Friday, June 26, 2009

Christianity: An Artifice for Colonial Aggression - Christianity is Roman War Propaganda


Our understanding of Jewish and Christian history has changed dramatically with the publication of Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill, which had previously been privately published under the title The Roman Origins of Christianity. According to Atwill, the Gospels are not accounts of the ministry of a historical Jewish Jesus compiled by his followers sixty years after his death. They are texts deliberately created to trick Messianic Jews into worshipping the Roman Emperor 'in disguise'. The essence of Atwill's discovery is that the majority of the key events in the life of Jesus are in fact satirical: each is an elegant literary play on a military battle in which the Jewish armies had been defeated by the Romans. This is an extraordinary claim-but supported by all the necessary evidence.

Why would the Romans go to the trouble of writing and disseminating such a text? The Jewish War, culminating in the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, had devastated the Mediterranean economy, and the Romans were anxious to prevent another messianic outbreak, which could easily lead to another 500,000 deaths-as the Bar Kochba revolt would demonstrate a generation later. In order to make any reconstruction of the country lasting, the Romans needed to offer the Jews alternative stories that would distract them from the messianic messages inherent in the Torah, and persuade them to accept Roman values.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus 39-81

Titus Flavius Vespasianus

According to Atwill, the Romans' solution to these problems was to create a special kind of post-war propaganda. They called it in Greek evangelion, a technical term meaning "good news of military victory." In English, it is translated as "gospel." The name is in fact ironic humor: the Romans were amusing themselves with the notion of making the Jews accept, as the actions of the Messiah Jesus, what were in fact literary echoes of the very battles in which the Romans had defeated the Jews' armies. A further joke was buried in unmistakable parallels between the life of Jesus and that of Titus: in worshiping Jesus, the Jews who adopted Christianity, as it came to be called, were in fact hailing the Emperor of their conquerors as god.

To replace the Torah, then, the Romans created a literary equivalent, the gospel of Matthew (and shortly thereafter the Hellenistic and Roman versions known as Luke and Mark). The central literary character, called Jesus (or Joshua) inhabits a plot with various peculiar features: he begins his efforts by the Lake of Galilee; sends a legion of devils out of a demon-possessed man and into pigs; offers his flesh to be eaten; mentions signs of the destruction of Jerusalem; in Gethsemane a naked man escapes; Jesus is captured at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives; Simon denies knowing him; he is crucified with two other men and only he survives; he is taken down from the cross by a man called Joseph of Arimathea; his disciple John survives but his disciple Simon is sent off to die in Rome; after his death his disciple Judas dies by eviscerating himself.

Flavius Josephus 37-98?

Each of these peculiar events has a parallel in the writings of Josephus, our main record of the military encounter between the Judeans and their Roman conquerors-even to the unusual crucifixion in which three men are crucified, and a man named Joseph takes one, who survives, down. To give a flavor of the humor buried in this grand Roman joke, we see that where, in Josephus, the crucifixions take place at Thecoe, which translates as the "Village of the Inquiring Mind," the gospel's satiric version takes place at Golgotha, or the "Hill of the Empty Skull."

Events at the Lake of Galilee launch the Judean careers of both Titus and Jesus. There Jesus called his disciples to be 'fishers of men'. There the Roman battle took place in which Titus attacked a band of Jewish rebels led by a leader named Jesus. The rebels fell into the water and those who were not killed by darts "attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands" (Jewish War III, 10). Men were indeed pulled out of the water like fish.

As for the episode of the Gadarene swine-in which demons leave a Gadara demoniac at Jesus' bidding and then enter into a herd of 2,000 swine, which rush wildly into the lake and drown-Josephus recounts the Roman campaign in which Vespasian marched against Gadara. In the same way that the demons were concentrated in one demoniac, Josephus describes the faults of all the rebels being concentrated in the one head of the rebel leader John. Then, rushing about "like the wildest of wild beasts," the 2000 rebels rushed over the cliff and drowned.

To take a third example, Josephus describes how Titus went out without his armor (and therefore to a soldier metaphorically naked) in the garden of Gethsemane, was nearly caught and had to flee. The parallel in the gospel of Mark is a naked young man who appears from nowhere in the Garden of Gethsemane and flees.

So far over dozen of these parallels have been identified -many of which had already been discovered by other scholars. But Atwill is the first researcher to have identified the overall pattern. The pattern in each case is the same. This fulfills the criterion for 'good' parallels set out by James R. Davila in his paper 'The Perils of Parallels', University of St Andrews Divinity School, (April 2001), which states that "patterns of parallels are more important than individual parallels" and "the larger and more complex the pattern of parallels, the more we should take them seriously."

Since the events occur in Josephus in exactly the same order as their counterpart events in the Gospels, probability theory can then be used to assess the likelihood that this might be due simply to chance, or instead, that one source copied the other. The calculation shows that it is over 99.9999% certain that one account was written based upon the other. [[[...In statistics, sequence has power. It would be almost impossible for such events to occur in the same sequence in Roman history and the Jesus narrative.]]]

Since it is impossible to imagine that the Romans would have invented accounts of battles taking place in locations marked 50 years earlier by the ministry of Jesus, we need an alternative explanation, of which there is really only one, and it is Atwill's in Caesar's Messiah. The Gospels were written in the late 70s and 80s CE, about the same time as Josephus' The Jewish War. Key events in the life of Jesus were written as literary satires of the Roman battles, ambushes, crucifixions, cannibalisms, etc., in the military campaign of Titus Caesar, as recounted in Josephus. Rather than four different communities separated in time and space writing the NT Gospels (the traditional understanding), they were written together as a single literary undertaking-possibly at the Imperial Court. The Jews who ended up following the false Messianic literary character 'Jesus' would, unbeknownst to them, really be worshipping the Emperor Titus. [[..]]

Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University describes Atwill's research as rendering contemporary Christian scholarship so challenged that it is now "looking into the abyss". It is worth noting, in this regard, that the general scholarly consensus that there was a historical, Jewish Jesus is itself largely a recent historical idea, traceable to Abraham Geiger in the 1860's. He persuaded scholars that the Gospels were an account of a historical Jewish Jesus, a typical Pharisee of his day. Since then this view, and with it the notion of Christianity as a development of Judaism, has become the dominant paradigm in Christianity. However, as the new discoveries in Caesar's Messiah make clear, this is not just misleading, but a dangerous concession to a false system of belief. The Romans created this new religion deliberately to humiliate the Jews and to keep them in submission. For contemporary Jewish scholars to collude with this Roman literary invention, and to even pretend that this fictional character had historic reality, is the height of irony.

In the past, evidence had been put forward to suggest that the NT gospels are literary accounts containing mythological accretions. However, Christians have been able to dismiss that evidence on the grounds that underneath it all there 'must' be a Historical Jesus. Atwill's discovery changes all that. There was no historical Jesus and the Gospels were Roman imitations of Jewish sacred texts created by the Flavian Emperors as ironical 'good news' to deceive the Jews. It is one thing for Christians to use works of literature as their sacred documents. It is quite another for them to continue using what have now been discovered to be deliberate Roman fakes about a non existent Messiah.

JESUS' MINISTRY (The Forerunner)


Start of ministry in Galilee: Jesus begins ministry at Gennesareth and says "Follow me" and be "fishers of


Start of campaign in Galilee: Titus has his "onset" at Gennesareth where his soldiers follow him and

"fish" for men

At Gadara, encounters legion of demons inside one man

At Gadara encounters "Legion" possessed with wicked spirit coming from one man

"Swine" run wildly and 2,000 drown

At Gadara, 2,000 of the "demons" do not drown

At Jerusalem, the "Son of Mary" offers his flesh to be eaten

At Jerusalem, the son's flesh is eaten by Mary

Jesus envisions "signs" occurring before the temple's destruction

Josephus records "signs" that occurred before the temple's destruction

An escape by a naked individual at Jerusalem's northeast corner

An escape by a "naked" individual at Jerusalem's northeast corner

Messiah captured on the Mount of Olives

Messiah captured on the Mount of Olives

Simon's denials

Simon's denials

Three are crucified; one survives

Three are crucified, one survives

Joseph "Arimathea" takes survivor down from the cross

Joseph bar Matthias takes survivor down from cross

Simon is the rock upon which the new Church is to be built

Simon is the "rock" upon which the new "Church" will be built

Jesus sends Simon to a martyr's death at Rome but spares John at conclusion of ministry

Titus sends Simon to martyr's death at Rome but spares John at conclusion of campaign

Judas falsely accuses Jesus, and spills his guts (in the Book of Acts)

Catullus falsely accuses against Josephus, Bernice and Alexander, and spills his guts

Jesus predicts the destruction of the Jewish Temple within one generation and Emperor Titus indeed destroys the Temple. War of the Jews, which contains Josephus' account of Titus' military campaign, was actually included as part of the Gospels until the Middle Ages.

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