Poor Hercules, trying to fight the Hydra. Once he lops off *one* head….
So I’ve received several emails over the past couple of days about the breathtaking new announcement to be made on October 19 (assuming the world still is functioning after October 17!) in London by “American Biblical scholar” Joseph Atwill (whom – I have to admit – I have never even heard of, to my recollection) In this announcement Mr. (so far as I can tell, from his blog, he is not a “Dr.”; in what sense is he a “scholar”? Is it because he’s read a bunch of book? Hmm….) Atwill will “prove” that “the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ.”
In other words – brace yourself – Jesus is in fact a myth. Has anyone heard this before?
For the full story, go to
Atwill is a different breed from most mythicists. That’s probably good and bad. Good because, well, you wouldn’t like to be like the others. Bad because, well, you really shouldn’t want to be one at all. In any event, here is Mr. Atwill’s case in a nutshell, as described in this earth-shattering press release (referenced above):
“Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. “Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century,” he explains. “When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That’s when the ‘peaceful’ Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to ‘give onto Caesar’ and pay their taxes to Rome.”
The operative word in this description is the second one: “asserts.” I know sophomores in college who could rip this assertion to shreds. For now, let me just put out some talking points, in hopes that I don’t have to talk about them at any length.
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