Rebuttal to Jochen Katz on “Abdullah Smith and his war against the Crucifixion” - Part III.

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Rebuttal to Jochen Katz

 

“Abdullah Smith and his war against the Crucifixion”

By Abdullah Kareem

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV]



HE WROTE: 

That is why nobody with half a brain can take these rantings seriously.

In the nineteenth century an eminent scholar, Rabbi Wise, searched the records of Pilate’s court, still extant, for evidence of this trial. He found nothing. (Lloyd Graham, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, p. 343)

In my opinion, Lloyd Graham simply lied. I have not seen any evidence whatsoever that Rabbi Wise or another scholar of the 19th century ever examined those records. One cannot examine records that don't exist. That is why I put out that challenge to Abdullah Smith. Still, Smith believes Graham and spreads his claims for the one and only reason that he WANTS to believe what he writes. Smith is living in phantasy land.

... there exists, outside of the New Testament, no evidence whatever, in book, inscription, or monument, that Jesus of Nazareth was either scourged or crucified under Pontius Pilate. Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Philo, nor any of their contemporaries, ever refer to the fact of this crucifixion, or express any belief thereon. (T.W. Doane, Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions, p. 516)


RESPONSE:

Notice how the passage says “nor any of their contemporaries” mentioned Jesus’ death! This statement is absolutely true. The companions of Josephus and Tacitus do not record Jesus’ death.

Can you find any inscriptional evidence for Jesus’ execution? The answer is no. Even the Letter of Pilate is attested to be a forgery. There is no reliable evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion [1][2][3]  

The Jews believed Jesus was a false prophet who deserved death for alleged blasphemy. The Romans were pressured into crucifying Jesus on false charges (Luke 23:2) that Jesus “opposed taxes to Caesar”.

The Pilate washed his hands (Matthew 27:24) and the Jews shouted “Let his blood be upon us and our children” (Matt. 27:25) According to the Bible, Jesus died an accursed death (Deu 21:23, Gal. 3:13), his body was taken down before sunset (John 19:31). Some scholars say Pilate was bribed.

There is also the consistent agreement of modern scholars that the Crucifiction was more likely held at the Garden of Gethsemane -- which would leave considerable room for a mock crucifixion, a skillfully stage-managed ritual.  Only a few eyewitnesses would have been immediately present, with the general populace constrained to witness from a distance, the latter fact confirmed by the Synoptic Gospels.  
         

Furthermore, in the Greek version of the Gospels, when Joseph of Arimetha asks for Jesus' body, he used the word soma -- a word applied only to a living body.  Pilate, assenting to the request, employs the word ptoma -- which means "corpse".  (Perhaps the Greeks knew something we didn't.)  Interestingly, there is also the possibility that Pilate was bribed.  This would account for the crucifiction taking place at the Garden of Gethsemane (private land), and for the body being taken down so quickly.  In short the evidence is overwhelming that the Cruci- fixion was instead a Cruci- fiction. [1] [2]

The part played by Pontius Pilate, the Roman Magistrate, is hard to determine. His indecisiveness, as described in the Bible, his partiality towards the Jewish leaders, together with his good will towards Jesus, make a story hard to believe. This could be the result of an attempt by the writers of the Gospels to twist the facts in order to throw the responsibility of the “crucifixion” unto the whole Jewish nation and so to exonerate the Romans completely from their part in Jesus’ supposed death. The only way an official account of Jesus’ life could survive would be by describing it in a manner which was not offensive to the foreign rulers, and by either omitting, disguising, or even changing those details which would be displeasing to those in authority.

Another explanation is provided by a strong tradition that Pilate was “got at” with a sizable bribe amounting to the equivalent of 30,000. If what is described in the Gospels is true, then it is obvious that Pilate did have a vested interest in the drama enacted that day in Jerusalem. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 36)

 

Pilate executed Jesus on the Passover, hours before the Sabbath, knowing he would survive. It takes several days to die from crucifixion.


Crucifixion was a slow death. It usually lasted several days.   Death  followed  from   exhaustion,  inability  to respire property as a result  of  being  in  an  upright position or attacks by wild  animals. Why did Jesus, who was a fit and healthy man used to walking the countryside for long distances, die so quickly in only a matter of a few hours? [1]

 

Crucifixion was resorted to in order to provide a cruel and lingering punishment, the victim sometimes not dying for several days. There was considerable sentiment against crucifixion in Jerusalem, and there existed a society of Jewish women who always sent a representative to crucifixions for the purpose of offering drugged wine to the victim in order to lessen his suffering. But when Jesus tasted this narcotized wine, as thirsty as he was, he refused to drink it.

[2]

Josephus tells a story of the Romans crucifying people along the walls of Jerusalem. He also says that the Roman soldiers would amuse themselves by crucifying criminals in different positions. In Roman-style crucifixion, the victim took days to die slowly from suffocation — caused by the victim's blood-supply slowly draining away, to a quantity insufficient to supply the required oxygen to vital organs. The dead body was left up for vultures and other birds to consume. [3]

In the year A.D. 297, by the order of Emperor Maximian, seven Christians at Samosata were subjected to various tortures and then crucified. According to Alban Butler

Hipparchus [one of them], a venerable old man, died on the cross in a short time. James, Romanus, and Lollianus, expired the next day being stabbed by the soldiers while they hung on their crosses. Philotheus, Habibus and Paragrus, were taken down from their crosses while they were still alive. The emperor being informed that they were alive, commanded large nails to be driven into heads--by which they were at length dispatched.


There are a number of cases in which men were cruelly tortured, and then crucifed head down, yet surviving for 24 hours or more. [1]

It seems Jesus merely expired on the cross, or he was poisoned by the vinegar, and his legs were not broken to expedite his death. The Roman soldiers “saw” Jesus was dead (John 19:30), so they “broke not his legs” seeing he was already dead. According to experience, the Pilate knew Jesus was alive, so he allowed Joseph of Arimathea to remove his body safely.

And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. (John 19:39-40)

Notice how Joseph anointed the “dead” body of Jesus with healing spices. We recommend this article written by Michael Baigent.

The Pontius Pilate seems very reluctant to crucify Jesus, he only assented to Jesus’ death after the Passover crowd had Barabbas released. Yet a question arises: Why would Pilate release Barabbas if he was a criminal? The Gospels say he was a political leader (Luke 23:19) who needed to be executed.

The Church father Origen was troubled by the reading “Jesus Barabbas” which means “Jesus son of the Father!”. 

According to Mark (and the other Synoptics), when Jesus was presented before Pilate, Pilate offered to the crowd a choice between Jesus and a man named Barabbas. The full name of Barabbas was, according to some ancient Christian texts, including some ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Barabbas; Barabbas is the Greek form of the Hebrew surname bar Abbas, which means son of the father . Hence, Pilate offered the choice between Jesus and Jesus son of the father and Mark (and in consequence Matthew, Luke, and John) effectively presents the choice between an earthly Jesus-son-of-the-father (as Barabbas was a thief and bandit) and a more spiritual version of Jesus-son-of-the-father, a highly gnostic reading. The crowd chose to save the earthly Jesus (i.e. Barabbas), which thus may be read as allegory in the gnostic view that the masses were carnal and not spiritual beings, since they did not have gnosis. [1]

There is evidence that Barabbas, the Roman custom of releasing a prisoner, and the character of Pilate was fabricated to blame the Jews.

Some interpreters have suggested, on the basis of Matthew’s statement, that Barabbas and Jesus were originally one and the same person. Riggs, JBL 64 (1945), 417-456. Others (e.g., Hyam Maccoby, Revolution in Judea) go so far as to claim that the evangelists split Jesus Barabbas into two separate personalities in order to exonerate the Roman authorities from blame in Jesus’ death, and put the entire onus on the Jews. (*)

In all New Testament accounts, Pilate hesitates to condemn Jesus until the crowd insists. Some have suggested that this may have been an effort by early Christian polemicists to curry favor with Rome by placing the blame for Jesus' execution on the Jews, and that it was part of the process by which Pauline Christians marginalized the still-observant Christian Jews of the Levant (*)

The story of Barabbas has special social significances, partly because it has frequently been used to lay the blame for the Crucifixion on the Jews and justify anti-Semitism. Equally, the social significance of the story to early hearers was that it shifted blame away from the Roman imperium, removing an impediment to Christianity's eventual official acceptance.  (*)


(1) The custom of releasing a prisoner at the Passover is unhistorical.

The Gospels all state that there was a custom at Passover during which the Roman governor would release a prisoner of the crowd's choice. Mark 15:6; Matt. 27:15; John 18:39; Luke 23:17 (though this verse in Luke is not present in the earliest manuscripts and may be a later gloss to bring Luke into conformity) The gospels differ on whether the custom was a Roman one or a Jewish one…However, no such release or custom of such a release is recorded in any historical document, not even as a passing mention.

This practice of releasing a prisoner is said by some analysts to be an element in a literary creation of Mark, who needed to have a contrast to the true "son of the father" in order to set up an edifying contest, in a form of parable. [1]

(2) The Pilate’s character in the Gospels is false

The character of Pilate as given to us by secular historical sources is completely at variance with that given by the gospels. The Pilate in the gospel was amiable, politically naive and easily intimidated by the Jewish crowd. The historical Pilate, as we have seen, was cruel, headstrong and self-seeking. That this Pilate would have allowed a Jewish mob to given his action is unthinkable. It is obvious that the actual role, if any, Pilate played in the condemnation of Jesus was extensively rewritten to exonerate him and to pin the blame on the Jews. [1]

Pontius Pilate, as he is depicted in the Gospels, appears to be a decent person who consents only reluctantly to the crucifixion of Jesus. History paints a different picture of him. He was a procurator of Judea from A.D. 26 to 36, and he was a cruel and corrupt man. Why is there no criticism of him in the Gospels? [2]

The Jews expected the Messiah to destroy the Romans, not be crucified by them. They eagerly awaited a politico-religious Prophet to restore the Davidic kingdom based on Divine Law. It is precisely for this reason the Jews rejected him (Mark 15:30, Luke 23:39). God promised a victorious Messiah (Psalms 20:6, 132, Isaiah 42) to destroy the occupation, but Jesus (according to Jews) failed to destroy the Romans. It was not until 600 years later, when Palestine was liberated by the Muslims.

Moses and Muhammad were politico-religious Prophets, David and Cyrus was both ‘Messiah’. Jesus is the only Messiah who died on a cross!

The Bible says the Messiah cannot die: (he is protected).


Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.  (Psalms 20:6)

"Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm." (1Chronicles 16:22)

O LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant. (2Chronicles 6:42)

Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore. (Psalms 18:50)

The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. (Psalms 28:8)

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. (Psalms 84:9)

For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed. (Psalms 132:10)

 

According to Jewish conceptions the only way to distinguish between a true and a false Messiah was success: He who does not succeed in overthrowing the Roman yoke cannot be the Messiah, and vice-versa. Hence, the Jews claimed that Jesus was an impostor because he could not lead them to a successful revolt against Rome. The danger for Rome was not represented by someone claiming to be King of the Jews, but by the fact that the Jews expected a king who would overthrow Roman power. Jesus in some way or another claimed to be the Messiah, but at the same time he did not advocate in-surrection. Therefore it was in the interest of the Roman government to have the Jews recognize Jesus as their king: This would dispose forever of the Jewish messianic threat to Rome. [1]

The Talmudic scholar Hyam Maccoby states:

 

Jesus had no intention of founding a new religion. He regarded himself as the Messiah in the normal Jewish sense of the term, i.e. a human leader who would restore the Jewish monarchy, drive out the Roman invaders, set up an independent Jewish state, and inaugurate an era of peace, justice and prosperity (known as 'the kingdom of God,). He had no intention of being crucified in order to save mankind from eternal damnation by his sacrifice. He never regarded himself as a divine being, and would have regarded such an idea as pagan and idolatrous, an infringement of the first of the Ten Commandments. (Hyam Maccoby, The Problem of Paul)

 

But since Jesus failed, the land of Palestine was occupied for another 600 hundred years.

Jesus had failed to fulfill the expectations of the Jews of Palestine who were chafing under the foreign rule of the Roman Emperors. They dreamt of a Prophet from God whose powers would match that of Moses and would liberate them. A conquering warrior who would free the Jews from Roman colonialism!

The Comforter – Muhammad – did bring comfort and relief to all the Roman colonies including Jerusalem and Syria. For seven hundred years the Roman Empire dominated and controlled Palestine and Syria. It was the soldiers of God sent by Muhammad and his successors who relinquished the iron grip, which had started with the conquest of these lands by the Emperor Pompey.

The terms of capitulation agreed to by the Caliph of Islam, Omar, were most favourable to the Jewish Patriarch Sophronious of Jerusalem. They were guaranteed freedom of worship and proprietory rights over their churches. Such was the benevolence of the Islamic liberators of Jerusalem. The irony is that the Jewish leaders of Palestine at that time did not recognize in Muhammad the Comforter who would liberate them from the rule of the Roman polytheists, a greater liberation than that of mere military or political liberation. (Farouk Hosein, Fundamentalism Revisited, p. 63)

According to the Gospels, Jesus was well-versed in the Hebrew Scriptures at age twelve. He had strong knowledge of the Torah at age 30, he considered himself a Messiah like David and Cyrus not a failed Messiah like Theudas and Bar Kokba. Jesus prayed to be saved (Matt 26:39), and believed God would save him (John 8:29, 16:32, John 11:41, Hebrews 5:7).

These facts alone justify the rejection of the Gospels as fictional documents. The Bible says God is love (1 John 4:8), and He never forsakes His servants (Psalms 37:28). Jesus never predicted his death and resurrection [1][2][3]. The Messiah can never say “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46) and carry his own cross like a false prophet (Deu. 13:5) to suffer the crucifixion (Deu 21:23).

The Greek sun God Apollo used to carry a cross on his tunica. The solar cross was used in Asian, American, European, and Indian art from the dawn of history. There are numerous carvings of this cross all over the world. The Greek cross with four arms of equal length was a common symbol in the Near East, Sumer, and ancient Greece. The swastika is of pre-hindu origin. It was used as a symbol of the sun. The arms represented also the four directions, north, south, west, and east. In Scandinavia, the Tau cross symbolized the hammer of the god Thor. There are many other examples of the ancients' use of the cross. [1]

'When therefore, multitudes of the Pagans, on the conversion of Constantine, flocked into the Church, like the semi-Pagans of Egypt, they brought along with them their predilection for the old symbol. The consequence was, that in no great length of time, as apostacy proceeded, the X which in itself was not an unnatural symbol of Christ, the true Messiah, and which had once been regarded as such, was allowed to go entirely into disuse, and the Tau, the sign of the cross, the indisputable sign of Tammuz, the false Messiah, was everywhere substituted in its stead. Thus, by the 'sign of the cross,' Christ has been crucified anew by those who profess to be His disciples. Now, if these things be matter of historic fact, who can wonder that, in the Romish Church, 'the sign of the cross' has always and everywhere been seen to be such an instrument of rank superstition and delusion? [2]

Many churchgoers wear a cross, or have a crucifix in the home, and crosses are found in many church buildings. But did you know that the cross actually has a pagan origin? The facts show that, rather than being the exclusive symbol of Christianity, the cross was in use centuries before the birth of Christ. This is admitted by The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908 edition, Vol. IV, page 517): [3]

"From its simplicity of form, the cross has been used both as a religious symbol and as an ornament, from the dawn of man's civilization. Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world." [4]

Here is why the Jews rejected Jesus:

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. (Matthew 27:41-43)

Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. (Mark 15:30-31)

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, (Luke 23:35-36)

And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. (Luke 23:38-39)

When Jesus failed to save himself and cried that God forsaken him (Mark 15:34), the Jews were convinced Jesus was a false Messiah!

The Christians attempt to explain this problem by saying it was God’s plan. Yet the Old Testament contains no such prophecy of Jesus’ death.

Jesus never came to establish a new religion called “Christianity” by death on the cross.

Jesus had no intention of founding a new religion. He regarded himself as the Messiah in the normal Jewish sense of the term, i.e. a human leader who would restore the Jewish monarchy, drive out the Roman invaders, set up an independent Jewish state, and inaugurate an era of peace, justice and prosperity (known as 'the kingdom of God,) for the whole world…He had no intention of being crucified in order to save mankind from eternal damnation by his sacrifice. He never regarded himself as a divine being, and would have regarded such an idea as pagan and idolatrous, an infringement of the first of the Ten Commandments. (Hyam Maccoby, The Problem of Paul)

“A true Jew would have immediately recognized the teaching of Jesus as a reaffirmation of what Moses had taught. But to many a pagan, it must have seemed new and strange and perhaps a little complicated. Most of the pagans still believed in a multitude of gods who, it was thought, mixed freely with human beings, mated with them, and took part in every sphere of human life. To the common people of Greece, any description of Jesus must have seemed like a description of one of their gods, and they were probably quite ready to accept Jesus in this capacity. There was always room for one more god. However, the actual teaching of Jesus negated all their gods, since it affirmed the Divine Unity”. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus: Prophet of Islam, p. 62)

The purpose of Jesus’ mission was to revive the Torah (Matt 5:17-2) and preach the Gospel (Luke 19:10). The early followers of Jesus considered themselves Jews.

The early “Christians” searched the Old Testament for “prophecies” about Jesus’ death. And the best “prophecy” they could take out of context was Isaiah 53.

IF Jesus was crucified, he could not have the true Messiah, the Quran absolves Jesus from the curse (4:157). The “crucifixion” prophecies are ripped out of context. The prophecy of Isaiah 53 is refuted here.




HE WROTE:


Simply more of the same false claims. It was shown above that some of these actually mention the crucifixion and other details of the life of Jesus. At least Doane does not make claims about an alleged examination of non-existing records. Nevertheless, the book by Doane is completely out of date (first published in 1882!), and his theories are no longer taken seriously by modern scholars. It is so old and outdated, hardly anyone bothers to even do a review of it! (Here are some comments on Doane's book.) However, what should Smith do if he wants to propagate these theories and simply can't find modern scholars who endorse them? He has no option but to dig up claims that were made more than a century ago and pretend that in this area of research nothing of relevance has been published since.


RESPONSE:

None of these are false claims. The historians Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny do not mention Jesus’ crucifixion.

Regarding the book Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other religions, it’s true the book was first published in 1882 which is over 110 years ago. The book is not 100 % inaccurate just because it’s over 100 years old!

Then again when something is well established, work on it stops. What is the point of repeating old work? If it has been satisfactorily established that Christianity owes much to the Pagan saviour gods then who is going to publish work covering the same ground. New discoveries might change scholarly opinion but, if a new judgement is merely based on the extant material, it would have to be compelling to displace the old one. A new interpretation is not better than an old one because it is newer, and old work is not necessarily wrong.

How many scientists actually cite Newton? An observer might consider the lack of citations of Newton proof that he was wrong and his views discarded. Yet classical mechanics still are Newtonian. Newton was not wrong, and anyone who wanted to make an assertion about classical mechanics could justifiably quote Newton. No one bothers because no one disputes that classical mechanics validly describe the normal world.

Things are different in the field of religious history. A childish superstition dominates our world and its professors spend much of their time trying to overlay critical work with layers of obfuscation. The few skeptics who can be bothered to combat the Christian paradigm are quite justified in pointing to old work which is not necessarily wrong but has been sidelined by Christians who did not like it, have rubbished it with little foundation and then claimed it is old-hat. (Warning: atheist website [1]

There are several Christian scholars like Tom Harper and Robert Price (former Evangelical) who use the works of Doane. The professor Tom Harper follows the arguments of Doane in his book The Pagan Christ.

The author T.W. Doane makes valid arguments:


The belief of redemption from sin by the sufferings of a Divine Incarnation, whether by death on the cross or otherwise, was general and popular among the heathen, centuries before the time of Jesus of Nazareth. (p. 183)

Jesus could not have foreseen his rejection, death, and resurrection, as the idea of a suffering, dying, and rising Messiah or son of Man was unknown to Judaism. (Israel Knohl, The Messiah before Jesus, The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 2)

The Church father Tertullian confirms:

 

"Crosses, moreover, we Christians neither venerate nor wish for. You indeed who consecrate gods of wood venerate wooden crosses, perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camps, what are they but crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it." [1]

 

The concept of “dying-rising” god was very common. Even the cross is based on the sun-god myth.

The solar cross is probably the most ancient spiritual symbol in the world, appearing in Asian, American, European, and Indian religious art from the dawn of history. Composed of a equal armed cross within a circle, it represents the solar calendar- the movements of the sun, marked by the solstices. Sometimes the equinoxes are marked as well, giving an eight armed wheel. (The swastika is also a form of Solar cross, emphasizing movement.)

The cross in its most simplified form (shown above) is known in Northern Europe as Odin's cross, after the Chief God of the Norse pantheon. It is often used as an emblem by Asatruar, followers of the Norse religion. [1]

It is very difficult to trace the origins of the cross. Some scholars believe the cross might have its roots in the practice of the solar religions. In many cultures, the cross became a symbol of the sun as a dying and resurrected god. From an astronomical and religious point of view, the sun was hung on a cross, in other words crucified when it passed through the equinoxes. The dark winter sun was believed to be the crucified one. It is resurrected as the bright summer sun that ascends into heaven. The crucifixion must have been especially important for the people living in northern climates. The Scandinavians had a crucifixion ceremony of the sun on the shortest day. [2]

Doane rightfully says Jesus was probably 50 years old when crucified. He proves his case directly from the Gospels,


The Jews said unto him: "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham'' If Jesus was then but about thirty years of age, the Jews would evidently have said : "thou art not yet forty years old," and would not have been likely to say: "thou art not yet fifty years old," ... ;' therefore, if Jesus was crucified at that time he must have been about fifty years of age; but, as we re-marked elsewhere, there exists, outside of the New Testament, no evidence whatever, in book, inscription, or monument, that Jesus of Nazareth was either scourged or crucified under Pontius Pilate. Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, Philo, nor any of their contemporaries, ever refer to the fact of this crucifixion, or express any belief thereon. (T.W. Doane, Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions, p. 516)


Doane’s book is reliable because Irenaeus also says Jesus was fifty years old.


But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated the same thing. For when the Lord said to them, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad," they answered Him, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?" Now, such language is fittingly applied to one who has already passed the age of forty, without having as yet reached his fiftieth year, yet is not far from this latter period. But to one who is only thirty years old it would unquestionably be said, "Thou art not yet forty years old." For those who wished to convict Him of falsehood would certainly not extend the number of His years far beyond the age which they saw He had attained; but they mentioned a period near His real age, whether they had truly ascertained this out of the entry in the public register, or simply made a conjecture from what they observed that He was above forty years old, and that He certainly was not one of only thirty years of age. For it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty years, when they wished to prove Him younger than the times of Abraham. For what they saw, that they also expressed; and He whom they beheld was not a mere phantasm, but an actual being of flesh and blood. (Against Heresies, Book II, Chapter 22, online Source)


There are several modern books that follow T.W. Doane.

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East, by John Marco Allegro

 

Christianity: An Ancient Egyptian Religion, by Ahmed Usman

 

The Egyptian Origin of Christianity, by Lisa Ann

 

Paganism Surviving in Christianity by Abram Herbert Lewis

 

Pagan Christs  by J M Robertson

 

Christianity Before Christ by John G. Jackson

 

Paganism in Our Christianity by Arthur Weigall

 

Pagan Christianity: The Origins of Our Modern Church Practices  by Frank Viola

 

Christianity: The Origins of a Pagan Religion by Philippe Walter

 

Jesus Christ, Sun of God by David Fideler

           

101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History by Gary Greenberg

 

The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read  by Tim C. Leedom

 

The X-Rated Bible: An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures by Ben Edward Akerley

 

The Great Deception: And What Jesus Really Said and Did, by Gerd Ludemann

 

What Really Happened to Jesus: A Historical Approach to the Resurrection, by Gerd Ludemann


Yes, the book is over a century old, but that doesn’t mean the book is 100 % inaccurate




HE WROTE:


One really has to wonder whether Smith and the whole team at answering-christianity.com are too stupid to see how they are hurting their own credibility by publishing such nonsense [interruption, Mr. Speaker, one first needs to have credibility before one can start worring about losing it!], material that is not only objectively wrong according to any standard of scholarship, but which even destroys Islam by proving the Qur'an to be wrong if these claims were true.

 

 

RESPONSE:

Let us repeat ourselves:

 

The Quran is not proven wrong if these claims are true. For example, the Quran says Jesus was saved by God (4:157) and someone else was crucified. And Simon of Cyrene (or Judas) was crucified in his place, yet no record exists for this because it was ordinary. There is a logical explanation to this “problem”. First, the appearance crucifixion did take place as the Quran reports (4:157) but these Roman records are silent on this crucifixion because it was normal.

In reality, no miracle happened at Judas’ crucifixion, that’s why these Roman records are silent.

The Gospels are problematic because they record “darkness and earthquake” at Jesus’ crucifixion, yet these miracles are not reported by any Gentile writer during that period of time (e.g. Philo). The earliest Christian writer (Paul), the early Church fathers (Ignatius, Clement, Papias) and Josephus (90 CE) do not mention it. The only explanation is the “darkness and earthquake” never occurred, but they were added to embellish the Gospel story. 


Similar incidents are related in the legendary histories of other heathen demigods and great men. A cloud surrounded the moon, the sun was darkened at noonday and the sky rained fire and ashes during the crucifixion of the Indian God Krishna. The birth of Osiris had been accompanied by an eclipse of the sun and his death was attended by a still greater darkness. At the crucifixion of Prometheus, the whole frame of nature become convulsed, the earth shook, the rocks were rent, the graves opened, and in a storm which threatened the dissolution of the universe, the scene closed. According to Livy, the last hours of the mortal demise of Romulus were marked by a storm and by a solar eclipse.


Similar stories are told of Caesar and Alexander the Great. After six hours of darkness Alexander’s soul was seen to fly away in the form of a dove. A host of respectable classical authorities, according to Gibbon, vouched for a fable, the darkness which followed Caesar’s murder. Pliny speaks of a darkness attending Caesar’s death, but omits to mention such a scene as attending the crucifixion of Christ. Virgil repeats the story. (Warning: Atheist website: [1]

 

IF the real Jesus was crucified (as the Christians claim), then the Quran is wrong (4:157), yet no historian ever mentioned the “darkness and earthquake” (because it never occurred), so the Quran is right.

Please consider the following questions:

(1). Why would a miracle happen at Judas’ death?

(2). IF Jesus was crucified and the “darkness” occurred, why didn’t any historian record it?
 

(3). The appearance crucifixion took place, so the Quran is not proven false.

(4). Why were the Jews not astonished when the “earthquake” happened?!

(5). It is reported that dead saints came out of  their graves  and  made themselves known to  many  (Matthew 27:52).  When the Jews saw this, why did they not immediately profess faith in Jesus? Where did these saints go? Who did they see? Why is there no account of this story elsewhere other than in Matthew's Gospel? 


You are destroying the credibility of your foolish website. We have debunked your website and your friends. Also, you don’t follow Jesus, but Paul the Anti-Christ.


 

HE WROTE:

Or does Smith, in particular, have the mindset of these Muslim suicide bombers who don't mind to blow up themselves as long as they can hope to kill many others around them as well? Does he simply not care whether he is blowing his own head off as long as he can hurt some of these Christian infidels? And Osama Abdallah, the editor-in-chief does not care either whether he goes down together with Smith, if only he gets more articles that potentially annoy, belittle and insult Christians?


RESPONSE:

We do not wish to waste our time responding to such nonsense. But we have no choice to defend Islam against the RATS of “answering islam” who seek to destroy Islam. We are not intellectual suicide bombers (especially not me), I can honestly prove that all my sources are reliable.

 

These Evangelicals do not understand the power of Islam, which, even though younger than Christianity by six hundred years, is steadily gaining followers in the world and will soon become the largest religion on earth, by the Power of Allah.  Instead of attempting to understand Islam, if only to be better able to attack it and frustrate its success –and they will always fail miserably- they resort to intentional distortion.  And they play the same game they always played with their own holy books, i.e. their ‘Literal Word of God’.  Throughout their long history, the Jews and the Christians have repeatedly translated and retranslated the numerous books contained in the Bible and amended them numerously to such an extent that they eventually lost the original form of their books, a defect no Christian or Jew can deny.  Likewise, Evangelicals, the vast majority of whom do not speak Arabic at all, try and amend the meaning of the Quran based on the available English translations, including translations that contain profound errors due to the translator's personal interpretation of the Quran.  In addition, Evangelicals, true experts at corrupting their own religious texts, use their deranged understanding of the Quran and interpret it as they wish.  They then post their ‘findings’ on the Internet or in published books, or broadcast them through the Media that, even if claimed to be secular, directs most of its attack and criticism at one particular religion: Islam.  In a typical neo-behavior, the Evangelicals claim that their own understanding of Islam is what Islam is all about.  They also take a fantastic stance in that they do not only dismiss what Muslim Scholars insist their own Islam advocates, but also dismiss what the Prophet of Islam himself says in explanation of his own religion.  Islam has become what Evangelicals think of it and what they believe it to be and advocate, not what is evident in the Quran, the Sunnah and the very generation that learned Islam in its entirety from the Prophet of Islam, peace be upon him.  Allah willing, the unequivocal proof to this deranged behavior will soon be provided in my soon to be released article exposing the utter ignorance of another Neo character called ‘Sam Shamoun’, writer of dozens of ridiculous articles criticizing Islam. (Source: http://www.islamlife.com/readarticle.php?article_id=12

Please visit the following links:

http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/smith_scholarship_rebuttal.htm

http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/smith_scholarship_rebuttal_2.htm

http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/female_breasts_rebuttal.htm


You are indeed the dumbest writer on “answering islam”, your articles are self-refuting. It is Muslims who visit religious websites; Christians are too pre-occupied with sinning.



HE WROTE:

What is the motivation behind the publications of these ridiculous arguments?

And Abdullah Smith repeats the same inconsistent and contradictory claims over and over again. For example, in the first paragraph of his article, The Crucifixion of Judas, he states:

It was Judas who took Jesus’ place on the cross while Jesus escaped for three days and three nights. Judas was transformed to look exactly like Jesus, and the Romans crucified him instead.

Yet, in the very same article, scrolling down about two-thirds of the text, we find that he also uses Graham's quote about Rabbi Wise and makes this claim:

A Christian may argue “what about Jesus’ trial with Pilate?” the answer is very simple. The trial of Jesus is historically false, and it never occurred. The 19th century scholar Rabbi Wise examined the records of Pilate and concluded:

"In the nineteenth century an eminent scholar, Rabbi Wise, searched the records of Pilate’s court, still extant, for evidence of this trial. He found nothing."[1]

The book “The Martyrdom of Jesus of Nazareth” (1874) is out of print. The scholar Lloyd Graham records the discovery of Rabbi Wise in his book Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, both can be purchased online.



RESPONSE:

All of my statements are reconcilable. Just because there’s no Roman record doesn’t mean the appearance crucifixion didn’t take place! We have already discussed this above. The crucifixion of Judas (or Simon) did take place, but no Roman record exists because no miracle occurred.

I am not denying the Quranic view that Jesus was substituted on the cross, but only criticizing the Gospel accounts. The “darkness and earthquake” were forged to embellish the Gospel story. Strangely, the Jews did not profess faith in Jesus when the miracles occurred!

Outside of the New Testament, no other references to earthquakes or unusual darkness occur in the contemporary literature. This is very surprising, given the effect these sorts of events would presumably have had on the populace. (Warning: Atheist website: [2]

 "In regard to the miraculous events which took place at the death of Jesus, the Gospel of St. John says nothing, and those of St. Mark and St. Luke speak only of the rending of the veil of the temple and of the darkness or overcastting of the sky for three hours. The story of the earthquake, the upheaval of the rocks, the bursting open of the graves, and the appearance of the dead, is alone related in St. Matthew's Gospel, written nearly eighty years after the event, and is therefore not certainly authentic. Of course there is no reason why an earthquake should not have occurred on that day, but if it had really taken place it is almost inconceivable that none of the three earlier Gospels should have mentioned it." (The Paganism in Our Christianity, Arthur Weigall, 1928, p62)

Matthew tells us (xxvii. 31) that when Christ was crucified, there was darkness all over the land for three hours, and "the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent, and many of the saints came out of their graves."
Here we have a series of events spoken of so strange, so unusual and so extraordinary that, had they occurred, they must have attracted the attention of the whole world -- especially the amazing scene of the sun's withdrawing his light and ceasing to shine, and thereby causing an almost total darkness near the middle of the day. And yet no writer of that age or country, or any other age or country, mentions the circumstance but Matthew. A phenomenon so terrible and so serious in its effects as literally to unhinge the planets and partially disorganize the universe must have excited the alarm and amazement of the whole world, and caused a serious disturbance in the affairs of nations. And yet strange, superlatively strange, not one of the numerous historians of that age makes the slightest allusion to such an astounding event. (Warning: Atheist website: [1]

The book ascribed to Matthew says that there was darkness all over the land from the sixth hour to the ninth hour-that the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom - that there was an earthquake - that the rocks rent - that the graves opened, that the bodies of many saints that slept arose and came out of their graves after the resurrection, and went into the holy city and appeared to many. Such is the account which this dashing writer of the book of Matthew gives, but in which he is not supported by the writers of the other books.

The writer of the book ascribed to Mark, in detailing the circumstances of the crucifixion, makes no mention of any earthquake, nor of the rocks rending, nor of the graves opening, nor of the dead man walking out. The writer of the book of Luke is silent also on the same points. And as to the writer of the book of John, though he details the circumstances of the crucifixion down to the burial of Christ, he says nothing about either the darkness, the veil of the temple, the earthquake, the rocks, the graves, nor the dead men... [1]

The Biblical Jesus was already in Heaven while Judas was hanging on the cross. The Gnostics believed Jesus laughed at the Jews who ridiculed the man on the cross!

I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them because these are my kinsfolk. I removed the shame from me and I did not become fainthearted in the face of what happened to me at their hands. I was about to succumb to fear, and I suffered according to their sight and thought, in order that they may never find any word to speak about them. For my death, which they think happened, (happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. For their Ennoias did not see me, for they were deaf and blind. But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. It was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance. (The Treatise of the Great Seth) [1]

I did not contradict myself. Rabbi Wise found nothing because Judas’ crucifixion was ordinary. Why would any record exist for him? Jesus would be shocked if any miracle happened at Judas’ death!

Let us repeat ourselves for the sake of clarity! Simon (or Judas) was crucified, but no miracle took place. The crucifixion was normal. If Jesus was indeed crucified, and the miracles took place, the Gentile writers surely would’ve recorded it.

Philo Judaeus lived during Jesus’ life, but never mentions the “darkness and earthquake”, simply because it never happened. The Holy Quran is not proven false if these statements are true.


Please visit the following links:

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/2002/2/022abs.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/kersey_graves/16/chap17.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/thallus.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/improbable/disproof.html

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/nomark.html

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/crowd.html

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/reasonfathers.html

http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/jesus.html#crucifixion



HE WROTE:

Apart from Smith's incoherent way of constructing the introduction to this quotation,[1] attributing Lloyd Graham's statement to Rabbi Wise, i.e. Rabbi Wise now speaks about Rabbi Wise as an eminent scholar of the 19th century, we have the very same problem that was already discussed above. Smith claims that the Romans crucified Judas believing that they crucified Jesus because Allah made Judas look like Jesus but only a few pages down in the same article he also claims that the trial of (the real or fake) Jesus never occured.

 

 

RESPONSE:

According to the Islamic viewpoint, the trial of Jesus (real one) never occurred (3:55, 4:157). The trial of Jesus recorded in the Gospels is riddled with historical errors, which proves the Gospels are fictional documents.

1. First, the NT says that the trial was on a Friday, and that on the night before, Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. Accordingly, that would mean that his trial was on the first day of Passover. Here is a violation of two legal principles -- his trial was not on a Thursday or Monday as required, and it was on a holiday when no trials whatsoever could be held.

2. Second, there were no witnesses of a warning to Jesus and no witnesses of his actual crime. The NT account of his trial shows that he was convicted on his own testimony. This is a severe violation of the Torah.

3. Third, there is no account in the NT of any call for defense witnesses.

4. Fourth, the choice of execution methods violates Torah completely. If convicted for Sabbath violation or false prophecy, the appropriate punishment was stoning. Why use a Roman torture method that took days to kill the felon, if it did at all, and resulted in a mutilated corpse?  [1] [2]

The Gospels are filled with historical errors, so the trial of Jesus is clearly unhistorical.

The real Jesus was already saved by God before any arrest was made. Jesus ascended to Heaven before the Romans came to arrest him:

The Jews surrounded Jesus, and nineteen of his disciples in a house. Jesus then said to his disciples, 'Who will take my likeness and get killed, and Paradise will be his?' One of the disciples accepted, and Jesus was lifted up. When the disciples came out the Jews saw that they were nineteen in number. The disciples told the Jews that Jesus was lifted up to heaven. The Jews counted them and found that one of their number was missing, yet they saw that one who accepted the likeness of Jesus amongst them, so they were in doubt concerning him. They then killed that man, thinking him to be Jesus, and crucified him. (Jami al-Bayan, Al-Tabari commenting on Q. 4:157, ref. No. 10783)

Here is another report from Wahb Ibn Munabbeh.

Jesus and seventeen of his disciples went into a house. There, they were surrounded [by the Jews who were seeking Jesus]. So when they entered, God cast the likeness of Jesus on the whole group. The Jews exclaimed, 'You have cast a spell on us! Either bring forth Jesus or we shall kill you all' Jesus then said to the disciples: 'Who amongst you will buy today Paradise in exchange of his life?'. One of the disciples said: 'I will' So he went out saying: I am Jesus. Being changed into the likeness of Jesus, they then took him and killed him, believing him to be Jesus. Hence, 'It was made only to appear so to them'. And the Christians also believed the same. And God lifted Jesus up that day. Ibid., ref. No. 10779.

The Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir narrates

These Verses tell us that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) was lifted up to the heaven after his opponents from Jews complained and misled the king of that time, as they wanted to slay him and crucify him.

Ibn Abu Hatim has narrated from Ibn Abbas saying: "'When Allah wanted to lift him up to heaven, Jesus came to his companions in the house. There were twelve people, with some from among his disciples. He had just a bath, and his head was still dribbling with water. He said to them: 'There are those among you who will disbelieve in me twelve times after he had believed in me! Then he said: 'Who will from among you take my likeness and be killed in my place, so will become in my rank?' A young youth came forwards. But Jesus said to him: 'Sit down! Then he repeated the same question, and the same youth stood up and came forwards, and said: ‘I.' Jesus said: 'You are the one,' and then the likeness of Jesus was put on him, and Jesus was lifted up to the heaven from the window of his house. Jews came looking for him. They took the youth and killed him and then crucified him. ... [1]


The above traditions record that Jesus was rescued by God (Psalms 20:6, Quran 4:157) and the disciple who volunteered to be crucified was executed in his place. It was not Jesus sitting in Pilate’s court, but someone who looked exactly like him. Certainly I am not denying Judas’ trial and crucifixion. The Gospel of Barnabas (rejected by Christians) narrates that Judas was tried by Pilate.


Having gone forth from the house, Jesus retired into the garden to pray, according as his custom was to pray, bowing his knees an hundred times and prostrating himself upon his face. Judas, accordingly, knowing the place where Jesus was with his disciples, went to the high priest, and said: "If you will give me what was promised, this night will I give into your hand Jesus whom you seek; for he is alone with eleven companions." The high priest answered: "How much do you seek?" Judas said, "Thirty pieces of gold."

Then straightway the high priest counted to him the money, and sent a Pharisee to the governor to fetch soldiers, and to Herod, and they gave a legion of them, because they feared the people; wherefore they took their arms, and with torches and lanterns upon staves went out of Jerusalem.

When the soldiers with Judas drew near to the place where Jesus was, Jesus heard the approach of many people, wherefore in fear he withdrew into the house. And the eleven were sleeping. Then God, seeing the danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel;, Michael;, Rafael;, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looks toward the South;. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore.

Judas entered impetuously before all into the chamber whence Jesus had been taken up. And the disciples were sleeping. Whereupon the wonderful God acted wonderfully, insomuch that Judas was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus that we believed him to be Jesus. And he, having awakened us, was seeking where the Master was. Whereupon we marvelled, and answered: 'You, Lord, are our master; have you now forgotten us?'

And he, smiling, said: 'Now are you foolish, that know not me to be Judas Iscariot!' And as he was saying this the soldiery entered, and laid their hands upon Judas, because he was in every way like to Jesus. We having heard Judas' saying, and seeing the multitude of soldiers, fled as beside ourselves. And John, who was wrapped in a linen cloth, awoke and fled, and when a soldier seized him by the linen cloth he left the linen cloth and fled naked. For God heard the prayer of Jesus, and saved the eleven from evil.

The soldiers took Judas ;and bound him, not without derision. For he truthfully denied that he was Jesus; and the soldiers, mocking him, said: 'Sir, fear not, for we are come to make you king of Israel, and we have bound you because we know that you do refuse the kingdom.' Judas answered: 'Now have you lost your senses! You are come to take Jesus of Nazareth;, with arms and lanterns as [against] a robber; and you have bound me that have guided you, to make me king!'…. (Gospel of Barnabas, online source)


Yes, Judas was transformed to look exactly like Jesus; the Quran doesn’t say whether the fake Jesus was tried by Pilate. In fact, the Quran does not record any trial at all. The Muslims have no problem accepting Judas’ trial with Pilate (or the Muslim traditions of Ibn Kathir and Al-Tabari).

I believe Jesus’ substitute was tried by Pilate and sentenced to death, but I deny the Biblical Jesus was interrogated, because God had already saved him. Obviously, the Holy Quran never says “Judas took on Jesus’ form, was interrogated by Pilate and crucified”; it only says Jesus was replaced with another in his likeness.
 
The Church father Irenaeus states:

 

Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at them. (Against Heresies, Chapter XXIV.-Doctrines of Saturninus and Basilides)

 

Notice how Iranaeus says “through ignorance and error” the Jews misapprehended, and crucified the wrong person. Amazingly, the Holy Quran harmonizes this account, stating that they follow error, conjecture, and ignorance:

 

That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not: (Al-Quran 4:157)




HE WROTE:

Smith is not an ordinary Muslim, but a convert from Christianity to Islam. That may be a reason why he is so particularly vitriolic.


RESPONSE:

Damn right, I am vigorous and zealous to save the world from “Christianity”. I have no desire to speak about politics but Islam destroys Christianity by logical comparison.




HE WROTE:

Though it is not its original intention, one phrase of Sura 4:157 may actually give a clue to what is going on when stating in regard to the crucifixion of Jesus:

... and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. ... S. 4:157 Al-Hilali & Khan

Isn't that the perfect description of Abdullah Smith and his quotations regarding the crucifixion?

The fact that Smith is differing on the issue of the crucifixion with the overwhelming majority of all scholars of history, may indicate that he is full of doubts. Maybe he is clinging to the likes of T.W. Doane, Lloyd Graham etc., because he needs them to prop up his severely lacking confidence and to shout down his nagging doubts and fearful feelings that he possibly made an enormous mistake in committing himself to a faith that cannot be supported with any solid evidence. Admittedly, this is mere speculation, but it would make some sense of the utter irrationality in which Smith is operating. And there may be other bad experiences and personal hurts in his biography that instilled such a hatred against Christians in him. We don't know, and it doesn't really matter for the public discussion of the truth in regard to Christianity and Islam, but we all see that what this poor man produces is totally irrational.


RESPONSE:

The “scholars of history” believe Jesus died on the cross as a political rebel. The (atheist) scholars of history do not believe Jesus ascended to Heaven. The Talmudic scholar Hyam Maccoby does not believe Jesus “rose from the dead”.

Do you understand how the Quran absolves Jesus from the curse? (Galatians 3:13)

Christians are full of doubts because of multiple accounts.

 

 “The Christians have dozens of different versions, rather than one universally agreed view, regarding the crucifixion of the Messiah. This in itself is an eloquent testimony that the Christians were doubtful about the actual event. Some of them held the view that the one who was crucified was someone other than Jesus and that Jesus himself in fact remained standing somewhere nearby, laughing at their folly… Had the truth been fully known and well-established so many divergent views could not have gained currency”. (Towards Understanding the Quran, Vol 2, Sayyid Abul Ala Mawdudi, p. 108)