- File Size: 803 KB
- Print Length: 457 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1497579619
- Publication Date: April 22, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JVZP69A
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,499 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Shakespeare's Secret Messiah Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
In order to appreciate Atwill's work you have to not only be able to think logically, but you must also accept a couple of ideas as axiomatic. By thinking logically I mean that you must be able to suspend, at least hypothetically, any non-evidence based, or faith-based belief systems you may hold. These include beliefs in Judaism, Christianity and, in the case of this book, belief in William Shagspere (a.k.a. "Shakespeare") as the One True Author of the Shakespearian works.
The required axiomatic bases are acceptance of typologies as valid and a willingness to accept that people 2,000 years ago were basically as intellectually developed as we are today. If you believe that mathematically impossible lists of parallels can only occur by coincidence, particularly if the parallels violate one of your faith based beliefs, then Atwill's work is not for you. If you believe that an oligarchical power elite could not possibly have acted in a Machiavellian manner prior to Machiavelli, then Atwill's work is also not for you.
The key to understanding Atwill's work is the concept of typology. This concept is explained in this book and in more detail in "Caesar's Messiah". There are certain quasi-historical (or 100% mythical) personae who appear from time to time with certain characteristics intact and others changed to suit their respective historical period. (Think "movie remakes" as a modern example of this.) Once you have successfully wrapped your head around that concept in Caesar's Messiah, Atwill throws a curve ball in Shakespeare's Secret Messiah, forcing the reader to comprehend typological characters who are either reverses of their types heretofore, or at least act in ways that are switched around from their behaviour in the New Testament and/or the works of Josephus, Suetonius and other authors of that age.
The authoress along with other collaborators of the Shakespeare plays had a specific reason for creating these reverse typologies, which Atwill develops fully. To state it baldly and briefly might put some people off, so I won't go into it here.
The discovery and proof of the validity of a typological coupling of different characters can be compared to the study of fingerprints. In regard to chapter 10, "DOMITIAN'S TRINITY IN ACTS", I make the analogy of the discovery of several partial fingerprints at a crime scene that must be assembled to form a complete print which can only then be used to identify the person who left the partial fingerprints. To solve a puzzle that has mathematical elements involving the numbers three, 153, and the other three-digit numbers that appear in the New Testament, Atwill compares passages from the Gospel of John, the Book of Acts, works of Josephus, and the mathematician Pythagoras's fishing story to explain the appearance of these numbers and the likely reason for The Vesica Piscis as an early Christian symbol.
Rather than commenting further I will summarize the basic contents, which go far beyond a re-evaluation of Shakespeare. Perhaps a more descriptive but unwieldy title could have been "Caesar's Messiah, Part 2, featuring a lengthy discussion of the fact that other people knew all about it in the 16th Century, but couldn't discuss it openly for fear of severe punishment, including death, plus some other interesting and related information."
The first, section of this book is the thorough "INTRODUCTION: A REVIEW OF CAESAR'S MESSIAH" by Jerry Russell. This introduction could be called a Reader's Digest version of "Caesar's Messiah", with excellent commentary, some of which is not in full agreement with Atwill.
Atwill discusses the Shakespearean works Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice and a few of the Sonnets. He dissects Christopher Marlow's "The Jew of Malta", and discusses Marlow's certain knowledge of Christianity as an invention of the Flavian Caesars and the apparently fatal result of his being indiscreet about his knowledge. Atwill introduces the Dark Lady herself, Emilia (a.k.a. Amelia) Bassano, her history and the published works attributed to her.
In the previously mentioned Chapter 10, Atwill discusses the influence of the third and last Flavian emperor, Domitian, as well as the Roman authors who worked on Domitian's behalf. Perhaps the second tour de force of this book after the Shakespeare discussion is a line by line analysis of the Book of Revelation in Chapter 11, "REVELATION AND DOMITIAN'S IMPERIAL CULT". If you have puzzled over the "meaning" of the Book of Revelation, read this chapter and puzzle no more. There are separate chapters devoted to "The Seven Seals and the Pauline letters" and the "Ass-headed Christ".
But wait, there's more! Chapter 14 is "THE SCOPE OF ROMAN PLANNING: RABBINICAL JUDAISM". Atwill does a thorough but concise job of showing that the Romans were the guiding, supporting and mentoring force in turning Judaism from its militaristic, Messianic core into the more pacific religion of Talmudism. I suspect that Joe will not be as welcome on Rodeph Emet TV as he once was, but I hope I'm wrong. The Romans covered their bases not only with Christianity, marketed to pacify both Jews and Gentiles, but also with Talmudism to pacify Jews through the re-training and re-focusing of their religious leaders.
Speaking of Rodeph Emet TV, there are dozens of interviews featuring Joe Atwill on Youtube and elsewhere, as well with other scholars, including Jerry Russell, John Hudson and Robert Eisenman, who discuss Atwill's concepts. Have a look around if you are not certain about buying this book or Caesar's Messiah. I predict you will soon be looking for more information direct from the source! Atwill and Russell have also begun a project called "postflaviana" (q.v.) to explore other connections with the Flavian legacy. The idea is to build upon the new-found, or at least newly exposed, knowledge of the Flavian literature, and use it to deconstruct the stultifying effect that the Flavians have had on human progress.
I also recommend The Dark Lady: The Woman Who Wrote Shakespeare's Plays as complementary to SSM. It's a beautiful book with several pages of illustrations. The author, Shakespearian scholar and producer of Shakespeare plays, John Hudson, goes even farther than Atwill in showing that Ms. Bassano was a chief author of the Shakespearian canon. Hudson credits Joe Atwill for the original idea of pursuing the line of research that led to this remarkable book.
Some interesting theories and awesome nuggets. It does present a convincing enough case that what Atwill is theorising is true, yet again as with Caesar's Messiah I think Atwill tries to draw in more than is necessary. The 7 Seals part was the weakest and most disconcerting section, and Atwill admits that himself, yet the bones he's trying to flesh out are pretty solid, imo.
The Domitian info was great and really fits this new take on Revelation. Revelation is a book I've pondered for decades and never thought I'd make sense of - as I never thought we'd find the true identities of the gospel authors - but yet again Atwill has shed new light that revolutionises my understanding.
(I'd been wondering how Domitilla would be exiled for being Christian by Domitian who would seem to be on the same side, but this makes sense now too...)
Overall I'm more convinced than ever of the Flavian thesis for the Gospel's origins, and it seems obvious to me that in the days of England breaking from Catholicism there was a desire to reveal this secret, which was then suppressed by the new church, yet referenced, for posterity, by the author(s) of Shakespeare's plays...
Sadly, Atwill doesn't appreciate Shakespearean genius.
He's like Indiana Jones who just discovered the crystal skull but has no idea the skull has the power to increase a chicken farm's breast meat yield over 2%!
Bummer, but that's why we pay the science guys the big bucks.