Monday, January 30, 2012

The Origin of 'Jesus' Part Two

I have been thinking about this for the last few days and am certain that I have come to an important realization.  The difficulty with 'mythicism' in my opinion is that too much of it seems to be motivated by a tendency to 'overturn' or 'prove' something about early Christianity which was probably not there.  I don't mean to be a chauvinist but most scholars don't have a clue about what Judaism is, so they can't understand how Christian 'mythicism' might have unfolded in its actual mother-culture.

What I mean is that all the things these people delight in - Osiris, Mithras and the like - have very little to do with Christianity at its core.  The evidence points us instead to some sort of 'mystical' tradition within Judaism, in a period in which we know very little about its actual beliefs and practices, and especially esoteric ones.

My breakthrough in this regard is to see 'Jesus' as a development from a Jewish mystical concept which was never quite given up by Jewish mystics.  I am talking of course about the mystical power of 'yesh' (ישׁ) which is absolutely fundamental to medieval mysticism.  I will be writing about this for some weeks to come because I think that most 'mythicists' develop an absolutely unworkable system.  The fact is that what they are proposing has no roots in the actual evidence from the period.  Jews took no interest in Osiris or Mithras, neither did Christians.

What I am proposing is that the core concept in Alexandrian Judaism - that of the 'Logos' or 'Word of God' - was likely a development from an original interest in yesh.  I say that this is likely for a number reasons but not the least because its Syriac equivalent of ith, ithya and ithutha becomes the standard way of referencing the divine 'essence' which is shared by Father and Son (and Holy Spirit too).

I have been reading Philo since I was a young man and I can't help but finally see how it was that Clement and the Alexandrian Christian tradition identified 'Jesus' as the Logos because of a pre-existent interest in yesh.

More to follow.  Now to look into Clement's use of οὐσία ...

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