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American Empire/Roman Empire

American Empire/Roman Empire

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Published by JOHN HUDSON
Talk on how the Roman Empire created Christianity as a false religious system to support imperial strategy, and how it continues to support Neo-Conservatism and the 'pax Americana'.
Talk on how the Roman Empire created Christianity as a false religious system to support imperial strategy, and how it continues to support Neo-Conservatism and the 'pax Americana'.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: JOHN HUDSON on Apr 26, 2010
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07/24/2010

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THE
ROLE
OF
CHRISTIANITY:
 FROM
THE
ROMAN
EMPIRE
TO
THE
AMERICAN
EMPIRE
 



 By
John
Hudson
 PART
ONE:
THE
SYSTEM
OF
POWER
IN
THE
ROMAN
EMPIRE
 At
the
end
of
the
first
century
under
the
Flavian
Emperors,
the
Roman
Empire
had
many
 distinctive
characteristics.
It
was
a
slave
state
in
which
there
was
a
tiny
minority
of
super
 wealthy
people,
2000
of
whom
owned
all
of
Europe.
The
rest
were
poor
and
many
were
 either
slaves
or
virtually
slaves,
working
in
mass
production
industries.
It
was
a
military
 state
 founded
 on
 incessant,
 constant
 war,
 on
 multiple
 fronts.
 The
 standing
 army
 increased
in
size
from
about
250,000
(excluding
navy)
at
the
time
of
Augustus
to
a
peak
 of
about

440,000
at
the
end
of
the
second
century;
compared
to
the
population
of
the
 Empire
of
about
50
million.
Military
power
enforced
obedience
with
punishments
and
 torture‐‐‐crucifixion
being
a
common
punishment.
 
 It
was
also
an
Empire
of
mass
entertainment.
The
Flavian
Amphitheater
which
we
call
 the
Colosseum,
was
a
place
of
massive
theatrical
spectacles
as
well
as
public
torture
as
 entertainment
 and
 extreme
 pornography:
 its
 programming
 was
 replicated
 in
 theaters
 throughout
the
Empire.
When
they
occupied
a
territory
the
Romans
typically
devastated
 it,
but
they
gave
their
work
a
satirical
name.
One
chieftan
remarked
the
Romans
plunder
 and
 butcher,
 and
 call
 it
 ‘Empire’.
 They
 create
 a
 desolation
 and
 call
 it
 ‘peace’,
 the
 ‘pax
 Romana’.

State
propaganda
extended
from
slogans
on
the
coinage
to
Imperial
statuary
 to
street
processions
and
censorship
of
publications.
 
 The
 final
 component
 which
 the
 Romans
 used
 to
 justify
 their
 power
 was
 a
 system
 of
 religions
 which
 were
 deliberately
 created
 as
 a
 technique
 for
 ideological
 control
 of
 thought.
Of
these
the
most
significant
was
Caesar
worship.
This
religious
manipulation
 was
 conscious
 and
 deliberate
 and
 was
 done
 because
 it
 was
 useful.
 As
 Lucretius
 wrote
 “all
religions
are
equally
sublime
to
the
ignorant,
useful
to
the
politician,
and
ridiculous
 to
the
philosopher”.
Seneca
similarly
wrote
“religion
is
regarded
by
the
common
people
 as
true,
by
the
wise
as
false,
and
by
rulers
as
useful.”

 
 Roman
 imperial
 theology
 claimed
 that
 the
 gods
 had
 bestowed
 on
 them
 ‘dominion
 without
end’
and
that
they
were
ruling
by
divine
will.
False
religions
created
in
order
to
 be
 useful
 for
 politicians
 as
 a
 tool
 of
 imperialist
 strategy
 were
 entirely
 self‐serving‐‐‐
 providing
legitimacy
for
their
actions,
and
precluding
any
form
of
criticism.
It
gave
them
 an
 exemption
 from
 any
 normal
 ethics
 so
 they
 had
 no
 hesitancy
 in
 breaching
 international
 law—for
 instance
 in
 destroying
 all
 the
 forests
 in
 Judea‐‐‐or
 in
 exterminating
 entire
 towns
 and
 dehumanizing
 their
 enemies
 as
 demons.
 The
 Romans
 felt
 entitled
 to
 rule
 over
 others
 since
 they
 regarded
 themselves
 as
 the
 only
 civilized
 nation,
 they
 felt
 entitled
 to
 speak
 for
 all
 mankind
 and
 that
 others
 should
 obey
 them,
 since
they
were
born
to
rule.


1



 Finally,
in
their
conception
of
the
‘pax
Romana’,
the
Romans
practiced
the
subversion
of
 language,
employing
a
strategy
of
secrecy
that
replaced
the
truth
with
a
manufactured
 jargon
of
slogans
and
misnomers,
hyperbole
and
self‐serving
versions
of
events.
Overall,
 this
 mixture
 of
 warfare,
 inequality
 of
 wealth,
 slavery,
 mass
 entertainment,
 and
 false
 consciousness
 functioned
 together
 in
 an
 integrated
 fashion
 as
 an
 economic
 and
 social
 system
 to
 support
 the
 power
 structure.
 It
 created
 a
 passive,
 obedient
 population
 that
 was
preoccupied
with
religious
fantasy
and
entertainment
and
could
be
easily
ruled.

 
 PART
TWO:

DID
THE
ROMAN
EMPIRE
CREATE
THE
NEW
TESTAMENT?
 Rome
 was
 skilled
 in
 creating
 propaganda,
 false
 histories
 and
 false
 biographies.
 Could
 they
 have
 created
 the
 Gospels
 in
 order
 to
 give
 the
 Jews
 a
 dead
 pacifistic
 pro‐Roman
 Messiah
to
follow?
It
would
have
fitted
very
well
with
Imperial
strategy
which
needed
to
 find
 a
 way
 of
 quelling
 Jewish
 Messianism.
 To
 find
 the
 answer
 we
 have
 to
 look
 at
 the
 implicit
values
and
imagery
in
the
NT
documents
and
what
they
tell
us
about
the
context
 in
which
they
were
created.
 
 1. Pro
Roman
Values
are
central
to
the
Gospels
and
Epistles

 Whereas
the
authentic
Hebrew
documents
,
the
Dead
Sea
Scrolls,
are
vehemently
anti‐ Roman,
and
want
to
drive
the
Romans
into
the
sea,
that
is
not
the
case
in
the
NT.
In
the
 Letter
 to
 Timothy
 the
 people
 must
 offer
 prayers
 for
 the
 Emperors
 and
 all
 in
 high
 positions
of
authority
so
that
they
may
lead
“a
quiet
and
tranquil
life”
in
all
“piety
and
 dignity”
(1
Tim
2:1‐2).
 
 The
 Gospel
 is
 also
 filled
 with
 pro‐Roman
 values:
 being
 obedient,
 paying
 taxes,
 not
 resisting
enemies,
and
assisting
the
army.
For
instance
“do
not
resist
those
who
are
evil”
 (Mt
5:39),
“if
one
hits
you,
turn
the
other
cheek”
(Mt
5:39),
“love
your
enemies
and
pray
 for
your
persecutors
“(Mt
5:44)
“pay
the
half‐shekel
tax”
(Mt
7:24),“give
to
Caesar
what
 is
Caesars”
(
Mt
27;19‐22)
and
“if
the
soldiers
ask
you
to
carry
their
pack
one
mile,
carry
 it
for
two”
(Mt
5:41).

 
 2. Imagery
from
the
Caesar
cult
underlies
the
NT
documents

 A
hundred
years
ago
Adolf
Deissman
wrote
of
a
“polemical
parallelism
between
the
cult
 of
the
emperor
and
the
cult
of
Christ
where
ancient
words
derived
by
Christianity
from
 the
treasury
of
the
Septuagint
and
the
gospels
happen
to
coincide
with
solemn
concepts
 of
 the
 Imperial
 cult
 which
 sounded
 the
 same
 or
 similar.”
 It
 is
 of
 course
 not
 just
 a
 coincidence
that
the
concepts
that
Paul
is
using
in
his
letters
echo
the
Virtues
in
Roman
 morality
and
the
Imperial
cult.
That
is
where
they
came
from.

 
 The
 Christological
 titles
 of
 “Savior”
 and
 ‘Lord’
 are
 simply
 technical
 terms
 of
 Imperial
 ideology.
So
is
the
expression
‘Son
of
God’
which
is
an
imperial
formula
widely
used
in
 first
 century
 Imperial
 titles.
 So
 are
 descriptions
 
 of
 the
 Emperor
 as
 a
 peacemaker
 and
 pacifier.
 Core
 concepts
 of
 the
 Emperor
 cult
 included
 faith
 (pistis),
 peace
 (eirene)
 ,
 righteousness
 (dikaiosyne),
 hope
 (elpis),
 justice
 (dikaipsyne),
 the
 coming
 (parousia),
 
 2


Savior
 (Soter)
 and
 the
 good
 news
 of
 military
 victory
 or
 gospel
 (evangelion)
 which
 was
 also
the
term
used
for
how
benefits
flowed
from
the
Empire.
Piety,
which
is
eusebia
in
 Greek,
 and
 in
 Latin
 pietas,
 was
 the
 chief
 virtue
 of
 Augustus
 Caesar
 and
 one
 of
 those
 “inscribed”
on
his
shield
of
Virtue.
But
it
was
also
a
major
feature
of
the
Pauline
letters
 to
 get
 the
 populace
 themselves
 to
 take
 on
 the
 ”shield
 of
 faith”
 (Eph
 6;16),
 and
 the
 “breastpiece
of
righteousness”
(Eph
6;14).
 
 Taking
two
examples,
the
introductory
sentence
to
the
Letter
of
Titus
twice
uses
‘faith’
 (pistis)
 and
 the
 other
 terms
 ‘Joy’
 or
 ‘Grace’
 (charis),
 and
 ‘mercy’
 (eleos)
 were
 the
 qualities
that
people
would
seek
from
the
Divine
Caesar
who
would
be
petitioned
‘kyrie
 eleison’
 ‘Lord
 have
 mercy’.
 Both
 grace
 and
 mercy
 were
 also
 Roman
 Virtues,
 namely
 goddesses
associated
with
the
Emperor
cult.
In
Letter
to
the
Colossians
one
of
the
key
 concepts
is
the
Roman
virtue
fides
which
refers
to
good
faith,
reliability,
or
mutual
trust.
 It
was
one
of
the
first
Virtues
to
be
treated
in
Rome
as
an
actual
deity.
So
none
of
these
 are
Jewish
values
taken
from
the
Torah,
they
are
Roman
religious
concepts
which
form
 part
of
the
Caesar
cult.
 
 3. The
Gospels
are
a
Parody
of
Torah
 There
 are
 three
 kinds
 of
 Hebrew
 literature
 against
 which
 the
 gospels
 should
 be
 compared.
Firstly,
at
Yavneh
under
Rabbi
Yohannan
ben
Zakkai
the
Jews
took
a
hundred
 years
 to
 produced
 the
 collection
 of
 sayings
 that
 we
 know
 as
 the
 Mishnah.
 Secondly
 there
 are
 the
 Dead
 Sea
 Scrolls,
 but
 none
 assigns
 halakhot
 to
 individuals
 at
 all.
 In
 the
 Mishnah
very
few
halakhot
and
few
disputes
were
attributed
to
individual
masters
who
 lived
before
70.

 
 Thirdly
 there
 is
 the
 Torah.
 Matthew
 is
 a
 kind
 of
 re‐written
 Torah.
 Far
 from
 being
 a
 naturalistic
 account,
 the
 Gospel
 of
 Matthew
 is
 structured
 into
 five
 books
 like
 an
 alternative
rewritten
Torah.
That
is
why
it
starts
with
an
account
of
Genesis
(1;1‐2;12).
It
 moves
next
to
an
account
of
Exodus
(2;13‐23)
then
includes
passages
about
wilderness
 which
remind
us
of
the
Book
of
Numbers
(3;1‐4;16)
which
Jews
call
the
book
of
‘In
the
 Wilderness’.
 Then
 most
 important
 of
 all,
 there
 is
 a
 Book
 of
 Instruction
 (8;1‐26;1)
 that
 opens
 in
 a
 similar
 way
 to
 how
 Moses
 begins
 the
 Book
 of
 Deuteronomy
 and
 similarly
 comprises
five
sections.
Finally
the
last
book
about
the
passion
story
mirrors
the
Book
of
 Leviticus
which
is
about
sacrifice
and
atonement
(23;34‐.28;16).
Each
of
the
five
books
 of
the
Torah
has
their
specific
parallels
in
Matthew
and
typology
is
used
to
construct
the
 events
in
the
life
of
Jesus.
Although
some
of
the
Dead
Sea
Scrolls
do
rewrite
Torah
they
 do
not
do
so
in
order
to
replace
Torah.
But
that
is
what
Matthew
does.
Matthew
also
 parodies
 the
 Torah
 and
 does
 not
 treat
 it
 with
 reverence.
 And
 whereas
 
 the
 focus
 of
 Torah
is
on
the
history
of
the
people
Israel,
the
focus
in
Matthew
is
on
one
individual.

 
 4. The
Gospels
and
Graeco‐Roman
Literary
Forms
 Matthew
uses
Torah
to
create
a
kind
of
biography.
The
gospels
have
some
resemblance
 to
 Plutarch’s
 fictional
 ‘biography’
 of
 Hercules,
 the
 fictional
 biography
 of
 Heraclitus
 by


3


Digenes
Laertius
or
the
fictional
divine
biographies
that
were
created
by
the
cults
of
the
 gods
Dionysius
and
Asclepius.
None
of
these
were
Jewish.

 
 Matthew
 also
 uses
 many
 pronouncement
 stories
 which
 were
 rarely
 used
 in
 Hebrew
 literature
 but
 were
 very
 popular
 in
 Greek
 biography.
 The
 Greek
 biographer
 Diogenes
 Laertius
 used
 an
 average
 of
 6
 such
 stories
 in
 each
 of
 his
 biographies
 of
 famous
 sages.
 Matthew
 however
 uses
 an
 enormous
 number,
 32
 such
 stories.
 Many
 of
 the
 sayings
 attributed
 to
 Jesus
 are
 derived
 from
 classical
 philosophers.
 For
 instance
 when
 Jesus
 is
 asked
why
he
and
the
disciples
eat
with
unwashed
hands,
he
replies
that
it
is
not
what
 goes
 into
 a
 person
 but
 what
 comes
 out
 of
 them
 that
 makes
 them
 unclean.
 Similarly
 when
people
reproached
Diogenes
for
going
to
unclean
places
he
replied
that
the
sun
 can
shine
into
a
toilet
without
being
contaminated.

 
 
 The
gospels
are
also
similar
to
the
tragedies
of
Euripides
as
transformed
by
Seneca
into
 Latin
 tragedy.
 One
can
point
 to
 a
 number
of
examples
 but
they
 become
 most
 clear
in
 Gospel
of
Mark
.
There,
John
the
Baptist
plays
a
role
in
introducing
the
plot
very
similar
 to
that
in
a
Greek
or
Roman
tragedy.
The
accounts
of
the
resurrection
are
similar
to
a
 deus
ex
machina
(god
out
of
the
machine)
which
is
found
in
two
thirds
of
the
plays
of
 Euripides.
In
Aclestis
for
instance,
Hercules
appears
to
bring
Aclestis
back
to
life.
There
 are
also
specific
similarities
to
the
Seneca‐like
Octavia,
which
features
the
resurrection
 appearance
 of
 a
 ghost
 of
 Agrippa.
 Perhaps
 the
 most
 similar
 play
 to
 the
 Gospels
 is
 Seneca’s
Hercules
Oetaeus.
In
this
play
Hercules
has
overcome
his
labors
in
the
world,
 washes
away
his
guilt
in
the
river
and
cleanses
his
hands
like
in
the
Gospel
accounts
of
 Jesus’
 baptism
 and
 of
 Pilate
 cleansing
 his
 hands.
 Then
 Hercules
 goes
 to
 heaven,
 from
 which
 he
 speaks
 to
 the
 audience,
 his
 form
 taking
 shape
 in
 the
 air
 as
 he
 tells
 the
 audience
 that
 hell
 has
 been
 conquered.
 The
 chorus
 closes
 asking
 Hercules
 as
 “peace
 bringer
to
the
world”
to
still
be
with
us.
The
portents
at
his
death
are
similar
to
those
at
 the
depiction
of
the
death
of
Jesus.
 
 But
though
Matthew
is
based
on
the
Hebrew
epic,
the
Torah,
that
is
not
so
true
of
the
 other
 gospels
 which
 use
 other
 literary
 structures.
 It
 was
 rewritten
 using
 the
 model
 of
 Homer
as
the
gospel
of
Mark
and
then
rewritten
again
using
the
model
of
the
Aeneid
as
 Luke‐Acts.
 Much
 of
 the
 gospels
 describe
 fantastic
 miracles.
 In
 some
 cases
 these
 resemble
Roman
 fantasy
literature.
In
 other
cases
they
 resemble
Imperial
propaganda
 about
 the
 miracles
 performed
 by
 the
 Emperor,
 for
 instance
 Vespasian’s
 healing
 of
 a
 man’s
sight
with
spittle.

 
 The
 
 Jewish
 people
 knew
 that
 the
 Gospels
 were
 not
 authentic
 Jewish
 accounts
 of
 a
 divine
 event,
 because
 they
 gave
 them
 no
 credence,
 instructed
 other
 Jews
 not
 to
 read
 hem,
and
refused
to
follow
Jesus.
Indeed
yhey
participated
yn
hundreds
of
debates
and
 disputations
in
an
attempt
to
show
Christians
the
error
of
their
beliefs.

Unfortunately
 these
were
all
in
vain.
 
 
 4


5. First
Christian
HQ;
The
Catacombs
of
Flavia
Domitilla
 The
 earliest
 archaeological
 evidence
 of
 the
 Jesus
 cult
 comes
 from
 Rome
 in
 the
 70sCE,
 namely
 the
 catacombs
 of
 Titus
 Caesar’s
 cousin
 Flavia
 Domitilla,
 where
 Titus
 Caesar’s
 brother
 Flavius
 Sabinus,
 and
 his
 sister
 Titania
 were
 buried.
 These
 catacombs
 lie
 underneath
Domitilla’s
family
mansion
on
the
Via
Argentina.
The
question
this
raises
is
 what
is
the
relationship
between
the
formation
of
Christianity
and
the
Flavian
Caesars.
A
 connection
between
the
Flavian
Emperors
and
the
commissioning
of
the
Gospel
of
Mark
 has
 already
 been
 suggested
 by
 at
 least
 two
 scholars.
 Dungan
 described
 this
 Gospel
 as
 possibly
being
composed
“under
the
direct
encouragement
of
certain
members
of
the
 Flavian
household.”
Agnew
even
suggested
that
“Mark
wrote
it
for
presentation
to
the
 Imperial
family”.
Recent
research
suggests
the
relationship
was
even
closer.
 
 6. The
Gospels
were
created
in
parallel
to
Josephus
 The
 central
 literary
 character
 of
 the
 gospels,
 called
 Jesus,
 inhabits
 a
 plot
 with
 various
 peculiar
features:
he
begins
his
efforts
by
the
Lake
of
Galilee;
sends
a
legion
of
devils
out
 of
a
demon‐possessed
man
and
into
pigs;
offers
his
flesh
to
be
eaten;
mentions
signs
of
 the
destruction
of
Jerusalem;
in
Gethsemane
a
naked
man
escapes;
Jesus
is
captured
at
 Gethsemane
 on
 the
 Mount
 of
 Olives;
 Simon
 denies
 knowing
 him;
 he
 is
 crucified
 with
 two
other
men
and
only
he
survives;
he
is
taken
down
from
the
cross
by
a
man
called
 Joseph
of
Arimathea;
his
disciple
John
survives
but
his
disciple
Simon
is
sent
off
to
die
in
 Rome;
 after
 his
 death
 his
 disciple
 Judas
 dies
 by
 eviscerating
 himself.
 Each
 of
 these
 peculiar
events
has
a
parallel
in
the
writings
of
Josephus,
our
main
record
of
the
military
 encounter
 between
 the
 Judeans
 and
 their
 Roman
 conquerors‐even
 to
 the
 unusual
 crucifixion
in
which
three
men
are
crucified,
and
a
man
named
Joseph
takes
one,
who
 survives,
down.

 Events
at
the
Lake
of
Galilee
launch
the
Judean
careers
of
both
Titus
and
Jesus.
There
 Jesus
 called
 his
 disciples
 to
 be
 'fishers
 of
 men'.
 There
 the
 Roman
 battle
 took
 place
 in
 which
Titus
attacked
a
band
of
Jewish
rebels
led
by
a
leader
named
Jesus.
The
rebels
fell
 into
 the
 water
 and
 those
 who
 were
 not
 killed
 by
 darts
 "attempted
 to
 swim
 to
 their
 enemies,
the
Romans
cut
off
either
their
heads
or
their
hands"
(Jewish
War
III,
10).
Men
 were
indeed
pulled
out
of
the
water
like
fish.
As
for
the
episode
of
the
Gadarene
swine‐ in
which
demons
leave
a
Gadara
demoniac
at
Jesus'
bidding
and
then
enter
into
a
herd
 of
 2,000
 swine,
 which
 rush
 wildly
 into
 the
 lake
 and
 drown‐‐‐Josephus
 recounts
 the
 Roman
campaign
in
which
Vespasian
marched
against
Gadara.
In
the
same
way
that
the
 demons
 were
 concentrated
 in
 one
 demoniac,
 Josephus
 describes
 the
 faults
 of
 all
 the
 rebels
being
concentrated
in
the
one
head
of
the
rebel
leader
John.
Then,
rushing
about
 "like
the
wildest
of
wild
beasts,"
the
2000
rebels
rushed
over
the
cliff
and
drowned.
To
 take
yet
another
example,
Josephus
describes
how
Titus
went
out
without
his
armor
in
 the
garden
of
Gethsemane,
was
nearly
caught
and
had
to
flee.
The
parallel
in
the
gospel
 of
Mark
is
a
naked
young
man
who
appears

in
the
Garden
of
Gethsemane
and
flees.
 So
 far
 over
 dozen
 of
 these
 parallels
 have
 been
 identified
 over
 a
 period
 of
 a
 century.
 More
recently
Atwill
has
identified
the
overall
pattern,
showing
the
pattern
in
Josephus
 
 5


to
 correspond
 with
 the
 pattern
 in
 the
 gospels.
 This
 fulfills
 the
 criterion
 for
 'good'
 parallels
namely
that
"patterns
of
parallels
are
more
important
than
individual
parallels"
 and
 "the
 larger
 and
 more
 complex
 the
 pattern
 of
 parallels,
 the
 more
 we
 should
 take
 them
 seriously."
 It
 suggests
 these
 parallels
 were
 created
 as
 a
 sequence
 through
 a
 deliberate
 literary
 strategy
 employing
 allegorical
 typology.
 
 Since
 it
 is
 impossible
 to
 imagine
that
for
their
official
war
history

the
Romans
would
have
invented
accounts
of
 battles
 taking
 place
 in
 locations
 marked
 50
 years
 earlier
 by
 the
 ministry
 of
 Jesus,
 we
 need
an
alternative
explanation,
of
which
there
is
really
only
one.
The
Gospels
began
to
 be
 written
 in
 the
 late
 80s
 CE,
 about
 the
 same
 time
 as
 Josephus'
 The
 Jewish
 War.
 Key
 events
 in
 the
 life
 of
 Jesus
 were
 invented
 as
 literary
 satires
 of
 the
 Roman
 battles,
 ambushes,
 crucifixions,
 cannibalisms,
 etc.,
 in
 the
 military
 campaign
 of
 Titus
 Caesar,
 as
 recounted
in
Josephus.
Rather
than
different
communities
separated
in
time
and
space
 writing
 the
 NT
 Gospels,
 either
 as
 eye‐witness
 accounts
 or
 based
 on
 oral
 tradition,
 the
 three
Synoptic
gospels
were
written
as
a
single
co‐ordinated
literary
undertaking‐‐‐most
 probably
 at
 the
 Imperial
 Court.
 The
 Jews
 who
 ended
 up
 following
 the
 false
 Messianic
 literary
character
'Jesus'
would,
unbeknownst
to
them,
really
be
worshipping
an
allegory
 for
Caesar.
 Overall
this
research
suggests
that
the
gospels
were
deliberately
created
as
a
parody
of
 Jewish
literature,
by
members
of
the
Roman
Court,
as
part
of
a
covert
campaign
of
war
 propaganda
 designed
 to
 persuade
 the
 Jews
 to
 worship
 Caesar.
 It
 suggests
 that
 there
 was
no
historical
figure
Jesus
but
that
he
is
entirely
a
literary
character.
It
suggests
that
 the
values
of
pacifism
and
support
for
the
Roman
military
exist
in
the
gospels
because
 the
Romans
put
them
there.
It
suggests
that
Christianity
was
created,
like
other
Roman
 religions,
 as
 a
 way
 of
 manipulating
 the
 masses,
 as
 a
 kind
 of
 satirical
 purge
 of
 Jewish
 consciousness,
 and
 to
 keep
 the
 existing
 power
 structure
 in
 place
 by
 preventing
 rebellion.
 PART
THREE:
IMPLICATIONS
FOR
TODAY
 Today
 the
 Roman
 Empire
 is
 being
 replicated
 In
 America.
 Under
 the
 Neo‐Conservative
 ‘Pax
 Americana’,
 the
 dominant
 forms
 of
 Christianity
 continue
 to
 support
 a
 power
 structure
 characterized
 by
 a
 militarized
 State,
 incessant
 warfare,
 the
 stereo‐typing
 of
 members
 of
 other
 religions,
 and
 a
 massive
 inequality
 in
 the
 distribution
 of
 wealth.
 Corporations
 and
 special
 interests
 control
 the
 Senate,
 
 Congress
 and
 Government
 officials,
 
 and
 over
 80%
 of
 the
 mass
 media
 are
 owned
 by
 a
 handful
 of
 multinational
 corporations.
Those
media,
especially
tv
‘news’
and
talk
radio,
seem
to
foster
a
kind
of
 propaganda,
 which
 usurps
 genuine
 social
 ties
 and
 promotes
 a
 kind
 of
 intellectual
 passivity.
 This
intellectual
passivity
and
lack
of
critical
thinking
is
especially
prevalent
among
the
 Religious
 Right.
 As
 Mark
 Noll
 notes
 in
 his
 book
 The
 Scandal
 of
 the
 Evangelical
 Mind,
 there
 are
 substantial
 barriers
 to
 “careful
 and
 constructive
 thinking”
 in
 the
 Evangelical


6


churches
 and
 in
 their
 Neo‐Conservative
 allies.
 Their
 thinking
 is
 full
 of
 appeals
 to
 authority,
 assertions,
 generalities,
 over‐simplifications
 and
 authoritarian
 threats
 of
 social
 disapproval.
 The
 religion
 is
 sloganized
 and
 feeds
 into
 endless
 apocalyptic
 speculation
which
demonizes
opponents
and
does
not
engage
in
critical
thought.
Yet
as
 a
 voting
 bloc
 the
 Religious
 Right
 has
 also
 been
 extremely
 significant
 in
 supporting
 the
 Neo‐Conservatives
in
actively
promoting
militarization
and
especially
war
in
the
Middle
 East,
in
the
hope
that
this
will
bring
about
Armageddon.

 A
belief
that
the
world
is
about
to
end
in
one’s
own
lifetime,
and
that
the
Messiah
will
 return,
prevents
people
from
taking
actions
that
will
improve
society
here
and
now.
It
 prevents
 people
 from
 pressuring
 Government
 to
 remedy
 injustices
 of
 wealth,
 because
 these
will
be
corrected
in
heaven
and
through
prayer.
A
Gallup
poll
in
2004
found,
61
 per
 cent
 of
 the
 US
 population
 believe
 that
 "religion
 can
 answer
 all
 or
 most
 of
 today's
 problems."
 On
 this
 logic,
 the
 only
 action
 needed
 is
 further
 evangelism.
 Any
 possible
 energy
 that
 might
 have
 been
 devoted
 to
 social
 or
 political
 change
 is
 channeled
 into
 religious
expansionism.
To
change
that
situation,
it
would
have
to
be
entirely
reframed.
 However,
Right‐wing
media
promote
the
idea
that
there
is
no
alternative
to
the
status
 quo
and
the
pacifist
values
of
the
gospels
create
a
culture
of
passive
acquiescence
and
a
 lack
of
social
critique.
Because
of
the
underlying
pro‐war
assumptions,
it
is
considered
 ethical
to
spend
hundreds
of
billions
of
dollars
in
war,
which
could
have
gone
towards
 education
 and
 social
 services
 or
 a
 better
 standard
 of
 living.
 For
 instance
 in
 2008
 cuts
 were
 made
 to
 social
 programs
 such
 as
 housing
 assistance
 for
 low
 income
 seniors
 and
 home
heating
assistance
for
those
on
low
incomes
in
order
to
fund
additional
billions
for
 the
military
budget.
 Finally,
the
misuse
of
language
that
the
Romans
pioneered
is
endemic
in
a
society
that
is
 constantly
 marketing
 propaganda.
 Political
 causes
 are
 packaged
 and
 branded
 with
 names
 that
 often
 are
 completely
 the
 opposite
 of
 what
 they
 will
 actually
 achieve,
 in
 a
 kind
of
Orwellian
double‐speak.
Although
classical
rhetoric
had
categories
for
persuasive
 speech,
 in
 today’s
 world
 language
 becomes
 a
 suspect
 vehicle
 for
 deceit
 and
 manipulation.

 These
ways
of
seeing,
these
‘frames’
as
Lakoff
would
put
it,

which
underlie
American
 Christianity,
are
replicating
a
version
of
Roman
Imperialism.
Like
Rome,
America
is
the
 largest
global
power.
Like
Rome
it
is
arrogant
and
believes
it
is
doing
the
will
of
God,
and
 that
through
"full
spectrum
dominance"
it
should
impose
its
values
and
beliefs
on
the
 rest
of
the
world
and
should
do
so
by
military
force,
by
torture
and
divine
right.
It
seems
 from
this
review
that
Christianity
is
not
part
of
the
solution
to
the
social
and
economic
 problems
 that
 face
 America
 today,
 but
 rather
 that
 it
 is
 one
 of
 the
 prime
 causes.
 As
 a
 system
of
ideas,
through
the
deep
underlying
assumptions
and
logics
of
its
worldview,
 Christianity
is
colluding
with,
and
sometimes
actively
constructing,
the
Empire
which
it
 was
created
to
support.


7


Is
it
possible
to
change
this
situation
?
Although
this
understanding
of
the
origins
of
the
 gospel‐‐and
 its
 social
 impact‐‐is
 more
 acute
 than
 previous
 work
 by
 writers
 like
 D.
 F.
 Strauss
 and
 Bultmann
 who
 revealed
 the
 mythical
 and
 non
 historic
 materials
 in
 the
 gospels
there
is
no
reason
to
suppose
that
it
will
have
any
greater
impact.
Marginal
and
 challenging
 theological
 perspectives
 are
 easy
 to
 ignore,
 especially
 any
 that
 require
 people
 to
 engage
 in
 complex
 analysis.
 In
 our
 visually
 orientated
 culture
 such
 an
 invitation
is
simply
uninviting.
As
a
social
intervention
it
simply
will
not
have
any
impact
 on
 a
 change
 project
 as
 vast
 as
 the
 need
 to
 begin
 reversing
 Federal
 spending
 priorities
 and
dismantling
the
American
Empire.

If
however
a
set
of
material
could
be
distributed,
 commoditized
and
internalized,
and
could
then
be
‘exploded’
to
reveal
the
true
nature
 of
Christianity
,
then
this
might
potentially

have
an
impact
on
the
Religious
Right.
That
 might
 in
 turn
 have
 a
 knock
 on
 effect
 on
 the
 entire
 system
 which
 is
 coming
 under
 increasing
 strain
 as
 military
 spend
 causes
 massive
 indebtness,
 and
 by
 having
 diverted
 investment
 away
 from
 more
 productive
 deployment,
 causes
 job
 losses
 and
 slowing
 economic
growth.


 There
is
now
an
opportunity
to
test
one
possibility
of
using
an
ideological
approach
to
 promote
 a
 re‐evaluation
 of
 Christianity.
 The
 plays
 
 of
 Shakespeare
 have
 recently
 been
 shown
 contain
 a
 system
 of
 Jewish
 allegorical
 structures
 which
 recount
 a
 new
 story
 of
 how
 Christianity
 was
 created.
 Moreover
 as
 several
 demonstrations
 by
 the
 Dark
 Lady
 Players
 have
 shown,
 these
 allegorical
 structures
 can
 be
 depicted
 on‐stage
 ‐‐‐the
 Company’s
current
work
demonstrates
that
Hamlet
is
an
allegorical
comic
parody
of
the
 Book
of
Revelation.

 The
 message
 of
 the
 allegorical
 levels
 in
 the
 plays
 should
 in
 itself
 be
 shocking
 and
 disorientating—especially
 the
 comic
 parodies
 of
 the
 crucifixion
 such
 as
 the
 death
 of
 Bottom/Pyramus.
 Since
 in
 addition
 it
 appears
 the
 plays
 were
 co‐authored
 by
 the
 dark
 skinned
woman
who
was
England’s
only
Jewish
poet,
if
it
could
be
correctly
positioned
 this
 work
 might
 possibly
 promote
 a
 process
 of
 rethinking
 and
 re‐framing.
 
 So
 far,
 the
 limited
audience
feedback
suggests
that
these
productions
have
potential
for
enabling
 people
 to
 rethink
 their
 basic
 assumptions
 about
 the
 play
 and
 the
 material
 
 it
 is
 parodying.
This
possibility
deserves
in
depth
exploration.
 John
Hudson
 www.darkladyplayers.com


8


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