AFRICANGLOBE – For most Xians the story of the birth of the Jesus figure is pretty much clear cut; simply turn to the New Testament and there outlined is everything one needed to know about how the saviour, god incarnate came into being. Exactly how Dec 25th came to be the celebrated date may pose a bit of a problem for some but that is hardly a problem worth graying hairs over. After all, the main thing is that “He” was born and he was born to save mankind from eternal damnation.
That is the story of the Jesus of faith. And, as is usually the case, the Jesus of faith is confused with actual history. The story of the baby Jesus being born to humble parents in a manger with three wise men paying homage to him and later being spirited out of the country to escape the wrath of Herod is romantic but by no means reality. In fact, as Dr John Dominic Crossan, of Depaul University once pointed out in an interview, we do not know where Jesus was born, we don’t know when he was born and, if you examine the whole issues of the Virgin birth, we do not know how he was born either.
Truth is often stranger than fiction and nowhere is that more obvious than in matters relating to religion; as Edward Gibbon pointed out the historian must be more circumspect than the theologian. For African peoples an additional question must also be asked: “what does this have to do with my position in the world socially, politically and economically?” This question should be the single most important question in the minds of the colonised because the most destructive of the colonised institutions is religion. The best way to bring about complete subjugation of a people is to destroy their image of the Divine. The political implications of historicising age-old allegorical myths is perhaps one of the least examined aspects of religion by those who have been colonised by it. This will be explored in another article.
Beginnings Of The Nativity
Even today in the so-called Information Age it comes as a profound shock to many Xians to learn that their Nativity story, far from being a miraculous event some 2000 odd years ago, is a refashioned compilation of pre-Xian myths stretching back to very ancient times. The damning evidence can still be found in the Nile Valley upon the walls of Amenope’s tomb, in a cave in India called Elephanta, in the Drama of Bel and the life of Pythagoras and Zeus and a host of other historical and mythical figures all of whom preceding the Xian Era.
One of the remarkable things about early Xianity is the fact that the early devotees made no mention of the birth of their supposed saviour or even his supposedly fleshly existence for that matter. The earliest Gospel, Mark, speaks nothing about the ancestry, birth and genealogy of Jesus and contemporary Greek and Roman writers and historians of that period have nothing to say about him either save vague, generic references to the [temporal] title of the Christ.
In some cases where writers like Josephus and Paul make “specific” mentions of Jesus, these references turn out to be forgeries written in by zealous students, and redacting bishops. Also, there was strong opposition to the “pagan” custom of celebrating birthdays – ironic when one considers that from top to bottom “paganism” is woven into Xianity’s beliefs and customs. At first, his birth date was on January 6th; however, by the 4th century it was noticed that Xian worshippers were also partaking in Mithraic celebrations of the Sun [natalis solis invicti] on December 25th. Realising that their followers were gravitating towards the worship of Mithra, Roman Xian authorities moved the feast date of Jesus from January 6th to December 25th. Such were the lengths these early proselytisers were prepared to go to win or retain converts.
The need to locate and document hard evidence of the various aspects of Jesus’ life did not gain momentum until the various books that make up the bible were being compiled. Up until this time there was a prevailing belief that the end of the world was imminent and the Christ would return. By the time it was realised that this was not going to happen, the Doctors of the Church, in an effort to consolidate their positions of authority, needed to gather as much evidence of the errant saviour. The details of his “biography” and genealogy were pieced together from the numerous Asian mythologies that permeated Rome at the time. Even more profound was the influence of Africa: up until the time of Constantine, the capital of Christendom was not in Rome at all but in Egypt. It was Egyptian monks, such as Anthony the Hermit, who started the Church’s tradition of monasticism. The worship of Yusir and Auset was still immensely powerful and as I will show in a subsequent article was the main source for the Jesus myth.
It was also necessary for the Church Fathers to create a lineage that linked Jesus to the line of David. According to Jewish legend a saviour from the line of David would be born and he would lead the Hebrews out of Roman bondage. Interestingly, though the authors of the Synoptic Gospels copied from Mark, theirs was a shabby job indeed. To this day there are two almost totally contradicting genealogies [thank goodness the authors – who, remember, were “inspired men” – were not able to meet and match their stories! If we were to accept these biblical narratives as historical, as Xians say we should, innumerable inconsistencies would pop up.
In fact, the Gospels are so muddled – even if we allow for the well-documented mistranslations, liberal editing and outright forgeries – it almost impossible to extricate reality from mythology and fact from absurdity. We have, for instance, the much misrepresented virgin birth; virtually all pre-Xian sacred sciences had their saviours born of a Virgin – among the Nile Valley Africans, Heru/Horus, as was his father Yusir/Osiris, was born of a virgin, the Great Mother Auset/Isis. The Osirian Drama spread to other parts of the Mediterranean and Asia becoming Mithra in Persia, Krishna in India, Bacchus and Dionysus in Greece and Rome. The creators of the biblical Jesus saw the advantage of matching the feats and characteristics of these deities with similar feats and characteristics of Jesus. To this end they saw no problem with appropriating various attributes of a number of deities, particularly, those of Egypt and Asia Minor, and appending them to Christ Jesus.