Why would the Flavian Caesars make a Messiah for?

yoshi

New Member
Wouldn't claiming someone besides themselves King of the Jews unmind or limit their power? Wouldn't that unkind their religion and belief that they were gods? Caesars were considered gods by the people of Rome. To claim other God before them or claiming they were mere men, would that be good idea? They believed in Greek gods like Zeus: Jupiter.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
It would in no way limit their power, in the manner that it was done. That is, they did not openly tell the public that they had either created the religion of that Jesus was their surrogate avatar. It was all done covertly and mostly targeted to a specific audience at first. In those days, the Romans traditionally welcomed the new practice of any religion that did not threaten them politically, or in some other manner.

In this regard fundamentalist Judaism of the day was indeed a threat, considering that ~10% of the empire was Judaic, and growing. To become a good Jew meant adopting all the 613 laws of Moses, which meant you had to withdraw from most Greco-Roman cultural practices. The Romans had, over time, attempted to make legal exemptions for the Jews to do so, but at the cost of growing social incohesivness if radical Judaism was to flourish. So the solution was to provide an alternative where the Jewish 'messiah' provides messages to his faithful that do not threaten Rome, but rather support it.

We have recently discussed here several new books, one which examines the teachings of Jesus in this manner and finds that indeed they all are messages that do not threaten Rome, in stark contrast to radical Judaism - which avidly supported the separatism of the Jewish holy land, the temple, and Jewish supremacy.

Of course, the notion of Jesus Christ as the Jewish messiah is hilarious from the Jewish perspective. Christians have long understood this and acknowledged this, but instead of realizing the true implications of this, they rationalized that this merely meant that (the Jewish) God had finally turned on the Jews for their constant misbehavior and infidelity to him. Ironically the Jews were typecast in their own holy book (the Word of God) as being rather morally suspect, starting out with their patriarch Judah fathering them via sex with his daughter-in-law, Tamar, whom he had mistaken for a street prostitute. She had to fool him into sex to gain her rightful inheritance priveledges. Well, no, before that he had sold his brother into slavery.
 
Alternatively ;) one may imagine that Paul's Jewish godman cult was a no-brainer in a city (Thessaloniki) where the top three cults were the Greek, Egyptian, and Thracian godman cults, and where Jewish culture was increasingly popular amongst the goyim. Compare this with the contemporary rise of Buddhism amongst non-Asian Americans.

If such a scenario unfolded with Paul's cult, it would have been that much easier for the Roman authority to co-opt the movement for their own purposes. Compare this with the way US intelligence and special operations funded, trained, and co-opted the mujahideen in Afghanistan to form al-Qaida. If that sounds too "conspiratorial," then consider how petitioning the government was until recently considered a borderline "radical" political act, and yet now one can go to whitehouse.gov to sign on to any number of online "petitions"
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
You're basically talking about two different kinds of people. The targets of today were, and are, young and impressionable youths of lower class backgrounds. Tabula rasa essentially. The system, and current early timing of the process, demands that these recruits be rebels against the Machine. In other words Useful Foils for the stage of the End Time 'play'.

Conversely Saul was from an elite family, and claims that he persecuted Christiani (which we can now see were Jewish Nazoreans -- Nazarenes -- messianic Zealots). He did so while working for the Judaic elites, who were essentially Hellenistic in the first place. As we've discussed was also the was the case with Josephus as well.

Thus, there was no need to co-opt Saul into being Paul. The epiphany was simply the acknowledgement of the change in context of his mission. Instead of persecution the Christiani messianiacs [sic] he now concentrates on co-opting the term 'Christian' back into the proper Hellenistic context, mopping up those people on the margins, or riding the fence so to speak. The epiphany came along later than we are now typologically within the repeating script.

Today the globalists need to identify and profile as many people as possible that aren't on their side; just like Santa Claus does, making a list to check whose naughty or nice. Then Christ (not Jesus of Nazareth) is gonna come and kick some serious ass. The Predestinated Elect are gonna be pre-warned and head off to the Trump Hidden Resort at Pella, Iowa. Probably a network of converted missile silo. Then those horny celibates are gonna party like its 2070.

Hmmm, Paul wasn't too much into women was he?
 
If I may more directly address the OP, one could argue that any deviation from the orthodoxy of the imperial cult diminished the power of the imperial cult. However, this line of reasoning would rely on the presumption that Rome could enforce absolute compliance with their wishes, which may be unrealistic.

Where Richard's position and my own would agree is that in shaping what would become the Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church, Rome was dealing with pre-existing dissident opinions within the empire. Therefore, their concern is not how this emerging story of Jesus conflicts with the imperial cult, but rather how it diverges from similar ideologies which would be anti-Roman, and how it might be used to steer any "rabble-rousers" towards compliance with the civil authority
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Ok, sure. I never made that claim, however. Paul would have already gone on to the Heavenly realm to be with his messiah/christ before the Flavians came to power.

Happy New Year, bee tee dubz
You're forgetting that I don't live in the Flavian box.

bee tee dubz?

If I may more directly address the OP, one could argue that any deviation from the orthodoxy of the imperial cult diminished the power of the imperial cult. However, this line of reasoning would rely on the presumption that Rome could enforce absolute compliance with their wishes, which may be unrealistic.
This is irrelevant IMHO. For one, the imperial cult was a transitional band-aid. It's hard for me to imagine that they seriously thought that their sycophants, or many others, understood it as anything other than what it was ... a vehicle to publicly demonstrate obedience and fealty. Secondly, all during the period of the imperial cult, as before then, everyone could worship any non-subversive deity in addition to the imperial cult. Similar to the controversial quote attributed to Hadrian (that the priests of Serapis were running Christianity), likely the priests and other operatives of the imperial cult were granting covert aid to the new movement. And at the right time they simply became Christians, similar to Paul's conversion. As Beard and North's Pagan Priests asserts, the pagan orders of roman priests simply became the orders of the Catholic Church when Constantine made the official switch.
 
It's hard for me to imagine that they seriously thought that their sycophants, or many others, understood it as anything other than what it was ... a vehicle to publicly demonstrate obedience and fealty.
I think we're all in agreement on that. The imperial cult was not a "cult" in the sense of those celebrating Dionysus or Cabirus or Jesus

As Beard and North's Pagan Priests asserts, the pagan orders of roman priests simply became the orders of the Catholic Church when Constantine made the official switch.
Which chapter is this?
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Which chapter is this?
It'll take me a little time to find, first the book, and then the quote.

It is in one of the chapters dedicated to the Roman structure, as opposed to others such as the Babylonians. In any case, it is only an 'assertion', based upon structural and functional analysis, and the likelihood of paid priests 'converting' when Constantine switched state funding from the pagan temples to the Christians at the same time. And, as I don't believe it was discussed in the book, but we should now understand the rather massive theological input from the pagans and the philosophers into Christianity, as discussed by Christians like Origen and Clement. And this is why they had to be disowned later on.
 

Iconn2222

New Member
Wouldn't claiming someone besides themselves King of the Jews unmind or limit their power? Wouldn't that unkind their religion and belief that they were gods? Caesars were considered gods by the people of Rome. To claim other God before them or claiming they were mere men, would that be good idea? They believed in Greek gods like Zeus: Jupiter.
If you read my new thread:
Inspiration is not cancelled out by inerrancy. A Case for Christianity as a universal Religion
Tell me if this thesis of mine would add any light? Thanks!
 
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