Jesus the universal Galilean

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Most of US, viewing everything as we do through our campy “Americhristian goggles”, have this ingrained group-aggrandizing habit of thinking it so supremely “mysterious” or “paradoxical” that a seer-healer-teacher from one of the most insular societies in world history would ever gain global appeal. But once you UnTrain™ yourself—really sit Yogi-Berra-style and ponder the geographical and historical reality of Galilee, Samaria and Judea (henceforth simply “Palestine”)—it only stands to reason that “Jesus” would be both Galilean and universal [1]. After all, the Jesus figure seems to have been an Essene [2], an earnest mystic and apparently something a yogi with Zen leanings. Yet it makes perfect sense that such thought patterns would afford him an edge in interpreting the scriptures of the Hebrews. After all, Israelite life and lore from Solomon’s day onward reads like a dazzling hodgepodge of all the imposing civilized cultures of classical antiquity in whose crossroads—and crosshairs—Palestine is situated. See, we’re taught to think of the Hebrews as a people who got some message from the sky—and sure enough dreams, visions and a lot of drugs were likely involved, though with heavy commentary to qualify them—but much of the content of the Pentateuch can be rather easily traced to sources elsewhere on Planet Earth rather than in the aetherial realms where supposedly some Zeus-like “Big Man” (YHWH written vertically is humanoidal in form) is waiting to strike down anyone who challenges a set of laws he gave to a particularly murderous band of desert-fevered barbarians.

We have known since Herodotus in 500 BC [3] that it was from Egypt that the Israelites got phallic circumcision, the characteristic Jewish observance to this day. From India they got the story where Abraham is called upon to sacrifice Isaac (originally named Nachiketa) as well as cow worship which they’ve officially discarded but unofficially cling to. From Canaanite idolatry they got the creator-deity Elohim (whence also Allah). And we haven’t even touched on the Zoroastrian sect of Persia/Iran who bankrolled the Second Temple in Jerusalem and from where the Magi or Wise Men proceeded! In short, classical Judaism, with its Law and Temple, represents a mix of elements from the whole then known world.

And the “Jesus scriptures” (commonly gospels) [4] are a deceptively savvy feat of literature probably composed near the Royal Library of Alexandria (Egypt) by ambitious wordsmiths who probably read a lot of old books, smoked a lot of keneh bosm and managed to satisfy the mythical archetypes and moral sensibilities of Pharisees and Hellenists (i.e. Grecophiles) alike, both among the following of the rabbis and among the members of other cults, whose twilight became increasingly apparent as the ancient classical Roman way of life went to the dogs, taking with it ancient classical Judaism of which mostly only the more portable rabbinical versions [5] survived.

Of course, as the Eastern Empire fell to Islam, the Western Mediterranean, and particularly “Roma Invicta” [6], conspired to continue its role of not only bureaucratic but additionally cultural “nerve center”, with the “Pope” of Rome putting on the dress of a Pharaoh and the titles of a Caesar—even touting as his main claim to authority a forged “Donation of Constantine” for the almost seven centuries between ca. 750 and 1444!
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[1] In the lyrics of Michael Card, “He was unlike any other man and yet so much like me”.
[2] Not a Nazarite nor white as popular depictions suggest.
[3] That’s only 100 years after the Davidic-Solomonic kingdom, coinciding with the first-ever recorded accounts of “Israelites” (as opposed to “Canaanites”) anywhere ever.
[4] Whether you choose to stress its quasi-historicity or its quasi-mythicality matters little at this point.
[5] Of the rabbinical Jews some groups of Christians can be considered a subset, particularly Arians (with an i, from Arius), direct ancestor of Muslims but also very much alive in US sects such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses (ironic since self-described “Aryans” [with a y] persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses in Nazi Germany).
[6] Now reinvented with Egyptian title (“Pope”), headdress (“mitre” [UK] or “miter”) and pageantry.

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