The Throwaway Chapter

You might be surprised to find out that the New Testament is a sequel to the Old Testament, an older book. You might also be surprised to know it comes from the Hebrew Bible – the Tanakh – which also contains the Torah.

Although it gets ridiculously complicated, the Old Testament is thought, by scholars, to have been written throughout centuries by hundreds of authors. Essentially becoming an anthology of stories passed through the minds (and perhaps overactive imaginations) of thousands of individuals across human history up until that point. These stories were selected and compiled in different ways in the Tanakh, and the multiple versions of the Bible, in order to promote their respective beliefs.

Who knows the multitude of Gods generations of authors were referring to before they were blanketed under one religion? I don’t and this is becoming increasingly convoluted and complex. To save from making wild assumptions to fit my theory, I’m going to leave this be for now. You’re welcome.

Previous Chapter – Jesus, Probably a Human

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Jesus, Probably a Human

Actually, it brings us to the anonymous people who wrote about Jesus. Even without reading it, I hope, we can draw one conclusion just by knowing what the Bible is. We know that the authors liked Jesus. A lot. They thought he was the best. There we have the basis of the idea that the life and beliefs of Jesus are a Socratic problem.

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Jesus was undoubtedly a revolutionary figure and one that inspired idealisation and fascination in new concepts. The claims of miracles might just be embellishments through a sort of Chinese whispers, or maybe they’re metaphors for the actions that demonstrated his miraculously caring nature. Did Jesus really heal the sick? Could it be that he just, instead, showed the poor and sick an unprecedented level of kindness and love? Did he walk on water? Or did he just simply walk the path that no other man could? If you never believed those miracles anyway, this will won’t be a revelation. But we can question more about the accounts of Jesus with the Socratic Problem in mind.

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Like if Plato felt compelled to use Socrates as a vehicle for his own musings, how can we be sure that these writers didn’t do something similar? By adding their complimentary ideas to the stories and philosophies of Jesus, they have potentially rewritten history so that it was their message that was preached by the incredibly well-loved but previously undocumented leader. Even believers may concede that their holy message has, at some point in its history, been altered to fit the purpose of the scribe or preacher. If this is the case, how do we know where Jesus’ thoughts end and the authors’ begin?

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To recap, the idea is:

Jesus lived. Jesus talked. Jesus influenced. Jesus died. Time passed.

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People talked.

People talked.

People talked.

Just like Plato on Socrates, a few thinkers built on Jesus’ ideals. They wrote the New Testament using Jesus as their mouthpiece. They painted Jesus as a great man. An ideal person. A divine being. This provided a perfectly respectable example for how Christians should behave and act. A perfect example of how their philosophy should be implemented.

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Previous Chapter – The Socratic Problem      Next Chapter – The Throwaway Chapter

     

The Socratic Problem

I’m not suggesting that Jesus and Socrates were the same person even if they did both have beards and wore sandals (compelling evidence, I know). Instead, let’s consider how both were remembered through what was written about them after their deaths.

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Socrates’ ideas survived through dialogues predominantly written by Plato, but also explored by Xenophon and Aristotle while the image of Jesus as a divine, selfless messiah was painted through the gospels of the New Testament, whose authorship are widely believed to be unknown. There we have our vital information: both men’s lives were recounted after their death by friends, or friends of friends.

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Plato was known to insert his own philosophies through his writing about Socrates, making it difficult to differentiate between the ideals of the two. Not only this, but we know that those who wrote about Socrates idealised him. They thought he was the best. And so we have the Socratic Problem; what information that we have about Socrates is really true? Did he reject payment for instilling his knowledge? Did he really calmly lecture his students about the nature of death before he sipped the poison he was condemned to drink? Because that’s fucking boss.

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This brings us to Jesus.

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Previous Chapter – Beard and Sandals      Next Chapter – Jesus, Probably a Human

Beard and Sandals

Over two thousand years ago, the residents of a great city had their fundamental beliefs profoundly challenged. A single contemplative mind devoted to spreading his message through carefully meditated words that reflected his intensely calm and divinely composed manner. By nature, the revolutionary ideas that inspired some, unnerved others. So although his devoted students took every opportunity to learn from him, more powerful forces were working to kill him.

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They soon succeeding in assuring the man’s death. The man never truly protests his fate but accepts it. Gently welcomes it. The man uses his last words to teach. Unfortunately, this man never scribed any of his ideas and thoughts. Nothing. He was busy thinking about how to be an ideal human being. How to reevaluate the things we thought we knew. Despite this, he left fuck all. LUCKILY, a few of his disciples had some incredible stories to tell about him.

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Now hopefully, through some written trickery, I’ve led you to believe I’m talking about a certain son of God. But what you just read is also the extensive biography of Socrates, the man considered the founder of Western philosophy.

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Next Chapter – The Socratic Problem