Atwill, Carotta and other scholars

Tony Bird

New Member
All this old religious material is rather boring, but because it's so damn important I seem to keep coming back to it. I agree with much of the political stance of this webpage, but I come to it from a different angle.

Joseph Atwill is one of five scholars whose works I've been reading in recent years, the others being Bart Ehrman, Elaine Pagels, Robert Eisenman and Barbara Thiering. Give them credit for independent thinking, although the conclusions each reaches are very different from one another. Still, there are interesting linkages, such as Thiering's explanation for Eisenman's observation that James, the probable brother of Jesus, seems to be given a far back seat in the hagiography of the time.

I think Atwill would do better to expunge certain words from his analyses. "Comic" and "satire", for a start. And then take a look at the book which Richard Stanley references in his essay on this forum, "Isaac and the Fortunate Sons". This is a book by one Francesco Carotta, "Jesus was Caesar"--that is, Julius Caesar. Pretty much coined from the same mint as Atwill's "Caesar's Messaiah", which could be titled, "Jesus was Titus". You have the same perceptions of parallel events and circumstances--haha, and the same jumping to conclusions. Fellas, it's a stretch.

Of these five scholars I found Thiering's stance perhaps the most refreshing, although it's anyone's guess as to whether she's right or not. One should conclude that none of them is "right", although they perform the great service of lifting the veil of sacrosanctity from our examination of this key era. As Eisenman says:

"As I see it, all these references converge and are pointed towards events we can now only dimly make out or perceive, but with the use of a little intelligent historical analysis, they can be gingerly teased from the existing data, much as DNA can be teased from long-discarded human remains."

Eisenman's work is ponderous, but I think he makes another valid point: you really have to get into the material to begin to tackle the analysis. That requires, as several of these scholars undertook in their careers, some familiarity with the languages of the originals--Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic--and then the dedication to embrace all things related: Biblical scripture, apocrypha and gnostic material, the Dead Sea scrolls, and other archaeological and historical evidence. Seem like a lot? You'd better believe it.

However, I've found that each of these scholars offers a key to certain portions of the material, whether you agree with their conclusions or not. Atwill has certainly pored over Josephus, and he makes many astute observations. Heck, there's more in Josephus than in the entire Bible, and for some reason it has been preserved assiduously, whereas much of the other historical writing of the time comes to us fragmented. Thiering was an expert on the Dead Sea scrolls and the unique community of Qumran. As Atwill sees parallels between Jesus and Titus, Thiering sees Qumran as a parallel to Jerusalem. It was a colony of religious purists set up 15 miles to the east, a strange bunch whose practices nevertheless carried directly into the Christianity we know today. Joseph and Mary were important members. Jesus and James, their children, were caught up in the political conflicts of the day. Jesus wasn't made-up, according to Thiering, but a real figure of nevertheless secondary importance. Thiering is a fascinating trip, humanizing the stilted miraculousness of the New Testament. Who knows whether she's on the mark or not.

Otherwise Pagels is something of an expert on matters gnostic and Ehrman--well, he seems to have become the darling of the Skeptic Society, enjoying himself as an iconoclast, but he rarely ventures into really dangerous territory. Nor does Pagels. Really daring assertions, such as those of Atwill or Thiering, could break the leg of an endowed chair.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Hi Tony, welcome to the forum.

I think Atwill would do better to expunge certain words from his analyses. "Comic" and "satire", for a start. And then take a look at the book which Richard Stanley references in his essay on this forum, "Isaac and the Fortunate Sons". This is a book by one Francesco Carotta, "Jesus was Caesar"--that is, Julius Caesar. Pretty much coined from the same mint as Atwill's "Caesar's Messaiah", which could be titled, "Jesus was Titus". You have the same perceptions of parallel events and circumstances--haha, and the same jumping to conclusions. Fellas, it's a stretch.
I understand your gripe about Atwill's use of 'comic' and 'satire', but of course, what if he is correct? Was it Horace who said: "What forbids us from telling the truth ... laughingly"? There are differences among people in this field as to motivations to produce the Christian corpus, while some believe that the motivation was indeed the gradual revealing of enlightenment, thus the inclusion of such as Pythagorean esoterica, to wider humanity, there is a school of thought (that extends beyond Christian Origins) that All religious development is part and parcel of secular governance, typically monarchical or imperial. And a corollary to that being the possibility that the ruling elites having indeed 'risen' to their heights because of particular behavioral properties. One of which might be where they fit on the spectrum of genetic psychopathy mixed with nurtured sociopathy.

So, in this latter, I am fairly comfortable with Atwill's take on the use of veiled dark humor.

As to your second issue, we find it easy to explain that Julius Caesar, Octavaian Augustus Caesar, and Titus Flavius could all simultaneously be informing the character of the Biblical Jesus. In this sense, Jesus of the dubious (at that time) Nazareth becomes the singular avatar (for the new Augustan Age, both being the Prince of Peace) for the collective caesars, all of them. In this regard we find that the imperium likely well understood that the imperial cult, the Divii Iulia, could not stand the test of time, and therefore a singular entity, an avatar must take their place. This is why the cities with the basilicas of the imperial cult were so emphasized in the Pauline mission. The numerous resources of the imperial cult could be put to (covert) use in the earlier stages in support of building the new religion.

I generally agree with your ecumenical approach to the different takes by respective researchers, with some caveats. If a particular position is wrong .. it is wrong. For instance, there is no reason that there could not be one historical 'Jesus' used as a baseline trope to hang the aspects of several other individuals upon. From Josephus, there might even be several Jesi, albeit a few of his Jesi, might be one individual.

I used to be of the same exact opinion as yours regarding the OT, only I was that way regarding the whole Bible. Now, I am the complete opposite, and even more so now that I understand the millennial component for what it really is. Such becomes even more exciting in learning that MacDonald's(?) discussion of the Homeric input to the gospels can be bolstered on several fronts. The focus of Homer was revolving about the Trojan War and its fallout. This war figuratively, if not literally, marked the end of the Late Bronze Age, a massive and truly apocalyptic impact to the Globalization of the day.

In this regard Jesus was preceded in the Greco-Roman world, by Castor and Pollux, their twin godman saviors, sired from the Heavenly Father, Zeus. Like the Christian cross being carried before troops, a twin upright cross, the dokana, was carried into battle. Their divine sister, Helen, launched the war, while Castor and Pollux didn't make it to the war, having been killed when trying to steal cattle from their former fellow Argonauts. Divine Humor? All this complements the work of Valliant and Fahy in their Creating Christ, where they discuss the Flavian use of the Fish and Anchor symbology of the Flavians. The king of the fishes of the day, was the dolphin, and the dolphin was akin to Castor and Pollux as known to 'save' humans, mariners. Paul symbolically carried Christianity to Rome on a ship named Castor and Pollux.

(Synthetic, socially constructed) Jews versus (Synthetic, socially constructed) Gentiles? Moses Hadas's classic Hellenistic Culture is almost completely a discussion of the (inverted mirror-image) parallels in Hellenistic and Judaic Cultures, including the OT. Everything [sic] that was happening then is going on right now. This is very exciting ... and darkly scary. And its all of human design, the Mother of All Divide and Conquer Dialectics.

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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Tony,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. I hadn't heard of Thiering before. I just have a couple of clarifying questions & comments:

Eisenman's observation that James, the probable brother of Jesus, seems to be given a far back seat in the hagiography of the time.
Eisenman says that James was the Righteous Teacher of the Qumran Scrolls, which hardly seems like a back seat in hagiography, does it? Or do you (and Eisenman, and Thiering) mean that James takes a back seat in the New Testament?

I think Atwill would do better to expunge certain words from his analyses. "Comic" and "satire", for a start.
I am curious if you mean that Atwill is wrong to see humor and satire in Josephus and the Gospels, and that they are actually nothing but spiritually elevated and seriously intended? Or whether you mean that readers who might otherwise be drawn to his theories, would find this a politically offensive stumbling block, whether or not it's true?

Having seen and wincingly laughed at the same jokes that Atwill sees, I can't expunge them from my mind, nor convince myself that the Romans weren't also laughing.

Eisenman's work is ponderous, but I think he makes another valid point: you really have to get into the material to begin to tackle the analysis. That requires, as several of these scholars undertook in their careers, some familiarity with the languages of the originals--Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic--and then the dedication to embrace all things related: Biblical scripture, apocrypha and gnostic material, the Dead Sea scrolls, and other archaeological and historical evidence. Seem like a lot? You'd better believe it.
Does Eisenman himself say that it's necessary to study the original languages, to make any contribution to the analysis? Or are you drawing this conclusion, from the quality & success of his body of work?

For myself, I am very glad that some scholars dedicate their lives to this task, as Eisenman did. But on the other hand, it seems to me that too many scholars (sitting in chairs that have been bought & paid for) are intentionally oblivious to conclusions that are obvious even in translation.
 
Greetings, Tony.

I note that you are reading Barbara Thiering, who is an Australian like myself. Her work did not help me to understand the history behind Christianity, but it is certainly stimulating in introducing the various characters in a novel way. The various writers have to be compared to obtain something meaningful. Carotta uncovered the Passion narrative as related to Julius Caesar's funeral while Vaillant & Fahy link the Pauline characters and indeed the two Clements (of Rome and of Alexandra) into the larger picture of Joe Atwill's understanding of Josephus. At long last the creation of Christianity is falling into place.

I hope you too will come to appreciate the many puzzling and yet ultimately illuminating facets of this situation.

Yours faithfully
Claude
 

Tony Bird

New Member
Thanks to Claude for the reference--haven't read the Valliant and Fahy book, which I'm doing now. I should probably wait until I'm done with it before continuing.

However I don't find the tone of it very conclusive thus far, and the authors seem to indulge in the self-convincing that seems to go on in so many of the books on this subject. I've already come across an interesting juncture. V & F, in discussing the persecutions by Nero and the reference by Tacitus to "Christians" and a figure named "Chrestus", conclude that Tacitus couldn't be talking about Jesus and his followers because Jesus was dead by the time of Nero. They go on to speculate that the object of Nero's persecution and scapegoating for the fire of Rome must be a zealot-type Jewish group in Rome, troublemakers that Nero would have had good cause to be concerned about.

Well and good, but if you read Thiering, that perception might change. She'll tell you that Jesus seems to have lived to the age of 62 and probably spent quite a few of his later years in Rome.

To respond to Jerry--

I guess Mr. Atwill can use any words he wants. I just don't see it as humorous, but the Romans must have had a pretty dark sense of that, given Colosseum entertainment.

And, no, Eisenman doesn't suggest that everyone has to undertake a study of the languages, but he does believe that going to the original material is essential. So I've dusted off an old Bible and gotten editions of Josephus and the Dead Sea scrolls. I hope I live long enough to make a dent in them. But linguistics become terribly important when the use of words begins to get controversial and people start looking for hidden meanings. You find that above--"Chrestus" versus "Christus". Quite a bit hanging on the spelling with a single letter.
 
Very cogent observations Tony...
Thanks to Claude for the reference--haven't read the Valliant and Fahy book, which I'm doing now. I should probably wait until I'm done with it before continuing.

However I don't find the tone of it very conclusive thus far, and the authors seem to indulge in the self-convincing that seems to go on in so many of the books on this subject. I've already come across an interesting juncture. V & F, in discussing the persecutions by Nero and the reference by Tacitus to "Christians" and a figure named "Chrestus", conclude that Tacitus couldn't be talking about Jesus and his followers because Jesus was dead by the time of Nero. They go on to speculate that the object of Nero's persecution and scapegoating for the fire of Rome must be a zealot-type Jewish group in Rome, troublemakers that Nero would have had good cause to be concerned about.

Well and good, but if you read Thiering, that perception might change. She'll tell you that Jesus seems to have lived to the age of 62 and probably spent quite a few of his later years in Rome.
...and for the record the Mandaean Gnostics claim that John the Baptist lived to age 64, so there seems to be a deep connection there, as the Slavonic version of Josephus Wars has John the Baptist confronting Herod the Great who died in 4 BCE!!!!!

You are quite right that V & F do not begin well (despite the remarkable anchor imagery), presuming as they do Jesus to be physically real - though this might help draw in those less sceptical towards a physical Jesus - but as the book goes on it becomes very impressive indeed, as they identify characters in Paul's epistles with real people high up in the Roman administration! Therefore you will also need to read Bruno Bauer's Christ and the Caesars, a book over a century old but translated into English only very recently.

As for 'Chrestus', Francisco Carotta's book has a striking alternative other than 'Christus'!

Yours faithfully
Claude
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
As for 'Chrestus', Francisco Carotta's book has a striking alternative other than 'Christus'!
Unfortunately for the both of you, and everybody else, the retired archaeologist, John Bartram, took down his Google pages on his work looking at the Flavians' association with ... 'Chrestianity'. He was quite chauvinisticaly proud of his work being based upon hard inscriptions, in stone, and not on mere textual analysis.

His thesis is that the Flavians, and others like Epiphroditus and Poppaea, were members of the cult of Chrest (the Good - which is what chrest means). He thinks this is why Nero murdered Poppaea, but I think that Nero was in on the Chrest game. Bartram traces the Chrest inscriptions into Anatolia, where there was a nexus of various Romans, such as those supposed exiled, and 'Christianity' records much of its early rise.

Perhaps the biggest find of Bartram's though was on paper, the Codex Sinaiticus. He showed how the original 'E' in Chrest had been modified to the 'I' in Christ (which means savior, like the Hebrew messiah).

Both of you might also enjoy the novel of Ken Atchity, The Messiah Matrix. It is written in Da Vinci Code style, and is based upon the late 19th century coin scholarship of Alexander del Mar (?). Here, Jesus Christ is really Octavian Augustus Caesar, Virgil's Prince of Peace, and the gods Jasius and Janus(?) are invoked.

Atchity claims to be a happy Catholic of such as a Georgetown education and he is actively involved in Hollywood. The narrative thread in the book revolves around a Jesuit desire to reveal that Augustus was indeed Christ, and that there are others in the church who are adamantly opposed to this.

Whatever. I just happened to catch the funeral services of John Paul II after having read the story of Julius Caesar's funeral only 6 week prior. It was clear that JPII's services were mimicking the rites of Julius', with only a few exceptions. For one, JPII was not lit on fire so we could watch him ascend to Heaven (on the third day). But Jesus was there for JPII, hung on his cross just like Julius Caesar's wax effigy had been hung on the tropaeum by Marc Antony. When Antony revealed the wounds in JC's (effigy on the tropaeum) side, the attendees could not contain themselves. I was not able to tell if any Jews were in attendance, but the crowd was wailing just as Suetonius described for Julius. Augustus, of course, was the Son of this god.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Unfortunately for the both of you, and everybody else, the retired archaeologist, John Bartram, took down his Google pages on his work looking at the Flavians' association with ... 'Chrestianity'.
But fortunately for everyone, a couple of mirror sites have appeared:

http://origins-of-christianity.rocks

http://cista.net/Origins-of-Chrestianity/sites.google.com/site/originsofchristianity/index.html

Also, Bartram is continuing to post at Quora. You can ask him questions there.

https://www.quora.com/profile/John-Bartram
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Thank You Saint Russell, for resurrecting Chrest, a true modern day miracle.


From Bartram's former Google+ front page:

Early Chrestians
The early Chrestians were among the imperial aristocracy, whose influence extended into the provinces of Asia Minor, Judea and Egypt; we know this because good archaeology names them.
Right [above]: epitaph inscription CIL VI 24944, naming Antonia Minor (36 BCE - 37 CE) a niece of Augustus, her husband the Roman general and consul Nero Claudius Drusus, and Jucundus, a name made famous by the villa found at Pompeii.
She expanded Chrestianity through her power and influence, using her estate manager in Egypt, Alexander the Alabarch; his brother the famous philosopher Philo of Alexandria; and her many freed slaves, such as Felix (procurator of Judea), Caenis (who became common-law wife of the emperor Vespasian), and Epaphroditus (head chamberlain of the imperial court in Rome). She also used the numerous children she had raised as hostages, as they became adult nobles and royalty in the provinces.
The Alabarch and his family were considered Jewish (at least in his lifetime) and their wealth was used to support the Herodian monarchy in Judea and the (Second) Temple; the Herodians, as ethnic Idumaeans, had been forcibly converted to Judaism. A number of Judean aristocracy had houses in Rome and some of the royal family resided there permanently.
Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. (The Life of Claudius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquillus)
http://origins-of-christianity.rocks/
It would be a son or grandson(?) of the Alabarch that commanded a Roman legion in the Jewish War. As Bartram discusses, the Greek nature of Chrestianity explains the Pythagorean esoterica, such as the mathematics of its Sacred Geometry, in the Gospels - as detailed by David Fideler in his Jesus Christ, Sun of God. It also helps better explain what uncle Philo was really up to.

As 'Idumaeans', the Herodians were Edomites. The OT, Isaiah (or Ezekiel), states that Esau (the alleged founder of Edom) will eventually regain his inheritance (the Blessing of Abraham) that had been stolen from him by his twin brother, Jacob. We are talking the Genesis org chart of tribes, not of individuals, and consistent with such that Judah is subservient to Ephraim (via Joseph).

Based upon the inspirations provided by Flavio Barbiero, from his Secret Society of Moses, and F. Rendell Harris on his great works on the Dioscuri Twins, I have tried to advance matters further here, startiing with Flavia Domitilla's 'Christian' (Mithraic) Sarccphagus: https://postflaviana.org/community/index.php?threads/from-chrest-to-christ.2462/
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Edited 9/28/19

In this link, Bartram discusses the Egyptian origins of the Chi-Rho symbol. He also briefly discusses Queen Helen, and son Izates, of Adiabene. Helen has an extant, pyramidal tomb in Jerusalem, and she was a Nazarite (like Samson), which I have discussed what this means on the forum (also in relation to Trump). Author Ralph Ellis discusses Izates as another possible historical (parody of the 'pretender to the throne') candidate for being the real Jesus, and as a grandson / great-grandson (incest) of Julius and Cleopatra. Islam refers to 'Jesus' as 'Isa'.

In the 38th minute of Season 2, episode 9 of Unearthed, is revealed the below images. Of course, the cartouches of the pharaohs, Augustus and Claudius are recorded similarly as well. Under Augustus, Egypt became a personal principate of the emperors, like Lancashire was for the British Crown. Not only were the Caesars fond of Egyptian things like obelisks, but so were the 'Christian' popes.

The cartouche of the pharaoh, Tiberius Caesar, at the Temple of Ptah in the Karnak complex:
398

A 'Christian, or Chrestian(?), solar cross, still extant today:
399

A stylized Christian, or Chrestian(?) fish, the arcs that of a geometric vesica piscis, not a literal fish:
400

As I've discussed before, during the reign of Claudius, Vespasian and his brother were officers in the Roman Army in Britain, where . Later, during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian a unique Vesica Piscis shrine was constructed in the middle of the Dewa (Deva Victrix) Fortress, today's Chester, England. On Along the inner walls of the shrine were 12 niches rooms, like Catholic stations of the Cross. It seems dubious to me that Vespasian and his brother would not have been aware, at least, of the shrine. Vespasian was most certainly aware of the construction of this unique structure. A lead water pipe leading to a central water feature in the structure was engraved with his name, providing a good dating window.

The fortress and shrine is now unceremoniously buried under a shopping center car park in Chester, England.
 
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Seeker

Active Member
She expanded Chrestianity through her power and influence, using her estate manager in Egypt, Alexander the Alabarch; his brother the famous philosopher Philo of Alexandria; and her many freed slaves, such as Felix (procurator of Judea), Caenis (who became common-law wife of the emperor Vespasian), and Epaphroditus (head chamberlain of the imperial court in Rome). She also used the numerous children she had raised as hostages, as they became adult nobles and royalty in the provinces.
The above refers to Antonia Minor, whose nephew the "Pantera" Ptolemy of Mauretania was a part of her remarkable court, and who may be the biological father of the real "Jesus". Yes, indeed, from "Chrest" to "Christ", Thank You, Mr. Bartram!
 

Seeker

Active Member
It seems dubious to me that Vespasian and his brother would not have been aware, at least, of the shrine.
Everything that I have read about this fortress (see following example) tells me that it was built during the reign of Vespasian (69-79), not when he and his brother invaded Britain with Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0006:entry=deva His brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, was murdered in Rome just before Vespasian became Emperor, so he knew nothing of this fortress. Also, everything that I have read about this fortress refers to it as Deva (Victrix), not Dewa, am I missing something here, or is that what Ellis called it?
 

Seeker

Active Member
I don't know if one can connect this to "Jesus" at Deva Victrix, but King Arthur fought twelve battles (like twelve associated with Jesus?), with the ninth perhaps at Chester
  • "The ninth battle was in the City of the Legion":

The Urbe Legionis or "City of the Legions" causes problems because there were two cities so called: Caerleon and Chester, at either end of the Welsh border. It is also possible that York bore such a title. The idea that many other Roman forts, like Carlisle or Exeter, once had similar names seems unlikely though; as does identification with the Battle of Dyrham. Chester was Caer Legion, while Caerleon was Caer Legion guar Uisc (that is "Caerleon-upon-Usk"), though the latter often lost its suffix. Chester appears to be the likeliest candidate. It was actually recorded in the Annales Cambriae as Urbs Legionis and was the site of a well-attested Battle of Chester in Dark Age times. In 613, King Ćthelfrith of Bernicia invaded the Welsh Kingdoms in order to stop King Iago of Gwynedd restoring the former's old enemy, Edwin, to the Deiran throne. The armies of Gwynedd, Powys, Pengwern & Dumnonia rose to repell him, but were bitterly defeated at the Battle of Chester: Kings Iago of Gwynedd & Selyf Sarffgadau of Powys being killed. This brave British stand against the Northern Saxons was probably transported back a hundred years to the time of Arthur.
https://invenitmundo.blogspot.com/2016/07/king-arthurs-twelve-battles.html
 

Tony Bird

New Member
The big problem I see with the Flavian hypothesis is timing, and the key figure in that is Paul. From what I've read, most scholars seem to agree on two points: Paul's writings preceded all subsequent Jesus-Christian literature--gospels, apocrypha, Acts, Revelation, etc.--and Paul is likely to have died at the time of Nero and was perhaps executed by him.

Do you see the problem? If anyone invented Jesus, it was Paul. The Flavians came afterward.
 
Greetings again Tony Bird!

I used to have that problem with Joe, and I thought it a BIG one, too...
The big problem I see with the Flavian hypothesis is timing, and the key figure in that is Paul. From what I've read, most scholars seem to agree on two points: Paul's writings preceded all subsequent Jesus-Christian literature--gospels, apocrypha, Acts, Revelation, etc.--and Paul is likely to have died at the time of Nero and was perhaps executed by him.

Do you see the problem? If anyone invented Jesus, it was Paul. The Flavians came afterward.
… until I read Francesco Carotta's "Caesar was Jesus". This text is full of presumptuous connections between Roman and Greek or Hebrew words, but despite these errors it does provide the correct foundation upon which Caesar's Messiah rests. The connection is a long term one since the assassination of Julius Caesar predates the Rome-Jewish War by over a century.

Caesar's assassination provoked massive civil war, hence Augustus' need to divinize JC. The situation was underscored in his lifetime by the Varian Disaster, three legions wiped out in the Teutoberg Forest in Germany, ending JC's dream of conquering all Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Who was responsible for that disaster by treating the Germans with contempt? And who was Governor of Syria before the appointment of Quirinius (in Luke's Gospel)? Answer these two questions and you have your answer!

Yours faithfully
Claude
 
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Richard Stanley

Administrator
The big problem I see with the Flavian hypothesis is timing, and the key figure in that is Paul. From what I've read, most scholars seem to agree on two points: Paul's writings preceded all subsequent Jesus-Christian literature--gospels, apocrypha, Acts, Revelation, etc.--and Paul is likely to have died at the time of Nero and was perhaps executed by him.

Do you see the problem? If anyone invented Jesus, it was Paul. The Flavians came afterward.
Hi Tony,

Unlike some, I DO NOT see the Flavians as being solely responsible for Xianity. Actually, I believe like John Bartram that the Flavians technically gave rise to Chrestianity, which was later easily morphed (or shoehorned) into Christianity, literally using an eraser. And hence, similarly the Christian/Chrestian (Flavian imperial iconography) fish and anchor became the cross by imperial edict of the Constantine era.

Thus, as Claude alludes to the god of clemency, Julius Caesar, and his adopted son Augustus, the Prince of Peace having started THE religious merger and acquisition of the day (uhmmmm age), it was not finalized for centuries later, with the Flavians and Paul (aka Josephus Flavius) as importantly witting agents in the process. For Paul's essential role, I highly recommend the Jesus trilogy works of Ralph Ellis, for explaining your chronological issue. In any case, Atwill and Ellis discuss how the gospel narrative was chronologically transposed back in time 40 years (one generation) while Paul/Josephus is left in correct chronological time.

The earlier religious merger that created Serapis was a small deal compared to the Roman and elite 'Jewish' enterprise that created Christianity, a massive amalgamation of paganism with a Judaic gloss. Such massive cultural change takes such a long time, as people don't like having their god or gods tampered with, the most important aspect of their Culture, which forms them like pearls, only with humans from the womb to the grave.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
The situation was underscored in his lifetime by the Varian Disaster, three legions wiped out in the Teutoberg Forest in Germany, ending JC's dream of conquering all Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Who was responsible for that disaster by treating the Germans with contempt? And who was Governor of Syria before the appointment of Quirinius (in Luke's Gospel)? Answer these two questions and you have your answer!
Publius Quictilius Varus generally gets the blame for the fiasco at Teutoberg Forest. Before that, he had been the governor of Syria from 7 BC until 4 BC, where he was notorious for his cruelty. So that's the answer... but what was the question again?

Somehow, even though the Romans "never again attempted to conquer the Germanic territories east of the Rhine River" after the great defeat at Teutoberg, nevertheless those Germanic tribes wound up becoming Christian. How did that happen? Is that part of the question... or the answer...?
 
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