Saturday, February 10, 2018

How old was Jesus when he became Teacher-Priest?

Luke 3 describes the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. John, six months older than Jesus, was then imprisoned and executed by Herod. John was an Aaronic priest through his mother Elizabeth. His father, Zacharias, was also a priest but not of such a highly esteemed family.
Luke then puts the spotlight on Jesus. He was a son of Mariam who like her cousin Elizabeth, Lk 1:5, was also of 'the daughters of Aaron'. They could trace their family back to Elisheba, wife of Aaron, and Miriam sister of Aaron and Moses. Luke then gives the priestly lineage of Jesus from Joseph to Adam.
The Bible says that a priest had to be 30 years old before he took up the mature, senior office of priest, Num 4:3. "From thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old..." (Some other junior posts could start when men reached twenty.)

"Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age," says Luke in 3:21.

But if Jesus was born in the autumn of 3 BCE and died at Passover 30 CE after 3 1/2 years mission, how could he be 30 when he started the mission? That would mean he started his mission in the autumn of 26 CE. Are there 30 years between 3BCE and 26CE?
That depends how you count them and Luke is very clear. The King James Version (KJV) says he began to be 'about' 30. The Greek however does not use the normal word 'peri' for 'about'. It uses another word for 'about' which invokes a comparison, oosei.
Why? Clearly it is drawing a distinction between the Greek or Roman calculation or arithmetic and the Hebrew.
Luke is after all writing to the Most Excellent Theophilus, chapter 1:3. This son of high priest Annas of the gospels, Theophilus, was put in office as the high priest in 37 CE by Vitellius who replaced Pontius Pilate. He was thus ethnarch or political leader of the nation. As such he was addressed with the respectful title of Most Excellent or Most Noble, kratiste.
He  was educated. He knew how to count in Greek and also in the Hebrew Torah!
Following the death of Tiberius who gave 7 years of peace to Nazarenes and Jews, Gaius Caligula threatened the entire Jewish people. He commanded that his statue should be placed and worshipped in all synagogues. Massacres of Jews took place in Alexandria, Egypt under Roman governor Flaccus and elsewhere. Then Caligula announced that he would place a huge golden idol of himself as Jupiter in the Temple itself. He would move the center of the Roman empire to the Temple and install himself there after having his divine status confirmed in Egypt by its pagan priests.
The cause of Caligula's wrath against the Jews? The Resurrection of Jesus the Christ -- which Tiberius had acknowledged as a fact but which threatened the fragile myths of the Roman gods, the invention of men.
Theophilus was high priest during the whole reign of Caligula. He needed to be stalwart in character to resist wisely with the minimum of bloodshed. That depended on his knowledge and education. How was he educated? By a teaching priest. Luke says:

"Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us, as they did deliver to us who from the beginning became eye-witnesses and officers of the Word, it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to you in order, Most Noble Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of the things wherein you were catechised." Lk 1 Literal translation 

Yes, a teacher catechised a potential high priest and one new in office to understand and fulfill all the complex rites and rituals. He was also informed about all recent political events that would effect the Jewish nation. He was the nominal head of government under the Romans. Theophilus had a very delicate task to perform.
In 37 James (Jacob) the brother of Jesus was recognised as the Superintendent (sagan or bishop) of the Temple and matters pertaining to the ordering of priests (see Acts 15 and 21:17).  Luke and the other gospels record that the resurrection of Jesus had been witnessed by all at Jerusalem. The priests in the Temple had a full view of the Ascension of Jesus forty days later from the nearby Mount of Olives.
What is a Teacher-Priest? To understand the basics we must rid ourselves of centuries of misinformation and gentile, antisemitic propaganda. Jesus is called throughout the Gospels, 'Teacher'. An unknown person, who according to the common "Christian" belief was a carpenter and who suddenly decided to become a roaming preacher, would not in first century Israel be called a Teacher. He would be called a carpenter. He would also be dismissed as a vagabond.
Jesus taught priests and lawyers in the Temple, many times. Obviously he had better education about the Temple and the Law than they had. He commanded their attention by his authoritative presentations and cutting reprimands, Matt 23. He called them hypocrites and blind guides.
A Temple Teacher must not only have deep learning but also an authentic pedigree to even enter the Holy Place. Genealogies were checked at the outer gates. He could not enter to teach priests if he had not fulfilled the requirements of priest himself. He must have been legally at least 30 years old in 26/27 CE.
So let us go to the Bible rather than traditions of a sect. Teacher in Hebrew is Moreh. It is a title. We find the term Teacher-Priest or Teaching Priest in the early days of the Temple. In Hebrew it is Cohen-Moreh. In 2 Chronicles 15:3 we learn that King Asa of Judah was greatly helped when the post of Teacher-Priest was re-established.

"For many days Israel was without a true God, and without a teaching priest (cohen moreh), and without law (Torah, teaching)."

Asa was the son of Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the son of king David.
He carried out a reform and purified the land of idolatry. This might seem costly in one sense as it required righteousness and energy. But the whole land was in turmoil, city against city and nations were against nations in the area. He destroyed idols. Asa's reforms were a disruption only to those who were not believers in the true God. That included some of his own family.
The result was that peace reigned instead of internal turmoil and external wars. In reality righteousness was a very inexpensive policy and it was a sure-fire way of protecting national security.

In 15:2 Asa was told: "The Eternal is with you while you are with him. If you seek him he will be found of you."

Soon after he started the reform, Judah and Israel were faced with a massive invasion from Egypt, then controlled by the Ethiopians and led by Zerah. He expected easy pickings from the what he had heard of turmoil and wars.
All Judah could muster as an army was 280,000 men. That is a considerable army in modern terms. But it was far outclassed by the Ethiopian army. They numbered one million!
In spite of being massively outnumbered the Jews vanquished the invaders.
Thus instituting reform towards the true God of Israel was the best insurance policy that anyone could ever have.
So what was the office of Teacher-Priest? This post is mentioned to Aaron in Leviticus 10:11, so it is very ancient. When the Bible uses the term Teacher it does not mean 'preacher'. That is a Protestant term. It means teacher of Torah. It is associated with the Temple. Who was the Teacher-Priest in the time of Jesus?
The lineage that follows in Luke 3 shows that Joseph, his father, was this teacher before him and Heli or Eli before him. Joseph is called a tekton in the gospels. This word means 'technical expert'. It does not mean carpenter in the Jewish context. It means expert teacher of the Torah. Jesus too was a tekton, a teacher.  From Asa's experience we see that a Hebrew tekton was a master of security for the nation because he could turn Jews and their surrounding gentiles to God.
Josephus, the first century historian, calls Jesus a teacher and also refers to him by another Greek word in the famous passage in Antiquities book 18. That is poietes, a divinely inspired prophet.  (Our English word 'poet' derives from this word.) Jesus, he said, was

"a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer (poietes) of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Anointed of God (Christ)."

So we have not only a priest and teacher but an anointed one. Anointing was not performed for the  high priests, like Theophilus, Annas or Caiaphas. The Talmud records that an anointed priest is in a higher category of holiness from an unanointed one and the latter must withdraw before him.
So having established that Jesus had this special, divine office of Teaching Priest, how can we show he was of an age that allowed him to take office, namely 30 years?
Understanding how the Hebrews counted reigns of kings and priests will explain why the Bible does not mention that king X reigned 5 years three months and two days. It always gives a whole number of years. Why?
In the Hebrew scriptures, the dates of kings and priests were governed by regnal years. Instead of noting a specific date in the calendar when the last king died and counting the days, the method was to note who was the king on the first day of the beginning of the civil year and then count the number of years that this applied. The civil year began on the first day of the month of Tishri, the Feast of Trumpets.
Counting the number of number of these feast days gives the length of the regnal years for the king. If a king B took over from his father king A in January and stayed on the throne until Trumpets, then he had reigned a year. If he died before Trumpets he would not have reigned that year, but the year would be given to the next king C who was in office on Trumpets. This would be noted as C's first year. The chronologer would not bother to note that he had only reigned a few months of that year.
So how does this apply to Christ?
According to the calculation made by Dr Ernest L Martin in his book, The Star that astonished the World, Jesus was born at the beginning of the first of Tishri at the start of the Feast of Trumpets, 3 BCE.
So we can calculate:
3 BCE to 2BCE is one year.
3 BCE to 1 BCE is two years.
Then we have to remember that there was no year zero. The next year is 1 CE.
3 BCE to 1 CE is 3 years.
3 BCE to 6 CE is 8 years.
3 BCE to 26 CE is 28 years!

So how could Jesus be reckoned to be 30?
Firstly, we should note that Jesus was born at the beginning of Trumpets -- at night. Hebrew days begin at sunset and end at sunset. There were shepherds in the field at night who announced that he had been born in their crib in their tents. (Jesus, James Joseph chapter 15)
So what part of the whole day of the Feast of Trumpets was the critical time that marked the king's reign and distinguished it from the previous king?
The clue is in the name -- Feast of Trumpets. It was the time when the trumpets sounded. If this was midday, then if the king B died before the trumpet he was without the regnal year.  If he took office only just before and died a few seconds after the trumpet he had reigned a whole year!
So we must count the time before the trumpets of 3 BCE as the first year of Jesus's life. The second year started with the Trumpet and continued to the next first of Tishri in 2 BCE.
So the calculation should read as following:
Birth to the time of Trumpets 3 BCE year one
3 BCE to 2 BCE 2 years.
3 BCE to 1 BCE is three years.
3 BCE to 26 CE is 29 years.

But aren't we still a year short of 30?

That's when we need to look at the gospel of Luke again. Luke 3:23 says:

"And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being according to Torah law (Greek does not mean 'supposed' as Jerome mistranslated it into Latin for doctrinal purposes. The word 'enomizeto' means regulated and according to nomos, Hebrew or Torah Law, literally legalized)  son of Joseph, ... "

Jesus was beginning his thirtieth year. Come the1st of Tishri, this would all be recognized as his year.  Under Hebrew law he was entitled to count this year. As Jesus was alive on this next feast of Trumpets, we can say with Luke Jesus was beginning to be thirty years and fully qualified to be priest.
Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple is available free on or in bookshops.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tom Paine debunks the Virgin Birth. What else did he miss?

Is the belief in Mary's Virgin birth is necessary for salvation? The answer to the question is "It depends on what you mean by Virgin Birth".  The conundrum arises because people today seldom read the Bible logically. They confuse what the NT actually says with common custom of "Christmas", nativity and Virgin Birth (that is virginal conception). There are animals and stables, mangers and the story of 'no room for them in the Inn'.
This mythology derives from the non-Jewish and often paganized church of the third and fourth centuries. The dogma of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) is maintained up to the present by Roman Catholics, Protestants and others.
The 18th century best-selling writer and revolutionary,Thomas Paine, opposed this false interpretation. Fine! but he was fighting many shadows and falsehoods. The paganized accretions of the church also added quite a number of falsities that are still present today.
Mary's name was not Mary -- it is Mariam in the Greek NT. This is equivalent to the name of the sister of Moses, a Levite. She was not a young girl but was an old woman like her cousin, Elizabeth. And Elizabeth was equivalent to the Jewish name, Elisheva, Aaron's wife.
Mariam was married and still a virgin according to Hebrew definitions. There is no stable in the NT. There is no inn. There is no cave. The city of David, Bethlehem, was not full of people. It was probably empty except for a few shepherds. (Claiming descent from David was a death sentence in usurper 'King' Herod's regime. No one was even called David in NT times!) No animals, and no stable. But Mariam did not give birth alone. That would have invalidated the genealogy. She needed at least two or three proven honest witnesses.
These false accretions came from Mithraism that was absorbed into Roman religion around the first century. The RC Virgin Birth came from classical pantheism were the gods descended and took human virgins to procreate the demigods.
The Magi did not come at the birth but a year or two later. And there were not three, there were probably hundreds or thousands of Parthian Magi in a caravan that caused the whole of Jerusalem to tremble with fear of another Roman-Parthian war. Parthia had defeated Rome in numerous times in bloody wars and a peace treaty had been made less than 20 years earlier.
And as Paine rightly points out this BVM business adds impossibility to improbability and the illegitimacy of the RC story. In fact it demolishes it. It requires patience and logic to discover and expose lies and falsehoods. A contemporary of Paine was the famous scientist Joseph Priestley. Like many of the scientists of his day, he wrote a huge amount of theology, as in the age of Reason, the logical methodology required was the same. Paine was not up to par on reason. I recommend Priestley's books such as "History of the Corruptions of Christianity" 1782, 'History of early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ'', 'Discourses on Evidences of Revealed Religion' (delivered at the church of the Universalists, Philadelphia 1796 and dedicated to John Adams).What is important is less the details of history but a willingness to find the truth, for example about the Resurrection and the NT as a whole and act on it.

Tom Paine is considered a hero of American Independence. Born in England, he became an American citizen and then in France during the Revolution was elected to the French Assembly! He wrote a number of books like Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and the Age of Reason, that were best sellers of his time. They still sell well today.
He was raised on the Bible and was able to expose quite a bit of the hypocrisy of the religion of his day. He described himself as a Deist and his rejection of traditional beliefs alienated him from many of his contemporaries.
He was also in conversation with scholars after he wrote this book, so we don't know his final thoughts. He was right to ask questions. But not all of his conclusions are correct. What is useful is the effort to separate the original truth about Christ and the later traditions of men and politicians.
If you consider the so-called Christian traditions of the RC-Protestants as a series of falsehoods overlaid on the biblical account, Paine exposed and removed some of the most pertinent. He said about the Virgin Birth in the Age of Reason that:
Were any girl that is now with child to say, and even if to swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and an angel told her so, would she be believed?  Certainly she would not.  Why, then, are we to believe the same thing of another girl, whom we never saw, told by nobody knows who, nor when, nor where?  How strange and inconsistent it is, that the same circumstance that would weaken the belief even of a probable story, should be given as a motive for believing this one, that has upon the face of it every token of absolute impossibility and imposture!"
No one would believe her then. No one should believe her today. Yet millions are taught this unbelievable and unprovable claim by a teenager as the foundation for religious belief and obedience to a denomination. Some blasphemously call this girl 'the mother of god.' That is a pagan title of the pagan Queen of Heaven.
Where did the Virgin Birth come from? Why is it held so firmly? The overlay here is ancient and pagan. It is that of the long-held, Greco-Roman gods impregnating human virgins. 
How did paganism get mixed up with Christianity? Thank the fourth century imperial church of Emperor Constantine for this mish-mash! Paine is right to show that such assertions don't make sense. They render the improbable impossible. He exposes it as an imposture. He was a free man and spoke his mind. In the Middle Ages the imperial church would have required his life. In fact Paine almost lost his life for his frankness.
The fraudulent doctrine comes by combining (syncretizing) current beliefs to make a new imperial religion acceptable to all. The imperial church and the popes gave 'Christian' names to the pagan gods. But this allegation of an unmarried teenager claiming a Virgin conception by a pagan-style god is at odds with the Bible.
The NT says the opposite. Jesus had a human father. Mariam says to Jesus about Joseph: 'Your father and I have been searching for you.' The disciples say that Jesus is the son of Joseph. Did the popes know better than the real mother and father?
But wasn't Jesus also divine? Where Paine does not analyze it is in the matter of a second birth mentioned to Nikodemus in John 3. This begettal occurred at the baptism of Jesus as an adult human. It was physically seen as 'the form of a dove'.
A further overlay of lies or ignorance that Paine does not speak of is the confusion of Mariam's marital state. Non-Jews of the RCC etc applied the Roman or  even modern concept of what 'betrothal ' is to the NT. Among Hebrews it was different. It is not Engagement. In Hebrew and biblical custom betrothal=Qiddushin= consecration. It means marriage vows and a divorce is needed to break it. So Mariam was married and with child.
It was clearly a miracle to everyone because she was an old woman! She was pregnant at what was definitely a post-menopausal age. 'By (the) holy spirit' means by the grace of God as elsewhere in NT.
Luke 1:36 says both Mariam and her cousin conceived in their old age (gera as in geriatrics) and as Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah and other holy women. Isaiah 7:7 speaks of 65 years but it is not clear whether this also refers to a married virgin.
No text speaks of a 14-year old. The 14-year old 'Mary' comes again from paganized demigod theology. The Romans assumed anyone older than 14 would not be a virgin.
There is a further overlay of ignorance or lies relating to what modern churches take a 'virgin' to be and what virgin meant to the Jews and in the Bible etc. The first century Jewish Christians were called Nazarenes Acts 24:5 and continued into later centuries. They were clear on these matters. Gentiles were confused.  Paine did not explore the sources of these errors although some of the scientist-theologians like Newton, Whiston, Priestley, Boyle did.
The scientific method requires that each step is proven before one moves to deducing a conclusion. That's why Paine needs to be read, checking and verifying with the Bible, other authors and Jewish writings. Some of this is summarized in chapter 15 of the free eBook

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Testament Q theory gets a failing 'D' grade

In a case before a judge in Court, a number of witnesses come forward and give their accounts. The accounts are all different in the sense that, though they keep the same chronology and essential facts, they are presented in different terms.
At base there is no contradiction.
Would the judge be correct to say they must all be wrong and made-up because they are coherent and concur? Obviously not. Logical coherence is an indicator of truth. If the witnesses are all known as honest people, he would come to the opposite conclusion.
They were all witnessing to real events.
Now turn to the Bible. That sort of logic disappears like vapor on a hot day when it comes to atheists trying to deal with the Gospels. They are confronted with miracles and the resurrection, in fact several resurrections. Atheists just 'know' that it can't be true. So they say the gospel writings must be myths and falsehoods kept alive at first by oral tradition. They say, there were no miracles, no resurrections. There was a band of dispirited disciples who were disappointed that Jesus did not vanquish the Roman armies. They say that only later the disciples got together to write down some favorable things about Christ and his sayings.
They start by denying some or all of the testimonies of the witnesses, then try to make up a story without the facts they don't like from the witnesses. How do you explain the world-changing power of Christianity? The facts they don't like turn out to be the crux of the case! Resurrections!
Then as a hypothesis to describe what happened, they have to explain why they mutilated the testimonies. How would the reduced facts lead any judge to come to the reality of what we see today about Christianity?

False premise.
The NT gospels, they say, were not written until perhaps a century later by surviving disciples or their followers. How then were the gospels so consistent and mutually supportive?
One attempt by these theoreticians was to try to say all the witnesses collaborated after a few decades by establishing a short, common written source. There were no miracles so this core was Christ's teachings. It was known as Q, for Quelle, source in German. Q was used to distinguish those passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke that look similar, one way or another. It is like saying: "I found a jigsaw piece that has the same shape as the gap to be filled -- more or less."
In the two source or multiple source theory, Q was added to the shortest gospel, Mark -- which they say was the early source --to edit and make versions called Matthew and Luke which are longer.

Q is a vapor!
Using Q as a basic story they supposedly invented other parts of the gospel narratives much later. Trouble is: no one has actually found this writing among the many thousands of manuscripts that have been preserved! We have more manuscripts of the New Testament than any other contemporaneous books in Greek or Latin -- thousands. Yet not one of Q!
 We have many early translations into Syriac, Coptic Greek, Gothic, Latin etc. Not one of Q!
Heretics made up lots of faked gospels. They survive in their hundreds. There is no manuscript of Q among them. Nor do the heretics use anything like Q! They all look like sectarian fakes!
Conclusion number one: Q did not exist.

Vapor dispersion
That does not stop Q theory being highly popular in seminaries today.
Most churches teach it. Why? 
While any sensible person would examine whether this idea is sound before teaching it, modern professors with no scientific training in logic don't. It has the superficiality of truth. It is a veneer only. Certain forms look alike. The problem is they don't make any sense.
Superficial form made it popular enough to be taken on board uncritically by church "teachers" who like to shock unprepared students. They in turn, when they become teachers, pass it on. Most church seminaries teach this false theory about the origin of the first three Gospels of the New Testament as fact. But the Q Theory or Q hypothesis is a falsifiable, as all theories and hypotheses are.

Delusion reigns.
This theory, created in 19th century Germany by skeptics and atheists wanting to destroy the primacy of the Bible, is now accepted widely by academics and theologians. By having a 'school' they can all write learned articles about the inconsequential details of a word, while ignoring the falsity of the whole.
It has become more and more popular as the level of general education has fallen. It can be refuted by a better understanding of first century history and a better application of logic.
Flawed logic of the Q theory should make it a target for debunking. But professors teach it rather than debunk it! Students seem unwilling to call out the errant professors. Theory masquerades as fact. Its basic prejudice should also preclude it from claiming impartial truth. Ignoring the historical context of the building of the canon should give Q a failing "D" grade.

When  were the Gospels written?
During the lifetime of Jesus. For example his royal and priestly birth was verified and logged in the official family records at both Bethlehem and Nazareth/Sepphoris and the Temple genealogies as well. (Josephus and others describe how comprehensively and minutely these were kept.) Jews and Nazarenes were the most meticulous pedigree keepers, far exceeding any Gentiles.
For kings, tribal leaders and priests and all who wished to enter the Temple, these official records were extensive. They had to show that a child had at least a ten-generation pedigree, each legitimately born of married parents. The marriages (betrothals) and weddings (home-coming) and births had to be witnessed by multiple, proven honest witnesses, all recorded. Matt 1 and Luke 3 show the royal and priestly lineages respectively, (Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple, chapter 10).  
Luke was written soon after 37 CE when the "Most Excellent Theophilus" was in office as Luke 1:1 records. He says also that many had already written histories and biographies of Christ. Luke's gospel (without this dedication) was probably in circulation before late 37 CE, when Theophilus son of Annas became high priest.
What we have is the official or Temple version of Christ's life and work. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. As such it was also deposited in the Temple archives. So it was written immediately, targeted at a readership of Christ's spectators and followers. It was well known among Jews in Jerusalem and also Hebrew-speakers in the Diaspora, such as Parthia and Babylon. (See the chronology of Temple high priests in chapter 14 on and the high priest list pp239ff in Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple.) 

Pseudo-scientific methodology
Poor logic and distorting facts should make Q theory unacceptable to Biblical students. A valid theory must stand on proven premises. False premises should rule it out before primary consideration. Students need adequate knowledge of the history of Christianity to define the premises. Sadly they do not have this background before they are bamboozled by power-posing professors.
Yet because it requires no historical, logical or scientific knowledge, the superficiality of saying three or four coherent gospel accounts must indicate an original written Q source, has made it popular among some academics.That assumes the disciples weren't capable of recording their own observations separately.
The rationalist /skeptical school is based on two false ideas: the resurrection did not take place and all the prophecies were written after the destruction of the Temple because no one could make such prophecies. Hence the dating of the gospels is all mixed up. The gospels are dated to the 80s, 90s and into the second century!

History confirms the Resurrections.
Hypothesis and conclusion: If the Resurrection is true, then historians would expect a major crisis in the Roman Empire. This would occur in the 30s and 40s when the astounding news was spread around.
It did!
Remember, there were many resurrections among the Jewish Nazarenes and others. Jesus appeared as a transformed being before the Jerusalem city officials and the legions in Jerusalem.. But a number of other dead individuals were raised to physical life again. These resurrected people included Lazarus, the widow of Nain's son but also many, many others. The gospels speak of other resurrections without naming names. They included the saints that were resurrected from their graves at the same time as Jesus, Matt 27:52. Even Josephus speaks of the great miracles of Jesus. Independent accounts of these exist, plus imperial, legal confirmation. Some are republished in Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple, chapter 32.
Josephus also speaks of the virulent anti-Semitism that took place before these events. The man who was officially responsible was not so much emperor Tiberius but his deputy, Sejanus. He was power-hungry and plotted to usurp Tiberius. When Tiberius found out about it, he carefully dismantled the plot and had Sejanus executed. He then looked at the evidence of the Resurrection, including reports from Pilate, and agreed it had taken place. He proclaimed Jesus a god! And he forbade Romans to persecute any of his followers on pain of death.

History proves armchair atheists wrong!
This shows that, contrary to armchair atheists, the proofs of the Resurrections were in full circulation, right after the events of 30 CE. There is no need to hypothesize that Christianity was some sort of minor movement of his dispirited followers who spread rumors of his teachings which somehow spread over the course of a century or two.
What happened after Tiberius died in 37 CE adds more proof that the gospels were all well-known among imperial circles. They were not only well-known but feared. The Resurrection of a Jewish King was distasteful to imperial Romans, because they despised the Jews. Worse. The Jews did not believe in the Roman Pantheon of Jupiter, Minerva and Mars etc. This Jewish God was better than all of them because contemporary Romans and others knew that the Roman Governor Pilate and the legions had all witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. They had probably interrogated the others who had been resurrected from their graves. The documents we have of later Caesars all seem to agree with that.
What of Tiberius's successor, Gaius Caligula? He was faced with the crux of the crisis. Either he accepted Tiberius's position and inevitable decline of the Roman gods and the Roman Empire or he had to give some proof of his own power above that of the Jews.

Caligula tries to be Christ.
In effect Caligula mobilized the whole Roman Empire against the Christians in a show of force and imperial power. Christ said he would come again to the Temple and an Abomination would also try to seize power. Caligula 37- 41 CE said he was god of the world, Jupiter himself. In his mind Jupiter was the king of the gods. 

The records of Philo, Josephus and Roman historians show that Caligula wanted as Jupiter to set up his capital and military HQ  in God's Temple in Jerusalem.
He would first defile it with a huge golden idol of Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. That would not only cause a Jewish insurrection against him. It would risk war with Jews and Israelites around the entirety of the Empire.
Caligula told his supreme military commander in the East, Petronius in Syria, to be ready for war on two fronts, inside and outside the Empire. He would massacre all disobedient Jews in Israel and elsewhere. Even worse this act would set ablaze a world war with the mighty Parthian Empire to the East. Many were Israelite exiles who had paid for the Temple reconstruction. Petronius set half his legionary forces against possible Parthian attack.
Did Caligula take Parthia too lightly because of their restraint during a half-century of peace? Or did he feel the war with Rome's greatest super-power foe plus eradication of all Jews and Nazarenes was necessary to resolve his Christ problem, that would inevitably entail Rome's pagan demise? 
Philo describes this in detail. Parthia had already defeated Roman legions under Rome's greatest generals multiple times (chart summary in Jesus, James, Joseph, p372). It was only when Tiberius agreed to peace with Parthia that the Temple had been rebuilt in 20 BCE.  This had brought a great and prosperous peace to Rome. Among other benefits was that the Silk Road to China was open to trade.

Roman gods die! So does Caligula!
Caligula wanted to risk all this in order to sit in the Temple of God. This was not madness, but power politics and egomania. Caligula risked the entire Empire on the idea that the Resurrection was false and his legions mightier than God. He did so because the gospels and many other proofs were circulating in Rome in 37-41 CE. Unless he defiled the Temple, the "Jewish God" would triumph over Roman gods and its emperor.
Caligula was well informed about the logical outcome of the Resurrection and the dangers for the Empire. So was the Senate. It refused to acknowledge the death of the Roman gods. The Resurrection showed they were all false gods. The Senate said they were in control of naming the gods. The Resurrection showed they were not. The world had thousands of expert witnesses saying the Resurrection was a real event.
Caligula tried to stop the inevitable rot and decay of the pantheon.
He declared he was the almighty Jupiter. He would kill any who refused to worship him. He would sit in God's Temple in Jerusalem as the immortal, supreme god himself! But he was attacked by his own guards! He died as he was about to set off for the East.

"To change God into a man is more easily done, than to change a man into God!" wrote Philo. (Jesus, James, Joseph, p 673).

The whole Roman pantheon that had existed for a thousand years collapsed in the first and second centuries. The world rejected Jupiter/ Zeus, Mars, Diana etc as false and fraudulent. They then turned their worship to new gods including the Sun. That deistic decimation wasn't done by Christians whispering to each other and passing on anonymous screeds. The gospels were written, not in a professorial study, but amid the most dramatic events of Roman history.

Those who support the Q theory willingly ignore the facts of history. The Q methodology assumes the gospel writers were like 19th century atheist German novelists cutting and pasting documents among friends for their amusement.

Circular arguments
Proponents of Q theory are in danger of falling into the vortex of a circular argument.
The theoretician Kloppenborg came up with the Q3 theory with three levels of Q documents in the gospels. He  defined Q1 as the earliest with only the Sayings of Jesus. He excluded by his definition anything other than these contextless words. Hence it would not have any reference to the aspects that are missing. Kloppenborg and friends did not like these other bits for his Q1. The second layer that later, so-called editors added was the prophecies. He called the prophecies Q2. Then the historical facts and geography were added. He called this supposedly later-written context, Q3. This mythical third layer of editing arose much later as the framework we see in the last redaction of MSS. Who wrote it? Unknown editors added this in a mysterious, still hypothetical document, that no one has ever seen.

If you believe this, consider my equally fictitious claim that I really wrote Q3 of Shakespeare and I claim all copyright on his plays! Or maybe Moby-Dick.

Q theory of Moby-Dick
I could do the same for a theory of the Q source in Moby-Dick by saying Herman Melville originally had two sources, Q1 without whales and Q2 about whales. Then I could say: "I'm glad Herman did not originally believe in killing whales! Q1 proves it." People could have great fun separating out the jigsaw pieces of which belong to Q1 and Q2.
The Q theory assumes that the earliest NT written source dates from the 50s. Not true. The Jews and the Romans had stenographers that recorded important speeches, especially those leading to trials or theological discussions in the Temple and elsewhere. The historical data and context of the gospels (including attempted ethnocide of Christians/ Nazarenes and Jews by Caligula, Nero and Flavians) are ignored in Q theory. 

Naming the Gospels
The complementary idea is that none of the gospels was written by people called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They were all anonymous at first for a century or so. Unfortunately for these novelist-theorists facts of history make nonsense of their armchair imaginations. There are no anonymous manuscripts. If there had been anonymous MSS circulating for decades, we would expect see scores of invented attributed authors (provided Christians were dishonest enough to invent authors for anonymous MSS). Prof Brant Pitre gives an intelligent and logical Roman Catholic rebuttal of modern skepticism in the theology he was taught and originally accepted at his universities at Good to see a Roman Catholic academic going back to the Jewish roots of Christianity. Worth watching!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bible Canon: Rome's Fake History about Nicea

The Bible claims to be God's book. The canon must have God's clear authority. It does not come from an emperor or any group  of humans who wish to set themselves up as canonizers.
Which group and which leader is the only valid one?

The principle of defining the Bible canon comes from the Golden Rule. The first part reads: You shall love the Eternal your God with all your heart and mind and all your force. The Bible needs God's authority to define it. The second part follows: Love your neighbor as yourself.

But what about the Christian attitude to their neighbors, the Jews and also Hebrew-speaking Jewish Christians? Doesn't the phrase 'Love your neighbor as yourself' originate in the Hebrew books of Moses? 

Modern sectarians and some 'scholars' say the Bible, especially the 'New Testament', was defined by the Church at the Council of Nicea in 325. This is fake history. This Church Council dealt mainly with doctrinal disputes such as defining the personage of Jesus Christ and a Creed. The New Testament was already defined for this. The dispute on the canon actually arose in the latter part of the century when the Roman bishop wanted to change it. (The bishop of Rome was not present at Nicea.)

Why then did more than a thousand years of hating the Jews follow? Doesn't the Golden Rule in the NT canon forbid it?

At Nicea the Roman Empire was then under the authority of the first 'Christian' emperor, Constantine. He was still unbaptized but had the enlightened attitude that the type of Christianity that he had witnessed in his native Britain could be tolerated throughout the Empire. Even before Romans and Christianity arrived there, Britain had never persecuted anyone for religious beliefs. Constantine learned about Christianity from his mother a British princess, Helena, daughter of King Coel Coedhebawg .

But in the East there was religious dissension and fierce anti-Semitism. He called a Council of the (non-Jewish) Christians at Nicea, relatively close to his capital of Constantinople. It involved a number of pagan philosophers plus the sectarians who had banned Jews and Jewish Christians. Rome, the imperial center of paganism, had long been abandoned as an imperial capital.

Was a new start possible? Constantine  took a tough line. He said he considered himself greater than all the apostles. Could he then define doctrine, the canon and stop the quarrels by making himself a dictator? Would you like Hitler or Stalin to be the one to define the Hebrew or Greek canon? Who would agree to a Roman dictator? only their followers--  the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. How does a dictator define truth? How does he  'manage' freedom of religion?

The Nicean Council set the new imperial religion on the wrong track. It condemned Sabbath-keeping and established what Constantine called 'the venerable day of the Sun'. Sun worship had been part of Roman worship since the collapse of the classical pantheon in the first centuries. It also banned the Passover and substituted the pagan Easter. 

From first to third centuries, Roman imperial religious Caesars wanted to extirpate Christianity by deaths, slavery or by disinformation. If the Roman authorities could not kill Christianity, the next best thing was to assimilate it into the pagan system of the College of Pontiffs. Constantine was now Pontifex Maximus, the Supreme Pontiff, ruler of all religious cults. (The popes use this title today.)

In Rome, then a provincial backwater to Milan, paganism still held sway among the old families. Rome depended for its continuation on maintaining a sufficient number of Vestal Virgins. Its Senate met in the temple of Jupiter Capitolanus. These beliefs in the pagan trinity and the virgin births of the demi-gods had strongly influenced the doctrines and theology of the Latin-speaking church.

Could Rome create its own NT Latin canon? Could it pick and choose the books in a Latin Bible? Rome then despised Greek wanted to exterminate all Hebrew speakers, Jews and Christian. (Paul wrote to the original believers in Rome in Greek, not Latin!) They were among the first to abandon the Passover for Easter in the second century. Its citizens generally knew no Greek. The Latin translations varied in accuracy. The Hebrew Scriptures were banned. But true Christians including those in Gaul and Britain knew the essential power of these texts. Many had died defending it. The memorized the books and recited them.

To influence Europe, Rome needed a Bible in Latin. The canon question only arose because Rome wished to alter the existing Hebrew and Greek texts. Why? Not for truth but for power and influence. 

The canon was already clear at Nicea in 325. Evidence? In 331 Constantine commissioned fifty Bibles for the church in Constantinople. The dispute about the canon arose decades after. By then further confusion and rivalry had occurred. For several centuries the empire had been victims of fraudulent gospels and writings. Each group opposed the other in saying which book should be added or which generally accepted book should be deleted because it spoke against their own pet heresies. The result was logjam. It was impossible for a body of pagans and error-ridden sectarians to add to the existing Bible or diminish it. They resigned themselves to recognizing the already established canon of the people they had killed, expelled or enslaved. The accepted books of the canon had been treasured and expounded for centuries in the faithful congregations around the empire and beyond.

What lay behind the dispute on the canon around the 390s? A jealous fight for leadership among the pagan and nominal Christians in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople. The majority of Christianity confirmed there was only one canon. Only one was possible. In 390s the Roman church was forced to set Jerome about the task to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin and revise the existing Latin NT versions to suit their purposes. But Latin holds no authority as a Biblical language. And soon Latin became an unknown language to the people and also to the priests who mumbled phrases they did not understand.

The Bible canon was fixed in the first century. That included the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek.(It excluded some genuine apostolic writings!) The writings  of Christians in that time show they quoted from this canon. How was this canon made? By the system of authority of the chief Scribe in the Temple (like Ezra) and the congregation of the leaders of the12 tribes, qahal, ekklesia (in Greek) as had been done since the Pentateuch. Jesus is called the president of the ekklesia in the NT. The term is epistates, 7 times in Luke. Check a lexicon or wikipedia His brother James held the same office, followed by John (who defined the NT). This is explained at and at, the site where the book of Dr Ernest L Martin on Canonization can be found. The modern-day writers who maintain Nicea as the time and place of canonization are victims of the same Roman disinformation, active for 1700 years!

David Heilbron Price is author of Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple available at bookshops and online at

Monday, July 17, 2017

Why the Temple is the key revealing true Christian history

Why was the medieval Roman church and the Orthodox church so antisemitic? Why were the Hebrew scriptures and all knowledge of Hebrew banned? Why were Christians expelled for 'judaizing' when it is clear that Jesus and nearly all the early Christians were Jews? The last verse of Luke says that Christ's disciples were 'continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God.' In Acts James, the brother of Jesus, instructs the Apostle Paul how best to perform Temple ritual. In early Christian writings up to the time of Jerome around 400, he is described as bishop of bishops, praying inside the Temple as Sagan priest. 
Church history has been turned upside down. Black means white and white black.
Why in short was Christian history re-written between the first century when Christians took full part in the Temple services, as the gospels and Acts say, and the time of Constantine in 325 when at Nicea he created an imperial Catholic Church? 
A major discovery mentioned in archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov's book 'In the Shadow of the Temple' p187f  helps explains what was behind the so-called 'lost centuries' of Christian history.

Here's what he wrote about an extraordinary discovery during the first modern dig near Temple Mount:

"Among the most outstanding volunteers working on our dig were students from Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, who returned annually in groups of 100 and spent six weeks in arduous and energetic labor. Because of their remarkable fortitude and energy we often assigned them to particularly difficult projects.
One was to uncover what could be found under the remains of the Moslem palace south of the Temple Mount. A group of Ambassador students set work among the foundations of the building, which sometimes extended as far down as 7 meters and included parts of columns from earlier buildings placed in secondary use by the Moslem builders.The year was 1970 and we were approaching the 9th of Av -- when one of the members of this group came running towards me flushed with excitement. "I've been looking all over for you!" he shouted. "What's up?" I asked, though it seemed pretty clear from the state he was in that he had found something interesting. "There's an inscription down there," he told me, and I accompanied him back to the area and climbed down the ladder to find that a column that the Moslems had incorporated into the palace foundation walls bore a clear inscription in Latin letters.
Even at first glance I could tell that this was a royal inscription, though most of it was still not visible. After a few hours' hard work we managed to free the column from the wall of which it had become a part -- without damaging the wall itself -- and cleaned off the remaining plaster that still clung on to it. Then came our startling discovery that it was a dedicatory inscription to the Tenth Legion mentioning none other than Titus himself.
We were filled with emotion because of the uncanny symbolism of the find. Here we were on the eve of the 9th of Av. One thousand nine hundred years ago to the day, Titus had briefed his troops on the storming of the Temple Mount. And now, in the renewed State of Israel, standing in Jerusalem, digging alongside the Temple Mount, we had come into tangible contact with Titus and his legions." (emphasis added.)

Ambassador College was collaborating in the first dig at Jerusalem organized by Prof Benjamin Mazar of the Hebrew University and the Israel Exploration Society. 
 Dr Ernest L Martin, who led the Ambassador College group, revealed the truth about Titus at the time that student John Turner uncovered the carved the Titus Pillar with the imperial name of Vespasian.
There are two versions of the briefing that Titus gave to his General Staff about storming and looting of the Temple in 70 CE. One is a short version. It looks more like Roman propaganda. Why? Because it appears to be a censored version that gives the entirely wrong impression of the facts. This was a common technique in Rhetoric or "spin" management as we would say today.
What it leaves out is more significant than what it mentions. The fragment is attributed to the historian Tacitus and says:
The staff told Titus: 'This holy building is the most beautiful structure ever built by the hand of man and should not be destroyed. If we leave it unharmed, its continued existence would serve as a witness to the moderation of the Romans. But if it were destroyed, the Roman name would be forever blackened. "
What it admits is striking. That the 'Jewish' Temple outshone anything in the Roman world is an extraordinary admission for any Roman writer, proud of Rome's achievements. Many other writers, however, make the same assessment. This account, in itself, indicates the desperation to put some form of positive gloss on what in effect was a global disaster to its prestige. Rome destroyed the World's Wonder, a city greater than Rome and in direct violation to the Treaty between Caesar and the Jewish Ethnarch.It blackened its reputation forever.
The extract implies that the Roman army were careful not to harm this Wonder of the World.
Is it true?
The fuller story is revealed in the Sacred History of Sulpicius Severus, an educated Gallic Christian, a post-Nicene father (NPNF, s2, vol xi, p111). He appears to be quoting from the same or similar historical records but this time he gives the unvarnished truth. The Caesars wanted to destroy the Temple because the Temple Teacher and his Resurrection made nonsense of their pagan pantheon of false gods. Hence the Empire was threatened.
"Titus is said, after calling the council, to have first deliberated whether he should destroy the Temple, a structure of such extraordinary work. For it seemed good to some that a sacred edifice, distinguished above all human achievements, ought not to be destroyed, inasmuch as, if preserved, it would furnish an evidence of Roman moderation, but, if destroyed would serve as a perpetual proof of Roman cruelty. But on the opposite side, others and Titus himself, thought that the Temple ought especially to be overthrown, in order that the religion of the Jews and Christians might more thoroughly be subverted; for these religions, although contrary to each other, had nevertheless proceeded from the same authors; that the Christians had sprung up from among the Jews; and that, if the root were extirpated, the offshoot would speedily perish. "
The Titus Pillar may have been a Roman celebration of the brutal destruction of the Temple and the subjugation of Jews and Christians.It was the victory pole of paganism. If it was erected near where it was found, it would have stood like a vile asherah, decorated with an pagan eagle in the court before the Temple.
If that is so, it would have echoed repeated attempts to erect the pagan symbol in the Temple to proclaim to all Roman supremacy of their pantheon. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate had, according to the contemporary historian Josephus, tried to infiltrate Roman Legion standards into Jerusalem, something forbidden by the earlier treaty between Julius Caesar and the Maccabees. He failed, due to the passive resistance of the Jewish nation, who would rather die than see their Temple defiled.
An even more remarkable event occurred around the time of the birth of Christ and the dying days of Herod the Great. Josephus records that Romans attempted to raise an eagle at the great gate of the Temple. Jews, in fervent expectation of the coming of the Messiah at this time, ripped it down. They were led by two fervent Jewish scholars, Judas of Sepphoris and Matthias of Margalus. Fearing the whole nations would rise against him and Rome, Herod burnt alive the main perpetrators and killed their students in a bloody slaughter. Wracked with a putrefying disease, he instructed his soldiers to gather the most illustrious leaders from the entire Jewish nation into the hippodrome and slaughter them all at his death.
Seventy years later Titus may have erected this Pillar as the Roman signal of their definitive destruction of Judaism and Christianity.
Despite the myriad of martyrs who maintained the facts of the resurrections, miraculous healings and personal revelations, Rome was unable to accomplish the human destruction of Christianity or Judaism. Then it became obvious that Rome had lost the war against truth. It tried another tactic: Fake history, disinformation and dissembling about why the Temple was destroyed.
The Titus Pillar reveals one reason for truth gap, the so-called 'missing centuries' of Christian history. It took centuries of antisemitic propaganda before the Romans could dissociate and expunge all facts about Christians' involvement in the Temple, where Jesus, James and Joseph taught and officiated.
Rome was destroyer of the building God had decreed to be built. How then could Rome, the determined destroyer of the King of Jews, the Chief Priest of that building, present itself as champion of Christianity? Only by centuries of killings and propaganda attempting to subvert all connections between Christ, the Bible and Israel. Then with an empire that had only modified its effete and dying paganism, Constantine could proclaim an imperial religion that he called 'Christianity' where the Hebrew scriptures, the Temple, Sabbath and the festivals were banned on pain of death.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What the Hebrew version of Revelation tells us

A Hebrew version of a chapter or two of Revelation in the British Library was re-examined by Nehemia Gordon, the Hebraist scholar. His two programs about it are well worth a listen. The Hebrew text plus English translation is available also at
Was it a late translation from the Greek or was the Greek translated from the Hebrew?
One aspect that may indicate that the Hebrew original came before the Greek (though the British Library copy was written out much later) is in the word for 'key' in Greek. The Hebrew uses the more colloquial and unspecific term for key  'nail' -- a key is a bent nail. It is more likely that the colloquial is translated to the more formal and proper 'key' than that 'key' was translated into the colloquial and ambiguous word 'nail'.

This is a bit like translating the word for gun into the slang 'irons'  which means side gun at least in the cowboy movies. "Leave your irons outside the saloon, boys!" But a translator from an unambiguous Greek text, in a legal document, would not use a loose term. Here we are dealing with a theological/ legal document that should not be misunderstood.
John would be more at home in Hebrew than in Greek. The gospel of John is, as indicated in the 'we' passages at the end, edited in smooth Greek by several people as co-witnesses.
The second interesting point relates to the concept of ekklesia = Assembly (as opposed to the RC/Protestant concept of top-down "church").  The gospels and the NT translates the Hebrew term qahal= Assembly or Congregation as Greek ekklesia. In the Hebrew Revelation the seven "churches/ekklesias" are translated by a derivative of qahalmaqhel. This can be translated as choir. Curiously, this concept choir = bangor in the ancient British tongue, is what was used to describe the first established Christian communities/ colleges in the pre-Roman Catholic Britain (pre-600).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review of PBS film: 'Last Days of Jesus"

The academics should be commended in trying to bring some contemporary Roman background into the gospel history. The PBS film on the "Last days of Jesus" can be found on You Tube at They did not however begin to address the major problem of Jerusalem politics: the Temple. This had been rebuilt with the aid of Parthia, the Israelite-run Super-State rival of Rome -- with whom Tiberius had tried to make and keep peace.  Vast populations of the Diaspora in Europe had also contributed in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

1. Sejanus was a key figure, a fervent anti-Semite. He like other Romans hated the fact that the Jews and the Temple were not subsumed in the Roman central control of the pantheon and the College of Pontiffs. Historical facts of the gospels in a Hebrew context make perfect sense. The scholars have, however, indirectly pointed to problems arising from the "Easter" week tradition of 4th century Constantine's imperial church. That tradition arose once he had eliminated all Jewish Christians. (The latter knew about the Passover dates, Davidic kingship and true high priesthood.) It is not honest scholarship if "scholars" re-write the gospels at their whim because of these conflicts or ignorance of first century Judaism. If the gospels are read as Jewish-Christian or Nazarene documents, many of the supposed "difficulties"disappear. See articles or
2. However, the program's theory of stretching a day to six months (including a half-year stay of Jesus in prison) does not hold water. The chronology is forced out of shape. The Crucifixion/ Resurrection occurred in 30 CE (verifiable by the Hebrew calendar). Sejanus was at his peak of power. Major facts left out: Christ cleansed the Temple at least two times. He cleansed it at the start of his mission. What is remarkable is that he had no resistance from the armed Temple guard, nor did the Roman legions intervene. What did he cleanse? The area was the periphery of the square Temple complex which was a furlong in length. The merchants' area may well have covered half a mile. Furthermore Mark 11 says he let no one carry vessels through the Temple. Alone? The gospels say the Temple guards ('the boys') cried Hosanna! He was in charge of the Temple guard! He had authority as an Aaronic priest because his mother was a daughter of Aaron, a direct descendant. So was John the Baptist via Elizabeth (Elisheva). John is called a high priest in the Hebrew Josephus. The next morning the high priests like Caiaphas, Annas came peaceably like kittens to converse with Jesus. Their question was about authority. Jesus had this. They didn't.
3. What is the picture with the correct chronology of 30 CE? Tertullian and others confirm that Pilate wrote dispatches to emperor Tiberius that the Resurrection actually happened and was eye-witnessed by the masses. It was undeniable. hence Tiberius acclaimed Jesus as god. The Senate (which was then led along by Sejanus) objected. They dug out an old law saying the Senate had to approve in the naming of gods! Tertullian mocks them, saying the poor gods, they would have to pray to the Senators that they should be recognized! Tiberius replied that anyone who attacked the Jews would be killed. It was at this stage that the plot of Sejanus fell apart. Sejanus was exposed and executed in autumn 31 CE. Later secular writings to the emperors indicate that Christ's divinity -- via the Resurrection -- was not challenged. The proof was irrefutable. Jesus was not a Protestant-style "preacher". He was a Teacher, a Temple Teacher. He taught in the Temple -- which is why the Davidic and Aaronic genealogies are in the gospels. They provide the proof of his authority. (It was forbidden to enter the Temple with long hair! ) The high priests call Pilate "Lord" as representative of Rome. But Jesus didn't. Why wasn't this a crime? He outranked Pilate. Pilate calls him King of the Jews and says he is innocent of any crime. Why? Because the Temple was considered a separate City-State with its own rules and armed priests. This was recognized in the treaty Julius Caesar made with the Maccabees.
If the academics would have stuck to the facts and proper dates, and avoided pet theories, they would have had a clearer explanation of many if not all of the problems they were seeking to elucidate. They would have also found that for the Romans, for Tiberius and for Pilate and Sejanus, 30 CE and 31 CE were not the 'Last Days of Jesus'!