Alcuin of York - a recapitulaton
Codex Sinaiticus is regarded as one of the oldest versions of the New Testament; it - like all the texts mis-termed early-Christian - made no mention of Jesus Christ, or Christian/Christianity; we now know they are Chrestian, because wherever the title is spelled out in the early texts, that's how it is; we have other artefacts of that period, also of that type. We also know that the earliest Christians who appear in the historical record - whether as real, historical people, or as the 'ghosts' of the Christian, textual tradition, were fully aware of the facts in my opening sentence here. We know, because Lactantius - real, or ghost - said so, as we see in the works attributed to him (see above image).
The Lactantius claim, is (like that for himself as historical) outright laughable, hilarious, even derisory: how come people centuries after could know better than all the claimed witnesses and adherents? Some imperial official is supposed to have converted to this religion and then somehow knew how the authors of the canonical gospels - the whole New Testament even - and all the correspondences until his time, were ignorant and wrong. Well, if they didn't know, what else didn't they know, and if they all were ignorant and wrong, why believe them in everything else? It's plain stupid to imagine it so.
Next, we see that the change of the eta to an iota to make Chrest into Christ is deliberate, both in the original codices and in the theology (as explained by this Lactantius character). This is important to understand, so I repeat: the change from Chrest to Christ is deliberate, in the texts and in the Roman Church.
When I studied the start of the Christian textual tradition, I found that the earliest texts - and this is true for virtually all the ghostly authors (including Lactantius) - are by consensus dated to the sixth century. None are dated reliably, scientifically - which reveals much about modern scholarship - which brings us to my point.
We saw in my post Alcuin, inventor of Christianity, how only three (or possibly four) of the Latin books of antiquity survived into the Carolingian period and Alcuin is now held largely responsible for us having very many others. He did this, it is claimed, by collecting and copying, using the vast resources of Charlemagne. The books attributed to this Lactantius character are Latin and fall into this category.
We therefore must see Alcuin and the scriptorium at Aachen as responsible for bringing Lactantius to us; thus this is when, how and under whose authority Chrest became Christ. The change is when and how Chrestianity became Christianity.
|Folio 34r of the Book of Kells contains the Chi Rho monogram. This book is in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Britain or Ireland or may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created ca. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina.|
We see in the artefacts of this period a cross-over, where Chrestian symbols are mixed with Christ. This is what we should expect to see if Alcuin began Christianity.
Since that post, we have enjoyed some good, pertinent comments, including questions. Dirk Puehl raised some issues, including: how could, or would, Alcuin and the Roman Church have caused the Eastern Roman Empire to also adopt, or change to Christianity? I will address that here.
|The torture and martyrdom of the iconophile Bishop Euthymius of Sardeis by the iconoclast Byzantine Emperor Michael II in 824, in a 13th-century manuscript|
First, how do we know what happened? The source materials in the West were composed by the same people who composed the fraudulent, Christian textual tradition - Acuin & Company. I think we should regard this 'history' as unreliable.
As an example: Adoptionism. I have stated a number of times now how I regard the main objective of the literary fraud was to mirror the Roman Empire, this time around writing into it a spurious history of the Roman Church. Thus, the various purported 'heresies' did not, could not exist. Adoptionism is a label which can be used correctly to describe imperial policy for succession in the Principate:
In the Roman Empire, adoption was the most common way of acceding to the throne without use of force. The second emperor, Tiberius, was the adopted son of Augustus, beginning a general tradition that the Emperor adopt his successor. During the Roman Empire's first 200 years, this tradition was common, with Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus all becoming Emperor through adoption.
I therefore have serious doubts as to the claimed history of Adoptionism in the time of Alcuin.
In short, as Alcuin takes responsibility for the textual tradition and it is fraudulent, we don't really know what happened from the Western, Roman point of view:
Byzantine Iconoclasm (Greek: Εἰκονομαχία, Eikonomachía) refers to two periods in the history of the Byzantine Empire when the use of religious images or icons was opposed by religious and imperial authorities within the Eastern Church and the temporal imperial hierarchy. The "First Iconoclasm", as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 726 and 787. The "Second Iconoclasm" was between 814 and 842.
Second, there is another possible cause of major confusion: what was Roman and what was Byzantine? They were mixed up:
|The Exarchate (orange) and the Lombards (gray) in 590|
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a center of Byzantine (East Roman) power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards. The exarchate was organised into a group of duchies (i.e. the Duchy of Rome, Duchy of Venetia, Duchy of Calabria, Duchy of Naples, Duchy of Perugia, Duchy of the Pentapolis,Duchy of Lucania etc.) which were mainly the coastal cities in the Italian peninsula since the Lombards held the advantage in the hinterland.
The civil and military head of these imperial possessions, the exarch himself, was the representative at Ravenna of the emperor in Constantinople. Ravenna remained the seat of the exarch until the revolt of 727 over iconoclasm. Eutychius, the last exarch of Ravenna, was killed by the Lombards in 751. The exarchate was reorganized as the Catapanate of Italy headquartered in Bari which was lost to the Saracens in 847 and only recovered in 871.
When in 756 the Franks drove the Lombards out, Pope Stephen II claimed the exarchate. His ally Pepin the Younger, King of the Franks, donated the conquered lands of the former exarchate to the Papacy in 756; this donation, which was confirmed by his son Charlemagne in 774, marked the beginning of the temporal power of the popes as the Patrimony of Saint Peter.
Third, when Charles I was made emperor, Charlemagne, Constantinople had no emperor, but a widow:
Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian (Greek: Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία) (c. 752 – 9 August 803) is the commonly known name of Irene Sarantapechaina (Greek: Εἰρήνη Σαρανταπήχαινα), Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802. Prior to becoming empress regnant, Irene was empress consort from 775 to 780, and empress dowager and regent from 780 to 797.
Pope Leo III refused to recognise Irene's authority; in crowning Charles as emperor, Leo was acting as head of Christendom, above Constantinople.
Fourth, my feeling is that Iconoclasm was more than just a war about images. My email correspondence from 2010:
From me: ...this subject I am looking at: the possibility that divine men were created by resurrecting people from the past through making their statue, then imbuing it with the spirit of the dead person. Though this - if right - would have added to our general understanding of divine men and how they were produced, it could be applicable to Hadrian's statue making program.
The idea came to me from a recent archaeological study of stupas containing relics of Buddha: I had trouble understanding this clearly, but the view seemed to me to be that when the relic was placed in a stupa, on a site visited by Buddha, it became the living Buddha.
The Byzantine Iconoclasts, who destroyed countless thousands of statues for divine men, had the idea, I think, that they had to destroy them because they contained some form of animus, of 'pagan' spirit of the person whom was represented by the statue. That is, early Christians believed the same Greek magic used to make the statue and divine man, and needed to exorcise the demon, or spirit.
To me: the Byzantine Iconoclastic movement seems to have realised how pagan are some Christian beliefs. Those arguing against it, I note, plunder the Hebrew bible for justification, unaware how some of these texts are late and reflect Persian, pagan influences (as we noted in Qumran texts).
Christianity contains a lot of magic. Christians believe in demons, ghosts, spirits, angels, and possession. Those attacking Iconoclasm freely admit to worshipping icons and statues and this, I think, is critical. (I also note than when I was a child and made the same claim, my teachers denied it.)
Why where so many thousands of statues made to Hadrian's order? People today forget that there were made to stand in temples - we forget, because we see them as art and their modern context is as objects for display. They were worshipped. They were regarded as divine - not artistic representations of a divine, but possessed of the divine spirit.
Iconoclasts destroyed them, I suspect, not just because they represented something pagan, but because everyone - everyone regardless of what else they believed - knew that inside the statue was the spirit of the divine person represented by the statue. If a person did not share that faith, then they regarded that spirit as a demon - and nobody likes or wants demons, so they destroyed the statue and the demon. The Iconoclasts were exorcising the demons. It was all magic.
Hadrian drowned Antinous because he loved him so much that he wanted to make him divine - something he was empowered to do as Pontifex Maximus, and with magic from his Greek friends and priests such as Plutarch.
Hadrian has all those statues placed in temples because they contained the animus of his gods, and so projected his power. It was not symbollic, but real. These spirits were working for him. His temples are like the electricity grid and the statues like the worldwide web - and information is power, as they say.
Theological scholars seem to agree how Hadrian built no statues of Jesus. Hmmm - but is that so? What did Antinous look like? What did Alexander look like? Were not they all the same, and all Helios? In this scenario and as my posts have been indicating, Jesus Christ is Helios, as is Alexander the Great, Dionysus, Bacchus, Hercules and so on, on to Mithras with his 4 horses, and Sol Invictus.
How JC statues do not appear until later, is that later, people either forgot that JC was Helios, or the Iconoclasts destroyed the more obvious evidence - both temples and statues.
More in this vein followed and my feeling was that perhaps the Iconoclasm wars were actually a reflection of the change from Chrest to Christ, trying to obfuscate the role of Greek Magic and solar worship. Though Christianity looks more modern - less primitive and obviously superstitious - than Chrestianity, the new carried much of the old with it; religion cannot escape belief in the supernatural.
It seems to me that with Alcuin, Charlemagne and the founding of the Holy Roman Empire, with the start of the Christian textual tradition out of the imperial scriptorium at Aachen, we have identified the founders of Christianity. We see in the early codices how Chrest became Christ and this is down to Alcuin (even if, as Dirk suggests, somebody had the big idea first and Alcuin was recruited merely to execute the Grand Design). If I'm wrong, who else is suggested by the evidence?