If one does not 'believe' Jesus was 'born of a Virgin' then how to explain his birth? Is there something suspicious about the paternity of Jesus?
Odd things had been reported and perhaps hinted at in fiction and other texts since the time of Jesus. Some texts have been passed off as parodies of the biblical story and were invariably not taken at face value by researchers. Other more modern texts abound. For example, Robert Graves wrote a book called 'King Jesus'. A reviewer of this work wrote the following;
" .... and when we learn that one of Herod's grandsons was helpful to Claudius at a sticky moment, we understand why Mr. Graves involved himself in his farrago in the first place". [See HERE].
What does the reviewer mean? What has Herod's grandsons got to do with the issue?
The reviewer also gave a quick synopsis of 'King Jesus';
"Jesus, according to Mr. Graves, was the son of Mary and Antipater. Antipater was the oldest male child of Herod the Great. We know very little about Antipater except that Herod had him killed, and there is not a shred of evidence that he was Jesus' father, but Mr. Graves needs to establish a royal line on both sides of the original Christian family, going back matrilineally to King David, in order to explain how Jesus got mixed up in Middle Eastern politics trying to fulfill the radical prophecy of Deutero-Zachariah, for which he was arrested and crucified. Mr. Graves disdains the Virgin Birth. He has his own Robert's rules of order. This Jesus, then, was a messianic troublemaker as well as a poet and a sage, exceedingly serious about his God, born to rule and come, if we are to believe the gospel according to the Egyptians instead of the Gospel according to St. John, ''to destroy the works of the female.''
Graves' book was one of many in that genre supposedly looking fictionally at the life of Jesus. The shocking idea in King Jesus was that '...Jesus [was] not ... the Son of God but rather ... a philosopher with a legitimate claim to the Judaean throne through Herod the Great. It [the story] begins with the reign of Herod before Jesus is born and explains the dynastical, quasi-secular roots of Jesus both from his mother's and his father's side, establishing a temporal and historical right to the throne of Israel. The second part starts with the Nativity and Jesus's youth. Finally, the third part chronicles Jesus's work in adulthood as a prophet, his death on the cross, and his resurrection".
In an "Historical Commentary" published at the end of the book Robert Graves remarks, concerning the book's historical basis, "A detailed commentary written to justify the unorthodox views contained in this book would be two or three times as long as the book itself, and would take years to complete; I beg to be excused the task ...[but]...I undertake to my readers that every important element in my story is based on some tradition, however tenuous, and that I have taken more than ordinary pains to verify my historical background".
I wondered if the story had been, for Graves, the best way to get a shocking idea across to a lazy public? Somehow that if you presented said ideas in a novel - the thought would be planted out there - in peoples' consciousness - without offending a whole religion and its acolytes. Wasn't he really saying in that commentary that he considered most of what he had written to be true?
Jesus was reported to have used titles which were reserved for Emperor Augustus only, so it was tantamount to treason for Jesus to lay claim to these very same titles! It could not have gone down well with Roman authorities! As you dig further and learn for yourself there is another question to be asked. "Why did Jesus use the 'Son of God' title, during the time of the Romans, when only the Roman Emperor used this exact same title alone?"
Why did Herod the Great go all out to kill Jesus when he was born? Why was Herod a King of the Jews as well as Jesus? Why are there so many influential Romans in the later so called Jesus party? Why are names, especially the females, named after an Herodian fashion? There seems to be something inordinately close to the Roman imperial family with this family of Jesus and his early followers.
Even with my interest in Rennes-le-Chateau elements of these ideas were cropping up. Controversial protagonist of the Priory of Sion Pierre Plantard said in an address to a conference at Rennes-le-Chateau in regards to the paternity of Jesus the following;
"Mary [Virgin Mary] was heiress to her father's posessions. However, as she was underage, Joseph became her tutor and took charge of administering her inheritance, until such day when, out of interest as well as love, he married her secretly, whilst respecting her virtue. One can imagine his bitterness when he had to face the evidence regarding Mary's condition. One can also understand why Joseph, who knew the father, accepted the situation and the fury of King Herod the Great at the birth of Jesus". [My emphasis]
What on earth is Plantard hinting at here? And whatever it is there is a mystery around the father of Jesus. Plantard continues:
"This individual [i.e Jesus Christ], like so many others, declared himself the Son of God. Unfortunately the Jewish law had anticipated the eventuality of such an allegation, an example of which could be found amongst most nations. His declaration was considered a crime and the Jewish law applied by the Romans against a man who had only done his people good ....Most certainly he deserved the title of King of the Jews. But because of the colour of his skin, his claims to a divine origin, and his personal synthesis of various pre-existing mystical concepts, the teachings of Jesus remain those of a Galilean preaching for his race."
We know many characters from the court of Herod were part of Jesus' campaign. The family of Herod allowed the forerunner of Jesus - his cousin, John the Baptist to be executed. Followers of John then joined the Jesus Party. Doesn't it read like a conflict between two families?
Although Graves took pains to verify some history - it was left for someone else to pick up that mantle. That person was Joseph Raymond. This book is called "Herodian Messiah: Case For Jesus As Grandson of Herod". The blurb is as follows: "This work details the author's painstakingly collected evidence supporting a shocking theory, that Jesus was the grandson of both Herod the Great and the last Hasmonean king (Antigonus). The analysis begins with one loose thread in the official biography of Jesus Christ, the claim by the Sanhedrin that it lacked authority to execute him. Why didn't the Sanhedrin execute Jesus after convicting him of blasphemy? The same legal body executed Stephen and James the brother of Jesus for the same crime. During Roman times, the Sanhedrin lacked authority to execute only one class of Jew--Roman citizens. All descendants of Herod were Roman citizens. Two elements of proof for the theory are the ancestor list found in Luke, Ch. 3 (it appears to contain the names of Hasmonean kings) and Jesus' denial that he is a son of David. See Matthew 22:41-45, Mark 12:35-37 and Luke 20:41-44".
Jesus somehow related to the Romans? I had only heard of the Jewish assertion about the mother of Jesus having an adulterous affair with a Roman soldier, but most academics claim this is a made up satire by Orthodox Jews of the Middle Ages. The claim is based on the work of the ancient Greek philosopher Celsus, who, according to the Christian writer Origen in his Contra Celsum ("Against Celsus"), was the author of a work titled 'The True Word'. Celsus' work is lost, but in Origen's account of it Jesus was depicted as the result of an affair between his mother Mary and a Roman soldier. He said she was "convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Pantera". Tiberius Pantera could have been serving in the region at the time of Jesus's conception. Both the ancient Talmud and medieval Jewish writings and sayings reinforced this notion, referring to Jesus as "Yeshu ben Pantera" (Jesus, son of Pantera).
Others have discussed various scenarios that involve the Romans in the Christian story. At a website [see HERE] is the following:
"Robert Eisenman in his paper ‘Paul as Herodian’, which he wrote 11 years ago, and which is available in his book, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians: Essays and Translations and also online, proposes that Paulus aka Saulus is the same person as the Saulus found in Josephus. He supports this with a close reading of the Pauline epistles where there are a surprising number of quick references that Paul knew and was related to members of the Herodian clan, the Jewish royal family who of course were not Judeans but Edomites. Edomites had been incorporated into Judea by the expansions of the Maccabees. Therefore an Edomite clan was as legitimate a ruling dynasty in Judea as the Scottish Stuarts were as rulers of England. Were they Jews? You can argue it both ways. Certainly Herod the so-called Great was insecure about his Jewishness, which explains his rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, his destruction of the genealogy scrolls of the old Jerusalem families, and his marrying into the Maccabean clan which was by then a decadent dynasty and after Herod had finished marrying and executing them, there were almost none left. There have been proposals from different writers that Herodians were involved in writing the various New Testament books – I will return to these proposals in later postings. However for the purpose of this posting I am provisionally assuming that both Jesus and Paul were historical. Of course the Herodians were client kings reigning at the will of Rome. The Jewish view of their legitimacy and the Roman view of it were quite different. In one way and another the clan managed to stay on one throne or another until the Roman-Jewish war that terminated Nero’s reign in Rome".
Robert Eisenman provides a genealogical chart of the Herodians at the end of his James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
"Here is the important part that shows the ancestry of Saulus. Salome was the sister of Herod called the ‘Great’. With one of her husbands, Costobarus, she had a son Antipater (there are other Antipaters in the Herodian clan so we must be careful), and the second son to this Antipator was Saulus. So Saulus is a great-nephew to Herod called the ‘Great’. The Herodians were Roman citizens, and Saulus being one of them, the mystery of his Roman citizenship as used in Acts 22:25-29 is cleared up".
"Herod and Salome are siblings; Antipater and Antipater are cousins; Yeshua/Jesus and Saulus/Paulus are second cousins. If we return to Luke’s Jesus Story (but not Marcion’s ), we are told that Miriamne (Mary) and Elisheba (Elizabeth) are cousins, and therefore Yohanon the Baptist and Yeshua are second cousins. Yohanon the Baptist to Yeshua to Saulus. John the Baptist to Jesus to Paul. Second cousin to second cousin to second cousin. Yohanon is not a descendant of Herod called the Great, but Yeshua and Saulus are. Desposynoi – the family of the lord, the family of the great despot, Herod!! [https://markandmore.wordpress.com/2007/06/12/desposynoi-part-2/]"
Plantards sidekick, Philippe de Cherisey apparently also refers to such things in his original novel CIRCUIT. Cherisey wrote that ..."Rome would have been directly interested in a project consisting of assimilating the Jewish cult of God into the Roman religious system which attempted to unify Rome under a single system of worship".
Presumably this would have been attained by the merging of state and religion in a belief system which we call today emperor-worship.
Cherisey thought that for Rome, the Jewish concept of belief in one God and their own idea of Emperor-worship [which deified emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority of the Roman State] fitted extremely well with the interests of Rome. Rome however felt the Jewish cult could be tweaked to serve its aspirations and would be better suited to Rome if it underwent some minor changes.... reform that would make possible the remodeling of the One God, in such a way that it would first make him mortal, and supply proof of his death to exist, and to officially ascend to the sky, and unofficially ... to leave descendants on earth. In this manner, controlled by Rome, faith in this god would provide the emperors, within a few generations, to become the pontifex maximus, with a truly sustainable legitimacy ...
In a strange twist of fate along the lines proposed by Cherisey the word pontifex and its derivative "pontiff" became terms used for Christian bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, [i.e the Pope] - so called successor of Christ and the title of pontifex maximus was applied to the Catholic Church for the pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times. The official list of titles of the pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes "supreme pontiff" (Latin: summus pontifex) as the fourth title, the first being "bishop of Rome"
The origins of this 'office' of pontifex maximus (Latin for "greatest priest") was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the position of emperor in the Roman imperial period.
It was of course Caesar who first proposed these ideas and his name as a living divinity – not as yet ratified by senatorial vote – was Divus Julius (or perhaps Jupiter Julius); divus.
Augustus AR denarius, 27 BC-14AD, 3.81gm, struck ca. 19-18 BC in uncertain Spanish mint (Colonia Caesaraugusta?), 20.2mm. Obv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS; head left, wearing oak wreath. Rev: DIVVS IVLIVS; comet with eight rays and tail upward. RIC I p44, 37b; RSC 97; BMCRE 326f. gVF, good portrait, banker’s mark on obverse
After the death of Caesar, Octavian, as the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (Son of the Divine). Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.
Given all this, in Roman eyes at the time, when Jesus said "I am the 'Son of God'", he would have been speaking in direct opposition to the only person who would legitimately have been recognised as such [the son of god] and that was the son of Antipater or even the Roman Emperor.
Another interesting fact for me is that this family of Herod the Great had a lot of dealings with Pompey, Ceasar and Mark Anthony. Pompey is the creator of a town in France that received biblical characters in exile [see below].
Returning to Robert Graves. In his books King Jesus, and his Nazarene Gospel Restored, he proposes the following using the Jesus story in John’s gospel (18:29-38): Pilate grants a private audience to Jesus, which he would have done only for a Roman citizen. Pilate decides that Jesus is indeed king of the Jews. For a Roman like Pilate, this must mean that Jesus is king as per Roman law. Now Augustus had recognized Herod’s will nominating his son by Doris, Antipater, as his heir. If Jesus had explained that his father was Antipater secretly married to Mariam, and that his mother had remarried after Herod had changed his mind and put Antipater to death, then Pilate would indeed see Jesus as the rightful king of the Jews".
These assertions and suggestions are quite apart from that other monumental secret whispered of - that Jesus was a mere mortal and survived the Crucifixion.
Throughout the history of Christianity there have been those claiming a monumental secret such as these. Often centered around the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris and associated with French esoteric circles, like Debussy who wrote in a review: “Perhaps it’s to destroy that scandalous legend that Jesus Christ died on the cross.”
Raymond Lull, in 1309, during the trial of the Knights Templar said:
“It is very probable that the Christians have many secrets. Among them is one (in particular) which would be an incredible revelation, such as that now being made by the Knights Templar; If such an infamy were to be made openly public, it would jeopardize the continued existence of the Roman Church.”
What infamy could be attached to the Christians? Which 'Christians'? What does Lull refer to when he says the Christians have 'many secrets' but one in particular that could 'jeapordize the continued existence of the Roman Church?' Whatever it is, the Templars, in his day, were making this revelation known! And it appears Lull considered it correct information!
I found one other reference to this quote [in Spanish] and my rough translation of that is as follows:
"Finally, in the final part of his book, Llull comments on what he calls "the dangers for the ship [barque] of Saint Peter", in a rather ambiguous passage: Among Christians there are many secrets about which there may be a horrible revelation of what can happen to the Templars. Thus, I refer that to power, to wisdom and charity, then to the subject in which they are accustomed. I also say this openly about some very torpid and obvious things because of which the ship of Saint Peter sinks”.
Dangers for the barque of Saint Peter?
Surely the Church did not think that the torrid rumours circulating about the Templars in the communities constituted a threat to the existence of the Church of Peter? No, the text seems more literal and speaks to the words of Lull, that the Templars held a secret which could jeopardise the Church!
I am not certain it has anything to do with the accusations levelled at the Templars during their demise. It seems to be something different. Perhaps more to do with the policy of King James, adopted from the idea by Raymond Lull, for the military orders to be amalgamated and have one Grand Master, [Dalmau de Rocabertí - from a family which traces its origins to the Merovingian kings]. The Spanish observer writes: In addition, these.....words of those who wrote so much also show that Llull knew the fantastic [?stories] about the Templars that circulated among the Christians of that time, rumours that [he said] made the ship of San Pedro tilt dangerously".
Infamy is a term in Roman Catholic Canon Law. Infamy concerns heresy, real simony, etc and may be removed either by canonical purging or by application to the Holy See. In general it means an evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal.
What shocking revelation could put the Church of Rome and its existence in peril? How did Lull know about it? What has it to do with the Templars? There seems no - way in interpreting the sentences except that which suggests the Templars [no matter what the sensational rumours attributed to them at the time] did have a secret that was known by some ''christians' which could put the Catholic church's existence in peril. A secret that the Templars learnt from the Christians [which ones?] to which they were starting to make public.
The quote is from Liber de aquisitione terrae sanctae - a book Lull wrote in 1309. The Liber de Acquisitione Terræ Sanctæ was written after the fall of the Templars .
This is all very well. And there are plenty of texts one can use to support the above theory. Of course, the Roman Catholic church will not accept any of this, and neither will 'believers'.
Alongside the assertions of the family and paternity of Jesus - have you noticed how many biblical characters - in legend and tradition - after the Crucifixion went on to all arrived in Gaul - a Roman province at the time of Jesus, considered a back water but not really so. For example Narbonne was considered a kind of second Rome and just as luxurious!
The first wife of Archelaus is given by Josephus simply as Mariamne, daughter of Aristobulus IV, whom he divorced to marry Glaphyra. She was the widow of Archelaus' brother Alexander, though her second husband, Juba, king of Mauretania was alive. This violation of the Mosaic law, along with Archelaus' continued cruelty, roused the ire of the Jews, who complained to Augustus. Archelaus fell into disrepute and was deposed in his 10th year of reign as ethnarch, being banished to Vienna (today Vienne)
Antipas was also exiled. The place of his exile was given by Josephus in his 'Antiquities_of_the_Jews" as Spain. Caligula offered to allow Herodias, as Agrippa's sister, to retain her property. However, she chose instead to join her husband in exile.
Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges is believed to have been the place of exile from 39 AD of Herod_Antipas, with his wife Herodias, under Emperor Caligula's orders. According to ancient Jewish historian (books Antiquities and Wars, combined information), Lugdunum Covenarum - then in the Roman province of Spain - was the place of exile of, who had been the Tetrarch (ruler) of Galilee in the time of Jesus Christ. Herod and his wife Herodias were sent there under the orders of the Emperor Caligula in AD39, and they remained there until their death about two years later.
This means no less that Herod Antipas and Herodias are buried somewhere in Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges!
Confusion of this place with present-day Lyon, then also called Lugdunum, is still frequent nowadays, though the Hispanic reference makes this geographically impossible.
The fact that the biblical arie de Magdala traveled to Provence is considered a legend. The traditions that mention this journey date only from the tenth century and identify Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman of Luke 7: 36-50 and Mary of Bethany - the Provençal tradition also brings Marthe, Marie, Lazare, as well as Marie de Salomé and Marie d'Alphée to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer including the pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la -Mer.
Marthe was venerated until the French Revolution in Tarascon when her reliquary was melted down. Marie Madeleine, after having lived in the massif of Sainte-Baume, was buried in Saint-Maximin.
All of this may be interesting in relation to the research discovered by Christian Doumergue. He found that there is a relic preserved in the cave of Sainte Baume (South of France). According to the local traditions, this cave is where Magdalene ended her life. The reliquary represents Magdalene and her close relations in the boat which carried them from the East to the South of France. At the front of the boat, a mummified body is stretched out [one can make out the strips wrapping the body]. A woman sits over this body with a halo. For Doumerge she has the mother of Jesus' attributes. He says that no tradition says the Virgin Mary came to the South of France. She is thus there only to identify the mummified body! The reliquary was ordered by Mgr Terris and was made by a jeweller who lived in the city of Lyon: Armand Caillat. It was shown at the “Exposition Universelle” (World Fair) of Paris in 1889. It was given to the sanctuary of Sainte Baume by Paul Terris, the nephew of Mgr Terris.
Mgr Terris himself studied in Avignon and then at the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Paris [always in the background is Saint Sulpice!] and was ordained a priest on May 29, 1847 in the capital by Mgr Affre. It is the canon Terris [a relative of Mgr Terris] who had given to Sainte-Baume, in execution of his uncle's testamentary wishes, the reliquary that he had ordered from Armand Caillat, said to contain the relics of Saint Mary Magdalene (a third of the right tibia and a lock of hair ) which he had inherited from his grandparents to whom a certain Mme Ricard had abandoned what she had been able to save from revolutionary profanation. One does have to ask what the reliquary illustration is supposed to indicate! What has a mummified body to do with religious figures associated with Mary Magdalene coming to Sainte Baume indicate?
Lazarus was for his part the first bishop and martyr in Marseilles
Legend has it that after the death of Christ, Lazarus embarked in a boat to Provence in the company of his sisters Marthe and Marie de Béthanie as well as several other people.
These five witnesses of Christ arriving at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer left for their parts to evangelize Marseilles, where Lazarus became the first bishop and patron. This legend of translation by water makes it possible to make the link between different sanctuaries: the abbey of Saint-Victor of Marseille, the basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume the cathedral of Saint- Lazare d'Autun & the abbey of the Trinity of Vendôme;
According to Provencal tradition, Marthe settled, after the death of Christ, in Provence at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer with Lazarus and Marie de Béthanie. She would have conquered the Tarasque there where the royal collegiate church was erected in her honour on the site of her tomb.
Sara is a virgin accompanying Mary Magdalene & Martha during the episode of the resurrection of Jesus; in the Epistle of the Apostles an apocryphal Christian writing dating from around 120;AD. According to the Golden Legend she was born from the third marriage of Saint Anne with a man also called Salomé. She would be the wife of Zébédée and the mother of the apostles Jacques de Zébédée known as the Major and John. She was assimilated to one of the holy Marys whose memory is venerated in the Camargue.
An ancient tradition equates Amadour with Zacchaeus of the Gospel who is the husband of Saint Veronica, first healed Jesus and who gave him a white cloth (the veil) to wipe the sweat and blood from his face. In later Christian texts: Véronique would have come to join Zacchaeus in Gaul, perhaps after he had been forced into exile. Soulac-sur-Mer in the Bordeaux region, where a church - now buried by the dunes - was built in his honor by Saint Martial de Limoges. Matthew says that Amadour - or Zachchee - was a tax collector, just like Matthew.
Veronica/Bérénice has an interesting history which is associated with an 8th century document - perhaps written in Aquitaine - that asserts a grotto was built by Pilate for a shrine to Jesus Christ. It is also this text which may hint at the body of Jesus being removed to France [see HERE].
Once one starts to look - there are connections everywhere, Comminges, the Herod family, Cleopatra, Caesar, Pompey, Mary Anthony, Christianity, biblical characters impacting on the story of the historical Jesus. It certainly needs more investigation!