Revisiting the Timeline Question

Ideally, on the Deist view, one’s timeline would begin at the year of Creation (the Big Bang) and simply count forward from this year, Year 1.  But this is not so easy and one might wonder what the best course of action is to take in the absence of such information.  It occurred to me in thinking about the timeline question that I had missed the obvious — that history begins with writing.  Would could easily begin the timeline with the first writing system, and count forward from this moment of the founding of civilization.

The interesting challenge to this approach come from my own blog, however.  As the sciences related to archaeology grow progressively advanced, science may begin to replace text (written texts) as the primary source for our established history-textbook traditions.  What then?

Well, a second alternative arose on my radar screen of studious involvement with my books: we could begin our historical timeline with the first written Law Code, since law defines civilization and requires critical thinking, not just writing.

The first option, writing, in effect defines times as knowledge-oriented, rooting the timeline in shared and permanent (okay, more permanent) information.  The second, temptingly anchors time in justice, order, critical thinking and law.  This seems to mimmick the light of nature far more exactly.

But what if we were to find an earlier law code than the one oldest at present?  Well, we should simply move the timeline backward accordingly, and just move on with the new and better one, pretending the first timeline never existed.  We would simply adapt.

In any case, I shall continue my study of time and post my thoughts here when convenient and profitable.


The Donation of Justinian, in the Form of a Legal Code

Constantine (C) = The First Christian, Roman Emperor

Justinian (J) =  The Last Christian Roman Emperor (West)

(C) = Bears a mirror-like reflection of Alexander of Macedon in many ways (see earlier post)

(J) = Bears a mirror-like reflection of Constantine in many ways (see this post)

(C) = Left Rome, headed east to build Constantinople

(J) = Left Constantinople, heading West, Retook Rome and rebuilt it (somewhat)

(C) = Called a Council, produced the innovative Nicene Creed in writing

(J) = called a Council, yielded the innovative Corpus Juris Civilis (the final copy was in fact in Greek)

(C) = Recording Appointed Historian of Council = Eusebius of Caesarea

(J) = Recording Appointed Historian of Council = Procopius of Caesarea

(C) = Built a Cathedral famous in Christendom, and many basilicas besides

(J) = Built the Hagia Sophia, a Cathedral famous in Christendom

(C) = One of First Roman Emperors to compile the Roman legal codes

(J) = The Great and Final Compiler of Roman Legal Codes

(C) = Had a consort (almost a wife) named Theodora

(J) = Had one wife named Theodora

(C) = Set the pace for defining orthodoxy as an eccelsiastical law (Nice)

(J) = Ordered Christian orthodoxy into law for the state (Corpus Juris Civilis) — allegedly

Other Oddities as Unlikely Parallels Between Emperors

(J) = Crowned Emperor by Patriarch of Constantinople

(Ch) [arlemagne] = Crowned by the Pope of Rome

(C) = Builds a city named after him in 330, dies 7 years later

(A) lex. of Macedon = Builds a city named after him in 330, dies 7 years later

(Ch) =  was born “in a place unknown.”  If the sources are so good, why do we not know his origin?

Theory to explain the coincidences:  The life of Justinian as we have it is in fact apocryphal, and Procopius of Caesarea is a makeshift (pseudepigraphic) apocryphon himself.  His name is even ad hoc, meaning something like “a Scribe.”

Question: If Justinian is actually an ahistorical figure, where would we have gotten the Corpus Juris Civilis?  Answer: it could have been a legal code produced earlier — perhaps under Theodoric the Goth — that was later worked over and edited to yield a much better code.  Two facts point in this direction: the first is that the Code was first produced in Latin, and its final draft in Greek. This suggests that a redacting team was involved along the way of its production.  Second, Theodoric’s reign was noted as a very JUST reign, even more just than that of Justinian.

Constantine’s life is also somewhat apocryphal: His supposed Edict of Milan (312) was an edict of toleration, which seems unnecessary given that just such an edict had already been given by Galerian (305); The Homeric-like, and somewhat silly, divine pronouncement, “In this sign (the Cross) shall you conquer” runs into the stipulation that Constantine later abolished the cross; that is, he forbade use of the cross to condemn criminals to death, and banned it permanently (LOL).

Another silly superstition indicates that Constantine claimed to be the 13th apostle, which was Paul.  He would have said that he was the “the 14th” apostle.  This error smacks of ahistorical and ad hoc innovations in “Constantine Legend.”  Did Constantine not know that Paul was the 13th apostle? Baloney.

According to Diodorus (16. 92. 5), At Aegae (ca. 340), Phillip of Macedon had his statue carried along with those of the “12 Olympian gods.”  They did not exist either.

Remember brethren the Donation of Constantine, which proveth well that the Christian brotherhood was well acquainted with the deliberate production of forgeries to promote the Faith (And besides, my Church is clearly the best one — see how many crosses it has!  That the good emperor has banned!

Constantine (supposedly) died in 337 and was buried in Constantinople at the Church of the Holy Apostles (who, of course, never existed). If Constantine placed himself among their ranks, it is possible has also did not exist?  Consider this: He was buried in a tomb prepared by himself in advance of his demise, flanked on either side by six empty tombs, representing the 12. Empty tombs are a good metaphor for people who do not exist (i.e. are “not there”).

In another clearly “apocryphal moment”,  as recorded by Will Durant (Age of Faith, p. 3),which I call “Constantine Parcels Out the Earth” Like Alexander and his four generals:

“The Emperor Constantine, feeling the nearness of his death, called his sons and nephews to his side, and divided among them, with the folly of fondness, the government of the immense empire that he had won. … [Then it recounts just who received which parcel(s)].”

Charlemagne does the same kind of (apocryphal) distribution: [Age of Faith, p. 471], “Perhaps because he foresaw like Diocletian, that his overreaching empire needed quick defense at many points at once, he divided it in 806 among his 3 sons — Pepin, Louis, and Charles.”

Another Constantinian oddity just odd enough to note, is the claim that he supposedly moved from Mytilene a statue of the historian, Theophanes, Historian of Pompey, to Constantinople for its founding.

Another interesting apocryphal “Typology” unit assumes that the emperor in question had no (or little) formal training, but somehow showed himself a very accomplished man of letters anyway.  Thus runs the lore of Constantine, Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths (crowned, 475) and Charlemagne. Ostrogothic Italy’s years were 493 – 536.   The Age of Faith, p.97, indicates that Theodoric had grown intelligent at court (11 years at a Byzantine court), and that he (Theodoric) absorbed the arts of war and government there, but never learned to write.

Recall that the fictitious Bible character, Daniel, likewise “remained at the king’s court,” and was “learned in all Babylonian arts and sciences.”

Charlemagne also was said quite unrealistically to be able to speak Old Teutonic (what?), literary Latin (not likely that one who cannot write would spend so much time on languages — to what end?), and had a fair grasp of Greek, but never learned to write.  (Age of Faith, p. 461).  This is strange for a German.

Homework assignment for fun: try to find more coincidences between the roman emperors and post them on a blog of your own.  You might be surprised what you find!

MY NEW THEORY: In my efforts at continued research on this topic, I have stumbled across a fascinating data field that intuitive falls into a neat pattern, that pattern being my new “Justinian law code” theory.   Here are the facts:

  1. Justinian ordered that the Patriarch of Constantinople crown him emperor, not the Pope of Rome.
  2. The texts taken together that comprise collectively what we call the “CJC (ivilis)” appear every one of them in LATIN, the language of Rome, and not of Constantinople.  One belated exception drags in at the end — the Digest, a short handbook consisting of the opinions of ROMAN justices with their best decisions and most prominent cases, was made in 533 (at the end of the process of making the CJC) in the tongue of Greek.
  3. From the 480’s and forward, following the sack of Rome by Odovoacer (463), the ostrogothic king, Theodoric II ruled Italy (this prize comes with Rome thrown in for free), whose administration was “legally active” in producing what is now called the “Salic Law” code, which Will and Ariel Durant laud as much more civilized and excellent than Justinian’s code.
  4. Available to those in Rome (good libraries because the Emperor used to live there) also was the second century compilation and summary of Roman legal codes (second century) by one “Gaius.”
  5. Theodosius II is believed to have yielded a compilation and code similar in many ways (438) to that of Justinian.
  6. Procopius displays at one point a very hostile attitude toward both Justinian and Theodora in what is called the “Secret History,” that the royal historian, Procopius allegedly published posthumously — it displays just the opposite of his somewhat flattering history written while he was alive.  This radical difference has been hard for historians to explain.
  7.  Strangely, Justinian the statesman was supposed to have tried to provide a kind of theological compromise between warring factions in his day, called the Three Chapters.  This overly theological effort would far more likely have been assigned to others, and not come directly from the hand of the emperor.
  8. Supposedly, and this is somewhat bizarre, the Emperor Justinian orders Christian orthodoxy into law, an effort countermanded by his own edict publised at the outset of the CJC which forbids in public the discussion of any topic touching upon the Trinity, so controversial had the topic become in the Empire.  Think on it, if YOU had done that, would you then sign something into law guaranteed to start the NFL equivalent of the Controversy Super Bowl???  In the East, the technical term for this condition is called “JIHAD.”  JIHAD?  JIHAD!
  9. Twice the strange for your money is the fact that the historian who called his master “a man who was a skilled artisan of hypocrisy and an ‘evil assassin,’ says that Justinian ordered all Christian churches to come under the leadership and primacy of the Church of Rome (not of the city he built and which was named after himself, or of its patriarch who had crowned him Emperor at his own order).
  10. The Latin (and the 533 Greek edition, for the botched cover-up) “Digest” codifies into law the opinions and prominent cases of Roman justices, and omits the rest.  This clearly indicates the tendency to favor Roman primacy, and stamp it into law with the Emperor’s (forged) signature.

How is one to account as a good historian for this difficult landscape of historical facts? Try this and see if it makes sense:  Justinian had nothing whatever (or else little beyond collecting and sorting out the Roman codes like Constantine was supposed to have done)  to do with the code that bears his name, and he probably never heard of any such Code, since it was created in Rome, shortly after his demise, and ascribed to him in, say, 570.  He really had no need to do this, since the Theodosian Code was less than one hundred years old — if “We have already got one,” why make another with so much trouble that hardly seems necessary?

If you do actually need a new one because of innovations in legal prescription, they could simply have used the commentaries of Gaius to annotate and update the Theodosian Code, perhaps with Salic footnotes and “Theodoric-legal” endnotes.  The writings of “Procopius” (Perhaps actually “the Roman 10” who favor the decisions of Roman justices over those of Constantinople) strongly suggest this.

Next Up:   Justinian the god of Christian Orthodoxy

According to Ariel and Will Durant, Procopius tells us (sometimes he very much dislikes Justinian) that the emperor encouraged others to think of him as divine in the oriental tradition of understanding the transcendent nature of monarchy, especially imperial monarchy.  Here, Procopius has erred badly, and no one seems to have noticed.  Justinian is a CHRISTIAN emperor, which religion does not allow (for it is blasphemy to Christians for a man to claim divine status for Himself, since they zealously guard this as the prerogative of one “Jesus of Nazareth.”).  The man who wrote the “Three Chapters,” and showed great concern for orthodox Christian doctrine, even ordering it into law (this never happened), also taught men to think of him as a God?  Which one — the other God besides YHWH — the God of Christian orthodoxy? Hallelujah.

I believe such faux pas factoids in Procopian writing show that he is a forgery, and an editing group in the Roman court of Theodoric’s successors, probably made up of some ten scribes (collectively named “Procopius of Caesarea,” and following Eusebian and Constantinian tradition), who zealously competed against Constantinople to place all churches under Roman authority.  So I call the Code of Justinian, the Donation of Justinian, quite accurately.

Why did the Patriarch of Constantinople, who put the crown on Justinian’s head, not reprove him for such antichristian behavior, if he did this?  If Justinian follows the tradition of Constantine in compiling Roman codes, then why break with that tradition in promoting himself divine?  Constantine did no such thing as this.  This makes no sense.

These considerations lead one to conclude that the so-called Code of Justinian was created by the historical  and legal progeny of Theodoric Rome (perhaps by several (Maybe 10) assistants to the court historian of Theodoric’s successor).  They had a copy of the Theodotian Code, access to Gaius’ commentaries, to the Salic law, and has churchmen in the group who codified the Three Chapters.  They wrote the first copy of all these in Latin, their native tongue, and then did their best to put one of them (they wanted to put all of them, but had language limits that forbade this) in the Greek tongue when they realized that leaving them in Latin would make the mirage an obvious, pseudepigraphic forgery of one (non-existent) “Procopius” — who had to be from Caesarea to have borrowed credibility from Eusebius of Constantine’s court. This gives away the forger, as a would-be successor (But a Latin one) to Eusebius.  Signing this into law contradicts the prefatory “Trinitarian Prohibition” of Justinian, but would neatly solve the Church primacy question in favor of Rome and Christian orthodoxy worldwide, fixing it forever.

Fact, the Theodosian code could have been used without renovation for the purposes to which the J-Code (I could not shorten it to JLaw) was intended.  We simply did not need the “Justinian” effort.  The Salic Law was better anyway. It would never have been in Latin.  It would have sought to avoid theological controversy.  This means “No Three Chapters” of controversy would have come from Justinian.  If daring such controversy, it would have placed all churches under the Patriarch of Constantinople, or of a council of the Patriarchs — Justinian supposedly called a COUNCIL to create the Corpus and would model himself after Constantine. Hence “Procopius of Caesarea.”

The post-mortem hostility of Procopius can be accounted for easily on this view.  The Procopian slam would easily ruin Justinian, and the reputation of Constantinople, (Aim = demote Constantinople, elevate Rome) in favor of the need to create Roman primacy, after his law code had been established as valid by his office alone. Thus was it was written in good Constantinople’s finest Latin. LOL. Civitas non-seqitur is Latin for “the City that just doesn’t follow” from that line of reasoning.  We should have called this forgery the “Donation of Justinian.”  Finally, the Digest, should at the very least in order to be credible, have reduced its page to the important decisions, opinions and cases of first Constantinople and then of Rome, for C. was the NEW (and improved) ROME to the emperor Justinian.  This order is reversed by the phoney, imperial mandata appended awkwardly to these documents after the fact.

Justinian did not, would not, and (almost) could not, write the Latin Code. Much too controversial a venture. Punchline? Forgery alert.  The Romans, the Greeks defamed.


Doubting the Whole Entourage: What Does It Mean For The West

I have developed very significant doubts, throughout my wisdom quest and research, about the very foundations (literary or textual and mythological) of Western Civilization.  It began when I discovered the nearly absolute destitution of real (that is “sound”) evidence in favor its primary pillars — the existence of Jesus and the apostles was the first to fall to my scrutiny.  Then it would seem that the OT has almost nothing substantively historical to offer — with a few exception taken almost exclusively from the Kings-Chronicles narratives.   Next, Alexander’s world conquest — and supposed worldwide Hellenization efforts (which left almost no evidentiary footprint behind) had to be scaled back considerably.   Arrian’s account, to my mind, is nearly worthless, being so filled with legend and myth of the Alexander that chases holy grails, with temples and oracles being glorified much too often — just like Herodotos, in the Homeric mythological tradition.

These Three traditions construct Western civilzation, which has lead the world since at least the Renaissance:  The Homeric Tradition (adopted and transformed a bit by the Romans from the Greeks); the Hebrew, Biblical Tradition (see Josephos’ Antiquities of the Jews) for its most masterful expression; The Eusebian -Augustian (synthesis) tradition that runs through the Middle Ages until (roughly) the Printing Press (1453), and the fall of Constantinople in the same year.

Each of these traditions bears significant flaws that stem from their earliness, their primitivity (if you will), and the overbearing trust in the “authority” of sources, treated as truthful or accurate, merely for the sake of that (alleged) authority, which turns out upon more critical scrutiny to bear all the actual authority of the Donation of Constantine, introduced to the reading public in roughly 1453 as well.

These are the most recent adventures in my progressively more skeptical studies, persons whose careers (or certain aspects of them) or whose existence I am beginning to doubt.  These will occupy several of my upcoming blogposts — I am now doubting:

  1. Julius Caesar  (His death account seems quite spurious)
  2. The Emperor Justinian   (Rests upon almost one source only, Procopius, and his biography of Justinian bears way too many similarities with Constantine to be accurate).
  3. The Emperor Constantine  (has apocryphal features and rests upon dubious source material at many points — the “In this sign you shall conquer” drama is a bit much for many).
  4. The Emperor Charlemagne (Charles the Great) — has only 3 real sources, and 1 depends on one of the others, making the real sources two in number [The Royal Annals and Nithard]; some parts of Charlemagne’s campaigns seem questionable, and he ends up too much like Alexander as conquerer of way too much for the historiographic comfort of many.
  5. The Carolingian Dynasty  (Slated for closer scrutiny, with source problems similar to those of Charlemagne)
  6. The Library at Alexandria — too good to be true?  If it sounds like it is, it usually is. The historians serving a primary references for its existence turn out to be quite legendary and untrustworthy in many places.  And archaeology surprisingly seems to offer little support.  I simply have to investigate further.

What does it mean?  I am proposing as a world peace initiative a new approach to history that relies far more on archaeology and empirical sciences — and computer science with virtual models for assessing the likelihood — quantifiably — of any particular set of events unfolding, given this or that set of (historical) initial conditions.  Once we systematically apply the study of patents to the world of archaeology, working to create a more scientific set of approaches, and a much wider variety of “forensic science” tools (Fractal Geometry and better math too), we should be able to reconstruct human history from the ground floor up, on an ongoing basis, landing at the present moment, at the end of which effort we should offer the best and most complete, universal history to date.


Refuting the Book of Daniel: Things You Did Not Notice

The Book of Daniel turns out to be something quite other than what one might suspect on first blush. So, much of the study of this (centrally Aramaic) book ends up repeating the galma-gamla problem.

Daniel 2.7 – 7.1 forms a peculiar section of the book that bears that name.  It was written originally in Aramaic, so far as we can tell.  Only a little of Ezra-Nehemiah and of Jeremiah bears this distinction.  All else was Hebrew.  The best explanation for Aramaic Daniel is that chapters 2 -7.1 are the original — Josephos has chapters 1 -8 as the original in his commentary — and the rest is accretive.

Where did it come from?  Most probably it originated out of the Jewish commentary (brief commentary on OT Hebrew scripture) called the “Targums” (or “Targummim” in Hebrew), which (two of them — Targums Onkelos and Johnathan) read in the Aramaic tongue.  A hint at the liturgical origination of Daniel is found both in the devout (even liturgical in prayer and fasting) character of Daniel and his friends, and in the strange entry point of Aramaic at 2.7, which reads “They [the Chaldeans] answered [the king] a second time, ‘let the king [Nebuchadnezzar] tell his servants the dreamand we will show its interpretation.”    “Second time” forms a phrase native to the practice of the Targumic use in liturgy, where the Hebrew passage was read twice, then the Aramaic commentary given once.

Our history textbooks assure us that Aramaic was the administrative language of the Neo-Chaldeans (or “Babylonians” in Daniel), and find a direct expression in the book as “Mene Mene Tekel Uparsin” near the end of the account.  Other notable features of the account include these —

  1. While Daniel and his 3 friends each receive Babylonian names, the captain of the guard (named “Arioch” has a distinctively Greek name — not Aramaic or Babylonian.
  2. The advisers to the king are called by the Greek title “Chaldaioi”  (Chaldeans).
  3. The order of the kings listed in the book of Daniel runs badly awry.  It is not even close.  In sports language, it has the Boston Oilers playing the Los Angeles Rocketeers, and the score is 161 to 17. “Something is wrong here” does not begin to describe the situation.  It places the reign of Darius I before that of Cyrus the Persian, and has the last Babylonian king as Belteshazzar, when it was “Nabonidos.”  It has Daniel lasting at least 117 years, from the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s third year of reign (around 603/2) to that of Darius (fl. 486).  Holy Moses, people do not live this long very often.
  4.  In the book, Daniel does not do what devout Jews do in the other parts of the Bible. He does not reprove Nebuchadnezzar for causing worldwide idolatry with a golden image said to be 60 cubits high.  While most Bible notes indicate that a cubit is little more than 1.5 feet, ther reai
  5. The distinctive Aramaic phrase “Mene, mene, tekel, uparsin” has to be translated and explained in the Aramaic text, as though the readers and hearers do not know basic Aramaic. Perhaps they only knew Greek — since Babylonians would know Aramaic (The Book of Daniel was not written for Babylonians in any event) and Hebrew was no longer on the menu (At least not according to Daniel 2.7 – 7.1 and the Targums).  It is assumed that the readers of Daniel know Greek.

After all, if you don’t know Greek, you cannot read the LXX, and well, you’re a beast (bad news for barbarians everywhere). The use and spread of the Targums in liturgy most probably led to the creation of the Septuagint in Alexandria, Egypt, since their use indicated that linguistic times were changing, and the obvious fact that Greek was on the rise, even in late Persia, showed (er) the writing on the wall?

2. Another important point worth noting about Daniel, that most readers miss is that Daniel is not a particularly devout person at all, on a Jewish basis of its Torahic legal standards.

How “Devout” is Daniel on Jewish terms??

Here are the facts:

a.  Daniel never sings Psalms at all, like David, Solomon and Josiah.  He does not sing any hymn to God, ever.

b.  Daniel receives without protest the pagan, Babylonian name of “Bel” (false god) teshazzar; the OT commands, Let not the name of other gods be named upon your lips; but saying Daniel’s new name would in fact violate this commandment.

c.  Daniel does not say one word about Nebuchadnezzar creating a 60-cubit golden statue, and ordering worldwide idolatry upon the pain of death.  He gives tacit consent.  This means that Daniel is in fact a rank idolater on the Torahic view, which requires the protest of a woman who is taken against her will by a paramour (let us suppose out in the country). Her crying out against him makes her guiltless. But Daniel does not protest — neither does the text of the Book of Daniel say anything that is not pure description against it.  This would condemn the author in like manner on a Torahic basis.

d. Daniel seems wholly unfamiliar with the Law of Moses, and how one might apply it in his day to solve problems (casuistry).  He never quotes from Torah. Nor do his friends.

e.  The text lauds Daniel as a wise man.  Yet he neither ever quotes, or refers to Solomon or his writings. Nor do his friends.  The Chief of the Chaldeans (Wise Men) sees no need for, and shows no interest in either the Law of Moses, or the Wisdom literature of the Bible.  This book portrays both as unnecessary and irrelevant to their wisdom — which came from Babylon.

However, he IS SO WISE as never to eat crickets.  Even crunchy ones.

f.   And now for something totally bizarre — Genocide unnoticed.

Since the deaths of all these people who refuse the rank idolatry of the golden image — would amount to a mass murder (probably mostly of Jews), here comes this next textual tatoo:  The next chapter blames all the problem on Nebuchadnezzar’s braggadocia — ignoring the condemnation of the mass murder of Jews, worldwide idolatry, assigning of pagan names to prophets (defaming God on the OT view; in the ANE, this was an act of attempting conversion to another religion — that of Bel), and the like. Daniel says nothing about the mass murder of his people.  The Book of Esther would reprove him harshly for this.

By the way, pure gold is soft. The 100 foot gold image could not sustain anything like the pressures generated by its own weight  — falling apart fairly quickly — without the aid of a significant quantity of an alloy or two invested within the gold — e.g. copper and nickel.

g.  Daniel prays to God, but never offers him worship or bows down.  Though he does on occasion receive the worship of others.

In fact, Daniel “sinfully” allows another (a king) to bow down to himself (Daniel) and offer a sacrifice to Daniel and incense.  This is unspeakably blasphemous in the biblical outlook; but the text passes over this error in silence, and Daniel says nothing.

f.  Likewise, Daniel does not say one word about all the sorcery and magical practices (occultism) going on in Babylon.  In fact, he is made their chief (“Harry Potter In Chief”), and placed at the king’s court in Babylon. He accepts the honor without protest.

Punchline: Surprisingly, it would seem that Daniel would be construed under the Mosaic Torah as worthy of death (at least three times) for blasphemy, sorcery and genocide, on a fair reading.  This hardly qualifies him as either wise or devout.

What are we to make of this??

The best explanation for the problems of Daniel is this: the book of Daniel was written by way of a comparison between Joseph and Daniel. Good evidence exists for this comparison of profiles in the writings of an early Alexandrian Jew named “Philo,” who wrote a fairly extensive commentary on Genesis in good, Alexandrian Greek, about the middle of the first century (C.E.).

Curiously, Philo writes with an eye on “Genesis only” in his evaluation of Daniel, and considers him so great a man as to be too ideal to be a real person; and Philo even doubts Daniel’s historicity on this basis. That is, given the Book of Genesis alone as one’s standard, one could achieve a very high evaluation of Daniel. But judged by the Mosaic legislation and wisdom literature, we should have to conclude the opposite.

This would mean that the author (s) of Daniel most probably constructed the Book of Daniel with little more than Genesis in view. Genesis 1 requires vegetarianism, and Daniel is a vegetarian.  The “clean and unclean” food references could have been added commentary to the original facts of that narrative section, or else a Levitical exception to the Genesis rule.  Daniel does not violate either the Leviticus diet rules, or the Genesis diet rule, in either case.

He prays often, and then follows the other kinds of devout acts we see in Joseph, who is also presented as an ideal person in the text.  The Joseph-Model understanding of the Book of Daniel, almost entirely apart from the rest of the OT, best explains why Daniel is 1. so much like Joseph and 2. Would get a horrific rating in light of the Mosaic-legal and wisdom traditions.  Daniel’s “vegetarian priesthood” (no temple = no levitical priesthood, no eating the meat of sacrificed animals) represents one similar to that of Melchizedek in the text of Genesis.

Conclusion: Daniel is little more than a “Joseph + Melchizedek” lifted out of the pages of Genesis, and then transposed and adapted into the post-exilic environment and literary context.

Stranger Than Fiction — The Bible Is Actually Polytheistic

Many readers get so caught up in the fairly interesting readings that we collectively call “the Bible,” that they fail to notice would should have been obvious to us from the start.  This book suggests that ethical monotheism is the right or best way to pursue a relationship with our Father and blessed Creator (Here, we Deists could not agree more).  Yet, it actually, in its more salient teachings and/ or collections, teaches this or that form of polytheism, sometimes as a blatant polytheism, sometimes as a more clandestine form called “Henotheism.”

To begin with, the Bible’s God bears the pluriform name “Elohim,” which Christians point to without hesitation to try to prove their false (and polytheistic, though they will deny it) doctrine of the Trinity.

Next, we note that the Psalms repeatedly praise God as “the god of Gods,” or mention that he presides over the other gods as the greatest of them (Henotheism), which title is also used in the Book of Daniel (God of gods).  Daniel is supposed to be among the very wisest of the OT spiritual leaders, and the record would have it that he was King Darius’ favorite and third in the empire (similar to Joseph of the Genesis record).”

The many historical and chronological errors of the Book of Daniel should not detract from the point — it clearly teaches a kind of polytheism.  Here, Daniel and his three friends receive Babylonian names by the appointment of Nebuchadnezzar — his is called (after the deity “Bel”), which Nebuchadnezzar says, is “after the name of my god” — whence Daniel is dubbed “Bel-teshazzar,” similar to the name of a king later introduced as “Bel-shazzar.”  The “deity” Nebo also looms large behind the narrative and forms the basis for the names “Nebo-polassar” (in history), “Nebo-chadrezzar,” and “Nebo-Nidos” (Nabonidos seems to have been the last Babylonian monarch).  Isaiah mentions “Bel and Nebo” as a kind of “pair” of deities, where Bel probably contracts “Ba’al,” the Samarian stumbling block according to the Kings and Chronicles — notably, these were very polytheistic times in Israel.

The Jews, as well as the early Christians and Puritans, have always been “Psalm-singers.”  This is a source of polytheism that has been with the Jewish people and the churches throughout their existence.  Interestingly, “Devout” Daniel does not sing any Psalms of David (or any other).  A count of the number of polytheistic or else henotheistic references in the Psalms could easily top two to three dozen.

Theistic pluralism has always been the stuff of the Bible, and yet the plague of “idolatry,” which has always been with both the Jewish people and the Christians, always has its source labeled outside the community of faith in their own records.  It’s the Bible, dummy.

The Bible has been promoting polytheism ever since “the Fall.”  Deism, it turns out, actually represents the first faith (some would say philosophy) to promote true, ethical monotheism.  Let the reader recall that the Muslim claim — their own claim now — is that the Koran restores the original Bible, which the text critics can assure it would exhibit a polytheistic (or at the least, henotheistic) document.

As deists, we maintain that ethical monotheism (EM hereafter) actually falls out this way:

  1. Deism = EM in philosophy (The Divine testimony of nature’s light as final truth and its ground, not a book)
  2. Vegetarianism = dietary EM — food from the vegetable kingdom only (grown from the ground) = food of one kind (I know, salt is a mineral, but it is also the exception that proves the rule)
  3.  Monogamy = EM in marriage and sexuality (One man or else one woman, for all of life = Ethical MONO-theism in marriage).
  4.  Money as gold (fully collateralized money only), or else platinum, is economic or fiscal EM

The doctrine of the fall or man and creation actually creates polytheism, a doctrine already refuted as this site.  The God shown by the light of nature before the fall would nec. be a different God than the one displayed by nature AFTER the fall.  And the two gods are quite incompatible.  Bi-theism results from the false doctrine of the Judeo-Christian tradition of Genesis.

Surprising punchline?  The Bible — supposedly the bulwark of monotheism in western civilization — misleads its readers into polytheism, in the nature of the case.

God, by way of the light of nature (the divine testimony) must always remains the final source of truth, wisdom, and goodness.

Challenging the Received Tradition: Alexander of Macedon Didn’t Really Exist Either — Well, Sort Of

In another extremely unlikely turn of events, my research has detailed that not only are the NT documents — and then it turns out the OT documents — filled with nearly exclusively literary fictions, but the sources for ancient history (far more generally) prove really lousy sources for those concerned with good history.  Here are some of the latest challenges to the received accounts of history I am challenging with great confidence:

Arrian, the primary source used for the life of Alexander, is filled will superstitions, oracular pronouncements and visits to temples.  Josephos has these too.   Arrian nearly turns Alexander into a kind of itinerant trophy collector of the Homeric gods — a kind of the “holy tortilla” or “shroud of turin” treasure hunt.  Here, Alexander retraces the footsteps of, and judges reflexively, the Persians for their previous transgressions — recorded by Herodotos of Halicarnassos (a city in southern Asia Minor).

Other likely problems include Josephos’ extreme dependence on biblical, and then rabbinical tradition.  Specifically, the “Jaddua the High Priest Meets Alexander” apocryphon is doubtless ahistorical.  In a copycat moment, We find an apocryphon from another historian, teaching the “Pyrhhus of Epirus Almost Defeats Rome by Soldiers on Elephants” which Polybios (I would say somewhat embarrassingly) repeats.  Only this time, Hannibal of Carthage nearly defeats Rome with the help of many “Swiss-Alp Crossing Elephants.”  Polybios is supposed to be the best among the historians of the ancient world.  This does not bode well.  Neither his outlandish account, nor the Pyrrhus drama, are worth their weight in paper. It shows rather, that the museum at Alexandria (which had something like a zoo next door) had probably acquired its first elephant (perhaps two, a male and female) from the far East, and the locals were fascinated by the elephants. So it did not take long for them after that to work their way into legend, and then tradition (established and accepted legend)

I believe that historians have grossly underestimated the nearly universal tendency among the ancients to pursue superstitious legend as historical episode — because of the authority and respect that tradition seemed to them to have earned from the Homeric, honorific and heroic accounts.  The love of tradition did not serve them (nor us) well.  The ancient world  was filled, and I mean filled, with the love of dreams and their interpretations, fascination with imposing curses and then bearing amulets (amulets deflected curses), with sacrifices and entrail readings, oracular pronouncements (prophecy), with fortune telling, omens and eclipses, spells and magical traditions, numerology (Orphism, etc), and a host of other “supernatural” superstitions.

Did this affect their view of history?  You bet it did — right down to the best they had. Arrian shows a great admiration for Herodotean itinerancy (collecting source traditions from temples and oracles [and lucky charms with Alexander, to obtain divine favour], which he transposes to Alexander.  I believe that this actually shows us how the Alexander legends (tradition) came into being. My explanation goes like this:

Fourth-century Rhakotis (Alexandria “before it was called that”) had many Greek and Macedonian foreign soldiers (Mercks) dwelling there.  Polybios notes this.  Alexander was supposed to be the son of Phillip II and the student of Aristotle.  Both of these were later associations assigned to him after his life in the process of legendary development.  He lived in “Alexandria” under a king named Ptolemy — who was his king, not his general.  Persia had been encroached upon the outlying areas around Egypt for years and moved a bit too close.  A man with a name similar to Alexander, perhaps the more likely “Aristeas” proposed a plan to overrun the Persian outpost, and with Ptolemy’s approval, they decided to teach Persia a lesson or two.  Having overrun the outpost, Aristeas’ men learned of rumors of a planned mutiny in the Persian army against the current monarch in Persepolis — probably not Darius 3.

Why not Darius?  This name was given the “battle of Issus loser” (another legend) to provide a “Lex Talionis” bookmark in Arrian’s account for the transgressions Herodotos recounts the Persians to have committed against Greece — fomented by the forebearer of the same name.  Though we all “know” that Atossa really did it.  After all, even Genesis says “It was the woman, lord, she gave me of the apple and I ate.”

Upon learning of the opportune conspiracy — not far from Gaugamela — Aristeas, then made plans (which had to have been approved) to advance upon Persepolis with a significant segment of the Persian army in tow a good distance behind, and with mercenary reinforcements.  They had to attack Persepolis unawares and from both front and back at the same time — overwhelming and sudden force was the goal.  Traveling along the coast south of Susa, one contingent advanced to the rear and then the other to the front after a distraction had been created.  The Persepolis army contingent was too close to the king, and they dared not attempt to enlist them (lest the plan be foiled) and knew they would have to have done with them to accomplish the coup.  With all the proper soldiers in place the two-flank and simultaneous attack effected the siege, burning and sacking of Persepolis with great success.  Aristeas won hands down.

He returned to Rhakotis to great fanfare and the warm welcome of king Ptolemy, and the name of the city was changed to Alexandria and then was built up by later monarchs.  Because of the greatness of Aristeas who took the lead in the siege, his name was changed (perhaps after his death) to the man who took the lead — Alex – Ander.  Over 20 different cities along the route of his victory (Nike road) subsequently adopted the same name for their cities — the great “Us too” effort of cities to participate in the glory in order to secure for themselves a good name to posterity in the Homeric tradition.

But, of course, competition arises among cities with similar claims to fame — just as in the Christian era, Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem (as well as Alexandria) each laid claim to this or that dominical or apostolic primacy — because of the great deeds done here by early disciples, or else by Jesus.   So in this Alexandria, “Alexander did this great thing.”  “Oh yeah?  In our city, he did such and so.  Beat that.”  And so the legends of Alexander the Great — by fifty years later — the son of Phillip and student of Aristotle, and by 150 years later, the son of Zeus.

By about 200 BC, Alexander’s fame was so general and great that it shows up even in the names of the High Priests in Jerusalem, and remains current among them until 70, when the temple and Jerusalem fall to the Romans who put down their rebellion.  This can be accounted for by the addition to the Alexander tradition I mentioned earlier called the “Jaddua the High Priest Meets Alexander” apocryphon — which Flavius Jospehus recounts as actual history in his Antiquities of the Jews.

The legends that grew up in the various Alexandrias, kept by the priests and prophets (-esses) at their temples and oracles, were later gleaned by itinerant “scholars” like Herodotos, and were later collectively ascribed the name (as though of an individual biographer) “Callimachos.”   This is my “Ockham’s razor enchanced,” utterly non-superstitious, reconstruction of the events I believe most likely to have unfolded by a comparison of the circumstantial evidence I know of, and other like actual events that did in fact transpire in history (historical analogies).

It challenges the existence  of Alexander the Great as a fusion of “Homeric and Herodotean” mythology, though it views him as “mytho-historical” much in the way that the Jesus Seminar has in the past viewed Jesus — the ‘other’ son of Zeus (rabbinical version).  The final point I wish to make, though I have much more to say on what I know believe the flimsiness of the ancient historians and their “tradition as history” (traditiongeschichte methode)

A Startling Discovery: How I Learned that Jesus and the Apostles Are Mere Literary Fictions

My extensive study that I call a wisdom quest, which I began when I was 9 years old, has led me to some very surprising conclusions.  I am fully persuaded that I can prove my allegation that the New Testament, with its Messianic portrait and apostolic band of assistants, consists almost entirely of literary fiction.  This would mean that the Atheists actually got it right on this one (Credit where credit is due).

The most striking considerations that tell in the direction I am now leaning are these:

  1.  The 12 apostles listed in Luke 6 never appear as individuals in any one Gospel scene.  Most of the apostles never have even one conversation with Jesus.   The only ones of the 12 that appear in Acts are James, Peter and John.  And almost none of the 12 besides the five that have recounted their individual conversions in the Gospels (James and John, Peter and Andrew, and Levi or Matthew) ever appear in the epistles.  The 12, as individual leaders are absent during the entire NT.   They only appear together as names on a list in Luke 6.

This is almost totally inexplicable.  Why are the apostles so important that you never say one thing about half of them?  They simply hang limp as literary mannequins, whose listing should have come with a sign that reads “for display only.”  “Do not touch.”

This near total absence of at least 6 of the twelve is best explained as an early tradition that never gained currency with later generations of Christians and so no one ever finished what the early writers began.   It simply represents what we might call a “botched” or aborted literary development scheme.

2.  The same thing is true of the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.  It most probably never happened.  The account is fouled up in several ways.  The first proleptic hint of it (in the previous chapter) indicates that the only topic to tackle there was circumcision, but it ends up taking on three topics — circumcision, dietary laws, and sexual immorality.  This sudden growth spurt remains unexplained. (See the letter that results from the council sent to all the churches, and compare it to the original reason for the council given in chapter 14.)

The letter itself remains highly problematic since this council (around 45, according to conservatives) covers the same topics taught in the letters of 1 Corinthians (for which they give a year of 51) and Galatians (for which they give the year 48).  Why did not Paul simply tell these groups to consult that council’s letter, since it would have reached them in or around 47 — only 1 year prior to Galatians and 4 years prior to 1 Corinthians?

The conciliar epistle should have made much of the material in these letters unnecessary.  The conciliar letter is implausibly never EVER referenced, quoted or alluded to in any epistle or writing of the New Testament. It is never even retrofitted to the Gospel account to teach a lesson.  It just seems as though it never exists in the rest of the NT, just like 6 or so of the 12 apostles.

3.  Tatian penned a “harmony of the Gospels” called the Diatessaron around the year 180.  This seems to be the first of its kind, and yet many were aware of challenges to the authority of the Gospels based on charges of contradictions between the Gospel accounts prior to that time.  If the Church had only penned one Gospel, say Matthew’s, only a few such charges would have even been possible — and the apostles left no harmony of the Gospels, and there letters show no awareness of any contradictions.  In fact, John’s Gospel shows no awareness of the existence of the other Gospels (See Chapter 12 — many other wonderful things, but I suppose that if I tried to tell them all the world could not contain the volumes — does not say “see the other accounts like mine”).

This is strange business. The Gospels seem impossibly both aware and unaware of each other, and in different ways.  No one has ever satisfactorily explained both of these features of Gospel interactivity, collectively called the Synoptic Problem — no matter what they tell you.

4. Over time I began to notice more and more of what I came to call “literary discontinuities,” a kind of border between two differing accounts that should flow smoothly (as good narrative must make good use of transitions) where things just seemed to fall apart, creating even more strange business.  This happens often in the Passion narratives, but earlier snafus are easily detectable.

For instance, if one adds up all the supposed instances of demons blurting out confessions at the Messiah (e.g. “I know who you ARE, the Holy One of God!” — Here Jesus has to tell him to be quiet), and lists their confessions propositionally, theirs ends up besting the confession of the apostle Peter in Matthew 16, which is reknowned for its loyalty to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

5. The most telling turning point in my entire Wisdom Quest, and in my searching out the biblical literature came one day when I changed my entire approach to biblical study. I really think it was just really good coffee, boredom with the old paradigm, and dumb luck that accounted for my new choice. I was the best, and most scholarly choice I ever made in this regard.  I had firmly decided to start making a list of the salient features of the NT that DID NOT APPEAR IN THE RECORD but should be there given the things that are present.  I called this my “conspicuous by its absence” list.  Here are some my findings of things that should be there in an accurate record of the Jewish mindset of the first century, but are not found there.    Not one reference is found there for the following:

  • Philo of Alexandria   (Apollos of Alexandria is mentioned, Acts 18)
  • Alexander of Macedon
  • The Rabbinical Schools of Shammai and Hillel
  • Plato   (Obscure Greek poets are quoted in Acts 17 in Athens)
  • Aristotle
  • Ptolemy Philadelphos
  • Cleopatra
  • Hannukah or any other Jewish Feast day (besides the Passover)
  • Judas Macabees  (He was the greatest of Jewish heroes to many Jews of the day)
  • Queen Esther of the OT   (Both the Queen of Sheba and the Ethiopian Candace receive mention)
  • The Septuagint, the authorized Bible of Jews and Christians!!!  Is never mentioned once.  This is the most astonishing omissive feature of the entire NT.   The Book of Hebrews cites it 97% of the time when quoting the OT.
  • The Essenes
  • Most of the Kings of Israel mentioned in the Kings and Chronicles never receive mention
  • Julius Caesar  (the first “Caesar,” Paul “appeals to Caesar”)
  • The library at Alexandria (This was one of the greatest innovations in history!  The largest number of Jews living outside Israel in any one city were living in Alexandria)
  • We know almost nothing about 6 of the apostles from the NT
  • We do not know why Jesus was arrested when he was arrested
  • We do not know why he was arrested during the Passover (They had said, “not during the Feast lest a riot break out among the people”)
  • We do not know why they did not fear to arrest Him at all since “the people held that he was a prophet; and they feared the people” given as the reason the rulers did not arrest him when teaching in the Temple area earlier
  • We do not know why Jesus was not arrested for defiling the Temple when overturning tables.  This was the very purpose of having a temple guard — to prevent the defiling of the Temple as with Antiochus IV.
  • The Book of Numbers from the Torah is all but unknown to the Gospels
  • Bezalel and Oholiab, the chief mastercraftsmen who built the tabernacle in the desert
  • Ruth and Boaz
  • The Targumic Traditions (Targums are an Aramaic Bible with brief commentary)

All of these omissions point to the fact that the NT record badly botches its memory of what the real environment of the Jewish mindset in Palestine really was in the first century.  It is instead, a diaspora Jewish collectively mindset from the second-century (from Asia Minor), trying to recall and reconstruct the actual conditions native to the Palestinian Jewish outlook(s) from the early second century.

The salient omissions tell the story probably at least as well as the often-legendary information that it includes.  Then there are the very interesting omissions of the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus.

F. Josephus names a Jewish Historian who wrote an excellent history of the Jews (given his time and culture), and a very full account of the the War of the Jews (against the Romans), which ended badly for the Jewish people — who lost some 3 million according to Josephus — and culminated in the loss of the Temple (the very — invincible and divinely-protected — House of God. With the fall of God’s house to the Pagans or Goyim (Romans), the Jewish faith was in absolute shambles and needed redefining. Jews who left Jerusalem prior to that time, and headed for Asia Minor (See 1 Peter 1’s, stated intended audience, and Revelation 1-3), eventually formed a new understanding that the unjust death of a prophet — one Jesus of Nazareth — had caused the impossible event.

Here is another impossible event. Josephus writes an extensive (very long) account of the Jewish people, including extensive details about its various cultural groups and their history (including a goodly amount of information about Pontius Pilate), and he never says one thing about Jesus or the Christian Church that wasn’t quite arguably added to his account later by Christians. Not one word.

Here are some other salient points to consider:

  1. Josephus was the son of a priest, one Matthias, and was trained as a priest, not merely as a pharisee (the latter of which gets much notice, seemingly at the cost of the former.
  2. Josephus clearly had access to the Temple records, as one would imagine an investigative historian would, given his friends the priests and his status as a priest prior to 66.
  3. Josephus shows some of what he had in the temple records by presenting an unbroken lineage of the high priests in Jerusalem from prior to the second century (before Pilate) all the way to the war of 66.
  4. These temple records knew nothing of the high priests Annas and Caiaphas ordering an investigation, holding an interrogation, and pressing for the execution of one Jesus bar-Joseph. This never happened according to those records. And remember, Josephus offers four different accounts of episodes between the Jewish people and Pontius Pilate. Josephus has a fairly extensive profile of Pontius Pilate to offer — but nothing about Jesus or the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) or its supposed catholic letter — sent out to all the churches to detail their rules about circumcision, dietary laws and the Christian view of salvation.
  5. While writing for Romans, from Rome itself — Josephus omits the point of Cornelius Tacitus that Nero blamed Christians in Rome (68) for a fire that ravaged the city. Tacitus would have written around the same time as Josephus, only a bit earlier. Again, not one word.
  6. Mark’s Gospel, according to most Christian theologians was circling about in Jospehus’ backyard (was sent to Rome) from before 60. Yet Josephus shows no awareness of it whatever, and never quotes or mentions it. Not one word.
  7. Clement of Rome supposedly writes his first letter from before the time of the writing of Jospehus, and again, Josephus knows nothing about Clement, whom had he known of him as a bishop in Rome, could have inquired of him for written sources about the “Palestinian movement” known as Christianity. But Josephus knows nothing of Clement, Christians in Rome, or any epistles.
  8. Paul supposedly wrote an epistle to the Romans before 60, and there would have been several large congregations there of whom Josephus could have easily inquired. Acts ends with Paul in Rome, appealing to Caesar, and preaching and teaching unhindered to the household of Caesar, and beyond. This seems never to have happened or else Josephus would have known of it.

Where are all the Roman congregations FJ would have encountered, of whom he could have inquired?

According to Acts 15, a copy of the catholic letter sent from the Jerusalem Council “to all the churches” should have reached Rome by 60. Why does Josephus know nothing of it, just like the rest of the New Testament — which never quotes or alludes to it? Galatians treats exactly the same topic, about which Paul could simply have said “Just read the council’s letter we sent to you last year or so.” He never needed to have written Galatians, but if he had, he certainly would have referred to, or else quoted, the conciliar letter detailing just the answers needed by the Galatians. Strangely, the entire NT after Acts 15 never mentions the Council or its universal letter — not ONE WORD.

Oh that awful silence. Remember also that FJ was trained as a priest, nor merely a Pharisee, and would have been working in and around the temple prior to his service in the Jewish navy in the 60’s — when James, Peter and John were in Jerusalem — with their disciples (Christians) according to Acts 15. FJ would have had extensive contact with the disciples of James, Peter and John, the leaders at the Jerusalem Council in 45. FJ records not one word about this whole affair, and knows nothing of high priests condemning Jesus, even though FJ offers a comprehensive list of high priests and shows he know a good deal about their ministries.

The book of Revelation shows the actual origin of Christianity from Asia Minor (around 100 – 110). Here, believe it or not, Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) is the paradise-like New Jerusalemby indirect discourse. Here, Jesus the priest walks among the seven golden lampstands that stood in the Temple just beyond the veil (curtain) that led into the Holiest Place, where the two angels (cherubim) spread their wings over the mercy seat, where God’s divine presence was thought to dwell. This temple locus — which we see descending from heaven as the perfectly symmetrical NEW Jerusalem (meaning after the old one in actual Jerusalem had been destroyed, here dubbed “Babylon”). The perfectly symmetrical 7 letters of chapters 1- 3 mimick the perfectly symmetrical foursquare Temple of the NJ. The two are both perfect, since they are in effect one and the same. These are both heavenly (assuming you have never been to Turkey).

Astonishingly, almost no one who has ever written a commentary on the Book of Revelation seems to have noticed that its beginning introduces a conundrum — how can Asia Minor be the NJ?? The rest of the narrative then goes on to expound how this highly unlikely situation came to pass. The end of the book comes full circle with its beginning.

This book is then badly misnamed. It is a Genesis account — of how Christianity began, as an offshoot of Judaism, the true Judaism, after the old Jerusalem was destroyed. The Gospels explain WHY it was destroyed, since all Jews had thought this absolutely impossible for centuries (especially the Zealots).

My punchline is this: If the New Testament documents actually provided real, historical evidence, they would remember the Palestinian environment (approximately) correctly in a manner similar to what FJ records. They do nothing of the kind, and are way off in what they omit more often than in what they contain. This proves that the NT documents have no real historical value, and thus that there is no good reason to believe either in the historical existence of Jesus or the apostles; and there is no good reason to believe that any Christian Church existed prior to 70. Nor is there any good reason to believe it began in Israel, but rather in Asia Minor, per the book of Revelation.

Second, Christianity actually began as a diaspora Judaism movement from Asia Minor around 90 -110, and incorporated some of its Gospels’ teachings, especially regarding the death and resurrection accounts of Jesus, from the mystery religions which flourished in a syncretic fashion (mix and match this with those features of other religions) from that area — especially Pergamos, whose rich library held books (scrolls) filled with all manner of myths and religious outlooks.

Third, we have to remember the audience and context in which FJ wrote for the Romans. They had hired him to write a very complete account of the history of the Jews — and it is somewhat lengthy because of this — of all things of interest to the Roman aristocracy and its political concerns. This means that if FJ failed to include much of what the Gospels and Acts teach (if these had been historical), the purpose for which FJ wrote would have been soon discredited upon the discovery of the former by the Romans. A supposedly powerful and influential prophet killed by Rome would have been very interesting to the Romans, to put it mildly, given the track record of Messianic rebellions with which they had already had to deal — from the time of Judas of Galilee (ca. 6) and before. The Jerusalem Council would have also been of great interest both to Josephus and to Rome.

There is very good reason to accept my argument from Modus Tollens, not a bare argument from silence, that Jesus and the apostles never existed, and that the NT documents simply read so much differently than Josephus — when Mark’s supposed audience was the same as that of FJ — to have any credibility as historical sources.

If the NT were historical sources, they would record accurately the Palestinian environment of the first century. They do nothing of the kind; therefore, they are not historical source material at all, but literary fiction like the OT accounts of Elijah and Elisha.

My nearly scientific Postscript

A word about arguments from silence seems well in enough in order, given the responses to some recent blog posts I have received. Suppose that someone has a one-dollar bill. The bill appears to be perfect in every single respect, except for one error only. The picture of George Washington is missing from the obverse (face) of the bill.

How could you tell that the dollar bill is not legal-tender? Your answer amounts to an argument from silence – the salient feature noticed is missing, therefore your bill is not legal-tender. This is #1 An argument from silence (of a highly specific kind) and #2 It is perfect – that is, sound and valid – an argument that is not fallacious at all.

As noted above, the “George Washingtons” of the New Testament are many. Thus, we may know it to be inauthentic – not at all what it claims to be. This proves that some arguments from silence – showing salient features that are conspicuous by their absense – are still sound and valid.

Arguments From Silence and All That

I have already pointed out that the actual argument I make against the historicity of Jesus and the apostles rests upon a cumulative approach — not a bare argument from silence.  Nevertheless, my critics constantly ignore this point, and challenge quite the opposite.  My argument is this: If the NT documents were produced by the eyewitness testimony of Palestinian Jews from the first century (and not from diaspora Jews from Asia Minor in the early second century — when and where Christianity actually started — which the book of Revelation shows plainly, and as the literary, accretive layers of the Gospels show), they would accurately display the Palestinian, Jewish environment of the first century.  (If P, then Q).  They do not do anything like this.  Their errors of commission (contradictions, factual errors, etc) AS WELL AS their sins of omission — the “George Washingtons” I mention below — show that the cultural environment they display misses its mark by far. Therefore, the NT documents are inauthentic — not written by Palestinian Jew eyewitnesses, but much later by those who invented the Jesus traditions from Asia Minor.  (Not Q, therefore not P).

This form of argumentation goes by the name Modus Tollens.  It is not a bare argument from silence.  My Christian critics are dead wrong.

A word about arguments from silence seems well in enough in order, given the responses to some recent blog posts I have received. Suppose that someone has a one-dollar bill. The bill appears to be perfect in every single respect, except for one error only. The picture of George Washington is missing from the obverse (face) of the bill.

How could you tell that the dollar bill is not legal-tender? Your answer amounts to an argument from silence – the salient feature noticed is missing, therefore your bill is not legal-tender. This is #1 An argument from silence (of a highly specific kind) and #2 It is perfect – that is, sound and valid – an argument that is not fallacious at all.

The “George Washingtons” of the New Testament are many. Thus, we may know it to be inauthentic – not at all what it claims to be. This proves that some arguments from silence – showing salient features that are conspicuous by their absense – are still sound and valid.