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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

A Lawsuit Over Jesus' Existence

As reported by CNN, a two Italian men from the same hometown are now facing down one another in a bizarre lawsuit over the existence of Jesus. The plaintiff is Luigi Cascioli, author of The Fable of Christ, who is suing a parish priest, Enrico Righi, for "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" – basically, fraud.

...The Fable of Christ is a dossier containing the necessary arguments for a penal law suit against the catholic church with its ministers as representatives, it is a serious collection of juridical proof which show that the figure of Jesus is no other than the manipulation and falsification of documents which were really referring to a certain John of Gamala, son of Judas and Ezechia's grandson, a direct discendent of the Asmonites founded by Simon, Mattatia the Maccabean's son.

In order to reach this conclusion, so there will no longer be any doubt about his conclusions, the author carried out a rational and practical exegesis not only on the sacred scriptures but also on all documents concerning pagan religions and their cult of mystery of which christianity is a perfect reproduction.

This book may be scorned and condemned by those who have based their morality on a pack of lies, but the truth in it can never be annulled or cancelled by history from the moment that the truth has been revealed and spread. Even if the popularization and spreading of the book is important, and the challenge that the author makes to his enemies: the dull-minded, the hypocrites and the indifferent who are the worst of all according to him, but his real aim is to destroy the fraud on which christianity is based which is the fraud which makes up the dossier which will be presented to the court.

If spreading the existence of christ, the virgin mary [sic], Joseph and the apostles has been permitted by law up to now because it was considered a comfort for irrational human beings who need illusions to lighten their burdens, like trusting in magic or in horoscopes, this will no longer be possible because soon, very soon, it will be considered a crime according to articles 661 and 494 of the Italian criminal code.


—Publisher's Statement, as quoted by 2think.org
Ambitious, to be sure, but as some savvy readers have pointed out, the work seems light on scholarship and heavy on outrage. After reading a bit of Cascioli's work, this does not seem like thorough and compelling historical research. There are few references from outside the Bible, and frankly this is a lot of the same sort of historical criticism that has been leveled against the Church since the beginning of the 20th Century. And it's been done much better before. But I take my hat off to a man whose conviction has led him to take the question of an historical Jesus into the courtroom.

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Comments on A Lawsuit Over Jesus' Existence
  Comment from Blogger Jeff at Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:25:00 PM
I think the existence of Jesus is pretty secure--that is, unless Italy has activist judges too.

Here's my analysis of the whole thing: Could Jesus Suffer His Father's Fate?

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.