S.P. Laurie

Research into Christian Origins

The Easter Egg

To the believer, the gospels are far more than historical documents. They act as a catalyst that transforms a person, like water into wine. Software engineers have a term for a secret code written in a piece of software; they call it an “Easter Egg”. When a certain sequence of keystrokes is entered, the program will suddenly reveal a function that until then has been hidden. We can think of the human mind as also having, buried deep within it, an Easter Egg. The brain, in its normal operation, is a biological survival machine optimised to pass on the individual’s genes to future generations. But when the Egg is triggered, it activates a quite different function, access to a different, spiritually experienced world.

We can regard the Easter Egg in two ways. To the atheist, it is a bug in the code, an irrational deviation from the proper purpose of the brain. To them, religion is like a computer virus to which the human mind is susceptible, and the spiritual is a type of delusion to which their own intellect is impervious. But another explanation is possible, although it requires a belief in a more complex reality than the normal scientific viewpoint would admit. Perhaps the purpose of humanity is to carry the virus, and the survival coding of the brain is the vehicle that transmits, preserves, and propagates the Easter Egg. read more…

What came first, the metaphor or the miracle?

It is easy to see when two texts are linked. It is much harder to determine which of the two came first. However, if one source is a metaphor and the other a literal miracle story, I think we can be confident that the metaphor came first. Recently, while working on my new book, I came across an example in which the Gospel of Thomas uses a metaphor which seems to have been converted into a literal miracle story in Matthew and Luke. read more…

The virgin and the four whores

The genealogy in Matthew, like that in Luke, is really a genealogy of Joseph who, according to Matthew, is not even the real father of Jesus. Moreover, there is nothing about this Joseph in Mark. Even if Joseph is only Jesus’ father-in-law through his marriage to Jesus’ mother it is still an extraordinary state of affairs that (i) the Gospel of Mark makes no mention of him and (ii) the Gospel of Matthew traces the descent of Jesus through him. Was he known as Jesus’ father or was he not?

Linked to this odd role of Joseph is something even odder. The genealogy says that Jesus was born to Mary:

… and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was begotten Jesus, who is named Christ. (Matthew 1:16)

The Greek is quite explicit that Jesus is born of Mary rather than Joseph. It is hard to overstate how odd this would have appeared to a Jew of the time when descent was always given through the male line. The sceptic regards this as further evidence that Jesus was illegitimate. In this view, the virgin birth story was developed to cover this illegitimacy. But looking at the circumstances around illegitimacy we will see that the virgin birth could not have fulfilled this function. read more…

The Gnostic New Age and Simon Magus

My plan was to produce a series of posts on April DeConick’s new book, but I have fallen a little behind! The Gnostic New Age covers some fascinating ground, so I need to buck up and get on. In this post, I aim to cover the ground from the emergence of Gnosticism to Simon Magnus who plays an important role in her theory. read more…

Fascinating image of Mary from Nazi loot

Some time ago, while browsing the lootbusters.com site, I came across an image of Mary, Peter and Paul in a section of Nazi loot. It is a Roman roundel dated to the fourth century. I have no further information about it at all, and I do not know its original location or where it is now. Presumably, it has been lost since the war. (I no longer seem to be able to access the lootbusters site.) read more…

CNN – ‘Scholars argue if Jesus existed’

As we enter Lent and the run-up to Easter, the thoughts of the media turn to Jesus. On CNN there is a second series of ‘Finding Jesus’ – Mark Goodacre has a post about it here. Associated with this series is an article on CNN online about the possibility that Jesus did not exist:

Scholars argue if Jesus existed

Although it is pleasing that this issue is being aired in mainstream media, the article itself is rather depressing. First, we have the usual suspects on the mythical Jesus side, Freke, Price and Carrier. None of these three gentlemen can offer a joined-up account of Christian origins. We also have the customary mention of Josephus and Tacitus’ accounts of Jesus as if these relatively late sources dating from no earlier than the 90s AD could somehow resolve the issue. read more…

Thomas 68

The last post was about Mark Goodacre’s dating of the Gospel of Thomas to the 140s. He bases his dating on a single saying, Thomas 68, which he believes to be about the Bar Kokhba revolt that led to the final exile of the Jews from Jerusalem. But we will show that Thomas 68 has a spiritual meaning and has nothing to do with Bar Kokhba! read more…

Mark Goodacre’s dating of the Gospel of Thomas

In Mark Goodacre’s book, Thomas and the Gospels: The making of an apocryphal text, he proposes a mid-second century date for Thomas. It is true that the whole thrust of his book is an argument for a post-Synoptic date, but this would only push Thomas back to around 100 AD. So where does he get the idea that Thomas is mid second-century? read more…

Lead codices proved to be 2,000 years old – may have been made by Jesus himself!

That bastion of quality journalism, the Daily Mail, has a gushing article about the infamous lead codices. Positioned beside images of starlets falling out of their bikinis, and ranking considerably below the real hot news of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, the Mail gives us the inside information on Jesus. It has now been scientifically proven that the dinky books made from lead are genuine, dating from 2000 years ago. It seems that they include the very book with seven seals that Jesus was accustomed to carrying around and that is featured in the Book of Revelation. Indeed, it is possible that Jesus made the books himself because he was a skilled metal worker. The books have now been decoded revealing the secrets of Christianity including the lost Episode 2 of the expulsion of the money changers from the temple.  This shows that Jesus aimed to reinstate the true temple worship from the days of Solomon based on the “divine feminine”. And he certainly was not going to let any Gentiles into his church!
read more…

The Gnostic New Age (1) – Introduction

The Gnostic New Age by April DeConick.

This is a fascinating new book from April DeConick. It is probably fair to say that it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Gnosticism odeconickr early Christianity. To do this book justice, I will be making a series of posts on it.

The Gnostic New Age gives a broad survey of ancient Gnosticism, tracing it from its origins in Egypt, through its influence on Christianity, and culminating in the esoteric Christian Gnosticism we find in the Nag Hammadi codices.It shows how Gnosticism gave rise to the world religion of Mani and how it has survived to the present day among the Mandaeans. A major theme of the book are the links between ancient Gnosticism and the modern New Age movement. read more…

The revolutionary new book

The story of Jesus and the shaman

Link below goes to amazon.com.

Buy now!