What motivated them? "They were the vainest people who ever lived," Atwill says. "They wanted to make sure that posterity knew they had subdued the Jews through a fake religion.

Some of this has been explored by other scholars. Robert Eisenman, professor of religion at California State University-Long Beach, one of the participants in the movie, says he was long familiar with the practice of "overwriting" texts, "people taking texts and writing over them." He himself suggested, in his 1997 book, James the Brother of Jesus, that the Gospels had been written over to give them a "pro-Roman slant."

In uncovering the Titus connection, "Atwill may have carried it a step farther," Eisenman says.

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