V  13   The myth of Christ’s self-sacrifice

The dominant narrative about the origin of the Christian myth of Christ’s self-sacrifice can be summarised as follows: religious geniuses

Patmos, Monastery of St. John, visitors
Patmos, Monastery of St. John, visitors

have emerged at various times in history, who announce God’s will to people: for example lawgiver Moses and the prophets in the Old Testament.

Jesus of Nazareth appeared at the dawn of the new age and proclaimed God’s kingdom. People felt his religious power and the divine wisdom in his pronouncements and formulated the idea that Jesus was the son of God, in line with the mythical ideas of their time.

When Jesus died on the cross they believed that God had sacrificed his son Jesus for their sins, as the Jews sacrificed Passover lambs for their sins.

I advocate the following thesis on the origin of the Christian myth: Jesus was Prince Antipas’ deputy, which made him equal to a god in the eyes of the people. Compare the statement of Phil. 2:6; Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (KJV).

Jesus’ divine figure and his equality with God are not presumption; they do not simply express the community’s faith; they are primarily the description of a social reality, a social class, that of the nobility. Jesus belonged to this social class by birth and through his position as governor.

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