Jesus and Nicodemus

Josephson

Member
Born of the Spirit
In Book III, the Romans have just conquered the city of Jotapata where Josephus had led the Jewish resistance and he is now hiding in a pit. After he is discovered, Vespasian sends Nicanor to convince him to surrender but the other Jews with him won't allow it, they want to commit mutual suicide:

“AND now the Romans searched for Josephus, both out of the hatred they bore him, and because their general was very desirous to have him taken; for he reckoned that if he were once taken, the greatest part of the war would be over... but as the city was first taken, he was assisted by a certain supernatural providence; for he withdrew himself from the enemy when he was in the midst of them, and leaped into a certain deep pit... and there he met with forty persons of eminency that had concealed themselves, and with provisions enough to satisfy them for not a few days... Whereupon Vespasian sent immediately and zealously two tribunes, Paulinus and Gallicanus, and ordered them to give Josephus their right hands as a security for his life, and to exhort him to come up... but they did not prevail with him; for he gathered suspicions from the probability there was that one who had done so many things against the Romans must suffer for it, though not from the mild temper of those that invited him… Vespasian sent besides these a third tribune, Nicanor, to him; he was one that was well known to Josephus… and told him that he had behaved himself so valiantly,that the commanders rather admired than hated him…When he had said this, he complied with Nicanor's invitation. But when those Jews who had fled with him understood that he yielded to those that invited him to come up, they came about him in a body, and cried out, "Nay, indeed…We will lend thee our right hand and a sword; and if thou wilt die willingly, thou wilt die as general of the Jews; but if unwillingly, thou wilt die as a traitor to them." As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their swords at him, and threatened they would kill him, if he thought of yielding himself to the Romans.”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:1-4​

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night {when he was in the pit;}, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a {this ;} man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God {seriously, unless I die and am born again, there's no way I'm getting out to the Romans! ;}. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit {dead;}, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God {these Jews are gonna kill me if I don't commit suicide, ain't no way outa here;}. That which is born of the flesh is flesh{alive;}; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit {I'm telling you, like a ghost;}. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof {like “whooooosh” I'm a ghost;}, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit {“she's like the wind”;}. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel {Rome;}, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen {we can only talk about what we have seen;}; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things {come on, this isn't that complicated;}, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up {you gotta get me outa here! ;}: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life {like, save me! ;}.”
– John 3:1-15​

Every time Jesus speaks metaphorically, people take it literally and every time he speaks literally people take it metaphorically. Almost as if they were intentionally trying to misunderstand the entire message. Let me paraphrase what Jesus just said. When you are born of the spirit, you are like the wind, we don't know where you are, we can only talk about what we have seen, I'm just telling you about earthly things, but if someone doesn't lift me out of this hole that's what's gonna happen to me and I'll never make it out to the Romans except as like a ghost or if I am born again, get it?

“Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]"”
– Thomas 1:5​

Nicodemus: Hear a Man Before you Judge
“Now when affairs within the city were in this posture, Titus went round the city on the outside with some chosen horsemen, and looked about for a proper place where he might make an impression upon the walls; but as he was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side, (for the place was no way accessible where the valleys were, and on the other side the first wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines,) he thereupon thought it best to make his assault upon the monument of John the high priest; for there it was that the first fortification was lower, and the second was not joined to it, the builders neglecting to build strong where the new city was not much inhabited; here also was an easy passage to the third wall, through which he thought to take the upper city, and, through the tower of Antonia, the temple itself. But at this time, as he was going round about the city, one of his friends, whose name was Nicanor, was wounded with a dart on his left shoulder, as he approached, together with Josephus, too near the wall, and attempted to discourse to those that were upon the wall, about terms of peace; for he was a person known by them. On this account it was that Caesar, as soon as he knew their vehemence, that they would not hear even such as approached them to persuade them to what tended to their own preservation, was provoked to press on the siege…”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, 6:2​

“Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night {when he was in the cave;}, being one of them,) {Nicanor, hint, hint;} Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house.”
– John 7:45-53​
 

Josephson

Member
In "Born of the Spirit", Josephus (Jesus) is stuck in a hole (it's night) and Nicanor (Nicodemus) tells him he does great works and everyone admires him, and Josephus wants to come out to the Romans but the Jews will kill him if he thinks of surrendering, so Jesus says that the only way a man can get to the kingdom of God is if he is born again, like born of the spirit and then born of the flesh again because they're going to kill him so he says somebody needs to raise this man out of the hole like Moses did in the desert. These are the same exact story.

In "Hear a Man" it is the same thing, Nicanor again is paralleled by Nicodemus and Josephus (Jesus) wants to call the rebels to repentance but the Jews want to kill him and threw a dart at Nicanor before they could even entreat to peace Nicanor (Nicodemus) says "doesn't our law hear a man before he judge?"
They are again the same story.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
We've never identified a parallel for either side of 'Born of the Spirit' before. Both John 3:1-15 and John 7:45-53 are considered unique as synoptic pericopes: that is, there's no recognized match to anything in Matthew, Mark or Luke.

Joe thinks JW V, 6, 2 (verse 258) is a parallel to Luke 14:28-31:

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Joe's translation says that Titus is looking for the best place to "build a tower" rather than to "make an impression". No matter, the rest of JW V, 6 is talking about finished and unfinished towers. This is Flavian Signature sequence #26.

Giles thinks there's a stronger parallel to Luke 14:28-31 at JW V, 4, 2 verses 149-153, which is another passage describing the construction of towers and foundations. Of course, JW V,4,2 and JW V,6,2 are also parallel to each other, to the extent that both passages are discussing the same towers.
 

Josephson

Member
Yes, John is the only Gospel to mention Nicodemus. And it is possible that Luke also references the same passage as one satirized by John. Remember that Cannibal Mary is referenced several times throughout the Gospels, at the Last Supper, when Jesus says "my flesh is meat indeed" and at the birth of Jesus as I showed in the thread "The Star of Bethlehem" which is the strongest of those parallels establishing Jesus as food. Also with "Jesus and The Samaritan Woman", "The Faith of the Canaanite Woman" and the "Fourth Bowl of Wrath" I have demonstrated in my book that different NT books can satirize the same passage in Josephus in very different ways (BTW I think this firmly establishes Josephus as the original and NT as the one dependent on his writings, besides the fact that they were written at a later date). However, Joe's parallel to JW V, 6, 2 seems very weak since the only connecting story detail is "building a tower". There must be hundreds of passages in Josephus about building towers but this one does not mention cost as being a factor, nor are there any other connecting details. There are stories in Josephus where the availability of materials is a concern but not here, so I reject this parallel from Joe as insufficiently supported.

This parallel with Nicodemus is a hundred times stronger: first because we have already established Nicanor as being satirized as Nicodemus in John and Jesus as mostly satirizing Josephus, Titus or sometimes Vespasian, plus the little reminder that the last time we saw him together with Jesus/Josephus was in the dark. Then we have Nicodemus/Nicanor telling us we should hear what Jesus/Josephus wants to say before judging him but it doesn't work so everyone just leaves and goes on with their business without hearing him.

Finally, in my book I show one more instance in Josephus where Nicanor is telling us "don't judge a man before you hear him". This passage from John appears to be a blend of these two somewhat similar passages from Josephus:

“So they came and invited the man to come up, and gave him assurances that his life should be preserved: but they did not prevail with him; for he gathered suspicions from the probability there was that one who had done so many things against the Romans must suffer for it, though not from the mild temper of those that invited him. However, he was afraid that he was invited to come up in order to be punished, until Vespasian sent besides these a third tribune, Nicanor, to him; he was one that was well known to Josephus, and had been his familiar acquaintance in old time. When he was come, he enlarged upon the natural mildness of the Romans towards those they have once conquered; and told him that he had behaved himself so valiantly, that the commanders rather admired than hated him; that the general was very desirous to have him brought to him, not in order to punish him, for that he could do though he should not come voluntarily, but that he was determined to preserve a man of his courage. He moreover added this, that Vespasian, had he been resolved to impose upon him, would not have sent to him a friend of his own, nor put the fairest color upon the vilest action, by pretending friendship and meaning perfidiousness; nor would he have himself acquiesced, or come to him, had it been to deceive him.”
– Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book III, 8:2​

Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night {when he was in the cave;}, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house.”
– John 7:45-53​
 

Josephson

Member
As for Luke 14 I think you need to take the whole passage, verses 25-33 known as "The Cost of Following Jesus". Normally it is not about matching a couple of verses from the NT but the whole passage and I think that a much stronger match for "The Cost of Following Jesus" is JW V, 1:5 because it talks about the costs of building a tower and leaving the dead unburied (which is in Matthew's version of "the Cost of Following Jesus") and those that wanted to flee over to the Romans ("following Jesus"). That makes three big story components in common and not just two words "build" and "tower", although I haven't analysed this one in detail yet. It is about matching whole passages and whole common story lines and not just a couple of words.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Agree that with so many passages in Josephus about the towers, any particular parallel based only on towers is weak. And if a particular parallel is chosen from among many, based only on its position within a long sequence, I'm not sure that parallel adds much to the statistical significance of the sequence.

On the other hand, if many parallels are found in sequence that seem to be supporting a single common story line, that seems to give some weight to the proposed story line. Joe's sequence links Jesus to Titus.

Josephson, do you have any views about the differences between the four gospels? Is it possible that Luke is emphasizing the link between Titus and Jesus, while John is more weighted towards equating Jesus to Josephus?
 

Josephson

Member
If you want to know who the son of God is then you should first ask who God is, and this changes as you go through the Wars of the Jews. In the NT, God represents Caesar and the son of God is the one that he sends to do the will of God on earth (Israel). That is why in "Samaritans Reject Jesus" the parallel is to Book IV chapter 7, before Nero dies, so Nero is God at that point and Vespasian is the son of God that he sent to earth, so it is Vespasian that is represented by Jesus and has his "face set to go to Jerusalem" (which is in the book of Luke). After Nero dies and Vespasian becomes God then Jesus doesn't represent Vespasian any more but can still represent Titus or Josephus. In the end, I have hundreds of examples where Jesus represents Vespasian, Titus or Josephus {or even Domitian, see "Doubting Thomas" which is only in the book of John;} in all four Gospels and the book of Revelation. I even have a few where Jesus represents Antipater in Revelation and Matthew {Hint: Antipater is the one with the two edged sword coming out of his mouth;}. But sometimes the NT tries to be more specific about who they are talking about and says something like "the only son begotten of the Father" which specifically references Josephus, because he was be-gotten by Vespasian in the siege of Jotapata, unlike Vespasian's two biological sons were begotten of the mother before she died. Generally, Jesus can be anyone who claims or is ostensibly "doing the will of God on earth" but in reality is bring the Jews to their destruction (think any politician that uses God to justify their crimes against the people they say they are helping: that's Jesus).

As far as the differences between the Gospels, to me John seems very crude in his humor, saying things like "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." It is as if he is not even trying to hide it. Matthew and Luke seem much more refined and elegant in their satire and more complicated and longer. John seems to mainly only satirize one passage from Josephus at a time, but Matthew and Luke can join several passages together that have common themes and satirize them at the same time. I think if you want to write a Gospel then you need a Concordance of Josephus, then you take, for example, all the passages with "Jordan river" and you get the story of John the Baptist.

But John starts exactly the same as the first passage of "Antiquities", Matthew starts exactly the same as "Life of Flavius Josephus" and the very first passage of Luke is a mix of the very first passage in "Wars of the Jews" and the very last passage of "Life of Josephus". How you choose which passages to satirize next and what order they should go in, that I haven't understood yet. How does Luke start from the first passage of Wars and then in the next passage he jumps to WotJ IV, 4:1, I don't know why, I only know that it is like that. I think it has something to do with following a trail of words in a concordance or some game like that. This is what I mean when I say that I think I understand the rhyme, but not the rhythm. But I think there is a rhythm and I think if I/we can figure it out then that is the strongest proof that ever could be found and it would unlock all yet undiscovered parallels.
 
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Josephson

Member
I think that Flavian Vanity was a close model and so it produced quite a few parallels, but only ones for Vespasian and Titus. If you have a correct model it works suddenly much better and produces ten times as many parallels, especially since Josephus is most commonly the son of God so most of the parallels are of him.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
It is not unknown for an artist to make one message more explicit, for the benefit of her or his patron(s), while burying another, deeper still
One of our biggest credibility problems is the question, "if all this stuff is so obvious, why hasn't anyone seen it before?"

Marcilla (or anyone): from art historiography, do you happen to know when is the first time anyone noticed that Michelangelo's God is reaching out from inside a human brain?
 

Josephson

Member
One of our biggest credibility problems is the question, "if all this stuff is so obvious, why hasn't anyone seen it before?"
For more than a thousand years and until very recently people would be burned at the stake or worse for questioning the veracity of the Jesus story. This has produced centuries of biased apologetic scholarship and you can see scholars now who are brought up in the same traditions, even atheist Biblical scholars have been indoctrinated into accepting that Jesus was a historical person and cannot hardly question the at least religious if not divine origins of the NT. Then scholars become invested in their own scholarship which follows the old traditions and so they cannot bear the thought that they and their advisors and the scholars that they respect could have been so far off, so they block it out. I think I see this also in the followers of the "Flavian vanity" hypothesis, that they become invested in their interpretation (which I think was very close to the truth and did a lot of work and an amazing job (and is what got me started on this path), but not quite on the nose) and have difficulty accepting that some of these Jesus parallels could be about Josephus and not only Titus. I guess that is just human nature, that people become set in their ways, think they have figured everything out and then close themselves off to new information when they have already put so much work into it and discovered many great things along the way to support their view. Honestly I think Flavian Vanity has done a great job, I just think I have taken this to the next phase or level of understanding. But I think this God-brain thing is a bit distracting and unrelated, sorry.
 
Marcilla (or anyone): from art historiography, do you happen to know when is the first time anyone noticed that Michelangelo's God is reaching out from inside a human brain?
Good point! According to Wikipedia, "In 1990, an Anderson, Indiana physician, Frank Meshberger, noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the background figures and shapes portrayed behind the figure of God appeared to be an anatomically accurate picture of the human brain." I should point out, however, that the article goes on to say, "Alternatively, it has been observed that the red cloth around God has the shape of a human uterus (one art historian has called it a 'uterine mantle'), and that the scarf hanging out, coloured green, could be a newly cut umbilical cord."

In any event, from the painting in 1512 to the article in 1990 would be 478 years. It isn't the 1750 years between the earliest common dating of John and Herr Bauer's Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte des Johannes, but then, how many more people have gazed at the Creation of Adam, knowing what a brain looks like, when compared to how many people have read the Gospel, already possessing a similar familiarity with The Jewish War? And this is to say nothing of how much better the mind of a chimpig is at recognizing visual patterns when compared to complex parallels of literary typology - and written in a language foreign to most of us, as well.

As to Josephson's points, I think the pattern of behavior and the logic underlying it, he describes with 100% accuracy. I would even agree that the analogy with the Michelangelo painting is distracting, were we only making an appeal to intellectually "gifted" (/cursed) individuals. However, I do suspect there may be some currency to be found in replying to the sort of critic that assumes if the parallels JOSEPHson and JOSEPH Atwill have found in JOSEPHus were there, someone else would have found them, with a casual, "sure seems like somejoe should have figured this all out years, even centuries ago, but then it took almost half a millenium for anyone to notice the skull and brain on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and that's the most reproduced work of religious art in history." #postflaviantalkingpoints
 

Josephson

Member
I would even agree that the analogy with the Michelangelo painting is distracting, were we only making an appeal to intellectually "gifted" (/cursed) individuals.


Well, I guess you were making a good point with it, that an artist can hide multiple meanings, which of course is relevant the more I think about it. Remember "The Purpose of Jesus' Parables":
“And the disciples came, and said unto him {Jesus;}, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath {his understanding;}. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive... But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
– Matthew 13:10-17​

Jesus was clearly, deliberately and admittedly trying to deceive the masses of disciples while only his closest followers were supposed to understand what he was really saying.

However, I do suspect there may be some currency to be found in replying to the sort of critic that assumes if the parallels JOSEPHson and JOSEPH Atwill have found in JOSEPHus were there, someone else would have found them, with a casual, "sure seems like somejoe should have figured this all out years, even centuries ago#postflaviantalkingpoints
We really should try to bring Joseph Smith into this discussion also, just to help avoid confusion.

But, that someone must have seen this before us, I think many people did. In my book, I argue that the translators of the King James version of the Bible must have known because they put perhaps the worlds first emoticons "; )" all through the Gospels just at places where there is a little hint or joke. For example, in the book I have the passage about Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding of Cana and match that to the bloodbath that Vespasian created near Cana at the shores of Joppa. Jesus used stone pots for the water (which would have been really stupid at that time, they had advanced pottery by that time which would have been easier, lighter and cheaper, nobody used stone pots to carry water) which is because the shores of Joppa were very stoney. In the King James Version you get a winkey-face just at the right moment to hint about this: "When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)" because as Josephus says "the sea was bloody a long way" {it's like wink-wink-nudge-nudge, get it?;}. There are many other examples of that, but you don't have those winkey-faces in any other translation. I feel the KJV translators most likely did know. That was in the 1600's

I also would argue that Constantine's mother must have known about this, since Constantine was the first Christian emperor (and they were from the Flavian dynasty) and his mother knew where to build the "Holy Sepulchre" which happens to be right about where Titus promised he would build a sepulchre monument to the large number of soldiers that were burned while getting into one of the cloisters in the siege of Jerusalem (JW Book VI, 3:1). Since the works of Josephus were something like dynastic founding historical works for the Flavians, she would certainly have been quite familiar with them, being their family's claim to fame. So she went and finally fulfilled Titus' wish and made a sepulchre monument to the Roman soldiers that died, but made it Christian instead, because seeing they shall not see, neither shall they understand. That was in the 300's.

Finally, as Joseph Atwill mentioned, but didn't go into great detail, Bruno Bauer in the 1800's might have been on the same trail as Atwill. You can check out the wikipedia article about him:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Bauer

He published a book called "Christ and the Caesars" (alone the title reminds us of "Caesar's Messiah"). He was arguing for something very much along the lines of Flavian Vanity and seemed to have been on the trail, I would suppose, but then in 1842 they revoked his teaching license, kicked him out of the University. I suspect he was getting too close to discovering the secret or started offending believers too much and was forced out. He's lucky he did that in the 1800's, if it had been a couple centuries earlier they might have burned him for it.

So I think there must have been many people who knew or guessed this secret or some of it at least, at different times, probably some academics and elites, but that they kept it quiet, some so they could use Christianity to control the people, others because they feared those that used it to control the people and feared offending those that believed.

And figuring out all of this is not all that easy. It has taken a lot of people noticing this, noticing that, and being able to share that information with each other through publications or online. It has taken some collaboration from some very open minded people working very hard to find this. But once we have found it, then it does start to become more and more obvious, once you see it I think. Making a wheel is easy once it's been done. But you have to have an open enough mind to consider that maybe elite people lie sometimes.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Bauer's "Christ and the Caesars" stops way short of anything we're currently saying. His argument (if I dare to summarize an entire book in one sentence) is that Christian philosophy and theology is much more Greco-Roman than Jewish. The most extensive aspect is Bauer's comparison of Seneca vs. the New Testament.

Bauer was certainly suspicious about Josephus and Vespasian. He says he's not buying the story of Josephus' encounter with Vespasian at Jotapata. But it's not clear what he thinks really happened. Bauer has a chapter heading "Josephus' World Religion" in which he says that Josephus was convinced that his religion "would conquer the Roman Empire". But aside from a general similarity to Philo's Hellenistic Judaism, Bauer has little to say about the specifics of Josephus' faith. You can take that as a hint that maybe Bauer thought Josephus had something to do with the invention of Christianity, but he certainly doesn't come right out and say it.

Albert Schweitzer claimed that Bauer denied the existence of 'Historical Jesus', but I can't find any such claim in "Christ and the Caesars." If anything, he seems to believe there probably was such a personage, whose message was corrupted beyond recognition.

Bauer is not easy reading. I can't claim to have done a thorough job of studying it. I skipped around based on the chapter headings. I strongly recommend the Brunar & Marchant edition, rather than the earlier "Frank Schachter" translation.

I don't have a strong opinion about whether Constantine was related to the Flavian dynasty by blood, or whether it was just a pretense. I agree that Constantine's mother must have been a careful student of Christian origins.

This is really confusing that there are so many Josephs running around, all making arguments about divinity, relying on typology and coincidence. I wish I knew how to evaluate coincidences for statistical significance. What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that a forum member named (equivalently) "Matthias Ben Joseph", is here with elaborations of Joseph Atwill's theory of the ancient Matthias Ben Joseph? Why the deflection to Joseph Smith? Joseph is a very common name, so maybe this is a coincidence.

Joe has an argument that Shakespeare must have known about Flavian typology. I find it pretty convincing, but am I too easy to convince? There's a theory that Shakespeare also had something to do with the King James Bible, based on the appearance of the words "shake" and "spear" at 46 words from the beginning and end of the 46th psalm. But on closer scrutiny, it's 47 words at one end, meaning that the coincidence has been jiggered. And it's not much of a coincidence, anyhow. But Shakespeare's involvement can never be disproven: if you were a clergyman translating the KJV, and you happened to know Shakespeare, wouldn't you ask for his advice on key passages? Of course you would.

One thing's for sure: the KJV and Shakespeare are both widely quoted. But is it easy to tell the difference? Here's a quiz, test your skill:

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/04/bible-or-bard/

Speaking of Joseph Smith, here's a report from BYU on the use of punctuation in the KJV. It says that the punctuation was not settled for many editions after the publication of the original, and the punctuation in most editions today is based on a 1769 printing at Oxford.

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/study-and-faith-selections-religious-educator/chapters-verses-punctuation-spelling-and
 

Josephson

Member
Hey, Jerry, thanks for the summary of Bauer's "Christ and the Caesars". Would be interested to check it out, but not high on my priorities list right now. Anyway, you seem to confirm what I already suspected about it, that he was sort of at the starting point of "Caesar's Messiah" and "Flavian Vanity" (which is about half the story the way I see it) but did not make it nearly as far as Atwill before getting forced out of the University. I think, in summary, there is loose and indirect evidence that perhaps some people through history have known or suspected at least some of this relationship between the NT and Josephus, but that if they did then they most likely were suppressed or possibly killed if they were not themselves the ones protecting the secret. At any rate, it has certainly been hard throughout history since Constantine to even question that Jesus was a historical figure and at least much of the Gospels have historical significance without being branded a heretic (remember the Spanish Inquisition? Hard to say that Biblical scholarship has historically been unbiased).
 
Albert Schweitzer claimed that Bauer denied the existence of 'Historical Jesus', but I can't find any such claim in "Christ and the Caesars."
According to Wikipedia, he makes this claim in A Critique of the Gospels and a History of their Origin, unfortunately, not available in an English translation, yet.

What conclusions can be drawn from the fact that a forum member named (equivalently) "Matthias Ben Joseph", is here with elaborations of Joseph Atwill's theory of the ancient Matthias Ben Joseph?
Not to mention the cryptojoes
 

Sgt Pepper

Active Member
One of our biggest credibility problems is the question, "if all this stuff is so obvious, why hasn't anyone seen it before?"

Marcilla (or anyone): from art historiography, do you happen to know when is the first time anyone noticed that Michelangelo's God is reaching out from inside a human brain?
Apparently it appeared on the season finale of a show called "Westworld"
 

Josephson

Member
We've never identified a parallel for either side of 'Born of the Spirit' before. Both John 3:1-15 and John 7:45-53 are considered unique as synoptic pericopes: that is, there's no recognized match to anything in Matthew, Mark or Luke.

Joe thinks JW V, 6, 2 (verse 258) is a parallel to Luke 14:28-31:

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Where is this parallel from Joe from? I don't find it in CM, is it from another book or somewhere else?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Where is this parallel from Joe from? I don't find it in CM, is it from another book or somewhere else?
It is in CM, item 26 "How to build a tower". I have the Kindle edition: p. 135, location 2375. The quote from Josephus is "Titus went round the wall looking for the best place to build a tower".
 
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