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Self-Professed ‘Bible Scholar’ Makes Explosive Allegation About Jesus That He Believes Could Rock the Christian Faith to Its
This has no credibility, but let's have fun with it anyway.
On Oct. 19, self-professed Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill is planning to make public some very flammable allegations. At a day-long symposium called "Covert Messiah" in London, England, he's set to unveil purported evidence that Roman aristocrats manufactured Jesus Christ - a claim that, if substantiated, would devalue the core of the Christian faith.
The only problem? Most Biblical experts disagree with the scholar's pronouncements.
A press release announcing the purported new evidence claims that Atwill has discovered "ancient confessions" that purportedly prove that Romans invented Jesus Christ in the first century. He has long argued that the faith system was used as a political tool to control the masses -- something he says is still going on today.
"I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm, but this is important for our culture," he said of the alleged debunk - one that he believes will eventually be universally accepted.
In the release, Atwill said that governments often create "false histories and false gods" and that this is often done in an effort to secure social order.
Rather than a theology, Atwill believes that Christianity was concocted as a government project that was used to control Roman citizens. During a time in which Jewish residents were waiting for their Messiah, he says they were a constant source of insurrection, leading the Romans to seek out an equalizing and tempering force.
"When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare," Atwill explains in the press release. "They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system."
And that's when Jesus was allegedly created - a man who advocated peace rather than violence. Atwill contends that the Christ that billions embrace never actually existed and that he is a "fictional character."
He bases his theory on a study of "Wars of the Jews," a book by Josephus, a scholar who provided insight and documentation first-century Judea. The historian contends that the prophesies of Jesus line up with Josephus' writings about the Jewish-Roman war and are, thus, proof that "the biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."
"Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity?" the press release cryptically asks.
While Atwill doesn't think it is, he did say that the purported discovery will give those who are looking to leave the Christian faith the perfect motivation to do so. He maintains that his evidence shows exactly where Jesus' story came from.
"Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history," he said. "To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East."
Patheos blogger James R. McGrath, though, doubts that the symposium will be groundbreaking. Of Atwill's claim to be a Biblical scholar he wrote, "there is no evidence that he has relevant qualifications or research to his name."
Atwill's biography claims that, while he went to school for computer science, he has spent years studying the origins of Christianity.
Professor James Crossley from the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England, agreed with Atwill's critics, telling The Daily Mail that theories like Atwill's are not accepted among academics.
- "These types of theories are very common outside the academic world and are usually reserved for sensationalist literature," he said. "They are virtually non-existent in the academic world."
Atwill's views are no surprise. Online articles and a book he wrote in 2005 entitled, "Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus," all include similar themes. His view that Jesus was manufactured is well-documented. Most mainstream Bible scholars, though, don't seem to b
- As long as the bucks keep falling into the collection plates, most clergy don't care that they're peddling myths and half-truths. The self-justifying intellectual gymnastics they perform would put Gabby Douglas to shame.
- Because most modern Bible scholars are paid by the people who they are investigating.
- I believes, I believes and nothing short of discovering a 2000 year old mini-skirt(with matching shroud) in the tomb of Jesus is going to change my mind. I have read worn statements by old queens on DL who remember Jesus when he was alive, so nothing remotely like this dribble will change my beautifully educated mind.
- Don't bet on it Thomas Thompson published a book saying archaeology has not confirmed Old Testament "history" which is the basis for all the old texts used by historians in 1999, and nobody listened.
- Regarding the Old Testament, archaeologists uncovered that Yahweh had several brothers and a mother, the goddess Ashtoreth. She and Yahweh got rid of the husband and she married her own son. So that makes Yahweh literally a....
Sounds like ole Appalachia.
- R5, what do you mean?
- another quack takes a swing at Jesus Christ and loses. The enemies of Christ will try to undermine Him, but every time their Satanic plans are unsuccessful.
- Never mind this guy has no evidence to support his theory. It doesn't even make logical sense.
Thompson's thesis was there was no historical support for the existence of pre-exilic Israel, David, Solomon, etc al. Since then archaeology has provided some evidence for a House of David though a bit earlier than expected.
It is standard within scholarship that storm god Yahweh had a wife Asherah in antiquity, though she was written out of the religion long long ago.
- Well let's hear about this new evidence R9 because I don't think it exists.
- Go to Wikipedia and look up Omri, r10.
- LOL. "Biblical Scholars." What a concept.
- Yes, r12. How dare someone call himself a scholar if he does research on literature, culture, and history!
- R13: Fictional sources don't count.
- I have no problem believing this is how the story of Jesus was created.
- Fiction literature cannot be studied for historical context, authorial intent, or to study its sources? There goes every literature department...
- There's a competing "the Romans did it" theory on the origins of Christianity.
Francesco Carotta's book "Jesus was Caesar" draws parallels between Julius Caesar and Jesus:
1. Both have to cross a fateful river: the Rubicon and the Jordan
2. Both have a traitor, Brutus and Judas
3. Both are accused of making themselves kings
You get the idea. Of course the story pattern of these two individuals are the boilerplate of numerous historic figures. Robert Heinlein named the plot pattern in fiction as "The Little Tailor."
- A miracle worker by the name of Jesus, Isa, Yahwehsua, or something did exist. This much we know. Now the rest of his history, like his birth and death will have to remain a question of faith.
- Utter horse shit. As noted.
But fools such as R18, who undertake a pompous, "heightened" tone to pronounce uninformed absurdities are all too common, compared to the committed cranks such as Atwill.
In fact, Miss Smarm, the status of miracle worker is one of the things that is not historically evidenced, strictly speaking, concerning the historical Jesus. The silly attempt to show erudition by spouting various names hardly is needed - "Jesus" will do to communicate without the pretentious additions of misnamed names.
There is a great deal that is known about the life of the historical Jesus, despite the bland claim otherwise. The primary messages to take from the available evidence is that Jesus acted within longstanding Jewish traditions and did not intend to form a new religion. His family and disciples, about whom information is available extending a century beyond his death, underscore this, as does a close reading of the available authentic Pauline works. Paul took the emerging legends concerning the charismatic, political, smart and assimilative historical Jesus and pounded the Myth out of them for his own purposes.
A slight exposure to current and recent scholarship on the subject would assist know-nothings - as well as revisionist zealots such as Athill - in avoiding the cringeworthy blather they spout. Your ignorance is not the world's ignorance, dear one.
- I love that r21 talks about what a doofus r18 is for trying to sound smarter than he is and then uses words like erudition and assimilative.
(r21 is right...but he comes off as a pompous ass...who doesn't see the irony to his own words.)
- [quote]The enemies of Jesus will try to undermine him
when all they need do is stand aside and let his followers do so.
- R4? I believe the word you're looking for is "drivel."
And which institution of higher learning was honored by your presence...?
- Here's a excerpt (c. 177 AD) from the Greek historian, Celsus:
...[Celsus] accuses [Jesus] of having "invented his birth from a virgin," and upbraids Him with being "born in a certain Jewish village, of a poor woman of the country, who gained her subsistence by spinning, and who was turned out of doors by her husband, a carpenter by trade, because she was convicted of adultery; that after being driven away by her husband, and wandering about for a time, she disgracefully gave birth to Jesus, an illegitimate child, who having hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, on which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God."...
Link below has other excerpts.
- What's your point, r25?