I have read with enthusiasm the book of RG Price, Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed
(my positive review here
) and only a thing I found missing: how the author can explain the separationism in Mark along the lines of the his interpretation of Mark as political fiction.
I think that I have found by pure coincidence (!) a sound solution by reading G.A. Wells's book, The Historical Evidence for Jesus
(Prometheus Book, 1988), p. 220-221. This author criticizes the Couchoud and Ory's view that the Jesus of Paul was not truly “in the flesh” (something I strongly
disagree with Wells, since even according to the Hymn to Philippians Jesus was not fully human, but humanoid). Pace
Wells, I think that the French Rationalists are better than German and English Mythicists because the former preceded Doherty's view that Jesus died in the lower heavens, for Paul and the early Christians. At any case, here is what Wells says us about the mythicist W B. Smith:
In the English-speaking world the few who have recently challenged Jesus's historicity have allowed that Jesus was, from the first, said to have existed as a man. But they have argued, very unconvincingly, that the earliest Christians did not believe this statement to be literal truth but meant it as elaborate allegory. This view is argued by W. B. Smith and J.M.Allegro. Smith, who had contributed to the controversy at the beginning of this century, completed a further book in 1927. This was published posthumously as The Birth of the Gospel (ed. A. Gulick, New York, 1957). It is, then, if not a recent work, at any rate only recently before the public and not untypical of a recent trend.
Smith's argument is that Christianity emanated from the Jews of the Diaspora, who saw their function in the world - harassed as they were by Gentile oppression - expressed in Isaiah's story of the suffering servant of Yahweh, whose persecution and Death made atonement for the whole world's sins In other words, this story showed them that Israel was to be dispersed among pagans so that God could illuminate all the world's dark places with Jewish monotheism. The suffering and afflicted Messiah was thus, for them, a spiritual interpretation of the history of Israel. Since they did not find it expedient to say bluntly to Gentiles that the nation of Israel had the role of enlightening all others, they dressed up Israel's history in the form of the life-history of an individual, Jesus, and invented incident after incident in his life to reflect the history and character of Israel, as known to them from the Old Testament.
For example, the demons which Jesus casts out from persons in whom they have lodged symbolize heathen gods vanquished by Jewish monotheism. His crucifixion and resurrection represent the suffering of Israel at heathen hands, the political burial of the Hebrew state, to be followed by the spiritual triumph of Israel and its ideal monotheism. The original apostles, says Smith, intended this personification of the role of Israel only as a transient expedient and hoped that at a later time the Gentiles would be able to accept the unvarnished truth. But soon the allegorical bassis of the story was lost from sight, and Jesus was accepted as a historical personage by Christians themselves.
It is Always difficult to produce decisive evidence against scholars who insist on finding hidden meanings in plain statements, although it must be said that the onus is on them to support interpretations that seem forced and arbitrary. Furthermore, in deriving Christianity from Jewish proselytism in the Diaspora, Smith does not do justice to the fact that already in Paul's time, Jerusalem was an important Christian center.
Having read the referred work of W. B. Smith, surely a strong his point is the equation 'Son of Man = all Israel'.
So RG Price:
The Jews kill Jesus; therefore, God destroys the Jews. This is the summary of the entire allegorical story.
(Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed
, p. 26)
Hence as possible explanation of the Markan separationism under the RG Price's hypothesis, we would have that the man Jesus represents the earthly
Israel, while the divine Christ would represent the real Son of God (note that here I am ignoring for the moment
the possibility that the divine Christ is marcionite, i.e. working against
the Jewish god).
The Jews kill Jesus the Son of Man, i.e., the Jews kill themselves.
Hence the legend of the divine Christ standing by laughing out loud: “Mark” would be saying that the divine revenge is already happening in the story itself
by the same death of the Son of Man (“the man Jesus”), allegory of the crucifixion of the earthly Israel, and not only when “God destroys the Jews” in the real History in 70 CE