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The story of Jesus wasn’t quite as unique as you might have thought. That the Hindu God Krishna also had a miraculous birth and was also attended by angels and shepherds. And that like Jesus the Buddha also performed miracles, walking on water and feeding the five hundred. Dr Robert Beckford, The Hidden Story of Jesus, Channel 4 2007
Krishna: There is also an immaculate conception and the birth is heralded by angels. ibid.
I was taught repeatedly that the Christian story of Jesus was totally unique. ibid.
More similarities I found between Krishna and Jesus. ibid.
According to tradition his [Buddha] mother Maya gave birth to him miraculously. Like Jesus he was also predicted to be a great man from birth, and wise men travelled to see him ... Like Jesus he was also tempted by a devil figure but resisted ... In their teachings both Jesus and Buddha provide a very practical guide to personal transformation that is remarkable similar. ibid.
The similarities between the teachings of Jesus and Buddha are remarkable. ibid.
It was Paul and his followers who created much of the Christianity we know today ... Much of the dogma that surrounds Jesus was created by Paul. ibid.
The rise of Mithras almost exactly parallels the rise of Jesus ... A saviour God who offered his followers a life after death – did Christianity steal these ideals? ibid.
One tradition claims Mithras even had a virgin birth. ibid.
They chose December 25th, the winter solstice, which also happens to be the birthday of Mithras. ibid.
The Roman god Mithras and the ancient Egyptian cult of Osiris are just too close to home to be dismissed so easily. ibid.
What are you left with? Jesus the Jew. ibid.
Christianity’s greatest ever lie – that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus on the Cross. This simple untruth laid the foundations for centuries of brutal and bloody anti-Semitism, ending with the Nazi-led holocaust of the Second World War. ibid.
There are some Jews who do believe in Jesus. ibid.
A fifth of the world’s population believe Jesus was not a Jew or a Christian but a Muslim. ibid.
The Koran mentions him too – thirty-six times. ibid.
In Islam Jesus is regarded as one of God’s prophets – a precursor to Muhammad. ibid.
Here in Kashmir there is a totally different story – one that claims that Jesus did not die on the cross but escaped to India. Where he continued his teaching, got married, had a son and lived to a ripe old age. And even that he was buried here. ibid.
Gandhi’s Jesus was the original charismatic teacher. ibid.
What really matters is Jesus’s message ... We can change the world for the better. ibid.
Is it really God’s word? Who wrote the Bible? Dr Robert Beckford, Who Wrote the Bible? Channel 4 2004
If the Bible is less literal, what is there to hold on to? ibid.
Archaeology tells a completely new story of Jesus origins – no big kingdom. ibid.
It’s a big of a muddle – the Creation story. ibid.
Four different sources? Then Moses can’t have written it [Pentateuch] at all. ibid.
The Bible is a big edited job ... Who re-wrote the Bible? ibid.
In 1947 there was an amazing discovery: a Bedouin shepherd stumbling upon some ancient scrolls concealed in a cave by the dead sea. ibid.
Why aren’t the Dead Sea Scrolls part of the Bible today? ibid.
Paul is responsible for more of the New Testament than anyone else ... Paul is a Jesus hustler. ibid.
The first writer – Mark – was relying on hearsay. ibid.
Dozens of Gospels and dozens of letters. ibid.
None of the Gospels were written by eye-witnesses. They’re all written several decades later. Even the earliest is probably about four decades later. So you’ve got to reckon with at least forty years – if not fifty, sixty years – of changing traditions, speculation on the traditions, traditions being changed so that they speak more to particular communities. So when you actually look at them, there’s really quite a lot of inconsistencies between them. Helen Bond, Edinburgh University
Luke and Matthew probably wrote some time in the eighties or nineties of the first century. We’ve actually no idea who Luke is. Most people nowadays don’t think he was an eye-witness of events. Helen Bond
Matthew for example wants Jesus to be a second Moses. And so his birth story is very much modelled on the birth of Moses. Helen Bond
There can be no doubt that Jesus was executed by Rome. Helen Bond
I think Pilate and Jesus would have had very little to say to each other. Helen Bond
There’s absolutely no evidence of any kind of Passover amnesty in the first century. Beside that it seems completely crazy that a Roman governor would give the people the choice of a prisoner at this most volatile of times. Helen Bond
If you just put the Gospels in a kind of chronological order it’s actually layered. You can just peel off the layers like a sort of forensic investigation. At the bottom you’ve got that core story of Mark – Mark was our earliest Gospel ... Matthew who writes next has ratcheted it up considerably – Pilate washes his hands; his wife has a dream; Jesus is a righteous man; don’t bother him. And the Jews take on the guilt. And then you go to Luke – it’s the Mark story but it’s amped up, and it’s getting louder and louder. And the basic idea is Pilate was just an innocent bystander, an unnecessary part of the story. And then John – he has them almost having a philosophical discussion. We are removing completely I think out of the realm of just straight history. Professor James Tabor
Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness and resurrection of the dead took place – when Christ himself rose from the dead and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvellous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers, Philo saw it not. John Remsburg, The Christ, 1909
I just thought the idea of an all-powerful all-loving creator of the universe was just an absurd idea. Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ, 2017; viz also book
The Gnostic Gospels are a collection of religious writings from the second and third centuries. ibid.
The New Testament Gospels record at least forty separate miracles performed by Jesus. ibid.
Christians do not really believe in the Bible ... A great deal of Leviticus and Corinthians is full of the most poisonous murderous intolerance, and clearly the Archbishop of Canterbury doesn’t believe a word of it. Ian McEwan, interview with Professor Richard Dawkins
New Testament scholarship has shown how fragmentary and ambiguous are the data available to us as we try to look back across nineteen and a half centuries, and at the same time how large and variable is the contribution of the imagination to our ‘pictures’ of Jesus. John Hick, The Myth of God Incarnate, letter from seven British theologians
The metaphysical uniqueness of Jesus, as traditionally taught, has always been taken to have carried with it a unique moral perfection. ibid.