The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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The Flavian Gospels

September 2nd, 2014 · Comments Off on The Flavian Gospels · christianity, history

It occurs to me that Atwill doesn’t say in Caesar’s Messiah that the Flavians invented Christianity, but rather that they had commissioned the Gospels to be written, alongside a history of the violent, decade-long destruction of the Hebrew state. Atwill’s main premise is that these works were meant to be read side-by-side. Each was like […]

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First Five Centuries: What do we know?

September 1st, 2014 · Comments Off on First Five Centuries: What do we know? · christianity, history

I have two problems to resolve. My understanding of the origin of Christianity points to Constantine, while Joseph Atwill’s book “Caesars’ Messiah” points to the Flavians, two centuries prior to Constantine. One of my problems is to connect the development of Flavian Christianity to Constantinian Christianity. The other problem is to find anything at all […]

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Book: Janus in Nicea

March 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on Book: Janus in Nicea · christianity, history, Janus in Nicea, media

Quite a milestone was reached last week when I published my book, Janus in Nicea.  I had started this blog some years ago when I realized that the state of my study of Early Church history was such that it needed a home away from Live Journal. After continued work in it, I received a […]

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Nomenclature

August 30th, 2010 · Comments Off on Nomenclature · christianity, culture, history

There has been some discussion of late about President Obama’s claim of being Christian. Besides the ones who obliviously presume that he must be Muslim, or parse out of unrelated texts the notion that a presumed birthright to Islam is obligatory, there are others who question whether his Christianity is ‘real’. However, many problems arise […]

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The State Cult Hypothesis

January 21st, 2009 · Comments Off on The State Cult Hypothesis · christianity, history

The State Cult Hypothesis: “Christianity was primarily the result of a competition between the state cults of Diocletian and Constantine. It was the efforts of Constantine to defeat Diocletian’s Tetrarchy, co-opt the Persian cultural invasion, and subsequently unify the Roman Empire that resulted in the creation of Christianity.” Constantine was a keen student of history, […]

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Fixing a Hole

December 21st, 2008 · Comments Off on Fixing a Hole · christianity, history

In recent months, I have grown exceedingly confident in the theory that Constantine was the originator of Christianity. Not only has it illuminated many elements of Christian history, it explains a lot about our culture. It explains the relatively late perspective of the Church Fathers, and how all of the Imperial political hierarchy became Church […]

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Diocletian and the Roman Recovery

December 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Diocletian and the Roman Recovery · christianity, history, media

Here’s something I’ve enjoyed greatly this last week: Stephen Williams’ Diocletian and the Roman Recovery. This book from 1985 was apparently one of the first biographies of the man written in English. The genius here is the clear and concise comparison between the Empire under the “Good Emperors” and the Empire under “Crisis”. Williams provides […]

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Assertions

October 11th, 2008 · Comments Off on Assertions · christianity, culture, history

Following are the assertions I currently use regarding the origin of Christianity. These will likely each be expanded upon over time. 1. Evidence: There is no physical evidence for the existence of a single, rapidly developed mystery cult whose theology or structure singularly informed the post 4th-century Christian church. There is no art, architecture, ritual […]

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True Believers

September 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on True Believers · christianity, culture, history

At first, I could never understand the True Believers. My first encounters with them was in Christian churches. My own, initially pedantic, attempts at Bible study repeatedly failed to illuminate the motivations or goals of True Believers. I could never understand just what was so exciting in the faith as I had ever seen it […]

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Death and the Emperor

September 18th, 2008 · Comments Off on Death and the Emperor · history, media

Recently, I have enjoyed Death and the Emperor by Penelope J.E. Davies. Dr. Davies teaches Roman art and architecture at UT Austin, and is apparently working on a book focusing on the Republic[1]. This study of the purpose and meaning of a variety of the funerary remains of the great Roman emperors. This work is […]

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