The Rich Carriage of Space Jesus?

Jerry Russell

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If Paul was made up, he was made up for a reason and that might be the spy mission you refer to. Even if wasn't Paul, then somebody did these deeds and it seems in character for Saulus. So could it be possible that Saul is real but Paul is not?
'Saulus' (Latin) seems to be the same name as 'Saul' (Greek), and the NT tells us that the names of 'Saul' and 'Paul' are interchangeable. (Apologist Greg Lanier disputes the notion that the name 'Paul' was taken up by Saul only after his Damascus Road conversion experience. His argument looks correct to me, although I'm one of the ones who has long held the impression that biblical 'Paul' did indeed undergo a name change.)

The name 'Saulus' is also mentioned by Josephus -- as explained by Robert Eisenman, who indicates that it is at least plausible that this 'Saulus' is the same person as biblical Paul:


FROM a different quarter, evidence emerges which concretizes and sums up, albeit unwittingly, all the tendencies we have been discussing, providing us with an example of just the kind of person we have been describing. As we have seen above, there are notices in Josephus about a member of the Herodian family named "Saulus," again not a very common name in this period. This Saulus plays a key role in events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Not only is Saulus the intermediary between "the men of Power [the Herodians], the principal of the Pharisees, the chief priests, and all those desirous for peace" (i.e., peace with the Romans), Josephus also describes him as "a kinsman of Agrippa." In what should be seen as perhaps as garbled notices relating his genealogy through Bernice I to Costobarus (an Idumean convert), he is grouped alongside individuals named "Antipas" and "Costobarus." Saulus leads the delegation to Agrippa (barred from the city and Temple by those Josephus refers to as "Innovators" � their patently anti-Herodian innovation being an unwillingness any longer to accept sacrifices or gifts on behalf of foreigners) that wishes to invite the Romans into the city to subdue the uprising before it could start. The note of Saulus' relation to "the chief priests" is interesting for its parallel with material in Acts relating to Saul's commission from the chief priest to arrest "Christians."
It is curious that in the Antiquities, following Josephus' description of the stoning of James and the plundering of the tithes of the poor priests by the rich chief priests, Josephus refers to Saulus as leading a riot in Jerusalem. For its part, the Book of Acts refers to the riotous behavior in Jerusalem of "Saulos," but it places this event after the conversion of a large group of priests, problems over the distribution of collection moneys, and the stoning of Stephen. H.-J. Schoeps has already remarked the resemblance of this stoning of Stephen to the stoning of James. It is curious that whereas Acts may have transposed the stoning of James in the sixties with the stoning of Stephen in the forties (when the Pseudoclementines claim Paul led a riot and an attack on James in the Temple), Josephus may have done just the opposite, i.e., transposed materials relating to Saul's riotous behavior in Jerusalem in the forties with its analogue, the riot led by Saulus in the sixties. In order to contend that Saulus and Paul are identical, one would have to assume either one or the other of the above transpositions took place or that Paul ultimately returned to Jerusalem, or both. However, this is not as implausible as it may seem on the surface, as our sources fall uncharacteristically silent on the subject of Paul's last years, and where Saulus is concerned, aside from his defection to the Romans, we know nothing about his ultimate fate.
However, there's no evidence that either Simon Magus or the 'Saulus' described by Josephus, ever went on any missionary journeys, or wrote any epistles.

Getting back to the thread topic -- 'Space Jesus' seems to be getting ever closer to making an appearance. According to Tucker Carlson, the Pentagon has just confirmed the authenticity of earlier leaked video showing triangle-shaped, flashing objects "swarming our warships". Carlson and his guest Jeremy Corbell are careful to refer to the objects as "UFO's", but Fox News oddly set the stage with a video showing a lovingly rendered, large flying saucer and a graphic of its alien inhabitant.

Is this triangle shape supposed to represent the Illuminati All-Seeing Eye of Providence? What else could it be?

 
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Jerry Russell

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Here’s an article by Tyler Rogoway at “The WarZone” claiming that these little triangular UFO’s are surveillance drones or perhaps balloons from some unnamed foreign adversary. The article claims that the US military has been fielding stealth drones and balloons for decades, and also mentions drone projects by Iran and Turkey. I find this strange on several grounds:

(1) Who is “The WarZone”? And why are they sharing a URL with a car review website?

(2) If these are really just powered by little gasoline engines or battery-driven electric motors, wouldn’t they be trivially easy to shoot down?

(3) With all the war-mongering propaganda going on today, wouldn’t the military be all too eager to blame these drones on some specific foreign power, such as Russian, China or Iran? Why indulge in silly speculations about extraterrestrials, when there would be far greater immediate propaganda gains by just capturing a specimen and creating an international crisis over the incident?

In reality, it looks to me as if this could be nothing more than some sort of cheap optical trick. But also, I'm sticking to my story, that some shadowy propaganda source within the Pentagon wants to intensify the simmering debate over "extraterrestrial contacts."
 

Charles Watkins

Active Member
Well, I finally finished JESUS FROM OUTER SPACE. Carrier starts by pointing out that ancients had a cosmology where the 'heavens' were arranged on concentric spheres around the earth. So if Jesus came from heaven, he came from outer space. Then he uses this to ridicule early Christians for the rest of the book. There's a chapter denying textual evidence for Jesus and others showing his story was typical of godmen for that age. He raises the question of how a mythic Jesus came to be presented as flesh and blood, but does not even hazard an answer. He ends with a weird chapter on the semen of David.

His only references are to his own work and he seem unaware that others have studied this subject. And as always, he sneers and scoffs at anyone who holds a different view. In sort, it's a hard read I would not wish on anyone. I'd like my $25 back.

As an aside, I've long wondered why the precession of the equinoxes has held such significance to ancient philosophers. How can this be a great cosmic secret? The best explanation I've come across is that it implies a greater cosmic force than the creator of the heavens. If these are imperfect, then the creator must be imperfect and therefore there is a greater, perfect creator.

At some point, Jehovah moved from his mountain top to a heavenly kingdom. From there he would occasionally descend as the Angel of the Lord or would take possession of a moral such as Enoch (Metatron). The heretical view was the He had done the same with Jesus, coming into him at the baptism and departing at the crucifixion.
 

Jerry Russell

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In sort, it's a hard read I would not wish on anyone. I'd like my $25 back.
In that case, thanks for putting in the work to read and give us an overview. Did he mention at all, whether he sees any prospects of "space Jesus" making a comeback in the future?

And as always, he sneers and scoffs at anyone who holds a different view.
Perhaps he sees his fellow scholars and other authors, as competitors for dollars from a finite book-buying public? Or, he is afraid that his field of "Jesus mythicism" will be tainted by the whiff of association with "crackpots" whose views are less Absolutely True than his own?

I've been thinking a lot about the question of coalition building. If one's goal is to accomplish anything, cooperation and networking seem essential. And in the field of religious studies and biblical scholarship, I'm at least 90% aligned with Carrier. I think we agree that fundamentalist religions are built on mythical quicksand, and that fundamentalist institutions cause a lot of mischief. I am certainly much closer to Carrier in my views, than I am to any Catholic priest or Islamic Imam.

Carrier's writings on political and social issues look very sympatico. I'm generally in favor of a market system with a lot of regulations and social benefits paid for by land and wealth taxes. Richard and I talked some about UBI -- Carrier's essay on the topic is absolutely outstanding, and has completely won me over. Basically, he says that distributing some resources equally to all the people, has the effect of reducing the importance of pure luck in peoples' lives, making it more likely that each person will find a suitable outlet for their talents, and increasing the average merit of people in powerful positions.

But on another fundamental issue, Carrier's position seems dangerously complacent to me. I see both climate change and nuclear war as existential, extinction-level threats to human life. He's hardly worried at all, and thinks that nuclear war would be just a hiccup along the way to mankind's ultimately happy and prosperous destiny. Maybe a few hundred years' setback.

At any rate, Carrier is obviously not interested in cooperating in any way with a nut case such as myself. Beliefs such as that the Romans had something to do with inventing Jesus, put me beyond the pale as far as he's concerned. I still subscribe to his Patreon anyhow.

I've long wondered why the precession of the equinoxes has held such significance to ancient philosophers. How can this be a great cosmic secret? The best explanation I've come across is that it implies a greater cosmic force than the creator of the heavens. If these are imperfect, then the creator must be imperfect and therefore there is a greater, perfect creator.
Would you say that perhaps it seemed more important to ancient polytheists such as Egyptians and Greeks, who saw the Gods embodied in the various constellations? At any rate, the discovery was an amazing feat of patient observation, and must have given a tremendous sense of power and mastery to the stargazers.
 

Charles Watkins

Active Member
No, Carrier did not write about a 'second coming from outer space' or anything like that. He just wanted a sensationalistic title. He wants to set himself up as a judge of Biblical scholarship, maybe some professional power play.

I also agree with his positions. But I wish he had gone into the replacement of the mythic Jesus with the Jesus of the Gospels, since that seems central to his argument. "Nobody knows" is not a good answer from such a learned scholar. Not even a theory?

Other than Andrew Wang's campaign, I haven't followed UBI very much. I'm inclined to favor free public services, like healthcare and transportation, plus a guaranteed job program. I'd still provide relief payments to the needy but I don't want handouts for the well-to-do.
 

Jerry Russell

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"Nobody knows" is not a good answer from such a learned scholar. Not even a theory?
Carrier offered a sort of theory in "On the Historicity of Jesus". Namely, that Christianity originated as a Jewish sect in the region of Syria-Palestine, and in its original form it was based on a celestial Jesus. Then, an allegorical story of this Jesus was composed by the believers, depicting his imagined life. Finally, believers became confused, and believed that this allegory was a true history. There is no surviving record of when or where this happened, so that's all we know.

This doesn't seem like an especially good answer to me, especially considering the many parallels between the life of biblical Jesus and the lives of various historical figures of the 1st century AD.

Carrier will be doing a series of interviews with MythVision shortly. Maybe we could get Derek Lambert to grill Carrier about this?
 

Charles Watkins

Active Member
This doesn't seem like an especially good answer to me, especially considering the many parallels between the life of biblical Jesus and the lives of various historical figures of the 1st century AD.
Most of the book dwells on that point. By the time he's done, Carrier has dispelled any notion that there was anything real about the gospel Jesus. The question for this theory is why believers would diminish a celestial deity by inventing a false life story. At some point, someone decided to dumb it down for mass consumption. Sounds like the Roman Catholics to me.
 

Jerry Russell

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By the time he's done, Carrier has dispelled any notion that there was anything real about the gospel Jesus.
Do you agree that he successfully accomplished his goal here? At this website, we say that gospel Jesus was a composite of such diverse characters as Julius Caesar, Titus Flavius, Vespasian, Judas the Galilean, Homer's Odysseus, and perhaps many others. Does that make gospel Jesus completely false, or is he blessed with a multifaceted reality?
 

Charles Watkins

Active Member
Do you agree that he successfully accomplished his goal here? At this website, we say that gospel Jesus was a composite of such diverse characters as Julius Caesar, Titus Flavius, Vespasian, Judas the Galilean, Homer's Odysseus, and perhaps many others. Does that make gospel Jesus completely false, or is he blessed with a multifaceted reality?
The character Jesus is surely a composite of such legendary figures and Carrier covers a lot of them. Aside from that there is the question of whether the life of some historical figure (Izates, Jesus of Gamala, etc.) might have also been incorporated at the time he was revealed to be the carpenter's son. Paul's Jesus with mythic. The Gospels made him human.

The question is how this happened. I'm considering a God King conspiracy with little hard evidence but high explanatory power. Here, the powers behind the Imperial Cult (Pisos? Domitian? Barbiero's Jews?) want the Emperor to become a God King, not just as a posthumous honor but as a ruler with divine authority. They can then retire the old pantheon and concentrate power behind the throne. Because they need to control the succession to weed out wimps and nutjobs, it had to be that God comes into a mortal body for apotheosis to occur. Originally that occurred at the Baptism, but later it was moved back to the Immaculate Conception.
 

Jerry Russell

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The character Jesus is surely a composite of such legendary figures and Carrier covers a lot of them.
So he does agree about this? Does he have a reply to authors who say "Jesus was Caesar" (Francesco Carotta) or "Jesus was Judas of Galilee" (Daniel Unterbrink)? Because I think both of these are true, not only in the sense that the biographies of these historical men were sources for the life of biblical Jesus, but also because both were, in a sense, among the founders of the Christian religion.

I'm considering a God King conspiracy with little hard evidence but high explanatory power.
One might argue that there's quite a bit of evidence, albeit circumstantial. There are the various manuscripts and archaeological records showing that the Flavians were among the earliest "Chrestians" discussed by Valliant & Fahy "Creating Christ", as well as the literary parallels between Josephus & the New Testament discussed by Atwill "Caesars Messiah", and all the links between Paul & the royal Roman court described by Voskuilen & Sheldon, "Operation Messiah".

It also makes a lot of sense to me, that the doctrine of the full divinity of the Emperors was hard to swallow after characters like Nero and Caligula. Under Christianity, kings and emperors still rule by divine right, but more in the capacity of Jesus's earthly deputies. As such, nobody should be surprised if they're sinners in need of redemption.
 

Seeker

Well-Known Member
Under Christianity, kings and emperors still rule by divine right, but more in the capacity of Jesus's earthly deputies.
This sort of ties in with the work of Charles N. Pope, and also Roman Piso, who believed that the Roman Emperors were actually one big extended family, using aliases to create different branches. Thus, in the case of Pope, we have "Jesus" as never a Roman Emperor himself, but behind the scenes as "The Great King of the World" (an invisible Kingship to this world, like that of God, and what Jesus supposedly mentioned to Pontius Pilate, who recognized him as a King). As such, Jesus succeeded Caesarion, his Father and the previous Great King of the World, who in turn succeeded his Father, Great King Julius Caesar, of the Great King line of Alexander the Great, of whom it is recorded that Caesar wished to emulate. Jesus, in turn, had a "deputy" as Roman Emperor, his brother Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty. The son of Jesus who became Great King was Josephus, who replaced the Flavian dynasty, under its last Emperor Domitian, as the Roman Emperor Nerva. Both Pope and Piso gave Jesus a Roman aristocratic identity also, and Piso too had him related and ancestral to Roman Emperors. Simple, huh? o_O
 
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Charles Watkins

Active Member
So he does agree about this? Does he have a reply to authors who say "Jesus was Caesar" (Francesco Carotta) or "Jesus was Judas of Galilee" (Daniel Unterbrink)? Because I think both of these are true, not only in the sense that the biographies of these historical men were sources for the life of biblical Jesus, but also because both were, in a sense, among the founders of the Christian religion.

It also makes a lot of sense to me, that the doctrine of the full divinity of the Emperors was hard to swallow after characters like Nero and Caligula. Under Christianity, kings and emperors still rule by divine right, but more in the capacity of Jesus's earthly deputies. As such, nobody should be surprised if they're sinners in need of redemption.
Carrier does not much discuss other theories. I seem to recall him ridiculing Atwill at some point, but not much more. I think the mythological narrative came first and was revamped for imperial use, drawing on Caesar, JofG, Josephus, and others to create the backstory. Carrier's point is when you subtract all of that, there is nothing left.

Nero and Caligula (and Tiberias and Domitian, if you ask me) were failed attempts at creating a God King. The problem is they were whack jobs chosen by their predecessors. By assuming the power of King-maker, the leaders of the Imperial Cult would be able to announce that the divine spirit had incarnated in their chosen candidate. (This is why Popes are kept celibate.)
 

Jerry Russell

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Carrier's point is when you subtract all of that, there is nothing left.
I can't disagree with that!

It seems to me that Carrier and Atwill are about 95% on the same page, at least in contrast to any Christian fundamentalist bible thumper. It's sad that Carrier feels he needs to resort to ridicule to distance himself.

What's the next step?
Hi Sarge, I guess we need a list of interview questions.

Here's a question, basically taken from my article "Richard Carrier: meet Barnum & Bailey":

In "On the Historicity of Jesus" (Chapter 2, § 4) you define a "minimal historical Jesus" as:

1. An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death.​
2. This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities.​
3, This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod).​

Doesn't Julius Caesar meet this definition? That is, he was deified by the Roman senate; assassinated by a conspiracy of some of those same authorities; and his followers in the Imperial cult continued to worship him after his apotheosis. Eventually elements of the narrative were taken into the Christian gospels, where his character is called Jesus.

The same definition applies to Titus. He was deified by his brother, the Emperor Domitian, perhaps immediately after he was poisoned to death at the new Emperor's hand. In the New Testament, he became the second incarnation of Jesus, returned to destroy the Jewish temple.

Judas the Galilean is yet another instance that meets the definition. He was the founder of the "fourth philosophy" of Jewish nationalist zealots, who saw him as a Messiah. According to Acts 5:37, he perished in a revolt against the Romans. In the New Testament, his story is recognizable as the big-talking revolutionary pacifist called Jesus.

So instead of saying that the "historical Jesus" didn't exist, shouldn't we say that we know of at least three?

More questions for Carrier, anyone?
 

Sgt Pepper

Active Member
Just nit-picking here, but modify the rhetorical "Doesn't Julius Caesar meet this definition? "

Leave one question at the end. Other than that, get it to Derek! There's some payment involved?

What about a question for Dr Price? He already discussed the idea of the New Testament written as Roman wartime propaganda.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Other than that, get it to Derek! There's some payment involved?
Derek Lambert, Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price all have Patreon accounts, and I'm signed up for all three. They typically take questions from subscribers. But I've noticed that they take good questions from non-subscribers too!

So I wrote Derek a quick note. He says his trip to Carrier's house is scheduled for September. So we have plenty of time to come up with more and better questions.

Of course Derek meets with Price almost every week, so it's easier to get questions through that channel.

Here are links to the history of the discussion with Carrier so far....

richardcarrier.info/archives/4664

postflaviana.org/historicity-jesus-yes

richardcarrier.info/archives/14681

postflaviana.org/community/index.php?threads/richard-carrier-replies.2456
 
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Jerry Russell

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My YouTube feed sent me this interesting video in which Saagar Anjeti is saying that the UFO phenomenon is not just some military psy-op. His argument is that the military has been consistently resistant to releasing any information, which is just now being dragged out of them.

According to Saagar, the information has been "dragged out" through a process that began with Senator Harry Reid, who obtained $22 million in funding for a program within the Pentagon for UFO research. This program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). This program ran from 2007 through 2012, or perhaps longer. The funds were spent partly to review reports of UFO sightings, and also for various advanced (speculative) theoretical physics projects. Program leader Luis Elizondo became convinced that the many reports from military personnel could only be explained by the actual existence of aircraft with superlative, unworldly capabilities. In 2017 he resigned from the military, to devote himself to promoting his views to the mass media. As shown on Saagar's program, Elizondo recently went on CBS "60 Minutes" to say: "Imagine a technology that can do six to seven hundred g forces; that can fly at thirteen thousand miles an hour; that can evade radar; and that can fly through air and water and possibly space. And (oh, by the way) has no obvious signs of propulsion. No wings, no control surfaces; and yet still can defy the natural effects of earth's gravity. That's precisely what we're seeing."

Now, I can understand why Saagar and many others are excited about this. But I'm still skeptical, for reasons that Caitlin Johnstone articulated far better than I ever could:

...we haven’t met the aliens because a civilization far more advanced than our own would have matured emotionally and spiritually beyond the need to sail around the galaxy molesting the natives like a bunch of fifteenth century Europeans. They, unlike us, would not be craning their necks scanning around the universe for more stuff to take.

Or as Carrier might say: the prior probabilities are extraordinarily low.

My takeaway message from this video is that now I’m suspicious maybe it’s not the military behind the hoax, maybe it’s Senator Harry Reid and friends. According to the Wikipedia article linked above, Reid's wife was born Jewish, but the family converted to Latter Day Saints. And the LDS, of course, has a cosmology expressed in the Book of Abraham, which clearly displays a fascination with the planets and stars: whether or not it actually says that each Mormon saint will get his own planet.

 

Jerry Russell

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The article in "Vice", the "Skeptic's Guide", shows that there's definitely a case that there's nothing unusual about the UFO footage shown on the "60 Minutes" program. The extraordinary aspect of the "60 Minutes" segment, is that it is so credulous. They could have given some air time to critics such as Mick West or Michael Shermer, featured in the "Vice" article. Or if they weren't available, I'm sure that other critics of the "alien visitation" theory are easy to find.

But instead, CBS News treats this as if only some crazy conspiracy nut would even question it. What sort of tin foil hat is going to question eyewitness testimony from such sincere-looking individuals as Cmdr. Dave Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich, featured on the CBS show? The transcript reports:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/navy-ufo-sighting-60-minutes-2021-05-16/

On November 14, 2004, Fravor and Dietrich were training with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group about 100 miles southwest of San Diego. Unbeknownst to them, advanced radar on a ship that was a part of their training group, the USS Princeton, had been detecting what operators called "multiple anomalous aerial vehicles" over the horizon, descending eighty-thousand feet in less than a second.
During their training exercise Fravor and Dietrich, each with a weapons system officer in the back seat of their F/A-18F, say they were diverted to investigate the anomalous object. They say at first they found an area of roiling whitewater the size of a Boeing 737. And then they saw something strange above the water.
"We saw this little white Tic-Tac-looking object… and it's just kind of moving above the whitewater area," Fravor recounted.
"No predictable movement, no predictable trajectory," said Dietrich.
As Dietrich circled above, Fravor went down for a closer look. He said the object was about the size of his F/A-18F, with no markings, no wings, and no exhaust plumes. As soon as Fravor tried to cut off the UAP, it accelerated so quickly that it seemed to disappear, he recalled. Seconds later, the USS Princeton reacquired the UAP on its radar. It was approximately 60 miles away.
Later, another flight crew's targeting camera locked on to what it believed was the same UAP before it zipped off again, though the camera did manage to capture infrared video of something.
In the "Vice" article linked above, author Matthew Gault asked Mick West how he would explain this incident.
“I don’t know what David Fravor saw,” he said. “I don’t know what the radar saw. But it’s not what’s shown in this video. What’s shown in the FLIR video from the Nimitz encounter, is a distant object that’s not really moving. So it's nothing at all like what he describes, which is like an intelligence superfast hypersonic aircraft.”
How unfortunate that at the critical moment, Fravor and Dietrich weren't able to snap any sort of picture of the tic-tac craft or the whirlwind below it, even though they had been explicitly sent on a reconnaissance mission to evaluate the anomaly which had already been sighted on radar. We just have to take their word for it.
 
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