The Jesus Papers

by Alpheta 17 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Alpheta

    Readers here may find this of interest, from the BAR Companion (Biblical Archaeological Review) I received in email today (I'm a subscriber to the magazine). It is a "preview" of a review of a new book.

    Jesus’ Confession: I Am Not the Physical Son of God

    The Jesus Papers
    Michael Baigent
    (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006)

    Reviewed by Hershel Shanks

    Finally, after 2,000 years, we have Jesus’ own admission that he is not the physical son of God. He actually recognizes that fact in writing. The revelation comes in a new book by dragon-slayer Michael Baigent, who in 1982 co-authored the best-selling Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which explained how Jesus survived the crucifixion, married Mary Magdalene and ultimately moved to France, where they had a family.

    Baigent says he actually saw the papyrus letters in which Jesus admits that he is not the physical son of God: “These were the Jesus papers,” he tells us in his new book, The Jesus Papers, “the letters from Jesus to the Sanhedrin. They existed. I had them in my hands.” Wow!

    Baigent refers to the man who owns the letters and allowed him to see them as “my friend,” but he does not tell us his name. Baigent came to him through his “contacts in the [antiquities] trade.” Baigent does tell us, however, where he saw the letters—in a large walk-in safe that was temperature- and humidity-controlled.

    The owner of the papyrus letters, a wealthy Israeli, had dug them up in the basement of his house in the Old City of Jerusalem, Baigent says. That is really quite remarkable because not the smallest bit of papyrus has ever been found, in more than 150 years of excavation in Jerusalem. The wet climate would cause papyrus quickly to disintegrate into nothingness. (Likewise ancient textiles, which have never been recovered in Jerusalem.) Yet these papyrus letters—9 by 18 inches!—apparently survived in excellent condition. Because they were so important, they were no doubt preserved in ancient Saran Wrap.

    Another piece of good fortune: The letters can be dated to “about A.D. 34.” Archaeological finds cannot usually be dated so precisely.

    The language of the letters is Aramaic. Baigent admits that he himself cannot read Aramaic. He does not tell us whether the owner of the letters can read Aramaic. But the owner did show the letters, which he found in 1961, to two famous Israeli archaeologists, Yigael Yadin and Nahman Avigad, both now conveniently dead. According to Baigent, Yadin and Avigad told the owner that the documents are “important.” Whether Yadin or Avigad (both of whom were expert epigraphists) translated the letters or any part of them for the owner, Baigent does not say. All we know is that they were judged “important.”

    The owner knew what the letters said, however, and he told Baigent:

    [The] two Aramaic letters [were] written to the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin ... This figure, the Messiah of the Children of Israel, was defending himself against a charge made by the Sanhedrin—he had obviously been accused of calling himself “son of God” and had been challenged to defend himself against this charge. In the first letter, the messiah explained that what he meant was not that he was “God” but that the “Spirit of God” was in him—not that he was physically the son of God, but rather that he was spiritually an adopted son of God. And he added that everyone who felt similarly filled with the “spirit” was also a “son of God.”

    These, then, are “The Jesus Papers,” exposing what the jacket refers to as “the greatest cover-up in history.” These are the letters that Baigent characterizes as “the smoking gun.” The jig is up: Christianity has been exposed!

    I fear that my review of the startling contents of this book will only help rocket The Jesus Papers to the best-seller list—even though what I have done is expose not only the foolishness of its central thesis, but the obvious lack of any conceivably reliable evidence regarding the papyrus letters. Michael Baigent, perhaps more than anyone, however, understands that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The London judge who dismissed his copyright suit (based on an alleged copyright violation of Holy Blood, Holy Grail) against Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, and his publisher Random House, excoriated Baigent for bringing the suit and socked him with an order to pay approximately $1 million of the defendants’ legal fees. Never mind. That’s just peanuts in the world of bestsellers. Was it just coincidence that at the height of the trial publicity Baigent came out with his new book, The Jesus Papers, or was it smart marketing? USA Today wanted to know. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a coincidence in publishing anymore,” replied the paperback publisher of The Da Vinci Code. His judgment is backed up by the fact that the original printing of The Jesus Papers was a whopping 150,000. And to top it off, Holy Blood, Holy Grail is back on the bestseller list. Baigent told the newspaper, however, that it was just a coincidence. “I’m not a publicity person,” he added. <end item>

    I have to confess, after reading this article I found myself wondering if the WTBTS could figure out a way to make money from this somehow. From what I've been reading at this forum, they seem pretty hard up for cash these days!


  • Satanus

    Sounds like another one of those pious frauds that pop up out of israel every yr or two. Gotta give the feathered christian flock something to sink their beaks into(w apologies to the perspicacious nonfundy christians).


  • Leolaia

    It's pretty laughable. It's not the first time tho; he had earlier fallen for the Prieuré de Sion forgeries.

  • badboy


  • Arthur

    I think that the story about NASA faking the moon landing is more credible than this. These "revelations" are the stock and trade of publications like the Weekly World News.

  • badboy

    Interestingly, In the Holy.HOLY GRAIL ,they used the Protocols of the Elders of ZION as evidence for a PRIORY OF ZION.

  • Satanus

    BAR magazine had quite a reputable facade, as far as biblical archeology went. I used to enjoy reading it. However, seeing how it has defended a few frauds, including the 'james ossuary', i would say, that at best, it's a fifty fifty affair for reliability. It's little gang of jews may even be acting as a merchendisers to the christian world of all things biblical and that can be passed off as biblical that are found in the ground in israel. BAR, their methods, their history needs to be looked into by investigative journalists, imo.


  • fullofdoubtnow

    There seems to be a lot of "coincidences" surrounding this book - the papyrus surviving in a climate where it normally disintegrates, the precise dating of it, the Israeli archaeologists who allegedly identified it being conveniently dead. It's obviously the product of Mr Baigents rather vivid imagination, but I expect it will be a best - seller., and there will probably be people out there who will accept it as gospel.

    Presumably it will be located in the fiction section of all leading bookstores.

  • badboy



  • Dansk
    excoriated Baigent for bringing the suit and socked him with an order to pay approximately $1 million of the defendants’ legal fees.

    No wonder he wrote another book!

    As there is no contemporary evidence for Jesus' existence and nothing was written down about him till at least 40 years after he supposedly walked the earth and performed his miracles I don't see the point of this latest garbage. Oh, sorry, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$


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