We’re getting close to Halloween when all the nuts come out! See Larry Hurtado’s recent blog on this one:
Actually Mr Atwill’s claim is somewhat more subtle than that – he claims the Romans invented Christianity in an attempt to turn the warlike Jews into pacified sheep. He makes some references to Josephus’ The Jewish War to support his claim. It is unfortunate that we live in an age when the education system in the West had been changed to produce a standardised dumbed down product who will believe him before engaging brain. There are plenty of interviews of Mr Atwill out there in youtube land for those who are interested and care to refute.
I think he did the same thing many years ago with the life of Julius Caesar and Christ. There are tales of Julius Caesar’s life that seem exaggerated.Confrontation with the dictator Sulla when he was a youth about divorcing his wife Cornelia or confronting the pirates when he was captured by them when he travel to Rhodes in his 20’s. In fact the military classical historian Adrian Goldsworthy thinks Julius Caesar exaggerated these experiences to show how strong minded and courageous he was. The information on Julius Caesar early life doesn’t show up until about 150 years after his lifetime in Plutarch and Suetonius. The only similarly between Julius Caesar and Christ is both are considered divine.
Actually,, a high school education good or bad will not help you on whether the Flavians influence Christianity through Josephus writings since a general high school education does not go into details or even lower divisions college classes. You have to the research on your own. I have a Adhd and some learning disabilities and knew some parts of Roman History better than people that could read and write better than me.
Domitian was said to exile and killed some Christians according to Eusebius.. He exiled a female relative who Eusbeius said was a Christian. So, only Titus and Vespasian according to this view had something to gain.
Sorry, but I can’t take Mr Atwill very serious. Interesting is the fact that most of these “new perspective on Jesus” scholars have no theological background whatsoever (take Dan Brown for example). That doesn’t mean that someone needs to have a PhD in Theology to be a good researcher (I mean a fundamentalist may have a PhD in Theology and still I won’t take him or her serious), but at least he or she must have a theological background. Whitin in a few years we will remember Mr Atwill as just one of those that had an eccentric view on the Person of the Lord Jesus.
Surely this claim that we invented Jesus Christ was written on a first century manuscript of Mark that has recently been found and announced to great acclaim.
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