Did Jesus Exist and Who Is the Christ?
Recommended Books on Jesus
Including Titles That Question
"...Jesus Christ, i.e., the Man-God of the Christians copied from the Avatâras of every country, from the Hindu Krishna as well as the Egyptian Horus, was never a historical person. He is a deified personification of the glorified type of the great Hierophants of the Temples, and his story, as told in the New Testament, is an allegory, assuredly containing profound esoteric truths, but still an allegory. Every act of the Jesus of the New Testament, every word attributed to him, every event related of him during the three years of the mission he is said to have accomplished, rests on the programme of the Cycle of Initiation, a cycle founded on the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Signs of the Zodiac...."
"The legend of which I speak is founded....on the existence of a personage called Jehoshua (from which Jesus has been made) born at Lüd or Lydda about 120 years before the modern era....In spite of all the desperate research made during long centuries, if we set aside the testimony of the 'Evangelists,' i.e., unknown men whose identity has never been established, and that of the Fathers of the Church, interested fanatics, neither history, nor profane tradition, neither official documents, nor the contemporaries of the soidisant drama, are able to provide one single serious proof of the historical and real existence, not only of the Man-God but even of him called Jesus of Nazareth, from the year 1 to the year 33. All is darkness and silence....The biography of Jesus was invented after the first century...." H.P. Blavatsky
"...'The coming of Christ,' means the presence of CHRISTOS in a regenerated world, and not at all the actual coming in body of 'Christ' Jesus....Christ -- the true esoteric SAVIOR -- is no man, but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the 'sepulcher' of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him...."
"The 'Christ principle,' the awakened and glorified Spirit of Truth, being universal and eternal, the true Christos cannot be monopolized by any one person....We may learn from the Gospel according to Luke, that the 'worthy' were those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the Gnosis, and who were 'accounted worthy' to attain that 'resurrection from the dead' in this life....In other words, they were the great adepts of whatever religion; and the words apply to all those who, without being Initiates, strive and succeed, through personal efforts to live the life and to attain the naturally ensuing spiritual illumination in blending their personality -- (the 'Son') with (the 'Father,') their individual divine Spirit, the God within them. This 'resurrection' can never be monopolized by the Christians, but is the spiritual birth-right of every human being endowed with soul and spirit, whatever his religion may be. Such individual is a Christ-man. On the other hand, those who choose to ignore the Christ (principle) within themselves, must die unregenerate heathens -- baptism, sacraments, lip-prayers, and belief in dogmas notwithstanding.... He who finds Christos within himself and recognizes the latter as his only 'way,' becomes a follower and an Apostle of Christ, though he may have never been baptized, nor even have met a 'Christian,' still less call himself one." H.P. Blavatsky
Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?
by Earl Doherty
Why are the events of the Gospel story, and its central character Jesus of Nazareth, not found in the New Testament epistles? Why does Paul's divine Christ seem to have no connection to the Gospel Jesus, but closely resembles the many pagan savior gods of the time who lived only in myth? Why, given the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire in the first century, did only one Christian community compose a story of Jesus' life and death - the Gospel of Mark - while every other Gospel simply copied and reworked the first one? Why is every detail in the Gospel story of Jesus' trial and crucifixion drawn from passages in the Old Testament? The answer to these and other questions surrounding the New Testament will come as a shock to those who imagine that the origins of Christianity and the figure of Jesus are securely represented by Christian tradition and the Gospels. With the arrival of the third millennium, the time has come to face the stunning realization that for the last 1900 years, Christianity has revered a founder and icon of the faith who probably never existed.
This book is a new presentation of the argument that no historical Jesus existed. It is a full and comprehensive survey of the question through an examination of the early Christian record, canonical and non-canonical, from Q to the Gospels, from the earliest Pauline epistles to the second century apologists, along with Jewish, Gnostic, and Greco-Roman documents of the time. The philosophy of the era, its religious expression in the pagan mystery cults, fascinating glimpses into the historical background of the period, an in-depth consideration of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, are only some of the additional topics covered in the book. A richly-detailed, highly lucid and entertaining account of how Christianity began without an historical Jesus of Nazareth, who came to life only on the pages of the Gospels.
Historical Evidence for Jesus
by G.A. Wells
In this thoroughly researched study, G.A.
Wells has squarely faced the question of whether a man named Jesus lived, preached,
healed, and died in Palestine during the early years of the first century of the Christian
era - or indeed, at any time.
by Robert M. Price
After more than a century of New
Testament scholarship, it has become clear that the Jesus of the gospels is a fictive
amalgam, reflecting the hopes and beliefs of the early Christian community and revealing
very little about the historical Jesus. Over the millennia since the beginning of
Christianity various congregations, from fundamentalist to liberal, have tended to produce
a Jesus figurehead that functions as a symbolic cloak for their specific theological
Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?
by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
What if . . .
Freke (a philosopher and author of books on spirituality) and Gandy (who is studying classical civilization) believe that first century Jewish mystics adapted the potent symbolism of the Osiris-Dionysus myths into a myth of their own, the hero of which was the Jewish dying and resurrecting godman Jesus. Therefore, the story of Jesus is a consciously crafted vehicle for encoded spiritual teachings created by Jewish Gnostics. We are unaware of this, they claim, because the Roman Catholic Church destroyed evidence of the connection between Christianity and the pagan mysteries. They make their case by offering an examination of mystery religions, especially Greek, pointing out the many parallels between them and what they see as the Gospels' message about Jesus. Freke and Gandy are familiar with a significant amount of recent biblical scholarship, though they rely mostly on Elaine Pagels' s work on the Gnostics. This book will obviously be controversial, but the authors are quite informed, as demonstrated by their extensive notes and bibliography. A list of related web sites, a Who's Who, and an index add to the book's usefulness. Recommended as an important book in the debate on the historical Jesus.
One Hundred Years Before Christ
by Alvar Ellegard
It is commonly believed that the
story of Jesus as told in the Gospels contains elements of fiction and myth, but in this
ground-breaking and controversial book, Alvar Ellegard argues that even those ideas agreed
to be the basic facts about the life of Jesus are fictional: Jesus was not born in the
time of Augustus Caesar (27B.C. - 14A.D.). He was not baptized by John. He was not
sentenced to death by Pilate. And he never roamed Palestine as a wandering preacher and
miracle worker. In fact, none of Jesus' supposed contemporaries ever saw him in the flesh
but only through visions, as the Christ raised by God to heaven.
"The reading is close, full of references in the main text as well as in endnotes...anyone interested in the argument will easily grasp and just as easily devour it." (Booklist)
Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
by Acharya S
Controversial and explosive, The Christ Conspiracy marshals an enormous amount of evidence that the religion of Christianity and Jesus Christ were created by members of various secret societies, mystery schools and religions in order to unify the Roman Empire under one state religion. This powerful book maintains that these groups drew upon a multitude of myths and rituals that already existed long before the Christian era and reworked them into the story the Christian religion presents today - known to most Westerners as the Bible. The author makes the case that there was no actual person named Jesus, but that several characters were rolled into one mythic being inspired by the deities Mithras, Heracles/Hercules, Dionysus and many others of the Roman Empire. She demonstrates that the story of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, is nearly identical in detail to those of the earlier savior-gods Krishna and Horus, and concludes that Jesus was certainly neither original nor unique, nor was he the divine revelation. Rather, he represents the very ancient body of knowledge derived from celestial observation and natural forces. A book that will initiate heated debate and inner struggle, it is intelligently written and referenced. The only book of its kind, it is destined for controversy.
Jesus Live 100 B.C.?: An Enquiry into the Talmud Jesus Stories, the
Toldoth Jeschu, and Some Curious Statements of Epiphanius - Being a Contribution to the
Study of Christian Origins.
by G. R. S. Mead
"The author compares the Christian tradition with the Jewish, and finds in the latter a reminiscence of a Jesus who lived in the time of Alexander Jannaeus (104-76 B.C.). This person was transferred by the earliest evangelists to the later period, the attempt being facilitated by the fact that during the procuratorship of Pilate a false prophet had attracted some attention." - Albert Schweitzer
"Jannaeus' crucifixion of eight hundred Pharisees left a particularly strong impression on the Jewish world...In this connection it is of interest that the dating of Jesus as a heretic who was put to death for misleading people about 100 BC, under Jannaeus, is 'one of the most persistent elements of the Jewish tradition concerning Jesus' and 'goes back to the floating mass of tradition' from which the Talmud drew. Mead allows that this dating may have originated as a result of controversy between orthodox Jews and Christians of Pauline type whose Christianity comprised a 'minimum of history and a maximum of opposition to Jewish legalism'." - G.A. Wells
Contents: Canonical Date of Jesus; Earliest External Evidence to the Received Date; Genesis of the Talmud; Talmud in History; In the Talmud's Outer Court; Earliest External Evidence to the Talmud Jesus Stories; Talmud 100 Years B.C. Story of Jesus; Talmud Mary Stories; Talmud Ben Stada Jesus Stories; Talmud Balaam Jesus Stories; Disciples and Followers of Jesus in the Talmud; Toldoth Jeschu; Jewish Life of Jesus; Traces of Early Toldoth Forms; 100 Years B.C. Date in the Toldoth; On the Tracks of the Earliest Christians; Concerning the "Book of Elxai;" 100 Years B.C. Date in Epiphanius.
Pagan Christ : Recovering the Lost Light
by Tom Harpur
This book is a provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.
Harpur, a former Anglican priest and professor of Greek and New Testament at the University of Toronto, delves into the foundations of the Christian faith, questioning the historicity of the Bible, reinterpreting the familiar stories and restoring what he considers the inner meaning of scriptural texts. "Taken literally, they present a world of abnormal events totally unrelated to people's authentic living today." He documents the many traditions that predate Christianity and parallel the familiar Bible story. He sees Christianity, and the Bible itself, as a rehash of these traditions, merely imitative rather than a record of actual, historical events. He goes so far as to question the existence of the historical Jesus. Harpur believes that the early church establishment, through deliberate acts of suppression and the destruction of books that might challenge the orthodox view (most famously in the Alexandrian Library), shaped a rigid institution unable to cope with an evolving world. He insists that a major change must take place in order for Christianity to survive. His solution is termed "Cosmic Christianity"a radical reinterpretation not just of the Bible but of the nature of the Christian faith and its links to the world's great spiritual traditions. Harpur's arguments are based in part on the works of Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880-1963), Gerald Massey (1828-1907) and Godfrey Higgins (1771-1834).
Long before the advent of Jesus Christ, the Egyptians and other peoples believed in the coming of a messiah, a virgin birth, a madonna and her child, and the incarnation of the spirit in flesh. While the early Christian church accepted these ancient truths as the very basis of Christianity, it disavowed their origins. What had begun as a universal belief system built on myth and allegory was transformed, by the third and fourth centuries A.D., into a ritualistic institution based on a literal interpretation of myths and symbols. But, as Tom Harpur argues in The Pagan Christ, "to take the Gospels literally as history or biography is to utterly miss their inner spiritual meaning."
At a time of religious extremism, Tom Harpur reveals the virtue of a cosmic faith based on ancient truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: Our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become.
|In Search of the Primordial Tradition and the Cosmic Christ: Uniting
World Religious Experience With a Lost Esoteric Christianity
by John Rossner
In this book the reader will be presented with the case for the existence - throughout the ancient world - of a widespread belief in (1) a Primordial Tradition of primal wisdom derived from the higher forms of human mystical and psychical experience, and (2) the cult of a universal "God-Man" or pre-existent "Cosmic Christ," based upon visionary and intuitive experiences which helped to stimulate the very birth of Christianity as a world-religion.
The Primordial Tradition is like the "Sanatana Dharma" of the Hindus, the "Living Torah" of the mystical Jews, the "Tao" of the Chinese, the "Path" of the Sufis, or the "Way, Truth and Life" of Jesus in the Christian gospels. It is found in every religion and can be owned exclusively by none. It has left its traces as "sparks among the stubble" in varied forms and in various degrees of luminosity in all human cultures. Its scattered fragments of primal insight and intuitive wisdom may be found by those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
There is evidence that a now-lost esoteric Christianity, complete with belief in a pre-existent, archetypical "God-Man" or "Cosmic Christ," was once understood by its founder (Jesus) and earliest fashioner (Paul) as a particular synthesis of the larger Primordial Tradition, which had already long entered the mainstream of sectarian Jewish mystical consciousness. Jesus might thus be viewed as an heir of the mystery traditions of Egypt, Persia and Greece, and of the wisdom traditions of India, as well as an heir of the "Law and the Prophets" of Israel.
The Primordial Tradition is not merely an ancient system of belief and practice to be found in its entirety in any one or several historical cultures. It is, rather, a whole set of archetypical realities waiting to be discovered, at the highest reaches of the human consciousness, by all people. Similarly the lost esoteric Christianity, which often seems to elude ordinary modern practitioners of organized, "exoteric" forms of the Christian religion, is to be found - like Jesus' description of the Kingdom of God itself - deep within the psyche (soul) of the seeker.