The New Testament as It Was
The King on the Cross in the Context of the
by Michael Hoffman
Initial outline toward a draft
November 5, 2006
I'll resume work on this article and my book in December 2007.
It's tricky to discuss the separation of church and state, given that the New Testament version of Christianity was essentially a rebuttal to the Roman imperial political and religious system. Jesus on the cross in the overall New Testament canon was used as a religious/mystical figure and a political figure.
The Christianity of the "original" (New Testament canon) era has much to offer for future mystic-state, political, and religous interactions, but only if correctly and accurately understood in its context and then intelligently applied to current political and religious interactions, to the degree that its context-optimized themes permit.
The "Christianity" of today, evangelicalism, is a recent invention, an uninspired man-made abomination fabricated in the ordinary state of consciousness without the mind-transforming Holy Spirit. Evangelical Christianity is set against the New Testament version of Christianity. The modern massive misinterpretation of the New Testament forms a version of Christianity that is thoroughly bunk and inauthentic, that contradicts the New Testament as the book that is supposedly definitive of Christianity, and must end.
It's not that modern-era evangelical Christianity is a mundane morality system that fails to live up to the mundane morality system of the Bible; rather, the Bible was a different kind of morality system, a transcendent and social-political morality system with objectives and strategic bases that must be accurately understood in the original whole Roman imperial context, including the intense mystic altered state as a strategic primary context.
The brilliance of the New Testament version of Christianity can only be comprehended, understood, and appreciated when the New Testament is recognized as a rebuttal to empire in its original Roman imperial context. Such understanding stands opposed to the recent modern-era construct of "evangelical Christianity", an unbiblical construct based on selective interpretation and gross misinterpretation. Evangelical Christianity is a gross perversion and distortion of the New Testament version of Christianity. Evangelical Christianity must die, and the only thing that can kill evangelical Christianity is the truth about New Testament Christianity -- understanding what the New Testament version of Christianity was about in its whole Roman imperial context.
It is impossible that modern-era evangelical Christianity simply die on its own, without being compared to this Roman imperial original contextual understanding of the New Testament version of Christianity. Modern atheism cannot kill this abomination, this recent invention of evangelical Christianity; only a coherent, comprehensive Roman-historical re-understanding of New Testament Christianity can kill this ahistorical abomination of evangelical Christianity.
The anti-empire strategic principles of New Testament Christianity could have a proper constructive role in the future; however, these strategic principles were cast in such a form as to offer an effective and basically successful rebuttal to ancient culture, not to offer an effective rebuttal to the late-modern cultural situation. So an updated usage or version of Christianity that is true to the New Testament ideas cannot be as powerful or well-suited as New Testament Christianity was in its day and context.
Ingesting the psychoactive Eucharist was how the Holy Spirit was experienced; the New Testament strategy was to direct this Holy Spirit experience toward providing a rebuttal, an alternative, an inversion, of the Roman imperial cult and culture. The late-modern evangelical version of Christianity is completely out of touch with both of these most important strategic themes of the "original" (that is, New Testament canonical) version of Christianity.
The New Testament version of Christianity isn't "the" original version of Christianity; the Jesus figure, the Paul figure, and Christianity were a product of the Big Crunch, that only gradually coalesced from diversity to an apparent singular version that was then back-projected as a simply single, original origin. However, evangelical Christianity claims to hold the New Testament as its standard of legitimacy; the specifically New Testament version of Christianity is all-important as the reference point and standard to which we must hold evangelical Christianity in order to debunk and terminate evangelical Christianity.
The New Testament was, above all, an alternative system of altered-state religion & social-political scheme, a response set against the official Roman version of the same sort of combination. The New Testament canon, centered around the king on the cross, was, most essentially, a counter or alternative to the Roman imperial scheme of combining altered-state religion & social-political structures.
The Cross means the mystic-state realization of the illusory nature of our personal power, and an alternative to the claims of divine approval made by Pax Romana and Roman imperial religious, political, and social ideology -- an alternative that conforms to the Jewish principle of God's chastising of human claims to kingship and rulership.
Topics such as ahistoricity or astrotheology or cosmic/gnostic Christianity are merely one arm of the octopus, a side show, not the main act. Such theories are correct except that they are overemphasized to the near-exclusion of what were more important aspects -- important with respect to the New Testament version of Christianity. In the New Testament canon, and the New Testament version of Christianity, the most important factors are the two combined factors, of an alternative social-political system, and entheogen-induced mystic altered-state-based religion -- particularly the utilizing of altered-state-based religion to prop up this alternative social-political system, against the official Roman manner of using altered-state-based religion to prop up the official social-political system.
In the New Testament, the figurative image of the cross and the Jewish king on the cross refers to the altered-state sensation and experiential insight of personal non-sovereignty -- our lack of ultimate-level control over our thoughts and actions, as revealed by ingesting psychoactive 'mixed wine' -- and the cross also means an alternative definition of a victorious kingdom and social structure set against and contrasted to the official ideology of the Pax Romana social-political system; the latter utilized the altered-state insights to try to prop it up, and portrayed crosses as set against Pax Romana.
Crucifixion indicated opposition to and rebellion against the official order of Pax Romana; Christianity ran with and inverted the image of crucifixion in order to stand against the system of Pax Romana. In New Testament Christianity, the Cross means altered-state non-sovereignty (that is, the realization and discovery that oneself is subject to a higher, prior, transcendent level of control-power), and the cross means an alternative to the system of Caesar's empire.
The Cross means altered-state non-sovereignty and an
alternative to Caesar's system of the
Anyone writing about the New Testament must first understand
the Roman imperial religious/political/social ideology. For example, N. T. Wright's book on Paul gets
it right, except that he stumbles in uncritically taking the historicity of
Jesus and Paul for granted, and in not recognizing that ancient religion
throughout the entire
This article lists all of the basics people need & want to know, required for understanding the 3 main topics. Summarize such answers not as "argument" but as puzzle-piece definitions. It lists the questions people will have and answers them as a concise list; for example:
The altered-state sensation of loss-of-control and disappearance of the feeling of wielding the power of personal agency is reflected in the figure of the sovereign king on the cross, and that meaning of the king on the cross figure was tied to the alternative, counter-Roman social-political system. The Roman social-political system similarly utilized altered-state religious experiential insights to prop up the official ideology.
This article explains the New Testament with the entire
In my weblog and website, I already have covered these topics substantially, with deep integration/mutual coherence, but presented only as disparate pieces. To see the leading edge of New Testament research, skim this outline, then research what I've written about each topic in my weblog and website.
Ahistoricity is a major topic here, in a way, and yet is a minor topic, a distraction; historicity assumption is a dead-end, and its refutation can but be a prolegomenon, a precursor to the main work. Atheist "debunkers" halt at this mere preliminary. So historicity of Jesus and Paul is false; ok, but what then is the substantial positive truth about the meaning of the New Testament, if it is not simply "myth" in the sense of "falsehoods" or "encoding of celestial movements"?
3 key elements or topics are required, to understand the New Testament, but they are not 3 separate items, though distinct; they must be not only merely present, but beyond that, integrated: ahistoricity, alternative social-political system, altered-state non-sovereignty metaphor -- ahistoricity, sociopolitical, entheogenic. If they are not highly integrated (having a highly developed integration), then none of the 3 are individually highly developed either. Need all 4 factors then; they necessarily work together and must all be present, or else none of them can be adequately present:
People will only understand the New Testament when combine understanding of ahistoricity, entheogens, and imperial theology. Only when the best research on these fields is brought together, can we understand the New Testament.
Ahistoricity: stop the historicity and genre assumptions; read as ahistoricity and different genre/type of writing, instead. Read as expression of entheogen insight expressed in political terms for sociopolitical alternative system.
Entheogens: Entheogen theory.
Imperial theology: Counter to Roman imperial theology and related schemes.
These are the main organizing legs, the main categories of the missing keys required to understand the New Testament.
The existing books such as atheists debunking New Testament and showing that it is "false" or "untrue" instead of "true" falls well short of understanding the meaning of the New Testament. The existing books are incomplete and unbalanced.
Altered-state myth-metaphor within the entire
The existing mainstream and alternative histories don't successfully explain the meaning of the New Testament in its cultural context. A main objective of mine is to enable people to understand the meaning of the New Testament in its cultural context, particularly the figure of the king on the cross in the light of: ruler cult, the entire Roman empire and all its cultures as context (not just Palestine or paganism), imperial theology, Pax Romana, heimarmene-transcendence in astrology (including the celestial cross), slave rebellions, and mystic altered-state phenomenology and insights.
All these topics must be integrated, to understand the New
Testament and its central figure of the king on the cross. Karen King helps with understanding the
"gnostic" literature in its cultural context; now apply that method
to the New Testament with the entire
Ken Humphrey's recent noteworthy popularization of Pauline ahistoricity/inauthenticity. Karen King's fresh approach to the writings which have been treated as "gnostic" -- a cultural-context driven approach which uses the tools of modernity without projecting modern-era reified illusions back in time. Such a reading of the "gnostic" texts as creative, pointed re-writing of diverse familiar materials and themes needs to be applied to the New Testament canon of books.
Christianity drew from all available themes throughout the
cultures of the
Today's theories – mainstream and alternative – have little feel for how the New Testament culture of Late Antiquity worked. The book Reinventing Jesus and the poor theories it rebuts (e.g. Dan Brown's) both rely on rigid categories that are isolated in modern fashion: myth or politics, Jewish or Pagan, true or false, accurate or inaccurate, reliable or unreliable, genuine or forgery. This book just entrenches the very category-brittleness that permits the alternative authors and rebutters to stay in a shallow mindset, the shallow mindset of "fundamentalists say the bible's true, but in fact it is false!" Such inarticulate negation sheds no light on the intended meaning of the NT canon in its cultural context.
This article summarizes only the few points you really need
to know, to be able to say that you understand the gist of the New Testament in
This article does not strive to prove; rather, it delivers the solution; it does not prove that the solution is correct. It defines the new paradigm in outline; it does not prove the new paradigm is in all ways superior. It does not argue against the prevailing paradigm in terms of isolated points. It offers an entire framework, in outline only, that is far better than the prevailing paradigm. It does not spell out the arguments against each isolated point constituting the prevail paradigm, rather, it only summarizes the framework from which such rebuttals are readily and easily constructed.
Most of these topics are adequately covered in recent books. The work at hand is to integrate these findings with the others, figuring out and finally recognizing which topics remain to be pulled together as the missing keys: ahistoricity, entheogens, and imperial theology.
The experiential and political symbol of the Cross must be summarized and characterized in such a way as to fully, deeply, and concisely understand it. The New Testament cross is correctly understood from an altered-state/political/cybernetics point of view, including social system/Kingdom of God point of view. The New Testament cross expresses a synthesis and combination of altered-state experiential insight, a socio-political moral, in the face of Roman imperial theology as a contrast to it.
The New Testament cross connects the mystic altered-state
feeling of non-sovereignty to the social-political counter-point against Roman
imperial theology. Altered-state
experiential insight was strategically connected with political themes, where
these themes were suffused and informed by the altered state from 'mixed wine'
and sacred meals in mystery religions and symposium "drinking
clubs"/burial clubs; the
The Christian movement around 313 was a counter
social-political scheme, where the entire culture throughout the
These were Roman, Jewish, and Christian altered-state-based religious/social/political systems and counter-systems. One must not say "imperial theology" without understanding such doctrine as altered-state-based or altered-state integrated. These two pillars must be cross-informed; instead of envisioning it along the lines of the modern-type historicity assumption, cross-permute the two main pillars of the theory as altered-state-based imperial theology, and political-themed entheogen-based altered-state,
Rightly understanding the New Testament is the most important thing in the world, because:
There is no great need to read more of the existing books about Christian origins; they will be rendered obsolete. With this theory, we know more than can be in any of them, due to superior paradigmicity and familiarity with the Roman imperial culture. To flesh-in this interpretive framework, requires summarizing various topics from particular angles; thus articles and chapters are still needed, highlighting the connections (doing routine research and writing within the new paradigm) to flesh-in details within the new framework -- such as answering questions like how to summarily think of the cross, the feeling of the cross and non-sovereignty, the feeling of being a king fastened in Hades -- but feeling this mystic-state sensation while envisioning the Roman Empire perspective/context/background.
What "mode of thinking" -- not just genre -- does the New Testament reflect? The New Testament is written in the altered-state metaphoricity mode of thinking, applied to social-political concerns and strategy – it's not "modern literary fiction", "secular historical fact reportage", "religious piety", "mystical", etc.
The New Testament is "rebuttal writing", contrastive to the only-implied, yet vividly present context of Roman imperial cult, imperial theology, and imperial ideology. The New Testament is a response and a counter, not a standalone belief system assertion; that's the type and genre of writing we have here: it is the second half of a conversation, not a monologue.
The main and key challenge is, "what kind of writings are these; what is their intent/objective/concern?" Once you figure out what kind of writings the New Testament really is, the problem of interpretation and meaning is solved – the perido of revolutionary science is passed, now will need to do merely routine science within this framework. Modern scholars keep just assuming what kind of writings the New Testament is, and then struggling to straighten out coherent meaning from that mess resulting from that bunk premise. The mess includes historicity confusions and chronology confusions, and failure to recognize mystic-state metaphor.
We should think of the meaning of the cross and New Testament and New Testament Christianity, including the takeover strategy & parties' motives/strategies, as follows.
It is important to generalize the overall strategy of the New Testament, with all of its aspects considered and taken into account. However, this summarizing generalization is to be understood as such, that the New Testament was assembled and finally redacted for a definite coherent single strategy, but is also a revision and balancing-out of tug-of-war among various parties. We must rely on Alter's treatment, here [The Art of Biblical Narrative, by Robert Alter], not only redaction and form criticism; yes there are redaction layers and multiple authors/objectives cobbled and fused together with visible seams, but nevertheless we must also do a literary analysis on the text as it stands, distinct from analyzing its moving trajectory (what the meanings were and what they later became).
We must do several analyses, one of which is a static literary analysis of the New Testament canon -- another distinct one is what the individual New Testament books meant prior to redaction, and 3rdly, what the Catholic religion later crafted the religion's meaning to be, and later re-interpreted the canon to mean (purgatory, penance, piety, nonpolitical religiosity, etc).
Marcionite Christianity changed in purpose from pre-canon to canonical redaction as follows.
The pre-canon set of various parties/strategies, against the post-canon parties/strategies, was as follows.
A basic summary of the meaning of Christianity/New Testament requires defining "New Testament Christianity" in a way that includes the fringe, related topics of conflicts and origins of the New Testament. It is difficult to talk of "the meaning of the New Testament" without topic of "origins and trajectory represented and evidenced in the New Testament". New Testament Christianity is a snapshot of a changing/developing tug-of-war involving many parties including Marcion, Roman State, Jewish leaders, mystic Hellenistic Jews, Titus, and Josephus, and the parties represented by 'Peter', 'Paul', 'Simon', and 'Mary'. The New Testament is a frame of a moving picture, not a static/stationary portrait-photo; analyze both.
To read the New Testament in context means always taking into consideration the strategy of the New Testament as a whole, integrated system, directed against the Roman imperial context -- as opposed to mainly focusing on one isolated book in its earlier version in Jewish, Palestinian, or Marcionite, or "pagan religions" contexts. Pick the right primary framework for interpretation, to understand and avoid distortions. For example, in earlier Jewish context, the concept and expression 'the Holy Spirit' had some meaning, but the most relevant meaning for the New Testament is to look primarily from the point of view of how the 'Holy Spirit' is used in the New Testament canon version, against the Roman Imperial context and rhetoric.
To rightly think of the New Testament, one must have exposure to the Roman imperial culture of the NT's original intended context. You have to be steeped in Roman imperial culture aspects. The New Testament is a counter/negation/inversion of Roman imperial ideology, a counter-Roman ideology expressed in reconfigured equivalent mystic/religious/political/social terms. A beginner-level understanding of these 3 key topics won't do; either you have sophisticated clarity, or no understanding. Confusions, common wrong assumptions & mental associations won't do. We must do away with conventional associations, to clear the board, then fill-in the board with good, substantial, leading-edge understanding of these 3 topics.
Sort of. Example: presuppositional apologetics (Van Til) founds itself on the premise that the bible really is the holy inspired truth, the true word of God – that misportrays the nature of the NT and Christian bible right from the start. The NT (and Christian bible and canonical Christian religion) was particularly and especially a means of directing common religious truth and common readily available intense mystic-state experiencing toward constructing a sociopolitical alternative system. In effect, mystic-religious truth was the given, the starting point; the main substance of the NT concern is what's subsequently done with mystic heimarmene-insight toward relationship with God/creator, and then, even more so, toward imperial ideology.
Similarly, Reformed theology labors over the topic of grace vs. man's initiative, but the ancients including NT authors didn't, because all that – Heimarmene – was simply the given starting point accepted and assumed by everyone. There was no debate about grace and Heimarmene, because the entire culture of antiquity, in effect took TULIP metaphysics (the powerlessness of mortals) as the obvious, given starting point. Heimarmene was the ubiquitous given, driving all antique mystic religion. Reformed theology errs in not moving past the fact of TULIP metaphysics; it takes one component (which the ancients would treat as the starting point for mystery-religion or general religious sacrifice-of-self-concept), and reduces the entirety of Christian concern into that point which wasn't even contested in antique religion. By focusing exclusively on human powerlessness, Reformed theology misrepresents ancient views (ignores the universality of belief in Heimarmene) and is blind to what the disctinctive message and purpose of the NT canon was; it missed the entire question of how people presented and came to grips with Heimarmene, and missing the question of how Christians in the NT canon dealt with Heimarmene and directed such thematic concerns toward constructing an alternative sociopolitical arrangement.
What is the proof or, or criterion for, our fully entering the post-modern era? A total, deep revision of our understanding of what New Testament and Christianity -- New Testament Christianity -- were about. Discard the historicity conception of New Testament/Christianity (with its endlessly confusing assumption of the historicity of Jesus & Paul), and replace it by the conception, entheogenic 'mixed wine' directed toward a mystic-state powerful transcendent group-solidarity experience to construct an alternative and counter to the imperial social-political-religious ideology. Using the altered state to construct an alternative State; altered state for alternative State.
The post-modern era happens precisely when we overturn the historicity conception of New Testament/Christianity, and replace it by the conception of "using the altered state to construct an alternative State".
The actual meaning of the New Testament is explained in terms of ahistoricity (as a prerequisite topic for clearing the field) and entheogenic mystic altered-state directed toward a counter-imperial alternative project.
In the New Testament, astrotheology and Ptolemaic cosmology was pointedly contrasted in each book of the canon, against various pro-Roman-empire "pagan" writings. The atheist debunkers merely show that astrotheology is present in New Testament, but we must go beyond that to show how astrotheology in New Testament was used specifically as a counter to how it was used in the "pagan" -- Roman imperial -- scheme of social-political ideology.
Heimarmene-transcendence as used in official Roman ideology and in Christianity. What you need to know about astrotheology in order to understand the New Testament. The limits of astrotheology as an explanation of the meaning of the New Testament. Yes, the celestial cross was one of the important concepts that were meant, but it was utilized, integrated with, and directed toward other themes and concerns.
From my article Wasson and Allegro on the Tree of Knowledge as Amanita.
Allegro’s main theory in Sacred Mushroom & the Cross is that Jesus and the apostles didn’t exist as literal historical individuals who created the Christian religion, but actually, were secret code-names for the Amanita mushroom. According to Allegro, the practices of the Christian religion were around for a long time prior to the formation of the religion we call ‘Christianity’ – long before the time in which the figures of Jesus and Paul are placed in the Christian stories of Church History. Allegro assumed that the use of visionary plants was rare and highly secret; the official dominant culture was against the use of visionary plants, and keeping Christian practice alive required an effort to keep secret the use of visionary plants by this deviant cult.
The metaphors in myth don't only represent the visionary, psychoactive plants, but even more, they represent mystic insight phenomena and anti-empire themes.
Karen King's chapter "The History of Religions School" in What Is Gnosticism criticizes the simplistic History of Religions attempt to "disprove" Christianity by doing away with Jesus by citing his sameness with pagan godmen; such "disproof", while not incorrect, fails to amount to an explanation or an adequate understanding. We must move beyond such dismissive-oriented comparison, if we ever are to gain any substantial understanding of New Testament meaning and purpose in its context. Pointing out that Jesus was mythic-only does not explain the use of the Jesus figure in socio/political context. Neither does "abuse, forgery, and fraud by Catholic authorities" serve adequately to explain the players, motives, and meanings that drive the New Testament. Such explanations stop short of explaining the main dynamics; they are minor, almost incidental truths falsely posed as the main and most important dynamics.
Prevents a full, sensitive, sympathetic, context-sensitive grasp of the full meaning of New Testament in its context. The "debunking" mentality is too busy condemning and emoting about the harms of abused Christianity; that overemphasis distracts from a mature, subtle, context-driven complete approach and grasp of New Testament. The result is too limited in comprehension. "Debunkers" need to also read a stack of New Testament theology books, empire books, metpahor, and so on and fit them all together.? Such a lopsided, limited perspective, cannot be adequate. An adequate approach doesn't disprove the debunkers; rather, it is a superset of the best of the debunkers' insights; must go beyond the debunkers, building on their findings and modifying and then piecing-together the best of the various findings.
Ruler cult & Augustus claimed the new age/era was here; that was strategically directly contradicted by New Testament usage of the same terms and expressions in a reconfigured form.
All scholars say "Christians believed" this or that, and that these dumb gullible Christian primitives expected an apocalyptic 2nd coming of Jesus and new world, and were disappointed when the literal event didn't occur. Nonsense. The modern scholars are the gullible and foolish ones, due to working within the wrong, crude paradigm, such as the wrong assumptions about genre, about what kind of writings and what combination of purposes these writings had. Never assume that the ancients were foolish and didn't understand. Don't forget who invented the western religions – not modern clueless single-field scholars; rather, the ancients. Always assume the moderns don't understand what the ancients meant.
Its typical errors. Its trivial accomplishments. Cover its correct and incorrect points, not because the book is special, but because it's paradigmatically typical.
The latest book to downplay the
Reinventing Jesus: What the Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You
by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace
The book needs a better treatment of many fields and theories together.
A reader comments that the book refutes Earl Doherty except
the book doesn't address for what Doherty writes about Jesus'
ahistoricity. The present book is a
problem for non-apologists because it's barely worth reading and
reviewing. Sure, the authors set
straight the main stupid assertion of Da Vinci Code that Jesus was understood
as a regular man during the
What's needed now is to turn the tables, for the status quo to learn and respond to the best of the alternative histories, and that is the problem: at this point, the alternative histories aren't very good: they are incomplete, negative, debunking, without putting forth a developed positive transdisciplinary explanation of what did happen. So alternative historians need to do better at reconstructing what did happen, by building on multiple theories more. We still need more puzzle pieces; half-radical or half-revisionist doesn't work; it's incoherent.
Instead of refuting the many paradigmatic errors in books such as this, instead, we need a better book, to have status-quo authors such as this try to refute it. But such good alternate history books do not yet exist -- even Doherty's book, by itself, is not good enough, is not insightful enough, is only good at refuting but not at replacing error with truth of the matter. The radical alternative history must be further developed before we have a way of refuting the system of a hundred fallacies that keeps the usual mostly bad, limited books coming out.
Cover its correct points like factions, and incorrect like conventional reasoning against ahistoricity.
This section covers ahistoricity, metaphor, and genre/type of writings making up the whole NT (not just reconsidering the genre of the gospels). Not one word here strives to prove ahistoricity or to yell at Christianity for its harms and abuses. Instead, this section summarizes the conclusions of the ahistoricity scholars, including of Paul, summarizing the sum of the alternative theories about Christian origins without a historical Jesus/Paul/etc. That summarization is needed as a building block; it is taken as a starting point, as basic theorems.
Similarly, entheogen section doesn't spend even 1 word "defending" or "advocating"; any such aspect of this article will remain completely implicit. Article merely states how things were; does not strive to "prove" that is how thing were or that things weren't as the predominant view says they are. This article doesn't debunk and doesn't disprove and doesn't prove the new paradigm. It does demonstrate the superior explanatory power of the new paradigm.
This article might criticize the hopelessness/inability of the political studies by themselves, the entheogen theory by itself, and the debunking of historicist assumption by itself. Existing "alternative" scholarship has only tackled one at a time: ahistoricity, entheogens, or political; but these key fields must be integrated: (entheogen theory is less well understood than political; fewer books exist to cite, like 3 books vs. 20)
There was no individual Historical Jesus or individual Historical Paul; that is, no single individual who was the kernel of causing the religion. Jesus and Paul are entirely, essentially, and exclusively composite figures, drawing only loosely from groups, mythic figures, mythicized hero figures/historical figures (mythicized Alexander, Apollonius, Julius Caesar (J.C. #1)), and so on. Paul, like Jesus, is a manipulated figure, pulled in an ink tug of war. The status-quo story is that Jesus did x, y, and z, and Paul did x, y, and z. Actually, we need to instead word it as follows: the Jesus figure was produced by x, y, and z, and the Paul figure was produced by x, y, and z. The book just prior to Revelation calls "antichrist" those who deny that Jesus came in the flesh, for practical strategic reasons (not because they simply believed this to be the case). Highly developed social-political and entheogenic aspects support and amplify this aspect (highly developed ahistoricity).
The feeble usual version of the ahistoricity aspect of New Testament/Jesus/Christian origins: ____ It's weak and inadequate in that ___.
The ahistoricity component cannot be fully and properly understood if the sociopolitical and entheogenic components are omitted. Freke & Gandy don't combine their discussion of entheogens from their History of Mysticism and Encyclopedia of Spirituality books into their Jesus Mysteries books or seminars, probably due to the conditions of drug Prohibition – the scholarship chilling effect of Prohibition.
Hasty assumptions about what genre-categories are available; mistake to only pick from the limited combinations available in modern genre-categories; lack imagination as per Peter Kirby's simplistic assertion that the writings claim to be literal history -- they don't, not in the modern sense. They are pseudo-history styled literary goal-directed polemics. That assumption about what categories are possibilities is a genre-anachronism. Point to article at this site that makes that case, that doctrines stating Jesus was human aren't the same as assertion of modern-type historicity.
What is the overall genre, nature, and intent of the New Testament canon as literature or goal-oriented writing? A key issue is, at root, what is the purpose and objective of the New Testament collection (including redactions made especially for the proto-Catholic New Testament canon)? and of the individual pre-New Testament versions of the New Testament books? Simplistic question: "what was the purpose of the New Testament writings?" More useful is to track the trajectory of the purposes of the various versions of the various books. Their purpose and versions were changed over time -- repurposed, as were the Old Testament writings by different parties.
The purpose of the New Testament writings was to provide an alternative social support system, integrated with a particularly directed application of mystic-religious components; to critique and provide an alternative to the Roman scheme, then to gain power and organization, forming a new state, a new and successfully growing company, stably organized and growing, incorporating the anti-roman reaction of Jews and gentiles both -- meaning largely Jews and slaves -- into a promised better configuration. The result was less hierarchical – not radically, thoroughly egalitarian, but shallower than the honor/shame hierarchy of the Roman imperial cultural system.
As N. T. Wright points out, overall, the purpose of the New Testament is not "to go to heaven after you die". It's to bring-in the kingdom of heaven, on earth as in heaven, and this in the face of the equivalent Roman imperial claims for Caesar, his empire, and Pax Romana.
The original purpose of the New Testament writings was to provide an alternative social support system in the face of the Roman system, applying mystic/religious components; to critique and provide an alternative to the Roman scheme, then after 313 to gain power and organization, forming a new state, a new and successfully growing corporation, organization, company, or state-within-a-state, stably organized and growing, incorporating the anti-Roman reaction/resistance of Jews and gentiles/slaves into a better configuration.
Individuals saw more opportunity within the new and growing counterculture state-within-a-state, than they saw within the Roman system. Post-modern pagans idealize the Roman paganism system, but individuals who were actually trapped in that system in the many downtrodden roles saw greater opportunity in the Christian state-within-a-state. To form an alternative or auxiliary state-within-a-state that afforded better opportunities or improved quality-of-life. Christianity enabled a way for individuals to re-channel their funding (per Conley's analysis of the strategic welfare scheme) into a system promising better returns for their support.
"The Synoptic Problem and the Genre Question"
John E. Toews
The article is limited to the synoptic gospels, not NT in general as a whole; however, the article has valuable references and the history of the genre question.
The purpose and intent of the New Testament writings was to set up an auxiliary and then an alternative social support system within the prior context of the Roman imperial religion-social-political system. Did the New Testament authors mean to write about historical individuals, biographically? Did the New Testament authors intend their writings as reports recounting the biographical doings of historical individuals? What motivation and goals? The writings may be somewhat shaped as biographical, but more like an allegorical novel, and their main purpose was not to recount pious biography, for spiritual edification with religiosity sustained in isolation, but rather, to effect an auxiliary/alternative social support system within/against the context of the Roman imperial religion-social-political system.
That support system was strategically based on religion that
was expressed as Jewish-type pseudo history, like
Insistence on Jesus' presence in flesh right before the book of Revelation (1 John 4:2) was not "pious fiction, forgery, and fraud" but rather was strategic fiction and strategic doctrine. Strategy as a new perspective. The authors didn't believe it and they weren't expecting others to believe it, but rather, demanding that others adhere to that version of the story-doctrine, for strategic reasons.
The ahistoricity of Jesus and Paul is not inherently very important; the main reason this topic is important is to clear away old patterns of thinking, to clear the way for new, clearer thinking about the meaning of New Testament Christianity.
The whole topic of the ahistoricity of Jesus and Paul is largely irrelevant, a distraction; we must ignore or reduce that topic to wholly incidental. We really must focus on the two main components: the altered-state-based religion, and imperial theology – ways [list them] in which the social-political schemes utilized ideas and connections from altered-state-based religion. If there are 3 pillars, pillar 1 (ahistoricity) is merely to clear-away the present confused notion to make room for an alternative conception; the other two pillars are actually fundamental (they constitute the substance of the alternative conception of New Testament meaning).
The topic of ahistoricity is not a pillar for explaining what did happen, but can only be but a mere preliminary negation of the present confusion, a doing-away with the faulty model. Demote the topic of ahistoricity, compared to those (such as typical "atheists") who try to make it the endpoint and main attraction. Their contributions are essential building blocks and puzzle pieces. The ahistoricity topic can never carry its own weight and contribute substantial insight; it is purely negative; purely a required clearing-away of what can only be a distraction; like my article on Allegro/Wasson was purely to clear away junk distraction confusion, to permit now getting to the main questions which both of those researchers failed to investigate.
The historicity assumption is nothing but an obstacle to understanding, to be cleared away, like how the modern confused construct of "gnosticism" with all its supposed attributes is nothing but an obstacle to understanding, contributing 1 unit of insight and 99 units of confusion. We must put forth a brief and serviceable commentary on historicity as the existing option to refute, and the other two topics (altered-state-based religion and imperial social-political theology) as the replacement. Instead of historicity, here is the correct explanation of canonical Christian original meaning, instead: the altered state and imperial doctrine.
Ahistoricity is merely the negative, the preliminary clearing-away phase of explanation; altered-state religion intertwined with imperial doctrine is the positive, replacement theory. Ahistoricity will summarize a bit of the positive explanation of what did happen, like the extent Doherty presents, but the substance and bulk has got to be altered-state religion intertwined with imperial doctrine. N.T. Wright's book on Paul asserts Paul's goal as the Kingdom of God as an alternative to imperial social-political theology, but we must transform that by cross-permutating it with the topic of ahistoricity and altered-state-based religion as well, showing how Christianity is the application of certain deep Jewish themes to form a Jewish-type counter to the imperial theology and its social system.
The authors of the Gospels used Titus's campaign as one of many sources for their fables. In standard Hellenistic literary fashion, they relied on the audience seeing clearly, vividly, and obviously, the relationship between Jesus's ministry and Titus's campaign. The audience perceiving a new story as a modification of another well-known story was the convention and mechanism upon which the tradition of "authorship as creative twist on the familiar" was based.
The Gospel authors didn't desire to hide the fact that their stories were literary fables. The Gospels were written and intended to be received as a new literary twist on various familiar literary, religious, and political accounts or themes.
Authoring ancient literature often was a matter of creating a new twist on existing, established themes and accounts. Jewish literature kept apace with Greco-Roman literature by creating alternate, Jewish-restyled equivalent versions of Greco-Roman literature, as a rebuttal and retort. The Gospel authors and redactors drew from the common stock of Greco-Roman political/religious/literary themes, from the same milieu and same sources.
Assuming the parallels were deliberate, for example, the author or redactors of Matthew had good political and literary reasons to use the sea battle between the Romans and the Jews as the inspiration for his 'fishing for men' passage. The author of John had good political and literary reasons to use the fate of the rebel leaders Simon and John as the basis for fates of the Apostles Simon and John.
The Gospel authors and redactors included prophecies like 'Mary's fine portion that shall not be taken away' and 'Mary shall be pierced through the heart' to create the impression that Jesus's ministry was like that of Titus, in addition to other gospel elements alluding to a variety of famous figures and accounts.
The similarity of various elements of the Gospel story and
various elements of Titus' story is deliberate literary typological comparison
by the Gospel authors and redactors.
Matthew's literature portrays Moses as the first savior of
The Jesus figure was created by synthesizing as many sources as possible. Each researcher contributes to understanding how the Jesus figure was formed, by writing a book that reveals one thematic source of the Jesus figure. Each such researcher errs and provides limited understanding of the history of Jesus figure formation by emphasizing their theme while de-emphasizing the many other themes that were woven together to create the dense, all-integrating Jesus Christ figure, the universal political-religious-philosophical figure. The various parties strove to control and influence how this densely power-packed figure was utilized, in a battle of pens.
The figure of Julius Caesar was also subject to tug-of-war between opposed parties: Julius Caesar began as the advocate of the populace, and then was co-opted, adjusted, and re-optimized by the ruling class in the era of Augustus Caesar. Against the aristocratic Roman ruling class, Julius Caesar was originally a useful advocate for the people, but after the Julius Caesar figure was co-opted by the aristocratic Rome-based ruling class, a firmly anti-Roman, un-Roman rebuttal figure was needed: the Jewish figure of Jesus Christ.
There was a tug-of-war to utilize the Jesus Christ figure against the Rome-based ruling class, involving various moves and twists to both compare and contrast, make similar and different, such Rome-aligned ruling-figures and the Jewish, un-Roman, Jesus Christ ruling-figure.
Question of later interpretation; was the New Testament accurately understood in middle ages, as far as its genre and entheogen and counter-political meaning? Are only the moderns clueless, why did that happen; why/when was the proper original interpretation lost; the version of English bible prior to the King James version had commentary that seems to comprehend the political dimensions – it would've been easier then, in king-based culture of late middle ages to accurately understand the political points / principles in New Testament/Old Testament.
Example of evangelical apologetics-caused blindness of obvious parallels
No "authentic" writings by Paul; no Paul existed.
Karen King's method per What Is Gnosticism? and The Secret Gospel of John.
Drafted around 130 CE (not 50-90 CE), New Testament canon around 400 CE.
This section covers New Testament Christianity as an Alternative to Imperial Theology, a society within a society (per Michael Conley's term)
>>H. W. Pleket, "An Aspect of the Emperor Cult: Imperial Mysteries,"
Harvard Theological Review (HTR) 58 (1965):331-47
>>This article probably indicates visionary plant-induced dissociative-state Mysteries initiation integrated within Roman Emperor cult. This helps recognize and understand New Testament Christianity as a way of integrating visionary plant-induced dissociative-state Mysteries initiation within a framework of a counter-Imperial Theology sociopolitical resistance project.
Pleket's article makes the case that the imperial mysteries included or likely included all the elements of the traditional mystery cults, including "heavy eating and drinking", oinos ('wine'), a cake, and incense (p. 342), and an "animated", accentuated icon of the emperor lit up by a bright lamp in the dark and shown by the sebastophant -- ruler-shower -- acting as hierophant (343-345). It was an initiation rite for mystai with "heavy drinking and a good meal" (p. 347).
Reports that according to Nilsson, symposiums form a major part of these mysteries.
p. 335: Symposiums,
drinking parties, private clubs, closed clubs, Dionysus, Triptolemus identified
with the Egyptian kings in the royal mysteries in
All mystery cults were based on visionary plants. Harland's articles below show that Hellenistic Roman culture took the mystery cults and inserted the figure of the emperor in the center of that standard engine.
The New Testament was a modification of such politics-integrating, plant-based mystery religion, to express a more popularly sociopolitically advantageous configuration than Pax Romana and imperial theology -- offering in effect a Christian version of Pax Romana, a Christian version of Ruler Cult, a Christian version of mystery religion, and a Christian-restyled variant of imperial theology drawn from Jewish-styled themes while incorporating themes from Josephus, Titus, and the various Caesars.
My main project and
main contribution in New Testament Christianity studies has been to show the
relation between gnostic-mystic-mystery experiential insights and imperial
theology -- in Jewish, Pagan, and especially early Christian cultures. I've identified the intertwining of mystery
religion and imperial cult, between Jewish mystical experiencing and Jewish
'king' themes, and between Christian gnosis-esotericism-mysticism and Christian
Peak mystic-state panic/turmoil from distrusting the transcendent hidden source of your own control-thoughts produces turmoil, but then trusting the source of your own thoughts produces peace, stability, Pax; Roman Rule was justified by drawing from (as all Traditional culture drew from) the visionary plant-induced mystic altered state of dissociative cognition. Panic and distrust of one's source of thoughts, leads to trusting submission of the autonomous egoic controller to its uncontrollable source, to gain stability, peace, Pax, pact between the divine creator and its creatures, righteousness, and justified rule.
Worship: Emperors, Imperial Cults and
Philip A. Harland
Originally published in Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses 25 (1996) 319-34.
--- paraphrased excerpts: ---
suggests that in practice, within the context of imperial cults, the emperors
functioned as gods. (p. 153, S.J. Friesen, Twice Neokoros:
(Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1993)
One inscription from the early second century refers to an association of "physicians who sacrifice to the ancestor Asklepios and to the Sebastoi". This group of physicians performed sacrifices--which would have included the customary accompanying meal -- to the Sebastoi alongside their traditional patron deity with little or no distinction between the two evident in the inscription itself (except that Asklepios is mentioned first), as the double use of the dative suggests.
It was customary
to have a meal using the remains from the sacrifice in the Greek part of the
Compare also an earlier reconstructed inscription which mentions a freedman dedicating money to an association (synod) "in order to perform the sacrifice to Roma and the goddess..."
These inscriptions are incompatible with Price's claim that sacrifices were made "on behalf of" the emperors rather than "to" the emperors.
His argument in this regard is fundamental to his overall suggestion that in ritual practice the emperors were not equated with the gods but, instead, located somewhere between humans and the divine.
inscriptions involving associations and further inscriptions discussed below
are examples where no such distinction is made and, as Friesen also notes,
"there is quite a bit of evidence from
Cults of the Sebastoi are imperial mysteries, religious mysteries (mysteria) performed in connection with worship of the emperors, sometimes within associations. Scholars such as Nilsson and Nock question or disregard these mysteries, seemingly based on the supposed non-genuinely-religious nature of imperial cults. Nock briefly mentions two inscriptions before lightly disregarding, without argument, the possibility of actual mysteries connected with the emperors as gods.
There is Ephesian evidence for the celebration of mysteries in connection with cults of emperors within associations. An inscription from the reign of Hadrian includes a reference to "new Dionysos", that is, Hadrian, within the context of a list of participants in mysteries.
There is an inscription associated with mysteries which preserves a letter from an association of Demetriasts in Ephesus to the proconsul of the province of Asia about 88-89 CE: "Mysteries and sacrifices are performed each year in Ephesus, lord, to Demeter Karpophoros and Thesmophoros and to the Sebastoi gods by mystai. These rites were protected by kings and emperors, as well as the proconsuls. As the mysteries are pressing upon us during your time of office, through my agency the ones obligated to accomplish the mysteries necessarily petition you, lord, in order that, acknowledging their rights..."
The inscription does not reveal the nature of these "mysteries". This is another example of religious mysteries and sacrifices being made "to the Sebastoi gods" alongside the patron deity, Demeter, with no distinction being made between the two in the language of the inscription (against Price's thesis).
The mysteries of
the Demetriasts in
There is further
evidence for the existence of imperial mysteries in statues set up for T.
Flavius Montanus. In these inscriptions
Montanus, a high-priest of the imperial cult of
public role in the provincial imperial cult, the hymnodists of
Pleket concludes from his study of imperial mysteries that Nilsson's use of the term "pseudo-mysteries" to refer to rites such as these is unwarranted since "the mysteries at Pergamum as far as their rites are concerned were true copies of the traditional mysteries; both include hymns, glorification, showing of the image."
assertions that these imperial mysteries, like other cultic activities
associated with the emperors, were merely "a public demonstration of
loyalty" and were "really devoid of any mystical content," is
based less on any evidence of such than it is on his own presuppositions and
overall paradigm, with regard to the nature of imperial cults generally. The evidence itself indicates that religious
rituals such as mysteries addressed to the emperors as gods played a
significant role in the activities of associations. The inscriptions from
--- end of my paraphrased excerpts from Philip A. Harland's article ---
Additional article by Harland:
Imperial Cults within Local Cultural Life: Associations in Roman Asia
Philip A. Harland
Originally published in Ancient History Bulletin / Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 17 (2003):85-107.
Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society
The quotes below are my writing, intended as characterizations of connotations/messages.
Caesar's billowing cape in some depictions, and signs and mythic symbols of religious piety in many depictions, propagates the message that:
"The ecstatic state of consciousness vindicates and confirms Imperial Theology, divine Julius Caesar and divine Augustus Caesar son of god and savior, and Pax Romana, redemption and manumission of slaves into freedom. Just as mixed wine induces a visionary ecstatic state of consciousness which leads to initial resistance against the gods ruling over you, producing mental thought-control chaos and turmoil, followed by your inevitable forced submissive acceptance of their rule, producing a mental state of harmonious tranquil peace, so does military resistance to the rule of the Roman government inevitably lead the entire world to the forced, overpowered, submissive acceptance of their rule, resulting in Pax Romana (Roman Peace) -- a peaceful sociopolitical system of government bringing the entire world into peaceful harmony united under Caesar's rule."
The version of the Jesus figure in the New Testament canon was designed to propagate the message in contrast against Imperial Theology, that:
"Jesus himself produces the ecstatic state; he is the source of the ecstatic state: he gives his own body and blood in death as the only gateway to salvation and redemption; eating Jesus Christ's body and drinking Jesus Christ's blood brings the peaceful Holy Spirit -- the Jewish creator-god's ecstatic state of consciousness. Jesus' willing death is the vehicle through which salvation and redemption into God's kingdom was made possible -- uniting all of God's kingdom under Jesus' rule through the dove of God's Holy Spirit, a peaceful spirit of metanoia purchased and effected by God's sovereign righteous wrath against rebellion against his all-conquering rule being directed instead into Jesus."
It is not simply that the life story of Jesus Christ was modeled on Julius Caesar or King Herod, but rather, that the entire system of sociopolitical government and ecstatic state constructed around Jesus Christ was modeled on and contrasted against the Imperial Theology and Pax Romana system of sociopolitical government, centered around but not limited to Julius Caesar, justified by the ecstatic state of consciousness.
Theology themes were deliberately mirrored and rebutted in New Testament themes,
but done so adhering to the principle of recreating and building up those
mirror themes on a purely Jewish-styled, non-Roman, counter-Roman basis. This project was driven not so much by the
Jews, as by the population of the
The approach which has been called "the Context approach" advocates viewing the Roman Imperial context as the context which surrounds and permeates the Jewish context for Christian origins, and advocates paying great attention to social, sociopolitical, and economic aspects of the Christian context both in terms of Jewish and Roman imperial elements.
The more conventional and orthodox Jewish-emphasizing approach to Christian origins advocates limiting the focus to the Jewish context, and treating the Jewish culture of the time as though it were isolated from the Mediterranean Roman imperial context -- and tends to frame the Jewish context as being purely religious, not sociopolitical.
Both approaches hold that the context for Christian origins is important.
Approach A: The primary context for Christian origins is Jewish religion.
Approach B: The primary context for Christian origins is Jewish sociopolitical and Roman-imperial sociopolitical.
Approach B has been called 'the Context approach', but that term is ambiguous and doesn't effectively convey the above distinction between focusing on the Jewish religious context vs. the Jewish and Roman-imperial sociopolitical context.
N. T. Wright
1997. Search Inside.
Chapter 3: Herald of the King -- especially the section "Backgrounds to Paul's Usage": from p. 43-44 with my commentary:
"Which of these backgrounds, then, is the appropriate one against which to read the New Testament evidence? Is 'the gospel', for Paul, an Isaianic [Jewish] word of comfort or an imperial [Roman] proclamation? ... the antithesis between the two is a false one, based on the spurious either-or that has misleadingly divided New Testaments studies for many years.
matters ... is actually not so much where an idea has come from [Jewish or
Roman imperial sources], as where it is going to [its trajectory and
direction]. Confrontation is even more
important than derivation. ... the Isaianic message always was about the
enthronement of YHWH and the dethronement of pagan gods; ... the 'secular'
claims of the imperial cult were in fact profoundly 'religious'. The Roman world, moving fast towards the
divinization of its emperors [all the way, per Harland -mh], would have eagerly
agreed. And it was precisely against
such 'religious' connotations -- the boasting of pagan emperors from
"Once we grasp the historical setting of Paul's gospel, therefore, we discover something for which the abstract categories ['Jewish' or 'Pagan'] of traditional history-of-religions research has not prepared us. The more Jewish we make Paul's 'gospel', the more it confronts directly the pretensions of the imperial cult, and indeed all other paganisms whether 'religious' or 'secular'.
substantial evidence that the Roman imperial strategic ideology utilized the
religious, theological, and mystical dimension to justify and legitimate Roman
rule, in a close parallel to New Testament Christianity. Some of this evidence is found around
The pieces of evidence to support the view that the primary context for Christian origins is Jewish sociopolitical and Roman-imperial sociopolitical are presented in books and articles about Jesus and empire, Paul and empire, Revelation and empire, and emperor worship.
A book list covering all these areas, mixed together:
[I removed that list some time ago; check all my relevant listmania lists instead and ensure the books are listed in Bibliography.]
Works about emperor
worship and ruler cult in the
Article available online:
Worship: Emperors, Imperial Cults and Associations at
Philip A. Harland
Originally published in Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses 25 (1996) 319-34.
Article available online:
Imperial Cults within Local Cultural Life: Associations in Roman Asia
Philip A. Harland
Originally published in Ancient History Bulletin / Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 17 (2003):85-107.
Rituals and Power: The
Roman Imperial Cult in
S. R. F. Price
1984. Search Inside.
An Aspect of the Emperor Cult: Imperial Mysteries
H. W. Pleket
Harvard Theological Review (HTR) 58 (1965):331-47
Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations: Claiming a Place in Ancient Mediterranean Society
May'03. Covers Imperial Mystery Cults.
Emperor Worship and Roman Religion
Oct. 2002 (1st ed.), Sep 2004 (2nd ed.).
When you combine the evidence in these works together with the evidence and treatment in the more New Testament-focused works which highlight the parallels, it becomes evident that New Testament Christianity was defined as a contrast against the Roman imperial ideology, as an alternative and rebuttal that held the Roman religiously legitimated sociopolitical ideology in view mentally but which countered with an alternative religiously legitimated sociopolitical ideology, an alternative and rebuttal that was deliberately, as a matter of principle, constructed from exclusively Jewish-styled sources (including Josephus).
Lord, savior, benevolent, etc. – the Caesar cult took over terms that were already standard-fashion fusion of mystic-state and political realms.
Sacrifice on Roman altars by pouring full-strength, undiluted psychoactive 'libation of unmixed wine' and incense. Emperor shown pouring a cup/kylix/saucer of unmixed wine on the altar. Sacrifice was considered the essence and main activity of religion and piety, honoring the gods; altar-sacrifice represents giving up the egoic sovereignty delusion to acknowledge one's dependence on the hidden source of one's thoughts.
history of Jewish/Roman-empire relations.
"Jewish monotheism" a code-word for standing partly
The Roman and Jewish systems clashed, the battle turned into proto-Christian (pre 313) vs. Roman, and then, the outcome was only an Christian system left, which was in effect a combination of the Jewish and Roman schemes, a kind of compromise.
What took over
not simply a form of the Jewish religion, where the Jewish religion is
considered as an alien standalone entity.
Christianity was a version of the Jewish religion that was also a
reactive form of the
An inversion of the
Roman culture take over the Roman culture, because it was the inversion. Christianity was, above all, an inversion of
the Roman culture, a later and more perfect inversion that was the Jewish
religion to 135 CE.
Thus the purposes of the versions of the New Testament writings, and the purposes of the versions of Jewish religion over time, was, to handle and appease and accommodate and incorporate the Jewish or Jewish-like complaints or other complaints of the unjustly treated, against the Roman scheme.
The purposes of the versions of the New Testament writings over time was (phase 1 before 313) to critique and provide an alternative to the Roman scheme, (became notably popular/influential & growing fast) then phase 2, these were repurposed and gathered into official New Testament canon and re-tuned, for the strategic purpose of harnessing that first purpose toward a diff purpose, of gaining power and organization, forming a new state, a new and successfully growing company, stably organized and growing, incorporating the anti-roman reaction of Jews and gentiles both -- meaning largely Jews and slaves -- into a promised better configuration.
Jesus was based on
all available resources in the Roman Empire including
Book list: Jesus figure as rebuttal to Caesar cult
Yahoo Groups has improved advanced Search functionality such as "Caesar in Subject line", for posts which I recommend reading:
Some of my most advanced and insightful explanations about what New Testament canonical Christianity was intended to mean around 300 CE are probably only available in these weblog postings. To understand the central figure of New Testament Christianity, we must understand what the figure of a rebel-slave leader/king on the cross meant to the Roman culture, a culture that was accustomed to blending entheogenic mystery religion together with political spin. And a culture that was used to clever inversions of meaning, and rewriting with a new twist (like Karen King's book Secret Gospel of John explains).
Karen King's book
goes pretty deep into how the ancient Mediterranean writers drew from many
sources while giving a new twist. That
character of the writing she describes also explains how the Jesus figure was
understood: recognized as being drawn from all possible sources, and the
"new twist" that expresses meaning was recognized too. But we moderns, ignorant of
We read the Jesus figure "straight", when he instead was intended and understood as a twist on well-known previously existing meanings. The Jesus figure evoked by the New Testament canon was a rebuttal and an alternative, a co-optation and a twist, but moderns are unaware of what he was a rebuttal and alternative to, and what he was a co-optation and twist of.
wasn't considered bad because "religiously" wrong and demonic, as
though the Roman initiation experiences were invalid or were lacking from Roman
religion. Christianity certainly did not
bring any "holy spirit" insights that weren't already present in spades,
ubiquitously, throughout entire
The old theory is wrong, that pagan religion had become barren of mystic-state spiritual experiencing and only Christianity provided that, in the Holy Spirit. Genuine intense altered-state mystic religious experiencing was a dime a dozen; everyone was inundated with this, a plethora. What was sorely lacking and desired was an effective way to apply such altered-state experiential insight in the favor of the unfortunate populace, against the privileged elite minority's usage of the mystic altered-state to prop up their domination system.
Book: Crucifixion, by Martin Hengel.
Michael Conley articles, such as the strategy logistics mindset in his article in Journal of Higher Criticism.
Derivation of New Testament = entire Roman empire (all cultures encompassed, including Jewish and non-Jewish); dress of New Testament = Jewish (where that's understood in terms of political use of 'god vs. kings' themes and political/religious principles about relation of politics/religion, not just superficial styling or scripture ref's/sources as isolated "religious" elements).
The New Testament is "drawn from" Jewish religion, but this was done so with an eye very much on non-Jewish religion, in a deliberate pointed polemical contrasting that mastered genres and themes. [insert my postings that explain this distinction] Was certainly not drawn from Jewish religion in the way that's assumed by imagining the Jewish religion to be alien and hermetically sealed-off and wholly isolated from the non-Jewish greater context. Christianity is a version of pagan religion that makes political points by pointedly drawing the surface elements apparently only from Jewish sources. Christianity takes the deep themes of God-vs.-king from the Old Testament, and extends that religio-political principle into the Roman era, with a counter-Caesar figure (counter-Augustus Caesar in one way, counter-Julius Caesar in another way).
Consider the strategy driving this claim: org church had successful strategy of growth through a single story of origin and growth, against the system of Caesar and other competing systems. Summarize Horsley, Wright, Schillebeeckx, etc but adding an integrated twist influenced by ahistoricity and entheogen theory. Highly developed ahistoricity and entheogen aspects support and amplify this aspect.
The feeble usual version of social-political aspect of New Testament/Jesus/Christian origins: ____ It's weak and inadequate in that ___. For example, Schillebeeckx gets it right about the Christian society-within-a-society (state-within-a-state), but fails to recognize the mystic aspect and interprets it as something else, reducing-away the very "experience" (mystic-state religious Holy Spirit experience) he keeps mentioning (shallowly).
Example of limited scholarship insight: Conley, Wright,
The sociopolitical component cannot be fully and properly understood if the ahistoricity and entheogenic components are omitted.
Radical critics assume that Marcion's original good writings were taken over by evil protocatholics and ruined, distorted, turned from something good and original to something bad and changed, distorted, corrupted, ruined, harmed. This is not the clearest take on the matter. Better to start with the question of what is the objective of the New Testament canon? Its strategy and objective is to direct the "Holy Spirit" experience of resurrection, in Jewish dress, toward the goal of constructing an alternative society/state within the Roman imperial society-state. Thus we can levy a value-neutral judgement in terms of cybernetic goal seeking.
Given that the goal of the New Testament is to direct the altered state toward constructing an alternative State, or at least an alternative society within the dominant Roman State, leaving Marcion's versions intact would've been ineffective toward that goal and thus "bad", while the proto-cath redactions were effective and tuned toward that goal, and thus "good". This view is supported by the unemotional judgment of Detering, pointing out that had the writings not been so redacted, Christianity might not have come to exist at all, and perhaps we wouldn't know of Marcion at all. Marcion's work managed to survive by being redacted into the canon. Was Marcion's purpose mystical, or political? It certainly is political in its redacted form.
Marcion's political strategy against Roman empire may have conflicted with the Jewish-Christian political strategy against the Roman empire; the New Testament canon redactors' work and challenge was to fuse these two political-strategy camps to build up enough power to be effective against the Roman imperial scheme. The result was largely different from the Roman imperial scheme, even if the result had things in common with the Roman imperial scheme.
Modern compartmentalization error: assumes that in antiquity, religion, politics, entertainment, myth, literature, etc. were treated as separate; assumes separate "religions", assumes cultures were isolated, and then debates whether separate religion A influenced separate religion B or not. Not only "Christianizing assumptions", but "modern-type Christian -izing assumptions". Modernizing and Christianizing -- perhaps "modernizing assumptions" are more the point, or more general, than "Christianizing assumptions".
Debating over "whether religion A influenced B, or the reverse" is a question falsely premised on modernizing distortions and projections -- projection of modern-era ultra-compartmentalization (of fields, of religions) back onto an era which did everything possible to weave them inseparably together (even involving the "separatist" Jewish religion and its offspring, the "separatist" Christian religion/society/system/philosophy-of-life/philosophy-of-community).
Mithraism and associations as hierarchical, vs. egalitarian assemblies.
Various important elements to construct the Jesus story were taken from the Julius Caesar story, but that the Jesus figure drew from many other sources as well -- myths, legends, heroes, Jewish figures, Hellenistic literature, mystery religions, and so on.
The simple story in the forthcoming books is that surprise, there was no Jesus, he is the Julius Caesar legend with some adjustments. Or some other single figure. But truth is more complex and compound and nuanced than that.
The Jesus figure is essentially a composite figure drawing from all possible sources, spurred on by the drive to assimilate as much meaning and worth and glory onto a single figure as possible, in an arms race of extreme hyper-apotheosis. Why would those who are invested in him pass by a chance?
They slapped on any and all additions they could possibly think of, to make a universal top dog figure. Even military victory is his, when he returns to set things straight. Scholars have to get it through their heads how mythmaking and literature of the day worked. The right frame of mind is suggested by thinking of it as deadly serious war of ink. Watch how desperately the Church Fathers scramble to force the Old Testament to support the legitimacy of their New Testament.
It's like the huge cover-up of what the War on Drugs is about: there are millions of dollars hanging on the propaganda and spin. Who profits from each addition to the Jesus figure; what are the motives? This is the only way to have a chance of unravelling the buried actuality behind the construction and development of the Jesus figure over time.
Don't underestimate the Greco-Romans: they were geniuses at this kind of syncretic mythmaking. Modern thinking doesn't stand a chance until we can also mentally become those Greco-Romans. Even though I have my own candidate for the key source of meaning for constructing the Jesus figure -- that wine is the touchpoint and key to all aspects of Greco-Roman culture -- the wine theme must also be relegated to just one domain of many that were drawn from.
Which theme or which man or which domain was the real source for constructing the Jesus figure? The entirety of Greco-Roman culture. To fathom the history of constructing the Jesus figure, firmly grasp all aspects of Greco-Roman culture and mentally exist in it.
mistake, shared by atheist debunkers and conservative apologists alike:
interpreting the New Testament in isolation rather than in contrast; as
standalone statement rather than a rebuttal.
The New Testament wasn't an isolated standalone statement; it was a
contrast, an answer, a rebuttal, an alternative to a different context: that of
Tom Harpur comes along with grossly incomplete standalone interpretation of New Testament as symbology expressing celestial wisdom, and the apologists have a field day rebutting him, but neither party thinks to recognize New Testament as a rebuttal/response/contrast; both treat it as a standalone system.
What you need to know about imperial theology to understand the meaning and purpose of the New Testament
[insert posting about how the people's Caesar, Julius, was co-opted by the State into Augustus Caesar dogma, then Jesus was created as more forcefully alien (because Jewish) people's ruler like the original Caesar, against Augustus]
The analogical descriptive mystic meaning of the release is explained in my main article.
This section covers Dissociation, Determinism, Cybernetics, and Metaphor. The egodeath article is assumed as the starting point. Reiterate some of its points, regarding New Testament meaning.
The entheogenic baptism and Eucharistic agape meal amounted to directed, societal reprogramming of the Christian initiate's mental-association system. Compare to cultic brainwashing and isolation from former family and society (minus invective). The use of psychoactive 'mixed wine' in Christian gnostic groups such as Valentinian Gnsoticism was called the sacrament of apolytrosis; apolytrosis means freeing from captured or enslavement such as from Heimarmene [define/explain per my main article]. Drawing analogies between intense mystic-state phenomena and social-politics such as [list].
The more the mystical intensity, the more the social-political efficacy as well. The strategy was to maximize mystic altered-state intensity both as a goal in itself and to support social-political solidarity.
Lack of recognizing the themes causes introduction of substantial error of interpretation, not harmless silence
If one fails to recognize the mystic-metaphor aspects as what they are, that is not harmless, but rather, results in tangible, substantial error: you will grossly interpret these elements as something they're not, introducing heavy artificial inappropriate interpretations and misreadings. You either read such elements right, or grossly misread them; you don't just harmlessly omit or "not notice" them. You either recognize them, or grossly misrecognize them; there's no neutral middle ground of mere non-recognition.
desdaimonia = fear of demons; casting out a demon. If you don't recognize these as metaphors for mystic altered-state experiential phenomena, you'll introduce various other, misleading and incorrect characterizations of the culture.
You either recognize the mystic-state metaphors for the entheogenic (Holy Spirit) non-sovereignty insight, or, you misinterpret the cup of mixed wine and the king-on-cross in a substantially wrong, grossly wrong way; you don't end up with a gap or omission (the lack of an interpretation), but rather, you end up with a gross substantial error and misinterpretation -- either get the metaphor right, or totally wrong, never empty/neutral.
The Cross is fully loaded with political meaning but you don't fully und the political aspects, and you can't understand the entire aspects of it, until see the cross as all 3, deliberately, emphatically, and strategically interlinked: politically meaning-packed, and mystically meaning-packed, and political-crossed-with-mystical meaning-packed. Like 3 dimensions of main meaning: political, mystical, and political*mystical. Or, as far as New Testament is concerned, it has just one field of meaning: political*mystical. Political-mystical, mystical-political.
The main strategy of New Testament Christianity was to direct the mystic altered state toward socio-political ends.
The ubiquitous integrated use of entheogens in antiquity in mixed wine breaks the fallacy that authentic genuine mystic-state experience is exclusively individual. We must not forget the problem posed to such assumptions by the reported group experiences of mystic epiphany in the mystery religions. We agree that the mystery religions produced group intense mystic experiences, yet we inconsistently assume that antiquity didn't have group intense mystic experiences because as everyone knows, you can't have group intense mystic experiences. This doesn't mean mere "ritual"; it means ritual or social-club activities at the same time as group intense mystic experiences.
We must go beyond focusing on the plants themselves, to the maximum endpoint, the mystic non-sovereignty insight, including showing how this insight and related ones are metaphorized, particularly as political metaphors. Peak insights are well described by political metaphors. These are the most peak insights, because they have to do with our sense of what and who we are: controller agents originating and governing our own thoughts across time. Highly developed social-political and soc-political aspects support and amplify this aspect.
The feeble usual version of entheogenic aspect of New Testament/Jesus/Christian origins: ____ It's weak and inadequate in that ___.
The loose-cognition state is good for subverting or inverting the dominant paradigm.
This field is weaker / less mature than ahistoricity or social-political aspects. Allegro, Bennett, Heinrich, who's written about entheogens and the New Testament, or New Testament and the mystic altered state? Shanon, Luke Timothy Johnson, John Ashton (The Religion of Paul the Apostle), book about ecstatic state in Acts (Visions and Healings in the Acts of the Apostles, which uses phrases like ___), Jesus as Healer, and the book about the rhetoric of divine madness (An Ecstasy of Folly) [maybe book Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations, if it much covers the mystic altered state religious experiencing.
What this field needs to be: ____ What it currently is: ___ The field barely exists, but see my articles. Ralph Metzner's book about metaphors, ... in a way, this is actually the topic of New Testament Christianity and entheogen theory (the integrated theory of dissociation, determinism, cybernetics, and metaphors). What books cover, in an integrated system, dissociation, determinism, cybernetics, and metaphors? Only my articles really nail it.
The mystic altered state component cannot be fully and properly understood if the ahistoricity and sociopolitical components are omitted.
Starting from the status-quo view, the alternative explanation requires integrated treatment of ahistoricity, sociopolitical, and entheogenic explanatory components.
Requires a superior, highly developed ahistoricity component; a superior, highly developed social-political component, and a superior, highly developed entheogen component.
If Christianity was driven by providing an alternative social-political system, then why did it bother having a truly mystic/religious component at all? It was easy to do so, and such was routinely expected and available. The driving purpose wasn't religion, so much as social support and a necessary countering to the widely available Roman-Hellenistic initiatory religious experiencing (and 'mixed-wine' symposium banqueting), where the latter access to the mystic altered state was tangled up with disadvantageous social-political configurations. The Christian alternative system had to have a genuinely religious component, to compete against the undesired configuration/scheme of Roman imperial incorporation of all the other initiation systems. And to compete against the appealing intense mystic altered state experiences routinely offered by other cultic religions, readily supplied and available literally on tap through psychoactive 'mixed wine'.
... Christians were beginning to stay away from Christian worship ... in the religious syncretism of the time ... the attractive force of a more spiritual religion of experience and fulfillment ... 'Jewish esotericism' that had attractions for non-Jews. ... Access to God is the ultimate significance of any cult." On Hebrews, Schillebeeckx, Christ, 1979, pp. 612-613.
It was instrumental to possess an initiation system that was posed as alien and different, per the old Jewish strategy of claiming religious uniqueness in order to attain social-political better standing. Having a mystic-religious component that was posed as unique and standalone ("monotheism") was strategic key for Jewish religion before 65, and for Christian groups before 313, and for the takeover rulers after 313.
Packaging this mystic-religion "monotheism" with social-political autonomy was the key. They strategically asserted that without the mystic-religion aspect, there'd be no basis for social-political autonomy. Their purportedly unique mystic-religion aspect -- their unique all-god -- was the basis of their proclaimed social-political autonomy. Had they lacked mystic-religion, they would've lacked a claim (or their distinctive strategic claim they chose) for a basis for social-political autonomy.
It's anachronistic to ask "why did this ancient group have mystic-religion"; the only question is why a group chose to shape or select a certain particular character of mystic-religion. Roman and Jewish schemes side by side neck & neck were both using the strategy of "use mystic-religion to justify yours as the exclusive social-political scheme".
If the Jewish
counter-scheme ultimately died in 135, then so did, in spirit, the Roman
scheme. Jewish vs.
The imperial cult and the mystery religions and the associations were all drenched in entheogens, such as in the form of 'mixed wine'. It was unthinkable and impractical for Christianity to not similarly harness the power of the altered state. The only real choice strategically was how to spin the altered state toward constructing the desired alternative State.
We picture sitting meditation as the only activity (non-activity) that can be combined with mystic experiencing. That's manifestly false, contradicted by what we know about the ancient mystery activities, which had a wide variety of activities accompanied by intense mystic experiencing. Not only ritual, but recitation, music, storytelling, drinking club performances, games, feasts and dining, and so on, all accompanied by intense mystic experiencing.
[Insert select points such as from the article The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death.]
New Testament Christianity is about altered-state non-control insight, but not as isolated point. New Testament Christianity used the strategy of shaping initiates to not only gain the old insight about non-control in the mystic altered state, but also to shape that realization into a desired social-political configuration that stood in contrast to the official religious/social/political configuration. When speaking of 'religion' in antiquity, it must always be understood as entheogen-induced mystic-altered-state-based religion.
New Testament Christianity is a representation of altered-state insight about illusory aspects of self-control, and the cybernetics of control-levels. To understand how New Testament Christianity is a representation of altered-state insight about self-control, we must bring in the following topics:
The figure of the king, or the sovereign ruler/governor/controller, was a metaphor for all altered-state initiates. This was an age-old, thoroughly familiar and universally standard idea and metaphor in antiquity.
Example of a stock 'king' theme in myth: A divine child is feared by an evil king. The evil king receives a prophecy that a certain child will be born who will usurp the throne. The child is born to a virgin and is son of a god. The mother of the child tries to hide him. The king orders the slaying of all babies who might be the prophesied king.
While this could possibly interpreted and mapped in terms of astrotheology, or the life-cycle of Amanita mushroom, or the history of nations, these would all be distant, strained, and secondary mappings. The close, natural, primary mapping is as follows.
The 'evil king' represents the initiate prior to the culmination of a series of initiations (initiate's false self-concept of being an autonomous self-control agent), and the 'divine child' represents the initiate upon completion of initiation (recognition of personal non-sovereignty and subjection to the higher control-level). This new child-self, after the overthrow and 'dethronement' of the pseudo-sovereign king-self-concept, is born without sex, in one person's psyche (considered female), from the person's mind and the portion of the higher-level controller/god, thus, only one person being involved in this birth, the psyche is a 'virgin mother'. The child (new self-concept system) is 'divine' because takes into account the transcendent higher level of control – the divine relationship.
Myths following this parts of this plot include Romulus and Remus, Perseus, Krishna, Zeus, Oedipus, Moses, the slaughter of the innocents by Herod, and a Midrashic scholar's apocryphal account of Abraham's birth.
Gnostic versions of Christianity were rejected for ecclesiastic hierarchy reasons and because purely cosmic/mystic religion was politically useless and non-strategic. Gnosticism -- whatever it really consists of -- had a long a varied history; it wasn't a single specific system that was popular during a particular 100-year period, only. The Pauline epistles are based on astral ascent mysticism as an aspect of Gnosticism, but the metaphor of "world-denying" was incorporated selectively into the New Testament canon, in order to retain practical this-worldly power in the social-political realm.
Instead of merely demonizing the worldly rulers of this age/this cosmological level, and speaking of wholly escaping this passing age or the mundane level, as Gnostic metaphor does, the proto-catholic strategy used to shape the New Testament was to embrace the earthly cosmological level, more in a Jewish fashion where, when earthly rulers are evil, God is credited with controlling them against his disobedient people, the Jews (or, now, the New and True Israel which incorporates gentiles; the Christians as "the true Jews").
The idea of applying the initiation insight of self-control non-sovereignty to social-political realm was common and standard, not novel -- the Jews had already done it, the Roman empire had already done it, similar in Egypt and other adjacent societies, and "king as metaphor for self-control initiation" was old news in antiquity; it was the most common concept and metaphorical figure, the most elementary concept and most universal metaphor of the religious culture in antiquity.
Tying the figure of "king" to both social-political and altered-state initiation realms was the oldest news around, and the universal language of religion/religious experiencing. The only new aspect in the New Testament Christianity was the particular configuration involved, a different social-political configuration in the old mix of mystic revelation/social/political.
The meaning of the Cross has two parts -- the mystic-state revelation of non-sovereignty, and an alternative to the Roman social-political scheme. The first part was the opposite of new; all antiquity knew about the revelation of non-sovereignty during initiation, figured by many metaphors. The only new part, new statement, in the Cross was the rewriting twists and details, the changes in configuration, that made it a critique and alternative to the Roman social-political scheme.
The New Testament and its version of Christianity is about altered-state insight about control agency, but in a particular way and for a particular purpose. This insight about non-control was not some unique new thing, new insight. Such insight was ubiquitous -- it was treated as matter-of-fact, though it was of ultimate intensity. Revealed insight is experienced by the individual as novel to them, but this was culturally fully integrated as initiation. So the novelty of New Testament Christianity was not the sheer fact of initiation -- that was old hat, to the culture of antiquity. What was new was the configuration, the application of that no-news, about self-control, applied to the social-political realm.
The New Testament meaning of the Cross is a 2-part meaning: 1 old and ubiquitously known aspect (personal non-sovereignty revealed in the altered-state experience) and 1 novel aspect/dimension (an alternative to the Roman social-political scheme). The New Testament expressed the old "altered-state revealed non-sovereignty" idea in such as way as to make statement as an alternative to the Roman social-political scheme. Avoiding being a new religion by reinterpreting the now-available Jewish religion/writings/legacy, which was already set against other religions/countries/kingdoms emphasizing JHVH as their only king; "We have no king but Caesar, but over him, the only real king, JHVH."
The granddaddy, the oldest and greatest and most overarching of altered-state experiences is the non-sovereignty experiential insight. New Testament Christianity was the direction of the altered-state non-sovereignty insight toward the social-political realm in a pointed contrast to how official system directed such insights to the social-political realm. The pivotal force of New Testament Christianity was all about various configurations, reconfiguration of applying altered-state insight to the social-political realm. New Testament Christianity was a competing/contrasting way, a manner of rebutting, of applying control-agency insight to the social-political realm.
Explained in main article, The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death, as are the following sections; do a fresh write-up along those lines but more focused on the New Testament passages.
The mystic-altered-state cybernetic revelation about the illusory aspect of our control-power is important, but the real point and driving force distinguishing New Testament Christianity was the effective application of this mystic esoteric metaphysical insight to the workaday social-political realm.
Away with the inanely simplistic argument over whether Christianity influenced paganism or vice versa. Ideas that were in the air were mutually influential throughout the entire culture. In the New Testament, what matters is how astral ascent cosmology was applied and utilized to counter the Roman imperial use of it. This pointed application is the "action" or "force" of the New Testament; purely mystical or religious-salvation aspects in the modern sense were the least forceful and the least action-driving force of the New Testament religion.
New Testament Christianity is not an isolated system of salvation, of a certain type, that arose on its own initiative. Rather, its 'salvation' and 'gospel' deliberately conflated -- as in other systems -- 'salvation' in a personal mystical sense with 'salvation' and 'gospel' (good news of the victorious divine ruler and his coming kingdom/empire) in a social-political sense -- and such 'salvation' and 'gospel' were pointedly contrasted to the official version of combining the official State 'salvation' and 'gospel' of Caesar and Pax Romana. New Testament Christianity arose in pointed contrast to the official Roman imperial religion/initiation/piety and social gospel.
The very concept of Holy Spirit was in New Testament defined and presented to mean the direction of the mystic altered-state toward the alternative social-political system. As used strategically in the New Testament canon, the term and concept of 'Holy Spirit' is utilized to mean directed altered-state insight.
Astral mysticism is not about ordinary-state symbols, but rather, altered-state experiential with emphasis on realizing and transcending Heimarmene. Explained in my main article.
This observation is discovered repeatedly by scholars and forgotten – it's key and needs some serious, sustained attention, not shallow, outsider coverage. It's misinterpreted per the ordinary-state fallacy.
Book: Jesus the Riddler: The Power of Ambiguity in the Gospels, by Tom Thatcher.
Michael Hoffman has been developing the Cybernetic Theory of Ego Transcendence since 1985, including the maximal entheogen theory of religion; see Egodeath.com.
[add brief note about each book] [use hyperlinked ISBN format on all book entries]
Hermann Detering. Paulusbriefe ohne Paulus: Die Paulusbriefe in der holländischen Radikalkritik; The Pauline Epistles Without Paulus: The Paulines in Dutch Radical Criticism. 1992. http://www.radikalkritik.de/Neue_Buecher.htm
Detering. Der Gefälschte Paulus; The
Fabricated Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight. Düsseldorf:
Doherty. The Jesus Puzzle: Did
Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an
Earl Doherty. The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus. ISBN: 096892591X. 1999.
Darrel Doughty & Robert Price (Editors) - Journal of Higher Criticism
Darrel Doughty – "Pauline Paradigms", in Journal of Higher Criticism
Arthur Drews - The Christ Myth
Drews. Die Petruslegende; The Legend of
Saint Peter: A Contribution to the Mythology of Christianity.
Freke & Gandy – Jesus Mysteries: ...
Freke & Gandy – Jesus and the Goddess: ...
Ken Humphreys - Jesus Never Existed: Can You Handle the Truth?
Ken Humphreys – "Mission Impossible", at http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostle.htm
Edwin Johnson - Antiqua Mater
Wayne Meeks – Christ Is the Question
Robert M. Price - Deconstructing Jesus
G. H. Wells – The Jesus Myth
Mary Beard, North, Price - Religions of Rome (2 volumes)
Allen Brent - The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church Order: Concepts and Images of Authority in Paganism and Early Christianity Before the Age of Cyprian
Brock - Mary Magdalene: The First Apostle
C. Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early
Church, and the Roman Superpower.
Warren Carter - Matthew and Empire: Initial Explorations. 2001
Friesen - Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John
Erwin R. Goodenough – By Light, Light
Erwin R. Goodenough – The Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic Judaism
Ittai Gradel – Emperor Worship and Roman Religion
Philip Harland - Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations
Martin Hengel - Crucifixion
Richard Horsley (Editor) – Paul and the Roman Imperial Order
Richard Horsley (Editor) - Paul and Empire
Horsley - Jesus and Empire: The
Horsley & Silberman - The Message and the Kingdom: How Jesus and Paul Ignited a Revolution and Transformed the Ancient World
Wes Howard-Brooks - Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now
Wes Howard-Brooks/Ringe (Editors): The New Testament: Introducing the Way of Discipleship
L. Humphries - Christian Origins and the
Language of the
Klauck - The Religious Context of Early Christianity
Kraabel (Editor) - Goodenough on the Beginnings of Christianity
Rebecca Lyman - Early Christian Traditions
Michael Patella - Lord of the Cosmos: Mithras, Paul, and the Gospel of Mark
R. F. Price – Rituals and Power: The
Roman imperial cult in
Joerg Rieger - Christ and Empire
Samuel Sandmel - A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament
Scheid - An Introduction to Roman Religion
Edward Schillebeeckx – Christ: The Experience of Jesus as Lord. 1977/1980
Seth Schwartz - Imperialism and Jewish Society
Thompson – The Book of Revelation
N. T. Wright – Paul: In Fresh Perspective
Zanker - The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus
Arbel. Beholders of Divine Secrets:
Mysticism and Myth in the Hekhalot and Merkavah Literature.
Ashton. The Religion of Paul the Apostle.
Davies. Jesus the Healer: Possession,
Trance, and the Origins of Christianity.
M. The Kiss of God: Spiritual and
Mystical Death in Judaism.
T.; and P. Gandy. The Complete Guide to
Grof, C. Grof. Beyond Death: The Gates of
Heinrich. Strange Fruit: Alchemy and
Religion: The Hidden Truth.
Mark A. Hoffman (editor). Entheos: The Journal of Psychedelic Spirituality. Entheomedia.org, 2001-2002.
Michael Hoffman. “The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death”, in Salvia Divinorum, Issue 4, 2006. Egodeath.com.
Michael Hoffman. “Wasson and Allegro on the Tree of Knowledge as Amanita”. Journal of Higher Criticism, forthcoming, 2006.
Clark Heinrich. Strange Fruit: Alchemy and Religion: The Hidden Truth. (Alternate subtitle: Alchemy, Religion and Magical Foods: A Speculative History.) ISBN: 0747515484. 1994.
Timothy Johnson. Religious Experience in
Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Studies.
Metzner. The Unfolding Self: Varieties of
H. W. Pleket. “An Aspect of the Emperor Cult: Imperial Mysteries.” Harvard Theological Review 58:331-47 (1965).
John J. Pilch. Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles: How the Early Believers Experienced God. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2004.
Nasrallah. An Ecstasy of Folly: Prophecy
and Authority in Early Christianity.
C.; B. Staples; and C. Heinrich. The
Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist.
Carl A. P. Ruck, Blaise Staples, Clark Heinrich, & Mark Hoffman (for chapter 5). The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist. ISBN: 089089924X. 2000.
E. Smith. From Symposium to Eucharist:
The Banquet in the Early Christian World.
Gordon Wasson.; Albert Hofmann, and Carl Ruck. The Road to
Barton. Ancient Astrology.
Cumont. Astrology and Religion among the
Greeks and Romans.
H. Martin. Hellenistic Religions: An
J-P.; and P. Vidal-Naquet. Myth and
Tragedy in Ancient
Watts. “Zen and the Problem of Control”, in This
Is It and Other Essays.
Wegner. White Bears and Other Unwanted
Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control.
Thagard. Conceptual Revolutions. Princeton:
M. Thompson. The God of the Gospel of
Tom Thatcher - Jesus the Riddler: The Power of Ambiguity in the Gospels.
Robert Alter - The Art of Biblical Narrative
My book list: Jesus figure as rebuttal to Caesar cult http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/20B96K00EYKQL
Copyright © 2006 Michael Hoffman. All rights reserved.