Friday, February 3, 2012

Was Jesus the Yesh? (Part One)

I have been completely engrossed in one very significant idea over the last week - was the name 'Jesus' an expansion of the 'yesh hypostasis'?  This is a very difficult idea to explain to people who are unfamiliar with the Jewish mystical writings of the earliest period, but let's work our way backwards.  Everyone begins with the assumption that Jesus was a man who was born with the name 'Joshua' or Ἰησοῦς.  This is the traditional 'battleground' between Jews and Christians and atheists and believers - was the man Jesus the messiah?

Yet there is very strong evidence that the earliest Christians in Alexandria and elsewhere thought Jesus was some sort of an angelic hypostasis.  How is this to be explained?  Why would an angel have the name 'Jesus'?  This question has dogged me from the beginning of my development of various theories - why is Jesus called Jesus?

Most of the so-called 'mythicists' out there have very stupid theories, 'Jesus was a pagan god' being the most familiar prototype.  The difficulty here is that our familiar with pagan gods leads us to project these traditions on early Christianity.  If Jesus was called Jesus he probably has something to do with the Jewish cultural milieu, right?  Even if Jesus was an angelic hypostasis the name is Jewish.

I can't tell you how many times I manipulated the 'Jesus problem' in my minds eye.  I could final see why he was called 'Χρῆστος' yet a 'myth' with an angelic being named 'Jesus' seem utterly insoluble.  If there is a mythicist trying to sell you a bag of Mithras and Osiris who claims that he can explain the name 'Jesus' you can pretty well be sure he's full of shit.

It was only when I started to remember that the actual Greek manuscripts of the New Testament don't have the word Ἰησοῦς anywhere on their pages but rather the two or three letter nomina sacra codes.  The oldest nomina sacra for Ἰησοῦς are IH (= or the first two letters of the name) and IC (= ΙΣ or the first and last letters of the name).  It was only when I started to wonder what an Aramaic nomen sacra for Jesus would look like that I hit upon the solution.


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