Magi Mike's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Christian birth narrative

The Title “Father” in Christianity

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A news item somewhere informs us that John Dominic Crossan, once a Catholic priest, and now a long time member of the Jesus Seminar, has written an explanation of the Pater Noster or the Lord’s Prayer—“Our Father…” Apparently it is a prayer about the father of a household and the need to distribute the household’s food fairly. He may be a bit right!

Christians have always tried to maintain that Jesus was a member of an ordinary family, one of the motivations, no doubt, for the invention of the Birth Narratives, stories that no one in the main gospels ever refers to or seemingly knows anything about. And for the very good reason that few scholars doubt that they were later inventions tacked on to two of the gospels when they were compiled.

I cannot imagine why the prayer should not refer to God, as most Christians believe, but in the context not of people who lived in family groups, but of people who lived in religious communities, namely, the Essenes. They had a special meal, like the Eucharist, and most likely its source—the scenes where Jesus broke bread, and fed the four and five thousand—called the Messianic Meal, and it seems that the head of the table would recite the prayer on that occasion.

Jesus was an Essene beyond reasonable doubt. That Christians persistently deny it shows they are unreasonable. The Essenes were a Jewish church and, like Jews, and many others, called God their Father. To them, God was the Father of the human race, so all men were sons of God, but they were sons in a hierarchy of sons, the head of each level in the hierarchy being a father to his own sons.

Familiar? The later gentile church retained the system. Bishops, monks and priests are called father by others, monks are led by a father, an abbot, a Patriarch is a Head Father, an archbishop, and a Pope is a Father (Latin Papa, Greek, Pappas). In Aramaean, “abba” means father, and “ab” or “av” does in Hebrew. So, Barabbas means Son of the Father in Aramaean, and Barabbas was Jesus, indeed modern gospels admit that Barabbas was called Jesus!

The Essene hierarchies were not based on material status, on wealth, but on service to others. “The last is first and the first last” being an expression of rewarding service as opposed to status. God’s sons, the human race, were to be valued for their service to others, not on the basis of wealth, so the Essenes, like the apostles in Acts, held all their goods in common. They were communists. That is one big reason why American Christians cannot face up to the truth about Christ.

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Jesus Illigitimate and taken in by the Essenes

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What this boils down to is that the early evidence of Jesus’s birth is that he was illigitimate. It is special pleading to say this conclusion is uncharitable because Mary claimed it was a miracle. It ought not to need saying that no Christian father would accept the same excuse for his daughter’s pregnancy, so there is nothing uncharitable about it. In those days, Greeks thought it possible for human women to be impregnated by gods, and it was used as an excuse in that culture, but no traditional Jewish culture was likely to accept it. The Christians who wrote the gospels were not traditional Jews. If they were Jews at all, they were writing for people in the Hellenized world outside Palestine where divine births were acceptable. The two birth narratives were quite plainly stuck on to the bios of Christ, and no scholar considers them to be anything other than myth. It leaves the notion of illigitimacy as the only explanation for Jesus being called the son of Mary. The question then is:

clipped from benwitherington.blogspot.com
Did the people in Nazareth
know there was something unusual about Jesus’ origins, and it
disconnected him from Joseph? Yes they did, which is why they were
angry and did not think Jesus had any right to teach them. He was probably viewed as a mamzer, as Dr. Bruce Chilton has argued—an illegitimate child. And
this is precisely what James Tabor argues in his Jesus Dynasty book,
claiming he was the son of a Roman soldier named Pantera. But of course now, he has reversed himself to support the Jesus Family Tomb theory. You can’t have it both ways, and in fact neither are correct. Jesus was not the physical descendent of Joseph, was known not to be by his hometown folks. The uncharitable suggested he was illegitimate but Mary claimed his conception was a miracle. Those
are the two opposing explanations we have from the first century about
Jesus’ origins.

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Written by mikemagee

5 March, 2007 at 7:26 pm