ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

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Giuseppe
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ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:40 am

Josephus is the principal witness of the growing diffusion, AROUND THE 70 CE, of the belief that the Messiah could only be one lived on the earth in the recent times.

He relates the “ambiguous” oracle in Bellum 6.312–13.

  • Before the 70 CE, the Messiah could still be conceived as a celestial Angel.
  • After the 70 CE, the Messiah, to be such, had to be lived on earth in the recent past.
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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:46 am

Imagine that I am wrong in the premise.

Imagine that Josephus didn't describe a real fact when he related about the Jewish fascination for the “ambiguous” oracle.

Imagine that Josephus invented it as pro-Roman propaganda.

Well, even so, Josephus introduced in the Roman world a dangerous 'meme': the idea that the Jews expected a recent human figure as the Messiah.

It is a fact that both Suetonius and Tacitus (I go to memory) reported independently the same Josephian claim about the “ambiguous” oracle.

Hence, if you want to write a Christian story for Roman Christians, then you have necessarily to satisfy the Josephian dangerous 'meme'.

You have to place your adored Messiah on earth in the recent past, if you are addressing Roman Christians.

It is not a coincidence that the Gospel of Mark was written in Rome.

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:59 am


What did the most to induce the Jews to start this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea.

[Flavius Josephus, Jewish War 6.312-313.]

The Roman authors Suetonius and Tacitus give the same interpretation of the prophecy, probably using the same source, who was not Flavius Josephus. This proves that there was at least one other author who shared Josephus' opinions.

There had spread over all the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated for men coming from Judaea to rule the world. This prediction, referring to the emperor of Rome - as afterwards appeared from the event - the people of Judaea took to themselves.

[Suetonius, Life of Vespasian 4.5.]

The majority [of the Jews] were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. This mysterious prophecy really referred to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, true to the selfish ambitions of mankind, thought that this exalted destiny was reserved for them, and not even their calamities opened their eyes to the truth.

[Tacitus, Histories 5.13.]

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:12 am

Hence, basically two factors lead to the invention of the Gospel Jesus:
  • 1) the diffusion, at least in the Roman world (via Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus), of the 'meme' that the Jews expected, as 'Messiah', a human figure lived on earth in "the last times".
  • 2) the will of survival of the Pauline Christians, in the same Roman world: hence the need to meet the needs of Roman proselites.


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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:01 am

I am not denying that also before the 70 the Messiah could be seen as an earthly person (as Cyrus was, even if he was crucified, too).

Note that the Essenes adored the mythical Melkizedek as Messiah, too.

My point is to fix what the Romans knew.

After the 70, the Romans knew that the Jewish Messiah could only be a human person.

If Josephus was reluctant to mention the word "Messiah" in his works, it was because by his time the Romans had learned that Messiah==earthly conqueror.

The Romans couldn't imagine Jews adoring a celestial Messiah.

Therefore, "Mark" (author) writing in Rome, necessarily he had to anthropomorphize the Messiah Jesus. To satisfy the Roman proselites.

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by StephenGoranson » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:31 am

Giuseppe, that does not make sense to me. Mark was read elsewhere than Rome, for one thing, among many others.
If I said Vladimir Putin visited Jamaica and got religion, would he be Rasputin? Would you also somehow find that “proof” of your presupposition?

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:46 am

Are you already conceding that the Roman readers of Josephus could detect messianic claims as coming, by definition, always and in any case, from earthly Jews?

Well, if your answer is yes, then to prove my point I have only to persuade you that Mark was written in Rome for a Christian Roman audience.

It is sufficient the plausibility of the idea, to compare it with other explanations of how Jesus received an entire non-life on the earth.

Clearly Rome was the capital of the Empire. What had success in Rome, could have success even more in the rest of the known world. Isn't it true?

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Baley » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:01 am

Hi Giuseppe, the diffusion of an earthly Messiah concept among people (Romans, Jews or anybody) is a necessary precondition for anybody to be viewed as an eartly Messiah. That goes for Simon of Peraea, Jesus, Vespasian, Bar Kochba and all other claimants to that position. Since you already concede that the concept of an earthly Messiah itself predates 70 CE, I don't see why you stress this date so much ("ONLY after the 70 CE").

Edit: in other words, I don't see how the remarks by Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus are a prerequisite for Jews, Greeks and Romans believing in an earthly Jesus Messiah figure.

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Re: ONLY after the 70 CE the concept of Messiah implied INCREASINGLY a belief in a figure who’s recently been ON EARTH

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:24 am

Hi Baley,
your point:
the diffusion of an earthly Messiah concept among people (Romans, Jews or anybody) is a necessary precondition for anybody to be viewed as an eartly Messiah.
...is totally wrong when it deals with Jews before the 70 CE, since we have independent evidence that:
  • the Essenes adored Melkizedek as Messiah and Melkizedek was not a human but a celestial figure by that time;
  • the early Christians adored Jesus as Messiah and Jesus was not an earthly but a celestial figure before the 70 CE.
My point is that, after the 70 CE, thanks to Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc, in Rome there was the diffusion of only a meme of 'Jewish Messiah': as earthly conqueror.

Hence, while before the 70, in Judea the presence of a celestial Messiah among many other earthly and celestial Messiahs was not a "problem" at all for the adorers of said Messiah, ...

...now, after the 70, in Rome the idea of an earthly Messiah became increasingly popular as the 'only' 'original' concept of Messiah.

Therefore 'Mark' (author) had to invent an earthly Jesus Christ if his goal was to persuade the Christian Romans that Jesus was the expected (earthly) Messiah.

ADDENDA:
Baley wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:01 am
Edit: in other words, I don't see how the remarks by Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus are a prerequisite for Jews, Greeks and Romans believing in an earthly Jesus Messiah figure.
before the 70 CE, the Romans didn't know what 'Messiah' meant and/or alluded to.

It is thanks both to Josephian propaganda and hearsay from the First Jewish War that the Romans knew the first time that the Jews expected an earthly conqueror.

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