could the 'impulsore Chresto' be a suetonian invention?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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could the 'impulsore Chresto' be a suetonian invention?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue May 08, 2018 8:22 am

Recently I have read on Vridar about the question of the historicity of Boudicca and the possibility that the entire story was a mere Roman propaganda meant to exalt Rome by apparently exalting the (invented) greatness of the his (invented) adversary.

If there is something that is surprising (=not expected, = not probable) about the impulsore Chresto affair, is the fact that the riotous rebel named Chrestus is described as an IMPULSOR as a direct contrast against the EXPULSOR: the same Emperor (!) Claudius.

Not even Spartacus is so exalted by putting him in so explicit terms of DIRECT contrast against the Roman power.

So I wonder if there is a precise pattern here, the same pattern that could be applied about Boudicca: an exaltation of the presumed Jewish enemy of Rome in Rome itself (a Christus/Chrestus) insofar the same Imperator is exalted, among the rows.

If this was the goal of Suetonius (and Tacitus also?) then all that was necessary for him is simply to know what ''Christus'' meant in a Jewish view read by Roman lens: the figure of a celestial anti-Roman warrior who was able to galvanize a lot of Jews against the authorities.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4059
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: could the 'impulsore Chresto' be a suetonian invention?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue May 08, 2018 8:32 am

Note the difference and the similarity between Suetonius and Tacitus:

in Suetonius, Chrestus is able to challenge the same Emperor, directly. A very strong rebel.

in Tacitus (assuming the authenticity of AUCTOR NOMINIS EIUS, etc) Christus is not able to challenge even the power of a mere procurator (not even a praefect!). A very weak rebel.

But in Suetonius Chrestus is described as really the author of the rebellion.

While in Tacitus the Christiani are not the real authors of the Great Fire of Rome (according to Tacitus).

So in Tacitus the function of a presumed ''Christus Roman Propaganda'' (à la ''Boudicca Roman Propaganda'') is to exalt the contrast between the great power of the real author of the Fire (Nero) and the weakness of the people falsely accused by Nero, i.e. the Christiani.

So I wonder if there is in action here the same Roman propaganda that does use of the name of Christus as a way of judgment of the specific named Emperor (Claudius and Nero respectively).
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4059
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: could the 'impulsore Chresto' be a suetonian invention?

Post by Giuseppe » Tue May 08, 2018 8:50 am

Assuming I am correct about the possibility that the Roman writers used Christ as a propaganda to judge the ability of various Emperors in their different management of a foreign community in Rome (symbol of other foreign communities in Rome), then Couchoud could be correct when he wrote:

It is not likely that Tacitus obtained such information at Rome, for the Roman Christians, if they can be judged by Hermas, were far from thinking of Jesus as a historical person. The comment was derived from the interrogation of Asiatic Christians, followers of Paul, if not Marcionites, for the latter joined the words Christos and chrestos (good)

(Creation of Christ, p. 134)

Tacitus talked precisely of CHRESTUS and not of CHRISTUS:



Chrestus and Chrestianos seem to be the original readings of the unique manuscript Mediceus which a scribe later altered to Christus and Christianos, scratching out the “e”s. Vide K. Linck, De antiquissimis veterum quæ ad Iesum Nazarenum spectant testimonis; Giessen, 1913, p. 78. Per flagitia invisos is an ironical antithesis with Chrestianos, from χρηστός, good, those who call themselves good.

(ibid., p.134, n. 211)

So Tacitus is evidence that he derived the name Chrestus from marcionites.

That is equivalent to conclude that Marcion euhemerized Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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