I used to think that although ‘Christianity’ was clearly a Roman construct, that the religion still had it’s roots in a real Rabbi, probably an Essene – John the Baptist apparently was – and after all (the argument from authority), top Bible scholar, Bart D. Ehrman, has said that he thinks Christianity is based on a ‘real’ Jesus.
However, these days Ehrman’s main plank is that there MUST have been a real human at the start, because ‘Christianity’ has been SO successful… but without presenting any proof. Belief without knowledge is ‘faith’, which I think means the self-declared ‘agnostic’ Ehrman is actually a closet believer… or at least an ‘Agnostic Theist’. He may actually be losing his ‘faith’ too… he has recently been quoted as admitting “the Mythicist Position IS credible.”
My own position is not based simply on the total lack of any real evidence for an historical Jesus, but for many reasons, such as the fact that Paul does not seem to refer to a physical person in the Epistles he actually wrote. For the benefit of those who do not know – most of Paul’s letters were penned long after his death and the genuine earlier epistles may have been ‘tweaked’.
Also, the gospels seem to have been written in Rome, in the most common language of the Empire, Koine Greek, i.e. NOT in ‘Aramaic’, the Hebrew derived language that an historic Jesus would have spoken. ‘Mark’, the first gospel written, in about 70CE (by God knows who), was NOT translated from any pre-existing Aramaic writings. The gospel was later translated into Aramaic FROM Greek.
Worryingly, the Gospel according to Mark is also written in the form of a ‘Classical Homeric Epic’, with many almost direct references and similarities that Mark’s readers would have recognized as literary techniques and allusions.
‘The Gospel according to Mark’ was written as a ‘prequel’ to the ‘coming’ of the god Caesar Vespassianus, being set 40 years in the past and ‘prophesying’ the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem, including many details of what was a recent historic event. It was destroyed BY the Caesar Vespassianus, exactly as written in ‘Mark’.
Vespasianus had commissioned Jewish turncoat Josephus to write a history of the war, which he finished in 78 C.E. (‘The Jewish War’). Josephus was adopted into Vespassianus’ family ‘Flavius’ and he took the name Flavius Josephus, becoming a propagandist for The Flavians. It is said that “History (The Antiquities) is written by the victors.” I would add that what the victors write is invariably self aggrandizing propaganda. The Torah benefited the Jews, the Qu’ran benefited the Arabs, The New Testament benefited… The ROMANS. Ah-ha!
So, having ‘lost my faith’ in an ‘historical Jesus’, how do I feel? Well, slightly saddened. actually, I will miss the guy… but I will still admire Jesus… as I admire other literary inventions… such as James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood, Harry Potter… Bilbo Baggins…