The Pokey Finger of God

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Further Revelations

September 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · christianity, history

After establishing the creation of the Gospels at around 80AD, at the hand of Josephus, there are still the question of when and who created the remaining books of the New Testament. Briefly, these are the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of Paul, James, and John, and the Revelation of John.

I was previously ready to establish that the entire New Testament was created by Eusebius of Caesaraea. But his prior modus operandi was to extend an existing work in the voice of the original author. For this reason, it seems reasonable that Eusebius may have created the book of Acts as just such an extension of Josephus’ work. The book of Revelations has many referents to the events of ’s conflict, with Diocletians’ Tetrarchy represented as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse,  the Persian Empire as the Whore of Babylon, and the general chaos as the inevitable result of the anger of the traditional gods being sidelined by a different pantheon. Of them all, I see Acts and Revelations as being the most likely to have been penned on behalf of Constantine.

For the Epistles, though, I see a few possibilities emerge. For them to have appeared in Constantine’s , the Epistles must have either been created at his request, or they had been lifted from some other context and reappropriated for the new faith. It may have been that the letters had been written in the context of the Flavian cult, perhaps some years after the dynasty itself had faded but hope remained of their eventual return to power. I think it is more likely that they were actually written in the context of another cult entirely, perhaps a healer cult or an Eastern mystery cult, and then later was adapted to fit the new cult.

It should probably also be suggested that Eusebius may have taken a few found Epistles, and then created the others using the original ‘voices’ of each author. The Epistles are often broken out into sets of greater or lesser authority based on how much one letter is like the others. It may very well have been those letters that we most doubt the authenticity are truly the most authentic, and the ones we are most confident about were actually all faked by the same hand.

So one of the things I need to be taking another fresh look at is any extra-Biblical writings sourced to the 2nd or 3rd centuries.

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