Mythicism Making Christianity More Meaningful

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by Neil Godfrey

Edward van der Kaaij
Edward van der Kaaij

Herman Detering posted on Facebook a link to the latest news of the Dutch pastor who has “come out” claiming that Jesus never existed. The news is an update on the fate of pastor Edward van der Kaaij who made the news a month ago in the NLTimes:

Jesus didn’t exist, but a “myth”, says banned pastor

That February NLTimes article said van der Kaaij was cointinuing to preach; I think the update alert from Herman Detering is telling us that that has changed. He is no longer able to preach.

Here are a few excerpts from the earlier February article:

“When someone reads Genesis 1 as a scientific explanation of how the world came into being, and concludes that the beginning was not about 13 billion years ago (as we know now) because the Bible states that it was about 70,000 years ago, then you do not properly understand the Bible,” explained van der Kaaij.

“The gospel is telling us a deeper truth, that goes far beyond the facts of life. That’s why I say: it did not happen like this and it is a fact that Jesus did not exist (I give a lot of proofs in my book to underline this).”

9789402206999_cover_kleinHis book is De ongemakkelijke waarheid van het christendom (=The uncomfortable truth of Christianity). That link is to a Dutch bookseller. I copy here the Google machine translation of that site’s blurb (my own bolding throughout):

Jesus is a mythical, archetypal figure in a historical context. The uncomfortable truth gives a fresh perspective on faith and solves puzzles. So is the riddle of the three years of birth of Jesus addressed. You can find the answer to the question why nothing is known about the life of Jesus from his twelfth to his thirtieth year. How come the resurrection of Lazarus was not in the newspaper? What makes Jesus greater than the greats? At first glance, this book lays the ax to the roots of the faith, but on closer inspection the faith is richer.

Returning to the NLTimes February article:

“I am a Protestant and an important aspect of our belief is that the Bible is God’s Word (although written by men) and the starting point of our belief,” said van der Kaaij to NL Times. “So it is important to explain the Bible properly.”. . .

The gospel gets more value when you read it according to what it is: a myth. Note that the word ‘myth’ does not have a negative meaning, on the contrary it is positive!

“The deep truth is that Christ is deep in all of us. God created men by giving his breath, He incarnates in every human being. In that way Jesus Christ is the eternal reflection of God in all of us.” . . . 

“It’s not a mission of mine to convince others that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist,”, said van der Kaaij. “I advise ordinary people who feel happy in the belief they have with a man in mind who factually changed water into wine, calmed the storm and cured blind and deaf people as if he was a doctor to stick to that belief. But theologian need to study the bible properly and must be honest in what they find out. Happily many of them try to do that, I am only one of them.”

Now that’s fascinating! He sounds a lot like Thomas Brodie who as a continuing practicing Roman Catholic finds the truth of the Christ Myth adds a new dimension of meaning to his faith. So will those people who imagine that “mythicism” is a plot by angry atheists to destroy Christianity please come to their senses! Some of us really are more interested in exploring the evidence for the sake of understanding. (See also an earlier post of mine: Is the Christ Myth a Threat to the Christian Faith?)

The updated news to which Detering linked is at Kerk wil breken met dominee die bestaan Jezus ontkent.


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35 thoughts on “Mythicism Making Christianity More Meaningful”

  1. ” …..because the Bible states that it was about 70,000 years ago, then you do not properly understand the Bible ….”
    Edward van der Kaaij does not understand the Bible, the Creation occurred 6019 years ago. God created the world around 6 pm on 22 October 4004 BC, this is an indisputable fact supported by a consensus of many famous theologians.

  2. Well a mythical Jesus would be more meaningful for the Christian faith (in my opinion). Because every historical Jesus that the majority of the theologians come up with is some kind of reduction of the Jesus of the gospels (apocalyptic prophet, someone like Gandhi, a perambulating healer, a teacher, a zealot, etc.), which, unfortunately for these same theologians, is another Jesus!

    1. You can make a virtual alphabet of different kinds of Jesus by selecting different bits of the NT and different bits of ancient history, and adding some special framework – A for Aryan, B for Buddhist, C for Cynic, D for Dynastic, E for Essene….Z for Zealot.

  3. Having been raised in a Charismatic congregation, I can guarandamntee you that if it were proven that Jesus didn’t exist historically, there would be plenty of Christians who would basically take the line “Okay, no problem, we’re talking to Jesus ANYWAY, just like Peter and Paul did.”

    1. It would probably be easier perhaps for Catholics and some other groups; being more in line with Mark and the synoptic Gospels they probably already accept (to some degree) that not everything in there is history. Protestant and Lutheran groups however would probably have a harder time; their lead Gospel is John, which is far more about eye-witnesses witnessing the man who said and did all sorts of amazing things on earth as opposed to the secretive apocalyptic messiah we see in Mark.

      That’s just my take but I might be completely wrong on this.

      1. The way I was raised, all you have to do is prefix any verb with “spiritually” to make it fit whatever scenario you like.

        There turns out to be no historical Jesus? That’s okay. That just means the eyewitnesses “spiritually saw” Jesus as he “spiritually walked” the Earth.

        It sounds funny but honestly I’m not exaggerating. While many of the people in the religious cohort I’m referring to would refuse to believe it, and a few would decide they’d been misled all along about Christianity, there would be some who’d just take it on board and adjust as needed.

      2. The problem that Catholics would have is the creed. The creed is recited weekly, and if you don’t believe the creed you aren’t reaching the minimal level of belief required to call yourself a Catholic. And the creed says:

        “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again in accordance with the scriptures.”

        A mythic take on Jesus can take you so far. You can imagine a heavenly virgin giving birth to a spiritual Savior. You can imagine that spiritual Savior being crucified in the heavenly spheres. All of that could be compatible with a Mythic Christ just fine. But you can’t really imagine that Mythic Christ getting crucified in the heavenly sphere by the governor of a backwater province at the edge of the Roman Empire. To accept a mythic Christ Savior figure rather than a historic one is to reject the creed, and to reject the creed is to declare yourself non-Catholic.

        (In fact I think that the insertion of Pontius Pilate into the creed suggests that there were Christians denying historicity, and that the Council politicos wanted to nip that in the bud along with other heresies.)

        1. Yes, actually, I have had that thought about the placement of “under Pontius Pilate” in the creed as well, but don’t know enough about the topic to know if this speculation is completely idle or only mostly so.

          What _do_ we know about how that came to be part of the wording of the creed?

  4. The updated news to which Detering linked is at Kerk wil breken met dominee die bestaan Jezus ontkent.

    Proceedings have been initiated by some to expel the man in question. Attempts to reconcile the opposing parties have failed, hence why he is no longer allowed to serve in his clerical capacity. That is the press release in a nutshell.

    A translation of one choice paragraph:

    ‘Je doet toch ook niet alsof Roodkapje historisch is?’
    Na het lezen over Jezus’ vermeende mythische achtergrond kon Van der Kaaij het orthodoxe verhaal niet meer prediken, vertelde hij vorige maand in Trouw. “Als Jezus niet heeft bestaan en je blijft toch doen alsof, dan loop je jezelf steeds in de weg als predikant. Want mensen hebben toch een historische figuur voor ogen die allerlei kunstjes doet. (…) Je doet toch ook niet alsof Roodkapje een historisch verhaal is?”

    ‘You wouldn’t pretend little red riding hood is historical would you?’
    After reading about JC’s alleged mythical background Van der Kaaij couldn’t preach the orthodox story (outlook) any more, he told Trouw (Faithful, dutch daily). “If JC never existed, and you still pretend he did, then you are getting in your own way as a preacher. Because people after all picture a historical figure that can do all kinds of tricks. (…) You wouldn’t pretend Little red riding hood is a historical story?”

    1. Didn’t want to leave this out:

      Article author commenting on his book:

      Daarin gaat hij in tegen heersende opvattingen over Jezus en stelt hij dat Jezus nooit op aarde heeft rondgelopen. Alle elementen van het bijbelse verhaal zouden gebaseerd zijn op mythes uit het oude Egypte.

      In it he goes against the prevailing ideas about Jesus and posits that Jesus never walked the earth. All elements of the biblical story would be based on myths of old Egypt.

    1. I don’t wish to spoil the party, but I wonder if Dr van der Kaaij’s wish is father to his by no means unprecedented “theological” thoughts? Has he double-checked “Christ in Egypt” with its scholarly critics? It is certainly “fantastic” in places. I wonder what he might make of Victor White’s Jungian “God and the Unconscious” which expressed the view, in effect, that gospel facts were not disproved but strengthened in significance by beliefs in the dying-and-rising gods of the ancient world?

      1. “I find it undeniable that many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations.” “I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock”

        – Dr. Robert Price, Biblical Scholar with two Ph.D’s

        “Your scholarship is relentless! The research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration.”

        – Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, review of “Christ in Egypt”

        ; )

  5. Much analysis of the Bible as myth is highly speculative today. And contested by interested Christian “academics.” However, a future generation of mythographers could sustain many current speculations.

    1. An important mytheme in both Indo-European and Semitic cultures is the Cosmic Battle between the Divine Hero and the Evil Reptile; and on it hinges many a tale.

  6. From what I have been able to glean through machine translations of a number of Dutch sources (DoublePlus — I take it you speak Dutch so you may be able to my points) Edward van der Kooij was beginning to have lurking doubts in the back of his mind when he read Freke and Gandy’s “Jesus Mysteries”. That clinched it for him.

    It is plain that he does not believe in “astrotheology” (Acharya/Murdock’s emphasis) but no doubt there are factual details in a book like “Christ in Egypt” that do support the general idea of the Christ Myth being an adaptation in various ways of myths also found in Egypt.

    1. Maybe i’m not getting it, but as far as I know van der Kaaij is just another preacher in one of the protestant churches around here that can still afford the maintenance on their churches. He gets labelled theologian, but i didn’t see any credentials to confirm that yet (honestly haven’t checked it out though). I don’t feel he has anything to add to mythicism as an idea at this point. He is just in the news ’cause it’s his job to believe in pre-enlightenment dogma, and his employer is unhappy with his performance.

      It seems to me he definitely ran into literature that changed his mind, and that’s how the ball started rolling, i’ll have a look if he credits one particular work.

      One of centre-left blogs posted this: “http://sargasso.nl/post-atheist-mythische-jezus/” which is from a historian (Jona Lendering) who purports to be skeptical in general in his own description. Presumably this person has no axes to grind or religion to push.

      “Toevallig ben ik zijn boek De ongemakkelijke waarheid van het christendom. De echte Jezus onthuld aan het lezen. Noch daarvan, noch van het interview word je vrolijk. Het wemelt van de feitelijke onjuistheden. Volgens Van der Kaaij ontstaat religie uit een archetype over de op- en ondergaande zon: een idee dat honderd jaar over de uiterste houdbaarheidsdatum is. Dat Jezus een mythische figuur is die vervolgens niet meer zo werd herkend en daarom als historisch persoon werd beschouwd, blijkt volgens de dominee uit de geringe aandacht die Paulus besteedt aan Jezus’ aardse bestaan, waarbij hij eraan voorbijgaat dat Paulus schrijft aan mensen die de biografie van Jezus (voor zover überhaupt relevant voor een gelovige) al mondeling hadden vernomen.”

      “Coincidentally I’ve been reading his book “the uneasy truth of christianity, the real Jesus revealed”. Neither it, nor the interview is reason for optimism. It is filled to the brim with factual inaccuracies. According to Van der Kaaij religion forms out of the archetype of the rising and setting sun: an idea that has been out of date for a hundred years. That Jesus was a mythical figure who subsequently wasn’t recognized as such anymore and then became historical as evidenced by how little attention Paul gives to Jesus’ earthly existence, where he completely bypasses that Paul is writing to people who already knew about Jesus biography by word of mouth.”

      To be honest, this “secular” historian sounds like he got his facts mixed with some apologist claptrap himself, especially when making claims about the readers of Paul… seriously… what is that based on!?!

      1. I don’t know that anyone is suggesting van der Kaaij is “contributing to the Christ Myth debate” in any sense like Wells, Doherty, Price, Carrier, etc.

        The interest is partly the public attention in the Netherlands that his outspoken stand has attracted, but I was interested for two reasons:

        1. that a clergyman has had the courage to make such views public (c.f. Brodie);
        2. that we have one more piece of evidence that it is wrong to assume that interest in the Christ Myth implies hostility towards Christianity.

        So often one reads critics of the Christ Myth making this gratuitous assumption and responding with more ad hominem and distorted representations of the arguments as a consequence. Maurice Casey was the worst culprit — stooping even to blatant falsehoods; Bart Ehrman resorts to the same fabrications and ad hominem, too.

        My “Who’s Who” list originally grew out of my analysis of Casey’s list of names he branded as “mythicists” (some of them were not mythicists at all but had merely offended Casey by criticizing some of his publications!) and demonstrating that there was no evidence to support his claim that “most” who argued the idea were on an anti-Christian vendetta.

        This charge appears to me to be a convenient excuse to ignore the arguments and shut down the debate.

        1. I didn’t mean to make it sound like your whole post was pointless or anything, sorry if that was unclear. Your points are well taken for what they are worth.

          There is another preacher, catholic i think, somewhere in Zeeland (southern coastal province) who actually doesn’t believe in the god of his employer. He hit the news some 5 years ago if i recall correctly. He didn’t write any book that i know of though, and he’s still at the church he was at back then to the best of my knowledge. I remember the street interviews at the time indicating the churchgoers mostly didn’t seem to care much, and said they enjoyed his services just the same.

          I guess what i’m getting at is that non-believing clergy are not unique here, and depending on the sect, the community might be anywhere between shocked and indifferent to it. Combine this with a somewhat misplaced national pride in the concept of freedom of conscience in this country, you might be able to see how things like this can happen.

          It’s good to work on these basics, though i am accustomed to plain ignore ridiculous assertions about the motivations of mythicists. It reads like high school arguing to me, more telling of the author himself than his or her target. But that’s preaching to the choir here.

          On a related note, i found other people referring to Van der Kaaij as basing himself on Freke and Gandy, but not himself saying that. I think detractors are happy to point out the worst source they think was involved, regardless of what Van der Kaaij actually says and gives as reasons for his change of mind.

          Also, there should be a preview button somewhere! 😛

          1. Ok, some choice quotes from a local papers interview with van der Kaaij about his “thesis” as they refer to it. Found here:

            Van der Kaaij: “In the book “the mysterious Jesus” by Freke and Gandy i read bout the myth of the rising and dying god. Characterised by a God that became human. Born on December 25th. A God visited by wise men from the east. There were also shepherds involved. During his life he turns out to have healing powers. He got into conflict, died and rose after three days. Pretty much the whole story of the gospel. When i was reading that, i thought: “if that is true, then Jesus never existed. That was a spontaneous thought”.”

            Some more from the same article, with the money quotes in the context of this post i hope:

            Van der Kaaij grew up and was shaped by the still orthodox reformed churches of the fifties. This discovery then had to be quite a shock to him. Van der Kaaij: “That is exactly the right word. I was shocked, but also curious. I wanted to know more about it. But I also had another thought: I will see about that. I thought: if this is the truth, then you can’t walk away from that. I was really fond of Jesus’ historicity. I wanted to find out. Then you find that this is already known in some circles. It seemed a good thing to me to show: Look, but, he did exist. But during my search the evidence kept stacking up against the historicity of Jesus. I also noticed, after the shock subsided, that something beautiful was developing. You can see that on the cover of the book. Dead, cracked ground, but new green is coming out of it. What i really discovered: It’s very orthodox. Because if the historical Jesus didn’t exist, you get a divine Jesus that does exist and I imagine that orthodox preachers will say: Of course Jesus did exist, but we underwrite his vision as far as the divine Christ.

            That at the concillie of Nicea in the year 325 it was determined that Jesus is both human and God, Van der Kaaij qualifies as a trick, with all due respect. “Because you can’t sustain both. If you go and search for the historical Jesus, you won’t find much data. If there was a historical person behind that, he is someone who is completely irrelevant, yet got the story pinned on to him.

            Van der Kaaij cares a great deal about the bible and a correct biblical interpretation. Well done exegesis is something you can always expect him to apreciate. Even though Van der Kaaij presumes to stay close to orthodoxy, in his book it does become apparent that he avoids the confrontation with this community. Because he thinks that will not produce anything useful, in his opinion he already showed that the Jesus from the biblical stories did not exist.

            And did he not select any of his sources?
            Van der Kaaij: My main interest is showing that the historical Jesus did not exist, because i think that conviction is harmful to understanding the Bible. From sources outside the bible from the Jewish and Roman historians there can be found no evidence for Jesus existince. But even with the Apostle Paul you neven read about the historical Jesus. And Paul wrote before any of the gospels were created. The only source for a historical Jesus is really the gospel of Mark. Matthew and Luke used that as their source. But i am a supporter of the theory that the gospel of Mark was written in Egypts Alexandria, where there was a christian community very early on.

            Sorry if it’s obvious i raced through the last part, I prefer to believe the sentences were just less complex.

            1. From the same article, missed this bit:

              “I’m to far removed from people who take the bible, cover to cover, literally. I do acknowledge the conviction that the bible, from cover to cover, is Gods Word, but to say creation happened in 6 days is not proper biblical interpretation. The historical Jesus didn’t exist, but the biblical one did. That still exists. He is the Living one in our existence. I hope that people won’t loose their only comfort in live and death. If anyone on their deathbed, asked me whether they’ll go to heaven, i’ll confirm with conviction that there is a future. That eternity exists. That future is in Gods hand.”

              1. This Dutchman frankly seems rather shallow, hasty, inexperienced and superficial. If these quotations are accurate and representative, they seem little more than “Wow, fancy that!” This stuff is hardly on the Spong level. The average Anglican or RC priest in the UK would have a relatively more erudite training or knowledge.

  7. Crap, i forgot to quote properly, and mistyped the name Van der Kaaij as Van der Staaij, the last name being a member of one of our praised 2 seat parties in parliament for the more strict religious voters. Easy to mix him up with a preacher apparently 😛

    1. Thanks for the translations. You’ve saved me a lot of work that would have been of inferior quality, too. (I fixed your Staaij typo, by the way.) For what it’s worth I’ll add just one more piece of info about van der Kaaij though it’s entirely a Google translation. The interview is found at: http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/15/Home/index.dhtml

      Interview Predikant Edward van der Kaaij denkt dat Jezus nooit heeft bestaan. Die opvatting leidt tot ophef in de Protestantse Kerk. ‘Je doet toch ook niet alsof Roodkapje een historisch verhaal is.’

      Interview Pastor Edward van der Kaaij think that Jesus never existed. This view leads to fuss in the Protestant Church. “You do not like Little Red Riding Hood is a historical story .”

      Het is ironisch, vindt predikant Edward van der Kaaij uit Nijkerk. “Eerst heb je een predikant die roept dat God niet bestaat, nu is er een die zegt dat Jezus geen historische figuur is.” Van der Kaaij zit in zijn studeerkamer. Boven op de boekenkast staat een antiek Christusbeeld, de zegenende handen zijn er ooit afgebroken.

      It’s ironic, find preacher Edward van der Kaaij from Nijkerk . “First you have a pastor who calls that God does not exist , now is one that says that Jesus is not a historical figure . ” Van der Kaaij sits in his study. On top of the bookcase is an antique statue of Christ , the blessing hands are ever broken there .

      “De historische Jezus heeft nooit bestaan”, zegt Van der Kaaij. “Alle elementen uit het verhaal van Jezus vinden hun oorsprong in het oude Egypte. Daar komt de oermythe vandaan van een God die mens wordt, van sterven en opstaan, van geboren worden op 25 december uit een maagd.”

      “The historical Jesus never existed ,” Van der Kaaij says. ” All the elements found in the story of Jesus originated in ancient Egypt. In addition, the oermythe away from a God who is man, dying and rising , of being born on December 25 of a virgin. “

      Edward van der Kaaij (62), predikant in de Protestantse Kerk in Nederland, schreef zijn inzicht op in een boek. ‘De ongemakkelijke waarheid van het christendom’, heet het. Ondertitel: ‘De echte Jezus onthuld’.

      Edward van der Kaaij (62) , a minister in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands , wrote his insights in a book . “The inconvenient truth of Christianity , it is called . Subtitle : “The real Jesus revealed .

      Hoewel hij het boek vorig jaar al publiceerde, leiden de opvattingen van Van der Kaaij nu tot verontwaardigde reacties in zijn woonplaats Nijkerk en daarbuiten in protestants Nederland. Van der Kaaij zou onchristelijke ideeën verspreiden, menen sommigen in de protestantse gemeente in Nijkerk, die uit verschillende richtingen bestaat.

      Although he has published the book last year, the views of Van der Kaaij now lead to uproar in his hometown of Nijkerk and elsewhere in Protestant Netherlands . Van der Kaaij would spread unchristian ideas, think some in the Protestant community in Nijkerk , which consists of different directions.

      Twee weken geleden werd de predikant enkele dagen voor een interkerkelijke dienst de toegang geweigerd tot de kansel. ‘Gebed voor de eenheid’, was het onderwerp van de dienst. Maar die eenheid was er niet toen de gereformeerde kerkeraad de hervormde Van der Kaaij verbood te preken in zijn kerkgebouw.

      Two weeks ago, the minister was a few days access for an interdenominational service denied to the pulpit. “Prayer for Unity” , was the subject of the service. But that unit was not there when the Reformed Church Council banned the reformed Van der Kaaij to preach in his church.

      Die maatregel – een zeldzaamheid – leidde tot discussies tussen voor- en tegenstanders. “Iedereen vergaderde over mij maar niet met mij”, zegt Van der Kaaij, die zichzelf ‘modern’ noemt. Hij besloot uiteindelijk thuis te blijven. “Het moet niet zo zijn dat je haast de ME nodig hebt om een predikant de kansel op te laten gaan.”

      That measure – a rarity – an international debate between supporters and opponents . “Everyone gathered about me but not with me ,” says Van der Kaaij , who call themselves ‘ modern ‘ calls . He eventually decided to stay home. “It should not be that you rush the ME need to let a preacher at the pulpit to go.”

      Inmiddels heeft de Nijkerkse kwestie landelijke proporties gekregen. De gereformeerde bond, de rechterflank in de protestantse kerk, noemt de opvattingen van Van der Kaaij een ‘dwaalleer’ en vraagt zich in een brief aan het landelijke kerkbestuur af ‘hoe de tucht gestalte krijgt, als dwaalleer de fundamenten van de kerk probeert aan te tasten.’

      Meanwhile Nijkerkse issue has received national proportions. Reformed association , the right in the Protestant church , Van der Kaaij the views of calls a ” heresy ” and asks in a letter to the national church council on “how the discipline takes shape as heresy the foundations of the church is trying to grope . “

      Hoe bent u tot uw ideeën gekomen?

      “Het is het resultaat van een zoektocht die zeven jaar geleden begon. Bij Klaas Hendrikse (zie kader) las ik hier voor het eerst iets over. Ik mailde hem en hij tipte me het boek ‘De mysterieuze Jezus’ van de Britse auteurs Timothy Freke en Peter Gandy. Ik kwam tot de ontdekking dat alle elementen uit het verhaal van Jezus voorkomen in de oude mythe van Osiris uit Egypte. Daar vind je de blauwdruk van wat later het christelijke evangelieverhaal werd.”

      How did you get your ideas ?

      “It is the result of a quest that began seven years ago. At Klaas Hendrikse (see box) , I read for the first time about something . I emailed him and he tipped me the book” The Jesus Mysteries “of the British authors Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy . I discovered that all the elements of the story of Jesus’ appearance in the ancient myth of Osiris in Egypt. There you will find the blueprint of what later became the Christian gospel story . “

      Hoe zien we deze mythe volgens u terug in het christendom?

      “De kern van de mythe van Osiris is de stervende godheid die weer opstaat uit de dood. Kern is ook de godheid die mens werd en geboren is zonder tussenkomst van een man. Overigens ben ik van mening dat die mythe van de stervende en opstaande terug gaat op een nóg veel ouder archetype: de zon gaat onder en komt elke ochtend weer op. Dat wordt in veel religies, ook in het oude Egypte, gezien als God die naar de onderwereld gaat en daar ‘s morgens weer uit oprijst.”

      “De lijn is dat alle volken nationale versies maakten van deze oermythe. Ik onderschrijf de theorie dat in Alexandrië, ooit een belangrijke havenstad, de joodse versie van die oude mythe is ontstaan. Uiteindelijk is het christendom meegenomen door Alexandrijnse joden die moesten vluchten. Zo kwam het bij de apostel Paulus in de havenplaats Tarsis terecht. Paulus heeft zijn brieven eerder geschreven dan de evangeliën zijn ontstaan. Bij hem komt de historische Jezus nooit voor. Lees maar na. Jezus is bij hem een mythologische figuur.”

      How do we see this myth as found in Christianity?

      “The core of the myth of Osiris, the dying god who rises from the dead. Kern is also the deity who became man and was born without the intervention of a man. Incidentally, I believe that the myth of the dying and rising again going on an even much older archetype: the sun goes down and comes back every morning This is in many religions, even in ancient Egypt, seen as God goes to the underworld and there mornings from rising again. “.

      “The line is that all nations made national versions of this oermythe. I subscribe to the theory that in Alexandria, once an important port city, the Jewish version of that old myth arose. Eventually Christianity brought by Alexandrian Jews who had to flee. So when the Apostle Paul came into the port Tarshish justified. Paul his letters written before the Gospels were formed. With him is never the historical Jesus. Read it after. Jesus is a mythological figure to him. “

      Hoe bewijst dit dat de historische Jezus niet heeft bestaan?

      “Het evangelie heeft een mythische oorsprong, dus ook Jezus is een mythisch figuur. Daarbij: in bronnen buiten de Bijbel uit de tijd van Jezus komt hij niet voor. Dat is vreemd, want er wordt altijd gezegd dat hij zo’n enorme indruk heeft gemaakt. Het Johannesevangelie wordt historisch niet serieus genomen. Dat is uit het jaar honderd of later. Matteüs en Lucas hebben Marcus overgeschreven. Marcus is de enige bron voor de historische Jezus. Dat evangelie is waarschijnlijk in Alexandrië ontstaan, waar vroege christenen beïnvloed waren door de Egyptische mythes.”

      What this proves that the historical Jesus never existed ?

      ” The gospel has a mythical origin, hence Jesus is a mythical figure doing : . In sources outside the Bible from the time of Jesus , he does not appear This is strange , because there is always said that he has such a huge impression. made . the gospel of John is historically not taken seriously. That is out of the hundred or later. Matthew and Luke have written about Marcus . Marcus is the only source for the historical Jesus. That gospel probably originated in Alexandria, where early Christians were influenced by Egyptian myths. “

      Hoe was uw reactie toen u dat las?

      “Ik was eerst geschokt. Het was een open zoektocht waarvan ik de uitkomst ook niet wist. Ik weet nog dat ik op de bank zat en tegen mijn vrouw zei: ‘Wat ik nu toch lees. De historische Jezus heeft nooit bestaan’. Mijn vrouw zag de ellende al komen: ‘Wat krijgen we nou weer’, zei ze.”

      What was your reaction when you read that ?

      “I was shocked at first it was an open search which I also did not know the outcome , I remember that I sat on the couch and told my wife : . . . .” What I still read the historical Jesus never existed “My woman saw the misery already come : ” What is that again ,” she said . “

      Waardoor was u geschokt?

      “Het was niet eens zozeer de zekerheid die wegviel. Ik zat al op de lijn van de Amsterdamse school, een stroming in de theologie waartoe iemand als Nico ter Linden ook behoort. Zij zeggen dat de verhalen in de Bijbel niet echt zijn gebeurd, maar wel waar zijn. Het was een soort intuïtie die werd bevestigd, dat was de schok.”

      What made you shocked?

      “It was not so much the security was lost. I was already on the line of the Amsterdam School , a school of theology which someone like Nico ter Linden also belongs. They say that the stories in the Bible are not really happened, but be true. It was a kind of intuition that it was confirmed that it was the shock. “

      Wat deed u toen?

      “Ik zocht verder. Als Jezus niet heeft bestaan en je blijft toch doen alsof, dan loop je jezelf steeds in de weg als predikant. Want mensen hebben toch een historische figuur voor ogen die allerlei kunstjes doet. Ik hecht aan goede exegese, goede bijbeluitleg. Stel dat het zo is dat het evangelie een mythe is, is het dan goede bijbeluitleg als je doet alsof het allemaal echt gebeurd is? Je doet toch ook niet alsof Roodkapje een historisch verhaal is?”

      What did you do?

      “I was looking on. If Jesus did not exist, and you continue to pretend , you run yourself getting in the way as a preacher. Because people still have a historical figure in mind who does all kinds of tricks . I value good exegesis , good exegesis . Suppose it is true that the gospel is a myth , is it good exegesis if you pretend it’s all really happen? surely you do not like Little Red Riding Hood is a historical story? “

      Helpt u daarmee uw eigen geloof niet om zeep?

      “Op het eerste gezicht wel, maar uiteindelijk is mijn geloof juist rijker geworden. Ik kan alle belijdenisgeschriften onderschrijven – de historische Jezus heeft dan niet bestaan, de bijbelse Jezus is gestorven en opgestaan. Het gaat erom dat je ontdekt dat Christus in jezelf bestaat. Het is niet makkelijk om dat te begrijpen, ook voor mezelf niet. Maar volgens mij ben ik uitgekomen in het hart van het christelijke geloof.”

      Helps you showcase your own faith not to soap ?

      “At first sight , but in the end my faith became just richer I can endorse all confessions – . The historical Jesus or not , the biblical Jesus died and rose again , the point is to discover that Christ exists in yourself. . it is not easy to understand , not even for myself. But I think I came out in the heart of the Christian faith. “

      Het is niet makkelijk te begrijpen, zegt u. Kunt u het toch uitleggen?

      “In al wat leeft zit levenskracht. Een goddelijke vonk. Ook in dieren, alleen zijn die zich daar niet van bewust. Die vonk moet je ontdekken. Ik heb die via het christendom leren kennen, omdat ik daar helemaal in opgegroeid ben. Als ik moslim of boeddhist was met dezelfde open benadering, dan zou de goddelijk vonk een andere vorm aannemen.”

      It is not easy to understand , you say. Can you explain it?

      ” In all of life is life . A divine spark. In animals, only if they were not aware of it. That spark to discover you . I have come to know through Christianity, because I grew up there all the way . If I Muslim or Buddhist was the same open approach , the divine spark would take a different form. “

      U krijgt veel kritiek op uw opvattingen.

      “Ik begrijp een kerkbestuurder wel die zegt: het hart van het geloof is het geding. Zo iemand moet piketpaaltjes slaan als het belijden volgens hen wordt bedreigd. Toch zou ik dan willen vragen: hangt het hart van het christelijke geloof af van de historiciteit van Jezus? En waar leg je dan je grenzen? Is de opstanding wel echt, de wonderen niet?”

      You get a lot of criticism on your beliefs.

      “I understand a Church leader or that says the heart of faith is at stake So someone must strike pickets if the confession is endangering them Nevertheless, I would like to ask: . . The heart of the Christian faith depends on the historicity of Jesus? And where do you put your limits? Is the resurrection really , the miracles ? “

      De behoudende Gereformeerde Bond heeft het over ‘tucht’.

      “Dat vind ik dieptreurig. Op het moment dat je in termen van tucht gaat praten zeg je: ‘ík heb gelijk en iedereen met een andere opvatting: de kop eraf’.”

      The conservative Reformed Alliance talks about ‘ discipline’ .

      “I find that very sad The moment you start talking in terms of discipline you say .” I’m right and anyone with a different opinion : the head off . ‘”

      Begrijpt u de kritiek?

      “Uit pastoraal oogpunt begrijp ik de reacties wel. Er zijn mensen die denken dat hun geloof wegvalt als de historische Jezus er niet meer is. Veel gelovigen zijn hypergevoelig voor alles wat de eigen zekerheden aantast. Zelfs als dat gebeurt naar aanleiding van een integere zoektocht op basis van argumenten. Ik wil me we qua grootte niet op het niveau van mannen als Cees den Heyer, Harry Kuitert en Nico ter Linden stellen, maar bij hen zag je dezelfde tegenstand. Ik ben niet uit op discussie, maar ik ga het ook niet uit de weg. Ik denk dat gelovigen een beetje volwassen moeten worden.”

      Do you understand the criticism?

      “Out of pastoral standpoint I understand the comments though. There are people who think their faith falls away as the historical Jesus is no longer there . Many believers are hypersensitive to anything which damages its own security. Even if that happens as a result of an honest quest based arguments. I want us sizing at the level of men and Cees den Heyer , Harry Kuitert and Nico to make Linden, but with them you saw the same opposition. I’m not looking for discussion, but I ‘m going to not out of the way . I think that believers should be a little adult . “

      Omstreden dominees
      Edward van der Kaaij is niet eerste die in de recente geschiedenis van de Protestantse Kerk in Nederland ophef veroorzaakt met het uitspreken van bepaalde denkbeelden. De Zeeuwse predikant Klaas Hendrikse schreef in 2007 het boek ‘Geloven in een God die niet bestaat’. Daarin beweert hij dat God niet ‘bestaat’ maar ‘gebeurt’ in het contact tussen mensen. “Goddeloos”, noemde de behoudende flank van de protestantse kerk het boek. Een poging om Hendrikse uit zijn ambt te zetten, mislukte.

      In 2009 riep de Groningse predikante Fennie Kruize in haar boek ‘Goddelijke Vrijheid’ de protestantse kerk op de redding ook eens buiten Jezus te zoeken. Zij pleitte voor meer esoterie in de kerk en zei dat zij voor wicca en reïncarnatie voelde. Dat werd haar niet in dank afgenomen. Vanaf 2011 mocht zij de kansel in haar gemeente in Hoogezand-Sappermeer niet meer betreden.

      controversial pastors

      Edward van der Kaaij is not first in the recent history of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands fuss caused by expressing certain ideas . In 2007, the Zeeland preacher Klaas Hendrikse wrote the book ” Believing in a God who does not exist .” In it he claims that God “exists” only “happens” in the contact between people. “Godless ” , called the conservative wing of the Protestant church the book. An attempt to put Hendrikse from office, failed .

      In 2009, the Groningen clergywoman Fennie Spearmint cried in her book ‘ Divine Freedom ” the Protestant church in the rescue also agreed to seek out Jesus. She called for more esotericism in the church and said that she felt for wicca and reincarnation. That was not thanked her . From 2011, she was the pulpit in her municipality Hoogezand – Sappermeer not enter .

      Edward van der Kaaij: “Hangt het hart van het christelijke geloof af van de historiciteit van Jezus?”

      Edward van der Kaaij , “Does the heart of the Christian faith on the historicity of Jesus?”

      That last quotation sounds a lot like Albert Schweitzer. (Schweitzer was not a mythicist, of course, but he did seem to have a much healthier perspective on where the historicity of Jesus should fit within the religion of Christianity.

  8. I got curious about Van der Kaaij’s actual credentials now, so I tried to get a proper bio or profile on Van der Kaaij, but that was harder then expected. Only got this mildly helpful blurb on his church’s “pastors” page.


    All I can glean from it is that, after he studied law, he combined a theology study with working as a law teacher at two different business college type institutions for 13 years. The “ds.” in front of his name in some places is a religious title, not denoting any kind of scholarly achievement.

    He apparently studied theology through the last bit of the sixties and all of the seventies at some Dutch university. No place is named, no mention of actually finishing either study (law or theology), so i’m inclined to think he never finished either. He produced a prayer book in 1997.

    1. I think a predictably critical comment at http://dewaarheidsvriend.nl/blog/van-de-kansel-geweerd informs readers he is the typically trained pastor. What I find logically curious is the claim that the pastor’s beliefs make no difference to the content of his sermons yet he still must be banned. Belief in a past historical Jesus is more important than a belief in God — I read somewhere atheist pastors are allowed to preach. Religion!

      Recall Bart Ehrman’s comment in How Jesus Became God on the gulf between what preachers really know and what they actually teach their congregations:

      The first is, “If this is the view widely held among scholars, why have I never heard it before?” I’m afraid that this question has an easy but troubling answer . In most instances the view of Jesus that I have is similar to that taught— with variations here or there, of course—to ministerial candidates in the mainline denominational seminaries (Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopalian, and so on). So why have their parishioners never heard it before? Because their pastors haven’t told them. And why haven’t their pastors told them? I don’t know for sure, but from my conversations with former seminarians, I think that many pastors don’t want to make waves; or they don’t think their congregations are “ ready” to hear what scholars are saying; or they don’t think that their congregations want to hear it. So they don’t tell them.

      Ehrman, Bart D. (2014-03-25). How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (p. 130). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

      1. Great quote. Great response when they accuse mythicism of conspiracy theories. Here it does seem the common man so called, is not being allowed to hear the fuller truth. As if the Great White Lie theory of religion was correct.

      2. There are issues of both common-sense and integrity here. If I were a preacher given a book on the origins of Christianity in Egypt, I would have asked what other experts in the field thought about it, checking it for accuracy and logic. If I were a preacher who after (such) serious consideration, no longer believed that Christ, or even God, was real in any objective sense, I would feel obliged to leave the ministry, or at any rate completely square with the collection-plate people in the pews. The previous vicar in our local Anglican parish church was a “non-theist” who regarded the NT as largely incredible (he had read Crossan and Ludemann) and yet, despite his agnosticism about immortality, still ran the funeral service promising the bereaved relatives the “sure and certain hope” of resurrection from the dead. I suppose this was a bit better than the clergyman that buried my mother who, when asked if I would ever see my religious father or non-believing mother again, said he didn’t hold out much hope for my dear mum, whose apparent fate of perpetual torture in hell was not then subject to discussion, because of a more important phone call he was having – I am not making this up – about repairs to the church roof.

  9. In the last paragraph it says that even though people are not up in arms about his sermons, Van der Kaaij’s ideas fundamentally alter the confession of the church, because the “annoyance” of the gospel – that the glory of God is only available to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – has been cut out. Therefore the decision of Van der Kaaij’s church is sad, but just.

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