HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

IN DEFENCE OF THE LEGEND THAT JESUS WAS NOT CRUCIFIED AND THAT IT WAS AN IMPOSTOR
 
The Church says that Jesus was put to death under Pontius Pilate by crucifixion. The gospels however leave room for doubt. This study analyses the data and gives possible explanations. Let us take the dubious data of the gospels at face value in light of the question: Could someone pretending to be Jesus have started off the resurrection hoax? If Jesus had not died it would have been easy for him to show up again after his alleged death.


AN IMPERSONATOR COULD HAVE BEEN CRUCIFIED
  
When Jesus went into Jerusalem on a donkey people had to be told who he was. This does not sit well with the gospel claims about how popular and well-known he was.

 

Jesus was arrested in the garden and crucified not long after. Or was it really him?

 

The New Testament says the Temple Guard knew Jesus from his visiting the Temple but had problems believing the man they were arresting in the Garden was him. Perhaps the substitute was arrested in case Jesus would be lynched in the quiet garden and the real Jesus was tried before Pilate and the substitute pulled in for the crucifixion.

 

Judas supposedly had to identify Jesus by kissing him on the cheek.

 

The John Gospel says that Jesus told the cohort in the garden three times that he was the man they were looking for and each time they were not sure.

 

There is no Judas kiss mentioned in this gospel.

 

Elsewhere, Jesus tells them he does not understand why they didn’t arrest him in the Temple (Matthew 26:55). This shows that he was not popular for he could not have thought that they could have arrested him with all the supporters about. But it shows they knew him. They took some convincing that the man before them was the same man. They let the apostles go which is strange unless they hoped they could track them to the real Jesus if this was not him.
 

Pilate had Jesus scourged (Matthew 27:26) and he was beaten round the face and crowned with thorns. This would have made it harder to identify Jesus so this man could have been somebody else. Some would say that Jesus would still have been recognisable so that nobody could surmise that it was not Jesus who had been crucified. But nobody would have anticipated a faked death and they would not have looked that closely. The man probably was unrecognisable with a face beaten and bloody for we are told he had a crown of thorns on his head and was battered around the face. Even if we could not be sure of that nobody could be sure that Jesus or somebody else pretending to be Jesus died.

 

Isaiah 52 tells us that God’s servant will be marred and unlike a human being. The text says that the servant will be exalted and as many were shocked by his marred appearance will be shocked at him when they see his glory. If this describes Jesus then Jesus had a terrible inhuman face when crucified. Most of the Isaiah prophecies with a bit of fantasy can be made to fit Jesus and the New Testament says they are about him. The New Testament is so fond of them which suggests that though his text was never said to have been about Jesus it is said to be by implication. It would say if Jesus had been recognisable and if that verse were not about him for undoubtedly, there would have been a rumour that the man on the cross was impersonating Jesus in the aftermath of the resurrection proclamation.

 

The impostor not sounding like Jesus would have been put down to fatigue and stress. Maybe he whispered so nobody would be any the wiser.
The man who was about to be nailed to the cross was first offered a drug which he refused (Mark 15:23). They wanted him doped in case he would give something away but he reassured them. Crucifixion was designed to be as painful as possible and there was no need to dope Jesus to hasten death for the Romans would break the legs to do that. What was Pilate up to?

 

The Bible says that the friends of Jesus were at a distance from the cross (Luke 23:49). John and Mary could have been as well though Jesus spoke briefly to them. Thus nothing amiss would have been noticed.

 

The real Jesus would have called out for the people to repent and love God instead of shouting that he had been forsaken by God. His outburst would have fuelled the gossips who would say he was accusing God of not looking after him.

 

If Jesus had miracle powers then why could he not have turned somebody into his own likeness to get them crucified in his place like Judas was metamorphosed into Jesus and crucified as Jesus in the notorious Gospel of Barnabas? The answer depends on whether we can trust the gospel account of Jesus’ perfection. We cannot because we are told very selective and repetitive stuff – and are in fact being told very little, people who know as much about their boyfriends or girlfriends would not trust them as far as we are asked to trust Jesus - about him and we have not a single independent witness to this sanctity but only that of his fans which is not the same thing. Though the fans might be telling the truth we do not know for all fans exaggerate and imagine the greatness of their idol. And Jesus himself only told the Jews that they could not prove he sinned not that he never was a sinner which weakens the fans estimate of his perfection and we cannot prove that any of them knew him well or knew enough about his disciples to entitle them to be sure that Jesus was sinless.

 

It was not the usual policy to bury executed people. If Pilate permitted the burial of Jesus as the gospels say, he may have desired to get the body of “Jesus” hidden from the world for if it were thrown on the dump like the rest it might be seen by somebody who noticed it was not Jesus. Letting Jesus have a proper burial would have brought disrepute and more unpopularity on Pilate so he must have had a good reason for allowing it. The reason was not bribery. The gospels say it was not bribery. That would have been discovered too easily for his behaviour was suspicious in any case. The alternative would have been to allow Jesus to be buried but make sure that nobody knew about the burial. Pilate had nothing to lose from letting it be thought that Jesus was on the dump unless the body was not of Jesus.

 

If Jesus was around after his death that is evidence that whoever died on the cross was not him.

 

It is by no means certain that Jesus was really crucified. It is possible that Jesus was a very useful informer and his death had to be faked for his own safety.
 
BOOKLIST
 
A Concise History of the Catholic Church, Thomas Bokenkotter, Image Books, New York, 1979
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated
A Separate God, The Christian Origins of Gnosticism, Sophie Petrement, Harper, San Francisco, 1984
Asking them Questions, Various, Oxford University Press, London, 1936
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Concise Guide to Today’s Religions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1983
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
Did Jesus Exist? GA Wells, Pemberton, London, 1988
Did Jesus Exist? John Redford, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1986
Documents of the Christian Church, edited by Henry Bettenson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979
Early Christian Writings, Maxwell Staniforth Editor, Penguin, London, 1988
Encyclopaedia of Heresies and Heretics, Leonard George, Robson Books, London, 1995
Encyclopaedia of Unbelief, Volume 1, Ed Gordon Stein, (Ed) Prometheus Books, New York, 1985
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Handbook to the Controversy With Rome, Volume 1, Karl Von Hase, The Religious Tract Society, London, 1906
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha Cumbria, 2000
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
Introduction to the New Testament, Roderick A F MacKenzie, SJ, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1965
Jesus, AN Wilson, Flamingo, London, 1993
Jesus and the Goddess, The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 2001
Jesus – God the Son or Son of God? Fred Pearce Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham, undated
Jesus – One Hundred Years Before Christ, Professor Alvar Ellegard Century, London, 1999
Jesus and the Four Gospels, John Drane, Lion, Herts, 1984
Jesus Hypotheses, V Messori, St Paul Publications, Slough, 1977
Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Jesus, Qumran and the Vatican, Otto Betz and Rainer Riesner, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1994
Jesus the Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
Jesus the Magician, Morton Smith, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1978
Jesus under Fire, Edited by Michael F Wilkins and JP Moreland, Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan, 1995
Lectures and Replies, Thomas Carr, Archbishop of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1907
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, CA, 1983
Miracles in Dispute, Ernst and Marie-Luise Keller, SCM Press Ltd, London, 1969
Nag Hammadi Library, Ed James M Robinson HarperCollins New York 1990
On the True Doctrine, Celsus, Translated by R Joseph Hoffmann, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1987
Putting Away Childish Things, Uta Ranke-Heinemann, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1994
Runaway World, Michael Green, IVP, London, 1974
St Paul versus St Peter, A Tale of Two Missions, Michael Goulder, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, 1994
St Peter and Rome, JBS, Irish Church Missions, Dublin, undated
Saint Saul, Donald Harman Akenson, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002.
The Call to Heresy, Robert Van Weyer, Lamp Books, London, 1989
The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
The Case for Jesus the Messiah, John Ankerberg Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1989
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1967
The Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics, Leonard George, Robson Books, London, 1995
The First Christian, Karen Armstrong, Pan, London, 1983
The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, Penguin, London, 1990
The Gnostic Paul, Elaine Pagels, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1975
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts 1982
The History of the Church, Eusebius, Penguin, London, 1989
The House of the Messiah, Ahmed Osman, Grafton, London, 1993
The Jesus Event and Our Response, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
The Jesus Hoax, Phyllis Graham, Leslie Frewin, London, 1974
The Jesus Mysteries, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 1999
The MythMaker, St Paul and the Invention of Christianity, Hyam Maccoby, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1986
The New Cults, Walter Martin, Vision House, Santa Ana, California, 1980
The Pagan Christ, Tom Harpur, Thomas Allen Publishers, Toronto, 2004
The Reconstruction of Belief, Charles Gore DD, John Murray, London, 1930
The Search for the Twelve Apostles, William Steuart McBirnie, Tyndale House, 1997
The Secret Gospel Morton Smith Aquarian Press, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1985
The Truth of Christianity, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973
Theodore Parker’s Discourses, Theodore Parker, Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London, 1876
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Kittel Gerhard and Friedrich Gerhard, Eerdman’s Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1976
Those Incredible Christians, Hugh Schonfield, Hutchinson, London, 1968
Who Was Jesus? A Conspiracy in Jerusalem, by Kamal Salabi, I.B. Taurus and Co Ltd., London, 1992
Who Was Jesus? NT Wright, SPCK, London, 1993
Why I Believe Jesus Lived, C G Colly Caldwell, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky