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I watched a film that was titled like this a few nights ago. It might have been this one but, obviously, without seeing this one how do I know? Anyway here's what I can remember....

The NT consists of gospels which are dated 70CE or later with the exception of Mark who is sometimes dated 65CE though I am not quite sure why. The letters of Paul (genuine and others) appear to fit into the, sort of 45CE - 60CE timeframe up to Paul's death. This all makes perfectly good sense until one puts on one's historians hat and start asking questions Questions like 'why is there no reference to Paul in any secular history of the time (not stuff written much later as later stuff often reported what Christians believed. Then again, why is it that Corinth, that big church community Paul is said to have built up is nowhere to be seen in the archaeology at the time it was supposed to have been built up. There's lots more but that's enough for now.

Then again, what we call Paul's genuine letters are only a group of letters where the writing seems to be from one pen and to have the same theological outlook. We have no figure we can say definitely wrote the stuff and adding a name other than one's own to texts was quite common at the time. Finally, Paul is more advanced, theologically, that the gospels. Indeed, his description of the Last Supper and the words he uses are still used in communion services today even though Paul never knew Jesus and wasn't at the Supper. if one could free Paul from the date slot he seems to have  we would have another way of looking at the NT - one that didn't need anything historical.

So there's Vespasian and Titus his son. Vespasian defeated the Jews to take Jerusalem but was recalled to Rome to be emperor leaving his son Titus to finish the job off. Vespasian took Josephus (the Jewish Historian) back with him to Rome to write up official history. Of course, in time, Vespasian was anointed (Christos / Messiah) and there was an official cult to worship the deified emperor too. The idea is that Vespasian set up Josephus to write up the NT mirroring Vespasian as Jesus.

the only thing I did not see explained was why the Romans wanted to do this. I am still unsure if there was any reason but the film suggested that the gospels match events in Josephus book,'The Wars of the Jews'. I am reading this at the moment to see if I agree. One thing is certain, though. Had Vespasian wanted to set up a rival religion to Judaism he could easily have done so and he has the expertise to do so. The chaos of a sacked Israel with the people dispersed would mean it would not be a problem to create people and events from the past as who could argue with them.

Anyway, it is an interesting idea. What gives me most interest is that, if we can remove Paul from the early scenes of the church, his writings make much more sense in terms of theology as well as pushing back the earliest record of the religion. As an historian one really ought to have problems fitting in another unbacked-up character in the NT - after Jesus, Peter and James.
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