This is a major work which shows that the gospels were created as literary satires by the Romans---in essence as war propaganda.

The English edition quickly sold out and so did the German hardback, but it can be bought online here
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16326821/Caesars-Messiah

Here are some of the reviews;
REVIEW: This is Joseph Atwill's mindblowing book Caesar's Messiah - The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus (2005) which makes a most convincing case that the Christian Gospels, were actually written under the direction of first-century Roman emperors to serve their selfish geopolitical goals. Was Jesus the invention of a Roman emperor?. Caesar's Messiah reveals the key to a new and revolutionary understanding of Christian origins. The clues leading to its startling conclusions are found in the writings of the first-century historian Flavius Josephus, whose War of the Jews is one of the only historical chronicles of this period as no other accounts of any Jesus have ever been found, not even in fields of archeology. Closely comparing the work of Josephus with the New Testament Gospels, Caesar's Messiah demonstrates that the Romans secretly directed the writing of both. 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. Similarly, Caesar's Messiah will rock our understanding of Christian history as it reveals that Jesus was a fictional character portrayed in four Gospels written not by Christians but Romans themselves. Caesar's Messiah will certainly be one of the most controversial books you will ever read about the history of religions. A must read for everyone.

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW (2005)
In Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy To Invent Jesus, author Joseph Atwill (Jesuit trained, founder of the Roman Origins Institute) advances the controversial but intriguing theory that Jesus of the New Testament Gospels was basically an invention of a Roman emperor for his own imperial purposes. If correct, this would reveal a new understanding of a two-thousand year old series of events with respect to our understanding of Christian origins. Atwill closely compares the writings of first-century historian Flavius Josephus with the New Testament Gospels and comes to the conclusion that the Romans directed the writing of both the Gospels and Josephus' "War of the Jews". The purpose of the empire was to present Jesus as a "peaceful Messiah" who would serve as an alternative to more revolutionary leaders who were creating havoc in first-century Israel and threatening the s suzerainty of Rome. If Atwill's investigations are sound, it could well mean that the Jesus portrayed in the four Gospels was written not by Christians, but by Romans…. Caesar's Messiah is controversial, thought-provoking, challenging, and altogether fascinating reading.

ACADEMIC REVIEW BY Dr HAROLD ELLENS Joseph Atwill has written an intriguing "Jesus-Book." He calls it, Caesar’s Messiah. It is ingeniously conceived, and ... Atwill's new study will be both highly stimulating and enormously controversial. It will entertain, inspire, provoke, and enrage various learned scholars and informed lay readers.
Atwill approaches his subject with the plainly announced assumption that "the question of how Christianity began" is "an open one." This claim is grounded in the facts that numerous messianic sects and mystery religions were perculating through Roman and Jewish cultures in the first century, all of which have proven to be fictitious, if not hilarious, and all of which have come to nothing, except Christianity. Moreover, we have no objective evidence today that a person named Jesus of Nazareth ever existed at that time.
So the author of this innovative volume has proposed a new and radically unconventional approach to the "Jesus question," and then carries his thesis through consistently to formulate an alternative model for understanding the narratives of the New Testament and the works of Jesus' contemporary, Flavius Josephus.
He tells a story never before attempted, sounds a trumpet never previously heard...should be a notable best-seller.

Tags: Flavian, atheism, gospels, hypothesis, new, testament, theology

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This is not a premise. It is a conclusion drawn from evidence.

Hal Ellens who did the academic review is a Christian minister as well as a NT scholar. Others have refused to read it. Many NT scholars are Christians who are invested in the belief in the historicity of Jesus, despite the complete lack of evidence for it. They therefore have a reason for not looking at evidence that will disprove their faith, such as the literary evidence that he is simply a fictional character. So why not read the book and draw your own conclusion from the data?
SUMMARY OF ATWILL'S EVIDENCE

For the last two thousand years, expressing disbelief in Jesus has been a heresy that led direct to the torture chamber or to the bonfire. Yet, the view that the Gospels are literary texts, and Jesus no more than a literary character, goes back to Porphyry in the 3rd century—whose works were suppressed and burnt by the church. In Elizabethan London the most prominent non believer in Jesus was Christopher Marlowe, one of the most expert literary figures of the age, who certainly knew how to distinguish a work of clever, imaginative, Menippean literature from a historical, factual account. But such brave lierary figures have been rare.

The majority of the key events in the life of Jesus in the gospels are satirical: several are an elegant literary satire of a military battle in which the Jewish armies had been defeated by the Romans. The Jewish War, culminating in the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, had devastated the Mediterranean economy, and the Romans were anxious to prevent another messianic outbreak. In order to make any reconstruction of the country lasting, the Romans needed to offer the Jews alternative stories that would distract them from the messianic messages inherent in the Torah, and persuade them to accept Roman values and to worship Caesar .

The Romans’ solution to these problems was to create a special kind of post-war propaganda. They called it in Greek evangelion, a technical term meaning “good news of military victory” which in English, is translated as “gospel.” The name is in fact ironic humor: the Romans were amusing themselves with the notion of making the Jews accept, as the actions of the Messiah Jesus, what were in fact literary echoes of the very battles in which the Romans had defeated the Jewish armies. A further joke was buried in unmistakable parallels between the life of Jesus and that of Titus: in worshiping Jesus, those Jews who adopted Christianity, as it came to be called, were in proxy hailing the Emperor of their conquerors as god, which was the Roman key strategic objective.

To replace the Torah, then, this view maintains that the Romans created a literary parody the Gospel of Matthew and shortly thereafter rewrote it as the versions known as Luke and Mark, modeled respectively on the Aeneid and on Homer. The central literary character, of the Gospels, called Jesus (or Joshua) inhabits a plot with various peculiar features: he begins his efforts by the Lake of Galilee; sends a legion of devils out of a demon-possessed man and into pigs; offers his flesh to be eaten; mentions signs of the destruction of Jerusalem; in Gethsemane a naked man escapes; Jesus is captured at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives; Simon denies knowing him; he is crucified with two other men and only he survives; he is taken down from the cross by a man called Joseph of Arimathea; his disciple John survives but his disciple Simon is sent off to die in Rome; after his death, his disciple Judas dies by eviscerating himself.

Each of these peculiar events has a parallel in the writings of Josephus, our sole record of the military encounters, from 66-73CE, between the Judeans and their Roman conquerors—even to the unusual crucifixion in which three men are crucified, and a man named Joseph takes one, who survives, down. Events at the Lake of Galilee launch the Judean careers of both Titus and Jesus. There Jesus called his disciples to be ‘fishers of men’. There the Roman battle took place in which Titus attacked a band of Jewish rebels led by a leader named Jesus. The rebels fell into the water and those who were not killed by darts “attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands” (Jewish War III, 10). Men were indeed pulled out of the water like fish.

As for the episode of the Gadarene swine—in which demons leave a Gadara demoniac at Jesus’ bidding and then enter into a herd of 2,000 swine, which rush wildly into the lake and drown—Josephus recounts the Roman campaign in which Vespasian marched against Gadara. In the same way that the demons were concentrated in one demoniac, Josephus describes the faults of all the rebels being concentrated in the one head of the rebel leader John. Then, rushing about “like the wildest of wild beasts,” the 2000 rebels rushed over the cliff and drowned.

There are a dozen such examples which appear in both sets of texts---and in the same order--- which provides statistical evidence that both works were created together as a single literary endeavor in the 80’s CE----and therefore demonstrates the non historicity of the Gospel accounts. Individual parallels have been detected over 200 years by half a dozen well known NT scholars but the entire set, and the implications, is summarized in Atwill’s book Caesar’s Messiah http://www.scribd.com/doc/16326821/Caesars-Messiah
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There's nowhere near enough conspiracy theory here. Thanks.

There doesn't seem to be any written reference to Jesus Christ, outside of scripture, prior to the end of the first century or some 60 or 70 years after the crucifixion. Those mentions are made by Josephus, if you choose to believe the 'Testimonium Flavianum' of which there exist 4 versions, St. Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome who I believe also was a Flavian. I covered as much of the recorded information as I could find in 'Nazoreans' @ nazoreans.com. There exists a ton of evidence that Christianity was a religion hijacked from the Gnostic Nazoreans, of whom little history still exists, and passed off as the revelation of a Messianic Jewish miracle worker named Jesus Christ. I also was able to uncover who were the likely Jewish Messianic candidates. Using some of Atwill's techiniques I was also able to discern the real Paul.

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