Re: [XTalk] historicity of Jesus
>I pointed out (messagePerhaps for the same reason I find it unlikely.
>5111) that writers of fiction create "singular personages"
>every day, the implication being that this does not make them
>into historical figures. (Bob Schacht said he did not find this
>suggestion "very persuasive," but does not say why.)
To create a singular personage with wisdom, you need a creator with wisdom
of his/her own. Bokonon has some good things to say, but you don't get
Bokonon without Kurt Vonnegut, who is in his own way a holy man in the
wilderness: clever, not always right, but standing bravely for the
transcending value of human suffering and happiness. (Jesus would differ
from him, in insisting that happiness without truth is not a viable
long-term possibility--and that while "we" are more temporary than we
realize, our spirits are not.)
In First-Century Judea, there were not too many publishing outlets for
fiction, as such. A sudden epidemic of wisdom among the peasantry is
possible, but unlikely, particularly one that taught a group of people to
speak and write in aphorisms of great elegance and depth. If instead, we
have one aphorist of great wisdom and distinctive poetic talent, would he
have invented fictions about Jesus and found a publisher? If he had such
fictions, wouldn't he have had to spread them about orally? And once he
did, what would have been the likely fate of such an author, in that time
and place, except to be killed by the Roman authorities, probably
encouraged by their Jewish collaborators? Might this author's name have
been 'Jesus,' a common enough name at the time? Or were Jesus' sayings said
by someone with a different name?
The creature of John and the church, the speaker of long, seemingly
meglomaniac discources evidently about himself, embodying that uniquely
tenacious and profitable meme: "Believe the right doctrine (what the church
says I say) about me and you don't have to die!"--seems to me a plausible
candidate for fictional character. (The meme served to carry the real
message, as a modified cold virus carries more desirable material in modern
genetic manipulations.) But this person is far from the man quoted in the
synoptics: "He who would save his life shall lose it."
I know, people of great spiritual discernment have found worthwhile truths
in John, interpreted symbolically, but only because they were finding those
truths in themselves.
Paul, a writer of some eloquence, who understood at least dimly a great
deal of what Jesus had to say, was not able to write anything of comparible
density and power. A handful of light-hearted socially-experimental
Hellenised residents of one of the Galilean cities, the gated communities
of their day?--no, I don't think so.
Forrest Curo again