Irenaeus and the dogma
The Christian historian and bishop Irenaeus, who lived between 125 to 202, was probably the first one to state what was legal and what was not in Christianity. He banned books that would remain banned for thousands of years. Those books were sometimes early accounts of the life of Jesus and of the spread of Christianity, but conflicted somehow with the Greek-Roman version of events. When Rome became Christian, Irenaeus’ view became dogma.
It is certainly odd that Irenaeus chose gospels written by people who had not been eye-witnesses and discarded gospels such as Thomas’ and Peter’s. It is certainly odd that such a crucial role is played by the letters of Paul, who had never met Jesus.
One of the books that became illegal and was long lost was the gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas, one of the apostles and the one who was sent east. Didymos in greek and Thomas in aramaic both mean “the twin”. It sounds too much of a coincidence. This is consistent with a belief among early Christians that Jesus had a twin brother. Even in one of the official gospels (Matthew’s), Pilate asks the people who they would like to crucify: Jesus Messiah or Jesus Barabbas. While this is interpreted as a choice between Jesus and a bandit, it could be that Pilate was trying to ascertain which of the two twins was the one accused of sedition, the other one being a mere thief.
A version of that gospel was found in Nag Hammadi. It is likely that the apostle Taddeus and Judas “the twin” are the same person. Taddeus reached Armenia and then possibly traveled further east. The gospel of Judas Thomas has always intrigued historians and theologians because it doesn’t sound Christian at all: its style is closer to Buddhist meditation scripts than to Christian chronicles of Jesus life. After Rome converted, eastern Christianity was forgotten. The truth is that it probably stayed closer to Jesus’ thought precisely because it was not contaminated by Roman power.
Taddeus and the Jesus of the east
Thomas/Taddeus may have reached India. There is a place in Srinagar (Kashmir) that is considered Jesus’ tomb. If Thomas was a twin brother of Jesus, or simply a spokesman for Jesus, and did reach India this could explain the misunderstanding. Jesus (Yuz Asaf, Yus Asaph, Yesu, San Issa) is mentioned in several documents of Kashmir and even Tibet and all refer to him after his death.
We know the burial places of most early Christians, except one: Jesus himself. If you believe that the body of Jesus disappeared when he ascended to heaven, as the Church does, you don’t have to explain where his bodily remains are. Everybody else should at least wonder why we haven’t found the tomb of the very man who is at the center of the Christian faith (the four official gospels list four different burial places). Jesus’ date of birth and death are also disputed. Herod died in 4 BC, so (if the gospels tell the truth) Jesus can’t be born after that date. The Acts of Thomas record that Jesus was in Taxila at a marriage ceremony in the year 49. Irenaeus himself (not a heretic) writes that Jesus reached an old age.
Was Jesus still alive when James the Just, Paul, Peter and Taddeus were spreading Christianity around the world?
The historian Jesophus mentions a “Jesus” who was alive during the years of the Jewish war (66-70 AD), who was an oracle and who was tried in front of Pilate (except that Pilate released him, not crucified him).
If the body of Jesus was buried somewhere, at least two people must have known and visited that place: his mother and his closest friend.
Mary (the mother of Jesus, James the Just and Taddeus) is known to have traveled to Turkey and may have died near Ephesus (according to local legend). James was almost certainly with her. They were, de facto, exiles.
Mary Magdalene was closer to Jesus than anyone else. “Miriam” was the “apostle of the apostles”, and the first witness of the resurrection. The gospels give different accounts of her whereabouts and movements before and after the death of Jesus. There is a legend that she traveled to France, to La Sainte-Baume (near Marseilles), and lived in solitude in a cave for the rest of her life. There is a legend that she followed the Virgin Mary to Turkey and died there.
Herod became king in 37 BC because his father Antipater had helped the Roman general Pompej conquer Jerusalem in 63 BC. Herod was a ruthless ruler whose first and main goal was to destroy the Maccabeans who had ruled before him. He killed all of them, except the princess Mary whom he married. Mary committed adultery with Herod’s brother Joseph while Herod was in Rome (29 BC). When Herod returned and was informed of the adultery, he executed Mary. He then executed her sons because they were more popular than him with the Jews: they had Maccabean blood. This story is somehow reflected in the legend that Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph and that Herod wanted to kill all the Jewish children to make sure none of them would claim the title of king. It is unlikely that Jesus was the illegitimate son of the historical Mary and Joseph, because it would make him too old, but the coincidence is striking.