Reflections on the Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ — part 2
This is a further article in response to one by Benjamin Cain. The surface issue is the question of whether there was a Historical Jesus, or whether he was a mythical character. We have been engaged in a series of articles exploring this question. In part 1 I presented a possible Historical Jesus based on scriptural and historical evidence. Cain has responded, and I have responded in turn. He has made a further response, but this article is not directed towards that, rather to his original piece.
He said there that the question of a Historical Jesus is a mere academic puzzle to solve, because the New Testament’s supernatural, theological Christ, that which is fundamental to Christianity, can be swiftly eliminated because of its implausibility. I agree with Cain up to a point about this, but do not consider that to be evidence for mythicism. That will be the focus of this article, my main purpose being to discuss, and hopefully clarify, this deeper issue of the theological Christ. I’ll then move on to the areas where we probably disagree.
I haven’t consulted him, to ask exactly what he means by the term theological, but there seem to be three aspects to the New Testament portrayal which fit that description:
- the assertion that Jesus is an incarnation of God, is therefore divine
- the miracles, which seem to imply supernatural powers
- Paul’s (suffering saviour) Christ figure.
The third is such a complicated issue that it will require separate articles, so here I’ll focus on the first two. I’ve already written extensively about some of this material; here I’ll just mention the most important details, and refer readers to the earlier articles if they want more detail. My argument will be that the gospels should be interpreted as portraying a man who became a god, not God who became man. (For a general discussion of that question, see this article.) The implication of this is that Christianity is not a new religion, rather a branch of what is known as the Perennial Philosophy. This is the belief that at their heart all religions are the same, the core idea being that the ultimate nature of all humans is divine and that our purpose is to strive to realise this true nature. This idea certainly predates Christianity, since it can be found in Hinduism; as the Chandogya Upanishad says, “Tat twam asi” — you are the same as the divine.
Even though Cain is highly critical of Christianity, he sometimes seems to express this understanding. He says that he has an interest in esoteric Christianity, and also:
- “The more spiritual or existential reading of the myth would be that Jesus is a model of what we’re all supposed to do. As in Hinduism or Jainism, perhaps we’re all inherently or potentially divine”.
- “Eastern Orthodox Christians likewise emphasize the Incarnation and faith in Jesus, but they don’t think Jesus substituted for us or paid the price for sin. Instead, they think Jesus united human and divine nature, so our job is to emulate Jesus and deify ourselves”.
Reasons to Believe that Jesus was Not Divine:
Jesus’s earliest followers, before the Catholic Church took over, believed that he was human. There are also scientific, theological, and historical reasons which lead to this conclusion. If you take the biblical text literally, and believe that God created the material universe, as Genesis 1 appears to say, then you will believe firstly that the material universe actually exists, and secondly that this was an event which happened some time in the past. Therefore the Creator God would arguably be free to incarnate into a human being, having nothing else to do to occupy his time. According to modern science, however, neither of these two statements are true. Quantum physicists say that there is no such thing as matter — it is an illusion — and some of them say that the universe, as we perceive it, is being thought into existence, many billions of times per second. (I have discussed this idea in an earlier article.) It is reasonable to ask therefore, whether a being whose primary occupation is to think the material universe into being from a higher level, can be simultaneously incarnated into one single human being.
Turning to the theological reasons, the text which states the case for the Christian belief most strongly is the prologue to the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (v1, v14). There are doubts about this passage’s authenticity, however. The scholar Bart Ehrman says: “the opening verses… appear to be different from the rest… The passage is written in a highly poetic style not found in the rest of the Gospel. …some of its most important vocabulary is not (repeated). …never is (Jesus) called the Word elsewhere in the Gospel. Is it possible that this opening passage came from a different source than the rest of the account, and that it was added as an appropriate beginning by the author after an earlier edition of the book had already been published?”¹
If this prologue was added later, perhaps by a different author, it could well have been around the time of Constantine, who was seeking to find a version of Christianity to unite the Roman Empire. It would obviously have appealed to pagans he wanted to convert, to have a dying-and-resurrected saviour god at the centre of the religion. Evidence which would favour that conclusion is that Constantine was a follower of the sun-god Sol Invictus and, according to Jonathan Black: “the Greeks had a name for the Sun god who formed the world… they called him ‘the Word’. The Word… was God’s greatest, most important thought”². We therefore also have historical reasons not to believe that Jesus was God on Earth, rather that this was a later choice, confirmed at the time of, and under the influence of, Constantine.
There are some other episodes in the New Testament which are intended to suggest Jesus’s divinity. The first of these is the Annunciation, where Jesus is said to have been conceived not by a human father but by the Holy Spirit, and then the consequent Virgin Birth. Mark and Paul know nothing of this. Even John, although he might be the most likely to include them, since in his gospel Jesus frequently speaks as if he were God, makes no reference to them. We can therefore assume that Matthew and Luke were writing under the influence of the pagan saviour-god myth, where a virgin birth is the norm. (See this website for examples, including even the Buddha.)
The second episode is Jesus’s Ascension into heaven. Luke makes a brief reference to this at the end of his gospel, but a fuller version can be found in Acts, including: “As they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight”. The Catholic Church therefore believes that Jesus ascended physically into heaven. It is stating the obvious to say that we should not take this seriously, because heaven is not a place you can travel to somewhere up in the sky.
Christians like to believe that their religion is distinctive, and go so far as to say that other religions, especially Eastern ones, are false. What if such conclusions are based on misunderstandings, however? In the gospel of John Jesus promises eternal life to those who believe in him (3.15). The text continues: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life”. As far as I can tell, this is nowhere stated in the Synoptics, the closest being: “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7.14). We can perhaps assume that the word ‘eternal’ is implied.
This sounds as though the sense of self or personality will remain, and experience immortality. Suppose, however, that down the years a misunderstanding or a mistranslation has taken place, and that the original sense was life in eternity, a very similar expression. This would be the equivalent of enlightenment in the Eastern traditions, for example the Buddhist nirvana. This involves the gradual dissolution of personality as the soul (or equivalent term) ascends through the various levels, and eventually reunites with its divine essence.
That may well be what is happening at Jesus’s ‘ascension’. Christians believe that, following his resurrection, Jesus ascended physically to Heaven, whatever that is supposed to mean. Cain therefore imagines a Christian apologist who will say that “having a hero’s incorporeal spirit ascend to heaven after his death isn’t the same as being physically resurrected like Jesus”. Yet that was probably precisely what was, or should have been, intended by the original version, which would have read something like: “Jesus’s consciousness rose to the heavenly (spiritual) level while still in the body”.
Further reasons to believe Jesus was not Divine:
- The gospels, especially Matthew and Mark, portray Jesus as a failed eschatological prophet — someone who believed in the imminent end of the world, which never happened. How can this be if he were divine, and presumably omniscient? (See this article for more details.)
- Christians believe that Jesus died and was resurrected, which would be evidence of his divinity, since no human could achieve that. This seems unlikely and, of all the material being considered, is the element most likely to have been derived from the pagan myths of a dying-and-resurrected saviour-god. It is also possible to argue that Jesus survived the crucifixion, and did not die, based upon the text of John’s Gospel. (See this article for the relevant material.) This would be evidence of Jesus’s humanity, since an omnipotent divine being presumably would be able to die and be resurrected.
- The Catholic Church portrays Jesus as a supernatural being: born of a virgin, unmarried, without a family, other-worldly, especially in regard to sex. If, however, he were married with a child, that would be evidence that he was much more human than the Church’s portrayal allows. (I’ve discussed this in three articles: click here, here, and here.)
If Jesus was not God incarnated, the alternative is that, if he existed, he was a man who had become a god or god-like. This idea is much more in keeping with the Perennial Philosophy which, as described above, says that we are all spiritual beings who have incarnated into physical bodies, and our deepest nature is of the same essence as the Divine. (When we have reunited with this essence, we have gained ‘eternal life’, ‘life in eternity’, become immortal as in the case of the mythical heroes.) Remarkably, even in John’s gospel, where Jesus often speaks as though he were divine, he says something along these lines. The Jews were going to stone him for blasphemy for saying “The Father and I are one”. He retorts: “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ — and the scripture cannot be annulled — can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’ ” (10.30–36). Jesus is referring here to Psalm 82.6, the full text of which is “I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you’ ” (NRSV translation). He therefore appears to be saying, I am God’s Son, just as you are, and not making any special claim to divinity. The difference may be that he has become divine, whereas the Jews to whom he is speaking have not.
Those who have achieved this are said to be god-men, for example Meher Baba, as in C. B. Purdom’s biography, actually called The God-Man³. Such a person is said to have developed the ultimate ability of perfect control of mind over matter, thus able to perform ‘miracles’. Is that what Jesus actually achieved, presumably in the unknown part of his life before the start of his ministry? Was that what was being acknowledged at the time of his baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him, that he had become a god-man? (This viewpoint is called Adoptionism. It creates further difficulties for the notion that Jesus was divine, which I’ve discussed in this article.)
So, the ‘miracles’ that he performs are obviously relevant to this question. Cain wants to employ the methods of induction and analogy to ask the question whether the existence of such a person as Jesus is plausible. He says: “Here the matter is complicated by the Christian’s deification of Jesus, since there are no such miracle-working deities walking around today”. He is correct to say that the problem is the deification of Jesus, but not if this is taken to imply evidence for mythicism, because one doesn’t need to be a deity in order to work such ‘miracles’. I hope that what follows will make the case that a person like Jesus is at least plausible.
Christians unfamiliar with Eastern or esoteric traditions may think, mistakenly, that the miracles which Jesus performs are signs of his divinity, even though Jesus himself actually rejects this, saying that anyone with faith can do the things that he does. He says “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17.20). He also encourages Peter to try to walk on water (Matthew 14.22–33). He fails, not because this is impossible, but because he does not have sufficient faith. Why would Jesus ask him to try this, if it were something only a divine being could achieve? We might perhaps reinterpret ‘having faith’ as ‘having the necessary spiritual power’.
In Hinduism such powers are believed to be acquired as a human progresses along the spiritual path, and are called siddhis; some examples would be telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, the ability to leave the body at will, and so on. It’s also worth noting that the third founding principle of the Theosophical Society, an esoteric organisation which promotes the Perennial Philosophy, is to “investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man”.
It would seem that such powers do not always require intense spiritual training, and sometimes appear to be a gift, as in some of the examples which follow.
Let’s have a look at the various ‘miracles’ said to have been performed by Jesus. The first is the ability to heal, sometimes by mere touch, or apparently just by faith, certainly without any medical intervention. This is a phenomenon still recorded in modern times. Here are two impressive examples, taken from The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries by Henry Gris and William Dick⁴.
The first is Aleksei Krivorotov, who had the gift of healing the sick by touch of hands. Some case histories are recounted. It is said that healing is achieved when the patient and the healer “concentrate on the source of the ailment, (and) the healer pours new energy into the body of the sick person, creating a sensation of heat in the affected organs”. He was so successful that:
- “People who have found the medical profession unable to help them, travel from all over the Soviet Union to seek the aid of the amazing Krivorotovs (his son Viktor was also a healer) — and most return healed to their homes”.
- In Sochi “he has quite a reputation. People swear by him, and even the medical staff at our sanatoriums often request his services, unofficially”.
- Most importantly, “Krivorotov’s powers to heal have been repeatedly tested and proven by Soviet scientists”.
The second example is Varvara Ivanova, described as a “healer, clairvoyant, telepathist, telekinesis medium, and hypnotist. She is “particularly known for her outstanding ability to diagnose and cure illnesses by telephone at virtually any distance — in one documented case, at the range of 8,000 miles”. She had cured a man 1,200 miles away of heart spasms during two telephone sessions lasting two minutes each. She achieves healing by the transmission of what she calls bio-energy, and has many genuine admirers among important Soviet scientists.
The most significant of Jesus’s healing talents was the supposed ability to bring dead people back to life. This seems unlikely, and probably never happened. Two brief observations can be made. People who appear dead, and are even declared dead, are not necessarily dead. The biologist Lyall Watson called this the Romeo Error, and has written a book about it with that title. Secondly, some commentators suspect that the ‘resurrection’ of Lazarus is an allegory describing some kind of initiation ceremony, a spiritual awakening, so that this episode should perhaps not be understood literally.
Jesus is also portrayed as a talented exorcist, sometimes casting out demons by mere command. Exorcisms are still carried out in modern times. By coincidence, not with this article in mind, I’ve recently written some articles on that subject. This one contains descriptions of exorcisms which strongly suggest the reality of demonic possession. Adam Crabtree, one of the therapists mentioned there, in his book Multiple Man⁵, recounts many examples of occupying spirits — not necessarily demonic — which are persuaded to leave the host. This article describes the work of Wilson Van Dusen, whose work with schizophrenics led him to conclude that the internal voices they heard were those of demons.
Jesus is said to have walked on water. Such a phenomenon could be described as levitation. There have been some instances of this witnessed in modern times, but here I’ll focus on some more ancient examples, because there is an especially interesting chapter by Gregory Shaw in Beyond Physicalism⁶ called ‘Platonic Siddhas: Supernatural Philosophers of Neoplatonism’. (The Neoplatonists have been called philosophers, but a more accurate description might be spiritual seekers. They were in the tradition descended from Plato, and the movement appeared in the third century. The most well known names are Iamblichus, Plotinus, and Proclus.)
Shaw makes reference to ideas I’ve mentioned above, firstly to the Hindu concept of siddhis: “Reports of supernatural occurrences were not unexpected among later Platonists. They formed part of their vision of human nature, one that included the development of psychic powers such as clairvoyance, telepathy, and precognition, supernormal abilities that Yoga traditions describe as siddhis. The development of such powers in Yoga is the result of exercises designed to transform the body and mind, and adepts who attain these powers are known as siddhas. I will argue that siddhas existed in the West and were known as theurgists, Platonic adepts who performed divine action: theios ergon”. With reference to the idea of a god-man, he says: “Platonic philosophers who attained perfection… were designated as theioi, deified souls”.
The chapter begins with an epigram from Eunapius, The Lives of the Philosophers, about Iamblichus: “Most divine master… a rumour has reached us through your servants that when you pray to the gods you levitate from the earth more than ten cubits”. The quote continues: “…that your body and clothes change to a beautiful golden hue”, which sounds very similar to the Transfiguration in the gospel accounts, “(Jesus’s) face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Matthew 17.2). It then finishes: “and when your prayer is ended your body becomes as it was before you prayed and you come down to earth and associate with us”. So here we have an example of a spiritually advanced human being said to be behaving in ways similar to those of Jesus in the gospels, levitating and being transfigured. This example seems extraordinary to us but, according to Shaw, “perhaps the best examples come from later in (Iamblichus’s) lineage, specifically from the school of Pergamum in the mid-fourth century CE”, and “among later Platonists the exercise of supernatural power was not uncommon”.
He observes: “Although the exercise of supernatural powers was part of the repertoire of Platonic philosophers, contemporary scholars ordinarily dismiss such stories as hagiographical exaggerations, the superstitious residue of a credulous culture”. This is what you would expect if you adopt the principles of methodological naturalism, and a scientific approach to history, as described by Cain, and which he seems to favour.
In the gospels it is said that Jesus stilled a storm. The disciples responded: “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”, the implication perhaps being that they thought of him as beyond human. The question is, does one need to be divine in order to control the weather in this way? This may seem like an excursion into the Twilight Zone, but the answer might well be no. This is obviously a controversial, pre-Enlightenment suggestion, but such things may be possible through magic, in the original sense of the word. That is what Shakespeare seems to think in The Tempest, where the magician Prospero and the spirit Ariel start a storm and then stop it. (I have made the case that The Tempest is in part a commentary on this gospel passage in this article.)
That is merely a fictional example. Is there anything comparable in real life? Here I’m going to refer to the work of Charles Lummis as described in Some Strange Corners of Our Country⁷. I first became aware of him when I read America’s Assignment with Destiny by Manly P. Hall⁸, who was describing “the miraculous powers of the medicine priests” of Native American tribes which included inducing rain and storms. (In relation to the phenomenon of levitation just discussed, I’ll mention in passing that he says that writers “have reported that in some of the medicine lodges the Indians are able to levitate large stones and to cause their own bodies to float in the air”.) He goes on to mention Lummis “who spent many years among the Southwest Indians of the United States, (and) described the miracles performed by the medicine priests” (p174).
Here is an example: “Another equally startling trick is performed when the room has been darkened by extinguishing the countless candles which gave abundant light on the other ceremonies. The awed audience sit awhile in the gloom in hushed expectancy. Then they hear the low growl of distant thunder, which keeps rolling nearer and nearer. Suddenly a blinding flash of forked lightning shoots across the room from side to side, and another and another, while the room trembles to the roar of the thunder, and the flashes show terrified women clinging to their husbands and brothers. Outside the sky may be twinkling with a million stars, but in that dark room a fearful storm seems to be raging… These artificial storms last but a few moments, and when they are over the room is lighted up again for the other ceremonies. How these effects are produced I am utterly unable to explain, but they are startlingly real” (p81, 83).
These are the words of an eye-witness, and this was long before the days of virtual reality and computer simulations. If you’re wondering how ‘mere’ Native Americans could achieve such feats, here is Lummis’s explanation: “The chief influence and authority with all aboriginal tribes lie in their medicine-men, and these are always magicians. They have gained their ascendancy by their power to do wonderful and inexplicable things; and this ascendancy is maintained in the hands of a small, secret class, which never dies out, since it is constantly recruited by the adoption of boys into the order, to which their lives are thenceforth absolutely devoted. The life of a medicine-man is a fearfully hard one… there are countless enormous fasts and other self-denials, which are so rigorous that these magicians seldom attain to the great age which is common among their people” (p76).
In this remarkable passage we find echoes of the ancient Egyptian priesthood, esoteric secret societies, initiation, and asceticism as committed as that of any Hindu guru. In similar vein Hall says that if a young boy “showed a tendency to dreams and visions”, he was encouraged to select the career of priest: “He was initiated into the religious institutions of his nation… His entire spiritual education had come from within and was induced by fasting and vigil”.
These comparisons are further confirmed by Dr. Franz Boas, who says that among advanced tribes “an elaborate series of esoteric doctrines and practices exists, which are known to only a small portion of the tribe, while the mass of the people are familiar only with part of the ritual and with its exoteric features… Among many of the tribes in which priests are found, we find distinct esoteric societies”⁹.
Can we compare the scene described above to the incident in the gospels? Was there real thunder and lightning conjured up by the priests inside the tent? Perhaps not, for Hall says that one of their powers was “to induce visions and trances”. This merely begs the question, however. Perhaps Jesus merely induced a vision of the storm in the minds of the apostles, and then withdrew the illusion. After all, he was said to be asleep, which we may perhaps interpret as being in a trance, or an altered state of consciousness, exactly what was needed to produce the illusion of the storm.
Jesus is said to have miraculously fed more than five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. It is likely that this scene was not intended to be understood literally, because Mark says, somewhat cryptically, that after a further feeding of four thousand people, and Jesus walking on water, the disciples “were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened”. This suggests that an esoteric, allegorical meaning was intended by Mark when he wrote of this ‘miracle’. In support of that suggestion, see Mark 8.17–21, where the disciples are completely baffled by Jesus’s attempted explanation regarding the hidden meaning of the numbers involved.
If we are intended to take this literally, however, it would be an example of the supernatural power of materialisation. Of the ‘miracles’ being discussed, this is possibly the most controversial, since many frauds in recent times have been exposed¹⁰, and I cannot point to any undisputed example. The best candidate, however, might have been Sathya Sai Baba. Here is one side of the story, as recounted by Michael Talbot: “According to numerous eyewitnesses… he plucks lockets, rings, and jewelry out of the air and passes them out as gifts. He also materialises an endless supply of Indian delicacies and sweets, and out of his hands pour volumes of vibuti, or sacred ash. These events have been witnessed by literally thousands of individuals, including both scientists and magicians, and no one has ever detected any hint of trickery”¹¹. Despite the thousands of people witnessing, this nevertheless sounds much like tricks that we have all seen performed by magicians. Scientists are not necessarily the best people to see through magic tricks but, despite Talbot’s reference to impressed magicians, one magician P. C. Sorcar wrote that the production of ash “was a ‘common trick’ conjured with an ash capsule”¹⁰.
He might say that, but that is not the end of the story. In a separate but related incident, Malcolm Lazarus reports that, when chairing the question and answer session at the second Mystics and Scientists Conference “I had Professor (John) Hasted, who was doing research into metal bending and teleportation on one side, and Guru Raj Ananda Yogi on the other. The Mystic leaned across and from the ends of his fingers produced tiny lumps of what looked like hard black clinker which he handed to Hasted who folded it up carefully in white paper whispering it was vibouti and that he would analyse it. Months later I asked what the analysis had shown. ‘When I opened the paper’, he said ‘The Vibouti had vanished!’ ”¹².
Sai Baba was investigated in 1977 by Karlis Osis of the American Society for Psychical Research, and a report followed¹³. He was also studied for more than ten years by the Icelandic scientist Erlendur Haraldsson. Talbot says: “Although Haraldsson admits that he cannot prove conclusively that Sai Baba’s productions are not the result of deception and sleight of hand, he offers a large amount of evidence that strongly suggests something supernormal is taking place”¹⁴. An impressive example follows, although not quite as impressive as Talbot suggests (“can materialize specific objects on request”), since the object in question was brought into the conversation by Sai Baba. This suggests that Sai Baba might be authentic because Haraldsson had investigated the apparent materialisations by Gyatri Swami, and reached a negative conclusion¹⁵.
Also interesting is that “numerous witnesses have reported watching (Sai Baba) snap his fingers and vanish, instantly reappearing a hundred or more yards away” (Talbot, p161). This reminds me of a passage in the Gospel of John where the Jews attempt to stone Jesus for blasphemy, then try to arrest him again, “but he escaped from their hands” (10.31–39). One wonders how a peaceful, unarmed preacher could achieve this unless, of course, he had the miraculous powers of a Sai Baba.
My conclusion is that there is nothing in the gospels that Jesus is said to have done, that would suggest that he was God incarnated; he was much more like a spiritually perfected adept. So far, therefore, I can agree with Benjamin Cain that we should not rush to embrace the Christian belief in a theological Christ.
During the course of this article I have presented material about two groups with powers similar to Jesus’s, who did not claim to be divine — the neo-Platonists, and the Native American priests. However, we can easily imagine that, if a Jewish equivalent of a Hindu ascended master suddenly appeared in first-century Palestine, performing ‘miracles’ as described, he might mistakenly be considered divine.
We do not know whether any such person as Jesus existed who had these powers — the mythicists might be right. If he did exist, however, where and how he acquired his spiritual powers would be an interesting enigma, since in all four gospels he appears mysteriously out of nowhere at the time of his baptism¹⁶. This obviously invites speculation as to which tradition he came from.
This leaves the question of Paul’s supernatural Christ. Watch this space.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, more on Christianity, psychology, science, politics, and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here).
1. Misquoting Jesus, HarperOne, 2005, p61
2. The Sacred History, Quercus, 2013, p14
3. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1964
4. Sphere Books, 1980
5. Grafton Books, 1988
6. Edited by Edward Kelly et al., Rowman and Littlefield, 2015
7. subtitled The Wonderland of the Southwest, The Century Co., 1891. My copy is the 1903 edition which has been reproduced by Forgotten Books.
8. originally 1951, reproduced by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, in The Secret Destiny of America, 2008
9. Handbook of American Indians, Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin 30, article ‘Religion’, quoted by Hall, p172.
11. The Holographic Universe, HarperCollins, 1996, p150
12. Preface to The Spirit of Science from Experiment to Experience, David Lorimer (ed.), Floris Books, 1998, p10
13. ‘The appearance and disappearance of objects’, Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 71: 33, 1977
14. His book is Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on Psychic Phenomena Associated with Sathya Sai Baba.
15. as footnote 10. See footnote 24 there.
16. The incident recounted in Luke 2.41–52, in which Jesus is lost by his parents, then found teaching in the temple, can be discounted as inauthentic. Unfortunately I can no longer remember the source, but I remember reading years ago that this was something Luke had merely adapted from another text about someone else. In any case, it is also similar to a incident from the life of Buddha: “It is related of Buddha that at the age of twelve he was lost, and found again under a tree, surrounded by poets and sages of that ancient time, whom he was teaching”. (Rudolf Steiner, Christianity as Mystical Fact, Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972, p88)