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The Roman Jesus Hoax

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Filed under: The Big One

From Joe King: Christ, will they ever stop picking on the guy?

Scholar Claims Jesus Was a Roman Hoax
by Benjamin Radford
October 11, 2013


A historical scholar claims to have found evidence proving that the story of Jesus as described in the New Testament is a fiction, and that historical claims about Jesus were actually created by Roman aristocrats to control the poor.

According to a news story in The Independent:

“Joseph Atwill, who is the author of a book entitled “˜Caesar”™s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus”™, asserts that Christianity did not begin as a religion, but was actually a sophisticated government propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire.”

Atwill”™s take on Jesus is of course not new. In 1844 Karl Marx famously declared religion as the opiate of the masses. History is filled with skeptics, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and other doubters who have questioned religious doctrine and dogma. (more…)

Jesus Christ!

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Filed under: The Big One

Doubts over Harvard claim of ‘Jesus’ Wife’ papyrus
by Nicole Winfield
AP News
September 19, 2012

ROME (AP) – Is a scrap of papyrus suggesting that Jesus had a wife authentic?

Scholars on Wednesday questioned the much-publicized discovery by a Harvard scholar that a 4th century fragment of papyrus provided the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus was married.

And experts in the illicit antiquities trade also wondered about the motive of the fragment’s anonymous owner, noting that the document’s value has likely increased amid the publicity of the still-unproven find.

Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding Tuesday at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a 2nd century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary.

King’s paper, and the front-page attention it received in some U.S. newspapers that got advance word about it, was a hot topic of conversation Wednesday at the conference.

Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, although there is no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. Any evidence pointing to whether Jesus was married or had a female disciple could have ripple effects in current debates over the role of women in the church.

Stephen Emmel, a professor of Coptology at the University of Muenster who was on the international advisory panel that reviewed the 2006 discovery of the Gospel of Judas, said the text accurately quotes Jesus as saying “my wife.” But he questioned whether the document was authentic. (more…)

LiteratEye #3: Really Great Sermon, Sir; Could I Have Your Autograph?

Filed under: Literary Hoaxes, The Big One

Here’s the third installment of LiteratEye, a new series, only on The Art of the Prank Blog, by W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of FIONA: Mysteries & Curiosities of Literary Fraud & Folly and the LitFraud blog.

And, as an added treat, here’s an article about author, W.J. Elvin III, from the Cumberland Times-News that appeared this week.

LiteratEye #3: Really Great Sermon, Sir; Could I Have Your Autograph?
By W.J. Elvin III
February 27, 2009


It began with an innocent question posed on one of the “ask the expert” sites. Someone wanted to know the value of a Superman autograph. The kindly expert explained that Superman was a fictitious character, and that there might be some value to autographs of persons who had played the role.

That got me thinking about fictitious autographs. Not fake autographs of real people but those of, say, Sherlock Holmes or Paul Bunyon or Nancy Drew. I wondered if anyone had tried to sell such a thing.

I asked around. Oddly, the name that came up most often from dealers was “Jesus.”

Now, that poses a dilemma. (more…)