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Fulvius de Boer, Criticism of Anton van Hooff “Was Jezus inderdaad Caesar?

”, 2008 (April 18), online, in: Marc van Zoggel’s blog

Copy published on scribd:

Translated from Dutch by Maria Janna (with notes and minor edits; in defense of Francesco Carotta, Jesus was Caesar – On the Julian Origin of Christianity, Kirchzarten, 1988-1999 / München, 1999 / Soesterberg, 2005)

Anton van Hooff is Francesco Carotta’s best agent and solicitor. Nobody else has dedicated so many articles and broadcasts to the Italian scientist. Unremitting as always van Hooff attacks Carotta again and again, ignoring the saying by Salvador Dalí: “They shall speak of me, and if they say good things!”1 So now he believes to be able to demonstrate that Carotta’s research is pseudoscience, which would of course be

1. NOTA BENE (Maria Janna) : As I have been told by usually well-informed circles, van Hooff actually assumes that Carotta is correct [!], but nonetheless has decided to attack him for two reasons: First of all he is driven by an old feud against Jan van Friesland and Paul Cliteur, which dates back to a time when the two had been working for the television format Buitenhof, a highly influential political talk show on Nederland 1, van Friesland as director of programming and Cliteur as a columnist. In this talk show van Hooff acted as an involuntary comedian by demanding the same naturalization procedure for his Baltic mistress as the one that Princess Maxima had been granted! He even asked to be addressed as a ‘professor’, which he had never been, unlike Paul Cliteur, a factor that turned out to be the source of much of his envy: Since then Cliteur and van Friesland have been the real targets of van Hooff’s assaults, because they endorsed Carotta’s research and took his conclusions seriously, which indeed left van Hooff stranded on air, because initially he thought the topic “Jesus was Caesar” to be another joke that jesters like him would be obliged to ridicule. Since this moment of public disgrace he has mostly been criticizing Carotta in order to attack van Friesland and Cliteur. His criticism of Carotta therefore only serves an instrumental function, and is not part of an honorable and serious scientific contribution to the matter in hand. Secondly van Hooff thinks that Carotta’s conclusions on the Roman origins of Christianity will eventually become widely accepted, and that therefore he sees a chance to distinguish himself as Carotta’s opponent, to float on top of Carotta’s future scientific success like grease drops in a soup. His stubborn, hollow critiques and the stalwart iteration of ever the same trite and threadbare cant would only makes sense, if van Hooff is planning to start a late career as Carotta’s parasite.

interesting: One is always curious about his evidence—and always disappointed, because he delivers none. To advocate himself as a real scientist, the critic tells us in detail, which questions, problems and authors he is concerned with. We now expect him to mention many scientists, but without avail: He rather mentions Dan Brown with his novel The Da Vinci Code, Immanuel Velikovsky with Worlds in Collision and Erich von Däniken with The Gods Were Astronauts. He describes them as descendants of Heinrich Schliemann, who is supposed to be responsible for Carotta’s existence, because he had “embarrassed official science with his spectacular excavation of Troy”.2 But there is no connection between the above-mentioned authors of fiction and the linguistic work of Carotta: Dan Brown is an author of novels, i.e. declared fiction, Velikovsky speaks about “Worlds in Collision”, not ‘Words in Collision’—which would be a reasonable parallel, because Carotta shows precisely, how words in a multi-lingual context change in the process of tradition—, and von Däniken could only be consulted, if Julius Caesar had been an astronaut. So one has to assume that the connection lies in the fact that they were all successful, which (as the reverse assumption) is supposed to mean that only economic failure guarantees scientific respectability and seriousness. The most serious and qualified are of course those, who have never published anything—like van Hooff, whose scientific publications we would search for without avail in bookstores and libraries.3 So there is no

2. van Hooff (v.H.): “[…] de officiële wetenschap beschaamd heeft door zijn spectaculaire opgraving van Troje […]” 3. N.B.: Apparently there are a few older, unvalued and unreviewed publications attributed to a person named Anton J. L. van Hooff, including a book on suicide in antiquity. Tommie Hendriks, author of the convincing Rouw en Razernij om Caesar (Aspekt, Utrecht/Soesterberg, 2008), which is a meticulous (re)assessment of the short period from Caesar’s murder to his funeral, once directed me to an Anti-Caesarian pamphlet written by van Hooff, in which he praised Caesar’s murderer Marcus Iunius Brutus, going as far as applauding parents who name their children Brutus (Eng.: “dull”, “stupid”, “brute”; “irrational”, “insensitive”, “brutish”). On scientific aspects van Hooff has consistently remained unscientific, independent of his real agenda and motivation. While ancient partisanships are still (and regrettably) often reflected in today’s science community, in this case as scholars leaning either toward the Caesarian or the Anti-Caesarian camp, van Hooff’s prejudiced polemics go far beyond the entrenchments of conservative pundits and have reached unscientific and open hostility far too often, now primarily directed against Carotta and his affiliates, ever since Carotta’s book became known to the broader public in the Netherlands. So I suggest that van Hooff take to heart the enigmatic examples of his ἡµίθεος IOY∆AC—pardon me, not Judas, but of course IOYNAC, i.e. “Junas”, Greek for Iunius Brutus—and of other ancient persons like Cato Uticensis, who surely are prominent objects of his studia suicidiorum antiquorum, and follow them on their honorable and (in van Hooff’s view) laudable path of αυτοθανατος. His epitaph will read: HIC IACIT NOVISSIMVS BRVTVS · VT VIXIT ITA OBIIT.

danger that he will one day discover Troy. Supposedly Schliemann wasn’t qualified either. He had only studied at the Sorbonne—the poor guy!—and had earned his doctorate degree only at the University of Rostock. These must be extremely inferior universities, because van Hooff is not a fellow there. But Carotta is even worse, because he only received his diploma as industrial engineer in Italy, his Licence-ès Lettres en Philosophie only at the University of Dijon, and he has been state-certified as interpreter and translator only by the German federal state of Hesse. In the documentary film4 we hear him communicate and/or work in seven languages: German, Italian, Spanish, French and English, next to Latin and ancient Greek, furthermore with understanding of classical Arabic. How many of those languages does van Hooff master—flawlessly? In all seriousness this critic once purported that Sulla’s partisans were called ‘Sulliani’—the correct term is Sullani, as every student knows (v.i.)—, which at least shows that this “classicus” is not even proficient in the Latin language. Concerning his Greek capabilities, we’ve heard from his students that he isn’t even able to order ice cream in Athens. He calls the notion “that Jesus was really Caesar” a priori “evident nonsense”, as if anything in sciences were “evident”, before it’s investigated. He had “shrugged it off”, but unfortunately there were unreasonable people, who read Carotta’s book against van Hooff’s recommendation and have actually reached a different opinion than he had—which is of course a “shame”.5 Therefore he has to march onto the battlefield again, which makes him appear like a stubborn “Don Quixote”.6 And how outrageous, there is now even a documentary feature film, the press preview screening of which van Hooff apparently hasn’t attended. The detailed list of the various editions and translations of Carotta’s book [at the end of van Hooff’s article] are supposed to pretend that he has actually read all of them. In any case, thank you for the list and the publication dates. However, he has forgotten the Spanish edition, but
4. N.B.: The Gospel of Caesar (2007/2008; 115 min.; documentary feature film on Francesco Carotta’s research; Dutch title: Het Evangelie van Caesar ; Spanish title: El Evangelio de César); director : Jan van Friesland; producers : Van Friesland Filmproducties / VARA / CoBo Fonds; writers : Jan van Friesland (based on Francesco Carotta’s book); official website : http:/ / / IMDb entry : 5. v.H.: “Dat Jezus eigenlijk Caesar was […] evidente apekool […] schouders hebben opgehaald […] schande […]” 6. Thomas von der Dunk’s letter to the editor on Anton van Hooff’s grim crusade against Carotta’s research, in: NRC Handelsblad, December 9/10, 2006

that doesn’t really matter, because he won’t read it either.7 He doesn’t read Carotta in any language. It’s enough to just write about it. But he has detected the blurb—at least that! And there is i.a. a quote from a German newspaper. It must be laudatory, because he criticizes that it’s not from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung or Die Zeit, but from the Berliner Tageszeitung. Tough luck for him: It’s not from the Berliner Tageszeitung, but from the taz – die tageszeitung, a small, but very renowned newspaper, which is often quoted as a trend-setter by the journalists of the German ‘big press’. With this embarrassing blunder van Hooff has distinguished himself as a great connoisseur of the German media landscape. In the meantime van Hooff, our self-appointed scientific censor, has turned ad hominem and now tries to discredit the consultants and peer reviewers of Carotta’s book: Erika Simon is a “renowned archaeologist”—this is indeed the case: She was i.a. awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit!—, but she is “elderly”.8 However, when she wrote the afterword to War Jesus Caesar? 9 almost ten years ago, she was of about the same age as van Hooff today. Thus, if he’s using this remark to suggest that an “elderly” woman is automatically senile, it will backfire on himself. It is however plausible that he talked to her: He obviously harasses everyone, who speaks favorably about Carotta’s research. He states himself that Paul Cliteur called him a “stalker” (v.i.). This fits in. But this time he has obviously still not achieved what he is always trying to enforce, namely that the people he harrasses should distance themselves from Carotta. So he is only able to report that some details in the book are not conclusive on their own. But what else would they be? Details only make sense in a given context. If both Pompeius and John the Baptist hadn’t been benefactor and rival respectively of their particular lords [Caesar and

7. N.B.: Apparently van Hooff has also not read any of Carotta’s lectures, e.g. the one he held as a member of Antonio Piñero’s symposium Did Jesus Really Exist? for the University Complutense at the Escorial, Madrid: Francesco Carotta, “The Gospels as Diegetic Transposition: A Possible Solution to the Aporia ‘Did Jesus Exist?’”, Kirchzarten, 2008. Here he presents an augmenting narratological approach, classifying the gospels as a hypertext from Roman hypotexts (e.g. the Historiae by Asinius Pollio) in the context of a diegetic transposition according to Gérard Genette, Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree, University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Carotta’s article online: Lecture_Escorial_Carotta.pdf 8. v.H.: “gerenommeerde archeologe […] bejaarde […]” 9. N.B.: Francesco Carotta, War Jesus Caesar? 2000 Jahre Anbetung einer Kopie, Goldmann, München, 1999

Jesus], and if both hadn’t been decapitated in the same manner, then the similarity between Pompey’s trident and John’s pointed cross would be insignificant. Van Hooff criticizes that Carotta didn’t use an acclaimed graecist from Italy or Germany, but one from Greece. ‘Only one from Greece’, the reader is supposed to conceive. Carotta’s research is mainly about Greek texts, and a Greek of all people is not supposed to be competent? Why should an Italian or a German, who laboriously would have to learn this language as an adult, be more competent than a native Greek, above all a Greek, who received his doctorate degree at the Sorbonne for his work on Homeric syntax? Isn’t Carotta an Italian? Isn’t Erika Simon a German? Van Hooff’s argument is completely ludicrous, and one could dismiss it as infantile, if it didn’t have a racist undertone. Because—attention!—van Hooff doesn’t actually say that the peer reviewer is a Greek person, but that he is “Dr. Fotis A. Kavoukopoulos from Crete”.10 Here we can almost hear his complacent laugh. He’s apparently quite happy, because he has placed the bon mot in his text, that a reviewer from Crete can only be a liar, which we can safely infer because he had written earlier in another newspaper that all Cretans lie. This is clearly a racist remark. Because even if this had been a commonplace argument in antiquity, it would not authorize him to say the same about a present-day Cretan. A lot has been purported in antiquity, e.g. that slaves were not human beings, or that barbarians were subhuman. Furthermore this allusion is completely unscientific, because the ancient saying is not: ‘all Cretans lie’—back then people weren’t half as racist as van Hooff is today—, but: “if a Cretan says that all Cretans lie, is he then saying the truth or not?” It’s a prime example of paradoxical logic, of a self-nullifying sentence. Furthermore, Fotis Kavoukopoulos doesn’t live on Crete, but in Athens. He doesn’t even come from Crete! He taught at the University of Rethymnon for some time, also at the University of Thessaly, and today he is working for the Pedagogic Institute of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Education in Athens. But van Hooff needed to turn him into a Cretan, so he could implicitly denounce him as a liar. I hope that no actual Cretan takes this seriously and that he is able to resist this provocation. Van Hooff is well-known for this kind of dishonesty and moral obliquity: One day when van Hooff had made some provoking public statements against Islam, a namesake of his, zoo director Anton van Hooff, felt coerced to obviate the impending rage of the people by publicly stating that he had nothing to do with the matter and that the similarity of their
10. v.H.: “[…] Dr. Fotis A. Kavoukopoulos van Kreta […]”

names was pure coincidence.11 In the meantime the zoo director has passed away—sadly. One doesn’t know the reasons of his death—maybe he was grief-stricken over this issue—, but at least he has been spared from the coercion of distancing himself from ‘the other van Hooff’ again, this time to avoid the wrath of the Cretans. So what remains is the last reviewer, the epigraphist. Outrageous! Carotta has consulted an epigraphist! Sad, isn’t it? Most of the ancient statues are lost. But since a large number of their pedestals are preserved, the inscriptions contained on them can provide lots of information. Epigraphy is a sound and fundamental ancillary science of archaeology. The fact that van Hooff scoffs at it, doesn’t speak for his scientificity. By the way, once more van Hooff comes at the reader in an unpleasant manner, because he states that the epigraphist now works at a children’s psychiatry in Tübingen. He wants to suggest that Carotta’s reviewer has been admitted to an asylum. So if a person, who had worked as an epigraphist until ten years ago, is now working as a medical scientist and is also socially committed in the Christian tradition, it means that he must be a bad epigraphist. Normally we would think that physicians have better occupational opportunities than epigraphists, which would have been the real reason for his career change. But no—with van Hooff he must have been a bad epigraphist. Following the same logic, we would have to conclude that van Hooff was a bad university lecturer, since he doesn’t hold a regular employment at the University of Nijmegen anymore and (according to his own information) now works as a high school teacher.12 “Despite all their contempt for the obdurate official scholars, pseudoscientists long for their scientific support”,13 van Hooff instructs us. He thereby insinuates that Carotta despises the official scholars and regards them as obdurate. Here we have to wonder, because Carotta relies on e.g. Ethelbert Stauffer, a renowned German theologian, whose son is seen reading one of his father’s texts in the above-mentioned documentary film. Said film also shows Carotta in conversations with Professor Francisco Rodriguez Pascual, anthropologist at the University Pontificia of Salamanca, or with Professor Antonio Piñero, theologian and holder of professorship for New-Testamentarian philology at the University Complutense of Madrid. There is no sign of contempt for
11. Cf. 12. Cf. 13. v.H.: “Pseudowetenschapper zijn bij al hun minachting voor de verstokte, officiële geleerden tuk op zulke wetenschappelijke steun […]”

these official scholars. (And vice versa, by the way.) So in van Hooff’s view it must then be Carotta’s search for support. But in Carotta we actually recognize a researcher, who submits his observations to other scholars. He publishes them in professional journals,14 and some approve his conclusions, others criticize them. But which part of all this is supposed to be “pseudoscientific”? However, this sheds an interesting light on van Hooff’s own pseudoscientific attitude. Because no matter how Carotta does it, he does it wrong. If his research arrives at results that do not necessarily accord with communis opinio, then this is ipso facto proof of his pseudoscientificity. But if Carotta asks experts for their assessment, then it’s equally proof of his pseudoscientificity, because he’s looking for support, which is supposed to be typical for pseudoscientists. If he finds approval by “eerzame” (i.e. reputable and distinguished) academics—e.g. archaeologists, linguists, ephigraphists, historians, law philosophers, cultural historians, experimental psychologists, anthropologists, theologians etc.—, then they are noncredible because they are credible. “Because real scientists know the boundaries of their knowledge. And as soon as they are on the verge of encountering a different area of expertise, they will consult an experienced colleague straightaway.”15 But if Carotta does the same, it’s an exact proof of pseudoscience. Real scientists are permitted to and must consult colleagues, pseudoscientists must not (but nevertheless do). That’s how we can identify them: One is a scientist, because he consults colleagues, and one is a pseudoscientist, because he consults colleagues. What van Hooff obviously ignores is the fact that the term pseudoscience has been defined in scientific precision and is applied to theories that as per Karl Popper can neither be verified nor falsified. This may apply for some or even all of the “pseudoscientists”, whom van Hooff initially mentions—what else is he reading?—, and for himself it certainly does apply, because the method, with which he puts forth the allegation of pseudoscience against Carotta, is impossible to verify, let alone falsify. In any case, it can not apply to Carotta, because his work is basically a synopsis of the Caesar sources and the Gospel of Mark. It’s therefore not much different from those synopses and comparisons, which have always been drawn between the three synoptical gospels. This

14. N.B.: e.g. Francesco Carotta, “Il Cesare incognito – Da Divo Giulio a Gesù”, in: Luciano Canfora (ed.), Quaderni di Storia, No. 53, Milan 2003, pp. 357–375 15. v.H.: “Maar een echte wetenschapper beseft de grenzen van zijn weten. Zodra hij op een ander vakgebied dreigt te komen, raadpleegt hij spoorslags een deskundige collega.”

means that the allegation of pseudoscience would not even apply, if all parallels presented by Carotta were insignificant, because after all he did present them, so they can be scrutinized and—if applicable—falsified. Therefore van Hooff uses the term “pseudoscience” improprie, i.e. unscientifically. In fact he quite honestly uses the term as an insult, as a means of defamation and slander, aimed both at Carotta and at everyone, who has expressed or will express himself positively about him. It’s alarming that a magazine designated “academic”16 has permitted van Hooff’s article for print. Should its editorial office not enforce a correction in this matter sua sponte, one would have to think about other, more adequate ways. After these remarks van Hooff examines the imagery of the book cover. Please note that he is still preoccupied with the cover. Until now he has read the book’s title and blurb. ‘Now he’ll surely deal with the content’, the reader hopes, but no: He examines the cover image. And he doesn’t like it. Why? Carotta is supposed to have interpreted the cover image of Caesar as that of a “suffering Caesar”. Well, we should put aside the fact that (as one might know) the book jackets, covers and images are conceived and designed by the publishing companies, which commission their own graphic artists (often without involving the author). So it would be preposterous to insinuate that Carotta had participated in the design of the book cover. (I wonder what fantasy van Hooff will read into the book jacket design of the second German edition.)17 Putting aside this fact, it would have been sufficient for him to just open the book, because he might have noticed that Carotta doesn’t interpret the Vatican bust as the depiction of a “suffering Caesar”, but the bust from Torlonia. There he furthermore would have read that this is not Carotta’s own view, but that of Professor Erika Simon, who by the way wrote about the Caesar Torlonia before 1959, i.e. at a time, when she was not old. But maybe van Hooff would now retort that she was too young then! That Marcus Antonius displayed to the people at Caesar’s funeral a wax effigy of Caesar’s agonized body, which bled from all the stab wounds, is unobjectionably documented in the historical sources. But according to van Hooff there never existed a figure of the “suffering Caesar”. But he doesn’t really care about this blatant error, because he continues without delay by telling us that likewise there was never a suffering Jesus during the first millennium. By the way, van Hooff has extracted this

16. N.B.: De Academische Boekengids 17. N.B.: Francesco Carotta, War Jesus Caesar? Eine Suche nach dem römischen Ursprung des Christentums, Verlag Ludwig, Kiel, 2008 (4th quarter)

information from Carotta’s book, where this topic is discussed, which means that he hasn’t read and understood the book with regard to this aspect either. And he criticizes something that he actually read into the book jacket design as fantasy himself. If he had really read the book or had at least watched the documentary film, he would know that there is not only the marmoreal iconography—the only one that could be conserved over the millennia—, but also the iconography of wood and wax, i.e. the figures carried in the processions of the Holy Week, volatile effigies that have to be substituted regularly while burning the old ones, which became impractical, e.g. due to infestation with timber worms. To now purport that the Good Friday liturgy and traditions are not old, is preposterous. Then van Hooff eventually gets around to discuss the funeral of Caesar. As an introduction he quotes William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, i.e. literary fiction. “For Brutus is an honourable man” is a very important sentence for him, because our critic is a great admirer of Brutus. (I advise the inclined reader to look up the term brutus in the Latin dictionary.) This mixture of fiction and history is actually typical for pseudoscientists… but passons. After having consistently denied at first that a wax effigy of Caesar’s martyred body was actually shown and lifted above the bier, he now concedes. But against better knowledge he continues that this was rather done by means of a mêchanê, and that the sources “don’t speak of a cross”.18 Too bad for him that the sources indeed speak of a cross, namely of a tropaeum :19 When Appian mentions a mêchanê, the parallel text by Suetonius mentions a tropaeum, which was covered by Caesar’s bloodstained robe. And indeed, from Caesar’s own coins we know how a tropaeum looked like in those times: like a cross. And in Caesar’s times it was Caesar who was buried, not Pim Fortuyn. Deducing the procedures during Caesar’s funeral from those of a modern-day politician’s funeral is anachronistic and outrageous. If necessary, one should compare it for instance to the funeral of Publius Clodius Pulcher! But since this funeral is neither mentioned in the books by Dan Brown, Velikowski and von Däniken nor in the other books that Mister van Hooff reads as inspiration—including by the way The Adventures of Asterix, as he wrote elsewhere—, how would he know?! Van Hooff then insinuates that the worship of Caesar by his veterans could only have begun after the year AD 68, i.e. after the death of emperor Nero. That’s complete nonsense, because the worship of Caesar
18. v.H.: “[…] maar de bronnen spreken niet van een kruis […]” 19. N.B.: A Roman victory trophy or monument, often cruciform.

began immediately after his death and yes, even during his lifetime, i.e. at the latest in 44 BC, if not earlier.20 When Nero died, the cult of Divus Iulius had already existed for over a century! Then van Hooff confuses the city Caesarea with the caesarea, plural of caesareum, which was the name of the temples of Divus Iulius. Sic! If proof of his total ignorance and mental confusion is required, then this lapse alone would be sufficient! Then he uses the argument that it’s impossible that Caesar was the historical Jesus, because it would have been noticed much earlier. Bravo! In the same manner the prelates argued against Galileo Galilei, as the creationists argue against Charles Darwin today: ‘If Earth really revolved around the sun or if man really descended from primitive primates, then it would already be written in the Bible.’ A beautiful argument! To prevent this kind of interpretation, van Hooff tries to make us believe that someone claimed that monkeys descended from humans. But who? Surely not Darwin. Nobody called into question that also van Hooff descended from humans. However, eventually he has to admit that Carotta presents hundreds of arguments. But this even worsens the case! “Because an excess of arguments is characteristical of pseudoscience.”21 This contention is again symptomatic of van Hooff’s own pseudoscientific attitude: If you’re out of arguments, you’re a pseudoscientist, but if you have a lot of

20. N.B.. Deifications in his lifetime : Proclamation of divine ancestry of Caesar’s family during the funeral of his aunt Iulia; first worship of Caesar as god following his adventus when crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC (Cicero, Att. 8.16.1); first sufficiently attested official deification in 48 BC in Alexandria as Caesar Epibaterios (Philo, leg. ad Gai. 22.151); numerous divine honors in the East between 49 and 47 BC, then also in the West; pantokrator-statue in Rome in 46 BC, possibly as Divus Caesar (inscription assumed in: Ittai Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2002, pp. 61-69); statue for Caesar as Deus Invictus at the latest in 45 BC in Rome (Cicero, Att. 12.45.3[2] & 13.28.3); Dio 43.45.3); cult of the genius of Dievus Iulius in Aesernia since 45 BC or 44 BC; extraordinary divine honors in early 44 BC, including the eventual god-name Divus Iulius . Posthumous deifications : proclamation as god by Mark Antony as well as public worship, resurrection by fire and deification by will of the people during his funeral on March 17, 44 BC (Liberalia; eyewitness report: Cicero; historical sources in unison: Appian, Suetonius, Plutarch, Nicolaus Damascenus); inofficial and short-lived cult of Divus Iulius created by the PseudoMarius Amatius after the funeral in 44 BC; July 44 BC: appearance of the sidus Iulium, the comet/star of Caesar during the games in honor of his victories, which was regarded as a sign of his ascension, his soul in heaven and the rebirth of his adopted son as Divi filius, Son of God, the later Augustus; 44/43 BC: inofficial cult under the second triumvirate, in the Roman army and in the veteran colonies; 42 BC: deification ratified by means of senatorial consecration; 40 BC: inauguration of Marcus Antonius as the first flamen Divi Iulii. 21. v.H.: “Een overvloed aan argumenten is typisch voor pseudowetenschap.”

arguments, you’re a fortiori a pseudoscientist—see above. What follows then is van Hooff’s pseudomathematical argument: “And haven’t we learned in elementary school that a thousand times zero is still zero?”22 Now we finally know why van Hooff disappeared from his university and resurfaced at the “elementary school”: so he can teach stuff like this. But when comparing characteristics and attributes, a totally different law applies, which is illustrated in this children’s riddle:
‘Child’, the grandfather asks, ‘it has four legs like a dog, it barks like a dog, and it wags a tail like a dog. What is it?’ — ‘A dog!’, the child replies.

But conversely it applies that specific characteristics and attributes can be missing. Of the following four sentences, for example, only one is correct, the other three false:
(I) All birds can sing, (II) all birds can fly, (III) all birds build nests, (IV) all birds have feathers.

(The reader should ask van Hooff for the answer, because he seems to know everything.) This in turn means that typical characteristics and attributes must be compared, and those available for a comparison are still decisive, even if others are missing. Now van Hooff presents a list of those arguments, which are allegedly deemed as the strongest by the “Carottists”. Please note: He is still not reading the book, but is only referring to what has been hawked. However, not one of these arguments is adduced by Carotta as decisive. One of the alleged arguments—JC = JC—wasn’t even established by Carotta, but was devised by the ‘Anti-Carottists’. Van Hooff may not believe it, but even Carotta actually noticed that Christus is written with Ch, and not with C. Those who didn’t notice, are van Hooff’s friends.23 And now he starts showing off as a text critic—where did he acquire the qualification? We’re curious, where our acrobat will land this time. He purports that Pilatus can’t stem from Lepidus, and that also enipsa can’t stem from enikêsa, because otherwise the evangelists would have suffered from dyslexia. (Which of course doesn’t apply for him!) However, if there is something, which all text critics know, then it’s exactly those copying and dictating errors. One can study typical reading
22. v.H.: “[…] en leerden we al niet op de lagere school dat duizend keer nul ook nul is?” 23. N.B.: They apparently don’t even know that it was not Francesco Carotta, who emphasized this particular matter, but Victor Hugo.

errors from the handwritten manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark e.g. in Couchoud (1926).24 Below are only a few, e.g. from the Latin text: AcCIPIETIS read as AcCEPISTI, ADPROpInQVaRET as ADPROpInQVaNT, TENEnS as TENDEnS, CVSTODIEBANT as CRVGIFIGEBANT, AcCENDITVR as AcCEDIT, COEPIT as COiECIT, nEMINiDIXERIS as nEINTROiERIS, iNVIRIAM as iNVIDIAM, PERCVTIEBANT as PERCipIEBANT, GRAbbaTO as QVADRaTO, DISsVPAuIT as DISTVRBAuIT, and HAEC as FECIT, and from the Greek text:

etc.. These are only a few examples from single manuscripts! In view of the above-mentioned errors the allegation that the same copyists couldn’t have read LEpIDVS (LEPIDVS) as PILATVS (PILATVS) or ENIKHSA (ΕΝΙΚΗΣΑ) as ENIYA (ΕΝΙΨΑ), shows that van Hooff has absolutely no scholarly background in this area. Only an ignoramus would allege something like this. Then van Hooff rehashes his argument on Tacitus, with which he made a fool of himself six years ago, when he imputed on Carotta that he had ignored the Tacitus passage—whereas Carotta had actually discussed it in detail—, and with which he proved that he hadn’t read the book and was only polemizing blindly. Now he has finally taken notice that Carotta had dealt with the passage. We’ll see, what he has come up with after six

24. Paul-Louis Couchoud, “L’évangile de Marc a été écrit en Latin?”, in Revue de l’Histoire de Religions, Vol. 94; N.B.: re-issued by Hermann Detering’s Radikalkritik, Berlin, 2007, available online: (French original & German translation)

years of pondering: Tacitus is supposed to have written that the term Chrestiani stems from Christus.25 Well, if at all, then Christus can only be the origin of Christiani, whereas the Tacitean chrestiani would be based on chrestus. We could only suppose that chrestiani stems from Christus by confusion of the two similarly sounding words, if the word chrestus did not exist. But such a word does exist in the Greek language, and it’s a very common one at that, a word which can be found e.g. in many cemeteries: chrêstos, “the good”, “the blessedly deceased”. In addition chrestiani—as a graecism, in other words a foreign Greek word in the Latin language— could also stem from chrêstês, especially in the ablative, the case, in which the word appears in Suetonius (chresto), and it means “speculator” and “usurer”. In today’s local slang of the city of Rome there’s still the expression far la cresta: “to add unduely [to a price]”, “to demand an extortionate price”, “to speculate”. And lo and behold, the text passage in Tacitus only makes sense, if we adopt the word as “speculators”, because it explains, why Nero punished them: They had been the construction speculators, whom the people held responsible for the great fire of Rome and who were accused of wanting to get rich in the course of the necessary reconstruction measures. Carotta’s explanation draws on (and at the same time supports) the majority of text critics, who claim that not the whole passage is an interpolation, but only the part that was written in the style of a gloss. Van Hooff however has blindly committed himself to a different explanation, and of course he must try to prove himself correct. After all his reputation is on the line. Therefore he tries to rebut Carotta’s insightful and easy explanation by romancing that the Latin suffix -iani always only denotes the following of a person, the partisans, which he wants to support with the examples Mariani, Pompeiani and Caesariani. This time he has omitted his imaginary term ‘Sulliani’ (v.s.), which spares him the remark that in the above-mentioned case the suffix is not -iani, but -ani, and that the first i in Mariani and Pompeiani is not part of the suffix, but of the root: Mari-us, Pompei-us. The formation of Caesariani is analogous, probably because of the i in the genitive
25. The original reading in the oldest known manuscript of Tacitus’ Annals is the accusative plural chrestianos, corrected by a later hand to christianos, still shown by the residual space between chri- and -stianos. The explanation in the marginalia adds a capital C: Christiani. For chrí janos replacing chrejanos by correction see e.g. K. Nipperday & G. Andresen (eds.), Tacitus’ Annals [15.44], II, 1915, p. 263, note 4; latest publication on the subject: Oskar Augustsson, “The Quest for Chrest — an e-llumination”, Institute for Higher Critical Studies, 2008, online:

Caesaris. But not so with Sulla, where the term is formed as Sullani, not ‘Sulliani’, the latter being only van Hooff’s own creation. So what does this tell us—after a logical observation? It tells us that the word Christiani, let alone chrestiani, can not primarily stem from Christus, because then the original source term would be ‘Christius’. This means that Christiani is a later and secondary formation, specifically following the rule applied in the cases of Caesariani or e.g. Herodiani. Meanwhile, we could only argue that the Tacitean chrestiani can’t originate from chrêstês (“usurer”), but e.g. from a hypothetical person by the name of ‘Chrêstos’—whom Christian apologists consistently want to identify as Christus—, if all Latin words with the suffixes -ani and -iani solely identified the following of a person. This is often the case. But is it always the case? Can we identify the praetoriani as the followers of a hypothetical ‘Praetor’, or are they the bodyguard of the praetor, the imperator? And whose followers are the tertiani ? Those of a ‘Tertius’? Or aren’t they in fact the soldiers of the third legion, if not those who have fallen ill with three-day malaria? And the Troiani, the Asiani ? Are they perhaps the followers of a ‘Troius’ and an ‘Asius’ respectively? Or are they in fact only the citizens of Troia and the legionaries from Asia? And are the prasiniani and the venetiani the followers of a non-existing ‘Prasinius’ and of a hypothetical ‘Venetius’, or—as generally known—the fans of the circus parties “Greens” (gr.: prasinoi) and “Blues” (gr.: benetoi)? It’s therefore a clear-cut error to even think about excluding a priori that chrestiani follows tertiani or is a Latin graecism, similar to prasiniani or venetiani. For this reason it will remain wishful thinking and the pious hope of apologists that the chrestiani in this Tacitus passage are ‘Christians’. (By the way, also a stupid hope, because it makes Christians the object of odium for having burnt Rome to the ground. Because on what grounds do we know, if Nero’s suspicion wasn’t justified after all? But if Nero punished construction speculators and not Christians, i.e. chrestiani and not Christiani, then the Christians are doubtlessly acquitted. But maybe the self-confessed atheist Anton van Hooff clings to the Neronian fable in order to keep the Christians further under suspicion?) “The pseudoscientist is always an outsider”.26 Following this sentence we can admire van Hooff’s paralogic, because he concludes that every outsider is a pseudoscientist! However, we know that this is not applicable. We know it not only from the case of Schliemann, but also from the ancillary sciences of archaeology. The Minoan Linear B was
26. v.H.: “De pseudowetenschaper is steed een buitenstander […]”

decoded by the British architect Michael Ventris, exactly because he was an outsider: He used the military deciphering techniques he had learned while serving in the Royal Air Force. Only idiots will question the feat of decoding the Linear B with the reference to his being an outsider. The specialist Sir Arthur Evans had failed, and the main difficulty for him had been his own false theory, on the basis of which Evans was in no case willing to accept that the language of the Linear B was actually Greek. However, Carotta is primarily an industrial engineer and a linguist, who apparently is applying methods and techniques he learned as an entrepreneur in the IT business. And the main difficulty of accepting his discovery are probably the harassments of self-proclaimed pseudopundits à la van Hooff, who is neither a linguist nor a text critic nor an archaeologist nor a theologian, but a layman in every single one of the involved fields of study. In his own field of study, which would be history, he has never published anything prudent and intelligent, because he seems to have lost time and sanity while gloating over Dan Brown, Velikovsky, von Däniken et al., acting like a bull in every china shop. The main difficulty is that pseudopundits like van Hooff are in no case willing to accept that the Gospel of Mark traces back to a Latin source,27 and that the ‘historical Jesus’ has to this date not been localized. Thanks to Carotta we now know better. And the fact that someone like van Hooff doesn’t like it, makes Carotta’s research even more credible.

27. Cf. i.a. Couchoud, l.c.

This is a reply to the article “Was Jezus inderdaad Caesar? Een les in de pseudowetenschap” by Anton van Hooff, printed in: De Academische Boekengids, 67, March 2008, pp. 15–19 Also published online:

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