Wednesday, July 14, 2010 By: Suzanne

The Jesus Mystery

In her book The Jesus Mystery: Astounding Clues to the True Identities of Jesus and Paul, Lena Einhorn makes several truly astounding hypotheses. She does this in a very compelling manner, using both the New Testament and historical writings from the same time period to back up her claims. One of the problems for many believers trying to place Jesus in history is that there is little to none historical evidence of him. Aside from two mentions of him in Josephus' works (which have been disputed to be legitimate), he is non-existent in historical documents (leaving out the gospel, which were written long after he supposedly died). If such a man was causing riots (as the gospels allude to if read carefully) then there should be other written sources for this. One of the claims Einhorn makes (and makes well I should say) is that if you place these same events 15-20 years later in history, then there is an enormous amount of evidence and the names that have been associated with Jesus in Talmud show up in not only Josephus' works but other historical writers of the time. This would also mean that the gospel writers were not writing of events long past, but of those that they might have witnessed themselves.

I discovered something interesting from this book, which if I had studied Christian history would be obvious to me. However, since I haven't I never realized that Paul's writings are dated much earlier than the gospels that come before him in the Bible. In fact:

Paul started to write his letters about two decades before the destruction of Jerusalem! Thus, while the gospel writers wrote down their stories more than 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus, Paul, according to the commonly accepted chronology, waited only 15 to 20 years...Paul is probably much closer to the center of events than the gospel writers. And whatever the situation, these gospel writers seem to have been inspired by Paul to write their stories. Not the other way around.

If then, it is true that Jesus' story might be dated 15-20 years later than commonly believed, Paul started writing IMMEDIATELY AFTER the crucifixion.

Why then would the gospel writers want to place these events in the past? Why not simply tell it as it happened? A good question and Einhorn gives compelling reasons for this to, which eventually lead to her most shocking hypothesis. The gospel writers WANTED to put a veil on the true identity of Jesus. They had good reasons for hiding who he truly was. All in all, I believe thinking Christians can find this book not so hard to digest, as it doesn't call into question their faith in anyway. Einhorn uses the Bible as well as the Apocryphal books and historical writings from the same time period to form her theories. At no point does she say anything that would diminish the faith of Christians, though she makes shocking claims that could be upsetting to traditionally held views (views that were put forth by leaders of the church, not the Bible itself). However, I will not spoil the end for you. This is too good to give away. :) I will however leave you with some wonderful quotes from the book that might lead you too in the right direction.

What is remarkable is that there is so much in the stories of the crucifixion and the burial to indicate that something uncommon has taken place. There is so much that is atypical - without, perhaps, intending to be. It is as if the gospel writers wanted to convey the story as it really happened. Why, otherwise, did they not describe him hanging on the cross for three days, and dying in the same way that other crucified men died? Why, in their writing, did they let him give a signal that he wanted a drink, and when he got this drink let him expire? Why point out that those who were crucified beside him had their legs broken, while Jesus did not? And why describe that he was wrapped in 75 pounds of medications - medications that were used to treat wounds? 

Paul is oddly unwilling to travel to Jerusalem...The explanations that are given for why Paul avoids Jerusalem vary...In fact, one never really understands why Paul, especially, would be permanently risking his life if he came to Jerusalem - when the other apostles continue to work there undisturbed, and build congregations...It is obvious that Paul is afraid of something. But none of the above can explain to us why the Romans keep him prisoner for two years.

Afterward: It was pointed out to me that I made it sound as if the author backs up everything in the Bible as if it is fact and proven by other documents. I realize this may come off this way but that's not actually what she's doing. What she's done is show that the author's of the different books in the Bible may have been leaving clues in the stories that there is a very different outcome than we have always believed. 


Buffy said...

This is an excellent post! Thank you for your review, I'll be checking this out. and I'll be interested to see what my cynical, MDiv, PhD candidate husband thinks of it...

Tonya said...

oooohhhh! I am too! You'll have to comment again after you both read it! Or better yet do a review of your own and let me know about it!

Buffy said...

:) I ordered it via inter-library loan, so should get it fairly soon! :)