Rhetoric & Propaganda In The New Testament
[From the book ‘The Synthesis Of Christianity’ by Roman Piso]
(by Roman Piso, 11-15-2000, edited & updated 08-21-2015)
Before I start to illustrate the examples of rhetoric and propaganda that are contained within the New Testament, I’d like to say a few words about just how amazing it is to my mind that someone has not
worked on this before in a widely public work. And the same goes for the listing of correlations (or “corollaries”) between the works of Flavius Josephus and the New Testament. These two areas to me would seem the most obvious to even the most ordinary person, with even the a very minimal level of background knowledge about this subject.*
My advice regarding this paper is to reserve a quiet evening (or whenever) for yourself, to relax and read through this. And study it along with whatever other related materials that you’d like or that you think will help you to absorb this better or fully. Once you are more familiar with this and understand its value, please share what you’ve learned with others so that they have a chance to overcome the rhetoric and propaganda that they too will be confronted with.
Never did I think that I would have to do so much of the basic ground-breaking work myself… but so much seems to have escaped the attention of so many for so long. I hope that these areas will no longer be taken for granted or taken lightly, and that they may be taught and taken as the examples that they are. For the longest time now, I have been explaining and emphasizing just how important it is for rhetoric and propaganda to be taught early on, in all schools and on an ongoing basis so as to cover more advanced forms so that everyone has a keen understanding of how and for how long, these have been used in so many important areas of the world around us.**
I realize that most people at this point in time have no background in ancient history, let alone a good working knowledge of the true history of those times. And so, what may be found by those people, if every, is quite limited. But as for the things stated above, those should have been found even by those of the Old Classical Scholarship – at least to some degree. It remains a mystery as to why more have not focused upon the importance of this issue (i.e., the use of rhetoric & propaganda in religion).***
And as for myself, what is foremost in my mind about this is what we find in the New Testament that is aimed towards the Jews of the time; who the Roman authors of the New Testament saw as their enemies (the Pharisees & Scribes). We must never forget just how much knowledge that the authors of the New Testament possessed. They were keenly aware of just what and how much they could say in the NT about any certain thing without giving away what they were doing. And that, of course, includes in what way they could say those things.****
And so, instead of saying (in the NT) that “the Jews were the enemies of all Romans and Christians” outright in the NT, they merely ‘indicated’ that with various statements that were aimed against the Jews. The reason that they did not want to state this clearly and in a forthright fashion in the NT is because that would be (leave) evidence that would too strongly show the purpose of the statements themselves.*****
What they resolved to do then was to make ‘indicating’ statements against the Jews in the NT so that those could be expounded upon orally (vocally) in churches and other places, including meeting places (such as military camps), without leaving too much WRITTEN evidence as to the true purpose of those “anti-Semitic” statements. They were not put there for benign or arbitrary reasons, they actually served a critical purpose. The long, all-out war that had been going on (of the Pharisees to abolish slavery), was one of the main reasons for the creation of the Christian religion.******
Before we go too far in this paper, we should make sure that we first understand just what ‘rhetoric’ is as well as ‘propaganda’, so that we can appreciate our ability to identify it and so that we will not fall victims of it ourselves in the future. Too many times we’ll find others using and even use the word ‘rhetoric’ ourselves to mean simply something that we do not understand or generically even to statements made by others that merely ‘appear’ to us to have been fabricated. That is not what rhetoric truly is.
Rhetoric is an expressly devised statement that was meant by the designer of that piece of rhetoric to achieve a desired effect upon those who hear, read and/or use that statement – it is the encapsulation of an idea or ideology that may be wholly or in part untrue or non-real, but which is meant to appear ‘real’ and valid. Rhetoric is also found in the form of “questions”, and this is most effective rhetoric because the hearer or reader of it is left to ‘ponder’ the statement and the ‘answer’ is almost always a foregone conclusion because of the particular words used in the question (think “loaded” questions, such as “WHO created the universe,” instead of “WHAT caused the creation of the universe”. The use of the word “who” points to a person or being as responsible; and thus, the idea of an omnipotent being (God), as the “creator”. The average person is taken in very easily by rhetoric simply because they are uneducated to it and lack the ability to recognize it for what it is.
Webster’s dictionary gives a luke-warm definition of rhetoric and so people reading that definition never know the full and true meaning of what it really is. The dictionary says; “the art of effective and
persuasive use of language.” It should say something more like this; “the creative use of words, phrases, questions and other statements used for the express purpose of deception.” I realize that some people today do use rhetoric and propaganda in political areas as a means to achieve some ‘good’ goals. However, they should not HAVE to.
The reason that this may become necessary is because THAT rhetoric is used to ‘counter’ what has already been or is being used by the other side. And so, until we are ALL able to automatically ‘see’ and understand rhetoric and propaganda, we will be subject to it and the masses will be taken in by it. That is why rhetoric and propaganda should be an essential that is taught in our public schools. Instead, we see the opposite – we see the attempts to bring into schools rhetoric which was designed to “dumb them down” (i.e., the bible & prayer).
Webster’s now defines “propaganda” as, “the systematic widespread promotion of a particular doctrine or idea.” Or “material distributed to win people over to a particular doctrine.” Again, another less-than-
correct definition. “Propaganda” used to be truly and correctly defined as “the systematic promotion of HARMFUL and/or UNTRUE doctrines, ideas, or material.” Or as a definition for the HARMFUL and/or UNTRUE material itself. Those who control the meaning of words, as those who may control and CHANGE the meaning of words in our dictionaries – control the perception of those words by the masses. Even this, is a tool that is used to control the minds of the masses. Surely not EVERYTHING being promoted can be defined as “propaganda”!!!
Now, for a few examples of rhetoric & propaganda in the New Testament.
(1) Anti-Semitism in the New Testament. Some of this is overt and fairly obvious, while some is very well hidden or disguised. There was a major war going on when the New Testament was being written. Although there are rhetorical devices related to this war in the NT, a good deal of it is propaganda.
When I think of a piece of propaganda in the New Testament that also serves the purpose of a rhetorical device, I think of where the New Testament tries to make the case that IT was/is a fulfillment of a its own prophesy. The Gospels make it that the [war] destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were a fulfillment of THEM, rather than that they were written as a part of the war! How do we know that
this is the case? Because THEY (the Gospels) were written AFTER THE FACT and so could not have contained predictions about what would happen, because they had already happened.
This is a piece of propaganda produced specifically for the purpose of giving the Roman soldiers, Christian believers and others who made up the masses in the Roman empire the illusion that being on the side of Rome against the Jews (in the war) was something that ‘God’ both wanted and demonstrated to them.
The author of the Gospel of John makes the Jews say in his “Gospel”; “This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone like this the whole populace will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and sweep away our temple and our nation.” (John 11:47-48). The Gospel of John is known to have been written at a much later date (circa 103-105 CE) than when this occurred. The Temple was destroyed in the year 70 CE.
(2) The making of more Christians. Using the line in Genesis about going forth and being ‘fruitful’ is has been used for hundreds of years to get Christians to produce more Christians, and is still used in a very effective way still today (most especially by the Catholic Church). So, just by having babies and/or big families, more Christians are produced from existing Christians. Secondly, they are commanded as a part of the ‘requirement’ of being a Christian to proselytize and ‘convert’ others.
This is an example of rhetorical devices in the Bible and the New Testament specifically to achieve goals that were thought essential by the authors of the bible to ensure that Christianity ‘grew’. Never do you see an ‘honest’ and straight forward statement in the bible. It is all made very slick and ‘asks’ all of the right things from believers in order to reach its OWN goals. Remember, it was a family of the world’s greatest con artists who were creating the bible. They were not just thinking of things in their own time, but of the future of their own family being able to make a good living off of believers. To do this effectively, they knew that they would need to ensure that more and more Christians were being created. By the same token, the more Christians there were within a populace, the easier the populace would be to control and manipulate on a political level.
(3) Tithes and bequests. This is one of the big differences that came with the invention of Christianity. Though this existed previously in the form of ‘sacrifice’, that was not enough for them. So, a whole new system was developed. One where instead of the offering of produce and pieces of livestock and the occasional clay pot. Those would be replaced by cold hard cash. So, the ‘sacrifice’ was changed to ‘tithe’. And even a percent, a fixed amount was arrived at by comparing the tithing amount to the amount given in taxes. And the idea of bequests were pushed orally by the priests. This meant that not only would the church receive money on a regular basis, but that they would be most likely to
receive real property and the accumulation of wealth acquired during the lifetime of their ‘faithful’. Again, this was and still IS a con game! And we need to expose this fact to everyone that we know so that it can one day END.
Do you want to know about a rhetorical device that was put into the New Testament in order to get persons to both donate heavily to the church and to get persons to make bequests to the church? Here it is; “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of god (i.e., “heaven”).” This bit of rhetoric was put in three separate places in the New Testament to make sure that it would NOT be missed. It is in Mark 10:25, Matt. 19:24, Luke 18:25. This rhetoric was placed into the New Testament so that persons would sign a bequest and therefore technically be “poor” when they died, that way, they could go to ‘heaven’. What a scam! The whole of the New Testament is one long con designed to manipulate persons to the fullest!
(4) Rhetoric in general. The rhetoric of the book of Acts is one example that has been noted by scholars. The “Acts of the Apostles”, was a whole book with a specific rhetorical purpose – to give the illusion that Christianity was ALREADY known (and accepted) by the masses throughout the Roman empire. The purpose of this illusion was to create word of mouth advertising of the religion as a controversial issue among the masses. (See “The Bible as Literature: The New Testament,” by Buckner B. Trawich, 1968, pg. 69).
Apparently small, simple phrases were used as rhetoric as in this example; “… full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). Though it is true that these authors did indeed leave us works that are “full of (their) “grace”” (sic), and also full of truth regarding history as well, it is only there for those who “hath wisdom” and can “see” (determine) it for themselves. And so, there is really an ‘omission’ in this statement that can also be seen as an ‘inference’. The whole statement would then be; “… full of grace and truth FOR THOSE WHO CAN SEE AND UNDERSTAND IT, BUT NOT FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT.” And the truth was that very few people could see and understand what that “grace” and “truth” really is.
By the way, this is also what is meant by the “secret” or “mystery of the Gospels”. What is meant by ‘grace’ is what the persons who were playing ‘god’ were kind enough to leave to us in order to find out that the whole thing was indeed a fraud. Because these authors had complete control over ALL that they wrote and whatever they chose to leave to us in order for us find out just what they had done – they called this ‘grace’. Their ‘grace’ which they most graciously gave to us, when they did not have to. They wanted to make sure that we understood that. And the “truth” was/is what we can render from their writings once we have eliminated the untrue (by deduction). So, the effect of the example here is the deception of the masses purposefully and deliberately so as to give them the illusion that they were indeed receiving something great and good – ‘grace’ and ‘truth’ when in fact they were being ‘hustled’. And that, is an example of a rhetorical device.
Here is a quick list of some of the ideologies that they used to make the whole ‘machine’ that they created work:
The idea of a “soul”, for the purpose of making people think that they had something of themselves as individuals to ‘save’. That creates the NEED for that something to facilitate that – and so, you are given that by way of the belief in Jesus.
The idea of Heaven and Hell. Remember, I said that these were things that they ‘used’, not that the creators of Christianity necessarily created. The Christian religion was a ‘refinement’, a largely improved version of the older religions. Heaven (or rather the idea of it) existed previously in the form of ‘the elisian fields’ for Greeks & Romans, and was given other names elsewhere. And Hell, was previously “Hades”. But these were not real either. The Bible and the New Testament specifically reveals by way of “disclaimers” that Heaven and Hell do not exist. The New Testament makes openly false promises of life after death and so on.
The very idea of Heaven as a place to live in after death is a rhetorical device created for the purpose of convincing people that they have to do and/or believe certain things in life in order to ‘get there’. And with Hell as the alternative if you do not… well, that is a pretty persuasive ideology for those who don’t have a clue about any of this.
And then there is the idea of “miracles”, that anything can happen in your favor as long as you ‘believe’. This is also a part of the whole idea of supernatural things and superstitions to confuse the mind with as with the idea of angels, ghosts, demons and the devil/satan. You may notice that Heaven is only offered to those who ‘believe’. That, is rhetoric, because it offers no other choice to people in order to obtain the preset ‘goal’ of a life in Heaven. But it does not answer what happens to those who never knew about Christianity in the first place.
We know of several devices that were used to persuade people into believing, that should be mentioned here as well. One of those is that long tubes have been found at ancient alters and other religious ruins
were persons behind the altars were talking into the tubes to those who were there to worship and sacrifice. The tubes made the voice of the person speaking resound, sounding loud and authoritative; like the voice that one would imagine a ‘god’ to have. It is obvious that these were used to deceive people with. Another example would be where certain “signs” from ‘god’ are referred to. Among these signs are all manner of natural occurrences – those same things that we take for granted today; thunder & lightening, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, shooting stars, lunar and solar eclipses.
One of the more powerful of these ‘signs’ were the eclipses as they would appear to the common person to happen ONLY when the high priest said they would; and that was when ‘god’ wanted the masses to do what he wanted. And this ‘prediction’ by the priest that this was going to occur before it actually did, was used as a means to convince even the most ardent disbeliever that ‘god’ indeed was giving them a ‘sign’. We know now that the rulers and priests in ancient times actually knew when these eclipses would happen before they did, and that is because they had been keeping records of them for thousands of years! And we know today too, when these will happen by the use of this same method – they run in cycles and therefore can be ‘predicted’ in advance. Religion is now, and always has been just a big con game. The Bible is literary “Snake Oil”. And THAT is the truth.
The emotional ‘weight’ of all of these ‘goodies’ that Christianity offers is very hard for the average person to resist… IF, they believe them to actually be TRUE. But they are not. They are there for persuasion only.
Many persons have been thoroughly indoctrinated into a ‘god way’ of thinking by exposure to persuasive language, rhetoric and many other things that have been ‘woven’ into the very fabric of society. They may have no idea of what life would be like without the idea of a god or any
of that whole ideology. But the reality of this is that what reality and truth without Christianity and religion would offer is: No God, which also means no devil or demons, no supernatural, no hell, but still the possibility of a heaven of our own making. And the elimination of the largest and longest lasting scam and crime against humanity.
These authors of the New Testament were ‘slick’ and experts in the art of manipulation. And now, how can they manipulate people unless they ‘believe’ and believe beyond all else? And so, they worked very hard on the “faith rhetoric”. They did all that they could to ‘blur’ the meaning of and concept of ‘faith’ with other things such as ‘hope’ (1 Cor. 13:13) and also of equating faith with ‘power’ (Acts 6:8), and of making it appear to be a ‘virtue’ to be developed and ‘strengthened’ (Luke 8:48).
They took the trouble of making (giving) and example of a ‘doubter’ in the form of Thomas (as in ‘doubting Thomas’ in Mark 3:18, Matt. 10:3, Luke 6:15). Persons would be ‘complimented’ on their “great faith” in the New Testament (Matt. 8:10). Faith was even given as something that was semi-logical by explaining what it ‘is’; “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). But that of course, is just rhetoric. It really makes no sense at all. All it really ‘says’ is that air is air. And that nothing is still nothing, no matter what you call it. But it gives the impression to the uninformed reader that ‘faith’ is really something, as if it is what you make of it and not an exercise in futility. By the way, that passage is not how is was in the original Greek texts.
Hebrews 11:1, was stated this way originally; “Now faith is of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen.” The rest was added and changed by later “interpreters”. And, ‘faith’ was a rhetorical device
used to rally military troops during war; “fight the good fight by faith” (1 Titus 6:12). And for all those who did not go along, they were then mocked; “O ye of little faith…” (Matt. 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8 and in Luke 12:28). But about ‘faith’, read on, you will be shown the disclaimer that shows that they were indeed lying about the truth.
(5) The use of “disclaimers”. You may see persons speaking of the many ‘contradictions’ that are found in the bible. You may even know of some of those yourself. Most of those ‘contradictions’ are really what we’d call today ‘disclaimers’. They put disclaimers into what they wrote so that they could rightly claim to be telling the “truth”. This allowed them to say just about anything that they wanted to and still allow them to say that it was/is “the truth”. This was really just a huge manipulation of language and of
the readers of their writings. These people were con artists who had the privilege of being royal and having access to everything that they needed in order to produce and maintain the largest and longest lasting con game ever!
By the use of disclaimers, they COULD indeed tell the truth; but in the most deceptive ways! The way that they hide these disclaimers reminds me of the con artists who used to use “fine print” in order to hide the truth. Anyway, here is the disclaimer about the truth in the books of the New Testament. Now bear in mind that this is supposed to be Jesus speaking in the following verses;
“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is NOT true.” John 5:31. And then, just a few verses later he says; “I am one that bears witness of myself.” John 8:18.
This, is an admission that he is indeed lying. Lying about all things that he was stating! An admission that this was all really a hoax. And you can’t say that they did not warn you. Because they DID give
this disclaimer as well;
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but who are really ravenous wolves!” Matt. 7:15. Remember, the NT authors were actually Romans (i.e., in literary terms, the descendants of Romulus & Remus, and therefore, metaphorically, ‘wolves’). “This is Jesus the prophet, of Nazareth of Galilee.” Matt. 21:11.
They warned you about those in sheep’s clothing, but not about the one in lamb’s clothing (Jesus, the ‘lamb’, [‘arnius’])! They did make the analogy though and the “disclaimer” – again, you can’t say that they didn’t warn you! They very effectively said, “Look, now you beware of false prophets… o.k.? Got it? Alright.” And then they proceeded to produce the false prophet with which to deceive you with!
And the reason for saying sheep’s clothing was so that they could put in an allusion to their ancestors by a secret reference to the “golden fleece” (i.e. a sheep’s fleece/clothing). And why do they say “wolves”? This is because the authors are ROMANS and the royal Romans were thought of as ‘wolves’ because their ancestors Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf. So, always remember that the false prophet that they warn you against IS the NT Jesus! This is a “disclaimer”. They set out to deceive and manipulate the readers of the New Testament before they even started work on it – that was the goal!
By the way, for those not familiar with it, clinical psychopaths also work much this same way. They too, will give what we may terms ‘disclaimers’ (or “fair warning”) to their victims. And will do so in just such ways that the victim will never realize the actual meaning before the psychopath strikes. Many times what they will do is to say things out of context or include it in something else that they are talking about so that what is actually meant is never perceived or understood correctly by the victim.
Note: As for using dictionaries, always use the best and largest that is available to you. It almost appears that there has been some ‘tinkering’ going on with the meaning of some words in recent years so as to render them with less a much less exact definition than in previous editions. Large college or university dictionaries are preferred for this
kind of research and study.
* See my work on the correlations between the works of Flavius Josephus and the New Testament.
** See my work on how & why ancient royalty created literary illusions and facades in order to make the non-royal (“commoners”) perceive their world and circumstances in just the way that royals wanted them to. Religion was important to this formula, because it reinforced created ideologies that were introduced in other non-religious writings; and visa versa (God/gods, soul, Heaven, Hell/Hades, angels, Devil/Satan, evil, prophecy, etc.).
*** O.C.S. See my work describing the Old Classical Scholarship in ‘Piso Christ’ and elsewhere.
**** See my work regarding the ‘Royal Language’ (a language within language).
***** Virtually every ancient author could have theoretically written in a very clear and specific way so that all of their remarks and comments would have been understandable. And, so that they did not leave readers either mistakenly thinking that they meant either one thing or another. Which should make a reader or researcher think of just why it is that they were all writing the way that they did. Instead, assumptions have been made that this was just how all ancient authors wrote and left it at that.
We, of the New Classical Scholarship do not make such assumptions, because we want to know this as it is important to our understanding much more about ancient authors and what they were writing. We think and view all of these things as master detectives. We do not simply read, believe and accept. We want answers, and therefore, we ask questions, do our homework and analyze motives wherever they may exist. And this is the way that ancient history should be studied; not in the same way that religious believers “study” the Bible. If we do that, we are simply making ourselves into ‘believers’ of written ancient history and making it into another religion. That would make us no better, no wiser, than those who do not question or who ask the wrong questions or ask them in the wrong or incorrect way; because of simply accepting, believing and assuming.
Also, as we have pointed out before, true scholars are objective and not “studying” with bias. That means that true scholars are not those who have been taught in religious schools, nor are they entering academia already believing religion. The reason is that they are starting out not to get at the truth, but instead, to find whatever they can to support (or that appears to support) beliefs that they already hold. Because of the factor of money being involved, this has not been put to a stop by colleges and universities and there will never be any true or genuine scholarship prevailing within academia until those with biases or pre-existing religious beliefs are not admitted into academia. Also psychopaths and those who are mentally unstable pose a great danger to any genuine academia for obvious reasons.
****** See my paper entitled ‘Beginnings Of Christianity & The Evolution Of Popes’ as well as my other works on just how & why Christianity came to be (such as the book ‘The Synthesis Of Christianity’). Under Emperor Tiberius, a ‘college’ or group was organized to work on the creation of a new Roman religion that was to replace the Jewish religion; but it was to appear to have originated from the Jewish religion (and thus, not be perceived as a Roman invention). The reasons were several, but included demands from the Herodians, who were the hierarchy of the Sadducean sect, and because the Pharisees were teaching ethics instead of religion and teaching people that slavery is wrong and that all humans should have basic human rights, as well as the freedom to choose their own governing bodies. The Pharisees were using the teachings of Hillel The Pharisee to educate the people to a new philosophy that had them thinking and asking questions, and rebelling against the status quo. Thus, the royals who wanted to preserve the institution of slavery were working on ways to do just that. Christianity was the perfect answer.
Beginnings Of Christianity & The Evolution Of Popes