Helge, nice point that Jesus was partly based on Moses who is not a real person but a myth. The myth of Moses is however based on a composite of real persons with perhaps some other "arcane" elements. I concede your point that, in general, there may be aspects of myth that cannot be fully understood as being derived entirely from historical persons or astrology. That component however does seem to be shrinking as we solve more and more of the puzzles in sacred literature (to use Atwill's terminology).
Atwill certainly has given Jews one more reason to reject Christianity, as if they needed another! I seem to recall a book in the bookstore along the lines of the link you provided. If I read the criteria for a proper Jewish Messiah corectly, we all may be waiting for a very long time, like forever!
Did Rome stop militant Judaism? It appears that ultimately they did repress it. But feelings of specialness die hard. I can't help but notice the trend toward a more militant Judaism now that the Jewish "homeland" has been re-established.
I also can't help but see the parallels between present-day American culture and Rome. Traditional values and republican ideals are in decline. It is increasingly a culture obsessed with power, sex, and violence. Also, American elites once saw the utility of having a Jewish state in Israel, just as Rome once benefitted from a relatively peaceful Jewish state under the Herods (as opposed to a volatile period under the Maccabees).
Has the existence of Israel now become a destablizing force rather than a stabilizing influence for the Middle East and the World? Will "the powers that be" (including powerful Jews) eventually grow tired of militant Judaism and decide it is time for history to repeat itself in the "holy lands"? You don't have to answer that. I'm not trying to start a political debate, just observe another vicious cycle that appears "destined" to repeat itself.
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