Christianity and the PTR Factor

It was noted in the previous blog, Simon/Peter, Historical or Mythical, that Jesus’ apostle Simon, who became known as Peter, strongly supported Jewish social customs and religious traditions.  By tradition it was considered by devout Jews of that time to be “unclean” to venture into other cultural territories, especially Greek and Roman, and anyone who traveled outside of Jewish dominance had to be ritually purified before they could again take up social customs among their countrymen.  That long-held convention alone brings into doubt the claim that Simon would have set his sights on Rome with the intention of raising Jesus’ church there.  The polytheistic nature (the respect for the deities of all citizens) that united the Roman Empire holds the clue as to how the claim that Simon-Peter founded Jesus’ church in Rome came to be made acceptable—but only after the fourth century.

Among the various spiritual instructions available in Rome after the time of Caesar (44 BCE), there was a Pagan mystery school presided over by a priest who revealed and explained the Mysteries to the initiates.  This teacher was highly revered in Rome as an interpreter of spiritual truths, and was referred to by a primitive Chaldean word for interpreter, which was indicated with the letters PTR.

Instruction in Greek mysteries were also available in Rome in this timeframe, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the secret doctrines of which were read to the initiates from a book which was known among them as the book of stone (solid principles of Creation), or Book PeT-Roma.  Mix in with this the Greek association with the Egyptian god Thoth, the interpreter of the gods, who was credited with authoring works on alchemy, astronomy and invention, and the “book of stone” used by the interpreter further explains the Pagan interpreter being honored within Rome under the designation of PTR.

Simon-Peter’s alleged presence in Rome in 67 would mean that both Peter and Paul had been representing Christianity in Rome in that narrow timeframe.  Such an overlapping of an alleged close apostle of Jesus with a man who claimed that he received a message from Jesus in a blinding light diminishes the authority of both.

In the NT book Galatians it is stated that when Peter visited Antioch, Peter refused to have full fellowship with gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11-14).  That is hardly a favorable resume for the top position in Jesus’ church.  [The book of Galatians is traditionally held to have been written by Paul between c. 48 and 55; not likelyGalatians, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians date more toward c. 94-100.]  After the gentiles were allegedly allotted to Paul and the Jew converts apportioned to Peter (Acts 15 and Galatians 2:1-10), Peter fades out of the NT, and evidently James then became the sole leader of the Jerusalem church as Peter went forth into Pagan territories seeking converts.  From that point on Paul dominates how the faith system we know as Christianity became instituted.  [It should be noted that Justin Martyr, honored as “Saint” Justin (100-167), a dedicated Christian apologist who wrote voluminously about early Christianity, never mentioned Paul or his epistles.]  Extra-biblical tradition has it that Peter died a martyr in Rome in 78, and that St. Peters in Rome was built over the place of his burial.  If so, it was built over the Pagan PTR, not the staunch Jew, Simon, whom Jesus is alleged to have named Peter.

The worship of Mithras (or Mithra), Persian divinity of light, had been introduced into Rome in 68 BCE, and from that timeframe onward the Persian faith system had spread rapidly throughout Italy and Roman provinces.  Mithraism greatly influenced the authors of the struggling Christian cult with its ideals of brotherly love, humility, rite of communion, use of holy water, adoration of shepherds at Mithras’ birth, use of Sunday as its holy day, and belief  in the last judgment, immorality of the soul, and resurrection.  Even into the third century CE Mithraism was the greatest rival of the Christian movement.

Chaldean mysteries, and most of the mystery cults prevalent within Rome itself in the fourth century timeframe, included the use of keys to symbolize the opening of esoteric doctrine by an interpreter.  The Roman god Janus with his keys was already identified with Rome, his name being derived from janua, meaning “gate” or “opening.”  And the Greek goddess Cybele, mother and source of life, also had keys as her attributes when she was introduced among the Romans in the 3rd century.

Then the seat of the empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople in 328, founded by Roman emperor Constantine the Great, and thus as Constantinople (capital of Eastern Roman Empire) began to eclipse Rome, the loss of Rome’s previous association with the center of world power threatened the continuation of the Christian cult’s stature.

Subsequently, after years of decline of Rome’s former glory, the pope began, around 378, to claim in closed meetings with converts to be in possession of the same keys that had been long associated with the god Janus and the goddess Cybele.  The title of PTR of the Pagan interpreters of divine mysteries was still too valuable an asset not to be incorporated into a Romanized version of authority that could reconcile the struggling young cult into broader Pagan acceptance.  It is interesting to note that the title of pope, with a capital P, did not come into propaganda use until 384.  The claim to the keys of the pope’s spiritual authority began to be publicly rumored around 428, but the claim to the keys of spiritual authority an Christ’s representative was not openly asserted unit around 430.

The alleged “dispute” between Peter and Paul has the earmarks of a crafted story when it is remembered that Simon was decidedly too Jewish, as noted earlier, to ever desire to raise Jesus’ church in unclean Rome.  The “dispute” incident that now graces NT accounts is set in Antioch during the mid-first century, and the cause is implied to have been over dietary and circumcision requirements for gentiles.  The vague details given in Galatians, chapter two, never clarifies if this dispute happened before or after the Council of Jerusalem c. 50.  On the other hand, The Acts of the Apostles does relate a break between Paul and his former friend Barnabas soon after the Council of Jerusalem, and that break, which was of less importance, is explained.

The issue of how god’s “law,” as stated in Hebrew scriptures, is relative to Christianity has remained disputed to this day—a strange situation for an omniscient Creator to allow if the world was supposed to honor his “only begotten son.”  Christianity as we know it today was crafted under the  pseudonym Paul (from the name Saul), but it is still Peter who is held to be the “rock” upon which that faith system was erected.  Thus the Catholic Encyclopedia asserts, “St. Paul’s account of the incident (that allegedly occurred in Antioch) leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice in the rebuke” (of Peter).  And the church “historian,” Eusebius, Bishop of Corinth (260?-340?), who was prone to rewriting history for his own purpose, stated that both Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at the same time in Rome.  Nothing has ever been uncovered to support that assertion, but it did help to paper over the reason behind the change in direction of the struggling young faith system.

The political motivation that inspired the writings and rewriting of Mark and Matthew c.55 and c.80 did experience change around 84 CE.  In that timeframe emphasis shifted from an earlier attempt to convert Jews to a more sociable belief system into an attempt to unite Pagan ideologies into a faith system with an authoritative head.  It is this change in the political direction which accounts for the alleged “dispute” between Peter and Paul.

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