My Review of Creating Christ (Valliant's Book)

Neil Parille

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11 hours ago, Neil Parille said:

Here's the final version of my critique of Creating Christ.

It's kind of rough but I don't think the book deserves more.


When you start putting that much work into a book review, why not use this as a chapter for a book on Christianity, maybe with other chapters comparing and contrasting Rand's work and libertarianism from that lens? Or nailing misconceptions about all of them?

There is an audience for a book like that. Not a great big one, but there is one.

The audience for such an extensive review as the one you wrote, I believe, is tiny. Miniscule. Why? The scope. A review is a critique of a single book, and yours is for a book that most people will not even read. A broader scope, like an approach to the religion itself, and to ideas in modern culture like Objectivism and libertarianism, has much greater mass appeal.

Hell, even Valliant and Fahy are getting some audience traction with their odd curiosity on Christianity.

Which proves that people like to read books about Christianity.

So write a book.


You can even polish your review more if you so wish (although I agree with you that what you already did is more than enough effort for a fringe oddity like Creating Christ).

Just a suggestion.

Incidentally, I have a suggestion for a stronger zinger at the end.

You wrote as conclusion:


Creating Christ  is a work of careless and misleading scholarship. Those searching for an alternative explanation for Christian origins should look elsewhere.

That's OK as far as that goes. But from the reader's perspective, you're telling the reader what to do rather than leaving it up to the reader. The persuasion principle is that people are far more convinced of conclusions they arrive at on their own than they are of conclusions they are told they should arrive at.

My suggestion is to present yourt own conclusion and leave it at that. Let them agree or disagree as they see fit. (I believe most will agree.) Something like the following:


Creating Christ is a work of careless and misleading scholarship. Christianity, Christ, the Flavians and the ancient Romans in general deserve better than this poor excuse at historical revisionism.

See the difference?

I'm not suggesting you use my words (although you can if you wish). It's the framing I'm talking about.

One version tells the reader to stay away, to avoid looking at a book (which has a mild uncomfortable thought control kind of vibe). The other takes the fight to the authors and stings. Audiences like that a lot better, they find it far more entertaining, than being told what to do. 

Just a suggestion once again.


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Glad you liked it.  I just Microsoft office which comes with OneDrive.  I'm finding the file system confusing and the copy I uploaded was an older version.  

I sent a copy to our frenemy.  He responded that among other things that "You are a miserable and sexless wretch taking it out on anyone who actual does love life." And that was just for starters.

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7 hours ago, Neil Parille said:


Glad you liked it.  I just Microsoft office which comes with OneDrive.  I'm finding the file system confusing and the copy I uploaded was an older version.  

I sent a copy to our frenemy.  He responded that among other things that "You are a miserable and sexless wretch taking it out on anyone who actual does love life." And that was just for starters.

He called you “sexless”?

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I looked at a discussion between Amy Peikoff and James Valliant that you posted recently over at Solo Passion. I don't want to embed the video here, but here is the link to the video on YouTube in case anyone is interested.

I tried to listen attentively. I really did. Just to get a bead on how they process their information and communicate. (I'm focused on fiction writing, so I often pay attention to these things.)

But then Valliant came out with the following about President Trump (at around 40:06):


See, this is what a lot of the Trump fans will say: "Oh, look at all the great things Trump has done."

No, it's not as though he's taken out some major part of government or been a real deregulator, getting rid of a bunch of regulations. Regulations are just increasing at a slower rate and of course he wants government to expand in any number of ways, right?

I stopped right there.

I don't know what to say about such a massive blankout. There are thousands of regulations President Trump has abolished or neutered. His campaign promise was to allow one new regulation if two were eliminated. I've read at different places that this, in practice, has been about 20 slashed for 1 new.

That's a ten-fold increase on a campaign promise.

I tried to find a link that gives a list, but the press and the search engines have made a holy mess of it. Basically, when mainstream fact checkers list overturned regulations claimed by President Trump, they admit that some occurred, but these were not so important, yada yada yada. And, of course, Trump lied lied lied about numbers and the stuff he did yada yada yada.

However, if you look at articles published by the same press organizations complaining about particular programs and regulations that have been cut by President Trump, they say the world is going to end because he is cutting so many.

These slashed regulations cover everything from net neutrality to environmental regulations to small business regulations to all kinds of things.

How on earth is that increasing regulations at a slower rate? Can't this guy read? Even with all the yelling and confusion in the press, it's obvious in even the most anti-Trump press that he is decreasing the amount of regulations, not increasing them.

Granted, President Trump has added the Space Force to the government. And he is building a wall. :) 

Anyway, I was fascinated by the chemistry between Amy and James. In my opinion, there's a there there. Probably not acted on, but the mutual attraction goes way beyond intellectual from what I saw.

Amy looks like a mess due to her intestinal issues that she discussed. I wish her well and hope she gets better soon. To be fair, the attraction I detected could have roots in both of them suffering with recent serious illnesses.

I will not finish listening to their talk, though.

I don't mind the Trump bashing so much as the inaccuracy of why they bash him. If one wants to bash Trump, it should at least be for something real. Opinion is one thing, and each is entitled to his or her own, but why should I listen to anything less than reality for facts?

I'm glad they find pleasure in each other, though. They can share their inaccuracies and be happy.

Well, there it is for what that's worth.


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I think Amy's kind of cute, but as a "sexless" person my opinion doesn't count for much.

As I worked through Creating Christ, it reminds me of PARC (The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, for those weren't part of the PARC Wars).  Just like in PARC, James doesn't seem to want people to know there's another sider of the story.  It's TheBrandens 24/7/365.  But in 2005, there were no other biographies, so maybe James thought he could pull a fast one.  However, every year there are dozens of new books on the New Testament from various perspectives that show Creating Christ can't be correct.  He thinks that no one will read any of these books?

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  • 11 months later...
On 6/5/2018 at 2:50 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

I luvs me some conspiracy theories at times, but the idea that the Jesus story was concocted as a secret conspiracy by the elites to control the masses and that it was so well done, it has endured to the present, makes me wonder why I even bothered looking.

I had just finished watching a movie about Paul the Apostle today (PAUL THE EMISSARY), and it made me think of Valliant's thesis. So  I went thumbing through CREATING CHRIST today to see if he had referenced the beheading of Paul, and if so, how he reconciled it with the idea that Paul was a friend of the Romans as part of a plan to pacify Jewish rebellion. To my amusement, I came across a couple of references to the word "psy-op", and this one in particular made me think of the accusations against Q being based on a Russian psy-op to pacify the conservatives, or the root out the Trump supporters...

"We are left to wonder: was his conversion and association with the group he once persecuted designed from the start as a means of infiltrating them, sowing division, and undermining their devotion to the cultural hostilities that made rebellion so attractive?

"We had long considered this to be the likely reality before the publication of Operation Messiah: St. Paul, Roman Intelligence and the Birth of Christianity by Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon in 2008, and here the reader is directed to this work for the complete case. These authors go so far as to argue that Paul was himself a Roman intelligence operative, an agent provocateur engaged dangerous psy-ops campaign against the rebel 'Christians.'"

Heh. True, false, or something inbetween? I'll leave that debate to others. But the parallel is noteworthy, at least.
That said, I didn't find any reference to Paul's beheading in Vallant's book, though, though I may have just missed it, as it doesn't have an index. But I'm looking at Neil Parille's review, now, and do see something about it mentioned there, that Paul had "outlived his usefulness to the Romans, and was executed." Not sure if that's Parille's words or if he's paraphrasing Valliant, but it gave me a horrible thought: If Q IS real, and a psy-op, but since he hasn't posted since December...has HE-it outlived HIS usefulness? 😕

(Edit: I did find the reference to Paul's death in CREATING CHRIST now, thanks to Parille's review. Why there's no index, I don't know...)

"As a leader of the militant Jewish-Christians, Peter’s execution at Rome is rather easy to understand. And, by bringing his contentious mission to Rome itself, Paul may have helped fuel the Fire of Rome, which, as we noted in Part I, is likely to have been set by Paul’s Jewish-Christian foes. After the Great Fire, Nero may understandably have decided that Paul had outlived any usefulness he had once promised. Indeed, the narrative of Paul’s journey in Acts may be a clue to why Nero might have seen his execution as an expedient way to placate the dangerously aroused Jewish populace."


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