Did Anyone Exist in The First Century? (part 1): The Peter Myth
The author of There was no historical Paul the Apostle is a brave skeptic who objectively imposes the most demanding standards of skepticism upon all but his own views. When considering the Bible he bravely informs us to be skeptical and critical think. He forgot to do that with his own stuff. I notice he's an Acharya S-ie.(like a "Moonie")he says:
Acharya is operating basically within the right paradigm, in which all the figures are approached as essentially mythological. Like most scholars, she has only a lower type of grasp of esoteric religion, but she knows that whatever esoteric religion, mysticism, and gnosis amounts to, Christianity was that rather than a literalist scenario. She argues that the apostles are all mythic-only, and more notably, argues that Paul is ahistorical.Who is Ashara S and what is her Paradigm? She's a major Jesus myth person who was given a very important mission, that of destroying Christianity. Who gave her this a mission? Moscow? No. Castro? No. The Underworld? no,. Little gray space aliens*. That being said I think we skip over the paradigm. The myther movement is full of crack pots and non professional scholars. The most scholarly they have are the band of 19th century people. i'm going to lay out the sources that I think are their best and deal withy them. Since most of us have probably heard a lot of Jesus myth stuff I will deal withy only the Paul and Peter myth stuff.
Something like real scholarship on the Peter myther scene is Arthur Drews (1865-1935) author of The Legend of St. Peter. Historian, Philosopher, representative of Monism in Germany. He was at the tail end of that pack of people who denied Jesus[' existence whom Schweitzer debunked and put to flight.. That's why Drews has been described as "forgotten." There's an online version of his Witness to the Historicity of Jesus (1912) is online. I will deal with that one soon, but looks pretty standard. A recent translation of his St. Peter books is available on Amazon...
Despite the fact that Drews was areal scholar his information is out of date because we was working a hundred years ago. Every assumption he made and all of his information it's all horribly out of date. His basic working method is a joke today. I respect him greatly for what he did in his day; that was great learning he was very learned. But in this day it's all so anachronistic. I've always observed that atheists on message boards, so many of their arguments are rooted in the 19th century. Allo of Drews's arguments are based upon a kind of associative word play where if two stories use te same word, such ads "stone," one story must come from the other. Every little nuance is jam packed with hundreds of associations like this so that Peter is called Cephus and Mithra was born from rock, therefore, peter is copied after Mithra. This was the kind of methodology that was used back then because they didn't know as much as we do. They made outmoded assumptions like all religioms are mythical, all religions barrow from each other. Barrowing doesn't happens in ideas it happens in imagery and word play from mythological narrative. Akk of his arguments are like this:
Dupuis was the first scholar to identify St. Peter as Janus [the term janitor, originally keyholder, derives from janus]. Janus in turn derives fron Dianus (>> day), a god of the daylight hours, male form of Diana, the famous lunar- and wildlife deity. Janus was considered the god of all doors, especially responsible for the portal to heaven. The month January is named after Janus.
One star in Virgo is called Janus. This implies astromythical imagery. In the old days, Janus was at the Medium Coeli at sunrise around the winter solstice, thus opening a new year. Janus was not only competent for opening and closing days and years, but also war and peace. Janus was here seen as superior to Jupiter, the father of the gods. As Janus leads the annual circle of the zodiacal signs, St. Peter leads the twelve apostles of Roman Christianity.
Hercules is called a mace bearer, but key and mace can be expressed as synonymous in Latin: Hercules is thus a key holder like Janus.
The regions of the near East get most rain in winter. This leads to the picture of Janus as a ferrymen across the invernal flood. Argo, called the ship of Janus, was back then seen in the medium coeli during rain time. Janus as a ferryman again alludes to Peter's activity as a fisherman.
Janus was depicted not only with the key to heaven, but also with a long staff that can be reinterpreted as the shepherd's staff with which St. Peter watches over the 'sheep' of the Catholic church.
Janus was depicted as two-faced, watching both ahead and back, from horizon to horizon.
This is why the Jesus myth crowd are stuck on the dying rising savior thing and the copy cat savior thesis. They respect these guys, they think they are forgotten geniuses, and they are. There' a reason why they were forgotten. They pend all their time reading this stuff and very few Christians know how to answer it. When they hear Christians say these guys aren't scholars they know better. They were scholars they are just outmoded. Schweitzer said Bauer was a genius. But he also said he was wrong. Atheists spend so much energy shouting that theology is stupid they really think that theology is about this stuff they refuse to learn.
Think about all the things that have changed since Drews wrote. First, since they discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls we can see the New Testament is really a lot more Jewish than they thought. My apologist comrades and I have always wondered why they can't see that all the elements of the Jesus story are in Judaism. Because they are reading stuff from a time when scholars thought that the NT was all Greek and gnostic, The assumption of Gnosticism was because they didn't have Naghammadi to compare to. Now that tendency to see Gnosticism in the NT was alive and well as late as the end of the 20th century with Elaine Peaggles book. But what people don't know is that the scholars were cringing at bad the book I was in the classes of some of those scholars.,
Let's look at some of the specifics of his argument. After an absurd land slide of associative connects that human being thinks in, we have two emblems that link Jesus to pagan gods and they all are given by him to Peter (in the quotation of he summary above): the Shepard's staff, and Keys to the kingdom. In addition he's linked to Mithra because they both have some tangential relation to rocks. Mithra was a Shepard, Peter as Shepard of the church is also linked through Janus as Ferryman and Peter as fisherman. They both have boats. No one thinks this way. No one would say "I'm going to make up a Pal for Jesus and Janus reminds me of Shepherds so I'll have him be a bishop of the church." Notice the association is made to Jesus giving Peter a staff but no such thing happened. Jesus tells Peter, "feed my sheep,' but it says nothing about a staff. It's like James Joyce playing charades. A stream of consciousness mae up of Freud-like associations.
Another unknown in the days of Drews was the real belief system of Mithrism. It began in Persia but Mithra is thought to be a mythological figure from India. The Persian cult traveled to Rome. Even in Drews day they knew that they had no written materials from the cult. They were guessing about the importance of sheep and the comic bull. No proof that the Roman cult had Mithra the Shepard Mithra, the links to Jesus and Peter just evaporate. They that solders in Jerusalem took Christianity back to Rome and thus Christianity influenced Mithraism. The most damaging fact is what they did not know because it was discovered by David Ulancy (Mithra scholar par excellence) in the 1980s: The Roman cult was a front for another cult. They weren't even serious the rock or any of it. That sort of cuts down on thye odds that they would be influencing Jews in Palestine. There are two statements that need to be understood concerning Mithrism and Christianity, the totally disprove the idea that Jesus was patterned after Mithra. The first is by David Ulansey the major scholar of Mithrism:
Owing to the cult's secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas. "At present our knowledge of both general and local cult practice in respect of rites of passage, ceremonial feats and even underlying ideology is based more on conjecture than fact." Fanz Cumont was a major scholar, he often shows up on the bibliography of every major Jesus myther (he's on Kane's and Frick and Ghandy). He was a real scholar and a major scholar, but the mythers apparently don't read his entire book:
"There is no real evidence for a Persian Cult of Mithras. The cultic and mystery aspect did not exist until after the Roman period, second century to fourth. This means that any similarities to Christianity probably come from Christianity as the Soldiers learned of it during their tours in Palestine. The Great historian of religions, Franz Cumont was able to prove that the earliest datable evidence for the cult came from the Military Garrison at Carnuntum, on the Danube River (modern Hungary). The largest Cache of Mithric artifacts comes form the area between the Danube and Ostia in Italy." " The connections from Mithrism to Jesus evaporate, and thus the connections from Mithrism to Peter as well. This and much more is carefully documented on my Mithrism pages. There are more big surprises there. It also would not hurt to see my Jesus Christ Copy cat savior? pages, In fact here is my whole Jesus myth menu. My historical Jesus Menu.
I don't know much about Janus but I have researched several of the figures used by mythers for the (alleged) patterns of the Jesus figure. They always evaporate when we move out of tye fairyland of myther books and read real mythology books such as Hamilton and Bullfinch. Not Christian apologists. Real secular schools of myth and folklore.
Nex time I'll deal with a couple more writers whom I consider to be challenging and scholarly and the one tangible bit of evidence outside the NT that documents the existence of both Paul and Peter.
 Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of The Historical Jesus. Author Drews, Witness to the Historicity of Jesus (Joseph McCabe Trans.) Original publication 1912. online URL:http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/Witnesses_to_the_historicity_of%20Jesus_AUTHUR_DREWS_1912.htm accessed 12/1/15Atheist Press 1997 ____________,and Frank Zindler The Legend of St. Peter. American Atheist Press(Trans. Frank Zindler) 1997 (original 1910).  Klaus Schilling's summary of "Die Petruslegende" by Arthur Drews on Theory of ego website. Online resource URL: http://www.egodeath.com/arthurdrewslegendstpeter.htm#_Toc116703882accessed 12/1/15. Thisi a summary of the book. The whole thing reads like that.  David Ulansey, Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. UK:Manchester U. Press, 1975. ,437.  (Franz Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra Chicago: Open Court, 190), 87ff.
* this is from the link to the thing by8 Holding. Radio talk show the subject was extraterrestrials. The calls says clearly he is discussing extra terrestrials. Caller: "Ok Mohammed also met one of them in a cave…a similar type of being. And also in the book of Isaiah, Daniel…all the extra-biblical texts talk of the same type of beings and other cultures talk of the same type of beings. I'm wondering how they all would describe the same thing…"
Acharya: "Well, I can tell you I've had beings around me too and they are telling me to put this information out there. So I'm not disagreeing that there are beings. But it takes a great deal of knowledge and refinement of that knowledge to realize what you're looking at and unfortunately most people don't have the platform from which to be viewing this information necessarily. So they…there's all kinds…The speculation that starts getting in becomes quite tortured…"
see the link at top