I’ve just watched a short film entitled
This what it’s about…
He was called the King of the Jews, believed to be a Messiah. Just before Passover, the Romans beheaded him and crucified many of his followers outside Jerusalem.
But his name was not Jesus… it was Simon, a self-proclaimed Messiah who died four years before Christ was born.
Now, new analysis of a three-foot-tall stone tablet from the first century B.C., being hailed by scholars as a “Dead Sea Scroll on stone,” speaks of an early Messiah and his resurrection.
Was Simon of Peraea real? Did his life serve as the prototype of a Messiah for Jesus and his followers? And could this tablet shake up the basic premise of Christianity?
Watching this film reminded me of the real Dead Sea Scrolls.
The initial discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Bedouin shepherd Muhammed edh-Dhib, his cousins Jum’a Muhammed and Khalil Musa, took place between November 1946 and February 1947.
Eventually a total of a collection of 972 scrolls were recovered, consisting of texts from what is now known as the Hebrew Bible, or the Old Testament, and extra-biblical documents found on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name.
They were specifically located at Khirbet or Qumran in what was then British Mandate Palestine, and since 1947, what has been known as the West Bank.
The texts, and coins found with them, have been dated to the centuries immediately before and after when Jesus was supposed to have lived.
When these discoveries were first made, the Catholic Church thought there may well be evidence of Jesus and his teachings but that wasn’t the case. Some have argued that the church immediately set about suppressing this knowledge.
According to the texts, the men of Qumran fervently believed in a doctrine of last things. They fled to the desert and were readying themselves for the imminent judgment, when their enemies would be vanquished and they, God’s elect, would be given final victory in accordance with the predictions of the prophets.
However, the evidence shows that they actually believed in three messiahs— a prophet, a priest and a king.
Dr. Will Varner – Professor of Old Testament at The Master’s College and Director of IBEX, the college’s campus in Israel.
Yet no mention whatsoever is made of Jesus or John the Baptist in all these texts.
Doesn’t this seem unlikely if Jesus was the person Christianity claims?
The only reference to Jesus at all can be found in the writings of the Roman historian Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – c. 100), and that was written some decades after the period.
And there’s no evidence in Roman archives, yet the Romans were known for their administration.
This morning, I would like to quote from perhaps the best satire written in the English language – namely Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. Most people are aware of only some parts of the first part of the first voyage in which Gulliver finds himself in Lilliput. Here the inhabitants grow to no more than 6 inches high and the hero of the novel is considered to be a giant. However, there are many other voyages covered in the book but these are normally left out of popular versions of the story because they are considered unfit for children due to their often crude subject matter and highly satirical nature.
As a student of literature I can recommend this as one of the top novels ever written.
My point here is to tell you about a short passage in the book where Swift, in an allusion to the reference in the 10 Biblical Commandments to ‘honour thy father and mother’, says the following:
“The Lilliputians … will never allow that a child is under any obligation to his father for begetting him, or to her mother for bringing her into the world; which, considering the miseries of human life, was neither a benefit in itself, nor intended so by his parents, whose thoughts in their love-encounters were otherwise employed. Upon these and the like reasonings, their opinion is that parents are the last of all others to be trusted with the education of their own children…”
After Gulliver escapes from Lilliput he arrives at the Kingdom of Brobdingnab where he is only 6 inches tall and the native inhabitants are giants. After many escapades he becomes friendly with the King and many brilliant discussions take place which allows the author to poke fun at our society and our warlike nature. The King of Brobdingnab is appalled to hear of the lies and machinations of our political classes, our evil military inventions and downright cruelty to one another and comments:
In subsequent voyages Gulliver meets a wide range of weird and wonderful people and in the final chapter makes the acquaintance of a race of rational horses who live side by side with a race of horrible, filthy animals called Yahoos. Of course, we are the Yahoos and the internet company of the same name is named after this literary invention.
The Bollocks Book for Girls and Boys!
The Bullshit Bible is back in showbiz. Darren Aronofsky has a bearded Russell Crowe for Noah. The documentary Bible Quiz is in post-production. Will Smith’s directorial debut will be Cain and Abel (reportedly with a vampire twist). Paul Verhoeven’s Jesus of Nazareth has its finance in place. Justin Theroux is rewriting Swear to God – a comedy about a hedge-fund manager who has seen the Almighty. Ridley Scott, Warner Bros – with a rumour of Spielberg directing – and the Chernin Entertainment Company all have Moses movies. Mary Mother of Christ, a film about the life of Jesus up to age 12, is currently prepping, as is Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity, with a cast of Samuel L Jackson, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson. And earlier this week, a Pontius Pilate movie was greenlit.
What was it that H L Mencken said?
Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people…