Background theory

The Caesarian origin of Christianity is a controversial new theory positing that the historical Christ was Julius Caesar, and that early Christianity developed from the imperial Romancult of Divus Iulius. Its framework was developed in the late 1980s and 1990s by the Italian linguist and philosopher Francesco Carotta. After a few preliminary releases Carotta's research report was first published in the German book War Jesus Caesar? (1999) and in a scientific article in Quaderni di Storia (2003). In the following years his book was translatedinto Dutch and English. The theory was revised and extended for the second German edition of 2009, which was also translated into Spanish.

Until today the common modern view of the historical Christ as a Jewish itinerant preacher, which was originally derived from the failed application of the historical method to the primary Christian sources, has remained an unfalsifiable and unverifiable hypothesis, because there are no independent historical sources beyond scientific doubt on the existence of this hypothesized person, who is commonly referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth". Despite the striking ahistoricity of Jesus a majority of scholars have pointed out the biographical immediacy and historical urgency of the evangelists' writings as well as the rapid and ubiquitous spread of early Christianity within the Roman empire, all of which is inconceivable without real events, actuals persons and a historical auteur at the origin of the Gospel narrative and the Christian religion. However, critically distilled biographical data on the commonly proposed historical Christ rarely fill more than a few pages in scientific publications.

Categorical description
The theory of the Caesarian origin of Christianity breaks with this speculative and still ahistorical, yet persistent view of Jesus Christ by producing a relocated historical framework of high falsifiability and testability, based on an extensive and exposed empirical investigation of the available sources, with supporting evidence from other fields of study. As a unified theory it naturally ties in with much of the pre-existing research on the Graeco-Roman context of early Christianity, but it goes further and concludes with a fundamental and elementary new solution: a direct and immediate relation between two religious phenomena. Due to the large extent of early Christian writings the theory relies primarily on an analysis of the oldest known Christian source. Therefore it not only leaves room for a large amount of future studies, corrections and changes, but also predicts further correlations and observations. An example is the corroborating evidence for the admissibility of Carotta's conclusion of the Gospel as a diegetic transposition, found in the back-transpositions of the Gospel from Christ to Caesar by Roman authors, which prove the existence of this scriptural mechanism in Christian antiquity.

At the core of Francesco Carotta's research lies a detailed philological synoptical comparison of the oldest Gospel of Mark with the ancient sources on Julius Caesar's final years during the Great Roman Civil War, especially those by Appian, Plutarch and Suetonius, who all relied to some extent on Asinius Pollio's Historiae, which constitutes the Latin Ur-Gospel, the primary textual basis of the synoptic gospels. This extended Roman-Christian synopsis is augmented by comparisons based on archaeological sources, ritualistic and liturgical traditionsas well as on iconography. Carotta concluded that the multiple parallels and similarities between the lives and cults of Caesar and Christ and between the respective primary sources are best explained by formulating the theory that Jesus Christ is Divus Iulius, the deified Julius Caesar, as he has been transmitted through history.

In this theory a cultic and scriptural transformation from ancient Rome to Jerusalem took place, and the Gospel narrative, its geography, dramatic structure and characters were neither enhanced with an antithetically mimetic Caesarian approximation nor fabricated as a purely mythological amalgam, but had formed as a directly dependent, albeit corrupted retelling of the Great Roman Civil War—from Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon to his assassination, funeral and resurrection, paralleled by Jesus' ministry from the Jordan to his capture, crucifixionand resurrection. Following Gérard Genette's terminology the textual mutation and delocalization came about by diegetic transposition, an error-prone process of copying mistakes, false translations, misreadings, misinterpretations, adaptations and redactions in different cultural contexts for distinct political purposes, which produced the vast amount of divergent early Christian literature, among them the canonical gospels.

The final Christian metamorphosis of the new religion, which was to reinterpret the Julian imperial founding cult according to the new Flavian theopolitical ideology with special regard to ancient Roman Palestine, was induced under emperor Vespasian and his historian Flavius Josephus, whose vita provided the groundwork for the hagiography of the Apostle Paul in Acts II. The deity Jesus Christ is therefore the Divus Iulius of the Flavians, and Jesus existed historically as Gaius Iulius Caesar

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