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Forgery in Christianity

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posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 02:22 PM
"The Forgery Mill

Notable Christian forgeries include:

The Donation of Constantine – 'Without doubt a forgery...' Catholic Encyclopedia
A two-part document purporting to be from the first Christian emperor to Pope Sylvester I (314-35). In the 'Confessio' Constantine thanks Sylvester for his Christian instruction and baptism (and consequent cure of leprosy!) In his 'Donatio' Constantine confers on the pope and his successors primacy over all other bishops, including the eastern patriarchs, senatorial privileges for the clergy, imperial palaces and regalia, Rome itself and the western empire!!

In truth, this monstrous eighth century forgery (peppered with anachronisms) was almost certainly written by the future Pope Paul I ( 757-67) while his equally ambitious brother Stephen II (752-57) sat on the papal throne.

The False Decretals – A riot of more than a hundred fake letters and decrees attributed to pontiffs from first century Clement (88-97) to seventh century Gregory I (590-604). Now attributed to 'Isodore Mercator', a ninth century master forger, almost certainly a papal aide. Like the Donation, the Decretals conferred rights and privileges on the papacy.

'Thundering Legion' Decree of Marcus Aurelius – In this fabricated letter from the emperor to the Senate, Marcus is said to have forbidden persecution of Christians because, in a battle with the Quadi in 174, prayers from Christian soldiers brought on a thunderstorm which rescued the Romans from thirst and dispersed the barbarian opponents. The emperor is said to have accorded the Twelfth Legion the suffix fulminata or fulminea, that is, 'thundering.' Tertullian (c.160 - c.230), north African theologian, made up this nonsense; the twelfth legion had had the suffix legio fulminata from the time of Augustus. The stoic Marcus Aurelius had nothing but contempt for the Christians.

'Letters' of Emperor Antoninus Pius to the Greeks – More fakery, this time from the pen of forth century Bishop Eusebius (Ecclesiastic History, IV, 13). He has the pious second century pagan forbid 'tumults against the Christians.'

The Clementines – These fancies, twenty books of 'curious religious romance' (Catholic Encyclopedia), masquerade as the work of first century pontiff Clement I. Written in the fourth century, their purpose was to bolster Rome's claim to be the primary see: here we have the 'Epistle of Clement to James' which originated the notion that St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome.

Correspondence between Seneca and Paul - a fourth century invention of first century letters. They alluded to fires in Rome and to the persecution of Jews and Christians.

'Testimonium Flavianum' - The infamous 'passing reference' to Jesus Christ supposedly written by the first century Jewish historian Josephus (he adopted the family name of the imperial house).

We know in graphic detail the course of the first Jewish War because – remarkably – the history recorded by Josephus somehow survived. Whereas whole libraries of antiquity were torched by the Christians, curiously, this testimony of a Jew made it through the centuries. A subsequent work by Josephus, The Antiquity of the Jews, which iterated and extended his story of the 'chosen people' also survived.

The survival of these two overlapping works was no coincidence because they rather too well 'confirm' from a 'non-Christian source' the existence of the godman.

In short, sometime in the fourth century, while most else of ancient scholarship was being thrown into bonfires, a Christian scribe – probably Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea– 'rescued' the histories of Josephus and 'doctored' them to provide convenient 'proof' that Christ had been flesh-and-blood and was neither a fiction (as pagan critics maintained) nor solely a spiritual being, as gnostics reasoned. (See The authentic pen of lying Christian scribes!)

The Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus - a 5th century disciple of Bishop Martin of Tours invented the lurid story of the Neronian persecution. The Jewish historian Josephus says nothing about any "persecution" under Nero, though he is not slow to describe him as "acting like a madman" who "slew his brother, and wife, and mother, from whom his barbarity spread itself to others that were most nearly related to him; and how, at last, he was so distracted that he became an actor in the scenes, and upon the theater." (Wars, 13.1) If a bonfire of Christians had actually happened Josephus would have mentioned it – but he does not, and nor does any early Christian writer. "In reality, the Neronian persecution never occurred. It is a fiction of the Church, invented for its greater glory." (Arthur Drews, The Legend of St Peter, p63)

Chapter 16 of Life of Nero by Suetonius. This is the origin of the 'Christians burnt as torches' nonsense.

The Lentulus Letter For this pious fancy the forger created a fictitious predecessor to Pontius Pilate, governor of Judaea, calling him "Publius Lentulus" The forger has his creation write to the Roman Senate, reporting Christ's "raising of the dead". He describes Jesus as "the most beautiful of the sons of men." The letter was first printed in the "Life of Christ" by Ludolph the Carthusian (Cologne, 1474) ; it was probably composed in 13th/14th century, based on an earlier Greek forgery.

Report of Pilate to Caesar – Pilate's conversion to Christianity – and even the debauched Tiberius a closet-Christian! Another gem from the pen of Tertullian!

‘All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius. Yes, and even the Caesars would have believed on Christ, if either the Caesars had not been necessary for the world, or if Christians could have been Caesars.’
(Apol. ch. xxi; and Anti-Nicene Fathers. iii,35, Tertullian)

Letter of Jesus to the King of Edessa
Nothing less than the handwritten note of the godman himself.! Delivered by the Apostle Thaddeus, together with a self-portrait by the artist – Jesus Christ (he wiped his face with the canvass)! Actually, the text is borrowed from the 'concordance' of Tatian, compiled in the second century, and known as the 'Diatessaron'. The forgery is almost certainly the work of Eusebius, Christian propagandist of the fourth century. He was the first to mention the letter and claimed to have personally 'translated' it from Syriac (Ecclesiastical History I, xii).

The Virgin Birth Fraud
The most colossal blunder of the Septuagint translators, the mistranslation of the original Hebrew text of Isaiah, 7.14, allowed deceitful early Christians to concoct their infamous prophecy that somehow the ancient Jewish text presaged the miraculous birth of their own godman.

The Hebrew original says:
'Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel.'

Honestly translated, the verse reads:
'Behold, the young woman has conceived — and bears a son and calls his name Immanuel.'

The Greek-speaking translators of Hebrew scripture (in 3rd century B.C. Alexandria) slipped up and translated 'almah' (young woman) into the Greek 'parthenos' (virgin). The Hebrew word for virgin would have been 'betulah.' The slip did not matter at the time, for in context, Isaiah’s prophesy – set in the 8th century BC but probably written in the 5th – had been given as reassurance to King Ahaz of Judah that his royal line would survive, despite the ongoing siege of Jerusalem by the Syrians. And it did. In other words, the prophesy had nothing to do with events in Judaea eight hundred years into the future!
Justin ‘Martyr’, a pagan Greek from Palestine, fled to Ephesus at the time of Bar Kochbar’s revolt (132 -135 AD). He joined the growing Christian community and found himself competing with the priests of Artemis, an eternally virgin goddess. Justin successfully overcame the sentiments of established Christians and had Mary, mother of Jesus, declared a virgin, citing his Greek copy of Isaiah as 'evidence' of scriptural prescience. The Greek priest who then forged the 'Gospel according to St. Matthew' went one stage further, taking the word 'harah' – in Hebrew a past or perfect tense – and switched it into a future tense to arrive at:

'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel.'
(Matthew I. 23.)

All this to arrive at the monstrous fiction that ancient scripture foretold of the arrival of an infant actually called Jesus!"

posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 02:27 PM
This is a review of the so called historical proof of Jesus.
Forgeries again.

"Josephus (c37 - 100 AD)

Flavius Josephus is a highly respected and much-quoted Romano-Jewish historian. The early Christians were zealous readers of his work.

A native of Judea, living in the 1st century A.D., Josephus was actually governor of Galilee for a time (prior to the war of 70 A.D.) – the very province in which Jesus allegedly did his wonders. Though not born until 37 AD. and therefore not a contemporary witness to any Jesus-character, Josephus at one point even lived in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle.

Josephus's two major tomes are History of The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews. In these complementary works, the former written in the 70s, the latter in the 90s A.D., Josephus mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event which occurred there during the first seventy years of the Christian era.

At face value, Josephus appears to be the answer to the Christian apologist's dreams.

In a single paragraph (the so-called Testimonium Flavianum ) Josephus confirms every salient aspect of the christ-myth:

1. Jesus's existence 2. his 'more than human' status 3. his miracle working 4. his teaching 5. his ministry among the Jews and the Gentiles 6. his Messiahship 7. his condemnation by the Jewish priests 8. his sentence by Pilate 9. his death on the cross 10. the devotion of his followers 11. his resurrection on the 3rd day 12. his post-death appearance 13. his fulfillment of divine prophesy 14. the successful continuance of the Christians.

In just 127 words Josephus confirms everything – now that is a miracle!

Not a single writer before the 4th century – not Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, etc. – in all their defences against pagan hostility, makes a single reference to Josephus’ wondrous words.

The third century Church 'Father' Origen, for example, spent half his life and a quarter of a million words contending against the pagan writer Celsus. Origen drew on all sorts of proofs and witnesses to his arguments in his fierce defence of Christianity. He quotes from Josephus extensively. Yet even he makes no reference to this 'golden paragraph' from Josephus, which would have been the ultimate rebuttal. In fact, Origen actually said that Josephus was "not believing in Jesus as the Christ."

Origen did not quote the 'golden paragraph' because this paragraph had not yet been written.

It was absent from early copies of the works of Josephus and did not appear in Origen's third century version of Josephus, referenced in his Contra Celsum.

Consider, also, the anomalies:

1. How could Josephus claim that Jesus had been the answer to his messianic hopes yet remain an orthodox Jew?
The absurdity forces some apologists to make the ridiculous claim that Josephus was a closet Christian!

2. If Josephus really thought Jesus had been 'the Christ' surely he would have added more about him than one paragraph, a casual aside in someone else's (Pilate's) story?

In fact, Josephus relates much more about John the Baptist than about Jesus! He also reports in great detail the antics of other self-proclaimed messiahs, including Judas of Galilee, Theudas the Magician, and the unnamed 'Egyptian Jew' messiah.

It is striking that though Josephus confirms everything the Christians could wish for, he adds nothing not in the gospel narratives, nothing that would have been unknown by Christians already.

3. The passage is out of context. Book 18 starts with the Roman taxation under Cyrenius in 6 AD, talks about various Jewish sects at the time, including the Essenes, and a sect of Judas the Galilean. He discusses Herod's building of various cities, the succession of priests and procurators, and so on.

Chapter 3 starts with a sedition against Pilate who planned to slaughter all the Jews but changed his mind. Pilate then used sacred money to supply water to Jerusalem, and the Jews protested. Pilate sent spies among the Jews with concealed weapons, and there was a great massacre.

Then comes the paragraph about Jesus, and immediately after it, Josephus continues:

'And about the same time another terrible misfortune confounded the Jews . . .'

Josephus, an orthodox Jew, would not have thought the Christian story to be 'another terrible misfortune.' It is only a Christian who would have considered this to be a Jewish tragedy.

Paragraph 3 can be lifted out of the text with no damage to the chapter. It flows better without it. Outside of this tiny paragraph, in all of Josephus's voluminous works, there is not a single reference to Christianity anywhere.

4. The phrase 'to this day' confirms that this is a later interpolation. There was no 'tribe of Christians' during Josephus's time. Christianity did not get off the ground until the second century.

5. The hyperbolic language is uncharacteristic of the historian:

'. . . as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him . . .'

This is the stuff of Christian propaganda.

In fact, the Josephus paragraph about Jesus does not appear until the beginning of the fourth century, at the time of Constantine.

Bishop Eusebius, that great Church propagandist and self-confessed liar-for-god, was the first person known to have quoted this paragraph of Josephus, about the year 340 AD. This was after the Christians had become the custodians of religious correctness.

Whole libraries of antiquity where torched by the Christians. Yet unlike the works of his Jewish contemporaries, the histories of Josephus survived. They survived because the Christian censors had a use for them. They planted evidence on Josephus, turning the leading Jewish historian of his day into a witness for Jesus Christ ! Finding no references to Jesus anywhere in Josephus's genuine work, they interpolated a brief but all-embracing reference based purely on Christian belief.

Do we need to look any further to identify Eusebius himself as the forger?

Sanctioned by the imperial propagandist every Christian commentator for the next thirteen centuries accepted unquestioningly the entire Testimonium Flavianum, along with its declaration that Jesus “was the Messiah.”

And even in the twenty first century scholars who should know better trot out a truncated version of the 'golden paragraph' in a scurrilous attempt to keep Josephus 'on message.'

Christian apologists, for their own convenience, blur the distinction between evidence of Jesus and evidence of Christians. It is rather as if a child who believed in the Tooth Fairy were to be presented as evidence that the Tooth Fairy really existed.

Justus of Tiberias
'I have read the chronology of Justus of Tiberias... and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth, he makes not one mention of Jesus, of what happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did.'

– Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 9th Century

Justus was also an historian, a rival to Josephus, and from the same region. Perhaps his work was not as easily doctored – his histories did not make it through the Christian dark age and are – as they say! – 'lost to us'.

The Usual Suspects:
There is no doubt that Christians existed, from the early years of the second century certainly, and – as heretical Jews and under diverse names – up to a generation earlier. Belief in a Messiah (a 'Christ' in Greek) was endemic among the Jews after all.

But belief in a celestial Christ does not equate to belief in a flesh-and-blood 'Jesus of Nazareth' – and when the 'heretical' and 'gnostic' views of early Christians are examined 'Jesus of Nazareth' is noticeably absent. And to press the point, even a belief in a 'Jesus of Nazareth' does not make him a reality – it is only the belief that is a reality.

None abashed, Christian apologists compound their suspect 'logic' by recruiting notable pagans as witnesses, writers who were doing their best to faithfully report on a suspect cult. And as ever in the history of Christianity, in the hands of its scribes, forgery augments what the ancient writers actually wrote, the better to bring unbelievers to the One True Faith.

Pliny the Younger (61 - 105 AD)
Around 112 AD, in correspondence between Emperor Trajan and the provincial governor of Pontus/Bithynia, Pliny the Younger, reference is made to Christians for the first time. Pliny famously reports to his emperor:

'Christians ... asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. '
(Pliny to Trajan, Letters 10.96-97)

Note that Pliny is relaying what those arrested said they believed (and there is no reference here to a 'Jesus.')

Pliny had convened trials of Christians, not because of their beliefs but because he had ' forbidden political associations' which he obviously suspected them of forming. He continues:

'Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition.'

Some of those arrested recanted, worshipped the imperial image and state gods, and cursed Christ. But Pliny is uncertain how to proceed with numerous others in what he describes as a widespread 'contagion' and asks Trajan for guidance. Trajan's celebrated reply is:

' They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it -- that is, by worshiping our gods -- even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance.'

The real value of this correspondence (the only example of its kind to survive the Christian dark age) is not that it is some 'proof' of Jesus's existence (which it manifestly is not) but evidence of the toleration of Roman jurisprudence in the 'golden age' of the Empire. Says Trajan:

'But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.' (Trajan to Pliny, Letters 10.96-97)

Compare this ruling of the 'pagan' Trajan in 113 AD with that of the Christian Inquisitors thirteen centuries later – for whom 'anonymous accusations' and 'seeking out' of heretics was the modus operandi !

Caius Suetonius (c.69 – 140 AD)
Nowhere in any of Suetonius's writings does he mention 'Jesus of Nazareth.'

Suetonius did write a biography called Twelve Caesars around the year 112 AD and of Emperor Claudius he says:

'As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.'

Jesus in Rome in 55 AD? Of course not. But the unwary can be misled by this reference.

'Chrestus' does not equate to 'Christ' in English but to 'The Good' in Greek, It was a name used by both slaves and freemen and is attested more than eighty times in Latin inscriptions. Clearly, Suetonius was explaining why the Jews (not Christians) were expelled from Rome and is referring to a Jewish agitator in the 50s – not to a Galilean pacifist of the 30s.

It is also said that Suetonius, in his Life of Nero, described Nero's persecution of the Christians:

'Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief. . .' (16.2)

We have moved from 'rebellious Jews' to 'mischievous Christians'.

Christians in Rome during the reign of Nero (54-68 AD) ?

Would (could) Nero have made such a fine sectarian distinction – particularly since there was no identifying faith document (not a single gospel had been written) – so just what would 'Christians' have believed? Even St Paul himself makes not a single reference to 'Christians' in any of his writings.

The idea that a nascent ‘Christianity’ immediately faced persecution from a cruel and bloodthirsty pagan Rome is an utter nonsense. For one thing, it is only in the last third of the 1st century C.E., that Christ-followers emerged as a separate faction from mainstream Judaism. Until then they remained protected under Roman law as Jews. The irritation they caused to their more orthodox brethren meant nothing to the pagan magistrates. Says Gibbon:

‘The innocence of the first Christians was protected by ignorance and contempt; and the tribunal of the Pagan magistrate often proved the most assured refuge against the fury of the synagogue.’

Early christ-followers called themselves 'saints', 'brethren', 'Brothers of the Lord' and their critics used various names: Nazoreans, Ebionites, 'god fearers', atheists. The Jewish association remained strong throughout the first century and when Christian sects got going in Rome in the second century they were identified by their rival leaders – Valentinians, Basilidians, Marcionites, etc.

So little were christ-worshippers known in the Roman world that as late as the 90s Dio Cassio refers to 'atheists' and 'those adopting Jewish manners'. Christians as a distinct group from the Jews appear only late in the 1st century, not long before the Jewish curse on heretics at the council of Jamnia (around 85 C.E.). The label 'Christian' itself only appears with the 2nd century Acts – with the story that the term 'began in Antioch' (11.26).

Equally odd, is that Suetonius's isolated sentence appears in a section on Nero's 'good points.'

It should also be noted that Suetonius does not associate punishment of the Christians with the fire that swept Rome, a crucial part of the later myth.

Quite simply, the reference is a Christian forgery, added to Suetonius to backup the work of the 5th century forger Sulpicius Severus, who heavily doctored the work of another Roman historian – Tacitus – with a lurid tale of brutal persecution ('torched Christian martyrs') which immortalized Nero as the first Antichrist in the eyes of the Christian church. (The second Antichrist being the reformist Luther.)

Cornelius Tacitus (c.55 - 117 AD)
Christianity has no part in Tacitus's history of the Caesars. Except for one questionable reference in the Annals he records nothing of a cult marginal even in his own day.

Sometime after 117 AD, the Roman historian apparently wrote:

"Nero looked around for a scapegoat, and inflicted the most fiendish tortures on a group of persons already hated for their crimes. This was the sect known as Christians. Their founder, one Christus, had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. This checked the abominable superstition for a while, but it broke out again and spread, not merely through Judea, where it originated, but even to Rome itself, the great reservoir and collecting ground for every kind of depravity and filth. Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race."

(Book 15, chapter 44):

As we have seen, the term 'Christian' was not in use during the reign of Nero and there would not have been 'a great crowd' unless we are speaking of Jews, not Christians. 'Jewish/Christians' – being perceived by Roman authorities (and the populace at large) simply as Jews meant that early Christ-followers also got caught up in general attacks upon the Jews.

‘Their effects to dissemble their Jewish origins were detected by the decisive test of circumcision; nor were the Roman magistrates at leisure to enquire into the difference of their religious tenets.’

(Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall)

One consequence of the fire which destroyed much of Rome in 66 C.E. was a capitation tax levied on the Jews and it was the Jews – throughout the empire – who were required to pay for the city’s rebuilding – a factor which helped to radicalise many Jews in the late 60s A.D.

Not for the first time would Christian scribes expropriated the real suffering of a whole people to create an heroic 'origins' fable...

No Christian apologist for centuries ever quoted the passage of Tacitus – not in fact, until it had appeared almost word-for-word in the writings of Sulpicius Severus, in the early fifth century, where it is mixed in with other myths. Sulpicius's contemporaries credited him with a skill in the 'antique' hand. He put it to good use and fantasy was his forte: his Life of St. Martin is replete with numerous 'miracles', including raising of the dead and personal appearances by Jesus and Satan.

His dastardly story of Nero was embellished during the renaissance into a fantastic fable with Nero 'fiddling while Rome burned'. Nero took advantage of the destruction to build his 'Golden House' though no serious scholar believes anymore that he started the fire (we now know Nero was in his hometown of Antium – Anzio – when the blaze started.) Indeed, Nero opened his palace garden for temporary shelter to those made homeless.

In short, the passage in Tacitus is a fraud and adds no evidence for a historic Jesus."

posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 03:19 PM
Wow, lots here! Thanks for posting i enjoy reading about things like this, looks like the truth is slowly making its grand entrance

posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 09:48 PM
And your point is?

Gee would you be an atheist or satanist by chance?

posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 09:59 PM

Originally posted by THENEO
And your point is?

Gee would you be an atheist or satanist by chance?

I think all information is good to know. That way you can filter out what's what and come to your own conclusions. I can't get enough info.

posted on Nov, 22 2003 @ 10:12 PM
When one realizes that all knowledge is merely speculation that has survived the trial and error method, one can see that finger pointing or contention is not to be an end to a means, but should remain always in the mind's eye as a constant. I only offer this reminder as certain topics involving faith and spirituality, for some, are very special and dear holding deep meaning for them. One must always remember the eyes of another when approaching these areas. No one needs to be reminded about how out of hand a belief system can become in the area of harm or more...

All information is speculative. No one can claim nor prove absolution unto another of ANY subject. Discussion is discourse and exchange not verbal war.


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