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October 14, 2013

Comments

"What seems to have eluded many scholars is that..."
"How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinised books of all time?"

Mr Atwill must be one SMART fella to have found this secret that 2000+ years worth of scholars have completely missed. He'll probably get the Nobel Prize of the Common Era for his work!
(I jest.)

If only I had just seen this earlier. Thank goodness for Mr. Atwill's (who?) amazing scholarship. Although it does conflict with what the Da Vinci Code seems to be saying...which historian is correct here, Atwill or Dan Brown? I wait for Atwill's amazing insights with bated breath...

But is Dan Brown technically a historian, or just a writer of historical novels, another type of fiction?

But honestly, our fascination with conspiracy theories keep raising these "itching ears" alerts. These hostile attempts to put a new spin on the Christian faith never seem to fade, ever since Tacitus wrote the Church off as a "pernicious superstition, repressed for a time but broken out again."

Amy, thank you for the reminder to keep our critical reading skills honed and to ask the right questions as we contend for the faith.

" These hostile attempts to put a new spin on the Christian faith never seem to fade..."

Yes, and it really seems remarkable.

I guess I don't have a problem with people making certain truth claims about the faith I hold dear. I understand that Christianity is not everyone's "cup o' tea" (please forgive the flippancy.) I'm just the messenger.

BUT, I do have a problem with the way in which these claims are "supported" (or, not so much supported.) Railroad jobs such as the article Amy cited are just ridiculous; to suggest that one of the main tenets of Christianity is "make war in the Middle East" is contrary to everything that Christians truly hold dear.

This is analogous to me making a truth claim about someone's hair, for instance. Let's say someone's hair is brown. And let's say I make a claim about that someone's hair and say that it's blond. Now, we can argue all day about the truthy-ness or falsi-nesss of my claim about that person's hair, but what we can't argue about is whether or not I made that claim in the first place. I indeed did make the claim that the person's hair is blond.

And what we have today is sort of the reverse situation, where we have all kinds of charlatans claiming that Christians make certain claims, when in fact we make no such claims, and in fact, oftentimes, true Christianity would make the opposite claim!

Not to worry, though; we serve a risen and sovereign Master...!

DGFischer, my comment was definitely sarcastic in tone. Are you kidding me, Dan Brown a historian? We need to start dismissing these pseudo-scholars like Atwill completely. This is complete nonsense at nearly every level. We should really start targeting the media that reprints this sort of sensationalist nonsense. If they are going to quote something controversial, they should at least quote someone who actually has an idea about what they are talking about, like Dominic Crossan. It's just a shameless headline to invoke people into reading it. I for one will not even bother seeing what Atwill has to say and refuse to respond anymore to childish nonsense, like saying that Jesus did not exist. It is incredible how people will believe almost anything they read once without basic fact checking or logical thought processes.

"The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar" Seriously?

By 33AD the Roman empire was still on it's second emperor, Tiberius, and neither Tiberius nor Augustus was a possible model for a penniless prophet in Palestine and with only about 60 years of Emperors there's not much basis for inventing a story.

Better yet, in 33 AD the title Caesar was still 35 years in the future, if the story of Jesus was based on prior stories of Caesar's and there were no Caesars until 68 AD then this "scholarly" theory now involves time travel. Caesar became a title in 68 AD, not for the Roman Emperor, but for his chosen successor to the throne. The average person may not know this but for a scholar the likes of Joseph Atwill this is Roman History 101 and a slip like this is unforgivable.

This 'counterfeit Jesus' story has been being pushed for years, it's last incarnation being the di Vinci Code which jumped the shark with Angels and Demons. So the other side is trying the 'scholarly' approach now? You'd figure that when Satan wants to spread a lie he wouldn't do it so stupidly.

The rewriting of history will continue until the very end, with books, movies, shirts, action figures, etc. all generating income for those who write the most audacious, outrageous, outlandish stories they can imagine. I wonder who played the original role of Jesus in Atwill's Roman plot to subdue a nation they already under their control. I don't think Atwill will get Jim Caviezel for his movie, but maybe Bill Maher will do it.

Here is a rebuttal to this.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/10/joseph-atwill-has-not-proven-that-jesus-was-made-up-by-the-romans/

It says, as he was comparing the gospels and Josephus side by side (as if no one had ever done that before) that he made remarkable discoveries...I'll bet you 50 bucks the guy can't even read Greek. He says Josephus is like the gospels (well if he would read Greek or actually knew what he was talking about, he would see that Josephus has a whole lot in common with Luke). So two historians writing from the same geographical area in the same time period have a lot of similarities in style and perhaps even some substance? How could that possibly have happened (sarcasm)?

@ Louis Kuhelj

I'm a bit confused. You posted an atheist's rebuttal to Atwill's claims?

Let me get this straight - we have one atheist named JT (who authored the linked article) quoting Fitzgerald (an atheist who says Atwill makes his job of attempting to discredit Christ harder) as a rebuttal for Christians regarding the third Atheist Atwill's claims? Maybe Louie can clear this up for us. Otherwise, until he does, I think we can file this link in the illogical nonsense folder of atheist in-fighting.

I'll suggest to everyone else reading that you check Louis' link and come to your own conclusion. Read the first two paragraphs and the very last in the link.

I submit that we as Christians have plenty of evidence for the truth of Christ's claims about who He is and what He did.

Jay

I didn't intend to confuse the issue with the link. What this shows is that even atheists have a problem with Atwill's claims and his conclusions. You are right that we have plenty of evidence for the truth of Christ's claims. I just thought that it might be informative for some to take a look at how some atheists who have given this some consideration parse out Atwill's claims. At the very least it shows that some atheists don't automatically assume that scholarship is sound if it supports their view. I should think that is a good thing.

Louis,
That makes sense. I would agree.

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