Academic Review of Creating Christianity
My book is currently available to be reviewed by academics in the UK through the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. However, it appears the journal does not allow non-UK academics to submit reviews. I was made aware of this when a teacher and translator of Latin and Greek contacted me to ask if I had submitted my book for review to US academic journals. I informed him that I had not. Therefore, this academic explained that he had read my book and was very impressed by the evidence presented within and felt it deserved a proper academic review, which he was happy to provide.
My thanks go to Todd Masterson for the below review.
Book Review / Compte rendu
Creating Christianity a Weapon of Ancient Rome
2020, xxxiii+ 341pb
As a Certified Latin Teacher (Montclair State University) and translator of Ancient Greek, I submit the following review.
Nothing should be taken for granted when investigating the origins of Christianity and its history. Creating Christianity, written by Henry Davis, will go down in history as a groundbreaking work in proving exactly who the primary authors of the New Testament were. Mr. Davis’ book corroborates the recent thesis of Professor Robyn Faith Walsh’s The Origins of Early Christian Literature and examines the many parallels between the Roman military campaign in Judea (led by Titus Flavius Caesar) and the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament.
Davis provides evidence of the personal, religious and political motivations behind the Roman-Jewish war of 70 CE. He also deciphers the identity of the individual who wrote as Flavius Josephus, the ancient author who provides us with the principle account of the war. This book shows that the name Flavius Josephus was a pseudonym used by the primary author of the New Testament, a wealthy, educated aristocrat called Arrius Calpurnius Piso.
Piso was a member of the distinguished senatorial family known as the Calpurnii Pisones. This family is shown by Davis in chapter six – ‘Flavius Josephus Never Existed’ – to be related by blood to Emperor Vespasian. To my knowledge, Davis’ evidence has not been refuted by any Biblical or Classical scholar and he has synthesized the curiously divorced fields of Biblical and Classical scholarship.
His work is based on 4 basic premises:
The Jewish War, written by Flavius Josephus (birth name, Arrius Calpurnius Piso) ought to be titled ‘The Roman Invasion of Judea,’ as The Jewish War is fundamentally Anti Semitic, Roman imperial propaganda. Josephus documents with extreme bias the war between the sovereign nation of Judea, led by the Jewish Pharisees, later known as Rabbis, and the aristocracy of Rome. Josephus (Arrius Calpurnius Piso) documented this war to glorify Rome and demonize the Jews.
The Roman imperial elites sought to create a new religion when they controlled the Mediterranean basin, with Judea as the prime target to spread the Roman Empire to the east. The Roman imperial oligarchy was comprised of the following related families: the Herodians, the Flavians, and the Calpurnius Pisos. These families sought to abrogate the Torah Law with a new law in their heretical Christian texts. The Herodians and Flavians worked with the Calpurnius Pisos to create the Greek New Testament in order to attempt to destroy Judaism.
The New Testament authors (the Calpurnius Piso, Flavian, and Herodian family members) were wealthy, royal elites, well versed in Greek, Roman, and Hebrew literary genres. They were able to publish, preserve and promote their own texts while suppressing the indigenous Jewish texts of Judea.
The Greco-Roman and Herodian elites knew each other very well and created pseudonyms that are identified in Latin and Greek texts, as well as in the Talmud, with evidence of this provided on p. 193 of Creating Christianity. Davis identifies the multiple pseudonyms of the distinguished Roman senator Gaius Calpurnius Piso, the primary plotter of the Neronian Conspiracy, who was the father of Arrius Calpurnius Piso (Flavius Josephus).
The pseudonyms attributed to Gaius Calpurnius Piso are Thrasea Paetus and Caesennius Paetus, the would-be assassin of Nero, who was an ally of the Pharisees and was assassinated by Epaphroditus, the sponsor of Flavius Josephus (Arrius Piso). Arrius Calpurnius Piso, the son of Gaius Calpurnius Piso and a lady called Arria the Younger (a Herodian princess), was the brother of a noble lady recorded in history as ‘Fannia,’ whose pseudonym was first identified by Sir Ronald Syme. Arrius is recorded as Caesennius Paetus, son of the first Caesennius Paetus (Gaius Calpurnius Piso) as shown by Davis in the chapter ‘Flavius Josephus Never Existed’ (pp. 87, 89, 95-97, 107-109, 113, 249, and 251). Reading Creating Christianity allows one to understand that in order to identify Arrius, one must first identify his father Gaius. Davis provides the following evidence to identify Gaius Calpurnius Piso:
1. Sir Ronald Syme, in his paper ‘Domitius Cobulo’ (published in The Roman Papers, Volume 2) examines the writings of Pliny the Younger, Epp. III, 16. 7 ff.) In that work, Syme gives C. Caecina Paetus as the father-in-law of Thrasea Paetus, p. 821.
2. Syme in his Tacitus, Volume 2, p. 595, note 5, gives Caesennius Paetus as married to Vespasian’s niece, Flavia Sabina, which is shown by Davis, the evidence of which is repeated below, to have been Arria the Younger.
3. Professor Gavin Townend’s ‘Some Flavian Connections’ (Journal of Roman Studies, page 59, note 20) identifies the second Caesennius Paetus (Arrius Calpurnius Piso), a Roman consul in 61 CE, as the son of the first Caesennius Paetus.
4. Emperor Nero executed a wealthy politician named Gaius Calpurnius Piso, in 65/67 CE, as the primary plotter of the failed ‘Pisonian Conspiracy,’ according to Suetonius.
5. Tacitus names this same Gaius Calpurnius Piso as Thrasea Paetus, the Stoic philosopher (Tacitus, Annals, 16, note 69), the wife of whom was Arria the Younger (Tacitus, Annals, 16.34). Gaius Calpurnius Piso (as named by Suetonius) was Thrasea Paetus (as named by Tacitus), and he was the leader of the conspiracy to assassinate Nero (Tacitus, Annals, 15.59).
6. Per Tacitus, Gaius Calpurnius Piso’s wife is named ‘Satria Galla.’
Inscriptional proof for the above is given on p. 96 of Creating Christianity “the name on the inscription seems to have been ascribed to the wrong Piso family member. (‘Doctors and Other Health Professionals In the Latin Epigraphy of Rome and the Italicae Augustae Regions,’ (p. 239):
Flaviae T(iti) [f(iliae)] / Sabinae / Caesenni Paeti (uxori) (CIL XIV, 2830)
A further source for the inscription can be found online at EDCS, Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss/Slaby, CIL 14, 02830.
As Gaius Calpurnius Piso’s wife Arria the Younger had a father known as T. Flavius Sabinus II, the name ‘Satria Galla’ may be viewed as a conflation of S(abina) A(ula) T(itia) (A)ria Galla. Davis gives an alternative deciphering of the name: Sa stands for Sabina (the feminine form of Sabinus), T stands for Titia (the feminine form of Titus) and Ria stands as a suffix for Arria. This is concluded from information given by Davis on p. 98, where he cites information provided in the Prosopographia Imperii Romani (PIR-2, F116) by the classical scholar Edmund Groag and by Syme in his Roman Papers, Volume 2, p. 716. Groag and Syme thought it highly likely that a C. Fannius was a relative of Fannia, the daughter of the Patavine (P. [Publius] Clodius) Thrasea Paetus and Arria, the daughter of A. [Aulus] Caecina Paetus (suff. 37) [T. Flavius Sabinus II]. The above provides further supporting evidence that Arrius Calpurnius Piso was the son of Gaius Calpurnius Piso, as Davis states on p. 98, and to paraphrase his words, “a ‘C. Fannius’ (a pseudonym of Arrius Piso) was a barrister who wrote the biographies of Nero’s victims. ‘Prosopographia Imperii Romani’ (Edmund Groag in PIR-2, F116).”
Regarding the name Gallia, Davis rightly states it is the feminine form of Gallus, a name equivalent to Pollio, ‘rooster’/‘cock’/male chicken.’ Davis reveals the equivalence of the names Gallus and Pollio/Polla in his chapter ‘Flavius Josephus Never Existed’ (pp. 88-94). That chapter shows that a man called Herod Pollio, who was King of Chalcis and a grandson of Herod the Great, was also recorded as ‘Vespasius Pollio’ and had a daughter whom was recorded as Vespasia Polla as the mother of Emperor Vespasian and T. Flavius Sabinus II. From the above, Davis concludes the following: the wife of T. Flavius Sabinus II was a royal Jewish lady called Arria Clementina or Arria the Elder/Sr./Major, the mother of Arria the Younger, who was the wife of Gaius Calpurnius Piso. Arria the Elder, then, is the grandmother of Arrius Calpurnius Piso. According to Davis, on p. 98 “the family of Thrasea Paetus (Gaius Calpurnius Piso) and Arria the Younger needs to be examined closely. To begin, they had a daughter, also named Arria, but we find the daughter being called ‘Fannia,’ in historical documents, which is also a name created using her Arria name...A closer look at this name reveals the Arria name is there: Her actual name would be Flavia Arria...They used the ‘F’ in ‘Flavia’ as an initial...and changed the ‘r’s in her name to ‘n’s...” On the same page Davis provides a logical reason for the letter switching “A definitive answer cannot be given, however, l, n, and r can be interchanged in Hebrew and in Semitic languages.” Davis provides the following source in the Journal of Biblical Literature to support his conclusion ‘The Interchange of L, N, and R in Biblical Hebrew.’
The Pisonian authors consistently switched both consonants and vowels to create the pseudonyms of their family members, as in the case above. Davis cites a statement made by Syme in his paper ‘People in Pliny,' found in his Roman Papers, Volume 2, p. 716, “Why she should be called Fannia, no clue.” The statement is in regard to the peculiarity of the name Fannia as the daughter of Arria the Younger. The creation of the pseudonym Fannia provides a key to unlocking the other Pisonian pseudonyms. Arrius Piso’s sons also contributed to the composition of the New Testament. Arrius in his Vita as Josephus refers to his 3 sons: Julius, Fabius Justus, and Proculus Calpurnius Piso. In the Vita, they are referred to as Hyrcanus, Justus, and Agrippa (pp.105-109 of Creating Christianity). Concerning the authorship of the Pauline Epistles, Davis correlates the primary author of ‘Paul’ with Pliny the Younger to argue that Pliny was the primary author of the epistles. Davis also states Pliny was a younger foster brother of Arrius Piso. More evidence will be needed to corroborate this proposition. However, this hypothesis is not unreasonable when the plethora of other evidence in Creating Christianity is taken into account. In regard to the New Testament’s use of gematria or isopsephy, of which many examples exist, Davis presents evidence that the numbers 666 and 616 point to Arrius Calpurnius Piso as ‘Flavius Josephus,’ according to the Pythagorean number naming systems used by the Pisos. Davis proves that Pythagoreanism “was prominent in Roman literature during the first-century BCE and first-century CE.”
The above numbers are recognized examples of Pythagorean gematria within academia and have been claimed by scholars to refer to Emperor Nero. However, recent evidence published by Professor Walsh in her The Origins of Early Christian Literature strongly indicates that there was no early Christian community before 70 CE, thus vanquishing the likelihood that Nero persecuted any Christians. To further support his conclusions, Davis cites, on p. 212, a paper called ‘The Myth of Neronian Persecution’ by Princeton Professor in Classics Brent Shaw. Davis, in Creating Christianity (pp.197, 202, 203-205), shows that the first time this specific number, 666, was used in history was in the work of ‘Flavius Josephus.’ Davis states that, with respect to the Latins’ non-use of the number zero, “The names Arrius and Piso should not be seen multiple times within important statements in the New Testament, and the numbers associated with it should not, in any way, create the names Arrius, Kalpurnius, Piso, and Flavius.” Mr. Davis argues that removing the zero from the numbers used in the New Testament, such as 666 and 616, should not reveal the names Christ/Flavius Josephus or Christ/Piso.
But, as explained by Davis on pp. 200-201, they do in the following way:
Χ (Chi) is considered an abbreviation for Christ and in Greek totals 600.
The name Flavius Φλαουιος totals 30 by the Greek alphabet following the removal of the zeros: Φ (Phi) = 5 (normally 500) λ (Lambda) = 3 (normally 30) α (Alpha) = 1 (normally 1) ο (Omicron) = 7 (normally 70) υ (Upsilon) = 4 (normally 400) ι (Iota) = 1 (normally 10) ο (Omicron) = 7 (normally 70) ς (Sigma) = 2 (normally 200).
The above total following the removal of the zeros is 30.
The name Josepos Ιωςηπος appears multiple times in The Jewish War, one example provided by Davis is in Ch. VIII, Paragraph 3, Loeb. The name totals 36: Ι (Iota) = 1 (normally 10) ω (Omega) = 8 (normally 800) ς (Sigma) = 2 (normally 200) η (Eta) = 8 (normally 8) π (Pi) = 8 (normally 80) ο (Omicron) = 7 (normally 70) ς (Sigma) = 2 (normally 200).
The above total is 36 and the combined total is 666.
If the name Christ is abbreviated to Chi, there is no reason for the name Piso to not be abbreviated as Pi (Ππ), which is the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet and therefore provides the 616 number.
Furthermore, Davis provides evidence that the genealogy ‘Josephus’ provides for himself in his Vita appears to be a deliberate fabrication. This is because the true genealogy of ‘Flavius Josephus’ parallels that of the family of Gaius Calpurnius Piso; therefore, the lineage of Arrius Calpurnius Piso can only be traced back through his ancestors, who were Herod the Great and his first wife as king, Mariamne I. Davis cites (p. 85, Loeb Classical Library, Life of Josephus (the Vita) the following words of Arrius, “My great-grandfather’s grandfather was named Simon surnamed ‘Psellus’ (meaning ‘stutterer’).” According to Davis, historian and scholar Steve Mason (‘Flavius Josephus, Translation and Commentary’ (Volume 9, p. 8, Life of Josephus) says that he is uncertain as to why Josephus chose Simon Psellus as the patriarch of his family. Additionally, Mason says in essence there are chronological problems with Josephus’ genealogy, which could very well be fabricated. However, on p. 97, Davis states that an ancestral name of Arrius is ‘Balbii,’ coming from his paternal grandmother, the mother of Gaius Piso, Plancia Munatia. Balbii has the same meaning as Psellus, ‘stutterer.’
Method of deduction:
The logical method of deduction given in Creating Christianity can be understood as follows: Gaius Calpurnius Piso is Thrasea Paetus and Caesennius Paetus and is married to the Herodian Arria the Younger. In history, their daughter is recorded as Fannia. Arrius is recorded as Caesennius Paetus, son of the former Caesennius Paetus. Arrius under this name is the governor of Syria – nota bene, on p. 250 of CC, Davis states that Arrius is apparently the husband of Vespasian’s niece, Flavia Sabina, which would be Arria the Younger. But Arrius cannot be married to Arria the Younger, his mother. I assume this note was included in error.
The New Testament Book of Revelation, a book removed from the New Testament Canon multiple times, presents the numbers 666 and 616, the latter of which gives the name ‘Piso,’ and is only elsewhere found among first-century texts in the work of ‘Josephus’ in his Jewish Antiquities, Book 8 Chapter 7, Verse 2. On p. 147 Davis asks “...why would the Bishops want to omit the Book of Revelation? What did it contain that they did not like?” It is a valid question. Furthermore, Revelation contains the Greek word ‘Arnius’ for the word ‘Lamb.’ Arnius is a derivative of the common Greek word for Lamb ‘Arnion.’ But the use of the word Arnius makes no sense if the common Greek word Arnion is used within the same passages as the derivative. Why would the author of Revelation choose to use different forms of the word? The two words share the same first four letters, but the vowels U and O are switched, as well as the consonants S and N. Not covered in the book, but worth pointing out, is the fact that the derivative Arnius is used sixteen times in place of the common word for Lamb (Arnion) in Revelation, as seen in verses such as Rev. 21:14 (“names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb [Arnius]”) and Rev. 21:27 (“but those who are written in the book of life of the Lamb [Arnius].”) The logical answer given is that the word Arnius was used to point to Arrius as the Lamb, that is, Jesus. In other words, Arrius Calpurnius Piso created Jesus Christ as a literary character. Arrius was both the playwright and actor of the part. The name Arrius as deciphered in the word Arnius parallels the manner in which the pseudonym of his sister Arria (Fannia) was crafted: by switching consonants. In both examples, Arrius/Arnius and Arria/Fannia, the R is switched to an N to create their pseudonyms.
In regard to deciphering the names expressed in the numbers 666 and 616, Davis provides evidence from the Babylonian Talmud where he examines the name Yeshua ben Panthera. As Davis states on p. 192, “Yeshua ben Panthera means Yeshua/Jesus ‘son of Beast,’ because ‘ben’ means ‘son of,’ and the words for ‘son’ also meant ‘creation’/‘invention,’ and ‘offspring’ means the product or result of something. So now this name reads as Yeshua/Jesus ‘son’ (‘creation’/‘invention’) of Panthera (beast), which points to Arrius Piso. As examined in the ‘Main Author’ chapter, in Revelation 13:3, we have the phrase “after the beast” and the Greek word used for ‘after’ is ‘opiso’ οπισω. So the phrase in the original words reads “opiso the beast,” or taking into account the use of inferred words, it would read as “o piso (is) the beast.” To support this, Davis correctly states previously on p. 144 that the Greek omicron ‘o’ can be viewed as the word ‘the.’ He also states, “...however, because of how vowels worked in ancient languages, the ‘o’ could become an ‘a.’ For example, in Hebrew, Aleph (a) could be used in the absence of a vowel, and in Greek, the vowels α, ε, ο could contract with one another, becoming one long sound or a double sound.” Davis makes a further reasoned point by stating “...if using these ‘rules’ for your own motives, you could use them how you pleased, which is what is happening here. The ‘o’ changes with the letter ‘A’ meaning it can also be seen as the initial ‘A’ for Arrius, which renders, A(rrius) Piso.” Lastly, on pp. 143-148, Davis provides textual criticism of the Greek words in the Gospel of Mark, showing the names Arrius and Piso are present there.
In summation, Arrius Calpurnius Piso is the primary author and architect of the New Testament. He also wrote under the name Flavius Josephus. He was a Roman Herodian mass murderer of Jews who possessed the literary talents of Thucydides and Shakespeare. His descendants Constantine and the Popes applied his texts to create the Catholic Church.
Why did they do this? For money, fame and power. The Pisos could have applied their literary talents to liberate humanity. Instead, they chose a path of vicious cynicism. They chose a path of genocide, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, taxation, superstition, and the glorification of poverty. The sooner people realize exactly who wrote the New Testament and why they did so, the better. The New Testament is Roman Imperial propaganda, fantasy literature, and satire. It is not an anthology of historical events at all. Creating Christianity, by Henry Davis, gives us a glimmer of hope to expose the New Testament for what it is: a colossal lie.
NJ State Latin Teacher Certification (Montclair State University)