A theory for the origin of Christianity
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17-06-2011, 02:35 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
Apologies to everyone that my comments have been too long. I will keep the shorter in future. MarkSmile
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17-06-2011, 05:31 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
it's ok you're getting used to the forum. We haven't discussed much about the post paul portion of your book lets hear some of the later ideas.

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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06-08-2011, 01:18 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(17-06-2011 05:31 AM)Lilith Pride Wrote:  it's ok you're getting used to the forum. We haven't discussed much about the post paul portion of your book lets hear some of the later ideas.

Hi everyone, this was a good thread that died out. Lillith asked me to present some more ideas. As this thread has an historical flavor to it, I thought I'd comment on the Vatican's claim that they are man's link to God. They justify this by claiming Peter, the disciple of Jesus, was the first pope in Rome, and Peter has passed Jesus' authority down through the generations to the present pope (so called"apostolic succession"). Peter WAS NOT the first pope in Rome! The whole silly story is fabricated. I'm not sure how interesting a topic this is for this forum...but I have scoured the internet and books and considered all the evidence for Pope Peter (which is not much) and all the evidence that he wasn't (which is very weighty). Here it is. If anyone knows any more facts about this topic, or has an opinion, I would very much like to hear from them. Hope this isn't too long...

The Roman Catholic Church Invents History
“According to the view which prevailed the Catholic Church of the new orthodoxy was the inheritor of the true tradition of the Apostles, an assertion which illustrates the power of a lie if it is a thumping big one.”
(Dr Hugh Schonfield, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_J._Schonfield )

In the mid years of the second century the Catholic churches of the Mediterranean world were functioning as a number of autonomous entities, with little doctrinal agreement. There were churches in Asia Minor, Palestine, Egypt, Armenia and Syria with their own idiosyncratic versions of Christianity. I believe it is possible that agents of the Roman government established most of these churches in an attempt to undermine Judaism. We know most about Rome, but Alexandria, Ephesus and Antioch all had larger Christian communities.

There was no universal canon to define doctrine other than the Old Testament. Each community wrote Gospels confirming the correctness of their own beliefs. Towards the end of the second century, the churches of the biggest cities had manufactured succession lists of their own individual bishoprics. These lists allegedly “proved” that each bishop had consecrated his successor and each list went back to one of the apostles. For example, Paul had supposedly lived in Antioch, and John, it was said, had lived in Ephesus. Caesarea, near Jerusalem, could claim an apostolic connection: “Philip the evangelist” had supposedly lived there. Eusebius reproduced these lists, however, many of them are proven forgeries.

Rome was in competition with all these other places. Anicetus (156 - 166 CE) and subsequent Roman bishops were disappointed they were not considered the primary authority because that would give them power and other earthly rewards. Their problem was they had no particular link with the original apostles of Jesus. They needed their own apostle. Their chosen hero figure was Peter.

Peter is an enigmatic figure in the Bible. The Gospels all mentioned him frequently. He was a complex character, a fallible human who was by no means perfect. He didn’t always understand Jesus (John 13:7). He was hot headed and impulsive, as when he allegedly cut off the ear of a servant of the High Priest when Jesus was arrested (John 18:10). All four gospels had Peter deny an association with Jesus three times, which he later regrets. Paul gave us a glimpse of Peter’s beliefs and a hint of his character. His first Epistle to the Corinthians contained a list of resurrection appearances by Jesus, the first of which is an appearance to "Cephas" (Peter), so Paul credited him with some status. Paul wrote that James determined that Peter should act as a teacher, taking Jesus’ message to Jewish groups outside Jerusalem (Galatians 2:7). So Paul considered Peter was a man with some authority but nevertheless under the leadership of James. Paul also mentioned Peter regularly travelled with his wife to various parts of the Roman Empire. (1 Corinthians 9:5). Paul also portrayed Peter as a vacillating middleman; he claimed he sometimes ate with gentiles, but when in the company of James' other supporters his attitude became more pro Jewish and he refused gentile table fellowship.

Acts portrayed Peter as an important figure within the early Christian community. Luke claimed he was a Christian, a purveyor of Paul’s philosophy, which is difficult to believe, as Paul states the opposite. Acts stated Peter had a vision in which God instructed him to eat non- kosher meat, which was an amateurish attempt by Luke to make him less observationally Jewish. He was portrayed as decisive and a miracle worker, quite a different person to the man presented in the gospels. He delivered a significant open-air sermon during Pentecost and took the lead in selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot. He was twice arraigned, with John, before the Sanhedrin and directly defied them and escaped from their clutches with the help of angels. He undertook missionary journeys to Lydda, Joppa and Caesarea (Acts 9:32–10:2), and was supposedly instrumental in the decision to evangelise the gentiles (Acts 10) at the Council of Jerusalem. Peter was an authoritative figure in the Nazarene movement, but content to be under the leadership of John the Baptist, then Jesus, and later, James. It is certain he never converted to become a purveyor of Paul’s philosophy. The story about a Christian Peter in Acts is pure fiction, written many years after Peter’s death. Peter remained a strict Jew who adhered to the Torah and was faithful to the teachings of the real Jesus and the Nazarenes. About halfway through Acts Luke turned his attention away from Peter, and the Bible says nothing more about him.

What about the two short epistles attributed to Peter? Peter was an uneducated fisherman from Galilee who couldn’t read or write in Greek. The epistles were written in Greek in an urbane, cultured style and contained no detail suggesting contact with the historical Jesus in these epistles. They were obviously not written by Peter but by an unknown gentile Christian. They were addressed to the Jews of the Diaspora in the provinces of Asia Minor, so if someone who knew some facts about him wrote them in his name Peter may have travelled to these areas as a Nazarene teacher. This would fit in with claims Paul made about him.

That is not how the Vatican has chosen to portray him. The Roman Catholic Church claims that Jesus gave Peter a supreme authority. They refer to the gospel of Matthew that claimed Jesus said:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-20 NJB). Catholics are told to believe Peter was truly inspired by these words. The Vatican claims Peter went on to become the first bishop of Rome, the first pope, and that he lived in Rome for “a long period.” (Catholic Encyclopaedia). They claim he
“was recognised as the Prince of the Apostles and the first Supreme Pontiff; his See, Rome, has thus enjoyed the position of primacy over the entire Catholic Church” (Catholic Encyclopaedia). They claim Peter was crucified in about 64 CE and buried on Vatican Hill and they own his bones. They claim he passed on his authority to all subsequent popes and this is referred to as the “apostolic succession,” so they claim they represent the original church as established by Jesus.

It was a bold move to create history by claiming a married Jewish fisherman who hated the Romans had moved to Rome and been the first bishop at the heart of gentile Roman Catholicism. What was needed was a ringing endorsement from Christ himself. An unknown person, perhaps an agent of the government, interpolated the following verses into the sixteenth chapter of Matthew:
"But you, he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living god.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock a will build my church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven. Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ” (Matthew 16:15-20 NJB).

An abridged version of the same interpolation was later added to John’s Gospel (this time moved forward to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry) and with subtle differences:
“And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1:40-42 KJV).

Peter, who had died at least a hundred years earlier, thus became the legendary number one disciple of Jesus. The fact that in Aramaic, Jesus’ language, there is no connection between the meaning of “rock” and “Peter” was conveniently overlooked.
Today’s Protestant communities and objective historians around the world strongly dispute all of this, with good reason. There are numerous problems with the above assertions. The Vatican considers the whole New Testament to be the inspired word of God, so no part is more authoritative than any other. If the New Testament writings don’t support the Pope Peter story the Vatican has a problem.

The “Peter /rock/ church” statement of Matthew’s is not repeated in any of the other Gospels or Epistles, which is quite unusual. In John’s Gospel Jesus does refer to Peter as the “rock” on the very first day of the public appearance and mission both of Jesus and of Peter, yet says nothing about him founding a church. Matthew’s Gospel suffered many additions and changes for at least two hundred years after the original gospel was written. The fact that this passage doesn’t turn up in Mark or Luke makes it look like a late insertion.

It is quite clear on reading the inspired word of God in Luke that Jesus didn’t credit any individual apostle with any particular status;
"A dispute arose also between them about which should be reckoned the greatest, but he said to them, ‘Among pagans it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title benefactor. This must not happen with you. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves” (Luke 22:24-26 NJB). The occasion of the argument was the night of the betrayal - the last night of Jesus’ life - and Jesus specifically stated that no one was to be in charge.

Nowhere in the Bible did Peter himself claim supremacy over the other apostles.
Acts, which was written in the second century as the definitive history of the early church, had not a single word about a bishop or a pope or a prince Peter. The author made it clear James was in charge of Peter and he didn’t mention that Peter ever went to Rome.

Paul, who wrote in the 50s and early 60s, wrote nothing about a Roman bishop called Peter. In Galatians 2:8, he wrote that God had made Peter an apostle to the Jews, so he would hardly be expected to set up shop in the capital of the gentile world. Paul implied Peter was a hypocrite (Galatians 2:14), hardly something one casually says about a pope. Paul sent his Epistle to the Romans in the year 58 CE, in which he greeted more than twenty people but sent no greetings to a pope or bishop Peter. Paul went to Rome as a prisoner in 61 CE, and in 62-3 CE wrote to the Philippians, to the Colossians, the Ephesians, and to Philemon, yet failed to mention Peter.

Nowhere in the epistles of Peter did the author, who was an early Christian, claim any special role, authority, or power over a church, yet he signed himself off as Peter (see http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/siljampe.htm).

Jesus would never have dreamt of a church of his own because first century Judaism was built around the temple in Jerusalem. The Greek word “ekklesia” in Matthew’s Gospel means “church.” “Ekklesia” has no equivalent in Aramaic, so the term would have been foreign to Jesus. A hierarchy of clerics in Rome would have been a foreign concept for Jesus. The fact these people used his name to acquire power, money and property would have been repugnant to him.

A Roman Pope Peter does not fit with what we know about him. Why would he have moved to Rome? He was a Galilean fisherman. He had been closely associated with three intensely patriotic Jewish, anti-Roman Nazarene leaders; John the Baptist, Jesus and James. He had allegedly cut off a Roman’s ear in the garden of Gethsemane. He could not speak Greek or Latin. It is plainly ridiculous to imagine an uneducated Jewish fisherman from the backwater of Galilee who hated the Romans setting up shop and ruling the roost in the capital of the Roman Empire. He would have been like a fish out of water.

James, not Peter, was the undisputed leader of the Nazarenes until his death in 62 CE, This fact is confirmed in Paul’s writing, and in Acts, as well as many other non-biblical sources such as Josephus, Jerome and Eusebius. Peter was clearly subservient to him. There was no room for two leaders. Peter was not a descendent of David and not a relative of Jesus, so as far as the Nazarenes were concerned he didn’t have the essential pedigree for leadership. Between 62 CE and 135 CE, there was a succession of Jewish leaders of the Nazarenes who were descendants of the relatives of Jesus and who ruled from Jerusalem, not Rome. Peter was not one of them.

There is no evidence of a Christian church in Rome in the decades after Jesus’ death. It was the Nazarenes who appeared there some time during the 40’s CE. This would have been the community Paul attempted to introduce himself to in his letter to the Romans. If Peter ever did go to Rome to visit this community he would have gone as a loyal supporter of James, not as a Christian.

A Pope Peter contradicts what we know about the historical development of the church hierarchy. Early Christian congregations were led by elders (Greek: presbeteros), from which our modern words "presbyters" and "priests" are derived. As congregations grew larger, more presbyters were needed, and bishops only appeared around the end of the first century in large Christian centers, and even later in Rome (which did not have a large Christian community in the first century). It is not clear who first acted as a single bishop presiding over the diocese of Rome. It could have been Pius I (142 – 155 CE), Anicetus (156-166 CE) or Soter (166-174 CE), at least a century after Peter’s time.

The first explicit mentions of Peter ever having been in Rome first appeared after about 170 CE, over one hundred years after he was supposed to have been there. The Catholic Encyclopedia states, “We may conclude that Peter laboured for a long period in Rome. This conclusion is confirmed by the unanimous voice of tradition which, as early as the second half of the second century, designates the Prince of the Apostles the founder of the Roman Church.” In other words, there is no documentary evidence that Peter worked in Rome till “as early as” at least one hundred years after his death. When I die I hope it doesn’t take 100 years for anyone to acknowledge I ever existed or to notice I’m not around any more.

This “unanimous voice of tradition” is never heard anywhere in the New Testament! What about from outside the Bible? St Ignatius of Antioch (35-110 CE), a church father, did not state that Peter was considered Rome’s first Christian leader. Polycarp (70-~155 CE), bishop of Smyrna (in modern Turkey), was another of the early church fathers. He visited Rome. He is said by “tradition” to have known disciples of the original disciples of Jesus, yet he too failed to mention Prince Peter. Papias (70 -163 CE), who was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia (modern central Turkey), also fails to mention Peter went to Rome. Clement, whom the Vatican claims was the fourth pope, mentions nothing about a Roman Prince Peter, nor does he mention that there was an established bishopric in Rome. He didn’t know he was a pope! Justin (100-165 CE), a key Catholic apologist and church father, and a prolific author who lived in Rome in the mid-second century, never once mentions Peter having been in Rome in any of his many writings. The “unanimous voice of tradition” is a fiction!

The Catholic Encyclopedia is basing the above claim mainly on evidence from four authors—Dionysius of Corinth (who wrote in 165 CE - 174 CE, as quoted by Eseubius), Clement of Alexandria (as quoted by Eseubius ca. 190 CE), Irenaeus of Lyons (who wrote ca. 177 CE), and Tertullian (160-220 CE), who each state that Peter and Paul founded the Roman Church. These men wrote 100-150 years after Peter allegedly died. Their statements about Peter are only one or two lines in length. For example Tertullian wrote:
“For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter” (Praescr. 1:22 [ANF 3:258]). Irenaeus wrote
“By indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” ( Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3). Irenaeus was writing only a little over one hundred years after the “very great” and “very ancient” church in Rome was allegedly founded by Peter and Paul. He had to rely on “tradition” to explain the founding. He couldn’t name any genuine source for this tradition because there wasn’t any. Irenaeus was making it up.

Peter was allegedly the number one disciple of Jesus. These men were fervent Christians and prolific writers of Christian literature. If they had known some genuine facts about a Roman pope Peter they would surely have written more. They may not have even written what is claimed because gross interpolations from men of the church were extremely common in the second, third and fourth centuries. Eseubius is renowned as a dishonest historian. This means later claims of Peter’s sojourn in Rome are also almost worthless.

Paul himself said nothing about founding a church in Rome in any of his letters and clearly tried to introduce himself to the already existing community in Rome in his letter to the Romans!

Why would these authors have claimed that Peter founded a Roman church if it wasn’t true? By the second half of the second century, Christianity, in various forms, was a small but empire-wide movement. The Roman Catholic Church felt threatened by other versions of Christianity, namely Gnosticism and Marcionism. Other large cities in the empire with their own hierarchy and growing Christian populations also posed a threat to the authority of the Roman Church, so Christians in Rome did what most Christian communities of large cities at the time did - fabricate a list of bishops to demonstrate an unbroken chain of leaders back to an apostle, and they chose Peter. The presence of Peter in Rome was a fabrication designed to give the Roman Catholic Church precedence, prestige, and authority.

The early "bishops" of Rome listed by “tradition” are no more than names. The one who probably did exist was Clement I, who was a presbyter (not a bishop) in Rome from 91 CE to 101 CE. The Catholic Church lists him as the fourth bishop of Rome (despite the fact Tertullian claimed he was ordained by Peter, who he thought was the first bishop), with Peter being the first. Who then, were the second and third "bishops" of Rome, Linus (67-79 CE) and Anacletus (79-92 CE)? History documents no details about these two men, other than two names, because like Peter, their supposed role as “pope” was entirely fictional.

How long did “Bishop” Peter allegedly rule from Rome? We have to wait three hundred years after Peter’s death to find out. St. Jerome (342-420 CE) said, without citing any supporting evidence, that Peter was the bishop of Rome for twenty-five years. The Catholic Encyclopaedia doesn’t advertise Jerome wrote this because it is such a difficult claim to defend. It’s much safer to call his alleged Roman sojourn “a long period.”

To legitimately claim Peter was the first Roman pope the Vatican should provide genuine contemporary and detailed evidence, which they simply can’t do. If the Catholic Encyclopedia was presenting an objective discussion of history, the authors should state something like this:
“We can find no evidence that Peter was ever in Rome, or that he acted as a bishop, until at least 100 years after his death, and that evidence is very piecemeal, inconsistent and remarkable for its lack of detail. Despite this we have our own long tradition that he ruled as a prince in Rome which we choose to believe”. That would have been stating their position honestly.

Yet even more was subsequently done to elevate Peter’s status. Versions of Mark’s gospel were in wide circulation and it was not claimed that Mark was an apostle. This opened the door for the creation of the “tradition” that Mark was the ‘companion of Peter’ and Mark’s gospel became, effectively, ‘the gospel that Peter would have written’.

The truth is Peter was never a Christian, never a leader, never a bishop in Rome and had no connection with the authorship of Mark’s gospel. He remained a faithful Nazarene under the leadership of James. The world’s largest and wealthiest institution, respected by over a billion Catholics, has a foundation based on a lie. Ordinary Catholics deserve to know this.
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10-08-2011, 09:13 PM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
An interesting article. Thanks for posting.

(06-08-2011 01:18 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  An unknown person, perhaps an agent of the government, interpolated the following verses into the sixteenth chapter of Matthew:
"But you, he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living god.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock a will build my church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven. Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ” (Matthew 16:15-20 NJB).

About the verses quoted above: They certainly look like later additions to Matthew's gospel, conveniently discovered at just the right time when the Roman Church was attempting to gain precedence over the other churches.

I am wondering though, what today's bible scholars are saying about this text. Do they merely assume it to be an interpolation, or have they got some reasonably good evidence to suggest that it is? Perhaps you could give me the name of a book where the subject is discussed? I'm not disputing the claim (I think that what you say is correct) but I'd like to have a scholarly reference if possible.

Thanking you in advance...

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11-08-2011, 02:56 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(10-08-2011 09:13 PM)Joe Bloe Wrote:  An interesting article. Thanks for posting.

(06-08-2011 01:18 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  An unknown person, perhaps an agent of the government, interpolated the following verses into the sixteenth chapter of Matthew:
"But you, he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living god.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock a will build my church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven. Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ” (Matthew 16:15-20 NJB).

About the verses quoted above: They certainly look like later additions to Matthew's gospel, conveniently discovered at just the right time when the Roman Church was attempting to gain precedence over the other churches.

I am wondering though, what today's bible scholars are saying about this text. Do they merely assume it to be an interpolation, or have they got some reasonably good evidence to suggest that it is? Perhaps you could give me the name of a book where the subject is discussed? I'm not disputing the claim (I think that what you say is correct) but I'd like to have a scholarly reference if possible.

Thanking you in advance...

Hi Joe, good question.

I will do some searching to find some specific evidence it is an interpolation, but don't think i will find any.

Please appreciate the following...it is pretty much accepted by non evangelical scholars that all the gospels "evolved" over a 200 odd year period. It is misleading to think of one author writing an original and definitive and subsequently unchanged version of each gospel.

It is thus usually impossible to definitively prove something is an interpolation, particularly as no significant parts of any gospel are older than the 4th century. There is one very important exception to this.....it can be proven the resurrection story in Mark (16;9-20) is an interpolation.

You might like to read http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/matthew.htm or listen to http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2009/0...-of-jesus/
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11-08-2011, 07:14 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
I haven't read in detail the whole thread yet, I just wanted to share some initial reactions, so I apologize if this is repetitive of anything already said. While I have done some reading in the area, I am not a Biblical or Roman scholar, so I don't approach this with any expertise.

Having said that, it seems to me that you are falling into the trap of many conspiracy theories by giving the Romans more credit for cunning, organization and far-sightedness than is reasonable.

We know that Paul's writing is the earliest Christian script we have, so it may be true that it was the first in actuality. If we concede that for the moment for argument sake, the question becomes why wasn't he more explicit?

If the Romans were truly trying to start a religion to break up Judaism, why start with letters from Paul, especially since he rarely speaks of Jesus' actual life or works in those letters? If we look at modern religious creations such as Scientology and Mormonism or even joke religions like the Church of the Subgenius or FSM, they all start by writing out their establishing mythology. If in fact Christianity was started as a subversion by Paul, why wasn't the life of Jesus the first thing written? How can you have Christians before you have their establishing story?

If however, Paul was writing to people who already knew the establishment mythology through oral tradition or pre-existing lost (to us) writings, this becomes a non-issue. Are you proposing that Paul started an oral tradition? Or that he wrote a lost gospel? What proof do you have for these suppositions?

As a different response has already brought up, the motive also seems weak in that while Israel was troublesome to the Romans, it was intrinsically weak militarily, certainly no match for the Romans, so why would they bother? A creative person can create a motivation, but is there any historical proof? The Romans were fastidious record keepers, why is such a plot not mentioned or referred to in the records of the empire?

Finally, if Rome was cunning and far-sighted enough to create Christianity as a threat to Judaism, why were they not cunning and far-sighted enough to see that their creation would ultimately be more troublesome to Rome than the threat it was intended to counter? If this was a standard Roman practice to counter local religion in conquered states, we should be able to find evidence of Roman religious manipulation in other parts of the empire. Since we haven't, it begs the question what was it about Judaism that was so much more threatening to them than the hundreds of other religions practiced in the conquered states of the empire?

It would be a remarkable story if it could be proved, but it requires remarkable proof to be taken as anything other than a creative re-interpretation of coincidental events.
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11-08-2011, 10:48 AM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(11-08-2011 02:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Joe, good question.

I will do some searching to find some specific evidence it is an interpolation, but don't think i will find any.

Please appreciate the following...it is pretty much accepted by non evangelical scholars that all the gospels "evolved" over a 200 odd year period. It is misleading to think of one author writing an original and definitive and subsequently unchanged version of each gospel.

It is thus usually impossible to definitively prove something is an interpolation, particularly as no significant parts of any gospel are older than the 4th century. There is one very important exception to this.....it can be proven the resurrection story in Mark (16;9-20) is an interpolation.

You might like to read http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/matthew.htm or listen to http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2009/0...-of-jesus/

I found this at RationalWiki:

Matthew 16:18-19 reads, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This evidence of Peter's leadership role among the apostles does not appear in the parallel gospel accounts and interrupts the natural flow of the passage. It is doubtful Jesus would have used "church" to refer to Christianity, since it did not yet exist, and in fact the only other verse in the gospels where the word is used is in Matthew 18:17, itself a likely interpolation. Additionally, the phrase "gates of hell" appears nowhere else in the Bible.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Bible_interpolation

That's good enough for me, but if I ever mention the Matthew text in future discussions with other people, I'd prefer quote a "recognised" biblical scholar who says it is an interpolation, rather than just say "I found it on RationalWiki."

[Thanks for the links in your earlier post - I've only glanced at them so far, but will check them out properly later.]

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11-08-2011, 01:18 PM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
dont copy to much out of your book, save it till its realised Tongue.

And you can tell your a author you write loads lol Big Grin

love this thread its really intresting hope this book sells loads mate it seems fantastic.

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11-08-2011, 09:58 PM (This post was last modified: 11-08-2011 10:31 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(11-08-2011 07:14 AM)BadKnees Wrote:  I haven't read in detail the whole thread yet, I just wanted to share some initial reactions, so I apologize if this is repetitive of anything already said. While I have done some reading in the area, I am not a Biblical or Roman scholar, so I don't approach this with any expertise.

Having said that, it seems to me that you are falling into the trap of many conspiracy theories by giving the Romans more credit for cunning, organization and far-sightedness than is reasonable.

We know that Paul's writing is the earliest Christian script we have, so it may be true that it was the first in actuality. If we concede that for the moment for argument sake, the question becomes why wasn't he more explicit?

If the Romans were truly trying to start a religion to break up Judaism, why start with letters from Paul, especially since he rarely speaks of Jesus' actual life or works in those letters? If we look at modern religious creations such as Scientology and Mormonism or even joke religions like the Church of the Subgenius or FSM, they all start by writing out their establishing mythology. If in fact Christianity was started as a subversion by Paul, why wasn't the life of Jesus the first thing written? How can you have Christians before you have their establishing story?

If however, Paul was writing to people who already knew the establishment mythology through oral tradition or pre-existing lost (to us) writings, this becomes a non-issue. Are you proposing that Paul started an oral tradition? Or that he wrote a lost gospel? What proof do you have for these suppositions?

As a different response has already brought up, the motive also seems weak in that while Israel was troublesome to the Romans, it was intrinsically weak militarily, certainly no match for the Romans, so why would they bother? A creative person can create a motivation, but is there any historical proof? The Romans were fastidious record keepers, why is such a plot not mentioned or referred to in the records of the empire?

Finally, if Rome was cunning and far-sighted enough to create Christianity as a threat to Judaism, why were they not cunning and far-sighted enough to see that their creation would ultimately be more troublesome to Rome than the threat it was intended to counter? If this was a standard Roman practice to counter local religion in conquered states, we should be able to find evidence of Roman religious manipulation in other parts of the empire. Since we haven't, it begs the question what was it about Judaism that was so much more threatening to them than the hundreds of other religions practiced in the conquered states of the empire?

It would be a remarkable story if it could be proved, but it requires remarkable proof to be taken as anything other than a creative re-interpretation of coincidental events.

Hi bad knees...nice to hear from you! (what's wrong with your knees?)

Re..."Having said that, it seems to me that you are falling into the trap of many conspiracy theories by giving the Romans more credit for cunning, organization and far-sightedness than is reasonable." I readily admit you may be right. I have no definitive proof. It is a remarkable idea though that merits discussion and I have a 'gut feeling" that there is some truth in it. I'll give you some more facts....

Re..."We know that Paul's writing is the earliest Christian script we have, so it may be true that it was the first in actuality. If we concede that for the moment for argument sake, the question becomes why wasn't he more explicit"?
Please could you rephrase the question (you've lost me as to what you are asking...more explicit about what? My point is that he turned Jesus into a benign spiritual figure ie he destroyed the idea J. was a political animal with God's and Israel's glory on his mind).

Re..."If the Romans were truly trying to start a religion to break up Judaism, why start with letters from Paul, especially since he rarely speaks of Jesus' actual life or works in those letters? " AH...MY PET TOPIC! LOL
Jesus represented Jewish nationalism. He tried to start a war against Rome, but the Romans got to him first. Paul turned Jesus into a god/man, so he was no longer the wannabe political messiah of the Jews, but the spiritual savior of all mankind!

There may have been many "Paul's". In Paul's own time he wasn't much of a force

Re "If in fact Christianity was started as a subversion by Paul, why wasn't the life of Jesus the first thing written? How can you have Christians before you have their establishing story?" Paul didn't need a life story for Jesus. Paul's Christ was a god/man, a spiritual figure. The Christianity we know today, with its stories about the miracles and teachings of Jesus, was unknown to Paul and the original disciples of Jesus. Paul wrote almost nothing about what his Christ figure said or did, because the gospels hadn't been made up yet when he wrote. Its a hard concept to understand as "we" ie those bought up in the "Christian tradition" have no idea about this


Re "As a different response has already brought up, the motive also seems weak in that while Israel was troublesome to the Romans, it was intrinsically weak militarily, certainly no match for the Romans, so why would they bother? " In the first Jewish war (66-70 CE), the Romans had to send in 50,000 troops in a protracted campaign to suppress the uprising. One million Jews lost their lives. These are serious numbers. Roman pride throughout the empire was at stake, as were the trade routes with Egypt and Asia. There were numerous other Jewish uprisings before and after this. so Jewish nationalism , inspired by messiah stories in their scripture, was a continual recurrent thorn in Rome's side. Titus, ther Roman general, destroyed the Temple in 70 CE when there was no real military need to do so. He wanted to destroy the centerpiece of Judaism.

Re "Are you proposing that Paul started an oral tradition?" YES! LOL! ONE HELL OF A BIG CULT LOL!

Re "Or that he wrote a lost gospel?" No, but its possible

Re" What proof do you have for these suppositions?" Paul is universally recognised as the real founder of Christianity ( at least by non evangelical scholars). There is no evidence anyone was talking about the divinity ,or resurrection, or atoneing death of Jesus until Paul started to, roughly 15 years after Jesus had been executed. Please think about that for 10 seconds...if you can believe me it is an amazing fact.

Paul may have been a member of the Herodian family, and therefore intrinsically allied to Rome. I only read this for the first time ever just recently, in Peter Cresswell's marvellous book "Jesus the Terrorist". Later tonight, when I get home, I will detail evidence for this and post it here.

Re "A creative person can create a motivation, but is there any historical proof? The Romans were fastidious record keepers, why is such a plot not mentioned or referred to in the records of the empire?" Good point. I don't know for sure. Bear in mind, howevever, that 4th century Christians were fanatical about destroying any historical records that didn't fit with their maufactured stories about Christianity. Hence there are no contemporary records of an historical Jesus.



Re..."Finally, if Rome was cunning and far-sighted enough to create Christianity as a threat to Judaism, why were they not cunning and far-sighted enough to see that their creation would ultimately be more troublesome to Rome than the threat it was intended to counter?" Well....Christianity was only occasionally considered a threat. There was the odd persecution, but, in fact, Christians were far more likely to persecute each other than to be persecuted by the government. I don't believe Christianity was that troublesome to Rome....they ended up marrying each other which is why we're sitting around talking about it now lol. If the empire hadn't embraced Christianity it would just be another dead long ago expired cult.



Re..."If this was a standard Roman practice to counter local religion in conquered states, we should be able to find evidence of Roman religious manipulation in other parts of the empire. Since we haven't, it begs the question what was it about Judaism that was so much more threatening to them than the hundreds of other religions practiced in the conquered states of the empire? " I don't think it was standard practice to undermine local religions....people generally speaking were free to practice whatever religion they chose provided they paid their taxes and didn't break the law. Even the Jews were allowed to do their thing, although Rome got sick and tired of wannabe Jewish messiahs such as Jesus starting insurrections. Jews were different to other cultures. They thought they were the creme de la creme, the world's superior race, God's chosen people. They wanted to be where the Romans actually were...at the top of the world's pecking order. Hence elements amongst them continually caused trouble for the government.









(11-08-2011 01:18 PM)James The Brit Wrote:  dont copy to much out of your book, save it till its realised Tongue.

And you can tell your a author you write loads lol Big Grin

love this thread its really intresting hope this book sells loads mate it seems fantastic.

Thanks mate, I really appreciate the encouragement. I love to share knowledge. I hope I don't come across as thinking I know it all....because i absolutely don't. It's a massive topic and some people (not me LOL) spend their lives studying it. Cheers

(11-08-2011 10:48 AM)Joe Bloe Wrote:  
(11-08-2011 02:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi Joe, good question.

I will do some searching to find some specific evidence it is an interpolation, but don't think i will find any.

Please appreciate the following...it is pretty much accepted by non evangelical scholars that all the gospels "evolved" over a 200 odd year period. It is misleading to think of one author writing an original and definitive and subsequently unchanged version of each gospel.

It is thus usually impossible to definitively prove something is an interpolation, particularly as no significant parts of any gospel are older than the 4th century. There is one very important exception to this.....it can be proven the resurrection story in Mark (16;9-20) is an interpolation.

You might like to read http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/matthew.htm or listen to http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2009/0...-of-jesus/

I found this at RationalWiki:

Matthew 16:18-19 reads, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." This evidence of Peter's leadership role among the apostles does not appear in the parallel gospel accounts and interrupts the natural flow of the passage. It is doubtful Jesus would have used "church" to refer to Christianity, since it did not yet exist, and in fact the only other verse in the gospels where the word is used is in Matthew 18:17, itself a likely interpolation. Additionally, the phrase "gates of hell" appears nowhere else in the Bible.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Bible_interpolation

That's good enough for me, but if I ever mention the Matthew text in future discussions with other people, I'd prefer quote a "recognised" biblical scholar who says it is an interpolation, rather than just say "I found it on RationalWiki."

[Thanks for the links in your earlier post - I've only glanced at them so far, but will check them out properly later.]

Hey...thanks for the link...I had read it too. Sorry i can't do better than that....but remember the gospels were written primarily to get people to join a cult...they were not ever really intended to be historical documents...they only pretended to be. A fundamentalist Jew like jesus wouldn't have dreamt of starting his own religion! Even paul, who had been heavily influenced by the gentile world, had no intention of starting a new religion completely separate from Judaism. Hence (to me anyway) it is intuitively obvious the Peter/rock/church statement is an interpolation.
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12-08-2011, 12:52 PM
RE: A theory for the origin of Christianity
(11-08-2011 09:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  [...] Hence (to me anyway) it is intuitively obvious the Peter/rock/church statement is an interpolation.
Yes, I agree with you.

Just as a matter of interest, only a few verses later (Matthew 16:24) Jesus is reported to have told each of his disciples to "take up his cross and follow me." Hardly the sort of thing we'd expect to hear until after the crucifixion.

It is easy to see how that phrase would have become popular with Christians after Jesus had died (and the story of him carrying his cross had become well-known), but it would have made no sense to anyone before that time.

Believe nothing you hear and only half what you see
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