Laura's Book "From Paul to Mark" is out!!!!

R

R o l a n d

Guest
What city are you living in or near?

On closer and second look this question was asked in the last 24hours. Let me correct myself. As the question asked at today. I'm currently in Missoula, Mt.
 

Bobo08

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Thank you very much for all the hard work! I got mine just before the last session. However, I quickly realised that I needed to read a good chunk of the Bible first, which I had always avoided doing. So it will be slow going for me :read:But I understand that I need to put in an adequate amount of work to benefit from it.
 

genero81

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I tried to deal only with historical facts as best as they could be extracted from the limited evidence left to us. I think there was enough to surely make my points, though admittedly, facts were thin on the ground!

I finished the book yesterday. You did extraordinary job! It was a labor of love, no doubt. A Herculean task that sorely needed doing. The first over 200 pages were difficult to get through. Trying to keep track of who's who, doing what, when, and where was mentally exhausting. I can't even imagine the slogs you had to read through to distill it down to that. But you did an excellent job of summarizing the key figures, dates, and events to set up your conclusions which were refreshingly enlightening in the sense of finally making some real sense. You state your hypothesis and then back it up with the pertinent text and it's like the heavens open up and one can hear the angels singing! Belief in a fictionalized history that's really more in the realm of fantasy than reality has no real power. You brought us back to reality without destroying faith. No! On the contrary, you've restored a faith with the power to transform because it's a faith rooted in knowledge and understanding that there is a path of redemption to be found in the teachings of Paul properly understood. Your explication of Ashworth's work was one of the best things I've ever read. I have no doubt Paul was inspired in some tangible way by his 'Jesus.' The greatest man ever to live indeed.

I wish I could put into words how much I appreciate what you've done here, but I fear I am falling way short.

If that's the job you thought you did, then I say absolutely yes.

Bravo!
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I finished the book yesterday. You did extraordinary job! It was a labor of love, no doubt. A Herculean task that sorely needed doing. The first over 200 pages were difficult to get through. Trying to keep track of who's who, doing what, when, and where was mentally exhausting. I can't even imagine the slogs you had to read through to distill it down to that. But you did an excellent job of summarizing the key figures, dates, and events to set up your conclusions which were refreshingly enlightening in the sense of finally making some real sense. You state your hypothesis and then back it up with the pertinent text and it's like the heavens open up and one can hear the angels singing! Belief in a fictionalized history that's really more in the realm of fantasy than reality has no real power. You brought us back to reality without destroying faith. No! On the contrary, you've restored a faith with the power to transform because it's a faith rooted in knowledge and understanding that there is a path of redemption to be found in the teachings of Paul properly understood. Your explication of Ashworth's work was one of the best things I've ever read. I have no doubt Paul was inspired in some tangible way by his 'Jesus.' The greatest man ever to live indeed.

Thank you for putting it so nicely, genero81! Maybe you could adapt it a bit for an Amazon review? I think it may help people understand that it's not just a "scholarly" book, or one that will destroy their faith. All the contrary!:love:
 
R

R o l a n d

Guest
Seeing all these comments while still waiting for the book gets me really impatient. :)
My helpful reminder is that it's not wanting the book that makes the reading a learning experience it is having the patience to read such as paul's to mark: PC. For ex: when I desire something, that false mix emotions gets felt out when that something arrives. Helpful to there I guess
 

psychegram

The Living Force
Just finished the book yesterday (not counting the appendices).

Overall, I think it was excellent. This comment

On the contrary, you've restored a faith with the power to transform because it's a faith rooted in knowledge and understanding that there is a path of redemption

sums it up quite well. It's one thing to demonstrate that the Bible generally, and Jesus of Nazareth specifically, is fictional ... but this is generally done from an atheist perspective. It's quite another to do so from a theist perspective, and use this investigation as a way of deepening and strengthening spiritual foundation.

I do have a couple of minor critiques. The first is that much of the book is tough read ... I had to take breaks pretty regularly. This is unavoidable given the sheer scholarly weight, and the necessity to present the book's arguments in such a fashion that they can't be written off as mere opinion or speculation. The second is that the concluding section on Caesar was much shorter than I would have liked! After so much effort to determine who the saviour figure really was, I would have enjoyed reading quite a bit more about him (that said, I have read a fair bit about Caesar on my own, but I'm sure there's a lot of important information I don't know).

Neither of these critiques are really complaints about From Paul to Mark. Rather, I feel like there could be a companion book, a slimmer volume designed for quicker readability in which doctrine and history are presented as they are. So, where FPTM necessarily puts in a lot of effort trying to untangle the truth from the vast tapestry of historical obfuscation, it would be really nice to have a volume that ignores what didn't happen and what isn't true and focuses like a laser on what did happen and what is true. There's some indication in the text that such a work is being prepared already, so this is sort of my way of saying "please prioritze that one!"
 

lilies

The Living Force
I realized this book is a monument. A museum of literature arts: I find myself in awe walking around, witnessing a life's work. Thankful to be able to read, what prominent teachers wrote throughout history. Contributions of numerous 5thD consultants, who were no doubt powerful teachers and researchers in their lives.

Surprisingly vivifying to find the major points in this book familiar from memory, topics that were discussed in previous years' sessions and mega-threads here on the forum. Highly enjoyable, like Secret History, glorious! Lots of excellent jokes, well distributed throughout the text. I'm at 8% and wish this book would be 6000 pages, so it never ends, but evolves continually - Live - touching newer and newer subjects and I could read it forever, its that good!
 

psychegram

The Living Force
One conversation I think is worth having, now that I've read the book, is whether the term 'Paleochristianity' is really worth adopting.

It seems that there's essentially nothing in the Bible that is either true or original. The Old Testament is entirely fabricated, and is composed entirely of ripped off bits and pieces of Zoroastrian and Hellenic history, mythology, and philosophy. In the New Testament, the gospels are entirely fake, as is the book of Acts. The only part of the NT (and, it seems, the entire Bible) that isn't just made up nonsense are Paul's letters, and even there we have to be careful due to all the interpolations. Further, Paul's letters aren't history per se, but rather spiritual and philosophical doctrine. So it seems to me that the only part of the Bible that really has any value whatsoever are Paul's letters. One could argue that Mark is of literary value, but only as an allegorical work ... I have to admit that when seen as satire, it really is piercingly funny (e.g. in making Judas the apostle who betrays Jesus). But it gives no real insight into the nature of the saviour.

I must confess to feeling a sense of outrage the more I learn about the origins of the biblical narratives. It would be one thing if they were just made up ... and that wouldn't even really annoy me so much: I don't get angry about The Lord of the Rings, and much that is true at a higher level can be communicated in stories that aren't strictly speaking true on the mundane level (so long as you remember the distinction). The source of my annoyance is more a sense of theft:

- the Old Testament is ripped off from Classical and Hellenistic history and philosophy
- the New Testament is ripped off from Caesar

In both cases, the actual history, philosophy, and spirituality of my people were appropriated by an alien tribe, who fabricated fictions shamelessly stolen from what we actually did, and then substituted those fictions for the truth, thereby in effect making themselves out to be of far greater importance in human history than they really are. The more I think about it the more indignant I become. They've convinced the entire world of their crucial historical importance, when it's all stolen valour. In actual reality, it seems like they're just grifters and con-men. They've added absolutely nothing of value and their influence has been, to the contrary, entirely detrimental.

So that goes back to the term 'Paleochristianity'. Both 'Jesus' and 'Christ' are titles, rather than names, and they serve mainly to obscure the identity of the true universal saviour - Julius Caesar. Furthermore, both of these titles are steeped in Jewish thought, in particular the apocalyptic messianism of the 1st centuries BC and AD. This wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself if it weren't for the fact that 'Jewish thought' is practically a misnomer ... their entire religious corpus is just Classical, Hellenic, and Zoroastrian thought with the serial numbers filed off. Their only contribution has been to run a long con.

Honestly, I'm even a little annoyed with Paul: his whole thing of being solely concerned with the spirit realm, and seeing the physical life and identity of his Christ as being of no real importance, is awfully convenient considering that his project was essentially to convert the 'Christian' (i.e. Caesarian) cult to his version of messianism, which so far as I can tell comes down to appropriating Caesar as the son of the Jewish God. And even that wouldn't be so bad, if Yaweh were truly the origin of the monotheistic idea ... except it's not! The pagans were quite aware of the Logos or Prime Mover, a unitary supreme deity under whom the Olympic pantheon were mere administrators or caretakers; and the Zoroastrians likewise acknowledged a supreme being. So even this idea that Yahweh was some sort of unique discovery on the part of the Israelites is just one more example of intellectual perfidy. From that perspective, Paul's appropriation of Caesar as messiah in Jewish terms doesn't really seem to add a whole lot.

Now, I suppose an argument could be made for running with Paleochristianity because, after all, society is Christian (or post-Christian, really, though still based loosely on Christian ideology), and people need to be met where they are and spoken to in a language they understand. Even non-Christians generally take the New Testament narrative more or less at face value, and while they might not buy the miracles they go along with the vague idea that there was this nice hippy guy in sandals wandering around Palestine being nice to people for a few years, which extraordinary niceness somehow started a major world religion. But I guess the problem with the term Paleochristian is that it reinforces this myth, and in using it, one will constantly have to clarify, "well actually, we don't think anything in the Bible really happened, also the saviour of mankind was really Julius Caesar". But then why use any term referring to Christianity at all? Certainly no believing Christian would consider this stance to be anything they recognize as Christianity, and nor would a non-believer, once it's explained to them. So why not use a different term, which accurately reflects the actual beliefs, doctrine, and history, and its actual origin not in Palestine but in Graeco-Roman antiquity?

I don't have an actual suggestion for the term ('Caesarism' doesn't really get it across, plus it already has a meaning, which isn't really the meaning we'd want....) But I'd be interested to know what others think.
 

Jo Bugman

Padawan Learner
I also finished reading the book yesterday. It was very different from Laura's other books, so it was not what I was expecting at all. There was so much history to digest that at times I had to put it down for a few days to think about it. I knew very little about the time period apart from the Jewish rebellion thanks to some documentaries on Youtube. I have to agree with the others ITT, it really settles the waters on this very turbulent topic but the water is still muddy! It leaves you wondering so many things. Yet, a lot gets answered.

I was raised Baptist, and I always had a real love of stoicism ever since I read Seneca's works about 5 years ago. The stoic mindset and way of life seemed to relate closely to faith, or following the thread of the fates or Zeus, etc. The desire for stoics is to shed their impressions and will to posses things that aren't their own, but also understanding that such a thing is beyond their grasp. To be a real stoic would be to become a stoic sage, to always at all moments and situations to think like a stoic, to which they would be perceived as a god among men. It reminds me of the distinction in faith of Jesus, not faith in Jesus. Like Epictetus used to roast his students so often: attending philosophy courses does not make you a philosopher. Philosophy must be a way of life, a constant goal to strive for. You cannot just believe in Jesus, you must strive to be like Jesus.
For the stoics at the time, Caesar must have been the true philosopher king, a true stoic sage. It is no wonder why he was treated as a god among men. It makes me remember a saying (from who I cannot recall) the we too can be a Socrates. Perhaps it should be better said as we too can be a Caesar. It's just the way it all comes together, it's beautiful to see, and it makes me see stoicism in a whole new light. After all, how different is it really from the Work. We can all learn to limit our impressions (flesh), accept life as it is (forgiveness), and distinguish what is not in our control (faith) in hopes of getting closer to living life the way God intended. Thanks for this fantastic work, hopefully I got out of it what intended your readers to.

Links to some of the Youtube videos others might find useful:
Cyrus the Great
Caesar, Gaelic Wars, Civil War playlist
Assassination of Julius Caesar
Caesar's Funeral
Great Jewish Revolt
10th Legion (part 1) (part 2)
Mos Maiorum (for a little info on Roman ideals)
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
One conversation I think is worth having, now that I've read the book, is whether the term 'Paleochristianity' is really worth adopting.

It seems that there's essentially nothing in the Bible that is either true or original. The Old Testament is entirely fabricated, and is composed entirely of ripped off bits and pieces of Zoroastrian and Hellenic history, mythology, and philosophy. In the New Testament, the gospels are entirely fake, as is the book of Acts. The only part of the NT (and, it seems, the entire Bible) that isn't just made up nonsense are Paul's letters, and even there we have to be careful due to all the interpolations. Further, Paul's letters aren't history per se, but rather spiritual and philosophical doctrine. So it seems to me that the only part of the Bible that really has any value whatsoever are Paul's letters. One could argue that Mark is of literary value, but only as an allegorical work ... I have to admit that when seen as satire, it really is piercingly funny (e.g. in making Judas the apostle who betrays Jesus). But it gives no real insight into the nature of the saviour.

I must confess to feeling a sense of outrage the more I learn about the origins of the biblical narratives. It would be one thing if they were just made up ... and that wouldn't even really annoy me so much: I don't get angry about The Lord of the Rings, and much that is true at a higher level can be communicated in stories that aren't strictly speaking true on the mundane level (so long as you remember the distinction). The source of my annoyance is more a sense of theft:

- the Old Testament is ripped off from Classical and Hellenistic history and philosophy
- the New Testament is ripped off from Caesar

In both cases, the actual history, philosophy, and spirituality of my people were appropriated by an alien tribe, who fabricated fictions shamelessly stolen from what we actually did, and then substituted those fictions for the truth, thereby in effect making themselves out to be of far greater importance in human history than they really are. The more I think about it the more indignant I become. They've convinced the entire world of their crucial historical importance, when it's all stolen valour. In actual reality, it seems like they're just grifters and con-men. They've added absolutely nothing of value and their influence has been, to the contrary, entirely detrimental.

So that goes back to the term 'Paleochristianity'. Both 'Jesus' and 'Christ' are titles, rather than names, and they serve mainly to obscure the identity of the true universal saviour - Julius Caesar. Furthermore, both of these titles are steeped in Jewish thought, in particular the apocalyptic messianism of the 1st centuries BC and AD. This wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself if it weren't for the fact that 'Jewish thought' is practically a misnomer ... their entire religious corpus is just Classical, Hellenic, and Zoroastrian thought with the serial numbers filed off. Their only contribution has been to run a long con.

Honestly, I'm even a little annoyed with Paul: his whole thing of being solely concerned with the spirit realm, and seeing the physical life and identity of his Christ as being of no real importance, is awfully convenient considering that his project was essentially to convert the 'Christian' (i.e. Caesarian) cult to his version of messianism, which so far as I can tell comes down to appropriating Caesar as the son of the Jewish God. And even that wouldn't be so bad, if Yaweh were truly the origin of the monotheistic idea ... except it's not! The pagans were quite aware of the Logos or Prime Mover, a unitary supreme deity under whom the Olympic pantheon were mere administrators or caretakers; and the Zoroastrians likewise acknowledged a supreme being. So even this idea that Yahweh was some sort of unique discovery on the part of the Israelites is just one more example of intellectual perfidy. From that perspective, Paul's appropriation of Caesar as messiah in Jewish terms doesn't really seem to add a whole lot.

Now, I suppose an argument could be made for running with Paleochristianity because, after all, society is Christian (or post-Christian, really, though still based loosely on Christian ideology), and people need to be met where they are and spoken to in a language they understand. Even non-Christians generally take the New Testament narrative more or less at face value, and while they might not buy the miracles they go along with the vague idea that there was this nice hippy guy in sandals wandering around Palestine being nice to people for a few years, which extraordinary niceness somehow started a major world religion. But I guess the problem with the term Paleochristian is that it reinforces this myth, and in using it, one will constantly have to clarify, "well actually, we don't think anything in the Bible really happened, also the saviour of mankind was really Julius Caesar". But then why use any term referring to Christianity at all? Certainly no believing Christian would consider this stance to be anything they recognize as Christianity, and nor would a non-believer, once it's explained to them. So why not use a different term, which accurately reflects the actual beliefs, doctrine, and history, and its actual origin not in Palestine but in Graeco-Roman antiquity?

I don't have an actual suggestion for the term ('Caesarism' doesn't really get it across, plus it already has a meaning, which isn't really the meaning we'd want....) But I'd be interested to know what others think.

Darn good rant. Couldn't have said it better myself.
 

PaleFace

Padawan Learner
One conversation I think is worth having, now that I've read the book, is whether the term 'Paleochristianity' is really worth adopting.

It seems that there's essentially nothing in the Bible that is either true or original. The Old Testament is entirely fabricated, and is composed entirely of ripped off bits and pieces of Zoroastrian and Hellenic history, mythology, and philosophy. In the New Testament, the gospels are entirely fake, as is the book of Acts. The only part of the NT (and, it seems, the entire Bible) that isn't just made up nonsense are Paul's letters, and even there we have to be careful due to all the interpolations. Further, Paul's letters aren't history per se, but rather spiritual and philosophical doctrine. So it seems to me that the only part of the Bible that really has any value whatsoever are Paul's letters. One could argue that Mark is of literary value, but only as an allegorical work ... I have to admit that when seen as satire, it really is piercingly funny (e.g. in making Judas the apostle who betrays Jesus). But it gives no real insight into the nature of the saviour.

I must confess to feeling a sense of outrage the more I learn about the origins of the biblical narratives. It would be one thing if they were just made up ... and that wouldn't even really annoy me so much: I don't get angry about The Lord of the Rings, and much that is true at a higher level can be communicated in stories that aren't strictly speaking true on the mundane level (so long as you remember the distinction). The source of my annoyance is more a sense of theft:

- the Old Testament is ripped off from Classical and Hellenistic history and philosophy
- the New Testament is ripped off from Caesar

In both cases, the actual history, philosophy, and spirituality of my people were appropriated by an alien tribe, who fabricated fictions shamelessly stolen from what we actually did, and then substituted those fictions for the truth, thereby in effect making themselves out to be of far greater importance in human history than they really are. The more I think about it the more indignant I become. They've convinced the entire world of their crucial historical importance, when it's all stolen valour. In actual reality, it seems like they're just grifters and con-men. They've added absolutely nothing of value and their influence has been, to the contrary, entirely detrimental.

So that goes back to the term 'Paleochristianity'. Both 'Jesus' and 'Christ' are titles, rather than names, and they serve mainly to obscure the identity of the true universal saviour - Julius Caesar. Furthermore, both of these titles are steeped in Jewish thought, in particular the apocalyptic messianism of the 1st centuries BC and AD. This wouldn't be a bad thing in and of itself if it weren't for the fact that 'Jewish thought' is practically a misnomer ... their entire religious corpus is just Classical, Hellenic, and Zoroastrian thought with the serial numbers filed off. Their only contribution has been to run a long con.

Honestly, I'm even a little annoyed with Paul: his whole thing of being solely concerned with the spirit realm, and seeing the physical life and identity of his Christ as being of no real importance, is awfully convenient considering that his project was essentially to convert the 'Christian' (i.e. Caesarian) cult to his version of messianism, which so far as I can tell comes down to appropriating Caesar as the son of the Jewish God. And even that wouldn't be so bad, if Yaweh were truly the origin of the monotheistic idea ... except it's not! The pagans were quite aware of the Logos or Prime Mover, a unitary supreme deity under whom the Olympic pantheon were mere administrators or caretakers; and the Zoroastrians likewise acknowledged a supreme being. So even this idea that Yahweh was some sort of unique discovery on the part of the Israelites is just one more example of intellectual perfidy. From that perspective, Paul's appropriation of Caesar as messiah in Jewish terms doesn't really seem to add a whole lot.

Now, I suppose an argument could be made for running with Paleochristianity because, after all, society is Christian (or post-Christian, really, though still based loosely on Christian ideology), and people need to be met where they are and spoken to in a language they understand. Even non-Christians generally take the New Testament narrative more or less at face value, and while they might not buy the miracles they go along with the vague idea that there was this nice hippy guy in sandals wandering around Palestine being nice to people for a few years, which extraordinary niceness somehow started a major world religion. But I guess the problem with the term Paleochristian is that it reinforces this myth, and in using it, one will constantly have to clarify, "well actually, we don't think anything in the Bible really happened, also the saviour of mankind was really Julius Caesar". But then why use any term referring to Christianity at all? Certainly no believing Christian would consider this stance to be anything they recognize as Christianity, and nor would a non-believer, once it's explained to them. So why not use a different term, which accurately reflects the actual beliefs, doctrine, and history, and its actual origin not in Palestine but in Graeco-Roman antiquity?

I don't have an actual suggestion for the term ('Caesarism' doesn't really get it across, plus it already has a meaning, which isn't really the meaning we'd want....) But I'd be interested to know what others think.
I agree almost entirely.

But what doesn't go mentioned is that the OT appears to be two books or two source materials.

We have the Youknowwhoish fairytales and the MO for this genocidal tribe of psychopaths laid out quite clearly in the Torah. Using usury, trickery and brutality, the Yahweh worshippers wreak a path of destruction and terror in the middle-east.

Now, from what we can tell, Levitical priests returning from the Babylonian captivity wrote the Torah and the subsequent Mosaic laws at about the same time. More and more scholarly material seems to indicate that they cribbed material for the story from the Greeks and other peoples and religions in the region to create it. They also inverted and corrupted as much as they pilfered the source material.

But this doesn't explain the books of the Prophets.

Here, I'd like to point out that whether or not we accept that the gospels detailing the life of Jesus Christ are fiction or not (it doesn't matter for the purposes of my argument, but I agree with Laura's conclusions), they are of a man hailing from a Greek region called Galilee (literally land of the Goys) whose apostles are all Greek, whose last name is a Greek metaphysical concept and who quotes a Greek text called the Septuagint and also speaks Koin Greek. This man is subsequently betrayed by a man known as Judas, who is the only non-Greek and who is from a southern kingdom of Judah, where the Jews have resettled.

The quotes that Jesus relies on are almost all references to the Prophets. This seems key.

If you compare the books of the prophets and the other parts of the Old Testament, its schizophrenic to say the least. Yahweh is materialistic and never mentions souls, heaven or rebirth. He is a jealous God that demands that the Jews simply submit to his will (interpreted by the priests, of course) and offers only material rewards for doing so. The Jews are set off on a murderous genocidal rampage, and Yahweh even punishes them for not being thorough enough.

But the books of the Prophets seem to spend an inordinate amount of time condemning the priest class. Furthermore, they are clearly writings detailing ecstatic mystical visions. Most of it is dedicated to describing the metaphysical structure of the heavens. We learn about the different spiritual beings up there. It is significant that Jesus Christ is made to quote these writings by the authors and not so much the stories about the Jews fleecing Egyptian farmers through loan-sharking.

Furthermore, there is the Elohim v Yahweh dichotomy.

It appears that the original worship of El and his pantheon came from the Northern Kingdom from where Christ and his apostles are made to hail from, (NOT Judah) and was much the same as the Greek pantheon with El being Zeus and the other gods his children/messengers/agents. These Elohim become angels in the Christian tradition later on - Micha-el, Gabri-el and so on.

It seems very likely to me that we're dealing with two completely different religious traditions here.

Christ even flat-out condemns the Jews' god and calls him a deceiver. Furthermore, in the desert, he is visited by an entity that offers him all the material wealth of this world: kingdoms, fame, money if he only worships him. And, of course, Christ condemns this entity and rejects his deal. This deal is literally the same deal offered to the Jews by Yahweh. Early Christians were quick to point this out. And they were quick to point out that the God of the Torah does not seem to be the same God being referenced in the NT, or even the books of the prophets. Marcion, in particular, stands out in this regard, especially if we consider that he was the first Christian to start compiling a canon. From what we can glean, he did not include the Torah, and he relied on a modified version of Luke that we do not have, and some of the letters of Paul.

The real question to me seems to be the mystery surrounding the official Canon of the Bible. Why was the Torah included? What was the reason for the purges of the first Christians like Marcion and others who we now refer to as Gnostics? If we can answer this question, we will be much closer to figuring out the hidden truth to this whole sordid affair.

We may even salvage something useful from the religion. After the discovery of the Gnostic texts in the Egyptian deserts and the scholarly work done on the Bible over the last two hundred years, we are closer to discovering the truth than we have ever been.
 
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