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Thread: Jesus was invented?

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    Do you want to see my big Member spankythehippo's Avatar
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    Default Jesus was invented?

    I thought this should be brought up for discussion. I can't wait for the 19th to hear what the guy has to say.

    http://uk.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11201273.htm

    "[Jesus Christ] may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there's simply nothing left."

    C'mon, Total Relism. I wanna see dat massive wall of text.


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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    As a classicist I feel I would be in a fairly good position to know if new contemporary documents from the period had been found. Given that I know no such thing I am completely confident that this is total BS. It is just a dumb claim from a well-known Christian conspiracy theorist who has no formal University education or attachment saying what he thinks in a non-peer reviewed setting to an audience who are only turning up because they want to believe in what he is saying. Jesus existed and we can know that from sources such as Josephus and that much should be uncontroversial to say.

    Anyway a member of the Atheist Society at my University wrote the following blog post about how stupid this is and I feel it is worth reading:
    http://amorningstar81.wordpress.com/...erg-messenger/

    EDIT: Yay, something substantial for my 9000th post.
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    Do you want to see my big Member spankythehippo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Nonetheless, I see it as interesting why this particular "theory" has gone viral. I'm sure there are others who have made the same claim, but who haven't had the same recognition as this guy. That's what I'm most interested about. How his points differ from past Jesus conspiracy theories. As a rule of thumb, I am incredibly skeptical, if not in complete denial, of conspiracy theories. I'll still read them though.

    EDIT: Some further points refuting Atwill's claim.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2...by-the-romans/
    Last edited by spankythehippo; 10-12-2013 at 04:29.


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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Meh, it sounds about as loony and unsubstantiated as the perennial Shakespeare-wasn't-Shakespeare nuttery.

    I'm guessing it's selling some books, and that's about all it's meant to do.

    Jesus of Nazareth was an actual, historical person, who really did walk around and preach, and who really was executed by the Romans. There's no solid reason to doubt this basic framework.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    The theory isn't new but this guy apparantly has the prmary sources to back it up. I am curious.

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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    The theory isn't new but this guy apparantly has the prmary sources to back it up. I am curious.
    Except that he almost certainly doesn't. Archaeologists would be the first ones to have access to any new source material. Archaeology requires a degree in Archaeology and attachment to a dig site. He has neither.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by CountArach View Post
    Except that he almost certainly doesn't. Archaeologists would be the first ones to have access to any new source material. Archaeology requires a degree in Archaeology and attachment to a dig site. He has neither.
    The little of what I heard is that he found correspondence that back up his claim, I'll see it when I see it. How archaelogy is relevant is beyond me though, what are they supposed to dig up..

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    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    The little of what I heard is that he found correspondence that back up his claim, I'll see it when I see it. How archaelogy is relevant is beyond me though, what are they supposed to dig up..
    The correspondence? There's not many old roman attics left for someone to find something remarkable from.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironside View Post
    The correspondence? There's not many old roman attics left for someone to find something remarkable from.
    It's just what I read on a website that hates more than 5 sentences that isn't exactly famous for knowing what they are talking about. I heard about the theory that jezus was a Roman invention before, but that's how far my knowledge about it goes, I know zero of the specifics.

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    It gave me the typical conspiracy vibe right away. Small group of evil government people invents story to control the population...
    He would've had me if he had said they were a group of lizards but the way he presents it is completely unbelievable...


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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    It gave me the typical conspiracy vibe right away. Small group of evil government people invents story to control the population...
    He would've had me if he had said they were a group of lizards but the way he presents it is completely unbelievable...
    Keep in mind that declaring yourself Messias was a bit of a normal thing at the time, it's not that odd that Jezus was a Roman invention if you consider that.

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    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    invented? for sure.....but probably in a more "organic" and unintentional way than what is being proposed here.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    invented? for sure.....but probably in a more "organic" and unintentional way than what is being proposed here.
    One of many yeah. Bit of a messias-cultus at the time. If the Romans played it smart this makes sense. And you can't accuse them of being bad at intrigue.

    Edit, I would like to know why though, I can't think of anything that was a threat to the comfortable bliss that the Romans had there.
    Last edited by Fragony; 10-12-2013 at 11:50.

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Well, just too bad then that the Romans aren't controlling the world anymore but the Jews are.
    Or was that also a conspiracy theory?


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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    Well, just too bad then that the Romans aren't controlling the world anymore but the Jews are.
    Or was that also a conspiracy theory?
    How would I know, go to your local Swartzblok.

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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Tempest in a tea-pot.
    The historical existence of Christ is as about as relevant as the historical existence of Zeus, Diana or Apollo.
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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Everyone knows the Romans hijacked the story of Christianity. But they didn't invent it all for the giggles. They were rather thorough in trying to stamp it out in the beginning.
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by CountArach View Post
    As a classicist I feel I would be in a fairly good position to know if new contemporary documents from the period had been found. Given that I know no such thing I am completely confident that this is total BS. It is just a dumb claim from a well-known Christian conspiracy theorist who has no formal University education or attachment saying what he thinks in a non-peer reviewed setting to an audience who are only turning up because they want to believe in what he is saying. Jesus existed and we can know that from sources such as Josephus and that much should be uncontroversial to say.

    Anyway a member of the Atheist Society at my University wrote the following blog post about how stupid this is and I feel it is worth reading:
    http://amorningstar81.wordpress.com/...erg-messenger/

    EDIT: Yay, something substantial for my 9000th post.
    Like you, I would very much like to see/hear about the source material involved. The discovery of a number of new primaries from that era would, of itself, be an archeological achievement -- even if they'd been sitting in a crate in the Vatican for the last nineteen centuries.
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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    The little of what I heard is that he found correspondence that back up his claim, I'll see it when I see it. How archaelogy is relevant is beyond me though, what are they supposed to dig up..
    Unless a text is sitting in a church or a Vatican archive, completely unnoticed by people, it is archaeologists who find these scrolls. Certainly that is how most of the recent discoveries have been made. Hence archaeology is completely relevant.
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    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Invented, of course but I doubt it was some sort of 'government conspiracy'.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sp4 View Post
    Invented, of course but I doubt it was some sort of 'government conspiracy'.
    That it might be is taken seriously by scholars though, wouldn't dismiss the idea all too fast. Conspriracy is perhaps too big a word, but policy, who knows. There was a messias-cultus at the time leading to a lot of civil unrest, and 'finding' him must have crossed a lot of people's mind.

    'Everyone knows the Romans hijacked the story of Christianity. But they didn't invent it all for the giggles. They were rather thorough in trying to stamp it out in the beginning.'

    That's complicated. Roman were very traditinal and feared that abandoning of worship of their gods would bring hardship. On the other hand, they did respect the jew's having only one god. How that makes sense I don't know. Christians were also suspected of incest because they called eachother brother and sister.
    Last edited by Fragony; 10-13-2013 at 09:42.

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    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    I wonder how the Book of Revelation would fit into this theory, since it quite clearly describes the city of Rome (as in ancient Rome, we can ignore the Vatican for now) as a new Babylon - an evil place of persecution whose downfall and total destruction is prophesied.

    An odd thing for a Roman aristocrat to write...
    Last edited by Rhyfelwyr; 10-13-2013 at 10:53.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyfelwyr View Post
    An odd thing for a Roman aristocrat to write...
    Not so much, as the abandoning of Roman gods was seen as something that was threatening, it could bring hardships to the empire.

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    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Not so much, as the abandoning of Roman gods was seen as something that was threatening, it could bring hardships to the empire.
    How does this relate to my point? Revelations laments pagan Rome's persecution of Christians - pretty much the opposite of what you mention about it abandoning pagan Gods.

    This whole 'theory' does not deserve to be taken seriously, it is sensationalist garbage.
    At the end of the day politics is just trash compared to the Gospel.

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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    I'm going to order a new batch of tinfoil before I read this.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyfelwyr View Post
    How does this relate to my point? Revelations laments pagan Rome's persecution of Christians - pretty much the opposite of what you mention about it abandoning pagan Gods.

    This whole 'theory' does not deserve to be taken seriously, it is sensationalist garbage.
    I am not out to hurt your feelings, just pointing out it's complicated. CountArach can probably do a better job than me I doubt this theory is new to him. I'll just gracefully step back from here on
    Last edited by Fragony; 10-13-2013 at 17:18.

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    Tribunus Plebis Member Gaius Scribonius Curio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    I am not out to hurt your feelings, just pointing out it's complicated. CountArach can probably do a better job than me I doubt this theory is new to him. I'll just gracefully step back from here on
    Like CA I am a classicist, so I might be able to help. What I should point out before I start is that nowhere in this thread has he expressed support for your position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    That it might be is taken seriously by scholars though, wouldn't dismiss the idea all too fast.
    The point here is that it is not. Not by the wider scholarly community anyway. It would certainly be interesting if he revealed what this mystery 'new' source is, along with the text. That he has not suggests that it is a ploy designed to pique interest and sell more books.

    It does occasionally happen that important sources are found and then not published outright. An inscription near Rome, uncovered in the late 2000s, could have a rather large effect on the final chapters of my thesis. It has been bandied about in the scholarly literature that it will 'change everything' but as to exactly what it says, only the Italian archaeologist who found it knows. I am afraid he will die before he reveals it.

    But that is an inscription. Actual letters and scrolls are much rarer, but are found. The question is how and where? In the absence of any information on these important points, I would suggest that he does not have a leg to stand on.

    That's complicated. Roman were very traditinal and feared that abandoning of worship of their gods would bring hardship. On the other hand, they did respect the jew's having only one god. How that makes sense I don't know.
    I suspect the Jews were lucky in that they were a client kingdom before they became a province. Certainly the Romans were fairly hands-off when it came to allowing alternative worship, but monotheism is a step beyond that. IIRC, failure to pray to the cult of the emperor was one reason that the Christians were persecuted. I do not really know exactly how this unfolded, but I suspect that the Romans were fine with Jewish monotheism because originally it was state-run and afterwards it was easy to maintain this. The Christians, as an alternative, and radical sect, undermined the stability of the Jewish faith and had to be extirpated.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyfelwyr View Post
    I wonder how the Book of Revelation would fit into this theory, since it quite clearly describes the city of Rome (as in ancient Rome, we can ignore the Vatican for now) as a new Babylon - an evil place of persecution whose downfall and total destruction is prophesied.

    An odd thing for a Roman aristocrat to write...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Not so much, as the abandoning of Roman gods was seen as something that was threatening, it could bring hardships to the empire.
    I have to side with Rhyf here, I do not see the logical connection. More clearly: The book of Revelation prophesies the destruction of (Flavian) Rome by the Christian God, on account of its evil nature. What you Fragony are saying is true, so far as it goes, but would apply more easily to those against whom St Augustine and Orosius wrote in the 4th/5th Centuries CE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyfelwyr View Post
    This whole 'theory' does not deserve to be taken seriously, it is sensationalist garbage.
    This pretty much sums up my current opinion, though if the actual evidence came to light I would be willing to consider it on its merits. I have some serious misgivings regarding the wider theory though. Correlation between the routes of Jesus and Titus is one thing, but as the basis of shifting the origins of Christianity forward by several decades? If Josephus was a key player in this conspiracy, why do his historical works (written afterwards) make no reference to the existence of Jesus. Most importantly, if the Flavians invented Christianity, who was Tacitus describing in the reign of Nero?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus
    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in JudŠa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

    Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
    (Apologies for the Perseus translation).
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  28. #28
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    'I suspect the Jews were lucky in that they were a client kingdom before they became a province. Certainly the Romans were fairly hands-off when it came to allowing alternative worship, but monotheism is a step beyond that. IIRC, failure to pray to the cult of the emperor was one reason that the Christians were persecuted. I do not really know exactly how this unfolded, but I suspect that the Romans were fine with Jewish monotheism because originally it was state-run and afterwards it was easy to maintain this. The Christians, as an alternative, and radical sect, undermined the stability of the Jewish faith and had to be extirpated.'

    It's probably found in said traditionalism, the jews actually did pay tribute to Roman gods on occasions, something the christians didn't do.

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    Dragonslayer Emeritus Senior Member Yankee Go Home Champion Sigurd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius Scribonius Curio View Post
    ...Most importantly, if the Flavians invented Christianity, who was Tacitus describing in the reign of Nero?
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus
    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in JudŠa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

    Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
    (Apologies for the Perseus translation).
    Any document with no original should be regarded as suspicious. Tacitus who describes a cult that was "dealt with" doesn't necessarily refer to the Christians. It has been argued that the word was tampered with. In some very early versions the word Christianos (the Christians) looks suspiciously tampered with (Photoshoping of that time). The word was most likely Chrestianos (the good).
    http://www.textexcavation.com/docume...hrestianos.pdf

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    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jesus was invented?

    Jesus was on the Grassy Knoll with the Comedian.

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