RESEARCH  AND  INTERESTS  OF  THE  LATE  VERNAL  HOLLEY

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Joseph Atwill
Caesar's Messiah

(Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 2005)
  • Title Page
  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • excerpts

  • Transcriber's comments



  • Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.

    Contact original publisher for full text.


     

    [ i ]




    CAESAR'S
      MESSIAH  

    The Roman Conspiracy
    to Invent Jesus




    JOSEPH  ATWILL













    Ulysses  Press

      Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.



    [ ii ]



    Table of Contents
    001
    012
    038
    045
    058
    093
    125
    159
    174
    205
    219
    226
    250
    259
    278
    302
    326
    333

     
    338
    346
    348
    354
    359
    Introduction
    1. The First Christians and the Flavians
    2. Fishers of Men: Men Who Were Caught like Fish
    3. The Son of Mary Who Was a Passover Sacrifice
    4. The Demons of Gadara
    5. Eleazar Lazarus: The Real Christ
    6. The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb
    7. The New Root and Branch
    8. Until All is Fulfilled
    9. The Authors of the New Testament
    10. The Typological Method
    11. The Puzzle of Decius Mundus
    12. The Father and the Son of God
    13. Josephus' Use of the Book of Daniel
    14. Building Jesus
    15. The Apostles and the Maccabees
    16. The Samaritan Woman and Other Parallels
    Conclusion

    Appendix:
    A Reader's Guide to the Names and Terms in Caesar's Messiah
    A Timeline of Jesus' and Titus' Lives
    End notes
    Selected Bibliography
    About the Author

      Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.



    [ 1 ]



    Introduction


    In the popular mind, and in the minds of most scholars, the origin of Christianity is clear: The religion began as a movement of the lower-class followers of a radical Jewish teacher during the first century C.E. For a number of reasons, however, I did not share this certainty. There were many gods worshiped during Jesus' era that are now seen as fictitious, and no archeological evidence of his existence has ever been found. What contributed most to my skepticism was that at the exact time when the followers of Jesus were purportedly organizing themselves into a religion that urged its members to "turn the other check" and to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's," another Judean sect was waging a religious war against the Romans. This sect, the Sicarii, also believed in the coming of a Messiah, but not one who advocated peace. They sought a Messiah who would lead them militarily. It seemed implausible that two diametrically opposite forms of messianic Judaism would have emerged from Judea at the same time.

    This is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were of such interest to me, and I began what turned into a decade-long study of them. Like so many others, I was hoping to learn something of Christianity's origins in the 2,000-year-old documents found at Qumran.

    I also began studying the other two major works from this era, the New Testament and War of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, an adopted member of the imperial family: I hoped to determine how the Scrolls related to them. While reading these two works side by side, I noticed a connection between them. Certain events from the ministry of Jesus seem to closely parallel episodes from the military





     2   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    campaign of the Roman emperor Titus Flavius as he attempted to gain control of the rebellious Jews in Judea. My efforts to understand this relationship led me to uncover the amazing secret that is the subject of this book: This imperial family, the Flavians, created Christianity, and, even more incredibly, they incorporated a skillful satire of the Jews in the Gospels and War of the Jews to inform posterity of this fact.

    The Flavian dynasty lasted from 69 to 96 C.E., the period when most scholars believe the Gospels were written. It consisted of three Caesars: Vespasian and his two sons, Titus and Domitian. Flavius Josephus, the adopted member of the family who wrote War of the Jews, was their official historian.

    The satire they created is difficult to see. If it were otherwise, it would not have remained unnoticed for two millennia. However, as readers may judge for themselves, the path that the Flavians left for us is a clear one. All that is really needed to walk down it is an open mind. But why then has the satirical relationship between Jesus and Titus not been noticed before? This question is especially apt in light of the fact that the works that reveal their satire -- the New Testament and the histories of Josephus -- are perhaps the most scrutinized books in literature.

    The only explanation I can offer is that viewing the Gospels as satire -- that is, as a literary composition (as opposed to a history) in which human folly is held up to ridicule -- requires the reader to contradict a deeply ingrained belief. Once Jesus was universally established as a world-historical individual, any other possibility became, evidentially, invisible. The more we believed in Jesus as a world-historical figure, the less we were able to understand him in any other way.

    To understand why the Flavians decided to create Christianity, one needs to understand the political conditions that the family faced in Judea in 74 C.E., following their defeat of the Sicarii, a movement of messianic Jews.

    The process that ultimately led to the Flavians' control over Judea was part of a broader and longer struggle, that between Judaism and Hellenism, Judaism, which was based upon monotheism





    Introduction   3  

    and faith, was simply incompatible with Hellenism, the Greek culture that promoted polytheism and rationalism.

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     4   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

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    Following the destruction of the Maccabcan state, the Sicarii, a new movement against Roman and Herodian control, emerged. This was a movement of lower-class Jews, originally called Zealots, who continued the Maccabees' religious struggle against the control of Judea by outsiders and sought to restore "Eretz Israel."

    The efforts of the Sicarii reached a climax in 66 C.E., when they succeeded in driving the Roman forces from the country. The Emperor Nero ordered Vespasian to enter Judea with a large army and end the revolt. The violent struggle that ensued left the country devastated and concluded when Rome captured Masada in 73 CE.

    In the midst of the Judean war, forces loyal to the Flavian family in Rome revolted against the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, Vitellius, and seized the capital. Vespasian returned to Rome to be proclaimed emperor, leaving his son Titus in Judea to finish off the rebels.

    Following the war, the Flavians shared control over this region between Egypt and Syria with two families of powerful Hellenized





    Introduction   5  

    Jews: the Herods and the Alexanders. These three families shared a common financial interest in preventing any future revolts. They also shared a long-standing and intricate personal relationship that can be traced to the household of Antonia, the mother of the Emperor Claudius. Antonia employed Julius Alexander Lysimarchus, the abalarch, or ruler, of the Jews of Alexandria, as her financial steward in around 45 C.E.

    Julius was the elder brother of the famous Jewish philosopher Philo Judeaus, the leading intellectual figure of Hellenistic Judaism. Philo's writings attempted to merge Judaism with Platonic philosophy. Scholars believe that his work provided the authors of the Gospels with some of their religious and philosophical perspective.

    Antonia's private secretary, Caenis, was also the long-term mistress of Vespasian. Julius Alexander Lysimarchus and Vespasian would therefore have known one another through their shared connection with the household of Antonia.

    Julius had two sons. The elder, Marcus, married Herod's niece Bernice as a teenager, creating a bond between the Alexanders and the Herods, the Roman-sponsored ruling family of Judea. Marcus died young and Bernice eventually became the mistress of Vespasian's son Titus. Bernice thereby connected the Flavians and the Alexanders, the family of her first husband, to her family, the Herods.

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    Then someone from within this circle had an inspiration, one that changed history. The way to tame messianic Judaism would be to simply transform it into a religion that would cooperate with the Roman Empire. To achieve this goal would require a new type of messianic literature. Thus, what we know as the Christian Gospels were created.

    In a convergence unique in history, the Flavians, Herods, and Alexanders brought together the elements necessary for the creation and implementation or Christianity. They had the financial motivation to replace the militaristic religion of the Sicarii, the expertise in Judaism and philosophy necessary to create the Gospels, and the knowledge and bureaucracy required to implement a religion (the Flavians created and maintained a number of religions other than Christianity). Moreover, these families were the absolute rulers over the territories where the first Christian congregations began.

    To produce the Gospels required a deep understanding of Judaic literature. The Gospels would not simply replace the literature of the old religion, but would be written in such a way as to demonstrate that Christianity was the fulfillment of the prophecies or Judaism and had therefore grown directly from it. To achieve these effects, the Flavian intellectuals made use of a technique used throughout Judaic literature-typology. In its most basic sense typology is simply the use of prior events to provide form and context for subsequent ones. If one sits for a painting, for example, he or she is the "type" of the painting, the thing it was based upon. Typology is used throughout Judaic literature as a way of transferring information and meaning from one story to another. For example, the Book of Esther uses type scenes from the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, so that the alert reader will understand that Esther and Mordecai are repealing the role of Joseph as an agent of God.





    Introduction   7  

    JOSEPH

    Rises to high position in the
    Egyptian government through his
    beauty and wisdom

    Joseph's good deed (interpreting
    the butler's dream) is forgotten for a
    long time

    A character refuses to listen --
    "she spoke to Joseph every day but
    he refused to listen" (Gen 38:10)

    Pharaoh's chief servant is hanged

    Joseph reveals his identity to
    Pharaoh after a feast

    ESTHER/MORDECAI

    Esther rises to high position in the
    Persian government through her
    beauty and wisdom

    Mordecai's good deed (saving
    the king's life) is forgotten
    for a long time

    Character refuses to listen --
    "they told him every day but
    he refused to listen" (Est. 3:4)

    The king's chief servant is hanged

    Esther reveals her identity to
    the king after a feast

    The authors of the Gospels used typology to create the impression that events from the lives of prior Hebrew prophets were types of events from Jesus' life. In doing so, they were trying to convince their readers that their story of Jesus was a continuation of the divine relationship that existed between the Hebrew prophets and God.

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    Introduction   9  

    is surely no accident but proof that Moses, the first savior of Israel, is used as a type for Jesus, the second savior of Israel.

    OLD TESTAMENT

    Gen. 45-50 Joseph takes old Israel
    down to Egypt

    Ex. 1 Pharaoh massacres boys

    Ex. 4 "All the men are dead..."

    Ex. 12 From Egypt to Israel

    Ex. 14 Passing through water (baptism)

    Ex. 16 Tempted by bread

    Ex. 17 Do not tempt God

    Ex. 32 Worship only God

    MATTHEW

    2:13 Joseph brings new Israel
    down to Egypt

    2:16 Herod massacres boys

    2:20 "They are dead..."

    2:21 From Egypt to Israel

    3:13 Baptism

    4:4 Tempted by bread

    4:7 Do not tempt God

    4:10 Worship only God

    The typological sequence in Matthew that establishes Jesus as the new savior of Israel is well known to scholars. What has not been widely recognized is that the story also reveals the political perspective of the authors of the New Testament. In the Hebrew Bible it is the Israelites who tempt God, but notice that the devil takes their place in the parallel New Testament story. This equating of the Israelites with the devil is consistent with what the Flavians thought of the messianic Jews, that they were demons.

    Moreover, the parallel sequences demonstrate that the Gospels were designed to be read intertextually, that is, in direct relationship to the other books of the Bible. This is the only way that literature based on types can be understood. In other words, as the example concerning Jesus' infancy illustrates, to understand the Gospels' meaning a reader must recognize that the concepts, sequences, and locations in Matthew are parallel to the concepts, sequences, and locations in Genesis and Exodus, where their context has already been established.

    By using scenes from Judaic literature as types for events in Jesus' ministry, the authors hoped to convince their readers that the Gospels were a continuation of the Hebrew literature that had inspired the Sicarii to revolt and that, therefore, Jesus was the Messiah whom the rebels were hoping God would send them. In this way, they would strip messianic Judaism of its power to spawn insurrections, since the Messiah was no longer coming but had





     10   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    already come. Further, the Messiah was not the xenophobic military leader that the Sicarii were expecting, but rather a multiculturist who urged his followers to "turn the other cheek."

    If the Gospels achieved only the replacement of the militaristic messianic movement with a pacifistic one, they would have been one of the most successful pieces of propaganda in history. But the authors wanted even more. They wanted not merely to pacify the religious warriors of Judea but to make them worship Caesar as a god. And they wanted to inform posterity that they had done so.

    The populations of the Roman provinces were permitted to worship in any way they wished, with one exception; they had to allow Caesar to be worshiped in their temples. This was incompatible with monotheistic Judaism. At the end of the 66-73 C.E. war Flavius Josephus recorded that no matter how Titus tortured the Sicarii, they refused to call him "Lord." To circumvent the Jews' religious stubbornness, the Flavians therefore created a religion that worshiped Caesar without its followers knowing it.

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    • Christianity did not originate among the lower classes in Judea. It was a creation of a Roman imperial family, the Flavians.




    Introduction   11  

    • The Gospels were not written by the followers of a Jewish Messiah but by the intellectual circle surrounding the three Flavian emperors: Vespasian and his two sons, Titus and Domitian.

    • The Gospels were written following the 66-73 C.E. war between the Romans and the Jews, and many of the events of Jesus' ministry are satirical depictions of events from that war.

    • The purpose of Christianity was supersession. It was designed to replace the nationalistic and militaristic messianic movement in Judea with a religion that was pacifistic and would accept Roman rule.

    I developed these findings over the past few years, but delayed publishing them for a number of reasons. Though I am no longer a Christian, I see Christianity, on the whole, as valuable to society. I certainly did not wish to publish a work that might cause it substantial damage.

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    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 12 ]


    CHAPTER 1



    The First Christians and the Flavians


    This book provides a new approach to understanding what the Gospels are and who composed them. I shall show that intellectuals working for Titus Flavius, the second of the three Flavian Caesars, created Christianity. Their main purpose was to replace the xenophohic Jewish messianism that waged war against the Roman Empire with a version of Judaism that would be obedient to Rome.

    One of the individuals involved with the creation of the Gospels was the first-century historian Flavius Josephus, who, as he relates it, led a fabulous life. He was born in 37 C.E. into the royal family of Judea, the Maccabees. Like Jesus, Josephus was a child prodigy who astounded his elders with his knowledge of Judaic law. Josephus also claimed to have been a member of each of the Jewish sects of his era, the Sadduccees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes.

    When the Jewish rebellion against Rome broke out, in 66 C.E., though he had no described military background and believed the cause hopeless, Josephus was given command of the revolutionary army of Galilee. Taken captive, he was brought before the Roman general Vespasian, to whom he presented himself as a prophet. At this point, God, rather conveniently, spoke to Josephus and informed him that his favor had switched from the Jews to the Romans. Josephus then claimed that Judaism's messianic prophecies foresaw not a Jewish Messiah, but Vespasian, whom Josephus predicted would become the "lord of all mankind."

    After this came to pass, so to speak, and Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, he rewarded Josephus' clairvoyance by adopting him. Thus, the Jewish rebel Josephus bar Mattathias became Flavius





    The First Christians and the Flavians   13  

    Josephus, the son of Caesar. He became an ardent supporter of Rome's conquest of Judea, and when Vespasian returned to Rome to be crowned emperor. Josephus stayed behind to assist the new emperor's son Titus with the siege of Jerusalem.

    Once the city had been destroyed. Josephus took up residence within the Flavian court at Rome, where he enjoyed the patronage of Vespasian and the subsequent Flavian emperors, Titus and Domitian. It was while he was living in Rome that Josephus wrote his two major works, War of the Jews, a description of the 66-73 C.E. war between the Romans and the Jews, and Jewish Antiquities, a history of the Jewish people.

    Josephus' histories are of great significance to Christianity. Virtually all that we know regarding the social context of the New Testament is derived from them. Without these works, the very dating of the events of the New Testament would be impossible.

    Josephus' histories provided Jesus with historical documentation, a fact that is widely known. They also provided Jesus with another kind of documentation, a fact largely forgotten. Early Christians believed that the events Josephus described in War of the Jews proved that Jesus had been able to see into the future. It is difficult to find even one early Christian who taught another position.

    Church scholars such as Tertullian, Justin Martyr, and Cyprian were unanimous in proclaiming that Josephus' description of the conquest of Judea by Titus Flavius in War of the Jews proved that Jesus' prophecies had come to pass. As Eusebius wrote in 325 C.E.:
    If anyone compares the words of our Saviour with the other accounts of the historian [Josephus] concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously Strange. 2
    One example of the foreknowledge that so impressed Eusebius was Jesus' prediction that the foes of Jerusalem would encircle it with a wall, demolish the city and its temple, and level its inhabitants.
    And when He was now getting near Jerusalem.

    He came into full view of the city. He wept aloud over it, and exclaimed,





     14   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    For the time is coming upon thee when thy foes will throw up around thee earthworks and a wall, investing thee and hemming thee in on every side, and level you and your children With in you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you: because you did not know the time of your visitation.
    Luke 19:37-43    
    Josephus recorded in War of the Jews that all the precise details Jesus foresaw for Jerusalem did indeed come to pass. Titus ordered his soldiers to "build a wall round about the whole city." 3 Titus, like Jesus, saw the encircling of the city as an event sanctioned by God, who inspired his soldiers with a "divine fury."

    Josephus also recorded that Titus did not merely burn Jerusalem and defile its temple, but ordered that they should be left exactly as Jesus has foreseen, with "not one stone upon another."
    [Titus] gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple... 4
    Jesus stated that these calamities would befall Jerusalem's inhabitants because they did not know the "time of your visitation." The coming visitation was to be made by someone he called the "Son of Man, -- a title used by the prophet Daniel for the Jewish Messiah. 5

    While it has been universally believed that Jesus was referring to himself when he used the expression the "Son of Man," he usually spoke of this individual in the third person and not as himself.

    Jesus repeatedly warned the Jews that during the Visitation of the Son of Man various disasters, like those he foresaw above, would occur.
    Be on the alert therefore, for you do not know the day on which your Lord is coming.

    Therefore you also must be ready: for it is at a time when you do not expect Him that the Son of Man will come.
    Matt. 24:42-43    


    Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
    Matt. 25:13    





    The First Christians and the Flavians   15  

    Though Jesus did not say exactly when the visitation of the Son of Man would occur, he did state that he would come before the generation alive during his ministry passed away.
    So you also, when you see all these signs, may be sure that He is near -- at your very door.

    I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place.
    Matt. 24:33-34    

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    The only works to have survived this century of religious warfare, the Gospels and the histories of Josephus, had a pro-Roman perspective. In the case of Josephus' histories this is hardly surprising, as he was an adopted member of the imperial family. It is notable, however, that the New Testament also has a point of view positive to the Romans. The first century was not a time when one would expect that a Judaic cult with a viewpoint favorable to the Empire would have emerged. Yet the New Testament texts never portray Roman soldiers in a negative light, and actually describe them as a devout and God-fearing.
    There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with his entire house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
    Acts 10:1-2   
    The New Testament also presents tax collectors, who would have been working for the Romans, in a favorable light. The Apostle Matthew, for example, is actually described as a publican, or tax collector.

    The citizenship espoused in the works of Josephus and the New Testament would have been seen favorably by Rome. Each work proclaims the holiness of subservience. And each takes the position that as it is God who has given the Romans their power, it is therefore against God's will to resist them. For example, the Apostle Paul teaches that Roman judges and magistrates were a threat only to evil- doers.
    Therefore the man who rebels against his ruler is resisting God's will; and those who thus resist will bring punishment upon themselves.

    For judges and magistrates are to be feared not by right-doers but by wrong-doers. You desire -- do you not? --- to have no reason to fear your ruler. Well, do the thing that is right, and then he will commend you,





    The First Christians and the Flavians   19  

    For he is God' s servant for your benefit. But if you do what is wrong, be afraid. He does not wear the sword to no purpose: he is God's servant -- an administrator to inflict punishment upon evil-doers.

    We must obey therefore, not only in order to escape punishment, but also for conscience's sake. Why. this is really the reason you pay taxes; for taxgatherers are ministers of God, devoting their energies to this very work.
    Rom. 13:2-6   
    Josephus shared Paul's belief that the Romans were God's servants and only inflicted punishment upon evil-doers.
    Indeed what can it be that hath stirred up an army of the Romans against our nation? Is It not the impiety of the inhabitants? Whence did our servitude commence? Was it not derived from the seditions that were among our forefathers, when the madness of Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and our mutual quarrels, brought Pompey upon this city, and when God reduced those under subjection to the Romans who were unworthy of the liberty they had enjoyed? 6
    Thus, the only works that describe first-century Judea share a positive viewpoint toward Rome. Why is it that only they have survived?

    I believe that the New Testament and the works of Josephus survived because they were both created and promulgated by Rome. This work presents evidence indicating that the Gospels were created by Titus Flavius, the second of the three Flavian emperors. Titus created the religion for two reasons, the most obvious being to act as a theological barrier against the spread of the militant messianic Judaism of Judea to other provinces.

    Josephus mentions this threat in War of the Jews:
    ...the Jews hoped that all of their nation, which were beyond Euphrates, would have raised an insurrection with them. 7
    Titus had another, more personal, reason for creating the Gospels -- this being that the Jewish Zealots refused to worship him as a





     20   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    god. Though he was able to crush their rebellion. Titus could not force the Zealots, even through torture or death, to call him Lord.

    Josephus noted the staunchness with which the Zealots adhered to their monotheistic faith, stating that the Sicarii "do not value dying and any kind of death, nor indeed do they heed the dying of their re lations, nor can any fear make them call any man Lord." 8

    As I noted in the Introduction, to circumvent the Jews' stubbornness, Titus designed a hidden message within the Gospels. This message reveals that the "Jesus" who interacted with the disciples following the crucifixion was not a Jewish Messiah but himself.

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    The First Christians and the Flavians   21  

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    To try to understand how Christianity established itself within the Roman Empire, is to sift through mysteries piled atop the unknown. For example, how did a religion that began as verbal traditions in Hebrew or Aramaic change into one whose surviving scripture is written almost entirely in Greek? According to Albert Schweitzer.
    The great and still undischarged task which confronts those engaged in the historical study of primitive Christianity is to explain how the teaching of Jesus developed into the early Greek theology.
    The most historically illogical aspect of Christianity's origin, however, was its Messiah. Jesus had a political perspective that was precisely the opposite of the son of David, who was awaited by the Jews of this era. Josephus records that what most inspired the Jewish rebels was their belief in the Judaic prophesies that foresaw a





     22   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    world ruler, or Messiah, emerging from Judea-the same prophecies that the New Testament claims predicted a pacifist.
    But now, what did the most to elevate them in undertaking this war was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular... 11
    The Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed that Jews of this sea indeed "took this prediction to belong to themselves" and awaited a Messiah who would be the son of God.
    Son of God he will be called and son of the Most High they will name him... His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom... he will judge the earth in truth... The Great God... will give people into his hand and all of them will be cast down before him. His sovereignty is everlasting sovereignty. 12

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    When one compares the militaristic Messiah described in the Dead Sea Scrolls and other early Judaic literature with the pacifistic Messiah described in the New Testament and Josephus' Testimonium, one aspect of the lost history of Judea seems visible. An intellectual battle was waged over the nature of the Messiah. The New Testament and Josephus stood together on one side of this struggle, claiming that a pacifistic Messiah had appeared who advocated cooperation with Rome. On the other side of this theological divide stood the Jewish Zealots who awaited a militaristic Messiah to lead them against Rome.

    Among Christianitys oldest surviving records is the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, dated to 96 C.E. The letter was purportedly written by (Pope) Clement I to a congregation of Christians who had apparently rebelled against the churchs authority. It shows





     24   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    that even at the onset of the religion the bishop of Rome was able to give orders to the church of Corinth, and that the church of Rome used the Roman army as an example of the kind of discipline and obedience that it expected from other churches and their members.

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     26   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

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    Titus not only created and administered religions, he was a prophet. While emperor, he received the title of Pontifex Maximus, which made him the high priest of the Roman religion and the official head of the Roman college of priests -- the same title and office that, once Christianity had become the Roman state religion, its





    The First Christians and the Flavians   27  

    popes would assume. As Pontifex Maximus, Titus was responsible for a large collection of prophecies (annales maximi) every year, and officially recorded celestial and other signs, as well as the events that had followed these omens, so that future generations would be able to better understand the divine will.

    Titus was unusually literate. He claimed to take shorthand faster than any secretary and to be able to "forge any man's signature" and stated that under different circumstances he could have become "the greatest forger in history." 20 Suetonius records that Titus possessed "conspicuous mental gifts," and "made speeches and wrote verses in Latin and Greek" and that his "memory was extraordinary." 21

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    Given this patrician cynicism, it is odd that so many members of the Flavian family were recorded as having been among Christianity's first members. Why was a Judaic cult that advocated meekness and poverty so attractive to a family that practiced neither? The tradition connecting early Christianity and the Flavian family is based on solid evidence but has received little comment from scholars.





     30   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    The best known of the "Christian Flavians" was (Pope) Clement I. He is described in The Catholic Encyclopedia as the first pope about whom "anything definite is known," 29 and was recorded in early church literature as being a member of the Flavian family.

    Pope Clement was the first pope who had individuals known to history refer to him and who left behind written works. He purportedly wrote the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, quoted previously. Thus, Clement is of great Significance to the church's history. In fact, while The Catholic Encyclopedia currently lists Clement as the fourth "bishop of Rome," or pope, this was not the assertion of many early church scholars. St. Jerome wrote that in his time "most of the Latins" 30 held that Clement had been the direct successor of Peter. Tertullian also knew of this tradition; he wrote, "The church of Rome records that Clement was ordained by Peter." 31 Origen, Eusebius, and Epiphanius also placed Clement at the very beginning of the Roman church, each of them stating that Clement had been the "fellow laborer" of the Apostle Paul.

    Scholars have seen that the list of popes given by Irenaeus (circa 125-202) that names Clement as the fourth pope is suspect and it is notable that the Roman Church chose to use it as its official history. This list names "Linus" as the second pope, followed by "Anakletus" and then Clement. The list comes from Irenaeus, who identifies "Linus the Pope" as the Linus mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21. Scholars have speculated that Irenaeus chose Linus simply because he was the last male that Paul mentioned in the epistle, which supposedly was written immediately before Paul's martyrdom. The provenance of Pope Anakletus may be no better. In Titus, the epistle that immediately follows Timothy in the canon, it is stated, "the bishop shall be irreproachable." In Greek, "irreproachable" is anenkletus. 32

    Irenaeus may not have known who the popes between Peter and Clement were and therefore had to invent names for them. If this was the case, then after creating "Linus" as Peter's successor, "Irreproachable" as the next bishop of Rome, his imagination may have become strained, because the name he chose for the sixth pope in his list was "Sixus."





    The First Christians and the Flavians   31  

    It also seems strange that the Roman church chose to use Irenaeus' list, considering that it originated in the East. The idea that Clement was the second pope is no weaker historically and reflects the papal sequence that was known in Rome. Perhaps early church officials preferred not to use a lists tating that Clement was Peter's direct successor, because of the traditional view that he was a member of the Flavian family.

    The notion that Pope Clement was a Flavian was recorded in the Acts of Saints Nereus and Achilleus, a fifth- or sixth-century work based on even earlier traditions. This work directly linked the Flavian family to Christianity, a fact that is noted in The Catholic Encyclopedia:
    Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in 82, put to death by Domitian [the Emperor Titus' brother], whose sister he had married. Pope Clement is represented as his son tn the Acts of Saints Nereus and Achilleus. 33
    Titus Flavius Sabinus' brother, Clemens, was also linked to Christianity. The Acts of Saints Nereus and Achilleus states that Clemens was a Christian martyr. Clemens is believed to have married Vespasian's granddaughter and his first Cousin, Flavia Domitilla, who was yet another Christian Flavian. In the case of Flavia Domitilla there is extant evidence linking her to Christianity. The oldest Christian burial site in Rome has inscriptions naming her as its founder:
    The catacomb of Domitilla is shown by existing inscriptions to have been founded by her. Owing to the purely legendary character of these Acts, we cannot use them as an argument to aid in the controversy as to whether there were two Christians of the name of Domitilla in the family of the Christian Flavians, or only one, the wife of the Consul Flavius Clemens. 34

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    Another individual linked to both Christianity and the Flavian family was Bernice, the sister of Agrippa, who is actually described in the New Testament as having known the Apostle Paul. She became Titus' mistress and was living with him at the Flavian court in 75 C.E., the same time Josephus was purportedly writing War of the Jews.

    Flavius Josephus, an adopted member of the family, also had a connection to the beginnings of Christianity. His works provided the New Testament with its primary independent historical documentation





    The First Christians and the Flavians   33  

    and were certainly read by his imperial patrons. In fact, Titus ordered the publication of War of the Jews. In his autobiography, Josephus writes that Titus "was so desirous that the knowledge of these affairs should be taken from these books alone, that he affixed his own signature to them and gave orders for their publication." 37

    Perhaps the most unusual connection between Christianity and the Flavians, however, is the fact that Titus Flavius fulfilled all of Jesus' doomsday prophecies. As mentioned above, the parallels between the description of Titus' campaign in War of the Jews and Jesus' prophecies caused early church scholars to believe that Christ had seen into the future. The destruction of the temple, the encircling of Jerusalem with a wall, the towns of Galilee being "brought low," the destruction of what Jesus described as the "wicked generation," etc. had all been prophesied by Jesus and then came to pass during Titus' military campaign through Judea -- a campaign that like Jesus' ministry, began in Galilee and ended in Jerusalem.

    Thus the Flavians are linked to Christianity by an unusual number of facts and traditions. Early church documents flatly state that the family produced some of the religion's first martyrs, as well as the pope who succeeded Peter. The Flavians created much of the literature that provides documentation for the religion, were responsible for its oldest known cemetery, and housed individuals named in the New Testament within their imperial court. Further, the family was responsible for Jesus' apocalyptic prophecies having "come to pass."

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    In spite of these efforts, Rome's normal policy of absorbing the gods of its provinces did not succeed in Judea. Judaism would not permit its God to be just one among many, and Rome was forced to battle one Jewish insurrection after another. Having failed to control Judaism by naming its high priests, the imperial family would next attempt to control the religion by rewriting its Torah.

    I believe they took this step and created the Gospels to initiate a version of Judaism more acceptable to the Empire, a religion that instead of waging war against its enemies would "turn the other cheek."

    The theory of a Roman invention of Christianity does not originate with this work. Bruno Bauer, a 19th-century German scholar, believed that Christianity was Rome's attempt to create a mass religion that encouraged slaves to accept their station in life. In our era, Robert Eisenman concluded that the New Testament was the literature of a Judaic messianic movement rewritten with a pro-Roman perspective. This work, however, presents a completely new way of understanding the New Testament.





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    I will show that the Gospels were created to be understood on two levels. On its surface level they are, of course, a description of the ministry of a miracle-working Messiah who rose from the dead. However, the New Testament was also designed to be understood in another way, which is as a satire of Titus Flavius' military campaign through Judea. The proof of this is simply that Jesus and Titus share parallel experiences at the same locations and in the same sequence. Those parallels are both too exact and too complex to have occurred by chance. That this fact has been overlooked for two millennia rep· resents a blind spot in scholarship as large as it is long.

    The Gospels were designed to become apparent as satire as soon as they were read in conjunction with War of the Jews. In fact, the four Gospels and War of the Jews were created as a unified piece of literature whose characters and stories interact. Their interaction gives many of Jesus' sayings a comical meaning and also creates a series of puzzles whose solutions reveal the real identities of the New Testament's characters. Understanding the New Testaments comic level reveals, for example, that the Apostles Simon and John were cruel lampoons of Simon and John, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion.

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    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 38 ]


    CHAPTER 2



    Fishers of Men:
    Men Who Were Caught Like Fish


    To begin to explain the relationship between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign that my analysis indicates is a satire. I point to the following passages.

    In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is described at the onset of his ministry asking Simon and Andrew and the "sons of Zebedee" to "follow me" and to become "fishers of men."
    From that time Jesus began to preach. "Repent," He said, "for the Kingdom of the Heavens is now close at hand."

    And He said to them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
    Matt. 4:18-19    
    The same Story is represented in the Gospel of Luke as follows:
    While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret.

    And so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon, And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid: henceforth you will be catching men."
    Luke 5:9-10    
    In another passage from the New Testament, Jesus foresees that cities on Gennesareth Lake (better known as the Sea of Galilee) will face tribulation for their wickedness,





    Fishers of Men: Men Who Were Caught Like Fish   39  

    Woe to you Chorazain! Woe to you Bethsaida!

    And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
    Matt. 11:23    
    In War of the Jews, Josephus describes a sea battle where the Romans caught Jews like fish. The battle occurred at Gennesareth, where Titus attacked a band of Jewish rebels led by a leader named Jesus.
    This lake is called by the people of the country the Lake of Gennesareth... they had a great number of ships... and they were so fitted up, that they might undertake a Seafight. But as the Romans were building a wall about their camp, Jesus and his party... made a sally upon them...

    Sometimes the Romans leaped into their ships,with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they tilted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands... 39
    A first-century peasant who heard Jesus' doomsday prophecy, which describes what would become of the inhabitants of the cities on Gennesareth Lake, and also heard the passage above from War of the Jews, which describes their destruction, would have understood the juxtaposition as evidence of Christ's divinity. What Jesus had prophesied, Josephus recorded as having come to pass.

    But an uneducated peasant could not have understood that there was another "prophecy" that came to pass within the passages above. I am referring to Christ's exhortation to become "fishers" or "catchers" of men, while standing on the spot where Jews would be caught like fish during the coming war with Rome.

    However, any patricians who knew the details of the sea battle at Gennesareth would have seen the irony in a Messiah who was





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    named "Savior" inventing the phrase “fishers of men" while standing on the beach where the Jews were caught like fish. The grim comedy is self-evident.

    These two "fulfilled" prophecies exemplify the two levels on which the New Testament can be understood. Jesus' prophecy regarding the destruction of Chorazain and Capernaum is completely straightforward and meant to be understood literally.

    The other “fulfilled" prophecy, that of Jesus’ prediction that his followers would become fishers for men, is not so straightforward. It could be understood only by someone who, like the residents of the Flavian court, had knowledge of the details of the sea battle between the Romans and the Jewish fishermen at Gennesareth. Only such individuals could have seen the prophetic irony in Jesus using the expression while standing on the very beach where the Jews would later be caught like fish.

    If the authors of the Gospels were being less than transparent when they referred to the Jewish rebels as fish, they were at least using a metaphor common in the first century. For example, Rabban (chief Rabbi) Gamaliel spoke of his disciples through a parable in which they were compared to four different kinds of fish -- an unclean fish, a clean fish, a fish from the river Jordan, and a fish from the sea. Roman authors also used the metaphor. Juvenal, a contemporary Roman poet, specifically compares fugitive slaves and informers to fish. 40

    The structure of the comedy is important. Jesus speaks of "catching men" in a seemingly symbolic sense. Josephus then records that Jesus was indeed a "true" prophet. His vision of "catching men" at Gennesareth did come to pass, the joke being that it came to pass literally, and not in the symbolic manner that Jesus seemed to have meant with the phrase. This is the most common structure of the humor created by reading the New Testament in conjunction with War of the Jews.

    If the New Testament and War of the Jews engage in an interactive comedy regarding "fishing" for men at Gennesareth, they also work to create another "fish" joke. As mentioned above, in Matthew 11:23 Jesus predicted "woe" for "Chorazain."





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    The Greek word that Josephus uses here, horme means "onset" in English, that is, either an assault or a starting point. From Titus' perspective the moment can be seen as a starting point because it is his first battle in Galilee entirely under his command.

    To summarize, though there were thousands of other possible locations, both Jesus and Titus can be said to have had the onset of their narratives at Gennesareth, and in a manner that involved fishing for men -- parallels that are unusual enough to at least permit





    Fishers of Men: Men Who Were Caught Like Fish   43  


    TITUS AND JESUS COMPARED: AT THE "SEA" OF GALILEE

      TITUS JESUS
    Start of a campaign (War 3,10,2) describes this battle as the "onset" of his command of the army this is the start of the sole ministry of Jesus
    Sent by his father "he sent away his son Titus to Caesarea" (War 3,9, 7) sent by his father in heaven
    His followers followed "entered the city the first of them all, and the others soon after him" (War 3, 10, 5) "brought their boat to shore and followed him" (Luke 5:10)
    Reassures troops not to be afraid "you know very well that I go into danger first, do not therefore desert me" (War 3, 10, 2) "Do not be afraid" (Luke 5:10)
    Reference to Chorazain "it produces the Coracin fish" (War 3, 10, 8) "Woe to you Chorazain" (prophecy in Matt. 11:23)
    Presence of a Jesus Jesus is the leader of the rebels at the Sea of Galilee another Jesus is the leader of disciples at the Sea of Galilee
    Fishing for men the Jews fall out of their boats "such as were drowning in the sea... attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands" (War 3, 10, 8, clause 527) "I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19)





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    questioning whether they were the product of coincidence. Further, the parallels are of the same nature as the typological relationship shown above between Jesus and Moses. The connections between Jesus and Titus are made up of parallel concepts, locations, and sequences.

    Moreover, these parallels must be viewed in conjunction with the historical parallels between Jesus and Titus. Jesus predicted that a Son of Man would come to Judea before the generation that crucified him had passed away, encircle Jerusalem with a wall, and then destroy the temple, not leaving one stone atop another. Titus was the only individual in history that could be said to have fulfilled Jesus' prophecies concerning the Son of Man. He came to Jerusalem before the generation that crucified Christ had passed away, encircled Jerusalem with a wall, and had the temple demolished.

    The overlaps between Jesus' prophecies and Titus' accomplishments make the "fishers of men" parallel more difficult to accept as random. And this is just the beginning of the uncanny parallels between the two men who called themselves the "son of God" and whose "ministries" began in Galilee and end in Jerusalem. (See chart on page 43.)






    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 45 ]


    CHAPTER 3



    The Son of Mary
    Who Was a Passover Sacrifice


    To understand the parallels between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign it was necessary to make a series of discoveries, each new insight providing the capacity to make the next. This process began when I came across the following passage in War of the Jews and concluded that the parallels between the "son of Mary" described in it and the "son of Mary" in the Gospels were too precise to have been the product of circumstance.

    While readers can judge this claim for themselves, it should be noted that Josephus wrote during an age in which allegory was regarded as a science. Educated readers were expected to be able to understand another meaning within religious and historical literature. The Apostle Paul, for example, stated that passages from the Hebrew Scriptures were allegories that looked forward to Christ's birth. I believe that in the following passage Josephus is using allegory to reveal something else about Jesus.

    The passage begins with Josephus speaking in the first person. He describes the difficulty he is having in writing about an exceptionally grisly event caused by the famine that occurred during the Roman siege of Jerusalem.
    But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates? It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. I had indeed willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous





     46   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    to posterity. but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age... 47
    He then describes the event:
    There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman in to a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow. when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself: nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, "O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee In this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war With the Romans. If they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on: be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.





    The Son of Mary Who Was a Passover Sacrifice   47  

    As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat Immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left to her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them.

    "This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also."

    After which those men went out trembling, being never so much afrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. 48
    I would first note that while the passage may have been based on an actual event, Josephus seems to have invented the dialogue. There are no witnesses to the speech Mary gives before she kills her son. It is, of course, unlikely that a mother would have slain and eaten her son in the presence of others.

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    If Josephus was lampooning Jesus, what was his purpose? An obvious explanation is that he wrote the passage to amuse a group on whom the joke would not be lost: he would have created it to be enjoyed by the Flavians and their inner circle.

    This conclusion is especially plausible in light of the fact that there were individuals within the Flavian court who were aware of Christianity around the time Josephus published War of the Jews. Further, there were four colleges in Rome that were responsible for overseeing the religions within the empire. Because religion was an





     52   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    important tool of the state, these colleges had considerable political power. From Augustus on, the emperor was a member of all four colleges, one of which, the Quindecimvri Sacris Faciundis, was responsible for the regulation of foreign cults in Rome. All the Flavian emperors were members of this college and would have categorized Christianity as a foreign cult during this era.

    Moreover, the most obvious reason to believe that there were Flavians familiar with Christianity is that so much of the New Testament is related to the family. The Flavians brought about the fulfillment of all of Jesus' doomsday prophecies -- the destruction of the temple, the encircling of Jerusalem with a wall, the towns of Galilee being brought low, and the destruction of what Jesus describes as the "wicked generation." Titus' mistress, Bernice, and Tiberius Alexander, his chief of staff during the siege of Jerusalem, are actually named within the New Testament. A cult whose canon prophesied the accomplishments of the Flavians, named individuals within its inner circle, and actually had converts within the imperial family would certainly have been scrutinized during an era when the regulation of religion was so important that the emperor himself was involved with it.

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    Within the context of a lampoon of Jesus the meaning of the phrase becomes clear. The author is not merely ridiculing Christ. He is stating that Jesus will "complete the calamity" of the Jews by becoming a byword to the world and that the spread of Christianity will "complete" the destruction of the Jews.

    This interpretation indicates that Christianity was designed to promote anti-Semitism -- a concept that is at least plausible, historically. A cult that produced anti-Semitism would have both helped Rome prevent the messianic Jews from spreading their rebellion and punished them by poisoning their future.

    The New Testament has numerous passages that seem deliberately intended to cause Christians to hate Jews. Though Christian apologists have attempted to explain away such passages, there are clear examples of this technique throughout the New Testament





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    The Son of Mary Who Was a Passover Sacrifice   57  

    own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself, and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these. And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in: nor could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented. 57
    Titus' use of the word "repent" here is interesting. "Repent" is, of course, one of the key words of Jesus' ministry and Caesar's usage of it brings the parallels even tighter. Jesus states repeatedly, "Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand," but exactly what sin does he wish the Jews to repent of? Jesus never gives an answer to this question. However, if my interpretation of the lampoon is correct, the sin of which Jesus wishes the Jews to repent becomes obvious. It is their rebellion against Rome.





    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 58 ]


    CHAPTER 4



    The Demons of Gadara


    When I first came across the passage from War of the Jews describing a son of Mary whose flesh was eaten and recognized its linkage to Christianity, I was perplexed. The more I studied the passage the more I was convinced that it had been deliberately created as a lampoon -- but as more than just a lampoon of Jesus. It appeared to be a disclosure of a different origin of Christianity than the one that had been passed down to the modern era. That is, that Christianity had been created to be a "calamity" upon the Jews. I began to analyze War of the Jews to determine if it contained other passages that could be seen as satirical disclosures regarding this different version of Christianity's origin.

    That was when it became clear to me that there were humorous parallels between the story line of Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign through Judea, and that among them was their similar experience near the town of Gadara.

    Each of the Synoptic Gospels tells a story of Jesus coming to Gadara where he meets a man who is possessed by demons (in Matthew., Jesus meets two demon-possessed men, a point I shall return to). In the versions of the story found in Mark and Luke, when Jesus asks the demon his name, the demon replies:
    My name is Legion: for we are many.
    Mark 5:9                        
    I found it interesting that the demon would choose to describe himself and his cohort as a component of an army. Remembering that the location where Jesus asked his disciples to become "fishers





    The Demons of Gadara   59  

    of men" was used to create a comic linkage to an event that occurred at the same location in War of the Jews, I wondered whether the use of the word "legion" by the demon might be satirically related to an event in War of the Jews that occurred near Gadara.

    The passage in Mark describing the demoniac of Gadara tells of Jesus' encounter with a man possessed by numerous demons. These demons leave the man at Jesus' bidding and then enter into a herd of swine. Once the swine are possessed by the demons, they rush wildly into the sea and drown. The passage does not reveal what happened to the demons after the swine drown. Note that in the New Testament "unclean spirits" are synonymous with devils and demons.
    And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.

    And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man With an unclean spirit.

    Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

    Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

    And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped him.

    And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do With thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

    For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

    And he asked him. What is thy name? And he answered, saying. My name is Legion: for we are many.

    And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

    Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.





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    And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter in to them.

    And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swinel; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea [they were about two thousand] and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country And they went out to see what it was that was done.

    And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.

    And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel. 58
    In War of the Jews, there is a short chapter that describes the battle at Gadara. The chapter begins with a description of how "John" rose to power as a leader of the rebellion.
    By this time John was beginning to tyrannize... Now some submitted to him out of their fear of him, and others out of their good-will to him; for he was a shrewd man to entice men to him, both by deluding them and putting cheats upon them. Nay, many there were that thought they should be safer themselves, if the causes of their past insolent actions should now be reduced to one head, and not to a great many.
    Thus, Josephus described John as a "tyrant" into whose "one head" the "insolent actions" of many had been "reduced." Josephus next describes the Sicarii, the most militant fraction of the Jewish rebellion, who, he states, were able to undertake "greater matters" because of the "sedition and tyranny" that John had created.
    There was a fortress of very great strength not far from Jerusalem... called Masada. Those that were called Sicarii had taken possession of it formerly, but at this time they overran the neighboring countries, aiming only to procure to themselves necessaries; for the fear they were then in





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    prevented their further ravages. But when once they were in formed that the Roman army lay still, and that the Jews were divided between sedition and tyranny, they boldly undertook greater matters... Now as it is in a human body, if the principal part be inflamed, all the members are subject to the same distemper: so, by means of the sedition and disorder that was in the metropolis... had the wicked men that were in the country opportunity to ravage the same. Accordingly, when every one of them had plundered their own villages, they then retired into the desert; yet were these men that now got together, and Joined m the conspiracy by parties, too small for an army, and too many for a gang of thieves...
    Josephus then describes the beginning of Vespasian's pacification of the Judean countryside. His first assault was on Gadara, a city held by the rebels.
    These things were told Vespasian by deserters: Accordingly, he marched against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a place of strength, and entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus [Adar]; for the men of power had sent an embassage to him, without the knowledge of the seditious, to treat about a surrender; which they did out of the desire they had of peace, and for saving their effects, because many of the citizens of Gadara were rich men. This embassy the opposite party knew nothing of, but discovered it as Vespasian was approaching near the city. However, they despaired of keeping possession of the city, as being inferior in number to their enemies who were within the city, and seeing the Romans very near to the city; so they resolved to fly.
    Josephus then states that after being driven from Gadara the rebels fled to another town, where they conscripted a group of young men into their ranks. This combined group then ran "like the wildest of beasts" attempting to escape. Eventually many were forced to "leap" the river Jordan, where they drowned. So many dying in the river that, it "could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in."





     62   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    But as soon as these fugitives saw the horsemen that pursued them just upon their backs, and before they came to a close fight, they ran together to a certain village, which was called Bethennabris, where finding a great multitude of young men, and arming them, partly by their own consent, partly by force, they rashly and suddenly assaulted Placidus and the troops that were with him. These horsemen at the first onset gave way a little, as contriving to entice them further off the wall; and when they had drawn them into a place fit for their purpose, they made their horses encompass them round, and threw their darts at them. So the horsemen cut off the flight of the fugitives, while the foot terribly destroyed those that fought against them; for those Jews did no more than show their courage, and then were destroyed; for as they fell upon the Romans when they were joined dose together, and, as it were, waited about with their entire armor, they were not able to find any place where the darts could enter, nor were they any way able to break their ranks, while they were themselves run through by the Roman darts, and, like the wildest of wild beasts, rushed upon the point of others' swords: so some of them were destroyed, as cut with their enemies' swords upon their faces, and others were dispersed by the horsemen.

    ...As for those that ran out of the village, they stirred up such as were in the country, and exaggerating their own calamities, and telling them that the whole army of the Romans were upon them, they put them into great fear on every side: so they got in great numbers together, and fled to Jericho... But Placidus... slew all that he overtook, as far as Jordan: and when he had driven the whole multitude to the river-side, he put his soldiers in array over against them... At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were unwittingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious. There were besides two thousand and two hundred taken prisoners. A mighty prey was taken also, consisting of asses, and sheep, and camels, and oxen. 59





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    As I compared Josephus' and the new Testament Gadara stories I recognized that there were similarities between them. For example, the demoniac in the New Testament's story is described as having a "Legion" of demons inside him. The rebel "tyrant," John, is described as having "the past insolent actions [of the many] reduced to [his] one head." Thus, the demoniac of Gadara can be likened to Josephus' description of John.

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    the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation. 64
    Jesus' linking of the "evil generation" to demonically possessed men who infected others mirrors my interpretation of the New Testament's Gadara passage, wherein I concluded that the "Sicarii" were demons who infected others with their "wickedness." When Jesus referred to a "wicked generation" he appears to have been referring to the Sicarii, who rebelled against Rome. This proposition is especially clear in light of the fact that to Jews of this era a "generation" was forty years, which was the exact time span between Jesus' resurrection and the final destruction of the Sicarii at Masada.

    The understanding that a "generation" lasted forty years comes from the Pentateuch.
    And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the Wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was consumed. 65
    Many Christians currently hold a different position regarding Jesus' doomsday prophecies, believing that they do not refer to the generation of Jews that lived during his lifetime. Instead, they believe that Jesus was speaking about some unspecified time still in the future. I feel that this "futurist" understanding is incorrect and has the effect of obfuscating Jesus' words, thereby making it difficult to understand the meaning they conveyed in the first century. No real understanding of the New Testament is possible without knowing what Jesus meant when he used the word "generation."

    The Greek word in the New Testament that has been translated as "generation" is genea. Early in the 20th century some Christian scholars began to posit that Jesus' use of this word was meant to indicate not the "generation" of Jews alive during his lifetime, but rather the entire "race" of Jews, which would not pass away "without all these things having first taken place."

    It is easy to understand their desire for such a definition. If Jesus is referring to those Jews alive during his lifetime then his "Second Coming" must have occurred in 70 A.D. Such an understanding leaves Christianity in an awkward position. This is because if Jesus'





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    "Second Coming" had occurred during the war between the Romans and the Jews, why was it Titus and not Jesus who demolished the temple and destroyed the "wicked generation"?

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    In fact, Josephus did not believe that demons were "nerve cases" and gave a precise definition as to what they were. He stated that demons were the spirits of the wicked.
    Demons... are no other than the spirits of the wicked. 71
    This definition indicates that Josephus saw the Sicarii as "demons" in that he constantly describes the rebels as "wicked." Josephus also links the Sicarii with "demons" in another way. He describes the Sicarii as moving "with a demonical fury." 72 as they went to kill their families at the end of the siege of Masada. Like Jesus, Josephus makes it clear who the "wicked" are. They are the generation of Jews that rebelled against Rome.
    That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than was this, from the beginning of the world. 73
    Thus, Jesus and Josephus share a narrow understanding and express it with the same vocabulary: that the generation of Jews who lived between 33 C.E. and 73 C.E. were "wicked" because they had been "infected" by a demonic spirit. This shared understanding is suspicious. Jesus could only view the "wickedness" of this generation by looking into the future, and yet he had not only held the same opinion of the generation as Josephus, he used the same words in describing it.

    Returning to the version of the story of the demoniac of Gadara found in Matthew, where Jesus meets two demons, in War of the Jews we learn there were two "tyrants" or leaders of the Jewish rebellion. John, described above, and a Simon. Since my analysis suggests that the New Testament is satirizing John in the version that describes a single demon of Gedara, it seemed logical to ask whether the version describing two demoniacs was satirizing both leaders of the Jewish rebellion, John and Simon.

    Experimenting with this premise I noticed that at the conclusion of the siege of Jerusalem in War of the Jews Simon and John both take refuge in subterranean caverns beneath Jerusalem. Eventually they are forced by starvation to come out of these "tombs" and surrender





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    to the Romans. This event struck me as a parallel to the description of the demon-possessed men "coming out of the tombs" in the New Testament.

    The passage in War of the Jews that describes these caverns confirms that they are indeed "tombs."
    The Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; but then the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately... 74
    As I have mentioned, the demon-possessed man at Gadara is described as "cutting himself with stones." 75 Cutting oneself with "stones" is, of course, unusual -- a stone is not a tool someone would normally use to cut with. What is the author of this passage actually referring to? I realized that if the demoniacs of Gadara are intended to satirize the rebel leaders, then there was a comic answer to this question.

    The phrase in the New Testament where the demoniac is "in the tombs... cutting himself with stones" shares a comic relationship with the passage in War of the Jews that describes the "tombs" that John and Simon take refuge in. The joke comes from the unanswered question in Mark 5:5. This question being, what does one call someone who cuts himself with stones? In a passage in War of the Jews relating to the rebel leader's hiding in the "tombs" we learn the absurdly obvious answer. Someone who cuts himself with stones is, of course, called a "stonecutter."
    This Simon, during the siege of Jerusalem, was in the upper city; but when the Roman army was gotten within the walls, and were laying the city waste, he then took the most faithful of his friends with him, and among them some that were stonecutters, with those iron tools which belonged to their occupation. 76





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    The version of the Gadara encounter in Matthew does not describe the fate of either of its two demon-possessed men. However, if the demoniacs were spoofs of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, then the version in Mark, which describes only one possessed man, must tell the fate of John.

    I reached this conclusion because the passage concludes with the statement "Him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him." 77

    If the New Testament was lampooning Simon and John, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, then the individual who was restored to his "right mind" and who went to Decapolis could only have been John. This is because Josephus records that, after being captured, John was given life imprisonment while Simon was taken to Rome and executed. Following this logic, it could only have been John, then, who "began to publish in Decapolis."

    So my musings raised the question of whether John the Zealot, leader of the Jewish rebellion, had assisted the Romans in creating Christian literature while he was imprisoned in Decapolis. And further, I wondered exactly what literature this individual could have helped the Romans create? The only known Christian literature from this era is the New Testament itself. There was, of course , someone named "John" who wrote a Gospel.

    While the premise that the Apostle John was a lampoon of the John who was the leader of the rebellion was based at this point in my analysis as much on imagination as evidence, it was consistent with the style of black humor I felt was in play within the passages analyzed previously. Of course, if the Apostle John is a lampoon of the rebel John, then it would follow that the Apostle Simon is also a lampoon of the other rebel leader, Simon.

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    John is shown as a mirror opposite of the "Son of Man," who is eating and drinking and is "the friend of tax gatherers," and who will "upbraid towns" "because they had not repented" -- this description of Jesus having a dear parallel in Titus' activities in Judea. Therefore, if the passage has the satirical meaning I suspected, then the "John" described within the passage is meant to be understood as John, the leader of the rebellion, and Jesus' prophecy is actually envisioning Titus' campaign through Judea.
    But to what shall I compare the present generation? It is like children sitting in the open places, who call to their playmates. "We have played the flute to you," they say, "and you have not danced: we have sung dirges, and you have not beaten your breasts."





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    For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon."

    The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they exclaim, "See this man! -- given to gluttony and tippling, and a friend of tax-gatherers and notorious sinners!" And yet Wisdom is vindicated by her actions.

    Then began He to upbraid the towns where most of His mighty works had been done -- because they had not repented.
    Matt. 11:16-20    
    My analysis of the New Testament story of the demons of Gadara suggests that the "subterranean caverns" the Jewish rebels fled into at the end of the Siege of Jerusalem were satirized as "tombs" within the New Testament. The following passage from the Gospel of John appeared to me to be using this theme. However, notice that if this interpretation is correct, then in the passage Jesus is actually comparing himself to Titus, in that Titus is the individual sent by "god," that is, his father Vespasian, to hand out "life," or "judgment," to the Jews hidden in "tombs," that is, the caverns beneath Jerusalem. I shall return to this point below.

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    coming the New Testament predicts will bring destruction to Jerusalem, is Titus.

    I then realized the larger implications of what I had discovered. The reader will recall the parallel beginnings to the "ministries" of Titus and Jesus; that is, both were "followed" by "fishers of men." The conclusions of Titus' and Jesus' stints in Judea are also conceptually parallel. When I looked at the relative placements of the Gadara and the "son of Mary whose flesh was eaten" parallels, I found that those too occurred in the same sequence.

    Thus, the New Testament satires of events from War of the Jews were not haphazardly sequenced, as I had originally assumed, but were put in the same sequence as the events they satirized. In other words, the entire outline of Jesus' ministry, as recorded within the New Testament, was designed to prophecy Titus' campaign through Judea.

    For clarification, I present the following table of parallels in sequence shown thus far:

    TABLE  OF  PARALLELS  IN  SEQUENCE

    JESUS'  MINISTRY                           TITUS'  CAMPAIGN                

    Jesus begins ministry at
    Gennesareth and says "Follow me"
    and become fishers of men

    At Gadara, encounters a legion
    inside of one man that infects a
    group that in turn infects another
    group

    "Swine" run wildly and 2,000
    drown

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

    Jesus foresees a martyr's death for
    Simon at Rome but spares John at
    conclusion of ministry
    Titus begins campaign at
    Gennesareth where his soldiers
    "follow" him and fish for men

    Describes "one head" whose
    "wickedness" unleashes a legion of
    "demons" that infects another
    group that runs wildly

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

    At Jerusalem, describes a son of
    Mary whose flesh is eaten

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





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    The New Testament passages concerning "fishing for men," a "legion" of demons coming out of one man to infect many, a human Passover lamb, and a conclusion where Simon is condemned and John spared can be seen as satirizing very few works of literature. It is, therefore, quite implausible that the New Testament describes, by chance, so many episodes that can be seen as satirizing the events in a single book.

    Moreover, while it is possible to argue that each New Testament episode that appears to satirize an event in War of the Jews does so accidentally, if that were the case then these accidents would occur in a random sequence and at random locations. It was not required that Jesus use the expression "fishers of men" while standing on the beach at Gennesareth, any more than it was required that he meet the demoniac at Gadara. Nor was it necessary for him to offer his flesh at Jerusalem, or to condemn Simon but spare John at the conclusion of his ministry. The fact that these four events occur in the New Testament in the same sequence and at the same location as their parallel events in War of the Jews strongly supports the contention that one work was created with the other in mind. Two four-sided dice, for example, will each land with the same side up four times in a row only once in two hundred and fifty-six throws.

    Therefore, the parallel sequences, concepts, and locations make the authors' intent clear. In the same way that they show the first savior of Israel, Moses, to have been the "type" of Jesus. the second savior of Israel, through their parallel infancy experiences, they also "prove" that Titus is the last and greatest "savior" because Jesus' ministry is the "type" of Titus' campaign through Judea.

    Finally, the parallel sequences of Jesus' and Titus' "ministries" must be considered in the context of their historical overlaps. As I noted above, Jesus predicted that a "Son of God" would come to Judea before the generation that crucified him had passed away, then encircle Jerusalem with a wall and destroy the temple. Titus is the only individual in history who can be seen as having fulfilled these prophecies.

    Such a combination of historical singularities could not occur by chance. This is self-evident. Therefore, the only plausible explanation





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    for the similar story lines is that these parts of Jesus' ministry were deliberately created to parallel Titus' campaign through Judea/

    History has shown, of course, that the comic aspect of the parallels between the two "Sons of God" are not easy to see. Within the Flavian court, however, where "foreign cults in Rome" were carefully scrutinized and knowledge of Titus' exploits was common, those responsible for overseeing the Empire's religions would have recognized the satirical parallels between Jesus and Titus and seen them as humorous.

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    The comic logic that links the New Testament to War of the Jews also makes clear the basis for the epithet of the Apostle John, which is "the disciple whom Jesus loved." John was the "loved disciple" because he was the captive leader whom Titus spared. Further, the real meaning of Jesus' criticism of his disciples -- for example, his describing the Apostles "Simon" and "John" as having demons -- is now also apparent. Having maliciously satirized the leaders of the messianic movement as Jesus' Apostles, the Roman authors of the New Testament then "record" Jesus lecturing his Apostles on their wickedness. *

    In the Gospel of Luke there is a passage that warns Simon of his being possessed by "Satan" and reiterates the concept that Simon is going to prison and to death "with" Jesus. It also repeats the theme of the demoniac of Gadara (Simon), who returns to his true self after Satan has been repelled. It is another example of Jesus making statements that seem metaphoric but have literal and comic meaning when read in conjunction with War of the Jews. "Simon" did indeed go with his “master" to prison and death, his "master" being Titus. Though in the past the following passage has mystified scholars, its meaning is now clear.

    "Simon, Simon, I tell you that Satan has obtained permission to have all of you to sift as wheat is sifted.

    "But 'I' have prayed for 'you' that your faith may not fail, and you, when at last you have come back to your true self, must strengthen your brethren."

    "Master," replied Peter, "with you I am ready to go both to prison and to death."
    Luke 22:33      
    __________
    * Transcriber's note: The term "malicious" is commonly taken to mean: "evil, evil-minded, hateful, injurious, nasty, venomous, vicious, virulent, wicked, and wounding," as well as "petty and spiteful." If the writers of the New Testament texts "maliciously satirized" those persons named as Jesus' closest followers, the implication is that the same "hateful" purpose is directed at the pious readers of those purportedly fictional texts. An "evil-minded" intent toward fictional apostles would thus result in an "evil-minded" assault upon the supposedly deluded, real-life readers of the fictional text. If this was indeed some New Testament writers' hoped for results, they would be doubly wicked, and wounding," -- being "maliciously" aimed at innocent, unknowing converts to the "Roman" evil-doers' own, fabricated religion.





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    Continuing this comic theme in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus actually calls the Apostle Simon "Satan." His strange remark about the founder of his church is rendered coherent when one understands that Jesus is referring, in the Roman context, to the rebel Simon. The reader will note that the mysteriousness of many of Jesus' sayings disappears when they are understood within the context I suggest. In the passage, Jesus repeals the command to Simon that he gives at the conclusion of the Gospel of John above. That is, to "follow me" with a cross to your doom.
    And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shalt never happen to you."

    But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."

    Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up my cross and follow me.

    "For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."
    Matt. 16:21-25    

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    We are also able to understand the plight of John, the leader who was imprisoned by the Romans and was satirized as the Apostle John and the demoniac of Gadara. Both Josephus and the authors of the New Testament often made reference to the fact that they wrote the truth. I believe that they were sincere in this claim but





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    required the reader to understand the code that they wrote the truth in. Therefore, I believe that John, after coming out of the "tombs," and coming to his "right mind," did cooperate with the Romans and "publish" Christian literature at Decapolis.

    The ending of the Gospel of John specifically identifies the "John" whom Jesus spared as its author. Understanding that the Apostle "John" and the demoniac of Gadara were both lampoons of John, along with Simon a leader of the Jewish rebellion, enabled me to see the real meaning of the following statement concerning the demoniac of Gadara:
    And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. 85
    The passage indicates that John, a leader of the rebellion, was taken to Decapolis, where he provided the Romans with details of the messianic movement that were used in creating the New Testament. John was used by the Romans to help create the literature that poisoned the future of his own people. The Romans then "recorded" their use of John, anticipating that those in the future who would learn the truth regarding Christianity's origin would appreciate such irony.
    This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things: and we know that his testimony is true. 86
    This "conversion" by the rebel leader John to Christianity, also explains the two Simons' different surnames. The Simon who is condemned at the end of the New Testament is called "Simon bar Jonas," while the Simon who is condemned at the conclusion of Titus' campaign is named "Simon bar Gioras." Jonas is simply the Hebrew for John -- once again the name-switching technique -- indicating that Simon was the son of John. Gioras, means "the convert" in Hebrew, thus, the rebel Simon's full name was "Simon the son of the convert," a satirical synonym for "Simon, the son of John" because John had become a "convert" to the new religion.

    The fact that John was Simon's father also fulfills another "innocuous" prophecy found within the New Testament:





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    From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son, son against father. 87

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    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 93 ]


    CHAPTER 5



    Eleazar Lazarus: The Real Christ


    When I first discovered the parallels between the "ministries" of Titus Flavius and Jesus it was apparent to me that they were designed to create a hidden satire that indicated the true "Son of Man" foreseen by Jesus was Titus. This is especially clear at the ending of the Gospel of John, when Jesus predicts that Simon will suffer a martyr’s death and that John will be spared. The only individual in history who can be seen as having fulfilled those prophecies is Titus.

    At that point in my analysis I saw Jesus and Titus as completely separate individuals, their only connection being that Jesus had satirically predicted Titus' "coming." However, I was also beginning to suspect that there was nothing inadvertent within the New Testament, that every word of it was somehow part of a comic system.

    This suspicion stemmed from the discovery that many of its seemingly innocuous details were comically related to events described in War of the Jews, for example, the prediction in the New Testament that Mary will have her heart "pierced through." But if the New Testament and the War of the Jews were a unified comic system then it was clear there were some parts I did not understand. Particularly perplexing to me was Jesus telling his disciples that unless they "eat the flesh" of the "Son of Man" they would "have no life in [them]." 89 If Titus was the "Son of Man" Jesus foresaw, why did he also tell his disciples that they would eat the Son of Man’s flesh? -- obviously not a prediction about the future Roman emperor.

    I therefore began a study to determine if the character the New Testament calls Jesus might be comically related to War of the Jews





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    in a way I did not yet understand. I began analyzing every detail in the two works to determine if there were connections between Jesus' ministry and Josephus' history that I had not yet noticed. I was guided in this search by the fact that the parallels and puzzles I had discovered were all designed to reveal a hidden identity.

    The question I was trying to answer was an old one: Who is Jesus?

    The mystery of Jesus' identity begins with his very name. "Jesus Christ," or, as Paul calls him, "Christ Jesus," was certainly not the real name of the founder of Christianity. Christ is the Greek word for "Messiah" and Jesus is a Greek homophone (ee-ay-sooce) for the Hebrew word Yeshua, which can mean either "God saves" or, as in the case of Jesus, "Savior."

    The proposition that Jesus' name was to be understood as "Savior" cannot be disputed because it is confirmed by no less a source than an "angel of the Lord."
    But while he [Joseph] thought about these things Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying...

    "And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
    Matt. 1:20-21      
    The word the angel used to indicate that Jesus would save his people was soteria, 90 a derivative of soter, 91 the Greek word for "savior."

    However, the angel who named the child Jesus also began the confusion over the identity of the "Savior Messiah." Immediately follOWing his instruction to call the child "Jesus," the angel notes that the child that the "virgin will conceive," is to be called by another name.
    All of this happened to fulfill the Lord's message through his prophet: "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel [meaning, God is with us]."
    Matt. 1:22-23    





    Eleazar Lazarus: The Real Christ   95  

    The confusion over the identity of Jesus is also apparent during his trial, when the New Testament introduces another "Jesus," Jesus Barabbas.

    This Jesus, like many of the messianic aspirants described by Josephus, is said to have started an insurrection.
    But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Jesus Barabbas" --

    a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder.

    Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus;

    but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!"

    A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him."
    Jesus also contributes to the confusion regarding the identity of the "Savior Messiah" by referring to the individual he foresees bringing destruction of Judea not as himself but as the "Son of Man."
    Therefore you also must be ready; for it is at a time when you do not expect Him that the Son of Man will come.
    Matt 24:42-44      
    The New Testament describes more than one person as "Jesus," and refers to Jesus by a number of different names. I began to wonder if the New Testament was somehow indicating that there could be more than one Messiah, or "Christ" -- in other words, that the New Testament was calling more than one character "Jesus."

    The very name "Jesus" contributes to this idea. That the "savior" of humankind was so named at birth is obviously problematic. Eusebius, for example, suggests that the name Jesus might have been allegorical. In other words, as was the case with Christ, Jesus may have been so named after it became clear that he was, indeed, the Savior.

    Eusebius was only pointing out the obvious. "Savior Messiah" was not merely a name during this era but also a title, one that anyone who saw himself as having been sent by God to "save" Judea





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    might claim. From the perspective of Titus, the true "son of god" of Judea could not have been any of the Jewish messianic aspirants who waged war against Rome. It could only have been himself.

    Josephus records that the struggle over who was the true Savior Messiah of Judea was the real cause of the war between the Romans and the Jews:
    But what more than all else incited them to the war was an ambiguous oracle also found in their sacred writings, that "At about that time, one from their country would become ruler of the habitable world: This they took to mean one at their own people, and many of the wise men were misled in their interpretation. This oracle, however, in reality signified the government of Vespasian, who was proclaimed emperor while in Judea. 92
    Josephus could not have stated that the Flavian Caesars saw themselves as the Messiahs, or "Christs," foreseen by the prophecies of Judaism's world ruler any more clearly. But this proposition suggests questions. How could Titus have taken the title the "Christ" away from the messianic leaders that he struggled with? How could Titus have made the rebellious Jews call him "Christ?"

    I discovered how Titus achieved this during my efforts to determine if Jesus, like his Apostles, had a secret identity. I uncovered a series or puzzles within the New Testament and War of the Jews that reveal that not only was Titus Flavius the "Son of Man" predicted by Jesus, but that he was, in fact, the "Jesus" who interacted with the disciples in the final passage or the Gospels -- in John 21. Put simply, the puzzles reveal that Titus is the "Jesus" Christianity has unknowingly worshiped.

    These puzzles also reveal that the name of the Jewish savior Titus captured on the Mount of Olives and stole the title of "Christ" from was Eleazar, and that he was satirized as the "Lazarus" within the New Testament. The puzzles were also designed to change the story line of the New Testament from the one that has been a comfort to mankind into perhaps the most vicious tale ever written.

    To begin to show how these accomplish all this, it is first necessary to explain how the New Testament interacts with





    Eleazar Lazarus: The Real Christ   97  

    War of the Jews to disclose the name of the Jewish savior Titus captured on the Mount of Olives and executed.

    This individual's name was Eleazar, which means "whom God aids" in Hebrew and is translated as "Lazarus" in Greek. The fact that the New Testament records that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead makes the notion that Lazarus might have been the name of the "Christ" that Titus executed especially hard to accept. To come to this understanding the reader must both recognize a number of parallels between Jesus and Eleazar and solve a series of puzzles. Only then can the reader learn the Jewish Messiah's real name.

    I recognize that the parallels may seem disjointed and difficult to comprehend at first, but I ask the reader to bear with this. If the comic connections between the New Testament and War of the Jews were meant to be seen easily they would not have remained hidden for 2,000 years. In this case the satirical connections between Jesus and Eleazar have been hidden by placing the key parallels to Jesus into a number of different characters named Eleazar or Lazarus.

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    The authors of the Gospels were very aware of the typology in Hebraic literature and were, in effect, showing that they were able to produce a more perfect, more complex form of it. Moreover, there was a profound irony in the authors' requiring the Gospels and War of the Jews to be read in the manner of Judaic literature in order to learn that they had created a false Judaism.

    The insight that Josephus was using typological parallels occurred when I noticed that Josephus' tale regarding the capture of the unnamed "certain young man" on the Mount of Olives is parallel to another passage within War of the Jews, the passage above, in which Eleazar is whipped and escapes crucifixion. Josephus identified the two stories as being parallel by having each passage tell the same story, their only differences being in location and that the "certain young man" is unnamed in the Mount of Olives version.

    For clarification, I present the following list of the parallels between the two passages:
    In each, besieged Jews are encircled by a wall.
    In each, the Jews attack the siege wall.
    In each case the Romans foresee the attack.
    In each, a Jew is literally carried away by a single Roman in a manner that is physically impossible.
    In each, the man who is carried away is in his armor.

    Within the works of Josephus there are thousands of passages. These are the only two that share these parallel characteristics. Josephus thus notified the "intelligent reader," that is, the reader with a good memory, that the two stories are parallel. Further, there is a simple point of logic that the authors require the reader to apprehend, this being that since the passages are parallel, the unnamed "certain young man" who is carried away in one must have the same name as the "certain young man" named Eleazar who has the same experience in the other.

    The passages are also the start of a comic theme that Josephus and the New Testament develop regarding the Messiah who was captured on the Mount of Olives. This theme, which I refer to as the "root and branch," begins with the last sentence in the passage





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    above from War of the Jews. Notice that the translator (William Whiston) places brackets around the words that he uses to describe the punishment of the unnamed "certain young man" captured on the Mount of Olives "(with death)."

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    Once again, only readers alert enough to combine elements from different versions of the same story can understand the joke. Notice that this technique is consistent throughout. To understand the joke in Luke regarding Gethsemane the reader must recall another Gospel's version of the same story. Likewise, the parallels between the two tales from War of the Jews above, which described a "certain young man" being carried off, can only be grasped by the reader whose memory is sufficient to recall the first story while reading the second. The authors of the New Testament and Josephus created





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    what might be called history's first intelligence test. The consequence for failing it is belief in a false god.

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    and intercepted his horse; and standing directly opposite to those that still ran along the road, hindered them from joining those that had declined out of it. They intercepted Titus also, with a few others. Now it was here impossible for him to go forward, because all the places had trenches dug in them from the wall, to preserve the gardens round about, and were full of gardens obliquely situated, and of many hedges; and to return back to his own men, he saw it was also impossible, by reason of the multitude of the enemies that lay between them; many of whom did not so much as know that the king was in any danger, but supposed him still among them. So he perceived that his preservation must be wholly owing to his own courage, and turned his horse about, and cried out aloud to those that were about him to follow him, and ran with violence into the midst of his enemies, in order to force his way through them to his own men. And hence I may principally learn, that both the success of wars, and the dangers that kings are in, are under the providence of God; for while such a number of darts were thrown at Titus, when he had neither his head-piece on, nor his breastplate (for, as I told you, he went out not to fight, but to view the city), none of them touched his body, but went aside without hurting him; as if all of them missed him on purpose, and only made a noise as they passed by him.
    Thus, the New Testament and War of the Jews each placed their king in the same garden for his encounter with a band of armed men. In the New Testament, Jesus starts at the Mount of Olives, which is just outside Jerusalem's eastern edge, and walks northward to Gethsemane, from where the New Testament states that he "went a little farther." 105 In other words, to the northeastern corner of the city. Josephus describes Titus as traveling from the tower of Psephinus, which marked the city's northwestern corner, toward the monument of Queen Helena, along Jerusalem's northern border from west to east.

    Notice that in his version of a garden assault, Josephus makes the reader aware that Titus was, figuratively speaking, "naked," that is, he was wearing no armor, to create a satirical parallel to the "naked young man" who escapes from the garden in the New Testament.





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    As was the case in the puzzle regarding the capture of Eleazar, the unnamed "naked young man" in the New Testament must have the same name as the named individual within the parallel story in War of the Jews. Hence, the "certain young man" who escapes naked from his pursuers in the garden in the New Testament can be seen as a prototype of Titus, the "naked" young man who escapes from his pursuers in the same garden in War of the Jews.

    Thus, the New Testament and Josephus each describe two assaults that occur in gardens near the Mount of Olives. Notice the conceptual symmetry -- each pair of Mount of Olives assaults contains a "naked" individual who escapes and another individual who is captured. The point of these parallel Mount of Olives assaults is

    Jerusalem During New Testament Times 30 B.C.E. - 70 C.E.

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    to separate the identities of the two "kings," Jesus and Titus -- in other words, to separate the "king" who lives from the one who is crucified. This parallel is critically important in that it begins the process by which the New Testament's story of Jesus operates as a forerunner of the stories of both "Sons of God" described in War of the Jews -- Eleazar and Titus.

    Titus is actually described by Josephus in the passage as a king when, in fact, at that moment he is only the son of the emperor.
    And hence we may principally learn, that both the success of wars, and the dangers that kings are in, are under the providence of God.
    This reference to Titus as a king has caught the attention of scholars, who have wondered why Josephus would have made such an obvious error. Josephus, of course, has not forgotten Titus' title. Rather, he is making a comment as to which "king," attacked in a garden outside Jerusalem, enjoys God's favor -- Jesus, the king of the Jews or Titus, the king of the Romans.

    War of the Jews and the New Testament are working together to state that since the king of the Romans escaped from his attackers in the garden and the king of the Jews did not, this demonstrates which king was "under the providence of God." It is strange that Josephus' phrase in the passage above, "the dangers that kings are in," has not received more attention from scholars, because he is clearly referring to an event that occurs in the same garden where Jesus, the king of the Jews, is captured, and his use of the plural plainly indicates he is talking about more than one king.

    It is, at the least, an extraordinary coincidence that Josephus chose this moment and location to make an editorial comment regarding which king was under the "providence of God."

    Josephus seems to be making a point as to the relative value of faith in the divine and faith in one's self, which was perhaps the same thing to the Flavians, since they saw themselves as gods. This is made clear by the different responses Jesus and Titus have to the same situation. Both are kings who are cut off from their allies and assaulted by armed men in a garden outside Jerusalem's northeastern corner. Jesus, that is, Eleazar, meekly accepts God's will. Titus'





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    reaction, however, was the same as the naked young man in the New Testament who recognizes that his "preservation must be wholly owing to his own courage" and thus is able to escape his pursuers. Josephus may be providing a glimpse into the true "religious" belief of the Flavian emperors, which is, rely on one's self and not on the "providence" of gods.

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    It is not just his obvious prophecies, such as that the temple would be razed, that came to pass during Titus' campaign -- virtually all of Jesus' ministry is a prophetical forerunner of some event from that campaign. Examples of this technique include a son of Mary whose flesh is eaten; Mary being told she will be "pierced through;" Jesus telling his disciples they will become "fishers of men;" the demoniacs of Gadara asking Jesus, "Have you come here to torment us before the time?"; Simon being called the "rock" upon which the new church will be built; Mary's fine portion that shall not be taken away from her; a naked young man who escapes his pursuers in the garden of Gethsemane; the list of signs Jesus states will occur before the temple is razed; as well as a Simon who is condemned and a John who is spared.

    The fact that so many seemingly innocuous but unusual New Testament statements regarding the future "come to pass" within War of the Jews is perhaps the simplest proof that the two works were





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    designed to be read interactively. Josephus' recording of the fulfillment of so many of these "hidden" New Testament prophecies could not have occurred by chance.

    If I were permitted to ask critics of my thesis one question, it would be this: What is the probability that the satirical "fulfillment" of not one but two unique New Testament prophecies -- Mary being "pierced through the heart" and her "fine portion not being taken away" -- would exist within a passage that also contains an accidental satire of the New Testament's Passover lamb?

    A skillfully designed, interactive relationship between the two works is also shown by the fact that the prophetic statements in the New Testament occur in the same order as their "fulfillment" does in War of the Jews. Clearly, the purpose of this comic theme is to confirm that since his "ministry" has fulfilled every prophecy predicted by the Gospels, Titus is the Son of Man foreseen by Jesus.

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    Eleazar, like Simon and John, had his identity stolen by the Romans. He was the historical "Christ" who had been captured on the Mount of Olives and "rose" from the dead. As he was only human, however, Eleazar could not return to life.

    Note the impact this analysis has on the historicity of "Jesus Christ." Was the New Testament character of Jesus based on a real





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    individual? Since the Apostles Simon and John were based on historical characters, it is therefore possible that Jesus was as well.

    I am certain, however, that even if the New Testament character of "Jesus" were based on a historical individual, virtually nothing he said and none of the events from his ministry are recorded in the New Testament.
    The authors of the New Testament created their character's dialogue and ministry in order to create a "true" prophet, one who had "accurately" prophesied events from Titus' triumphant campaign. Jesus did not, for example, envision his disciples becoming "fishers of men" or "eating his flesh." Nor did he see his contemporaries as a "wicked generation" or advocate that they "turn the other cheek." Like his "Apostles" Simon and John, the real "Savior Messiah" would have been completely in accordance with the messianic movement that fought against Rome. He would have been a militaristic Zealot.

    At the time the New Testament was being created, the events of 30 C.E. were 50 years past and of little or no importance to its authors. Their focus was solely on Titus' triumph in the recently completed war against the Jews. The "Savior" they created was a Roman fantasy, a literary figure they used to "prophetically" chasten the "wicked generation" and to set up their satire regarding the Messiah that Titus had "pruned" -- Eleazar. If there had been a messianic leader named Jesus who ran afoul of the Roman authorities around 30 C.E., all that is visible of him in the New Testament is his name.

    If Eleazar was the Messiah captured on the Mount of Olives, who was the individual who was mistaken for Jesus following his "resurrection"? In the next chapter I will show the method by which the New Testament and War of the Jews reveal the identity of the true "Jesus" of Christianity, the "gardener."




    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


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    CHAPTER 6



    The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb


    The four Gospels each give a different time for the first visit to Jesus' tomb, though they all agree that a character named Mary Magdalene is the first visitor. The four Gospels also contradict one another about whether Mary Magdalene is alone when she first comes to the tomb, and about how many individuals are either inside or outside the tomb when she arrives. Since I had already realized that there was nothing inadvertent in the Gospels, I wondered about the purpose of these contradictions. My efforts to answer this question led me to discover another, more logical, way to understand the New Testament stories of Jesus' resurrection than any I had heard of previously: that the four different versions create one story that should be read intertextually.

    This reading reveals that Jesus does not rise from the dead. Rather, Mary Magdalene simply mistakes Lazarus' empty tomb for the tomb of Jesus. This misunderstanding then sets off a comedy of errors during which the disciples mistake one another for angels and thereby delude themselves into believing that their Messiah has risen from the dead. This combined story also completes the joke I discussed in the previous chapter -- that since the real Messiah, Lazarus, has been eaten, his tomb is therefore empty. To understand this combined story is quite simple, requiring only that the reader think logically.

    The four Gospels' depictions of who visits Jesus' empty tomb, and when, are as follows:





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    MATTHEW
    In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

    And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

    His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

    And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

    He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

    And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

    And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
    Matt. 28:1-8      
    MARK
    And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

    And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

    And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

    And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

    And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

    And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.





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    But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

    And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
    Mark 16:1-8      
    LUKE
    Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

    And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

    And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

    And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

    He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

    Saying, the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

    And they remembered his words,

    And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

    It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the Apostles,

    but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.

    But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down he saw the linen clothes lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself what had happened.

    That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.





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    While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

    But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

    And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad.

    Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?'

    And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.

    But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.

    Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.

    Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.
    Luke 24:1-24      
    JOHN
    The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

    Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

    Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

    So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

    And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.





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    Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

    And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

    For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

    Then the disciples went away again unto their own home But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb;

    and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."

    Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

    Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where me you have laid him, and I will take him away."
    John 20:1-15      
    My analysis revealed that these four versions were intended to be read as a single story. This combined story is divided into two halves. One half consists of the visits to the tomb described in the Gospel of John. The other consists of the visits to the tomb described in the other three Gospels. In the combined story the individuals described in the Gospel of John meet the individuals described in the other three Gospels and, in their emotional state, the different groups mistake one another for angels. This comedy of errors causes the visitors to the empty tomb to mistakenly believe that their Messiah has risen from the dead.

    To see how the four versions combine into one continuous story, it is first necessary to recognize that the New Testament places the contradictory versions in one temporal stream of events, and that each version enters this shared stream of events at a different point.





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    I believe that the authors of the New Testament were aware of this principle and use it here as a way of communicating to the educated reader that the combined story is the correct interpretation of the story of Jesus' resurrection. The truth is communicated using a mathematical rather than a verbal language, so that it could not be seen by the ignorant.

    If Titus had designed the New Testament to satirically disclose that he was "Jesus," he would have wished there to be some way to confirm that its satirical dimension was correct. With their crude system of numbers the Romans could not do any higher math; however, they were great gamblers and knew odds well. So the authors made sure that the odds that the combined story was accidentally created were both able to be calculated and too small for an intelligent person to take seriously.

    To clarify how the odds on the combined story can be calculated, I have edited the four Gospels' versions of the first visit to Jesus' tomb into the comic combined version, in which all the elements in the four stories fit together without contradiction.
    The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

    Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

    Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

    So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

    And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 112
    So the author of John has created a moment when there is a single man outside the tomb. In Matthew there is also such a moment, which occurs second in the temporal sequence, when the sun is said to be "dawning."





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    description would then not match the one in John, which states that one disciple arrived first. Therefore, the probability that the author of Matthew accidentally records that the first visitors encounter only one angel and not, as found within the other Gospels, zero or two, is one chance in three. And that probability becomes an element in a "chain of multiplication" for the entire sequence of events.

    The following are the statements of fact that four distinct authors would have to accidentally record to produce the perfect sequence of events between the Gospel of John and the other three Gospels. I have included the lowest odds of each event being recorded by a particular author -- for example, events four and five below, where the author of John mentions that the disciple looked into the empty tomb but did not go into it. It can be argued that the odds of this irrelevant detail even being mentioned at this point are far higher than one chance in two. Nevertheless, I give only the binary possibility, that is, the author could either record that the disciple did or did not look in.
    1) The sun must indicate that "Mary" comes first to the tomb in the version given in the Gospel of John. One chance in four.

    2) Mary must encounter no angels during her first visit to the tomb in the Gospel of John. One chance in three.

    3) The other disciple must reach the tomb first, not Peter. One chance in two.

    4) The other disciple must not go in. One chance in two.

    5) The disciple must look in. One chance in two.

    6) Simon Peter, not Peter or the other disciple, must be the one who arrives second at the tomb. One chance in three.

    7) He must go in alone. One chance in two.

    8) The other disciple must go into the tomb after Simon Peter. One chance in two.

    9) The sun must indicate that "Mary" comes to the tomb second in the version given in the Gospel of Matthew. One chance in four.

    10) The group described in Matthew must encounter one angel. One chance in three.

    11) The angel in Matthew must be outside the tomb. One chance in two.





    The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb   145  

    12) The sun must indicate that "Mary" comes to the tomb next in the version given in the Gospel of Mark. One chance in four.

    13) The group from Matthew must encounter one angel. One chance in three.

    14) The group from Matthew must encounter the angel inside the tomb. One chance in two.

    15) The sun must indicate that "Mary" comes to the tomb last in the version given in the Gospel of Luke. One chance in four.

    16) The group described in Luke must discover the angels inside the tomb. One chance in two.

    17) This group must encounter two angels. One chance in three.

    18) The angel must request that "Peter" not "Simon Peter," be told. One chance in two.

    19) The "Mary" who stands outside weeping in John must encounter two "angels," because the plural is used in Luke to describe "those" who go to the tomb. One chance in two.

    20) The angels Mary sees must be inside the tomb, because those who go to the tomb in Luke are described as not seeing Jesus. One chance in two.

    21) Mary must encounter Jesus outside the tomb. One chance in two.

    Thus, the chain of multiplication to determine the probability that four distinct authors could record these exact facts by chance would be:

    4 X 3 X 2 X 2 X 2 X 3 X 2 X 2 X 4 X 3 X 2 X 4 X 3 X 2 X 4 X 2 X 3 X 2

    which equals one chance in 254,803,968.

    This demonstrates that four distinct authors did not create the combined story by chance and that it was, therefore, intentionally created. This proof is just as conclusive as, for example, the DNA probabilities that are used in our day and age to match the blood left at a crime scene with that of a suspect. In fact, DNA probabilities are determined using an approach similar to the one above.

    My theory is also solid in the sense that it is so easily disprovable. In other words, specialists in probability can easily demonstrate any errors in my premises or conclusion. In fact, any curious reader can simply retrace my steps and come to an independent judgment.





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    something wrong with Jesus' cellmate having a name so similar to his own. This concern was evidently shared by later church officials because all the earliest extant copies of the New Testament (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus) refer to this character only as Barabbas. However, based on modern scholarship, both the New English Bible and the Scholar's Version 116 have decided to give Jesus Barabbas as the name of this character in their translations.

    In such a translation, the purpose of the character named Jesus Barabbas becomes clear. The New Testament is flatly stating that there was more than one "Jesus." Notice the humor in Pilate's statement below, "I will therefore chastise him and release him." The joke being that it is impossible to know which "Jesus" Pilate is referring to as "him."

    Notice also that, just as they were at the empty tomb, the Jews are characterized as being highly emotional. The humor derives from the idea that in such a state they cannot tell one "Jesus" from the other.
    But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Jesus Barabbas" --

    a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder.

    Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus;

    but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!'"

    A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him."

    But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.

    So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted.
    Luke 23:18-24      
    In each of the Gospels, following the "resurrection," the disciples are described as encountering a character named Jesus. However, the dead cannot come back to life. The authors of the Gospels are simply continuing the joke that starts with the disciples mistaking





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    one another for angels in the empty tomb of Lazarus. Each Gospel comically reveals that the individual the disciples believe to be the resurrected Messiah is different from the one who was crucified, by repeatedly stating that they could not recognize the "resurrected" Jesus. The related passages follow.
    When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, but some doubted.
    Matt. 28:17      


    After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.
    Mark 16:12      


    But they were terrified and frightened and supposed they had seen a spirit.
    Luke 24:37      


    While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
    Luke 24:16      


    Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
    John 21:4      
    In John 20:15 below, Mary Magdalene is also unable to recognize Jesus and confuses him with a "gardener." This passage is a part of the "root and branch" element of humor, which centers around Titus "pruning" the Jewish Messiah Eleazar, who was "carried away" on the Mount of Olives.

    This episode is the prophetic and comic climax of the New Testament. It is the moment that "foresees" Titus switching himself for the Jewish Messiah -- which actually occurs in John 21. That is when, following his killing of "Jesus," Titus begins to be the "Jesus" of Christianity. A reader who is able to understand the following "prophecy" regarding Titus has essentially solved the central puzzle of the New Testament and War of the Jews.





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    with a soul that in a manner rejoiced under them. But what was most of all astonishing to the beholders was the courage of the children; for not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Caesar for their lord. So far does the strength of the courage [of the soul] prevail over the weakness of the body. 117
    The switching of Titus with Jesus occurs in John 21. The chapter begins with Jesus coming to the Sea of Galilee in the morning, where he "showed" himself to his disciples. The disciples are described as being unable to recognize Jesus from the small boat in which they have spent the night. Jesus instructs them to "cast the net" after which they haul in a "multitude of fish." Being informed that it is "the Lord," Simon swims ashore, where he and the disciples eat "bread" and "fish" with Jesus, who then prophesies that Simon will be put to death but that John will be spared.
    After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:

    Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.

    Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.

    But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No."

    And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

    Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he was naked), and plunged into the sea.





    The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb   153  

    But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.

    Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.

    Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."

    Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

    Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" -- knowing that it was the Lord.

    Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

    This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
    John 21:1-14      
    This story of the disciples catching "fish" shares a number of parallels with the passage in War of the Jews that describes the Romans catching Jews like fish on the Sea of Galilee, which I have discussed previously. In that passage Josephus describes a band of rebels led by a Jesus, the son of Shaphat.

    This Jesus leads a sally against the Romans. In response, Vespasian orders Titus to take a force and counterattack Jesus and his band. Before the battle, Titus delivers the speech in which he describes the coming battle as "my onset." He then attacks the Jews with his troops and routs them. Some of the Jews, however, escape to their boats on the Sea of Galilee (Josephus describes these boats as "small,") where they spend the night. The next morning, Titus orders his soldiers to construct boats to attack the Jews. In the ensuing sea battle, the Romans catch Jews like fish. Following the battle Josephus describes the dead bodies of the Jews giving off a terrible stink. 118

    The following diagram is presented for clarification of the parallels between Josephus' "sea battle" passage and John 21:





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    1. Both passages describe the followers of a "Jesus" who spend the night in a small boat.

    2. Both passages describe a "catching" that occurs the following morning.

    3. Each passage occurs on the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias).

    4. Jesus and Titus share the previously noted collection of parallels in John 21 involving the condemning of "Simon" and the sparing of "John."

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    War of the Jews are designed to be interactive. And, again, their interaction creates a story different from the benign one that appears on the surface. John 21 interacts with Josephus' "catching" passage to create a satire indicating that the confused followers of Jesus mistake Titus for the Lord. The "Jesus" they follow, "Jesus, the son of Shaphat, the principal head of a band of robbers," is not on the beach because Titus has killed him. Josephus records his death in the passage, stating that: "Titus had slain the authors of this revolt," clearly indicating Jesus. > Therefore the "Jesus" that the disciples follow no longer exists and they mistake Titus for their Lord -- "Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus." Thus deluded, the disciples then do Titus' bidding, helping the Romans capture the Jewish rebels swimming in the Sea of Tiberias by "casting their net." The satire is a perfect synopsis of the real intent of Christianity, which is to "convert" the followers of the Jewish Messiah into followers of Caesar without their knowing it.

    Having achieved his goal, Titus, the "Lord," then sits down with his new "disciples" for a breakfast of "bread" and "fish." The words "bread" and "fish" are, as I have shown, both used as synonyms for human flesh in the New Testament.

    Notice the author's witticism. The disciples don't ask his name -- which would give away the fact that his name is Titus -- but "know" that he is the "Lord."
    Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" -- Knowing that it was the Lord.

    Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

    This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
    The interaction between the New Testament and War of the Jews identifies the "fish" that Titus served to his new disciples in John 21 as the "putrefied" bodies of the "fish" killed by the Romans during





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    the battle mentioned above. This putrid smell of the "fish" on the beach parallels the stench recorded in the other passages of cannibalism -- the tomb of Lazarus in the New Testament and Mary's son in War of the Jews.
    And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight there was on the following days over that country; for as for the shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and putrefied, they corrupted the air.
    And the "bread" that the disciples eat is also identified in the New Testament. It is the flesh of the Messiah who was "raised from the dead." Notice how clear an example the following passage is of Jesus' seemingly symbolic statements taking on a comic meaning when read literally.
    "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

    The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us his flesh to eat?"

    Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his life blood, you shall have no life in you."
    John 6:51-53      

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    I would note that the analysis above has implications for the sacrament of Communion. It suggests that the Romans deliberately created the ritual as a cruel joke on Christians.

    In any event, the humor that the Romans created regarding the cannibalism of the messianic Jews evidently springs from the irony they saw in a people with such strict dietary laws eating rancid human flesh. The irony of the Jews, a people too fastidious to eat pork, eating human flesh would have been widely understood within the patrician class when War of the Jews was written. The satirist Juvenal, for example, referred to it without providing any context.
    Some, whose lot it has been to have Sabbath fearing fathers,
    Worship nothing but clouds and the numen of heavens,
    And see no difference between the flesh of swine and humans
    Since their fathers abstained from pork. 119
    The two "Jesuses" who are on the beach when the Romans catch Jews in the Sea of Galilee, Titus and Jesus the Son of Shaphat, are simply the final Jesuses within another comic turn. All the Jesuses encountered after the resurrection are different individuals. As they have done with the various "Mary Magdalenes" the authors include seemingly irrelevant details in each Gospel that make it logically impossible for any of the four Jesuses encountered after the "resurrection" to have been the same individual.

    In Matthew, the Jesus encountered by his disciples does not ascend to Heaven, instead saying to his followers, "I am with you always." In Mark, however, Jesus is described as ascending to heaven, just as he is in the Gospel of Luke. Though these two ascension stories appear identical, in fact they take place at different locations. The authors reveal this in an earlier passage in Mark (Mark 14:28). This passage indicates that Jesus will meet with his disciples in Galilee, obviously some days following his resurrection, whereas the ascension in Luke occurs just outside Jerusalem on the same day as the resurrection. Finally, the Jesus in John meets with a different number of disciples following the resurrection, a different number of times, and at a location different from the ones in the other three Gospels.





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    The authors of the Gospels designed their creation to be perfectly logical. Whenever two events seem to contradict each another, the reader needs to recognize that he or she is reading incorrectly. That is to say, that he or she is making an incorrect assumption. In this case, the incorrect assumption is that all the Jesuses in the Gospels are the same individual. Simply changing that assumption makes the Gospels become "true" -- that is, without contradiction.

    However, who do the disciples encounter at the conclusions of Matthew, Mark, and Luke if not the Jesus who was crucified? Just as the authors have identified whose empty tomb Mary Magdalene discovers -- with its stone "rolled away" -- before she comes across it in the dark, the authors have already given the reader this information. The Jesuses depicted at the conclusion of the Synoptics are the three Jesuses whom Pilate has previously released, Jesus Barabbas.

    As the New Testament's final comic stroke, each Gospel concludes with a different individual as its Jesus. Of course, the final Jesus is the one described in John 21, the very end of the Gospels. That Jesus is Titus, the "true" Son of God whom Christianity worships.

    I suspect that the herd of Jesuses roaming about at the conclusions of the four Gospels are a joke reflecting the fact that there were numerous individuals claiming to be the Messiah during this era, a fact that is recorded in both the New Testament and War of the Jews. The authors of the New Testament are perhaps comically making the point that, since there are already so many "Messiahs," or "Christs," there is no reason why Titus could not be one as well.

    Finally, a question I found interesting is whether the authors intended to put forth the "combined version" of the visit to the empty tomb and the revelation that Jesus did not rise from the dead as a philosophical statement advocating reason over religious mysticism. The reader must resolve those logical contradictions; if he or she fails, the punishment is belief in a false god.

    It is possible that the authors of the Gospels created them as a sort of educational tool disguised as a narrative about Jesus. The authors may have wished their readers to work through the various contradictions in logic in order to develop their reasoning ability and thus be able to think their way out of religious superstition. They may have wished the Gospels to be seen by posterity as their contribution to the development of reason.


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    [ 159 ]


    CHAPTER 7



    The New Root and Branch


    Having shown the methods that the Romans used to satirically communicate the real history of their struggle with the messianic Jews, I can now present the most complex of their works. The reader will recognize that I have already touched on many of the passages that make up this satire. These separate elements were designed to be linked together to create a larger intertextual story.

    I refer to this satire as the "new root and branch." It is a vast literary device coursing through the Gospels and three of Josephus' books. Because it extends over several different books, it is hard to discover, but this literary device is not unusual in Hebrew literature. It is, for instance, similar to the way in which the Abraham saga is continued in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Kings. Through a series of distinct passages, one character becomes associated with another character by means of parallel acts or locations, and by means of similar language.

    The purpose of this particular satire is to document that the "root" and "branch" of the Judaic messianic lineage has been destroyed and that a Roman lineage has been "grafted on" in its place. This satirical system actually begins in the Book of Malachi, the final book of the Old Testament. Malachi means "my messenger" in Hebrew and was used as an epithet for the prophet Elijah. This is because in Judaic literature it was predicted that the Messiah would be preceded by the appearance of Elijah, who would act as the messenger of his coming.
    But I shall send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
    Malachi 4:5      





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    This final passage in the Book of Malachi predicts a coming disaster for the "wicked," one that will leave them destroyed by fire and with neither "root" nor "branch."
    For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, [and] will leave them neither root nor branch.
    Malachi 4:1      
    Josephus clearly records that the first part of this prophesy concerning the "wicked" being "burned up," came to pass during the war with the Romans. He also records that the second part of the prophesy -- that they would be left with neither "root" nor "branch" -- was also fulfilled during Titus' campaign, though not so overtly. To understand that the "wicked," that is, the messianic rebels, were to be left with no "root" or "branch," the reader needs to comprehend perhaps the most complex literary satire ever written.

    As noted above, "root" and "branch" were Judaic metaphors used to denote the messianic lineage. For example, the Genesis Florilegium states:
    ...until the Messiah of Righteousness, the Branch of David comes, because to him and his seed was given the Covenant of the Kingdom of his people... 120
    This root and branch messianic imagery found in the Dead Sea Scrolls is a continuation of its use by the prophet Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah, as the following translation from another fragment of the Scrolls shows:
    ...Isaiah the Prophet... the thickets of the forest will be felled with an axe and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one. A staff shall rise from the root of Jesse, {and} a planting from his roots will bear fruit... the Branch of David. 121
    The authors of the New Testament continue the messianic root and branch metaphor, though with a totally different perspective. Within the New Testament, the root and branch imagery is presented in the context of their being transformed into a different lineage --





    The New Root and Branch   161  

    the lineage of the new Messiah. The "branches" are described as either being "pruned" or being "grafted onto." Jesus predicts -- echoing the Book of Malachi -- that those "branches" that do not "abide" in the new Judaism he brings will be "burned."
    If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire.
    John 15:6      
    Josephus builds on the root and branch imagery in the New Testament by establishing a series of related parallels. As we have seen so often, these parallels contain puzzles that reveal the names of unnamed characters. And in every case the name of the unnamed character is Eleazar. My interpretation of the parallels involving Eleazar is that they indicate that Eleazar was the name of the individual that the messianic rebels looked to as the "root" foreseen by Judaic prophesy. Judging from the satire, this individual may actually have existed and have been the spiritual leader of the rebellion.

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    of the prophecy of Malachi -- which foresees that the wicked will be left with no "branch" or "root" -- and the conclusion of the satire that began in the New Testament concerning the "root."

    Further, the passage concludes the comic theme regarding the inability of demons to pass through water, which began in the demons of Gadara passage above and ends here with the demonic spirit knocking over the basin full of water as it leaves the prisoners. These prisoners were the 2,000 rebels who were captured at Gadara. Being demonically possessed, they could not pass through water and therefore did not drown. As the demon leaves them, it concludes the joke by knocking over the water basin.

    The passage is also Josephus' last depiction of the "domesticated" Christ that the Romans create and it provides us with their vision of his future. He is at Rome, working for the imperial family by calming the rebellious, just as he has been for the last 2,000 years.






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    [ 174 ]


    CHAPTER 8



    Until All Is Fulfilled


    I have shown that elements of Jesus' ministry, when viewed as a whole, can be seen as a prophetic outline of Titus' military campaign through Judea. In fact, the New Testament and War of the Jews create a number of other " prophecies and fulfillments" that can be seen as part of this comic system. Many of Jesus' eschatological, or doomsday, prophecies are presented in Matthew 21 through 25.

    I will begin the analysis of the relationship between the New Testament doomsday prophecies and Titus' campaign by first citing a passage from War of the Jews. The passage contains a number of parallels with the New Testament that are historically famous, as well as one of the two lampoons of the New Testament's Jesus that are arranged like bookends around Josephus' description of the destruction of the temple. The other of these two "bookend" lampoons is the passage describing the son of Mary whose flesh was eaten, which I have discussed previously. Because Jesus used the "temple" as a self-designation, and compared his destruction to the destruction of a temple, juxtaposing these two lampoons with the destruction of the temple is audacious.

    The two lampoons of Jesus literally "touch" the chapter that describes the temple's destruction. In the Whiston translation of War of the Jews, which I cite throughout this work, there are only eleven pages of text between the "Son of Mary whose flesh was eaten" passage and the passage that contains the character that I refer to below as the "lunatic Jesus." This lunatic Jesus, who is a clear lampoon of the New Testament's Jesus, was himself recorded by Josephus as one of the "signs" that preceded the destruction of the temple.





    Until All Is Fulfilled   175  

    The signs recorded by Josephus as having preceded the destruction of Jerusalem caused many early church scholars to believe that the signs Jesus foresaw in Matthew 23 and 24 had come to pass. The parallels that exist between Jesus' and Josephus' lists of signs have been known since the beginning of Christianity. As Hippolytus wrote (circa 200 C.E.),
    What then? Are not these things come to pass? Are not the things announced by thee fulfilled? Is not their country, Judea, desolate? Is not the holy place burned with fire? Are not their walls cast down? Are not their cities destroyed? Their land, do not strangers devour it? Do not the Romans rule the country?
    The parallels between the two lists of signs do seem too exact to have occurred by chance. I disagree, however, with Hippolytus' belief that they were the result of supernatural causes. I would point out that whenever two documents have similarities too exact to have been caused by chance, parsimony requires that the first theory to explore is that the two works have emanated from the same source. This is the simplest theory and should be maintained until another explanation is shown to be more plausible. In any event, the following passages from War of the Jews and the New Testament are the example, par excellence, of the relationship that so many church scholars have noted between these two works. What Jesus predicts, Josephus records as having come to pass.
    THE GREAT DISTRESS THE JEWS WERE IN UPON THE CONFLAGRATION OF THE HOLY HOUSE. CONCERNING A FALSE PROPHET, AND THE SIGNS THAT PRECEDED THIS DESTRUCTION. While the holy house was on fire, every thing was plundered that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age, or any reverence of gravity, but children, and old men, and profane persons, and priests were all slain in the same manner; so that this war went round all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction, and as well those that made supplication for their lives, as those





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    that defended themselves by fighting. The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those that were slain; and because this hill was high, and the works at the temple were very great, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine any thing either greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman legions, who were marching all together, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword. The people also that were left above were beaten back upon the enemy, and under a great consternation, and made sad moans at the calamity they were under; the multitude also that was in the city joined in this outcry with those that were upon the hill. And besides, many of those that were worn away by the famine, and their mouths almost closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, they exerted their utmost strength, and brake out into groans and outcries again: Pera (17) did also return the echo, as well as the mountains round about [the city,] and augmented the force of the entire noise. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on every part of it, that the blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain more in number than those that slew them; for the ground did no where appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them. And now it was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust out [of the inner court of the temple by the Romans,] and had much ado to get into the outward court, and from thence into the city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court. As for the priests, some of them plucked up from the holy house the spikes (18) that were upon it, with their bases, which were made of lead, and shot them at the Romans instead of darts. But then as they gained nothing by so doing, and as the fire burst out upon them, they retired to the wall that was eight cubits broad, and there they tarried; yet did two of these of eminence





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    among them, who might have saved themselves by going over to the Romans, or have borne up with courage, and taken their fortune with the others, throw themselves into the fire, and were burnt together with the holy house; their names were Meirus the son of Belgas, and Joseph the son of Daleus.

    And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt all those places, as also the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one on the east side, and the other on the south; both which, however, they burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there reposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such furniture]. The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the] temple, whither the women and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people, fled, in number about six thousand. But before Caesar had determined any thing about these people, or given the commanders any orders relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage, that they set that cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life. A false prophet (19) was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer





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    makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.

    Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan], and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple. Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord, and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the desolation that was coming upon





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    them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius [Iyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove hence."
    At this point in the passage Josephus begins his description of the character I refer to as the lunatic Jesus.
    But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any





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    tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe to myself also!" there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.

    Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation; but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves; for the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, "That then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four-square." But now, what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, "about that time





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    one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city and their own destruction. 128
    In Matthew 23 and 24 Jesus expresses what has been called his eschatological, or doomsday, vision. In fact, the entire passage appears to be nothing other than a "prophecy" of events and details that have occurred during Titus' destruction of Jerusalem, all of which can be found in Josephus' passage above, which describes that event. The related New Testament passages follow with the discussion points in boldface type. The passage contains, as Jesus himself describes them, the signs that will indicate that the "Son of Man" has come to destroy Jerusalem.
    Jesus had left the Temple and was going on His way, when His disciples came and called His attention to the Temple buildings."You see all these?" He replied; "in solemn truth I tell you that there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be pulled down."

    Afterwards He was on the Mount of Olives and was seated there when the disciples came to Him, apart from the others, and said, "Tell us when this will be; and what will be the sign of your Coming and of the Close of the Age?"

    "Take care that no one misleads you," answered Jesus;

    "for many will come assuming my name and saying 'I am the Christ;' and they will mislead many.

    "And before long you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Do not be alarmed, for such things must be; but the End is not yet.

    "but all these miseries are but like the early pains of childbirth.





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    "That time they will deliver you up to punishment and will put you to death; and you will be objects of hatred to all the nations because you are called by my name.

    "Then and they will betray one another and hate one another.

    "Many false prophets will rise up and lead multitudes astray;

    "and because of the prevalent disregard of God's law the love of the great majority will grow cold;

    "but those who stand firm to the End shall be saved.

    "And this Good News of the Kingdom shall be proclaimed throughout the whole world to set the evidence before all the Gentiles; and then the End will come. When you have seen (to use the language of the Prophet Daniel) the 'Abomination of Desolation,' standing in the Holy Place -- let the reader observe those words -- then let those who are in Judea escape to the hills;

    "let him who is on the roof not go down to fetch what is in his house;

    "nor let him who is outside the city stay to pick up his outer garment.

    "And alas for the women who at that time are with child or have infants!

    "But pray that your flight may not be in winter, nor on the Sabbath;

    "for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world and assuredly never will be again.

    "And if those days had not been cut short, no one would escape; but for the sake of God's own People those days will be cut short. If at that time any one should say to you, 'See, here is the Christ!' or 'Here!' give no credence to it.

    "For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, displaying wonderful signs and prodigies, so as to deceive, were it possible, even God's own People.

    "Remember, I have forewarned you.

    "If therefore they should say to you, 'See, He is in the Desert!' do not go out there: or 'See, He is indoors in the room!' do not believe it.





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    "For just as the lightning flashes in the east and is seen to the very west, so will be the Coming of the Son of Man.

    "Wherever the dead body is, there will the eagles flock together. But immediately after those times of distress

    "Then will appear the Sign of the Son of Man in the sky;

    "And He will send out His angels and they will gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn from the fig-tree the lesson it teaches. As soon as its branches have now become soft and it is bursting into leaf, you all know that summer is near.

    "So you also, when you see all these signs, may be sure that He is near -- at your very door.

    "I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place.

    "Earth and sky will pass away, but it is certain that my words will not pass away. But as to that day and the exact time no one knows -- not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

    "For as it was in the time of Noah, so it will be at the Coming of the Son of Man.

    "At that time, before the Deluge, men were busy eating and drinking, taking wives or giving them, up to the very day when Noah entered the Ark,

    "nor did they realize any danger till the Deluge came and swept them all away; so will it be at the Coming of the Son of Man.

    "Then will two men be in the open country: one will be taken away, and one left behind.

    "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken away, and one left behind.

    "Be on the alert therefore, for you do not know the day on which your Lord is coming.

    "But of this be assured, that if the master of the house had known the hour at which the robber was coming, he would have kept awake, and not have allowed his house to be broken into.





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    "Therefore, you also must be ready; for it is at a time when you do not expect Him that the Son of Man will come." 129
    I have divided my analysis of the passages above into several parts. I shall first focus upon the parallels between Josephus' lunatic Jesus and the New Testament's Jesus. There are numerous parallels between the eschatological Jesus of Matthew 23 and 24 and the tragicomic Jesus described in the passage from Josephus, whom I refer to as the lunatic Jesus. I believe that Josephus intentionally creates a lampoon of the New Testament's Jesus by having the lunatic Jesus share his words, phrases, ideas, and experiences -- and, obviously, by means of their shared name. They are parallel in one other important way. Each gives a list of "signs" that foretell Jerusalem's impending doom. These lists include a number of identical phrases and concepts.

    For example, the Jesus of the New Testament states:
    For just as the lightning flashes in the east and is seen to the very west, so will be the Coming of the Son of Man.

    And He will send out His angels and they will gather together his elect, from the four winds, and from one end of heaven to the other. Then will the Kingdom of the Heavens be found to be like ten bridesmaids who took their torches and went out to meet the bridegroom.
    The lunatic Jesus also speaks of "east" and "west," "the four winds," and "bridesmaids," and "bridegrooms." Notice that the language is used in the same sequence in both works:
    ...began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!"
    The lunatic Jesus clearly predicts the destruction of the temple when he says "a voice against the holy house." The New Testament Jesus makes the same prediction.





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    His disciples came and called His attention to the Temple buildings.

    "You see all these?" He replied; "in solemn truth I tell you that there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be pulled down."
    The New Testament Jesus uses the word "woe" seven times during his speech in Matthew 23. The Jesus in Josephus' passage, above, who seemingly lampoons the New Testament Jesus, also constantly repeats the word "woe."
    Woe to you, blind guides...
    Matthew 23:16      
    And from the passage in Josephus:
    Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!
    Both Jesuses are using the word "woe" to describe the disasters that will come to the inhabitants of Jerusalem when the "Son" returns. The New Testament Jesus foresees this disaster occurring with the return of a "Son of God," while Josephus' lunatic Jesus also foresees this occurring with coming of a "son of god," this one being Titus.

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    In the following passage, Josephus records that this sign "came to pass":
    And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, that they set that cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life. A false prophet was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.

    They also burnt down the treasury chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments...
    Jesus states:
    But of this be assured, that if the master of the house had known the hour at which the robber was coming, he would have kept awake, and not have allowed his house to be broken into.
    Throughout War of the Jews, Josephus uses the word "robber" to describe the Jewish rebels:
    And now it was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust out [of the inner court of the temple by the Romans,] and had much ado to get into the outward court, and from thence into the city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court...
    Jesus literally dates the "close of the age" that he is prophesying:
    I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place.
    Jews in the first century held that a generation lasted 40 years. Therefore the generation that Jesus is referring to can only be the





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    one that, 40 years later, rebelled from Rome. Thus, all of Jesus' prophecies were foreseeing events from the coming war.

    The following quote underscores this idea.
    ...Wherever the dead body is, there will the eagles flock together...
    Since the eagle was the symbol of the Roman army, the idea behind this passage also seems clear. Numerous scholars have understood the passage to indicate that Jesus is foreseeing the Roman army gathering about the corpses amidst the destroyed temple. As Albert Barnes wrote in his Commentary on Matthew in 1832:
    This verse is connected with the preceding by the word "for," implying that this is a reason for what is said there -- that the Son of Man would certainly come to destroy the city, and that he would come suddenly. The meaning is that he would come, by means of the Roman armies, as certainly, as suddenly, and as unexpectedly as whole flocks of vultures and eagles, though unseen before, see their prey at a great distance and suddenly gather in multitudes around it ...So keen is their vision as aptly to represent the Roman armies, though at an immense distance, spying, as it were, Jerusalem, a putrid carcass, and hastening in multitudes to destroy it.
    The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus has seen into the future and is telling the Jews what they must do to avoid "tribulation."
    For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, displaying wonderful signs and prodigies, so as to deceive, were it possible, even God's own People...

    Remember, I have forewarned you.
    Josephus, in a pattern that should be familiar to the reader by now, states:
    Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our race what is for their preservation; but that men perish





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    by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves...
    As with all of Jesus' prophecies, his list of signs operates on two levels. On their surface they would have demonstrated to early uneducated Christian converts the divinity of Jesus. Potential converts would have been shown the prophecies of Christ in the New Testament and then the realization of each prophecy in War of the Jews -- the official prophet corroborated by the official history. This would have both "proven" the divinity of Christ, because he had been able to see into future, and simultaneously justified the Romans' destruction of Jerusalem, because it "proved" that it had been foreseen by God. On their comic level, however, the two lists of signs are obviously clues to the real identity of the Son of Man -- Titus Flavius.

    I note another parallel between Jesus' eschatological prophecies and War of the Jews that is related to this theme. Jesus in Matthew 24 states
    ...for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world and assuredly never will be again.
    Josephus records that this too came to pass.
    ...the misfortunes of all men, from the beginning of the world, if they be compared to these of the Jews, are not so considerable as they were. 131
    There is another parallel between the signs in Matthew 23 and the signs in Josephus. I will analyze it separately because of its unique comic nature. This parallel has long puzzled scholars. The confusion has been due to its not being understood both as a joke and as another of the parallels between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign, that which were created to give their two stories the same broad outline.

    In the Gospels, Jesus states
    You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?





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    Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,

    that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechari'ah the son of Barachi'ah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

    Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.
    Matt. 23:33-36      
    In War of the Jews Josephus writes:
    And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of barely killing men, so they had the impudence of setting up fictitious tribunals and judicatures for that purpose; and as they intended to have Zacharias the son of Baruch, one of the most eminent of the citizens, slain, so what provoked them against him was, that hatred of wickedness and love of liberty which were so eminent in him...

    Now the seventy judges brought in their verdict that the person accused was not guilty, as choosing rather to die themselves with him, than to have his death laid at their doors; hereupon there arose a great clamor of the zealots upon his acquittal, and they all had indignation at the judges for not understanding that the authority that was given them was but in jest. So two of the boldest of them fell upon Zacharias in the middle of the temple, and slew him; and as he fell down dead, they bantered him, and said, "Thou hast also our verdict, and this will prove a more sure acquittal to thee than the other."... 132
    As I have pointed out, Matthew 24 is a continuation of the same speech Jesus begins in Matthew 23. Jesus leaves the interior of the temple, where the dialogue of Matthew 23 occurs, and then continues this speech (Matthew 24) outside the temple. Therefore, the parallel between Zacharias, son of Barachiah, and Zacharias, son of Baruch, both slain in the temple, should be understood to be in the





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    same stream of prophecy Jesus gives in Matthew 24, because it is from the same speech. In light of the numerous parallels in Matthew 24 and War of the Jews, we are on solid footing when we understand this to be another example of Jesus "seeing" something in the future that Josephus documents.

    There is a problem with accepting that the parallel belongs in the same set as Jesus' famous eschatological prophecies, however. The character that Jesus refers to appeared not in his future but in his past. The prophet "Zachari'ah the son of Barachi'ah" is a character from the Old Testament, so how can Jesus be foreseeing him in the future? Further, how could Josephus then record that Jesus was right, that Zacharias' death occurred in 70 C.E., along with the other prophecies envisioned by Jesus in Matthew 23 and 24?

    I include Whiston's fascinating comment regarding the passage from Josephus. He was aware of the parallel between the Zacharias in Josephus and the Zachari'ah in the New Testament and was troubled by its implications.
    Some commentators are ready to suppose that this "Zacharias, the son of Baruch," here most unjustly slain by the Jews in the temple, was the very same person with "Zacharias, the son of Barachias," whom our Savior says the Jews "slew between the temple and the altar," Matthew 23:35. This is a somewhat strange exposition; since Zechariah the prophet was really "the son of Barachiah," and "grandson of Iddo," Zechariah 1:1; and how he died, we have no other account than that before us in St. Matthew: while this "Zacharias" was "the son of Baruch." Since the slaughter was past when our Savior spake these words, the Jews had then already slain him; whereas this slaughter of "Zacharias, the son of Baruch," in Josephus, was then about thirty-four years future. And since the slaughter was "between the temple and the altar," in the court of the priests, one of the most sacred and remote parts of the whole temple; while this was, in Josephus' own words, in the middle of the temple, and much the most probably in the court of Israel only (for we have had no intimation that the zealots had at this time profaned the court of the priests. See B. V. ch. 1. sect. 2). Nor do I believe that our





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    Josephus, who always insists on the peculiar sacredness of the inmost court, and of the holy house that was in it, would have omitted so material an aggravation of this barbarous murder, as perpetrated in a place so very holy, had that been the true place of it. 133
    Thus, Whiston attempts to explain away the troubling parallel by arguing that the slaying of Zacharias in Josephus could not be the incident that Jesus prophesied because
    1) Zacharias the prophet died before Jesus' birth.

    2) Barachiah and Baruch are different words.

    3) The "middle of the temple" is not "between the temple and the altar"

    Whiston's first point is irrelevant. His second ignores the many slight changes in spelling between the same words in Josephus and the New Testament. For example, a type of fish from the Sea of Galilee is spelled "Coracin" in Josephus and "Chora'zin" in the New Testament. His third point, regarding the possible differences in the location of the slayings, is contradictory of his acceptance of the other parallels between the same passages in the New Testament and Josephus as evidence of Christ's divinity.

    Further, it is obvious that Jesus' prophecy regarding, "Zechari'ah the son of Barachi'ah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar," 134 would have been understood by an uneducated first-century convert to Christianity as having come to pass by the passage in Josephus that states, "so two of the boldest of them fell upon Zacharias (the son of Baruch) in the middle of the temple, and slew him."

    Josephus and the New Testament consistently avoid verbatim parallels by one degree. In the chapter ahead on the Book of Daniel, Jesus speaks of the "abomination of desolation," while Josephus refers to the "end of the daily sacrifice." In fact, both expressions refer the same thing. Someone to whom the two works would be read would then make the connection between the "different" terms and thereby come to the conclusion that Jesus had been able to see into the future. By means of this name-switching technique, the authors of the New Testament and Josephus playfully hide the fact





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    from the uneducated masses for which Christianity was invented that the same source created both works. As I have shown above, Simon becomes Peter, John becomes "the disciple Jesus loved," etc.

    The two passages above regarding Zacharias use this technique. Jesus uses the expression "between the sanctuary and the altar," while Josephus uses the expression "middle of the temple." Jesus speaks of "Zechari'ah the son of Barachi'ah." Josephus refers to "Zacharias the son of Baruch." Different words again express the same concept.

    Since Jesus' eschatological prophecies all came to pass in the same chapter from War of the Jews, is it not more logical to presume that the Zacharias stories are another example of this set of fulfilled prophecies?

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    That, I tell you, is the reason why the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation that will exhibit the power of it.

    He who falls on this stone will be severely hurt; but he on whom it falls will be utterly crushed."
    Matt. 21:44.6      
    In the Whiston translation of War of the Jews, published by J. M. Dent in 1915, I found the following extraordinary pun regarding the "stone" that "crushed."

    First is the passage as I originally read it (in a more recent translation). This is the translation given in most modern English versions of Josephus:
    The engines, that all the legions had ready prepared for them, were admirably contrived; but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the tenth legion: those that threw darts and those that threw stones were more forcible and larger than the rest, by which they not only repelled the excursions of the Jews, but drove those away that were upon the walls also. Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent, and were carried two furlongs and further. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them for a great space. As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their own country's language, THE STONE COMETH, so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then; and so





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    they destroyed many of them at one blow. Yet did not the Jews, under all this distress, permit the Romans to raise their banks in quiet; but they shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them both by night and by day. 137
    In the 1915 Dent translation, this passage reads differently. "THE STONE COMETH" was translated as "THE SON COMETH." To determine the basis for this discrepancy I looked at the passage in the oldest Greek versions of War of the Jews. They all show the phrase as "ho huios erchetai," "huios" being the Greek word for "son." Modern translators have arbitrarily substituted the word they believed Josephus intended to use here (stone), refusing to translate the actual Greek word that appears in the oldest extant manuscripts. This is interesting because the word petros, which scholars have chosen to translate "stone," is in no way linguistically similar to the word huios "son," which is actually found in the passage.

    Whiston was aware that the original word in the phrase is "huios." In his translation of Josephus he left the footnote below, in which he attempts to explain how it came to pass that all the ancient works he used for his translation had used the Greek word huios for son. His explanation is fascinating in that it is an example of the kind of cognitive dissonance that he and other scholars have used to avoid seeing what is right in front of them. He admits that the only language in which "stone" and "son" might have been mistaken for one another, Hebrew, is not the language in which Josephus wrote War of the Jews. He also argues that alternative translations -- arrow or dart -- are "groundless conjectural alteration." Therefore, he really has no alternative than to accept the word as it is written -- that is, "SON." However, he does not wish to do this either, leaving him with no explanation.
    What should be the meaning of this signal or watchword, when the watchmen saw a stone coming from the engine, "The Stone Cometh," or what mistake there is in the reading, I cannot tell. The MSS., both Greek and Latin, all agree in this reading; and I cannot approve of any groundless conjectural alteration of the text from "ro" to "lop," that not the son or a stone, but that the arrow or dart cometh; as hath





    Until All Is Fulfilled   201  

    been made by Dr. Hudson, and not corrected by Havercamp. Had Josephus written even his first edition of these books of the war in pure Hebrew, or had the Jews then used the pure Hebrew at Jerusalem, the Hebrew word for a son is so like that for a stone, ben and eben, that such a correction might have been more easily admitted. But Josephus wrote his former edition for the use of the Jews beyond Euphrates, and so in the Chaldee language, as he did this second edition in the Greek language; and bar was the Chaldee word for son, instead of the Hebrew ben, and was used not only in Chaldea, etc. but in Judea also, as the New Testament informs us. Dio lets us know that the very Romans at Rome pronounced the name of Simon the son of Giora, Bar Poras for Bar Gioras, as we learn from Xiphiline. Reland takes notice, "that many will here look for a mystery, as though the meaning were, that the Son of God came now to take vengeance on the sins of the Jewish nation;" which is indeed the truth of the fact, but hardly what the Jews could now mean; unless possibly by way of derision of Christ's threatening so often made, that he would come at the head of the Roman army for their destruction. But even this interpretation has but a very small degree of probability. 138
    Whiston mentions the seventeenth century scholar and theologian Reland's interpretation of the phrase. It is a most straightforward understanding and based, of course, on the word "SON" being the word Josephus wrote. Reland understood that the phrase relates to the coming of the Son of God described in the New Testament. Further, Whiston's next comment -- "which is indeed the truth of the fact, but hardly what the Jews could now mean; unless possibly by way of derision of Christ's threatening so often made, that he would come at the head of the Roman army for their destruction" -- is so in accord with my thinking as to need almost no clarification. Whiston is specifically taking the position that I am arguing, that Christ's prophecies relate to the coming war between the Romans and the Jews, and that the "Son of God" would lead the Roman army. It is a small step then to the position that all of Jesus' warnings regarding the coming of the Son of God, who will bring destruction with him,





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    are predicting the Son of God who actually was at the head of the Roman army, Titus.

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    Until All Is Fulfilled   203  

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    ...These things took place... in accordance with the prophecies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who by divine power saw them beforehand as if they were already present... 140
    or accept the idea that the same source produced both the New Testament and War of the Jews.









    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 205 ]


    CHAPTER 9



    The Authors of the New Testament


    Josephus concludes War of the Jews with a series of passages that, I believe, lampoon the Apostle Paul as well as create a puzzle that identifies the inventors of Christianity. It struck me as logical for the authors to have concluded their work with a passage that identifies them -- quite in keeping with the spirit of malicious playfulness that runs through their entire composition.

    I present the first of these passages below. This passage describes a group of Sicarii who escape into Egypt. Once there, they find themselves rebuked by "Jews of reputation" who inform the Romans of their presence in Egypt. The Sicarii are captured and then tortured in an attempt to make them "confess that Caesar was their lord," which they refuse to do. Their children also refuse to "name Caesar for their lord," in spite of their also being tortured. Thus, the passage clearly presents an unsolved problem for Titus: how to make the rebellious Jews call him, "Lord."
    When Masada was thus taken, the general left a garrison in the fortress to keep it, and he himself went away to Cesarea; for there were now no enemies left in the country, but it was all overthrown by so long a war. Yet did this war afford disturbances and dangerous disorders even in places very far remote from Judea; for still it came to pass that many Jews were slain at Alexandria in Egypt; for as many of the Sicarii as were able to fly thither, out of the seditious wars in Judea, were not content to have saved themselves, but must needs be undertaking to make new disturbances, and persuaded many of those that entertained them to





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    assert their liberty, to esteem the Romans to be no better than themselves, and to look upon God as their only Lord and Master. But when part of the Jews of reputation opposed them, they slew some of them, and with the others they were very pressing in their exhortations to revolt from the Romans; but when the principal men of the senate saw what madness they were come to, they thought it no longer safe for themselves to overlook them. So they got all the Jews together to an assembly, and accused the madness of the Sicarii, and demonstrated that they had been the authors of all the evils that had come upon them. They said also that "these men, now they were run away from Judea, having no sure hope of escaping, because as soon as ever they shall be known, they will be soon destroyed by the Romans, they come hither and fill us full of those calamities which belong to them, while we have not been partakers with them in any of their sins." Accordingly, they exhorted the multitude to have a care, lest they should be brought to destruction by their means, and to make their apology to the Romans for what had been done, by delivering these men up to them; who being thus apprized of the greatness of the danger they were in, complied with what was proposed, and ran with great violence upon the Sicarii, and seized upon them; and indeed six hundred of them were caught immediately: but as to all those that fled into Egypt and to the Egyptian Thebes, it was not long ere they were caught also, and brought back, whose courage, or whether we ought to call it madness, or hardiness in their opinions, every body was amazed at. For when all sorts of torments and vexations of their bodies that could be devised were made use of to them, they could not get any one of them to comply so far as to confess, or seem to confess, that Caesar was their lord; but they preserved their own opinion, in spite of all the distress they were brought to, as if they received these torments and the fire itself with bodies insensible of pain, and with a soul that in a manner rejoiced under them. But what was most of all astonishing to the beholders was the courage of the children; for not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Caesar for





    The Authors of the New Testament   207  

    their lord. So far does the strength of the courage [of the soul] prevail over the weakness of the body.
    The most basic "joke" of Christianity is that by replacing the Jewish "God" and "Son of God" with a "son of god" and a "god" who were in fact Roman emperors, it was possible to have the followers of their new religion "name Caesar for their lord" without their knowing it. The passage above explains why Titus invented Christianity. Even torture could not bring the Sicarii to call him "Lord." Therefore, they had to be fooled into doing it.

    Continuing with the passage:
    Now Lupus did then govern Alexandria, who presently sent Caesar word of this commotion; who having in suspicion the restless temper of the Jews for innovation, and being afraid lest they should get together again, and persuade some others to join with them, gave orders to Lupus to demolish that Jewish temple which was in the region called Onion, and was in Egypt, which was built and had its denomination from the occasion following: Onias, the son of Simon, one of the Jewish high priests, fled from Antiochus the king of Syria, when he made war with the Jews, and came to Alexandria; and as Ptolemy received him very kindly, on account of hatred to Antiochus, he assured him, that if he would comply with his proposal, he would bring all the Jews to his assistance; and when the king agreed to do it so far as he was able, he desired him to give him leave to build a temple some where in Egypt, and to worship God according to the customs of his own country; for that the Jews would then be so much readier to fight against Antiochus, who had laid waste the temple at Jerusalem, and that they would then come to him with greater good-will; and that, by granting them liberty of conscience, very many of them would come over to him. 141
    The passage continues with a description of the "Jewish temple, which was in the region called Onion, and was in Egypt." Josephus, in a digression, nonchalantly points out that the temple is the one envisioned 600 years previously by the prophet Isaiah. This is





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    another example of Josephus' manipulating Jewish prophecy to coincide with Titus' campaign.
    So Ptolemy complied with his proposals, and gave him a place one hundred and eighty furlongs distant from Memphis. That Nomos was called the Nomos of Hello polls, where Onias built a fortress and a temple, not like to that at Jerusalem, but such as resembled a tower. He built it of large stones to the height of sixty cubits; he made the structure of the altar in imitation of that in our own country, and in like manner adorned with gifts, excepting the make of the candlestick, for he did not make a candlestick, but had a [single] lamp hammered out of a piece of gold, which illuminated the place with its rays, and which he hung by a chain of gold; but the entire temple was encompassed with a wall of burnt brick, though it had gates of stone. The king also gave him a large country for a revenue in money, that both the priests might have a plentiful provision made for them, and that God might have great abundance of what things were necessary for his worship. Yet did not Onias do this out of a sober disposition, but he had a mind to contend with the Jews at Jerusalem, and could not forget the indignation he had for being banished thence. Accordingly, he thought that by building this temple he should draw away a great number from them to himself. There had been also a certain ancient prediction made by [a prophet] whose name was Isaiah, about six hundred years before that this temple should be built by a man that was a Jew in Egypt. And this is the history of the building of that temple.
    The prophecy that Josephus is referring to is contained in Isaiah 19:18-25. Josephus is clearly intending that the "intelligent reader" understand that the events he described in the passage demonstrate that Isaiah's prophecy had "come to pass." In the passage above, Josephus describes a "city of destruction in the land of Egypt," this being Alexandria, paralleling Isaiah's prophecy. Josephus, again paralleling Isaiah, describes the temple as being "pillar" shaped. Further, the political conditions of the region at the time can clearly be seen as those that were envisioned by Isaiah's prophecy, in that there





    The Authors of the New Testament   209  

    was a "highway out of Egypt to Assyria." Which is to say that Israel was now a "highway" between Assyria and Egypt, in that it had become a geographical link within the Roman Empire. This idea is especially clear when one considers that the three Roman legions that participated in the destruction of Jerusalem were the XV Apollinaris Legion from Alexandria (Egypt) and the V Macedonica and X Fretensis Legions from Syria.

    So Josephus seems correct in his assertion that Isaiah's prophecy has "come to pass," with the events that he describes in the passage. The reader will notice, however, that Isaiah's prophecy is also messianic. It states that the Lord shall send a "savior" who shall "smite" and "heal." The passage also states that the "Lord" shall "be known to Egypt," and that Israel shall be the "Lord's inheritance."

    There cannot be any doubt about who Josephus indicates is the "savior" that Isaiah's prophecy refers to. In fact, at this point in history, the only individual who could have been the savior foreseen by Isaiah's prophecy is Titus. Only Titus could claim that he had Israel as an "inheritance" at this time.
    Caesar (Titus) gave order that all Judea should be exposed for sale; for he did not found any city there but reserved the whole country for himself. 142
    Therefore, Josephus is disclosing that Titus is the Savior, or the Messiah, by his unspoken contention that Isaiah's prophecy has come to pass. The prophecy of Isaiah that Josephus uses to identify Titus as the Savior is as follows.
    In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.

    In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord.

    And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.





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    And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it.

    And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

    In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

    In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

    Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
    Isaiah 19:18-25      
    The "highway out of Egypt" that Josephus is alluding to by conjuring up Isaiah's vision is a "fulfillment" of another New Testament prophecy, the "highway for the Lord." This highway is foreseen by John the Baptist, who quotes another passage from Isaiah:
    The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for the Lord.
    Isaiah 40:3      
    Though John the Baptist's statement regarding making a "highway for the Lord" has always been seen as envisioning Jesus, the passage from Isaiah that John is quoting from indicates that the "highway" will exist only after the "warfare has ended." Therefore, the "Lord" John is predicting could only be Titus.
    "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God. "Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord's hand Double for all her sins."

    The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for the Lord.
    Isaiah 40:1-3      





    The Authors of the New Testament   211  

    Josephus' narration then moves on and, in a sequence parallel to one in the New Testament, introduces a Paul, "Paulinus," at the same point that the New Testament introduces its Paul. This Paul, like his counterpart in the New Testament, has an impact on Judaism. Josephus states that he made the Jewish temple "entirely inaccessible." I regard the passage describing "Paulinus" as an obvious spoof on the Apostle Paul.
    And now Lupus, the governor of Alexandria, upon the receipt of Caesar's letter, came to the temple, and carried out of it some of the donations dedicated thereto, and shut up the temple itself. And as Lupus died a little afterward, Paulinus succeeded him. This man left none of those donations there, and threatened the priests severely if they did not bring them all out; nor did he permit any who were desirous of worshipping God there so much as to come near the whole sacred place; but when he had shut up the gates, he made it entirely inaccessible, insomuch that there remained no longer the least footsteps of any Divine worship that had been in that place. Now the duration of the time from the building of this temple till it was shut up again was three hundred and forty-three years.

    PARALLEL  PASSAGES  ABOUT  PAUL

    JOSEPHUS BOOK OF ACTS
    Afterward, Paul(inus) succeeded him. This man left none of those donations there, and threatened the priests severely if they did not bring them all out; nor did he permit any who were desirous of worshiping God there so much as to come near the whole sacred place; but when he had shut up the gates, he made it entirely inaccessible. (War 7, 10, 2) I came to bring donations (Acts 24:17)


    this is the man who is teaching everywhere against our people, our law and this place... they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut (Acts 21:28-30)





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    The Authors of the New Testament   213  

    And now did the madness of the Sicarii, like a disease, reach as far as the cities of Cyrene; for one Jonathan, a vile person, and by trade a weaver, came thither and prevailed with no small number of the poorer sort to give ear to him; he also led them into the desert, upon promising them that he would show them signs and apparitions. And as for the other Jews of Cyrene, he concealed his knavery from them, and put tricks upon them; but those of the greatest dignity among them informed Catullus, the governor of the Libyan Pentapolis, of his march into the desert, and of the preparations he had made for it. So he sent out after him both horsemen and footmen, and easily overcame them, because they were unarmed men; of these many were slain in the fight, but some were taken alive, and brought to Catullus. As for Jonathan, the head of this plot, he fled away at that time; but upon a great and very diligent search, which was made all the country over for him, he was at last taken. And when he was brought to Catullus, he devised a way whereby he both escaped punishment himself, and afforded an occasion to Catullus of doing much mischief; for he falsely accused the richest men among the Jews, and said that they had put him upon what he did.

    Now Catullus easily admitted of these his calumnies, and aggravated matters greatly, and made tragical exclamations, that he might also be supposed to have had a hand in the finishing of the Jewish war. But what was still harder, he did not only give a too easy belief to his stories, but he taught the Sicarii to accuse men falsely. He bid this Jonathan, therefore, to name one Alexander, a Jew (with whom he had formerly had a quarrel, and openly professed that he hated him); he also got him to name his wife Bernice, as concerned with him. These two Catullus ordered to be slain in the first place; nay, after them he caused all the rich and wealthy Jews to be slain, being no fewer in all than three thousand. This he thought he might do safely, because he confiscated their effects, and added them to Caesar's revenues.

    Nay, indeed, lest any Jews that lived elsewhere should convict him of his villainy, he extended his false accusations





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    further, and persuaded Jonathan, and certain others that were caught with him, to bring an accusation of attempts for innovation against the Jews that were of the best character both at Alexandria and at Rome. One of these, against whom this treacherous accusation was laid, was Josephus, the writer of these books. However, this plot, thus contrived by Catullus, did not succeed according to his hopes; for though he came himself to Rome, and brought Jonathan and his companions along with him in bonds, and thought he should have had no further inquisition made as to those lies that were forged under his government, or by his means; yet did Vespasian suspect the matter and made an inquiry how far it was true. And when he understood that the accusation laid against the Jews was an unjust one, he cleared them of the crimes charged upon them, and this on account of Titus's concern about the matter, and brought a deserved punishment upon Jonathan; for he was first tormented, and then burnt alive.

    But as to Catullus, the emperors were so gentle to him, that he underwent no severe condemnation at this time; yet was it not long before he fell into a complicated and almost incurable distemper, and died miserably. He was not only afflicted in body, but the distemper in his mind was more heavy upon him than the other; for he was terribly disturbed, and continually cried out that he saw the ghosts of those whom he had slain standing before him. Whereupon he was not able to contain himself, but leaped out of his bed, as if both torments and fire were brought to him. Thus temper grew still a great deal worse and worse continually, and his very entrails were so corroded, that they fell out of his body, and in that condition he died. Thus he became as great an instance of Divine Providence as ever was, and demonstrated that God punishes wicked men. 143
    The passage creates a puzzle that uses the name-switching technique found in the Decius Mundus puzzle cited earlier to identify the creators of Christianity. They are the individuals who were falsely accused by Catullus -- Josephus, Bernice, and Alexander. The





    The Authors of the New Testament   215  

    inventors of Christianity have signed their work, so to speak, in the correct place -- at the end of their story.

    I believe that the "Bernice" and the "Alexander" in the passage are easily identified as Titus' mistress Bernice, and either Marcus Alexander, who actually was Bernice's husband but who died before the Jewish war, or his brother Tiberius Alexander, Titus' Jewish chief of staff during the siege of Jerusalem. These individuals had both the technical knowledge of Judaism and the ethical perspective required to create Christianity. The New Testament, continuing its parallels with War of the Jews, mentions in Acts both an Alexander, 144 believed by most scholars to actually be Tiberius Alexander, and a Bernice.


    To recognize that a puzzle exists the reader must, once again, recognize parallels -- in this case, that Catullus and Judas, the identifier of Jesus, share a number of attributes.

    The most obvious parallel between the two is that Catullus dies in the same improbable manner -- unknown to medical science -- as Judas. That is, "his very entrails... fell out of his body." This is an exact parallel to the death of Judas. And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 145

    The description of Judas' bowels gushing out does not occur in the Gospels but in Acts. The event is in the New Testament at this point to maintain its parallel with the events in to War of the Jews. The parallel "gut spillers" create another prophecy in Jesus' ministry that is fulfilled in Titus' campaign.

    Judas and Catullus are also parallels in that both of their accusations involve a messianic individual, and neither is true. Josephus, Bernice, and Alexander certainly did not initiate a religion, or "innovation," led by a Messiah-like member of the Sicarii. They would have established just the opposite kind of "innovation." Jesus is, of course, famous for having been innocent. He was certainly not the type of Sicarii military leader that Pontius Pilate would have needed to crucify. In fact, Jesus was the exact opposite of such an individual.

    The technique establishing that there is a puzzle needing to be solved is the same one used throughout the New Testament and War of the Jews -- that is, parallels. As with the Decius Mundus puzzle, unusual parallels between characters invite the reader to seek an explanation. But to solve the puzzle that the parallels create, the





     216   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    reader must step out of the surface narrative and into another perspective. The reader has to relate to the text from a broad rather than a narrow perspective and has to be prepared to think the "unthinkable," to seek a solution that is outside the flow of information provided by the surface narration.

    I would note that the satirical system that unites the New Testament and War of the Jews can be seen as an exercise in mind expansion, in that to solve the puzzles the reader must learn to think "outside the box," so to speak. The authors were making the point that the narrow focus the Sicarii Zealots maintained regarding only a few scrolls was a limited and inaccurate mode of thought. The authors seem to be suggesting that only by seeing all sides of a problem can the truth be known. Therefore, it is possible that they designed the New Testament as a tool to intellectually uplift the messianic rebels. If such was the authors' intention, it only adds to the incredible nature of the work, which is perhaps more amazing when seen as a secular psychological device rather than as a world-historical religious work.


    F
    A
    L
    S
    E
    Judas falsely accuses Jesus of being the Messiah of the Sicarii

    GUT SPILLER
    Judas truly accuses Jonathan of being the Messiah of the Sicarii

    UNTHINKABLE
    T
    R
    U
    E
    F
    A
    L
    S
    E
    Catullus falsely accuses Bernice, Alexander and Josephus of putting up Jonathan as a false Messiah

    GUT SPILLER
    Catullus truly accuses Bernice, Alexander and Josephus of putting up Jesus as a false Messiah

    UNTHINKABLE
    T
    R
    U
    E


    The puzzle that explains the parallels between Judas and Catullus is designed to turn the two stories from tales that relate what is





    The Authors of the New Testament   217  

    false into tales that state what is true.

    To solve the puzzle the reader must simply do as Decius Mundus recommends in the following chapter and "value not this business of names." To create the "truth," simply switch the names of the messiahs. Thus, had Judas named "Jonathan" as the Messiah who needed to be crucified, and Catullus had accused Josephus, Bernice, and Alexander as having put "Jesus" "up to what he did," both passages would be transformed into the truth. Jonathan was a Sicarii messianic leader who, from the perspective of the Romans, deserved to be crucified, and Jesus had "been put up to what he did" -- that is to say, was created by -- Josephus, Bernice, and Alexander.

    The fact that the "Alexander" who participated in the plot is described as Bernice's husband helps us see the subtle point. Because the Alexander who was Bernice's husband was dead before the war broke out, it is not Josephus, Bernice, and her late husband who are being identified here. It is the families of these individuals who authored the Gospels -- the Flavians, Herods, and Alexanders.

    I would again note that the authors of the New Testament seem to be stating that one could not know the truth unless one considers more than one book or scroll. In this case, Acts and War of the Jews create the parallels. I suspect that the authors are being critical of the Sicarii Zealots, who believed that they could know the truth from a very limited set of documents. The authors are presenting a real-life example of the inaccuracies that occur whenever readers cannot look beyond the single narrative in front of them.

    Josephus concludes War of the Jews with the following paragraph. He was insistent that he wrote the truth "after what manner this war of the Romans with the Jews was managed."
    And here we shall put an end to this our history; wherein we formerly promised to deliver the same with all accuracy, to such as should be desirous of understanding after what manner this war of the Romans with the Jews was managed. Of which history, how good the style is, must be left to the determination of the readers; but as for its agreement with the facts, I shall not scruple to say, and that boldly, that truth hath been what I have alone aimed at through its entire composition. 146





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    Josephus, like the Apostle Paul, reminds the reader over and over that he is writing the "truth." Perhaps this is one of the reasons the authors of the New Testament and the works of Josephus create the elaborate system by which their authorship of Christianity could be known. They did not wish those in the future, who would one day discover the truth, to think of them as liars.






    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 219 ]


    CHAPTER 10



    The Typological Method


    In creating the parallels between the "ministry" of Jesus and Titus' campaign, the authors of the New Testament were using a technique they were quite familiar with. They were experts at what scholars today call the Typological Method. In the Introduction, I presented examples showing that Moses is the "type" of Jesus. To achieve this effect, the authors of the Gospels used conceptual parallels and parallel sequences of events.

    Another example of the way the authors of the New Testament use "types" is found in the story of Judas' punishment for his betrayal of Jesus. To create the story, the authors weave together a number of texts from the Hebrew Bible, primarily from Zechariah and Jeremiah. From Zechariah they take the thirty pieces of silver, the casting into the treasury, and the potter. 147 From Jeremiah they take the purchasing of a field. They then claim that Judas' fate has "fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet." 148

    Having used literary parallels to link the characters in the Gospels to the Hebrew Bible, the authors then use the same motif to link Jesus to Titus in the future. In this way they create a seamless continuum from the Hebrew prophets to Jesus and then on to Titus, the real Christ. The parallels between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign simply confirm what Josephus plainly states; that Judaism's world-ruler prophecies envisioned Caesar. Jesus was not the Messiah but his messenger.
    Behold I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, who you seek, will suddenly come to his Temple... But who can endure the day of his coming?





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    And who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiners fire and like launderers soap. 149
    I found interesting the thought that the authors of the New Testament and War of the Jews may have created the same outline 2,000 years ago, as they began their construction of the two works. See the chart on page 221.

    The first savior of Israel was used as the "type" for Jesus, the second savior of Israel, who was then used as the "type" for Titus, the final savior of Israel. Though cleverly hidden, the relationship between the Gospels and War of the Jews is simply an extension of the typology used throughout Hebraic literature and the Gospels. For example, Dockery writes:
    Typological exegesis seeks to discover a correspondence between people and events of the past and of the present or future... Typological exegesis then is based on the conviction that certain events in the history of Israel prefigure a future time when God's purposes will be revealed in their fullness. 150
    As they had with the parallels between Jesus and Moses described in the Introduction, the authors of the Gospels and War of the Jews create a series of typologically related events that occur in the same sequence. This is the proof they left us that the ministry of Jesus was the "type" for the campaign of Titus, a fact they wished posterity to understand. For example, the "three crucified and one survives" passage recorded by Josephus is clearly noted as occurring after the captures on the Mount of Olives but before the condemning of Simon and sparing of John, so as to mirror the sequence of those events in the New Testament. Likewise, in the New Testament the description of the naked young man's escape on the Mount of Olives is given before its description of Jesus' capture; the events occur in the same sequence in Josephus' twin "Mount of Olives assaults."

    Though in the "cannibal Mary" passage, which is actually presented in the chapter following the capture of Eleazar on the Mount of Olives, the specific time when it occurs is not given, Josephus does make it clear that it occurs during the siege of Jerusalem -- that is, following the "demons of Gadara" incident but before the "three





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    JESUS' MINISTRY
    (The Forerunner)
    TITUS' CAMPAIGN
    (The Messiah)
    Start of ministry in Galilee: Jesus begins ministry at Gennesareth and says "Follow me" and be "fishers of men"

    At Gadara, encounters legion of demons inside one man


    "Swine" run wildly and 2,000 drown


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

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

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

    Messiah captured on the Mount of Olives

    Simon's denials

    Three are crucified, one survives

    Joseph "Arimathea" takes survivor down from the cross

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

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

    Judas falsely accuses Jesus, and spills his guts (in the Book of Acts)
    Start of campaign in Galilee: Titus has his "onset" at Gennesareth where his soldiers follow him and "fish" for men

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

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

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

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

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

    Messiah captured on the Mount of Olives

    Simon's denials

    Three are crucified; one survives

    Joseph bar Matthias takes survivor down from cross

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

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

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





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    The comic structure of the parallels is also telling. Jesus appears to be speaking in a spiritual sense when he uses phrases like "fishers





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    of men," "eat of my flesh," "resurrection," "the stone that crushes," "the temple that will be destroyed," "demons," and "follow me." In War of the Jews we learn that Jesus' words were not references to something spiritual. In fact, Jesus is speaking literally throughout the New Testament and those who see spiritual meaning in his words are being played for a fool.

    I believe that the Romans, with their use of comedy, were consistently ridiculing those who see symbolic meaning where there is none. In the Dead Sea Scrolls there are many allegorical interpretations of passages from the Pentateuch. 151 This way of interpreting scripture no doubt helped form the theology of a "coming" Messiah that inspired the first-century Jewish rebels. The point I think the creators of Christianity were making with their use of comedy is that there are unlimited ways to interpret scripture and it is easy for the uneducated to see symbolic meaning where there is none. They made this point by creating the New Testament as an example.






    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 226 ]


    CHAPTER 11



    The Puzzle of Decius Mundus


    I believe that the Flavians did not intend to have sophisticated people like themselves take their invention, Christianity, seriously. Josephus describes the individuals who fomented the rebellion in Judea as "slaves" and "scum." These are the individuals that Rome would have seen as being susceptible to an infatuation with militant Judaism. It was for this group, hoi polloi, that they created the religion.

    This is why the authors of the New Testament and Josephus felt free to put in their creations the puzzles and lampoons that "notified" the educated of the true origin of the religion. They did not believe that the masses -- the uneducated slaves and peasants for whom Christianity was intended -- would understand these puzzles, an assumption that has proven to be correct. However, they certainly wanted the puzzles to be solved eventually. Only then could Titus' greatest achievement -- that of transforming himself into "Jesus," be appreciated.

    My interpretation of the following passages is that they create a puzzle whose solution shows how the puzzles in the New Testament can be solved. The puzzle itself is quite easy to solve; the only difficult aspect of it is recognizing that the puzzle exists.

    There are three "pieces" to the puzzle. One of these is the Testimonium Josephus, which is the name scholars have given to Josephus' one and only, very short description of the "Christ." The other two "pieces" of the puzzle are the two tales that immediately follow the Testimonium.

    To date, scholars have not recognized that the Testimonium and the two tales that follow it create a puzzle, simply because they have





    The Puzzle of Decius Mundus   227  

    failed to see that the three tales must have been created as an interrelated set -- that is, they were created in direct relationship to one another. Once this proposition is understood, it becomes clear that they form a puzzle whose solution is also obvious.

    Here is the Testimonium and the two odd tales that follow it.
    Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him did not at first forsake him, for he appeared to them alive the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

    About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman. He was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae for one night's lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours,





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    he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina's sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man's resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others,) and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope, by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night's lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmae for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: She went to some of Isis's priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of twenty-five thousand drachmae in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly, the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina; and upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him. Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly, she went to the temple, and after she had





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    supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein,) and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god; and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends, also, she declared how great a value she put upon this favor, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretense for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, "Nay, Paulina, thou hast saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which sum thou mightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis." When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of the wicked contrivance and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests.





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    I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.

    There was a man who was a Jew, but he had been driven away from his own country by an accusation laid against him for transgressing their laws, and by the fear he was under of punishment for the same; but in all respects a wicked man. He, then living at Rome, professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses. He procured also three other men, entirely of the same character with himself, to be his partners. These men persuaded Fulvia, a woman of great dignity, and one that had embraced the Jewish religion, to send purple and gold to the temple at Jerusalem; and when they had gotten them, they employed them for their own uses, and spent the money themselves, on which account it was that they at first required it of her. Whereupon Tiberius, who had been informed of the thing by Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who desired inquiry might be made about it, ordered all the Jews to be banished out of Rome; at which time the consuls listed four thousand men out of them, and sent them to the island Sardinia; but punished a greater number of them, who were unwilling to become soldiers, on account of keeping the laws of their forefathers. Thus were these Jews banished out of the city by the wickedness of four men. 152
    First, it should be noted that the two tales that follow the Testimonium are oddly tangential from the narration Josephus has been engaged in up unto it, which describes Pontius Pilates' military activity in Judea. They stand out both because of their location, Rome, as well as their lightweight, ribald substance.

    Josephus is here using an unusual Judaic literary structure called "pedimental composition," in which the different passages form columns of a temple. Josephus uses a particular pedimental style of composition in which three pillars form a literary temple. 153 The two side columns are small; both concern issues having to do with the Jews, and the left-hand column is the famous passage about Christ. Unfortunately, scholars have focused on the left-hand passage, while ignoring the overall literary composition and the overall





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    rhetorical structure, which indicates that the focus of attention should be on the central column.

    It was another comic stroke for Josephus to use a temple-like literary structure to describe an account of a temple. This pedimental structure with the focus on the central passage similarly is used in the Book of Leviticus in which chapters 18 and 20 form the side columns and chapter 19 forms the central column of a literary temple.

    Moreover, there is a claim within the tales that is verifiably false. The temple of Isis was not destroyed during this era, a fact that Josephus was aware of. He wrote that Vespasian and Titus had spent the night before the celebration of the completion of the Judaic war at the temple of Isis. 154 This led me to question why Josephus knowingly records an obvious spoof as history.

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    If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

    And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

    Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

    And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

    And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
    John 11:47-52      
    From the perspective of the Flavians, Jesus' self-sacrifice is much like a devotio. The religion that Jesus established with his death certainly helped to neutralize the militaristic, messianic Judaism that the Flavians fought against. In fact, to the Flavians, whereas Decius Mus' sacrifice had only helped save a Roman legion, Jesus' sacrifice can be said to have helped to save the whole Roman world (mundus).

    An interesting historical point to this line of thought is that while Jesus is certainly meant to be understood as the Messiah whom Daniel predicted would be "cut off," the real meaning behind Jesus' self-sacrifice may lie not in Judaism, as has been universally believed, but in a rite of the Roman religion, as a spoof of the devotio.

    Whether this conjecture regarding the comic meaning of the name Decius Mus is correct, it is the case that "Decius," the name of Rome's most famous self-sacrifice, is the name of the hero of the tale that directly follows the Testimonium, Josephus' description of history's most famous self-sacrifice. I will show below that Decius Mundus and Jesus share a much more profound and unique parallel.

    The clearest clue Josephus provides to inform us that we are dealing with a puzzle is that both the story of Decius and Paulina and the story of Fulvia have the same plot. As I have shown, parallels within the New Testament and War of the Jews are significant. In both tales, wicked priests deceive a woman of "dignity" and in both





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    The new Decius Mundus story, created by switching the names of the characters and religions Josephus has identified as interchangeable, can be summarized as follows:

    Decius Mundus, a Roman, is desirous of Fulvia, a Jew of dignity, whom he cannot seduce with money. Learning that her weakness is her religion, he pays wicked priests to convince her that he is the





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    Christ, so that he can "screw" her. On the third day, he reappears to tell her he is not really the Messiah but received pleasure by pretending to be a god. The Jews are then banished and their temple destroyed.

    While this new story is still a satire, it is one whose meaning can easily be grasped. The translation that I offer is as follows:

    Rome desires Judea but cannot tempt it with wealth because of the staunch religious convictions of its people. Therefore, a Roman fools the Jewish Zealots into believing that he is the Christ. He pays wicked priests to help him carry out the plot. The authors of Christianity "enjoy" the experience of pretending to be the Messiah.

    The unnamed Jew in the final tale who "professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses' is identified as Paul in the parallel description in Acts 25 given above. Josephus also assists the reader with this identification by beginning the parallel stories with descriptions of the genders of "Paulina" and the "Jew at Rome." Once the reader knows that the stories are designed to have interchangeable elements, it is not difficult to see that by switching their genders Paulina can become Paul, which completely clarifies the identity of the "Jew at Rome."

    The story created by solving the puzzle reveals how Caesar fooled the Jews into calling him "Lord" without their knowing it by simply switching his name to Jesus -- the great secret of Christianity. It also reveals the keys to understanding the comic story within the New Testament -- a character may take on another name, stories that share parallels can be combined to create another story, and an unnamed character in one passage will have the same name as a character in a parallel passage.

    While the puzzle is simple, the technical idea behind it is ingenious. The story that emerges when the reader reverses the interchangeable characters and religions can be read literally as the historical event Josephus recorded. Thus, Josephus, as he reminds the reader so often, has written the "truth."

    The new Decius Mundus story created by switching the names found in the three tales fits naturally into the history Josephus is relating. It connects to the passages before it that have to do with the Jews' reaction to Caesar's effigies in Jerusalem and the Roman effort





    The Puzzle of Decius Mundus   241  

    to buy favor with the Jews. The stories that it replaces do not connect to the passages before them, are incoherent, and have a sense of fantasy. Josephus has, as he reminded us so often, written the truth -- the truth was just contained in a puzzle.

    The puzzle's main purpose was to show the method by which the true identities of the characters in the New Testament and War of the Jews can be known, which is simply to combine the stories that contain parallels. This technique reveals the identities of the "certain young man" captured on the Mount of Olives, Mary's unnamed son whose flesh was eaten, the Apostles Simon and John and, ultimately, Jesus himself. Also notice that Decius' seduction of Paulina occurs "in the dark," like Mary Magdalene's mistaking Lazarus' tomb for that of Jesus, described previously.

    The Testimonium is found in Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus' second work of history, which he purportedly wrote during the reign of Titus' brother Domitian. If Christianity was created by the Flavians so that Caesar could secretly become the Messiah, then Domitian could have seen himself as "Jesus" once he became emperor, following Titus' death. Domitian's obsession with his divinity was well known. He demanded, for example, to be addressed by members of the Roman senate as "Master and god." Thus, Domitian, while overseeing the production of Antiquities of the Jews, may have been the basis for the character Decius Mundus.

    This conjecture is supported by an interesting parallel between episodes in the life of Domitian and the tale of Decius Mundus. The Flavians overthrew Vitellius, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, with a battle that took place in Rome in 69 C.E. During the battle Domitian became trapped behind enemy lines. To escape, he donned a mask of Anubis, exactly as Decius Mundus does, and pretended to be a priest of Isis.

    Also of interest is the passage from the Decius Mundus story regarding the character named "Ide."
    ...as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition...
    The ancient Roman calendar celebrated the Ides of the month on the fifteenth of March, May, July, and October. In the other months the Ides occur on the thirteenth. Nisan, which actually overlaps





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    Therefore, all three stories must have been created together. This small chain of logic has far-reaching consequences because it also demonstrates a purpose for their joint creation. If one accepts that they are a related set created for some purpose, this interpretation seems the only one possible.

    It is useful to list the problematic or seemingly incoherent aspects of the three stories that this interpretation resolves to show how much explanatory power it possesses.

    The first resolution to a "problem" I want to show is the unnatural manner in which the Testimonium and its two following tales fit into the narration of Josephus' history, the problem of a gap in continuity that Wells and Thackeray noted above. To clarify for the reader the nature of this discontinuity, I present the following sequence:
    18:35 Pilate arrives in Judea to abolish Jewish laws
    18:55-59 Pilate introduces imperial images in the temple, causing a "tumult"
    18:60-62 Pilate tries to build an aqueduct, causing another "tumult"
    18:63-64 The Testimonium appears
    18:65-80 The Decius Mundus story appears
    18:81-84 The Fulvia story appears
    18:85-7 Pilate has a confrontation with the Samaritans
    18:88-9 Pilate is removed as procurator
    When the sequence of events is viewed in this manner, it is easy to see why scholars like Wells and Thackeray have questioned whether later redactors inserted the Testimonium. The historical narration both before and after the Testimonium is exclusively about Pilate. Notice, however, that the Decius and Fulvia stories also stand out. None of the stories in this "set" discusses Roman activity in Judea, the theme of the surrounding passages. This interpretation of the "puzzle" resolves this lack of continuity in Josephus' narration. Further, the satire revealed by this solution fits perfectly into the flow of the narration.

    This interpretation also resolves the apparently inappropriate opening words of the Decius story, "Another calamity." As mentioned





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    de tautęn tęs exęgęseôs archęn, hęn kai tôn kephalaiôn epoięsamęn. 161
    Whiston's translation into English is as follows:
    I have comprehended all these things in seven books, and have left no occasion for complaint or accusation to such as have been acquainted with this war; and I have written it down for the sake of those that love truth, but not for those that please themselves [with fictitious relations]. And I will begin my account of these things with what I call my First Chapter.
    The reason Whiston places brackets around the phase "please themselves [with fictitious relations]" above, was to alert the reader that it is an inaccurate translation. The Greek words that Josephus uses here, hędonęn anegrapsa, do not mean "please themselves with fictitious relations" but rather please themselves with registering. When used in connection with a person, as it is here, the stem word, anagrapho, means to register or record names. Whiston arbitrarily inserted the phrase [with fictitious relations] into his translation because he believed that this is the idea Josephus actually meant. A literal translation of the sentence would read as follows;
    ...and I have written it down for the sake of those that love truth, but not for those that please themselves with registering names.
    While Whiston found this translation incoherent, from my perspective it makes complete sense, as the technique used by the authors of the New Testament and the works of Josephus to turn Judaism into Christianity was the switching, or "unregistering," of names. Decius became Anubis and Titus became Jesus. Neither valued much "this business of names." Josephus' seeming "incoherencies" are very significant and are meant to be translated exactly as they were written.



    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


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    CHAPTER 12



    The Father and the Son of God


    All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one fully knows the Son except the Father, nor does any one fully know the Father except the Son and all to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.
    Matt. 11:27      
    Jesus' doomsday prophecies were directed against the "wicked generation" of Jews who rebelled against Rome. Therefore, his threatened "second coming" was predicting the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem. This was the understanding of most Christian theologians until this century and is still the way the Preterit Christians understand these prophecies. The 17th-century theologian Reland saw the Roman assault on Jerusalem in this way: [The] "Son of God came now to take vengeance on the sins of the Jewish nation." His contemporary, William Whiston, was even more specific. He understood that Jesus' words indicated "that he would come at the head of the Roman army for their destruction." 162

    I am in complete agreement with Reland and Whiston. All of Jesus' ministry was about the coming war with Rome and was designed to establish Jesus as Titus' forerunner. Therefore, the relationship between Jesus and "the Father" referred to throughout the Gospels is a forerunner of the relationship between Titus and his father, the emperor and god Vespasian.

    All the dialogues that describe Jesus' relationship with the Father use comic wordplay that actually describes Titus' relationship with his real father, Vespasian. Supporting this premise is the fact that all





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    of Jesus' descriptions of his relationship with his father mention that father and son possess secret identities known only to the two of them.
    But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me.

    I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.

    They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also."
    John 8:19      
    In Matthew, Jesus also speaks of a secret identity known only to him and his father.
    At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

    Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
    Matt. 11:27      
    In the Gospel of John, Jesus again discusses his relationship with the Father. Again the discussion takes place within the context of a concealed identity. In this instance, his questioners are trying to determine whether Jesus is claiming to be the Messiah. Christian theologians have made numerous efforts to explain Jesus' meaning here. My explanation is that it is a revelation that Jesus was a "god" and not "God."
    "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

    I and the Father are one."





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    The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?"

    The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."

    Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods?'

    If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken),

    Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?'

    If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;

    But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."
    John 10:28-38      
    If Jesus' dialogue is, as I suggest, a comic way of describing Titus and his father, the god Vespasian, then the passage above makes perfect sense.

    It is of interest that Titus is the only person, other than Jesus, who is referred to in the New Testament with the phrase "coming of."
    But He who comforts the depressed -- even God -- comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not by his coming only... 163
    A "Titus" is also described in the Pauline letters as the "true child."
    To Titus my own true child in our common faith.
    Titus 1:4.2      
    When Vespasian died in 79 C.E., Titus succeeded him as emperor. Among his first orders of business was to have his father deified. It was not a routine task -- Vespasian was to be the first non-Julio-Claudian





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    emperor to be so honored. But it was important because Vespasian's deification would break the chain of divine succession held by the Julio-Claudian line since Julius Caesar and thereby help secure an imperial future for the Flavian family.

    In order for Vespasian to be made a diuus, the Roman senate had to decree it upon him. It was a uniquely Roman custom that only the senate could bestow the title of diuus upon him. Over the years, the senate had turned down many applicants for the title. Therefore, Titus needed to somehow demonstrate to the senate that Vespasian's life had been that of a god. During this time, he would also have been involved in creating of an empire-wide bureaucracy to administer the cult of Vespasian, once it was established.

    In spite of the fact that Vespasian's consecrato would have been of great importance to Titus, it did not occur until six months after his death. This interval between the death of an emperor and his consecrato 164 was an unusually long time. It was during this time that the New Testament was created. The length of the interval due to the fact that during this period Titus created not one but two religions that worshiped his father as a god, as well as the New Testament's companion piece, War of the Jews.

    As Jesus' prophecies came to pass during the Jewish war, they proved that God had sanctioned the events he foresaw. This is exactly what Titus would have been attempting to demonstrate to the Roman senate -- that the events of his father's life, certainly including his conquest of Judea, proved that he was divine and that he deserved to be decreed a diuus. Viewed from this perspective, the similarities between Christianity and the cult of Vespasian are obvious.

    When Titus arranged to have his father declared a god he "deified" the events of Vespasian's life. Thus, all of Jesus' prophecies regarding God's coming wrath upon Judea flow without contradiction into the cult of Vespasian. In fact, the Gospels could have been presented to the Roman senate as "proof" of the absurd premise that Vespasian's life had been that of a god.

    To see this more clearly, simply subtract Judaism and Judea from the New Testament. What if Titus, in trying to convince the Roman senate that certain events of his father's life proved that he was divine, had claimed that a prophet had wandered about Italy in 30 C.E.





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    predicting that two Roman gods, a father and a son, would one day destroy a "wicked generation" of Jews who rebelled against Rome and along with them the temple of Jerusalem? Every member of the senate would have understood that the gods this Italian prophet had "forseen" were Vespasian and Titus. Of course, no Roman senator would have been so gullible as to believe the story. Locating the prophet in Judea does not make such prophecies any more plausible, but Christianity was not created for a sophisticated audience.

    The histories of Josephus, which prophesied that Vespasian would be the world ruler foreseen by Judaism's messianic prophecies, likewise provided support for Vespasian's deification. The New Testament and War of the Jews both make the case that the destruction of Judea was an act of a god -- the same absurd premise as that made by the cult of Vespasian.

    When we align the New Testament with War of the Jews a clear picture emerges. Jesus predicted that a "Son of Man" would encircle Jerusalem with a wall and destroy its temple and bring tribulation onto the "wicked generation" that rebelled against Rome. In fact, one man actually had these precise characteristics. A man who was a "son of god" and whose followers "fished for men" at Gennesareth. A man who encircled Jerusalem with a wall and destroyed the temple of Jerusalem. A man who brought the tribulation that Jesus had foreseen unto the "wicked generation" and then ended his "ministry" by condemning Simon and sparing John. The man was Titus Flavius.

    Only one man at that point in history had the power to establish a religion. At the same time that the first real evidence of Christianity emerges, one man is known to have established a religion that, like Christianity, held that the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple was the work of a god. The man was Titus Flavius.

    Bear in mind that no one had a stronger motivation than Titus for finding a cost-effective method of containing militant Judaism, which was so expensive for Rome to control.

    Finally, only one family other than Jesus' is associated with the origin of Christianity. It is the family of Titus Flavius. Even if one discounts the tradition that regards Flavius Clemens as the first pope, as well as all the other Flavian traditions connected with Christianity's origins, the inscription naming Domitilla Flavian as





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    the founder of the oldest burial grounds for Christians in Rome still exists today. If one ignores even this, the works of Flavius Josephus would be sufficient to confirm the Flavian connection with the origins of Christianity. Josephus' works deliberately falsified history to provide support for Christian dogma. And whoever or whatever he was, Josephus was an adopted Flavian.

    Concerning the question of who knew Judaism well enough to create Christianity, this information was in abundant supply, even within the small circle of Titus' known confidants. Titus' mistress Bernice, though a Herodian, had Maccabean ancestors and claimed to have been a Jew. Though the Jews of the messianic movement would not have seen her religious perspective as Jewish, she would clearly have known much about the Judaism of her day and would have been able to contribute to the creation of the Gospels.

    Tiberius Alexander was another individual within Titus' innermost circle who knew of Judaism well enough oversee the production of the New Testament. Tiberius was the nephew of the famous Jewish philosopher Philo, and Vespasian held him in such regard that he made Tiberius chief of staff to Titus during the siege of Jerusalem.

    Though a Jew, Tiberius Alexander was a Roman knight who was morally able to order the murder of thousands of his race to maintain the Pax Romana, the Roman peace. When the Jews of Alexandria "made a disturbance," Tiberius ordered the Roman troops not only to kill the rioters but to plunder and burn their ghetto as well. Josephus records that "fifty thousand corpses piled up." Tiberius, in his role as chief of staff to Titus during the siege of Jerusalem and the subsequent slaughter and enslavement of the Jews there, showed a slavish obedience to Rome. It would have been necessary for someone of Jewish descent who created a religion that was used to oppress his own people. His religious perspective was Romanized to such an extent that he was not even monotheistic. He often used the word "gods." Josephus, who, it should be remembered, also claimed to be a Jew, recorded Tiberius' close relationship to the Flavians.
    ...as also there came Tiberius Alexander, who was a friend of his, most valuable, both for his good-will to him, and for





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    his prudence. He had formerly been governor of Alexandria, but was now thought worthy to be general of the army [under Titus]. The reason of this was, that he had been the first who encouraged Vespasian very lately to accept this his new dominion, and joined himself to him with great fidelity, when things were uncertain, and fortune had not yet declared for him. He also followed Titus as a counselor, very useful to him in this war, both by his age and skill in such affairs. 165
    To such individuals who were completely in thrall to the Flavians and who saw militant messianic Judaism as a threat to their financial interests, providing the information to construct a version of Judaism that was in alignment with Rome would have been automatic.

    One of the primary causes for the war between the Romans and the Jews was the Jews' refusal to worship the Roman emperors as gods. Though the rest of the empire did, the Jews would not call Caesar "Lord." As I have pointed out, the cruelest joke of Christianity is that by replacing the Jewish God and son of God with Roman emperors, it tricked Jews into calling Caesar "Lord" without knowing it. Chrisitanity stole the identities of the God of Judaism and his messiah Son, as well as those of John and Simon, the leaders of the messianic rebellion. Their identities were given to Vespasian and Titus and to the "Christian Apostles" John and Simon. These disguised characters were combined with other symbols of Roman conquest, the cross of the crucifixion and the "flesh of the Messiah," to create a religion that both absorbed and ridiculed the messianic movement.

    This was the ultimate triumph of the imperial family. This darkly comic concept of switched identities is in play to such an extent that the New Testament and the works of Josephus together are a puzzle whose solution produces the true identities of their characters. Why was it necessary to create this vast literary puzzle? Because it was the only method by which Titus could both create a religion that solved the problem of the Jews' refusal to accept the Roman emperor as a god and also make it known to posterity that he was the one who did it.
    But what was most of all astonishing to the beholders was the courage of the children; for not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Caesar





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    for their lord. So far does the strength of the courage [of the soul] prevail over the weakness of the body. 166
    The authors of Christianity intended that their puzzles would eventually be solved and Titus' complete triumph be thereby revealed, a sorry task that has fallen to this author.

    I suspect that Christianity, as the comic version of the imperial cult, was first inserted into the areas surrounding Judea to serve as a theological barrier to the spread of militaristic Judaism. Evidently succeeding beyond its creators' original intent, it was eventually decreed the state religion. The religion thus became a prophylactic for all the potentially rebellious slave populations throughout the empire.

    To make the cult as efficient as possible in promoting their interests, its inventors had their parodic Messiah advocate both pacifism and stoicism, whereby Christians would learn to subdue their rebelliousness and find holiness in subservience. This combination of Christian theology and Roman imperial might was so effective that it kept European civilization frozen in place for over 1000 years, throughout the Dark Ages.

    A Roman bureaucracy called the Commune Asiae, an organization that administered the imperial cult in Asia, would probably have overseen the original implementation of Christianity. Notably, all the seven "churches of Asia" mentioned in Revelation 1:11 were known to have agencies of the Commune located within them. Five of these seven cities were sites of the imperial cult's festival, which was held once every five years. In these cities it would have been possible to oversee two versions of the imperial cult, one for Roman citizens and the other for the "slaves and scum" seen as susceptible to the lure of the Messiah.

    The puzzle of Decius Mundus described earlier indicates that "wicked priests" accepted money to build congregations for the new Judaism. Following the destruction of the temple, some of the 18,000 priests who had previously worked there were, presumably, still alive and would have needed to seek new employment. The first Christian priests may have been hired from the remnants of the enormous group that had once ministered to the now destroyed temple.

    However these facts may be, the Roman version of Judaism was introduced to the masses by some group of "wicked priests" who





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    had been employed by the Flavians to preach the "Gospels" -- a word that technically means "good news of military victory." The first people to hear the story of Jesus would most likely have been slaves, whose patrons simply ordered them to attend services. After a while some began to believe, then many.








    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 259 ]


    CHAPTER 13



    Josephus' Use of the Book of Daniel


    Thus far, I have shown the reader the parallels, allegories, and puzzles that lie within the New Testament and the works of Josephus to indicate that the Flavian family created Christianity. However, the reader can take another route to this understanding, using only the literal meanings of the words in these works.

    As I have stated, the works of Josephus provided support for the religious doctrine of Christianity. Early Christian writers held that the parallels between Jesus' prophecies and Josephus' histories prove that Jesus could see into the future. Moreover, in addition to simply recording that Jesus' prophecies had come to pass, Josephus falsified the dates of the events that he describes in War of the Jews. He does this so that the sequence of events appear to "prove" that Daniel's prophecies came to pass within the first century C.E. and that Jesus is the son of God that Daniel envisioned.

    The following passage from St. Augustine exemplifies the early church fathers' belief that the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem simultaneously fulfilled the prophecies of both Daniel and Jesus.
    Luke, to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel will take place when Jerusalem is captured, recalls these words of the Lord in the same context: When you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand. For Luke very clearly bears witness that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled when Jerusalem was overthrown. 167
    It is not well known today that Josephus falsified the dates of the events in War of the Jews so that work would be seen as the fulfillment





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    Scholars have debated whether the Testimonium was written by Josephus or added by later Christian redactors. Previously, I presented an analysis of the Testimonium that demonstrates that it is not separate from the two tales that follow it. However, for Josephus to remain consistent in his placing of first-century events in the context of Daniel's prophecies, he would have to place a "Messiah" at the point in history that these prophecies called for. Because Josephus claims that the "end of the daily sacrifice" foreseen by Daniel's prophecies came to pass during the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, one needs only to work backward from 70 C.E. to determine if the positioning of the "Christ" in Antiquities is consistent with this date. This is exactly what early Christian scholars did, using the relevant dates in Josephus and the New Testament to demonstrate that Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies of Daniel. The following example by the Tertullian, written circa 200 C.E., represents a complete victory for Josephus. Tertullian has completely adopted Josephus' perspective and arranged history to show that Daniel foresaw Jesus and the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem.





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    Let us see, therefore, how the years are filled up until the advent of the Christ: --
    For Darius reigned... viiii years (9).
    Artaxerxes reigned... xl and I years (41).
    Then King Ochus (who is also called Cyrus) reigned... xxiiii years (24).
    Argus... one year.
    Another Darius, who is also named Melas... xxi years (21).
    Alexander the Macedonian, xii years (12).

    Then, after Alexander, who had reigned over both Medes and Persians, whom he had reconquered, and had established his kingdom firmly in Alexandria, when withal he called that (city) by his own name; (10) after him reigned, (there, in Alexandria)
    Soter... xxxv years (35).
    To whom succeeds
    Philadelphus, reigning xxx and viii years (38).
    To him succeeds Euergetes, xxv years (25).
    Then Philopator... xvii years (17).
    After him Epiphanes... xxiiii years (24).
    Then another Euergetes... xxviiii years (29).
    Then another Soter... .xxxviii years (38).
    Ptolemy... xxxvii years (37).
    Cleopatra... xx years v months (20 5/12).
    Yet again Cleopatra reigned jointly with Augustus... xiii years (13.)
    After Cleopatra, Augustus reigned other... xliii years (43).
    For all the years of the empire of Augustus were lvi years (56).

    Let us see, moreover, how in the forty-first year of the empire of Augustus, when he has been reigning for xx and viii years after the death of Cleopatra, the Christ is born. (And the same Augustus survived, after Christ is born, xv years; and the remaining times of years to the day of the birth of Christ will bring us to the xl first year, which is the





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    xx and viiith of Augustus after the death of Cleopatra. There are (then) made up cccxxx and vii years, v months: (whence are filled up lxii hebdomads and an half: which make up ccccxxxvii years, vi months:) on the day of the birth of Christ. And (then) "righteousness eternal" was manifested, and "an Holy One of holy ones was anointed" -- that is, Christ -- and "sealed was vision and prophet," and "sins" were remitted, which, through faith in the name of Christ, are washed away (1) for all who believe on Him. But what does he mean by saying that "vision and prophecy are sealed?" That all prophets ever announced of Him that He was to come and had to suffer. Therefore, since the prophecy was fulfilled through His advent, for that reason he said that "vision and prophecy were sealed;" inasmuch as He is the signet of all prophets, fulfilling all things which in days bygone they had announced of Him. (2) For after the advent of Christ and His passion there is no longer "vision or prophet" to announce Him as to come. In short, if this is not so, let the Jews exhibit, subsequently to Christ, any volumes of prophets, visible miracles wrought by any angels, (such as those) which in bygone days the patriarchs saw until the advent of Christ, who is now come; since which event "sealed is vision and prophecy," that is, confirmed. And justly does the evangelist (3) write, "The law and the prophets (were) until John" the Baptist. For, on Christ's being baptized, that is, on His sanctifying the waters in His own baptism, (4) all the plenitude of bygone spiritual grace-gifts ceased in Christ, sealing as He did all vision and prophecies, which by His advent He fulfilled. Whence most firmly does he assert that His advent "seals visions and prophecy."

    Accordingly, showing, (as we have done) both the number of the years, and the time of the lx two and an half fulfilled hebdomads, on completion of which, (we have shown) that Christ is come, that is, has been born, let us see what (mean) other "vii and an half hebdomads," which have been subdivided in the abscision of (5) the former hebdomads; (let us see, namely,) in what event they have been fulfilled: --





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    For, after Augustus who survived after the birth of Christ, are made up... xv years

    To whom succeeded Tiberius Caesar, and held the empire... xx years, vii months, xxviii days (20 etc.).

    (In the fiftieth year of his empire Christ suffered, being about xxx years of age when he suffered.)

    Again Caius Caesar, also called Caligula... iii years, viii months, xiii days (3 etc.).

    Nero Caesar, . . xi years, ix months, xiii days (11 etc.).

    Galba... vii months,vi days. (7 etc.).

    Otho... iii days.

    Vitellius... viii mos., xxvii days (8 mos.).

    Vespasian, in the first year of his empire, subdues the Jews in war; and there are made lii years, vi months. For he reigned xi years. And thus, in the day of their storming, the Jews fulfilled the lxx hebdomads predicted in Daniel.
    While the above chronology is difficult to comprehend and historically implausible, it is only necessary to be aware that Tertullian and all early church fathers believed that Daniel's prophecies had come to pass in 70 C.E. This belief came from their reading the sole historian of the era, Josephus, in conjunction with the New Testament.

    Another, less tortured, explanation of Daniel's connection to Christianity was given by Sulpcius Severus (353-429 C.E.) in his book Sacred History (403 C.E.):
    But from the restoration of the temple to its destruction, which was completed by Titus under Vespasian, when Augustus was consul, there was a period of four hundred and eighty-three years. That was formerly predicted by Daniel, who announced that from the restoration of the temple to its overthrow there would elapse seventy and nine weeks. Now, from the date of the captivity of the Jews until the time of the restoration of the city, there were two hundred and sixty years.
    The War of the Jews, therefore, is entirely structured, from its first paragraph to its last, to document that Daniel's prophecies had come to pass within the first century. This indicates that Josephus





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    was aware that the "son of God" foreseen by Daniel had appeared earlier in the century and been "cut off." Once Josephus had begun the alignment between his history and Daniel's prophecies, there could be no stopping until Jerusalem was destroyed.

    Thus, Josephus was not mildly conscious of some unimportant religious mystic wandering about the Galilean countryside. Josephus was keenly aware that his work demonstrated that Daniel's prophecies had come to pass and that Jesus was the Messiah the prophecies had envisioned. Since this was obviously the case, why then did Josephus take so little notice of Jesus?

    It made the forgery less obvious.

    If one wishes to "create" a prophet, it is easy enough -- simply invent one who existed in the past. Then fabricate a work in his name dated from the time that you claim he lived. In the book, describe the prophet predicting events that you know have already occurred. Inventing the prophet and his predictions is not the hard part. The hard part is not having the forgery discovered. In order for the New Testament/Josephus fabrication to be believable, the two works had to be seen as independent of one another. Therefore, Josephus focused on the events that Daniel had predicted and not on the "son of God" himself.

    Josephus' successful effort in overlaying Daniel on events in the first century, in a way, provides support for my theory. It does so by being such an obvious ruse. The "wickedness" of the Jews of the first century was their refusal to compromise Judaism and submit to Rome; they did exactly what the religion of Moses and Daniel required. Josephus' use of the prophecies of Daniel to substantiate the events of the first century was, clearly, an effort to manipulate Judaism into alignment with Roman interests -- exactly as was the case with the creation of Christianity.

    If the Romans were the creators of Christianity and the works of Josephus, why did they portray their fictitious Messiah as the one foreseen by Daniel? Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are many relating to the Book of Daniel. They show that at least some of the Jews of that era were using the dating system within the Book of Daniel to try to determine when the Messiah would appear to lead them in their holy war against Rome.





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    not to waive such points of curiosity, and cannot curb his inclination for understanding the uncertainties of futurity, and whether they will happen or not, let him be diligent in reading the book of Daniel, which he will find among the sacred writings. 182

    Both the authors of the New Testament and Josephus attempted to have their readers come to the same mistaken conclusion about the prophecies of Daniel, that they came to pass within the first century. This fact suggests that the same person or group produced both works, because two independent authors would not have, by chance, come to such a conclusion.






    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 278 ]


    CHAPTER 14



    Building Jesus


    The authors of the Gospels constructed Jesus from the lives of several prophets in the Jewish canon. Thus, since Elijah and Elisha had raised children from the dead, Jesus would do the same. Whenever possible, Jesus' miracles would be greater than the ones they were based upon. For example, Elisha satisfied a hundred men with twenty loaves and had bread to spare. 183 So Jesus would feed five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, and have twelve basketsful to spare. Since Jesus was to be the prophet envisioned by Daniel, Jesus' life would also include episodes that fulfilled Daniel's prophecies. However, though many of the extraordinary accomplishments of Jesus' ministry were taken from the lives of prior prophets, the character he was primarily based upon was Moses. Moses was chosen as the basic prototype for Jesus because he had been the founder of the religion Christianity would replace. The founder of the new religion was to be seen as the new Moses. This is already widely recognized in New Testament scholarship.

    The fact that Jesus was based on Moses is easy to demonstrate, because the authors of the Gospels went out of their way to make sure the converts to Christianity understood this. For example, the story of Jesus' childhood in Matthew is based on the childhood of Moses. The outline is the same in both cases -- the birth of a child causes distress to the rulers, followed by a consultation with wise men, a massacre of children, and a miraculous rescue, with Egypt as the land of rescue.

    In addition to creating parallels between the lives of the founders of the two religions, the authors of the Gospels also borrowed events





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    from the story of Exodus to create the impression that Christianity, like Judaism, was of divine origin. The best-known of these are the parallels that the Gospels use to set up Jesus as a "Passover lamb," establishing him as the "deliverer" of the religion that was to replace Judaism.

    All four Gospels show, as does Paul, that Passover, and Judaism itself, are obsolete. Jesus' sacrifice of himself creates a new Passover and a new religion. It is important to recognize how literally early Christianity saw itself as a replacement for Judaism, even to the extent that the early church fathers claimed that the ancient Hebrews were Christians and not Jews. Eusebius wrote:
    That the Hebrew nation is not new, but is universally honored on account of its antiquity, is known to all. The books and writings of this people contain accounts of ancient men, rare indeed and few in number, but nevertheless distinguished for piety and righteousness and every other virtue. Of these, some excellent men lived before the flood, others of the sons and descendants of Noah lived after it, among them Abraham, whom the Hebrews celebrate as their own founder and forefather.

    If any one should assert that all those who have enjoyed the testimony of righteousness, from Abraham himself back to the first man, were Christians in fact if not in name, he would not go beyond the truth. 184
    Jesus introduces the idea that Christianity will replace Judaism by stating that his "living flesh" would be a replacement for the manna the Israelites were given by God during their wandering in the wilderness.
    Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

    This is the living bread which comes down from heaven. That one may eat of it and not die.

    I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.





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    To demonstrate that Christianity's divine origin parallels Judaism's, the authors of Christianity took the events from the story of the original Exodus that had numbers associated with them and inserted those numbers into their story of the birth of Christianity. In other words, since God gave the law to Moses fifty days after the first Passover, Christianity would give the "new" law 50 days after its Passover, the crucifixion of Jesus.

    On the day that the law of Moses was given, 3,000 died for worshipping the golden calf. 185 On the day the "spirit" was given to the disciples of Christ, 3,000 were added into Christ and received life, 186 signifying that the improved covenant with God brought life.

    These parallels were obviously created to establish Christianity as the new Judaism. The Gospels and the writings of Josephus work together to this end. The New Testament records the birth of the new Judaism while the history of Josephus records the "death" of Second Temple Judaism.

    All the parallels I have given above, between Christianity and Judaism and between Jesus and Moses, are well known. In addition, the authors of the Gospels also established something else heretofore unknown. By mirroring the sequence found in the story of Exodus and by establishing Jesus' crucifiction as a new Passover, they established a continuum, one that mirrored the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt and "wandering" until they were permitted to enter the promised land forty years after the first Passover. As with the time sequence for the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel, once the continuum of the "new Exodus" had begun, there could be no stopping until all had come to pass.

    What is the conclusion to the forty years of wandering in the New Testament? Since the Gospels end shortly after Jesus' death, where is the conclusion to Christianity's forty year Exodus recorded? The answer is found within War of the Jews.

    To conclude Christianity's forty-year cycle, Josephus links the date of Jesus' crucifixion to the date he established for the destruction of Masada. Josephus "records" that the year the stronghold was destroyed was 73 C.E. Scholars, citing archeological evidence, often date the fall of Masada to 74, not 73 C.E. They may well be correct, but Josephus was interested not in recording history but in creating





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    mythology. He therefore entitled the chapter that contains the passage describing Masada's destruction as follows:

    Concerning the interval of about three years: from the taking of Jerusalem by Titus to the sedition of the Jews at Cyrene. 187

    Josephus does not need to be any more precise than he is in the phrase "about three years." If his time span is inaccurate, and it surely is, who had been there to point out his error? Josephus is only interested in using "history" to convey his message. In this instance, he wishes the reader to believe that Masada fell three and a half years after the destruction of the temple, that is, in 73 C.E.

    Josephus then gives the day and month of the conclusion to the siege at Masada.
    They then chose ten men by lot out of them to slay all the rest; every one of whom laid himself down by his wife and children on the ground, and threw his arms about them, and they offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office; and when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves, that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine, and after all should kill himself. ...Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number, the women and children being withal included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan]. 188
    Josephus records that the fourteenth of Nisan is the day when the Jews celebrated Passover. The Gospel of John states that Jesus was crucified on the thirteenth of Nisan and arose on the fifteenth. The fifteenth of Nisan, 73 C.E., is forty years to the day after Christ's resurrection. Only readers of both the Gospels and Josephus would be aware of this exact forty-year time span.

    In other words, the Gospel of John establishes the date of Jesus' resurrection as the fifteenth of Nisan, 33 C.E., and Josephus establishes the date of the end of the Jewish war as the fifteenth of Nisan, 73 C.E. It is only when the two works are read together that readers are able to understand that it was, just as Jesus had predicted, exactly forty years between the two events. Again, either Josephus inadvertently





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    years to the day from Jesus' resurrection. This perfectly identifies the Sicarii as members of the "wicked generation" who Jesus warned would be destroyed before the generation passed away.

    Masada brings an end to what Josephus describes as the "fourth philosophy," a synonym for the Sicarii, the messianic movement founded by Judas the Galilean. The suicide of the Sicarii on this date was meant to represent "atonement" for their role in crucifying Jesus forty years ago. By simultaneously concluding Christianity's forty years of wandering and the end of the "fourth philosophy," the messianic movement Christianity replaced, Josephus is making the point that the future belongs to Christianity.

    And he was correct of course: the future did belong to Christianity. By the midpoint of the second century C.E., Judaism had been driven from its homeland and would never again be a significant threat to Rome.

    Josephus' recording of the fall of Masada contains many telling points:

    He reiterates that John, the Sicarii leader who was lampooned as the Apostle John, like the man from Gadara with the unclean spirit in the New Testament, filled the countryside with wickedness.
    Yet did John demonstrate by his actions that these Sicarii were more moderate than he was himself, for he not only slew all such as gave him good counsel to do what was right, but treated them worst of all, as the most bitter enemies that he had among all the Citizens; nay, he filled his entire country with ten thousand instances of wickedness...
    Josephus records Eleazar's belief that God has condemned the Jewish nation. The unspoken point, since God has condemned Judaism, is that Christianity is its replacement.
    It had been proper indeed for us to have conjectured at the purpose of God much sooner, and at the very first, when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and when we received such sore treatment from one another, and worse treatment from our enemies, and to have been sensible that the same God, who had of old taken the Jewish nation into his favor, had now condemned them to destruction...





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    Josephus makes Eleazar repeat time and again that God has turned against the Jews.
    "...we are openly deprived by God himself of all hope of deliverance; for that fire which was driven upon our enemies did not of its own accord turn back upon the wall which we had built; this was the effect of God's anger against us for our manifold sins, which we have been guilty of in a most insolent and extravagant manner with regard to our own countrymen; the punishments of which let us not receive from the Romans, but from God himself...

    ...however, the circumstances we are now in ought to be an inducement to us to bear such calamity courageously, since it is by the will of God, and by necessity, that we are to die; for it now appears that God hath made such a decree against the whole Jewish nation, that we are to be deprived of this life which [he knew] we would not make a due use of.

    This it is that our laws command us to do this; it is that our wives and children crave at our hands; nay, God himself hath brought this necessity upon us; while the Romans desire the contrary, and are afraid lest any of us should die before we are taken. Let us therefore make haste, and instead of affording them so much pleasure, as they hope for in getting us under their power, let us leave them an example which shall at once cause their astonishment at our death, and their admiration of our hardiness therein." 196
    The suspicion scholars have regarding the accuracy of Eleazar's speech is well-founded. They should also question Josephus' dates for the siege and the fall of Masada, which are no more historical than his descriptions of either the siege or Eleazar's speech. The dates have been invented to provide support for Christianity. Readers who wish to confirm my findings for themselves may simply take the dates of Jesus' ministry and crucifixion as found in the Gospel of John and compare them with the dates Josephus gives for the events of the war and his use of phrases from the Book of Daniel. The truth will be visible.





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    When Josephus ends the war on the day following Passover in 73 C.E., he unifies the two "principles" that Christianity was based on -- Exodus and the Book of Daniel. Only the day Josephus records for the conclusion of the siege of Masada would simultaneously complete the seven-year week that concludes the prophecies of Daniel and the end of the symbolic forty-year "wandering" of Christianity after the resurrection of Jesus. Such a miraculous occurrence could not happen by chance and supports the theory that Josephus has falsified history to show that Christianity was God's replacement for Judaism. Notice that the technique the authors of Christianity used is consistent throughout. Simon and John are transformed into Christian Apostles. The story of the Passover and Exodus becomes the first forty years of Christianity. Titus becomes the Messiah.

    One must admire the craftsmanship of the intellectuals who produced the works of Josephus and the New Testament. Though the method they used, the fusing of Daniel's prophecies with a new forty- year Exodus, was utterly preposterous from both a historical and a theological perspective, with it they were able to neatly remove from history a religious movement that opposed them militarily and replace it with one aligned to their interests. In doing so, they were able to conform history to theology to such an extent that one movement ended and the other came forth on the same day.

    It is interesting that the creators of Christianity did not pass along this theological fusion to the early Church fathers. There is no evidence that any of the early church fathers, with the possible exception of Eusebius, understood that the destruction of Masada represented the simultaneous conclusion of Christianity's forty-year wandering and the prophecies of Daniel. The intellectuals who produced Christianity were not to have their work appreciated for 2,000 years.

    This disconnect between the creators of Christianity and its implementers is fascinating because it suggests that its first bishops did not need to understand a key element of Christianity. This may have some bearing on a subject of interest but one that I will not cover in this work -- this being, at what point did Christianity lose the memory of its Roman origins? The first church scholars' lack of awareness of this key theological element perhaps suggests that this





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    disconnect may have occurred very early. An example of an early Christian scholar who did not understand the New Testament's original intent was Origen, who was troubled by the name "Jesus Barabbas." On the other hand, Cesare Borgia, a fifteenth century Roman Catholic cardinal and a son of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) was quoted as saying, "It has served us well, this myth of Jesus."

    The reader may find it interesting to see how Christianity's forty-year cycle of wandering was achieved. The Gospel of John was created, among other reasons, to provide the necessary point of orientation to begin the forty-year cycle. The date was determined by calculating backward.

    Josephus records that the destruction of Masada occurred on the fifteenth of Xanthicus.
    This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus... 197
    Xanthicus is the Syrian word for Nisan. A typical sleight of hand by Josephus, not to be too obvious. Josephus also records that the Jewish Passover was celebrated on the forteenth of Xanthicus/Nisan.
    When God revealed that with one more plague he would compel the Egyptians to let the Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the people they should have a sacrifice ready and should prepare themselves on the tenth day of the month Xanthicus in readiness for the fourteenth (this is the month that is called Pharmuthi by the Egyptians, and Nisan by the Hebrews, but the Macedonians call it Xanthicus), and he should then lead away the Hebrews with all they had. 198

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    "lovers of money" 207 and highly trained in intellectual matters, like the syllogists and rhetoricians denounced by the Stoic philosophers Seneca and Epictetus. Jesus' attacks on wealth and hypocrisy are generally reminiscent of the Stoic philosophy that was popular in Rome at this time.

    The Stoic philosopher Seneca (though immensely wealthy himself) summarized his teaching as follows:
    We talk much about despising money, and we give advice on this subject in the lengthiest of speeches, that mankind may believe true riches to exist in the mind and not in one's bank account, and that the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man...
    Persius' description of the "benefits" of Stoic philosophy make it clear who really benefitted from the underclass's acceptance of it -- the ruling class. Persius wrote:
    O poor wretches, learn, and come to know the causes of things, what we are, for what life we are born, what the assigned order is, where the turning point of the course is to be rounded gently, what limit to set on money, for what it is right to pray, what is the use of hard cash, how much you ought to spend on your country and on those near and dear to you, what kind of man God ordered you to be and where as a man you are placed.
    In the following passage Jesus advocates a position close to Stoicism. Of particular interest is Luke 3:14, where Jesus advises soldiers to be content with their wages. This is not a subject that comes to mind as essential for the son of God to touch upon during his brief stay on earth, but is obviously something always in the minds of the imperial family.
    And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

    He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.





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    Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

    And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

    And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
    Luke 3:10-14      
    The relationship between Stoicism and slavery is interesting. For a master of slaves, Stoicism seems the ideal philosophy because it advocates acceptance of "what kind of man God ordered you to be and where as a man you are placed." Jesus' advocacy of principles similar to those of the Stoics led Bruno Bauer in the nineteenth century to conclude that Christianity was simply an attempt by the imperial family to implement Stoicism on a large scale.

    Bauer's suspicion regarding Christianity seems especially logical when one considers the degree to which the Roman Empire relied upon slavery in the first century C.E., where perhaps 40 percent of the population were slaves.

    Slavery was also prevalent in Judea throughout the first century. No records survive to enable us to know exactly what percentage of the Judean population were slaves, but judging from the number of references to slavery within Hebraic literature from the period, it was clearly quite common. 208 Klausner wrote that slaves were
    an important factor in the political and spiritual upheavals in the time of Jesus. Without them we cannot account for the frequent rebellions and the many religious movements from the time of Pompey till after the time of Pilate... 209
    There were two types of slaves in Judea during the time of Jesus, Hebrew and "Canaanitish slaves." The Hebrew slave had the better lot. Though a true slave, who did not have right to change his master or choose his work, the Hebrew was only retained as a slave for six years and his or her body was not to be used sexually.

    The Canaanitish, or non-Hebrew, slaves were treated like cattle. They were branded, so that they could be recognized in case they





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    escaped, or a bell was hung on them with a chain. They were inexpensive to buy, costing as little as a single gold dinar. 210 The Niddad 211 records that "masters performed the most private actions in front of them." The masters and their sons used these slaves for sexual pleasure. 212 A slave's master was permitted to beat his slaves to the point of death without consequence. It needs to be noted, however, that if the slave died from his wounds, then the master would be put to death.

    Klausner wrote: "Canaanitish slavery was then a horrible plague affecting the national body of Israel as it was also the case of other nations in those early days." 213

    Someone addressing the common people in Judea during the first century C.E., as Jesus did, would have been speaking to groups that contained slaves. Josephus specifically states that the Jewish rebels who were inspired by the hope of a militaristic Messiah were "slaves" and "scum." This was the historical context, according to the New Testament, within which Jesus was able to make numerous converts by preaching acceptance of one's master.

    In any event, Jesus' advocacy of accepting one's plight, and of pacifism, were certainly principles that the Flavians would wish to have taught within rebellious Judea. If one separates from the words of Jesus the advice that was in the interest of the imperial family, all that remains are truisms, widely known philosophies, and snippets from previous Judaic writing.

    My analysis suggests that what has been seen as most original about Jesus -- his instruction to love one's enemy -- was the aspect of his ministry that was most evil. Volumes have been written about the possible meaning of Jesus' last comment particularly, but according to my analysis the correct interpretation is that, since the authors of the New Testament considered God and Caesar one and the same, Jesus is, in effect, saying give everything to Caesar.

    Among the Dead Sea Scrolls were found fragments of a work entitled The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs -- a work that had been previously known to scholars only in Greek, Latin, or Ethiopic translations, and had been assumed to be an apocryphal early Christian text. Its discovery among the Scrolls poses problems for Christianity, especially in light of the fact that whoever wrote the Pauline





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    Epistles had clearly used it as a source. There are over seventy words common to the Testaments and the Pauline Epistles that are not found in the rest of the New Testament, a fact discovered by Dr. R. H. Charles and noted in his edition of the Testaments. The implication is, of course, that the authors of the Pauline Epistles were using earlier Jewish source material to create their work.

    The most important parallel is between Matthew 25:35-36 and the passage from the Testament of Joseph 1:5-6. It appears that either the former is a copy of the latter or that both were derived from a common source. In the Testaments, the order of the common words is hunger, alone, sick, prison and in Matthew hunger, a stranger, sick, prison.
    I was sold into slavery, and the Lord of all made me free:
    I was taken into captivity and His strong hand succored me.
    I was beset with hunger, and the Lord himself nourished me.
    I was alone and God comforted me:
    I was sick, and the Lord visited me:
    I was in prison, and the Lord showed favor to me:
    In bonds, and he released me.

    Testament of Joseph 1:5-6

    For I was hungry and you gave me food,
    I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
    I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
    I was naked and you clothed me,
    I was sick and you visited me,
    I was in prison, and you came to me...
    Matt. 25:35-36      
    In the version in the Testaments, the Lord releases the person praying after he is sold into slavery, taken into captivity, and placed in bonds. The version in Matthew does not include these words but adds thirsty and naked. In other words, the prayer in Matthew is a version of the passage in Testament of Joseph but does not include the ideas that Rome would not have wanted. Matthew's version is completely compatible with the teachings of the pacifist Messiah





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    The scrolls found at Qumran also describe a Messiah.
    ...Son of God he will be called and Son of the Most High they will name him... His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom... he will judge the earth in truth... The Great God... will give people into his hand and all of them will cast down before him. His sovereignty is everlasting sovereignty. 214
    In the passage from the New Testament, Luke seems to have borrowed his description of the Messiah from the depiction of the Messiah found at Qumran. However, he did not borrow the militaristic, son of David nature of that Messiah. The Jesus in the New Testament is a tax-paying pacifist. As the Messiah was defined in the New Testament he was a savior with Roman values, not the values of the followers of the militant Judaism found in the scrolls.





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    Christianity was created to be an alternative to the type of rebellious Judaism that swept across Judea in the first century C.E. It is important to try to identify the individuals who were converting to the militaristic Judaism and for whom Christianity was to be an alternative. We are fortunate that Josephus has actually provided a description of these individuals. Notice he identifies them as the "wicked generation."
    ...nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world ...They confessed what was true, that they were the slaves, the scum, and the spurious and abortive offspring of our nation... 215
    Josephus describes the Jewish rebels as slaves and scum. Christianity was developed to compete with militaristic Judaism for the faith of these people, to prevent the militant brand of messianic Judaism from spreading to them. It is clear, therefore, that the religion that was the basis of Western morality was invented for the pacification of slaves.







    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 302 ]


    CHAPTER 15



    The Apostle and the Maccabees


    My analysis revealed that the Apostles John and Simon were lampoons of Jewish militants that turned these leaders of the Jewish rebellion into Christians. I therefore attempted to determine if other distortions of history, either in the New Testament or War of the Jews, had been used in the creation of Christianity. The first thing that struck me after beginning this inquiry was that there were simply too many characters in both works with the names Simon, John, Judas, Eleazar (Lazarus), Matthias (Matthew), Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

    If you consult the Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names in Webster's Unabridged, you will find hundreds of Hebrew first names. Notably, in both Josephus and the New Testament the same few Jewish names proliferate. In War of the Jews there are nine Eleazars, three Jacobs (Jameses), six Jesuses, five Matthiases (Matthew), one Mary, four Mariammes, eight Johns, seven Josephs, ten Judases, and thirteen Simons. In the New Testament the same pattern occurs: there are seven Marys, nine Simons, two Johns, two Josephs, four Judases, two Lazaruses (Eleazar), two Matthiases (Matthews), two Jameses, and, at the minimum, three Jesuses. From the standpoint of probability, it is unlikely that this set of names would even overlap in two works that have so few named characters, let alone with this many duplications.

    I suspected that the authors of the New Testament and the works of Josephus had deliberately used these particular names over and over. But if these particular names were used deliberately, what was the intent?





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    The answer lies in the fact that this same set of names was known to have been used by a third group, the Maccabees, the family that ruled Israel during the first and second centuries B.C.E., until they were replaced by the Romans with Herod. Within that family are found the same names that are so overused by Josephus and the New Testament. The founder of the dynasty was Mattathias (Matthew), who had five sons named Simon, Judas, John, Eleazar (Lazarus), and Jonathan.
    Now at this time there was one whose name was Mattathias, who dwelt at Modin, the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of Asamoneus, a priest of the order of Joarib, and a citizen of Jerusalem. He had five sons; John, who was called Gaddis, and Simon, who was called Matthes, and Judas, who was called Maccabeus, and Eleazar, who was called Auran, and Jonathan, who was called Apphus. Now this Mattathias lamented to his children the sad state of their affairs, and the ravage made in the city, and the plundering of the temple, and the calamities the multitude were under; and he told them that it was better for them to die for the laws of their country, than to live so ingloriously as they then did. 216
    Josephus also claims to be an ancestor of the Maccabees, by way of a daughter of Simon, son of Mattathias, who is mentioned above. In charting his lineage, Josephus records that his branch of the family alternated the names of the males every other generation: Josephus' father was named Mattathias, while his grandfather had been named Josephus, etc. Therefore, the male names used multiple times in the New Testament are almost exactly the same as those Josephus says were used by the males of the Maccabee family. These names are Joseph, Judas, Simon, Eleazar (Lazarus), John, and Matthias (Matthew).

    It is interesting that Jesus, like the sons of Matthias, the founder of the Maccabean dynasty, was also said to be one of five sons. Notice how some of the names in Jesus' family are Maccabean.





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    Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses (Joseph), and Simon, and Judas?
    Matt. 13:55      
    The Maccabees were the creators of the Judea that Rome destroyed. For 376 years, from Zerubbabel to Jonathan Maccabaeus (537-161 B.C.E.), there had been only a negligible Jewish state. Many writers of this era were not even aware of the existence of Judea. The Greek historian Herodotus, painstakingly exact in his documentation of the nations and peoples of the known world, refers only to the Syrians of Palestine ("Philistia") when he describes the area. But the embers of a Jewish national identity were never completely extinguished and in the second century B.C.E. the Maccabean family became the leaders of a movement that brought Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) back into existence.

    The Maccabees conquered the territories of Samaria, Galilee, Edom, and Moab and the cities of Gadara, Pella, Gersa, Gamala, and Gaza. The inhabitants of any area the Maccabees conquered were forced to convert to Judaism and the males were circumcised. Those who refused were executed.

    The reign of the Maccabees ended in 37 B.C.E. when Herod, with Roman support, defeated Matthias Antigonus, the last Maccabean king of Israel. The original Herod was not a Jew but an Edomite Arab. His authority was challenged by the religiously zealous Jews who believed in the maintenance of a separate racial identity. "Whoso marries an Aramean woman, the Zealots lynch him." 217

    The people of Israel dubbed Herod "the Edomite slave," referring both to his slavish relationship with Rome and to his non-Jewish background. To many Jews, Herod and his descendants were thus unacceptable as the kings of Israel. Josephus describes a messianic movement that he calls the "fourth philosophy," which was begun by Judas the Galilean (in the same year that Jesus was purportedly born), who led a rebellion against the Herods and Rome that continued until the fall of Masada in 73 C.E.

    As Josephus relates it, most of the leaders of this philosophy had "Maccabean" names, and in many instances were related to one another. For example, in addition to Judas the Galilean, who is credited





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    with creating the "fourth philosophy," Josephus lists someone named Eleazar as the person who actually starts the war. John and Simon were the names of the "Jewish tyrants" who controlled the rebels during the siege of Jerusalem. The movement ends at Masada when the Sicarii destroy themselves under the leadership of someone also named Eleazar, who was also identified as a descendant of Judas the Galilean.

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    Throughout his works Josephus is very careful to avoid making any mention of the Messiah. He uses the word only twice, both times in conjunction with Jesus, and never explains exactly what the term means. Josephus mentions numerous messianic figures without ever referring to them as a Messiah or a Christ, calling them instead false prophets, robbers, or charlatans. For example, Josephus uses these pejorative secular terms with a character named Thuedas (c. 45 C.E.), no doubt the same Thuedas mentioned in the New Testament, who promised to lead his followers over dryshod like Joshua before Jericho. In other words, he claimed to be able to "part" the water like Moses. Clearly he was an individual operating within a religious framework and not simply, as Josephus describes him, a robber.

    Josephus is reworking history again, this time excluding from it the messianic aspirants who had led revolts against Rome during the first century C.E. He uses the name-switching trick to transform Messiahs into robbers. He is again making it difficult to trace the lineage of the real messianic family. The only messianic lineage remaining after 70 C.E., according to the New Testament and Josephus, is that of Jesus, who, after endorsing Rome, left the planet.

    Even when Josephus applies a messianic prophecy to Vespasian he does not refer to the prophet directly, but rather to the vision of some "ambiguous oracle." I would argue that Josephus' avoidance of the specific prophesies that predict the Messiah, as well as of the term itself, is an example of how he deliberately blurs the history of Judaism so that Christianity can, in the confusion, claim the history as its own. In this case he has blurred the identity and intent of the Maccabean messianic aspirants of this era, leaving only the Messiah of Christianity visible.

    With his description of the death of Eleazar, a descendant of Judas the Galilean, at Masada in 73 C.E., Josephus hoped not only to wipe from history the truth of the family that had stirred such opposition to Rome but actually to use its individuals and history as the "rock" upon which the new religion would be built. The transformation of Simon and John above is just part of a deception on a huge scale, encompassing not just the history of a family, but also of an entire religion, for more than a century.





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    Christianity is the Sicarii movement of Judas the Galilean deliberately blurred and transformed. The Romans transformed the history of the cult of the militant Maccabean Messiah into the history of Christianity.

    Robert Eisenman has pointed out a number of overlaps between the Sicarii movement and Christianity during the second half of the first century C.E. Both were messianic movements, both were in Judea during the same period, and both have engaged in missionary activities. More important is Eisenman's claim that the word "Sicarios" itself may be a "quasi-anagram and a possible pejorative in Greek for the word "Christian." 226 If true, this wordplay creating "Christian" from "Sicarii" would fit perfectly into the pattern of creating Christianity out of the Sicarii movement.

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    sons..." 232 -- ends his work with the beginning of another dynasty that starts with a woman who was kin to Eleazar and "five children." Their names are not given. I am confident, however, that within the Flavian court they would have been known as Mary, her son Jesus, and his four brothers. They are the new dynasty, ready to enter the Promised Land that has been given to them by "God."
    Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 233
    Though Josephus symbolically converted the Maccabee family to Christianity at Masada, the Messianic rebellions centering on that family apparently continued until the defeat of Simon Bar Cochba in 135 C.E. Bar Cochba means "son of the star." Simon was so nicknamed because of the "star" prophecy of Judaism that looks to a Messiah, the same prophecy that the New Testament claims for Jesus. On the coins minted by the Jewish rebels during their 132-135 C.E. revolt,only two individuals are celebrated. One coin is dedicated to Bar Cochba and its inscription reads "Simeon, prince of Israel." The other individual so commemorated is Eleazar. His coin reads "Eleazar the priest." 234 The coins present the same dichotomy that exists in the New Testament and War of the Jews -- that is, between a military leader named Simon and a spiritual one named Eleazar. Rome's struggle with "Simon" and "Eleazar" evidently continued even after the family's "extinction" at Masada.

    Since Jesus' ministry lampoons the Jews by drawing darkly comic parallels with Titus' campaign through Judea, it seems logical that there would also be a lampoon of the twelve Apostles within War of the Jews. In this way the symmetry between the two works would be maintained. I assumed that the lampoon would involve a technique similar to the identity-switching used to transform the Jewish rebel leaders Simon and John into Christians. I discovered precisely such lampoons within Josephus' description of the assaults by the Romans on the temple of Jerusalem. Within the passages twelve Roman soldiers twice attempt to capture the wall that will lead to the temple.





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    The passages that contain this complex lampoon begin with a speech by Titus calling for volunteers to assault the temple. One soldier named "Sabinius" accepts the challenge and in a manner much like the devotio of Decius Mus (Chapter 11), he volunteers to sacrifice his life in the effort.
    Upon this speech of Titus, the rest of the multitude were affrighted at so great a danger. But there was one, whose name was Sabinus, a soldier that served among the cohorts, and a Syrian by birth, who appeared to be of very great fortitude, both in the actions he had done, and the courage of his soul he had shown...
    Sabinius was joined by eleven others and the twelve make their assault, which fails when Sabinius trips over a "large stone," reminiscent of the large stone that entombed Jesus. Notice that Sabinius was possessed by a "divine" fury.
    There followed him eleven others, and no more, that resolved to imitate his bravery; but still this was the principal person of them all, and went first, as excited by a divine fury.

    And now one cannot but complain here of fortune, as still envious at virtue, and always hindering the performance of glorious achievements: this was the case of the man before us, when he had just obtained his purpose; for he then stumbled at a certain large stone, and fell down upon it headlong, with a very great noise. 235
    A second assault is made and again Josephus refers to the number twelve, though this time he adds to it.
    Now two days afterward twelve of those men that were on the forefront, and kept watch upon the banks, got together, and called to them the standard-bearer of the fifth legion, and two others of a troop of horsemen, and one trumpeter; these went without noise, about the ninth hour of the night, through the ruins, to the tower of Antonia; and when they had cut the throats of the first guards of the place, as they were asleep, they got possession of the wall... 236





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    In my opinion, Josephus is using the temple as a symbol of Judaism and the attempt to force "twelve" into it is a comic description of the insertion of the Apostles into the new Judaism. The point is that the temple will no longer be Jewish but Christian, once the "twelve" force their way in. In the following segment notice that getting into the temple would "begin" the Romans' entire conquest, a phrase reminiscent of "completing the calamities of the Jews" in the Son of Mary chapter.
    Then did the seditious of both the bodies of the Jewish army, as well that belonging to John as that belonging to Simon, drive them away; and indeed were no way wanting as to the highest degree of force and alacrity; for they esteemed themselves entirely ruined if once the Romans got into the temple, as did the Romans look upon the same thing as the beginning of their entire conquest. So a terrible battle was fought at the entrance of the temple, while the Romans were forcing their way, in order to get possession of that temple... 237
    Josephus next makes reference to a confusion over the identity of the combatants, which takes place as this battle is fought at the temple door. The wordplay is quite interesting because it is, if this interpretation is correct, a spoof of the planned confusion of identities used by the Romans to usher in Christianity.
    Now during this struggle the positions of the men were undistinguished on both sides, and they fought at random, the men being intermixed one with another, and confounded, by reason of the narrowness of the place; while the noise that was made fell on the ear after an indistinct manner, because it was so very loud. Great slaughter was now made on both sides, and the combatants trod upon the bodies and the armor of those that were dead, and dashed them to pieces. Accordingly, to which side soever the battle inclined, those that had the advantage exhorted one another to go on, as did those that were beaten make great lamentation. But still there was no room for flight, nor for pursuit, but disorderly revolutions and retreats, while the





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    Book of Malachi. As scholars have long recognized, the authors of the Gospels used that book, with its apocalyptic sayings of a messianic forerunner, as the basis for John the Baptist's descriptions of a Day of Judgment.

    In the Book of Malachi it states,
    Behold the day cometh, burning like a furnace and all the proud and they that do wickedly are stubble and the day shall cometh that shall set them aflame, and the Lord of Hosts, and shall not leave them root and branch. 247
    The author of the Gospel of Matthew makes John the Baptist paraphrase Malachi:
    The axe is already laid to the root of the tree and every tree that bringeth not forth fruit is hewn and cast into the midst of the fire... and his fan is in his hand and he shall winnow his threshing-floor and gather wheat into his garner and the chaff he shall burn with unquenchable fire. 248
    However, John adds his own political perspective to Malachi, warning those who believe they have nothing to fear from the Day of Judgment because they are the "children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" -- that is, the Jews -- should be aware that their "Jewishness" does not make them safe. John states (with a play on words) "God is able from these stones (abanim) to raise up children (banim) unto Abraham." John the Baptist thus shares with Jesus a "vision" of a coming apocalypse for the Jews. From my perspective, however, the more important point is that John is saying that "God" can create "Jews" at will, the same idea that Josephus is relating with the story of the battle of the temple, during which "the positions of the men were undistinguished on both sides, and they fought at random, the men being intermixed one with another." Abanim and banim continues the wordplay regarding "son" and "stone" -- that is, ben and eben -- that exists in the New Testament and War of the Jews.

    John the Baptist also paraphrases the Book of Malachi when he states that though he (John) baptizes with water there is one "coming" who is mightier and will baptize with fire.





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    And who may abide the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire. 249
    This prophecy, once again, when taken literally, came to pass in a manner that would be humorous to the residents of the Flavian court. That is, Titus did indeed "baptize" with fire.
    They... set fire to the houses whither the Jews had fled and burnt every soul in them. 250
    Malachias (My Messenger) in Josephus' list of "signalized" Jews must be understood, like Elijah or John the Baptist, as the forerunner of a Messiah. Since a "Jesus" is also a character in the passage, the identity of the Messiah he is coming before seems obvious. The logic of the lampoon suggests that the "Jesus" on the Roman list switches himself with his "forerunner" at the same time that his "Apostles" switch themselves with their Jewish namesakes.

    My analysis suggests that the Maccabees were inserted into Christianity in the first century C.E. They were also somehow extracted from Judaism at the same time. One needs to look into the Book of the Maccabees to read of its origin.

    Since the Romans inserted the Maccabees in Christianity, it is at least logical to wonder if they also removed them from Judaism, which was being reestablished at about the same time. As Eisenman points out in James the Brother of Jesus, Rabbi Yohanan ben Zacchai is described in the Talmud as having worked to reestablish a form of Judaism after the 70 C.E. holocaust. He worked at an academy at Yavneh, established with the authorization of Rome. He is also claimed to have applied the Star prophecy, the Messiah or worldruler prophecy, to Vespasian exactly as Josephus had done. These facts provide a basis for speculation about the extent to which Rome was also involved in the creation of Rabbinical Judaism.



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    CHAPTER 16



    The Samaritan Woman and Other Parallels


    The Gospel of John records an episode that does not appear in the other Gospels, the meeting with a Samaritan woman by a well. This account is a satire of yet another Roman battle recorded in War of the Jews. Though this battle took place before Titus began his campaign at the Sea of Galilee, the authors of the Gospels wished to make a comment about it. They therefore needed -- in order to keep Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign sequential -- to identify it as having occurred before Jesus' ministry began. They achieved this by having Jesus note that "my hour has not yet come" (John 7:6). In other words, that the event took place before Jesus had officially started his ministry in Judea.

    At Mount Gerizzim the Gospel of John provides an account in which Jesus describes himself as "living water." As I have stated, Jesus' self-designations are all darkly comic when juxtaposed with events from the war with Rome that occurred at the same location.
    Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

    The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?'"





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    Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again.

    But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

    The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."

    Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."

    "I have no husband," she replied. "You rightly say that you have no husband," said Jesus; "for you have had five husbands, and the man you have at present is not your husband. You have spoken the truth in saying that."

    "Sir," replied the woman, "I see that you are a Prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

    Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father." 251
    The New Testament symbolism that established Jesus as "living bread" was based on the famine that resulted from the siege of Jerusalem. The following passage from Josephus is the basis for the irony inherent in Jesus referring to himself as "living water."
    Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of misfortunes at this time; for they assembled themselves together upon the mountain called Gerizzim, which is with them a holy mountain, and there they remained;... Vespasian therefore thought it best to prevent their motions, and to cut off the foundation of their attempts... Now it happened that the Samaritans, who were now destitute of water, were inflamed with a violent heat (for it was summer time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with necessaries) insomuch that some of them died that very day with heat. 252
    The passage above from Josephus contains the only mention of Mount Gerizzim in War of the Jews. The only mention of Mount Gerizzim





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    in the New Testament is in the passage I quoted where Jesus meets the Samaritan women. It is also the only time Jesus refers to himself as "living water." Because in the same passage Jesus foresees the dual destruction of Jerusalem and Gerizzim, a singular event in history, we can be sure of the linkage between this prophecy and the coming war with Rome. In other words, when Jesus says "the time is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father..." he is clearly referring to the "time" of their mutual destruction. The only time when both cities were simultaneously destroyed was during the war with Rome. Therefore, we are logically on solid ground to understand that Jesus' vision on Mount Gerizzim is related to the coming war with Rome.

    If we accept the premise that Jesus' prophecies regarding Gerizzim and Jerusalem are related to their coming destruction in the war with Rome, his claim to be "living water" for the inhabitants of Gerizzim can be understood as foreseeing their lack of water during the Roman siege. Such a self-designation by Jesus, in this context, may seem innocent enough. However, if we accept that Jesus' description of himself as "living water" is related to the Samaritans dying of thirst on Mount Gerizzim, this verifies my premise regarding Jesus' claim to be "living bread" -- that is, that it relates to the practice of cannibalism during the siege of Jerusalem.

    Consider how someone living in the Flavian court in 80 C.E. would have reacted to Jesus choosing Mount Gerizzim as the place to describe himself as "living water." Clearly, such an individual, knowing that the Jewish rebels died of thirst on Mount Gerizzim, would have found Jesus' self-designation "living water" on Gerizzim darkely humorous.

    In fact, it is self-evident that members of the Flavian court would have seen all of Christ's self-designations -- "fisher of men," "living bread," "living water," "the stone," and "the temple" as ironic because of the locations where he used them. It is unlikely that such a particular brand of humor would occur constantly by chance -- and the fact that it does occur consistently supports the contention that the gospels were created to be understood, on one level, as a mockery of the Jews that specifically relates to Roman military victories in Judea.





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    I now want to broaden my analysis here and present a number of other parallels that I am not going to analyze in any detail. Some of these are as telling about the true relationship between Josephus and the New Testament as any shown in this work. Others are simply informational in nature. What these New Testament individuals and events share is that their only other historical documentation comes from Josephus.

    When one reads about early Christianity or first-century C.E. Judea, both the social background and the dating of events are derived solely from Josephus. Since the New Testament and the works of Josephus cover the same areas and time frames, there is nothing unusual in the fact that events and characters appear in both works.

    However, if it can be shown that Josephus had a keen awareness of Christianity, this has implications. Much of the comedy that the two works create is virtually self-evident. To demonstrate that Josephus was lampooning Christianity in the passage regarding the son of Mary whose flesh was eaten, for example, it is only necessary to prove that Josephus was aware of Christianity as he wrote the story.

    During the time that Josephus was writing War of the Jews and Jewish Antiquities, the Flavian family was clearly involved with Christianity. This suggests that Josephus, both a historian and a theologian, would have been familiar with the religion and its symbols. In fact, the total overlap of individuals and events in the New Testament and the works of Josephus indicates that he must have known a great deal about Christianity.

    The following is a list of individuals, groups, and events mentioned by both Josephus and the Gospels or the Book of Acts:
    Simon the magician
    The Egyptian false prophet
    Ananias the high priest
    Felix the procurator, and his wife Drusilla
    Festus the procurator
    Agrippa II and Berenice
    The Widow's sacrifice of a mite
    King Herod
    The slaughter of the innocents





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    Archelaus
    The census of Quirinius
    The fifteenth year of Tiberius
    John the Baptist
    Pharisees
    Sadducees
    James the Brother of Jesus
    Judas the Galilean
    The famine under Claudius
    The Death of Herod Agrippa I
    Jesus
    In addition to these overlapping characters and events, the works share a number of conceptual parallels other than those I have previously presented. I want to briefly discuss some of these. The first actually predates Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign. It consists of the parallel "slaughter of the innocents" that occurs in both the New Testament and Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews.

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    Conclusion


    The thorough analysis I've undertaken in this work strongly supports the premise that, sometime after the war between the Romans and the Jews, Christianity was created by intellectuals working for the Flavian emperors. They created the religion to serve as a theological barrier to prevent messianic Judaism from again erupting against the empire. I have also presented an analysis showing that the story of Jesus' ministry told in the Gospels was constructed as a "prophetic" satire of Titus Flavius' military campaign through Judea. This satire cleverly used typological parallels to show that Titus was the real "Christ" that Christians have unwittingly been worshipping. Though unseen for 2,000 years, the path to understanding the real meaning of the Gospels is a clear one. The first step is simply recognizing that Jesus was created as a typological figure. This is established at the beginning of the Gospels, in Matthew, where the life of Moses, the first savior of Israel, was used as a type for Jesus, the second savior of Israel.

    OLD TESTAMENT MATTHEW
    Gen. 45-50 Joseph takes old Israel down to
    Egypt

    Ex. 1 Pharaoh massacres boys

    Ex. 4 "All the men are dead..."

    Ex. 12 From Egypt to Israel

    Ex. 14 Passing through water (baptism)

    Ex. 16 Tempted by bread

    Ex. 17 Do not tempt God

    Ex. 32 Worship only God
    2:13 Joseph brings new Israel down to
    Egypt

    2:16 Herod massacres boys

    2:20 "They are dead..."

    2:21 From Egypt to Israel

    3:13 Baptism

    4:4 Tempted by bread

    4:7 Do not tempt God

    4:10 Worship only God





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    The use of typological parallels to link Jesus to Moses was designed to create the impression that prior Judaic literature had "foreseen" the life of Jesus. However, the fact that the authors of the Gospels created Jesus as a typological character strongly supports the thesis that the linkage I show in this work between Jesus and Titus was also created deliberately. Let us suppose that a criminal is known to commit his crimes with a very unusual weapon -- say, a bowling ball. A crime scene where the victim is crushed by a bowling ball would strongly suggest the same perpetrator. The same kind of evidence weighs against the authors of the Gospels. It is implausible that one of the few groups that ever knowingly used typology would have also created the only accidentally typological relationships in all of literature.

    Even if Jesus were not an obvious typological character, the relationship between his ministry and Titus' campaign would, in and of itself, prove that one was based on the other. The parallels between the ministry and the campaign of the two "sons of God" do not merely occur in the same locations, but in the same sequence. This is the clearest proof that Titus left for us -- proof he left so we would see that he had succeeded in his efforts to make the Jews call him "Lord," proof he left that he had become the Christ that Christianity would worship for thousands of years.

    To see the relationship between Jesus and Titus, all that is needed is to view Jesus' ministry as it relates to the war between the Romans and the Jews. Though this perspective has been overlooked by historians, it is one that should be studied for several reasons. First, because Jesus stated that all his prophecies would be fulfilled before the "wicked generation" of Jews passed away. To Jews of this era a generation was forty years in length, and Titus' war against the messianic Jews came to an end, "miraculously," forty years to the day after Jesus' resurrection. Therefore, the Gospels should be read in the context of the war -- this was literally the instruction that Jesus gave us. Further, the victors write history. Since the Flavians were the victors in their war with the messianic movement in Judea, all the histories relating to that era, including the Gospels, should be scrutinized to determine if the Flavians produced them. Once the Gospels are viewed from the perspective of a member of the Flavian





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    inner circle, the relationship between Jesus and Titus becomes virtually self-evident.

    The Parallels

    The relationship between Jesus and Titus begins on Mount Gerizzim, where Jesus calls himself "living water" on the same spot where Jews would later die of thirst during the war. Because Titus has not received control over the army when that battle occurs, the authors of the Gospels have Jesus announce that "my time has not yet come" -- in other words, that his ministry had not yet begun -- to maintain the parallelism between his ministry and Titus' campaign. Jesus then begins his ministry at the Sea of Galilee, where he gathers in his disciples, who he calls "fishers of men." Titus also has the "onset" of his campaign at the same location, where his "disciples" become "fishers of men" by spearing Jews as they attempt to swim for safety after the Romans sink their boats.

    Jesus next encounters a possessed man at Gadara who unleashes a "legion" of demons that possess a herd of swine and rush wildly into the Jordan river. Titus has a strangely parallel experience at Gadara, where one "demonically possessed" man unleashed a legion of "demons" -- that is, the Sicarii -- who infect a herd of "swine" -- that is, Jewish youth. The combined group is then chased by the Romans and rushes "like the wildest of beasts" into the Jordan river.

    Following the Gadara encounter, the "son of Mary" travels to Jerusalem where he informs his disciples that they will one day "eat of his flesh." This prophecy comes to pass when a "son of Mary" is eaten by his mother during Titus' siege of Jerusalem.

    The Gospels next describe two assaults on the Mount of Olives, one in which a naked man escapes and another in which the Messiah is captured. These episodes parallel events on the Mount of Olives during Titus' siege of Jerusalem, where a "naked" man -- Titus -- escapes, and a Messiah is captured.

    The pair of Mount of Olives assaults is followed in both the Gospels and Titus' campaign by a description of three crucified men, one of whom miraculously survives. In each version, an individual named "Joseph of Arimathea" (Joseph Bar Matthias) takes the survivor down from the cross.





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    The Puzzle of the Empty Tomb

    My reading of the combined story of Jesus' resurrection is perhaps the clearest proof of the Flavian origin of Christianity. This is because the story was designed to be a way of proving beyond a doubt that creating the Gospels as satire was the real intent of its authors. This proof also has the advantage of being, if incorrect, so easy to disprove. Experts in probability can either confirm or deny the conclusions in this work and the truth will out.

    This work was in no way created as a criticism of the faith of contemporary Christians. I felt required to present my findings because of the light they shed on the origin and purpose of both anti-Semitism and the moral structure of Western societies.

    I realize that some will find the conclusions of this work disorienting. Symbols long thought to have been based on Christian love may really be images of Roman conquest. Even the belief that our culture is Judeo- Christian may be incorrect, in that it may have been completely shaped by Roman "religious" influence. Most unnerving to me is this question: What would Western civilization be like if, instead of emerging from the Christian tradition, it had emerged from a culture that worshiped strength and scorned weakness?

    It is also hard to accept that so many have missed the obvious clues left by the creators of Christianity to inform us of the true origin of the religion. While many of the puzzles are difficult to see and solve, it is simply amazing that no one has noticed heretofore that Titus' campaign had a conceptual outline parallel to Jesus' ministry. This is not a difficult thing to see and should have been common knowledge centuries earlier. Homo sapiens failed to earn its title in this instance.

    Though Christianity may have begun as a cruel joke, it has become the basis for much of humankind's moral progress. I present this work with great ambivalence, but truth is a whole, and no part should be hidden. During the turmoil that is about to descend, we should all remember the words of Jesus: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."


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    Appendix

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    its reproduced text will be shortened here, if requested)



    A Reader's Guide to the Names and Terms in Caesar's Messiah

    ACILIUS GLABRIO Consul at Rome in 91 C.E., he was banished then executed by Domitian in 95 C.E. as a "contriver of novelty." Traditionally, he is supposed to have been executed for being a Christian.

    ACHILLEUS Legendary chamberlain of Flavia Domitilla. He appears in the sixth-century C.E. work Acts of Saints Nereus and Achilleus.

    AGRIPPA II Born in 27 C.E., son of Agrippa I, king of Judea, and grandson of Herod the Great. As governor over the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias, he supported Vespasian during the Jewish War, sending 2,000 men.

    BARABBAS A character in the Gospels who acts as a foil for Jesus and is released instead of him. The name is a composite of the Hebrew bar (son) and abba (father), meaning "son of the Father." In some early manuscripts his name is given as Jesus Barabbas.

    BAR COCHBA Leader of the revolt against Rome in 131 C.E. His name in Hebrew means "son of the star," referring to the "star prophecy."

    BERNICE Born in 28 C.E., she was the daughter of Agrippa I (died 44 C.E.), king of Judea, the grandson of Herod the Great. She married her Marcus, brother of Tiberius Alexander, and then became mistress to Titus. She can be identified through a logic puzzle as one of those who initiated the idea of creating the Gospels. Her sister





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    Drusilla, believed to be the most beautiful woman in the world, married Antonius Felix, Roman procurator of Judea (52-60 C.E).

    BRUNO BAUER German philosopher, historian, and theologian (1809-1882). He realized that the Gospels had been written as Roman propaganda utilizing Stoic and Hellenistic ideas, and had not been derived directly from Judaism. He thought that the first Gospel had been written under Hadrian (117-138 C.E.). See Christ and the Caesars (1879).

    CATULLUS A character in War of the Jews who dies when his guts burst. Judas, Catullus' counterpart in the Book of Acts, dies when his guts burst. The parallel is set up to create a logical puzzle which, when solved, reveals the names of the writers of the Gospels.

    CLEMENT Or Clemens, Pope Clement I, traditionally credited with the authorship of the noncanonical Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians c. 96 C.E. He used to be identified with Consul Titus Flavius Clemens who was executed by Domitian in 95 C.E.

    CYPRIAN Christian bishop and orator, born c. 240 C.E.

    DANIEL Prophetic book of the Hebrew Scriptures written around 600 B.C.E., containing prophecies about the coming of a Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem

    DECIUS MUNDUS A character in the passage that surrounds the famous Testimonium passage in Jewish Antiquities, which supposedly confirms the historicity of Jesus. The name is a pun on Decius Mus (mouse), a Roman military hero who sacrificed himself to save Rome.

    DOMITIAN Titus Flavius Domitianus (51-96 C.E.). The younger son of Vespasian who, at Domitian's birth, was an army general. Domitian succeeded his father and elder brother Titus as the third Flavian emperor (81-96 C.E.). His rule is associated with a literary revival and major building program in Rome. Historians present him as an efficient but cruel and corrupt despot.

    ELEAZAR Maccabean Hebrew name that means "whom God aids." It is translated in Greek as "Lazarus." Eleazar was a member of the messianic dynasty that was captured by the Romans during the siege of Jerusalem; he was threatened with crucifixion and had his limbs "pruned." He was then given back to his relatives -- and after he died from his injuries they ate him. His torture and death are





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    satirized when the figure of the cannibal Mary eats her son as a symbolic Passover lamb, and when the figure of Lazarus in the Gospels is raised from the tomb, whereupon Mary "makes him a supper."

    EPICTETUS Stoic philosopher and slave to Epaphroditus, secretary to Nero and Domitian. Some of his attitudes were reflected in the Gospels.

    EUSEBIUS Bishop of Caesarea around 330 C.E. and author of a History of the Church and an apologetic life of the Emperor Constantine.

    FELIX Antonius Felix, corrupt Roman procurator of Judea (52-60 C.E.) and husband to Drusilla, sister of Bernice.

    FLAVIA DOMITILLA Granddaughter of Vespasian, niece of Titus. She married Clemens. She provided the land for the earliest Christian catacombs in Rome. To be distinguished from the Domitilla who was sister of Titus and Domitian.

    FLAVIANS The family name for the dynasty of emperors founded by Vespasian.

    HEGESIPPUS A second-century Christian writer of a book of memoirs directed against the Gnostics. His work is known from the passages incorporated in the writings of Eusebius.

    HEROD THE GREAT King of Judea (73-4 B.C.E.). From an Idumaean (not Jewish) family, he became governor of Galilee at the age of twenty-five and later fled to Rome, where Mark Anthony appointed him the puppet king of Judea in absentia. Caesar Augustus eventually confirmed the title and with Roman support he was installed as a client king in Jerusalem. He co-opted the Maccabean dynasty by marrying one of their women, Mariamme, by whom he had five children before he had her executed.

    HIPPOLYTUS Heretical Christian teacher and bishop born c. 150 C.E.

    HONI Known in Greek as Onias, Honi the Rainmaker, (died 65 B.C.E.) is traditionally identified as a Galilean holy man, and was one of the models upon which the character of Jesus was based.

    IRENAEUS Christian theologian born c. 130 C.E. Best known for his writings against Gnosticism.

    JEROME Christian saint and writer on the Bible, born about 340 C.E.





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    JESUS The name of a character portrayed in the Gospels. The name is a Greek homophone for the Hebrew word yeshu'a, which can mean either "God saves" or "Savior."

    JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA A character in the Gospels, he takes the body of Jesus down from the cross. In the Gospel of Barnabas his name is given as Joseph of Barimathea. No such town as Arimathea existed. The name is a pun on Josephus bar Matthias.

    JOSEPHUS Originally Josephus bar Mattathias (37-100 C.E.), he took the name Flavius Josephus on being adopted into the Imperial Flavian family. He claimed to originally have been a general in Galilee who recognized that the traditional Hebrew prophecy about the new world ruler applied to Vespasian. He abandoned the Jews and sided with the Romans. He was given an apartment in the emperor's own townhouse and wrote the authorized history War of the Jews, which was criticized by contemporaries for fictionalizing history and containing scholastic puzzles. The Romans erected a statue in his honor.

    JUDAS ISCARIOT A character in the Gospel who betrays Jesus to the Romans and dies when his gut bursts. His last name may be an anagram, indicating that he represents not merely the Maccabean Judas the Galilean, but specifically the Sicarii movement. See Catullus.

    JUDAS THE GALILEAN A Maccabean Zealot. He was a leader of a revolt against the Romans around 6 C.E. over a proposed census. His sons Jacob and Simon were crucified by the Romans, and another son, Menahem, became leader of the Sicarii movement -- which supposedly assassinated its opponents with the daggers after which their movement was named.

    JUSTIN MARTYR Christian theologian born about 100 C.E. Best known for his Dialogue with the Jew Tryphon.

    JUVENAL Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, satirical anti-Semitic poet active in the first century C.E. He coined the well-known expression "bread and circuses" to describe how the emperors would please the populace.

    LAZARUS See Eleazar.

    MACCABEES Original messianic dynasty of Judea removed from power by the Romans in 63 B.C.E. See Mattathias





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    MARY At least five different Marys are presented in the Gospels, where the name is used generically to refer to female rebels. The word is a Hebrew term meaning "their rebellion." Its Aramaic equivalent is Martha, "she was rebellious."

    MATTATHIAS Founder of the militaristic and messianic dynasty of the Maccabees, who in 165 B.C.E. led the revolt celebrated by Jews today in the festival of Hannukah. Mattathias/Matthias (Matthew) had five sons: Simon, Judas, John, Eleazar (Lazarus), and Jonathan. These names were dynastic and were passed on through later generations until the dynasty was removed from power by the Roman conquest of Judea in 63 B.C.E. (The dynasty's burial site was discovered in 1995 at a site 30 kilometers north of Jerusalem). Once removed from power, the dynasty continued to revolt against the Roman occupation and the Herodian puppet kings. In the Gospels, the Romans blatantly satirize the Jews by using Maccabean names for Christian characters.

    NEREUS Legendary chamberlain of Flavia Domitilla. He appears in the sixth-century work Acts of Saints Nereus and Achilleus.

    ORIGEN Major Christian theologian and Biblical critic (185-264 C.E.).

    PAUL A historical figure who may have begun his career in the service of the Emperor Nero (as described by Robert Eisenman). He subsequently became an administrator of the Jesus cult. Several characters in Josephus are parodies of him. These include the evil character on the right-hand side of the Decius Mundus triptych, and Paulinus, who prevents the Jews from having access to the temple by closing the gates. Acts 21:28-30 contain a parallel event in which the temple gates are closed.

    PEDANIUS DIOSCORIDES The chief physician and botanist accompanying Vespasian and Titus in Judea. His work is believed to have contributed to the underlying botanical metaphor that the Romans used to create their satire. He is best known as the originator of modern herbalism and as a pioneer of anesthesia.

    PERSIUS Aulus Persius Flaccus (34-62 C.E.). Roman satirical poet aligned with Stoic philosophy.

    PLINY THE ELDER Gaius Plinius Secondus was a friend and advisor to the Emperor Vespasian, whom he visited daily. He is known





    Appendix   343  

    to have advised on the creation of the Roman satire and to have visited the army in Judea. He is best known for his Natural History.

    PLINY THE YOUNGER Governor of Pontus/Bithynia 111 to113 C.E. His correspondence with the Emperor Trajan on how to treat Christians survives. The problem as he defined it was that the contagion of this "superstition" had gotten out of control and had already spread beyond Judea, not only to the cities but also to the villages and farms, although he still thought it possible to check its further spread. The Emperor Trajan, however, instructed him that Christians were not to be sought out.

    QUIRINIUS Governor of Syria. He attempted to conduct a census in 6 C.E. to facilitate tax gathering. This led directly to the revolt by the Zealot Judas the Galilean. In the Gospel of Luke, the depiction of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem to register for the census is a satirical counter to this revolt. The Gospel depicts Jews who cooperate in paying their taxes.

    C. I. SCOFIELD Christian writer (1843-1921) who produced an edition of the Bible that popularized premillennial teachings.

    SENECA Stoic philosopher and tutor to the Emperor Nero. Some of his attitudes are reflected in the Gospels.

    SIMON PETER A character from the Gospels whose name is originally "Simon," before he is renamed petros, meaning "a stone." At the end of John 21 he is told that he will be bound and taken off to die. The character parodies the rebel Simon, who was seized at the siege of Jerusalem and taken to Rome for execution.

    SUETONIUS Roman historian and secretary to the Emperor Hadrian. He is remembered chiefly as the author of The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, produced around 120 C.E.

    TACITUS Cornelius Tacitus (55-117 C.E.), a Roman historian known for his Histories, Annals of Imperial Rome, and a biography of his father-in-law Agricola.

    TERTULLIAN Christian theologian born about 160 C.E. The first theologian to write in Latin.

    TIBERIUS ALEXANDER A nonpracticing Jew, who was son of the richest man in the world, the customs collector of Alexandria. He was brother-in-law to Titus' mistress Bernice and one of the generals supporting the Romans in the siege of Jerusalem. He put down





     344   CAESAR'S  MESSIAH

    a riot in Alexandria, slaughtering 50,000 Jews. He can be identified through a logic puzzle as one of those who initiated the idea of creating the Gospels.

    TITUS FLAVIUS SABINUS Became consul in 82 C.E., married Domitian's sister Domitilla, and was executed by Domitian. Supposedly the father or uncle of Clemens.

    TITUS Titus Flavius Vespasianus (39-81 C.E.), the elder son of Vespasian. After serving in Britain as a legate, he went as legate of the 15th legion to Judea under his father's command. After Vespasian returned to Rome to be crowned emperor, Titus was left in command of the campaign in Judea. He directed the building of the siege wall that surrounded Jerusalem and led to the fall of the city. On his return to Rome he shared in his father's administration, and became emperor on Vespasian's death in 79 C.E. Historians regard him as an efficient, frugal administrator like his father.

    THEOPHRATUS Greek philosopher and botanist. Died in 287 C.E. Was chosen by Aristotle to succeed him in running the Lyceum. Several of his unique botanical words were used by the first-century C.E. Romans, probably by the botanist Pedanius Dioscorides, to create aspects of the Flavian satire.

    VESPASIAN Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus (9-79 C.E.). Born the son of a tax collector, he commanded a legion during the invasion of Britain and developed expertise in siege warfare.This was why he was asked by Nero to lead the force to put down the revolt in Judea. On Nero's death the army united behind Vespasian to support him as emperor. He became emperor in December 69 C.E. and is presented by historians as a fair and hard-working administrator. From 71 C.E. until his death in 79 C.E. he governed with the assistance of his son Titus, who succeeded him as emperor.

    WILLIAM WHISTON English clergyman, mathematician and classical scholar (1667-1752). Succeeded Newton as Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge. Translated the works of Josephus into English. Concluded that the various prophetic fulfillments in Josephus proved that Jesus was the Messiah.

    ZACHARIAS the son of Baruch. A minor character in War of the Jews parodied in Matthew 23:35 as Zechari'ah, son of Barachi'ah, who dies in a similar fashion.





    Appendix   345  

    ZACCHAI Rabbi Yohanan ben Zacchai, described in the Talmud as leaving Jerusalem at the time of the siege in a coffin, and standing up to acclaim Vespasian, who awarded him the town of Jamnia, or Yavneh, in order to establish Rabbinial Judaism. Supposedly he applied the "star prophecy," or world-ruler prophecy, to Vespasian exactly as Josephus also did.

    ZEALOTS Originally a Maccabean group, they organized against Herod the Great (73-74 B.C.E.), and again under Judas of Galilee c. 6 C.E. to resist a Roman census. After the destruction of the temple the Zealots retreated to Masada where, according to Josephus, many committed suicide to avoid capture.






    Copyright © 2005 by Joseph Atwill -- All rights reserved.
    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


    [ 346 ]




    A Timeline of Jesus' and Titus' Lives


    LIFE OF JESUS

    1 C.E. Purported birth of Jesus.

    30 C.E. Ministry begins.

    • At the Lake of Galilee Jesus begins his ministry by calling followers to become "fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19 and parallels).

    • At Gadara, Jesus expels 2,000 demons from a man. The demons migrate into pigs that then jump off a cliff into the river (Mark 5:1-20).

    33 C.E. Jesus goes to Jerusalem (Luke 18:15 and parallels).

    • A naked young man escapes at the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:51-52).

    • Jesus predicts that Jerusalem will be surrounded by a wall (Luke 19:43).

    • Three men are crucified at the Hill of the Skulls (Golgotha), one man is taken down from the cross by Joseph(us) (ben) AriMathea, and later appears alive (Matt. 27:33, 27:57-58 and parallels).

    • At the end of the last Gospel, Jesus declares that John (the beloved disciple) will live, but that Simon (Peter) will be bound and taken where he does not want to go, to be killed (John 21).

    LIFE OF TITUS

    39 C.E. Titus Flavius Vespasianus (hereafter Titus) is born.

    66 C.E. His father, Vespasian, is appointed to put down the revolt in Judea, and takes Titus with him.

    67 C.E. Roman campaign begins in Galilee.

    • At the Lake of Galilee Titus begins his campaign with a battle in which Jews fall into the water and are fished out (War 3,10,5-8).

    68 C.E. Emperor Nero dies.

    • At Gadara, rebels are forced to rush like beasts into the river (War 4,7,1-6).

    69 C.E. In July, the army in Judea, Egypt, and Syria backs Vespasian for emperor.





    Appendix   347  

    69 C.E. Vespasian arrives in Rome, quells civil war, and is made emperor, leaving Titus to complete the war in Judea.

    70 C.E. Titus goes to Jerusalem.

    • Titus, "naked" -- without his armor -- escapes attack at the Garden of Gethsemane (War 5,12).

    • Titus builds a siege wall around Jerusalem (War 5,12). Titus pitches camp at Jerusalem exactly forty years from the start of Jesus' ministry.

    • Three men are crucified at the Village of the Inquiring Mind (Thecoe). One man is taken down from the cross by Josephus ben Matthias and miraculously survives (Josephus Life, 26).

    • John is captured but allowed to live (War 6,9,4) but Simon is seized and is taken to Rome to die (War 7,2,1).

    71 C.E. Titus and Vespasian have a joint triumph in Rome. Titus is given various honors and begins sharing control of the administration.

    73 C.E. The massacre at Masada occurs exactly forty years from Jesus' resurrection.

    79 C.E. Josephus writes the authorized history War of the Jews, which is dedicated to Titus.

    71-79 C.E. Gospels are probably written.

    79 C.E. Following Vespasian's death, Titus becomes emperor.

    80 C.E. Titus establishes an imperial cult to worship Vespasian as a god.

    81 C.E. Titus dies in September, and an imperial cult is created to worship him as a god. Arch of Titus is constructed posthumously in Rome, acclaiming him as "the son of a god."

    81 C.E. His younger brother Domitian becomes the third Flavian emperor.

    94 C.E. Josephus publishes his Jewish Antiquities in twenty volumes, written in Greek and containing the "Testimonium Flavianum," which supposedly testifies independently to the historic existence of Jesus.




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    Only limited, "fair use" excerpts reproduced here.


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    Endnotes


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    Selected Bibliography


    Aland, Kurt, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger, and Allen Wikgren, eds. The Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. United Bible Societies, 1968.

    Aland, Kurt, and Barbara Aland. The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

    Brandon, S.G.F. Jesus and the Zealots. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1967.

    Eisenman, Robert. James the Brother of Jesus, Penguin Books, 1997.

    Eisenman, Robert, and Michael Wise. Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered. Penguin Books, 1992.

    Josephus, Flavius. The Works of Josephus. Hendricks Publishers, 1987.

    Klausner, Joseph. Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teaching. Bradford and Dickens, 1925.

    Millar, Fergus. The Roman Near East. Harvard University Press, 1993.

    The New Testament, Authorized King James Version.

    Tcherikover, Victor. Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews. Atheneum, 1970.

    Wise, Michael, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook. Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation. Harper San Francisco, 1996.





    About the Author   355  


    About the Author

    Joseph Atwill is a successful businessman and a long-time student of Christianity. He ultimately turned his attention full-time to the vexing question of Christian origins, and it was among the hundreds of books he studied that he made the striking discoveries set out in Caesar's Messiah. He currently lives in California with his wife and children, where he is at work on a second book.







     

    Transcriber's  Comments



    (under construction)


    Joseph Atwill's, Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus (Ulysses Press, 2005)

    Reviewed by Robert M. Price

    The controversial thesis of this book is that Christianity began as the opium of the Jewish people, mixed and prescribed for them by the crafty Flavian dynasty. Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian had had their fill of militant Zealotry and Sicariism. They could not bend the Jewish nationalists to their will even after a destructive war that leveled the temple of their God. No amount of torture could make Jewish prisoners deny their faith and call Caesar not only their salad but also their lord. And so Titus Caesar, with the help of his obedient lackey Josephus, devised a master deception whereby Jews should be seduced into worshipping Titus, divine son of the divine Vespasian, without knowing it, under the guise of a fictitious Jesus, divine son of a divine Father. The gospels were composed by Romans (and Roman stooges including defeated Zealot leader John of Gischala AKA John son of Zebedee) to catechize Jews into this new and false Judaism which, if they accepted it, should also lull them into a soporific pacifism convenient for Rome. The four canonical gospels and Josephus’ The Jewish War were designed and composed to be read together and so to reveal to the cognoscenti this secret origin and rationale for the Christian religion. Further, this Flavian Pentateuch, read thus intertextually, should disclose a series of cruel jokes and parodies of the very faith it presented for the consumption of the masses who read them literally. The Flavian aristocrats themselves would have gotten the jokes, especially the rich jest that the fools who fell for their scam religion were worshipping Titus without knowing it. In a cover blurb, Robert Eisenman (a sometime colleague of author Atwill, one hastens to add, on other endeavors) remarks, “If what Joseph Atwill is saying is only partially true, we are looking into the abyss.” And the abyss is looking back at us. But is it even partially true?

    Eisenman’s interest in Atwill’s proposal is understandable. Eisenman, in his monumental work James the Brother of Jesus, was able to show, from an altogether new perspective, how thoroughly pro-Roman is New Testament faith. Compared with the religion of nationalistic Jewish Christianity it must have seemed the foulest betrayal, an overnight devolution of the faith of a messiah who stormed the temple, condemning its Roman lapdog rulers, into a religion advocating obedience to Caesar, paying him his denarius, and accepting Quisling tax collectors as brothers in the faith. And Atwill is attempting to explain how such a Gentile Christianity, seemingly a perverse parody of Jewish messianism, could have come about. But does Eisenman accept Atwill’s theory? His blurb sounds like an exercise in damning with faint praise: he doesn’t even commit himself to Atwill’s being part right. And one hopes he never does, since that would be tying his own raft to a leaden, sinking ship.

    I will return presently to a handful of oddities that Atwill rightly points out, providing tasty food for further thought. But first I want to provide a broad sketch of the sense I think Atwill’s theory would make of New Testament phenomena, which is not to say it is the only theory that might account for these features. Picture a religious ethic of conspicuous compromise with the occupying authorities, a gospel that tells its believers not to resist any who confiscate their property, but to pay Roman taxes and to carry a legionary’s field pack twice the distance stipulated by Roman law. Imagine a story that blames not just Jews but implicitly nationalistic, messianic Jews for the destruction of their temple. A story that has the messiah predict that the kingdom will be taken from Jews and given to a more worthy nation. Keep in mind how the preacher of this sect befriends Jews who collaborate with Rome and eulogizes a Roman centurion for having faith unparalleled among Jews. He is declared innocent by Roman authorities but nonetheless is done in by Jewish rulers. Then think of how the predictions of the fall of Jerusalem a single generation later correspond so closely to Josephus’ account of the events, and furthermore, how Josephus even mentions Jesus as a righteous man and even as the messiah of prophetic prediction (though he himself had proclaimed Vespasian the proper object of such prophecy). When someone suggests that Christianity may have been a “safe,” denatured, Roman-domesticated, messianic Methadone to replace the real and dangerous messianic heroin of the Zealots, and that Josephus had something to do with it, it does not sound unreasonable on the face of it.

    Now even this much is highly controversial, debatable, and necessarily so. But if we find this much of the premise beguiling, should we go the rest of the way with Atwill as our guide? After all, somewhat similar theories of a Roman origin of Christianity and of Jesus have been proposed by Abelard Reuchlin (whose notorious 1979 booklet The True Authorship of the New Testament strikingly anticipates Atwill’s at several points), Margaret Morrison (Jesus Augustus), Cliff Carrington (who also ascribes the gospels to the Flavians), and Stephan Hermann Huller (Marcus Agrippa, etc.). We might find that one of these alternative theories of Roman origins explains many of the same things Atwill’s does, and without the disadvantages.

    Atwill’s theory does have the advantage of accounting for the persistent pro-Roman tendencies of the New Testament, but consider what else it requires us to accept. First, we are to accept a common, if committee, authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke John, and Josephus’ The Jewish War. The whole idea seems, well, absurd. There is way, way, too much else in any and all of the gospel texts that cannot be dismissed (really, neglected) as mere padding, ballast, which is all it would be if Atwill is right. (“All of Jesus’ ministry was about the coming war with Rome and was designed to establish Jesus as Titus’ forerunner” p. 260.) Are we to dismiss the diverse, systematic, and subtle theological nuances disclosed by Redaction Criticism? Are all the patterns disclosed by Conzelmann, for instance, to be dismissed as optical illusions in order to justify Atwill?

    Similarly, only the most obtuse reader, the most tin-eared, can possibly fail to appreciate the sublime quality of so much of the New Testament (agree or disagree with it), which is necessary to do if one is to dismiss the whole thing as an elaborate joke on the reader. Rather, the joke is on Atwill, whose great learning has apparently driven him mad. Just think of someone advancing the same theory about, say, the Buddhist scriptures. The worst of them are far too tedious and turgid to have been composed to fill out a hoax (who would have gone to the trouble?), while the more readable and winsome (like the Dhammapada) are filled with a wisdom beyond the reach of a worldly-minded scoffer. As to Jesus’ teachings, Atwill declares that “those who see spiritual meaning in his words are being played for a fool” (p. 234). Such a statement is only a damning self-condemnation, revealing the author’s own absolute inability to appreciate what he is reading. This is why one must not throw one’s pearls before swine.

    Can we imagine that Josephus wrote consciously intending that his audience should meticulously compare his text with that of the gospels, and vice versa, for either to make sense? Atwill grants the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum, which even apologists cannot seem to swallow without trimming away the most obviously Christian gristle. He thinks the only reason scholars have dismissed it as an interpolation is that they think it fails to fit into the context, which, however, it does, according to his esoteric reading.

    Atwill claims he has learned to read the esoteric secrets of the gospels, whereby they are seen as black-comedic satires of events in the Jewish War. For instance, when Jesus offers his flesh for consumption at the Last Supper, it is “really” a wink to the reader who is somehow supposed to think of a passage in Josephus set during the Roman siege, when a woman eats the roasted flesh of her own infant. When Jesus offers to make his disciples fishers of men, the line is supposed to sardonically anticipate a wartime episode in which the Romans picked off fleeing Jewish rebels swimming in the Lake of Galilee. Thinking his method justified by comparison to the ancient practice of scriptural typology, Atwill gives himself license to indulge in the most outrageous display of “parallelomania” ever seen. He connects widely separated dots and collects sets of incredibly far-fetched verbal correspondences, from gospel to gospel and between the gospels and Josephus, then uses them to create ostensible parallel accounts. Then he declares himself justified in borrowing names, themes, and intended references from one “parallel” account and reading them into the other, thus supplying “missing” features. Triumphantly, Atwill defies the reader to call it all coincidence, working out the math to show such correspondences could never be the product of chance. Well, of course they are not. They are the product of his own arbitrary gematria in the first place. “That the wicked man in the Fulvia story can be seen as a lampoon of Paul seems difficult to dispute” (p. 247), unless of course one forgot to pick up a pair of 3-D glasses on the way into the theatre. Again, Atwill hammers home the “parallel” between Josephus’ story of a Jewish matron, Paulina, tricked into sleeping with a deceiver, Decius Mundus, claiming to be Anubis incarnate, on the one hand, and that of the supposed deception of disguising Titus as the god Jesus, on the other. What do they have in common? Josephus says Decius came forward to gloat, revealing the hoax three days later, while the adjacent Testimonium Flavianum of Josephus says Jesus was seen alive again three days after his crucifixion. “There is, of course, a difference. Whereas Jesus appears on the third day to show that he is a God, Decius appears on the third day to announce that he is not a god. [But] It is implausible that something as unusual as two 'third-day divinity declarations’ would wind up next to one another by chance.” (p. 245). But there is no declaration of divinity in either case! As Atwill notes, Decius declares the opposite, while Josephus (or whoever wrote the Testimonium passage) says nothing of Jesus or anyone else declaring him divine as a result of the resurrection. Of such airy bricks is Atwill’s cloudy castle built.

    What is the utility of reading the gospels together as pieces of a single puzzle? If each evangelist meant to send the baffled reader in search of other texts with which to harmonize the one he began reading, it might enable us to iron out the contradictions, say, of the Easter stories. First, as per John 20, Mary Magdalene finds an empty tomb. But it is not that of Jesus. Rather she has mistakenly gone to the recently vacated tomb of Lazarus! She informs Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciple that Jesus appears to be missing. The Beloved Disciple plus a third man, simply “Peter,” make their way to the tomb. The Beloved Disciple arrives first but lingers for a moment outside the tomb, nearing the opening. Peter has not reached the tomb yet, but Simon Peter beats him there and walks past the Beloved Disciple, becoming the first to enter the sepulcher, where he spots the grave clothes cast aside when Lazarus left. At this specific moment, less than the duration of a minute, one must suppose, a second Mary Magdalene and her sisters (whose visit is recorded in Matthew 28) approach and see the Beloved Disciple outside the tomb. They think him an angel descended from heaven, and he tells them Jesus has risen. The women depart, and the Beloved Disciple joins Simon Peter inside, whereupon another party of women, including a third Mary Magdalene (this time from Luke 24), approaches and see the two men in the tomb. They take Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciples for angels. They leave, and, moments later, so does Simon Peter. As soon as he vanishes, here comes a fourth Mary Magdalene, this one from Mark, and she spies the Beloved Disciple inside the tomb and thinks he is an angel. He tells her and her companions to relate the news to Peter (who has not yet arrived, remember, only the quite distinct Simon Peter!). The Beloved Disciple returns home, but soon the other (Lukan) Peter (not Simon Peter) approaches, having heard the report of the Lukan Magdalene. He has brought at least one other man with him, a la Luke 24:24. The John 20:12 Mary Magdalene sees these men inside the tomb and thinks they are angels. Then she turns and sees a mysterious figure standing outside the tomb, takes him for the gardener, and asks him about Jesus, then thinks he is Jesus. But in “fact” he is Titus Caesar. The savvy reader (i.e., Atwill) will get the joke: the “Jesus” worshipped by stupid Christians is really Titus. It is all supposed to be “a comedy of errors” a la Plautus.

    Atwill hypothesizes that the Flavian jokesters were compiling the gospels-plus-Josephus as a kind of intelligence test, and Atwill implicitly congratulates himself as the only one in history who has ever passed it. “I would note that the satirical system that unites the New Testament and Wars of the Jews can be seen as an exercise in mind expansion, in that to solve the puzzles the reader must learn to think 'outside the box,’ so to speak. The authors were making the point that the narrow focus the Sicarii Zealots maintained regarding a few scrolls was a limited and inaccurate mode of thought. The authors seem to be suggesting that only by seeing all sides of a problem can the truth be known. Therefore it is possible that they designed the New Testament as a tool to intellectually uplift the messianic rebels” (p. 225). No it isn’t. “It is possible that the authors of the Gospels created them as a sort of educational tool disguised as a narrative about Jesus. The authors may have wished their readers to work through the various contradictions in logic in order to develop their reasoning ability and thus be able to think their way out of religious superstition. They may have wished the Gospels to be seen by posterity as their contribution to the development of reason” (p. 167). Or maybe as a big Jumble puzzle. “The point I think the creators of Christianity were making with their use of comedy is that there are unlimited ways to interpret scripture and it is easy for the uneducated to see symbolic meaning where there is none. They made this point by creating the New Testament as an example” (p. 234). No, it is Atwill himself whose creation demonstrates the limitless possibilities of perverse and gratuitous interpretations of the text.

    One hates to be so severe in the analysis of the work of an innovative thinker who gives us the gift of a fresh reading of familiar texts, but in the present case it is hard to euphemize. The reading given here is just ludicrous. There are indeed surprising parallels between Josephus and the gospels that traditional exegesis has never been able to deal with adequately, but surely the more natural theory is the old one, that the gospel writers wrote late enough to have borrowed from Josephus and did so. Thus, as per Edgar J. Goodspeed, Matthew 23:35 probably confuses the biblical prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah with the revolutionary martyr Zechariah son of Baruch whose death Josephus relates. But is this because Josephus and his committee of comedy writers are responsible for both references, meaning for us to read them in tandem, as Atwill avers? Or is it because Mathew read the information in Josephus and mixed it up (as Luke did Josephus’ references to Theudas the Magician and Judas the Galilean in Acts 5:36-37)?

    Atwill reasons that Jesus’ prediction of the fall of Jerusalem plainly prefigures Josephus’ account of the actual events, and he infers that both versions (in the future and the past tenses) stem from the same source, Josephus and his Flavian collaborators. Then, he reasons, the Son of Man whose coming was to climax the apocalyptic scenario must be none other than the actual man who did wreak judgment on Jerusalem, Titus. Atwill congratulates the Preterist school of interpreters (like J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia) on recognizing that the Synoptic predictions of the desolation of Jerusalem must have been completely fulfilled in 70 CE, with nothing left over for futurist expectation. Here is one of Atwill’s most attractive suggestions, though he does not put it the way I am about to do. I believe that Bultmann was right that several “son of man” sayings in the gospels referred originally simply to “mankind” in general (e.g., Mark 2:10, 28; Matthew 12:32). In fact, I wonder if they do not retain this non-Christological “Everyman” denotation even in the gospels. Further, I suspect even more of the son of man sayings are intended this way, e.g., Mark 14:21. Perhaps Mark 13:36 (“And then they will see the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”) is another one. If it were, then maybe what we read there is a reference to Josephus’ account of the end of Jerusalem, heralded, he says, by people beholding in the flame-tinged clouds the forms of battling soldiers and charioteers. After all, the introductory (redactional) question placed in the disciples’ mouths concerns the time of the temple’s destruction.

    Again, Atwill suggests that Mark’s story of Joseph of Arimathea requesting the body of Jesus be taken down and given to him comes from Josephus’ own experience of recognizing three crucifixion victims as former associates of his and securing Roman permission to have them taken down alive and treated, though only one survived. How similar are the names “Joseph of Arimathea” and “Joseph bar-Matthias” (the historian’s full name)! If the gospel story is based on Josephus’ story, that would solve the problem of why Joseph seems to have asked only for Jesus, and what happened to the two other “thieves” crucified alongside him. But to posit such a thing, one hardly need envision a committee writing both stories in the hope that the clever reader would connect them (as if doing so would remotely imply some identity between Jesus and Titus Caesar!).

    Unaware of the work of Theodore J. Weeden, Atwill traces out the numerous striking parallels between the Passion story of Jesus Christ and the Josephus story of Jesus ben-Ananias, his interrogation by the Sanhedrin and the Roman procurator, his predictions of Jerusalem’s destruction, and his flogging and eventual death, suggesting the two Jesuses are one and the same. (It is too bad the rest of Atwill’s parallels are not similarly compelling, even plausible.) But surely, as Weeden argues, the explanation is that Mark simply borrowed the story from Josephus.

    What about the Roman-tilting anti-Judaism (maybe anti-Semitism) of the gospels? Again, the old explanations are quite natural and adequate: we are reading the documents of Gentile Christianity which viewed itself as superseding Judaism and Jewish Christianity. Why do their authors seem to kiss the Roman posterior? For apologetical reasons, to avoid persecution. Brandon, Eisler, and others saw that long ago. One need hardly posit that the gospels are cynical Roman (not merely pro-Roman) propaganda a la Reuchlin and Atwill.

    According to Atwill, “the reader needs to comprehend perhaps the most complex literary satire ever written” (p. 169). But Atwill’s envisioned satire seems so complex as to be incoherent. “Jesus” stands not only for Tiberius but also for a hypothetical Zealot leader named Eleazar, who also appears in the New Testament as Lazarus. Mary Magdalene stands for several different women, “Mary” being, Atwill guesses, a term for any female Jewish rebel or sympathizer. Simon Peter and Peter are not the same, either. The two gospel genealogies, a la Rudolf Steiner, represent two distinct Jesuses. In Atwill’s hands, everything means everything else. And, in the end, you know what that means.

    Copyright©2006 by Robert M Price

    Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies, Colemon Theological Seminary
    Editor, Journal of Higher Criticism and Jesus Seminar fellow.





    Caesar's Messiah

    By William A. Poe:


    This review is for: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, Second Edition (Paperback)

    Atwill could easily be correct in all that he says, but in order to be taken seriously, he needs to approach the subject from a broader viewpoint. A bit of respect for the scholarship of others would not hurt his cause, either. Here are a few of my issues with some of Atwill's premises.

    1) Matthew, Mark, Luke and John only came together as a set in the early 4th century. Did the councils just happen to pick the very ones that were written together? Why do the other gospels not follow the patterns Atwill describes? Or do they? Atwill should not leave out a discussion of other Christian writings and how they relate to his theory. Either he should demonstrate that the pattern continues through all the works (including Acts and the Letters of Paul, not to mention Revelations), or explain why only the four "canonical" gospels should be considered.

    2) So far, no Christian document predating the fall of Jerusalem has been uncovered. Still, one must account for the narratives purported to relate stories that occurred prior to Jerusalem's fall. Paul is shown in the documents attributed to him (and that describe him) as someone who interacted with James in Jersalem and others in Judea well before the final destruction of the temple. The traditions and stories about James (said to be a brother of Jesus) show that he was the "bishop of Jerusalem." Atwill quotes the Dead Sea Scroll scholar, Robert Eisenmann, on many occasions. It is difficult to read Eisenmann and not conclude that a historical James lived in Jerusalem and that he was at odds, theologically and personally, with Paul. How does this drama play out in Atwill's scenario that Christianity was invented out of whole cloth by the Flavians after 70 C.E.? If he does not think Paul or James actually existed, he needs to provide more discussion on the matter.

    3) Atwill theorizes that Josephus and the gospels "play off" each other in ways that show they were written at the same time, if not by one person, then by a coordiated group of authors. Why is it not just as plausible to consider that Josephus used early materials as a "guide" to writing his history, thus "reflecting" the events and meanings of the earlier writings? Josephus was both a Roman and knowledgeable Jew who may have wanted to ridicule sects within his own faith as well as offer the possibility that his patrons, the Flavians, and Titus specifically, were the "God / Messiah" predicted by figures such as Jesus. Atwill makes a good point that after the destruction of the temple, the Flavians had access to many Jewish scribes and priests needing work.

    4) Atwill makes much of the story about the Jewish zealot, Mary, who, it is said, devours her son and offers his flesh to Roman guards. But this is Josephus' story and he may have included, or invented, it for the very purpose of ridiculing Christians. Again, this could be a way of diffusing the Christian faith and making it a laughing matter to the Flavians. He was writing to please his Flavian masters. If some in the Flavian household had become Christian, this may have been part of the impetus to write a history that would make Christianity seem morbid and foolish. It is an alternative motive to the one Atwill provides.

    5) Atwill presents a compelling explanation for the the "empty tomb" stories, suggesting they relate a "comedy of errors" based on various visits to the wrong tomb (an empty one) at different times of the morning. Atwill suggests that each visitor (within the stories) misinterpreted events - apostles being mistaken as angels or as Jesus himself, among other confusions. Atwill proposes this "combined reading" works as narrative because a single set of authors worked in concert to produce the stories. But couldn't this interpretation of events, when combining the stories, result from our own perception? Couldn't the seemingly logical reading be an artifact of the writers' needing to "make room" for the narrative he is reporting. I would presume that each oral tradition was slightly different and the writers of the Gospels (in the traditional view) could not know which was the most accurate. Therefore, each "visitation" had to occur at a different point in time, however slight (daybreak, just before daybreak, etc.). In this line of reasoning, the gospel writers did not want to have disciples running to the tomb in one account just as "the two Marys" are leaving the tomb in another author's account. This effort to accommodate all stories may have created the seeming comedy Atwill describes. However, I must add that this is my favorite portion of Atwill's book. To my knowledge no one has suggested a combined reading of the empty tomb narratives, nor to have drawn such attention to the different times of morning that each action takes place. Whatever the reasons for the time delays in visiting the empty tomb, it is conceivable to me that the gospel writers wanted to suggest the possiblity that the disciples had fooled themselves into seeing what they expected to see (one cannot know the beliefs of the scribes who produced the extant texts). Atwill points out the obvious - dead people do not rise from the grave, a fact as needless to state now as it would have been 2000 years ago. Therefore, the gospel accounts are either complete fiction as Atwill suggests, or relate events that led to a misunderstanding of reality as told to actual disciples by their senses. Or, most probably, they are simply stories that became more fantastic with each telling and literary artifacts of that re-telling can be interpreted as comedy by readers such as Atwill.

    6) From the standpoint of anthropology, Atwill should study the nature of "revitalization movements." Atwill suggests that no "messiah" figure among the Jews of that period would have held the notions that we see Jesus preaching in the gospels. He note in particular these ideas: turn the other cheek; love thy enemy; and render unto Caesar. . . Atwill suggests these are Roman words put into the mouth of Jesus in an effort to diffuse Jewish rebelliousness and provide an alternative method of rebelling (a pacifist one). That could be, but Judea was a land under military occupation. Jewish culture was being challenged by force of might as well as idea. If Atwill were to read some of the works by anthropologist Anthony Wallace, among others, he would learn that in such situations it is common (expected even) for a charismatic figure to arise. These charismatic figures invariably preach a syncretic religion that encapsulates the highest ideals of the old religion while accommodating the beliefs of the occupiers. The Jesus movement has many parallels, for instance, with the Sun Myung Moon movement in Korea that arose during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. During the U.S. military occupation of Native American lands in the 18th and 19th centuries, we see figures such as Handsome Lake arise among the Seneca in New York State. Again, Atwill could be on to something, but he needs to find a more humble tone and a broader intellectual scope in order to be taken seriously. Caesar's Messiah is, at best, literary deconstruction leading toward historical speculation.




    Caesar's Messiah

    By Steve Jackson:

    This review is for: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, Second Edition (Paperback) Joseph Atwill, who describes himself as a "successful businessman" living in California, has a penned a book which, if true, would render virtually all previous New Testament research useless. According to Atwill, the Gospels were written by intellectuals in the court of the Flavian emperors (Vespasian, Titus and Domitian) some time after the Jewish War (66-73 AD). As Atwill tells it, the Romans were worried about militant Jewish messianic movements and therefore created the Gospels to encourage the Jews to worship a peaceful Messiah, one sympathetic to the Roman government. It also turns out that the account of the Jewish war by the turncoat Jew Flavius Josephus was also written by these same court intellectuals. The alert reader who compares Josephus' account of the Jewish War with the Gospels finds numerous parallels between Jesus' ministry and Titus' military campaigns in the Jewish War. While Jewish-Christians of the first century and Christians today believe they worship the Jewish Messiah, in fact they worship the Roman emperor Titus.

    Here are just a few of the problems:

    First, there isn't any doubt that Jesus existed and that there was a growing Christian movement in existence long before the Flavian dynasty. Atwill would have the reader believe that Christians for some reason decided to embrace these fraudulent Gospels without this leaving a trace in the historical record. Who wrote the Gospels, how they were introduced into the Christian community, and why they were accepted without leaving any hint of controversy is something Atwill never gets around to explaining.

    Second, the alleged parallels between Jesus and events recounted in Josephus are for the most part less than compelling. I didn't have the time to check many in detail, but the ones I did weren't persuasive. For example, Atwill puts great stock in a supposed parallel between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4 and certain Jewish rebels that Josephus records as having died of dehydration in Mount Gerizim. According to Atwill, Jesus' description of himself as providing "living water" would have been recognizable to Roman readers as "dark humor." However, John records the conversation as taking place in Sychar, which is near Mount Ebal, not Mount Gerizim. Water is common theme in John's Gospel and had already been introduced. Even taking many of Atwill's supposed parallels at face value, they aren't persuasive. I don't get the similarity between Jesus calling his disciples to "fish for men" and Titus' soldiers killing Jews in the Sea of Galilee. Nor I do I see the connection between a Mary killing and eating her son in Josephus and the Christian doctrine of the eucharist. That no one saw these alleged parallels until Atwill came on the scene suggests that the Gospels aren't the satirical knee-slappers he believes them to be.

    Third, to the extent that there are any parallels between the Gospels and Josephus that can't be explained by coincidence, it is much more readily explained by the Gospel writers borrowing from Josephus or a common source.

    Fourth, Atwill is certainly correct to note that certain portions of the NT are pro-Roman, but he goes way beyond the evidence. And it is unlikely that Roman writers would describe Jesus in such exalted terms if encouraging docility to the Roman state was their goal. In fact, Jesus is often presented in a manner setting him in opposition to emperor worship. Readers who are interested in this topic might consult Ethelbert Stauffer's classic Christ and the Caesars.

    Fifth, Atwill shows virtually no familiarity with any remotely mainstream New Testament scholarship. If he had read such work he would have avoided many of his dubious interpretations of certain New Testament texts. For example, he asserts that the Gospels are anti-Jewish, citing the well-known line in Matthew's Gospel where during the crucifixion certain Jews exclaim "let his blood be on us and our children." (Matt. 27:24.) This most likely means that the Jews are accepting responsibility for their actions, not calling a curse on future generations. Likewise, although much of the language Jesus and Paul use concerning Jewish leaders sounds harsh to modern ears, their denunciations aren't different from that of Old Testament prophets who called Israel to repentance.





    Caesar's Messiah

    By Paul Lauderbach:

    This review is for: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, Second Edition (Paperback)

    In my view, the greatest contribution of Joseph Atwill's book Caesar's Messiah is not just that it offers a brilliant collation of the gospels and the works of the author known as Josephus, but that it offers a cogent explanation for why Christianity arose in the first place. Please bear with me as I explain why this is the case.

    First, a little background will help you see that I am not predisposed to oppose Christianity. In fact, I am active in Christian work. By training, I am a linguist. By profession, I am a translator and editor of Christian works of various kinds, both popular and scholarly. I have translated a number of works into Spanish, and edited hundreds more, including study Bibles and a Bible atlas. I am currently serving as a missionary engaged in the translation of the Bible into one of the many native languages of Latin America. In addition to this professional activity, I read a lot of history and books critical of the traditional evangelical Christian understanding of the Bible. I came to a point where I decided that pursuing the truth, however uncomfortable, was better that blindly adhering to demonstrably false dogmatic assertions about the Bible and Christianity.

    Over the years, my professional work and my personal reading have caused me to become aware of many of the inconsistencies and even absurdities of the Bible. Nevertheless, I continue to believe that the Bible has positive moral and social values. And, until recently, I have believed that it generally follows, at least in broad terms, an accurate outline of history. Sure, David may not have killed Goliath (2 Samuel 21:19), but he was a great king, and his son Solomon was even greater. Likewise, there were some contradictions in the accounts of the events following Jesus' resurrection, but he was in fact resurrected and his sacrifice had secured salvation for all who would believe in him.

    However, in the case of the Hebrew Scriptures, archeological work and the analysis of its findings has reached a stage at which it can be shown that even the broad outline of Israel's history presented in the Bible is not accurate (see, for example, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, New York: The Free Press, 2001). David and Solomon were, at best, local chieftains, petty kings of the kind common in ancient Palestine and its vicinity. They built no grand palaces, erected no monumental temple. All of this was wishful thinking projected backward in time by exilic or post-exilic writers seeking to bolster their cause and the morale of their people.

    In the case of the New Testament, scholarly work (for example, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? by Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover and The Jesus Seminar, HarperSanFrancisco, 1993, and The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins by Burton L. Mack, HarperSanFrancisco, 1993) has shown that little, if anything, can be known about a man known as Jesus of Nazareth. Maybe he existed, maybe he didn't. Maybe he had a band of counter-cultural followers, may he didn't. But however that may be, it is absolutely certain that the narratives in the gospels about his life, death and resurrection are not based on actual historical events.

    Christianity has a great deal more in common with the so-called "mystery religions" that abounded in the Roman Empire than with the Hebrew Scriptures which it allegedly fulfills. How, then, did it get started? Why would "Saint" Paul/Saul of Tarsus have gone to the trouble of trying to graft yet another mystery religion onto Judaism? Weren't there enough mystery religions around already? What need was there to link one to the faith of the notoriously independent Jewish people? Anyone who wanted could convert to Judaism anyway, and many did. Why "fix" it to attract more converts? Or even just to give the Jews a new "flavor" of their traditional faith?

    This is where Joe Atwill's book comes in. Mr. Atwill finally provides an answer to the "why" of Christian origins. In brief, Christianity was created by the Flavian emperor Titus and propagated using taxpayer denarii in order to solve a problem of "national security." What was the nature of the threat to the security of the Empire--or at least one of its eastern provinces? A fanatical messianic movement that attracted hordes of malcontents willing to kill anyone who stood in the way of their goal (God-ordained, in their view) of political and religious independence. This group is known as the Zealots or Sicarii.

    After fighting a prolonged war against the Sicarii (ca. 67-73 C.E.), the Roman authorities decided that it would be more effective to create a new "strain" of Judaism that promoted pacifism and paying taxes. They would then "inject" this "strain" into the ignorant masses from which the majority of Sicarii came, and thus wipe out the "infection" of fanatical, religiously motivated nationalism. As it happened, this new, peaceful religion succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Flavians, and one of the world's major religions was born.

    I started my reading of this book in chapter 11, which deals with Josephus' famous Testimonium, the passage touted by Christians as being virtually the only near-contemporary testimony to Jesus' life outside of the New Testament. I picked this chapter based on another review that highly recommended it. As I read, I found myself frequently chuckling at what a great joke the Romans had put over on the world. As I read through the rest of the book, I was again and again amazed at the ingenuity of the authors of much of the New Testament and Josephus.

    One of the notable merits of Atwill's work is that he points out in several places that his hypotheses are falsifiable (e.g., on p. 145: "My theory is also solid in the sense that it is so easily disprovable" [emphasis in original]) and he invites readers to do their own analyses in order to test his. This sets his work above that of the "lunatic fringe" of religion and other fields (e.g., Chariots of the Gods). I recommend that people such as Bob Turkel (alias James Patrick Holding) take Atwill up on his challenge instead of dismissing his work by deliberately misreading it and nitpicking at unfortunate but ultimately inconsequential and easily corrected errors such as the attribution of John the Baptist's words to Jesus (p. 296).

    To be sure, Atwill's work needs to be integrated with broader New Testament scholarship, such as Q studies and Dennis MacDonald's work on the Homeric influence on their composition. I don't think there are any irresoluble conflicts among these approaches; they just need to be brought together.

    I am grateful to Joe Atwill for the painstaking work he has done on this topic, and for being willing to stick his neck out to publish it. It will certainly be the target of plenty of attacks from those unwilling to face its implications.

    I heartily recommend Caesar's Messiah to everyone interested in Christianity or in Western civilization in general. And I hope that, as enough people read it and absorb its implications, it may serve to reduce the abuse of conservative Christianity by certain right-wing politicians in the United States. Titus was not the first to use religion to manipulate the masses, and he certainly wasn't the last!





    Caesar's Messiah

    By Jeri Nevermind:

    This review is for: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, Second Edition (Paperback)

    The author is one of the few people in the world not to know the Romans persecuted Christians. Instead, Atwill argues that the three Flavian emperors, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian (71-96 AD) invented Christianity to create a servile underclass.

    No, I am not kidding. For proof he provides a mountain of speculative "clues" only he can find in Josephus, a pet Jew of the Flavian emperors who wrote about the Jewish war. What Atwill doesn't provide is one shred of evidence.

    Here's the joke: the author doesn't even seem to know that Domitian, whom Atwill thinks created Christianity, persecuted Christians. That's right. Atwill claims Domitian tried to get people to believe in Christianity--but any general history book will tell you he killed them instead. This is hardly an obscure fact, so why isn't it answered? Is it because Atwill didn't know about it?

    In fact, Atwill doesn't mention any Roman persecution., At least he should have considered how Pliny's famous letter, written close to Domitian's time, would reflect Roman views towards Christians. Pliny was reluctant, but willing, to kill Christians for their beliefs. Atwill has apparently never heard of Pliny. Nor does he even try to refute the facts that prove Christianity existed long before Vespasian became emperor.

    For example, in 64 AD, according to the Roman Tacitus, the emperor Nero turned Christians into living torches to light his garden. Tacitus said an "immense multitude" of Christians lived in Rome. Good luck explaining how an "immense multitude" were living in Rome if Christianity hadn't been invented yet.

    Among the slain was the apostle Peter. Peter's body was uncovered in a catacomb under the Vatican in the 1950's by archeologists. Atwill mentions none of this.

    Nor has he heard about the riot in Rome in 45 AD over "Christus" that Suetonius wrote about, an event also referenced in Acts 18.

    He ignores all recent scholarship indicating the gospels existed earlier than Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. There are even two disputed fragments, the Huleatt fragment from Matthew dated to 50 AD and a second fragment, this time by Mark, found among the Dead Sea scrolls, dated 60 AD. There's also been a flood of biblical scholarship, started by John A. T. Robinson, arguing that the gospels were written before Vespasian's time.

    All just ignored. Is it because Atwill has no answer or because he's never heard of them?

    Instead he rants on about the "grim humor" he finds in the gospels. "The satire they created is difficult to see" he admits. That would be because it doesn't exist.

    What's really difficult to see is where Atwill's arguments are leading. Just how much of the New Testament does he imagine was written by "Flavian intellectuals"? He mentions the gospels and Paul, but what about the other epistles? And Hermas, Clement, and the rest? Get real.

    How the heck would Atwill's imagined "Flavian intellectuals" know Jewish theology and typology in such depth? How could any Roman have come up with Paul's arguments on justification? How could they have gotten right every historical, geographical and theological fact? Judea was a ragtag little area avoided, not visited, by Romans.

    Furthermore -- and hilariously -- he imagines that the Flavians "did not intend to have sophisticated people like themselves take their invention, Christianity, seriously" (226) but aimed it at the "scum" Jewish rebels.

    No one who read a single book on Second Temple Judaism could come up with such a howler. All research and archeology indicates that more Jews were literate than Romans (see "Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus"). And the layers of meaning in the gospels were hardly aimed at theological nitwits.

    Nor does he bother to explain how he imagines Christianity was disseminated to the Jews, other than a quick paragraph speculating on false priests talking to slaves.

    The "scum" Jewish rebels Atwill talks about were forced into slavery and brought to Rome to build the coliseum. A good number of the men had lived in Jerusalem, then a town of 70,000. Now, imagine trying to convince these men that 4 years before the war the high priest Ananais ordered Jesus' brother stoned to death if it hadn't happened. They would know instantly it was a lie.

    In fact, how could these false priests get anyone to believe in Christianity if every line in the gospels and Paul's letters and all the epistles and all the other writings were lies? All those dates, names, events, all so recent, all so easy to prove or disprove, so many of the people named still alive???

    I would love to hear Atwill explain why he thinks the Romans had Jesus forbid divorce, an idea never dreamt of by any other civilization or religion. Or why the Romans had false priests promoting Christian chastity to slaves.

    Slaves weren't allowed to marry, but they were forced to serve their masters sexually. When young, both male and female slaves were sent to brothels to earn money for their owners. The last thing the Romans wanted was a stern, virtuous crop of slaves insisting on premarital chastity.

    This is a conspiracy so vast, so wide, as to be... unbelievable.

    I mean really, really unbelievable.





    Caesar's Messiah

    By James Patrick Holding:

    This review is for: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, Second Edition (Paperback) Expect this one to maybe take the place of The Christ Conspiracy as top shelf for the lunatic fringe. It's the sort of thing peer-reviewed periodicals like the Journal of Romans Studies would never put up with, but it gets in print anyway.

    Caesar's Messiah is like the "Roman Piso" theory in terms of conspiracy-mindedness, viewing Christianity as an invention of the Roman establishment for a purpose. It does exceed the credibility of the Piso theory by a razor-thin margin, inasmuch as it at least uses real people; it is the Emperor Titus who is said to be the inventor of Christianity. His goal was to create a "peaceful Messiah" figure for those rebellious Jews to follow, as a way of pacifying them; the joke being, that they would actually be worshipping Titus himself, unawares. In on the gag as well was Josephus, a client of the Flavian family of which Titus was a member, and who left clues in his works for later and more clever minds to figure out. After 73 AD, when Rome had finished beating up the Jews, "someone" from within a circle of the Flavians (Titus, Vespasian, etc.), the Herods, and the Alexanders decided they could "tame messianic Judaism" by transforming it into a religion that would "cooperate with the Roman Empire." [6] The system and its documents were written after the war was over; that includes the material attributed to Paul [211f].

    A chief impetus for this idea, Atwill says [1], was that he could not conceive of how Judaism could produce two movements so diametrically opposed as the warlike Sicarii and the "peace"-advocting Jesus. The clue missed is that the Gospel message undermined the values then held current, via subtle influence rather than direct force as the Sicarii preferred.

    Furthermore, it is clear that Atwill fails on the point of ancient social psychology. He supposes that Jesus was invented to attract militaristic, messianic Jews; yet the figure of Jesus is precisely what a dedicated Sicarii would least follow. Indeed, Atwill openly contradicts himself, for he claims he cannot see how Judaism could produce such diametric opposites, yet he argues that Christianity was built to make these opposites attract! He supposes, in other words, that Judaism would not produce such a group; but he hypothesizes that Jews then converted to such a group!

    Even more problematic for Atwill is what is said by Roman writers whose works he ignores. Tacitus' comment in Annals 15.44 places the origins of Christianity, and Roman reaction to it, nearly a decade before Titus' final victory. Atwill says nothing at all about this critical passage; nor does he mention Pliny's letter to Trajan asking what to do about Christians. Atwill wishes to posit convenient forgetfulness as the cause of the loss of knowledge about Christian origins; and how credible is it that Hadrian and Pliny "forgot" this, or did not know about it? How credible is it that Domitian (himself a Flavian!) persecuted Christianity and forgot that his own relatives had created it in the first place? Why would some of those relatives actually become Christians? Atwill makes no effort to explain how Christianity spread; he offers a bare paragraph on this saying that "wicked priests" introduced the religion to the masses (Jewish?); but then, "The first people to hear the story of Jesus would most likely have been slaves (Gentiles???) whose patrons simply ordered them to attend services. After a while some began to believe, then many." [258] End of explanation!

    Then there are resemblances to the fallacious work of Dennis Ronald MacDonald titled The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. One chapter early on is devoted to finding parallels between Jesus' recruitment of disciples to be "fishers of men" and Titus' campaign on the Sea of Galilee. The prime comparison speaks for itself as absurd: Atwill parallels Jesus' "become fishers of men" statement to the Roman act of dispatching Jews who had fallen into the sea during a naval battle by hitting them with darts or cutting off their hands -- thus becoming "fishers of men" because the Romans "caught like fish" the Jews in the lake. No, don't ruin the magic by asking how one "fishes" men being killed and allowed to sink and drown. For Atwill, it is proof enough to stretch the point to make this "grim comedy" [40]. It gets no better, as Atwill stretches between Matt and Luke for the two phrases associated with the fishers of men story by each, "do not be afraid" and "follow me," and strains it to a parallel of Josephus reporting how Titus not saying these words, no; but telling his men not to desert him (but rather, implicitly, follow him) into battle. And more, as Atwill hops around Matthew and Luke at will (pun not intended), straining a mention by Josephus of a "Coracin fish" as a parallel to a condemnation of the city of Chorazain in Matthew 11:23, nowhere near the "fishers of men" story (never mind that the city's name means "smoking furnace" and has nothing to do with fish).

    A score of Atwill's blunders are the result of not recognizing that some commonality reflects a commonplace. His largest blunder of this sort (and overall) is finding commonality in names. He marvels that there was a "Jesus" who preached and a "Jesus" who also led rebels against Titus on the Sea of Galilee [43] -- oblivious to the point that (as we have heard so much about, related to the "James ossuary") "Jesus" was as common a name for Jews of that period as "Bob" is for men today. He makes the same error concerning "Mary" (a name held by up to a third of Jewish women of this era) and "Simon." Atwill did no checking into this subject beyond the list of Biblical names in a chart from Webster's [302] and so makes himself look like a fool when he solemnly declares how unlikely it is that the NT and Josephus would record so many Jewish people with the same names.

    Like MacDonald, Atwill also freely roams all over the texts to make his tenuous connections. He treats the Gospels as a uniform whole (in other words, the conspiracy is assumed in order to prove it) so that, for example, he pulls the use of the word "Gethsemane" from Mark and combines it with Jesus' bloody sweat (mentioned only in Luke) to create a whole parallel [108] to what are also two separate stories in Josephus. This ramshackle methodology is explained as part of the whole trick that only Atwill has been clever enough to discover, a trick that "kept the comedy from being too obvious" other than to "readers alert enough to combine elements from different versions" and speaks as well of Atwill's egotism as it does of his creativity.

    Finally, let's note some of Atwill's most peculiar and amusing blunders:

    * Atwill makes much of Titus using the word "repent" as Jesus did (never mind that the word itself is used dozens of times in the Old Testament; and that the theme itself is all over the OT, and how many times it and its permutations appears in other secular works) and claims, "Jesus never gives an answer to the question" of "exactly what sin does he wish the Jews to repent of" [57]. One wonders how dense Atwill must be to suppose that Jesus is supposed to be walking around with a list of every particular and unique sin every person has committed and announcing them to each person one at a time. The obvious answer to the question is, "whatever sin you have done"!

    * Atwill uses the bogus Pope Leo X "fable" quote though he somehow manages to attribute it not to Leo, but to Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI (who was 10 years before Leo)! No source is cited for this attribution, as might be expected.

    * Atwill carelessly and incredibly attributes the words of John the Baptist to Jesus [296]. But presumably John too was invented by the Flavian family.

    In the end, deluded creativity is Atwill's most-used weapon, and the number of props and excuses he must use to hold up his theory, destroys his credibility as a researcher. Atwill dips again and again in the well of saying that this or that point in the NT is some sort of "joke" or "satire" on some historical event concerning Titus. The method is worthless and unfalsifiable; Atwill inevitably is unable to explain why the joke about the chicken who went to get the Chinese newspaper is actually funny. His further claims that the histories of both Josephus AND the Gospels were "fictitious" [20] bespeak a patent desperation which mirrors the writer who would rather believe that Jesus had an unknown evil twin who faked his resurrection appearances than accept that the resurrection actually occurred. Why not Jesus from space, then?





    Caesar's Messiah

    Weblog and Q&A - See Below:

    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?

    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.

    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?

    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.

    Q. Tell us about your works in progress.

    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.

    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?

    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'.

    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?

    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.

    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?

    Joe Atwill: 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. 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

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

    Q 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.

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

    Q 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.

    Joe Atwill: 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.

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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.

    Joe Atwill: http://www.insmkt.com/atwillholding.htm

    Q: 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.

    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.

    Q: 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.

    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.

    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. Appartenly the bread and wine as the body and blood of Christ was motivation for this accusation.

    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.

    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.

    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'. -- Amazing.

    [[** Joe Atwill: 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.]]





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    Caesar's Messiah

    The eleven satirical events that coincide chronologically with historical events in Josephus' The War of the Jews:

    1. Jesus begins his efforts by the Lake of Galilee.

    2. He sends a legion of devils out of a demon-possessed man and into pigs.

    3. He offers his flesh to be eaten.

    4. He mentions signs of the destruction of Jerusalem.

    5. In Gethsemane a naked man escapes.

    6. Jesus is captured at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.

    7. Simon denies knowing him.

    8. Jesus is crucified with two other men and only he survives.

    9. He is taken down from the cross by a man called Joseph of Arimathea.

    10. His disciple John survives but his disciple Simon is sent off to die in Rome.

    11. After his death his disciple Judas kills himself.


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