The wandering prophet was, of course, Jesus Christ. Atwill, a self-taught biblical scholar, contends that not only was there no historical figure of that name, but also the legends that accumulated around him were actually created by the Romans as a way of pacifying the Jews. The evidence is overwhelming, he says. (Here.)
Atwill is a mythicist, and like most (I have to say most now because of Thomas Brodie) mythicists, he likes to pretend he is a scholar. He is a “self-taught” scholar, but not because he could not afford school, but because he did not like what anyone would teach him. So, he entered the fray, self-published a horribly documented book, and is not self-producing, no doubt, an equally horribly documented snuff film. On his site, he declares:
This latest ground-breaking work in Christian scholarship reveals a new and revolutionary understanding of the origin of Christianity, explaining what is the New Testament, who is the real Jesus, and how Christ’s second coming already occurred. The book Caesar’s Messiah shows that Jesus was the invention of the Roman Imperial Court. Their purpose: to offer a vision of a “peaceful Messiah” who would serve as an alternative to the revolutionary leaders who were rocking first-century Israel and threatening Rome. This discovery is based on the parallels found between the Gospels and the works of the historian Josephus, which occur IN SEQUENCE.
He’s the problem… he doesn’t do “Christian scholarship.” In fact, he doesn’t do scholarship. There is nothing peaceful either about Paul’s letters (save Romans 13) (pre-70 war); nor the Book of Revelation, nor the Gospels themselves. All are counter-imperial, counter-cultural. He also makes the claim that Josephus was a family member of the Flavians. No. There is sharing between Wars and the Gospels, but not in sequence, and not for a peaceful means. The sharing is common, and any reader of this blog over the past two years understand what I mean. I simply do not have the time to head into every one of this points – because they are pointless. Simply put, Atwill is another in the long line of pseudo-scholars who claim to know it all without any actual evidence to support themselves or their work – who some how have found “lost history.”
I have to wonder though, just how much money he made before the dot-com bubble collapsed and can we blame the Bush years on him?