Skip to comments.Secrets of the Dead; Case File: The Great Fire of Rome
Posted on 10/01/2005 4:17:14 PM PDT by Captain Rhino
Certainly, it's hard to know whether to trust the allegations in the writings of Tacitus. Yet, what about the explanation offered by Nero, that the Christians were to blame? At least one scholar believes Nero was on the mark. Professor Gerhard Baudy of the University of Konstanz in Germany has spent fifteen years studying ancient apocalyptic prophecies. His studies have shown that in the poor districts of Rome, Christians were circulating vengeful texts predicting that a raging inferno would to reduce the city to ashes. "In all of these oracles, the destruction of Rome by fire is prophesied," Baudy explains. "That is the constant theme: Rome must burn. This was the long-desired objective of all the people who felt subjugated by Rome."
Moreover, the Book of Revelations, written a mere 30 years later, seems to equate evil with Rome. The Whore of Babylon, the source of this evil according to Revelations, is described as having seven heads. "The seven heads are seven mountains," Revelations says. Rome, of course, is famously known as the city of seven hills. What's more, an ancient Egyptian prophesy that would have been well-known in the Christian quarters of Rome foretold the fall of the great evil city on the day that the dog star, Sirius, rises. In 64 AD, Sirius rose on July 19, the very day the great fire of Rome began. Baudy believes that, bearing this prophetic date in mind, some of the Christians, maltreated and embittered, may have started the fire -- or perhaps lit additional fires, adding fuel to the larger conflagration -- in hopes of realizing their prophesies.
Regardless, over two hundred years would pass before the Christians escaped the kind of persecution they endured under Nero.
(Excerpt) Read more at pbs.org ...
Pretty much par for the course at PBS, I'm afraid. But I agree that it will do no harm to complain. And it wouldn't hurt to protest to your congressperson and senators as well. Why should the taxpayers continue funding this kind of nonsensical left-wing propaganda?
"very slanted bit of anti-Christian propaganda."
Probably, given the source, but they may be right.
Of course, from what I've read of Roman history, I still believe it was that egotistial, sociopath Nero.
This episode has been around for years. I saw it at least four or five years ago. Had the same reaction as you. There was no evidence offered -- only a passage or two from Revelations that was suggested would furnish a rationale for Christians to commit arson. All the christian injunctions against murder, in the Gospels, were ignored -. I thought it was a scandalous anti-christian propaganda show at the time. And it certainly can't pass as a serious work of history, as it's speculation totally, from first to last. Sad to hear that some stations are still running it.
Based on what evidence? The "perfesser" who is cited offers none.
Given President Bush's somewhat patrician background, I'm sure the Democratic National Committee opposition research section is pouring through the ancient sources right now to see if they can establish a causal link.
In all what oracles? If you accept a source-critical theory for production of Revelation which suggests it was made up of pre-existing fragments, then these may have been floating around somewhere. But I'd want to see the manuscript evidence first, and then to hear how the fragments got from Rome to Asia Minor.
Finally, of course, there is the matter of internal evidence. For example, Rev 17:16 has the Great Whore being eaten by the ten kings and then burned. Doesn't sound like the Christian ghetto at all.
The only episode of Secrets of the Dead that I watched in its entirety involved the Shroud of Turin, and I have to say, a fairly convincing case was made for its authenticity as Christ's burial shroud. So, at the very least, PBs seems inconsistent on that show when it comes to Christian bashing.
They are no worse IMO than A & E or The History Channel. Those networks have continually debunked Christianity for years with their "Secrets of the Bible" programs.
"Based on what evidence? The "perfesser" who is cited offers none"
No, he's only cited the equivalent of heresay.
But then, there's no real 'evidence' that Nero did it either. The entire thing is pure speculation at best, and isn't worth getting upset over either way, IMO.
Everyone knows he was not a Centurion but only served
in the Texitus Guardia Civil. Just ask D.Rathurus.
Actually the Democrat logic will go like thus: Rome was burned and FEMA did not respond quickly. Mayor Nagini Blamenotmeo and Govenor Mindis Blanko clamed they were told by Halucinatus Frarakani that someone used the Roman version of dynamite ona Jewis couple named Levy.
Son of Satirenus, you have done well.
He been watching BARABBAS with Anthony Quinn too many times.
I doubt it has anything to do with Christianity, pro or con. This program just likes to argue for the most sensational "findings" that it can.
I remember seeing that and thinking the same thing as you. I think this German guy is just an anti-Christian bigot and wants to smear Christians without basis. Christians of thee early centuries certainly expected the end times, but there is very little incident of purposely fomented violence, as opposed to the periodic violent persecution of Christians by the imperial regime.
The episode of Secrets of the Dead about the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem was also quite respectful and interesting.
Many scholars date Revelations as written after the fire of Rome. I didn't see the program I don't watch PBS or listen to NPR and I consider Newt to be a failure for not defunding it as he promised. But I doubt that the program mentioned the authorship problem with their theory.
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There was a special on the history channel about "Roman Vice", and Nero was featured at the end.
The Roman authorities convicted them; much of the populace agreed that they were guilty; and the most cruel persecutions were implemented as a result. That is evidence, despite two millennia of Christian propaganda that the Roman statements are inherently not to be trusted.
I am not saying that the Christians did it. In my view, they probably did not, and probably not Nero either (whom much of the populace also suspected, at least initially). The fire was most likely an accident. Fires were common enough in ancient cities; Rome was lucky it didn't have more general conflagrations. Well, luck combined with Vigiles fire-control brigades.
The Revelations of the New Testament was written several decades after the fire of Rome in the year 64, so that has no direct bearing regardless.
There were plenty of Apocalypses, Sybilline Oracles, and other prophecies (both Christian and non-Christian parallels) floating around in the first century.
The Egyptians based their calendar on Sirius (Set/Osiris), and the goddess Isis was associated with Sirius. The Egyptian obsession with Sirius was rather well-known in the Greco-Roman world, to say the least.
No Roman convert had been Christian more than a decade or so in the year 64. Guess what? Before that, they were pagans (and some Jews). The cult of Isis and Osiris (later Serapis) was wildly popular in that era, with magnificent processions through the streets of Rome and offering baptisms, eucharist, and daily liturgies in the Iseum temples.
These earliest Christians, as attested to at length within various writings (even indirectly in Paul's epistles), were hardly the discrete community that you might imagine. They were not only ex-pagans, but many were still married to pagans, engaged in common pagan practices, circulated daily in a pagan society, and had no exclusive texts as of yet.
And they clearly anticipated that the return of Christ was imminent.
The christians wouldn't even join the army, so resistant were they to violence. They were a scapegoat, like the Jews in Germany. There's no evidence other than the "word" of the scapegoaters -- and Tacitus, a contemporary and well-connected, saw through that self-serving propaganda.
Of course, from what I've read of Roman history, I still DON'T CARE!! In college, while in History class, I was working on more important things, like trying to get a date with Mary Beth Reagan. Rome could wait. So it burned!! So did Chicago, for Christ's sake! Who cares??
I agree that they were probably a scapegoat, but again, the Roman authorities did convict the Christians and the populace of Rome did evidently support the persecution. That is evidence at the very least that the people amongst whom the Christians lived thought them predisposed to such deeds. To be exact, the Romans indicted the Christians for "hatred of the human race" which sure fits the way Christians view human nature well enough.
Yep and the exact reason we no longer watch PBS. It leans much to far left and is anti-Christian.
Yes, true but they couldn't blame that one on Christians so they had to blame a 'cow'.
So there were. And if you accept, as, for example, David Aune does, that Revelation was composed from pre-existing fragments, then those may have also contributed to the mix, if they were in Rome. But which ones promote, or can be read to promote the burning of Rome? Without specific mss, and their location, the evidence for this particular theory remains thin.
Ah, yes. That is a very good point. Well, I don't disagree with you: I also think the evidence is thin, and I would like to see the particular texts that the hypothesis is based upon. We will never have a definitive answer to this question, but I find it interesting myself.
Would that be the same D. Ratherus who procured little boys for Tiberius?
Hey, that looks like a very interesting book! I've placed it on my to-buy list.
I haven't seen the program either, but my guess is that however conjectural the hypothesis must be, if the scholar who presented it wants to maintain any credibility amongst his peers, then there was indeed a famous Egyptian prophecy that forecast the burning of Rome (or a city described such as to be interpreted to be Rome) on that day of whatever year.
Of course, that raises the question of why it wouldn't then be more plausible that some follower of Isis set the fire??
This is the same D.Rathurus that was caught forging
parchment, and who carefully ignored the debauchery
of Clintigula X42.
While not disputing that the proffessor's theory needs more substantial proof--although passing around tracts calling for the burning of the city would certainly qualify--I don't see this as necessarily anti-Chjristian.
After all, the Christians were being persecuted by a regime and nation that subjugated nations and peoples all over the known world. Some people would say that oppostion to that empire was laudable. Think about toppling the Saddam regime. Wouldn't that analogy be supportable in the case of Nero and the other mad emperors like Tiberius and Caligula?
You could just as easily make the case that the theory sets the Christians up as early supporters of freedom and democracy and against tyrants.
I don't watch PBS except when Inspector Linley is on. Otherwise they can take that whole liberal charade and push it over a cliff.
I bed to differ. Rome at the time was not the buildings of stone we see now, it was a slum of wooden houses and apartment buildings. One forgotten fire, untended for a few hours could have sent the town up in flames.
One has only to compare the great Chicago fire for proof of this, and no, I do not believe the cow story.
And the London fire of 1666; which everyone knows was set by Jesuit priests to reintroduce Popery back to the Kingdom.
Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.
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