I have finished Caesar's messiah and corresponded a bit on Mr. Atwill's website. I must admit that I was very impressed with the book by the time I finished but I also have to say that I am less impressed now.
Perhaps my biggest problem stems from the political/practical problems with Mr Atwill's theory that the gospels were crafted to get the jewish Sicarii to lay down their arms and call Titus lord. The gospels are crafted in terms of universals. They do not name titus as messiah. What began as a religion for Greeks and jews (Paul - earlier) ended up as a religion for all men. The Roman patricians who laughed at Josphus' depiction of the jewish rebels would soon find themselves as the altar boys of the new cult. Someone should have warned them not to laugh.
If Titus was the new messiah, someone should have let Domitian know. Titus was emperer for two years before he died/was murdered. Some messiah! Domitian had Epaphroditus and Counsul Clemens executed and Clemens wife exiled. He may very well have been tring to stamp out Josephus's new religion.
I wonder whether Vespasian and Titus wanted Josephus to write a "Caesar's Gallic Wars " for them to mimic the work of Julius Caesar. My gut feeling is that Josephus gave them more than they asked for. That is, Josephus gave the roman empire a new religion to deal with - one that eventually swallowed Rome up.
In a post on his website, Mr. Atwill sumises that Josephus might have been a code name for some roman historian. We need a name!
Finally concerning the empty tomb. I think that this is a critique of Jesus's absence in Palestine during the Jewish war. Barbara Thiering feels that Jesus died an old man (76 years old)in Rome or in the Herodian estates in the south of France in about 70AD. I think that Josephus is saying that he was there and that Jesus or an heir of Jesus was not. Josephus might have been claiming that he should be Pope as the Messiah of Aaron.
I agree with Atwill that Josephus helped re-write the gospels to be in accord with Titus' campaign in Judea or wrote the jewish wars based on an intimate knowledge of the early versions of the gospels. Probably both!
You mentioned in a post that Josephus was a herodian but I like Atwill's suggestion that if there was a Josephus, he might have been a Hasmonean dynast. What do you think of the probability of that is? I am wondering if the writings of Josephus represent a Hasmonean "swollowing up" of an earlier Herodian version of Christianity!
Thanks, have a great day!
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