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

psychegram

The Living Force
For Mark's audience, I think that was as subtle as a 2x4 between the eyes.

His audience would have been well-versed in all of the literary works Mark referenced, and they would have been painfully aware of the religious, political, and historical context in which Mark wrote.

I think Mark was satire, and I expect it was greated with enthusiastic laughter by his audience.

Consider:
- he portrays the apostles - who have the same names as the 'pillars' of the Jerusalem Church that led Judea to disaster - as blundering blockheads
- he implies that Pilate, apparently one of Judea's most brutal and unpopular governor's, was nowhere near as bad as the Sanhedrin
- the Sanhedrin, the learned men of the culture, are portrayed as not understanding their own religion
- giving the name of Judas to the betrayer, as mentioned
- the Roman centurion being the one to recognize Jesus as the Son of God is clearly a bit of absurdity
- Jesus' death resulting in the temple curtains tearing is if anything a bit anticlimactic (and might even be taken to have a bit of a prurient overtone)
- even the framework of the story, the reworking of Caesar's life into a silly story about a wandering miracle worker and his band of merry dunces, is a classic comedic tactic ("first as tragedy, then as farce")

Mark absolutely skewers his opponents, and once you understand all the context, it's actually really, really funny. Deeply irreverent to every single sacred cow of Mark's opponents, but not in an angry, accusatory fashion so much as a tone of savage mockery. It's even possible that being written in bad, colloquial, romanized Greek was part of the gag; humorists are known to sometimes adopt such a tactic.

That probably explains its popularity, too. It seems to have spread quite widely and rapidly through the Christian community. Humor is an extremely effective means of distributing propaganda, as demonstrated by the success of memes in the modern context, as a tactic for waging cognitive insurrection against TPTB.

It doesn't take long for humor to stop being funny, though. Since most jokes rely on shared context, word play, subtle allusions, etc., they get lost very quickly. Most of the humor in Shakespeare's comedies goes right over a modern audience's head, especially if you just read them.

So, my take here is that Mark was basically pointed satire, written for a very specific purpose at a very specific time; that it achieved its goal brilliantly and therefore became an "underground hit"; and was then in turn subverted by Matthew and Luke who historicized it, thereby removed the humor (changing the genre from comedy to tragedy, really), and thus reasserted Judaizing influence over the church.

Life of Brian was actually closer to the spirit of Mark than any of the subsequent gospels.

Running with this theme, it seems possible to me that Mark wasn't actually trying to give gentile Christians an off-ramp from the dead end of Jewish messianism. That's possible of course, since we don't have much to go on, but consider that the identity of the Christ as Caesar might have been common knowledge amongst his audience. Considering that Caesar was only about 100 years in the grave at that point, and that Paul seems to have been heavily involved with gentile communities in colonies founded by Caesar's veterans who certainly would have known all about Caesar, and likely would have been involved in his cult, it seems entirely plausible to me that at no point in that period were the gentile Christians completely overwhelmed by the Jewish Christians. They might have been bullied and harassed by them, yes, but did they at any point accept Judas as the Messiah? That seems less certain to me.

In that case, Mark's intent could have just been to rip on the judaizers for the sake of ripping on them, to uproarious laughter from his audience who'd never liked them much in the first place.
 

luc

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Mark absolutely skewers his opponents, and once you understand all the context, it's actually really, really funny. Deeply irreverent to every single sacred cow of Mark's opponents, but not in an angry, accusatory fashion so much as a tone of savage mockery. It's even possible that being written in bad, colloquial, romanized Greek was part of the gag; humorists are known to sometimes adopt such a tactic.

Yeah, once you know the background, you can never unsee it. It's actually totally crazy that people have taken Mark (or the gospels in general for that matter) so literally when it's almost slapstick, albeit very clever and deep. Life of Brian came to mind for me as well LOL.
 

PaleFace

Padawan Learner
Laura likes "Yahweh to Zion" also:




Laura and this forum are also into materialism being a problem hence the "Intelligent Design" reference. Guyenot also though contrasts Osirism to Judaism via relating Judaism to the not so nice Seth which would kind of propel Yahweh beyond his original tribal storm god origins. Also the Jewish bible was kind of put together all at once via stealing existing stories that often weren't even part of Jewish history. Hence the historical Abraham/Moses (there are doublet stories) could actually have been partly based on an Egyptian (like Ay) who perhaps actually had a more Osirism-like than Seth-like view and also relates to a Paris of Troy in Egypt story (it's messy).

It's complicated for Mark too. The words in Jesus' mouth can often be from Paul (who wrote before Mark). Paul was into sourcing ideas via Enoch and Isaiah. The guy from Galilee would be Judas of Galilee whom Mark merged into his Jesus to give the previous revolutionary Jewish Christians (like James-John-Cephas) a more gentle less threatening to Rome motif. The revolutionary Jewish Christians could have threatened the Gentile Christians via association hence the need of Gentile Christians for Mark. The idea for the original "Jesus" of the Gentile Christians would be Julius Caesar (Paul took over churches in Caesarean colonies) with Brutus as the original betrayer instead of Judas (using the name Judas for the betrayer was perhaps a subtle shot at Judas of Galilee).
Good point, and I'm aware of the Jesus is Julius theory.

My original point was just that the parts of the OT written about a materialist demon-god/demiurge Yahweh seem to conflict with the mystical visions parts considered to be the books of the prophets. The MO of Yahweh and the God that the OT prophets/shamans and the writers of the NT are talking about could not be more different. The Jews are also deliberately cast as villains by the writers of the NT, from making the heroes clearly Greek and making Judas and the Pharisees Jewish. I'm not going to cite this because people who are bible experts should know it tbh, but Christ is very explicit when he is made to condemn the "synagogue of satan".

But it is important to consider the metaphysical dimensions of all this.

There are metaphysical claims that are advanced in the NT that are central to the metaphysical model of Christianity. Namely, that Christ's coming proved that there was a loving God who was on our side. This is proven by him being willing to sacrifice his son. This is a powerful message to put in your story to say the least.

If there are any metaphysical claims that are advanced by the Julius Cesaer story, I'm not sure that I see them.

Was Julius a great man? Undoubtedly. Did the writers of the NT crib from his story? Seems like it.

But his story didn't really make any metaphysical claims or change the metaphysical model of the universe like Christ's did. How exactly can Cesaer be anyone's personal savior? He can be a role model and a great historical figure who was smart, merciful, a populist, etc. but that's not really saying anything about the nature of the universe/God/souls of people. Even though the writers of the NT copied quite a bit from his story, its also hard to argue that they didn't add quite a bit of depth to the story and level it up a bit/raise the stakes.

A word on mysticism.

In the mystical tradition of Greek Christianity (Orthodoxy) practiced most famously by the monks of Mt. Athos, the "Christ" is understood as a state that one strives for. To get there, one practices a life of asceticism and internal struggle to basically level oneself up. For me, reading the early christian gnostics and the desert fathers (Philokalia) it seems clear that the whole point of Christianity is to strive for a higher state where one becomes "Christ-like" by achieving something called Theosis. This seems to be the esoteric core teaching of Paleo-Christianity. Making the main character in your story exemplify this state makes sense as a teaching tale. That the plebs take everything literally and can't understand allegory and metaphor is a lamentable state of nature that isn't changing anytime soon, short of a mass eugenics campaign and even then, odds seem slim.

What's most interesting is that organized Churchianity started purging the esoteric people systematically in the 4th century onwards.
 

psychegram

The Living Force
If there are any metaphysical claims that are advanced by the Julius Cesaer story, I'm not sure that I see them.

In the mystical tradition of Greek Christianity (Orthodoxy) practiced most famously by the monks of Mt. Athos, the "Christ" is understood as a state that one strives for.

I think you might have answered your own question there.
 

psychegram

The Living Force
There are metaphysical claims that are advanced in the NT that are central to the metaphysical model of Christianity. Namely, that Christ's coming proved that there was a loving God who was on our side. This is proven by him being willing to sacrifice his son. This is a powerful message to put in your story to say the least.

If there are any metaphysical claims that are advanced by the Julius Cesaer story, I'm not sure that I see them.

Bit more detailed reply, as it's an interesting question.

The central metaphysical axioms of Christianity - loving God, universal savior whose death redeemed mankind from the archons, salvation through faith - all trace back to Paul.

Paul knew full well that his Christ was Divus Julius, the risen Caesar. True, he never directly says so, but there is exactly nothing in his writings to contradict this (very curious, as if Paul's Christ was Jesus of Nazareth and he'd written this somewhere you'd certainly expect the canonical versions of his texts to include this). There are also a number of clues in his phrasing that point in this direction. And of course, that Mark, an obvious Pauline Christian, so clearly based his gospel on Caesar, is a dead giveaway. FWIW the C's have also indicated that Paul was quite aware of this.

So: Christan metaphysics traces back to Paul; Paul's Christ was Caesar, and was the direct inspiration for Paul's metaphysics; therefore, Christian metaphysics cannot be in contradiction with this. It follows that to whatever degree they are, this is due purely to later doctrinal corruption.
 

PaleFace

Padawan Learner
Bit more detailed reply, as it's an interesting question.

The central metaphysical axioms of Christianity - loving God, universal savior whose death redeemed mankind from the archons, salvation through faith - all trace back to Paul.

Paul knew full well that his Christ was Divus Julius, the risen Caesar. True, he never directly says so, but there is exactly nothing in his writings to contradict this (very curious, as if Paul's Christ was Jesus of Nazareth and he'd written this somewhere you'd certainly expect the canonical versions of his texts to include this). There are also a number of clues in his phrasing that point in this direction. And of course, that Mark, an obvious Pauline Christian, so clearly based his gospel on Caesar, is a dead giveaway. FWIW the C's have also indicated that Paul was quite aware of this.

So: Christan metaphysics traces back to Paul; Paul's Christ was Caesar, and was the direct inspiration for Paul's metaphysics; therefore, Christian metaphysics cannot be in contradiction with this. It follows that to whatever degree they are, this is due purely to later doctrinal corruption.
And all of that sounds quite a lot like the position of the early heretics like Arian and Marcion. All this research is literally just vindicating their positions and the gnostics and the mystical tradition of Mt. Athos.

It doesn't get more paleo-christian than that.

Personally, I prefer Octavian by the way. Cesaer's seemed to have been following Justin Trudeau's political strategy of "if you kill your enemies, they win." Octavian didn't mess around though. He liquidated the Oligarchs and fulfilled Cesaer's promises. The NT writers should have added a sequel where Christ's successor comes and he's ready to wreak vengeance on the wretched Pharisees.
 

psychegram

The Living Force
Cesaer's seemed to have been following Justin Trudeau's political strategy of "if you kill your enemies, they win." Octavian didn't mess around though. He liquidated the Oligarchs and fulfilled Cesaer's promises.

Caesar killed enemies plenty. He wasn't a pacifist - he practiced clemency, after victory, never surrender.

Octavian I'm not such a fan of. He let others do his fighting for him. He stabbed Mark Antony in the back. His whole thing seems to have been just power for its own sake. Smart guy, competent statesman, to be sure, but not a particularly good man. It also looks like he was active in sidelining, maybe even suppressing, the Divus Julius cult (and therefore the early church), once it became inconvenient for him. That may well be one of the things that contributed to Christinity going underground and cloaking its origins by appropriating the outer form of Judaic cult.

There was a session a few years ago where the C's put the crew in touch with Caesar. He was no fan of Octavian, describing him as an awful, manipulative little boy, and seemed to regret having named him as his heir.
 

Approaching Infinity

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But his story didn't really make any metaphysical claims or change the metaphysical model of the universe like Christ's did. How exactly can Cesaer be anyone's personal savior? He can be a role model and a great historical figure who was smart, merciful, a populist, etc. but that's not really saying anything about the nature of the universe/God/souls of people. Even though the writers of the NT copied quite a bit from his story, its also hard to argue that they didn't add quite a bit of depth to the story and level it up a bit/raise the stakes.
Psychegram pretty much said what I was going to say. I'll just rephrase it a little bit and add a couple possibilities. First, I agree that there isn't any obvious metaphysical dimension to Caesar's story - as it has come down to us. But we should keep in mind that if there ever was such a thing, it could have simply been erased from the historical record. We don't know what the Divus Iulius cult believed. We just know a few things about it, and some basics about the Caesar myth: i.e., he ascended to heaven to become a god. And we know that he was very popular with Jews in particular. So to put that together with what psychegram wrote, for me it's plausible to speculate that Paul "saw" and creatively put together the metaphysics we have come to know based on his reading of the basic 'facts' of Caesar's life and ascension (assuming he was the first to think in these terms).

Regarding your last sentence, I kind of see it in similar terms. What Paul seems to have been doing is something like what Jordan Peterson says about the creation of hero archetypes. By "spiritizing" Caesar's life and character, he created a more universal archetype, which was still inspired by Caesar's actual qualities. OSIT.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
I'm still busy reading the book (kindle edition) and encountered a minor flaw at location 9226 where it states:

"NT scholars tend to identify this Herod as Herod Agrippa I, who had received additional lands after the accession of Claudius in 41 BC."

However, Claudius was made emperor after the assassination of Caligula in 41 CE.
 

Mark7

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FOTCM Member
First, I agree that there isn't any obvious metaphysical dimension to Caesar's story - as it has come down to us. But we should keep in mind that if there ever was such a thing, it could have simply been erased from the historical record.
Just a thought... One way Caesar could have 'redeemed mankind' was by changing history: something(s) he did created our current timeline.

IOW, if Caesar had not been we would be in an even worse position than we are in now with regard to 4D STS.
 

PaleFace

Padawan Learner
Caesar killed enemies plenty. He wasn't a pacifist - he practiced clemency, after victory, never surrender.

Octavian I'm not such a fan of. He let others do his fighting for him. He stabbed Mark Antony in the back. His whole thing seems to have been just power for its own sake. Smart guy, competent statesman, to be sure, but not a particularly good man. It also looks like he was active in sidelining, maybe even suppressing, the Divus Julius cult (and therefore the early church), once it became inconvenient for him. That may well be one of the things that contributed to Christinity going underground and cloaking its origins by appropriating the outer form of Judaic cult.

There was a session a few years ago where the C's put the crew in touch with Caesar. He was no fan of Octavian, describing him as an awful, manipulative little boy, and seemed to regret having named him as his heir.

From what I understood, Octavian promoted Ceaser's divinity at first, because he was his heir and this bolstered his popularity with the masses. I always sided with Octavian over Mark Antony, personally. But then, I also believe that the "barbarians" of the north and east like the proto-Germans and proto-Slavs (not the Celts, who let their women run wild) were generally far superior as a culture and a civilization while Rome was basically an endless mire of corruption and decadence. I take Spenglers' and Elidade's view that the history of Europe is the history of the great peoples coming from hyperborea (modern Siberia) where the spiritual practice are purer and but then degrade once they move south.

As for the cult of Caesar, well, how much do we know about its mystical practices? There were also other cults like Sol Invictus that Emperor Constantine adopted later on, but we don't know much about their mystical practices either. Or the Mithras cult that was popular among soldiers. We know a bit more about them, but still not enough.

The closest thing to the idea of a man becoming divine and ascending to the heavens that you brought up earlier is probably Arianism, which held this as its central tenant. It seems to be the closest thing to functional "Ceasarism" with a somewhat intact metaphysical core.
 

psychegram

The Living Force
From what I understood, Octavian promoted Ceaser's divinity at first, because he was his heir and this bolstered his popularity with the masses.
Only at first. Octavian's reign lasted quite some time and it seems he de-emphasized the cult when he felt it was less useful to him.

Always had a soft spot for Antony myself but that might be at least partly due to having watched Rome entirely too many times.
The closest thing to the idea of a man becoming divine and ascending to the heavens that you brought up earlier is probably Arianism, which held this as its central tenant. It seems to be the closest thing to functional "Ceasarism" with a somewhat intact metaphysical core.
This would probably be worth knowing more about.
 

mbww

Jedi
So: Christan metaphysics traces back to Paul; Paul's Christ was Caesar, and was the direct inspiration for Paul's metaphysics; therefore, Christian metaphysics cannot be in contradiction with this. It follows that to whatever degree they are, this is due purely to later doctrinal corruption.

If Paul was so much into ‘metaphysics’ and Roman god-models, he took his hobby a bit too far, don’t you think? He fought left and right trying to reconcile different factions of the nascent cult, travelled quite a lot, did some jail time and ultimately got whacked in Rome by not-so-godly Nero (a distant relative Julius Caesar relative btw) for an idea!? And that in spite of him being a self-declared Roman citizen? My point being, it takes more than a metaphysics construct to die for, what Paul hat preached and believed in was far beyond the categories of 'inspiration' and role model.

I mean we can write books and debate ideas today, but for them at that time it wasn’t as fun or intellectually stimulating, it was a matter of salvation, and the urgency was passing the message acting on that information. Hear the good news: the Savior has come, here's what happened, here's what we need to do and have faith for your salvation. And the message was passed along. Think of it as a grass-roots movement. There were the 11 Apostles and their 70 disciples, plus there was a certain mindfulness as conveyed to them by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Paul’s writings are invaluable, but he could not have single-handedly created all this 1st century complex and effervescence, and if you think of his writings as exceptional as they are for the shaping of Christian theology in the following centuries, they were not so prominent in the first century when Christianity sprouted and Christians had to already organize, provide for themselves and endure persecutions. What kept them going was the word of mouth, their faith in the living resurrected Jesus. And if you think that also was faked later by the Church and passed to us, because the early Christians in fact were believing and praying to Caesar, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to turn into a spaceship, wanna buy into it?

Morale of the story being: a brush of history combined with a brush of religion here and there and some critical reasoning don't go too far. You can argue and doubt anything about Jesus in terms of his divinity, miracles, deeds and sayings, but disputing Jesus' historicity and trying to re-imagine the origins of Christianity is an epic waste of time, AFAIC.

As for the authenticity of Paul’s Protagonist, the Damascus Road moment Paul had - or divine revelation or tapping into the ‘hyperdimensional information field’ as it’s referred to in the book - leaves too little wiggle room for elective affinities, usually a divine revelation is told as it is, nolens volens, but can’t mix personal material with it - so cross that inspiration thing.
 
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