Strange theories…

The talk pages of Wikipedia are sometimes more interesting than the article itself. Therefore I read those pages – in particular if I feel an article contains some questionable info.

Earlier I wrote about Caesarion and some time ago I visited the talk page of the Wikipedia article about him. As I wrote earlier, Plutarch has written that there was at least a plan to have Caesarion evacuated to India in order to escape the armies of Octavian (the later emperor Augustus).

It is unclear whether Caesarion was actually killed – let alone how – or that he made it to India. Sources are scarce and often biased – in particular to favor Octavian as the legitimate ruler of Rome. So there is room for speculation about his faith.

On the talk page some one suggested that Caesarion did actually reached India. There he learned about Buddhism and subsequently he returned to the Roman empire where he assumed the name “Jesus”. So, according to his theory, Jesus was of Macedonian-Roman descent and he was a Buddhist.

Well, I think this theory has serious issues. First of all Caesarion was born in 47 BC, while most scholars put Jesus’ date of birth between 7 BC and 4 AD and is assumed to have died around 30 BC. So Caesarion would be in his seventies when he was preaching in Palestine.

And secondly why would Caesarion go to Palestine? Given his ancestry and supposed religion, he would have no special affinity with either Palestine or the Jews. One could argue that he was actually on his way to Egypt but got stuck in Palestine.

Also even if Caesarion had learned about Buddhism while in India, why would go back to the Roman empire, knowing that there were people who were willing to kill him? Even though Octavian might have died in 14 AD, his successor Tiberius would have a clear interest in getting rid of him. So it might seem more likely that Caesarion would have joined monkshood and stayed in India.

Thirdly, there is no evidence that Jesus’ teachings reflect Buddhist ideas. Of course, one might argue that the gospels had been “corrupted” by later ecclesiastical leaders. But there is no way of reconstructing Jesus’ “true” teachings. Even if Jesus was influenced by Buddhism, there are plenty of other, more likely explanations than “Jesus was actually Caesarion”.

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11 responses

  1. How do you get to the Talk pages?

    1. If you are at Wikipedia, you will above the page on the left a tab with “talk” (next to “article”). If you click on “talk” you will get on the talk page.

      1. Yep, just found it. I have to register though, don’t I?

      2. You should. And the talk page can be quite fun to read, though they can also be quite boring….

      3. I’m an editor on Rationalwiki, just not wiki-wiki.

      4. I suppose your contributions there are mostly related to religion? You know, I love RationalWiki 🙂

    2. John, even I knew where the Talk Pages were. doh!
      But I didn’t know about the RationalWiki. 🙂

      1. >>But I didn’t know about the RationalWiki. 🙂

        You should love it 🙂

      2. I’m bookmarking right now. 🙂

      3. I know too little, I know 😉

        Rationalwiki is funny

      4. Probably no funnier than the rest of the stuff I read on the Internet.

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