e s u s ' though t s and sayings a s s e t f o r th in the Go s p e l s t o back up h i s the s i s . 51

He c i t ed Chr i s t ' s s ta t emen t wh ich shows that Ch r i s t though t o f h ims e l f a s some one who wa s de s t ined t o acc om­ p l i s h wha t had never b e en a c c omp l i sh ed b e f o re : he wa s t o b ec ome k in g o f the Jews a n d ru l e over t h e m f o r eve r a n d a t the s ame t ime s ave t h e who l e wo rl d ; h e wa s t o c r e a t e a new heaven and ear th whe re he wou l d r e ign t o g e ther wi th h i s apo s t l e s who , s e a t e d on twe lve throne s , wou ld j udge all mank ind ; he intended t o c ome down f r om heaven a t the ' head o f a c r owd o f his ange l s ; he though t he had the powe r to r e s u r r e c t all the dead and p r o t e c t tho s e who b e ­ l ieved i n h im f r om d e a th . I n sho r t , "he imag ined h ims e l f t o b e the omn i p o t en t and e t e rna l Son o f a n omnip o t en t and e t e rnal God " . Me s l i e r compare s the s e fanta s ie s w i th tho s e o f Don Qu ixo t e and say s that th e l a t t e r , "wi th a l l th e i r unb a l anced chara c t e r and f a l s i ty have never b een s o ex­ c e e d ingly ab surd 1 1 . 6 4 The me thod us ed b y Ch r i s t in in t e r ­ p r e t ing O l d T e s t amen t p r ophe s i e s , in p a r t icu l a r , t h e t ex t s o f the B o o k o f the p rophet I s a iah , i s a l s o , in Me s ­ l ie r ' s o p in io n , evidence o f men tal i l ln e s s . Ano the r p r o o f o f J e s u s ' madne s s i s s a id t o l ie in the c on t ra d i c t ion s b e tween h i s s e rmon s and h i s t each ings . "One wou l d have to b e mad and in s ane , " wr i t e s Me s l ie r , " t o u t t e r s uch s a y ings and preach such s e rmon s wh i ch con­ trad i c t one ano ther and canc e l out one ano ther . 1 1 6 5 Chr i s t s a id th a t h i s m i s s ion wa s t o t each p eo p l e w i s dom and g ive them the l igh t o f truth , and y e t he p r e f e rr e d t o s p eak not s t ra igh t f o rwa rd l y , b u t in parab l e s and al l eg o r i e s and a t t r ibuted th i s manne r of t e ach ing to a d e s ire n o t to b e under s tood b y t h e peop l e . H e p r eached l ove , a n d y e t a t t h e s ame t ime h e c a l l e d o n peopl e who f o l l owed h im t o turn aga in s t th e i r parent s , b r o th e r s and s i s t e r s and a l l r e l a t ion s gene ra l ly . The a rgumen t s addu c e d by Je s u s in h i s d eb a t e s with his adver s a r ie s , in the o p inion o f Me s l i e r , we re s o l ack­ ing in l o g i c and s ub s t an c e tha t they in thems e lves are suf f i c ient ind i cat ion o f men tal d is o rd e r . For ins tanc e , in an swer t o th e Phar i s e e s who s a id that J e s u s gave t e s ­ t imony ab ou t h ims e l f and t h e r e f o r e h i s t e s t imony wa s no t t rue , J e su s s a i d tha t h i s t e s t imony wa s t rue b e cau s e h e knew whenc e h e came and whe r e he wa s go ing and that h i s adver s a r i e s d id no t . Could any s en s ib le p e r s on accept such argumen t a s t e s t imony , a s k s Me s l i er . 52

As f o r J e s u s ' b ehav i o ur , i t wa s s o incon s i s t en t and la cking in purp o s e that it a l s o sugge s t s tha t he wa s men­ t a l ly i l l . Many of J e s u s ' a c t ion s and exp e r i enc e s c an on ly b e exp l a ined a s b e ing due to hal l u c inat ion and "v i­ From the moun tain t o wh i ch S a t an l e d h im s ionar ine s s " . Je su s s aw "a l l the k ingdoms of th e wo r l d " . B u t , s ay s Me s ­ l i e r , " there a r e no such moun t a in s o n e a r th f r om whe r e h e c o u l d s e e even one k ingdom a l l a t onc e " . Th i s me ans that he s aw them only in h i s ima g inat ion , and " s uch h a l l u c ina­ t ion s are chara c t e r i s t ic only of the ab norma l , the v i ­ s ionary and the fana t ic 1 1 . 6 6 O n t h e who l e Me s l ier ' s argument i s no t a very con­ v inc ing one . Wha t he is s ay ing is tha t if someone shou l d a ppear on e a r th now and b e g in t o s p eak and ac t a s Chr i s t d id a s de s c r ib e d i n the Go s p e l s he wou l d n o doub t b e re­ garded a s mad . Me s l i e r repea t e d th i s po int many t ime s b u t he f a i l e d t o c on s ider t h e f a c t t h a t h i s t ime wa s n o t t h e t ime i n wh ich Chr i s t l ived or migh t have l ived . Ph i l o s ­ ophe r s o f t h e F rench Enl ight enment l acked p re c i s e ly a h i s t o r ic a l approach t o the even t s they s tu d i e d , apply ing the yard s t ick of the i r own t ime and the s o c ia l cus toms f ami l iar to them to eve ryth ing they anal y s ed . But wha t appeared t o b e in s a n i t y a n d madne s s on the e v e o f the French Revo l u t ion c ou l d very we l l c o r r e s p ond t o the a c ­ c e p t e d s tandard s o f b ehav iour a n d c o n s c iousne s s one thou­ s and e ight hundred years ago . The o p in ion tha t Je s u s Chr i s t wa s menta l l y i l l has its s uppo r t e r s in our own t ime , and they are n o t ph i l o s ­ oph e r s o r h i s t o r i an s , b u t p s y ch i a t r i s t s and p sycho l ­ og i s t s . A maj or a t t emp t t o s ub s t an t ia t e th i s concep t ion wa s made b y the p rominen t Fr ench p sych ia t r i s t A . B ine t ­ Sangl e in h i s two -vo l ume work The Insanity o f Je s u s . 6 7 And f o l l owing in h i s f o o t s t ep s and drawing heav ily on h i s f ind in g s wa s Ya . Min t s , a Sov i e t phy s i c ian , who i n 1 9 2 7 pub l i shed an a r t ic l e w i t h the t i t l e " J e s u s Chr i s t as a Typ e o f the Men ta l ly I l l " . Bo th au th o r s b a s e the ir d iag­ no s i s on J e s u s ' b ehav iou r , or i g in , phy s ical b u i l d and s t a t e o f heal th as rep o r t e d in the Go s p e l s . B in e t -Sang l e al s o u s e s ma t e r ia l r e l a t ing t o t h i s que s t ion wh ich h e f inds i n t h e wo rk s of e a r l y Chr i s t ian autho r s . H i s gen­ e ral conc l u s ion , wh i ch Min t s f u l ly a c c e p t s , is that J e s u s C hr i s t suf f ered f rom parano ia . 53

The d e f in i t ion of th i s i l lne s s g iven b y Min t s i s taken f r om the f amou s Ge rman p sych ia t r i s t Emi l Kraepe l in : " In a p e r s on suf f e r ing f rom th i s d i s e a s e the re i s a pecu1 iar p sychopa the t ic pred i sp o s i t ion owing t o wh ich h e i s in a con s t an t s t a t e o f d e l i r ium wh i l e r e t a in ing a capa c i ­ ty f o r r ea s on ing and th ink ing c o r re c t l y . 1 1 6 8 A d i s t in c t ive f ea t u r e of pa rano ia , as compared to o th e r p sychia t r ic d i ­ s e a s e s , i s tha t t h e pa t ient suf f e r ing f rom parano ia r e ­ t a in s f o r a l ong t ime f o l l owing t h e ons e t o f t h e i l l ne s s a capac i ty f o r mental wo rk ; in a l l o ther a r e a s o f a c t ivi­ ty exc e p t tha t a f f e c t ed b y the i l lne s s , h e th ink s and ac t s l o g i c al l y and on the who l e r e a s onab ly . Ther e f o r e , unl ike tho s e who suf f e r f r o m o th e r psychia t r i c d i s e a s e s , a parano iac may , f o r a p r o l onged p e r iod o r even to the end o f h i s l i f e , r ema in unr e c o gn i s e d a s a p sychopath . H i s ma n i a c a n t a k e th e f o rm of "a harmon iou s , l o g ical and b r i l l iant sy s t em b ea r ing the mark s of c r ea t iv i ty 1 1 . 6 9 The pa rano iac u su a l i y has a f ixed idea c onn e c t e d w i th h i s own p e r s on . T o h im , h i s own p er s on i s t h e centre o f a lmo s t everyth ing that happens in the wo r l d , and d e ­ p end ing on t h e typ e o f h i s man ia he e i th e r th inks he i s a n ob j ec t o f p e r s ecut ion a n d ev i l d e s ign s on the p a r t o f a l mo s t t h e who l e o f mank ind , or he c on s ider s h ims e l f t o b e t h e b ea r e r o f a great a n d l o f t y mi s s ion t h a t i s o f d e ­ c i s ive imp o r tance f o r wo r l d h i s t o ry . Acc o r d ing t o Kra e ­ p e l in , a parano iac may s u f f e r f r om p e r s e c u t ion mania , me­ gal omania , man ia of j ea l o u s y , e ro t ic i sm , nob l e b i rth and so on . As f o r J e s u s Ch r i s t , B in e t - Sang l e and Min t s cons i ­ d e r i t proved o r a t any ra t e h igh l y prob ab l e that he wa s s u f f e r ing f rom a parano iac s yndrome : he had d e l u s ions o f grandeu r , a s may b e s e en in h i s s e l f -d e i f i c a t ion and h i s b e l i e f that he , a s the Me s s iah , wa s d e s t ined t o s ave man­ k ind b y s a cr i f i c ing h ims e l f . On what b a s i s d i d they a r r ive a t such a conclu s ion ? Acc o r d ing to the Go s pe l s , J e s u s thought o f h ims e l f a s the Son o f God and t h e Me s s iah . H e cons t ant l y spoke o f h i s mi s s ion t o save t h e wo r l d . Al l p r e c ed ing h i s tory was t o h im a k in d o f p r e l u d e t o h i s appearanc e on e a r th , and a l l that wa s s a i d by the prophe t s r e l a t e d t o h im p e r s on­ a l ly . Th i s i s j u s t the k ind o f s i tuat ion that i s u sual f o r a parano iac : the who l e wo r l d is f il l ed w i t h symb o l s that have t o d o w i th h im only . I n Je s u s a n egoce�t r ic me 54

ga l oman ia wa s comb ined with a p e r s e c u t ion man ia and a f e e l ing o f doom ; he wa s a lway s s p eak ing of h i s inev i t ab l e ma r tyrdom . And th i s i s r e f l e c t e d i n h i s mo o d s and h i s neu r o p sycho l o g i c a l s ta t e wh i ch show a charac t e r i s t ic o s ­ c i l l a t ion b e twe en e l a t ion and exc i t emen t and d e s p a i r and d e j e c t ion . For in s t anc e , J e s u s wa s s e i z e d by a f e e l ing of me l ancho ly in the Garden of Geths emane . In parano i a c s s uch f i t s o f me l anch o l y no t inf r e quent l y a l te rna t e with f e e l ing s o f exu l t a t i on . The mirac l e s that sur rounded J e s u s and tho s e wh ich J e s u s h ims e l f p e r f o rmed are r e garded a s ha l luc inat ions by B ine t - Sang l e and Mint s . When J e s u s wa s b ap t i s e d in the r ive r Jo rdan , a c c o r d ing t o the Go s pe l s , "the heavens were op ened " and " th e Sp i r i t o f God " appeared i n the f o rm o f a dove , and the re wa s "a vo i c e f r om heaven" . Al l th i s wa s a r e s u l t of v i sual and aud i to ry h a l luc ina t ions . Je s u s ' re l a t ions w i th Satan dur ing h i s f o r ty-day s tay in the d e ­ s e r t (where Je s u s wa s t e mp t e d b y Sa tan , e t c . ) w e r e a l s o t h e o u t c ome of h a l l u c inat ions . T h e inten s i ty o f t h e hal ­ luc ina t ion s wa s a l s o due t o the s t a t e o f exhaus t i on J e s u s wa s i n a f t e r h i s l ong fa s t . There are many event s and phenomena d e s c r ib e d in the Go s p e l s wh i ch can be a t t r ib u t e d to ha l luc ina t i on s , and B i ne t - Sang l e and Min t s read i l y ref e r to them in support o f the i r hypo th e s i s . I t shou ld b e no t e d , howeve r , that a c c o rd ing t o the f ind ings o f p sych ia t ry hal lu c inat ion is not a charac t e r i s t i c s ymp t om o f p arano ia . When def ining the i l lne s s s ome s p e c ia l i s t s empha s i s e that it is re l a t e d t o "de l i r ium wi thou t hal l u c inat ion s " o r t h a t i t i s "us u ­ a l l y una c c ompan i ed b y ha l lu c inat ions " . S o , here i s a weak po int in the c l in i c a l d e s c r ip t ion of Je s u s ' " i l l ne s s " a s p re s en t e d b y B ine t - Sang l e and Mint s . In the o p inion of the s e two au thor s , the b ehav iour o f Je su s as d e s c r ib e d in the Go s pe l s corre spond s pre c i s e­ ly t o the c l a s s ic s ympt oms o f parano ia . So p r e c i s e l y , s ays Mint s , tha t only mo dern p sych iat r i s t s and neuropa­ t ho l og i s t s c ou l d have comp o s ed such a p icture . The conc l u s ion i s thus mad e that the Evange l i s t s drew the p o r t ra i t o f J e s u s f r om na ture s ince they c ou l d no t have b een such qual i f ied p sych i a t r i s t s a s t o b e ab l e t o de s c r ib e the i l l ne s s s o accura t e l y . SS

To b a ck up the i r hypo the s i s ab out Je su s ' ment a l de­ f ic iency B ine t- Sangl e and Min t s refer t o h i s weak cons t i ­ t u t ion . Judg ing f rom the image o f Je s u s i n icons and cru­ c if ixe s J e s u s wa s phy s ica l ly weak , wh ich i s evidence o f h i s poor heal th . Ac cord ing t o the Go s pe l s he c ou l d hard l y carry t h e c r o s s t o Go l go t ha . When he wa s exc i t ed o r emo ­ t ional l y d i s t u rb e d he s we a t e d profu s e l y s o tha t drop s of b l o o d f e l l f rom h im t o the gr ound . H i s p o o r heal th wa s al s o due t o h e r e d i ty . He l ived a l l h i s l if e in Gal i l ee whe r e the inhab i tant s we re mo s t ly engaged in wine -making ; the Ga l il ean s , incl u d ing J e s u s ' parent s , prob ab ly drank much w ine . The r e a r e gr ounds f o r th ink ing tha t Je s u s s u f ­ f er e d f rom a l c oho l i sm inhe r it e d f rom h i s parent s . Both the s e argumen t s canno t o f c ou r s e b e t aken s e ­ r io u s l y . Al l p o r t ra i t s o f Je s u s wer e drawn a f t er h i s death , and none o f them can l a y any c l a im t o authent i c i ­ ty . A s i s n o t e d in one o f t h e f o l l owing chap t e r s , in the centur i e s -o l d Chr i s t ian t rad i t ion there are two d i f f e rent conce p t ions o f J e su s ' c on s t i tu t ion : a c c ord ing to one c on­ c e p t ion J e s u s wa s phys i c a l l y weak and s i ckly , and accord­ ing t o the o th e r , he had a s tr ong , a th l e t i c b u i l d a s may b e expe c t e d f r om s ome one who i s b oth man and Go d . As f o r a l c oho l i sm , o n e can e qua l ly a t t r ib u t e t h a t t o t h e inhab i ­ t ant s o f any c ountry where wine -mak ing i s p ra c t i s e d . B ine t - S�ng l e and Min t s a l s o th ink i t p r ob ab l e that Jesus wa s impo tent , and th i s , in the i r v i ew , shows that Je s u s wa s phy s i ca l ly and the r e f ore a l s o men t a l l y de f i ­ c ient . They f ind evi dence o f th i s no t onl y in the f a c t tha t the Go spe l s make no men t ion o f J e s u s ' s exua l i t y b u t a l s o i n t h a t Je s u s rema ined a b ache l o r a l l h i s l i f e . H e l ived with h i s p aren t s a t l e a s t t i l l he wa s t h i r ty y e a r s o l d a n d h i s parent s apparen t l y d id no t t r y t o f ind a w i f e f o r h im . Th i s wou l d b e a grave s in in the eye s o f Juda i c laws . L ike Me s l ie r , B inet - Sang l e and Min t s a l s o p o int t o the f a c t tha t Jefi u s ' cont emp o ra r i e s s u s p e c t e d h im o f in­ s a n i t y . Thu s , a c c o r d ing to Mark ' s Go s pe l : "And when h i s f r iends heard o f i t [ the gath e r in g o f c r owd s o f p e op l e a round J e s u s ] , they went· ou t t o l ay h o l d o n h im : f o r they s a i d , He i s b e s ide h ims e l f " ( 3 : 2 1 ) . And Min t s u s e s a s the ep igraph for h i s art i c l e t h i s l ine f r om John ' s Go s pe l : "And many o f them s a id , He hath a devi l , and i s mad . . . " 56

( 1 0 : 2 0 ) . In the o p in ion of B in e t - Sang l � and Mint s , J e sus ' cont emp o ra r i e s were qu i t e j u s t if i ed in th ink ing J e s u s wa s mad . And if a p er s on shou l d now appear on earth and b e ­ to a p sy­ have a s J e s u s d id , he "woul d b e handed over 11 . 7 0 ch ia t r i s t and pu t in a p sych i a t r i c ward •



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B ine t - Sangl e and Min t s th ink that n o t only Je su s b u t n e a r l y a l l f ounders o f r e l i g i o n s , proph e t s and l eader s o f r e l i g i o u s movement s are paran o i a c s . They inc l ude Buddha , Zarathu s t r a , Mohamme d , Kr i shna and so on . From th i s p o int o f v i ew the h i s t ory o f r e l ig ion i s the h i s t o ry o f the s e­ du c t i on o f m i l l ion s o f heal thy p e o p l e by i n s ane ind ivid­ ua l s , of the p s yc h ia t r i c inf e c t ion o f the b road ma s s e s by parano iac s . The r e is hard l y any need t o r e f u t e th i s "crazy" idea ab out the h i s t o ry o f r e l ig ions . A s regards the p e r s ona l i ty o f J e s u s , the superf i c ial ity and ground­ l e s s ne s s of the "psych i a t r i c " theory i s qu i t e obv iou s . One o f the Proph e t s of Juda i sm ( a c c ord ing t o Leo Baech , Eduard Meyer , and Joe l Carmicha e l ) We have l ong b e en a c c u s tomed t o th ink ing , and there­ f o re c on s id e r i t true , that Chr i s t ian i t y is opp o s ed t o Juda i sm and J e s u s i s oppo s ed t o a l l t h e O l d T e s t amen t prophe t s . True , th e s e proph e t s s e em t o have pred i c t ed the appearance of Chr i s t , b u t they regard e d i t a s a c om­ p l e t e l y new and ext raord inary event . Among s ch o l ar s , however , th e r e i s an o p ini on a c c o rd ing t o wh ich Je s u s i s on l y one o f a l ong l ine o f Jewi sh prophe t s . In 1 9 6 6 the We s t Ge rman maga z ine Spiege l pub l i shed a s e l e c t ion o f c ommen t s and r emark s by Jew i s h re l ig io u s and l i t e rary f i gure s who th ink tha t Je s u s b e l on g s to Juda­ i sm . 7 1 The we l l -known theore t i c ian o f Neo-Ha s id i s m Mar­ t in Bub e r s ay s that s ince h i s you th he ha s regarded J e s u s a s h i s grea t and r e s p e c t e d b r o the r . Al l t h e o th e r autho r s quo ted i n the Spiege l ar t ic l e say t h e same ab out Je su s who is usual l y though t t o be the f ounder o f Chr i s ­ t ian i t y . For examp l e , th i s i s wha t Leo Baech wr it e s : "Je s u s wa s a J e w i n every f ea ture o f h i s cha�ac t e r ; s u c h a man a s he c o u l d only grow up on Jewish s o i l , only there and nowh e re e l s e . J e s u s wa s t ruly Jewish ; h i s a s p i ra t ions and a c t ion s , thou gh t s and f e e l in g s , s ay in g s and s i l ence , a l l bear s the imp r in t o f Jewishne s � of Jewish idea l i sm , 57

of a l l that i s b e s t in t h e Jews then and now , and in tho s e day s onl y in the Jews . He wa s a Jew l iving among Jews . No o th e r p e o p l e c o u l d have produ c e d such a man , among no o t h e r p e o p l e cou l d he have f ound h i s d i s ­ c ip l e s . 1 1 7 2 S t r ipped of the nat ional i s t ic s en t iment s that p e rvade th i s p a s s ag e , wha t i t s a y s i s that J e s u s wa s and rema ined a Jew and a Judai s t . From th i s p o in t of v iew Je s u s wa s no t even the l a s t o f the prophe t s o f Juda i sm . The wr i t e r Scho l om Ben -Cho ­ r in regard s Je su s a s the f o r e runne r of t h e f ounde r s and i d e o l o g i s t s of Ha s id i sm , a r e l ig ious movement of the Jews "Je s u s ' wh i ch eme rged in th e 1 7 th c entury in Gal i c i a . p l ac e , " he wr i t e s , " i s among tho s e who c a l l ed f o r a revo l u t ion o f the heart and i s on the s ide of Rabb i I s ­ r a e l Baa l - Shem and o th e r g r e a t l ea d e r s of Ha s id i sm . " Je ­ s u s wa s in the s ame p o s i t ion a s the p r o d igal s on in the famou s pa rab l e h e t o l d . "He was h ims e l f a p rod igal son who a f t e r 2 0 0 0 yea r s of wande r ing in a l ien lands r e t u rned to his f a t h e r ' s home and t o h i s J ewi sh p e o p l e , and old I s r a e l c a l l s h im . 1 1 7 3 In wha t role d id h e o r shou l d h e r e turn " t o h i s Jewi sh p e o pl e " ? No t , of cou r s e , a s Go d o r even the Me s s iah , b u t s imp l y a s a "gre a t a n d r e s p e c t e d b r o ther " . •





Mod e rn ideo l o g i s t s of Juda i sm s epara t e the "Jewi sh Chr i s t " f r om Chr i s t ian i t y . " Our Chr i s t , " wr i t e s Cons t an­ t in Brunner , "ha s a s l i t t l e in c ommon with the Chr i s t of o f f ic ia l Chr i s t ianity as the cons t e l l a t ion of Gr e a t Bear w i t h the an imal of the s ame name . " Hence the demand : " G ive u s b ack o u r J e s u s ! 1 1 7 4 Prac t ic a l l y s peaking , o f c ou r s e , i t i s no t a mat te r of " tear in g " J e s u s away f r om Chr i s t iani t y , b u t of b r ing­ It ing the two r e l ig ions t oge ther as much as po s s ib l e . wa s s t i l l i n the l a s t c e ntury when the Jew i s h pub l ic i s t C l aude Mont e f iore ca l l e d f o r a c oming together o f Jud a i sm and Chr i s t ian i ty and " r e c onc i l i a t ion wi th the Go s p e l s " . The New Te s t amen t , a t any r a t e the Go spe l s , he s a i d , shou l d b e regarded a s p a r t o f Juda i sm , and Chr i s t a s a p roph e t in I s ra e l . In the Un i te d S ta t e s there i s an in­ s t i tu t e who s e a im is t o b r ing Juda i sm and Chr i s t ian i t y In 1 9 4 7 a Soc ie t y f o r Judeo -Chr i s t ian c l o s e r t o ge the r . Fr iend ship wa s s e t up in the Swi s s c i t y o f S e l i sb e r g . I t s f ounde r , Ju l e s I s s a c , c onduc t s an a c t ive camp a i gn t o 58

p romo t e the idea o f the un i ty o f Juda i s m and Chr i s t ia n i t y b a s e d o n the t he s i s t h a t Je s u s was o n e o f t h e p rophe t s o f Juda i sm . A c omprehens ive d i s c u s s ion o f th i s idea i s f ound in the three-vo l ume work The Origins of Christiani ty b y the German h i s t or ian Edua rd Meye r . 7 5 Le t u s examin e h i s b a ­ s ic idea s concerning t h e qu e s t ion under c on s i d e r a t ion . J e s u s ' r e l ig ious out look , says Meyer , do e s n o t go b eyond the f ramework of the views h e l d b y the Pha r i s e e s o f h i s t ime . The mo s t imp o rt an t e l ement i n i t i s a dual ­ i s t ic conc e p t ion o f a k ingdom o f God w i th h i s l e g ion s o f ang e l s and a k ingdom o f Sa tan wi th h i s d emon s . S a t an and the d emon s are c on s t an t ly engaged in int r i gue s aga in s t p e o pl e : they ente r the i r b o d ie s , inf l i c t d i s ea s e s o n them and reve a l the ir p re s enc e in the " p o s s e s s ed " b y speak ing l oudly through t h e i r mou th s . Bo th the Phar i s e e s and Je ­ s u s b e l ieved in an af t e rl i f e and the po s thumo u s reward o f p e o p l e w i th heavenl y b l i s s o r h el l i sh t o rmen t s . And b o th b e l ieved in the inev i t ab i l i t y o f the r e s urre c t ion o f the dead and Judgement Day . J e s u s u s ua l ly re f e rred to O l d Te s t ament proph e s i e s in h i s s ermons . Fo r examp l e , h e c i t ed p a s s a g� s f rom the Exodu s in supp o r t of h i s doc t r ine on the r e s u rre c t ion of the dead . He ins i s t e d tha t the "who l e l aw" mu s t be f ul f i l l e d . Ac cord ing t o Meyer , Je s u s ' o u t l ook wa s r o o t e d in Juda i s m and d id no t go b eyond i t . Th i s i s a l s o supp o r t e d b y the way in wh i ch the Go s p e l s de s c r ib e h i s b ehav iou r , h i s r e l a t ions w i th tho s e around h im , and the k ind o f ins t ru c t ion s he gave the apo s t l e s . L ike the O l d T e s t ame n t p rophe t s , s a y s Meye r , J e s u s cons idered t h e pagans onl y a s a n add i t ion t o t h e Jud a i c wo rl d . The p agan s c o u l d r e c e ive the i r share o f b l i s s on l y i f they c ame t o b e l i eve in Juda i sm , in f a c t , i f they wer e c onve r t e d �o i t . J e s u s h ims e l f avo ided c oming into c o n t ac t no t only with p agan s but a l s o wi th the S ama r i t an s . When a Syrapho e n i c ian woman a p p e a l e d t o h im t o cure her daugh t e r he answered : "Le t the chi l d ren f i r s t b e f i l le d : f o r i t i s no t mee t t o t ake the ch i l dren ' s b r ead , and t o c a s t i t un to the d o g s " (Mark 7 : 2 7 ) . Th i s s ta t ement i s qu i t e unamb iguou s : Jews a r e the ch i l dren o f God , wh i l e the r e s t o f t h e p e o p l e a r e d o g s . S ince J e s u s though t o f h i s mi s s ion a s a un ive r s a l one , he h a d n o doub t tha t in the end a l l p e op l e s , no t j u s t the Jews , wou l d gather 59

around h im . True , the Go s p e l s do no t say tha t J e s u s In f a c t he p r eached or int ended t o p r e ach to t h e pagan s . t o l d h i s apo s t l e s : " Go no t into the way of the Gent i l e s , and into any c i t y o f the Samar i t an s ent e r ye n o t : But go ra ther t o the l o s t sheep o f the hou s e o f I s ra e l " (Ma t thew 1 0 : 5 -6 ) . The apo s t l e s v i o l a t e d th i s inj unc t ion ; real i s ­ ing tha t the i r pre ach ings had n o succe s s among the Jews , they concent r a t e d the ir e f f o r t on mis s ionary work among o ther p e o p l e s . But there wa s no th ing a t a l l in Je s u s ' t e a ch ing s tha t woul d s anc t ion su ch a s t ep . J e s u s ' v iews and the v i ews o f the Phar i s e e s co inc id ­ ed only on the mat t e r o f the dogma s of the f a i th , s ays Meye r . When i t c ame t o the que s t ion of wha t c on s t i t u t e d " the inne r e s s enc e o f the l aw a n d man ' s r e l a t ion t o Go d b a s e d on i t " , J e s u s and the Phar i s e e s s t ood opp o s e d t o one anp the r . However , i t wa s no t a que s t i on 0 £ a c c e p t ­ anc e or r e j e c t i on o f " the l aw " , b u t o n l y o f i t s mo re o r l e s s p ro f ound i n t e r p re t a t ion . Meyer ' s i d e a s are f u r t he r d e ve l op e d and l a r g e l y sup­ ported b y fresh argument s in the b ook The Death of Jesus by · the US autho r J . Carm ichae l . The b o ok appeared in 1 9 6 3 and wa s s oon af t erwa r d s t ran s l a t ed in t o s everal l anguage s . 7 6 Carmicha e l c a l l s a t t en t ion t o the f a c t that i n al l the New T e s t amen t b ook s , in p a r t icu l a r the Ac t s o f t h e Apo s t l e s , the f o l l ower s o f J e s u s p e r s i s t en t l y cal l e d thems e l ve s Jews . T h e s c ene whe r e the apo s t l e Paul c l a sh ­ ed w i t h t h e Chr is t ians o f Jeru s a l em i s s ignif i c an t in th i s r e s p ec t . They s a id to Paul : " Thou s s e e s t , b r o ther , how many thou s and s o f Jews there are wh i ch b e l ieve ; and th ey are al l z e a l ou s of the l aw . " And they b egan to re ­ p roach h im f o r t e l l ing t h e Jews l iv ing among pagan s that they ough t no t t o c ircumc i s e their ch i l dr en , " ne i ther t o wa lk af t e r the c u s t om s " (the Ac t s 2 2 : 2 0-2 1 ) . The d i s pu t e on th i s sub j ec t b ec ame ra ther v i o l ent . Wha t i s important f o r u s t o n o t e h e r e i s t h a t t h e Chr i s t ians rebuked Paul f o r ignoring the l aws o f Juda i sm and Paul had to d e f end h i s s t and . The gene ra t ion tha t wa s t augh t b y J e s u s h ims e l f wa s even mo re s t rongly c onv inc ed tha t i t had t ie s wi th Jud a i s m and i t s l aws . •





The s t rugg l e b e tween the two camp s in p r im i t ive Chr i s t ian i ty , b e tween tho s e who t r ied to re t a in the i r 60

l ink s w i th Juda i sm ( the P e t r in i s t s ) and tho s e who b o l dly b roke them ( the Pau l in i s t s ) i s we l l known . B u t Carmicha­ el is qu i t e r i gh t in s t re s s ing that th i s shows the c om­ p l e t e l y Jud a i c charac t e r o f the ear l ie s t pha s e o f Chr i s ­ t ian i ty and the ma tching chara c t e r o f J e su s ' s ermons . Carmicha e l d raws a s im i l a r conc l u s ion r egard ing the qu e s t i on of the ob s e rvance of Jud a i c r i t e s . He r e f e r s t o Chap ter 1 1 o f the Ac t s whe r e P e t e r s a id p r o u d l y t h a t "no thing c ommon o r unc l ean ha th a t any t ime en t e re d int o my mou t h " ( 1 1 : 8 ) . Th i s i s c l ea r l y a r e f e rence t o t h e Ju­ da ic l aws wh ict f o rb a d e Jews to e a t c e r t a in f o o d s . Bu t further on in the chap t e r i t wa s vague l y h in t e d that the b an s regard ing food we r e not imp o r t an t . But th i s h a s to do w i th a l a t e r p e r iod o f the deve l opmen t o f Chr i s t ian i t y . The r e i s no que s t ion o f su ch l ib e ra l i sm in the e a r l i e s t pha s e o f th i s d eve l o pmen t . Howeve r , Carmi cha e l th ink s tha t Je s u s wa s c r i t i c a l o f the c e remon ial i sm o f the 6 1 3 Juda ic l aws on the eve ry­ In h i s op in ion , J e s u s d id no t day b ehav iou r of p e o p l e . con s i d e r the ob s e rvanc e o f the s e l aws t o b e n ec e s s a ry or suf f ic ient for en t e r ing the k ingdom of heaven . In th i s c onne c t ion o n e may r e ca l l s ome o f J e su s ' s ay ings , f o r examp l e , that the S ab b a th i s mad e f o r man and no t man f o r t h e Sabbath , tha t wh a t def i l e s a man i s wha t n o t ent e r s h i s mouth b u t wha t c ome s o u t o f t h e mou th , and s o on . Je su s d i f f e r e d f r om the Phar i s e e s ab ove a l l in h i s l ib ­ eral a t t i tude t o t h e ob s ervanc e o f t h e e l ab o r a t e Jud a i c r i t e s and r i t ua l s . In supp o r t of h i s the s i s tha t J e su s ' s ermons are o f a pure l y Ju daic cha ra c t e r Carmich a e l p o in t s to the reac­ I t i s we l l known t ion o f the Roman s t o these s e rmon s . that the Roman autho r i t i e s we r e on the who l e r a ther t o l ­ e r ant i n the ir a t t i tude t o re l ig io u s fa i t h s other than the i r own and d id no t p e r s ecu t e t he f o l l owe r s of a l ien f a i ths . They wer e concerned no t s o much with r e l ig iou s as w i t h p o l i t ic a l ma t t e r s and movemen t s . Why , then , shou l d they cons ider i t ne c e s s ary t o supp r e s s J e s u s if he we re on ly the f ounder o f a new r e l ig ion ? Obv iou s ly , says Carmichae l , b e c au s e Jesus rep r e s en t e d a s o c i al , no t re­ l ig io u s , dange r t o them . And J e s u s c o u l d r e p r e s ent a s o c i a l danger t o the Ro ­ man author i t ie s only b e c au s e he adhered t o Juda i sm , r e 61

t a in ing h i s t ie s w i th the Jew i sh p e o p l e and a c t ing in s ome capac i ty a s th e ir re l i g i o u s and po l it ical l eader . Carmichae l r e gard s J e s u s a s a p rophet in the o l d s en s e , one who wa s ins p i r e d by God and who c a l l e d on the p e o p l e to f o l l ow the way o f G o d a n d t h u s b e prepared f o r the k ingdom o f h eaven . Meanwh i l e , Chr i s t in s ome way s s e par­ a t e d h ims e l f f r om the rul ing e l i t e w i t h in Juda ism . He t r i e d to r e l y on the amme haare z , or p e o p l e who we re un­ In o ther wo rd s , Chr i s t wa s the educa t e d and ignorant . l eader o f a d emoc ra t ic moveme n t o f the Jew i sh ma s s e s and he c a l l e d on th em to f o l l ow h im as a p r o phe t in the s ame l ine o f p r o phe t s o f t h e O l d Te s t amen t who wer e known t o them a t l ea s t b y name . Carmicha e l conclude s , th erefore , tha t J e s u s came t o e a r t h onl y f o r t h e s ake o f I srae l ; i n h i s t ime i t c o u l d no t have b ee n o therwi s e . I t i s on ly a f t e r h i s d e a th , a s Chr i s t ian i t y deve l op e d f urther , tha t t h e movement l o s t i t s o r i g ina l chara c t e r and i t s purely Juda i c f e a tu r e s w e r e s omewh a t a l t e r e d f or r e a s o n s o f c r e e d . In s t a t in g h i s ca s e Carm i cha e l i s no t f r e e from b ia s i n h i s i n t e rp r e t a t ion and s e l e c t ion o f ma t e r ial . It is t rue t ha t o n the who l e a Juda i c t endency p redominat e d in the text o f the Go s p e l s . J e s u s ' teach ing s we re a imed no t aga in s t Juda i sm , b u t aga ins t the Phar i s e e s and s c r ib e s who , a c c o r d ing t o the Go s p e l s , m i s i nterpre t e d the Mo s a i c law . Je su s wan t e d t o ensure tha t th i s l a w wa s mo re s tr i c t l y ob s erved . But at the s ame t ime there are many ind i c a t i o n s that Je s u s opp o s e d h i s own t each ing s to tho s e o f t h e O l d T e s t amen t . "Ye have heard that i t wa s s a i d b y them o f o l d t ime " , J e su s to l d h i s d i s c ip l e s , c i t ing many of the Mo s a i c commandment s and then s e t t ing aga in s t them h i s own p re c e p t s b e g inn ing w i th t h e phra s e : "But I s ay un t o you " For examp l e , i t wa s s a i d tha t " Thou s ha l t not k i l l " , but J e s u s s a i d tha t one should no t even be angry with o th e r s . I t wa s s a i d tha t " Thou sha l t n o t c ommi t adu l t ery" , b u t J e s u s s a i d whoever " looketh on a woman t o l u s t af t e r her hath commi t t e d adu l t e ry with he r a l r e ady The O l d Te s t ament p e rmi t te d d ivorc e , b u t " J e su s , r e f e r r ing to th i s , in e f f e c t c ondemned d ivo rce . He a l s o re j e c t e d such an imp o r tant O l d Te s tament inj unc ­ t ion a s " a n e y e f o r a n eye , and a t o o t h f o r a t o o th " ; in p l ac e of t h i s c rue l and c l e ar -c u t in s t ru c t i on J e s u s p reached nonr e s i s t ance t o e v i l : "who s o ever sha l l s m i t e •

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thee on thy r ight cheek , turn t o h im the o th e r a l s o " . Her e i t i s obv i ou s that J e s u s coun t e rpo s e d h i s own t e ach­ ings t o the Juda i sm of the O l d T e s t amen t . Carmichae l take s no no t ic e o f th i s s id e o f the i s sue . I t can a lway s b e argued , o f c ou r s e , tha t pa s sage s wh i ch do no t c o r r e s pond t o one or ano the r scheme , in th i s c a s e the s cheme p u t f o rward by Carmicha e l , a r e o f a l a t e r o r ig in and wer e introduced int o the t e x t a f t e r Chr i s t ian­ ity wa s s epara t e d f rom Juda i sm . Bu t such an argument nee d s to be p rove d . Carmichae l o f f e r s no such p r o o f wh i l e ma int a in ing a s il ence on mat e r ial s wh i ch contrad i c t o r d o no t supp o r t h i s own the s i s . Carmichae l ' s a s s er t ion that the Roman autho r i t ie s wou l d p e r s e c u t e Chr i s t only f o r s o c ial , no t r e l ig ious , reas ons i s a l s o no t very c onvinc ing . Accord ing t o the Go s p e l s , Pont iu s P i l a t e wa s aga i n s t pu t t in g J e s u s to d e a th and agreed to it only under the p r e s sure of the c r owd inc i t e d by the e l de r s ; they were the one s who at­ t ached the u tmo s t s i gn i f i canc e t o the r e l i g io u s a s p e c t of the mat t er . On the o th e r hand , th e s o c i a l and po l i t ic al dang e r t o the Roman Emp ire repre s ent e d b y Je s u s wou l d on l y increa s e , and no t d e c r e a s e , i f t h e p o l i t i c a l demands shou l d be b acked by the id e o l o g i c a l pr inc ip l e s o f the new r e l i g i on or at l ea s t o f the r e f o rmi s t t rend s in the o l d re l ig ion . Carmichae l a l s o d i smi s s e s without suf f ic ient grounds Je su s ' c l a im t o the role of the Me s s iah . We can f ind many p a s s a g e s in the Go spe l s in wh ich J e s u s s poke r a ther exp l i c i t l y about his Me s s ianic mi s s ion . Th i s in i t s e l f woul d no t pu t J e s u s o u t s ide t h e b oundar ie s o f the Juda i c r e l ig ion . S o , a n acknowledgement o f the Me s s ianic f e a ­ t ur e s o f Je sus ' ima ge b y Carmichael wou l d n o t d e t r a c t f rom h i s gene r a l t h e s i s . Neve r t he l e s s , i t s e ems c l ear that the t rad i t ional Evang e l i c a l image of J e su s Chr i s t d o e s no t c o r r e spond to the c oncep t ion o f h im a s a Jud a i c rabb i and prophe t who s e mi s s ion i n t h e wo r l d wa s t o f u l f i l t h e pred i c t ions o f the Ol d T e s tament p rophe t s and t o s trengthen the re l ig i ou s p r i nc ip l e s of Juda i sm wh ich h a d by then l o s t s ome o f the ir f o rmer v i t al i t y .

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Per s on i f ied Heavenly Body (accord ing t o A . N i emoyews k i , A . Drews and o ther s ) Ac cord ing t o the Chr i s t ian t rad i t ion J e s u s wa s b orn on Decemb e r 2 5 . In o ther anc ient re l igions the savior go d s --Tarnrnu z , Adon is and Mi thra s --wer e a l s o b orn on De ­ c e mb e r 2 5 . A c o inc idence ? And why p re c i s e l y Dec emb e r 2 5 ? Can i t ma rk s ome imp o r t ant event tha t o c curred in nat ure o r s ome imp o r t ant s o c i a l event ? Y e s , an imp o rtant event o ccurred on tha t day , and i t cont inue s t o take p l ac e every year . From ab out Decemb e r 2 5 t h e d a y s tar t s g e t t ing l onger . I t i s t h a b e g inn ing of the wint e r s o l s t ic e . In o th e r words , on the n i gh t o f D e ­ cemb e r 2 4 the s un i s "bo rn" a s i t pa s s e s the l owe s t me r i ­ d ian in the con s t e l l a t ion Cap r i corn . And the sun i s the b en e f a c t o r o f mank ind , i t s s av i o r f rom win ter c o l d and a l l adve r s i t ie s c onne c t e d w i t h i t , the g iver of warmth and o f a l l growing p l an t s , b read gra in , grape and f ru i t , the p r o t e c t o r and guard ian o f a l l l iv ing th ing s . Cou l d no t t h e anc ient p e op l e s have re gard e d t h e s un a s a savior god , and the s avior g o d s whom they repr e s en t e d in human image a s the s un ? Perhap s th i s i s true of the s avior Je­ sus ? Th i s p o s s ib i l i ty i s sugge s ted by the Go s p e l s to ry ab out the b ir t h of J e s u s . The s tory can b e interpre t e d a c c ord ing t o the p o s i t ion o f the s t a r s on D e c emb e r 2 5 i n the 7 5 4 th year s ince the f ounda t ion o f the c i ty o f Rome , that i s , on the n i gh t Je s u s Chr i s t , a c c ord ing t o Chr i s ­ t ian t rad i t ion , wa s b orn . At th i s t ime o f the year the cons t e l l a t ion Virgo sh ine s b r igh t ly i n the e a s t e rn p a r t o f the hor i zon . Per­ hap s th i s is the " v i r g in " who gave b ir th t o the h o l y in­ f an t ? Not f a r away in the cons t e l l a t ion Cancer in the upper me r i d ian sh ine s the Beeh ive- - i s th i s the manger in wh i ch the infant wa s b o rn ? In the we s t e rn ho r i z on is the Ar i e s (ram) , and that is the infant h imse l f ; f o r is n o t Je s u s rep e a t e d ly r e f erred t o a s the " l amb " in t h e New Te s t amen t ? Nearby i s the Mi lky Way--the Shepher d s --are t he s e no t the shephe r d s who , h av ing l earne d of the b ir th of the ho l y infan t , mad e a p il g r image in o r d e r t o wor s h i p h im ? The r e we re a l so ev i l f o r c e s wh ich s o ught t o d e s t roy the newly b orn god : b e low the hor i zon , d ire c t ly a t the f o o t o f the cons t e l l a t ion V irgo l urk s the cons t e l l a t i on 64

S e rpens ; th i s i s King He r o d . Perhap s the s t ory o f the b i r th o f Chr i s t i s a s ymb o l ic int e rp r e t a t ion o f the s ta r s i n t h e sky on a wint e r n i gh t i n P a l e s t ine ? In tha t c a s e , the who l e b io graphy o f Je s u s , and no t j u s t h i s b ir th , can b e s e e n in a new l ight . That i s , one shoul d s e ek out the a s t r a l e qu ivalent o f every e p i sode conne c t ed with the l if e o f Je s u s a s told in the Go s p e l s . An d that , a s i t turns ou t , i s no t a ve ry d i f f i cu l t th ing to do . Le t u s b e g in w i th the Annunc i a t ion . The archang e l Gab r i e l appeared t o the Virg in Mary and t o l d her tha t s h e woul d g ive b ir t h t o the S o n o f God . Th i s wa s t h e moment of the Inunacu l a t e Concep t i on . And i f the c h i l d wa s b o rn on D e c emb e r 2 5 , the d a t e o f conce p t i on shou l d b e March 2 5 . So, The pre gnancy l a s t e d the u s ua l p e r iod of n ine mon th s . wha t t o ok p l ac e in t h e sky o n March 2 5 ? On th i s n ight the S un i n the cour s e o f i t s annual "voya g e " through the cons t e l l a t ions o f the zodiac ent e r s i n t o t h e c on s t e l l a t ion Virgo . I f w e iden t i f y t h e Sun w i th the Ho l y Sp i r i t o r wi th the archange l Gab r i e l , i t s e n t e r ­ i n g into V i rgo c a n s e rve a s a " c e l e s t ia l " b a s i c f o r t h e s t ory o f the immacu l a t e concep t i on o f the inf ant J e s u s . If we f o l l ow the s t ory o f J e s u s ' b ir th a s t o l d in Luke ' s Go s pe l we wi l l f ind tha t the para l l e l i s s t il l c l o s e r and mo re s t r ik ing . The re i t i s s a i d : " in the to a s ix th month the ange l Gab r ie l wa s s ent f r om God virg in" ( 1 : 2 6 - 3 7 ) . Why the " s ix th month " ? In the o p in­ ion of s ome s ch o l ar s , the "ho u s e " of Gab r i e l , as anc ient In a s t r o l o g e r s s aw i t , was in the cons t e l l a t ion P i s ce s . order t o c ome in t o th e cons t e l l a t ion Vi rgo , the a r chang e l h a d t o t r ave l hal fway a c ro s s t h e z o d iacal c ir c l e , o r acro s s s ix c on s t e l l a t ions , and the S u n i s known t o r ema in So the Sun ( o r with each cons t e l l a t ion f o r one month . Gab r ie l who s ymb o l i s e d i t ) h a d t o t rave l s ix mont h s b e ­ fore i t re ached Virgo . •



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And whe r e wa s J o s eph , Mary ' s husb and ? He , t o o , h a s h i s p l a c e i n t h e sky . Nex t t o V i rgo i s t h e cons t e l l a t ion Bo o t e s . It cons tant l y a c compan i e s Virgo , but i t s r e l a ­ t i on t o t h e l at ter i s an ind i re c t one . Boo te s i s no t p a r t o f the zod iacal c ir c l e and dur ing the wande r ing s o f the s t ar s he rema in s a n ou t s ide r , though a b enevo l en t one. 65

Th i s c o r r e sponds to the r o l e wh ich the Go s pe l s a s s ign Jo s eph , who in r e a l i t y wa s not the f athe r o f Je s u s . Al l tha t has b een s a id s o far c o r r e s p onds t o the s t o ry o f the Annun c i a t i on and the b ir th o f Je s u s a s t o l d i n Luke ' s Go s pe l . We ge t a d i f f erent p ic ture i f we t r y t o int e rp r e t a s t ronomi cal l y t h e same even t s a s d e s c r ib e d i n Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l . B u t h e r e , t o o , we c a n e s t ab l i sh an a s t ral paral l e l . We only need t o a s sume tha t the Sun i s s ymb o l i s ed no t by the Ho l y Sp i r i t o r t h e ar chang e l Gab ­ Such an inte r p r e t a t ion i s i n r i e l , b u t b y J e s u s h ims e l f . f a c t c l o s e r i n s p i r i t t o the even t s de s c r ib e d , f o r i n th i s ca s e i t i s t h e Sun i t s e l f tha t i s b orn . In th i s in­ terpre t a t ion Gab r i e l p l ay s the r o l e of the Moon . And i f we l ook a t the s t o ry of the b i r th of Chr i s t a s t o l d i n the Book o f Reve l a t ion , the a s t r a l para l l e l wou l d s e em e sp e c ia l l y conv inc ing . The r e l evant p a s s age is a s f o l l ows : "And the r e appeared a great wonder in heaven ; a woman c l o thed w i t h the sun , and the mo on under h e r f e e t , and upon her head a c rown of twe lve s ta r s : And she b e ing w i th ch i l d c r ied , t rava i l ing in b i rth , and p a ined to b e d e l ive r e d . And there appeared ano ther wonder in he aven ; and b eho l d a great r e d dragon . . . and the dragon s t ood b e f o r e the woman wh ich wa s ready t o b e d e l iver e d , f o r t o devour h e r ch i l d a s s oon a s i t wa s b o rn. And she b r ou gh t f o r th a man ch i l d , who wa s to rule a l l na t i on s with a r o d o f i r on . . . . And the great dragon wa s ca s t ou t , that o l d s erpen t . . . . And t o the woman we re ( 1 2 : 1 -5 , 9 , 1 4 ) . Of g iven two wing s o f great e a g l e . . " cou r s e , the Reve l a t ion do e s no t con t a in a c l e ar acc oun t of the l if e o f J e s u s Chr i s t , and the ch i l d who s e b i r th i s d e s c r ib e d i n the pas sage j u s t quo t e d i s no t ment ione d b y name . But obviou s l y we a r e t o under s tand tha t i t wa s J e ­ sus . The p a s sage can b e r e a d i l y d e c iphe r e d w i th the h e l p o f the po s i t ion o f t h e s t a r s . The "woman c l othed w i t h t h e s un " i s obv iou s l y the cons t e l l at ion V i rgo ; she i s g iv ing b irth t o a ch i l d . Even the two w ing s g iven t o the Mo th e r of God can be exp l a ined : in old drawing s the c on­ s t e l l a t i on V i rgo i s o f t en p o r t rayed a s a woman wi th two wing s . .

For every e p i sode in the l i f e of Je s u s an a s t r a l ex­ p l anat ion can b e f o und . Take , f o r examp l e , the p r e s enta­ t i on of the infant Je sus in the t emp l e whe r e he wa s me t 66

b y an e l d e r l y man c a l l e d S ime on and a prophe t e s s c a l l e d Anna . Who we re they ? Wh ich s tar c ou l d a s s ume the ir r o l e ? The cons t e l l at i on Gem in i , o f cour s e , wh ich i s o f ­ t e n p o r t rayed a s a n e l de r l y pa i r , a man and a woman . At a c e r t a in mome nt in i t s annual movemen t the moon en t e r s t h e Gemini and i s " a c c e p t e d " b y them . Scho l ar s i n f a ­ vour o f a n a s t r a l exp l ana t ion o f t h e Go s p e l s have f ound a " c e l e s t ia l " para l l e l to every p a r t of the ep i sode in­ c luding such d e ta i l s a s : Why d id S ime on t ake J e s u s into h i s a rms ? What is the o r i g in o f the name " S imeon" and "Anna " ? Why d id Luke ' s Go s p e l p rov ide such s p e c i f i c in­ f o rma t ion conc erning the l i f e of Anna--" the daugh t e r of Phanue l , of the t r ib e of Asher had l ived w i th a hu s­ b and s even year s f r om her v i r g i n i ty ; And she wa s a w idow o f abou t f our s c ore and f our y e a r s " (Luke 2 : 3 6 - 3 7 ) ? •











Ac c o r d ing t o John ' s Go s pe l s Je s u s me t and s p oke w i th a S ama r i tan woman . When he s a id t o her " Go , c a l l thy husb and " and she answe r e d tha t she has no husband , Je s u s s a id " F o r thou h a s h a d f ive husb and s ; and h e whom thou now h a s t i s no t thy h u s b and 1 1 (4 : 1 6 , 1 8 ) . The se wo rds c ou l d refer to qu i te an ord inary s i tuat ion in l if e . Bu t f o r th i s ep i sode , t o o , an a s t r a l exp l ana t i on ha s b e e n f ound . T h e S ama r i t an woman i s the cons t e l l a t ion V i rgo . F ive " p lane ta r y " hu sban d s --Me r cury , Mar s , Venu s , Jup i t e r and Saturn--p a s s through i t i n s u c c e s s ion . They a r e f o l ­ l owe d b y t h e mo on who p l ay s t h e r o l e o f "non-hu s b and " . •

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In Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l Je s u s s a i d tha t when a s on "a sk a f i sh , wi l l he [ th e f a t he r ] g ive h im a s e rpent ? ' ' ( 7 : 1 0 ) . He re the me aning s e ems c l e a r and unamb i guou s and there i s n o need t o s earch f o r any h i dden mean ing c onne c t e d with the s t a r s . But acc ord ing t o the " a s t ra l " in t e rp r e t e r s o f t h e Go s p e l s th i s i s j u s t wha t w e shou l d do . Thu s , w e are to unde r s t and that the f i sh and s e rpent men t ioned by Je­ s u s are no t real f i sh and s e rp e n t b u t the corre s p onding c on s t e l l a t i on s o f P i s c e s and S e r p e n s . In Luke ' s Go s p e l J e s u s gave the apo s t l e s "powe r t o t r e a d o n s e rpent s and s c orp ions , and ove r a l l the powe r of the enemy" ( 1 0 : 1 9 ) . The a s t r a l expl ana t ion o f th i s p a s sage i s t h i s : over the c on s t e l l a t ion Serpens and S c o rp i u s l i e s the cons t e l l a ­ t ion He rcul e s , and i t can be e a s i l y imag ine d tha t the great He rcu l e s t r e a d s on Serpen s with one f o o t and on Scorp iu s with ano th e r . 67

Why d id Je sus have twe lve apo s t l e s ? For the s ame rea son that Jacob had twe l ve sons who b ecame the f ounder s o f the twe l ve I s rael i t r ib e s . In b o th ca s e s we are t o b e ar i n mind that there a r e e l even cons t e l l a t ions of the zodiac o f wh ich one is a twin--the Gemin i . The sun in i t s annual movement pa s s e s a l l the s e cons t e l l a t ions in succ e s s ion . In the same way Je s u s the Sun rotat e s round the apo s t l e s who we re the con s t e l lat ions . Her e are two more examp l e s wh ich show how f antas t ic and art i f i c ia l the a s tral exp l anat ion can b e . I t i s s a id in the Go s pe l s that Je s u s f e d a crowd o f f ive thou s and w i th two f i sh and f ive l oave s o f b read ; j us t b e f or e he d id th i s the apo s t l e s wanted to go and buy b r ead with 2 00 d inar s . The a s tral exp l ana t ion of th i s ep i s ode i s a s f o l lows . When the con s t e l l a t ion Virgo , portrayed a s a woman hol d ing a s p ike of gra in , i s in the e a s t e rn hor i z on , the c ons t e l l at ion P i s c e s (two f i sh ) i s i n the we s t , f a c ing i t . T o c over the d i s tance b e tween them the Sun ne e d s to t rave l 1 9 5 - 1 9 6 (ab out 2 0 0 ) day s ; henc e the 2 0 0 d inar s . Al ong the rou te l ie f ive ma l e con­ s te l l at �ons - -Or ion , Boo t e s , Aur iga , Per s e u s and Cepheu s ; the s e sugge s t the c rowd o f f ive thou sand men . Even more fanta s t ic i s the a s tral exp l ana t ion of the pas sage f rom John ' s Go s p e l where Je s u s p o inted to a t e mp l e and s a i d tha t i f i t were d e s t royed he could ra i s e i t i n three day s and wa s t o l d that i t t o ok f o r ty-s ix year s to b u i l d i t . Ac cord ing to tho s e who f avour the a s tral exp lanat ion , the f i gure 46 doe s no t in fact cor­ r e s pond t o r ea l i ty and they put f o rwar d the ir own exp l a ­ If the c i r c l e f orme d by the sky immediately ove r na t ion . the hor izon i s d ivided into f our part s , they can b e c a l l ­ e d b y the corre s p ond ing Greek name s : Arktos f o r the nor th, Dusis f o r the we s t , Anatoie f o r the ea s t , and Me serribriya for the south . The in i t ia l l e t t er s of the Gre ek name s have the f o l l owing numer i cal s ign if i canc e , r e s p ec t ively : 1 , 4 , 1 and 4 0 , or 4 6 a l togethe r . S imilar me tho ds are u sed in exp l a in ing the b e t raya l of J e s u s by Juda s . The name Juda s wa s a symb o l of the cons t e l l a t ion Leo among the anc ient Jews . Je sus the Sun ente r s the con s t e l l a t ion Leo (Juda s ) and then proceeds to the cons t e l l a t ion L ibra . L ib r a (b alanc e ) has always b e en a symb o l o f j u s t i ce . From the "hou s e o f j u s t ice" J e s u s 68

the Sun goe s to the cons t e l l a t ion Scorp iu s , o r the "hou s e of dea th" . The s tar t ing po int of Je sus on h i s way to death i s therefore the cons t e l l a t ion Leo , i . e . , Juda s . The no tor ious th i r ty p ie c e s of s ilver can a l s o be exp l a ined : i t took Jesus the Sun th irty days t o trave l f rom Leo to Virgo wh ich is s i tuated on the path to Scorp iu s . By now the reader p rob ab l y f e e l s qu i t e l o s t in the tangle o f symbo l s and the ir exp lana t i ons . The author can only com­ mi s erate with h im . Here i s one l a s t p iece o f a f a i r l y s imp l e exp l anat ion put f o r th by t h e a s tral s chool . Why d id Je sus r i s e on the th ird day a f t e r the cru c i f ix ion ? Becaus e dur ing the p e r iod o f the new moon the moon d i s ­ a pp ears f o r three days and then appear s aga in , i . e . , i s " re surrected" . The comp l icated and a r t i f ic ial nature o f the a s tral I t i s due to the f a c t exp l ana t ions i s obv ious enough . that the ir au tho r s are determined t o f ind such exp lana­ t ion f o r near ly a l l the e p i sode s d e s c r ibed in the B ib l e . The Pol i sh h i s t o r ian and wr i t e r A . N i emoyewsk i found an as tra l exp l anat ion f o r one hundred B ib l ical p a s sage s . The Ge rman wr i t e r E . S tucken produced a s t ral connne ntar i e s f o r a lmo s t the whol e o f the O l d T e s tament . There are a large numb e r o f b ook s who s e purpo s e i s to prove that the Go spe l s are wr i t ten accord ing to a s cheme b a s e d on the movement of the Sun or the Moon ( the Sun in the c a s e o f Mat thew ' s Go spel a n d t h e Moon in t h e c a s e of Luke ' s Go s ­ p e l ) through the con s t e l l a t ions o f the z o d iac . The f oundat ions o f thi s theory we re l a i d by the French s cho l a r s C . F . Dupu i s and C . F . Vo l ney at the end of the 1 8 th century . They wer e l a t e r j o ined by many We s t ern and Ru s s ian re s earche r s inc l ud ing such prom inent scho l a r s a s H. Wink l e r , A . Drews and A. N iemoyews k i . Among Ru s s ian inve s t iga t o r s th e mo s t zealou s de f ender o f the a s tra l s choo l wa s the we l l -known Narodnik revo lut ion­ ary and ver s a t i l e scholar N iko l a i Moro zov . In some way s he d i f f ered from the theore t ic ians of the a s tral hypo the­ s i s accord ing to whom Chr i s t was a my th ical f i gure and no th ing mo re , an emb od iment of a h eavenly b ody . Moro zov , on the o ther hand , b e l ieved tha t b eh ind th i s f igure wa s a real h i s t or i cal p e r s onage ; onl y he t ran s f e rred h im to a p er iod thre e centu r i e s l a t e r and ident if ied h im with the Chr i s t ian theo l o g ian B a s i l i i the Great . Th i s , however , turned out to be n o t very imp o r t an t , f o r Moro zov f ound 69

the s ame a s t r a l s ymb o l s in the b iography o f Chr i s t a s mo s t memb e r s of the a s t r a l s ch oo l . De sp i te the f a c t that the wo rk s of tho s e who repre­ s e n t the a s t r a l t rend in Chr i s t o l o gy conta in some sound ideas , the a s t r a l int e rp r e t a t i on as a who l e c anno t be r e ­ garded a s a c o r re c t s o l u t ion t o t h e p rob l em regard ing t h e or igins o f t h e image o f Chr i s t . Tho s e who upho l d the a s t r a l trend wou l d a l l too o f t e n s tra in a po ih t , arb i t r a ­ r i l y drawing t o g e ther phenomena wh ich a r e t o t a l l y uncon­ ne c t ed w i th one ano ther , and r e s o r t t o s p e c ious r e a s o n ing (wh i ch a t t ime s r e s emb l e s ment a l acrob a t i c s r a th e r than l o g i ca l ana l y s i s ) ; a l l t h i s d e p r ive s the a s t r a l hyp o the­ s i s o f any s c ient i f i c s ign i f i c anc e . I t s very s t ar t ing p o int l ack s p l au s ib i l i ty , wh i ch is that r e l i g i o u s l e gend s and myt h s r e f l e c t c ir cums t anc e s and even t s that took p l a c e no t in real l if e on e a r t h , b u t in some mys t er ious dep ths o f the un iver s e f a r r emoved f r om man , among the s ta r s and p lane t s , who s e paths a r e f avour i t e s tudy of a s ­ t r o l o g er s , l on e s ch o l a r s and p r ie s t s . Wh i ch Image I s the True One ? So , a s we s e e , the re i s a who l e g a l l e ry o f d i f f e rent imag e s of Chr i s t wh ich r e f l e c t d if f erent and o f t e n con­ t r ad i c tory c o n c e p t ions o f h i s p e r s onal i ty and teach ing s and h i s r o l e in h i s to ry . Our d i s cu s s ion probab l y doe s no t cover a l l the images o f Chr i s t that ex i s t , b u t i t wou l d b e impo s s ib l e t o i n c l ude a l l o f them h e r e . Suppo s ­ ing we l imi t ou r s e lv e s t o wha t i s shown i n our gal l e r y , wha t answe r can we g ive t o the que s t ion s ta t ed in the head ing of th i s s e c t ion ? I t i s a d if f i c u l t que s t ion t o answe r . The author h a s as f ar as p o s s ib le avo i ded mak ing a f inal j udgement on any o f the theor ie s d i sc u s s ed above , conf in ing h ims e l f ins t ead t o po in t ing out int e rn a l contrad i c t ions i n one o r ano ther theory or no t ing that i t f a i l s t o b e b a cked u p b y f a c t s . Fo r the re s t , i t i s hope d that the reader wi l l s o r t out the i s s u e s h ims e l f , u s ing the inf o rma t ion p r o ­ vided b y the author a n d s ome " p o in t e r s " wh ich he admi t ­ t e d l y c o u l d no t r e f ra in f r om g iv ing . But t o r e turn t o o u r que s t io n , wha t shou l d o u r answe r b e , if we a r e no t t o evade i t a l t o g e the r ? None o f the theor ie s c o n s idered ab ove i s f r e e o f 70

The mo s t typ i c a l o f s ome s e r i ou s sho� t comings . them i s a one - s i d e d int e r p r e ta t i on o f the que s t ion a t i s su e whereby s ome d a t a a r e u s ed wh i l e o th e r s t h a t con­ trad i c t them are i gno r e d . The r e s u l t i s rather l ike a p rof i l e of s omeone who s e f a c e i s not s ymme t r i c a l or who h a s only one eye : f r om wh ichever s ide the p r o f i l e i s drawn , i t wi l l no t show the s i t t e r a s h e i s . The only r i ght th ing t o do in th i s ca s e is to pa int a f ul l -f ac e p o r t ra i t . I t w i l l then show tha t t h e s i t t e r h a s one eye o r that h i s face is not symme t r i c a l . But the p o r t r a i t w i l l b e a n accura t e one . The t r oub l e w i t h t h e image o f Chr i s t d i s c u s s e d ab ove i s t h a t the i r autho r s approach i t f rom o n e s ide only , u s ing o n e s e t o f f e a ture s o f the image of Je s u s g iven in the New Te s t ament wh i l e ma inta in­ ing a s i l ence over the o th e r s or d e c l a r ing that they are ins ign i f i cant . Thu s , f o r To l s t o i , tho se f ea ture s that charac t e r i s e J e s u s whe n h e appeared angry and int o l erant , when h e s p oke ab u s ive wo rd s , r e s o r t e d t o thre a t s and showed an int ent ion to u s e the wh ip and the swo r d are ins ignif icant and unaccep tab l e . For Vve den sky , on the contrary , it i s imp o r tant no t to s t re s s Je su s ' c a l l f o r nonre s i s t ance t o ev i l , h i s p ra i s e o f the " p o o r in s p ir i t " a n d def ence o f p a s s iv i ty . Kaut sky l eave s o u t Je s u s ' s ay ing "Render the r e f o r e unt o Cae s a r the things wh ich ar e Cae s a r ' s " . And Me tropo l i tan A . Khrapov i t sky turn s a b l ind eye t o Chr i s t ' s condemna t io n o f wea l t h a n d the wea l thy . S u c h a one - s ided approach i s charac t er i s t ic o f a l l the au tho r s who s e v iews on t h e p e r s onal i ty o f Chr i s t w e h ave cons i ­ dered above . I t i s o f cour s e an ina d e qu a t e one i f we are t o arr ive a t an ob j ec t ive s o l u t ion o f the que s t ion . We shou l d int e r p r e t the p e r s onal i t y of Chr i s t tak ing int o a c c ount a l l i t s contrad i ct ions , regardl e s s o f whether we cons ider h im a my th i c a l f igure o r a r e a l h i s ­ t o r i c a l p e r s onage . NOTE S

2

Me tropo l i tan Makar iu s , Orthodox Dogmatic Theo logy, S t . P e t e r sburg , 1 9 0 6 , p . 1 8 7 ( in Ru s s ian ) . F . M . Do s to evsky , The Idiot, Book Two , Mo s c ow , 1 9 8 2 , p . 269 . 71

3

F . M . Do s to ev sky , Comp lete Wor>ks , Vo l . ( in Ru s s ian ) .

1 0 , 1 9 73 , p . 1 9 7

4 F . M . Do s toevsky , The Kar>amazov Br>o ther>s , Vo l . V I I , Mo s c ow , 1 9 8 0 , p . 3 1 7 . 5 F . M . Do s toevsky , Diar>y , S t . P e t e r sburg , 1 8 7 7 , P • 2 9 0 ( in Ru s s ian ) . 6 Ib idem. 7 Ib idem . 8 L . N . To l s t o i , Comp lete Wor>ks , Vo 1 . 2 3 , Mo s c ow , 1 9 5 7 , P · 2 1 9 ( in Ru s s ian ) . 9 Ib id . , p . 3 0 1 . 10 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 4 , p . 8 0 9 . 11 Ib id . , p . 8 04 . 12 Ib id . , P · 8 1 0 . 13 Ib id . , P · 8 7 3 . 14 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 3 , p . 1 7 3 . 15 Ib id . , P · 1 9 7 . 16 Ib id . , p . 4 0 0 . 17 Ib id . , p . 3 9 2 . 18 Ib id . , p . 39 5 . 19 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 4 , p . 1 8 7 . 20 Ib id . , p . 8 2 1 . 21 Ib idem . 22 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 3 , P · 1 8 7 . 23 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 4 , p . 8 0 7 . 24 Ib id . , p . 8 4 1 25 Ib id . , Vo l . 2 3 , P · 3 1 5 . 26 Ib idem . 27 A . V . Lunachar sky , Chr>i s tiani ty or Corrmunism . A Debate , Len ingrad , 1 9 2 6 , p . 2 7 ( in Ru s s ian ) . 28 lb id • p 3 0 •







72

29

E . Cab e t , Voyage e n Icarie , Par i s , 1 84 2 , p p . 4 1 7 -4 1 8 .



K.

31

Ib id . , p . 4 0 3 .

32

Kaut sky , Der Ursprung des Christentwns , Be r l in­ S tu t t ga r t , 1 9 2 3 , p . 4 3 3 .

Ib idem .

33

A . V. Lunaaharsky on A theism and Re ligion , Mo s cow , 1 9 7 2, p . 2 5 7 ( in Ru s s ian ) .

34

H . Ro l f e s , Jesus und das Pro le tariat , Du s s e l dorf , 1 9 8 2 .

35

K . Marx , F . Engel s , Co l lected Works , Vol . 3 , Mo s c ow , p . 399 .

36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Erne s t Renan , Vie de Jesus , Pa r i s , 1 9 74 , Pr e face de la t ro i s i eme � d i t ion , p . 38 . Erne s t Renan , The Life of Jesus, New York, 1 9 6 3, pp. 7 9 -8 0 . Ib id . , P · 24 7 .

Ib id . , p . 2 4 6 - 2 4 7 .

Ib id . , p . 2 4 9 . Ib id . , p . 2 5 2 . Ib id . , p . 2 0 1 . Ib id . , p . 1 8 7 . Ib id . , p . 3 1 1 . Ib id . , p . 1 8 6 . Ib id . , p . 304 . Ib id . , PP · 2 2 5 -2 2 6 . Ib id . , P · 2 6 9 . Ib id . , pp . 2 6 7-2 6 8 . Ib id . , p . 2 6 8 . Ib id . , p . 2 6 8 . Ib id . , p . 1 9 5 . Ib i d . , p .

1 58 .

Ib idem . 73

55 56 57 -58 59 60 61

Ib id . , p p . 2 9 2 -2 9 3 . Ib id . , P • 2 9 3 . Ib id . , p . 3 3 5 . J . Me s l i e r , Le te s tamen t , Ams terdam , 1 8 6 4 , Vo l . 2 , 41 .

p.

Ib id . , p . 4 2 . Ib idem . l b id ' p . 4 4 . •

62 63 64 65

69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76

Ib idem . Ib id . , p . Ib id . , p . Ib id . , p .

Ib idem . Ib idem .

Der Spiege Z , 1 9 6 6 ,

No .

9 ' p . 84 .

Ib i dem . Ib idem . Ib idem . E duard Meye r , Ursprung und Anfange de s Chri stentums , S t u t t ga r t , Vol . 2 , 1 9 2 1 , pp . 4 2 0-4 5 3 . J . Carmicha e l , The Dea th of Jesus , London , 1 9 6 3 .

I I . DID HE REALLY EXI S T ? F o r a l ong t ime t h e qu e s t ion o f whether Je s u s Chr i s t i s a h i s to r i c a l o r a myt h i c a l f igure wa s a sub j ec t o f In the la s t f ew d e c a d e s the d eb a t e s e ems h e a t e d d eb a t e . to have s omewha t sub s ided . Neve rthe l e s s , int e r e s t in the sub j e c t r ema ins k een , as i s s een in the f ac t that it c on­ t inue s t o be d i sc u s s e d in scho l a r l y wr i t ings as wel l a s S in c e the sub j ec t o f our s tudy in popu l a r l i t e r a t u r e . is c l o s e l y r e l a t e d to th i s que s t ion , we shou l d of c ou r s e look i n t o i t . And t h e prob l em shou l d b e examined obj ec­ t ive l y , without p r e c on c e ived ideas . Any a t t emp t fO im­ po s e such i d e a s on t h e reader only l ea d s to ove r s ta t e ­ men t and j uggl ing w i t h f ac t s . Unf ounded Conc l u s ion s Ba s e d on Al l egedly Ideo l o g i c a l Con s i d e ra t ions Does the athe i s t ic ou t l o ok n e c e s s a r i l y imp l y a de­ nial o f the h i s t o r i c a l ex i s t en c e o f Chr i s t ? No , n o t a t all . The r e wa s a t ime wh en the s ign i f i c an c e o f th i s que s ­ t ion wa s g r e a t l y exag g e ra t e d i n S o v i e t pub l i c a t ions . I n s ome b o ok s and pamph l e t s pu t ou t i n t h e twent ie s and th ir t i e s it wa s argued that the h i s t o r ic a l Chr i s t never ex i s t ed and could n o t have ex i s t e d and anyone who b e l i ev­ ed he d i d wa s und e r the s p e l l of p r i e s t c raf t . One c an under s tand how the deve l o pmen t o f th e a the i s t ic movemen t in tho s e y e a r s l ed i t s par t i c ipan t s s omewhat further than scholarly ob j e c t iv i ty wou l d a l low . But today , s everal decad e s l a t er , we shou l d b e ab l e t o d i s cu s s th i s s ub j e c t w i t h in the f r amewo rk of such ob j ec t ivi ty . Inde e d , why c o u l d n o t J e s u s a s a h i s to r ic a l p e r s ona­ l i ty have ex i s t e d ? At d if f erent t ime s there had l ived 75

peop l e w i th d if f erent name s , and on e of them c ou l d have b een c a l l ed J e s u s , o r Jo shua , a c ommon name among th e anc i en t Jews . One of the f ound e r s of Chr i s t ian i ty , per­ hap s even the mo s t imp o r tant o f th em , c ou l d wel l have b e en a man c a l l e d Je su s . I t i s po s s ib l e that a f t er h i s death h i s human image c ame t o acqu i r e in the min d s of b e l ieve r s my tho l o g i c a l o r "d ivin e " f ea t u r e s . B u t tha t i s a l toge th e r a d if f erent ma t t e r . I t do e s n o t f o l l ow f rom th i s tha t a p e r s on round whom l eg end s and my th s had sp rung up af t e r h i s d e a th c ou l d n o t have ex i s t e d . As f o r the r e l a t ion of th i s que s t ion to a the i sm and ma t e r ial i s m , any r i g i d c 6unt erpo s i t i on--e i t h e r a the i sm or recogn i t ion of the h i s t o r i c i ty o f Chr i s t -- i s , t o o , the re su l t o f a mi sun d e r s tand ing . C e r t a in t ly , a rec og­ n i t ion o f Chr i s t th e God wou l d c on t rad ic t ma t e r ia l i sm and a the i sm . But the r e are no grounds f o r say ing the same ab out Chr i s t the man . We d o n o t , for examp l e , c on­ s id e r acknowl e dg emen t o f th e h is t o r i c a l Mohammed o r S a i n t F ranc i s o f A s s i s i a s b e ing incompa t ib l e w i th a the i sm . The imp o r tan t que s t ion f o r the s tudent of h i s t o ry i s n o t whe th e r Chr i s t th e man c o u l d have ex i s ted , b u t whether there are g round s f o r c on s ide r ing that h e ex i s t ed . Th i s i s qu i t e d e f in i t e ly a h i s to r i c a l p rob l em , ope that has no ph i l o s oph i c a l or ideo l o g ic a l s ign i f i c anc e . But whe th e r we d e a l w i t h ph i l o s oph i c a l o r h i s t o r i c a l prob l ems w e mu s t t ry no t t o d i s to r t t ru th o r t o f i t it int o p rec onc e ive d theor e t i c a l propo s i t i on s . Our t a s k , the r e f o r e , i s t o we igh a l l known f a c t s ob j e c t iv e l y and e s tab l i sh whe t h e r there are g round s f o r t h ink ing that n ew fac t s may b e unc overed wh ich c ou l d chang e our p r e s en t c oncep t i on s o n t h e sub j ec t . We mu s t d e t ermine wha t conc l u s ion s , on the b a s i s o f t h e p r e s en t s t a t e of h i s t o r ic a l r e s earch a n d the ava i l ­ ab l e s ource ma t e r ial s , may b e drawn regard ing the que s ­ t ion of whe th e r Je su s Chr i s t wa s a h i s t o r ic a l o r a my th i­ cal f igu re . F o r i t is qu i t e p o s s ib l e that n ew d i s c o­ ve r i e s wi l l b e made in future wh i ch c ou l d a l t e r the p i c ­ t u r e w e have now a n d t h e c o nc l u s i on s we have reached . To deny w i thout ev idenc e tha t Chr i s t the man ex i s t ed

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wou l d b e no more a c c e p t ab l e than to say wi thou t proof th a t h e d i d . Ground l e s s As s er t ion s B a s e d on Re l ig iou s and Theo l o g ical Con s idera t io n s Many y e a r s a g o I wa s p re s ent a t a d eb a t e b e twe en Ana t o l i Lunachar sky and Me tropo l i t an Vve d en sky on the qu e s t ion of the p e r s ona l i ty of Chr i s t . The d eb a t e was oc c a s ioned by the pub l i c a t ion of two b o o k s on Chr i s t b y Hen r i Barb u s s e . 1 I t wa s in the au tumn of 1 9 2 7 . The hal l of the Mo s ­ c ow Exper imental The a t r e wa s packed . The aud ience wa s a rather mixed one , b u t in one r e s p e c t i t could b e d iv i d e d in t o two c amp s . O n e of t h e m c on s i s t e d of memb e r s of the int e l l igen t s ia mo s t of whom we re nonb e l iever s . They wer e genu inely int er e s t ed in s o r t ing ou t the i s sue s in the deba t e , wh ich appeared to have s cho l a r ly and educa­ t ional as we l l as ideo l o g i c a l s igni f i c anc e . The o ther c amp wa s repre s en t e d b y b e l i eve r s and c l e rgymen of the Or thodox Church and o th e r denomina t ion s . As an apo s t a t e t o t h e T ikhon i t e Or tho doxy Vvedensky wa s n o t a popu l a r f igure w i th t h e b e l ieve r s . But on th i s oc c a s ion he wa s speak in g a s one who wa s c r i t ical of the a the i s t ic inroads made on church t each in g s regard ing the p er sonal ity of Chr i s t , and so he wa s a s sured of the support o f all b e ­ l ieve r s and c l ergymen p r e s en t i n t h e hal l . The me tropo l itan d id not expre s s unqua l i f i ed sup p o r t f o r Barbu s s e . H e s tre s se d f r om the s ta r t that f o r h im Chr i s t wa s " ab s o l u t e God , b o rn o f the f l e sh " , though othe r s might regard h im a s a dreame r , a suc c e s s f u l o r uns uc c e s s fu l ref ormer , a mo ral i s t , and s o on . Among tho se " o th e r s " wa s apparen t ly Barb u s s e , f o r whom Jesu s wa s of c ou r s e n o t "ab s o lu t e God " . Neve r the l e s s , Vveden­ sky mad e i t c l ear that h e wa s we l l d i s po s e d t oward s Bar­ bu s s e , a c ommun i s t and a the i s t , b ec au s e Barbu s s e recog­ n i s e d the h i s to r i c a l ex i s t enc e of Je su s and exp r e s sed l ove for h im , even though Barb u s se might n o t have und e r ­ s tood J e s u s ' per sona l i ty c o r r ec t ly . I t i s c l ear enough wha t Vveden sky wa s t r y ing to s ay h e r e : in our ( so to speak ) a th e i s t ic a g e , even th i s wa s no t a bad th ing . S o , wh i l e d i sagree ing with Barb u s s e ' s general ph i l o soph ic a l pr inc ip l e s , Vveden sky mad e i t h i s t a sk to b u t t re s s up 77

the propo s it ion tha t J e s u s Chr i s t had a real , h i s tor i c a l ex i s t enc e . Vveden sky d id not ana l y s e the r e l evan t h i s tor ical sourc e s ; n o r d id he t ry t o refute the argumen t s of h i s po s s ib l e opponent s . He d i d no t even me e t head-on the argument s of Lunachar sky . Ma inly he t r i e d t o win over the aud i en c e to h i s po int o f v i ew b y c i t ing var iou s au thor i t i e s . He r o l l ed o f f the name s o f Harnack , S o d en , Kl e in , S o r e l , Mey er and o ther h i s to r ians , ph i l o s ophe r s and the o l o g ian s who ac c e p t ed t h e h i s t o r ic i ty o f Chr i s t . Vveden sky ' s rea s on ing s e ems to b e a s f o l l ows : s in c e such eminent p e o p l e b e l ieved tha t Chr i s t ex i s t e d , how c o u l d y o u doub t i t ? Th i s l ine o f argument wa s unc onv inc ing even t o Vve ­ d en sky ' s sup p o r t e r s , who f el t s omewha t l e t down . They we re cheered u p onl y wh en Vved en sky showed h ims e l f a t h i s b e s t - - t e l l in g w i t t y j oke s , drawing b r i l l iant c ompa­ r i sons and re s o r t ing t o s ub t l e irony , and then they b roke in to a p p l au s e . S t i l l , i t wa s n ec e s sary f o r Vveden sky t o p rove a t l ea s t s ome o f h is p o in t s and to r e f u t e s ome o f h i s opponen t s ' argument s i n a l o g ic a l manner . Ju s t when he wa s d ec l a r ing h i s f irm conv i c t i on that Lunachar sky wa s wrong s ome one-- i t wa s no t c l ear f rom wh ich c amp in the aud i enc e-- shou t e d f rom the g a l l ery : " Prove i t ! " . Vveden sky r e s o r t ed t o mano euvr ing : he appeared t o b e ward ing o f f a n a t tack wh i l e in fac t h e wa s t ry ing t o c over u p h i s r e t reat . H e s a id : " In o r d e r to prove a p o in t b eyond any doub t no t only the l ec turer but th e aud i en c e a s we l l shou l d b e equ ipp ed with a tho rough know­ l edge of ph i l o s ophy and theo l o gy . Bu t th i s is no t a s e ­ minar organ i s e d by the depar tmen t of h i s t o ry and ph i l o­ l o gy . " S in c e Vve den sky c o u l d no t d eny tha t Lunachar sky was we l l ve r s e d in ph i l o l ogy , he wa s c l early h in t ing tha t h i s e s t eeme d opponen t wa s no t a theo l o g i an . As f o r the pub l ic , the me t ropo l i tan a s s umed that it knew n e i th e r theo l o gy n o r ph i l o l o gy . Thu s , h e wa s no t concerned t o p rove h i s c a s e ; i t wa s suf f ic ient to make a s imp l e s ta t e ­ men t o f i t . And a s if t o s t re s s the po in t tha t h e wa s not ob l iged to c a s t p e a r l s b ef o r e swin e , Vve den sky c i t e d o n e mo re author i ty : O . D . Chwo l son , au tho r o f a f a irly 78

we l l -known b o ok w i t h a c a t ch ing t i t l e Hege Z , Haecke i , zwo Zfte Gebot . The imp o r t an t th ing h e r e i s n o t the imp o s ing l i s t of name s i n the t i t l e , but the r e f e r en c e t o a " twe l f th c onnna ndmen t " a c c o rd ing t o wh ich one shou l d not s peak o f th ings one d o e s n o t know tho­ rough l y we l l . The imp l ic a t i on wa s that only theo l og ians c ou l d d i s cu s s the p e r s ona l i ty of Chr i s t .

Kassut und da s

To s ta r t w i t h , t h i s i s no t t ru e . Even i f the ma t ­ t e r concern s Chr i s t t h e God , only t h e mo s t f ana t i c a l b e­ l i eve r s woul d th ink that the o l o g ian s have a mono p o l y on the subj ec t . No one has the moral o r any other r igh t t o f o rb id a p e r son t o dec i d e wha t f a i th he shoul d p r of e s s or whe th e r he shou l d p r o f e s s any f a i t h a t a l l . In the deb a t e Lunachar sky v s . Vveden sky the que s t i on wa s n o t ab ou t Chr i s t t h e Go d but ab ou t Chr i s t t h e man : wa s h e a real p e r s on and if s o who wa s h e ? A d e f in i t e an swer t o th i s que s t ion c a n o n l y b e p rovided by t h e h i s t o r ian , n o t b y t h e theo l o g ian . Even many theo l o g ian s who wro t e b ook s on Chr i s t ian i t y u s e d the me thod of h i s t o r ic a l ana l y s i s ( in t h i s c a s e they c an b e c on s i d e r e d h i s to r ians ) , wh ich a l one enab l e d them t o produ c e wo rk o f s ch o l a r l y va lue . Vveden sky ' s sugg e s t ion that theo l og ians had a monop o l y on the sub j e c t i s the r e f o r e me an ingl e s s . Supp o r t e r s o f the church applauded the me t ro p o l i tan . The fac t rema in s , h oweve r , that Vve den s ky had c l ea r ly f a i l e d to take on t h e ma in i s su e in the d eba t e . I t shou l d b e s a id , no t f o r purpo s e s o f c r i t ic ism o r " exp o su r e " , b u t s imp l y a s a s t a t emen t o f f a c t , tha t tho s e who uph o l d t h e c anon i c a l v i ew o f t h e Chr i s t i an r e l ig ion wou l d have to upho l d the h i s t o r i c ity o f Je su s , regard l e s s of how the ma t t e r s tand s in the l i gh t o f ob j ec t ive h i s t o ­ r ical f a c t s . An a c c e p tanc e o f t h e ear thly ex i s t ence o f a man who h a d f o r a p er io d o f a f ew d e c a d e s emb od ied the second p e r s on of the T r in i ty , and o f h i s death and re sur­ rec t ion i s e s s en t ial t o the Chr i s t ian do gma . Without the h i s t o r i c a l J e su s there c an b e no Chr i s t ian r e l i g i on . I t i s under s tandab l e tha t Chr i s t ian theo l og i ans shou l d try a t all c o s t s to upho l d the h i s to r ic ity o f the f oun d e r o f the ir c reed . Bu t s ince the r e is insuf f ic i ent p roof of th i s , they are f o r c e d to take th e p o s it i on tha t such proof i s unne c e s sary . Of c ou r s e , to a s s e r t without

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proof tha t Chr i s t the man ex i s t e d wou l d b e j u s t a s un­ acceptab l e as to d eny withou t suf f ic ient ground s tha t he d id . I s I t Po s s ib l e Tha t He. D id No t Ex i s t ? Qu ite o f t en the c a s e f o r the h i s t o r ic a l ex i s t enc e of Je su s Chr i s t i s put th i s way : if he d i d no t ex i s t , i t wou l d b e impo s s ib l e to exp l a in c e r ta in obviou s fac t s . What are the s e f ac t s ? One o f them c on s i s t s in the impre s s ion wh ich the p e r sona l i ty of J e s u s Chr i s t produc e s on u s . A . Jul icher , a l ib eral Pro t e s tant theo l og ian , wr i t e s : "The f a s c inat ion o f the l if e that had j u s t p a s s e d away and that wa s s t i l l f e l t in the image of Je sus port rayed in b road s t roke s in the Syno p t ic Go spel s , make s a mockery of a l l k inds of hypo the s e s accord ing to whi ch Je s u s wa s no mo re than a produc t of rel igious-h i s t o r i c a l f a c t o r s o r wa s even a hero of a p s eudo-h i s t o r i c a l nove l . The impre s s ion p ro­ duced by an extraord inary p e r s onal i ty is neverthel e s s s t ronge r comp a red to the numerou s d i f f i cu l t ie s wh ich we have to deal w i th in s tudy ing the h i s t o ry of the trad i­ t ion ab out Je su s . I t i s not an idea or a dream , but a my s te r ious l y great man that i s pre sent here , a s i s alway s the c a s e whe re h i s t o ry i s a t a turn ing po int . 11 2 In o ther wo rd s , any turn ing p o int in h i s t ory i s ne c e s sar ily con­ ne c t e d w i th . the ac t iv i ty o f a great per sonal ity . We may in terpret th i s po int of v iew not in the idea l ­ i s t i c sense , namely , that the ac t ions o f a great man are the cau s e of any h i s t o r i c a l upheava l , but in the sense c l o s er to the Marx i s t v iew accord ing to wh i ch r ipen ing ob j ec t ive h i s t o r ic a l nece s s i ty f ind s expre s s ion in an ou t s tand ing p e r sona l i ty and h i s ac t iv i ty . Bu t even then we are not ob l i ged to accept Jiil icher ' s the s i s tha t Je s u s wa s a r e a l per s on . The r i s e o f Chr i s t ian i ty c ou l d no t have taken p l a c e w i thout ou t s tand ing per sonal i t ie s ; per­ hap s in th i s c a s e we shou l d turn our a t t ent ion not t o Je su s Chr i s t , b u t t o the apo s t l e Paul or John the Bap t i s t o r the apo l o g i s t s o f the sec ond c en tury ? There i s y e t ano ther a s pec t to Jul icher ' s argument : the image o f Chr i s t , accord ing to h im , i s charac t e r i s e d by an excep t iona l int egr ity and v iv idne s s . Such an image 80

co u l d n o t have b e en inven t e d . Jiil icher wr i t e s : "Juda i c imag ina t ion , wh ich has a l l e g e d l y c r e a t e d o u r Je s u s with a l l his unusual ind ividua l i ty , wou l d have b een the grea t ­ e s t e n i gma w i t h wh i ch t h e h i s t o ry o f I s ra e l h a s confront­ ed u s , o r ra ther w i th wh ich we have confronted o u r s e lve s out o f s h e e r ob s t inacy . " 3 The charge of ob s t inacy can of cou r s e be d i smi s s e d , or be made aga in s t Jiil iche r h im­ s e l f or o t h e r s who th ink the way he d o e s . Bu t the po int ab ou t the v iv idne s s and int e g r i t y o f the image of Chr i s t i s a r e l evan t one and shou l d b e examined . As we have a l ready no t ed , a r t i s t ic d ev i c e s are s u f ­ f i c ient f o r ach i ev ing ve r i s imi l i t u d e i n f ic t ion and f o r c r e a t ing v i v i d image s f u l l o f v i t a l i t y . In th i s r e s p e c t the c o l l e c t ive c r e a t ive work o f t h e popu l a r mas s e s i s n o way inf e r ior t o wr i t ing s b y p r of e s s ional au thor s and may even surpa s s the l a t t e r in l a t en t p owe r . Ima g e s that are v iv i d , ins p i r ing and t rue t o l if e can be f ound in gr e a t folk e p i c s among n e a r l y all the peop l e s . S o why mu s t one a s sume tha t a g r oup of p e op l e s o f the Med i t e r ­ ranean r e g i on in the e a r l y c entu r i e s of o u r e ra shou l d b e s o l a ck ing i n ar t i s t ic imag ina t i on a s t o b e incapab l e o f c re a t ing t h e image o f Chr i s t ? The p o int ab out the int e g r i t y o f the image of Chr is t al s o should not go unch a l l enged . In h i s b ook Jesus the God . The Origin and Corrrp o sition of the Gospe ls A . N i emo ­ yewsk i g ive s a c l ear and on the who l e c orrec t d e s c r ip t ion o f the contra d i c t ions i nh e r ent in the image o f Chr i s t as port rayed in the Go s p e l s . N i emoyewsk i b e l ieve s tha t s p eak­ ing through J e s u s we re r e pr e s en ta t ive s o f the mo s t d i ­ ve r s e p o l i t ical , r e l i g i o u s and e th ic a l group s and s ch o o l s : " I srae l , wh ich adh e r e s t o th e p r inc ip l e of ' an eye f o r an eye ' , d e c l a r e s tha t in d e a l ing w i t h o th e r s you mu s t u s e the s ame we igh t s and mea s u r e s that a r e u s ed by them in deal ing with you , and that one shoul d not go int o the way s o f the Gen t i l e s but rather go and ga the r the l o s t sheep o f t he hou s e o f I s ra e l . A b eggar c r ie s that La za­ ru s , who i s in heaven , mu s t no t d ip the t ip o f h i s f inge r i n wa t e r i n order t o c o o l th e tongue o f a r ich man who is b e ing b urned in he l l The d ip l oma t says tha t we mu s t b e a s w i s e a s s e rp e n t s and a s harml e s s a s dove s . Ma s t er s a s s e r t that s e rvan t s mu s t no t s i t down at the t ab l e b e f o r e they thems e lve s have ea t en . S cho l a r s say •







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t h a t the pup i l shou l d d e f e r t o the teache r . The p a s s ion ­ a t e p ropagan d i s t c a l l s on one t o r e pu d i a t e one ' s f a t h e r , mo t he r , w if e , b ro the r s , s i s t e r s and even one ' s ind i v i­ dual i ty f o r the sake of an i dea . Th e p o l i t ic i an s ta t e s tha t unn e c e s sary c iv i l s t r i f e l ead s t o the d e s t ruc t ion o f f amil i e s , c i t i e s and s ta t e s . And the anchor i t e or a s c e t i c preach e s tha t one mu s t f re e one s e l f f rom a l l t emp t a t ion s b y mo r t i f i c a t ion o f the f l e sh . I f we are t o pu t a l l th e s e admon i t ions in t o the mou th of on e p e r s on we wou l d have to f ind a c a su i s t , a ' c omp o s i t e man ' , who speak s no th ing b u t p roverb s and apho r i sms . " 4 So how can one talk ab out the in t e g r i t y o f the ima ge o f Ch r i s t ? To say tha t j u s t b ec a u s e th i s image i s unu sua l ly f a s c inat ing it mu s t b e b a s e d on a r e a l p r o t o type i s a l s o t o indu l ge in pure ly s ub j e c t ive in t e rpre t a t ion . Th e image of Chr i s t a s p o r t rayed in the Go s p e l s d o e s not produ c e the same impre s s ion on a l l . One c an f ind in l i ­ t er a t ur e h igh ly c r i t ic a l remark s ab o u t Ch r i s t , ab ou t h i s hyp oc r i sy , i r r i tab i l i t y and in t o l eranc e , h i s l a ck o f wi l l and s o on . Bu t we sha l l not c onc ern our s e l ve s here w i th the degree of f a s c ina t i on of Ch r i s t ' s p e r sona l i ty a s b e ing irre l evan t t o the par t i c u l a r p rob l em w e a r e c on­ s id e r ing and f rom the scho l a r l y po int of v i ew . The r e i s y e t ano th e r argume n t tha t i s of t en u s e d t o " prove " tha t Chr i s t ex i s t ed . I f Chr is t d i d not ex i s t , so the argument goe s , i t wou l d b e imp o s s ib l e to exp l a in the r i s e of Chr i s t i an i t y . Any s o c i a l o r r e l i g i o u s move­ men t , Ch r i s t ian i ty is f ound e d b y p e o p l e . And s ince the Ch r i s t ian movement wa s , f rom the s t a r t , a great moveme n t in t e rms o f i t s idea s and p r inc ip l e s , i t s f ounde r cou l d on l y have b een a g r e a t and ou t s t and ing p e r son . Chr i s t , a s we know h im f r om the Go s p e l s , wa s j u s t such a p e r s on , · one who c o u l d have f ounded Chr i s t ian i t y . I t i s hard t o ima g ine anyone o f l e s s e r s ta t u r e f u l f i l l ing th i s r o l e . I t i s t ru e that no s o c ia l movemen t o r i d e o l ogy can eme r g e wi thou t peop l e who se c on s c iou sne s s , wi l l and a c t i­ v i ty emb ody the g iven s o c i a l phenomenon . The r i s e of Chr i s t ian i ty wa s undoub t e d ly a s soc i a t e d w i th p e op l e o f surpa s s ing ab i l i t i e s and ta l en t s . Bu t wa s t h e mo s t imp o r­ tan t o f them ne c e s s a r i l y the one who b o re the name by wh ich we know h im f rom the New T e s t amen t , who had l ive d through the even t s d e s c r ib ed in the Go s pe l s , and the c ir 82

cum s t anc e s sur round in g , who s e l i f e and d e a th c o inc id e d w i th tho s e o f J e su s Ch r i s t o f the Go s pe l s ? The answer i s : it may b e so o r i t may no t be s o . In tha t c a s e the n e c e s s i ty of e s t ab l i sh in g whe th e r J e s u s Ch r i s t wa s a r e a l p e r s on j u s t b e c au s e Chr i s t ian i ty ex i s t s f a l l s away . Fo r Chr i s t may have ex i s t e d o r he may no t have ex i s t ed . We mu s t , then , r e j e c t a l l a priori argumen t s , a l l o f v i e w tha t a r e pu t f o rwa rd b e f o re the r e l e van t A c o r r e c t answe r t o th i s que s t ion ma t e r i a l i s examine d . ,: a n on l y be b a s e d o n a c a r e f u l a s s e s smen t o f h i s to r ic a l p o in t s

fac t s .

U s u a l l y wh en t h e r e i s l i t t l e f a c t u a l mat e r ia l to go w i th , many var i an t s eme rge wh ich are not very t ru s t ­ wo r c. h y o r not t r u s two r thy a t a l l o r a re s imp l y improb ab l e . An an a l y s i s of s u ch var ian t s can b e qu i t e in s t ruc t ive . on

Con j e c tu r e s : the Po s s ib l e and the Imp o s s ib l e The r e i s a who l e t rend in Ch r i s t o l o g ic a l l i t e r a ture ac c o r d ing t o wh i c h Chr i s t wa s an Ind ian . On e o f t h e book s b e l o n g i n g t o th i s t r e n d i s c a l l ed Chri s tus --e in Inder• ? b y T . F l ang e . De s p i t e the que s t ion mark in the t i t l e the ma in i d ea o f the b ook is tha t Chr i s t wa s an Ind ian . F l ange r e f e r r e d to s e v e r a l h i s t or i c a l s tu d i e s by the we l l -known French wr i t e r Lou i s Jac o l l i o t , wh ich a l l e g e d l y throw n e w l i gh t o n t h e qu e s t ion o f t h e o r i g in o f t h e image o f Chr i s t and of Chr i s t i an i t y a s a who l e . F l ange acc e p t s Ja c o l l i o t ' s th e s i s t h a t e a r l y Chr i s t ian i t y wa s in fac t Bud dh i sm b rough t t o Rome by Buddh i s t mi s s i ona­ ries . Th i s the s i s i s ba s e d on a c ompar i s on of the l i f e o f Chr i s t a s t o l d i n t h e Go s pe l s a n d Buddh i s t and H indu l e ­ gends ab ou t Buddha and Kr i shna . Nume r ou s para l l e l s a r e dr awn wh i ch c r e a t e a n imp re s s ion , i f no t of c omp l e t e i d ent i ty , a t l ea s t of c l o s e s im i l a r i t i e s b e tween Chr i s t and t h e Buddha and Ch r i s t and Kr i shna . The s e cond p e r son in t h e H indu Tr in i ty V i shnu , Sh i va ) i s emb o d i e d in the p e r s on of wa s l a t e r c a l l e d I e s eu s ( o r I i snu o r J i snu ) c iples . The s e c ond p er s on in the Ch r i s t i a n 83

( Br a hma , Kr i shna , who by h i s d i s­ T r in i t y i s

a l s o emb o d i e d in a human f igur e - - th e Son--wh o s e name and n ickname re s emb l e the Brahman i c : Kr i shna sound s l ike Chr i sna , and Kr i s to s l ike Chr i s t . Both appeared in the wor l d a s i t s saviour ; b o th were b o rn o f a virg t n ; in b o th s t o r i e s the b ir th wa s ma rked by mirac l e s , and the f i r s t t o c ome t o wo r s h ip the infan t wer e shephe rd s . O th e r paral l e l s are : th e ir p e r­ s e c u t ion by a b a d k ing (Kan sa in the c a s e of Kr i shna , Herod in the c a s e of J e s u s ) , the ma s sa c r e o f the inno­ cen t s , the r e s c u e of the inf an t b y an ange l , and the i r ac t iv i ty a s saviour s . Bo th gathered a round them a group o f d i sc ip l e s , wo rke d mirac l e s : h ea l ing the s ick , r e s t o r­ ing the dead to l i f e and c a s t ing ou t d ev i l s f rom tho s e who were p o s s e s s e d , and d ie d a s a r e s u l t o f in t r i gu e s o f ma l evo l ent p r i e s t s , the ir d e a th b e ing accompan i e d by s igns o f na ture i t s e l f go ing in t o mourn ing . And b o th , having f ul f i l l e d th e i r m i s s ion on e a r th , were carr i e d in­ to heaven . S im i l a r i t i e s b e tween the l if e o f Chr i s t and tha t o f the Buddha a p p ea r e qual l y , a n d even mo re s t r ik ing . The Buddha wa s a l s o b o rn o f a v i r g in , and in a c ave . H i s b i r th wa s h e ra l ded b y a s ta r wh ich l ed three k ings t o the holy infan t in order that they c ou l d wor ship h im . The r e were a l so shepherd s , a vo i c e f rom he aven and heaven­ ly ho s t . Indee d , the l eg end s surround ing the b ir th of the Buddha are s t i l l more wonderful than in the c a s e of Chr i s t . Upon the b i r th of the Buddha a l l nature r e j o ic e d , and the inf an t Buddha bur s t int o s p e e ch , say ing tha t h e wou l d d e s t roy t h e dev i l and h i s army , make a l l p eo p l e happy , and s o on . Kings a n d p r ince s o f f ered th e ir magn i ­ f ic en t p a l a c e s t o t h e h o l y ch i l d . An o l d man named As i t a p l ayed a s im i l a r r o l e a s tha t o f S imeon who , a c c ord ing t o the Go s p e l s , b l e s se d the infant J e s u s . Tru e , unl ike the wicked k ing s in the s t o r i e s o f Chr i s t and Kr i shna , King B imb i sara , upon l ea rning tha t the Buddha wa s b o rn , wou l d n o t p e r s e cu t e - h im b u t b e c ame h i s f o l l ower . Fur ther on the s t o ry o f t h e Buddha para l l e l s tha t of Je su s a s d e s ­ cr ib ed i n t h e Go s p e l s : t h e p r e s en t a t ion o f t h e ch i l d in the t emp l e , the inc iden t in wh ich the twe lve-year-o l d b o y remained in t h e temp l e wh i l e h i s paren t s l o oked f o r h im , h i s f a s t , t emp t a t ion i n the w i l d erne s s and b ap t i sm , and h i s b e ing unma r r i e d and wi thou t a home o f h i s own thr ough 84

ou t h i s l i f e . The r e a r e even s imi l a r i t ie s in c e r t a in de t a i l s . For ins t anc e , the Buddha ' s f avour i t e d i s c i p l e wa s ca l l ed Ananda , wh i l e tha t o f Je su s wa s c a l l ed John ; Judah , who b e trayed Je su s , soun d s s omewh a t l ik e D evada t t a , the man who b e t raye d the Buddha . P l ange ma in t a ined , and i t wa s an o p inion shared by many o th e r au thor s , that a l l th e s e para l l e l s c ou l d not b e acc idental . Some on e mu s t have b o rrowe d f rom s omeone else . S ince' the Brahman ic l egend s ex i s t e d 300 0 y e a r s and t h e Buddh i s t l e g end 5 0 0 y ear s � e f o r e t h e r i s e o f Chr i s t ian i ty , th e re c a n b e n o qu e s t ion o f t h e auth o r s o f t h e s e l e gend s b o rrowing f r om t h e Go s p e l s . And i n any c a s e P l ange d i d no t th ink much of the Go s p e l s as a h i s to­ r i c a l source and a t tached much mo re impor tan c e t o the sacred b ook s o f H indu i sm and Buddh i sm in th i s re s p e c t . On the who l e P l ange had no d oub t that the s t o r i e s in the Go spe l s we re b o rrowe d f r om Brahman i c and Buddh i s t sour­ c e s ; more s p e c i f i c a l l y , the Synop t ic Go s p e l s re l i e d on Brahman ic s ourc e s and John ' s Go s pe l s , on Buddh i s t sourc e s . Ye t d e sp i t e a l l th i s P l ange saw no rea son t o deny the h is t o r i c a l ex i s t enc e of J e su s . Ac c ord ing to P l ange , it i s p o s s ib l e that in Pa l e s t in e there l ived a man c a l l ­ ed Je su s who wa s a na t ional l e ader , b u t h i s l if e - s t ory a s t o l d in t h e Go s p e l s c anno t be au then t ic s inc e it wa s b o rrowed f rom Ind i an l e gend s . The b a s ic out l ine o f Je­ su s ' l i f e can be trac e d in the l i f e o f Kr i shna , j u s t a s Je su s ' mo ral p r inc ip l e s can b e f o und in the t each ing s o f t h e Buddha . What eve r add i t i on s we r e n ec e s s a ry we re t aken f rom the wr i t ings of the Jews , f rom the O l d Te s tament wh ich repea t e d l y s p oke of a Me s s iah . S o , tha t wh ich i s or ig ina l ab ou t t h e l if e o f J e s u s a s t o l d in the Go s p e l s me r e l y cons i s t s o f c e r ta in "add i t i on s " , wh i l e tha t wh ich The J e s u s o f is b a s i c i s d e r ived f rom Ind i an sourc e s . the Go s p e l s wa s no t a Jew , b u t an Ind ian . In order to sugge s t tha t the Jews o f the e a r l y c en­ t u r i e s o f our era c ou l d have b o r r owed Ind i an re l ig iou s and f o l k l o r ic sub j e c t s , i t wou l d b e n ec e s sary t o e xp l a in how c ontac t s b e tween P a l e s t ine and Ind ia c o u l d have ex i s t ­ ed a t tha t t ime . C i t ing P l iny the E l de r a n d Jo s ephus F l a ­ v i u s , P l ange s a i d tha t there wa s r e gu l ar t rade b e twe en Rome and Ind ia in anc ient t ime s and that each y e a r f l o­ t i l l a s o f me rchan t s ' s h i p s s a i l e d to Ind ia f rom where they 85

b rough t b a c k no l e s s than 5 0 mi l l ion s e s te r c e s wo r th o f pearl s and p r e c iou s s ton e s a s we l l a s s i lk , ivory , dye s and so on . Ind ian sh i p s c a rry ing 500 pa s s enge r s an d the ir good s voyaged to Egyp t , and there we r e a l ways many Ind ian me rchan t s in Al exand r i a . Trade wa s par t ic u l a r l y l ive ly b e twe en the We s t and Cey l on , the c i tad e l of Bud­ dhi sm . It shou l d not be d i f f i cu l t to imag ine tha t there wa s a l s o ac t iv e i d e o l o g i c a l exchange b e tween Ind ia and c oun t r i e s b e l ong ing t o the Roman Emp ire . It is en t i r e l y c once ivab l e , the r e f o r e , t h a t B rahman i c and Buddh i s t l e ­ gend s we re d rawn upon i n c r e a t ing t h e image o f J e s u s Chr i s t and in f o rmu l a t ing t h e Chr i s t i an doc t r ine . Are the r e ground s f o r tak ing th i s v i ew s e r iou s l y and ac c e p t ing t h e Ind ian o r i g in of th e image of J e s u s ? The an swe r i s no . Fo r the r e i s n o t a t r a c e o f evi­ denc e o f s u ch b o rrowing in early Chr i s t ian l i t e ra ture : there i s no � t h e s l igh t e s t a l lu s ion in i t t o Ind ia and her h i s t o ry , to Ind i an h i s t o r ic a l p e r s onage s , Ind i a n g o d s and o th e r f igur e s of Ind ian my tho l ogy , h e r cu l t s and r i t e s . Cou l d such a l l u s ions have b een d e l ib e r a t e l y re ­ move d ? Th i s c ou l d have happened only i f the who l e o f e a r l y Chr i s t ian l i t e ra tu r e wa s c omp i l e d i n an o r gan i s ed mann e r , if , tha t i s , s omeone had i s su e d in s t ru c t ions f o r the ob l i t e rat ion of a l l a l l u s ions t o Ind ian ma t e r i a l ann the in s t ru c t ion we r e m e t icu l ou s ly c a r r ied o u t . But such an und e r tak ing wa s c l ea r l y out of th e que s t ion . For the appea ranc e of the Go s pe l s and o th e r b ooks of the New T e s tament wa s a s p on taneous proc e s s , j u s t l ik e the ap­ p e a ranc e o f the wr i t ing s o f the apos t l e s and o th e r e a r l y Ch r i s t i an au thor s . The c o inc idenc e o f s t o ry l ine s a l s o d o e s n o t nec e s ­ sar i ly po int t o b o rrowing . The "migra t i o n " of s to ry l ine s in wo r l d f o l k l ore i s a we l l -known phenomenon , a s i s the r e c u rrence of my tho l o g ic a l mo t i f s . I n h i s b o ok The Fo lk-Lore in the O ld Tes tamen t Jame s G . Fra z e r g ive s a l a rge number o f examp l e s showing how s t o r i e s in the O l d T e s tamen t r e s emb l e f o lk t a l e s and my th o l o g i c a l s t o r i e s tha t we r e wid e s pread among d i f f e rent peopl e s o f the wo r l d . He coun t s n e a r l y 1 5 0 l egend s ab ou t the f l ood a l on e . If one we re t o f o l l ow P l ange ' s approach o n e wou l d have t o c onc l u d e tha t t h e B ib l i c a l my th ab out the f l o od wa s b o r ­ rowe d f rom Au s t ra l i a , Sou th Ame r i ca a nd C e n t r a l Af r i c a .

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The same can b e s a i d of the not ion tha t God mad e man o u t of e arth o r c l ay . The re wa s a l s o a theory a c c o r d ing to wh i ch the ima g e o f Je s u s Chr i s t o r i g ina t e d n o t in S o u th As ia b u t i n C en­ t ra l As i a ( r e g i on s e a s t of the Pamir s ) . The author o f th i s theory , G r i gory P o tanin , wa s a Ru s s ian t r ave l l e r and e thn ographe r , and the theory f ound an ardent suppo r t e r and p o pu l ar i s e r i n G . K s en o f on t ov , a n e thnograph e r f rom Yak u t ia . In 1 9 1 2 Po tanin read a paper on t h e "Or ig in o f Chr i s t " b e f o r e a s o c i e ty f o r th e s t udy o f S ib e r ia i n P e t e r sburg . He wa s conv inc e d tha t Chr i s t wa s n o t a r e a l p e r son . He s a i d t h a t he had f ound a l arge numb e r o f pa­ ra l l e l s to the l egend s told in t h e Go sp e l s in the Turko ­ Mong o l i an f o lk l o r e o f the p e o p l e s o f C en t ra l As ia . He c i t e d s eve ral l eg end s and t a l e s wh ich all invo lved twe lve charac t e r s and wh i c h b o r e c l o s e re s emb l anc e s t o s t o r i e s i n the Go s p e l s . He a l s o f ound s im i l a r sub j ec t s i n Scan­ d inav ian saga s and Al ta ic t a l e s . Acc o rd ing to Po tanin , f o r in s t anc e , c ruc i f ix i on can b e f ound in f o lk t a l e s o f a l l th e p e op l e s o f North As ia . The l e g end about Chr i s t , so i t wou l d s e em , c o u l d b e f ound a l mo s t the wo r l d over . But wh ere d id i t o r i g ina t e ? Po tan in had n o doub t o n the ma t t e r : "The ma in mo t i f o f a l l the s e l egend s and t a l e s i s o f Central As ian o r even Orda s o r i g in . " ( Orda s wa s a loc a l i t y in We s t e rn Ch ina-­ I . K . ) . W i thou t tak ing the troub l e t o provide a t l e a s t some proof o f h i s the s i s Po tan in conc lude d : " Thu s , we can s e e tha t th e l eg end ab out Ch r i s t a s t o l d in the Go s p e l s i s b a sed o n the Central As ian shaman i s t ic l egend , and the image o f Chr i s t wa s crea ted a c c o rd ing to an ima g e tha t had ex i s t e d f o r many centur i e s in the d e p t h s of As ia . 11 5 P o t an in only c o n s i d e r e d i t nec e s s a ry to exp l a in how a shaman i s t ic le g end got to Chr i s t i an t e r r i t o ry , and f o r h im th i s p o s e d n o g r e a t d i f f icul ty . The l egend s o f the Ea s t , h e s a i d , cou l d have b een b rough t to southern Ru s s i a by the Kha z a r s and through them f a r ther t o the we s t and In one sou th . There we re two group s of such l e g end s . group the ma in charac t e r wa s p o r t rayed as good and v i r ­ tuou s , wh i l e i n t h e o ther--a s gro t e sque and evi l . Le gend s o f t h e f i r s t group went into the b o ok s o f the New Te s t a ­ ine n t , wh i l e l egend s o f th e s e c ond group we n t in t o Ta lmud ic 87

d e s c r ip t ion s o f Chr i s t , s p ec if i c a l l y , in the med iaeval b ook To "ldo t Ieshu . "I c on s ider th i s Jew i s h l egend [ s e t f o r th in To "ldo t Ieshu--I . K . ] , " dec l ared P o t an in wi thout any a t t emp t t o s ub s tan t ia t e his c l a im , "to b e p r e -Ch r i s ­ t ian" . 6 C l ea r l y there i s n o n e e d t o refu t e th i s ra ther fanta s t ic hypo th e s i s i f only b ec au s e it i s no t b a s e d on any f ac tual ma t e r ial . K s eno f on t ov t r ie d to provide at l ea s t s ome p r o o f o f th i s hyp o th e s i s . He regarded Chr i s t ian ity and the l e ­ g end ab ou t Chr i s t a s a var i e ty o f shaman i sm and drew a numb e r o f p a r a l l e l s b e twe en c e r t a in f eature s that are inheren t t o a l l shaman s and that a r e a l s o charac t e r i s t ic o f the ima g e of J e s u s Chr i s t . Thu s , a shaman ' s mi s s ion is that of a s av iour ; Je su s wa s a saviour . A shaman em­ b o d i e s b en evo l en t s p i r i t s ; Je s u s wa s the human emb o d iment o f the holy s p ir i t . The mo s t imp o r tant s o c ial func t i on of a shaman i s to h e a l p eo p l e with mag i c mean s ; J e su s , a c c o rd ing to the Go s p e l s , wa s mo s t ly engaged in heal ing the s ick . " Some h i s t or ian s , " s a id Kseno f on t ov , "cons ider J e su s t o be a memb e r o f the early Jew i sh sect o f the The ­ rapeu ta e . 1 1 7 Shaman s had the g i f t o f f or e s igh t and p r o ­ ph e sy ; Je s u s wa s a prophe t . Chr i s t ' s Me s s ian ic mi s s ion i s ana l ogou s to the "Me s s ian i c exp e c t a t i on s o f the peop­ l e s o f the s t ep p e s who even now , through the i r d e s c en­ dant s , the p r e s en t -day Mong o l ian p e o p l e , awa i t a s e c ond b ir th of the i r g r e a t Gengh i s Khan , the only son of the b lu e heaven and a me s s eng e r f rom ab ove " . 8 K s eno f on t ov ' s a t t emp t t o p rove the Nor th Asian o r ig in of the l eg end s t o l d in the Go s p e l s i s c l early f a r-fe tched and no t t o be t aken s e r i ou s l y . The k ind o f para l l e l s he drew c an b e f ound in the rel i g ions and my th s o f d i f f e ren t p e o p l e s in d i f f e r ent par t s of the wo rl d . I f one were t o emp l oy Ksenof on t ov ' s me thod--and t h e s ame c an b e s a i d o f P o t an in ' s approach--one wou l d have t o c onc lude that the image of Chr i s t wa s b o rrowed s imu l tan eou s l y f r om a l l the p e o p l e s of the wor l d . The r eal l y pu z z l ing th ing is why t o deny the my tn-crea t ing ab i l i ty t o the very p e op l e s among whom Chr i s t ian i ty f ound i t s f i r s t f o l l ower s and c on­ ver t s .

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The L i f e of Chr i s t As To l d in the Gos p e l s The que s t ion ab o u t b i og raph i c a l d a t a on J e s u s i s an ex t reme ly c omp l ex o n e . Ap art f rom the Go s p el s , a l l th e o the r New Te s tamen t b o ok s c on ta in me re h in t s and i s o l a t ­ ed rema rk s and r e f e r en c e s c on c e rn ing s ome even t s o r c i r­ cum s t anc e s o f J e su s ' l i f e , b u t noth ing very c onc re t e . And th e b i ograph ica l a c c oun t s in the Go spe l s are in many way s inc omp l e t e and f u l l o f c on t rad i c t ion s . In the Gos­ p e l s of Ma t thew and Luke th� a c c oun t b e g in s w i th the b i r th of Je su s , wh i l e in the o ther two Go s p e l s i t b e g in s when J e s u s wa s a l ready a gr own man and wen t to S t . John who b ap t i sed h im . B u t even in the f i r s t two Gos p e l s , a f t e r the s to ry ab ou t the immacu l a t e c oncep t i on and the b i rth of Je su s , l i t t l e i s s a id ab out Je su s ' inf ancy and ch i ldhood , and that i � t o l d as if in pas s ing and l a c k s c on s i s t ency . Thu s , a c c o rd ing to Mat thew , J e su s ' paren t s f l ed t o Egyp t in o rd e r t o save the ch i l d f rom b e ing k i l l ed by K ing Herod and re turned only a f t e r Herod ' s death . Bu t a c c o rd­ ing to Luke , Je su s ' paren t s a lmo s t imme d ia t e l y wen t to Na zareth whe r e J e su s spent h i s ch i l dhood , ado l e sc ence and you th t i l l he wa s th i r ty years of age . Of th i s p er iod o f J e su s ' l i f e Luke t o l d of only one ep i sode : when Je su s wa s twe lve year s o l d he c ame to the t emp l e o f Jeru s a l em where a l l tho s e p re s en t we re a s t on i shed b y h i s wi sdom and h i s l ea rn ing . On e can f ind a mo re d e ta i l e d and con s i s tent accoun t i n the G o s pe l s only o f tha t shor t l a s t p e r i o d o f J e su s ' l i f e wh en he taugh t and worked mirac l e s , wa s p e r s ecu t ed and put to death , when he r o s e f r om the tomb and wa s carr ied in to h eaven . I t i s f a r f rom b e ing ea sy t o ex­ t rac t f rom i t any ma t e r ia l wh i ch can be cons idered h i s ­ t o r i c a l ly authent ic . The r e i s a lack of inn e r l o g ic on many imp o r t an t po in t s ; the b ehav iour of J e s u s Chr i s t wa s s t range ly incon s i s t en t and o f t en d o e s not l end i t s e l f to ra t i ona l int e rpre tat ion . Je su s c o n s idered h imse l f to b e a p r eacher and a t eacher who s e mi s s ion wa s to reve a l the d ivine truth t o p eop l e and t o b e the ir l ea de r . Who we re the s e p e op l e ? L o g i c a l l y , they sh ou l d be Jews . Je sus wa s the Me s s iah p rom i s e d by God , and a d e s c endent of King David . Y e t Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l end s w i t h the s e wo rd s s p oken b y J e s u s 89

to h i s d i sc ip l e s : " Go y e the r e f o r e , and t each a l l na­ t ion s , b ap t i s ing th em in the name o f the Fath e r , and the Son , and o f the Ho l y Gho s t " (Ma t thew 2 8 : 1 9 ) . So i t turns out tha t the m i s s ion o f J e su s conc e rned a l l na t ion s and not j u s t I s r a e l . Wha t d id J e s u s p r each ? Th e o l d I s rae l i t e l aw p r e ­ sc r ib ed b y Yahweh and emb o d ied in th e O l d T e s t ament , o r a new f a i t h f o unded b y h im s e l f ? Aga in w e a r e c onf ron t e d w i th two c on t rad ic t ory an swer s . O n the o n e hand , t h e o l d l aw wa s inv io l ab l e . J e s u s t o l d h i s d i sc ip l e s : "And it is e a s i e r f o r heaven and e a r th to pa s s , then on e t i t t l e of the law to f a i l " (Luke 1 6 : 1 7 ) ; " Th ink no t that I am c ome t o d e s troy the l aw , o r the p r o ph e t s : I am not c ome t o de s t roy , b u t t o f u l f i l " ( Ma t thew 5 : 1 7 ) ; an d " . . . one j o t or one t i t t l e sha l l in no w i s e pa s s f rom the l aw , t i l l a l l b e f u l f i l l ed " ( Ma t thew 5 : 1 8 ) . Bu t th i s i s c on t rad i c t ed by wha t imme d ia t e l y f o l l ows i t . In the same chap t e r in Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l we f ind Je su s sy s t ema t ic a l l y r e f u t ing the e th i c a l t each ings o f the O l d Te s tamen t " l aw" , u s ing th i s f o rmu l a : "Y e have heard tha t i t hath b e en s a id , . . . Bu t I say un to y ou . . . . " Thu s J e su s expound e d h i s own t each ing on mur ­ d e r , adu l t ery , d ivo r c e , swe a r ing , re t r ib u t ion ( "an e y e f o r an eye , and a t o o th f o r a t o o th " ) and s o on . Wha t he taugh t wa s n o t ob s e rvanc e of the l aw , b u t a c o d e o f c onduc t that wen t aga in s t the l aw . Seve r a l o t h e r e p i ­ s o d e s d e sc r ib ed i n t h e Go s p e l s a l s o show tha t Je s u s d id not s t r ic t ly f o l l ow O l d Te s tament in j unc t i on s . Wh en h i s d i s c ip l e s p lucked e a r s o f c o rn on a sabba th , t h ereby b reak ing t h e l aw wh ich f o rb ade wo rk on th e sab b a th day ( a s in pun i shab l e b y death accor d ing t o the O l d Te s ta­ men t ) , and wh en th i s wa s c a l l ed t o J e su s ' a t tent ion , Je s u s r ep l ied , r e f e r r ing t o the p rec edent s e t by King Davi d : " Th e sabba th wa s mad e f o r man , and not man f o r the sabba th " (Ma rk 2 : 2 7 ) . Je s u s h ea l ed p e o p l e on the sabb a th day , wh ich wa s a l s o a s in a c c o r d ing to th e o l d b e l ief s . Ac c ompan ied by h i s d i s c i p l e s Je su s wen t ab ou t the Some t ime s h e c oun t ry , p r each ing and work ing mirac l e s . s a i d tha t h e p e r f o rmed mi rac l e s i n o r d e r t o r evea l God ' s g l o ry . Th i s u s ua l l y took p l ac e when l a rg e numb e r s of p e o p l e had ga the r e d . Yet for some rea s on J e s u s mo r e 90

th a n o n c e enj o ined tho s e who w i t n e s s ed h i s dee d s t o keep t o t he ms e l v e s wh a t they had seen and heard . He told a l e pe r wh om he had hea l e d : " See thou say no th ing t o any I n s t e ad of do ing wha t Je s u s b a d e h im , man " (Ma rk 1 : 4 4 ) . th e he a l ed man "wen t o u t , and b e gan t o pub l i sh i t much , and to b l a z e ab road the ma t t e r " , and as a re s u l t " Je su s c ou l d n o mo re openly en t e r the c i ty , b u t wa s w i th o u t in Bu t apparen t l y they were n o t "de s e r t de se r t plac e s " . p l a c e s " , f o r p e o p l e " c ame to h i m f rom every quar t e r " Je su s wa s soon back in the c i ty : "And (Ma rk 1 : 4 5 ) aga in he en t e r e d in t o Capernaum a f t e r s ome day s " (Mark 2 : 1 ) , wh ere he p reached and wo rked mirac l e s b e f o r e l a rge ga the r ings of peop l e . Je su s f o rb a d e his d i s c i p l e s to t e l l p eo p l e tha t he wa s Ch r i s t , that i s , the Me s s iah (Ma rk 8 : 3 0 ; Luke 9 : 2 1 ) . On o th e r o c c a s ions , howeve r , he o p en l y ref erred t o h i ms e l f a s the Me s s iah . .

Ju s t b e f o re h i s a r r e s t , f o r e s e e ing wha t wou l d ha p ­ pen t o h im , h e sa i d t o h i s d i sc i p l e s : " h e that ha th a pu r s e , l e t h im t ake i t , and l ikew i s e h i s s c r i p : and he tha t hath no swo rd , l e t him se l l h i s ga rmen t , and buy one " ( Luke 2 2 : 36 ) . "And they s a i d , Lord , b eh o l d , h e r e are two swo rd s . An d he s a i d un t o them , i t i s enough " (Luke 2 2 : 3 8 ) . S o the d i s c i p l e s we re p re p a r e d t o re s i s t . Bu t th ing s t o ok a d i f f e rent turn . When p e op l e c ame t o arre s t J e s u s the d i s c i p l e s " saw wha t wou ld f o l l ow , they s a i d un t o h im , L o rd , sha l l we smi t e w i th the sword ? And one o f them smo t e the s e rvant of the h igh p r i e s t , and c u t o f f h i s r i gh t ear . And Je s u s an swered and sa id , Suf f e r ye thu s f a r . And he touched h i s ear , and hea l e d h im" (Luke 2 2 : 4 9 -5 1 ) . S o i t wa s n o t nec e s sary to buy swo r d s af t e r a l l , and even tho s e the d i sc i p l e s had we re not rea l l y needed . •

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Erne s t Renan has rea s on t o s ay c onc ern ing th i s and s im i l a r e p i sod e s : "We mu s t no t l o ok here f o r e i ther l o ­ g ic or c on s i s t ency . 1 1 9 Ind e e d , t h e b ehav i ou r o f J e s u s a s h e appeared i n t h e Go s pe l s s eems i l l o g i ca l . Can th i s b e taken a s an a rgumen t aga i n s t the h i s to r i c i ty o f Je­ sus ? N o t exac t l y . Throughou t th e age s , j u s t a s now , p eop l e a t t ime s d id n o t ac t l o g i c a l ly . Und er the sway o f emo t ions a p er son can do wha t i s c on t r a ry t o h i s b e l i e f s and c on­ vi c t i o n s . Indeed , one ' s b e l i e f s and c onv i c t ions may be 91

inc on s i s t en t and c on t r a d i c t o ry . Thu s , a p e r s on may do wha t he f orb i d s o th e r s t o d o , o r , on the c on t rary , do e s n o t d o wha t h e says o th e r s shou l d do . Such b ehav iour c an hardly be r e garded as honourab l e or p ra i s ewor thy , b u t unf o r tun a t e l y i t c an b e ob s erved in l if e , and no t s o rarely e i ther . I t i s no t hard to imag ine tha t the h i s to r ic a l J e s u s a c t e d in j u s t such a way . Bu t the natural a s we l l a s s o c ial and h i s t o r i c a l envir onment i n wh ich J e su s l ived and a c t ed , a s d e s c r ib e d i n the Go s pe l s , i s a l t o g e th e r a d i f f erent ma t t e r . In order to a s s e s s the G o s p e l s a s h i s to r i c a l sourc e s it i s imp o r tant t o d e t e rmine t o wha t ex t en t the d e s c r ip t ion they g ive of that env ironment is a c c ura t e or at l e a s t p l au s ib le . An d h e r e w e f ind tha t the cour s e and s e qu ence o f even t s r e la t ing t o the l if e of Jesus a r e p o r t rayed d i f f erent ly in d if f erent Go s pe l s and a r e in many p l ac e s f a c tua l l y ina c c u r a t e o r e rr oneou s . Acc o r d ing t o the Evange l ic a l t r ad i t ion , J e s u s wa s b o rn in B e th l ehem , a sma l l t own south of J e ru s a l em . But s ince J e su s ' p a r en t s l ived far in the north , in Nazare th, it i s s a i d that a t the t ime of J e s u s ' b ir th they had c ome s p ec ia l ly t o B e th l ehem where a p o pu l a t ion c en su s wa s b e ing taken : " And i t c ame t o p a s s in tho s e day s , tha t there went o u t a d e c r e e f rom Cae sar Augu s tu s , tha t a l l t h e wo r l d shou l d b e taxed . And th i s tax ing wa s f ir s t made when Cyren iu s wa s governor o f Sy r i a . And a l l wen t t o b e taxe d , every o n e in to h i s own c i ty . And Jo s eph a l so wen t up f rom Ga l i l e e , out o f the c i ty of Nazare th , in to Judea , un t o the c i ty o f Dav id , wh ich i s c a l l ed Be thl ehem ; b e c au s e he wa s of the hou s e and l ineage o f Dav i d " (Luke 2 : 1 -4 ) . Th ere i s a who l e l i t erature on the sub j ec t of th i s c e n su s . I n h i s three-vo l ume s tudy ( 1 9 0 1 ) o f the h i s t o ry of the Jew i sh p e op l e a t the t ime of J e s u s Chr i s t , the we l l -known German h i s tor ian Em i l Schurer l i s t s in h i s b ib l iography (i f ty-f ive wo rk s devo ted t o the ab ove -qu o t e d p a s sage f rom Luke . Af ter surrnn ing up the i r f ind ing s i n a l ong chap ter Schurer d raws the f o l l owing conc lu s ion s : " H i s t o ry kn ows of no general s t a t e c e n s u s at the t ime o f Augu s tu s 1 1 1 0 ; " . . . i n order to b e inc l uded i n t h e Roman c e n s u s Jo s eph d id no t have to go to Be th l ehem toge ther wi th Mary" 1 1 ; in general no Roman censu s c ou l d have " .





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b e en taken in Pa l e s t ine dur ing the ru l e o f King Hero d 1 1 1 2 ; "Jo s ephu s F l av iu s kn ew no th ing ab out a Roman c en s u s in ­ Pa l e s t ine dur ing the ru l e o f He ro d , and wha t i s mo re , h e s p ok e o f a c ensu s t aken i n the s even th year of o u r e r a [ i . e . , t h r e e or f o u r y e a r s a f t e r t h e d e a t h o f Hero d -­ I. K . ] a s some th ing new and unp rec eden t e d 11 1 3 ; and "a c en­ su s c ou l d no t have b e en t aken dur ing th e ru l e of Her o d un der Cy ren iu s , f or Cyren iu s wa s n e v e r t h e gove rno r o f Sy r ia i n Herod ' s l i f e t ime " . 1 4 So the s t ory ab ou t Je su s b e ing b o rn in B e t h l ehem mu s t b e d i s c a rded a s unt ru e , and th i s s tory is o f _ no sma l l s ignif i c anc e . S ome even t s d e s c r ib e d in the Go s p e l s wou l d c e r t a in­ ly have b e en n o t ed by c o n t empo ra r i e s if they had r ea l l y taken p l ac e . Th i s d o e s no t r e f e r t o the ear thquake and s o l a r ec l ip se wh ich supp o s ed l y oc curred throughou t the e a r th wh en J e su s wa s cruc i f ied , for the s e obv iou s l y b e­ l ong to the realm o f mytho l o gy . But s ome of the even t s d e s c r ib e d c ou l d have taken p l a c e , such a s the s l augh t er of the infant s in B e t h l ehem by o r de r s of King Herod who thou gh t that the newb o rn J e su s woul d b e among th em . We know f r om wr i t ing s of tha t t ime tha t King Herod wa s a tyran t and wa s r e s p on s ib l e f o r many b l oody d e e d s . But there wa s no men t ion o f th i s inc i dent anywh e r e . Fo r the Evange l i s t s i t wa s nec e s s a ry , however , that J e su s shou l d be b o rn in B e th l ehem b e c au s e a we l l -known p roph e sy in th e O l d T e s tame n t s a i d : " Bu t thou , Bethl ehem Ephra tah , though thou be l i t t l e among the thou s and s o f Judah , ye t ou t of t h e e sha l l h e c ome f o r th un t o me tha t i s to be r u l e r in I s ra e l ; who s e g o in g s f o r th have b een f rom o f o l d , f rom eve rl a s t ing " (Micah 5 : 2 ) . And s in c e J e s u s wa s t o b e a de s c enden t o f Dav i d h e wou l d h ave t o b e b o rn in Be thl ehem wh i ch , a c c o r d ing t o t h e O l d T e s t a ­ men t , wa s t h e s e a t o f the hou s e o f Dav i d . Bu t a s we have seen , the s tory ab ou t the c en s u s wh ich pre sumab ly b rought J e s u s ' paren t s to B e th l ehem , i s no t h i s t o r ic a l l y au th ent i c . Al s o l ack ing in h i s t o r i c a l au then t ic ity i s the c i ty o f Nazare th where J e s u s i s s a id t o have spent h i s c h i l d­ hood and y o u th . The f a c t i s that there wa s no such c i ty a t that t ime . We s t ern archae o l og is t s have aga in and a ga in excava t e d the area where Nazare th shou l d have b e en s i tuated , b u t have f ound no th ing a p a r t f r om s ome in s ig 93

n i f icant trac e s of human hab i t a t ion-- sku l l s and deb r i s . S ome o f the r e su l t s of the a rchae o l o g i c a l s earch f o r t h e c i ty o f N a z a r e th a r e f ound i n t h e b o ok The Bib le and Archaeo logy by J . A . Thomp s on . Thomp s on has no doub t tha t Na z a r e th ex i s t ed i n the t ime of J e s u s . To s up p o r t h i s the s i s h e inc l ud e s in h i s b o ok two pho t o graph s o f mod e rn Nazare th . The c a p t ion f o r one o f t h e p i c ture s say s tha t i t p e rhap s shows many p l ac e s whe r e J e su s c ou l d . have wa lked . 1 5 Thomp s on i s enthu s ia s t ic ab out wha t h e ca l l s the exc i t ing d i s c over ie s of modern archa e o l o gy wh ich c onf i rm the B ib l ic a l inf o rma t ion , and a s a re su l t we now have a l l the p r o o f tha t i s requ i r e d . Bu t how abou t Na zare th ? It ex i s te d and i t s geograph i c a l l o c a t i on c an b e e a s i l y e s t ab l i sh e d , 1 6 al though , Thomp s on c on­ c e de s , p r e s en t archaeo l o g i c a l knowl edge ab ou t Nazare th is l im i t e d . The undoub t e d f ac t i s , Thomp s on a cknowl edg e s, that t o day Na zare th can g ive u s very l i t t l e r e l i ab l e ma­ t e r ial ab ou t i t s e l f . S ome au tho r s , no t e s Thomp s on , even th ink that Naz a r e th of the New Te s t amen t c o u l d have b een s i tua t e d at some d i s t ance f r om the mo dern c i ty of Naza­ r e th . 1 7 In o t h e r word s , on the que s t ion o f Nazare th ther e i s l i t t l e archae o l o gy can o f f e r that woul d suppo r t t h e theo ry tha t Chr i s t had a h i s t o r ic a l ex i s tenc e . .





The name Na zar e th f ir s t appe a r e d in the N ew T e s t a ­ ment . The r e i s no men t ion o f i t in t h e O l d Te s tamen t , inc lud ing among the tens o f towns conqu e r e d by Jo shua . I t i s no t t o b e f ound e i ther among the f o r ty-f ive c i t ie s men t ion ed in the wr i t ing s o f Jo s ephus F l a v iu s . There can hard l y b e any doub t tha t a t the t ime Jesus i s s a id to have l ived no such c i ty ex i s te d , and tha t i t wa s p u t int o the b io graphy o f J e su s by the Evang e l i s t s s ome t ime l a t e r . The r e are a l s o many geogra ph i c a l e r r o r s in the Go s ­ p el s . F o r examp l e , i t i s s a i d tha t there wa s "a great herd o f swine f ee d ing" ( Mark 5 : 1 1 ) in " the c oun t ry o f t h e Gadarene s " (Mark 5 : 1 ) on t h e sho r e o f Lake Genne sa­ r e t . Bu t Gada rene s is s it u a t e d f a r f rom the l ake . Af t erwa rd s O r i gen ( c a . 1 8 5 - 2 5 3 / 2 54 ) int roduced a c o r r e c ­ t ion i n th e narrat ive by sugge s t ing tha t t h e even t t ook p l a c e in Ge rge s ene s , wh ich ind e e d l ie s on the sho re of the l ake . Bu t in Mark ' s Go s p e l the p l a c e i s c a l l e d Ga­ darene s , no t Ge rg e s ene s . The rou te s f o l l owed by J e s u s 94

For a s he t r a v e l l e d in P a l e s t ine a r e a l s o c u r i ou s . wen t f rom Tyre to S id on th rou gh D e c a po li s h e e , p l am ex wh ich wa s s i t u a t e d f a r f r om the road b e t w e e n t h e s e two c i t ie s . And the r e s id enc e of Po n t i u s P i l a t e wa s no t i n Je ru s a l em , b u t i n Cey z e r i a t . App a r en t l y the Evange l i s t s d id n o t know the geo gra­ ph i c a l and natural c ond i t ions of Pa l e s t ine , or kn ew them only by hear s ay . In d e s c r ib ing the t rave l s of J e s u s they u s ed such g ene r a l phra s e s a s " to t h e s e a " , " t o the moun ta in" , o r "on the way " . Winter in Pa l e s t in e c an b e q u i t e c o l d , e sp e c i a l l y in the moun t a in s , b u t none o f t h e E vange l i s t s spok e o f J e su s f ee l ing c o l d o r b e ing warmly d r e s s e d on any o c c a s ion . As for p l a n t s and anima l s , the one s men t ioned in the Go sp e l s we r e no t then c onnno n in Pa l e s t ine but wer e u s u a l ly f ound in o th e r Med i t e rranean r e g i o n s . When men t ion wa s made o f an imal s and p l ant s d e s c r ip­ tha t d id ex i s t i n P a l e s t ine , the Evange l i s t s ' t ion s o f them ar� obv i o u s l y e r r oneou s . F o r examp l e , mu s tard , a herb a l p l an t , wa s s p oken of a s a l a r g e t r e e w i th many b ranch e s ( Luke 1 3 : 1 9 ) . The Evange l i s t s wer e a l s o unfami l iar w i th the c u s ­ t oms and manner s o f anc i en t Pal e s t ine . Some o f the ep i sode s d e s c r ib e d in the Go s p e l s cou l d no t have taken p l a c e or at l ea s t are n o t l ike l y to have taken p l a c e in Pa l e s t in e at tha t t ime . For in s tanc e , i t is h igh l y un­ l ik e l y tha t the daugh t e r o f a queen wou l d dan c e at a pub ­ l ic b anqu e t ( Mat thew 1 4 : 6 ; Ma rk 6 : 2 2 ) , f or such danc e s wou l d b e p er f o rmed b y "adu l t e re s s e s " , women o f humb l e or ig in . B e s i d e s , i t i s a known f a c t tha t Sal ome , daugh ­ t e r o f t h e queen in t h e ep i sode d e sc r ib e d , wa s no t a young g i r l b u t a w i dow . The ep i sode abo u t J e s u s ca s t in g ou t t rade r s and money change r s f rom the temp l e i s a l s o imp laus ib l e . Th e r e wer e no t rader s and money change r s in the t emp l e , and no money chan g in g t o ok p l a c e ther e . Trad ing in sacr i f i c ia l anima l s wa s carr ied out in s tr e e t s near the t emp l e , and th i s wa s nece s s ary s in c e the sacr i f i c ing o f In tho s e c i r c um­ an ima l s wa s p a r t o f pub l ic wo r sh ip . s t anc e s no one wou l d have a l l owed J e s u s t o ac t a s he d i d ; mo s t l ik e l y Je su s wou l d have b een seve r e l y b e a t en or s t ra i gh t away k i l l e d f o r c onnn i t t ing such an ou t rage . The Go s p e l s f requent l y men t ion Roman s o l d ie r s , l e 95

g ionna ir e s . Howeve r , th e r e wer e no l e g i onna i r e s in P a ­ l e s t ine a t t h a t t ime , o n l y au:x:i Zia , o r aux i l i a ry s o l d ie r s r e c ru i t ed f rom among t h e l oc a l popu l a t i on . As f o r th e l e g ionna ire s , they appeared in Pal e s t ine only dur ing the Jewish War o f 6 6 - 7 3 . And i t is c er t a inly s trange that Roman l e g i onna i r e s shou l d be a c qu a in t ed w i th the O l d T e s tamen t wh ich they s ome t ime s quo t e d (John 1 9 : 2 4 ) . The ac count o f J e su s ' t r ia l , b o th in general and in s ome of i t s d e ta i l s , i s imp l au s ib l e . J e su s c o u l d n o t have been t r ie d e i th e r on the eve o f the P a s s over o r during i t , f o r t r i a l s we r e n o t h e l d a t n i gh t and i t wa s f orb idden t o ho l d t r ia l e i ther on re l i g i o u s h o l iday s o r o n t h e e v e o f such h o l i day s . In the p e r i o d in que s t ion the Sanhedr in had no r igh t t o c onduc t t r ia l s ; only the Roman autho r i t i e s had such r igh t . And in the days when the Sanhed r in s t i l l exe r c i s e d such r i gh t , t r ia l s we re h e l d not in the hou s e o f the h i gh p r i e s t , but in the temp l e . The in s t rume n t of exec u t i on wa s n o t a c r o s s , b u t a po s t w i th a c ro s sb eam in the shape o f the l e t t e r "T" .

The b ehav iour of P il a t e a s de s c r ib ed in the Go sp e l s i s p u z z l ing . He wa s inf o rmed that J e s u s c a l l ed h ims e l f K ing o f the Jews , and J e su s h ims e l f d i d n o t deny i t . I t wou l d s e em that the Roman governo r sho u l d b e s e r iou s l y c onc erned ab o u t thi s , f o r h e r e wa s a n insurre c t i on i s t who apparen t l y wan t e d t o over thr ow Roman rul e in P a l e s ­ t ine and e s tab l is h h i s own p ower . Y e t the p rocura t o r o f Judea f ound no f au l t wi th J e s u s o r with h i s in t en t ions and in f a c t t r i e d in eve ry way t o s ave h im un t i l the Jews thre a t ened to inf o rm the au thor i t i e s in Rome ab ou t i t . P i la t e wa s known t o b e a c r u e l and ruthl e s s man , and s o h i s h e s i t a t ion in deal ing w i th J e s u s and h i s a t t emp t s t o s ave h im s e em s t range indee d . The r e are many p o in t s o f d i f f e r enc e b e tween the Go s p e l s as r egard s the l if e of J e su s , b e g inn ing wi th the que s t i on o f lri s l ineage . If we a c c e p t the my th ab o u t the v irg in b ir th , th ere is n o que s t i on o f g eneal ogy a t a l l : J e su s wa s the son of God through the agency o f the ho ly sp i r i t and there wou l d be no need t o d i s c over who h i s anc e s t o r s were . Bu t in the Go sp e l s the g ene a l o gy of J e su s wa s neve r th e­ l e s s g iven , f o r i t wa s nec e s s a ry t o show tha t J e s u s wa s 96

o f th e l inea ge o f King Dav i d . From the Chr i s t ian p o int o f v i ew , theref o r e , the gene a lo gy can only be f ic t i t iou s , though i t wa s s t i l l needed . The r e are in fac t ent i r e ly In Mat thew ' s Go s p e l the geneal o ­ d i f f e rent genea l o g i e s . g y b egan with Ab raham , and the r e wer e f o r ty-two genera­ t ions b e f or � J e s u s . The neare s t e l even f o rb ea r s of J e s u s were : Zerubbab e l , Ab iud , E l iak im , Azor , Sadoc , Achim , El iud , E l eazor , Ma than , Jacob and Jo s eph, f a ther of Je s u s In Luke ' s Go s p e l the geneal o gy b e ­ (Ma t thew 1 : 1 3- 1 6 ) . gan with Adam , and there wer e f if ty - s ix generat ions b e t ­ ween Ab raham and J e su s , no t f o r ty-two a s i n Mat thew . The near e s t e l even f o rb ea r s of Je s u s wer e : E s l i , Nahum , Amo s , Mat ta t h ia s , Jo s eph , Jannna , Mel ch i , Lev i , Ma t that , He l i and Jo s eph , f a th e r o f J e s u s ( Luke 3 : 23 - 25 ) . The two Go s p e l s a l s o d if f e r as to the name s of the o ther ance s to r s of Je su s up t o Ab raham . So he re i s an obvious contrad ic t ion . Almo s t f rom the moment of J e s u s ' b i r th , h i s parent s had to save h im f r om the wrath of He rod : they f l ed t o Egyp t where they l ived unt i l He rod d ie d . That i s wha t Ma t thew ' s Go spel t e l l s u s ( 2 : 1 4 , 1 5 ) . I n Luke the r e i s n o ment ion wha t ever o f the f l ight to Egypt . Je s u s and h i s paren t s l ived in Pa l e s t in e a l l the i r l ive s . And on th i s que s t ion , too , the Go s pe l s g ive contrad ic t o ry ver­ s ions . In the Syno p t i c Go s pe l s Je s u s l ived in Gal i l e e In b efore h e b egan h i s min i s try a t the a g e o f thirty . read ing John ' s Go s p e l one ge t s the imp re s s ion that J e s u s l ived a l l h i s l if e in Je ru s a l em . Ac cord ing t o Mat thew ( 3 : 1 3 - 1 6 ) and Mark ( 1 : 9 ) , Jesus wa s bap t i sed b y S t . John . But accord ing t o Luk e (3 : 2 0- 2 1 ) , J e s u s 'bapt i s ed h ims e l f a n d S t . John wa s in p r i son at that t ime . There are innumerab l e contrad i c ­ t ions regard ing d e t a i l s o f Je s u s ' l if e a s d e s c r ib e d b y t h e Evange l i s t s . What wa s t h e name o f t h e twe l f th ap o s t l e ? "Lebb eu s , who s e surname wa s Thaddeu s " , says Mat thew ( 1 0 : 3 ) . " Juda s I s ca r io t " , says Luke ( 6 : 1 6 ) . Ac cord ing to Ma t thew , Je s u s went to Je ru sa l em four day s b e f o re Pa s s over ; accord ing t o John , the f igure wa s f ive . In Ma t thew ( 2 7 : 44 ) b o th th i eve s who were c ruc i f i e d with Je su s in su l ted Je su s . In Luke ( 2 3 : 3 9 -4 2 ) one o f the thieve s "ra i le d " a t Je sus wh i l e the o ther turned to Je sus w i th a praye r . 97

There i s no a g r e ement b e tween the Go s p e l s even on such an imp o rtant even t a s Chr i s t ' s appearanc e af t e r h i s re surrec t ion . In John , Je s u s appeared f i r s t to Mary Magda l ene and th en to h i s d i sc ip l e s ( 2 0 : 1 4 -2 4 ) . In Luke , Je su s appeared f ir s t to two men prev iou s ly n o t men t ioned ( th e name of o n e o f t h e m i s g iven a s C l eopa s ) and then imme d ia t e l y t o a l l the apo s t l e s , exc e p t Juda s who had apparen t l y hanged h ims e l f a l r eady ( 24 : 1 3 -36 ) . In Mark , Je s u s appeared f ir s t to Mary Magdal ene , then t o two of the apo s t l e s and f ina l ly to a l l the other apo s t l e s ( 1 6 : 9 - 1 4 ) . In Ma t thew , Je su s app eared f i r s t t o Mary Magdal ene and anothe r woman c al l ed Mary (we are no t to l d who she wa s ) ( 2 8 : 1 -9 ) . The examp l e s c i t e d ab ove a r e prob ab l y suf f ic ient t o g ive an i d e a o f t h e d i s c repanc i e s b e twe en f ac tual d e ­ ta i l s conce rn ing t h e l i f e and p e r s onal i ty o f J e s u s a s t o l d in the Go s p e l s . Year a f t e r year hund red s of scho l a r s - -h i s t o r ian s , ph i l o l og i s t s and t h e o l o g ians - -had p e r s i s tent ly s e arche � t h e New Te s tamen t , e s p ec i a l l y t h e Go s p e l s , f o r mat e r i a l o n the b a s i s o f wh ich a b io graphy o f Je s u s cou l d b e wr i t t en . An d in the end they c ame t o a conc l u s ion the g i s t o f wh ich is s t a te d in none o ther than a Luthe ran school textb o ok f o r the c ou r s e " In t r o duc t ion to the New Te s tament " : " The Go s p e l s are not a record of h i s t ory e i ther in the mod e rn o r anc ient mean ing of th i s wo rd ; they r e p r e s en t a s p e c i al l i t e rary g enre . The mod e rn h i s to r ian mu s t inve s t iga t e every e p i s o d e c onnec t ed w i t h Je s u s a n d e v e r y word spoken by h im i n order t o d e t er ­ m i n e whe the r they b e l ong t o t h e t ime when J e s u s l ived ; and only in a f ew c a s e s the inve s t igat ions have y ie l de d def in i t e r e su l t s . 11 1 8 Y e t t en s , i f not hundred s , o f author s , u s ing no other ma te r i a l than the Go s pe l s , have pub l i sh ed b ooks purp o r t ing t o b e b io g raph i e s o f Je s u s . Are th e s e b ook s wo r th read ing ? The an swer t o th i s que s t ion may b e sought in Alb e r t Schwe it z e r ' s monumental work on Je s u s , wh i ch wa s f ir s t pub l i shed in 1 9 06 and sub s equen t l y rep r in t ed many t ime s . And in a l l th e e d i ­ t ions , inc l u d ing t h e o n e wh ich came ou t i n 1 9 6 6 ( Schwe i­ t z er d ie d in 1 9 6 5 ) , there i s the f o l l owing c onc lu s ion : " Th e J e su s f rom Na z a r e t h who appeared a s t h e Me s s iah , p reached the moral s o f the d iv ine k ingdom , e s tab l i shed 98

t he h e avenl y k ingdom on earth and d ie d so that h i s d e e d s It is co u l d b e s anc t if i ed--th i s Je su s never ex i s t e d . an ima g e r e j ec t e d b y rat ional ism , r e su r re c t ed by l ib e ­ ra l i sm and dre s s ed by modern theo l o gy i n h i s t o r i c a l 1 9 Th i s ima g e had b e en sha t t ered . By whom? c l o th in g . 11 B y i l l - int ent i oned c r i t ic s f rom among the r a t iona l i s t s ? No , say s S chwe i t z er , " i t i s not d e s t r oyed f rom w i thout , but c rumb l ed wi th in i t s e l f , shak en and spl i t b y ac tual h i s t o r ic a l prob l ems wh ich have c ome u p one a f t e r ano ther dur ing the l a s t one hundred and f i f ty yea r s in the th e o l ogy ab ou t Je su s , in s p i t e of a l l the t r icks , a r t , a r t if i c e and f o rc ing r e s o r t e d to , p rob l ems wh ich have b e en rep e a t ed l y so lved and , j u s t af t er hav­ ing b een bur ied , have reappeare d , though in a new f o rm . 1 1 2 0 The theo l o g ian acknowl edges that " t h e h i s t o r i ­ cal J e s u s c an no l onger s e rve mod e rn the o l o gy " . He i s even r e ady t o adm i t tha t " the h i s t o r i c a l f oundat ions o f Chr i s t ian i ty , a s they wer e under s t o o d b y rat ional i s t ic , l ib eral and modern theo l og i an s , no l onger ex i s t 1 1 . 2 1 .



.

True , i t i s d i f f i cu l t t o und e r s tand Schwe i t z e r ' s p o s i t ion on the que s t ion o f whe ther Chr i s t is a h i s t o r i ­ c a l or a my th i c a l f igure . On the one hand , he a t t acks the my th o l o g i c a l s c h o o l and rej ec t s i t s c oncept ion o f Chr i s t ; bu t o n t h e o t h e r hand , h e wr it e s : " J e s u s i s of s ome s ign if i c ance t o our worl d , f o r f rom h im f l ows a powe r f u l s p ir itual curren t tha t p e r ­ vad e s our t ime . Th i s f ac t c an ne i t h e r b e refut ed nor val idat e d by h i s t o r i c a l knowl edge . Th ere ex i s t s an o p i ­ n ion t h a t Je su s c an mean mo r� t o u s if h e c ame t o man­ k ind a s a human b e ing . Bu t th i s i s imp o s s ib l e . F ir s t , b ec au se th i s J e s u s n ever ex i s t ed . And a l s o b ec au s e h i s ­ t o r ic a l r e s earch c an thr ow l i gh t o n the qu e s t ion o f the sp ir itual l i f e of Je su s , b u t it c anno t c a l l h im to life . 112 2 S o wha t ma t e r i a l c an b e ex trac t ed f rom the New T e s ­ tament , and f ir s t o f a l l t h e Go s p e l s , t h a t c an b e u s e d f o r e s t ab l i s h ing t h e h i s to r ic i t y o f Je s u s ? The r e p l y g iven b y S chwe i t z er , a f t e r mak ing a n ana l y s i s of a l l t h e l i t erature o n t h e qu e s t ion " f rom Re imarus t o Wrede " , i s tha t the r e i s none . The f ramework o f t h e l if e of Je s u s a s g iven i n the Syno p t i c Go s p e l s i s not au thent ic , and mor e ove r , a l mo s t a l l the v i t al d e t a i l s n ec e s sary f o r a 99

b io graphy of J e su s are no t re l iab l e . 2 3 S chwe i t ze r ' s conc lu s ion i s corrob o r a t e d b y many mod e rn theo l o g ian s . Tak e , f o r ins t anc e , the German Pro­ t e s tant theo_l o g ian W . Kiimme l , a New Te s tamen t s pec i a l i s t . Towa r d s the end o f the 1 9 th c entury the op inion wa s widely h e l d that Mark ' s Go s p e l wa s mo re re l iab l e f rom a h i s tor i c a l p o in t of v i ew than the o ther three Go s p e l s . A careful s tudy o f Logo s ( " Say ing s " of Je su s , a document o f wh �ch only f ragmen t s have c ome down to u s ) , previou s ­ ly thought t o b e the ma in s ourc e o f Mark ' s Go s p e l , and re search i n t o t h e oral t rad i t i on wh ich c o u l d have served as a b a s is o f th is Go s p e l , show , s a id Kumm.e l , tha t " th e p o s s ib i l i ty t o f o rm a h i s t or i c a l l y r e l iab l e p ic ture o f the l if e a n d t each ing o f Je su s on t h e b a s i s o f Mark ' s Go s p e l mu s t b e c on s i d e red doub t f u l or l imit ed 1 1 . 2 4 Kiimmel c i t e d in th i s c onnec t ion the o p in ions of the Prot e s tant theo l o g ian s M . Kah l e r and Rudo l f Bul tmann . In 1 8 9 2 Kah l e r pub l i sh e d a b ook ent i t l ed About the So -Ca l led His torica l Je sus and the His torica l Bib lica l Chris t . 2 5 I t s ma in idea i s tha t i t i s imp o s s ib l e f o r

theo l o g ians t o der ive Chr i s t ' s t ea ch ing o n the b a s i s o f h i s b io g raphy a s t o l d in t h e Go s p e l s . I t w i l l b e t o l it t l e purpo s e , Kah l er s a i d , t o u s e t h e unr e l i ab l e and dub iou s r e su l t s of r e s earch int o the tex t s of the Go s p e l s b e c au s e there wa s s impl y no ma t er ial in the t ex t s f o r s u c h r e s earch .

Such o p inions are h e l d mo s t ly by P r o t e s t ant author s . Forme r l y Catho l i c theo l og ians a c cu s e d such au tho r s o f r a t iona l i sm , n ih il i sm and o th e r o f f enc e s , b u t now they thems elve s are comp el l ed to take the s ame po s i t ion as regard s the l if e o f Je su s as t o l d in the New Te s tamen t . The Po l i s h r e l i g i o u s s c ho l a r Z . Pon i a t owsk i h a s no t e d in t h i s c onnec t ion : "Of l a t e Catho l ic B ib l i c a l s c ho l a r s have a l s o b e en s t re s s ing t h e f a c t t h a t t h e G o s p e l s d o no� g ive a b io graphy of Je s u s i n t h e s t r i c t s en s e of the wo rd . 1 1 26 And h e re f er s t o a b o ok b y V . Tr il l ing wh ich deal s w i th the p rob l ems of the h i s t o r i c a l Je s u s ( L e i p ­ z ig , 1 9 6 5 ) and c o n t a in s a chap t e r ent i t l ed "Why i s the re no ' L i f e o f Chr i s t ' ? " What are Chr i s t ian theo l o g ian s to do then , the cen­ t ra l f i gure of the Chr i s t ian dogma b e ing Je sus who wa s 1 00

both man and God ? One obviou s way o u t i s to s eparat e " h o l y h i s t o ry" f r om " r e a l h i s t o r y " , empha s i s ing a " r ea l " imag e of Ch r i s t , and t h a t turn s o u t t o b e n o t the ima g e of the h i s t o r i c a l Je su s , the sub j e c t of modern r e s earch , b u t the imag e of Chr i s t who p r eached thr ough t h e apo s to­ l i c wi tne s s e s . Th i s in fact i s an ind i r e c t admi s s ion that the a c c oun t s o f Je s u s the man as g iven in the Gos ­ pe l s are no t h i s t o r ic a l ly t r u s two rt hy . A f ew decad e s l a t e r the s ame idea was exp re s s ed b y Rudo l f Bul tmann , who i n s evera l o f h i s b ook s "demy tho l o ­ g i s ed" t h e sub j e c t . He r e in f o r c e d t h e no t ion o f h o l y h i s t ory , a s a mean s o f e sc ap e , w i t h t h e not ion o f kerygma Acc o r d ing to Bul tmann , there i s no need to go f u r th e r than kerygma f o r a r e c on s t ruc t ion of the h i s t o r i c a l J e s u s The L o r d i s no t the h i s t o r ic a l Je su s , b u t J e s u s Chr i s t p reached b y o ther s , h e s a i d . 2 7 In c i t ing such ma t er i a l Klinnne l b e c ame apprehen s ive : wi l l an open admi s s ion o f the f ac t that the h i s t o r ic a l Je su s i s a n imag inary f igu re c a l l i n que s t ion N e w T e s t a ­ men t theol ogy and Chr i s t iani ty a s a who l e ? Kiinnne l a cknowl edged tha t th i s c r e a t ed an awkwa rd s i tu a t ion . The que s t ion c annot s imp ly be d i s mi s s e d . The h i s t o r ian e s pec i a l l y c anno t evade it , f o r i f h e w i s h ­ e s t o und e r s tand the o r i g in s o f Chr i s t ian i t y h e wil l have t o know s ome th ing ab out Je su s . Even the ord inary b e l iever wou l d not read i l y agree to d i smi s s ing the que s ­ t ion . F o r h e " ac c ep t s the doc t r in e ab o u t the r e surr e c ­ t ion o f Je s u s Chr i s t through t h e t e s t imon i e s o f the apo s t l e s and b e l ieve s in i t , and f ind s in it c onf irma t i ­ o n o f t h e f a c t that t h e re surrec t e d Lord i s the Je su s f r om Na z a r e th and tha t s ome of the wi tne s s e s o f the r e ­ surr ec t i on had b een wi th h im dur ing h i s min i s t ry on ear th" . 2 8 I t f o l l ow s tha t " f a ith , if i t i s t o b e awa r e o f i t s me s sage , t h a t i s , i f i t t r i e s t o c ompr eh end i t ­ s e l f i n theo l o g ical t e rms , i s v i t a l ly int e r e s t ed in s o l v ­ ing the que s t i on o f t o wha t ex tent a n y ima g e o f Je su s Chr i s t b a s ed on the apo s t l e s ' p r each ing i s in a g reement wit h the h i s t o r i c a l authen t ic i ty of th i s Je s u s 1 1 . 2 9 The conc l u s ion i s ine s c ap ab l e : "Today i t i s gene­ ra l ly a c c e p t e d tha t no b iography of Je s u s o r the h i s t o ry of the d ev e l o pment o f Je su s ' p reach ing c an b e wr i t t en . 1 1 3 0 Wha t i s the way ou t o f th is s it ua t ion ? The r e f o l l ows a 1 01

l ong enumera t ion of var iou s a s p e c t s of the p r ob l em . A compar i s on i s made o f paral l e l accoun t s and ep i so d e s in the Go s p e l s ; s epara t e e l ement s of t rad it ion a r e ana ly s ed and d if f eren t i a t ed , a f o rmal h i s t o r i c a l d i s t inc t ion i s drawn b e tween d i f f erent f orms o f narrat ive and s peech , and so on . And a l l th i s ind icat e s tha t aux i l iary me tho­ d o l o g ical t o o l s a r e needed . But even they , s a id Kiinnne l , c an g ive onl y " a comprehen s ib l e un i f o rm ima g e o f J e s u s and h i s s ermon s " , b u t not a h i s t o r i c a l l y true one . 3 1 Thu s , wha t t h e Go s p e l s t e l l u s about Je su s i s acknowl edged even b y s ome the o l o g i an s t o b e inau th ent ic and unh i s to r i c a l . Inf o rma t ion From Non-Evang e l ical Sour c e s Je su s a s p o r t r ayed b y the Evange l i s t s was a man o r man-and-god who s e a c t ivi ty b rought f o r th a powerful p o ­ pul a r movemen t that swe p t the who l e o f Pal e s t in e i n t he e a r l y th ir t ie s o f the f ir s t c en tu ry of our e ra . Bu t the r e wa s no such movemen t in tho s e years ; o r if there were i t wa s not w i d e l y ref l e c t ed in the l it erature o f the t ime o r in the rec o l l e c t ions o f the p e op l e s o f Pal e s t ine . In the h is tor i c a l novel Sons by L ion Feuchtwange r J o s e phu s F l av iu s , wh i l e t rave l l ing i n Pal e s t in e in the e ight i e s o f the f ir s t c entury , tr i ed t o gather inf o rma­ t ion abou t the p e r s on whom the Mina e r s ( o r Chr i s t i an s ) wo r sh ipped a s the Me s s iah . Of cour s e we a r e h e r e dea l ­ ing with a p r o du c t o f the wr i ter ' s ima g inat i on . Never­ thel e s s , in th i s case we hav e not j u s t a work o f f ic t ion , bu t a h i s t o r i ca l ly p l au s ib l e r e c on s t ruc t i on o f even t s b a s ed o n a c a r e f u l s tudy o f s ourc e ma t er i a l s . We sha l l u s e Feuch twang e r ' s narra t ive not a s proof of any propo­ s it i on , b u t s o l e ly f o r the purp o s e s o f i l l u s t ra t ion . In Feuch twange r ' s b o ok J o s ephu s " a s sumed tha t h e knew a l l about tho s e who had b een b r ou gh t t o t r ia l . a s f a l s e p ro ­ phe t s in the l a s t t en � ea r s , b u t ab o u t Je s u s of the Mi­ nae r s h e knew n6thing" . 3 2 Jo s ephu s heard rumour s tha t "th i s Je su s wa s cruc i­ f ie d under Governor Pon t iu s P i l a t e " . 3 3 The J ew i sh h i s­ t o r ian ra th e r doub t ed th i s , f or " c ru c i f ix i on was a pu­ n i shment me t ed out only to Roman s 1 1 . 34 The Jews wou l d have d e c i d e d o n ano ther f o rm o f exec u t ion . In h i s s earch f o r trac e s o f Je su s , J o s ephu s mad e inqu ir i e s 1 02

among l o c a l inhab i tan t s who migh t e i ther rememb er the event s c onnec t ed w i th Jesus o r heard o f them f rom the generat ion tha t had only r e c en t l y pa s s ed away . "He in­ quired here and he inqu ired there . He inqu ired at Na za­ re th , where th i s man wa s s a id t o b e b o rn , and h e in­ qu i r e d on the sho r e s of Lake Genne sare t . Bu t in Naza­ re th and on the shore s o f Lake Genn e sare t p e o p l e s a i d ' We know noth ing ab o u t i t ' , and i n Magd a l a p e o p l e s a id ' We know no th ing ab out i t ' . ' We know noth ing ab ou t i t ' , p e op l e a l s o s a id in T ib e r ia s and Capernaum . 1 1 35 F ina l ly Jo s ephu s f o und a man who was ab l e to t e l l h im some th ing . Tachl i f a , a Chr i s t ian f rom Capernaum , s a id that Ch r i s t " p e r f ormed s igns and mirac l e s . But th e theo l o g ian s d id no t want t o s e e thi s , they wer e g r e e dy and d id not want to admi t that by the s e s ign s and mira c l e s t h e i r Yahweh wa s p ro c l a imed to the who l e wor l d . They want ed to put Yahweh away as the u surer put s away h i s d inar s rec e ived on promi s s o ry no t e s " . For t h i s Jeru sa l em wa s pun i sh­ ed : it wa s de s t royed for h av ing "k i l l ed the d ivine p r o ­ phe t and f a i l ed t o recogn i s e t h e ano int e d one " . 3 6 Tha t was al l the inf o rma t ion Jo s e phu s ob t a ined , and a me re f if ty yea r s af t er the p a s s ing o f such momen tou s event s . •





I t wa s prob ab ly s o in r e a l l if e : a t the end o f the f ir s t c en tury the inhab i t an t s o f Pal e s t in e , inc lud ing wr i t e r s and h i s tor ian s , knew a lmo s t no th ing ab out J e s u s Chr i s t . Th i s i s a l s o evidenc ed by t h e Qumran mat e r ia l s . Judg ing f rom the c on t en t s o f th e do cumen t s s o f a r dec iphered a n d pub l i sh e d , there i s no t t h e s l igh t e s t tra c e in them o f any o f the New Te s t amen t b ooks , no r i s there any men t ion o f Chr i s t o r the Chr i s t ians . Qumran i s s i tua t e d in the imme d ia t e v i c in i ty of the l oc a l i t ie s where the ma in even t s de s c r ib ed in the Go s­ p e l s shou l d have occurre d . I t s inhab i tant s b e l onged t o the Juda ic s ec t o f t h e E s s ene s who s e dogma s were f a i r l y c l o s e t o tho s e of Chr i s t ian i ty . Memb er s of the Qumran conmrun ity a t t a ched grea t imp o r tanc e to " s c r ip ture s " , o r manu s c r ip t s i n wh ich they s e t f o r th the pr inc ip l e s gove rn ing the ir l if e and the ir the o l og i c a l and e th ic a l teach ing s . At the s i t e o f the ir s e t t l emen t a l arge l i­ b rary of s u ch manu s c r i p t s a s we l l a s the rema in s o f "pr in t ing shop s " , tha t i s , p l ac e s whe r e the manu s c r ip t s we re c op ie d out , have b een d i s c overed . And the va s t 1 03

l i te r a ture tha t h a s b e en f ound there d o e s n o t c on t a in any h in t o f tho s e great even t s wh i ch ,. if one were t o b e l ieve t h e Go s pe l s , t o o k p l a c e onl y t h i r ty t o th i r ty­ f iv e y ear s earl i e r in l o c a l i t i e s s i tua t e d ab ou t twenty k il omet r e s f rom the Qumran c ommun i ty . I t i s hard to imag in e tha t dur ing the per iod of h i s t rave l s in Pal e s t ine J e s u s d i d n o t onc e v i s i t the r e g ion whe re the E s s en i c c onnnu n i t y wa s s i tu a t e d . Cou l d h e have d e l ib e ra te l y avo ided the r e g ion ? And if s o , why ? It i s a l l the mor e s t range i n v iew o f the s imi l a r i ty b e tween h i s t each ing and the ent i r e sp i r i t of the teach ing and way of l if e o f the E s sene s . In the Go s p e l s , i t may b e recal l ed , noth ing i s s a i d ab ou t th e E s s en e s , wh i l e in E s s en i c l i t e ra ture noth ing i s s a i d ab ou t Chr i s t . What c an t h i s mean ? In schol ar l y wr i t ings the re are many c onj ec ture s a s t o why i n the New Te s t ament books only thr e e re l ig iou s ­ p o l i t ical p a r t i e s i n Jud ea a r e ment i oned , t h e Phar i se e s , the Sadducc e s and the Zeal o t s , wh i l e not a word i s s a i d ab o u t the f ourth s e c t , t h e E s s ene s . Some scho l a r s ex­ p l a in th i s b y say ing that the New Te s tamen t , in p a r t i cu­ l a r the Go s p e l s , only speak o f tho s e t rend s o f wh ich J e s u s wa s c r i t i c a l ; as for the E s sene s , th ey wer e c l o s e t o h im in the ir ou t l ook and h e had them in mind when h e spoke o f the r igh t e ou s , the p o o r in s p i r i t , and s o on . Bu t i t i s impo s s ib l e to prove th i s . Mor e l ik e l y the Evang e l i s t s s a i d noth ing ab ou t the E s s ene s b e c au s e they knew noth ing ab out them . Th i s is qu i t e conce ivab l e if we a s sume that the Evangel i s t s wer e not nat ive inhab i ­ tant s o f Pal e s t in e o r h a d n o t l ived t h e r e a t a l l and s imp ly d i d no t know the r e l i g i o u s and s o c i a l l if e o f Pal e s t ine suf f ic i en t l y we l l . Mo reove r , s inc e they l ived and wro t e in th e midd l e of the s e c ond c entury , when the E s senic movemen t had prac t ic a l ly ceased t o ex i s t , they c ou l d ob t a in inf o rma t ion ab ou t it only f rom the wr i t ing s o f J o s ephu s , Ph i l o or Pl iny the E l der , and tho s e wr i t in g s o r s ome pa r t s of them c ou l d have e scaped th e ir no t ic e . Here we are in tere s t ed , however, n o t so much in how much the Evang e l i s t s knew ab out the E s s ene s as how much the E s sen e s kn ew ab out the Evangel i s t s . And i t s e ems that the E s s en e s , l iv ing in the heart o f Pal e s t in e in the s ix t i e s of the f ir s t c entury , knew noth ing ab ou t 1 04

Je su s Chr i s t o r the r e l ig ious and s o c ia l movement h i s de e d s had sup p o s e d l y b rought f o r th . Thu s , Feuchtwange r h ad good ground s f o r con s id e r ing tha t in Judea in t h e s e c ond ha l f of the f ir s t cen tury f ew p e op l e knew ab ou t Ch r i s t , ab ou t h i s deed s and h i s trag ic d e a th . Th i s i s ye t ano ther ind i c a t ion that the remarkab l e even t s and the great popu l a r movemen t s wh ich shou l d have b e en a s s o ­ c i a t e d w i t h Je s u s Chr i s t l ack i n au then t ic ity . B u t the Evang e l i s t s d e s c r ib e d j u s t such eve n t s and s uch a move­ men t ! Now l e t u s imag ine that I have an opponent who wishe s to t ake i s sue with me on th i s que s t ion .

Opponent : L e t u s l o ok a t the que s t ion f rom a new angl e and c on s ider some f a c t s wh ich you have f a il ed t o men t ion s o f a r . We know , f o r in s t anc e , tha t the wor d " Ch r i s t ian" d �d not appear b ef o re the midd l e of the s e c ond c entury , and i t wa s not the name the f o l l ower s o f the new f a i th u s e d in s peak ing of themse l ve s . I t wa s a name o t h e r s In the f ir s t decad e s of the ex i s t enc e o f gave them . Chr is t ian i ty the f o l l ower s c a l l e d t hems e lve s Eb ion i t e s ; th e word "Eb ion i t e " i s d e r ived f rom th e Heb rew wo rd ebyon meaning "poor" . I t i s a l so the name the Qumran i ­ t e s u s e d i n r e f err ing t o themse l ve s . Wh en Chr i s t ian it y wa s a l ready wid e s p read , among i t s many b ranch e s was a Juda i s t ic Chr is t ian s e c t wh ich had f o r s everal c entur i e s ex i s t e d und e r the name o f Eb ion i sm . Can w e no t t rac e here a d i re c t l ine o f d e s c en t o f Chr i s t ian i t y a s a who l e ? The earl i e s t Chr i s t ian s , f rom th i s p o i n t o f v iew , wer e the Eb ion i t e s o f Qumran . To b e sure , i t wa s s t il l Chr i s t i an i ty un separa t e d f rom Juda i sm , b u t then Chr i s ­ t ian i ty wa s o r ig ina l ly Juda i s t ic Chr i s t ian i t y . Sub s e ­ quently , a s the n e w r e l ig ion s p r e a d among t h e Gen t i l e s and a s Chr i s t i an i ty b ec ame s epara t ed f rom Juda i s m , Eb ion i s m c e a s e d t o b e t h e ma in t runk o f th e r e l i g ion and turned int o a mino r b ranch o f i t , int o a s ec t wh i ch eventua l ly f aded ou t . I f we a c c e p t such a ver s i on o f t h e o r i g in s o f Chr i s t ian i ty , many o f your argument s a re no l onger val id . In that c a s e i t wi l l b e s een that in th e Qumran document s Chr i s t ian i ty appeared unde r the name of Eb ion1 05

The a r gument tha t Chr i s t wa s a my t h i c a l f igur e , i sm . tha t h i s imag e changed f rom tha t of God to tha t of man , and not the o th e r way round , in o t h e r word s , that Chr i s t wa s in i t ia l l y God , i s a l s o without f ounda t ion . The p o int i s that the Eb ion i t e s regarded Chr i s t not a s God , b u t a s a man . They re j ec t e d , i n p a r t i c u l a r , t h e s to ry o f the immacu l a t e c onc e p t ion and b e l ieved tha t Chr i s t wa s b o rn of earthly p arent s , l ik e other men . Wha t c an you say in oppo s i t ion o f such a s o l u t ion o f the que s t ion ?

Author : I t s ound s p l au s ib l e . But l e t u s s e e if i t i s b a s e d o n incont rove r t ib l e f a c t s . It i s t ru e that the Qumran i t e s o f t en c a l l e d them­ s e lve s Eb ion i t e s in the i r documen t s , and c on s idered po­ ve r ty t o be a n ec e s s a ry cond i t i on for a p io u s l if e . One may a s sume tha t the name " Eb ion i t e " r e f e r r e d to memb e r s o f t h e Qumran c ommun i ty , though t h a t wa s n o t the i r only name . Bu t did the early Chr i s t ians c ome to be c a l l e d Eb ion i t e s ? Tha t i s very doub t fu l . The phra s e " the p o o r " o c c u r s many t ime s in the New Te s tamen t , but i t d o e s not deno t e any re l ig io u s f a i th . F o r examp l e , we r e a d : " s e l l a l l that thou ha s t , and d i s t r ib u t e unt o the p o o r "; " when thou mak e s t a f ea s t , c a l l the p o o r "; " there wa s a c e r ta in b eg­ gar name d Lazaru s " ; and so on . I t i s c l ear tha t in a l l the s e ins t ance s pove r ty in the u su a l s e n s e of the wo rd is mean t . Th ere is no ev idenc e wha t ever that re­ f erenc e is b e ing made h e r e to any c onf e s s i onal s ta t u s . And there a r e no o th e r argument s to supp o r t the idea that the early Chr i s t ians c a l l ed thems elve s Eb ion i t e s . The t r inomi a l chain o f Qumran i te s -early Chr i s t ian s ­ Eb ion i t e s i s we ak e s t i n t h e midd l e , a l though t h e f ir s t l ink i s no t very s trong e ither . I f that i s s o , the Eb ion i t e c on ce p t ion of Chr i s t as a me re man may we l l b e charac t e r i s t ic not o f the f ir s t s t ag e o f the h is t o ry o f the l eg end , b u t o f on e o f i t s sub s equ ent s tage s . •

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Oppone nt : 'Now h e r e i s a p o int tha t i s wo rth c on­ s ider ing . In the wr i t ing s o f the Father s of the Church , wh ich are the s o u r c e of our inf o rma t ion ab out Eb ion i sm , ment i on i s a l s o made o f the here s ie s o f the Na zaren e s and the E l ke sa i t e s , no sharp d i s t inc t ion b e ing made b e t­ we en th e s e thre e b ranch e s o f Juda i s t ic Chr i s t ian i t y . In the Go s p e l s J e s u s h ims e l f wa s s everal t ime s cal l e d a 1 06

N a za r i t e and a Na za rene . Of c ou r s e th e name s a re no t d e r ived f r om the c i ty of Na zare th s ince the c i ty d id no t ex i s t then and , gramma t i c a l l y speak ing , such a word d e r i ­ va t ion i s un l ikely . B u t what i f we a s sume tha t f rom the very b e g inn ing the Chr i s t ians ca l l ed thems e l ve s Na z a ­ rene s , wh ich i s p e rhap s the same t h i n g a s c a l l ing th em­ s e lve s Eb ion i t e s ? In that c a s e the midd l e l ink in the ab ove-ment ioned cha in wou l d ho l d .

Author : Aga in you are talk ing ab o u t s ome th ing tha t In the Go s p e l s only Chr i s t wa s i s pure l y c onj ectura l . cal l ed a Na zar i t e and a Nazarene , b u t the name s are no t u s e d in speak ing of h i s f o l l owe r s , not even of the apo s t l e s . And f rom whe re wa s the name "Na za r i t e " t aken ? From the b o ok o f Numb e r s ( 6 : 2 ) in the O l d Te s tament : "When e i the r man o r woman sha l l s e p a r a t e thems elve s t o vow a vow o f a Na zar i t e , t o s ep a ra t e thems e l v e s unt o the Lord " Then f o l l ows an enume r a t ion o f the per son ' s ob l ig a t ions wh ich amoun t ed t o the p rac t i c e of an a s c e t ic In two other O l d Te s t amen t b o ok s ( Judg e s and Amo s ) l if e . Nazar i t i sm i s a l s o men t ioned a s a c onc e p t acco r d ing t o wh ich a N a za r i t e wa s s omeone e l ec t e d by God and wa s e s ­ pec i a l l y r i ght eou s . L a t e r on , t o o , among t h e anc ient Jew s the wor d apparen t ly meant s omeone cho s en by God , a r i gh t eo u s p e r s on and an a s c e t i c . S o i t i s under s t andab l e tha t early Chr i s t ian s shou l d cal l the real o r imaginary f ound e r o f the ir r e l ig ion by th i s name . •







In l a t e r Juda i s t ic t rad i t ion Je s u s wa s o f t en c a l l ed , not nazir , wh ich wou l d me an " Na z a r i t e " in the sen s e d e s ­ c r ib e d above , b u t nozri , me an ing a n o f f shoo t . No t sur­ p r i s ingly , the rabb i s r e f u s ed t o a s s o c i a t e Je su s Chr i s t the man w i th the honoured O l d Te s t ame n t ins t i tu t ion o f Na zar i t i sm ; they u se d ano ther wo r d i n speak ing o f Je su s , a word a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the c oncept of an o f f shoot , a de tachmen t , even a f a l l ing away . But l e t u s c on t inue our d i s cu s s ion , wh ich has twice b e en int errup t ed by th e opponent ' s rej o inder s . As we know , there i s no cont emporary wr i t t en ev i ­ dence o f t h e even t s d e s c r ib ed i n t h e Go s p e l s . Tru e , we need to rememb e r that a huge numb e r of anc i en t documen t s were d e s t royed b y the church and t h e c l ergy i n the f ir s t c en tu ry o f our era and aga in i n the e a r l y Midd l e Ag e s . Rabb i s d id the same , p r oc ee d ing f rom the ir own rel i g i ou s 1 07

c on s idera t ions . A c o l o s s a l numb e r of manu s c r ipt s p e r i sh­ e d in f ir e s that d e s troye d the f amou s l ib r a ry in Al exand­ r i a . W i t h i t s nearly 8 00 , 0 0 0 volume s , i t wa s p robab ly the wo r l d ' s l a r ge s t repo s i t o ry o f b ook s at tha t t ime . And who knows whe ther it conta ined mat er ial s wh ich , had they come down t o u s , wou l d h ave r e s olved our doub t s ? S in c e we d o not know wha t wa s in the documen t s tha t had no t survived , we c anno t c omp l e t e l y ru l e o u t t h e p o s ­ s ib il i ty that they conta ined mat e r i a l s ab out t h e h i s to ­ r i cal Chr i s t . Bu t scho l a r s h i p mu s t n o t re s t o n conj ec­ ture s . The l o s s o� inval uab l e document s is c e r t a in l y to b e regre t t ed , b u t the r e s earcher mu s t concen t r a t e h i s a t t en t ion o n ana l y s ing mat e r i a l s tha t have b een pre s e rv­ ed . I f s o , h e c anno t b u t b e s t ruck by the ex t r eme p au c i ­ t y o f non-Chr i s t ian ev idenc e s ab o u t Je su s ; and they are n o t f ound in docume n t s whe r e one may rea s onab ly exp e c t t o f ind them . Why , f o r in s t anc e , a r e mo s t o f the h i s t o ­ r ic a l s ourc e s r el a t ing t o the t ime o f Je s u s s i l en t abo u t h im a n d ab o u t the event s a s s o c i a t ed with h im a s t o l d in the Go s pe l s ? In the f ir s t c entury of our era , the t ime when we may suppo s e Je sus to have l ived , there wa s a l ready a r ich l it era t u r e wr i t t en in Greek and La t in on the t e r r i ­ t o ry o f the Roman Emp ire , a n d i n Heb r ew and Arama ic in Judea . I t inc luded l it er a ry a s we l l a s h i s t o r ic a l and ph i l o s oph i c a l wo rk s . To th i s p e r iod b e l onged s everal Jew i sh au thor s , among them the ph i l o sopher Ph i l o of Al exand r ia ( d . A . D . 5 4 ) and the h i s to r ians Ju s tu s o f T ib e r ia s ( s ec ond h a l f o f t h e f ir s t c en tury ) and Jo s ephus F l aviu s ( 3 7-af t e r 1 0 0 ) ; the v er sa t i l e Greek wr i t e r P l u tarch ( 4 0 - 1 2 0 ) and many Roman au tho r s , among them the h i s t o r ian s Tac i tu s ( 5 4 - 1 1 9 ) , Pl iny the Younger (6 1 - 1 1 3 ) , and Sue toniu s (b . 7 5 ) , the ph i l o sopher S eneca ( d . 6 5 ) , and the po e t s Lucan ( 3 9 -6 5 ) , P er s iu s ( 34 -6 2 ) and Juvena l ( 4 5 - 1 3 0 ) , the ve r sa t i l e wr i t er and s cho l a r P l iny th e E l d e r ( 2 3 - 7 9 ) and a ho s t of other l i te rary f igure s . I t wou l d b e rea s onab l e t o a s k wha t th e s e wr i t e r s have t o. s ay , if anyth ing , about Je su s , who wa s a c ont emporary o f the irs ? From wh i ch of the ab ove-men t i oned wr i t er s may we expe c t t h e mo s t conv inc ing h i s tor ical evidenc e ab ou t Chr i s t ? Obv i ou s ly f rom tho s e who l ived in Judea , f o r 1 08

they c ou l d have b een eyew i t n e s s e s o f J e su s ' ac t iv i t y and o f the event s a s s o c i a t e d with h i s mar tyrdom . But there i s no such inf o rma t i on . Now l e t u s turn t o the nex t genera t ion , t o peop l e who might have heard ab out Chr i s t f rom eyewi tne s s e s . But they are s i l en t on the subj e c t . Th e who l e c entury wa s s i l en t . Take one o f the wr i t er s of tha t p er iod , Ju s t u s o f T ib e r ia s , the author o f a s er i e s o f h i s tor i c a l work s , among them a h i s tory of the k in g s of Ju dea up t o I t may b e Agr ippa I I ( the midd l e o f the f ir s t c entury ) . exp e c t e d t o conta in d e s c r ip t ion s o f the r e ign s o f Herod " th e Gr ea t " and Herod An t ip a s wh ich c o inc ided in t ime wi th the l if e and ac t iv it y of Je su s Chr i s t accord ing t o the Chr i s t ian t rad i t ion . Ju s tu s wou l d c e r t a in l y have known ab out Je su s ' a c t ivity , e s p ec i a l ly s ince T ib er ia s , Ju s t u s ' nat ive c i ty , wa s s i tu a t e d only a f ew k i lome t r e s f rom Capernaum wher e , accord ing t o t h e Go s p e l s , a numb er of imp o r tan t event s in the l if e o f Je su s t o ok p l a c e . Unf o r tuna t e l y , no t a s ingl e l in e o f Ju s tu s ' wr i t in g s h a s come d own t o u s . Cou l d it b e that in h i s wr it ing s we wou l d have f ound th e c ruc i a l t e s t imony of an eyewitne s s ? The answer i s no . There i s n o men t ion wha t ever o f Chr i s t and h i s a c t iv i ty in Ju s tu s ' wo rks . We know th i s f rom the 9 th-c entury Byzant ine Pa t r iarch Pho t iu s . He had a b i g l ibrary and had l ef t u s no t only a c a t a l o gu e o f t h e b ook s i n i t b u t a l s o a l arge numb er o f ext ra c t s f rom 2 7 9 o f them on var i o u s sub j ec t s ; to some o f the s e ex trac t s h e h a d app end ed h i s o wn remark s and c ommen t s . H i s l ib rary conta ined a copy o f Jus tus ' Hi s tory of the Kings of Judea , and in it Ju s t u s sa id n o t h ing ab ou t J e s u s , a fac t whi c h e l i c i t ed a c r i t i c a l r emark f rom the Pa t r iarch .

Oppone n t : You r argument a s regard s Ju s t u s can b e refu t e d . I n 1 9 6 4 an in s c r ip t i on f r om the i s l and o f Ch i o s in honour o f Ju s tu s t h e h i s to r ian wa s pub l i shed . Th ere i t i s s a i d tha t b e s id e s other honorary t i t l e s Ju s tu s wa s g iv en c i t i zen sh ip of the c i ty o f Ephe s u s ( in As ia Minor ) . Th i s c ou l d mean that a l though Ju s t u s or h i s parent s wer e na t ive s o f T ib e r ia s , Ju s tu s l ived a l l h i s l if e n o t in Pal e s t ine b u t in A s i a Mino r . In tha t c a s e your argument ab out the "wi tne s s " who f a i l e d to conf irm the ex is t enc e of the h i s t o r ic a l Chr i s t no l onge r h o l d s . The rea s on i s 1 09

s imp ly tha t Ju s t u s could not have b een such a w i tne s s .

Author: Unf o r t una t e ly , your obj e c t ion i s not a val i d one . The honorary t i t l e o f c it i z en o f Eph e s u s do e s not ind i c a t e that its rec i p ient mu s t nec e s s a r i ly have l ived a l l h i s l if e in that c i ty . Acc o r d ing t o the New Te s ta­ men t , the apo s t l e Paul wa s a c it i z en o f Rome , b u t th i s d o e s no t mean that Paul c o u l d n o t have spent a c e r t a i n p e r iod o f h i s l if e i n As ia Mino r and i n Pal e s t ine . Ju s ­ tu s c ou l d ve ry wel l h ave b een honoured by t h e c i t i z ens o f E ph e s u s f o r h i s l it erary ach i evemen t s . W e know , f o r examp l e , that the c i ty o f Eph e su s h a d rich l it erary and ph i l o s o ph ic a l t rad i t ions . One may p e rhap s exp e c t t o f ind s ome ma t e r ia l on the qu e s t i on that int e re s t s u s in t h e wr i t ings o f the anc i ent Jew i s h ph i l o s ophe r , the o l o g ian and p o l it i c a l f igure , Ph i l o . Tha t woul d no t b e the ev i d enc e o f an eyewitne s s s ince Phi l o l ived a l l h i s l i f e i n the E gyp t ian c i t y o f Al exand r i a , and no t i n P a l e s t ine . But Jews l iv ing in the D i a s p o r a wou l d o f cour s e hear of even t s , even tho s e o f minor s igni f i c ance , that took p l a c e in the i r home l and . And Ph i l o was not out of t ouch with h i s c ompa t r io t s but t o ok an a c t ive intere s t in the i r l if e . For examp l e , h e l ed a Jewi sh d e l egat ion t o Rome i n order t o pe t i t ion Emp eror Cal i gu l a in c onne c t ion wi th a f f a ir s of the Jews o f Al exandr ia . The name of Pon t iu s P i l a t e , who acc ord ing to the Go s p e l s , p l ay e d a f a t a l r o l e in t h e l if e of J e su s , was men t ioned s everal t ime s in h i s work s . Ph i l o d e s ­ c r ib ed in c on s iderab l e de t a i l the P a l e s t in ian s e c t of the E s s ene s and the Juda i s t ic sect o f the The rapeutae wh ich was then w id e s p read in Egyp t . B o th wer e s imil a r t o e a r l y Chr i s t ian i t y i n t erms o f do gma and � i tual s . In Ph i l o ' s wr i t ing s we a l s o f ind inf o rma t i on abo u t s everal o ther J ewi sh s e c t s , f or ins tanc e , the Cain i t e s . Bu t there i s no ment ion o f Chr i s t or Chr i s t ian i ty . Th i s i s a l l the mo r e r ema rkab l e s ince Ph i l o h imse l f , owing t o h i s sp i r i tual inc l ina t ion s , wa s symp a th e t ic t o t h e r e l ig iou s and ph i l o s oph i c a l t e ach ing s and movemen t s o f h i s t ime . H i s own ph i l o soph i c a l and th e o l o g i c a l d o c t ­ r ine had p rov i d e d mu c h ma t e r ia l f o r the f o rmu l a t ion o f the do gma s o f ea rly Chr i s t ian ity . Eng e l s in f a c t c a l l ed Ph i l o the f a ther o f Chr i s t ian i ty . And y e t thi s f a ther apparen t l y knew noth ing o f his own progeny o r o f s u ch an 1 10

imp or t an t f igure in the n ew re l ig ion a s J e su s Chr i s t . _ The s ame , or nearly the same , can b e s a id ab ou t the Seneca ' s ideo l o g ic a l k in s h ip Roman ph i l o s opher S enec a . w i th early Chr i s t ian i ty i s ind i sputab l e . Enge l s c a l l ed h im the "unc l e of Chr i s t ian i ty " . 3 7 Ac c o r d ing t o t h e Ch r i s t ian t rad i t ion , a s recorded a l s o in T h e Ac t s , the r e we r e many Chr i s t ians in Rome a l ready a t t h e b e g inn ing of th e second hal f of the f ir s t c en t u ry . And it was in Ro me tha t th e apo s t l e s P e t e r and Paul s u f f ered mar tyrdom in the s ix t ie s , a t ime when Nero p e r s ecuted the Chr i s ­ t i an s o n a large s c al e . Even t s o f th i s nature c ou l d n o t have e scaped t h e no t ic e o f S eneca who wa s an ac t ive f i­ gure in the s o c i al and l i t erary l if e of h i s t ime . He wo u l d und oub t e d l y have heard much ab out Chr i s t a l s o f rom the Chr i s t ian s i f, that i s , every th ing happ ened a s i t d id a c c o rd ing to the Chr i s t ian t r ad i t ion . But S eneca s a i d n o t h ing ab out Chr i s t o r ab out Chr i s t ian s . True , th ere i s a who l e s e r i e s o f documen t s in wh ich Seneca s poke a t l ength ab out h i s v i ews on Chri s t . The s e a r e h i s corre s pondenc e w i th the apo s t l e Paul . Bu t n o t even th e o l o g ians d oub t that the s e a r e f orger i e s mad e i n t h e Middl e Age s . The r e a r e o th e r documen t s r e l a t ed to t h i s s ub j e c t wh ich a r e a l s o undoub t ed l y inaut h ent ic . Among o ther s , we may men t ion h e r e the Report of Pontius Pi late to Em­ peror Claudius , t h e c o r r e s pondenc e o f the E d e s san k ing Ab gar w i th Chr i s t and with the Emperor T ib e r iu s , and the s o -ca l l ed T i b e tan Go s p e l . Of s p e c i a l in t er e s t in th i s c onnec t ion are f ragment s f rom wo rks by the Roman h i s to r ian s Sue ton iu s and Tac i t u s and the Jewi s h wr i t er Jo s e phu s . Sue t on iu s men t ions Chr i s t in h i s Twe lve Cae sars , and Tac i tu s , in h i s Anna l s . B o t h work s we re wr i t t en dur ing the s e c ond decade of t h e s e c on d c entury . The r e ­ f erenc e s t o Chr i s t in the s e work s b ec ame the sub j e c t o f numerou s ana lyt i c a l and c r i t ic a l s tu d ie s . S u e t o n i u s wr i t e s tha t "b e c au s e the Jews a t Rome caus ed c on t inuous d i s t urbanc e s a t the in s t iga t ion o f Ch r e s t u s [ impulsore Chre s to ] he [ Empe r o r C l aud ius ] ex­ p e l l ed them f r om t h e, c i ty " . 3 8 In in terp r e t ing th is p a s ­ sage w e n e e d to take in t o a c c ount a numb e r o f c i rcum111

s tanc e s whi ch ca s t cons iderab l e doub t on i t s exa c t mean­ ing . C l aud i u s was emp e r o r f rom A . D . 4 1 to 54 , wh ich mean s that h e b ec ame emp e r o r e ight yea r s af t e r Je sus i s s a i d to have d i e d . Th i s c ircums t anc e a l one mak e s i t doub t f u l tha t th e p er s on r e f e rr e d t o in the pa s s age quo t ­ ed ab ove i s Je su s . And i f we a s sume tha t Je sus l ived for some t ime in Rome , th i s wou l d c a l l into que s t ion the tru s two r th ine s s o f the Go s p e l s where i t is sa id that Je sus spent h i s en t i re l if e in Pa l e s t ine . Of c ou r s e , the wo r d s " a t the in s t igat ion of Chre s tu s " c an be int e r p re t ed a s a ref erenc e t o the inf l u en c e of Chr i s t ' s i d e a s on the cour s e o f event s . Th i s wou l d me an tha t t en years af t e r Je su s ' d e a th t h e r e wa s a l r eady a c onnnun i t y of h i s f o l ­ l ower s i n Rome who were expe l l ed f rom the c i ty f o r cau s ­ ing d i s tu rb anc e s . The f ac t tha t Jews , n o t Chr i s t ians , were ment ioned in the p a s s ag e d o e s not make th i s exp l ana­ t ion l e s s p l au s ib l e . For the Roman s at tha t t ime mi ght no t make a d i s t inc t ion b e tween Chr i s t ians and Jews . Shou l d we a t tach g r e a t imp o r t anc e to the f ac t tha t Sue t on iu s s p eak s n o t o f Chr i s t , b u t of Chr e s tu s ? On t h e o n e h and , th i s s eems unimp o r tan t , f o r i n the Greek name s of that p e r iod the vowe l s " e " and " i " wer e o f t en int er­ changeab l e . But , on the o th e r hand , the name Chr e s tu s wa s a v e ry c onnno n one , e s p ec i a l l y among t h e f reed s l ave s o f Rome . S o , the pa s s age f rom Suetoniu s may we l l b e r e ­ f er r ing to s ome o ther Chre s tu s who inc i t ed h i s comp a t ­ r io t s i n Rome . The r e f e r en c e t o Chr i s t in the Anna is o f Tac i t u s i s even mor e doub tf u l . Tac i tu s t el l s ab ou t a b ig f i re wh ich d e s t royed nearly all o f Rome in A . D . 64 . Acc o r d ­ i n g t o rumou r s , the f ire wa s s t a r t ed by Nero h ims e l f s o that he c ou l d enj oy t h e v i ew of a g r e a t c a l ami ty . The emp e r o r dec ided to put th e b lame f o r the f i re on the Chr i s t ian s . Tac i t u s wr i te s : "Con s e qu en t l y , t o get r id of the report , Nero r a s tened the gu i l t and inf l i c t e d the mo s t exqu i s i t e t o r ture s on a c l a s s ha t ed for the ir ab om­ ina t ions , c a l l ed Chr i s t ians by the popu l ac e . Chr i s tu s , f rom whom the name had i t s o r i g in , s u f f e r e d the ext reme pena l ty dur ing the re ign o f T ib e r i u s at the hand s of one of our p rocura t o r s , Pon t iu s P il a t u s , and a mo s t m i s ch iev­ ou s super s t i t ion , thus checked f o r the momen t , aga in 1 12

b r oke out not onl y in Judea , the f ir s t source o f the evi l, b u t even in Rome , whe r e a l l t h in g s h ideous and shame f u l f r om every p a r t o f the wor l d f ind the i r cent r e a n d b e come popul ar . " Further on it i s s a i d that "an immen s e mu l t i ­ t u d e wa s conv i c t e d , n o t s o much of the c r ime o f f ir ing the c i ty , a s o f h a t r e d aga in s t mank ind " . The c onv i c t e d we re pu t t o death by var ious c ru e l mean s ; s ome wer e turn­ ed in t o l iv ing t o r che s that l ight e d up Nero ' s park dur ing the n ight . In the o p in ion o f Tac i t u s , the Chr i s t ian s de­ s e rved the pun i shmen t me t e d ou t t o them , b u t expre s s ed r e g r e t ove r the f a c t tha t they were ex t e rminat e d "no t f o r th e pub l ic g o o d b u t t o g l u t one man ' s c ru e l ty " . 3 9 Shoul d w e regard t h i s p a s sage f rom Tac i tu s a s g e ­ nu ine o r a s a l a t er in terpo l a t i on ? D i s pu t e ove r th i s que s t ion cont inue s t o th i s day . We sha l l not g o in to the var iou s argumen t s adduced in f avour o f a par t i c u l a r p o in t o f v i ew , f o r th i s que s t ion i s not o f g r e a t s ign i f i c anc e t o our sub j ec t . Inc identa l ly , i t i s n o t impo s s ib l e tha t th i s pas sage was wr i t t en by Tac i t u s h ims e l f , a l though many wr it e r s have expr e s s ed s er ious d oub t s ab ou t th i s . Wha t i s of d ec i s ive imp o r tanc e here i s s ome th ing e l s e , and th i s a pp l ie s e qua l ly t o Suetoniu s . Bo th the s e h i s t o r ian s wro t e the i r wo rk s mor e than e i gh ty y e a r s a f t e r Chr i s t i s s a i d t o have d ie d . B y tha t t ime n o c on t empora­ ry of Je su s , no eyewitne s s e s o f h i s a c t ivit i e s , woul d b e a l ive . Sue t oniu s and Tac i t u s wou l d a l r ea dy b e l ong t o the third g ene ra t ion , i f we c on s ider the c o n t emp o ra r i e s o f Chr i s t t o b e t h e f ir s t genera t ion . I t wa s there f o re impo s s ib l e f o r Sue t oniu s and Tac i tu s to ob t a in inf orma ­ t ion ab out the even t s they d e s c r ib e d f rom p e r s onal c on­ t ac t s w i th p e o p l e wh o had l ive d a t the t ime the even t a c tua l ly took p l a c e . At the b eg inning o f the s e c ond c entury the r e wer e a l r eady many Chr i s t ian s who t ransmi t t e d by wor d of mou th the t ra d i t i on s and l egend s surround ing the death of Je su s . Bo th Sue t on iu s and Tac i tu s coul d d e r ive the ir inf o rma t ion only f rom th i s ora l t r ad i t ion--no o ther s ou rc e was ava i l ab l e t o them . In th i s r e s p e c t the ir p o s i t ion was no t much b e t t er than our s . Bu t p e rhap s b o th the s e au tho r s had u s e d documen t s f rom the Roman archive s ? Some re s earcher s , in an a t t emp t to p rove the authen t ic i ty o f Tac i tu s ' inf o rma t ion , ma in1 13

t a in that the h i s to r ian d id u s e such documen t s . They p o in t to the f a c t tha t Tac i tu s had as h i s p a t ron the we l l -known Roman o f f ic ia l C l uv iu s Ruf u s , who oc cup i e d the p o s t o f c on s u l under Emp eror Cal igu l a a n d had f re e a c c e s s to t h e p r o t o c o l s of the Sena t e . Bu t a maj o r i ty of h i s t or ians , inc lud ing t ho s e who acknowl edge the h i s ­ t o r ic i ty o f Chr i s t , s t rongly deny t h e sugg e s t ion tha t the or iginal s o u r c e o f Tac i tu s ' inf orma t ion wa s arch ival documen t s . I t i s unl ik e l y tha t t h e Roman Sena t e woul d r e c e ive f rom the f araway and not very imp o r tan t province of Judea a rep o r t ab out the execu t ion of an a r t i san f rom Gal i l e e . " Th i s ex ec u t ion , " says Drews , quo t ing Johann e s We i s s , "wa s bu t one of numerou s execu t i on s tha t were c a r r i e d out a t tha t t ime by the Roman p rovinc i a l au thor i t i e s , and i t woul d have b een mo s t ex traord inary i f i t wer e n o t e d i n any o f f ic ia l documen t . 1 1 4 0 More than a hundr ed y e a r s ago , when d i sc u s s ing th i s sub j e c t B runo Bau e r c i t ed with some s ar c a sm the evidenc e o f f er e d by Te r tu l l ian , who ref erred all tho s e who doub t ed t h e t ru thfulne s s o f t h e Go s p e l s t o t h e h i s ­ t o r ical a rch ive s o f Rome . Th i s Father o f t h e Church a s ­ su r e d u s that there w e c ou l d f ind informa t ion ab out the solar ec l ip s e wh ich occurred throughout th e g l ob e in th e hour of Je su s ' d e a th •







Ac c o r d ing t o s p ec ia l i s t s in anc i ent h i s to r iog raphy , no arch ival r e s earch wa s condu c t ed in anc ient t ime s . The r e i s no ev idenc e wha t ever to suppo r t the v iew that Tac i t u s had a t any t ime u se d documen t s f r om the a rch ive s . I t i s h ighl y un l ik e l y tha t Tac i t u s wou l d turn t o arch iva l ma t e r ial f o r h i s b r ie f d e s c r ip t ion o f t h e p e r s e c u t ion o f Chr i s t ian s und e r Nero , ma t er ia l wh ich he neve r u se d when d e a l ing wi th s ub j ec t s of f a r great e r impor tanc e to h im . A s t i l l gre a t e r prob l em i s p r e s ented by a p a s sage in the Antiqui ti es of the Jews by J o s ephu s . The pa s s age read s : "Now t h e r e wa s ab ou t th i s t ime Je su s , a w i s e man , i f i t b e l awf ul to c a l l h im a man , f o r he wa s a doer o f wonderful wo rk s , and a teacher o f such men a s r e c e ive the truth with p l e a su r e . He drew over to h im many of the Jews , and many of the Gent il e s . He wa s th e Ch r i s t ; and when P i l a t e , at the sugge s t ion of th e p r inc ipal men among u s , had cond emned h im to th e c ro s s , tho s e that had l oved 1 14

h im a t f i r s t d id n o t f o r sake h im , f o r he appeared to them the t h ird day , a l ive again , a s the d iv ine p rophe t s had s a i d the se and t en thou sand o ther wonderful th ing s con­ c e rn ing h im ; and the t r ib e of Ch r i s t iqn s , s o named f r om h im , a re no t ex t in c t at th i s day . " 4 1 Here , i t wou l d s e em , we have c l ear , unamb iguou s evidenc e . True , i t wa s not an eyew i tne s s a c c oun t of the even t s , f o r i t wa s wr i t ten s ixty y e a r s l a t er . Bu t even such evidenc e wou l d b e o f cons iderab l e h i s t o r i c a l val ue--if , tha t i s , a c l o s e ana ­ lys i s o f the p a s s ag e d o e s no t g ive r i s e t o s e r iou s doub t s ab ou t it s au then t i c ity . Re searcher s have l ong no t e d tha t Jo s ephu s , who i s known t o hav e b e en a f o l l ower o f Juda i sm a l l h i s l if e , If J o s ephu s , in th i s p a s sage a p p e a r s to b e a Ch r i s t ian . a p i ous Phar i s e e , wer e t o wr i t e s ome th ing ab o u t Je su s , he wou l d no doub t c ondenm h im a s a b l a spheme r and an impo s t er who de s erved the c ru e l pun i shme n t me t e d out t o h im . But i n th e pa s s age j u s t quo t ed w e have some t h ing qu i t e the oppo s i t e . And the p l ac e where th i s p a s sage occurs in J o s ephu s ' wo rk a l s o ra i s e s que s t ions . Jo s e ­ phu s d e s c r ibed i n d e ta i l s ome in s ign if i c an t event s wh ich t o ok p l a c e in J eru s a l em , even t s that had no s e r i o u s c on­ s equenc e s . And t h en , as if in pa s s ing , h e t o l d in j u s t a f ew l in e s the d e e d s o f J e s u s wh i ch supp o s e d l y b rough t f o r th a b ig s o c i a l movemen t ; and the s e l ine s have no apparent connec t ion with wha t p r e c e d e s or f o l l ows them . Al l th i s i s unl ike t h e s t y l e o f wr i t ing of J o s ephu s , wh i ch i s charac t er i s ed by a n o t ab l e cons i s t ency and c o ­ herenc e . The above-quo t e d p a s sage a p p ea r s in a l l the manu ­ scr ip t s of the A n tiqui tie s of the Jews tha t h ave c ome down to u s . In mo s t of th e ex tant manu s c r ip t s of ano ther wo rk by Jos ephu s , The Jewish War , there i s no men t i on of Je su s , but f ive of them c on t a in the very p a s sage with wh ich we are c on c e rned here . The p a s sage app ear s in d i f f erent p l a c e s in the manu s c r i p t s : in an 1 1 th-century manu s c r i p t i t a p p e a r s a t the end ; in a 1 4 th-c entury ma ­ nu s c r ip t it is f ound a t the b eg inn ing , and in a 1 5 th­ century manu s c r i p t it is in t h e middl e . In the l a t t er the pa s sage con t a in s , in add it i on t o the text tha t i s f ound in a l l o t h e r manu s c r ip t s , a d o z en or so l in e s in wh ich the second c oming o f Je su s i s f or e t o l d . At tha t t ime " a l l t h e r igh t eou s and the wicked wi l l b e j udged 1 15

acc ord ing to the word of God , f o r the Fa the r had name d h im [ Je su s ] th e j udge" . 4 2 Howeve r , the f a c t tha t the p a s sage appea r s in d i f f erent p l a c e s in the manu s c r i p t s i s suf f i c ient evidence that i t wa s added by c o py i s t s who had dec ided o n the ir o wn where i t shou l d b e pu t . Some schol a r s t r i e d t o s o lve the puz z l e ab ou t th i s pa s s age d i f f e r ent ly . They h e l d that the p a s s age wa s part o f the An tiqui ties of - the Jews and wa s wr i t t en by Jo s e ­ phu s h im s e l f , b u t tha t in i t i a l l y i t d id n o t have tho s e e l emen t s of g l o r if i c a t ion o f Je su s a s a r e p r e s en t i n the ve r s ion tha t has c ome down t o u s ; tho s e e l ement s we re later interp o l a t ed in to the t ex t by Chr i s t ian copy i s t s . Th i s int e rpre t a t ion s eems t o have r e c e ived s ome documen­ t a ry suppo r t in our t ime . In 1 9 1 1 the p a s sage in que s ­ t ion wa s f ound in a n Arab i c Chr i s t ian manu s c r i p t o f the 1 1 th c entury . The text d if f e r s c on s i d erab ly f rom that known earl i e r . F o r some rea s on the newly d i s c overed t ex t a t trac t e d l i t t l e a t t en t i on f rom scho l a r s at that t ime , and i t is only in th e 1 9 7 0 s tha t i t c ame t o be re­ gard e d as an impor tant proof that J o s ephu s knew ab out Ch r i s t and wro t e ab out h im . The text f ound in the 1 1 th­ c entury manu s c r ip t r ea d s as f o l l ows : "At tha t t ime there l ived a wi s e ma n c a l l ed J e s u s . He led an i rr e p roachab l e l i f e , and h e was known a s a v i r tuous man . Many Jews and peop l e of o t h e r nat iona l i t i e s b ec ame h i s d i sc ip l e s . When P i l a t e c ondemned h im to death by c ru c i f i x ion , h i s f o l lowe r s d i d no t r e pud ia t e h i s t each ing . T h ey t o l d how he appeared b e f o re them a l ive three day s a f t e r h i s c ru ­ c i f ix ion . Thus , he may b e the Me s s i ah o f whom the p r o ­ phe t s had s p oken . 1 1 4 3 I t do e s n o t f o l low f rom th i s t ex t tha t Jo s ephu s d e f in i t ely cons i d e r e d J e s u s t o b e t h e Me s ­ s iah . H e probab l y wou l d n o t even th ink th i s p o s s ib l e . But i t cannot b e rul ed ou t e i th e r tha t wha t we have here is a " ske l e ton" text of the o r i g inal ver s ion wh ich Jo s e ­ phu s wro t e and wh i ch wa s l a t e r amended b y Chr i s t i an copy­ i s t s accord ing t o the ir own f a i th . Even sup p o s ing th i s i s the c a s e , how c an i t h e l p u s s o l ve the que s t ion o f the h i s to r ic i ty o f Chr i s t ? Such a s up po s i t ion wou l d no s i t ion o f tho s e b e l ong ing to the o n l y t o a very sma l l ex t en t . T h e wa s wr i t t en in ab out A . D . 9 4 ; by 1 16

doub t s t r engthen the po ­ h i s t o r i c a l s cho o l , b u t

An tiqui ties o f the Jews tha t t ime a def in i t e

Ch r i s t ian t rad i t ion had taken shap e , f r om wh ich he c ou l d have ob t a ined h i s inf o rma t ion . Th ere i s no real need t o search f o r ev id enc e of the h i s t o r ic i ty of Chr i s t in t h e Go spe l s . Many o f the even t s d e s c r ib e d there that a re a l l egedly r e l a t e d t o t h e l if e of Je s u s woul d c e r ta inly have b e en no t iced b y the inhab i ­ tant s not o n l y o f P a l e s t ine b u t al so of o ther c oun t r ie s . The s o l a r e c l ip s e l a s t ing three hou r s wh ich suppo s edly o c curred thr oughou t the wo r l d when Chr i s t wa s cru c i f ied mu s t have s t ruck the imagina t ion of p eo p l e eve rywher e , and we may exp ec t t o f ind i t men t ioned in the remin i s ­ cenc e s o f con t emp o ra r i e s . N o t only P l iny t h e E l d e r , the na tural s c i en t i s t who l e f t us a d e s c r ip t ion of a l l t h e remarkab l e phenomena o f na tu r e wh ich he h a d w i tne s s e d , but a l s o many o th e r au tho r s of the t ime wou l d have wr i t ­ t en ab ou t s u c h a n ex t raord inary even t . Th e same c a n b e s a i d o f the great ear thquake tha t marked t h e death o f Chr i s t t h e man-and-Go d . And even s ome l e s s moment c u s even t s d e s c r ib ed i n t h e Go s p e l s coul d not have e scaped the no t ic e of con t emporar i e s . And y e t i t wou l d b e wrong t o say that none of the even t s a s s o c i a t e d w i th Je sus c o u l d have taken p l a c e . The mira c l e s t o l d in the Go s p e l s are o f c ou r s e ima g ina­ ry : n e i th er the gr e a t ear thquake nor the un ive r sal s o l a r ec l ip s e c o u l d h ave o c curred a t t h e momen t of J e s u s ' dea th . And we wou l d b e go ing b eyond the l imi t s of scho­ larly ob j e c t ivi ty i f we we r e t o ins i s t on f ind ing ev i ­ denc e o f the s e even t s i n t h e l i terature o f t h a t t ime . The s ame app l i e s t o inf o rma t ion ab ou t natural b u t un1 ike ly event s , in par t ic u l a r , the s l augh t e r o f infan t s carr ied o u t und e r the o r d e r s o f Herod . Much i s known ab out the c ru e l ty of Herod the Grea t , who wa s indeed a b l o o d th i r s ty tyran t . Bu t i t s e ems un­ l ik e l y that even Her o d wou l d i s su e o rder s that a l l ma l e in fant s o f an en t i r e c i ty b e k i l l e d . O n th i s s ub j e c t the h i s t o r ians s e em t o have en t e r e d in to a con s p i racy o f s i l ence . Bu t tha t wh ich f o rms the b a ckb one of the Go spel narra t ive s c ons i s t s o f natura l (no t sup erna tura l ) , even t s . They a r e : Je s u s ' min i s t ry in Pal e s t ine and Ga­ l i l e e and the popu l a r movemen t b r ou gh t f o r th by i t ; the reac t ion t owa r d s it on the par t of the rul ing qua r t e r s o f Jewi sh s oc ie ty a n d o f the Roman admin i s t r a t ion , t h e

117

arre s t , t r ia l and d e a th o f Chr i s t ; and the movemen t wh ich a r o s e imme d ia t e ly a f t e r h i s d e a th and l ed t o the r i s e o f a new r e l i g i on . The s e even t s may we l l have o c cu r re d . One woul d expe c t to f ind r e f erenc e s to them in the l i t erature of the f ir s t c entury of ou r era . And i f there are no such r e f e renc e s , mo s t l ik e l y the even t s d i d not take p l ac e . In the f ir s t c entury B . C . and th e f ir s t c entury of our era there wa s a rel ig iou s commun i ty of Judean s e c ta­ r ians known a s the Qumran s ec t , one o f the b ranch e s o f th e E s sene s . I t s s e t t l ement wa s s i tu a t ed on t h e rocky nor thwe s te rn shore of the Dead Sea , twenty k i l ome t r e s f rom Jeru s a l em . In A . D . 6 8 , und er the p re s su r e o f a t tack ing Roman t r o o p s , memb e r s o f th i s c ommuni ty ab an­ doned the i r s e t t l emen t , af t er having carefu l ly h i dd en in n earby cave s many manu sc r i p t s that were obv i ou s ly o f great v a l u e t o them . Among them w e r e O l d Te s t ament b o ok s and c ommen t a r ie s (midra sh im) to them , hymn s o f thank s g ivin g , documen t s r e l a t ing t o the admin i s t r a t ion and organ i s a t ion of the c ommun i ty , and s o on . Al l the s e manu s c r ip t s had l a in i n the earth unt i l 1 9 4 7 when an Arab shepherd c ame upon one of th e c ave s and f ound th e h i d d en manu s c r i p t s . An in t ens ive s earch f o l l owe d wh ich l ed to the d i s covery o f t en s o f thou sands o f parchment and papyr u s f ragmen t s of t ex t s in Heb rew and Arama i c and s eve ral whol e manu s c r i pt s . S cho l a r s were f a c e d wi th a mo s t c omp l ex t a s k o f p ie c ing t og e ther and d e c ipher ing the t ex t s , t r an s l a t ing and pub l i shing them . To da t e only a r e l a t ive ly ins ign i f ican t p a r t o f the d i sc overed ma t e r i a l s has b een pub l i shed . The d i f f i cu l t ­ ie s a r i s e n o t only f rom the comp l ex i t y o f the work i t ­ s e l f . The f a c t i s tha t a maj o r i t y o f the s ch o l a r s taking par t in the work are memb e r s o f the c l ergy o f one or an­ o t h e r r e l ig i on o r are a t l ea s t no � ind i f f erent to the int e r e s t s of r e l ig i on . The i r r e l i g ious b ia s has b een one of the ma in reasons why p ub l i c a t ion of the manu s ­ / c r i p t s has b een h e l d b ack . A t any ra t e , many o f the do­ cumen t s a r e s t i l l inacce s s ib l e t o scho l ar s . S o a t p r e ­ sent w e are ab l e t o e s t ima t e t h e c ont en t s o f the Qumran t ex t s only on the b a s i s o f that part that has b e�n pub 1 i sh ed . Some o f the documen t s c onta in sho r t and enigma t ic In the c omr e f e renc e s t o a t eache r of r ight eou sne s s . 1 18

men t a ry to the O l d Te s t ament b o ok of Hab akkuk he i s men­ t ion ed seven t ime s , and in the s o - c a l l ed Dama s c u s Docu­ men t , a l s o s eve n t ime s ; h e is men t i oned once in the com­ men t a ry to the hynm. s and once in a f ragmen t of a c ommen­ t a ry to the Book of Micah . Here i s an examp l e . Hab ak­ tha t he may run t h a t reade th i t ". kuk ( 2 : 2 ) read s : " Af t er th i s i s the c ommen t ary : "By th i s i s mean t the t eacher o f r i gh t eousne s s t o whom God h a s reveal ed a l l the s e c re t s o f the wor d s s p oken by h i s s e rvant s , th e p r o ­ phe t s . 1 1 4 4 O t h e r r e f e r enc e s to t h e " t each e r " a r e no l e s s l a c on ic and vague . •



.

If we l o ok a t a l l the r e f erenc e s t o the teacher o f r i gh t eousne s s f ound in t h e pub l i shed Qumran document s , we g e t an ima g e o f a l eader and p erha p s a l s o th e f ounder o f the Qumran c ommun i ty . He wa s a p ro phe t whom God es­ pec i a l ly t ru s ted . To h im God exp l a ined the innermo s t s ec r e t s o f a l l the O l d T e s t amen t proph e c i e s and t o l d when Doomsday wou l d a r r ive . I t i s n o t c l ear whether memb e r s o r th e Qumran commun i t y regarded h im a s the Me s ­ s iah o r a h e r a l d o f the Me s s iah ; i n any c a s e , h e wa s cons i dered to b e an i n t e rme d iary b e twe en God and men . The t eacher wa s ruth l e s s l y p e r s e c u t ed b y a "wicked p r ie s t " and "man o f the l i e " , and a group o f p e o p l e re­ f er r e d t o a s the "ho u s e o f Ab s a l om" wa s accu sed o f s tand­ ing by " in the hour of suf f e r ing " . 4 5 In the Dama s c u s Document t h e dea th o f t h e teacher i s men t ioned twice , though we are n o t t o l d whe ther i t wa s a v i o l en t or a peace f u l death . S ince e l s ewhe re in the d ocumen t s he i s sa id t o have b een p e r s ecu t ed one may a s sume tha t h i s death wa s a v io l en t one . The re h a s b e en a deb a t e among s ch o l a r s over whe ther memb e r s of the Qumran c ommun i t y awa i t ed t h e s e c ond c oming o f th e t e acher . I t i s qu i t e po s s ib l e that they though t h e wa s n o t dead bu t h a d g one in to ex i l e ( indica t ion s ab o u t h i s dea th a r e somewha t vagu e ) an d we re wa i t ing f o r h i s r e turn . Wh en t ex t s in wh ich a t eacher o f r igh t eou sne s s i s me n t ioned we re f ir s t pub l i shed , they c r e a t e d a s en s a t ion . Some scho l a r s thou gh t tha t a t l a s t we had documen t s , apart f rom the Go s p e l s , wh ich c on t a ined h i s t o r i c a l inf or­ ma t ion ab o u t Chr i s t . Bu t s o on doub t s aro s e a s t o wh ether the t eache r o f r i ght e o u sn e s s cou l d b e iden t if ied with Je su s Chr i s t . In many way s the d o gma o f th e Qumran commun i ty c o 1 19

inc ide s wi th tha t of p r imit ive Chr i s t ian ity . B o th s ec t s o r ig inated in Juda i sm and introduced rad ical change s in i t , and the chan g e s are in many way s s imi l a r . Both b e­ l ieved that the coming of the Me s s iah a s wel l a s Dooms­ day wa s near . Af ter tha t r igh teou sne s s , p i ety and l igh t wou l d f ina l ly t r iumph over tran s g re s s ion of the Law , wickedne s s and darkne s s . In b o th , the c entral f i gure wa s an a s ce t ic , one who wa s s ent by God and who wa s per­ s ecuted by th e f o l l ower s of darkne s s and imp i e ty . Bo th the Qumran s e c t a r ian s and early Chr i s t ians advocated pover ty and c ounno n p roperty and b e l i eved tha t wea l th and the weal thy d i s p l ea s ed God . There are al s o paral l e l s in the r itua l s of the two s e c t s : b o th r e j e c t e d the r i t e o f t h e o f f er ing of sacr if ic ial an ima l s ; b o th prac t i s ed r itual ab l u t i on (bap t i sm among the Chr i s t ian s ) and the tak ing of communa l mea l s . The s e para l l el s sugg e s t tha t the Qumrani t e s c o u l d b e con s idered early Chr i s t ians . In that c a s e the t eache r o f r ight eou sne s s c ou l d b e iden­ t if ied wi th J e s u s Chr i s t . Howeve r , such iden t i f icat ion i s made impo s s ib l e b ecause o f c e r t a in e s s en t ia l d i f f e ren­ c e s b e tween Qumran E s s en i sm and Chr i s t ian i ty . Chr i s t ian i ty wa s the f ir s t r e l igion wh ich c l a imed to have a un iver s a l , c o smopo l i tan f o l l owing . The Qumran s e c t , on the o ther hand , wa s a c l o s ed o rgan i s a t ion wh ich j ea l ou s l y guarded the s e c r e t of i t s doc t r ine and int end­ ed t o sp read i t among th e Jews only . Chr i s t ian i ty preached nonre s i s tance to evil , wh i l e the Qumran sec ta­ r ians wer e deeply counn i t ted to a s t rugg l e aga in s t the " son s of darkne s s " and only wa i t ed f or a s ign to l aunch a war aga i n s t them . Chr i s t ian i ty t ook a rather l ib e ra l a t t itude towards O l d Te s t ament ru l e s and inj unc t ions c on­ cern ing r itual s , wh i l e the Qumran sectar ians ob s e rved them mor e l i t e r a l l y than even Or thodox Jews . They we re particularly s t r i c t ab out keep ing the sabb a th , wh ich i s not con s id ered ob l i ga tory in the Go spel s . Chr i s t ianity d id no t pre s c r ib e c e l ib acy among i t s f o l l owe r s , wh i l e the Qumran s e c t a r ian s apparen t ly d id . And l a s t ly , the Qumran conunun i ty had a h ierarch i cal o rgan i s a t ion , wh i l e in early Chr i s t ian connnu n i t i e s equa l i ty wa s the rul e .

Opponen t ( in t e rrup t ing ) : The d if f erenc e s you have ment ioned apply to Ch r i s t ian ity wh en it wa s a l r eady f o rm­ ed a s a creed . Bu t much of what you sa id doe s no� app ly to an earl i e r s t age o f i t s deve l opment . For in s t anc e , 1 20

Th e Re v e l a t ion

i s a l s o f il l ed wi th a ha t r e d f o r the ene­ l ike the Qumran do cumen t s . And l ik e the s e t j us s , mi e do cu ment s , The Reve l a t ion wa s intend e d f o r the Judean s . I s i t no t po s s ib l e that the s p i r i t of Chr i s t ian i ty a t i t s in i t ial s t ag e c l o s e l y r e s emb l ed tha t o f the Qumran t ex t s , and only l a t e r , f rom the end of th e f ir s t c en tury of ou r era , d id Chr i s t ian i ty tak e th e f o rm wh ich mad e i t e s s ent ial ly d i f f e r en t f rom Qumran E s sen i sm?

Author : I t i s p o s s ib l e . But then we wou l d have to da t e the h i s t ory of Chr i s t ian i ty not f rom the f ir s t c enA . D . but ear l ie r , a t l ea s t f r om the s e c ond c en tu ry tury B . C . Here , o f c o u r s e , much d epends o n one ' s ap­ proach : one can , i f one l ike s , c on s ider th i s period to b e the p reh i s tory o f Chr i s t ian i ty , o r one c an cons ider it t o b e the b e g inning o f the h i s t ory o f Ch r i s t ian i ty . But l e t u s s e e where your a s s ump t i on wou l d l ead u s a s regard s the f igure o f Je s u s Chr i s t . In the o p in i on o f mo s t re s earcher s , the r e l evant document s o f the Qumran c ommun i ty da t e b ack a t l ea s t t o the midd l e o f the f ir s t c entury B . C . Th i s mean s tha t a l l r e f erenc e s to the t eacher of r i ght eou sne s s p r e d a t e by a t l e a s t a hundred y e a r s t h e t ime when t h e N e w Te s t a ­ If so , it men t and the Chr i s t ian t r ad i t ion t ook shap e . i s qu i t e impo s s ib l e t o c on s ider the t e acher o f r ight e ou s ­ ne s s and J e s u s Ch r i s t t o b e the s ame p e r s on .

Oppone n t : I t i s impo s s ib l e only if one s t r ic t ly l ink s the f igure o f Je su s Chr i s t w i th the New Te s t ament in t e rms of chron o l o gy and in a l l o th e r r e spec t s . But in s t ead o f do ing t h i s one may a s sume tha t the Evang e l i c a l l e gend s are b a s ed on a real per s on who l ived o n e hundr e d or even two hundred yea r s b e f o r e t h e r i s e o f t h e New Te s tament t rad i t i on and that the p o r t ra i t o f h im g iven in the Go s p e l s a l ready conta ine d f ea tu r e s b o rn of f an t a sy ove r a p e r iod of many y e a r s f o l l owing h i s d e a th . I s th i s no t p o s s ib l e ? Author: Qu i t e p o s s ib l e . But we are not t a lk ing ab ou t any p e r s on in g ene ra l , bu t ab out s omeone who wa s the c ent ra l f igure o f c e r t a in h i s t o r ic a l work s and o f a who l e t rad i t ion , in o th e r wo rd s , ab out Je su s Chr i s t . If w e f ind a r e a l pe r s on who wa s c a l l ed Je s u s and who l ived a t a t ime and in conc r e t e h i s t o r ic a l c ircums tanc e s c o r ­ re spond ing t o th e N e w Te s tament na rra t ive s , w e then can 121

s ay tha t th i s i s t h e h i s to r ic a l J e su s we have b een s e ek ­ ing . B u t i f th e New Te s t ament narra t ive s are b a s ed o n a p e r son who l ived a t a d if f erent t ime and i n d i f f eren t h i s t o r i c a l c ircums t anc e s and who even h a d a dif f erent name , then obv iou s l y we have not f ound the p er son we have b e en l o o k ing f o r . I t i s c once ivab l e that r ec o l l ec ­ t ions ab ou t the t eacher o f r igh t e ousne s s b e came one o f t h e s ourc e s o f the l egend o f Chr i s t . I t d o e s no t f o l l ow f r om th i s , h oweve r , tha t they were the s ame p er son . In­ c idental ly , s ome s cho l a r s have vo i c e d the o p in ion tha t the t eache r o f r ight eousne s s h ims e l f may b e a my th ical f igure . From 1 96 5 i t wa s thou gh t p o s s ib l e to i d en t i f y Je s u s Chr i s t wi th ye t ano ther p e r son who wa s b r ie f l y ment ioned in s ome of the Qumran t ext s , name l y , King Me l ch i zedek . A Qumran documen t wa s pub l i s h e d wh ich may b e t en t a t ively ca l l ed the "Me l ch i zedek Midra sh" . It wa s r e c over e d in a very b a d s t a t e ; i t c on s i s t ed o f th i r t een f r a gmen t s wh lch , thank s t o t h e pa in s t ak ing work o f s c ho l ar s , we re p i eced t o g e th e r t o f o rm a k ind o f runn ing t ex t , though there are s t i l l gap s . The document i s though t to dat e back t o the b e g inn ing o f the f ir s t c en t u ry A .D . It c on t a i n s p rophe s i e s ab ou t t h e approaching end o f the wo r l d and th e ro l e wh ich a Me l ch i z ed ek is to p l ay in the f o r thc oming d r ama . Me l ch i z edek is dep i c t e d a s a maj e s t i c and exa l t e d p e r s onage : he i s supreme j udge , avenger of a l l ev i l , h e ra l d of the c om ing salva t ion o f the r igh t eou s and the ma in f igu re in th e a c t of s a l va t i on , the Me s s iah , the redeeme r and the l eader o f the " sons of l ight " in the f inal b a t t l e aga in s t the " s on s of darkne s s " . The name Me l ch i zedek i s no t ent i r e l y unknown . I t i s men t i oned twi c e in the O l d Te s t amen t . In the Gene s i s , Me l c h i zedek i s the k ing o f S a l em ( probab l y l a t er Je ru sa­ l em) , the "p r ie s t of the mo s t h i gh God " ( 1 4 : 1 8 ) . In one o f the P s a lms ( 1 1 0 : 4 ) God s p eaks of "a p r i e s t for ever af t e r the o r d e r o f Me l ch i z e d ek " . In the New Te s tamen t Me lch i zedek appea r s only in t h e Ep i s t l e t o the Heb rews , who s e au thor s everal t ime s r e f e r s to " the order of Me l ­ ch i z e d ek " , having i n mind the s ame k ing o f S a l em . Bu t wh i l e showing g r e a t re spec t f o r Me l ch i zedek , the author g ive s no c l ear ind i c a t i on o f th e l a t t e r ' s r e l a t ion to Jesus Chr i s t or to any o t h e r per sonage . Me l ch i zedek thu s r ema in s a my s te r i o u s f igu re , wh ich enab l e s s ome Ch r i s t ian

1 22

th eo l o g ian s t o i d en t i fy h im w i th J e s u s Chr i s t o r t o a t l e a s t su g g e s t tha t such a n i d ent i f i c a t i on woul d b e l e­ g i t ima t e . In a P o l i sh ed i t i on of the B ib l e pub l i shed in 1 9 6 5 t h e t ex t on Me l ch i zed ek i s a c compan i e d by t h i s not e : "The my s t e r iou s pagan k ing o f Sal em i s in f a c t the p r i e s t o f th e t ru e God , th e ima g e o f Chr i s t i n the Me s s ian i c p sa l m 1 1 0 : 4 and i n the Ep i s t l e to t h e H eb rews . 1 1 4 6 I f Je s u s Ch r i s t i s ident if i e d w i th Me l ch i z e d ek , then the above-men t ioned Qumran Midrash can b e r e garded a s the ear l i e s t evi d enc e we have ab ou t the f ound e r o f Chr i s t i an­ i t y , and , wha t i s mo r e , evidence f rom a c omp l e t e l y new sourc e . Bu t are there g round s for such an iden t i f i c a ­ t i on ? If we d i s re gard the o l o g i c a l t r ad i t ions in int erp r e t ­ ing B ib l i c a l t ex t s and l o ok a t t h e que s t ion ob j ec t iv e l y , we shal l ge t a rather unexp ec t ed p i c tu r e . In the o r i g inal Heb rew text of the Book of Gene s i s Me l ch i zedek i s p r e s en t e d n o t a s a "pr i e s t o f the mo s t h i gh Go d " , bu t a s a p r i e s t o f E l -E l ion . The word " e l i on " wa s thought b y t rans l a t o r s of t h e B ib l e to b e a n adj e c ­ t ive meaning " s up reme " , " th e mo s t h igh " . Such an in t e r ­ p r e t a t ion mu s t b e r e g a r d e d a s dub i o u s s in c e it run s c oun­ t e r to the who l e O l d T e s t amen t conc ep t i on acc ord ing t o wh i ch Ab raham and h i s k in a lone knew the God-reve a l ed re l ig ion . And here we have a "pag an" k ing who no t only prof e s s e d th i s r e l ig ion but wa s even among the p r ie s t s o f " the mo s t h i gh " . The o l o g ian s c o u l d g e t ou t of th i s d i f f icu l ty only b y sugge s t ing tha t the s i tu a t i on i s a my s t e r iou s one . In a c t ua l f ac t , however , things a r e mu c h s imp l e r and there i s no mys t e ry h e r e a t a l l . The wo rd " e l ion" i s n o t an ad j ec t ive but p� r t of the name o f the pagan god E l -E l ion , a name we l l known in the h i s t o ry o f r e l ig ioa . In the t ex t s une a r th e d a t Ra s ­ Sha mra and o ther pla c e s i n t h e 1 9 3 0 s th e name Me l c h i z e ­ dek , one o f t h e many g o d s o f the anc ient Canaan i t e pan­ t heo n , i s men t ioned mo r e than onc e . In th e B o ok of Gen e ­ s i s Me l c h i ze dek i s spoken o f a s a p r i e s t o f E l -E l i on and no t a s a Juda i c or any o th e r "mo s t h i gh God " . Henc e , Je su s has apparen t ly n o t h ing in c ommon with h im . True , the Qumra n s e c ta r ians , of cour s e , c ou l d have regarded 1 23

h im a s a s e rvan t of the "mo s t h i gh " and i d en t if ied h im wi th the i r p r ophe t and t eache r . The name o f Me l ch i zedek , wh i ch means "k ing o f r i gh t eousne s s " or "k ing o f j u s t i c e " , h a s s ome th ing in c ommon wi th more hassedeq , or teacher of r i gh t e ou sne s s . P e rhap s in the minds o f the Qumran s e c t a r ian s the image of Me l c h i zedek wa s l inke d with the t eacher of r ight e o u s ­ ne s s . But th i s c ircums tan c e c an have no b ear ing on the que s t ion o f whe ther J e s u s is a h i s t o r ic a l o r a my t h ic a l f i gu r e . The o l o g ical c onj e c t ure s apar t , there are no a r­ gumen t s t o suppo r t the the s i s tha t any c l o s e r e l a t ion­ sh ip ex i s t ed b e tween Me l ch i zedek and Chr i s t , l e t a l one the i r b e ing t h e s ame p er s on . Now l e t u s cons ider a numb er of c onc ept ion s that re s t on f i rmer ground s . A Po s s ib l e Var ian t -- " S omeon e Came By

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.

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We sha l l b e g in wi th a po s s ib l e r e j o inder by my oppo­ nent who r e j e c t s the argumen t f rom saeau li si lentium ( s i l ence of a c entury ) .

Opponent : I t i s imp o s s ib l e to take t h i s argumen t s e r iou s l y . I t imp l i e s that event s tha t took p l a c e in a remo t e and n o t very imp o r t an t Roman p rov ince such a s Jud e a h a d t o b ecome known a l mo s t imme d i a t e l y throughou t the Roman Emp i re , and e s p e c i a l l y in Rome . Th i s i s t o a s s e s s ant iq u i t y with t h e c r i t e r ia o f our t ime . Nowa­ day s , thanks to the med i a , any l o c a l event tha t i s o f any s ign i f i c anc e i s known t h e nex t d a y throughou t the wo r l d . Event s that t ook p l ace in Jeru s a l em in the th i r t i e s o f the f i r s t century A . D . m i g h t go unno t ic e d ou t s ide Jud e a . Wha t i s more , they might not even l eave a deep impr e s s ion on tho s e who w i tne s s e d them or t o ok p a r t i n the m . Th i s po int ha s b een c onv in c ingly a rgued b y O . Chwo l s on . Author: Now that i s in t e r e s t ing . Wha t d o e s th i s erud i t e sc9o l ar , who s t rongly end or s e s the h i s t o r i c i ty o f J e s u s , h ave to s ay o n th e sub j e c t ? Opponen t : He say s that under He rod , Arch e l a u s and the Roman p r e f ec t s thou s and s of Jews wer e execu t e d in Jeru sa l em , and so i t wou l d b e d if f icu l t , if no t imp o s ­ s ib l e , f o r any h i s t o r ian to r ememb er that among tho s e thou sand s there wa s one c a l l ed J e su s . I n Chwo l s on ' s 1 24

o p in ion � i t wa s on ly twen ty y e a r s a f t e r the death o f Je­ s u s Ch r i s t tha t p o pu l a r f e rment b e gan wh ich l ed t o the The def ea t o f the Jews in th i s wa r and the J ew i sh wa r . d e sp on de ncy that f o l l owe d could have revived memo r i e s o f th e t ea ch er who h a d b een execu t e d , and only a f t e rward s 47 wou l d the s e memo r i e s f ind l i t e rary exp re s s ion .

Au thor : If I under s t and you correc t l y , you a re s ay­ ing th a t one mu s t not ins i s t on the verac i ty o f the Evan­ g e l i ca l accoun t of the l if e of Je su s , and th a t h i s min i s t ­ ry and d e a th might n o t have b een nea r l y a s rema rkab l e and d r ama t i c as they are p r e sen t ed in th e New Te s t ament . Bu t l e t u s l o ok a t th i s po in t of v iew mo re c l o s e l y , f o r i t i s fa i r l y wi d e s p read i n work s o f f i c t ion a s we l l a s in s cho­ larly wr it ings . A b r i l l iant art i s t ic i l l u s trat i on o f th i s c o ncept ion i s Ana t o l e Franc e ' s famou s h i s t o r i c a l t a l e " The Procu r a t o r of Judea" . 4 8 An o l d and s ick man , Pon t iu s P i l a t e c ame to a s ea ­ s ide r e s o r t f o r med i c a l t reatmen t . There he acc ident a l l y met h i s f r i end , Ae l iu s Lamia , a Roman ar i s tocrat , who in h i s yout h had s pen t many years in ex i l e in Pa l e s t ine . In the hot sou the rn s un the two o l d men remin i sc e d ab o u t the pa s t , rec a l l ing even t s in Pa l e s t ine of wh ich they were b o th wi tne s s e s . Lamia asked ab o u t the Sama r i tan upr i s ing aga in s t Roman rul e wh ich t o ok p l ac e on Moun t Ge r i z im , and P i l a t e gave a d e ta i l ed a c c ount of the insurrec t ion and i t s outc ome . The two men had so much to rec o l l ec t tha t they dec ided to mee t t h e f o l l owing day in P i l a t e ' s hou s e . There the two f r iends again reca l l ed the t ime when they we re b o t h young and l ived in b a rb a r i c Judea . P i l a t e d i d mo s t o f the talking , f o r Lamia wa s int ere s t ed in P i l a t e ' s work in Judea a s admin i s t r a t o r and p r o c ur a t o r and want e d to hear a l l t h e d e t ai l s . P i l a t e s a i d tha t he o f t en had to s anc t ion d e a th s en t enc e s p a s s ed by a Jew i sh cour t : "A hundred t ime s , a t l ea s t , h ave I known them , mu s ­ t e red , r i ch and poor together , a l l un i t ed under th e i r p r ie s t s , make a fur iou s on s l augh t o n my ivo ry cha i r , se i z ing me b y the sk i r t s o f my rob e , by the thong s o f my s andal s , and a l l t o d emand o f me--nay , to exa c t f r om me , --the death s e n t ence on s ome unf o r tuna t e who s e gu i l t I f a i l ed t o p erc e ive , and a s to whom I c ou l d only p ronounce th a t h e wa s as mad a s his a c c u s er s . A hundred t ime s , do N o t a hund red , b u t every day and all day At I say ! •

1 25







the ou t s e t of my t e rm o f o f f ic e I endeavo ured to p e r s ua d e them to h ea r r e a s on ; I a t t emp ted to sna tch th e i r mi s e r­ ab l e v i c t ims f rom death . But th i s show o f m i l dne s s on ly i r r i t a t e d them the mo re . " Th i s very much soun d s l ike the tr ial of Je s u s a s t o l d in t h e Go s p e l s . An d a s one l i s tens to P i l a t e ' s mo ­ n o l ogue one expe c t s tha t a t any moment P i l a t e wou ld re­ c a l l one such unf o r tun a t e man whom he had had to hand ove r to the f ana t ic Phar i s e e s and s c r ib e s and l e t them d e a l with h im as they p l e a s e d . But P i l a t e had no re c o l ­ l ec t ion of th i s mo s t remarkab l e c a s e , one wh ich had such impor tan t cons e qu enc e s . The f r iend s then turned to o ther sub j e c t s . Lamia rec a l l ed a danc e r , a Jewe s s of ext raord inary b eauty and charm , w i th whom he wa s in l ove . The ir a f f a i r ended ab ­ rup t l y : " One day she d i sapp eared , and I saw h e r no Some mouth s a f t e r I l o s t s ight o f h e r , I learn­ mo re ed by chan c e tha t she had a t tached her s e l f to a sma l l c ompany o f men and women who were f o l lowe r s o f a ymung Ga l i l ean thauma turg i s t . " •









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The woman Lamia s poke o f i s apparen t l y Mary Magda­ l ene , and the " young Ga l i l ean " i s undoub t e d l y J e s u s Chr i s t . Lamia c on t inued : " H i s name wa s J e s u s ; he came f rom Nazare th , and he wa s c ruc i f i e d f o r some c r ime Pon t iu s , do you rememb e r any th ing ab out t h e man ? "Pon t iu s P i l a t e con t ra c t ed h i s b rows , and h i s hand r o s e t o h i s f orehead in the a t t i tud e of one who prob e s the d e e p s o f memo ry . Then a f t e r a s i l ence o f s ome s e c ond s -" ' Je su s ? ' h e mu rmu re d , ' Je su s --of Nazareth? I canno t cal l h im to mind ' . "

Oppone n t : Do you no t th ink that in th i s s tory Ana­ t o l e Franc e may h ave f ound the r igh t an swe r t o a qu e s t i on wh ich ha s so f a r e luded scho l a r s and h i s to r ian s ? Author : Th i s i s n o t rul ed ou t . Bu t in tha t c a s e the Go s p e l narra t i ve s mu s t b e regarded a s unt r u s two r thy a s a h i s t o r ic a l s ou rc e . I f the event s c onnec t ed wit h th e l if e and d e a th of Je su s Chr i s t were so ins ign i f icant , 1 26

then the acc ount of them g iven in the Go s pe l s i s , t o p u t i t mi l d l y , ina c c u ra t e . The r e w e a r e t o l d o f t h e p o pu l a r mo vement in Ga l i l e e and Judea wh ich wa s supp o s e d l y b rough t f o r th b y J e su s ' ac t iv i t y ; of Je su s ' t r iumphant en t ry into Je ru sa l em whe re he wa s me t by "a very g r e a t mul t i tud e " ; o f Je su s ' t r ial a t n i gh t wh ich wa s ex traord inary in s c op e an d i n the way i t wa s c onduc t e d ; o f t h e pa r t i c i p a t ion o f large c rowd s i n t h e t o r ture o f Je s u s , and s o on . Al l I have a l ready s p ok en of the mi­ th i s l o s e s c red ib i l i t y . racu l o u s hap p en ing s wh i ch , the Go s p e l s t e l l u s , acc ompa­ n ied the p a s s ion and d e a th o f Je su s Chr i s t . I f even one of them had rea l l y o c cu r re d , the who l e s to ry wou l d have l e f t an inde l ib l e imp r e s s ion on the memory of p e o p l e .

Oppone n t : L e t u s n o t t alk ab ou t t h e mirac l e s , b u t keep o u r d i s c u s s ion with in a h i s t o r i c a l f ramework . Sup­ po s ing the Evange l i s t s ' a c coun t o f even t s is no t onl y exaggerated b u t a l s o emb e l l i shed w i t h r e l i g i o u s f an t a s y , it i s n eve r thel e s s b u i l t a round a h i s t o r ic a l k e rne l . Sure ly you are aware tha t th i s i s a v i e w h e l d by th e p r o ­ minent Sovie t h i s to r ian N . N ik o l sky , by the we l l -known French wr i t e r and c ommun i s t Hen r i Barbu s s e and by the Engl i sh s c ho la r and c ommun i s t Arch iba l d Rob e r t s on ? Ye t you have no t con s idered t h e i r views on t h e que s t ion we are in t e r e s t e d in . Author : Tha t i s j u s t wha t I intend to do . Ac ademi­ c ian N iko l sky acknowl edg e s the fac t tha t we have b u t scant and c on t rad i c t o ry h i s t o r ical inf o rma t i on ab ou t Chr i s t . E s s en t i a l l y , such inf o rma t ion i s f ound on ly in the Syno p t ic Go s p el s , b u t the i r ana ly s i s g ive s ra the r d i s appo in t ing re sul t s . N ikol sky wr i t e s : " For the h i s to ­ r ian t h e conc l u s ion s a r e indeed no t .very encourag ing , e s ­ pec ia l ly o n t h e qu e s t ion o f t h e l if e and min i s t ry of J e s u s . " And i f we d i s regard that wh i ch i s c on t ra d ic t ory and doub t f u l o r even imp l au s ib l e in the Go s p e l s , N iko l s ­ ky cont inue s , "wh a t i s l e f t o f the a c c ount g iven i n the Synop t ic Go s p e l s ?� The re wa s a carpen t e r f r om N a z a r e t h , Je su s , who s e ems to have p er f o rmed mirac l e s and p r eached , b u t what h e p reached we do no t know f o r sure ; then h e wa s arre s t ed by t h e Jud ean au tho r i t i e s a n d wa s execu t ed . An d tha t i s a 1 1 1 1 . 4 9 N i k o l sky in s i s t s , h owever , tha t in th is scan t ma t e r ial l i e s the h i s t o r ic a l kernel f rom wh ich s ub s e q uen t l y the ma j e s t ic t re e of the Chr i s t ian l eg end gr ew . 1 27

Acc o r d ing t o N ik o l sky , we shou l d r e j e c t tho s e Evan­ g e l ical ev idenc e s tha t contrad i c t one ano ther or do n o t in s p i r e c onf idenc e i n g ene ral , b u t no t such p i ece s o f inf o rmat ion t h a t a g r e e w i th one ano the r i n sub s tanc e . He wr i te s : "When a l l sourc e s - -b o th the Go s p e l s and the Apoc ryphal wr i t ing s - -a r e unanimou s in say ing tha t Je su s wa s f r om Nazare th and wa s a c a rp en t e r o r the s on of a carpent er , tha t h i s f a ther wa s Jo s eph and h i s mo ther wa s Mary , then we are obviou s l y deal ing wi th g enera l l y known f a c t s ab out wh ich there wa s no d i sagreemen t . " E l ab o ra t ­ ing o n th i s though t , N ikol sky s ay s : " I f Je su s wa s n o t a rea l p e r son b u t an invent ed f igur e , why then wa s he ca l l ­ e d a carpen t e r f rom Na za r e th , why wa s there g eneral a g ­ re emen t a s t o wha t h i s f a th e r ' s a n d mo the r ' s name s wer e , and a l s o the names o f th e c it i e s and v i l l age s where he p reache d ? To exp l a in th i s , we have to a s sume that there wa s an imag inary s t o ry about Je su s wh ich i s sho r t e r than the one t o l d in the Synop t ic Go s p e l s , and tha t , f o r s ome r e a s on , eve ryone a c c e p t ed tha t s to ry a s s o l emn t ru th . 1 1 5 0 N iko l sky b e l ieve s tha t the Go sp el s g ive a g ene r a l l y t ru e p ic ture o f th e h i s t o r ical c i rcums tanc e s i n wh ich Je­ s u s c a r r i e d ou t h i s a c t iv it i e s . Thu s , Pon t iu s P i l a t e wa s ind eed the rul e r o f Judea a t tha t t ime and he wa s c ru e l a n d ru thl e s s . The mo ra l s and cu s t oms and the l o ca l i t y d e s c r ib ed in the Go s p e l s fu l ly corre s p ond t o the real i ­ t i e s o f that p e r iod . For N ik o l sky , t o o , t h e argument f r om s il ence is unconv inc ing . Je s u s ' min i s t ry , N ik o l sky s a y s , l a s t e d f o r onl y a sho r t t ime , p e rha p s no mo re than a y ea r . Dur ing th i s t ime h e d id n o t b ec ome widely known . S o , "b e f o r e Je sus en tered Jeru s a l em , the Roman autho r i t i e s apparent ly never heard of h im" ; the Jews , of c ou r s e , knew o f h im , bu t " t o the ru l ing qua r t e r s of Judean s o c i e ty J e s u s was only one o f the i r enemie s , and not even one of the ma in one s 1 1 . 5 1 The r e f o re , " i f the Roman wr i t e r s d id not men t ion Je su s , th i s i s to b e exp l a ined by the s il en c e o f the Judean wr i t er s ; the Roman wr i t er s ob ta ine d nearly a l l th e ir in­ f orma t ion abo u t Judea and the even t s occurr ing there ex­ c l u s ively f rom Jud ean source s " . N ikol sky a l s o th ink s that Je s u s ' s e rmons f o rm an in­ t egral whol e . He wr i t e s : "De s p i t e some c ont rad ic t ions , Je su s ' s ermon s , a s i s f e l t b y a l l tho s e who have read 1 28

th e Synop t ic Go s p e l s careful ly , a re one in sp i r i t , t one and c on t ent It is p o s s ib l e to inven t some of th e say ing s and parab l e s , but i t i s impo s s ib l e to s e t them f o r th w i thou t any order , a s it i s done in the Go spe l s , an d y e t make the reader f e e l tha t b eh ind them i s a l iving 5 2 Nikol sky i s thu s l ed t o the c onc l u s ion p rea ch e r . 1 1 tha t Je su s wa s a real p er s on , one who h ad a h i s t o r ic a l ex i s t ence . .

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In many r e spec t s N ik o l s ky ' s a rgumen t s are s im i l ar tho s e of Henr i Barbu s s e , who a l s o acknowl edge s the h i s t o r i c i ty of Chr i s t . The argumen t s pu t f o rward by Bar­ bu s s e , howeve r , are mor e though t -p rovok ing , mo r e b r i l ­ l ian t ; they a r e par t o f a n o r ig inal c oncep t ion regard ing the r i s e of Ch r i s t ian i ty i t s e l f . to

L ik e N ikol sky and s ome o ther au tho r s , who recogn i s e the h i s t o r i c a l ex i s t en c e o f Chr i s t , Barbu s s e do e s no t deny the f a c t tha t h i s t o r ic a l sour c e s t e l l u s very l it t l e ab out Je su s . Barbu s s e wri t e s : "Le t u s f a c e the ev i ­ d enc e and l e t u s s ay : a l l the docume n t s w e have , b o th rel ig iou s and s ecular , regard ing t h e o r i g ins of Chr i s t ­ ian ity tl p t o the momen t when the chu rch canon e s tab l i shed ' ne va r i e tur ' [ s c r ip tu r e no t sub j e c t t o change--I . K . ] , tha t i s , to the b e g inn ing of th e 5 th c en t u ry , a r e almo s t withou t exc ept ion unr e l i ab l e and d o not in p r inc ip l e me­ r i t c onf i d ence . The r e i s n o t a s in g l e l ine in them o f wh ich o n e c an b e sure , n o th ing tha t o n e c an a f f irm , no t even one name , not even one d a t e . 1 1 5 3 Th e New Te s tament book s t e l l u s noth ing d e f in i t e ab out Je s u s Chr i s t . Bar­ bus s e s t re s se s t.he f a c t tha t the auth o r s o f the E p i s t l e s and Th e Ac t s who , a s a p o s t l e s , mu s t have known Chr i s t b e t t er than anyone e l s e , s a i d noth ing ab out Chr i s t . •

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Bu t i f they knew Chr i s t they wou l d p r obab ly c ons i ­ de re d i t the ir du ty to r e l a t e wha t they knew . Barbu s s e wr i t e s : "Le t u s sp eak the p l a in l anguage o f c ommon s en s e . If you and I could b e in c ontac t with God , if we had l ived w i th h im for a l on g t ime and had heard h is vo i c e f o r a p e r i o d of s everal y e a r s and mon th s , even i f h i s wo rd we re t r ansmi t ted t o u s b y h i s c on t empora r i e s a f ew year s a f t e r Go d h a s d i sappeared , we wou l d c on s ider i t ou r du ty t o s p read h i s t each ing . I s i t po s s ib l e tha t we wou l d u t t e r one word or wr i t e one l ine wi thout r e f e r r ing d irec t ly t o some t ra i t s of th i s awe s ome , c onc r e t e r e a l i-

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ty ? " 5 4 W i th a l , the apo s t l e s , in s p eak ing of Ch r i s t , s e em to have d rawn on a l l o ther sourc e s exc e p t the ir own rec o l l ec t ions and imp re s s ions . They b o rrowed many t erms and phra s e s f rom Old Te s tamen t prophet s . For in s tanc e , they spoke much ab out th e s ac r i f i c e of l amb s , about the me ek s ervan t or c h i l d , but p ra c t i c a l l y noth ing ab out the "It real ex i s t ence o f Je su s the man or man -and -God . s e ems inc onc e ivab l e , " say s Barb u s s e , "that wh i l e rely ing on the proph e t s t h e s e pas t o r s [ autho r s of Th e Ac t s and the Ep i s t l e s --I . K . ] never ref e r red to the human real i­ ty of God w i th whom th ey had apparen t l y b een in contac t . I t shou l d b e s t r e s s ed : i t is inconc e ivab l e that they wou l d no t invoke th i s real i t y in every l in e they wro t e . 11 5 5 It wou l d b e inc once ivab l e , tha t i s , if the au tho r s of Th e Ac t s and th e Ep i s t l e s had ind eed known Chr i s t a s a real p e r son ! Neve r th e l e s s , Barbu s s e f ind s s eve r a l s ta r t ing po in � s f rom wh ich- t o bu i l d u p a conc ep t ion wh ich imp l i e s , among o ther th ing s , a recogn i t ion of the h i s t o r ical ex i s t en c e of J e s u s . The s e s ta r t ing po in t s are t h e Go s p e l s . Wh i l e acknowl edging th e f a c t tha t the Go s p e l s c on­ t a in many c on trad ic t ions and a l arge numb e r of qu i t e l a t e add i t ions and change s , Barb u s s e neve r th e l e s s f in d s i n t h e Go s pe l s a k e r n e l of h i s to r i c a l truth . For h im , the "many ob viou s cont rad i c t i on s wh ich we f ind i n the Go s p e l s and wh ich c ome f rom the pen o f un sk i l l e d wr i t er s " 56 a r e p r o o f tha t the s e wr i t e r s d id n o t inven t a l l tha t they narra t e d . L a t e r on the ed i to r s wer e un ­ ab l e to s t ra igh t en th ing s out wh en p re s en t ing th i s t ru th . W i th sk i l f u l ed i t ing , Barbu s s e b e l ieve s , the d ivergen­ c i e s in the Go s p e l s wou l d have b e en remove d . The very inc on s is t enc i e s and c ont rad i c t ions in the narra t ive s o f the Evange l i s t s are , for Barbu s s e , ma rk s of h i s t o r ic a l ve rac i ty . Thu s , J e s u s the God o f t en shows s igns of human weakne s s . When ac c u s e d of t ry ing t o a t ­ t r ib u t e to h 1ms e l f d iv ine qual i t ie s , he c i t ed O l d Te s t a ­ ment t ex t s in wh i ch o rd inary p e op l e who h e a r d t h e wo rd o f God we re ref erred t o a s g o d s ; in th i s way h e p rac t i ­ c a l l y d en i e d he wa s Go d . J e su s admi t ted tha t h e d i d no t know t h e day and t h e hou r when the end o f the wo r l d wou l d c ome , s ay ing tha t God a l one kn ew th i s . On many o c c a s i on s Je s u s wen t in t o h id ing in o r d e r t o e s cape per1 30

s ec u t ion . H i s p raye r - - " remove t h i s cup f rom me " -- " p rov e s ma gn if ic ent l y h i s p o o r and naked human i t y " . 5 7 And h i s c ry o n t h e c ro s s -- "My God , my God , why ha s t thou f o r saken me ? " -- i s a c ry of human s o rrow and d e f e a t . The Enva g e l ­ i s t s c o u l d n o t have invent e d a l l thi s ; i t wou l d b e p o i n t ­ l e s s f o r t h e m to do s o . Barb u s s e b e l i eve s tha t many ep i sode s d e s c r ib e d in th e Go spe l s are l i f e l ike and h is t o r i c a l ly p l au s ib l e . He wr i te s : " Such s ens a t i onal even t s a s the c a s t ing ou t of t rade r s f r om th e t emp l e and th e t r ial of Je su s cann o t b e regarded a s p u r e f ic t ion . Bu t wha t b ea r s the s t amp of ver is imil i tude is the p rec i s e and cons i s t ent f ea tu r e s of charac ter , the pecul iar i t i e s o f p i c t o r ial re l ie f and the anec d o t a l ep i s o d e s wh ich , s o to s p ea k , a re i n t h em­ se lve s p ro o f s and imp a r t a mea s ure of authen t i c i t y t o everyth ing . The d e ta i l s r e l a t ing , f o r examp l e , t o the int rac tab l e cha rac t e r o f the t re a s u r e r of the c ommun i ty , the ungrac iou s b ehav iour of the b r o ther s of the p rophe t , the s l owne s s of und e r s t and ing of the d i s c i pl e s , and the p e r s ona l ity o f Ma r tha and Ma ry Magda l ene canno t b e re­ garded otherw i s e as b e ing authent i c . Who wou ld inven t the s e , and f o r what purp o s e ? In a l l th i s there 1 s s ome ­ thing that cannot b e inven ted . 5 8 In Barb u s s e ' s o p inion , the manner o f sp eech of J e s u s a s preach er , int e r l o c u t o r and d i spu t ant i s a l s o s ome th ing tha t c anno t b e inven t ed . Barbu s s e c i t e s many of J e su s ' say ing s , f o r examp l e , h i s " h i ghly ingen i ou s , o r ig ina l and c o rrec t verd i c t " on a woman tak en in adu l t ry , and no t e s the i r wit and c on­ c i s ene s s . "Th e s e magn i f i c en t verb a l c ry s t a l l i s a t i ons . . . , " Ba rb u s s e wr i t e s , "are b o rn of 1 ip s and a hea r t t h a t are f r e e , and d o no t come f rom t h e qu i l l of a churchman yoked to h i s t a sk . " 5 9 The sub s tanc e o f J e s u s ' s ermon s , a c c o rd ing t o Barb u s s e , a l s o tend s to conf i rm the au then t i c i ty of t h e Evang el i c a l na rrat ive s . J e su s ' teach ing a s s e t f o r th in the Go s p e l s , s a y s Barbus s e , should no t b e regarded a s b e ing ident ica l t o t h e teach ing of t h e apo s t l e Paul who b e c ame the mo s t impor tant Ch r i s t ian theor i s t . I f the p er s onal i t y of Je su s we re inven t ed , and e s pec ial ly if it we re i nven t e d in the per iod wh en Paul ' s Ep i s t l e s we re a l ready known , h e wo u l d have been made t o u t t er s a y ings and preach s e rmons in a c c o rdance w i th the s p i r i t of Pau l ' s t e a c h ing . 131

But s ince the spec i f ic features of the ind ividual ity of Jesus are r e t a ined in his s e rmon s a s g iven in the Go s ­ · p el s , i t mean s that th i s ind iv idua l i t y i s n o t a my tho l o ­ g ical c r e a t ion , b u t a r ef l ec t ion o f a real h i s t o r i c a l p er s ona l i t y . The Evangel i s t s ' narra t ive s , s ay s Barbu s s e , me r i t a c e r t a in amount o f t ru s t . I t wou l d b e irrat ional , in h i s o p in ion , to a s sume tha t the s e narr a t ive s are f ic t i ­ on f rom b e g inn ing to end . D e c e p t ion on such a s c a l e i s i n p r inc i p l e imp o s s ib l e , l e t a l on e such a weal th o f ima­ g inat ion . W i tµ th i s in mind , wha t c onc l u s ion s c an one d raw as r e ga rd s the que s t ion o f whe ther J e s u s was a real per son o r a myth ic a l f igure ? Barb u s s e i s cau t iou s in f o rmu l a t ing h i s conc l u s ion , wh ich c ome s to j u s t three word s : " someone came by " And the mo s t that can b e s a id of tha t " s omeon e " i s sunnne d up in two b r i e f s en t ence s : "a p o o r man c ame by , f o r whom a need wa s f ound a f t e rward s " ; and " s ome ob scure Jewi sh prophe t c ame by , who pr each ed and was c ru c i f i e d " . 6 0 .







F o r whom a n e ed wa s f ound af t erward s "--the s e " wo rd s sum u p Barbu s s e ' s c onc e p t ion o f the o r i g in s o f Chr i s t ian i ty , wh i ch ent a il s a recognit ion o f the h i s t o ­ r i c i ty o f J e su s . .

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For ab ou t twen ty year s , a c c o rd ing t o th i s concep t i ­ on , th i s ob s c u r e wand er ing p r e acher , who l ike many s uch unknown suf f er e r s , wa s cruc if ied , wa s comp l e t e l y forgot ­ t en . La t er , so c ial and h i s to r ic a l c ond i t ions emerged wh ich cal l ed f o rth vague and confus ed rec o l l e c t ions ab out h im . A proc e s s of He l l en i s t ic r e f orma t ion of Juda i sm took p l a c e . Rit e s and doc t r ine s o r iginat ing in Greek and Ea st ern r e l i g ions and c oncep t ions wer e graf t ed on to th i s r e l ig ion . In order to s p r ead th i s new r e l ig ion among the peop l e , what wa s needed wa s no t so much ab s t ­ rac t theo l o g ic a l d i s c ou r s e s a s a �a t chwo rd tha t wou l d capture t h e ,imag inat ion o f t h e ma s s e s and inf lu enc e the emo t ional a sp ec t s of s o c ifl l con s c iousne s s . The "go s p e l " (wh ich means "good news " ) that " the Me s s iah h a s come " b ec ame such a wa tchwo r d . I t wa s c onven ient to pre s ent a re surrec t e d J e s u s a s th i s Me s s iah . From h e r e on it wa s a mat t er o f emb e l l i sh ing the image o f s ome one who had ac tua l l y l ived with the b r i gh t c o l ou r s o f mytho l og i­ cal f an ta s y . Th i s wa s h i s t o r i c a l l y s o inev i t ab l e tha t 1 32

J e s u s had no t ex i s t e d i t wou l d have b e en nec e s sary inv en t h im a t t h i s momen t . Bu t it had not b e en ne­ c e s sary to invent h im s inc e s omeone , a man f rom Gal i l ee , wh o n eve r knew the ro l e he wou l d b e c a l l ed upon t o p l ay , ha d a l ready ex i s t e d . if

to

The h i s t o r i c a l Je su s wa s thus a real unde r s tudy of an ide a l p r inc ip l e on wh ich the f i r s t ve r s ion o f Chr i s t ­ i an i ty wa s cons t ruc t e d . J e s u s d i d no t th ink o f h ims el f a s Ch r i s t ; no r wa s h e though t o f a s Ch r i s t b y h i s con­ t emp o rar i e s . I t wa s only l a t er that h e b ec ame r e sur­ re c t e d in peop l e ' s memo ry a s Chr i s t , Me s s iah and Savior . Barbu s s e wr i t e s : "When J e s u s appeared , the r e wa s n o t ye t Chr i s t , and when Chr i s t appeare d , Je sus had long c ea s ed t o b e . Je s u s Chr i s t nev e r ex i s t e d . 1 1 6 1 Th i s concep t ion f a i l s t o an swer many que s t ions . I f Je s u s were n o t c ruc if ied f o r hav ing sa id tha t he wa s the Me s s iah and the r e f o r e King of the Jews , f o r wha t then wa s he c ruc i f i ed ? I f h e were put t o d e a th f or the s ame rea son a s we re thous and s of o th er wanderer s l ik e h im , why d id h i s name a c qu ire such a s ign if icanc e and b e c ome the s ymb o l of the n ew r e l ig ious movemen t ? Any f ic t i t i­ ou s name wou l d have s e rved the purp o s e j u s t a s we l l . I t shou l d not b e imp o r tant in th i s c a s e whe t h e r the sym­ b o l repre s en t ed s ome one who ex i s te d or s omeone who n ever ex i s t ed . One may a l s o a sk why the Evang e l i s t s had not re­ moved o r a t l e a s t min imi s e d this c on t ra d ic t ion . They cou l d have done i t regard l e s s o f whe ther the Go s p e l s were about a f ic t i t ious o r an h i s t or i c a l p e r s on . In e i th e r c a s e t h e c on trad i c t ions canno t but ca s t doub t o n the t ru s two r th ine s s o f the narra t ive s thems e l ve s . There mu s t have b e en s ome o t h e r r e a s o n s why the se cont rad ic t i­ ons could no t b e r e c onc i l ed . Def in i t e l y i t is not b e ­ cau s e the t ex t was b a s ed through o u t o n h i s t o r ic a l t ruth . In the preced ing chap t e r I have d ea l t w i th the s e r e a s on s . Bu t , so the argument go e s , i t wou l d b e s trange f or the Go spe l s to a t t r ib u t e t o Je su s pur e l y human charac t e r i s ­ t ic s if n o such p er s on ex i s t e d . No t a t a l l ! Th e task of th e au tho r s of the Go s p e l s wa s n o t t o pre sent an image o f God b u t an image o f s omeone who came t o emb ody d iv in i ty . So the Evange l i s t s mu s t have u se d th e i r c re at ive imag inat ion t o human i s e t h e p e r s ona l i t y o f Je su s 1 33

to the u tmo s t . Mo re prec i s e l y , it i s not s o mu ch a qu e s ­ t i on o f the imag ina t ion o f the Evange l i s t s a s that of the imag ina t ion o f b e l ieve r s who had c r e a t e d a p o r t ra i t of the i r hero in a c c o rdanc e with the i r h is t o r i c a l ly-evo lved id e o l o g i c a l requ i remen t s . Wha t the au tho r s of the Go sp e l s d id wa s t o g ive l i t e ra ry f o rm to th i s r e l ig iou s -f o lk l o r ic rr� t e r ial , int e r p r e t ing i t and no doub t int roduc ing many change s in i t . And th i s en t i re proc e s s c o u l d have taken p l a c e no t only s p ont aneou s l y but a l s o with the d e l ib era t e a im o f c re a t ing a n image o f Je su s t h e man t o whom no th ing human is a l ien . Barbu s se is d e l igh t ed by the integr i ty and a t t rac t ­ i ven e s s o f th i s image a s p o r t rayed i n the Go s pe l s , by the r e s ourcefulne s s and wit shown b y Je s u s in some o f h i s s e r ­ mon s and say ing s . One c anno t b u t agree w i th th i s , and even the c o n t rad ic tory b ehav iour of the ma in hero of th e Go sp e l s d o e s n o t de s t roy th i s impre s s ion . On the contra­ ry , i t can on l y r e inforce i t . For in rea l l i fe the b eha­ viour o f p e o p l e i s o f t en con t ra d i c tory b o th b e c au s e of c i rcums t anc e s and b ec a u s e of the nature o f human chara c ­ t e r . But c an a r t i s t ic imag ina t ion c r e a t e a v iv id image of a p e r s on without i t s hav ing a h i s t o r ic a l pro t o t ype ? C e r t a in l y there i s no l ack of such image s in wor l d l i t e ­ rature . One need on l y recal l Haml e t , P i erre Be zukhov and Egor Bulychev , f o r in s t anc e . On e can , of c ou r s e , r e s o lve the cont rad i c t ion s r e ­ gard ing J e s u s ' p e r sonal i ty a n d h i s s e rmon s a s d e s c r ib e d i n t h e Go s p e l s b y s t ra t i f y ing the d i f f e rent t ime -l aye r s i n the New Te s tamen t narra t ive s , a s i s done b y Ba rb u s s e . Th i s approach , howeve r , i s no t wi thou t i t s dange r s , f o r on e may b e t emp t ed to d a t e th e s e " l aye r s " a c c o r d ing t o c e r t a in preconc e p t i ons . For examp l e , if one want s to prove th at Jesus wa s a revo l u t ionary , h e wil l a s s ign tho s e pas s a g e s in the Go s p e l s tha t l end thems e lves t o th i s int e r p r e t a t ion to t h e earl i e s t p e r i o d a n d t h e p a s ­ sage s t h a t con t rad i c t th i & v i ew , to a l a t e r p e r iod . O r o n e may r e gard t h e wo r d s "Render th erefore u n t o C a e s a r the th ings wh ich b e C a e s a r ' s " a s b e l ong ing t o t h e o l d e s t par t of the trad it ion and so end o r s e an oppo s it e v i ew . In any ca s e , there i s no l o g ical nece s s i t y t o cons ider tha t the t ra d i t ion , whe ther an earl i e r o r a later one , is b a s ed o n t h e ex i s t enc e o f a real h i s to r ic a l p e r son . In a b o ok pub l i shed in the 1 9 50 s Archib a l d Rob e r t 1 34

s o n exp re s s e s the vi ews tha t a r e s im i l a r t o tho s e o f Bar­ b u s s e . Le t u s c on s id e r tha t wh ich i s new in Rob e r t s on ' s a rgume n t s and wh ich i s n o t f ound in Barb u s s e . Rob e r t s on , t o o , h a s h i s own c on c e p t ion o f the o r i ­ g i n s o f Chr i s t ian i ty . Ac cord ing t o h im , the deve l o pmen t o f Ch r i s t ian i ty b e gan w i th "a revo l u t ionary movemen t l ed f i r s t by J ohn the Bap t i s t and then by J e s u s the Na z o ra­ ea n" . 6 2 A t an e a r l y s t age o f the mov ement John the Bap­ "A Na zo raean a t t emp t t i s t wa s execu t e d by He r o d An t ipa s . t o s e i z e J e ru s a l em l ed t o the c rux i f ix ion of J e s u s by P i l a t e . 1 1 6 3 F o l lowing t h i s , t h e movement b roke in t o two b ranch e s . The name of Je su s the Nazora ean b ecame a s s o ­ c i a t e d w i t h a popu l a r Me s s ian i c movemen t wh ich f o r a l ong t ime r e ta ined i t s revo l u t i ona ry s p i r i t . A s e c ond move ­ men t headed by Pau l u s ed Chr i s t ' s name to c over up d i rec t ­ ly oppo s i t e s o c i a l and po l i t i c a l v i ews . La t e r , f o l l owing Paul ' s rec onc i l i a t i on wi th the ex i s t ing o r d e r of th ing s , the two movemen t s me rged in t o on e . S o a new r e l i g ion wa s b o rn , wh ich b ecame o f f ic ia l ly e s t ab l i s hed in the 4 th c en tury A . D . Ac cord ing to Rob e r t ­ s o n , th i s "wa s n o t the cu l t o f a d e a d Jew i sh Me s s iah, b u t t h e cu l t of a r e d e eme r-god who d i f f e red f rom o th e r s on l y in having a l o ca l hab i t a t i on in f i r s t -c e n tury Pa l e s t ine and a Jewish name w i t h Me s s ian i c a s s o c ia t ions " . 6 4 Th e b e a r e r o f t h i s name , howeve � wa s a r e a l pe r s on. Du r i ng the f o l l owing t h r e e c e n t u r i e s h i s i mage � o ok on mo re and mo re my tho l o g i c a l f ea t u r e s : the immac u l a t e c on c ep t ion and the mirac u l ou s b ir th o f the infant , the nume rou s in s t anc e s wh ere J e su s hea l e d t h e s i c k and re s t o r e d the dead t o l i f e , and J e su s ' own re s u r r e c t j on f o l l owing h i s ma rtyrdom . Rob e r t son wr i t e s : " Somehow a h i s t o r ic a l ind iv idual o f whom w e know l i t t l e , bu t who s e ex i s t enc e w e inf e r f rom the ev ide �c e s o f Tac i t u s and the Ta l mud and f rom an ana l y s i s o f th e Synop t ic d ocument s , b ecame th e sub j e c t o f d emon s t ­ r a b ly my th ical s t o r ie s . 1 1 6 5 W e have a l r e ady cons i d e r e d such evidenc e s i n Tac i t u s a n d the Talmud . Le t u s now see how Rob e r t s on d e a l s with the d i f f icu l t i e s tha t ar i s e i n the a t temp t t o prove the h i s t o r ic i ty o f Chr is t tha t i s b a sed o n t h e a r gument f rom s i l enc e . Why d id Sene c a , P l iny the E l d e r , Juvenal , Ma r t i a l i s , D ion Chry s o s t om , Ph i l o and Jus tu s o f T ib e r ia s , a l l c ont em­ po rar i e s of the e a r l y Chr i s t i an s , say no th ing ab ou t Chr i s t 1 35

o r Chr i s t ian i t y ? Becau se , says Rober t s on , they were no t h i s to r ian s . 6 6 Some o f them were ph i l o sopher s , wh i l e other s wer e p o e t s , rh e t o r i c ian s or natural i s t s . Th i s exp lana t ion d o e s no t s eem very convinc ing . The r e wa s no s t r i c t d i f f e r en t ia t ion of ideo l o g i c a l a c t ivity i n anc i ent t ime s . No c l ear-cu t b o undar i e s ex i s ted then b e tween ph i l o s ophy and h i s t o r iography , b e t ­ ween wo rk s w i t h a s o c ia l me s sage and s c i en t if ic wr i t ing s a s they do in our t ime . The r e f o r e , to say that an author , j u s t b e c au s e he wa s a ph i l o s o pher , c ou l d no t have wr i t t en ab ou t even t s r e l a t e d to the h i s t o ry of s o c ial and r e l i­ g i ou s movemen t s , wou l d be to s t r e tch a po int . Be s ide s , the f i gure of J e s u s Chr i s t and the movemen t a s soc i a t e d w i th h im cann o t b e cons idered within the f ramewo rk o f p o ­ l i t ical h i s tory only . T h e who l e que s t ion ha s much to do w i th r e l ig ion and ph i l o s ophy , in any c a s e with ideol ogy . Ph i l o was ve ry much oc cup i e d w i th ideo l o g i c a l qu e s t ion s in h i s wr i t ing s , and wa s par t i cu la r l y in t e r e s t e d in r e l i ­ g i o u s movemen t s . S ince he wro t e in d e t a i l ab ou t th e E s ­ senic s e c t , why d id he no t a t l ea s t ment ion th e Chr i s t i­ an s and the ir t each er ? Rob e r t s on th ink s it i l l o g i c a l to expec t inf o rma t ion conc e rning Chr i s t ian i t y f rom the s e au tho r s . O n t h e cont rary , I wou l d say . I t woul d b e l o ­ g i c a l to expe c t s u c h inf o rma t ion prec i s e l y f r om the s e au tho r s . And wha t ab ou t Ju s t u s of T ib er ia s and J o s ephu s , who a r e e s s en t i a l l y h i s t o r i an s ? He r e , t o o , Rob e r t son f ind s a way ou t . In h i s His tory of the Kings of Judea Ju s tu s b egan w i th Mo s e s and end ed w i th Agr ippa I I . But dur ing the t ime of Je su s there wa s an int e r rup t ion in the suc­ ce s s ion o f Juda ic k ing s . Rob e r t son ther e f o r e conc l ude s tha t Ju s tu s had n o t h ing t o say ab o u t th i s p e r io d . Th i s i s of c o u r s e a weak a rgument . Fo r even though t h e ru l e r s f o rma l ly c al l ed thems e l ve s e thnarchs and t e t rarchs ( "go­ verno r s o f a provinc e " and " g overno r s of a f ou r t h part o f a provinc e " r e s p e c t ive l y ) , i n Jew i sh l i t erature , inc lud ­ ing s o c io-pal i t i c a l wr i t ing s , t h e y we re r e f e r r e d t o a s k ing s . I t i s hard t o ima g ine tha t i n h i s chron i c l e s ta r t ­ ing f rom t h e anc i e nt t ime s t o A . D . 9 2 ( the y e a r Agr ippa I I d ie d ) Jus tu s wou l d have omi t t e d t h e p e r iod when , i n ac ­ c o rdanc e with the wi she s o f the Roman emperor , Juda ic Inc iden ta l ly , they k ings we re n o t f o rma l ly c a l l ed k ing s . we re c a l l ed k ing s in the Go s p e l s . 1 36

As f o r th e s i l ence of J o s ephu s , Rob e r t son a t t r ibu t e s i t t o the f a c t tha t the anc ient h i s t o r ian sy s t ema t ic a l l y a vo i d ed d i s cu s s ing such sens i t ive i s sue s of h i s t ime a s In order " to r e t a i n the the Me s s ian i c movemen t i n Judea . f a vou r of h i s Roman pat rons " , s ay s Rob e r t son , "h e has to in s i s t tha t Jewish o r tho doxy is p o l i t i c a l ly innocuou s . H e th e r e f o r e omi t s a s f a r a s po s s ib l e any ref erenc e t o the M e s s i an ic movement 1 1 . 6 7 As a ma t t er o f f ac t , Jo s ephu s s pok e of the Me s s ian ic movement in Pa l e s t ine at l ea s t tw i c e : onc e in c onnec t ion w i th the name o f Theuda s , and ag a in in c onne c t ion w i th someone unname d who wan t e d t o f ind the holy ve s s e l s h idden by Mo s e s i n th e Ge ra z im mo unt a in s . J o s ephu s a l s o t e l l s ab out the movemen t o f Ju­ da s of Gau l o n i t e and o th e r ma s s movemen t s wh ich , in the ir sp i r i t , wer e ak in t o Me s s ian i sm . Why then shou l d he avo id de sc r ib ing the movemen t a s soc i a t ed w i th Jesu s Chr i s t ? Ac c o r d ing t o Rob e r t son , none o f the anc ient au tho r s , who s e wr i t ings a r e known t o u s , had any doub t s ab ou t the h i s to rica l ex i s tenc e of J e s u s . 6 8 A!J.d th i s , in Rob e r t s on ' s opin ion , i s one r ea s on f o r b e l ieving that Chr i s t ex i s t ed . Th is argument mu s t s t r ike the reader a s b e ing s omewh a t 'odd if only b e c aus e the au tho r s who have j u s t b een men t ioned d id no t wr i t e ab ou t Chr i s t a t a l l . Sure ly they c o u l d not expr e s s doub t s ab ou t the ex i s tence o f Ch r i s t if they knew noth ing ab out h im . As f o r wr i t er s of the s e c ond c entury , the i r work s vo i c e d such d oub t s , a l though ind i re c t ly . True , we know o f only one such in s tance . In the Dia logue wi th the Jew Trypho by th e Chr i s t ian apo l o g i s t Ju s t in Marty r , Trypho s a y s , "You are f o l l owing f a l s e rumou r s , you have inven t e d Chr i s t f o r your s e l f Even if h e we re b o rn and h a d l ived s omewh e r e , h e i s c omp l e te l y un­ known to anyone " . 69 Bu t th i s p a s s age a s ide , it i s qu i t e p o s s ib l e tha t i n t h e s e c ond c entury t h e Chr i s t ian l egend had taken suf f ic ient l y f irm roo t s so tha t it was d i f f i cu l t to examine the c onc ep t ion o f i t s c en t r a l f igur e c r i t ic a l ­ ly . A rather cur iou s p o in t i s Rob e r t s on ' s t rea tmen t o f a pas sage f rom Pap i a s o f Hierap o l i s . Rob e r t son quo t e d Pa­ p ias as say ing tha t h e u s e d t o a sk the e l d e r s ab ou t J e s u s and h i s d i s c ip l e s . The r e i s no need , says Rob e r t s on r a ­ the r empha t i c a l l y , t o ma k e a de t a i l e d ana ly s i s o f th i s pa s s a g e . B u t one may a t l ea s t ra i s e the qu e s t ion o f whe­ t he r Pap ia s wa s a s k ing the e l d e r s abo u t my th ic a l p e r s ona137

l i t ie s . And f urthe r on Rob er t s on says tha t i t i s in the scho l a r l y in t e re s t s t o rega rd Je su s as an h i s t o r ic a l f i ­ g u r e i f on ly f o r t h e purp o s e o f ex p l a in ing pa s s a g e s l ike th i s . 7 0 Ac tua l l y the r e is no thing to exp l a in here . For Pap ia s c on s idered J e s u s and his d i s c ip l e s t o be h i s t o r i­ c a l pe r s on s and the r e f o r e mad e inqu i r e s ab ou t th em . Bu t w e a re n o t ob l iged to a c c e p t Pap ia s ' op in ion o n th i s sub ­ j e c t ; nor i s i t ne c e s s a ry f o r us to r e f u t e i t . Thu s , Rob e r t son ' s argumen t s in f avou r of the h i s t o ­ In h i s in­ r ic a l ex i s t ence o f Chr i s t a r e ra ther ·shaky . t rodu c t ion to Rob e r t son ' s b ook ( in Ru s s ian tran s l a t i on ) the Sov ie t h i s t o r i an S . Kova l ev c onv inc in g ly d i sp rove s Rob e r t son ' s the s i s . Inc identa l ly , in s eve r a l in s t anc e s Rob e r t son h ims e l f s p eak s ab o u t the h i s t o r i c i t y o f J e s u s w i thou t much c onvic t ion . " T h e r e is no th ing improbab l e , " says Rob e r t s on , " in th e s t a t emen t tha t Pon t iu s P i l a t e , p rocura t o r o f Jud ea und e r T ib e r iu s f rom A . D . 2 6 to 36 , Of c o u r s e th ere i s c ruc if i e d Je su s the Na zo raean 11 7 1 n o th ing improb ab l e ab o u t th i s , b u t hardly anyon e wou ld make a po int o f i t . In h i s b ook Rob e r t s on d raws a ra ther unexp ec t e d conc l u s ion : " Ro und a c ruc i f ied l e ader of t h i s movemen t [ Ch r i s t ian--I . K . ] o r , mor e l ik e l y , round con­ f u s e d trad i t ion s o f mo re than one l eader the o r i g inal Go s p e l s to ry wa s wr i t t en . 1 1 7 2 In o th e r wo r d s , " s omeon e came by " , o r rather seve r a l per son s "c ame b y " . Th e r e i s no need t o t a k e i s s u e w i th s u c h a c oncep t i on . F o r many peop l e p a r t ic ipat ed i n t h e Chr i s t i an movemen t , a s in any o ther s o c ial movement , and among them s ome p l ayed a mo r e s i gn i f icant r o l e th an o th e r s . Th i s much is ob viou s , b u t i t doe s n o t f o l l ow tha t the mo s t imp o r tan t per s on among them wa s the Je su s Ch r i s t of the Go spe l s . •





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S t i l l , we cannot r e j e c t o u t o f hand th e ver s ion tha t " someone c ame b y " . It is no t an improbab l e one . The who l e que s t ion is one of d e g r e e of p robab i l i t y . B e l ow we sha l l c on s i d e r anothe r , mor e p rob ab l e , ve r s ion in the l igh t of the source ma t e r ial s ava i l ab l e to us t o day . The Mo s t P rob ab l e Ve r s ion From the t ime the an c i ent Jews c ame to exp e r i enc e great su f f e r ing s they we re conf ron t e d with a p e rp l ex ing re l ig i ou s que s t ion : why we r e God ' s cho s en peop l e sub j e c t ­ e d t o such t e rr ib l e h a r d s h i p s ? Yahweh h a d p r om i s e d them 1 38

e t e rna l p ro t e c t ion ; he wou l d mu l t i p l y them " a s the s and wh i c h i s upon the sea sho r e " and g ive th em p r o s p e r i ty and a d om ina t ing po s it ion in the worl d . Al l other na t i on s Yet w ou l d b ow down b e f or e I s ra e l and me ek l y serve i t . n o th in g of th i s h a d happene d . I t wa s p o s s ib l e to l eave a s i d e the phra se ab ou t " s and wh i c h is upon the sea shore" as a way of me a sur ing the g r owth o f the I s ra e l i popu l a t ion . Bu t the m i s f o r tune s su f f ered b y the "h o l y peop l e " bo th w i th in th e ir own s o ­ c i e t y and a s a re su l t of ac t ions by ou t s ide f o rc e s c a l l ed f o r an explana t i on . Wi th in the I s ra e l i nat ion , apa r t f r om a hand f u l of r ich l andowner s , money - l ende r s and p r i e s t s , the ma s s of the peo p l e wer e f a c ed wi th p e rp e tua l hung e r ; the p e a s ant s had l i t t le l and or no land a t a l l , the a r t i san s l e d a b egga r l y ex i s tence , and the s l ave s owned no prop erty wha teve r . As in any c l a s s soc i e t y , the r ich p l unde r P. d the p o o r and we re no t sub j e c t to any re­ s t r i c t ions . Powe r f u l ne ighbour s had inf l i c t ed he avy b l ows one a f t e r ano ther on the I s rae l i nat ion . A t the end o f the 8 th c entu ry B . C . one o f the Jewi sh s ta t e s ( the No r th e rn k ing dom o f I s ra e l ) wa s c onqu e r e d by the As syr ian s Its en t i r e p o pu l a t ion was d r iven i n t o c a p t iv i ty wh i l e non­ I s rael i s came t o s e t t l e in th i s p a r t o f the "p romi s e d land " . Ab out a hun d r e d year s l a t e r a s im i l a r f a t e b e f e l l the o th e r Jew i sh s ta t e ( the Sou thern k ingdom of Judah ) . I t wa s c onquered by Bab y l on a t the h e ight of i t s might . The mo s t sacred shr ine o f the Jews , the Temp l e of S o l omon , wa s c omp l e t e l y de s t royed , and the upp e r c l a s s e s of Jew i sh s o c i e t y were remove d t o Baby l on . When hal f a c entury la­ t e r Bab y l on wa s c onqu e r e d b y the P e r s ian k ingdom and the ex i l e s cou l d re turn t o th e i r home l and , Judah rema ined en­ s l aved . Fo r s eve r a l c entu r ie s af t e r th i s the Jew i sh peop l e we re ru l e d by var iou s c onqu e r o r s : the P e r s i ans , the Ma c edonian s , the P to l em i e s of Egyp t , the Se leuc id s of Syr ia and f inal ly , at the t ime when Je s u s Chr i s t i s thou gh t t o have l ived and d ied , b y th e s l ave-own ing Roman Emp ir e . True , du r ing th i s who l e p e r iod the re wa s nea r l y a centu ry , f rom t h e midd l e o f t h e s e c ond c en t u ry B . C . to A . D . 6 3 , when the Jewi sh s t a t e wa s independent and ru l e d b y t h e Ha smonaean s . Howeve r , hav ing the ir "own" s t a t e d i d no t improve t h e l o t of t h e ma s s o f t h e p e op l e who r e ­ ma ined impove r i she d a s b e f ore . And the i r c ond i t ion 1 39

wo r s ened when Judah b ec ame f u r th e r weakened under Roman rul e . Al l a t t emp t s t o re s i s t in t e rnal and ext ernal oppre s ­ s ion f a i l ed . Rep e a t e d r evo l t s we re crue l ly suppre s s ed and the ir p a r t ic ipan t s sub j ec t ed t o merc i l e s s r e p re s s ion . How shoul d Yahweh ' s f a i lu r e to f ul f i l h i s p r omi s e s b e exp l a ined ? Surely h e c ou ld no t b e a c c u s ed o f unfa i th ­ fulne s s , l e t a l one p erf idy . The only exp l ana t i on wa s tha t th e p eop l e thems elve s wer e to b lame . The i r f a i lure to carry ou t the i r du t i e s b ef or e God had arou s e d God ' s r igh t eou s wra th . The p e op l e o f I s rael c e a s e d t o b e holy ; they had cont inual ly vio l a t e d the t e rms o f the c ovenant with Yahweh by wor sh ip p ing o ther god s , by no t ob s erving the commandmen t s g iven to them through Mo s e s , by b e ing gu i l ty o f a l l k ind s of exc e s s e s and ob s c ene ac t s . Al l the mi s f o r tune s tha t ra in ed upon the ir head s year a f t e r year and c en tury a f t e r century we re God ' s pun i shment . The Baby l o n i an s , the P e r s ian s and the Roman s were me re in s trument s in the hand s o f God . Wha t ; then , wa s the way ou t ? Wa s the na t ion of I s ­ ra e l doomed to ex t inc t ion ? Such a n ou t come wa s una c c e p t ­ ab l e f rom a re l ig iou s s tandp o in t , and s o ano ther s o l u t ion wa s f ound . God ' s wrath wa s not eve r l a s t ing . It mu s t g ive way t o mercy and f o r g ivene s s . Sooner o r l a t e r the ac t o f f o rg iven e s s wou l d be p erfo rmed , and th i s woul d b e done th rough a Me s s iah . The wo rd "me s s iah " ( f rom the Heb r ew word "Ma sh i ah " ) means the "ano int e d one" . Among the anc ient Jews the r i t e o f ano int ing the head wi th o i l wa s p e r f o rmed f o r one ac­ c e d ing t o the throne . Thu s , the Me s s i ah wa s to b e a k ing o f the Jews who , as head of an indep endent Jewish s t a t e , woul d l ead the cho s en p eop l e t o p r o s p e r i ty and we l l ­ b e ing . Al l th e o th e r s t a t e s , inc lud ing tho se wh ich had up t o tha t moment ruled over the Jews , wou l d suf f e r humi­ l ia t ion and submi t t o the w il l o f the holy p e o p l e . Ex­ p e c t a t ions o f such a happy event are viv i d l y de s c r ib ed in s ever a l of the O l d T e s t amen t b ook s . The Book o f I sa i ah c o n t a in s the f o l l owing f amou s prophe sy : "And i t sha l l c ome t o pa s s i n t h e l a s t day s , tha t the mount a in o f the Lo r d ' s hou s e sha l l b e e s t ab l i sh­ ed in the t o p o f the moun t a in s , and shal l be exa l t e d ab ove t h e h il l s ; and a l l nat ion s sha l l f l ow into i t . 140

" And many p eop l e sha l l go and say , Come y e , and l e t go u p to the moun t a i n o f the Lord , t o the hou s e o f the God o f Jac ob ; and h e wi l l t each u s o f h i s way s , and we wi l l wa lk in h i s p a th s ; for out of Z ion sha l l g o f o r th t he l aw , and th e wo rd o f the Lord f r om Jeru sa l em . us

"And h e sha l l j udge among the n a t ions , and sha l l re­ buke many p e o p l e : and they sha l l beat the i r swo r d s in t o p l owshare s , and the ir spear s in t o p runn in g hook s : nat ion sha l l n o t l if t up swo rd a g a in s t n a t ion , n e i ther sha l l th ey l ea rn war any mo r e " ( I s a i ah 2 : 2 -4 ) . And there wou l d b e un ive r s a l p eace and pro s p e r i ty only when the ano int e d one ( "Chr i s t o s " in Greek t rans l a­ t ion ) made the en t i r e wor l d sub o r d ina t e to the cho s en people . At f ir s t the ano inted one wa s though t of a s a real per son , a s t a t e sman and m i l i t a ry l eade r who wou l d u s e e a r t h ly mean s t o ach ieve h i s end s , and n o t a s a sup e rna­ tural b e ing . To be sure , h e wou l d have the he l p o f super­ natural f or c e s . Indeed , the t ime when h e woul d appear in the wo r l d and p er f o rm his dee d s , and the fact tha t he wa s cho s en by God to fu l f i l the l o f ty m i s s ion wa s a l l de­ c ided by the heavenly p owe r s . But that wa s all a s re­ gard s the s up e rna tur a l charac t e r o f the mi s s ion o f the ano in ted one . Even in a r e l a t ive ly l a t e O l d T e s t amen t document , th e Book of Dan i e l , wh ich appeared in ab ou t 1 6 5 B . C . , the pro s p ec t o f a Me s s iah a c c ed ing t o th e throne wa s l inked w i th a real mil i t a ry v ic tory ove r the Syr ian rul e r s o f Jud ea . With t ime , however , the f igure o f the Me s s iah came to acqu i r e mo re and mor e sup e rna tural f e a t u r e s in the r e ­ l ig iou s imag ina t ion o f the Jews . H i s image inc rea s ingly re s emb l ed that o f a heaven ly b e ing whom God had s en t to ear th and who in t erms o f rank wa s s im i l a r t o an ang e l or came c l o s e t o b e ing God h imsel f . In the Book o f I s a iah the b ir th of the Me s s iah i s d e s c r ib e d a s s ome k ind of my s ­ t ery : " F o r unto u s a ch i l d i s b o rn , un t o u s a s o n i s g iven : and t h e gove rnmen t sha l l b e up on h i s shou l der s : and h i s name sha l l b e c a l l ed Won de r f u l , Coun s e l o r , The migh ty God , The ever l a s t ing Fathe r , The Pr inc e of Peac e " ( I sa iah 9 : 6 ) . Here the Me s s iah i s a lmo s t iden t i f ied wi th

14 1

God h im s el f . Fur ther on , h owever , i t i s s a id that " the zeal o f the Lord o f ho s t s wil l p er f o rm th i s " ( I s a iah 9 :7) . I t i s p o s s ib l e tha t the p a s sage ra i s ing the Me s­ s iah t o the h i gh e s t rank i s a l a t e r in s e r t ion in t o the Book of I s a iah , wh ich da t e s b ack to the end of the 8 th cen tury B . C . In the apoc ryphal b ook of Enoch , wh ich d a t e s f rom the b e g inn ing o f our era , th e Me s s i ah appear s t o have ex i s t ed "f rom t ime immemo r ia l " . Meanwh i l e , the image o f the Me s s iah und erwent y e t ano ther imp o rt an t change . Be s ide th e image o f a t r ium­ phan t m i l i tary l eader who wou l d un i t e h i s peop l e and l ead them to a dec i s ive v i c tory over a l l th e ir enemie s there appeared the image o f a ma r tyr who wou l d by h i s s uf f e r ing s a tone f o r the s in s o f God ' s p eo p l e and l ead them t o p r o s per ity . The image o f the Me s s iah a s a su f f er e r i s ou t l ined in the Book o f I sa iah wh e r e men t ion is made o f one who "ha th no f o rm nor c ome l ine s s " ( I sa iah 5 3 : 2 ) , who wa s "a man o f s o rrows , and a c qua inted with g r i e f " ( I s a iah 5 3 : 3 ) , who wa s d e s p i s e d by p e op l e , no t e s t eemed by them . " S u r e ­ ly he ha th b o rne our g r i e f s , a nd c a r r ied our sorrows : we d id e s t e em h im s t r i cken , smi t t en o f God , and a f ­ f l i c t e d " ( I sa iah 5 3 : 4 ) . U p t o now the su f f e r er had b o rne s o rrows t o wh ich God had sub j e c t ed h im . Fu rther on , how­ ever , men wer e sa id to be r e spon s ib l e f o r h i s suf f e r ings . " He wa s o p p r e s s ed , and he wa s a f f l ic t e d , y e t he opened no t his mou th : he i s b r ou gh t as a l amb t o the s l augh t e r , and a s a sheep b e f ore her shea r e r s i s dumb , s o he o p ene th n o t h i s mou t h " ( I sa i ah 5 3 : 7 ) . F inal ly , he wa s " s t r i cken " and "he mad e h i s grave w i th the wicked , and w i th the r i ch Al l th i s happened in in h i s d e a th " ( I sa iah 5 3 : 8 , 9 ) . a c c o rdanc e with God ' s w i l l : " i t p l e a s ed the Lord to b ru i s e h im" ( I s a iah 5 3 : 1 0 ) . F o r h i s suf f e r ings th e my s t e r iou s "he" wou l d r e c e ive a r ich awa rd : " . . . he sha l l see h i s s eed , h e sha l l p r o l ong h i s day s , and the p l ea sure of the Lord sha l l p r o s p e r in h i s hand . . . . Th e r e f o r e wi l l I d i ­ vide h im a p o r t ion with the grea t , and h e sha l l d iv i d e the spo i l with t h e s t rong " ( I s a iah 5 3 : 1 0 , 1 2 ) . .

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How i s the change in the image o f the Me s s iah to b e exp l a ined ? Here two s e t s of l aws a r e a t wo rk : s oc i o ­ b i s t o r i c a l and ide o l og i ca l , e s p ec i a l l y t h e l a t t e r . As the p r e t ende r s t o the ro le of the Me s s iah had a l l 142

su f f e r e d d e f e a t or had b e en k i l l e d , a s c e n t u r i e s p a s s e d and t h e d r e am o f re s t o r ing the k i ngdom of I s ra e l b e came c l e a r l y una t ta inab l e , it is only to be expec t ed that the Me s s ian i c doc t r ine wou l d undergo change s . Rea l , ea r th l y fa c t o r s mu s t have g iven way i n t h e mind s o f b e l ieve r s t o superna tural f o rc e s capab l e o f a c c omp l i sh in g wha t peop l e c ou l d no t ach ieve even wi th t h e he l p o f Go d . The c h ange in the image of the Me s s iah wa s e s pec i a l l y n o t i c e ­ ab l e du r ing p e r i o d s o f soc i a l , mi l i t ary and pol i t i cal c r i s e s , when t h e ma s s e s we re d e f e a t e d in the c l a s s s t rugg l e and t h e wh o l e nat ion wa s humi l i a t e d a s i t s r e ­ vo l t s and up r i s ing s w e r e cru shed . Some sc h o l a r s b e l ieve tha t t h e image of the Me s s iah a s a human b e ing wa s the l onge s t p r e s erved among the J ews o f Pa l e s t ine , and p re d o ­ m inan t ly among t h e p r iv i l e ged c l a s s e s , wh i l e t h e image of t h e Me s s iah a s a heaven l y red e emer spread mo re qu ickly an d wa s more r ead i l y accep t e d in the D i a spora , e s p e c ial l y amo ng t h e l e a s t p r o s p e r ou s c l a s s e s o r se c t i on s o f t h e Jewi sh p opu l a t ion . The same h i s t o r i c a l c ircums t anc e s a l so a c c ount f o r t h e r i s e o f t h e image o f a s u f f e r ing Me s s iah . Th e t r ium­ phant Sav iour had f a i l ed t o appea r , and t h e co rre l a t i on o f f o r c e s at that t ime wa s such a s to make h i s appea ranc e unl ike l y . The i d ea o f a t r iumphant S a v iour c l ea r l y had no t s t ood the te s t of t i me , wh i l e the i d ea of a s u f f e r ing Me s s i ah p roved to b e mo r e a t tra c t i v e . Me s s ianic exp e c t a t ions l i ve d on no t only in the o ra l trad i t ion , in t h e m inds of p e o p l e and t h e s ermons of p r i e s t s . They f ound l i t erary exp r e s s ion in a numb e r of document s and wr i t ings wh ich have c ome down t o u s . The B ib l i cal b o ok s of the Pr ophe t s c on t a in the f o l ­ l owing r e current theme : wa i t , sons o f I s rae l , a me s s enger f rom Yahweh wi l l c ome and al l God ' s p romi s e s t o the cho sen peop l e wi l l b e f u l f i l l e d . Apo c a l yp t i c wr i t ings b e came wi de s p read ; none we re l a ter inc luded in e i ther the Jewi sh or Chr i s t ian canon . The y cons i s t ma inly of p rophe c i e s ab ou t the imminent c oming o f the Me s s iah . An examp l e i s the apocryph a l Book of Jubi lees . The prec i s e da t e of i t s c omp o s i t ion is unknown ; p o s s ib ly i t wa s wr i t t en in the midd l e o f the f i r s t c entury . The b ook con t a in s a d e ta i l e d d e sc r i p t i on of the k ingdom of heaven t o be e s t ab l i shed on ear th f o l l owing the c oming of the 143

Me s s iah . S a t an and h i s a rmy wi l l d i sappear , and a s a re sul t p e op l e w i l l no l onger c ommi t s in s and ther e f o r e w i l l no l onger s u f f e r . T h e r ight eou s one s ( that i s , the p eo p l e o f I s rae l ) wi l l for ever enj oy a l l c onc e ivab l e b l e s s ings , and th e d e l ight they d e r ive f rom th i s w i l l cons tant l y inc rea s e a s they witne s s the execu t ion of God ' s enemie s . A s im i l a r b o ok i s the ap o c ryph a l Assumption of Moses , wh ich p r ob ab l y appeared dur ing th e f i r s t decade o f our e r a . An e sp ec ia l l y in t er e s t ing monumen t of Jew i s h apo c a ­ l ypt ic l i t erature i s t h e apoc rypha l Book of Enoeh . I t s au tho r s h i p i s a s c r ib e d t o t h e O l d T e s tamen t pa t r ia rch Eno ch , the f a ther of Me thu s e l ah . Enoch l ived 3 6 5 yea r s and wa s c a r r ied t o heaven wh il e h e wa s a l ive . H e came t o know a l l the mo s t imp o r tan t happen ing s i n heaven and on earth and a l s o the in tent ions of the Almigh t y . The b ook wa s p rob ab l y wr i t t en in th e f i r s t h a l f of the f ir s t cen­ tury , wi th s ome chap t e r s b e in g p e rhap s a dded l a t e r . Th e Book of Enoch h a s much in c ommon w i th New T e s t amen t b ook s b o th in content and f o rm . No l e s s i n t e r e s t ing i n th e f i e l d o f Me s s ian ic l i te ­ r a t u r e a r e t h e S ib y l l ine b ook s . Among the Gr eeks and Romans in the l a s t two centur i e s b e f ore our e r a there wa s a wide s p read b e l ief in a my th i c a l proph e t e s s name d S ib y l l a who s e pred ic t ion s were recorded in many b o ok s . Fou r t een b o ok s of S ib y l l ine orac l e s have c ome down to u s . They we re comp i l ed over a p er iod o f ab ou t four hundred yea r s - - two c entu r i e s b e f or e and two centur ie s a f t e r our era . S ome o f them are of Greek (pa­ gan ) o r i g in , wh i l e o th e r s a re of Judaic and Chr i s t i an or i g in . Of s p ec ial in ter e s t f o r our subj e c t are the Ju­ daeo - S ib y l l ine apoc a lyp s e s . The Juda i c p ar t s o f the S iby l l ine b o ok s appeared in Al exandr ia in ab ou t 1 4 0 B . C . In t e rms of s ty l e and gene­ ral me s sage they a r e a c omb ina t ion of Greek and Juda ic theme s . The Me s s ian i c idea is c l e arly and v iv idly ex­ p re s s e d in them . The author c a s t iga t e s Gre e c e and the Gre ek s for the ir imp i e ty and l awl e s sne s � , and c o n t ra s t s tho s e wal l owing in s in s wi th the p iou s who honou r the temp l e of the omnipotent God w i th l ib a t ions , o f f e r ing of sac r i f ic ial mea t , sacred h e c a t omb s and the k i l l ing of f a t t ed ca lve s a s s a c r i f i c e s . I t is t o them that God w i l l 1 44

send a l eader who s e appearanc e w i l l mark a dec i s ive turn­ in g p o in t in wor l d h i s t o ry . P rophec i e s ab ou t the coming o f the Me s s iah f ound in B ib l ic a l , apoc ryphal and S ibyl l ine b o ok s are ex t reme l y va gue . There are numerou s var iant s woven around s everal ma in theme s regard ing the per sonal ity of the Me s s iah , the k ind o f deeds he woul d perf o rm and the t ime of h i s I wi l l ind ica t e here only some o f the mo s t im­ coming . por tan t p o in t s that are common to a l l th e s e var ian t s . As a ru l e , the coming of the Me s s iah i s c onn ec t ed with a rad ical turn in the de s t in i e s of mank ind . In f a c t , i t wou l d mark the " end of the wo r l d " , tha t i s , of the o l d wo rl d , t h e o l d order o f th ing s . Henc e the idea of the inev i t ab il i ty of t e r r ib l e co smic catacly sms, the c l imax of wh ich woul d be God ' s j udgemen t on a l l the l iv ing and the dead . Th� wicked woul d be pun i she d wi thou t mercy , wh i l e a l l the r ight eous wou l d l ive i n e t erna l b l i s s . He re one can s ee the demo c ra t ic na ture of the Me s s ian i c ide o l o gy . The wicke d were f ir s t of a l l the r ich and powerful who oppre s se d and humi l ia t ed the ord inary peopl e . Th e op­ pre s sed , on the o ther hand , dreamed no t only of a c o smic ca tac l y sm but a l so of a s o c ial revo l u t ion , for the c oming of the Me s s iah woul d b r ing ab ou t change s in the s o c i a l sy s t em . I t i s not c l ear what the s e changes wou l d b e , but i t may b e ' supposed that a s a r e su l t o f the change s the poor woul d pun i sh the r i ch f o r the wrong s the l a t ter had done th em over the a g e s . When wou l d th i s happen ? When , a t l a s t , wou l d the Saviour c ome and accomp l i sh wha t the peop l e cou l d not ach ieve on th e ir own? The answe r s var i ed , rang ing f rom the near fu ture to a r e l a t ive ly d i s tant t ime . Ac cord ing to the Book of Dan ie l , wh ich r e s ort s to ra the r int r ic a t e computat ions , the hoped-f or event woul d take p l ac e with­ in f o r ty-two months . S inc e the b o ok was wr i t t en in th e mid- s ix t i e s of the s e c ond c entury B . C . , by the midd l e o f tha t c entury peop l e woul d e i ther have to acknowl edge the fact tha t the p rophecy had no t b e en fu l f i l l ed o r re inter­ pret the date with the he l p of casu i s t ical argument and pu t o f f Doomsday to s ome f u ture t ime . The Book of Enoch g ive s a f a irly prec i s e date of the end o f the wo r l d -1 0 , 000 year s f rom the crea t i on o f the wo r l d . In the A ssumption of Moses it is said tha t f r om the day of Mo­ se s ' death to the coming o f the Me s s iah "two hundred and 1 45

I f " t ime " mean s s even y e a r s , f i f ty t ime s " mu s t pa s s . a s t rad i t ion had i t , then the g r e a t even t wa s to take p l ace in 1 7 5 0 y ea r s . Bu t tha t t ime had p a s s e d dur ing the f ir s t c en tu r ie s of our era . I t s e emed mo re conveni e n t then , in s te ad o f g iv ing a n y d e f in i t e dat e s , to expre s s the idea in s ome my s t e r i ou s phra s e s such a s "a t the end of t ime s " , "at the de s t ined t ime " and the l ik e . And the mo re c r i t ic a l the ac tual even t s , the mo re v i o l en t the up­ h eava l s p e o p l e had to l ive through , the nearer s e emed the day when the inev i tab l e even t , awe s ome but s a l u t a ry , wou l d take p l ac e , in the expec tat ion o f wh ich one mu s t repent one ' s s in s and b e prepared f o r God ' s l a s t j udge­ men t . In the O l d Te s tamen t b ook s o f the Proph e t s the re i s y e t ano the r ind i c a t ion a s t o wh en the Me s s iah wou l d a p ­ pear : th i s momentou s eve n t wou l d b e p r e c e d e d b y t h e re­ turn to earth o f the prophe t E l i j ah who had b een c a r r i e d t o heaven wh i l e he wa s a l ive . " Beho l d , " i t i s s a i d i n the Book o f Ma l a ch i , " I w i l l s end y o u E l i j ah t h e p ro ph e t b e f ore t h e c oming o f t h e gre a t and dreadful d a y o f t h e Lord" (Ma l a c h i 4 : 5 ) . Thu s , th e even t s c onnec t e d wi th Dooms day wer e n o t exp ec t e d to take p l a c e b ef o r e the re ­ appearanc e on e a r th of the proph e t E l ij ah . However , th i s d id n o t p r event preache r s f rom s ay ing tha t the Me s ­ s iah wou l d come i n t h e very near f u ture o r even tha t he had a l ready c ome . For there had b e en no l ack o f p e op l e c l a iming t o b e E l i j ah the prophe t . Some were real peo p l e --fana t ic s , c rank s o r f rau d s --wh i l e o t h e r s neve r exi s t e d . Bu t in o rd e r tha t the rumou r s that the Me s s iah wou l d come s oon or had a l ready c ome wou l d s p read among the p e o p l e , the appearanc e o f E l ij ah wa s no t nec e s sary . I t wa s enough if the awe - in sp i r ing rumour s p re ad f r om mouth t o mou th that El ij ah , the f o rerunn e r of the Me s s iah , wa s a l ready here on e a r th , p reach ing and c a l l ing on peop l e to b e ready t o me e t the Me s s i ah , i n o t h e r wo rd s , t o repent th e ir s in s . The s i tuat ion has b e en we l l de s c r ib e d by the French h i s t o r ian Alb e r t Rev i l l . He wr i t e s : ' ' The m i s f o r tun e s , hum il iat i o n s and oppre s s ion s u f f ered by the J ewi sh p eop l e du r ing the l a s t century b ef or e the b i r th o f Chr i s t and the f i r s t yea r s a f t e r it wou l d na tura l ly l end a spec ial s i gn i f icanc e t o f a i th in the Me s s iah . Th i s hope arou sed grea t ex c i t emen t , but at the s ame t ime i t a l s o induc ed a 1 46

f e e l i ng of calm , d e p end ing on the mo od o f tho se who were nou r i shed by i t . 1 1 7 3 Dur ing the f ir s t s ix ty y e a r s o r s o o f th e f ir s t c en­ tury o f our era Ju dea wa s s e e th ing wi th unre s t . Th ing s c ame t o a head i n t h e y e a r 6 6 wh en t h e f ir s t Jewi sh war b roke out . In an a tmo sphe re o f pa s s ive wa i t ing f o r the Me s s iah , c ond i t ion s we re favou rab l e for the eme rgenc e and spread of Me s s i an i c l egend s , mo re spec if ical ly , l e gend s ab out Je su s , wh e t h e r c on s idered a s a r e a l p e r son o r a my ­ th ical f i gure . Bu t even ardent exp e c tat ion s o f the c orn­ ing of the Me s s iah wer e c onduc ive to the spread o f the " g o s p e l s " ab ou t Je su s among the Jew i sh popu l a t ion o f the Roman emp ire . The terr ib l e d e f ea t su s t a ined b y the Jews in two suc c e s s ive nat ional l ib erat ion wa r s , in A . D . 6 6 - 73 and 1 32 - 1 3 5 , could not b u t further d e e p P.n a f ee l ing of s o rrow and d i sappo in tment and in t en s ify hop e s f o r superna tural s a l va t i on . Be l ie f in an earthly Me s s iah dec l ined among the Jews , at l ea s t f o r the t ime b e ing , b o th in Pa l e s t ine and the D ia spora , wh i l e hope s that a d iv ine Me s s i ah wou l d a p p e a r and fu l f i l h i s great m i s s ion b ec ame mo re f e rvent than eve r . Bu t i t wa s no t only the a t t i tude tha t p reva i l ed among the Jews tha t wa s imp o r tant . With in a s n o r t t ime af t e r Ch r i s t i an i t y sp rang u p among t h e Jews , i t s p read rap i d l y among o ther peo p l e s o f t h e Gra e c o -Roman wo rl d . Juda i sm d i d no t turn int o Chr i s t ian i t y . On the contrary , it re ­ s i s t e d the new r e l ig ion , and more and more s t rong ly a s t ime wen t on . Soon the r e l a t ive ly sma l l numb e r o f Judaeo­ Chr i s t ians and Chr i s t ians f r om among the Jews were all but submerged in th e ma s s o f newly c onve r t ed Chr i s t ian s f r om among hea then s . We r e the l a t t er a l s o h i s tor i c a l l y and p sycho l o g i c a l ly prepared t o a c c e p t Me s s ian i c idea s ? The answer i s def in i t e l y ye s . Such idea s we re no l e s s p r omi­ nent in the i r ideo l o g i e s and r e l ig ions than in Juda i sm . The b a s i s o f any r e l ig ion i s the hope that man , who i s weak , can rece ive h e l p f rom o th e rwo r l d l y f o rc e s, f r om a d iv i ne o r a t a l l even t s a sup erna t u ra l saviour . Bu t the r o l e o f the sav iour is no t apparent in every day l if e : l if e is hard , the p o o r are d e n i e d j u s t i c e and p e o p l e have t o b e ar a l l k in d s of natural and s o c ial c a l ami t i e s . Hence the idea tha t for r e a son s known only t o the h i gh e r p owe r s 147

the d iv ine sav iour ha s n o t y e t revea l ed h ims e l f and in­ t ervened in l if e on ear th . Or p erhap s he i s not yet b orn ; or , accord ing to mo re wide ly h e l d re l igiou s b e­ l ie f s , he has not come down f rom h i s exa l ted "he ight " , emb o d i e d in human f orm , to our l ong-su f f er ing earth . In tha t c a s e one mu s t no t th ink tha t the longed-f o r even t wou l d occur s oon . Or p erhap s the s aviour i s al ready here , b u t the good e f f ec t s o f h is pre s ence have not ye t f u l l y man i f e s t ed thems e l ve s . The idea that p eop l e w i l l b e saved af t er the inevi­ tab l e v i c t o ry o f the sup erna tura l f o rc e s o f good over the superna tura l f o r c e s o f ev i l can be f ound in the r e l ig ion of . the anc ient Per s ians . A dec i s ive rol e here i s to b e p l ayed b y Soo s i iant , " s on o f a v i r g in" . At an hour ap­ po inted by the good god Ahu ra Ma zda , Soo s i ian t - - i t is po s ­ s ib l e tha t he w a s iden t i f ied w i t h the g o d M i thra--w i l l appear o n ear th , and tha t w i l l b e the end o f the o l d wor l d i n wh ich the f or c e s o f ev i l a r e so powerful . I n a f i erce b a t t l e Soo s i iant d e f eat s the evi l god Angra Ma inyu and thru s t s h im and h i s army in to he l l . When th i s happen s the dead wil l r i se again and appear b e f o re the d iv ine cour t . The s inner s , t o g e ther wi th Angra Ma inyu and the a rmy he head s , wi l l be pun i shed in he l l for a thou s and year s , a f t e r wh ich they w i l l b e pardoned , and even the evi l god hims e l f w i l l be reconc i l ed wi th the good god Ahura Mazda . F ina l l y the k ingdom of goodn e s s and prospe r i ty , f o r wh ich suf f e r ing mank ind ha s alway s yearne d , wi l l be e s tab l i shed . In anc i en t r e l igiou s b e l ie f s the per sona l ity of the s aviour-god wa s a s s o c i at ed w i th the i dea o f k ingsh i p . In anc ient Egyp t the Pharaoh s wer e c on s idered l iv ing god s . In some myths th e Pharaoh is even s a i d to be o f d i ­ vine o r i g in . To the young queen appears the great e s t o f gods i n the gu i se of h e r hµ sband . Awak ened by the s c ent tha t surroun d s h im she smi l e s t o h im . He draws c l o s e to her , now in the f o rm of the god tha t he i s . He then l eave s her w i th the prom i s e tha t she wi l l b ear a s on who wi l l b e the k ing of Egyp t . Thu s a god-k ing i s b o rn . And if there i s no innna cu l a t e c oncept ion in th i s c a s e the f u ture k ing is neve r the l e s s of d ivine de s c ent . And h i s mo ther l earn s b e f orehand ( the "annunc iat ion " ) o f the great even t tha t awa i t s her . Al exander the Great wa s a l s o acc l a imed a s a god , and 1 48

wi th h i s ful l con s ent . And the d iadoch i , h i s succe s s o r s to th e th rone s o f t h e He l l en i s t ic s t a t e s tha t emerged af t e r his death , f o l l owed in h i s foot s t ep s . Imp l i c i t in th i s He l l en i s t ic cul t of the go d-k ing a re c e r t a in ideas wh ich in some way s b r ing it c l o s e r to Ch r i s t ianity than even the cult of the Me s s iah . Here f o r the f i r s t t ime salva t ion wa s c onc e ived o f n o t onl y a s saving one ' s sou l . Peop l e b egan to f ee l an­ x iou s not only ab out the c ond i t ions of the ir earthly ex i s t enc e , but a l s o aL ou t th e ir l if e hereaf ter . Wou l d they b e ab l e , a f t e r dea th , to e scape the suf f e r in g s c on­ nected e ither w i th the c oming re inca rna t ion of the i r sou l s o r with the i r pun i shmen t s in h e l l f o r l ead ing an imp iou s l if e on ear th ? The b e l iever s ' hope f o r salvat ion wa s b a s ed on the idea that the ir saviou r-k ing wou l d ru l e over them i n the a f t e r l i f e j u s t a s h e d id on earth , and though mo s t prob ab ly they were not a lway s sa t i s f ied with his rul e it wa s in any event s ome th ing f ami l iar and there ­ f ore not so f r igh t en ing . Then there i s the image o f god the son . Every sa­ v iou r-k ing wa s s a id to b e b o rn of a "rea l " god , and h i s mi s s i on wa s t o me d ia t e b e tween god the f a ther and peop l e . S imu l t aneou s ly , the idea of a woman con s idered wo r thy to b e th e mo the r of god a l s o took shape . And with t ime the manne r in wh ich she c ame to conc e ive her ch i l d wa s s p i r i ­ tual i s ed : t h e s exual ac t wa s tran s f ormed into immacu l a t e conc e p t ion . Ano ther idea in He l l en i s t i c r e l ig ions c ou l d have in­ f luenced the format ion of the Chr is t ian image of the Me s­ s iah . And that is the idea of a d e ity emb od ied in human f orm. The de ity had t o t rave r s e the who l e pa th o f human l if e on earth and only a f t e r death c o u l d j o in other mem­ b e r s of Pantheon . I t shou l d b e n o t e d tha t the honour of b e ing a recep tac l e of the d iv ine e s sence wa s conf e rred on memb e r s o f roya l f ami l ie s only . The cu l t of the god-k ing a l s o b ec ame wide s pread in imp er ial Rome . Beg inn ing with Ju l iu s Caesar , the empe ­ ror s demanded tha t they be r egarded as de i t ie s . Indeed , l ong b ef o r e the emp i re was e s tab l ished the Roman s were thought to be ru l ed by h e ro e s and demigod s , if not by gods th emselve s . Some o� them acc omp l i shed f ea t s comparab l e to tho s e l a t e r a s c r ib ed t o Chr i s t i n the Go s pe l s . For 149

examp l e , Romu lu s , one of the f ounde r s o f Rome , sudden l y d i sappeared i n t h e pre s enc e o f a s ena tor and immed i a t e l y ro s e to heaven where he c ould b e s een to take h i s p l ac e among the god s . Neve r thel e s s , t h e cul t of t h e god-k ing b ecame we l l -e s tab l i shed only dur ing the imper ial epoch . No t onl y Caesar and Augu s tu s , but a l s o Cal igu l a and C l au­ d iu s , who were ha l f insane , and T iber iu s and Nero , who were b lood th i r s ty , and others l ike th em , were c0ns idered t o be god s . For our sub j ec t , however , i t is the idea i t ­ s e l f tha t i s imp o r tant , and no t the conc r e t e f o rms i t took . An d the idea i s tha t a man b ecome s god and h i s mi s­ s ion is to save peopl e , and therefore h i s very appearance on earth is "good news " ( g o s p e l ) f o r a l l . Even the t e rmino l ogy tha t had b e en worked ou t wa s l a t e r canon i s ed by Chr i s t ian i ty . An in s c r i p t ion ( the year 9 B . C . ) dec l a r ing the b irthday o f Emperor Augu s t u s a pub l ic hol iday read s : " Th i s day ha s g iven the whol e wor l d a new a s p ec t ; the wo r l d woul d have b een doomed t o d e s t ruc t ion i f the happ ine s s o f a l l peo p l e d id not sh ine in the p er s on of the one b o rn today . . . . P rovidence wh ich re ign s over the wor l d has s ent h im to us and to f u ture gene ra t i ons as the s av iour The b irth o f th i s g o d wa s f o r the who l e wo r l d t h e beg inn ing o f good news wh ich come s f rom h im ; w i th h i s b i r th a new c a l endar shou l d b e e s t ab l i shed . " 74 Even if we d i s regard the eulo­ gy showered on Augu s tu s by f awn ing cou r t i e r s and o f f ic i ­ a l s , the f a c t rema ins that h e r e the l anguage o f prayer wa s used w i th re spect to a human b e ing . Such l anguage wa s soon to b e u s ed by Chr i s t ian s with re spec t to Je sus Chr i s t . I t may b e reca l l ed that in the Go spe l s Chr i s t is referred to a s K ing of the Jews ; in o ther word s , the con­ cept ion of th e god-k ing is pre s ent here . •





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The s e examp l e s taken f rom the h i s tory o f the cult of a saviour-k ing all have to do w i th real p e r s on s who b e ­ came d e i f i e d through rel ig iou s f anta sy . Even mo re f requently th e ro l e of the god-k ing and the Me s s iah wa s a s s igned not to l iv ing p e o p l e but to my ­ tho l o g i c al p e r s onage s . I n Egy p t the Sav iour wa s Serap i s , a l s o known a s O s i r i s ; the Virgin Mo ther wa s I s i s , who wa s at the same t ime c on s idered to b e the w i f e o f God . In As ia Min or th e r o l e of the Sav iour wa s pl ayed by At t i s , and tha t o f the V i rg in Mo ther by Cyb e l e . Among the Baby1 50

l on ian s they we re Tammu z and Marduk . Ac c o r d ing t o the my th s , they b o th died in s p r ing and rose aga in . Upon the ir death there we re e l ab o rate funeral r i t e s a c c ompan i­ ed by l oud l amen t a t ion s of c r owd s o f p i l g r ims . Among the Ph oe n i c ian s the ro l e o f the S av i ou r wa s p l ayed b y Ad on i s , S imilar my th s and cul t s we r e and in Tyre by Me lka r th . kn own i n a numb er o f c i ty- s ta t e s i n As i a Minor . E spec i a l l y wid e s pread wa s th e c u l t of the Phry g i an god A t t i s . I t is no t ewo r thy tha t in A . D . 5 4 Emp e r o r C l au­ d iu s inc l uded th i s cul t among the o f f i c ia l r e l ig ions o f t h e Roman emp ire , a s wa s re f l ec t ed i n t h e c a l endar o f s t a t e h o l idays . At t i s d ied a s a r e s u l t of in t r igu e s by the j e a l ou s godde s s Cyb e l e and ro s e aga in three day s l a t e r . V i o l ent f uner a l r i t e s b e gan on March 2 2 , f o l l owed th ree day s l a t e r by no i s y f e s t iv i t i e s to mark th e re sur­ r e c t ion of the god . ( Inc i d en t a l ly , r i t e s a s s o c i a t ed wi th th i s c u l t r e s emb l e the E a s ter r i t e s of the Chr i s t ian church . ) A p o r t ra i t o f At t i s wa s b u r ied in h i s c o f f in , and then , a t the moment when the re sur r e c t ion of the god wa s suppo s ed t o have taken p l ace , the t emp l e b ec ame s u d ­ d e n l y b r ight with l ight s a n d the c o f f in opened by i t s e l f , ind i c a t ing tha t the god had r i s en . Th i s wa s f o l l owed by tumu l tuou s r e j o ic ing . The my th s ab ou t At t i s and the cul t s c onnec t e d with h im had much in common with the mytho l o g i ­ cal and r e l ig ious f e s t iva l s a s s o c i a t e d w i th D iony su s in Gre e c e and wi th O s i r i s in Egyp t . In the mind s of p e op l e the s e my tho l o g i ca l p e r s onage s t ook o n f ea ture s o f r e a l p e o p l e who h a d onc e l ive d on earth .

Opponen t : Here i s y e t ano the r weak p o int in you r ar­ gumen t . The de if i c a t ion o f a l iv ing human b e ing wa s in ­ deed wide spread in the Gra ec o-Roman wor l d . But the a s ­ c r ib in g o f human f ea t u r e s to a g o d i s a much more comp l ex ma t t er . S ince th i s i s s o , the t ransf orma t i on of Chr i s t the god in t o Je su s the man wou l d prob ab ly b e the only in­ s t ance of i t s k ind . It i s the r e f o r e h ighly unl ik e l y . so .

Author : " S in c e th i s i s so , " you s a id .

But i t i s no t

The re l igious and ph i l o s oph i c a l t rend a s s oc ia t ed w i th Euhe mer u s , th e Greek ph i l o s opher o f the 4 th-3 rd c entu r i e s B . C . , · i s we l l known . Bu t t h e ra t ional i s t ic do c t r ine that came t o be c al l ed Euheme r i sm ( a c c o r d ing to wh ich the o r i ­ g in of r e l i g ion l i e s in the d e if ic a t ion o f real p e r s ons ) 151

wa s no t f ounded by h im , i t had ex i s ted l ong b e f o r e h im . As the French h i s tor ian Ga s ton Bo i s s ier po int s out , Euhe­ meru s "merely de s c r ib ed the doc t r ine in a t reat i s e wh i ch wa s h ighly readab l e and b ecame very popu l a r 11 . 75 I t s ma in idea is that a l l the god s of O lympu s and the Roman Pan­ theon--Jup i t e r , Sa turn , Cadmu s , Venu s and o th e r s--were once real peop l e . For examp l e , Cadmu s was the c ook of a Cydon ian k ing ; Venus wa s a s en suous woman who , in order no t t o appear d i f f e rent f rom o ther women in Cypru s , where she l ived , l ed the ent i r e f ema l e popu l a t i on on the i s l and f rom the path of v i r tu e . But p e rha p s Euheme r i s m wa s an i s o l at e d , l i t t l e -known t rend in the Graeco-Roman wor l d ? Not at a l l . As Bo i s s ier note s , the Roman poet Enn iu s t ran s l ated Euhemerus ' nove l and f rom then on th i s doc t r ine b ecame wel l known among the Roman s and was apparen t l y comp l e t e ly a c c ep t ed b y them . Thi s is s e en in the fac t tha t they b egan to v ie wi th one ano ther in a t t r ib u t ing human f ea ture s to the i r god s . There i s no l ack of fac tual mat e r ial on th i s s ub j e c t . He re i s how Bo i s s ie r cha rac t e r i s e s the Roman re l ig ion o f the p er iod : "Eve ryth ing in i t a s sumed an inc red ib ly p r e ­ c i s e f o rm . T h e mo s t improb ab l e f ic t ions s e emed not to d i f f er f rom the mo s t authent i c narrat ive s . 11 76 Imag inary earthly b iograph i e s of god s were not only p a s sed on by word of mou th , but were a l s o reproduc ed in great d e t a i l In v iv idne s s of d e t a i l the s � earthly i n l i t erary work s . b i ograph i e s o f the Euhemer i s t ic gods are in no way inf e ­ r i o r to t h e l if e of J e s u s a s t o l d i n t h e Go s p e l s . In the h i s to ry of ideo l o gy and , in part icu l a r , the h is t ory of l i t erature one c an f ind instanc e s of s tr ik ing s im i l a r i ty b e tween Chr i s t ian i ty and the image o f Chr i s t , on the one hand , and pre-Chr i s.t ian cul ture , on the o ther . Indeed , Chr i s t ian theo l o g ians were compe l l ed at t ime s t o ac cept c e r t a in t rad i t ions a s Chr i s t ian , though they un­ que s t ionab ly predated Chr i s t ian i ty and were t o t al ly unre­ lated to i t . A good examp l e is the 4 th e c l ogue o f Buco ­ lics by Virg i l , the Roman p oe t of the f ir s t c entury B . C . and famou s au thor of The Aeneid. The 4 th e c l o gu e of Buco lics f oret e l l s the b ir th of a miracu l ou s inf an t wh ich wil l ma rk the replacemen t of an iron age with a g o l d en age . The early Chr i s t ian chu rch a l l but con s idered the poem as a Chr i s t ian work . S t . Augu s t ine , c i t ing some pa s sage s f rom it , s a i d tha t they 1 52

c oul d only ref e r to Chr i s t : to whom e l se c ou l d such word s b e addre s se d ? In h is spe ech a t the Counc i l o f N ic a ea ( 3 2 5 ) Empero r Con s tant ine c it e d many l in e s f rom V i r g i l to Is i t sup po r t the idea of the d iv ine nature o f Chr i s t . b l e tha t Virg i l had i n mind the founder o f Chr i s t i­ s i s po a n ity ? Unl e s s we are t o a s sume tha t mirac l e s are p o s s ib l e , we wi l l have to rej e c t the idea tha t Chr i s t ian i ty p l ayed any ro l e here a t a l l . Be s ide s , Virg i l f o r e t o l d that the b irth of the miracu l ou s infant woul d take p l a c e in the s ame year when the e c l ogue wa s wr i t t en . Acc o r d ing to the Go spel s , Chr i s t wa s born 40 years l a t e r . "Such an er­ ro r , " Bo i s s i e r remark s d r i ly , "woul d be inexcu sab l e in a 11 p rophe t . 7 7 Virg i l i s regarded by the Chr i s t ian Church , i f not a s a prophe t , then a t l ea s t as s ome one with great f or e ­ s igh t . I n t h e Midd l e Age s he wa s cons idered a s impor t ant a s Mo s e s , I sa iah , David and o ther p er s onag e s who suppo s ed­ ly f o r e t o l d the b i r th of Chr i s t . In real ity Virg i l mere­ ly vo i c e d hop e s and ideas wid e s p r ead in his t ime . And of c ou r s e , such l i t erary work s as the 4 th e c l ogue of h i s Buco lics p l ayed a c e r t a in ro l e , p e rhap s even a cons ider­ ab l e r o l e , in p reparing the ideo l o g ic a l ground for the spread of the doc t r ine about a new Me s s iah . If the Fath e r s of the Chruch f ound tha t the 4 th ec­ l ogue c onf ron ted them with s ome embarra s s ing que s t ions , it wa s even more d if f icul t f o r them to account f o r the many s im ilar i t ie s b e tween the s t o r i e s t o l d in the Go s p e l s and in my ths dat ing back to a much earl i e r p e r i o d . Some ­ how th i s awkward f a c t h a d to b e exp l a ined , f o r i t e s s en­ t ia l ly d i scred i t ed the idea that Chr i s t ian i ty wa s un ique and tha t i t s r i se owed nothing t o o ther cul tural t rad i t i ­ on s . F i rmicu s Ma t e rnu s , f o r examp l e , a s s e r t e d tha t the hea thens t r i ed t o introduc e in to the ir cul t s e l emen t s b o rrowed f r om Chr i s t ian i ty and to s ub s t i t u t e the i r own imp ious and supe r s t it ious tal e s f o r the tru th s revea l ed by God . Here Ma t e rnu s obv iou s ly d i s regarded the f ac t , wel l -known even in h i s t ime , tha t "hea then i sm" wa s much o lde r than Chr i s t ian i t y . So if there wa s any b o rrowing it wa s the o ther way round . T e r tu l l ian a t t r ib u t e d to the D ev i l ' s d o ing every th ing that d e t rac ted f rom the b e l i e f th at Ch r i s t ian i ty a l on e o f f e red s a lva t i on : t h e Dev il , the 1 53

enemy of the human race , de l ib e ra t e l y propaga ted among h i s f o l l ower s idea s and v i ews tha t ant ic i p a t e d Ch r i s t ian i ­ ty i n o r d e r to d i s c r e d i t i t . Th i s , o f c ou r s e , c annot b e re f u t ed , y e t no o n e s e r i ou s l y intere s t ed i n a s c ien t i f ic ana lys i s of th e que s t ion i s l ik e l y to accep t such an ex­ p l ana t ion . The re i s ano ther p r ac t ic e in anc ient c u l t s wh ich c o u l d to an even g r ea t er ex t en t f a c i l i t a t e a c c e p t an c e of the l eg end ab o u t Chr i s t ; the o f f e r ing by a f a th e r o f h i s s on a s a s ac r if i c e t o t h e gods . F o r in s t ance, the Phoen i c ­ i a n g o d Mo l och wa s prop i t ia t e d b y t h e sacr if ice o f ch i l d ­ ren ( ch i l d r en we re b urned i n t h e h o t maw of a c o p p e r s t a ­ tue o f t h e g o d ) . In t h e O l d Te s tamen t th ere a r e many in­ d ic a t ion s tha t ch i l dren , e s pec i a l ly the f i r s t -b o rn , were sac r if i c e d and th i s wa s prac t i s e d not only by the ne igh­ b our s of Judah and I s ra e l but a l so among the an c i ent Jews thems e l ve s . To us th i s may app ear ab surd , but in anc ient t ime s such p r ac t ic e wa s t ra d i t ional and wa s ther e f ore re­ garded a s no rma l and a c c e p t ab l e . We may th ink it s t ran ge tha t God shou l d s ac r i f ic e h i s own son . And wha t is a s t i l l mo re pu z z l ing que s t ion , to whom c o u l d God o f f e r such a s a c r if i c e ? Bu t in tho s e d ay s peop l e mu s t have regarded i t as no th ing o u t o f the ord inary , f o r i t wa s cu s t oma ry f o r the head of a f ami l y to r e s o r t to such r i tual p ra c ­ t ic e when nec e s s a ry . In a s tudy devo t e d t o th i s subj e c t , The Suffering God in the Re Zigions of the Ancien t WorZd, Mar t in Bruck­

ner d raws many ana l og i e s b e twe en anc ien t Ea s t ern re l i g i ­ ons a n d the Ch r i s t ian l egend ab out Je sus . In b o th c a s e s , " in the c en t re o f wo r sh ip and the cu l t wa s a b e l ie f in the death and r e s u rr e c t ion of a s av i our-god who wa s sub ­ ord ina t ed to a s u p r eme god " . In s ome in s tanc e s the s a ­ v i ou r-god wa s c on s i d e red t o b e the s o n o f t h e supreme god . In b o th c a s e s , " the d e a th and re surrec t ion of god had for the b e l iev e r s the s ign i f i c ance o f s a l va t ion " . The b e l ieve r s th e r eby der ived hop e s f o r the i r own re sur­ re c t ion a f t er death and e t erna l l if e . And in many in­ s tanc e s the death and re surrec t ion o f the sav iour-god occurred in s p r ing , the re surrec t ion t ak ing p l a c e on the th i r d or f ourth day a f t e r the d e a th o f the g o d . 7 8 The s e ana l o g ie s b e c ome a l l the more s ign if icant when we cons ider tha t the cul t s in que s t ion wer e p a r t i c u l arly wide s pread in tho s e l o ca l i t ie s wh ere early Chr i s t ian c om1 54

mun i t ie s ex i s t e d . Th i s means tha t the peop l e of tho s e l o c a l i t i e s we re n o t on ly h i s to r ic a l l y prepared t o a c c ep t l e g en d s c onn ec t ed with Chr i s t ; they c o u l d a l s o , p e rhap s , c rea t e s imilar myt h s on the ir own . For the anc ient Jews , t o o , th e Ea s t ern cul t s o f a s a viou r who d i ed and ro se aga in we re no th ing new or un­ u sua l . Th ere a re many ind icat ions in the O l d Te s t amen t tha t the Jews we re a c qua in t e d w i th tho s e c u l t s and w i th the my th s on wh ich they wer e b a s e a . Th e proph e t E z ek ie l spoke o f "women weep ing f o r Tammu z " ( E z ek i e l 8 : 1 4 ) , and they d id so at a mo s t inapprop r i a t e p l a c e , at the g a t e s of the temp l e of S o l omon . Thu s , a hea th en cu l t had pene­ t ra t e d the c i tade l of Juda i sm . Even K ing S o l omon erred when he wa s l e d by h i s f o r e ign wive s in t o wor shipp ing the god s o f th e h ea then . Other k in g s o f Ju dah and I s ra e l , too , wor sh ipped heathen go d s , a s the O l d Te s tamen t shows . So , toward s the b e g inn ing o f th e f ir s t c entury the Jew s were undoub tedly f ami l iar wi th t h e my th s ab ou t the s e g o d s , spec i f ica l ly , the my t h s ab ou t s av i ou r s who d ie d and ro s e aga in . I t do e s not f o l l ow f rom a l l the ab ove tha t the Chr i s ­ t ian doc t r ine ab out Je s u s wa s b o rrowed d ir e c t l y f rom an earl i e r r e l ig i on . Tha t wou l d b e an incorrec t conc lu s i on . The s t o r i e s and l egends in wh i ch the image of Je s u s i s reve a l e d repre s en t a who l e c omp l ex o f i d e a s o f a new r e l i ­ g i on tha t wa s b rough t f o rth by l i f e i t s e l f , b y s o c ial , h i s t o r ic a l and o t h e r c ond i t ions . Th ere a r e two p o in t s that shou l d b e kep t in mind here . F ir s t , th i s n ew ideo l o ­ gical c omp l ex c o u l d h ave emb ra c e d idea s and c onc e p t ions to wh ich p e op l e had l ong b een a c cu s tomed . S e c on d , wha t emerged f rom the r e l ig ious fanta s y o f p r imit ive Chr i s t ian­ i ty , wh ich wa s moving in the same d ir e c t ion , f o l l owed the paths of l ong-ex i s t ing p o pu l a r b e l ie f s . To one l iv ing in the s e c ond ha l f of the f ir s t c en tu ry the idea s o f Me s s ian­ i sm , j u s t l ik e the ima g e of a god-k ing b r ing ing s a lva t ion to mank ind , wou l d not appear s t range o r ex traord inary . And when the s o c i a l and h i s t o r ical s i t u a t ion gave r i s e t o the c o rr e s pond ing i d e o l o g i c a l cond i t i on , t h e Me s s ian i c hop e s of the oppre s s ed and d own t rodden found ready-made f o rms wh ich fur ther s t imu l a ted the i r r e l i g i ou s f an t a s y . Here a d e f in i t e ro l e wa s p l ayed b y the O l d Te s t ament Me s ­ s ia n i c d o c t r in e a s we l l a s b y many o th e r b e l ie f s and no ­ t ion s of the p e o p l e s of th e anc ient Or ient and the Graec o ­ Roman wo rl d . 1 55

For the c reat ion o f a sync re t ic image of the Me s s iah that wou l d have popular appeal , the rel i g iou s f an t a s y o f t h e peop l e s o f t h e Med i t e r ranean dur ing t h e f ir s t centu­ r i e s o f our era had amp l e mat e r ial to draw on . Such ma t e ­ r i a l c ou l d b e f ound i n pre-Chr i s t ian b e l ief s go ing back to anc i en t t ime s , and ab ove all in Juda i sm . What wa s needed wa s the approp r i a t e soc ial and h i s t o r ical cond it i­ ons that wou l d pu sh it in tha t d ire ct ion . And such cond i­ t ion s we re not lack ing . The s o c ia l �nd h i s to r i ca l c ond i t ions of a l l the peop­ l e s o f the Roman emp ire , sub j ugated by the powerful s l ave­ owning s ta t e , provided f e r t i l e s o i l for the deve l opment of Me s s ian i c ideas and l eg end s . The peop l e s l iv ing unde r the iron yok e o f the Roman Emp ire had no hope wha t ever of f ree ing themselve s by earthly mean s . Fo l l owing the d e f ea t s of nat ional l ib era­ t ion movement s and upr i s in g s o f s l ave s , there emerged a real i s a t ion o f the u t t e r f u t i l ity o f armed re s i s tanc e . Peop l e c ou l d onl y l o ok to superna tural f o rc e s f or h e l p . Dur ing that per iod Me s s iani c cul t s sprang up and f l our i sh­ ed throughout the Roman Emp ire . Owing to a numb er of h i s tor ical c ircums tanc e s , of a l l the s e cul t s Juda ic Me s­ s ia� i sm p roved t o have the b roade s t appeal among the popu­ l ac e o f the Roman Emp i re . The l egend ab out Chr i s t and the cu l t connec ted w i th it were o r i g ina l ly one of s everal var iant s of Judaic Me s ­ s ian i sm . I t wa s not popu l a r among Jews , who wer e eagerly awa i t ing the c oming of a Me s s iah-warr i o r promi s e d by the p rophe t s , an a c t ive and b rave me s senger o f Go d und er who s e l eader shi p the cho s en p e o p l e wou l d s ooner o r l a t e r ach ieve the ir a im s . Bu t a f t e r b e ing t rans f erred to a "fore ign" env ironmen t it quickly won acceptance among the b road In the p roc e s s i t underwent s ign if icance change s ma s s e s . s o tha t e s s en t ia l l y i t c ea s ed to b e Juda ic . Above a l l , i t had t o abandon the c oncep t of I s rae l b e ing God ' s cho s en peopl e ; i t b ecame a c o smpo l i tan r e l ig ious doc t r ine . The very mo t ivat ion f o r the s a l va t ion of mank ind by a Me s s iah a l s o had to be mp d if ied . In Juda i c Me s s ian i sm the mi s s ion of the Me s s iah was to save the cho s en peop l e f rom the consequ enc e s of th e i r

1 56

in s c o rrnn i t ted aga in s t Yahweh . Among the Gen t i l e s , how­ So anidea had to b e expre s s ed d i f f eren t l y . ' th i s e c t r ine emerged , accord ing to wh i ch peop l e s u f f err do t he o e d b ecau s e of the cur s e they wer e under a s a cons equenc e o f t h e o r ig inal s in , and tha t the Me s s iah wou l d c ome n o t t o rec onc i l i a t e t h e Jews and Yahweh , b u t to a tone f o r the s in s of Adam and Eve and b r ing ab ou t reconc i l iat ion b e t ­ we en the who l e of mankind and a unive r s a l God . At the s ame t ime change s we re introdu c e d in the cul t to make it p o s s ib l e f o r Gent i l e s t o j o in the n ew re l ig ion : var iou s Juda ic l aws , inc l ud ing r itual laws r e l a t ing to f o o d , a s we l l a s c ircumc i s ion , were ab o l i shed . Thu s , the new r e l i ­ g ion b roke away c omp l e t e l y f r om Juda i sm . sv er

.

.

As i t spread among the peop l e s o f the Roman Emp ire , Chr i s t ian ity came to a s s im i l a t e many mytho l o g i c a l theme s , rel igiou s ideas and r i t e s tha t had previous ly ex i s t e d among the s e p eopl e s . Th i s i s s e en ab ove a l l i n t h e image . of Je sus a s the Me s s iah , an image tha t wa s of Juda i c o r i ­ gin . I t be came inte rwoven w i t h e l ement s o f the image s and cul t s of va r iou s local sav iou r-god s who a l s o s u f f ered , d ied and r o s e aga in . As a resul t , a mix ture of many e l e ­ ment s f ormed the image o f Je sus Chr i s t . Neve rthe l e s s , wha t i s fundamen tal in th i s image i s the Juda ic Me s s iah . Th i s i s ev i d ence d by the f ac t that the l i f e o f Jesus as t o l d in the Go s pe l s r e l ie s heavily on O l d Te s tament prophe c i e s about the c om ing o f the Me s ­ s iah . Be s id e s the general idea ab ou t the Me s s iah , many de­ ta i l s in the evange l ica l narra t ive s are b orrowe d d irec t l y f rom the O l d Te s t ament . Thu s , Je s u s ent e r s Jeru s a l em " s i t t ing upon an a s s , and a c o l t the foal of an a s s " (Ma t ­ thew 2 1 : 5 ) . As noted earl i er , i t i s not c l ear how anyone cou l d s i t on two animal s at once . The source o f th i s s t ra nge p ic ture i s the b ook o f the prophe t Zechar iah : " b eh o l d , thy King c ome th unto thee : he i s j u s t and hav ing sa lvat ion ; l owly , and r id ing upon an a s s , and upon a c o l t the foal of an a s s " ( Z echar iah 9 : 9 ) . The wor d s with wh ich peop l e gree t e d t h e " s on o f David "--"Bl e s sed be the K ing tha t come th in the name o f the Lord "--almo s t re­ p eat a l ine f rom one o f the p s a lms ( P s a lm 1 1 8 : 26 ) . The pr ice o f thir ty p i ece s of s i lver for wh ich Juda s b e trayed Jesus wa s ant ic ipa t e d in the Book o f Zechar iah : " So they we ighed for my p r i c e th i r ty p ie c e s of s i lver" ( 1 1 : 1 2 ) . 1 57 •



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Even the way Jud a s d i sp o s ed o f th i s mon ey--he c a s t down the p i ec e s o f s il ver in th e temp l e--i s f ound in the Book o f Z echar iah whe r e it is sa id that in accordanc e with God ' s in s truc t ions "I took the th i r ty p ie c e s o f s i lver , and c a s t them to the p o t t e r in the hou s e o f th e Lord" ( 1 1 : 1 3 ) . The wor d s s p oken b y Je sus a t th e l a s t supp e r -­ "Ve r i l y I say unt o you , tha t one of you sha l l b e tray me " (Ma t thew 2 6 : 2 1 ) - -echo P salm 4 1 : "yea , mine own f ami l iar f r iend wh ich d i d eat o f my b read , h a th l if t ed up h i s h e e l aga in s t me " (4 1 : 9 ) . The d e s c r ip t ion o f th e c ruc i­ f ix ion of Je su s a l s o r emind s one o f pa s sa g e s in the Old T e s tamen t . Je s u s on the c ro s s wa s g iven "v inegar mingl e d with gal l " (Ma t thew 2 7 : 34 ) ; i n P salm 7 1 we read : " They gave me a l s o ga l l for my mea t ; and in my th ir s t they gave me v inegar to dr ink " ( 6 9 : 2 1 ) . J e s u s � l a s t word s b ef o r e h i s dea th a r e taken d ir e c t ly f rom P s a lm 2 2 : "My God , my God , why ha s t thou f o r e s aken me ? " (Mat thew 2 7 : 4 6 ; P s alm 22 : 1 ) . S ome d e ta i l s in the f an ta s t ic p ic ture por trayed in The Reve l a t i on are al so b o rr owed f rom the Old Te s t a ­ ment , and e spec ia l ly f rom the b ook of th e proph e t Dan ie l : the b e a s t "w i th s even head s and t en horns , and upon h i s horns t en c rown s , and upon h i s head s the name o f b l a s ­ phemy" and th e l eopard " and h i s f e e t were a s the f e e t o f a b ea r and h i s mou th a s t h e mouth o f a l ion " ( Reve l a t ion 1 3 : 2) . •



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The s e c o inc i d enc e s can a l s o b e in t e rpr e t e d in a d i f ­ f e ren t way . For churchmen and conserva t ive the o l og ians they conf i rm the wis dom o f the O l d T e s tament p rophe t s who had f o r e t o l d wha t took p l a c e s eve ral c en tur ie s l a t e r . Bu t a s c i ent i f ic approach exc lud e s such an int erpr e t a t ion . Common s en s e p o int s to another , rather obviou s , c onc l u s i ­ on . Some d ocumen t s were wr i t t en earl ier , and o t h e r s la ­ ter , the earl ier documen t s b e ing known t o the autho r s o f t h e l a t e r on e s ; a n d s o i f the re are c o inc idence s b e twe en the earl ier and the l a t e r t ex t s it means tha t the au thor s of the l a t e r tex t s b o r rowed f rom the ear l i e r one s . There ­ f o re , h i s t o r ian s and the o l o g ian s who emp loy s c ient if ic me ­ tho d s a r e not t o o f a r f rom the t ruth wh en they say tha t much u s e wa s mad e o f O l d T e s t amen t tex t s i n c reat ing the b i ography of J e s u s Chr i s t as t o l d in the Go s p e l s . For in­ s t anc e , the P ro t e s tant the o l o g ian Mar t in D ib e l ius ha s s a i d tha t the O l d Te s tamen t t ex t s " c rea t e d h is t o ry" , me an­ ing tha t the st ory o f J e s u s wa s b u i l t up on the b a s i s of 1 58

the O l d T e s tamen t . Adm i t t e d l y , th i s i s s omewha t exagge­ r a t e d , f o r th e ima g in a t ion o f the au tho r s of the Go s p e l s wa s n ou r i sh e d b y many o th e r sour� e s b e s id e s the O l d T e s ­ t am en t . Ind e ed , towa r d s the b e g inn ing o f th e f i r s t c entury the id e o l o g i c a l and r e l i g i o u s s y s t em o f the O l d Te s tament i t s e l f wa s no l onger p e r c e ived only in i t s trad i t ional and l i t e r a l sens e . From the t ime o f Ar i s tobu lu s , and par­ t i c u l a r l y in the wr i t ings of Ph i l o of Al exand r ia , an a l l e­ go r i ca l s ign if i cance wa s a s c r ib e d to i t . Eng e l s , l ik e B runo Bau e r , c a l l e d Ph i l o the f a ther o f Ch r i s t ian i ty . Wha t wa s Ph i l o ' s c o n t r ibut ion t o t h e f o rma ­ t ion of the image o f J e s u s Chr i s t ? Th e b a s ic r e l i g iou s and ph i l o s o ph ic a l t endency o f Ph i l o ' s work s i s Gno s t i c . Ac c o r d ing t o Gno s t i c i sm , God , be ing the supreme d e i t y , h a s no d ir e c t r e l a t ionsh ip with the mat er ia l wo r l d , wh ich i s inf er io r . The l ink b e tween Go d and the wo r l d is ma inta ined th rough c e r t a in interme ­ d ia ry f o rc e s tha t are a t onc e phy s i c a l and s p i r i tu a l and th a t , in s ome my s t e r i o u s way , eman a t e f rom God . In th e s e "hypo s ta s e s " , " ae o n s " , " id ea s " ( P l a t o ' s t e rms ) , wh ich a s ­ sume phys i c a l f o rm a c c e s s ib l e t o human p e rc e p t i on , i s em­ bod ied one o r ano ther a s p e c t or p r o p e r ty o f the inf in i t e and unf a thomab l e d iv in i t y . Among the va r iou s t rend s of Gno s t ic i sm , a e on s o r hy­ po s ta s e s , o r S oph ia (w i s dom) and L o g o s (wo r d ) in Greek , a r e the b e s t -known . Th e c onc e p t of Lo g o s p l a y s an e s p e ­ c i a l l y impor tant r o l e in Ph i l o ' s ph i l o s ophy . Ph i l o r e ­ g a r d s Logo s a s th e in t e rmed iary b e twe en G o d and t h e wo r l d ; he charac t e r i s e s Logo s a s the in t e rp r e t e r o f God ' s in t ent , God ' s deputy and me s s enge r , t h e f i r s t -b o rn son of God , and some t ime s God h ims e l f or a s e c ond God . Th i s c onc e p t ion i s re f l e c t ed i n John ' s Gos p e l wh i ch b e g in s wi th a re f e renc e to Logos : " In the b e g inning wa s the Wo rd , and the Wo rd wa s wi th God , and the Wo r d wa s God " ( John 1 : 1 ) . Logo s i s n o t a human b e ing , b u t s ome my s t i c a l inc or­ p or ea l b e ing . At God ' s c ommand it b ec ome s inc a rnat e d and a s sume s human f orm . Th i s pecu l i a r qual i t y of the Logos made it po s s ib l e for Gno s t ic i d e a s t o in f l u ence th e Me s ­ s i an i c doc t r ine . Und e r th i s inf lu ence the Me s s i ah wa s ea s i l y tran s f ormed f rom a human b e ing , even one ve s t e d

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wi th supreme p ower , into a superna tural b e ing in corporeal f o rm . Accord ing l y , peop l e ' s expec tat ion o f the Me s s iah ' s appea ranc e a l s o underwent a change . Among the cu l t s tha t c on tr ibuted to tha t mixture o f he t erogeneou s e l emen t s wh ich together make up t h e image o f Chr i s t was Juda ic Gno s t ic i sm . Bu t the conc e p t ion o f the Me s s iah a s t h e Logos c o u l d n o t i n i t s e l f f o rm the b a ­ s i s o f th i s imag e . I t wa s ph i l o s oph ical ly too s ub t l e and ab s t rac t to be acceptab l e f rom a re l ig iou s and my tho l o g i ­ c a l po in t o f v iew . The r e l ig i o u s consc iou sne s s o f the ma s se s ne e d s some th ing f igura t ive and conc r e t e , and not me taphy s ical ab s t rac t ions . The Gno s t ic Logo s could in­ f l uenc e Chr i s t ianity on ly in a f o rm that wa s more down­ t o -earth . Engel s p o inted out that " the f ac t tha t it wa s popu l a r i s ed Ph i l on i c no t ion s and n o t Ph i l o ' s own wo rk tha t Chr i s t i an i ty proceeded f rom i s prov�n by the New Te s td!lle n t" . 7 9 He no ted the "deba s e d , vul ga r i s ed f o rm" wh i ch Gno s t ic idea s a s sumed in Chr i s t ian i ty . At the same t ime he s t r e s sed that in a s tudy of the o r ig i n s of Chr i s t ­ ian i ty the s e idea s mu s t b e taken into accoun t . To Or thodox Juda i sm the d e i f icat ion o f a human be ing wa s unth inkaDl e , f o r that wou l d be b la s ph emy f rom the po int of v i ew of the O l d Te s tament . To the modern i s e d Ph i l on ian Juda i sm o f tha t p e r iod , howeve r , i t wou l d b e the de i f icat ion no t o f a human b e ing bu t o f some th ing ab s t rac t wh ich emana t e s f rom God and i s enc l o s ed in God h ims e l f . With the h e l p of such reas on ing the hea then no t ions ab ou t human b e ings who were at the s ame t ime de i t ie s and who s e mi s s ion wa s to save mank ind b e c ame " ennob l e d " and made accep t ab l e t o the Jews to a cer t a in ex tent . But only to a c e r ta in ex tent , and a s h i s t o ry shows , t o a very sma l l extent . F o r Chr i s t ian i ty d i d no t spr ead among the Jews . Chr i s t ianity had to s e ek conve r t s among other p eop l e s of the Roman Emp ir e , and in th i s i t ent irely succeeded . Thu s , el ement s of r e l i g i o u s and my thol ogical concep t s tha t ex i s t ed among d i f f erent peop l e s ab ou t a Me s s iah- sav­ iour "merged" to make up a more or l e s s un i f o rm image of Je s u s Chr i s t . We say "more or l e s s " b ecause the image d id not rea l ly b ecome a un i f o rm one . I t s obv iou s int erna l cont rad ic t ions are ev idence tha t it owed i t s o r i g in to a great var i e ty o f source s . Never th e l e s s , s ome th ing new d id emerge , and th i s is th e por tra i t of Jesus Chr i s t a s g iven 1 60

the Go s p e l s , wh ich wa s a f t e rward s canon i s ed in the c sa r e d b o ok s and do gma s of the Chr i s t ian re l i g i on . in

Th e image o f J e su s Ch r i s t , a s we have s e en , d id not s p r ing up f rom nowher e . Th e gi:ound f o r i t wa s p r epared b y p re c e d ing deve l o pmen t s . The same i s t ru e o f h i s t e ach­ in gs . The proph e c y about the approach ing end o f the wo r l d a n d the c a l l t o rep entanc e , t h e exho r ta t ion t o f o r sake ea r t h l y pro s p e r i ty in o r d e r to s ave on e ' s s oul in the k ingdom to come , cont emp t f o r wea l th and th e wea l thy , l ove for one ' s near one s and p eac e f u l nonr e s i s tanc e t o ev il a s th e b a s i s o f mo ral s were a l l a t t r ibu t e d t o Je s u s Chr i s t by the Go s p e l s . Y e t i t wa s f ound i n r e l ig iou s and soc ial movemen t s and doc t r in e s that p r e c e ded Chr i s t ian i t y . In the novel A Re liquia by th e P o r tugue s e wr i t e r E�a de Que iroz , the Rabb i Gama l i e l s a y s , r e f e r r ing to Chr i s t ian i ty : "We l l , wha t i s t h e r e th a t i s new or sp ec ia l ? Or do you imag ine tha t a Na z o r a e an rabb i d rew th e s e dogma s f rom the b o t t om of h i s h ea r t ? Bu t our c r e ed i s ful l of t h e s e Do y o u wan t t o hear ab ou t l ove , me rcy , e qua l ­ dogma s i t y ? Read the b ook o f Je su s , t h e s o n o f S id rah . . . . Al l th i s was p reached b y your f r i end I okonan [ a ref erence to John the Bap t is t --I . K . ] , who had ended so sadly in the p r i s on o f Maker o s . 1 1 8 0 .

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Indeed , the mo ral p r inc i p l e s p r ea ched by the Rabb i Hi l l e l , f o r examp l e , who l ived in t h e f ir s t c en tu ry , we r e very c l o s e i n s p i r i t t o th e S e rmon o n the Moun t . When h e wa s a sked ab out the e s sence o f h i s c re e d , H i l l e l rep l i e d : "Wha t i s unp l ea s ant to thys e l f that do no t t o thy ne ighb ou r ; th i s is the who l e Law , a l l e l s e is but i t s e xp o s i t ion . " Bu t i t is no t withou t r ea s on tha t Gama l i e l men t ions the h e a t h ens , though he do e s so s omewh a t c on t emp tuou s ly . For among th e h e a t h en s , t oo , there we r e c l early f ormul a t e d moral p r in c i p l e s wh ich r e s emb l ed tho s e s e t f o rth i n the Go s p e l s and wh i ch da t e b a ck to an e a r l ie r p e r iod . We may r ec a l l in th i s c onnec t ion t h e Roman S t o ic ph i l o s o pher S e ­ nec a whom Enge l s f o r th i s very r e a s on c a l l ed the unc l e of Ch r i s t iani ty . Th i s t u t o r to Nero expounded the mor a l o f t h e parab l e ab out t h e r ich man a n d Lazaru s , a l thou gh S e ­ nec a h ims e l f , a wea l th y man , c o u l d sur e l y have b een the

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r ich man in th e s t ory . Bu t regard l e s s o f the p e r s ona l mo t ive s o f S en e c a , who unqu e s t ionab ly wa s an ou t s tand ing examp l e of a hyp o c r i t e , h i s e th ic a l t eaching d if f e r s l i t ­ t l e f rom tha t o f t h e Go s p e l s . Inc i d en ta l l y , hard l y any of Seneca ' s f o l l owe r s , e i ther anc i ent or mod e rn , i s much inf e r ior to Seneca when it come s to hypo c r i s y and d ive r­ genc e o f wo rd s and deeds . . . . To sum up , we s e e tha t towa r d s the b e g inn ing o f our era the s o c i a l though t o f d i f f er ent p e op l e s o f f ered enou gh ma t e r ial f o r the c r e a t ion of the image o f Je s u s . Th i s ma t e r ial c ou l d have b e en u s e d w i th t h e h e l p o f r e l i g i ou s imag ina t ion t o enr i ch t h e image o f some one who real l y ex i s te d , o r a my th o l o g ic a l image o f such a p e r son c o u l d h a v e b e en c r e a t e d . We have c on s i d e r e d the f i r s t o f the s e p o s s ib i l i t ie s i n d e t a i l . The s e c ond , i t s e em s t o me , i s the mo re p rob ab l e . The mo s t l ik e l y p l a c e f o r the r i s e of the Ch r i s t ian l eg end i s no t P a l e s t in e , but one o f the coun t r i e s of the Jewi sh D i a sp o r a , in par t icu l a r Egy p t o r As i a Minor . The e a r l i e s t of th e New Te s t ament b ooks , The Reve l a t ion , wa s addre s s ed t o a l l s even Chr i s t ian c ommun i t ie s in As i a Mi ­ no r . The o l d e s t f ragmen t s o f the Evange l ic a l manu s c r i p t s known t o scho l a r s wer e f ound in Egyp t . The r e i s no p r o o f tha t the New T e s tament b ooks wer e o r i g i na l l y wr i t ten i n Heb r ew o r Arama ic . The on l y known t e x t i s in Gre ek , and the Gre ek t ex t i s r e p l e t e w i th Arama i sms and Heb ra i sms . Th i s can on l y mean tha t the i r a u tho r s wer e Jews l iv ing ou t s i d e Pal e s t in e , w i th i n the b oun da r i e s o f He l l en i s t ic c u l ture , and tha t th e ir c ommand o f the l anguage o f th i s c u l ture wa s n o t s o p e r f e c t a s t o p reven t the i r Jew i sh o r i­ I t may b e argu e d tha t the Greek g in f rom b e ing f e l t . l anguage wa s suf f i c i ent l y we l l known a l s o in Judea at th a t t ime and s o the N e w T e s t ament b o ok s cou l d have b e en wr i t ­ t e n i n Gre ek there . Th i s , howev e r , i s a weak argument . The wr i t t en l anguage in Judea a t tha t t ime wa s Arama i c , no t Greek . B e s i d e s , the s e b o ok s we re obv iou s l y intended f o r the ord inary p e o p l e o f Judea who , o f cour s e , c ou l d not read Gre ek . L e t u s p i c ture t o our s e lve s t h e i d e o l o g i c a l c l ima t e i n the c i t i e s o f t h e D i a s p o ra a t t h e b eg inn ing o f ou r e r a . I t s ch i e f e l emen t wa s the anx ious wa i t ing f o r the corning of the Me s s iah , wh ich wa s l inked wi th hope s of a rad i c a l

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c hange in the en t ire ex i s t ing o rder and re s torat ion o f the Juda ic k ingdom in a l l i t s powe r and g l ory . The he a rt s of the ex i l e s and emigran t s we re turned toward s Judea and Jeru s a l em where the Me s s iah , a de s c endant o f the hou se o f Dav id , wa s to appear . And f rom t ime to t ime there were rumours f rom Judea tha t he had come o r wa s ab out to c ome . Bu t each t ime the s e exc i t ing rumou r s p roved t o b e unf ounded . Peop l e f e l t d i s couraged and b e ­ t rayed . Ye t th ey cont inu ed t o hope , f o r they h a d a s t rong yearn ing f o r f reedom and p r o s p er i ty , f o r d e l iver­ anc e f rom na t i ona l and soc ial oppr e s s ion . Old rumour s wer e succeeded b y new on e s . Some o f them p roved doub t ­ fu l or f a i l ed t o sat i s fy the ide o l o g i cal requ iremen t s o f the moment and were s o on f o rgo t t en , wh i l e o th e r s wer e f ound mo re acceptab l e and took r o o t , a t t rac t ing mo re and mor e f o l l ower s who b e gan to emb e l l i sh the orig inal l egend wi th new e lemen t s . In th i s proc e s s o f "na tural s e l e c t i ­ on " the l egend a s s o c iated w i th the name o f Je s u s Chr i s t survived and eventu a l ly t r iumphed . What made th i s l eg end s o a t trac t ive ? i t to put down such s t rong roo t s ?

What enab l ed

L ike a l l Me s s ian i c l e gend s , the Chr i s t ian l egend wa s a t t rac t ive b ecau s e it in s p ired hop e s for l ib e rat ion f rom a seemingly hope l e s s s i tuat ion . Bu t it had ano ther f eature wh ich a s sured i t of a mo s t impor tant advan tage : it cou l d not b e ver i f ied by pract ice . Anyone w i th Me s ­ s ian ic a s p irat ions wou l d have t o prove the l e g i t imacy o f h i s c l a ims b y r e a l d e ed s , b y mi l i t ary o r o ther k ind s o f vic t o r i e s , by some achi evement s tha t wou l d s ign ify f u l ­ f i lment of the wi l l o f Yahweh who had dec ided to f o r g ive and save h i s chos en peo p l e and b r ing them g l o ry . And when f rom faraway Judea came news tha t yet ano ther Me s ­ s iah had fa i l ed i n h i s mis s ion , the end o f the l egend wa s near . If th i s le gend .we re ba sed on an imag inary per s on , i t too wou l d inev i t ab l y be d i s cred i ted . As yea r s pas s ed there wou l d be l e s s and l e s s rumour s ab out h im , and s ince his "ac t ivity" had not led to any real re su l t s , the l e ­ gend wou l d d ie a natural death . The l egend ab out Chr i s t had a d if f erent f a t e . I t s ma in concep t i s tha t the Me s s iah sho u l d no t t r i ­ umph in the real , vi s ib l e wor l d , b u t shou l d per i sh i n i t . The wo r l d sunk in the mire of ev i l wou l d me e t i t s "f inal 163

r e ckoning" only in s ome d i s tant f u ture . Peop l e we re a c ­ cus t ome d t o wa i t ing f o r th i s f u ture : t h e who l e Me s s ian i c i d e o l ogy wa s bu i l t on such exp e c t a t ions . Bu t h e r e i t wa s mo re than a mat te r o f wa i t ing . The l eg end made p e o p l e f e e l tha t some th ing h a d b een f u l f i l l ed and a c c omp l i shed , wh i l e a t the s ame t ime the r e wa s s t i l l room f o r hop e . The l e g end wa s a l l the more v i ab l e s ince the que s t ion of whe ther s ome th ing had indeed b e en accomp l i sh e d c ou l d no t b e ver if i e d . If the Chr i s t ian l e gend had or ig ina t e d in Pa l e s t in e and w e r e o f a myth i c a l charac t e r i t cou l d have b e e n ex­ p o s ed . The re wou l d be d emand s f or eyewi tne s s e s and par­ t ic ipan t s in the even t s and a l l " en thu s ia s t s " t o be b rough t f o r th . As f o r peop l e who l ived a t the t ime in Jeru s a l em and o ther l o c a l i t i e s wher e , accord ing to the l e gend , the event s t o ok p l a c e , th ey coul d ea s i l y re f u t e i t ; they wou l d s imp l y s ay that no th ing of t h e k ind had o c curre d . Bu t if the even t s t o ok p l a c e in f a raway P a l e s ­ t ine s eve r a l decade s ago , th ere wa s n o way o f v e r i fying them . The Me s s iah wa s b o rn ( in a miracu l ou s way ! ) ; he preached and worked wonder s ; h e wa s p e r s ec u t e d and c ruc i ­ f i ed , then r o s e aga in and went t o heaven ; how c ou l d one ve r i fy a l l t h i s if th e even t s t o ok p l ac e in a fa raway p l a c e at an un s p e c i f ied t ime ? As f o r that wh ich c ou l d b e ve r i f ied , i t wou ld take p l a c e only in the fu ture . S o one could do l i t t l e ex c e p t keep one ' s fa i th and wa i t .

True , here i s the Ach i l l e s ' h e e l of the l eg end . The s econd c oming o f Chr i s t " in a l l h i s g l ory" wa s p romi s e d a s a momen tous even t wh i ch shou l d o c cur i n the very near fu­ ture , du r ing th e l i f e t ime o f tha t genera t ion . The f a c t tha t i t h a d no t t aken p l a c e c ou l d s e r iou s ly unde rmine the new f a i th . B e twe en the t ime when the f ound a t ions o f the Chr i s t ian l egend were l a id and the t ime when it wa s f o r ­ mu l a t ed a s a s y s t em o f dogma s s eve ral genera t i ons had pa s s ed . Meanwh i l e , the s e c ond c oming had no t taken p l a c e . Very l ikely a l arge numb e r o f f o l l ower s o f the new doc t ­ r ine f e l l away a s a re sul t . But many--they could b e the ma j o r i ty , bu t they could a l s o be a mino r i t y--on l y b e came s t r eng thened in the ir fa ith . Th i s wa s in par t made p o s ­ s ib l e b y the k in d o f ar gumen t s that were u s ed : wha t wa s s a i d wa s inc orrec t l y interpre ted , th ere wa s a mi s t ake in c a l c u l a t ion s a s re gard s the da t e concerned , and the l ike . Such a rgumen t s are s t i l l u s ed in our t i me to r e s cue a

1 64



p r oph ecy tha t ha f a i l ed to c ome . true . As i s known , the Adven t i s t s t o th i s very day cont inue to b e l ieve tha t �oo msda y i s near de sp i t e the f a c t that the ir c a l cu l a t ions So the vu lne ­ on the s ub j ec t have obv iou s l y b een wrong . nt o f the Chr i s t ian l egend turns out t o be no t p o i r ab l e r . e t l l af a ng reateni th so In a s en s e the l egend ab out a Me s s iah who wa s b orn and d ied in fa raway Judea c ou l d have o r i g ina t e d and spread among the Jew s l iv ing in the D i a spora "ou t of no ­ th ing " , meaning tha t i t wa s no t b a s ed on a real per s on . Bu t onc e the l egend app eared among the Jews of the D i a s ­ p o r a i t c o u l d have sp read very qu ickly among tho s e p e op l ­ e s w i th whom the Jews we re in c on s tant economic and c u l ­ tura l - ideo l o g i ca l contac t . As Rob e r t son no t e s , "Jews and Gen t i l e s we re no t mu tua l ly i s o l a t e d , but ming l ed da i ly in the Med i terranean c i t i e s , th e poorer Jews propa­ gat ing the ir v i s ion of a coming Me s s iah and in the pro ­ c e s s a s s imilat ing i t to the p o o r e r Gen t i l e s ' d ream of a redeeming god t r iumphan t over death" . 8 1 In the c ont inua l d i f f u s ion of idea s among th e peop l e s of the Hel l en i s t ic cul tura l wor l d the l e g end ab out Chr i s t won ove r mo re and more f o l l ower s w i th each decade . Meanwh i l e , i t wa s b e ing cons tan t l y enr i ch e d by what the new f o l l owe r s b rough t to it f rom the ir own h i s t o r i c a l and r e l ig iou s expe r ienc e . Of the two po s s ib l e varian t s why do I cons ider mo re l ikely the one a c c o r d ing to wh ich the Evangel i c a l l egend doe s not have a h i s tor ical kern e l in the f o rm o f a real p e r s on ? The o ther var ian t h a s too many weak p o int s ; there i s t o o mu ch in i t tha t cannot b e exp l a ined . It i s not mere­ ly a que s t ion o f the " s i l ence o f th e c entury " , a l though th i s of c ou r s e i s o f con s i derab l e imp o r t ance . No l e s s s i gn i f i can t i s the fac t tha t the h i s tory o f the image o f Je su s reveal s a f a i r l y c l ear p ic ture of an evo l u t ion no t of God f rom a man , bu t o f a man f rom God . The ear l ier the date o f th e compo s i t ion of a New Tes tament book or document , the mo re c l early J e su s Chr i s t app ea r s i n i t a s a god , a s the sa c r if ic ial l amb b r ou ght · t o the s l augh t e r t o take away ou r s ins f o reve r , a s Logo s , a s a sup erna tu ra l ab s t ra c t p r i nc i p l e , and no t as a man of f l e sh and b l ood with an h i s t o r i c a l l y c onc r e t e b i ogra­ ph y . And rever se l y , the later th e d a t e of the compo s i165

t ion of the New T e s tamen t b ook or documen t , the more e l e ­ ment s o f a n earthly b iography o f Jesus i t contains . Ob ­ viou s ly , l a t er genera t i on s could no t reca l l wha t preced­ ing genera t ion s d id no t know . From wha t dep o s itory o f memo r ie s c o u l d they draw th i s inf o rmat ion? The only s ourc e of such inf ormat ion wa s the p eop l e ' s rel igious ima g inat ion wh ich wa s c on s t an t l y s t imul a t e d by the h i s ­ tor ical s i tuat ion and by th e s o c ial c ond i t ions o f tho s e soc ial and nat iona l group s among whom the b e l ief s and my th s of pr imit ive Chr i s t ianity t o ok shape . One of the mo s t prominen t theor i s t s of th e mytho l o ­ g i c a l sch oo l , Ar thur Drews , ha s wr i t t en : "The non-h i s to ­ r ic i ty of J e s u s i s a s f irmly e s tab l i shed sc ien t i f ica l l y a s the non-h i s t o r i c i ty o f Lucurgu s [ An early Spar tan hero--I . K . ] , Romu l u s and Remu s , the seven Roman k ings , Hora t iu s Coc l e s and W i l l iam Te l l . 1 1 8 2 One c ou l d agree with th i s , b u t with one r e s erva t i on , not ab ly , g iven ava i l ­ ab l e sourc e s today , and th i s i s a l l t h e more s o s inc e the re i s s e r iou s doub t among scholar s that s ome of the p e r s onag e s named by Drews were myth ica l . One shoul d not d i s count the po s s ib i l i ty tha t s ome t ime in the future new mat er ial s and documen t s might b e d i scover e d wh ich woul d c a l l f or a f re sh l ook at the que s t i on ab ou t Chr i s t . True , the p o s s ib i l i ty i s sma l l , f o r the p ic tu r e we now have is su f f ic ien t l y c l ear . The view tha t J e s u s Chr i s t d i d no t ex i s t a s an ac­ tua l h i s to r ical per sona l ity re s t s on a r ich and l ong­ s t and ing t rad i t i on in h i s t o rical l i t er a ture . Th i s t radi­ t ion can b e traced a s f a r back a s the f ir s t c entur i e s of Chr i s t ian ity . In h i s Dia l ogue with the Jew Trypho Ju s ­ t in ma de h i s opponen t say : "You _ are f o l l owing unf ounded rumou r s , you have in­ Even if he were b o rn vented a Chr i s t f o r your s e l f and had l ived s omewhe r e , he i s a t any ra t e c omp l e t ely unknown to anyone . 1 1 8 3 .







Sub s e quent ly many autho r s have in s epara te c onnne nt s and remark s expr e s s ed doub t ab out the h i s tor ic ity of Chr i s t . But a mytho l o g i c a l in terpre t a t ion o f the image o f Chr i s t appeared a s a d e f in i t e trend only a t the end of the 1 8 th c entury . In the i r s tu d ie s o f the h i s t o ry of re l ig ion C . F . Vo l ­ ney and e sp ec ia l ly Char l e s F ran� o i s Dupu i s , par t ic ipan t s 1 66

·n

th e Fr ench bourgeo i s revo l u t ion , expre s s ed the c onc t i ion tha t Chr i s t wa s a myth i cal f igure and sub s t an­ i a t ed the ir v i ew on the ba s i s o f what wa s then known to 8 4 Bo th autho r s c on s idered the image h i s to r i cal s c ienc e . s entat i on of the Sun god , the c oncep t of repre a to b e b o rrowed by Chr i s t ian i ty f rom previou s Graeco­ wa s ich wh Ro man and anc i ent Or iental r e l ig i on s . i



The next landmark in the deve l o pment of the mytho ­ l o g ical scho o l wa s the wo rks o f the out s t and ing Ge rman New T e s t ament sch o l ar , Bruno Bauer ( 1 8 0 9 - 1 8 8 2 ) . Bauer ' s views on the sub j e c t unde rwent a rather dra s t ic change . In h i s early work s he d i d no t d oub t the h i s t o r ic a l ex i s ­ t enc e o f Chr i s t , though even there the gr oundwo rk wa s la id f o r an oppo s i te po int of view . Al ready in the th ird vo lume of his maj o r work A Cri tique of the Evange lica l His tory of the Synoptics and John 's Gosp e l , Bau er f o rmu­ l a t ed the p r inc ipl e s of a my th o l o g ical in terpre tat i on o f c h e image of Chr i s t . 8 5 On t h e b a s i s of a thorough analy­ sis of the Go s pe l s he showed that they we re ent ire ly un­ rel iab l e as h i s t o r ic a l sourc e s . In h i s many wo rk s pub ­ l i shed sub s equ en t ly Bauer made a s imilarly p a in s t ak ing analys i s of the rema in ing books of the New T e s t ament , wh ich re inf o r c e d h i s c onvic t ion tha t the image of Chr i s t was mythical i n o r i g in . Enge l s c on s idered Bau er ' s s tud ie s to b e h ighly im­ po r tant . They showed , Enge l s wro t e , tha t " almo s t no th ing f rom the who l e c on t ent o f th e Go spe l s turn s out t o b e h i s tor i c a l l y provab l e s o tha t the h i s tor ical ex i s ­ tenc e of a Je s u s Chri s t can b e que s t ioned " . 8 6 A s we see , Enge l s d i d no t take a c a t eg o r i c a l p o s it ion on the que s ­ t ion of the h i s t o r ic a l ex i s t enc e of Chr i s t , wh ich f or h im re ma ined only doub t fu l . He expre s s ed the hope tha t fu­ tu re d i s cove r ie s and r e s earch wou l d throw more l i gh t on the sub j ec t . •





At the tu rn o f the pre s ent c entury the my tho l ogical in t erpr e ta t i on o f the p e r sona l i t y o f Chr i s t rec e ived f re sh supp o r t f rom scho larly r e s e arch . In Germany , the Ne the r l ands , Franc e , B r i t a in and o ther countr ie s there ap pe ared a l a rge number o f wo rk s in wh ich var iou s autho r s ex p ounde d the my tho l o g ical approach . From the 1 8 7 0 s many re s e arch e r s in th e Neth e r l ands une qu ivo cal l y rej ected th e v i ew that Chr i s t wa s a real 167

per son . The f ir s t of the se wa s A . Ho ek s tra , who in 1 8 7 1 pub l i shed The Chris to Zogy of the Canonica i Gosp e i of St . Mark . 8 7 In i t he sub s tant iated the the s i s that the Go spe l s are not a h is t or ic a l document but wo rk s of symb o 1 ic p o e t ry and therefore a l l th e per sonag e s i n i t can b e con s idered merely a s the p ro duc t of l it e rary ima g inat ion . Th i s po int of v iew wa s thoroughly examined and carr ied fur ther by ano ther Dutch s cho l a r A . P ier son , in The Ser­ mon on the Moun t and o ther Synop tic Fragmen ts , wh ich ap­ peared in 1 8 78 . 8 8 An in tere s t ing work in t erms of con­ cept ion and manner o f pre s entat ion i s Tough Nuts by C . Nab er , ano ther repre s entat ive o f the Dutch s chool . 89 Nab er addre s s e s t o the o rthodox the o l o g ian s f orty que s t i ­ on s rela t ing t o the in terp r e ta t ion of Paul ' s ep i s t l e s and o ther New Te s t ament b ooks . Nab er b e l ieved , and qu i t e c o rrec t ly , tha t tho se qu e s t ion s wou l d b e "t ough nu t s " f o r the the o l o g ians to crack . Sub s e quent ly , other Du tch s cho l ar s c ontr ibuted t o t h e l i te rature on Chr i s t o l o gy . In many of the ir work s they s e t f o r th on the b a s i s o f a thorough analys i s of the New Te s tament b ooks the the s i s ab ou t the mythical o r i g in of the image of Je sus Chr i s t (A . D . Loman , W . C . van Manen and G . J . Bo l and ) . In 1 9 1 2 G . A . Berg pub l i shed a book sunnn i ng up the v i ews and achievemen t s of the Du tch mytho­ l og ical schoo l , with the t i t l e Radica i Dutch Cri tics of

the New Tes tamen t . 9 0

Th e same p e r i o d saw the pub l icat ion of a s e r i e s o f wo rk s b y B r i t i sh and US suppo r t e r s of the my tho l ogical s choo l . From 1 9 00 a numb er o f s tud ies by J . Rob e r t s on and T . Wh i t e thacker ( B r i t a in ) , W . B . Smith ( th e Un it ed S t a t e s ) and o th e r s we re pub l i shed . ln h i s nume rou s s tu­ d ie s J . Rob e r t son t rac e s the p r e-Chr i s t ian h i s t ory of the image of Ch�i s t , showing the g ene t ic l ink s b e tween it and the o l d Heb rew cu l t of Iego shua and other cul t s wi th roo t s s t re tch ing back to anc ient t ime s . W . B . Smi th shows that the image o f Je sus f ir s t t o ok shape a s an image of God , and not o f man . One o f Smith ' s maj or work s i s cal l ­ e d Ecce Deus , 9 1 in c ontra s t t o the Evangel ical phra s e "Ecce Homo " . At the b e g inn ing of the 2 0 th c entury o f f i c ial Chr i s ­ t ian theo l o g ian s waged a f i e r c e c ampaign aga ins t German s cho l a r s who uphe l d the mytho l og ical concep t i on . The 1 68

l thof f and Samue l Lub l inski , f o l l ow­ l a t te r inc luded A . Ka 9 2 p rob ab ly the b e s t -known among them . ur Drews , b r th A ed y on e cou l d say w i thou t exagge rat ion that the name Drew s a l mo s t b ecame synonymou s with the mytho l o g i ca l s choo l . Len in s a i d tha t Marx i s t s shou l d e s tab l i sh "an ' a l l ianc e ' 9 3 r ef err ing of c ou r s e no t to a c ommu­ w i th the Drewse s 1 1 , n i ty of pol it ical and ideo l o g ical views , f or there wa s no su ch commun i ty , b u t to a common approach to the qu e s t ion o f the h i s t o r i c i ty of Chr i s t . In h i s numerou s wo rk s , the f i r s t of wh ich i s The My th About Chris t ( 1 9 09 ) , Drews sums up a l l the p rev iou s

argument s aga in s t the h i s t o r ic i ty of Chr i s t and s e t s f o r th h i s own v iews on the sub j e c t . H i s approach to the or i g in s of Chr i s t ian i t y invo lve s the hypoth e s i s that Gno s ­ t ic i sm had a dec i s ive inf luenc e o n the r i s e o f the Chr i s ­ t ian doc t r ine and a l s o tha t th i s doc tr ine c ou l d b e traced to as tra l sourc e s . Th i s hypo the s i s is not suf f ic ien t ly we l l -s ub s tan t i a t ed . But i n h i s cr i t ic i sm o f th e b a s ic "hi s to r i c a l " c oncept ion of Chr i s t th e man , Dre ws i s on f irm ground , addu c ing ma t e r ia l s and argumen t s t h a t are ind i s pu tab l e .

s tud i e s evoked a sharp reac t ion f rom the Drews ' c u s t o d ians o f of f ic ia l theo l o gy . When the f ree -th ink ing " Un i o n of Mon i s t s " h e l d two pub l ic d i scu s s ions in Be r l in on the que s t ion of the h i s to r i c i ty or myth ical o r i g in of Chr i s t , the the o l o g ians took i t a s a cha l l e nge and dec id­ ed t o carry the i r b a t t l e f rom the page s of the s cholarly pre s s t o the arena o f pub l ic deb a t e , wh ich took place at a c ircus and a c a thedra1 . 9 4 They f a i l ed , howeve r , to pre sent any s e r i ou s argumen t s aga ins t the my tho l o g i c a l concep t ion . T h e ma in po in t o f the i r argumen t wa s tha t Drews wa s no t a theo l og ian and wa s therefore an ama t eur on ma t t er s rela t ing t o re l i g i on . Th i s argument d id not , of c ou r s e , s ound very c onv inc ing . At the beg inn ing o f the 2 0 th c entury suppo r t er s of the my tho l o g i cal t r end a l s o appeared in o ther c ountr i e s . They inc luded A . N i emoyewsk i ( P o l and ) , P . -L . Couchou d , P ro s per Al far ic and Edouard Duj a r d in ( F ranc e ) , and Georg Br and e s ( the N e therland s ) . 9 5 Wo rk s of th i s trend- we re a l s o known in Ru s s i a b e f o r e the Oct ob e r Revo l u t ion o f 1 9 1 7 , a l thou gh they we re no t wi dely c i rculated owing t o c ens o r s h ip . When Drews ' s b ook The My th About Chpis t , 1 69

tran s l at ed into Ru s s ian by N iko l a i Moro zov , a wel l -known revo l u t ionary and a memb e r of the Narodnaya Vo lya � wa s pub l i shed in 1 9 1 0 , the cen s o r s had the en t ire pr int ing b urned . A . N iemoyewsk i wa s j a il ed f or one year f or pub ­ l i sh ing h i s b o ok s in Ru s s ian . In Sov i e t h i s to r iography the my tho l og ical schoo l ho l d s a n imp o r t ant p l a c e a s regard s the sub j e c t of the o r i g ins of Chr is t ian ity . True , the f ir s t work on th i s que s t ion pub l i shed a f t e r the revo l u t ion , i n 1 9 1 8 , argued in favour of the h i s to r ic ity of Chr i s t . The b o ok , Jesus and the Early Chris tian Communes wa s by N iko l a i N iko l ­ sky , a we l l -known and progre s s ive-minded scho l a r . 9 6 H i s argumen t , howeve r , wa s weak and d i d n o t rea l ly c ome t o g r i p s wi th t h e ma in propo s i t ion s of t h e mytho l o g ical s choo l . In the s ame year a b o ok with the t i t l e The Rise of Christianity b y Rob e r t Vipper � an ou t s tand ing h i s t o ­ r ian of o u r t ime , was pub l i shed . � 7 Af t e r examin ing a l l the l it e rature o n thi s sub j ec t Vipper came to the conc lu­ s ion tha t the conc e p t i on of Jesus a s a c oncre t e h i s to r i­ cal per sona l i ty lacked s e r i ou s documental proof . S inc e then Sov i e t h i s t o r iography has f i rmly taken a po s it ion that rej ec t s the h i s t o r ic i ty o f Chr i s t . A large pro j ec t wa s unde r t aken t o trans l a t e and pub ­ l i sh in Ru s s ian s evera l work s by au thor s b e l ong ing to the my tho l o g i c a l s choo l . Jesus the God by A . N iemoyewski wa s pub l i shed in 1 9 2 0 , f o l l owed three years l a t e r by h i s Phi losophy of the Life of Jesus . 9 8 From 1 9 24 s everal b ook s by Ar thu r Drews wer e pub l i shed , inc lud ing The My th About Christ , h i s p r inc ipal work , and Rejection of the His torici ty of Chris t in the Pas t and at Presen t , 9 9 wh ich i s a s tudy of the h i s t o ry o f the my tho l o g ical scho o l . B e s i d e s th e s e pub l ic at ions , th e r e appeared in Ru s s ian t ran s l ated wo rk s by P . -L . Couchoud , E . Mout ier -Rou s s e t , E . Her t l e in , G . Brande s , C . F . Volney and others . 1 0 0 Some wo rk s by author s b e l ong ing to the h i s t o r i c a l schoo l w e r e a l s o pub l i shed . Jesus versus Christ by Hen­ ri Barbu s s e 1 0 1 arou s e d l ive ly connn e nt in the Soviet pre s s . Later , The Origins of Christiani ty by Arch ib a l d Rob e r t ­ s on , t h e Eng l i sh spec ial i s t i n r e l igious h i s tory and a c onnnun i s t , came out in two e d i t ions . In a r t ic l e s that accompany the b ook the Sovi et h i s t o r ian S . Kova l ev ex­ p re s s e d views oppo s it e to tho s e of Rob e r t s on . 1 0 2 1 70

Ove r a p e r iod of s evera l year s , s tart ing f rom 1 9 24 , mu l t ivo lume work cal l ed Christ by N iko l a i Mo rozov 1 03 Th i s i s a cur i ou s work . In sub s t ance , wa s pub l i shed . o zov rej ec t s the ent ire h i s t ory o f ant iqu ity a s an in­ Mo r vent ion of the Midd l e Age s . The Jesu s as port rayed in th e Go s p e l s , accord ing to Mo ro zov , d id no t ex i s t , b u t there l ived a per son i n t h e f ourth century known a s Ba s i­ l i i the Great and i t i s he who shou l d be iden t i f ied with Je su s Chr i s t . Mo ro zov ' s the s i s i s b a s e d on a rather ra sh and arb i t rary compar i s on of h i s to r ical data and a s t rono­ mical ph enomena , wh ich are supp o s edly symb o l i s ed in the s e data and o n an e qual l y a rb i t rary int erpre t a t i on o f the mean ing of name s tha t appear in h i s to r ic al sourc e s . For examp l e , the Greek name Bas i l i i (bazi Zevs ) means "k ing " ; the Go s p e l s repeatedly men t ion Chr i s t a s the King of th e Jews . Mo rozov regards th i s c o inc idenc e a s suf f ic ient ground s f o r ident i f y ing Bas i l i i the Great with Chr i s t . In h i s a s t ronomical c ompa r i s on s Mor o zov f o l l owed t o a certa in ext ent the argumen t s of Volney , Dupu i s and N iemo­ yewsk i and to a c on s iderab l e extent tho s e of Drews and the Soviet h i s t o r i an N . Rumyan t s ev . Inc idental ly , Rumyan­ t s ev d i s so c ia t ed h ims e l f f rom the ext r eme views of Moro­ zov and t ook i s sue with the l a t t er . On the who l e Mo ro­ zov ' s v i ews we re no t a c c e p t ed by Sov i e t h i s to r i ography . a

Sov i e t h i s to r ian s and spec ial i s t s in rel i g i ou s h i s ­ tory b a s e d the mytho l og ic a l in terpre tat i on o f the image of Chr i s t on a careful s t udy o f s ource mater ial s a s we l l a s o n c l a s s ical wr it ing s on the sub j ect b y f or e ign au thor s . In th i s c onnec t ion s p ec ial men t ion shou l d b e made o f the s tud i e s b y N . Rumyant s ev 1 A . Ranovich , R . Vipp e r , S . Kova l ev and Ya . Len t sman . 1 04 In them the my­ tho l o g ical exp l anat ion of Chr i s t is l inked w i th the gene­ ral Marx i s t c oncep t ion o f the o r ig in s o f Chr i s t ian i ty and w i th an ana l y s i s of the soc ial and c l a s s roo t s o f th i s rel ig ion . Soviet r e search o n th i s que s t ion re s t s on En­ ge l s ' s tud i e s o f the h i s tory of early Chr i s t ian ity and on me thodo l og i ca l p r inc ip l e s ind icated by Len in . I t should be no ted tha t of l a t e s ome Sovie t au thor s tend t o rej e c t the my th o l o g ic a l in terpre tat ion . For examp l e , in the b ook From the Commune to the Church I . Svent &i� skaya regards the h i s t or ic a l ex i s t enc e o f Ch r is t , founder of Chr i s t ianity , a s a n e s tab l i shed f a c t th at d o e s n o t need ver i f icat ion . 1 05 Sven t s i t skaya de1 71

c la r e s tha t "archaeo l o g ical eiccava t i ons have shown rem­ nan t s o f a s e t t l emen t " in the area where Nazareth wa s s itua t ed in the t ime o f Je su s , but do e s not s ay who car­ r ie d ou t the excava t ions o r wh ere the r e s u l t s of th e ar­ chaeo l o g ic a l work are pub l i shed . Earl ier we have c ons i­ dered pa s sage s f rom the b ook by Thomp son wh ich c l early ind icate that such remnan t s have not b een f ound . Thu s , the ma in argument s of tqe mytho logical s chool remain va l id . Let u s sum up . F i r s t , h i s to r ical sourc e s of th e f ir s t c entury c on­ ta in no ment ion of the per sona l ity and a c t ivi ty of Chr i s t , even in tho s e ins t anc e s where , i t wou l d s e em , the f igure of Chr i s t and h i s l if e c ou l d no t but a t t rac t the a t t ent i ­ o n of autho r s o f h i s t o r ical , ph i l o s oph ical and pub l i c i s ­ t ic wo rk s o r b e ref l e c t ed in s o me o f f i c ial o r s emi-of f i ­ c ia l document s . Second , in early Chr i s t ian l i t erature the image o f Chr i s t evo l ve s chrono l o g i c a l l y accord ing to the s cheme " f rom Go d t o man " . The earl ier the document , th e l e s s concre te the image of Chr i s t a s a man , the ske t ­ chi e r h i s earthly b iography and the c l o s er h i s image t o that o f God . Unt i l at l ea s t s ing l e t e s t imony to the ex i s t enc e of Chr i s t is f o und , a t e s t imony that goe s b ack to the f ir s t third o r no t l a t er than the mi ddl e o f the f ir s t century and tha t c ame f rom an eyewi tne s s of o r a par t ic ipant in the event s d e s c r ib ed in the Go s pe l s or f rom one d irec t ly t ransmit t ing the t e s t imony of an eyewitnes s , unt i l then , the h i s t o r ic ity of Chr i s t rema in s a s s er t ions un suppo r t ed by f ac t s and re s t ing s o l ely on the Chr i s t ian t rad i t ion wh ich t o ok shape at the tu rn of the s e cond c entury . As f o r the the s is on the evo l u t ion of the image of Chr i s t , i t not only rema ins val id but ha s in recent yea r s acqu i r­ ed s t i l l grea t er rel evanc e . Of the f our Go sp e l s , S t . John ' s Go spel wa s though t t o b e t h e l a t e s t , chrono l o g i ca l l y speak ing . I t is probab ­ ly the only Go spel tha t wou l d cont rad i c t the ab ove -men­ t ioned scheme of evo l u t ion s ince in i t the earthly and human f eatur e s of the image of Ch r i s t - are l e s s pronounc ed than in the Synop t ic s . In John ' s Go s p e l th ere i s no d e s­ c r ipt ion of the b irth o r ch i l dhood of Je su s , the empha­ s i s of the en t ire narrat ive b e ing on the Wo rd (Logo s ) : "In the b e g inn ing wa s the Wo rd , and the Wo rd wa s with God , 1 72

1 :1).

Now ,

of the

in view th e wo r d wa s God " (John a nd the to e s o l c is Qumran docu­ l e p s Go s ' John . t t S tha fac t f o t i ight l the John in o s l a Ryl ands ' and , r i s n p i men t s , 'i s c o very o f a papyru s , s ome autho r s c on s i" d er S t . John s d the spel Go of . s t s If we e i four the l ear e b G s p e l to s hypo the s i s , the a f o re said ob j ec t ion to the c ep t th i evo lu t ion of the image of Chr i s t f a l l s the s on i s he





In fa c t , the the s i s may a way . th i s c a s e John ' s Go spel Fo r in

b e s a i d to b e re inforced . f i t s ·"nea t l y " int o the the Chr i s t ian l e g end of t lopmen deve of scheme l ca i g lo b e twe en th e Ep i s t l e s and the Synopt ic s , and th i s can only con f i rm the th e s i s ab out the evo l u t i on "f rom God to man" . Fu t ure d i s cove r ie s may p o s s ib ly d i sprove . a l l the l o ­ g ica l con s i derat ions tha t have s o far supported the mytho­ _ l og i c a l theory . New f ac t s can g ive r i s e to "new l o g ic " and thus l ead t o d if f er ent conclu s ions f rom tho s e we have reached . But only a p er s on w i th a b ia s s e d and tendent i ­ o u s approach wou l d p roceed f rom "po s s ib l e " future d i sc o ­ ver ie s wh i l e ignor ing t h e ind i s pu t ab l e f ac t s w e n o w po s ­ se s s . In t he l ight of the p r e s ent s tage of h i s to r iography , the prob lem of the o r i g in s of Chr i s t ian ity shoul d b e ap ­ proached wi thou t r e f erence to the p e r s ona l i ty of Chr i s t and hi s act iv ity , wh ich , f rom the trad it ional theo l o g i cal view p o in t , i s the s ta r t ing po in t o f the h i s t ory of Chr i s ­ t iani ty . Wha t i s of intere s t here i s only how the image of Chr i s t gradual ly took shape , how it be came h i s t o r ic i s ­ e d and t rans f o rmed f r om the my s t ical l amb and the Word into a real human b e ing wi th a conc r e t e b iography . In the evo l u t ion of the image of Je su s one can s e e two c omponent par t s o f t h e Chr i s t ian dogma . F i r s t , the Me s s iah has al ready b e en on earth and wi l l c ome a ga in so me t ime in the f u ture . And s e c ond , with a l l h i s ho l i­ ne s s and d ivin i ty th e Me s s iah wa s a human b e ing with a re a l earth ly b iography , one who wa s b o rn in th i s wor l d and d ied ( o r a t any r a t e who s e ex i s t ence came t o a n end ) . Bo th a s p ec t s of thi s proce s s of h i s to r ic i s ing f ound ex­ pre s s ion in the New T e s t ament document s o f the s e c ond c e n tu ry , name ly , St . Paul ' s Epi s t l e s and the Go spe l s . An d i f w e a s sume that th i s proc e s s began with the E p i s t ­ l e s , i t s e ems t o b e c ompl eted i n the Go spel s . In o r der to under s t and the proc e s s whereby Chr i s t wa s 1 73

t ran s f ormed int o a h i s t o r ic a l p e r s onal ity , i t i s nec e s s a ­ ry to e s tab l ish the ideo l o g i ca l reason s (wh ich are so­ c ial ly c ond i t ione d ) f or the need of such a tran s f o rma t i­ on . Why could not Je sus remain in the imag ina t ion of h i s f o l l ower s a my s t ical l amb o r God who only had t o come do wn to earth s ome t ime in the f u ture and appear not as a man ' but as a d iv ine b e ing? Owing to h i s t o r i c a l c ircums t anc e s such a var iant of the n ew r e l ig ion woul d b e inadequat e . The n ew r e l igion wa s in c on s t ant s t rugg l e aga ins t Juda i sm . The Chr i s t ian dogma nru s t be s een to conta in n ew e l ement s , and they had t o go f urther than the or thodox Juda ic exp e c t a t ion o f the coming of the Me s s iah . The doc t r in e tha t th e Me s s iah had a l ready c ome and had e s s en t ia l ly f u l f i l l ed h i s mi s s ion wa s a new e l ement that a t trac t ed the early Chr i s t ians . I t b e c ame e sp e c i a l l y s ign if icant a t a t ime when the l ib e ­ ra t ion movemen t s were supp r e s s ed by Rome , when hop e s f o r the c oming o f a mil i tan t and v i c t o r iou s Me s s iah were f ru s ­ t rated b y the mo s t c onvinc ing argumen t , tha t i s , l if e i t s e l f . Bu t i f the Me s s iah had a l ready come , then one only had t o know how it happened , in wha t way h i s deeds were carr ied ou t , what k ind o f a p er s ona l i t y he wa s , where h e wa s b orn and how h e d ied , and s o on . The enemie s of Chr is t ian i ty demanded mor e and mor e new argumen t s that wou l d c onf irm i t s t ru thfulne s s . I f the Me s s iah had come , they s a i d , wh a t d i d he do , whe r e d id he l ive , what d id he t each , h o w a n d in what c ircum­ s t anc e s d id he f ind h ims e l f in the sup erna tural wor l d ? The early Chr i s t ians c ou l d ward o f f the s e b l ows only b y work ing o u t a b iography o f Chr i s t with the h e l p o f ima g i ­ nat ion . A cul t was f orme d , and new r i t e s , wh ich wer e o f t en b orrowed f r om " f ore ign" r e l i g ions , emer ed and b ecame c on­ s o l idat ed . In the min d s o f the Chr i s t ian s , however , the ir exp l anat ion or j u s t if i cat ion had to f low f rom a new my tho­ l o g ic a l env ironment . The r e aro s e new e t i o l o g ical myths wh ich had t o be l inked t o the p e r sonal i t y o f Chr i s t and b ecome part of h i s b iography .

g

The p o s i t ion of the c l e rgy--the in s t i tu t ion of pre s ­ b y t e r s and b i shop s --was g rowing ever s t rong er ; t h e f o rma­ t ion o f the Chr i s t ian church wa s under way . But i t wa s not enough tha t the chu rch had concen t r a t e d in i t s hand s 1 74

admin i s trat ive power . I t needed ide o l o g ical e c on om ic and . I t was nec e s sa ry t o p rove tha t Chr i s t had d i. s on . san c t i . . c i p l e s , the apo s t l e s who l a id t h e f oundat ion of the ch ur ch and a s the ir sacred duty hand e d over the i r au thor i­ t y to the next gener at ion of church o f f ic ia l s . In an e p i s ode d e sc r ibed in Ma t thew ' s Go s p e l , Jesu s in s truc t s th e a po s t l e P e t er t o b u i l d the church and rul e over i t (Ma t th ew 1 6 : 1 8 - 1 9 ) . Th i s p rovide s a b a s i s f o r the c l a ims b y b i sh o p s and pre sby t e r s tha t they were suc c e s so r s t o Chr i s t , h i s au tho r i t a t ive repre s en t a t ive s . But f o r such san c t ion to be c onv inc ing it mu s t be part of a comp l e t e b io graphy o f Chr i s t . The s ame app l i e s t o the e th i c a l s y s t em of the n ew re l i g ion . The moral p r inc ipl e s p r e s c r ib ed by it wou l d c om­ mand r e s p e c t if it cou l d be s a i d that they were tau gh t by Chr i s t h ims e l f . But the que s t ion o f when and in wha t c ircums tance s he taugh t them c ou l d only b e answered b y ref e r r ing t o c o r r e s pond ing ep i so d e s o f h i s b io graphy . Th i s prov ided an add i t ional s t imul u s to emb e l l i s h ing the b iography by the ima g in a t ion of the f o l l ower s of Chr i s t ­ ian ity . Thi s , howeve r , do e s no t expl a in why it had t o b e the b iography of a human b e ing and no t o f God . For it woul d s eem tha t s e rmons and t e ach ings wou l d b e more au tho r ita­ t ive if they came f rom a d e ity rather than f rom a human b e ing . Her e the new r e l i g ion was inf l u enced by wha t i t s fo l l ower s b r ou gh t w i th them f rom o l der f a iths and cul t s . In Judai sm and the r e l i g i ons of the Hel l en i s t ic wor l d the d ivine saviou r s a r e o f t en b o th g o d s and men , and no t "p ur e " gods . Acc o rd ing to the O l d T e s t amen t the Me s s iah mu s t be a d e s c endant of King Dav id and be a k ing h ims e l f ; in o ther word s , a human b e ing . In another vers ion o f Juda ic Me s s ian i sm , f ounded o n the f if ty-th ird chap t e r o f the Book o f I s a iah and o ther O l d Te s tament sourc e s , the Me s s iah is conce ived of as one who suf f e r s and sacrif ic ed h ims e l f f o r the s in s of man . Her e , too , the Me s ­ s iah i s a human b e ing with h is weakn e s s e s and suf f e r ing s . As i s known , in He l l en i s t ic rel i g i on s the cul t of s aviour s Wh o d ie and r i s e aga in wa s widespr ead . Beg inning w i th Pro me theu s , the s e saviours are b o th god s and men , hero e s an� d em ig o d s with careful ly e l ab or a t ed earthly b io gra­ ph ie s . 1 75

Fa ith in Jesus the man made Chr i s t ian i ty e spec ial ­ ly a t t rac t ive t o peopl e . Th e human i ty o f J e su s , h i s l i­ mitat ion s and weakne s s e s , h i s capac ity f or exp e r ienc e , f o r suf f e r ing , h is def ens e l e s sne s s and in s ome in s tanc e s h i s h e l p l e s sn e s s--a l l th i s b rought h im , b o th a s god and man , much c l o s e r to tho s e who b e l ieved in h im than an inac c e s s ib l e , inf in i t ely al oof and p e r f e c t God who dwe l l ­ ed in a s ta t e o f b l i s s . Be l i eve r s no doub t f e l t par t i­ cularly drawn t o one who wa s p e r s ecuted , who s u f f ered and wa s c ruc i f ied . To them he wa s one of the i r own k ind and coul d the r e f o r e under s tand the need s of tho s e who suf f e red and wer e oppre s sed . Her e in l ie s one of the paradox ical a spec t s of rel i­ g ion . Logical ly s p eak ing , the god who canno t save h im­ s e l f f rom suf f er ing i s unl ikely to b e ab l e to d e l iver mank ind f rom i t . But th i s is a c on t rad i c t i on inhe rent in any rel i g ion . The corre spond ing f anta s t ic ideas took shape h i s to r ic a l l y and g radua l ly b ecame c ry s tal l i s ed , and s ince p e op l e are accus tomed to them they are not s t ruck by the ir ob vious inc on s i s t ency . In working out an ear th l y b iography o f Je sus Ch r i s t , the early Chr i s t ians in the s e c ond ha l f of the f i r s t cen­ tury d rew on va r ious Jud a i c b e l ie f s and on the mytho l o gy of a l l the l and s o f the Hel l en i s t ic wor l d , many of who s e p e o p l e j o ined Chr i s t ian c onunune s . A b ig ro l e here wa s p l ayed by the c u l t s , wid e s p read in the Me d i t erranean r e ­ g ion , of a g o d who suf f ered , d ie d and ro s e again . How­ eve r , in the r e l ig ious docume nt s , name ly , the b ook s of the New Te s t ament , where the b iography of Chr i s t i s - s e t f orth , ref erenc e s a r e mad e on ly t o th e O l d Te s t amen t and the prophec ie s it c onta ins . The b a s ic ma t e r ia l w i th whi ch the early Chr i s t ians bu i l t up a b io graphy o f Je su s the man wa s b orrowed f r om the O l d Te s tament . Th i s t rend o f b iograph ic a l my th-mak ing can be s e en in Paul ' s Ep i s t l e s ( Ga l . 3 : 8 ; 1 Cor . 1 5 : 4 � . Th i s trend i s mo re c on s i s t en t l y f o l l owed in the Go s ­ pe l s . J e s u s wa s tha t Judaic k ing f rom the hou s e of Dav id whom Yahweh had repea t e d l y "promi s ed " h i s peop l e through the proph e t s ( I sa iah 1 1 : 4 ; Dan . 7 : 1 3 - 1 4 ) . He wa s b o rn in Be thl ehem ( see Micah 5 : 2 ) ; and so the Evange l i s t s made h i s paren t s und ertake a s t range j ourney f rom Nazare th to Beth ­ l ehem whe re a c ensus wa s b e ing tak en . And Naza reth wa s 1 76

order to j u s t ify cal l ing the Me s s iah a "Na z a n e e de d in s 1 3 : 5 , 1 6 : 1 7 ; Amos 2 : 1 1 ) . Here , howeve r , dge " t e " ( Ju t s apparent ly f a i l ed t o under s tand tha t the s i l e g an e Ev " is no t e tymo l o g i c a l ly derived f rom th e e t i r za a "N d wo r n ame of the c i ty Nazare th . In the b iography of J e su s a s g iven in the Go s pe l s we f ind a numb er o f ref erenc e s and a l lu s io ns to pas sages in th e O l d Te s tamen t , inc lud ing s o me wh ich sound s omewhat odd . Thu s , Je sus rode on two a s s e s a s he ent ered Je ru s a l em , a para l l e l t o a p a s sage in the Book of Zechar iah ( 9 : 9 ) ; Roman s o l d ie r s quo t ed the Ol d Te s tamen t when they tore the c o a t of Je s u s and d ivid­ ed it (P salm 2 2 : 1 8 ; John 1 9 : 24 ) , and so on .

��

Pau l ' s Ep i s t l e s were of such great impor t anc e in the shap ing of the Chr i s t ian dogma that , according to s ome Pro t e s tant h i s t o r ians , i t i s Paul , and no t Chr i s t , that wa s the f ounder o f Chr i s t ian i ty . There is much t ruth in th i s . For it i s impo s s ib l e , on the b a s i s of Chr i s t ' s s er­ mons , apho r i sms and p a rab l e s , t o cons t ru c t the dogma s tha t became the f oundat ion of the Chr i s t ian f a i th and of al l sub s e qu ent Chr i s t ian theo l o g ical e l ab o ra t i on s . Bu t it i s pos s ib l e to der ive such b a s ic p r inc ip l e s f rom Paul ' s Ep i s t l e s . Ac c ord ing t o one o f the s e p r inc ipl e s , Chr i s t appear­ ed in the wor l d in order to dec ide the fate n o t only of the Jew i sh peop l e b u t of all mank ind . As Chr i s t ian i t y came to acqu i re a un ive r s a l charac t e r i n t h e f ir s t ha l f of the second c en tury , i t wa s nece s s ary to change i t s ma in dogma t ic po s tu l at e . Th i s meant a b reak with the doc ­ tr ine o f the exc l u s ivene s s of the "cho s en peopl e " and with the na t ional i s t �c Judaic doc t r ine of the Me s s iah . And if the Me s s iah wou l d c ome in o rd e r to save the who l e of mank ind f rom suf f er ing , a new exp l ana t ion o f the cau s ­ e s o f the su f f e r ing was cal l ed f o r . It c ou l d no l onger be a ma t t er of the Jews commi t t ing s in s aga in s t the ir God Yahweh and of the ir wo rship o f " o ther p eopl e ' s god s " . It Wou l d have to do with a un ive r s a l factors o f s ign if icanc e to a l l mank ind . The mo s t imp o r t an t o f the s e f ac t o r s wa s th e Ol d Te s t ament my th ab out the Fal l of Adam . It i s t o a t o ne f o r Adam ' s d i sobed ience tha t the s on o f G o d mu s t d i e o n t he c ro s s (Roman 5 : 1 2 - 1 9 ) . It i s d if f icul t to d e s ­ c r ib e the underly ing c oncept ion o f th i s b a s ic p r inc ip l e Ch r is t ia� ity i n any l o g ical way . From the p o int o f v iew of c ommon s en s e every th ing here i s i l l og ic a l , s tart-

0�

1 77

ing w i th the Fal l of Adam and Eve and end ing with it s at onemen t . Neve r the l e s s , th i s c onc ep t ion wa s f ormul a t ed and a f f irmed in Paul ' s Ep i s t l e s in the second c entury and h a s rema ined a b a s ic Chr i s t ian c oncep t ion eve r s inc e . The r e i s a va s t l i t er a ture devo t e d to the authent i­ c i ty of Paul ' s Ep i s t l e s and the h i s tor ic i ty of Paul . The mo s t rad ical wing of the my tho l o g i ca l s cho o l con s ider s Pau l a s we l l a s Chr i s t and a l l the o th e r apo s t l e s to b e mytho l o g ical f igure s . In our o p in ion , t h i s conc lus ion i s not wel l -g rounded . The numb e r " twe lve " undoub t edly had It is found in many anc ient rel i ­ s ymb o l ic s ignif icance . g ions , e sp ec ia l ly Jud a i sm . W e may reca l l the twe lve sons of Jacob and the twe lve t r ib e s o f the I srae l i t e s . How­ ever , one f a c t is not in doub t : an impor tant ro l e in the propaga t ion of Chr i s t ian i t y in tho s e day s wa s p l ayed by migrant preach e r s who t rave l l ed throughout the Me d i t erra­ nean reg ion , s ough t c onvert s and f ormed coDlllu l ne s . Whe ther among them there we re p e r sons with "tho s e very name s " o r whe ther the name s wer e l a t e r a t t r ib ut e d t o them t o l end them autho r i ty is of no maj o r impor tanc e . Where there i s no d irec t evidence aga in s t the authen t i c ity o f a part icu­ lar name ; there are no g roun d s f o r not a c c ep t ing i t . As for Paul , he p robab ly has a b e t ter c l a im to h i s t o r ic ity than any o f the o ther apo s t l e s . With re spec t t o the o the r � the fac t that they are g iven the r o l e o f compan ions and c o l l ab orat o r s of Chr i s t i n the Go s p e l s may wel l make u s doub t whether they had a real ex i s tenc e . In c ons ider ing Chr i s t t o b e a myth ical per sonal i ty we are to s ome ext ent c on s i d e r ing his c ompa ­ n i on s t o b e my th ical p er s onal i t ie s a s we l l . In the c a s e o f Paul , ma t t e r s s t and s omewhat d i f ferent l y . Paul "s aw and heard " Chr i s t onl y in an e c s tat ic s t a t e , wh ich c ou l d mean that h e wa s i n a s t a t e of hal luc inat ion . The p e r ­ s onal ity a n d ac t iv i t y o f Pau l a t c ruc i a l s tage s of h is l if e s eem qu i t e p l au s ib l e . There are no ground s f or doub t ing the ex i s t enc e of s omeone who l ived and preached a t the end of the f ir s t century and dur ing the f ir s t d e ­ cade s of t h e s e cond c entury , t h a t he wa s a fana t ic and , at the same t ime , a tal ented adherent of the new r e l i g ion and had no t only organ i s e d re l igious commune s th roughou t a large reg i on in the Me d i t er ranean b u t had a l s o s y s t ema­ t i s e d i t s dogma s . H i s name could b e Pau l , or Saul in Heb r ew . Bu t th i s doe s no t mean that a l l the ep i sodes in 1 78

b i og ra ph y a s d e s c r ib e d in the Ac t s and " the Ep i s t l e s o r i cal ly au then t ic . Nor i t imp o s s ib l e tha t Pau l ar h i s t th o r of the ep i s t l e s wh ich he addre s se d to au e th conmrune s and the ir l eader s . ian t s i r .

blS

��



:





.

NOTE S Hen r i Barbu s s e , Jesus , Par i s , 1 9 2 7 ; Les Judas de Jesus , Par i s , 1 9 2 7 . For the s t enograph ic record o f a deb a t e b e twe en A . Lunachar sky and A . Vveden sky , s e e : A . V. Lu­ nae hars ky on Atheism and Re ligion , Mo s c ow , 1 9 7 2 , pp . 2 1 8 -2 58 ( in Ru s s ian ) . 2

3 4

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18

From the His tory of Early Chri stiani ty , a c o_l l ec t ion of a r t i c l e s , Mo s c ow , 1 9 0 7 , pp . 68 -6 9 ( in Ru s s ian ) . Ib idem . A . N i emoyewsk i , Je sus the God . The Origin and Composi7 tion of the Gospe ls , Petrograd , 1 9 2 0 , p . 29 ( in Ru s ­ s ian ) .

Sibirs k iye ogni , No . 4 , 1 9 2 6 ,

p.

1 29 .

Ib i d . , p . 1 3 1 . G . V . Kseno f ontov , Chri s t , Shamanism and Chris tianity , Irku t sk , 1 9 2 9 , p . 1 2 6 ( in Ru s s ian ) . Ib id . , p . 1 3 0 . E.

Renan , Vie de Jesus , Par i s , 1 9 74 , p . 28 3 .

E . Schurer , Gesehiehte des judischen Vo lkes im Zeita l te r Jesus Chris tus , L e ip z ig , 1 9 0 1 , Vo l . 1 , p . 5 1 9 . Ib id . , p . 5 24 . Ib id . ' p . 5 2 5 . Ib id . , p . 5 3 0 . Ib id . , p . 5 3 4 . J . A . Thomp s on , The Bib le and Archaeology , Grand Rap ids , 1 9 7 3 , p . 36 2 . Ib id . , p . 4 4 2 . Ib id . , p . 3 6 1 . G . Schne i der , Einfurung in das Neue Tes tament , Neuk ir­ ch en , 1 9 6 9 , p . 4 7 . 1 79

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39

40

41

A . Schwe itz e r , Geschichte des Leben-Jesu-Forschung , 1 9 6 6 , Vo l .

Mun ich and Hamburg,

2 , p . 6 20 .

Ib idem . Ib id . , pp .

6 20 , 6 2 1 .

Ib i d . , p . 6 2 1 . Ib id , p . 5 8 0 •



w . Kiimme l ,

Die Theo "logie des Neuen Tes taments nach seinen Hauptzeugen , Gottingen , 1 9 6 9 , pp . 2 0- 2 1 .

Der sogenann te h �s " t or�sc . he Jesus und der Geschicht iiche bib iische Chris tus , Tub ingen , 1 8 9 2 . ••

M . Kah l e r ,

Studia Re iigioznawcze , No . Der Spi ege i , No .

16,

12,

1 9 77 , p .

77 .

1 9 6 6 , pp . 8 4 -8 6 .

W . Kiimme l , op . c it . , p . 2 2 . Ib idem . Ib idem . Ib i d , p •

24





L i on Feuchtwanger ,

Sons ,

Mo s c ow,

1 9 38 , p . 3 09

( in

Ru s s ian tran s l ati on ) . Ib idem . Ib idem . Ib i d , p •

310





Ib i d . , p . 3 1 2 .

K . Marx , F . Enge is on Re iigion ,

Mo s c ow,

1 98 1 , p .

171 .

Ga iu s Sueton iu s Tranqu i l lu s , The Twe ive Caesars , s . l . , 1 9 84 , p .

Tac itu s Ch icago,

1-76 .

P . Corne l iu s , The Anna is and the Histories , 1 9 5 2 , XV . 4 4 , p .

1 68 .

Ar thur Drews , The My th About Christ , Vo l . 1 , Mo s c ow , 1 9 24 , p . 75 ( in Rus s ian t r ans l a t i on ) .

The Works of Fiavius Jos ephus , the Learned and Authen­ tic Jewish Historian and Ce iebrated Warrior , London, 1 8 2 5 , Vol .

I I, p .

586 .

180

42 3

4

44

45 6

4 4 4 4

7

8 9

50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66

Quo ted f r om N . V . Rumyan t s ev , "Jo s ephu s F l av iu s on Je­ sus and John the Bap t i s t " , A teis t , No . 36 , 1 9 2 9 , p . 38 Se e Ves tnik drevnei istorii , No . 2 , 1 9 73 , p . 1 8 0 .

Teksty Kumrana , I s sue

1 ,

Mo s c ow , 1 9 7 1 , p . 1 54 .

Ib idem .

Pismo swi�te Starego y Nowego Tes tamentu , Po znan , 1 9 6 5 , p . 34 . O . D . Chwo l son , Hege l , Haecke l , Kossuth und das zwolfte Gebo t . Eine kri tische Studie , Braun schwe ig , 1 9 06 .

Go lden Ta les of Anato li France , N ew York , pp . 2 0 - 2 1 , 2 5 .

1 9 26 ,

N . M . N ik o l sky , Je sus and the Early Christian Communes , Mo s c ow , 1 9 1 8 , p . 3 1 ( in Ru s s ian ) * Ib id . , p . 3 6 . Ib id . , p . 4 0 . lb id . , p



35



Henr i Barbu s s e , Le s Judas de Jesus , p . 8 2 . Ib id . , pp . 5 6 - 5 7 . Ib id . , p . 5 5 . Ib id . , p . 7 0 . Ib id . , pp . 1 1 4 - 1 1 5 . Ib id . , pp . 6 9 - 7 0 . lb id



'

p



71



Ib id . , pp . 8 0 , 6 8 . Ib id . , p . 9 2 . A . Rob e r t s on , The Origins of Chri s tianity , London , 1962 , p . 93 . Ib i d . , p . 9 5 . Ib id . , p . 9 6 . Ib idem . A . Rob e r t s on , The Origins of Chris tianity , Mos c ow , 1 9 5 9 , p . 2 9 6 ( in Ru s s i an tran s l a t i on ) . 181

67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78

79 80 81 82

83 84

85

86

A . Rob e r t son , op . c i t . , p . 88 ( Eng l ish e d i t ion ) . A . Rob e r t s on, op. c i t . , p . 1 3 5 ( in Ru s s ian tran s l a t ion ) . Quo ted f rom A . B . Ranov ich , O n Early Christianity , Mo s ­ cow , 1 9 59 , p . 2 4 1 ( in Ru s s ia n ) . A . Rob e r t s on , op . c i t . , p . 74 ( Engl i sh e d i t ion ) . Ib idem . Ib id . . , p . 2 09 . A . Rev i l l , Vie de Jesus , Par i s , 1 8 9 7 , p . 2 00 . Quo t ed f rom N . V . Rumyant s ev , Did Jesus Chris t Exis t ? , Mo s c ow , 1 9 3 7 , p . 9 ( in Ru s s ian ) . G . Bo i s s ie r , La re ligion romaine d 'Augus t us , Par i s , 1 9 0 6 , Vo l . 2 , pp . 1 2 2 - 1 23 .

aux

Antoni ­

Ib i d . , Vo l . 1 , pp . 2 6 2 -2 6 3 . Ib idem . Mar t in Briikner , Der s terbende und aufers tehende Gotthei land in den orientalischen Re ligionen und ihr Ver­ ha ltniss zwn Chris ten twn , Tiib ingen , 1 9 08 .

K. Marx , F. Enge ls on Re ligion , p . 1 73 . E s: a d e Que ir o z , A Re liquia , Porto , 1 9 2 7 , p . 1 6 7 . .

A . Rob er t son , op . c i t . , pp . 76 - 7 7 ( Eng l i sh e d i t ion) . Ar thur Drews , Die Leugnung der Geschicht lichkeit Je su in Vergangenhei t und Gegenwart , Kar l s ruhe , 1 9 26 , pp . 2 1 5-2 1 6 .

Works by St . Jus tin , Phi losopher and Martyr , Mo s c ow , 1 8 9 2 , p . 2 8 ( in Ru s s ian ) . C . F . Volney , Les ruines ou medi ta tions sur les revo lutions des empires , Par i s , 1 79 1 ; Charl e s Dupu i s , Abrige de l ' Origine de tous les cu ltes ou la re ligion universe l le , Pari s , 1 7 9 4 . Bruno Bau e r , Kri tik der evange lischen Geschichte der Sinoptiker und des Johannes , Vo l . I I I , Braun schwe ig , 1 84 2 .

K. Marx , F . Enge ls on Re ligion , 182

p.

171 .

87 88 89 90 91

92

93 94

95 96 97

98

99

A . Hoek s t ra , De chris to logie van he t canonische Marcusevange lie , Am s t e rdam , 1 8 7 1 . A . P ie r s on , De Bergrede en andere Fragmen ten , Am s t e r dam , 1 8 7 8 . C . Nab er , Nucu lae , Ams t erdam , 1 8 8 8 . G . A . Berg van Ey s inga van d en , Die ho l landische radi ­ ca le Kri tik de s Neuen Tes taments , Jena , 1 9 1 2 . J . Rob e r t son , Christianity and My tho logy , London , 1 9 0 0 ; The Jesus Prob lem , London , 1 9 1 7 ; W . B . Smi th , Ecce Deus , J ena , 1 9 1 1 . A . Ka l thof f , Das Chris tusprob lem , Jena , 1 9 0 2 ; S . Lub l in sk i , Die En ts tehung de s Christen tums aus der anti­ ken Ku l tur , J ena , 1 9 1 0 ; Arthur Drews , Die Chri s tus­ my the , Jena , 1 9 09 ; Ar thur D r ew s , Die En ts tehung de s Chri sten tums aus dem Gnostizismus , Jena , 1 9 24 ; Ar thu r Drews , Das Marcus evange lium a ls Zeugnis gegen die Ge schicht lichkeit Je su , Jena , 1 9 2 1 ; Ar thur Drews ,

Der Sternhimme l in der Dichtung und Re ligion der a l ten Vo lker una des Christen tums , Jena , 1 9 23 .

V . I . Lenin , Co l lected Works , Mo s c ow , Vo l . 3 3 , p . 23 1 . Arthur Drews , Rejection of the Hi s toricity of Chris t i n the Pas t and a t Pre sent , Mo s c ow , 1 9 30 , p . 1 0 5 ( in Ru s s ian tran s l a t ion ) .

A . N i emoyewsk i , Fi losofia zycia Je swza , War saw , 1 9 2 5 ; P . -L . Couchoud , Le mys tere de Jesus , Pa r i s , 1 9 24 . N . M . N ik o l sky , Jesus and the Ear ly Chris tian Co"urru nes .

R . V ipper , The Rise of Christiani ty , Mo s c ow , V i p p e r is a l s o t h e author of two o ther wo rk s w i th p rob l ems of Ch r i s t ian ity : The Eme rgence ian Literature , Mo s c ow-Lening rad , 1 9 4 6 ; Rome Chris tianity , Mo s c ow , 1 9 54 ( a l l in Ru s s ian ) .

1918 . d e a l ing

of Christ­ and Early

A . N i emoyewsk i , Jesus the God; A . N i emoyewsk i , The Phi losophy of the Life of Je sus , Mo scow , 1 9 2 3 ( in Ru s s ian ) . A . Drews , The My th About Chris t , Vo l s 1 - 2 ; Ar thur Drews , Did Chris t Exis t ? , Mo s c ow , 1 9 28 ( in Ru s s ian t ran s l a t ion ) . 1 83

1 00

101 1 02 1 03 1 04

1 05

E . Mou t ier-Rou s s e t , Did Chris t Exis t ? , Mo s c ow , 1 9 2 9 ( in Ru s s ian ) ; P . -L . Couchoud , The Mys tery of Jesus , Rya zan , 1 9 23 ( in Ru s s ian ) ; Eduard He r t l e in , What Do We Know About Je sus ? , Mo s cow , 1 9 2 5 ( in Ru s s ian ) ; Georg Brande s , The Legend About Chri s t , Mo s c ow , 1 9 2 0 ( in Ru s s ian ) ; C . F . Vo lney , Ruins or Medi ta tions on the Revo lution s of the Empire , Mo s c ow , 1 9 28 ( in Ru s ­ s ian ) . Hen r i Barbu s s e , Je sus Versus Christ , Mo s cow , 1 9 28 . A . Rob e r t s on , The Origin s of Chris tiani ty , Mo s c ow , 1 9 56 ; 2nd ed . , Mo scow , 1 9 59 ( in Ru s s ian) . N . A . Moro zov , Chris t , Vo l s . 1 - 7 , Mo s c ow , 1 9 24 - 1 9 30 ( in Ru s s i an) . N . V . Rumyan t s ev , Pre -Chris tian Chri s t , Mo s c ow , 1 9 26 ; N . V . Rumyan t sev , The Death and Resurrection of the Saviour , Mo s c �w , 1 9 2 5 ; N . V . Rumyant sev , Did Jesus Chri st Exi s t ? ; A . B . Ranov i ch , op . c it . ; S . I . Koval ev , Basic Ques tions About the Origins of Chris tianity , Mo s c ow and Len ingrad , 1 9 6 4 ; Ya . A . Lent sman , The Ori­ gins of Chris tiani ty , Mo s c ow , 1 9 5 9 ( a l l in Rus s ian ) . I . S . Svent s i t skaya , From the Commune to the Churc h , Mo s c ow , 1 9 8 5 ( in Ru s s ian ) .

I I I . CHRISTOLOGY IN MODERN THEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL L ITERATURE " The Co l l apse of an Image" Mo s t mo dern auth o r s wr i t ing on the sub j ect wil l admi t , s ome more read ily than o th e rs , that al l a t t emp t s t o recon s t ruct a h i s t o r ical image o f Chr i s t have f a i l ed . I t has b e c ome qu i t e u sual for the o l o g ian s , who s e p iety i s b eyond doub t , to speak abou t the c o l l ap s e o f the image of Chr i s t . Alb ert Schwe i t z e r , b e t ter known a s a human i s t and pub l i c f igure than a theol o gian , though highly r e s p e c t e d i n t h e f ie l d o f theo l ogy , s ums up the a t t emp t s to b u i l d an image and a b io g raphy of Chr i s t a s f o l l ows : "The re i s nothing more nega t ive than the r e sul t s o f the r e s earch into the l if e of Je su s . 1 1 1 As no t ed in the prec ed ing chap­ t e r , Schwe it z e r ' s po s i t i on on the h i s t o r ic i ty o f Je su s i s somewhat pu z z l ing . S t i l l , i t i s S chwe i t zer who mak e s th i s rather c a t e g o r i c a l s t a t emen t : "The Je su s o f Na zareth who appeared as the Me s s iah , preached the mo ra l s of th e Kingdom o f God , e s tab l i shed a heavenly k ingdom on earth and d ied in o rder to s anc t i­ fy h i s deeds--th i s J e su s never ex i s ted . I t i s an image d is c a rded by ra t ional i sm , re surrec ted b y l ib eral i sm and a l t ered by modern theo l o gy by means of h is t o r i c a l s tud i es . " Schwe i t zer g o e s so far a s to s ay that "the h i s t o r i c ­ a l f oundat ion of Chr i s t ianity no l onger ex i s t s " . 2 True , he make s i t c l ea r tha t he i s n o t s ay ing that Chr i s t ian i ty in genera l i s wi thou t any h i s t o r ic a l f oundat ion , only t hat th i s f ounda t i on i s not t o be s ou gh t in the image o f Je su s Chr i s t . Wha t ha s cau s ed the c o l l ap s e of th i s image ? 1 85

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ma l ice of the enemie s and c r i t ic s o f Chr i s t ian i t y ? No , says Schwe i t z er , " th i s image i s not d e s t royed f rom w i thout , but crumb l ed by i t s e l f , shaken and s p l i t by fac­ tua l h i s t o r ical prob l ems tha t have c ome up in s p i t e of a l l the t r icks , art , a r t i f i c e and f o rced int erpr e t a t i ­ on r e s o r t e d t o i n t h e l a s t o n e hundred and th i r ty year s " . 3 •









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Schwe i t z e r wro t e th i s in the early part of the 1 9 00 s , and s o the 1 3 0-year p er io d he ref erred to g o e s b ack t o the s e c ond hal f of the 1 8 th c en tu ry . In tho s e years l i t era­ ture and soc ial thought were very much domina ted by French ph i l o s opher s , German ra t ional i s t s and Eng l i sh de i s t s , who s e v iews wer e sharply oppo s e d by the Church and by theo l o g ian s . Today th e s i tu a t ion i s d i f f erent : even the mo s t ardent def ender s of the Chr i s t ian dogma have to admi t tha t i t i s f u t i l e to t ry and cons tru c t a h i s t o r ic a l l y authen t ic image o f Chr i s t . The f a c t i s tha t the ma in s ource ma t e r i a l s on wh ich such an image c an be b u il t , namely , the Go sp e l s , are un­ r e l iab l e . The Pro t e s tant the o l o g ian Ern s t Barnik o l has made a s tudy of the pas s a g e s f rom the Go spe l s wh ich mo s t s cho l a r s regard a s inau thent ic and a s l a t e r add i t ions . He f inds twenty - s ix such pas sag e s in John ' s Go s p e l and c onc lude s that " a l mo s t the ent i r e non-Synopt ic par t " o f th i s G o s p e l i s "unh i s t o r ical " . B u t even i n t h e Syno p t i c Go spe l s Barn ik o l coun t s f o r ty "unh i s to r ical " p a s sage s . 4 The magaz ine Der Spiege l has g iven a s e l ec t ion of the say ing s and apho r i sms o f Je su s found in the Go s p e l s wh ich mo s t Luthe ran th eo l o g ian s c on s ider inau then t i c . The re are a t l ea s t f if t e en of th em , and they inc l ude s ome that are o f fundamen tal importanc e : " G ive not that wh ich i s holy unt o the d o g s " (Mat . 7 : 6 ) ; " The refo�e a l l th ing s wha t so ever ye wou l d tha t men shou l d do t o you , do ye even to them " (Mat . 7 : 1 2 ) ; "For who s o ever exa l t e th h ims e l f sha l l b e aba s ed " (Luke 1 4 : 1 1 ) , and even the p a s sage on the ba s i s of wh ich the Catho l ic Chu rch l ay s c l a im to supremacy in the Chr i s t ian worl d : " thou a r t P e t e r , and upon th i s rock I wi l l bu i l d my chu rch " (Ma t . 1 7 : 18) . .







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The G o s p e l accoun t s of certa in s tage s in the l i f e of Je su s , e spec i a l ly the s t ory ab out his death , are a l s o re­ j ec t ed a s inau th en t i c . For examp l e , according to the Ca tho l ic theo l o g ian Carl Schelke , " the s t ory ab out the 1 86

l a s t day s of Je su s i s a r e s idue wh ich cannot b e d i s s o lved by h i s t o r ical and theo l o g ical interp r e t a t ion , a f a c t wh ich is not d is pu ted even b y c ons erva t ive the o l o g ian s " . 5 Thu s , i t i s s omewhat amu s ing t o read in theo l o g ical wo rk s r e f e renc e s t o recent " d i s c ove r ie s " wh ich conf ront theQ l o gy w i th comp l ex new prob l ems . For ins tanc e , Han s Conze lman has e s t ab l i shed that "what the Go s pe l s t e l l u s abou t the t r ial o f Je su s i s not au then t ic " . Han s -Werner Bar t sch conc lu d e s that the d e s c r ip t ion of the in terroga­ t ion o f Je su s is a "mo s t p owe rfu l , nove l i s ed s c en e " , in shor t , exc el l ent f ic t ion . Jo s eph Ge i s elmann f inds tha t the t r ia l of Je su s i s a c omp l e t e mi sund e r s tand ing . Ma r ­ t in D ib e l iu s and Han s Fre iherr have "e s tab l i she d the l e­ gendary na ture of the innna cul a t e concep t i on" . 6 Wha t i s pre sented here a s a n achievement o f theo l o g ical though t has in f a c t b e en d i s c u s s ed in great d e t a i l and on a s ound s c i ent if ic b a s i s by Dav id S t rau s s and Bruno Bau e r and tho roughly s tud ied and ana l y s e d by s ch o l a r s of the mytho­ l o g i c a l school --D . Rob e r t s on , A. Kal thof f , A . Drews , A . N iemoyewsk i and o ther s --at the end of the 1 9 th and the beg inn ing of the 2 0 th c en tury . I t i s hard to b e l ieve tha t prom inent Chr i s t ian theo ­ l o g ians today can b e ignorant of the grea t amount o f h i s ­ t o r ic a l r e s earch tha t h a s b e en done o n the New Te s t amen t and of i t s f ind ings . Apparen t l y they p r e f er to appear a s p ioneer s who s e d i s c ove r ie s cal l f or a reappra i sa l o f va­ l u e s . For o therwi s e it wou l d s e em tha t Chr i s t ian theo l o ­ g ians have up t o now conceal ed f rom b e l ieve r s impor tant re su l t s of s c ient i f i c inve s t iga t ions . In the end , how­ ever , fac t s tha t are h igh ly unp l ea s an t and , f rom the p o int of v iew of the Church , " t emp t ing " , have to b e acknowl edg­ ed . One can f ind many s ta t ement s by the o l og ian s t o the ef f e c t tha t we know in f ac't nothing ab out Jesu s . The au tho r s of such s t a t ement s u sua l ly take the p o s i t i on tha t the f ounder o f Chr i s t ian i ty wa s a rea l p e r s on b u t tha t noth ing def in i t e can b e s a i d abou t h im . Back in 1 9 1 0 , at the Wo r l d Congre s s of Free Chr i s t ian ity and Rel ig iou s Progre s s , Wilhelm Bou s s e t , wh i l e ma in t a in ing tha t Ch r i s t had a h is t o r ical ex i s tence and that the my tho l o g ical th eo ry was "utop ian and d i sproved by sc ien t if ic f ac t s " , s a id : 187

"What we know ab out h i s l if e in l o g i c a l s e quenc e i s s o l i t t l e tha t i t can b e wr i t t en o n a s ingl e she e t o f pa­ per . Je su s ' s s e rmon s and the Go sp e l s are a t t ime s a tang l e of trad i t ion of th e c onnnu n i ty and po s s ib l y authen­ t ic word s of the teacher . 1 1 7 S imilar v i ew s on the sub j ec t wer e h e l d by the German theo l o g ian and B ib l ical s chol a r W . Brandt who , l ike Bou s ­ s e t , uph e l d the h i s to r ic i ty o f Chr i s t . Connne nt ing on Brandt ' s view s Ar thur Drews wro te : "There i s no r e l iab l e inf o rma t ion wha t ever ab ou t the l if e o f J e s u s b e s ide s the fac t of h i s death and re surr e c ­ t ion . Brand t shows tha t t h e s t o ry ab out t h e suf f e r ing s o f Je s u s i s made up of e l emen t s b o r rowed f rom the O l d Te s t ament and f rom my tho l ogy . 11 8 The prominen t au thor Rudo l f Bul tmann , who s e general c oncep t ion wa s c ondenmed by the Lutheran Chur ch in 1 9 5 2 , s ay s empha t ic a l ly that we know prac t ical ly nothing about the l if e and p e r s onal ity of Je sus Chr i s t and that we can­ not know w i th any c e r t a inty whe ther any of the s ay ings a t t r ib u t e d to h im were indeed h i s . 9 A s ta t ement l ike th i s can o f cours e b e d i smi s s ed a s b e ing untyp ical of modern theo l o gy a s a who l e , f o r a f t e r a l l i t s author i s re garded a s a heret ical thinker . Howeve r , a s imilar p o int o f view is expre s s ed in a s emi-of f ic ia l pub l ic � t ion of the Evan­ gel ical Church , the encyc lopa e d ia Die Re ligion in Gesahi­ ahte und Gegenwart ( Rel ig ion in H i s t ory and in Modern Life) . The s t ag e s o f th e b iography o f Je su s are s een here as a r e s u l t o f l it e rary e d i t ing o r r ework ing o f the Go s ­ p e l s . The c onc l u s ion i s the r e f o r e d rawn that i t i s no l onger p o s s ib l e t o e s tab l i sh the s e qu ence o f even t s in the l if e o f Je su� , to wr i t e h i s b iography and dep i c t h i s imag e . The p a s s age quo t ed b e l ow b r ief ly sums up the view o f the f o rma l -h i s to r ical s choo l , but on the who l e the au tho r o f the a r t ic l e ( f rom wh ich the quo t a t ion is taken) d o e s not d i s s o c ia t e h ims e l f f rom th i s view : "Thu s , a greater part of the t rad i t ion canno t b e u s e d f o r e s tab ­ l i sh ing prec i s e l y part icular moment s i n Je su s ' l if e . We no l onger know the s e quenc e of even t s , and , moreove r , cann o t recons t ru c t the i r ext e rnal and int erna l d evelop­ ment . N o t only the Go spe l s a s a who l e , b u t a l s o s eparate e l emen t s o f the t rad i t ion are a r e l igious documen t . They 1 88

are the r e f ore of no intere s t f o r a ' po r t rai t ' o f Je su s . No th ing i s known about the ext ernal appearanc e o f J e su s , or ab ou t h i s chara c t e r a s a man , ab out h i s hab i t s and de­ t a i l s o f his everyday l if e . Such is the nature o f the t r ad i t ion , and when t h i s i s acknowl edged , nru ch o f the p sycho l ogical and b io g raph ical s ign if icance o f a greater part of the ma t e r ia l i s l o s t . Th i s i s e spec ial ly t ru e o f t h e ep iphan i e s [ Ep i so d e s ab ou t t h e "man i f e s tat ion" o f wh ich t e l l u s nothin g ab out the inner Chr i s t--I . K. ] s ta t e o f Je sus . They are ske tched in acco rdanc e with the f a i th o f the commun i ty , w i th the po s t-Ea s ter per spect ive [ Ac c ord ing to the Chr i s t ian trad i t ion the c ruc if ix i on of Chr i s t t o ok p l ac e dur ing the Jew i sh Pa s s over hol iday s-­ I. K. ] . The same appl ie s to the p rophec ie s ab ou t Je su s ' suf f e r ing s . They do no t throw l igh t on the s i tuat ion . They are rather dogma t ic s ta temen t s ab out inevitab l e suf ­ f er ings a s wa s imagine d by the c omnrun i ty a f t er Je su s ' death . 1 1 1 0 Th i s pa s s age sums up the v i ew of the theo l o g ians of the f orma l -h i s tor ical s chool , who s e o u t s tand ing repre sen­ tat ive s are K . Schmi d t , M. D ib e l iu s and Rudo l f Bul tmann . The Pro t e s tant encyc l opaed ia does no t repud iate th i s vi ew, though it t r i e s to p l ay down somewhat i t s s ign if icanc e by seek ing out s ome " re l i ab l e po int s o f r e s t " . The s e "poin t s " a r e f ound i n the narra t ive s i n the Go spe l s tha t are n o t part of Juda i s t ic thou gh t or of the f a i th of the commun i ty tha t emerged l a t e r . The s e "po int s " , however , nru s t b e regarded a s rather weak , and the balanc e a s unr e ­ l iab l e . Paul Al thau s , a s t rong def ender o f the h i s t o r i c ity of Je su s , ra ther doub t s the h i s t o r i c a l au then t i c i ty of the source ma t e r ial s f o r Chr i s t ol o g ic a l s tu d i e s . For in­ s tanc e , he f in d s in John ' s Go sp e l only "theo l o g ic al med i ­ ta t i on s " i n t b e Gno s t ic s ty l e . Th e say ing s of Je su s c i t ­ e d by John a r e i n f a c t not Je su s ' own wor d s (verba ip s i s ­ s ima ) , b u t a "respon s e of the f a i th " t o c er t a in c ircum­ s t ance s in the l if e o f Je s u s the God-and-man , and the s e c i rcums tanc e s a r e a l s o unknown t o u s . Even in the Synop� t ic Go s pe l s not every th ing i s h i s t o r ical ly authen t ic . The inf ormat ion they g ive , says Al thau s , c i t ing Bornkamm (a f o l l ower of Bul tmann ) , "d er ive s f rom dogma or is at lea s t interwoven with dogma " . And in general , "the tra­ d i t ion of the f ou r Go sp e l s c onf ront s us with d i f f icu l t 1 89

p rob l ems and even w i th the que s t ion of whe ther J e su s o f Nazare th l ived a t a l l " . 1 1 Theo l o g ians mu s t s omehow s o l ve th e s e prob l ems . The ma in d if f icu l ty f o r them is that they canno t s o l ve them by acknowl edg ing s t ra i gh t f o rwardly that Chr i s t is a my th i ­ c a l f igure , a s th i s woul d unde rmine th e Chr i s t ian dogma . Comment ing on the r e j ec t ion by Bul tmann ' s f o l l ower s and other mod ern i s t s o f s uch ep i s ode s in the l if e o f Je ­ su s a s h i s death and re surre c t ion , t h e conservat ive l eader of the Lutheran Church Wal t er Kiinne th wr i t e s : "We a sk a s imp l e qu e s t ion : wha t i s in f a c t l e f t of Ea s ter ? From the p o in t of v i ew o f the s e ex i s t en t ia l i s t the o l o g i an s , ab s o l u t e l y no th ing i s l ef t . Ab s o lu t e ly no­ th ing ! " Kiinne th in s i s t s tha t " the r e surrec t ion o f Chr i s t i s the f oundat ion o f Chr i s t ian i ty , on wh ich everyth ing , a l l real i ty re s t s " . 1 2 Thu s , a d il emma a r i s e s : "E i ther rej ec t ­ ion o f Chr i s t ' s re surrec t ion , wh ich means the end o f Chr i s t ian theo l o gy , t h e end of t h e Chr i s t ian Church , o r a n acknowl edgemen t of i t . " If Chr i s t ' s re surre c t ion i s in doub t , the very ex i s t enc e o f Je su s Chr i s t i s cal l e d in­ to qu e s t ion . With r e gard to the moderni s t int e rpre t a t ion o f Chr i s t o logy E . He i t s ch says : " I f th i s i s l eg i t imat e f rom the p o in t o f v i ew o f Chr i s t ian the o l o gy , there i s no b a s i s what ever f o r Chr i s tians t o rema in Chr i s t ian s . 11 1 3

Tho s e who w i sh to rema in Chr i s t ian s wou l d have to upho l d the h i s to r ic i ty of Chr i s t and the who l e b iography of Je­ su s as told in the Go s p e l s , includ ing Chr i s t ' s re surre c t ­ i on and a s cens ion . E . Barn ik o l sums u p the p o in t o f v iew of conservat ive P ro t e s tant i sm on th i s que s t ion as f o l ­ l ows : "Wi thou t a ' l i f e o f Je su s ' , there i s n o ' Je su s ' ' , and without ' Je su Q' , there i s no ' Chr i s t iani ty ' o r ' Chr i s ­ t ian p ie ty ' (Chri s t lichkei t ) . 11 1 4 Thu s , the prob l ems of Chr i s t ian f a i th shou l d b e so lved on the b a s i s of a tho­ rough knowl edge o f the sourc e s o f s c ient if ic c r i t ic i sm , b o th po s i t ive and nega t ive , on the subj ec t , wh i l e a t the same t ime Chr i s t ian p i e ty mu s t be p r e s e rved wh ich re s t s o n a f irm b e l i e f that Chr i s t l ived and i t i s po s s ib l e to c omp i l e his authent i c b iography .

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Keep ing One ' s Fa i th by Al l Mean s ! Con s e rva t ive theo l o g ians and churchmen ins i s t tha t Chr i s t i.ans shoul d b e l ieve n o t only in the h i s t o r i c ity of Je su s b u t a l s o in the immacul a t e c onc e p t ion and in the mirac l e s Je sus perf o rmed--heal ing the s ick and rai s ing the dead to l if e , h i s own re surrec t i on and a s c en s i on . In the ir v i ew , no one can be cal l ed a Chr i s t ian who d o e s no t ' b e l iev e in the "emp ty s epu l cher " ( the " s epu l cher of the Lord" wh i ch b ecame emp t y af t e r the a sc en s ion of Chr i s t ) •

Supporter s o f Chr i s t ian or thoJoxy in the Federal Repub l ic of Germany have l aunched a movemen t again s t any conce s s ion s to modern i sm on the qu e s t ion of Chr i s t , in­ clud ing h i s h i s to r i c i ty and the sup erna tu ral phenomena conn e c t e d with h i s b ir th , l if e and d ea th . The movement is cal l ed "No Other Go s p e l ! " ( "Kein anderes Evange "lium ! " ) . I t s memb e r s inc lude the c l ergy and theo l og ian s a s wel l I t h o l d s ma s s mee t ings a t wh ich speaker s d e ­ a s l aymen . noun c e t h e f o l l ower s o f Bul tmann and o ther s whom they cal l the par t i s an s of a the i sm . By mob i l i s ing the ign o ­ rant a n d f ana t ic e l emen t s of t h e "conunun i t y " t h e movement seek s t o put p r e s sur e on the Church l eader ship and prevent i t f rom mak ing conce s s ion s t o the "new t rend s " in Chr i s t o ­ l ogy . A s f o r the Church l eadersh ip , they have to re s o r t to manoeuvr ing . O n t h e o n e hand , they mu s t not do any ­ th ing that woul d o f f end c on s ervat ive chu rch-go er s and churcchmen themse l ve s , wh i l e on the o ther , they cann o t i g ­ nore s c i en t i f ic c r i t ic i sm of the Go s p e l narrat ive s . The s i tua t i on they have to d e a l w i th i s a comp l ica t ed one in­ deed . The conserva t ive t rend in Chr i s t o l o gy i s s t i l l s tronger among Cathol i c s . Ab out one hundred years ago the F i r s t Va t i can Oe cumen i c a l Counc i l o f the Roman C a tho1 ic Church ( 1 8 6 9 - 1 8 7 0 ) re af f irmed in emphat ic terms the in s eparab l e l ink b e tween Catho l ic i sm and a b e l ief in the h i s t o r ic i ty o f Je s u s and in a l l the mirac l e s he p e r f o rm­ e d . The mirac l e s , the Counc i l re s o l u t ion s a id , shou l d b e con s idered t o b e f u l l y au then t i c and in c onf ormity w i th th e under s tand ing of the s i gns of d iv ine r eve l a t ion . Und er threa t of exc onunun i c a t ion the Counc i l f orb ade anyone to in terpre t the mirac l e s as " l egend s and my th s " . At the b eg inn ing of the 2 0 th century the Va t i can s t rong ly con­ demne d moderni sm as her e sy who s e d i s se minat ion woul d 191

inev itab ly b e the r u inat ion of the Chr i s t ian . The f ound­ e r s o f modern i sm and i t s theore t ic ians headed by Al f red Lo i sy were excomnrun icated . Ac tua l l y the modern i s t s only r e fu s ed t o b e l ieve in the mirac l e s a s s o c ia t e d w i th Jesus , b u t no t in the h i s t o r ical ex i s t ence of Chr i s t i an i t y ' s f ounder h ims e l f . Modern i s m i s s t i l l b e ing condemned by the Catho l ic Church wh i ch , f rom t ime to t ime , expr e s s e s i t s d i s p l ea sure couched i n p i o u s f o rmu l a s . At the Second Vat ican Coun c i l ( 1 9 6 2 - 1 9 6 6 ) o p in ion wa s not as und ividedly c ons erva t ive as it wa s at the F i r s t Va t ic an Counc i l . Large and inf l u en t i�l grou p s of s en io r me mb e r s o f the c l ergy adop ted a mo re f l ex ib l e po s it i on . Bu t the cons ervat ive wing headed by Card ina l Al f redo O t ­ t av ian i t ook a hard l ine o n the b a s ic que s t ion of f a i th , ' in p a r t icular , on the que s t ion of Chr i s t o l ogy . Af t e r the Counc i l the c on se rvat ive wing · cont inued I t s t rongly c r i t ic i s ed i t s b a t t l e aga ins t i t s opponen t s . a C a tho l ic c a t e ch i sm pub l i shed in Ho l l and in 1 9 6 6 wh i ch c l ea r l y showed modern i s t l eanings . In fac t the b i shop s o f Hol land , w i th who s e b l e s s ing th e catechi sm wa s pub l i sh ­ e d , were ra ther cau t iou s wi th r e gard t o the l egends a s s o ­ c ia t e d w i t h J e s u s a s t o l d i n t h e Go s p e l s . In a p a s t o ra l l e t t er they cal l ed on a l l Chr i s t ians t o exerc i s e maximum cau t ion in carrying out the o l o g i c a l inve s t iga t ions and in preach ing . Af t e r s ta t ing s omewhat vaguely that s ome chan g e s in int e rp re t ing a numb er o f p robl ems r e l a t ing to the Chr i s t ian f a i th are inev i t ab l e , they warned the mo­ dern i s t s no t to ha s t en to accept s c ient i f ic c r i t ic i sm and thus rock the f ounda t ion s of the Chr i s t ian f a ith . The b ishops no ted that f a i th in the Church mu s t be s t reng­ thened , ab ove a l l with regard t o que s t ions of dogma . As for thems elve s , they b e l i eve in the d iv ine nature of Chr i s t , the immacu l a t e concep t ion and Chr i s t ' s re surrec t i ­ on . In short , the p o in t i s a ga in ab ou t f a i th in Chr i s t the man-and-God and a l l the supernatural deeds a t t r ib u t ­ ed t o h im by t h e N e w Te s tament . Th i s p o s i t ion i s ins i s t e d on with part icular veh e­ menc e by Card ina l O t tavian i . As head of the Congregat ion o f the Propaga t ion o f Fa i th he sent , in July 1 9 66 , a pas­ toral l e t t er to the b i shop s and o ther Church o f f ic ial s in wh i ch he l i s t e d ten po int s cal l ing f o r condenma t ion . One of them is a ime d aga in s t tho s e who ho l d that Chr i s t wa s 192

a me re man who onl y gradua l l y be came awar e of h i s b e ing the Son o f God . Acc o rd ing to the card ina l , th e immacu­ late concept ion , the mirac l e s , and even Chr i s t ' s re surrec­ t ion are all s t r ic t ly natural event s . He woul d not even conc ede tha t at one p e r iod of h i s l if e Chr i s t ex i s ted a s a mer e man . F o r Card inal O t tav ian i , o f c ou r s e , ther e i s no p l a c e a t a l l f or s c i en t i f ic re s earch into the sub j e c t . In the s e c ircums tanc e s i s s u ch r e s earch nec e s s ary and is i t po s s ib l e to conduc t i t ? The zealous guar d ians of the t rad i t ional v i ew r e a l i s e tha t they cannot proh ib i t it a l t ogethe r . Al l they can d o i s t o ind i c a t e i t s l im i t s so that the f a i th i t s e l f w i l l no t b e pu t int o j eopardy . For ins tance , the Fr ench h i s tor ian Jacqu e s Co l in made a s tudy o f the t r ial o f Jesus Chr i s t . Drawing a numb er of h i s t o r ical and e thnograph i cal para l l e l s he shows that some d e ta i l s abou t th i s t r ial , wh ich have arou s ed c ont ro ­ ver sy , c an in f a c t b e cons ide red a s prob ab l e . The s e in­ clude the par t ic ipat ion of crowd s in dec i d ing the f a t e o f Je s u s and the rol e p l ayed b y He rod An t i p a s , the Roman t e ­ trarch o f Gal i l e e , i n the convi ct ion o f J e su a . We l l , such re s earch c e r t a inly doe s no harm to f a i th . On the con t rary , properly u s ed it can only s t rengthen i t . Even mor e d e s irab l e f r om the p o in t of v i ew of the Church i s the type of wo rk done by the German Catho l ic theo l o gian Uta Ranke-He inemann , l e c turer on r e l igion and me thod s of Catho l i c educ a t ion at the Teacher s ' Co l l ege in the c i ty of Neu s s . I t s purp o s e is to show that Chr i s t ' s mother r ema ined a v i rg in t o the end o f her l if e . Bu t how can th i s be r e c onr. i l e d w i th the fac t that the New T e s ta­ ment r e f e r s s even t ime s t o J e su s ' b r o ther s and once to a s i s t e r ? Th i s has b een a sub j ect o f mu ch theo l o g i c a l con • trover sy . One exp lana t ion i s tha t Je su s ' b r o th e r s and s i s te r s wer e J o s eph ' s ch i l dren by previou s marr iage . Ranke-He inemann , however , f inds an ingen iou s way of dea l ­ ing w i th thi s que s t ion . In S t . Mark ' s Go s p e l the name s of Je su s ' b ro thers are said t o b e Jame s , Jo s e s , Judas and S imon . But in an­ o ther p a s sage in Mark and a l s o in s everal o ther Go s p e l narra t ive s the mo ther o f Jame s and Jo s e s i s c a l l ed "an­ o ther Mary " . In one of th e s e narrat ive s the f a ther o f Jame s i s s a i d t o b e Alpheu s , no t Jo s eph . And nowhere in the New Te s tament is ther e any men t ion of the "ch i l dren 193

of Mary and J o s eph" . Moreove r , j u s t b e f o r e h i s death Je sus entru s ted h i s mother t o the care of John . Th i s woul d have b een s trange i f Mary had o ther sons b e s id e s Jesus . Bu t how is one to under s t and t h e f o l l ow ing pa s ­ sage f rom Luke : "And she b rough t f o r th her f ir s tb orn son ? 11 1 5 The answer i s that th i s i s an incorrec t tran­ s l a t ion by the Pro t e s tant s ; the Lutheran s , b e ing here t ic s , were capab l e of any th ing . In s tead of the " f i r stborn s on " i t shoul d read the " f ir s t l ing " ; Jesus cou l d b e cal l e d a "f i r s t l ing" whe ther or not Mary b ore o ther ch i l dren b e ­ s id e s J e su s . An exc e l l en t s ub j ec t for r e s earch indeed . And espec ia l ly s ince i t can d i s t rac t a t t ent ion f rom mor e imp ortan t p rob l ems r e l a t ing to t h e per s on o f Chr i s t . •





Bu t no mat t er how deep-seated i s the t endency to d i s ­ mi s s ou t r ight any doub t o n the sub j e c t , n o mat t e r how s trong ly con s e rva t ive churchmen and the o l o g ian s ins i s t o n the nece s s i t y o f b l ind f a i th , there i s a n ever increa s ­ ing de s ire among the o l o g ian s to rec onc i l e s omehow a b e ­ l ie f i n Chr i s t with the f in d ings of h i s t o r ic a l re search . L e t u s c on s ider the wo rk s of o ther au tho r s and s e e how we l l they succeed in coming to g r i p s with the d i f f icu l t s i tuat ion f a c ing them . Some o f them re s o r t t o f a i r l y u sual me tho d s of h i s t o ­ r ical argumen t . Thu s , in an a t t emp t to put a n end t o the c r i s i s of Chr i s t o l o g ic a l theory , they adduce argument s in favour o f the h i s t or i c i ty of Chr i s t . The f ir s t o f the s e argument s i s that the Go spel s , regard l e s s of the degree o f h i s t o r ical authen t i c ity o f the inf ormat ion they p rovide , do create an a tmo s phere of Pa­ l e s t ine o f that per iod . One can f e e l , so t o s peak , the b r e a th o f real l if e and th i s is s ome thing that canno t be invented . There is noth ing new ab out th i s argumen t , of cour s e . We have con s idered it a t some l ength in the preced ing chap ter . Such an approach i s obv iou s l y sub j e c ­ t ive . In the Go spe l s and Say ing s there are several pa s sag­ e s wh i ch c on t rad i c t the v i ews o f the l a t e r , "Pau l in e " church . Acc o rd ing to s ome theo l og i an s , o n e shou l d c on­ s ider the f o rmer to b e based on the a c tu a l l if e o f J e su s . The s e are p a s sage s f rom the Go spe l s wh ich c a s t a shadow on the per s ona l ity of Chr i s t , wh e ther c on s i dered as a me re man or a s God . Thu s , in Nazar e th J e su s the man-and 1 94

God f a i l ed to p e r f o rm any miracl e s . Je s u s h id f rom h i s enemie s i n B e thany and o ther p l ac e s . H e seems to show cowa rd ice on the cro s s . Some o f the say ings o f the f oun ­ d e r of Chr i s t ian i ty do not appear to be par t icu l a r l y im­ pre s s ive . He say s , f or examp l e , "G ive not tha t wh ich i s ho l y un to the d o g s , ne i ther c a s t y e your pearl s b efore swin e " (Mat . 7 : 6 ) , imp l y ing tha t a l l Gent i l e s are dog s . In ano ther pas sage he says , "Why c a l l e s t me good? there In the is none good b u t one , that is God " (Mat . 1 9 : 1 7 ) op ini on of s ome theo l og ian s , the s e pa s sage s show that the o l de s t par t s of the N ew Te s tament con t a in a h i s to r ic a l kern e l wh ich c a n b e revealed i f the l a t e r add i t ions a r e r emove d . Th i s a rgumen t , too , do e s not seem t o u s to hold wa t e r . Al l that the s e o l der t ex t s tell us i s tha t the c oncep t ion of th e p er s onal i ty of Chr i s t underwent a cer­ t a in evo l u t i on . But that doe s not mean that the in i t ial s tage o f th i s evo l u t ion wa s r e l a ted to f ir s t-hand imp r e s ­ s ions and reco l l e c t ions abou t a r e a l per s on . •

Ther e i s ano ther po in t of v i ew accord ing to wh ich even if we are deal ing w i th l eg end s here , l egen d s are a l s o source ma ter ial s f o r h is t o r ic a l r e s e a rch . Th i s i s t rue enough , but we canno t , on th i s b a s i s , c onc lude tha t Ch r i s t wa s a real pers on o r dep i c t a n image o f Chr i s t by u s ing the Go spe l narrat ive s . In some in s tanc e s a l egend provid­ es ma ter ia l f o r f o rming a concep t ion prec i se l y of tha t epoch in whi ch i t emerged and o f th e soc ial m i l i eu that c rea ted it . And th i s is exa c t l y wha t we have in th i s case . And l a s t l y , i t i s argued that the Go spel narra t ives a r e h i s t o r ical ly authent ic b e c au s e they prov ide a chrono­ l o g i ca l f ramework for a l i f e o f Je su s . The r e are a t l ea s t three f ac t s wh ich may s erve a s maj or r e f e r ence p o i n t s : the bap t ism o f Jesus b y John , the beg inn ing of J e su s ' min i s t ry in Gal i l ee , and his death in J e ru s a l em . Th i s "argument " hard ly ca l l s f o r refutat ion s ince any l e ­ gend can b e p l aced w i th in a chrono log ical framewo rk with­ out there b e ing the l ea s t ground f o r cons ider ing thi s f ramework to b e a h i s t or ic a l ly au then t i c one . Of in ter e s t in th i s connec t ion i s the b ook The Death of Jesus by J . Carmicha e l , pub l i shed in 1 9 6 3 . Ca rmichael n o t e s tha t many el ement s of the l egend a s t o l d in the Go s pe l s c on t rad i c t the Chr i s t ian t rad i t ion tha t took shape 195

sub s equen t l y , and it i s the s e e l emen t s tha t shou l d b e re ­ garded a s h i s t o r ic a l ly t ru s two r thy . One shou l d , however , appr oach the se e l emen t s with cau t i on , f o r a f t er Je su s ' death a who l e genera t ion wa s to pa s s b e f ore the Go s pe l s we re wr it ten . Carm ichae l doe s no t merely s t a t e in a gene­ ral way tha t d i f f erent par t s of th e l egend emerged at d i f ­ f e ren t t ime s , but· d i s t ingu i sh e s f ive s t age s ma rk ing the r i se of the Ch r i s t l egend wh ich , in h i s o p in ion , r e f l e c t t h e d if f erent s ta g e s whereby J e s u s wa s gradual ly t ran s ­ f o rmed i n the min d s of h is f o l l ower s . At the f ir s t s tage Je sus wa s b orn in a natural way into a poor f ami ly in Ga l il e e . Then h i s per s on was e l eva­ ted and a s s oc ia t ed w i th Me s s ian i c mi s s ions . At the th ird s tage Jesus wa s s a i d to b e o f royal l ineage . At the f ou r th s tage h i s b irth wa s though t to be o f a superna tu­ r a l characte r and Chr i s t almo s t b e c ame a 'de ity . Onl y a t the l a s t , f if th s tage , o f i t s evo l u t ion d id t h e image of Chr i s t c ome to a c qu i r e a l l the f ea ture s of God . Carmi­ chae l no t e s two d i f f erent interpre tat ion s of th i s d ivine image , one f ound in the Go s p e l o f John and ano ther in the Ep i s t l e s o f Pau l . I t i s an a t tract ive the s i s , one wi th a l og ic of i t s own . The only t roub l e i s tha t the l o g i c here i s n o t b ack­ ed up w i th suf f ic i en t l y sound h i s t o r ic a l ana l y s i s . Let u s a s sume tha t the evo lut i on o f the image of Chr i s t p r o ­ c e e d e d prec i s e l y in t h e manner d e s c r ib ed and tha t t h e Go s ­ pe l s gradua l l y c ame t o include t ex t s corre sponding t o the f ive s tage s ind i c a t e d ab ove . Bu t we c an equal ly a s sume tha t the evo lu t ion t ook p l ace in the oppo s i te d ir e c t i on . The h i s t o r ic a l approach s e ek s to e s tab l i sh not wha t migh t have oc curred , b u t wha t a c tua l l y d i d o c cur . To some ex ten� Carmichae l ' s concept ion i s in l ine w i th the v i ews o f the we l l -known German Pro t e s tant the o l o ­ g ian He lmu t Th i e l ike . In h i s b o ok Ieh GZaube ( I B e l ieve ) , pub l i shed in 1 9 6 5 , Th i e l ike a l s o not e s _ the l arge numb er o f contrad i c t i on s and d ivergenc ie s in the New Te s t amen t b o ok s but ma inta ins that they are evidenc e , no t of the un­ r e l iab i l ity of the b ook s a s h i s to r i ca l source s , b u t , on the cont rary , of the t ru stwo r th ine s s of the inf o rma t ion they provide ab out Je su s . D i f f e rent peop l e have d i f f erent percep t ion s of one and the s ame th ing . "One per s on , when he g e t s a s l ap in the f a ce , f o r examp l e , has a b u z z ing in 1 96

Ano ther in the same s i tua t i ­ h i s ear s , he s e e s s tar s . . . . on hear s a ru s t l ing sound , a th ird--the sound of b e l l s ; one per son s e e s spark s , ano ther--a ra inb ow . 1 1 1 6 The real cau se o f the se d i f f er ent imp re s s ion s i s , however , the same and i t i s s ome th ing real . S imilarly there is a real , h i s t o r i c a l nuc l e u s in the c ont rad i c tory inf orma t i on ab ou t Je su s wh ich we f ind in the Go spel s . But how can we g e t to the e s sence o f a phenomenon ab ou t whi ch t h e sourc e s tel l u s d if f er en t thing s ? Apparen t l y a l l that can b e sa id i s tha t some th ing t ook p l ac e , b u t what exa c t ly no one knows . Such an approach by a the o l o g ian to the ma in s ource s of the Chr i s t ian dogma , no ma t t er how good h i s intent ions are , cu t s the g round f rom unde r the Church dog­ ma concerning the Scr ip ture s . Indeed , one o f the ir au tho r s heard b e l l s , another saw spark s •







B e s ide s scho l arly r e s earch , Th i e l ike take s an a c t ive part in p ropaganda wo rk . He del ivered a s er ie s of l e c tu­ re s in a ha l l in one of the l arg e s t s tad iums in Federal Germany , and , a s repo r ted by the Catho l ic j ournal Herder Korrespondenz , wa s ab l e to expound h i s v iews in such a way that they were under s tood by a l l . F o r a con t empo rary the o l o g ian , th is i s an ach i evement indeed . In theo l o g i c ­ al l i t e rature one of ten c ome s a c ro s s c omp l a in t s tha t the o ­ l og ical idea s in o u r t ime have b ecome so comp l ex that not only the layman but al s o the s tudent of theol ogy has d i f ­ f icul t i e s i n unde r s tand ing them . Th i e l ike at tache s l i t t l e impor tanc e to the mirac l e s d e s c r ib e d i n the Gospel s . In h i s o p in ion they we re creat ­ ed only a f t erward s a s a c o l l e c t ion of i l l u s t rat ions (Bi l ­ derbuah) to the text o f Je su s ' sermon s , a s a demon s t r a t i ­ o n o f God ' s migh t . Bu t th i s wa s not re a l l y nec e s sary s ince f a i th cannot b e b a s ed on mirac l e s . Faith l ives by the word of God only . Our image of Chr i s t mu s t , there ­ f ore , b e b a sed on the wor d of God . In Th i e l ike ' s o p in i ­ o n , th i s ha s n o t b een done c orrec tly up t o the pre s ent t ime , wi th each new gene rat ion forming an image of Ch r i s t i n accordance with i t s own views der ived f rom contempora­ ry trend s o f thought . Th i e l ike says that throughout the h i s t ory of the Chu r ch Je su s Chr i s t had b e en cruc if ied aga in and aga in . He wa s always be ing ampu t a t e d so that he cou l d be f i t t e d in t o th e Procru s t ean bed o f trans ient human concept ions . He had con s tan t l y d i sapp eared in the sepul cher of human 197

n o t ion s and sy s tems of though t , f rom wh ich he had r i s en aga in . E l egan t l y s a i d indeed , but the mean ing i s no t very c l ear . Le t us a s s ume that Chr i s t ' s image has indeed been s ub j ec ted to such a cruel t re atmen t . And Herr Th i e l ike is d e t e rmined to r e s tore it to i t s o r i g inal pur i ty . The r e su l t i s c e r t a inly worth wa i t ing f o r . But it s e ems that Th i e l ike ha s done noth ing t o t ran s l a t e h i s good int en t i ­ o n s into r ea l i ty . F o r the prominent theol og i an mer e ly says that the image of Chr i s t has b een d i s t o r t e d b u t not how we are t o regard the image now, f o l l owing the r e s earch condu c t ed by Th i e l ike h imsel f . Tha t rema ins a s e c r e t . The P ro te s tant the o l og ian Paul Al thau s i s l e s s c r i ­ t ic a l of wha t t h e " c ommun i ty " ha s done to t h e image o f Chr is t . Al thau s i s known t o have r a ther pe s s imi s t ic v i ews concerning the Go spe l s a s h i s t o r ic a l sourc e s . But s trange­ l y enough he i s ab l e to comb ine uru tua l ly cont rad ic t o ry c onc ept ions in h i s wr i t ing s . Thu s , he con s ide r s S t . Mark ' s Go s p e l t o b e wr it t en by eyewitne s se s inc lud ing the Apo s t l e P e t e r . L ike E . H i r s ch , h e b e l ieve s that S t . Mark ' s Go s ­ p e l wa s l a t e r heav i ly ed i t e d and emb e l l i shed , a l though b o th th ink that th i s had n o t b een nec e s s a ry s inc e a whol e b io g raphy o f Je s u s c an b e f ound in i t . I t wou l d s e em , then , that a l l i s wel l and there are n o d if f icu l t i e s wha t ­ eve r in recon s t ru c t ing t h e image o f Chr i s t . Neve r the l e s s , f o r Al thau s the d if f icul t i e s are the r e . For in s tanc e , wha t are we to do w i th the f a c t that the image of Je su s as p o r t rayed in the Go s pe l s was very uruch a l tered a f t e rwar d s by the " theo l ogy o f the c ommun i ­ ty " ? O n th i s que s t ion Al thau s d i sagree s w i th th e l ib eral the o l og ian s . Ac c o rd ing t o the l a t t e r , "what has b een done t o the image o f Je s u s by the the o l ogy of the c oDDllu n i t y i s some th ing al ien and ha s l it t l e to d o with Je s u s h ims e l f " . The i r po s it ion i s a s f o l l ows : "Away f r om the dogma t ic theo l ogy of the c ommun ity and back t o the s impl e preach­ ing o f J e su s ab ou t the Kingdom , Heavenly Father and the e t e rnal l if e o f the soul ! Ab ove a l l away f r om Paul and b ack to Je su s , t o the real Je s u s who s e image and m i s s ion can be traced in the c on t ou r s of p r im i t ive Chr i s t iani ty . Away f r om dogma and back to the man f rom Nazareth who i s ou t s ide dogma . 1 1 1 7 Al thau s do e s no t accept thi s p o int of v iew a l though i t "ha s b e en l oudly proc la imed f o r hal f a c entury now and i s c oming to the f or e aga in " . No t with­ ou t r ea s on he dec lare s the " l ib eral image of the proph e t 1 98

Je su s who i s ou t s ide dogma " to b e "an ab s trac t ion 1 1 . 1 8 Al thau s i s mor e impr e s s ed prec i sely by the image tha t emerged f rom the theo l ogy of the connnu n i ty . He f ind s the t ru e real ity o f Je su s Chr i s t not in an ab s t rac t ion o f s ome "h i s to r ical Je su s " who is ou t s ide dogma , but in Chr i s t o f the o r i g ina l Chr i s t ian mis s ion propaga ted b y the c onnnu ­ n i ty . What Al thaus i s appa ren t ly say ing , to j udge f rem h i s rather neb u l ou s s ta t emen t s , is tha t we shou l d w i thout further ado accept the t rad i t ional image of Chr i s t . On the one hand , Al thau s ha s to a cknowl edge tha t " the s ta t e o f the sourc e s i s such tha t we c an g ive ne i ther a chrono l o gy o f the l if e o f J e su s nor a f a c tual acc oun t of i t " , and tha t "we a l way s s e e Je su s only through a ve i l " . On the o ther hand , through th i s ve i l "we are in a p o s i t i on to t race the ma i n f eature s of the image of Je­ sus suf f ic ient l y c l ea r ly " . 1 9 True , th i s i s only " in the s p i r itual s ens e " , for onl y the mo ral makeup o f Je sus the man-and-God is mean t here , and not h i s real human image . Al thau s a l s o s peak s of Chr i s t ' s s e l f -awarene s s , h i s mi s ­ s ion and h i s manner i n d e a l ing with p eo pl e and so on . Bu t even here the empha s i s i s not on any "de f in i t e u t t e r ­ anc e s " o f Je su s , b u t o n "h i s general b ehaviour and act ivi­ ty" . Al thaus h ims e l f ha s d e s c r ib e d such eva s ive , equ ivo­ cal wr i t ings a s " ind ire c t Chr i s t ol ogy 1 1 . 2 0

When the b a s ic ma t e r ia l i s lack ing f o r a d ir e c t in­ ve s t iga t i on of the que s t ion , the theo l o g ian who ha s no t suf f ic ient courage has t o re s o r t t o " ind i rec t " me tho d s . There i s p l enty of room here f o r sub j ec t ive casu i s t ic a l interp r e t a t ion o f t h e concept of h i s t o r ical authen t ic ity . Thus , we f ind Al thaus saying that even the inau thent ic (uneaht) can have au then t i c i ty (die Eahtheit ) . He wr i t e s : "We d i f f erent i a t e c oncep t s o f au then t i c i t y : even tho s e narra t ive s and s ay ings whi ch i n t erms o f h i s tor ical r e ­ s earch a r e ' inau thent ic ' and f a i l t o c onvey wha t actua l ly took place can in s ome impor tan t s en s e b e au thent ic--a s a n exp re s s ion of t h e re a l s ign i f icanc e o f wha t took p l a c e o r o f a h i s tor ic a l per s on . I n th i s s en s e eve ryth ing tha t ref l ec t s t h e cogn i s ed mean ing o f the e s sence and s ign i­ f icanc e of Jesus Chr i s t , no ma t t e r how he wa s ref rac t ed t hrough the ind ividual i ty o f the eyewi tne s s and the me­ thods of expre s s ion that were charac t e r i s t ic for h i s t ime , i s au then t ic . 11 2 1 1 99

Al thau s app l i e s the s ame approach to tho s e pa s sage s in the Go s pe l s wh ich he h ims e l f h a s c al l ed inau then t ic "The s e p a s sag e s , " (he pu t s the word in quotat i on mark s ) . he s ay s , " shou l d b e read not h i s t o r ic a l l y , b u t exp r e s ­ s ion i s t ical ly : they expre s s the e s s ence and s ign if icanc e of Je su s by poe t ic means in order to make h i s t o ry appear more vivid . 1 1 2 2 Th i s me thod , in h i s op in ion , i s u se d pre­ d ominant ly in the narra t ive s of the l a s t day s o f J e su s ' l if e . Such unh i s t o r ical narra t ive s are authen t ic in a deeper s en s e s in c e they t ry to convey the my s t ery of the ex i s t ence and adven t o f Chr i s t . In a s en s e any na rrat ive i s h i s t or ic a l -- i t t e s t i f i e s to the ex i s t ence o f i t s au tho r and t o the s o c ial and ideo­ l o g ic a l c l ima t e in wh ich i t wa s wr i t t en . Bu t the Go spel l eg end s t o wh ich Al thau s a t t r ib u t e s h i s t o r ic i ty and wh ich a t the s ame t ime he acknowl e d g e s to be inau thent ic cannot o f c o u r s e b e con s idered h i s tor ical : they say noth ing at all ab out the h i s t or ic a l Je sus . Al thau s ' a t t emp t to ex­ trac t f rom them some th ing tha t can be regarde d as h i s t o r i ­ c a l l ook s ve ry much l ike soph i s t ry . The same sy s t em of thought appea r s more c omp l ex and mo re carefu l ly rounded out in the wo rks of " l ef t " theo l o ­ g ian s and Chr i s to l o gi s t s , e s p ec ia l ly tho s e b e l ong ing to the scµo o l of Rud o l f Bul tmann . " Suprah i s t o ry " Ins t ead of H i s t o ry In 1 9 59 th e German Pro t e s tant theo l o g ian Han s Con z e l ­ mann made th i s rather remarkab l e s t a t emen t : "The Church l ive s only b ecau s e the resul t s o f r e s earch in to the l if e of Je s u s a r e l i t t l e known wi th in i t . " Four year s l a t er O t to Kus ter , c i t ing the se word s , o f f e red th i s cons o l ing thou gh t b o th to h i s c o l l eague and to h i ms e l f : " I t s e ems tha t th i s [ i . e . , the d i s s emina t ion of sc i ent if ic informa t i on ab out the l if e of J e s u s - -I . K . ] wiJ- 1 c ome ab ou t gradua l l y . 1 1 2 3 In o ther word s , the Church s t i l l has t ime , f o r the pre s ent c entury at any ra te , to re s o r t to va r iou s d e f en­ s ive tac t i c s and mano euvr ing . Only a f ew y ea r s l a t e r , howeve r , the maga z ine Der Spiege l noted that such hope s we re da shed . Both in the Church and in the "c ommun i ty " a heated deb a t e wa s under way . In th i s deb a t e two f a c t o r s

2 00

were a t work . On the one hand , the r e we re the r e s u l t s o f re s earch i n t o t h e l if e o f Je su s wh ich t ended to d e t r a c t f rom f a i th . On t h e o ther hand , t h e r e wa s a d e s i r e t o r e ­ t a in by wha t ever means t h e f ounda t ion of t h e Chr i s t ian fa i th . S ince the f o rmer cannot b e d ismis sed o f f -hand , Chr i s t ian i ty f ound i t s e l f in a d i f f icu l t po s i t ion . Inc i ­ denta l ly , n o t only Chr i s t ian i ty bu t a l l r e l igions are in the same pred icament . We have a l ready d i scu s s ed the a r s enal u s e d by the conse rva t ive and t rad i t iona l camp . The ir p o s i t ion is s o weak tha t mor e and more theo l o g ians a r e ab andoning i t . The l at t er , however , do not g ive up the dogma of the i r rel ig ion c omp l e t e l y , in part icu l a r , i t s ma in po int --the image of Jesus Chr i s t . They only wish t o make th i s image somewhat more p l au s ib l e b o th f o r thems e l ve s and for that part o f the "conunun i ty " wh ich is no l onger sat i s f ied with the t rad i t iona l and usual expl anat ion s and i s s eeking some new , more inte l l igen t solut ions . Apa r t f rom the mo s t c on s e rva t ive churchmen , thi s is wha t mo s t the o l o g i ­ an s a r e now work ing on . The troub l e i s that , a s i n a l l c r i s i s s i tua t ions , the s earch f o r new s o l u t ion s proc eeds in many d if f erent d irec t ion s . As a re sul t , in modern Chr i s t o l og ic a l l i terature an impre s s ion of chao s and d i s ­ order i s c reated . The f o l l ower s of Schwe i t ze r in s i s t on interp re t ing the image o f Chr i s t s t r ic t ly on the p l ane of e scha t o l o gy , a doc t r ine conc ern ing the ul t ima t e d e s t iny o f the wor l d . In the i r view the b i o g raphy of Je s u s i s not rea l ly imp o r t ­ an t , e sp ec ia l l y s ince i t canno t b e re con s t ruc t ed . The only important f a c t i s tha t at s ome moment in the h i s t ory of the anc i ent wo r l d th ere appeared a man or man-and-God who dec l ared hims e l f to b e the Me s s iah and announc ed the innn inen t end of the wo r l d . He b ecame known in h i s tory a s Jesu s Chr i s t . H i s t each ing even t oday ins t i l l s i n u s hope s f o r a happy future , wh ich wil l c ome a f t e r the great e s cha t o l o g i c a l promi s e ha s b een fu l f i l l ed . There i s a who l e trend in P ro t e s t an t theo l o gy that i s o r ien t e d t o th i s per spe c t ive . I t s views a r e s e t f o r th i n the b o ok s of Jurgen Mo l tmann who speaks o f a "the o l o gy o f hope " . Re ly ing on Schwe it z er , Mo l tmann o f f e r s an e s cha t o l o g ic a l int erpretat ion o f t h e image o f Je s u s and paint s a happy , op t imi s t ic p ic ture o f the coming of the end of the wo r l d a s proc l a imed by Jesus . 201

The image of the man J e s u s c an only b e e s tab l i shed w i th the help o f h i s to r ical r e s earch . But the re su l t s of th i s re s earch prove d i sa s trou s f o r the que s � of th i s image . What we have , then , i s a k ind o f v ic iou s c irc l e : the my s t ical Chr i s t the God i s unac cep tab l e to our s c i en­ t if ic _ and s ec u l a r age , wh i l e the p r o l onged s earch f o r Je­ sus the man in remo t e ant iqu i ty has ended in f a i l u re . To f ind a way out of the s i tuat ion the more " sophi s t icat­ ed " and ph i l o soph i c -minded theol o g ian s resort t o muddl ing up the very concep t s of h i s to r ical truth and real h i s t o ­ r ical fac t s , the e s s ence and t a s k s o f the h i s to r ic a l s c ience . One way of p a s s ing o f f my th a s real ity and f a l s ehood as t ru th is t o e r a s e the b orderl ine b e tween fact and f an­ ta sy , real ity and hal luc inat ion , h i s tory and mythol ogy . In modern bourgeo i s ph i l o s ophy , 1 9 th-century p o s i t iv i sm wh i ch s ough t to e s tab l i sh only what really o c curred in h i s t ory i s d i smi s s ed a s "na ive " and h e l d in c on t emp t . The p r inci p l e of p o s it iv i s t h i s to r i ography --to de s c r ib e what actua l ly t ook p l ac e--f o rmul ated by Leopo l d van Ranke i s mocked and rej e c ted . Acc o rd ing t o tho s e who s upp o r t sub­ j ec t ive-ideal i s t ic h i s to r iography , one need not c on s ider "naked fac t s " , b u t shou l d s e ek some th ing mor e e s s en t i a l . For theol o g ian s , tha t s ome thing "more e s s en t ial." l ie s in serving the intere s t s of the i r f a i th . Here they are ready even to l ean on au thor s who se view s have l it t l e to do with f a i th but c reat e c e r t a in po s s ib il i t ie s for apol oge t ic ma­ noeuvr ing . I t turns ou t tha t the r e are two d i f f erent k inds of h i s tory . In modern German the o l ogy they are g iven d i f ­ f e rent name s : die We Z tgesahiahte , o r worl d , s e c u l a r h i s ­ tory ; and die Hei Zige ngesahiahte , or sacred , s al va t iona l , d ivine h i s t ory . For theo logy b oth are apparent l y import­ ant , for b o th de s e rve t o b e c o n s idered h i s tory a s d i s ­ t ingu i shed f r om phenomena occurr ing i n nature . Occurr ing wel l , the mo s t impor tant thing i s t o f ind out wha t has occurred and wha t has not occurred ; in t erms of h i s tory , th i s means a s c e r t a in ing wha t has and wha t ha s not occurred at a c e r t a in t ime . But if one i s t o mix the two th ings up , one mu s t c ons true concep t s that would crea t e the p o s s ib il i ty of such mix ing . And it i s not d i f f icu l t t o th ink u p name s f o r them . The f l ex ib il ity •





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of the German l anguage , the po s s ib il i ty of u s ing in th i s l anguage not only the roo t s o f German word s but al so tho s e o f Lat in and even Greek word s can impart a nebul ou sn e s s t o d i s c ou r s e and g ive i t an aura o f b o th p s eudo-sc ience and of my s t ic i sm wh i ch b ef i t s the sub j e c t of re l ig ion . Rud o l f Bul tmann re s o r t s in th i s c a s e to the dual t e rms of die Geschichte and die Historie , u s :ng the f o rmer to d e ­ s igna te secular , wor l d h i s t o ry , and t h e l a t t e r , " sacred h i s t o ry " , o r h i s t o ry o� a h i gher and more in-depth p l ane . Ac tua l ly th i s i s no t h i s t ory , b u t s ome k ind of supra­ h i s tory . From th is p o int of v i ew there is rea l ly noth ing to d i s cu s s and no rea s on why anyth ing should be d i scu s s e d . And so i t i s not c l ear why Bu l tmann shou l d c on s ider i t nece s sary t o devo t e hund r e d s o f page s t o ana l y s ing docu­ men t s in terms of the i r h i s tor ical va lu e , and to s tudy and c ompare d i f f erent po in t s of v iew . Af ter a l l , J e s u s i s ab ove everyth ing--document s , f ac t s , h i s tory , rea s on , s en s e •







With such a s o l u t ion of the p rob l em the o l o g i c a l d i s ­ c our s e inevitab ly l o s e s i t s p s eudo-s c ient i f ic aura . Bu t th i s mu s t not b e a l l owed to happ en . To pre s e rve such an aura r e f e renc e s are mad e to Kant , Kierkegaard and other ex i s t en t ial i s t ph i l o s opher s . Beyond the wor l d of naked and c rude f ac t s , wh ich are recorded in die Geschichte , i s ano ther wor l d wh i ch cannot b e apprehended or b e the sub j ec t of s c ient if ic inqu i ry . If h i s tory , l ik e natur e , canno t b e cogn i s ed , we are not in a po s it i on t o e s t ab l i sh the real ity o r unrea l ity of any event s that are the sub j ect o f anc ient t a l e s . I t is also impo s s ib l e to revea l the ob j ec t ive s ignif icanc e of the se event s . S ince th i s i s s o , wha t f a i th and the Church t rad i t ion t e l l us ab out Chr i s t i s a l l we need to know ab ou t h i m . Th i s conc lu s ion i s mo s t ful ly devel oped in t h e work s of Bul tmann . Ph i l o s oph ical ly i t i s b a s ed on the theory of ex i s t ent ial i sm . According t o thi s theory , the pr imary e l ement �or analys i s i s no t the ob j ec t ive e s sence o f thing s , wh ich i s s ome thing mys t e r iou s , b u t only ex i s t enc e o r , more pre­ c i s e l y , man ' s exp er i en c e o f his ex i s t ence . Th i s means that wha t is important is not ob j ec t ive real ity , in th i s 203

c a s e h i s t or ical real ity , bu t only man ' s percept ion and expe r ience of th i s " r ea l ity " . Re l ig i ou s sub j ec t s shou l d b e approached i n the same way . Th ere i s n o need to in­ te rpret them ob j ec t ively . In Chr i s t ian ity only f a i th i s imp o rtant , wh i ch i s not ob j ec t if ied i n my th s . Bul tmann i s n o t adve r s e to acknowl edg ing the h i s t o ­ r ic i ty o f Chr i s t . In f a c t , he th ink s tha t there are no g round s wha t ever f o r doub t ing it and any argumen t s that cal l in qu e s t ion the h i s t or ical ex i s t ence o f Chr i s t do n o t even d e s e rve a rebu t ta l . Bul tmann i s equa l ly c erta in that Jesus f ound ed the movemen t wh i ch gave r i s e to the Chr i s t ian commun i t y in Pal e s t ine . As to the extent to wh ich th i s commun i ty wa s ab l e sub s e qu en t l y to p r e s e rve the image of Chr i s t and h i s o r i g inal teach ing , that is a l ­ t o g e ther a d i f f erent qu e s t ion . Bu t Bu l tmann i s no t par­ t icularly in tere s t ed in i t . Wha t intere s t s h im i s not J e s u s a s a h i s t o r i c a l p e r s onag e , but the f a i th in h im that emerged in the Chr i s t ian c ommun ity . For Bul tmann , wha t i s tru ly h i s t o r ical i s not the my tho l o gy c onnec t e d w i t h the name o f J e s u s or even t h e natural even t s d e sc r ib ­ e d in the Go s p e l b iog raphy o f Chr i s t , but only the keryg­ ma , or the apo s to l ic p r o c l ama t ion o f the Chr i s t ian Go s p e l . For examp l e , th i s i s how he in terpre t s Ea s t e r : " Ea s ter , s ince i t can b e cal l e d a h i s t o r ic a l event , i s noth ing e l se b u t the b irth of f a i th in the r e surr e c t e d . . . . Only the b ir th of f a ith in Ea s t er among the f ir s t d i s c ip l e s can b e regarded a s an h i s t o r ical event . 1 1 24 Al though Bu l tmann acknowl edg e s the h i s to r i c i ty of Chr i s t , he in fact avo i d s g iv in g a d irect answer t o the que s t ion o f Chr i s t ' s p e r s ona l i ty . O f c entral importanc e to Bul tmann i s no t the per s onal i ty o f Chr i s t b u t only i t s ref l e c t ion i n the Chr i s t ian f a i th . Wh i l e cons i d e r ing i t po s s ib l e that t h e o r i g inal mat e r ial , wh ich f o rmed the b a s i s f or futu re myth-mak ing , sub s e quently unde rwent rad i ­ cal change s through th e r e l igious fantasy o f the b e l i ev­ e r s , Bul tmann fa i l s to say anyth ing d e f ini te ab out the nature of tha t mat e r ial . The wo rk o f t h i s apo s t l e o f demytho l o g i s a t ion has a t t ra c t ed the wide s t a t t ent ion . Bul tmann has many f o l l ow­ e r s no t only among P ro t e s tant b u t al s o among Ca tho l ic theo l o g i an s . H i s concept ion has b ec ome part of that theo­ l o g ic a l t r end wh ich sh i f t s the ma i n empha s i s o f r e l ig ious 2 04

f a i th f rom canon ical dogma to the s en t iment s and expe ­ r ience o f the indiv idual b e l iever . Drews cha rac ter i sed th i s t r end a s app l i ed t o the p rob l em o f Chr i s tol ogy as f o l l ows : "The theo logy o f the l if e o f J e s u s came to b e replaced b y the so-cal l ed exper ient i a l the o l ogy w� i ch ma in ta in s tha t s ince the h i s t o r ic a l ex i s tence of Je su s canno t b e demon s t rated by rea s on , h i s au thent ic ity can b e perce ived intu i t ively , through inner exp e r ienc e . 11 2 5 Bu l tmann ' s views do n o t qu i t e f i t int o the f ramework of "exper i en t ial theo l o gy " , b u t they are c l o s e to i t . Bo th try t o turn away f rom h i s t o r ic a l f ac t s and carry the d i scus s ion of the who l e qu e s t ion in to the realm of keryg­ ma and i t s percept ion b y the commun ity as a who l e and e s­ pec i a l l y by the ind ividu a l b e l ieve r . Th i s trend i s obv iou s l y at odd s with the ma in dogma­ t i c pr inc i p l e s of Chr i s t i an i ty . I f it wer e p o s s ib l e to prove the h i s t o r ical ex i s t en c e o f Chr i s t and de l inea t e h i s image on the ba s i s o f t ru s twor thy h i s t o r i � a l documen t s and mat e r ial , i t i s doub t fu l that " exper ien t i a l theo l ogy " woul d have many f o l l ower s . Bu t in the ex i s t ing s i tuat ion i t is a t t ra c t ing mo re and more theol o g ian s and l aymen in­ tere s t e d in theo l o g i ca l mat t er s . Righ t and Le f t Trends in Chr i s t o l ogy For the momen t supp o r t er s o f the l e f t trend in Chr i s ­ tol ogy are coming u p aga i n s t increa s ing r e s i s tance . The f orms and the sc ope of th i s re s i s tance vary widely . A c l ear expre s s ion of ant i-mo derni sm i s the ab ove -ment ioned "No Other Go s p e l ! " movement , wh ich is wide spread in the Federal Repub l ic of Germany . Ther e , b e s id e s the pub l ica­ t ion o f b ook s and ar t ic l e s on the sub j e c t , ma s s me e t ings are h e l d at wh i ch the f o l l ower s o f the "new Go spe l " are wrathf u l l y c ondemned f o r r egard ing the "emp t y sepul cher " , the immacul a t e concep t ion and s o on merely a s e l emen t s of kerygma , and no t a s fac t s o f h i s t ory . At a ma s s mee t ing he l d in Dor tmund in March 1 9 6 6 , the v iews of Bu l tmann and h i s suppo r t e r s were said to be incomparab ly more danger­ ous than tho s e o f the German Chr i s t ian s in the 1 9 3 0 s . Th i s i s a reference to the trend in the Lutheran Church wh i ch t r ied to make Chr i s t ianity serve the in tere s t s of the H i t l e r i t e reg ime and i t s ideol ogy . I t i s n o t surpr i s ing that cons ervat ive the o l o g ians 205

shou l d make f ierce a t tacks on Bul tmann ' s concep t ion . No t without rea son they c i ted the we l l -known saying o f Luther : "He who rej ec t s s ome thing rej e c t s everyth ing . " To rej e c t s ome e l ement s o f t h e Go sp e l l egend i s t o inv i t e doub t concern ing any o ther o f i t s e l emen t s . The danger of such a devel opment i s f u l l y under s tood b y l ead ing Chr i s t ian the o l og ian s of our t ime . Modern i s t Chr i s t o l ogy i s cr i t ic i s ed and condenmed , though in a r e s t r a ined manner , a t a l l Lutheran conferen­ c e s . At the Four th Synod o f the Un i t e d Lu theran-Evange ­ l ic a l Church of Germany , wh i ch met i n the sununer o f 1 9 6 7 , much wa s s a id abo u t the need f o r " s e l f -cr i t ical s ob e rne s s " in s o l v ing the p rob l ems fac ing the Church . What Church l eader s f ear mo s t i s tha t the s i tua t ion might l ead t o the c o l l ap s e of fa i th in J e s u s Chr i s t wh i ch ha s so f ar b e en p re served among church-goers . And indeed in thi s r e spec t th ing s do not l ook very en�ourag ing . Bu t Church l eader s are no t l ay ing the b l ame f o r the dec l ine of the r e l ig ious s p i r it among the ma s s e s o n the a c t ivi t y o f modern i s t theo l o g ians . " That the churche s today are emp ty a l l the t ime , " said B i shop He int z e a t a s e s s ion o f the F our th Synod , " can hard l y be a t t r ib uted to the p reach ing o f ' another Go s p e l ' . " A much more impor tant reason , accord ing t o the b i shop , l ie s in the "many outward l y c11rr e c t but b o r ing s e rmon s and l e s ­ s on s wh i ch f a i l to interpre t and exp l a in real ity11 . 26 And the ma in th ing i s tha t " the prof ound and ever deepen ing s c ient if ic ins igh t s into and under s tand ing of the wor l d through the mas tery o f t echno l o gy a r e r a i s ing fundamen t a l ­ l y new que s t io n s , wh i ch can no l onger b e d i spo s e d of b y referr ing to trad i t ional r e l i g i o u s f ormula s " . I n c i t ing the s e wo rds a Catho l i c o b s erver mak e s th i s ra ther wi s t ­ f u l conunent : " A fami l i ar prob l em f o r the Ca tho l ic c l er­ gy ! " 2 7 Thu s , b o th the Pro t e s tant and C a tho l ic c l ergy are awa r e that in our t ime it wou l d be unw i s e to ins i s t on the ab s o l u t e truth of the Chr i s t ian dogma t ic sy s tem and i t s c en t ra l p o in t -- the h i s t o r ic i ty of Jesus Chr i s t the man-and-God . I t is for th i s r � a s on tha t "exp e r i en t ia l the o logy" i s no t condemne d outr ight even though i t come s c l o s e to deny ing the h i s to r ic i ty o f the f ounder of Chr i s ­ t iani ty . I t i s po s s ib l e tha t a s t ime goe s on the Church 206

wi l l move s t il l fur ther t oward s the " l ef t " on th i s cru­ c ial po in t o f the Chr i s t ian dogma . For the moment the Church i s taking a wa i t -and s e e a t t i tude . F rom t ime to t ime i t mak e s r ing ing s ta t e ­ ment s abo u t the f irm f oundat ions of the Chr i s t ian dogma . However , Church l ea d e r s are not do ing any th ing ab ou t tho s e the ol o g i c a l c oncep t ions that a r e unde rmin ing the s e very f ounda t ions , and even def end tho se conc e p t ions f r om e s p e ­ c ial l y viol ent at tack s . Wha t l ie s b eh ind such tac t ic s ? F ir s t , i t i s d i f f icu l t f o r the Chur ch in i t s p r e s en t po s it i on t o take any d e f ini t e dec i s ion . Second , the Church apparent l y hop e s that gradua l l y it w i l l be po s s ib le to prepare the c l ergy and the church-goe r s f o r dec i s ive change s in the dogma . The t ime may no t b e far o f f when s uch an " e l u c idat ion" w i l l b e in t r oduced in the Credo and in the dec i s ions of the Counc il of Cha l c edon in the l ight o f wh i ch J e s u s Chr i s t w i l l c ea s e to be b o th man and God , but b ec ome e i ther God o r man only . And i t wil l apparent ­ ly b e announced a t t h e s ame t ime that th i s " e l uc idat ion" doe s no t a t a l l mean that the Church ha s gone over to the po s i t i on e ither of the Monophy s i t e s or of Ar ian i sm , though in f a c t it woul d mean p re c i s el y tha t . Hans Kung on the Prob l em o f Chr i s t Father Hans Kung i s a r emarkab l e f igure i n the f i e l d o f Catho l ic theo logy . A t the a g e o f th i r ty-four he wa s a sked by Pop e John XX I I I to take par t in the wo rk o f the Second Va t i can Oecumen i ca l Counc il as an exp e r t and p e r ­ sonal adv i s o r to t h e Pope on theol o g i ca l ma t t e r s . Af t e r the Counc il Kung pub l i shed s everal vo l uminou s work s . In h i s theo log ical concep t io n s Kung , a Cathol ic pr ie s t and p ro f e s s o r a t the we l l -known Tiib ingen Un iver s ity , i s f a i r ­ ly con s i s tent : h e cal l s f o r a rad ical r enewal of b o th the the o l o g ical d o c t r ine of Catho l i c i sm and the o rgan i s a t ion o f the Church . Becaus e o f h i s uno r thodox v i ews Kiing wa s f o rb i dden by the Va t ican , under Pope John Paul I I , to t each theo logy a t Tub ingen Un iver s i ty . In a survey of the h i s to ry o f Chr i s t ianity ( in h i s book Christ sein ) Kung f inds in i t a l arge numb er o f d if ­ f erent - re l ig iou s , s o c i o -po l i t ical a n d ideo l og ical pheno ­ mena : "Centur i e s of s ma l l conmrun i t ie s f o l l owed by centu­ ries o f large o rgan i s a t ions . The per s ecu ted b ecame the 207

rul er s , and the o ther way round . The underground church b ecame the s ta t e church ; af t er the ma r tyr s under Nero c ame the cour t b i shop s under Con s tant ine . Per iods o f ami ­ t y b etween monk s and s cho l a r s a l terna t ed with p e r iod s o f ho s t i l i ty b e tween them--th o s e wer e the Church p o l i t ic i ­ ans C entu r i e s o f Papal syno d s and centur i e s o f re­ f ormi s t counc i l s a imed aga ins t the Papacy . The g o l den age of Chr i s t ian human i s t s as secul ar i s e d peop l e o f the Rena i s s ance and r e f orme r s of Church or thodoxy . Centu r i e s o f C a tho l ic and P ro t e s tant o r thodoxy and centur ie s o f evang e l ical awak en ing . A t ime o f adap tat ion and a t ime o f r e s i s tanc e . Centur i e s o f innova t ion and c en tu r ie s of re s t o r a t ion , o f doub t and o f hope 1 1 28 How shou l d we f i�d our b ear ing s in thi s ka l e ido s c op e of even t s in the 2 0 0 0 -year h i s tory of the Church ? Wha t is the mo s t impor t ­ ant , the d e t e rmining f a c t o r i n i t ? •















Unt i l recent l y , a s our d i scu s s ion on the sub j ec t ha s shown , th ere i s no c l ea r-cu t an swer to th i s que s t ion e i th e r in the t eachings o f the Church o r in the o l o g ical l it era ture . Now an answer is g iven in Kiing ' s b o ok . The d ec i s ive f a c t o r in Chr i s t ianity i s the l i ty o f J e s u s Chr i s t and no th ing e l s e . We only exp l a in wha t th i s image cons i s t s i n and w e wil l i t means to b e a Chr i s t ian . Bu t th i s turn s out d if f icul t , if n o t impo s s ib l e, ta sk .

p e r s ona­ need t o know what to b e a

Kung carefu l l y c on s iders a l l p o s s ib l e s o l u t ions to the que s t ion o f th e image o f J e s u s . Shoul d we regard Chr i s t as p i e ty per s on i f ied ? A s a dogma per s on i f ied ? As dreamer s or as men o f l e t te r s wou l d have h im b e ? There are count l e s s var ian t s o f the s e image s ; even the canon i­ cal image i s s o var ie d tha t i t b ec ome s extremely vague . It i s apparen t l y ea s ier to s ay what Chr i s t wa s no t than wha t he wa s . And Kung prove s to b e mas ter of the nega­ t ive d e f in i t ion . Thu s , Jesus wa s ne ither a pr ie s t , a the o l o g ian , a revo lu t ionary , a monk , a memb er of an order , an a s c e t ic , nor a l aw o f f icer ; he d id no t withdraw f rom the wor ld , no r d id he d ivide the wor l d in to two par t s a s the Qumran i t e s d id ; h e d id no t recogn i s e the h ierarch i cal order . Kung s trong l y den i e s tha t Chr i s t had any inter e s t in s o c ial revo lu t ion . True , Chr i s t expec t ed the imminent end of the wo rl d , but he never c ons idered it po s s ib l e tha t the worl d wou l d b e d e s troyed b y human means . He 2 08

"preached a revo l u t ion of nonv i o l enc e " , and a s h i s para l ­ l e l one may con s ider , no t Che Guevara or Cami l l o Torre s , but Gandh i and Mar t in Lu the r King (pp . 1 8 1 - 1 8 2 ) . At th i s po in t the r eader expe c t s tha t Kling woul d f inal ly s ay wha t Chr i s t wa s . But no , Kung cont inue s in h i s former ve in : " Chr i s t wa s ne ither a ph i l o sopher no r a p o l i t i c ian , ne i ­ ther a pr i e s t n o r a soc ial reformer . Wa s h e a geniu s , a hero , a s a int or a ref ormer ? Bu t wa s he not the mo s t rad ical of r e f o rmer s ? " (pp . 1 9 8 - 1 9 9 ) . H e wa s mo re mo ra l than the mo ral i s t s , mo re revo l u t ionary than the r evo lu ­ t i onar i e s . " One thing i s c lear : Je su s wa s s ome thing else ! He could not be c ompared wi th any th ing , e i ther then o r now" ( p . 2 0 3 ) . •





I t i s imp o s s ib l e to ex tra c t anyth ing f r om a l l th i s that wou l d help r e s o l ve the que s t ion o f wha t i t means t o b e a Chr i s t ian . Kung h ims e l f rea l i s e s th i s : "Al l tha t has b e en s a id thu s f a r d e l inea t e s the image of J e s u s mo re in a negat ive way " (p . 20 5 ) . In the nex t chap t e r of h i s b ook Kung addre s s e s h ims e l f to the que s t ion of how to def ine the e s s ence , the centre (die Mit te ) , of Chr i s t ' s teach­ ing . Th i s "centre " i s Chr i s t ' s pred i c t ion ab out the f o r th­ coming Kingdom of God . I t i s no t c l ear whe ther th i s k ing­ dom wi l l be e s tab l i shed in heaven or on earth . At any rate , " i t is no t a terr i to ry or a doma in of rul e it i s God ' s powe r " (p . 2 0 5 ) . Re so r t ing onc e aga in to the nega t ive def in i t ion , Kung t e l l s what the Kingdom o f God is not . " I t i s no t a temporary s overe ignty wh ich God at the b e g inning o f crea t i on gave to the h ierarch s in Jeru­ sal em I t i s n o t a r e l i g i ou s -po l i t ical theocracy or democracy s e t up by Zeal o t revo l u t i onar ie s by v io l ent means I t i s no t a court of revenge in favour of an e l i t e of perf e c t peop l e l ike the E s s ene s and Qumran i t e monk s " and s o on . Each of th e se f ormu l a s contains a po s i t ive coun t e r the s i s , b u t no th ing very def in i t e i s sa id . The who l e p o int s eems t o b e ab ou t " the approach ing K ing­ dom of God at the end o f t ime " . Bu t aga in it i s no t c l e a r whe ther th i s k ingdom wi l l b e i n heaven or o n earth . In any c a s e , in th i s k ingdom God ' s s overe ign ty w i l l b e d i­ rect , l im i t l e s s and un i ve r s al (p . 2 0 6 ) . Th i s is a rather pu z z l ing s ta t ement , f o r no re l i g ion has ever s e t l imit s to God ' s sover e ignty in the wor l d . Other "po s i t ive" p o in t s ment ioned by Kung are e qual ly lack ing in sub s tance : .















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2 09



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"The j oyful annunc iat ion of unl imi t e d good and of the b ound l e s s mercy of God . A k ingdom where thank s t o Je su s ' prayer the name o f God wi l l ind eed b e sanc t if i e d , h i s w i l l man i f e s ted ·al s o on ear th , p eop l e w i l l b e f u l l y re­ qu i t e d accord ing to the ir due , a l l f au l t s f org iven and a l l evil overcome " (p . 2 0 6 ) .



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And a t l a s t in th i s verb a l de ser t there appears an o a s i s of soc ial conten t : "A k ingdom where , accord ing t o Je sus ' p romi s e s , t h e poor , the hungry , t h e weep ing and the oppre s s ed w i l l f ina l ly b e sa t i s f ied , where suf f e r ings and death wil l d i sappear" ( p . 2 0 6 ) . However , Kung doe s no t say in wha t conc r e t e way the hungry and oppr e s s e d w i l l b e sat i s f ied . So the oas i s turns out to b e a mi rage . Kung h ims e l f r ea l i s e � tha t h i s de s c r i p t ion o f the Kingdom of Go d is no t very in t e l l i g ib l e . As he l aunche s· into ano ther d i s cu s s i on of ab s tr a c t concep t s ( "comp l e t e j u s t ic e , l imi t l e s s f r eedom , inde s truc t ib l e l ove , univer­ sal reconc i l iat ion , e ternal p eac e " ) he admi t s that " the k ingdom canno t b e de scr ib ed , but only r epre sented in image s " . And the image s are : "A new union , crops that are coming up , r ip e harve s t , a gre a t repa s t , a royal f e s ­ t iva l " (p . 2 0 6 ) . He r e the b o undary b e tween the p o s i t ive and the nega t ive fade s away , f o r ne i ther the one nor the o ther ha s any real meaning . The mo s t d i f f i cu l t que s t ion f o r Kung i s when we may exp e c t th i s d e s i r ab l e , if s o mewhat my s ter ious , Kingdom of God to appear . At f ir s t we get a l aconic , enigmat ic an­ swer : " In the ab s o lu t e fu ture " (p . 208 ) . In o ther wo rd s , an inde f in i t e per iod of t ime may e l ap s e b e f or e the King­ dom of God w i l l be e s tab l i shed . But Je s u s had f o r e t o l d tha t it would b e e s tab l i shed dur ing the l if e t ime o f h i s genera t ion . Th i s p r e d i c t ion d id no t c ome true th en and ha s rema ined unfu l f i l l e d throughou t the f o l l owing two thou sand years . Wa s Je sus mi s t aken ? With surp r i s ing f orthr ightne s s Kung admi t s that the s i tuat ion wa s a con­ fus ing one , but then p romp t l y goes in to a d i s cu s s ion of ab s t rac t i s sues f rom wh i ch i t may b e unde r s t o o d that p ious Chr i s t ians have no th ing to f ea r . To err i s human and " i f Je sus of Na zar e th we re indeed a human he cou l d al s o make mi s take s " . Th i s i s f o l l owed by a t tacks on tho s e theo l o g ian s who "are mo re a f ra i d o f mi s tak e s than s in , death and the Dev i l " (p . 208 ) . 210

S t il l , i t i s nece s s ary to conceal the f a c t tha t the f ounder of Chr i s t ianity c ou l d make mi s t ake s . Kung b e g ins a l ong c a su i s t ical d i s cu s s ion of whe ther the concep t "mi s ­ tak e " i s app l icab l e in th i s case . Fo r t h e sub j e c t here conc ern s "co smic knowl edge " , and a mi s t ake a t th i s l ev e l shoul d no t b e cons idered a s a n ord inary error . Our p la ­ ne t and mank ind h a d a b e g inning , wh i ch i s conf i rmed by sc ience , and so they mu s t have an end wh ich is no doub t connec ted with the coming of the Kingdom of God . And if th i s is so , " the concep t o f ' m i s take ' is und if f er en t iat ed and s imply inapp l icab l e in th i s contex t " (p . 2 09 ) . That i s how b l ack can b e s a i d t o b e wh i t e , aµd th e o ther way round . So , regardl e s s of whe ther Chr i s t wa s mi s t aken ab ou t the t ime when the Kingdom of Go d woul d c ome , the imp o r tant fac t is that it w i l l eventua l l y come . Th i s apparent l y wou l d mean tha t evi l , th e cause of s o much suf f er ing i n the wor l d , wil l d i sappear . Her e we a r e f aced wi th a que s ­ t ion that had alway s b een a s t umb l ing b l ock f o r theo l o g i ­ ans , and i t a l s o p reven t s Kung f rom comp l e t ing h i s theo l o ­ g i c a l ed i f i ce . The f a c t tha t there i s suf f er ing i n the wor l d is incompat ib l e wi th the doc t r ine tha t th i s wor l d wa s created by a p er f e c t Go d and tha t man ' s s ins have b een a toned for and p e o p l e s aved as a r e su l t of the advent of Je su s Chr i s t . Now , two thou sand year s l a ter , ha s l if e become any l e s s hard ? Kung admi t s that i t has not . "From the t ime o f Job to our day" man has a sked : why do I suf f e r ? I t i s a que s t ion that c a s t s doub t on the who l e doc t r ine about God and h i s d e s ign and a l s o on the dogma ab ou t man ' s redemp t ion through the suf f e r ing of Je­ sus Chr i s t . Kung has accura t e l y and po ignan t l y chara c t e ­ r i sed t h e cond i t ion o f suf f e r ing mank ind : man "cr ie s t o heaven--no , he c r i e s again s t heaven ! " (p . 4 1 9 ) . Th ings got to a po int where people dec ided tha t they mu s t t ake the ir f u ture in to the i r own hand s . In­ s t ead of rely ing an a Saviour Go d they mu s t b e c ome the ir own sav iou� and l iberator ; man , no t God , shou l d b ec ome the sub j e c t of h i s tory . Kung do e s no t l ike th i s . To h im , no techno l og ical o r s o c i o -po l i t i cal revolu t ion can save mank ind . He devo t e s qui te a numb er o f p age s in h i s b o ok (pp . 2 8 -4 7 ) to expounding the idea (wh ich he neve r th e l e s s f a i l s t o b a ck up with any convinc ing argumen t s ) that i t 21 1

i s fut i l e for peo p l e to t ry and put an end to s o c ial and o ther ev i l s . Who , then , shoul d save mank ind ? Accord ing to the Chr i s t ian dogma , it i s God ' s wi l l that Chr i s t shou l d do th i s by a s suming human form and sacr if i c ing h ims e l f . Bu t how d id th i s come ab ou t ? On thi s po int Kung h a s con s i­ derab l e doub t s . F i r s t of a l l , i t i s no t c l ear why th i s shou l d b e ne ­ c e s sary . Kung adm i t s tha t i t i s s omewhat s trange tha t the consequence s o f the o r i g inal s in shoul d b e removed thr ough the sacr if i c e of Je su s . S t . Augu s t ine and Pope Gregory the Gre a t regarded Je s u s ' death as the p r ice God the Father paid to the Dev i l . S t . An s elm o f Can t e rbury put i t in a j u r id ical f o rm : s ince a cr ime has b e en com­ mit ted , pun i shment mu s t f o l l ow . Th i s wou l d do as f ar a s anc i ent and med iaeval j ur id i c a l concep t s are concerned . Bu t then wha t ab out l ove , mercy and so on wh i ch are spoken of in the Go spe l s ? What we have here ·is no t a reve l a t ion o f d iv ine truth , but a re f l e c t ion of the fact tha t p e op l e ' s idea s a r e h i s tor i c al l y l imi ted by t h e epoch i n wh i ch they l ive . And we l ive in a d i f ferent epoch ! It turns o u t that the Chr i s t ian s o f our t ime , accord ing t o Kung , are no t ob l iged t o b e l i eve i n th i s . Y.e t Kung ins i s t s that Je s u s l ived and that the hea r t o f t h e Chr i s t ian d o c t r ine i s to b e s ough t in t h e per s o ­ na l i ty o f Chr i s t and in h i s preach ing . Bu t r e gard l e s s o f how we are t o deal w i th the f a c tual a s p e c t o f the ma t ­ ter--Kiin g h ims e l f repea tedly say s that the fac tual a sp e c t means l i t t l e t o h im--the modern b e l i ever wou l d want to know wha t exac t l y has happened t o the ob j ec t o f h i s wor ­ ship . Wha t Shoul d We Do Abo u t Je su s ' B iography ? Kung rej e c t s the dogma of the immacul a t e concep t ion . He f o rmu l a t e s h i s the s i s in a cau t iou s , roundab ou t way : " No one i s ob l iged to b e l ieve in the b io l og i c a l f a c t of the immacu l a t e concep t i on o r o f the b ir th " o f Je sus (p . 4 4 7 ) . Shoul d the Chur ch acknowl edge its error on th i s p o int ? No , says Kung , the dogma o f the immacul a t e con­ c e p t ion shou l d be g iven a " Chr i s t o l o g ical -the o l o g ic a l , no t a b io l o g ica l -on t o l o g ical interpr e t a t ion" ( p . 4 4 6 ) . The f a c t that the Go s p e l s of Ma t thew and Luke sp eak o f 212

the immacu l a t e concep t ion and b ir th o f J e s u s po s e s no d if ­ f icul ty here , f o r they a r e no t the e s s enc e , the ma in idea o f the Go s p e l t each ing . N o th ing is said ab out the imma­ cul a t e conc e p t ion in the Go s p e l s of Mark and John or in the Ep i s t l e s of Paul . I t i s al so no t nec e s s ary to keep s il en t on th i s po int . One shoul d in fact sp eak ab ou t i t , but "hone s t ly and in a d if f erent iated way " , and at the same t ime r ememb er that we need " to mark the b oundar i e s of d emytho l o g i s a t ion" (p . 44 7 ) . An d whe r e a r e the s e b oun­ dar i e s ? Kung says no th ing def ini t e on th i s que s t ion . To j udge f rom the Go s p el s , Je sus ' ac t iv i ty took two f o rms : he preached and he worked mirac l e s . One can , b y r e s o r t ing to soph i s t i cal mean s , exp l a in away the contra ­ d i c t ions in J e su s ' s e rmon s and g ive the s e s ermons a c e r ­ ta in uni t y . Th ings are more comp l i c a t ed w i th regard t o the mirac l e s . Kung repeatedly p o int s o u t that a b e l i e f i n mirac l e s i s unac cep t ab l e f o r t h e mo dern man and , shoul d the Chur ch cont inue ins i s t ing o n such a b e l ief , i t run s a grave r isk : the b e l i ever s may cease t o take the t ea ch­ ings o f the Church s e r iou s ly . Th i s " inconvenient " and "unp l e a sant " prob l em woul d somehow have to be dea l t w i th . Kung b e g in s h i s ana ly s i s of the prob l em with a f rank admi s s ion : one o f the s e c t ions in h i s b ook deal ing w i th th i s sub j e c t i s c a l l e d "Ma sk ing a D i f f icul t S i tuat ion" . The very concept of "mira c l e " i s indef in i t e and' vague , b u t th i s , says Kung somewhat iron ical ly , i s a g o o d th ing f o r theo l o g ian s ( includ ing h ims e l f ) . B y u s ing i t prop e r l y theo l o g ians have "el egant ly ma sked " t h e who l e prob l em o f the N e w Te s tament miracl e s (p . 2 1 7 ) . Kung examine s var i ­ o u s approache s to th i s prob l em and f inds a l l of them un­ sa t i s f a c to ry . Wha t d o e s Kung h ims e l f have to say on the sub j e c t ? Ac tua l l y Kung f a i l s to c ome to gr ip s w i th the prob l em and ha s no s p e c i f i c s o lut ion to o f f e r . Kung f o nnul a t e s the que s t ion in a f a ir l y s tr a i gh t ­ forward way . The Go s pe l s a r e qu i t e def i n i t e ab out the mirac l e s p e r f o rmed by J e s u s : heal ing the s i ck , ca s t ing out demons , three c a s e s of r e s tor ing the dead to l if e , and s even "natural " mira c l e s includ ing calming the w ind and s torm and chang ing wat e r into wine . There i s no th ing vague ab ou t them , and the only que s t ion is if anyone a t any t ime could have p e r f o rmed them cont rary to the l aws of natur e . For a l l the verb o s ity of Kung and other s , 213

f o r tha t mat ter , who have t r i ed to def ine the word "mi­ rac l e " , the i s sue only ge t s more c onfu.s ed ins t ead of b e ­ ing c l a r i f ied . The Go s p e l nar ra t iv e s ab out the mirac l e s p e r f o rmed by Je s u s Chr i s t a l l ow o'f only one interpre t a t i ­ on : they a r e what they a r e s a i d t o b e , name l y , d e e d s and event s wh i ch cont rad i c t the l aws of na ture . I s th i s p o s ­ s ib l e ? Kiing has n o an swer t o th i s que s t ion . Some d e ta i l s concerning the mirac l e s , says Kung , may we l l r e f l e c t wha t ac tua l l y took p l a c e . Thu s , when we cons i der the s to r i e s abou t Je sus heal ing the s ick we shoul d keep in mind the po s s ib i l i ty of p sychotherapy . For many i l lne s s e s are o f a p sychogen ic na ture and in some c a s e s p s ychotherapy cou l d indeed b e e f f e c t ive . But what about the mirac l e s which are no t connec ted with i l lne s s ­ e s ? I n that ca s e , too , s ay s Kiing , there might b e " c i r cum­ s tanc e s " · g iving r i s e to the l eg ends . For examp l e , the s tory ab out Je sus ca lming a s torm on the s ea may be b a s e d on a real inc ident i n wh i ch peop l e prayed to G o d t o s a ve them f rom drowning and the danger r e ceded by co inc idenc e . Such c o inc idenc e s c ou l d prov ide the "h i s to r ical c ir cum­ s tanc e s " tha t gave r i s e to the Go s p e l s t or i e s ab ou t the m i rac l e s performed by J e su s . But in that c a s e no th ing i s l e f t o f t h e r e l i g i ou s t each ing accord ing to wh i ch a mi ­ r a c l e i s a superna tural event tha t takes p l a c e contrary to the l aws of nature . Kung prac t ic a l l y r e j e c t s , t o o , the teach ing ab out the mo s t import ant mira c l e in the l i fe of J e s u s : h i s re­ surre c t i on . B e l ief in th i s mirac l e is central to the Chr i s t ian f a i th , f o r Sa int Paul s a i d : "And i f Chr i s t be no t r i sen , then is our preaching vain , and your f a i th is a l so vain" (I C o r inth ians 1 5 : 1 4 ) . How doe s Kiing deal wi th the d if f i cu l ty r a i sed by thi s s tatement ? Here we have a c l a s s i ca l examp l e of c a su i s t ical theo l o g ical d i scour s e wh ich is a lmo s t devo id o f all mean­ ing btit wh i ch ha s a s emb l ance no t only of p ie t y but a l s o o f prof ound th ink ing . There wa s r e surrec t ion , ye t there wa s no r e surrec t i on . And the o th e r way round : r e surre c t i­ on d i d no t take p l a c e , yet i t d id take p l ac e . What i s averred on one page i s refuted in the next , and the who l e exerc i se goe s o n f o r d o z en s o f pag e s . In German the o l o g ical l i teratu r e the even t s connec t214

ed w i th the re surrec t ion and a s cen s ion o f Chr i s t are d e ­ noted b y the wo rd Os tergeschichte , or "Ea s te r s t o ry " , and a b e l ief in Chr i s t ' s re surrec t ion is l inked with the idea of the " emp ty s epu l cher " . Kung p l ay s upon the s e not ion s , bu t in such a way tha t they are d ive s t e d of a l l mean ing . And it woul d b e qu ite c or r e c t to say tha t he ha s exc luded them f rom the Chr i s t ian dogma . He do e s th i s , however , ex treme l y " e l egan t l y " , to u s e h i s own exp re s s ion . He b e g in s by sub s t i tu t ing the conc ep t of ra i s ing f rom the d ead f or the c oncep t of re surr e c t i on . Chr i s t wa s no t re surrec ted o n h i s own ; he wa s ra i s ed f rom the dead by God . Bu t i s the "ra i s ing f r om the dead " a h i s to ­ r ical f ac t ? Kiing ' s an swe r t o th i s que s t ion may b e s een in the f o l l ow ing pas sage : " I f we con s ider the ra i s ing f rom the dead as an act of God , there can be no que s t ion o f i t s having a s t r ic t l y h i s to r ical mean ing and o f the p o s s ib il i ­ ty of e s tab l i sh ing th i s meaning w i th the help of the h i s ­ tor ical s c ience and h i s tor ical me tho ds . The ra i s ing f rom the dead i s no t a mirac l e that contrad ic t s the l aws of na­ ture and is ver i f ied b y th e inner wo rl d , that can b e l o ­ cated and da ted a s a sup ernat ural in tru s ion into space and t ime " (p . 3 38 ) . Then f o l l ows an a t tack on the sc ien­ ce s (h i s t o ry , b io l o gy and s o on , inc l ud ing theo l ogy ) , wh i ch " s ee only one a spec t of a mu l t i f a c e ted real i ty " . But if we l ook a t a l l a sp ec t s of the s t ory of the r e su r­ r e c t ion , we f ind that b o th in the c a s e o f the re surre c t i ­ o n and of ra i s ing f rom t h e d e a d " i t i s a ma t t er o f me ta­ pho r i ca l , f igura t ive t e rms " ( p . 3 39 ) . The image o f the re surre c t ion is b a sed on the idea of r i s ing , awaken ing f rom s l eep and re turn ing to a prev ious s t a t e , to an e a r th­ ly and mo r t al l if e . In the case of Je su s , however , i t i s a re surrec ted Jesus ent e r ing into a c omp l e t e ly d if f erent s ta t e wh ich i s no t ear th l y , mo rtal l if e , but some th ing e l s e a l tog e the r . To make h i s po in t Kung even u s e s a La­ t in phra s e --tota iiter a Zi ter--comp l e te l y d if f erent . But wha t i s it exac t l y ? Aga in Kiing r e s o r t s to h i s favou r i t e me thod : the r e ­ surrec t i on of Chr i s t i s no t th i s o r that , y e t i t i s th i s and tha t . I t i s "no t a phantom and neve r the l e s s i t i s no t t ang ib l e ; i t i s v i s ib l e and invi s ib l e , i t i s ma t e r ia l and imma t e r ia l ; i t i s o n th i s s ide o f t ime and spa c e and b eyond them" (p . 3 4 0 ) . G iven th i s , i t i s no t surpr i s ing to l earn tha t the r e su r r e c t ion o f Chr i s t is b o th of a 215

corporeal and an incorporeal nature . Re surrec t ion d id no t take p l ac e if b ody (der Leib ) i s "na ively interpre t­ ed" as b e ing iden t i c a l to b ody (der Karper ) " ( p . 34 0 ) . If we are to make any s en s e out of th i s , i t i s tha t the r e su r r e c t ion o f Chr i s t a s the Evange l i s t s und e r s tood i t d id not take p l a c e . Th ings do n o t wo rk ou t so we l l with the " emp ty s e ­ pu l cher" idea . Kung devo t e s many page s to t h e sub j ec t bu t neve r real ly tack l e s it d irec t ly . I t turn s out tha t the teach ing ab ou t the emp ty sepul cher i s not so imp o r t ­ a n t a f t e r a l l : " i t i s ne i ther a d ogma of the Chr i s t ian r e l i g i on , a b a s ic p r inc ip l e , nor an ob j ec t of b e l ief in Ea s t er" (p . 3 5 5 ) . Her e Kung h a s to acknowl edge tha t "h i s ­ t o r ic a l cr i t ic i sm and the natu ral s c ienc e s " , wh i ch he a t tacked earl ier , l o ok at the "emp ty sepu l cher " idea c r i ­ t ic a l l y . And he dec ide s that there i s n o need t o c ommit one se l f to "accep t ing the phy s i o l og i c a l c oncep t ion of the r e surre c t ion" . Kung dea l s w i th the o ther par t s of the Ea s ter s tory in a s im i l ar f a sh ion , in part icu lar , w i th Chr i s t ' s a s c en­ s ion a f t e r f o r ty day s of wander ing on ear th . Onc e aga in Kung f ind s room f o r mano euvr ing . Wha t i s heaven real l y ? Of cour se i t cannot b e a s even-s tory edif ice where Je su s Chr i s t is seated on the throne a t the r i ght hand of God ­ Fathe r . "The heaven of f a i th is no t the heaven of the a s t ronau t s , " says Kung . It is not a f irmament , nor is i t i n general a s pa t ia l c oncep t . I t i s "no t a p l a c e , b u t a f o rm of ex i s tenc e " . Thu s , " i t s tand s t o rea s on tha t Je­ su s d i d no t under take any t r ip in space " . He s imply went to "a my s ter io u s inv i s ib l e K ingdom of God that i s pa s t under s tand ing" , a s a re sul t o f wh i ch h e became "par t of the magnif icence of the Fathe r " ( p . 3 4 2 ) . And if we do no t a c c e p t the idea tha t the heaven to wh ich Je su s went i s a my s t e r iou s , inv i s ib l e and unfa thomab l e p l ac e , then we wi l l have s ome th ing o f wh ich there are many preceden t s i n t h e h i s tory of r e l ig ion and my tho logy . When s p eak ing of Chr is t ' s a scens ion Kung recal l s E l i j ah and Enoch of the O l d Te s t amen t and Herac l e s , Empedoc l e s . Al exander the Grea t and Appol oniu s of Tyana . Wou l d you as Chr i s t ians , Kung s e ems to a sk . b e l ieve in the se de i t i e s . too ? Bu t if we d i scard eve ry th ing f r orn th e New T e s tament ac coun t of the l i fe of Jesus exc ep t a mi s t of s ome th ing 216

ab s trac t , e l u s ive and my s t ic a l , wha t i s to nou r i sh the f a i th o f the ord inary , un s oph i st icated Chr i s t ian s ? For h i s f a i th re s t s on a conc r e t e image o f Chr i s t , one tha t i s under s tandab l e to h im . Al l tha t Kung has to o f f e r i s th i s : Jesu s l ived and , what i s mo s t impo rtan t , h e wa s c ruc if ied . In a sullUll i ng-up Kung avo id s men t ion ing the r e ­ surrec t i on and o ther fanta s t ic th ing s , and l ays t h e ma in s t re s s on the f a c t of c ru c if ix ion . Thu s , n o th ing i s l e f t of the Je su s of the New Te s ta ­ men t , o f th e Church dogma , of the F ir s t Coun c i l of N icaea and the F i r s t Counc i l o f Cons tant inop l e . And i t is c l ea r tha t Kung g o e s through such a pa infu l under taking no t ou t of any pas s ionate collUll i tment to tru thfulne s s , b u t only b ecau s e " f a i th in Ea s te r " is b ecoming increas ing ly unten­ ab l e . I t woul d b e p o s s ib l e , Kung th ink s , to ignore the m i ­ rac l es a n d t ry to recon s t ruc t t h e b io g raphy of t h e man Je s u s . There have b e en many such a t t emp t s , b u t they a l l f a i l ed . F o r " i t i s impo s s ib l e to wr it e a l if e o f Je s u s of Na zare th" ( p . 1 4 2 ) p r imar ily b e cau s e of t h e scant ine s s o f s ou r c e ma ter ial s . The only s ource i s the Go s pe l s , and it prove s to be an un t ru s twor thy one . Kung speaks r e s ­ pec t fu l l y o f the Evange l i s t s a s "o r i g ina l th e o l o g ian s " each of whom had h i s own c onc e p t i on and had n o t int ended to c omp i l e "a s tenograph ic record " . But thi s is wha t mak e s the i r inf o rma t i on unre l iab l e . The Evangel i s t s wer e "engaged" wi tne s s e s who "f rom b e g inn ing t o end t r ied to port ray Jesus in the l igh t of his r e su rrec t ion a s the Me s ­ s iah , Chr i s t , the Lord , the Son o f God " ( p . 1 4 5 ) . The i r inf o rma t ion canno t s e rve a s a ba s i s f o r wr i t ing a b iogra­ phy o f Je su s , o r even for b u i l d ing "a general ly f in i shed image o f h im , whe the r trad i t ional , specu l a t ive , l ib eral or con s i s t ent ly e s cha t o l og ic a l " (p . 1 5 1 ) . Kiing ' s d i sparag ing remark s ab out h i s t or ical verac i ty s e em to b e noth ing b u t s ou r grape s . "Re s torat ion , r e c on­ s t ruc t ion [ of h i s t o r ical t ru th--I . K. ] are the wrong wo rd s . For po s i t ivi s t h i s t o r iography it i s n ec e s sary to e s tab ­ l ish f ac t s " ( p . 1 5 1 ) , wherea s f o r the Chr i s t ian f a i th i t i s nec e s sary t o have f a ith . •





21 7

NOTE S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

A . Schwe i t z e.r , Ge sahiahte der Leben-Jesu-Forsahung , Mun ich and Hamburg , 1 9 6 6 , Vol . 2 , p . 6 2 0 . Ib i d . , p . 6 2 1 . lb id . ' p . 6 2 0 . E . Barn iko l , Das Leben Jesu der Hei l sgesahiahte , Ha l l e , ( Saal e ) , 1 9 5 3 , pp . 3 34 - 3 36 .

Der> Spiegel , 1 9 6 6 , No . 5 ,

24

89 .

Ib id . , p . 8 6 ; Ib id . , No . 1 4 , p . 1 09 . A . Drews , Die Leugnung der Gesahiaht Ziahkei t Jesu in Vergangenhe i t und Gegenwart , Kar l s ruhe , 1 9 26 , p . 1 68 ·. Ib id . , p . 8 5 . E . Barn iko l , op . c it . , p . 1 8 6 .

Die Re ligion in Gesahiahte und Gegenwart , Tub ingen , 1 9 5 9 , Vol . 3 , p . 6 23 . P . Al thau s , Der gegenwartige Stand der Fr>age naah dem histor>isahen Jesus , Mun ich , 1 9 6 0 , pp � 5 , 6 , 7 .

Der Spi ege l , 1 9 6 6 , No . 1 6 , lb id . , No



P•

88 .

14 , p • 101 •

E . Barn iko l , op . c i t . , p . 1 8 9 .

Der Spiege l , 1 9 6 6 , No . 7 ,

p.

89 .

Ib id . , No . 1 6 ' p . 7 8 . P . Al thau s , op . c it . , PP · 1 2- 1 3 . Ib id . , p . 1 2 . Ib i d . , p . 1 5 . Ib id . , p . 1 7 . Ib id . , pp . 1 7 - 1 8 . lb i d ' p •

23

p.



18 •

Der Spiege l , 1 9 6 6 , No . 1 4 ,

p.

lb id . , No • 1 6 , p • 84 • 218

92 .

25 26 27 28

A . Drews , op . c it . , p . 2 1 9 .

Herder Korrespondenz ,

1 9 6 7 , No . 8 , p . 3 1 7 .

Ib idem . H . Kung , Chri s t sein , Mun i ch , 1 9 74 , p . 1 1 3 . Fur ther on in the text r e f e renc e s t o and quo tat ions f rom Kung ' s b o ok are ind icated by page numb e r s g iven in paren the s ­ es .

IV . IN L IEU OF CONCLUS ION S ome reader s of t h i s b o ok may f eel tha t they have not b een g iven c l ea r and def in i t e answe r s to many que s t i ­ on s regard ing the p e r s ona l ity o f Chr i s t . We want to know , they w i l l . s ay , tha t h i s t ory t e l l s u s ab ou t J e su s Chr i s t , and i t tu rns ou t that in f ac t i t t el l s u s no th ing or a l ­ mo s t no thing ab ou t h im . Bu t how can th i s b e ? Af t e r a l l , the re i s a va s t l i t erature in a l l l anguag e s of the wo r l d devo ted t o th i s sub j ec t . Ye s , b u t thi s l i terature only t el l s u s ab out wha t peop l e a t d i f f erent p e r iods o f t ime h a d though t ab out J e ­ su s Chr is t , and then tho s e were l a ter p e r i o d s than the on e in wh ich J e s u s supp o s ed l y l ived . As for the h i s to r i ­ c a l ma ter ia l b e l ong ing to the p e r iod o f Jesus , we l l , we wil l have to take p o t luck , s o to sp eak . And it seems that we are no t par t icu larly lucky here . B e t t e r an "unp l e a sant " truth than a "comf o r t ing " l i e . But a s a mat t e r o f fac t there i s noth ing unp l ea s an t ab ou t acknowl e d g ing a s c ient if ical ly e s tab l i shed t ru th , j u s t as there i s no th ing comf o r t ing ab ou t rej ec t ing i t even if s ome peop l e may n o t l ike i t . In one r e s p ec t , I hope , the reader wil l no t f ind the b ook wan t ing , name l y , in an unb ia s s e d approach to the p e r ­ s ona l i t y o f Chr i s t a n d to t h e p rob l ems re l a t e d to i t .

220

The " Soc ial Sc ien c e s Today " E d i t o r ial Board o f the U S S R Academy o f Sc ience s regul a r l y ac quaint s reade r s in o ther c o un t r i e s with the l a t e s t s tud i e s by Soviet scho l a r s in va r io u s f ie l d s o f s o c i a l s c i enc e . Academic ian Pyo tr Fedo s ey ev , Vic e -Pre s i ­ dent o f the U S S R Academy o f Sc i ence s , hea d s the Ed i t o r i a l Counc i l ; Ed i t o r - in-Ch ie f --Io s if Gr igulevich , Corre s p ond­ ing Memb e r o f the USSR Ac a demy o f Sc ienc e s . Pub l ic a t ions o f the " Soc ial Sc ienc e s Today" a re i s sued in the f o l l owing s e r i e s : 1 . "PRO BLEMS OF THE C ON­ TEMPORARY WORLD " ; 2 . " SOVIET ECONOMI C S C IENCE " ; 3 . "WORLD HI STORY : S TUD I E S BY SOV I ET SCHOLARS " ; 4 . "HISTORY OF THE US S R : NEW RE SEARCH" ; 5 . "THE INTERNAT IONAL WORKING-CLAS S MOVEMENT " ; 6 . "DEVELOPING COUNTRIE S : PROBLEMS AND PER­ SPECTIVE S " ; 7 . "ORIENTAL STUD I E S IN THE U S SR" ; 8 . "PHILO­ S OPHICAL AND SOC IAL ASPECTS OF SC IENCE AND TECHNOLOGY " ; 9 . "AFRICAN STUD I ES BY S OV I E T SCHOLARS " ; 1 0 . "LAT IN AME­ RICA : STUD I E S BY SOVI ET S CHOLARS " ; 1 1 . " LAW : STUD I E S BY SOVIET S CHOLARS " ; 1 2 . " SOVI E T ETHNOGRAPHIC S TUD I E S " ; 1 3 . "RELI G I OUS STUDIE S IN THE U S SR" . They a r e prepared by t h e Ed i t o r ia l Counc i l and the E d i t o r ia l Boards o f each s e r ie s , which inc lude Sovie t scho l ars who enj oy int e rnat ional pre s t i ge , d irec to r s o f Soviet r e s earch in s t i tu t e s and e d i t o r s o f l ea d ing ac ade­ mic · j ournal s . Our pub l ica t ions enj oy a wide r eade r ship : s c ien t if ic , pub l i c and p o l i t ic a l f i gure s , un ive r s i ty an d c o l l ege l e c ­ turers and s t udent s , ac t iv i s t s i n democra t ic and na t iona l l ibera t ion movemen t s , in trade un ion s , youth and women ' s organ i sat ion s . Orde r s f o r pub l ica t ion s c an b e p l ac ed with f i rms and book s hop s handl ing Sov i e t pub l ica t ions and having bus i­ ness r e l a t ions wi th V/O "Me zhdunarodnaya Kn iga", the s o l e exporter o f Sov i e t l i teratur e . The Ed i t o r i a l Board at t rac t s your a t t ent ion to i t s pub l icat ions p l anned f o r 1 9 8 7 .

"PROBLEMS OF THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD " Se r i e s FOLLOWING THE COURSE O F ALLROUND PERFECT ION O F SOC IAL I SM ( On the Upda ted Ve r s ion o f the C P SU Programme ) ( 2 0 0 pp . ) I I I quar ter

in En g l i sh HK 86 -I I ( 2 84 )

The 2 7 th CPSU Congr e s s he l d in Feb ruary-March 1 9 8 6 i s a landma rk in t h e deve l opment o f the Sov i e t Un ion . The Congre s s adopted the upda ted ver s ion of the Par ty Pro gramme , a programme of p l anned and a l l round p e r f ec t ion of s oc ial i s m , of f ur ther advanc e of Soviet s oc ie ty to c om­ mun i sm on the b as i s o f the c o un t ry ' s ac c e lerated so c io ­ ec onomic devel opment , a pro gramme o f s t ruggle f o r peac e an d s o c ial p ro gr e s s . The autho r s o f the c o l l ec t ion--Soviet s t a t e smen , Par ­ ty f igur e s , l ead ing ph i l o s opher s , ec onomis t s , h i s t o r ians , and soc i o l o g i s t s --ana l y se the ma in prop o s i t ions o f the up­ dated ver s ion of the Pro gramme of the CPSU . SOC IAL I SM AND S C I ENCE ( 2 0 0 pp . ) in Engl ish HK 8 6 -I I ( 2 8 5 )

I I I quarter

Prepared by the a s soc iate s w i t h the In s t i t u t e o f the H i s t o ry of Na tura l Sc i enc e and Tec hno l o gy , U S S R AS , and t imed f or the 7 0 th ann iver sary of the Grea t Oc tob e r S o ­ c ia l i s t Revo l u t ion , the c o l l ec t ion c on s id e r s va r io u s a s ­ pec t s o f sc ienc e deve lopmen t und er s oc ia l i sm . The v ic to ­ ry o f the Grea t Oc t ob e r Revo lut ion ha s b o o s te d sc ien t if ic r e s earch in thi s coun try , b l ended it with the na t ion ' s l i f e and wo rk and w i th the s o l u t ion of the prob lems o f s o ­ c ial i s t construc t ion . The c o l l ec t ion o f f e r s a sweep in g panorama o f t h e p r o s p ec t s o f Sov i e t sc ien t i f ic deve l o p ­ ment , l ook s a t t h e achi evemen t s i n mo s t impor tant areas o f knowledge . US IDEOLOGICAL EXPANS ION ( 2 00 pp . ) I qua r t e r

in Eng l i sh HK 8 5 - I I ( 2 9 2 )

T h e ide o l o g � c a l expan s ion of the U SA , wh ich b ecame part ic ularly int ens ive af ter the Sec ond Wo r l d War , i s an inte gra l part o f Wa s h in gton ' s f ore i gn p o l icy whic h ha s a s s ume d the charac t e r o f s tate terro r i sm and s e rves the inter e s t s of the mo s t a ggre s s ive imp er ial i s t c irc l e s . 22 2

The autho r s --scho lars f rom the In s t i t u t e o f US and Cana­ d ian S t ud ie s , U S S R AS--show the evo lut ion o f the ide o l o ­ g i c a l f o undat ion s o f th i s p o l icy , reve a l i t s c la s s e s s enc e and pernic ious e f fec t on t he peop l e s o f the wo r l d , expo s e the ant i -c ommun i s t and ant i -Sovie t max ims o f Wa s h in g t on , in p ar t ic ular , the n o t o r ious "cru sade " a ga in s t the U S S R and t h e s o c ia l i s t commun ity . Al so shown are the long­ t e rm s o c io-p o l it ic a l goa l s o f the US ide o l o gical and pro­ pa ganda c amp a i gn s . " SOV IET ECONOMIC S C I ENCE" S e r i e s THE U S S R : ACCELERATION OF SOC IO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ( 1 8 0 pp . ) in En gl i s h HK 8 6 - I I ( 2 8 1 )

I I I qua r t e r

T h e c o l l ec t ion ' s autho r s --scho l a r s o f the l ea d in g economic e s tab l i shmen t s o f the USSR AS--c on s ider the mo s t impor t an t p o in t s o f the ma in guide l in e s o f the economic and s o c ial deve lopmen t o f the U S S R , wh ich were ado p t e d by th� 2 7 th CPSU Congres s , show the nove l ty and l a r ge s c a l e o f t h e t as k s fac ing Soviet soc i e t y . Ma in at t ent ion i s focus s e d o n the me tho d s and way s o f ac c e l erat ing the c o un ­ t ry ' s s o c i o -ec onomic deve lopmen t --the s t r at e g ic c ou r s e o f t he CPSU a imed a t t h e qua l i ta t ive tran s f o rmat ion o f a l l spher e s o f l i f e i n Soviet s oc i ety . SC IENT I F I C AND TECHNICAL PROGRE S S AND SOCIAL I ST SOCI ETY ( 1 80 pp . ) in En g l i sh HK 8 6 - I I ( 2 7 9 )

IV qua r t e r

Sc i en t i f ic and t e chn ical pro gre s s i s the b a s i s o f the in tens ive deve l opmen t o f the Soviet economy and i t s ma in l ever of increa s in g produc t ion e f f ic iency . The ac c e l era­ t ion o f sc i en t i f ic and t e c hn i ca l progre s s i s a c a r d inal prob l em o f the CPSU ' s e c onomic s tr a t e gy . The c o l l e c t ion c onta in s a r t ic l e s o f b o th a me thodo l o g ic a l and a prac t ic a l order h ighl ight in g va r io u s a spec t s o f the prob l em�

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In t h i s work t h e p rominent S o v i e t e xp e r t in r e l i g iou s mat t e r s I . Kryve l e v , D . Sc . ( Ph i l o s . ) , d i s c u s s e s t h e p e r s onal ity o f Chr i s t in the h i s t o r ic a l a s p e c t f rom t wo po int s of view : ( 1 ) t h e d ive r s ity and c on t r ad ic t o r ine s s o f Chr i s t ' s image i n va r iou s in t erpre t a t i on s , and t h e s o c i o -c l a s s c on t en t o f h i s t e ac h in g ; (2 ) the h i s t o r ic a l and my t h i c a l n a t u r e o f the p e r s onal i t y o f Chr i s t . A U a t t emp t is made t o b l end t hem i n t o a s in g l e . ima ge , wh i c h neve r ­ t he l e s s r ema in s ex t r eme l y d ive r s e a n d c on t r a ­ d i c t o ry . The author a p p r o ac h e s the p r ob l em f rom t h e Marx i s t -Len in i s t p o s i t ion s , p r oc e e d ­ i n g f r om t h e f a c t that t he q ue s t ion i t s e l f i s a h i s t o r ic a l o n e au d s hou l d b e dec ided indepen­ d en t ly o f any p re j ud ic e s , .an d in the l i ght of s c i en t i f ic sourc e s and ma t e r ia l s ava i l ab l e .