Reflections on the Christ Myth, part 1: What Is Christianity?
by Revilo P. Oliver
CHRISTIANITY IS a fusion of two myths. The Jesus myth requires no explication. It is clear that the stories collected in the “New Testament” are versions of a folk-tale formed, like the legend of Robin Hood, by the accretion around a central figure of episodes in the careers of a number of minor figures. The Jesus of that legend was a composite formed from tales about Jesus ben Ananias (1), Jesus ben Pandera (2), the agitator, whose name may have been Jesus, who led a party of his followers into Jerusalem during the celebration of the Passover and was well received by the populace, but soon suppressed, and Judas the Gaulanite (3). And it is possible, of course, that there was an otherwise forgotten Jesus who also tried to start a Jewish revolt against civilized rule and paid the penalty. The composite Jesus was, of course, a would-be christ and interested only in his own barbarous people. The stories in the “New Testament” have been embellished by Christians, and that is what is remarkable.
The Christ myth is puzzling, an historical problem that is still unsolved. Indeed, if considered a priori as an historical phenomenon, it is astounding. The Jesus of the composite legend was a would-be christ, who anticipates the basic doctrine of the Talmud, that Jews are a unique form of life, vastly superior to all other peoples, who, at best, if totally submissive to God’s People, may aspire to the status of dogs. He boasts that he brings not peace, but a sword, so he probably wanted to rouse the Jews scattered throughout the world as well as those in Palestine to start slaughtering the civilized peoples, as did his successors in the great Jewish Conspiracy of 117. Yet this implacable enemy of the Aryans was transformed by the Christ myth into a god that Aryans worshipped!
The Jews, naturally and, from their standpoint, reasonably, hate all Aryans, but they feel a specially intense hatred for Aryans who are so intelligent and manly that they resent being herded and fleeced by their Jewish shepherds and refuse to believe in the enormous racial superiority that entitles Jews to own the entire planet. When the Germans tried to have a country of their own, international Jewry sent against Germany their stupid British hounds and eventually their rabid American mastiffs, who obediently and foully murdered the German leaders to prove to the world that resistance to God’s People is an unforgivable sin that is punished by torture and death. That we all know.
Now, if, in the coming century, say by the year 2100, the Jews begin to venerate Hermann Goering or Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher as their divinely inspired Saviour and worship him as a Son of God and an incarnation of their Yahweh, that would be astounding, wouldn’t it? Yes, but not more incredible than the transformation of a Jewish christ into a Saviour of Aryans and a god. It is to solve this historical paradox that Nicholas Carter has written his new book, The Christ Myth (4). Mr. Carter will be remembered for his excellent book, The Late Great Book, the Bible (5), in which he reached and enforced the conclusion that “the establishment of Christianity in the West represents one of the greatest tragedies that has ever befallen the human race.”
He persuasively finds the key to the paradoxical enigma in the effect of Greek civilization on the barbarous Jews. It will be necessary, therefore, to begin with the sixth century BC. As we all know, Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, showed great favor to the Jews, probably to recompense their work in subverting the Babylonian Empire and betraying the city of Babylon into his hands.
The Jews so needed his protection that they flattered him by calling him their “christ” (6), i.e., a being divinely sent and inspired by Yah to save his people. Soon after 538 B.C., Cyrus rewarded them (as the British were to do much later) by giving them permission to take over for themselves a part of Palestine. Soon after they were established in Jerusalem, a contingent of wealthy Jews from Babylon undertook a drastic reformation of their tribal religion. They eliminated their goddess and three other gods, and recognized Yah (or Ya’u), a god they had taken over from the Canaanites, as the patron god of their race. (7)
To be continued.
1. The obvious source of at least the “prophecy” about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. We cannot be certain about the doctrine for which the Sanhedrin tried to persuade the Roman governor to consent to his crucifixion, but after the governor released him, he became a prophet of disaster until he was appropriately killed by a Roman missile during the siege of Jerusalem in 59-60.
2. The probable source of at least part of the story about a crucifixion and resurrection. The tradition about him, which was known to Celsus before the year 180, probably had an historical basis in the career of a Jewish goës who won, and then lost, the favor of Queen Alexandra Helene (Salome), the widow of Alexander Jannaeus, c. 70 BC.
3. See Josephus, Antiquitates, XVII, 4; XX, 102.
4. Originally published by Historical Review Press.
5. Historical Review Press, as above.
6. A crucial text is quoted in Liberty Bell, September 1993, p. 6, n. 9.
7. Conclusive evidence about the earlier form of the Jews’ religion is provided by documents from the Jewish colony at Elephantine, an island in the Nile below the First Cataract, now submerged by the Aswan Dam. The Jews of that colony believed themselves perfectly orthodox in worshiping their five gods, including Yah’s consort, ‘Anath. The documents were edited and translated by A.E. Cowley of Magdalen College (Oxford) in his fundamental book, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth century BC (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1923). For a learned but frantic and at times ludicrous attempt to explain away the evidence, see Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine (University of California Press, 1968).
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