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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Coffee, Gnosticism and Me!

On Sunday, June 11, 2006 at 3PM PST/5MP CST/6PM EST, my interview with Miguel Connor debuted on This is the first part of a two-part interview, the second part of which to air on June 18, 2006. Miguel has posted a clip of the interview on his Freethoughtmedia page.

This interview is more in depth than most of the past ones, because Miguel has a great deal of knowledge of the subject matter, so I was able to "cut loose," so to speak. (As much as one can "cut loose" with the subject matter, which encompasses numerous aspects of religion, mythology and Gnosticism. The entire interview may be heard at The Sun of All Fears. Please tune in!


Anonymous said...

Hey Acharya: have you read the book by Atwill "Caesar's Messiah" ??

Love your opinion of it if you have. If you haven't, despite the lame title, any "bad" things you may have heard about it, it is seriously required reading. The guy's interpretations of the data may be off, but the data he has come across is pretty wild. I wouold guess that sooner or later what he has discovered will be as important as Q, if not more so.

Acharya S said...

I have not read it yet but I guess I will need to. The premise that Josephus wrote the New Testament, which is what I understand Atwill to be asserting, is not correct, but I'm sure that I can get much out of what he's presenting, as you suggest.

It sounds much like the Piso theory, which is likewise wrong, so I didn't pay it too much heed. In my studied opinion, the intimations of Josephus in the New Testament, which have been noted by many people over the past couple of centuries, are accurately determined to exist because the writers of the gospels and Acts used Josephus, not that Josephus wrote these texts. I do not believe that anything can upend that fact, since it is quite clear from all the evidence that neither the canonical gospels nor Acts existed before the last quarter of the second century. I've gotten a lot of heat over the years for taking that stance, but I cannot see any evidence that persuades me otherwise. There isn't any, and those who insist on dating these texts earlier are 1. exercising wishful thinking; 2. attempting to be "moderate"; or 3. being deceptive. For more, please see my excerpt on the Gospel Dating.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response.

Atwill does not say that "Josephus wrote the NT," although Josephus figures very prominently in his book. I cannot really sum up his thesis in a sentence or two. You have to read the book.

I will say this: when I first heard the Josephus story, it seemed to me to be more miraculous than the gospels! What evidence do we have that HIS writing is sincere? Maybe there is a whole lot of history, along with a whole lot of fiction, in his works also. It could also be pseudonymous.

I do not agree with all the points Atwill makes, but his main thesis looks very solid. I don't see how the data he has uncovered can be dismissed, though I am open to any criticism.

His chapter on the Testimonium of Josephus(and I really liked your article on that) is incredible.

This book will not change anything: we already know that Christianity is fake. But whenever you get a chance, you will probably (no way to know for sure) find this book a really good read (even though you will not agree with everything in it).

And if you think the book is totally bogus, I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. I have been unable to find much serious criticism of his book: academics seem unwilling to look at it.

If you are interested, and have the time, I will buy the book for you. I don't know how to get it to you anonymously. You can email me at if interested.

I certainly understand if you have other things to do.

Acharya S said...

Naturally, I am interested in reading Atwill's book. As I understand it, he attributes the creation of Christianity and the New Testament to not just Josephus but "the Flavians." I cannot concur with that thesis at all, but, as stated, I'm sure that he has valuable information. Another knowledgeable Jesus mythicist who read Atwill's book remarks:

"He does make some good points but his Flavian conspiracy thesis is plain crazy (all the gospels written at the same time, for chrisake?) He maps a whole number of parallels
between Titus's campaign during the Jewish War and JC's perambulations through the same area and calculates fantastic odds at similar incidents occurring in an identical sequence being a matter of chance. He then elaborates the close links between the ruling families in Rome, Alexandria and Judaea. Voilá – conspiracy theory, 1st century AD."

Although I do believe the creation of Christianity is an evident conspiracy by parties who were interested in furthering the goals of the "chosen people" as well as getting their share of the lucrative religion biz, I obviously do not agree that this conspiracy was confined to a single, Roman family.

Yes, it is quite possible - even likely - that Josephus's work is less than accurate, in many places. However, this probabiliy is not really germane to the matter at hand.

From what I've heard, I have little doubt that Atwill's endeavor is worthy of reading.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments.

You quoted a fairly good summary of Atwill's thesis.

I would guess that his attempt to explain the data may miss the mark (but stranger things have happened . . . the very existence of christianity, for example!). A "Flavian conspiracy" is not all that extreme. For me the important point is not who did this, but the fact that someone did (though, to be honest, who else besides someone working for the Flavians would?????). At the very least, it would be nice to be able to explain the data, no matter how conservative the explanation.

At any rate, (most of) the DATA is one hell of a ride!