Reflections on the Christ Myth, part 4: The New Age
by Revilo P. Oliver
WE HAVE ALSO reached the beginning of the historical era established by a Scythian monk who had come to Rome, Dionysius Exiguus, c. A.D. 540. According to his calculations, the supposed birth of Jesus marked the beginning of the First Century (28) in the era now in common use.
Mr Carter disposes of that century correctly: “There were no Christians, either Gentile or Jewish, living during the First Century.” (29)
In fact, we have no secure traces of Christians before 135, the year in which the last christ of any importance, Shimeon ben Kosiba, commonly called Bar-Kokhba, was suppressed. (30) His failure conclusively proved to intelligent Jews that while their god might help them treacherously attack unsuspecting goyim and torture them to death, old Yahweh always skedaddled when the Roman legions moved in. Whether it is more than a coincidence that, so far as we know, the promotion of Christianity began soon after 135, is anybody’s guess
Christianity presupposes the Christ Myth, which must, therefore, have been invented shortly after 135, if not before. What can have been the origin of that amazing myth? It cannot have been derived from any Jewish sect, least of all, from that of the Essenes. (31) While it is likely that at least one of the figures that contributed to the composite hero of the Jesus Myth was an Essene, who denounced the Pharisees, the Essenes, as Mr. Carter has shown, were fanatically and exclusively Jewish, and would no more have thought of saving the souls (if any) of goyim than they would have banqueted on roast pig.
The very foundation of the Christ Myth was borrowed from India. It created a christ who was modeled on Krishna (Krsna) who was the eighth avatar of Vishnu (Visnu). This presupposes the Hindu doctrine that gods may become incarnate as mortals to act as Saviours of mankind — a notion that every religious Jew would have rejected with horror. The Hindu concept also includes metempsychosis, and pious Jews would have been made furious by a suggestion that men have souls that survive death by being reincarnated. As shown by the presence of Magi at the birth of the christ intended for non-Jews, there was also an influence of the Zoroastrian cult, which by that time had assimilated both astrology and the notion that a Saviour (Saosyant) would come to deliver the world from evil; and, as everyone knows, the shepherds who witnessed the Nativity of Jesus were copies of the shepherds who witnessed the earthly birth of the Zoroastrian Son of God, Mithra. A god who could be concerned with anyone but the Chosen was utterly repugnant to the Jewish mind and a christ who could interest himself in goyim was an abomination as well as an impossibility.
The Christ Myth was obviously invented to create a christ (necessarily Jewish) who could be made acceptable to non-Jews, and the Jesus Myth was crudely amended and refashioned for that purpose.
That brings us to another puzzle. Once devised, the Christ Myth spread with amazing rapidity. Thirty years after 135 we find little groups of Christians all over the landscape, and by the end of the Second Century they are divided into large sects, furiously damning one another to Hell, scribbling innumerable gospels and forged documents (32), and even able to exert some influence in the tolerant Roman Empire and to concoct lurid tales about the persecutions which they, like the Jews, liked to pretend they had suffered. That rapid spread of a strange superstition required intensive and expensive promotion.
Christian tradition speaks of a Jew named Saul, who must have been in some way regarded as an innovator, since many of the Christian sects produced letters attributed to him to attest their orthodoxy. And a book included in the “New Testament,” Acts (Acta Apostolorum), contains stories about itinerant evangelists which, though displaced chronologically, may correspond roughly to part of the promotion. But that promotion obviously required organization — and money. We are asked to suppose that hordes of proletarians and a few eccentrics flocked to the “glad tidings” because they were so charming. That is fiction. Millions of dollars have been spent to promote L. Ron Hubbard’s invention, Scientology, but despite all the facilities for almost world-wide propaganda provided by the press, radio, and rapid travel, the cult still has only a small and scattered band of converts.
Yet it is not more alien to the general tenor of American society or more dissident from the beliefs of all the current religious sects than the cult of a Jewish christ was alien to the tenor of society in every part of the Roman Empire or more strongly opposed to the religion and superstition of every region in it. Even the Christian evangelists, who can use the boob-tubes to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from superstitious suckers, have to be lavishly financed before they can begin operations. (33)
The promotion of Christianity must have required, as I have said, a fairly large organization and ample resources. But cui bono? Who stood to profit in one way or another from that effort to impose an alien superstition on the population of the Roman Empire?
Mr. Carter has the first plausible answer that I have seen: the Letzim, that is, the Jews living in their colonies outside Judaea and in Hellenistic cities. This is certainly an adequate and attractive explanation. We must, I think, accept it.
When, however, we try to determine the purposes of those Letzim, we must choose between two almost antithetical theories.
28. I think it best to capitalize such terms when they refer specifically to the era fixed by Dionysius, especially when “A.D. ” (anno Domini or, if you prefer, [anno] apud [= secundum] Dionysium) is omitted.
29. There is no historically valid evidence for the existence of such beings during the First Century. The arsonists executed by Nero were, of course, Jewish Bolsheviks, followers of an agitator and, no doubt, would-be christ, who bore the extremely common name of Chrestus; they tried to burn Rome to validate one of the prophecies in the Pseudo-Sibylline Oracles, which had been forged to demoralize the hated goyim. As for the famous letter of the younger Pliny, if it is not a forgery or grossly interpolated by Christians, as some scholars believe, it refers to a sect in Bithynia, c. 112, who were suspected of being members of a criminal organization, but convinced Pliny they were innocent heliolaters. As such, they cannot have been Christians in the accepted sense of that word. As Mr. Carter remarks, there were many would-be christs.
The text of Pliny’s letter depends on copies made from a manuscript of uncertain date, discovered by a Dominican holy man, Iucundus of Verona, at the very end of the Fifteenth Century; it disappeared in 1508, so we cannot examine it now. The cardinal evidence for the authenticity of the letter is a statement by Tertullian in 197 that Pliny had written such a letter, which was proof that the wicked Romans had persecuted Christian lambs for their piety. Tertullian also glibly refers to an imaginary document which he said was in the Imperial archives at Rome (where, he knew, no one who could obtain access to the archives would have the patience to look for it). Tertullian also had an interesting conversation with a ghost who had come down from Heaven to give him valuable information. The ghost had been a woman so staunch in the True Faith that the vile “pagans” made a martyr of her in the arena, but as soon as her soul left her body, Jesus equipped it with male sexual organs, so that she, become he, would feel at ease in an all-male Heaven.
30. For the real name of this christ, recently ascertained from documents found near the Dead Sea, see Yigael Yadin, Bar-Kokhba (London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971). He called himself ‘Son of the Star’ to suggest his divine mission as the long-awaited christ. He made his last stand in the little town of Bethar, where, as you will remember from the admirable book by Professor Butz (The Hoax of the Twentieth Century), if not from other sources, occurred a really great “Holocaust.” We are solemnly assured in the Talmud that the wicked Romans mercilessly slew in Bethar, a town which had an area about equal to that of five city blocks, a total of eight hundred million (800,000,000) of God’s Masterpieces.
31. It is a curious fact that no one has found a Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent of the name of this sect (variously spelled in Greek). The derivation of the word is unknown; for a variety of guesses, including a rather startling new one, see the little book by Allen H. Jones, Essenes: the Elect of Israel and the Priests of Artemis (Lanham, Maryland; University Press, 1985). The absence of an Aramaic equivalent is not really remarkable, however, since the Jews did not begin to revive use of that language until the last quarter of the First Century, when the ruling rabbis even tried to forbid Jews to learn Greek which was like trying to order Jews in this country not to learn English! Some Jews did learn the sacred languages, much as some Jews in Israel today use a simplification of Hebrew called ‘Modern Hebrew,’ but around 200, when the Christians began to use some readings in the Septuagint as confirmation of their doctrines, the ruling Jews had to provide two translations of their revised scriptures into a kind of pidgin Greek for the benefit of the many Jews who refused to learn the Semitic languages.
32. I have always wondered why the salvation-mongers who put together the “New Testament” in the Fifth Century overlooked such gems as Agbar’s letter to Jesus and the latter’s reply (proving that he was literate) and Paul’s rather extensive correspondence with Seneca.
33. A journalist with whom I was acquainted years ago claimed to have proof that the famous hokum-peddler, Billy Graham, was financed by the Mafia as a good investment (i.e., for a percentage of the take).
To be continued.
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