Let there be Light!
The following excerpt from an article titled "Spiritual and Astrotheological Motifs Related to Light" is reproduced with permission from the February 13, 2006 issue of the Kentroversy Papers blog. On the Kentroversy site it's printed in purplish text, which I find difficult to read; therefore we're reposting it here. We don't necessarily agree with all of its conclusions, but we find it most enlightening and quite fascinating.
In the ancient times of pre-history, man was in awe of the heavenly dance of the spheres.
In fact, ancient man was so infatuated with the daily and nightly parade across the sky, he soon saw an entire religion spring up. This is now known as Astrotheology, a system of theology based upon what is known about the heavenly bodies, and the laws that regulate their movement across the sky. This worship of the heavenly bodies was based upon superstition and fear; would the sun of the creator arrive in the morning? Or, was it destined to fade away forever, once it set at the end of each day?
Astrotheology represents one of the most closely-held secrets behind all global religions of today’s world. This is because it is Astrotheology that provided the template upon which these later religions would be based. The first clues were provided within the professed belief systems of world cultures that were far flung across the globe, and really should have had no connection with one another.
Just consider this one single fact; there are no less than sixteen religious saviors that were crucified, reborn, and celebrated their birthdays on December 25th. With each succeeding example, it becomes decreasingly likely that this was all mere coincidence, or an accident of fate, as the religious establishment would like us all to believe.
They are hiding a very big secret....
When I was a little boy, I grew up in a typical Christian household. We went to church each Sunday, obeyed the commandments, and feared a punitive and vengeful God, hoping that confession would wipe the slate clean, keeping that ticket to heaven well within reach. Through all the Hail Mary and Our Father prayers, something in the back of my mind was beginning to bother me.
When I was eleven years old, I had a conversation with my grandfather about the existence of God. I had tested with an extremely high intelligence, and even from that early time of my life, I was asking questions that would get me into all sorts of trouble. I was asking for proof of the existence of God and of Jesus Christ, and for some reason, my grandparents had gotten incredibly angry with me about these issues, and I wouldn’t know why for quite a number of years.
When I first heard the word Astrotheology, it was in the context of a course on global religious mythology. It was then that I heard about the many similarities between the various religious systems, with no fewer than sixteen ‘saviors’ before Christ; who all were born of a virgin mother, had died and was resurrected three days later, and they all had December 25th as their birthday. The coincidence was too much to bear, and I felt compelled and obligated to look into it further.
The church was hiding something. But, what could it be, that they were hiding? The answer to what they were hiding, can be found within the reason WHY the saviors of sixteen separate religions on this planet, all share the following in common:
• All sixteen were born of a virgin mother, and were all born on December 25th.
• All sixteen were involved with prophecies, and stars pointing out the time and place of their births.
• All sixteen were crucified on either a cross or a tree, and were resurrected three days later.
• All sixteen were considered to be the saviors of their people.
• All sixteen had angels, shepherds, and magi (magicians) present at their births, or shortly after.
• All sixteen were described by using words related to light.
• And so on it goes....
And, just who were these sixteen crucified saviors identical to Jesus Christ?
• Thulis of Egypt – 1700 B.C.
• Chrishna of India – 1200 B.C.
• Crite of Chaldea – 1200 B.C.
• Atys of Phrygia – 1170 B.C.
• Tammuz of Syria – 1160 B.C.
• Hesus of the Celtic Druids – 834 B.C.
• Indra of Tibet – 725 B.C.
• Bali of Orissa – 725 B.C.
• IAO of Nepal – 622 B.C.
• Sakia of the Hindus – 600 B.C.
• Alcestos of Euripides – 600 B.C.
• Mithra of Persia – 600 B.C.
• Quetzalcoatl of Mexico – 587 B.C.
• Wittoba of the Telingonesh – 552 B.C.
• Prometheus of Caucasus – 547 B.C.
• Quirinus of Rome – 506 B.C.
NOTE: The list of sixteen crucified saviors was taken from the book The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Kersey Graves (1999), 436 pgs.
I began to study the theological religious systems of the world, and as I would like to point out, the study of theology does NOT stop at just one religion, but encompasses the entire global religious system, where ALL religions are studied. To aid me in this research, I was able to collect the bibles of all major religions of the planet. Whereas it took me many years and much money to collect these important spiritual books, thanks to a wonderful man named John B. Hare, these important spiritual books are now available through the Internet Sacred Text Archive on a CD-ROM that is very reasonably priced, especially considering that it contains 940 complete books in HTML format, including all diagrams, artwork, and the full text of each book. The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a phenomenal resource, and one that I recommend highly to those who are interested in such a collection.
I was brought up in a Catholic household, with very devout grandparents, who took care of me in between my father’s five marriages. I left the church when the aunt of one of my girlfriends had gotten very sick and required surgery and a lengthy stay in the hospital. When I was visiting with this woman for Christmas 1986 with my then girlfriend Kim, Kim’s aunt told me that she had gotten an actual billing invoice for the four months of church services she missed.
Her priest did not send her a letter asking her if she was all right, and never sent her a get-well card, but sent her a bill instead. She showed it to me right on the spot, and it said at the bottom: “Failure to pay this invoice within 30 days will result in additional interest, at 1.5% per month, for an 18% annual interest-rate.”
This was an actual bill, and it stated that it was for PEW RENTAL — this was completely outrageous, to say the very least. I asked this woman what she was going to do about this bill she had received, and she told me that she called the priest on the telephone, and immediately asked that her name be removed from the list of parishioners. She said that she had left the church, and she was quite upset about things, which I did not blame her one single bit.
I don’t know WHY she was sent this invoice, but, it gave the impression that the church was more interested in her money than they were in her health and welfare. At that time, I expressed the fact that donations by their very nature are voluntary, and should not be expected by those to whom we donate our hard-earned money.
I discovered that there is a very intriguing connection between Christianity and Astrotheology, the worship of the stars, planets, the sun, and their movements in the sky. High-level initiates of Freemasonry and other secret societies are told the following, which is a ‘secret’ one learns when they become a 32nd degree Freemason, which is called Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret.
But, what is this Royal Secret?
Men who reach the 32nd degree in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry are told, among other things, that Jesus Christ is the S-U-N of God. Jesus Christ is the S-U-N of God. The sun in the sky, is what they are talking about. In the book entitled The Christ Conspiracy: The Biggest Story Ever Sold, the following information provides evidence of the Astro-theological basis of the mythology associated with Jesus Christ.
Here is what that book says about the Sun of God (pgs. 154-156):
THE SUN OF GOD
Within the Sun Book or Holy Bible was incorporated by such priest craft the most consolidated version of the celestial mythos ever assembled, the story of the “son of God.” First, we have seen that “God” is the Sun. Second in Job 38 the stars are called “sons of God,” hence one star would be the son of God is the Sun of God. The solar mythos, in fact, explains why the narratives of the sons of God previously examined are so similar, with a godman who is crucified and resurrected, who does miracles and has 12 disciples, etc. To wit, these stories were in actuality based on the movements of the sun through the heavens. In other words, Jesus Christ and the others upon whom he is predicated are personifications of the sun, and the gospel fable is merely a repeat of a mythological formula revolving around the movements of the sun through the heavens.
For example, many of the world’s crucified godmen have their traditional birthdays on December 25th (“Christmas”). This date is set because the ancients recognized that, from a geocentric perspective in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun makes an annual descent southward until after midnight of December 21st, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, the ancients declared that “God’s Sun” had “died” for three days and was “born again” after midnight of December 24th. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated with great joy the “Sun of God’s” birthday on December 25th.
The following are some characteristics of the “Sun of God”:
• The sun “dies” for three days at the winter solstice, to be born again on December 25th.
• The Sun of God is “born of a virgin,” which refers to both the new or “virgin” moon and the constellation of Virgo.
• The Sun’s “birth” is attended by the “bright star,” either Sirius/Sothis or the planet Venus, and by the “Three Kings,” representing the three stars in the belt of Orion.
• The sun at its zenith, or 12 noon, is in the house or heavenly temple of the “Most High;” thus, “he” begins “his father’s work” at “age” 12. Jordan Maxwell relates, “At that point, all Egypt offered prayers to the “Most High God.”
• The Sun enters into each zodiac sign at 30 degrees; hence, the “Sun of God” begins his ministry at “age” 30. The Sun of the visible heavens has moved northward 30 degrees and stands at the gate of Aquarius, the water-bearer, or John the Baptist of the mystic planisphere, and here begins his work of ministry in Palestine.
• The “Sun of God” is the “Carpenter” who builds his daily “houses” of 12 two-hour divisions.
• The “followers” or “disciples” of the “Sun of God” are the 12 signs of the zodiac, through which the Sun must pass.
• The “Sun of God” is “anointed” when its rays dip into the sea.
• The “Sun of God” “changes water into wine” by creating rain, ripening the grape on the vine and fermenting the grape juice.
• The “Sun of God” “walks on water,” referring to its’ reflection upon the waters' surface.
• The “Sun of God” “calms the sea,” as he rests in the boat of heaven. (Matthew 8:23-27)
• When the “Sun of God” is annually and monthly re-born, he brings life to his former self, raising it from the dead.
• The “Sun of God” triumphantly” rides an ass and her foal” into the “City of Peace” when it enters the sign of Cancer, which contains two stars called “little asses,” and reaches its fullness.
• The “Sun of God” is the “Lion” when in Leo, the hottest time of the year, called the “throne of the Lord.”
• The “Sun of God” is “betrayed” by the constellation of the Scorpion, the backbiter, the time of the year when the solar hero loses his strength. [NOTE: This is also the origin of the term backstabber, which also indicates betrayal].
• The “Sun of God” is hung on a cross, which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter.
• The “Sun of God” darkens when it “dies.” The solar god as the sun of evening or autumn was the suffering, dying Sun, or the dead sun buried in the netherworld.
• The “Sun of God” is with us “always, to the close of the age,” (Matthew 28:20) referring to the ages of the procession of the equinoxes. [NOTE: The procession of the equinoxes takes 26,000 years to complete one cycle.]
• The “Sun of God” is the “Light of the World” and “comes on clouds, and every eye shall see him.”
• The “Sun of God” rising in the morning is the “Savior of mankind.”
• The “Sun of God” wears a corona, a “crown of thorns,” or halo.
• The “Sun of God” was called the “Son of the Sky,” “All seeing,” the “Comforter,” “Healer,” “Savior,” “Creator,” “Preserver,” “Ruler of the World,” and “Giver of Life.”
• The “Sun of God” is the Word or Logos of God.
• The all-seeing Sun, or “Eye of God,” was considered the judge of the living and dead who returned to Earth on a “White Horse.”
The book further states:
“The history of the sun is the history of Jesus Christ. The Sun of God is born on the 25th of December, the birthday of Jesus Christ. The first and greatest of his labors of Jesus Christ is his victory over the serpent, the evil principle, or the devil. In his first labor, Hercules strangled the serpent, as did Chrishna, Bacchus, etc. This is the sun triumphing over the powers of darkness, and as he increases, he prevails, till he is crucified in the heavens, or is decussated in the form of a cross, when he passes the equator at the vernal equinox.”
DaVinci's Last Supper shows the four seasons
When examining ancient religious artwork, the Astrotheological and Astrological aspects are there right under our collective noses. DaVinci’s Last Supper painting is very interesting in this regard. If we accept what high-level freemasons are taught, namely that Jesus Christ is the Sun of God, then The Last Supper painting takes on an entirely new meaning.
From left to right, the figures represented in the painting are as follows: St. Bartholomew (Libra); St. James The Less (Gemini); St. Andrew (Peter’s brother) (Cancer); Judas (Scorpio); St. Peter (Aries); St. John (Leo); Jesus Christ (Sun of God); St. Thomas (Pisces); St. James The Great (Sagittarius); St. Phillip (Virgo); St. Matthew (Capricorn); St. Jude (Aquarius); and St. Simon (Taurus).
The four seasons surround the Sun of God
In Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting, we see the twelve disciples surrounding the Sun of God, in which they are separated into four groups of three. This is directly attributable to the four seasons of the year, which contain three months each. The twelve disciples each represent one month of the year, or more specifically, one zodiac sign of the year.
The Last Supper is in reality a harvest dinner, much like our thanksgiving. If one examines the offerings spread out across the table, it resembles what a Thanksgiving dinner of those times must have looked like. Harvest time was celebrated by huge feasts all throughout history.
At harvest, we eat the flesh of the fruit, which figuratively relates to the flesh of Jesus, the Sun, which makes this fruit grow. We drink the wine of the harvest, and as we have been told in church services, the wine is symbolic of the blood of the savior. Again, it is the Sun, which makes the grapes grow. Without the flesh and blood of the harvest, we would cease to exist.
After the Last Supper, Jesus is betrayed by Judas, who represents Scorpio, in the month of October. Judas was said to have betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, which represent the thirty days of the average monthly interval, and the increasing darkness as the Sun makes its way to the Winter Solstice in the third week of December.
Silver here is a dead giveaway, because silver is the metal associated with the Moon, and thus, darkness. If the reader would care to take note, the Moon looks like a silver coin hanging in the nighttime sky, just as the Sun looks like a golden coin hanging in the daytime sky. To provide further evidence of this symbolism — gold is associated with the Sun, and thus, solar energy, and the light of day; and silver is associated with lunar energy, and the dark of night.
Another familiar symbol is the Solar Cross:
The Solar Cross, which relates to the yearly Equinoxes and Solstices
The Solar Cross continues the esoteric symbolism of Astrotheology, with its direct reference to the yearly equinoxes and solstices. The system is quite simple, as the Sun is at its’ highest point in the sky during the Summer Solstice, and at its lowest point during the Winter Solstice. Both equinoxes represent the equal day and night that is experienced during those points of the year. This is why the positions are taken in the precise manner as can be seen in the diagram above. Any time you see this symbol (as on the right), know that you are looking at a symbolic representation of these four cardinal times of the year, and all other explanations are null and void.
I could go on with this subject on a much deeper level, but I choose to stop here, as my point appears to have been sufficiently made. With so many references to light, I began to think about how our English language deals with its’ influences from Astrology and Astrotheology. I began to think about words, phrases, and names that appear to have had their beginnings from within the ideas associated with Astrology and Astrotheology. If there is NOTHING behind the esoteric principle that Jesus Christ is the Sun of God, then there should be nothing much to find. However, the opposite was found to be the case. There were many references to both Astrology and Astrotheology found within the English language. I focused on the obvious, which were the numerous references to LIGHT. It was there where I would either confirm or disprove my thesis.
The Kentroversy Papers continue here a long discussion and list of references to the word "light" in everyday language and in a historical context.
One final item from his essay is of special interest to Freemasons, in that it references King Solomon:
Solomon — A name that refers to the Sun in three languages.
• Sol is Latin for Sun, which is from where the word solar originates. It is also the basis of the Inner Light of the human being, which is referred to as our soul [sol].
• Om is the Hindu word for a representative concept that relates to the Sun. Om or Aum is also used as a primary mantra in the forms of meditation that have their basis in Eastern philosophy.
• On is the Coptic [Egyptian Christianity] word for Sun, which is from where we get the word horizon (Horus-On), Horus is one of the Egyptian deities relating to the Sun. On is also an Egyptian term for the Sun as it travels across the afternoon sky.
Taking these three definitions into full consideration, Sol-Om-On is a name that denotes the triple power of the Sun. It has been suggested that Sol-Om-On is a numeric code for the triple number of the Sun, which is 666. In the Qabalistic Tree of Life, the sepheria (sphere) related to the Sun carries the number 6.
The name of Sol-Om-On contains three instances of one vowel, which is the letter O. The letter O is the 15th letter of the English alphabet. In numerology, multiple digit numbers are always reduced to a single number. Thus, 15 becomes the following mathematical equation:
15 = 1+5 = 6
And so, the three letters of O add up to the following:
15 + 15 + 15 = (1+5) + (1+5) + (1+5) = 666
The original pre-Christ meaning of the number 666 referred to the triple power of the Sun, and had nothing whatever to do with demons, Satan, or devil-worship of any kind. And, anyone reading these words that doubts the truth of this — you are welcome to look this up for yourself, to verify that this is in fact, true.
BEST OF BURNING TAPER
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DaVinci's Last Supper shows the four seasons
When examining ancient religious artwork, the Astrotheological and Astrological aspects are there right under our collective noses. DaVinci’s Last Supper painting is very interesting in this regard. If we accept what high-level freemasons are taught, namely that Jesus Christ is the "SUN "of God, then The Last Supper painting takes on an entirely new meaning.
From left to right, the figures represented in the painting are as follows: St. Bartholomew (Libra); St. James The Less (Gemini); St. Andrew (Peter’s brother) (Cancer); Judas (Scorpio); St. Peter (Aries); St. John (Leo); Jesus Christ (Sun of God); St. Thomas (Pisces); St. James The Great (Sagittarius); St. Phillip (Virgo); St. Matthew (Capricorn); St. Jude (Aquarius); and St. Simon (Taurus).
Who Was the Real Jesus?
Jesus as fiction
The story of Jesus as presented in the four gospels of the New Testament is essentially a piece of fiction. There are no authentic references to such a figure in the works of any historians of the early 1st century CE (common era). The pre-gospel writings of the early Christians also make no reference to the life and teachings of a recent historical Jesus. Paul, for instance, was supposedly Jesus' contemporary, yet he never claimed to have met him in the flesh or to have met anyone else who had done so; he encountered him only in visions, as a spiritual being. The Christian groups of the 1st century CE held extremely diverse theological views, and this would be hard to explain if they were the followers of a single, recent teacher. Remarkably, they showed no interest in the holy sites and relics associated with Jesus' alleged earthly career; it was not until the 4th century that pieces of the 'true cross' began to surface, and that the first shrine was set up on the supposed mount of Jesus' death.
It is only in the four canonical gospels and certain other New Testament writings that the now orthodox story of Jesus is to be found. The gospels, however, were largely written in the 2nd century, have suffered numerous alterations and additions, and contain significant contradictions and inconsistencies. Their shortcomings are recognized by Christian and non-Christian scholars alike. Some theologians are now prepared to question not only the virgin birth and miracles, but even the much more fundamental doctrine of the resurrection. Theology professor Burton Mack, for example, goes as far as to call the gospels' portrayal of Jesus 'fantastic', 'the result of a layered history of imaginative embellishments of a founder figure' . But even the very existence of a great Christian founder figure living at the start of the 1st century is highly implausible, given the silence of contemporary historians and even 1st-century Christians .
H.P. Blavatsky stated that the story of Jesus was invented after the 1st century. Jesus, she says,
is a deified personification of the glorified type of the great Hierophants of the Temples, and his story, as told in the New Testament, is an allegory, assuredly containing profound esoteric truths, but still an allegory. . . . Every act of the Jesus of the New Testament, every word attributed to him, every event related of him during the three years of the mission he is said to have accomplished, rests on the programme of the Cycle of Initiation, a cycle founded on the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Signs of the Zodiac. 
The gospel figure of Jesus is a Jewish adaptation of the mythical godman found under many different names in ancient pagan mystery religions: in Egypt he was Osiris, in Greece Dionysus, in Asia Minor Attis, in Syria Adonis, in Italy Bacchus, in Persia Mithras. All the major elements of the Jesus story, from the virgin birth to the crucifixion and resurrection, can be found in earlier stories of pagan godmen. As G. de Purucker puts it:
the 'Gospel' story is merely an idealized fiction, written by Christian mystics in imitation of esoteric mysteries of the 'Pagans,' showing the initiation trials and tests of the candidate for initiation; and it is not very well done, there being much error and many mistakes in the 'Gospels.' 
A historical Jesus?
The fact that key elements of the gospel story of Jesus are clearly mythical does not automatically mean that the entire portrayal is fiction. Over the past two centuries scholars have produced many different reconstructions of the 'real Jesus'. He has been depicted, for example, as a priestly zealot fomenting popular unrest against the Roman occupation, an apocalyptic prophet, a progressive Pharisee, a Galilean healer and miracle-worker, and a Hellenistic sage. Commenting on the many 'historical Jesuses', Robert Price writes:
All tend to center on particular constellations of gospel elements interpreted in certain ways, leaving other data to the side as spurious . . . What one Jesus reconstruction leaves aside, the next takes up and makes its cornerstone. . . . Each sounds good until you hear the next one. 
The Jesus Seminar, an association of progressive biblical scholars based in California, was formed in the 1980s and has played an important role in exposing the unreliability of the early Christian record. Its members believe that
1. Jesus was primarily a sage who taught that the kingdom of heaven is within.
2. They dismiss the gospel stories of him working miracles, and regard him as too enlightened to have threatened his opponents with damnation on Judgement Day.
3. In fact, they reject as inauthentic some three quarters of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels. But their selective portrayal tells us more about their own preconceptions and preferences than about an historical Jesus .
Mark's Gospel, the shortest and simplest, is widely believed to have been the first of the four canonical gospels to be written. The authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke copied large chunks of it, but also appear to have been in possession of another document, now lost, known as 'Q' (standing for Quelle, a German word meaning 'source'), which apparently contained the sayings of Jesus. Q is thought to have been written in three stages: Q1 contains wisdom sayings, Q2 more sectarian, apocalyptic sayings, and only Q3 refers to a founder figure called Jesus. This legendary figure is depicted as a purely human teacher, which is how early Christians such as the Ebionites and Nazoreans regarded Jesus; there is no mention of Jesus being the son of God, or of his crucifixion and resurrection.
Some scholars, however, believe that even Q1 may be based on the life of an actual itinerant Galilean preacher of the 20s or 30s, who was one of the prototypes of the gospel Jesus . Opponents of this view argue that the sayings represent ideas widely held in various brotherhoods and mystery schools long before Christianity was created. In particular, they bear ample marks of Cynic origin, with parallels in the works of Seneca, Epictetus, Diogenes Laertius, etc. Robert Price states that the sayings convey 'not the personality of an individual but that of a movement, the sharp and humorous Cynic outlook on life' .
The Jewish historian Josephus mentions three characters who people thought were messiahs and who were crucified by the Romans: Yehuda of Galilee (6 CE), Theudas (44 CE), and Benjamin the Egyptian (60 CE). It is possible that the Jesus story is partly based on their lives .
G.A. Wells maintains that Paul regarded Jesus as a heavenly, preexistent figure who had come to earth perhaps one or two centuries before his own time. Alvar Ellegard has gone a step further and has suggested that the main prototype for Jesus was the Teacher of Righteousness mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in the late 1940s and early 50s) . Ellegard argues that this figure was the founder of the Judaic reform movement known as the Essenes, and died around 100 BCE (before common era). He was looked upon as a great prophet and also as a martyr, who had been harassed and eventually put to death by the Jewish priestly hierarchy. According to Ellegard, Paul and his colleagues were the first to refer to this figure as 'Jesus', and it was they who introduced the idea that he was the messiah or saviour. He acknowledges that the Teacher of the Scrolls differs in many ways from the Jesus of the gospels, but stresses that the latter is largely a fictional figure.
There is disagreement as to whether Paul and his fellow-believers saw Jesus as a man who had lived on earth at some more distant time in the past or whether they saw him entirely as a mythical figure, a spiritual being who lived and operated in the 'supernatural' world, like all the other saviour gods of the time. Although Paul makes it clear that he himself had never met an historical Jesus, there are a handful of passages in his writings that could be interpreted as referring to a previous earthly existence of Jesus. Earl Doherty, however, argues that these are better interpreted in line with Platonic thinking about counterpart realities in the higher spiritual world . In his view, pre-gospel Christian records do not provide any evidence of a widespread tradition about a human founder who was a prophet, teacher, miracle-worker and interpreter of scripture -- in either the recent or distant past.
In a highly speculative reconstruction of the life of the Teacher of Righteousness (who may have been called Judah), Michael Wise argues that he was a priestly prophet, a member of the elite, and rose to preeminence around 105 BCE as a leader of the political coalition that supported King Alexander Jannaeus (who reigned from c. 103 to 76 BCE) . Alexander was supported by the Sadducees and oppressed the Pharisees, but when his wife, Alexandra, became queen, she did an about-face and embraced the Pharisees. Judah, who came to regard himself as the messiah, defied the new regime, labeling it Satan's dominion. He was arrested, charged with false prophecy, and exiled around 74 BCE, and within a few years he had been killed. Wise does not specifically link the Teacher with the Essenes.
Robert Eisenman contends that the Dead Sea Scrolls have been dated a century too early, and that they should be seen as 1st-century CE works stemming from the community led by James the Just. According to this view, it is the latter who was called the Teacher of Righteousness. The Teacher is said to have been ambushed, betrayed and killed by a wicked priest, and this closely parallels the plot of Ananus the High Priest to trap and kill James . If this theory is confirmed, it would rule out Ellegard's hypothesis that the Teacher of Righteousness was the historical Jesus and undermine Wise's attempted reconstruction of his life. A more important candidate for an historical Jesus is found in the Jewish Talmud.
Jesus in the Talmud
The Talmud contains a number of passages that refer to a certain Jeshu (or Joshua) ben Pandera, who lived around 100 BCE . Jeshu is said to have been the disciple of Joshua ben Perachiah, who was certainly a historical figure, being one of the most prominent rabbis of the time. During the persecution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus, which began around 94 BCE, Joshua ben Perachiah fled with Jeshu to Alexandria in Egypt, where Jeshu is said to have learned magic. Described as a learned man, Jeshu was expelled for heretical tendencies from the school over which Joshua presided. He became a religious teacher, had several disciples, and preached to ordinary people. He was accused of practicing sorcery, deceiving Israel and estranging people from God. After being tried and convicted, he was stoned to death and his body was then hung up as a warning to others.
Some Jews still adhere to the 100 BCE date for Jesus and argue that many gospel stories are specific responses to the Talmudic picture of Jeshu ('Jesus' is the Latin form of 'Jeshu' or 'Yeshu') . Christians, on the other hand, claim that the Talmud Jeshu is partly based on the 'real', gospel Jesus, and that the stories about Jeshu reflect the Jews' intense hostility towards the Christians . Many writers who argue that the gospel Jesus is a fictional character also deny the historical reality of the Talmud Jeshu . Theosophical writers such as H.P. Blavatsky and G. de Purucker, on the other hand, insist that there was a historical Jesus who lived around 100 BCE, on whom the gospel Jesus is partly based, and they give credence to the Talmudic tradition . Blavatsky writes:
However cautious one ought to be in accepting anything about Jesus from Jewish sources, it must be confessed that in some things they seem to be more correct in their statements (whenever their direct interests in stating facts is not concerned) than our good but too jealous [Church] Fathers. 
The Talmud was compiled between the 2nd and 6th centuries CE from earlier traditions. In the middle ages, the scattered passages referring to Jeshu were worked up, together with other material, into a book, the Toldoth Jeshu (Life of Jesus). Whereas the Talmud is a fairly sober work, the Toldoth Jeshu is full of wild tales, which are clearly not intended to be regarded as historical. The statements made about Jesus in the Talmud and Toldoth are sometimes rather confused, and some were probably written after the gospel story emerged in order to ridicule Christian beliefs (e.g. the story about Jesus' mother being an adulteress and Jesus a bastard, and the story that Jesus' disciples stole his dead body and hid it).
The Talmud also speaks of a man named ben Stada ('strayed one'), who sometimes stands for Jesus, but one of the passages implies that he lived around 100 CE -- nearly 200 years after King Jannaeus' death. However, this should not be used as an excuse to reject the whole rabbinical tradition about Jesus as unhistorical and unreliable, especially since ben Stada appears originally to have been a separate character who was later confused with Jeshu . G.R.S. Mead shows that the 100 BCE date is part of the oldest deposit of the Talmud and predates the stories containing the later date, which were developed by the Lydda (or Lud) school of rabbis for polemical purposes .
The early Christians were well aware of the Jewish stories about Jesus. The pagan philosopher Celsus, who was famous for his arguments against Christianity, referred to the Jewish tradition current in his own day (c. 170 CE) that Jesus went to Egypt where he learned magic and later returned home and started claiming he was a god. Jesus' mother, Mary, had allegedly been divorced by her husband, a carpenter, after it had been proved that she was an adulteress. She wandered about in shame and bore Jesus in secret, his real father being a soldier named Panthera (or Pandera). The 3rd-century church father Origen found this story to be of sufficient importance to go to the pains of arguing against it in his book against Celsus. At the end of the 2nd century, the fiery church father Tertullian, in a diatribe against the Jews, indicated that he was aware of several elements of the Talmud Jesus stories, and also several additional elements not mentioned in the Talmud but included in the Toldoth Jeshu, which was not written down until many centuries later .
In the 4th century the Christian saint Epiphanius gave a Christian genealogy in which Panthera is mentioned as the grandfather of Jesus. He even states that Jesus lived in the time of King Jannaeus, but then goes on to say that Jesus was born in 2 BCE, some 70 years after Jannaeus' death ! Epiphanius was trying to dispose of the Jewish tradition about Jesus by incorporating elements of it into his own (clearly fictional) account, apparently unconcerned by the blatant incongruity to which this gave rise.
According to Matthew's Gospel, Joseph and Mary had to flee with the baby Jesus to Egypt because King Herod had ordered all infant boys born in Bethlehem to be killed. As already mentioned, the Talmud says that ben Perachiah fled to Egypt with Jeshu to escape being killed by King Jannaeus. In contrast to the Christian story of the 'slaughter of the innocents' under Herod, for which there is no historical evidence whatsoever, the persecution of the Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus is a historical fact . Jannaeus (supported by the Sadducees) overcame the Pharisees around 88 BCE after six years of fighting. He allegedly crucified 800 of them and had the throats of their wives and children cut in front of them; another 8000 rabbis fled Judea. The 'slaughter of the innocents' may be partly based on this fact (initiates were sometimes called 'innocents' or 'infants'). However, it should be noted that the theme of a divine or semi-divine child who is feared by an evil king is very common in pagan mythology.
According to the gospels, Jesus was crucified. However, Paul and Peter, who were writing before the gospels were composed, say he was 'hanged on a tree' (Galatians 3:13; Acts 5:30, 10:39). The Talmud Jesus is said to have been stoned and hanged on a tree (in accordance with Jewish law).
1. Jesus' crucifixion is also, of course, symbolical.
2. Christ represents both the spiritual sun (whose emblem is the physical sun) and the spiritual self in each individual.
3. The cross represents the intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator, and also the interdependence of spirit (the vertical bar) and matter (the horizontal).
4. Just as the sun is 'reborn' at the vernal equinox, when it crosses the celestial equator and begins its northward journey along the ecliptic, so the aim of initiation is to end the 'crucifixion' of the higher self in the world of matter by bringing about a second or spiritual birth, in which the lower nature is transmuted and united with the higher. During the trials of initiation the candidate often lay on a cruciform couch.
The theme of a divine or semi-divine being who is sacrificed against a tree, pole or cross and then resurrected is frequently found in pagan mythology. For instance, at the vernal equinox, pagans in northern Israel would celebrate the death and resurrection of the virgin-born Tammuz-Osiris. In Asia Minor (where the earliest Christian churches were established) a similar celebration was held for the virgin-born Attis, who was shown as dying against a tree, being buried in a cave and then being resurrected on the third day .
Jesus the Nazar
The Hebrew name for Christians has always been notzrim, and although modern Christians claim that Christianity only started in the 1st century CE, the 1st-century Christians in Israel considered themselves to be a continuation of the notzri movement, which had been in existence for about 150 years . In the rabbinical tradition, Jeshu ben Pandera is also called Jeshu ha-Notzri (Jesus the Nazar). The Greek equivalent of notzri is nazoraios (or nazaraios/naziraios). The stem of this word means 'to keep oneself separate' -- an indication of the ascetic nature of this sect. The early Christians conjectured that nazoraios (variously rendered Nazar/Nazarite, Nazorean or Nazarene) meant a person from Nazareth and so it was assumed that Jesus lived in Nazareth. However, the original Hebrew for Nazareth is Natzrat and a person from Nazareth is a Natzrati. The expression 'Jesus of Nazareth' is therefore a mistranslation of 'Jeshu ha-Notzri'.
At the time of the emergence of Christianity, the Middle East was the scene of great religious diversity, as has been confirmed by the Nag Hammadi writings and Dead Sea Scrolls. Many of the various sects -- e.g. Essenes, Therapeutae (lit. 'healers'), Nazars, Nabatheans, Ebionites and Gnostics -- were closely interrelated and often difficult to tell apart. As H.P. Blavatsky says, they 'were all, with very slight differences, followers of the ancient theurgic mysteries' . Several scholars have pointed to similarities between eastern religious traditions (especially Buddhism and Brahmanism) and the ideas of the Essenes, Nazars and Gnostics. Trade routes between the Greco-Roman world and the Far East were opening up at the time Gnosticism flourished (80-200 CE), Buddhists were in contact with Gnostic Christians in southern India, and for generations Buddhist missionaries had been proselytizing in Alexandria and elsewhere in the Middle East .
According to Blavatsky, the Essenes were 'the converts of Buddhist missionaries who had overrun Egypt, Greece, and even Judea at one time, since the reign of Asoka' (mid-3rd century BCE) . She states that although Jesus was a pupil of the Essenes, he was not a strict Essene as he disagreed with his early teachers on several questions of formal observance.
[T]he Nazarene Reformer, after having received his education in their [the Essenes'] dwellings in the desert, and been duly initiated into the Mysteries, preferred the free and independent life of a wandering Nazaria, and so separated or inazarenized himself from them, thus becoming a travelling Therapeute, a Nazaria, a healer. 
She describes the Nazars as 'a class of Chaldean initiates' and 'kabalistic gnostics' . Regarding Jesus' mission, she writes:
The motive of Jesus was evidently like that of Gautama-Buddha, to benefit humanity at large by producing a religious reform which should give it a religion of pure ethics . . .
In his immense and unselfish love for humanity, he considers it unjust to deprive the many of the results of the knowledge acquired by the few. This result he accordingly preaches -- the unity of a spiritual God, whose temple is within each of us, and in whom we live as He lives in us -- in spirit. 
The Mandeans asserted that Jesus was Nebu, the false messiah, and the destroyer of the old orthodox religion, while other opponents said he was the founder of a new sect of Nazars. The Hebrew word naba means 'to speak by inspiration', and Nebo is the god of wisdom and also the planet Mercury. The Hindus call this planet Buddha ('wise man'), and it is closely connected with the Buddha ('awakened one'). Similarly, the Talmudists hold that Jesus was inspired by the genius or regent of Mercury . According to the modern theosophical tradition, there is an intimate link between Jesus and Buddha, connected with Jesus' status as an avatara.
Jesus as avatara
The term 'avatara' signifies the 'descent' of a divine being who overshadows and works through a human vehicle. Mahatma KH stated that the man Jeshu was 'a mortal like any of us, an adept more by his inherent purity and ignorance of real Evil, than by what he had learned with his initiated Rabbis and the already (at that period) fast degenerating Egyptian Hierophants and priests' . Jesus was chrestos (good and holy), and became christos ('anointed', i.e. glorified) only when the celestial power began to work through him. As Blavatsky explains:
Western Theosophists accept the Christos as did the Gnostics of the centuries which preceded Christianity, as do the Vedantins their Krishna: they distinguish the corporeal man from the divine Principle which, in the case of the Avatara, animates him. 
To make a complete avatara, a third element is necessary: the physical-astral body and the spiritual-divine entity must be linked by a psychological apparatus, which is provided by a master of wisdom with the status of a Buddha. Blavatsky and Purucker indicate that in the case of Jesus, it was the adept known in his last incarnation as Gautama Buddha who provided this link . When the Buddha achieved enlightenment, his spiritual self is said to have entered the state of nirvana, while his intermediate self, the bodhisattva, remained after his death in the earth's ethereal atmosphere as a nirmanakaya so that it could continue to help on human evolution .
Purucker explains that avataras are humans of extraordinary spiritual and intellectual powers embodying a divine ray, who have no human karma because they are not the reincarnations of an ordinary human soul evolving on this earth. They are created by an act of white magic at cyclical points in human history for the purpose of introducing the spiritual influence of a divine being into human affairs . The chosen child, even before it is born, is overshadowed by the soul of the Buddha, who watches over and strengthens the body concerned until it can receive the fuller incarnation of the Buddha's spiritual and intellectual powers. Somewhat later, usually when the borrowed body has reached adulthood, the soul of the Buddha rises through the ether and links itself with the waiting divinity, and from that instant, which usually takes place during initiation at the time of the winter solstice, the avatara exists as a complete entity and goes about its work . Purucker writes:
An avatara usually happens in our world when a divinity is passing through initiation, and a human being provides the vehicle to enable it to descend into what is an underworld to the divine spheres. When a human being undergoes a corresponding initiation, the man descends into the underworld where a denizen thereof cooperates to lend its thinking conscious vehicle to allow the human monad to manifest and work there. 
The gospel Jesus appears to be a patchwork character, partly mythical and partly based on a number of historical characters, including the Talmud Jeshu. As for the avatara Jesus mentioned in the theosophical tradition, Purucker points out that there is no exoteric proof that such a figure did live and teach . He is said to have been born around 107 BCE , and Blavatsky quotes an obscure passage from a 'secret work', which could be interpreted to mean that he died in his 33rd year (i.e. in 75-74 BCE) .*
*Shankaracharya, the great Vedantic teacher of India, is also said to have been overshadowed by the Buddha. Born in 510 BCE, he chose to die in his 33rd year. A commentary explains: 'At whatever age one puts off his outward body by free will, at that age will he be made to die in his next incarnation against his will' .
In the Talmud, Balaam (a name meaning 'destroyer or corrupter of the people') -- who sometimes denotes Jeshu -- is said to have died when he was 33 years old. The Toldoth Jeshu indicates that Jeshu outlived Jannaeus, who died between 79 and 76 BCE. He was succeeded by his wife, Salome, who reigned for some nine years and, unlike her husband, was favourable to the Pharisees. It may have been only after Jannaeus' death that both Joshua ben Perachiah and Jeshu returned to Judea .
The New Testament does not indicate how old Jesus was when he died, though he is said to have begun his ministry at the age of 30. Some of the early Christians gave the time of his ministry as one year. The church father Irenaeus dismissed this and stated that Jesus' ministry lasted 20 years. The accepted opinion among Christians today is that his mission lasted 3 years, and that he was crucified in his 33rd year .
In theosophical literature, Jesus is said to have been the avatara for the Piscean Age, the age which is now closing as we enter the Aquarian Age . Significantly, the Jesus story contains a great deal of fish imagery. The apostles were known as 'fishers of men'. The early Christians called themselves 'little fishes', and used the Greek word ichthys ('fish') as a code word for Jesus, as it was seen as an acronym for 'Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour'. In John's Gospel, Jesus miraculously helps his disciples land a large catch of 153 fish. 153 is a sacred number associated with the vesica piscis or 'vessel of the fish', an ancient Pythagorean symbol used by early Christians to represent their faith .
Figure. Two circles, symbolizing spirit and matter, are brought together in a sacred marriage. When the circumference of one touches the centre of the other they generate the fish shape known as the vesica piscis. The ratio of length to height of this shape is 265:153, and is known as the 'measure of the fish'. It is a powerful mathematical tool, being the nearest whole number approximation of the square root of three and the controlling ratio of the equilateral triangle.
Purucker says that Jesus 'came at a time of a downwards-running cycle in order to sow some seeds at least of spiritual light, preceding a time which was going to be spiritually dark'. His mission quickly proved to be a failure, because although the cyclic time for an avatara had come, everything was working against the spiritual forces for which he opened the way, and within less than a hundred years the teachings that he had left behind had degenerated . For instance, the doctrines of reincarnation and karma were replaced by the irrational and unjust dogma that belief in Jesus is sufficient to absolve us of all our sins and secure us an eternity of heavenly bliss, while unbelievers will suffer eternal torment in hell.
'Christ' refers to far more than a single man. In his Letter to the Colossians (1:25-8), Paul describes himself as having been assigned the task of announcing 'the secret hidden for long ages and through many generations': 'The secret is this: Christ in you!' As Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy remark, this 'is the perennial mysticism of Gnosticism and the Pagan Mysteries -- that within each one of us is the one Soul of the Universe, the Logos, the Universal Daemon, the Mind of God' . The purpose of our evolutionary pilgrimage is to bring this inner christ or buddha nature to full expression over the course of numberless lives. As Blavatsky puts it:
Christ -- the true esoteric SAVIOUR -- is no man, but the DIVINE PRINCIPLE in every human being. He who strives to resurrect the Spirit crucified in him by his own terrestrial passions, and buried deep in the 'sepulchre' of his sinful flesh; he who has the strength to roll back the stone of matter from the door of his own inner sanctuary, he has the risen Christ in him. The 'Son of Man' is no child of the bond-woman -- flesh, but verily of the free-woman -- Spirit, the child of man's own deeds, and the fruit of his own spiritual labour. 
Blavatsky relates that she was once in a large cave-temple in the Himalayas with her Tibetan teacher, Morya. There were many statues of adepts and, pointing to one of them, her teacher said: 'This is he whom you call Jesus. We count him to be one of the greatest among us' . The importance of Jesus is highlighted in the following passage:
All the civilized portion of the Pagans who knew of Jesus honored him as a philosopher, an adept whom they placed on the same level with Pythagoras and Apollonius. As an incarnated God there is no single record of him on this earth capable of withstanding the critical examination of science; as one of the greatest reformers, an inveterate enemy of every theological dogmatism, a persecutor of bigotry, a teacher of one of the most sublime codes of ethics, Jesus is one of the grandest and most clearly-defined figures on the panorama of human history. His age may, with every day, be receding farther and farther back into the gloomy and hazy mists of the past; and his theology -- based on human fancy and supported by untenable dogmas may, nay, must with every day lose more of its unmerited prestige; alone the grand figure of the philosopher and moral reformer instead of growing paler will become with every century more pronounced and more clearly defined. It will reign supreme and universal only on that day when the whole of humanity recognizes but one father -- the UNKNOWN ONE above -- and one brother -- the whole of mankind below. 
Jesus as fiction
 Quoted in G.A. Wells, The Jesus Myth, Chicago, IL: Open Court, 1999, pp. ix-x.
 See 'The origins of Christianity', davidpratt.info.
 H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1950-91, 9:225; see also 8:373, 11:495. See H.J. Spierenburg (comp.), The New Testament Commentaries of H.P. Blavatsky, San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, 1987.
 G. de Purucker, Studies in Occult Philosophy, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1973, p. 679; see also Dialogues of G. de Purucker, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1948, 2:425.
A historical Jesus?
 Robert M. Price, Deconstructing Jesus, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000, pp. 15-6.
 Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity begin with a mythical Christ?, Ottawa: Canadian Humanist Publications, 1999, pp. 26, 149, 294-5, 331 (http://pages.ca.inter.net/~oblio/jesus.html).
 The Jesus Myth, pp. 102-3.
 Deconstructing Jesus, p. 150; see also The Jesus Puzzle, pp. 169-70, 173, 177-8, 197-8.
 Hayyim ben Yehoshua, 'Refuting missionaries', http://mama.indstate.edu/users/nizrael/jesusrefutation.html.
 Alvar Ellegard, Jesus: One hundred years before Christ, Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 1999.
 See Earl Doherty's review of Ellegard's book and Ellegard's reply, http://pages.ca.inter.net/~oblio/BkrvEll.htm.
 Michael O. Wise, The First Messiah: Investigating the savior before Christ, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.
 Deconstructing Jesus, p. 59.
Jesus in the Talmud
 G.R.S. Mead, Did Jesus Live 100 BC? (1903), Kila, MT: Kessinger Publishing Company, n.d. (www.kessingerpub.com); see 'Jesus in the Jewish tradition', http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/mead.htm.
 'Refuting missionaries'; Christians for Moses, 'Why we reject Jesus', http://cfmbnainoach.freeyellow.com/Why.html.
 Stephen G. Wilson, Related Strangers: Jews and Christians 70-170 C.E., Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1995, pp. 183-94; J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth: His life, times, and teaching, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1947, pp. 18-54; R. Travers Herford, Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, London: Williams & Norgate, 1903, pp. 35-96, 344-60.
 Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the original Jesus a pagan god?, London: Thorsons, 2000, pp. 169-70, 192 (www.jesusmysteries.demon.co.uk); Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle, p. 204; Ellegard, pers. com., 19 May 2000.
 H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled (1877), Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1972, 2:201-2, 386; Blavatsky Collected Writings, 4:361-2, 8:189, 380-2, 460-1, 9:224-6; G. de Purucker, Word Wisdom in the Esoteric Tradition, San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, 1980, pp. 142-8; G. de Purucker, The Esoteric Tradition, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 2nd ed., 1973, pp. 1088-90.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:202.
 Christianity in Talmud and Midrash, pp. 344-7; Related Strangers, p. 186; 'Refuting missionaries'.
 Did Jesus Live 100 BC?, pp. 414-9.
 Ibid., pp. 127-33, 244, 281-3.
 Ibid., pp. 388-412; Blavatsky Collected Writings, 4:361fn, 8:382fn.
 Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?, pp. 138-9; Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy: The greatest story ever sold, Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 1999, p. 326 (www.truthbeknown.com); H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (1888), Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1977, 2:504fn.
 'Refuting missionaries'.
Jesus the Nazar
 'Refuting missionaries'.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:143.
 Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, New York: Vintage, 1981, pp. xx-xxi; The Christ Conspiracy, pp. 110-1, 322-3; Acharya S, Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ unveiled, Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 2004, pp. 319-31.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:132, 42, 491; Blavatsky Collected Writings, 9:137.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:144.
 Blavatsky Collected Writings, 14:123, 150.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:133, 561.
 Ibid., 2:132; Blavatsky Collected Writings, 14:395.
Jesus as avatara
 A.T. Barker (comp.), The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 2nd ed., 1975, p. 344.
 Blavatsky Collected Writings, 8:374.
 Ibid., 14:396fn; G. de Purucker, Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 2nd ed., 1979, p. 320; G. de Purucker, Fountain-Source of Occultism, Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1974, pp. 484, 496, 522.
 Blavatsky Collected Writings, 14:388-99; Fountain-Source of Occultism, pp. 521-8.
 The Esoteric Tradition, pp. 990-4; Fountain-Source of Occultism, pp. 484-6.
 Dialogues of G. de Purucker, 2:314; Fountain-Source of Occultism, pp. 495-6.
 Ibid., p. 499.
 Studies in Occult Philosophy, p. 64.
 Letter from H.P. Blavatsky to W.Q. Judge, 23 Feb. 1887; Studies in Occult Philosophy, p. 427.
 Blavatsky Collected Writings, 14:404-5.
 Ibid., 14:405.
 Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.?, pp. 140-1, 188, 199-201.
 Word Wisdom in the Esoteric Tradition, pp. 131-2.
 The Esoteric Tradition, p. 1058fn; Fountain-Source of Occultism, p. 680.
 David Fideler, Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient cosmology and early Christian symbolism, Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 1993, pp. 161-2; The Jesus Mysteries, pp. 48-9.
 Dialogues of G. de Purucker, 2:213-5, 217-8; Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, pp. 485-7.
 The Jesus Mysteries, p. 205.
 Blavatsky Collected Writings, 8:173.
 Ibid., 8:402.
 Isis Unveiled, 2:150-1.