Friday, February 20, 2009

McNeill Stokes finds Jesus' missing links?

[Image of part of the Qumran ruins near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.]

Well, he didn't really.

McNeill Stokes is an attorney. He's written a book which, according to christiannewswire, "compares the Dead Sea Scrolls with the teachings of Jesus and the beliefs and practices of early Christians to allow readers to answer questions about where Jesus spent his missing years."

It's titled Missing Links to Jesus: Evidence in the Dead Sea Scrolls... I have not read the book.

I will not read the book. I hate to waste my time.

I have read material dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls. I have read what numerous scholars think about this material. I know that there has been a lot of discussion as to what, if any, connection there might be between Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Most biblical historians are skeptical of a connection.

The fact is we know almost nothing about Jesus as a real human person. That's why more and more scholars these days are thinking of him in mythical terms. The birth stories are clearly legendary and borrowed from other ancient god-man tales. There is nothing about his childhood in the New Testament gospels except for one silly little incident where his parents "accidentally" leave him behind and then find him "teaching" the elders in the temple - which again, is clearly legendary.

Nothing. We know nothing. The Gospel writers begin their real story with a series of vignettes about a man who is supposed to be 30 years of age or so. Mark, the earliest gospel, does not have a birth story, as it hadn't been created yet. There is no information as to how he got to be 30 or what he learned getting there, or where he had been for 30 years.

Anything anyone writes about those missing years is pure guesswork.

Stokes wants to tie Jesus to the Essene movement as described in the Dead Sea Scrolls. I know of no biblical scholar that would do that today. Similarities between the teachings and practices of Jesus and the Essenes are not clear in the least. The only way you can make those connections is to ignore a number of Essene teachings as well as much of what Jesus said and did. The Essenes were a sect of apocalyptic ultra-Orthodox Jews who stressed religious purity, among other things and awaited the coming of the Messiah. They also had a "War Scroll," which seems to be their battle plan for the coming of the end of the world. Can't hardly see that in Jesus' hands.

In fact, there is probably more dissolve between Jesus and the Essenes than there are connections. Jesus, as described in the Synoptics, was certainly not concerned much with religious "purity," although he did stress the need to keep the Law.

Stokes wants us to believe that because of the similarities between Jesus and Essenes (notions of salvation and judgment, and heavenly rewards, faith healings, exorcisms, etc.) Jesus must have lived and been schooled as an Essene.:

"Pattern evidence is presented of the high probability that the Essenes raised and influenced Jesus, his cousin John the Baptist, and his brother James. All three exhibited similar Essene values, beliefs, and practices."

This is pure horsehockey.

For more correct info on the Essenes, click here. You can find out what Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, [who never mentions Jesus, by the way, in spite of one small Xtian forgery] thought about the Essenes here.

For another take on Jesus' "missing links," click here. Some gnostic tales here.


Bob Poris said...

Why bother to educate people that prefer the mythology to reality?

They will believe what they want to believe. It is faith, not facts. Few people know enough to argue about the Bible. When you quote it, I assume you have read it. Some of the responses only want to get you to accept their faith, rather than discuss the source. It is a silly game and they want to win. It will not change faith or belief.

Rene' said...

While I am not arguing the points you make, does it make sense to lambast a book you admit that you haven't read. Surely, if you read it you would find points to further your debate?

Condemning a unread book just feels like more of a conservative behavior that should be avoided.


Jacob said...

You're partly right, Rene. But my comments were based upon reviews about the book and statements from the book.

The thesis of the book is nonsense to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I dealt with McNeil Stokes years ago. He's a union busting asshole. I didn't know he did theology on the side, but it figures.

Jacob said...

Sir Charles...thanks for the info. He doesn't do theology, either! He's a pretender.

Anonymous said...

These are the kind of people that say the Bible was not even in circulation until after an attempt to make it seem fake. They leave out the fact that anyone caught with Christian writings......were sentenced to death by the Pagans in control at that time and that meant being fed alive to wild animals or burned alive. Pagans watched this for entertainment. Only after Constantine is Christianity declared lawful and their scriptures surfaced publicly wthout fear of death for having them. I look forward to reading this book.....there is a connection between Jesus and the Essenes. He was not a Pharrisee or Sadducee.....and that only leaves the Essenes. Jewells

Dillion said...

Screw you Jacob, I dealt with McNeill Stokes years ago and he's a fine man and theology is his middle name.

Anonymous said...

McNeil Stoke is a Con Man!

opinions powered by