Three key words characterize the historical background of Jesus. Rome, the Parthian Empire and Galilee.
In Rome in the late Republic, the old aristocratic families had led the state to the brink of ruin with their struggles for power. Emperor Augustus had managed to build a stable monarchy in place of the rule of the aristocracy.
He retained the facade of the Republic and integrated the old elite into the New State with a lot of administrative offices and honorary posts. Under the rule of Augustus the economy boomed and orders for the building industry brought profits to the entrepreneurs and employment to the lower class.
Sculptors and poets were vying with each other to praise Emperor Augustus, the First Man of the state, and the Golden Age without war that he had brought about. Augustus became a celebrated example for all monarchs at the time, including the Herodian princes and the governor Jesus.
When Herod the Great became seriously ill, the Roman studies of the Jewish princes
came to an end. At the end of year 5 or the begin of 4 BCE the princes and Jesus travelled to Judaea. In 7 BCE, as the conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn announced to the astrologers a change of ruler in Palestine, they fortunately stayed in Rome and so escaped the distrust of Herod the Great in his old age.
Two half-brothers of the princes, the sons of Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobul, were out of luck: Herod had them executed for flimsy reasons in 7 BCE. In the gospel according to Matthew this episode turned up as the massacre of the infants of Bethlehem, Matt 2, 16-17. There Jesus escaped the massacre too, this time because of the flight into Egypt (= Rome).
1. According to John 2,20: 8,57 after 46 years of building the temple, in 27 CE Jesus
was about 50. Thus he was born in 24/23 BCE. This corresponds to Luke 2,1ss, Matt 2,1ss and Luke 1, 5, which say that Jesus was born under the rule of the emperor Augustus and during the reign of King Herod the Great.
2. The highly political office which was offered to Jesus was the office of the governor of Galilee in the ministry of Herod Antipas. In 6 CE Jesus took over this office.
At that time he was 30; this was his first public office, Luke 3, 23. 6 CE was the crisis of the sons of Herod the Great. Then, after popular disturbances, Archelaos was banished to Gaul by the emperor.
According to Josephus, Ant. 17, 1, 3 in about 9 BCE Archelaus, Herod Antipas and Philip
were sent to Rome for further education. There they stayed privately with a family, maybe with Asinius Pollio.
I imagine that Jesus, being in the entourage of the princes, also went to Rome and got the same education. Herod the Great and his successors needed competent experts for the administration and Rome-educated diplomats who were loyal to the Herod family.
For the Romans it was important to educate members of the elites of the subject nations, who could transmit Roman principles of government to their homelands.
They studied the artes liberales, subjects for free-born young men, which did not require hard manual work: grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy (which included astrology), music theory.
In Rome, the Jewish students had to learn Latin, the language of the rulers of the world.
In 24/23 BCE Jesus was born and underwent a typical aristocratic education.
Until he was seven, he lived in the care of his mother and her servants and was looked after with brothers, sisters and other children.
At the age of seven Jesus started at an elementary school at the court of Herod the Great, where he was educated with the sons of Herod and other sons of aristocrats. Here Jesus met Manaen, the later Christian presbyter in Antiochia, Acts 13, 1.
Whereas in his mother’s house Aramaic and Greek were spoken, in the school only Greek was spoken. The syllabus included recitations of Homer and other classical authors of Greek antiquity, reading, writing, calculating, geometry, playing music, and physical education.
4. The Armenia crisis leads us into the time when the Samaritan prophet
appeared, Josephus, Ant. 18,4,1. The death of Jesus as a Messiah and the riot over the Samaritan prophet must be the same event. In 36 CE Jesus was crucified as the Samaritan prophet.
5. The proclamation of Jesus as Messiah in Caesarea Philippi is only plausible if Jesus was qualified for the job as a governor by his education or by being from an aristocratic family.
6. Therefore, this is how I understand the Temptation (Matt 4, Luke 4): in 6 CE, in the crisis of the Herodians, when Archelaus in Jerusalem lost his job and was banished to Gaul, Herod Antipas offered Jesus the job of governor of Galilee, and Jesus accepted the offer and took over the duty. Later the church claimed that Jesus had refused the offer.
Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768) exposed this contradiction: he applied the criteria
of plausibility and agreement with sources to examine the biblical story of Jesus. He proved 1. that the biblical narratives of Jesus and his disciples are often not plausible, and 2. that there are a lot of contradictions between the teachings of Jesus and those of the apostles, and so of the church.
Reimarus recommended the following solution, which is critical of the church: that the resurrection was a fraud by the disciples, who wanted to continue making their living as itinerant preachers.
The problem brought up by Reimarus was accepted as a scientific /scholarly problem and led to the German Leben-Jesu-Forschung of the 19th century. But his solution was rightly rejected by subsequent scholars.
The Bible tells the history of Jesus and his disciples in the style of contemporary poetry. It mixes historical facts
with fictional material such as anecdotes and miracles, and at the important places supernatural powers and persons are brought into play to substantiate the significance of the events.
Until the Enlightenment people intuitively understood this way of telling stories about Jesus: nobody saw a contradiction between religious truth and historical facts.
In the modern sciences since the 16th century the idea of truth has been connected with verifiability and repeatability in experiments. In the historical sciences since the Renaissance, and especially in the 18th century, plausibility and agreement with sources have gained acceptance as criteria of truth.
mind as an evolutionary innovation was made possible by a functional change of
which acquired the ability to communicate within a network, and by a functional change of this network, which facilitated the motivation of the individuals involved and the control of their instincts.
The motivational impulses in the network, which bestow vital energy and without which individuals and social groups are not viable, have been identified as the nucleus of the human mind. The development up to the beginnings of the mind also takes place within the framework of Darwin’s theory of evolution. However, in the end, there is a new stage of existence.
The intellectually gifted human being has emergent characteristics for whose description, beyond biological theory, a separate set of rules is required.
The task at hand was to present the evolution of the mind in accordance with Darwin’s theory of evolution.
attempts at solutions based on the co-evolution of brain and mind have been
rejected because the mind assumes the brain has already been completed
developed (both factually and temporally). In addition, the emergent qualities
of the human mind still cannot play a role on the biological level of brain
The proposed solution is based on a succession of the evolution of brain and mind. The development of the brain with the stages of prenatal growth, postnatal growth, and the networked brain can be plausibly explained based on the Darwinian theory of evolution without using the influence of mental or cultural factors as a justification.
The influence of the mind would then be an additional and not necessarily an explanatory cause to be rejected according to the principle of Ockham’s razor.