Lena Einhorn - A Shift in Time
* Lena Eeinhorn의 A Shift in Time ( 2016 ) :
"Historical Jesus( 역사적 인물로서의 예수 )" 연구 분야의 최근 서적으로,
참신한 관점과 설득력 있는 가설 들을 제안하고 있습니다.
저자 Lena Eeinhorn은 의사이며, 유대계 스웨덴 작가로, 소설, 연극, ( 다큐 ) 영화,
역사적 예수 연구 등등 다양한 분야에서 연구-저술-창작 활동을 합니다.
서양사 안에서 일어난 유대인 박해-수난사와, 자신의 가족사이기도 한 유대인들의
삶과 역사를 다룬 책들과 다큐 영화들로 세계적으로 인정받고 국제적 영화상들도 많이 받았습니다.
Lena Einhorn on "Historical Jesus"
• Book : A Shift in Time ( 2016 )
• Article : Jesus and the ‘Egyptian Prophet’
Presented at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2012
"What if historians cannot find Jesus because they have been looking in the wrong places? Or, more to the point, the wrong time? That is the suggestion of television documentarian turned New Testament scholar Lena Einhorn, based on a bold and eye-opening new reading of Josephus. Sometimes it takes new eyes to see old things. While she may not convince everyone, her presentation of sources is so meticulous and clear, no one will be able to say after reading A Shift in Time they have not benefitted by immensely widening their horizons and immeasurably increasing their insight."
-- from the book blurb
"Lena Einhorn shows that there is still gold in Josephus for New Testament researchers to mine. What a fascinating, striking hypothesis! In the manner described by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, she makes a fresh start from the ‘anomalous data’ which stumped the conventional paradigm and makes it central to a bold new paradigm. The gauntlet is thrown!"
-- Professor Robert M. Price, author of “The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems” and “The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave”
Lena Einhorn discusses "the historical Jesus" in her book [ A Shift In Time ] with
Phil Robinson of New Skeptics. The Interview begins at 01m:11s.
Lena Einhorn September 5, 2016
Reply to Richard Carrier's Critique on A Shift in Time
Hi Richard, and thanks for a very thoughtful and respectful review of my book A Shift in Time. Normally, one should not comment on a review of one’s work, but as you write in your blog that “the only comments that will be published at this site are comments submitted by my Patreon subscribers and by anyone who or whose work I discuss in the article commented on” I was inspired to reflect, and raise some questions:
In your review, you write that your main objection to my thesis is that it “does not take into account the best alternative theory, and methodologically it is not logically possible to argue for a hypothesis in isolation from competing hypotheses.” This is a valid point, one should always look at alternative explanations for one’s findings. I can’t help noting, however, that despite your very generous comments about my method and grasp of the material, you actually do not critically dissect my hypothesis (except in a few sentences regarding enigma no. 6, on the two high-priests). I feel that the hypothesis itself is largely left unexplored in your review – perhaps for lack of space in a brief text.
As my book and paper, up until now, mainly have been discussed by mythicists, or those sympathetic to mythicist views (probably since mythicists – just like I do – present alternative explanations to those generally backed by mainstream biblical scholars), I feel it is appropriate to briefly discuss my hypothesis in relation to mythicist thinking. In fact, the time shift hypothesis, strictly speaking, lies at the other end of the spectrum of historical Jesus theories than mythicism does (and this is perhaps why, despite the willingness to discuss the theory among mythicists, there is a reluctance to embrace it). Not only does the time shift theory suggest that Jesus really existed, in the flesh, it also suggests that his life and movement is described in detail also outside the New Testament texts; i.e. it suggests there is corroborating evidence for his existence. One cannot get much further from mythicism than that (which is why I am impressed and humbled by the willingness to discuss it in this arena).
So why not “take into account the best alternative theory”, as you suggest (and you specify, by writing: “The best competing hypothesis is simply: the Gospel authors are making Jesus up”)? Well, first of all, I would like to point out, that I have a whole chapter in my book, entitled “Possible arguments against a time shift”, where I bring up all the possible arguments I can think of that could scuttle the hypothesis, and I discuss these. This approach – challenging one’s own theory by testing its falsifiability or refutability – is generally (in line with the thinking of Karl Popper) the way a hypothesis should be properly tested. Now there are always – and very much so in the case of the historical Jesus – alternative hypotheses. The problem in comparing a hypothesis such as mine (“Jesus existed, albeit in another time, and this is the evidence”) with one suggesting he never existed, is that the latter is built largely on Evidence of absence. What I do in my book is line up evidence for his presence in the 50s (and for the New Testament as a historical text of the Jewish rebellion, lying hidden underneath a literary/devotional/supernatural narrative). It would have been a somewhat knotty exercise for me to challenge Evidence of presence with Evidence of absence (“what I just showed you never existed”).
Interestingly, however, both my conclusions and those of mythicists are sparked by the same thing: the dearth of historical evidence for Jesus existence, outside the New Testament texts. Despite the fact that first century Judea and Galilee are very well covered by Roman and Jewish historians (Josephus in particular), and despite the fact that Jesus in the Gospels is portrayed as someone with a large following, and one whose trial involved both high priests in Jerusalem, as well as the Jewish ruler of Galilee, and the Roman ruler of Iudaea, nothing of this is visible in non-biblical historical narratives of the 30s CE.
The traditional conclusion has been that Jesus must have been much less known in his own time than the Gospels suggest. The alternative explanation has been that he never existed at all.
These are reasonable conclusions, they make sense. If you can’t find him – despite volumes of text covering the era – it is logical to come to the conclusion that he never existed. Or that he was highly unknown.
But what if the evidence for his presence is there?
No, the time shift theory is not built only on the numerous similarities between Jesus and the messianic leader Josephus calls “the Egyptian” (the large following, the prophecy of the tearing down of the walls of Jerusalem, the betrayal to the authorities, the violent reaction of the authorities, the pivotal events on the Mount of Olives, previous time spent in Egypt, and in the wilderness). It is built on a slew of additional parallels between the Gospels and Acts, on the one hand, and events Josephus places in the 40s and 50s CE:
* The activity of robbers, lestai
* Known crucifixions of Jews
* An insurrection (Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19)
* A messianic leader gathering people on the Jordan river, who is subsequently decapitated by the authorities
* An attack on a man named Stephanos (Stephen) on a road outside Jerusalem
* Two co-reigning high priests
* A conflict or war between Galileans and Samaritans, limited in time
* Galileans on their way to Jerusalem for the festivals being stopped in a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-56)
* A conflict between the Roman procurator and the Jewish king (Luke 23:12)
* A Jewish king with a prominent and influential wife (Matthew 27:19)
* A procurator slaughtering Galileans (Luke 13:1)
* A procurator and a Jewish king sharing jurisdiction over Galilee (Luke 23:6-7)
* Likely noms de guerre such as “the Zealot”, “Boanerges”, “Bariona”, or “Iscariot”
* The death of Theudas (Acts 5:36)
* A messianic leader who had previously spent time in Egypt, and in the wilderness, who prophesies about tearing down the walls of Jerusalem, and who is defeated by the authorities on the Mount of Olives
In contrast, if one looks at actions, and not only at proper names, not a single parallel between Josephus and the NT is found in the 20s and 30s – when Jesus, according to the Gospels, was active. Not only is Jesus himself, and Christianity, missing in Josephus’s account of this period (barring the TF), there is actually a total lack of general historical congruence between the two sources! The only agreement are the common names of dignitaries (the very names which allow us to date the NT narratives). But these dignitaries don’t do the same things, nor does anyone else. The 20s and 30s are – not only according to Tacitus, but also according to Josephus – a period when no robbers, no crucifixions, and no Jewish messianic leaders are reported. To name only a few discrepancies.
But most of it is there in the late 40s and 50s.
As I pointed out above, however, although all the parallels I have described in my book, between Josephus and the NT, involve the Jewish rebellion (hinted at only in subtext in the NT), they are not all limited to the period of Theudas and “the Egyptian” (ca. 44-56 CE). I have found what appear to be parallels to the Jewish war (66-73 CE), and also to the tax census of Quirinius (6 CE), which, according to Josephus, sparked the birth of the Jewish rebel movement, and according to Luke, involved the birth of Jesus.
The New Testament seems to be written on two levels – one overt, one hidden. And whereas the subtext is all history – of the rebellion, of the messianic leaders of that rebellion – the overt story is a literary, sometimes supernatural, narrative, full of mythical allusions, and references to the Old Testament. This, I would suggest, is the reason why it is so easy to perceive the New Testament narrative as largely a mythical one.
Again, thank you for giving my book such serious thought, and I hope we can continue having a fruitful discussion.
[ Review ] by Neil Godfrey Facebook ; Blog Vridar
A Shift In Time by Lena Einhorn. A new hypothesis on the origin of the Jesus narrative.
... A Shift In Time draws our attention to evidence that has often been overlooked and that potentially opens up a new way of understanding the origins of the Jesus story. Lena Einhorn presents the data in a way that ought to make us (re-)think what we think we know about the background to the Gospels and Acts.
Another Lena Einhorn Observation — Anachronistic Crucifixions in the Gospels
by Neil Godfrey Facebook ; Blog Vridar
... The question becomes more interesting when, as Lena Einhorn does, we delve into John’s account of the arrest of Jesus by a whole cohort — 600 soldiers — and compare later rebel and apparently “messianic” activity described by Josephus as taking place in the 40s and 50s CE. My own thoughts at this moment are narrower. Why does the Gospel of John remove the Gospel of Mark’s point about Jesus being crucified between two lestai? John 19:18 simply informs us that Jesus was crucified between “two others (ἄλλους). Mark’s punch is gone. But recall that the lestes (Barabbas) had been freed in exchange for Jesus. In Mark Jesus is crucified with rebels; in John he is crucified instead of them. ...
Jesus and “The Egyptian”: What to make of the Mount of Olives parallel?
by Neil Godfrey Facebook ; Blog Vridar
Once more exploring a question raised by Lena Einhorn in A Shift in Time -- this time with doubts.... Was Jesus originally the Egyptian prophet we read about in the works of the ancient Jewish historian Josephus? Lena Einhorn seems to think so in A Shift in Time where she lists seven points in common between them. I won't discuss those seven points but will look at her seventh:
Reply by Lena Einhorn on 2016-05-25
It was suggested to me that I comment on this very well-written article by Neil. It will, however, be hard to keep this short … First of all, I agree with Neil: the asymmetry between a cohort of 600 to 1000 Roman soldiers and a resting Jesus (with a few disciples) is striking. But to my mind, that’s just the point. The conclusion I have drawn after long hours comparing the New Testament with Josephus is that the New Testament – or rather each Gospel, and Acts – is not one book but two. One telling the obvious story, one telling the hidden. And the hidden story is absolutely impossible to perceive unless one has the books of Josephus open.
Reading the New Testament by itself only leads to the observation of a number of bizarre, or inexplicable, details. And since our brains like to have everything neat and tidy, we tend to ignore those details, put them aside, or, at most, explain them as mistakes. But, I would argue, it is no mistake when Luke places Jesus’s birth at the time of the census (at least ten years later than Matthew does!), and does so without mentioning the concomitant birth of something else: the organized anti-Roman rebel movement. It is no mistake when the author of Luke/Acts manages to name all the first century rebel leaders up until the Jewish war, and does not explain who they are. It it is no mistake when the same author bizarrely chooses to place Judas the Galilean after Theudas (Acts 5:33-38), although he was active decades before Theudas. It is no mistake when Jesus tells his disciples to bring swords to the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:36), and then, fifteen verses later, tells them not to use them, And it is probably no mistake when the author of John supplies the strange detail that a resting Jesus was met by a cohort of 600 to 1000 Roman soldiers.
It is, I would argue, all part of the subtext, the other story. The one that is historical, but has to be veiled, albeit only partially.
It seems that whenever the tale is disguised on one level, it is opened up on another. So when the author of Luke/Acts mentions the rebel leaders Theudas and Judas the Galilean, he next places them in the wrong order. And when Jesus tells his disciples to bring swords to the Mount of Olives, he next tells them to put these away. But this all becomes considerably less weird when one keeps Josephus next to the New Testament, as a historical guide. And, importantly, the authors of the Gospels (especially Luke) stay remarkably close to Josephus. It’s almost as if they tease us, present us with a riddle to solve.
Now I don’t disagree that in telling the story of Jesus, there may be a lot of deliberate modeling on earlier scriptures. Jesus, after all, had to fit with some earlier messianic notions. Letting him, for instance, be born in Bethlehem, although he was a Galilean, is easy to perceive as a construct. There are many such examples.
But when it comes to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus’s final encounter with the authorities, the parallels with the historical events surrounding the defeat of “the Egyptian” are, I now believe, too striking to dismiss. That conclusion did not, however, come speedily, at least not to me.
When I first read Josephus’s two descriptions of “the Egyptian,” I was struck by the similarities to Jesus – and keep in mind that aside from the disputed Testimonium Flavianum, Josephus does not seem to know about any Christian movement. But I still dismissed those similarities, since it all happened twenty years too late. And that was not the only difference. Although Neil didn’t list the similarities and differences between Jesus and “the Egyptian,” I will do so here.
First the similarities:
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” had previously lingered in “the wilderness” or “desert” (eremia, in Greek).
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” had lived in Egypt.
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” spoke of tearing down the walls of Jerusalem.
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” is described as a messianic leader with a great following.
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” is perceived as a major threat by the authorities.
– Like Jesus, “the Egyptian” seems to have been betrayed—at least the authorities were informed beforehand about his plans.
– And last, but not least, “the Egyptian” is defeated on the Mount of Olives, which is where Jesus was arrested. It is also from there that both men have declared their prophecies.
Next the differences:
– Unlike Jesus, “the Egyptian” was not crucified.
– Unlike Jesus, “the Egyptian” did not appear in the 30s CE, but in the 50s.
– Unlike Jesus, “the Egyptian” was not quietly awaiting his arrest on the Mount of Olives. He was defeated in a battle.
To me, the difference in chronology was the one that stood out. It all happened in the wrong time. But as I kept reading, I came to realize that almost all the parallels between the New Testament and Josephus were in the wrong time, almost always twenty years later in Josephus. I still, however, did not make the connection. That only happened when I came upon the original Greek version of John 18. If there was an army meeting Jesus on the Mount of Olives, then there really must have been a battle. And Jesus’s instruction to the disciples that they had to bring swords to the Mount of Olives suddenly had a context.
Of course, these verses in John could still be modeled on scripture, and mean nothing historically. But as it turns out, we do have a close historical analogy, in Josephus! And after a battle is presumed, and after the chronological shift is put in context, only one difference between the tale of “the Egyptian” and that of Jesus remains: the crucifixion. I discuss this in my book, where I bring up the curious release of Jesus Barabbas.
Reply by Lena Einhorn on 2016-05-29,
-- Theudas and John the Baptist parallels --
With regard to Theudas and John the Baptist: you dismiss the parallels between them as “scarcely comparable.” I think that’s done lightly.
If we — for the time being — assume that Jesus and “the Egyptian” is the same person, then we have the following situation:
1) The last messianic leader Josephus names before “the Egyptian” is Theudas.
2) And he uses the same term to describe them (“goes”).
3) Both Theudas and John the Baptist gather their followers by the Jordan river.
4) Both Theudas and John the Baptist are attacked by the authorities.
5) Both Theudas and John the Baptist are caught alive, but then decapitated. And the head is carried to the authorities.
6) And last, but not least: There is not much logic in Herod Antipas having John the Baptist arrested, since John was not active in the area under Antipas’ jurisdiction (Galilee and Perea). The procurator who has Theudas arrested, however, is really the ruler of Judea, where both Theudas and John the Baptist were active.