A theory for the origin of Christianity
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13-06-2011, 05:48 PM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
Hi Mark...I'm new to this forum too and this is the first post I've read on the forum that I feel vaguely qualified to comment on!

Firstly congrats on the book project, it's an ambitious one and I really like the style of prose that you've written so far.

I think you're posing two questions: "Was Christianity a Roman Plot?" and secondly, "Was a Paul a Roman puppet?"

The answer to the first question is categorically, unequivocally, yes. Unfortunately, you need to look a little later, to the council of Nicea in AD 325, long after Paul was worm food.

Rome was being torn apart by civil war and Emperor Constantine (quite a smart cookie compared to some of the loons that had preceded him) needed a single religion to unite the warring factions within his own country. There were loads of apocalyptic pseudo-Jewish cults banging about during this period, Christians, Rechabites, Essenes and Zealots to name a few.

Why Constantine and his advisors hit on Christianity is anyone’s guess. But they did. THIS is when they decided that Paul should be the mouth piece of New Testament Christianity. It's a shame because there are loads they didn't use, look for 'New Testament apocrypha' online and you'll find some 'heretical material'.

Going back to your other question "Was Paul a Roman Puppet?" This is an interesting one. I don't think that he was during his lifetime, given that killing Christians was a Roman hobby until about AD 324. Paul had the misfortune to live under the reign of Emperor Nero, who not only followed the standard Roman tradition of believing he was a God, but was also a complete nutcase. Paul’s view that the only God was a dead carpenter from a Jewish backwater wouldn’t have gone down well with Nero.

So Paul lost his head...literally. We have a secondary source (Clement I) who says that Paul 'paid the price for his faith'...implying he was murdered for his faith. It's unlikely that the Roman government would kill their equivalent of Billy Graham.

So personally, no I don't think Nero used Paul in this way...but Constantine and his cronies CERTAINLY did.
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13-06-2011, 07:36 PM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2011 07:41 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(13-06-2011 05:26 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  All right, i get that the Hebrews were unhappy with Roman rule and started a few rebellions. As far as i knew, every one of those was put down successfully, with no significant losses to the empire.
All the vanquished nations were unhappy and started rebellions from time to time, and they were all put down, up to the end, when the empire was falling apart for bad management, overextension and internecine strife among the rulers. None of the other subject peoples seemed to merit a well-planned and subtle propaganda campaign. (Hardly the Romans' forte!) I always thought Israel assumed an unrealistic importance in retrospect because of Christianity, not the other way around.
Still an interesting idea.

Hi Peterkin, thanks for your input. It is true that all the rebellions were put down. Think of the logistics, however, of marching 55,000 odd troupes to Jerusalem and back, as happened in the first war, in a campaign that lasted at least 6 months. It was very expensive and very taxing on resources. I don't know much about the second war in 132-135, although I do know it was even larger.

I am not an expert on Ancient Roman history, but my understanding is that, generally speaking, after nations were conquered, they tended to settle down as peaceful members of the empire, although i'm sure there were many exceptions. I have no less an authority than Monty Python in "Life of Brian" to back me up here...
“But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
(Reg, leader of the People’s Front of Judea)


BTW, as I said, I can't prove the theory re propaganda. What I do know is that the four gospels were a mish mash of opinions from very many unnamed sources (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just names added at the top of the documents some time in the late 2nd century), so it seems probable to me that Roman propagandists had a hand in their authorship/editing.

My understanding of Israel is that it was quite an important part of the empire, but I am happy to be corrected by someone who has a different take on this.

Cheers, Mark




(13-06-2011 05:48 PM)Shannow Wrote:  Hi Mark...I'm new to this forum too and this is the first post I've read on the forum that I feel vaguely qualified to comment on!

Firstly congrats on the book project, it's an ambitious one and I really like the style of prose that you've written so far.

I think you're posing two questions: "Was Christianity a Roman Plot?" and secondly, "Was a Paul a Roman puppet?"

The answer to the first question is categorically, unequivocally, yes. Unfortunately, you need to look a little later, to the council of Nicea in AD 325, long after Paul was worm food.

Rome was being torn apart by civil war and Emperor Constantine (quite a smart cookie compared to some of the loons that had preceded him) needed a single religion to unite the warring factions within his own country. There were loads of apocalyptic pseudo-Jewish cults banging about during this period, Christians, Rechabites, Essenes and Zealots to name a few.

Why Constantine and his advisors hit on Christianity is anyone’s guess. But they did. THIS is when they decided that Paul should be the mouth piece of New Testament Christianity. It's a shame because there are loads they didn't use, look for 'New Testament apocrypha' online and you'll find some 'heretical material'.

Going back to your other question "Was Paul a Roman Puppet?" This is an interesting one. I don't think that he was during his lifetime, given that killing Christians was a Roman hobby until about AD 324. Paul had the misfortune to live under the reign of Emperor Nero, who not only followed the standard Roman tradition of believing he was a God, but was also a complete nutcase. Paul’s view that the only God was a dead carpenter from a Jewish backwater wouldn’t have gone down well with Nero.

So Paul lost his head...literally. We have a secondary source (Clement I) who says that Paul 'paid the price for his faith'...implying he was murdered for his faith. It's unlikely that the Roman government would kill their equivalent of Billy Graham.

So personally, no I don't think Nero used Paul in this way...but Constantine and his cronies CERTAINLY did.

Hallo Shannow...I didn't mean to ignore your post...I just didn't see it. Wow....I've got a lot to discuss with you. Right now I am at work. I will reply when I can. Cheers, Mark
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13-06-2011, 08:57 PM (This post was last modified: 13-06-2011 10:24 PM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
I too feel that Constantine in his moment of "revelation" was the true Roman conspirator for christianity. It was a really brilliant move to create a book that would hold the true reasons, especially focusing on the idea of only enlightened people being able to read it. Before Constantine the idea of the religious interpreter was not commonly held among those taking the christian faith as it was a loosely held amalgamation of a few religions stories and some basic concepts (before Constantine most christian stories were written on parchments and sold. People held onto the stories they liked best but did not have collection of all the stories). Anyone who looks to where the worlds most widely spread religion came from and sees that the seat of power has never moved should be able to see that Rome didn't lose in the end. They just went for something more manageable than cities, minds.

Though as for the time before. The Jews were indeed a very aggressive and disrespectful band of zealots. They spat at anyone claiming a place above their god, and cheered at countless deaths. Most of the nations within Rome that revolted were the bordering cities, as well kept cities tended to quell less well kept ones within. Though to most borders there was more trouble than a revolt in the fact of the many "barbarians". It was a big aid to civility that there were people at the other side of that border waiting for a chance to steal everything the city held.

Rome had a lot of insurrections, but judaism was especially fanatical. I think the real focus on christianity came from this fanatical worship available to a single god religion. The unity of the mob that comes from one being in charge of everything. Polytheistic religions have zealots, but the zealots don't generally fight for a similar cause, as each god has different specialties. This one single god was everyone's god no matter what hey wished to be the focus. Easily the best way to convince a large number of people to agree on religion, which is the controlling force within their communities.

I'm not overly experienced in this field, but rome is a topic of history that interests me. I hope my assertions help you out in your deliberation.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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13-06-2011, 09:57 PM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(13-06-2011 07:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(13-06-2011 05:26 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  All right, i get that the Hebrews were unhappy with Roman rule and started a few rebellions. As far as i knew, every one of those was put down successfully, with no significant losses to the empire.
All the vanquished nations were unhappy and started rebellions from time to time, and they were all put down, up to the end, when the empire was falling apart for bad management, overextension and internecine strife among the rulers. None of the other subject peoples seemed to merit a well-planned and subtle propaganda campaign. (Hardly the Romans' forte!) I always thought Israel assumed an unrealistic importance in retrospect because of Christianity, not the other way around.
Still an interesting idea.

Hi Peterkin, thanks for your input. It is true that all the rebellions were put down. Think of the logistics, however, of marching 55,000 odd troupes to Jerusalem and back, as happened in the first war, in a campaign that lasted at least 6 months. It was very expensive and very taxing on resources. I don't know much about the second war in 132-135, although I do know it was even larger.

I am not an expert on Ancient Roman history, but my understanding is that, generally speaking, after nations were conquered, they tended to settle down as peaceful members of the empire, although i'm sure there were many exceptions. I have no less an authority than Monty Python in "Life of Brian" to back me up here...
“But apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh-water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?”
(Reg, leader of the People’s Front of Judea)


BTW, as I said, I can't prove the theory re propaganda. What I do know is that the four gospels were a mish mash of opinions from very many unnamed sources (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were just names added at the top of the documents some time in the late 2nd century), so it seems probable to me that Roman propagandists had a hand in their authorship/editing.

My understanding of Israel is that it was quite an important part of the empire, but I am happy to be corrected by someone who has a different take on this.

Cheers, Mark




(13-06-2011 05:48 PM)Shannow Wrote:  Hi Mark...I'm new to this forum too and this is the first post I've read on the forum that I feel vaguely qualified to comment on!

Firstly congrats on the book project, it's an ambitious one and I really like the style of prose that you've written so far.

I think you're posing two questions: "Was Christianity a Roman Plot?" and secondly, "Was a Paul a Roman puppet?"

The answer to the first question is categorically, unequivocally, yes. Unfortunately, you need to look a little later, to the council of Nicea in AD 325, long after Paul was worm food.

Rome was being torn apart by civil war and Emperor Constantine (quite a smart cookie compared to some of the loons that had preceded him) needed a single religion to unite the warring factions within his own country. There were loads of apocalyptic pseudo-Jewish cults banging about during this period, Christians, Rechabites, Essenes and Zealots to name a few.

Why Constantine and his advisors hit on Christianity is anyone’s guess. But they did. THIS is when they decided that Paul should be the mouth piece of New Testament Christianity. It's a shame because there are loads they didn't use, look for 'New Testament apocrypha' online and you'll find some 'heretical material'.

Going back to your other question "Was Paul a Roman Puppet?" This is an interesting one. I don't think that he was during his lifetime, given that killing Christians was a Roman hobby until about AD 324. Paul had the misfortune to live under the reign of Emperor Nero, who not only followed the standard Roman tradition of believing he was a God, but was also a complete nutcase. Paul’s view that the only God was a dead carpenter from a Jewish backwater wouldn’t have gone down well with Nero.

So Paul lost his head...literally. We have a secondary source (Clement I) who says that Paul 'paid the price for his faith'...implying he was murdered for his faith. It's unlikely that the Roman government would kill their equivalent of Billy Graham.

So personally, no I don't think Nero used Paul in this way...but Constantine and his cronies CERTAINLY did.

Hallo Shannow...I didn't mean to ignore your post...I just didn't see it. Wow....I've got a lot to discuss with you. Right now I am at work. I will reply when I can. Cheers, Mark

Wecome Shannow. yes, I agree there are 2 subjects.

Allow me to share my understanding about this with you. (BTW, I do not insist I am "right" about all of this, it is more that we can learn from eachother). Thankyou for your comments about my writing.

I'm interested that you agree with me about the Roman plot/ Christianity theory. If we are right, this totally undermines the entire foundation of Christianity (which in my opinion in the long run can only be a good thing for the world). We should try to spread this idea.

Re Paul....his writings (well...the ones he himself wrote, there are at least 6 letters of "his" in the Bible that were written in his name) were introduced to the Roman world by a character named Marcion in the 140's. Marcion founded his own Christian church which rivalled Catholic Christianity in size and power for at least 200 years after this date. Marcion believed that Paul was the only character who had understood Christ's message...he did not know of, or ignored Mark, Matthew and John's gospels. He was quite antisemitic (he ignored the Old Testament).

Marcion believed Paul's theology was the legitimate expression of Christian identity and that Paul was the only person who had rightly understood the new message of salvation as delivered by Christ. He believed that any of the teachings of Jesus that had originated from the Jewish apostles were false. He even believed people had inserted the Judaic elements of Paul's writings after Paul's death, and therefore parts of Paul’s letters were faked. Marcion’s Pauline epistles were Romans, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Laodiceans (Ephesians), Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon.

Marcion was overtly anti-Semitic. His followers were the first believers in Jesus to completely break away from Judaism. He downplayed the importance of the Old Testament and any other references to Judaism. He considered the god of the Jews to be a primitive entity who was jealous, envious, vindictive, angry, cruel, intrusive, and judgmental. He didn’t deny the existence of Yahweh and even acknowledged that Yahweh was the creator of the universe, but claimed that an entirely new god had sent Isu Chrestos. This new god was strange and unknowable yet one of love and benevolence. Isu Chrestos had been sent to replace Judaism’s legalism with mercy and love.

Marcion’s Gospel is very similar to the canonical Luke, although about one third shorter. He called it the "Euangelion" - the "Good News", and it was not attributed to an author. The first three chapters of today’s Luke are not included, so it lacked any genealogy, family, or birth story for Jesus. It is commonly stated that Marcion shortened the original Luke, however it is just as possible that his version was the original and that interpolators added the material that is now in the canonical Luke.

Marcion was the first ever to propose a new canon, which consisted only of the Euangelion and 10 letters of Paul, in 140 CE. He was therefore, in one sense, the father of New Testament Christianity.

Marcion’s complete break with the Jewish epic was a direct challenge to emerging Catholic orthodoxy. He was excommunicated as a heretic by the Catholic Christian church in Rome around 144 CE. Polycarp called him "the first born of Satan" and other early Church Fathers denounced him. That didn’t stop him. After his excommunication, he returned to Asia Minor where he continued to spread his message.

The church that Marcion founded expanded throughout the known world within his lifetime. His teachings were very influential during the 2nd century, rivaling that of what is now considered the Orthodox Church of Rome. His church continued to expand for more than a century and persevered alongside Catholic Christianity and was its equal for popularity well into the fourth century, at which time the Catholics gained political power and forced the Marcionite church to be rejected and disbanded. The oldest Christian church ever found by archaeologists is Marcionite, dates from 318 CE and is located in Syria. The inscription on this church is dedicated to
"The Lord and Savior Isu Chrestos."

What happened was it was easier for the Catholics to absorb Marcion's and Paul's ideas rather than completely reject them. Hence Jesus became the son of God who died for everyoe's sins and these Pauline ideas were written into the gospels.

As to whether Paul was working for the government I don't know but I suspect so. He wasn't good at what he did, as he actually caused trouble amongst jews everywhere he went. I think he was a failed experiment and the Romans took him out of circulation. No one really knows how he died. He definately did not establish a church in Rome.

Re Romans killing Christians...Persecution had been an intermittent danger to Christians. It occurred in localised areas with out warning- Lyons in 177 and Carthage in 203. Persecution of Christians was never a policy of the Roman state until the mid third century, when the Emperor Decius attempted to restore to the crumbling Roman state something of its earlier authority. He decreed that everyone should publically sacrifice to the Roman gods. This was a major threat to Christian communities, and cost them many leaders. The bishops of Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem were martyred for refusing to comply. Many gave into the pagan demand, which eroded morale. A few years later the Emperor Valerian intensified this policy of persecution and executed many bishops and clergy. In 258 CE another pope was martyred, as was Cyprian the bishop of Carthage. Gallienus restored religious toleration in 260, and the church remained unprosecuted for the rest of the third century.

I agree with you that Constantine embraced Christianity because he wanted a powerful ally....not because of the inherent truth of the religion.

Regards, Mark
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14-06-2011, 03:03 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
I must say, this is a fascinating thread. I haven't anything to contribute, but I did want to let you guys know that there are likely many of us very interested in what you have to say, so please keep it up. Sometimes when people don't see much response to a thread, they think there is little interest. Sometimes, like in this case, I think there's a good chance that there's lots of interest, but not alot of us can really contribute.

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14-06-2011, 03:14 AM (This post was last modified: 14-06-2011 03:54 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(13-06-2011 08:57 PM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  I too feel that Constantine in his moment of "revelation" was the true Roman conspirator for christianity. It was a really brilliant move to create a book that would hold the true reasons, especially focusing on the idea of only enlightened people being able to read it. Before Constantine the idea of the religious interpreter was not commonly held among those taking the christian faith as it was a loosely held amalgamation of a few religions stories and some basic concepts (before Constantine most christian stories were written on parchments and sold. People held onto the stories they liked best but did not have collection of all the stories). Anyone who looks to where the worlds most widely spread religion came from and sees that the seat of power has never moved should be able to see that Rome didn't lose in the end. They just went for something more manageable than cities, minds.

Though as for the time before. The Jews were indeed a very aggressive and disrespectful band of zealots. They spat at anyone claiming a place above their god, and cheered at countless deaths. Most of the nations within Rome that revolted were the bordering cities, as well kept cities tended to quell less well kept ones within. Though to most borders there was more trouble than a revolt in the fact of the many "barbarians". It was a big aid to civility that there were people at the other side of that border waiting for a chance to steal everything the city held.

Rome had a lot of insurrections, but judaism was especially fanatical. I think the real focus on christianity came from this fanatical worship available to a single god religion. The unity of the mob that comes from one being in charge of everything. Polytheistic religions have zealots, but the zealots don't generally fight for a similar cause, as each god has different specialties. This one single god was everyone's god no matter what hey wished to be the focus. Easily the best way to convince a large number of people to agree on religion, which is the controlling force within their communities.

I'm not overly experienced in this field, but rome is a topic of history that interests me. I hope my assertions help you out in your deliberation.

Hi Lilith, wow you have had a lot of posts. Good on you, well done.

I partly agree with you about Constantine, but permit me to throw in my 2c worth. I don't think he contributed specifically to christian philosophy. I get the impression he just realised they were useful political allies. What he did do was stop the persecution of Christians in 313. Permit me to cut and paste another little section (if this is annoying anyone please tell me )...

"It was only in the 4th century that there was a dominant, unified, institutionalized religion one could call Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church insinuated itself into the political establishment and insisted on the strict obedience of Church leaders.
It became common for bishops to meet and decide what everyone should and shouldn’t believe. They adopted a sterile doctrine that condemned egalitarianism and the esoteric ideas of the Gnostics. These doctrines became known as creeds. So it was only nearly three centuries after the death of Jesus that the “facts” about his life and his teachings were decided upon and the confusion surrounding the Christian dogma of the previous 300 years was given some firm guidelines. A set of tales about Jesus, easily understood by the mainly uneducated lower classes, were said to be the true accounts of his life. In a series of councils over the next few hundred years a church-approved dogma was thrashed out by warring factions and then presented to the public as the truth. The Catholic Church then claimed the orthodox story about Jesus had been known right from the beginning.

The Roman government embraced Christianity in the early 4th century. The emperor at the time was Constantine (Emperor from 306-337 CE). His mother was a Christian. He was a highly superstitious man and early in his life a Mithraic who worshipped the sun (he put the sun on coins). He probably respected all religious cults. In 313 CE, his so-called "Edict of Milan" reversed the Roman Empire’s policy of hostility to Christianity. This turned out to be a momentous event in world history.
What made him embrace Christianity? The Catholic Church was growing strongly. It was large and well organized, as it has modeled its hierarchy using Roman principles. The church had developed a clerical class, a hierarchy that was successful at adjudicating and controlling internal disagreements. They had a degree of legalistic autonomy in which their bishops interpreted law. They were proficient at expanding their frontiers and accepted people from all corners of the empire. Unlike Judaism, the religion did not challenge Roman rule. All this appealed to Constantine because he wanted stability. He realized the people were easier to control if everyone shared the same religion, and that he could use the hierarchical structure of the church to help wield power. His government embraced Christians as allies. In 320 CE he declared himself a Christian and fashioned himself as a type of priest-king who was the 13th apostle of Jesus, so used the new religion for some self-aggrandizement too. Christianity was given a massive leg up by becoming the official religion of the empire. The new faith went to bed with the political master of the western world and the empire had a universal religion uniting most of its people. It was a marriage of convenience that suited both parties. It was mainly due to this symbiotic relationship that Christianity was firmly established, survived and flourished."

Constantine did try to sort out the Arian cotroversy in 325 by convening the council of Nicea...I don't think he cared whether Jesus was a god or not as long as the Christians stopped fighting amongst themselves over the issue.

As far as the New testament was concerned, I don't think that emerged until 382...well....at least in its current form. One more cut and paste...

"Today’s list of New Testament books first emerged in a letter written by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in 367 CE. This list gained official acceptance by the Roman church in 382 CE at a synod held in Rome under Pope Damascus, at which Jerome was very influential. This is how the Catholic Encyclopaedia describes this most important synod;
“The West began to realize that the ancient Apostolic Churches of Jerusalem and Antioch, indeed the whole Orient, for more than two centuries had acknowledged Hebrews and James as inspired writings of Apostles, while the venerable Alexandrian Church, supported by the prestige of Athanasius, and the powerful Patriarchate of Constantinople, with the scholarship of Eusebius behind its judgment, had canonized all the disputed Epistles. St. Jerome, a rising light in the Church, though but a simple priest, was summoned by Pope Damasus from the East, where he was pursuing sacred lore, to assist at an eclectic, but not ecumenical, synod at Rome in the year 382. Neither the general council at Constantinople of the preceding year nor that of Nice (365) had considered the question of the Canon. This Roman synod must have devoted itself specially to the matter. The result of its deliberations, presided over, no doubt, by the energetic Damasus himself, has been preserved in the document called "Decretum Gelasii de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris", a compilation partly of the sixth century, but containing much material dating from the two preceding ones. The Damasan catalogue presents the complete and perfect Canon which has been that of the Church Universal ever since.”

Let’s summarize what this long-winded quote is saying. The definitive canon of the New Testament wasn’t decided at an ecumenical council, which would have had representatives from all the major areas, but at a much smaller synod. There is no record of who attended this synod other than Damasus and Jerome. So an energetic Pope Damasus, Jerome and possibly a few bishops, who we don’t know the identity of, got together and definitively decided which books were the word of God and which weren’t! It is apparent from the commentary that the primary purpose of the meeting was to unite various factions of the church, not to discuss the legitimacy of Biblical texts.

Augustine subsequently commanded three synods on canonicity: the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE, the Synod of Carthage in 397 CE, and another in Carthage in 419 CE, yet none of these changed the books chosen by Athanasius."

Ok...this post is too long...I'll finish here. Regards, Mark






(14-06-2011 03:03 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I must say, this is a fascinating thread. I haven't anything to contribute, but I did want to let you guys know that there are likely many of us very interested in what you have to say, so please keep it up. Sometimes when people don't see much response to a thread, they think there is little interest. Sometimes, like in this case, I think there's a good chance that there's lots of interest, but not alot of us can really contribute.

Hey thanks....I got to say I find this history thoroughly fascinating too. It is history that still in a sense lives and breathes today because what happened all those years ago still colours the way all of us, knowingly or unknowingly, look at the world. Cheers, Mark
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14-06-2011, 07:07 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(13-06-2011 07:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I am not an expert on Ancient Roman history, but my understanding is that, generally speaking, after nations were conquered, they tended to settle down as peaceful members of the empire, although i'm sure there were many exceptions.
No nation just settles happily into foreign occupation and servitude. Not in the Roman empire, not in the British empire, not in the USSR, and not in the western-dominated Middle East. Ever.
And with all respect, if you're going to promulgate a large theory like this, you need to become something of an expert on the period.

Of course, you're right about the Nicean bible. And i can give you some suggestion as to why Constantine chose Christianity and why the later rulers embraced it:
1. its one god, with a single agenda*, was more credible at that point than the multiple old gods of Rome, who had been severely abused and debased by a succession of bad, mad emperors. (*Though saints and things had to be added to replace popular local deities, and Virgin cults sprang up in lieu of goddesses.)
2. Its preachment of equality, fraternity and compassion appealed to the little people. (Though the most Christian sects had to be wiped out.)
3. Its high humility, self-denial, acceptance and obedience quotient was very popular with the self-appointed, god-anointed ruling class of aristocrats and priests.
(Though the two sets never stopped wrangling over religious/secular jurisdiction.)

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14-06-2011, 07:08 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
Hi Mark - I live in the UK...so timezones are playing thier part. So good to wake up to all of this interesting debate.

I completely agree with your point on using historical evidence to 'undermine the foundation of Christianity' as you put it....once you do the level of digging that you're doing, it soon becomes clear that the foundations of Christianity are built on politics, control and a human desire for power.

The scientists have done a wonderful job of giving us an arsenal of debating tools to challenge Christian beliefs of creationism and so forth, but there is significantly less content out there that takes a historical/socialogical approach to prove that the bible that is taken as the historical word of God is a man made fabribcation. Hopefully your book will help redress the balance a little for the historians Big Grin

It looks like the discussion has moved on a bit whilst I've been asleep, lot's of things clarified which is cool...

I love your idea of Paul being a 'failed experiment of the Roman government', and wish it was true, unfortunatly I can find nothing that validates it, great idea for a novel though! (I'm seeing a bearded Matt Damon running down Jerusalem streets with a copy of his letters, being chased by Romans...copyright it quick!) Your other point about Paul not establishing a church in Rome is correct, there is some secondary evidence that Paul visited Rome and Clement hints that he was killed there.

So we're moving down a new path now, the selection criteria used by Constantine and his cronies for the collection of letters called the New Testament.

Enter Marcion, who was either a literal or metaphorical 'defiler of virgins', is also called the 'son of Satan' as you and my favourite historian of the period, Polycarp point out. It's certainly a fact that Marcion was an outspoken advocate of using Pauls letters as the foundation of his doctrine. It's also a fact that Marcion was a big fan of writing things down and collecting the letters that Lillith mentioned in an earlier post.

It's hard to believe it, but for the first few hundred years of it's life, Christiantiy was abasically an oral tradition, the only written guidelines would have been the letters exchanged between churches as Lillith mentioned earlier. Marcion was trying to change all of that...but Marcions downfall lay in his brain...he thought too much to ever have made it as one of the Papal all-stars.

He believed that the vengeful, angry, jealous God of the Old Testament was at odds with the fluffy, cuddly and mostly nice Jesus of the New Testament. Not an unreasonable hypothosis. Unfortunately it was heresy so Marcion has the misfortune to be the first 'offical' heretic.

Definately an interesting character, historically valid and one who's definately part of the plot to build Christianity.

Keep up the good work...
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14-06-2011, 08:11 AM
 
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
There were revolts happening all the time in the roman empire, only after a hundred years or so after the initial conquest did people settle down.

Paul the Roman agent is an interesting idea, but if the Romans were trying to establish their hold on the region, why are they trying to change one monotheistic religion full of zealots, into another monotheistic religion full of zealots?

Also, Jesus was undeniably killed by the Romans, admittedly on behalf of the Jews, but the Romans still killed him. I don't see Rome encouraging a religion which worships someone that it killed that soon after his death.

If Rome didn't like Jews, why didn't it just decide to ban Judaism?

My view is, is that Constantine saw that the way Roman emperors claim to godliness wasn't working, so he decided to switch to Christianity instead as he saw that it was already so popular. Christianity has survived because it is the religion that a ruler would want his people to adopt. It's promises of an afterlife so long as your good now is something that Constantine would have loved as if the Roman Empire adopted it properly, there would be no internal fighting, and he would have a good tax flow.

There is also the possibility that Constantine was actually a Christian.

There we go, I might have missed something so please correct me.
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14-06-2011, 08:33 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
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