I’m reading several books about early christianity and am exhausted trying to keep track of all the forgeries. It seems almost everything in the new testament was forged in one way or another or to one degree or another; and the gospels themselves are now being attributed to other authors than those they are named for. Minor forgeries pop up here and there throughout the books, and newly discovered relics of religious writings found now and again are examined for the new insight they can give scholars but these occasionally end up being forgeries themselves. In reading Lost Christianities by Bart Ehrman, I am struck most by who it is that turns up authoring forged texts or interpolations. In one section of this work Ehrman covers an instance where a “respected professor of classics” at Princeton almost gets away with claiming he’d found an additional saying of Jesus in an alternate text of a Greek translation of Matthew (Ehrman, 69). He was eventually found out, but it demonstrates over and over again who the most successful of the forgers to proliferate the mythology surrounding this reputed incarnation of the Sun God (which not-coincidentally happened at the end of one astrological age, Aries, and beginning of another, Pisces, hence the fish symbol) were and still are; and it drives home the very important point that forgery is not an easy thing to get away with. The forgers are people close to the texts, they are learned people with knowledge about the languages and writing styles of the different authors of the varying texts.
It begs the question that if we know this much has been forged or misattributed then what about what we don’t know. Ehrman unintentionally makes a great case for the supposition that forgers of these works are those closest to the works themselves, which throws every scribe and translator of biblical works throughout the ages into question. I normally don’t read Ehrman or any religion scholar who claims to be religious themselves because their objectivity is questionable, needless to say, but after reading about gnostic docetists in DM Murdock’s The Christ Conspiracy I wanted to expose myself to some of the other early christian sects that didn’t come to dominate the canon of writings chosen by the Roman catholic church. After sifting through tales of one forgery after another and many early incarnations of christianity that didn’t make the cut, I’ve come to conclude that the activity of influencing content of religious texts seems like a sport for control freaks; people were literally vying to control society and how people live from day to day. It is interesting that one early sect that sprung around Paul believed sexual abstinence was best in all situations and seemed to abhor sexual activity completely. Clearly this wasn’t going to fly, so this chapter, that of Thecla, (a female devotee of Paul) and its adherents were lost to the sands of time, though apparently this religious tale is now seen as forged and misattributed from the very beginning.
It is clear this is what human politics does, even to the spiritual, and whether one believes politics and social mores of a certain time period influenced the biblical canon is pretty much the line drawn between skeptics and true believers. I consider myself in the middle, and having experienced the Sun God deity and a few others, I marvel at how human beings apparently competed for inclusion of their ‘take’ on what things would be like were a holy deity to walk the earth. They seemed to root for their version of how things should be like one roots for a favorite sports team, and adherents go to great length to get their perspective included in future canons, even if it means forging and plagiarizing from other authors or falsifying events to the point of making up stories. What is worrisome is of course just how far off the mark humanity is from the true nature of the Sun God, which I have experienced to be peaceful, loving, and compassionate, almost beyond description; I can see why he has been so lionized by christian religious writers as ‘the light of the world’, the ‘prince of peace’ etc…there is nothing in my experience that can compare to being in the presence of this beautiful spirit and star somehow combined into one being.I don’t fully understand how he morphed from the Sun God of Egyptian, Roman, and early gnostic docetist belief into a Jewish rabbi, and I have to believe that the people who so misrepresented his nature had simply never experienced his presence. It is possible that rather than wanting to experience the power of his peace, love, and compassion, they simply wanted to wield that kind of power instead. Looking at it this way definitely gives motive to the forgers and tale-spinners, while explaining how far off the mark many writers veered in order to take part in wielding the ultimate form of influence and control over society.
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