Jesus myth
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
11-01-2014, 09:27 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(11-01-2014 08:34 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
(11-01-2014 06:46 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Do you still have the link to that documentary? I have seen it once but it's now been taken off you tube, and when I try and download it from Amazon I can't because I'm in Australia. I'm sure you're right but I don't remember him saying that.


I went back to the other forum and found the link but it no longer works. This was in the period until the supposed big release of his "evidence" for this theory.
Now they are trying to sell the video.

The big release did not make much of a splash as I recall.

I did copy down this post which was directed to Atwill's defender.

Quote:I forced myself to listen to the rest of the interview. I have three pages of notes but since you aren't interested in his dubious assertions I will simply cut to the chase.

Needless to say, it never got any better.

But two things stand out.

One. Titus was not in command during the Galilean Campaign. His assignment was to pick up the XVth legion and march it overland to Ptolemais ( Acre ) and meet up with his father bringing two legions from Syria. The political situation is a bit muddled but essentially King Herod Agrippa II had been expelled from Jerusalem by the rebels and gone north. He later supplied troops to Vespasian and remained a loyal ally throughout. When Sepphoris refused to join the rebels and asked for Roman help against them Vespasian sent the tribune Placidius to the rescue, not Titus. Whether this is because Titus had not yet arrived or for some other reason is not clear but if you look at a map it is clear that from Ptolemais the route into Galilee is obvious and in a purely military sense Vespasian's strategy to secure Galilee before advancing south on Jerusalem is sound. But he was in command...not "Titus." So to say that "Titus" did this and "Titus" did that is a doubtful argument.

Second, and most important, Josephus' Jewish War was not published until c 78 AD. The war had been over for a long time at that point. The temple, the raison d'etre for the Judaism that the Romans knew was gone. The home base of the Xth Legion was moved to Jerusalem.

When Vespasian became emperor in 69 he inherited an empire which had just endured 18 months of civil war and was on the brink of financial meltdown. Titus, his son, was now in command of reducing Jerusalem and a serious revolt broke out in Gaul which had to be suppressed. Vespasian seems to have occupied himself with taxation more than anything else and some parts of Rome had to be rebuilt because of fires which broke out during the fighting which ousted Vitellius.

What Atwill would have us believe is that against this backdrop Vespasian ( who was a practical man) would have bothered to create a myth about his own son to disrupt and divide a people who they had just convincingly crushed on the battlefield. I'm sorry, Ish. It just does not make any sense. What makes more sense is that whoever cobbled together gLuke had access to Josephus' work and took a few samples to use for the Greco-Roman audience he was addressing. Note that gMatthew, written to a predominantly Jewish audience, makes no use of the traitor Josephus.

You write
"Note that gMatthew, written to a predominantly Jewish audience, makes no use of the traitor Josephus."
I agree that bits of Matthew are written to appeal to Jews. Yet Atwill would say that Matthew makes use of Josephus too, and I tend to agree with him. Quickly skim through my quotes from Matthew in my spiel about Atwill.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-01-2014, 09:52 PM
RE: Jesus myth
The Flavian Dynasty ended with the ascension of Nerva to the throne. The revolts of 115 had nothing to do with them and it is an open question how serious they were.

The even later revolt of bar Kokhba was provoked by Hadrian first when he banned circumcision and then later when he decided to rebuild Jerusalem as a proper Roman town.

Again, if the "Flavians" invented xtianity to forestall these "revolts" then it was a colossal flop.

However, we can identify a Roman emperor who used xtianity as a political prop for his empire: Constantine.

As for Titus' command... we know that Jewish resistance in Galilee was crushed by the end of 67. Vespasian remained in Palestine until he was proclaimed emperor in July of 69 and then he sailed from Caesarea to Alexandria. So....even if Titus was given a tactical command the commander in chief remained Vespasian until he was called away. I don't know. Maybe the fact that both father and son bore the praenomen "Titus" is confusing Atwill?

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
11-01-2014, 10:07 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(11-01-2014 09:52 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  The Flavian Dynasty ended with the ascension of Nerva to the throne. The revolts of 115 had nothing to do with them and it is an open question how serious they were.

The even later revolt of bar Kokhba was provoked by Hadrian first when he banned circumcision and then later when he decided to rebuild Jerusalem as a proper Roman town.

Again, if the "Flavians" invented xtianity to forestall these "revolts" then it was a colossal flop.

However, we can identify a Roman emperor who used xtianity as a political prop for his empire: Constantine.

As for Titus' command... we know that Jewish resistance in Galilee was crushed by the end of 67. Vespasian remained in Palestine until he was proclaimed emperor in July of 69 and then he sailed from Caesarea to Alexandria. So....even if Titus was given a tactical command the commander in chief remained Vespasian until he was called away. I don't know. Maybe the fact that both father and son bore the praenomen "Titus" is confusing Atwill?


You write
"The revolts of 115 had nothing to do with them and it is an open question how serious they were."

I agree that these revolts had nothing to do with the Flavians (Domitian was assassinated in 96) but obviously Jews were revolting against the Roman government. This site is interesting
http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Kitos+War

I agree that Christianity was a massive flop.... Perhaps the biggest mistake ever in history of the world! (LOL)

I agree with you about Constantine.

Yeah, I'm not sure whether Atwill was confused on this point or not.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-01-2014, 12:21 PM
RE: Jesus myth
When I was in college and taking Roman History I read in my text that there were severe anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria during the reign of Caligula. The book noted that these riots arose because the Greco-Roman population thought the Jews were being given preferential treatment. It also declared that these were the first anti-semitic uprisings recorded in history. I went to my prof and asked about the basis for these claims and he, never one to miss an opportunity for research, wrote out some citations on a note pad and sent me to the library. One of them was Philo's "Embassy to Gaius" and I was a confirmed skeptic after that. I had been a lapsed catholic but that had more to do with thinking that the church itself was run by a bunch of clowns. I never really considered the story of the poor Jews looking for a "redeemer" to be all that outlandish...until I found out that at the exact time period that the story was set they actually had it pretty good under the Romans.

<sigh> It's been all downhill from there.

I highly recommend Candida Moss' "The Myth of Persecution" for some intriguing background on "persecution" in antiquity. While focusing on xtian stories it is fairly easy to extend it to Jews, especially after the Great Revolt. Empire wide persecution of xtians by imperial edict did not begin until Valerian who ruled only a short time and was finally brought to a head by Diocletian in the late 3d century. Prior to that we have what amounts to local suspicion of unpopular groups. Think of the witch trials in Europe and America. "My cow died so it must be the fault of a witch." Any unhappy event could be ascribed to some group who offended the gods...and if it happened to be the Jews (or later xtians) who were responsible, so much the better. In any event, its a good book.

Lastly, when any ancient historian starts throwing numbers around like 240,000 killed in a given action I have to laugh. Ancient stats always remind me of the axiom that "amateurs study tactics but professionals study logistics." It's like the bible claim that 185,000 Assyrians went to attack a little town like Jerusalem or Caesar claiming that a Gallic relief army of 250,000 showed up at Alesia. Mere propaganda.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Minimalist's post
12-01-2014, 01:21 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(12-01-2014 12:21 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  When I was in college and taking Roman History I read in my text that there were severe anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria during the reign of Caligula. The book noted that these riots arose because the Greco-Roman population thought the Jews were being given preferential treatment. It also declared that these were the first anti-semitic uprisings recorded in history. I went to my prof and asked about the basis for these claims and he, never one to miss an opportunity for research, wrote out some citations on a note pad and sent me to the library. One of them was Philo's "Embassy to Gaius" and I was a confirmed skeptic after that. I had been a lapsed catholic but that had more to do with thinking that the church itself was run by a bunch of clowns. I never really considered the story of the poor Jews looking for a "redeemer" to be all that outlandish...until I found out that at the exact time period that the story was set they actually had it pretty good under the Romans.

<sigh> It's been all downhill from there.

I highly recommend Candida Moss' "The Myth of Persecution" for some intriguing background on "persecution" in antiquity. While focusing on xtian stories it is fairly easy to extend it to Jews, especially after the Great Revolt. Empire wide persecution of xtians by imperial edict did not begin until Valerian who ruled only a short time and was finally brought to a head by Diocletian in the late 3d century. Prior to that we have what amounts to local suspicion of unpopular groups. Think of the witch trials in Europe and America. "My cow died so it must be the fault of a witch." Any unhappy event could be ascribed to some group who offended the gods...and if it happened to be the Jews (or later xtians) who were responsible, so much the better. In any event, its a good book.

Lastly, when any ancient historian starts throwing numbers around like 240,000 killed in a given action I have to laugh. Ancient stats always remind me of the axiom that "amateurs study tactics but professionals study logistics." It's like the bible claim that 185,000 Assyrians went to attack a little town like Jerusalem or Caesar claiming that a Gallic relief army of 250,000 showed up at Alesia. Mere propaganda.

When dealing with numbers like that I always divide by half then subtract 90%.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Revenant77x's post
12-01-2014, 01:56 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(11-01-2014 06:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(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.

Hey Free, what do you think of Atwill's theory?

Atwill is another nut job. Both Price and Carrier know it, and I knew it long before they did.

Listen, it's okay to have a theory, but when it has to be stretched to the point of being utterly ludicrous, then the author of that theory absolutely deserves every last bit of damnation from his peers that he deserves.

Atwill constantly attempts to make links between "A" and "C" without ever even alluding to "B".

Shameful, and certainly not scholarly.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-01-2014, 09:04 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(12-01-2014 01:56 PM)Free Wrote:  
(11-01-2014 06:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hey Free, what do you think of Atwill's theory?

Atwill is another nut job. Both Price and Carrier know it, and I knew it long before they did.

Listen, it's okay to have a theory, but when it has to be stretched to the point of being utterly ludicrous, then the author of that theory absolutely deserves every last bit of damnation from his peers that he deserves.

Atwill constantly attempts to make links between "A" and "C" without ever even alluding to "B".

Shameful, and certainly not scholarly.
Beliefs are Learned.. not born with.. Sociology 101
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-01-2014, 12:53 AM
RE: Jesus myth
Quote:When dealing with numbers like that I always divide by half then subtract 90%.

I just start knocking off zeros.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-01-2014, 02:53 AM (This post was last modified: 13-01-2014 03:31 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus myth
(12-01-2014 01:56 PM)Free Wrote:  
(11-01-2014 06:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hey Free, what do you think of Atwill's theory?

Atwill is another nut job. Both Price and Carrier know it, and I knew it long before they did.

Listen, it's okay to have a theory, but when it has to be stretched to the point of being utterly ludicrous, then the author of that theory absolutely deserves every last bit of damnation from his peers that he deserves.

Atwill constantly attempts to make links between "A" and "C" without ever even alluding to "B".

Shameful, and certainly not scholarly.

I disagree.

Free, I do respect your opinion.

Please tell me whether you actually read his book, or have you just read what other people have said about him?

Much as I like and respect Richard Carrier, it's obvious if you read Atwill's blog that Carrier hasn't actually read Atwill's book! It's also very disappointing that Carrier resorts to ad hominems against Atwill. And, what's more, I don't find any of carriers eight points against Atwill convincing for reasons that I've already discussed.

I'll admit that Atwill is long winded and a bit repetitive. Some of his arguments are difficult to follow and complicated. Yet I'm yet to hear any really good arguments why the basic thrust of his theory is false. I'm open minded about it.

I would love to discuss his theory with anyone who has actually read his book.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-01-2014, 03:25 AM (This post was last modified: 13-01-2014 03:52 AM 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'.

You were right to criticise me on the first point. Yet the fact that this commentator had to quote the commentary about him being a .com speculator is an ad hominem of a sort. It makes Atwill sound like A reckless amateur.

I think the gospels were written in Greek for a number of reasons. Firstly, they were designed to appeal to Jews in the Diaspora, who spoke Greek. Secondly they were also very much designed to appeal to gentiles, who also spoke Greek. The propaganda was designed to dilute Judaism with Gentiles. Remember, at this early stage there was no intention to create an entirely new religion, Just an attempt to create a watered down version of Judaism.

As far as the authorship of the Gospels is concerned, the bottom line is that nobody knows for sure who wrote the damn things. There were obviously many hands involved. Atwill's theory is just as plausible as any other.

I've had a long hard think about your accident analogy. The important point is that both Carrier and Atwill think that there was an accident. In other words both authors think that the Roman government invented Christianity to undermine messianic Judaism. That is really big news if you think about it. It's not so important whether Titus is actually Jesus or not, Academic's could probably argue about this for weeks, the important point to grasp is that there is no truth behind Christianity... it's all one great big story.

I do happen to think that much of Atwill's evidence is convincing, but accept that you and many others don't. Yet essentially we're all saying the same damn thing!
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: