Original movements and Jesus Groups: the Samaritans, the baptism sect and the Gnostics around Simon Magus
had few solid structures and little in the way of binding dogmas. They were groups with many different views, and Messianic ideas were widespread at the time, so Jesus’ followers within these movements could form groups without leaving the movement.
What we seen in the Gospels are a range of interpretations of Jesus that can be attributed to the movements named and to which we can allocate disciples’ names. These names are James (Israelites), John (Baptists) and Simon Peter (Gnostics).
These men clearly led Jesus Groups that remained within their movements. We can see the conflicts among the Christian Jews that they were confronted with. The disputes always focused on the issue of how far a Jesus Group could or should distinguish itself within the parent movement.
The hero’s self-sacrifice and the Age of the Pisces: the Gnostics around Simon Magus interpreted
Jesus’ death on the cross as a parallel to the god Mithras’ self-sacrifice in the Mithras cult.
This was the origin of the cultic celebration of the Eucharist. Later, this took a form based on the Jewish Passover meal, but the basic idea, the self-sacrifice of the cult hero, originated in the Mithras cult.
The Gnostics also believed that they could perceive the divine answer to Jesus’ proclamation of God’s kingdom in the astrological Age of Pisces that was just beginning. They gave the name fishermen to those who proclaimed Jesus’ message. Jesus sacrificed himself as the ram (lamb) at the end of the former age, the Age of Aries.
According to astrological teaching about the ages of the world, Jesus’ death as the sacrificial lamb (ram) symbolises the end of the Age of Aries, The disciples taking the role of fisherman symbolises the beginning of the new astrological Age of Pisces.
Jesus, the Christians and Christian tradition are actually mentioned by Josephus in the following texts:
1. Ant. 18, 4, 1: the Samaritan Messiah
2. Ant. 18, 3, 4: the temptation of Paulina
3. Ant. 19, 1, 13: Theatre performance in Rome in the presence of the Jewish King Agrippa I on 24 January 41, the day the Emperor Caligula was murdered
3.1. Crucifixion of a prince (hgemwn/hegemon),
3.2. Pantomime: The fable depicting the incest between Myrrha and her father Cinyras
4. Ant. 20, 5, 2: The governor Tiberius Alexander orders the crucifixion of James and Simon, the sons of Judas the Galilean.
5. Ant. 18, 2, 3: the newly founded city of Tiberias is settled.
Text No. 1 relates to Jesus’ execution; Nos. 2 and 3.2 are polemics against the Christian tradition of the virgin birth; No. 3.1 is an early performance of Jesus’ crucifixion as a play; No. 4 is an alternative report to Acts 12:1ff; No. 5 shows the historical context of the parable of the wedding banquet: Matt. 22:1-14; Luke 14:15-24.