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The most wonderful time of the year

I randomly came across this on youtube, and I thought it might give you a giggle.

Now Megyn isn’t unattractive and her heart’s probably in the right place. Sadly her head seems to be an unwilling travel companion to put it mildly.

Jesus it turns out, was in fact ~ white (?)

Now you don’t need to be much of a biblical scholar to know that the story is born in Bethlehem to a family of Jews. So olive skin coloured at best and possibly quite dark given the outdoor life people led in the bronze age.

Also ‘verifiable’ in historical terms, means multi-sourced. I will defer to readers on this one, but as far as I know, Jesus was only referenced in the bible. Now this does not mean he did not exist as a historical figure, but it doesn’t mean he was verified or proven to have existed either.

That said, Pilate the roman prefect is multi-sourced. Archaeologists came across the Pilate stone in 1961.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilate_Stone

This is partial corroboration of the story (by getting the detail right) but it does not record Jesus per se. (No reason to expect it would of course, if the Romans ever kept records of executions they have been long since lost).

You may have also enjoyed the story of the vicar who got himself in trouble by declaring Santa Claus did not exist.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2522496/Vicar-tells-children-young-Santa-doesnt-exist.html

He claimed that speaking without notes got him in trouble. One would have thought that a traditional run through on of the gospels might have been safer ground. I found myself wondering if he was speaking in code? Could he perhaps be one of these guys who no longer believes but is just hanging on for the pension? Or do the cynics amongst us think it was too much festive cheer?

36 Comments

  1. NickM says:

    Whilst I like the post and it makes good points Jesus was born in the iron age.

    I have met a number of vicars whose lack of belief makes me look like Ma Teresa. Pme of them once opined that it must be a “Wonderful thing to have faith”. A few years later he was rusticated to somewhere in the middle of nowhere (rural Northumberland) for having one hand in the till and another up a parishioner’s skirt. He got divorced because of the latter and also because his wife had been conducting a lesbian affair for some time. As an agnostic I have never known such japery. And I won’t even mention the theology party I attended at Durham University once. They were all in full evening-wear and were blatent sodomites. The smell of amyl nitrate was so over-powering I went for a kebab. Not unpatriotic mind. They sang “Rule Britannia” in full chorus. I have seen curious things and then, usually, gone for a kebab.

    Having said that… The vicar I mentioned was a damn fine fund-raiser and had got a new roof on the church and had the walls sand-blasted. It looked great. He didn’t believe in God but I think that is optional in the modern church. He was also in the TA and was mightily pissed-off not to be called up as a padre for the Falklands. He was very “Praise the Lord (who doesn’t exist) and pass the ammunition”.

  2. Errr Father Christmas is not Jesus.

    Father Christmas is a combination of Saint Nickolas (a Roman citizen who spoke Greek who lived in Asia Minor) and traditional Northern European Father Frost type figures.

    A dark man who tried to live in Northern Europe before the modern age would have got rickets (and so on) from vitamin D. deficiency – and died (do not tell the BBC – it would mess up their policy of putting a black person in every show, even ones supposedly set in the time of King Arthur).

    As for the Middle East – well the invading Arabs called the people they conquered in Syria and so on “pale” or “white”.

    But what did they know?

    After all the invading Arabs did not have any university degrees.

    Of course the Arabs themselves are thought of as white in Africa – and are very racist about it.

    So I suppose it is a matter of comparison.

    If one took someone from Judea (although Nazareth is actually to the north of Judea) and took them to the land of the Norse they would be thought of as dark.

    Take them to Arabia and they would be thought “pale” or “white”.

    When I go to modern Israel I am thought of as pale – especially my blue eyes (which enable to see at night – but make it hard for me to see in the bright sunshine of the day).

    When I go to Ulster I am thought of as dark.

    After all I do not even burn like a torch when the sun peeps out from behind the clouds.

    I suspect a Vampire would pass unnoticed in Ulster.

  3. CountingCats says:

    I got to say, when I first arrived in the UK I had never seen so many white people in all my life. I don’t mean Caucasian, I mean people who looked as if they had never had a tan in their entire lives. Fish belly white.

  4. CountingCats says:

    Hey, I read that article a couple of days ago. Truly, she suggests that in order to remove any racial element from Santa he be a penguin. Red suit, boots, hat, all the same, but no beard and a penguin.

    Ok, Jesus was white, Caucasian. That doesn’t stop different peoples all around the world portraying him in their own ethnic style. Brown skin, epicanthic folds – do I care? If it helps with their faith, good on em. They are made in Gods image, so it is reasonable that they present Him in theirs.

    As to Santa, well, slightly different. Again I guess I don’t really care, but the logic is slightly different. There is no spiritual element to Santa Claus. There is to Saint Nicholas, but not to Santa. He is European and lives at the North Pole.

  5. John Galt says:

    What do you expect, the Merry old land of Aus is a bit warmer than the vast majority of the UK where the sun turning up 3-days in succession without intermittent hail, rain and plagues of locusts is a cause for national jubilation.

    It has been suggested that the lack of vitamin D from sunshine is why Northern England / Scotland has such a disproportionately high number of cases of MS, because the sun breaks through the clouds so infrequently that the locals don’t get enough sunshine to live.

    Whoever said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”* obviously never visited Hull on during one of their interminably wet Augusts.

    * = Certainly wasn’t Mark Twain

  6. John Galt says:

    By the way, if there was ever a historical Jesus, then I’m guessing that he would be pretty olive skinned, not white. Then again it depends who the father was…

  7. CountingCats says:

    I think it is a bit irrational to question the reality of Jesus’s existence. We have no records from him, or from those who knew him personally, but we got stuff from those who knew those who knew him. There is no reason to think they were all telling porkies. Occam’s razor and all that.

  8. NickM says:

    What we do have is a an obtuse ref from Josephus. Now that matters because he didn’t think Jesus that important. Essentially he didn’t have a dog in the fight but mentioned him in passing. That makes a lot of difference to me. NB. Madonna “Like a Prayer” has a black Jesus which is far from a new idea as Cats hints. Caused a shitstorm at the time though I was mainly looking at her tits.

  9. Kevin B says:

    For a cable news channel host, Megyn is not only good looking but incredibly smart as well. Certainly better on both counts than the loathsome Martin Bashir or the egregious Piers Morgan.

    As for the Santa controversy, I reckon asserting that he was black because Saint Nick’s home town is now in modern Turkey was pretty stupid.

    There’s been a bit of toing and froing, population wise, since those days.

  10. Roue le Jour says:

    OK, time for a schoolboy joke.

    See, it’s an interesting name, Jesus.

    We get it from the Romans and as we know, the “us” is just the nominative declension, not really part of the name, as in Markus, Lukus etc. We normally anglicize these names to Mark, Luke and so on.

    So Jes then.

    But the Roman got it from the Greeks and “es” means much the same, Eumenides, Euripides you get the picture.

    So, J.

    But “J” is a recent addition to the alphabet. It is the consonant form of “I”, which is why Ian is a form of John.

    Who is Jesus? I am.

  11. RAB says:

    I think Legiron had it right on his site, pointing out the irony of a representative of an invisible magical mystical entity, pronouncing that another invisible magical mystical entity did not exist.

  12. Julie near Chicago says:

    From the Foot of All Knowledge, on the historicity of Jesus:

    The historicity of Jesus concerns the analysis of historical evidence to determine if Jesus of Nazareth existed as a historical figure, and if any of the major milestones in his life as portrayed in the gospels can be confirmed as historical events…. The related study of the historical Jesus attempts to reconstruct portraits of his life and teachings, based on methods such as biblical criticism of gospel texts and the history of first century Judea.

    Historicity is the study of the historical actuality of persons and events, meaning the quality of being part of history as opposed to being a historical myth or legend, or of being part of prehistory.

    [ ... ]

    The question of the existence of Jesus as a historical figure is distinct from the study of the historical Jesus which goes beyond the analysis of his historicity….

    Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[1][3][4][9][10][11]

    [ ... ]

    There is also an article on “the historical Jesus”:

    The term Historical Jesus refers to scholarly reconstructions of the life of Jesus of Nazareth,[3][4][5] based on historical methods including critical analysis of gospel texts as the primary source for his biography, along with consideration of the historical and cultural context in which he lived.[3][4][6] These reconstructions accept that Jesus existed,[7][8][9][10] although scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well the accuracy of the accounts of his life, and the only two events subject to “almost universal assent” are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[11][12][13][14]

    [ ... ]

  13. Julie near Chicago says:

    In my opinion most people are mutts, and a good thing too.

  14. NickM says:

    Julie,
    I very much doubt anyone here thinks Jesus didn’t exist. Whether he was the son of God is another matter. He did mind achieve more in a short life than I have so far but what the ho! Although quite why two thousand years later I’m expected to buy prezzies from the Insanity Clause that is the Trafford Centre is beyond me. I currently look a bit like Jesus or at least like Donald Sutherland anyhow – actually more like the Dude (and He abides). I have no moral teachings mind (neither did The Dude). Consider the meek – fuck ‘em basically. I’m meek so you can piss off. Not Ethiopian meek mind but you know what I mean. I mean I might die in an RTA involving an Aston Martin but I’ll be the pedestrian.

    And if it is that cunt Clarkson there shall be a reckoning following.

  15. Mr Ed says:

    SAoT ‘… if the Romans ever kept records of executions they have been long since lost…’.

    If they kept such lists, it probably would have been a full-time job for an Imperial Slave or two, and if they had carved them on stone, they might have needed a Mount Rushmore sized quarry.

    There are plenty of Spaniards named ‘Jesus’.

  16. RAB says:

    I also thought that Jesus had brothers and sisters?

  17. Julie near Chicago says:

    Look. This is not hard! Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, in nice warm digs under the ice–like an igloo, only bigger and much more fun–and he and his elves and Mrs. Claus work hard all year round to prepare the contents of the sleigh for the big night.

    And of course keeping the sleigh itself, not to mention the eight reindeer, in jolly shape and good flying order also occupies a large, full-time staff.

    The only worry they have up there is that the friction from Mr. Bore’s wind turbines will so heat up the atmosphere that all the Arctic ice will melt.

  18. John Galt says:

    “I very much doubt anyone here thinks Jesus didn’t exist.”

    Speak for yourself Nick old boy, but I’ve seen no convincing evidence as to the historical existence of Jesus. I accept there is some circumstantial evidence and that the period of the time may have contributed to his disappearance from the historical record, but all the circumstantial evidence in the world don’t amount to a hill-o-beans.

    Even the historical sources that you claim, specifically Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews are written about 60-years after his alleged crucifixion and before Josephus was believed to have been born (~37 AD versus an approximate date of crucifixion of ~33 AD)

    I would also point out that the versions of Antiquities of the Jews that exist are all copies from Christian sources, even the one in Arabic and therefore while they may be independent non-biblical sources, they are not totally uncompromised.

    I’m not saying categorically that such a person as Jesus didn’t exist, just that my burden of proof is a bit higher than anything that still exists. Uncompromising of me I admit, but show me an original Roman record that says “Yeah, we crucified this Jesus bloke ‘cos the local Jewish ragheads said he was a bad ‘un” and I’ll probably be happy.

    @RAB:

    The bible mentions no sisters, but four brothers who are assumed to be younger brothers, named James, Jude, Simon and Joses (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). James is also referred to in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews having died ~ 69 AD.

  19. NickM says:

    Julie,
    North Pole you say? Try saying that in Lapland! Any way St Nick is a curious one. According to Gibbon he was a corrupt bacon salesman to the Roman Army in what is now Turkey. This is curious because if you buy a pizza from a Muslim owned takeaway the pepperoni is made from turkey not pig. I know, I asked at a Turkish owned establishment in Manchester. I have also been to Turkey and folks there are a right mixed bag but the natives could hardly be called “black” or, generally, even “olive”. Hell’s teeth my Celtic roots hail from Western China. Not a million miles from where the Turks started out. Although we all come from Africa anyway. I was conceived in Zambia BTW though am of Anglo/Norse/Celtic stock and have a Greek derived name. I got stick over it at school – Nicholas girls shouldn’t climb trees and all that. Anyway I am Nick (despite what the GnatWest thinks) and I like that it is a masculine form of Nike derived from Athina-Nike, the goddess of victory. And they make good shoes. We are all mutts anyway. I saw a TV show a few years back and they had a “white” SA geneticist presenting and at the climax he got his DNA done. They reckoned he was 90% NW European – no surprise there! and 10%… What you thinking? Zulu, Xhosa, Indian? Something that makes sense. Nah, Native American. There was no family records about this so there must be one hell of a story buried out there.

    And our modern image of Jesus is based on an idea from what is now Turkey and he does look like The Dude. If I pay $5 Dollars then as a registered cleric of Dudeism I’m actually allowed to legally marry folk in about 5 US states. Not here alas because we don’t have a First Amendment. Having said that neither can an imam. The Quakers can but we only have 25,000 of them. God knows how many Dudeists. But He Abides.

    I can’t stick turkey myself. I like the country, Istanbul is kick-ass, not the bird which is in any case American. Dry and just bland. Not that America is dry and bland. I like the USA too.

  20. CountingCats says:

    Josephus reference to Jesus, quite possibly, was inserted by a Christian some little time after the fact. That is a questionable source.

    My understanding is that Tacitus is the earliest written reference. Writing in 116 he referred to the fire of Rome in 64, and the attempt by Nero to blame the Christians. So, by 64 there were sufficient Christians in Rome for them to be noticeable, it was possible to officially differentiate between them and Jews, and it was only about 30+ years after the Crucifixion.

    Alternatively, Pliny, writing in 111, but referring to contemporary events, discusses his own treatment (persecution) of Christians. This is about 80 years following the crucifixion. He reports finding nothing but harmless practices and “depraved excessive superstition”.

    Sheesh, this from a Roman, a people who while almost atheist with respect to their own gods were as superstitious as they come.

    Anyway, no one has given me any good reason why Jesus would have been invented. Given the two major strands of Christianity, the Jewish strand centered in Jerusalem, and which was destroyed along with the city, and the Pauline strand, which had abandoned the claimed need for Jewish practice, which was the point of the conspiracy? Did the original Jewish instigators lose control when the master propagandist and PR man Paul converted? Or was he part of the conspiracy all along?

    If Pauline Christianity was the aim, why did the original Church fathers maintain the Jewish variety? And why the brouhaha when Paul dropped the requirement to follow Jewish law for gentiles who converted? If Paul was a true convert he would have known the people claiming to have known Jesus personally. Now Paul was a smart cookie, wouldn’t he have seen through the ruse? In fact, Saul, as he was, would have been around when Jesus was conducting his ministry, even if he never went to listen himself. They were contemporaries, and Saul was well plugged into the relevant networks. Are people really going to claim that Saul, during his persecutor phase, wouldn’t have used the non existence of Jesus as a weapon if he had had it to hand?

    Was Paul part of the conspiracy all along and just later went on his own way? If he was, wasn’t the stoning of Stephen just a tad over the top as a means of maintaining his credentials as an anti christian? Hell, what was his role anyway, why did the conspiracy even need him as a persecutor?

    Sorry, the ‘Jesus didn’t exist’ hypothesis makes it all far too complex. Anyway, this is just off the top of my head without doing any research. A bit of time reading would make the whole thing more complex yet. As I said, William of Occam’s shaving implement is the best tool to use here.

  21. NickM says:

    I just love the term “Pauline”. Makes think of Eastenders.

  22. Dioclese says:

    I always suspected that the intellectual capacity of the human race was declining rapidly, but that video just proves it.

    On the other hand they are Americans – and Americans have never had much of a clue about anything.

  23. CountingCats says:

    Apart from the things they turn their minds to look at, of course.

  24. John Galt says:

    Surely “Paulian” rather than “Pauline”, but I digress.

    For myself, Pliny and Tacitus are both good sources, but their evidence is little better than hearsay. By the time the Christians have become a large enough group to become an annoyance (Tacitus, Nero et al) the roots of their faith are already subject to the mythology of Jesus rather than the historical one and there is no record of either Pliny or Tacitus having come directly into contact with either Jesus or the apostles.

    So once again I would argue – weak.

    Ideally, such records would be contemporaneous to the events described (birth, incident at the temple, trial, crucifixion, etc) and 1st hand (e.g. report to Pontius Pilate from the Pharisees complaining of the teachings of Jesus, documentation on sentencing of jesus, documentation on crucifixions, etc.)

    Given the methodical nature of Roman bureaucracy, supported by the Greek scribes, these documentation would have existed if the historical Jesus did. It is a shame that none of them have ever been found.

  25. Mr Ed says:

    If Jesus didn’t exist, I’m stilll looking forward to turkey and brussels sprouts with salt, and a bit of bread sauce, you can keep the rest.

    It is curious and rather bureaucratic thinking to consider that a document stating something equates to proof of a matter, a bit like the saying ‘It’s official’. The root of ‘official’ is ‘office’, in the abstract sense.

    It either is, or was, or it isn’t or wasn’t. The evidence that something is or was, or the converse, is not simply made of documents, as we all know, but it seems that we don’t always apply that knowledge to a particular situation.

  26. John Galt says:

    Unfortunately since people don’t tend to hang around too long after a century, let alone twenty (give or take), I doubt we will get someone who can say “but I was there gov, I saw it all”, except of course the alleged messiah himself and I suspect that his return would probably have been on the news.

    A bigger question is why you think turkey and brussel sprouts have anything to do with Christmas?

    For Centuries it was traditional for UK families to eat goose or the head of a boar. However this changed in the 16th Century when the turkey was introduced to England.

    Trader William Strickland imported six turkey birds into England in 1526 from the Americas (though some sources say Spain) and sold them for tuppence each in RAB’s home town of Bristol.

    They soon became so popular because of their new unique taste and their succulent flavour that more were imported and bred. As the years passed it soon became so popular that it became the traditional English Christmas Meal dish, served with stuffing, cranberry sauce and bread sauce along with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts, peas and parsnips.

    So now you know…

  27. RAB says:

    Christianity… the conspiracy theory… gets popcorn, er… redskin peanuts.

    What ever it was, it had a powerful attraction to be spread so rapidly by the Word not the Sword, like Big Mo’s version. There were Christians in India long before Northern Europe, and I have seen the ruins of a 4th century christian church in Northern Cyprus, light years away from anything we have in Britain.

    Turkey. Love the country, loathe the meat “succulent flavour” ? give me a break, it’s dry as dust and pretty damned tasteless.

    I blame Boootiful Bernard Matthews myself. My dad was a master butcher in the 50′s and we didn’t sell much chicken even in the shop. But in those days it was mainly chicken that most families went for for their Xmas Lunch, but rarely at other times of the year. Then the battery farms turned up and Bernard with his Norfolk butterballs (60% water and a knob of Marge probably) and took over the market.

    We have are having a haunch of Venison this year.

  28. John Galt says:

    Not to put you on the point RAB, but since you were growing up post-war, wouldn’t the “everybody ate chicken” thing be more a scarcity of anything else rather than tradition?

    I agree with you about Bernard Matthews and the “succulence” of turkey meat, but didn’t rationing prevent a return to the traditional goose?

    BTW, we’re having roast pork this year – yummy!

  29. RAB says:

    Well rationing and the slow recovery from it had a lot to do with it I suppose, but the Bird that Scrooge buys for the Cratchett’s is a monster Turkey. So perhaps they were becoming fashionable/de rigeur in the 1840′s even.

    My family usually had Goose, but then most of them were farmers and grew their own as it were ;-) Pork is good. Crisp up that crackling! Lacerate the skin and rub in the salt.

  30. John Galt says:

    True, the bird bought after the redemption of Scrooge is a turkey, Yet in the visit of the Ghost of Christmas Present, the Cratchit’s had a goose, which despite being a small bird they drummed home from the bakers where it had been cooked (page 58 in my edition)

  31. Mr Ed says:

    JG I won’t eat Goose because I like Geese, they are intelligent birds, I once had a semi-pet greylag in Lincolnshire, it recognised me and would salute me as I approached with a mighty honk before getting a handful of grain, and there is too much stupidty in the World for some intelligence not to be preserved and cherished, ducks receive similar consideration. Altough pigs are very intelligent, free-range bacon is too delightful for my considerations to prevail.

    The Portuguese word for the bird ‘turkey’ is ‘Perû’, but they had the relatively local knowledge.

    Why turkey and sprouts at Xmas? It’s all I’ve ever known, and Vitamin K in sprouts is always handy, particlarly if you are on antibiotiics (just a tip, I avoid when I can). Cranberry sauce is, I confess, rather good.

    In this rather good bbc programme, Adm Woodward RN (sadly decd.) recalls the luxury on a post-War submarine of tinned sausages and fruit juice whilst Attlee’s rationing terror still held sway.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/bigscreen/tv/episode/b03lb1fn/

  32. John Galt says:

    Goose is lovely, especially lightly seared foi gras, sorry geese, if you taste this heavenly then you’re gonna have to suffer. It’s been 20-years since I last had foi gras at Le Gavroche and I still remember it.

    Also Mr Ed “Altough pigs are very intelligent….” = “hmmm., bacon”. Nice consistency :-)

  33. Mr Ed says:

    JG I confess that duck is delicious, but my admiration for the Anatidae prevails, not without longing for some food technologist to produce an accurate substitute. I would console myself by eating stupidty, but I fear that socialists would taste horrible.

  34. John Galt says:

    If they ever create a realistic substitute for the taste and texture of foi gras, then by the end of that year I will weight 400lbs and have terminal diabetes.

    It would have to be rationed for the sake of the worlds health.

  35. NickM says:

    foi gras is a disgrace. And I say that as a meat-eater.

  36. Watchman says:

    Minor point of historical order here – a large number of kings (and Popes) who appear in the offical lists are actually only mentioned in one source much shorter than the Bible – I know of one case where a single coin is the whole evidence for a King of East Anglia, although I have heard rumour a second coin has been found… I don’t think anyone doubts (most of) their existence.

    And Jesus is not just mentioned in the Bible (the New Testament of which is four independent books (one of which does not reference the earlier three), and also a variety of other texts by at least four authors (Luke, Paul, John and whoever forged letters in Paul’s name), all of which mention Jesus) but also by a load of Gnostic texts (mostly fragmentary) and a collection of other Gospels which did not make the cut and seem to draw on independent traditions. So if he did not exist, Jesus sure left a load of evidence – albeit mostly quite late. To not exist and leave that much evidence, you’d have to be someone like Santa Clause – and there my entire argument may fall down…

    …although Saint Nicholas appears to have been a real person with a tendency to throw food down chimneys (well, he did it once, apparently – and as I’ve never seen this particular example of holy behaviour repeated in another text, it does strike me as probably a real tradition – although only mentioned in one independent text, to take us back to the starting point of this reply).

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