Joseph Atwill has not proven that Jesus was made up by the Romans.

A lot of people are sending me this article talking about Joseph Atwill’s upcoming presentation of his claim that Rome invented Jesus:

American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled “Covert Messiah” at Conway Hall in Holborn.

This sounds groundbreaking, so I double checked it with some historians I know.  The first to get back to me was David Fitzgerald who lamented that work like Atwill’s makes his job so much harder.  To quote Fitzgerald, Atwill gets the right conclusion (Jesus was never a real person), but for all the wrong reasons.  He linked me to a piece by historian Thomas Verenna who breaks down why Atwill is pretty much the historical equivalent of VenomFangX:

This is a serious flaw in Atwill’s work. He makes claims but doesn’t seem to realize how ridiculous they actually are; it is that scholars find his work “outlandish”. It is just plain wrong. I mean it is still crazy talk, but it is more that his whole premise is wrong.

For example, like all sensationalist crap-dealers, Mr, Atwill claims to have discovered the secret, super-dooper, hidden code in the text. Amazing! I self-proclaimed “Biblical scholar”, with no formal training in the material, has used his magic decoder ring and stumbled upon a code! How clever of him. He states:

Atwill’s most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus [the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea] alongside the New Testament. “I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts,” he recounts. “Although it’s been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar.”

First, and let me be clear, are there striking similarities between Josephus and the Gospel of Luke? Yes, there are. Steven Mason, a real scholar, has published an entire volume on the subject called Josephus and the New TestamentRichard Carrier has also written on the subject of the parallels between Josephus and Luke-Acts. Joel Watts, an actual student of Biblical Studies who has done graduate work in the field (unlike Mr. Atwill), has written an academically-published book on someinteresting mimetic elements between Mark and Josephus.

The difference between what these scholars have written and what Mr. Atwill have written is threefold: (a) all of them have academic training in Greek, (b) all of them published through an academic press (Carrier is the exception, but he has published academically and is qualified on the subject), (c) None of them make the illogical leap that similarities between Josephus (a Jew) and the Gospels (written by Jewish authors) mean that the Romans did it. In fact it is the same misguided leap that some evangelicals make about God. “We don’t know, ergo ‘God did it’.” Instead, all of these scholars agree that the most rational reason for these similarities is that the Gospel authors had copies of Josephus, or Josephus had copies of the Gospels. This sort of interplay of texts is not new in the ancient world.

Second, what is utterly absurd is the notion that the Jews were ‘a constant source of violent insurrection.” No, they weren’t. In fact, with the exception of two wars–one that started in 69 and ended in 73 and another that started in 132 and ended in 136–there were barely any disruptions in Judaea. In fact, the Romans and the Jews got along fine for over 100 years prior to the first revolt and again for almost another 60 years following the destruction of the Temple and the end of the first revolt.

Notwithstanding this damning evidence against him, Atwill’s premise is quite narrowed and simplistic, demonstrating a critical lack of understanding of the cultural dynamics of Judea in the first century.

"Crap...why didn't we just use psychological warfare against these guys?"

“Crap…why didn’t we just use psychological warfare against these guys?”

There exist over 30 Jewish sects that we know of from the first century, and have some basic understanding of their belief structures. There are some dozens more we just know by name. On top of that, we have to conclude there are perhaps dozens, if not hundreds, more Jewish sects of which we simply have no record. What is so interesting is how incredibly different each sect is from each other.

Despite Atwill’s unlearned claim that the Jewish people were expecting a ‘Warrior messiah’, in truth there is no universal version of a messiah. Even among the same sect, over time, the concept of their messiah would change. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, which Mr. Atwill seems to think he knows so well, the language of the messiah and his purpose changes (in fact at one point, we see two distinct messiahs at once–one a priestly messiah and another a kingly messiah). Some sects did not even expect a messiah at all. Any of the numerous works on messianic expectations published in the last two decades utterly annihilates any claim that Atwill is making about some uniformity in Jewish thought and ritual.

Even logically, his analysis is flawed. If this tactic was used against the Jews, why didn’t the Romans use it against an even greater threat: the Gauls?! The Jewish people were never as serious a threat to the Empire as much as the Gauls were–who sacked Rome twice and destroyed Legions. Atwill never seems to consider how basically incompetent his thesis is in this regard. If the Romans had such success against the Jews using this “psychological warfare” (anachronism alert!! Danger! Danger!), why don’t we see this happening against all of their enemies? It is just so beyond absurd. It really is.

Here is the thing; it may be that Mr. Atwill is completely clueless about this. Maybe he isn’t just trying to scam everyone and sell a bunch of books to a group of gullible people. Maybe he legitimately hasn’t read anything relevant on this subject or any recent scholarship on it.

"What?  'The Romans Invented Jesus'?  What a rip off!"

“What? ‘The Romans Invented Jesus’? What a rip off!”

But that is troubling–would you want to read a science book written by a layperson who hasn’t read a single relevant scientific study? Would you pick up a book on engineering written by someone with a background in computer science, and trust that book enough to build a house based upon its designs? I hope not. I sincerely hope that no one would agree to trust either of these books.

This is the issue with Mr. Atwill. He may sincerely believe he has discovered the secret code off a cereal box with his 3-D glasses he found inside; that doesn’t make him an expert in the subject, it doesn’t make him knowledgeable enough to give lectures on it. It certainly does not make him credible.

Mr. Atwill is just like all the other amateur-Scholar-wannabes who refuse to put in the time and effort to earn a degree in the field, who want to advance their pet theories to sell books and dupe you over. He relies on popular media and the ignorance of the layperson to score points rather than publishing in a credible academic journal or publishing academically. He knows he can’t do that, because he has no clue how academics work, how they think, or what they actually argue on the subject. He might as well claim that Jesus lived on Atlantis, which came from Mars. That theory is about as ridiculous as the notion that Rome invented Jesus.

Richard Carrier has also gone to town on Atwill:

There are at least eight general problems with his thesis, which do not refute it but establish that it has a very low prior probability, and therefore requires exceptionally good evidence to be at all credible:

(1) The Roman aristocracy was nowhere near as clever as Atwill’s theory requires. They certainly were not so masterfully educated in the Jewish scriptures and theology that they could compose hundreds of pages of elegant passages based on it. And it is very unlikely they would ever conceive of a scheme like this, much less think they could succeed at it (even less, actually do so).

(2) We know there were over forty Gospels, yet the four chosen for the canon were not selected until well into the 2nd century, and not by anyone in the Roman aristocracy. Likewise which Epistles were selected.

(3) The Gospels and the Epistles all contradict each other far too much to have been composed with a systematic aim in mind. Indeed, they contradict each other in ways that often demonstrate they are deliberately arguing with each other. From the ways Matthew changes Mark; to the way the forged 2 Thessalonians actually tries to argue 1 Thessalonians is the forgery; to how the resurrections depicted in Luke and John are deliberate attempts to refute the doctrine of resurrection defended originally by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 and 2 Corinthians 5; to how some Epistles insist on Torah observance while others insist it can be discarded; to how Luke’s nativity contradicts Matthew’s on almost every single particular (and not just in placing the event in completely different periods ten years apart); to how Acts blatantly contradicts Paul’s own account of his conversion and travels; to how John invents a real Lazarus to refute a point Luke tried to make with a fictional Lazarus; and so on. (I discuss some of these, and more, in my forthcoming book On the Historicity of Jesus.)

(4) The Gospels and the Epistles differ far too much in style to have come from the same hand, and many show signs of later doctoring that would problematize attempts to confirm any theory like Atwill’s. For example, Mark 16:9-20, John 20 vs. 21, the hash job made of the epistle to the Romans, etc. Even the fact of how the canon was selected creates a problem for Atwill’s research requirements–for instance, the actual first letter to the Corinthians is completely missing, yet Paul refers to its existence in “our” 1 Corinthians.

(5) 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, who saw Jewish militarism as unacceptably disastrous in contrast with the obvious advantages of retooling their messianic expectations to produce the peaceful moral reform of society. The precedents were all there already in pre-Christian Jewish ideology and society (in Philo’s philosophy, in Essene and Qumranic efforts to solve the same problems, and so on) so we don’t have to posit super-genius Aryans helping the poor little angry Jews to calm down.

(6) Pacifying Jews would not have been possible with a cult that eliminated Jewish law and accepted Gentiles as equals, and in actual fact Christianity was pretty much a failure in Palestine. Its success was achieved mainly in the Diaspora, where the Romans rarely had any major problems with the Jews. The Jewish War was only fought in Palestine, and not even against all the Jews there (many sided with Rome). How would inventing a religion that would have no chance of succeeding in the heart of Palestine but instead was tailor made to succeed outside Palestine, ever help the Romans with anything they considered important?

(7) If the Roman elite’s aim was to “pacify” Palestinian Jews by inventing new scriptures, they were certainly smart and informed enough to know that that wouldn’t succeed by using the language the Judean elite despised as foreign (Greek).

(8) The Romans knew one thing well: War. Social ideology they were never very good at. That’s why Rome always had such problems keeping its empire together, and why social discontent and other malfunctions continued to escalate until the empire started dissolving. Rome expected to solve every problem militarily instead–and up until the 3rd century Rome did so quite well. The Jewish War was effectively over in just four years (any siege war was expected to take at least three, and Vespasian was actually busy conquering Rome in the fourth year of that War). So why would they think they needed any other solution?

With all that counting against Atwill, he has a very high burden to meet. And he just doesn’t. He actually has no evidence at all for his thesis, except “Bible Code”-style readings of coincidences among texts, which he seems only to read in English and not the original Greek, all the while relying on egregious fallacies in probabilistic reasoning.

So thanks for the article, but for the time being all the experts seem to think it’s bullshit to the power of bullshit.  :(

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Tom Verenna

    Just an FYI, I’m not a professional historian quite yet; I’m a student at Rutgers earning my laurels and have been an amateur for years. I’m published academically a few times over, but I’m still a way away from my doctorate. I don’t want there to be any confusion about my credentials. =)

  • R Vogel

    Good article, and I love to see Atheists critiquing Atheists in a way that you rarely see Christian apolegists critiquing other Christian apolegists.
    One question to Tom – perhaps it is a matter of semantics but is it fair to say the just because there were only 2 wars in the 1st Century Palestine that is was not a region plagued by insurrectionist activity? Although I study history, this is not my area so I am not making any claims to the contrary. But I have just read through Reza Aslan’s book and he seems to paint a bit of a different picture, with constant messianic movements that are generally brutally repressed, beginning way back with the murder of the high priest in the court of the Gentiles, his name is escaping me at the moment, before Jesus’ birth. The picture I get is of a volatile backwater that blows up twice, the last of which if not threatening Rome directly, certainly threatened their hold on power. If a jerk-water like Israel can throw off Roman occupation, who couldn’t? Why the Romans would then have to invent something to further pacify the Jews after they destroyed their center of worship and forcibly deported them is beyond me. It seems to me a far more likely hypothesis that the Hellenized Christians wanted to distance themselves from anything that even sniffed of revolutionary ideas to appease the Romans.

    • Baby_Raptor

      “Why the Romans would then have to invent something to further pacify the Jews after they destroyed their center of worship and forcibly deported them is beyond me. ”

      The only thing that immediately jumps to mind for me would be fear of a counter-strike, or re-grouping and another war. But I’m in know way studied on the matter, and have no idea if such a thing would be plausible.

      • mechakisc

        Not Roman scholar, just a casual fan – but didn’t they mostly just kill everyone and when that failed their empire folded up completely?

    • Tom Verenna

      Good question and I was corrected on the language that I used. To be fair to the claim, I am not saying that there weren’t other disputes, minor skirmishes, rebellions, etc… in fact there were pockets of Jewish citizens who felt betrayed by the Romans, who refused to maintain the law that they themselves had established giving the Jewish people freedom to worship as they pleased. So in that sense, I misspoke and should have parsed by words more carefully.

      However, the claim that Atwill is seemingly making is that the Jewish people living in the region of the hill country of Palestine were in constant armed conflict and that isn’t true; nor is the inclination that all the Jewish people in the region were against the Romans. What Atwill fails to take into account and why his notion is so flawed is that there were varying levels of assimilation and acculturalization throughout the region. Some Jewish sects were extremely Hellenized while others exhibited very little forms of Hellenism. Many of the jewish people were angered over the way the Temple Cult (whichever one was in power) sided with the Roman authorities on various issues. On the other hand, some with jewish heritage became entirely Romanized, like Philo’s nephew Tiberius Julius Alexander (the same man who sent a legion of Roman troops to subdue a Jewish uprising in Alexandria).

      In other words, and the point I was trying to make is, the region was a wash in complexities that Atwill does not seem to grasp or maybe he just doesn’t even have the basic knowledge. This is sort of telling, isn’t it? This is very basic 100-level information. Any college professor in new Testament will tell you this is what is taught to 18-year-old freshmen at Universities across the country. But that is part of the issue, isn’t it? He wants to overturn a multitude of academically-sound theories without even having the same knowledge of a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in Religion.

      FYI, I had removed this paragraph from my post as it was misleading and inaccurately worded. Thanks for bringing this up. Good question.

      • R Vogel

        Thanks for the reply and clarification.

      • AaronSnelling

        This is not true he describes for the variability in assimilation that was present among the Jews of that area. It’s just that the Roman army and the book, being chiefly concerned with the movement of that army and its conflict, mostly deal with the Jews that opposed the Romans.

  • SocraticGadfly

    Robert M. Price debunked this 8 years ago. (And, yes, that means Atwill was peddling this swill 8 years ago.)

    • SocraticGadfly

      And, for those of you who don’t know the name, Price is a professional biblical scholar, and a mythicist himself.

      • Scones Åkerhud

        Him being a professional biblical scholar has no bearing on the truth of the statement.

        • SocraticGadfly

          Actually, in logical theory, it does. I note that this is his actual field, therefore it’s a true appeal to authority.

          • Scones Åkerhud

            Appeal to authority can be wrong on 2 grounds:
            1) If the authority is not an authority
            2) If the authority is given an omniscient status.

            You are comiting nr 2.. So is the whole article. Atwill not being an authority on the subject has no bearing on the truth of his claims.

          • SocraticGadfly

            Never said I was giving Price “omniscient status.” That’s in part because I’m not a mythicist myself. So, you made another #fail with an unwarranted assumption.

          • Scones Åkerhud

            No I did not.. “Robert M. Price debunked this 8 years ago.”

            No he did not, he presented his opinion which in now way disproved Atwills thesis.

          • SocraticGadfly

            You’re being a troll. You falsely raised the “appeal to authority” with Verenna, too, and he answered you in more detail. Now that I’ve told you that you’re a troll, I’m not responding again.

          • Scones Åkerhud

            LOL.. Yeah sure.. Its my fault these “experts” are using bad logic to try to disprove something. They are basically saying “Atwill is outside the academy and is therefor wrong”. They say nothing about the actual proof.

            Atwill havent even presented all of his proof yet and already it is being dismissed, thats real scientific..

            It should be mentioned that i actually read this article before Atwills article. My friend actually send me this one as a joke and an extreme example of appeal to authority. True story,.

          • David Fitzgerald

            I don’t believe anyone is basing their rubuttal on Atwill being an outsider – they are basing it on his theory being demonstrably false…

          • RobMcCune

            Joseph Atwill presented his opinion, which in no way proves his thesis no matter how hard he tries.

          • Scones Åkerhud

            Well, we just have to see.. The proof will be presented the 19:th. But proof is not opinion, no..

            The Romans of that time actually saying that they invented Jesus (which as i understand it is the supposed proof that will be presented.) would be considered proof at least for me and most rational people.

            The problem is that religious people demands no proof for their belief but demand extreme amounts of evidence to disprove what they didn’t have a foundation for to begin with.

          • RobMcCune

            Alright then, I’ll wait until the 19th for Atwill to unveil his recently discovered 1st century document where the conspirators confess to forging the new testament.

          • debris54

            the ‘problem’ is your ‘argument’ is devoid of any sustainable logic, Buttertart. Try actually READING. Atwill is an obvious crock of shit. This does NOT mean that ‘Jesus’ existed. It means that Atwill is a self-serving blowhard trying to sell a product. Saying that those with training and years of study behind them are equal to those without the expertise is absurd. Would you go to a doctor who made claims without backing? .. well … maybe YOU would …

  • Gehennah

    When I saw the info on Atwill I was skeptical from the beginning (it did sound too convenient) but I was interested. Thanks for posting this as I’m sure I’ll see a lot more about this guy in the next few weeks before he disappears into oblivion.

  • EvidenceBasedDecisions

    Christians who claim that one must just have faith, complain that the refutations arent supported by evidence ! /Irony !

    • mechakisc

      A refutation of faith which claims to be supported by evidence but actually is not comes pretty close to the definition of ironic.

    • Davy Goossens

      i’m not a christian. yet i think criticisms of christianity, or any other idea for that matter, must themselves be grounded in evidence or logic.

    • wlinden

      Christian-baiters who sneer at believing things because the Bible says so, keep asking us to believe things because they say so.

      • Feminerd

        Actually, we ask you to look at the giant piles of evidence out there that contradict your Bible.

        Totally the same thing, I know.

  • Hans Wollstein

    In other words, if you fail to publish a dreary tome by an acknowledged academic press, you’re full of crap? Here’s the thing, though. At will answers my personal long standing question of why history has blamed the Jews for the fate of Jesus and not the occupying Romans? Well, Atwill answers that question to my fullest satisfaction.

    • Baby_Raptor

      My understanding was that the Jews were the one demanding he be crucified, and the Romans pretty much did it to shut them up. Has this been debunked?

      • Hans Wollstein

        Well, that’s the point isn’t it? Why would any occupying force to the bidding of the occupied? But if the whole thing was an invention to turn a dangerous sentiment around …!

        • mechakisc

          I’m sorry, what? Why would any occupying force do the bidding of the occupied?

          Well, the simple answer is, it cost them almost nothing, it let them be scary Romans that you shouldn’t mess with, and it pacified some portion of the locals.

        • John Alexander Harman

          Why would any occupying force take the advice of the collaborators they’ve installed to govern the nation they’ve occupied? Because they don’t want a revolt on their hands, and the collaborators, knowing their own people, are likely to spot factors that could lead to a revolt before the occupiers do, that’s why.

          • Jef Powers

            You got that right… happens every day in Afghanistan and Iraq. We mull those people against each other like taking candy from babies… works every time.

      • Ben English

        Not sure it’s something that can be debunked, and it’s one thing that all the Gospels agree on. Jewish religious leaders saw Jesus a threat to their hegemony and pressured the Romans to crucify Him by threat of riot and the suggestion that He claimed He’d overthrow Caesar.

    • Tom Verenna

      “In other words, if you fail to publish a dreary tome by an acknowledged academic press, you’re full of crap?”

      No, you’re full of crap if your anti-academic theory is full of crap. Please try to not make this about elitism. It isn’t about that. It’s about one person who is pretending or duping people into believing he has credentials when he doesn’t to sell an idea that is so incredibly far-fetched you’d think it should come from a creationist or a holocaust denier (and that this individual contains the same amount of ignorance as these other beliefs too). THAT is the issue. Please read the article fully before you construct strawmen.

      • Scones Åkerhud

        OK. So please point out where in the article there’s actual proof against Atwills ideas?

        Even now you are in no way proving Atwill or the statements surrounding appeal to authority wrong. You are just saying “its not elitism”. Are we supposed to trust you on your word or what?

        Your other argument is “Atwills theories are far-getched, therefor they are not true”.. Yeah the big bang theory not to speak of the M-theory is also far-fetched, that does not mean they are wrong.

        • Tom Verenna

          Look, I’m not going to rewrite my entire article with numbers and cues just for you, and I’m certainly not going to do it in the comments section of this thread. I made my case anD I supplied the evidence against him, and no I don’t require your approval of that. If anyone wishes to read my article in full, they can see that themselves. If you are incapable of reading my well defined post then there is little else I can say or do that will help you.

          • Tom Verenna

            *and sorry writing from my cell phone.

    • R Vogel

      I think it is a leap to say ‘History has blamed the Jews’ and more correct to say Christianity has blamed the Jews. Another theory, less dependent on wild conspiracies, is that since Christianity relatively quickly shifted from a Jerusalem based sect to a Diaspora based sect, with much tension between the two, the writers of the Gospels, writing for the most part well after the destruction of the Temple, were Greek speaking Hellenized Jews who would have real interest in distancing themselves from Judaism and ingratiating themselves to Rome.

    • RobMcCune

      So a far fetched theory should be believed because it answers a single question despite raising hundreds more significant questions. Makes sense.

      • Jef Powers

        No. A ‘far-fetched’ theory should not be disbelieve simply because it seems ‘far-fetched’. One must ‘show’ that the theory [far-fetched or not] has failed using something called scholarship.

        ‘Get a load of those crazy Wright brothers thinkin’ they’re gonna actually fly that thing. What a bunch of far-fetched nonsense.’

        • RobMcCune

          ‘Get a load of those crazy Wright brothers thinkin’ they’re gonna actually fly that thing. What a bunch of far-fetched nonsense.’

          I see your point. From now on I’ll implicitly trust the flying machine of every nineteenth century eccentric who strapped who strapped a feathered contraption to his back, but only if he’s published a book on it.

        • John Alexander Harman

          The Wright Flyer actually flew, which was extremely strong empirical evidence that the Wright Brothers were correct in their “far-fatched” belief that they could build a machine that would fly. Saying something is “far-fetched” is an informal, colloquial of saying that that thing has a very low prior probability of being true, and thus requires very strong evidence to raise the posterior probability to a level where we should conclude that it is true. As Atwill has failed to provide any such evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that his hypothesis is not true unless and until strong evidence to support it appears.

    • Ben English

      He’s full of crap because he spouts an absurd, illogical revisionist history theory with no real evidence. “History” hasn’t blame the Jews for the fate of Jesus; some groups of Christians blamed the Jews for the fate of Jesus. Think about what you’re saying. If Atwill were correct, the Romans concocted the story of Jesus to pacify the Jews… and then blamed his execution on the Jews they were trying to socially engineer to be more peaceful… It doesn’t even answer the question you claim it answers, and if that bundle of moon logic satisfies an answer more readily attributed to simple base racism and tribalism then you’re too easily pleased.

    • ryan

      It does bring into question one’s credibility and motives. Such information needs to be vetted and critiqued. It’s too easy to fudge facts, hide inconsistencies, omit contradictory facts and make false claims that sound plausible without “academics”. How many books about Mayan prophesy or Ancient Aliens are out there claiming truth through evidence that boils down to mere correlation or worse. They too would claim it’s a conspiracy of academia for why their theories are rejected. It’s similar I suppose to how science is not accepted without peer review. It’s too easy to be fooled by your own bias.

    • Jeff

      Why does “history” blame the Jews? You assume it happened as it was written. The story was written by Christians, who were trying to establish their nascent religion as the true successor to Judaism. They were also trying to stay in the Romans’ good books. So they blamed the Jews. Remember, this is he true beginning of anti-semitism.

  • Luke

    ” He relies on popular media … rather than publishing in a credible academic journal or publishing academically. He knows he can’t do that, because he has no clue how academics work” How can one know and yet not know?

    • Enopoletus Harding

      Known unknowns.

    • Tom Verenna

      Based upon his current self-published tomes out there. He doesn’t take scholarship seriously–in fact he intimated that very issue. He likes being an outsider, partly because he thinks scholarship is somehow possessed by religious kooks and televangelists.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Thanks for putting this together, JT. I was highly curious about it and was hoping someone with more knowledge and connections would address it.

  • SocraticGadfly

    I’ve had an email exchange with his PR guy organizing this conference. He admits Carrier is formidable. Claimed Price was moving closer to Atwill. I showed him Price’s FB page from yesterday to refute that. Somehow I don’t think Atwill will retract or noticably modify one thing.

  • Scones Åkerhud

    Why is no one mentioning that this whole article is based on a logical fallacy known as “Appeal to authority”? And what is the authors own opinion on this?

    • Tom Verenna

      It isn’t an appeal to authority; it’s about someone who has zero credibility, zero actual knowledge about the subject they are discussing, pretending to have credibility and knowledge. Would you want a plumber performing heart surgery? Is that an appeal to authority? No. Atwill has an anti-academic attitude and he sees academia as the enemy. It is no different than creationists who see evolutionary biologists as the enemy because their fringe ideas aren’t accepted by scientists because they fail to meet the basic tenet of rigorous scientific peer review.

      • Scones Åkerhud

        First, he knows Greek (so thats a pure lie in the article). Secondly, reading his work and being a teacher of religion myself, it seems to me that he has a quite advanced knowledge on the subject.

        What you are saying is not if you would ask a plummer to perform an heart surgery. You are saying that a plummer never could pull it off, to stick with your comparison. And thats bad logic.

        You are saying that because he does not have a GRADE in the subject, he has no knowledge. And this is also simply bad logic.

        Yeah the difference being that Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, two prestigious scientists bouth stand behind Atwill. How many creationists can say that? Also, that Atwill actually presents proof. Proof that the “experts” avoid talking about and instead focus on the fact that Atwill is outside academia, elitism.

        • RobMcCune

          Yeah the difference being that Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, two prestigious scientists bouth stand behind Atwill.

          This from the guy complaining about appeal to authority? By the way, I heard somewhere that Atwills work can’t be properly critiqued since it will be revealed on the 19th. If that’s the case how are two non-experts qualified to judge the validity of his work?

          How many creationists can say that?

          Creationists routinely cite people with doctorates in fields outside of biology. Even people like Micheal Egnor a surgeon, and Micheal Behe a biochemist are more qualifed to speak on evolution than a biologist and physicist are qualified to speak on 1st century Roman history. That said, Egnor and Behe probably haven’t made the same level of impact as Dawkins and Krauss, and how is this not an appeal to authority again?

          Also, that Atwill actually presents proof.

          As opposed to Ray Comfort? Seriously though, I am looking forward to Atwill’s newly uncovered 1st century document(s) which attest to most of his claims.

          Proof that the “experts” avoid talking about and instead focus on the fact that Atwill is outside academia, elitism.

          If this “proof” is so ground breaking that it can win over scientists in unrelated fields without having been shown, you mind actually sharing some of it?

        • SocraticGadfly

          You troll who earlier distorted the use of logical fallacies, making a claim to true call on a figure of authority in his subject field look like a false appeal to authority are now doing just that thing yourself. Neither Dawkins nor Krauss has any background in biblical studies or ancient Near Eastern history.

          Go get stupid.

        • ChasMark

          Did you know that Charles Lindbergh invented the first heart pump that directly led to the heart-lung machines used today?

          Hey, isn’t he supposed to stick to flying??

    • ryan

      It’s more like a demand for credibility. Should Atwill be immediately shunned for not having the proper degrees? No. Should he be criticized for not having the knowledge and for his methods? yes.

      • Tom Verenna

        Right, good clarification.

      • Scones Åkerhud

        OK.. Specifically which methods are questionable?

        Also, the article says that Atwill does not know Greek, he does, he know Latin too. So not only is it an appeal to authority, there are also pure lies in the article.

        • ryan

          I don’t know what his methods were nor do I know exactly what his findings are. I’m just making the case that this article isn’t an argument from authority not that it’s necessarily correct.

          The article didn’t say Atwill didn’t know Greek but that he hasn’t been academically trained in Greek.

    • RobMcCune

      Because the article critiques Atwill’s methods and reasoning.

  • SocraticGadfly

    Oh, on Atwill’s FB page, in reference to this article: “Seems like a personal attack by an elitist against Joe for not having a valid membership within the scholarly circle.” This also goes to Scones Åkerhud who, after I noted Price was an actual biblical scholar (as is Carrier) pulled out some false assumption in a feeble attempt to defend Atwill from legitimate academic criticism.

    • Scones Åkerhud

      So its legitimate to say that someones theories is wrong before he has presented all his proof and because he is not a valid member of the academy? OK..

      Show me where these so called experts actually proves Atwill wrong.

  • Richard Carrier

    Just FYI:

    – what is utterly absurd is the notion that the Jews were ‘a constant
    source of violent insurrection’. No, they weren’t. In fact, with the
    exception of two wars–one that started in 69 and ended in 73 and another
    that started in 132 and ended in 136–there were barely any disruptions
    in Judaea. –

    This is false. And Verenna has since corrected his article on my advice (so you should, too, IMO). But his point that the Romans didn’t try this with the Celts or Dacians or (what we would now call the) Turks or any other unruly subjects remains valid, if perhaps relatively weak as an argument (playing Devil’s Advocate for Atwill’s thesis, sometimes not everyone gets the same idea or sees the same opportunities everywhere).

    • Tom Verenna

      Already mentioned that above, Richard. But thanks for that.

    • SocraticGadfly

      Note: I am working on a long blog post that prevents a strong case for the “soft mythicist” idea that there was a historical Jesus, but that he was NOT born circa 4 BCE. In other words, an argument for the idea of GRS Mead and others that Jesus was born a century or so earlier, and possibly among the Pharisees crucified by Alexander Jannaeus.

      • Artor

        Sounds like an interesting hypothesis, but a Jesus from a century earlier would not be the Jesus of the Bible, any more than Horus is the Biblical Jesus.

        • Zinc Avenger

          He is! They both end in “us”. CASE CLOSED, ATHEISMIST!

        • SocraticGadfly

          An idea such as mine is known as “soft mythicism,” among other things.

    • ChasMark

      imo that the Romans did not try this with Celts etc. is an easily punctured argument.

      Recall that in the Julio-Claudian era, Virgil had been commissioned to write “Aeneid”, not just for pretty poetry but “with a view to the higher interest of the state. He [Maecenas, patron of Virgil] recognized in the
      genius of the poets of that time, not only the truest ornament of the
      court, but ***a power of reconciling men’s minds to the new order of
      things, and of investing the actual state of affairs with an ideal glory and majesty.***

      Aeneid’s audience was other Romans, to unify them in the epical history of Rome. It was reasonable to take this approach because Romans had a fundamental knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology and were conversant with the general scheme of things.

      Jews, who, as Atwill describes, were “people of the book,” who took their empowering ideas from their collected myths and wisdom literature and were also conversant with the Greek and Roman myths and literature, would be similarly susceptible to subtle rearrangements of those myths with the goal of “reconciling men’s minds to the new order of things.”.

      None of the above would apply to Celts or Druids: they might as well have been from Mars: they had no shared cultural forms, myths, customs, language.

  • paolo

    for those who really want to know the real Christ of the bible? check this website MCGI.ORG and try to ask and the bible will answer :)

  • brucechap26

    My dear Mr. Atwill (nee Berlioz),
    Interesting notion, yours, but – “Annushka has already bought the sunflower oil, and has not only bought it, but has already spilled it.” (cf. “The Master and Margarita,” ch. 2).

  • Dennis Sweatt

    It seems Joseph tends to make up history At-will. Get it?

    • Tom Verenna

      I see what you did there.

  • wlux9

    Academics also once said the earth was flat…

    • John Alexander Harman

      Citation needed; it’s been a long, long time since educated people believed that. The ancient Greeks worked it out, and contrary to the popular myth about the purpose of Christopher Columbus; initial voyage, it was never forgotten by the church or the educated classes in Europe or the Muslim world after that.

    • Tom Verenna

      When? I can’t think of any. Eratosthenes figured the earth was flat during the Hellenistic period:

      These appeals laced with ignorance are getting tiresome, honestly.

      • RobMcCune

        Eratosthenes figured the earth was flat


        • Tom Verenna

          Yes, should have read ‘wasn’t flat’. Thanks for catching that. Type too fast for my own good sometimes.

    • RobMcCune

      Exactly, Joseph Atwill is a rebel trying take down those academics, just like Ken Ham, or the Flat Earth Society.

    • SocraticGadfly

      Per Verenna and his link, Eratosthenes even got the Earth’s diameter within about 3 percent of known value. It was, instead, “academic brilliance,” if anything. And, before him, Aristotle made the observation that the earth must be round because of the way ship’s masts disappear at the horizon.

  • MaxABC

    Self professed and scholar in the same article?
    Apparently every Christmas season Newsweek, Times Magazine or CNN must bring forth an anti Christ, anti Christian heresy that no one talks about it three days later!
    How about concentrating next on the Ramadan, their “prophet” has a lot to answer…
    … or they are jus afraid of speaking out or drawing something in that direction.

    • RobMcCune

      Self professed and scholar in the same article?

      No, the term self professed does not appear. Even if it did, what’s your point?

      must bring forth an anti Christ, anti Christian heresy that no one talks about it three days later!

      Unlike other soft news which has a profound impact on the culture.

      How about concentrating next on the Ramadan

      I don’t know who “The Ramadan” are, but their religion is probably just as much bullshit as yours.

      their “prophet” has a lot to answer…

      Why, was he or she on Holyman Jeopardy?

      • ChasMark

        Attacking Islam is tiresome and childish.
        When you think about it, Islam is the ONLY one of the so-called three biggies whose origin can actually be traced to an actual human bean.

        Just for sake of argument, let’s assume one is a conspiracy theory nut.
        Then consider that Israel is under scrutiny like never before: more and more folks are getting fed up with ‘chosen people/zionism/remember the holocaust’


        Scofield has run its course.

        Hagee is increasingly exposed for the demagogue he is.

        Israel/zionism needs a new army of Christian soldiers to fight for Israel.
        Atwill’s strong effort to take down Catholicism, and his soft pro-Jewish postures, might suggest to some conspiracy nuts that Atwill is a zionist tool.

        It’s been done before.

        • Rob

          “When you think about it, Islam is the ONLY one of the so-called three biggies whose origin can actually be traced to an actual human bean.”

          Wasn’t there something recently bringing that into doubt as well?

          • RobMcCune

            Yes, recent evidence has cast doubt that Islam can be traced to a Human Bean and instead began at a Dutch Bros

            And if you don’t live on the west coast that joke will go right over your head.

    • Zinc Avenger

      So sorry the law does not allow you to act with the barbarity the Muslim extremists display. Your jihad envy must be a terrible burden for you.

  • NetDost Social Network

    it does seems like atwill is wrong but then not being a professional should hardly be a reason to discard someone’s theory.

  • David D Neely

    Good article except for one troubling phrase.
    “Mr. Atwill is just like all the other amateur-Scholar-wannabes who refuse to put in the time and effort to earn a degree in the field”

    Not every amateur scholar is an amateur scholar because they “refuse to put in the time and effort to earn a degree.” Some of us simply don’t have access to resources which would allow them to get a degree from a university in their area of interest. I don’t have a degree in systems engineering, but I spend every available free moment studying systems so that I can contribute to space advocacy. The fact that I self-study does not automatically make my knowledge suspect simply because I don’t have a degree.

    The problem with Atwill isn’t that he doesn’t have a degree. It’s that he didn’t put the time in to build an actual in depth knowledge of the area he was interested in before he made illogical conclusions and tried to promote them as fact. You can call him on his failure in this area, but you can’t dismiss his conclusions simply based on the fact that he doesn’t have a degree.

  • Charles Frith

    Too much whining and not enough facts. I got bored after the first two paragraphs of bitching like a professional academic.

    • RobMcCune

      Argument ad tl;dr? The fact that your lazy and can’t handle criticisms of what you believe is a great way to show that someone else is wrong.

      • Zinc Avenger

        Man, the Bible is so long and boring it can’t be true. Hey, I wonder if I can use that in future?

        • RobMcCune

          Only if you’re a shameless apologist for some crank with a historical conspiracy theory.

          No Dan Brown please.

  • Keyra

    Generally almost all historians and Bible scholars (nearly just about all; Price being a notable exception) know that Jesus existed, even most atheists do (but share the same opinion as Jews). The Christ Myth Theory has been debunked, this “Romans invented Jesus” propaganda has been debunked. People have been trying to rid themselves of Christ for centuries but to no avail.

    • Zinc Avenger

      And Christians know for a fact that Mohammed is Allah’s Prophet.

    • Artor

      Please cite a link to this debunking of Christ-as-myth, and the conclusive proof that Jesus was real. I hadn’t heard of any such work, and I doubt the veracity of your claim.

      • Keyra

        All you have to do is look at history (not being rude or sarcastic), looking at the obviously-exaggerated similarities with Horus, Krishna, Mithras & them (and this Cesar comparison as well); while they did have mild similarities originally (if any). And depends on what type of proof you’re looking for

        • FradulentSam

          Yeah, just look at history Artor. It’s all you have to do.

        • Zinc Avenger

          So you’re using their similarities as proof of their difference?

        • Artor

          Umm…yeah. That all tends to confirm Christ-as-myth, not debunk it.

        • Cake

          So your proof of jebus being real is to offer up other older myths?

      • Joseph O Polanco
        • Artor

          Sorry, that’s not debunking. That’s a page citing a bunch of Xian apologists making the same tired arguments. I really liked this line, “In fact, there is more historical evidence for the murder and resurrection of Christ than there is for evolution.” That’s really the mark of a serious debunker, amirite?

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Historical evidence refuting your specious claims of Mythicism is not debunking? Are you using some newfangled English dictionary we’re not aware of?

          • RobMcCune

            This from the guy who can’t grasp the meaning of the words “historical” and “evidence.”

          • Artor

            If you had historical evidence, then yes, it would refute the Mythic Jesus. But you don’t. You have historical evidence indicating that Xianity existed, which is not in dispute. There are lots of people today who can quote chapter & verse from Star Trek, and dress in Starfleet uniforms at sci-fi conventions. Does that mean Captain Kirk was a real person?
            All your link has is a bunch of authors attesting, “I think Jesus was real, and all these other authors agree with me!” If that is your standard of proof, I’ll happily supply you with a list of authors who claim otherwise. Checkmate theists!

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Argumentum ad lapidem. Your posturing does not dispel the historical facts recorded by Josephus, Tacitus, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Try again.

          • Artor

            LOL! You realize that Josephus & Tacitus wrote many decades after Jesus “died,” and never met him, or anyone who had met him. And much of the gospels have been proven to be forgeries, written much later than they claim to be, and not by their named authors. This has been pretty solidly established by biblical scholars, and that you refer to these as “facts,” tells me all I need to know about your competence in the subject. Thanks for the laughs.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            i. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. We have more historical evidence for Jesus than we do for most ancient historical figures. Try again.

            ii. Argumentum ignoratio elenchi. Only the apocryphal gospels have been debunked. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, on the other hand, have not.

            “Early in the history of Christianity, critics argued that the Gospels contradicted one another and thus their accounts could not be trusted. The Syrian writer Tatian (about 110-180 C.E.) came to the defense of the Gospels. He felt that any apparent contradictions would disappear if the Gospels were skillfully harmonized and blended into one account instead of four.

            Tatian set about preparing such a harmony. It is not known whether his original was in Greek or in Syriac. Whatever the case, about 170 C.E., Tatian completed his work, known as the Diatessaron, a Greek word meaning “through [the] four.” Why should you be interested in this noninspired composition?

            In the 19th century, critics began to promote the view that none of the Gospels were written before the middle of the second century C.E.; hence, they could have little historical value. Ancient manuscripts of the Diatessaron discovered since then, however, provide definitive evidence that the four Gospels—and only the four—were already well-known and accepted as a collection by the middle of the second century C.E.

            Discovery of the Diatessaron and commentaries on it in Arabic, Armenian, Greek, and Latin led Bible scholar Sir Frederic Kenyon to write: “These discoveries finally disposed of any doubt as to what the Diatessaron was, and proved that by about A.D. 170 the four canonical Gospels held an undisputed pre-eminence over all other narratives of our Saviour’s life.””

    • Gehennah

      I wouldn’t say most Atheists know Jesus was real, and just accept that someone named Jesus (or Yeshua) may have existed. I don’t know if he existed or not, I have my doubts. I do however, doubt all of the extraordinary events of his life seeing as how there is no real contemporary evidence of these events.

      • Keyra

        What evidence would you expect of his miracles from 2000 years ago? The wine that was turned from water was already drunk, we won’t be able to find footprints on the water he walked on, etc.

        • Joseph O Polanco

          You said it! The only historical evidence possible from historical events is historical, not scientific.

        • Artor

          How about some confirmation of the resurrection? The Bible says that scores of people rose from the grave and walked around, being recognized by people who knew them. You’d think the Romans would have mentioned something like a little zombie uprising. Why isn’t it mentioned anywhere but the Bible? It’s almost like it didn’t happen.

        • Cake

          Just like Zeus.

  • Giannino Sorgi


    The following two messages have been inserted in the blog of Tom Verenna but which were later censored by him.


    NO! … Joe Atwill is right! …

    They were precisely the Romans to ‘invent’ the Jesus of faith, taking as a MODEL the HISTORICAL one! … In fact, beside to the false Jesus of faith, there was also a historical Jesus, who was anything but not a ‘Christian’! .. This is the limit of Atwill: assume that there was no a historical Jesus … Within two years I think to finish the book ‘ad-hoc’ that I started writing in late 2005. So, who wants to, will can learn what was the TRUE dynamic that led to the birth of Catholic Christianity (catho-cristianity) and what were the REAL human and historical profiles of the various characters involved in the story of the Gospel, beginning with Jesus (the historical one) and his mother Mariamne.

    Beside the classical path of research (ie that of the ‘experts’), there is another entirely unexplored, at least until now, and it is the ONLY path that can lead to the historical Jesus….


    About Acharya:

    Acharya is right when she supports the mythical origins (or, more correctly, semi-mythical) of Catholic Christianity. In fact, counterfeiters who founded Christianity, commissioned by the secular power of the time (second century), namely Emperor + Senate, they eagerly sink their hands in the myths of the pagan cults of the time (Dionysus / Bacchus, Asclepius, Hermes, Priapus , Trismegistus – Mercury / Totht – Serapis, Astharte / Asherat, etc..), however she is in error when she says that there never was a historical Jesus. We have discussed several times on this, but she was adamant: she is too attached to her ‘dogma’ …


    My question:

    Sorry …. Can I know because my first post was censored? .

    Here’s how Tom Verenna answered my question:


    Tom Verenna, on October 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm sa


    Yes, please read through the comments in this thread and you’ll see why I deleted your posts. Keep it on topic and, if you’re going to defend Atwill, provide more than just sensational claims without supporting evidence. Thanks.


    I do not understand how it is that an intellectual, author of articles and books in which he dispute other scholars and writers arrivals after to censor messages of those who do not agree with him …. It seems to me a lack of fair-play. .


  • Christian Kemp

    You only need to watch the first few minutes of the documentary to wonder if it is a conspiracy theory. When they start linking the present to the past and politicians with agendas alarm bells should start going off, then a little google search and you know its bullsh*t

  • SocraticGadfly

    And, as promised … my taking up the ideas of GRS Mead that Jesus was real, but born in Hasmonean times:

  • AaronSnelling

    This article creates a straw man. Atwill accounts for the discrepancies by showing how they play off each other in order to create a comic effect. None of these people have read his work, which, while it does, likely, make dramatic claims in order to get readers, does show how the differences contribute to his theory.

    It seems like the author of this is more offended that Atwill attributes the New Testament to the authorship of Romans rather than Jews. But this is false, Atwill claims that it was educated Jews like Josephus and John, that wrote it.

  • Jef Powers

    This entire response to Atwill is a box full of air. You haven’t put a scratch on his thesis here. Your reference to some ‘guys’ blog and to Richard Carrier is laughable. You obviously haven’t read Atwill’s book. His research is very strong and Biblical scholars both Christian and atheist will be clawing at Atwill’s work with everything they’ve got to save themselves from abject shame. You send me a serious rebuttal by a serious scholar and I’d like to read it and see their research in this particular matter. As for Robert Price’s response: it’s too embarrassing to mention.

    • RobMcCune

      As for Robert Price’s response: it’s too embarrassing to mention.

      As opposed to the guy who claims he found a scandalous confession hidden in secret codes?

      You haven’t put a scratch on his thesis here.

      Yeah just like nobody put a scratch in Dan Brown’s claim that in The Last Supper Jesus and the figure the left form an encrypted vagina/cup/holy grail.

      • Jef Powers

        As to your first comment, I am clueless as to what it is you’re alluding to? Can you try to be somewhat more specific.

        “As opposed to the guy who claims he found a scandalous confession hidden in secret codes?”

        Robert Price is a fine scholar, however, his current respone to Atwill’s work is not remotely ‘scholarly’. I would like to read any real academic refutation he would make of ‘Caesar’s Messiah’.

        Your comparison of Joseph Atwill’s, ‘Caesar’s Messiah’ to the work of fiction novelist Dan Brown is ridiculous. I am unaware that Dan Brown has ever suggested that he was doing anything other than writing a piece of absolute and utter ‘fiction’. Each time I have laid eyes on a copy of Dan Brown’s work it always seems to be in the FICTION section of the library or the bookstore. Have I missed your point?

        • RobMcCune

          As to your first comment, I am clueless as to what it is you’re alluding to? Can you try to be somewhat more specific.

          Atwill’s method where by he claims superficial similarities (many of which only exist through selective interpretation.) between the gospels and Josephus are evidence that Christianity was created by the Romans to pacify Judea.

          Your comparison of Joseph Atwill’s, ‘Caesar’s Messiah’ to the work of fiction novelist Dan Brown is ridiculous.

          Oh it’s far less ridiculous than the claims of either author.

    • Zinc Avenger

      I respond in kind: No, you’re full of air.

      • Jef Powers

        If you can please point out the academic refutations of Atwill’s work in this article I will be happy to read them. Robert Price is a very fine scholar but his response to Atwill’s ‘Caesar’s Messiah’ is not ever remotely scholarly… and he’s smart enough to know that. All we have here is an allusion to authority–lot’s of bark and no bite–no peer review meat here. If there are such reviews of Atwill’s work I have not found them. Perhaps you can point it out to me. I would appreciate it.

        BTW: Have you read the book in question?

  • Alan Duval

    Well, I’m going along to the presentation with my Skepticism Scanner set to ‘high.’

    As a fan of both Richard Carrier’s and Francesca Stavrakopoulou’s work, I’m interested to see what he has to say. I already have my own thoughts about the invention/accretion of the Jesus character, so he’ll have to both dislodge my own lay thesis (which has thr benefit of being supported by what I’ve seen and read, and makes minimal assumptions), and then impress me with his claimed sources to get any traction at all.

    We shall see.

  • Rus Archer

    guys, stanislaw lem wrote the bible

  • Davy Goossens

    what actually irked me the most, and what i thought when i first saw it shared by the all too common “atheist” which is actually leftism/gnosticism aka christian heresy 3.0 (communism is 2.0)
    is if we look at greek and roman writers actually writing against christianity, polybius, lucianus, celsus, julianus, we actually find their complaint consisting mainly about lamenting that christianity to them appeared “anarchist” and “atheist”. the christians did not join the state ceremonies, sacrifices, it was an egalitarian, anti aristocratic religion, it disturbed the link between city, tribe and state (it being the original globalist philosophy, christianity is communism as spengler clearly foresaw) so their complaint is seeign christianity as completely opposite of what atwill proposes christianity was made for.

    • RobMcCune

      what actually irked me the most, and what i thought when i first saw it shared by the all too common “atheist”

      I too am irked by the all too common atheist, how gauche, for me only the exotic imported atheist will do.

      which is actually leftism/gnosticism aka christian heresy 3.0 (communism is 2.0)

      Because gnositicism which has been dead 1700 years is newer than communism which has been dead 30 years. That makes sense. Fun fact about christian heresy 1.0 crashed when exposed to fire, until christian heresy 3.0 released a patch that prevented christians from doing so.

  • wlinden

    Yep, the invention of Christianity as “psychological warfare” was so effective that it only took five legions to put down the revolt of AD 70, and twelve to defeat Bar Kochba.

    • RobMcCune

      Actually Atwill believes the gospels were created after the first revolt had been crushed. So the actual theory is that the Romans created christianity to solve a problem that they just believed they had solved.

  • Markus Fällman

    First, it is not a legitimate argument to say that someone is wrong simply because he lacks the proper qualifications. Science can be done by anyone. It helps though if one goes trough peer review and has studied the area extensively with supervision to therefore add to ones credibility. This is a big part of the first quote and is just rude.

    Second, most of these arguments can be explained for even though it might become a long shot. Put your self in to the mindset in trying to debunk the arguments and you will possibly find what i have found.

    Third, I do agree that he is way out there with a lot of the connection that he does but what if we narrowed the scope to not include the use as a propaganda tool to pacify the Jews but simply legitimize the Flavian dynasty. This is a well known tactic that is very common throughout history. It also doesn’t have to be so that the Flavians conspired it up all by them selves but simply promoted a natural course of events to work in their favor. If so the main point taken from this is that the gospels where heavily used as propaganda by different agents within the Roman Empire and thus were written/allowed/promoted with that thought in mind.

  • Ilssa Rissato Laviso

    Gee, thanks for your explanations friend, first q was glad to read a text from an atheist, I am Catholic and I am convinced Christian to think that if this were possible or researcher be correct for sure those guys would be a Roman aristocrats Genias intellectuality and an imagination so fertile and so well articulated q would have given much fruit morality and faith, q believe that Jesus did not exist, GOD would create in any way by performing size success and joy of Christians, thank you,, abc suit ..

  • Coinspinner

    I see, so we have a group of people that believe in magic that don’t like the proof Joseph Atwill offers.

  • Scottie Payne

    Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder shaped like a huge Mill

    Stone, and threw it into The

    Atlantic Ocean,

    and cried mightily with a loud voice saying!!

    Just as I have thrown away this stone, the great city of Babylon will be thrown down with violence , and shall never be found again!!!

    The Book Of Revelation, Chapter 18 verse 21

    • Zinc Avenger

      “Harry Potter,” he said very softly. His voice might have been part of the spitting fire. “The Boy Who Lived.”

      None of the Death Eaters moved. They were waiting. Everything was waiting. Hagrid was struggling, and Bellatrix was panting, and Harry thought inexplicably of Ginny, and her blazing look, and the feel of her lips on his–

      Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was still tilted to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes, and wanted it to happen now, quickly, while he could still stand, before he lost control, before he betrayed fear–

      He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.”

    • triynko

      A google search for this quote shows you posted it to Verizon Wireless’s facebook page, too. Wtf, lol.

  • triynko

    Sounds to me like a falicious, strawman/ad-hominem debunking, to say that Atwill isn’t qualified to draw the conclusions he draws or that his thesis hinges on the Jews having real violent uprisings. It does not.

    Just because they didn’t wage wars, doesn’t mean they weren’t a nuisance. Consider the Republican party or the Westborough baptist church today. They are a fucking nuisance like none other, and I wish our government would do something as clever as the Romans to rid the world of them, like some group called “Anonymous” perhaps ;) (wink wink) Also, I think you’re really giving too much credit to the New Testament. If it is what Atwill says it is, it was just a little literature to fuck with the Jews, and his thesis makes A LOT more sense than any historical account I’ve ever heard.

    Second of all, he’s not making a huge leap like “God did it” by showing that the Romans had the means and the incentive to write it, and makes a good point about them having to have helped it spread so quickly.

    Also, when Verenna says that either “the Gospel authors had copies of Josephus, or Josephus had copies of the Gospels”… well, that’s exactly what Atwill says! It’s pretty clear that to say “the Romans wrote the gospels” is to say that the gospel writers had copies of Josephus’s work. Atwill is saying that they’re based on Josephus work, so that’s exactly the same thing as saying “the Gospel authors had copies of Josephus’ work”!

    As for why they didn’t use it against the Gauls. LOL, Are you fucking kidding? Why would they? If someone was a serious threat, you don’t write a book to fuck with them; you wage war. With the Jews at the time, a book was enough. Like the the Westboro Baptist and loud mouth Republicans of today, they have the potential to cause real harm, but are more readily dealt with on the psychological level, rather than through more serious channels. Human beings haven’t changed that much in 2000 years.

    Verenna just keeps calling the thesis incompetent, but it’s not. He can say it until he’s blue in the face, and it won’t be true. He makes nothing more than an ad-hominem strawman argument, taking what Atwill says out of context, stretching it, missing the point, and attacking his credentials, when it’s obvious that Atwill is basically correct. The parallels between the two books are there, and frankly, I can’t think of a more logical and more obvious author for the new testament than the Roman.

    Thomas Verenna sounds like a whiny bitch, because he didn’t discover this all first, with his talk about secret codes in cereal boxes. That is not, in any way, remotely close to what Atwill’s thesis is, not by a long shot.

  • triynko

    So, yes he has. What he may not have proven is left to speculation, but the basic thesis is pretty obvious with the evidence that is available. It’s like evolution. It’s like people shouting “we didn’t evolve from monkeys, where’s your missing link!”.

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