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Sir Colin Humphreys—The Mystery of the Last Supper

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Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, desperately Christian!

Desperately Christian!

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, the Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, is a metallurgist and materials scientist who claims in a book, The Mystery of the Last Supper, to have solved what F F Bruce once hyped as “the thorniest problem in the New Testament”. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke say that the Last Supper coincided with Jewish Passover, a Thursday, while John claims it was the day before, a Wednesday. Astronomical data, textual research and the emergence of a miraculously ancient Jewish calendar handed down by none other than Moses have convinced this Cambridge academic that Christ was actually crucified on 1 April, 33 AD—the greatest April Fool’s day of all time.

Humphreys says we can use “science and the gospels hand in hand” to prove that there is no contradiction in the two Last Supper days. His answer is a different calendar, but that is far from a new idea. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls various scholars have realized that the Essenes of Qumran, assuming that the scrolls are theirs, used a solar calendar different from the lunar-solar one used by the Jewish temple authorities. Since there is a mass of evidence that suggests that Christ was an Essene by culture, it seems quite likely that the apparent difference in the day when the Last Supper was held in the Synoptic Gospels and John offered a likely solution to F F Bruce’s thorny problem. Arguments were put forward in The Hidden Jesus, and on the AW! website, addressing questions like these, and the date of the crucifixion—which was actually in 21 AD! Even the pope in 2007, was ready to believe Jesus may have followed the solar calendar of the Qumran community. Humphreys says:

The problem with this is that under that system Passover would have fallen a week later, after both the Last Supper and Christ’s death

It seems that Humphreys knows details of the Essene solar calendar unknown to mortals. But then he is a Christian, and Christians have the gift of sudden certainty! Whatever suits their interpretation of their Christian belief system suddenly becomes certain! The Essene calendar turns out to be no use, so can certainly be discarded, the great scientist has decided. Instead, he suggests for the first time that another calendar was also in use, making three in use simultaneously!

The official Jewish calendar at the time of Jesus’ death seems to have been the one still used by Jews today, a lunar system in which days run from sunset to sunset. This was the calendar brought in by the Persians who colonized Yehud from Babylon in the fifth century BC. Working out quite how the Essenes and the Temple worshipping Jews managed to co-ordinate their lives when they had a calendar each is hard enough, but now a third one has emerged, it is getting rather silly.

Sillier still, Humphreys thinks it was “adapted from Egyptian usage at the time of Moses”. The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament says God instructed Moses and Aaron to start their year at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. Humphreys argues that this system would have been an adaptation of a lunar calendar used by the Egyptians, in which the start of the year was changed to be in the spring, and conveniently it dates Passover in 33 AD to the Wednesday of Holy Week, already decided upon by Humphreys and his chum, Oxford astrophysicist, Graeme Waddington, in 1983. This then identified the date of Jesus’s crucifixion as the morning of Friday, 3 April 33 AD, which has since been widely accepted by Christians. If Jesus died on 3 April, the standard Jewish calendar of 33 AD would have placed his crucifixion on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. The Passover meal, however, falls on the 15th, supporting John’s account, but not those of the other gospels.

Plainly, this is God at work. It is a miracle. A calendar was handed down in a mythical story by a mythical being around 1300 BC, and suddenly pops up being used by the reincarnated God and his chums in the very week of his death just as he was about to cross into the promised land of God’s kingdom. Who could fail to be a Christian now?

It seems that by choosing the Wednesday of the Passover, Jesus was identifying himself with Moses. He then died on Nisan 14th, just as the Passover lambs were being slain according to the official Jewish calendar as well. Humphreys says with Christian assurance:

These are deep, powerful symbolisms and through the use of this calendar they can be based on objective, historical evidence.

So this is objective historical evidence of a mythical man, the preservation of a calendar over the astonishingly long time of a thousand years by illiterate slaves, who gave rise to a mythical empire, mythical kings, and then disappeared with scarcely a trace for hundreds of years before turning up in Persia! Professor Humphreys is a scientist and ought indeed to be capable of objective work, but he is first and foremost a Christian, a man brought up as a young earth creationist who confessed he was shocked to learn, only at university, that the earth was not young! He was chairman of Christians in Science from 1994-2001, and is associated with the Templeton Foundation.

Of course, all his best chums and coreligionists support him in his skulduggery. Alan Millard of Liverpool University gurgles:

By linking scientific knowledge with biblical study, Colin Humphreys gives a welcome demonstration of a way apparent contradictions in the gospel texts may be reconciled.

That is obviously so, were it true. Another chum and coreligionist, Hugh G M Williamson of Oxford University says these…

…suggestions are likely to have a significant impact both on scholarly appraisal and on the regular Christian appreciation of these climactic events of the faith.

Ah! This is more like it. Nothing here to do with scientific knowledge, objective or historical evidence, just an appreciation of these climactic events of faith.

No doubt professor Humphreys will get a Templeton prize for this, but many things remain puzzling, not least how a mythical being, Moses, was able to devise a calendar that was still in use 1500 years after his nominal lifetime—a double miracle to begin with. What is it about religions that saps people’s brains and sucks away any principles they ought to have had? Didn’t Humphreys think any lessons were worth taking from his discovery that the earth was not 6000 years young, and the author of Genesis was wrong. Christians think it is God, don’t they? Suddenly, they have to help the poor old chap out. He is a bit old, after all!

Science, as yet, has no way of turning myth into objective truth and history, so Humphreys’ theory can only be bunkum. The book, in short, cannot be worth reading. Even so, to help you make up your own mind, here are the chapter headings:

  1. Three mysteries of the last week of Jesus
  2. Dating the crucifixion – the first clues
  3. The problem of the last supper
  4. Can we reconstruct the Jewish calendar at the time of Christ?
  5. The date of the crucifixion
  6. The moon will be turned to blood
  7. The Passover puzzle and the calendar of Moses
  8. Did Jesus use the solar Passover calendar of Qumran?
  9. The date of the last supper: the hidden clue in the synoptic gospels
  10. Was the Moses calendar used in Israel at the time of Jesus?
  11. The Galilean Passover and the date of the last supper
  12. From the last supper to the crucifixion
  13. The last days of Jesus: an overview
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Written by mikemagee

19 April, 2011 at 1:54 am

22 Responses

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  1. […] Sir Colin Humphreys—The Mystery of the Last Supper « Magi Mike's Blog […]

  2. One might wonder why a scientist would base his insights on evidence from a book that has been censored so thoroughly in the first place.

    jan riemersma

    21 April, 2011 at 9:01 am

  3. sier collins misses it the last supper was tuesday the crucifiction on wednsday three days in the grave thurs fri sat the ressurection on sunday cmon its so easy the word and math dont lie

    jay kresses

    24 April, 2011 at 1:49 am

    • Jay, you are very close. The Jewish day begins at 6 PM. Wednesday starts Tuesday 6 PM and ends 6 PM Wednesday. “The evening and the morning were the first day.” The Jewish Sabbath begins Friday 6 PM. Therefore the Resurrection was Saturday 6 PM. Matt 28:1 states “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” The first day of the week starts Saturday 6 PM on the Jewish calendar.

      David Larsen

      24 April, 2011 at 2:14 am

  4. This innocuous relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene has been ballooned into a full grown scandal after Dan Brown published his fiction, ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ It is indeed a fiction and not intended as a historical account, and perverts have been attempting to tarnish the squeaky-clean image of Jesus. Probably, they don’t know the meaning of ‘fiction.’ Fiction means ‘imaginary.’ Dan Brown in his fiction gives an imaginary interpretation of the figure at the right hand of Jesus in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting ‘The Last Supper,’ But we know from history that there is no secret code in the paining. Leonardo drew the figure of John and placed him at the right hand of Jesus. Dan Brown claims a secret code in the painting, but any fool will know that there is no secret code. How could there be a secret code? Jesus and Leonardo da Vinci were not contemporaries and how could he know the secret of Jesus? Jesus was a Palestinian born in 1st century AD in the village of Bethlehem and Leonardo was an Italian born in 1452 in the village of Vinci. How could he know the secret of Jesus? And what is more, Leonardo was a pious Christian who would never commit the sin of scandalizing an immaculate Jesus. He used to pray at the church of Milan before beginning to paint religious themes. Leonardo wanted to honor and glorify Jesus by producing magnificent and splendid paintings.
    Mary Magdalene was miraculously freed by Jesus when He drove seven demons out of her. In modern psychiatry, possession of seven demons is called multiple personality. It may also be classified chronic schizophrenia and only those who suffer from this disorder know the mental torture and pain. No wonder Mary Magdalene thanked Jesus when she was delivered from the agony of this psychotic disorder.
    The impeccable life of Jesus demonstrates his purity, chastity and moral uprightness. Jesus said: “I tell you that if anyone looks at a woman and wants to sin sexually with her, in his mind he has already done that sin with the woman. If your right eye causes you to sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell.”
    Leonardo’s The Last Supper shows Jesus and His disciples at the dining table. The Last Supper was a mural (a painting on a wall), done in a monastery in Milan. It was not an oil painting, but was done in tempera, a kind of watercolor. Unlike many of the great paintings of hundreds of years ago, ‘The Last Supper’ has not lasted. It has chipped and faded away, and during World War II the monastery was hit by a bomb. Mussolini was deeply engaged in the war and the painting was left exposed to rain and wind for nearly three years. That was the fate of the original painting. But there is a famous copy of the painting in the Louvre, in Paris. The painting clearly reveals that the person seated next to Jesus is his beloved disciple, John. Anticipating idiots like Dan Brown, da Vinci was wise enough to inscribe the names of the disciples seated with Jesus on the border of the long tablecloth, and the person seated at the right hand of Jesus is shown as JOHN. Is it not foolish to claim a secret code when Leonardo was born after 1452 years after the birth of Jesus? Only lunatics will believe!

    A.Yeshuratnam

    15 July, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    • All that you so passionately write, Mr Yeshuratnam, does not seem to have much to do with the subject of the essay, which is the date of the last supper. You emphasize that Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code is a novel, but you treat it as if it were as serious as a scholarly paper. It is indeed fiction, a novel, it is imaginative. Novels can be based on history when they are called historical novels, but they do not pretend to be history. The bible is just like that. It s based on a certain amount of history but it is not history. Biblical scholars will tell you it was written to persuade people to adopt and believe particular religions, Judaism and Christianity, so it is not even objective. So you are quite right to write, “only lunatics will believe” that the bible is meant to be historical.

      Mike Magee

      16 July, 2011 at 1:27 am

  5. Who said Moses was a mythical figure. He was the adopted son of Queen Hatshepsut and was literate at least in Egyptian to start with.

    Sue

    26 July, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    • Where did you get that gem? From the bible? Or the Da Vinci Code? Either way, it is fiction.

      Mike Magee

      27 July, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  6. Mr Magee suggests that this book ‘cannot be worth reading’ indicating that he has not read it. It might be an idea before he traduces it, to at least read it with something approaching an open mind. The arrogant dogmatism of the new anti-Christians who claim that they have the backing of ‘science’ and therefore must be right about everything is disturbing. Colin Humphreys actually explains a large number of apparent inconsistencies in the New Testament. People like Robin Lane Fox, and I expect Mr Magee, have used these inconsistencies for years to discredit the biblical account of the death of Jesus. I can’t see them apologising or retracting their earlier opinions. Instead the Magees of this world resort to abuse and indulge in unlikely assertions about the fictional nature of Moses.

    Malcolm Rees

    16 December, 2011 at 9:35 am

    • A book review is meant to help you decide whether a book is worth reading. This one plainly isn’t, unless you want to bolster your Christian beliefs, and that can only mean you haven’t much faith anyway, so you’d be better off bolstering your skepticism.

      I emphasized here that the conclusions of Humphreys’ book miraculously fit in with his much earlier conclusions, even though these new ones are based on a calendar handed down by a mythical man over 1000 years earlier. That is sufficient reason to put this on a par with the Da Vinci Code.Some Christian scholars do try to be honest. I prefer to read what they have to say.

      I note you think it an “unlikely assertion” that Moses is fictional. Merely “unlikely”, not “false”? Maybe you have taken a half step towards skepticism. More is known about Robin Hood than Moses. No one could believe any of the bible were it not fear of losing supernatural “rewards” and suffering supernatural “punishments” instead. It is spiritual blackmail, Mr Rees, and, as it seems you have an address at the University of Buckingham, and therefore presumably some position there, you ought to be less gullible.

      Mike Magee

      16 December, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      • I notice that Mr Magee has still not bothered to read this book. I am aware that many reviewers of books do the same, but I should have more confidence in the value of his opinion about whether a book is worth reading if he had managed to read it himself.

        ‘No one could believe any of the bible were it not fear of losing supernatural rewards and suffering supernatural punishments instead’. I take it from this fantastical statement that the bible is yet another of the books that Mr Magee has not read. So it was all fiction was it? Was there ever a Jewish people? Were the Israelites never slaves in Egypt. Did they never conquer Canaan? Were they never exiled to Babylon? Did they never return? Was Jesus just a story cooked up by those lying and credulous early Christians? Were there no acts of the apostles?

        As for his remarks about Robin Hood, we do know that he is almost certainly entirely fictional because there are no contemporary records about him.

        And if I fail to come up to Mr Magee’s elevated academic standards so be it.

        Malcolm Rees

        Malcolm Rees

        22 December, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  7. Well, Mr Rees, the sarcasm in your phrase “Mr Magee’s elevated academic standards” is unmistakable, but it recognizes that I have standards! Not all of us do, frauds, careerists, opportunists and sociopaths do not. Oh, and many Christians too. My standards are scientific and objective, standards that are far too demanding for frauds, sociopaths… etc, and the Christians among them. Subjectivity suits their personal morality. It avoids being contradicted.

    As for books, children and young people, before they learn discernment, will read anything, just as they believe in Santa Claus, wizards and witches, and ghosts and gods. But mainly they mature, they grow out of believing fairy tales. I have reached there, but you evidently have not. So, there are books that I do not read today. I have read enough of their kind to know not to waste my time on them. I discard books on Atlantis, the visits of prehistoric space gods, books about boy wizards, fairies, and disembodied minds, comic books, books about trivia, books by dishonest fakers, books by “Dr” Gillian McKeith, etc. I really do not feel I have to justify myself for not reading such stuff. It is not worth reading, and my judgement on the book under discussion is the same. Moreover, I explain some of the reasons why. You evidently disagree, thereby telling us something about your standards, elevated or otherwise.

    “‘No one could believe any of the bible were it not fear of losing supernatural rewards and suffering supernatural punishments instead’. I take it from this fantastical statement that the bible is yet another of the books that Mr Magee has not read. So it was all fiction was it? Was there ever a Jewish people? Were the Israelites never slaves in Egypt. Did they never conquer Canaan? Were they never exiled to Babylon? Did they never return? Was Jesus just a story cooked up by those lying and credulous early Christians? Were there no acts of the apostles?”

    And I take it that you dispute what I said in the line you quoted. Christians then have no interest in the supernatural rewards and punishments to which I allude! That is fantastical, Mr Rees. It makes me wonder whether you can distinguish reality from fantasy. Moreover, I cannot comprehend how your conclusion follows from your premise. Quite the opposite. If you are willing to read anything other than your biblical romances, you might read more of the pages in which the types of question you put as a sort of impatient bludgeon are answered.

    In brief 1. Fiction? — mostly; 2. Jews? — I believe there are Jews around today; 3. Israelite slaves? — odd ones, doubtless, but the Exodus and Moses are fiction; 4. Conquest of Canaan? — fiction; 5. Exiled to Babylon? — Judahites, yes, but where no one knows (Babylon was an empire not just its capital city), Jews, no, Judaism began with Ezra; 6. Return? — no, it was a deportation of Mesopotamians from the borders of modern Syria and Turkey (Harran); 7. Jesus a fiction? — possible, but not in my view, he was historical, but his godliness was embellished as you suggest; 8. Acts of the apostles? — Of course, there is the book by that name, but as to actual acts, even the biblical account only tells of the acts of two apostles, Peter and Paul. These are not entirely historical, any more than the bible generally is. Honest Christians accept that a book written with the purpose of convincing readers to convert cannot be truly historical. The bible is not. The extrabiblical lives of the apostles are legends. Christianity was mainly spread by unknown Hellenized Jews.

    You accept Robin Hood is “almost certainly entirely fictional because there are no contemporary records about him”. Just like XXXXX in the bible (insert for XXXXX the biblical character’s name of your choice)! You are improving.

    Mike Magee

    22 December, 2011 at 11:01 pm

  8. I used to read & better read Sherlock Holmes, and admire a detective that tries to solve a problem, but even Morse got the code wrong at times. Sherlock Holmes, who said “one more coruscation, my dear Watson – yet another brain-wave! (“The Valley Of Fear”), also said “I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous” (“Hound of the Baskervilles”). My hat’s off to Humphreys for, based on certain suppositions, he has tried to solve this puzzle, even if he’s followed a wrong lead to an interesting conclusion. I would suppose that, scientifically minded, he would examine objections to this theory and make the appropriate modifications.
    I remember reading an article in the 1960’s also arguing for a Wednesday crucifixion – it seemed convincing at the time. I confess I haven’t read Humphreys on this – I like him on ‘Numbers’. But if anyone follows Norval Geldenhuys, followed by D A Carson & Andreas J Köstenberger (see either of their major commentaries on John), they will see that John never conflicted with the Synoptics, didn’t suggest Jesus’ death synchronous with the lambs, and understand that a Passover Week (Lk.22:1) was in view (English translations are slowly bringing this out: eg cf. HCSB on13:1; NIV84 on 19:14). Simplified, in our reckoning, the lambs were killed Thur. Afternoon (Nisan 14), then eaten on Thur. Eve. (Nisan 15), with Jesus slain on Fri. Afternoon (Nisan 15). Once one spots the misreading of John it syncs flawlessly, and ticks all the boxes of translation. Things like fitting in the trials in one night are not as difficult as Humphreys apparently thought: the main parties were in Jerusalem for the Passover [Week]. Trial by night wasn’t illegal in the C1 though was in the C2 of the Mishna (a common misunderstanding). I fear Humphreys’ endeavour was misinformed so doomed to misinform, but let’s no deride his intelligence or integrity.

    Dr Steve Hakes

    30 March, 2012 at 11:08 am

    • Anyone can claim intelligence and integrity until they are blue in the face, but observing their behaviour is what will determine the truth or otherwise of their claims. As science and Christianity are easily shown to be fundamentally incompatible, no man of intelligence and integrity could pretend to be both.

      Nor indeed could a man of integrity represent a faux school, Christian or not, that offers high level qualifications accredited by another faux school which is also uncredited and has its own qualifications likewise accredited by another faux school.

      But thanks for your contribution, Rev Dr Hakes. I am sure Professor Humphreys must appreciate a Christian of equal integrity defending his.

      Mike Magee

      30 March, 2012 at 9:11 pm

  9. Mr Magee, if you are a real person, you are mistaken. There is no conflict between science and the Bible. Where did you get that crazy idea from? The only conflicts are between Scientist’s conclusions and the Bible.

    Geoff

    14 April, 2012 at 12:06 am

  10. I have a characteristic in common with God. It seems I am not real either.

    Mike Magee

    14 April, 2012 at 1:09 am

  11. This blogger asserts that Christ definately died in AD21 without offering a shred of evidence or scholarly research. Perhaps readers of this blog might like to actually read Sir Colin Humphrey’s excellent book, ‘The mystery of the Last Supper’, and see for themselves with what powerful argument and absolutely rock solid research this brilliant man proves that Christ died on April 3, AD 33, and could not have died any sooner. Read it and judge for yourself. One of the biggest fallacies of this age is the notion that it is either science OR the Bible. But history is showing that the further advanced science becomes, and the more we learn about the world in which Christ lived and died, the more we understand, ie study to know, the more accurate the Biblical account becomes. Science and Christianity are NOT incompatible, that’s nonsense and has kept millions of people enslaved to ridiculous fundamentalist beliefs for far too long. It is intelligence and integrity that has the willingness to undertake legitimate and scholarly research, and Sir Humphrey has both in large measure. He personally signed all the books bought this very afternoon at the Archaeological Institute of the LaTrobe University here in Melbourne, Australia at his free lecture today. Written in the book, is ‘Blessings, Colin Humphreys’, and as he said, if you do not have enough money to buy the book, go borrow it from the library. What a blessing it was to hear him speak.

    Barbara

    2 December, 2012 at 9:15 am

    • Well, Barbara, you prove in your first sentence that you are a liar. You write: “This blogger asserts that Christ definately died in AD21 without offering a shred of evidence or scholarly research.” You evidently have read what I said above to know that I think Christ was crucified in 21 AD, so you are deliberately aiming to deceive, because the sentence reads: “Arguments were put forward in The Hidden Jesus, and on the AW! website, addressing questions like these, and the date of the crucifixion—which was actually in 21 AD!” In other words I give rather more evidence than the single book she adores because I offer a book and a very comprehensive website as evidence, none of it dependent on Christian fancy, figments or mysticism, but all of it citing scholarly evidence. Equally, you can read ‘The Hidden Jesus’ in your public library if you cannot afford it. And indeed there is no need to buy it at all unless you want a permanent and portable record, for everything in the book is freely available on the website anyway, and much more. The rest of your post, where it is not simply hyping this Christian moneyspinning potboiler, makes allegations “without a shred of evidence”. I conclude that you are an unprincipled dunce. Are you a Christian?

      Mike Magee

      3 December, 2012 at 1:21 am

      • Mike, I was told yesterday about your blog on my book: “The Mystery of the Last Supper”. I have many comments on what you write, but let me just make three. You call Jesus “a mythical man”. But the Roman historian Tacitus writes in Annals 15.44: “Christ had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate.” Tacitus was not a Christian and he appears to be making a clear factual statement here that Christ, Tiberius and Pilate were all real, not mythical, people.

        You write that in my book I say that Jesus was “Crucified on 1 April AD 33”. In fact I write that he was crucified on 3 April AD 33.

        You write: “It seems that Humphreys knows details of the Essene solar calendar unknown to mortals.” In fact I claim that Jesus chose to use the Essene lunar calendar, not their better-known solar calendar, to celebrate his last supper as a Passover meal. It is clear from the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Essenes had both a solar and a lunar calendar.

        You have clearly been wrongly informed about my book.

        Colin Humphreys

        30 November, 2013 at 2:02 pm

  12. Sir Colin, thank you for being sufficiently interested to want to read what I had written, and offer your corrections. My comments:
    * Tacitus was reporting what he knew from contemporary Christians, as the other Roman reporters who mention it did. I do not deny that Tiberius and Pilate were real people, and, as a matter of fact, I accept that there was a “Jesus” who was not mythical. It is the Christian Jesus who is mythical.
    * I apologise for this error which seems odd since I mentioned the correct date later in my piece. As I no longer know what the source of the original review of your book was, I cannot check it.
    * I doubt that the Essenes used both a solar and a lunar calendar. They seemed overwhelmingly to favour the “better known” solar one. You are right that the Scrolls speak about a lunar calendar too, but it may be that they are not only Essene documents, or that they kept details of a lunar calendar so as to know what the holy days of the Pharisees were, or even the Greeks, as the Essene rules told them how to interact safely with non-Jews. Of course, I may be wrong to think Jesus was an Essene at all, but I judge that the evidence suggests it.
    If I have been misinformed by the review I had to hand, as you say, I repeat my apologies. Maybe, when I find a discounted copy of your book, I shall buy it and be able to give a more considered view of it.

    Mike Magee (@askwhybooks)

    30 November, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    • Mike, thank you for your helpful reply. Incidentally, I try not to use the “Sir” except when booking airline tickets!

      I do think that the evidence that there was a “Jesus” is strong, and it is good that you accept that he was not mythical. You write that it is the Christian Jesus who is mythical. I understand what you are saying. I think if one reads the Gospels, the claims about himself Jesus is reported to have made are astonishing and I conclude (as have some others) that he was either mad (deluded and insane), or bad (a con-man who deliberately misled people), or he was who he claimed to be. I believe the latter for various reasons, but I think the choice between these options (and there may be other options) is not obvious.

      Concerning Jesus being an Essene, I think he probably was not, otherwise I think the Gospels would have mentioned it, but I suspect he had Essene friends and he sympathised with the Essenes. Similarly, I suspect he sympathised with the Samaritans. The people he condemned as hypocrites were many of the religious leaders of the establishment: the Pharisees and Sadducees. Mike, I expect you would support this aspect of Jesus’ beliefs!

      The calendar question is complicated. I agree with you that it is likely that the Essenes mainly used their solar calendar. I give evidence in chapter 10 of my book that what I call the pre-exilic Jewish lunar calendar persisted down to the first century AD and was used by the Samaritans, some Essenes, the Zealots and probably some Galilean Jews. So I do not think it would have seemed particularly unusual for Jesus to have chosen to use this calendar to celebrate his last supper as a Passover meal.

      Mike, I would be delighted to send you a copy of my book if you are interested. I don’t expect you to agree with it, but you might find parts of it to be of interest. If you are interested, please email me separately an address I can post it to.

      Colin Humphreys

      1 December, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      • Colin, the “mad, bad or God” set of choices is so flawed it amounts to trickery, as you sort of acknowledge by admitting there “may be” other choices too. There are, and the obvious ones are that he was misunderstood or misreported by his supporters whose hopes are reflected in the accounts rather than what Jesus actually meant. There are yet others involving deliberate plotting and scheming.

        There are also reasons that you must know why the gospels (I put my own judgements mostly on Mark, and the others where they support Mark) do not mention the Essenes. One is that the followers of Jesus were Essenes or novitiate Essenes who were better known as Nazarenes (Nazoreans), then later, when the belief spread wider, as Christians, meaning believers in a messiah. Another is that the Essenes had a very bad “press” in Rome from the Jewish War and other uprisings. I do accept that he criticized the Pharisees and Sadducees as hypocrites, and I believe I am being a proper follower of Jesus in criticizing today’s Christians who are mainly no less hypocritical. They are smug in their belief that they are saved for doing nothing other than professing Christianity, while being as despicable as they like. Most are not that bad but many are, and the sheep remain constantly faithful to the villains among the shepherds and their despicable financial backers among the rich ones.

        As I have come to the conclusion that Judaism did not exist before the exile because it was set up by the Persian chancellery (as a diluted moral religion akin to the Persian religion, and meant to unite the many disparate religions of the Persian empire–whence the existence of a Jewish diaspora from the very outset), I do not accept that there could have been anything Jewish before the exile. Israel-Judah then were Canaanite and worshipped in the pagan Canaanite manner. Moses is a retrojected Ezra. The Essenes preferred the traditions of the original religion established by the Persians which it seems included the solar calendar, whereas the Greek influenced Jews had gone for a lunar one. But I agree the whole thing is complicated, too complicated for me to fully understand, and I doubt that anyone could understand it without devoting it to a full time study of original material (if then!).

        You are kind to offer me a copy of your book, but it taking up your offer would make me look like a cadger. So I declined your kindness. Your graciousness has already made me look churlish in my original article, so I am sorry for any offence. You seem to be one of the more sincere Christians still intent on living up to the morality that Christ taught even if you have to hang on to the religious milieu of spiritual belief it had to be set in. In short, we should try to be good people for society’s and our own sakes rather than because a fancied loving God would burn us forever in an eternal torture chamber if we do not.

        Best wishes. _________________________________________

        mikemagee

        8 December, 2013 at 5:34 pm


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