The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

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FransJVermeiren
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The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by FransJVermeiren » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:36 am

Luke 11:17-18a goes as follows:

(17) But he [Jesus], knowing their thoughts, said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. (18) And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?’

At first sight Jesus discusses the poor condition of the cosmic kingdom of Satan, using imagery that comprises society from the highest public (‘kingdom’) to the lowest private (‘household’) level. IMO however, Luke is conveying specific political information in these verses.
Here is my analysis.

a) In the NT βασιλεία is traditionally translated as ‘kingdom’, but in the specific situation of Roman occupation of Palestina (and Luke’s political awareness), the ‘empire’ translation seems to be preferable here.
b) The phrase καὶ οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον πίπτει is translated as ‘and a divided household falls’ (Nestle-Aland above) or ‘and house falls on house’ (NRSV). In the Roman imperial context, considering the negative effect (‘falling’) of οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον, and translating ἐπὶ as ‘against’ in this context of division, we see a situation of families (and their clients) fighting each other, maybe aristocratic families that claim supreme power over the empire. In short: οἶκος ἐπὶ οἶκον may describe a situation of civil war, more specifically the civil war of the four emperor year 69 CE.
c) In a previous contribution (Jesus’ visit to Rome - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4444) I discussed the use of ὁ σατανᾶς as an encrypted term for the Roman emperor, more specifically the emperor Nero. Maybe this is also the case here.
d) The Greek verb διαμερίζω is used twice in these verses, and it is consistently translated as ‘to divide’. In the first use, with βασιλεία, this translation seems correct, but in the second ‘Satan’ instance, knowing that
  • the basic meaning of διαμερίζω is ‘to cleave asunder, cut in pieces’
  • this ‘cutting in pieces’ is directed ‘against himself’ (ἐφ ҆ἑαυτὸν)
  • Nero committed suicide with a knife
the second phrase with διαμερίζω maywell allude to Nero’s suicide.

In this analysis verse 17 describes the civil war in Rome after Nero’s suicide, and verse 18a the provoking event itself, the suicide of the emperor. The gospels are encrypted narratives of the struggle for world dominion between the Jews and the Romans. Luke 11:17-18a is a fine illustration. This short fragment describes the weakness of the Roman empire worded by one of the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans. Jesus depicts the Roman empire as divided and in a state of civil war after the suicide of its emperor Nero. This has brought the opposing power at the brink of collapse. Jesus’ analysis of the adverse internal affairs of Rome and the resulting weakness of the enemy must have been a good motivator for the Jewish revolutionary forces.

jude77
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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by jude77 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:47 pm

I assume you're just floating an idea and looking for feedback rather than actually positing this as Luke's intended meaning of the text. If that's the case, it seems to me that you are reading far more into the text than it can sustain. I guess the major problem I see is that your exegesis is underpinned by some pretty broad assumptions.

All the best.

Charles Wilson
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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:56 pm

jude77 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:47 pm
I assume you're just floating an idea and looking for feedback rather than actually positing this as Luke's intended meaning of the text.
Actually FJV is on solid ground:

For God (Diuus Claudius)
so loved the world that he gave his only "Begotten" son (Are there other types of sons? Yes! Adopted ones - like Nero)
that whosoever believeth in him (TITUS!!!)
shall not perish (Titus ostensibly recovered from the poisoning that toook Britannicus, Claudius' son. Titus had a gold statue of Britannicus made)
but have everlasting life (Titus became Emperor).

Acts 13:

[8] But El'ymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith.
[9] But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
[10] and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
[11] And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time." Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.

Elymas was a "Magician" (A False Caesar) and he was the son of the devil. Nero's real father was one of the worst individuals ever to walk the earth. The Blindness?:

Suetonius, 12 Caesars, "Nero":

"For as he was making the round of the temples and had sat down in the shrine of Vesta, first the fringe of his garment caught when he attempted to get up, and then such darkness overspread his eyes that he could see nothing..."

CW

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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by jude77 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:15 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:56 pm
jude77 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:47 pm
I assume you're just floating an idea and looking for feedback rather than actually positing this as Luke's intended meaning of the text.
Actually FJV is on solid ground:

For God (Diuus Claudius)
so loved the world that he gave his only "Begotten" son (Are there other types of sons? Yes! Adopted ones - like Nero)
that whosoever believeth in him (TITUS!!!)
shall not perish (Titus ostensibly recovered from the poisoning that toook Britannicus, Claudius' son. Titus had a gold statue of Britannicus made)
but have everlasting life (Titus became Emperor).

Acts 13:

[8] But El'ymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) withstood them, seeking to turn away the proconsul from the faith.
[9] But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
[10] and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
[11] And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind and unable to see the sun for a time." Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.

Elymas was a "Magician" (A False Caesar) and he was the son of the devil. Nero's real father was one of the worst individuals ever to walk the earth. The Blindness?:

Suetonius, 12 Caesars, "Nero":

"For as he was making the round of the temples and had sat down in the shrine of Vesta, first the fringe of his garment caught when he attempted to get up, and then such darkness overspread his eyes that he could see nothing..."

CW
Charles Wilson, I'm sure it's just me, but I can't see how any of this has any connection to the Lukan text quoted in the OP. Maybe you could explain your point a bit more.

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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:05 pm

FransJVermeiren wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:36 am
In this analysis verse 17 describes the civil war in Rome after Nero’s suicide, and verse 18a the provoking event itself, the suicide of the emperor.
Happy to oblige, Jude77.

I come to defend FJV, not to bury him. Both of us look to see the battles between Rome and the Jews and Rome :problem: . We disagree on so many points within this Thesis but on a very basic level, we are both looking at placing the NT in the Arena of Real World events.

Nero IS in the NT and the question is whether this "Floating" of ideas (your word) is serious or not. I very much believe it is.
FJV wrote:The gospels are encrypted narratives of the struggle for world dominion between the Jews and the Romans
Correct. BTW I'm not sure that Nero "...cut himself to pieces" but this may be a trifle:

Suetonius, 12 Caesars, Nero:

"When he heard them, he quavered:

"Hark, now strikes on my ear the trampling of swift-footed coursers!"

and drove a dagger into his throat, aided by Epaphroditus, his private secretary. He was all but dead when a centurion rushed in, and as he placed a cloak to the wound, pretending that he had come to aid him, Nero merely gasped: "Too late!" and "This is fidelity!" With these words he was gone, with eyes so set and starting from their sockets that all who saw him shuddered with horror. First and beyond all else he had forced from his companions a promise to let no one have his head, but to contrive in some way that he be buried unmutilated. And this was granted by Icelus, Galba's freedman, who had shortly before been released from the bondage to which he was consigned at the beginning of the revolt..."

(Note that "...cut to pieces..." does describe Galba. Suetonius 12..., "Galba":

"There the horsemen who had been bidden to slay him, spurring their horses through the streets and dispersing the crowd of civilians, caught sight of him from a distance and halted for a moment. Then they rushed upon him again and butchered him, abandoned by his followers.

"Some say that at the beginning of the disturbance he cried out, "What mean you, fellow soldiers? I am yours and you are mine," and that he even promised them largess. But the more general account is, that he offered them his neck without resistance, urging them to do their duty and strike, since it was their will.")

Nonetheless, whether descriptive or symbolic, I agree with FJV in the main...uhhh...thrust of the argument. Many - and I mean MANY - of the NT Stories are rewrites of Suetonius, Tacitus, Dio, Polybius, Plutarch and others, describing the Interregnum between the Julio-Claudians and the Flavians.

Don't go looking Somwhere Over the Rainbow. It's there, right in front of you.
Good work, FJV.

CW

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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by jude77 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:37 am

Hello Charles;

For openers this quote was quite funny. Kudos to you.
Charles Wilson wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:05 pm
I come to defend FJV, not to bury him.
I have heard the theory that you and FJV propose and, while I can't say I agree with it, it is interesting. But, on the other hand, to be totally honest, I have to confess I haven't read much in that particular area so maybe I'm being pejorative. I do very much appreciate your kindness and willingness to farther explicate your original post.

With all that said I still feel that FJV is making some rather large and unsubstantiated assumptions in regarding the Luke text as a reference to Nero's suicide.

All the best you.

Charles Wilson
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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by Charles Wilson » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:52 am

jude77 wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:37 am
For openers this quote was quite funny. Kudos to you.

All the best you.
Thank you.

Look at Matthew 7: 15 (RSV):

[15] "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Standard Christian Teaching, correct? Is there more to this? I believe so.

As previously stated, I identify the "Magician Elymas" in Acts with Nero. There are other examples. *IF* "False Prophets" could be Code for the Caesars, do we find support for this idea?

"...who come in sheep's clothing..." is such a Clue. The standard Toga was made of wool and marked the decorum required for the Roman Senate. Further, the wearers of this wool are marked as "Ravenous Wolves". Any ravenous wolves nearby?

Suetonius 12 Caesars, "Galba"

"It is said that he was a heavy eater and in winter time was in the habit of taking food even before daylight, while at dinner he helped himself so lavishly that he would have the leavings which remained in a heap before him passed along and distributed among the attendants who waited on him..."

Not conclusive but suggestive.

CW

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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by FransJVermeiren » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:37 pm

jude77 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:47 pm
I assume you're just floating an idea and looking for feedback rather than actually positing this as Luke's intended meaning of the text. If that's the case, it seems to me that you are reading far more into the text than it can sustain. I guess the major problem I see is that your exegesis is underpinned by some pretty broad assumptions.
Jude 77, it is not my habit to float ill-considered ideas. I always want to have read more before I write, but that's something different.

In a world without freedom of speech subject people used different techniques to spread ideas and texts that were unwelcome to their rulers. IMO this is also the case with the gospels, and one of the methods the gospel writers used is encryption. One of the encryption techniques is the use of code words.

A code word in the same pericope which I did not discuss is Beelzebul, the prince of demons. As demons are polytheistic gods, the prince of demons is Jupiter/Zeus. This places the whole pericope in an anti-Roman context. Jesus seems to say: What would I rely on the supreme god of an empire that is in such a deplorable situation, with its emperor who committed suicide?

In the OP I did also not discuss the verb ἐρημόω (‘is laid waste’). After the great fire of Rome in 64 CE the city was in a ruinous state, and that is what this verb describes. This verb also secretly alludes to Rome.

In verse 20 Jesus says: ‘If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’ This is a way to say: I cast out demons by Gods power, so the kingdom of God has arrived. Then follow verse 21-22: ‘(21) When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are in peace; (22) but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.’

Could these verses be describing a military situation that goes beyond a duel? I believe they do. IMO these encrypted verses convey the following information: When a strong empire, concretely Rome, with a powerful army, takes good care of itself, its territories are in peace*. But when a stronger opponent, the Jews, attack this empire and overcome it, the victor dismantles the army of the enemy and takes over the territories Rome had conquered. In summary these verses describe the change of power from the Roman empire to the empire of God. (The connection with verse 20 is seamless.)

*εἰρήνη is a military term, the opposite of πόλεμος. This noun has no place in a duel setting, only in a real military setting. This is an encrypted description of the pax Romana of which the Romans boasted.

Thanks CW for the support, especially for ‘the arena of real world events’. In my opinion ‘the arena of crucial real world events’.

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Re: The Roman civil war 68-69 CE and Nero’s suicide in Luke 11:17-18a

Post by jude77 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:34 pm

Hello FJV:

Thanks for your reply. I can see that you have put a great deal of work into your theory. I guess for me the bottom line is that I disagree with your basic assumption that the Gospels are encoded tracts.

All the best to you and good luck in your continued work.

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