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Offline Theophilus  
#1 Posted : Thursday, January 17, 2008 8:00:16 AM(UTC)
Joined: 7/5/2007(UTC)
Posts: 527

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I think this topic would fit under people. These being the historian Tacitus and the early followers of the way in Rome.

My historical / linguistic question being is Tacitus use of the term Christus or Christians a Roman slur against Messiah or these followers of the way, or what they actually refered to themselves as?

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.[3]

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Jesus

As the article indicates some skeptics suggest that Tacticus work may have been altered by later Christians to write themselves into his works. It seems to me if Tacitus were to use demeaning term approved by the Empire then in the process of persecution, then this would be evidience that his report was unaltered. I'm also curious in what language Tacitus would have written his report? Greek, Latin or other and what the words he used actually were?

Offline kp  
#2 Posted : Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:09:34 PM(UTC)
Joined: 6/28/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,030
Location: Palmyra, VA

I find it utterly fascinating that "Christians" were seen by the Romans as those who practiced "hatred against mankind." This phenomenon--so contrary to logic and evidence---is about to enjoy a resurgence. Why? Because we followers of "Christus" insist that we are sinners, saved by grace---that our own natures were fundamentally flawed, but were redeemed through our relationship with a God other than ourselves. By saying (or even thinking) this, we are implying that other people are also in need of the same salvation we enjoy: we are saying (in so many words) that all people are flawed and in need of a Savior. This has been---and will be again---seen as the worst sort of hateful arrogance---religious terrorism. Unregenerated Man wants desperately to believe that he's just fine the way he is. He wants to believe that there is no God, or failing that, to believe that God can be bought off cheaply with a few hours of weekly devotion, a few shekels in alms, or the temporary denial of his animal lusts. How dare we suggest that all God wants is our love? What a hateful thing to say!

Offline bitnet  
#3 Posted : Thursday, January 17, 2008 6:28:55 PM(UTC)
Joined: 7/3/2007(UTC)
Posts: 1,120

After watching two seasons of Rome, I understand how ancient Romans think. The very idea of clinging to a belief that there is only one god and to claim that we all need that singular god is almost
an insult against other gods. If the world has thousands of gods then this insult is an abomination to the world, hence Tacitus' observation.

But then again, the Jews had been holding on to this belief for a long time and the Romans knew about but did not bother much as they had a respect for all gods, as long as they were subservient to Caesar.

I suspect that the text quoted was tampered to support a case that already existed, and that the identity of the followers was reflected on the leader... a reversal of sorts. We must remember that things were peaceful for more than 20 years after Yahushua was crucified, so the Romans would not have bothered much. Only after the disturbances because of conversion of the Jews to Yahweh, and further instigation by non-believing Jews to violence against the Followers and Romans did they take note of the Followers. However, the Romans lumped them all together but took particular offence at the Followers whom they thought were ridiculous in believing a dead man arose and became their god thus causing the ruckus in Judea. The monotheistic Jews were OK before these rabble-rousing Followers came along with their unbending doctrine of love for a dead man...

Perhaps Tacitus' use of the word Christus could have been an euphemism for those who were brainwashed by such a belief, as only those who have been drugged and indoctrinated could believe in such a "ridiculous" concept. It also infers that there are people who are doing the drugging and brainwashing so those people must be eradicated, and their supporters must be removed.
The reverence of Yahweh is the beginning of Wisdom.
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