Category:Jesus in India (subject)
Jesus in India refers to a series of speculations about the presence of Jesus in India.
- This page was created and is edited by Gabriele Boccaccini, University of Michigan.
The "Indian connection" first emerged in discussions of the Jesus Myth Theory by authors who emphasized the alleged similarities between the message of Jesus and Eastern religions. In 1836 English writer Godfrey Higgins suggested in his book Anacalypsis that Jesus was a dark skinned Indian and Christianity a variant of the primeval Buddhist religion. In 1869 French author Louis Jacolliot claimed that the Gospels were a purely mythical construction based on the mythologies of ancient India. In Jacolliot's view, Jesus Christ (Iezeus Christna) was not an historical character; "Iezeus" meant pure essence in Sanskrit and Chrishna was only a way of spelling Krishna.
The Indian connection was exploited by Russian war correspondent and traveler Nicolas Notovitch, whose work is at the origin of the legend that the historical Jesus actually visited India. According to a manuscript he allegedly saw while visiting the Tibetan monastery of Himis in 1887 (Life of Saint Issa, the Best of the Sons of Men), Jesus spent six years among the Brahmins, then other six years among the Buddhists, before preaching to the pagans, the Zoroastrians and finally, the Jews. The presence of Jesus in India explained the connections between Eastern religions and Christianity. Notovitch’s work, published in French in 1894, was a hit, being translated in several languages and spurring large controversy.
In 1898 Rev Gideon Jaspar Ouseley claimed to have received in a vision a copy of a Gospel (The Gospel of the Holy Twelve), written in Aramaic and "now preserved in one of the Monasteries of the Buddhist monks in Thibet." In 1908, American author Levi H. Dowling published another Gospel (the Acquarian Gospel of Jesus), a text he also allegedly received through a spiritual revelation. The Gospel "confirmed" that Jesus visited India and spent 18 years there, prior to his preaching in the land of Israel.
In the mist of growing speculations about the presence of Jesus in India, German writer Theodor J. Plange revived Higgins's thesis in 1906, claiming that Jesus was actually born in India and was ethnically Indian, not Jewish.
In 1908, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mirza Ghulam Ahmad offered an alternative narrative. He claimed that Jesus went to India not before but after the crucifixion; Jesus preached there and died there an old man. Ahmad identified Jesus with the sage Yuz Asaf whose tomb was venerated in Srinagar, Kashmir. In his view, Yuz Asaf's shrine (known as the Roza Bal) was the actual burial place of Jesus of Nazareth. It was then Jesus who inspired Buddhism, not the other way around.
In 1928 Swedish physician Hugo Toll revived the Jesus Survival Theory, claiming that Jesus recovered from the wounds of the crucifixion and settled in the East. Ever since, in the shaping of the legend of Jesus in India, speculations about Jesus Hidden Years have often come together with speculations about Jesus Survival.
The Jesus-in-India narrative was exposed as a hoax by scholar Edgar J. Goodspeed in 1931 and again, in 1956, and seemed to vanish.
Since the 1970s, however, the legend has began flourishing again. On one hand, some authors have followed Nicolas Notovitch and limited themselves to speculate about the possibility that Jesus visited India in his youth. On the other hand, the theory that Jesus died in India generated the most fanciful theories about Jesus simulating his death with drugs or experiencing a coma or even being abducted by aliens, in order to explain how he was able to survive the crucifixion and reach India in his old age. Some authors finally have combined the two narratives, claiming that Jesus visited India before and after the crucifixion. The question has been debated not only in works of fiction, but also in books and documentaries which disguised themselves as works of scholarship.
The Jacolliot Theory also have been lately revived by Ravi Prakash Arya in 2006.
Jesus in India in literature & the arts
Since the 1990s, the idea that Jesus traveled to India has also appeared in several works of fiction.
In The Gospel of Corax (1996 Park), novel, Corax is a runaway Roman slave who travels with young Jesus to the Himalayas. I giardini dell'Eden (The Garden of Eden / 1998 D'Alatri), film, the only movie to focus on Jesus Hidden Years, also presents Jesus traveling to India with a caravan of pagan merchants.
In Lamb (2002 Moore), novel, Jesus's best pal Biff accompanies him to India on a quest to find the Magi. In Yeshûa: A Personal Memoir of the Missing Years of Jesus (2006 Law), novel, the young Jesus after fleeing in rebellion from his Essene teachers travels to the East for the 18 years not covered by the Bible. In The Breath of God (2011 Small), novel, a graduate student journeys to the Himalayas in search of Notovitch's manuscript.
Jesus in India in scholarship
Scholars dismiss the theory that Jesus traveled to India as pure speculation. The legend however has so much influenced contemporary culture to attract their attention. Scholarly treatments of the subject include:
- [ Wikipedia]
Pages in category "Jesus in India (subject)"
The following 36 pages are in this category, out of 36 total.
- Anacalypsis (1836 Higgins), arch-fi book
- La Bible dans l'Inde: vie de Iezeus Christna (The Bible in India / 1869 Jacolliot), arch-fi book
- Die Lücke im Leben Jesu = La vie inconnue de Jésus-Christ (The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ / 1894 @1894 Notovitch), arch-fi book (German ed.)
- La vie inconnue de Jésus-Christ (The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ / 1894 Notovitch), arch-fi book
- The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ (1894 Notovitch), arch-fi (English ed.)
- The Gospel of the Holy Twelve (1898-1901 Ouseley), vision
- Christus: ein Inder? (Christ: an Indian? / 1906 Plange), arch-fi book
- Masih Hindustan mein (Jesus in India / 1908 Ahmad), arch-fi book
- The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus (1908 Dowling), vision
- Dog Jesus på korset? = Jesus Died on the Cross? (1928 Toll), arch-fi book
- Christ in Kashmir (1973 Kashmiri), arch-fi book
- Jesús vivió y murió en Cachemira (Jesus Died in Kashmir / 1976 Faber-Kaiser), arch-fi book
- Talmud Jmmanuel (1978 Meier), arch-fi
- Jesus lebte in Indien (Jesus Lived in India / 1983 Kersten), arch-fi
- The Lost Years of Jesus (1984 Prophet), arch-fi
- The Fifth Gospel (1988 Hassnain, Levi), arch-fi book
- Jesus in India (1994 Deardorff), arch-fi
- A Search for the Historical Jesus (1994 Hassnain), arch-fi book
- From Kashmir to Palestine (1996 Choudhury), arch-fi book
- The Gospel of Corax (1996 Park), novel
- I giardini dell'Eden (The Garden of Eden / 1998 D'Alatri), film
- King of Travelers: Jesus' Lost Years in India (1999 Martin), arch-fi
- Jesus of India (2000 Lee), arch-fi book
- La vita sconosciuta di Gesù = La vie inconnue de Jésus-Christ (The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ / 2000 @1894 Notovitch / Muggia), arch-fi book (Italian ed.)
- (+) Lamb (2002 Moore), novel
- Jesus in Kashmir (2002 Olsson), arch-fi book
- Revisiting the Roots of Judeo-Christianity: Louis Jacolliot's Thesis Re-Edited and Revised (2006 Arya), arch-fi book
- The Fifth Gospel, 2nd ed. (2006 Hassnain, Levi / Fida), arch-fi book
- Yeshûa: A Personal Memoir of the Missing Years of Jesus (2006 Law), novel
- The Rozabal Line (2007 Sanghi), novel
- Jesus in India (2008 Davids), documentary
- Roza Bal: The Tomb of Jesus (2008 Hassnain, Olsson), arch-fi book
- When Jesus Lived in India (2009 Jacobs), arch-fi book
- The Blackwell Companion to Jesus (2010 Burkett), edited volume
- Jesus: The Explosive Story of the 30 Lost Years and the Ancient Mystery Religions (2010 McCannon), arch-fi book
- The Breath of God (2011 Small), novel