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Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus: Flavian Signature Edition Paperback – 18 May 2011
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About the Author
Joseph Atwill began his religious studies as a youth in Japan at the only English-speaking school in the country, the Jesuit-run St. Mary's Military Academy. The majority of each of his school days was spent studying Greek, Latin, and the Bible, which he found fascinating, although he eventually drifted away from the faith. Having studied computer science in college, Atwill formed a series of successful companies with one of the most renowned programmers in the world, David Ferguson. Many years later, the sale of his interests in these companies allowed him to return to his earlier interest – the origins of Christianity. He spent over a decade studying hundreds of books, among them, the works of Robert Eisenman and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Together with Eisenman, Atwill wrote a paper on the dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls. While studying the two most prominent works of the 1st century - Josephus’ "Wars of the Jews" and the Gospels - Atwill noticed a series of parallels occurring in sequence between the military campaign of the Roman Caesar Titus Flavius and the ministry of Jesus. His findings led him to a startling new conclusion about the origins of Christianity - that a Roman imperial family, the Flavians, had created Christianity to pacify the Jews’ rebellion against Rome, and even more incredibly, they had placed a literary satire within the Gospels and "Wars of the Jews" to inform posterity of this fact. The results of Atwill’s research are set out in his book "Caesar’s Messiah". The second edition of "Caesar’s Messiah", Ulysses Press 2006, became the best selling work of religious history in the US in 2007, and its German translation "Das Messias Ratsel", Ulstein 2008, achieved #1 Best Seller status. The Flavian Signature edition of "Caesar’s Messiah", CreateSpace 2011, adds the most detailed presentation of the parallels Atwill discovered between the works of Josephus and the Book of Luke.
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Top customer reviews
One issue Atwill may have touched on but could be explored further is just why all those hundreds and thousands of people that Christ came in contact with and often healed, did not apparently write Gospels of their own? I guess, there were some, e.g. Gospel of Mary, Philip, Thomas etc, but these have either been discounted as written later or simply dubious anyway for other reasons. BUT other than these there must have been many others contemporary with Christ who witnessed his amazing healing powers and wrote about it? That there appears no evidence now for these people's accounts, does tend to tie in with Atwill's thesis that the Gospels were written at a strategic point by likely Roman intellectuals who had their own agenda. The other point that does tie in with Atwill's thesis is the astonishing inconsistencies between the synoptic Gospels. A difference of emphasis could be allowed in a way, but when there are definite factual differences in for example what happened when the tomb was found empty, then one does wonder whether the Gospels were written for more strategic purposes than purely spiritual ones.
The other key point to think more deeply about is just why, as was already known before Atwill's researches of course for this book, was just why the Romans eventually took on Christianity as their official religion after four hundred years or so? One reason could well be that it was their invention anyway. The other reason could well be that it was politically stabilising for the Roman Empire to have a more unified approach to religion, for the previous Roman incorporation of all kinds of Gods from the regions they conquered was a strange amorphous affair. So maybe political unity could have been the bottom line as to why it was formally adopted (after it may have been anyway informally invented by the same anyway). Scholars no doubt can work on all these debates, but we certainly should not rule out Atwill's thesis that Christianity is more politically motivated than was previously thought.
The evidence Joseph Atwell presents is compelling, and his reading of the gospels and their intertwining story in Josephus will take some disproving. The chapter regarding the puzzle of the tomb is particularly enlightening.
Of all the myriad books and theories on Jesus and the origins of Christianity, this one makes a whole lot of sense.
Read it with an open mind and you might just find the answers you're looking for.
The tortuous method of pairing parallel events between Jesus and Titus, is exhausting and very far fetched.
But he has given me a valuable endorsement for my case that Christianity was cooked up in Alexandria - the line he didnt follow up.
The Julio-Claudian dynasty, ending with Emperor Nero, was bankrupting the Roman Empire, and the Judeans were planning a revolt. The Herods (non-Jewish Greco-Arabs) were client kings/tax collectors of the Roman conquered province of Judea and had previously destroyed the Maccabean dynasty. Every temple was required to have a statue of the Roman emperor besides those of the many Pagan gods. The Jews, a messianic movement with a series of Messiahs (AKA Christ), standing behind their holy books and monotheistic beliefs, rebelled against the Romans. Nero ordered his general Vespasian to crush the Jews, starting in the Galilee, capturing Josephus (who survived where 3 of his friends were crucified), to work alongside the Romans as an adopted member of the Flavian family deploying propaganda against the Jews. Nero committed suicide and the Flavians seized the throne. Titus destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in AD 70. All treasures from the temple, including the famous Seven-Branch Candlestick, were displayed in public as the spoils of victory and can be seen on the triumphal arch of Titus in Rome--except the scriptures, which were placed in the private palace and nobody was allowed to see them. The Romans exerted complete control over the literature of this period. Besides Josephus' work, the rest of the history books of this time telling of the Jewish war, were destroyed. Josephus stated that the messianic prophecy indicates a non-Jewish ruler as none other than Vespasian and his dynasty (in fact all Flavian historians stated that the Flavian Caesar was the Christ). The Julio-Claudians before them had already started the Imperial Cult (with its own priest and elite movement) and had proven its power. Titus was declared Emperor by his troops. The Roman Senate accepted Vespasian as God, and Titus as the son of God. This was not end of the messianic movement, however, as a revolt soon broke out in Alexandria, fuelled by the same religious texts.
Christianity was invented by the Flavians--Emperor Vespasian (built the Colosseum and destroyed the Druids) and his son Titus--to pacify and control the Jews; the gospels were written in Greek as a typological retelling of Titus' campaigns (also containing typologies between Moses and Jesus) through parallel names, locations and concepts in an identical sequence (more than 40 typologies have been noted between Jesus and Titus known as the "Flavian Signature"), resulting in a benign form of Judaism, as if to say "they want a prophet so let's give them one": Jesus (means Saviour) therefore never existed, but was a composite image of many messianic Messiahs based on concepts of the mythological pagan mysteries, sun worship, the Old Testament together with the Roman stoic philosophy promoted by the Flavians, thereby copying many useful themes and blueprints--new converts, instead of worshipping Jesus, were really worshiping Titus in disguise but without knowing it! The Jesus character talks of a second coming when Galilean towns are crushed, Jerusalem encircled by walls, and the temple razed; the "Son of Man" will appear before the generation that is alive and listening to the words of Jesus passes away: implying Titus, who does this within 40 years. There is a lot of dark humour and tongue-in-cheek jokes and puns--Roman style. Quoting Joseph Atwill, "The truth behind Saul's nickname is viscous humour that makes fun of the fact that Paul was not merely circumcised but castrated. The story of Paul's castration is black comedy and is given in Acts 13 1-9." Readers of the day were educated as such and expected to be able to read into a deeper meaning of multi-layered allegorical texts that indulges into literary games that the Romans played; the gospels need to be read in terms of text, context and subtext, and no academics these days are trained to read beyond a literal level.
The Dead Sea Scrolls included literature from the 1st century that had not been put through Roman propagandist filters, i.e. they had not been edited or tampered with. They are like the literature of the militaristic war against Rome. The characters were militaristic fundamentalists, but the characters in the gospels are pacifistic. "Gospel" originally meant news of military victory. Pro-Roman, they are about turning away from Jewish law and obeying Roman law during the time of a war zone: Jews instead become the forces of darkness. The gospels were backdated some 40 years into the period of Pontius Pilate to the Julio-Claudian dynasty, where historians have been wrongly looking for the origin of Christianity.
Sun worship had thus been usurped by a character whose birthday was on the Winter Solstice. The Romans would have been involved in the writing and release of the gospels in collaboration with the Alexanders (Philo of Alexandria: worked on Greek and Judaist philosophy) and the Herods (Princess Berenice: related by marriage to the Alexanders and later became Titus' mistress). This was the start of the Catholic Church inheriting the high pries position (Pontifex Maximus) subsequently passing to the Popes. Flavia Domitilla (Titus' sister or niece) donated the first Christian Catacomb and became the first Christian Saint. Her son Clement was the first Catholic pope after Simon. Nereus and Achilleus, members of the Flavian household staff, both had churches named after them in the earliest Christian diocese in Rome. Titus Flavius Clement (Clement of Alexandria) described the first Christian symbols, i.e. the anchor, the boat, the fish, the olive branch and the star, which the Flavian Caesars depicted on their coins. Pagan temples were replaced by Christian churches. Groups of messianic Christians would have been persecuted, whilst the good Christians would have got promoted. Later, Flavius Constantine (note he was also a member of the same family) made Christianity the state religion of Rome. The Emperors and Popes would have known of the Flavian origin of Christianity all along. Following Constantine's reforms, Christianity was set to enslave Europe through Feudalism.
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