Reframing the Gospels

This project is an analysis of the Gospel text in the context of a Rome-focused history of the early church. As elements are encountered in the text, a note is created here and appended to as needed. In the Reader’s Notes are the verse-by-verse translations, discussions, and contextualization. The anticipated result is a more fluid work that would encompass at least the first three Gospels in a comparative work.  (Read more…)



People

  • Jesus Rebel

    This Jesus believed strongly in the old Hebrew ideas of Messiahship, that the Judeans should be self-ruled, and that Romans should take a hike. He gathers to him fishermen, rebellious government officials, and political schemers who are all working to thwart Rome. He’s not very smart. He tries to assert authority by reference to Hebrew…

  • Jesus Anointed

    The first Jesus encountered in the Book of Mark, he is an agent of Rome and everything good. Anointed by Caesar and declared Son of Caesar, and thus the Son of God, Jesus Anointed preaches peace with Rome, and the importance of living like a Roman and holding Roman values. When he preaches, he converts…

  • Caesar

    This is a name, and a role, and a title, and a god. For Imperial Romans, Caesar was a timeless being who simply changed human form on occasion, but was always Caesar. He was the Genius of Empire: it’s will and its conscience.

  • Mars

    The God of War Romans named after the God of War were named “Marcus”, or anglisized as “Mark”.

  • John the Baptist

    John the Baptist appears in two stories in Mark. In one story, he is baptizing all of Judaea when Jesus appears and he baptizes him. In another story, he is beheaded by Herod Antipas. John the Baptizer appears in a section of Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, where the misfortune of Herod Antipas was explained…

  • Diogenes of Sinope

    Greek philosopher credited with development of Stoicism

Places

  • Galilee

    Political state formed around the Sea of Galilee.

  • Gamala

    Hilltop fortress on northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. See also: Gamala – Capital of Rebellion

  • Rome

    The City on the Hill, illuminator of the world.

Things

  • Satan

    adversary

  • Angels

    ‘messenger’ or ‘agent’, often used to describe ministers of the chief authority

  • Wild Beasts

    Jewish separatists specifically, but also in general anyone opposed to Roman hegemeny

  • Spirit

    ‘Breath’, as in the air inhaled or expelled from the nostrils. Metaphorically, it implies life or living.

  • Nazarite

    to be separated and held apart

  • Wilderness

    outside areas of urban development, beyond civilized lands

Modern readers of the Gospels must rely on additional information to make sense of the stories told. These stories depend on the audience knowing things about Roman culture and history, and about the state of Roman politics at the time of the stories. Without this external context, a great many misleading meanings can be generated from the Biblical text.


Christianity was created to celebrate the traditions and cultures of Rome. Everything about it is characteristically Roman. The traditions, the rituals, and the mythology all stem from Roman traditions, Roman rituals, Roman culture.


  • The Book of Mark

    Links to all of the notes associated with each verse are accessed here. For reference, the NIV text is used here to show the verses. You can reference the Greek and Latin translations from the notes pages. My progress through the book is indicated by the number of Chapters shown: the canonical Mark has sixteen… [read more…]

  • Baptism

    At the very beginning of the Gospel of Mark, in the fourth verse we are introduced to John the Baptist. We are told he demanded that everyone be baptized, and that he was the baptizer, and he baptized the Judean people in the Jordan River. This scene has been captured in poetry and song, paintings…

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  • Gamala – Capital of Rebellion

    Around 6 CE, the Galilieans had their own tea-party moment when a local Roman governor ordered a census, and a fellow from Gamla named Judas began an organized resistance to Roman rule, convincing folks to not let the Romans count them by setting aflame any farms or houses of those who did. This Judas of…

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  • The Story of Mark

    Scholars generally agree that the Gospel according to Mark was the first one of the four Gospels written, and that Luke and Matthew were written subsequently with knowledge of the book of Mark, but also with a secondary source – known as ‘Q’. Much of what appears in Luke and Matthew seems to have been…

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  • Framework: Trinitarianism

    The restoration of the Flavian cult and how it became the Roman Catholic church.

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  • Framework: Flavian cult

    The development of the Flavian cult and the degredation of empire.

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  • Framework: Imperial Cult

    The transition to empire and the establishment of the Imperial Cult.

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  • Framework: Introduction

    This is a summary of everything I understand about the creation and development of the thing we call “Christianity”, from its very start to the seventh century or so, and written as concisely as possible. Due to the nature of the topic, there are quite a few connections I’ve had to make on my own…

    [read more…]

  • Reframing the Gospels

    This project is an analysis of the Gospel text in the context of a Rome-focused history of the early church. As elements are encountered in the text, a note is created here and appended to as needed. In the Reader’s Notes are the verse-by-verse translations, discussions, and contextualization. The anticipated result is a more fluid…

    [read more…]