What was the point of the New Testament, the new religion? Why the parody? Why did Rome need to destroy Judea? Why pick on the Jews? These are the sort of questions which come to mind as one unravels the false history - the textual tradition - concocted when the Western Roman Empire ended, and the archaeology of Chrestianity is allowed to appear in its own right.
The parody which is the New Testament was to make a point. The Chrestian original was made probably in the 4th century (I would guess late, ca 380) and the Christian version in the 6th (probably early), if we accept consensus dating for the massive series of alterations. Both, however, were made to imperial order. Putting aside exactly when, which would reveal "who", two emperors must have decided that this book was needed; to serve what imperial purposes?
I very much prefer trying to let the facts speak for themselves as far as they are able (hence my presenting so many quotations), so let us look at some of them, to see what they tell us.
Saul stands out as the most obvious cause of the first war. His life was devoted to attacking Messianic Jews, then infiltrating Qumran, using his missionary activities as cover for building up his own, Greco-Roman cult, and finally instigating war when he tried to take his cult members into the Temple. He did not work alone, though, as we see in his debriefing by the king and Drusilla; in Rome he had Epaphroditus, effectively prime minister; there is the traitor Josephus and his connection with Poppaea Sabina is also probably through Epaphroditus. These others are not Jewish in any form; I surmise they are all Chrestian, connected through the servants of Antonia Minor, and these include the family of the Alabarch in Alexandria.
The Jewish-Roman wars are therefore not a mere continuation of local rebellions against the Herodian monarchy; they are initiated by the Chrestians and most likely continued by them into the next two, meaning that Trajan and Hadrian must have been involved to some extent, if not fully.
Nero has my sympathy. No matter how connected various emperor are to Antonia Minor, this does not force them into the Chrestian cult - Herod Agrippa I managed to escape the Chrestian clutches, so other leaders should have been able to do so. How Saul is taken to meet Nero in Corinth and disappears is telling; as Vespasian - who must have been Chrestian by then (through his second wife, Antonia Caenis, former slave of Antonia Minor) - and others were also in attendance; they would have been on tenterhooks as Saul was interrogated, probably tortured (this is the usual method). Nero finds out enough to realise how his wife betrayed him - enough to seal his own death warrant at Chrestian hands.
The point here is that the issue with Judea was with the Chrestians, not imperial Rome. The Romanisation policy of Augustus had come home to roost, so that the provincial royals needed the support of imperial authority more than the emperor needed them.
This covert relationship between Rome and its provinces should, I would think, connect to the corruption apparent during the Republic, as exposed by Cicero. Roman law limited the how much senators could screw out of the provinces, but greed was over-powering (think: modern banking scandals). I would also suppose that the assassination of Julius Caesar was associated with this. I think there is an argument to link Chrestians with such high-level corruption; an audit of the books of Jucundus and his associates could be revealing.
"Audi Chrestianos saevos olores" - "Hear the rage of stinking Chrestians" (Inscription in Pompeii)
The Great Fire of Rome is also linked by witness testimony to imperial chamberlains, whose leader is Epaphroditus at this time, and this arson to property speculation. In that regard, one must bear in mind that the foundations of the Basilica di San Clemente are built in the ashes of that fire. Though the Clements of the textual tradition are fictional, there is this:
Titus Flavius T. f. T. n. Clemens was a nephew of the Roman Emperor Vespasian. He was the son of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in AD 52 and praefectus urbi during the reign of Nero, and a brother of Titus Flavius Sabinus, consul in AD 82. The emperors Titus and Domitian were his cousins.Domitian put Epaphroditus to death, probably for the assassination of Nero, from which we may assume Domitian was not Chrestian, as opposed to his father Vespasian and brother, Titus.
Clemens' brother was consul with Domitian, shortly after the latter's accession, but the emperor put his cousin to death on the pretext that the herald proclaiming him consul had called him Imperator....in AD 95, when Clemens and the emperor were consuls, Domitian had his cousin put to death.According to Cassius Dio, Clemens was put to death on a charge of atheism, for which, he adds, many others who went over to the Jewish opinions were executed. This may imply that Clemens had become a Christian. For the same reason, his wife was banished to Pandataria.To this Clemens in all probability is dedicated the church of St. Clement at Rome...
It is Vespasian and Titus (along with their Chrestian community) who ensure that Chrestianity is embedded into the imperial court and thus Trajan, Hadrian and Antonius Pius are also probably Chrestian - the last becoming the mythical "Pope Pius" of the textual tradition.
The religiopolitical situation in Rome vis-à-vis Judaism therefore had changed dramatically by the mid-2nd century, due primarily to covert Chrestianity within the imperial system. We can now see this cult spread across the Levant in the 3rd and 4th centuries, when Constantine I adopts its icon, the Chi-Rho, which then appears associated with artefacts for baptism, across the empire. The chrestic roots were now reaching full bloom and the New Testament appears
Those broadly are the facts. Though Messianic Judaism was not a threat to imperial Rome, no doubt it was seen as a threat by provincial royalty entirely dependent on imperial support, as were most if not all of them other than Herod Agrippa I. If it had been a serious threat to Rome, then we should expect to see this clearly in imperial edicts and actions in the decades leading to the first war, and we do not.
The parody of the New Testament turns around the Master-Servant relationship:
Isaiah 53, taken from the Book of Isaiah, is the last of the four Songs of the Suffering Servant, and tells the story of a "Man of Sorrows" or "God's Suffering Servant".
Many Christians believe the "Man of Sorrows" or the "Suffering Servant" to be a reference to the prophecy of the Ministry of Jesus, which became a common theme in medieval and later Christian art. The passage of 'Isaiah 53' is known for its interpretation and use by Christian Theologians and Missionaries, many of whom identify the servant to be Christ Jesus. Many Christians view the entire chapter, and particularly this passage to refer to the Passion of Christ as well as the absolution of sins believed to be made possible by his sacrificial death.
“He was taken from prison and from judgment:……and who shall declare his generation?…… for he was cut off out of the land of the living:…… for the transgression of my people was he stricken.…” (53:8 KJV)Jewish scripture in Isaiah 52:13 through Isaiah 53:12 describes the servant of the Lord as the Nation of Israel itself: “My Servant…” (Isaiah 53:11), “…a man of pains and accustomed to illness…” (Isaiah 53:3). "The theme of Isaiah is jubilation, a song of celebration at the imminent end of the Babylonian Captivity". Judaism sees this passage, especially "God's Suffering Servant", being written over 2500 years before nowadays, without a reference to the king Mashiach...
New Testament One of the first claims in the New Testament that Isaiah 53 is a prophecy of Jesus comes from the Book of Acts, in which its author (who is also the author of Luke), describes a scene in which God commands Philip the Deacon to approach an Ethiopian eunuch who is sitting in a chariot, reading aloud to himself from the Book of Isaiah. The eunuch comments that he does not understand what he is reading (Isaiah 53) and Philip explains to him the teachings of Jesus. "And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." This has been the standard Christian interpretation of the passage since Apostolic times.
And there in full view, is the parody. Eisenman revealed this in detail; reviewed by Price:
Where did Luke find his raw material for the prophecy of Agabus of a great famine to transpire in Claudius' reign, of Paul's trip from Antioch to deliver famine relief funds to Jerusalem, and for the earlier tale of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch? Again, from Josephus (though perhaps also from other cognate sources of information). It all stems, by hook and by crook, from the story of Helen, Queen of Adiabene, a realm contiguous and/or overlapping with Edessa, whose king Agbar/Abgarus some sources make Helen's husband. Helen and her son Izates converted to Judaism, though initially Izates refrained from circumcision on the counsel of an unnamed Jewish teacher who assured him the worship of God was more important than circumcision...
But we pick up the Helen story again back in chapter 8, with Philip substituted for Paul, where Philip accosts the financial officer of a foreign queen going from Jerusalem down through Egypt by way of Gaza. This is of course the Ethiopian eunuch. Why has Luke transformed Helen the Queen of Adiabene into Candace the Queen of Ethiopia? He has reverted to an Old Testament prototype, making Helen, a convert to Judaism, into a New Testament Queen of Sheba, having come to Jerusalem to hear the wisdom of Solomon. There is also a pun on the root saba, denoting baptism, a la the Essenes, Sampsaeans, Sabeans, Masbutheans, and Mandaeans, the type of Judaism Helen would have converted to (given the later Zealot involvements of her sons and her own reputed 21 years of Nazirite asceticism). Henry Cadbury pointed out long ago that Luke has fallen into the same trap as a number of literary contemporaries by taking as a personal name, Candace, the title of all the old Ethiopian queens, kandake, but Eisenman sees also a pun on the name of Helen's son Kenedaeos, who gave his life for his adopted people in the Roman War. In any case, there were no Ethiopian queens at this time.
When the prophet Agabus predicts the famine, Luke has derived his name from that of Helen's husband Agbarus. When the eunuch invites Philip to step up into his chariot, we have an echo of Jehu welcoming Jonadab into his chariot. When Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands what he reads, Luke has borrowed this from the story of Izates and Eliezer, where the question also presages a ritual conversion, only this time the text is Isaiah's prophecy of Jesus, and the ritual is baptism. The original circumcision survives in the form of crude parody (recalling Galatians 5:12) with the Ethiopian having been fully castrated. Even the location of the Acts episode is dictated by the Helen story, as the Ethiopian travels into Egypt via Gaza as Helen's agents must have in order to buy the grain. Luke's substituted motivation for the trip, by contrast, is absurd: a eunuch could not have gone to Jerusalem to worship since eunuchs were barred from the Temple!The textual tradition is a perversion: its "histories", anti-heresies, its sacred texts. Only a little scholarship is needed to realise that much is fundamentally wrong - the gospels themselves are so self-contradictory that even a little rational thought should ring alarm bells, regardless of the miracles. So why have them and why still teach them - as English law insists - as history? Because they still do the job for which they are designed - they separate us into identifiable groups.
I define the "good" for which Chrest is commonly translated as in "the great and the good" and society needs only a few of these. The simple have their uses, the rebels can be dealt with; what this society is looking for are those who listened, learned and accepted: follow the Roman custom of separating private and public belief - always demonstrate loyalty to the system, your Lord and Master. This is the call of the imperial cult, against which Judas the Galilean rebelled.