Saturday, July 5, 2008

Jesus, a Jew of His Time

An article in the NYT tells about an inscription on a stone from 2000-some years ago that casts new light on the life of Jesus. The idea, as I understand it, is that Jesus fit into the Jewish society of his day even more than previously suspected.

Makes sense to me.


Lydia McGrew said...

It would be more interesting if they'd give the actual text with various possible translations rather than all of these relatively free-floating speculations. The whole thing looks speculative to me *any way you slice it*, whether as "helpful" to Christianity (as supporting the early dating of the gospels) or as "harmful" (as somehow supporting the view that Jesus just "picked up on" an idea that was already going around). Knohl strikes me as the guy who is trying to go the farthest and be the most speculative. I notice the more cautious scholars saying, "Um, there are a lot of words missing here."

So I think we're lacking a lot of data here until the text is made available.

Anonymous said...


Ya know what? There may not have even been such as man as today's "faithful" call Jesus.

You're just assuming he exists.

No proof on the ground.

Let alone, this guy supposedly had G-d as his father, somehow embedding seed into his mom. Doesn't sound like a Jewish story that would have been belived "then." Even though centuries later, it got believed among people who couldn't read or write.


"Later" involved the Dark Ages. Where what the Romans knew died off. And, got replaced by savagry.

And, then? The business of "the Church" was to legitimize kings, queens, princesses. And, assorted aristocracy. (Who owned the lands and the wealth). And, peasants worked for free.

If you've ever seen Peter Pan, you'd know that Disney posits a "wish" on the audience. So that you, too, can yup-it-up for Tinkerbell.

Doesn't make Tinkerbell a reality, either.

Plus, here you've got this story about Herod's Temple (which was a Roman "fixer-upper." Where the Romans had been planning to switch the ground to provide a temple for one of their gods) ... only to have these plans go awry.

Herod was no friend of the Jews. Even if he was one! He was the one stinker the Romans could use ... like a Russian policeman. On the take. (Wink. Wink.)

As to Jesus, they say he said "Pay off the Romans!" Give onto them, their blackmail payments.

So, slow down. This doesn't sound like a discussion a real God would have with his son; if the two of them could talk. Because God would (wink, wink), tell his son that the Romans were going to be Kaput.

How long? Longer, in terms of the passage of time, than anything you can time with a watch. (400 years.)

But God doesn't wear a watch.

And, we know from Einstein, TIME in the universe is really relative.

If you were going to have a son, wouldn't you want your son to be as bright as Einstein? How come you're getting away with one who may have been illiterate. I kid you not! Because the man called Jesus didn't leave a single scrap of paper with a thought written on it. How come?

Anyway, the world's 2000 years, plus, past this event. And, we know a couple of more things, now. Including that with all the rabbinic study put on the various segments of Torah, not one Jew has come up with the license that would provide for the birth of someone "not of this world." Nor do dead people, awake, or arise, after 3 days. Even, now. With refrigeration. You couldn't pull this trick off.

As to the stone that was found ... Yes. It would be interesting. But it has gaps. And, what it says is not for contemporary eyes. It was written down (to show you how important writing was "even back then when") ... And, yes. While we no longer go about looking for Messianic messages ...

It stands to reason why Da Vinci would paint Jesus, drinking (at the last supper), from the Messiah's cup. Because paintings, too, are stories. And, that one, in the stroke of a brush, gets across to believers he was who he said he was.

Or? Where's the Marlboro Man when you need a good analogy?

For the West, we've stopped killing each other over these stories. But so far? The rest of the world hasn't quite caught up.

On the other hand? Ancient Hebrew script. Recognizable today. And, the Jewish People have a home in Israel. Like the Phoenix, risen from ashes.

Unknown said...

I would submit that this "ancient tablet" is probably another sensationalist scam, as is clearly indicated by the facts

(1) that no specific information (apart from a vague 3rd-party rumor) is available on its provenance and

(2) that no details are provided on carbon dating of the ink.

As such, this "news" brings to mind the faked Lost-Tomb-of-Jesus "documentary" designed to make a profit off of people's fascination with the "real" Jesus, as well as the larger scandal of the biased and misleading way the Dead Sea scrolls are being presented in museum exhibits around the world, with an antisemitic expression appearing on a government-run North Carolina museum's website. See, e.g.,


Anonymous said...


Since I haven't studied the science of ink. Nor can I date things by studying their carbon components, I'll steer clear of commenting on this rock. Except to say, the hand of God, it's not.

That there were messianic cult worshippers back "then?" Why not? You think everyone was Hellenistic; and happy to race around in the nude? I'm sure cults aren't a new-new thing. But were always rearing up their heads.

That the rock survives? Why not. It's a rock. That the ink didn't fall off? Well, there are cave paintings going back 10,000 years. And, what's "novel" about them? (Besides that they stayed put.) In those caves, it turns out the acoustics were at their best, just where the paintings were made.

So, sure. If you can have fossil bones, who am I to say this particular rock is a fraud? Nope.

Let the scientists sort through the evidence.

On the other hand?

Even as we talk of an individual named Jesus; what got written down began to get written down starting 70 years after he died. Or "he was resurrected" ... but the evidence is scant.

Imagine being snookered by a myth?

One of the things you could get from this stone; if it's verified as old enough, and not a fraud ... is that prior to the beginning of the Mother Church's myth making machinery ... you'll find anticedents. Let alone, a rock that survived! Discussing the process whereby something "could happen in the future" ... that would meet the claims people were looking to find? In other words?

If you asked yourselves did ancient Jews talk of a Messiah? Oh, yes.

Did Jews at any time say that Jesus was that contact person? No.

Let alone that the name Jesus is Greek. And that's not what the boychick was named when he was born. More likely? Yehoshua. Or, if it was to make you laugh? Yitzchak. But then Mary would have had to have been 90 years old.

One thing of which you need not worry. When it comes to faith. There's no proof you need to believe what you want to believe.

It's not science! Only in science would a proof disprove another theory. Like gravity. Which works for us. Because we're special. But just like TIME, the other thing Einstein mathematically proved; it's all relative to distance.

Not to be confused with religion. Or we'd all pray by spouting mathematical formulas.

By the way, before there was Noah, there was Gilgamesh.

And, from the earliest of times, some humans enjoyed a very good story. Or two.

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