The Greatest Story Ever Told?

In an earlier post (see Once a Catholic: my new perspective on Christianity) I discussed my interest in Mythicism and shared a few essays on the subject. To refresh your memory – Mythicism is the academic theory that Jesus was never a man who walked the Earth, but began as a belief in a celestial being whose death and resurrection occurred in the heavenly realms. In effect, it contends that Jesus is a myth and no more real than any of the other mythical gods of antiquity.

However, as anyone who has tried to puzzle through the Epistles will tell you, many of the teachings of Christianity are complex and esoteric. In order to make those teachings accessible to ordinary people, allegorical stories were told about Jesus which portrayed those celestial events as happening on Earth. Eventually, those stories began to be accepted and taught as true and historical.

However, once you’re free of the misapprehension that the gospels are historical records, you can begin to appreciate them as allegorical literature. It is through this lens that I explore aspects of the gospels in the following essays.

In Passion Play: Mark’s Passion Narrative as Allegory I consider the possibility that Mark’s gospel actually began as a Passion Play, much as we still see today, which continued the tradition, that dates back to the ancient Greeks, of presenting religious stories as drama. I found that if you see them as allegories, many of the anomalous elements of the Passion narrative begin to make sense.

Biblical scholars agree that the first gospel to be written was the Gospel of Mark. In Who invented Jesus? The origins of Mark’s Gospel I look into how Mark put together his gospel and where the elements of his story came from.

INRI: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews? Is a two-part essay in which I delve into two details in the gospels which represent intriguing mysteries.

In the first part, INRI: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews? (Part 1)  I ask why the gospels tell us that Jesus grew up in Nazareth when Nazareth didn’t actually exist during his purported lifetime.

In the second part, INRI: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews? (Part 2) I wonder why Jesus is condemned for claiming to be the King of the Jews, a claim he never made. In doing so, I speculate on the possibility that this detail is a remnant of a story that pre-dates the canonical gospels.

If you have friends who would be interested in such speculations, please pass this post onto them.

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