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Q: Fish Jesus ate ( No Answer,   23 Comments )
Subject: Fish Jesus ate
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: dree50-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 08 Jun 2004 19:12 PDT
Expires: 08 Jul 2004 19:12 PDT
Question ID: 358437
Did Jesus eat tilapia fish?

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 08 Jun 2004 19:27 PDT
Considering that historians disagree on whether Jesus even existed as
a historical personage, proving that Jesus ate a certain species of
fish is not an easy task. Almost everything about Jesus's life is
either a matter of faith or a matter of speculation. What sort of
proof would you consider adequate?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 08 Jun 2004 20:23 PDT
Qite possibly.  Tilapia are one of the oldest known cultured food
fishes, and are sometimes called "Saint Peter's Fish", an apparent
reference to the miracle of feeding the multitudes.  See here, for

But as has been pointed out, no one does (or could!) really know for
sure.  What sort of additional information would satisfy your
curiosity here?


Request for Question Clarification by digsalot-ga on 10 Jun 2004 11:56 PDT
Not really a clarification request - just an apology to the customer
since I seem to have hijacked the question in the comments section.

About the only answer about Tilapia I could give is the same one I put
in my initial comment.

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: sublime1-ga on 08 Jun 2004 20:49 PDT
I'll also confirm the likelihood that it was tilapia. I had
a friend who had a most interesting hobby. In his free time
he stocked small desert pools in Arizona with tilapia. He
noted that these fish have a remarkable capacity to flourish
in hot desert climates and in small isolated pools of water,
adding that these were most certainly the fish of Jesus'
time due to these same qualities.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 08 Jun 2004 21:18 PDT
The answer could take a technical turn as well.  There were chichlids
in ancient Galilee.  Talipia is a chichlid.  But talipia is also the
name of a specific chichlid which was native only to the Nile river.

Transporting exotic fish fry was not something practiced in the
ancient world.  They would not survive such a trip.

So technically, we would have to expand to a wider definition for
talipia in order to classify the ancient Galilean chiclids as talipia.
 Such an expansion to the definition seems to have taken place in the
modern restaurant trade.

But would such an expanded definition be valid when it comes to
accurate species identification.  Legend, of course, uses the name

There are true talipia in the Galilee today.  They were introduced in
the 19th century.

Isn't confusion wonderful?

Just trying to stir things up a bit.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 08 Jun 2004 21:28 PDT
Why did I go through a whole comment spelling tilapia backwards?

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: politicalguru-ga on 09 Jun 2004 00:10 PDT

The Galilee is hardly a desert. It looks more like some areas in
Italy. I think Digs got the answer - if the fish did not exist in the
area in that era, it is hardly likely that this is the fish described
in the Bible. The question is, therefore, what other fresh-water fish
existed in the Galilee at that time.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: kriswrite-ga on 09 Jun 2004 08:20 PDT
I have to comment on our dear Pinkfreud's comment that historians
disagree on whether Jesus ever exsisted. Except for a handful (whose
rationale can't easily be explained), it is universally accepted that
Jesus did exsist, based upon documents found outside the Bible.

Subject: Freudian slip
From: daytrader76-ga on 09 Jun 2004 08:27 PDT
"it is universally accepted that Jesus did exsist"

Amen to that.  No lowly mortal could create fiction this good.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: pinkfreud-ga on 09 Jun 2004 10:50 PDT
Regarding my observation that not all historians agree on the
existence of Jesus, I did not mean to imply that the rejection of
Jesus as a historical person is a mainstream view. But there are those
who see the Gospels as a work of fiction, and who view Jesus as
essentially a mythological, rather than a historical, personage.

Please note that, as a devout Christian, I do not share this skepticism.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 09 Jun 2004 11:38 PDT
This is turning into a rather interesting discussion when one
considers that there are no sources or documents outside the Bible
pointing to the existence of Jesus.

I also have no choice except to post a comment due to the fact that
once again a blanket statement has been made regarding what the "most"
of us believe and the subsequent shrugging off of those beliefs by a
commentator who dismisses them as belonging to people who have no

The only two ancient sources that are constantly cited by those who
are looking for "proof," Josephus and Tacitus.

In the case of Josephus, whose "Antiquities of the Jews" was written
in 93 CE, about the same time as the gospels, we find him saying some
things quite impossible for a good Pharisee to have said, and he was a
Pharisee.  No Pharisee would have called Jesus a Messiah.

Worse yet is the fact that the story of Jesus is intrusive in
Josephus' narrative and can be demonstrated to be an interpolation
even in English translations of the Greek text. After the passage
about Jesus, Josephus goes on to say, "About the same time also
another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder..." Josephus had
previously been talking about awful things Pilate had done to the Jews
in general, and one can easily understand why an interpolator would
have chosen this particular spot. But his ineptitude in not changing
the wording of the bordering texts leaves a "literary seam" (what
rhetoricians might term aporia) that sticks out like a squashed thumb.

The first person to make mention of this now recognized forgery in the
text of Josephus' history was the church father Eusebius, in 324 CE.
It is quite likely that Eusebius himself did the forging. As late as
891, Photius in his Bibliotheca, which devoted three "Codices" to the
works of Josephus, shows no awareness of the passage whatsoever even
though he reviews the sections of the Antiquities in which one would
expect the passage to be found. Clearly, the testimonial was absent
from his copy of Antiquities of the Jews.  It is quite strange that
300 years of study of the Antiquities of the Jews by church fathers
somehow managed to "overlook" the passage till Eusebious 'found' it. 
and in fact the passage was not found in other copies of antiquity of
the Jews for centuries afterward untill copiests had created enough of
Eusebius' version of things to spread.

Apologists grasp for ever more slender straws with which to support
their historical Jesus, point out that the passage quoted above is not
the only mention of Jesus made by Josephus. In Bk. 20, Ch. 9, §1 of
Antiquities of the Jews one also finds the following statement in
surviving manuscripts:

"Ananus? convened the judges of the Sanhedrin and brought before them
a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and
certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and
delivered them up to be stoned."

Now while this passage does not intrude into the text as does the
previous one and is well integrated into Josephus' story. That it has
been modified from whatever Josephus' source may have said (remember,
here too, Josephus could not have been an eye-witness) is nevertheless
extremely probable. The crucial word in this passage is the name James
(Jacob in Greek and Hebrew). It is very possible that this very common
name was in Josephus' source material. It might even have been a
reference to James the Just, a first-century character we have good
reason to believe indeed existed. Because he appears to have born the
title Brother of the Lord, it would have been natural to relate him to
the Jesus character. It is quite possible that Josephus actually
referred to a James "the Brother of the Lord," and this was changed by
Christian copyists (remember that although Josephus was a Jew, his
text was preserved only by Christians!) to "Brother of Jesus" - adding
then for good measure "who was called Christ."

There are still some manuscripts of Josephus which contain the quoted
passages, but the passages are absent in other manuscripts - showing
that such interpolation had already been taking place before the time
of Origen but did not ever succeed in supplanting the original text

Now as for Tacitus, who wrote at a time when Christians themselves had
come to believe that Jesus had suffered under Pilate. There are three
reasons for holding that Tacitus is here simply repeating what
Christians had told him. First, he gives Pilate a title, procurator
which is a title in use only from the second half of the first century
onward. Had he consulted archives which recorded earlier events, he
would surely have found Pilate there designated by his correct title,
prefect. Second, Tacitus does not name the executed man Jesus, but
uses the title Christ (King or Messiah) as if it were a proper name.
But he could hardly have found in archives a statement such as "the
Messiah was executed this morning." Third, hostile to Christianity as
he was, he was surely glad to accept from Christians their own view
that Christianity was of recent origin, since the Roman authorities
were prepared to tolerate only ancient cults. (The Historical Evidence
for Jesus; p.16).

It would be intellectually satisfying to learn just how it was that
the Jesus character condensed out of the religious atmosphere of the
first century. But scholars are at work on the problem. The
publication of many examples of so-called wisdom literature, along
with the materials from the Essene community at Qumran by the Dead Sea
and the Gnostic literature from the Nag Hammadi library in Egypt, has
given us a much more detailed picture of the communal
psychopathologies which infested the Eastern Mediterranean world at
the turn of the era. It is not unrealistic to expect that we will be
able, before long, to reconstruct in reasonable detail the stages by
which Jesus came to have a biography.

You would think that at least one of the ancient writers would have
noticed if such a person as Jesus had actually existed.  There is
enough material to fill a library.  Yet in this mass of Jewish and
Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a
Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman
writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ." Nor, we may
add, do any of these authors make note of the Disciples or Apostles -
increasing the embarrassment from the silence of history concerning
the foundation of Christianity. - From The Probing Mind series

Once again, we are taking on these blanket and erroneous statements
regarding the belief and non-belief in Jesus put out by believers
using the words "most" by tackeling them wherever we find them,
regardless of personal regard or backlash from believers.

It is certainly not universally accepted that Jesus did exist anywhere
outside the imagination and propagandistic wording of those who do
believe and are apologists for that belief.

To make such a claim, then use provenly forged historical documents as
proof for such a claim, must be answered - if the material found in
this answers forum is to have validity as a source for objective

This is not a forum for missionary activity.  And as long as it is
being used as such - and statements made using a brush so wide to
support that cause, then an opposing voice needs to be heard.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 09 Jun 2004 11:41 PDT
Forgot the quotes for 6th paragraph above - quote from Frank R.
Zindler "did Jesus exist"
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: kriswrite-ga on 09 Jun 2004 12:17 PDT
Sources for a non-Biblical Jesus:

* Cornelius Tacitus (Roman historian, Governor of Asia)
* Lucian of Samosata (satirist)
* Flavius Josephus (Jewish historian)
* Suetonius (Roman historian)
* Pliniussecundus, Pliny the younger (Governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor)
* Tertullian (theologian)
* Thallus (a gentile writer)
* Phlegon (historian)
* Mara Bar-Serapion (a Syrian, in a personal letter now in the British Museum)
* Justin Martyr (in an address to Emperor Pius, referred to Pilate's
written report)
* The Talmud

There may be others that I am currently unaware of.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 09 Jun 2004 12:53 PDT
Manuscripts and documents mentioning "Christians" are not the same as
manuscripts and documents mentioning "Jesus" as a witnessed historical

"This man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises
made through the Jewish prophets. Justin was overwhelmed. "Straightway
a flame was kindled in my soul," he writes, "and a love of the
prophets and those who are friends of Christ possessed me." Justin
became a Christian..."

Justin Martyr is a good example in this case and Justin Martyr was not
an eyewitness to anything, he was a convert and his information was
second hand.  The same is true with all the others when it comes to
second hand information.  They wrote about the Christian religion, not
about the historical personage of Jesus.  To use such documents proves
only that "Christianity" existed - they do not proove Jesus as an
individual existed.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: daytrader76-ga on 09 Jun 2004 13:15 PDT
"Manuscripts and documents mentioning "Christians" are not the same as
manuscripts and documents mentioning "Jesus" as a witnessed historical

So if there was no Jesus, then who were these early Christians?  Whom
were they following?  Were there Apostles if there was no Jesus?  Do
you think they all successfully conspired to author this amazing
literay work, and the joke was just so funny that they all went
happily to their deaths for the sake of this grand fraud?
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: byrd-ga on 09 Jun 2004 13:27 PDT
As a Christian, it simply does not matter to me whether any
independent accounts outside the Bible exist to prove or disprove the
existence of Jesus as a historical figure. I choose to believe he
existed, but I'm well aware that my belief is a choice. Were there
indisputable proof of all facets of my belief, there would be no need
for faith. So I have no quarrel with digsalot-ga or anyone else for
pointing out the absence of "proof." Jesus has no need of my defense,
and the intelligence with which he has blessed me/us is insulted by
our ignoring or twisting indisputable facts. Knowledge and faith have
no quarrel; they are two different things. That said, I've sort of
wondered about the fish myself.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: pugwashjw-ga on 10 Jun 2004 01:45 PDT
Digsalot says this site is not a forum for missionary activity. Is
quoting from the Bible such activity?. Would Digsalot have Bible
discussion BANNED?
There is not a single group/race/tribe on this earth that does NOT
have some form of spiritual belief. But there are lately a lot of
INDIVIDUALS with NO belief. The simple scripture at First Timothy 2;4
mentions "all sorts of men". How it is God`s wish for us to "lead a
calm and quiet life". It states at verse 3 and 4..."This is fine in
the sight of our Saviour,God, [4] whose WILL is that all sorts of men
should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth". Such a
scripture with its altruistic motive and desire for peace simply
cannot be wrong. The Bible promises a better future and gives warnings
..We ignore them at our peril.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 10 Jun 2004 08:28 PDT
The list of ancient authors posted above need some explanation lest
somebody believe they actually do prove a historical Jesus.

Pliny the Younger (62?-c.113) was Governor of Bithynia, and ancient
land located in Northwest Turkey. His letter was written around Around
111 or 112 CE. and deals with his handling of Christians in his

It is a given by historians (most historians without a particular
religious agenda that is), that everything Pliny claims to know about
Christians is attributed to Christian sources such as the recanters
who reported what Christians did, and the two deaconesses that he
tortured to find out what the religion was about.

"Christian historian Robert Wilken concludes, Pliny's "knowledge of
the new movement must have been slight and largely second-hand." And
France writes, "for our purposes, looking for evidence about Jesus,
[Pliny's letter] has nothing specific to offer. ... Pliny seems to
have discovered nothing about him as a historical figure."Thus,
Pliny's letter cannot be used as independent confirmation of the
historicity of Jesus.

Cornelius Tacitus was a Roman historian who lived from 55 to 120 CE
and wrote a book Annals, circa 112 CE. His material was derived from
Christian material circulating in the early 2nd century. Material
derived from other material cannot be construed as non-biblical
evidence for the life of Christ. It is only evidence that a "story"
existed. In fact, he probably obtained his information from Pliny the
Younger. Tacitus was an intimate friend and correspondent of the
younger Pliny and was therefore probably acquainted with the problems
Pliny encountered with the Christians during his governorship of
Bithynia. Tacitus was also governing in Asia in the very same years as
Pliny's encounters with Christians making communication between them
on the event very likely

Suetonius was the author of The Lives of the Caesars circa 120 CE. He
wrote "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation
of Chrestus, [Emperor Claudius in 49 CE] expelled them from Rome."
This passage is often used to support the historicity of Jesus.  It
assumes that Jesus' title was misspelled. However, there is an
enormous doubt that it was a misspelling. Christ is a title, but
Chrestus was in fact a common Greek name. It is likely that the
reference is to a Jewish agitator in Rome by that name.

There were about 40 historians who wrote during the first two
centuries. and with the exception of the above spurious accounts,
including those forged in "Antiquities of the Jews," none stated that
Jesus existed in the 1st century.

The Talmud states that Jesus lived in the 2nd century BCE. However,
this passage itself dates from the early 2nd century CE. The authors
undoubetedly based their writings as a reaction to some of the dozens
of Christian gospels circulating by that time. Once again material
based on other material which was already a literary construct of

Second, the Talmud can only provide independent confirmation of
Jesus's existence if it relied on independent sources. Given our
ignorance of the sources for the Talmud as well as its late date, it
simply can't be used as independent confirmation of the historicity of

Bar-Serapion's letter does refer to Jesus, but it is worthless as a
witness to the historicity of Jesus because Bar-Serapion gained his
information from Christians, the date of the letter is unknown, and
the letter contains historical errors.

And to include Tertullian on the list as an independent source is
ludicrus. Tertullian was a theologian, of course he would write what
supported the cause. Definitely a non-starter as an independent source
for anything relating to this discussion.

As for Thallus, we know almost nothing about him or his works. We
don't even know if he wrote only one book or several. The only
information we have about him, even his name, comes entirely from
Christian apologetic sources beginning in the late 2nd century.
Scholars since the 18th century have even invented facts about him,
and some of these groundless notions--like the idea that he was a
Samaritan--are repeated even today. Claims are also made, mainly but
not exclusively by modern Christian apologists, which make Thallus
into the earliest literary witness to the gospel tradition. that is
easy enough to do when there is not much more than a vacuum to work

As for what Thallus wrote about, we are told by Eusebius, (the forger
of parts of "Antiquity of the Jews" remember!) - To confuse matters
further, the late forger of a work in the name of Justin Martyr claims
Thallus among those who mentioned Moses and the antiquity of the Jews
in the context of Athenian history. This last can be dismissed,
however, since the forged text is almost a word-for-word adulteration
of a quote from Julius Africanus.

Christian apologists like to use the works of Phlegon as evidence,
especially of the Passion. Phlegon merely recorded a great earthquake
in Bithynia, which is on the coast of the Black Sea, more than 500
miles away from Jerusalem--so there is no way this quake would have
been felt near the crucifixion--and a magnificent noontime eclipse,
whose location is not clear. If the eclipse was also in Bithynia, as
the Phlegon quote implies but does not entail, it also could not have
been seen in Jerusalem, any more than partially, since the track of a
total eclipse spans only 100 miles and runs from west to east
(Jerusalem is due south).

As for such a quake in Jerusalem at the time of the passion, the
geologic evidence does not support it nor is there any mention of such
an event outside of just one gospel.

Have I left anyone out? 

And as for Daytrader who said: - "Do you think they all successfully
conspired to author this amazing literay work, and the joke was just
so funny that they all went happily to their deaths for the sake of
this grand fraud?"

Do you truly believe that it was only Christians who died for their
faith in Roman arenas?  The followers of other "mystery cults" such as
that of Isis also met their fates bravely without recanting their
faith.  Immovable faith is not proof of the existence of any
particular divinity.

Throughout history, Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs,
Farsi, pagans, wicca, animinists and others have all had a baptism of
martyrdom for their beliefs.  Does that prove the validity of any of
their gods or of all their gods?  The arguement from martyrdom has
very little validity as proof of anything other than the strength of
the human spirit in the face of ultimate danger.

Subject: Conspiracy?
From: daytrader76-ga on 10 Jun 2004 09:01 PDT
Could you expand upon the details of the vast conspiracy?

I can make some guesses.
Step1: Get apostles together.  Maintain 2000 years of secrecy
regarding this meeting.

Step2: Author the best selling book of all time, fulfilling 5000 years
of prophecy.  We may need to put on a pot of coffee.

Step3: Disband secret meeting.  Erase all traces of the fraudulent
penning of the best selling book of all time for 2000 years.

Step4: Spend lives perpetuating big funny joke on all mankind.

Step5: Go happily to death for the sake of big funny joke.

Step6: Big funny joke becomes world's most popular religion(s).

I just don't buy it.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 10 Jun 2004 10:20 PDT
Hi Daytrader

There is nothing to buy as there was no conspiracy.  

There is a phenomonon in religion known as syncretism, the blending of
beliefs.  In some cases this blending of beliefs has led to a totally
new faith.

In ancient Rome, dying and rising god cults were common.  They were
largely refered to as "mystery cults" because their religious services
were 'secret.'

Christianity was a definitive member of this class.  The earliest
Christian worship services were closed to all non-believers, that is,
they were secret.  The proof of this is still found in the liturgies
of more than one church.  The Roman Catholic Mass is divided into two
parts, the Mass of the Catechumens, which is the Mass of the Word.  In
the early church, those who were learning about the faith
(Catechumens) were permitted to attend this part of the service only. 
After this section of the service had ended, the Catechumens were
dismissed and the remainder of the service was for baptized believers
only (the 'secret' part of the Mass) - that which made it a "mystery

In Eastern Orthodox churches, this ancient division is remembered in
the phrase of the liturgy, "The doors, the doors, in wisdom let us
attend."  The call for the doors dates once again back to the early
church when the catechumns and non-baptized were shut out and the
service continued for the faithful only.

So yes, Christianity was a "mystery cult."

At one point or other, most all of these mystery cults were persecuted
by the Romans.  All these mystery cults had at their core a
"salvationist" doctrine based on the acceptance of a particular
divinity as god and savior.  During these persecutions, there were
times these various groups were in hiding together.  The followers of
Isis may have shared space with Christians and for a brief time with
Mithrans (a faith which later became accepted empire wide instead of
just in the east.)

Most all of these cults involved virgin births, a murdered god who
rose from the dead and other similarities.  Not all had all, but
between them all aspects of the dying and rising god belief system
were covered.  The following mythological characters were all believed
to have been born to divinely impregnated virgins: Romulus and Remus,
Perseus, Zoroaster, Mithras, Osiris-Aion, Agdistis, Attis, Tammuz,
Adonis, Korybas, Dionysus. The pagan belief in unions between gods and
women, regardless of whether they were virgins or not, is even more
common. Many characters in pagan mythology were believed to be sons of
divine fathers and human females. The Christian belief that Jesus was
the son of God born to a virgin, is typical of Greco-Roman
superstition. The Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria (c. 30 B.C.E
- 45 C.E.), warned against the widespread superstitious belief in
unions between male gods and human females which returned women to a
state of virginity.

And the god Tammuz, worshipped in northern Israel, was said to have
been born to the virgin Myrrha.  Tammuz was always called Adon,
meaning "Lord." (The character Adonis in Greek mythology is based on
Tammuz.) As I will show later, the connection between Jesus and Tammuz
goes much further than this.

Isis gave birth to Horus in a barn, Mithra was born in a stable (in
the Roman version only) and the similarities continue.  It is only
natural that these stories began to merge sooner or later.

One of the best known is that of Mithras, so that is the one I will
use as an example.

Mithraism became one of the most popular of religions in the Roman
Empire, particularly among its soldiers and civil servants. It was
Christianity's leading rival. Mithra was also believed to have been
born of a virgin. Like Jesus, their births were celebrated yearly on
Dec. 25. Mithra was also visited by shepherds and by Magi. He traveled
through the countryside, taught, and performed miracles with his 12
disciples. He cast out devils, returned sight to the blind, healed the
lame, etc. Symbols associated with Mithra were a Lion and a Lamb. He
held a last supper, was killed, buried in a rock tomb. He rose again
after three days later, at the time of the spring equinox. He later
ascended into heaven. Mithraism celebrated the anniversary of his
resurrection, similar to the Christian Easter. They held services on
Sunday. Rituals included a Eucharist and six other sacraments that
corresponded to the rituals of the Catholic church. Most of us who are
skeptical about stories of Jesus' life suspect that Christianity may
have appropriated many details of Mithraism.

St. Augustine even stated that the priests of Mithra worshipped the
same God as he did.

There were also other "messiahs" is ancient Israel at the time, most
with similar sounding names.

The Hebrew name for Christians has always been Notzrim. This name is
derived from the Hebrew word neitzer, which means a shoot or
sprout--an obvious Messianic symbol. There were already people called
Notzrim at the time of Christ.  Although modern Christians claim that
Christianity only started in the first century C.E., it is clear that
the first century Christians in Israel considered themselves to be a
continuation of the Notzri movement which had been in existence for
about 150 years. One of the most notorious Notzrim was Yeishu ben
Pandeira, also known as Yeishu ha-Notzri. Talmudic scholars have
always maintained that the story of Jesus began with Yeishu. The
Hebrew name for Jesus has always been Yeishu and the Hebrew for "Jesus
the Nazarene" has always been "Yeishu ha-Notzri." (The name Yeishu is
a shortened form of the name Yeishua, not Yehoshua.) It is important
to note that Yeishu ha-Notzri is not an historical Jesus since modern
Christianity denies any connection between Jesus and Yeishu and
moreover, parts of the Jesus myth are based on other historical people
besides Yeishu. Ben Stada being one.  But there is no time for that

Even the Talmud, which was mentioned above, is highly suspect.  The
information in the Talmud (which contains the Baraitas and the
Gemara), concerning Yeishu and ben Stada, is so damaging to
Christianity that Christians have always taken drastic measures
against it. When the Christians first discovered the information they
immediately tried to wipe it out by censoring the Talmud. The Basle
edition of the Talmud (c. 1578 - 1580) had all the passages relating
to Yeishu and ben Stada deleted by the Christians. Even today,
editions of the Talmud used and quoted by Christian scholars lack
these passages.

As mentioned above, many parts of the Jesus story are not based on
Yeishu or ben Stada or even on Mithraism. Most Christian denominations
claim that Jesus was born on 25 December. Originally the eastern
Christains believed that he was born on 6 January. The Armenian
Christians still follow this early belief while most Christians
consider it to be the date of the visit of the Magi. As pointed out
already, Jesus was probably confused with Tammuz born of the virgin
Myrrha. We know that in Roman times, the gods Tammuz, Aion and Osiris
were identified. Osiris-Aion was said to be born of the virgin Isis on
the 6 January and this explains the earlier date for Christmas. Isis
was sometimes represented as a sacred cow and her temple as a stable
which is probably the origin of the Christian belief that Jesus was
born in a stable. Although some might find this claim to be
farfetched, it is known as a fact that certain early Christian sects
identified Jesus and Osiris in their writings. The date of 25 December
for Christmas was originally the pagan birthday of the sun god, whose
day of the week is still known as Sunday. The halo of light which is
usually shown surrounding the face of Jesus and Christian saints, is
another concept taken from the sun god.

The word is syncretism. - - - It is not a plot or diabolical plan.  It
is the natural evolution of a faith from the boiling pot known as the
salvationist mystery cults of the Roman Empire.  That which is now
known as the "Jesus biography" is likely a blend of supernatural tales
from a wide variety of ancient faiths.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: daytrader76-ga on 10 Jun 2004 10:31 PDT
"The earliest Christian worship services"

I have no argument that early Christianity in Rome was cultish.  It
does resemble many other faiths in many aspects.  And I agree that
Jesus was probably not born on December 25th.

But, again, what about the 12 Apostles?  Did they exist?  What did
they see to move them so much?
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: digsalot-ga on 10 Jun 2004 11:26 PDT
Hi again trader

LOL, I get to this stuff fast because I have been doing it for years
and much of it I have either already composed or have ready notes for.
 Much of it is simply cut and paste from things I have writen
elsewhere.  As a retired archaeologist, I have a lot of time on my

And, quite frankly, I am enjoying this conversation.

Now then, there are many characters in the New Testament, but perhaps
the most blatantly obvious fictions are the Twelve Disciples. Of
course, if Jesus was a sun-god (and who else is born on the winter
solstice and worshiped on Sunday? - see above in my last post), he
would have needed twelve accomplices, one for every month of the year,
or one for every sign of the zodiac through which the sun?s chariot
journeys.  Mithras also had the twelve.  It is also not surprising
that most of the disciples are mere names ? not always even the same
names from gospel to gospel. Moreover, it appears that some
evangelists had trouble coming up with enough names for all twelve ?
although the authors of the gospels of Mark and Luke were able by
combining three separate stories about disciples or apostles, to come
up with thirteen names. - ??

Matthew and Luke are known to have copied the narrative framework of
Mark?s gospel, and it is interesting to note that their lists of
disciples (or apostles) do not match Mark?s exactly. The simple
Thaddæus of Mark is Lebbæus in Matthew. Attempts at harmonizing this
discrepancy resulted in later manuscripts of Matthew listing
Lebbæus-Thaddæus  - - a change that was transported back to later
manuscripts of Mark as well. This kind of "cereating harmony" arises
most often when legend or fiction is involved. This is reinforced by
the fact that both Lebbæus and Thaddæus are missing in Luke, who
instead has a mysterious Judas the brother of James. And of course
Lebbæus, Thaddæus, Judas the brother of James, and James all four are
missing in the gospel of John. To make up the defect, John gives Jesus
a disciple named Nathanael, a character unknown in the other gospels.

And things get even more confusing.

Here we go - The gospel of John makes no mention of any disciple named
John ? even though a John helps make up the count of twelve - -  or
thirteen - - in the other three official gospels

But then again, John?s gospel has no Bartholomew either  - -  nor does
it have a Matthew, James the son of Alphæus, nor Simon the Canaanite.
Nor has he any Simon Zelotes, Levi the son of Alphæus, nor any Levi or
Matthew the publican (tax gatherer). It is a bit startling to discover
that the gospels that do have a Levi and a Matthew appear to have one
too many disciples ? thirteen.

Here, the confusion deepens.  The disciples were supposed to have been
Jesus? students, the men (or women also, in the Gospel of Thomas and
in some other gospels) who lived with Jesus and learned the master?s
secrets. Apostles, on the other hand, were individuals ? allegedly
appointed by the living or resurrected Jesus ? who had to assume the
role of missionaries for the new faith.

This confusion of disciples and apostles that we find in the gospels
can tell us something of the political necessities behind the various
gospels and time of their writing. Although the New Testament doesn?t
tell us very much about history directly, it does tell us quite a bit
indirectly about the circumstances in which its parts were written and
the men who wrote it. What do the stories of apostles and disciples
tell us about the creators of these characters? Why were the so-called
Twelve Apostles (or Disciples) invented, - -  if they never existed as
real men.

The answer to this questions is found in early church politics.  As I
mentioned in my last post, I believe that Christianity emerged out of
a variety of Jewish and pagan mystery cults. There came a time of
fierce competition among these organizations. One group of Jewish
proto-Christians claimed that their church was the only authentic one
because it was supposed to have been founded by men (apostles) who had
had visions of the risen Christ. To this, the Pauline (Gentile)
churches could reply, ?We?re authentic too: our founder, Paul, also
had visions of Christ and Christ told him what?s what.?

The Jewish church could only outstrip its rivals by adding some more
details to the history of its foundation. Guess what?  It so happened
that the apostles who founded it not only had had visions of the risen
Christ, they had eaten meals with him and studied with him before he
died. That made their church much more authoritative than churches
whose founders had only had visions. Thus, the invention of twelve
apostles led to the invention of the twelve disciples. Probably, one
of the Jewish churches was led by twelve officials called apostles
(perhaps equivalent to the ?pillars? mentioned in Galatians 2:9) ? one
for each of the by now imaginary tribes of Israel. (ten of them were
missing)  The tribes in turn, as you may know, were associated with
the twelve signs of the zodiac. Back to that sun god thing again.  The
twelve governing apostles were descended, it was claimed, from the
original twelve apostles, at least eleven of whom had also been
disciples. Now 'that' was some claim to authority.

Now despite all that confusion, the Twelve clearly serve a zodiacal
function in the gospels, and the sun-god nature of Jesus becomes clear
as crystal when one examines the early history of the Christian
church. (Excavations beneath the vatican have revealed a mosaic
depiction of Christ as the sun-god Helios ? with solar chariot,
horses, and all!) The core narrative of the gospel of Mark is played
out in twelve months (suggestively solar), and some scholars have
thought that the original version of the gospel of Mark had a
twelve-part structure sort of the Christian equivalent of the Twelve
Labors of Hercules (another savior godlet). In later works, however,
the time of Jesus? ministry is increased ? to as much as three years
in the late gospel of John. In any case, the purposes and beliefs of
the various churches that controlled the rewriting of the gospels
changed from time to time, and so what might originally have been
clear patterns became obscured as more material was inserted into the
sacred texts and as some material most surely was expunged.

Now here is something that may come as a surprise to most all reading
this.  While I am a non-Christian, I do believe that the historical
personage of Jesus did exist, I just do not believe he was/is God. 
But that is a personal choice.

What I have objected to here so strongly is the need to rely on
forgeries, spurious accounts and other twistings of history and
historical documents to try and prove such an existence. - - as well
as the twistings of history and scripture which make a divinity out of
one who was a surperb teacher, but nevertheless, human.

Can I prove why I believe he existed? - nope. - and neither can anybody else.

I'm Buddhist by the way - - - and that is a whole different can of worms.

Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: pafalafa-ga on 10 Jun 2004 11:34 PDT
So...anyone have anything to say about tilapia...?
Subject: Nirvana Tickets
From: daytrader76-ga on 10 Jun 2004 16:21 PDT
Happy meditating, Digs.  I enjoyed the discussion as well.
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: existing-ga on 26 Aug 2004 14:27 PDT
Probably way too late for this thread but digsalot I commend you! I am
reading up on the historicity of jesus (currently 'The Jesus
Mysteries') & you have managed to condense a lot of information into a
handful of posts. Good work!
Subject: Re: Fish Jesus ate
From: existing-ga on 27 Aug 2004 13:33 PDT
I am curious however digsalot as to what has made you conclude, after
so successfully dismissing Jesus as an amalgamation of mythical dying
& resurrecting godmen, that he DID actually exist? & you describe him
as a superb teacher, again why have you concluded this? It is out of
genuine interest that I ask and I hope you will look at this thread
again (eventhough it is now a little old) as I am still forming my
opinions as to the historicity of Jesus but have been surprised by
some of the odd things Jesus is purported to have said & done (such as
irrationally cursing a fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season
Matthew 21:18-19 and Mark 11:13-14 or the questionable family values
he promoted Luke 14:26 and Matthew 10:35-36). I too thought he was a
sage until looking into things, but am now not convinced he was little
more than a title. But I am still investigating...

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