Ashoka and the West

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David

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Mar 29, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/29/99
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The great Indian ruler Ashoka sent Buddhist embassies to the West. I
know this newsgroup may not be the right place for this but I always
enjoy "what ifs". Ashoka and Ptolemy II of Egypt were contemporaries.
The latter founded the great library at Alexandria. Think how the West
would have changed (and I believe for the better) if Buddhist sutras
could have been translated into Greek. (Brought to Alexandria via one of
Ashoka's embassies and translated at the great library.) If Buddhism
could have "caught on" and spread in the West beginning in the third
century b.c.e. . Imagine Marcus Aurelius a Buddhist ruler!


mu...@aol.com

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
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David wrote:

> The great Indian ruler Ashoka sent Buddhist embassies to the West. I
> know this newsgroup may not be the right place for this but I always
> enjoy "what ifs". Ashoka and Ptolemy II of Egypt were contemporaries.
> The latter founded the great library at Alexandria. Think how the West
> would have changed (and I believe for the better) if Buddhist sutras
> could have been translated into Greek.

Some years ago I read that the great library at Alexandria, later burned
by a fanatical Christian woman, did contain a number of Buddhist texts.
I have no idea whether they had been translated into Greek.

Frankly, I don't think the introduction of Buddhist ideas into the
Hellenistic world would have made much difference to the evolution of
Western thought or behaviour. The Hellenistic world was filled with
thinkers who had ideas and practices very much like the Buddha's. They
were pretty well ignored, just as the Buddha was pretty well ignored in
Asia. (The beginning of the destruction of Buddhism in India was its
being turned into a state religion by the bloodthirsty conquistador
Ashoka. Dharma cannot survive religion for long.)

Thirteen years ago I attended a Buddhist conference at which many Asian
Buddhists met with American Buddhists. One of the Asian monks there said
he was very excited about Buddhism coming to America. He said "We Asians
have almost completely destroyed Buddhism by smothering it under Asian
folk superstitions. Perhaps Americans will keep Buddhism pure." I said I
hoped he was right, but then I felt obliged to assure him that we
Americans will also destroy Buddhism by smothering it in our own folk
superstitions. Just give us time.

Give the average human being a diamond, and he'll find a way to cover it
with mud. Fortunately, there are always a few rare individuals in every
culture who, given a lump of mud, can manage to find a diamond in it.

Mubul

Kirt Undercoffer

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
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In "The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma" by Red Pine, it's
mentioned that the Yung-ming temple in Loyang was
a headquarters for foreign monks. Some of the monks
were from Syria. This was before 534 CE.

Kirt

David wrote:
>
> The great Indian ruler Ashoka sent Buddhist embassies to the West. I
> know this newsgroup may not be the right place for this but I always
> enjoy "what ifs". Ashoka and Ptolemy II of Egypt were contemporaries.
> The latter founded the great library at Alexandria. Think how the West
> would have changed (and I believe for the better) if Buddhist sutras

> could have been translated into Greek...

ki...@worldnet.att.net

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
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To clarify, Yung-ming temple was finished
in 516 CE and burned down in 534 CE.

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

dharm...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
to
David wrote:

> The great Indian ruler Ashoka sent Buddhist embassies to the West. I
> know this newsgroup may not be the right place for this but I always
> enjoy "what ifs". Ashoka and Ptolemy II of Egypt were contemporaries.
> The latter founded the great library at Alexandria. Think how the West
> would have changed (and I believe for the better) if Buddhist sutras
> could have been translated into Greek...

The Great Greek ruler Alexander, star pupil of Aristotle, went to the
East, but died young before he was able to conquer the rest of the world.
Think how the East would have changed (and I believe for the better) if
the Greek wisdom of Plato and Aristotle and the pre-Socratics could have
been translated into Sanskrit...

--Dharmakaya Trollpa

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
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hi Dave,
i bet you would love this book!
The Original Jesus :
The Buddhist Sources of Christianity
(it is a bit polemical, but collects a lot of good reference info)
it may in fact be that Buddhist missionaries did in fact have a
tremendous impact on the West!

it is interesting that it is absolutely non-controversial
that there were in fact Buddhist missionaries in Alexandria
at the time of Jesus.

put that together with the legends of Jesus travelling to
Egypt as a youth (in Matthew), and the absence of childhood
information about him, with the probability that his biological
father was a Roman soldier (who might have travelled around),
and it makes for an interesting speculation! (for which i have
been repeatedly flamed already, so no one need bother :)

a key hypothesis of the book is that Jesus' teaching of
'you must hate your mother and father' (Luke 6:27) is *completely*
foreign to Judaism yet is practically a literal quote of a Buddhist doctrine.
the authors make this point in contradiction to the many cynics who love to
claim that Jesus' teachings are completely derivative from Judaism.

anyway, i have an excerpt from the book at:
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/gruberbk.txt

from: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1852306289/qid=922833712
The Original Jesus :
The Buddhist Sources of Christianity
by Holger Kersten (Contributor), Elmar R. Gruber
Our Price: $29.95

hardcover - 274 pages (March 1995)
element; ISBN: 1852306289 ;
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 519,280
Number of Reviews: 3


In article <23267-370...@newsd-152.iap.bryant.webtv.net>,


Ami...@webtv.net (David) wrote:
> The great Indian ruler Ashoka sent Buddhist embassies to the West. I
> know this newsgroup may not be the right place for this but I always
> enjoy "what ifs". Ashoka and Ptolemy II of Egypt were contemporaries.
> The latter founded the great library at Alexandria. Think how the West
> would have changed (and I believe for the better) if Buddhist sutras

> could have been translated into Greek. (Brought to Alexandria via one of
> Ashoka's embassies and translated at the great library.) If Buddhism
> could have "caught on" and spread in the West beginning in the third
> century b.c.e. . Imagine Marcus Aurelius a Buddhist ruler!
>

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------

William K.

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Mar 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/30/99
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Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
for his ideas?

William

Henry Chia (Ngawang Geleg)

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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Kirt Undercoffer wrote:
>
> In "The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma" by Red Pine, it's
> mentioned that the Yung-ming temple in Loyang was
> a headquarters for foreign monks. Some of the monks
> were from Syria. This was before 534 CE.
>
> Kirt

I have overheard a conversation where in ancient Greece, there was a
group Sangha members who practice a corrupted version of Buddhadharma. I
do not know how true it is. Anyone can provide any references for this
case too???

--
Yours in Dharma,
Henry Chia
(Ngawang Geleg)

email: ge...@pacific.net.sg
URL: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/4886/index.htm
<-: Ngawang Geleg's Buddhist Home Page :->

Valdiss Koodeen

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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Greetings,

Remember David - "things by themselves are of no meaning" and "it's PEOPLE what
gives a meaning to the things".

Thus - Newsgroup can be right and wrong place to look for answers - depending on
which people you are dealing with and how you deal with them. Things (and thus
also the NG) are the tools, no more no less. And by the way, YOU are creating
them.

Regards,

Valdiss Koodeen


David <Ami...@webtv.net> wrote in message
news:23267-370...@newsd-152.iap.bryant.webtv.net...

dharm...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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In article <7drkju$ce1$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
piet...@my-dejanews.com mindlessly babbled:

> hi Dave,
> i bet you would love this book!

> ...


> it is interesting that it is absolutely non-controversial
> that there were in fact Buddhist missionaries in Alexandria

> at the time of Jesus....put that together with the legends of


> Jesus travelling to Egypt as a youth (in Matthew), and the
> absence of childhood information about him

Fool! Must you grasp at every single New-Age cockamamey story?

The absense about childhood information has to do with the story
of Jesus's birth being added later, to fill out the story. No one
knows anything about where he was really born. It's like a movie
where you show a scene with Mary and Joseph and the Virgin Birth
metaphor and then you see a subtitle "Thirty years later" and you
go into the main part of the film. This Jesus travelling to Egypt
or India nonsense has no basis in fact whatsoever.

Once again, you are reading connections into things, Peachie-Pie,
and seeing your own imposed pattern on everything you look at, and
then turning around and crying "synchonicity!!!" or "perennial!!!"

> a key hypothesis of the book is that Jesus' teaching of
> 'you must hate your mother and father' (Luke 6:27) is *completely*
> foreign to Judaism yet is practically a literal quote of a Buddhist

Peachie, if you take little translated snips, you can find literal
quotes from the Bible in just about any rich source like the entire
collection of Buddhist sutras. That says nothing. Pure poppycock.

> and it makes for an interesting speculation! (for which i have
> been repeatedly flamed already, so no one need bother :)

Not nearly enough, apparantly. Not very interesting at all.
Been reading "Chariots of the Gods" again? Or more La Di Da?

And William comments:

Yeah: what do you have to say about that, Peach-Pit?

--Dharmakaya Trollpa

David Yeung

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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Hi,

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> a key hypothesis of the book is that Jesus' teaching of
> 'you must hate your mother and father' (Luke 6:27) is *completely*

This sounds very un-Buddhist to me. Can you provide a reference?

The Buddha taught detachment from the family, and then only for
monks/nuns... I'm not aware of his having preached "hatred" against
one's family!!!

> foreign to Judaism yet is practically a literal quote of a Buddhist doctrine.
> the authors make this point in contradiction to the many cynics who love to
> claim that Jesus' teachings are completely derivative from Judaism.

Well... Judaism absorbed many things from many cultures.

--
David Yeung

mu...@aol.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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"William K." wrote:

> Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
> of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
> supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
> for his ideas?

When it comes to a conflict between what people want to believe and what
it is reasonable to believe, reason rarely wins over wish.

Let the children play historian, William. Let them have their yogic
Jesus, their Buddhist Roman emperor, their peaceful Asian religion that
has never spilled a drop of blood in the name of truth and has never
condoned the subjugation of one man by another. (We need not speak of
the shameful subjugation of women here, for that would rudely spoil
their fun.)

Let the children also play scientist. Let them dream of sentient photons
and wise and compassionate quarks and mystically unified fields and a
Theory of Everything that just happens to be exactly the same as
Dependent Origination.

Yogic Christs and perfectly just and Utopian religions. Fantasies? Yes,
of course. Harmful? Only if you have an objection to Samsara. And on the
whole I'd much rather have people running around imagining that Jesus
went to India than running around imagining that the holocaust was a
hoax.

Mubul
"Civilisation is the pretence that things are better than they really
are."
--Jean Vanier in _Becoming Human_.

Jigme Dorje

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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William K. wrote in message ...

>Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
>of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
>supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
>for his ideas?
>
Jigme>William, yes there is significance. Ancient Jeruselum and its nearby
cities were a crossroads of culture during a time of religious upheaval
quite similar to today's "New Age". However, the religious currents Jesus
and the early Christians (both Jewish and non) were steeped in that became
subsumed into what became known as "Christianity" included such faiths as
gnosticism, zoroastism and the cult of Dianesius rather than Hinduism or
Buddhism. It is impossible to prove a cross-influence one way or the other
between Christianity and Buddhism.


William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

Jigme Dorje wrote in message ...

Actually, Jigme, it was a rhetorical question. I'm one of those scholars to
whom I refered, and I was making the point you ended up making ... there is
no need to posit some kind of influence from India when there was quite
enough in the cultural environment of Yeshua of Nazareth and his early
followers to explain what ends up in the New Testament and other early
Christian writings.

William


piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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In article <3701C9B2...@cyberdude.com>,

ye...@cyberdude.com wrote:
> Hi,
>
> piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> > a key hypothesis of the book is that Jesus' teaching of
> > 'you must hate your mother and father' (Luke 6:27) is *completely*
>
> This sounds very un-Buddhist to me. Can you provide a reference?

hi, sorry, i got the wrong bible reference, it's not Luke 6:27 but
Luke 14:26. oops. clarified by Matthew 10:37 'he who loves mother and
father more than me is not worthy of me'

un-Buddhist? un-Confucian maybe, but abandoning home, leaving
your parents, wife and newborn son etc. etc. - its a solid tradition.

i think the word 'hate' in this context is not exactly what we conceive
of as 'hate', i take it to mean cutting off all ties and making the
Way a priority over social obligations. as in Matthew 10:37.

my reference bible has a note to this effect on Luke 14:26.
would be interesting to research the original Greek word
translated as 'hate' here.

anyway, i already cited the reference: 'The Original Jesus'
by Gruber and Kersten. They give all the Buddhist and Christian
scriptural citations for these claims. That is the one virtue of the
book imho, since its polemical nature does tend to detract from their
argument. i dont have it in front of me else i would copy their
citations.

> The Buddha taught detachment from the family, and then only for
> monks/nuns... I'm not aware of his having preached "hatred" against
> one's family!!!

yes, it's probably something closer to Matthew 10:37.
i dont remember the exact Buddhist parallel quote the authors used.
i will try to remember and look it up.

> > foreign to Judaism yet is practically a literal quote of a Buddhist
doctrine.
> > the authors make this point in contradiction to the many cynics who love to
> > claim that Jesus' teachings are completely derivative from Judaism.
>
> Well... Judaism absorbed many things from many cultures.

yep, but the point is a good one that this specific teaching
is not found in the Talmud. No one yet has pointed out to me
a Jewish parallel teaching. ergo, Jesus's teachings are not
entirely derivative and non-innovative, imho.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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In article <mLdM2.18640$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
> Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
> of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
> supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
> for his ideas?


sigh, you are saying that Gruber and Kersten are incompetent?
or not scholars?
of course, 'competent scholars' usually are employed at universities
and must avoid controversy so as to not offend the tenure committees.
of course, 'not one competent scholar' is a subjective assessment.
anyway, any references you have would be appreciated.

anyway, you would agree, i presume, that it is not controversial
that Buddhist missionaries were in residence in Alexandria at the
time of Jesus? Plus there is the legend of his traveling to Egypt
as a youth. Neither of these are controversial. Lots of
culture clashing was happening in those days.
Together they make the hypothesis at least not total speculation imho.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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In article <7ds5kl$rcm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
dharm...@my-dejanews.com ejaculated:
> piet...@my-dejanews.com mindlessly attempted to contribute a
> minor point to an interesting discussion:

>
> > hi Dave,
> > i bet you would love this book!
> > ...
> > it is interesting that it is absolutely non-controversial
> > that there were in fact Buddhist missionaries in Alexandria
> > at the time of Jesus....put that together with the legends of
> > Jesus travelling to Egypt as a youth (in Matthew), and the
> > absence of childhood information about him
>
> Fool! Must you grasp at every single New-Age cockamamey story?

thank you for your thoughtful response.
unfortunately it is not clear to me what sources you are citing
to deny that Buddhist missionaries were in Egypt circa 0CE?

dialog with you would be slightly more enjoyable than the average
root canal if you would have something besides the emotions of
greed/anger/ignorance behind your ripostes, and if your would spend
perhaps 10 seconds or so thinking about what you just read before
replying, and trying to restate it to yourself in your own way,
so that you might approximate an attitude of actually listening to
what someone is saying, and being charitable for the inevitable
ambiguities of language and world-view differences. but i forget,
i am talking to a professional troll ...

cheers

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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"Jigme Dorje" <R.S.@cwixmail.com> wrote:
>
> It is impossible to prove a cross-influence one way or the other
> between Christianity and Buddhism.

have you read the book 'The Original Jesus'?
'impossible to prove' is practically true of everything in history,
'reasonable circumstantial evidence' however is another story.

i am always amused how this subject touches so many nerves,
and yet provides so little real discussion based on references.

JulianLZB87

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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dharm...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7ds5kl$rcm$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

>In article <7drkju$ce1$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
> piet...@my-dejanews.com mindlessly babbled:
>
>> hi Dave,
>> i bet you would love this book!
>> ...
>> it is interesting that it is absolutely non-controversial
>> that there were in fact Buddhist missionaries in Alexandria
>> at the time of Jesus....put that together with the legends of
>> Jesus travelling to Egypt as a youth (in Matthew), and the
>> absence of childhood information about him
>
>Fool! Must you grasp at every single New-Age cockamamey story?
>
>The absense about childhood information has to do with the story
>of Jesus's birth being added later, to fill out the story. No one
>knows anything about where he was really born. It's like a movie
>where you show a scene with Mary and Joseph and the Virgin Birth
>metaphor and then you see a subtitle "Thirty years later" and you
>go into the main part of the film. This Jesus travelling to Egypt
>or India nonsense has no basis in fact whatsoever.
>

The assertion that Jesus did not travel to Egypt, India or even
Glastonbury for that matter, has no basis in fact whatsoever either.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to
In article <WeqM2.18760$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>
> Actually, Jigme, it was a rhetorical question. I'm one of those scholars to
> whom I refered, and I was making the point you ended up making

finally!

ok, now you can tell me how Luke 14:26 derives from Judaism and/or
the Talmud? I have been waiting for 2 years for someone to help
me with this question.

much tia

>... there is
> no need to posit some kind of influence from India when there was quite
> enough in the cultural environment of Yeshua of Nazareth and his early
> followers to explain what ends up in the New Testament and other early
> Christian writings.

of course of course,

Gruber and Kersten's thesis is that Luke 14:26 is a counterexample.
has this been explained?

it sounds even weirder to me if we are going to grant influence
from everywhere *except* India now?

the psychological resistance this subject provokes makes me think
that there is still quite the element of 'wounded christians'
comprising western buddhism.

'wounded christians' were a big
part of the adoption of buddhism early in the century,
but it continues, especially in academia it seems.

Jigme Dorje

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

William K. wrote in message ...
Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
for his ideas?

Jigme>William, yes there is significance. Ancient Jeruselum and its nearby


cities were a crossroads of culture during a time of religious upheaval
quite similar to today's "New Age". However, the religious currents Jesus
and the early Christians (both Jewish and non) were steeped in that became
subsumed into what became known as "Christianity" included such faiths as
gnosticism, zoroastism and the cult of Dianesius rather than Hinduism or

Buddhism. It is impossible to prove a cross-influence one way or the other
between Christianity and Buddhism.

William>Actually, Jigme, it was a rhetorical question. I'm one of those


scholars to whom I refered, and I was making the point you ended up making

... there is no need to posit some kind of influence from India when there
was quite enough in the cultural environment of Yeshua of Nazareth and his
early
followers to explain what ends up in the New Testament and other early
Christian writings.

Jigme>William, I'm aware of that but as an enthusiast of such scolasticism,
I like to lend support for those who speak out against such speculative
assertions that further no one's cause. You are one of the more credible
posters here and I enjoy your posts, by the way. What is your specific area
of research?


Jigme Dorje

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to
Mubul>When it comes to a conflict between what people want to believe and

what it is reasonable to believe, reason rarely wins over wish.

Let the children play historian, William. Let them have their yogic Jesus,
their Buddhist Roman emperor, their peaceful Asian religion that has never
spilled a drop of blood in the name of truth and has never

condoned the subjugation of one man by another....Let the children also play


scientist. Let them dream of sentient photons and wise and compassionate
quarks and mystically unified fields and a Theory of Everything that just
happens to be exactly the same as Dependent Origination.


Jigme>All in the name of bursting bubbles...


Randy J

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

JulianLZB87 wrote in message <_EsM2.44848

into the main part of the film. This Jesus travelling to Egypt
>>or India nonsense has no basis in fact whatsoever.
>>
>
>The assertion that Jesus did not travel to Egypt, India or even
>Glastonbury for that matter, has no basis in fact whatsoever either.


and what evidence is there that such a person
as Jesus even lived? the gospels certainly
aren't historical documents.

rj

JulianLZB87

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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Randy J wrote in message <7dtmsu$10tq$1...@spnode25.nerdc.ufl.edu>...

I agree. It does make it difficult to categorically state that Jesus
didn't do a particular thing.

JulianLZB87

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7dto37$762$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
>In article <37021BEF...@aol.com>,
> mu...@aol.com wrote:

>> "William K." wrote:
>>
>> > Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent
scholar
>> > of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of
Jesus
>> > supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on
India
>> > for his ideas?
>>
>> When it comes to a conflict between what people want to believe and what
>> it is reasonable to believe, reason rarely wins over wish.
>>
>> Let the children play historian, William.
>
>ok, can we let the children play insular professor, too?
>jeez, the professional newsgroup moderators are back, i guess.
>if it bothers you, dont read the thread.
>

But if he didn't participate, and advertise, the Amazon number might
freefall.

I'm looking forward to the Tang Tome being available, and others like
Jaquie Stones next one on Original Enlightenment, when the Amazon thing
will provide interesting data.

Randy J

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7dto9n$7h9$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

>"Jigme Dorje" <R.S.@cwixmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> It is impossible to prove a cross-influence one way or the other
>> between Christianity and Buddhism.
>
>have you read the book 'The Original Jesus'?
>'impossible to prove' is practically true of everything in history,
>'reasonable circumstantial evidence' however is another story.
>
>i am always amused how this subject touches so many nerves,
>and yet provides so little real discussion based on references.


ok, here's some discussion of your book
based on a reference: a few months ago on this
ng, another person was going on about the
fabuylous revelations in this book by saying
that the book mentions a sect in Egypt called
the Therapeutics or some such thing, and how
this showed the connection to Theravada Buddhism.

Well, unfortunately, therapuein is a Greek verb
meaning 'to heal', which is the source of said sect's
name, and has nothing whatever to do with Theravada,
a Pali word meaning 'teaching of the elders'.

And John La Grou, somewhat of a Christian
scholar who lurks here, said the book contained
only speculation based on the flimsiest of
circumstatial evidence such as the misappropriation
i illustrated above.

cheers--rj

JulianLZB87

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7dto9n$7h9$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
>"Jigme Dorje" <R.S.@cwixmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> It is impossible to prove a cross-influence one way or the other
>> between Christianity and Buddhism.
>
>have you read the book 'The Original Jesus'?
>'impossible to prove' is practically true of everything in history,
>'reasonable circumstantial evidence' however is another story.
>

My favourite so far has been King Jesus by Robert Graves.

Mubul

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to
Mubul wrote:

>> Let the children play historian, William.


piet...@my-dejanews.com responded:

>jeez, the professional newsgroup moderators are back, i guess.
>if it bothers you, dont read the thread.


It does not bother me in the least, Peacherina. I LOVE play. My whole life
is dedicated to playing. Let the playing continue! Just don't begrudge
others when they join you and play in their own ways. There are no rules
here, no boundaries at all.

"We're all mad here."

Mu

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

Jigme Dorje wrote:

>Jigme>William, I'm aware of that but as an enthusiast of such scolasticism,
>I like to lend support for those who speak out against such speculative
>assertions that further no one's cause. You are one of the more credible
>posters here and I enjoy your posts, by the way. What is your specific
area
>of research?

Ah! I should have realized that was your point. Thanks for the supportive
contribution.

My specialization is Second Temple Judaism (ca. 400 BCE - 70 CE), although
my research ranges over everything from the Jewish Bible (which was largely
a product of the Second Temple Period) through early Christianity and the
emergence of rabbinic Judaism. I have an M.A. in early Christian literature
and am in the midst of painful labour giving birth to a Ph.D. dissertation
on sacrificial ritual in ancient Judaism. Yawn!!!

William


William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>ok, now you can tell me how Luke 14:26 derives from Judaism and/or
>the Talmud? I have been waiting for 2 years for someone to help
>me with this question.

Why should what Jesus is quoted as having said need to be derived from
Judaism? One of the major scholarly criteria for identifying sayings of
Jesus as "authentic" is their difference in tone from what others were
saying. The conclusion is then drawn that the saying could not have been
borrowed from the wider culture and must have come from the mouth of Jesus.
In other words, why assume that Jesus couldn't have broken with his own
cultural heritage all on his own?

This having been said, one can trace how Jewish texts use similar language
to refer to priorities of reverence and concern. See, for example, Malachi
1:2-3, Paul's interpretation of this text in Romans 9, and Genesis 29:31, 33
and Deuteronomy 21:16-17 -- these later texts show that the words "love" and
"hate" indicate preference as opposed to absolute feelings. Jesus' words
have never struck me as radically "un-Judaic". They simply don't reflect a
particular version of Judaism.... on this, see my comments below.

The Luke reference you give has a parallel in Matthew 10:37-38 (best
consulted in context), and the standard scholarly view is that these two
versions of the statement reflect use by the authors of Luke and Matthew of
a document of collected sayings of Jesus, generally called "Q" (German,
Quelle, "Source"). This collection was probably composed in Aramaic and the
sayings then translated into Greek. Either that, or the two writers had
different versions of the collection. So, from the Gospel, to the source of
the saying, we are already two stages away from Jesus. Add the period when
Jesus' words were transmitted orally, and we are another stage away. My
point is that we don't even know if Jesus said this. Whatever the case, our
primary obligation is to try to make sense of the quote in its own context
before we go off looking for some foreign source. I don't know very much
about Hellenistic philosophical movements, but a strong trend these days is
to look for influence from popular philosophy, especially Cynicism, on
Jesus. Is it improbable to suggest that Cynics might have said such things?

Finally, I'd stress that a single isolated saying, that MIGHT reflect
Buddhist teaching (but DOES IT??) is hardly proof that Jesus himself was
influenced by Buddhism. It may simply be the case that a free-floating
saying got attributed to Jesus by some of his followers. They probably
wouldn't have known the original source. We know that there were such
free-floating sayings, since things Jesus is quoted as saying in the New
Testament, end up being attributed to later rabbis in the Mishna (compiled,
ca. 200 CE). We don't know whether the Mishna got them from Christians, or
whether the Christians and the rabbinic Jews drew on a common body of oral
tradition.

By the way, the Talmud is largely irrelevant for judging the nature of
Judaism in the time of Jesus. It was compiled in the 4th century CE, and
reflects the developed rabbinic Judaism of a much later period. The Judaism
of the time of Jesus was a much more complex creature, and had strong
aesthetic tendencies and movements, and I don't see the parent-hating quote
as in the least incompatible with that kind of Judaism. Talmudic Judaism is
not "Judaism". It is just one form of Judaism... the one that happened to
win a long historical contest against rival movements. Christianity, in its
own way, is the other great surviving tradition of Second Temple Judaism.
It carries on traditions and practices from early Judaism that were
abandoned by rabbinic Judaism.

For a couple of examples of studies of early Christianity and early Judaism
from the point of view of Chrsitianity's place in the diverse world of early
Judaism, I recommend Daniel Boyarin's two books, _Carnal Israel_ and _A
Radical Jew_, especially the latter. You might all wish to look at
commentaries on Luke (especially Fitzmeyer's volume in the Anchor Bible) to
see what mainstream scholarship says about the quote.


William

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:


>the psychological resistance this subject provokes makes me think
>that there is still quite the element of 'wounded christians'
>comprising western buddhism.
>
>'wounded christians' were a big
>part of the adoption of buddhism early in the century,
>but it continues, especially in academia it seems.

I'm not sure what you are suggesting here. What is this 'psychological
resistance'? The reality is that there are many very radical scholars of
the Jesus tradition, who subject every word attributed to Jesus to close
scrutiny. They are quite interested in finding out sources for sayings
attributed to Jesus. The problem for your claims is that none of these
competent scholars have seen any need to going hunting for Indian influences
on Jesus.

As well, as I indicated in another post, there is no reason to see an
isolated quote that MAY (but DOES IT??) derive from Buddhism as proof that
JESUS was influenced by Buddhism. We have to look at the over-all evidence
of what he seems to have said, and MOST of what is accepted as having come
from the mouth fo Jesus is decidely Judaic or pan-Hellenistic in character,
depending on which of two dominant streams of thought one accepts. To get a
Jesus who speaks a primarily Buddhist message, one needs to select an odd
mix of things, using criteria that go against the consensus of competent
scholarship. In other words, one has to START with an assumption that Jesus
was influenced by Buddhism and then select sayings on that basis. It seems
better to assume that he was influenced by his immediate environment, in
which it is possible that a stray saying or two of Shakyamuni was
circulating, but in which Buddhism was hardly a serious influence.

William

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>i am always amused how this subject touches so many nerves,
>and yet provides so little real discussion based on references.


I'm not a Christian. I'm a Buddhist. The only nerve this touches is the
nerve that is sensitive to scholarly rigour and methodological seriousness.
I have a good nose for BS, and this book has a pretty strong odor.

I regret that I don't have the time to read the book you are citing. If I
took the time to read every non-scholarly speculative work, I'd never have
time to read the serious work by people who have devoted their lives to
gaining the necessary specialized skills that allow them to study and
evaluate the historical evidence. However, if you wish to cite passages
from this work, with their attendant references, I will make a bit of time
to explore this issue with you.

How about we start with the discussion of Luke 14:26 and the evidence your
source uses to argue that it is un-Judaic and necessarily Buddhistic... i.e.
what are the Jewish sources cited and what are the Buddhist sources?

Thanks!

William

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>sigh, you are saying that Gruber and Kersten are incompetent?
>or not scholars?

Both. I'd want to know what languages they read, where they studied ancient
Judaism, early Christianity, Greco-Roman religion and philosophy,
Buddhology, etc. I'd like to know if they have Ph.Ds, reflecting the fact
that they have written a serious, scholarly monograph that passed muster
with those who are able to judge its merits. This is the way things work in
the real world of real academic research. If you prefer to accept whatever
any Tom, Dick, or Harry asserts, based on whatever evidence he decides to
offer, then there is little I can do about that. Of course, you might also
decide that anyone who wants to can practice brain surgery ... heaven forbid
that we should judge anyone's qualifications!

>of course, 'competent scholars' usually are employed at universities
>and must avoid controversy so as to not offend the tenure >committees.

Actually, being controversial in-and-of itself is not a liability when it
comes to getting tenure. Indeed, a certain amount of controversy can be
quite helpful in advancing a career. Besides, after someone has tenure, he
is quite free to say just about anything he wants about his topic of
specialization. I know this from first-hand experience. My teacher is a
'disciple' of the famour Morton Smith, late of Columbia, who made a career
of writing extreme things about early Christianity. His most famour work
was "Jesus the Magician", in which he attempted to argue that Jesus was a
magical healer in the tradition of others in his world.

>of course, 'not one competent scholar' is a subjective assessment.
>anyway, any references you have would be appreciated.

Everything is subjective to some extent. My point is that when one looks at
the lists of scholars who are able to work with the evidence relevant to a
reconstruction of the life-and-teachings of Jesus one cannot find ONE who
claims that Buddhism is a probable significant influence on Jesus. I don't
have to list everyone who doesn't idnetify Buddhism as a source. YOU should
indicate some name of those who do. I'd be curious to see who they are. I
do recall a post where someone posted a name that was familiar in connection
with some references to possible Buddhist influences on early Christianity.
I'll have ot have another look.

>anyway, you would agree, i presume, that it is not controversial

>that Buddhist missionaries were in residence in Alexandria at the
>time of Jesus?

Hum? What is the evidence for this? I think I would say it is
controversial.

> Plus there is the legend of his traveling to Egypt
>as a youth. Neither of these are controversial.

Actually, the Egypt stuff IS controversial. Just check the context. It is
in ONE Gospel (Matthew), and is part of the infancy narrative, which is a
late creation. Matthew's version of the birth of Jesus differs in
significant respects from the other late story found in Luke. Mark, the
oldest Gospel in the New Testament, contains no infancy story at all.
John's Gospel, probably later than Matthew and Luke, shows no interest in
Jesus' infancy. In Matthew, the story about the journey to Egypt is
associated with a biblical prophecy which Matthew applies to Jesus. Most
critical scholars doubt Jesus ever spent time in Egypt. They maintain that
the Egypt story was composed to fit the prophecy. Additionally, just
because Jesus was in Egypt, we are not bound to believe that he would have
met or been influenced by Buddhist missionaries. Matthew says that Jesus'
parents returned with him to Nazareth after the death of Herod the Great.
According to the standard chronology, Jesus would have been, at most, two
years old when his parents took him out of Egypt. Are you saying he learned
dharma from those Indian monks when he was under the age of two?

> Lots of
>culture clashing was happening in those days.
>Together they make the hypothesis at least not total speculation >imho.

There are degrees of speculation. This particular thesis is highly
speculative because there is so little solid evidence upon which to base any
conclusions. It COULD be true, but we don't generally take scholarly
postions on what MIGHT be true, but on what the weight of the evidence
suggests. The weight of the evidence suggests that Jesus was not primarily
influenced by Buddhist teachers, but by the dominant Jewish and Hellenistic
thought of his time. As a scholar of the time of Jesus, I have seen nothing
in his teachings that can be said to be utterly out-of-place, and require
appeal to a distant civilization.


William

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote

>yep, but the point is a good one that this specific teaching
>is not found in the Talmud. No one yet has pointed out to me
>a Jewish parallel teaching. ergo, Jesus's teachings are not
>entirely derivative and non-innovative, imho.

As I noted elsewhere, the Talmud is largely irrelevant for judging what
Judaism taught int he time of Jesus. Citing the Talmud for the Judaism of
the time of Jesus is like using a modern chemistry book to determine what
alchemists did in the 14th century. Jesus lived ca. 4 BCE to 30 CE. The
Talmud was compiled between 200 and 500 CE. By my count, that puts a 200 to
400 year gap between Jesus and the Talmud. A lot happened in Judaism in
those 200-400 years.

William

mu...@aol.com

unread,
Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to
piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> of course, 'competent scholars' usually are employed at universities
> and must avoid controversy so as to not offend the tenure committees.

Could you tell us approximately how many tenure committees you have been
on? I have been on five so far, and what has always struck me is how
much people on tenure committees tend to LOVE controversial scholars,
for they are the ones who are advancing knowledge and doing what
scholars are supposed to do. A professor who has always played it safe
is damned unlikely to get published in the first place, but if she has,
and if her work has got nothing but "nice" reviews, most people will
conclude that she is too boring to be worthy of tenure. The same goes
with promotion through the ranks. The same, incidentally, also goes for
getting the advanced degrees that qualify one for academic service in
the first place. (It is common knowledge that you are much more likely
to get into graduate school if you have a mixture of good grades and bad
grades that average out to, say, B+ than if you have straight A's.
People have learned that straight A students are usually pretty boring
and conservative, whereas people who are intellectually alive have the
good sense to realise that some courses are so full of crap that it is a
waste of time to get anything higher than a C in them.)

Being innovative and controversial, however, is not ALL that tenure
review committees love. They also love scholarly rigour. They love
evidence, and they love arguments that are both convincing AND that lead
to interesting new conclusions that others had not seen before. A lot of
the stuff that gets into print is innovative; only a fraction of what is
innovative is well argued and based on compelling evidence.

I have no informed opinions on the hypothesis that Indian ideas were
part of the mix of the Hellenistic world in which earlier Christianity
evolved, except that this is not at all a new idea. It has been around
for quite a long time. That's what people were teaching when I was an
undergraduate, thirty-odd years ago. But beyond that, I cannot comment
on the particulars of the hypothesis that has caught Pietzsche's fancy.
I simply want to say that one cannot assume that scholarly dismissal of
that hypothesis is due only to scholars being unwilling to entertain new
ideas. (If anything, I suspect they may be getting bored with an old
idea that persists in the popular press, despite a general lack of good
evidence and argumentation for it.)

One thing I would be interested in hearing is this: why does this
hypothesis appeal to people? What would change in their lives if it
could be established? What difference would it make if it were shown
definitively to be false?

I guess what I'm really asking is whether this issue is purely one of
historical curiosity, other whether people have an emotional investment
in the outcome. If the latter, what is the nature of that emotional
investment?

Just curious,
Mubul

William K.

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

>for some reason, this thread makes me wonder what
>the Vinaya has to say about spanking, and whether or not
>there is an epidemic of kinky spanking role-playing going
>on in the religion departments of our best universities.
>
>ahh, parents, if only you knew what your tender little
>progeny are being, ahem, exposed to in those ivy'ed halls :)
>
>http://x5.dejanews.com/[ST_rn=ap]/getdoc.xp?AN=398150523


For some reason, Pietzsche thought an appropriate response to my scholarly
refutation of his assertions was a Dejanews search that ... lo-and-behold
... turned up something I suspect he thinks will discredit or embarrass me.
Anyone who happens to figure out how to consult this reference will find a
message I posted a few months ago in connection with a hobby of mine. I
guess Pietzsche thinks it has some connection with my scholarly activity,
and implications for my credibility as an academic. Those who agree with
him may now begin ignoring what I post. The rest of you, who are probably a
bit more mature than the average nine-year-old, will continue to focus on
what I actually write.

William

P.S. Sigh!

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Mar 31, 1999, 3:00:00 AM3/31/99
to
In article <1WvM2.18845$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>
> The problem for your claims is that none of these
> competent scholars have seen any need to going hunting for Indian influences
> on Jesus.

ok, but first, they are not *my* claims per se, i am only discussing
this particular book by Gruber and Kersten which no one else seems to
have heard of or read. ('The Original Jesus') I am just like everyone
else, in or out of academia, hoping to learn something new every day,
and trying to share with others and learn from others, as much as time
will permit anyway - without seeking to become too much of an idiot savant.

Granted, this is a popular, not a scholarly, book.
But it does cite many references that one can
follow up on. There is enough there, imho, to make a plausible, albeit
not airtight, case.

anyway, I guess you are saying either that Gruber and
Kersten are not scholars per se, or they are not competent?
Do you have any familiarity with their work or with them personally?

jeez, all i want to do is explore this with
some sympathetic souls who share a common interest in this topic ...
but, never mind ...

btw, I just read in Conze's book that the Christian halo/nimbus symbol was
borrowed from Buddhist/Hindu Gandharan art around 400AD. heh, talk
about Indian 'influence'! not to mention that Shakyamuni is an authentic
recognized Christian Saint (Jehosaphat from 'Bodhisatt') :)

> As well, as I indicated in another post, there is no reason to see an
> isolated quote that MAY (but DOES IT??) derive from Buddhism as proof that
> JESUS was influenced by Buddhism. We have to look at the over-all evidence
> of what he seems to have said,

yes, this is exactly what Gruber and Kersten do. This quote from Luke
is just one part of their argument that I happen to remember so i cited
it.

but they describe many other elements, mostly just demonstrating that
Alexandria *was* in fact home to Buddhist missionaries circa 0AD. btw,
are you disputing this part or not?

Could you clearly say if Buddhist Missionaries in Alexandria circa 0AD
is or is not controversial in your opinion? (just for the record, thanks).

anyway, their subsequent arguments around the etymology of 'Therapeutae'
clearly become more problematic. And is probably the weakest part of their
argument.


> and MOST of what is accepted as having come

> from the mouth of Jesus is decidely Judaic or pan-Hellenistic in character,


> depending on which of two dominant streams of thought one accepts. To get a
> Jesus who speaks a primarily Buddhist message, one needs to select an odd
> mix of things, using criteria that go against the consensus of competent
> scholarship. In other words, one has to START with an assumption that Jesus
> was influenced by Buddhism and then select sayings on that basis.

perhaps, or, it could as easily occur to someone when
they encounter the parallel stories, such as the prodigal son,
leaving family/home, etc etc, and the traditional legends of
Jesus' traveling to Egypt, and the Indian legends of St Thomas traveling
to India (perhaps Jesus told him stories he had heard as a youth?),
and the Tibetan Buddhist legends of Jesus living in Nepal
or wherever ...

it would be nice to confine this discussion to specific points in
Gruber and Kersten's book, perhaps you have access to a copy?

btw, do you have any opinions on Stephen Mitchell's 'The Gospel According
To Jesus'? he doesnt make the explicit Buddhist influence connection, IIRC,
but he does argue for the legend of Jesus's Roman father, Panthera.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
DT mumbled:

>>into the main part of the film. This Jesus travelling to Egypt
>>or India nonsense has no basis in fact whatsoever.

of course it is a legend in the bible. like other legends in the bible,
such as the virgin birth, the psychological motivation of the authors
is, ahem, clear - to explain away embarassing rumors that were public
knowledge at the time, but have since disappeared and all we are left
with is the pious priestly rationalization of their esteemed teacher.

'everyone knows he was illegitimate' morphs into 'he was conceived of
the holy ghost'

'everyone knows he studied with those nuts in Egypt as a child' morphs
into 'his family had to escape the persecution prophesied in the old
scriptures by fleeing to Egypt'

Stephen Mitchell's 'The Gospel According to Jesus' does an admirable
job of analyzing the story in this way, imho. the cover-up story is
pretty transparent in much of the NT. imho it does not detract from
the authenticity of the teachings or teacher, though.

"JulianLZB87" <julia...@clara.net> wrote:
> >>The assertion that Jesus did not travel to Egypt, India or even
> >>Glastonbury for that matter, has no basis in fact whatsoever either.

yep, DT so loves to positively assert the negative.

> >and what evidence is there that such a person
> >as Jesus even lived? the gospels certainly
> >aren't historical documents.

well, this has been beaten near to death for aeons, but
it seems to me to be pretty farfetched to imagine all this
as arising like an aesop fable. The Jesus Seminar is not
even too split on this question, taking the historicity of
Jesus as given, afaik.

In the case of Buddha, though, we do in fact have hard evidence
like the ashes. However the Shroud of Turin has been shown to be
a fake. But imho, the Gospel of Thomas discovery really reinforces
the historicity of Jesus.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
mu...@aol.com wrote:
> piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> > of course, 'competent scholars' usually are employed at universities
> > and must avoid controversy so as to not offend the tenure committees.
>
> Could you tell us approximately how many tenure committees you have been
> on?

none, thank god. and i will take your word for it on the desirability
of controversy in academia. my point being WilliamK asserted a kind of
tautology in claiming 'all competent scholars' have dismissed this without
telling us how Gruber and Kersten come to be excluded from the realm of
competent scholars. Saying that 'all those in our club think as we do',
does not convey much information.

> I have no informed opinions on the hypothesis that Indian ideas were
> part of the mix of the Hellenistic world in which earlier Christianity
> evolved, except that this is not at all a new idea. It has been around
> for quite a long time. That's what people were teaching when I was an
> undergraduate, thirty-odd years ago. But beyond that, I cannot comment
> on the particulars of the hypothesis that has caught Pietzsche's fancy.
> I simply want to say that one cannot assume that scholarly dismissal of
> that hypothesis is due only to scholars being unwilling to entertain new
> ideas. (If anything, I suspect they may be getting bored with an old
> idea that persists in the popular press, despite a general lack of good
> evidence and argumentation for it.)
>
> One thing I would be interested in hearing is this: why does this
> hypothesis appeal to people?

imho it has great explanatory power. explains a lot about Jesus's teachings,
his people's reactions to him when he was alive, and the later mythmaking
by his followers.

> What would change in their lives if it
> could be established? What difference would it make if it were shown
> definitively to be false?

personally, not much. I would still have just as much faith in,
and admire just as much, both Jesus and Buddha.

> I guess what I'm really asking is whether this issue is purely one of
> historical curiosity, other whether people have an emotional investment
> in the outcome. If the latter, what is the nature of that emotional
> investment?

from the reactions to this and previous threads, it seems to me the emotional
involvement is on the other side, wanting to keep Buddhism unsullied from any
association with Christianity, since many western Buddhists hope to find a
refuge from Christianity in Buddhism (IMHO of course).

I was just now interested to read in Conze's book how it is apparently clear
that Christianity got the halo symbol from Gandharan Buddhist/Hindu art.
Plus the known etymology of St. Jehosaphat from 'Bodhisattva' already makes
for a substantial amount of known cross-fertilization going on, imho.


> Just curious,
> Mubul

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <NkwM2.18848$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>
> piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> >sigh, you are saying that Gruber and Kersten are incompetent?
> >or not scholars?
>
> Both. I'd want to know what languages they read, where they studied ancient
> Judaism, early Christianity, Greco-Roman religion and philosophy,
> Buddhology, etc. I'd like to know if they have Ph.Ds, reflecting the fact
> that they have written a serious, scholarly monograph that passed muster
> with those who are able to judge its merits.

ok, i will try to get this info for you from their book.
It is interesting to me though that you find no qualms in making this
conclusion knowing nothing about them.

of course, this is not a *scholarly book*, i keep repeating that,
it is a popular book. about on the level of 'Tao of Physics' or other
popularizations. the authors *are* polemical. which *does* detract from
their argument. yet, in my reading anyway, there was enough there to make
me change my mind about a theory i had pooh-poohed as preposterous and
irrelevant previously. Plus they summarize a lot of references, and have
a bibliography etc. which makes it valuable as a starting point anyway.

> This is the way things work in
> the real world of real academic research. If you prefer to accept whatever
> any Tom, Dick, or Harry asserts, based on whatever evidence he decides to
> offer, then there is little I can do about that.

come on, give me a break.


> I know this from first-hand experience. My teacher is a
> 'disciple' of the famour Morton Smith, late of Columbia, who made a career
> of writing extreme things about early Christianity. His most famour work
> was "Jesus the Magician", in which he attempted to argue that Jesus was a
> magical healer in the tradition of others in his world.

as in 'shaman'? interesting.

> Everything is subjective to some extent. My point is that when one looks at
> the lists of scholars who are able to work with the evidence relevant to a
> reconstruction of the life-and-teachings of Jesus one cannot find ONE who
> claims that Buddhism is a probable significant influence on Jesus.

really, where is this list?

are you saying they are just not saying anything on the subject?
or are you saying they are asserting the negative based on their study
of the issue? its not clear from the way you state this. if they are
asserting the negative, then there must be some publications putting
their assertions on the line, i would imagine?

> I don't have to list everyone who doesn't idnetify Buddhism as a source.
> YOU should indicate some name of those who do.

dang it, i did, there is this book, see? if someone would just go out and
get it and read it, maybe we could get some semblance of discussion going
here :)

> >anyway, you would agree, i presume, that it is not controversial
> >that Buddhist missionaries were in residence in Alexandria at the
> >time of Jesus?
>
> Hum? What is the evidence for this? I think I would say it is
> controversial.

the Asokan missions to Ptolemy.

> Are you saying he learned
> dharma from those Indian monks when he was under the age of two?

heh. come on, i do not take Matthew literally.
Matthew is the one who is always trying to cover up for Jesus and
convince everyone how Jewish he is etc. It is plausible to me that
there were rumors circulating at the time that Matthew was trying to
acknowledge and explain in another way. Just like the virgin birth.
There is no dispute, after all, that Jesus was illegitimate, just who
the father was. The embarassment of illegitimacy had to be explained
away, ergo the virgin birth. If Matthew morphed this rumor this way,
it is no stretch of my imagination, at least, to imagine what was morphed
into the flight into Egypt legend.

> There are degrees of speculation. This particular thesis is highly
> speculative because there is so little solid evidence upon which to base any
> conclusions.

agreed, i am only saying it is interesting, albeit speculative.
and cannot be dismissed, troll-like, out of hand.

> As a scholar of the time of Jesus, I have seen nothing
> in his teachings that can be said to be utterly out-of-place, and require
> appeal to a distant civilization.

you still havent shown where Luke 14:26 comes from, afaik :)

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <RowM2.18851$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>
> piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote
>

ok, but you keep avoiding the issue, where else is Luke 14:26
found in the Jewish teachings of Jesus's time?

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
mu...@aol.com wrote:
>
> Let the children also play scientist. Let them dream of sentient photons
> and wise and compassionate quarks and mystically unified fields and a
> Theory of Everything that just happens to be exactly the same as
> Dependent Origination.

jeez, give me a break.
i dont recall ever saying anything remotely resembling the above.
but parody is a good defensive mechanism in the face of new ideas, i suppose.

it is just interesting to me that the Dharma reveals something about
Nature, as well as being a psychological program for well-being.
so if the Dharma is not completely irrelevant to an understanding of
Nature, why should it be surprising that there is some commonality?

> Yogic Christs and perfectly just and Utopian religions. Fantasies? Yes,
> of course.

yes, what you have described does sound like fantasies.

a lot of physics these days sounds like fantasies too. i admit it
takes some getting used to 11 dimensions, and a plethora of universes
chaotically splitting beyond all comprehension, let alone all matter in
the universe being compressed to a volume many times smaller than a proton,
let alone that the observable matter in the universe is perhaps the least
interesting aspect of what the universe is 'about', iyknwim.

> Harmful? Only if you have an objection to Samsara.

so what turns samsara? ignorance?
so you are saying that cross-disciplinary study by non-academics is
conducive to ignorance and the perpetuation of samsara?

interesting how the eightfold way admits of no accomodation of new knowledge.
but this resistance is quite understandable given the existing canon's size.
anyway, far be it from me to take the key away from any seeker
through whose door i have not myself entered. i would hope i never have to
stoop so low to justify my own limitations.

but, i have been a naughty boy again, i suppose, thinking for myself again,
committing the Buddhist sin of speculation ... which reminds me ...
i should check out that mailing list, perhaps someone there can give me
what i need :)

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <7dttdm$jki$1...@spnode25.nerdc.ufl.edu>,

"Randy J" <rje...@mail.uflib.ufl.edu> wrote:
>
> ok, here's some discussion of your book
> based on a reference: a few months ago on this
> ng, another person was going on about the
> fabuylous revelations in this book by saying
> that the book mentions a sect in Egypt called
> the Therapeutics or some such thing, and how
> this showed the connection to Theravada Buddhism.
>
> Well, unfortunately, therapuein is a Greek verb
> meaning 'to heal', which is the source of said sect's
> name, and has nothing whatever to do with Theravada,
> a Pali word meaning 'teaching of the elders'.
>
> And John La Grou, somewhat of a Christian
> scholar who lurks here, said the book contained
> only speculation based on the flimsiest of
> circumstatial evidence such as the misappropriation
> i illustrated above.

yes, this was me again. surprised? :)

for others, here is John La Grou's excellent post:
http://x14.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?AN=414272491.1


the book does discuss this,
and has a reference for the etymology of Therapeutae.
evidently, the argument does not hinge on 'Therapeutae'
being derivative from 'Theravada', though the authors
do suggest this. It has been a while since i read it
though. the big missing link for me is that they dont
include the original source for Philo's 'De Vita Contemplativa',
when about 50% of their argument hinges on the lifestyle similarities
of the Therapeutae with the vinaya code of conduct for Buddhist monks.

John La Grou wrote:
>This particular group of therapeutrides spoken of by Philo is an
>austere, monastic group sounding more like a syncretism of Jewish,
>Essene, and (later) Desert Father quietism than Buddhism.

but this is one of the points of the book, that the code of conduct
described by Philo is more than just a little similar to a
buddhist monk's of the time. they describe how their lifestyle is
supposedly quite different than any Jewish ascetic would have,
though the similarity to the Essenes perhaps begs the question since
they may have been influenced as well by the asokan missionaries.

anyway, i would be happy to study this book along with you if
you are interested. there is much i have forgotten already.

thanks for your commment

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <W%vM2.18846$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>
> piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> >i am always amused how this subject touches so many nerves,
> >and yet provides so little real discussion based on references.
>
> I'm not a Christian. I'm a Buddhist. The only nerve this touches is the
> nerve that is sensitive to scholarly rigour and methodological seriousness.
> I have a good nose for BS, and this book has a pretty strong odor.
>
> I regret that I don't have the time to read the book you are citing. If I
> took the time to read every non-scholarly speculative work, I'd never have
> time to read the serious work by people who have devoted their lives to
> gaining the necessary specialized skills that allow them to study and
> evaluate the historical evidence.

of course, of course, but this is assuming, without even having so much
as glanced at their work, that they do not satisfy this criterion.

> However, if you wish to cite passages
> from this work, with their attendant references, I will make a bit of time

> to explore this issue with you.

you are too kind :)
here is an excerpt from the book, mostly about the Asokan missionaries:

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1756/gruberbk.txt

(it might help to cut and paste this into notepad depending on if your
browser can do word-wrap or not, since there are no line breaks in it)

anyway, here is info about the authors from the book, clearly they are
not professional academic scholars:
>>>>>>>>>>>

Dr Elmar ft. Gruber holds a PhD in psychology. His main work is in the field
of consciousness research. A scientific adviser to German television and
radio, he is also the author of several books and has had over sixty articles
published in major scientific journals. He worked with Holger Kersten as
co-author of the controversial bestseller, 'The Jesus Conspiracy'.

Holger Kersten studied theology and pedagogics at Freiburg University,
Germany. An author specializing in religious history, his previous titles
include 'The Jesus Conspiracy' (with Elmar R. Gruber) and 'Jesus Lived in
India'. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

All the indications are that an Indian colony already existed in Memphis
during the age of Asoka. Whether it was originally a trading outpost or
whether it originated with Asoka's missionaries can no longer be determined.9
The clay statuette of the Indian woman has been dated at around 200 sC, just
a few decades after the start of Asoka's great missions.

from the book, page 177, about Missionaries in India:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Ten years before these excavations a gravestone from the Ptolemaic period,
displaying Buddhist symbols, was discovered

at Dendera in Egypt. For Flinders Petrie that discovery constituted an
irrefutable indication of the influence of Buddhist missionaries in Egypt.[10]

We showed in Part I that Asoka's mission to the West profited from a cultural
boom in states influenced by Hellenism; we followed the sea and land routes,
and described the enormous increases in communications between Egypt and
India after Alexander the Great. Under Asoka's contemporary Ptolemy II
Philadelphos, Alexandria experienced its greatest blossoming. A great
diversity of intellectual camps and doctrines proliferated and developed -
through reciprocal stimulation and competition - their utmost potential. Dion
Chrysostomos (c. 40-112 AD) confirmed that Indians lived in Alexandria
immediately after the start of the new millenium in a speech where he
welcomed them among his audience. There is no reason to doubt that Indian
commuruties existed in Alexandria long before Dion Chrysostomos's time,
especially since they were found in Memphis, a less important town.
Chrysostomos wrote that Indian traders were despised by their
fellow-countrymen.(l2) That statement must be seen as indicating that the
Alexandrian Indians were Buddhists. In the eyes of Sunga Dynasty (c. 180-68
BC) brahmins they were heretics. In addition, brahmins themselves were
forbidden to cross the sea because that entailed the risk of attracting
ritual impurities and possibly losing caste membership. So it will not have
been particularly difficult for the Buddhist monks in Asoka's mission to have
established themselves in the existing Egyptian settlements of Indian
merchants. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

>
> How about we start with the discussion of Luke 14:26 and the evidence your
> source uses to argue that it is un-Judaic and necessarily Buddhistic... i.e.
> what are the Jewish sources cited and what are the Buddhist sources?

ok, I will dig up the book again and look for this.

thanks for the reply!

William K.

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
Have fun on the list! But I'm not there. I set it up and ran it for a
while, but then I handed it over to someone else for a variety fo reasons,
some of them even connected to my Buddhist practice.

As for this ongoing discussion, or any further discussions with you ...
after your breach of netiquette, I don't think so ....

William

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7dutsc$98q$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
>In article <qaxM2.18858$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,


> "William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
>>
>> For some reason, Pietzsche thought an appropriate response to my
scholarly
>> refutation of his assertions was a Dejanews search that ...
>

>sorry, no one is safe with dejanews around!
>it seemed amusing at the time, but i probably should have resisted
>the temptation ...
>
>> i guess Pietzsche thinks it has some connection with my scholarly


activity,
>> and implications for my credibility as an academic.
>

>all things are connected ... even truer now on the Internet!
>
>however, i am even now signing up to the list and look forward to learning
>about a whole new field of practice! i hope it has as rich a tradition of
>lore, rituals, and enlightened masters as Buddhism! see you on the list!
>
>cheers

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <hnMM2.18992$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,

"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
> Have fun on the list! But I'm not there. I set it up and ran it for a
> while, but then I handed it over to someone else for a variety fo reasons,
> some of them even connected to my Buddhist practice.
>
> As for this ongoing discussion, or any further discussions with you ...
> after your breach of netiquette, I don't think so ....

ok, fair enough, perhaps we can all learn from friend D.Troll who
recommends maintaining several anonymous aliases simultaneously,
and relegating each net-persona to a specific category of newsgroups,
e.g. DharmaTroll for talk.religion.buddhism, and SpankMeTroll for
alt.support.attn-deficit.

btw, no fair searching dejanews for posts including the words
"Pietzsche AND vaseline OR realdoll" ok?

:?)

check out my website: www.realdoll.com
(oops, you must be 80 or over though)

i only post this since i am assured that i am practically universally
kill-filed except for about 3 folks who for some reason suffer from
attention deficit just as much as i do ...

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
In article <hnMM2.18992$134.1...@tor-nn1.netcom.ca>,
"William K." <Will...@netcom.ca> wrote:
> >>
> >> i guess Pietzsche thinks it has some connection with my scholarly
> activity,
> >> and implications for my credibility as an academic.

sorry, that didnt even occur to me.

does it?

cheers

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
hi William, too late to apologize i suppose,
but i nuked my childish post on dejanews.

here is some post nuking info from dejanews if you want to nuke
your original post which shows up on dejanews:

http://www.dejanews.com/help/faq.shtml#nuke

though it does only remove them from dejanews per se,
not other usenet servers ... anyway it's the only way i know
to nuke a post ...

apologies again, i hate it when i get troll-like :(

'against boredom, the gods themselves struggle in vain!'
-bhante fritz

Phra Dhammanando Bhikkhu

unread,
Apr 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/1/99
to
<piet...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:

[snip]

> > As a scholar of the time of Jesus, I have seen nothing
> > in his teachings that can be said to be utterly out-of-place, and require
> > appeal to a distant civilization.
>
> you still havent shown where Luke 14:26 comes from, afaik :)

Try Deuteronomy 33:9.

(In praise of the Levites:)
"Who hath said to his father, and to his mother: I do not know you; and
to his brethren: I know you not; and their own children they have not
known. These have kept Thy word."

Micah 7:6:

"A men's enemies are they of his own household."

To get some idea of what Luke 14:26 meant to Christians see Aquinas'
Summa Theologica Second Part of the Second Part:

Question 26, Article 2: "Whether God ought to be loved more than our
neighbour?"

Question 44, Article 2: "Whether there should have been given two
precepts of charity?"

Question 101, Article: 4: "Whether the duties of piety towards one's
parents should be omitted for the sake of religion?"

Aquinas' treatment merely echoes that of the early Church fathers. I
think you will see from the interpretations that the early Christians
put upon this verse that there is actually very little similarity with
seemingly comparable utterances in early Buddhist texts.

--
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

piet...@my-dejanews.com

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to
"JulianLZB87" <julia...@clara.net> wrote:
>
>
> My favourite so far has been King Jesus by Robert Graves.

i hadnt heard about this, but it does sound interesting.
i will look for it for sure.

i remember being impressed and surprised by Robert Graves introduction
to his 'The Greek Myths', IIRC he made no bones about citing mushroom
intoxication as the beginning of religion, eg the Vedic Soma. or maybe
i confusing another book of his?

anyway, i wonder if 'King Jesus' is along the lines of Kazantzakis'
'The Last Temptation of Christ'?

is Graves still alive? he sounds like another Joseph Campbell, and
we sure need all the Joseph Campbells we can get these days. when
Huston Smith and Robert Graves and William Thompson have all joined
Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung in the Great Mystery, we will be bereft
and adrift indeed.


King Jesus
by Robert Graves
Our Price: $12.80
Paperback - 424 pages (October 1981)
Noonday Pr; ISBN: 0374516642 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x
7.95 x 5.40
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 59,876

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374516642/qid=923011792/sr=1-1/002-55357
52-4107421

mh...@binghamton.edu from new york , October 24, 1997 The most fascinating
Jesus novel out there Reading this book is a rewarding challenge. It's
weird, esoteric, and somehow simultaneously iconoclastic and reverent. As is
often the case with Graves, it's clear that he's done a lot of serious
research, and from there has gone off on his own curious tangents. (It looks
like he got some material from Robert Eisler's book from the '20s, "The
Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist"). Graves's methods drive some scholars
crazy, because they want a clear line drawn between the research and the
tangents. "King Jesus" is clearly more propaganda for Graves's "White
Goddess" theology, but as propaganda it's great fun. Indulge Graves early on
in the book--material that may seem pointless eventually does inform what
follows. With few exceptions, the book is sympathetic to Judaism, but the
exceptions should not be read as anti-Semitism; rather, the reader should
recognize that Graves is equally discriminatory towards all religions where
they don't gibe with his White Goddess-ism.

piet...@my-dejanews.com

unread,
Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to

> Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE competent scholar
> of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in the time of Jesus
> supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged dependence on India
> for his ideas?

well, here's three more, just for the record ...

as Mubul said, this thesis goes back a ways, i just dug out my copy of
'The Original Jesus' and in rereading some of it, came across their mention
of two early pioneers in this area:

Flinders Petrie in 1898
and HL Mansel 'Gnostic Heresies' in 1875

evidently the rediscovery of Gnosticism and Buddhism by the west in
the late 1800's caused a few to be struck by the similarities, and
start to dig deeper ...

authors also cite 'Buddha and Christ' by Zacharias Thundy 1993
(evidently he is a linguist who analyzed the linguistic metamorphosis
of Theravada to Theraputta/Therapeutae - he cites two other Indian words
known to have come into Greek that morphed phonemes in the same way)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/9004097414/qid=923012974/sr=1-1/002-55357
52-4107421

Buddha and Christ : Nativity Stories and Indian Traditions
(Studies in the History of Religions,)
by Zacharias P. Thundy
Our Price: $100.50 (phew!!!!)
Hardcover (January 1993)
Brill Academic Publishers; ISBN: 9004097414
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,232,224 (understandable, eh? :)

Reviews Book Description The infancy narratives of the gospels of Matthew
and Luke appear as a magnificent mosaic of allusions not only to the Hebrew
Bible but also to Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions. Professor Thundy
argues that many details of the infancy gospels as well as the rest of the
gospels can be clarified by the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures. In this
sense, the gospels are Eastern religious texts. Buddha and Christ covers the
following topics in order: methodology of study, priority of Indian texts
vis-a-vis Christian gospels, parallels of the birth narratives of Buddha and
Jesus, uniqueness of Indian parallels, the Gnostic context of the Christian
gospels, and contacts between India and the West in antiquity. Multicultural
studies such as this encourage ecumenism and mutual understanding in
East-West dialogues as well as reinforcing the view that the gospels should
be taken seriously as Eastern religious texts.

The infancy narratives of the gospels of Matthew and Luke appear as a
magnificent mosaic of allusions not only to the Hebrew Bible but also to
Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions. Professor Thundy argues that many
details of the infancy gospels as well as the rest of the gospels can be
clarified by the Buddhist and Hindu scriptures. In this sense, the gospels
are Eastern religious texts. Buddha and Christ covers the following topics
in order: methodology of study, priority of Indian texts vis-a-vis Christian
gospels, parallels of the birth narratives of Buddha and Jesus, uniqueness
of Indian parallels, the Gnostic context of the Christian gospels, and
contacts between India and the West in antiquity. Multicultural studies such
as this encourage ecumenism and mutual understanding in East-West dialogues
as well as reinforcing the view that the gospels should be taken seriously
as Eastern religious texts.

David Yeung

unread,
Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to
piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> anyway, i already cited the reference: 'The Original Jesus'
> by Gruber and Kersten. They give all the Buddhist and Christian
> scriptural citations for these claims. That is the one virtue of the
> book imho, since its polemical nature does tend to detract from their
> argument. i dont have it in front of me else i would copy their
> citations.

I've read the book as well, and in my opinion they twist quotes way out
of context in order to "prove" their conclusion. I've also read "Jesus
Lived in India" also by one of the authors, "Two Masters, One Message"
by Roy C. Amore (whom they cite), and "A Search for the Historical
Jesus" by Prof. Fida Hassnain (whom they also cite).

My question to you is, have you actually checked those citations
yourself, with a good concordance, etc.? I read the book when I was
still a (half-)Christian, and looking up all the references was part of
what actually convinced me that Christianity and Buddhism were
different. It also convinced me that many people will distort reality
to see what they want to see, despite the evidence.

Roy C. Amore (incidentally, a Canadian) doesn't argue that Jesus was a
Buddhist, but that there are Buddhist influences in early Christianity.
(As far as my memory serves me, anyways.) I'm read some other work by
Amore (dealing with Buddhism) and I would say that he's a credible
scholar. What's is interesting is that Fida Hassnain (a Sufi Muslim)
uses the same quotations as Gruber and Kerstein, to prove his hypothesis
that Jesus was a Muslim! I think that Gruber, Kerstein, and Hassnain
all have very poor (mis)understandings of Buddhism, and are reading
heavily back into their quotes to "prove" what they already believe.
Gruber and Kerstein's description of the "Buddhist Trinity" of Amitabha,
Avalokiteshvara, and Shakyamuni is completely erroneous. So is
Hassnain's attempt to show that Buddhism is a corrupted version of
Islam.

Seems like you and I are the only two people here who's read the book.
I'd be willing to discuss it. (I'm in school and exams are coming up,
and newsgroups are my escape from studying! :) )

> > Well... Judaism absorbed many things from many cultures.


>
> yep, but the point is a good one that this specific teaching
> is not found in the Talmud.

It doesn't have to be. The Talmud wasn't part of the Jewish scriptures
at Jesus' time, as far as I know. (I seem to remember that the Jewish
scriptures weren't canonized until a council at Jaffna (?) sometime in
the first 2 centuries of the Christian era -- maybe Willim K. who seems
to be a scholar of Judaism can correct me on this?) The Talmud also
contains some very anti-Christian statements, since Judaism and
Christianity were then competing sects.

> No one yet has pointed out to me
> a Jewish parallel teaching.

Check Deuteronomy. I also saw a post where someone actually posted the
reference. If not, I am sure I can look it up. (Catholic schooling
hasn't lost its effect on me yet! :) )

> ergo, Jesus's teachings are not
> entirely derivative and non-innovative, imho.

Does one quote that can't be found in one's cultural background
automatically mean that a person's been heavily influenced by another
culture? I'm sure you can pick just about anybody who's famous and find
something that he/she said that can't be found in his/her cultural
background.

Take the Buddha. He said some things that are awfully
"Taoist" sounding, and which can't be found in the Vedas. Gosh, he must
have visited China as a child and learnt it at the knee of Lao-Tzu. I
don't mean to sound flippant, but with the amount of "speculation"
you're allowing you can back up just about any hypothesis.

--
David Yeung

David Yeung

unread,
Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to

piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> btw, I just read in Conze's book that the Christian halo/nimbus symbol was
> borrowed from Buddhist/Hindu Gandharan art around 400AD. heh, talk
> about Indian 'influence'! not to mention that Shakyamuni is an authentic
> recognized Christian Saint (Jehosaphat from 'Bodhisatt') :)

The Christian rosary also seems to be adapted from the Buddhist version,
but then the Buddhist rosary was a form of the necklaces which Hindu
brahmins wore. The Chinese Buddhist goddess of mercy Kwan-Yin and the
virgin Mary are both derived from ancient Mother Goddess worship,
probably of Isis or Diana. So, who's copying whom?

Before the advent of isolationist religions which drew clear boundaries
between themselves and "paganism", everyone pretty much borrowed from
everyone else. (Not that it stopped afterwards.) Judaism was
influenced by Persian and Babylonian religions (like it or not), which
were in turn influenced by Indian ideas (and vice versa). So if you're
making the claim that there are traces of Indian influence on Jewish
thinking at the time of Jesus, I'd agree with you. But then everyone
influenced everyone else. However, I consider the claim that "Jesus was
a Buddhist/was heavily influenced by Buddhism" to be untrue, simply
because most of what he taught is traceable to his immediate
surroundings. The Kingdom of God, a succession of anointed prophets, a
chosen people...? None of these are Buddhist ideas. You may find a
stray quote or two that can be made to sound Buddhistic, but then you
can probably do the same thing to just about anybody.

> but they describe many other elements, mostly just demonstrating that
> Alexandria *was* in fact home to Buddhist missionaries circa 0AD. btw,
> are you disputing this part or not?

There were Buddhist missionaries to Greece, as well as Buddhist colonies
in Egypt (possibly Alexandria) and Syria, at or before the time of Jesus
(or so I believe). I have also come across a reference to Buddhists in
Britain in one of Origen's writings (which greatly surprised me). The
Buddhist communities were likely to be comprised of Indian merchants and
immigrants, confined to what we would probably call "Little India".
Buddhism as a unit did not seem to have penetrated into the general
population. There were many Indian traders in those days.

That being said, it's possible that certain Buddhist ideas or practices
had an influence on the surrounding culture. That's just how cultures
work. Monasticism may or may not have been brought to the West by
Indians. But that doesn't constitute an acceptance of Buddhism on the
part of the population.

To illustrate with an example... some people like to twirl their
pens/pencils. As far as I know the practice was brought here (to
Canada) from Hong Kong. When I first noticed people doing it, they were
all recent immigrants from Hong Kong, where pen-twirling was then a
fad. At that time, the practice was exclusively considered a "Hong
Kong" thing, and it was assumed that anyone from Hong Kong could do it.
(I'm from Hong Kong and I've been asked if I can do it... yes, but I
learned it here.) A while later, other people had started doing it, but
it was still associated with HKers. Nowadays, the association has been
lost, and a seemingly random selection of the general population has
that skill. Does that constitute an acceptance of "Hong Kongness" on
the part of the public? Hardly. That's how ideas are passed from
culture to culture.

It's one thing to say that India has had an influence on
Western/Christian religious thinking (which it has), and another to say
that Jesus was (primarily) Buddhist (as evidence suggests otherwise).

> anyway, their subsequent arguments around the etymology of 'Therapeutae'
> clearly become more problematic. And is probably the weakest part of their
> argument.

It's not the only weak part of their argument.

> perhaps, or, it could as easily occur to someone when
> they encounter the parallel stories, such as the prodigal son,

The Buddhist version of the Prodigal Son (found in the Lotus Sutra) is
VERY different from the Christian one. What's happening here is that
people noticed a similar theme (son who doesn't accept/understand
father's love) and latched only onto the similarity while diminishing
the difference. Humans have a tendency to spot similarities even when
there are none (or the simliarities are marginal).

Furthermore:
- The Lotus wasn't composed until AFTER the existence of Christianity.
- In almost all cultures the supreme being (God or Buddha) is depicted
as a Heavenly Father whose love for his children are misunderstand and
often rejected. The psychological motivation behind this is obvious.

A much better example is the story of The Widow's Mite. The details of
the story are similar down to the widow's "two coins". However, this
doesn't suggest an acceptance of Buddhism/Indian ideas as much as
cultural borrowing, as I have demonstrated with the pen-twirling example
above. Assuming the story originated in India (it was attributed to the
Buddha), it's possible that Greek or Hebrews adapted the story to their
own background, perhaps adding it to their own oral tradition. Later,
when Christians chroniclers were looking for "wise stories" to attribute
to their founder, they wrote the story down as if Jesus had originated
it.

It's a much more likely hypothesis than the "Buddhist Jesus"
hypothesis. This cultural borrowing of parts of a culture in isolation
from the rest of it, has been demonstrated in numerous instances. For
example, similar stories to many of the Buddhist Jataka tales are found
in Aesop or similar Greek legends. Assuming again that the stories were
originally Indian/Buddhist, the Greeks seemed to have took them over
while disassociating them from the Buddha's previous lives (which the
Indian versions of the story claim to represent). Then again, it's
possible that the Greeks originated the stories and it was the Buddhist
Indians who had adapted them to the teachings of the Buddha. Or perhaps
animal legends are just an easy way for people of any culture to impart
morality to children, and the stories originated independently. (oops
-- bad buddhist pun alert!)

> leaving family/home, etc etc, and the traditional legends of
> Jesus' traveling to Egypt,

It was written to "fulfill" prophecy. I think it was something about
Rachel weeping for her children. There's a Jewish tradition called
"midrash"... anyways, I think William K. can explain this better.

> and the Indian legends of St Thomas traveling
> to India (perhaps Jesus told him stories he had heard as a youth?),

The Christian apostles went to all the countries which were known to
them. Yes, Thomas probably went to India, but then others of the
apostles went to France, Britain, etc. Perhaps Jesus has been to all
these places as well???

> and the Tibetan Buddhist legends of Jesus living in Nepal
> or wherever ...

And you mustn't discount the Muslim legends that Jesus visited (what is
now) Pakistan and died there. Not only that, but he taught a strict
monotheism which the Christians corrupted. In my opinion, these legends
are around because people are emotionally inclined to believe in them.


> it would be nice to confine this discussion to specific points in
> Gruber and Kersten's book, perhaps you have access to a copy?

Yes, I do.

--
David Yeung

Tang Huyen

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to Tang Huyen

David Yeung wrote: <<In my opinion, these legends are around because people are


emotionally inclined to believe in them.>>

Amen.

Tang Huyen


Tang Huyen

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to ye...@cyberdude.com

David Yeung wrote: <<Take the Buddha. He said some things that are awfully


"Taoist" sounding, and which can't be found in the Vedas. Gosh, he must
have visited China as a child and learnt it at the knee of Lao-Tzu. I don't
mean to sound flippant, but with the amount of "speculation" you're allowing
you can back up just about any hypothesis.>>

David,

There is influence from below (the empirical factors, guilt by association)
and there is influence from above (pure reason). In my research there are
just two main systems of pure reason in the recordrd history of Euro-Asian
thought, and there are strong followers of either system who populate the
upper reaches of thought everywhere, in every religion and philosophy.
Actually, all extant Daoist writings postdate the arrival of Buddhism in
China, so the delimitation of pre-Buddhist Daoism is not easy. The Buddha,
after his awakening, does a thorough review of all options accessible to the
human mind, chooses those that harmonize with his a posteriori discoveries,
and uses pure reason merely as a means of organizing that knowledge with
coherence. The speculative thinkers however use pure reason as their light
and simply apply it to whatever content they run into. Between them, the two
systems of pure reason explain most of the recordrd thought on the
Euro-Asian land-mass, or at least that part of thought there that aspires to
systematicity (the tautology is intentional).

The Buddha says that he owes nothing to his Indian milieu, has no teacher,
criticizes major Indian religions (Brahmanism, Jainism) and schools of
thought (eel-wrigglerism, materialism, etc.) mercilessly, across the board,
but many of his followers revert en masse to Brahmanism, Jainism, animism,
etc., and adopt Indian and Iranian gods and goddesses en masse. As he says,
his Law goes against the stream. How prophetic!

Tang Huyen


Jigme Dorje

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to
William K.> Sigh! Is there any significance in the fact that NOT ONE

competent scholar of the New Testament, early Christianity, or Judaism in
the time of Jesus supports the fanciful speculations about Jesus' alleged
dependence on India for his ideas?

pietzsche>well, here's three more, just for the record ...Flinders Petrie in


1898 and HL Mansel 'Gnostic Heresies' in 1875 evidently the rediscovery of
Gnosticism and Buddhism by the west in the late 1800's caused a few to be
struck by the similarities, and start to dig deeper ...


Jigme>Gnosticism was a system of belifs that posited an androgenous god
called Abraxas engaged in a battle for control of earth. While the influence
on the development of the figure of Satan in Christianity is apparant,
similarities to Buddhism are not.

pie>authors also cite 'Buddha and Christ' by Zacharias Thundy 1993


(evidently he is a linguist who analyzed the linguistic metamorphosis of
Theravada to Theraputta/Therapeutae - he cites two other Indian words known
to have come into Greek that morphed phonemes in the same way)

Buddha and Christ : Nativity Stories and Indian Traditions
(Studies in the History of Religions,)
by Zacharias P. Thundy
Our Price: $100.50 (phew!!!!)

Reviews Book Description - Professor Thundy argues that many details of the


infancy gospels as well as the rest of the gospels can be clarified by the
Buddhist and Hindu scriptures. In this sense, the gospels are Eastern
religious texts. Buddha and Christ covers the following topics in order:
methodology of study, priority of Indian texts vis-a-vis Christian gospels,
parallels of the birth narratives of Buddha and Jesus, uniqueness of Indian
parallels, the Gnostic context of the Christian gospels, and contacts
between India and the West in antiquity.

Jigme>What some people won't do for money, eh? Let me leave you with this
thought: not only was Jesus not Buddha, but he wasn't even Christian; he
wasn't even Christ until, I believe 625 AD when a conference of bishops
assembled by the Roman emperor so decreed him. Many of the more credible
biblical scholars represent him more strictly as a simple Judaic apolyptic
preacher, foreboding the conflagration of Jeruselum and the arising of a
just kingdom of god on earth in its place. It is amazing how people can
twist historical facts in the most fanciful ways to suit their needy,
hungry, grasping selves, isn't it?

mu...@aol.com

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> > One thing I would be interested in hearing is this: why does this
> > hypothesis appeal to people?
>
> imho it has great explanatory power. explains a lot about Jesus's teachings,
> his people's reactions to him when he was alive, and the later mythmaking
> by his followers.

Although I am not at all a scholar of early Christianity, I have found
the most powerful tools for explaining the teaching and conduct of Jesus
to be a greater familiarity with the rabbinical Judaism of his day.
There is no need to go more than a few kilometres outside Jerusalem to
find a precedent for everything that Jesus taught. Precedents for what
various Christians taught about the significance of the life and death
of Jesus may be found in Mithraism and other things that were part of
the mix of the Hellenistic world.



> > I guess what I'm really asking is whether this issue is purely one of
> > historical curiosity, other whether people have an emotional investment
> > in the outcome. If the latter, what is the nature of that emotional
> > investment?
>
> from the reactions to this and previous threads, it seems to me the emotional
> involvement is on the other side, wanting to keep Buddhism unsullied from any
> association with Christianity, since many western Buddhists hope to find a
> refuge from Christianity in Buddhism (IMHO of course).

I have never see this, but I have not followed many threads on this
topic (since, frankly, it the topic has never interested me very much).
What I have seen elsewhere, however, is that Buddhists tend to be very
eager to show that everything of value ultimately comes from Buddhism.
So what I see here is an attempt to diminish the importance of
rabbinical Judaism as a factor in the teachings of Jesus and to
attribute everything of value in him to an Aryan source. (The Nazis were
very big on this kind of thing back in the 1930s.)

Another group of people who have done a great deal to keep alive the
Jesus-in-India hypothesis are Hindu fundamentalists. One of the ways of
coping emotionally with the humiliation of conquest by European
Christians has been to show that everything good about European
civilisation was in fact all borrowed from India. (The evil aspects of
European civilisation, of course, are always seen as being of purely
European origin.)



> I was just now interested to read in Conze's book how it is apparently clear
> that Christianity got the halo symbol from Gandharan Buddhist/Hindu art.
> Plus the known etymology of St. Jehosaphat from 'Bodhisattva' already makes
> for a substantial amount of known cross-fertilization going on, imho.

Of course. No one has disputed that. Alexander the Great's conquests
brought the ancient worlds together to an extent they had never before
been together. Greeks went to India, and Indians went to Egypt. So there
is no denying that there was a general cross-fertilisation. That is
precisely what makes it so difficult to say with any certainty that a
given idea came from a given time and place. The genesis, growth and
dissemination of ideas is all but impossible to trace with any kind of
certainty. It is most conjectural. So to latch on to one conjecture and
to reject others usually involves some kind of emotional, rather than
purely intellectual, investment.

Mubul

JulianLZB87

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
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piet...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<7e12dm$649$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

> "JulianLZB87" <julia...@clara.net> wrote:
>>
>>
>> My favourite so far has been King Jesus by Robert Graves.
>
>i hadnt heard about this, but it does sound interesting.
>i will look for it for sure.
>
>i remember being impressed and surprised by Robert Graves introduction
>to his 'The Greek Myths', IIRC he made no bones about citing mushroom
>intoxication as the beginning of religion, eg the Vedic Soma. or maybe
>i confusing another book of his?

Not know at this address.

>
>anyway, i wonder if 'King Jesus' is along the lines of Kazantzakis'
>'The Last Temptation of Christ'?
>

Not know at this address.


>is Graves still alive?

I think he died late last year or earlier this.
I think I read some obits. recently.

David Yeung

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Apr 2, 1999, 3:00:00 AM4/2/99
to

> David Yeung wrote: <<Take the Buddha. He said some things that are awfully
> "Taoist" sounding, and which can't be found in the Vedas. Gosh, he must
> have visited China as a child and learnt it at the knee of Lao-Tzu. I don't
> mean to sound flippant, but with the amount of "speculation" you're allowing
> you can back up just about any hypothesis.>>
>

Tang Huyen wrote:
> Actually, all extant Daoist writings postdate the arrival of Buddhism in
> China, so the delimitation of pre-Buddhist Daoism is not easy. >

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. ;)

--
David Yeung