That NT Wrong might be a fictional creation occurred to many. That the same might be true of Chris Tilling will have come as a shock, but in fact a simple search on Yahoo! for “Chrisendom” turns up evidence that it has existed for hundreds of years. But where does the trail to the real individual or individuals behind NT Wrong lead from there?
Who would have a motive to create not one but at least two fictional blog personas? Perhaps someone who wished to show how easy it was to create a religious movement around fictional individuals woven together from pieces of myths and fragments of ancient texts (and/or web sites). But who would desire to do such a thing?
It was only relatively recently that I came into contact with Tom Verenna, an individual with precisely these aims. When his attempts to demonstrate the attractiveness of absolute minimalism regarding Jesus, and show there was no historical Jesus at all, failed to persuade some people (including, more recently, myself), what better course of action would there be than to create fictional persons and then unmask them as fictions, as myths? Note that it was only after I tried to introduce the analogy of inventing a fictional president of the United States into the discussion that NT Wrong claimed to be the president elect.
Those of you who have followed our debates will recall that I have put much emphasis on the existence of an individual in the earliest church known as “James, the brother of the Lord”. And so, I can now reveal to you that, had he not been stopped by this blog post, within days, perhaps hours, Tom Verenna was planning to lay claim to being the brother of NT Wrong!
Clearly, the evidence Tom has brought forward regarding Jesus (and the similar case Roland Boer has made regarding NT Wrong) also applies to Tom Verenna himself. I have only interacted with Tom electronically. I have never seen a photo of him. In short, there is no more evidence for his existence than for NT Wrong. Thus, I am forced to conclude that Tom Verenna is simply another layer of false blog identity. There is no historical Tom Verenna. The “Tom” part of the name derives both from the shorter name of Tom Wright, which is alluded to in the “name” NT Wrong. “Tom” also alludes to the Harry Potter novels, where there is a famous Tom Riddle. And what, my friends, is the mystery of the identity of NT Wrong but a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a scrumptious chocolate coating and dipped in sprinkles? The “Verenna” part, while clearly derived first and foremost from the old Sanskrit root varna which in the Rig Veda means “one who claims to be NT Wrong deceitfully”. But it also alludes to the way a German might pronounce the names of NT Wright and NT Wrong, as well as Voldemort, which of course immediately brings to mind the more common way of referring to him: “he who must not be named”. And the blogging evidence for Tom Verenna’s existence is far more scant, and significantly later, than that for NT Wrong himself.
So having found three layers of false identity behind NT Wrong, I am sure you are wondering just how far down the rabbit hole goes. I might have given up at this stage myself, were it not for the fact that three months ago, when my investigations into the identity of NT Wrong took me to a village in England, which revealed something even more shocking.
Before I conclude this post, let me draw attention to the fact that NT Wrong has removed his blog’s FAQ tab. I can only presume it is because of the clue it gave, which led me to the revelations I will proffer in the next post in this series…