Joseph Atwill, author of the book CAESAR'S MESSIAH: THE ROMAN CONSPIRACY TO INVENT JESUS as seen in the documentary by the same name. Picture courtesy nLightning Workz. All rights reserved.
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Caesar's Messiah (2012)
Also Known As: Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus
Opened: 09/28/2012 Limited
|Music Hall 3||09/28/2012 - 10/04/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Through interviews with seven controversial Bible scholars, the "Caesar's Messiah" documentary shows that Christianity was invented by the Romans as a political tool to control the masses of the day, and it is still being used this way today.
The origin of the Christian religion has been a subject steeped in mystery for nearly 2,000 years. Who was Jesus? Is he a historical character? Who wrote the Gospels? Why are they written in Greek? Why did they have a pro-Roman and anti-semitic perspective? Why was the religion headquartered in Rome? "The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus: Caesar's Messiah" is a documentary based on the best-selling religious studies book by Joseph Atwill. Atwill is one of a number of scholars today from all around the world, who are questioning the historic facts behind these mysterious origins of Christianity. When examining the actual history of this era, many of the answers provided by the Church do not hold up to rigorous scrutiny. No doubt, Christianity has done a lot of good for the world, but a lot of bad has come from its most dogmatic believers, who create wars, hatred, and other harm under the disguise of religion. In studying how Christianity emerged, the seven controversial Bible scholars featured in this film agree that it was used as a political tool to control the masses of the day, and is still being used this way today. For example, support for the wars in the Middle East is preached to Evangelical Christians as a way to speed up the coming of the End of Days. Maybe we need to expand the possible answers about how Christianity originated, and deeper questions need to be asked. Maybe we need to examine what political motives were behind the formation of the Christian religion?
The documentary begins with a brief history of the political and religious climate of Judea in the first century CE -- the era during which Christianity emerged. Judea was occupied by the Roman Empire, which required them to worship Caesar as a god. The Jews found this blasphemous, and they waged constant rebellions against the Empire. Their religious scriptures prophesied that a militaristic warrior Messiah would defeat the Romans and lead the Jews to liberation. A string of numerous Messiahs presented themselves to lead the people in war against Rome, only to be defeated and crucified -- a customary Roman punishment for insurgents of the day. However, the Roman government was growing weaker from over a century of increasingly corrupt rule by the Julio-Claudian dynasty - the last emperor of this lineage being Nero, who was bankrupting the Empire with his self-indulgence. In their greatest victory, the messianic Jews finally succeeded in burning Rome and driving the Romans out of Judea. This caused Nero to call upon his best military men, the Flavians -- Vespasian and his son Titus - to crush the rebellion for good. The Flavians succeeded not only in destroying the Jewish towns of Galilee and their temple in Jerusalem, but after Nero was deposed and committed suicide, they seized the throne through a military coup and took over reign of the Roman Empire itself. Under the Flavians, the Empire flourished, and many great monuments were built including the famous Coliseum. In order to pacify the Jewish rebellion, they captured and burned all the Jews' scriptures. It is around this time that a new literature emerged with the story of a very different Jewish Messiah -- one who preached "give to Ceasar what is Caesar's", "turn the other cheek", and "love your enemy".
The second half of the documentary focuses on the documents the Flavians left behind which prove their authorship of the Gospels. The Bible scholars deconstruct the Gospels and the character Jesus, showing that they are based on archetypes found in the ancient pagan mystery schools and in earlier Jewish literature. Much of the teachings of Christianity are traced back to the writings of Philo of Alexandria - who was combining Jewish scripture with Greek pagan beliefs -- and Stoicism, a philosophy promoted by the Flavians. When the Flavians seized control of the Roman Empire, they needed to legitimize their rule, so they had their Jewish court historian Josephus create a large body of work which became the only official history we have of the Roman-Jewish war. Bible scholar Joseph Atwill noticed many parallels between this historic account of the war and the events in the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Through his study of the ancient Greek texts and his discovery of an antiquated Hebrew literary genre, he found dozens of parallels between the Jesus story and the war history that occurred in the exact same sequence. This shows that the events of Jesus' life which supposedly took place forty years earlier, were actually all dependent on the events in the military campaign of the Roman Caesar Titus Flavius. Ancient texts were much more allegorical, multi-layered and complex than today's writing, and when you read the Gospels and the histories of Josephus side by side, a new meaning arises which reveals the authors of the Gospels to be the Roman Flavian Caesars, their co-conspirators, and their literary team.
Along the way, the Bible scholars show how the Roman Imperial Cult - set up to worship Caesar as a god - formed the basis for the Roman Catholic Church, and that some of the Church's first saints were members of the Flavian court. Atwill also shows how the "second coming of the Christ" referred to a historical event that already occurred. Featuring scholars Joseph Atwill, Robert Eisenman, John Hudson, Ken Humphreys, Rod Blackhirst, Acharya S / D.M. Murdock, and Timothy Freke, this ground-breaking documentary not only gives us a revolutionary new understanding of the origins of Christianity, but shows how the political use of religion is still affecting our personal lives today. We currently live on the brink of an immense paradigm shift, and this modern time is very parallel to the era in which Christianity emerged. Studying this ancient era can give us the much-needed perspective for coming up with solutions to today's problems, so we can create the better world that we envision.
When we were first introduced to the book "Caesar's Messiah", our response to the idea that the Romans wrote the New Testament in order to control the masses of the day was equal parts belief and disbelief. The thesis made a lot of sense, and yet it seemed too outrageous in the face of the gigantic numbers of people who hold Christianity sacred and Jesus as a historic figure.
After a three-year journey of studying this subject more deeply and becoming familiar with the works of many scholars on the origins of Christianity, we feel that the thesis has much merit and deserves to be seriously considered as a likely possibility of what actually occurred in history 2,000 years ago. Though we didn't wish to dismiss the positive teachings of Christianity, it is the history and politics of the way the religion came about that we feel are the real issue.
The challenge then became how to approach such a scholarly and academic topic as the analysis of ancient texts, in a visual format in order to keep the attention of the audience. Thanks to the artistic cinematography of Fritz Heede and Marisa Maldonado, and the inclusion of classic paintings to illustrate scenes from the time period, we were able to avoid the pitfalls of re-enactments, which can tend to feel too concrete and forced of an interpretation of an ancient era. We were also blessed with interesting and passionate scholars who are a far cry from dry academics, being on the cutting edge of scholarship and in many instances challenging to the academic world.
As production progressed, we couldn't help notice the immediate relevancy of the "Caesar's Messiah" thesis to the unfolding of current day political affairs. It is our hope that audiences will open up to the possibility that the history written in official books is not always actual fact, and that religion is often used as a political tool to control the populace, even to this day.
Fritz Heede (Director / Producer)
As an aspiring music composer, Fritz worked with various production studios in every aspect of sound. He scored the Emmy winning NBC Special, Mystery of the Sphinx with Charlton Heston, followed by The Mysterious Origins of Man. Forming his own post-production facility, Fritz oversaw projects for the U.N., Julian Lennon, and the Grammies, among others. Teaming up with director Gerard Ungerman, he scored 4 documentaries, and was associate producer for the award-winning Hidden Wars of Desert Storm narrated by John Hurt. Fritz produced and scored the surreal art DVD Illuminated Manuscripts, as well as the follow-up 5.1 DVD Ritual Path which features singer Jon Anderson of YES. Fritz most recently produced an album of music co-written with Mr. Anderson.
Nijole Sparkis (Producer / Writer)
Nijole started out acting in community theatre, working every aspect of stage production, and performing on the rock music stage, touring and songwriting. She has a BA in Music Theory from De Paul University, studied Creative Writing at Antioch University - London, and Screenwriting and Recording Arts at UCLA. She taught singing for the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, and Disney's MMC TV show, besides running her own voice studio. Together with Fritz Heede, she co-owned a post-production facility, and contributed singing and writing to the Ritual Path DVD, and to an album of music with Jon Anderson of YES. She career coached many aspiring artists, manages the social networking site for the Center for Conscious Creativity, and acts as spiritual practitioner for the United Centers for Spiritual Living.
Marisa Maldonado (1st Unit Cinematographer)
Marisa's career spans the broadcasting and Internet fields. She served as the Vice President of Marketing for Eyecron, an online multimedia presentation company, and as Senior Manager of Global Promotions at Yahoo! where she was instrumental in the launch and implementation of global marketing strategies in Latin America and other international markets. Marisa worked in broadcast news at CBS and ABC for 15 years, and she was honored with an Emmy nomination for outstanding achievement in a breaking news story. Her broadcast experience encompassed just about every aspect of news production: video photographer, editor, news, special projects, and community programs producer. She is currently the Creative Director / Producer of her own company Last Kid Productions, Inc.
Joseph Atwill (Producer / Author of "Caesar's Messiah")
As a youth in Japan, Atwill attended a Jesuit military academy, where most of the school day was spent studying Greek, Latin and the Bible. In later years, he continued studying hundreds of books on the origins of Christianity, including the Dead Sea Scrolls. Together with Robert Eisenman, Atwill wrote a paper on the actual dating of the Scrolls. Atwill's book Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus was published by Ulysses Press in 2006, becoming a best selling work of religious history in the US in 2007. Its German translation has also achieved #1 Best Seller status.
Robert Eisenman, PhD (Professor of Middle East Religions, Archaeology, and Islamic Law, California State University, Long Beach)
Professor Eisenman is perhaps the best known New Testament scholar due to his very public struggle to have the Dead Sea Scrolls released. He is the author of numerous articles and six books, including The New Testament Code and James the Brother of Jesus. He is Director for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at CSULB, Visiting Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford, and holds degrees from Cornell University, New York University, and Columbia University. He has appeared in the television series' The Naked Archaeologist, Investigating History, and Mysteries of the Bible.
Timothy Freke (Bestselling author and internationally respected authority on world spirituality)
Tim has an honours degree in philosophy and is the author of over thirty books that have established his reputation as a scholar and free-thinker. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on Christian Gnosticism with his close friend Peter Gandy, including The Jesus Mysteries, which was a top 10 best-seller in the UK and USA, and a "Book of the Year" in the UK Daily Telegraph. In recent years he has articulated his own "lucid philosophy" in The Laughing Jesus, Lucid Living, and How Long is Now? He has appeared in the documentaries Who's Driving the Dreambus?, Secrets of the Code, and Time Machine: Beyond the Da Vinci Code.
D.M. Murdock / Acharya S (Mythicist, Archaeologist, and Author)
D.M. Murdock, who uses the pen name Acharya S, received her BA degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College, and is a member of one of the most exclusive institutes for the study of Ancient Greek Civilization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She served as trench master on excavations, has studied the classics and the Bible in ancient Greek and Hebrew, is well-versed in over 7 languages, has many published articles and radio interviews, and is the author of seven books including The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Her work formed the basis for the smash-hit Internet documentary Zeitgeist.
Rod Blackhirst, PhD (Lecturer in Religious Studies, La Trobe University, Australia)
Dr. Rod Blackhirst has worked as lecturer, researcher, and writer in Philosophy and Religious Studies at La Trobe University for the past decade. He holds a PhD in Greek philosophy and early Greek natural science, and specializes in the Greek tradition and the monotheistic faiths. He has diverse interests in philosophy, cosmology and religion, as well as traditional symbolism and traditional science across both Western and Islamic civilizations, and has written numerous articles on these subjects. He is one of the scholars who formulated the Flavian Thesis for the origins of Christianity. Dr. Blackhirst is a regular contributor to journals such as Sacred Web.
Kenneth Humphreys (Historian and Author)
Kenneth Humphreys holds a Master's degree from the University of Essex in history and social sciences, a post-graduate pedagogic certificate from the University of Leicester, and a higher national certificate in business studies. He taught for many years in the UK and abroad. Religion, and in particular the claims of Christianity, have been a life-long interest. His book Jesus Never Existed, published in 2005 by Iconoclast Press, currently ships to 30 countries. His website receives more than a million visitors a year. He is now fully occupied as a writer, radio broadcaster, and public speaker, and campaigns energetically against the tide of resurgent superstition and unreason.
John Hudson (Literary Analyst and Dramaturg)
John Hudson has a B.A. from the University of Exeter in Sociology, specializing in the sociology of literature and the structuralist analysis of Biblical texts, a graduate degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and also a graduate degree from the University of Birmingham in Shakespeare and Theatre, where he wrote a thesis on the Flavian typology and the history of the Roman-Jewish war as reflected in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also studied theology and the New Testament at the University of London and at the ordination program for Anglican clergy. He is artistic director of the world's only experimental Shakespeare company, Dark Lady Players, in NYC.