"Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

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Charles Wilson
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"Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by Charles Wilson »

lsayre wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:14 am[W]ould you be willing to start a separate thread detailing why you equate Mucianus with Paul?
Certainly.

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason:

"Being is obviously not a real predicate, i.e., a concept of something that could add to the concept of a thing."

If I say that "The ball is red", I have added to the concept of "(This) Ball". Same as if I say, "Unicorns are Blue"
If I say, "Unicorns exist", however, I haven't "added" anything since by the utterance "Unicorns" I have implied a Type of existence. This leads to an odd statement if I utter "Unicorns don't exist", since someone might say, "What about on the planet Remtorr? Do you KNOW that Unicorns don't exist there?" Ugh! "Please leave me alone now...It's time for my nap."

So we come to "Jesus", who must certainly exist and must have existed for all Eternity:

John 1: 2 - 3 (RSV):

[2] He was in the beginning with God;
[3] all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

"Who could argue with that?"
Well...I could.
Existence is not a Predicate. Early in Bertrand Russell's career, he looked to the skies and shouted, "My God in Boots, the Ontological Argument is sound!" Later, he recanted.
Or, as Johnson kicks the stone, "Thus I refute Berkeley!"
Take your pick.
***
If, in this Argument, the Historicist is one who believes that there was a Jesus and his History is to be found in the Wreckage of some Set of Historical Documents, then I am not Historicist. I believe that the "Jesus" Character was created. Some of you are probably sick to death of hearing of the "Mishmarot Priesthood" but it is here, I believe, that the Story was originally cast. The Story was about a Priest and the Story was rewritten into the story of a savior/god by the Romans, for their sensibilities. See: Joe Atwill, Caesar's Messiah. See: Jay Raskin, Christs and Christianities. You don't have to agree with of anything they say but they might get you pointed in the direction I see as very fruitful.

If you see this Roman Thesis as even somewhat plausible, then perhaps you could ask yourself, "Did the Romans create this out of Whole Cloth, as one might say, or perhaps they used "...the advantage of theft over honest toil?" I believe it's the latter and that brings the question, "What Story did they steal?"

From the Fact that the "Jesus Stories" are written from "Source Stories", it does not follow that the "Source Stories were about "Jesus".
***
We are told that there was a Founder of Christianity, a person who had a Vision on the Road to Damascus. We know what Hume stated about "Visions" but what about this one? It is important if "Jesus" is portrayed Ontologically Accurate as given above. If, however, Documents should be examined for possible Historical Counterparts, what could this "Paul" guy reflect? Perhaps it's not a Vision at all but a Subtle Symbolic retelling of something that occurred in History - Roman History. I believe that to be the case. I'll start here but I might take a break and continue tomorrow.

As I always say, however, Symbolism is an acquired taste:

Mel Brooks, "The Critic":

"It must be symbolic. I t'ink it's symbolic of Junk..."
***
Acts 9: 1 - 5 (RSV):

[1] But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
[2] and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
[3] Now as he journeyed he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed about him.
[4] And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
[5] And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting..."

Verses 1 - 2 have been examined over and over and found wanting. OK. They may read just fine to you. Verses 3 - 5 are the important ones. They tell of "Saul" persecuting this "Jesus" character, a person "Saul" never even met.

Quick side-trip in a very compressed explanation:

1 Corinthians 1: 14 - 17 (RSV):

[14] I am thankful that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Ga'ius;
[15] lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name.
[16] (I did baptize also the household of Steph'anas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.)

[17] For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

I want to introduce this for effect - It should come later in the Analysis but it illustrates a person very important to NT Studies: I ask that you take the time to read this section. It is that important to the consideration of the Thesis:

Tacitus, Histories, Book 4:

"While things were in this state, while there was division in the Senate, resentment among the conquered, no real authority in the conquerors, and in the country at large no laws and no Emperor, Mucianus entered the capital, and at once drew all power into his own hands. The influence of Primus Antonius and Varus Arrius was destroyed; for the irritation of Mucianus against them, though not revealed in his looks, was but ill-concealed, and the country, keen to discover such dislikes, had changed its tone and transferred its homage. He alone was canvassed and courted, and he, surrounding himself with armed men, and bargaining for palaces and gardens, ceased not, what with his magnificence, his proud bearing, and his guards, to grasp at the power, while he waived the titles of Empire. The murder of Calpurnius Galerianus caused the utmost consternation. He was a son of Caius Piso, and had done nothing, but a noble name and his own youthful beauty made him the theme of common talk; and while the country was still unquiet and delighted in novel topics, there were persons who associated him with idle rumours of Imperial honours. By order of Mucianus he was surrounded with a guard of soldiers. Lest his execution in the capital should excite too much notice, they conducted him to the fortieth milestone from Rome on the Appian Road, and there put him to death by opening his veins. Julius Priscus, who had been prefect of the Praetorian Guard under Vitellius, killed himself rather out of shame than by compulsion..."

What a Coincidence! Two names so similar: "Caius" => "Gaius" and "Priscus" => "Crispus". If only there were hints that these 2 Passages were related (Hint: They are so related, BIG TIME!). BTW, note that verse 17 above is what I call "Radioactive". It is devoid of real content but SOUNDS very important. So, returning to the Vision on the Road to Damascus, do we find anything in the Historical Records that may plausibly be referenced? We have brought up Tacitus and a Character "Mucianus". Do they figure into this walk down the Garden Path that I'm taking you?

Tacitus, Histories, Book 2:

"Vespasian was an energetic soldier; he could march at the head of his army, choose the place for his camp, and bring by night and day his skill, or, if the occasion required, his personal courage to oppose the foe. His food was such as chance offered; his dress and appearance hardly distinguished him from the common soldier; in short, but for his avarice, he was equal to the generals of old. Mucianus, on the contrary, was eminent for his magnificence, for his wealth, and for a greatness that transcended in all respects the condition of a subject; readier of speech than the other, he thoroughly understood the arrangement and direction of civil business. It would have been a rare combination of princely qualities, if, with their respective faults removed, their virtues only could have been united in one man. Mucianus was governor of Syria, Vespasian of Judaea. In the administration of these neighbouring provinces jealousy had produced discord between them, but on Nero's fall they had dropped their animosities and associated their counsels. At first they communicated through friends, till Titus, who was the great bond of union between them, by representing their common interests had terminated their mischievous feud. He was indeed a man formed both by nature and by education to attract even such a character as that of Mucianus..."

Here is the "Bare Bones" outline. It is Titus who is deified as the "Jesus" character, the one who brings Vespasian and Mucianus together. This is the "Vision on the Road to Damascus." We have much other History to consider, not the least of which are the Listing of the Emperors, up to and including Frugi Piso, the four day Emperor.

That's for another day, however. It's been a Super-Long Day for me today and I'm tired.

Tomorrow, then. Thanks for the suggestion, lsayre!

CW
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Wed May 05, 2021 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lsayre
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by lsayre »

I'm of the opinion that Christianity likely arose first as a religion among Roman slaves, with many among them being Jews taken into slavery post the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. I can't imagine it to have been the conception of the Roman elite. Rather, Christianity appears to have been historically persecuted and suppressed by the Roman elite. I can't imagine the slaves secretly venerating and worshipping their oppressors. Unless one can conceive of a strange sort of Stockholm Syndrome inflicting them en-masse.

The above outline is not in any way linking Mucianus to Paul, or even establishing a ground work whereby to build such a link, at least as I'm seeing it. I await additional details.
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Jax
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by Jax »

lsayre wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:02 am I'm of the opinion that Christianity likely arose first as a religion among Roman slaves, with many among them being Jews taken into slavery post the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. I can't imagine it to have been the conception of the Roman elite. Rather, Christianity appears to have been historically persecuted and suppressed by the Roman elite. I can't imagine the slaves secretly venerating and worshipping their oppressors. Unless one can conceive of a strange sort of Stockholm Syndrome inflicting them en-masse.
I guess the only thing that I find odd about your idea that the earliest Christians were slaves with many of them being Jews is that they seem to be very knowledgeable about Greek philosophy and literature, a pastime of the elite.

Also, their ability to meet and travel seems at odds with what we know about slaves in the ancient world.

It is of course possible but I find it less probable than the educated upper classes taking up a novel cult.
Charles Wilson
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by Charles Wilson »

Thank you, as always, lsayre.

I agree that this first Bare Assertion is completely unconvincing. How could it be otherwise?
I will start this Bus Tour, then, from an arbitrary point. Acts. I'll type until I get tired and then resume at a later date. No guarantees.
***
Acts 1: 1 - 2, 5 (RSV):

[1] In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,
[2] until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
***
[5] for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

From the Roman POV, we find mentions of the "Holy Spirit", a disembodied entity with no Attributes. I'm not aware that there are many Jewish Documents dealing with any "Holy Spirit" in the sense given in the NT. Hence, "...from the Roman POV."

Roughly speaking then, "Vespasian" => "The Father", "Titus" => "The Son", the Damnatio'd "Domitian" => "Holy Spirit". From a Document Analysis, Domitian wants to have the pen last, after poisoning his brother (allegedly).

Acts 9: 1 - 6 (RSV):

[1] While Apol'los was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples.
[2] And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
[3] And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism."
[4] And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus."
[5] On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
[6] And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

How very curious. "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." At a time when, apparently, there are only a few hundreds or so Believers who have heard of "Jesus", there is already a MAJOR CHANGE in this New Religion. The Baptism of John has been replaced with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. If this is All-OK to you as a History-as-given, please Move On. There is absolutely nothing to see here.

If, however, it strikes you as ODD, as it does me, then I invite you to begin keeping a small record of Oddities in Acts. Perhaps you may end up with a different Understanding but, to me, there is a Clear-Cut Explanation: At the start of the Flavian Dynasty, Titus, who will be deified, is given the Golden Child Treatment by Mucianus and others. Domitian desires the Throne and deification as well. He takes over a Project and rewrites it with Domitian as the deified Hero. The Project Morphs as the years pass from Stephanus (That name again) murdering Domitian. Domitian suffers "Damnatio Memoriae" (A 16th Century Term, BTW) and in the next few years, is rewritten again into the "Holy Spirit".

The New Roman Religion begins, as seen with the story of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, to take hold.

[11] And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul

"Jesus" did Miracles as well. See: Mark 6. "Jesus', however, is the Transvalued name of a Mishmarot Priest. Thus the rewrite of the Story of Peter and the Priest meets the beginning of the story of the NT religion, which will replace the Jerusalem/Hasmonean/Jewish Priesthood.

[6] So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"
[7] He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.
[8] But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama'ria and to the end of the earth."
[9] And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
[10] And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
[11] and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

There are almost always small Clues that let you in on the secret. "Men of Galilee..." is one of these (Ignoring the implication of being carried off in the clouds when an alternative exists - withdrawal of troops and Titus from Jerusalem into the dusty sunset). Galilee is where the Mishmarot Priesthood has been given Settlements to live (Leibner, Elizur). Again, the Mishmarot Priesthood is to be replaced by a New Priesthood under Roman direction.

[15] In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said,
[16] "Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus.
[17] For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry.
[18] (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.
[19] And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel'dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
[20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, `Let his habitation become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it';
and `His office let another take.'

"in those days..." is a small Telltale. This is looking back, seen by an author. The Character "Peter" is a Fiction here. Peter is a child in the Original, which took place at the 4 BCE Temple Massacre. At the Fall of Jerusalem, he would realistically be in his 80s.

[18] (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out

Here is where we begin looking at the Historical Record in earnest. There is supposedly a contradiction between Acts and Matthew:

Matthew 27:3 - 5 (RSV):

[3] When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,
[4] saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." They said, "What is that to us? See to it yourself."
[5] And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

There is no Contradiction. This is "Historical Record" found in Josephus and Tacitus.
"Judas" => "Cestius", Commander of the 12th Legion.

To be continued - It's tough being old.

CW
Last edited by Charles Wilson on Wed May 05, 2021 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lsayre
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by lsayre »

Jax wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 7:51 am I guess the only thing that I find odd about your idea that the earliest Christians were slaves with many of them being Jews is that they seem to be very knowledgeable about Greek philosophy and literature, a pastime of the elite.

Also, their ability to meet and travel seems at odds with what we know about slaves in the ancient world.

It is of course possible but I find it less probable than the educated upper classes taking up a novel cult.
I'm not of the opinion that the Roman elite who would be of a class status which held such slaves universally oppressed them and desired for them to be uneducated and doomed to an existence of hard labor such as for our general conception of black slavery in the southern USA. Thus we must not look upon them from such a perspective. That said, everyone who was not a Roman citizen, but resided within Roman conquered territory, could in some sense be conceived of by the Romans as to be a slave. And the term slave itself may for the Roman's have had within it multiple levels or tiers, with some levels free to travel or even undertake commerce. The distinctive ear demarcation system of the day as applied to "slaves" would forever identify them wherever they were.
lsayre
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by lsayre »

Charles Wilson wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:10 am To be continued - It's tough being old.

CW
You clearly have a commendably broad and yet at the same time seemingly (to me) narrowly agenda focused understanding of the historicity of the time period of early Christianity. Exceedingly well beyond my knowledge of the time. But why would a dominant power/people whom had effectively destroyed another people and flattened their temple, the core of their religion, find it necessary to intricately and secretly weave for them a new religion intended to supplant and uproot and replace that of those recently conquered and effectively enslaved? And beyond that, a religion historically rejected and oppressed and brutally suppressed by the very elite whom are seen by you to be the ones weaving it.

BTW, I'm in full agreement with the part about it being tough getting old.
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Jax
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by Jax »

lsayre wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:07 am
Charles Wilson wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:10 am To be continued - It's tough being old.

CW
You clearly have a commendably broad and yet at the same time seemingly (to me) narrowly agenda focused understanding of the historicity of the time period of early Christianity. Exceedingly well beyond my knowledge of the time. But why would a dominant power/people whom had effectively destroyed another people and flattened their temple, the core of their religion, find it necessary to intricately and secretly weave for them a new religion intended to supplant and uproot and replace that of those recently conquered and effectively enslaved? And beyond that, a religion historically rejected and oppressed and brutally suppressed by the very elite whom are seen by you to be the ones weaving it.

BTW, I'm in full agreement with the part about it being tough getting old.
By the same token, why would Jewish slaves found a cult that denigrates Jews and Jewish customs?

Also, only the tough survive old age. ;)
lsayre
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by lsayre »

Jax wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:26 am By the same token, why would Jewish slaves found a cult that denigrates Jews and Jewish customs?
Why did Job's friends advise that he curse his God and die?

After the destruction of Judea, Israel, Jerusalem, the temple, Samaria, etc... there likely became many disillusioned Job's.

Clearly a fractional portion of the slaves from among the Jews seemingly rejected their God while adopting a radically new derivation that evolved into Christianity, but after being promised a throne and kingdom forever, and then being crushed, having their temple utterly destroyed, and being hauled off into slavery, such failure of prophecy seems to provide a potentially strong impetus by which to (to some varying degree*) effectively at some level(s) curse God and become receptive to an alternative or derivational teaching that offered hope during a time when no hope for the old ways (and their God) seemingly remained.

*The varying degrees to which this impetus led to faith in an alternative, and the means whereby to venerate it, establishes the earliest groundwork for what evolved into fractional Christian denominational derivations, only much later to be sorted out, consolidated, and classified, ultimately into orthodox and heresy.

Only after there was an orthodoxy that became dominant can I conceive of a Roman desire to unify their empire under its creeds. And this only after Rome was foreseeing its own dissolution and end, whereby to grasp at this effectively last straw by which to unify their empire.
lsayre
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by lsayre »

It must also be considered that many Roman slaves were not Jews, and did not share in their faith, but rather initially held other faith(s). The unifying bond of the condition of slavery may have provided a sort of level playing field from which to share, merge, and amalgamate beliefs. Thus Christianity may have evolved somewhat through amalgamation and adopting and merging.
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Jax
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Re: "Mucianus" as Template for "Paul"

Post by Jax »

The codex was heavily adopted by the early Christians and was a much more expensive means of textual storage than scrolls. Pliny encountered Christians in Bithynia that were clearly Roman citizens and heads of the household. Some of the first Christian works written were to Roman emperors. Indeed, the fact that Christianity is a cult that relies on written material at all is indicative of an educated, monied group of people.

How, I wonder, do you reconcile all of that with a slave cult?
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