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  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

Jesus Invented by Ancient Romans?

Joseph Atwill believes he has found the truth about Jesus by reading the first-century Jewish historian, Josephus. Through Josephus, Atwill claims to have found parallels between the ministry of Jesus and the activity of the Roman Emperor Titus. On this basis, he claims that Jesus was invented by the Ancient Romans to control the Jewish population. But Atwill’s claim is so utterly without merit that even scholars that are extreme skeptics have denounced him. For example, Dr. Robert Price is considered, by mainstream scholars, to be on the fringes of New Testament scholarship. And yet Price makes the following comments about Atwill.

One hates to be so severe in the analysis of the work of an innovative thinker who gives us the gift of a fresh reading of familiar texts, but in the present case it is hard to euphemize. The reading given here is just ludicrous.

Likewise, Richard Carrier is also considered to be on the extreme left-wing. Like Price, he also has a doctorate in a relevant field and he makes the following comment about Atwill.

I honestly shouldn’t have to explain why this is absurd. But I’ll hit some highlights. Then I’ll reveal the reasons why I think Atwill is a total crank, and his work should be ignored, indeed everywhere warned against as among the worst of mythicism, not representative of any serious argument that Jesus didn’t exist. And that’s coming from me, someone who believes Jesus didn’t exist.

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Robert M. Price, “Joseph Atwill's, Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus,” 2005,

(Quote no longer available online.)



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