Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thundy and Un-enlightening

Some time back I did some pieces on Christian Lindtner, a lunatic Holocaust denier who believes that the story of Jesus was influenced by various stories about Buddha. I should also take note of one other member of that crew, Zacharias P. Thundy.

There are good reasons not to give this character much credence, either. For one, he is a retired professor of English, so any time he goes on about alleged parallels he’s speaking well outside his field. This is also shown by various statements he has made, such as these three we will use as examples. First:

There are hardly any solid grounds to support the theory that the Jewish Sanhedrin had no authority to execute a serious law-breaker so much so the Sanhedrin had to send Jesus over to the Roman Governor.

On the contrary, that local bodies held no judicial power of execution under Rome is quite firmly established, as we have observed in my piece on the trial of Jesus; see link below. This is such an elementary error that it is clear that Thundy has not studied the matter seriously.

Here is an example of how Thundy tries to force a parallel between the Gospels and the Indian play The Little Clay Cart:

The bewildering image of unbroken colt ridden by Jesus during his triumphant entry into Jerusalem has this echo in the Sanskrit play: the colt is associated with Fate in the play: “Fate, like the colt, is reckless.” In the gospels, Jesus seems to be going along with fate or conquers it.

Not much can be said of such imaginative description, which is little more than the typical “copycat” theorist tactic of collapsing down descriptions of an event into a “least common denominator” to forge an illicit parallel. Even so: “Fate” would play no role in Jesus’ actions; as a Jew he would accept at most a form of predestination, divinely sanctioned. Nor for that matter is either fate or predestination referenced in the Gospels.

Another claimed parallel from the play is no better:

I have saved the best for the last. All of us vividly remember Jesus’s response to his accusers: “You have said it” (su legeis).

These two words are exactly what Charudatta utters when he is accused by his own accuser Samsthanaka: “You have said it” (tvayi yavoktam)."

First of all, as also shown in the trial piece, “you have said it” is documented as a known expression of Jesus’ time and culture. Second, it would not be surprising if a similar statement was also used as a circumlocution for the same purpose in other cultures. But it matters not at all, since Thundy is dating The Little Cay Cart to a time earlier than Jesus’ life, whereas serious scholars of the play date it to several centuries after Jesus. If that's Thundy's "best" his case is fairly sorrowful!

We may have more to say of Thundy in another entry. For now, this much makes it clear he’s not a serious opponent.

Trial piece

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