VICE: Can you tell me about yourself and what credentials you have to make theories that challenge the pervasive beliefs held by prominent religious scholars?
I’m an independent scholar. I have no academic training in what would be considered traditional Bible scholarship.
OK. How’d you start studying the origins of Jesus?
I attended a Jesuit military academy as a kid that studied the gospels. Although I drifted away from the church, later on in life, I retained an interest in the character Jesus Christ.
What intrigued you about Jesus?
Jesus had a more pacifistic and cosmopolitan view of things than the messianic movement of his day, which was very xenophobic. The Jewish perspective of the time was that it wanted the Romans out to have a religious state.
How do you know this?
To get an informed perspective on the gospels you have to read a guy called Flavius Josephus. He lived in Judea, wrote a history of the time and place when Jesus supposedly lived, and documented the war between the Romans and the Jews. If you read his work, you will notice there are parallels between the events in the war and events in Jesus’s ministry that occur in the same sequence.
I have no idea what you are talking about. But give me some examples, please.
For example, Jesus says to his followers, “Follow me and you’ll fish for men.” In the war, a Roman general says to his troops “Don’t be afraid. Follow me” and then he sends them out into the Sea of Galilee where they sink the Jewish fishing boats. The Jews try to swim to safety and then the Romans “fished them” with spears, according to Flavius’s account.
—Was Jesus a Roman Hoax to Trick the Jews? Read the whole interview