Written by Alberta Parish
Although there exists a flurry of historical evidence on the inauthenticity of Jesus and the Four Gospels, I concentrated upon a particular historian and investigative researcher, Joseph Atwill who published Caesar's Messiah in 2005, from which to formulate the basis for much of my argument on the New Testament, Jesus and Christianity having all been invented by a Roman imperial family known as the Flavians who also had strong ties to the ruling class of Jews in 1st century Palestine known as the Herods (i.e., Herodians). Not only did the Romans give the world a false Messiah based on their own image but the Jesus of scripture (or Jesus of faith) does not live up to the messianic prophecies contained in the ancient Hebrew scriptures.
Wikipedia describes a messiah in Abrahamic religions as being a savior or liberator of a group of people. In the Hebrew Bible, a moshiach (messiah) is a king or High Priest traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil. Messiahs were not exclusively Jewish. The Book of Isaiah refers to Cyrus the Great, king of the Achaemenid Empire, as a messiah for his decree to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple.
A messiah could almost be any leader in 1st century Palestine. Joseph ben Matthias, a Galilean commander during the First Roman-Judean War (66 - 73 AD), upon surrendering to the Roman general Vespasian, had declared him the promised Messiah who would become emperor. Vespasian not only believed him but later adopted Matthias into the Flavian family. Joseph's name was also changed to Titus Flavius Josephus, and he became the family's historian who also helped the Flavians to create the Four Gospels and Jesus. With his extensive knowledge of Hebrew texts and the deep-seated conflicts that existed between the Jews and Romans, Josephus was able to incorporate real events in the story of a pacifist savior born during the time of King Herod and died during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.
Jerry Russell of Postflaviana wrote that "[d]uring the historical period surrounding the alleged life and times of the biblical Jesus, Judea was (in reality) at the epicenter of an epic, violent conflict between the Roman Empire and the adherents of a virulently radical form of messianic Judaism. The roots of the conflict date back earlier, to the age when the zealous Maccabees (also known as Hasmoneans) rebelled against the Seleucids (the remnants of Alexander the Great’s Hellenistic empire) and achieved an uneasy independence in 164 BCE. In 63 BCE, the Romans invaded Judea, and the Maccabees became Roman clients.
A family of foreigners from Edom (in Arabia) eventually usurped the role of the Maccabees as the Romans’ clients and tax farmers in Judea. The rise of this Herodian regime began when Antipater, born as an Edomite nobleman whose family had allegedly converted to Judaism, insinuated himself into Maccabean politics while simultaneously currying favor with the Romans. Antipater was appointed Roman Procurator of Judea under Julius Caesar (47 BCE), and his son Herod became the governor of Galilee, while the Hasmoneans continued to hold the office of high priest" ("Christianity is Flavian Vanity").
The Idumean (i.e., Edomite) king Herod is first recorded in the gospel of Matthew as having ordered the deaths of all male children two years old and under in Bethlehem and surrounding regions following an ancient prophecy told to him by the wise men from the east who had seen a star in the east and traveled to Jerusalem to enquire of him saying, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." When Herod heard these words, he was troubled. All of Jerusalem was troubled with him. The gospel account states that Herod gathered the chief priests and scribes of the people. Then demanded of them where Christ should be born. They said, "In Bethlehem of Judaea. For thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda. For out of thee come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel" (Matthew 2:5-6).
The Four Gospels not only paints Jesus as a pacifist who sympathized with Romans but throughout these books Jesus constantly condemns the Jews, especially the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees often referring to them as children of their father, Satan. In fact, the Jesus of scripture never condemned the Romans for their brutality against his people, Israel! The Romans are never condemned in the New Testament for their oppression of the Jews. The Messianic prophecies contained in the ancient Hebrew religious texts clearly states that out of Bethlehem (in Juda) would come a Governor that shall rule his people (i.e., Israel). But the Jesus of the Four Gospels does not have any inclination of leading his people against their Roman oppressors and casting off the Roman yoke from their necks. Here you have a barbaric class of people conquering nations and then stealing the wealth of those nations through taxation. But the prophesied 'Mashiach' (i.e., Messiah) of Hebrew scripture that the Septuagint claims is Jesus never lifts a finger to overthrow the Roman invaders. There is a popular belief in Christendom that the Messiah figure of scripture will rule at the end of the age or the world to come. But the gospel of Matthew suggests that Herod who believed the messianic prophecies concerning the child born in Bethlehem would take place during his lifetime if he'd lived long enough. He believed it to the point that he orders the death of all male children two years and under from the time the wise men saw the star over Bethlehem until he sanctioned the execution of all male children in Bethlehem two years and under. This story loosely parallels a few key elements in the story of Moses found in Exodus 2.
According to Wikipedia, "Jewish and Christian tradition viewed Moses as the author of Exodus and the entire Torah, but by the end of the 19th century the increasing awareness of discrepancies, inconsistencies, repetitions and other features of the Pentateuch had led scholars to abandon this idea.
Even if these events historically occurred (and I highly doubt they did), a man called Moses was not the writer of Exodus and other books originally ascribed to him. I doubt if there ever were any such group known as Hebrews enslaved in Egypt under any living Pharaoh.
If there was any Moses figure, he is not the same as the biblical figure of Exodus. He's probably some watered down version of a real historical figure. It is safe to conclude that Moses is nothing more than a myth that Exodus claims was born to Levite parents. The Moses story says that his mother after giving birth hid him for three months because Pharaoh had given the Hebrew midwives an order to kill all male children born but keep the girl children alive. When Moses' mother could no longer hide him, she made a papyrus basket and placed him inside. She put him in the Nile where Pharaoh's daughter later saw him among the reeds. Then she sent a female slave to fetch it for her. Meanwhile, the sister of Moses stood far off to see what would happen to him.
The female slave fetches Moses from the river. Moses' sister comes around and asks Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?" And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." And the women took the child, and nursed it. After the child grew older, Moses was brought to Pharaoh's daughter who took him as her own son. Moses avoids death because the Hebrew midwives disobeyed Pharaoh's order to kill all Hebrew male children born. When the midwives disobeyed him, Pharaoh ordered all of his people to cast every Hebrew male child born into the Nile River but save the girl children (Exodus 2:2-10).
In the Jesus narrative, Joseph took Mary and fled to Egypt with Jesus after being warned in a dream that Herod sought to kill the child. Both characters miraculously escapes death by powerful rulers. Both perform miracles. The Messiah figure in the person of Moses deliver the Hebrews from their oppressors but the Messiah figure in the Four Gospels never lifts a finger against Rome. Neither openly rebukes the Romans for their oppression of his people.
At a time when Jesus allegedly walked the earth, nationalistic Jews like the Zealots and Sacarii waged revolts against Roman rulers. First Century Jews anticipated the coming of their Messiah who would be a king and there were several major messiah-like figures during this same time period. But Jesus was neither nationalistic nor did he belong to any of the four sects within messianic Judaism known as the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Essenes. He never complained about the occupation of the Romans over his country. Why not? He had nothing to gain from being a Roman sympathizer. Several books in the Septuagint (Greek New Testament) states that he was called a Nazarene because he grew up in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. However, the Jesus of scripture was neither militaristic nor was he a friend of the ruling class of Jews who had everything to gain from a Jewish-Roman alliance. Thus, the Flavians were able to reconstruct a gospel narrative around certain actual events that occurred to invent the pacifist Jesus of Nazareth as a political weapon against the militaristic movement taking in Palestine, which produced constant revolts against the ruling class of Romans and their client rulers, the Herodians.
The Flavians with the help of their historian Josephus not only wrote peripheral historical figures into the Four Gospels to backtrack their fictional Jesus narrative but they invented additional mythical figures as supporting cast like Mary, Joseph, the twelve apostles, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, her sister Martha and brother Lazarus whom the gospel of John claimed was raised from the dead by Jesus.
Atwill's work reveals to us just how terrible the hostility was between these nationalistic Jews and Romans. According to Russell, "Atwill reports that the Dead Sea Scrolls were crucial in re-calibrating his understanding of the historical milieu that gave rise to the New Testament. Many crucial aspects of the Scrolls were not unveiled to the public until 1991, at the instigation of Atwill’s friend and colleague Robert Eisenman, who suggested that a ‘Roman hand’ was at work in the New Testament. Eisenman’s work (for example, see James the Brother of Jesus and The New Testament Code) was an important influence to Atwill’s discoveries."
Russell further wrote, "The true course of events in Israel and Judaea during the ~100 years between the Roman and Herodian takeover which was completed in 37 BCE, and the end of the Jewish war in ~73 CE, has always been a highly speculative topic, which scholarship is unlikely to resolve. In fact an essential aspect of Atwill’s work is to show that the New Testament and the works of Josephus must both be regarded as Roman propaganda, and that treating these documents as factual reporting can only lead to serious analytical errors."
Too many discrepancies and contradictions throughout the Old and New Testaments makes for unreliable sources.
Around the time of Josephus' War of the Jews, the second version of the gospel of Mark was being written. Matthew was not the first gospel recorded. It was written years after the first and second versions of Mark. Ur Marcus (1st version) was the original prototype. Luke was recorded circa 90 AD around the same time as Matthew. The gospel of John was written circa 100 - 105 AD. All Four Gospels have false authors ascribed to them.
War of the Jews (published circa 75 AD) never mentions a Jesus of Nazareth that was crucified for sedition during the reign of Tiberius, under the Roman procurator, Pilate. But there is one man mentioned quite a lot in both Josephus' War of the Jews and Antiquities of the Jews, and his name is Judas. The Jesus of scripture is first mentioned by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews (published circa 90 AD), and that passage has since been determined to be a forgery. In both War of the Jews and Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes that Judas of Galilee led a tax revolt against the Romans in Palestine in 6 AD. He was the founder and leader of the Zealots, who were nationalists. They also believed that God alone was their ruler. Therefore, they did not recognize the authority of the Roman emperor. Judas encouraged the people to not pay taxes to Rome. In fact, the Acts of the Apostles casts Judas in a negative light because of his resistance to Roman taxation.
Here is what Acts has to say about Judas and another man who fought against Roman oppression, in Acts 5:36-39: "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, [i]joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God."
The Roman propaganda throughout New Testament texts is a clear indicator that these works were never written by 1st or 2nd century Jews living in Palestine and surrounding regions. No Hebrew Israelite apostle or disciple of the mythical Jesus ever wrote a single page in the Septuagint! The Dead Sea Scrolls contain very little comparisons to the New Testament in regards to the militaristic movement of 1st and 2nd century Jews that the writers of the Septuagint clearly condemns.
Judas of Galilee was a rebel that was crucified for fighting the Roman occupation of his country through brutality and taxation. American Negroes can learn a thing or two from the lives of first and second century Jews who were like the black nationalist groups of the 1960s and 70s. The Black Panthers and Black Liberation Army. However, the nationalist Zealots and Sacarii shed much Roman blood including their own for true liberation, and not this watered down and gospel version of liberation. Constantly on your knees in prayer and supplication always forgiving your enemies without expectation of retribution and restitution for the evil done unto you while being in perpetual submission to the will of the oppressor is NOT true liberation from your oppressor.
Although these conflicts between Jews and Romans resulted in three major wars in the First and Second Century, the true Jews of ancient Palestine never lost their nationalistic identity, that is, until hundreds of years following their last and final dispersion in 136 AD.
Russell, J., Christianity is Flavian Vanity, "Postflaviana", 2014 Oct. 28.