Thoughts on ancient gospels and the like

16 November 2007

Jesus’ Daddy – the candidates

Filed under: Desposynoi,folktale type,hypostasis,islam,Mary,Q — markandmore @ 14:18
  1. Joseph. The simplest suggestion. Matthew and Luke, but not Mark, claim that Maria the mother of Jesus had a husband called Joseph. The plot has joseph.jpgher pregnant before their marriage, and Joseph marrying her anyway. Later theology wanted a miraculous birth, and so the plot in Matthew and Luke removed his biological parentage. Why not assume that Joseph is actually the biological father? It is generally assumed that he was the father of Jesus’ siblings mentioned in Mark 6:3: James, Joseph, Simon, Judas and two unnamed sisters. On the other hand, Joseph is not in Q the pre-cursor of Luke and Matthew, nor Marcion an earlier version of Luke. In John there is passing reference to Jesus son of Joseph, but this could be as easily a reference to Jesus as the Messiah ben Joseph as a reference to parentage.
  2. Cleophas (Clopas)/Alphaeus (Alpheus). Cleophas is mentioned in John 19:25 as the husband of Mary, said to be the sister of Jesus’ mother, and in Luke 24:13-27 as a disciple. Alphaeus is said to be the father of James in Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13. He is also the father of Levi (whom some take to be another name for Matthew) at Mark 2:14. As the father of James is probably the husband of Mary, Cleophas and Alphaeus are usually taken to be the same person, and convoluted arguments have been proposed as far back as Papias that Cleophas is a Greek transliteration of the Aramaic Alphaeus. James D. Tabor in chapter 4 of his The Jesus Dynasty, 2006 argues that we should assume that Cleophas/Alphaeus is the levite brother of Joseph, that is that he is a younger brother who married his brother’s widow and in the Hebrew fashion raised future children with the widow as if they were children of Joseph. Eisenman, however, in his James, The Brother of Jesus, takes it that Cleophas/Alphaeus is the name of the husband of Mary, and that it was changed to Joseph by association with the Messiah ben Joseph tradition in Galilee/Samaria.
  3. Antipater (46 – 4 bce), eldest son of Herod and his first wife, Doris. We discussed this earlier. As proposed by Robert Graves, and taken over by Graham Phillips without credit, if Jesus were the son of Antipater, he would be a Roman citizen and be recognized by the Romans, and especially Pilate, as a rightful king of the Jews. This would explain Pilate’s granting of a private audience, see John 18:29-38. Incidentally, Antipater, like Jesus, was a son sacrificed by his father. As Herod was dying, he accused his son of planning his murder and had him executed. Some writers have seen this as a magical sacrifice. If it was, it failed, in that Herod died soon after the execution.
  4. Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera (22 bce – 40 ce). Celsus, the 2nd century philosopher, in his On the True Doctrine, says of Jesus: “His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery with a soldier named Panthera”. Furthermore the Tosefta, also 2nd century, refers to one Yeshua ben-Pandera, whom some take to be the Christ Jesus. These suggestions took on extra life when in 1859 a tombstone of this name dating to the early 1st century was discovered in Bingerbrück on the Rhine (map). Abdes was from Sidon in Phoenicia and of the same generation that Maria would have been. The suggestion that we have the grave of Jesus’ father was first made by Marcello Craveri in his La vita di Gesu, 1966. It has been adopted by James D. Tabor and is discussed in detail in chapter 3 of his The Jesus Dynasty, 2006.
  5. Parthenogenesis. The idea that there is no father. Reptiles can reproduce by parthenogenesis, so why not mammals, so why not humans? Anthony Harris ran with this idea in his The Sacred Virgin and the Holy Whore, 1988. A parthenogenic child could not have XY chromosomes and therefore cannot be male. Furthermore it cannot even be XX as it has only one parent. It would have X0 chromosomes, which is Turner’s Syndrome. Such children, about 1 in 2500 female births, have undeveloped female sexual organs. 98% of X0 fetuses spontaneously abort, and the condition accounts for about 10% of all spontaneous abortions.
  6. Yahweh. If Jesus is the ‘son of God’ in the Christian rather than the Jewish (Benei Elohim) or the Roman (divi filius) sense, the god meant is Yahweh. The Nicene Creed says: “begotten of the Father”. Presumably such a god could provide the Y chromosome to produce a male child. Philo tells us that Isaac was not the son of Abraham, but was the son of Yahweh himself who created Isaac directly in the womb of Sarah. See “God Begat Isaac” in Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism p336.
  7. Allah. If, as some maintain, Allah is Yahweh by another name, then Allah is the father of Jesus. Most Christians are uncomfortable with the equation of Allah and Yahweh; most Moslems are uncomfortable with the idea of Allah as a father. However Surah 3:45-49 maintains that Mary became semele.jpgpregnant at the will of Allah, and without sexual intercourse. On the otherhand, Surah 37:151 says “Surely they lie when they declare: “Allah has begotten children”.
  8. Zeus. Zeus admits to many children: Athena, Aphrodite, Dionysos, Apollo, Artemis and more. He frequently resorted to disguise to seduce mortal women. In fact, it was fatal for Semele, mother of Dionysos, to demand that Zeus appear as his real self, and so we can understand that he did dissimulate. Several ancient authors saw Jesus as another form of Dionysos.
  9. The Holy Spirit. Regarded by Christians as the third person on the Godhead. It is not clear how the statement that Jesus was fathered by the Holy Spirit has a different meaning from the statement that he was fathered by God the Father(Yahweh). Matthew 1:25 states that Mary’s conception “is of the Holy Spirit”
  10. Gabriel. In Luke only, Gabriel announces the pregnancies of both Elizabeth and Mary, with a suggestion that he might in fact be the father. The Kingannunciation.jpg James Bible has it that: “the angel came in unto her (Luke 1:28). It is often commented that Muhammad confused the Holy Spirit and Gabriel (Gibril), but such confusion is understandable. The Quran calls Gibril ‘Ruhhil Qudus'(=Holy Spirit). It was also Gabriel that gave Muhammad the Quran. The Midrash Elah Ezkerah tells us with regard to the birth of Rabbi Ishmael that Gabriel took the form of his father to meet the mother at the bathhouse, and took her home, and that night Rabbi Ishmael was conceived. That is why Rabbi Ishmael was so handsome: he resembled his father, Gabriel. See “How Rabbi Ishmael was conceived” in Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism p201.

27 April 2007


Filed under: Mary,places — markandmore @ 15:47

maryport.jpgA footnote trivium to my post re Mary Had a Little Lamb.

The North-West corner of the Roman Empire was Maryport, Cumbria (see map)where the Romans had a fort from which they patrolled the western end of Hadrian’s Wall, and a town. You can visit the remains of the fort, even today.

Of course they knew the fort by a different name: Alauna. In later centuries the town was known as Ellenfoot, until 1749, when the local businessman, Humphrey Senhouse, renamed it after his wife Mary.

So it was as far as Mary went …. but it did not take her name for 1700 years.

3 April 2007

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Filed under: colours,Mary,names,rimes — markandmore @ 22:55

Mary had a little Lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,

The Lamb was sure to go.

In Aleister Crowley’ Book 4, in the Interlude after chapter VII of part II, the author(s) present a mind-bender:

‘Every nursery rime contains profound magical secrets which are open to everyone who has made a study of the correspondences of the Holy Qabalah. To puzzle out an imaginary meaning for this “nonsense” sets one thinking of the Mysteries; one enters into deep contemplation of holy things and God Himself leads the soul to a real illumination. Hence also the necessity of Incarnation: the soul must descend into all falsity in order to attain All-Truth’.

And proceed to analyze Old Mother Hubbard; Little Bo Peep; Little Miss Muffet; Little Jack Horner; Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son; Hickery, Dickery Dock; Humpty Dumpty; Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater; Taffy was a Welshman; By, Baby Bunting!; and Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.

In a similar frame of mind let us look at Mary and her lamb.

Mary had a little Lamb:

‘Mary’ is the standard Anglicization from the Latin name ‘Maria’ which was given to all female members in the Marius clan, ‘Marius’ in turn being derived from Mars, the Roman god of war, and as such an iconic name for a major Roman family.marylamb.jpg

One of the major sleights of mind in Bible exegesis is the conflation of the Latin ‘Maria’ with the Hebrew ‘Miriam’ which is a completely different name. However note that ‘Miriam’ is sometimes written ‘Mariam’, and in Latin ‘Mariam’ is ‘Maria’ in the accusative (object) case. This happenstance or coincidence is a little joke of Eris or maybe of Azathoth.

There is no Maria character in the early gospels. She is unknown in Paul, in the Gospel of Thomas and in the Gospel of Peter. Nor does she appear in Q. The Gospel of John, of which the first draft may be earlier than that of Mark, has a mother of Jesus, but she is resolutely anonymous. There is no indication at all that she is called ‘Maria’, and indeed why would a Jewish woman have a Latin name? The author of Mark, be he whoever, seems to be the creator of the Maria character.

In Josephus there are several Miriams, mainly from the Maccabean family. In fact two of the Maccabean Miriams became wives of Herod, called the Great. On the other hand, there is only one Maria in Josephus (War of the Jews VI, iii), who is a woman caught in the siege of Jerusalem who is starving because the rapacious militia take all the food. She solves this by roasting and eating her own suckling son. She is described as of the House of Hyssop, and hyssop is the plant that Moses said that the Israelites should use when marking their house with the blood of the sacrificed Passover lamb. (Exodus 12:7). Roasting is also the method specified for the Passover sacrifice (Exodus 12:9). Hence War, VI, iii would seem to imply that Mary had a little lamb, whether ‘had’ means ‘was with’ or whether it means that she ate it.

Why a lamb? In addition to the Jewish tradition of the Passover lamb, there is an interesting pun: The Aramaic word ‘imera’ means ‘lamb’; the Hebrew word ‘imerah’ means ‘word’ or ‘logos’. Thus we get an equivocation that cuts directly to the heart of Christianity.

Also. A lamb was symbolic of the age of Aries which was ending in the first century CE, the time when the Jesus stories are set.

Its fleece was white as snow.

This would seem to be a reference to Mark, 9.3 where as part of the Transfiguration, Jesus’ clothes become intensely brilliantly white.

There are precedents for this in the Jewish Bible:

In Daniel 7.9 the Ancient of Days has clothing as white as snow.

Psalm 51.7 ‘wash me and I will be whiter than white’.

The practice had continued in Judeo-Islam, and white is the prescribed colour of clothing for the Hajj.

Part of the conflation of Maria with Miriam reappears here. The prototype Miriam, the sister of Moses, is sometimes referred to as ‘Snow-White Miriam’, a reference to Numbers, 12 where Miriam and Aaron speak up against Moses for his arrogance and his exogamous marriage, and Miriam is struck with ‘tzaraat’ (often mistranslated as ‘leprosy’), turning her ‘white as snow’. This story is found only in the Elohist strand of the Torah, that is the traditions of the priests of Shiloh, of Israel and Samaria, not of Judea.

And everywhere that Mary went,

Maria is a representative of the Marius clan, which in turn represents the Roman empire. Thus she stands metonymously for the Empire which stretches from Mesopotamia to Britain.

The Lamb was sure to go.Christianity would inevitably stretch all across the Empire and beyond.lamb.jpg


Crowley adds a warning. “If it is thought to be a joke, the reader is one useless kind of fool; if it is thought that …. The makers of the rimes had any occult intention, he is another kind of useless fool”.

It is of course claimed that the rime, Mary had a little Lamb, was composed by one John Roulstone about a Mary Sawyer who took her lamb to school in Sterling, Massachusetts in 1830. Of course it is also claimed that the first telling of a resurrected messiah, son of a virgin, was by somebody called Mark around 70 CE. But we know that there were earlier resurrected messiahs, also sons of virgins.


John M. Allegro. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth. p174.

Joe Atwill. Caesar’s Messiah. p 45-8.

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