The Christmas Story – A Not-always-serious Re-telling from a Sociological-Criminological Perspective

By Markus Pohlmann

The story that we are about to tell is well-known. Nevertheless, it became obvious to us that from a sociological-criminological point of view, some of the important details have been left out. In the following, not-always-serious narration, we are about to change this. We start our tale with the life of Herod I, the Roman client king of Judea, Galilee, Samaria and neighbouring areas.

Source: Pixabay

Gaius Iulius Herod, better known as Herod the Great, was the ruler of a client state of the Roman Republic in what is today the conflict-stricken Palestinian region. He lived in patchwork conditions that were typical for contemporary Romans, having seen off ten marriages in the course of his life. His impressive body mass index (BMI) was obviously no obstacle to his popularity on the Roman-Judean partnership market. With his ten wives, he had fathered somewhere between 15 (officially recognized) and 30 children. They and their mothers, except for those, who were executed, were well integrated into the Herodian patchwork family. Although the cultural emancipation of the surviving women was well advanced in everyday life, women were still highly underrepresented among the rulers, and the introduction of a female quota among Roman statesmen had been intensely controversial since Cleopatra of Jerusalem, the fifth wife of Herod I.

Imbued with the spirit of capitalism, Herod had built large-scale port facilities to promote free trade in Judea. We do not know whether there were any bribes involved, but experts on classical antiquity believe this to be the case. In the Roman Republic, legislations against voter bribery had already been well in place, and there were spectacular trials on corruption as well. In addition to vote-buying, bribery of judges and civil servants were rampant. In this regard Rome was similar to the modern world. Corrupt judges were a plague in ancient Rome. Cicero reports that it was common practice to coddle them „not only with money, but also by the provision of girls and boys“. Above all, in the provinces, tax collectors, financial officials, governors, and court clerks had mastered the arts of self-enrichment – the farther away from Rome, the more blatant they were. On the other hand, attempts were repeatedly made to put an end to all the hustle and bustle: anti-bribery laws existed as early as the second century BC.

It was not for bribery and corruption, however, that Herod I came off badly in the Judean „media“. On top of the atrocities, of which he was rightly accused, they foisted on him the Massacre of the Innocents – the execution of all newly born male children – fake journalism that became all the more powerful as an ever-growing world religion used its social media to spread it globally.

The other characters in our story also show how they had to deal with casualization of work and decline of the middle class in the contemporary Roman world. Thus, Joseph worked as a semi-skilled carpenter on construction sites. The working conditions were poor and his wage was only slightly above the poverty line. He first tried himself as an innovative founder of a start-up and when this enterprise failed, he joined the legion of economic refugees bound for Egypt. He knew that in Egypt he had to face the hostilities from the „Patriotic Egyptians against Judaization and Davidization of the Orient“ (PEAJDO), but at the same time, he successfully withdrew himself from a biometric registration by the Roman equivalent to NSA, i.e. the state security authorities. Joseph lifted himself up from a destitute social background. He first lived in free partnership with Mary, an unskilled person who belonged to a sect and committed to the temple service at the age of three. At the age of fifteen, she became pregnant with Jesus. Since then, the couple slipped below the poverty level. The hardship of Mary and Joseph was not untypical for their contemporaries under the Roman rule.

Source: Pixabay

At first, this couple of economic refugees could not find any shelter, so they ended up in a scarcely furnished upper floor with their relatives. It was autumn and the impoverished shepherds slept with their sheep. In the footsteps of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction, three astronomers who were actually scientists from Persia also gathered there. They belonged to a new transnational class of advisors and prophets. This new stratum of analysts, fostered by the knowledge community of the time, is still revered today.

As the upper floor was inadequately furnished, a feeding crib instead of a children’s bed had to be installed for the newborn. Eight days after birth, the naming and circumcision took place (Lukasevangelium 2, 21). Jesus emancipated himself rather early from his parental home, and from his mother.

Now there was at least a wandering preacher and freak in the world, who, as the founder of an emerging religion and a charismatic leader, involuntarily opposed the existing ruling order. We still admire him today, among other deeds, for his fight against corruption. But, according to Nietzsche and the canonized faith, the organized church as well as the notion of guiltiness and atonement was not Jesus‘ cause. To quote Nietzsche: “With a little freedom in the use of words, one might actually call Jesus a “free spirit”—he cares nothing for what is established … and has no belief that an article of faith, a “truth,” may be established by proofs (—his proofs are inner “lights,” subjective sensations of happiness and self-approval, simple “proofs of power”—). […] In the whole psychology of the “Gospels” the concepts of guilt and punishment are lacking, and so is that of reward. “Sin”, which means anything that puts a distance between God and man, is abolished—this is precisely the “glad tidings.” Eternal bliss is not merely promised, nor is it bound up with conditions: it is conceived as the only reality—what remains consists merely of signs useful in speaking of it.” (Friedrich W. Nietzsche [1888/1923]: The Antichrist. Translated from German with an introduction by H. L. MENCKEN, New York: Alfred Knopf, pp. 100 ff.)

Merry Christmas

Source: Pixabay