Muscles and
Mayhem (pt 2)


bdrex: I guess I should be more careful. When I said worldly jesus didn’t exist, I meant bodily. The gnostics thought Jesus was spirit you are correct. We do have a better idea of what they believe with the nag hammadi writings. I would propose being of spirit alone is a denial of existence. Jesus could not have died on the cross, been beaten, where a crown of thorns without a body.

Again I should be careful when I say things. I do not believe the Jesus of scripture existed. Josephus comments on a Jesus. The following citation about a Jesus was in my opinion the Jesus Gospel writers are referring to.


So Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people, prevented us, and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace on fire, and thought he should get a great deal of money thereby, because he saw some of the roofs gilt with gold.


This Jesus resembles the Jesus in the temple, attacking money changers. He travels with fisherman from galilee and poor people, or is it “Ebonites”. I’m sure you know ebonite means poor. Is accused of sedition. This Jesus wanted the gold from the temple priests used for the poor.

I think Paul viewed Jesus as the gnostics did. The gospel of Judas is mostly ridiculous but it portrays jesus with a temperament similar to Jesus son of sapphias. John the baptist and James the just were the peaceful leaders of the movement portrayed in the gospels.

I cite paul as evidence because he is without reproach to you. To make a good argument you must use evidence that resonates with your opponent.

I looked up this denial from silence you mention. When I argued that people would have cited Josephus if the affirmation of Jesus existed, I was forming my own ideas. You are correct again, that alone doesn’t prove he didn’t exist it is merely evidence that Josephus was likely edited with an interpolation.


Thanks for the stimulating banter. Oh I read your entire response and am thinking about parts I didn’t comment on.

OSC: You’re welcome, Rex. I’m enjoying our discussion immensely. Although hasn’t our conversation brought everyone right back to your earlier point. Your original message was an attempt at discrediting New Testament prophecy as false and the earliest portraits of Jesus as invention. However robust historic methodology dislodged your criticism almost instantly after having been shared.

“I would propose being of spirit alone is a denial of existence”, and that’s your prerogative. However gnostics don’t appear to have shared your materialistic presupposition (in fact they supposedly hated matter). Making historic groups who didn’t share your assumed ideas on the nature of existence argue from your assumptions is logically fallacious. Consider this logical syllogism for an example:

Premise 1. I [Rex] believe without a body someone doesn’t exist.

Premise 2. Christians don’t believe Satan has a body.

Conclusion = Therefore Christians argue that Satan doesn’t exist.

I’m sure you’d agree that’s tragically misguided reasoning. For a person to impose their own materialistic assumptions and beliefs to do with the nature of existence on the supernaturalists isn’t appropriate. Having gone even further (inserting those materialistic conclusions into the minds of these ancient believers) can’t be done without erasing the believing person’s real beliefs. We’ve got to be careful to avoid doing things like that.

Having waded through the dross this idea that Jesus didn’t exist, which was seemingly imposed upon the gnostics, is immaterial to your actual views, since apparently you’re of the opinion Jesus existed.

As I’ve already explained, just so long as nobody’s able to provide an ancient source which argued for the nonexistence of Jesus, we are freed up for pursuing an actual Jesus of history. The same Jesus who our greatest instruments of validating historicity teach was baptised, crucified, buried in a rich man’s tomb & found missing by a group of His female followers.

So, now Jesus exists, however based upon two sources (one you’re describing as ridiculous), he was a killer of violent temperament. Personally I’d consider the use of a third or forth century document like the gospel of Judas very wishful, especially so if the same scholar who used the source didn’t respect the authority of the far earlier Pauline epistals.

Thus far you’ve dismissed the classical Jesus as peace maker for a fringe violent Jesus because of two quotations and a lone figured described by Josephus (doing so for the reasons that follow):

1. They share names

2. They’re both charged with attacking people

3. They each travelled from Galilee

4. They’re both associated with fishermen

5. They have each been charged with sedition

Regarding part one. Nearly 20% of the male population of the Jewish people had one of two popular names (Simone & Joseph). 40% of the female population had one of two popular names. The commonality in naming practises was part of why people were identified as “son of” or “of Nazareth”, or even by their profession. Each being used as clarifiers. Jesus Ben Sapphias isn’t Jesus Ben Joseph. Furthermore. . .

* Josephus (born 37AD) wrote as if Jesus Ben Sapphias was his contemporary. Whereas traditions concerning Jesus Christ have predated these dates. Jesus Ben Sapphias is even described as “plundering furniture,” which Josephus charges himself with retrieving (none of these events being contemporaneous with Jesus Christ).

* Josephus described Jesus Ben Sapphias as “governor of Tiberias.” In addition to being a high priest and general appointed by Ananus. Whereas Jesus Christ, who clearly predated these men and events according to the material we do have, has been identified as a carpenter and the son of a carpenter.

* Galilee (as every good student of Josephus knows) produced “the most notorious leaders of the Jewish fight against Rome.” In addition to being where “children were trained for war.” It’s no surprise violent men came from this location.

* Ben Sapphias is described as a precursor to the Jewish Roman war of 66-73AD (Christianity was a full blown movement of people by this point in history).

* Every available ancient qualifier indicates they’re different people (only leaving behind highly superficial similarities).

Any scholar who insisted upon propounding these ideas would be indulging in an extremely selective reading of the available material. Now, I’m not sure where this idea came from that Jesus “attacked” anybody in the temple cleansing material (wishful thinking on the part of many unbelievers perhaps). Read through the relevant early material:


When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle;


City slickers may never have seen a man mush animals before, although for the rest of us, we’ve seen how they’ll use a stick of cane or leaves bound together or some kind of improvised device. The writer of the above material described how Jesus bound cords, many have supposed of a kind of popular plant, then the author juxtaposed this fact to the driving out of the cattle. . .


he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a merchandise.


So the animals are driven from the temple by a light smack probably, whereas Jesus in the immediate context overturns the tables of the money chargers and demands that they leave. The law might be able to bemoan some kind of property damage, but to describe Jesus “attacking” people shows a disinterest in what the sources really say. It’s also another exercise in selective reading. Presupposing (and misreading) the reality of the temple event while ignoring the remainder of the author’s peaceful portrait isn’t the actions of a serious historian.

Of course God coming to His temple was predicted long ago.

So, you’ve been taught Paul was a gnostic. That’s simply not true. Consider your own messages, after which I’d like to share some teachings of Paul which are clearly against what’s come down to us as gnosticism. . .

Quotation 1: “The gnostics were widespread and numerous. Even Paul acknowledges this. I think since my source is Paul i am on firm ground.”

Quotation 2: “I think Paul viewed Jesus as the gnostics did.”

How could Paul both note in print how the gnostics are everywhere, whilst at the same time not aligning himself with their camp (he identified with the Christians)? You insist he was a gnostic after all. If the gnostics really were “widepread and numerous” it’s a peculiar thing to think Paul wouldn’t identify with them.

Thankfully we don’t have to play at mind reading to know the teachings of Paul, and they’re not gnostic in any way, shape or form.

* 1 Corinthians 15:1-58. .


Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.


^^^^ Jesus didn’t die in Gnosticism nor are gnostic believers “saved by” the sacrificial death of Christ. Rather they’re saved by gnosis (secret knowledge). . .

* 1 Cor 13:2. . .


And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all gnosis, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.


* 1 Corinthians 13:8. . .


Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is gnosis, it will pass away.


Paul wasn’t saved by gnosis, largely because he wasn’t a gnostic. Obviously it’s better not to equivocate over how uses of the word gnosis could varied, nevertheless, the preferential position of love and the clear-cut salvation only found in Jesus comes into focus for an honest reading of Paul. In chapter two of Acts Paul explained Jesus’ bodily return from the dead and the fact that He most certainly was crucified. . .


Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.


Paul continued: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Remember your own post, “Jesus could not have died on the cross, been beaten, where a crown of thorns without a body.” Amen, Amen all day long. Jesus couldn’t be slain in His body without a body, He couldn’t be crucified without a body, and Paul writes Jesus was crucified.


Luke’s beliefs are selfsame Paul’s (they were travelling companions), for which simply reading the gospel of Luke should be enough proof of what Paul believed. In short, Paul wasn’t a gnostic.


As a word of encouragement Rex. These theories in the books you’re kindly sharing aren’t sceptical theories, they’re not respected pieces of literature, they’re historic fiction.

― Tyrone Cormack