The Antichrist § 17

How can anyone still defer to the naïveté of Christian theologians these days when they decree that the development of the idea of God from the ‘God of Israel’, the god of a people, to the Christian God, the epitome of all goodness, counts as progress?

But even Renan does this. As if Renan had the right to naïveté! The opposite is what strikes the eye. When the presuppositions of ascending life, when everything strong, brave, domineering, and proud is eliminated from the idea of God, when he sinks little by little into the symbol of a staff for the weary, a life-preserver for the drowning, when he turns into the God of the poor, the sinners, the sickly, when the predicates of ‘saviour’ and ‘redeemer’ are the only ones left, the only divine predicates: what does this sort of transformation tell us?, this sort of diminution in the divine?

Of course: this will increase the size of ‘the kingdom of God’. God used to have only his people, his ‘chosen’ people. But then he took up travelling, just as his people did, and after that he did not sit still until he was finally at home everywhere, the great cosmopolitan, – until he had ‘the great numbers’ and half the earth on his side.

Nonetheless, the God of the ‘great numbers’, the democrat among gods, did not become a proud, heathen god: he stayed Jewish, he was still the cranny God, the God of all dark nooks and corners, of unhealthy districts the world over! His empire is as it ever was, an empire of the underworld, a hospital, a basement-kingdom, a ghetto-kingdom… [Editor’s bold-type above]

Darkening Age, 24

In the opening paragraph of chapter 13 of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:
 
The flames of damnation began to lick at Roman daily life. In literature of a newly sadistic strain, Christian writers outlined in graphic detail what awaited those who did not comply with the edicts of this all-seeing God. The punishments for sinners were, according to Christian texts, atrocious.

Now regarded as apocryphal, but for a time widely read in Rome, the Apocalypse of Peter revelled in verse after stomach-churning verse on what happened in Hell. In it, the reader is taken on an infernal safari in which the retributions for various misdeeds are pointed out with relish. This Hell is a terrible place; its punishments are grimly apposite. Blasphemers, for example, are found hanging suspended by their tongues, or ‘gnawing their lips’. Adulterers are hung by their ‘feet’—a punishment that doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that in these texts ‘feet’ was a euphemism for ‘testicles’. Those who trusted in their riches are turned on a spit over a fire.

Even children don’t escape. At the edge of a lake filled with the ‘discharge and the stench’ of those who were tortured are babies that are ‘born before time’—a blameless crime one might have thought, but not so here. These babies will cry for eternity, alone.

Published in: on June 4, 2019 at 10:52 am  Comments (1)  

Unhistorical Jesus, 4

Editor’s note: Here I continue with some passages from Richard Carrier’s book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, especially a follow-up of what Carrier says in my first instalment of the series.

It really looks like the authors of the Gospels, presumably Semites, thoroughly plagiarised the foundational myth of Rome in order to sell us another myth (compare this with what my sticky post’s hatnote links about toxic foundation myths). This new myth did not only involve replacing an Aryan hero (Romulus) for a Jewish hero (Jesus). It did something infinitely more subversive. As Carrier wrote, which I highlighted in bold in my first instalment of the series:

Romulus’ material kingdom favoring the mighty is transformed into a spiritual one favoring the humble. It certainly looks like the Christian passion narrative is an intentional transvaluation of the Roman Empire’s ceremony of their own founding savior’s incarnation, death and resurrection [reddish colour added].

On pages 225-229 of On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt we read (scholarly footnotes omitted):
 

______ 卐 ______

 

Element 47: Another model hero narrative, which pagans also revered and to which the Gospel Jesus also conforms, is the apotheosis, or ‘ascension to godhood’ tale, and of these the one to which the Gospels (and Acts) most conform is that of the Roman national hero Romulus. I discussed this already in Chapter 4 (§1), and the points made there should be considered a component of the element here.

The more general point is that this narrative concept of a ‘translation to heaven’ for a hero (often but not always a divine son of god) was very commonplace, and always centered around a peculiar fable about the disappearance of their body. All these fables were different from one another, and therefore those differences are irrelevant to the point: all still shared the same core features (see my discussion of how syncretism works in Element 11). And when it comes to the Romulus fable in particular, the evidence is unmistakable that Christianity conformed itself to it relatively quickly—even if all these attributes were accumulated over time and not all at once.

Romulus, of course, did not exist. He was invented, along with legends about him (largely put together from previous Greek and Etruscan mythology), much later in Roman history than he is supposed to have lived. His name was eponymous (essentially an early form of the word ‘Roman’), and his story was meant to exemplify ideal Roman aspirations and values, using a model similar to Greek tragedy, in which the hero sins in various ways but comes to self-understanding and achieves peace by the time of his death. He otherwise exhibits in his deeds the ‘exemplary qualities’ of Rome as a social entity, held up as a model for Roman leaders to emulate, such as ending ‘the cycle of violence’ initiated by his sin and pride by religiously expiating the sin of past national crimes in order to bring about a lasting peace. His successor, Numa, then exemplified the role of the ideal, sinless king, a religious man and performer of miracles whose tomb was found empty after his death, demonstrating that he, too, like his predecessor Romulus, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

The idea of the ‘translation to heaven’ of the body of a divine king was therefore adaptable and flexible, every myth being in various ways different but in certain core respects the same. But the Gospels conform to the Romulus model most specifically. There are twenty parallels, although not every story contained every one. In some cases that may simply be the result of selection or abbreviation in the sources we have (and therefore the silence of one source does not entail the element did not then exist or was not known to that author); and in some cases elements might have been deliberately removed (or even reversed) by an author who wanted to promote a different message (see discussion in Chapter 10, §2, of how myth­making operated in antiquity). For example, the ‘radiant resurrection body’ (probably the earlier version of Christian appearance narratives) was later transformed into a ‘hidden-god narrative’ (another common trope both in paganism and Judaism) as suited any given author.

But when taken altogether the Romulus and Jesus death-and-resurrection narratives contain all of the following parallels:

1. The hero is the son of God.
2. His death is accompanied by prodigies.
3. The land is covered in darkness.
4. The hero’s corpse goes missing.
5. The hero receives a new immortal body, superior to the one he had.
6. His resurrection body has on occasion a bright and shining appearance.
7. After his resurrection he meets with a follower on a road from the city.
8. A speech is given from a summit or high place prior to ascending.
9. An inspired message of resurrection or ‘translation to heaven’ is delivered to a witness.
10. There is a ‘great commission’ (an instruction to future followers).
11. The hero physically ascends to heaven in his new divine body.
12. He is taken up into a cloud.
13. There is an explicit role given to eyewitness testimony (even naming the witnesses).
14. Witnesses are frightened by his appearance and/or disappearance.
15. Some witnesses flee.
16. Claims are made of ‘dubious alternative accounts’ (which claims were obviously fabricated for Romulus, there never having been a true account to begin with).
17. All of this occurs outside of a nearby (but central) city.
18. His followers are initially in sorrow over the hero’s death.
19. But his post-resurrection story leads to eventual belief, homage and rejoicing.
20. The hero is deified and cult subsequently paid to him (in the same manner as a god).

Romulus, of course, was also unjustly killed by the authorities (and came from a humble background, beginning his career as an orphan and a shepherd, a nobody from the hill country), and thus also overlaps the Aesop/­Socratic type (see Element 46), and it’s easy to see that by combining the two, we end up with pretty much the Christian Gospel in outline (especially when we appropriately Judaize the result: Elements 3-7, 17-20, and 39-43). Some of the parallels could be coincidental (e.g. resurrected bodies being associated with radiance was itself a common trope, both within Judaism and paganism), but for all of them to be coincidental is extremely improbable. The Christian conception of Jesus’ death and resurrection appears to have been significantly influenced by the Roman conception of Romulus’s death and resurrection.

Even if we discounted that for any reason, the Romulus parallels definitely establish that all these components were already part of a recognized hero-type, and are therefore not surprising or unusual or unexpected. The story of Jesus would have looked familiar, not only in the same way all translation stories looked familiar even when different in many and profound ways, but also in the very specific way that among all such tales it looked the most like the story of Romulus, which was publicly acted out in passion plays every year. And this was the national founding hero of the Roman Empire. What better god’s tale to emulate or co-opt?

Martyr myths, 1

Editor’s Note:

I added on the sidebar an image of the boy Bran under the tree of his house in Winterfell because the central message of this site has not reached even several regular visitors: if the white man does not recover his story, the apocryphal story for us that the Jews invented will lead to white extinction. (In fact, I have just used that image for my laptop’s desktop, and I recommend you do the same.)

This is something so obvious that even hurts to repeat it, but it apparently does not fit into the little heads of the people of the alt-right because, as I said in my previous entries, many have not even read the story of their race that Pierce wrote.

Of course, Who We Are is just an introduction to a more scholarly study (which includes what we have been translating, step by step, from Deschner’s ten books). But the fact that white nationalists are not even able to read Pierce’s entertaining book cannot but mean that, unlike the Jews who weaponize their stories in their struggle against us, whites are unwilling to review the Jewish POV about their past. And only a historical review of the white man’s past can shed light on how it was that we arrived at the darkest hour in the West.

When writing these words I cannot help but remember the ubiquitous advertisements throughout London that I saw on my last visit: advertising visuals of black men with white English women!

Where is your fucking hate, English readers of Rudyard Kipling’s poem about the wrath of the awakened Saxon? Why can’t you become an exterminationist like me consumed by hatred? Why is there so much negation and abnegation in your hearts? Why is there so little fate in your looks?

Following what I said in my recent posts using the end of Game of Thrones, I must add that white nationalism will continue to be obvious quackery as long as they are unable to face the most basic facts of their own story.

Candida Moss is one of those English liberals unable to see that their liberalism is the most destructive ideology for their race that has appeared in history: a Night King whose objective is to wipe out the entire white race. But her book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, sheds light on one of the myths that helped Judeo-Christianity conquer the Aryan soul so long ago. Following are some excerpts from the introduction to Candida’s book:

 

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The Myth of Christian Martyrdom

What if Christians weren’t continually persecuted by the Romans?

The evidence for Christian martyrdom is of three basic types: evidence for persecution from Roman sources and archaeology, stories about martyrs, and descriptions of Christian martyrdom in the writings of church historians. On the Roman side, there is very little historical or archaeological evidence for the widespread persecution of Christians. Where we do have evidence for persecution, in the middle of the third century, it is not clear that the Romans were specifically targeting Christians at all. Even the so-called Decian persecution in 250 CE was about political uniformity, not religious persecution. Nothing in our evidence for Decius’s legislation mentions targeting Christians. Before Decius, the prosecution of Christians was occasional and prompted by local officials, petty jealousies, and regional concerns. That Christians saw themselves as persecuted and interpreted prosecution in this way is understandable, but it does not mean that the Romans were persecuting them. This interpretation does not match up with the political and social realities: Christians were ridiculed and viewed with contempt, and they were even sometimes executed, but they weren’t the subjects of continual persecution.

Then there are the stories about early Christian martyrs, commonly known as “martyr acts” or martyrdom stories. Most of these stories have been handed down from generation to generation and accepted as authentic on the basis of tradition. The vast majority of these stories, however, were written long after the events they purport to describe. There are literally hundreds of stories describing the deaths of thousands of early Christian martyrs, but almost every one of these stories is legendary. There are many pious reasons why someone might choose to fabricate a story about a martyr, and there are plenty of examples of genuine errors, but for those interested in the history of martyrdom, fabrication causes a problem. In some of these cases, scholars are not sure that the people described in these stories even existed, much less that they were martyred.

The problem with forged martyr stories was so widespread that in the seventeenth century a Dutch Jesuit priest named Héribert Rosweyde began to sort through the European manuscripts that preserved the earliest stories of the martyrs. The size of the task of cataloging thousands of manuscripts proved to be too much for Rosweyde alone, and the project was eventually taken over by a group of scholars led by an ambitious priest named John Bolland. The Society of Bollandists, as they came to be known, spent the next three centuries culling the corpus of hagiographical literature (literature pertaining to the saints) into a huge sixty-eight volume collection of texts about the saints. Of these sixty-eight volumes of texts and commentary, they decided that only a handful of stories were historically reliable. The rest—the vast majority—had been thoroughly edited or had simply been made up.

Scholars of early Christianity agree that there is very little evidence for the persecution of Christians. Although there are references to the deaths of Christians in the writings of the early church, these are vague and often exaggerated. For the first two hundred and fifty years of the Christian era there are only six martyrdom accounts that can be treated as reliable. These stories describe the deaths of Christianity’s oldest and most beloved saints: the elderly bishop Polycarp, the young mothers Perpetua and Felicity, the teacher Ptolemy, the philosopher Justin Martyr, the martyrs of Scillium, and the brave members of the churches of Lyons and Vienne in ancient Gaul, modern-day France, who endured unspeakable tortures at the hands of the Romans. Even today some of these martyrs are mentioned in the religious services of the Catholic Church.

When we look closely at even these stories, however, it becomes clear that they have been significantly edited and changed. They refer to theological ideas that didn’t exist in the period described in the stories and contain elements borrowed from other ancient sources. Details like these suggest that even the earliest stories have been tampered with…

There’s almost no evidence from the period before Constantine, or the Age of the Martyrs, to support the idea that Christians were continually persecuted. Most of this information comes from later writers, especially from the anonymous hagiographers who edited, reworked, and even forged stories about martyrs during periods of peace. The stories of beloved martyrs like St. Valentine, St. Christopher, and St. George were written long after the time in which these people supposedly lived, by authors who were preserving folklore, not facts.

Published in: on May 23, 2019 at 11:10 am  Comments (8)  

Robert Morgan’s comment

“Pressed and addressed. The number of christian men and women who advanced science even when at odds with certain religious authority overwhelmingly makes the case that chirstianity itself is not at war with science.”

No, you didn’t address the point at all. I don’t even think you’ve understood it. What you need to do is show how belief in Jesus or the fables of Christianity led to the development of specific scientific theories. That would show how Christianity is tied to scientific advancement. But you’ve failed completely to do this. The fact that some scientists were nominal Christians doesn’t prove anything, except perhaps that they were hypocrites capable of ignoring the blatant contradiction between a scientific understanding of cause and effect and what is presented as fact in the Bible. But that Christians are capable of being hypocrites is a point already well understood by everyone.

You’re just arbitrarily giving credit to Christianity where none is due. By this logic you should likewise give credit to belief in Zeus or Aesop’s fables for classical civilization, or give credit to Buddhism for Chinese civilization. In reality, one thing has nothing to do with the other.

More consistent with the facts is what I said above in #403, that it was the innate genius of the white race that is responsible for science emerging when and where it did, despite Christianity’s best efforts to retard it. Besides, Christianity has spread to many corners of the world, and currently it’s growing most rapidly in Africa. If it truly were responsible for fostering a spirit of scientific inquiry, where are the negro Newtons? Nowhere. Negroes are still negroes with an average IQ of about 70, despite being sprinkled with holy water.

Published in: on May 15, 2019 at 11:05 am  Comments (4)  

Robert Morgan’s comment

Too often conspiracy theorists follow the rule of cui bono, and focus only on what supposed conspirators got as a benefit. But the question of what the Jews got out of Christianity must be evaluated along with what whites got out of it, and continue to get out of it. The answer: Empire. Although they were hypocrites, Christianity provided its adherents with a very fine excuse to conquer the world. Christianity, with its imaginary “brotherhood of man” a centerpiece, gave whites the opportunity to conquer their racial enemies for their own good. It justified and still justifies incorporating them into its body politic, thus making them stronger (at least, that was the hope, and is still the hope, even as the flaws of diversity become ever more apparent.)

But there are plenty of reasons to condemn Christianity besides the fact that it elevates the Jews in the esteem of whites, which seems to be the Marcionite author’s primary complaint. First among these reasons is its unrealistic assessment of human nature, and pig-headed misunderstanding of reality itself. Christianity is a pre-scientific belief system that is entirely hostile to rational explanations of phenomena. It’s unfortunately no exaggeration to say that the Bible itself, and especially the New Testament, sets forward what is literally a psychotic view of reality. Things appear out of thin air, corpses come back to life, people become possessed by demons, etc. This sort of defect would not be cured by a divorce from the OT; nor would many others equally grave or worse.

Then we have the supposed sayings of Jesus, which taken together and taken seriously, are a prescription for poverty and even self-destructiveness to the point of suicide. Love your enemies he says, and if they steal from you, give them even more. If they strike you on one side, you must obligingly turn and offer them the other as well. Further, he says that you must become as a little child, i.e., become completely irrational, in order to be saved. The heaven of Jesus is not obtained by means of special knowledge, but only faith. No argument about this is allowed, for unlike Socrates Jesus isn’t about discovering the truth, he simply states he IS the truth, and if you can’t accept that, then it’s eternal damnation and hellfire for you. This hostility to reason, coupled with Christian millennialism that awaited Christ’s supposedly imminent return, was a powerful toxin that disabled the civilizational impulses of white people for almost a thousand years. This toxin caused the fall of classical civilization, and though its effects eventually lessened, it may yet cause the fall of our own, perhaps even precipitating a war that will end all life on Earth.

Published in: on May 9, 2019 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  

Depressing days

El Greco’s landscape of Toledo depicts the priory in which John of the Cross was held captive. To see the Greco landscape in the original blue and green click: here.

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I do not have a single male friend in the metropolis where I live.

Since I have finished writing my third and last book in Spanish—I really should not write another one!—as often happens with writers, an existential void was created in my state of mind.

I visited the Café of the Gandhi Bookstore where many years ago I was meeting with a group of friends. But I did not see any familiar faces.

Back home I realised that I had forgotten to buy a book. I have been quoting the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ in this site, taken from a famous poem by John of the Cross (1542-1591). For centuries this Spaniard has had a reputation as a profound mystic, and I wanted to read his book explaining the poem on the dark night of the soul.

At home I saw the book online. It surprised me that it contained concepts such as fighting the demon of lust and the devil. That means that John of the Cross was another idiotic Christian like millions of idiotic Christians who have been there for two millennia. The only difference is that his poetry is good. His poem starts with these words (translated to English):

In an obscure night
Fevered with love’s anxiety
(O hapless, happy plight!)
I went, none seeing me
Forth from my house, where all things quiet be…

But Aztec poetry was also good despite its psychotic customs, as I have shown elsewhere. In other words, aesthetic qualities do not vindicate the poet.

When trying to invent an activity these days I caressed the idea of having a podcast again. But I dispatched it: even if I did find a technician to handle the audio, my revolutionary thinking is not legal even by First Amendment standards in the US. And if I cannot speak out as a revolutionary conspirator, it is better not to talk at all because not saying what I think depresses me.

It is truly a dark night of the soul to have to live in a world in which whites, for the first time in western history, refuse to fight. Both the image of my previous post and what a commenter said in that thread epitomise what I mean.

Published in: on April 27, 2019 at 8:02 pm  Comments (26)  

European civilisation’s foe

Yesterday a blogger posted an article, ‘The burning of Notre Dame’ on his WordPress site that Counter-Currents republished today. I would like to take issue with its first paragraph:

As news spread of the fire consuming the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the first reaction of most people was shock and sadness. You don’t have to be Catholic or French to feel as if some part of you has been lost. That was not just an old building or a historically important place. It was a symbol of Western civilization. Stand inside a great church and you feel the awe and power that inspired the builders. That cathedral was the primal roar of a people celebrating their creator and the essence of who they were as a people.

I am sorry, but Notre Dame was not ‘a symbol of Western civilisation’, but of Western Christian civilisation. Big difference, as explained in one of the essays, excerpted on this site under the title ‘The Red Giant’, that moved me to start a blogging career.

In ‘The Red Giant’ the term ‘Western Christian civilization’ is repeated twenty-eight times, in contrast to ‘European civilization’. As the author put it:

It’s the Western Christian civilization that feeds all these processes (population explosion etc.). So the Western Christian civilization is in fact the worst enemy of what I call European civilization: another reason for wanting the Western Christian civilization to go away.

Even sophisticated intellectuals of the Alt-Right cannot see the difference between Western Christian civilisation and European civilisation, the latter so beautifully expressed in the sculpture of Apollo or in the immense temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders that I would call the Notre Dame of the Ancient World. In fact, not even Lord Clark himself, the author of the 1969 TV series Civilisation, could distinguish between the two.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 116

The non-white Honorius:
one of the children-emperors.

Editors’ note: To contextualise this translation of a 5-page section, ‘Honorius, Stilicho, Alaric and the first incursions of Germanic Christians’ taken from Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, read the abridged translation of Volume I.
 

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At first, in the name of the western emperor Honorius (395-423), crowned when his father Theodosius was already on his deathbed, and who was only eleven years old when he died, the half-vandal and general of the imperial army (magister militum), Flavius Stilicho, ruled.

Son of a Vandal officer, who led a cavalry regiment with Valens, Stilicho was Catholic. He ordered that the golden ornaments to be removed from the doors of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. He also ordered the burning of the very ancient Sibylline books, and prosecuted the ‘heretics’, especially the Donatists, thanks to the intervention of Augustine, and restored the privileges of the Church. […]

In Stilicho’s time the irruption in Italy of the Visigoths occurred, a Germanic tribe that had embraced Christianity prematurely. The Goths became the main missionaries among the Germanic peoples. Soon most of the ‘barbarians’ that had settled since the middle of the 4th century in the Danubian provinces, especially in Pannonia and Messia (where in other times there were already ‘bishoprics’), were no longer ‘pagans’ but Arians. According to the historian of the Church Socrates, impressed by their defeat before Constantine, that is, forced by the sword, the Goths ‘believed in the religion of Christianity’.

These despots eager of power constantly fought against the Romans—in 315, 323, 328—who defeated them, with an especially serious defeat in 332, in which their dead, which apparently included women and children, were estimated at one hundred thousand. The most recent investigations also admit that Constantine’s warlike successes and the political relationship of the Goths with the Roman Empire gave ‘impulse’ to the Christianisation of the latter. Already bishop Theodoret, the father of the Church, said that such policy proved its effectiveness in a curious saying: ‘The historical facts show that war gives us greater benefits than peace.’ […]

According to Eunapius of Sardis (around 345-420), a fervent enemy of the Christians, the betrayal of the monks also allowed the attack of Alaric in the Thermopylae. Be that as it may, Greece had never been so devastated before: Macedonia, Thessaly, Boeotia, Attica. The Thebans were saved by their thick walls. Athens (which was protected by Athena and Achilles, a tendentious pre-Christian tale) was terribly plundered. The rest of the country, its villages, temples and works of art, suffered harsh punishments; Corinth was set on fire, and Boeotia was desolate for decades. […]

Honorius, mounted on the victory cart and with Stilicho at his side, hurried to Rome, for the Milvian Bridge, with the glorious spoils of victory in the escort of Christ, as Prudentius sings.

Unhistorical Jesus, 3

Editor’s note: Today I changed the subtitle of this site from ‘Two lies are murdering the white race’ to ‘The Jewish Question and Christianity are one and the same’. In the excerpts reproduced below from chapter 5 of Richard Carrier’s magnum opus, he wrote:

Thus it should not surprise us that Christianity converted all the military imagery of popular messianism into spiritual metaphor, to represent what we would now call a culture war.

Emphasis appears in the original. In the next page he added:

That the Christians and the Zealots both may have come from the same sectarian background, and pursued collectively the only two possible solutions to the problem facing the Jews at the time, reveals Christianity to be more akin to something inevitable than something surprising.

Definitively, Carrier’s On The Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reasons for Doubt contains key passages that substantiate the content of the masthead of this site, the Rome vs. Judea essay, linked in the sticky post above.

These are the first paragraphs of the chapter “Background Knowledge (Context)”:

 

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The previous chapter surveyed the background knowledge directly relating to the Christian religion (origins, beliefs and development) that we must take into account when evaluating any hypothesis regarding the historical existence of Jesus. This chapter will survey the most important background knowledge regarding the context in which Christianity began (political, religious and literary), as well as its most pertinent scientific and historical analogs.

Elements of Political Context

The origin of Christianity makes sense only within the peculiar political context that produced it, and in light of analogous movements throughout history.

Element 23: The Romans annexed Judea to the imperial province of Syria in 6 CE, bringing the center of the Holy Land under direct control of the Roman government, ending Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and the temple of the Most High God, along with most of the Holy Land that had been promised by God to the Jews.

In fact, God had promised that the Jews would not only rule their own land, city and temple, but subjugate all peoples and rule the whole world as the chosen people of God (Zech. 14.9-18; Psalm 2), which was also a common feature of messianic belief (Elements 3 and 4), one timetable for which predicted this outcome was imminent (Element 7). The Roman annexation contradicted all of this, which would have inevitably produced cognitive dissonance between what Jews expected (the fulfillment of God’s promise) and what happened (the Jews lost their sovereignty and became a subject people). The result was a permanent state of violent tension between the Roman occupation and Jewish rebellion that concluded in three devastating wars (against Nero in 66-70 CE, against Trajan in 115-117 and against Hadrian in 132-136) and countless smaller rebellions (beginning with Judas the Galilean in 6 CE), all of which the Jews consistently lost.

Element 24: (a) Owing to their vastly greater resources (in materials, money and manpower) and superior technical ability (in the training, equipping and supplying of their armies) the Romans were effectively invincible and could never be expelled from Judea by force or diplomacy. (b) This fact was so empirically evident and publicly tested and demonstrated on such a wide scale that it had to have been evident to at least some Jews, even while many either didn’t see it, denied it even when seen, or imagined celestial aid would redress the imbalance.

In other words, the traditional messianic hope (of a conclusive military victory over all of Israel’s neighbors) was a doomed hope, and that would have been obvious to at least some Jews. History would of course decisively prove this, as messianic movements were either wiped out quickly (Element 4) or led to the utter defeat and destruction of Jerusalem and the entire Jewish polity (already in the Neronian War of the 60s; even more so in the subsequent wars under Trajan and Hadrian: Element 23). This had happened before, most infamously to both Carthage and Corinth in the same year (146 BCE), which any educated observer would know about. In fact, up to the time Christianity began, Roman victory was always the outcome, without exception, for every nation that ever stood against any concerted Roman conquest and occupation.

For example, even the infamous defeat of Varus by the Germans in 9 CE was decisively redressed by Germanicus only a few years later, illustrating the futility even of a victory against the Romans. This was a phenomenon so consistently repeated that it had already become a popular joke by the time of Christ, which is called even still a ‘Pyrrhic victory ‘, from the legend, widely circulated in antiquity, that in the third century BCE the Greek upstart Pyrrhus had won his victories against the Romans at such cost that he declared ‘one more victory and I’m done for’ (or words to that effect), which prophecy was fulfilled in short order. After centuries of history repeating itself like this without fail, only a fool would bank on a future rebellion against the Romans having any other outcome. And though fools were always to be found, not all men are fools.

It would therefore be extremely improbable if no early-first-century Jews could foresee this (even if most, evidently, did not). Predicting this outcome would have been all the easier for anyone aware of recent analogous events, from the fates of Carthage and Corinth to the early Jewish rebellions described by Josephus, which were so quickly and easily suppressed that the reality must have become apparent to some. It would have been a simple matter to put two and two together: Roman military might plus Jewish military messianism equals the inevitable destruction of the Jews.

Element 25: The corruption and moral decay of the Jewish civil and temple elite (regardless of to what extent it was actual or merely perceived) was a widespread target of condemnation and often a cause of factionalizing among Jewish sects. This is evident throughout the narrative of Josephus regarding the causes and outcomes of the Jewish War, as well as in the literature recovered at Qumran (e.g. 4Q500), and in much of the apocryphal, apocalyptic and pseudepigraphical literature produced or popularized by first-century Jews. It is also a persistent theme in the Christian Gospels, which in that context do not seem aberrant in this respect but in fact typical.

Element 26: For many Jews in the early first century (in accord with the previous element) the Jewish elite became the scapegoats for God’s failed promises (in accord with Elements 23 and 24): the reason God withheld their fulfillment (and instead allowed the Romans to rule) was imagined to be the Jewish elite’s failure to keep God’s commandments and govern justly. God would come through only when all sin had ended and been atoned for (Dan. 9.5-24). The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, repeatedly denounce the Jewish civil and temple elite as responsible for the evil that has befallen the land, in terms similar to those found in the Christian Gospels. […]

Element 27: (a) The temple at Jerusalem was the central focus of most Jewish messianic hopes (as, for the Samaritans, was Mount Gerizim), which entailed that as long as the ‘corrupt’ Jewish elite control led it, God would continue Israel’s ‘punishment’ (in accord with Elements 25 and 26); and as long as the Romans remained in power, they would maintain the corrupt Jewish elite’s control of the temple. Accordingly, (b) Jewish religious violence often aimed at seizing physical control of the temple and its personnel.

Element 28. […] But if any Jews had realized that such a reconquest was impossible (as some must, in accord with Element 24) but still sought a means to escape their cognitive dissonance (in accord with Element 23) without denying the evident facts or abandoning deep-seated religious beliefs, then for them only one solution remained: to deny the physical importance of the temple at Jerusalem itself. […]

Therefore, if any religious innovator had proposed that God had arranged a supreme sacrifice capable of cleansing all sins once and for all (such as, e.g., through the ritual atoning sacrifice of his firstborn son: Element 10), and further arranged that God’s spirit would, as a result, dwell forever within each individual who pledged himself to him (and thus no longer dwell, or dwell only, with in the temple at Jerusalem: Element 18), then his message would resonate among many Jews as an ingenious and attractive solution to the problem of Jewish elite corruption and Roman invincibility (Elements 23-26), by eliminating the relevance of the temple to messianic hopes, and thus eliminating the basis for any doomed military conflict with Rome […].

The basic Christian gospel—imagining that the death of a messiah had conclusively atoned for all sins, and that by joining with him God would dwell in us (instead of the temple)—would thus be recognized by many Jews as an ingenious and attractive idea. […]

The only sacred space this doctrine required one to physically control was one’s own body, a notion already popularized by philosophical sects such as the Stoics, who taught that nothing external can conquer a man who in his wisdom remains internally free. Not death, nor imprisonment, nor torture represented any victory over him. This was therefore a battle one could always win, even against the ‘invincible’ Romans. One merely had to believe it, to feel it was true, that God now lived in you. No other evidence was required. Thus it should not surprise us that Christianity converted all the military imagery of popular messianism into spiritual metaphor, to represent what we would now call a culture war. […]

The relevance of this observation is that the earliest Christian gospel makes far more sense as a product of its political context than it does when completely divorced from that context, and in consequence, theories of historicity [of Jesus] that ignore that fact are unlikely to have any objective merit. The centrality of the temple was a continual problem for the Jews. A physical location requiring political control entailed military domination. So long as the Romans had the latter, the Jews would never have the former. The Zealots took the logical option of attempting to remove the Romans and restore Jewish control. But the Christians took the only other available option: removing the temple from their entire soteriological (or ‘salvation’) scheme.

Christians could then just await God’s wrath to come from heaven (in accord with Element 10), while in the meantime, God’s promise could be delivered unto the kingdom they had spiritually created (Rom. 14.17-18; I Cor. 4.19-20), first in an anticipatory way (in the moral and ‘supernatural’ success of the Christian community), and then in the most final way (in the apocalypse itself: e.g. I Cor. 15.24, 50; 6.9-10; Gal. 5.19-25; 1 Thess. 4.10- 5.15). That the Christians and the Zealots both may have come from the same sectarian background, and pursued collectively the only two possible solutions to the problem facing the Jews at the time, reveals Christianity to be more akin to something inevitable than something surprising.