Christianity Without Jesus?

Godman – Gestation of a Superhero

Shadowy Mr Big behind worldwide criminal organisation. Known variously as 'Jesus', 'Christ', 'Lord', and 'Saviour'. Persistent rumours of a brief appearance in Palestine though unknown in official records. Cult members convince themselves JC is alive today. Intelligence suggests never actually existed.

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Kenneth Humphreys



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Unknown Novelists

"Disconcertingly, we do not know who any of the authors of the four Gospels were.

The traditions that they were written by Jesus' apostles Matthew and John, and Paul's companions Mark and Luke, are in any case subject to grave and virtually insuperable doubts...

And even though it has not been possible to establish who the evangelists are, they emerge as four very distinct individuals – so distinct that they often seem to present not one Jesus, but four."

– Michael Grant (Jesus, 1977, p180,183)




It is not merely Christ, divine son of God, that is an article of faith, but also the so-called "Jesus of history". A liturgy of carefully crafted "proofs", a hallowed parade of alleged witnesses, and a handful of dogmatically interpreted writings are the sacraments of this faith.

But what better explains a thousand different Jesuses than the single word: fiction.



Piety and Dreams Sire a Godman

It is intuitively satisfying to think that someone was behind the towering legend. Yet like the worship of Horus or Mithras a human life was neither necessary nor helpful.




Growing the dream

The teachings of the Jewish prophets – in essence, pronouncements upon God's Law and social criticism of their own age – were re-purposed by the Christians as "fore-telling" their own would-be hero, centuries into the future.


Universal Saviour

Every miracle, every pronouncement and every micro-drama of the godman's supposed existence was teased out of Jewish scripture and a handful of supplementary sources. Traditional pagan motifs completed the detail.



Hero of the People

Rabbis, radicals and rebels – 1st century Palestine had them in abundance. But a 'life' conjured up from mystical fantasy, a mass of borrowed quotations, copied story elements and a corpus of self-serving speculation, does not constitute an historical reality.


Glory – The Greatest Man Who Never Lived

The final defeat of militant Jewish nationalism and the eradication of a Jewish kingdom gave the incipient Christian churches the final uplift they required.


The "witnesses" who saw and heard nothing of a historical Jesus


Philo of Alexandria

As it happens, we have an excellent witness to events in Judaea and the Jewish diaspora in the first half of the first century AD: Philo of Alexandria (c25 BC-47 AD). Yet Philo says not a word about Jesus, Christianity nor any of the events described in the New Testament. But a Jewish neo-Platonism fed into nascent Christianity.



Seneca and the Stoics

Nothing in the 'Christian message' was original. Brotherly love and compassion had been taught by the Stoics for centuries. In fact, Stoicism influenced the ethics of the emerging Christ cult.




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Copyright © 2005 by Kenneth Humphreys.
Copying is freely permitted, provided credit is given to the author and no material herein is sold for profit.