Which is why Laura relates his ideas to an actual mystical experience/vision. He wasn't sitting in his office writing books for other scholars; he had a transformative experience that for him was worth dying for. Since religious experiences are mysterious, it's an open question how much Paul's own creativity and prior ideas influenced what he saw and how he interpreted it (and how those may have unconsciously shaped the vision). But if this picture of what was going on is close to the truth of the matter, that would explain where the 'metaphysics' came from. Paul wasn't a speculative philosopher.If Paul was so much into ‘metaphysics’ and Roman god-models, he took his hobby a bit too far, don’t you think? He fought left and right trying to reconcile different factions of the nascent cult, travelled quite a lot, did some jail time and ultimately got whacked in Rome by not-so-godly Nero (a distant relative Julius Caesar relative btw) for an idea!? And that in spite of him being a self-declared Roman citizen? My point being, it takes more than a metaphysics construct to die for, what Paul hat preached and believed in was far beyond the categories of 'inspiration' and role model.
I'd be more skeptical about the historicity of those people and events.I mean we can write books and debate ideas today, but for them at that time it wasn’t as fun or intellectually stimulating, it was a matter of salvation, and the urgency was passing the message acting on that information. Hear the good news: the Savior has come, here's what happened, here's what we need to do and have faith for your salvation. And the message was passed along. Think of it as a grass-roots movement. There were the 11 Apostles and their 70 disciples, plus there was a certain mindfulness as conveyed to them by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
You've read the book, right? Laura covers this. Paul WAS arguably marginal during the first century, though influential enough to be remembered and appropriated. But even then, his letters, and their influence on Mark, and Mark's influence on the later gospels, laid the foundation for Christian theology - despite all the later additions, subtractions and multiplications.Paul’s writings are invaluable, but he could not have single-handedly created all this 1st century complex and effervescence, and if you think of his writings as exceptional as they are for the shaping of Christian theology in the following centuries, they were not so prominent in the first century when Christianity sprouted and Christians had to already organize, provide for themselves and endure persecutions.
If it's a waste of time, it's only because there are a lot of people like you who won't look at the evidence (or lack of evidence) dispassionately. There is zero evidence for a historical "Jesus". Zilch. Nada.What kept them going was the word of mouth, their faith in the living resurrected Jesus. And if you think that also was faked later by the Church and passed to us, because the early Christians in fact were believing and praying to Caesar, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to turn into a spaceship, wanna buy into it?
Morale of the story being: a brush of history combined with a brush of religion here and there and some critical reasoning don't go too far. You can argue and doubt anything about Jesus in terms of his divinity, miracles, deeds and sayings, but disputing Jesus' historicity and trying to re-imagine the origins of Christianity is an epic waste of time, AFAIC.
Care to expand on this?As for the authenticity of Paul’s Protagonist, the Damascus Road moment Paul had - or divine revelation or tapping into the ‘hyperdimensional information field’ as it’s referred to in the book - leaves too little wiggle room for elective affinities, usually a divine revelation is told as it is, nolens volens, but can’t mix personal material with it - so cross that inspiration thing.
The evidence is all out there: in the gospels, in contemporary historians' writers, in the living Christian faith and tradition.If it's a waste of time, it's only because there are a lot of people like you who won't look at the evidence (or lack of evidence) dispassionately. There is zero evidence for a historical "Jesus". Zilch. Nada.
I was trying to make the distinction between inspiration and revelation. Paul didn't merely use his inspiration as Homer did, but underwent a revelation an subsequent radical transformation as it is told in the Damascus road episode. It's an Acts story piece, which of course you may dispute as authentic since it was attributed to Luke, though Paul himself refers to it indirectly in the Epistles attributed to him. A revelation by definition is a mystical experience that can't be altered or diluted, it is related as it is and then drop the mic. So did Paul without second thinking or making stuff up, or telling half truths. If Caesar came and self-revealed to him he would have preached Caesar. He didn't beat around the bush.Care to expand on this?
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
"Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.
"I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Paul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
— Acts 9:3–9, NIV
Does the idea of manipulations and revisionist religious history on such a vast scale scare you? I get the impression that even though you claim to have read the book, nothing said in the book got through to you at all, not even to the point of giving it some thought as to whether what she's saying could be true even if you are skeptical about it. It's more like you read it in order to tear it down because your mind was already made up and her 'heretical' ideas offend you in some way.If you don't want to accept it or is not compelling enough for you and prefer an alternative narrative based on a high-octane speculation, your choice - but it creates more conundrums than solve anything. It's like extirpating an organ thinking that the body can function better.
Caesar killed enemies plenty. He wasn't a pacifist - he practiced clemency, after victory, never surrender.
July 12th 2014
(Perceval) Did Caesar himself ever kill anyone?
A: Many, certainly.
Q: (Perceval) So, given the times around then being very war-like, with a lot of fighting and death going on in general... and with some kind of a Great Soul at the time coming down and... it doesn't necessarily have to be a peacemaker kissing people's feet like Jesus... But is there some thing like what we would understand as a prohibition against killing other people as a requirement for being "spiritually evolved"
A: That idea is for the most part an exaggerated human philosophical construct.
Q: (L) So the idea that...
(Perceval) That to be good, thou shalt not kill...
(Atriedes) But which religion does that come from? The most killingest religion on the planet!
(Perceval) It does seem to... Killing another human being for a normal human being does seem to be quite a traumatic thing.
(Atriedes) It's socially inculcated.
(Perceval) I doubt it. I mean, for soldiers, they come back with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they're trained to kill, and they want to kill themselves afterwards, ya know? They can't handle the fact that they...
(Pierre) Maybe the difference is that Caesar was aware of the very fundamental reason why he was killing...
A: Caesar intended to eliminate or vastly reduce killing. He knew what he was up against.
Q: (L) Okay, for example... Okay, let me ask this: There is a speech alleged to have been Caesar's that is reproduced in Sallust's... The War with Catiline. Sallust reproduces this speech, supposedly Caesar's, at the Catilinarian Conspiracy debates. Now, how close is that speech to what Caesar said on the occasion?
A: 80 percent.
Q: (L) Because in that speech, Caesar is completely against even the death penalty. It's among the conundrums that you face when you read something like that, his words, and I mean he was risking his life giving this speech! He was surrounded by armed men, under the command of Cicero, who was bound and determined to execute those people. And yet Caesar stood up against the entire hostile senate, and advocated against the death penalty. And it's even commented that people drew their swords and wanted to kill him at that time. And in fact it's very similar to a story about Jesus in the bible, that people drew their swords and wanted to kill him, but he escaped from the mob and they didn't see him leave. So, it's really kind of an odd thing. So, for somebody to accuse Caesar of being this murdering psychopath is like, it's very difficult. And then supposedly these body counts in Gaul, and these horrible cruel events, and it just doesn't reconcile. So... Okay. Now you mentioned in previous sessions when we asked about Jesus, and I think probably the closest clue - and this is just my take on it - to the fact that we weren't talking about Jesus of Nazareth when you said that there were three Roman women who had children with Jesus. So, were these three Roman women actually having children with Julius Caesar?
Q: (L) And they were like mistresses or something?
Q: (L) Were those the only three?
A: No, but others had no long term relationship. Also understand that "Roman" does not necessarily mean "from or in Rome" or even Italy. Many Gauls were "Roman".
Q: (L) So, are you saying that these women could have been actually Gaulish Romans? Maybe I'm making an assumption...
Q: (L) Yes to my question, or yes to my assumption? [laughter]
Q: (Atriedes) I have a question. Two questions. Well, I have more, actually. But I wanted to ask: Did Cato really commit suicide in the way described, or was that story mainly manufactured to make him look good and he just hung himself?
A: Cato was a severely personality disordered individual who went totally mad, thus it was possible for him to savage his own body to spite Caesar. Consider the story of Judas Iscariot hanging himself and his bowels spilling out when his body fell to the ground; a reflection and memory of Cato and his opposition to Caesar.
Q: (Atriedes) Okay, so.. Next question: These are of historical significance... So, there are to my knowledge two main stories of the death of Cicero. One is that he honorably stuck out his head and allowed the soldiers that were sent to kill him to cut off his head. The other is that he basically tried to buy them off and it took three strikes to cut off his head because the soldier was so untrained. I would like it clarified as to which one of these stories is the correct one, or if it was another.
A: The latter is closest to what happened. All you can learn about Cicero from his own writings suggests he did not have a courageous bone in his body.
Q: (Atriedes) Was Caesar really kidnapped by Cilician pirates?
Q: (Atriedes) So then did he actually crucify any pirates?
Q: (Pierre) Is the Cilician pirate story a transformation of something real that happened?
A: Caesar was on another kind of adventure of the scientific kind.
Q: (Pierre) Can you elaborate on this "scientific kind" of adventure?
A: Short travels with his teacher, Posidonius.
Q: (Atriedes) Did Caesar have a purse?
(L) Did he have a what? Did Caesar have a purse?
(Atriedes) Name of the Rose? Never mind... I do have a real question though. For 18 years, Caesar tried a politically expedient way to fix the problems of Rome. At a certain point he decided this wasn't going to happen, and he decided to get himself an army. He was like 42 or something at this point.
(L) He tried for 18 years to do it the peaceful way.
(Atriedes) So, all of a sudden he gets it into his head that he's going to take over an army, in like this Bronze Age, yeah? What was the age for Rome at that time?
(Pierre) After the Bronze Age.
(Atriedes) Iron Age.
(L) I don't understand what you're saying.
(Atriedes) So like where did he learn how to manage an army. Did he go find somebody to learn from, or was he just so great that he figured it all out on his own?
A: Obviously, at that time, there was no one to learn from. However, Caesar did have a good model in some respects in his uncle Marius whom he loved and honored greatly. Do not underestimate the extraordinary intelligence and insight of Caesar.
Q: (L) So he just kind of winged it. Well, there is the story of him making a mistake and losing sleep all night long over it, and blaming himself for the failure. He learned from every mistake he ever made, and he didn't make many. I would like to know did Sulla actually say, when he released Caesar from his proscription, that “you can have him, there are 40 Mariuses in him”?
A: Something like that.
Q: (Perceval) [Something about souls coming to Earth...] ...that Caesar had a great mission, perhaps? Or he saw the planet at the time, humanity at the time, and I'm assuming that... Was it a failure, or maybe it was not a matter of success or failure. What was his mission, or what were the tangible results of his mission? I mean, from what we understand, Rome went to hell after he died, and then got destroyed, if that timeline is actually correct. But, what did he achieve?
A: He balanced karma and created a template that was not available until his time. Mercy had never been demonstrated in such a way before. The problem, as always, is the STS domination of your realm. But Caesar did not fail. By his death he was glorified and remembered for over 2000 years even if only under a fake legend.
October 11th 2014
(Perceval) From a hidden perspective, and not from an ordinary human perspective. Was the cult surrounding Caesar after his death perceived as a threat by someone at that time or thereafter?
A: Indeed! Caesar advocated treating the poor and the masses with care and kindness.
Q: (Perceval) So they were threatened enough to kill him and undo pretty much everything he had done... But, was there a real threat that his teaching would have spread across the world and changed everything?
Q: (L) The ideas of communalism, sharing, caring, mercy etc.
(Perceval) What I'm trying to do is contrast the extent of that threat of changing the world in a positive way with what they did to his story. And we still have it today! They didn't just stamp it out at the time and then forget about it. We're still lumbered with the deception. So, it's so big and so monstrous... Like opportunistically, they killed two birds with one stone... "We can get rid of Caesar and his teachings, and then we can also have this new religion that gets us what we want!"
(L) Yeah, a religion of passivity, obey your masters, give them all your money, pay your taxes, and all this kind of stuff.
(Perceval) Yeah, maybe the perception at that time was that a new organized religion was necessary...
(L) Was Paul the author of those things where he advised people to pay their taxes, render to Caesar and all this kind of stuff?
A: Partly, yes. But he was being wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. What he wrote in his letters was the "milk", he only gave the meat in person.
Yes the Gentile Christians were kind of already off-ramped in an ignoring kind of way from the Jewish Christians long before Mark. After Rome crushed the Zealot Church in Jerusalem, it kind of became a need more to on-ramp the Jewish Christians into a more Pauline position via Mark in order to keep the Gentile Christians from being as Laura phrased it, tarnished by association.Running with this theme, it seems possible to me that Mark wasn't actually trying to give gentile Christians an off-ramp from the dead end of Jewish messianism. That's possible of course, since we don't have much to go on, but consider that the identity of the Christ as Caesar might have been common knowledge amongst his audience. Considering that Caesar was only about 100 years in the grave at that point, and that Paul seems to have been heavily involved with gentile communities in colonies founded by Caesar's veterans who certainly would have known all about Caesar, and likely would have been involved in his cult, it seems entirely plausible to me that at no point in that period were the gentile Christians completely overwhelmed by the Jewish Christians.
The evidence is all out there: in the gospels, in contemporary historians' writers, in the living Christian faith and tradition.
Mark is fiction riffing of biblical sources and Paul's letters. The other gospels use Mark as a source. They are not historical evidence.The evidence is all out there: in the gospels
No contemporary historians mention Jesus independently of the gospel accounts, which are fiction.in contemporary historians' writers,
That is not evidence.in the living Christian faith and tradition.
I don't conflate the two. You can accept the basic, obvious fact that Jesus wasn't historical and still be skeptical about a speculative picture that puts the pieces together in a plausible way.If you don't want to accept it or is not compelling enough for you and prefer an alternative narrative based on a high-octane speculation, your choice - but it creates more conundrums than solve anything. It's like extirpating an organ thinking that the body can function better.
Assumption with no evidence.First decades after Christ were based on oral tradition and stories about Jesus,
Pretty much.even Paul's writings cannot be dated earlier than 50 AD.
Jesus means God Saves. There's no evidence Paul used it to refer to a contemporary human being.Paul preaches and writes about Jesus following his Revelation on Damascus Road.
You've got it backwards. The Jesus in Paul's letters as we have them is bare bones to the extreme. A few personality traits and a mythic story of self-sacrifice, plus bits of OT prophecy. That's not "skimming Jesus out" - it's just all that's there. Mark's Jesus - again, an obvious fictional creation riffing on bible stories and Paul's own writings - fleshed him out, and the other Gospel writers followed suit. It's not messed up. That's how people create mythical characters.Trying to skim Jesus out of Paul's writings based on the argument that Jesus was a later invention and insertion by subsequent writers, or Paul was writing about code-name Jesus but thinking about Caesar - is messed up.
I don't think that's a very accurate representation. More like a straw man.The idea that entire communities of early could-be Caesar believers were flashed-out and turned into Christ believers overnight by a group of spin doctors gospel writers is also insane.
What makes you think revelations like this exist? Why do Christians see Christian imagery and Hindus see Hindu imagery, etc? Is it because only the Christians have "true" revelations, and all others are demonic? Or is it because 'revelation' maybe isn't as cut and dried as you think it is?I was trying to make the distinction between inspiration and revelation. Paul didn't merely use his inspiration as Homer did, but underwent a revelation an subsequent radical transformation as it is told in the Damascus road episode. It's an Acts story piece, which of course you may dispute as authentic since it was attributed to Luke, though Paul himself refers to it indirectly in the Epistles attributed to him. A revelation by definition is a mystical experience that can't be altered or diluted, it is related as it is and then drop the mic. So did Paul without second thinking or making stuff up, or telling half truths. If Caesar came and self-revealed to him he would have preached Caesar. He didn't beat around the bush.
The evidence is all out there: in the gospels, in contemporary historians' writers, in the living Christian faith and tradition.
If you don't want to accept it or is not compelling enough for you and prefer an alternative narrative based on a high-octane speculation, your choice - but it creates more conundrums than solve anything. It's like extirpating an organ thinking that the body can function better.
First decades after Christ were based on oral tradition and stories about Jesus, even Paul's writings cannot be dated earlier than 50 AD. Paul preaches and writes about Jesus following his Revelation on Damascus Road. Trying to skim Jesus out of Paul's writings based on the argument that Jesus was a later invention and insertion by subsequent writers, or Paul was writing about code-name Jesus but thinking about Caesar - is messed up. The idea that entire communities of early could-be Caesar believers were flashed-out and turned into Christ believers overnight by a group of spin doctors gospel writers is also insane.
Wanted to chime in on this. There's remarkable overlap to all ecstatic/mystic practices. From the sayans of Siberia to the monks in Greece.Why do Christians see Christian imagery and Hindus see Hindu imagery, etc? Is it because only the Christians have "true" revelations, and all others are demonic?
Paul was all about the unseen world, the spiritual. Unlike the imbeciles (disciples), he didn't care about earthy, fleshly things. His Christ is an actor in the spiritual realm, although Cesar might have been part of the inspiration-role model, but then again, for Paul, it's about Christ's (Cesar's) actions in the spiritual realm, also while He was still embodied. It is a subtle point, but crucial to understand Paul and what his Christ was all about.
To add to this a bit: perhaps part of the problem some people seem to have with the idea that "Jesus of Nazareth" is a fiction, and that Cesar might have been at least in part the "original JC", is the assumption that if that was true, there should be a "gospel of Julius Cesar". But that strikes me as a sort of category error
There are certainly two ways to react to bad things in life. One way is to rage against it and try to make your group the winner in a materialistic sense. The other way is to have a spiritual transformation and have your winner be full of mercy.Good point, and I'm aware of the Jesus is Julius theory.
My original point was just that the parts of the OT written about a materialist demon-god/demiurge Yahweh seem to conflict with the mystical visions parts considered to be the books of the prophets. The MO of Yahweh and the God that the OT prophets/shamans and the writers of the NT are talking about could not be more different. The Jews are also deliberately cast as villains by the writers of the NT, from making the heroes clearly Greek and making Judas and the Pharisees Jewish. I'm not going to cite this because people who are bible experts should know it tbh, but Christ is very explicit when he is made to condemn the "synagogue of satan".
But it is important to consider the metaphysical dimensions of all this.
There are metaphysical claims that are advanced in the NT that are central to the metaphysical model of Christianity. Namely, that Christ's coming proved that there was a loving God who was on our side. This is proven by him being willing to sacrifice his son. This is a powerful message to put in your story to say the least.
If there are any metaphysical claims that are advanced by the Julius Cesaer story, I'm not sure that I see them.
Was Julius a great man? Undoubtedly. Did the writers of the NT crib from his story? Seems like it.
But his story didn't really make any metaphysical claims or change the metaphysical model of the universe like Christ's did. How exactly can Cesaer be anyone's personal savior? He can be a role model and a great historical figure who was smart, merciful, a populist, etc. but that's not really saying anything about the nature of the universe/God/souls of people. Even though the writers of the NT copied quite a bit from his story, its also hard to argue that they didn't add quite a bit of depth to the story and level it up a bit/raise the stakes.
A word on mysticism.
In the mystical tradition of Greek Christianity (Orthodoxy) practiced most famously by the monks of Mt. Athos, the "Christ" is understood as a state that one strives for. To get there, one practices a life of asceticism and internal struggle to basically level oneself up. For me, reading the early christian gnostics and the desert fathers (Philokalia) it seems clear that the whole point of Christianity is to strive for a higher state where one becomes "Christ-like" by achieving something called Theosis. This seems to be the esoteric core teaching of Paleo-Christianity. Making the main character in your story exemplify this state makes sense as a teaching tale. That the plebs take everything literally and can't understand allegory and metaphor is a lamentable state of nature that isn't changing anytime soon, short of a mass eugenics campaign and even then, odds seem slim.
What's most interesting is that organized Churchianity started purging the esoteric people systematically in the 4th century onwards.
A: Consider carefully the developmental pathways of the three test cases. First you have Judaism. It began as a widespread cult of comet/storm god worship. It was reformulated to meet the needs of a dispossessed people and encourage solidarity among them. Christianity had a dual beginning. First was an apocalyptic cult of intolerance and violence. Second was a message of spiritual transformation based on the life of an extraordinary man full of mercy. Islam is the miscegenation of the worst of both. How can there be any positive elements out of complete falsehood?
Q: (L) So, you're saying that Islam is a mix of the worst parts of Judaism and Christianity? [Review of last answer] Is it possible that there was a strong influence of the Dead Sea Scroll people on the formulation of Islam?
(L) Well, actually, Paul came along with his vision of the merciful savior, Caesar. This was the background to the several puzzling references in the New Testament to a conflict between Paul and the “Jerusalem Christians”. There was the Dead Sea Scrolls types, Zealots, etc, and then Paul. Again, I’ve covered this pretty well in my yet-to-be-published book on the topic. And don’t forget that the creators of Islam borrowed heavily from the stories of Abraham and Moses which the Jews invented with models of real historical figures of Greek and Egyptian history back when the OT was written in about 272 BC. All of that is discussed by Gmirkin and Wajdenbaum. (Argonauts of the Desert etc.} The inventors of Islam didn't know that they were creating stories based on already invented stories, etc.
(Joe) So the worst of both Judaism and early Christianity would be intolerance and violence and storm god worship. Islam more than any of the religions is influenced by cataclysms in that sense, no?
Q: (Joe) At the time that it appeared, was there stuff going on? It was the Dark Ages, right?
Q: (L) So that would give a perfect explanation for why they were attracted to that apocalyptic literature. It was a time when it had the most meaning.
(Joe) And it's relatively recent.
All the “evidence“ out there comes from a single book, the Bible. Otherwise no one, not a single person would know who the figure of Jesus is. On the other hand there is plenty archeological evidence on the life of Caesar.
Mark is fiction riffing of biblical sources and Paul's letters. The other gospels use Mark as a source. They are not historical evidence.
No contemporary historians mention Jesus independently of the gospel accounts, which are fiction.
That is not evidence.
Group question: What is the entity, Jesus, doing now, and how can we benefit in our devotional lives from his teachings?
We do not want to turn our backs upon history. We are aware that it is important to this instrument and to others whether the one known as Jesus the Christ was an historical figure. Indeed, this entity did exist and did express as Christ. There have been others who have expressed this consciousness within your Earth plane but certainly less distorted in expression of this gift than the one known as Jesus. We see and believe in the Christ in each of you and in ourselves. Indeed, we have been at that state of consciousness and have shared in expressing Christhood in our service as you shall do in your turn. Beyond all considerations of time and place and history, however, there lies a level of truth that goes quite beyond the personal and moves into essences and qualities of consciousness that open doors within the deep mind and create the possibility for further spiritual evolution.