It’s Good Friday, so what better day to explore whether Jesus really died on the cross and rose from the dead? Scott Wolter did an interview with evangelical Christian author Karla Akins, who supports his findings despite disagreeing with his conclusions because in conspiracy culture what counts is your opposition to mainstream academia. In the interview he confirmed his belief that the Gospel narratives of Jesus are a conspiracy designed to hide the truth. If you remember Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers, he follows Ralph Ellis in believing that Jesus reigned as the king of Judea, as well as having been trained as the high priest of Amun, and sojourned in India to take training with Buddhist monks.
Among the highlights, Wolter told Akins that he is no longer an atheist but has “learned to accept” that some aspects of life he “cannot explain or fully understand.” This burgeoning spirituality coupled with previous atheism has helped him to seek out a different form of spirituality behind the façade of conventional Christianity.
To that end, he now believes that “the Tucson Lead Artifacts were made and left as ritual offerings by a Roman-Jewish party from what is now Southern France.” This is despite the fact that the artifacts state in mangled Latin that the people left from, and I quote, “Rome” to travel to Calalus. The reason for this is rather obvious: He also believes that the “mystery” of Rennes-la-Chateau is legitimate. Obviously, this is all connected to medieval myths that Mary Magdalene lived and worked in the area around Marseille and Aix, which will be a major focus of the upcoming season of America Unearthed.
That legend traces back to a bit of myth-making by the monks of Vézelay, who wanted to attract donations by claiming to have the relics of Mary Magdalene. Originally, the story was that Mary’s bones had been carried from Ephesus, her traditional resting place, to France, much like the bones of other saints. But by the time Sigebert of Gembloux wrote his Chronicon in 1111 CE, the story had mutated so that the living Magdalene had sailed for France (all the more glorious for France), though he recognized that the earlier tradition was still well-known:
A persecution having arisen after the stoning of Stephen proto-martyr, Maximinus, one of the seventy disciples of Christ, crossing to Gaul, took Mary Magdalene with him. Furthermore, he buried her body in the city of Aix, over which he presided. Verily, the city of Aix was despoiled by the Saracens, so the body of Mary herself was transferred by Gerard, count of Burgundy, to the monastery of Vézelay, which had been constructed by him. And yet some people write that this woman rests in Ephesus, having no covering over her. (my trans.)
This is the earliest literary reference to the myth of Mary Magdalene living in France.
Wolter, however, prefers not to deal in primary sources and instead simply accepts later Catholic legendry about Mary’s life in France at face value. He does not, for example, seem aware of the competing (and older) legend that Mary’s bones were removed from Ephesus and taken to Constantinople by Emperor Leo VI. In fact, Wolter takes the very lack of earlier evidence as proof that the Catholic Church is evil, as he told Akins:
What drives me to get this story out is because the factual evidence I’ve seen so far says it is the truth. I also believe the world has been negatively impacted by the financially and spiritually corrupt nature of the Roman Catholic Church. They convey the wrong message of what Jesus and MM [Mary Magdalene] were really teaching; that the individual doesn’t need a human conduit to get to their Creator. They can do it themselves and this is what threatened the power of the Roman Church so they created a different story that became patriarchal and vilified woman. Largely due to 1700 years of their spiritual domination it has thrown the world horribly out of balance, most notably by over-population. I want my descendants to inherit a healthy planet and believe the ship is now beginning to turn around by this truth coming out. I also think the vast majority of people in the world can handle the truth.
Note that Wolter confirms again a point that I made last week in evaluating his views as a classic conspiracy theory: he suggests a millenarian vision whereby his revelation of the real truth about Jesus will contribute to conditions that will cure overpopulation, heal the earth, and create a paradise of gender equality. Millenarianism is one of the key traits that separates the simple advocate of a single unusual belief from the conspiracy theorist. If you obsess over whether the Newport Tower, for example, is a Portuguese cod-smoking facility, you aren’t likely to see this as leading to a spiritual utopia; but if you see anomalous artifacts as part of an interdisciplinary conspiracy tied to deep-seated pagan truths, then you are more likely to view them as stepping stones to the Millennium. Wolter’s vision is more gradualist than apocalyptic, and it resembles the Millennium of pure reason envisioned in the Enlightenment, if reason were replaced with quasi-pagan pantheism.
Wolter also complained again about the “power-tripping, anti-diffusion leaning individuals” who edit Wikipedia, and despite his anger at the online encyclopedia, he also complained that he isn’t cited frequently enough as a source regarding controversial artifacts. He says that in terms of research “the tools I use are the internet and books; lots of books.” The trouble, of course, is that those books aren’t primary sources with original documents but rather fringe history books, as seen from the bibliography and chapter notes in his last book, Akhenaten to the Founding Fathers, which contained virtually no primary sources but dozens of fringe history books and—wait for it—Wikipedia.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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