With new books like The Jesus Papers and the Da Vinci Code suggesting (against 2,000 years of well-settled history) that Jesus wasn't really crucified after all, it was only a matter of time before newspapers would begin publishing articles about where Jesus went after his faked crucifixion. Now, the Ashland Daily Tidings in their Food and History column has published "Did Jesus settle down in Japan?"
Here's some of the good stuff:
Did Jesus Christ escape crucifixion and live out his days in a tiny village in northern Japan? The Bible says no, but a Japanese legend says he did. His tomb, and that of his brother Ishikiri, are in the hills above Shingo village in Aomori Prefecture. * * *
The legend says that Jesus came to Japan at age 21 to study Oriental philosophy and theology. After a decade, he returns to Jerusalem and begins to teach and heal the people of Israel. His ministry brings him into conflict with both the Roman and Jewish authorities. He is arrested, tried and sentenced to death. But, because of mistaken identity, his brother is the man crucified by the Romans.
The legend does not explain how his brother takes his place on the cross. Crushed by these disasters, Jesus longs for the peace and quiet he enjoyed as a student in Japan and determines to return. It takes a year, but he finally arrives at the port of Hachinohe, bringing his brother’s ears and hair with him, so his brother’s spirit can rest in peace when Jesus settles down in his adopted homeland.
Wow, so Jesus was not really crucified, but rather his brother was crucified? That will come as a surprise to Dr. James Tabor, author of the Jesus Dynasty, who claims that Jesus "appointed a Council of Twelve to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel, among whom he included his four brothers. After he was crucified by the Romans, his brother James – the 'Beloved Disciple' – took over leadership of the Jesus Dynasty." So, apparently, it wasn't really Jesus who was crucified, but it was another brother who was crucified. And Jesus returned to Japan, right?
Waitaminute, in The Jesus Papers, Jesus migrated to France where he lived the rest of his life. How does that work? And what about the fact that according to the Online Center for Jesus Studies in India, Christ travelled to India after his faked resurrection and was buried in a tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. This is all very confusing.
But wait, according to the Ashland Tidings article, Jesus left immediately to go to Japan where he arrived a year later, but according to Jesus the Man by Barbara Thiering, Jesus stayed with friends, until he reached Rome, where he was present in AD 64. As noted in an essay by Abu Abraham entitled "Did Jesus Die in Kashmir":
There is a detailed description in this book of a 'final journey' by ship, of Jesus, Luke, Paul and Peter. This was in June AD 60 and it took them to Crete, Malta and to Rome, where they remained. The emperor was the fanatical tyrant, Nero. When Rome was partly destroyed by fire in July AD 64, the rumour spread that Nero started it, and he immediately looked for scapegoats. The Christians were an obvious choice.
The book records: Knowing the danger he was in, Peter tried to flee from Rome. He got as far as the church near the Appian Way, now called Domine Quo Vadis. Jesus met him there and persuaded him to go back and face martyrdom. "The legend says that a visionary Jesus appeared to him, but it was the real Jesus." Peter was crucified 'in imitation of his master', and Paul was put to death.
The book, according to the article, says that Jesus "married Mary Magdalene, fathered a family, and later divorced. He was seventy years old in AD 64, and it is probable that he died of old age in seclusion in Rome."
So, let me get this straight: Jesus was buried in Rome, India and Japan? And why Kashmir? According to "Survival of the Crucifixion: Traditions of Jesus within Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism" by James W. Deardorff, Jesus is buried in the old section of Srinagar, in Anzimar in the Khanjar (or Khaniyar) quarter of Kashmir. I thought Jesus was crucified, but apparently he was drawn and quartered if he was to be buried in so many diverse places.
I guess that if someone really wants to believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion, they would need to come up with some plausible explanation of what he did afterwards. However, it certainly seems that all of these stories that differ in so many details make it much less likely that any of them are true. The Jeus Papers is just another book perpetuating a false legend that some people will believe. Too bad.