Continuing here my reviews of Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy. All reviews are archived here, and on the Jesus Mysteries discussion group.
In this chapter Derek Murphy offers an explanation for how and why the original teachings of Christianity, and Paul in particular, were lost and replaced by the narrative we are familiar with today, that Jesus was a literal flesh and blood historical person. Having begun with a spiritual message, Christianity eventually emerged with a teaching of a physical Jesus and even of a physical resurrection.
Paul’s Mystery Initiations
What Murphy describes as a “Jewish mystery cult” (addressed in the previous chapter) was a two-edged sword.
The Jewish mystery cult, a greater spiritual synthesis than even the mighty and popular Serapis, was immediately successful. It was fueled by both the desires and needs of the Jewish people in the Diaspora, and the lust for a greater and more powerful magical name. It also allowed Jews to integrate more fully into their cosmopolitan pagan environment. But there was an inherent and powerful conflict in this new religious practice. Jesus was the anathema of everything the Jews believed in; he was a repugnant, crudely constructed, pagan mystery god dressed up as the Jewish Messiah and appropriating Jewish scripture for his own. (p. 338)
So those who embraced the “mysteries” were faced with practical questions and issues, such as details of law observance, paying taxes, etc. Competing teachers arose. Continue reading “Jesus Potter Harry Christ, ch. 9: “Stupid Galatians and Resurrection of the Flesh””