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Historicity Of Jesus
Atwill states that Roman Outposts in Judea correspond exactly with the seats of Christian Bishops.


Umm Qais (Arabic: أم قيس) is a town in Jordan located on the site of the ruined Hellenistic-Roman city of <b>Gadara </b>(Hebrew: גדרה‎, gad´a-ra) (Greek: Γάδαρα, also transliterated Gádara). The town was also called Antiochia or Antiochia Semiramis (Greek: Αντιόχεια της Σεμίραμης) and Seleucia. <b>Gadara </b>was a semi-autonomous city of the Roman Decapolis.

It was taken by Antiochus the Great when in 218 BC he first invaded Palestine[1]. At this time, the city was renamed Antiochia Semiramis (or Antiochia for short) and Seleucia.[2] Alexander Jannaeus invested the place, and reduced it after a ten months' siege[3]. Pompey is said to have restored it, 63 BC[4]; from which it would appear to have declined in Jewish hands. He gave it a free constitution. From this date the era of the city was reckoned. It was the seat of one of the councils instituted by Gabinius for the government of the Jews[5]. It was given by Augustus to Herod the Great in 30 BC[6]. The emperor would not listen to the accusations of the inhabitants against Herod for oppressive conduct[7].

After Herod's death it was joined to the province of Syria, 4 BC[8]. At the beginning of the Jewish revolt the country around Gadara was laid waste[9]. The Gadarenes captured some of the boldest of the Jews, of whom several were put to death, and others imprisoned[10].<b> A party in the city surrendered it to Vespasian, who placed a garrison there[11]. </b><b>It continued to be a great and important city, and was long the seat of a bishop[12]. </b>With the conquest of the Arabs it came under Muslim hands. It was largely destroyed by an earthquake around 747 AD, and abandoned.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Mr. Prancer
<b>The four Gospels surely wouldn't pass for independent works today, but the integrity of the Gospels' construction is nevertheless still widely accepted.  It's been grandfathered in, so to speak.</b>

The typical Christian wouldn't have had access to the written text of even one Gospel much less all four (not to mention Josephus' works), so that would have made it nigh unto impossible to solve the puzzles.  And even if a precocious convert did happen to figure out a few things, who would have believed their report.  They would have been either ignored or shouted down by clergy and congregationers alike, if not "handed over to Satan for punishment".  How dare anyone deny the sacredness of the scrïptures, much less declare it a total "Laurel and Hardy" farce.  But what joy, as you say, for the church leaders, at least until they no longer felt any need to indulge in the inside joke ... or did they truly ever lose that sense of humor.

<b>I call Christianity an anti-initiatory cult.  </b>Th<b>e more devout the Christian is, the more ignorant they become. </b><b> There is no reward, at least intellectually, for the Christian seeker. </b> <b>At least in pagan cults, the initiate gained knowledge as they passed through the various degrees, and experienced the thrill of awakening that went along with knowledge. </b> Christianity is self-described as a "Mystery", but not one that its adherants can ever hope to understand!  You have to forsake the religion in order to probe the inner sanctums of its "divine architecture".
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->..The church founders and their initiates must have always known how to read the satire in the NT.  Otherwise I doubt that it would have been preserved intact.  In fact, I think these people, whomever they may be, revel in the knowledge and the power it gives them.

I have spent some time studying the Latin Vulgate in contrast with the King James Version.  It seems the two map pretty consistently.  You can see the translations in online bibles, and it is clear to me that the preservation of all of the jokes is present as though carefully preserved.

<b>Martin Luther now appears to me to have been a priest who was never part of the inner circle, and drew conclusions that must have been the cause of much laughter among the prelates in Rome.  </b>His cluelessness created what has become modern Protestantism, and has subjected his followers to a most laughable system of belief.  It turns out he wasn't very bright after all.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Joe, I wasn't trying to detract from your thesis.  All I was suggesting is that multiple accounts of a Messianic figure were only to be expected.  The Gospel writer(s) applied their "evil genious" by fulfilling that expectation, and taking it a step further, even in ways that you have discovered.  The four Gospels do conspire to make a mockery and a slave of the naive.  It is shocking beyond belief.

As far as the Chapter on the Puzzle of the Empty Tomb, this was my critique:


You solved this and other puzzles by recognizing something quite unexpected, a delberately constructed inter-textual architecture. 

Modern critical analysis of Biblical texts has identified structure in those texts that is in fact architectural in nature.  Architecture was an obsession of the ruling elite.  Steve Mason writes in Josephus and the New Testament (pp 66-67):

"... structural features appear to indicate that he [Josephus] had a plan of the whole [of Wars] when he began writing - much as the earlier historian Livy worked from a plan when he began each five-book segment of his massive Roman history.  For example, the first story in the Jewish War concerns the high priest Onias, who left Jerusalem to establish another temple in the Egyptian district of Heliopolis (1.31-33).  Although Josephus promises to return to this temple, he does not do so until the closing paragrphas of book 7 (7.420-36).  This further raises the question whether Josephus gives his book a symmetrical, concentric structure built around a central pivot or fulcrum.  Such structures were common in ancient literature, and all four of the canonical gospels have them, at least in broad outline - most obviously Luke-Acts, with its movement toward (Luke 9:51) and away from (Acts 1:8) Jerusalem as the place of Jesus' death and resurrection, and John, where<b> Lazarus's raising both occupies the center (chapter 11) and also dramatically alters the direction of the narrative.</b>

"In the case of Josephus's War, such a structure is, I think, beyond doubt."

Mason discusses similar literary architecture in Josephus' Antiquities and Life later in his book.

John Shelby Spong's, Liberating the Gospels, is another good overview of what critical analysis has learned about structure in the Gospels.

But, I think what you Joe have uncovered goes far beyond previous analysis by showing conscious interpretive structure not only between the writings of Josephus and the Gospels, but between the various Gospels themselves.  Still, I'm not quite ready to call it an ancient I.Q. test.  It seems more consistent with what we understand about ancient initiation within cults, and what we know about the caste system of ancient society.  To "get it" all, you really needed to have a very privileged "God's Eye" view, that is, to be part of the inner circle of the ruling class.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->wiki:    The parable of Lazarus

In the Gospel of Luke 16:19–31, Lazarus is a beggar who lay outside the gate of a rich man, whom later tradition has given the name Dives, who dressed in fine clothing and dined sumptuously every day, but gave nothing to Lazarus. Both men died, and the beggar received his reward in the Hereafter, in Abraham's bosom at the everlasting banquet, while the rich man craved a drop of water from Lazarus' finger to cool his tongue as he was tormented in the fires of Hell.<b> Lazarus is the only person in a New Testament parable given a name; </b>the rich man of the parable has been named Dives by tradition, although the name does not appear in Luke.
For the last century, "Catholic exegetes now commonly accept the story as a parable... T</b>he purpose of the parable is to teach the evil result of the neglect of others. Lazarus was rewarded, not because he was poor, but for his virtuous acceptance of poverty; the rich man was punished, not because he was rich, but for vicious neglect of the opportunities given him by his wealth."[1]

<b>A Fundamentalist Protestant belief is that the passage is not a parable at all, but a true account, as it is the only story told by Jesus where there is no mention of it being a parable.[2] </b>The meaning of this story is twofold; first, as noted above, the rewards according to the state of repentance of a man's life[3], but also the concept that if one will not listen to the Bible or those preaching it[4], that they would not listen, even if someone was raised from the dead. This passage is key to the doctrine of the power of Scripture to save.[5]

In the Gospel of John (John 11:1) Lazarus, also called Lazarus of Bethany or Lazarus of the Four Days was a man who lived in the town of Bethany ("Lazarus from Bethany, the village of<b> Mary and her sister Martha", </b>John 11:1). The sisters are immediately identified: "Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill." <b>So the sisters sent word to Jesus that the one he loved was ill. </b>Jesus tarried where he was, and when he arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days, and Martha reproached him. (Jesus had only delayed his travel by two days, implying that even if he had set out immediately, Lazarus would have died.) When Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise, she took his meaning for the resurrection on Judgment Day, to which he replied, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die" (John 11:25–26 KJV). In the presence of a crowd of Jewish mourners, Jesus had the stone rolled away from the tomb and bade Lazarus to come out, and so he did, still wrapped in his grave-cloths. Jesus then called for his followers (friends and family alike) to remove the grave-cloths. The narrator claims many other Jews were convinced of Jesus' divinity after visiting Lazarus, but says no more of the individual. <b>The miracle, the longest coherent narrative in John aside from the Passion, is the climax of John's "signs". It explains the crowds seeking Jesus on Palm Sunday, and leads directly to the decision of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CHRISTIANITY WAS ORIGINALLY CATHOLIC
(Roman Piso, 05/27/02)

(2) Saints. If we look to the New Testament itself, we will find the proof of this. All of the evidence that I am presenting in this short examination is based upon that which is found in the earliest known New Testament texts themselves. The Catholic version of Christianity has recognized "saints" from the very beginning of Christianity<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]72424[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Greek Orthodoxy also has saints. Apparently Constantine the tyrant is a saint of the Orthodox Church. (But even he is a better choice than many that the catholic church reveres.)

I'll get to Church records in a moment, first:

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->CHRISTIANITY WAS ORIGINALLY CATHOLIC
(4) Popes. And this brings up the idea of Popes. No other version of Christianity has a Pope.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]72424[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Of course no other version of christianism had a pope. The western (Roman) branch of the initial conjoined imperial christianity had a Bishop of Rome, who was head of the other bishops in his part of the empire. Then there was the Bishop in the east, Constantinople I think (am presuming that this now corresponds to the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church). But eventually, one Bishop of Rome thought he was somehow more important and elevated himself to Pope, calling himself the Vicar of Rome and then in time the Popes were dubbed the 'Vicars of Christ'. This is one of the reasons the eastern and western churches split (see here, http://freetruth.50webs.org/A2c.htm#Crus...Orthodoxy). The Orthodox refer to the Pope as the devil. I don't blame them, they *know* catholicism is a huge fraud and that the pope is nothing, nobody but an imposter and self-appointed - and not actually given any particularly special charge.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Some Greek Orthodox Christians compared the Pope to the Devil himself
New York Times - Pope Visits Greece Today on a Tough Mission of Reconciliation, May 4, 2001:<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Orthodox priests and monks have held protest vigils and marched under signs that read "the heretic pope" and "two-horned monster of Rome." Archbishop Christodoulos, head of the Greek Orthodox Church, has vowed not to pray alongside the Roman Catholic pope, who arrives in Athens on Friday.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Guardian Unlimited - Monks protest at Pope as Greece goes on strike, April 27, 2001:<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"Out with the two-horned beast, the Pope of Rome 666!" read a banner. "No to the leader of heresy," read another.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Telegraph News - Pope's visit to Greece infuriates Orthodox Church, April 29, 2001:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Orthodox priest [Father Chrysostomos of Athens] declared: "He will infect our country,"
A poster outside Fr Chrysostomos's church spells out Orthodox opposition to the visit. Denouncing the Pope as a "false prophet and the anti-Christ" who adorns his mitre with "666", it announces a demonstration to be held tomorrow against the visit and lists the historical crimes for which successive popes were allegedly responsible.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd--><i>So if an Indian catholic were ever to insult your beliefs, you can retort by saying that you have it on very good authority that the Pope is the devil:</i> because so says the more traditional christian church, the Greek Orthodox church. <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo--> The Greek Orthodox Church is considered older by everyone except the modern WASPys who only know about protestantism and catholicism, and they're so ignorant NO ONE takes them seriously. (Even protestants in general only tend to know about catholicism which is kind of what they compare themselves to/compete with.)

But having said that, the original 'orthodox' church of the empire (=the joint catholic+Greek Orthodox church before the split) was not the first nor the original church. Apparently the earliest forms of christianity were all the small groups that soon came to be considered heresies (and many of their traditions were eradicated; but though they're no longer in practise, their traditions have been documented):
(a site which reviews a lot of current books on biblical scholarship, so they know what they're talking about)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity</b>
by Walter Bauer
For hundreds of years everyone assumed that the earliest Christians were orthodox New Testament Roman Christians, and"heretical" Christianities—like Gnosticism and Marcionism—developed later, branches off the original orthodox trunk.
Then in the 1930s this German guy named Walter Bauer decided to actually look at the evidence. Imagine! What he discovered was that pretty much everywhere he looked—Syria, Palestine, Egypt, etc.—the "heresies" weren't branches off any trunk, they were the original local Christianities. And they weren't small marginal sects, they were the main local Christianities.
The evidence shows that all around the Mediterranean, outside Rome, the orthodox New Testament Roman Christianity was a secondary sect, a sect that became dominant only after the conversion of Constantine gave it the advantage of Roman swords. Wow.
No wonder the big boys call this as a paradigm shattering book. Scholarly and technical, especially in the tedious first section of chapter one. Stick with it, because it gets fun and exciting.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
And the second part of the previous post:
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(3) Church Records. It is also the Catholic Church which has been the ONLY Christian Church that has preserved the early Church records such as the writings of the early Church "martyrs," the early Church Fathers, and the early Church correspondence between Popes and various rulers, etc. Why was there no other Christian Church doing the same thing? Because no other one existed.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]72424[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->The writings on the 'martyrs' were mostly doctored, see second excerpt below.
And church records are often a fraud and suspicious at other times. The book on 'Eccliastical history' (eccliastes = church) was written by one who was universally acknowledged as a compulsive liar, bishop Eusebius of Caesarea: http://freetruth.50webs.org/B2c.htm
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->"The father of ecclesiastical history," as Eusebius of Caesarea is unhappily called ... He tells us also that his chief business as a writer is to "edify"; which means, to advertise the Church. So modern historians are discreetly reticent about the zealous and courtly bishop. I will, as usual, supply the word which they leave unspoken. Eusebius was a liar.
-- The Story of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk
Concerning 'martyrs' see http://freetruth.50webs.org/Appendix5.htm (Joseph McCabe's The Story of Religious Controversy ) which starts with:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Let me turn over for you a page in the Migne (Roman Catholic) collection of the Fathers which is better than many tons of sermons and pamphlets. I turn to a decree of a Council held in Rome under the presidency of the Pope. The editors have put it in the year 494 A.D., and they make the Pope Gelasius. But I agree with certain modern scholars who think that the Pope was Damasus ("the tickler of matrons ears," as some of his priests called him), and that the Council was held between 370 and 380.

The Pope is nervous about the kind of literature which, even in the fourth century, and in Rome, is circulating amongst the faithful. Evidently -- that is why it is impossible to put the Council back to 494 -- the educated pagans are making fun of "Catholic Truth." The decree says this. So the Pope and his clergy solemnly warn the faithful that a vast amount of spurious literature is current.

They even draw up a list of some of the books; and the Catholic who trusts the Gospels on the ground that "the Church" would guard the faithful against false literature will be surprised if he reads the list. It contains a score of spurious Gospels (there is one in the name of each of the apostles, besides our four), Epistles and Acts. Our four Gospels are just a selection out of a muddy stream of legendary literature; and "the Church" had let all this have a free run for at least two centuries (to the time of Constantine) before it made any protest. There was no control whatever of Gospel-writing. But by the fourth century the Church found it prudent to suppress wild stories about "the boyhood of Jesus" and picturesque accounts of "the midwife of Jesus," and so on.

From the second (or end of the first) century onward, therefore, the new religion was confessedly nourished on spurious literature. And the beginning of persecution opened to the forgers a new and magnificent field. Very rightly and naturally the early Christians treasured the memory and the remains of the few priests and many simple-minded maids and matrons who had died rather than forswear what they believed to be the truth. ... If a church had no martyrs, it made them.

The spurious literature that existed in the fourth century is a mere trifle in comparison with the river of forgeries of the early Middle Ages. But it was serious enough to bring discredit on the Church. The "infidels," says the decree, are laughing at the Christians because their stories of martyrs are full of historical errors and patent absurdities.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The rest of the stuff on that page is a very good read.

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->It is also the Catholic Church which has been the ONLY Christian Church that has preserved the early Church records such as the writings of the early Church "martyrs," the early Church Fathers, and the early Church correspondence between Popes and various rulers<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]72424[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->They've 'preserved' very little. Most of these were forgeries - they invented people, attributed writings to invented people, attributed writings to real people, and all kinds of combinations of 'lying in writing' -
For instance, concerning the statement "It is also the Catholic Church which has been the ONLY Christian Church that has preserved...the early Church correspondence between Popes and various rulers" - assuming rulers refers to Roman Emperors, here's a good example of how reliable these 'correspondences preserved by the catholic church' are:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->JUSTIN MARTYR: (c. 100-165): Saint, Martyr, a foremost Christian Apologist. A Gentile ex-Pagan of Samaria, turned Christian, and supposed to have suffered martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, in whose name he forged a very preposterous script.
His principal works, in Greek, are his two Apologies, the first addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, whose reply he also forged; the second to "the sacred Senate" of Rome; his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, and his Hortatory Address to the Greeks.
-- The saintly "Fathers" of the Faith from Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Dhu, the person who wrote the contents pasted in your #73 is deceiving himself in giving any credence to the catholic church and its documents. That person based his conclusions on several false premises at least.

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Aug 24 2007, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->(9) India. One (9) India. One of the main regions that Rome had hoped to conquer was India. The creators of the Christian religion had taken several of the major themes of the Indian religion and had incorporated them into the Christian religion so that in anticipation of their conquering India, the citizens there would accept the new religion easily.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]72424[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->I can't see that christianism was ever intended by Rome to bring India within its rule. When a new religion modelled on many Greco-Roman motifs (christianism) so completely failed to appeal to the citizens of the Empire itself, how did they imagine it would appeal to Hindus?

As for imperial Rome (as opposed to the church) inventing much of the gospels contents, I don't really know. The 'universal imperial religion' idea always only made sense upto a point. But the problem is <b>timing</b>, IMO. It wasn't until the 4th and 5th centuries when most things related to historical christianity started taking place: deciding on the contents of the gospels, the doctrines, and also the forgeries, the manipulation of events of the first two centuries ('persecutions') by rewriting history. And I thought the decisive attempts to bring Jerusalem's population to heel took place before the 4th and 5th.
As regards imperial Rome entertaining plans of designing a single religion for all of the empire and any new conquests: what never made sense to me was why. Their existing religion(s) did not divide the populace, and more importantly, christianity was most unfavourably 'received' - it had to be forced down, bitterly.

Dhu, there's so much missing in relation to the history of that part of the world in that time - wilfully destroyed by the church - that it would be a miracle to <i>know</i> with any certainty whether a reconstruction is wholly accurate. I do nod my head to some of the stuff that you've posted on this matter (whilst I do not completely understand some other posts or how they're related to this topic - but that's just me being slow), but the problem remains that it is hard at present to confirm any of this. It is certainly true that christianism is a remarkably curious synthesis of the prime beliefs of every major religion and movement in the empire (and of those beyond the empire which had been heard of). And it fits in perfectly to think that this religion was manufactured to have universal appeal to all of the empire's citizens. But the facts of history are elusive, all we know definitely is that the people found christianism particularly hard to swallow and were unwilling to do so. If it was Rome's intention at any point to foist this labratory-made religion onto the populace in order to strengthen and unify the empire, they had surely miscalculated grossly. It brought more division and strife and weakness.
And...I see I'm repeating myself again. That means it's time for me to sign off.
from a yahoo groups site:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->geekorthodox_9 <geekorthodox_9@...> wrote:
when 'Jesus' refers to the 'hosts of heaven', or his heavenly army,
this is exactly a Zoroastrian idea. and this is the danger that any
representative of Rome would have seen in this prophet. Josephus
writes about the peace treaty that Tiberius enacted through Vitellius
with the Parthians. Also, earlier in Josephus, when talking about the
origin of the Samaritans, it is said they were transplanted during
the Assyrian invasions; they are from the east, and could have strong
affinities for eastern powers.

Jesus as the Taheb is almost alluded to in GJohn, when the accusation
is made that Jesus is both a Samaritan and demon-possessed. Jesus
answers the possession charge, but not the Samaritan charge. could it
be that this point is not disputed because it could not be disputed.
but it was silently passed over as an evasion of a touchy subject.


I would ask you to look into some of the Caesar's Messiah resources that I have linked to above. It's is just too much that our friend jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple within one generation of his demise and Titus actually fulfills the prophecy to the day. What about Jesus Barabbas ("bar abba" - son of the father), which is such an obvious lampoon, right in the middle of the Passion narrative? There are other glaring instances pointed out by Atwill.

I am not in favor of ascribing Greater Authenticity to the Orthodox branches - Why make exception for them when even the Jews do not do so. All forms of Christianity are hoaxes and are not legitimate traditions.

My feeling is that the essentially Bacchanalian Europe could not digest the ascetic components of Indic IE, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian contact and this manifested itself in the slow genesis of Roman Satire ie Christianity.
<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Sep 11 2007, 04:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Sep 11 2007, 04:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->I am not in favor of ascribing Greater Authenticity to the Orthodox branches - Why make exception for them when even the Jews do not do so.  All forms of Christianity are hoaxes and are not legitimate traditions.[right][snapback]72962[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Not in any way disagreeing with you.
Was merely pointing out that the person 'Roman Piso' was wrong with respect to certain comments of his in "CHRISTIANITY WAS ORIGINALLY CATHOLIC" (post #73).
Orthodoxy must be allowed to be on at least an equal footing with catholicism where ancientry is concerned (in fact orthodox traditions are older and have been more consistently maintained, whereas catholicism jumped left and right as the weather dictated). More importantly, however - as one of the links/stuff pasted in #85 shows - neither Orthodoxy nor catholicism were the original forms in which christianism manifested itself.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I would ask you to look into some of the Caesar's Messiah resources that I have linked to above.  It's is just too much that our friend jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple within one generation of his demise and Titus actually fulfills the prophecy to the day.  What about Jesus Barabbas ("bar abba" - son of the father), which is such an obvious lampoon, right in the middle of the Passion narrative?  There are other glaring instances pointed out by Atwill.  <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Sure. This is the stuff you posted that I said I was nodding to (what I understood of it).
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Joseph Atwill Interview:

<i>Q. Mr. Atwill, what would you say to the thesis that rather than the Flavians using Titus' campaign as one element of the Jesus myth that some later Christians, needing to create a Jesus myth, used Josephus to forge a gospel?</i>

Joe Atwill: The thesis is plausible for some of the overlaps between Jesus and Titus. For example, Jesus' prophecies concerning the raising of the Temple and the destruction of the Galilean fishing villages could have been added to the Gospels after the fact as a way of spicing up the story of Jesus' ministry by ‘proving' that he had seen into the future. It is not plausible, however, for the numerous more exotic parallels. which add nothing to the surface narration of the Gospels - for example the condemning of Simon and the sparing of John parallel. Those parallels can only be seen by someone who knows what to look for and there would have been no reason - other than the one given in my thesis - to have added them to the story of Jesus.

<i>Q. Robert Eisenman has commented on the potential power of your thesis to change Christian scholarship and the many ongoing debates. His thesis however, as described in his book, "James the Brother of Jesus" states that elements of the life of James were used to create the Jesus myth. How would you respond to his thesis?</i>

Joe Atwill: As I show in my work the name of the historical ‘Christ' was Eleazar. He was the leader of the true Messianic movement in Judea during the first century. Most of Jesus' sayings and actions, however, were invented by the authors of the Gospels.

<i>Q. Tell us about your works in progress.</i>

Joe Atwill: I am working on several books. One is about individuals who had previously discovered the satire within the Gospels that I uncovered and it documents how they tried to disclose it to the public.  I am also writing a book about the other religions the Flavians invented.

<i>Q. In one part of your book you mention that Titus captured John, a rebel of the Jewish resistance, and told him to begin writing. What is it that he wrote, in your opinion? A Gospel, a particular document, anything that is extant? I am struck by a similar situation that is discussed in Revelation 2, where God (Titus?) woke John of Patmos and told him to write to seven cities. Is it possible that these heretofore separate events are connected?</i>

Joe Atwill: The Gospels contain a satire indicating that ‘John' - one of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion in 66AD - was captured and helped them create the Christian Gospels. This individual was satirized as the Apostle John. Since the Romans used real history as the basis for many of the events in Jesus' ministry, it is likely that they were able to torture the Jewish rebel John into helping them create the story of their fictitious Messiah and then 'documented' this fact by naming the authors of one of their Gospels 'John'. 

<i>Q. How probable (plausible) is it that satirical works of Josephus Flavius were the basis of the illusive "Q" document?  Is it possible that Josephus himself, in writing for the amusement of the Flavians and friends actually authored the gospel of Mark or a precursory version of Mark?</i>

Joe Atwill: The reason that 'Q' was invented by scholars was that they recognized that the linguistic and grammatical parallels between the four gospels could not have occurred by chance and that therefore they must share some prior written source.  My discoveries show another explanation is possible -- that the parallels exist because the gospels were created by the same group who simply transcribed passages from one gospel to another as they produced them.

<i>Q It seems to me that the Christian doctrines espoused, endorsed or championed by Constantine in the 4th century plagiarized Mithraism heavily.  Did Titus Flavius, in his fervor to invent the Christian religion purposefully direct Josephus to incorporate Mithraic elements into his satires? </i>

Constantine was a Flavian - his full name was Flavius Constantine - who promoted his family's cult into the state religion of Rome. He was not interested in the form of the religion as much as its effect -- crowd control -- and that would make it unlikely that he would have deliberately attached attributes of other religions to it.

<i>Q How does the author of Luke-Acts consistent mis-use of Josephus fit with your hypothesis that the Gospels are a Flavian invention? For instance,

Example 1. The Census under Quirinius Lk 3:1, JW2.117-8,JA18.1-8 Luke doesn't get Josephus' historical time right</i>

Answer: Time line is not specific in either work. Exact dates are not given, only gerneral reference points.

<i>Example 2. Rebel Leaders Theudas Acts 5:36 JW 2.261*-3 JA 20.97 Luke places him 15 years before Josephus does and puts Judas Theudas the Galilean as coming before rather than after.</i>

Answer: If 'Theudas was same individual, his ministry could have spanned the dates.

<i>Example 3. Josephus characterizes Agrippa II as a profligate and hints at his incestuous relationship with sister Berenice while Luke presents Agrippa II as a decent judge.
Answer: The morality of the patrician class was different from those reared within the Christian ethos. They may have seen no contradiction between the two depictions.

<i>Q: I've just finished your fascinating book and, for now at least, I only have one question:  How are critics of your book likely to respond? What arguments are they likely to make regarding the main thesis of a Flavian conspiracy? I expect to have some other questions later, but I need time to formulate them properly.</i>

Joe Atwill: There are an unlimited number of ways critics can respond to my analysis. To date, however, no critic or scholar has shown any real weakness in it. In my opinion, the only real way to show that it is inaccurate is to attack the parallels themselves. In other words to show that they are a figment of my imagination. This is because if one even accepts that the parallels between Jesus and Titus seem to have some connection then the plain fact that they occur in the same order proves that they were designed as unified literature, as such a sequence could not occur accidentally. Thus the best effort to negate the analysis is to simply deny that the parallels exist.
Q: I was wondering if you consider other non-canonical gospels, such as Thomas or Mary to be creations of the Flavians also?  And what does your analysis say about the existence or nonexistence of the hypothetical Q or source gospel?</i>

Joe Atwill: The non-canonical Gospels are as much a mystery to me as anyone. My conjecture is that as Christianity grew in popularity a number of believers had 'visions' beyond the canon.

The existence of 'Q' is postulated - without any evidence - to explain the overlaps in the four Gospels which can not be explained by the four distinct oral traditions. For example, exactly parallel sentences, not from Jesus' teachings, but in the author's narration. The analysis in Caesar's Messiah shows that there is another, simpler, explanation, which is that the four Gospels simply emerged from the same group.

<i>Q: Why would rebellious warlike Jews suddenly accept a made-up friendly messiah!!! And also the letter of Pliny to the emperor Trajan about what to do about christians in 112 ad?  Were not Paul's letters the first to be written, and would also need to be made-up.  These are my main points I have.
Joe Atwill: Yes, the warlike messianic Jews would have never accepted a pacific leader like Jesus. He never existed. Nor did Paul in all likelihood as his Epiphany is clearly a spoof of the Flavians growing tired of killing members of the 'Way' and instead deciding to convert them to 'Jesus'.
Q: I thought that your book was terrific, but do you really think that the Pauline letters are contemporary with, or later than, the Gospels? How to do regard Paul, as Eisenman's Herodian or Herodian agent? Or, as you seem to suggest, just another Flavian writer's pseudonym? Why, then, the anti-Pauline suggestions in Josephus and the later material?</i>

Joe Atwill: The story of Paul's conversion is an obvious satire of the Flavian invention of Christianity. First he is described as killing members of the 'Way', then he has an epiphany after which he begins to convert them to 'Christ Jesus'.

Well, who killed members of the 'Way' and then had an 'epiphany' and them began to convert them to 'Jesus'. The Flavians. Like everything else in the Gospels, Paul's conversion 'foresees' a Flavian accomplishment.

<i>Q: J.P. Holding of the Tektonic ministries has published a scathing review of your book:
http://www.tektonics.org/books/csmessrvw.html. He likens it to an episode of "Spot the Loony", and makes reference to Abelard Reuchlin's earlier Arius Piso hypothesis. I would appreciate reading any response you may have to Holding's essay.</i>

Joe Atwill: http://www.insmkt.com/atwillholding.htm
Question: Is "Revelation" also part of the Flavian conspiracy you outline? The 'anti-Rome' elements of the book of "Revelation" would seem to point away from the thesis that Christianity (and its 'holy' texts) were designed to instill pro-Roman subservience in the lower scum/slave class. I think your book is brilliant, but I do wish you would have addressed the entire New Testament, and not just the Gospels and a smattering of the Epistles.</i>

Joe Atwill: This is an excellent question. A number of scholars are now trying to link the symbolism in Revelations to the findings in my work and their findings will be published sometime next year. I intend to publish an analysis of Paul and Acts shortly. Suffice to say the story regarding Paul's work as a "killer' of the followers of 'the Way' who has an epiphany which changes him into someone who converts people to 'Christians' is an obvious spoof of the Flavians' decision to stop fighting the messianic movement and began to try to convert them to their peaceful version of the religion.

<i>Question: Why would rebellious warlike jews sudenly accept a made-up friendly messiah!!! And also the letter of pliny to the emperor Trajan about what to do about christians in 112 ad,were not pauls letters the first to be written, and would also need to be made-up, these are my main points I have.</i>

Joe Atwill: The Flavians both wished to convert the Jews to a peaceful pro-Roman messianic Judaism and inform posterity that they had done so. Legacy was important to this bunch.

<i>Question: In the case of Mary eating her own son, is it possible that this is a parody of the old Baal worship in which the first born is sacrificed to the divine king Melech? I have read that early Christians were accused of this barbaric custom by their Roman detractors. Apparently, the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ was motivation for this accusation.</i>

Joe Atwill: I believe that the "flesh eating" symbolism in the Gospels is strictly a parody of the cannibalism that took place during the sieges of Jerusalem. All of the Gospels are a prophetic satire of the war.

<i>Question: 1)If Christianity was created by Roman Emperors, why did the Empire  persecute Christianity, off and on, until the time of Constantine(approx. 330CE)? 2) Why would the New Testament, if created by the Flavians, lampoon Paul? Ever since the work  of the Tubingen School, scholars have known that Paul's version of Christianity, as evident in his authentic letters mostly written in the 50s CE, was spiritualized, otherworldy, pacifist, and non-revolutionary.</i>

Joe Atwill: The 'Christians' that were tortured between 40 and 150 CE were members of the real - militaristic - messianic movement. Part of the genius of the creation of Roman Christianity was that it absorbed the history of the legitimate 'Christian' movement, which thereby gave their new religion historical credibility and helped wipe out the history of the movement the Romans wished to replace.

This perspective is logical in that while the Romans would certainly wished to - and did - torture members of the Jewish 'Christian' movement, what reason did they have for destroying tax paying, pacifistic Roman Christians? And if Rome was actually persecuting Christians, why did the religion have its headquarters in Rome?

As far as the persecutions of Roman Christians between 150 CE and Constantine they may well have occurred. The real messianic movement had finally been destroyed and the subsequent Caesar’s may have wished to check the growth of a cult that did not permit the direct worship of them, i.e., the Emperors. It is significant that Constantine was a Flavian. He may have made Christianity the State religion because he saw it as his family’s personal cult.

Paul’s letters were “spiritualized, otherworldly, pacifist, and non-revolutionary” because this is the perspective Rome wished from ‘Christians’. Compare his perspective with the followers of the ‘Christ’ found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The description of Paul’s ‘conversion’ to Christianity is an obvious lampoon of the Flavians realizing that instead of ‘killing’ followers of the ‘Way’ they could convert them to ‘Christ Jesus’. They realized that it was cheaper to rule by religion than by might.

And boy, were they right! 1000 years after the Roman legions were gone the patrician class was still partying on revenue sent to the 'Pontiff' by 'Christians'.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hi Eric:

<b>Rabbinical Judaism was another Flavian Christ cult. </b>Simply compare
the passage where Zakkai applies the messianic prophecy to Vespasian
in Giá¹­ 56b, to the story in Wars where Josephus applies the messianic
prophecy to Vespasian. One is based upon the other. Both events take
place during Roman sieges where a Jewish priest escapes in a manner
that figuratively brings him back from the dead, is captured by the
Romans and taken to Vespasian to whom he, rather improbably, applies
the `Star Prophecy'. Vespasian then rewards the priest when his
prediction comes to pass.

The notion that Rabbinical Judaism is a Flavian cult (it is really
just the Herodian Sanhedrin after the war) is a no-brainer in that
all the rabbis involved with the establishment of Rabbinical Judaism
were known to have been connected to Rome. The `friends of the
emperor' Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai and Gamaliel II presided over the
first setting of the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, Rabbi Meir, a
Roman who purportedly converted to Judaism on a trip to Judea,
organized the Mishnah, and Judah Ha-Nasi, the confidant of the
Antoine emperors, began the organization of the central work of
Rabbinical Judaism, the Talmud. My favorite `Jew' is `Onkelos' the
nephew of Titus Flavius who wrote the Targum. Onkelos brings Jesus
and Uncle Titus back to life for a chat about the future of Israel.
High comedy by the Flavian wits.

Joe Atwill<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Targum Onkelos (or Unkelus), is the official eastern (Babylonian) targum to the Torah. However, its early origins may have been western, in Israel. Its authorship is attributed to Onkelos.

Some identify this translation as the work of Aquila of Sinope in an Aramaic translation (Chajes). <b>The translator is unique in that he avoids any type of anthropomorphism. </b>Samuel D. Luzzatto suggests that the translation was originally meant for the "simple people". This view was strongly refuted by Nosson Adler in his introduction to Nesinah La'Ger.

In Talmudic times, and to this day in Yemenite Jewish communities, Targum Onkelos was recited by heart as a verse-by-verse translation alternatively with the Hebrew verses of the Torah in the synagogue.

The Talmud states that "a person should complete his portions of scripture along with the community, reading the scripture twice and the targum once." This passage is taken to refer to Targum Onkelos.

source: wiki<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Crucifixion of three men and the survival of one.

The only person known in history to survive a Roman crucifixion is a friend whom Josephus saves after intervening with the Roman commander. Three are taken down but only one survives.

Josephus, Life, 75, p. 20 of Whiston’s Translation

    ... as I [Joseph Bar Mathias] came back, I saw many captives crucified; and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.

The gospels have a mysterious Joseph of Arimathea appear and go to the Roman commander and ask for Jesus to be taken down from among the three crucified. Jesus lives and the other two presumably die.

The Gospels After Josephus
© C.N.Carrington
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->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."

One key concept to understand is that Abraham and his cohort were not the high intellectuals of modern ear but were pre-Bedouin tribals living in the high desert. Their ideas were from tribal religious and social customs. The ideas are those of nomadic wanderers and are an anathema to settled people. The one god, the simplistic rituals all were ment to adapt to the wanderer life style. His followers preserved their exclusiveness by confining it to birth admitting only few converts.
Paul took this idea by Judaising the Greco-Roman civilization. He and his followers created the New Testament and usurped the jewsih Old Testament. Muhammed took the idea to Judaize the rest of the Bedouins and others by conquest. He replaced the Moses Ten commnadments with the five pillars of Islam and the Torah with the Koran. Marx extended the Judaization to ideas by replacing God with his ideal classless society and Torah with the Das Kapital.

The Romans crucified Jesus in 32 AD but in 300 years they all became Christians!

Rajeev Srinivasan's blog on fairy tale
The paradigm shift is coming. Hindus need to catch this wave as it bursts forth to destroy christianity and the west. The marriage between christianity and the "west" (Caesar) is just too perfect to be a mistake. We will lose immeasurably if we fall for the drama of a lost pagan western paradise.


Before it became associated with the Christian canon, the expression "evangelion" was used to describe "good news" frpm Caesar, particulary - though not always - concerning battles. For example, below is an inscription written about Augustus oddly foreseeing the 'good news' concerning another 'Savior':

"Whereas Providence, which has regulated our whole existence…has brought our life to the climax of perfection in giving to us [the emperor] Augustus, whom it [Providence] filled with strength for the welfare of men, and who being sent to us and our descendants as Savior, has put an end to war and has set all things in order; and [whereas,] having become [god] manifest (phaneis), Caesar has fulfilled all the hopes of earlier times…in surpassing all the benefactors who proceeded him…and whereas, finally, the birthday of the god [Augustus] has been for the whole world the beginning of the good news (euangelion) concerning him [therefore let a new era begin from his birth]."

I am happy to answer any question concerning my book Caesar's Messiah.

Joe Atwill<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

We need investigations of Parthian role in Judea.
Erasure of the Caesar's memory from history is quite common in this region eg the pharaoh who gets his legacy blotted out by his successor. This same type of motive was later seen in the Imperial reprisals against Christianity. Of course, by then, Christianity had acquired an ideological force of its own.

Marxism is the attempt to buttress the notion that support for Caesar was spontaneous among the depressed classes, that christianity spread among disaffected slaves as a "social movement". To propagate the hoax of Christianity's origin as a Caesarean cult , an entire edifice of "social revolution" was manufactured.
jeebuswalas strategizing:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is an interesting discussion about Caesar's Messiah among concerned Christians, that I posted previously in another thread:


discussion excerpt (initial post by ISoG:

Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus
By Joseph Atwill

I happened to pick this book up today as an argumentative non-fiction text for my lit. class.

The book is profoundly troubling.

The author's thesis is that Christianity was the invention of the Flavian family of Roman Emperors to squash the messianic uprisings of the Sicarii and create a pacified messianic Judaism. The writings of Josephus read "intertextually" with the Gospels are apparently a satire on the Jewish uprisings of the first century. A more thorough summary could be found in the book's reviews on Amazon.com, but the book primarily relies on parallelism between the four Gospels and the Josephus's War of the Jews to support its thesis.

The book is approximately 350 pages, though I'm only at 90, I am ill at ease with some of Atwill's arguments which, unfortunately, are rather compelling.


Like I said, I haven't finished the book, but the primary arguments center around paralleling Josephus's War of the Jews with the Gospel accounts by comparing conceptual similarities.

Atwill offers the case of the Gadarene demoniac as one example. Jesus goes to Gadara and orders "Legion" out of the man. The Legion of demons enters a group of two thousand swine, who then plunge into the sea and drown. Forty years later, Titus leads a campaign in the same area and drives two thousand Jewish rebels to drown in the sea. He notes that in Josephus's account of all that is taken when the Romans plunder Gadara, "No swine are mentioned."

This, he declares, is because the "Swine" are actually the Jewish Rebels. Of course, if there were a Real Jesus, who really did drive two thousand swine into the sea, there simply might not be any pigs left in the region.

Consider also that War of the Jews contains an account of a woman, Mary the Daughter of Eleazar/Lazarus, who, during the siege of Jerusalem roasts and devours her own son. This is held in comparison to Jesus, son of Mary, instituting the Last Supper with the command to eat his own flesh and blood.

Atwill asserts that Jesus' supposed ministry exactly mirrors the campaign of Titus in War of the Jews, and that the record of the former is meant to be a satire of the latter, a mockery of the messianic Jews - I think. Atwill is not yet clear on what the Romans are satirizing.

He also argues that the prophecies of the NT were actually invented by Josephus to be "predicted," and then "fulfilled" by Titus in the War of the Jews. The prophecy that (paraphrasing here) Jerusalem would be destroyed in one generation (40 years) is of course fulfilled by Titus.

There are some flaws I can think of in Atwill's argument:
First, he has not explained why Domitian was so bent on oppressing Christianity since he had a hand in creating it.
Second, he begs the question a good deal - if you believe his thesis, everything seems to fit, if you don't, alternate explanations can be offered.
Third, Atwill ignores the issue of Canonization (so far), since in AD 70 there was no official "New Testament," something decided 300 years later.

I think the strongest counterhypothesis could be that Josephus wrote the accounts in War of the Jews to mock the preexisting gospels in a satirical style for the entertainment of the Roman Government. This is not to say that his accounts are falsified, but that he may have chosen to arrange them in such a way as to mock the Scriptures of the new Slave Religion. I really don't have the time to fully develop such an argument right now, but I think it has potential.
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Member # 192

Member Rated:
posted October 04, 2005 05:01 AM
Does Atwill agree that the Christians existed prior to Titus?

"This is for posterity's sake, so be honest." (Count Rugen, in the "Princess Bride")

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Member # 2233

Rate Member posted October 08, 2005 09:51 PM

After reading your review I got the book. You are right the book is very troubling. What I want to know is has anyone ever done any research at all as far the the parallels Atwill shows? If not, he seems to have discovered something that is hard to believe has been overlooked.

Let me know if you know of any other scholars, particulary Christian scholars, who write about the relationship Titus's military campaign and Jesus's ministry.


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Member # 2236

Rate Member posted October 09, 2005 03:03 AM
I agree Atwill's book Caesar's Messiah is very problematic. I was especially struck by the recent review on Amazon from a Bible translator.

Regarding ISoG's alternative that the Romans created the authorized history of the Roman-Jewish war by satirizing the gospels...then a few decades old, seems improbable. Wouldnt people have noticed?

As regards Beckett's question about whether other scholars have noticed thes parallels, yes they have, some of them, and cant explain them. For instance
H. Chapman in her SBL paper A Myth for the World about early Christian cannibalism was troubled about the virgin Mary/Cannibal Mary parallel, Chad Myers in his book on Mark notes the Gadara parallel etc

Atwill seems to provide a consistent if very problematic explanation for all of them. I wish scholars or clergy wouid answer his points since a lot of folk I know are really concerned and we cant just ignore it hoping it will go away


(discussion ends)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Schweitzer, Elst, and a whole host of others agree that the passion narrative is pure absurdity. Amazingly, the views of both Elst and Atwill converge in Schweitzer.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><< Mark 15:21 >>parallel translations
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)

A man named Simon from the city of Cyrene was coming into Jerusalem from his home in the country. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus. As he was about to pass by, the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
'topos' writing in tandem with one 'infidelguy':

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Joe told me he had just noticed a new parallel a day or so ago and it's so good I urged him to use it in the show, but he said he couldn't find a place to bring it up. This one is about the two boys that help Jesus bear his cross so as he can get to his crucifixion on time. Their names are Rufus and Alexander, if I have it right. But, Rufus and Alexander are also the names of TItus' top two generals, who between the two of them filled every tree in the hills around Jeruselum with Jewish rebels being crucified. Is this just coincidence? How many other Rufuses and Alexanders are there in the New Testament or Josephus' Jewish War, I wonder. I guess probably none others. So it is pretty easy to calculate some odds here, out of all the possible names, and not one but two generals there helping Jesus get to his crucifixion, just as they had helped tens of thousands of others get to theirs. Now, I wouldn't argue that when you calculate the odds of this happening by accident that there is really any particular certain odds of it, like Mr Spock would quote. Of course this isn't true. I could probably make the calculation at least three or four different ways, under different assumptions, and get widely varying results. However they would all come up with long odds that it would come up by accident, and that is the significant fact. We just wouldn't excpect those two names with the most significance (not one but two) to come up by accident.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Josephus links Alexander’s crucifixions of James and Simon, sons of Judas, with the time Quirinius came into Judah. Mark has the crucifixion associated with Simon “a Cyrenian” coming in from the country. The similarity is lost our translations but compare transliterations of the original Greek spellings of these two:


If Mark has used this name in Josephus he has used it to make a pun. We know the author of Mark elsewhere employs puns. Mary Ann Tolbert in “Sowing the Gospel” shows the author’s fun with turning the lead “Rock” apostle, Peter, to be a pun for “rocky” or “stony” ground which in the parable does not last the distance. Bartimaeus, Legion, Jairus and Barabbas are others.

author plagiarizing atwill

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