The Black Heart Series: How a dishonest and avaristic academia is spreading lies and disinformation, and obscuring the historical truth.
A Vacuous and Petrified Academia
by Ralph Ellis
March 29th, 2014
by Ralph Ellis
March 29th, 2014
Since I wrote my long article on Mr. Tom Verenna's ridiculous review of Jesus, King of Edessa, a number of readers have replied by saying that perhaps Mr. Verenna was merely mistaken - that he misread my book (or excepts from the book, for he never read the book), rather than not understanding history or the basic tenets of Judeo-Christianity. I would have to beg to differ, because not only did Mr. Verenna pen some additional howlers, but so too did his colleagues and compatriots. So let's take a look at some of those additional howlers.
Firstly, we have Mr. Verenna taking exception to my saying that Jesus was a member of the Nazarene Sect of Judaism. Jumping in with both feet, he boldly says:
"Ellis has cherry-picked his verses without recognizing their significance ... Jesus is called a Nazarene because he is portrayed as being from the town of Nazareth ... which is explicitly states in Math 2:23, “…and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.” In other words, it was because he lived in Nazareth that he was called a Nazarene."
Here is a so-called academic, who has either not heard of, or will not tell his readership of, the great theological debate over the existence of the town of Nazareth in the 1st century AD. The academic literature is littered with commentary on this topic, but for simplicity I quote here from a secular work that is not overtly biased by religious convictions. Interested readers should also browse The Myth of Nazareth, by Rene Salm.
"Nowhere in the Old Testament is Nazareth mentioned, nor is it referred to in rabbinical texts or by Josephus (Flavius) the Jewish general and historian of the 1st century AD, whose writings mention all the major towns and villages of the region... Moreover, the first mention of Nazareth in Jewish literature did not occur until the 7th century AD."
So why did Mr. Verenna not mention this heated debate about the very existence of the town of Nazareth? Why is Mr. Verenna's
religious-historical world so black-and-white? Surely solid and incontrovertible convictions like this are the preserve of priests, not historians, because if Rene Salm et al are correct, then Jesus was apparently named after a non-existent town. So what is the answer to this muddle? Actually, the answer to this is fairly simple, because Acts of the Apostles says of Saul (St Paul):
"For we have found this man (Saul) to be a pestilent fellow, and a mover of
sedition among all the Jews throughout the world and a ringleader of the sect of
the Nazarenes. Acts 24:5"
Think about this for a moment. When Saul had his 'flash of inspiration on the road to Damascus', was he trying to join the town of Nazareth? Or was he trying to join the sect of Jesus and James - the sect of the Nazarene? Quite plainly, if Saul was a member of the Nazarene Sect, then it is extremely likely that Jesus and James were too. The evidence, and there is much of it in The King Jesus Trilogy, is that Jesus was a Nazarene (the sect) and not from the non-existent town of Nazareth. Which makes a great deal of sense, because the Nazarene Sect grew their hair long, as did Jesus, apparently. And Queen Helena, who I closely equate with the family of Jesus, was also a Nazarene (the sect), and not from the non-existent town of Nazareth.
So Mr. Verenna is not only wrong and unaware of the facts, he also appears
to be making bold claims based upon blind conviction and faith. So can we trust
him, when he maintains that he is an impartial Atheist? Are these the kind of
faith-based claims that a well-read and impartial historian would make? I think
not. Anyway, Mr. Verenna goes on and says:
"Additionally, the use of [the term] ‘King’ in Luke 23 is theologically rooted (i.e., Jesus is the King in the heavenly sense, but [this was] used as satire by the Romans, which contradicts the claim made by Ellis)." [Ellis]
Jesus was only a spiritual king? Eh? What? Who says so? If this title was mere Roman satire, then why does every church and cathedral repeat this satire, by displaying the monogram 'INRI' everywhere - meaning: 'Jesus the Nazarene and King of the Jews'. What would be the point of repeating and perpetuating this so-called derogatory satire that supposedly distorted the 'true' pauper-artisan status of Jesus? Clearly, someone in the Church think Jesus really was a king.
If we return to the real world, Jesus was called the Christ and the messiah and yet both of these titles refer to the 'anointed one' or 'king', which is why kings Saul and David were both called the messiah. See 1Sam 10:1 or 2Sam 2:4. (In the English translations we read 'anointed one', but the Hebrew original in these verses is messiah.) So a Christ or messiah can be, and often was, a reference to a king. But that is exactly what Jesus was called at his crucifixion - a king. So why does Mr. Verenna maintain that: 'Jesus is the King in the heavenly sense, but [this was] used as satire by the Romans'. Who says so?
Again we see that Verenna is basing his opinions on faith, rather than reasoned argument or fact: "it is so, because I say it is so". And so Mr. Verenna has discarded 25 years of my research simply because it conflicts with his faith, not because it conflicts with historical or theological reality.
Continues to PART TWO
The King Jesus Trilogy:
Cleopatra to Christ,
Jesus, King of Edessa.
2. International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa, Volume 4, by J Ring, R Salkin, S Boda.