MARIA JANNA: Hi Seamus, I think that you are mistaken in the way you apply Carotta's unquestionable findings

. You occupy one of the polar positions, which have been outlined in the Introduction to Carotta's book. It's the view of the atheist, who after reading Carotta now feels impelled to proclaim: "Haha! See? Told you! Jesus never existed!". But this is only applicable for the literary figure interpreted as the Jewish itinerant preacher from Galilee, the character the world at the moment assigns the name "Yeshua of Nazareth", the character everyone has been searching for in vain, the character that Benedict XVI has written an insignificant book about. Until now this character from the Gospel has not been proven to have had a historical existence, and even without Carotta we can safely say that there's a 99% chance that "Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth" never existed. But in the age AC ("after Carotta") everyone, including atheists, scholars, believers etc. needs to make the paradigm shift toward Romanocentrism, away from Palestine. And there are no buts about it: Carotta clearly shows that there *was* a historical person behind the Gospel-character called *Jesus*, namely Julius Caesar. Carotta clearly shows that the god we know as "Jesus Christ" is a transformation of the Divus Iulius, similar to what happened with the Iranian world colossus, who influenced Mithras, who in turn had an effect on Sol to evolve into Sol Invictus. Carotta furthermore clearly shows that every single bit and piece in the Gospel is based on historical fact, with the qualification that it can only have happened elsewhere at a different time in history. We are dealing with a *diegetic transposition*. Sure, Joyce's "Ulysses" is a work of fiction—like "Jesus" his main character never existed!—, but his novel is a diegetic transposition of an ancient source on the life of Odysseus, who was a historical person, although his life was probably a bit different from what we read in Homer's "Odyssee". Same here, with the difference that not thousands of years, but only a few generations lie between the writing of the Ur-Gospel, the "Historiae" by Asinius Pollio, ca. in 32 BC, and the formation of the first "gospely" Gospel under Flavian rule. So if everything in the Gospel happened as historical fact, albeit at a different place and time, why should this harm Christianity in any way? It may change Christianity—even fundamentally so, because after all Carotta has for the first time revealed the historical *fundament* of this religion—, and many Christians could be alienated, but in the long run this new-found basis can only mean a strengthening of the religion. The house built on sand is now gone. So I do not accept your notion that "Jesus" never existed. He did: his name was Julius Caesar. The people baaing "Jesus said" from the pulpit are not farcical, because they are talking about the things Caesar said. There are problems however: since the New Testament is a diegetic transposition, some words are completely corrupted, some words of Caesar are now spoken by others (like the blind man < CAECVS < CAESAR), and some words uttered by Christ do not even originate with Caesar, but with other people close to him, even his enemies like Pompeius. An example is: "who is not on any side is on my side", which is 100% Caesar and therefore 100% Christ. A different account in the Bible text (but not in every gospel) has Christ saying "who is not with me, is against me [i.e. is my enemy]", which is contradictory to the former saying, but completely explicable if traced back to Pompeius and a transpositional error. By tracing events and sayings in the Gospel back to their original sources, Christians can now ascertain, which is the correct "Christian" utterance, the real-life event behind certain passages. So it's not the time to say good-bye to Christianity, but to engage in a new, historically correct exegesis. But you are right: we have to put truth over faith, history over belief, reason over religion, historical sources over hagiography. But since the

hagiography of Jesus is the basis of the Christian faith, and will in all probability remain so, it must either be rewritten and corrected, stripped down or at least be interpreted according to the original sources on Caesar. Or the Gospel needs a synoptical arrangement vis-a-vis of the original sources, including a substantiated commentary. This should be the basis for those sermons from the pulpit. It would be a wonderful thing: the Enlightenment finally entering the churches! One has to see it as the beginning of an evolutionary process, not as an annihilation. In terms of your examples that I've answered (Resurrection, Last Supper, Walking on water etc.) I stand with what I wrote: they are all anchored in history, the history of *Caesar* that is. The only thing necessary is to make the connection. If Christians don't do that, they are lost and remain without fundament, left in their slim existence with faith alone. So naturally I stand with what I wrote, because it's a logical consequence of realizing that the historical Jesus was Caesar. There is one little exception however, and that's the immaculate conception. You seem to be an intelligent person, and I noticed right away that you noticed that the argument there was (to say the least) a bit messy. (^_^) And I can tell you why: the immaculate conception is (a) originally a maculate conception which was only reinterpreted as immaculate, and (b) although there was a historical incident where it was all said to have happened, the concept of "immaculate conception" and virgin birth from divine conception was from the very beginning a concept of faith and belief, the ancient Roman faith, a legend told about the supernatural birth of the Son of God and God from God Augustus. If anyone in the age AC will still care about Christ, one would then maybe need to separate the wheat from the chaff. It would mean that the virgin birth has got to go, the immaculate conception has got to go, the Trinity with father & son has got to go in favor of the currently inofficial mother/son/spirit-trinity, the Nativity has got to go (but not necessarily Christmas) etc. pp.. That would be the most radical approach, and since I'm not a huge fan of Augustus, I would not oppose such actions, if they're done wisely. But the problem is that Christianity only exists, because the cult of Divus Iulius didn't perish in the new conflicts after Caesar's death. And it's Augustus victory that anchored the cult as the blueprint for the imperial cult. It's Augustus who has to given the credit, even if it meant changing the Caesarian guise of the new religion to correspond with his new vision of Roma resurgens and Augustan empire and principate. And although I hate his guts, Christians have got to bite the bullet that there's a brutal and ruthless tyrant and murderer called Augustus at the heart of Christianity's origin. So discarding everything, even the Augustan parts, might not be the best thing. But in any case I'm with you on the quest for historical truth and propagation of an "open liberal and informed mentality". This is the most important thing of all, but you have to realize that religious belief and faith alone usually clouds every spark of scientific pursuits. But since you're an atheist I guess this is no news for you. But when people only make these pursuits in order to destroy the religions and send the gods into oblivion, they have to expect all the wrath I can possibly muster, because science and knowledge must result in changing and modernizing religions, not their destruction. We have to realize who the gods are, who they were as humans, as political rulers, ancient heroes, gods in the flesh, and what religions actually mean. If religions will actually vanish one day, they must do so on their own. First priority should be to try to save and improve them, because they are part of everyone's heritage, even if one's an atheist. In closing I can only say that as a Catholic Carotta's book has not hurt me at all. On the contrary: it has had a profound healing effect. But it's not because of new faith—I've never been much of a "faith-person": I'm strictly against any metaphysical conjectures, and I see my religion only as a form of social obligation, of loyalty by oath and of ritual and traditions. So it's not about

faith, but about *fides* and deeper knowledge, including knowledge *about* the faith and its origins, including an acquisition of a much deeper respect for religion, because after all, none of them are based on lies but on historical truth, even if it means that Jesus is actually Divus Iulius, even if it means that all religions originate from and also define themselves through conflict, war and violence. Saying it's all only a lie, is wrong, because religions always evolve over time. Even the gods evolve and have a half-life. Divus Iulius "decayed" shortly after Constantine, i.e. he transformed into Christus, who is kinda like his "religious daugther nuclide". The "religious radiation" emitted in this long process at certain times triggered new decay- and transformation-processes: the imperial cult, Marcion, heretic Christians, Gnostic churches, Islam, later the Reformation etc.. But that doesn't mean that Christianity or any of these religions is a lie. It's the nature of things. With greetings, MJ