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« Reply #50 on: June 23, 2009, 09:28:33 pm »

I think my reply will be okay...

Europe would lose a centralizing force that paganism would not be able to replace; thus I predict the subsequent rise of the Frankish empire would be much harder, if not impossible.
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« Reply #51 on: June 24, 2009, 02:03:31 am »

... Julian II could add a few of his thoughts I am sure.

i have always thought of his brief reign as a major turning point in history, one of the REALLY big "what if's".
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« Reply #52 on: June 24, 2009, 04:33:19 am »


The story comes immediately after a negative story about Pilate, and is followed by a scurrilous story about a certain Paulina. Josephus then returns to Pilate. A negative comment about another character would fit well, especially if it involved Pilate. In his comment about the execution of James, Josephus refer to 'Jesus, who was called Christ'. That could easily be written by someone who didn't believe he was the Messiah, but wouldn't be so plausible from a Christian, and certainly not from whoever added 'He was [the] Christ' a little earlier in the same book.

'Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or some of his companions]; and, when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned'  doesn't make much sense unless Josephus explained somewhere who this Jesus was. So it's reasonable to suppose that he said something, and that it was more likely to be negative than positive.

Thanks.  I'm not sure that you conclude, however, that whatever was said by Josephus about Jesus was negative simply because it's close to statements about Pilate and Paulina.  Wouldn't it be just as plausible to conclude that Josephus mentions Pilate's treatment of Jesus is an example of why Josephus tdisapproves or thinks negatively about Pilate?

How do we know that the text was modified at all?  Are there earlier texts or scraps of texts that differ from the later ones?
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« Reply #53 on: June 24, 2009, 06:25:42 am »

Slightly off topic but entertaining info from Forum's catalog:

Julian visited Antioch in 362 on his way to Persia. His visit began ominously as it coincided with a lament for Adonis, the doomed lover of Aphrodite. Thus, Ammianus wrote, the emperor and his soldiers entered the city not to the sound of cheers but to wailing and screaming. It didn't get better. The burdens of billeting troops and Julian's enthusiasm for large scale animal sacrifice worsened an existing a food shortage. Soldiers gorged on sacrificial meat made a drunken nuisance of themselves on the streets while Antioch's hungry citizens looked on in disgust. The Antiochenes hated him, nicknaming him axeman and making jokes about, among other things, his unfashionably pointed beard. Surprisingly, Julian's piety was distasteful even to the Antiochenes retaining the old pagan faith. Julian's brand of paganism was unique to himself, with little support outside the most educated Neoplatonist circles. Antioch's impiety to the old religion became clear to Julian when he attended the city's annual feast of Apollo. To his surprise and dismay the only Antiochene present was an old priest clutching a chicken.
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« Reply #54 on: June 24, 2009, 11:40:10 am »

Knocks the lustre off Julian a bit but probably pretty close to reality.
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« Reply #55 on: June 24, 2009, 04:41:06 pm »

Thanks.  I'm not sure that you conclude, however, that whatever was said by Josephus about Jesus was negative simply because it's close to statements about Pilate and Paulina.  Wouldn't it be just as plausible to conclude that Josephus mentions Pilate's treatment of Jesus is an example of why Josephus tdisapproves or thinks negatively about Pilate?

How do we know that the text was modified at all?  Are there earlier texts or scraps of texts that differ from the later ones?

We obviously don't know for certain what Josephus said, but I'm convinced he said something, as his comment on James makes no sense unless he explains who Jesus was. He's painting a picture of a word in which the situation for Jews is deteriorating everywhere, hence he includes incidents in Rome in this section, which have nothing to do with Pilate or Judea. The Testimonium as we have it simply doesn't fit, and the problems with it were noticed in the 16th Century. The first book on it came out in 1863, and scholars are still discussing it today. None, though, thinks Josephus wrote it as it stands.

The language and construction are different from Josephus'. Origen refers to Josephus as rejecting Jesus as Christ in two places, so he obviously knew his works, and didn't know the altered Testimonium. The first writer to quote it as we know it today is Eusebius, and the style is that of the 4th Century. Eusebius has been accused of being the forger, but I'm not convinced. The reference to the Christians as a 'tribe' is odd for a Jew, but later Christians did use such language. Some of the language does fit Eusebius, and there are other, more plausible versions.

If you're interested, it's worth getting hold of Steve Mason, 'Josephus and the New Testament', 2nd Ed, Hedrickson, 2003.
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« Reply #56 on: June 24, 2009, 06:08:48 pm »

Misopon or "Beard Hater" was a book written in Greek by Julian accounting his encounter with the Antiochenes.  He apparently felt that revenge in fiction would be a fitting way to vent his frustration on the issue.

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« Reply #57 on: June 25, 2009, 03:32:35 am »

There's some good stuff on the Testimonuim here: http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm .
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« Reply #58 on: June 25, 2009, 06:03:10 am »

There's some good stuff on the Testimonuim here: http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm .

Interesting link Robert.

Best, Noah
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« Reply #59 on: June 25, 2009, 09:52:42 am »

There's some good stuff on the Testimonuim here: http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm .

Very interesting.  Thanks for the link.
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« Reply #60 on: June 29, 2009, 04:07:03 am »

Oldest image of St. Paul discovered:

http://www.verumserum.com/?p=6573&cpage=1

I think that the catacombs of Santa Thecla lie near the Via Ostiensis.
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« Reply #61 on: June 29, 2009, 07:45:46 am »

I think that the catacombs of Santa Thecla lie near the Via Ostiensis.

Correct. The place lies a few km. away from Aurelian's Walls, not far to the Basilica of St. Paul Fuori le Mura (extra muros, outside the walls). It is an intensively built part of town today but in ancient times it probably was a rural area.

Regards, P.  Smiley
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« Reply #62 on: June 29, 2009, 12:00:52 pm »

They're now claiming to have found St. Paul's bones, but it sounds seriously dodgy to me. First or Second Century remains in a late Fourth Century coffin could easily be an ecclesiastical fake!

http://news.aol.co.uk/study-confirms-bones-of-st-paul/article/20090628165354980993062
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« Reply #63 on: June 29, 2009, 03:37:44 pm »

It sounds like another shroud of Turin to me.

Best, Noah
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« Reply #64 on: June 29, 2009, 03:50:02 pm »

sometimes, the truths behind the origins of various relics are no longer important.
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« Reply #65 on: June 29, 2009, 04:45:09 pm »

Problems arise, though, when 'facts' are invented or manipulated in order to sustain belief, or belief is placed in something which is subject to demonstrable evidence. It's no good 'believing', say, that a worn Tetricus I is a Domitianus. It's only Domitianus if the evidence shows that it's Domitianus. The same applies here, in a modified form. If it could be shown that the burial was mid-1st Century, then it could be said that it was 'possibly' St. Paul. As it is, the burial appears to be 4th Century. The carbon date is, by its very nature, not sufficiently precise to make a plausible identification possible.

If people want to convince themselves, OK, but the Pope is overstepping the mark in making an objective, apparently 'scientific' claim.
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« Reply #66 on: June 29, 2009, 05:16:19 pm »


If people want to convince themselves, OK, but the Pope is overstepping the mark in making an objective, apparently 'scientific' claim.

I am also quite surprised the Holy Father has fully endorsed this discovery as being Paul himself, if the Pope has been quoted correctly that is. I'll believe it when I see a press release from the Holy See. The Vatican is normally quite cautious about these things. Robert is quite right of course, there is no way of knowing the remains are Pauls, even allowing for the margin of error normally associated with RCD.
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« Reply #67 on: June 29, 2009, 05:22:50 pm »

It all sounds a bit like Ambrose and the whole Gervasius and Protasius affair.
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« Reply #68 on: June 29, 2009, 06:40:29 pm »

Problems arise, though, when 'facts' are invented or manipulated in order to sustain belief, or belief is placed in something which is subject to demonstrable evidence.

If people want to convince themselves, OK, but the Pope is overstepping the mark in making an objective, apparently 'scientific' claim.

I implicitly agree!  Any authority figure who uses so-called "religious relics" by implying that they are genuine while either not knowing the truth or, worse, knowing it is a false truth, is overstepping his/her mark. Case and point...Leo X using Tetzel for the sale of indulgences knowing full well the truth, yet misleading the populace.  The believers were utterly convinced in the legitimacy of these "passports to heaven" and duped spiritually.  I do not mean to bring this back to religion, but merely to attest to the fact that people will believe what their trusted leaders tell them.  Rome itself has many examples of emperors making statements to the plebs on behalf of the pantheon in order to get this or that accomplished.  It is not a new art.

PS - I bet St. Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew how "his supposed bones" were being used.  He was a man of action who wanted to get to the point of what he believed...not get caught up in religious relics.
 
Best, Noah 
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« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2009, 11:03:33 am »

They're now claiming to have found St. Paul's bones, but it sounds seriously dodgy to me. First or Second Century remains in a late Fourth Century coffin could easily be an ecclesiastical fake!

http://news.aol.co.uk/study-confirms-bones-of-st-paul/article/20090628165354980993062

Interesting story behind the remains.  When my wife and I were in Rome a few years ago a friend of a friend got us admitted to what is known as the "Scavi Tour" see here: 

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/uffscavi/documents/rc_ic_uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20040112_en.html

They open the tour to about 200 people a day (10 to 15 at a time) so we were very excited.  In brief, according to our tour guide, in the late 30's they started excavating below St. Peter's with the goal of trying to find Peter's tomb.  The pope at the time knew of Hitler's interest in the occult and religious artifacts.  As a result, he approved the excavation with the stipulations that it remain secret, occur at night and be done using hand and not power tools.  Dirt was secretly dispersed during dig, some of was gotten rid of in a remodeling of the Vatican gardens.  Excavations continued through the early 70s.  No one was told until much later, don't remember when.

A necropolis was discovered below the Basilica.  Mostly Roman tombs, but some of then taken over by Christians as can be seen by some of the murals and the stone tablets on the tombs.

The tour ends at the sarcophagus containing the bones that are claimed to be Peter's You can see them through a hole chipped into the side of the sarcophagus in a glass or plastic box.  There's a purple cloth in there as well. 

Very interesting tour, everything is very controlled from an environmental standpoint.  Lights go on only in the section where you are at any particular time.  Each section is enclosed by sliding glass doors.  Pretty high tech.  Fascinating tour.  Beacuase it was excavated so carefully, everything is remarkably well preserved.  You feel like you're walking through sections of an underground city.  Of course no pictures allowed.
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« Reply #70 on: June 30, 2009, 02:18:55 pm »

I've got a bit more time available now, so hopefully I should be able to finish the story!

There's nothing as useful as Pliny for the rest of the century. We have a number of detailed accounts of martyrdoms, and these reveal a good deal. Christians came to the notice of the authorities again about 150, about the time Justin Martyr wrote. A woman divorced her husband, who denounced her as a Christian. She petitioned the emperor, asking for time to settle her affairs, but we know no more about her. The husband then denounced Ptolemaus, her Christian teacher. He was imprisoned and tortured. Eventually, he was brought before the urban prefect, who merely asked whether he was Christian before sentencing him to death. Someone else in court protested this on moral grounds, and was accused of Christianity himself. He and another witness were condemned to death as well. Clearly, Christianity itself was a capital offence at the time. Justin, who addressed his 'First Apology' to Antoninus Pius, protested this as immoral.

In the late 150's, a persecution in the city of Smyrna led to slaves being tortured until they revealed the hiding place of the aged Bishop Polycarp, who was burnt alive after repeatedly refusing to recant or sacrifice to the Fortuna of the emperor. This is the first record we have have of an official search for a Christian, but it may have been nothing more than a response to popular pressure.

Justin Martyr and six companions died in Rome in the 160's, again after refusing to recant. Christianity was seen as a 'superstition', and its followers refused to obey state officials.

And so it continued, with sporadic local persecutions. Several more 'Apologies' (strictly libelli) we addressed to the emperors, pleading that Christians were peaceful, loyal and law-abiding citizens who were being punished unjustly, but to no avail.

On the other hand, Tatian argued that both Greek and Roman legal systems should be abolished, and the world should live under a single law, presumably that of the church. In particular, no Christian should hold any state office. Clearly, not all were so uncritical. In the late 1st Century, the Book of Revelation had prophecied dire punishment for Rome, and the radical tradition lived on.

In the city of Lugdunum, probably in 177, popular hostility led to the military tribune taking Christians into protective custory. They were accused of 'Thyestian fests' and 'Oedipodean intercourse', and, after a trial before the governor, Marcus Aurelius confirmed that any who did not recant were to be executed. It sems that in this case the provincial authorities were better-disposed towards the choice, but in the end thay had no choice but to execute the prisoners. The remains were given to dogs, then burnt and the ashes scattered, apparently in order to prevent any chance of resurrection.

It's clear that the persecutions of this period were local and sporadic; the emperors would support them, and insist on the execution of imprisoned Christians, but they never initiated persecution. Towards the end of the century, Tertullian, nothing if not an exaggerator, claimed that 'When the Tiber rises to the walls, when the Nile fails to rise, when the sky fails to move or the earth does, the cry goes up, "Christians to the lion!' What, all of them to just one lion?" On the other hand, writing in the 240's, Origen, an altogether more sober author, wrote that the martyrs were 'easily numbered'. We have no evidence of large scale persecution anywhere in the 2nd Century.
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« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2009, 02:28:36 pm »

Thank you Robert for your time!

So when was the first imperial initiated persecution?  around Decius' time?

Also, any accounts of the fabled Paul before Nero aside from Paul's own words?
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« Reply #72 on: July 01, 2009, 06:36:41 am »

Weymouth, Dorset. Embarrassed Been there. Nice place. Smiley
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« Reply #73 on: July 01, 2009, 06:47:32 am »

Great place, until some blackguard lops your head off and buries you in a ditch.

Thank you Congius for posting the Catacombs of Domitilla picture, I had been looking for that image to post but I forgot what they were called.
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Weymouth, Dorset. Embarrassed Been there. Nice place. Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: July 01, 2009, 07:08:18 am »

Another picture of St. Paul's newly discovered image with some more details:

http://www.repubblica.it/2006/08/gallerie/spettacoliecultura/icona-san-paolo/1.html

It is not clear to me whether the image is considered to be St. Paul for any reason except its similarity to other, later images that have also been assigned to the same person.

Another article (in Italian) with some more interesting info:

http://roma.corriere.it/roma/notizie/cronaca/09_giugno_28/icona_sanpaolo_vecchi-1601512290319.shtml

Here it is stated that the picture is very much in the tradition of the imagines clipeatae. This, and the artistic quality, let the scholars think the painting belongs to the grave of somebody with a high social position.

Regards, P.  Smiley
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