The tree of life from the creation story in Gilgamesh.
There are no alternate version's of the Jesus story. There are minor differences in different telling's but there are no other versions. For at least 200 years after the original events the very same major outline is kept as it was written in stone. Myth always proliferates but when everyone knows a story is true they don't dare change it. The fact that there's only one basic Jesus story tells us that it's probably a true story.
1) Mythology tends to proliforate:multiple story versions are common
2) When historical facts are known to a wide audience, people tend not to deny the basic facts of an event.
...a) eye witnesses keep it stairght
...b) People who try to invent new aspects of the event are confronted with the fact that most everyone knows better.
...c) people know the story for a fact and just dont' bother to change it.
3) Story proliforations would probably influence further tellings, thus creating many more documents with different versions of the same story.
4) If a myth proliforates we would tend to find more versions of the same story, when there is only one version we can accept a degree of certainty that the story did not proliforate.
6) The most logical way to account for this single Jesus story is through p2, that everyone knew it was the case, there were too many eye witnesses to spread new versions.
...b) There was no canonization process in place in the early period, and the single unified verison existed from the earliest trace of the story.
7)Therefore, we can assume that it is probably the case that the masses were familiar with the story of Jesus because the story reflects events known by all to be factual.
The main thing that myths do is change. Given enough time, a myth will transmography until the names of the heroes are different, how they died is forgotten and retold so many times, there came to be multiple versions of their death. Myths change over time, but history does not. People remember a basic event they know its real, they don't forget it. Herclues has two deaths, in one he's poisaned, in another shot with an arrow. There are about 14 versions of the Tamuz myth. But there is only one way for the guys at the Alamo to die, there is only one death for Arthur, and there is only one way that Jesus Christ is ver portrayed as dying, that's by the cross. Why? Because that's how he really died. No one could deny it, so no one ever propossed another method.
I have made the argument, on message boards, that there are no alternate versions of the basic Gospel story. The point being, there are many versions of most myths. The fact that with tons of "other Gospels" not a one of them before the fourth century gives an alternate account of Jesus life, death, burial and resurrection is a good indication that everyone knew the basic facts, they were public knowledge because they were history; these things happened before the community of Jerusalem, the whole community was a witness and no one could deny it.Now skeptics have responded that certain alternate Gospels deny the resurrection. They name the Apochraphon of James. This is not true. As will be seen from what I quote below James does mention the resurrection. Some of the latter Gnostics denied the theology of the Virginal conception, but they still allude to the story. They denied that Jesus' death was real, but they do not deny that it happened, only that he was not a flesh and blood being and so could not die. What they accept is that the illusion of a flesh and blood man lived on the earth and was taken for a real person why all who saw him.
That is a fundamental mistake of Dohrtey (the champion of the "Christ-myth" theory), he thinks all the action originally was set in a heavily realm, that is not the case. The Gnostics generally accepted that the illusion of a man was seen on earth and seemed to be living among men. So they just spiritualized the history of Jesus.Below I will quote from several "other Gospels" to show that they affirm the deity of Christ, the resurrection, that they include references to many of the stories and periscopes in the canonical Gospels, and that they assume the general outline of the story that we call "fact."
Of course this in and of itself is not "proof" of the Jesus story, but taken together with the other evidence, it makes a compelling case.
Myths have Multiple Versions
Myths Encyclopedia: Myths and Legends of the world.
"Hinduism and Mythology," accessed 10/23/15
"Most myths occur in several different versions, and many characters have multiple roles, identities, and histories. This seeming confusion reflects the richness of a mythology that has expanded and taken on new meanings over the centuries."
Read more: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Go-Hi/Hinduism-and-Mythology.html#ixzz3pQPJKLPF Or:
Examples and documentation of Multiple versions of myth Mithra
Mithra comes from Persia and is part of Zoroastrian myth, but this cult was transplanted to Rome near the end of the pre-Chrsitian era. Actually the figure of Mithra is very ancient. He began in the Hindu pantheon and is mentioned in the Vedas. He latter spread to Persia where he took the guise of a sheep protecting deity. But his guise as a shepard was rather minor. He is associated with the Sun as well. Yet most of our evidence about his cult (which apparently didn't exist in the Hindu or Persian forms) comes from Post-Pauline times. Mitrha changed over time from Hindu patheon to persian sun god, to mystery cult savior.
(Marvin W. Meyer, ed. The Ancient Mysteries :a Sourcebook. San Francisco: Harper, 1987,, p. 201).
The Greek god Dionysos is said to be the god of wine, actually he began as a fertility god in Phrygian and in Macedonia, Thrace, and other outlying regions. The origin of the cult is probably in Asia. (Charles Seltman, The Twelve Olympians, New York: Thomas Y. Corwell Company, 1960.)
"In the case of the Mesopotamian Tammuz (Sumerian Dumuzi), his alleged resurrection by the goddess Inanna-Ishtar had been assumed even though the end of both the Sumerian and the Akkadian texts of the myth of "The Descent of Inanna (Ishtar)" had not been preserved. Professor S. N. Kramer in 1960 published a new poem, "The Death of Dumuzi," that proves conclusively that instead of rescuing Dumuzi from the Underworld, Inanna sent him there as her substitute (cf. my article, "Tammuz and the Bible," Journal of Biblical Literature, LXXXIV , 283-90). A line in a fragmentary and obscure text is the only positive evidence that after being sent to the Underworld Dumuzi may have had his sister take his place for half the year "(cf. S. N. Kramer, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 183 , 31). "Tammuz was identified by later writers with the Phoenician Adonis, the beautiful youth beloved of Aphrodite. According to Jerome, Hadrian desecrated the cave in Bethlehem associated with Jesus' birth by consecrating it with a shrine of Tammuz-Adonis. Although his cult spread from Byblos to the GrecoRoman world, the worship of Adonis was never important and was restricted to women. P. Lambrechts has shown that there is no trace of a resurrection in the early texts or pictorial representations of Adonis; the four texts that speak of his resurrection are quite late, dating from the second to the fourth centuries A.D". ("La 'resurrection' d'Adonis," in Melanges Isidore Levy, 1955, pp. 207-40).The "Great" Cybele
In some versions of the myth, Attis's return to life took the form of his being changed into an evergreen tree.(Ibid)
The cult changes over time and the story changes:Lambrechts has also shown that Attis, the consort of Cybele, does not appear as a "resurrected" god until after A.D. 1 50. ( "Les Fetes 'phrygiennes' de Cybele et d' Attis," Bulletin de l'lnstitut Historique Belge de Rome, XXVII 11952], 141-70).
The Cult (Osiris) moved to Rome where it was at first rejected, but finally was allowed into the city between 37 and 41. Only after the next two centuries did it become a rival of Christianity. Its eventual popularity came from its elaborate ritual and hope of immortality, although this was a latter development which post dates Christian origins and does not include Osiris. During the Osiris phase the immortality aspects were very minimal. 3) Early phase of cult no savior, in period of clash with Christianity, no Osiris! Thus, during the early part of the cult they had no great savior figure and no salvation aspects to speak of, and in the phase where they competed with Christianity (two or more centuries after the Gospels) they had no dying or rising savior figure. (Ronald Nash, "Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?" the Christian Research Journal, Winter 19994, p 8)
It seems to be a universal law of mthology that myths transmutate over time. Here is a report about mythology of the Northwestern United States and it's native people. It states that they have multiple versions of the same myths.
DRAFT: CASCADIA MEGATHRUST EARTHQUAKES IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST INDIAN MYTHS AND LEGENDS
by Ruth Ludwin, University of Washington Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences 12/29/99 DRAFT
"Incomplete as the preserved oral history of Cascadia is, many stories are repeated in multiple versions, with some "mixing and matching" of story elements, and some of the stories are geographically wide-spread."
Here are (not all) basic points of agreement between all Jesus sources from before the fourth century.
All The most basic details about these mythological figures changes and froms mutltiple myths. Who they were, what they stood for, their function, how they lived, how they died, even their country of origin all change. A god like Mirthra begins as an unimportant figure in Indian pantheon and winds up the sun God, the God of shepards in Persian and then something else in Rome. All of these mythical figures change over time, but not Jesus. There is basically one Jesus story and it's always the same.
1) Jesus lived on earth as a man from the beginning of the first century to AD 33.
2) That his mother was supposed to be a Virgin named "Mary"
3) Same principle players, Peter, Andrew, Philip, John, Mary Magdeline.
4) That Jesus was knows as a miracles worker.
5) he claimed to be the son of God and Messiah.
6) he was crucified under Pilate.
7) Around the time of the Passover.
8) at noon.
9) rose from the dead leaving an empty tomb.
10) several woman with MM discovered the empty tomb.
11) That this was in Jerusalem.
There were hundreds of sources, different books and Gospels and Acts, that never made it into the New Testament. The Jesus story is re-told countrless times from early days (around AD50 first written) to the fourth century, before there was ever a major alternatiion in any of these basic details. Even after that time, no one ever disagreed with these points listed avove.
The most flagrant exception might seem to be the Gnostics who claimed that Jesus was not flesh and blood but illusory so he didn't really die on the cross. Yet, the didn't deny that there was an event where he seemed to die on the cross. Even when their ideology contradicted the history they still could not deny the seeming facts. they just re-interpreted the facts.