Radio Tonight – Where’s Your Messiah Now?!

Tune in Saturday at 7PM, and then downloadable for your iDevice: We take a break from eating fat and sugar and wallowing in Christmas hangover to talk about Jesus, that “prince of peace” who is the inspiration for all this fine madness…

Who was Jesus? A pleasant, peace-loving hippy….or a violent fundamentalist Rabbinical zealot, ready to do battle with Roman oppressors in ancient Palestine?

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Sunday 7PM – The End of the World?

Are you anxious about peak oil, government control of media, the prevalence of psy-ops, and massive suppression of information? Is zero-point energy possible? Will any of us survive the next five years?! We talk about our fears, anxieties, and paranoia, Sunday night on The Investigation.

Further Reading:

From “Cows, Pigs Wars and Witches” by Marvin Harris, web type-up thanks to McClernan.com

“Although the gospels clearly intend to deny Jesus the capacity to carry out violent political acts, they preserve what seems to be an undercurrent of contradictory events and sayings which link John the Baptist and Jesus to the military-messianic tradition and implicate them in the guerilla warfare. The reason for this is that by the time the first gospel was written, nonpeaceful events and sayings which had been attributed to Jesus by eyewitnesses and unimpeachable apostolic sources were widely known among the faithful. The writers of the gospels shifted the balance of the Jesus cult’s lifestyle consciousness in the direction of a peaceful messiah, but they could not entirely expunge the traces of continuity with the military-messianic tradition. The ambiguity of the gospels in this regard is best demonstrated by arranging some of Jesus’ most peaceful statements in one column and the unexpected negations in another:

Blessed are the peacemakers.
(Matthew 5:9)
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth, I come not to send peace but a sword. (Matthie 10:34)
Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:39) Suppose ye that I come to give peace on earth? I will tell you nay, but rather division. (Luke 12:51)
All that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (Matthew 26:52) He that hath no sword, let him sell his garments and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
Love thine enemies; do good to them that hate you. (Luke 6:27) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them out of the temple …and poured out the changer’s money and overthrew the tables. (John 2:15)

I should also note at this point the obviously false construction traditionally given to what Jesus said when he was asked if Jews ought to pay taxes to the Romans: “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” This could mean only one thing to the Galileans who had participated in Judas of Galilee’s tax revolt – namely, “Don’t pay.” For Judas of Galilee had said that everything in Palestine belonged to God. But the authors of the Gospels and their readers probably knew nothing about Judas of Galilee, so they preserved Jesus’ highly provocative response on the mistaken assumption that it showed a generally conciliatory attitude toward the Roman government…

As I indicated at the beginning of this chapter, the image of Jesus as a peaceful messiah was probably not perfected until after the fall of Jerusalem. During the interval between Jesus’ death and the writing of the first gospel, the groundwork for a cult of peace messianism was laid by Paul. But those for whom Jesus was primarily a Jewish military-messianic redeemer dominated the movement throughout the period of expanding guerilla activity leading up to the confrontation of 68 AD. The practical setting in which the gospels were written – gospels which depict a purely peaceful messiah – was the aftermath of the unsuccessful Jewish war against Rome. A purely peaceful messiah became a practical necessity when the generals who had just defeated the Jewish messianic revolutionaries – Vespasian and Titus – became the rules of the Roman Empire… it quickly became a practical necessity for Christians to deny that their cult had arisen out of the Jewish belief in a messiah who was going to topple the Roman Empire…

…I shall refrain from following out the chain of worldly events that eventually led to the establishment of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. But this much should be said: When the Emperor Constantine took that momentous initiative, Christianity was no longer the cult of the peaceful messiah. Constantine’s conversion took place in 311 AD as he led a small army across the Alps. Wearily approaching Rome he saw a vision of the cross standing above the sun, and on the cross he saw the words HOC SIGNO VINCES – “By this sign you will conquer.” Jesus appeared to Constantine and directed him to emblazon his military standard with the cross. Under this strange new banner, Constantine’s soldiers went on to win a decisive victory. They regained the empire and thereby guaranteed that the cross of the peaceful messiah would preside over the deaths of untold millions of Christian soldiers and their enemies down to the present day.”

Liam

3 Comments

  1. Notes – from Ben Dench’s website.

    Matthew 10:34-39

    “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”[1]

    (other versions read, whoever does not hate his father and mother is unworthy of me)

    Luke 19:27

    “But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.”

    Mark 4:11-12; see also Matthew 13:13-15

    And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ ”

    Luke 22:36-38

    He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.”
    They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
    He replied, “It is enough.”

    “The gospels also indicate that some of the disciples carried swords and were prepared to resist arrest. Just before being taken into custody, Jesus said, ‘He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.’ This prompted the disciples to show him two swords—indicating that at least two of them were not only habitually armed but had kept their swords concealed under their clothes… like dagger men [a common type of assassin at the time].” (Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris, 188)

    “In Jerusalem, assassinations by dagger men who concealed their weapons inside their garments now had become common. One of their most famous victims was the High Priest Jonathan. In the midst of all the bloodshed, military-messianic contenders appeared again and again.” (Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris, 169)

    Matthew 10:5-6

    These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

    Matthew 15:24

    He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

    Mark 7:24-30

    From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
    But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

    Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

    Jesus was unwilling to heal the Syrian Greek woman’s daughter until she admitted her (a dog’s) inferiority to the Jews (the children). Marvin Harris elaborates:

    “The preserved evidence of Jesus’ reported actions and sayings provides no support for Paul’s attempt to scrap the distinction between Jew and non-Jew in the overseas communes. In the Gospel according to Mark, for example, a Syrian Greek woman falls at Jesus’ feet and begs him to drive out the devils from her daughter. Jesus refuses: ‘Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to the dogs.’ The Syrian Greek woman argues back, saying: ‘The dogs under the table eat the childrens’ crumbs,’ whereupon Jesus relents and cures the woman’s daughter. ‘Children’ here can only mean ‘children of Israel’ and ‘dogs’ can only mean non-Jews, especially enemies like the Syrian Greeks. Incidents and sayings of this sort were preserved in Mark and the other gospels for the same reason that the other vengeful and ethnocentric sayings and actions could not be entirely expunged. There were lively oral traditions upon which the gospels were based.” (Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris, 198-199)

    Mark 5:9-13

    Matthew 5:17-20

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    Marvin Harris: “I should also note at this point the obvious false construction traditionally given to what Jesus said when he was asked if Jews ought to pay taxes to the Romans: ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.’ This could mean only one thing to the Galileans who had participated in Judas of Galilee’s tax revolt—namely, ‘Don’t pay.’ For Judas of Galilee had said that everything in Palestine belonged to God. But the authors of the Gospels and their readers probably knew nothing about Judas of Galilee, so they preserved Jesus’ highly provocative response on the mistaken assumption that it showed a genuinely conciliatory attitude toward the Roman government.” (Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris, 190-191)

    Mark 9:43-48 (Also Matthew 18:8-9)

    “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to Gehenna, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.” (Jesus likely believed, along with the other Jews, that with the body destroyed there could be no resurrection of the soul.)

    Margaret K. Knight, psychologist:

    “Jesus, in fact, was typical of a certain kind of fanatical young idealist: at one moment holding forth, with tears in his eyes, about the need for universal love; at the next furiously denouncing the morons, crooks, and bigots who do not see eye to eye with him. It is a very natural and human behavior. Many great men of history (for example, Socrates) have met criticism with more dignity and restraint.”

    Matthew 11:20-24

    Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgement it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgement it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”

    Matthew 5:22

    “But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool’, you will be liable to the fire of Gehenna.” [Emphasis added.]

    Matthew 23:13-34

    “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…woe to you, blind guides…You blind fools!…You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to Gehenna?” [Emphasis added.]

    Tobin: “Where was the ‘love your enemies’ attitude in the above quotes? Surely people who are unimpressed with your teachings are not worse than your enemies. For your enemies, by definition, are people who want to do you harm, or at least, would like to see harm come to you. The people who rejected his apostles’ teachings may not be like that at all, and like the residents of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum may simply have been unimpressed by his miracles and his teachings.”

    Tobin: “Dr. Dagonet noted that theomaniacs get very easily irritated and will not permit contradiction of their utterances…They often speak in tones of authority.”

    Matthew 19:12

    “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.” (!!)

    Charles Guignebert, Professor of History of Christianity in the Sorborne:

    “…we find in it no abstractions, no theories concerning man, life, the world of God, in short, not the slightest interest in rational and objective knowledge. He observes the world and quite simply records his impressions in what he says.

    “When he feels himself opposed by a doubt, he makes no attempt to refute it, for there is nothing for him to say. He neither argues nor discusses, proves nor confutes; he knows the truth and he utters it, and when he realized that it is not believed he grows angry and depressed.”

    Marvin Harris:

    “The logic of his growing popularity drew Jesus forward into increasingly dangerous exploits. Before long, he and his disciples set out to missionize Jerusalem, the promised capital of the future Holy Jewish Empire. Deliberately invoking the messianic symbolism of the Book of Zechariah, Jesus rode through the gates mounted on a donkey (or possibly a pony). Sunday School teachers claim that Jesus did this because it signified an intention to ‘speak peace unto the heathen.’ This ignores the overwhelming military-messianic significance of everything else in Zechariah. For after Zechariah’s messiah appears, lowly and riding on an ass, the sons of Zion ‘devour and subdue’… and become ‘mighty men which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in battle… because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded.’

    “The lowly figure on the ass was not a peaceful messiah. It was the messiah of a small nation and its apparently harmless prince of war, a descendant of David, who also rose from apparent weakness to confound and subdue the enemy’s horsemen and charioteers. The heathen were to have peace—but it was to be the peace of the long-awaited Holy Jewish Empire. That at least is how the crowds who lined the way understood what was happening, for as Jesus passed by, they shouted: ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the Kingdom of our Father David that is coming!’” (Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, Marvin Harris, 185-186)

  2. On the siege of Jerusulem:
    from the wakopedium:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29

    Josephus had acted as a mediator for the Romans and, when negotiations failed, witnessed the siege and aftermath. He wrote:

    Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), [Titus] Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as they were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison [in the Upper City], as were the towers [the three forts] also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall [surrounding Jerusalem], it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.[1]

    And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.”

    Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved, including Simon Bar Giora and John of Gischala.[3]

  3. Correction to the show –

    “Jesus” is a translation of “Joshua” not “Joseph.”

    So, “Jesus” was “Joshua Ben Joseph” (Joshua, son of Joseph), and not “Joseph Ben Joseph,” as I said in the show – my error!

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