Parallels between Gospel of John, Acts and Domitian's life and Pauline changes?

Last year, I asked about parallels between Suetonius and Revelation, and then Jerry briefly mentioned that there were also paralles between Gospel of Jhn, Acts (flavian trinity which im interested in) and Pauline letters with Domitian's life. Could someone give me a list of parallels??
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
Hello Titus,

An example from Gospel of John is the story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:25-29). Joe suggests that Thomas 'the Twin' is a reverence to the XIV Roman Legion, named after Gemini (the constellation of the Twins). This Legion did not back Vespasian in his bid to become Emperor (thus, doubting him) but later accepted Domitian as its leader.

The Book of Revelation mentions seven seals, and there are also seven seals in the Pauline letters. According to Joe, the seven seals tie the epistles into the sequence of parallels between Revelation and Seutonius. The first six seals in Paul are: Romans 4:11-13; Romans 15:28; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; and Ephesians 4:30. Chapter 12 of "Shakespeare's Secret Messiah" is dedicated to working out the typology between these Pauline references, and the matching passages in Revelation & Seutonius. They're often quite subtle if not downright baffling, and it might be an interesting exercise to take a look at Paul's 'seals' without having any leading clues from the book. Joe didn't reveal anything about the seventh Pauline seal.

In both Paul and Acts, Joe thinks that all references to the 'holy spirit' are actually talking about Domitian. But I don't think he ever elaborated much on this idea.
How did they doubt him, like in what sense? Do some historical texts mention this more closely?? What are some other parallels with John? What about the Talmud? This looks pretty interesting.
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
How did they doubt him, like in what sense? Do some historical texts mention this more closely??
Here is a discussion at Livius:

In January 69, the civil war of the four emperors broke out when the governor of Germania Inferior, Vitellius, revolted. Galba panicked, was lynched and succeeded by Otho. The legions now had to choose and XIV, like the other legions of the Balkans, preferred Otho. Unfortunately, the legion did not arrive in time for the first battle of Cremona; a subunit fought for its emperor, but was defeated with the other Othonian legions. Vitellius, however, was merciful and sent the Fourteenth back to Britain. In the second round of the civil war, Vitellius versus Vespasian (the commander of the Judaean expeditionary force), XIV Gemina remained aloof.
What are some other parallels with John?
Joe didn't really find much in GJohn that's specific to events in Domitian's life. A good place to look would be the various references to the Holy Spirit. Regarding Domitian and the Holy Spirit, Joe said:

Although the ‘Holy Spirit’ is mentioned many times in the three synoptic Gospels and also in the Old Testament, it is typically referred to as an aspect of divinity that descends and fills a righteous person with godliness at important moments. ... There was no concept that the ‘Holy Spirit’ was a third distinct entity within the godhead.
The dualist concept of deity was consistent with the views of the Roman imperial cult, and it was consistent with the initial formulation of Flavian Christianity. There was no need to include Domitian in the system, because he had not been on the Judean battlefield like Vespasian (‘God the father’) and Titus (‘son of God’). To correct this slight to his ‘divinity’, Domitian promoted the ‘Holy Spirit’ to become a fully co-equal partnership with the Father and the Son.
A clearly Trinitarian formulation only occurs in the synoptic Gospels in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, which many scholars believe was a late interpolation. In a few other passages in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus refers to the ‘Holy Spirit’ as a distinct entity from the ‘Son of Man’, but the use of this latter term is arguably enigmatic. The view of the ‘Holy Spirit’ as an equal member of the Trinity becomes clearer in the Gospel of John, and is fully developed in Revelation and the epistles of Paul. It is interesting to note that the ‘Spirit’ (that is, Pneuma) was also a technical term of the Imperial Cult that was used to describe the spirit of the emperor that existed within his statues (Paul Corby Finney, The Invisible God: The Earliest Christians on Art, p. 73).

As further evidence that GJohn was written together with Acts and Revelation, Joe gave this:

Another example of Domitian’s typology is a puzzle concerning the number three. To create the puzzle, the author used blocks of text from Josephus, Acts, and the Gospel of John, which were linked by rare triangle numbers. These numbers are: the 153 large fish in John 21:11, the 120 people in the congregation in Acts 1:15, the 276 people on Paul's ship in Acts 27:38, and the number of the beast, which is 666 (Revelation 13:18). The nth triangle number may be defined as the number of dots composing an equilateral triangle with n dots on a side, including the dots filling the interior of the triangle on a triangular grid. [......]
Acts describes Paul’s shipwreck in great detail and it is easy to see that its shipwreck story was somehow dependent to Josephus’s in that some of the parallel concepts occur in the same sequence - i.e. Felix, priests being imprisoned and sent to Caesar for judgment, the ship sinks or runs aground in the Adriatic Sea, the heroes (Josephus or Paul) act with courage and provide leadership, all passengers presumably survive, and then on to Puteoli. Thus, by way of the common link with Josephus’s Life, the passage in Acts 27 describing the shipwreck and containing the triangle number 276 is paired with the passage in Acts 1 containing the triangle number 120. (Of course, Acts 1 and Acts 27 are also paired simply because they both contain rare triangle numbers.)
However, the shipwreck story in Acts also contains many parallels to the ‘coming ashore’ story in John 21 featuring the triangle number 153.
[....] the ratio of 265:153 represents a good approximation of the square root of three. The ratio is physically represented as lines drawn on two circles to form a fish in a shape known as the Vesica Piscis, a term that literally means the "bladder of a fish". The Vesica Piscis is the intersection of two circles with the same radius with the center of each circle lying on the circumference of the other. The Vesica Piscis has been used since antiquity to create the fish shape that represents Christianity.
[....] while ‘Mathias’ (that is, a type of Josephus) was ‘numbered with the eleven’ in the ‘120’ story, we find the Centurion (that is, another type of Josephus) ordered the prisoners to swim to shore in the ‘276’ story, thus ‘subtracting’ the 11 prisoners from the 276 on the boat thereby leaving 265 still on the water. This creates the other half of the Vesica Piscis ratio 265/153.
This solution neatly ties together the references to ’Mathias’ and the ‘eleven’ from Acts 1:15-26, the references to prisoners, the centurion and ‘276’ in Acts 27, and the reference to 153 ‘fish’ in John 21. Furthermore, without the information relating to Josephus from his autobiography, and the realization that ‘Mathias’ and ‘Julius the centurion’ are both types of Josephus, the puzzle cannot truly be ‘solved’: there is no other justification for subtracting the eleven from the 276.
What about the Talmud?
"Shakespeare's Secret Messiah" contains an entire chapter on Rabbinical Judaism and the Talmud. Here's the summary:

After learning that the Flavians had invented Christianity, I became curious as to why they provided the Rabbis with a land grant to establish Rabbinical Judaism. It seemed logical to me that as the Flavians had created one of the two religions that had replaced the militaristic form of Judaism, they also created the other.
I began an analysis of the literature of Rabbinical Judaism to determine if it contained clues, like those within the Christian canon, indicating that the Flavians had created that religion. This study led to the following conclusions:
1) Rabbinical Judaism was, like Christianity, a religion created by the Flavians.
2) Many of the original ‘Rabbis’ of the religion were not Jews, but Roman ‘converts’ or proselytes to Judaism, who were under the employment of the Flavians.
3) Much of the canon of the religion was not created for a theological purpose, but to mind-shape Judaism’s religious warriors into docile students obsessed with legal minutia.
4) Exactly as they had done with the Gospels, the Flavians constructed a satirical message within the religion’s canon to notify posterity that they had created Rabbinical Judaism and that the ‘God’ the Jews worshiped was the Flavian Caesar.
5) Rome was successful in both destroying the real Judaism, which was the xenophobic religion of the Maccabees, and, incredibly, in hiding this fact from history.
But, the specific parallels that Joe was able to identify within the Talmud were entirely related to Vespasian and Titus. He didn't find anything specifically about Domitian.

This looks pretty interesting.
We really need to get you a copy of the book. Did you have any luck reaching Joe at his email?
I didn't email him, idk i felt as if it would be bothering him. Just one more question ahead, sorry for bothering, in one of short clips, Joe says that cult of Saint Veronica had it's headquarters in a castle ( I do not exactly remember if it was a castle) deticated to Berenice. What is the evidence for this?
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
I didn't email him, idk i felt as if it would be bothering him.
He's very friendly and loves to hear from his readers. But it's also OK to be shy. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Joe says that cult of Saint Veronica had it's headquarters in a castle ( I do not exactly remember if it was a castle) deticated to Berenice. What is the evidence for this?
I was discussing the Veronica<->Berenice connection with Joe back in 2013. At the time, he referred me to the book "Caesarea Philippi: Banias, The Lost City of Pan" by John Wilson. The book is available for PDF download at:

On p. 90, it tells the story of a mysterious statue described by Eusebius, who thought it was a statue of Jesus with a supplicant woman. The statue was in the city of Caesarea Philippi. Wilson says:

Later Christian historians... begin to identify the woman as some wealthy gentile whose name was known from New Testament times (Berenice as Veronica; obviously representing some sort of conflation with Berenice, the Queen of Banias in the days of Agrippa II) [....] The group described by Eusebius could quite plausibly have been a contemporary depiction of, say, Titus and Herod Agrippa II’s half-sister Berenice, who were famous lovers prior to Titus’s ascension to the imperial throne. This might explain the appearance of the name Berenice as that of the woman healed of haemorrhage in certain Byzantine church histories.

But, Wilson also identifies several other possibilities regarding the true meaning & provenance of the statue, so any implied relationship between Berenice and Veronica is highly speculative. Elsewhere in the book (p. 37), Wilson mentions a huge palace that has been excavated in Caesarea Philippi. He speculates that perhaps it was built for Berenice as a gift from Titus. But again there are other possibilities, and Wilson doesn't mention any connection to the later Christian cult of Veronica.

Here's Joe's film clip. I'm guessing that he must have come across a better source than Wilson's book, to make these claims. You're giving me a good excuse to check in with Joe myself!


Jerry Russell

Staff member
So I called Joe today, and he has some exciting news about Shakespeare's Secret Messiah. The book has been optioned as the source material for a new upcoming TV series!

Renaissance poet Amelia Bassano is poised to get the small screen treatment.
Tiffany Haddish, Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman and Mrs. America's Amma Asante are developing The Bardess for television. Envisioned as a limited series, the project will center on the true story of the Black, Venetian, Jewish poet, who some believe was behind Shakespeare's literary work. Set in 16th Century England, The Bardess is expected to explore that premise, which has been backed by a collection of scholars. (Still others balk.)
News of the project comes as the interest in Bassano's story has increasingly become a source of scholarship and theatrical interest of late. Among the latter was an eponymous play, which was hailed as a "feminist triumph" when it premiered at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre a few years ago. For this iteration, Haddish's She Ready Productions has optioned Shakespeare's Secret Messiah: The Dark Lady by Joseph Atwill as source material.
The "eponymous play" is 'Emilia' written by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm. Here's the trailer:

Bassano, the woman behind Shakespeare's mask? Perhaps this is an idea whose time has come. Of course, Joe's evidence that Bassano wrote Shakespeare, is intimately derived from his analysis of the Flavian origins of Christianity.
What were the parallels between Talmud and Titus' and Vespasian's life??? And who were the jewish roman proselytizers and what is the evidence for that?
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
Hello Titus,

Sorry for the delayed response. I am sending you an email to your address on file, with a link to a loaner copy of SSM (two week checkout). The material on the Talmud and Rabbinical Judaism is in Chapter 14, pp. 389-424. I really can't do justice to the material in a short summary.
Hey Jerry! Thank you for loaning the book to me. I was wondering, what does ''(Pedagogues, III, xi)'' mean on page 253??? Also in what sense does ''oZeH'' mean bond? And how does flavian mean bald?
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
Hello Titus,

Thank you for loaning the book to me.
Thank you for reading!

I was wondering, what does ''(Pedagogues, III, xi)'' mean on page 253???
Clement of Alexandria (aka Titus Flavius Clemens) wrote a book entitled "Pedagogues". From Book III, chapter xi:

And let our seals be either a dove, or a fish, or a ship scudding before the wind, or a musical lyre, which Polycrates used, or a ship's anchor, which Seleucus got engraved as a device; and if there be one fishing, he will remember the apostle, and the children drawn out of the water. For we are not to delineate the faces of idols, we who are prohibited to cleave to them; nor a sword, nor a bow, following as we do, peace; nor drinking-cups, being temperate.
Also in what sense does ''oZeH'' mean bond?
Joe says that oZeH is a Hebrew word meaning 'bond' when translated into English. He thinks that Shakespeare was making a pun with 'breast', which he says is aZeH. Biblical Hebrew is written with consonants only, so the 'a', 'o' and 'e' are inferred.

Consulting on online Hebrew dictionary, I think Joe may be referring to:

breast = חָזֶה (pronounced 'kha-zeh')

inheritance = אֲחֻזָּה (pronounced 'akh-ooz-zaw')

Looking at Shakespeare's use of 'bond', he seems to mean an inheritance or birthright.

And how does flavian mean bald?
I think you mean 'blonde' (p. 253)? From Wikipedia:

The nomen Flavius is of Latin origin, and is derived from the surname Flavus, used by a number of gentes, and meaning "golden" or "golden-brown". It probably referred to the blond hair possessed by an early member of the family.[2][3]
Or, perhaps, you noticed Joe's analysis of 'The Tempest' on this site:

The other depiction of the Flavian ‘trinity’ is a comic send up made up of the three clowns Stefano, Caliban and Trinculo. ‘Stefano’ – meaning crown – is Vespasian, the Flavian that seized the throne from the Julio-Claudians. ‘Caliban’ – an anagram of cannibal – represents Titus, the Flavian linked to the ‘flesh eating humor’ in the Gospels. Like Titus’s claim of ownership of Judea, Caliban falsely claims ownership of the island, ‘this island’s mine”. Prospero states that Caliban is of a “vile race” and that he has taught him “words”, indicating Titus’s use of Jewish typology in the gospels. ‘Trinculo’ – playing off of his focus on the number three and the ‘trinity’ – is Domitian. Joking with Trinculo, Stephano speaks of a jacket (a ‘jerkin’) using the enigmatic phrase “like to lose your hair and prove a bald jerkin”. This is typology based upon the description of Domitian’s baldness in Suetonius (Domitian 18), who claimed that he wore wigs and even wrote a book on hair care.
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
The Texas Tenth Fretensis re-enactors' group seems to agree that the X was the symbol of the Roman legion led by Vespasian in the Jewish War.

...the Roman reenactment mainstream currently focuses on the Imperial era, so we strive to keep a "critical mass" of Legionary activities and equipment appropriate to that span of time (we prefer the Flavian dynasty under Vespasian.)