Damien F. Mackey
“The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god”.
Plutarch: Parallel Lives.
Hugh J. Schonfield (d. 1988) is well known for his controversial book about Jesus, entitled The Passover Plot, which he wrote in 1965.
According to the author, Jesus, desirous of saving his people, actually - and one must think, somewhat incredibly - orchestrated, as far as he could, his own manner of death, so as to accord with the ancient Messianic prophecies. “…the Crucifixion was part of a larger, conscious attempt by Jesus to fulfill the Messianic expectations rampant in his time, and that the plan went unexpectedly wrong”.
I recently read Schonfield’s follow-up book to The Passover Plot, which, written in 1981, he had entitled After the Cross. On pp. 115-117 of this book the author introduced the Greek historian Plutarch’s piece about King Romulus, supposed first king of Rome, beginning with:
Very few Christians would seem to be aware, however, of the strong similarity that exists between the image of the death and resurrection of Jesus and that of Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome. The latter is set down in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Plutarch was born in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.) and was a contemporary of the authors of the Gospels. The relevant passage is quoted in full from an old English translation, which gives the flavor of the Authorized Version of the Bible.
Solomon and Sheba
Anyway, here is the passage by Plutarch (http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/romulus.html):
… whereas Romulus, when he vanished, left neither the least part of his body, nor any remnant of his clothes to be seen. So that some fancied the senators, having fallen upon him in the temple of Vulcan, cut his body into pieces, and took each a part away in his bosom; others think his disappearance was neither in the temple of Vulcan, nor with the senators only by, but that it came to pass that, as he was haranguing the people without the city, near a place called the Goat's Marsh,
[Comment: “… without the city” is appropriate, as is Goat. Recall the goat for sin offering]
'Socrates' as a Prophet
In Part Three of ‘Socrates’ above, the renowned, so-called Greek philosopher, it is argued, had no actual historical reality qua Socrates, but, rather, was a biblical composite. To consider just one of his biblical ‘manifestations’, Socrates, who is so often likened to Jesus Christ, will be found in Plato’s Meno doing what Jesus in fact did: writing on the ground (John 8:6, 8).
But what will Socrates write? Not something ethical.
Romulus and Remus were twin brothers and their mother was princess Rhea Silvia.
So, apparently, were Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, twins.
Notice that there is only one conception, but two births. The Hebrew word for "again" is asaph, meaning to add something, in this case the birthing of Abel was added to the birthing of Cain. Cain and Abel were twins.
And, further (https://sites.google.com/site/creationmythofromulsuandremus/):
The tradition of twins as the progenitors of tribal units or city builders is very well documented in Semitic and Indo-European cultures. When birth order is specified, the younger twin always receives the blessing over the first born brother. In the account of the sons of Adam, the first born twin is envious of the second and commits fratricide. There are many variations on this theme in other twin genesis accounts. Jacob is fearful that Esau will kill him, Romulus killed Remus and Gwyn and Gwythurin in Celtic tradition duel every May.
As I have often remarked, one of the most common phrases used by the conventional historians of ancient history is this one, “… little is known about …”. And that fully applies to Philostratus, who himself, I suspect, may not have been an actual historical character, but a ‘ghost’ based upon some previous person - perhaps upon one of the Evangelists. Thus we read of Philostratus
Very little is known of his career. Even his name is doubtful. The Lives of the Sophists gives the praenomen Flavius, which, however, is found elsewhere only in Tzetzes. Eunapius and Synesius call him a Lemnian; Photius a Tyrian; his letters refer to him as an Athenian. It is probable that he was born in Lemnos, studied and taught at Athens, and then settled in Rome ….
I rest my case.
That appears to be a very shaky historical foundation, indeed, upon which to raise a life story of one who is considered by some to have been the exemplar for Jesus Christ himself.
Apollonius of Tyana
Most commentators simply presume the historicity of Philostratus when considering the Apollonius of Tyana of whom he wrote.
Even as late as 1832, [F.] Bauer attempted to show that not only were there resemblances between the "Life of Apollonius of Tyana" and the Gospels, but that Philostratus deliberately modeled his hero on the type set forth by the Evangelists. He was followed in this view by Zeller, the celebrated Greek historian.
Typical of latter nineteenth century views on the subject is that of Cardinal Newman, a Catholic apologist, who, admitting the identity of Apollonius and the Gospel messiah, considers the former an imitation of the latter, in spite of the fact that he preceded him by three centuries (For the Jesus of the Gospels was evidently born in the year 325 A.D., at the Council of Nicea, rather than when the star appeared over Bethlehem).
To support his view, Newman mentions certain typical examples, such as Apollonius's bringing to life a dead girl in Rome, which he considers as "an attempt, and an elaborate, pretentious attempt, to outdo certain narratives in the Gospels (Mark v. 29, Luke vii. John xi: 41-43, Acts iii: 4-6). This incident, is described by Philostratus.
Reville, another Catholic apologist, thinks as does Newman that "the biography of Apollonius is in great measure an imitation of the Gospel narrative.'* (*Reville bases his argument on the similarity of the characters of Apollonius and Pythagoras (which is natural in view of Apollonius following Pythagoras as his example); and he seeks to prove that Apollonius, rather than Jesus, is a fictitious creation, rather than an historical character. Reville writes: "It is hard to say whether the Pythagoras of the Alexandrians is not an Apollonius of an earlier date by some centuries, or whether the Apollonius of Julia Domna, besides his resemblance to Christ, is not a Pythagoras endowed with a second youth. The real truth of the matter will probably be found to lie between the two suggestions."
[End of quotes]
For my view that Pythagoras was, for his part, based upon an ancient Hebrew sage, see e.g.:
Joseph of Egypt and Pythagoras
Similarities shared by the stories about Apollonius and the life of Jesus