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Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Cod

Go ahead and admit it-- it's annoying to see the word "Code" missing the "e," isn't it? So, why did I title this essay "The Da Vinci Cod?" Simple--because it's a fish story. Don't get me wrong. I am enjoying to some degree the brouhaha "The Da Vinci Code" movie is causing worldwide, although I'm not obsessively paying attention to it, because, as others have pointed out, there's nothing new under the sun, and I've already lived through "The Last Temptation of Christ," as well as "Jesus of Montreal," both of which drew excited protests and then quickly faded into the woodwork to have little affect on the human mind.

It's not that I don't want "The Da Vinci Code" to have some impact on the global psyche. I do. I wish fervently that people would realize that our fairytales are just that: fairytales, fictitious and mutable. Anyone who knows my work understands that I uphold no sacred cows when it comes to the subject of the Jesus mythos. In fact, I go way beyond the Da Vinci Code in that I dare to suggest that "Jesus" was indeed "married" to "Mary Magdalene"--but within the realms of mythology, not history. For, I find no reason whatsoever to assume that the Jewish version of the virgin-born Son of God, Jesus, had any more reality in history than the Greek version of the virgin-born Son of God, Hercules. Say what? Yes, I do firmly believe that Jesus Christ is a myth through and through--no ifs, ands or buts about it. As a scholar of mythology going back some 40 years, I see little difference between what are widely viewed as myths and what is contained in the sacrosanct Bible. In other words, I view the Bible as little more than mummified mythology that dates back many millennia, with little evidence of it happening in "real life." There is no historical or archaeological record at all that supports the existence of Jesus Christ as he is depicted in the New Testament, so why should I, as a true scientist--"science" meaning "to know"--blindly accept that Christ existed on this earth, as a real person, at the time claimed in the New Testament? Frankly, as a person who attempts to be honest and truthful to the best of her ability, I should not simply accept this claim without any evidence at all. And there is no evidence at all.

Obviously, there is much more to this subject, which is why I have spent many years and spilled much ink on it, producing a couple of books and many treatises on the subject of Christian mythology, none of which need be repeated here, as the information is available on my website at Truthbeknown.com. Interested parties are warmly welcomed to investigate my writings there at any time they wish.

In the meantime, please feel free to enjoy "The Da Vinci Code" without worrying that you are forfeiting your reservation in heaven. As with the gospel story itself, you may remind yourself, "It's only a story." A fish story, in fact. It is the Da Vinci COD.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

NICE ARTICLE ABOUT THE DA VINCE COD.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

SKEP

Sydney said...

Oh ... I can hear the latest "confessional stories" now: "Forgive me Father, but I've seen the Da Vinci Cod(e) twice now ... and Tom Hanks looks SO good in long groomed hair ..."

"You are forgiven my child, but you must view 'The Passion' ten times and without popcorn."
Bwahahaha ...

Heather said...

Great article Acharya. Good work.

allan said...

The Katolik Church does have cause to worry though - a work of fiction competing with their work of fiction - and they don't have Tom Hanks or the delightful Amelie, just some old nazi wearing a fish (cod?) on his head!

Dr. W. Sumner Davis said...

Are the Illuminati alive and well in the 21st century? I hope, I just hope some fundies are picketing the theatre. That would be like tossing gas on a match....

Jim Lee said...

Christianity is one hell of a fishy story. I agree fully that the New Testament Jesus is mythology.

yourchoiceindying.com said...

The Da Vinci Code film which I saw last night was a good story. But obviously it is just a story and to me that it was a "take off" of 007 but instead of the "bad guys in the British intelligence service" this story happened to be a very tiny select segment of the "Catholic Church". I thought the monk character was ridiculous and the "Holy Grail" analogy stupid to the extreme - however the scenery was magnificent, the acting, I thought was very good, and I didn't notice "the lank dirty hair look" as I was too interested in the story line and the scenery. I believe those who had an understanding of Catholic doctrine would have been the only people to actually have some understanding of the storyline. I think the story was sympathetic to Catholics in general and as there are "bad apples" in every large business corporation I think the film should be taken much less seriously than some have proposed. The big screen though is the way to see it.....DVD TV won't show the same scale of architectural beauty.

All I realise is, that since there has been a single God for major religions throughout the world we have not stopped killing each other in His Name.....
Mary Walsh
www.yourchoiceindying.com

Goose said...

A well written essay - thanks for sharing it. Yes, the Da Vinci Code is just a story -- it's stories that make our culture rich and interesting. The problem begins when people start passing stories on as "truth" when no facts to back them. My mother says the movie is "a satanic attack in the last days." I just think it's another movie. My daughter is seeing it right now -- please don't tell.

David said...

"For, I find no reason whatsoever to assume that the Jewish version of the virgin-born Son of God, Jesus, had any more reality in history than the Greek version of the virgin-born Son of God, Hercules." - Acharya S

Straw man. The accepted story of the virgin birth is dependant upon a mistranslation in the Septuagint.

Acharya S said...

Actually, yours is a strawman argument, first of all, the scripture in question, Isaiah 7:14, had been translated into Greek as the Septuagint, some three centuries before Christ's purported advent, according to received tradition. Greek at the time was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire, and the Septuagint was the version of the Bible most widely used, especially in the Diaspora. It is well known that the Septuagint was used in the creation of the New Testament. The Septuagint uses the word "parthenos," which means virgin. Thus, the pertinent scripture in existence two to three centuries that purportedly prophesied Christ's advent stated, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Moreover, the word used in the original Greek texts of the New Testament at Matthew 1:23 and Luke 1:27 is likewise "parthenos," which, again, means virgin. In the Latin vulgate, the term is "virgo," which, as we all know, means virgin.

Furthermore, within the Catholic Church it is considered dogma that Christ was born of a virgin. Hence, hundreds of millions of people worldwide over the past nearly two millennia have been taught that Jesus was born of a virgin, which is why the phrase "the Virgin Mary" has been used countless millions of times in every media. In fact, for a Catholic to say that Jesus's mother was not a virgin is considered anathema and blasphemous.

I repeat, there is no reason to assume that the Jewish virgin-born Son of God, Jesus, had any more reality in history than did the Greek virgin-born Son of God, Hercules.

Acharya S said...

I should add that the term in Isaiah translated into the Greek as "parthenos" is "almah" in Hebrew. Strong's concordance defines "almah" as:

1) virgin, young woman
a) of marriageable age
b) maid or newly married

To assert that the Septuagint translators "mistranslated" the Greek "parthenos" from the Hebrew "almah," which is claimed to refer only to a "young woman" but not necessarily a "virgin," would mean that the translators were not divinely inspired and had made a mistake. It would also mean that the translators did not adequately know Hebrew and were therefore incompetent to accomplish the task. In addition, since the writers of the New Testament use the term "parthenos," to declare that they did so in error would be to pronounce the Bible not divinely inspired and infallible.

To my knowledge, few Christians would make this argument about the terms "almah" and "parthenos." Hence, I would find it perplexing why anyone would claim that my use of this motif to pronounce Jesus a myth would be a "strawman" argument. Are you a believing Christian? Then you must be claiming that the writers of the gospels of Matthew and Luke made a mistake.

David said...

"For, I find no reason whatsoever to assume that the Jewish version of the virgin-born Son of God, Jesus, had any more reality in history than the Greek version of the virgin-born Son of God, Hercules." - Acharya S

"Straw man. The accepted story of the virgin birth is dependant upon a mistranslation in the Septuagint." - David

Quote:
Actually, yours is a strawman argument

No it isn't. The mistranslation exists, and it is relevant to the issue of the virgin birth.

As I understand it your central premise is that there is no historical basis for the story of Jesus. Arguing in favour of that premise by debunking a virgin-born Jesus is a straw man argument because it does not address the actual issue of the historical reality of Jesus, but instead attacks a myth.

Quote:
To assert that the Septuagint translators "mistranslated" the Greek "parthenos" from the Hebrew "almah," which is claimed to refer only to a "young woman" but not necessarily a "virgin," would mean that the translators were not divinely inspired and had made a mistake.

Not necessarily, the mistranslation could have been intentional. (There is a passage in Acts which tends to show intentional misrepresentation of the facts.)

The Hebrew word for virgin is b'thuwlah, not almah. The issue of the virgin birth and the children of Jesus are related and controversial issues.

Quote:
Are you a believing Christian?

No. The evidence shows the Hellenisation of the Messiah, which to some extent explains the parallels between the tenets of Pauline Christianity and other religions.

Acharya S said...

In two books and numerous articles, I have addressed practically all aspects of the gospel story/Christ myth, not just the virgin birth. I am using the commonly held concept of Jesus Christ--as I have stated, the virgin birth is a Catholic dogma, the denial of which can get you excommunicated. You cannot simply change the facts of what hundreds of millions of people believe worldwide because you believe there was a mistranslation. If the translators of the Septuagint deliberately used the definition "virgin" for the word "almah," then they knew what they were doing--in other words, knew Hebrew and were not inept--and it wasn't a "mistranslation." Again, if they made a mistake, then they weren't divinely inspired.

And again, the writers of the gospels used the word "parthenos." They described Mary as a virgin. All of my arguments still stand.

David said...

More straw men on your part.

Catholic dogma and the issue of divine inspiration are unrelated to the issue of the historical existance of Jesus.

It is easy to find errors and contradictions in religious dogma. The challenge is in being able to explain the available evidence.

The best historical evidence of Jesus comes from antagonistic sources: the Talmud and the Pauline writings. The Pauline writings are antagonistic because Paul, being a Pharisee, was condemned by the gospels. His writings substituted the gospel of repentance with the Hellenic doctrine of sacrifice. It is this doctrine of sacrifice which is threatened by the ideas in the Da Vinci code.

Acharya S said...

More ad hominem on your part in dismissing my arguments as "straw man."

The Pauline epistles do not show any historical Jesus Christ. On the contrary, they reveal no knowledge of a historical Jesus Christ, as demonstrated quite thoroughly in The Jesus Puzzle by Earl Doherty as well as elsewhere. The Talmud is far too late to serve as anything but evidence of traditions by and about Christians. These facts are well known by those who have more than a superficial knowledge of the subject.

If you are really interested in this subject, please study the articles provided in my multi-page section on The Christ Conspiracy.

David said...

Acharya S wrote:
More ad hominem on your part in dismissing my arguments as "straw man."

Please be assured that if I wanted to induge in ad hominem attacks I would refer to your character, and not simply refute your argument that the existance of Jesus was mythical and not historical.

Quote:
The Pauline epistles do not show any historical Jesus Christ.

The historical existence of Jesus is inferred from the reactive nature of Paul's writings. Paul admits his lie in his purported explanation of the signficance of the Abrahamic covenant (Romans ch 3). As a Pharisee, Paul should have been aware that Jeremiah's prophecy of the new covenant was not with the gentiles, yet Paul's writings describe a covenant based upon the symbols of bread and wine which includes them. The antipathy between Paul and the gospels regarding Hebrew law shows this reactive element.

Quote:
The Talmud is far too late to serve as anything but evidence of traditions by and about Christians.

"Jesus the Nazarene" appears in manuscript M of the Babylonian Talmud, Aboda Zara 16b-17a. (When Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus) was arrested for heresy)

http://virtualreligion.net/iho/jesus.html

Acharya S said...

I disagree that you are using the term "strawman" properly, and you know nothing about my character in any event. I further disagree that the Pauline epistles demonstrate or that the Talmud references are early enough to show anything but Christian traditions. You may wish to see the work of Frank Zindler regarding the Talmudic references. The URL you provided shows nothing that concretely demonstrates the existence of Jesus Christ as a historical character. Your arguments seem to me to be superficial and typical of many I have encountered and dispensed with repeatedly over the past several years that I have been engaged in this work on the internet.

We are an impasse, upon which I do not have time to waste.

Cheers.

Dr. W. Sumner Davis said...

AS:
Let us just say for sake of argument he was a real person, and as such, Jesus was assumed to have been both mortal and married until the 2nd Century, when Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria believed that a mortal married Jesus was simply inconsistent with the Church’s idea of a Messianic Mission. History tells us that Jewish customs of 1st century Palestine required Rabbis to be married. Unmarried men were considered a curse to Jewish society, and as a single man, especially a Rabbis, Jesus would not have had much credibility as a leader. Despite what some scriptures paint as a badass non-conformist who had some major issues with Jewish tradition, Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, did not. The Bible states that they were careful to perfectly obey the laws of their people. It also says that Jesus was "subject unto them.” Since Jewish culture practiced arranged marriages and early marriage, as well (a Jewish boy was marriageable at age 16), it is reasonable to assume that Jesus' parents would have performed their parental duties faithfully and arranged a bride for the young Jesus. There are 18 silent years in his life (12 - 30) when he would have had plenty of time to learn a trade and get married. Some historians speculate that the reason for these silent years was that Jesus was married and that the Church has cut that part of his life out. He may have been widowed, at which point he may have remarried Mary. The Gospel of John tells us that there were many other things, which Jesus did which have not been recorded, or as is most likely, have been "forgotten."

To deny that Jesus was married is logical for a Patriarchal church that sought to undermine and negate any feminine aspects of God. Yet Hippolytus, a Christian leader of the late 2nd Century, as well as other Church Fathers, stated that the “Song of Solomon” was a prophecy of a marital union between Christ and Mary, although they claimed Mary was “symbolic” of the Church, the true bride; nevertheless, the notion presupposed a real, marriage between Mary and Jesus. This the church worked feverishly to erase from history. There are a couple of subtle hints scattered in the Gospels of a special relationship between Jesus and Mary. In John 11 (written around 90 ad) then we can explain why Martha arose to greet Jesus and not Mary. Many historians believe that this alludes to her sitting Shiva according to Jewish custom. "Shiva" was when a woman was in mourning and married women were not allowed to break-off from their mourning unless called by their husbands. In this story, Mary does not come to Jesus, until he calls her. Another revelation comes from the resurrection story when Mary meets Jesus in the Garden. In the story, there is intimacy, especially if we read it in the original Aramaic, which would be expected between lovers, not friends. The issues arise under “translation.” As with all translation there is a bit of conscious or unconscious “adjusting” of the text. The Koine Greek word for "woman" and "wife" are the same. Translators must rely upon the context in deciding how to translate it, but seldom is the translation arbitrary. When Mary is referred to as a "woman" who followed Jesus, it can just as easily be translated as "wife.” My favorite story that depicts the true relationship between Jesus and Mary is the story of Mary with the alabaster jar. In the story, Mary is anointing the feet of Jesus. In ancient Davidic custom, this may be the most direct witness to their marriage. It is in all four canonicals and was a story in which Jesus gave express command that it be preserved. Unknown to most Greek Church fathers, the anointing ceremony was an ancient one among many royal houses, which sealed the marital union between the king and his priestess-spouse. We find it in the Song of Solomon. Although many so-called Church Fathers do not understand its significance, it would seem that Jesus and Mary knew. To be the valid Messiah or “anointed king” he had to be anointed first by his Bride. Most Christians however are mortified to imagine that the god they grew up with and sang songs about might have had a passion for anything or anyone but the cross. I also find it telling that, despite historians showing Josephus to have been largely edited by later writers, Christians are quick to trot out his writing to bolster their claims. Yet they just as easily dismiss it should it disagree with their picture of a savior. For example, according to Josephus, the descendants of the House of David felt a “moral obligation to perpetuate their line, never knowing which one among their descendants would be the chosen Messiah.” From the dozens of other gospels and writings about Jesus that the Church could not erase we have a picture of a Jesus that lived as a normal person until called by the ministry of John the Baptist.

I don’t wish to write a book here so I will end my comments.

LB
Author of HERETICS

Resurrect Isis said...

Acharya,
You say "I am enjoying to some degree the brouhaha "The Da Vinci Code" movie is causing worldwide, "

Me Too. There is a Pagan renaissance going on in the world. The situation is teeming with chaotic profusion. It has not yet coalesced into a recognizable form. I welcome things like the DaVinci Code AND welcome the brouhaha that the book and the movie are causing. It all adds leavening to the renaissance.
Resurrect Isis. Her time has come.

David said...

In response to Dr Davis,

Another reason for the Church's denial of Magdelene is found in Isaiah 53:10, where the prophecy speaks of the (non-sacrificed) suffering servant raising a family. Jesus could not have both ascended into heaven and lived a long life with his family.

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