Joseph Cotto, 12/6/2016 [Archive]

Would it Matter if Jesus Wasn't Real?

Does it Matter if Jesus Wasn't Real?

By Joseph Cotto

This is the season, and Lord knows the reason!

Or does he?

Of course, the familiar narrative holds that Jesus Christ -- son of God -- was born to Mary and Joseph in a manger on December 25th, over 2000 years ago. As time passed, this story was gradually brought into question.,

Nowadays, many folks have arrived at the conclusion that not only does this tale have holes, it never happened in the first place.

Dr. Richard Carrier, peer-reviewed author of 'On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt', tells me that, more than anything else, he was led to believe Jesus may be a fictional character because of "(t)he weird way Paul talks about him, and doesn't talk about him, combined with the fact that all the other evidence dissolves on inspection, and the fact that the first narratives ever told of him are wildly mythological and conform far more to the tales of nonhistorical heroes of the era than to anything we would actually call researched biographies."

Joseph Atwill, the brain behind the bestseller 'Caesar's Messiah', claims that Jesus is a Roman imperial concoction; devised so political rebels would simmer down. Atwill explains to me that Jesus's "entire ministry was based upon the military campaign of Titus Flavius."

Flavius, the Roman emperor from 79 to 81, rose to power amid civil war the likes of which Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant had little on. Needless to mention, Flavius brought his kin along for the ride.

"The Flavians had the most famous Jewish intellectual family of the era ---- the Alexanders - on their payroll," Atwill mentions. "The family hated religious Jews who interfered with their tax revenue and actually fought with the Romans against them. One of the members of the family, Philo, actually developed the concept of 'Logos' that is found in the Gospels. This family would have helped the Flavian Caesars create the fictional story of Jesus Christ."

Specifically, Atwill says "(t)he author of Matthew created the entire preministry of Jesus as a typological link to Moses. This was done to show that the life of the first savior of Israel 'foresaw' the life of Jesus Christ. Thus the story about Herod [the Great] was obviously invented to mimic the story in the Old Testament...In other words, the system of fictional typology that was used to look backwards to Moses was the same one the authors used to look forward to Titus Flavius, the Son of man Jesus predicted would come in forty years and raze the Temple."

Atwill sent me a chart highlighting the similarities between the Torah and the Book of Matthew. While such a thing will not do for a newspaper article, I can say without reservation so many actions resemble each other that coincidence seems far less than likely.

Carrier rejects Atwill's premise of Jesus being Roman-crafted, relating that "(t)he Gospel Jesus was created by the Gospel authors, who were allegorizing what they wanted to say about the gospel. The worshiped Jesus celebrated as crucified was created by Cephas, possibly in collusion with some of his colleagues at the time. The Jesus archangel they were saying was crucified was created by Jewish angelologists before Christianity began (as attested in Philo, for example, as I show in OHJ)."

Cephas is Aramaic for 'Peter'. It should be noted that Philo devoted his life to making Greek and Judaic philosophies comport with each other.

Carrier continues: "The Christians only added the part about that archangel Jesus becoming incarnate and being crucified and resurrected. And that was added by Cephas and his friends, thus beginning their distinctive sect of Judaism."

Whichever perspective one chooses to believe -- or perhaps neither -- it is undeniable that a movement geared toward the lowest sectors of society soared to such heights that it eventually defined Western Civilization.

Who possibly envisioned that a creed devised for dissident Jews in a far-flung province of the Roman Empire would someday become that empire's official theology? From there, it persevered -- in varying forms -- as the ethnoreligion of Europe. Afterward, it was used as bludgeon to colonize peoples in the, 'New World'.

Talk about unintended consequences.


Copyright 2016 Joseph Cotto, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joseph Cotto is a historical and social journalist, and writes about politics, economics and social issues. Email him at

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