THE PUZZLE OF DECIUS MUNDUS: You a Man or a Mouse? DID JOSEPHUS SPEAK ON JESUS THE CHRIST?????????????????????????? I believe that the Flavians did not intend to have sophisticated people like themselves take their invention, Christianity, seriously. Josephus describes the individuals who fomented the rebellion in Judea as “Slaves” and “Scum”. These are individuals that Rome would have seen as being susceptible to an infatuation with militant Judaism. It was for this group, Hoi polloi, that they created the religion. This is why the authors of the New Testament and Josephus felt free to put into their creations the puzzles and lampoons that “notified” the educated of the true origin of the religion. They did not believe that the masses-the uneducated slaves and peasants for whom Christianity was intended-would understand these puzzles, an assumption that has proven to be correct for 2,000 years. However, they certainly wanted the puzzles to be solved eventually. Only then could Titus greatest achievement-that of transforming himself into “Jesus”-be appreciated. My interpretation of the following passages is that they create a puzzle whose solution shows how the puzzles in the New Testament can be solved. The puzzle itself is quite easy to solve; the only difficult aspect of it is recognizing that the puzzle exists. There are three “pieces” to the puzzle. One of these is the Testimonium Flavianum, which is the name scholars have given to Josephus one and only, very short description of the “Christ”. The other two “pieces” of the puzzle are the two tales that immediately follow the Testimonium. To date, scholars have not recognized that the Testimonium and the two tales that follow it create a puzzle, simply because they have failed to see that the three tales must have been created as an interrelated set-that is, they were created in direct relationship to one another. Once this proposition is understood, it becomes clear that they form a puzzle whose solution is also obvious. Here is the Testimonium and the two odd tales that follow it Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer 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] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. 4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman, who was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae for one night's lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours, he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina's sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skillful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man's resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others,) and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope, by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night's lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmae for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: She went to some of Isis's priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of twenty-five thousand drachmae in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly, the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina; and upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him. Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly, she went to the temple, and after she had supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein,) and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god; and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends, also, she declared how great a value she put upon this favor, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretense for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, "Nay, Paulina, thou hast saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which sum thou sightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis." When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would. 5. There was a man who was a Jew, but had been driven away from his own country by an accusation laid against him for transgressing their laws, and by the fear he was under of punishment for the same; but in all respects a wicked man. He, then living at Rome, professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses. He procured also three other men, entirely of the same character with himself, to be his partners. These men persuaded Fulvia, a woman of great dignity, and one that had embraced the Jewish religion, to send purple and gold to the temple at Jerusalem; and when they had gotten them, they employed them for their own uses, and spent the money themselves, on which account it was that they at first required it of her. Whereupon Tiberius, who had been informed of the thing by Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who desired inquiry might be made about it, ordered all the Jews to be banished out of Rome; at which time the consuls listed four thousand men out of them, and sent them to the island Sardinia; but punished a greater number of them, who were unwilling to become soldiers, on account of keeping the laws of their forefathers. Thus were these Jews banished out of the city by the wickedness of four men. First, it should be noted that the two tales that follow the Testimonium, are oddly tangential from the narration Josephus has been engaged in up to this point, which describes Pontius Pilates military activity in Judea. They stand out both because of their location, Rome, as well as their lightweight, ribald substance. Josephus is here using an unusual Judaic literary structure called “pedimental composition”, in which the different passages form columns of a temple. Josephus uses a particular pedimental style of composition in which three pillars form a literary temple. The two side columns are small; both concern issues having to do with the Jews, and the left-hand column is the famous passage about Christ. Unfortunately, scholars have focused on the left-hand passage, while ignoring the overall literary composition and the overall rhetorical structure, which indicates that the focus of attention should be on the central column. It was another clever stroke for Josephus to use a Temple-Like literary structure to describe an account of a temple. This pedimental structure with the focus on the central passage similarly is used in the book of Leviticus in which chapters 18-20 form the side columns and chapter 19 forms the central column of a literary temple. Moreover, there is a claim within the tales that is verifiably false. The temple of Isis was not destroyed during this era, a fact that Josephus was aware of. He wrote that Vespasian and Titus had spent the night before the celebration of the completion of the Judaic war at the Temple of Isis. This led me to question why Josephus knowingly records an obvious spoof as history. To begin this analysis, I want to point out what I understand about the name of the protagonist in the first and longer tale, Decius Mundus . Mundus is a Latin word for “World”, or “Earth”. The name Decius Mundus, I believe, is a pun on Decius Mus, a name given to both a father and son, who were among Rome’s greatest military heroes. Both father and son had devoted (Devotio) themselves; that is to say, in the midst of fierce battles they had sacrificed themselves. The devotion was a religious ritual of the Roman army that was made to all gods, known and unknown, roman and enemy. One of its purposes was to induce the gods of the enemy to defect to the roman side of a conflict. As I have mentioned, the romans felt that they were divinely inspired to conquer. By the beginning of the first century, Rome had for hundreds of years fought and conquered not only their enemies, but also the Gods of their enemies’ Gods. In the ritual, one Roman, together with the legions of the enemy, would be “devoted” to the Gods. In effect, one Roman would sacrifice himself for the good of the many, Thus, Decius Mus offered himself as a sacrifice to all the Gods, agreeing to give up his life in exchange for their assistance in taking the enemy along with him to the underworld. At first both armies fought with equal strength and equal determination. Aftter a time the Romans hastati on the left, unable to withstand the insistency of the Latins, retired behind the principles. During the temporary confusion created by this movement, Decius exclaimed in a loud voice to M. Valerius: “valerius, we need the help of the gods! Come now, you are a state pontiff of the Roman people-dictate the formula whereby I may devote myself to save the legions… “…Janus, Jupiter, the father Mars, Quirinus, Bellona, Lares, new Gods deities to whom belongs the power over us and over our foes, and ye, too, divine Manes, I pray to you, I do you reverence, I crave your grace and I favour that you will bless the Roman people, the Quirites, with power and victory, and visit the enemies of the Roman people, the Quirites, with fear and dread and death. In like manner as I have uttered this prayer so do I now on behalf of the common-wealth of the Quirites, on behalf of the army, the legions, the auxiliaries of the Roman people, the Quirites, devote the legions and auxillaries of the enemy, together with myself to the Divine Manes and to earth. …to those who watched him in both armies, he appeared something awful and superhuman, as though sent from heaven to expiate and appease all the anger of the gods and to avert destruction from his people and bring it on their enemies. All the dread and terror which he carried with him threw the front ranks of the Latin’s into confusion which soon spread throughout the entire army. This was most evident, for wherever his horse carried him they were paralyzed as though struck by some death –dealing star; but when he fell, overwhelmed with darts, the Latin cohorts, in a state of perfect consternation, fled from the spot and left a large space clear. The Romans, on the other hand, freed from all religious fears. Pressed forward. (Livy, Early History of Rome Book 8) Decius Mus famous self-sacrifice, which parallels Jesus, was performed to “Free the Romans from all religious fears”. To accomplish this he offered his life to both the gods of the Romans (The Quirites) and the gods of his enemies. This technique was aimed at “appeasing” the gods of Rome’s enemies and thus freeing the romans from concerns about whether these gods would give divine assistance to their enemies. Notice that Decius also appealed to “New Gods”. I suspect that Decius “mundus” or Decius “World” would have been understood by a patrician as a pun calling to mind Decius Mus on a worldwide scale, showing the Romans’ global intentions for their new religion. This wordplay to show a larger scale for Decius Mus is emphasized by the fact that “Mus” means “Mouse” in Latin. If a playwright created a character named Napoleon World, it would be obvious which character in history he was lampooning. Decius was perhaps Rome’s most famous war hero and all patricians were aware of his exploits. For example, the Roman satirist Juvenal, writing during the Flavian era, waxed glowingly about the heroics of Decius Mus. Juvenal clearly understood that his audience was familiar with Decius and his devotion as he refers to both without explanation. In Josephus story, the author writes that Decius mundus had a “resolution to kill himself”, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others). Decius Mundus is, thus, parallel to both Decius Mus and Jesus in that none of them concealed from others their intention to destroy themselves. Josephus has placed this idea in parentheses, underscoring the importance of it. This revelation makes clearer the connection between Decius Mus and Decius Mundus. A Roman patrician would have understood a character named Decius mundus as a lampoon of Decius Mus. It also establishes a parallel between Decius Mundus and Jesus. This parallel is clear because Jesus went out of his way to make others aware of his coming self-sacrifice. “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified”. Matthew 26:1-2 The following passage from the gospel of John likens Jesus self-sacrifice to the devotion of Decius Mus. Notice that Caiaphas, the priest who will later oversee Jesus crucifixion, states that one man should die for the people, and the whole nation perishes not (John 11:47-52) This is the very definition of the Devotio. Also, Caiaphas makes clear his belief that Jesus must be sacrificed to save all “The children of God”, expressing the idea of a Devotio on a worldwide scale. From the perspective of the Flavians, Jesus self-sacrifice is much like a Devotio. The religion that Jesus established with his death certainly helped to neutralize the militaristic, messianic Judaism that the Flavians fought against. In fact, to the Flavians, whereas Decius Mus sacrifice had only helped save a Roman legion, Jesus sacrifice can be said to have helped to save the whole Roman world (Mundus). An interesting historical point to this line of thought is that while Jesus is certainly meant to be understood as the Messiah whom Daniel predicted would be “cut off”, the real meaning behind Jesus self-sacrifice may lie not in Judaism, as has been universally believed, but in a rite of the Roman religion, as a Spoof of the Devotio. Whether this conjecture regarding the parodic meaning of the name Decius Mus is correct, it is the case that “Decius”, the name of Rome’s most famous self-sacrifice, is the name of the hero of the tale that directly follows the Testimonium, Josephus description of history’s most famous self-sacrifice. I will show below that Decius Mundus and Jesus share a much more profound and unique parallel. The clearest clue Josephus provides to inform us that we are dealing with a puzzle is that both the story of Decius and Paulina and the story of Fulvia have the same plot. As I have shown, parallels within the New Testament and War of the Jews are significant. in both tales, wicked priests deceive a woman of “dignity" and in both tales the woman’s weakness for religion is exploited. Further, not only do both stories have the same plot, but they also contain a number of elements that are interchangeable. Both of these deceived women of dignity, amazingly, have husbands named Saturninus. Both theses husbands named “Saturninus” just happen to know the Emperor Tiberius, to whom each husband goes to complain about what has been done to his wife. In both tales, among other punishments, Tiberius then “banishes” one or more of the perpetrators. Josephus also provided other statements to help the reader recognize that the two stories are to be understood as parallel and therefore interchangeable. First, he reverses the order in which he states that he will describe them. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the Temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. Further, at the beginning of the third story Josephus claims to be returning to an episode about the Jews “at Rome” as he had “formerly” stated. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would. However, it was the “shameful practices at the temple of Isis” that Josephus previously claimed to have occurred “at Rome”, not the episode regarding the Jews. Josephus does not mention where the “sad calamity [that] put the Jews into disorder”. He last mentioned the Jews in a story regarding their persecution by Pontius Pilate in Judea. Josephus appears to be treating the two stories as though they are interchangeable. In doing so he continues the strange “Logic” that exists between them, since their only significant differences are in the names of some of the elements in them. It is also notable that Paulina “began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments”. The rending of garments is a well-known Jewish expression of grief and is actually required by Jewish religious law in some instances. In the gospel of mark, for example, when the high priest who questions Jesus hears him refer to himself as the “son of man”, he rends his garments. He does this because in the Sanhedrin it states that a judge who has heard blasphemous words must do so. The Talmud recounts ten “sad accidents” for which Jews are instructed to rend their garments. Josephus also records numerous occasions in his histories where Jews rend their garments as an expression of grief. Therefore, why would Paulina, a member of the cult of Isis, be the one to rend her garments and not Fulvia , the Jew, when she has the same experience? There is another clue, a parallel that links the Testimonium to the tale of Decius Mundus. It is one of the most significant parallels that I will present to the reader in this work. The Testimonium describes Jesus resurrection, stating that he “appeared to them alive again on the third day”. Decius Mundus also appears to Paulina on the third day. There is, of course, a difference. Whereas Jesus appears on the third day to show that he is a God, Decius appears on the third day to announce that he is not a God. It is implausible that something as unusual as two “third-day divinity declarations” would wind up next to one another by chance. The Testimonium contains the only non-New Testament first-century description of the life of Jesus. The probability that a mirror opposite of Jesus resurrection, a singular event in literature, would occur by chance in the paragraph following its only historical documentation is, I believe, too low for consideration. In fact, in all of literature these are the only two stories I am aware of that describe anyone coming on a “third day” to proclaim that he is or is not a god. The rational explanation is that this mirror-opposite parallel has, for some reason, been placed next to the Testimonium deliberately. Another connection between Decius and Jesus is the fact that Anubis, the God Decius pretends to be, is a god with many parallels to Christ. Anubis, like Jesus, is a son of God, and is rendered to as the “Royal Child” within the cult of Isis. According to some Egyptologists, Anubis is a god who comes back from the dead. The cult of Isis actually celebrated his death at the hands of Set (Satan) and his subsequent resurrection (before Osiris took over this position). The myth of Anubis resurrection also contains, like that of Jesus, a strong eschatological message. All three stories are described as occurring at “about the same time”, which links them to one another temporally. While it is hardly unusual for events to be said to occur at about the same time, Josephus links the Fulvia story to the Testimonium in another, more unique way. In the passage he writes: There was a man who was a Jew, but he had been driven away from his own country by an accusation laid against him for transgressing their laws, and by the fear he was under of punishment of the same; but in all respects a wicked man. He, then living at Rome, professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses There is a known individual who was a Jew and had been driven away from his own country and had accusations laid against him for transgressing the laws of the Jews. He was also under fear of punishment for these transgressions and was known to have lived at Rome, and professed to instruct men in his understanding of the laws of Moses. The character is, of course, the Apostle Paul. But, when the seven days were nearly over, the Jews from the province of Asia, having seen Paul in the temple, set about rousing the fury of all the people against him. They laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel”, help! Help! “This is the man who goes everywhere preaching to everybody against the Jewish people and the law and this place…” The excitement spread through the whole city, and the people rushed in…and gates were immediately closed. But while they were trying to kill Paul, word was taken up to the tribune in battalion, that all Jerusalem was in ferment. He instantly sent for a few soldiers and their officers, and came down among the people with all speed. At the sight of the Tribune and the troops they ceased beating Paul. When Paul was going up the steps, he had done anything for which he deserved to die; but as he has himself appealed to the Emperor; I have decided to send him to Rome (Book of Acts 21) That the wicked man in the Fulvia story can be seen as a lampoon of Paul seems difficult to dispute. Josephus links the Fulvia story to the Testimonium in yet another way. These men persuaded Fulvia, a woman of great dignity, and one that embraced the Jewish religion, to send purple and gold to the Temple at Jerusalem… Purple was the royal color in the first century. Sending purple to the Temple at Jerusalem suggests that the ruse the wicked priests use to fool Fulvia somehow involves a king, or a person of royal rank, among the Jews. Perhaps one who is religious as well as secular? Because Josephus has indicated that this event occurs at “About the same time” that Jesus lived, he would be at least a candidate for the one referred to as royal. Indeed, since the reference to purple occurs on the same page as the Testimonium, the only historical description of Jesus, what other “king of the Jews” can possibly come to mind? So Jesus came out, wearing the wreath of thorns and the purple cloak. Then they began to March up to him, saying in a mocking voice, “Hail king of the Jews” (John 19:5,3) All the “clues” above work together to suggest that some relationship exists among all three stories. For example, the Testimonium seems related to the Decius story because they share third-day divinity declarations. Likewise, the fulvia story must be related to the Decius story because they share the same plot, the name of both husbands is the same, etc. The parallels and interchangeable elements within the three stories show that the author has deliberately established some relationship among them that is not apparent on the surface, some problem the reader must attempt to “solve”. In other words, the three stories are a puzzle. Once the three stories are seen as a puzzle the solution becomes obvious. Josephus actually has Decius Mundus state the solution to the puzzle within the lampoon: ….Value not the business of names… Decius did not value “The business of names” and took the name of Anubis. To solve the puzzle of Decius, the reader need only do the same. To solve the puzzle, the reader must simply switch the names of the characters and religions that Josephus has identified as parallel, so that while the stories will be the same, the names of the character will be different. (The same process can be applied with Jesus to Lazarus and Osiris and many others). This technique is used throughout the New Testament and War of the Jews. The name of a character in one story is given to a character in another, parallel tale. In the story of Decius Mundus simply switch the name of the character Paulina, who is a member of Cult of Isis, with Fulvia from the third story, who is a member of the Jewish religion. Notice that Josephus has actually shown us that these two characters are priests; both have husbands with the same name; both husbands appeal to Tiberius; and both women share the quality of dignity. Josephus has also indicated that the cult of Isis and the Jewish religion are interchangeable by deliberately reversing which story he tells firs and which religion was “At Rome”. The reader can now replace the name of the character “Decius Mundus” with “Christ” from the first story, the Testimonium . Again, Josephus has shown that the names are interchangeable by the parallel attributes of these two characters. They both claim to be gods, they both make revelations regarding their divinity on the third day; and they both have made public resolutions to sacrifice themselves. The new Decius Mundus story, created by switching the names of the characters and religions Josephus has identified as interchangeable, can be summarized as follows: Decius Mundus, a Roman, is desirous of Fulvia, a Jew of dignity, whom he cannot seduce with money. Learning that her weakness is her religion, he pays wicked priests to convince her that he is the Christ, so that he can “screw” her. On the third day, he reappears to tell her he is not really the messiah but received pleasure by pretending to be a god. The Jews are then banished and their temple destroyed. While this new story is still a satire, it is one whose meaning can easily be grasped. The translation that I offer is as follows: Rome desires Judea but cannot tempt it with wealth because of the staunch religious convictions of its people. Therefore, a Roman fools the Jewish Zealots into believing that he is the Christ He pays wicked priests to help him carry out the plot. The authors of Christianity “enjoy” the experience of pretending to be the Messiah. The unnamed Jew in the final tale who “professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses” is identified as Paul in the parallel description in Acts 21 & 25 given above. Josephus also assists the reader with the identification by beginning the parallel stories with descriptions of the genders of “Paulina” and the “Jew” at Rome. Once the readers knows that the stories are designed to have interchangeable elements, it is not difficult to see that by switching their genders Paulina can become Paul, which completely clarifies the identity of the “Jew at Rome”. To go off on a tangent Saul becomes Paul (Tiny) by castration and eunuchs were associated with being women and or homosexuals see Acts 13, 16:22 and kicked in the balls he eventually lost Acts 26:14). The story created by solving the puzzle reveals how Caesar fooled the Jews into calling him “Lord” without their knowing it by simply switching his name to Jesus-the great secret of Christianity. It also reveals the keys to understanding the satiric story within the New Testament-a character may take on another name, stories that share parallels can be combined to create another story, and an unnamed character in one passage will have the same name as a character in a parallel passage. While the puzzle is simple, the technical idea behind it is ingenious. The story that emerges when the reader reverses the interchangeable characters and religions can be read literally as the historical event Josephus recorded. Thus, Josephus, as he reminds the reader often, has written the “truth”. The new Decius Mundus story created by switching the names found in the three tales fits naturally into the history Josephus is relating. It connects to the passages before it, that have to do with the Jews reaction to Caesar’s effigies in Jerusalem, and the Roman effort to buy favor with the Jews. The stories that it replaces do not connect to the passages before them, are incoherent, and have a sense of fantasy. Josephus has, as he reminded us so often, written the truth-the truth was just contained in a puzzle. The puzzle’s main purpose was to show the method by which the true identities of the characters in the New Testament and War of the Jews can be known, which is simply to combine the stories that contain parallels. This technique reveals the identities of the “certain young man” captured on the Mount of Olives, Mary’s unnamed son whose flesh (Penis) was eaten, the Apostles Simon and John and, ultimately, jesus himself. Also notice that Decius seduction of Paulina occurs “in the dark”, like Mary Magdalene’s mistaking Lazarus tomb for that of Jesus. The Testimonium is found in Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus second work of history, which he purportedly wrote during the reign of Titus brother Domitian. If Christianity was created by the Flavians so that Caesar could secretly become the Messiah, then Domitian could have seen himself as “Jesus” once he became Emperor, following Titus death. Domitian’s obsession with his divinity was well known. He demanded, for example, to be addressed by members of the Roman senate as “Master and God”. Thus, Domitian, while overseeing the production of Antiquities of the Jews , may have been the basis for the character Decius Mundus. This conjecture is supported by an interesting parallel between episodes in the life of Domitian and the tale of Decius Mundus. The Flavians overthrew Vitellius, the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, with a battle that took place in Rome in 69AD. During he donned a mask of Anubis, a robe of Isi, exactly as Decius Mundus does, and pretended to be priests of Isis. Also of interest is the passage from the Decius Mundus story regarding the character named “Ide”. ...as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition… The ancient Roman calendar celebrated the Ides of the month on 15th of March, may, July and October. In the other months the Ides occur on 13th . Nisan, which actually overlaps March, and April, is usually translated as April. Josephus dates the Passover to the 14th of Nisan. As now the war abroad ceased for a while, the sedition within was revived; and on the feast of unleavened bread, which was now come, it being the 14th day of the month of Xanthicus [Nisan], when it is believed the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians. I suggest that the phrase “the occasion of their perdition” is wordplay referring to the Ides of Nisan, the date of Jesus crucifixion as recorded in the gospel of John, which is the Gospel Josephus uses to link dates from his history to the crucifixion-the date of the “perdition”. In any event, my interpretation of the three stories resolves many longstanding questions about how they relate to one another. This theory resolves all the many elements within the three stories that have struck scholars as mysterious. Further, this interpretation resolves the longstanding debate over how the three stories relate to the passages that are immediately before and after them. The first sentence in the story of Decius Mundus states that “another sad calamity threw the Jews into disorder”. “Disorder” in Greek (thorubeo) also appears in the first two passages in the chapter, which immediately precede the Testimonium . By starting with a reference to “another disorder”, the story of Decius Mundus seems to ignore the Testimonium . This fact has led some scholars to suspect that the Testimonium was therefore inserted into Antiquities of the Jews by later Christian redactors. G. A Wells in The Jesus Myth argues this point in the following way: The word (disorder) connects this introduction of 4 (the tale of Decius Mundus), with the “uproars” specified in 1 and 2. Thus 3-the passage about Jesus –occurs in a context which deals with uproar bringing danger or misfortune to the Jews. That 4 follows immediately after 2 is obvious from the opening words of 4-“another calamity”. There is no possible reference to 3. Well’s argument is only one of the various ways in which scholars have tried to explain the strange positioning of the Testimonium. In this case, Wells suggest two reasons for suspecting that the Testimonium was inserted by later Christian redactors between the Decius story and the preceding passage regarding Pilate. His first argument is that since the word “disorder” occurs in passages one and two and is not found in the third passage of the chapter, the Testimonium , but reappears in passage four, this suggest that four should come after two. Wells also argues that since the expression “another calamity”, which begins passage four, cannot be referring to the Testimonium it must originally have followed the second passage, which in fact, describes a calamity. Many scholars have noticed this apparent lack of continuity between the Testimonium and the chapter that contains it . H. St. John Thackeray in his 1929 work on Josephus argues, like Wells, that the lack of continuity on the subject of “disorder” suggest to him that redactors, to make history conform to their faith, created and inserted the Testimonium . Thackeray concludes that the argument that the Testimonium may have been inserted by redactors “carries great weight”. Scholars like Thackeray and Wells have mistakenly seen a lack of continuity between the Testimonium and the two stories that follow it and the rest of Josephus’ History, simply because they have failed to recognize that the three stories could only have been created in direct relationship to one another and are not independent tales. To argue that the Testimonium was inserted into the Antiquities of the Jews by later Christian redactors who placed it by chance between the stories about Pilate’s “disorders” and the tale of Decius Mundus is illogical. This is because such an argument is based solely upon the perceived gap in continuity on the subject of “disorders” and ignores the continuity created by the parallel “Third-day” appearances of Jesus and Decius. Since riots were common in the works of Josephus and third-day declarations regarding divinity are unique in literature, this parallel is clearly more important. It connects the Testimonium to the story of Decius in a far stronger manner than the lack of the word “disorder” in the Testimonium suggests a disconnect. Therefore, all three stories must have been created together. This small chain of logic has far-reaching consequences because it also demonstrates a purpose for their joint creation. If one accepts that they are a related set created for some purpose, this interpretation seems the only one possible. It is useful to list the problematic or seemingly incoherent aspects of the three stories that this interpretation resolves, to show how much explanatory power it possesses. The first resolution to a “problem” I want to show, is the unnatural manner in which the Testimonium and its two following tales fit into the narration of Josephus history, the problem of a gap in continuity that Wells and Thackeray noted above. To clarify for the reader the nature of this discontinuity, I present the following sequence: 18:35 Pilate arrives in Judea to abolish Jewish Laws 18:55-59 Pilate introduces imperial images in the Temple, causing a “tumult” 18:60-62 Pilate tries to build an aqueduct, causing another “Tumult” 18:63-64 The Testimonium appears 18:65-80 The Decius Mundus story appears 18:81-84 The Fulvia story appears 18: 85-87 Pilate has a confrontation with the Samaritans 18:88-89 Pilate is removed as procurator When the sequence of events is viewed in this manner, it is easy to see why scholars like wells and Thackeray have questioned whether later redactors inserted the Testimonium . The historical narration both before and after the Testimonium is exclusively about Pilate. Notice, however, that the Decius and Fulvia stories also stand out. None of the stories is this “set” discusses Roman activity in Judea, the theme of the surrounding passages. This interpretation of the “puzzle” I present resolves this lack of continuity in Josephus’ narration. Further, the satire revealed by this solution fits perfectly into the flow of the narration. This interpretation also resolves the apparently inappropriate opening words of the Decius story, “Another calamity”. As mentioned above, many scholars have believed that this phrase could not possibly relate to the Testimonium and Jesus. However, within the context of my explanation, the positioning of the phrase makes perfect, though ironic, sense. The Romans invented Christianity for the express purpose of bringing a calamity on the Jews and throwing them into disorder. Readers will recall how in the “Son of Mary” passage, starving Mary uses the word “calamity” to describe the effect that her son is cannibalized, becoming a “By-word to the world” will have upon the Jews. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews. The three passages that make up the puzzle are related to the two passages that precede the Testimonium in another way. The first two passages of the short five-passage chapter satirically state the reasons that the Flavians invented Christianity, as well as the fact that by inventing the religion, the Romans were, in effect, taking over the sicarii movement. Below are the two passages. BUT now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar's effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make their entry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, and set them up there; which was done without the knowledge of the people, because it was done in the night time; but as soon as they knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days that he would remove the images; and when he would not grant their requests, because it would tend to the injury of Caesar, while yet they persevered in their request, on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat, which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them routed, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threw themselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and said they would take their death very willingly, rather than the wisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Cesarea. 2. But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamor against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition. The two passages satirically confirm the entire premise regarding Christianity. The jews would not worship Roman emperors and were not swayed by violence; therefore, Rome was forced to “Become” the Sicarii movement. The satirical description of the Romans becoming Sicarii is described above in the phrase: So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments. The individuals whose “habit” included “Daggers under their garments” were, of course, The Sicarii And when they had joined to themselves many of the Sicarii, who crowded in among the weaker people (that was the name of such robbers as had under their bosoms swords called Sicae)…(War of the Jews 2,17, 425) The effect of Christianity is also recorded within the satire. Its effect was to end the rebellion. And thus an end was put to this sedition When determing the strength of a theorg it is useful to consider how much “explanatory power” it possesses. The following list demonstrates just how many “puzzles” this interepretation resolves. This interpretation: · Resolves Josephus perceived confusion over which religion was “At Rome” · Resolves why Paulina, of the cult of Isis, and not Fulvia, the Jew, is the one to rend her garments. · Resolves why Josephus recorded that the temple of Isis was destroyed, though he was aware that no such destruction had occurred. · Resolves why the women in diffirent stories both have husbands named Saturnius who knew the emperor Tiberius · Resolves why the Decius story and the Fulvia story have the same plot · Resolves why a character has the unusual name “Decius Mundus”. · Resolves why a character has the unusual name “Ide” · Resolves the parallel use in the Testimonium and the Decius story of the expression “received with pleasure” · Resolves the unusual parallels between the wicked Jew in the fulvia story and the Apostle Paul · Explains why Decius Mundus did not conceal his resolution to kill himself. · And most importantly, this interpretation explains how the two “third-day divinity declarations” in literature happen to be placed next to one another. There is yet another parallel in the Decius Mundus tale and the Testimonium , a parallel only apparent when one reads the passages in their original greek. In the Testimonium , Jesus is described as a teacher of people who “accept the truth with pleasure”. The greek word for pleasure that Josephus uses is hedone , the root for the English word “Hedonism”. Scholars have puzzled over Josephus use of hedone here. Hedone usually denotes sensual or malicious pleasure. And “To accept truth with hedone” is a strange concept. The sentence that Josephus wrote in Greek could just as well be translated “received the truth with malicious pleasure”. The verb Josephus uses in this phrase is Dechomenon, which means to receive, the phrase in greek reading hedonei talethe dechomenon. In the Decius Mundus tale, Decius also receives something with “sensual pleasure”. Decius receives the plot Ide hatches to enable him to seduce Paulina with sensual pleasure-hedone, the greek reading dechomenou ten hiketeian hedonei. The same verb dechomenou (meaning “to accept or receive”), is used with hedone in the Testimonium . this creates yet another parallel between the Testimonium and the Decius story. Based on the context provided by the Decius story, a logical conjecture is that this verb/noun combination creates the idiom “getting screwed”. I have been unable to confirm this conjecture by another example from classical Greek, however. Hedone is also used in an interesting manner with another word. Josephus concludes his Preface to War of the Jews with the following statement: I have comprehended all these things in 7 books, and have left no occasion for complaint or accusation to such as have been acquainted with this war; and I have written it down for the sake of those that love truth, but not for those that please themselves [with fictitious relations]. And I will begin my account of these things with what I call my first chapter. The reason Whiston places brackets around the phrase “Please themselves [with fictitious relations]” above, was to alert the reader that it is an inaccurate translation. The greek words that Josephus uses here , Hedonen anegrapsa, do not mean Please themselves [with fictitious relations] but rather Please themselves with registering. When used in connection with a person, as it is here, the stem word, anagrapho, means to resister or record names. Whiston arbitrarily inserted the phrase [with fictitions relations] into his translation because he believed that this is the idea Josephus actually meant. A literal translation of the sentence would reads as follows: …and I have written it down for the sake of those that love truth, but not for those that please themselves with registering names. While Whiston found this translation incoherent, from my perspective it makes complete sense, as the technique used by the authors of the New Testament and the works of Josephus to turn Judaism into Christianity was the switching, or “Unregistering” of names. Decius became Anubis and Titus became Jesus. Neither valued much “this business of names”. Josephus seeming “incoherencies” are very significant and are meant to be translated exactly as they were written.