Oh boy, another book to put on the list!!!
You can read it for free online here as it was printed in 1900 and is out of copyright. You can download a pdf here.This is an extensively researched analysis of the relationships between astronomical cycles, religious mythology, and the political use of such by leaders, who were set up as gods in ancient times, with mythological alter-egos to fit. Del Mar's research found that these mythologies to be very ancient, adopted far and wide, and typically of a form that would be very recognizable to anybody familiar with Christianity.
These culminated with the great imperial cult of Augustus Caesar, upon which the title is based. As unearthed by Del Mar's research, the mythology and symbolism of the Augustan cult (which itself had been borrowed) had evidently been co-opted by Christianity, almost to a "T".
This is so scholarly and packed with information it can be tedious to take in from start to finish, and may be best read as a "bathroom read," in bits and pieces, especially the chronology of Aeras, in which fascinating facts and abound, peppered with dryly humorous observations about the absurdity of religious cult behavior.
Once enough people "connect the dots," the great importance and prescience of this work will be better known, as will the reason for its having been buried, as well as the need for the Christian disclaimer at the beginning, which may well have been inserted by Del Mar to save his skin.
Religious history buffs, prepare to have your mind blown.
The preface gives an overview of the work. Not sure how it fits the current state of research as I'm not up to speed. I included the "Christian disclaimer" because it was mentioned in the comment quoted by Don Genaro.I found this book whilst browsing around on Archive.org: The Worship of Augustus Caesar: Amazon.co.uk: Alexander Delmar: 9781162581101: Books
THE ABYSS OF MISERY AND DEPRAVITY FROM WHICH
CHRISTIANITY REDEEMED THE ROMAN EMPIRE
CAN NEVER BE FULLY UNDERSTOOD WITHOUT A
KNOWLEDGE OF THE IMPIOUS WORSHIP OF EM-
PERORS TO WHICH EUROPE ONCE BOWED ITS
CREDULOUS AND TERRIFIED HEAD.
WHEN THIS OMITTED CHAPTER IS RESTORED TO THE
HISTORY OF ROME, CHRISTIANITY WILL SPRING
INTO A NEW AND MORE VIGOROUS LIFE ; FOR
THEN ONLY WILL IT BE PERCEIVED HOW DEEP
AND INERADICABLY ITS ROOTS ARE PLANTED,
HOW LOFTY ARE ITS BRANCHES AND HOW DEATH-
LESS ARE ITS AIMS.
THE collection of data contained in this work was originally in-
tended as a guide to the author's studies of " Monetary Sys-
tems." It was therefore undertaken with the sole object of estab-
lishing with precision the dates of ancient history.
It soon appeared that many of the dates were astrological. They
were grafted upon the Ecliptical Cycle and the imaginary incarnations
of the Sun. Such is the case with both the Indian, Chaldean, Egyptian,
Greek and Hebrew dates of remote antiquity. Even the epochs used
by the astronomers, which were in India equal to B. C. 3102, in Baby-
lon B. C. 747 and in Greece B. C. 884, form no exception to this rule.
They are all astrological.
This discovery entirely changed the author's plans. Hitherto the
work had been designed merely as an accessory to other studies: it
now assumed an interest and importance of its own. The employ-
ment of the Ecliptical Cycle for computing the lapse of time fur-
nished a key to the history and progress of ancient astronomy, which
it was hoped might unlock at least one door to the remote past.
It proved to be capable of unlocking many. Meanwhile the author's
attention was drawn to researches of a more practical nature. He
brought the statistical method to bear upon a comparison of dates
from ancient sources, of which he now made a more extensive collec-
tion. The result was the disclosure that the Roman chronology had
been altered, first, to the extent of 78 years (sunk) by Augustus, and
afterwards to the extent of 15 years (restored) by the Latin Sacred
College. It was also perceived that Augustus had changed the Olym-
piads from five-year to four-year intervals, and had thus altered many
Greek and other dates to the extent of 108 years.
He next found that the number of civil months in the year, and
therefore also the number of days in the months and weeks, were al-
tered. The year had been anciently divided into ten months, each
of 36 days, and the months into weeks of nine days. Such was the
case, not only in Rome, but also in the other states of the ancient
world. In Rome, the alteration was made by the Decemvirs; in the
other states it had been made previously. Everywhere it had marked
a revolution in government and religion.
It was at this point that the author resolved to devote himself to
the serious task of tracing the alterations of the calendar and collect-
ing such materials as might enable others to reconstruct the shat-
tered edifice of ancient history. What he saw about him was nothing
but ruins, but beneath those ruins there were evidently building mate-
rials, many of which have since been brought to light
The subject that next engaged his attention was the Jovian cycle
and worship, which could not be confidently traced backward in the
Occident further than the 11th or 12th century before our aera, nor
in the Orient further backward than the 15th century. It followed
that the duodecimal and sexagessimal cycles and institutes which
had been drawn from the orbital period of this planet, were not nearly
so old as had been pretended. A like examination of the progress
of discovery concerning the moon's node and the precession of the
equinoxes yielded analogous results : both were known very anciently,
but not nearly so anciently as had been assumed.
Strengthened by these astronomical aids to research, the entire
series of chronological data were now recast, condensing them as
much as seemed consistent with exhibiting their significance and mu-
tual relations, and afterwards arranging the principal ones in clusters,
with the view to discover their origin and bearing.
The result was the conviction that the basis of all ancient dates is
to be found in the religions of the Orient; and that these religions lie
at the foundation of all the religions of the Occident. In a word, that
religion was never a special creation, but on the contrary, has been
the product of Evolution; an evolution which, beginning in India,
still goes on and will go on forever.
The worship of Augustus has been admitted by so many eminent crit-
ics that there can be no longer any doubt about the fact. Its religious
significance lies in the inferences that are to be drawn from it. With
these, the author has no present concern. His object has been not
to make theological deductions, but to recognize an Historical Truth,
whose admission must, in his belief, precede all attempts to compile
a satisfactory account of the Roman Empire, or of the Middle Ages.
It will be shown upon ample evidences that after the submission of
the Oriental provinces and consolidation of the empire, Augustus
Caesar set himself up for that Son of God whose advent, according
to Indian chronology, synchronised with the reappearance of the
Oriental Messiah; the date being A. U. 691 (B.C. 63) the alleged
year of Augustus' birth; that this claim and assumption appears in
the literature of his age, was engraved upon his monuments and
stamped upon his coins; that it was universally admitted and ac-
cepted throughout the Roman empire as valid and legitimate, both
according to Indian and Roman chronology, astrology, prophesy and
tradition; that his actual worship as such Son of God — DivusFilius —
was enjoined and enforced by the laws of the empire, accepted by
the priesthood and practised by the people ; and that both de jure and
de facto it constituted the fundamental article of the Roman imperial
and ecclesiastical Constitution.
Unless these evidences and conclusions are overthrown it will fol-
low that an entirely new view of the empire, its history, its laws and
its institutes, including the important one of feudalism, will demand
the consideration of historians and students. Hitherto the worship
of Augustus has been kept in the background of Roman antiquities.
It must now either be explained away, or accorded a more prominent
position in the history and constitution of that great empire from
whose womb has issued all the states of the modern world.
32 AD – escape from Damascus, 1st visit to Jerusalem, visit Peter. (FIRM because of King Aretas in Damascus window)Gal 1:15-17 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
39/40 AD – 1st Thessalonians written (pos 2nd, also), referencing Caligula and his plans to erect statue in Temple.2Co 11:32-33 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to seize me, but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
Gal 1:18-19 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord's brother.
Gal 1:21-23 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, "The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy."
This would mean that the Corinthian kerfuffle occurred before the second visit to Jerusalem if this letter is dated to 14 years after conversion and the second visit occurred 14 years after the first visit which was three years after conversion. So how to explain the references to the collection in 1 an 2nd Corinthians, before the agreement to collect was made?2Co 12:2-4 I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person--whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows-- was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.
It seems to me that the topics of 1 Corinthians as a whole do not mesh well with chapter 16 at all. But things get even stranger with 2 Cor. In this letter, chapters 10-13, there are opponents who are Jewish Christians, but apparently not from Jerusalem. Paul speaks about false apostles and Watson argues that this group of attackers is Apollos and his companions. Nothing is said about the problem of circumcision or submitting to the law.Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem.
|2Co 8:1-21||2Co 9:1 -14|
|We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints-- and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. Now as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you--so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something-- now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has--not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little." |
But thanks be to God who put in the heart of Titus the same eagerness for you that I myself have. For he not only accepted our appeal, but since he is more eager than ever, he is going to you of his own accord. With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his proclaiming the good news; and not only that, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this generous undertaking for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our goodwill. We intend that no one should blame us about this generous gift that we are administering, for we intend to do what is right not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of others.
|Now it is not necessary for me to write you about the ministry to the saints, for I know your eagerness, which is the subject of my boasting about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year; and your zeal has stirred up most of them. |
But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you may not prove to have been empty in this case, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be; otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated--to say nothing of you--in this undertaking. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Clearly, the above letter refers to a previous letter of reproof of a particular individual. Was this the case of incest that was referred to in 1 Cor where a man was living with his father’s wife and the Corinthians were told to expel him from their community?2Co 1:8-10 We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again, as you also join in helping us by your prayers, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
2Co 1:15-16 Since I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a double favor; I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on to Judea.
2Co 2:1-13 So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent--not to exaggerate it--to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. When I came to Troas to proclaim the good news of Christ, a door was opened for me in the Lord; but my mind could not rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said farewell to them and went on to Macedonia.
2Co 6:3-11 We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see--we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you.
2Co 7:2-12 Make room in your hearts for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I often boast about you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with consolation; I am overjoyed in all our affliction. For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted in every way--disputes without and fears within. But God, who consoles the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was consoled about you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it (though I did regret it, for I see that I grieved you with that letter, though only briefly). Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. So although I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong, nor on account of the one who was wronged, but in order that your zeal for us might be made known to you before God.
So, there is clearly a letter still missing, and it also seems highly likely that redactional efforts are much of the cause of the confusing sequences. It appears to be quite possible that the “collection” chapters were tacked onto letters where they did not belong at all, that the reference was inserted about going to Judea, simply to confirm the idea that Paul was totally “in” with the Jerusalem church. Are the collection chapters and references even original to Paul, or have they been “cooked up” to make it look like things were all hunky dory even after the bust up in Antioch following the second Jerusalem visit?1 Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you? For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
The above is written as though Peter came to Antioch very shortly after the 2nd Jerusalem meeting and was getting on like a house afire with Paul and the gang until people came from James, spoiled the party, and Peter probably went back with his tail between his legs.Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us-- we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--those leaders contributed nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
So it seems likely that, after the reprisals against the Zealots/Christians by Tiberius Alexander, two things must have happened:Gal 2:9-10 and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.
Thank you for presenting your analysis. Being optimistic, there will be many people interested, including people who initially gave up on Christianity, because there was so much that was garbled.Don't know if this will interest anyone, but I've been putting arguments together for the upcoming book(s) and here are some of my notes.
The rigidness found among a good number of scholars and theologians has over time, along with other developments, had consequences for what Christianity has become. Materialism, including improbable ideas of "evolution" and postmodern trends have taken their toll, as have the changes that are being forced on many previously Christian societies. At the same time it would not surprise if some of these tensions have been motivating factors that inspired interest and new research.Biblical scholars, as a rule, appear to be woefully uneducated in terms of ancient practices and methods of mimesis.
The Romans accused Jews of being anti-social “haters of humanity.” Thus, the Christians accused of the fire in Rome must have been Messianic/Jerusalem type Christians, not Pauline type.
When evidence contradicts a theory, science requires the discarding of the theory. Time and again, biblical scholars have been shown to discard or twist the evidence so as to preserve their pre-conceived assumptions or confessional bias.
In a certain way the muddled story is not only a thorny mess, but it is like thorny crown on the message inspired by the example of Caesar that Paul wanted to tell. Thank you for making great efforts to explain that the mess is there, for making readers aware that alternatives do exist and which ones are more likely. Some of the thorns can be removed by explanations, and other thorns the readers contemplating the explanations might discover will disappear through their own internal efforts to understand and through the sharing with others.All of the above is, as you can see, a thorny mess and a tedious process to sort it out, but I do see glimmers of the idea that Caesar was, indeed, Paul's Messiah and people back then knew it, and the gospel of Mark covered it up.
Yes, the story of the conversion of Izates in Josephus was apparently used by the Lukan author as a model for the story of the conversion of the Egyptian eunuch. Wonder if Polycarp had his tongue in cheek on that one?I've "watched" a few videos by a certain Ralph Ellis who goes on some speculations about the historical commander of the Jewish revolt over whom the Jesus story was partly contructed. He makes it clear that the christianity we have is that of Paul, not that of this "Jesus" and overall is in accord to what has been described here in the broad lines. However, one additional point he makes that could be interesting if true, is that the Nazarene revolt was perhaps broader is scope and that it involved foreign powers related to the royals of Edessa related to queen Helena of Adiabene (Adiabene according to Ellis is used to conceal the more likely Edessa, which is a buffer kingdom between Rome and Parthia). He argues that behind the aliases names of Josephus is a certain would be king of the Jews Izates (and would explains why Muslims, in contrast with christian Arabs call Jesus "Issa") that lost a proxy war against the Romans. I thought it was interesting as a hypothesis.
That might be:Yes, the story of the conversion of Izates in Josephus was apparently used by the Lukan author as a model for the story of the conversion of the Egyptian eunuch. Wonder if Polycarp had his tongue in cheek on that one?
Helena and Izates were originally Zoroastrians.(Ἰζάτης), son of Monobaz (Μονόβαζος), or Izates bar Monobaz (also known as Izaates, Persian: ایزد or Hebrew: זוטוס בן מונבז) (ca. 1-55 CE). Izates was a king of the Parthian client kingdom of Adiabene who became a proselyte to Judaism. He was the son of Queen Helena of Adiabene and King Monobazus I of Adiabene. Queen Helena was also said to be the wife of King Abgarus of Edessa and thus the queen of Edessa too.
During his youth Izates was sent by his father to the court of King Abinergaos I of Characene in Charax Spasinu. While in Charax Izates became acquainted with a Jewish merchant named Ananias, who familiarized him with the tenets of the Jewish religion, in which he became deeply interested. Izates married King Abinergaos' daughter Symacho who had been converted to Judaism through the efforts of Ananias. His mother had been previously won over to Judaism without his knowledge. On returning home and ascending the throne on the death of his father (c. 31 CE), Izates discovered the conversion of his mother; and he himself intended to adopt Judaism, and even to submit to circumcision. He was, however, dissuaded from this step both by his teacher Ananias and by his mother, but was ultimately persuaded thereto by another Jew, Eleazar.
For some time Izates enjoyed peace; and he was so highly respected that he was chosen as arbitrator between the Parthian king Artabanus III and his rebellious nobles (c. 39 CE). But when several of Izates' relatives openly acknowledged their conversion to Judaism, some of the nobles of Adiabene secretly induced Abia, an Arab king, to declare war against him. Izates defeated his enemy, who in despair committed suicide. The nobles then conspired with Vologases, King of Parthia, but the latter was at the last moment prevented from carrying out his plans, and Izates continued to reign undisturbed for a total of twenty-four years.
Izates died around 55 CE. His mother Helena survived him for only a short time. He left twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters. Izates was succeeded by his older brother Monobaz II, who sent Izates' remains and those of Queen Helena to Jerusalem for burial.
Thank you mkrnhr for this interesting suggestion.(Adiabene according to Ellis is used to conceal the more likely Edessa, which is a buffer kingdom between Rome and Parthia). He argues that behind the aliases names of Josephus is a certain would be king of the Jews Izates (and would explains why Muslims, in contrast with christian Arabs call Jesus "Issa") that lost a proxy war against the Romans. I thought it was interesting as a hypothesis.