Jesus in India?

Perusing I came across the denial of a supposed “new-age” claim that Jesus as a child studied with Hindu gurus in India.

What sparked my further curiosity was among its denials, the site said: “There is virtually NO evidence that Jesus studied in India.” (My bold).

So does this mean there is some - albeit tiny - evidence that Jesus did study in India?

If so, what evidence?

In a book on advertising and its dodges, I found the useful informatioin that “virtually means ‘…not, in fact…’”. I’'ve always found it useful to make this substitution, because 90% of the time it’s true. Try it: “There is not, in fact, evidence that Jesus studied in India.” See?

I’ve seen the book you’re describing (or one with the same thesis). It’s all New Age supposition, based on assumed similarities between Jesus’ theology and those of India. Having looked into Hinduism and Buddhism a bit, this strikes me as very unlikely.

Or someone might be sort of twisting the presence of apparently old Chrsitian traditions in the Goa (I think?) area (which is attributed by a different bunch of gnostic kooks to Thomas’ preaching there).

Actually, Cal, if we change “virtually” to “not, in fact” in the sentence quoted, it reads “there is not, in fact, no evidence that Jesus studied in India” - i.e. there is some evidence.

Bear in mind that the statement comes from a (presumably fairly orthodox) Christian website, which is denying that Jesus studied in India. If there is in fact no evidence at all, I would expect them to say so. Why do they qualify their statement? Do they think there might be a teeny-weeny bit of evidence? That’s how I read it.

The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ was “channeled” in 1908 by a chap named Levi Dowling. One part of it describes Jesus’s trip to India where he gets into a debate with a Buddhist priest. The Buddhist argues in favor of the theory of evolution, while JC refutes it, and actually uses the phrase “survival of the fittest”.

In the late 19th century, there arose in Panjab the sect of Islam called Ahmadiyya which based part of its theology on Jesus having lived in Kashmir where he died of old age. AFAICT this sect was the first to start popularizing the idea of “Isa” (Jesus) living in India. The Ahmadiyya had begun proselytizing in America about the time Levi Dowling was “channeling,” so it’s possible he might have heard of the idea they disseminated either directly or indirectly.

Holger Kersten’s book Jesus Lived in India traces the origin of this theme to 1887 when a traveler supposedly heard it in Kashmir from a Buddhist monk. My surmise is that the story was actually put out by Ahmadiyya missionaries in support of their claims. They were trying to establish a heterodox sect within Islam and win converts from regular Islam. By claiming that Jesus was buried in India, they meant to deny his Ascension and therefore deny the Parousia. Orthodox Muslims, like Christians, believe in the Ascension and Parousia of Christ. The Ahmadiyya were attacking both at once.

The Mar Thoma Christians were not “attributed by some gnostic kook” – they were a separate branch of Eastern Christianity in India, largely in Kerala province, who claimed that their ancestors had been converted by the preaching of St. Thomas in northern India. There is a small amount of actual support for the claim that he did preach there, e.g., a king named in the legends who was actually known to have existed at the appropriate time and to have been interested in comparative religion.

Much of the Mar Thoma liturgy and theology seems to have been derived from variant Eastern Christian traditions but by the time any serious study was done, the influence of Portuguese Catholic missionaries had caused such thorough influence that there is no clear way of determining what they said and did prior to the arrival of the Portuguese.

I believe “virtually no evidence” is intended to mean that “there is no evidence to show Jesus was there (India), but there is also no evidence that definitely proves he never went there, either”.

Then again, there is virtually no evidence that I studied with Cecil. Should you take this to mean that there IS some evidence that I did?

The similarities between Christian philosophy and Buddhist philosophy are because they both arrived at the same general conclusions using the same tool: logic. It’s like debating who invented the circle. NB: I think it’s Buddhism and not Hinduism that New Agers say influenced Jesus and Christianity.

Another argument is the presence of a philosophical fellow named “Joshu” in some of the old Buddhist stories. Yes, the similarity of names is pretty weak evidence for it being Jesus of Nazareth, but it’s not quite “no evidence at all”.

It’s certainly an unusual use of the word “virtually”.

filler to make it look less like a blanket denial