The Struggle To Become Jesus During The Revolt Against Rome
An Historical Novel

Who really was Jesus? What was he like living in the time of Roman oppression and tyranny? What did he believe? What did he do? Did he even actually exist?
"The Crimson Thread" answers these questions using meticulously researched historical evidence to build a ground-breaking and exciting fiction novel that tells the untold side of the story of the First Century Messiah, known then as the Joshua ben Joseph or Maschiach ben Joseph, not the Davidic King or Maschiach ben David.
Royston Potter brings to life information previously known only to scholars and specialists in the field of Biblical and historical research. While fully explaining the First Century historical background in his thorough Introduction, he then takes the reader into the world of the time, revealing the lives of those people who have made such an impact on the perceptions and hopes of Western Civilization. This book will give the layman and the scholar a fascinating, insightful, and thoroughly enjoyable experience. It has been called everything from a new Gnostic Gospel to a study of the real issues of the peoples of First Century Palestine.
We invite you to scroll through the website and see all of the important and interesting information. We include excerpts from the novel, narrative explanations, and updates.
This is an historical novel which de-Romanizes the person who has been mythologized as Jesus Christ and presents him, and the other characters we know from the New Testament, as they lived in their own time and circumstances within the Jewish lifestyle and tradition. It strips away the amalgamation of Roman and Pagan mythologies which were imposed upon the mystical teachings of the Jews by those seeking to destroy the Messianic Zealot message: the individual right to liberty, as well as the independence of the Jewish people. It then emphasizes that the individual has the right, as well as the means, to approach the Throne of God through individual effort without human intermediaries.
Furthermore, the story depicts the allegiance these men and women had to the Jewish God, their mastery of the mystical Hechalot or Jewish mysticism of the time, and their determination as Jewish Zealots to eject the Romans and other foreign invaders using military means. The story is drawn from the historical evidence of the period, principally Josephus, Tacitus, Epiphanius, and the recent work on the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As Professor Robert Eisenman suggested, "Choose it for your must read list."

"Royston Potter's novel is the way one should go about approaching history in the First Century in Palestine and he does so in an imaginative, thought provoking, and historically compelling manner. Since one is largely dealing with fictionalized romance except for Josephus (even at times, Josephus) where the First Century is concerned, fictionalized romance is the way to correct it; and Potter's experience as a Colonel in the U.S. Army gives him an edge over others who are similarly trying to reconstruct the events of this period through the prism of the novel. With a practiced eye, he is able to peer through both the Gospels and Josephus and revive this period with more accuracy than others relying on 'folk' and 'miracle working wonder tales'. Bringing to bear the precision provided by the Dead Sea Scrolls, he has brought to life a 'Gospel Truth' more incisive than previous more 'wide-eyed', 'Neoplatonic' forays. Choose it for your must-read list."
-Robert Eisenman, author of "James the Brother of Jesus."

"...THE CRIMSON THREAD is an artistic & fictional creation based on an impressive intuitive & historical grasp of the subject matter...Far from a pacifist Christ, the figure waited for by the Jews would, at least for a time, by necessity be a master in guerilla warfare. In fact, THE CRIMSON THREAD can be seen as a good primer in military strategy & tactics...In his lucid Introduction Royston Potter demonstrates a well thought out understanding of historic reality...reading it was both an enjoyable & enlightening experience..."
Jason Farrow, Gnostic Communications, see the full review at

Also, see Roy's article at titled "Jesus: Pacifist Shepherd, or Zealot Warrior?" Review the article, read the comments, and join in the dialogue. The article is below in its entirety.

Jesus: Pacifist Shepherd, or Zealot Warrior?

Royston Potter

Copyright© Royston Potter 2006

With the release of The DaVinci Code, along with its hype, debate from both sides, and a massive media campaign, now just may be the time to more closely examine evidence of the allegations made not only in The DaVinci Code, but also in other lesser-known scholarly works that do give historical evidence to the idea of hidden codes, a conspiracy, murder, mayhem, and –Heaven forbid—the idea that Jesus was married and produced children. For the opening of the door to the widespread knowledge of these revelations, we should thank Dan Brown. His fiction novel hints at the controversy, but he wisely obscured the details by addressing the issues in a modern-day detective story, leaving the truly devastating and incriminating information for others to reveal. Now, the information is about to cascade over Christendom like the flood waters of the Deluge.

From Professor Robert Eisenman’s fabulous works including James the Brother of Jesus, to Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah and Dr. James Tabor’s The Jesus Dynasty, from the new insights gained from the “Dead Sea Scrolls” and the “Gnostic Gospels,” continuing on to textual criticism and military analysis of ancient manuscripts, we dare not ignore the impact of this long suppressed information. While many of the leaders of the “faithful” will understandably attack these works, we must require that they not respond to our questions by demanding that we submit to mere blind obedience so that they can save our souls. The evidence is now surfacing that they may actually be the ones who have been keeping our souls in prison all along by silencing honest inquiry and denouncing such inquiry as if it is something for which we should be ashamed.

The study of history should provide us with lessons that teach us how to avoid the same mistakes. But, often, history is also biased, and the truth hidden either just below the surface or in other places altogether. In the subject at hand, it is helpful to look at the circumstances history tells us of the period, and not just the official versions, but also the new evidence slowly emerging. Again, the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Codices, and other works by recent scholarship point in a direction that is substantial, if not conclusive. In this effort, the researchers must try to ignore the trend of the last two millennia of basing history, and its interpretation, on religious belief and faith without losing sight of how that faith influenced history subsequent to the events we are examining.

In this study, we find ourselves asking the first question. How does an empire take over a fiercely independent and religiously devout people? The answer is manipulation over time of their most basic beliefs, and the control of their government and destiny. In other words, by redefining what and who they are, and where they are going, using force if necessary, a people will ultimately surrender.

Circa First Century CE (Common Era, otherwise known as A.D.) just such an operation was underway in Palestine to subjugate the Jews and their control over the valuable trade routes to Asia and Egypt. The Roman Empire occupied Palestine, especially Judea and Galilee, extending its power for the “defense and national security of the Roman people.”

The Jews fought back. As this “war of liberation” raged, many men emerged who became leaders of the revolt. Most were captured and killed by the Romans, and the man we associate with Jesus was no exception. The Romans were the victors in this struggle, and contrary to the extant versions of the story they allowed to survive, the historical Jesus was a political and military activist, and the Romans killed him for it. He was not crucified because he taught the Sermon on the Mount or because the Jews disliked him. He was killed for his refusal to accept Roman rule and for his claim to the Throne of Israel. The later invention subscribed to him but likely never uttered by his lips to “give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s,” was an ingenious conundrum the origins of which are now highly suspect given the circumstances of the people and the times as scholars understand them today.

So, he was a king. A king does many things, not the least of which is to protect his people and their liberty by the use of military means, if necessary. He also fathers a dynasty (children, mind you, and that is usually accomplished with women), encourages economic growth, seeks alliances by using ambassadors, entertains heads of state, maintains a system of secure communications, spiritually leads his people, and creates a legacy. How he did that, and what his successes and failures were, have been ignored and overwritten for centuries in favor of a caricature deliberately and systematically designed to defeat the Jewish resistance and discourage borderline Messianists. As a side benefit, this action also solidified the allegiance to Rome of the Pagans and the superstitious who made up most of what was then the Roman Empire. To this day, this hybrid is what the world now knows as Christianity.

The Romans were the victors, and we see that period of history primarily through their eyes. To get to the truth, we have to look past Roman influences, even past Rabbinic Judaism, and seek the evidence left behind. Enter the likes of Eisenman, Atwill, Knight and Lomas, Tabor, and others. These men have dedicated their valuable time, talents, and thirst for the truth to unravel the tangled web of centuries of illusion and obscurity. The trail may have been cold, but it was not invisible, nor was it all that difficult to recognize in the light of day. All they had to do was be willing to look, with a reasonable objectivity, and not deny the obvious.

To put it succinctly, Rome sought to defeat its enemy, the Jewish resistance, and then dismantle, completely and forever, the Jewish religion and identity, particularly the idea of the Messiah and the entire Messianic Movement. Today, we almost totally misunderstand what the actual Messianic Movement was and how it came into existence. This current misunderstanding was Rome’s doing, and it was deliberate. The Messiah predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament and expected by the Jews was a man who would free them from foreign rule and the suffering inherent with it. This was a belief totally at odds with Roman designs and the Pax Romana. As in other instances of their worldly conquest and to overcome resistance to Caesar, Rome founded a new religion palatable to the empire. Part of this replacement religion was the creation of a “pacifist messiah” who was merely a philosopher of good human behavior. Such an idol could subdue the fever of the resistance and convince the opposition that “true spirituality” and “eternal life” are synonymous with “getting along with city hall.”

And, in case anyone got any ideas that were to the contrary, the key to such a successful campaign was the destruction of all those who claimed the royal bloodline, and then deny they ever existed. In the event that a hope somehow survived that a royal bloodline did exist, the next step was to teach that the leader was a celibate and produced no posterity who could claim the right to rule or incite the populous to insurrection. If you think it could not have happened that way, just remember that the winners write the history, then as well as now, and the Romans were the winners.

Remember that Deluge I was talking about?

The evidence in the “Dead Sea Scrolls” suggests that celibacy was highly regarded by these seeming ascetics. But, they were protecting vital military information critical to the revolt against Rome. Could they also have employed disinformation? Yes, that is very likely. Those members not privy to the actions of the “inner circle” of leaders would probably not know the truth, explaining the group’s reticence to conjugal relations when they discussed their ideas with outsiders. But, even if the leaders actively promulgated this lifestyle for most of the members of the order and wrote such restrictions and admonitions into their literature, it is most likely that the royal line was exempt because it must propagate itself in order to succeed in future generations.

It gets more insidious. The evidence is now pointing out that even the much revered Gospels may have been among the primary tools of the countermeasures employed by the Romans to ensure the complete destruction of the Jewish messianic mindset. In modern war, this is called disinformation and psychological warfare. The fascinating thing about all this is that we can now recognize these subversive tactics as part of the experience of the First Century. The Messianic Movement was infiltrated by Roman operatives and then exposed to the swords of the Roman Army. Traditional Christianity is the offspring of the Roman war against Israel and Judaism. Constantine proclaimed that victory during the Council of Nicea.

However, quite understandably, the remnants of the resistance against Rome survived. As the scholars have pointed out, these organizations flourished because of their use of codes and agreements to keep their operations, and members, hidden from the eyes of the world and, of course, the Roman Emperor. Then, in the Middle Ages, Rome again lashed out and put to the sword any real or suspected “heretics” (read, those not agreeing with us who are in the seats of power). The Inquisition was successful in destroying much of the resistance, or at least any semblance of independent thinking. But, some holdouts did survive.

Where did all this end up? In the mid to late 1700’s, the principles exhorted by these Jewish Messianists found their way into a confederation of a group of men who founded a fledgling country built on the idea of individual liberty, free from the oppression of the lies of the previous seventeen centuries. They got together and told King George to stay home in Britain, and they declared themselves and their countrymen to be free men. The words of the man they considered their founder and whose secrets they had preserved, not a Christian Savior, but a Jewish King, leaped from their lips- “Seek the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” That man, the last true aspirant to the title of King of Israel, was the man we know as Jesus.

-Royston Potter is a former military officer and the author of “The Crimson Thread: The Struggle To Become Jesus During The Revolt Against Rome” available at

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"This depiction of the man we know as Jesus does not diminish from his purpose or his contribution to the spiritual advancement of mankind. What it does do is de-Romanize the mission of Jesus, and returns his story to its Jewish origins."

From the back cover:
"In First Century Palestine, two brothers fight each other and Rome for the Throne of Israel. The outcome decides the course of history. This is the untold story of the life Jesus would have lived in his own time; a warrior, a mystic, and the two were not mutually exclusive. Intrigue, betrayal, tragedy, and romance await the reader.
Historically based and painstakingly researched, this novel shows us we have been asking the wrong questions about the Jewish Messiah for the last two millenia. If this intrigues you, read on. If not, put this book down before it does you an injury."

"This well-researched novel presents the historical Jesus as a passionate mystic-Messiah whose inspiration is his personal connection with the Divine "HaShem." Potter's insights are informed by his own studies of Kabbalah as well as available historical materials including the works of Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls in addition to the NT Gospels. The story presents family members of Jesus, including Miriam, his beloved soul-mate and wife, in "flesh and blood" scenarios. It cleverly reconciles many anomalies and contradictions found in the Gospel narratives, while it develops the gradual evolution of the Christ-consciousness in Jesus. This is a story that needs to be told and widely discussed--a valuable contribution to the on-going revelation of the "real" Jesus."
-Margaret Starbird, author of "The Woman With The Alabaster Jar"

"...Roy remains very much alive, and very busy at the task of producing a literature that I believe will make an enormous impact on the way we think of religion, God and Jesus...The current volume, "The Crimson Thread," has an intriguing sub-title: "The Struggle To Become Jesus During The Revolt Against Rome."...Potter takes the reader off into the intellectual, historical and imaginative world of the young Jesus. And, he adds a facinating twist: what if Jesus had a twin brother? No need to dip into scripture to find any of this. Indeed, you may find more in the widely available Gnostic sources, or even in the mystical Jewish writings. Potter isn't focused on the Biblical story as much as he is in a supra-scriptural examination of the people, the places, and the conflicts. When he describes the conflicts, he shows an adeptness in understanding military strategy--not surprising since Potter has a military background. Anyone schooled in the Gnostic teachings will recognize Potter's affinity for this system of thought. And those with a passion for history will find rich, detailed accounts of the real actors in the historical accounts. But the real value of this book is in its liberating view of deity and history. Like it or not, we are all tied to our historical moorings...Of course, it may be that Potter is just all wrong. It may be that he's using history and religion to create a fantasy world of his own invention. I really don't know. But this much I do know--there is more in heaven and earth than what we can imagine. It may be that Potter has peered into a reality that is yet to be discovered. No matter--this is, after all, a novel. But fiction has its uses in the world of learning. Sometimes the fiction writer can do a better job of opening reality to us than so-called historians. "The Crimson Thread" is a long, complex exploration of a school of thought very much foreign to most of us. And if reading this book gets you to thinking, all the better. Those who enjoy such speculations will really enjoy this book. Get it and read it.
-Jeffrey Needle, Reviewer





Excerpt from Chapter 10.

“Tonight I plead for Israel, and I will accept whatever HaShem sees fit to accomplish,” said Joses. “Will you watch for me?”
This was Joses’ request that Nehunia would not let him go so far as to receive the kiss of God and die.
“No sleep shall disturb my vigil, no sound go undetected, no shallowness of breath allowed to falter,” said Nehunia. “I will ensure, HaShem help me, that you go and return.”
“Then let us begin,” Joses said as he began to stand.
The two men stood and bound tefillin to their foreheads and arms, then covered their heads with tallits and began reciting prayers. They thanked the Creator for all they had, for the water, the earth, their families, and each other. Then, they sat down, Nehunia just to the left and behind Joses. Joses concentrated and lowered his head between his knees. He then began repeating a number of divine names of HaShem 112 times.
After a little over two hours of meditation, Nehunia could tell Joses was beginning to enter the chambers. His rhythmic head motions and whispers of the divine names and letters were proceeding to the point where nothing else could remain in Joses’ mind. All would be nothing, and in nothingness, Joses would be attached to HaShem.
Joses groaned.


"This book is an excellent window into the true spiritual and religious practices in Israel 2000 years ago. He effectively negates the disinformation which has surrounded the official origins of what is now called Christianity, and he does so using historical events that he weaves into an exciting story line with a master's touch. A superb and entertaining novel, it clears the air."
-James A. Kirkwood, author of "Jacob's Ladder," and "Biblical Meditations, 22 Spiritual Gifts of Ancient Israel."

"This is not just another "Jesus" book. Don't let all the scholarly information leading up to the story discourage you. Once you are past the short virtual history lesson, you can't put the book down. Romance, war, intrigue,'s all there."


The world is at war! Any nation or people who will not bow down to the western empire is crushed, destroyed, or absorbed. Under the guise of restoring liberty to the oppressed, a tyrant justifies his expansions and influence. “We know what is best for you, and that we intend to force upon you under the pain of death or economic destruction. You have the right to choose our way; any other is contrary to the will of your people. We are the great republic turned empire, overseen by our beneficent Emperor.”

It is the period of 50 BCE to 35 CE and the Roman Empire has swallowed the western world and secured its usurpation of the trade routes to the east. It was all necessary for the national security and the freedoms of the people of Rome. In the wake of the onslaught, millions of people are killed and enslaved, and whole peoples are victims of mass genocide. To ensure control, the Romans have placed their own rulers over the lands they conquer. These rulers are not selected by the local people or by their traditions. The rulers are foreigners and traitors appointed by Caesar. In Caesar’s name, these rulers plunder the land, kill or imprison their detractors, and incite the people with contrived disturbances to further justify their presence. They offer a false security in exchange for the people’s acquiescence.

Opposing these invaders and usurpers is a group of patriots who do not want to accept the invitation to the Pax Romana. Like all those who want to determine their own course, a number of their brave join ranks and seek to expel the invaders even at the peril of the loss of their fortunes, families, and lives. Their own system of government had worked for them, and if they had had tyrants in their system, well, they were their tyrants and would deal with them accordingly. The rulers put in by the invaders are not of the peoples’ choosing, and despite all claims to the contrary, offer no abiding guarantees of good and righteous government. The people conquered by this irresistible force do not lightly accept their fate and know that the real reason for the presence of the invader is robbery of the resources of their own lands and religious treasures.

This is the seedbed of the Jewish resistance against Rome. They do not assent to Roman occupation or rule, and are fierce in the defense of their land. Their leaders are Kefa, Jude the Sicariote, Simon Magus, Eleazer, Jacob, Joses, and even Jesus or Yeshua, the Messianic King. They rise in defiance of the Roman war machine and out of respect for the traditions of their fathers. Their God is the God of their fathers, and they have sworn not to place any man or thing ahead of this deity. To those who listen to the heroes of Judea and Galilee, they hear their plea: “Seek for the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Yet, in the midst of this maelstrom stand two men, brothers, who trace their lineage from King David. They both lay claim to the throne of Israel and neither will surrender to the other. The outcome of this rivalry may decide the fate of Israel and all history. This is their story- and ours.

Excerpt from Chapter Six

“No more mistakes!” Caiaphas still could not calm himself. He had been angry for days. “I tell you that Joachanin is the leader of the Sicarii. I am certain of it! His words fire the passions of the people and he accuses us of all manner of iniquities. These people have been uncivilized, warring nomads most of their history, and when a civilized society tries to show them the way to peace and prosperity, they kill them!”
“Calm down Joseph, I know you are not one of their kind,” Pilate said to Caiaphas in a meager Greek, as he did not know Aramaic. “I can assure you that I will obtain absolute control over all of Palestine. How many of these impudent rascals have I already dispatched? We will find their weakness and exploit it. Now, this Joachanin?”
The meeting between Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas was taking place at the Palace of the High Priest in Jerusalem. Here was the most appropriate place to discuss the issues and survey the breadth of Judea. Galilee, about seventy miles to the north, had ample and lush facilities, but the rulers wanted to feel the heartbeat of the people. There was no better place than Jerusalem and the Temple.
“I tried to explain to Caiaphas that it was better to let Joachanin go than to risk another rebellion over gnats and vomit,” explained Herod, referring to Joachanin’s and the people’s anger over small issues that he felt did not concern them. He also reviled against the filth of the words the people had pronounced against himself, Caesar, and Caiaphas. “While he may indeed incite small groups to violence, I find his words console most of the populace and they await their deliverance from their god. That,” he chuckled, “will never happen. He dulls their sense of reality and they wait like lambs for the slaughter.”
“Enough of your ridiculous estimates of their abilities and intentions! We have tortured endless numbers of these Sicarii and they refuse, by what power I cannot fathom, to answer any question put to them. That is not the mindset of one who is waiting like a lamb to the slaughter. This shows their resolve!” Caiaphas shook his fist at Herod as he spoke, barely able to contain his fury. “Joachanin travels far and wide, seemingly calling no place an abode. He dresses like no other man and yet he is held in high respect by all of Palestine! He has followers throughout the land and he is the Teacher in Damascus where he preaches to the Essenes. Fortunately, most of them seem wholly unwilling to follow his notions against us. All they do is meditate and tend to their duties. If it were not for his appearance, so unlike theirs, I think he would even lay claim to their consciences. And you,” he pointed to Herod, “do nothing. I have commissioned spies to find these things out when you should have done so!”
“Sit down!” commanded Pilate, directing Caiaphas to take his seat. He could not afford the High Priest to show such disdain for Herod. It could be bad for Pilate in the long run if word ever got back to Caesar. “We must approach this problem with a methodology and ruthlessness, yes, but we also must take advantage of time. That, I believe, we have plenty of. To do something in too much haste could return us a disadvantage. We need to lay a foundation.” As Caiaphas took his seat, Pilate stood and moved to the center of the room. “You have the key to it, Joseph,” he said to Caiaphas. “These people need civilization, a way of life that only Rome can offer them. We need to take the time to convince them that we are their saviors, saving them from endless toils, the invasions of other nations, filth and blood, and the civil wars constantly being brought upon them by their own kind. Rome is their friend, not their enemy. I think we can all agree that Caesar is the key to stability. But, I realize that even their years in the Babylonian Captivity did not impress these facts upon their minds as a people. So, how should we proceed?” He looked at both Herod and Caiaphas, each choosing not to respond, or not knowing how.
Pilate continued, “Varus destroyed so much of this land years ago, even attacking and destroying the armies of the Judean resistance that had besieged Sabinus’ legion here in Jerusalem. Do you remember what happened when he approached the Jews in Jerusalem after he defeated the resistance? The people of the city said that the sedition began because of the numbers of people who came here for the feast, and they placed the blame on their own people from outside the city, and that they, the people of Jerusalem, were as besieged by the revolutionaries as Sabinus’ legion. Look at the people’s disdain for the Samaritans who in every way but blood are like themselves. Here is their weakness. They are too independent and cannot forge any lasting alliance for their own good. Varus forgave many, even some of the leaders. He also crucified many, principally those who showed no remorse or were in any way associated with messianic sympathies. My point is, gentlemen, that we can use their own political and military ineptness to our advantage. When Varus forgave so many, he infected their passions with doubt for their cause. But, he also ruthlessly destroyed the instigators, putting the blame for the unrest and destruction squarely on them. It is a divide and conquer, gentlemen, a famous maxim of Julius Caesar. Let’s create more division and mistrust of their own kind, all the while pointing out the benefits of Rome.”
Herod and Caiaphas looked at each other, nodding in somewhat of an agreement.
“What of your spies, Antipas?” asked Pilate. “Are we getting good information from them?”
Caiaphas interrupted, “Actually, your excellency, I have a man in a particularly admirable position who is, even at this moment, inside the very core of the suspects. Antipas and I both agree that he is our best resource.”
“Very well,” Pilate commented. “Now we need more of that information, all he can provide us. It is possible that there is a weakness that we can exploit, create a problem, and then proceed to provide its resolution. Do you see what I am getting to?”
“I believe so,” said Herod Antipas. “If our man can get into a position where we can feed disinformation to the resistance, we can manipulate them to our advantage, even making ourselves look like the champions of the people.”
“Now you are thinking,” Pilate praised Herod. “Let us use the Immerser, uh, I believe that is what they call him, isn’t that right, Caiaphas?” Caiaphas shook his head in the affirmative. “Yes, well, let’s use him not only to embarrass the resistance, but to be the bait for its demise. If not him, then one of the other leaders we uncover. Agreed?”
Herod and Caiaphas again nodded their heads in agreement and Caiaphas then spoke. “The Immerser will have appointed a successor, it is one of the things these men do as a habit. But, it also tends to cause divisions. That may be the best seam for us to exploit. I will instruct Reu to find that seam.”
“My friends,” Pilate raised his arms wide and high, “I see that we have come to a significant milestone. This will be the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship. Hail, Caesar!” he saluted as he left the hall, his right hand raised high and then striking his left breast.
“Hail, Caesar!” responded Herod and Caiaphas in unison.
“I think I am going to like this Roman,” said Caiaphas. “He is vicious and thorough. We may keep our positions yet.”

Excerpt from Chapter 10.

“Tonight I plead for Israel, and I will accept whatever HaShem sees fit to accomplish,” said Joses. “Will you watch for me?”
This was Joses’ request that Nehunia would not let him go so far as to receive the kiss of God and die.
“No sleep shall disturb my vigil, no sound go undetected, no shallowness of breath allowed to falter,” said Nehunia. “I will ensure, HaShem help me, that you go and return.”
“Then let us begin,” Joses said as he began to stand.
The two men stood and bound tefillin to their foreheads and arms, then covered their heads with tallits and began reciting prayers. They thanked the Creator for all they had, for the water, the earth, their families, and each other. Then, they sat down, Nehunia just to the left and behind Joses. Joses concentrated and lowered his head between his knees. He then began repeating a number of divine names of HaShem 112 times.
After a little over two hours of meditation, Nehunia could tell Joses was beginning to enter the chambers. His rhythmic head motions and whispers of the divine names and letters were proceeding to the point where nothing else could remain in Joses’ mind. All would be nothing, and in nothingness, Joses would be attached to HaShem.
Joses groaned.


"This book is an excellent window into the true spiritual and religious practices in Israel 2000 years ago. He effectively negates the disinformation which has surrounded the official origins of what is now called Christianity, and he does so using historical events that he weaves into an exciting story line with a master's touch. A superb and entertaining novel, it clears the air."
-James A. Kirkwood, author of "Jacob's Ladder," and "Biblical Meditations, 22 Spiritual Gifts of Ancient Israel."

"This is not just another "Jesus" book. Don't let all the scholarly information leading up to the story discourage you. Once you are past the short virtual history lesson, you can't put the book down. Romance, war, intrigue,'s all there."
Excerpt from Chapter Seven

All of this was weighing heavily upon the mind of Jude during his detention in the Roman camp. His wounds were healing thanks to the physician provided him by the Romans whose only real concern was keeping him conscious and well for interrogations. His mind now clearing from the fever of the wounds, he again resumed the thoughts that often occupied his mind. Had his heir ship been a mistake? Was there now a circumstance being thrust into the forefront that would alter his right, indeed cause him to lose it? Would the right of the kingship now revert to his sloppy and irresponsible brother, Joses, who found it better to travel the world than to commit himself to the Torah and the resistance, and who was contrary to the order of the Community? No, that could not be allowed to happen. Certainly HaShem had the welfare of Israel closer to His heart than that!
The sound of a harsh voice of a soldier commanding him to stand brought him out of his contemplations.
“On your feet, you vile piece of camel shit,” growled the soldier as he pulled up on Jude’s hair to force him to stand. Jude‘s hands and feet were still bound and he could not stand well on his own. Two other soldiers took him by the arms and dragged him out of the temporary stockade. As they pulled him across the sand, he could make out the canopy of an officer’s headquarters just ahead. Under the canopy was the Roman Officer who took him prisoner and another soldier who stared at Jude whose face and appearance was still dirty and disheveled from the battle. The second Roman’s eyes widened as he believed he recognized him. In fact, he mistook him for Joses.
“This is the man I saw in Galilee that was pointed out by one of the tax collectors there as instructing the people not to pay the tax to Caesar!”
The Roman Officer then studied Jude more closely as the guards brought him to the front of the canopy.
“Are you certain?” asked the officer.
“I remember his face quite well, and his is a match,” replied the soldier. “He seems taller and more robust, but that could be from different clothes.” The soldier walked over and turned Jude so that he could more easily see his face. Satisfied, the Roman pushed him away and to the ground. “Yes, he is the man.”
Jude and Joses were certainly not identical, and Joses’ shorter stature, an obvious distinction with his slight back deformity, would have been hard to judge from a distance. The only positive way to tell them apart was when they stood side by side.
“So, not only are you a killer of Romans, but an insurrectionist against Caesar’s tax,” the officer said with a vile disdain. “This man, alone, killed two of my soldiers,” he said to the other soldier, forming a spitball in his mouth that he spat on Jude’s face. “Put him on his feet before me,” the officer commanded two soldiers who grabbed Jude’s arms and forced him to his feet. “Our information is correct. You are the leader of the Sicarii, just as I accused you,” he said to Jude. “You have been very active in Galilee for many years, even when but a boy,” the Roman deduced. Jude did not respond, but looked at the stones on the hill beyond the canopy. The Roman continued, “No, I know you will not answer me. But, I have a proposal for you. If you agree to talk to me, I will go much easier on you than the professionals that wait for you in Caesarea. I am a practical man. My only concern is money, and I will receive that as soon as we deliver you to Pilate. I have already sent word of your capture and we are awaiting a unit from Caesarea to assist in your transport. I will not free you, but I can reduce your suffering. Talk to me,” his words were like a harlot’s caress.
Jude remained silent. The Roman had no other words, but he slowly drank from an ornately adorned cup as the soldiers dragged Jude off to a waiting wagon. Once the detail was prepared, the Roman Officer mounted a horse and ordered the group forward to Caesarea, about a day’s journey away. All Jude could think of was to pray to HaShem for deliverance. It would come, and he would not be sure how to receive it.
The trip to Caesarea would take Jude through the despised land of Samaria. For the Judeans and Galileans, it was not a friendly or likeable place. Part of the old northern kingdom of Israel before its destruction many centuries before, Samaria was still anathema to those who saw the inhabitants as either interlopers, remnants of the northern tribes now defunct, or just goyim gentiles. In Jude’s mind, it seemed only proper that if the Romans were to have their center for administration in the land, it may as well be in Samaria.
As the guard company with their prisoner entered a narrowing of a small valley, a volley of rocks and boulders struck several of the guards causing them grievous injuries. Hurled by men expert in the use of slings, these projectiles were as deadly as arrows. The arrows came next, striking many of the remaining soldiers in the exposed portions of their bodies as they attempted to organize themselves. Two arrows had found their mark on the Roman Officer who fell from his horse, breaking his neck in the fall. The sudden attack confused the remainder who tried to rally to the origin of the missiles, only to be attacked from their rear they had failed to protect. In a short five minutes it was all over. A group of Zealots had effected Jude’s rescue. All of the Romans were dead or wounded and unarmed. The Zealot’s surprise and violent attack had caused them only a few minor injuries. As Jude’s bonds were cut, a familiar, yet strangely out of place voice spoke from the rocks to the south. It was his brother, Joses.
“We may not have much time, Eleazer has spotted another group of kittim approaching,” Joses stated in a tone more commanding than informative. “Collect the weapons of the dead and take what necessities you can carry and follow me.” The Zealots collected all the military hardware they could carry and headed into the rocks with Jude in tow. He was still too weak to accomplish a flight from the area solely under his own strength. Two of the Zealots placed his arms over their shoulders and allowed him to sit on their crossed hands, a form of a speedy litter effective for short distances. Joses had not yet taken the time to formally address his brother. The approaching Romans, while not yet aware of the battle, would soon be upon the carnage of the prisoner escort detail. Joses climbed the rocks to the vantage point of the scout who was watching the Roman movement.
“They are right there,” Eleazer pointed to the west toward the city of Caesarea. The Roman unit was about ten furlongs away (well over a mile) and was in a march formation moving in a modified column of threes up the grade. By Joses’ estimation, it was likely a century. While the prison detail was relatively small and manageable for the Zealot team, this Roman force was much too large to even consider a quick hit and run tactic. The other factor was the remnant of the century that Jude and Kefa had battled earlier. Joses was not sure where the bulk of that century might be. Joses made his decision.
“Too much for us right now. We had better depart the area and ensure that we can put enough distance between the Romans and us until we can get to safety. Besides, Jude needs care. He doesn’t appear up to another battle,” Joses smiled at Eleazer who grinned back at him as they moved off the vantage point of the rocks.
The raiding party moved swiftly and silently through the terrain, hardly noticing the burden of the injured Jude. Once they reached the crest of the hill, they put Jude in a litter they had brought along to make his transport easier. They were now able to travel quite quickly. At different points along the route, small groups of the party would break off and head in alternate directions to conceal the size and ability of their forces from Roman patrols or the eyes of spies and informants. Joses’ group traveled for several hours until they arrived at their destination, the town of Sychar in Samaria. Jude and Joses had still not spoken to each other. It was now well after dark and the remainder of the band split up just outside of the town so as not to attract attention. Even though it was dangerous for Joses and Jude to be together, Jude still needed medical care. With three other companions, Joses and Jude approached a well-manicured and relatively expansive home on the south side of the town. There they were greeted at the door by a group of friends who were special to Joses.

Royston Potter was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Hyattsville, Maryland. He holds a PhD in Biblical Interpretation and Historical Analysis, a Bachelor of Science degree in Law and Justice Administration, and is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College. As a commissioned officer in the United States Army he completed assignments in the Military Police and Military Intelligence fields.

Having always had an abiding interest in historical and spiritual matters, he studied several disciplines and religions for many years. The last ten years, since 1995, he spent almost entirely in the Hebrew language and its esoteric meanings as presented in the mystical aspects of Judaism, known as Kabbalah.

He brings to the reader a new approach to history and the roots of religious expression, redefining the origins of the western world. His insights reflected in this book are directly related to his personal studies and his military experiences.

He now resides in Evanston, Wyoming.

Thank you for visiting the website for the novel "The Crimson Thread." While I understand that this subject matter is very controversial, I would ask you to read the book before you make any hasty judgments. Remember, official history is written by the winners. Just what did happen 2000 years ago? What really happened just ten years ago? To find the truth, we must be able, and willing, to seek beyond what appears directly before us in our culture, our education, our politics, and especially our religion. To base our understanding of history on a particular belief, and present it as immutable fact, is no better than denying the sun shining at noonday.
Besides, you will enjoy the story.

Best to you and yours,

Royston Potter


This is the page where we will discuss topics and answer questions from your emails. We will not be able to post all of them, but we will do as many, as often as we can, to keep the discussion lively and interesting. Please send your email comments/questions to

Q. 1/9/06 What evidence is there that Jesus had a twin? A.S. from NY, NY.
A. It is important to remember that we are attempting to identify the historical Jesus, and not the myth. Furthermore, there were many men who used the appellation of "Jesus," and even the name, during many periods in Jewish history. When we examine the time frame in question, and compare that information to the gospels, we see some startling constructs. First, in the gospels, there is a list of Jesus' brothers: Joses, Jude, Simon, and Jacob. We know who Jude was, we know Simon (Peter or Kefa), and we know Jacob as James. Who was Joses? This is the character around which there is so much confusion. Using the information in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospels, Josephus, and other extant but lesser known writings of the period, we can identify James, Jude, and Simon with almost a 100% certainty and ascribe to them historical status. But, what about Joses? Who was he? He and Jesus are likely one and the same person. These are not half-brothers as many try to argue (and that did not begin until well after a century later). This is the family. So, all the brothers talk about each other, but the name "Joses," is missing. Again, he is one and the same person with Jesus; the subject of their admiration. Now, the "Apostle," Judas Thomas Didymus is an important clue. "Tom" in Hebrew means twin, as does "Thoma" in Aramaic. "Didymus" in Greek means twin. This repetition is not an accident, but an emphatic. The question is whose twin was he? If the gospels are about Jesus, if he is the subject of the narrative, then the answer is clear. And, having a twin, Jesus falls into the prophetic profile of the Israelite leader according to the types and shadows of Genesis. One point of interest about this knowledge in earlier times is evident in the Doges Palace in Venice, Italy where there is a painting of the Madonna -with twins. The historian, Eusebius, states plainly that Jude was the "brother of the Lord." Finally, the mention of Judas as a twin of "Jesus" is made in the Nag Hamadi Texts, the Gospel of Thomas, the Book of Thomas the Contender, and the Acts of Thomas. REP

Q.1/20/06 I do not believe that Jesus did not perform miracles. H.B. Seattle, WA.
A. It is interesting how you have phrased your statement. But, I understand what you are trying to say. While I do not question the reality of spiritual gifts, it is evident we have placed too much emphasis on them to the exclusion of other issues, and evidence. So, my intent in the book is to present this man as one who is struggling to find the truth rather than being born with it wholly evident to him. As such, he would have studied and exercised the knowledge and skills of his time, many which would have seemed as miracles to the uneducated or inexperienced. We see these things even today in our own lives. Just because we cannot understand something doesn't make it supernatural. We merely need to catch up to the understanding of the technology, etc... However, I also realize this can work for spiritual healing gifts, etc... Here, too, things are often beyond explanation until we attain the proper knowledge. So, why do I not call his actions miracles? Because I do not see them as supernatural. Furthermore, these things are done by many who have such gifts, and that does not make them "god incarnate." Also, as I go to great pains to show, many of these events are actually codes for an initiated, closed society. These, also, we see today in intelligence operations, in celebrity protection, and even our own families (when we do not want young ears to understand). The important thing to do is look at the overall actions of this man and see his dedication, committment, and unselfishness. These are his true gifts, and legacy, to mankind. Significantly, these we can emulate with but little effort. REP

Q. 2/17/06 I do not believe Jesus was a soldier or advocated any such thing. He was our Savior. You are a blasphemer. J.L. Omaha, Nebraska
A. I understand your feelings on this, but I will just give you a few things to consider. From the King James Version of the New Testament, we read several occasions where Jesus mentioned the use of weapons. Remember when he told his disciples to sell an extra cloak they may have to buy a sword? Or the time he said he was not here to send peace, but a sword? The most important quote from him in this regard, however, and in regards to my book, is this one from Luke 19:27; "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." REP Update 3/19/06 I have received other questions/comments like this and will wait until my sequel to address them. For now, suffice it to say that a significant event happens in 63 CE to counter the "blasphemer" accusation.

Q. 2/17/06 I agree with H.B. What about Jesus raising the dead daughter of Jarus? A.J. Montgomery, AL.
A. Please look at that one, again. Even Jesus said she was not dead, that she was merely asleep. Do we question his own statement? There are many such "miracles" in the New Testament, and even the Old Testament (Elijah, for instance). Do these actions make him the Messiah, or more importantly, God incarnate? REP

Q. 2/20/06 There is so little proof of the reality of the historical personality of Jesus. The Talmud gives some specifics, but I realize that these were really answers to Christian dogma, possibly not real characters. What did you use to come up with your story if not the gospels? S.Fishbein. LA, CA.
A. Your question cuts to the heart of all the recent furor over this whole subject. When one looks at the historical evidence, one thing stands out perfectly clear. There has been either a massive cover-up by religious and political leaders for two millenia, or the fog of history after the intitial events has clouded the truth. Either way, or even admitting a combination of these two scenarios, the person of "Jesus" is really nonexistent outside religious works. Understanding that the people of those times used personifications of attributes, in other words fictional characters, to deliver a message, we could just say he never existed at all. But, in fact, an examination of history can lead to several deductions that bring us pretty close to the truth, I think, if we just put aside superstition and emotion. Therefore, I think we are looking at a man like Athronges in my story, a real historical character from Josephus, or, as I have pointed out before, another man who was the first brother of the family in question which I have concentrated upon, Joses ben Cleophas.
Also, there is the argument that Rome wrote Jesus out of history. That, I am convinced, is totally absurd as far as the gospel character is concerned. As author Joseph Atwill ("Caesar's Messiah") has pointed out, the "Jesus" of the gospels WAS the Roman twist on the great Zealot to turn the Jews away from their own religion and defeat the resistance by undermining the Messianic Movement. The Jesus of the gospels IS, with few exceptions or quotes from the man that are left inconspicuously in the gospels, the Roman ideal of a citizen. He went along with Roman rule, agreed to pay taxes, emphasized submission to rulers, did not involve himself in politics or political revolution, and was, above all, a pacifist. If he had really been those things, Rome would have ensured his place in secular history. So, if the Romans wrote anyone out of history, it was the real man who engaged in all these activities, not the pacifist. So, there are many possible candidates, truly evident in history, who could have been the actual man. That is the search we must now concern ourselves with, and that is the purpose of my novel and the sequels.
So, what were/are my sources? They are extant and include Josephus, Tacitus, Epiphanius, Celsus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, an appreciation of Jewish culture and tradition (Hellenized or otherwise), and the list in the bibliography of my book. Again, this was an exercise in deductive reasoning as it is difficult to prove the existence of a character that may, in fact, be an amalgamation of many people to teach a moral lesson. But, I think I have correctly identified the only man who could have possibly fit the bill for the person who was the leading man of the Gospels. REP

Q. 3/15/06 What about Paul's Testimony? R.D. Denver, Colorado.
A. Paul is a principle character in my next book and I don't want to really discuss this aspect until after the sequel is out. REP

Q. 3/19/06 You seem to say that Jesus was a mystic of some sort. Can you elaborate? J.E. Birmingham, Al.
A. The best way to answer this is to ask you to read the book. The explanation is far reaching and best understood by the story I present. However, I will state up front that it is reasonably certain, given the historical and religious circumstances of the times and events, that the man we call Jesus was a master of the mystical Hechalot, or the Jewish mysticism of the time. There are even remnants of this in the New Testament. REP

C. 5/3/06 Powerful story. Deep mystical and spiritual teachings within. I certainly accept and appreciate this telling of events FAR more than any other I've ever come across. Mel Gibson has nothing on you. WOW! You rock, dude! W.A. Cheyenne, WY.
A. I am happy you enjoyed it. As I have mentioned, people need to read it before making any hasty judgments. Thanks for the feedback. REP

Q. 6/17/06 I have read your book and you seem to diverge from the truth of Jesus’ lineage as given in the scriptures. What are you trying to do? M.S. SLC, UT.
A. Your question is one that is hard to answer. I struggled with it for a long time as anyone has who has searched this all out. I still don’t know if I have it right. Plus, I would not want to ruin everyone else’s chance to see how the book approaches this, as it is one of the book’s surprises, but the fact is that the lineage of Jesus has always been in question. The genealogies in Matthew and Luke differ, and then there is the rift between the Northern Kingdom and Judah that adds difficulty to the issue. Recently, Dr. James Tabor’s new book, “The Jesus Dynasty,” gave a very good explanation of Jesus’ lineage based on his study of the New Testament and the Old Testament. His conclusion was that Jesus was descended from King David, but not through Solomon as is commonly supposed. He shows that Jesus descended from Solomon’s brother, Nathan (as shown in Luke 3:31, although Mathhew 1:6 shows Solomon. This is another important clue to the priesthood and royal rivalries between Israel and Judah). It seems to me that Dr. Tabor’s explanation is flawless as far as the standard Davidic line is concerned. He even shows a connection of lineage to the priestly line of the Levites. However, it is necessary to understand that while Israelite families kept their genealogies, the official records were lost during the various captivities, especially the Babylonian Captivity. So, questions arise as to the true nature of things. Also, one must keep in mind that once the tribe of Judah gained control, we get only their side of the story, all the way down to Jesus. But, there were other possibilities just as the Bible explains when we look closely enough. This is a very complicated subject, but it deserves close scrutiny. There are secrets here, and there are hidden agendas that do not tell the truth of the matter. One thing to keep in mind is that, despite all the rhetoric and demands for “faith,” Jesus did not do what the Davidic King was expected to do. So, who was he and what did he actually accomplish? REP

Q. 6/19/06 I just read your response to M.S. on your Q&A page. All of you pagan scholars are just unbelievers and want excuses not to follow our Lord and Savior. What do you do about Josephus? He is a witness for Jesus Christ. L.H. Houston, TX.

A. Thank you for the complement of calling me a scholar, but that I am not. As far as your statement that Josephus is a witness for Jesus Christ, we have several problems with that. The first is that he gives no indication of being an eye and ear witness. The second is that many scholars are suspicious that the passage was added to Josephus’ history as it is so short, and it seems so out of place. A man of Jesus’ stature and actions would surely command more than Josephus gives him. Then, there is the possibility that it is tongue-in-cheek to prepare the reader for the adultery story that follows it. But, I will venture a little further. If Josephus believed Jesus was the Messiah ben David, then why did he claim that it was the soon-to-be-Roman Emperor Vespasian who was the Messiah? In this whole thing, he uses the Greek word “Christ” to describe Jesus, but the Messianic Star Prophecy from Daniel (the Messianic Prophecy) for Vespasian. This is very curious and you can’t let Josephus have it both ways. REP

Q. 7/10/06 Several questions have been asked about Jesus' sister/sisters. How many and their names.
A. The New Testament speaks of two sisters, one named Salome. Tradition holds that the other's name was Mary/Miriam, but there seems to be no definitive information on her. In fact, there may have been more sisters, or just one. I based my decision to have one sister in my story because of the trouble the Gospel writers had in discerning who was who as early on as the Gospel of Mark in the 60's CE. If, as several scholars point out, the Gospels were "built," then the problem with names and people in general can get pretty confusing. So, to the bottom line, if I could not corroborate a person from actual historical data (Josephus, etc...), then I went with what I had. It is likely that the sister "Mary" is, as Professor Eisenman points out in all his analyses, an effort to cloud the issue of all the "Mary's" and who they were, with the particular effort, I think, to discredit any claim of Mary Magdalene as Jesus' wife. So, to prevent confusion with another "Mary," I left the story with one sister. REP

Q. 8/11/06 From a comment by "Walrus" off of
Ah, just what the world needs. Yet another conspiracy theory.
I find it quite revealing that you publish your "findings" in novel form. Creativity and imagination are essential for novelists but tend to be under-appreciated among serious historical researchers, whose job is not to invent history but to elucidate it.
May I ask what qualifications you have to rewrite history? To the best of my knowledge, training for military and police officers does not include how to evaluate ancient documents.
A. A legitimate comment and question. First of all, "conspiracy theories" are extant in history, as traditional history is, in itself, such a phenomenon as any real history student understands. I published my research in novel form to change pace from the often dry scholarly works that are somewhat laborious to read. The same basic information in novel form is much more entertaining, and we still learn from it. Ever heard of "Discovery Channel," "History Channel," or other novels like mine under the "historical novel" category? Finally, my qualifications; If you knew anything about military training, especially the training officers obtain, and more particularly in the intelligence fields and at the field grade levels, you would appreciate my educated insight into what I have written. No, I am not a a trained historian, but my military training is sufficient for much of what I have gleaned from my studies of the First Century conflicts (ever heard of Clausewitz or Jomini?), and my study of Hebrew and the early mystical systems certainly aided me in my further understanding of the events. But, most importantly, I learned to study and to think for myself. I don't believe that is such a bad thing. REP

Q. 1/31/07 Can you explain how your story could be connected to the Taheb of Samaria? L.B. LA, CA.
A. Only a well-read person could ask a question like that. Maybe I should just ask you to address it. I am a little weak on the subject, but I think I can give some pointers. It seems that Josephus talks about the Samarian Taheb, or Messiah ben Joseph, more often called the Joshua ben Joseph, as a miracle worker who leads the people to an area where he will show them the ritual implements of Moses. Furthermore, as I understand it, this was a man who also promised deliverance from the invaders (Romans), and Josephus calles him a deceiver. In fact, this man is a likely candidate for subsequent stories about Jesus, particularly the crucifixion of him by Pilate. Historically, the Taheb, and several of his followers, were captured and crucified by Pilate in Lydda, which incident eventually ended in Caesar recalling Pilate to Rome. The entire affair, mismanaged by Pilate and a typical example of his ruthless and viscious nature, certainly does not coincide with his actions in the Jesus trial as presented by the Gospels, and, of course, Paul. Finally, the event happens several years after the claimed timeframe for the crucifixion of Jesus. However, the similarities for the possible source material for the Gospels cannot be overlooked. REP

Q. 2/4/06 Jesus hoping for reincarnation? Where did you get that? That is not scriptural. M.B. SLC, UT.
A. We interpret the events of the First Century, indeed even the Judaism of that period, through modern eyes and prejudices. As I have stated before, I chose to write this story as close to the feelings and understandings present with the people in those times as possible, not our own exegesis or interpretations. In particular, even though New Age thinking seems out of touch with Biblical teachings, the fact is that Judaism in ancient times was quite open to the idea of reincarnation and may have even viewed it as a type of resurrection. I could quote from many sources on this including Midrashic parts of the Talmud, as well as the Zohar. So, the point is that I wanted to make every attempt to see through the eyes of the people of the First Century. While a normative resurrection may have been a tenet of certain Pharisees, others certainly had ideas not exactly the same. The Sadducees of the establishment did not even believe in any resurrection, or, in many cases, an afterlife. These were not matters, in those times, that made one unfit to be a Jew, or caused people to consider those with these ideas as renegades. Jewish debate on these issues was even considered healthy. As long as one could competently argue his case, not just make an unsupported statement, the topic was not considered closed. REP

C. 17 FEB 07

The World is NOT Black and White

I do not have the time to address every point of disagreement, but I must simply make a few points:

1. Mr. Potter makes numerous points as if fact, but which have no solid historical documentation. For example, “…contrary to the extant versions of the story they allowed to survive, the historical Jesus was a political and military activist, and the Romans killed him for it.” While there is plenty of room to question the New Testament documents, there is no credible historical data to support this statement. One can refer to scholars like Elaine Pagels and John Crossan all day, but unless others like NT Wright are also consulted/cited, you fail to take into account a balanced presentation. “The Gnostic Gospels” was, in my opinion, the least scholarly work Pagels authored. In that text she bases many of her key arguments on unproven presuppositions and, unfortunately, on emotion. While she has written some excellent scholarly pieces, this was not one of them.

2. I find it interesting that Mr. Potter refers to NT writings as influenced by Rome. While he is correct that the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts were heavily influenced by the Roman culture, I am curious to know what he means. I will try to visit to his site for more understanding.

3. My apologies if I missed something on this page, but Jesus was not killed for being a military threat (with what army?) or for claiming to be Messiah (Mr. Potter was correct on this point), but for speaking against the Temple worship of his day. Because of the stir he was making, the Jewish leadership was concerned when he talked about the Temple not being important. He disturbed the economic flow that surrounded the Temple-he was threatening their livelihood. Even though it was a ridiculous notion, the Jewish leadership was afraid that he might muster enough following, especially among the Zealots, to lead an uprising that would bring the Romans down upon them. This happened in 70 AD, but Jesus had no intention of doing this- at least not in the mode that the Zealots wanted. He was probably more inclined to see things in the same way as the War Scrolls point, but not that exactly either. If you would like to read more about this subject from another perspective that is somewhat radical, yet quite different from those Mr. Potter points out, I would suggest “The Challenge of Jesus” by NT Wright. This issue, like most, is not black and white- it is full of grey. The problem with most discussions in our day is that people only read/hear one side of the argument whether it be NBC or Fox News, or like in this issue, the right or the left. Mr. Potter is citing those on the left side only and those scholars do the same thing those on the right do- they cite only the sources that agree with their view. I like NT Wright because he gets attacked from BOTH sides which tells me he is working harder to find the grey, which usually means a more objective approach. My website [] will have more on these issues in the coming months. Thank you. Al Baker, Ph.D.

A. I want to thank Dr. Baker for taking the time to make his comment, and I hope he will keep in touch with us in the future. He is addressing my article on entitled "Jesus: Pacifist Shepherd, or Zealot Warrior" and has raised some interesting points concerning it. But, the thrust of his discussion hinges on a traditional understanding of the person and mission of Jesus, and that without being able to historically identify him other than, apparently, the New Testamant and possibly Josephus. Actually, as Professor Eisenman points out in his numerous works, there are many possible historic figures that could be the actual "Jesus." Unfortunately, none of them, with the possible exception of James (Jacob, the "brother of Jesus") was a pacifist. Furthermore, it was not the Temple practices and rituals which these people objected to (not even "Jesus"), but the fact that they were officiated by priests of questionable authority and purity, they being appointed by the Romans and Herodians. I think my answers to many of the questions in this Q&A address my sources and my reasons for disagreeing with Dr. Baker. But, all of this discussion is important and I hope we continue the dialogue. I will say that I, for one, would be very reticent to question Dr. Pagel's motives or personal agenda, much less her abilities to decipher historical likelihoods. That would also go for all the other sources I cite which balance the heretofore unchallenged position of traditional orthodoxy and the popular interpretation of history. REP

Q. 3/3/07 You say you don't want to discuss Paul because of your sequel. Can you give us a hint? D.H. Santa Barbara, CA.
A. I will say this: There are suspicions that Paul may not have known Hebrew- Aramaic and Greek, yes, but his Hebrew was likely very weak (his claims at being a Pharisee and of the seed of Abraham notwithstanding). Or, he could have been intentionally misinterpreting his enemies' texts. If he was answering accusations calling him a liar (as the Dead Sea Scroll documents call one of their adversaries, and other ancient documents explain about Paul), then what were the issues? The issues seemed to be his denial of Torah, including circumcision, and his deification of someone he calls "Christ Jesus." If he had been answering documents of an anti-establishment group, like those of the Dead Sea Scrolls, he would have seen a "Yeshua oto" or "Yesha," meaning "God's Salvation" or "The Lord of Salvation," much the same as "The Lord of Hosts" type of description of God. It was NOT the name of a person. But, seeing that, he could have mistook it for the name of a messiah, or of a person he may have believed the anti-establishment groups held dear. He then could have built an entire theology based on a mis-reading of the texts of his adversaries. But, enough for now as I really want the book to allow the explanation and the motive. REP

C. 3/4/2007 Mr. Potter’s thesis is also consistent with another recent book on the historicity of ‘Jesus’ called “Judas the Galilean” by Daniel Unterbrink. Many of the readers of Robert Eisenman will notice that this Judas the Galilean performed many deeds similar to that of Jesus, such as cleansing the Temple as per Josephus’ Antiquities 17. 149-167. I personally doubt that Jesus existed by the name of Jesus, but the ‘Jesus figure’ was inspired by the real person, Judas the Galilean. Onias in his comment on concerning “Jesus: Pacifist Shepherd, or Zealot Warrior?”

A. I had to post this as it addresses exactly the point I have been stressing, that the person we think we know as “Jesus” was likely not known by that name, but another, and was absolutely involved in more than preaching “Sermons on the Mount.” Certainly, Judas the Galilean is a contender, as is Joses ben Cleophas that I point to (and who, as Joses ben Joseph, is mentioned in the New Testament). I will ask Onias if he meant Antiq Here it is Judas ben Saripheus and Matthias ben Margalothus that Josephus mentions rather than a for sure Judas the Galilean. But, as I mention in my book, the chronologies of Josephus may be in error, as also the confusion of the personalities. So, it is possible, despite the apparent time differentials, that many of these people are the same ones we meet in the New Testament. REP

Q. 3/4/07 Your rendition of the woman taken in adultery was fascinating. I often wondered what Jesus may have written in the sand. Thank you for the explanation. A.W. SLC, UT.
A. Actually, I have a confession to make. The story of the adulteress in John 8: 3-9 is very likely unhistorical, and even unscriptural. In fact, comparing earlier texts with later ones, the story was probably added several hundred years later! In other words, it was not original scripture. So, why did I include it? Primarily, the story is so well known, and often discussed, that I wanted to use it as a vehicle to show the mastery of the Torah that this man would have had and his capability to use it under stress. Furthermore, it would give me a chance, in forums like this, to talk about how the New Testament was changed from its original condition, and even added upon or altered, by others over the course of time. REP

Q. 5/4/07 I was particularly drawn to the character of Mary Magdala. Rather than the sinner/prostitute depicted by so many Christians, you give her dignity, spirituality, and internal strength. How did you come to present her this way? L.M. Washington, D.C.
A. I will not go into the issue here of why I think "Jesus" was married other than to say a good Israelite, particularly a kingly one, would not remain celibate. To your question, the current information from Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" to the debate over the Talpiot Tomb obviously surfaced long after I arrived at my conclusions. Of course, there were the early works such as Michael Baigent's, etc..., but what prevailed upon me was actually a conviction that I formulated in my childhood, strange as that may sound. My feelings were more or less corroborated as I studied the issues over the years. In short, no matter who "Jesus" was, I concluded such a master/king would be married and that his companion would be of like moral character. If "Jesus" was an Essene, or if he was as he was portrayed, a keeper of the Torah, then he would shun unclean things (as the Dead Sea Scrolls demand of their Community Members) and, no matter how sorry he may feel for prostitues and sinners, he would never marry one. Marriage and sex were not considered unclean in and of themselves in the Torah, but, considered honorable, if not necessary, as long as engaged in with the proper observances. Mary would have been a noble, possibly even of royal lineage, a mystic in her own right, and a perfect match for "Jesus," if not his female mirror image, a soul mate, if you wish. The concept of the sacred feminine, I think, is not a myth, though often hard to find in today's world of demands for material gain and self aggrandizement. As you will see in the sequels, Mary is not just the "obedient" wife, but shares the same mind as "Jesus." Go back and read the moment when Joses is in a vision and returns to Mary. I think that reveals all as to why I presented her the way I did. Thank you for your comment.REP

Q. 9/22/07 How does your book and the position it takes relate to the current discussion of the discovery of the Talpiot Tomb? Do you think that tomb is the real burial place of Jesus and his family? N.M. Tampa, Fl.

A. I take it you have watched the movie that presents this information. Dr. James Tabor is heavily involved in the research and his blog keeps everyone up to date. I am still not sure about Talpiot, but I have a few observations and I think you will see how my book may relate to it. I am not convinced, personally, that Yeshua ben Joseph was the name of the individual we associate with Jesus. While both names (Yeshua, or Joshua, and Joseph) were common in the time period, my own research points to something entirely different. One of the names on an ossuary in the tomb is Yoseh. This brings us to the name Joseph, Yoseh, or Yosey, which when allowed to assume its Greek form is Joses. This more than anything else is of interest in the Talpiot tomb because that name was, in its form as a nickname, not common like the others. Of course, Joses is one of the main characters in my novel. I don't want to ruin the story in TCT for those who have not read it with too much discussion here. I will just say that the name Yeshua ben Joseph or Joshua ben Joseph, can also be a Messianic title. In my opinion, for what that is worth, the Talpiot Tomb may not actually be Jesus' tomb or that of his family but an effort to throw the Romans off the track using the names of a clan active in the resistance (or even a later fraud). The original orientation of the ossuaries, if that can be ascertained, may be the most important clue to the message of Talpiot.Why so? While I am not privy to the particulars of the research, what if the assumption that the Yeshua ben Joseph ossuary is the father/husband is wrong, and that it may, in fact, be the son, or heir, of the person in the Yoseh ossuary? This puts a whole new approach to the Talpiot Tomb research and reflects, quite closely, the information I present in TCT. In closing on this question, I will also say that the myth of Jesus is a burning question with the recent scholarship focusing on late First Century CE, Second Century CE, and even Third Century CE authorship of the supposed Pauline Corpus, the Gospels, and other texts, as well. The "martyrs" may not have been Christian at all. REP