Here is part 2 of the first video you provided:Here are two recent podcasts featuring Valliant, Fahy, and Robert M. Price discussing the 'Creating Christ' book.
I've just watched the second of the first two podcasts in your post here. From that one I generally got the same impression.After watching the relevant section of the video again, I'd like to clarify a couple of things about the discussion of Caesar's Messiah in the video.
All of them (Price, Fahy & Valliant) made it clear that they have great respect for Atwill as a scholar, and for his knowledge of the New Testament. Valliant feels that any errors in CM are basically irrelevant to the Roman Origins theory.
About their disagreements with Caesar's Messiah, Price did about 90% of the talking. And he was criticizing the ideas -- it was not an ad hominem attack at all.
I thought it rather humorous in the intro discussion that Price admitted to be a Trumpist, and thus typologically a modern day Zealot.8:30 Valliant & Fahy say they've blasted notices about their book to every academic in the field that they've been able to identify, and they've gotten almost no response. But the few responses they've received have been tremendously positive. Eric Hill, Robert Eisenman and of course Dr. Price have been among their few supporters. They don't know of any serious academic scholar who has attempted a rebuttal.
Price and the others thought it insane that Joe would advance Josephus as being the author of the gospels, that it is too much work and stylistically different from Josephus's acknowledged corpus of work.About 11:00, Valliant & Fahy get started ragging on Atwill. They say that he believes crazy things like late dates for composition of Pauline epistles, and Price chimes in that he is just as much of a nutcase as Joe on that particular question. (Price basically believes the entire Pauline corpus is a late forgery.)
14:20, Price reveals that he's restarted publication of the old "Journal of Higher Criticism" and that one of Joe's articles will be in an upcoming issue.
But at 14:30, they really get serious with the attack on Joe, and exclaim how absolutely hilarious, outrageous and unbelievable they find his analysis. At 16:20 they single out his Easter story for ridicule.
I believe this is true, but there is no reason at all that such a rich work could not, or would not, contain some dark insider jokes. Ones which reflect attitudes towards those stiff-necked people that are otherwise making their lives, as rulers and profiteers, more difficult. There certainly was a wealth of insider knowledge about such as Pythagorean wisdom, which they never revealed to the hoi polloi. So why not mix in some insider humor, dark humor which would serve to fuel ongoing class attitudes till even today, these looking down upon the 'Greek pigs' as well as the Jewish rural Zealots?At 17:30 they say that the Christian religion is not just some big joke, it's "addressing broader philosophical needs as a religion".
Yes, and what if it's really true, and including the stunning Josephus / Paul parallels. And the Jewish War to Jesus's Galilean ministry parallels - not to mention Pollio's account of Julius Caesar's Civil War details, which Carotta noted (as well as the massive Julius Caesar Passion parallels). There was likely no law which prevented such pious imitatio, especially when its your job to create religions.72:00, Valliant says that there is a stunning similarity between Josephus's theological and political positions on a wide variety of views, as compared to Gospel views of the same issues. Price replies that he thinks this is parallelomania on Valliant's part, and then Fahy agrees with Price that it's "a little too neat"? WTF?
Funny, and Fahy also chimes in that the Romans had a pre-existing team of people that created religions, in support of what I stated early about Price's objection to Josephus's sole role.72:00, Valliant says that there is a stunning similarity between Josephus's theological and political positions on a wide variety of views, as compared to Gospel views of the same issues. Price replies that he thinks this is parallelomania on Valliant's part, and then Fahy agrees with Price that it's "a little too neat"? WTF?
Then Fahy changes the topic, explaining that the Romans had a "syncretistic religious machine" and reiterating that Christianity fits right in to the pattern; and Valliant made another quick segue into revisiting the topic of Christian persecutions, and Candida Moss's work.
Agreed. There is some odd presumption that those elites that were otherwise sincerely creating a new religion could not have otherwise typical elite attitudes towards their human sheep.And at the same time, I think they've thrown out some of the most valuable aspects of Joe's work, along with the bathwater. Caesar's Messiah does a great job of portraying the wicked humor and the sheer evil of the Christian project, the irony in Josephus's satire of Christianity, and the role of Christianity in creating a thousand-year reich of European feudalism.
Yes, Valliant says that the two groups were conflated by the Romans. Here's a quote from Creating Christ:Valliant says that the Romans confused the Christians with Zealot-like Jewish groups such as those responsible for the 67-73 war. I guess he does this to get around the fact that the Romans persecuted Christians.
I tend to agree with you, that the Tacitus and Pliny passages seem pretty clear. Thus, I see them as deliberate propaganda rather than unintentional conflation. From the time of Domitian all the way up to Constantine, the Roman government's creation and promotion of Roman Catholic Christianity was carried out sub rosa, while the Emperors continued to publicly demonstrate their loyalty to the Roman Imperial cult of deified Caesars. What better cover story, than to claim that Rome was actively trying to stamp out those evil Christians?Perhaps the Suetonius quote indicates confusion, but not the Tacitus and Pliny.
Not necessarily. According to Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon in "Operation Messiah", Paul was always an operative working for the Roman government and/or the Herod family, as he went about the Mediterranean promoting the new religion of Roman Catholic Christianity. This characterization is solidly backed by the evidence, whether or not you believe that Paul was also the same person as Josephus.If you accept that Paul wrote several letters ascribed to him that makes the Creating Christ thesis hard to swallow.
Maybe he wasn't. If indeed he was the same person as Josephus, he probably lived into the reign of Trajan.Why was Paul executed under Nero?
I read the book, but I don't remember Valliant and Fahy saying the Romans were confused about anything. They said that they capitalized upon the confusion between the Greek and Hebrew names for followers of the annointed, based respectively upon 'Christ' versus 'messiah'. But it was even more complicated than that, as the term Chrest (the good) was employed as well, which I have been discussing on my other threads. The word used in the earliest extant texts say Chrestian, not Christian. They reveal that the 'e' was erased to become an 'i'.Valliant says that the Romans confused the Christians with Zealot-like Jewish groups such as those responsible for the 67-73 war. I guess he does this to get around the fact that the Romans persecuted Christians. Perhaps the Suetonius quote indicates confusion, but not the Tacitus and Pliny.
Paul wasn't his name was it Joe, it was a pseudonym he adopted after being Saul. But who was Saul? Was Saul always Saul? Why does Paul's life begin when Saul's persona ends, and then when Paul's life (or persona) ends, Josephus Flavius' Roman adventures begins? You say that Josephus was too young to have been Paul running around on his early tours? Ever had a couple of young Mormons, far from home, knock on your door?If you accept that Paul wrote several letters ascribed to him that makes the Creating Christ thesis hard to swallow. Why was Paul executed under Nero?
"Almost always understood" by whom? It seems that the ancient Roman obfuscation is having its effect to the present day. I think Epictetus is referring to 'Messianic Jews'.The Galileans that Epictetus refers to is almost always understood to be the early Christians.
Joe Atwill thinks that Domitian chose to exile or execute some important members of the royal court, in order to consolidate his power. Domitian was taking the Christian religion in a new direction, promoting himself to a member of the Trinity along with Vespasian and Titus. The scheme is outlined in the book of Revelation, which was written in Domitian's service. Domitian's purges of his court were explained in royal propaganda as 'persecution of Christians'.At the least it is important verification of the awareness on the trope of Christians facing a crackdown from Roman authorities (apparently by the Emperors) during the late first/early Second century.
As Jerry has just provided the link for the Hurtado reference, can you provide a link for us on the Valliant reference, preferrably with a time in the interview?Valliant has made the claim in recent interviews that the Romans confused the 'Messianic Jews' (like those who rebelled c. 67AD) with the 'Pauline Christians.'
There is an interesting reference to Christianity in Epictetus which I just heard about (via a poster on Larry Hurtado's blog).
I'm gonna guess that most mainstream secular scholars, like Christian apologists, have yet to come to terms with the concept of Roman, Herodian, Maccabean, and Alexandrian (Philo and kin) collaboration and deception.At the least it is important verification of the awareness on the trope of Christians facing a crackdown from Roman authorities (apparently by the Emperors) during the late first/early Second century. It is surprising how infrequently it is highlighted. Even by Candi[d]a Moss in her book on the topic, this was missed, which struck me as particularly odd.
The isle of Patmos was also a Roman naval garrison that protected the approaches to mainland port cities. As evidenced by the other bizarre freedom to communicate from prison (by Paul and Justin Martyr/Ignatius of Antioch(?)) John seems to have way too much freedom to discuss with his followers how to (not) relate to the imperial cult around them.Joe Atwill thinks that Domitian chose to exile or execute some important members of the royal court, in order to consolidate his power. Domitian was taking the Christian religion in a new direction, promoting himself to a member of the Trinity along with Vespasian and Titus. The scheme is outlined in the book of Revelation, which was written in Domitian's service. Domitian's purges of his court were explained in royal propaganda as 'persecution of Christians'.
Regarding the Nazarenes, is there anything of relevance in the Ancient Spooks series (Covert ops)? The author suggests different types of Nazirs: Actors for life, who fake their own death… picked before birth or after birth…If we come to understand just who the Nazarenes were, at least, we can come a long way to understanding the real religio-political dynamics, rather than the crude picture left to us in the biblical and extra-biblical accounts. That means understanding what the Nazarite vows really were and why such as Queen Helena of 'Adiabene' was so intent of fulfilling them. And this begs the question, of exactly what did it mean to have been a 'Jew', back in the day.
The Gospel of Matthew explains that the title Nazarene is derived from the prophecy "He will be called a Nazorean", but this has no obvious Old Testament source. Some scholars argue that it refers to a passage in the Book of Isaiah, with "Nazarene" a Greek reading of the Hebrew ne·tser (branch), understood as a messianic title. Others point to a passage in the Book of Judges which refers to Samson as a Nazirite, a word that is just one letter off from Nazarene in Greek.
The Greek New Testament uses "Nazarene" six times (Mark, Luke), while "Nazorean" is used 13 times (Matthew, Mark in some manuscripts, Luke, John, Acts). In the Book of Acts, "Nazorean" is used to refer to a follower of Jesus, i.e. a Christian, rather than an inhabitant of a town. "Notzrim" is the modern Hebrew word for Christians (No·tsri, נוֹצְרִי) and one of two words commonly used to mean "Christian" in Syriac (Nasrani) and Arabic (Naṣrānī, نصراني).