Post from Notori.co.uk.
In the discussion group "The Bible is not the Word of God", a post was made with regard to the literature inside MML&J: which claimed: "It is historically factual. It is an eyewitness of Jesus' life and you cannot prove it isn't true".
I thought that this might be a good start point for a new discussion which questions the content of MML&J and the historicity of the Jesus character itself. I kick the discussion off with the response I gave to the claim that MML&J are eyewitness accounts:
I fervently disagree; we can prove it is categorically not true, and that the Jesus character is not even exaggerated legend, but that the character is complete fabrication. To begin with, conversely, we certainly cannot prove it is an eyewitness account of the life and death of a Jesus character; and, surviving ancient literature does exist which proves the MML&J stories to be reworked and enhanced versions of earlier ancient `Jesus' myth, not biographies. Please note I am claiming `Jesus' myth specifically not Osiris or Mithras, although these gods do form part of the same genre.
Before talking about the ancient literature, I will first point out a few items that should lead us to conclude we are indeed reading a story inside MML&J, not a historic biography.
Consider: Pilate's wife whispers a comment about Jesus into Pilate's ear while standing inside Pilate's palace; and we are told exactly what Pilate's wife said. How does the biographer now this?
Judas goes back to the temple and throws the 30 pieces of silver across the temple floor and has a discourse with the priests, he then leaves the temple and commits suicide. We are told the exact dialogue which took place. How can the biographer know this event even took place, let alone the dialogue?
The books of MML&J are riddled with such items, items a biographer cannot possibly know, and would not therefore be included in an "eyewitness" account of a person's life and death. An author writing a story however suffers no such restrictions and can create any scene, or as many concurrent scenes as they like, and give all of their characters what ever dialogue they choose to; which is indeed what we find within the pages of MML&J. The reverse construction of fulfilled Old Testament prophesies should also lead rational views toward the construct of a popular 'chosen one' story, as opposed to a biography.
Now for the ancient literature referred to earlier:
The First Epistle of Clement, which is currently incorrectly dated to 96 CE - and for good underhand reasons - when read critically reveals itself to be written some unknown timeframe before 70 CE at the very least. It talks in the present tense of worshiping and giving sacrifice in the temple of Jerusalem, and must therefore be pre 70 CE at the latest. Then it alludes to the fact that the Christian group writing the letter, and the Christian group receiving the letter have both been in existence for at least two generations. This places a Group known as Christians in both Rome and Corinth pre 30 CE, pre MML&J crucifixion scene!
The Epistle of Barnabas is dated, by the Church no less, to between 70 CE and 130 CE, but again, when read critically and properly, not devotionally, it clearly dates pre Roman Empire, circa 600 to 500 BCE, because it speaks of the temple in Jerusalem being reconstructed after a recent destruction. Other remarks in the text reveal a pre 70 CE authorship. The text cannot therefore be speaking of the 70 CE destruction, and must be speaking of the 586 BCE destruction and the circa 516 BCE reconstruction (this claim should cause some response in itself, and I stand ready for the flack).
Both the First Epistle of Clement and the Epistle of Barnabas, make absolute and positive references to, but in an allegorical sense only, the death and resurrection of a god called 'Jesus'; but they make no mention of any of the "biographical account" of a literal Jesus contained in the post 70 CE books of MML&J.
So, if the story of an allegorical dying and resurrecting god child called "Jesus" was circulating both decades and centuries before the alleged 30 CE crucifixion scene of the post 70 CE books of MML&J; then, MML&J cannot possibly be biographies! They can only be reworked plagiarisms of ancient myth.
Also, there is no pre 70CE literature which makes reference to the post 70 CE version of the MML&J literal Jesus story. All pre 70 CE literature speaks only of a spiritual death and resurrection. This includes all of Paul's circa 50 CE epistles.