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October 10, 2013


Jesus Made Up By Romans: Film at 11

Heard about the latest Internet sensation? It appears that it has been “proven” that Christianity was made up by the Romans as a tool of social control over those pesky Jews. According to the U.K.‘s Daily Mail:

An American scholar claims to have made a controversial discovery that proves the entire story of Jesus was made up by Roman aristocrats.

Joseph Atwill asserts that Christianity did not start as a religion, but was instead created as a sophisticated propaganda tool to pacify subjects of the Roman Empire.

He says he noticed a pattern forming when he was studying the only surviving account of first-century Judea, which he claims contains dozens of parallels between the life of a Roman emperor and that of Jesus in the New Testament.

Mr Atwill argues that these ancient ‘confessions’ provide ‘clear evidence’ that the biography of Jesus is ‘actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar’.

Mr Atwill accepts that his theory will upset some believers but is confident that it will be accepted in good time.

Mr Atwill said: ‘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.

‘Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods.

‘They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people.’

Gee, thanks for the heads-up. I don’t know if Atwill is a 9/11 Truther, an Obama birth certificate “Birther,” an Illuminati-Bilderberg-Rosicrucian conspiracy theorist, an Occupy Wall Streeter, a UFOlogist, or any of a thousand other kinds of Internet nut cases, but one thing he isn’t is the “Bible scholar” the headline proclaims him to be. According to his own web site, he’s a lapsed Catholic, a rich dilettante with too much time on his hands, and a guy with the resources to put his ridiculous ideas on film. His book–a vanity publication–has evidently been out for several years, and drawn no attention, so he’s decided to get himself some publicity by making a movie, and the Daily Mail obliges him, so that now it’s on several Amazon best-seller lists (albeit rather restricted ones). This cockamamie nonsense hasn’t gotten significant attention in the American press yet, but just wait–it won’t be long before this will be the latest thing in the unending stream of “here’s the real dope on Christianity” hypes.


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11 comments

Firstly - it is a story sourced in the US.

Secondly, the reporter, Simon Tomlinson has form, as we say.

[1] Posted by Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] on 10-10-2013 at 09:32 AM · [top]

On the bright side, it’s not another scrap of parchment that will bring down western civilization as we know it.

http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/update-10313-no-joe-atwill-rome-did-not-invent-jesus/

[2] Posted by Words Matter on 10-10-2013 at 12:25 PM · [top]

Hmm, I wonder if it’s on Schori and Obama’s reading list?

[3] Posted by cennydd13 on 10-10-2013 at 12:31 PM · [top]

Those Romans were amazing.  They got all those Christians martyrs to die just as cover for their devious plan.  Who’d have thunk?

[4] Posted by hanks on 10-10-2013 at 02:12 PM · [top]

Thanks for posting Tom Verenna’s takedown, #2, Words Matter.  When I first saw this story I looked around for Atwill’s scholarly credentials and couldn’t find any.  He apparently just reads a lot, and what he reads doesn’t seem to come from solid scholars who can read the original languages and have a grasp of the historical timeline.  He doesn’t have this knowledge either.

[5] Posted by Katherine on 10-10-2013 at 02:13 PM · [top]

Make him a TEC bishop - he seems qualified to head the Good Samaritan School of Theology like the PB!


/reality-ness

[6] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 10-10-2013 at 03:46 PM · [top]

Wow, that plan really backfired on them.

[7] Posted by Ecclesiastes 1:18 on 10-10-2013 at 06:06 PM · [top]

Seriously though, I feel like this is something Julian the Apostate would have mentioned. Seems like pretty powerful evidence for him to have passed up in his repaganization campaign. Unless he did and then the evidence was erased from history by albino monks working for the Knights Templar.

I don’t understand why purported “skeptics” can’t see that all these Christian origins theories (von Harnack’s “Paul invented Christianity” theory first and foremost) are built out of the same arguments from silence and “lack of evidence is proof of the conspiracy” thinking of which all other conspiracy theories are made.

Actually, I do understand. In the end, even “skeptics” believe what they believe because it’s what they want to believe.

[8] Posted by Ecclesiastes 1:18 on 10-10-2013 at 06:25 PM · [top]

Not to be irritating, but what is the evidence for a historical “Josephus?”

Also, what is the date of the oldest surviving copy of Josephus’ “The Jewish War” and how much might the text have changed from the time he presumably wrote it?

Or do we have to assume the verbal plenary inspiration of an 11th Century copy of a Greek translation of a text that might have been originally written in Aramaic?

Or are the rules of evidence only for one side?

[9] Posted by Just a Baptist on 10-10-2013 at 08:31 PM · [top]

Perhaps Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were fictional characters as well as Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch….

[10] Posted by rdrjames on 10-11-2013 at 03:44 PM · [top]

I thought this was a pretty old theory trotted out by the New Atheists a few years ago.  I would think it would have been debunked already.

[11] Posted by meh130 on 10-14-2013 at 03:36 PM · [top]

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