I venture to include in this narrative an ongoing commentary on why what I am writing differs radically from the texts on which it is based.
Accounts of Jesus were written AFTER he was killed.
The period of existence I am writing about took place before the authors of the gospels arrived at their story.
The New Testament gospels were written late in the first century, at the earliest.
The Biblical texts were selected as the most reliable of many, some of which were clearly apocryphal.
Sadly, all are. The gospels are all based on iterations of Jesus that emerged from their sense of his death and resurrection. This informs the experience of the early church and the interpretations of Paul and other authors of the letters published in the New Testament.
The earliest New Testament texts known are letters of Paul. They started appearing the middle of the first century.
Paul does not refer to a life of Jesus because there was none.
He is writing to churches already struggling with creeds, where Jesus is described as the only Son of God almighty, born of a virgin, Mary, crucified, dead, rose from the dead, etc.
Mark, probably the earliest accepted gospel, appeared well after the primitive messianic creeds were out.
Truth about Jesus in the Bible conforms with beliefs based on a religion developed without reference to Jesus as he most likely was.
My current work builds on Renan and Schweitzer and the careful suppositions of recent scholars.
If truth about Jesus is to be found, it must be inferred from elements in the gospel texts, set against presuppositions of the Christian religion that was forming.
Jesus was probably born and raised in Nazareth. Mary and Joseph were his likely parents. But, he was not born in Bethlehem in a manger. He did not spring from the womb of a virgin. There were no Wise Men. No shepherds were tending their flocks. No Wise Men appeared. None of the efforts to show Jesus as the Son of David have basis in fact.
Gospel suppositions are largely creedal statements and beliefs.
By a stroke of luck, we have within the texts, remembered sayings and incidents about Jesus that have a ring of authenticity, of historicity.
One epochal example:
Jesus’ mention of Abba. It literally slips in, in an account of how the disciples are meant to pray.
It is completely in bounds to infer that, from this suggestion, an entire alternative to the received narrative can be constructed.
The real Jesus was likely a teacher and healer. He was probably conversing with Abba from an early age. He was not the character noted in the creeds.
The creeds are messianic spin based on the rejection of the universal elements Jesus most probably had in mind. These can be inferred from the ethic in his sayings and in notions of a good deity in the parables.
We must extract the real Jesus from the mélange that is the received gospel.
Which sense of Jesus is more accurate?
Is Jesus is more reasonably suggested in these Adventures or in the creedal stories. Do not judge quite yet. You will find as the Adventures narrative unfolds that Jesus dis convey to his followers his sense of union with Abba and make that union available to all who believed. And you will find that touch plays a central role and indeed that healing, a practice which he spread, was little more than what anyone can accomplish, not with fanfare and special claims, but with the touch of a hand.
Jesus was unified with Abba.
He regarded himself as such, even when he was baptized.
But did the sky open with a sepulchral voice declaring Jesus the son of god?
If my surmises about Jesus and Abba are correct, Jesus would have opposed both John the provocateur and provocations of heroic martyrdom in the early church.
He would have stood against allying with violence of any sort.
He would deny that he said any of the vengeful things attributed to him in the gospels.
Jesus remains the key figure of all history. He is the abolisher of religion and the voice of a leaderless spiritual revolution based on a simple and realistic lifestyle that assumes both fallibility and possibility in every person, a spectrum, not a divisive categorization.
The Christianity created by Paul and the early churches will fade as the universal spirituality of Jesus takes root.
Jesus is about the heavening of earth. His time is now. Churches that proceed on such an understanding will be the future of life beyond Christianity.