Sunday, September 22, 2013

Changing the Blog Title Description to Post Kitos War

Every now and again in my studying the development of Christianity I stumble over some fact or event which over throws a good portion of the work I have done. It is extremely frustrating to face, but I like to think I am less pig headed and more scientific than most. I know certain so-called scholars will spend years attempting to belittle the evidence arrayed against their pet position, or end run it, rather than face the fact that much of their work is lost. For me, this happened in the mid-1990s and what I was doing was so off base I care not to even acknowledge it today. [1] But in the scientific model its all part of finding the truth. And so it is today that I conclude one of my blogs fundamental assumptions is wrong. Fortunately the impact is mostly to a couple charts and the description at the top of the page. Whatever else is simply a matter of adjusting a footnote here and a comment there, nothing to major.

To spill the beans, it concerns the Bar Kochba revolt. It simply wasn't as big a deal as it has been made up to be. While it was a long nasty brutal guerrilla war which inflicted some horrific casualties, it was also extremely localized and had little impact on the larger Empire. Although many modern zealous Zionists want to paint the picture of a bigger war, the archeology simply doesn't support it. In fact much about the War and the build up, and even the Roman construction of Aelia Capitolina, is misreported or simply wrong. And the more I examine the Marcionite text, the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Romans Law and the various Historical reports, the less of a big deal this revolt seems to be in the big picture.

Lusius Quietus' Moorish Cavalry in Dacia Column of Trajan
On the other hand the Parthian War and the Jewish insurrections in the Ptolemaic regions of the Roman empire appears to have been a very big deal. The Arch of Titus is testimony to that, even if it was Hadrian who completed it. There were so many conflicts in those few years that the Arch of Titus depicts more than just the Parthian conflict, as witness the relief to the left of Lusius Quietus' battles in Dacia. The Jewish ethnic riots in Cyrene were so severe that the Roman baths had to be rebuilt afterwards - a plaque was discovered of Hadrian rededicating the bath house in the aftermath of tumulto Iudaico sometime after 120 CE. (Note, Quietus was send to "quiet" the rebellions in Cyprus and then Egypt, and it was his name that gave us the English word 'to quiet'.)

This view that Marcion's movement and his Gospel are actually from shortly before the Bar Kokhba Revolt is further enhanced by an examination of Luke's version of the mini-apocalypse. A brief review of the components of that block and the events they most likely apply [2]

21:5-6 Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus in 70 CE
21:8 unknown messianic leader (Lukuas 115 CE?)
21:9 rumors of Wars and Insurrections, tied to 21:10, concerns Trajans preparations for Parthia
21:10 ethnic against ethnic are Jewish against Greek and Roman riots of 115-117 CE (Kitos War)
                          kingdom against kingdom refers to the Parthian War of 114-117 CE
21:11 Syrian earthquake of 115 CE fits best (Cassius Dio Historiae Romanae 68.24-25)

famine/pestilence may relate to Egyptian riots and disruption of Egyptian grain
21:12-19 Describes conditions from abuses of Fiscus Iudaicus late in Domitian's reign c. 91-96 CE
21:20        Titus surrounding Jerusalem in 70 CE
21:21-24 21:21-22 not in Marcion according to Epiphanius, Zahn also omits 21:23-24
17:31 verse moved from mini-Apocalypse, vague reference "not to look back"
21:25-27 Describes an eclipse, either 71 CE (from Athens) or 118 CE (from Sinope/Pontus)

The Messianic leader in verse 21:8 is not likely Simon Bar Kosiba, since nothing else in the chapter requires the Bar Kokhba revolt, and everything seems to be prior to 125 CE. There are two earlier possibles, both from  Cyrene. The first was a leaders who walked unarmed believers into the desert where they were slaughtered around 73 CE, but this is simply a minor blip. I lean toward Lukuas (Andreas) being the leader referenced in 21:8, as he emerged as the Cyrenean leader of the Alexandrian Jews in the tumulto Iudaico which engulfed Egypt and required Quietus to bring a fresh legion to retake the important province, since the governor was forced to retreat to Memphis with the legion stationed in Egypt. What is important here is Luke's account does not say that this leader declares himself the messiah, which is probably a later development (see below). The timeline of Lukuas [3] places all references in 21:8-11 at the very end of Trajan's reign, 114-117 CE.

In verse 21:25-27 the eclipse event fits both the 71 CE and the 118 CE events; the earlier due to the proximity to the surrounding of Jerusalem by Titus (21:20), and the latter because of its close association with the events of 114-117 that dominate the sequence. I lean toward the 118 CE date for its immediate relevancy. It speaks most recently to the author, and if it is Marcionite, then a Pontus viewing of an eclipse fits the sequence best.

Missing Elements:
Marcion's Gospel is missing several clear references to the Bar Kokhba revolt. The Wicked Tenants is not in Marcion (Luke 20:9-16, Mark 12:1-9, Matthew 21:33-41)  I analyzed in my post on Paul, Hadrain, Antoninus Pius, etc (see "Bar Kokhba Hints from the New Testament" link) showing how the elements of the story closely parallel the events of the Revolt as related in the accounts from Jewish and Roman sources.

Marcion is missing part of the mini-Apocalypse, Luke 21:21-24, [4]  verses that show strong parallels with the Bar Kokhba revolt. The reference to those in Judea fleeing to the hills (οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη) does not fit Bellum Iudaicum as the first revolt included Samaria and Galilee, where much of the fighting before the siege of Jerusalem occurred. But in the Bar Kokhba revolt the fighting was almost completely confined to the hill country of Judea. This war was far more devastating to Judea, and as verse 21:23 mentions the land was distressed, something archaeology has shown was true only in the later Bar Kokhba revolt not in the earlier Bellum Iudaicum. And this also effects the women baring children as well in Judea. The writer of the verses however confuses the two conflicts, bringing the very true statement about Jews of Jerusalem being hauled away as captives in 21:24, as happened in the first War. Curiously verse 17:31, which probably occupied this spot in the source, appears to make reference to the looming siege of Titus, saying get out and leave your property behind. The siege of Betar simply doesn't fit here, the reference must be first revolt.

A quick commentary on Luke 21:20 and the later development of the "Abomination of Desolation" that was part of ür-Gospel "M" and shows up in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. In Marcion's account the desolation concerns the impending doom for the inhabitants of Jerusalem from Titus. The accounts in M is probably closer to the Mark 13:14 version which simply says,

But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be
Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ
Jerusalem 70 CE ("southern conjecture")
The desolation is no longer the looming destruction of Jerusalem from the legions of Titus, but rather something like a pagan statue on a holy site. But this simply doesn't fit the facts on the ground. As you can see from the map of Jerusalem before it's destruction by the Romans, Aelia Capitolina does not occupy any sacred ground, and the Temple Mount most likely held the tower of Antonia which defended the north wall (likely the foundation elements revealed by infrared radiation of the Golden Dome Mosque). Hadrian did not desecrate any holy site. The vague reference in Mark suggests that the author of ür-Gospel "M" saw the construction of Aelia Capitona itself, even though it was beyond the prior Jerusalem's walls, as the abomination.

Matthew's account adds to Mark with reference to Epiphanius Antioches placing a statue of Zeus (Roman Jupiter) in the Jerusalem Temple as seen by Daniel 11:31, by saying of the Abomination of Desolation "which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Δανιὴλ τοῦ προφήτου ἑστὸς ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ). But as stated above there was no such desecration. Matthew has picked up on here one of the post Bar Kokhba revolt myths that the cause of the War was a Roman desecration of the site of the Holy of Holies (ἐν τόπῳ ἁγίῳ). The phrase above and the reference to Daniel implies the temple to Jupiter in Aelia Capitolina was the sacrilege, although Eusubius seems to think it was an equestrian statue of Hadrian, supposedly placed in from of the Temple to Jupiter. But this is based on fallacious knowledge that places destroyed the Temple of God in the location of the Temple Mount, which in fact was the tower/fortress of Antonia. (Note, the irony is Jews at the wailing wall are praying to the old fortification; a Jewish cemetery likely occupies the site of the temple.) Since Matthew was probably written no latter than about 150 CE, it is clear that both the myth of Simon Bar Kosiba having called himself the Messiah, and the Roman desecration of the Temple site emerged very soon after the conflict ended, and was thought correct by Jewish Christians.

Uncertain Elements:
There is no attestation for Luke 14:28-31, which are unique to Luke's gospel, as being in Marcion's Gospel. The verses are clearly inserted between 14:27, 33 which belong together about bearing the cross for Christ. This type of obvious insertion and digression simply is rarely found in Marcion's Gospel or Apostolikon, a clear sign of a later hand. Matthew who knew Marcion's Gospel also lacks these verses. However I think they require some consideration. The first three verses speak of building a tower.
For which of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down calculate the cost,
if he has enough for its completion?
Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation  finish but is not strong enough to finish [it],
all who see will begin to ridicule him,
Saying  that, this man began to build and was not strong enough to finish.
τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι οὐχὶ πρῶτον καθίσας ψηφίζει τὴν δαπάνην,
εἰ ἔχει εἰς ἀπαρτισμόν;
ἵνα μή ποτε θέντος αὐτοῦ θεμέλιον καὶ μὴ ἰσχύοντος ἐκτελέσαι
πάντες οἱ θεωροῦντες ἄρξωνται αὐτῷ ἐμπαίζειν
λέγοντες ὅτι Οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἤρξατο οἰκοδομεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν ἐκτελέσαι.
The key to understanding this passage is the terminology. The tower (πύργον) here represents a fortification, and the choice of words to build upon a foundation (οἰκοδομῆσαι) is the same root word to represent the Roman Empire, as used in Acts 24:5 (κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην). The event which is being referred to had a foundation stone placed (θεμέλιον), at least metaphorically upon which this person wants to build. And build here is θέντος, as in to build upon a foundation, not οἰκοδομῆσαι, to build upon an edifice such as the Empire. The act of building is separated from the edifice. What is interesting is that strength (ἰσχύοντος/ἴσχυσεν) is spoken of rather than ability (δύναμαι) to complete the job. This implies that the task requires an image of strength rather than ability such as a project Engineer might have. That "this man" (ὁ ἄνθρωπος) by lacking strength is both watched by many (οἱ θεωροῦντες) and subject to ridicule (ἄρξωνται) and this public shame, which implies a high office.

The person in focus is an Emperor, one who started something, laid a foundation for an extension on the Empire, a new fortification, but was not able to complete it. This failure was in the East, where the author focuses. There is only one such failure in the east, and that was Trajan's Parthian campaign. Up to 114 CE his goals had been modest, to set up a buffer for Armenia after deposed the Parthian appointed King. But then he turned south in an over ambitious campaign. Initially all of Mesopotamia was conquered, and he became the first and only Emperor to sail in the Persian gulf. But this new frontier fortress (πύργον) had to be abandoned as it almost immediately went into revolt and was quickly draining both manpower and treasury. Hadrian, quickly reversed course, gave the Parthians a King they were willing to except and withdrew to more defensible borders.

That we are talking about a King or Caesar is reinforced when the following verses, Luke 14:31-32, are brought into view, since the man in quest is now explicitly called a King.
Or what king, setting out to engage another king in battle,
does not confer first taking counsel if he is strong enough with ten thousand
to meet on the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is still far away he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
ἢ τίς βασιλεὺς πορευόμενος ἑτέρῳ βασιλεῖ συνβαλεῖν εἰς πόλεμον οὐχὶ καθίσας πρῶτον βουλεύσεται εἰ δυνατός ἐστιν ἐν δέκα χιλιάσιν ὑπαντῆσαι τῷ μετὰ εἴκοσι χιλιάδων ἐρχομένῳ ἐπ' αὐτόν;
εἰ δὲ μήγε, ἔτι αὐτοῦ πόρρω ὄντος πρε σβείαν ἀποστείλας ἐρωτᾷ πρὸς εἰρήνην.
Again the vocabulary is the key. When a king (βασιλεὺς) is used in the Gospel parables, (Matthew 5:35, 18:23-34, 22:2-14) [5] it is meant as an allusion to a Roman Emperor or his equivalent such as the Parthian King, (e.g., compare Acts 7:10 reference to Pharoah, Φαραὼ βασιλέως Αἰγύπτου). Jesus of course is given the appellation, which he denies in John 18:37. And it is an important denial, as John 19:12 makes clear, "Everyone who making himself be a king opposes Caesar" (πᾶς βασιλέα ἑαυτὸν ποιῶν ἀντιλέγει τῷ Καίσαρι), and the Jewish high priests state in 19:15 that "we have no king except Caesar" (Οὐκ ἔχομεν βασιλέα εἰ μὴ Καίσαρα). This charge is echoed in Luke 23:2, which we will look at later, as well as Acts17:7. The sentiment that Caesar and King are the same is echoed in 1 Peter 2:13, 17. [6] So it is clear the King is Caesar, and his opponent also rules an Empire.

Now the story of the King preparing to face another King but perhaps outnumbered fits the two Parthian Wars of the 2nd century, in 114-117 CE and again in 161-166 CE. In the latter campaign, in 161 CE after the Parthian King Vologases IV entered Armenia and disposed of the Roman appointed King, the Roman governor of Cappadocia, Marcus Sedatius Severianus, made the ill fated decision, without any counsel except that of a religious charlatan named Alexander, to try and retake Armenia himself with a single Legion (roughly 10,000 men if full strength). But he was trapped by the Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia with a much larger force and his legion was trapped and utterly slaughtered in a short 3 day campaign. [7] If these verses were added by Luke into Marcion's Gospel, as the form suggests, then this is likely the incident in view. The problems with that identification are Severianus is a Governor and not a Caesar (King), and further that the prior verses 14:28-30 have no incident in the east around that time which could account for their proximity.

But there is a better case, of a war averted against Parthia by Hadrian, when he withdrew the badly thinned Roman forces from Mesopotamia and Armenia and reestablished the border at the Euphrates, acknowledging a now weakened Osroes I retaking the throne from the client King Parthamaspates appointed by Trajan in 116 CE. As part of the peace deal he returned daughter whom Trajan had taken prisoner. Hadrian/Trajan era fits better. Trajan was unable to maintain his gains in Mesopotamia and Armenia, and the frontiers were weaker, the legions had suffered losses and the empire's treasury spent. Hadrian by comparison negotiated peace, and built many fortifications along the defensible borders.

The conclusion I draw is that these verses have their origin in a pro-Hadrian, anti-Trajan source from the 120s, but they were a revised examination in light of the loss of Severianus' legion in 161 to a much larger force. It seems to be a comparable element to Fronto's Caesarem which also looks back on the Parthian War of Trajan and Hadrian's peace, but more negatively to Hadrian. Combined with the digression form, these verses more likely date from the Luke-Acts revision of Marcion's Gospel in the 170s.

Bar Kokhba references in Marcion:
As I was about to write this I had convinced myself that the Gospel of the Lord which Marcion used had not a single reference to the Bar Kokhba revolt. But then when looking up examples of Nazareth and Nazarene, I tripped over Luke 24:21 where the two disciples walking on the Emmaus road said to the stranger walking with them, after relating the events concerning Jesus, they added

ἡμεῖς δὲ ἠλπίζομεν ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ μέλλων λυτροῦσθαι τὸν Ἰσραήλ
But we had hoped that he himself was about to redeem (pay ransom for release) Israel

This statement is attested in AM 4.43.3 (inquiunt, ipsum esse redemptorem Israelis). This matches exactly the wording Bar Kosiba used on the coins he minted the first two years of the revolt and in the contracts he wrote for leasing lands seized from Caesar's property no less), such as "Year two of the redemption of Israel." (לנאלח ׳שראל) from Mur 24E. or this coin (in Aramaic). [8] What makes the coin so fascinating is that it brings a poignancy to the question of paying the poll tax to the Romans addressed in Luke 20:21-25, Jesus answers the question by asking whose image is on the denari? (Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον), and when they answer Caesar's image, he says give to Caesar what is Caesar's and God what is God's. The Rebels by over stamping Caesar attempted to do just that.

Of course there is the concern that this wording could merely be a repeat of the slogans from first Jewish War, Bellum Iudaicum, of 66-70 CE (Masada treated as a minor mop up operation after Jerusalem fell, only one legion involved). But it turns out not to be, as the coins from the four years of the Bellum Iudaicum conflict state  most often "Jerusalem the Holy" which is not part of the Gospel narratives. But when the coins do refer to the liberated land in the hands of the Jewish rebels they declare the "Freedom  of Zion" as in the Putah from 67 CE to the left, or as the situation worsened, "For the Redemption of Zion." None stated "Freedom of Israel" or "Redemption of Israel." [9] So it is clear the slogans and rhetoric of the Jewish rebels was very different between the two conflicts. Not only that the first conflict there was no over stamping of Roman Denari, as the Jewish rebels held Jerusalem and had control of a formal mint in which they could smelt the blanks for their coins. The issue of Caesar's image is not so relevant.

The clear conclusion is Luke 24:21 can only have the Bar Kokhba conflict in mind. And even in Luke 24:21 it is clear that the revolt failed, and Jesus is being presented as an alternative to the Jewish earthly messiah.

Render Unto Caesar and False Charges:
Luke 23:2 was intact in Marcion, [10] and gives the specific accusations against Jesus by the Jews, not found in the other gospels.
"We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar,
and saying that he himself is Christ a king."
Τοῦ τον εὕραμεν διαστρεφοντα τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν καὶ κωλύοντα φόρους Καίσαρι διδόναι καὶ λέγοντα ἑαυτὸν Χριστὸν βασιλέα εἶναι
The parallels with the Bar Kokhba revolt are striking. Like the revolt, the events of which I detailed in Paul, Hadrian, Antoninus article. That revolt was about taxes, and this is exactly what the rebels, under the name of Simon Bar Kosiba refused to pay. The declaration of Bar Kosiba as "Prince of Israel" is precisely what the author of this verse has in mind. These charges are false for Jesus, but true for Bar Kosiba. The association and power of a single man to prevent the taxes and tribute to Caesar is a feature of the Bar Kosiba revolt and not of Bellum Iudaicum. This verse was tacked on by a Marcionite shortly after the revolt, and not part of the ür-Gospel "L" that Mark used, nor was Matthew aware of it, when he built on "M" and the Marcionite Gospel.

Marcion's Gospel of the Lord does not contain the deep analogies of the Bar Kokhba revolt, such as the wicked tenants an the fleeing to the hills of Judea in the mini-Apocalypse, which cover the devastation in Judea as a result of the War. But the the Emmaus conversation in 24:9 and the charges in 23:2 that match the edicts of Bar Kosiba indicate that there was a revolt and it failed, but lacks an understanding of the destruction and the details of the conflict. I think placing the primary composition of the Gospel after the Kitos and Parthian conflicts fits best. And that was why I planned to change (and did) the description of the blog to be post Kitos.

However there are Bar Kokhba elements which appear to be part of a final layer that could not have been much after that conflict ended. That layer may well have been inspired by the end of that war, with the Emmaus road elements a key part of that. But this layer is not built upon by Matthew, so it could be part of a 2nd edition of the Gospel of the Lord. The first must have been pre-Bar Kokhba.

The lesson I learned is to investigate and have my arguments complete before engaging in public comment/debate on FRDB (or forego it altogether).

Up Next:
1) Part Two of the Mystery of Mark is in the works. I will have a few more composition notes, but this paper will focus on the reasons behind the writing of the Gospel and take a stab at the author's identification.
2) More Interpolations, this time I'll be looking at Irenaeus and all references to Simon Magus. I think I have identified a unifying theme to explain them
3) Laodiceans, 2 Thessalonians Marcionite Interlinears are both 50% done. I want to spent a few weeks on each to wrap them up, and get much of 1 Thessalonians done as well.
4) I continue to develop Axioms to both explain and give structure to my sometimes eclectic reconstructions
5) Far down the road will be my reconstruction of "L" and "M"; but I will break it down to about 20 segments (bite size chunks), which are humanly possible to reconstruct.

[1] I started from a perspective not dissimilar from Robert Eisenman, that Christianity grew out of a militant Jewish messianic movement. So I looked at the obvious split in Romans where chapters 5-8 looked like some later insert about the Law fitting gentile Christianity of a later date. The Halakhic Midrash of chapters 4 and 9 I thought were the true core. It's funny, working that direction I was about 75% accurate both ways in separating the Catholic and Marcionite texts. The "original" document I came up with looked rather similar to some of the Rabbinic writings and not too dissimilar to stuff found at Qumran. Its a long story, but its a very paranoid and myopic way to look at ancient texts, accepting things that fit your story and rejecting as "late" things that don't fit.
[2] Herman Detering outlined events in the Mini-Apocalypse of Matthew and Mark in which he placed them after the Bar Kokhba revolt. I cover much of the same material but much briefer here. Dr. Detering had not really looked into the compositional process or order, but was looking at the content. You can fin references to the various players and citations in his article.
[3] Sources for Lukuas include Babylonian Ta'anith 18b, Eusubius HE 4.2
Cassius Dio Historia Romana 68.32 gives an account of the diaspora Jewish uprisings.The names of the leaders of the revolts are various, and likely each region had their own: in Cyrene "Andreas"; in Cyprus "Artemion", in Egypt no leader is named by Dio. Lukuas is associated with Egypt. Eusubius (who is always unreliable) says he went to Lydda.
[4] Luke 21:21-22 is explicitly stated by Epiphanius as missing in Panarion 42: Πάλιν παρέκοψε ταῦτα τότε "οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη" καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς, διὰ τὸ ἐπιφερόμενον "ἕως πλρωσθῇ πάντα τὰ γεγραμμένα."
Zahn also omits verses 21:23-24. I agree, the phrase in 20:24 "first the time of the gentiles must be fulfilled" (ἄχρι οὗ πληρωθῶσιν καιροὶ ἐθνῶν). This implies a Jews first theology, something impossible for Marcion, where a time will come with the Jews restored, and it makes the gentiles bad. This reference in 21:24 to fulfillment has in view the comment in verse 21:22 "to fulfill all that was written" (τοῦ πλησθῆναι πάντα τὰ γεγραμμένα) betraying its dependence. Verse 21:23 makes sense only with 21:22 as well.
Mechanically, it appears that Marcion moved most of underlying text after οἱ ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ φευγέτωσαν εἰς τὰ ὄρη to verse 17:31. This begs the question, is Epiphanius reporting that the text after this phrase was not present, or that phrase as well was not present? I think there is more going on here than I presented, and I will revisit this in another post.
[5] Matthew 25:31-46 is a greatly expanded section which shows Jesus as a heavenly king. The allusions in parables I am concerned with are those with earthly connections.
[6] Romans 13:1-7 was probably written at a similar time. In 13:1 believers are told to be subject to the authorities, because the (Roman) authorities are appointed by God
For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are appointed by God.
οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἐξουσία εἰ μὴ ὑπὸ θεοῦ αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ὑπὸ θεοῦ τεταγμέναι εἰσίν
They are also told in 13:7 to pay their taxes
"Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due, revenue to whom the revenue is due;"
ἀπόδοτε πᾶσιν τὰς ὀφειλάς, τῷ τὸν φόρον τὸν φόροντῷ τὸ τέλος τὸ τέλος
This tells us when that was written that when these verses were written this was not necessarily the case. And also the necessity to tell followers to give proper deference and honor to the rulers
fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
τῷ τὸν φόβοντὸν φόβοντῷ τὴν τιμήντὴν τιμήν.
The question becomes when is this era? To my surprise Irenaeus and Tertullian appear to attest in multiple places to these verses (note exception below) in Romans. I must conclude that they must have been present by 175-180 CE to be known by Irenaeus. This means there was some disagreement within the church and opinion was laid down to accept Caesar and the Romans authorities (see also Titus 3:1). The reference to paying the taxes, and no doubt land taxes, poll taxes, and tolls are in mind here, means there was some sort of agreement with Roman authorities and some status decided upon, at least informally. Toward the end of Tertullian's era of writing this might have been a major issue, as Caracalla increased the number of citizens at least six fold and maybe ten fold, by "elevating" all freed men to Citizens. This magnanimous sounding move was actually intended to expand the tax roles and the pool of people available for military service. It was greatly unpopular, since freed men suddenly had to pay taxes and could get conscripted. It is this issue which I think caused Celsus to see Christians as a threat to civic life. Jews of all classes had always been subject to tax, but Christians had not been, and unlike their pagan neighbors they were not part of the State religious cults, and objected to military service. An obvious point of friction.

Bottom line, I need to look more closely at the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus to to figure out when and why Christians made this concession to the Roman authorities.

Note, Irenaeus in AH 4.36.6 has Romans 13:1-7, but the explanation that follows makes no mention of it's content and it appears to be irrelevant to the argument at hand.A similar block insertion of Matthew 25:1ff of the wedding feast (AH 4.36.5) has elements then mentioned in the argument which follows.  Every other quote in the surrounding chapters likewise. It appears Romans 13:1-7 is an interpolation, but I have no clue why, or what compelled anyone to want to back date this element, and when they'd want to do so?
[7] Cassius Dio Historia Romana 71.2Fronto, Prin. Hist., p209, Lucian, Historia Quomodo Conscribenda 21, 24, 25, Historia Augusta Marcus Aurelius 8.6. "fuit eo tempore etiam Parthicum bellum, quod Vologaesus paratum sub Pio Marci et Veri tempore indixit, fugato Attidio Corneliano, qui Syriam tunc administrabat."
[8] Stephen Huller objects, and instead believes the concept here is derived from Exodus 30:12 LXX
When you take a census of the sons of Israel for their overseers,
and each one of them shall give (pay) a ransom for his soul to the Lord,
ἐάν λαμβάνω ὁ συλλογισμός ὁ υἱός Ἰσραήλ ἐν ὁ ἐπισκοπή αὐτός 
καί δίδωμι ἕκαστος λύτρον ὁ ψυχή αὐτός ὁ κύριος
I did not give Huller a complete reply (had to think it through), but I am not convinced. There is no relevant immediacy for this exegesis, as here each individual Jews must pay the ransom, not the Christ; its a societal collective ransom each must pay, and it is not for Israel's freedom but their own. It is far more likely that the Marcionite writer had in mind the Marcionite redemption through the purchase of Christs blood (see 1 Corinthians 6:20  ἠγοράσθητε γὰρ τιμῆς "For you were purchased for a price", Romans 5:19 δικαιωθέντες νῦν ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ "[we are] being justified now by his blood"). The ransom concept is strong even on the Catholic side, and it seems to predate Marcion as it is found in the ür-Gospel M (Mark 10:45/Matthew 20:28 ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ... ἦλθεν ... δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν "the son of man ... came ... to give his life as ransom for many"). Later Titus 2:14 also says Christ gave himself to redeem us ("who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness" ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀνομίας). Hebrews 9:12 speaks of Christ giving his own blood as a temple sacrifice ("but through his own blood" διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος) he obtains eternal redemption (αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος) - of course here it is controlled, available for dispensing for others (a definite indication of Catholic rituals in view).

It would be very strange for the Marcionite to have had the Exodus passage be in view, as it is related to the concept that all Jews are ransomed and must pay for their personal redemption to God. The passage is part of the authorization (justification) of the temple tax of a half shekel or double drachma as stated in Exodus 30:13 (ὁ ἥμισυς ὁ δίδραγμον ὅς εἰμί κατά ... ὁ ἅγιος). The lament of the two disciples, if they were thinking in terms of Jewish opinion and Exodus 30:12-13, would logically have had no desire to remove the temple tax during the first war, which was paid to the holy place for their own ransom to God. Caesar's taxes are nowhere in sight. But the story is different when it comes to removing the hated replacement of the temple tax, fiscus Iudaicus, which went to pay for pagan Roman temples. A call not to pay it would have had strong appeal during the Bar Kokhba revolt. 

So even if Huller's belief in this reference comes from a Jewish view of Exodus 30:12 behind the exegesis that created the response in Luke 24:21, it could only make sense in the wake of the failure of Bar Kokhba. Exactly the same result is achieved then as the more likely play on the redemption for Israel that Marcion would have seen. In short, both interpretations logically place the sentiment after the Bar Kokhba revolt had failed. This is an example of a square peg in a round hole, trying to force a Jewish exegesis into a Marcionite verse, and it makes almost no sense. But this is exactly where I was fifteen years ago when I thought the Jewish Christian material came first rather than later.

The concept Huller seems to be referring to is picked up in the Hebrews 9:11-14  where Christ also makes a blood sacrifice of himself, to once and for all replace the annual sacrifices for redemption. A one time absolution to replace the annual tribute to the temple. But this is not an early development in Christianity, rather a secondary one. Hebrews was simply unknown until the 3rd Century, and seems to have a relationship with a group Hippolytus (c. 325-335 CE) calls the Melchizedekians.

Note, my dating of Celsus from perhaps as late as Caracalla has to do with the immediacy of the issue of Christians and the empire,  Celsus makes comments about Christians being a danger to the Empire, not being part of the civic religion. What makes his charge standout is that he states Christians do not come from the equestrian class. This statement makes sense only after Caracalla gave Citizenship to the Freeman class. This class was not subject to military service and taxes before this, and reacted very negatively to their "elevated" status. Traditional dating, places Celsus about 30-40 years prior (176 CE), but this is tied up to a great many other earlier dating assumptions. I will give an in depth response to this at a later time, (My fault, I should not have waded into that debate before a more complete analysis was done).
[9] A nice small reference on the numismatics of Bellum Iudaicum by Dr. Robert Deutsch, The Coinage of the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome: Script, Language and Inscriptions
[10] Epiphanius Panarion 42 reads 23:2 as follows (additions to left)
We found this man perverting our nation,       and destroying the law and the prophets,
and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and turning away wives and children,
and saying that he himself is Christ a king
Τοῦ τον εὕραμεν διαστρεφοντα τὸ ἔθνος ἡμῶν   καὶ καταλύoντα τὸν νόμoν καὶ πρoφήταςκαὶ κωλύοντα φόρους Καίσαρι διδόναι        καὶ ἀποστρέφοντα τὰς γυναῖκας καὶ τὰ τέκνακαὶ λέγοντα ἑαυτὸν Χριστὸν βασιλέα εἶναι
To the false charges a Marcionite scribe appears to have added "destroying the Law and the prophets," which would be true for a Marcionite Christ. But this is not likely original because the charges leveled against Jesus are both false (Jesus says to render unto Caesar, so it's a false charge), so a true charge is inconsistent. Turning away wives and children would have been left in by Luke, so it must also have been an accretion. The conclusion is both elements attested by Epiphanius were added sometime in the 3rd century.


  1. SW commented on:

    "But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be
    Ὅταν δὲ ἴδητε τὸ βδέλυγμα τῆς ἐρημώσεως ἑστηκότα ὅπου οὐ δεῖ

    The desolation is no longer the looming destruction of Jerusalem from the legions of Titus, but rather something like a pagan statue on a holy site..."

    Try this: The Original here is from a Story of Alexander Jannaeus. Josephus finesses this part of the sequence (But he knows...). Mark 13 carries an Anchor verse (17) that tells us:

    [17] And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days!

    This "matches" Jannaeus crucifying the 800 Pharisees and then slitting the throats of the wives and children in front of those crucified.

    ***This means that the "Abomination of Desolation" was committed by the Greek General Demetrius Eucerus at the Temple at Gerizim.***

    This follows from an analysis of Mishmarot and the Hasmonaeans, who are thought to be of Jehoiarib but are also claimed by the Group Immer (See: "Jabnit", a settlement in "Upper Galilee populated by Immer.).

    I certainly invite a response. "Analysis on request".


    1. I don't believe the Synoptic Gospels are looking back that far. The incidents of the Maccabees era serve as prototypes to more recent events. We see the same idea in the relationship of John the Baptist and Elijah's second coming. I think that the post-Marcionite Synoptic Gospels are almost certainly referring similarly parallel recent event. If it's Gerizim, then the Hadrianic Temple to Jupiter and also to himself (Imperial cult) began construction about 129-130 CE and was finished by 140 CE (about the time "M" was written). That could qualify, if we are looking in Samaria for a parallel event to the Maccabees era, an event that happens at the same time the Romans are sweeping into Judea Hills south of Jerusalem to root out Bar Kosiba. The event referred to has to be current to the readers to make sense, not 200 years prior.

    2. We'll have to agree to disagree on this. I certainly believe that the Synoptics look back to Jannaeus and the Hasmonaeans. After the deaths of the Royal Lines, there is one last call for Glory at the death of Herod that ends in the murder of thousands at Passover. The Mishmarot Group Immer is on Duty and the few survivors look to see why God did not stand by them. They look to a Duplicate Passover 12 years later and one of the Priests who survived the First Death gets crucified. It's a very Noir Story. Very literary.

      Anyway, that's how I see it. You don't.
      You're doing some very good work. Keep it going.

      I thank for your time and comments.


  2. Hola, Stuart:
    Siento tener que hacer de corrector de tu Blog, pero las palabras κατὰ τὴν οἰκουμένην no son de Hechos 25.5, sino 24.5, y ya que está hablando del evangelio de Lucas, habría sido mejor citar como ejemplo Lucas 2.1: πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην, que además contiene una referencia explícita a César Augusto. Creo que es también importante fijarse en el texto de Mt 23.38, Lc 13.35, pues esto solo ocurrió cuando Hadriano prohibió la entrada de los judíos en Jerusalén.
    Saludos cordiales

    1. Corrected the reference to Acts 24:5. Thanks.

      As for Luke 13:35 that is a post-Marcionite Catholic addition per Epiphanius. That means Luke copied it from Matthew. Anyway there is no evidence outside of Christian polemic that Hadrian ever banned Jews from Jerusalem, or rather Aelia Capitolina. The archaeological evidence points strongly to the city having been destroyed by Titus and vacated. It no longer had a purpose, and vanished from transaction Jewish records (that means no trading happened there). When Hadrian had the 10th legion Fretensis Antoniniana build the new polis Aelia Capitolina (today the "Old City"), the destroyed Jerusalem, which lay immediately south of the city wall, became a convenient quarry for the Romans building the new city. It seems the legion also moved its main camp two miles north at that time, perhaps for space for the animals and a separate water supply than the one being used to build the new polis.

      What I am trying to say is there were no Jews to speak of in the new city, and there was no need to ban anyone. That was part of a myth which culminated in the 15th century with the walls of the Roman fortress Antonia being declared the western wall of the temple (note, I agree with Jewish scholars who think the temple was to the south, on a site above where the Gihon springs were found; the Temple Mount was in fact the Roman fort).

      The desolation was the destruction of the city by Titus. It is not called a sacrilege in the Matthew verse. That said, it seems to have been a proto-Orthodox invention, as part of the punishment to the Jews for disobeying God the creator, and so Christians replace them as the people of God. It thus fits into the wicked tenants theme (also post Marcionite).

      Long winded. But the point is I do not believe Hadrian ever banned Jews from Jerusalem, and its a clear misread of Roman Law, Christian bias at work, to believe Hadrian banned circumcision. I have proposed less dramatic explanation of Antoninus' allowing circumcision to Jewish families, as being the result of Torah Law losing its provincial and ethnic standing with the dissolution of the Judea province, putting Jew throughout the empire under the code for the "Law of Nations" which did not have provision for that. Remember Egyptian circumcision continued uninterrupted and required no similar ruling to continue. In short I am proposing that Christians played a much smaller role in the history of the Empire in this era than we like to assume, a fact equally uncomfortable with the 4th and 5th century scribes who went about adjusting the pagan writers to correct them and include Christianity and Christian important events (such as why the Jews were punished). I am not at all convinced the connection with Hadrian and anti-Jewish policies leading to Bar Kokhba was at all present when Matthew was writing in the early 2nd half of the 2nd century.

    2. No soy un experto en historia, pero del fin de la guerra de Bar Kokhba al año 150 no va mucho más tiempo que de la destrucción del World Trade Center al año presente, y no creo que lo hayan olvidado los norteamericanos. De todas formas, si Jerusalén había quedado deshabitada después de la guerra de Vespasiano, ¿cómo se explica que Hadriano la atacara sesenta años después?

    3. The growing opinion of younger, more secular Jewish scholars is the revolt was mostly the result of economic desperation. It was fought in the Judean Hills south of Jerusalem mostly as a nasty guerrilla war. The primary issue was taxes. Hadrian's building projects in the east brought much gain to the province of Syria, in Galilee and even to Samaria, but nothing to Judea - look at the locations of Hadrian's roads and cities. To make matters worse all levels of Judean society faced new taxes. The Midrash Genesis Rabba makes it clear the revolt started with a refusal to pay taxes to support the Roman projects. It grew from there without a pitched large force battle, but small unit fighting (Marcus Aurelius would follow the same deconstruction of Legions into smaller cohorts to fight the German tribes with similar success). Simon Bar Kosiba's forces focused on economic targets, seizing Imperial estates and coin hordes - over stamping to create their own coins (not mint like Aelia Capitolina which churned out Roman coins). Simon never called himself anything other than Prince (Nasi) and never called himself King or Messiah. As the war dragged on the resistance took on more religious tones - this is typical of rebellions.

      It's hard with modern Christian bias, a bias which dates at least back to at least Eusubius, to recognize that no force other than the heavy hand of taxation and pressure from foreign hegemony could put enough pressure on a peasant tribe that they could rise up for economic and identity reasons without need of a larger religious inspiration. But that was the case of most revolts in the Roman Empire and this one was no different.

  3. Hi Stuart,

    I suggest you read this review of OHJ by Jerry Russell. The author is a fan of Atyll, yet in spite of it he is able to capture a good point of criticism against Richard Carrier.

    For example, when he writes:

    Carrier also makes much of the silence from history about a world-renowned Jesus figure living during the first half of the first century; but when you think about it, if there really was a Pauline Christian Church that was spreading all over the Mediterranean during Paul’s time, surely the near-silence of history regarding that exploding Church is far more significant, and far more damning to the view that Paul’s epistles reflect the genuine historical state of the Christian movement circa 50 AD. It seems far more likely that Paul’s church is a highly fictionalized version of one or more cults that really did exist at that time.

    His point elsewhere is in clearly your favor, it seems to me: as far as the mythicist and the historicist paradigms are not mutually exclusive, then it is never removed the possibility that those who wrote the letters of ''Paul'' (or, as you know, the Marcionite School and the later Proto-orthodox) , intended to persuade and co-opt both hypothetical ''Christian'' sects from the past in I CE being ''mythicist'' (as devoid of a historical ''Jesus'') and/or hypothetical ''Christian'' sects from the past in I CE being ''historicist'' (as expression of militant Jewish messianism, with a human founder ''Jesus'' of its right). In neither case is disproved at all mythicism or historicity.

    All this helps me to accept & share more willingly your professed Jesus Agnosticism.

    best regards,