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The Scythian - Moral, legal and political fallout

Moral, legal and political fallout

Following Jesus' death, the mercenaries of the Temple of Jerusalem, led by Rabbi Saul, begin their hunt for Jesus' following. They go from door to door, hauling off men and women alike, and subjecting them to the most severe forms of torture to extract information about Jesus' following. Jesus foresees Rabbi Sauls draconian measures when he instructs his disciples to deny him and to leave Jerusalem so that they may live to spread his word. We read in Acts 1:4, Saul's secretary, Luke claiming that Jesus tells his disciples not to leave Jerusalem. However, when we read (the non-Jewish) Mark's account, we find a "youth" (we now know as Mary Magdala) telling Jesus' followers just the opposite, that is, to leave Judea and go to Galilee:

"But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you'" (16:7).

However, the purging continues for months until news of the killing of a Parthian prince reaches Rome.

We can search the canonized gospels in vain for information regarding the fate of Pilate and the high-priests of the Temple of Jerusalem. These sources tell us nothing about what happened to these individuals after their crime had become known to the Roman Emperor, Tiberius, a soldier (General) by profession and a man of integrity. However, Pilate's File, one of the headings of Evangelicos Apokrifos compiled by the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca contains detailed information regarding the fate of these criminals in Tiberius' letter to Pilate (Editorial Catolica S. A. Madrid, 1975. p. 474). Emperor Tiberius' letter to Pilate (Delivered by a detachment of 2000 Roman troops):

"You have dared to unjustly force Jesus the nazarene to his death, without conviction you gave him over to the insatiable angry Jews, without any pity towards this man of truth, and accepted gifts to deliver this man devoid of any crime to the horrible agony of flogging and crucifixion for doing so. Your tongue speaks of sympathy but in your heart you have delivered him into the hands of a few unlawful Jews.

For all these, you shall be brought before me in chains so that you may give an account of this life which you have given over to death for no reason, and so that you may save yourself with your excuses. This is the reality of your shame and your indifference. Since I have become aware of your atrocities, my soul is suffering and I can find no inner peace. His wife, who was also his disciple, has come to me [in the Coptic version] and has proven that this Jesus healed the sick wherever he went. He gave eyesight to the blind, he made the cripple walk, he gave back the deaf their hearing, he cleansed the lepers; and all these cures he did with no more than his words.

How could you have permitted his crucifixion, since he was innocent? If you did not receive him as God, you could have at least received him as a healer. He is much greater than any of the gods we revere. Your own deceitful writing to me has condemned you.

Take note: I shall deal to you, your accomplices and those who bribed you as much justice as the injustice you dealt out to this benefactor. "

Tiberius' orders were to shackle Pilate, Caiaphas, his father-in-law, Annas, and all the other high-priests of the Temple of Jerusalem and their accomplices, and bring them to Rome.

Thus, Tiberius is the only authority who considers Jesus' torture and crucifixion not only a crime and an unjust act, but the greatest crime against humanity. He is so jolted by the gravity and viciousness of this crime, he sentences even his own son-in-law, Pilate, to death, along with the other perpetrators, and has them all executed. (According to some legends, Caiaphas dies on the way to Rome on or near the island of Crete, but the earth [variably, the sea] “rejects his corpse.”)

Even if Tiberius were not a just and righteous man, a plausible consideration in his decision to punish these criminals is political stability. Keeping in mind that the Parthians had soundly defeated the Romans several times in the recent past, gained control of large parts of Palestine, and killed Crassus, Tiberius may have had good reason to fear that the Parthians might interpret the killing of a member of the Adiabene Royal Family as a Roman political assassination, and severely punish Rome.

This plausibility raises new questions: how does Mary Magdala, a supposed "prostitute" a "Jewish carpenter" met in passing—according to the canonized gospels—get to see Tiberius? How is she able to get anywhere near Rome, the city—not to mention the person, Rome's Emperor—without proper documents since she is not a Roman citizen? Even as Jesus' spouse, she could turn only to the local civil authority with her grievance—according to Roman code of procedure in personal matters. However, in this case, her complaint is against the head of the local authority and his accomplices, so she has to go over Pilate's head. But how does a commoner—and of the lowest social class at that—from a far away Roman-occupied territory get anywhere near the ruler of a world power and gain audience regarding a personal matter? Pilate is the sole authority to issue a passport for non-citizens to enter Roman territory. However, in his letter to Tiberius, Pilate makes no mention of his awareness of Mary's travel to Rome, so he could not have issued her such a passport. Therefore, Mary must have traveled to Rome under some other authority. To answer these questions, we need to turn to history once again.

There is relative piece between the Parthians and the Romans during Jesus' time. Edessa is probably (see below) one of the capitals of the Kingdom of Adiabene where King Abgar V rules (13-50 AD). (In Gutschmidt's chronological list of kings of Edessa, the king listed after Abgar VI [71-91 AD], Sanaturk [91-109 AD], is explicitly called "King of Adiabene.") Eusebius tells us that "Abgar V, King of Adiabene, writes a formal reprimand to Emperor Tiberius demanding explanation of Pilate's audacity to allow the Jews to crucify Jesus" (Hist. Eccl. I. 13-15). Moses Chorenei completes Eusebious' information with the following documentation:

"King Abgar established a huge library in Edessa, and had his library from the Church of the Sun of Nisib shipped here, too... Here, among other correspondence, he had kept the pair [copy] of his letter to Tiberius he had written in regards to Jesus' acts and Divinity” (History of the Armenians, Par. 2.k, 10, 37).

Based on our knowledge of Roman laws, the political climate and the above documents, we can hypothesize that:

  1. Abgar, as King of Adiabene, informs Tiberius of the Jews' atrocity and of his discovery of the identities of the criminals responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. Based on this information, Tiberius demands Pilate's explanation of the events, a demand Pilate fulfills in Pilate's Letter to Tiberius which, in turn, prompts Tiberius to arrest Pilate, the high-priests of the Temple of Jerusalem and their accomplices.

  2. Abgar certifies Mary Magdala as Jesus' spouse. She personally protests Jesus' killing to Tiberius.

  3. The only way Mary Magdala could have traveled to Rome and be received by Tiberius is as a member of a diplomatic delegation arranged by King Abgar in accordance with existing diplomatic protocols.

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