Salam 2 all.
Saya menerima artikel dibawah bertajuk "Christianity Has Nothing To Do With Jesus: Rome Created Christianity" tulisan sarjana Eropah bernama Dr. Harrell Rhome melalui sahabat yang memperjelaskan asal usul fahaman kristianiti moden. Memang selama ini saya agak tertarik mahu mengetahui bagaimana agama kristian boleh berubah daripada agama wahyu berteraskan Injil kepada agama pagan menyembah salib dan mempertuhankan seorang yang dinamakan Jesus.
Daripada mana datang idea ketuhanan triniti? Daripada mana datang idea Jesus anak tuhan? Siapa yang mencipta idea "Salib"? Daripada mana datang apa yang dipanggil Bible? Siapa penulis bible sebenarnya? Siapa yang mencipta New Testament? Bagaimana gabungan dua buku iaitu Old Testament dan New Testament boleh dijadikan Bible?
Bagaimana bandar Rome di Itali boleh menjadi pusat agama kristian berfahaman katolik sedangkan Jesus sendiri dikatakan lahir di Nazareth, Jerusalem. Siapa yang cipta institusi dan jawatan Pope? Dan siapa lantik Pope jadi 'vicar' atau wakil Jesus? Siapa berikan kuasa pengampunan kepada Pope? Siapa pula yang akan mengampunkan Pope?
Sebenarnya lebih banyak kita membaca mengenainya lebih keliru kita jadinya!
Dan artikel dibawah, yang ditulis oleh seorang sarjana dalam kristianiti daripada orang Eropah yang bukan Islam, sekadar menambahkan lagi kekeliruan itu. Apapun, saya berasakan wajar kita berkongsi tulisan ini untuk memahami bahawa agama kristian yang ada pada hari ini bukan agama yang dibawa oleh Nabi Isa 'alaihissalam.
Malah kalau ditanya Nabi Isa 'alaihissalam nanti bila kebangkitan Baginda berlaku, saya cukup pasti Nabi Isa 'alaihissalam sendiri akan menolaknya. Pertama nama dia sendiri bukan Jesus Christ, dan dia sendiri tidak pernah mendengar agama bernama Christianity!
Malah Nabi Isa 'alaihissalam tidak pernah mendengar Vatican City, tidak pernah mendengar nama Pope, tidak pernah mendengar nama Santa Claus, apatah lagi meraikan krismas dengan salji dan pokok krismas.
Sebaliknya kalau ditanya Nabi Muhammad saw siapa tuhan Baginda, pasti akan dijawab ALLAH! Apa agamanya, pasti dijawab Islam! Kalau ditanya apa kitabnya, pasti dijawab Al-Quran! Kalau ditanya dimana kiblatnya, pasti dijawabnya Makkah! Kalau ditanya apa perayaan yang disambut, pasti dijawab 'Eidulfitri dan 'Eidul Adha! Kalau ditanya siapa namanya, pasti dijawab Muhammad! Dan kalau ditanya siapa dia, pasti dijawab dia adalah Rasul utusan ALLAH!
Dan jawapan Nabi Muhammad saw itu pasti sama dengan jawapan mana-mana umat Islam dahulu, kini selamanya. Samada dia orang 'Arab, atau orang Afrika, atau orang Russia, atau orang Eropah, atau orang India, atau orang Australia, atau orang Cina, atau orang Melayu. Jawapannya tetap sama!
ALLAH Tuhanku, Muhammad Nabiku, Al Quran kitabku, Makkah kiblatku, 'Eidulfitr/ 'Eidul Adha perayaanku, Islam agamaku!
Semoga pembacaan ini memberikan kita lebih maklumat mengenai apa yang dipanggil agama kristian. Dan yang lebih penting, ia memberikan kita lebih keyakinan bahawa ALLAH Maha Esa itu benar, Nabi Muhammad saw itu benar, dan Islam itu agama yang benar!
Wallahua'lam dan wassalam.
Adios amigos, grasias senor.
Zulkifli Bin Noordin
17 ZulQaedah 1434
23 Sep 3013
CHRISTIANITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH JESUS
ROME CREATED CHRISTIANITY
By Harrell Rhome, M.Div., Ph.D.
Copyright ©2013 All Rights Reserved.
In the first century, the Roman Empire essentially gave birth to two major world religions, both Judaism and Christianity. Judaism was born when the old Temple-based Hebrew religion ended when Rome destroyed their Temple and leveled Jerusalem in CE70. The successor faith is based on the Talmud, not the Temple. However, the early Jesus movement arose several decades earlier. The first century was a most interesting era, producing many things. Among the subjects hotly discussed by people back in those times was religion. In the Roman world, everyone at least acknowledged the State Religion, decrepit as it had become, but few took it seriously. However, that is not to say that people weren’t spiritually active. Many other faiths were competitive. For example, Mithraism was quite popular, especially with the Roman military and all about the empire. Back in the day, theology and religion were topics on the public mind. This became rather intense at times, with people on all sides of the issues.
CHRISTIANITY, THE NEWEST PLAYER ON THE WORLD STAGE.
We’ll cover several theories as to actual origins, but let’s begin traditionally by assuming a prophetic character called Jesus (and several other names) in fact existed. His persona may be a composite of several similar figures back in the day. Even if he did exist, what he is supposed to have done and said in the New Testament seems to have little to do with modern forms of the faith. Explorer and linguist Richard Burton said some interesting things about this fast-growing new movement as well as the preceding decline of the old Hebrew religion.
“Presently a new Reformer appeared upon the worldly stage. The Hebrew code had long before begun to decline; for forms of faith, being but earthly things are subject to that eternal law which to every beginning pre-creates and ordains an end. Its decay was hastened by political convulsions. The Captivity of the Jews had supplied them with a multitude of new and strange articles of belief derived from their Pagan masters. Hence arose heresies and schisms, which further weakened the ancient edifice, tottering as it was from the effects of age, from the new creed-wants of the people, and from the shock of passing events. The Sadducees, adhering to the letter, rejected the spirit of the Books of Moses. Pharisaic superstition founded upon tradition -- that earthly alloy ever added to the pure ores of heavenly revelation -- was fast undermining the temple of Judaism. Idolatry had perished by slow degrees out of the land; but the contrary extreme, bibliolatry, to use a modern word, sown upon the wide ground of priestly pride and castish prejudice, had spread rankly over the world of Judaism. To clear away this poisonous growth, to reform the people of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth began his ministry.” Sir Richard Burton, The Jew, The Gypsy and El Islam, 1898.
Burton’s thoughts are impressive, to say the least, but if the events portrayed in the New Testament actually happened, numerous pagan authors would have told the tale, but this is not the case. No other writers even mention the alleged events.
THE EARLY JESUS MOVEMENT.
Truth be told, we do not really know all that much about very early Christianity. Apparently, it was somewhat of a polyglot mix, pretty mystical in the beginning. The Gnostics predated Christianity, and some were naturally drawn to a movement centered on an avatar figure. As we know, several other saviour figures are also known. One of the best works on these matters is by nineteenth century author Kersey Graves, who wrote the still controversial and informative Sixteen Crucified Saviors in 1875. Surely some of the followers of these figures, if hanging around in the Near East back then, would have been attracted to the newly emerging Christian religion, centered on stories of a similar miracle worker and prophet. Such figures already existed on the Palestinian scene as shown by the importance of the one called John the Baptizer. It would appear from the New Testament stories that Jesus required his blessing and ritual washing before fully assuming his own ministry.
Gnostics, Essenes and other mystics were apparently an influential part of the early Christian communities. Until the fantastic finds in Egypt at Nag Hamadi after WWII, we knew practically nothing about them. The Gnostic scriptures found there in the Coptic language open many new vistas. However, the Gnostics were not the only esoteric mystical faction, not by any means. The Essene monastic order was well known and influential. Indeed, Jesus, if he existed, (aka Esu, Issa, Yehoshua, Joshua, Immanuel) could have been an Essene monk, under traditional vows. Among other things, this explains his absence from the scene from early adolescence until around age 30 as well as his unmarried status. His public ministry began when he left the monastic community to form his own smaller group of disciples and close devotees. He wanted to directly meet with and teach the common people. Like that of the later Semitic prophet Muhammad, this movement was a poor man’s religion. No Priests, Popes or Patriarchs were required. At least, not in the beginning, but the Romans changed all that. Burton tells us more about Jesus and his esoteric Essene connections.
“A man of humble fortune, but of proud birth, the Founder of Christianity preached a creed in conformity with his circumstances. His tenets were the Essene, the third sect of philosophizing Jews. While the Pharisees were heaping traditions upon the original structure of the Mosaic system, and the Sadducees were rigidly preserving and adhering to the simplicity of that structure, the Essenes gave their whole mind to the ascertainment and realization of its moral import. They were thus the Sufis, the Spiritualists, and the Gnostics of Judaism. They abounded most at Alexandria, then the grand centre where the Greek and the Roman, the Indian and the Persian, met the Arab and the Egyptian. A species of anchorite philosophers, they called themselves physicians of souls and bodies; they lived in voluntary poverty, rigid chastity, and implicit obedience to the civil power; they were purists in language, no resistants, and haters of political action. A reformer is rarely popular, and reform is a dangerous work among a people so hasty and headstrong as the Jews. But Christ’s teaching was not for Jews only; he was preparing to spread abroad through mankind a knowledge of the One Supreme, when, falling a victim to priestly wiles, the Prophet of Nazareth suffered an ignominious death.”
The Essenes seem to disappear right after the beginning of Christianity, so they likely became an early and integral part of this dynamic and revolutionary religious movement. For more, see Dr. Martin A. Larson, The Essene Christian Faith, A Study in the Origins of Western Religion, 1980. As Burton said, the new faith grew among the kindred Arabic Semitic tribes as well as centering itself in Alexandria among the Coptic Egyptians. The Nag Hamadi Gnostic scriptures and many early Christian writings, such as the controversial but quite authentic Judas Gospel, were rendered in Coptic, an important language in church history. For more on this important manuscript, see my essay in the July-August 2006 issue ofThe Barnes Review historical magazine.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE EVENTUALLY DECLINES.
As the new dynamic young Christian religion spread about the ancient Mediterranean world, a number of things were happening in the Roman Empire. For one thing, it was disintegrating and deconstructing both culturally and politically. All empires change over time. The Roman Empire eventually became less and less Roman as it absorbed various races and cultures. Empires, by their very nature, are always international and multicultural entities. The mighty Legions were still a powerful force and Rome was still the superpower of the day, but the Legions were less and less Roman, drawing recruits from all corners of the vast realm. Once their enemies, the Germanic tribes became allies, but later took over and replaced the Latin hegemony. The empire came to an official end in 476. Romulus Augustus was the last Emperor, succeeded by the Germanic chieftain, Odacer. The “Second Rome” went on from Latin/Greek Constantinople until the Islamic Jihad ended it in 1453. Naturally, the Vatican continued reigning with its imperial Pontifex Maximus seated as a papal monarch, there in old Rome itself.
Now back to the earlier first century years. It was not as if the Roman Powers That Be were ignorant of their declining dominion. Far from it; various “recovery” and “stimulus efforts” were begun. Remember the importance of religion in the zeitgeist of the ancient world. In better times, especially when Rome was more powerful and productive, their way of life and their state religion were crucial to Romanization efforts. But let’s face it, the old gods and what passed for their worship had become much less relevant. Late Empire societies were worldly and morally corrupt, even in light of today’s laxer standards. The Coliseum, with its bloody games, free bread and wine, kept many distracted in the capital, but in the hinterlands, there were more than a few problems in the making. Provincia Palestina and the problems there were those of only one of the scattered and less defended entities.
Not only that, the empire was less and less culturally Roman, so a new focus was needed. Religions are always convenient distractions from the real world, so Roman leaders thought that a brand new one might do the job, perhaps redefining Romanism as a way of life to emulate. It was not like there weren’t various spiritual systems vying (as they always do!) for public attention and support. As said earlier, Mithraism was a popular mystery religion already on the scene. Like emerging Christianity, it too had a savior/avatar figure, sacred scriptures, worship on Sun-Day, baptismal rites, even a Eucharistic bread and wine ritual meal. Nonetheless, for whatever reasons, the new Christian movement was apparently more attractive to the Latin aristocracy and state authorities. Their involvement and eventual appropriation of the new faith began early.
THE EDICTS OF TOLERATION.
Before the Romans took over the church and made it the one and only acceptable religion, two emperors issued edicts, both saying that Christianity was an acceptable faith and that Romans could practice it without persecution. The first was the Edict of Toleration by Galerius, 311 A.D. followed by the Edict of Milan, by Constantine Augustus in 313.
“…so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation.” Edict of Milan.
Both Edicts were the first step in the eventual Roman takeover of the Christian movement. Among other interesting features, we see that the Christian congregations incorporated under Roman law, which was a way a group of people could hold legal title and property rights. As we know, in the modern era almost all churches are corporations. Within a few years after the edicts, more specific steps were taken to dominate, restructure and control the dynamic and growing Christian movement.
CONSTANTINE AND HELENA
CREATE THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Many years ago when I attended a seminary of a mainline Christian denomination, we were taught that Paul wrote during the 40s and that the Gospels were penned in the 70s, but of course we have no original manuscripts nor any mention of their existence. The earliest ones known are from the 500s and 600s. Hence my belief that the Romans carefully crafted and rewrote the existing Christian scriptures, among other things, telling us that Peter, chief of the Apostles, supposedly moved to Rome, shifting the center of Christianity from Palestine to the other “Holy City”. Thus the Roman Catholic Church was born.
Constantine and his mother, Helena, are heroically portrayed in Roman Christian art as shown above. After all, he and she essentially created the new religion and its various holy sites. It is said that she accumulated enough alleged relics from the “True Cross” to build two or three of them! One can imagine the excitement in Palestine when this very important and rich Roman woman arrived. Once it was determined that she was a gullible shiksa, seeking miracles and holy relics, with money to pay, they were delighted. They led her about, finding just what she wanted. This experience of the allegedly saintly Helena led to an ongoing “stimulus package” for old Palestine and the people who lived there. Almost 2000 years later, this recession-proof business continues, aided and abetted by priests and protestant pastors who get free trips and pay by recruiting gullible Christian tourists. Helena went back to Rome, telling her son, Constantine, to build churches and shrines all over the country. Almost all of what tourists see in the so-called Holy Land today, all the shrines and holy spots, are the result of her pilgrimages – and her gullibility!
Constantine came to the throne in 306 as a co-emperor, but assumed full control by 324. As we know, in 313 he issued the Edict of Milan, which declared Christianity an acceptable faith for Romans. His mother was already a Christian, but he did not convert until late in life. Even then, he retained the old title, Pontifex Maximus, which emperors held as chief priests of the state religion. This, of course, remains today as one of the supposedly Christian Pope’s pagan titles. The Romans simply took over the new religion, recreating it as needed for their purposes. As with so-called St. Paul, we know that miracles, mystical messages and communications with the gods are quite helpful and essential in starting and validating new religions. Supposedly, Constantine saw a holy vision of the Christian cross in the sky, thus winning a great battle in 312.
He not only declared Christianity as an acceptable creed, but eventually it became the only one, the official and required Roman state religion. One of the best sources about the recreation is Middle Ages Revisited by Alexander Del Mar, 1899. He illustrates how the old state religion was grafted onto Christianity, and it was totally intolerant of any divisiveness in doctrine. The priests of the old state religion were mass ordained as Roman priests, the ancient pagan temples were rededicated as churches and the household deities (Lares and Penates) and other pagan figures recreated as Catholic saints. A Great Goddess of one sort or another was popular all over the ancient world. Isis and Freya, not to mention various virgin mother goddesses named Maia, Miriam, Mariam and similar names, are good examples. But the very best of all was now revealed to the world.
Your attention, please, ladies and gentlemen. Now appearing in the arena, direct from the Holy City of Rome, comes Saint Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, impregnated by the Holy Spirit, Supreme Redemptrix, whose very heart is sacred and adored, and Queen of Heaven. Goddess worshippers all over the ancient world could find something to like in this new one, yet another universal revelation, but available only through the Roman Church. This has bizarre psychosexual overtones when the Church is also cast in the role as “Bride of Christ”! What a theological and metaphysical psychodrama these old Romans dreamed up! Goddess worship, fertility Idols, festive holidays and lots more. Without a doubt, Mariolatry is at the heart and soul of the Roman Catholic religion.
ROME WROTE AND REWROTE THE SCRIPTURES.
The new Roman state church organized and systematized the Christian writings. The Romans already had the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, but they had to get the newer writings in proper order. Back then, it was possible to seize and burn enough copies of any work to essentially lose and forget it. This was especially true if you threatened anyone who had a copy with death! Hence, many early manuscripts were destroyed, not only by the Inquisitors, but also by those who feared being found with them. Naturally, those singled out conflicted with what was becoming the Catholic (universal, empire-wide) version of Christianity. Many Gnostic manuscripts were lost, never to be seen again. But as we know, some were found at Nag Hamadi and the Essene documents were found near the same time at Qumran. A few others had already surfaced. Several works contain some of these lost books, including The Secret Gospels by R. Joseph Hoffman, 1996, andThe Lost Books Of The Bible, a compendium of ancient texts published in 1926. Also of interest, especially about Gnostic Christianity, are the late nineteenth century works of Gerald Massey. I have read the translated Nag Hamadi documents. Believe me, they are quite revelatory, even shocking, going quite far beyond what we find in the New Testament, but no time for that right now.
What is this collection called the New Testament? Once you get past the four gospels, Paul allegedly wrote almost all the rest of the Christian holy books, of course. The Romans reworked the New Testament, redacting and rewording, as they wanted, then destroying whatever manuscripts they used. Remember, the earliest extant documents are from the fourth and fifth centuries. A lot can happen in that long a time! Nothing remains of any manuscripts before St. Jerome/Hieronymus came on the scene. A skilled scholar and linguist, he was the editor and translator. His work resulted in the Latin Vulgate Bible, finished in the late 300s, and no extant manuscripts predate this. The Vulgate was the official word of God for centuries. Of course, almost no one was permitted to see it, including most of the priests. The Church allowed a few passages read as a part of the Mass service, but practically no one could hear them, much less understand them. This became even more obscure as fewer and fewer Christians could understand or read Latin. The Latin Vulgate was not translated into English until 1582, when British Catholics exiled in France received Church permission to do so. This version is known as the Douay Rheims Bible.
Until relatively modern times, while all Christians had heard something read from the Bible, very few of them ever had a chance to read or study it, even if they were literate enough to do so, and unless they entered holy orders, and even then, this was limited. Nowadays it is used as a conversion tool, found everywhere in hundreds of languages, and Roman Catholics have Bible study just like their Protestant counterparts. However, for a very long time, it was not like that at all.
ANOTHER VIEW OF CHRISTIANITY AS A ROMAN CREATION.
This cogent author essentially says there is no way that the Christian religion is culturally or ideologically from Judea-Palestine. It is blatantly and self-servingly Roman in all its manifestations.
[Begin quoting.] While the above claims [that is, the Roman origins] will, and should, trigger skepticism, it needs to be remembered that as Christianity describes its origin it was not only supernatural but also historically illogical. Christianity, a movement that encouraged pacifism and obedience to Roman rulers, claims to have emerged from a nation engaged in a century long struggle with Rome. An analogy to Christianity’s purported origin might be a cult established by Polish Jews during World War II that set up its headquarters in Berlin and encouraged its members to pay taxes to the Third Reich.
When one looks at the form of early Christianity one sees Rome, not Judea. The church’s structures of authority, its sacraments, its college of bishops, the title of the head of the religion – the Supreme Pontiff, were all based upon Roman, not Judaic, traditions. Somehow Judea had left little trace upon the form of a religion that purportedly originated inside of it.
Early Christianity was also Roman in its worldview. That is, like the Roman Empire, the movement saw itself as ordained by God to spread throughout the world. Before Christianity no religion is known to have seen itself quite so destined to ‘conquer,’ to become the religion of all mankind. The type of Judaism described in the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, was very selective as to who would be allowed to join its community…. [End quoting.] Joseph Atwill, The Roman Origin Of Christianity, privately published, 2003, now available as both a book and movie called Caesar's Messiah.
CONSTANTINE, CHRISTIANITY AND THE JEWS.
Contrary to popular belief, Judaism was a proselytizing faith in the late Empire years, but newly Romanized Christianity did not tolerate dissent or competition. A series of new anti-Judaic Imperial edicts forbade Jews from owning slaves or circumcising them. Synagogues and other worship centers were restricted, and Judaic pilgrims were permitted to visit Jerusalem on only one day out of the year, on Tisha Ba’av, commemorating the CE70 destruction of the Temple and the old city. Not only that, additional efforts were made to convert the remaining Jews in Palestine. Constantine elevated Flavius Josephus, a Judeo-Roman Christian, to a title of nobility. He was then assigned the task of building churches all over Palestine, especially in Galilee. As we know, these are the “holy sites” tourists are shown today.
Beyond all of that, Jews were strictly forbidden from proselytizing or accepting any converts whatsoever, even if someone should approach them! The world would soon learn, and endure for centuries, the way the Roman Church treated rivals or rejecters of any sort. Inquisitions, torture and death are rarely chosen over recanting, conforming and accepting baptism, but some did. Hundreds of unrepentant Nordic tribal chiefs were beheaded after they refused to convert. The traitor and sellout to the Romans, King Olaf, was named a saint for this. There was simply no room for accommodation of any sort. Catholicism was the latest and best of religions. All else was invalid, not to mention illegal. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Outside the Church there is no salvation!
King Olaf II Haraldsson (995 – 1030), later known as St. Olaf.
MORE ABOUT ROMAN ORIGINS.
For a most interesting and little-known alternative account as to Jesus’ and Christianity’s real origins, if you can find a copy, see The True Authorship of the New Testament, Authored by Arius Calpurnius Piso, Pen Name Flavius Josephus, a Roman, a small paperback published by Abelard Reuchlin in 1979.
[Begin quoting.] The New Testament, the Church, and Christianity, were all the creation of the Calpurnius Piso family, who were Roman aristocrats. The New Testament and all the characters in it – Jesus, all the Josephs, all the Marys, all the disciples, apostles, Paul, and John the Baptist – all are fictional. In the middle of the first century of the present era, Rome’s aristocracy confronted a growing problem. The Jewish religion was continuing to grow in numbers, adding ever more proselytes. Jews numbered more than 8,000,000 and were 10% of the population of the empire… of which many were descended from proselytes. … They feared that Judaism would become the chief religion of the empire.
The Pisos searched for a solution…. They found it in the Jewish holy books, which were the foundation both for the rapid spread of the religion and for the zealots’ refusal to be governed by Rome’s puppets. … Therefore, they felt a new “Jewish” book would be the ideal method to pacify the Judeans and strengthen their control of the country. The Pisos created the story and the characters; they tied the story into a specific time and place in history; and they connected it with some peripheral actual people, such as the Herods, Gamaliel [Rabbi Saul’s teacher], the Roman procurators, etc. But Jesus and everyone involved with him were created (that is, fictional) characters.
The Pisos, through Imperial power, were using the new faith deliberately as their instrument of control of the masses. Writing of this openly would have brought Rome’s swift vengeance and the destruction of the Jewish people. As it was, by the time the third Jewish revolt was crushed in 135. The Jewish response was to turn away from worldly politics and inward to the world of Talmudic study. [End quoting.]
As you see, this author says even Paul was not an actual character, and was a later Roman literary creation. Without a doubt, the history of Paul becomes very hard to follow after the alleged return to Rome as a prisoner. Truthfully, none of the stories can really be trusted. By the way, there is much more in this fascinating little book than what is shown above. A Wikipedia entry also casts doubt on Paul’s real identity as portrayed in the Bible.
“Talmudic scholar Hyam Maccoby contends that the Paul as described in the Book of Acts and the view of Paul gleaned from his own writings are very different people. … Maccoby theorizes that Paul synthesized Judaism, Gnosticism, and mysticism to create Christianity as a cosmic savior religion. According to Maccoby, Paul's Pharisaism was his own invention, though actually he was probably associated with the Sadducees. Maccoby attributes the origins of Christian anti-Semitism to Paul and claims that Paul's view of women, though inconsistent, reflects his Gnosticism in its misogynist aspects. Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University at Long Beach argues that Paul was a member of the family of Herod the Great. Eisenman makes a connection between Paul and an individual identified by Josephus as ‘Saulus,’ a ‘kinsman of Agrippa.’ Another oft-cited element of the case for Paul as a member of Herod's family is found in Romans 16:11 where Paul writes, "greet Herodion, my kinsman." This is a minority view in the academic community. Among the critics of Paul the Apostle was Thomas Jefferson who wrote that Paul was the "first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." Wikipedia, 2009.
Of course, the question is still before us. Who was the man called Paul? As you see, we don’t really have a very clear answer, but it seems he may have several identities. Gerald Massey sheds some light. He thinks the alleged Apostle may have been a closet Gnostic.
[Begin quoting.] It is likewise more or less apprehended that two voices are heard contending in Paul's Epistles, to the confounding of the writer's sense and the confusion of the reader's. They utter different doctrines, so fundamentally opposed as to be forever irreconcilable; and this duplicity of doctrine makes Paul, who is the one distinct and single-minded personality of the "New Testament," look like the most double-faced of men; double-tongued as the serpent. The two doctrines are those of the Gnostic, or Spiritual Christ, and the historic Jesus. Both cannot be true to Paul; and my contention is that both voices did not proceed from him personally.
We know that Paul and the other Apostles did not preach the same gospel; and it is my present purpose to show that they did not set forth or celebrate the same Christ. My thesis is, that Paul was not a supporter of the system known as Historical Christianity, which was founded on a belief in the Christ carnalised; an assumption that the Christ had been made flesh; but that he was its unceasing and deadly opponent during his lifetime; and that after his death his writings were tampered with, interpolated, and re-indoctrinated by his old enemies, the forgers and falsifiers, who first began to weave the web of the Papacy in Rome. In this way there was added a fourth pillar or corner-stone to the original three in Jerusalem, which was turned into the chief support of the whole structure; the firmest foundation of the fallacious faith. The supreme feat, performed in secret by the managers of the Mysteries in Rome, was this conversion of the Epistles of Paul into the main support of Historic Christianity! [End quoting, Paul, the Gnostic Opponent of Peter, as seen in Lectures,privately published c.1900.]
After reading and thinking a lot about the man called Saul/Paul, Massey makes a lot of sense. For more on this, see my article, Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul the Apostle), in the May-June 2011 issue of The Barnes Review magazine, in which I portray him as a Roman operative and intelligence agent.
Both of the new first century religions, both Talmudic Judaism and Christianity, arose and evolved in a Roman cultural and geopolitical milieu. Early on, Romanized Christianity suppressed Judaism as a rival faith, which it was. Judaism was a proselytizing creed in the late Empire era and Rome tolerated no rivals. The still evolving Christian religion was irrevocably altered and changed forever, almost completely separated from its former Judean Semitic Abrahamic roots. Rome took it over very early on. They recreated and redirected the movement, rewriting its scriptures, which now commanded Christians to pay taxes and be subservient to government authority. Roman Catholicism was now the state-mandated faith. You must believe or suffer dire consequences.
After looking at the preponderance of the evidence, one way or another, whether you like it or not, when you follow the historical and theological trails, just about every Christian sect comes from this thoroughly and totally Roman Pauline semi-pagan religion. Even today, Vatican influence is vast, but most often unnoticed. Eyes for Rome are all over the globe. For a significant portion of the world’s over one billion Roman Catholics, Rome still rules, and the Pope is the Vicar (stand-in) for Christ. Indeed, when priests are ordained, the Bishop says ecce, alter Christos, Behold, another Christ.
The conclusion is clear. Roma locuta est; causa finita est. When Rome has spoken, the matter is closed. If you think this is largely a matter of past times, think again. Among other things, the Roman Catholic Church is a major world intelligence network, as it has been for its entire existence. To begin exploring this concept, think of the implications of the sacrament of confession, where a believer’s inner life must be revealed to a priest to assure salvation. Naturally, all this plays out on the world stage, where the Vatican is a major actor. If you find all of this more than a bit frightening, then you are having a sane reaction.
Animis nostris Deus misericordiam habeat!
May God have mercy on our souls!