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Featured Christendom as a Flavian conspiracy

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by TagliatelliMonster, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    So the other day I was scrolling on youtube and came accross this clip making the case for how Christianity was actually a Roman invention to fight jewish "terrorists" with psyOps propaganda.

    For reference, and/or those interested:





    First time I heared about this hypothesis. No idea if it is a new idea or not. I haven't even bothered looking at when this was posted or when they came up with this idea. Considering I haven't heared about it before, I'm going to go ahead and assume for the time being that their ideas hadn't gotten much traction (yet?) within the scientific community.

    I'm not going to take a position on this one yet either. I feel like reading up first. Primarily, I would like to hear to the counter arguments, if there are any, from their working peers. For now, since I just discovered it this weekend, I have only seen/heared the "pro" arguments.



    But I have to say, I think it's very intriguing.

    At first I was like "meh, another conspiracy clip, yadda yadda".
    But as I watched and picked up some things and seeing the connections they made between the gospels and the writings of Josephus in the biogafies of the flavian emperors.... I gotta say, it DID make a lot of sense to me. Assuming the points they made concerning the writings of josephus are actually accurate (that his texts about vespasian and titus indeed say what they say in the clips that it says), then I surely agree that there are quite a few.... uncanny coincidence. So uncanny that it would indeed make a LOT more sense if the gospels were actually written by the flavian propaganda machine.

    Apparantly, once you view the gospels through that lens... not only do the gospels suddenly make a lot more sense... But they also provide a very plausible information how it is that a "pacifist" messiah, who said things like "render unto ceasar what belongs to ceasar" and "turn the other cheek", eventually "won" the "messiah" search over other more confrontational / military leaders that the "terrorists" jews in that period were actively looking for.

    Considering the known history of the wars of Flavius Vespasian and Titus in Judea against jewish rebels and zealots, one can see how "pacifying" the jews would play into the hands of these emperors.

    Considering also how it is known that these emperors destroyed jewish temples and stole the OT scripture scrolls, while burning the others, and took those back to Rome along with Josephus (a capture jew and thus very familiar with that scripture) who later got adopted as "flavious josephus" and who became instrumental in their propaganda machine and who wrote their biographies....

    We know that if they wanted to, they had all the tools they required to actually make up stories of a jewish messiah, written specifically to match the requirements of the prophecies of the OT.

    What's more striking....
    Is how the story of Jesus in the gospels apparantly seems to be following, in sequence, the military campaigns of Titus. Long story short of that part, is that the gospels are written with jesus being Titus and "god the father" being Titus' father Vespasian.

    Then there's also the early church, the first bishops and the first "saints".
    The pope's title of Pontificus Maximus, was also the title of the roman high priest in their pagan religion.
    The first bishops and saints were Flavians.
    The first saint ever, was a Flavian.

    So it's not even only connections withing the contents of the gospels. Even the early church is "infested" with flavian influence and people. The early church leaders, were flavians.

    There's a lot of detail I left out here off course. Writing up the "entire" thesis would take several books probably.

    Again, I remain sceptical, even only for the fact that I haven't heared about this before while the idea strikes me as relatively old (considering the clips - for some reason that doesn't feel like "recorded in 2018") and the fact that it doesn't seem to have taken up much traction in the "mainstream" (otherwise, it would be common knowledge).

    Nevertheless, taken at face value, it DOES strike me as the most plausible "jesus myth hypothesis" I have ever heared. It does sound like it makes a lot of sense.

    So I'll definatly be digging deeper into this. And primarily, I'ld like to read the counterarguments, if there are any, from mainstream peers who disagree.

    So, has anyone here ever heared of this hypothesis? If yes, what do you think about it?
     
    #1 TagliatelliMonster, Oct 7, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  2. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus non est ad astra mollis e terris via

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  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I heard something like several years ago and paid it little notice.

    I was exploring a stronger hypothesis of JC being the son illigitimate son of a roman soldier. Hebrew writings seem to indicate this and i have seen his dads gravestone.

    But, the Flavian era being one of my loves of the history of Rome i have done considerable study about them. I would say that both Titus and especially Domitian were fully capable and likely to create such a ruse
     
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  4. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus non est ad astra mollis e terris via

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    Capable? Yes. Any evidence? No.

    No legit scholar of early Christianity would take this seriously.
     
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  5. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    "no" as in you don't agree with their thesis
    or "no" as in, you never heared of this thesis.


    Note that obviously, I'ld expect every believing christian to consider this nonsense at face value...
    I can imagine that IF this turns out accurate, that it would be a sour pill for christians to swallow.
    So sour that I assume the vast majority not even being prepared to entertain the possibility.
     
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  6. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Actually a serious bible scholar says jesus was an invention to pacify the poor

    Anyway, as i said, i paid it little notice because the Hebrew and German evidence actually does exist

    And of course there is available no evidence that he existed as described in the bible
     
  7. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    The clips I posted go in on quite a lot of evidence.
    I have yet to hear counter arguments. Which, as I acknowledge in my OP, I haven't looked into yet so I don't even know if they exist and if they do, what they are.

    That's next on my list to cross this off (or on).

    Could be. My question is "why", in case they don't.

    As said in the OP, assuming the references and similarities they point out between jesus's actions according the gospels and Titus' military campaign, with matching sequence and everything, is accurate and that coupled with all the other circumstantial evidence of "messianism" among jews in that time, their almost desperate search of a military leader type as messiah, the sudden pacification thereof, the Roman symbolism in gospel literature, etc... Then the "counter arguments" would have a whole lot of uncanny coincidences and stuff to answer to.

    I can't stress enough that I am taking this at face value currently and have yet to hear about "the other side" of this story.

    Not saying at all that this is an accurate explanation of the rise of christianity or jesus.
    Merely that it's a very interesting case that I would like to learn more about, to see if it holds up.


    I'm fully aware that this goes against the mainstream. And, as I say in the OP, that -in and of itself- is already reason enough for me to be very sceptical of it. Because if this was so obviously accurate, then it would be mainstream, now wouldn't it?

    At the same time though, every idea that turned a field on its head, was started as an out-of-the-box idea that went against the mainstream.

    So just because it's against the mainstream, doesn't mean that it's false either.

    Especially in this subject, I can imagine that culturally, it's kind of a difficult thing to accept. This strikes at the very heart of judeo-christian culture. Even for atheists such as me, who mostly has no issue at all with a historical human jesus around which these myths and legends were build.

    I think it's kind of depressing in a way, even for an atheist like me, to realise that our entire culture and society in a very real way, has been shaped by the power-hungry propaganda of some Roman emperial family. It's a bit like the worst joke in human history, if true...


    This is the kind of stuff that potentially plunges societies into an identify crisis....
     
    #7 TagliatelliMonster, Oct 7, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  8. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't heard of it but on looking it up it seems to have been around since 2005, put forward by some guy called Joseph Atwill. Details in this Wiki article: Caesar's Messiah - Wikipedia

    The section on how the idea was received goes as follows:

    " The mythicist Biblical scholar Robert M. Price said that Atwill "gives himself license to indulge in the most outrageous display of parallelomania ever seen." Price acknowledges that the New Testament has "persistent pro-Roman tendencies", but says this was done "for apologetical reasons, to avoid persecution."[28] The mythicist Richard Carrier similarly stated that all of Atwill's alleged parallels can be explained as either coincidences, mistranslations, or references to Old Testament sources or tropes. However, Carrier also agreed that the New Testament has pro-Roman aspects. According to Carrier, "Christianity was probably constructed to 'divert Jewish hostility and aggressiveness into a pacifist religion, supportive of–and subservient to–Roman rule,' but not by Romans, but exasperated Jews like Paul."[35]

    Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman said "I know sophomores in college who could rip this ... to shreds" and pointed out that Atwill had "no training in any relevant field."[53]
     
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  9. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe your last line for an instant. Don't forget there are plenty of theories already from historians of Christianity about how Christianity arose, whether Jesus was a historical figure or not, and so on. This is just a recent and slightly wacky one. It's a bit like all these theories about who wrote Shakespeare's plays, from people who can't imagine Shakespeare did.
     
  10. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    Looked into this further and idd, seems as reception was kinda cold.
    Seems the consensus is that the original author
    1. ignored inconvenient facts or simply didn't know about them
    and
    2. took a stretch with certain facts that he uses to base a few key arguments on.

    Although, I also learned quite a few things.

    So this turned out to be a bust.

    Interesting story though. I'm sure it would make a great movie :D
     
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  11. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    The poor and everyone else who has reason to rise up and change their plight in life instead of letting everyone continue to trample on them. Turn the other cheek really isn't even good advice, except when you need people to just accepted and take what the ruling class throws at them. It'll be better for them in the after life, anyways.
     
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  12. ecco

    ecco Well-Known Member

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    There could be some substance to this.
     
  13. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I have heard of it. The problems I see with it are:

    - Romans killed Jesus

    - If Jews would really have given up roman money, it would be bad for the Roman business. I think Jews should have rejected all Roman money.

    - There simply seems to be no real evidence to support the hypothesis.
     
  14. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    Yes I suppose it would, just like Dan Brown's idiotic (and plagiarised) yarn about the Templars, Opus Dei monks and millionaire Oxford dons with private jets. Someone will do it, no doubt. Oliver Stone? He's usually good for a conspiracy theory. :D
     
  15. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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  16. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Prior to modern communication and transportation technology Emperors didn't have that much ability to micromanage small parts of their empire, especially not with cunning fake messiah ruses.

    Religions spread erratically and slowly (it took centuries for Christianity and Islam to become dominant) and they had overt imperial support and incentives. The Romans also hated Christianity at first as it was new, and thus a 'superstition' and persecuted it as subversive.

    The theory relies on a hare brained scheme that's the historical equivalent of Wile E Coyote making a female roadrunner out of dynamite in order to kill Roadrunner.

    - Hmm the Jews are being a bit pesky, how shall we deal with this? I'm especially interested in solutions that don't pay off for a very long time as Emperors like me are known for their patience towards regional uprisings they want to crush.

    + I know boss, let's make a really unconvincing messiah that is nothing like the one they expect, and then make him peaceful. They'll flock to him as when you tell people to follow a new religion they usually just do it without question. Especially when their unconvincing messiah tells them to submit to their hated enemies because God wants them to.

    - Not bad, I like the cut of your jib. The Jews aren't exactly known for sticking to their traditions so they'll welcome the change, and new religions only take decades or centuries to become reasonably popular. Maybe he'll become mildly popular and then in many decades time when someone else is on the throne the Jews might be marginally less rowdy.

    * But boss, if this spread to non-Jews then it will be subversive as they may reject the imperial cult.

    + In that case we'll just persecute them to make sure no one else takes up this strange new superstition of the kind we despise.

    :D
     
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  17. TagliatelliMonster

    TagliatelliMonster Well-Known Member

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    As expressed in the OP, I was skeptical about this from the get-go.

    I think there's a lesson here as well. If you only get your info from a single source and don't even bother to check that source, it becomes quite easy to get carried along a path of nonsense.

    Taking everything in that thesis at face value, it does sound as a coherent and even kind of plausible idea. Then you start pondering the implications of the kind of undertaking it would have to have been and questions quickly arise.

    And as you look deeper into it, primarily and specifically counter-arguments from valid peers, you find out that certain facts or stretched or ignored, the make the whole thing sound more appealing / plausible.


    Just because something sounds appealing at first, doesn't mean it has any merrit or any good justification.

    Although not everything they mention in terms of connections is wrong. There are quite a few things, as it turns out, which doesn't really fit in the christian narrative and which indeed do seem "borrowed" or "influenced" from other sources. To the point that one has to ask the question: why is that? And what does it mean in terms of the origins of christianity?
     
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  18. sooda

    sooda Veteran Member

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    Why not? By the time Matthew was written it had turned very political.. If not why commandeer Hosea and Isaiah to PROVE Jesus was the Messiah?
     
  19. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    I think people often mistake 2 things emerging in the same cultural environment and thus sharing common features, for one thing being copied/plagiarised/stolen from another (and often ascribed a mendacious motivation).

    Example:

    (Mendacious) theft: Christmas was on the 25 Dec because Christians wanted to steal a pagan holiday as a marketing tool

    Cultural similarity: Solstices are important dates in many cultures therefore auspicious events tend to be attached to these dates precisely because they are the solstices. Both groups 'chose' the date for the same reasons.


    The latter is far more probable than the former, but we tend to like the former as it implies centrally directed, conscious agency and we tend to assume individual humans are far more in control of things than they actually are (a major force behind the popularity of conspiracy theories).
     
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  20. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    ... while assiduously leaving a vast quantity of peer reviewed scholarship unread, because such stuff is far less titillating and far more challenging. It is so much better to waste one's time on some obscure conspiracy theory.

    And this brings to mind an H. L. Mencken quote:

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."
     
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