Thank you for comments Cognostic. Regarding your question above, forged memoranda of Pilate and Jesus were published under Emperor Maximin II around 311 A.D, and sent to every district under his command. Maximin II announced in edicts that they were to be publicly displayed and should be given to the school children by their teachers instead of lessons to study. This was an official act of the Roman empire signifying the empire’s aspiration to address such claims.
This Act of the Roman empire establishes that the empire understood what needed to be done in an attempt to refute the claims of Christianity and how to do it. This Act of the empire also establishes that they did care.
In my debate with Dr. Carrier, he did not contest this point. His only retort was that he believes this was an isolated event, that was only precipitated by Christianity’s rise in popularity, which prompted the official Act of the Roman Empire.
Dr. Carriers’ logic would have us believe that such burdens were not felt by earlier administrations of the Empire from the Christians, hindering its desire to falsify claims against them. Yet I provided documentation to the contrary that show’s otherwise.
The circumstances of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were too well known and controversial to be ignored by the government, whether ecclesiastical or political.
It’s of great interest here to note that after the final overthrow of Jerusalem, when the ruins were held by a garrison of Roman soldiers, Vespasian commanded “a strict search to be made of all who claimed descent from the house of David” in an effort to cut off all hopes of restoring the royal house of the Messiah.
This shows what the great Roman Emperor Vespasian thought of a Jewish king, and the possibility of a hope of one in the Jewish mind, forty years after the rule of Pilate and Tiberius.
The plight of the Christians in Rome was also perceived by the emperor Nero as a political problem in his administration (Circa 65AD) which explains why Tacitus tells us that Nero “falsely accused the Christians” of setting fires in the market places of Rome. Tacitus reports Christians were “infamous for their abominations”; this sheds light on the height and popularity of Christianity in Rome. Nero would have needed a large known group in the area to shift the blame on, and Christians seem to fit that profile.
The context of Paul letter to the Church in Rome was to get the Jewish and Gentile Christians to work together, which is a testament of Gentiles converting in Rome. Christianity as a religion was not recognized by the state of Rome, which is why the Governor of Bythia (Pliny) issued an edit against the Christians from assembling, because this is perceived as a threat to the state, as was in the case of the Bacculi.
Cognostic, where do you get this idea that the Roman Empire didn’t care, because it’s not from actual documentation from the period. Pliny specifically stated in his Letter to the emperor, that the matter regarding the Christians, seems to me worthy of your consideration, especially as there are so many people involved in the danger.
Pliny regarded the rising popularity of Christianity as a contagion that was infectiously spreading throughout his province. It impacted populations within the cities, neighboring villages, and countryside, which would constitute a pressing political problem that was worthy of being addressed.
If your going to make assertions, then you have to document that from actual writings from the period that substantiate you point.