November 9th, 2010

The Origins Of Christianity: A Radical Hypothesis

If Jesus died c. AD. 30 how come his name doesn't start appearing in the archaeological record until 100 years later?

There were two Jewish revolts during the reign of Hadrian. Evidence for Jesus  (mostly in the form of fragments of gospels) starts appearing at just this time.

It wasn't that easy to get published in the Roman world. If lots of manuscripts of a given text are in circulation it argues official connivance or even sponsorship.

Christianity is a radically Hellenized version of Judaism- outward looking and friendly to the Empire. Jesus is a God-man on the Hellenic model- like Hercules, Dionysus, Alexander, Mithras, Antinous, etc. The early Christian texts show the Romans in a favourable light  and demonize the Jewish authorities. ("Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites."). 

All this fits with Christianity being a creation of the Hadrianic period- a state-sponsored religion designed to draw adherents away from Judaism.   Its leading personalities- Jesus, the Apostles, Paul- were all "invented" at this time- and placed (conveniently beyond the reach of living memory) in the golden age of the early Empire. The gospels and other early Christian writings are essentially  "black propaganda" aimed against the Jewish rebels and their separatist ideology 
This is the barest outline of the hypothesis. The detailed evidence and arguments are here.

The Electricians: Day 7

There's no longer any place to hide. Every room is topsy turvy- and there was nothing for it this afternoon but to sit tight in the back room while Khalid and his team did things around us. The dust gets thicker.

Tonight we have lights on upstairs but no sockets- and sockets on downstairs but no lights. The kitchen is without power-except for the hob (I don't know why)- and the freezer and boiler are both plugged into extension cables working from a socket in the hall. 

We escaped into the great outdoors a couple of times- once to transact business at the Post Office and once to buy chips for lunch- but It's bitterly cold, with bursts of near-freezing rain. I understand there's snow on the Pennines.

I'm about halfway through the Einstein book; he's stopped discovering things and is now a celeb. He and Chaim Weizmann have just completed a tour of the eastern seaboard of the USA, raising money for Zionist causes.