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The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present

Arthur Drews (1865-1935)

Karlsruhe, 1926

This is Klaus Schilling's summary in English of Arthur Drews' article "Die Leugnung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart", on the history of the denial of the historicity of Jesus, at http://www.radikalkritik.de/leugnung.htm at Radikal Kritik.  Edited, formatted, and uploaded with Schilling's permission by Michael Hoffman.

See also Mystery Religions.



Preface. 1

Introduction. 1

Volney and Dupuis. 2

The German "Life of Jesus" Research before Strauss. 2

David Friedrich Strauss. 2

Bruno Bauer 3

The German Life-of-Jesus Research after Strauss' "Life of Jesus" and Bauer 3

Dutch Radicalism.. 3

Radicalism in England: Johnson. 4

Radicalism in England: Robertson and Whittaker 4

The Liberal Jesuskultus in Germany. 5

Albert Kalthoff 5

Peter Jensen. 6

Comparative History of Religions. 6

William Benjamin Smith. 7

Arthur Drews' Book "The Christ Myth" 7

Andrzei Niemojewski 7

Samuel Lublinski 8

The Fight for the Historicity of Jesus. 8

The Second Part of the Book "The Christ Myth" and the Further Work of the Writings Aforementioned  8

Drews over the Jesus Skepticism.. 9

Hermann Raschke. 9

Gilbert T. Sadler 10

Milesbo. 10

Radicalism in France. 10

Georg Brandes. 10

The Legend of the Historical Jesus and the Religious Situation of the Present 10

Supplement 11

Listing of the Aforementioned Writings. 11

Drews' Books in English. 14


Theologians of earlier 20th century were thoroughly upset when various authors came up with ahistoricity claims back then.  Such claims were seen as an attack on Christianity.  Drews is showing that Jesus Myth theories are not out of pure lust for dissension, but are the necessary consequence of Gospel post-Enlightenment research and are thoroughly based on it.


The Christian doctrine states that God sent his only son from heaven to earth in order to suffer as man and sacrifice himself for the sake of the human race.  Sins are thusly to be ammortized and eternal life is granted by the resurrection.

This involves both a redeemer legend and the statement about a particular person, having lived in Palestine around 2000 years ago, being that God-sent Messiah.  Both require each other in Christian faith.  Rabbinic Jews polemicized against the adoration of a man as son of God, and thus rejected the Christian messiah representation.  Also pagans like Celsus were upset.  The Church suppressed many objections for long time.

Then the time of the Enlightenment came along.  English Deism promoted a natural and rational theology as opposed to Christian dogmatism.  The supernatural Christ was at the heart of the criticism.  Rational, natural thinking would only accept a man Jesus as an outstanding prophet and ethical teacher.  The Passion is seen as a rational consequence of the conflict of his ethical teachings with the laws imposed by the Romans, not as a supernatural plot.  All miracles got explained away either as fantasy or as misinterpretation of natural phenomena.  Voltaire was one of the leading thinkers of that period, along with Locke, d'Holbach, Bolingbroke, and others.

Volney and Dupuis

C.F. Dupuis, pantheist and multitalented scholar of late 18th century, studied the origin of religion in general from astral mythology.  Due to the provocative character of his main work, the reactions were violent, and Duouis himself destroyed most of it, his wife saved some part.  Dupuis derives all experiences from the natural senses, including religious experiences.  God is seen as the cosmos itself.  Religions vested natural observances, especially astronomical ones, in allegories and myth, building clergy and superstition on top.

The male-female polarity plays a great role in Dupuis' theories.  The sky/heaven took the father role, the earth a mother role.  Another polarity is that of darkness and light, which naturally translated to ethical dimensions.  This is now applied to Christianity.  In autumn, when light retires and darkness starts to prevail, the constellation of the serpent rises with the sun.  The paradisic times of summer ends, and the hard times of winter are approaching.  In spring, the constellation of the sheep rises with the sun.  This gives the paradise fall of Genesis and the resurrection of the lamb as the cornerstones of Christian religion, fall into sin and redemption.

Due to precision, the above astronomical context is no longer valid.  Dupuis also explained many more Christian aspects from astral mythology.  As all the biography of Jesus from the Gospels is written in the sky, it's obsolete to even think about a historical man.  All ancient testimonies are just secondary hearsay based on Gospel legend and thus historically pointless.

C.F. Volney, slightly after Dupuis, was a politician during the revolution and known for his journey reports.  He used the two cornerstones of Dupuis' astral mythical interpretation of Christianity, and also noted that the ethics of Christianity is nowhere near consequent, and absolutely not original.  Religion and its accompanying superstition is the root of the decay of society and civilisation.  The Christian God is hypocritical and violates boldly his own ethical requirements.

The German "Life of Jesus" Research before Strauss

H.S. Reimarus, scholar of oriental philology, in early 18th century started an argumentation involving in the aftermath the denial of the historicity.  It was known to the public only posthumously.  Both the Old Testament and New Testament are denied scriptural value.  Cheating and trickery are all behind scripture.

At an early stage, Reimarus accused Jesus to have fraudulently started a plot to make him known as the Messiah in future times, using his disciples as agents of the plot, later the disciples themselves became originators of the Messiah-plot.  The popular superstitions have been used to feign miracles.  The disciple stole Jesus' corpse and spread the lie about a risen Lord.  If Jesus himself, he was, though not bad as ethical teacher, a political criminal and rightfully crucified by Roman authorities for fraudulent political conspiracy.

Theologian K.F. Bahrdt built on Reimarus and wrote a fantastic romance based on above conspiracy theory.

Venturini, in the same period, saw Jesus in the context of an Essene conspiracy, again with cheating and abuse of superstition.  The resurrection is seen as reanimation (resuscitation) from a feigned death.  Many Essene conspiracy theories are derived from this point.

Rational theologians at that time concentrated on pointing out the ethical standards of Jesus and his teachings, rationalizing all miraculous elements to avoid the ridicule of enlightened minds.  H.E.G. Paulus recognized the miraculous birth, but thought of rational explanation of all other so-called miracles.

Dishonesty ruled among many pseudorational theologians, like F. Schleiermacher and K.A. Hase.

Supernaturalism still flourished, and when several Gospels described the same even in contradictory details, the event was explained as two different events, which would consequently have implied several births, several executions, several ascensions of the same Jesus.  Now consequence [consistency] was not a virtue among historicizing theologians.

This is the situation before the arrival of D.F. Strauss.

David Friedrich Strauss

Philosophical considerations did not help theology past the sticking point described above until the aftermath of Hegel's philosophy, with D.F. Strauss being the first towering point.  Due to public pressure, Strauss had to abjure from part of his more consequent theories later on.

Contradictions and Thaumaturgy led Strauss to deny the historical value of the Gospels, those being pure fiction.  They are but poetic dressing for religious thoughts in order to prove the Messianiscity of Jesus, as naturally emerged in early Christian communuities.

Stories of the Tanakh have unintentionally carried over to Jesus.  Nothing at all may be inferred about Jesus from the Gospels. Strauss was thus about the first who consequently dared to carry over mythical explanations to the New Testament, as others did earlier with the Old Testament.

John's Gospel was first dismissed, as it is chock full of Gnostic dogmatics.  Also the synoptics are gradually dismantled of their historical value.  While Jesus remains the historical implementation of an idea of God, this implementation is imperfect, as anything in history.  By faith in Jesus humanity justifies itself before God.  Jesus is the first man to realize in himself the idea of Humanity.

Of course many contemporaries were completely upset.

Bruno Bauer

In the aftermath of the now moderated Strauss, liberal-critical Christology established itself in Protestant Germany, whose leading theologian became D. Schenkel.  Jesus was seen as the Jewish nice guy whose perfect moral standards and teachings are to be followed.  The consensus was that only a very critical research of the Gospels, after banning anything supernatural, would lead to an acceptable result.

John's gospel was held in lowest esteem for this purpose, while Mark's gospel was preferred.  John's could not be discarded, as the charismatic force of Jesus is not expressed sufficiently in the synoptics.  This revised Jesus was needed for reconciling the Church with the educated citizens, a link broken thoroughly in enlightenment times.  Speculative philosophy, metaphysics, and faith in God have all been thrown overboard in the bloated minds of educated bourgeois.  A romantic Jesus biography by E. Renan in 1864 was quite helpful for this purpose.

Also Strauss tried something similar, using for example the works of F.C. Baur from Tuebingen, but the attempt of this serious scholar was too weak to accomplish such a vulgarizing task.  More serious theologians, especially Catholics, were appalled by Renan's romance, especially how it abused John's Gospel in a vulgarized style.  Others followed this trend in the following decades.

Christianity ceased thusly to be a religion and degenerated into a profane moral system, for the sake of conquering the educated bourgeois circles.  This was pointed out especially, besides by D.Strauss, in the succeeding comments of Eduard von Hartmann.  But this serious philosopher harvested nothing but sarcasm and deprecation from the (mis)educated "liberal" modern minds, especially when he outlined how a serious religion would have to look like.

The German Life-of-Jesus Research after Strauss' "Life of Jesus" and Bauer

Then along came Bruno Bauer, former right-wing Hegelian.  He dismantled first John's gospel, unveiling it as sophistry in philonic slant, representing a step in the evolution of the self-esteem of early Christian community, but not a history of Jesus.  The synoptics are scanned, and all that can be retained about Jesus is someone who was posthumously forged into a wannabe-messiah by a community.  Later Bauer gave up even this, and also the synoptics are seen as sophistry, not as blatant as John's, but sophistry nonetheless.

This judgment is readily extended to all kind of religion.  It's nothing but a representation of a step in the evolution of human self-esteem.  Feuerbach came to similar results about religion.  Christ is seen as the self-alienated, ascended human self that obliterated the hegemony of Rome.  Bauer's rigorism and sarcasm brought him a lot of professional trouble.  Later Bauer began dismantling Acts, and then Paul.  All are sophistries, collected by contradictory wings of the Christian community, and witnessing a forceful attempt to tie the wings together.

Christianity is the product of the intimidated class of Romans who needed a straw of hope and faith in their struggle against the egoism of Caesars.  It's absurd to suppose it to be originating from Hierosolyma.  The origin of the Gospel literature is then reexamined.  Originally, it's just a demonstration of the new principle of freedom, in rebellion against the law-dominated world, represented by Judaism.  The Gospels demonstrate various steps in the evolution of this esteem.

The main factor of influence was of the Roman empire, whose oppression forced the community to look for hope in a kingdom of heavens and exterminating the kingdom of Rome to make it possible.  After 1870 this was formulated in various books about Jesus and the Caesars.

Christianity of course did not originate in Palestine, but in Rome and Alexandria.  Philo Alexandrinus elucidated Judaist religion in the light of Roman and Hellenic thinking.  Herecleitos' logos and Plato's anima mundi were identified and represented as the Reason of the Jewish God, mediating between God and man, that is, idea and reality.  L.A. Seneca elaborated the Godman, the ideal aim for the human being, and showed, how that one, living in utter humility, instills mankind with new hopes and faith.

Seneca's Stoic ideals had such an influence on the Paulinics, that Church tradition claimed Paul to be Seneca's teacher.  Other especially Stoic thinkers (Epictetus?) of imperial Rome had similar impact on the New Testament literature.  Also some of the emperors were of positive influence, like Augustus, Tiberius, and Mark Aurel.  In the negative sense, it's of course the imperial pressure of the Caesars who forced Christianity into the faith in a spiritual empire.

Tacitus and Suetonius may claim Christianity to be of Palestine origin, but their reports are plain hearsay, and ridiculously confused, so no serious historiography may be based on those.  Also Romans were well-known for their fabulous fantasy, which includes those historiographers.  Plinius-Traian's correspondence is readily seen as interpolated and utterly worthless.

The proto-gospel must have been of Italic origin, during Hadrian's reign.  Mark's gospel is thus readily identified as thoroughly pagan.  Absolutely no such thing as a historical Jesus of Galilee is needed to explain the genesis of Mark's gospel.

Bauer also discovered many minor absurdities and corruptions that occurred in traditional exegesis.

Of course the contemporary reaction against Bauer was one of ridicule and deprecation, as Bauer exaggerated occasionally with his speculations, But Bauer's work was a giant step into the right direction, especially pointing out the towering roles of Philo and Seneca.

Dutch Radicalism

While silenced-to-death in Germany, B. Bauer's work found its continuation among Dutch scholars, the so-called Dutch radical school, though not all are depending on Bauer.  Hoekstra disproved in 1871 any worth of Mark's gospel for a biography of Jesus.  The synoptics are just symbolic poetry.  A milestone was set by A. Pierson in 1878, who proved that the mountain sermon is a post-70 product, a collection of aphorisms of Jewish wisdom pushed into the mouth of the semi-god Jesus.  Extrachristian witnesses are utterly worthless, especially Tacitus.

Galatians, one of the 4 letters by "Paul" judged as doubtlessly authentic by the Tuebingen school of F.C. Baur, is clearly shown as a late forgery.  The criticism concerning the authenticity of Paul's epistles was extended essentially by A.D. Loman, who proved that all (!) New Testament texts are second-century constructs.  They are contradictory and unreliable, and thus utterly worthless for historical statements about certain early first century persons.

There may have been some "Jesus", but its role is left completely in the dark and can't be reconstructed by scripture or any other extant ancient testimony.  The Jesus of scripture is an ideal person, symbolizing the essence of the people of Israel that sacrificed itself in the wars against the Romans, and was revived spiritually in the shape of the Christian community.

The whole Gospel story is thus a purely symbolic one.  Needless to say, this thesis was provocative and upset many.  The Quaestiones Paulinae, dealing with the falsely so-called "epistles" of Paul, appeared around 1885.  Christianity is to be explained as a conjunction of Jewish and Roman-Hellenic thinking.  All the Pseudopaulinics, along with Luke's, are to be explained as of Gnostic origin, domesticated after tormenting struggles.  They aren't even epistles, but domesticated gnostic treatises.

Pierson worked together with S.A. Naber on an extension of this topic, disseminating the falsely so-called Paulinics, detecting immanent incoherencies of the worst sort, incomprehensible for the minds of those to whom the letters pretend to have been addressed.  Greek myths have been mixed with Isaiah.  Naber did not give up a historical core of the Paul of the Acts of the Apostles.  R. Steck from Switzerland, a former authenticist, supported Naber and Pierson.  Also W. van Manen was originally anti-radical, but also not content with the liberal-critical Christology mentioned previously.  He suffered a lot when having to discover that the authenticity of "Paul's letters" may not be maintained.  The author of the letters is using the authority of the historical Paul in order to enforce dogmatics.

G.I.P. Bolland from Lijden continued Bauer's concepts about Philo, the Caesars, and their influence on Christianity.  Bolland restored Matthean priority.  Matthew's gospel is explained as a judeochristianisation of a Gnostic Gospel, like that of the Egyptians, as used by the Nasseni in Hippolyos' report.  Central is the parabolic teaching of the man that went to sow seeds on various types of ground, with varying results.  The seed is readily identified with the Stoic Logos.  In Alexandria, such a doctrine must have existed already in the school of Philo, boldly before any Christianity.

The Gospel according to the Egyptians arrived at Rome and was Judaized by (Pseudo-)Matthew.  (I agree with the origin from some Gnostic gospel, the parables, and the Philonic Logos, but suppose intermediate steps, involving additional Syriac sources, as opposed to a simple-and-straight procedure of Matthew's gospel being the Judaization of Egyptians'. -ks)

Christ is interpreted as the symbolic representation of the celestial divine community that overcomes the earthly hegemony of the Caesars and the pagan deities.  Bolland confirmed the origin of Christianity in a pre-Christian Jewish Gnosticism, assuming it, like M. Friedlander, in the Alexandrian hyper-Hellenized diaspora.  The original Jerusalem mother community is of course mere fiction.

Christ is the representation of true Reason and doctrine.  It's the good (Chrestos) god, like the Serapis of Egypt, secondarily shaped into the Jewish messiah.  The New Testament authors are not Jews, but rather Hellenistic, from Alexandria and Rome.  Along with previously van Loon, Bolland assumes that the Jesus superceded the Mosaic cult, like Yeshuah superceded Moses as leader of the people of Israel, as Moses failed to complete the task to guide the people into the promised land, whereas Yeshuah did.

Bolland also had precise concepts about what the Hellenized Jewish theosophy in the succession of Philo looked like, and how Christianity developed straight from it.  The pseudoepigraphic Odes of Solomon have been exploited for this by Bolland.  Bolland's writings are perhaps too much in Hegelian spirit than might be beneficial for objective historical scholarship, but Bolland was doubtlessly extremely literate in religious history.  The last member of the Dutch radical school is G.A. van den Bergh van Eysinga, duly dealt with in many other postings in the JesusMysteries discussion group.  (Note that a lot of van Eysinga's publications are from after 1926.)

Radicalism in England: Johnson

In 1887, Edwin Johnson published in London anonymously the book "Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian Origins" (http://www.radikalkritik.de/AntiquaMater1.pdf), which continues in the footsteps of B. Bauer, Naber, and Pierson.  It examines the testimonies about early Christianity from outside scripture.

It is proved that there's absolutely no reliable witness whatsoever on the life of Jesus or the apostles.  Tacitus, if authentic at all, which may be seriously doubted, may easily refer to messianic Jews at Nero's Rome, conflated with Christians under Trajan's time.  Justin Martyr, around 150, only has rudimentary knowledge about Jesus and the Apostles, he has no whatsoever knowledge about scripture besides the Tanakh.  The Gospels and epistles are nowhere in sight.

Christianity evolved from a quietist Jewish Diaspora movement named provisionally Hagioi.  They represented a liberal, spiritualized view of the Torah, with deeper moral attachment, but relaxed exterior signs of Judaism, while still sticking to the selected role of the people of Israel.  Philo's allegoric teaching about one or more mediators between the transcendent God and the material world is adapted.  Gnosticism, a pre-Christian religious movement, is identified as the origin of Christianity as a religion apart from Judaism and decadent forms of pagan cults.

The originator of Gnosticism may be Simon Magos of Samaria, who emerged under the rule of Claudius and attracted many followers with exorcisms, magic, prophesies, and mystic, salvific ceremonies.  This gave rise to Christianity and a doctrine about heaven, earth, and hell, only to be understood pneumatically.  A redeemer is the epiphany of the good (Chrestos) God to spread the doctrine and teach the mysteries.

Thus they have been called Chrestoi, which got corrupted into Chrestiani, then Christiani, by the Romans.  They invented the symbolic story about the Christ's death under Pilatus.  They pirated the myth of Dionysos Eleutherios, a self-sacrificing Godman for the salvific sake of humanity.  Paul of the letters is to be seen barely as a historical person, but rather as a possibly idealized Marcionite.  Marcion is the reformer of Gnostic doctrine which was invented by Simon Magos.

The letter of Galatians is the Marcionite refutation of the antimarcionite Acts of the Apostles.  The twelve apostles are an utterly figmentary legend.  Churchianist Christianity is a product of the Antoninian period.

In any case it's an utterly absurd nonsense to try to understand the Gospels as source for historic research.

Radicalism in England: Robertson and Whittaker

Next we come to J.M. Robertson, a scholar of politics, sociology, and economics.  Around 1900 he set out to study the evolution of religions, especially the Christian one, under sociological aspects.

He supposes a general law behind the evolution of religion.  Only the environment and social circumstances would make them appear different.  New deities appear and push away the old ones, being usually called sons of the older deities.  This is seen in the case of the Israelite religion.  In spite of the official monotheism practiced by its priests, the prior polytheism has never completely died out.

Occasionally the suppressed deities emerged, especially under the influence of the Hellenic and Roman culture.  One of those gods was Joshua, honored as the successor of Moses.  Joshua was a prior Ephraimite deity, worshipped in the shape of a lamb.  Passover and circumcision were due to that god.  A common meal with 12 participants was part of that cult.

Even more originally, the old Joshua was a vegetation deity, also named Nezer (twig).  The sect of the Nazoreans is named after that Nezer.  It dies each fall and resurrects each spring.  An old Persian tradition called him son of Mirijam.  Also the ancient tradition of the Natsorites is related.  In any case it has nothing at all to do with that town of Nazareth, as in that case he'd be called Nazorethean or similar.  Also Paul only knows a shadowy figment of this Jesus.

Robertson admits the possibility of the influence of Yeashuah ben Pandira, a heterodox Jewish preacher from the times of Alex Iannaios, possible founder of the Essene sect, was somehow involved.  But the Gospel Jesus as such has to be discarded as myth, where in Robertson's sense, unlike in mine, myth is to be understood in the naturalistic, not the metaphysical meaning.

The Gospels are more or less the extension of a sorts of pious cultic mystery play, which was popular in the Hellenized world.  For example Judah Iscariot may have played the role of the Jewish folk in such a mystery drama.  In the eyes of the spectator, and succeeding tales, Judah became the big traitor.

The mass of the existing passion plays, performed under the auspices of the local churches, prove how popular the dramatic representation of faith has been and that it has major influence on the popular understanding of religion.

Robertson shows several examples of how the celebration of such a vegetational theory is connected with spring sacrifices.  Paul himself may have been actor in one of the performances of such a mystery game, judging according to his claims of bearing the stigmata of the crucified.

As all the characterizing traits of the biographies of Jesus correspond to mythological elements, it's absolutely obsolete to suppose an historical Jesus.  The so-called teachings of Jesus are a mixture of Jewish and pagan doctrines.  This is also valid for the mountain sermon, a patchwork of Jewish aphorisms that were stuffed into Jesus' mouth.

The Gospels demonstrate various layers of generation.  Roberts identifies the process of the formation of Christian myths with Gnosticism.  In this sense, the Gospels are Gnostic writings.  It doesn't matter how old they are, they are in any case a mixture of event-driven and doctrine-driven myths.  After their deconstruction the only thing that remains is Paulinic propaganda plus a shadowy crucified Messiah.

A similar method has been used by T. Whittacker, who attempted a synthesis of van Manen's with Robertson's theory.

The Liberal Jesuskultus in Germany

The liberal-critical Christology of the Protestant church in Germany around 1870 opened the way for secular life-of-Jesus research, where no longer Christian questions, but rather of the type: What was Jesus' attitude towards his Jewish environment?  Towards messianism, apocalypse, and eschatology?  Did he even think of being the messiah?  Many treatises circled around those topics.

The more one examined the environment in which Jesus appeared to have lived, the stranger it became to modern thinking.  Instead of presenting Jesus more clearly to modern minds, he actually disappeared more and more.  Jesus was compared to rabbinic teachers of the Talmud and to heathen philosophers, with the disappointing certainty turning out that everything Jesus thought, said, or did, was already covered earlier in a similar manner, and the supremacy of Christianity, of which Protestant theology was so confidently proud, was blown into smithereens.

Finally, a man with fixed apocalyptic messianic ideas as Jesus was claimed to have must have been declared paranoid.  Thus what sense would this research still have? Protestant theologians escaped into more and more mindless sophistry.  Hollow pathos spoke through the tongues of the theologians.  Harnack was the top of the glacier.

Eduard von Hartmann paranetically condemned the liberal-critical theology as destructive.  Theology must develop forward, like all acquaintances of culture, and not hurry back to the root.  The New Testament is hopelessly outdated, Christianity needs to improve developed church doctrine by opening new alternatives adapted for the challenges of modern civilization.  Only the Christ idea, which must be improved and updated, is of essential use for Christianity, not the real or supposed origins in Palestine 2000 years ago.  Some chimed in, but essentially Eduard von Hartmann's words like silent raindrops fell.

The trend was absolutely hostile to metaphysical considerations.  The ignoble masses were too stupid to understand it.  Thus the liberals blew any critics to smithereens.

It was conceded that even Mark's gospel is no longer a historical account, but dogmatic literature.  But the rising of the so-called two-source theory raised the hopes that the new hypothetical source, Q, would lead to authentic words of Jesus, and also in conjectured oral traditions, the catchall of lazy historizers.  One didn't claim anymore to know anything specific about the historical Jesus besides having lived.  With pseudoscience and bloated sophistry liberal theology won over all serious research and got excessively popularized.

Albert Kalthoff

A. Kalthoff countered the liberal-critical Christology thoroughly around 1900.  He's been a part of that movement himself, but was finally dissatisfied with its methods and results, as it drove especially Protestant theology into a dead end.  If taken seriously, it revealed an average nice Jewish guy of 1900 years ago; how would he have been the reason for a new religion? And it took theology almost 2 millennia to realize this, so there were many centuries wasted for virtually nothing.  And if it was really a messianic prophet, it must have been a psychopath, and the church he founded was the catholic one.

No one yet dared to explain Christianity in a dialectically materialistic manner.  This was applied to Judaism, but Christianity was still assumed as the one and only big exception, founded by a Great personality.  Kalthoff decided to sweep away this arrogant attitude.  Christianity must be explainable from the economical, political, and social circumstances of the region and time period where it started.  The attempt to delete away all the supernatural elements led to a Jesus without anything at all that justified seeing him as the beginning of a new religion; whether one starts with John's gospel or with the synoptics didn't even matter.

According to liberal-critical theology, the resurrection tale would be the result of pathetic messianic enthusiasm, and with this main Gospel event being of psychotic origin, consequently Christianity would be nothing but a psychosis.  Kalthoff also figured that the New Testament is based on the early church, not the other way round, which would directly undermine the core preassumptions of Protestant theology.

The oldest Christian writings see Christ essentially as the transcendental principle of the community.  The Gospels had been written not to tell about the life of any Jesus whatsoever, but to represent the Christ according to the community's dogmatics.  The mood of the first Christians was doubtlessly an apocalyptic one, with expectation of the closing end of the world, and hence the coming of something new.  The social reform of the apocalyptic Old Testament prophets has to be seen as central moment in the early Christian communities.

Kalthoff also discussed the possibility of Pilatus being a code for Plinius, the antichristian procurator of early second century.  The figure of Peter as head of the Roman community forcefully suggests that the placement of the events was moved from somewhere else to Palestine.  Many social circumstances described in the Gospels fit much better to Italy than to Palestine.  After the suppression of Spartacus' slave rebellion, the social reformer forces were oppressed more and more, but could not be eliminated completely.  This leads to a fertile ground for Jewish apocalyptic concepts of an end of the world as it is, and expectations for a better one.  Christianity is the result of the concept of the power struggle from above versus below, a thoroughly socialist movement.

After giving many more details, Drews agrees with Kalthoff in his refutation of the liberal-critical school, but refutes many weak spots of his hypotheses.  Plinius is surely a late forgery.  The proscription under Trajan, just like that under Nero, is just pious martyr-history.  Then slavery is justified in the New Testament, and was only frowned upon modern times.

The aims are spiritual, not material, even if worldly possessions are seen as corruption.  Christian communism, where it appeared, has never been the result of  economical, but of religious consideration.  But after forgotten Bauer, it was Kalthoff who had reanimated criticism against the Historicity of Jesus in Germany, and he must be honored for that.

Peter Jensen

Around 1900, P. Jensen was a scholar of Mesopotamian history and Semitic languages.  He worked a lot on the Sumerian Gilgamesh tales and discovered its traces to be found in all later myths around the Mediterranean, Mesopotamian, and even Indian world.  This includes the Tanakh and thus implicitly the Gospels.  Jensen made parallel columns of various tales and marked the correspondences.  This convinced him of seeing the stories about Moses and Isaiah as derived from Gilgamesh.  But there are a lot of inversions and sophistications that make the parallels doubtful, mildly said.

Of course also Jensen harvested sarcasm and irony.

Finally Jensen succumbed to the schizophrenia of affirming Jesus' historicity but being unable of knowing anything about the same.  Somehow, somewhere, sometime in the vicinity of the era switch, someone's behavior and talks must have given rise to the Gospels.

Comparative History of Religions

Nor only Jensen dived into early Semitic literature.  Chaldean and Sumeran influences on the Old Testament and New Testament were researched frequently around then, for example by A. Jeremias.

Jeremias still succumbed to the orthodox position and only admitted Chaldean origin of early Judaism, but couldn't deny that there was some sort of impact from old Babylon in the New Testament.  The Babylonian-Chaldean worldview is about the most astralmythical and astrological worldview found in history of cultures; the terms 'astrological' and 'Chaldean' were used synonymously by many authors since Hellenic times.  In this sense Jeremias continued the works of Volney and Dupuis, who had been considered only by a certain Korn until then.  The Christian calendar tells the story of the astral redeemer king, the 12 apostles are akin to the zodiac, and the 4 Gospels are akin to the cardinal points of the world.

The school of History of Religions went further, against the protests of Jeremias.  This school, strong in the earliest 20th century, was boosted by new archeological discoveries around the turn of the century and pointed out more and more agreements in the various religions throughout space and time, especially mythological parallels.  More and more traits of the Gospel stories could be identified as mythical commonplaces and thus readily dismissed as historically irrelevant for the research of early Christianity.  Even without denying the historicity of Jesus straightforwardly, it pushed towards the impossibility of discovering anything about the historical Jesus in the New Testament.

It became impossible to see Christianity any longer as something unique.  O. Pfeiderer and H. Gunkel were among the publishers of this school.  Gunkel especially pointed out the role of the Mandean religion and pre-Christian apocalyptic Judaism.  The apocalypse of John is a masterpiece of the latter influence.  Gunkel is particularly aware of the possibility that talmudic Judaism suppressed more or less deliberately some rich apocalyptic tradition, which makes research hard and leads many scholars astray.

Death and resurrection of the savior clearly predate Christianity; both aspects of this theme are found in syncretic Judaism.  Paulinic baptism concepts are found earlier in Hellenic mystery cults, along with the Paulinic person of Christ as such.  Those traits have posthumously been transferred to Jesus.  After deleting anything (pseudo-)historical from Jesus, one still stuck to an utterly unknown historical Jesus, the only thing to be known is that he was, for some unclear reason, posthumously attributed with all the syncretic features.

K. Vollers came closer to the denial of the historicity of Jesus.  Also Vollers sees Christianity as a synthesis of Jewish messianism and the Hellenic concept of the dying and resurrecting Godman.  Vollers pointed to the contradictions between Paul and the Gospels, and admitted that one doesn't necessarily need to assume an historical Jesus for explaining early Christianity.

Some scholar pseudonymously drew the consequences and finally admitted that the historical Jesus is nonsense, as syncretic religiosity of the turn of the era was clearly sufficient to explain Christianity without making a historicity assumption, so it's best not to make one.  The Gospels are symbolic fiction, made by the church/community, and not the base on which a church was subsequently established.

William Benjamin Smith

While the liberal Jesus cult flourished ferociously, W.B. Smith published his books around 1906.  Smith postulates a pre-Christian Christianity.  Traces of it are to be found in the Acts of the Apostles, where in 19:1 a few disciples of John the Baptist are encountered in Ephesos who don't know yet about the holy spirit.  Those are seen as pre-Christian Christians.  Simon Magus and Elymas are seen in this movement.

Cyprus must have been a centre of the cult, Jerusalem just secondarily pretended to be the origin.  'Nazorean' is derived from a term for guardian and seen as a title for a cultic God.  The usage of Jesus in magic papyri is used to underline this.  Also Jesus is seen as Hellenization of a conflation of two different Semitic terms.

Also a Hellenic pun is involved, making Jesus appear as healer.  Also, the term 'anastase' is seen ambiguously both as resurrection from the dead and emission as world leader/messiah.

Romans is unknown before the middle of the second century and has nothing to do with that Paul known from the Acts of the Apostles.  Jesus thus can't be seen as a historical person, but as a god, and the Gospels must be seen as symbolic tales.  Historicists fail to prove how the pretended unique personality of Jesus may have been at the beginning of a new religion.

The main impetus of the Jesus-cult movement that finally started Christianity as a universal religion is the increasing protest against polytheistic idolatry.  Thus the miraculous healings throughout the Gospels are nothing but dispelling of idolatry, for the sake of an unadulterated monotheism.  All humanized traits of Jesus are a prevailing trend of later scripture.

At least one liberal Jesus theologian, Schmiedel, was impressed enough by Smith to be unable to dismiss his arguments lightly.

Arthur Drews' Book "The Christ Myth"

A. Drews was disgusted by the sophistry of the liberal-critical school around Harnack when he set out to write The Christ Myth, which first appeared in 1909.  The role of the dying and reborn Godman/son of God in the various myths around the world was the starting point for Drews' discoveries.  After knowing about most of the above mentioned works of various people, up to W.B. Smith, Drews was absolutely sure that the story of Jesus can't be anything but a version of the typical Godman's epos.

Drews anticipated of course that the Harnack-mafia would do anything to silence the book The Christ Myth, and anything in its vein, to death.  But there were some minor clubs interested in discussion, like the Federation of Monists.

Seneca expresses the salvific needs found in Hellenized Roman society of his time in his representation of the Great Good man, being a moral example for anyone and guiding mankind to salvation.  Emperor Augustus has been perceived as a soteric (salvific) figure.  The need of the world is expected in the not too far future, followed by the coming of the time of peace and freedom for the worthy ones.  Demons and mean spirits are feared.  All these expectations drove people into mystery sects.

The Jewish people also maintained increasing apocalyptic expectations, with the Messiah as the central figure in the endtime battle that is seen approaching.  While Pharisees still stick to legal scribalism, less conservative Jews like Essenes and the Therapeutae establish their own mysteries for assuring resurrection at the end of time.  Philo performs the perfect fusion of the Tanakh and Hellenic, prevalently Stoic philosophy.

The book The Christ Myth makes it plausible that there's already been a deity named Jesus, identified in the Tanakh as Joshuah, who conquered Palestine, and another one being high priest in a prophecy of some Zachary.  'Nazorean' is confirmed in its meaning as "guardian".  The fatal passion of the righteous savior is found in Plato's works and in Jewish wisdom poetry.

Virgin origin, persecution as a little child, and similar details of the birth tales are also found in various pre-Christian cults.  Paul, probably unauthentic, after closer inspection reveals a divine, rather than human Jesus.  A conflation of Jesus- and Adonis cult is brought to surface.

Then the synoptic Jesus is examined, after dismissing John's right away.  The arguments of Markan priority are utterly weak.  And seeing historicity there is only possible with wishful liberal-Protestant thinking.

Using secular witnesses for a historical Jesus is a downright bad joke.  The mythical patterns found in Mediterranean and Iranian cults of the time are more than sufficient to explain the falsely so-called biography of Jesus.

Christianity came forth from Gnosticism, an antisocial form of Jewish mystery sectarianism.  In the process of domestication of the sociophobic religiosity a historical personality of Jesus had to be elaborated, along with a society-friendly moral system.

A minor appendix was dedicated to the Petrus-legend, eventually available in English in 1997 as the book The Legend of Saint Peter: A Contribution to the Mythology of Christianity.

Andrzei Niemojewski

A. Niemojewski's main book appeared in 1910.  It also shows a divine Jesus preceding any rumours about a human one.  Contradictions in the Gospel tales prove that they are impossibly about one and the same person -- especially the sayings aren't from a single person.  The sayings are co-opted from Jewish common sources and stuffed into the mouth of the alleged master Jesus.

The most important part of the Gospels, besides the logia, are miracles.  One can't neglect them as the liberal Jesus proponents do, without destroying Christian scripture.  Miracles are proofs for the divinity of Jesus.  Falsely so-called proofs about the human Jesus, like Flavius Josephus, are easily dismissed as chatty hearsays or interpolations.

Niemojewski continues the line of Volney and Dupuis, by looking for parallels in astral mythology.  The Tanakh and Talmud are already full of astral mythological images, like the 12 Jewish tribes and sons of Jacob.  Even more, of course, the New Testament.  This is seen strongest in the Apocalypse of John.  The twin myth, applied to Jesus and John, is especially interesting for Niemojewski.  The constellation of Gemini plays a central role for Niemojewski.  The astral mythological elements are strongest in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke; Mark contains them only quite marginally.

In the end, Niemojewski's system was too confusing to get much consideration, when compared to simpler astral mythical interpretations.

Samuel Lublinski

Also S. Lublinski wrote a similar book back then, showing the backgrounds of the time that brought forth Christianity.  The result was a world-saving king with supernatural mission and human traits.  Mystery cults and ancient public churches gave their visitors the impression of an eudemonic afterlife and purgation of evil spirits and sins.

The Pharisees were astromagical fantasists for a long time.  They had just changed the planetary deities of the Chaldeans into angels, and strengthened the moral codes assigned to those beings, which were otherwise were no different from their Babylonian and Canaanite forerunners.  The Messiah belief was added on top of this.

Christianity is a result of Gnosticism, an extreme Jewish mystery faith.  The Essenes and Therapeutae are seen among those extreme sects.  'Nazarean' is also seen as "guardian".  The fall of Zion started a deep split in Judaism.  The rebellion against Rome was from circles of Jewish national mysticism and Gnosis.

Pharisees ever since fell away from their astromagical faith and replaced it with pure legalism.  This increased after bar Kochba's times and culminated in Talmudic Rabbinism as known now.  Astral mysteries became deprecated, a 180-degree turn for Phariseism.  The hostility between Jews and Christians expressed in the second century and the sequel is a result of this pharisaic self-mutilation.  The dogmatic and metaphysical intentions expressed clearly in the Gospel traditions show that the Life-of-Jesus tales are nothing but dogmatically adapted and re-forged myth.

It is thus ridiculously naive to even try to squeeze anything historical out of the representation of the life of Jesus as shown in the Gospels.  Christianity also can't be seen as a social movement; its base class is a magical one, not a socio-economical one.  Lublinkski was influenced by the great valuable work of M. Friedlaender, and both deserve a whole lot more attention than they ever got.  They most likely got the correct explanation of Christian origins.

The Fight for the Historicity of Jesus

In addition to all the above, A. Schweitzer stated in 1906 that the Jesus of liberal theology is a ridiculous figment of the theologians.  Schweitzer constructed a Jesus of consequent eschatology instead.  But this can't be seen as anything more than an attempt out of despair.  The book The Christ Myth, and even more the subsequent articles and lectures by Drews, provoked a riot among the liberal theologians, anyway, though they should have been accustomed to that in the meantime.

The orthodox responded with reckless stubborn thundering.  Liberals needed arguments instead.  Their chieftain Harnack already in 1904 gave out the concepts to counter the ahistoricists like Kalthoff, which were now applied against Drews.  Harnack himself refused to participate in public dialogues, declaring the Jesus mythers to be amateurs who didn't warrant the dignity of his presence.

Only in 1910 Harnack asked his famous 6 antimyther-questions in a journal in Vienna, which he thought to disprove the Jesus mythers thoroughly.  This shows that it's useless to mention most of the objections brought forth from orthodox and liberal theologians against the Christ Myth, they are all nothing but dogmatic and pseudoargumentative rhetorics.  Von Soden's ridiculous polemics, using besides the Harnackian arsenal many thoroughly obsoleted secular testimonies like Flavius Josephus', was countered rigorously by Steudel who pointed clearly the scientific worthlessness of all those liberal polemics.

H. Weinel's polemics were a bit less infantile than von Soden's, but even more arrogant.  Weinel said that the life-of-Jesus-research was still in its infancy and will have to grow first, in order to establish the ultimate picture of the historical Jesus.  The extrachristian testimonies for Jesus are dishonestly used with even more recklessly increased sophistry.  Paul spoke about sisters-in-law of Jesus, according to that Weinel.

The thoroughly dishonest attitude of liberal Protestant theology, who blatantly lied away all the vital problems of the Gospels, provoked Reverend Steudel again to counterattack, also against J. Weiss, another Harnack guilder, who presented publically the usual liberal-critical nonsense under a pseudoscholarly cover.  Steudel also addressed against a certain Choson who abused the Talmud to support the liberal Jesus cult.

The reasons for theologians to insist on the historicity of Jesus proved not to be historical ones, but merely social-psychological ones.  Orthodox refutations of The Christ Myth tend to be a lot more objective and less arrogant than liberal ones, as they did not need historicity in order to patch up their feeble faith.

The Second Part of the Book "The Christ Myth" and the Further Work of the Writings Aforementioned

The continuation of Drews' The Christ Myth, as well as subsequent articles, refute the polemics against the first part.  Thus the Harnack guild failed in their weak attempts to silence Drews.  Theologians are shown as unworthy of being called researchers of history of religion.  The secular testimonies are shown as the worthless rubbish that they are, especially Tacitus.

The particularly ridiculous argument of many Historical Jesus proponents that no ancient historian denies the historicity of Jesus is also dismantled.  It all shows the reckless intellectual dishonesty of the Harnack guild.  Arguments against the usage of Paul as evidence for the Historical Jesus are strengthened.  The Gospels are more rigorously shown to be of dubious origin and tradition.  The methods of liberal Jesus culters to distill a historical core all turned out to be bogus and dogmatically driven.

The whole consistency of the Gospels exhibits their mythical origin.  It is shown in numerous examples that much of the Gospel tales is just a poetically mutated Tanakh.  The mountain sermon is a patchwork from concurrent rabbinic tradition.  The ethics of Jesus is also just a tainted copy.

The one and only innovative feature of Christianity is the idea of the Godman.  Post-Enlightenment theologians are beyond the capacity of making sense out of this truly religious concept, as their dogmatism slid away, leaving secular rationalism, far removed from any religious worth.

The second part did not particularly impress the theologians any more than the first part had.  Klosterman, at least, had to admit that some of the most obsolete jokes of the liberal theology, like the uninventability of the Gospel Jesus, had to be disposed with, unless theology wants to ridicule itself.  But the trend was to ignore Drews, as well as van Eysinga.

Drews over the Jesus Skepticism

Drews was involved too deep into the subject to stop there, and went boldly further, exploring how Christianity could become a world religion without a historical founder or core group described in scripture.  The positive attempts like astral mythology, already outlined by many scholars earlier, were continued in Drews' works and fused to a coherent conceptual construct.  During the war, Schweitzer published more essays in a weak attempt to justify theology, which strengthened Drews' attitude and endeavor.

In 1921, Drews showed how Mark's gospel disproves the historicity of Jesus.  The Gospel is nothing but a poetic retelling of the astral mythical journey of the sun god, dressed in Tanakh pictures.  The whole character of Jesus is patched together from the prophets and wisdom literature.  The order of the tales follows almost strictly the astral mythical cycle.  Mark's gospel is of astral magical, Gnostic origin from the middle of the second century.  Thus the historicity of Jesus is completely unfounded.

Theological critics ridiculously believed that astral magical arguments could be pushed away lightly.  Of course they were outrageously ignorant about the subject in the first place.  Drews published an introduction to astral mythology in the cultures of the Mediterranean and Iranian region up to imperial times, in order to decrease the above ignorance.  But theologians continued to indulge in their self-induced ignorance.

In 1924 Drews finally published the book that explained Christianity from Gnosticism, refuting the work of a certain E. Meyer.  Gnosticism is undeniably pre-Christian, with both Jewish and gentile roots.  The wisdom of Sholomo already contained Gnostic elements and prototypes for the Jesus of the Gospels.

A secret inner connection with the apocalyptically expected savior is deemed a salvific necessity.  God stops being the Lord of righteous deed and becomes the Good One.  The faithful will get their salvific shares without the prerequisite of righteous deeds.  This is strengthened by conflation with the pagan image of the suffering, dying, and resurrecting halfgodlings of the mysteries.

Many witnesses of a pre-Christian Christianity are contained in early Christian writings, plus pre-Christian writings like the Odes of Sholomo.  A clear pre-Christian Gnosticism can be distilled from the epistles of Paul.  Paul is recklessly misunderstood by those who try to read anything Historical Jesus-ish into it.  The conversion of Paul in the Acts of the Apostles is a mere forgery from various Tanakh passages.

The epistles of Paul might not have any connection with the Acts of the Apostles; the backgrounds don't match at all.  They are from Christian mystics of the middle of the second century.  Paul is thus the strongest witness against the Historical Jesus hypothesis.

The Gospels exhibit a historization of an originally mythical Jesus, performed for demagogical and dogmatic reasons.  John's Gnostic origin is more evident than that of the synoptics.  Its acceptance proves that even the Church wasn't concerned with historical facts at all.

Hermann Raschke

In 1924 H. Raschke published his great book about Mark's gospel.  Raschke emphasized the non-existence of the modern historical consciousness in ancient times.  Rather, everything was understood magically and speculatively.

The Gospels are written in the ancient consciousness.  Any rationalization of the Gospel tales is thus worthless.  Raschke notes that Aramaic was the popular language of most eastern Mediterranean peoples, and tales in the Aramaic language prevailed.  Aramaic language, due to the lack of fixed vowels, is rife with puns and ambiguities.

This is already evident in the Tanakh.  For example:

·         Israelites could not drink the water in a town named Mara (bitter waters).

·         Mirjam became a leper in the town of Hazaroth (leprose).

The same happens in the gospels, especially Mark's:

·         Judah Ischarioth <<  Isachar (hireling)

·         Multiplication of food in Beth Saida (camp of feeding)

·         Martha does the dirty work in Bethany (camp of the miserable)

·         The daughter of Iairus (awaken) wakes up from the dead.

·         Divorce is discussed in the land of the Geraseni (<< gerusin, divorce)

These puns allow a very detailed examination of Mark's tales.  The Marcionites are seen as the original community behind Mark's gospel.  Jesus advices his disciples to follow a man carrying a clay jar (mrkws >> Mark) with water.  The Greek term for clay jar is keramion, which alludes to Marcion.

The hidden docetic background of Mark's gospel has been revealed already earlier by other scholars.

Thus doubtlessly the Christian god-son is a construct loaned from Gnostic circles and turned into a flesh-and-bone-construct due to the vulgarization of the religion.

·         The Christ of the Gospels is a historified Christ of Paul's epistles.

·         The Christ of Paul's is a catholically tuned Gnostic Christ.

·         The Gnostic Christ is, in turn, just a metaphysical force.

Only the modern incapacity for metaphysical thinking makes people claim the historicity of Jesus.

Needless to say, theologians in their ignorance and dogmatic bias put Raschke's work to ridicule.  Sociopsychological reasons, for sustenance of social and political power, require the belief in the historicity of Jesus, so it is established against any scientific reason, no matter how irrational such belief is.

Gilbert T. Sadler

G.T. Sadler is another scholar of that period deriving early Christianity from the Gnosticism of hyper-Hellenized Alexandrine Jews, but unlike other scholars, he held that Jerusalem stood at the beginning, as it attracted diaspora Jews from Alexandria.  Jesus is the syncretic result of Plato's usage of the cross, the Iranian fall into matter, the Jewish Messiah as the Lord of righteousness, the mysteries of a dying and reborn god, and the Book of Henoch/Enoch.

The Gospel according to Mark is seen as an initiation tale into Christianity.  The biography is again seen as pieced together from the Tanakh, the proto-Talmud, Gnostic tales, and mystery elements.  Matthew's and Luke's gospels add a lot more art to it, which just appears to sound like history; for example, birth tales and genealogy.  Paul teaches the representation of the spirit of agape.


In Italy, E. Bossi, also known as Milesbo, concluded the falseness of the historical Jesus hypothesis from the dubiousness of all those so-called extrachristian witnesses, the dogmatic style of which cannot possibly be the result of a single personality, and the convergence of the personality with portrayals taken from the Tanakh and from mystery cults, especially Serapis, which was analyzed previously by Ganeval.

Christian ethics is also a patchwork from former ethical systems.  Philo and Seneca are central.  Christianity is thus a multicultural product.  The Christian church predates the Gospels and is a mixture of Judaistic, Hellenic, and Roman forms of social gathering.  Christianity spread due to popular irrationality.

Radicalism in France

Now we come to Moutier-Rousset who deconstructed the Gospels in a book about the existence of Jesus around 1922.  First the general incredibility of the Gospels is demonstrated.  Homer's Odusseus, or Athene or Ares, or Rabelais' Gargantuan are more credible personalities than the Gospel Jesus.  And the witnesses from outside the Gospels are a joke.  The Gospels are invented to conform with messianic Tanakh images; for historical purposes they are utterly worthless.

Already St. Augustine said that only the authority of the church forced him to give any credibility to the Gospels.  Then St. Augustine derives the authority of the church from the Gospels, a circular joke.  Besides the people, also the geography of Galilee and Judea is oddly misportrayed in the Gospels.  Coins, measures, and weights from somewhere else in the Roman empire were used as if they were common among Aramaic-speaking Palestinian peasants.

Similarly P.L. Couchoud judged against the historicity of Jesus, in his book about Jesus mysteries.  There's no such thing as historical witnesses for Jesus, including Christian and exterior sources.  Couchoud assigns a historical core to the first part of Mark's gospel, but it refers rather to Peter than to Jesus.  Peter's story in the Apostolic Acts is too similar to Jesus' in the Gospels for believing in an incident.  The death of Stephen from the Acts of the Apostles was the main source of the second part of Mark's gospel, especially the Passion narrative.

Unfortunately Couchoud didn't perceive the worthlessness of the Acts of the Apostles for historical purposes.  But Couchoud correctly considered the Gospel as a sort of Jewish midrash explaining the parable about the sacrificing god.  Couchoud accepted most of Paul's letters as authentic.  (Couchoud's acceptance changed after Drews' article; Couchoud's well-known work about the first edition of Paul's epistles postdates Drews' essay.)

Jesus in the Paulinics appears as identifiable with Yahveh in some modalist sense.  This makes a human Jesus impossible, as the Jewish folk was unique in rejecting  deification of men.  The existence of Christianity thus outright excludes the historicity of Jesus.  Thus Jesus is a humanified God, not a deified man.

The Gospels are to be understood in the light of Paul's theology.  Paul's image of Jesus is a mystic-gnostic one, distilled from the Tanakh.  The epistle of Clement, the Didache, and the Shepherd of Hermas blow the same trumpet.  The faith in a vital Jesus begot the faith in a Jesus who had lived.  Marcion correctly found an exclusively spiritual Jesus.  The antimarcionite polemicists obscured the Christian origins into oblivion.  It's their fault that Christianity came to appear as the old rubbish of the deification of a man.

Georg Brandes

The last one to be dealt with is G. Brandes, author of the Jesus Saga in 1925.  Brandes knew in advance that he would hurt and upset many people with the ahistoricity claims, like the first person who denied the historicity of hero William Tell to the people of Switzerland.

The apocalypse of John is here seen as the earliest part of the New Testament.  The Gospels postdate also Paul's epistles.  The ahistoric order the church put them in caused an insane damage.

The passion narrative is undeniably cobbled together from tiny Tanakh pieces.  There's absolutely no reason for a historical background.  There are no pagan witnesses for Jesus.  Tacitus' passage is a fake.  Paul's Jesus is a celestial one.

Christianity presents a fusion of various prophesized Tanakh figures and Jahveh himself, to a God that died and resurrected, for a new revelation.  The whole Gospel is a sewage of Tanakh prophesies.  The suffering, dying, and reborn gods of the ancient mysteries have been used as examples.  Lots of astrology and allegory prevail in the New Testament.

The Judah-Ischarioth story is mere allegory.  Only the insanity of the mindless masses allowed it to have been believed in the first place.  The resulting Jesus figure is not monolithic, but fully contradictory and dissimilar.  The Roman-Greek ethics is greatly superior to that of the New Testament.  The struggle with the Pharisees is completely unfounded.

If Jesus is apparently embarrassed in the Gospels, this is just a shock device, such as if someone would write about young Beethoven failing in a contest against an experienced peasant violinist.  Already Kierkegaard figured that it's absurd to look for a historically verifiable biography of Jesus in the Gospels.  Divine beings are not bothered at all that they owe their only life to human fantasy.

The Legend of the Historical Jesus and the Religious Situation of the Present

In the final conclusions, Drews describes the social consequences of a denial of historicity, and explains why so many theologians and secular researchers stick to historicity, though the ahistoricity of Jesus is scientifically as sure as that of Romulus and Remus, or the seven legendary kings of Rome.  The consequences are generally underestimated.

It is quite understandable that the denial party is unique only in that point, and otherwise offers a variety of diverging explanations.  The church has done everything for 2000 years to obscure and hide away the origins of Christianity, so that there's no way to get any further without speculative hypotheses.

It is obvious that no serious researcher could claim the historicity of Jesus, unless it were the savior of the dominating religion of the prevailing culture.  So there's nothing but Christian prejudice which keeps even secular researchers from admitting non-historicity, except of course the small minority of those who do.

Fears of the sociopsychological consequences are too deeply engrained.  Both Catholic and Protestant churches would invalidate themselves by denying the historicity of Jesus.  This excuses theologians who use a bunch of pseudoscientific arguments for apologetic purposes.  The Catholic church would lose its apostolic authority, assigned from Jesus unto Peter.

Protestants would have set their salvific hopes on a book of fairy tales and oriental myths.  The problem has to be silenced away.  The established press always sides with the churches as carriers of the society in which they live so comfortably.

Thus there is no hope for the denial of historicity to find a general public acceptance for a long time, as it would violate the interests of the supporting columns of the established society.  But it can't be oppressed and silenced completely either.  Thus the denial of historicity of Jesus will continue a shadowy existence for a long time and remerge from the shadows on occasions.  Only a complete change of the sociopsychological constitution may someday permit the truth to be accepted broadly.


Listing of the Aforementioned Writings

Volney: Les Ruines ou Méditation sur les Révolutions des Empires 1791; deutsch bei Reclam.

Dupuis: Origine de tous les Cultes ou La Religion universelle 1794.

Dupuis: Die Glaubenslehren und Religionsgebräuche aller Zeiten und Völker und die damit verbundene Herrschaft des Priestertums und Aberglaubens in ihrer Entstehung und Entwickelung, deutsch von F. Streißler 1910.

Reimarus: Apologie oder Schutzschrift für die vernünftigen Verehrer Gottes.

David Friedrich Strauß: Hermann Samuel Reimarus und seine Schutzschrift für die vernünftigen Verehrer Gottes 1862.

Karl Friedrich Bahrdt: Briefe über die Bibel im Volkston 1782.

Karl Friedrich Bahrdt: Ausführung des Plans und Zwecks Jesu 1784/1792.

Venturini: Natürliche Geschichte des großen Propheten von Nazareth 1800/1802.

Herder: Vom Erlöser der Menschen. Nach unsern drei ersten Evangelien 1796. Ges. Werke Bd. XIX.

Herder: Von Gottes Sohn, der Welt Heiland. Nach Johannes Evangelium 1797. Ges. Werke Bd. XIX.

H. E. G. Paulus: Das Leben Jesu als Grundlage einer reinen Geschichte des Urchristentums 1828.

K. A. Hase: Das Leben Jesu zunächst für akademische Studien 1827.

Schleiermacher: Das Leben Jesu 1$64. Hierzu: David Friedr.Strauß: Der Christus des Glaubens und der Jesus der Geschichte. Eine Kritik des Schleiermacherschen Lebens Jesu 1865.

David Friedr. Strauß: Das Leben Jesu 1835/1836.

David Friedr. Strauß: Das Leben Jesu für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet 1864.

David Friedr. Strauß: Der alte und der neue Glaube 1872.

Bruno Bauer: Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte des Johannes 1840.

Bruno Bauer: Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte der Synoptiker 1841/1842.

Bruno Bauer: Kritik der Apostelgeschichte 1850.

Bruno Bauer: Kritik der Paulinischen Briefe 1850/1852.

Bruno Bauer: Kritik der Evangelien 1850/1851.

Bruno Bauer: Philo, Strauß, Renan und das Urchristentum 1874.

Bruno Bauer: Christus und die Cäsaren. Der Hervorgang des Christentums aus dem römischen    Griechentum 1877.

Bruno Bauer: Das Urevangelium und die Gegner der Schrift „Christus und dieCäsaren“ 1878.

G.A. van den Bergh van Eysinga: Voorchristelijk Christendom. De vorbereiding van het Evangelie in de Hellenistische wereld 1918. - Die holländische radikale Kritik des Neuen Testaments. Ihre Geschichte und Bedeutung für die Erkenntnis der ,Entstehung desChristentums 1912. - Radikal views about the New Testament.

Kegel: Bruno Bauer und seine Theorien über die Entstehung des Christentums 1908.

E. Renan: Das Leben Jesu 1863.

Daniel Schenkel: Das Charakterbild Jesu 1864.

K. H. Weizsäcker: Untersuchungen über die evangelische Geschichte, ihre Quellen und den Gang ihrer Entwickelung 1864.

Heinrich Holtzmann: Die synoptischen Evangelien, ihr Ursprung und ihr geschichtlicher Charakter 1863.

Theodor Keim: Die Geschichte Jesu von Nazara 1867/1872.

Bernhard Weiß: Das Leben Jesu 1882/1884.

Willibald Beyschlag: Das Leben Jesu 1885/1886.

F. A. Müller, (E. v. Hartmann): Briefe über die christliche Religion 1870.

E. v. Hartmann: Die Selbstzersetzung des Christentums und die Religion der Zukunft 1874.

E. v. Hartmann: Das Christentum des Neuen Testaments 1905.

Allard Pierson: De Bergrede en andere synoptische Fragmenten. 1878.

Abraham Dirk Loman: Quaestiones Paulinae in „Theologisch Tijdschrift“ 1882 ff.

Pierson und Naber: Verisimilia 1886.

Naber: Nuculae 1888.

Rudolf Steck: Der Galaterbrief nach seiner Echtheit untersucht nebst kritischen Bemerkungen zu den Paulinischen Hauptbriefen 1888.

W. C.van Manen: Paulus 3 Bde.1890, 1891, 1896.

W. C.van Manen: Die Unechtheit des Römerbriefes, deutsch von G. Schläger.

Albert Schweitzer: Von Reimgrus zu Wrede 1906.

Albert Schweitzer: Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung, zweite neu bearbeitete und vermehrte Auflage des Werkes. „Von Reimarus zu Wrede“ 1913.

Albert Schweitzer: Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung von der Reformation bis auf die Gegenwart 1911.

Meyboom: Geschiedenis en kritiek der Marcushypothese 1866'

Hoekstra: De Christologie van het kanonische Marcus-Evangelie 1871.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: Het eerste evangelie in het licht van oude gegevens 1906.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: Gnosis en Evangelie 1906.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: Het lijden en sterven van Jesus Christus 1907.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: De evangelische Josua 1907.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: Het Evangelie 1909.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: De Theosophie in Christendom en Judendom 1910.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: Onze Evangelien en de Theosophie 1911.

G. J. P. J. Bolland: De groote vraag voor de Christenheld onzer logen 1911.

Edwin Johnson: Antiqua mater. A Study of Christian Origins 1887.

John M. Robertson: Christianity and Mythology 1900, Teil lII des Werkes deutsch unter dem Titel: „Die Evangelienmythen" 1910.

John M. Robertson: Pagan Christs 1902.

John M. Robertson: A short History of Christianity 1902, deutsch unter dem Titel „Geschichte des Christentums" 1910.

John M. Robertson: The Historical Jesus. A Survey of Positions 1916.

John M. Robertson: The Jesus Problem. A Restatement of the Myth Theory 1917.

George Frazer: The Golden Bough 1890.

Th. Whittaker: The Origins of Christianity 1909.

G. Volkmar: Die Evangelien oder Markus und die Synopse der kanonischen und außerkanonischen Evangelien 1870.

Joh. Weiß: Die Predigt Jesu vom Reiche Gottes 1892.

W. Brandt: Die evangelische Geschichte und der Ursprung des Christentums auf Grund einer Kritik der Berichte über das Leiden und die Auferstehung Jesu 1893.

Harnack. Das Wesen des Christentums 1900.

G. Frenssen: Hilligenlei 1905; dazu Carl Albr. Bernoulli: Christus in Hilligenlei. Ein Wort zur Klarstellung 1906.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain: Die Grundlagen des 19. Jahrhunderts 1900.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain: Worte Christi 1902.

W. v. Schnehen: Der moderne Jesuskultus 1906.

W. v. Schnehen: Friedrich Naumann vor dem Bankrott des Christentums 1907.

W. Wrede: Das Messiasgeheimnis 1904.

O.Wernle: Die synoptische Frage 1899.

O.Wernle: Die Quellen des Lebens Jesu. Religionsgesch. Volksbücher 1905.

Albert Kalthoff: Das Christusproblem. Grundlinien einer Sozialtheologie 1902.

Albert Kalthoff: Die Entstehung des Christentums. Neue Beiträge zum Christusproblem 1904.

Albert Kalthoff: Was wissen wir von Jesus? Eine Abrechnung mit Prof. Bousset in Göttingen 1904.

Albert Kalthoff: Modernes Christentum 1906.

P. Hochart: Etudes au Sujet de la Persécution des Chrétiens sous Néron 1885

C.Kautsky: Der Ursprung des Christentums 1908.

M.Maurenbrecher: Von Nazareth nach Golgatha 1909.

E. Tröltsch: Das Sozialleben der christlichen Kirche I: Archiv f. Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik Hd. 26.

A. Harnack: Aus Wissenschaft und Leben Bd.II 1912.

P. Jensen: DasGilgamesch-Epos in der Weltliteratur. 1.Bd. DieUrsprünge der alttestamentlichenPatriarchen-, Propheten- und Befreier-Sage und der neutestamentlichen Jesus-Sage 1906.

P. Jensen: Moses, Jesus, Paulus. Drei Varianten des babytonischen Gottmenschen Gitgamesch. Eine Anklage wider die Theologen, ein Appell auch an die Laien 1909.

P. Jensen: Hat der Jesus der Evangelien wirklich gelebt? Eine Antwort an Prof. Dr. Jülicher 1910.

F.Delitzsch: Babel und Bibel 1903.

A. Jeremias: Das Alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients 1904.

A. Jeremias:  Babylonisches im Neuen Testament 1905.

F. Nork: Etymologisch-symbolisch-mythologisches Realwörterbuch 1843 ff.

F. Nork: Biblische Mythologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments 1846.

O.Pfleiderer: Das Urchristentum, seine Schriften und Lehren in geschichtlichem Zusammenhang beschrieben. 2. Aufl. 1902.

O.Pfleiderer: Das Christusbild des urchristlichen Glaubens 1903.

H. Gunkel: Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verständnis des Neuen Testaments 1903.

K. Volleys: Die Weltreligionen in ihrem geschichtlichen Zusammenhange 1909.

C. Promus: Die Entstehung des Christentums. Nach der modernen Forschung für weitere Kreise voraussetzungslos dargestellt 1905.

M.Brückner: Der sterbende und auferstehende Golfheiland in den orientalischen Religionen. Religionsgesch. Volksbücher 1908.

P. W. Schmiedet: Die Person Jesu im Streite der Meinungen der Gegenwart 1906.

William Benj. Smith: Der vorchristliche Jesus nebst weiteren Vorstudien zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Christentums 1906.

William Benj. Smith: Ecce Deus. Die urchristliche Lehre des reingöttlichen Jesus 1911.

A. Drews: Die Christusmythe 1909. Völlig umgearbeitete Ausgabe 1924.

A. Drews: Selbstdarstellung von A. Drews in „Die Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen“ Bd. V. 1924.

A. Drews: Hat Jesus gelebt? Berliner Religionsgespräch, herausgegeben vom Deutschen Monistenbund 1910 (vergriffen).

A. Drews: Die Petruslegende 1910. Dritte gänzlich umgearbeitete Ausgabe 1924.

A. Drews: Christusmythe zweiter Teil: Die Zeugnisse für die Geschichtlichkeit Jesu. Eine Antwort an die Schriftgelehrten mit bes. Berücksichtigung der theologischen Methode 1911.

A. Drews: Das Markusevangelium als Zeugnis gegen die Geschichtlichkeit Jesu, 1921.

A. Drews: Der Sternhimmel in der Dichtung und Religion der alten Völker und des Christentums. Eine Einführung in die Astralmythologie 1923.

A. Drews: Die Entstehung des Christentums aus dem Gnostizismus 1924.

Bruno Wille: Die Christusmythe 1903.

Andrzei Niemojewski: Gott Jesus im Lichte fremder und eigener Forschungen samt Darstellung der evangelischen Astralstoffe, Astralszenen und Astralsysteme 1910.

Andrzei Niemojewski: Warum eilten die Jünger nach Emmaus? 1911.

Samuel Lublinski: Der urchristliche Erdkreis und sein Mythos: I. Die Entstehung des Christentums aus der antiken Kultur. II. Das werdende Dogma vom Leben Jesu.

H. v. Soden: Hat Jesus gelebt? 1910.

F. Steudel: Das Christusproblem und die Zukunft des Protestantismus 1909.

F. Steudel: Wir Gelehrten vom Fach 1910.

F. Steudel: Im Kampf um die Christusmythe 1910.

H. Weinel: Ist das liberale Jesusbild widerlegt? Eine Antwort an seine "positiven" und seine radikalen Gegner mit bes. Rocksicht auf A. Drews. Die Christusmythe 1910.

E. Krieck: Die neueste Orthodoxie und das Christusproblem 1910.

J. Weiß: Jesus von Nazareth, Mythus oder Geschichte. Eine Auseinandersetzung mit Kalthoff, Drews, Jensen 1910.

G. Klein: Ist Jesus eine historische Persönlichkeit? 1910.

W. Bousset: Die Bedeutung der Person Jesu für den Glauben. Historische und rationale Grundtagen des Glaubens. 1910.

E. Tröltsch: Die Bedeutung der Geschichtlichkeit Jesu für den Glauben 1911.

A. Böhtlingk: Zur Aufhellung der Christusmythologie 1910.

F.Meffert: Die geschichtliche Existenz Christi 1910.

M. Schneidewin: Arthur Drews' „Christusmythe“ und die religiöse Krisis überhaupt in Preuß. Jahrbücher 1910, Bd. 139, 3. Heft.

C. Fuhrmann: Der Astralmythos von Christus. Die Lösung der Christussage durch Astrologie 1912 (nicht im Buchhandel!).

W. Erbt: Das Markusevangelium. Eine Untersuchung über die Form der Petruserinnerungen und die Geschichte der Urgemeinde 1911.

H. Windisch: De Tegenwoordige Stand van Het Christusproblem 1925.

E. Meyer: Ursprung und Anfänge des Christentums, 3 Bde., 1921 ff.

O. Seeck: Entwicklungsgeschichte des Christentums 1921.

H. Raschke: Die Werkstatt des Markusevangelisten. Eine neue Evangelientheorie 1924.

Harnack. Markion. Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott. 1921.

Konrad Schmidt: Das schaffende Wort 1920.

K. Weidel: Studien über den Einfluß des Weißsagungsbeweises auf die evangelische Geschichte in Theol. Studien und Kritiken 1910, 83-109. 163 ff.

F. K. Feigel: Der Einfluß des Weißsagungsbeweises und anderer Motive auf die Leidensgeschichte Jesu 1900.

M. Bruckner: Das Leben Jesu in Galiläa. Religionsgesch. Volksbücher 1919.

Gilbert T.Sadler: Has Jesus Christ lived an Earth? 1914.

Gilbert T.Sadler: The Inner Meaning of the Four Gospels, re-interpreted in the Light of Modern Research and in Relation to Spiritual and Social Needs 1920.

Gilbert T.Sadler: Behind the New Testament 1921.

Milesbo (Emilio Bossi): Gesu non èe mal esistito 1904.

Stefanoni: Staria critica Bella superstizione

L. Gaaeval: Jésus dann l’histoire n'a jamais vécu 1875.

E. Havet: Le Christianisme et ses Origines 1883 f.

Moutier-Rousset: Le Christ a-t-il existié ?'1922.

P. L.Couchoud: Le mystère de Jesus 1924.

G. Brandes: Die Jesus-Sage 1925.  

Drews' Books in English




The Christ Myth (Westminster College-Oxford Classics in the Study of Religion)

Arthur Drews.  Translated into English by C. Deslisle Burns.



http://www.prometheusbooks.com/site/catalog/biblical21.html - Publisher's site.



The Legend of Saint Peter: A Contribution to the Mythology of Christianity

Arthur Drews.  Translated into English by Frank Zindler.

http://www.atheists.org - Publisher's site: American Atheist Press.  In stock.  Click Shopping: Start Shopping: Books: The Legend of Saint Peter.




See Also

Does Jesus Live or Did He Only Live Once? - van den Bergh van Eysinga

Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)