New Book -- Creating Christ

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Between watching Trump docu's and visits to medical wizards, I haven't watched these yet, but I'm looking forward to it. But for just now I'm off to see yet another wizard. :(
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Here are two recent podcasts featuring Valliant, Fahy, and Robert M. Price discussing the 'Creating Christ' book.
Here is part 2 of the first video you provided:


These MythVision podcasts are pretty good interviews (with Valliant only), as the two hosts are pretty knowledgeable themselves, albeit they act a little goofy (but that's alright). They state that there will be a Part 3.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
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've just watched the second of the first two podcasts in your post here. From that one I generally got the same impression.

In that second one, Price also admitted that there could be a late dating for the Pauline corpus. They also did not discuss the massive parallels between Paul and Josephus. Price discussed that he thinks Nero could be involved in the 'creation', which is my view as well.

I do agree with them that the motivation of creating Christianity was more than pacifying the Jewish militants, actually the Jewish fence sitters, since the Romans killed the militants. It was indeed about creating a syncretized religion, ... for the new zodiacal age. The latter of which was the Science of the day, common to both the prior Hellenistic world and the Judaic. The discussion brought up the pagan source of the use of the dolphin, but I don't think they understand the relation of Castor and Pollux, the twin saviors of the prior millennium, with both the dolphin and Paul's ship ride on the Castor and Pollux. And that Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins are prominent members of the Zodiac, and that their (and sister Helen's) ascendance, in conjuction with the Trojan War, marked the transition to a new age, and the end of the Late Bronze Age (the End Times du jour).

In the same vein, they mention Flavia Domitilla, of which I claim that her sarcophagus has heavy Mithraic imagery, of which the Dioscuri Twins, aka Castor and Pollux, play a prominent Zodiacal role.

And so I depart from Joe's view that the creation of Christianity became a basis for later Jewish revenge, when the remaining Jews became otherwise aligned with the Greco-Roman world, even in their role as ongoing scapegoats, part of their occupational hazard - and 'synthetic' cultural framing.

Of course, I depart from Price, Fahy, and Valliant regarding the ability to repurpose the Second Coming for Futurist End Times. It IS being done in front of our eyes for Dogod's sake. And, seriously, here I won't mention Revelation 12. o_O I swear I wont.

It is the contemporary zeitgeist to avoid any connection to zodiacal thinking, even if that was part of the original esoteric underpinnings. And thus the deniers end up projecting modern interpretations where they perhaps should not, perhaps leading to seriosly wrong conclusions, where ironically the opposite position would instead heavily bolster their main thesis.

As Fideler definitively demonstrated in Jesus Christ, Sun of God, the sacred geometry number (the 153 fishes in the net) of the Vesica Piscis is embedded in the Gospels, and this is the esoteric aspect of the Christian Fish symbol, including that of Pisces. And Vespasian and his brother were officers in Emperor Claudius army in Britain during the time the Vesica Piscis shrine was built in the center of the Roman's Dewa Fortress (in today's Chester, England). This even predating Nero.
 
Last edited:

Richard Stanley

Administrator
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.
I thought it rather humorous in the intro discussion that Price admitted to be a Trumpist, and thus typologically a modern day Zealot.
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.
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.

If memory serves me, Joe advanced the proposition that Josephus lead an imperial team of writers, and so this would address stylistic issues. But, moreover, it would be impossible for a goy team of writers to write the Gospels, because of the massive number of references to the OT, albeit that many of these were garbled - on purpose for theological reasons. And besides, as Barbiero discussed, Josephus also had at his beck and call, a large number of his extended Hasmonean family (~250) that came with him and Titus to Rome. Also, imitatio (as opposed to inventio) was the accepted writing style for such as a religious corpus (that was intended for imperial acceptance at some point). As such, imitatio is one big reason that the Judaic corpus and culture mirrored (including the massive inversion) the Classical Greek corpus and culture, as per Moses Hadas's thesis in Hellenistic Culture, Fusion and Diffusion.

Price et al. still have to deal with a Flavian (or other early initiation of Christianity/Chrestianity) and have the project come to fruition over 200 years later, via 'Flavius' Constantine's efforts. Now, that's kooky ... in contemporary scholarship's and other 'modern' minds.

At 17:30 they say that the Christian religion is not just some big joke, it's "addressing broader philosophical needs as a religion".
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?

The Christian pacifism would also have been understood, by its creators, to pacify the northern palefaces, whose culture and religion was as, or more, violently reactionary than the Jewish Zealots.

Price brought up the anti-Hellenistic aspect of the Hasmonean period, but we have discussed on the forum that Hadas demonstrated that the Hasmoneans were really Hellenistic. Just like today's duplicitous pols, like the Clintons and Trump, etc., they cynically played both sides. Such elites are not of their sheeple.
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?
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?

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.
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.
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.
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.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Here below is a recent MythVision interview with Joe Atwill and Robert Price. Seems that Price is now thankfully onboard the Atwill Train.

Now we just have to get them all off the Myth Train, albeit that Price makes a joking comment about somebody else (besides Titus) could be veiled (but then, he says, who cares?). Well, actually it is a big deal - because it's all being repeated in front of us again. (The contemporary remnants of the royal Elect have fomented contemporary discontent in the contemporary fundamentalist neoZealots in Islam and Christianity, from such as Cyrus Scofield, Max von Oppenheim, and Mont Pelerin. Mont Pelerin? The Elect fled to Pella in the mountains to escape the tribulation -- after they had fomented it.)

The irony is that Ellis has done a similar literary comparison of Josephus' works with Acts and the Epistles (and the DSS , the Talmud, the Gospel of Barnabas, and more external references) that Joe did between Josephus and the Gospels - and comes up with a great candidate, Jesus of Gamala (aka Izates, aka Justus of Tiberius). What is interesting to me is that Ellis' work doesn't seem to contradict Atwill, but rather dovetails with it. And this allows, IMHO, for a much fuller appreciation for the Roman graft of Romans 11. The social dialectic dynamics become more fleshed out, and we see them being played out again today, the Preterist narrative becomes typology for the Futurist present. Ellis shows that Josephus explicitly blames the family of Jesus of Gamala and their Nazarene Galilean Sect for the war, including how they relate to the Zealots and the Essenes at Qumran.

As the podcast discusses the importance of 'names', Ellis gives them a tour de force, showing very clever word / name games.

Late in the show Price mentions another researcher who asserts that the Herodians and the Romans have a common heritage. I have been claiming this based upon the family tree of Abraham, and the Talmud says that the Romans are Edomites, which the latter is what the Herodians were. Same goes for the Hasmonean/Maccabees, which as Moses Hadas demonstrated were really Hellenizers, i.e. they were playing both sides of the fence, like Josephus and kin. They are all Sabeans, and all this is their tribal mechanics for globally advancing religious (and political) mergers and acquisitions).

 
Last edited:
Thank you for this wonderful link, Richard. Price is always good to get on side because his appreciation of the Buddhist link to Christianity is the strongest I have found. My contribution is on the Gnostic links but you'll have to wait until I present at the conference in the UK. I leave in less than 48 hours.

Yours faithfully
Claude
 

Charles Watkins

New Member
I'm not all that impressed by the dolphin/anchor iconography. After all, this is just one coin. Fish are ubiquitous in the New Testament, though there seems to be little reason to focus on the dolphin over all the other fishes. However, the anchor is not often seen outside of a seafaring context but would seem redundant to the fish. Why would two icons be needed anyway?

As to the coinage, what is the point of including this 'Chrestian' emblem on the obverse? Was it to signal a change in Imperial alignment? But then why would there not also be proclamations and ceremonies? Perhaps there is some other reason.

That said, the book was great at exploring the relationship between the Flavians and Egyptian Jews.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Where there is one imperial coin there were more. And any time more than one identical coin is present together there is a church. :rolleyes:

Unfortunately, Valliant and Fahy have not made the link to such as Bartram's work on Flavian Chrestianity [sic] and Fideler's work, Jesus Christ, Sun of God, on NT Pythagorean/Platonism. But, fortunately, I have and more.

The 153 fishies in the net not only link to the Omphalos of Delphi, and its association with Dolphins, the then King of the Fishes, but '153' is the eternal sacred geometry ratio number of the Vesica Piscis.
 

Seeker

Active Member
Has anyone else noticed this? When you have a circle surrounding the Name of Annu, otherwise the Mark of Cain mentioned in "Rulers of Evil" by Tupper Saussy, which he says is the cuneiform symbol for "heaven", you get the "ichthys wheel" mentioned in "Creating Christ", ichthys being the Koine Greek word for "fish", and forming an acrostic for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior". Saussy says that this Annu symbol represents the "double-cross", how right he was!
 

Joe James

New Member
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.

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?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hello Joe, thanks for reading & welcome to the Forum.

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.
Yes, Valliant says that the two groups were conflated by the Romans. Here's a quote from Creating Christ:

Whatever their exact dating, the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm what Josephus relates, at least to some extent: the messianic Jews of this period were militant, xenophobic purists and strict adherents of the Mosaic Law. If the so-called “sectarian” documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls are any indication, they were not at all the peace-seeking, cheek-turning, enemy-loving, tax-paying, Roman-appeasing Christians of the sort who could possibly follow the New Testament. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that they constituted a religio-political powder keg about to explode—and that they would certainly have opposed Christ’s central message in the Gospels. Today, these rebellious Jews are not normally called “Christians” even though they anticipated the arrival of a “christened” or “anointed” one (the Messiah or the Christ) to lead them in their holy war against Rome. To pagan Romans like Tacitus and Suetonius, who may have been ignorant of the finer distinctions between messianic Jewish groups, the term “Christian” may well have applied to messianic Jews as a whole. Suetonius’s confused mention of a Jewish “Chrestus” causing violence in Rome itself before 50 CE appears to confirm this conflation of terminology.
Valliant, James S.; Fahy, C. W.. Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity (Kindle Locations 589-597). Kindle Edition.

And furthermore, I recommend Candida Moss's book "The Myth of Persecution" for confirmation of Valliant's position, that very few if any of the Christians who were loyal to the Roman Empire, suffered martyrdom.

Scholars of early Christianity agree that there is very little evidence for the persecution of Christians. Although there are references to the deaths of Christians in the writings of the early church, these are vague and often exaggerated. For the first two hundred and fifty years of the Christian era there are only six martyrdom accounts that can be treated as reliable. These stories describe the deaths of Christianity’s oldest and most beloved saints: the elderly bishop Polycarp, the young mothers Perpetua and Felicity, the teacher Ptolemy, the philosopher Justin Martyr, the martyrs of Scillium, and the brave members of the churches of Lyons and Vienne in ancient Gaul, modern-day France, who endured unspeakable tortures at the hands of the Romans. Even today some of these martyrs are mentioned in the religious services of the Catholic Church.
When we look closely at even these stories, however, it becomes clear that they have been significantly edited and changed. They refer to theological ideas that didn’t exist in the period described in the stories and contain elements borrowed from other ancient sources. Details like these suggest that even the earliest stories have been tampered with. This difficulty isn’t limited to just stories about martyrs. Early Christians, like many others in the ancient world, constantly updated and rewrote their sacred texts. The fact of the matter is that there are no stories about the deaths of martyrs that have not been purposely recast by later generations of Christians in order to further their own theological agendas.
Moss, Candida. The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom (pp. 16-17). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Perhaps the Suetonius quote indicates confusion, but not the Tacitus and Pliny.
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?

If you accept that Paul wrote several letters ascribed to him that makes the Creating Christ thesis hard to swallow.
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.

Why was Paul executed under Nero?
Maybe he wasn't. If indeed he was the same person as Josephus, he probably lived into the reign of Trajan.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Hi, Joe, welcome to the forum. (I was writing the below when Jerry so rudely posted before me, so please forgive any redundancy.)

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.
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'.

There is a lot of skepticism on the issue of Roman persecution of Christians, including academic books. Why would Romans persecute members of a religion that want to pay there taxes to Rome and obey secular authorities. This makes absolutely no sense. Instead, as Valliant and Fahy suggest, any such persecution and other repression makes sense for people associated with such as the nationalist Zealots and Sicarii, who wanted to separate themselves from Roman authority and taxes, just like today's extreme nationalists.

The oldest extant Tacitus text was written with 'Chrestians', modified identically to 'Christians'. I just posted on this last night.

564

You agree that this said Chrestian, and has been modified to say Christians right? That thread talks about the heavy Flavian connection with 'Chrestianity', which, when the time was ripe, erasers came out and changed the old texts to 'Christianity'. There weren't that many because most Christians couldn't read and they didn't/couldn't have copies at home.

So, now you can see why Hellenized Jews, who no longer spoke Hebrew or Aramaic, might employ the term Christiani as they became radicalized, while the Imperial Court was quietly employing the term Chrestian in the context of the Imperial Cult and within the new cult of Mitrha. The latter being the Freemasonry of the day. You know, how so many churches today let the Freemasons meet in their basements and similar, if they can't afford their own lodge. Just like in the old days.

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?
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?

How do you know that Paul was executed under anybody? Maybe it was Paul's persona that was executed? They aren't going to let you work at the CIA if you think like this.
 

CplCam

Member
Even mainstream Jesus historistics like Tim O'Neill at historyforatheists.com acknowledge that Josephus could have been a plausible source for Tacitus' writings on Jewish or Judean history...

"The final possible source of Tacitus’ sparse information is also conjectural, but has a certain logic to it. Tacitus says that the sect of this Christus had its origin “in Judea” (a term he uses elsewhere for all territories of the Jews, including Galilee, not merely the region administered directly by the Romans before the First Jewish War). He therefore seems to know this sect had Jewish origins, so a logical way to find out about it would be to simply … ask some Jews. And there was no shortage of aristocratic Jews in Rome for him to ask, since in the wake of the failed Jewish revolt, various pro-Roman Jewish exiles lived there, with several moving in the same circles as Tacitus at the court of the Flavian emperors and that of Trajan. One was Princess Berenice, the daughter of Herod Agrippa and the mistress and, later, wife of the emperor Titus. And another was the Jewish historian Yosef ben Matityahu, better known by his Latin name, Flavius Josephus.
There is no evidence that Josephus and Tacitus ever met or knew each other, but both were aristocrats, both had been of the priestly caste in their respective (very different) religious traditions, both had connections to the Flavian court and both were scholars and historians. So while we do not have direct indications that Tacitus consulted Josephus, J.P. Meier notes “a number of strong similarities” between the Tacitus reference and Josephus’ account of Jesus in AntiquitiesXVIII.63-4 and draws attention to four points of overlapping content (Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, 1991, Vol. 1., 101-2, n. 13). Stephen C. Carlson laid out the correspondences in a blog post in 2004"

https://historyforatheists.com/2017/09/jesus-mythicism-1-the-tacitus-reference-to-jesus/
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
With bringing our attention back to Romans, from the confusion in messianic names looking towards the various Jewish factions of the day, there is the picture of a parallel schism between Nero and such as the Flavians. There is always a cultural war between the old guard and those wanting a new order, right? The accounts that we have say that such went on for centuries, even well after Constantine switched state approval and funding to the 'Chrestians' from the ironically labeled 'pagans'.

John Bartram's work has demonstrated the close association (via all the inscriptions and such) of Chrestianity to the Flavians, and Nero apparently was not happy with the Platonic / Pythagorean based Chrestians and their 'fishy' Logos business. At least, that's what we are told.

As the other threads are revealing, the real 'church' of 'Jesus' were the Nazarenes (their beliefs from Egypt --- not the non-existent Nazareth), who we know from other accounts as the gnostic ... 'Nazarenes'. What a coincidence. These two groups would seem to have an amazing affinity, which is just one of the reasons that I have speculated elsewhere that the Flavians and these Nazarenes were covertly in cahoots. The real target of the Jewish War being the extermination and/or enslavement of the old school, radicalized fundamentalist / nationalists at odds with the global new order imposed upon them. Instead they became their own pretext for the Romans, their own shibboleth.

This is what is so sardonically sad about today's fundamentalist Christians, the American Taliban, but also many Cultural Christians. They rag on and on about Freedom this and that, and their right and duty to impose their ways on other Americans, but 99% of them only care about their aspirational, if not achievable, ability to live a cushy life in the temporal Roman order that America has always been, that is, if they understood the real history of their country. They are convinced that their holy texts are the basis for their freedom, yet the heroes inside that book work hard to enslave people, like Joseph did to the Egyptians, manipulating the capital markets in doing so (Genesis 47).

But people will go to endless lengths to believe they have been taught correctly, in the face of all evidence to the contrary. The Second Amendment is indeed so that people can defend themselves. That is, Godly white slave owners against evil rebellious salves. Paul said for slaves to obey their masters, after all.
 

Joe James

New Member
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 Epictitus which I just heard about (via a poster on Larry Hurtado's blog).

__

I did want to add another possible source that the authors might use to support their case. In the records of his remarks (dated to have been made around 110-115 C.E.) the philosopher Epictetus, Diss. IV.7, appealed to his students for them to behave like the Galileans (Γαλιλαῖο) when they were faced with an absolute ruler (τύραννος) who comes at them with a swords (μάχαιραι) and δορυφόροι, a word that can mean generic spearmen, but came to be more often associated specifically with the bodyguards of the rulers, and so the Praetorian Guards (e.g. Plu.Galb.13, Hdn.5.4.8). The Galileans that Epictetus refers to is almost always understood to be the early Christians. Epictetus was a boy living in Rome during the reign of Nero (and was a slave of one of Nero’s inner circle), but was afterwards expelled by Domitian and he lived in Nicopolis, across the Adriatic from Rome (where Titus refers to Paul wintering). The persecution of Christians by tyrants and their guards must have been reasonably familiar an idea for Epictetus to bring to his students’ attention. There is no known example of Emperor led persecution of Christians until the 200’s A.D. It is plausible to suggest, or at least footnote, his remarks to be alluding to Nero’s 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. It is surprising how infrequently it is highlighted. Even by Candia Moss in her book on the topic, this was missed, which struck me as particularly odd.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
The quote is from Richard Lansdale: https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/nero-tacitus-the-fire-and-christians/

It's possible that some Romans were confused about the difference between 'Messianic Jews' and 'Pauline Christians', while other Romans understood the difference. Some may have even deliberately written propaganda for the purpose of fanning the confusion.

But I hope we're in agreement that both groups existed as distinct movements.

The Galileans that Epictetus refers to is almost always understood to be the early Christians.
"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'.

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.
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'.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
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).
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?

As is, I could take what you wrote, regarding Valliant, that he is saying that the Romans made the confusion, not that they were being confused.

It seems likely that Epictetus was indeed referring to such as the Galileans, which we have been discussing on other threads as variously being Nazarenes or Nazoreans. This, as opposed to being of the then non-existent Nazareth.

We have also been discussing the various evidences, such as Bartram's work on 'Chrestianity' [sic] and its relationship to the Flavians and likely Epiphroditus. Imagine, as Jerry mentioned just prior, that Domitian 'exiles' various individuals to Anatolia, .... because there they can quietly spread Chrestianity, even using the resources of the imperial cult covertly. This is the area where Bartram says has the most epigraphic evidence of Chrestianity. Why should Domitian exile such people, instead of just killing them -- like tying a relative to a cross-armed anchor, upside-down, and then drowning him?
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.
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.

Paul expressly discusses the conflict between the so-called Church of Jerusalem, related to Jewish versus Gentile cultural practices, so right here we know of one schism in 'Christianity' right from the get go. Then there is a schism between the Nazarenes and the Ebionites, the Poor Ones, that appears completely separate from the issues of Paul.

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.
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'.
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.
 
Last edited:

Joe James

New Member
"As is, I could take what you wrote, regarding Valliant, that he is saying that the Romans made the confusion, not that they were being confused."

He thinks the Romans were confused. However, if Paul was killed by Romans it was because he had 'outlived his usefulness.' Valliant says that Paul was only making things worse by stiring up conflict with Jews. [Here:
at 1:21]
 

Sgt Pepper

Active Member
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.
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…

I dunno. Nazarene just sounds kinda like Nazirite.

Edit: From wikipedia:
The Gospel of Matthew explains that the title Nazarene is derived from the prophecy "He will be called a Nazorean",[4] but this has no obvious Old Testament source. Some scholars argue that it refers to a passage in the Book of Isaiah,[5] with "Nazarene" a Greek reading of the Hebrew ne·tser (branch), understood as a messianic title.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] "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).
 
Last edited:
Top