D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
September 1, 2009fromStellarHousePublishingWEbsite
In our quest to determine what is "mythicism," we discover that this movement was epitomized by Dr.
David F. Strauss
, who had come out in 1835 with
The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined
, a book highlycritical of Christianity that pointedly identified as myth much of the gospel story regarding
Strauss was not an atheist or skeptical mythicist, however, as he did not dismiss the gospel story as"mere" fairytales. Rather, being a Christian minister, he attempted to imbue the Christian mythos withspiritual, if not allegorical, meaning. This perspective represents one plank of the mythicist position, asmythicism in its totality does not dismiss myth simply as something fabricated but instead recognizes theancient wellspring of profundity and comprehension from which it draws.
It appears that Strauss was encouraged in his efforts by the success of German biblical criticism - mostwidely known through the group called the "Tübingen School," as established by Dr. Ferdinand ChristianBaur (1792-1860), whose own work in comparative religion was considered "revolutionary."Such doubt was evidently not enough for Dr. Wilhelm Traugott Krug (1770-1842), heir to the seat of famedphilosopher Dr.
(1724-1804), who called for an even stronger declaration of Christianity'smythical nature. Krug's solicitation was answered by another German scholar and theologian, Dr.
(1809-1882), who published his first
Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte des Johannes
, took the perspective that
Christ was amythical character
based on Jewish, Greek and Roman religious ideas and mythology, created during thesecond century, with the
gospel of John
, for instance, being a product of the Jewish community out of thelarge and important Egyptian city of Alexandria.
These Jews represented a sort of "third party" in addition to the "first party" stricter followers of Judaism,who depicted
as "wholly other," separate and apart from humanity, while the "second party" is that of the Pagans, who "leant towards the union of
Bauer's perspective vis-a-vis this third party is summarized by christian apologist Rev.
:"It consisted of those Jews at Alexandria who, after the conquest of their country by Alexander, had chosen to forget the land of their fathers, and had sought as much aspossible to amalgamate their manners and religion with the religion and manners of thesurrounding Gentile nations."
Although they brought forth novel notions, Baur, Strauss and Bauer were preceded in fact by many otherswho stepped out from the shadows of the Inquisition to voice unpopular ideas that had doubtlesslycirculated surreptiously for centuries.
Indeed, prior to this seemingly sudden burst of mythicism appeared the voluminous writings published in1795 by Professor Charles François Dupuis (1742-1809), as well as those of Count Volney (1757-1820)and Rev. Dr. Robert Taylor (1784-1844), who spent three years in prison in the late 1820's and early 1830's
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