Jesus myth
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08-01-2014, 11:11 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(08-01-2014 09:43 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Robert Price doesn't think much of Atwill's theory.

Neither do I.

Quote:Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, as “foretold” by “Jesus.”
"As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:6 KJV, see also Matt. 24:1 and Mark 13:1.)

Josephus, who was there, reports that these conditions were not met in 70 and the Roman X Legion was moved to permanent garrison duty in Jerusalem.

Those conditions WERE met in 135 when Hadrian leveled the ruins and constructed the new Roman city of Aelia Capitolina on the site.

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09-01-2014, 05:15 AM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2014 05:58 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus myth
(08-01-2014 10:34 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(08-01-2014 10:07 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Well.... There is a fair bit of opinion involved in this. Thanks for posting Robert Prices' comments, I haven't read them before. He seems quite sensible. Note that he doesn't totally dismiss all of Atwill's ideas. Also, this was written in 2005. Atwill all has revised his book and written an updated version in which is arguments more expensive and better developed.

It's my understanding that the key objection to Atwill, especially by other mythicists like Price and Carrier, is that he makes huge assumptions without the evidence to back them up. It might like interesting as a whole package, but kind of falls apart piece by piece as it fails to support itself with substantial evidence instead of self reinforcing conjecture.

Richard Carrier - Atwill’s Cranked-up Jesus

Joseph Atwill - Richard Carrier: The PhD That Drowned at Gadara

Thomas Verenna - No, Joe Atwill: Rome Did Not Invent Jesus

Joel L. Watts - Joe Atwill, Bill O’Reily, and Josephus sitting in a tree…

Aaron Adair - The Roman Jesus Propaganda of Joseph Atwill

Richard Carrier - Luke and Josephus (2000)



For those who don't want to tread through all of the links, here's Carrier's 8 main objections to Atwill's thesis.


Richard Carrier Wrote:There are at least eight general problems with his thesis, which do not refute it but establish that it has a very low prior probability, and therefore requires exceptionally good evidence to be at all credible:

(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so).

(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected.

(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind. Indeed, they contradict each other in ways that often demonstrate they are deliberately arguing with each other. From the ways Matthew changes Mark; to the way the forged 2 Thessalonians actually tries to argue 1 Thessalonians is the forgery; to how the resurrections depicted in Luke and John are deliberate attempts to refute the doctrine of resurrection defended originally by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 5; to how some Epistles insist on Torah observance while others insist it can be discarded; to how Luke’s nativity contradicts Matthew’s on almost every single particular (and not just in placing the event in completely different periods ten years apart); to how Acts blatantly contradicts Paul’s own account of his conversion and travels; to how John invents a real Lazarus to refute a point Luke tried to make with a fictional Lazarus; and so on. (I discuss some of these, and more, in my forthcoming book On the Historicity of Jesus.)

(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians.

(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society. The precedents were all there already in pre-Christian Jewish ideology and society (in Philo’s philosophy, in Essene and Qumranic efforts to solve the same problems, and so on) so we don’t have to posit super-genius Aryans helping the poor little angry Jews to calm down.

(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine. Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?

(7) If the Roman elite’s aim was to “pacify” Palestinian Jews by inventing new scriptures, they were certainly smart and informed enough to know that that wouldn’t succeed by using the language the Judean elite despised as foreign (Greek).

(8) The Romans knew one thing well: War. Social ideology they were never very good at. That’s why Rome always had such problems keeping its empire together, and why social discontent and other malfunctions continued to escalate until the empire started dissolving. Rome expected to solve every problem militarily instead–and up until the 3rd century Rome did so quite well. The Jewish War was effectively over in just four years (any siege war was expected to take at least three, and Vespasian was actually busy conquering Rome in the fourth year of that War). So why would they think they needed any other solution?

With all that counting against Atwill, he has a very high burden to meet. And he just doesn’t. He actually has no evidence at all for his thesis, except “Bible Code”-style readings of coincidences among texts, which he seems only to read in English and not the original Greek, all the while relying on egregious fallacies in probabilistic reasoning.

We can ignore Thomas Verenna.... who starts his commentary off with
"This is where I came into Christian scholarship,” says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s."

Blatant ad hominems are so amateurish.
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09-01-2014, 05:56 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(08-01-2014 10:34 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(08-01-2014 10:07 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Well.... There is a fair bit of opinion involved in this. Thanks for posting Robert Prices' comments, I haven't read them before. He seems quite sensible. Note that he doesn't totally dismiss all of Atwill's ideas. Also, this was written in 2005. Atwill all has revised his book and written an updated version in which is arguments more expensive and better developed.

It's my understanding that the key objection to Atwill, especially by other mythicists like Price and Carrier, is that he makes huge assumptions without the evidence to back them up. It might like interesting as a whole package, but kind of falls apart piece by piece as it fails to support itself with substantial evidence instead of self reinforcing conjecture.

Richard Carrier - Atwill’s Cranked-up Jesus

Joseph Atwill - Richard Carrier: The PhD That Drowned at Gadara

Thomas Verenna - No, Joe Atwill: Rome Did Not Invent Jesus

Joel L. Watts - Joe Atwill, Bill O’Reily, and Josephus sitting in a tree…

Aaron Adair - The Roman Jesus Propaganda of Joseph Atwill

Richard Carrier - Luke and Josephus (2000)



For those who don't want to tread through all of the links, here's Carrier's 8 main objections to Atwill's thesis.


Richard Carrier Wrote:There are at least eight general problems with his thesis, which do not refute it but establish that it has a very low prior probability, and therefore requires exceptionally good evidence to be at all credible:

(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so).

(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected.

(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind. Indeed, they contradict each other in ways that often demonstrate they are deliberately arguing with each other. From the ways Matthew changes Mark; to the way the forged 2 Thessalonians actually tries to argue 1 Thessalonians is the forgery; to how the resurrections depicted in Luke and John are deliberate attempts to refute the doctrine of resurrection defended originally by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 5; to how some Epistles insist on Torah observance while others insist it can be discarded; to how Luke’s nativity contradicts Matthew’s on almost every single particular (and not just in placing the event in completely different periods ten years apart); to how Acts blatantly contradicts Paul’s own account of his conversion and travels; to how John invents a real Lazarus to refute a point Luke tried to make with a fictional Lazarus; and so on. (I discuss some of these, and more, in my forthcoming book On the Historicity of Jesus.)

(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians.

(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society. The precedents were all there already in pre-Christian Jewish ideology and society (in Philo’s philosophy, in Essene and Qumranic efforts to solve the same problems, and so on) so we don’t have to posit super-genius Aryans helping the poor little angry Jews to calm down.

(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine. Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?

(7) If the Roman elite’s aim was to “pacify” Palestinian Jews by inventing new scriptures, they were certainly smart and informed enough to know that that wouldn’t succeed by using the language the Judean elite despised as foreign (Greek).

(8) The Romans knew one thing well: War. Social ideology they were never very good at. That’s why Rome always had such problems keeping its empire together, and why social discontent and other malfunctions continued to escalate until the empire started dissolving. Rome expected to solve every problem militarily instead–and up until the 3rd century Rome did so quite well. The Jewish War was effectively over in just four years (any siege war was expected to take at least three, and Vespasian was actually busy conquering Rome in the fourth year of that War). So why would they think they needed any other solution?

With all that counting against Atwill, he has a very high burden to meet. And he just doesn’t. He actually has no evidence at all for his thesis, except “Bible Code”-style readings of coincidences among texts, which he seems only to read in English and not the original Greek, all the while relying on egregious fallacies in probabilistic reasoning.

Carrier (who I really respect and like) writes
"(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so)."

I disagree. If you are in charge of the government you can employ anyone of superior intellectual ability to create propaganda for you. You don't have to do it yourself.

(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected.

True. But there're multiple possible explanations that still make the guts of Atwill's theory still possible.

(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind.....

True.... But we must all remember that the gospels were "messed with" for at least 200 years after they were first written. Carrier is well aware of this, and it's a point that Atwill fails to make. My point is that various people added bits and pieces to the Gospels, which obviously, If Atwill is correct, has reduced the evidence for his hypothesis.

(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians.

All of this is true. I'm not so sure that Atwill says that all the gospels were written exactly by the same person though. They could've been many different intellectuals involved, yet all writing with the same intent. And then, as already mentioned, different editors and interpolators messed everything up. I fail to understand the point Carrier is trying to make by talking about Paul.

(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society.

AH HA!!!!!!! Carrier here actually admits to agreeing with what is the basic thrust of Atwill's hypothesis.... That Christianity was created to subdue militant Jews.

What both Atwill,(To my knowledge) and Carrier(to my knowledge) don't acknowledge is that there is a high probability that Paul was in fact a Roman government agent himself (Even though he was a Jew)

(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine.

I agree, but that doesn't mean that the government didn't have a really good shot at it

Carrier continues
"Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?"

I disagree with this. Jews often caused trouble throughout the Empire. I think the government was trying to water down Judaism by diluting it with Gentiles. That was why Paul's epistles and the Gospels were aimed primarily at Gentiles. Carrier doesn't seem to have considered this possibility and admittedly Atwill doesn't talk about it in his book either.

Anyway this is enough for this tonight. I hope a few people out there have a hard think about this. Thanks for posting all this, as I'm learning from it! PS by the way I don't necessarily agree with all of Atwill's ideas, Some of which, if you read his book are rather imaginative. I do however agree with the basic thrust of his argument ....that Christianity is a fabricated religion invented by the Roman government in an effort to suppress Jews and Judaism.
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09-01-2014, 08:27 AM (This post was last modified: 09-01-2014 08:30 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Jesus myth
(09-01-2014 05:15 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  We can ignore Thomas Verenna.... who starts his commentary off with
"This is where I came into Christian scholarship,” says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s."

Blatant ad hominems are so amateurish.


Oh come on Mark, you're better than that.

That part is from the news article that Verenna is quoting in his blog; and it's obvious he's quoting it because it is preceded by a link to the article, the use of quotation marks, and it's highlighted. It's also just a chunk of the second of three paragraph that he grabbed from the article. Unless you're suggesting that Verenna is making an ad hominem by simply quoting a news article that quotes Atwill himself as saying that, you're way out in left field. Also how is pointing out that Atwill is not a trained biblical scholar, essentially an untrained amateur, an ad hominem if Verenna does not rest any of his critique solely on the fact that Atwill is an amatuer? If Verenna has evidence to support his critique and counter arguments, then his critique (and Atwill's thesis) stands by and is judged by the evidence. Dodgy


Broward Palm Beach New Times Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish texts discovered in caves in Israel in 1947, give a different picture than the idyllic first century Holy Land of the Gospels. From year one, there were battles and confrontations between the Romans and the Jews, the Scrolls note, and there was no turning of the other cheek by the likes of rebel leader Judah of Galilee. And there was nary a mention in the Scrolls of the peaceable prophet Jesus Christ.

"This is where I came into Christian scholarship," says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s. "There was supposedly this character, Jesus, wandering around in Galilee. Nobody knew anything about him. Galilee is only 30 miles long. Jesus and other historical figures of the time would have known each other."

Atwill, an admittedly bookish man, dived in headfirst, digging out whatever historical records he could find, studying the Scrolls, and reading Roman accounts, notably that of a family member of the Flavian dynasty of Caesars named Josephus. He found no historical Jesus in any of those writings. But there were some uncanny connections between the story of Jesus as told in the Gospels and the family of Roman emperors who took power after Nero was forced to commit suicide following a coup d'état.




(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier (who I really respect and like) writes
"(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so)."

I disagree. If you are in charge of the government you can employ anyone of superior intellectual ability to create propaganda for you. You don't have to do it yourself.


True. But why then make it in Greek, a language far more appealing to the more assimilated (and less troublesome) Jews of the Diaspora rather than the militant hardliners of Palestine? If this psychological warfare worked out so well, why didn't they do it for the Gauls, a much larger threat (considering they had actually sacked Rome after all)?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected."

True. But there're multiple possible explanations that still make the guts of Atwill's theory still possible.


Yeah, but they are far simpler and don't need to make the unwarranted assumptions and stretches in evidence that Atwill's thesis requires; thus they are more probable.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind....."

True.... But we must all remember that the gospels were "messed with" for at least 200 years after they were first written. Carrier is well aware of this, and it's a point that Atwill fails to make. My point is that various people added bits and pieces to the Gospels, which obviously, If Atwill is correct, has reduced the evidence for his hypothesis.


The point being that Atwill selectively chooses to only acknowledge the parts that he can bend to fit into his thesis, and ignores other facts when they are inconvenient. Atwill has no basis to screening what he does and does not use, outside of whatever happens to work with his preconception. He does himself no favors by not have a reasonable, sound, and consistent standard for evaluating evidence.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians."

All of this is true. I'm not so sure that Atwill says that all the gospels were written exactly by the same person though. They could've been many different intellectuals involved, yet all writing with the same intent. And then, as already mentioned, different editors and interpolators messed everything up. I fail to understand the point Carrier is trying to make by talking about Paul.


They could have had different authors all with the same intent, but there is not sufficient reasoning or evidence to think they did. Key point there Mark, the difference between possibility and probability. Until there is better evidence to support it, Atwill's explanation is far less probable. It might be right, there might be a grain of truth to it, but as of right now it requires too many unwarranted assumptions in comparison to other explanations.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society."

AH HA!!!!!!! Carrier here actually admits to agreeing with what is the basic thrust of Atwill's hypothesis.... That Christianity was created to subdue militant Jews.

What both Atwill,(To my knowledge) and Carrier(to my knowledge) don't acknowledge is that there is a high probability that Paul was in fact a Roman government agent himself (Even though he was a Jew)


That's like looking at a murder scene where Atwill says the victim was ran over by a tank and Carrier says the victim was hit by motor vehicle (no reports of a loud diesel engine, no sound of or visible road damage from caterpillar tracks, obvious tire skid marks, fresh broken glass on the street, etc.); then going 'Ah ha! They both think the victim was killed by being ran over!'...



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine."

I agree, but that doesn't mean that the government didn't have a really good shot at it


But the failure of a supposed plan is in no way evidence for the existence of such a plan; that's just grasping at straws. Also, do you have any evidence to support that they had 'a really good shot at it'?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier continues
"Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?"

I disagree with this. Jews often caused trouble throughout the Empire. I think the government was trying to water down Judaism by diluting it with Gentiles. That was why Paul's epistles and the Gospels were aimed primarily at Gentiles. Carrier doesn't seem to have considered this possibility and admittedly Atwill doesn't talk about it in his book either.


Possibility, sure. But until there is evidence to support such an assertion, it's still not probable. Is there any evidence they the Romans ever tried anything like this anywhere else with anyone else that posed a much larger threat (and thus should demand greater attention and effort) than the Jews?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Anyway this is enough for this tonight. I hope a few people out there have a hard think about this. Thanks for posting all this, as I'm learning from it! PS by the way I don't necessarily agree with all of Atwill's ideas, Some of which, if you read his book are rather imaginative. I do however agree with the basic thrust of his argument ....that Christianity is a fabricated religion invented by the Roman government in an effort to suppress Jews and Judaism.


Well, Paul didn't invent Christianity, although he did do a lot to alter and shape it. Even assuming Paul was an agent of Rome, did his changes come from the orders of his superiors? If so, how far up did the order's come from? I mean seriously, was everything Josephus did and wrote express propaganda for the Vespasians? If not, then how can Paul's actions be laid at the feet of his supposed Roman handlers and superiors? Even supposing Paul was an agent, how do you know he didn't go 'off the range' a-la Kurtz in Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now?

There's a big difference between 'Christianity was fabricated by an agent of of the Empire for the benefit of Rome' and 'Christianity was fabricated by a Roman citizen'.

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10-01-2014, 07:07 PM (This post was last modified: 10-01-2014 07:34 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus myth
(09-01-2014 08:27 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 05:15 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  We can ignore Thomas Verenna.... who starts his commentary off with
"This is where I came into Christian scholarship,” says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s."

Blatant ad hominems are so amateurish.


Oh come on Mark, you're better than that.

That part is from the news article that Verenna is quoting in his blog; and it's obvious he's quoting it because it is preceded by a link to the article, the use of quotation marks, and it's highlighted. It's also just a chunk of the second of three paragraph that he grabbed from the article. Unless you're suggesting that Verenna is making an ad hominem by simply quoting a news article that quotes Atwill himself as saying that, you're way out in left field. Also how is pointing out that Atwill is not a trained biblical scholar, essentially an untrained amateur, an ad hominem if Verenna does not rest any of his critique solely on the fact that Atwill is an amatuer? If Verenna has evidence to support his critique and counter arguments, then his critique (and Atwill's thesis) stands by and is judged by the evidence. Dodgy


Broward Palm Beach New Times Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish texts discovered in caves in Israel in 1947, give a different picture than the idyllic first century Holy Land of the Gospels. From year one, there were battles and confrontations between the Romans and the Jews, the Scrolls note, and there was no turning of the other cheek by the likes of rebel leader Judah of Galilee. And there was nary a mention in the Scrolls of the peaceable prophet Jesus Christ.

"This is where I came into Christian scholarship," says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s. "There was supposedly this character, Jesus, wandering around in Galilee. Nobody knew anything about him. Galilee is only 30 miles long. Jesus and other historical figures of the time would have known each other."

Atwill, an admittedly bookish man, dived in headfirst, digging out whatever historical records he could find, studying the Scrolls, and reading Roman accounts, notably that of a family member of the Flavian dynasty of Caesars named Josephus. He found no historical Jesus in any of those writings. But there were some uncanny connections between the story of Jesus as told in the Gospels and the family of Roman emperors who took power after Nero was forced to commit suicide following a coup d'état.




(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier (who I really respect and like) writes
"(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so)."

I disagree. If you are in charge of the government you can employ anyone of superior intellectual ability to create propaganda for you. You don't have to do it yourself.


True. But why then make it in Greek, a language far more appealing to the more assimilated (and less troublesome) Jews of the Diaspora rather than the militant hardliners of Palestine? If this psychological warfare worked out so well, why didn't they do it for the Gauls, a much larger threat (considering they had actually sacked Rome after all)?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected."

True. But there're multiple possible explanations that still make the guts of Atwill's theory still possible.


Yeah, but they are far simpler and don't need to make the unwarranted assumptions and stretches in evidence that Atwill's thesis requires; thus they are more probable.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind....."

True.... But we must all remember that the gospels were "messed with" for at least 200 years after they were first written. Carrier is well aware of this, and it's a point that Atwill fails to make. My point is that various people added bits and pieces to the Gospels, which obviously, If Atwill is correct, has reduced the evidence for his hypothesis.


The point being that Atwill selectively chooses to only acknowledge the parts that he can bend to fit into his thesis, and ignores other facts when they are inconvenient. Atwill has no basis to screening what he does and does not use, outside of whatever happens to work with his preconception. He does himself no favors by not have a reasonable, sound, and consistent standard for evaluating evidence.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians."

All of this is true. I'm not so sure that Atwill says that all the gospels were written exactly by the same person though. They could've been many different intellectuals involved, yet all writing with the same intent. And then, as already mentioned, different editors and interpolators messed everything up. I fail to understand the point Carrier is trying to make by talking about Paul.


They could have had different authors all with the same intent, but there is not sufficient reasoning or evidence to think they did. Key point there Mark, the difference between possibility and probability. Until there is better evidence to support it, Atwill's explanation is far less probable. It might be right, there might be a grain of truth to it, but as of right now it requires too many unwarranted assumptions in comparison to other explanations.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society."

AH HA!!!!!!! Carrier here actually admits to agreeing with what is the basic thrust of Atwill's hypothesis.... That Christianity was created to subdue militant Jews.

What both Atwill,(To my knowledge) and Carrier(to my knowledge) don't acknowledge is that there is a high probability that Paul was in fact a Roman government agent himself (Even though he was a Jew)


That's like looking at a murder scene where Atwill says the victim was ran over by a tank and Carrier says the victim was hit by motor vehicle (no reports of a loud diesel engine, no sound of or visible road damage from caterpillar tracks, obvious tire skid marks, fresh broken glass on the street, etc.); then going 'Ah ha! They both think the victim was killed by being ran over!'...



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine."

I agree, but that doesn't mean that the government didn't have a really good shot at it


But the failure of a supposed plan is in no way evidence for the existence of such a plan; that's just grasping at straws. Also, do you have any evidence to support that they had 'a really good shot at it'?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier continues
"Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?"

I disagree with this. Jews often caused trouble throughout the Empire. I think the government was trying to water down Judaism by diluting it with Gentiles. That was why Paul's epistles and the Gospels were aimed primarily at Gentiles. Carrier doesn't seem to have considered this possibility and admittedly Atwill doesn't talk about it in his book either.


Possibility, sure. But until there is evidence to support such an assertion, it's still not probable. Is there any evidence they the Romans ever tried anything like this anywhere else with anyone else that posed a much larger threat (and thus should demand greater attention and effort) than the Jews?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Anyway this is enough for this tonight. I hope a few people out there have a hard think about this. Thanks for posting all this, as I'm learning from it! PS by the way I don't necessarily agree with all of Atwill's ideas, Some of which, if you read his book are rather imaginative. I do however agree with the basic thrust of his argument ....that Christianity is a fabricated religion invented by the Roman government in an effort to suppress Jews and Judaism.


Well, Paul didn't invent Christianity, although he did do a lot to alter and shape it. Even assuming Paul was an agent of Rome, did his changes come from the orders of his superiors? If so, how far up did the order's come from? I mean seriously, was everything Josephus did and wrote express propaganda for the Vespasians? If not, then how can Paul's actions be laid at the feet of his supposed Roman handlers and superiors? Even supposing Paul was an agent, how do you know he didn't go 'off the range' a-la Kurtz in Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now?

There's a big difference between 'Christianity was fabricated by an agent of of the Empire for the benefit of Rome' and 'Christianity was fabricated by a Roman citizen'.

Hi Ek, you make a lot of good points. This is an enormous topic. We could discuss it for ages and pages. I wonder whether we could do A Skype discussion maybe with a few others who are interested? Allow me the indulgence of representing my evidence that Paul was a Roman government agent ( it's been ellaborated on and improved since I posted it last)

Was Christianity a Product of the Roman Government?

There’s a fascinating angle to consider; that the Roman government was the driving force behind Paul’s pagan propaganda. Paul taught that the Jewish messiah was the Christ, and he’d already been and gone, I think because he didn’t want Jews rallying under a yet to arrive militaristic messiah who would challenge Roman rule. I strongly suspect the government employed Paul, because they wanted to mar the power of messianic Judaism, and particularly Nazarenism. They were trying to stop a war.

Rome knew a revolt was brewing in Palestine in the 50’s and 60’s. The government sent many different procurators to Palestine to control the unrest, yet many of them were corrupt, which only made matters worse. All Jews in the Diaspora felt a connection with Jerusalem and the temple; they even sent money as an annual gift to the priests in the temple. The government was aware that many Jews didn’t assimilate well in a political and social sense, and that made them suspicious of their Palestinian connections. Jewish extremists throughout the empire (such as Yeshua) promoted the subversive idea that their own Jewish king should govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. If the government couldn’t pacify these Jews, it would set a dangerous precedent for other races to revolt. They needed to keep control over the trade routes to Asia and Egypt. They were frustrated at having to repeatedly use force to suppress Jewish extremists, as it was disruptive, expensive, and taxing on morale. They thought that if they could undermine Jewish extremism using propaganda it would prevent a whole world of hassle.

There might have been many “Pauls” working as government agents. One of the reasons I suspect this is that he wrote to a community in Rome to introduce himself, and it’s obvious from his letter that this group already had some beliefs about a Christ. The government was worried that Judaism was attracting converts from Gentiles. Paul’s role was to stop the spread of the subversive religion. He tried to infiltrate the Nazarenes to undermine them and their messianic message. I suspect (but can’t prove) he passed information about them on to Roman authorities. His “conversion,” in which “God’s” new ideas were revealed only to him, and by which he became the founding member of his own Christ fan club, was his modus operandi. This explains why he wrote with such passion; he was desperate to sell his watered down, non-militaristic version of Judaism, one that downplayed the importance of the temple and all the ethnocentric antisocial practices. His aim was to counter Jewish messianic fervor, which was building in momentum and needed to be quelled. He failed, because Jews in Palestine revolted in the war of 66 -70 CE.

This theory fits with the fact Paul was a Roman citizen, and that he had little genuine respect for Pharisaic Judaism. It could be why he didn’t publically reveal he was Roman until he was about to be physically assaulted by Roman soldiers. It would explain how he managed to support himself financially. It might also be why he hoped a financial gift to the Nazarenes in Jerusalem would be accepted; he was trying to endear himself to the Nazarenes using bribery. It explains why he often insisted that the Torah was obsolete, and why he was like a dog gnawing at a bone promoting his own theology instead. It makes clear why he wrote this to a Roman community:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:1-7 KJV.) A government agent wrote this, not a Jesus fan who had seen the light!

It explains the way he finished off his letter to the Philippians:
“All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household” (Phil. 4:22, KJV.) This confirms that he had contact with the Emperor Nero’s family.

It fits with the fact the book of Acts states:
“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1, KJV.) So the earliest Christian community at Antioch boasted a member of Herod Antipas’ family, the pro-Roman Tetrarch who had murdered John the Baptist, and Paul (Saul) was associated with him.

It clarifies the real reason why, in the book of Acts, he was repetitively roughed up by traditional Jews nearly everywhere he went, yet was never attacked by Gentiles. It explains why once the local Roman authorities knew who he was and what he was up to, he was treated so well, despite the fact he so regularly disturbed the peace. Paul’s so called “arrest” by Roman troops in Jerusalem doesn’t mean he wasn’t in league with them. Things had got a little out of control and he ended up being a source of civil unrest. He’d become a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, he incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome didn’t want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for his own safety. Reading between the lines, he was never treated like a prisoner. Rather, there were remarkable Roman resources used to protect him. He had to be moved to Rome, as it was the best place his safety could be guaranteed.

We don’t hear from Paul after the early 60s. The anti-Jewish propaganda project hadn’t worked, and the time for talk was over; the military had to be bought in. He had become redundant. There is a Christian “tradition” he was executed in Rome, but no valid reason why that would have happened, and no good evidence to say it did. (http://archives.politicususa.com/2011/12...ink.html).

If this theory is true, Paul was a spy and a charlatan; a cog in the wheel of a cunning government plan. I’m not suggesting that he didn’t wholeheartedly believe in the value of what he was doing. If the project had been successful the first (66-70CE) and second (132-5 CE) Jewish wars would have been averted. I think he knew he was promoting manufactured dogma as a means to an end.

This means Rome, via Paul, created the Christ, a benign pacifist messiah.

Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah,” and come to a similar conclusion. They postulate that Paul was
“…supporting the imperial structure, benefiting from it, cooperating with it, often saved by it. The end product for Rome was exactly what it wanted - a loyal, other –worldly, spiritual movement that was completely divorced from Palestinian revolutionary movements, from Jewish nationalism and from any challenge to Roman imperial authority. Its followers were supposed to pay taxes and be loyal citizens of the emperor.”

I suspect Jewish and Gentile intellectuals working for the Roman government also, a little later, after the first Jewish war, wrote the Gospels. (I discuss this in depth later in the book.) The fact that belief in the divinity of Jesus arose in many diverse areas of the empire a number of decades after Jesus’ death suggests to me that it came from a central (and Gentile) source, and it wasn’t the real Jesus’ Jewish friends in Jerusalem. The spin-doctors knew ideas could be as effective as force. I think they tried to weaken Judaism by infiltrating and diluting it with Gentiles, just like Paul tried to do with his Christ story. They too told a tale that the Jewish messiah had already been and gone, and wasn’t a political activist, but a benign religious preacher who was a spiritual intermediary between God and man. If the idea caught on, there’d be no more messiahs and no more revolts.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” “turn the other cheek,” “love your enemies” and “pay your taxes” meant you didn’t cause trouble and you obeyed your Roman superiors. To promote this patronizing prattle would have been a lot easier than having to use the army again. This explains why the true identities of all four Gospel authors are unknown. In those times it was easier to promote propaganda than it is today, because the public was less informed and less able to check out the facts. These publicists twisted the knife to wound Judaism by blaming Jesus’ death on the Jews and making Romans look like the innocent good guys. It was made out that Jesus’ own people had effectively killed their own messiah.

The government hoped the story of the new idol would convince people that true spirituality and the promise of eternal life were synonymous with getting along with them. It was the winners that wrote the history.

Ever since ancient times, people in power have always tried to control popular opinion, and haven’t hesitated to flagrantly manipulate the facts, and I think this was one such example. It’s ironic that the Gospels, said to be so truthful, became one of the most successful literary enterprises ever undertaken in the history of the world, yet were so manufactured. Yet the Gospel authors too never achieved their original intention, as they didn’t prevent the second major war with the Jews in 132-6 CE.

In modern times, this is called propaganda, disinformation or psychological warfare. It’s fascinating to imagine these subversive tactics as part of the first-century Roman Empire and jaw-dropping to realize the dogma has survived without being exposed for what it probably is, and is still coloring the way people, and in particular trusting Christians, look at the world. Today, most Christians misunderstand what the actual (Jewish) Messianic movement was. This misunderstanding was Rome’s doing.
Peter Cresswell, Joseph Atwill and no doubt many other authors have reached similar conclusions.

The reader may be wondering why, if this is true, it’s often claimed the government persecuted Christians, particularly as there is a “tradition” that Domitian did just that, but the evidence for this is so weak I’m sure it didn’t happen (http://bibleworld.com/domper.pdf). The fact is persecution of Christians wasn’t a policy of the state until over a century later, when it did occur in isolated areas, and only for relatively short periods. (http://www.salon.com/2013/02/24/the_myth...secuted/). Generally speaking, Rome was tolerant of all religions, including Christianity. In those days the ideas of one government (as controlled by one emperor) were often completely different to the next emperor. After the Flavian dynasty (the rule of Vespasian, Titus and then Domitian) ended with Domitian’s assassination in 96 CE, there was a brand new emperor. Persecution happened sporadically many years later, but usually only if Christians refused to worship the state’s gods. By this time the militaristic ambitions of peasant Jews had been finally and definitively crushed in the second Jewish war of 132-6 CE, and there were different agendas on the government’s mind. (see http://www.religionfacts.com/christianit...tion.htm). What’s more, some stories of persecutions of Christians by the Roman government are now recognized as exaggerations and fabrications.

I hope the reader understands the significance of this. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.

References:
Cresswell, Peter 2010 “Jesus the Terrorist” O books, Winchester, UK.
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.amazon.com/Between-Rome-Jerus...0275971406
http://www.angelfire.com/wi/famtree/romned.html
http://www.uhcg.org/HoI/James-Bro-of-Jesus.html
http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/j...t-warrior/
http://bhairavah.blogspot.com.au/2009/11...jesus.html
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/libr...d345414791
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLypbbijk2I
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10-01-2014, 07:25 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(09-01-2014 08:27 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-01-2014 05:15 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  We can ignore Thomas Verenna.... who starts his commentary off with
"This is where I came into Christian scholarship,” says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s."

Blatant ad hominems are so amateurish.


Oh come on Mark, you're better than that.

That part is from the news article that Verenna is quoting in his blog; and it's obvious he's quoting it because it is preceded by a link to the article, the use of quotation marks, and it's highlighted. It's also just a chunk of the second of three paragraph that he grabbed from the article. Unless you're suggesting that Verenna is making an ad hominem by simply quoting a news article that quotes Atwill himself as saying that, you're way out in left field. Also how is pointing out that Atwill is not a trained biblical scholar, essentially an untrained amateur, an ad hominem if Verenna does not rest any of his critique solely on the fact that Atwill is an amatuer? If Verenna has evidence to support his critique and counter arguments, then his critique (and Atwill's thesis) stands by and is judged by the evidence. Dodgy


Broward Palm Beach New Times Wrote:The Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient Jewish texts discovered in caves in Israel in 1947, give a different picture than the idyllic first century Holy Land of the Gospels. From year one, there were battles and confrontations between the Romans and the Jews, the Scrolls note, and there was no turning of the other cheek by the likes of rebel leader Judah of Galilee. And there was nary a mention in the Scrolls of the peaceable prophet Jesus Christ.

"This is where I came into Christian scholarship," says Atwill, 63, an investor who lives by the proceeds of a dot-com sell off in the 1990s. "There was supposedly this character, Jesus, wandering around in Galilee. Nobody knew anything about him. Galilee is only 30 miles long. Jesus and other historical figures of the time would have known each other."

Atwill, an admittedly bookish man, dived in headfirst, digging out whatever historical records he could find, studying the Scrolls, and reading Roman accounts, notably that of a family member of the Flavian dynasty of Caesars named Josephus. He found no historical Jesus in any of those writings. But there were some uncanny connections between the story of Jesus as told in the Gospels and the family of Roman emperors who took power after Nero was forced to commit suicide following a coup d'état.




(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier (who I really respect and like) writes
"(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so)."

I disagree. If you are in charge of the government you can employ anyone of superior intellectual ability to create propaganda for you. You don't have to do it yourself.


True. But why then make it in Greek, a language far more appealing to the more assimilated (and less troublesome) Jews of the Diaspora rather than the militant hardliners of Palestine? If this psychological warfare worked out so well, why didn't they do it for the Gauls, a much larger threat (considering they had actually sacked Rome after all)?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected."

True. But there're multiple possible explanations that still make the guts of Atwill's theory still possible.


Yeah, but they are far simpler and don't need to make the unwarranted assumptions and stretches in evidence that Atwill's thesis requires; thus they are more probable.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind....."

True.... But we must all remember that the gospels were "messed with" for at least 200 years after they were first written. Carrier is well aware of this, and it's a point that Atwill fails to make. My point is that various people added bits and pieces to the Gospels, which obviously, If Atwill is correct, has reduced the evidence for his hypothesis.


The point being that Atwill selectively chooses to only acknowledge the parts that he can bend to fit into his thesis, and ignores other facts when they are inconvenient. Atwill has no basis to screening what he does and does not use, outside of whatever happens to work with his preconception. He does himself no favors by not have a reasonable, sound, and consistent standard for evaluating evidence.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians."

All of this is true. I'm not so sure that Atwill says that all the gospels were written exactly by the same person though. They could've been many different intellectuals involved, yet all writing with the same intent. And then, as already mentioned, different editors and interpolators messed everything up. I fail to understand the point Carrier is trying to make by talking about Paul.


They could have had different authors all with the same intent, but there is not sufficient reasoning or evidence to think they did. Key point there Mark, the difference between possibility and probability. Until there is better evidence to support it, Atwill's explanation is far less probable. It might be right, there might be a grain of truth to it, but as of right now it requires too many unwarranted assumptions in comparison to other explanations.



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(5) Christianity was probably constructed to “divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,” but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society."

AH HA!!!!!!! Carrier here actually admits to agreeing with what is the basic thrust of Atwill's hypothesis.... That Christianity was created to subdue militant Jews.

What both Atwill,(To my knowledge) and Carrier(to my knowledge) don't acknowledge is that there is a high probability that Paul was in fact a Roman government agent himself (Even though he was a Jew)


That's like looking at a murder scene where Atwill says the victim was ran over by a tank and Carrier says the victim was hit by motor vehicle (no reports of a loud diesel engine, no sound of or visible road damage from caterpillar tracks, obvious tire skid marks, fresh broken glass on the street, etc.); then going 'Ah ha! They both think the victim was killed by being ran over!'...



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine."

I agree, but that doesn't mean that the government didn't have a really good shot at it


But the failure of a supposed plan is in no way evidence for the existence of such a plan; that's just grasping at straws. Also, do you have any evidence to support that they had 'a really good shot at it'?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Carrier continues
"Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?"

I disagree with this. Jews often caused trouble throughout the Empire. I think the government was trying to water down Judaism by diluting it with Gentiles. That was why Paul's epistles and the Gospels were aimed primarily at Gentiles. Carrier doesn't seem to have considered this possibility and admittedly Atwill doesn't talk about it in his book either.


Possibility, sure. But until there is evidence to support such an assertion, it's still not probable. Is there any evidence they the Romans ever tried anything like this anywhere else with anyone else that posed a much larger threat (and thus should demand greater attention and effort) than the Jews?



(09-01-2014 05:56 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Anyway this is enough for this tonight. I hope a few people out there have a hard think about this. Thanks for posting all this, as I'm learning from it! PS by the way I don't necessarily agree with all of Atwill's ideas, Some of which, if you read his book are rather imaginative. I do however agree with the basic thrust of his argument ....that Christianity is a fabricated religion invented by the Roman government in an effort to suppress Jews and Judaism.


Well, Paul didn't invent Christianity, although he did do a lot to alter and shape it. Even assuming Paul was an agent of Rome, did his changes come from the orders of his superiors? If so, how far up did the order's come from? I mean seriously, was everything Josephus did and wrote express propaganda for the Vespasians? If not, then how can Paul's actions be laid at the feet of his supposed Roman handlers and superiors? Even supposing Paul was an agent, how do you know he didn't go 'off the range' a-la Kurtz in Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now?

There's a big difference between 'Christianity was fabricated by an agent of of the Empire for the benefit of Rome' and 'Christianity was fabricated by a Roman citizen'.

"Well, Paul didn't invent Christianity, although he did do a lot to alter and shape it."

I think you may be right. I wonder who you think did invent Christianity then?

"Even assuming Paul was an agent of Rome, did his changes come from the orders of his superiors?"

I suspect he made up most of his own shit. His job was to invent a Christ that would undermine the Jewish Messiah concept, and he was given free reign.

"Is there any evidence they the Romans ever tried anything like this anywhere else with anyone else that posed a much larger threat "

well… yes. What Rome usually did when it conquered a nation was to take its God or gods and start worshipping them. Conquered nations God's often had a temple in Rome. They respected these gods because it was easier than fighting them. It helped maintain the Pax Romana. Nearly every day of the year in the Roman calendar the feast day of a different God was celebrated.
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10-01-2014, 07:36 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(08-01-2014 11:11 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
(08-01-2014 09:43 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Robert Price doesn't think much of Atwill's theory.

Neither do I.

Quote:Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, as “foretold” by “Jesus.”
"As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Luke 21:6 KJV, see also Matt. 24:1 and Mark 13:1.)

Josephus, who was there, reports that these conditions were not met in 70 and the Roman X Legion was moved to permanent garrison duty in Jerusalem.

Those conditions WERE met in 135 when Hadrian leveled the ruins and constructed the new Roman city of Aelia Capitolina on the site.

"Josephus, who was there, reports that these conditions were not met in 70 and the Roman X Legion was moved to permanent garrison duty in Jerusalem.

Those conditions WERE met in 135 when Hadrian leveled the ruins and constructed the new Roman city of Aelia Capitolina on the site."

Thanks for pointing this out.
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11-01-2014, 02:39 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Thomas Verenna aka "Rook Hawkins" had his ass handed to him by yours truly a few years ago right on his own http://www.rationalresponders.com/ forum. This man cannot be trusted to employ a single stitch of stable reasoning.

It got so bad for him that he banned me and my history students (all of us using the same account known as "FathomFFI") by claiming me to be a troll just so he could wiggle out of the debate.

He's a fucking retard, and so are all those involved in that hilarious online "scholarship" movement he hides behind.

For those with a clue, you can go to the following link and watch how easily he was destroyed. Not bragging, but oh my fucking "flying spaghetti monster" he was a bloody joke.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14157

Mark you'd be interested in reading that.

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11-01-2014, 05:59 PM
RE: Jesus myth
A friend sent me the link to Atwill's documentary and about 30 seconds in I had my first WTF moment with one of his assertions. In the first 10 minutes I ended up with a list of 8 notes. It was a while ago, and I can't recall them all, but two were Atwill's claim that Vespasian had an army of 120,000 men and that he came from a long line of Roman aristocrats.

Vespasian's grandfather managed to attain the rank of centurion on the losing side of the Civil War that ended at Pharsalus and his army consisted of 4 legions ( 20,000 heavy infantry, probably an equivalent number of auxilia, and some contingents of allied states...of dubious worth. Perhaps 50,000.

These points are minor but if Atwill can't be trusted with such mundane points how can his hypothesis be taken seriously? What else has he fudged?

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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11-01-2014, 06:44 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(11-01-2014 02:39 PM)Free Wrote:  Thomas Verenna aka "Rook Hawkins" had his ass handed to him by yours truly a few years ago right on his own http://www.rationalresponders.com/ forum. This man cannot be trusted to employ a single stitch of stable reasoning.

It got so bad for him that he banned me and my history students (all of us using the same account known as "FathomFFI") by claiming me to be a troll just so he could wiggle out of the debate.

He's a fucking retard, and so are all those involved in that hilarious online "scholarship" movement he hides behind.

For those with a clue, you can go to the following link and watch how easily he was destroyed. Not bragging, but oh my fucking "flying spaghetti monster" he was a bloody joke.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14157

Mark you'd be interested in reading that.

Hi Free, wow! You guys seriously get into the scholarship!

I read everything, and have noted what you're saying about the testimonium flavum. I've put a link to the discussion in my book. Thanks!

If I'm not mistaken Ralph Ellis is not too impressed with Thomas either, although my memory may be playing tricks with me.
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