Mythical Canon Fodder on Bible Secrets Revealed

Hope you caught the pun.

Except for football, I don’t watch TV, so I sadly (!) missed this latest round of Bible secrets nonsense. I let others suffer in my place, like the author of “Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 3).” The author is a New Testament scholar (PhD University of Edinburgh). Honestly, “Bible Secrets Revealed” ought to be titled “Bible Secrets Contrived.” Same old uninformed claptrap about the canon, Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. It’s like the researchers they put on the show to spout the conspiratorial nonsense have never read any of the primary source material and scholarship on anything they comment on.

Did I just stumble onto their method … ?

Actually, that’s only part of it. Dr. Kruger already outline what these shows do to mislead their audience.

Templar and Talpiot Twaddle: It Must be Easter

Ah, it’s that time of year again.

Readers will be thrilled to know that Simcha Jacobovici is keeping his “just so you know that Easter is really about me and my ideas” streak alive. In the past, Simcha has partnered with James Tabor to bunny hop all over the Christian holy day. James is along for the ride again, but keeping a bit of distance. A good idea, since Simcha’s newest academic resource is Scott Wolter, a researcher with a reputation for shell-game research and less-than-coherent thinking about ancient America and masonic conspiracies.1

This time Simcha and James want the world to know that Scott has made an amazing discovery that validates their earlier interpretation of the “Jesus Family Tomb” of East Talpiot: a “Knights Templar” coin that pictures Jesus emerging from a tomb — and it must be the Talpiot tomb, since the coin bears a Chevron symbol.

talpiotentrance

Setting aside the fact that Simcha and James deny that Jesus emerged from the Talpiot tomb — which would slightly mar the new analogy just a bit — there are problems with Wolter’s idea.

Jason Colavito has put together a worthwhile essay addressing this claim. As Jason so succinctly puts it, “The longer you look the less there is to see.” Indeed. Any leap from the first century to the high Middle Ages is problematic. But for so many who want to connect dots no matter where in space and time that they are, a non-sequitur is a bridge to understanding.2

  1. Jason Colavito has documented Wolter’s flawed material and its presentation in a number of posts on his blog.
  2. And think about this case: “That shape on a medieval coin looks like that shape on a first century tomb — they must be related.” Pretty stunning. I’m glad we don’t have people who think like this working on the space shuttle or doing internal medicine. I’m happy to keep them in Washington, DC and the History Channel.

Testing of “Jesus Wife” Coptic Fragment Ongoing

CNN’s religion blog recently posted that testing of the Coptic fragment that includes Jesus referring to his wife has delayed publication of an article by Karen King on the fragment in the Harvard Theological Review. The short piece is a useful one, as it asks some needed questions about the fragment in a concise way for readers.

I’m not sure what the hubbub is about testing the actual fragment. I expect the material itself is very old, but that proves nothing about the authenticity of the text, since all one would need to do to create such a forgery is access to the same material and the “recipe” for ancient ink.  Irving Wallace showed us how to do that decades ago in his novel, The Word. But maybe other scholars don’t read novels. Additionally, genuine physical material won’t answer the syntactical irregularities and borrowed vocabulary in the text that led scholars to think it a fraud in the first place (see here and here).

Human Skeletal Remains Discovered at Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel and its medieval associations are chronologically out of order for this blog, but since the chapel figures in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code quackery, I thought this was worth a mention. No, the remains aren’t that of Mary Magdalene or any of Jesus’ descendants. As one archaeologist at Archeoblog explains in an excerpt:

Archaeologists now believe the skeletons were placed there when the chapel was abandoned during the Reformation, in the 17th century, by local people who wanted to bury their relatives on consecrated ground. They lay under the stone for more than three centuries until the slabs were lifted two years ago.

I can hardly wait until $imcha Jacobovici gets wind of this. Just wait … he’ll find some way to match the DNA from one of these Rosslyn skeletons to the bone fragments of his “Jesus family tomb” and voila! … another TV special and revenue stream!

Dan Brown and the Grail That Never Was

That’s part of the title of this 2004 scholarly article that examines Brown’s Jesus bloodline mythology.  I don’t believe I’ve posted it before (going through the archives this weekend). The author is apparently a medievalist. It’s a succinct, readable dismantling of Brown’s bogus history. Here’s the abstract:

Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, has enthralled many readers, but many others have pointed out his errors and raised objections to his dubious conjectures. Of particular interest to Arthurians is Brown’s conspiracy theory (appropriated from other sources) concerning the Grail, but a discussion of that subject also requires consideration of his presentation of Church history and of the role that art plays in the elaboration of the Grail theory.

Enjoy!

Jesus and Mary Magdalene: Husband and Wife in the Gnostic Gospels?

I came across this video of a presentation I gave some years ago on this topic. I really should keep track of this stuff. Had a full beard then. The point of the presentation is to show that Gnostic gospels (the “real Bible” to conspiracists and Dan Brown fans) does not have a single line indicating Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, or that they had a romantic/sexual relationship. It’s bunk (at least if we take the Gnostics for our source).

Michael Heiser: Gnosticism (part 3) – “Were Jesus and Mary Magdalene Married?” from Guy Malone on Vimeo.

New Craptastic Jesus Bloodline Movie

Another fresh piece of cinematic claptrap has recently emerged (no, it’s not Indiana Jones V). Here’s a review of Bloodline, whose title cleverly disguises its message that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and produced a bloodline. Whoa! Didn’t see that coming!

Once again the public is treated to the myth that the Gnostic gospels (any any other source) has Jesus married (to anyone). Granted, my movies aren’t as visually compelling – you remember, the ones that show me searching my computer edition of the Nag Hammadi texts for any evidence Jesus was married – but they are factual. Probably why mine are free. Here they are for anyone who has an ounce of objectivity:

Was Jesus Married in the Gnostic texts (Video 1)

Was Jesus Married in the Gnostic texts (Videos 2, 3, 4)

Was Cain Fathered by the Devil? No, Wait — Extraterrestrials

I’ve gotten more emails on this topic than I can shake a stick at, so I’ve decided to blog it and then just direct people to this post in the future. I don’t know who started this on the internet-probably one of those “I found secret knowledge about the Bible” people who start followings in cyberspace. At any rate, he wasn’t anyone who knew anything about the Bible, the Dead Sea scrolls, or the other material I’ll touch on.

Cain Fathered by Satan or a Demon?

Though there are by no various expressions of it online, the nonsense goes something like this.

What really happened in Eden (Genesis 3) was that Eve was seduced by the serpent (whose name was Sammael), they had sex, and produced Cain (Genesis 4). This is why Cain was “marked” by God later on-God hated him since the serpent was his father. The Bible covers all this up since its editors removed it. Thankfully, the Dead Sea Scrolls preserve it. That’s just one reason the scrolls were kept from the public for so long.

Hogwash.

Here’s the truth about this particular web gem. I’ll unpack each point briefly.

1. Genesis 4:1 was NOT found among the textual remains of the Hebrew Bible among the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is important to realize that much of the biblical material from Qumran is partial and fragmentary. Only the book of Isaiah can be said to be virtually complete (99% of it was found at Qumran). There are portions and scraps of every other OT book except Esther. Genesis 4:1, the account of Can’s birth, is not in the Dead Sea Scroll material. The closest you get is Genesis 4:2-11, which is 4QGenb or 4Q2 (read, Qumran, Cave 4, Genesis “b” – that was the name given to the fragment – also called Qumran, Cave 4, no. 2 by other researchers). This fragment was published in volume 12 (pp. 36-37) of the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD) series (Oxford University Press – the official publisher of scrolls material). The fragment is IDENTICAL to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible used today. Therefore, the Dead Sea scrolls don’t preserve this weird view of Cain’s lineage. Readers can check on what I’m saying through two relatively inexpensive sources:

2. Since we already know the name doesn’t occur in the biblical scrolls (the point above), I thought I’d look for it among the other scrolls material – sometimes the other material has commentaries on the biblical material. A computer search for “Sammael” (or the alternate spelling Samael) yields ZERO occurrences in the non-biblical texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is more proof that this “account” is not only absent in the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls; it isn’t present in the scrolls that covered other subjects besides copying and commenting on the Hebrew Bible. You can watch a video of me doing this search so you know I’m not making it up. (Turn your speakers up and use high speed – it’s 29 MB).

3. I knew that I wouldn’t find the name Sammael or Samael in any of the scrolls. The name does occur among the Pseudepigrapha. The video I made above includes this search and its results. Sorry, no sex between the serpent / Sammael and Eve. Boring, I know. Outside the name Sammael/Samael, n some pseudepigraphic material (4 Maccabees 18:8) the serpent gets blamed for all sexual sin, but that’s a lot different than fathering Cain.

4. Some rabbinic material does have the devil fathering Cain. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan has this idea. Here’s a brief video of me looking this up an explaining the reading [You can check my translation by consulting the English translation of Targum Pseudo-Joanathan at this link. This translation, though, does NOT have the variant that includes Samael]. The other Targums do not have this reading. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan is dated by Aramaists at roughly the sixth century A.D., or between 1500-2000 years AFTER Genesis was written (the date range depends on when one thinks Genesis was written). The Talmud relates a story that Yonatan ben Uziel, a student of Hillel (roughly contemporary with Jesus), fashioned an Aramaic translation of the Prophets. That translation is considered by some to be Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. However, the story makes no mention of any translation by him of the Torah, and so it cannot be argued that Targum Pseudo-Jonathan of Genesis 4:1 is as old as Jesus’ day. The sixth century A.D. is all the evidence allows. Targums can be very elastic translations, adding material quite freely with no Hebrew manuscript evidence at all. Everyone who does Aramaic knows this about the Targums-they can play pretty fast and loose with the text of the Bible; they INSERT all kinds of things into the translation, without regard to any prior textual manuscript history for support. IN plain language, the Targums often add made up material to the biblical text. Having Samael in Genesis 4:1 is a classic example – it was added at least 1500 years after the fact, and no other prior ancient Jewish material supports it.

Cain Fathered by Extraterrestrials?

Laurence Gardner, that pseudo-ancient text researcher of Jesus bloodline nonsense fame, wants Eve and Yahweh to be the ones having sex-or, “more realistically” in his mind, to have the extraterrestrial god known as Yahweh (who is really Sumerian Enki) genetically implant his DNA in her. In an online lecture on this topic Gardner (largely parroting Zecharia Sitchin) says:

Conventional teaching generally cites Cain as being the first son of Adam and Eve – but he was not; even the book of Genesis tells us that he was not. In fact, it confirms how Eve told Adam that Cain’s father was the Lord, who was of course Enki the Archetype. Even outside the Bible, the writings of the Hebrew Talmud and Midrash make it quite plain that Cain was not the son of Adam . . . Around 6000 years ago, Adam and Eve . . . were purpose-bred for kingship by Enki and his sister-wife Ninkhursag. This took place at a ‘creation chamber’ which the Sumerian annals refer to as the House of Shimta (Shi-im-tA meaning ‘breath – wind – life‘ ). Adam and Eve were certainly not the first people on Earth, but they were the first of the alchemically devised kingly succession. Nin-khursag was called the Lady of the Embryo or the Lady of Life, and she was the surrogate mother for Adam and Eve, who were created from human ova fertilized by the Lord Enki. 1

In regard to how the book of Genesis tells us Cain was not the son of Adam and Eve, Gardner has this quotation in his book about the birth of Cain. Let me go on record as saying this is one of my favorite Gardner quotations, only because it’s a crystal clear example of how Gardner DELIBERATELY misleads his readers, likely because he hates Christianity so much:

“In the opening verse of Genesis 4, it is written that Hawah [Eve] said, I have gotten a man from the Lord’. Other variations are I have got me a man with the Lord’ and I have acquired a man from the Lord’.”2

Gardner’s quotation creates the distinct impression for his readers that Genesis 4:1 contains ONLY this line about Eve saying she “got a man from/with the Lord.” It’s an incomplete citation, though-and you’ll see right away why Gardner wouldn’t give you the rest of the verse in his book. Here’s the whole verse in Hebrew and English (I have given the English and the Hebrew matching colors so you can follow the translation):

It’s easy to see here how Gardner only gave his readers the second half of the verse – omitting the part that explicitly says that ADAM “knew” Eve (a common sexual euphemism in the Bible) and so fathered Cain. How convenient. How self-serving. How dishonest.

Again, it’s just PaleoBabble.

  1. http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/biblianazar/esp_biblianazar_21.htm
  2. Laurence Gardner, Genesis of the Grail Kings, 128

Was Jesus Married According to the Gnostic Texts from Nag Hammadi? (Videos 2, 3, and 4)

The format for these videos is the same as the first one, where I searched the Nag Hammadi Gnostic gospels for any occurrence of the word “marry” (including married, marries, marrying, etc.) connected to Jesus. In these videos I search for other terms:

  • Wife” and its other forms – are there any instances where the search term is connected to a marriage of Jesus? (12 MB)
  • Husband” – ditto (12 MB)
  • Bride” – ditto (11 MB)

Was Jesus Married According to the Gnostic Texts from Nag Hammadi? (Video 1)

Most people who read The Da Vinci Code never bothered to actually read the Gnostic Gospels themselves to see what they say about Jesus being married. That was unfortunate, and is a textbook example of why you should always go right to the source material for your information. The video below (and the several that will follow) are my attempt to get people to actually read the Gnostic material from Nag Hammadi in regard to the question of whether Jesus was married according to those texts, not the “filtered” New Testament. Do these Gnostic texts that were allegedly suppressed and expunged from the “original” New Testament (so the bogus claim goes) say anything about Jesus being married? As always, I don’t want readers to take my word–I want them to see for themselves. To that end, I’ve made a video of me doing a database search of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Gospels for all occurrences of any form of the word “marry” (e.g., “marry”; “married”; “marries”; etc.). Don’t be frightened–you just see my computer screen. It ain’t exciting, but it’s as close as English readers will ever get to the kind of research scholars do in these texts. The video is 6:47 and you’ll need a high speed connection (10 MB file). Turn your volume up, too.