Bulletin N° 922
“Life of Brian”
by Monty Python
"Caesar’s Messiah : The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus"
with Joseph Atwill
For a critique of Atwill thesis, see Columbia University Professor Richard Carrier’s
scathing 2013 review, “Atwill’s Cranked-up Jesus”.
Subject: Ideological Wars between Empire and Revolt: reformatting the human mind and programming ‘new’ systems of belief in arcane ideologies and the politics of alienation.
September 9, 2020
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Joseph Atwill’s radical attempt to demystify the arcane origins of early Christian ideology employs a close “intertextual reading” of the first four books of the New Testament (written approximately between 69 and 96 A.D.) and comparing them with the only surviving ‘history’ of Judea in this eta, Wars of the Jews, a piece of carefully orchestrated Imperial Roman propaganda completed by the Jewish convert to empire, Flavius Josephus, in 75 A.D. Atwill’s analytical treatise of nearly 400-pages includes descriptions of ‘falsified’ historical events at the time of Jesus Christ, which have colored the intellectual origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition for the past 2000 years. He then proceeds to submit the ideas found in the Gospels to rational examination, using methods of literary criticism, in order to discover the true architects of this eschatology found in the books of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. With considerable logical rigor the author claims to have discovered the motivations that inspired this literary construction in the Greek language during the second half of the first century A.D.
This controversial study, Caesar’s Messiah, The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus (2006, 2011), is intended to present a challenge to modern-day Christian civilization, a challenge which cannot be ignored. The ancient history of the ideological constructs and revelations exposed by Atwill in this analysis of literary structure will have a shattering effect on anyone open-minded enough to read the book from beginning to end. This first-century ideological engineering, Atwill tells us, was fraught with cynicism and ill-will on the part of Roman officials, and the evidence he has meticulously laid out in support of his argument speaks to a sophisticated and cruel ruling-class stratagem of political co-optation and cultural imperialism (a strategy known today as “the manufacturing of consent”).
Atwill himself is an autodidact, an armature historian, whose enthusiastic determination to state the truth leads to occasional repetitions. Nevertheless, this book, in my opinion, stands as a serious secular challenge to the canon of Judeo-Christian tradition. The author’s early education began in Japan, where he attended St. Mary’s Military Academy, the only English-speaking school in the country, which was established in the 18th century and was run by the Jesuit Order. Later he pursued a career in computer technology and software development, working with the renowned computer program pioneer, David Ferguson. He retired early from this business success, selling his company shares to investors, and devoting himself fulltime to his first passion, biblical scholarship.
At the end of his book, in the Author’s Statement, Atwill explains his state of mind as he pursued this radical investigation:
Though I had drifted away from the Catholic faith, my study of Christianity never stopped. Over the course of my life I had read hundreds of books relating to the historical Jesus and early Christianity, but none of them left me feeling that I really knew anything about how the religion began or its founder.
The fact I found the most perplexing was that at the exact time the followers of Jesus were purportedly organizing themselves into a religion that urged its members to ‘turn the other cheek,’ another Judean sect was waging a religious war against the Romans. This group looked to a Messiah, but one who would lead them militarily. It seemed implausible to me that two diametrically opposed forms of messianic Judaism could have emerged from Judea at the same time. So I began to study the Dead Sea Scrolls. I was hoping to learn something of Christian origins in the 2,000-year-old documents found at Qumran. To assist in my understanding of them, I also began studying the history of the era.(pp.411-412)
Atwill introduces his book with “A Historical Overview”.
In the popular mind, and in the minds of most scholars, the origin of Christianity is clear: The religion began as a movement of the lower-class followers of a radical Jewish teacher during the first century C.E. For a number of reasons, however, I did not share this certainty. There were many gods worshiped during Jesus' era that are now seen as fictitious, and no archeological evidence of his existence has ever been found. What contributed most to my skepticism was that at the exact time when the followers of Jesus were purportedly organizing themselves into a religion that urged its members to "turn the other cheek" and to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's," another Judean sect was waging a religious war against the Romans. This sect, the Sicarii, also believed in the coming of a Messiah, but not one who advocated peace. They sought a Messiah who would lead them militarily. It seemed implausible that two diametrically opposite forms of messianic Judaism would have emerged from Judea at the same time.
This is why the Dead Sea Scrolls were of such interest to me, and I began what turned into a decade-long study of them. Like so many others, I was hoping to learn something of Christianity's origins in the 2,000-year-old documents found at Qumran.
I also began studying the other two major works from this era, the New Testament and War of the Jews by Flavius Josephus, an adopted member of the imperial family; I hoped to determine how the Scrolls related to them. While reading these two works side by side, I noticed a connection between them. Certain events from the ministry of Jesus seem to closely parallel episodes from the military campaign of the Roman emperor Titus Flavius as he attempted to gain control of the rebellious Jews in Judea. My efforts to understand this relationship led me to uncover the amazing secret that is the subject of this book: This imperial family, the Flavians, created Christianity, and, even more incredibly, they incorporated a skillful satire of the Jews in the Gospels and War of the Jews to inform posterity of this fact.
The Flavian dynasty lasted from 69 to 96 C.E., the period when most scholars believe the Gospels were written. It consisted of three Caesars: Vespasian and his two sons, Titus and Domitian. Flavius Josephus, the adopted member of the family who wrote War of the Jews, was their official historian. The satire they created is difficult to see. If it were otherwise, it would not have remained unnoticed for two millennia. However, as readers may judge for themselves, the path that the Flavians left for us is a clear one. All that is really needed to walk down it is an open mind. But why then has the satirical relationship between Jesus and Titus not been noticed before? This question is especially apt in light of the fact that the works that reveal their satire—the New Testament and the histories of Josephus—are perhaps the most scrutinized books in literature.
One part of the explanation is clear. Viewing the Gospels as satire—that is, as a literary composition (as opposed to a history) in which human folly is held up to ridicule—requires the reader to contradict a deeply ingrained belief. Once Jesus was universally established as a world-historical individual, any other possibility became, evidentially, invisible. The more we believed in Jesus as a world-historical figure, the less we were able to understand him in any other way.
Moreover, the satirical level of the Gospels has not been discovered because it was designed to be difficult to see. The Flavian Caesars wanted more than just to transform messianic Judaism. They wanted Christianity to flourish and become widely held, even world-wide, before the Gospels’ satirical level was discovered. Why did they wish this? Because they wanted legacy and they needed to fool the world to prove to posterity how clever they were. Though on their surface the Gospels appear to be religious literature, which many believe were written by the Jewish followers of a messianic leader, they actually stem from the overwrought vanity of Roman Caesars, desiring the populace to worship them as gods.
To understand the historical conditions that caused the Flavians to create Christianity, one needs to understand the political conditions that the family faced in Judea in 74 C.E., following their defeat of the Sicarii, a movement of messianic Jews. But to understand this requires looking back even further in time.
The process that ultimately led to the Flavians' control over Judea was part of a broader and longer struggle, that between Judaism and Hellenism. Judaism, which was based upon monotheism and faith, was simply incompatible with Hellenism, the Greek culture that promoted polytheism and rationalism. Hellenism spread into Judea after Alexander the Great conquered the area, in 333 B.C.E. Alexander and his successors established cities throughout their empire to act as centers of commerce and administration. They set up more than 30 Greek cities within Judea itself. The people of Judea, in spite of their historical resistance to outside influences, began to incorporate certain traits of the Greek ruling class into their culture. Many Semites found it desirable, if not necessary, to speak Greek. Wealthy Jews sought a Greek education for their young men. Gymnasia introduced Jewish students to Greek myths, sports, music, and arts.
The Seleucids, descendants of Seleucus, the commander of Alexander's elite guard, gained control over the region from the Ptolemies, the descendants of another of Alexander's generals, in 200 B.C.E. When Antiochus IV (or as he preferred, Epiphanes—that is, god manifest) became the Seleucid ruler in 169 B.C.E., he began Judea's nightmare.
Antiochus was openly contemptuous of Judaism and wanted to modernize Jewish religion and culture. He installed high priests who were supportive of his policies. When a rebellion against Hellenization broke out, in 168 B.C.E., Antiochus ordered his army to attack Jerusalem. Second Maccabees records the number of Jews slain in the battle as 40,000, with another 40,000 taken captive and enslaved.
Antiochus emptied the temple of its treasury, violated the holy of holies, and intensified his policy of Hellenization. He ordered the observances of the Hebrew cult be replaced with Hellenistic worship. He banned circumcision and sacrifice, instituted a monthly observance of his birthday, and placed a statue of Zeus on the Temple Mount.
In 167 B.C.E., the Maccabees, a family of religiously zealous Jews, led a revolution against Antiochus' imposition of Hellenistic customs and religions. They sought to restore to power the religion that they believed was mandated by God in his holy land. The Maccabees compelled the inhabitants of the cities they conquered to convert to Judaism. Males either permitted themselves to be circumcised or were slain. After a 20-year struggle, the Maccabees eventually prevailed against the Seleucids. To quote 1 Maccabees:"the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel" (13:41).
Though the Maccabees went on to rule Israel for more than 100 years, their kingdom was never secure. The Seleucid threat to the region was replaced by an even greater one from Rome. Roman expansionism and Hellenistic culture constantly threatened to engulf the religious state that the Maccabees had established. In 65 B.C.E., a civil war broke out between two Maccabean rivals for the throne. It was at this time that Antipater the Edomite, the wily father of Herod, appeared on the scene. Antipater helped bring about a Roman intervention in the civil war, and when Pompey sent his legate Scaurus into Judea with a Roman army, it marked the beginning of the end of the Maccabean religious state.
For the next 30 years (65-37 B.C.E.), Judea suffered through one war after another. In 40 B.C.E., the last Maccabean ruler, Mattathias Antigonus, seized control of the country. By this time, however, the Herodian family was firmly established as Rome's surrogate in the region and, with Roman support, defeated Mattathias' army and gained control of Judea.
After the destruction of the Maccabean state, the Sicarii, a new movement against Roman and Herodian control, emerged. This was a movement of lower-class Jews, originally called Zealots, who continued the Maccabees' religious struggle against the control of Judea by outsiders and sought to restore "Eretz Israel."
The efforts of the Sicarii reached a climax in 66 C.E. when they succeeded in driving the Roman forces from the country. The Emperor Nero ordered Vespasian to enter Judea with a large army and end the revolt. The violent struggle that ensued left the country devastated and concluded when Rome captured Masada in 73 C.E.
In the midst of the Judean war, forces loyal to the Flavian family in Rome revolted against the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, Vitellius, and seized the capital. Vespasian returned to Rome to be proclaimed emperor, leaving his son Titus in Judea to finish off the rebels.
Following the war, the Flavians shared control over this region between Egypt and Syria with two families of powerful Hellenized Jews: the Herods and the Alexanders. These three families shared a common financial interest in preventing any future revolts. They also shared a long-standing and intricate personal relationship that can be traced to the household of Antonia, the mother of the Emperor Claudius. Antonia employed Julius Alexander Lysimarchus, the abalarch, or ruler, of the Jews of Alexandria, as her financial steward in around 45 C.E.
Julius was the elder brother of the famous Jewish philosopher Philo Judeaus, the leading intellectual figure of Hellenistic Judaism. Philo's writings attempted to merge Judaism with Platonic philosophy. Scholars believe that his work provided the authors of the Gospels with some of their religious and philosophical perspective.
Antonia's private secretary, Caenis, was also the long-term mistress of Vespasian. Julius Alexander Lysimarchus and Vespasian would therefore have known one another through their shared connection with the household of Antonia.
Julius had two sons. The elder, Marcus, married Herod's niece Bernice as a teenager, creating a bond between the Alexanders and the Herods, the Roman-sponsored ruling family of Judea. Marcus died young and Bernice eventually became the mistress of Vespasian's son Titus. Bernice thereby connected the Flavians and the Alexanders, the family of her first husband, to her family, the Herods.
Julius' younger son, Tiberius Alexander, was another important link between the families. He inherited his father's entire estate after the death of his brother Marcus, making him one of the richest men in the world. He renounced Judaism and assisted the Flavians with their war against the Jews, contributing both money and troops, as did the Herodian family. Tiberius was the first to publicly declare his allegiance to Vespasian as emperor and thereby helped begin the Flavian dynasty. When Vespasian returned to Rome to assume the mantle of emperor, he left Tiberius behind to assist his son Titus with the destruction of Jerusalem.
Though the three families had been able to put down the revolt, they still faced a potential threat. Many Jews continued to believe that God would send a Messiah, a son of David, who would lead them against the enemies of Judea. Flavius Josephus records that what had "most elevated" the Sicarii to fight against Rome was their belief that God would send a Messiah to Israel who would lead his faithful to military victory. Though the Flavians, Herods, and Alexanders had ended the Jewish revolt, the families had not destroyed the messianic religion of the Jewish rebels. The families needed to find a way to prevent the Zealots from inspiring future uprisings through their belief in a coming warrior Messiah.
Then someone from within this circle had an inspiration, one that changed history. The way to tame messianic Judaism would be to simply transform it into a religion that would cooperate with the Roman Empire. To achieve this goal would require a new type of messianic literature. Thus, what we know as the Christian Gospels were created.
In a convergence unique in history, the Flavians, Herods, and Alexanders brought together the elements necessary for the creation and implementation of Christianity. They had the financial motivation to replace the militaristic religion of the Sicarii, the expertise in Judaism and philosophy necessary to create the Gospels, and the knowledge and bureaucracy required to implement a religion (the Flavians created and maintained a number of religions other than Christianity). Moreover, these families were the absolute rulers over the territories where the first Christian congregations began.
To produce the Gospels required a deep understanding of Judaic literature. The Gospels would not simply replace the literature of the old religion, but would be written in such a way as to demonstrate that Christianity was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Judaism and had therefore grown directly from it. To achieve these effects, the Flavian intellectuals made use of a technique used throughout Judaic literature—typology. In its most basic sense typology is simply the use of prior events to provide form and context for subsequent ones. If one sits for a painting, for example, he or she is the "type" of the painting, the thing it was based upon.
Typology is used throughout Judaic literature as a way of transferring information and meaning from one story to another. For example, the Book of Esther uses type scenes from the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, so that the alert reader will understand that Esther and Mordecai are repeating the role of Joseph as an agent of God.(pp.9-14)
The Dead Sea Schrolls establish that Jews awaited the arrival of militant Messiah to lead then in victory over their Roman rulers. Atwill points out that Romans had developed a religious ritual to overcome the resistance of their enemies.
Romans developed a specific ritual for inducing the gods of their enemies to defect to Rome. In this particular ritual, the devotio, a Roman soldier sacrificed himself to all the gods, including those of the enemy. In this way the Romans sought to neutralize the opponents’ divine assistance.
Thus, when Rome went to war with the Zealots in Judea it had a long tradition of absorbing the religions of its opponents. If Romans did invent Christianity, it would have been yet another example of neutralizing an enemy's religion by making it their own, rather than fighting against it. Rome would simply have transformed the militant Judaism of first-century Judea into a pacifist religion, to more easily absorb it into the empire.(p43)
. . .
In spite of these efforts, Rome's normal policy of absorbing the gods of its provinces did not succeed in Judea. Judaism would not permit its God to be just one among many, and Rome was forced to battle one Jewish insurrection after another. Having failed to control Judaism by naming its high priests, the imperial family would next attempt to control the religion by rewriting its Torah. I believe they took this step and created the Gospels to initiate a version of Judaism more acceptable to the Empire, a religion that in- stead of waging war against its enemies would "turn the other cheek." The theory of a Roman invention of Christianity does not originate with this work. Bruno Bauer, a 19th-century German scholar, believed that Christianity was Rome's attempt to create a mass religion that encouraged slaves to accept their station in life. In our era, Robert Eisenman concluded that the New Testament was the literature of a Judaic messianic movement rewritten with a pro-Roman perspective. This work, however, presents a completely new way of understanding the New Testament.
I will show that the Gospels were created to be understood on two levels. On its surface level they are, of course, a description of the ministry of a miracle-working Messiah who rose from the dead. However, the New Testament was also designed to be understood in another way, which is as a satire of Titus Flavius' military campaign through Judea. The proof of this is simply that Jesus and Titus share parallel experiences at the same locations and in the same sequence. Those parallels are both too exact and too complex to have occurred by chance. That this fact has been overlooked for two millennia rep- resents a blind spot in scholarship as large as it is long.
The Gospels were designed to become apparent as satire as soon as they were read in conjunction with War of the Jews. In fact, the four Gospels and War of the Jews were created as a unified piece of literature whose characters and stories interact. Their interaction gives many of Jesus' sayings a comical meaning and also creates a series of puzzles whose solutions reveal the real identities of the New Testament's characters. Understanding the New Testament's comic level reveals, for example, that the Apostles Simon and John were cruel lampoons of Simon and John, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion.
Throughout this work I refer to Jesus' ministry as a satire of Titus' military campaign. I do so because the ministry was based on the campaign and was intended to be seen as humorous when viewed from that perspective. However, the relationship between these two "ministries" was not simply satirical. I shall show that Jesus' ministry was designed to prove that he was the Malachi, or messenger, of the "true" Messiah—Titus Flavius.
. . .
To show that Jesus' ministry was a forerunner of Titus' campaign the authors of the New Testament and War of the Jews used typology, a technique that runs throughout Judaic literature. Key incidents in Jesus' ministry were created to be seen as the "type," or prophetical basis, for events from Titus' campaign and thereby "prove" that Jesus had been the Malachi of Titus.
I will also show that Josephus falsified the dates of events in War of the Jews to create the impression that the prophecies of Daniel came to pass during the war between the Romans and the Jews. This was done to provide "proof for the New Testament's claim, on its surface level, that the "son of God" foreseen by Daniel was Jesus.
The histories of Josephus and the New Testament are perhaps the most scrutinized works in literature and 1 encourage skepticism of my claim to have discovered a new, "true" way of understanding them. Throughout the ages, the New Testament has been an intellectual kaleidoscope within which fantastic prophecies and codes have often been "discovered." Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I would not be presenting this work if I could not meet that criterion.
However, it was the case that the Flavians possessed both the motivation and the capacity to create a version of Judaism aligned with their interests. Any honest seeker of Christianity's origin must, therefore, at least consider the possibility that the Flavians produced the Gospels. Further, the core of Jesus' prophecies—the Galilean villages "laid low," Jerusalem encircled with a wall, the temple left with not a single stone atop another, and the "wicked generation" destroyed—all share one characteristic. Each is a military victory of the Flavian family. Thus, the oft-cited principle that history is writ- ten by the victors suggests that that family should be the first group we investigate.
This is why we should attempt to understand the Gospels as they would have been understood by someone familiar with the conquest of Judea by Titus Flavius, emperor of Rome. And with this perspective, a completely different meaning of the Gospels becomes visible.
They proclaim the divinity of Caesar. (pp.44-46)
In chapter 2, titled “Fishers of Men: Men Who Were Caught Like Fish,” Atwill illustrates the power of “intertextual reading”.
To begin to explain the relationship between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign that my analysis indicates is a satire, I point to the following passages. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is described at the onset of his ministry asking Simon and Andrew and the "sons of Zeb'edee" to "follow me" and to become "fishers of men."
From that time Jesus began to preach. "Repent," He said, "for the Kingdom of the Heavens is now close at hand."
And walking along the shore of the Lake of Galilee He saw two brothers—Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew- throwing a drag-net into the Lake; for they were fishers.
And He said to them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
The same story is represented in the Gospel of Luke as follows:
While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret.
And so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."
Luke 5:1, 10
In another passage from the New Testament, Jesus foresees that cities on Gennesareth Lake (better known as the Sea of Galilee) will face tribulation for their wickedness.
Woe to you Chorazain! Woe to you Bethsaida!And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
In War of the Jews, Josephus describes a sea battle where the Romans caught Jews like fish. The battle occurred at Gennesareth, where Titus attacked a band of Jewish rebels led by a leader named Jesus.
This lake is called by the people of the country the Lake of Gennesareth . . . they had a great number of ships . . . and they were so fitted up, that they might undertake a Sea- fight. But as the Romans were building a wall about their camp, Jesus and his party . . . made a sally upon the. . . . Sometimes the Romans leaped into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands . . .
A first-century peasant who heard Jesus' doomsday prophecy, which describes what would become of the inhabitants of the cities on Gennesareth Lake, and also heard the passage above from War of the Jews, which describes their destruction, would have understood the juxtaposition as evidence of Christ's divinity. What Jesus had prophesied, Josephus recorded as having come to pass.
But an uneducated peasant could not have understood that there was another "prophecy" that came to pass within the passages above. I am referring to Christ's exhortation to become "fishers" or "catchers" of men, while standing on the spot where Jews would be caught like fish during the coming war with Rome.
However, any patricians who knew the details of the sea battle at Gennesareth would have seen the irony in a Messiah who was named "Savior" inventing the phrase "fishers of men" while standing on the beach where the Jews were caught like fish. The grim comedy is self-evident.
These two "fulfilled" prophecies exemplify the two levels on which the New Testament can be understood. Jesus' prophecy regarding the destruction of Chorazain and Capernaum is completely straightforward and meant to be understood literally.
The other "fulfilled" prophecy that of Jesus' prediction that his followers would become fishers for men, is not so straightforward. It could be understood only by someone who, like the residents of the Flavian court, had knowledge of the details of the sea battle between the Romans and the Jewish fishermen at Gennesareth. Only such individuals could have seen the prophetic irony in Jesus using the expression while standing on the very beach where the Jews would later be caught like fish.
If the authors of the Gospels were being less than transparent when they referred to the Jewish rebels as fish, they were at least using a metaphor common in the first century. For example, Rabban (chief Rabbi) Gamaliel spoke of his disciples through a parable in which they were compared to four different kinds of fish—an unclean fish, a clean fish, a fish from the river Jordan, and a fish from the sea. Roman authors also used the metaphor. Juvenal, a con- temporary Roman poet, specifically compares fugitive slaves and informers to fish.
The structure of the comedy is important. Jesus speaks of "catching men" in a seemingly symbolic sense. Josephus then records that Jesus was indeed a "true" prophet. His vision of "catching men" at Gennesareth did come to pass, the joke being that it came to pass literally, and not in the symbolic manner that Jesus seemed to have meant with the phrase. This is the most common structure of the humor created by reading the New Testament in conjunction with War of the Jews.
If the New Testament and War of the Jews engage in an interac- tive comedy regarding "fishing" for men at Gennesareth, they also work to create another "fish" joke. As mentioned above, in Matthew 11:23 Jesus predicted "woe" for "Chorazain."
Fishers of Men: Men Who Were Caught Like Fish 41Scholars have always presumed that Jesus was referring to a Galilean fishing village. Josephus, however, gave a different definition of the word "Chorazain." The country also that lies over against this lake hath the same name of Gennesareth . . . Some have thought it to be a vein of the Nile, because it produces the Coracin fish as well as the lake does which is near to Alexandria.
So, while at the Sea of Galilee Jesus predicted woe for the Chorazain, and said that henceforth his disciples would follow him and become fishers for men. Titus' experience was strangely parallel to Jesus' prophecies in that he literally brought woe for the Chorazainians and his soldiers literally followed him and became "fishers of men." That is, they fished for the inhabitants of the village named for the Coracin fish. If the irony of juxtaposing the onset of Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign was created deliberately, it apparently stemmed from the fact that Titus saw the humor in his "fishing" for the Chorazainians as they attempted to swim to safety.
The previous examples, in and of themselves, are not convincing evidence that there is a deliberate parallel between Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign. It is, after all, quite possible that it was just an unfortunate coincidence that Jesus chose the beach at Gennesareth as the spot where he described his future ministry as fishing for men. I present this example of the two levels of interpretation that are possible while reading the New Testament in conjunction with War of the Jews, because it occurs near the beginning of both Jesus' and Titus' narratives. I show below that the sequence of events that take place in the New Testament and War of the Jews have a meaning not heretofore understood.
However, the parallels that exist between the experiences of Jesus and Titus at Gennesareth are not limited to catching men. The first part of Jesus' statement is "Follow me" and "Do not be afraid." When one reads the passage from Josephus in which the Jews were "caught" it is also recorded that the soldiers who did the "catching" were told not to be afraid and indeed "followed" someone. As the next excerpts show, the person being followed was Titus, who told his troops not to be afraid.
"For you know very well that I go into danger first, and make the first attack upon the enemy. Do not you therefore desert me, but persuade yourselves that God will be assisting to my onset."42And now Titus made his own horse march first against the enemy.
As soon as ever Titus had said this he leaped upon his horse and rode apace down to the lake; by which lake he marched and entered the city the first of them all, as did the others soon after him.
Thus, Josephus pointed out three times that Titus was the first into battle. And again, the Roman soldiers who would do the "fishing" literally followed Titus, creating another conceptual parallel with Jesus.
In fact, the New Testament passage above, in which Jesus asks his disciples "follow me," and the passage from Josephus in which Titus asks his troops to follow, so that they can become fishers of men, have a number of other parallels.
Like Jesus, Titus had been sent by his father.
So he sent away his son Titus to Casarea, that he might bring the army that lay there to Scythopolis.
While it is hardly unusual to follow a leader into battle or to have been sent by one's father, Titus, again like Jesus at Gennesareth, is in a sense beginning his ministry there. He states that the battle is to be his "onset."
"Do not you therefore desert me, but persuade yourselves that God will be assisting to my onset."
The Greek word that Josephus uses here, horme means "onset" in English, that is, either an assault or a starting point. From Titus' perspective the moment can be seen as a starting point because it is his first battle in Galilee entirely under his command.
To summarize, though there were thousands of other possible locations, both Jesus and Titus can be said to have had the onset of their narratives at Gennesareth, and in a manner that involved fishing for men—parallels that are unusual enough to at least permit questioning whether they were the product of coincidence. Further, the parallels are of the same nature as the typological relationship shown above between Jesus and Moses. The connections between Jesus and Titus are made up of parallel concepts, locations, and sequences.
Moreover, these parallels must be viewed in conjunction with the historical parallels between Jesus and Titus. Jesus predicted that a Son of Man would come to Judea before the generation that crucified him had passed away, encircle Jerusalem with a wall, and then destroy the temple, not leaving one stone atop another. Titus was the only individual in history that could be said to have fulfilled Jesus' prophecies concerning the Son of Man. He came to Jerusalem before the generation that crucified Christ had passed away, encircled Jerusalem with a wall, and had the temple demolished.
The overlaps between Jesus' prophecies and Titus' accomplishments make the "fishers of men" parallel more difficult to accept as random. And this is just the beginning of the uncanny parallels between the two men who called themselves the "son of God" and whose "ministries" began in Galilee and end in Jerusalem.(pp.47-51)
In “The Demons of Gadara,” chapter 4, Atwill discusses the terminology found both in official Roman “history,” War of the Jews and the New Testament. The Jewish rebels are described as being “infected” or possessed. The Roman “cure” for this contagious disease is death and the Jesus concurs in his doomsday prophecy against the wicked, a echo of his “Imperial masters”, the authors of the texts.
Josephus' description of the manner in which John had spread his "infection" is similar to Jesus' description of the "unclean spirits" who left one man and infected many others.
"Now as it is in a human body, if the principal part be inflamed, all the members are subject to the same distemper."
This similarity is especially clear when one considers that in first-century Judea "demons" were considered to be responsible for fevers and other illnesses. The Dead Sea Scrolls actually describe a "fever demon."63 When Josephus uses "infection" as an analogy for the Sicarii's activity he is practically likening them to demons.
I therefore decided to review the New Testament and War of the Jews for examples to support the premise that the New Testament lampoons the Sicarii as "demons." During this analysis it became clear that Jesus and Josephus each referred to the same "wicked generation," the generation that crucified Christ and then rebelled against Rome, as having been infected by "demons."
In the following passage, for example, Jesus specifically foresees that "unclean spirits," or demons, would possess this "wicked generation." Notice that Jesus makes the point that one "unclean spirit" can infect many, which parallels Josephus' description of the wickedness passing from "one head" to many. Jesus also states that the unclean spirits pass through "waterless places." Which can be seen as a satirical way of stating that demons cannot pass through water, thereby linking the passage to what puzzled me regarding the fate of the two thousand demons. The idea that demons are unable to pass through water runs through both the New Testament and the works of Josephus.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none.
“Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
“Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation.”
Jesus' linking of the "evil generation" to demonically possessed men who infected others mirrors my interpretation of the New Tes-tament's Gadara passage, wherein 1 concluded that the "Sicarii" were demons who infected others with their "wickedness." When Jesus referred to a "wicked generation" he appears to have been referring to the Sicarii, who rebelled against Rome. This proposition is especially clear in light of the fact that to Jews of this era a "generation" was forty years, which was the exact time span between Jesus' resurrection and the final destruction of the Sicarii at Masada.
The understanding that a "generation" lasted forty years comes from the Pentateuch.
And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was consumed.
Many Christians currently hold a different position regarding Jesus' doomsday prophecies, believing that they do not refer to the generation of Jews that lived during his lifetime. Instead, they believe that Jesus was speaking about some unspecified time still in the future. I feel that this "futurist" understanding is incorrect and has the effect of obfuscating Jesus' words, thereby making it difficult to understand the meaning they conveyed in the first century. No real understanding of the New Testament is possible without knowing what Jesus meant when he used the word "generation."
The Greek word in the New Testament that has been translated as "generation" is genea. Early in the 20th century some Christian scholars began to posit that Jesus' use of this word was meant to indicate not the "generation" of Jews alive during his lifetime, but rather the entire "race" of Jews, which would not pass away "with- out all these things having first taken place."
It is easy to understand their desire for such a definition. If Jesus is referring to those Jews alive during his lifetime then his "Second Coming" must have occurred in 70 A.D. Such an understanding leaves Christianity in an awkward position. This is because if Jesus' "Second Coming" had occurred during the war between the Romans and the Jews, why was it Titus and not Jesus who demolished the temple and destroyed the "wicked generation"?
The Christian theologian C. I. Scofield recognized this dilemma and in his Bible reference switched the definition of the word genea to that of genos, an entirely different word meaning "race." However, scholars showed that the New Testament's use of genea could only be referring to the Jews of Jesus' lifetime and not to the entire Jewish race, thereby debunking Scofield's position.
The understanding that Jesus was specifically referring to the generation of Jews alive at the time he spoke the words was certainly the understanding held during the Middle Ages. For example, the following notes were found written alongside Matthew 24:34 in a Bible dated 1599.
"This age: the word generation or age is here being used for the men of this age."
We are on solid ground in understanding that Jesus was referring solely to the generation of Jews who were alive during the 40 years between his ministry and the destruction of Jerusalem. However, if this is correct, then Jesus and Josephus were referring to the same group as the "wicked generation." Notice in the following passages how similar Jesus' and Josephus' understanding was regarding "demons," the "wicked generation," and the Sicarii.
. . . had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been over- flowed by water, or else been destroyed by such thunder as the country of Sodom perished by, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such.
. . . And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem,
a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasions of this its overthrow.
From the New Testament:
"Wicked and faithless generation!" He replied, "They clamor for a sign, but none shall be given to them except the sign of the Prophet Jonah."
Then he goes and brings back with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they come in and dwell there; and in the end that man's condition becomes worse than it was at first. So will it be also with the present wicked generation.
"0 unbelieving and perverse generation!" replied Jesus; "How long shall I be with you? How long shall I endure you?"
I tell you in solemn truth that all these things will come upon the present generation.
I tell you in solemn truth that the present generation will certainly not pass away without all these things having first taken place.
Somehow, the three-way connection between the "wicked generation," Jesus' "demons," and Josephus' "Sicarii" has not attracted much attention from scholars. For example, the Hebrew scholar Joseph Klausner completely missed the connection. He wrote:
At that time even educated people and those who had imbibed of the Greek culture such as Josephus, such nerve cases and cases of insanity as cases of "possession" by some devil or evil or unclean spirit, and believed in cures and that certain men could perform miracles.
In fact, Josephus did not believe that demons were "nerve cases" and gave a precise definition as to what they were. He stated that demons were the spirits of the wicked.
Demons . . . are no other than the spirits of the wicked.
This definition indicates that Josephus saw the Sicarii as "demons" in that he constantly describes the rebels as "wicked." Josephus also links the Sicarii with "demons" in another way. He describes the Sicarii as moving "with a demoniacal fury" as they went to kill their families at the end of the siege of Masada. Like Jesus, Josephus makes it clear who the "wicked" are. They are the generation of Jews that rebelled against Rome.
That neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries, nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was, from the beginning of the world.
Thus, Jesus and Josephus share a narrow understanding and express it with the same vocabulary: that the generation of Jews who lived between 33 C.E. and 73 C.E. were "wicked" because they had been "infected" by a demonic spirit. This shared understanding is suspicious. Jesus could only view the "wickedness" of this generation by looking into the future, and yet he not only held the same opinion of the generation as Josephus, he used the same words in describing it.
Returning to the version of the story of the demoniac of Gadara found in Matthew, where Jesus meets two demons, in War of the Jews we learn that were two "tyrants" or leaders of the Jewish rebellion, John, described above, and a Simon. Since my analysis suggests that the New Testament is satirizing John in the version that describes a single demon of Gadara, it seemed logical to ask whether the version describing two demoniacs was satirizing both leaders of the Jewish rebellion, John and Simon.
Experimenting with this premise I noticed that at the conclusion of the siege of Jerusalem in War of the Jews Simon and John both take refuge in subterranean caverns beneath Jerusalem. Eventually they are forced by starvation to come out of these "tombs" and surrender to the Romans. This event struck me as a parallel to the description of the demon-possessed men "coming out of the tombs" in the New Testament.
The passage in War of the Jews that describes these caverns con- firms that they are indeed "tombs."
… the Romans slew some of them, some they carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met with.
There were also found slain there above two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine;
but then the ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately...
As I have mentioned, the demon-possessed man at Gadara is described as "cutting himself with stones." Cutting oneself with "stones" is, of course, unusual—a stone is not a tool someone would normally use to cut with. What is the author of this passage actually referring to? 1 realized that if the demoniacs of Gadara are intended to satirize the rebel leaders, then there was a comic answer to this question.
The phrase in the New Testament where the demoniac is "in the tombs . . . cutting himself with stones" shares a comic relationship with the passage in War of the Jews that describes the "tombs" that John and Simon take refuge in. The joke comes from the unanswered question in Mark 5:5. This question being, what does one call someone who cuts himself with stones? In a passage in War of the Jews relating to the rebel leader's hiding in the "tombs" we learn the absurdly obvious answer. Someone who cuts himself with stones is, of course, called a "stone-cutter."
This Simon, during the siege of Jerusalem, was in the upper city; but when the Roman army was gotten within the walls, and were laying the city waste, he then took the most faithful of his friends with him, and among them some that were stonecutters, with those iron tools which belonged to their occupation.
The version of the Gadara encounter in Matthew does not describe the fate of either of its two demon-possessed men. However, if the demoniacs were spoofs of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, then the version in Mark, which describes only one possessed man, must tell the fate of John.
I reached this conclusion because the passage concludes with the statement "Him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him."
If the New Testament was lampooning Simon and John, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, then the individual who was restored to his "right mind" and who went to Decapolis could only have been John. This is because Josephus records that, after being captured, John was given life imprisonment while Simon was taken to Rome and executed. Following this logic, it could only have been John, then, who "began to publish in Decapolis."
So my musings raised the question of whether John the Zealot, leader of the Jewish rebellion, had assisted the Romans in creating Christian literature while he was imprisoned in Decapolis. And further, I wondered exactly what literature this individual could have helped the Romans create? The only known Christian literature from this era is the New Testament itself. There was, of course, someone named "John" who wrote a Gospel.
While the premise that the Apostle John was a lampoon of the John who was the leader of the rebellion was based at this point in my analysis as much on imagination as evidence, it was consistent with the style of black humor I felt was in play within the passages analyzed previously. Of course, if the Apostle John is a lampoon of the rebel John, then it would follow that the Apostle Simon is also a lampoon of the other rebel leader, Simon.
Since my analysis of the New Testament's Gadara passages suggest that the Sicarii were lampooned as demons in the New Testament, I first attempted to determine if there were other New Testament passages concerning demons that might support the proposition regarding the relationship between rebel leaders John and Simon and the two Apostles. During this search I noticed the following passage from the Gospel of John, which states that the Apostle Judas was the "son of Simon the Iscariot."
"Did not I choose you—the Twelve?" said Jesus, "and even of you one is a devil."
He alluded to Judas, the son of Simon the Iscariot. For he it was who, though one of the Twelve, was afterwards to betray Him.
Scholars have commented on the possibility that "Iscariot," the last name of Judas, is somehow related to "Sicarii," the word Josephus uses to describe the messianic rebels. As Robert Eisenman notes, the only difference between the two Greek words the switching of the iota, or "I," with the sigma, or "s." I concur, and will show below that it is simply one of the many puns that the author(s) of Josephus and the New Testament use in challenging the reader to discover that the two works describe the same characters.(pp.77-84)
Atwill goes on to insist that the Roman authorship is deliberately obfuscated by frequently changing the names of important actors that appear in the Gospel in order to conceal the dark satire from the uninitiated public. After citing a such a passage from the Gospel of John, he writes,
[N]otice that the [Roman] author does not call the Apostle John by his name but rather as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’, and as the individual who had said at the Last Supper, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ Later in the chapter the author identifies this disciple with yet another epithet when he states, "This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things"—even here not referring to John by name but requiring the reader to determine it by knowing the name of the author of the Gospel. The author's use of epithets here, instead of simply referring to the disciple as "John," seems clearly an attempt to keep the parallel conclusion of Jesus' and Titus' "ministries" from being too easily seen. The author also has Jesus call Simon by his nickname, "Peter," for the same reason.
The same technique is used throughout the New Testament and War of the Jews. To learn the name of an unnamed character, the reader must be able to recall details from another, related passage. In effect, the New Testament is designed as a sort of an intelligence test whose true meaning can be understood only by those possessing sufficient memory, logic, and humor.
For clarification, I present the following table showing the parallels between the ends of Jesus' ministry and Titus' campaign:
1)Characters are named Simon and John
2)Both sets of characters are judged
3)Both sides of the parallel occur at the conclusion of a "campaign"
4)In each, Simon goes to a martyr's death after being placed in bonds and taken someplace he does not wish to go
5)In each, John is spared
6)In each, Simon "follows"
Further, the two events continue the theme of a prophecy made in one work being fulfilled in the other. In other words, what Jesus predicts, Josephus records as having "come to pass."
This group of parallels seems too complex to have occurred by chance and provides direct support for my premise that the Apostles Simon and John were lampoons of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion, as well as my suspicion that the "Son of Man," whose coming the New Testament predicts will bring destruction to Jerusalem, is Titus.
I then realized the larger implications of what I had discovered. The reader will recall the parallel beginnings to the "ministries" of Titus and Jesus; that is, both were "followed" by "fishers of men." The conclusions of Titus' and Jesus' stints in Judea are also conceptually parallel. When I looked at the relative placements of the Gadara and the "son of Mary whose flesh was eaten" parallels, I found that those too occurred in the same sequence. Thus, the New Testament satires of events from War of the Jews were not haphazardly sequenced, as I had originally assumed, but were put in the same sequence as the events they satirized. In other words, the entire outline of Jesus' ministry, as recorded within the New Testament, was designed to prophecy Titus' campaign through Judea.(p.88-90)
. . .
Further, knowing that the rebel leaders were transformed into the Christian Apostles clarifies the intent the Romans had for their religion. The Romans wished to not merely destroy the militant brand of messianic Judaism that spawned the rebellion but to rewrite its history in such a way as to make both its Messiah and its leaders become the "founders" of Christianity. In this manner, the Romans intended to make the history of the Sicarii movement disappear by having its beliefs and key figures become the "history" of their new religion.
We are also able to understand the plight of John, the leader who was imprisoned by the Romans and was satirized as the Apostle John and the demoniac of Gadara. Both Josephus and the authors of the New Testament often made reference to the fact that they wrote the truth. I believe that they were sincere in this claim but 1required the reader to understand the code that they wrote the truth in. Therefore, I believe that John, after coming out of the "tombs," and coming to his "right mind," did cooperate with the Romans and "publish" Christian literature at Decapolis.
The ending of the Gospel of John specifically identifies the "John" whom Jesus spared as its author. Understanding that the Apostle "John" and the demoniac of Gadara were both lampoons of John, along with Simon a leader of the Jewish rebellion, enabled me to see the real meaning of the following statement concerning the demoniac of Gadara:
And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
The passage indicates that John, a leader of the rebellion, was taken to Decapolis, where he provided the Romans with details of the messianic movement that were used in creating the New Testament. John was used by the Romans to help create the literature that poisoned the future of his own people. The Romans then "recorded" their use of John, anticipating that those in the future who would learn the truth regarding Christianity's origin would appreciate such irony.
This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
This "conversion" by the rebel leader John to Christianity, also explains the two Simons' different surnames. The Simon who is condemned at the end of the New Testament is called "Simon bar Jonas," while the Simon who is condemned at the conclusion of Titus' campaign is named "Simon bar Gioras." Jonas is simply the Hebrew for John—once again the name-switching technique—indicating that Simon was the son of John. Gioras, means "the convert" in Hebrew, thus, the rebel Simon's full name was "Simon the son of the convert," a satirical synonym for "Simon, the son of John" because John had become a "convert" to the new religion.
The fact that John was Simon's father also fulfills another "innocuous" prophecy found within the New Testament:
From now on, five in one household will be divided: three against two, and two against three.
They will be divided, father against son, son against father.
Josephus records that at the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem Simon and John waged a violent struggle for control of the city, both against one another and against the leader of yet another faction, named Eleazar.War of the Jews contains a clear theme regarding the Jews destroying themselves that I shall go into more depth elsewhere.
I conclude this chapter by pointing out that throughout Christianity's history, Jesus' words have been interpreted as the very essence of love. My analysis indicates that this is, at times, a com- plete misunderstanding, albeit one that was deliberately brought about. The "Jesus" who is speaking to Simon in John 21 did not have love in his heart.
What was in his heart can be known by rereading the passage with the understanding that Jesus was describing what Titus would do to Simon, the captured leader of the Jewish rebellion. When these words are read as an address to a man who would be taken to Rome and tortured to death, what was in Jesus' heart is truly revealed. As John the Baptist states, Jesus did not come to baptize with water but with fire.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.”
(This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."
In chapter 5, Atwill illustrates in detail for more than 50 pages the techniques used by the Roman editors to assure that their ingenious designs at ideological engineering would be recognized as satire only by the intellectual elite within the Roman ruling class for whom intertextual reading was a common practice. At the end of this chapter, titled “Flavian Signature,” Atwill summarizes his findings as follows:
In conclusion, the Sequence of parallels proves a deliberate design. While unusual parallels occur in literature, those that are accidental will not occur in the same sequence because they are, by definition, subject to the rules of probability concerning random events. Many of the parallels are self-evident, as they are either literally the same event or too close conceptually to be disputed. Simply the fact that the sequence of these parallels occur in the same order, proves that one set of stories was dependent upon the other. In my opinion, these self-evident parallels include [among others]: 1) ‘Fishing of men’ at the Sea of Galilee, 11) ‘Binding and loosening’, 13) ‘On to Jerusalem – messengers are sent ahead’, 28) ‘The triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and the stones that cried out’, 29) ‘Jerusalem encircled with a wall’, 31) ‘The Abomination of Desolation’, and 34) ‘Simon’s fate’, from the list above.
Moreover, Jesus refers to a ‘son of man’ that will come before the generation he speaks to passes away – in other words within forty years firm 30-33 CE. Jesus ‘predicted’ that when the ‘Son of Man’ made his visitation, Galilee would be destroyed, Jerusalem encircled with a wall, and the Temple razed. There is only one person in history who accomplished these events, and he did it precisely within the given time frame – Titus Flavius, A Caesar whose court historians maintained he was the Christ. The fact that the campaign of this singular individual also had a singular parallelism to Jesus’ ministry cannot have been accidental.(p.156)
Atwill acknowledges that mathematics in the Roman period was primitive. Gambling, however, was a common practice and calculating probabilities was an almost daily experience for many in Roman society.
Also, the pastoral metaphor of “pruning” and “grafting” from ordinary gardening practices is used to describe this politics of cooptation. By shaping spiritual growth and mixing different genres of thought, a sort of cross-pollination might occur that would secure the exclusive class interests of the rulers while ensnaring the “scum and slaves” of Imperial Roman society in an endless web of self-defeat.
In Chapter 6, the author expands on his discovery of the satiric nature of this ideological structure created by a sector of the Imperial Roman elite for their own purposes.
In Hebrew literature, these typological relationships are a source of open-ended speculation and debate. To Romans this perhaps seemed part of the barbarous mysticism that provoked the Jewish Zealots to revolt. So they ‘improved’ the nature of their parallels in the New Testament, from the open-ended types found within the Hebrew canon to ones that were very precise in their logical and chronological relationships, and in the identities that they reveal.
The authors of the Gospels were very aware of the typology in Hebraic literature and were, in effect, showing that they were able to produce irony in the authors’ requiring the Gospels and Wars of the Jews to be read in the manner of Judaic literature in order to learn that they had created a false Judaism.(p.168)
. . .
At the time the New Testament was being created, the events of 30 C.E. were more than 40 years past and of little or no importance to its authors. Their focus was solely on Titus’ triumph in the recently completed war against the Jews. The ‘Savior’ they created was a Roman fantasy, a literary figure they used to ‘prophetically’ chasten the ‘wicked generation’ and to set up their satire regarding the Messiah that Titus had ‘pruned’ – Eleazar. If there had been a messianic leader named Jesus who ran afoul of the Roman authorities around 30 C.E., all that is visible of him in the New Testament is his name.(p.186)
The 21 + items below are a selection of articles and essays that illustrate the power of ideology to structure our perceptions and understanding. It well behooves all of us to develop an understanding of the interests that lay at the origins “our” ideologies, to examine the class relationships in which we find ourselves entangled, and to question the logic of the ideas we hold most dear.
Professeur honoraire de l'Université Grenoble-Alpes
Ancien Directeur de Researches
Université de Paris-Nanterre
Director of The Center for the Advanced Study
of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Religions Reflect Social Divisions of Their Time & Place
with Ridhard Wolff
The Assassination of Julius Caesar
with Michael Parenti
The Face of Imperialism
with Michael Parenti
with Michael Parenti
Noam Chomsky on “Religion, Consciousness, Black Lives Matter #BLM, and Education”
How To Read The News
by James Corbett
September 05, 2020
It's not the most original observation you'll read this week, but it's one of the most important: the news lies to you by omission.
Shocked? I thought not. But let's really interrogate what this means.
175 Years in a U.S. Prison? Extradition Trial of WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Begins in London
with Jennifer Robinson
Chomsky, Ellsberg, Walker on
“The Julian Assange Case”
Julian Assange warned by judge after outburst during extradition trial
by Ben Quinn
Julian Assange: Future Generations of Journalists Will Not Forgive Us if We Do Not Fight Extradition
by Peter Osborne
DAY TWO OF ASSANGE HEARING: US Tries to Narrow its Espionage Charge to Only Naming Informants; Defense Witness Crumbles Under Cross Examination
The working class must demand an end to the show trial of Julian Assange
by Thomass Scripps
Assange extradition hearing resumes: “The Future of a Free Press is on Trial”
with Anya Parampil
Julian Assange Show Trial Resumes:
Why the U.S. Government Wants Him Silenced
by Ron Ridenour
The U.S. Is Determined to Make Julian Assange Pay for Exposing the Cruelty of Its War on Iraq
by Prof. Vijay Prashad
September 07, 2020
Assange Update: Protestors and Speakers Gather Outside The Old Bailey to Support WikiLeaks Founder
Richard Gage Delivers Updates on 9/11 Truth
with James Corbett
David Graeber, 1961–2020
The New York Review of Books
by Astra Taylor
Against Rentier Capitalism: David Graeber, Michael Hudson & Guy Standing”
Watch 3 x 3 #13: David Graeber – “Corona & Bullshit Jobs”
Kevin Zeese (1955 - 2020)
“Rest in Power”
by Margaret Flowers
Father Teresa doing REALLY well by "doing good": Bill/Melinda's $43 million beachfront getaway near San Diego
The Fatal Attraction of Techno-Fascism
by Mark Petrakis
“Those who are serious in ridiculous matters will be ridiculous in serious matters.”
-- Cato the Elder
Bill Gates warns viral outbreak likely 'every 20 years or so'
by Rosie Perper
Notre Dame de COVID...prie pour nous.
Covid Strengthens Ruling Class Grip on the U.S. - System Update
with Lee Fang
As the coronavirus pandemic engulfs the U.S., Intercept reporter and guest host Lee Fang investigates who are the real winners and losers of the government response to the crisis.
Bats, Gene Editing and Bioweapons: Recent DARPA Experiments Raise Concerns Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
by Whitney Webb
DARPA recently spent millions on research involving bats and coronaviruses, as well as gene editing “bioweapons” prior to the recent coronavirus outbreak. Now, “strategic allies” of the agency have been chosen to develop a genetic material-based vaccine to halt the potential epidemic.
Is the UN Preparing for the “Second Covid Lockdown”? Oppressive Measures Worldwide, Obedience and Acceptance…
by Peter Koenig
We know by now that nothing of this, face masks, social distancing, quarantine, lockdown, vaccination, or any other repressive measure have anything to do with covid. They are means and instruments for the New World Order (NWO) to “train” the population for total obedience and control by an invisible super power.
The 1% blunder: How a simple but fatal math mistake by US Covid-19 experts caused the world to panic and order lockdowns
by Malcolm Kendrick
How a simple but fatal math mistake by US Covid-19 experts caused the world to panic and order lockdowns
How News of a Cure for Cancer Got Lost in Our Nightly Political Theater
by Lee Camp
“Repent—The End Is at Hand”
The Rise of Authoritarianism: From Parasite Stress Theory to Lockstep
by Derrick Broze
“Collective Narcissism” and the “Dark Triad”: Those Who Protest against the “Official” Covid-19 Narrative are Categorized as “Psychopaths”. Is It A Witch Hunt?
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
How Corporate Tyranny Works
by Chris Hedges
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2020
Subject: [MCM] The fascism—real fascism—that "our free press" is NOT reporting: Masked cops brutalizing peaceful protesters in Berlin, Melbourne
This is what's now happening to those who dare protest the COVID rules—
peaceful protesters blacked out, and/or slandered as "far right," by the
NYTimes and all the other Western media.
Notice how the Melbourne cops force masks on the unruly:
Totalitarianism is upon us, and it has nothing to do with Trump, other than
the fact that "our free press" is overblowing his "fascism" to distract us from
what's really coming down, all over.
People's Convention 2020
with Chris hedges
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Speaks at Berlin Rally for Freedom and Peace
August 29, 2020
Lockdown Uprisings, Canada Reset, News Updates
with James Corbett
by You Tube)
Dr Vernon Coleman - 29th August 2020 London Rally Speech
with Dr. Vernon Coleman
(available on Bitchute)
“Dr Vernon Coleman - 29th August 2020 London Rally Speech (again, removed from YouTube)”
From: Mark Crispin Miller
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2020
Subject: [MCM] "The left" is not part of the solution, but part---a BIG part---of the problem.
And the problem isn't Trump's comic-book "fascism," but TOTALITARIANISM, under cover of "biosecurity."
It's practically here, regardless of what Trump may say or do; and it WILL be here if and when he's gone, or if he stays, unless we stop it---which will be all the harder to achieve, because the US "left" is A-OK with it.
The Reaction of the Left to Lockdown
by Darren Allen
In April I wrote a postscript to my critique of the ‘unofficial left’ (David Graeber, Noam Chomsky, Media Lens, etc.) criticising their non-response to the already highly suspicious coronavirus narrative. Things have moved on — now into the past tense — so here is the same summary, now updated and revised.
HCQ: A Bitter Pill for Pharmaceutical Corporations to Swallow
HCQ advocacy group provides much useful information
The Brothers Grim: Bill and Mike’s Pandemic Panopticon
Wrench in the Gears A Skeptical Parent's Thoughts on Digital Curriculum
Let's not forget, Bill Gates hasn't always been the good guy….
by John Naughton
Fauci's First Fraud Exposed!
The Seven-Step Path from Pandemic to Totalitarianism There are just seven steps from pandemic declaration to permanent totalitarianism – and many jurisdictions are about to start Step 5
by Rosemary Frei
As if it was planned in advance, billions of people around the globe are being forced step by rapid step into a radically different way of life, one that involves far less personal, physical and financial freedom and agency.
Here is the template for rolling this out . . . .
Lancet Study Finds US Has, By Far, The World’s Most Overpriced Medical Care
by Tyler Durden
The opioid crisis is 'a unique product' of U.S. health care, paper argues
by Adriana Belmonte
Meet the IDF-Linked Cybersecurity Group “Protecting” US Hospitals 'Pro Bono'
by Whitney Webb
NEW REVELATIONS ON THE COVID DEATH COUNT
Cartoons Archive - MintPress News
Israel bombs Gaza every day since UAE normalization announced
by Anya Parampil
Israel’s List of Officials Who Might Be Arrested if They Travel Abroad
by Dana Farraj and Asem Khalil
This is the bogus anti-Semitism report that sank Jeremy Corbyn
by Asa Winstanley
Exposing the shocking and continuing alliance between Zionism and anti-Semitism
by Max Blumenthal
Malnutrition stalks Gaza
by Isra Saleh el-Namey
Repressing Palestinians is in Israel's DNA
by Rod Such
Palestine in Pictures: August 2020
Israel attack kills dozens of Syrian soldiers and “Iranian militia operatives.” But who's counting?
by Gideon Levy
After Beirut blast, Israel revives tales of Hezbollah ammonium nitrate terror plots
by Gareth Porter
“The Global War on Terrorism” is Fake. Al Qaeda is “Made in America”
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
2020 Election Chaos Being Used To Set Stage For
“The Final Technocratic Push”
with Whitney Webb
A discussion with Whitney Webb about her recent article, “Bipartisan” Washington Insiders Reveal Their Plan for Chaos if Trump Wins the Election”
by Whitney Webb
with Thomas Frank
Will Hillary and the Dems get the civil war they are trying to provoke?
by The Saker
Is America A Failed State?
by Noam Chomsky
De: "Bernie Sanders" <email@example.com>
Objet: Joe Biden
Date: 31 août 2020
À: "elisabeth chamorand" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Répondre à: email@example.com
Yes. These are crazy times. We're dealing with a pandemic, an economic meltdown, the struggle for racial justice and we're seeing the destruction caused by climate change in Iowa, California, Louisiana and Texas.
But, in the midst of all of this, we have got to remain focused, focused, focused. In 65 days the most important election in modern American history will be taking place and we have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to defeat him not only because he is a pathological liar, because he rejects science and because he is a racist and a xenophobe. We have got to defeat him because he is undermining American democracy and is rapidly moving this country into an authoritarian type of society, something we may never recover from.
In terms of defeating Trump, one of the issues that has not gotten the attention that it deserves is the real contrast that exists between Trump's economic agenda and the economic proposals being supported by Joe Biden. At a time when our country is struggling with the worst economic meltdown since the great depression, this is an issue of enormous consequence for tens of millions of working class families.
Let me be clear. Biden's economic agenda is not mine and does not go as far as I, and many of you, wish it would. But, on the other hand, at a time of massive and growing income and wealth inequality there is no question but that his proposals are strong and will go a long, long way toward improving life for working families.
Yesterday, I made an important speech about this issue on our social media channels. Let me summarize here what I said about Joe's plans for the economy.
When Joe Biden is president, he will increase the federal minimum wage from a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour to a living wage of $15 an hour. And let’s be clear: When we increase that minimum wage to $15 an hour we will be raising the wages of more than 40 million workers.
Joe Biden also knows that if we are going to expand the middle class in this country, we must make it easier for workers to join unions, engage in collective bargaining and end the heavy-handed corporate tactics that make it hard for workers to unionize in America.
And here's something else that Joe Biden understands. And that is that, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, we need to create millions of good-paying jobs through a massive investment in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure — our roads, bridges, sidewalks, schools, water systems and affordable housing.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
Like most of us, Joe Biden is embarrassed that the United States is the only major nation on earth not to guarantee paid medical and family leave. That’s why Joe has proposed at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for working families.
And when we talk about babies and young children, we all know that our current childcare system is totally inadequate. Our children and their parents deserve high-quality, reliable and affordable childcare. That’s why Joe has proposed universal pre-K education for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country.
And when we talk about making sure that we have the best educated workforce in the world, Joe understands that we need to make public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free for working families.
As some of you may recall, last year I traveled to Canada with a group of diabetics to buy insulin, a life and death drug for more than 30 million Americans. And here's what we found. You can buy insulin in Canada, a few miles from our border, for 1/10th the price that it is sold here. No. You didn't mishear me. The same product, made by the same company, is sold for 1/10th the price that it's sold here. But it's not just Canada and it’s not just insulin. While the drug companies, through their collusion, price fixing and greed, make obscene profits, we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Joe Biden understands that we must take on the pharmaceutical industry and significantly lower drug prices in this country.
As many of you know the United States is the only major country not to guarantee health care for all people. Meanwhile, despite paying almost twice as much per capita for health care as the people of other countries, over 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured and over half a million Americans go bankrupt because they cannot afford to pay their medical bills.
While Joe and I disagree on the best path to get to universal coverage, his proposal will greatly expand access to health care and make it more affordable for tens of millions across this country.
My friends, of course many of us wish our campaign would have won the Democratic primary. But now our first priority must be to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history.
Then, on Day 1 of the Biden administration, we will mobilize the working families of this country to demand a government that represents all of us and not just the few.
So I am asking you today to do something important — because Donald Trump and the Republican Party would love nothing more than to divide our supporters up as people start to vote. And the truth is, the corporate media would love nothing more than to write stories about how we are not united in the fight to beat Trump.
So I am asking:
We live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means very little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.
This November we take the first step to turn that around and to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the 1 percent.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party would love nothing more than to divide us up this November, pitting our supporters against Joe Biden. But we cannot let them. We have to send a message that we are united in the fight to beat Trump. So please, add your name if you agree:
Biden To Flint — "F*ck You"
with Michael Moore and Melissa Mays
From: Robert Reich
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2020 1:09 AM
To: Francis Feeley
Subject: This is terrifying
When Donald Trump got onto the stage to accept the Republican nomination for president last week, he goaded his supporters into chanting "12 more years," not "four more years." And they did.
It tops off a profoundly frightening month in which Trumpsaid he could postpone the election, threatened to send police to polling stations, sent secret federal agents into cities to attack peaceful protesters, and tried to sabotage the post office to suppress the vote.
This election is about democracy versus authoritarianism. The stakes have never been higher.
And that's why I'm writing to you today.
MoveOn's team just updated me on their plans to turn out "high-potential voters"—young people, people of color, and first-time voters—in 10 battleground states, and I'm so impressed by how innovative, data-driven, and strategic it is. It's ambitious, bold, and meets the moment.
But MoveOn needs to raise $500,000 this week—and every week until Election Day—to pull off their plans, turn out voters, and ensure that each and every ballot is counted. And MoveOn is counting on tens of thousands of small donations from members like you to make it possible.
If you're able, will you chip in $3 a week? (MoveOn will bill your weekly donation to your credit card once a month starting today and will contact you shortly after the election to see if you want to modify or cancel your weekly donation.)
If you think Trump is on the ropes and will surely lose in November, think again.
Our side has limits because we believe in democracy. Trump has no limits because he doesn't.
Trump will do anything to be re-elected.
Which is why we need to go all-in, starting right now, with voter education, mobilization, and turnout. And here's what impresses me about MoveOn's plan—and why I'm writing to you today: The scale and sophistication of their plan are needed to fight Trump's corruption, lies, and cheating.
The bottom line: MoveOn is on track to recruit and organize more than 1 million volunteers to turn out people they personally know. Yes, 1 million.
But none of it will happen without support from members like you. Will you chip in $3 a week? (MoveOn will bill your weekly donation to your credit card once a month starting today and will contact you shortly after the election to see if you want to modify or cancel your weekly donation.)
Here's some of what MoveOn has planned:
Running an innovative friend-to-friend voter mobilization program called "Vote Tripling." Recent studies have shown that one of the most effective ways to turn out voters is if their friends and family encourage them to vote. So MoveOn is asking its members to take Vote Tripling pledges: pledges to reach out to three friends, help them make a plan to vote, and ensure they vote in the fall.
Flexing their analytical muscles to identify and inspire "high-potential voters." MoveOn's research shows that there are millions of voters across the 10 battleground states who are progressive but often stay home on Election Day: young voters, new citizens, voters of color, low-income voters, and others who are often ignored by campaigns. MoveOn's crack analytics team is building algorithms to identify these voters so they can target them with authentic, inspiring content to encourage them to vote. If only a fraction of them cast a ballot, it will make all the difference.
Fighting back against GOP voter suppression and online disinformation. Just like 2016, white supremacists, far-right extremists, and foreign actors are going all-in to spread disinformation online to suppress voter turnout. But unlike 2016, we're ready to fight back. MoveOn has hired a team of researchers and digital sleuths who are tracking disinformation networks, exposing them, and demanding that social media companies like Facebook take them down so they can't do any more harm.
This is the work we need to do. And MoveOn has the plan to do it. But it's going to take each and every one of us to dig deep and chip in financially to make sure that on November 3 we put an end to the Trump presidency once and for all.
Join me, please, and chip in $3 a week to fund this critical work for as long as it takes. (MoveOn will bill your weekly donation to your credit card once a month starting today and will contact you shortly after the election to see if you want to modify or cancel your weekly donation.)
Thanks for all you do.
"'Outright Lies': Voting Misinformation Flourishes on Facebook,"
ProPublica, July 16, 2020
"Disinformation campaign stokes fears about mail voting, using LeBron James image and boosted by Trump-aligned
group," The Washington Post, August 20, 2020
"Sensitive to claims of bias, Facebook relaxed
misinformation rules for conservative pages," NBC News, August 7, 2020
"Poll: More Than Half Of Young People Lack Resources To
Vote By Mail," NPR, July 30, 2020
What has happened to America is a tragedy
by Paul Edwards
"The Era of American Democracy Will Be Over"
with Michael Moore and David Plouffe
You Can Have Peace Or The US Empire. You Can’t Have Both
by Caitlin Johnstone
The Real Causes of World War II
with Michael Parenti
with Michael Parenti
Mussolini: From Socialism to Fascism
with Richard Wolff
“The Road to Fascism”
with Richard Wolff
How the left is beating fascism!
BLM protester shot in face by Pennsylvania man during march from Milwaukee to D.C.
with video by Jen Hayden
Biden Offers Nothing But More War, Austerity and White Supremacy – Without Trump
by Glen Ford
We're weakened by neoliberal economic policies
with Roger Waters
Teaching of history as indoctrination
with Chris Hedges
Democrats are Officially Republicans
by Margaret Kimberley
“Why We Must Break Away From Two Party System”
with Chris Hedges
The Birth of the Cashless Society
by James Corbett
Noam Chomsky: “Trump is WORSE Than Hitler”
“When Systems Implode”
with Richard Wolff
Global Capitalism, “World Government” and the Corona Crisis
by Prof Michel Chossudovsky
The COVID-19 crisis is marked by a public health “emergency” under WHO auspices which is being used as a pretext and a justification to triggering a Worldwide process of economic, social and political restructuring. Social engineering is being applied. Governments are pressured into extending the lockdown, despite its devastating economic and social consequences.
"Economic Update: China: Capitalist, Socialist or What?”
with Richard Wolff
“Capitalism's Biggest Bubble Is About To POP!”
with Richard Wolff
by The Hill)
Cornel West on the forthcoming ‘People's Convention’
with Cornel West
Ranked: The World's Richest Families in 2020
by Carmen Ang
“The Four Reasons Capitalism Is Imploding”
with Richard Wolff
“Capitalism isn't working. Here's an alternative.”
by Yanis Varoufakis
The Declining Empire
with Richard Wolff and Chris Hedges
Greece Gives Birth to Another Virulent Neo-Nazi Party — Is the U.S. Ambassador One of Its Proud Godfathers?
by Andrew Lee
Huge Intelligence Agency Scandal Rocks Denmark and Puts its “Deep State” on Trial
by Ron Ridenour
French reporter who joined police exposes racism and violence
by Kim Willsher
“Gene-Edited” Future Justified By COVID-19 & France Admits Athletes Infected At Wuhan Military Games
with Ryan Cristián
France Again Being Forced To Stimulate Is Bad News
by Tyler Durden
Meet the “Violet” Successors to the White Helmets’ Syria Propaganda Throne - unlimitedhangout.com
by Vanessa Beeley
Crushing US sanctions devastate Syria's people and post-war reconstruction
by Aaron Maté
How the US helped push Lebanon to the brink of collapse, and now threatens more sanctions
by Ben Norton
Lawsuit against Trudeau Government: Constitutional Lawyer Rocco Galati and the Lies and Crimes of the COVID Operation
by Rocco Galati and Mark Taliano
Rebel News interview with lawyer Rocco Galati
(better download it)
From: World BEYOND War [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2020
Subject: We Are Many