Page 1 of 2: Introduction and "Who crucified
Jesus & where did that happen?"
Front page: Jesus, a historical reconstruction
You may email the author, and learn more about him here
Note: all emphases are mine.
On this topic, I'll review all the bits & pieces addressed by Doherty and also flesh out the evidence he "forgot". Once again, I'll work on what Doherty (and myself) considers pre-gospels texts, mostly Paul's seven (genuine) epistles 'Romans', '1Corinthians', '2Corinthians', 'Galatians', 'Philippians', '1Thessalonians' & 'Philemon' and 'Hebrews'.
In chapter 8, on pages 82-84, Doherty works
Ro1:1-4 Darby "Paul, bondman of Jesus Christ, [a] called apostle, separated to [set apart for] God's glad tidings, (which he had before promised by his prophets in holy writings,) concerning his Son (come of David's seed according to flesh), marked out Son of God in power, according to [the] Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of [the] dead) Jesus Christ our Lord;"
Then Earl writes: "Is it a piece of historical information? If so, it is the only one Paul ever give us, for no other feature of Jesus' human incarnation appears in his letter."
Shock!!! I'll answer that later ...
Then Doherty actually does not address the
issue of a human Jesus straight on, but drifts
away from it by questioning the meaning of "God's gospel" --not one from Jesus-- (I agree with that), the historicity
of 'Son of David', the origin of 'Son
of God' and finally by introducing his concept
of the fleshly lower heaven. Nothing much
is related to the "incarnation";
only some "explanation" is thrown
against it, such as:
"... for scripture was full of predictions that the Messiah would be descended from David. In reading these, Paul would have applied them to his own version of the Christ, the Christ who is a spiritual entity, not a human one."
So now human ancestry was assigned to Jesus by Paul, even if the later (allegedly) thought Christ was never an earthly man! Does that make sense? Of course not. If angel Gabriel is thought to be a spiritual entity, you do not make him a descendant of David (or Abraham, or Israelites)!
Furthermore Earl claims Paul found Christ's ancestry (from David) through the scriptures. Is is realistic?
According to the Pauline letters, there were many other apostles/preachers (1 Corinthians 1:12, 9:2-5; 2 Corinthians 11:5,13,23a, 12:11; Philippians 1:14-17; Galatians 1:6-7), some "in Christ" before Paul (Galatians l1:17; Romans 16:7), some preaching different 'Jesus' (2 Corinthians 11:4), and all of them Jew (2 Corinthians 11:22-23a): in this context, what are the odds on Paul "discovering" the Christ/Son_of_David relationship from the OT?
And, earlier on, Paul had already Christ as a 'man' (1 Corinthians 15:21,47; Philippians 2:8), a descendant of Abraham (an ancestor of David) (Galatians 3:16) and made/came_into_being from a woman (Galatians l4:4). More on that later on this page ...
But Doherty postulates "from the seed of David" is part of "God's gospel" (drawn from the scriptures by Paul, as Earl
contends). This seems to be largely due to
his (inaccurate) translation:
"the gospel concerning his Son who arose from the seed of David ..." (Romans 1:3)
That's partly from the RSV, but the Greek does NOT have "the gospel" and "who" (& "arose" is Earl's own translation)!
The only occurrence of "gospel" ("glad tidings" Darby) in Romans 1:1-8 is in the first verse, and, two later, does not likely affect "from ... David", itself part of a digression about "his Son". Furthermore "separated to [set apart for] God's glad tidings" (with verse 2 as its addendum) is a clause on its own, about an action which happened in the (Paul's) past, was completed then, and with continuing results (because of the Greek perfect tense of the verb).
Finally, by skipping over the two extensions (as shown in the Darby translation), the syntax of Romans 1:1-6 may be rendered as such:
bondman of Jesus Christ,
[a] called apostle,
separated [in the past] to God's glad tidings, (which ...),
concerning his Son (come ...) Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom we have received grace and apostleship in behalf of his name, for obedience of faith among all the nations, among whom are *ye* also [the] called of Jesus Christ:" (Darby)
a) "concerning ..." looks to be a clause on its own, a multi-part flamboyant announcement and not an addendum. And the Greek word for "concerning", 'peri', is often used by Paul in order to introduce a passage not dependent on the preceding one (1Corinthians 7:1,25, 8:1,4, 12:1, 16:1,12; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:9, 5:1).
b) Furthermore, most of the statements in Romans 1:3-6 were not pre-announced in the scriptures. And the foremost God's glad tidings according to the OT, the advent of the Kingdom of God, is not in Romans 1:3-6. That would prove Romans 1:3-6 is in no way detailing God's good news as known through prophetic scriptures.
To conclude, it is highly improbable Paul meant he just found "come of David's seed" from the scriptures (and had to divulge it!), as Doherty contends. More to come ...
And Doherty keeps interpreting
anything as concerning an entirely mythical
Jesus: again for him, "according to the flesh" ('kata sarka') becomes "in the sphere of the flesh", with the "sphere" being "the lowest heavenly sphere, associated
with the material world"!
The translation as "in the sphere of the flesh" is according to Doherty "a suggestion put forward by C. K. Barrett." He adds "Such a translation is, in fact, quite useful and possibly accurate." No doubt! Doherty is treating that "possibly accurate" "suggestion" of "a translation" as if it were a piece of primary evidence.
But Doherty does not stop here. He contends
"according to the spirit of holiness" (Romans 1:4) can also be translated as "in the sphere of the "spirit"". On the next page (85), that opens
the way for the concept of the two heavenly spheres, the one of the "flesh" (where
Jesus is crucified) and, above, the one of
the "spirit" (where the heavenly
Jesus and God reside)!
Not bad for only one word from a suggested translation!
My dictionary includes in its definition for 'sphere': range, field of action, province, etc. My thesaurus shows domain, field, realm, way of life, etc. Did Doherty consider those? Obviously not!
But what did Barrett mean by "sphere" in that context? Here it is:
""in the sphere of the flesh, born of the family of David; in the sphere of the Holy Spirit, appointed Son of God."[Barrett's unorthodox translation of Romans 1:3-4a]
The preposition here rendered 'in the sphere of' could also be rendered 'according to,' and 'according to the flesh' is a common Pauline phrase; in this verse, however, Paul does not mean that on a fleshly (human) judgment Jesus was a descendant of David, but that in the realm denoted by the word flesh (humanity) he was truly a descendant of David." C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, page 20
Barrett never meant a fleshly & demonic lower heaven, in any context. Not even close! But that does not prevent Doherty to write (p. 122) "... Barrett has suggested, that he entered the "sphere of the flesh," which included the realm of the demon spirits in the firmament."
Furthermore Paul previously used "according to the flesh" in a context of human (& earthly) origin:
Galatians 4:23 NKJV "But he [Ishmael, a son of Abraham through a maidservant] ... was born according to the flesh ['kata sarka'] [in contrast to the later conception/gestation/birth of Isaac (Abraham & his wife's son), enabled miraculously by God's promise] ..."
Notes: from 'Romans' & 'Galatians', let's investigate the other occurrences of 'kata pneuma' ("according_to/after (the) spirit"). Let's see if they mean "in the spiritual heaven" as Earl contends for the same words in Romans 1:4.But, regardless, Doherty wants us to believe that "... His Son, who arose from the seed of David in the (celestial) sphere of the flesh, and was designated Son of God in power in the (celestial) sphere of the spirit of holiness by his resurrection ..." is what Paul meant, as he interpreted it from the scriptures! (Italics not in the Greek!)
- Romans 8:3b-6 Darby "... God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin, and for sin, has condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law should be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh ['kata sarka'] but according to Spirit ['kata pneuma']. For they that are according to flesh ['kata sarka'] mind the things of the flesh; and they that are according to Spirit ['kata pneuma'], the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh [is] death; but the mind of the Spirit life and peace."
- Galatians 4:29 Darby "But as then he [Ishmael] that was born according to flesh ['kata sarka', through human "fleshly" nature, and without God's help] persecuted him [Isaac] [that was born] according to Spirit ['kata pneuma', with divine intervention] ..."
Here, neither the 'kata sarka', nor the 'kata pneuma' can possibly be translated into some heavenly worlds!
More about 'kata sarka' & 'en sarki' here
a) Doherty assumes "Clement" knew of no gospel (p. 261). But we find in '1 Clement' (32:2) "For of Jacob are all the priests and levites who minister unto the altar of God; of him is the Lord Jesus as concerning the flesh ['kata sarka']; of him are kings and rulers and governors in the line of Judah"
Here Jesus is as human as the priests, Levites and kings of Judah, all of them descendants of Jacob.
b) Doherty claims '1 Peter' predates the gospels (or their wider dissemination) (p.13). But in '1 Peter' we have:
3:18 RSV "For Christ also died for sins once for all, ..., being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;"
4:1 RSV "Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
4:2 RSV "so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God."
Important remark: "in the flesh" in 4:2 means "as human" (on earth!). Why would it be different for "in the flesh" in 4:1?
Is there anything else about a human Jesus
Yes, but all of the ensuing verses from 'Romans' are ignored in Doherty's book:
A) Romans 5:15 Darby "... much rather has the grace of God, and the free gift in grace, which [is] by the one man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many."
B) Romans 15:12 Darby "And again, Esaias says, There shall be the root of Jesse [David's father], and one [Christ, according to Paul] that arises, to rule over [the] nations: in him shall [the] nations hopes."
Here Jesus' alleged descendance from David is reiterated.
C) Romans 8:3 Darby "... God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin ..."
Don't we have a clear expression for incarnation? (see here for an explanation on "likeness")
D) Romans 9:4-5a YLT "Israelites, ... whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to the flesh ..."
Here Jesus is from Israelites, "according to the flesh" ('kata sarka'). Who else are Israelites? Paul, according to Romans 11:1, quoted later, and also many of his contemporaries, by flesh:
Romans 9:3b-4a NASB "... my brethren, my kinsmen [Paul's] according to the flesh, who are Israelites ..."
Did Paul think himself and his brethren/kinsmen lived "in the sphere of the flesh", some upper world above earth? No, just that he and Jesus had the same ethnic background, that is the Israelites.
Let's look at the whole passage in question:
Romans 9:3a-5a Darby "... my brethren, my kinsmen, according to flesh; who are Israelites; whose [is] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the law-giving, and the service, and the promises; whose [are] the fathers; and of whom, as according to flesh, [is] the Christ ..."
Paul is as much related to Israelites as Christ (Jesus), and both of them "according to flesh". No wonder these verses are ignored in Earl's book!
A) Why did Paul specify 'kata sarka' in "concerning his Son (come of David's seed according to flesh ['kata sarka'])"?
Likely because the addition of 'kata sarka' stresses the human ancestry as related only to the incarnation, the true father (of the Son) being God (allegedly).Remark: according to Paul, believers also had dual sonship:Alternatively (or additionally) Paul may have meant the descendance from (specifically) David was, as in Galatians l4:23a,29a previously quoted, without God's intervention.
"... Abraham our father according to flesh ['kata sarka'] ..." (Romans 4:1 Darby)
"...[Christians] led by [the] Spirit of God, *these* are sons of God." (Romans 8:14 Darby)
B) For Jesus, Paul used "come/came" (Romans1:3, Galatians 4:4)
('genomenon' (root 'ginomai'), which most "normal" translation would be "become", but also can signify "to experience a change in nature and so indicate entry into a new condition, become someth." (BDAG), "to come into being through process of birth or natural production, be born, be produced" (BDAG) and "to make a change of location in space, move" (BDAG))
instead of "born" (root 'gennao'), most likely in order to take in account the belief about Christ's pre-existence (well in evidence in 'Romans' and 'Galatians'): "born" would imply Christ was not existing before his human birth, but "come/made" suggests incarnation. Paul used the same word in Galatians l4:4 Darby "... God sent forth his Son, come of woman, come under law".
However, the same Greek word is occasionally (& justifiably) translated as "born":C) In other Paul's epistles, there is more evidence about Jesus being from Abraham's seed, and again a man (as Adam), none of it mentioned by Doherty:
- Plato's Republic, 8.553 "... When a son born ['genomenos' (root 'ginomai')] to the timocratic man at first emulates his father ..." (Paul Shorey's translation)
- Josephus' Ant., I, 19, 8 "... and when she [Lea] had born ['genomenou' (root 'ginomai')] a son, and her husband ... reconciled to her, she named her son Reubel ..." (Wm. Whiston's translation)
- Josephus' Ant., VII, 7, 4 "... the child that was born ['genomenw' (root 'ginomai')] to David of the wife of Uriah ..." (Wm. Whiston's translation)
- Pausanias' Description of Greece, 1.5.2 "... Antiochus, one of the children of Heracles borne ['genomenos' (root 'ginomai')] to him by Meda daughter of Phylas ..." (W.H.S. Jones & H.A. Ormerod's translation)
Galatians 3:16 Darby "But to Abraham were the promises addressed, and to his seed: he [God] does not say, And to seeds [of Abraham], as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed; which is Christ."
1Corinthians 15:21-22 Darby "For since by man [came] death, by man also resurrection of [those that are] dead. For as in the Adam all die, thus also in the Christ all shall be made alive."Who else is of the seed of Abraham in 'Romans'?D) Outside of 'Romans', other Abraham's seed ('sperma') are also human & earthly, as for Paul's Christians in Galatia, Jews and Paul himself:
a) Romans 11:1 Darby "I [Paul] say then, Has God cast away his people [Israel]? Far be the thought. For *I* also am an Israelite, of [the] seed of Abraham, of [the] tribe of Benjamin."
So "flesh & blood" earthly Paul is also of the seed of Abraham!
b) Romans 9:7 NKJV "nor are they all children because they [Jews of Israelite descent] are the seed of Abraham ..."
Many Jews were also from the seed of Abraham during Paul's days!
- Galatians 3:29 NKJV "And if you [the recipients of the epistle] are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to ['kata'] the promise."
- 2 Corinthians 11:22 NKJV "Are they [other apostles] Hebrews? So am I [Paul]. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I."
So I think Doherty should reconsider "no other feature of Jesus' human incarnation appears in his letter"! And we have ample evidence the seed of Abraham and descendants of Israelites (such as Paul) were all understood as earthly humans. Why would it be different for Jesus?
a) Seed of Abraham in the OT (they are all earthly and human!):
- 2 Chronicles 20:7-8a Darby "Hast not thou, our God, dispossessed the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and given it for ever to the seed of Abraham, thy friend? And they have dwelt therein, and - have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name ..."
- Psalms 105:6-7 Darby "Ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye sons of Jacob, his chosen ones. He, Jehovah, is our God; his judgments are in all the earth."
- Isaiah 41:8 Darby "But thou, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham, my friend"
- Jeremiah 33:26 Darby "[then] will I also cast away the seed of Jacob, and of David my servant, so as not to take of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will turn their captivity, and will have mercy on them."
b) Seed of David in the OT:
- 2 Samuel 22:50-51 Darby "... Jehovah ... who giveth great deliverances to his king, And sheweth loving-kindness to his anointed, To David, and to his seed for evermore."
- 1 Kings 11:39 Darby "And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever."
- Jeremiah 33:22 Darby "... so will I [God] multiply the seed of David my servant ..."
But why did Paul suddenly announce the Son
(Jesus) "come of David's seed according to flesh", when he never made use of it next (except
much later and briefly in Romans 15:12)? And when
Paul never depicted Jesus as King? And right
at the very beginning of his epistle?
Paul was addressing a remote audience whom he never met (except a few, according to Romans 16:3-16a, likely in cities such as Corinth & Ephesus, before they moved to Rome), but expected his letter to be read also by/to Jews (Romans 2:17, etc.). Such a statement would immediately attract their attention (favorably). But what about the others, the Gentiles? Could Paul have taken the risk to turn them off early on by claiming a (very much) Jewish attribute (unheard of before, according to Earl), and not even necessary for his ensuing discussion? Of course not!
Therefore, Jesus, as "Son of David", had to be already widely admitted, and Paul knew it. So he could mention it, out of the blue, without upsetting (or confusing!) anyone.
Note: in the front of his epistle (up to 2:17), it seems Paul tried to soften up his Jewish audience:
a) "concerning his Son (come of David's seed according to flesh,)" (Romans 1:3 Darby)
b) "marked out Son of God in power, ... by resurrection of [the] dead" (Romans 1:4 Darby)
It appears here there is no pre-existence for the Son, who is revealed only by his (alleged) resurrection.
c) Jesus is never identified as solely "(the) Lord".
d) From 1:10 to 2:15, there are twenty-four mentions of "God" in a row, with no Jesus/Son/Lord/Christ in between.
It is only after alluding to God's wrath to come and writing "in [the] day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my glad tidings, by Jesus Christ." (2:16 Darby) that Paul confronted the Jews about the Law and circumcision.
3.2.1. Doherty on Galatians 4:4
Galatians 4:4 YLT "... God sent forth His Son, come ['genomenon' (root 'ginomai')] of a woman, come under the law"
In chapter 12, pages 123-125, Doherty comments on "born of woman" from Galatians 4:4. He admits this passage "most suggests that he [Paul] has a human Jesus in mind." Later he acknowledges ""out of woman," of course, implies birth".
But then Earl goes to work, suggesting "God sent his own Son, come of a woman" is equivalent to "... because ye are sons [Paul's Christians], God did send forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts ..." (Galatians 4:6 YLT) but "forgets" to take in account "... God, having sent his own Son, in likeness of flesh of sin ..." (Romans 8:3 Darby) (See also here for an explanation on "likeness"). The "sent" Son in Galatians 4:4 & Romans 8:3 is not just his spirit (as in Galatians 4:6). And why would a woman be needed for the Son to "become" a spirit? But for the incarnation in "flesh of sin" her participation makes a lot of sense! Furthermore, for Paul, Christians, by definition, have got the Spirit of Jesus/Christ in them:
Romans 8:9b "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Therefore, Paul's Galatians could not have acquired Jesus' spirit prior to them becoming Christians, and that was some time after the crucifixion (the end of the coming "in likeness of flesh of sin"). Conclusion: the two alleged "sendings" (Galatians 4:4 & 4:6) were envisioned by Paul to have occurred at different times.
But for Doherty, his convoluted argumentation does not disprove anything and looks rather like a series of red herrings. He is trying to raise doubts by way of speculative suppositions, using expressions "this can be taken", "seem", "not necessarily tied", "do not have to be seen" & "one interpretation that could be given" in order to counteract the obvious.
And any writing/myth known during Paul's time is considered a likely inspiration, such as Isaiah 7:14 and Dionysos' birth, as if no man were born of woman in antiquity!
Doherty ventures "National gods were often regarded as having the same lineage as the nation itself, which is one interpretation that could be given to Christ as "born" under the Law [as a Jew]."
But he does not give any example for these gods from heaven with national lineage (and a long human ancestry, as from Abraham & David!). Personally I know of none.
Finally Earl goes into some flamboyant rhetoric, calling for "dramatic reversal, even on the order of something like the Copernican revolution in astronomy" to change our views on Jesus' human origin. May I say Copernicus came with evidence for his theories, when Doherty can only be doubtful about 'Jesus as born of woman' and fling "feathers" at it.
3.2.2. Comments on Richard Carrier's review on Doherty's book about Galatians 4:4
Richard wrote: "I am surprised he doesn't point out the most important support for his position: the fact that Paul actually says in the same letter that one woman he is talking about is allegorical, representing the "heavenly" Jerusalem, not an actual woman (Gal. 4:23-31)."
Carrier is not correct, because this heavenly Jerusalem is never connected to a woman (but Hagar is linked to mount Sinai and earthly Jerusalem). And the whole passage (Galatians 4:24-27) is presented as an allegory. It is only here that Paul used the word-root 'allegoreo' (allegory) and also 'sustoicheo' (correspond) in all his epistles. Therefore he indicated the ensuing verses should not to be taken literally, including the "our mother" in 4:26 (the heavenly Jerusalem) and the "her" in 4:27 (as a quote from Isaiah 54:1, where she is Jerusalem).
And he never said the woman in Galatians 4:4 stands for the heavenly Jerusalem! Furthermore, all other women in Paul's letters are earthly ones, including the two right after Galatians 4:4, the biblical Hagar and Sarah (not named but identified as the "freewoman") (Galatians 4:21-25). And let's note the children of "our mother" are Paul's Christians, decidedly earthly & human (and generated from "flesh & blood" parents!).
I quote the passage in question now. Judge for yourself:
Galatians 4:24-27 Darby "Which things have an allegorical sense; for these are two covenants: one from mount Sinai, gendering to bondage, which is Hagar. For Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which [is] now, for she is in bondage with her children; but the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother. For it is written,
Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break out and cry, thou that travailest not; because the children of the desolate are more numerous than [those] of her that has a husband."
3.2.3. By examining the whole of Galatians 3:7-4:7, can we figure out what kind of woman Paul was thinking for Galatians 4:4?
Paul started by making a claim: "But to Abraham were the promises addressed, and to his seed: he does not say, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed; which is Christ."(3:16 Darby)
That seems to refer to Genesis 17-22 but it is never specified here according to Paul's words. Anyway, the promise is about inheritance (3:18) for all (Gentiles and Jews --3:8,14,28-29) but that is put on hold by the Law "until the seed [Christ] came ['erchomai', clear expression of a coming to occur] to whom the promise was made" (3:16,19). Then everyone would be liberated from the Law by Christ (3:13,22-25) & his crucifixion (3:13) and "the promise, on the principle of faith of Jesus Christ, should be given to those that believe." (3:22), allowing Paul's Galatians to be God's sons & heirs and (by "adoption"?) seed of Abraham (3:7,29).
What remains is for the Son/Christ to come as the seed of Abraham, that is as a Jew and earthly human (as other seeds of Abraham, like Paul, as previously discussed), in order to enable the promise. So we have:
Galatians 4:4-7 Darby "but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, come of woman [as an earthly human], come under law [as a Jew would be], that he might redeem those under law, that we might receive sonship. But because you are [Greek present tense] sons ... So you are [present again] no longer bondman, but son ..."
So Paul was thinking about an earthly "flesh & blood" mother! And Christ had already come and gone (1:1)!Note: Paul used the common knowledge Jesus had been an earthly man (from a woman) and a Jew (as descendant of Abraham) in order to clinch a long & complicated argument. If the existence of Jesus on earth was not accepted or even doubted, then the argument would simply not work.Latest news: as for July 2008, Doherty is now claiming that "come of woman" may be an interpolation!
Here is the complete text from Galatians 3:7 to 4:7. Judge for yourself:
3:7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."
3:9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them."
3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."
3:12 Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."
3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"),
3:14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
3:15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.
3:17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God, that it should make the promise of no effect.
3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
3:19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
3:20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
3:22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
3:24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
3:25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
3:26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all,
4:2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
4:4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
3.3.1. Comments on Galatians 1:19
In chapter 6, page 57, Doherty tackles the problem caused by "James, the brother of the Lord" (Galatians 1:19). Here is the whole passage:
Galatians 1:18-19 Darby "Then after three years I [Paul] went up to Jerusalem to make acquaintance with Peter, and I remained with him fifteen days; but I saw none other of the apostles, but James the brother of the Lord."
First, Doherty states the term "brother(s)" ('adelphos', also translated as "brethren") appears often in Paul's epistles to indicate 'Christian(s)'.
Certainly, and even nowadays, it is used extensively in the fields of religion, cult, ethnicity, labor union, monastic institution, etc., in order to indicate the ones in the same group (of yours). It also confers a notion of equality, similarity & close association.
Then Doherty claims that "brother of the [Greek 'tou'] Lord" has the same meaning as "brothers in the [Greek 'en'] Lord" (meaning fellow-Christians) (Note: Earl claims the later expression is in Philippians 1:14, but the underlying Greek says otherwise, as translated in the RSV "... most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord ...").
Paul used often "in (the) Lord" or "in Christ" meaning "Christian(s)" or "in the Christian faith" (such as, for example:
Romans 16:11 Darby "Salute Herodion, my kinsman. Salute those who belong to Narcissus, who are in [the] Lord."
Romans 16:7 NKJV "Greet Andronicus and Junia, ... who also were in Christ before me."
Romans 16:8 Darby "Salute Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.")
but he never wrote "of the Lord" in a similar context. If Paul wanted to express James was a Christian, why didn't he write "James, brother in the Lord"?Note: the form "brother(s)/brethren/mother of (Greek 'tou') someone" appears in Mark 3:17 ("John the brother of James"), Josephus' Wars, I, 2, 1 ("Jonathan's brother") (also I, 24, 2), Josephus' Ant., II, 2, 4 ("Joseph's brethren") (also XII, 11, 2 & XIII, 8 , 2), Josephus' Life (39 & 40) and in John 2:1,3 & Acts 1:14 ("Jesus' mother" or "mother of Jesus", depending on the translation).
Later, Earl suggests the group in Jerusalem, headed by James, "seems to have called itself "brethren of/in the Lord." But we do not have any evidence on that whatsoever. In the NT, they are referred as 'the church of Jerusalem', the 'poor' (of Jerusalem) or the 'saints/holy ones' (of Jerusalem) but never as what Doherty postulated. Actually, Paul never said those were "in (the) Lord" or "in Christ", not even "brothers/brethren". And James is the only individual identified as "brother of the Lord". Other pillars of that church, as named by Paul (Peter/Cephas and John), are NOT (same for any of Paul's Christians).
Could an individual or group be titled "brother(s) of the Lord" in Jerusalem then? That would be understood as "brother(s) of Yahweh" by Jews, consequently extremely presumptuous and, considering the title deifies the bearer(s) (breaking up the sacred monotheism), overly sacrilegeous & liable of execution!Note: the closest equivalent of that title, as related in ancient writings, is one that Caius (Caligula) attributed to himself:
Josephus' Ant., XIX, 1, 1, "He also asserted his own divinity, and insisted on greater honors to be paid him by his subjects than are due to mankind. He also frequented that temple of Jupiter which they style the Capitol, which is with them the most holy of all their temples, and had boldness enough to call himself the brother of Jupiter."
Maybe a self-deified Roman emperor could claim being the brother of a god (and survive for a while!), but what about a regular Jew regarding God, in Jerusalem? Simply preposterous.
Further on, Earl makes an argument from silence (as he is well known to do a lot!): because James is not said to be Jesus' sibling in 'James', Christians then did not know about it! And, as in an act of desperation, in note 26 (p. 335) Doherty suggests a Christian interpolation.
But there is another time when "brothers of the Lord" is used, and rather casually, in 1 Corinthians 9:5 NASB "Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?". So the expression in Galatians l1:19 is not unique.Notes:And then, this is the first reference of "James" in 'Galatians'. But at the time (around 38) of Paul's first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion (as narrated in Galatians 1:18-20) there was another prominent member of the "church of Jerusalem" named James, the brother of John, who got executed around 42 (according to Acts 12:1-2). Therefore, Paul probably wanted to identify the "James" he met then, more so because this one became most important later. But why write "the brother of the Lord" instead of "the brother of Jesus"? 'Jesus' was a common name then, but "Lord" is very specific in that context and identifies precisely that 'James'.
a) From this verse we can deduce those "brothers of the Lord" were not among the apostles. Cephas/Peter was not one of them and they were travelling with their wife.
Considering also the following verses (9:6-11), it is apparent they did not work for a living and were receiving money from believers' communities.
Despite not being apostles, these "brothers of the Lord" were in high demand. Why? The most logical solution (without looking at the gospels!) is obvious: they were blood brothers of Jesus and could testify about him.
b) Mythicist Richard Carrier (March 2012) interprets these "brothers of the Lord" as meaning "Christians"!Notes:3.3.2. Comments on Josephus' Antiquities, XX, 9, 1
a) In Romans 16:13 "Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother ..." and Romans 16:15 "Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister ...", Paul mentioned blood relationship because it was then required (he did not know the name of these women!).
b) Out of the five other occurrences of 'lord' in 'Galatians', three are about Christ:
1:3 "our Lord Jesus Christ":
It is written only sixteen verses before "James, the brother of the Lord").
Remark: in a narration, when the bearer of a title has been identified, then the next mention of someone defined only by that same title refers to the aforementioned bearer.
6:14 & 6:18
Another one (4:1) refers to a heir, generally.
c) As mentioned before, "brothers of the Lord" appears in 1 Corinthians 9:5. Then, who is this Lord? He is defined four verses earlier at 1 Corinthians 9:1 "Jesus Christ our Lord".
d) "Lord", Paul's favored title for Jesus, is used in passages relating to a "flesh & blood":
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 Darby "the Lord Jesus, in the night in which he was delivered up, took bread, ... after having supped [supper] ..."
1 Corinthians 11:27 Darby "So that whosoever shall eat the bread, or drink the cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty in respect of the body and of the blood of the Lord."
Philippians 2:5-11 NIV "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: ... taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself ... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ..."
Doherty comments on it are in his chapter 21, pages 216-222.
First, I'll quote the passage in question:
"AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ [more accurately translated as "him called Christ"], whose name was James [better translated as "James by name"], and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:
but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent.
Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest."
Immediately Doherty acknowledges "The argument against the second passage referring to Jesus [the one just quoted] ... is more subtle and requires a consideration of external factors." Then Earl makes six points against the reference of "Jesus". Let's look at each one:220.127.116.11. The earliest surviving manuscript is dated 9-10th century. So Earl thinks it could be a late inclusion. But the same text is quoted by Eusebius (around 320), even if this bishop preferred Hegesippus' rendition, which is very different (and embellished) from Josephus' one.
Then why would an interpolator identify a 'James' as Jesus' brother, making a passage from Josephus' work conflicting with a text written earlier (around 165), raising doubts about the veracity of a Christian writing (by Hegesippus)?
See the two complete passages here18.104.22.168. Doherty speculates that "James by name" was originally on its own. But Josephus had the habit (with very few exceptions) to provide some further identification for any new character. As example, for all the other 'James' in Josephus' works, we have:
- "James, the son of Sosa" (Wars, VI, 1, 8)
- "the sons of [former rebel] Judas of Galilee were now slain; ... The names of those sons were James and Simon" (Ant., XX, 5, 2)
- "one of my guards, whose name was James" (Life, 18)
And a motivation of Josephus for naming Jesus (the so-called Christ) may well be to associate him with a breaker of the law.
On page 222, Earl exclaims "Why did Josephus not identify James more fully ...". But when the historian does just that (by saying James is Jesus' brother), Doherty suspects an interpolation!
Futhermore, it is very unlikely Josephus thought of "James" as just a man with a name, because he mentioned "others" were implicated with him; same charge and same trial: that suggests "the others" belonged to the same group, with James the best known and most prominent among them.
22.214.171.124. Doherty mentions "him called Christ" ('tou legomenou christou', genitive case), as a "phrase ... in use by Christians" appearing also in Matthew 1:16 & John 4:25, but in a different form (nominative case), 'ho legomenos christos', as Earl acknowledges. However Doherty is silent about 'tou legomenou christou' occurring in Matthew 27:17 & 22, as allegedly spoken by Pilate, suggesting the expression was used by non-Christians (like Josephus). In contrast, 'ho legomenos christos' in Matthew 1:16 & John 4:25 is in a context of (Christian) belief & faith.
Then he proceeds "The second suspicious aspect of the reference to Jesus is that it comes first in the text.". But Josephus did just that at times. Here are some examples (note: the Greek has the same order, I checked):
- "a man of Gischala [Galilee], the son of Levi, whose name was John [a Zealot leader]." (Wars, II, 11, 1)
- "one of the priests, the son of Thebuthus, whose name was Jesus ..." (Wars, VI, 8, 3)
- "there was one son of Ahimelech, whose name was Abiathar" (Ant., VI, 12, 6)
- "a brother of his [Jehoahaz], by the father's side, whose name was Eliakim" (Ant., X, 5, 2)
- "Now about this time a son of Jeshua, whose name was Joacim, was the high priest" (Ant., XI, 5, 1)
- "the sons of [former rebel] Judas of Galilee were now slain; ... The names of those sons were James and Simon" (Ant., XX, 5, 2)Notes:
a) Josephus used several Greek expressions translated (by Whiston) as "who was called". Here are two of them from 'Antiquities':
"Ptolemy, who was called Menneus" (XIII, 16, 3)
"his brother Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes" (XII, 4, 11)
Question: did Josephus believe that later king to be "God made manifest" (= Epiphanes)?
Certainly not, because he considered him to be evil for the Jews. In other words, Josephus acknowledged the commonly used epithet, but not as a real title/description. The same would apply to "called Christ" which does not mean the historian saw Jesus as the Christ!
And here, surprise, the king is referenced through his brother, not his father (even if the later was illustrious: Antiochus the Great).
b) Origen knew that "Jesus who is called Christ" did not mean "Jesus who is the Christ":
"James, the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he [Josephus] did not accept Jesus as Christ..." (Commentary on Matthew, X, 17)
c) In 'Antiquities' there are three other occurrences of the expression 'tou legomenou' (the two words being consecutive). However the called entity is not a person, but rather a thing (plain, mountain & month) identified (from others) through its specific name:
- I, 4, 3 (Whiston's translation) "the plain of Shinar ['tou pediou tou legomenou Senaar']"
- VIII, 5, 3 (Whiston's translation) "the mountain called Libanus ['tou orous tou legomenou Libanou']"
- XII, 10, 5 (Whiston's translation) "that month which by the Jews is called Adar ['tou mênos tou legomenou para men Ioudaiois Adar']"
Did Josephus have little regard for Jesus (a thing?) and considered "Christ" as a name (and not a title)?
126.96.36.199. It has been argued a Christian interpolator would have mentioned Jesus with more than a few words. That's what Earl reports. Let's think about it:
- If the interpolation here was done after the one in Ant. XVIII, the Testimonium Flavianum (TF) (Doherty & I take that one as totally spurious), then I think we would see more about Jesus than just a stern "the one called Christ".
- If done before, possibly not: why expand on Jesus, when it is James who was executed? Doherty commented about the same. But still, most Christian interpolators had a tendency to embellish (or Christianize) on anything they would insert (as for the TF) in a non-Christian text!
188.8.131.52. Doherty relates the double identifications: one for James by way of 'Jesus', the other for Jesus through "the one called Christ". First, he writes: "it implies that the historian had explained just what "the Christ" was at some previous point."
I do not agree with that: the audience of Josephus in the 90's, the educated Romans, were most likely aware of Christians, which term is derived from "Christ", the later being known as, at least, the (alleged) founder of the sect. Certainly Tacitus and Pliny the Younger, writing some fifteen years after Josephus did (93), were aware of that. Furthermore, Nero's persecution against them, about thirty years before, was certain to make the Christians well known.
So the Roman intelligentsia could relate to "Christ" the same way Christians now associate Buddha with Buddhism.
Note: "Buddha" is not a human name, but a title, the "Enlightened". However few Christians know that. Anyway, even if they do, calling the (alleged) founder of Buddhism "Buddha" does not mean they accept him as the "Enlightened" (and therefore convert to Buddhism!).
See my page about the Testimonium Flavianum for more information about my position on this matter.
Then Doherty comments about Josephus avoiding messianic expectations. Certainly the Jewish historian was not (at least in his books) a messianist, but his mention of "him called Christ" does not make one out of him either! (just like the mention of "Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes" does not imply Josephus believed that king was a manifestation of God!)
184.108.40.206. Doherty speculates the Christian addition "began as a marginal gloss", to be later "transferred into the text itself". Nothing is new here, because Earl has been pleading for an interpolation all along.Notes:
A) Some other contemporary "thinkers" imagine without any evidence that "the brother of Jesus, the son of Damneus, whose name was James" were the initial Josephus' words, before being interpolated by a Christian. They argue the 'Jesus' in question is the same than "Jesus, the son of Damneus", who appears first about ninety words later, as the new high priest, replacing the former one (the younger Ananus), sacked because of the James' incident.
a) If it was "the son of Damneus" instead of "who was called Christ", why would Josephus not write "James, the son of Damneus"? Why bother to identify someone with two identifiers ('brother of Jesus' and 'son of Damneus'), when one ('son of Damneus') is sufficient? More so when this Jesus (son of Damneus) does not need to be introduced yet, and Josephus normally preferred identification through the father (when known, as it is the case here) rather than through a brother.
b) Some ninety words later, if "the brother of Jesus, the son of Damneus" was ever initially written, the new high priest would have been introduced such as "Jesus, another son of Damneus" or "Jesus, the brother of James" or "Jesus" (if it was "James, son of Damneus", skip "Jesus").
c) If "younger Ananus" illegally arranged for the execution of someone from a prominent family, he would have been more severely punished than just removed from office!
d) What are the chances that someone killed in Jerusalem had a brother who was high priest material?
B) Other contemporary "thinkers" postulate, again without evidence, that "the brother of Jesus, whose name was James" were the initial Josephus' words, before "him called Christ" was added by a Christian. They argue the 'Jesus' in question was meant to be "Jesus, the son of Damneus", written about ninety words later.
a) That goes against good syntax and common sense. It is the reverse of the normal practice of first clearly identifying a new character (such as "J. son of D."), then, later in the text, referring to the same person as just "J.". When the reader sees "J.", he/she would understand that "J." is the son of "D.", as read earlier. But the opposite is absurd, with the reader left wondering if the earlier unidentified "Jesus" could be "Jesus, the son of Damneus" written later.
Notice how Josephus dealt with "younger Ananus" in my earlier quote of Ant., XX, 9, 1:
First "the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus", then "younger Ananus" ("younger" because Josephus had digressed on the older Ananus a few words earlier), then "Ananus" (four times).
b) Some ninety words later, "Jesus, the son of Damneus" does not make any sense because this "Jesus" is not identified as the previous "Jesus, the brother of James". Instead it would look Josephus was writting about two different "Jesus".
Finally, on more than three pages (219-222), Doherty makes a very long argument about "The "Lost Reference" to James and Jesus", using it to "prove" his alleged interpolation in Ant., XX, IX, 1. This passage, considered spurious by almost all scholars, is reported by Origen (around 220) and quoted later by Eusebius (around 320). Here is the quotation from Eusebius' History of the Church (2, 23):
"These miseries befell the Jews by way of revenge of James the Righteous, who was the brother of Jesus who was called Christ; [because they had slain him], who was a most righteous person."
And Origen witnessed it as implied by:
"he [Josephus] had a mind to set down what was the cause why the people suffered such miseries, till the very holy house is demolished, he said, that these things befell them by the anger of God, on account to of what they had dared to do to James, the brother of Jesus ..." (Commentary on Matthew, X, 17)
It takes more than two pages for Earl to conclude "the 'lost reference' must have been inserted into manuscripts of Josephus at a relatively early period, certainly within the second century." I would agree with that. But then he claims "Certain consequences seem clear. The phrase "the one called the Christ," is demonstrably Christian in nature [but that is denied by Origen, as previously mentioned. And the 2nd "the" is not in the Greek]. Since the reference to Jesus is virtually identical in the two places, and one can be shown to be part of an interpolation, this increases the probability that the other is an interpolation as well."
Of course I would object. The interpolator of the 'lost reference', for the sake of making his bit look authentic, had reason to copy "the one called Christ", as found in Ant., XX, 9, 1! And the argument that if one is an interpolation, so the other, is totally unfounded. One example would be '2 Thessalonians', a speudo-Pauline letter (as agreed by Earl, myself and many critical scholars) using some of the same terminology of '1 Thessalonians' (or '1 Corinthians'), written by Paul:
"Paul and Silvanus and Timotheus to the assembly of Thessalonians in God [the] Father and [the] Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to you and peace ..." (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2a Darby)
"... working night and day, not to be chargeable to any one of you ..." (1 Thessalonians 2:9, 2 Thessalonians 3:8 Darby)
"The salutation of [me] Paul with mine own hand ..." (1 Corinthians 16:21, 2 Thessalonians 3:17 KJV)
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you ..." (1 Thessalonians 5:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:18 Darby)
Then Doherty assumes the reference of Jesus in Ant., XX, 9, 1 was written after the 'lost reference'. This is pure speculation, more so when we note the embellishments from plain "James" to "James the righteous ... a most righteous person" and from the stoning of James causing only the removal of a high priest to his slaying precipitating miseries on the Jews by Divine revenge. More, if the passing reference to "James" had been done after the "James the righteous" interpolated passage, further embellishment would be expected, but instead we have the opposite.Another point: the Synoptic gospels suggest the fall of Jerusalem was caused by Divine revenge due to the Son's execution (Mark 12:6-9) (explained by its Jews choosing a Zealot-like insurrectionist (Barabbas, likely fictional) rather than Jesus (Mark 15:7-15)). And Origen agreed:
"...Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in reality, as the truth makes dear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God." (Contra Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 13)
Then why would an interpolator claim God's wrath on the Jews was because of James' execution rather than Jesus' one?
The simplest explanation would be that interpolator had (only) the one about James (Ant., XX, 9, 1) to work on (and influenced by Hegesippus' rendition of it!).
3.3.3. Conclusion on James, the brother of Jesus:
I do not think Doherty, despite all his efforts, is convincing against the authenticity of the combined mention of Jesus' brother in Galatians 4:4 and Josephus' Antiquities, XX, 9, 1. Even if, at some points, he can raise some doubts. It looks Doherty, as usual, is agenda-driven and trying to eradicate any blood brother because that would prove a human Jesus. Let's also note that Josephus was living in Jerusalem around 62, where and when James was tried & stoned (according to 'Antiquities').
Let's examine Doherty's arguments for every occurrence of a human-like Jesus in 'Hebrews':
3.4.1. Hebrews 2:3 NASB "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord ["which first (= originally) received/taken (as) spoken through (= by) the Lord"], it was confirmed to us by those who heard,"
Note: the translation in brackets seems the most accurate, if not elegant.
On Chapter 13, page 129, Doherty comments "Jesus would hardly have taught the unique christology contained in this epistle." But since when the mention of 'a salvation' preached by Jesus means the Christology of 'Hebrews'? Let's note Earl quotes ""For this salvation was first announced through the Lord" [based on the NEB]", but "this salvation" (which, for Earl, seems of the same "scenario" as the one in the letter) is NOT in the Greek! So Jesus may have spoken of "a salvation", period; later, the author of 'Hebrews' "explained" how and why it got "enabled" (through his Christology, more so the crucifixion and the "Sacrifice", the later "demonstrated" from scriptures taken out-of-context! As explained in HJ-3b).
Then Doherty remarks "in fact, the voice of Jesus teaching on earth is never heard in 'Hebrews'; everything the Son "says" comes from the scriptures." I agree, but that does not take away Jesus spoke about salvation (generally), even if the author did not care about the specifics. And Jesus speaking "in the days of his flesh" is mentioned in:
Hebrews 5:7 Darby "Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up both supplications and entreaties to him who was able to save him out of death, with strong crying and tears; (and having been heard because of his piety;)"
By that time (more so after reading my first page), I think my readers will agree that "in the days of his flesh" relates to a Jesus on earth (and not in Doherty's heaven!). And here, Jesus speaks and is heard (this time allegedly to/by God).
Note: I am not saying the passage is authentic (here God hears, not human witnesses!), just that the author pictured Jesus on earth.
For added measure, here are some close parallels where "(of) your/our/my/his flesh" refers to earthly & human condition:
Romans 6:19 Darby "I speak humanly on account of the weakness of your flesh."
2 Corinthians 7:5 Darby "For indeed, when we came into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest ..."
Galatians 4:14 Darby "and my temptation, which [was] in my flesh, you did not slight nor reject with contempt; ..."
Galatians 6:8 Darby "For he that sows to his own flesh, shall reap corruption from the flesh ..."
Galatians 6:13 Darby "... but they wish you to be circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh ..."
Hebrews 12:9 Darby "Moreover we have had the [real!] fathers of our flesh as chasteners, and we reverenced [them] ..."
And here is something that Earl does not address in his book, about a very human Jesus:
Hebrews 2:14-18 NKJV "Inasmuch then as the children [Christians/"brethren", according to 2:12-13] have partaken of blood and flesh, He [Jesus] Himself likewise shared in the same,
[Jesus was as much flesh & blood as the contemporary Christians]
` that through death ... For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.
[Jesus had to become human & earthly, as for the seed of Abraham, because those are the ones to be saved]
` Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren,
["brethen" are the alive Christians, as two verses later (3:1)]
` to make propitiation for the sins of the people; for in that He Himself has suffered,
[Greek second perfect, indicative: the suffering/crucifixion is over with!]
` being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted [on earth!]."Notes:
a) From this website:
"The force of the [Greek] perfect indicative is simply that it describes an event that, completed in the past, has results existing in the present time (i.e., in relation to the time of the speaker)."
b) In 4:15 Darby "For we have not a high priest not able to sympathize with our infirmities, but tempted in all things in like manner ...", Jesus has already been tempted.
And where would this "testing" (the same as the one affecting earthlies!) have been? In the demonic fleshly mid-world (between heaven and earth) or the highest heaven? Or on earth, known for its "blood and flesh" "brethren" subjected to temptations?
Finally, let's wonder where Jesus would have been an apostle, more so when all other "apostles" in the NT lived on earth.
Hebrews 3:1 Darby "... consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus"
The author explained (at length!) how Jesus became "High Priest" (by the sacrifice of himself), but did not about "Apostle", likely because it was already known. And in 'Hebrews' it is corroborated by (already quoted):
NASB 2:3 "... a salvation... After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,"
And to whom would he have preached?
To Jews, according to Paul:
Romans 15:8 Darby "For I [Paul] say that Jesus Christ became a minister ['diakonos'] of [the] circumcision [Jews] for [the] truth of God, ..."
3.4.2. Hebrews 7:14 Darby "For it is clear that our Lord has sprung out of Judah [as David], as to which tribe Moses spake nothing as to priests."
Doherty comments on that through note 44, on page 340.
Earl starts by saying the statement is drawn from scriptures and therefore is not historical. But does someone claimed to be (truly or through scriptures) "sprung" from an Israelite tribe (or David, or Abraham) preclude the past existence of that person? Of course not. As a matter of fact, here, the author has Jesus ("our Lord") as an earthly human being, as for every descendant from any Israelite tribe.
Doherty argues on "the word "prodelon" means "clear, manifest"", does not say "a matter of historical record". For evidence 1 Timothy 5:24-25 is cited (only here the aforementioned word occurs in the NT outside Hebrews 7:14). Let's look at it:
1 Timothy 5:24-25 NASB "The sins of some men are quite evident [Greek root 'prodelos'], going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident ['prodelos'], and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed."
The translation as "evident" (or "clear", or "manifest") is justified by the context. But here Doherty notices the word relates only "to the senses or to judgment". It may appear this way in these two verses, but did Earl check outside the NT for occurrences of 'prodelos', in order to confirm this word is only used in that particular context? No mention!Note: here are two examples from Josephus' Wars about the usage of 'prodelos':Doherty writes: "there is no appeal to historical facts, or apostolic traditions concerning Jesus of Nazareth, no reference to Joseph and Mary, no mention of his lineage ..."
- II, 3, 1 "This was foreseen by Varus, who accordingly, after Archelaus was sailed, went up to Jerusalem to restrain the promoters of the sedition, since it was manifest that the nation would not be at rest;"
- IV, 4, 5 "prodigious storm ... very strong winds ... largest showers of rain ... continual lightnings ... terrible thunderings ... These thing were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men,"
The first "manifest" relates to happenings, one already occurring (promotion of sedition), the other anticipated (troubles). Also it suggests a widely accepted belief then (about future agitation). The second one is linked to past & known events (seen as portents by Josephus).
It is clear the meaning of 'prodelos' is not as restricted as Earl contends. Actually, in the two aforementioned quotes, "manifest" can mean "undoubted" (one of the definition from my Collins English Dictionary).
This is typical of Earl, who presupposes every reference to a human-like Jesus should come with many attached details. But why would the author digress on that here? His purpose is to demonstrate Jesus was not from the tribe normally assigned the priesthood, the Levites, as Doherty points out: "The point is, Christ must be of a new line in order to create a new order of priesthood." And why should more details be supplied when 'Jesus from the tribe of Judah' is already "manifest"? More so if Jesus, as a descendant of David (and father Jesse), was already "known" by Christians (see Romans 1:3 & 15:12)!
Let's note here the author "explained" many things in the epistle, such as Jesus was pre-existent, the Son of God and, above all, performed the ultimate Sacrifice for sins (all of that new for his audience, according to Hebrews 6:1-3). But the "manifest" descendance from the tribe of Judah comes out of the blue and is never "demonstrated": in all likelihood, the writer knew it was already accepted by his audience.
Earl remarks "The verb "anatellein," to spring (by birth), is also the language of scripture." Then he cites Ezekiel 29:21 & Zechariah 6:12. But that should not be surprising, because 'Hebrews' shows its author was an expert in scriptures. And then we have "Hebrews never says that Jesus is a descendent of David". What for? 'Hebrews' is not about Christ as a great Jewish King!
To conclude, Doherty can only throw "feathers" to that very damaging piece of evidence which goes against his theories.
3.4.3. Hebrews 9:26 Darby "But now once in the consummation of the ages he has been manifested [Greek perfect tense, indicative] for [the] putting away of sin by his sacrifice."
In chapter 3, page 37, Doherty comments on the verse: "the author of Hebrews also uses phaneroo ("manifest") in speaking to what has happened in the present time." He goes on "... a whole range of Christians writers would consistently use this sort of language to speak of Christ's coming in the present time ..."
But "has been manifested" is in the Greek perfect tense and indicative mood and consequently this action happened and was completed in the past (with continuing results into the present)! And not too long ago because of "now"!
Here is another action about Jesus depicted in 'Hebrews' with a verb ("perfected") in the (Greek) perfect tense & indicative mood:
"For by one offering he has perfected in perpetuity the sanctified." (10:14 Darby)
Once again, despite Doherty's efforts, the evidence points strongly to a human Jesus on earth. In Paul's epistles & 'Hebrews', he is described as a descendant of Abraham (Galatians l3:16), Israelites (Romans 9:4-5), the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 7:14), Jesse (Romans 15:12) & David (Ro1:3) and also requiring a woman in order to "come" as a Jew (Galatians 4:4). "The one man Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:15) "humbled himself" (Philippians 2:8) in a world of "flesh & blood", as one of them (Hebrews 2:14a,17a), among sinners, some opposing him (Hebrews 12:3). There he was tempted (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15) (in the same way as other humans) and heard by (earthly) witnesses talking about salvation (Hebrews 2:3). This Jesus, at some time in the past a minister to the Jews (Romans 15:8) and an apostle (Hebrews 3:1), had a brother called James (Galatians 1:19), whom Paul met several times (Galatians 1:19,2:9) and Josephus knew about.
Against these, the best that Earl can do is to raise some doubts or/and mistreat (or ignore) the evidence.
Note: my website, this page (Part 2) and Part 1 document the claims in this paragraph.
It is obvious Paul and the author of 'Hebrews', in their letters, did not care about the earthly Jesus, except as "Christ crucified". They were emphasizing the heavenly Deity, who, after being incarnated, performed the "Sacrifice" and went back to heaven as the universal Saviour (when God's wrath was expected soon!). These "teachings" were attracting & keeping converts among Gentiles; and consequently, in the epistles, there was no incentive to digress on, unlike an incarnated Son of God, a local, uneducated & rustic Jew (with a short public life in a small rural area, benefiting & then victim of circumstances). On the contrary! Therefore their "silences" about the "historical Jesus" are understandable. And let's not forget the gospels, with their embellishments & added fiction, were written later!
Besides, some other competing apostles provided "worldly" views about Jesus, which Paul opposed and tried to supersede by his spiritual "teaching":Furthermore these letters were "occasional", dealing about issues, disbeliefs and problems surfacing then. It just happened 'where Jesus lived & died' was never one of them. Why?
2 Corinthians 5:14a-17 Darby "... that if one [Christ] died for all, then all have died; and he died for all, that they who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him [Christ] who died for them [for atonement of sins] and has been raised.
So that we henceforth know ['eido' (see, regard, perceive)] no one according to the flesh [from a worldly viewpoint],
and even if *we* have known
['ginosko' (come to know, understand), Greek perfect indicative: at some time in the past]
` Christ according to the flesh,
[reference to some worldly (& possibly unChristian?) knowledge/understanding about Jesus (told by others; see also 1 Corinthians 1:11b-12, 9:5 & 2 Corinthians 11:4-5 below)]
` yet now we know ['ginosko'] [him thus] no longer.
So if any one [be] in Christ, [there is] a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new"1 Corinthians 1:11b-12 Darby "... there are strifes among you. But I speak of this, that each of you says, *I* am of Paul, and *I* of Apollos, and *I* of Cephas [Aramaic for Peter] ..."
1 Colossians 9:5 NIV "Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?"
2 Corinthians 11:4-6a NKJV "For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it [= "you submit to it readily enough" (RSV)]! For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I [Paul] am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge."
However, and despite their (aforementioned) inclinations, both writers clearly had Jesus, in the near past, as a mortal Jew and descendant of human earthly ancestors. Casually and/or as part of their theological/christological discussions, each one mentioned more details, such as Jesus was poor (2 Corinthians 8:9 "... for your sakes he [Jesus], being rich [spiritually], became poor, in order that *ye* by *his* [past] poverty might be enriched [spiritually!]." Darby), an apostle heard speaking about salvation (Hebrews 3:1, 2:3), a minister to the Jews (Romans 15:8) and had brothers (1 Corinthians 9:5, Galatians 1:19). Paul also mentioned Jesus was handed down at night (1 Corinthians 11:23) prior to the crucifixion, alluding it took place in "Zion" (Romans 9:31-33, 15:26-27).
On these matters, Doherty either ignores, overlooks, doubts or harasses the primary evidence. He is prone to use inaccurate translations and tenuous "mythicist" interpretations, many on latter, composite &/or interpolated texts, in order to claim his points. He cannot find half-decent attestations about belief in antiquity of an "upper fleshly world" up to the 4th century (far from that!), so crucial for his position. Substituting for the lacks, Earl relies on rhetoric, agenda-driven dating, arguments from silence, assumptions and convoluted & largely unsubstantiated theories (with hypotheses stacked on each other!). Through such a horrific "methodology", the chances of him being right are insignificant.
Although he is partly a supporter of Doherty ("Earl Doherty's Jesus Puzzle is the only one really worth reading (as it argues a coherent thesis throughout, in a systematic and scholarly way ...)"), Richard Carrier wrote:
"This is another example of my chief complaints against Doherty: though his theory is plausible, it is not proven. He lacks the kind of evidence he needs to secure his case as probable ..."
"... his theory does not have the kind of direct evidence I (and other professional historians) would need to be convinced ..."
"But the point is: a mythic Jesus could still also be a historic Jesus, i.e. the myth would be layered on top, possibly obscuring most of the truth, just as most scholars today believe to be the case ..."
"Doherty's case is not strong enough to justify telling the historicists that their claim is incredible or refuted."
"[as stated in March 2012] I think there is a realistic possibility some actual Jesus existed ..."
Note: Doherty wrote a second book on the same topic "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man". Carrier commented on it:
"JNGM is disorganized, verbose, inordinately long, and accuracy-inefficient (it has an extremely high rate of speculation-dependency, and I worry also it may have a higher error rate ...)."
"the second is 90% speculative digression (hundreds and hundreds of pages worth)"
But because Doherty's mythicist case wipes out, from the start, any chance for a legitimate historical origin of Christianity, it is, and will be, used for anti-Christian propaganda!
Best regards, Bernard D. Muller
PS: maybe it's time for my reader to have a look at my "historical Jesus", in a few words!