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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dead Sea Scholar Praises Scientific View of Jesus

Noted Biblical scholar and Hebrew manuscripts expert Dr. Robert H. Eisenman, who was largely responsible for securing the release of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls to the public, has come out with a statement concerning my book, Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ.

A professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach, Dr. Eisenman is the controversial author of the Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, as well as James the Brother of Jesus, a behemoth of a book well known in scholarly circles that attaches a firm Jewish background to the apostle James and the early church at Jerusalem.

For decades since their discovery in 1947, secrecy and intrigue kept one of the world's most famous archaeological finds, the Dead Sea Scrolls, away from public scrutiny, until Eisenman and several others played a major role in convincing the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, to publish its microfilm images of the scrolls, unleashing a new wave of DSS scholarship that continues to this day.

Following is Dr. Eisenman's review of my book, Who Was Jesus?:
D.M. Murdock, aka "Acharya S," has written a really fine introduction to the problem of the Historical Jesus. She couches everything in the most basic terms, comprehensible to the layman, and lays out the problem and all the issues in a both really readable and digestible form.

Her charts are insightful and extremely useful and presented in such a way as to make things immediately plausible to the general reader.

I can recommend her work whole-heartedly for anyone on a world-wide basis who really wants to know what is at stake in approaching and coming to terms with the real person behind the literary image provided by those who created the story of 'Jesus.'"

Dr. Robert H. Eisenman
Author of James the Brother of Jesus and The New Testament Code
Dr. Robert Eisenman on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw debunking the so-called "James Ossuary":

Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ Video

Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ Video, Part 2

Dr. Robert Eisenman Video Lecture Series

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Bible is Myth?!

In November 2008, PBS will air a TV special claiming that the biblical patriarch Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were not historical persons but were "myths." The documentary will also declare the fabulous Israelite Exodus to be mythical, rather than representing a miraculous "historical" event.

To readers of my work posted online since 1995, and encapsulated in my books, beginning with The Christ Conspiracy, all of this cage-rattling will be old hat. In that book, I laid out the case that Abraham and Sarah are remakes of the Indian deities Brahma and Sarasvati, while Moses is likewise a mythical character based on older gods. In Christ Con, I also show that the Exodus represents not a supernatural event that truly happened on Earth but for which absolutely no evidence has been found. Rather, it too falls in the realm of mythology.

As this article about the PBS documentary relates, the evidence does indeed show that the Bible was composed during and after the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the 6th century BCE. Certain parts of it are older, of course, as some of the most fantastic stories could undoubtedly be found in the libraries in Babylon and Egypt. As I also demonstrated in The Christ Conspiracy almost 10 years ago, the Bible was not composed by the individuals claimed to be its authors, neither the Old Testament nor the New.

The fact that the Nova producer in this article found the concept "extremely shocking" that monotheism was developed over a period of centuries is a reflection of the woeful state of education in comparative religion and mythology. As readers of my work will also know, monotheism did not come to a historical Moses's head via a bolt of lightning from the Almighty but was indeed devised over hundreds of years by a number of cultures, including the Indian and Egyptian, beginning centuries to millennia prior to the purported existence of Moses.

In my books, which include Suns of God and Who Was Jesus?, I also name several other Old Testament patriarchs as mythical characters, including and especially Joshua, who is essentially an old sun god turned into a "real person" and who was later rehashed as "Jesus." Indeed, I do not stop with the Old Testament but further put forth the case for some of the major players in the New Testament to be mythical characters as well, including and especially Jesus Christ. In this regard, it should be noted that there is no credible and valid scientific evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ as a historical person, and everything points to him being as mythical a figure as Hercules.

We can only hope that PBS and Nova will jump on this bandwagon as well, sooner than later.
Holy Moses! PBS documentary suggests Exodus not real

Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Television Critic
July 21, 2008

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Abraham didn't exist? The Exodus didn't happen?

The Bible's Buried Secrets, a new PBS documentary, is likely to cause a furor.

"It challenges the Bible's stories if you want to read them literally, and that will disturb many people," says archaeologist William Dever, who specializes in Israel's history. "But it explains how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place, and how and why they were written down."

The Nova program will premiere Nov. 18. PBS presented a clip and a panel discussion at the summer tour of the Television Critics Association.

The program says the Bible was written in the sixth century BC and that hundreds of authors contributed.

"At least the first five books of the Bible come together during the Babylonian exile," says producer Gary Glassman.

The program challenges long-held beliefs. Abraham, Sarah and their offspring probably didn't exist, says Carol Meyers, a religion professor at Duke University.

"These stories are unlikely to represent real historical events, but rather there's some kernel of ancient experience in there which has survived and which helps give identity to the people at the time the Bible finally took shape centuries and centuries later," Meyers says.

There's no archaeological evidence of the Exodus, either, she says, but "it doesn't mean that there's no kernel of truth to it."

Nova series producer Paula Apsell says she found it "extremely shocking" to learn that monotheism was a process that took hundreds of years.

"I was always brought up to believe that the minute Abraham and the patriarchs came on the scene, the Israelites accepted one God and there was just always one God and that was it," Apsell says. "I think people are going to really be stunned by that."

Another shocker: The program contradicts the biblical view that the Israelites came from somewhere else into the land of Canaan. "The film shows that they were Canaanites," Apsell says.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oldest New Testament Out of Egypt into Cyberspace

In a move reflective of the power of technology, the oldest New Testament Bible will be placed online for all the world to examine. Of course, this is great news for students of Bible manuscripts. One fascinating fact about this archaeological gem is its origin in Egypt.

The New Testament manuscript in question is the Codex Sinaiticus, distinguished from earlier manuscripts by virtue of its completeness, containing all the canonical texts along with the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas, the former of which has been shown to have a provenance of Alexandria, Egypt. Along with the Codex Vaticanus, the CS is the oldest intact manuscript, dating to around 350 AD/CE.

Importantly, the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered and evidently written in Egypt, a locale vastly overlooked in studies of Christian origins. It is my contention, in fact, that without factoring in Egyptian religion and mythology, the study of Christian origins will always be incomplete and faulty, because it is unquestionably out of Egypt that Christ was called, so to speak, as a mythical rehash largely of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Horus.

"Out of Egypt have I called my son."
--The Gospel of Matthew (2:15)

In reality, the Sinai Peninsula, where this text was found in the oldest Christian monastery, St. Catherine's, was the only established land route to Israel, possessing numerous important Egyptian sites, including a massive fortress and temple to Horus at Tharo/Tharu. In this location, countless thousands of travelers passed between the two nations over a period of several millennia. Indeed, much interchange between cultures occurred in this very region. It is no wonder, therefore, that this site would be a sacred hot spot for the establishment of what turns out to be a Jewish-Egyptian hybrid, i.e., Christianity.

In my forthcoming book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, I demonstrate the correspondences between the Egyptian and Christian religions in well-documented detail, using primary source material as well as the works of highly credentialed scholars in relevant fields. Those who are interested in a preview of my book Christ in Egypt may wish to read my "Companion Guide to ZEITGEIST, Part 1," which contains a number of chapters from CIE.
Oldest New Testament Bible heads into cyberspace
By Dave Graham Mon Jul 21, 12:50 PM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - More than 1,600 years after it was written in Greek, one of the oldest copies of the Bible will become globally accessible online for the first time this week.

From Thursday, sections of the Codex Sinaiticus, which contains the oldest complete New Testament, will be available on the Internet, said the University of Leipzig, one of the four curators of the ancient text worldwide.

High resolution images of the Gospel of Mark, several Old Testament books, and notes on the work made over centuries will appear on as a first step towards publishing the entire manuscript online by next July.

Ulrich Johannes Schneider, director of Leipzig University Library, which holds part of the manuscript, said the publication of the Codex online would allow anyone to study a work of "fundamental" importance to Christians.

"A manuscript is going onto the net which is like nothing else online to date," Schneider said. "It's also an enrichment of the virtual world -- and a bit of a change from YouTube."

Selected translations will be available in English and German for those not conversant in ancient Greek, he added.

Dating from around 350, the document is believed by experts to be the oldest known copy of the Bible, along with the Codex Vaticanus, another ancient version of the Bible, Schneider said....

The project, launched in cooperation with the Russian National Library, the British Library and Saint Catherine's Monastery, also details the condition of the Bible, believed to have been written by early Christians in Egypt.

"I think it's just fantastic that thanks to technology we can now make the oldest cultural artifacts -- ones that were once so precious you couldn't show them to anyone -- accessible to everyone, in really high quality," said Schneider.

(editing by Ron Popeski)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Amazing Love Story: Christian the Lion

I had to make this post, because this story is incredible. I've been a big fan of the wonderful movie "Born Free" since I was a child, so I'm surprised I've never heard this story before.

In 1969, a couple of Australian guys named Anthony "Ace" Bourke (erroneously reported as "Berg") and John Rendall adopted a lion cub they named "Christian," who eventually became too big for them to keep. By chance, the stars of "Born Free" walked into the shop where Christian lived and suggested Ace and John send the lion to Africa to stay with the famous George Adamson, the real lion conservator behind the film.

After a year, Ace and John wanted to see Christian again, but they were told by Adamson that no one had seen the lion in nine months. The blokes decided to go anyway, so George told them it was unlikely Christian would recognize them even if they could find him.

When they arrived, the two fellows were informed that Christian had mysteriously shown up the day before, as if he knew they were coming! They went out to see him and -

You must watch this video. Amazingly beautiful story. The childlike joy on the men's faces is a sight to behold and a reminder of how great life can be.

(The story is verified by Snopes - Christian really did show up mysteriously the day before the chaps arrived to find him!)

John Rendall's story: "Christian, the lion who lived in my London living room"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

France: "No Woman Enslavement Allowed"

The government of France has just established a vitally important precedent in the battle against the Islamization of the planet. Citing "insufficient assimilation," France has denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman who is "totally submissive" to her husband and male relatives, and who is forced to dress in a full Islamic veil, i.e., a burqa/burkha, chador or abaya.

Of course, we can expect to hear from those who believe that women should have the "right" to dress and live in this inhumane and oppressive manner. These "liberal" cries appear to be based entirely on the blatant bigotry which supposes that anything done in the name of religion - no matter how vile - is just peachy keen. If, however, a Western, non-Muslim woman were living in a totally submissive state and forced to cover herself from head to toe not in the name of religion, would not the same people be yelling for intervention, to help this woman free herself of her abusive husband and this patent imprisonment? The woman in this current story would be freed and sent to a domestic violence shelter, with protection from the law against her husband - if she were not imprisoned by so-called religious ideology.

What truly "religious" ideology is based on the mistreatment and enslavement of women? How can there possibly be any good, decent and merciful god behind such egregious abuse of human rights? Millions of women around the world are suffering horribly because of manmade cults seemingly designed specifically for the purpose of enslaving them - yet, where is the outcry from the "bleeding heart" segment of society? "Religion" is not an excuse and should never have been an excuse for the abuse of women and the denial of basic human rights. If one is truly a "bleeding heart" one will feel the pain of these women in their daily enslavement in the name of Islam - and one will demand an end to it NOW, no "ifs," "ands" or "buts" about it. This enslavement of women is EVIL, period.

Fortunately, France has finally grown a backbone and made this moral decision that could open the door to ending this vile abuse in the name of God. No god who demands abusing women is worthy of the name or of any sort of worship. No ideology that believes women to be inferior or mere sexual objects in need of being enslaved and covered up should be deemed a "religion" and be given special status. Any such ideology must either change or die.

"All the 'bleeding heart' multicultists who do not demand an end to the severe, worldwide abuse of women, regardless of the fact that it is done in the name of religion and God, are part of the problem."

These "leftist" individuals are in effect and indecently aiding and abetting these vicious, ongoing crimes against humanity. Let us hope that such characters do not succeed in overturning this ruling in France, as they are attempting to do, some of them quite likely at the behest of and financed by Muslim organizations who thrive on enslaving women. In reality, France should take this act a step further and deny or revoke the citizenship of this woman's husband and male relatives, and boot them out of the country. The victim should then be allowed to live in France with her children, provided she obtains counseling and is freed from her psychological and spiritual enslavement.

By taking this powerful step against the abuse of women in their country, France is leading the way in containing the virulent anti-woman sickness that is spreading throughout the world. All civilized countries must follow suit - and they must then put pressure on the uncivilized, backward nations to do likewise, or there will be no acceptance into the global family of humankind. No woman anywhere on the planet should be abused and enslaved in this manner, period. To invoke religion and God as excuses for this wanton evil represents the height of savagery and depravity.
France rejects Muslim woman over radical practice of Islam

· Expert says Moroccan lives 'almost as a recluse'
· Case reopens debate about freedom of religion

France has denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears a burqa on the grounds that her "radical" practice of Islam is incompatible with basic French values such as equality of the sexes.

The case yesterday reopened the debate about Islam in France, and how the secular republic reconciles itself with the freedom of religion guaranteed by the French constitution.

The woman, known as Faiza M, is 32, married to a French national and lives east of Paris. She has lived in France since 2000, speaks good French and has three children born in France. Social services reports said she lived in "total submission" to her husband. Her application for French nationality was rejected in 2005 on the grounds of "insufficient assimilation" into France. She appealed, invoking the French constitutional right to religious freedom and saying that she had never sought to challenge the fundamental values of France. But last month the Council of State, France's highest administrative body, upheld the ruling.

"She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes," it said.

"Is the burqa incompatible with French citizenship?" asked Le Monde, which broke the story. The paper said it was the first time the level of a person's personal religious practice had been used to rule on their capacity be to assimilated into France.

The legal expert who reported to the Council of State said the woman's interviews with social services revealed that "she lives almost as a recluse, isolated from French society".

The report said: "She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. She lives in total submission to her male relatives. She seems to find this normal and the idea of challenging it has never crossed her mind."

The woman had said she was not veiled when she lived in Morocco and had worn the burqa since arriving in France at the request of her husband. She said she wore it more from habit than conviction....

France is home to nearly 5 million Muslims, roughly half of whom are French citizens. Criteria taken into account for granting French citizenship includes "assimilation", which normally focuses on how well the candidate speaks French. In the past nationality was denied to Muslims who were known to have links with extremists or who had publicly advocated radicalism, but that was not the case of Faiza M.

The ruling comes weeks after a controversy prompted by a court annulment of the marriage of two Muslims because the husband said the wife was not a virgin as she had claimed to be.

France's ban on headscarves and other religious symbols in state schools in 2004 sparked a heated debate over freedom and equality within the secular republic. The French government adheres to the theory that all French citizens are equal before the republic, and religion or ethnic background are matters for the private sphere. In practice, rights groups say, society is plagued by discrimination.

The president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has stressed the importance of "integration" into French life. Part of his heightened controls on immigrants is a new law to make foreigners who want to join their families sit an exam on French language and values before leaving their countries.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ancient Tablet Evidence of Jesus Myth?

An ancient Hebrew tablet is creating a stir after certain scholars identified it as containing a pre-Christian account of the awaited Jewish messiah's death and resurrection after three days. If this artifact is genuine, from the era claimed, and actually says what is asserted, the discovery clearly demonstrates that the idea of a messiah, savior or divine redeemer dying and rising after three days existed decades before the alleged advent of Jesus Christ. This dying-and-resurrecting motif is one of a number that various writers and scholars have claimed demonstrate Jesus to represent not a "historical" personage but a mythical concept found in religious ideologies and mythologies long prior to the so-called Christian era.

A recent article in the New York Times expresses caution concerning the find, as it has not been conclusively proved to be from the era in question, some years to decades prior to the common era, or to discuss what it is alleged to relate. However, the article also concludes that if the tablet is truly what it is purported to be, then:

"Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship."

The idea of this motif existing before Christ "runs contrary to nearly all scholarship," except for that of "Jesus mythicists," including in my books, The Christ Conspiracy, Suns of God, Who Was Jesus? and Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection.

In fact, if genuine, this tablet would constitute not "prophecy" of Christ's alleged advent but a primary source for a BLUEPRINT used in the creation of the fictional Jesus character - a theme I repeatedly address in my work. Indeed, the educated Jews of the Diaspora, including the very important Egyptian city of Alexandria, were undoubtedly well aware of the ubiquitous story of the god Osiris, "Lord of Resurrections," who was said to have died and been resurrected after three days, as stated in ancient Egyptian texts that predate the alleged time of Jesus by hundreds to thousands of years. It may well be that the Jewish priesthood in Judea - a mere stone's throw from their many brethren in Egypt - were also quite knowledgeable of this highly important god and his resurrection, which promised hope to hundreds of millions of Egyptians over a period of several thousand years, long prior to the purported time of Jesus Christ. If so, we would logically expect from their own religion-making efforts just such writings as are alleged to be found on this extraordinary tablet.
New York Times
July 6, 2008

Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection


JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

The tablet, probably found near the Dead Sea in Jordan according to some scholars who have studied it, is a rare example of a stone with ink writings from that era — in essence, a Dead Sea Scroll on stone.

It is written, not engraved, across two neat columns, similar to columns in a Torah. But the stone is broken, and some of the text is faded, meaning that much of what it says is open to debate.

Still, its authenticity has so far faced no challenge, so its role in helping to understand the roots of Christianity in the devastating political crisis faced by the Jews of the time seems likely to increase....

Given the highly charged atmosphere surrounding all Jesus-era artifacts and writings, both in the general public and in the fractured and fiercely competitive scholarly community, as well as the concern over forgery and charlatanism, it will probably be some time before the tablet’s contribution is fully assessed....

Ms. Yardeni, who analyzed the stone along with Binyamin Elitzur, is an expert on Hebrew script, especially of the era of King Herod, who died in 4 B.C. The two of them published a long analysis of the stone more than a year ago in Cathedra, a Hebrew-language quarterly devoted to the history and archaeology of Israel, and said that, based on the shape of the script and the language, the text dated from the late first century B.C....

"This should shake our basic view of Christianity," [Knohl] said as he sat in his office of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he is a senior fellow in addition to being the Yehezkel Kaufman Professor of Biblical Studies at Hebrew University. "Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story."...

Mr. Knohl said...[the tablet] strongly suggested that a savior who died and rose after three days was an established concept at the time of Jesus....