Josephus invented Mithraism?

Jerry Russell

Staff member
According to Flavio Barbiero, Josephus re-booted Christianity and invented Mithraism as well, all for the purpose of winning ultimate power for his Jewish secret society of priests.


Were Jesus and Mithras two faces of the same coin?

The origins of Mithraism and Christianity

In order to explain the strict relation between Christianity and Mithraism we have to go back to their origins.


Josephus Flavius and the Sol Invictus Mithras

Josephus Flavius knew all too well that no religion has a future unless it is an integral part of a system of political power. It was a concept innate in the DNA, so to speak, of the priests of Judah that religion and political power should live together in symbiosis, mutually sustaining each other. It is unimaginable that he could think that the new religion would spread throughout the Empire independently, or even in contrast to political power.

His first aim was, therefore, seizing power. Thanks not only to the millennial experience of his family, but also to his own experience of life, Josephus knew all too well that political power, especially in an elephantine organism such as the Roman Empire, was based on military power, and military power was based on economic power, and economic power on the ability to influence and control the financial leverage of the country. His plan must have envisaged that the priestly family would sooner or later take control of these levers. Then the Empire would be in his hands, and the new religion would be the main instrument to maintain control of it.

What was Josephus' plan to achieve this ambitious project? He didn't have to invent anything; the model was there: the secret organization created by Ezra a few centuries earlier, which had assured power and prosperity to the priestly families for half a millennium. He only had to make a few changes, in order to disguise this institution in the pagan world as a mystery religion, dedicated to the Greek god Helios, the Sun, for his undoubted assonance with the Jewish god El Elyon. He was represented as invincible, the Sol Invictus, to spur the morale of his adepts, and at his side was put, as an inseparable companion, a solar divinity of that same Mesopotamia from where the Jews had originated, Mithras, the Sun's envoy on Earth to redeem humanity; and all around them, in the mithraea, the statues of various divinities, Athena, Hercules, Venus and so on. A clear reference to God Father, and his envoy on earth Jesus, surrounded by their attributes of wisdom, strength, beauty and so on, that was well understood by the Christians, but was perfectly pagan to a pagan's eye.

This organization didn't have any religious purpose: his scope was to preserve union between the priestly families and assure their security and wealth, through mutual support and a common strategy, aimed at infiltrating all the positions of power in the Roman society.

It was secret. In spite of the fact that it lasted for three centuries and it had thousands of members, most of them very cultured men, there isn't a single word written by a member about what was going on during the meetings of the mithraic institution, what decisions were taken and so on. This means that absolute secrecy was always maintained about the works that were held in a mithraeum.

The access was evidently reserved for the descendants of priestly families, at least at the operative level, from the third grade up (occasionally people of different origin could be accepted in the first two grades, as in the case of emperor Commodus). This system of recruitment is perfectly in line with the historical and archaeological evidence.

Even at the peak of its power and diffusion, the Sol Invictus Mithras appears to be an elitist institution, with a very limited number of members. Most mithraea were very small in size and could not harbour more than 20 people. It was definitely not a mass religion, but an organisation to which only the top leaders of the army and of the imperial bureaucracy were admitted. Yet, we don’t know anything about the enlisting policy of the Sol Invictus Mithras.

Did it recruit its members amongst the high ranks of Roman society, or was opposite true -- that it was the members of this organization who "infiltrated" all the positions of power of that society? Historical evidence favours the hypothesis that membership in the institution was reserved on a ethnic basis. Access to it, at least at the operative level, was most likely reserved for descendants of the group of the Jewish priests who came to Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem.​

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
David Livingstone provides an interesting comment at the bottom of the link. I think that Livingstone may be correct in that Cumont's view on Roman Mithraism and Persian origins may have been wrongly thrust aside (perhaps because of an agenda?). Just as I have just posted on Orphism's input into Xianity, Livingstone's explanation provides another bridge to help solidify our suspicion that all these religions are just elite machinations and that the Jewish / Gentile dialectic is a synthetic fabrication of the elites such has the 18th and 19th Dynasty Egyptians. One might take issue with DL's last sentence that I quoted, in that it seems more likely that normative Christianity, at least, was purely synthesized by the same circle of interests.

DL brings up Julius Caesar, and his priest / king background is one reason that I am suspicious that he connects into all of this Mithra business via his youthful adventures in Cilicia with King Mithradates, where the Apostle Paul was reputed to have been raised (Tarsus, the cult center for Mithraism).

Just as is fairly well known today about the perverse Mithraic initiation rites of Skull and Bones, much was made of Julius's homosexual encounters with King Mithradates, to the point that his otherwise loyal troops would make open jokes about Julius. Was this behavior a parallel to that of the S&B rites, meant to help secure continuing loyalty?

Barbiero's comments about Nero, Paul, and Josephus are interesting, though I think one yet needs to read more between the lines of Josephus. And to take into account such as Bartram's Chrestian assertions. For one thing, if Jesus the Christ was to be taken as the New Dionysus, then was Nero really the New Orpheus, playing his lyre and such? Thus he becomes Papa Nero for the Jesuits's leader to be known as.

I think I have quoted someone recently that Mithraism might be correctly seen as the direct, initial precursor to Freemasonry. This especially in the way that it operates as an esoteric inner church (or society if one prefers), allowing its members to also be members of exoteric Christian denominations as well as other religions.

And, so, with all this and to answer my recent question, yes, the Pope just might be Jewish.

Excellent article on Mithraism.

It explains a lot I was having trouble to understand, but I have a few differences that I'd like to share. First of all, ever since Cumont, the study of Mithraism has gone sideways. Scholars of our time do not share his breadth of knowledge, and fail to understand the basis of his conclusions.

So, modern scholarship believes that Mithraism was entirely an invention of the Roman period. However, what Cumont would have suggested is that Mithraism underwent several stages of evolution. At the earliest, Mithraism belonged to an occult tradition that drifted away from orthodox Zoroastrianism, mixing with it Babylonian astrology and magic, and likely developed in the 6th century BC.

These so-called "Magi" dispersed with the expansions of the Persian Empire. This explains why Heraclitus in the 6th century BC describes the "infernal" rites of the Magi, which the Dionysiacs imitated.

By contributing to Orphism, this early Magian cult of Mithras influenced the thought of Pythagoras and finally Plato. It is likely for this reason that beginning with Aristobulus in the third century BC, as with all the leading Jewish Kabbalists over the centuries, Plato was regarded as the godfather of their mysteries, and to have been a student of the Jews.

This Greco-Judaic philosophy laid the basis for the theology that eventually emerged as the Mysteries. One particular point of influence was the Mysteries of Merkabah, which became the basis of all the leading pagan mysteries, including Mithraism and Hermeticism, but also Gnosticism.

And the first clear instance of the worship of Mithras was with Antiochus I of Commagene, where he was equated with Apollo and Helios.

Interestingly, the House of Commagene formed a curious dynastic network with several other important families. Namely, the Priest-Kings of Emesa in Syria, a traditional priesthood of Elagabalus, later known as Sol Invictus. The other family was the Claudio-Julia line that included Caesar, claiming descent from Aeneas. And finally, the House of Herod.

Curiously, these families would continue to intermarry over the centuries, and would produce a line of Emperors that would persist in attempts to impose the Elagabalus/Sol Invictus cult on the Empire, but failing to until the rise of Constantine.

What you have brought forward in your article clearly points out a hidden agenda, where these Mithraists appropriated the emerging Christian movement.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Here is Barbiero's book, The Secret Society of Moses: The Mosaic Bloodline and a Conspiracy Spanning Three Millennia:

A radical reexamination of Western history that suggests the descendants of Moses were the architects of the rise of the Roman Church and the ancestors of European aristocracy

• Answers the inexplicable disappearance of all mention of Moses’s descendants from the Bible

• Reveals the key role played by Josephus Flavius in shaping early Christianity

• Explains the connection of this secret priesthood to modern secret societies like the Freemasons

After the book of Exodus, Moses’s two sons and numerous descendants all vanish from the Bible. Flavio Barbiero’s investigation of this strange absence and his study of the centuries-long power struggle between the priestly families fighting for control of the Temple of Jerusalem starts with the rebellion against Rome--and the emergence of Josephus Flavius, one of Moses’s descendants, on the world stage. In AD 70 when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus Flavius and thousands of Jewish priests were exterminated, Josephus, now bearing his sponsor’s last name, followed Titus Flavius to Rome with at least 250 relatives and friends. Here they were made Roman citizens but then subsequently disappeared from recorded history.

Barbiero’s careful study of early Christianity shows, however, that these surviving members of Moses’s high-priest lineage succeeded in taking control of the nascent Roman Church and masterminded its extraordinary success. Using a wide range of evidence drawn from fields as disparate as archaeology, heraldry, and genetics, Barbiero shows how these descendants of Moses used the cult of Mithras to eventually seize control of the secular Roman authority as well. He then follows, step by step, the spread of the members of this secret priestly elite into what was to become the aristocracy of medieval Europe and how their influence continues to be felt in modern secret societies like Freemasonry.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
It is similar thinking as Barbiero's that leads me to reject, so far, Josephson's recent conclusions about Josephus's role. After my current project I hope to start delving more into the curious relationship between (elite) Jews and Romans.