Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
18-12-2016, 09:25 AM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 05:40 AM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  You can use these parallels to show that the works were written with reference to each other. The more parallels, the greater the chance of that.


No! You cannot! Stop saying stupid things! Are you Joseph Atwill?
Parallels ONLY show that at least one source knew about the other. If you wrote a book and I plagiarize it does not prove that you knew that I was plagiarizing it, it does not prove that we did it together and planned it, and it does not prove that we are the same person. It only proves that at least I knew about your work, not necessarily the other way around. Are you reading anything I write? Because I told you that many times now. Stop saying such stupid shit, please. Logic only works if you are careful with your words.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When you go beyond that, and say it is a "satire", that is where you begin to impose your own views on it.

Atwill is the one imposing his fantasies about Roman authorship here without evidence. I am not trying to guess who the author is because we don't have any evidence for authorship. I am sticking to the facts, what was written. I am only asking what are the Gospels. If I find 480 examples of where the Gospel passages are an ironic representation of something in Josephus then I conclude the Gospels are a satire. I have the facts to back it up.


(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  It's not funny when you have to explain it, that's true. But it's not funny at all, to me. I see no humour in it at all. Sorry, I think that is just your own perspective and it is based on your analysis of Josephs motives etc.

Maybe the problem is you don't understand what irony and satire are. Here are a few definitions:

-"the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect."
-"a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result."
-"a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character."

It doesn't have to be funny to you to be ironic. It is ironic that baby Jesus was found in a feeding trough, gets anointed with cooking oils and herbs, and is literally supposed to be eaten by his followers when Mary roasted and ate her baby in the war with the Romans. It is ironic because it is as if the Christians don't know they are reenacting filicide and cannibalism in church and worshiping a genocide. The joke is on them. But I have 480 examples of such horrific irony from the New Testament.

Also, here is the definition of satire: "the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

It does not have to be funny to be satire, also because not everyone will find the same things humorous. But irony is not so subjective, you can agree that it is ironic and maybe teaching a lesson or expressing an opinion without making you laugh.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think you are seeing a Roman satire of Near East "animism". Rome had been gripped by a return to this sort of religion and culture under the Claudians and Hellenistic thinkers in Alexandria would have seen this same religion in Egypt and in the Near East. That is the basis of the introduction of Serapism and then Christianity so the satire is of the religion which was barbaric and backward in the eyes of Hellenistic thinkers.

Oh, so now you accept that it is satire but desperately want to see it as Roman satire because of your fantasies of Rome being the center of the universe and think those war generals, the Flavians, were skilled in satire and literature. But then you finally agree that the satire is done "in the eyes of Hellenistic thinkers". So, most likely Greeks or someone trained in Greek satire and literature, right?

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When you say this is satirical, I think you underestimate the fear under which Romans lived with the Claudians and with the wars in the Near East. This was no laughing matter. As you say, it was propaganda, as was the New Testament and I don't see how you can say it is satirical.

No. I don't. The Romans living in fear does not prove who wrote the Gospels. Again, stop saying stupid things, be logical. I am only talking about the texts themselves, what are they, because we have them and we can read them, we can't talk to the authors and we don't have much evidence of who they were except that they were probably fluent in Greek and trained in Greek literature and knew enough about Judaism and had access to that information, so probably scholars.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I would like to see more of an exposition of your thesis that it was satire, based on something beyond your own view of it.

You can't. As far as I can tell this is an entirely original thesis. If you want to know more about it, come to me. To me it is the most obvious and natural thesis. The Romans didn't have a great tradition in literature that the Greeks had and the Flavians were warriors, not religion inventors with advanced skills in literary techniques. And Greeks wrote satires, that was kind of their thing. My thesis only requires that you accept that most people were how they were. The Jews believed so much in their God that they were willing to die for him, the Romans wanted to be worshiped as God by the Jews so badly that they were willing to kill for it. That is a deadly combination that ended up in a horrific genocide. The Greeks were the scholars sitting by, thinking this is so ridiculous and writing satires about it. This is not the evidence that it is a satire, this just shows that Greeks writing a satire about this is not very surprising. In fact we know that the Greeks were writing satires about Josephus' history because he complained about that in his later works. But the evidence is that almost every single passage in the Gospels and book of Revelation is almost the exact same story as a passage in Josephus except that it is ironic. If you want to see more of the evidence (480 more examples of irony like this one), read the book, or wait for me to post more here or ask me for a specific passage from the Gospels or book of Revelation and maybe I will post it.

You know, it doesn't look good to start calling people "stupid".

When I said the referenced each other, I wasn't saying that they shared back and forth. As you know, Atwill's view is that the NT took from Josephus. I wasn't there so I don't claim to know. If you understand Atwill, you should know that this is what I was referring to. I'm not trying to make up a new theory about The War with the Jews and the New Testament being written at the same time in the same room...

Satire: When I said that "you" were seeing Roman satire of the religion, I didn't say "I" found it satirical. Jesus walking on water may have seemed ridiculous to some Romans but if it was a motif in the religion of the day, then it may have been written to signal to the people who followed that religion that this was their Messiah. That's not satire but Romans may have thought it was funny. Same with a lot of what you are saying.

Atwill refers to a literary style called "typological". It may be that all these stories are of the same "type" and writers were trained in this style and end up copying earlier works. I posted here about The Wallace and the history of Robert the Bruce. The Wallace copies stories from the life of Robert the Bruce. They were written four years apart. Strange things happen. Literary technique changes. There were no laws against plagiarism. What do we know about literary technique 2000 years ago? None of us has this kind of level of expertise in the two works you are talking about and virtually no one except Atwill and his followers has even thought about this theory so you are putting a lot of effort into something which, I can guarantee you, is not going to be well received here because it is almost incomprehensible. I understand where you are coming from and I tend to accept that you have found all the parallels. I just don't see that you are going to be persuasive if you simply set out parallels. Maybe I'm wrong. Carry on. Let's see.

Please don't feel I am trying to antagonise you. I'm not. I just want to understand why you say this is a satire of Josephus. I don't think it is. I think it is a typological work based on Josephus and I do agree with Atwill et al that Josephus had a hand in writing the NT.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-12-2016, 11:50 AM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When I said the referenced each other, I wasn't saying that they shared back and forth. As you know, Atwill's view is that the NT took from Josephus. I wasn't there so I don't claim to know. If you understand Atwill, you should know that this is what I was referring to. I'm not trying to make up a new theory about The War with the Jews and the New Testament being written at the same time in the same room...

That is a very important distinction, especially when talking to an Atwill fan/follower. Because Atwill does in fact claim that they were written by the same person/people and that also Josephus contains satire and made up stories. So "referenced each other" is not correct, please use the phrase "textual dependence" or something like that. Because that is what Atwill proved. He wasn't the first person to show or notice textual dependencies, but he did do some good work on showing textual dependence. What Atwill claims he demonstrated, but did not, is that the Flavians and/or Josephus must have been involved in writing the Gospels. That is total speculation and there is no evidence for that, so I want to be careful about wording here, it is important.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Satire: When I said that "you" were seeing Roman satire of the religion, I didn't say "I" found it satirical.

Why do you keep saying Roman? The NT was written in Greek, the most probable guess would be that it is a Greek satire. Romans wrote more frequently in Latin, remember?


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Jesus walking on water may have seemed ridiculous to some Romans but if it was a motif in the religion of the day, then it may have been written to signal to the people who followed that religion that this was their Messiah. That's not satire but Romans may have thought it was funny. Same with a lot of what you are saying.

Yes, very true, walking on water is one of the oldest miracles in the book for any deity/theology. It could be imitating other religions in that way or showing some kind of divinity or something. But the most important part you seem to miss is that this particular case of walking on water exactly parallels the incident described by Josephus when he went with the Romans to the Dead Sea. Josephus says that Vespasian tied up some of the captives and threw them in, Jesus "constrained" his disciples to go in before him. Then he said it was "as if a wind forced them up" and so in the NT version there is also a "boisterous and contrary wind" but that wind mysteriously stops as soon as he gets back in the boat. It sounds funny, because it seems to be suggesting that Josephus didn't understand what happened on the lake and just assumed he saw a spirit. Read them both again carefully, one seems to be a humours/ironic version of the other. A perfect parallel which is very unlikely to be a coincidence.


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Atwill refers to a literary style called "typological". It may be that all these stories are of the same "type" and writers were trained in this style and end up copying earlier works. I posted here about The Wallace and the history of Robert the Bruce.

What he calls typology is basically one text mirroring the other. That is exactly what satire does except that it adds an element of irony. If I see a document with 480 independent but related satires I would say that text is a satire. That is what I am doing.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  What do we know about literary technique 2000 years ago? None of us has this kind of level of expertise in the two works you are talking about and virtually no one except Atwill and his followers has even thought about this theory so you are putting a lot of effort into something which, I can guarantee you, is not going to be well received here because it is almost incomprehensible.

This is much easier to understand than Atwill. I have shown this to several people with PhDs in physics, not ancient history, and they have all understood it. The only time people don't seem to understand is when it is anonymous online, maybe for some reason it is easier to explain this in person or maybe physicists are just better at understanding satire. I am not sure, but I am shocked that people online don't seem to get it. It makes me think maybe you are just not reading it carefully to understand the satire because it is some anonymous guy online you don't trust or something.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I understand where you are coming from and I tend to accept that you have found all the parallels. I just don't see that you are going to be persuasive if you simply set out parallels. Maybe I'm wrong. Carry on. Let's see.

Alright, fine, then let's just stick to the parallels and forget the irony and satire which you don't seem to get. Still that proves textual dependence and disproves historicity of the NT.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Please don't feel I am trying to antagonise you. I'm not. I just want to understand why you say this is a satire of Josephus. I don't think it is.

It kind of feels like you are antagonizing. I can't imagine how you cannot see the satire here. It is hilarious for me 480 times.


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think it is a typological work based on Josephus and I do agree with Atwill et al that Josephus had a hand in writing the NT.

Then explain to me one thing! Why on earth, if Josephus was helping the Flavians to invent a new religion to combat Judaism, why, why, why would they put references or parallels to cannibalism and filicide and genocide into their new religion??? If anyone understood it, which we are starting to do now, it would destroy their religion. If the original motivation was to replace Judaism or start a Rome-friendly religion, why wouldn't you remove those references and make it impossible to prove textual dependence???
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-12-2016, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 18-12-2016 02:25 PM by Deltabravo.)
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 11:50 AM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When I said the referenced each other, I wasn't saying that they shared back and forth. As you know, Atwill's view is that the NT took from Josephus. I wasn't there so I don't claim to know. If you understand Atwill, you should know that this is what I was referring to. I'm not trying to make up a new theory about The War with the Jews and the New Testament being written at the same time in the same room...

That is a very important distinction, especially when talking to an Atwill fan/follower. Because Atwill does in fact claim that they were written by the same person/people and that also Josephus contains satire and made up stories. So "referenced each other" is not correct, please use the phrase "textual dependence" or something like that. Because that is what Atwill proved. He wasn't the first person to show or notice textual dependencies, but he did do some good work on showing textual dependence. What Atwill claims he demonstrated, but did not, is that the Flavians and/or Josephus must have been involved in writing the Gospels. That is total speculation and there is no evidence for that, so I want to be careful about wording here, it is important.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Satire: When I said that "you" were seeing Roman satire of the religion, I didn't say "I" found it satirical.

Why do you keep saying Roman? The NT was written in Greek, the most probable guess would be that it is a Greek satire. Romans wrote more frequently in Latin, remember?


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Jesus walking on water may have seemed ridiculous to some Romans but if it was a motif in the religion of the day, then it may have been written to signal to the people who followed that religion that this was their Messiah. That's not satire but Romans may have thought it was funny. Same with a lot of what you are saying.

Yes, very true, walking on water is one of the oldest miracles in the book for any deity/theology. It could be imitating other religions in that way or showing some kind of divinity or something. But the most important part you seem to miss is that this particular case of walking on water exactly parallels the incident described by Josephus when he went with the Romans to the Dead Sea. Josephus says that Vespasian tied up some of the captives and threw them in, Jesus "constrained" his disciples to go in before him. Then he said it was "as if a wind forced them up" and so in the NT version there is also a "boisterous and contrary wind" but that wind mysteriously stops as soon as he gets back in the boat. It sounds funny, because it seems to be suggesting that Josephus didn't understand what happened on the lake and just assumed he saw a spirit. Read them both again carefully, one seems to be a humours/ironic version of the other. A perfect parallel which is very unlikely to be a coincidence.


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Atwill refers to a literary style called "typological". It may be that all these stories are of the same "type" and writers were trained in this style and end up copying earlier works. I posted here about The Wallace and the history of Robert the Bruce.

What he calls typology is basically one text mirroring the other. That is exactly what satire does except that it adds an element of irony. If I see a document with 480 independent but related satires I would say that text is a satire. That is what I am doing.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  What do we know about literary technique 2000 years ago? None of us has this kind of level of expertise in the two works you are talking about and virtually no one except Atwill and his followers has even thought about this theory so you are putting a lot of effort into something which, I can guarantee you, is not going to be well received here because it is almost incomprehensible.

This is much easier to understand than Atwill. I have shown this to several people with PhDs in physics, not ancient history, and they have all understood it. The only time people don't seem to understand is when it is anonymous online, maybe for some reason it is easier to explain this in person or maybe physicists are just better at understanding satire. I am not sure, but I am shocked that people online don't seem to get it. It makes me think maybe you are just not reading it carefully to understand the satire because it is some anonymous guy online you don't trust or something.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I understand where you are coming from and I tend to accept that you have found all the parallels. I just don't see that you are going to be persuasive if you simply set out parallels. Maybe I'm wrong. Carry on. Let's see.

Alright, fine, then let's just stick to the parallels and forget the irony and satire which you don't seem to get. Still that proves textual dependence and disproves historicity of the NT.

(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Please don't feel I am trying to antagonise you. I'm not. I just want to understand why you say this is a satire of Josephus. I don't think it is.

It kind of feels like you are antagonizing. I can't imagine how you cannot see the satire here. It is hilarious for me 480 times.


(18-12-2016 09:25 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think it is a typological work based on Josephus and I do agree with Atwill et al that Josephus had a hand in writing the NT.

Then explain to me one thing! Why on earth, if Josephus was helping the Flavians to invent a new religion to combat Judaism, why, why, why would they put references or parallels to cannibalism and filicide and genocide into their new religion??? If anyone understood it, which we are starting to do now, it would destroy their religion. If the original motivation was to replace Judaism or start a Rome-friendly religion, why wouldn't you remove those references and make it impossible to prove textual dependence???

I don't come here to be pedantic. I come here for entertainment. I understand that Atwill is saying that the NT is written to mirror events in the War of the Jews and I have read his book so I do know about his reference to Titus' travels through Judea. I am also aware that he says Josephus wrote both works, with Alexandrians.

Re: the references to cannibalism etc. Atwill explains this. The Romans, when they fought, would emulate the deity of their opponents. This is a technique referred to in political science as "co-opting": the process by which a group subsumes or acculturates a smaller or weaker group with related interests; or, similarly, the process by which one group gains converts from another group by attempting to replicate the aspects that they find appealing without adopting the full program or ideals.

In this case they do so by giving "their" messiah the characteristics of the messiah of the religion to which they were preaching. The religion and culture of the Near East had in it the elements you refer to. That is the problem. There is a view that Jesus was "Jewish" but he was an Aramaic-speaking Assyrian who was converted by a John the Baptist figure into a new "Judaism". What he was before that was someone who was born into a religion which had a messiah who was born in late December, of a virgin, son of a god, could walk on water, heal the sick, raise Lazarus from the dead, was crucified, raised from the dead after three days etc etc. This isn't any Judaism I know of today so what we are talking about is a Near East religion with animistic and astrological features. The Romans wanted to co-opt it because it was, in my opinion, the religion of the Sumerian/Assyrians, ie., the oldest religion and civilization of the region, whereas the Romans were an outlying tribe who had gained dominance.

I would expect that the NT was written in Greek because Greek was the language of Asia Minor which was largely Greek-speaking. Greek is annagramatized Turkish, as is Aramaic. Perhaps the library of Alexandria and the literary tradition it represents was a continuation of some hereditary writing guild like the Homeriads who passed on a tradition of producing this kind of religious, polemic, pedagogical propaganda. I don't know.

"If on the other hand Homer is to be considered a mythical character, the legendary founder of a guild of rhapsodes (professional performers of epic poetry) called the Homeridae, then "Homer" means the works attributed to the rhapsodes of the guild, who might have composed primarily in a single century or over a period of centuries.

Much of the geographic and material content of the Iliad and Odyssey appear to be consistent with the Aegean Late Bronze Age, the time of the floruit of Troy, but not yet the time of the Greek alphabet. In a third and last interpretation, the term "Homer" can be used to refer to traditional elements of oral myth known to, but not originated by the rhapsodes; from these they composed oral poetry, which transmitted information concerning the culture of Mycenaean Greece. This information is often called "the world of Homer" (or of Odysseus, or the Iliad). The Homeric period would in that case cover a number of historical periods, especially the Mycenaean Age, prior to the first delivery of a work called the Iliad.

Concurrent with the questions of whether there was a biographical person named Homer, and what role he may have played in the development of the currently known texts, is the question of whether there ever was a uniform text of the Iliad or Odyssey. Considered word-for-word, the printed texts as we know them are the product of the scholars of the last three centuries. Each edition of the Iliad or Odyssey is a little different, as the editors rely on different manuscripts and fragments, and make different choices as to the most accurate text to use. The term "accuracy" reveals a fundamental belief in an original uniform text. The manuscripts of the whole work currently available date to no earlier than the 10th century. These are at the end of a missing thousand-year chain of copies made as each generation of manuscripts disintegrated or were lost or destroyed. These numerous manuscripts are so similar that a single original can be postulated.[11]

The time gap in the chain is bridged by the scholia, or notes, on the existing manuscripts, which indicate that the original had been published by Aristarchus of Samothrace in the 2nd century BCE. Librarian of the Library of Alexandria, he had noticed a wide divergence in the works attributed to Homer, and was trying to restore a more authentic copy." wiki

As far as I was aware, the Romans ruled over Egypt at this time, n'est pas? So they employed the writers in Alexandria to invent this crap. Just a hunch.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-12-2016, 02:41 PM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 02:17 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  Re: the references to cannibalism etc. Atwill explains this. The Romans, when they fought, would emulate the deity of their opponents. This is a technique referred to in political science as "co-opting": the process by which a group subsumes or acculturates a smaller or weaker group with related interests; or, similarly, the process by which one group gains converts from another group by attempting to replicate the aspects that they find appealing without adopting the full program or ideals.

The story from Josephus about a woman named Mary eating her baby was not part of anyones religion! Why on earth would the co-opt or adopt something from a horrific genocide and turn it into a religion? That is ridiculous.


(18-12-2016 02:17 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  "If on the other hand Homer is to be considered a mythical character...
Much of the geographic and material content of the Iliad and Odyssey...
Concurrent with the questions of whether there was a biographical person named Homer...

We were talking about the parallels between Josephus and the NT, stay focused.

(18-12-2016 02:17 PM)Deltabravo Wrote:  As far as I was aware, the Romans ruled over Egypt at this time, n'est pas? So they employed the writers in Alexandria to invent this crap. Just a hunch.

Yes! Exactly! The entire "Roman conspiracy to invent Jesus" or that either Josephus or the Flavians were involved in the writing of the NT is just a hunch. It is just a wild speculation with no evidence based just on the fact that one part of the Christian branches was later based in Rome and that there are parallels to the war between the Romans and the Jews. That is it. That is the only evidence, but that evidence could lead you to anyone in the Roman empire who spoke fluent Greek and knew how to write chiasms and was well trained in literature. So it must absolutely have been Josephus or the Flavian generals, right?
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
18-12-2016, 03:28 PM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
Quote:Yes! Exactly! The entire "Roman conspiracy to invent Jesus" or that either Josephus or the Flavians were involved in the writing of the NT is just a hunch.


It's not even a hunch. It's just modern bullshit.

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
18-12-2016, 06:03 PM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 05:40 AM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  You can use these parallels to show that the works were written with reference to each other. The more parallels, the greater the chance of that.


No! You cannot! Stop saying stupid things! Are you Joseph Atwill?
Parallels ONLY show that at least one source knew about the other. If you wrote a book and I plagiarize it does not prove that you knew that I was plagiarizing it, it does not prove that we did it together and planned it, and it does not prove that we are the same person. It only proves that at least I knew about your work, not necessarily the other way around. Are you reading anything I write? Because I told you that many times now. Stop saying such stupid shit, please. Logic only works if you are careful with your words.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When you go beyond that, and say it is a "satire", that is where you begin to impose your own views on it.

Atwill is the one imposing his fantasies about Roman authorship here without evidence. I am not trying to guess who the author is because we don't have any evidence for authorship. I am sticking to the facts, what was written. I am only asking what are the Gospels. If I find 480 examples of where the Gospel passages are an ironic representation of something in Josephus then I conclude the Gospels are a satire. I have the facts to back it up.


(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  It's not funny when you have to explain it, that's true. But it's not funny at all, to me. I see no humour in it at all. Sorry, I think that is just your own perspective and it is based on your analysis of Josephs motives etc.

Maybe the problem is you don't understand what irony and satire are. Here are a few definitions:

-"the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect."
-"a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result."
-"a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character."

It doesn't have to be funny to you to be ironic. It is ironic that baby Jesus was found in a feeding trough, gets anointed with cooking oils and herbs, and is literally supposed to be eaten by his followers when Mary roasted and ate her baby in the war with the Romans. It is ironic because it is as if the Christians don't know they are reenacting filicide and cannibalism in church and worshiping a genocide. The joke is on them. But I have 480 examples of such horrific irony from the New Testament.

Also, here is the definition of satire: "the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

It does not have to be funny to be satire, also because not everyone will find the same things humorous. But irony is not so subjective, you can agree that it is ironic and maybe teaching a lesson or expressing an opinion without making you laugh.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I think you are seeing a Roman satire of Near East "animism". Rome had been gripped by a return to this sort of religion and culture under the Claudians and Hellenistic thinkers in Alexandria would have seen this same religion in Egypt and in the Near East. That is the basis of the introduction of Serapism and then Christianity so the satire is of the religion which was barbaric and backward in the eyes of Hellenistic thinkers.

Oh, so now you accept that it is satire but desperately want to see it as Roman satire because of your fantasies of Rome being the center of the universe and think those war generals, the Flavians, were skilled in satire and literature. But then you finally agree that the satire is done "in the eyes of Hellenistic thinkers". So, most likely Greeks or someone trained in Greek satire and literature, right?

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  When you say this is satirical, I think you underestimate the fear under which Romans lived with the Claudians and with the wars in the Near East. This was no laughing matter. As you say, it was propaganda, as was the New Testament and I don't see how you can say it is satirical.

No. I don't. The Romans living in fear does not prove who wrote the Gospels. Again, stop saying stupid things, be logical. I am only talking about the texts themselves, what are they, because we have them and we can read them, we can't talk to the authors and we don't have much evidence of who they were except that they were probably fluent in Greek and trained in Greek literature and knew enough about Judaism and had access to that information, so probably scholars.

(18-12-2016 01:08 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  I would like to see more of an exposition of your thesis that it was satire, based on something beyond your own view of it.

You can't. As far as I can tell this is an entirely original thesis. If you want to know more about it, come to me. To me it is the most obvious and natural thesis. The Romans didn't have a great tradition in literature that the Greeks had and the Flavians were warriors, not religion inventors with advanced skills in literary techniques. And Greeks wrote satires, that was kind of their thing. My thesis only requires that you accept that most people were how they were. The Jews believed so much in their God that they were willing to die for him, the Romans wanted to be worshiped as God by the Jews so badly that they were willing to kill for it. That is a deadly combination that ended up in a horrific genocide. The Greeks were the scholars sitting by, thinking this is so ridiculous and writing satires about it. This is not the evidence that it is a satire, this just shows that Greeks writing a satire about this is not very surprising. In fact we know that the Greeks were writing satires about Josephus' history because he complained about that in his later works. But the evidence is that almost every single passage in the Gospels and book of Revelation is almost the exact same story as a passage in Josephus except that it is ironic. If you want to see more of the evidence (480 more examples of irony like this one), read the book, or wait for me to post more here or ask me for a specific passage from the Gospels or book of Revelation and maybe I will post it.

"The Romans didn't have a great tradition in literature that the Greeks had and the Flavians were warriors, not religion inventors with advanced skills in literary techniques."

This is not my understanding of how things were, and Mike Duncan from "the history of Rome" podcast also disagrees with you. The Flavians had a rich literary history, particularly when it came to rewriting history as propaganda. Have a listen to this podcast, particularly from the 6th minute on...


http://podbay.fm/show/261654474/e/126742...utostart=1
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-12-2016, 04:13 AM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(18-12-2016 06:03 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "The Romans didn't have a great tradition in literature that the Greeks had and the Flavians were warriors, not religion inventors with advanced skills in literary techniques."

This is not my understanding of how things were, and Mike Duncan from "the history of Rome" podcast also disagrees with you. The Flavians had a rich literary history, particularly when it came to rewriting history as propaganda. Have a listen to this podcast, particularly from the 6th minute on...


http://podbay.fm/show/261654474/e/126742...utostart=1

Thanks for the podcast. It seems to be mostly just a summary of the Wars of the Jews, but a few interesting points. But it doesn't seem to support much the thesis that the Flavians could be religion inventors or were trained in literature, the closest thing in that podcast was the mention that Vespasian put the teachers on the public payroll. The podcast describes Vespasian as a down to earth almost folksy kind of guy, making crude jokes, taking off his own boots, and more focused on physically rebuilding the empire than psychological warfare. Even if you argue that some Romans had a tradition in satire, still their tradition was more in writing in Latin and not Greek chiasms. At best you can argue that a Roman origin of the gospels is a remote possibility, but not the most likely possibility. Atwill takes an extremely remote possibility and claims it is a proof, because it is remotely possible, so it must be true.

Anyway, more important than the question of authorship is the question of what it is they authored because that we have in front of our face. Why are there so many parallels to Josephus and are they satire or the intentional setting out to build a religion. My conclusion is satire because I have hundreds of examples that follow the style of Greek satire. But, that the gospels were later assembled into a religious document and forced upon humanity is a fact of history, you don't need a conspiracy theory for that. I would conclude then that the gospels were misunderstood by people who didn't see the satire (I bump into a lot of them online who don't get it when you spell it out for them) or their original meaning was forgotten or people who knew it was a metaphor or parable (gnostics?) were killed and their books burned when the Romans realised they could use/mold this as a Rome-friendly alternative to Judaism and eventually it became the church of Rome (and many other places).
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-12-2016, 09:38 PM (This post was last modified: 19-12-2016 09:46 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(19-12-2016 04:13 AM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(18-12-2016 06:03 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "The Romans didn't have a great tradition in literature that the Greeks had and the Flavians were warriors, not religion inventors with advanced skills in literary techniques."

This is not my understanding of how things were, and Mike Duncan from "the history of Rome" podcast also disagrees with you. The Flavians had a rich literary history, particularly when it came to rewriting history as propaganda. Have a listen to this podcast, particularly from the 6th minute on...


http://podbay.fm/show/261654474/e/126742...utostart=1

Thanks for the podcast. It seems to be mostly just a summary of the Wars of the Jews, but a few interesting points. But it doesn't seem to support much the thesis that the Flavians could be religion inventors or were trained in literature, the closest thing in that podcast was the mention that Vespasian put the teachers on the public payroll. The podcast describes Vespasian as a down to earth almost folksy kind of guy, making crude jokes, taking off his own boots, and more focused on physically rebuilding the empire than psychological warfare. Even if you argue that some Romans had a tradition in satire, still their tradition was more in writing in Latin and not Greek chiasms. At best you can argue that a Roman origin of the gospels is a remote possibility, but not the most likely possibility. Atwill takes an extremely remote possibility and claims it is a proof, because it is remotely possible, so it must be true.

Anyway, more important than the question of authorship is the question of what it is they authored because that we have in front of our face. Why are there so many parallels to Josephus and are they satire or the intentional setting out to build a religion. My conclusion is satire because I have hundreds of examples that follow the style of Greek satire. But, that the gospels were later assembled into a religious document and forced upon humanity is a fact of history, you don't need a conspiracy theory for that. I would conclude then that the gospels were misunderstood by people who didn't see the satire (I bump into a lot of them online who don't get it when you spell it out for them) or their original meaning was forgotten or people who knew it was a metaphor or parable (gnostics?) were killed and their books burned when the Romans realised they could use/mold this as a Rome-friendly alternative to Judaism and eventually it became the church of Rome (and many other places).

Thankyou for your courteous reply.

I think you missed essential points in the podcast. Please (everyone) listen between 6:00 and 10:00. It is fascinating to understand how the Flavians, and their predecessors, rewrote history, and controlled public opinion. I think it is not unrealistic to imagine the original gospel(s) (ie "Mark") as part of their propaganda.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-12-2016, 03:24 PM
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Thankyou for your courteous reply.

"...But for Titus himself, he had this surprising conduct of the Jews in suspicion; for whereas he had invited them to come to terms of accommodation, by Josephus, but one day before, he could then receive no civil answer from them….”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 3:3

(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I think you missed essential points in the podcast. Please (everyone) listen between 6:00 and 10:00.

"he had encouraged the spread of eastern prophecies that had supposedly foretold his rise to power"
– The Only Man Who Improved, 6:30

"... for there was a certain ancient oracle of those men, that the city should then be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition should invade the Jews, and their own hand should pollute the temple of God…”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, 6:2-3

Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation... for the Jews… what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea...”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 5:4

“Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor's proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, "Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans, and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee."”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:3

“... Josephus... said, "Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive; but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings... Dost thou send me to Nero? For why? Are Nero's successors till they come to thee still alive? Thou, O Vespasian, art Caesar and emperor, thou, and this thy son. Bind me now still faster, and keep me for thyself, for thou, O Caesar, are not only lord over me, but over the land and the sea, and all mankind... When he had said this, Vespasian at present did not believe him, but supposed that Josephus said this as a cunning trick, in order to his own preservation; but in a little time he was convinced, and believed what he said to be true, God himself erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the empire, and by other signs fore-showing his advancement... To which Josephus replied, "I did foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on the forty-seventh day, and that I should be caught alive by the Romans." Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives privately about these predictions, he found them to be true, and then he began to believe those that concerned himself...”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:9

“There was a man sent from God, who... was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
– John 1:6-12

Josephus gave the Flavians the power to become the sons of God because he showed them how they were fulfilling Jewish prophecies. They just needed to believe on him.

"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him."
– Daniel 7:23-27

"Time and times and half a time" is believed to mean 3.5 years, the length of the war. Vespasian defeated three kings (who were never deified) in the year of four emperors and then came out of Israel to Egypt to become the ruler on the most High. It took another 3.5 years to subdue Masada. Remember how armageddon is supposed to come to Israel in the middle of a seven year period from the book of Revelation, where they also quote that "time and times and half a time" and the four beasts and the ten kings? Vespasian and Titus and Josephus knowingly fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel, Josephus told them about it long before the 3.5 year war was over. Did he tell them that the war needed to last 3.5 years?


(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It is fascinating to understand how the Flavians, and their predecessors, rewrote history, and controlled public opinion. I think it is not unrealistic to imagine the original gospel(s) (ie "Mark") as part of their propaganda.

"[Vespasian] was refreshingly self deprecating, he knew that he was not descended from nobility, he knew that he was an unrefined rustic... when someone traced his ancestry to Hercules, Vespasian burst out laughing and sent them on their way. He liked to tell off-color jokes, eat simple foods and caused a scandal when it got out that he took his own boots off... Vespasian's down-home charm was a welcome change of pace... put teachers on the public payroll."
– The Only Man Who Improved, 7:45

Doesn't sound like a master of psychological warfare, planning out a new religion to me. The closest thing I can find is this:

"He commissioned histories to be written to ensure that the Flavian version of history would be the only version taught."
– The Only Man Who Improved, 9:45

But even that doesn't make sense. As I have asked here several times before, and no one seems to have an answer for, why on earth would they make a new religion and tie it literarily to the works of Josephus so that it could be destroyed? It is impossible to prove a negative, if you just invent some character Jesus, I can't prove he didn't exist. But I can prove a positive, if he did in fact exists, by showing that he is Josephus and removing his divinity. Why would they make a religion centered around this Jew they captured in the war, the only son be-gotten of the father (because his two biological sons were begotten of the mother before she died), and thereby make their religion defeatable?
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
21-12-2016, 05:50 PM (This post was last modified: 21-12-2016 07:41 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Samaritans Reject Jesus (satire)
(21-12-2016 03:24 PM)fhqwhgads Wrote:  
(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Thankyou for your courteous reply.

"...But for Titus himself, he had this surprising conduct of the Jews in suspicion; for whereas he had invited them to come to terms of accommodation, by Josephus, but one day before, he could then receive no civil answer from them….”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 3:3

(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I think you missed essential points in the podcast. Please (everyone) listen between 6:00 and 10:00.

"he had encouraged the spread of eastern prophecies that had supposedly foretold his rise to power"
– The Only Man Who Improved, 6:30

"... for there was a certain ancient oracle of those men, that the city should then be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition should invade the Jews, and their own hand should pollute the temple of God…”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book IV, 6:2-3

Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation... for the Jews… what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea...”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VI, 5:4

“Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor's proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the dreams which he had dreamed in the night time, whereby God had signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, "Since it pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the Romans, and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to foretell what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly that I do not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a minister from thee."”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:3

“... Josephus... said, "Thou, O Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus himself captive; but I come to thee as a messenger of greater tidings... Dost thou send me to Nero? For why? Are Nero's successors till they come to thee still alive? Thou, O Vespasian, art Caesar and emperor, thou, and this thy son. Bind me now still faster, and keep me for thyself, for thou, O Caesar, are not only lord over me, but over the land and the sea, and all mankind... When he had said this, Vespasian at present did not believe him, but supposed that Josephus said this as a cunning trick, in order to his own preservation; but in a little time he was convinced, and believed what he said to be true, God himself erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the empire, and by other signs fore-showing his advancement... To which Josephus replied, "I did foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on the forty-seventh day, and that I should be caught alive by the Romans." Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives privately about these predictions, he found them to be true, and then he began to believe those that concerned himself...”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:9

“There was a man sent from God, who... was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
– John 1:6-12

Josephus gave the Flavians the power to become the sons of God because he showed them how they were fulfilling Jewish prophecies. They just needed to believe on him.

"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him."
– Daniel 7:23-27

"Time and times and half a time" is believed to mean 3.5 years, the length of the war. Vespasian defeated three kings (who were never deified) in the year of four emperors and then came out of Israel to Egypt to become the ruler on the most High. It took another 3.5 years to subdue Masada. Remember how armageddon is supposed to come to Israel in the middle of a seven year period from the book of Revelation, where they also quote that "time and times and half a time" and the four beasts and the ten kings? Vespasian and Titus and Josephus knowingly fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel, Josephus told them about it long before the 3.5 year war was over. Did he tell them that the war needed to last 3.5 years?


(19-12-2016 09:38 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It is fascinating to understand how the Flavians, and their predecessors, rewrote history, and controlled public opinion. I think it is not unrealistic to imagine the original gospel(s) (ie "Mark") as part of their propaganda.

"[Vespasian] was refreshingly self deprecating, he knew that he was not descended from nobility, he knew that he was an unrefined rustic... when someone traced his ancestry to Hercules, Vespasian burst out laughing and sent them on their way. He liked to tell off-color jokes, eat simple foods and caused a scandal when it got out that he took his own boots off... Vespasian's down-home charm was a welcome change of pace... put teachers on the public payroll."
– The Only Man Who Improved, 7:45

Doesn't sound like a master of psychological warfare, planning out a new religion to me. The closest thing I can find is this:

"He commissioned histories to be written to ensure that the Flavian version of history would be the only version taught."
– The Only Man Who Improved, 9:45

But even that doesn't make sense. As I have asked here several times before, and no one seems to have an answer for, why on earth would they make a new religion and tie it literarily to the works of Josephus so that it could be destroyed? It is impossible to prove a negative, if you just invent some character Jesus, I can't prove he didn't exist. But I can prove a positive, if he did in fact exists, by showing that he is Josephus and removing his divinity. Why would they make a religion centered around this Jew they captured in the war, the only son be-gotten of the father (because his two biological sons were begotten of the mother before she died), and thereby make their religion defeatable?

"As I have asked here several times before, and no one seems to have an answer for, why on earth would they make a new religion and tie it literarily to the works of Josephus..."

The following quote from my book, where I finish up my discussion of Atwill, is my answer to your question...

This (Atwill's theory) neatly explanations why Jesus was able to predict the future, as noticed by the naive (or dishonest) Eusebius (the fourth century Christian historian):

“If anyone compares the words of our savior with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Savior were truly divine and marvelously strange.” (Church History, Book III, Chapter VII.)

Eusebius failed to realize, or admit, that the Gospels’ authors had used Josephus to create Jesus. Justin Martyr and Tertullian made the same mistake. Some modern Christian apologists still, perhaps erroneously, think Jesus predicted the future.

Josephus even claimed the “government of Vespasian” was the Messiah predicted in Scripture.

“What did the most to induce the Jews to start this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea.” (Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews 6.312-313.)

So a pro Roman propagandist (Josephus) claimed that the Jewish Messiah was, in fact, the Roman bureaucracy. This could be why the Gospels, and in particular Matthew’s Gospel, make a big deal out of the idea that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.

Vespasian’s reign (69 – 79 CE) was notable for the fact that he, with his son Titus by his side, is well known to have been a great propagandist. The Flavians were particularly good at promoting the public’s respect for imperial authority. Vespasian was said to have restored a blind man’s site using spittle and to have healed a cripple (do these sound familiar?) Vespasian promoted the idea that he had bought peace to the empire. Vespasian was a strong patron of the arts and letters, and commissioned many authors to write “Flavian versions” of history. He was a wily old bird. It is entirely plausible that the Gospels were one such Flavian version of history.

Using religion for the good of the state was a well-established practice in ancient Rome; there was a tradition of absorbing the religions of its opponents. To do so neutralized the perception of their enemy’s divine assistance. It was easier and more cost effective than allowing those foreign gods to remain enemies, thereby risking more wrangles with the rank and file rallying under their gods.

In this case new scripture was created to subdue stubborn Jews and to stroke Titus’ ego by surreptitiously getting naïve Jews to worship him, as if Jesus had been the Messiah they had all been waiting for. “Jesus” was designed to deprive the Jews of their ambition to start another war, and to dilute the purity of Judaism with Gentiles, peo- ple who would be loyal, tax-paying citizens. How ironic, because the real Yeshua, if he ever existed, had tried to start an insurrection against the government!

There is no doubt that the Flavians were antagonistic towards Messianic Jews, even after the war. Vespasian imposed a special tax on all Jews in the Empire, in much the same way the rest of Europe imposed economic restrictions on Germany after World War 1.

It seems there were three tools the Roman government used to try to control the Jews; military might, economic suppression, and propaganda.

This neatly explains how Christianity, a pro-Roman religion reliant on the Gospels and said to promote pacifism and obedience, did not, in fact, emerge from a Jewish Judean cult in a nation that had over a one hundred year history of a militant struggle against Rome, but in reality materialized from Rome itself.

It explains why Yeshua, who was probably a political insurgent, was sometimes portrayed as a pacifist preacher. It is why “Jesus” referred to Jews (his own companions!) who rebelled against Rome as a “wicked generation.” It could be why the “second coming” of Jesus never happened; it was Titus who came instead. It may be why the true identities of all the four Gospel authors are unknown. It is one possible reason why the Gospels were first written in Greek, a language that would have been foreign to Yeshua, and why the Gospels are so often anti Semitic, yet in places tried to also appeal to fundamentalist Jews. It would explain why members of the Roman imperial family such as Flavius Clemens, later said (by some) to be the fourth pope, Bernice, Titus’ mistress, and Flavia Domitilla, Vespasian’s granddaughter, were said to be “Christians.” If so, they were the first Christians in name only, as they could not have believed in their own spoof. It is why the first Christian churches had a hierarchy based on Roman, not Jewish, (and not Nazarene) principles.

Propaganda was a powerful tool in Roman times, just as it is today. Public opinion was easily manipulated, because people did not have the means to check out the facts. Atwill thinks the Flavians did not intend sophisticated, educated people (like modern readers) to read the Gospels as serious literature or history. The Gospels were writ- ten for militant Jews, people Josephus referred to as “slaves” and “scum,” and for gullible Gentiles, the hoi polloi, the common people. At the time, only the upper tier of people, the more educated, were expected to recognize the parallels in Josephus’ works. Perhaps it was no big secret, at the time, amongst the rulers in Rome. It was too subtle a deception to be ever widely recognized or understood by the common people. Titus’ invented religion, the one said to be the basis of western morality, took hold partly because common people did not have the intellectual armor to guard against it.

If this theory is true, the Gospels were a very black comedy, and Christianity was a clever, and in one sense humorous, product of the broader struggle that had been going on since Alexander the Great in 333 BCE; that between Hellenism with its polytheism, cleverness and inclusivity, and Judaism’s monotheism, faith and exclusivity.
The multiculturalist Jesus’ injunctions to love your enemies, turn the other cheek, aspire to poverty, be content with misery, to dream about heaven, be afraid of hell, think like children and pay your taxes, take on a more profound and rather cynical meaning, because they were intended to pacify peasants, slaves and religious fanatics.
Christians may have been unwittingly worshipping Titus Flavius for nearly 2000 years! If so, Titus, lying in his grave, has had an embarrassed, ashamed expression on his face for the last two millennia. The creation he helped invent grew into a much larger monster than he could ever, in his wildest dreams, have imagined.

This theory may be thought of as complementing the hypothesis that Paul’s Christianity originated as part of a government plot too. Paul probably wrote well before the Flavians, yet there is a good reason why similar propaganda about a Christ (but not yet about a Jesus, as discussed) could have started earlier, in Paul’s day; the Roman administration under Nero was trying (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) to prevent a war with the Jews. As mentioned, Paul unambiguously implies in one of his letters (Philippians) that he has a cordial relationship with members of Nero’s household. He also promoted submission to Roman authorities. There would have been bureaucrats in the government’s administration who might have worked with Paul, who would later work with the Flavians. Atwill has said he will be writing another book that helps explain Paul’s role in the scheme.

There are, however, what seem to be a few minor problems with the theory. Atwill has proposed the four Gospels were originally written under Titus’ direction, yet it is a fact that no first century source ever specifically mentions the existence of any of the four Gospels, at least as they are now named (we know the current author’s names were never attached to them until much later.) There are some explanations that render Atwill’s theory still plausible; the original Jesus story, first written in the 70’s, might never have been popular until much later. Or, mentions of first century Gospels were later destroyed. Or, the basic framework of the Jesus biography(ies) were all that was written at first, and it (or they) were untitled.

Atwill states that the four Gospels were written together. Yet it is well established that Mark was written first. It seems unlikely that the government would invent four separate accounts, although it is possible, and Atwill puts forward some reasons why (which are complex, but can be read in his book.)

The theory to some degree undermines all the painstaking work and alternative theories of numerous historians, including linguists familiar with the Greek. It needs to be remembered that all the Gospels were edited and interpolated for at least a couple of hundred years after they were first written, so all such endeavours are bound to come to different conclusions. To what degree any number of authors with different ethnicities, education, agendas and writing styles altered the Gospels is a subject requiring much guesswork. Atwill does not acknowledge this fact, although that does not detract from the thrust of his theory.

Atwill thinks the “testimonium Flavianum,” which is where “Josephus” mentions Jesus, was genuinely written by Josephus, but many other scholars think the entire passage, or most of it, was an interpolation. Josephus’ works were serious attempts to document history, written for the educated upper classes, people who could read and afford to buy books. The Gospels were a different kettle of fish. They were written as propaganda, to be read out to the hoi polloi. Josephus would have been aware of, and maybe even had a hand in, the Gospels’ composition, but would not have wanted his genuine histories confused with the tongue in cheek satire of the Gospels. Josephus might have been embarrassed to write about the Jesus character (he would have regarded the miracle stories as childish.)

The Roman ruling classes, as a whole, privately regarded all sto- ries of gods, magic and miracles with derision. These concepts were useful tools to control the people, but were not, generally speaking, considered real in the upper echelons of Roman society. Consider how, in 79 CE, Vespasian, on his deathbed, remarked wittily

“Vae, puto deus fio! (Oh dear! I think I’m becoming a god!)”

It can be argued that it was overzealous Christians (perhaps Eusebius) in the fourth century who added Jesus in to Josephus’ account. If that were so, it does little to detract from Atwill’s theory.

What is more, maybe Josephus did not want the parallels between the Gospels and his histories to be too obvious. If Josephus did know of an historical Yeshua, he may have avoided mentioning him, because the account may have clashed with the Gospels. Or, Josephus may have written an historical report about Yeshua that was removed by Christians.

Atwill does not explain the proliferation of dozens of now apocryphal gospels in the second century, or the success of Marcion and the Gnostics, but the reality is that any commentary about this, from anyone, is to a large degree guesswork. I will have my guess and say that these versions of Christianity, in common with Paul’s ramblings, also originated from the government for the same reason, but were pre Flavian and therefore pre-Gospel (although Marcion himself did use a version of Luke, but Marcion only appeared in the 140’s.)

Atwill does not mention the Nazarenes, who are an essential part of the Jesus story, although that does not detract from the main theme of his theory.

Some people are under the impression Domitian (emperor from 81-96 CE) persecuted Christians, which would negate the idea that the Flavians created the Gospels, but the evidence that Domitian persecuted Christians is very weak. There is good evidence Domitian sought out any “sons of David” and that, in doing so, he interrogated the Nazarenes, but they were not Christians. In fact Clement I, said by the Vatican to be the fourth pope, may have been a member of the Flavian family.

If what Atwill theorizes is in fact true, he has uncovered the biggest scam ever in world history, and there are seriously important implications for the legitimacy of Christianity today. I think anyone who lightly dismisses the story just told has either failed to appreciate the depth of Jewish-Gentile antagonism in the first century, or underestimates the cleverness of the ancient Roman government, or else does not recognize how strongly Christianity has shaped our modern world.

There are many reputable scholars who do not buy into Atwill’s theory. There is today an entire academic industry built around studying early Christianity. Experts on the topic hold positions in universities. People write books about Jesus and the early Christians. If Atwill’s theory is accepted, all of a sudden there is very little of real sub- stance left to discuss, and maybe that treads on a few toes, because many of the previously unknown questions are answered, and well answered, and the whole topic of Christianity loses its importance and intrigue. All these people would be left looking a little sheepish. Then consider the priests and preachers and assorted hangers on who make a living, or even just those who derive a sense of purpose, out of teaching and proselytizing Christianity. If Atwill is right, they too might be out of a job and have egg on their faces. It is perhaps, therefore, not surprising that some people resort to ad hominem attacks against Atwill, although it is a little disappointing that otherwise good historians sometimes do so.

Even if Atwill’s theory as a whole is wrong, there are still elements of it that ring loud and true. He has given us all something to think about, particularly by pointing out the parallels between the Gospels and the works of Josephus. There will always be differing opinions about the details, yet I think that the essential premise of his hypothesis is that the government created the Gospels to undermine messianic Judaism, and it has a lot of merit.

I have not done justice to all of Atwill’s evidence. Those interested can read his book and watch him talk on youtube.

Where does this leave the theory that there existed an historical Yeshua who tried to start a war with Rome? Atwill acknowledges that it is possible the Jesus character may have been a real individual, who he too thinks was a militaristic zealot. It is not hard to imagine Jewish and Roman intellectuals deciding to use the memory of a political activist crucified under Pontius Pilate roughly forty years earlier as part of a very tall tale. It is a clever ploy to mix a little truth into an account to make it appear more legitimate.

The Nazarenes of the late first century still thought highly of their hero Yeshua, and they were significant players in the events prior to the first Jewish war, so the Gospels could also have been deliberately written to undermine their story about Yeshua. It is possible that the Gospels’ original authors used details about Yeshua sourced from the Gospel of the Nazarenes, and deliberately turned the story of a brave wannabe Messiah into a pro-Roman pacifist. If this happened, Titus turned Yeshua into Jesus, and Jesus was really Titus.

If the government created the Gospels, they would have also employed presbyters to promote the new religion. This would explain how Christianity appeared in many different parts of the empire toward the end of the first century. There is no specific evidence (that I know of) to support this idea, but the reality is that no one knows for sure how or why Christianity spread in the first century.

It is hard to imagine an improbable pro-Roman story about a crucified Galilean, who was really the son of the Jewish God, gaining a momentum of its own without financial support and organization from a hierarchy. Those Christian apologists who claim it was only because Christian teaching was so pure and attractive probably have a too simplistic understanding.

The tale told in Acts (written much later, probably in the early second century) about the miracle working Paul and the miracle working Christian disciples of Jesus, is obviously manufactured, as it is totally implausible.

The Gospels did not succeed in suppressing militant Judaism, as there were numerous small Jewish uprisings in the early second century that culminated in the 2nd Jewish war of 132-6 CE. This massive conflict, which for the Jews was the equivalent of World War 2, decimated the Judean infrastructure. The concept of a Jewish state was definitively crushed. Christianity became redundant, at least as far as the government was concerned, and perhaps the government no longer subsidized it, but by this time the new religion had taken on a life of its own in various forms. This could be why Christian Churches became self-funding and self-promoting.

The fact that the faith may have started out as government propaganda was never public knowledge, and by the time the mid second century came around there were multiple versions of Christianity all with their own idiosyncratic ideas. No one remembered, and (probably) no documentation was kept, about why the whole show was created in the first place.

Over the next two centuries the government occasionally persecuted Christians. The reasons for that is a topic for another book, but it was for political reasons, never because of Christian beliefs per se. Rome was always tolerant of other (than the Imperial cult) religions, but not if their practitioners caused trouble or broke the law. It was not until the fourth century that the government (Constantine’s) once again actively patronized Christian Churches again, and it was for a similar reason – to control people’s behavior.

The origin of Christianity makes for a fascinating discussion. All historians have their own opinions, and make educated guesses, because reliable specifics are so lacking. We will probably never definitively know the whole story, unless startling facts are one day discovered in the bowels of the Vatican (and it is hard to imagine them ever letting that happen) or somewhere else.

While the exact details about the authorship of the Gospels, or of Paul’s motivations, or of whether an historical Jesus ever existed, are uncertain, the origin of the whole Christian saga reeks of political propaganda. Christians today who choose to believe the Vatican’s (i.e. Rome’s) version of events should be asking themselves if they have been conned.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Mark Fulton's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: