Wednesday, October 31, 2007




There has been a legend in the southwest peninsula (Somerset and Cornwall) of England; and southern Ireland through recorded history that the Palestinian Essene whom we call "Jesus Christ" visited and resided at a place today called Glastonbury in northern Somerset. This is a matter of enormous historical interest, and not only to theologians. Just look it up in any encyclopedia.

Let us, however, leave the theological aspects of this out of the picture for the moment and concentrate on the historical, with some reference to botanical matters. It is our intention to find as much space as we can in future issues of this journal to present as many findings on this story as we can, and especially those suggested by our members. But for now let us try to dispose of two corellary matters; first the matter of the flowering thorn tree which is really the basis for this whole legend.

In Glastonbury, Country of Somerset, England, and only there in all of western Europe, is there found a thorn bush which flowers twice a year, and almost exactly on Christmas and the Christian Easter. The story goes that these bushes in that area are all descended from a staff left outside a hut by one Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent Hebraic and Roman official, who was also the uncle of Christ and his guardian, on one of his periodic visits to the tin mines of Britain.

The so-called "thorn trees" constitute the genus Crataegus (a member of the Rosaceae family) of which there are at least 150 full species and now over 900 sub-species, though most of the latter were developed in North America. The common species of Britain is Cretaegus oxyacantha - of which there are also numerous very distinct natural sub-species. They are all shrubs or small trees, with occasionally, an old giant up to 45 feet. The original indigenous distribution of this species was apparently from northwestern Europe north to 62 - 1/2 degree north latitude in Sweden; and then east again, north on the mountains to Asia Minor and North Africa. However, there is another species known as C. praccox that flowers twice a year and which is indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean, and thence east, south of the distribution of the C. oxyacantha group.

So why is there only one tiny place in western Europe where this species has become implanted; and why should seeds taken from it there (cross-bred or otherwise) fail to perform?

Next, there can in no way be any doubt that the Phoenicians and other Palestinians obtained a major part of their supply of tin and other metals from this area in the islands that the Greeks called the Cassiterides. Therefore, who would wish to deny that a leading metal trader, such as this Joseph of Armathaea, should have taken his adopted son, age 12, on a trip with him to the west? As to whether or not this adopted son happened to be the man we know (historically) as Jesus Christ is of no concern to us at the moment; but since that person appears to have been missing from Palestine from the age of 12 until 30 there is no reason to suppose that it was not he.

Finally, as you will see from this journal (Vol. 5. No. 1, p. 16), it has been suggested (by Colin Renfrew) that the most ancient monotheistic theological influences spread not from the eastern Mediterranean to the north and west but from the north and west to the south and east. In other words, the late neolithic, and especially the Celtic ecclesiasties (often erroneously called the "Druids") were the first montheists and they could probably teach a Palestinian Essene more than could any other people whom he could reach, a pure philosphy that he could develop to apply to what Christians call his "Ministry" when he went home. The fascinating thing is that the Celts had a Messiah belief, and this great philosopher and teacher-to-be, was called by them YESU. Coincidence?

For now, we would just like to revive this fascinating legend, and introduce it to this country.

How many of you "experted" Celts have observations to make on this. Try an encyclopedia first; then see if you have any "ancestors" still alive; re-read the Bible; and then bombard us. There's more to this legend than meets the eye.




Saint, an influential Pharisee who obtained Pilote's permission to bury Jesus in his own tomb. To leave bodies hanging overnight, particularly with the Sabbath approaching, was a violation of Jewish law, is disputed; Joseph may have been as Luke interprets (23.50) a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin which condemned Jesus; Luke adds that Joseph disagreed with the verdict. The fact that he earnestly awaited the coming of the kingdom of God has led some to claim that he was a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). Legend adds that he was expelled from the Sanhedrin and exiled, and after evengelizing in Gaul he became the first Christian missionary in England where supposedly, he erected a church at Glastonbury (from his thorn staff the famous "Glastonbury thorn" was said to have grown). His life, and the Holy Grael which he is reported to have carried with him, have been the subject of many myths, poems, and dramatic productions.

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