Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

    My first typing was “Was Jesus a Gnostic. However, Gnostics weren’t one thing. There were many variations on Gnostic and I couldn’t type “Christian Gnostic,” because there were no Christians during his time. He didn’t even invent the term “Christian.” That was left to those who came after, and his disciples to some extent. We all know “Christ” wasn’t a last name.
    The question being, “Would Jesus even recognize the religions that use ‘Christ,’ meaning ‘anointed one’ that was created around his ministry?
    If he wouldn’t recognize them, then is it possible the historical Jesus wasn’t like ANY of them? Maybe one of the plentiful versions of Gnostic, or for that matter Ebionite, or more Marcion? The main difference being that to follow him one must also follow traditional Jewish traditions (Ebionite) or totally discard them for what went into the New Testament. The last being more than highly unlikely since the Bible is a book he never read, nor wrote one word of.
    I don’t totally dismiss that Jesus, if he actually existed, was theologically more like any of those. Marcion’s (85AD to 160AD) take on Christianity would have to have been adopted by Jesus in heaven after Marcion arrived riding a unicorn with flaming nostrils.
    I joke.
    Of course Jesus could have been nothing like any of these choices.
    The discussion is academic for sure, since exactly who the historical Jesus was may have been lost to antiquity. Or even lost to Jesus not being one person, his story a fictional mix between all the messiah wannabes at the time. I suspect not, I dismiss nothing.
    For the purpose of these musings I have kept with Gnostic, and simplified the many versions of Gnosticism.
    Gnosticism predates the birth of Jesus, probably by many centuries. It’s not like we have the earliest writings, many of which, one could assume, were burnt to ashes in either of the many times the Alexandria Libraries. (There were at least two. Plundering/stealing could have caused this too.) Blame for any torching varies, to some extent, and is controversial. I have little doubt that Christian theological correctness may have been part of the mayhem in the later fires.
    Of all the various tenets of Gnosticism “secret knowledge” may be the most consistent. You had to attain secret knowledge, and some had it naturally. According to one version Judas had the most and Jesus gave him more. He told Judas what he had to do, and he would be unfairly condemned by humanity for doing that. Another variation included that God did not create this world, an inferior “God” did. One could assume Satan, I suppose.
    Direct knowledge of this greater, hidden, deity was part of the secret. Most were worshiping the lesser deity. Many Gnostic texts often deal more with illusion and enlightenment, not so much sin and repentance. Jesus’ purpose was to pass on enlightenment.
    Certainly most traditional Christians would argue this is not biblical, however the Bible is a collection of many ACCEPTED books. Jesus didn’t choose one. Jesus never wrote a single word of the Bible. The various bibles we have now have books selected by what we would now call the “orthodox.” You know, like many of whom demanded Jesus be executed were orthodox.
    There were MANY books and many rejected for absurdities, like Jesus murdering children who wouldn’t play with him. Biblical books were like the romance novels of their time: plentiful, imaginative, and with variations that pleased the writers own sense of what they think happened. In that sense maybe more like theological-political screeds written by the Bill O’Reillys or Thom Hartmanns of their time.
    Obviously this created quite a mess message-wise, so those with the most power within the various Christian communities decided what to include. Ironic since different takes on the faith didn’t go away, they just morphed from Catholicism to Protestantism, to many splits on both, especially Protestantism.
    Most likely not one of these books, accepted or not, were written by Jesus, or Mathew, or… Most were probably written by disciples of disciples, at best. It was assumed they were passing on the same, unchanged, knowledge. Just like it was assumed before Gutenberg’s press, with the rooms full Scribes who copied over, and over, and over, that they got it right. Highly unlikely since there’s evidence they did change some of the text before it was caught.
    Considering human nature how unlikely is any of this? And we don’t have the original texts to compare them to because most were passed on by word of mouth to avoid mouth of beast.
    So, to answer my initial question, was Jesus Gnostic?
    No surprise, who can honestly be absolutely sure, prove that beyond a reasonable doubt? It’s OK to believe it. I take nothing away from those with faith, those who believe. However, to expect any of the versions that exist now to be exactly what Jesus wanted, or “wants” if you prefer, now we’re talking about a miracle beyond every miracle that was written in every version, official or not. And there have been many, many versions over time, like King James that was ordered by a king because he wanted a bible that was more authority friendly.
    Yes, the true character of Jesus may have been lost to antiquity. For if there is any truism that applies it’s that if humans are in charge they have, they will, screw anything up. The many, many versions of Christianity that exist now, and in the past, are a good indication, at best, we are, and were, blind men holding different parts of the elephant (Jesus) and describing who he was by his trunk, his ears, his tusk, his feet…
    One might think the elephant might get so mad he’d had Dad Noah us again.
    But throughout history, we have done that job all too well.

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    “Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2024
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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