The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

The Pokey Finger of God header image 2

Interesting research site

July 29th, 2008 · No Comments · christianity, history, media

I just got pointed to P.R.F. Brown’s amazing site. He has posted quite a bit of research to his site — including a few projects I had started myself and am right glad I don’t have to finish them, now, like the list of all known writers in the ancient Western world, categorized and dated. Whew!

Brown uses his web space to defend his thesis: the Great invented Christianity. He defends this pretty well so far, and appears to still be truckin’. His primary thesis, alone, is a good read and successfully summarizes the material on the site. If you want to get into the detail of how this or that thing happened, he has certainly got the detail for you.

Loyal readers will know that I had already come, more or less, to this conclusion. What I had not done that Brown does do, is focus closely on (Pamphilus of Caesarea) and return with the opinion that he had forged the majority of the New Testament single-handedly. Further, Brown postulates that this was done as per the direction of Constantine in the years before Constantine took control of the Eastern half of the Empire.

Brown tells a fascinating story about how Constantine had his spies (specifically, his episkopos) systematically record the priestly hierarchies of all of the (Hellenistic) temples in the Eastern empire. When Constantine defeated Licinius, he called the heads of all these temples to Nicea for a little chat alongside his Western Bishops. There, he declared that a new religion was formed and anyone who wanted to join would be promised power and wealth and those who declined would be immediately hacked into small pieces. Subsequently, the new royal priest class formed at Nicea established a jaggernaut that even another Emperor[1] — only 40 years later — was completely unable to derail.

Again, what’s best about this site is the incredible amount of detailed, scholarly work he has published here with the clear intention of having others follow his work and challenge it. This is now one of my resources.

  1. Julian

Tags: ···