Was Jesus An Illusionist / Magician?

colpepper1

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To come at things from a different direction it's feasible human beings are hard wired to concepts of divinity. Archetypes of God and a pantheon of higher (and lower) beings performing remarkable feats may, or may not have a fundamental heritage we can only guess at. Whatever the reality, suggesting they are conjouring tricks at the remove of two millenia can only be guesswork. The notion isolates huge themes, ignores the context and elevates Paul Daniels to equivalence with the instigation of some of the finest art, music and architecture ever known.
It's an opinion but one that sees the world through a particular lens. It may look clear but it distorts as much as any other.
 

EnolaGaia

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This Live Science article addresses the general issue of Jesus as a magician, with particular focus on ancient depictions of Jesus wielding an object that some interpret as a "magic wand."
Was Jesus a magician?

Ancient art throughout the catacombs of Rome, painted on the walls and carved into stone coffins, shows Jesus as he multiplies loaves of bread, heals the sick and brings the dead back to life. These images are unified by one surprising element: In each of them, Jesus appears to brandish a wand. That led scholars to wonder: Did ancient Christians see Jesus as a magician?

Despite these evocative images, most evidence suggests early Christians didn't see Jesus as a magician. Magic was considered a purely human pursuit that could not raise the dead, whereas Jesus' supernatural acts were always seen by believers as miracles performed through a powerful God. What's more, the "wand" carried by Jesus was in fact not a wand —magicians of the day never carried wands anyway, experts told Live Science. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/was-jesus-a-magician-wand.html
 

Ermintruder

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The article goes on to talk about how the representational iconography of Jesus elided towards him carrying a 'staff' (which we could consider to be a grounded stick, of a length approaching that of an upright human body).

Whether Noah, Moses, Pharoh, Pope, Gandalf or Old Father Time, a wooden staff has always been a metaphorical / metaphysical must-have.

However: I've often wondered about the use within the Twenty-Third Psalm (and elsewhere) of dual asserted accoutrements "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" .

Whilst this might still be simply an extension of the shepherd:flock Christian symbology, it's interesting to consider that many Egyptian / Babylonian and later graphical representations of royalty do show wand-like rods, as well as stick-like staffs (this resonates also with the use of orbs & sceptres for western royalty).

Whether a rod (dowsing, anyone?) might've added to the retrospective patency of an embodied supramythic occidental Christ, I am more than intrigued by any pre-westernised representations of Jesus of Nazereth wielding a wand.
 

EnolaGaia

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NOTE: The Live Science article includes this photo of the sarcophagus of Marcus Claudianus.

MarcusClaudianusSarcophagus.jpg

It supposedly dates from the 4th century CE. Here are the attributions for the scenes on the object's lid (upper row) and front (lower row):

From left to right on the lid:
Jesus nativity scene, sacrifice of Isaac, inscription naming the deceased, image of the deceased as scholar, grape harvest scene.

Carvings on the front of the sarcophagus:
Arrest of Peter, miracle of water and wine (with possible baptism reference), orant figure, miracle of loaves, healing a man born blind, prediction of Peter's denial, resurrection of Lazarus and supplication of Lazaruss sister.

SOURCE: https://www.wga.hu/html_m/zearly/1/1sculptu/sarcopha/1/9claudi3.html

The alleged depictions of Jesus show him holding a rod or stick that's too short to be anything I'd call a walking staff. I'm accustomed to Moses being depicted with a walking staff. I suspect it represents the less common version of a staff as a rod or scepter held as a symbol of office or authority. There are other early Christian images which show Jesus holding something more like a thin stick or reed.

In any case, Lee Jefferson (author quoted in the article) the use of 'wands' is claimed to be unattested / unmentioned in secular magical practice until late antiquity or later. In other words - 'magic wand' is a more modern device or trope.
 

maximus otter

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NOTE: The Live Science article includes this photo of the sarcophagus of Marcus Claudianus.

It supposedly dates from the 4th century CE. Here are the attributions for the scenes on the object's lid (upper row) and front (lower row):

From left to right on the lid:
Jesus nativity scene, sacrifice of Isaac, inscription naming the deceased, image of the deceased as scholar, grape harvest scene.

Carvings on the front of the sarcophagus:
Arrest of Peter, miracle of water and wine (with possible baptism reference), orant figure, miracle of loaves, healing a man born blind, prediction of Peter's denial, resurrection of Lazarus and supplication of Lazaruss sister.

SOURCE: https://www.wga.hu/html_m/zearly/1/1sculptu/sarcopha/1/9claudi3.html

The alleged depictions of Jesus show him holding a rod or stick that's too short to be anything I'd call a walking staff. I'm accustomed to Moses being depicted with a walking staff. I suspect it represents the less common version of a staff as a rod or scepter held as a symbol of office or authority. There are other early Christian images which show Jesus holding something more like a thin stick or reed.

In any case, Lee Jefferson (author quoted in the article) the use of 'wands' is claimed to be unattested / unmentioned in secular magical practice until late antiquity or later. In other words - 'magic wand' is a more modern device or trope.
Perhaps it’s a yad or aestel?

maximus otter
 

Mikefule

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oden staff has always been a metaphorical / metaphysical must-have.

However: I've often wondered about the use within the Twenty-Third Psalm (and elsewhere) of dual asserted accoutrements "Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me" .
Not necessarily actual physical accoutrements.

I would interpret the "rod" as a symbol of authority or disciple (e.g. spare the rod, spoil the child) and the staff as a symbol of support ("My faith it is an oaken staff oh let me on it lean...")

So that would make the meaning something like, "Your strict but fatherly discipline, and the support you give me, are both a comfort to me."

I am not at all religious, but as an interested observer, I see many religious people who find genuine support from their faith, and many who find a sense of security and even identity in the strict rules they accept as part of their faith.
 

Analogue Boy

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A more serious response from me would be The Rod Of Asclepius. The Staff entwined with the Serpent. Symbol of the healer. Also a feature of the story of Moses.
Like a lot of the miracles ascribed to Jesus, the history of his tricks go way back to the God myths of Ancient Greece and Egypt.

Asclepius is a figure in Greek mythology. He was the son of the god, Apollo, and the nymph, Coronis.
 
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