The Horrific Dream of the Wife of Pontius Pilate (about the Nicene Creed)

Let’s examine at the tradition of Pontius Pilate’s wife and the horrific dream that she had in Matthew 27 and how it relates to the Apostles and Nicene Creed.

St Claudia Pontius Pilate

In our New Saint Thomas Institute Catholic Church History series on the Arian Heresy Controversy and the Council of Constantinople, our student Alicia asks:

Is there a reason why the name of Pontius Pilate was included in the second creed?

Pontius Pilate’s name is in the Creeds because it anchors the life of Christ into human history, specifically Roman history. If you interested in the redemptive meaning of Rome, the Roman Pontius Pilate, and the Roman cross of execution in the redemption of man by a Jewish Messiah, please see my book The Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholicism. 

There is a “tradition” that Pontius Pilate’s wife Claudia Procula had a dream of billions of people chanting “sub Pontio Pilato” over and over and over.

What she was hearing was the billions of Christians who recite “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”

Most woman would be honored to know that their husband’s name would be on the lips of billions over a period of 20 centuries. But in the case of this Prefect of Judaea, it is the notorious reputation of being the remote efficient cause of Christ’s crucifixion.

The dream of “Claudia” is referred to in Matthew 27:19:

While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him.”

If the tradition is true, she dreamed of the countless recitations and liturgical chants of “under Pontius Pilate.”

Origen is the first to mention that she converted to Christianity. She is a saint. In art, she is depicted as whispering into the ear of Pontius. Mel Gibson’s Passion depicts Claudia giving linens to the Blessed Mother to collect the Blood of Christ from the scourging.

St Claudia cloths to Mary

Saint Claudia, pray for us.

If you’d like to take our courses on Historical Theology, the Creeds, the Councils, and Catholic Tradition, please sign up with us at newsaintthomas.com.

nsti_300x250_ad_2

The CATHOLIC (not Protestant) Perspective on Paul

Happy Feast Day of Saint Paul!

When I was Protestant, we relished in the belief that the Apostle Paul was thoroughly Protestant. We considered him to be the proto-Martin Luther. We believed that Paul taught:

  • justification by faith alone
  • once saved always saved
  • authority of Scripture alone (no Tradition)
  • sacraments as symbolic

However, there were always those little verses in Paul that made me feel uncomfortable. Here were things that we tried to ignore:

  • Paul rejoiced in being celibate – I didn’t know any celibate Protestant pastors that spoke like Paul did
  • Paul called himself “Father” in relation to his converts – he once refers to his ministry as “priestly”
  • he speaks of baptism transformative and saving
  • he speaks of obedience and good works quite often
  • he holds out the possibility that he might forfeit his own salvation through infidelity

This passages kept bubbling up until at last I saw that Protestantism couldn’t hold all the tension within these passages…and so I became Catholic.

After entering the Catholic Church, I wrote a simple and systematic explanation of nearly every major Catholic doctrine within the writings of Saint Paul. Not only does the book walk you step by step through Paul’s thoroughly sacramental and ecclesial theology, it also includes an appendix with all the verses in Paul – a kind of Pauline cheat sheet for Catholic theology. This appendix will save you hours of time looking for passages. It already arranged for you.

To celebrate Saint Paul’s own conversion, this book is half price today (and down to only $0.99 on Kindle): The Catholic Perspective on Paul. This is a great resource for anyone interested in Apologetics, Pauline theology, New Testament studies, or for anyone who wants to become familiar with Paul’s letters. Check out the Table of Contents and read a free sample here:

If you’ve read the book already, please leave a review by clicking here. I’d love to read your thoughts and I’d be grateful for your review.

Saint Paul, pray for us.

Happy Feast Day of Saint Paul,

Taylor Marshall

Our Winners for the Tenth Region of the Night Book

Thank you to everyone who took part in our Tenth Region of the Night Book Launch Party.

My new best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel about early Catholic saints, Tenth Region of the Night, is now on sale (a few dollars cheaper) for the next few days, if you’d like to get a copy.

Here are the winners of our contests:

Take an Epic #Selfie with the Book
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

Winner: Mari Webber with this photo from Germany with depictions of two characters from the books: Saint George and Saint Nicholas

dsc04267-1

Thanks for the awesome photo, Mari and thanks for our “smoking St Nicholas.”

Just Get the Book Contest (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

Winner: Armando Javier Arteaga.

I hope you enjoyed the novel Armando!

Christmas Contest (Prize: an iPad Mini mailed to your house! AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

David W. Warner

Review the Novel at Amazon.com (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

John M. Sengenberger II for his review on amazon.com:

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-2-38-12-pm

To read more reviews of the novel, click here.

Write a Blog Post about Sword and Serpent
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

Winner: Catherine T. Mohs with her excellent review of the book that you can read on her blog at: The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II Review.

Thanks Catherine!

Facebook The Book (Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

Winners: Alan and Julie McCabe

Thanks for sharing on Facebook!

Thank you to the hundreds that participated. I wish I could send a prize to you all. Thank you so much for supporting the book. It means so much to me.

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

Catholic Video: 3 Facts about Saint Nicholas!

Happy feastday of Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. Here’s a short Catholic video giving you 3 “Catholic talking points” or facts about Saint Nicholas that you can share at the office cocktail party this Advent:

To begin watching this video, click here:

Did you find this video interesting or helpful?

Please share this on Facebook with your family and friends by clicking here:

facebook-share-button

Looking for a Bestselling Historical Fiction Novel about Saint Nicholas? Check out my novel: Sword and Serpent (and its best-selling sequel Tenth Region of the Night) at amazon.com:

Sword and Tenth Region on wood

Orthodox Catholic Fiction Novel = #1 Bestseller in Youth Historical/Action

Dear Readers and Listeners,

In 2014, I published a historical fiction novel about the legend of Saint George and the dragon (titled Sword and Serpent) that debuted at #1 on Amazon.com in Young Adult Religious at both Historical and Action!!! I’m grateful to everyone who read it and reviewed it!

Sword and Tenth Region on wood

Yesterday I published the sequel to Sword and Serpent titled The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book IIIt also has reached #1 Bestseller status in those categories as well as in “Hot New Releases.”

Tenth Region Number 1

The new novel’s cover depicts a Greek ouroboros – a snake eating itself. Evil always turns in on itself – and this is the plot of the novel. Just before daybreak (what the Egyptians call the “Tenth Region of the Night”), evil is thoroughly destroyed by the dawning light – Saint George, the martyrs, and Constantine’s conversion.

If you’d like to immerse yourself into the life of early persecuted Christians (circa AD 299) with the likes of Saint George (Jurian), Saint Nicholas (Nikolaos), Saint Christopher (Menas), Saint Catherine (Aikaterina), Constantine, and Saint Helen, then please explore these novels.

It’s what would happen if you mishmashed stories like The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games with historic truths about relics, miracles, bilocating saints, popes, and self-sacrifice. What if epic adventures didn’t have in a far away fantasy world…but happened in the Roman Empire in AD 299. That’s this story…and it has something like a dragon it!

Just like last time, we are having a Launch Party to get the word out with prizes.

How To Join the Party and Get FREE Books (hashtag: #SwordAndSerpent #TenthRegion)

Here are 8 epic ways you can do epic things and win epic stuff:

1. Take an Epic #Selfie with the Book
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Take a photo with the book The Tenth Region of the Night. Extra points will be awarded for costumes or exotic places. The more epic, the more likely you are to win. Take a photo, post it on Facebook and then send an email to swordandserpent+selfie@gmail.com with a link to your picture.

RULES:

  • This is not a random drawing. This is a performance-based contest that will be judged. Be epic. Get the family to dress up as Jurian, Sabra, Aikaterina, Menas, Helena, et al. and snap a selfie with the book. Or maybe take a photo of yourself holding the book in someplace amazing. If you get a photo of yourself standing next to Pope Francis holding the book, you win hands down!
  • Selfies with any version of the The Tenth Region count (printed, ebook).

2. Create The Tenth Region of the Night Cocktail/Beverage (Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: That’s right mixologists, here’s a contest for you! Using ideas, concepts, locations, items, people, or ingredients mentioned in the book Tenth Region (Saint Anastasia is a pharmacist in the novel!), create the official The Tenth Region of the Night cocktail or beverage. Send an email to swordandserpent+drink@gmail.com and write down the recipe, take a photo of the drink, and the explain how it relates to the book.

RULES:

  • This is not a drawing. It is performance based. The best concotion wins.
  • The drink need not be alcoholic. It could be a kid’s milk shake or soda concoction. Or it could be “Menas Mojito” inspired by dragons, the Aikaterina Sleeper Martini, Constantine, and/or the sword of Saint George. Get epic. Get crazy. Have fun with it. Take pics.

3. Just Get the Book Contest (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Buy just one copy of The Tenth Region of the Night and then send an email to swordandserpent+boughtbook@gmail.com simply stating “I bought a copy.” If you buy more than one copy, please send one email for each copy you bought. *If you already reviewed the novel before today and emailed me about it, you’re already entered into this contest.

You can get a copy of The Tenth Region of the Night by clicking here. 

RULES:

  • You can enter for each copy purchased. (For example, if you buy four copies, send an email saying “I bought 4” in the subject line.)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

4. Christmas Contest (Prize: an iPad Mini mailed to your house! AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Several reviewers on amazon.com said that Sword and Serpent would be a perfect Christmas gift. This contest honors Saint Nicholas who is an important character in the book – it’s also his feast day this week. To win this prize, purchase at least 4 copies (1 for yourself and 3 as gifts to give away at Christmas) and send an email to swordandserpent+gifts@gmail.com. You can order copies by clicking here.

RULES:

  • You must purchase at least 4 copies to enter.
  • If you purchase multiples of 4, you can enter that many times (8 copies = 2 entries; 12 copies = 3 entries; 80 copies = 20 entries – enter how many copies you got in the subject line: “I got 8 copies as Christmas gifts” – that’s 2 entries in this prize)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24 and will receive an iPad for free.

5. Review the Novel at Amazon.com (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Read the book and leave a friendly review at amazon.com. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • Please leave a review at amazon.com before December 24.
  • Even though GoodReads is not a retailer, we’ll count GoodReads reviews too. So if you review at Amazon and goodreads, that’s two entries. Way to go! Click here for GoodReeds reviews.
  • Send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

6. Write a Blog Post about Sword and Serpent
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card + a promo link to your blog from my blog)

HOW TO ENTER: Write a blog post about The Tenth Region of the Night with the amazon link to the book in your review. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+blog@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • The post does not have to be a “book review.” It can be a theological reflection or an interview with me about the book.
  • Please include the amazon.com link: http://amzn.to/2gOQq3N
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

7. Facebook The Book (Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Write an update on your Facebook wall about Sword and Serpent and include a link to the amazon link and the link to the book trailer. Next send an email to swordandserpent+facebook@gmail.com.

Please use this photo and this link to the book: http://amzn.to/2gOQq3N

tenth-region-ebook-with-white-background

RULES:

8. Book Club Contest (Prize $75 Gift Card to Restaurant and Skype Chat with Me and your Group AND a free signed copy of Tenth Region)

HOW TO ENTER: Gather a book group of at least five friends who will read the The Tenth Region of the Night and meet to discuss. The winner will get a $75 restaurant gift certificate to pay for food or drinks for your book club. I will also sit down with you via internet interview in Skype or Google Hangout for 15 minutes to talk about the book and answer group questions. Send an email to swordandserpent+bookclub@gmail.com with a link to an Evite or other online invitation showing four or more attendees.

RULES:

  • The primary purpose of the meeting should be discussion of The Tenth Region of the Night.
  • One entry per group.
  • You can choose the restaurant, but please find one that has gift cards so I can pay for it.
  • Winner will be drawn at random.
  • I will arrange my schedule around the winner’s book club meeting to do the Skype interview. It’ll be fun!

Okay, there are the 8 contests. They all end on Dec 24 2016. Get busy taking epic selfies. By the way the easiest contest to win is #3 – Just Get the Book: The Tenth Region of the Night.

To everyone who already made The Tenth Region of the Night possible and helped it get to #1, THANK YOU!

Happy winnings and Happy Advent!

Saint George, pray for us!
Taylor

Epic Book Trailer for Sword and Serpent, Book I:

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.49.35 AM

Saint George pray for us,
Taylor Marshall

Saint Nicholas is smoking incense in our kitchen!

Check out this incense smoking Saint Nicholas “nutcracker” statue.

Mari Webber, New Saint Thomas Institute Member and Sword and Serpent Launch Team member (and Our Lady of Guadalupe NSTI Pilgrim) purchased in Germany this beautiful smoking Saint Nicholas for our family. Our children love it! Thanks Mari for your generosity!

You place incense inside of him and he blows the incense smoke out of his mouth, as if he is smoking his pipe:

2016-11-25-12-43-09

and here is Mari taking an “epic selfie” with a copy of Sword and Serpent in Germany:

Epic Selfie #1

Thank you Mari for our smoking German Saint Nick!

Happy Advent to everyone!

Godspeed,

Taylor Marshall

Get a free pre-release copy of Sword and Serpent Book 2!

It’s finally ready. The sequel to my best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel Sword and Serpent about Saint George, Saint Christopher, Saint Nicholas, and Constantine is ready for printing.

sword and serpent box shot cropped

Book 1 – Book 2 is on it’s way. Cover art coming soon.

The title of the new book is The Tenth Region of the Night: Sword and Serpent Book II. I’ll be sharing cover art soon.

The title refers to an Egyptian myth about a serpent that is killed just before the dawn of the day – at the tenth region of the night. Book II begins in Egypt with Jurian (Saint George) meeting Aikaterina (the historical Saint Catherine of Alexandria). The new book features Constantine (as in Sword and Serpent) and includes Saint Helen his mother and a number of newly included saints.

In my opinion, Book 2 is better than Sword and Serpent Book 1!

My publication team will be choosing 200 “Tenth Region Launch Team” readers who will receive an advanced free digital before the publication date and their name printed in the back of the book with a thank you message from me.

Here is who we are looking for in our Launch Team:

  1. Readers who have read Sword and Serpent Book 1 already
  2. Readers who can read the book in about 1 week
  3. Readers who are willing to promote the book with a tweet or Facebook or Instagram post
  4. Readers who are willing to write a review on Amazon.com
  5. Readers who won’t share or publish their advanced digital copy to the public

So if you’d like to get an advanced copy and read it before the book is published for the public (and have your name printed in the book), please apply using this form:

Click here to join the Sword and Serpent 2 Launch Team!

I look forward to sending out a free copy to you!

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

PS: Palabra press in Madrid Spain is about to release the Spanish translation of Sword and Serpent Book 1 – La Espada y La Serpient. If you know any Spanish speakers who love Catholic fiction, please tell them about this upcoming release!

spanish-sword-and-serpent

 

Taylor Marshall is Part Jewish as it turns out

When I was 22 years old, a Jewish woman stopped me in the street. I remember her cupping my face in her hands and she said, “You are a Jewish boy.”

I said, “I’m not Jewish.”

She responded, “Oh yes you are. You are Jewish. However, you just don’t know that you’re Jewish. I see it in your eyes and in your mouth. You are Jewish.”

She smiled and was so kind and sweet. It was a surreal moment.

But as it turns out, she was correct!

My uncle recently had a genealogical blood test that identified him as 19.3% Ashkenazi Jewish…which makes me 9.65% Jewish.

There have been rumors of our Jewish ancestry for years. My grandfather Philip claimed to be Swedish and Lutheran, but he had the last name of “Koppel” – a traditional Jewish last name.

“Koppel” is the Ashkenazic Jewish diminutive (little nick name) for Jakob, that is “Little Jacob.”

 

So this explains a few Jewish things in my life:

  1. My first book is titled: The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholicism
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-50-08-pm
  2. That trilogy of books is given to showing how Christianity transitioned from Jerusalem to Rome by God’s design and as a fulfillment of Jewish prophecy:
    screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-4-56-19-pm
  3. My audio series on the book of Revelation is a study on the forgotten Jewishness of the Apocalyptic signs and visions.
  4. A teach a class in Rome for Seminarians that includes the Jewish origins of the Catholic Church in Rome.
  5. A founded the Maccabee Society – a Christian fraternity for men – and named it after the great Jewish warrior and general Judas Maccabeus. I did this before I knew about the Jewish lineage.

So there you have it. My inner Jew has been discreetly speaking all along.

I’m going to anticipate an objection that I foresee in the comments: “You’re not Jewish because Judaism says that your mother must be Jewish in order for you to be Jewish.”

Some Jews may say this, but it’s not biblical and it’s not true. Here’s why Judaism has never truly been matrilineal:

  1. Ephraim and Manasseh were the fathers of two Jewish tribes. Their father was Joseph of the colored coat. And their mother was an Egyptian daughter of an Egyptian priest, that is, non-Israelite. So these 2 men were born of a non-Israelite mother. Are you seriously going to claim that 2 of the 12 Tribes of Israel are not truly Israelite?
  2. Moses married a non-Israelite wife. His children were obviously Israelite.
  3. Boaz married the non-Jewish Ruth. She has a book of the Bible named after her. Ruth was the mother of Obed, the grandfather of David. So if Obed (born of a non-Jewish mother) is not Jewish, then, neither is King David.

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-5-15-50-pm

More biblical examples could be given. Israelites are merely children of the Israelites, even if there is a mixed marriage. Michael Barber even has a cool theory that the DNA of Abraham has descended to almost of all humanity through the exile and assimilation of the ten northern tribes.

Question: Has anyone else out there discovered a Jewish heritage later in life? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Shalom,
Taylor Marshall

Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation with Dr Marshall

This Thursday night at 8pm I’ll be hosting another free Catholic Webinar on the Book of Revelation from a biblical, traditional, and Catholic point of view. If you’ve ever had questions or confusions about the End Times of the Book of Revelation, you won’t want to miss this Catholic Webinar Event.

YOU WILL DISCOVER:

  • Why the Book of Revelation was written
  • a Catholic interpretation of Revelation based on Scripture, Tradition, and Church Fathers
  • the Virgin Mary in Revelation 12
  • the Mark of the Beast and 666 from a Catholic view point of view
  • EVERYONE THAT ATTENDS WILL RECEIVE a FREE pdf worksheet of the Webinar. Dr Marshall will make available his 16 part series on Catholic Revelation.
  • Register to reserve your spot by clicking here.

Register here no border

How to Explain Sign of the Cross to Protestants

Sarah K, a Premium Member student at the New Saint Thomas Institute recently asked:

What is the history of the Sign of the Cross? How can I defend this practice to Protestants/atheists/other religions?

St Helen and the true cross

St Helen and the true cross

Many of our students responded with excellent answers (if you’re a student of NSTI, you can read them here), but here is my advice to Sarah:

Sarah,

When talking about this with a non-Catholic, you should be succinct and convincing. Protestants prefer “Scripture alone” but they can be swayed by quotes from the earliest Church Fathers. So I would recommend this line of argument:

The Apostles would place the sign of the cross on the foreheads of newly baptized people in fulfillment prophetic visions found in Ezekiel and Revelation. After baptism, Christians would continue to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and we see evidence of it in the Bible and Church Fathers. When Christianity became legal, the larger sign of the cross made from head to stomach became adopted. But the original form is simply made with the thumb on the forehead.

SCRIPTURE
Ezekiel speaks of the “mark of the t” administered by the heavenly “man in linen” on the head of the faithful. “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”

The heavenly “man in linen” is the Second Person of the Trinity. Revelation depicts Jesus Christ as the man in linen.

So Ezekiel describes Christ placing a saving “t” or “x” shaped letter on the forehead. The Book of Revelation carries on the description of placing the cross on the forehead.

For my in depth discussion on the sign of the cross as “the mark of the Christ” in the Book of Revelation (in contrast with “the Mark of the Beast:), you can listen for free here.

CHURCH FATHERS
For Church Fathers goes with Tertullian. Writing in around A.D. 204, Tertullian explained that Christians mark their foreheads with the sign of the cross.

In all our travels and movements in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross. (Tertullian, De corona milites, 3)

My bestselling novel Sword and Serpent features early Christians often making the signum crucis on their foreheads. You can read a sample and reviews by clicking here at amazon.com.

Sword and Serpent