Original release: September 28th, rx 2012
Running time: 84 minutes
Directors: Fritz Heede, find Nijole Sparkis
Cast: Joseph Atwill, Timothy Freke, Acharya Murdock, John Hudson, Robert Eisenman, Rod Blackhirst, Kenneth Humphreys, Robert Eisenman
Having been raised in a religious family, and attended Catholic schools for most of my childhood, I found there were many things I was expected to accept without question. After all, faith requires no proof, only belief, but I guess in the end religion was never going to play a major part in my adult life because of the questions that persisted throughout those earlier years. Questions such as the following. Who was Jesus? Why is there no historic archaeological evidence of his existence? Who wrote the Gospels? Why were they written in Greek, rather than Hebrew or Aramaic? How did the Christian religion come to be centered in Rome?
Though those at home and school never attempted to answer my questions, as I got older I realized I wasn’t the only one who had a problem with some of the most fundamental aspects of Christianity. There were others who not only asked the same questions as I did, but sought doggedly to find the answers. Joseph Atwill is one of those people.
Atwill began his religious studies as a youth in Japan at the only English-speaking school in the country, the Jesuit-run St. Mary’s Military Academy. It was there he studied Greek, Latin, and the Bible, which he found fascinating, although he eventually drifted away from the faith. After going on to study computer science in college and forming several successful companies with one of the most renowned programmers in the world, David Ferguson, Atwill was able to return to his earlier interest – the origins of Christianity and he labored over the works of Robert Eisenman and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which he wrote a paper on. However, it was while studying the two most prominent works of the 1st century – Josephus’ “Wars of the Jews” and the Gospels – Atwill noticed a series of parallels occurring in sequence between the military campaign of the Roman Caesar Titus Flavius and the ministry of Jesus.
It’s these parallels that go on to form the backbone of his 2011 book Caesar’s Messiah. It’s a book that reveals the origins of Christianity, who Jesus really was, who wrote the Gospels and much, much more. This 2012 documentary features Atwill along with spiritual teacher and ‘standup philosopher’ Timothy Freke, independent scholar Acharya Murdock and biblical scholar, theoretical writer, historian, archaeologist, and “road” poet Robert Eisenman as they talk about how the Romans directed the writing of the Gospels and invented the fictional character of Jesus.
Atwill, and these six other Bible scholars demonstrate how the teachings of Christ came from the ancient pagan mystery schools, and that Christianity was used as a propaganda tool to control the masses of the day and is still being used this way today. Although its female narrator sounds more like someone from Sesame Street, Caesar’s Messiah makes for compelling viewing, starting with the assertion that there is no archeological evidence to prove Christ lived because he only exists in literature. Atwill draws our attention to certain events from the ministry of Jesus closely resembles the military campaigns of Roman Caesar Titus Flavius.
As we learn how the Christ character could be interpreted a composite of many messianic leaders of the time we also start to see how a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer would become important to the Emperor of Rome when the Romans realized the Jewish Messianic prophecies were fuelling Roman-Jewish Wars. This Romano-Jewish scholar was of course Josephus and when he defected to the side of the Romans he also took on the emperor’s family name of Flavius, becoming their in-house writer when they started coming up with a way to literally re-write history.
Using interviews, documents, images and some wonderfully filmed segments, Caesar’s Messiah is an entertaining journey back into history to uncover the true authors of Christianity. It remains challenging and informative throughout as it tells how the Romans, along with Josephus, introduced us to new religion, a more docile and convenient one that ensured the Roman Empire rule, not with military power, but with popes and saints and Caesar’s own Messiah for the masses. Caesar’s Messiah is a good place as any start if you’ve long questioned Christianity the way that I have, but there’s one maxin I always hold on to… “de omnibus dubitandum.”
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .