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from: The Christ Conspiracy, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Acharya S, Adventures Unlimited, 1999. [see review, 1370]. [Note: Acharya S has an amazing website: ( is included (click on "Favorite Sites", then, click on "The Christ Conspiracy", then, proceed))].

"Birth Caves, Tombs, Sundry Sites"

'Doherty ["Doherty, Earl, The Jesus Puzzle: Was There No Historical Jesus?"] addresses the problem of these

so-called sacred sites:

In all the Christian writers of the first century, in all the devotion they display about Christ and the new faith, not one of them ever expresses the slightest desire to see the birthplace of Jesus, to visit Nazareth his home town, the sites of his preaching, the upper room where he held his Last Supper, the tomb: where he was buried and rose from the dead. These places are never mentioned! Most of all, there is not a hint of pilgrimage to Calvary itself, where humanity's salvation was consummated. How could such a place not have been turned into a shrine? Is it conceivable that Paul would not have wanted to run to the hill of Calvary, to prostrate himself on the sacred ground that bore the blood of his slain Lord? Surely he would have shared such an intense emotional experience with his readers! Would he not have been drawn to the Gethsemane garden, where Jesus was reported to have passed through the horror and the self-doubts that Paul himself had known? Would he not have gloried in standing before the empty tomb, the guarantee of his own resurrection? Is there indeed, in this wide land so recently filled with the presence of the Son of God, any holy place at all, any spot of ground where that presence still lingers, hallowed by the step, touch or word of Jesus of Nazareth? NEITHER PAUL NOR ANY OTHER FIRST CENTURY LETTER WRITER BREATHES A WHISPER OF ANY SUCH THING.

It is in reality inconceivable, particularly in consideration of the religious fanaticism evident even today, that such zealots as Paul and the other early Christians who were purportedly "dying for the faith" in droves were completely disinterested in such sacred sites and relics....' [80-81].

[note: on page 80 ("Coins"), my website,, is quoted].

[See (this book (The Christ Conspiracy)) ("the fictitious Paul" (353)): 173-177].

[See (Paul): #4, 105-151; etc.]. [See: 1400-1401].

PAGE 1367


For nearly 2,000 years hundreds of millions of people have been taught that a historical "son of God" called Jesus Christ lived, did miracles, suffered and died as a blood-atonement especially established once and for all by God Himself, the Creator of the entire cosmos. In reality, the gospel story of Jesus is not a factual portrayal of a historical "master" who walked the earth 2,000 years ago but a myth built upon other myths and godmen, who in turn were personifications of the ubiquitous solar mythos and ritual found in countless cultures around the world thousands of years before the Christian era. As such, the tale served to amalgamate the numerous religions, cults and sects of the Roman Empire and beyond, to create a state religion that was promulgated through forgery, fraud and force.

Nevertheless, countless believers have insisted that the gospel tale happened, not because of any evidence, but merely because they have been told it was so and blindly accepted it, against common sense and better judgment. Furthermore, historicizing scholars and other evemerists [also, euhemerists], funded by the same agencies who created the myth, have thrown their scientific minds out the window and dishonestly begun their desperate work with the wrong premise, thereafter constantly trying to shore up the impossible, with endless tortured speculation where there are no facts at all. The actuality is that, had Jesus been real, the world would have developed differently than it did, particularly immediately after his alleged miraculous advent; yet the world went on as if nothing had ever happened.

Earl Doherty summarizes the problem with the gospel "history":

If this man Jesus had had the explosive effect on his followers that is said of him, and on the thousands of believers who responded so readily to the message about him, such a man would have had to blaze in the firmament of his time. That impact would have been based on the force of his personality, on the unique things he said and did. There is no other way. And yet the picture we see immediately after Jesus' death, and for the next two generations in every extant document, flatly contradicts this. The blazing star immediately drops out of sight. No contemporary historian, philosopher or popular writer records him. There is no sign of any tradition or phenomenon associated with him. For over half a century Christian writers themselves totally ignore his life and ministry. Not a saying is quoted. Not a miracle is marvelled at. No aspect of his human personality, anchored within any biographical setting, is ever referred to. The details of his life, the places of his career: they raise no interest in any of his believers. This is an eclipse that does not even grant us a trace of a corona! If, on the other hand, Jesus was simply an ordinary human man, an unassuming (if somewhat charismatic) Jewish preacher, who really said little of what has been imputed to him, who performed no real miracles, and who of course did not rise from the dead--all of which might explain why he attracted no great attention and could have his life ignored as unimportant by his later followers--then, is the explanation for how such a life and personality could have given rise to the vast range of response the scholars postulate, to the cosmic theology about him, to the conviction that he had risen from the dead, to the unstoppable movement which early Christianity seems to have been? This is an unsolvable dilemma. [end of quotation]

PAGE 1368

When pressed, scholars and clergy alike will admit that THE FOUNDING OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION IS SHROUDED IN CENTURIES OF INTRIGUE AND FRAUD. They will confess that there is not a single mention of Jesus by any historian contemporaneous with his alleged advent and that the biblical accounts are basically spurious, not written by their pretended authors and riddled with tens of thousands of errors, impossibilities and contradictions. They will even admit that such texts had been forged by the hundreds and later interpolated and mutilated. Such "experts" may even go so far as to concede that the historicity of Christ has been called into question from the beginning, with that fact itself being cloaked in euphemism and deceit. They may further confess that there is absolutely no physical evidence of the event or the man, and that the numerous relics, including the infamous Shroud of Turin, are fakes, as are the tourist spots where the drama allegedly took place. These scholars may even have the courage to admit that


In other words, like the Christian fathers, these scholars and experts will concede that the gospel tale and Christianity ideology constitute a direct lift from so-called Paganism. They will even admit that THE GOSPEL STORY IS FICTION, cagily calling it "benign deceit." Yet, these scholars and researchers will continue in their quest to find a "historical" Jesus, endlessly pumping out tomes that would be better off as trees. Waite ["Waite, Charles, History of the Christian Religion to the Year Two Hundred, Caroll Bierbower, 1992" [22]] describes their futile endeavours:

Many attempts have been made to write the life of Christ. But it is difficult to see where, outside of the gospels the material for such a work is to come from; while, if the gospels are to be taken as a basis, it is equally difficult to understand what is to be gained by rewriting what is contained in them. Any such attempt only brings out, in plainer light, the discrepancies in those accounts, and finally results in a mere display of ingenuity on the part of the biographer, in his efforts to reconcile them; or, as in the case of some writers, in a sublime unconsciousness [negation, etc.] of any discrepancies whatever.1

Indeed, the EFFORTS TO FIND A HISTORICAL JESUS HAVE BEEN PITIFUL AND AGONIZING, BASED MAINLY ON WHAT HE WAS NOT. To wit, the virgin birth is not history, and Jesus's parents were not called Mary and Joseph. Jesus was not from Nazareth [see #20, 405], which didn't exist at the time, and the magi, star, angels and shepherds did not appear at his birth. He didn't escape to Egypt, because Herod was not slaughtering children, and he didn't amaze the priests with his teaching at age 12 in the temple. He did not suddenly at 30 reappear out of nowhere to mystify people who, if the birth stories had been true, would have already known him. The "historical" Jesus didn't do miracles or raise the dead. The sayings and sermons weren't originally his. He wasn't betrayed by Judas, since that would be illogical if he were already "world famous." THERE WAS NO TRIAL, NO CRUCIFIXION AND NO RESURRECTION [see #3, 45, 213.; etc.]....' ["407"-409].

PAGE 1369

from (Internet [Earl Doherty]):

"The Jesus Puzzle

Was There No Historical Jesus?

by Earl Doherty

Book and Article Reviews

The Case for the Jesus Myth"

"The Christ Conspiracy by Acharya S [see 1367-1369]

Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999

[Earl Doherty] The further one goes into this book ["The Christ Conspiracy by Acharya S"], the more one recognizes how vast is the mythological background of the ancient world that the modern era has completely lost sight of. THOSE WHO IMAGINE THAT THE GOSPEL STORY REPRESENTS SINGULAR HISTORICAL EVENTS ARE IN FOR A SHOCK when they realize the degree to which the Christian myth of Jesus of Nazareth was a reflection of mythical motifs and traditions which saturated ancient and even prehistoric cultures. There is barely an original or virgin bone in Christ's body, and Christians in the early centuries were regularly assailed by pagan detractors who accused them of reworking old ideas and copying from a host of predecessors.

The other thing the reader comes to recognize is that Acharya S has done a superb job in bringing together this rich panoply of ancient world mythology and culture, and presenting it in a comprehensive and compelling fashion. Moreover, she grabs the reader from the first page and doesn't let go. Her style is colorful, bold, occasionally (and justifiably) indignant, even a touch reckless at times, but never off the track--a little like an exciting roller coaster ride. It may take a fair amount of concentration to absorb all this material, but even if you don't integrate everything on first reading, the broader strokes will leave you convinced that THE STORY OF JESUS IS SIMPLY AN IMAGINATIVE REFASHIONING OF THE MYTHOLOGICAL HERITAGE OF CENTURIES AND THAT NO SUCH MAN EVER EXISTED...." [1].

PAGE 1370

from (Internet [Earl Doherty]):

'In some respects, there are those who are more radical than I [Earl Doherty]. It may well be that I am too conservative on the question of Pauline authenticity. At the upcoming Spring meeting of the Jesus Seminar (March, 2000) a paper will be delivered on Paul, summarized thus:

"THE APOSTLE PAUL IS largely A CHRISTIAN FICTION. THE [NOT (see #1, 1; etc.)] HISTORICAL PAUL WAS NOT A PHARISEE AND NOT A JEW. He wrote very little and probably made only one journey....[etc.]" This view may be a minority one even within the ranks of the Jesus Seminar, but it shows that critical scholarship is open to considering radical positions. Why not, at long last, a serious consideration [apparently, among Christian "scholars" (it has been done by others, for centuries [see:])] of the no-Jesus theory?' [15 (of 16)].

[See (Paul): #4, 105-151; etc.]. [See (Paul): 1367].

PAGE 1371

from: The Jesus Puzzle, Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ?, Earl Doherty, Canadian Humanist Publications, 1999.

"The Twelve Pieces of the Jesus Puzzle"

"[8] ALL THE GOSPELS DERIVE THEIR BASIC STORY OF JESUS OF NAZARETH FROM ONE SOURCE: WHOEVER WROTE THE GOSPEL OF MARK. The Acts of the Apostles, as an account of the beginnings of the Christian apostolic movement, is a second century piece of myth-making." [vii].

'[9] THE GOSPELS ARE NOT HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS, but constructed through a process of "midrash [see 1373, 1374]," a Jewish method of reworking old biblical passages and tales to reflect new beliefs. The story of Jesus' trial and crucifixion is a pastiche of verses from scripture.' [viii]. [See: Bibliography, 658 (Shires)].

"[12] Well into the second century, many Christian documents lack or reject the notion of a human man as an element of their faith. ONLY GRADUALLY DID THE JESUS OF NAZARETH PORTRAYED IN THE GOSPELS COME TO BE ACCEPTED AS HISTORICAL." [viii].


'WHY IS IT ONLY IN THE FOURTH CENTURY that pieces of the "true cross" begin to surface? Why is it left to Constantine [Emperor 306 (312) - 337 (280? - 337)] to set up the first shrine on the supposed mount of Jesus' death, and to begin the mania for pilgrimage to the holy sites that has persisted to this day? Why would someone in the first hundred years of the movement not have similarly sought to tread the same ground that the Son of God himself had so recently walked on? The total absence of such things in the first hundred years of Christian correspondence is perhaps the single strongest argument for regarding THE ENTIRE GOSPEL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' LIFE AND DEATH as nothing but LITERARY FABRICATION [FICTION!].' [75].

"In his witty epigrams, the satirist Martial [c. 40 - c. 104] (died c103) depicts the most diverse characters of his contemporary Rome, but Christians who believe in the deity of a crucified Jewish preacher are not among them. Martial's younger colleague Juvenal [c. 55 - c. 140] (died 138), a poet of broader and more bitter invective, also gives us a vivid picture of the foibles and fools of the empire's capital in his day, but he has no barbs for Christians either." [200]. [And, of course, Martial, or, Juvenal, did not mention Jesus].

PAGE 1372

"Once THE GOSPEL OF MARK IS approached from the viewpoint that this is

A LITERARY CREATION FROM START TO FINISH...." ["223"]. [See: 1375-1376].

"This practice of drawing on scripture and combining two or more separate passages regarded as complementary and as strengthening each other (like two components of a manufactured alloy) is one of the central procedures in "MIDRASH." Generally speaking, midrash was a traditional Jewish method of interpreting and using the scriptures to create new guides for behavior, to produce new readings of the old texts, to illustrate new meanings and spiritual truths. Often it was done through a retelling of ancient biblical tales set in contemporary circumstances. All these characteristics of midrash [see 1372, 1374] will become clearer as we examine how the Gospels were put together." [227].

"Once again, some of the building blocks of this 'morality tale' [prior paragraph, not presented] are drawn from scripture: quotations from Deuteronomy and the Psalms. In midrashic fashion, different scriptural passages are brought together to illuminate the point the formulator of this composite 'lesson' wishes to make. The figure of Jesus can be entirely fictional, yet still serve to symbolize and teach the audience...." [228]. [see #1, 11, 88., etc. (Shires)]

"In other words, the whole idea of traditions originating with Jesus or in the immediate circles of response to him, subsequently to travel through oral transmission to the desks of the evangelists, has no support in the evidence. Instead, WE SEE LITERARY CONSTRUCTION AND REWORKING. We see creativity by the evangelist himself, usually applying something to Jesus--whether from scripture or earlier phases of the material--which had nothing to do with him [Jesus]. JESUS COMES TO LIFE ON THE WRITING DESK OF MARK [see #3, 49, 235. (Bauer)], or occasionally in rudimentary form at the hands of the Q3 redactors who have constructed little anecdotes for him out of earlier pieces of material which had stood on their own. WHEN ONE LOOKS BEHIND THE GOSPEL CURTAIN, THE MOSAIC OF JESUS OF NAZARETH VERY QUICKLY DISINTEGRATES INTO COMPONENT PIECES AND UNRECOGNIZABLE ANTECEDENTS." [229].

PAGE 1373

"Another type of miracle common in antiquity was the 'feeding miracle,' and these too are imputed to Elijah and Elisha. They contain features which are directly copied by Mark in his construction of Jesus' feeding miracles. In 1 Kings 17:10-16, Elijah makes a single jar of flour produce endless cakes and a flask of oil never fail, in order to provide a source of food for a widow and her family. In 2 Kings 4:42-44, twenty barley loaves and a number of ears of corn are stretched by Elisha to feed a hundred men, with some left over.

These tales have been recast by Mark into his two accounts of Jesus' miracle of the loaves and fishes that are stretched to feed thousands, with a few baskets left over. THIS ILLUSTRATES THAT OTHER IMPORTANT DEVICE OF MIDRASH [see 1372, 1373]: TAKE A BIBLICAL STORY AND RETELL IT IN A NEW SETTING WITH NEW CHARACTERS. For the community applying such a tale to itself, this procedure transferred all the associations attached to the old tale: God's involvement, the sense of significance for the community and the time it lives in, and MOST IMPORTANT, A CONTINUITY WITH THE PAST. If Mark's community was essentially a gentile one, as many think, such a parallel linked those who regard themselves as a new Israel with their adopted Jewish heritage." [237].

"The overall view of much of the first century preaching movement, whether kingdom or cultic, was that God's relationship with the world had entered a new phase. He was establishing a new covenant, one that would supersede the old. The elements involved in establishing the old covenant had to be incorporated into the story of the new one. Jesus, as representative of the Markan community, had to be portrayed as a new Moses. His birth, when it came to be described by Matthew and Luke, had much in common with the birth tale of Moses. Jesus performs miracles similar to the ones attending the Exodus. The object was to show that Jesus, which is to say the sect itself, represented a new Moses and a new prophet. Israel entering the Promised Land prefigured the community's entry into the new kingdom of God.

The old covenant had also been marked by a blood sacrifice of animals, performed by Moses. IN MARK, JESUS HIMSELF SERVES AS THE SACRIFICE REQUIRED TO ESTABLISH THE NEW COVENANT, and he speaks words at a Last Supper scene which are a close parallel to those spoken by Moses...." [238-239].

"The great disruptive debates in which Paul was engaged in his letters are nowhere in sight in Acts. Though Luke may have possessed pieces of tradition concerning early apostolic activity and about Paul--whether accurate, legendary, or tendentious is impossible to say--there can be little doubt that in constructing his ["Luke"] account of the beginnings of the Christian faith movement, his sole purpose was to create a picture which would serve the needs of his own time and his own situation. THAT PURPOSE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH FAITHFULLY REPRODUCING HISTORY.124" [273].


The image of Jesus of Nazareth walking the roads of Galilee, healing and working wonders, bringing a message of hope, trust in God, and the anticipation of a new world, is DEEPLY IMBEDDED IN THE WESTERN MIND [see: Appendix X, 828

PAGE 1374

(Mencken)(Marx)]. The fate he suffered when he went to Jerusalem is perhaps the most powerful and enduring tale the world has ever fashioned. That COMPOSITE PICTURE [see #3, 46, 216., 85, Reference 200.] of a man ["Jesus"] whom historians have always found elusive and enigmatic, but whom believers have ever been able to embrace as a personal friend and deity, has been the sustenance of a sizeable portion of the world's population for the better part of two millennia.

Jesus has always been larger and more substantial than the often crude, disjointed and contradictory picture presented in the Gospels. He [JESUS] HAS BEEN CONTINUALLY REINVENTED AND RE-ENVISIONED FOR EACH NEW PHASE OF THE CHRISTIAN EVOLUTION. Paradoxically, as the cracks and fissures in the Gospel structure widen, and the coherence of the early Christian record undergoes increasing disintegration, liberal scholars are creating ever more sophisticated portraits of the enlightened sage who is supposed to lie behind it all. But a rescue operation of this magnitude needs a secure base on which to establish itself, and the very dismantling of the age-old witness [apparently, "early Christian record"] to Jesus which has led to such unprecedented discrediting of the Christian myth, HAS LEFT [revealed] A VACUUM which it may not be possible to fill...." ["293"].

"the Christian tradition of a BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS after death, the Seminar ["Jesus Seminar"] concluded, was an evolution of faith and literary activity, and had NO FOUNDATION IN HISTORY". [294].

'The Priority of Mark

As a general rule, when two documents are similar in content and layout, and one is longer than the other, the longer one tends to be an expansion of the shorter. Matthew and Luke are considerably longer than Mark, and both seem to follow Mark's layout and content. The standard (and virtually only) alternative to the priority of Mark has been the priority of Matthew (a suggestion going back two centuries to the "Griesbach hypothesis").' [316].

Excursus: from: The Essene-Christian Faith, A Study in the Sources of Western Religion, Martin A. Larson, Philosophical Library, 1980.

"According to what is known as the Marcan Hypothesis, almost all of the canonical Mark is reproduced in Matthew and Luke, which also copy from another document, now lost, known as The Source, The Quelle, or the Sayings of Jesus.4 That Mark is the primary document is shown by the fact, first, that the order of events established there [Mark] is followed for the most part in the other two Synoptics ["Matthew and Luke"], although these vary from each other; second, that these ["Matthew and Luke"] reproduce hundreds of passages literally or almost verbatim; and, third, that the parallels in each to the earlier Gospel [Mark] are much closer than are their similarities to each other." [176-177].

PAGE 1375

"Total and Parallel Verses in the Gospels

                                    Parallels in                                    
Total Verses Matthew Mark Luke John
Verses with No Parallels
Matthew 1071   645 632 171 172
Mark 678 645   547 179 6
Luke 1151 632 547   122 476
John 879 171 170 168   704

Note that only 6 verses in Mark are without parallels in any other Gospel; that of its 678 verses, 645 reappear in Matthew and 547 in Luke. Note also that Luke has 476 verses which are without parallels (these are--for the most part--deeply flavored with Essene ideology). Very significant is the fact that of the 879 verses in John, 704 are without parallels in the Synoptics [Synoptic Gospels = Matthew, Mark, Luke]...." [177]. [For parallels, see: #3, 47, 222.; #7, 183; #17, 362; Appendix II, 709; Appendix III, 713].

End of Excursus

["Notes"] '31[page 64] Burton Mack (Who Wrote the New Testament? p. 87) regards THE LAST SUPPER as part of the later mythology about Jesus, and not an actual historical event. He calls this scene "NOT HISTORICAL BUT IMAGINARY," a creation of the Christ cult surrounding meal practice "in keeping with their mythology."' [336].

["Notes"] '123[page 273] One of the traditional puzzles in Acts, which seemed to point to some source document used by Luke, was the recurrence in certain passages (16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16) of a narrative style which employed the first person plural, the so-called "we" passages. "We set sail from Philippi after the Passover season...." "When we had parted from there and set sail, we made a straight run and sailed to Cos...." Were these from a diary, perhaps by one of Paul's companions? If so, how did it survive the shipwreck recounted in the later chapters? Was Luke trying to heighten the sense of authenticity by putting things in the first person [plural]? If so, why only spottily?

The puzzle was solved when Vernon Robbins, following earlier hints by scholars such as H.J. Cadbury, made a splendidly simple observation (see Perspectives in Luke-Acts, p. 215-229). All such passages in Acts begin with and mostly encompass sea voyages. This led Robbins to a survey of the depiction of sea voyages in ancient literature where he found that "One of the features of (sea voyage narratives in Greek and Roman literature) is the presence of first personal [person] plural narration. Undoubtedly the impetus for this is sociological: on a sea voyage a person has accepted a setting with other people, and cooperation among all the members is essential for a successful voyage. Therefore, at the point where the voyage begins, the narration moves to first person plural." Luke is employing a common stylistic device of Hellenistic literature [Fiction!].' [360-361].

PAGE 1376

["Notes"] '127[page 295] For close to 2000 years, Christians have accepted that Jesus' sacrificial death on Calvary was a redeeming act which conferred salvation on the believer. Chapter 10 discussed the principle of paradigmatic relationships between divine figures and their experiences in the heavenly realm, and those of their human counterparts on earth. That homologic [?] parallel guaranteed, through its pattern of "likeness," a beneficial effect on the believer, usually to do with the afterlife. But how did the sacrifice itself function? Why was the shedding of Jesus' "blood"--whether spiritual or material--regarded as efficacious? Why would it persuade or enable God to confer forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation?

The surprising fact is that nowhere in all the biblical writings is this question addressed. No writer of the Old or New Testaments makes an effort to explain it. Hebrews 9:22 states: "Under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" [RSV [Revised Standard Version]]. A few verses earlier, the author concludes (through a somewhat deficient argument) that to ratify a covenant with God, a death must occur involving the shedding of blood. However, no explanation accompanies these statements....

It would not have occurred to the ancient mind [or, "modern", ancient minds!] that there was anything reprehensible about a god who required the blood sacrifice of animals to effect purification or expiate sin because it would have been looked upon as part of the natural workings of the universe, which probably even the god had no power to change. This may be why NEITHER THE OLD TESTAMENT NOR THE NEW [TESTAMENT] MAKES ANY ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN HOW THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS BROUGHT ABOUT THE EXPIATION OF SIN. It may have been regarded as one of God's mysteries.

THE PRACTICE OF BLOOD SACRIFICE, EVEN OF ANIMALS, IS A PRIMITIVE CONCEPT which no one in the 20th or 21st centuries would regard with anything but aversion, YET THE PRINCIPLE ITSELF STILL LIES AT THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION and is STILL VIGOROUSLY DEFENDED in that context. The focus on Jesus' love and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of humanity does not solve the problem.' [361-362] [End of "Notes"].

"[Bibliographies rarely include works of fiction, but here I want to recommend a unique project in historical fiction by the late American writer Vardis Fisher [1895 - 1968], known as the Testament of Man. This series of eleven [twelve] novels, published from 1943 to 1958, spans two million years, from the dawn of human intelligence to the Christian Middle Ages. It follows the development of humanity's religious ideas, with particular focus, in the later novels, on Judaeo-Christian evolution. No. 8, Jesus Came Again: A Parable [see 1378-1382], and No. 9, A Goat for Azazel [see 1383-1406], address the question of Jesus and Christian origins. Fisher based his work on the best and most progressive scholarship of his day, meeting condemnation by critics and Church for his uncompromising portrayal of Jewish and Christian ideas.]" [370] [End of Bibliography].

PAGE 1377

from: Jesus Came Again, A Parable, Testament of Man series [total of 12 books (much suppression)], Vardis Fisher [1895 - 1968] [thanks to Earl Doherty (see 1377)] [see biography: Who's Who in Hell, 2000, 379-380], Pyramid, Pb. 1962 (c1956). [Phenomenal condensations! (reminiscent of: Views of Religion, Rufus K. Noyes, 1906)]. [Received, and first saw this book, 6/12/2000].

"Notes and Commentary [248-288]

As with the Notes to former novels, to save space the full names of the authorities, titles of their publications, and page references are omitted. The scholars following include many of the greatest in the New Testament field. Where these letters appear, OT indicates Old Testament; NT, New Testament; CE, Catholic Encyclopedia; JE, Jewish Encyclopedia and EB, Encyclopedia [Encyclopaedia] Biblica. [C = Christianity] The materials appear in order under the following topics.

Age, the







Dreams [part, included]

Emperor worship

Enoch, book of



Garden of Geth



Golden rule

Greek influence [included]



Jesus [part, included]



John the Baptist



Judas [included]

Kingdom of heaven

Last supper: see Jesus

Laying on of hands




Mary Magdalene


Miracles [part, included]

Mystery [part, included]






["Pilate"] [part, included]

Poor, the

Possession: see Demons

Prayer [included]


Resurrection: see Jesus





Son of God

Son of Man


Spirits: see Demons




Visions: see Mystics

Women [included]

Zealots" [248-249].

PAGE 1378

'DREAMS Cicero: "Let this divination of dreams be rejected....For...that superstition, spreading through the world, has oppressed the intellectual energies of nearly all men, and has seized upon the weakness of humanity."' [252]. [Compare: Christianism ("Christianity")].

'GREEK INFLUENCE [see #5, 157-158; etc.] In this novel there is obviously Greek influence on my character Joshua. "The supreme factor which influenced the Judaism of the Dispersion," say Oesterley and Box, "was Greek thought....Utterly unlike the traditional attitude of intolerant prejudice towards the Gentile world which was characteristic of the strict Palestinian Jew, his brother of the Dispersion regarded the larger world with kindly eye, ready [to] associate with his Gentile neighbors."' [255] [End of entry].

'JESUS Duff: "It is a serious fact that virtually all men are wondering just what Jesus was." More than 60,000 books have been published about him [Jesus] in 800 languages and dialects; in the 4-year period, 1928-32'. [255].

'Historicity of Jesus Was Jesus of Nazareth a historic person? We do not know, and unless documents turn up of which we have no knowledge we cannot hope ever to know. Montefiore, who rebuked Loewe above, says petulantly: "If eccentric scholars like to argue that Jesus never existed, let them do so." And Klausner, another Jew, says it is "unreasonable to question" it. But says Schmiedel: "the view that Jesus never lived has gained in ever-growing number of supporters. It is no use to ignore it, or to frame resolutions against it." Weigall: "MANY OF THE MOST ERUDITE CRITICS ARE CONVINCED THAT NO SUCH PERSON [JESUS] EVER LIVED." Among those so convinced, some of them internationally known scholars, are Bauer, Bohtlingk, Bolland, Bossi, E. Carpenter, Couchoud, Depuis [Dupuis], Drews, Dujardin, Frank, Hannay, Heulhard, Jensen, Kalthoff, Kulischer, Loman, Lublinski, Matthas, Mead, Naber, Pierson, Robertson, Rylands, G. Smith, W.B. Smith, Stahl, Van Eysinga, Virolleaud, Volney and Whittaker. [see (Jesus): #3, 41-104; etc.]

PAGE 1379

For such as Volney he was an astral myth and for Depuis [Dupuis], the sun; for Kulischer, a vegetation-god. Bauer [BRUNO BAUER] WAS PERHAPS THE FIRST GREAT SCHOLAR TO DENY THE HISTORICITY [see #3, 85; etc.]; FOR HIM JESUS WAS A PERSONIFICATION OF CERTAIN IDEAS AND IDEALS THEN CURRENT.

Kalthoff's argument is similar: EVERY MOVEMENT OF THE FOLK-SOUL DEMANDS AN IDEAL PERSON AND CREATES AN ILLUSION OF REALITY MORE COMPELLING THAN FACT ITSELF. Jensen tried to find parallels in the Gilgamesh legend. Drews, W. B. Smith, Dujardin and others argue that there was a pre-Jesus Jesus-god-cult and point out that Paul knew nothing of an historical Jesus but only the Christ--that is, the god. Robertson argues this thesis as plausibly as any: see Christianity and Mythology. G. Smith: "I believe the legend of Jesus was made by many minds working under a great religious impulse"--which is essentially the position of many scholars who accept the historicity. Couchoud and others argue that Jesus was the name of the god in a mystery-drama (see MYSTERY); Jehua-Joshua-Jesus (all the same name) mean, they say, Jahweh the savior. Dujardin reminds us that Frazer said the rite creates the god: "'Passion' is the technical term that one finds in all the religions of mystery." Hannay: "a great deal of useless discussion has taken place as to the historicity...of Jesus, but we know that nineteen-twentieths of his supposed acts and teaching were attributed to various gods all over Asia." Those on this side have some strong arguments which their opponents have not yet demolished [apparently, a necessary statement by the author [Vardis Fisher] (apparently, there were publishing pressures, etc.)].' [258-259].

'Guignebert: "We have dwelt at length on the growth of legend round the story of the death of Jesus, because the details are so familiar, and their very familiarity seems to render criticism superfluous. But none of the details will bear close examination, and all in the end fall outside the realm of history." If Jesus lived we do not know when he died: the Asiatic Christians said the 14th Nisan, their opponents the 15th, and after long and bitter controversy the pagan Easter time was chosen--that is, the sun-god's resurrection at the spring equinox. Some placed the year as early as 21; Irenaeus between 40-50; and so on. As for the tomb, Loisy says Mark arranged the account "with surprising artlessness. Never had fiction more childish found so many to believe it true." Reinach: "The discovery of the empty tomb is the less credible in that Jesus, once put to death, would have been thrown by the Roman soldiers into the common grave of malefactors." Dodd: "Some critics hold that the story of the empty tomb is a later addition."

The resurrection is of course rejected by practically all the greater scholars. Easton says: "Persons who think they have seen a dead man appear to them may be divided into three classes...the medically insane...the temporarily deceived...[and those who think they see] [brackets and contents, by the author (Vardis Fisher)] a specter or ghost....' [266].

'In view of what we have seen so far it is absurd to ask what he taught. Many have taken the position of Steudal: "I shall be obliged to any theologian who will bring me a saying of Jesus which I cannot prove to have been already in existence in his time."' [269].

PAGE 1380

'Lake ["Kirsopp Lake, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Harvard"] (italics supplied): "The thoughts and words of Jesus...were borrowed from his own time and race....No historical reconstruction can make them adequate for our generation, or even intelligible except to those who have passed through an education in history impossible for most."' [271].

"And so at the conclusion of this long section we ask, What do the scholars leave us? and in in [sic] honesty, must answer, Little more than the name. Still, there are the profound words in the Foreword which precedes this story--the myth which for the thoughtful must always be of far greater importance than the facts." [271]

[End of entry (JESUS)].

[See (Jesus): #3, 41-104; etc.]. [See (Jesus): 1397-1398].

'JUDAS Reminding us that such prudent scholars as Julicher and Klostermann think the Judas story a later (Christian) invention, Guignebert says the betrayal "appears wholly useless and inexplicable." What need, asks B. Smith, had Jesus' enemies of Judas and his kiss? "None whatever." Bauer dismissed the story as a myth based on Psalm xli, 9 and Zech. xi, 12. Volkmar says "the Jews needed hardly even a spy, much less a traitor." Cheyne thought him unhistorical. See Robertson, Jesus and Judas.' [272] [End of entry].

"MIRACLES" 'Schechter: "The student of the Talmud finds that such marvels as predicting the future, reviving the dead, casting out demons, crossing rivers dry-shod, curing the sick by a touch or prayer, were the order of the day, and performed by scores of Rabbis." For Jesus, says Reville, "as for every other Jew, miracle was the natural mode of divine activity." CE: "One need only refer to the 'Ellados Periegesis' of Pausanius, or glance through the codices collected by Photius in his 'Bibliotheca', to recognize what great importance was attached to the reports of miracles in antiquity by both the educated and uneducated." EB: "the desire of Peter that Jesus should bid him to come on the water is, literally speaking, simply childish."' [277].

'MYSTERY Cumont: "It is always with difficulty that men resign themselves to dying wholly." In the mystery cults they shared the immortality of their god. The most important of these, says Angus, were "Eleusinia, the cults of the Cappodocian Men, the Phyrygian Sabazios and the Great Mother, the Egyptian Isis and Serapis, and the Samothracian Cabiri, the Dea Syria and her satellites, the Persian Mithra." Christianity, as my Notes to the next novel [A Goat for Azazel (see 1383-1406)] will show, became a mystery religion.' [277].

'PILATE Case says he seems to have been a man "very much in earnest" who strove to give a "good administration." That Tiberius [Emperor 14 - 37 (42 B.C.E. - 37 C.E.] left him in office ten years speaks well for him. Tiberius said: "The officials of the Roman provinces are like flies on a sore; but those already sated with blood do not suck so hard as the new-comers."' [283] End of entry].

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'PRAYER Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]: "So live with men as if God saw you, so speak with God as if men heard you."

The more enlightened pagan attitude toward prayer was given by Maximus of Tyre [2nd century]: "He that prays either is worthy of the things he prays for, or he is not. If he is, he will obtain them, even though he prays not; and if he is not, he will not obtain them, even though he prays."' [284] [End of entry].

'WOMEN Israel in the time of Jesus, says Delitzsch, "regarded with suspicion and contempt every trade which necessitated an intercourse with women." Jewish ritual contained a morning prayer for husband and son in which they thanked God "that he was not made a woman." Among those who could not give evidence women were listed with slaves and idiots. Christians took over this attitude. Donaldson: "the Church never assigned any ecclesiastical functions to women, as they were deemed in every respect inferior to men....The highest post to which she rose was to be a doorkeeper and a message-woman, and even these functions were taken away from her during the Middle Ages." On the woman taken in adultery Nicholson says: "it is not likely that they had any thought of really stoning the woman. They might not put to death without leave from the Roman governor, who would hardly give it in such cases as this."' [287-288] [End of entry] [Last page of book].

PAGE 1382

from: A Goat for Azazel, A Novel of Christian Origins, Vardis Fisher [1895 - 1968] [see 1377, 1378], Pyramid Books, Pb. 1962 (c1956). [Received, and first saw this book, 6/c. 15/2000]. [Phenomenal condensations!].

'"...the use of the dying god as a scapegoat to free his worshipers from the troubled....The accumulated misfortunes and sins of a whole people are sometimes laid upon the dying god. ...palming off on someone else the trouble which a man shrinks from bearing himself. ...the custom of sacrificing the son for the father was common, if not universal, among Semitic peoples....All over Western Asia from time immemorial the mournful death and happy resurrection of a divine being appear to have been annually celebrated." --Frazer' [dedication page].

[from the Novel] '...."Are the Roman women pretty wicked?"

"Most Christians would think so."

"Do they all have lovers?"

"Many of them."

"Was one ever--but no, we promised not to ask such things. Well--what is the Christian God like?"

"He loves the sinner more than the saint."

"Oh no!"

"The angels sing when the sinner comes home. The virtuous dolt who sticks around and does his duty doesn't get either feast or praise.


"But really, what is their God like?"

"He says sexual pleasure is wicked."

"Then why did he create it?"

"Christians say that is the work of Satan."

"Hosannahs for Satan! Jews don't think it is wicked."

"That's one reason I like Jews." ....' [169].

[from the Novel] "Christians have their scapegoat. They call him their Lord. To his head in death they transferred their sins. Can any religion based on the scapegoat idea serve an enlightened mankind. MUST IT NOT INEVITABLY LEAD TO PRODIGIOUS EXCESSES OF INDULGENCE AND EASIER AND EASIER WAYS OF ATONEMENT? People seek a great deal for a little and at last are unwilling to pay even that. For Christians their Lord is a ransom paid to Satan [basic barbarism!], instead of a symbol of the triumph of the moral law. There is all the difference in the world between the two. A philosopher named Socrates once asked you when people would be willing to pay the scapegoat his fee; and after all these years you have no anser [answer]." [291].

PAGE 1383

'Notes and Commentary [295-350]

The great question in theology in 1904, von Dobschutz wrote, was, What is Christianity? "Harnack tells us that the answer can be found only by historical research. Thus we come to ask what the beginnings of our religion were. What was the primitive Christianity?" A host of scholars have given the answer, keeping in mind Paul's admonition, "We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." His motto, said Edmunds, in his fine study of Buddhist and Christian Gospels Compared, has been: "buy the truth and sell it not."

It is not true, as is so commonly believed, that Christianity alone routed paganism. "Human reason," Gibbon tells us, "had already obtained an easy triumph over the folly of paganism"; and Robertson Smith: "The final disintegration of antique religion in the countries of Graeco-Italian civilization was the work first of the philosophers and then of Christianity." It was not, says Loisy, "the gospel of Jesus that conquered the pagan world, but a mystery of salvation based on the death of Jesus conceived as redemptive." Shotwell has put it better than any other: "There is no more momentous revolution in the history of thought than this, in which the achievements of thinkers and workers, of artists, philosophers, poets and statesmen, were given up for the revelation of prophets and a gospel of worldly renunciation." "All things are yours," said Paul.

Christianity developed in and through myth. "All Christian traditions are myths," says Kalthoff. "Why," asks Cheyne, "should I fear to recognize mythic forms of speech in the New Testament?" "Create a belief in the theory," says Jastrow, "and the facts will create themselves." In almost every case, says Robertson Smith, speaking of religion in general, "the myth was derived from the ritual, and not the ritual from the myth." Or as Frazer says: "all peoples have invented myths to explain why they observed certain customs." Of Bauer[,] Schweitzer says, "he did suspect how strong was the influence upon the formation of history of a dominant idea which moulds and shapes it with a definite artistic purpose"--as the Logos concept from the Greeks moulded Christianity....' [295].

"As formerly [see 1378], the following notes are alphabetized, so that the reader can easily turn to those items which interest him; and as formerly such documentary data as full names, titles of publications, page references have been omitted to save space.

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Age, the


Allegory [included]





see Revelation

Apostles [included]


see Gnostics



Blood of the Lamb


Christ: see Christians

Christians [included]

Christianity [included]


Church organization





Didache, the




Emperor worship

End of world




Forgery [included]

Fourth Gospel

Gnostics [included]


Gospels, the [part, included]


Holy Spirit



Jesus [included]


John the Baptist

Last Supper

see Eucharist

Laying on of hands

Logos [included]

Luke, gospel of


Mark, gospel of [included]

Marriage, spiritual

Martyrs: see Mystics


Matthew, gospel of





Mystics [not in order]





Paul [included]


Philo [included]

Poor, the

Prophecy, fulfilled

Revelation, Book of [not in order]

Resurrection [included]





Savior [included]

Sayings of Jesus [included]

Seneca [included]


Sin [included]

Slaves: see Poor

Son of God [included]

Sunday [included]

Stoics [included]

Tol'doth Yeshu

Tongues, talking in


Twelve: see Apostles

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'ALLEGORY Farrer: "Aristobulus and Philo frankly surrendered the literal truth of Genesis, and rationalized the Scripture stories of Jehovah just as the Greeks had rationalized the Homeric tales of Zeus." Christians did likewise, as Schmidt says, to save the OT "in its conflict with Greek thought. ...a method that allows the interpretor [interpreter] to read into the Bible the theistic speculations, the psychology and ethics of Greek philosophy....Ultimately it is no longer the thought of the Biblical writers that is to him authoritative, but the thought that he himself...has imported into the text." Many Christian leaders argued "that there is a vast difference between the conception of God in the Mosaic legislation and that presented by Jesus." Without allegorizing, says Harnack, " a great deal of the OT would have been unacceptable to Christians." In allegorizing, says Enslin, Christians found a "very valuable means of discovering traces of Christ in the OT....No serious student pays any heed to it today." Moody: "With the weapon of allegorical exegesis in her hands, the Church was able to defend the OT, and to read into it whatsoever she judged to be 'spiritual' truth." The Church, says Taylor, "fixed special symbolic meanings upon the OT narratives, so as to make them into prefigurative testimonies of the truth of Christian teaching." It was with such uncritical methods, says G.F. Moore, "that Christians from the beginning found the distinctive doctrines of Christianity expressed or implied in all parts of the OT" and modern scholarship, which corrects such arbitrary interpretation, "orthodoxy, whether Jewish or Christian, has resisted with the instinct of self-preservation." Abba Silver: "The major effort of most of the NT writers...was to 'Christianize' the Bible, and the Rabbis were constantly engaged in opposing their views." That is, Christians allegorized everything they found offensive. The author of the Clementine Homilies wrote: "Far be it from us to believe that the Master of the universe, the Maker of heaven and earth, 'tempts' men as though he did not know--for who then does foreknow? and if he 'repents', who is perfect in thought and firm in judgment?" And Origen asked: "What man of sense will suppose that the first and the second and the third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun and moon and stars? Who is so foolish as to believe that God, like a husbandman, planted a garden in Eden?" Hatch quotes and then comments: "whereas Philo was mainly concerned to show that the writings of Moses contained Greek philosophy, the Christian writers endeavored to show that the writings of the Hebrew preachers contained Christianity....[the OT's] anthropomorphisms, its improbabilities, the sanction which it seemed to give to immortalities, the dark picture which it sometime presented of both God and the servants of God, seemed to many men to be irreconcilable with both the theology and ethics of the Gospels. ...the allegorical method...largely helped to prevent the OT from being discarded." Celsus in his famous attack on Christianity said the explanations were even less plausible than the matters explained; and Origen's equally famous reply, says Hatch, "is weak: it is partly a Tu quoque..." Christian allegorizing led to the most fantastic things: Dembitz says of the Epistle to the Hebrews, for instance, that its author "not only misconstrues every verse, but also misreads several words of the Scriptural text." But Jewish efforts to correct Christian "exegesis" were in vain: Christians went ahead, as Halliday puts it, to lay a "premium on the fantastic, or even the irrational." Christians never understood [and/or never desired to understand (see #2, 36-37 ("complicity"))] as M. Joseph points out, that "Some of the biblical stories are clearly legends."'

[301-302] [End of entry]. [See ("parable" ("short allegorical story")): #1, 8, 59.].

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'APOSTLES Enslin: "That he formally called twelve men and then conferred upon them especial powers is perhaps doubtful..." Jackson and Lake point out that the "scenes and labors" of the Twelve were unknown to the Church historian Eusebius 4 centuries later. Streeter: "Thus most of the Twelve are mere names; and even the list of names varied with the tradition current in different localities." If there were twelve, says Loisy, Jesus did not choose them: "They were the committee to which the first community of believers entrusted the management of their affairs" and the number twelve "seems to betray a symbolic intention."' [303] [End of entry].

'CHRISTIANS Canfield: "The supporters of Christianity were from the lower classes." La Piana: "The earliest Christians were for the most part of humble and probably of servile descent." Jackson and Lake: "The right distinction between words, and the correct use of language, is the product of technical education, not of religion, and the Christian writers show no signs of having had this education." Christian intolerance. Moxom: "Christians...were from the first intolerant of religions other than their own." Walker: "Christians looked upon themselves as a separated people, a new race, the true Israel, whose citizenship was no longer in the Roman empire..." Reville: "The Christians were 'the saints'; all other men were 'the wicked'." Robertson: "Gibbon rightly noted the intense egoism of the Christians." Case: "The Christians' habit of assuming that their religion was the legitimate heir of all goodness which had previously existed in the universe....Not only are they superior to all the powers of evil, but ultimately they are to preside in judgment over angels." Lietzmann: "this handful of people set themselves aloof and proud over against the Roman empire, and asserted that the entire history of the world ran its course for their sakes....The Jews were hated...but the Christians were hated still more." Farrer: "No term of insult was too gross for the Christians to apply to imperial Rome. They habitually spoke of Babylon, the Harlot, or the Beast..." Loisy: "so all the mystic pride of the Jews in the consciousness they had of being God's chosen people...passed over entire to the Christians." For them, says J. Weiss, "it was unthinkable that God's plan of salvation should be vitiated by the perversity of the Jews." From the OT, says Harnack, they tried to proved "that the Jewish people had no covenant with God." Justin Martyr: "We are the true high-priestly race of God." Tertullian: "How I shall admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs, and fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of many sage philosophers blushing in red-hot flames with their deluded scholars..." Pliny the Younger wrote that "their inflexible obstinacy appeared deserving of punishment." Attitude of gentiles toward. To both Jews and Christians, says Wenley, the term atheist was "impartially applied." Donaldson: "Christians were universally believed by Pagans to be secret conspirators combined for immoral purposes." Workman: "utter contempt." Tacitus: "a class hated for their abominations." Canfield: "probably regarded as magicians, since the Christians openly boasted of their power over demons..." Norton: "They were accused of being in league with the powers of darkness. The sign of the cross used on all occasions aroused suspicion and fear." Emperor Hadrian: "There is no Ruler of a Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no presbyter of the Christians, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, a quack." Persecution of. De Rossi thinks for 30 years after Nero there was no persecution; Lightfoot takes the opposite view. As for persecution under Domitian, Canfield says there is little evidence of it. Merrill: "There are no valid

PAGE 1387

indications in the first two centuries of an interdict against Christian associations alone." Whittaker: "That the Christians underwent no serious persecution till the time of Diocletian has been proved once for all by Gibbon." Baron: "it is well known that hardly any persecutions...took place before the third century." Reinach: "The ten persecutions enumerated by historians of Christianity are a fiction." Of that under Domitian, says Enslin: "largely a figment of Christian imagination." Riddle: "no persecution, properly so called, during the first and the second centuries." Harnack: "the persecutions up to the middle of the 3rd century were not so grave as is commonly represented." Mommsen says in first two centuries 'persecution' was largely a matter of policing. Such persecution as there was, early or late, was for their intolerance. Workman: "Christians were not persecuted because of their creed, but because of their universal claims....With sublime audacity the followers of Jesus proclaimed that Christ must be all and in all....emblazoned on its banners its loathing and disdain for all the cults around." Vogelstein: "dictated not by religious intolerance but rather by political considerations." Abrahams points out that the martyrologies of the gospels undertook "to prepare the adherents of the Christ cult for persecutions and to regulate in advance their behavior under the pressure of persecutions." Jewish-Christian relations. The earliest Christians, says McGiffert, "were thorough going Jews and never thought of departing from the customs of their fathers." Easton: "The first Christians were unaware of any intention to found a separate 'church'." They did not, says Weizsäcker, found a special synagogue for themselves on Jewish soil. But the history of the church after Paul was more and more away from Judaism, until, as Jackson says, Judaism came to be regarded "as an entirely alien religion." Such as Barnabas and Marcion, says Bentwich, deduced from 'allegorical' (which see) interpretations of the OT "that the Jewish God was the power of evil against which Christ, the good power, had to struggle, and that the observance of the Law is the seduction of the devil..." Parkes: "It would have seemed inconceivable to any gentile churchman from the second century onwards that the Church could learn anything from Judaism..." Ramsey: "the feeling was very bitter between Jews and Christians." Bosworth: "the Jews as a nation hated the Christian movement" and he goes on to voice the common Christian calumny: "They had crucified its Lord"--for proof to the contrary, see Notes to my Jesus Came Again. Neither Christian nor Jew understood G.F. Moore's sentiment: "If there be but one God, there can be only one religion." Christian attitude toward life. Gibbon: "animated by a contempt for their present existence." J. Weiss: "an inclination to despise the political order." They thought themselves "witnesses and participants in the mighty world-drama, which was moving on toward its climax before their very eyes." Dibelius: "They believed themselves to be living in a very brief period intermediate between the final revelation of God in history--this was the coming of Jesus--and the end of the world." As for their attitude toward Jesus, it was Paul's: "They did not want to hear about a pious Jesus, nor about a patient, valiant, or truly human Jesus..." Nock: "It is Deus de deo rather than Ecce homo." The attitude toward sex of the majority was that of the Puritans: Athenagoras 'quoted' Jesus as having said, "Whoever kisses a second time because he has found pleasure in it commits a sin." Kissing, said Clement, "occasions foul suspicions and evil reports." As Paul reveals, vice was common in many of the churches. Dobschutz says of that in Corinth: "It is well calculated to destroy at the outside all illusions about ideal circumstances in the apostolic age. Men were then just what they are now."

PAGE 1388

Dill: "Loose character and religious fervor were easily combined in antiquity." Many of them were sun-worshipers. Says Briffault: "The early Christians, who turned to the east when praying..., held their feasts on Sun-days, associated the death of Christ with an eclipse of the sun, and later celebrated his birthday on the Mithraic 'Natalis dies solis', were held by the pagans to be sun-worshipers. Indeed, Christ was always assimilated to the sun." E. Carpenter: "The Christian art of this period remained delightfully pagan. In the catacombs we see the Savior as a beardless youth, like a young Greek god; sometimes represented, like Hermes the guardian of the flocks, bearing a ram or lamb round his neck; sometimes as Orpheus tuning his lute among the wild animals."' [306-309] [End of entry (CHRISTIANS)].

'CHRISTIANITY Dubnow: "The originators of Christianity stood wholly upon the grounds of Judaism." Greenstone: "the immediate success of Christianity can be accounted for only when we consider the intense Messianic hope that existed among the Jewish people." Wernle: "All the oldest Christian theology is Jewish..." Lake: "There is nothing to show that Christians originally desired to break away from Judaism..." Moxom: "Primitive Christianity...had no priests and no sacraments." Hatch: "The earliest Christians had but little concept of a system." C [Christianity] was in no sense, says Guignebert, "a break in the ancient religious pattern....Ever since investigators, unbiased by religious motives, first applied themselves to the study of the problems of Christianity, not one has failed to reach the fundamental conclusion that the traditional explanation, the orthodox account of Christian origins, will not bear critical examination." It was not, says Riddle, "essentially different from contemporary religions. Research has shown that the contrary is true." The opinion by such as de Coulanges, that C introduced 'new ideas', has been abandoned by all able scholars. Robertson: "No historical principle is better established than this, that all historic religions run into and derive from some other religions, the creeds of all mankind being simply phases of a continuous evolution." C was, as Adeney points out, an Oriental region. Nock: "The success of an institution which united the sacramentalism and the philosophy of the time." Jackson and Lake: "The claims of Christianity to be a 'faith once delivered to the Saints' cannot bear the scrutiny of the historian of religions. To him it appears not a single religion but a complex of many." C evolved, says Reinach, "by an intermingling of Mosaic, Persian and Greek doctrines." Wrote Cardinal Newman: "the doctrine of the Logos is Platonic; that of the Incarnation Indian; that of a divine kingdom Judaic; that of angels and demons (and a Mediator) Persian; that of the connection of sin with the body is Gnostic; the idea of a new birth Chinese and Eleusinian; that of sacramental virtue Pythagorean; that of Trinity common to East and West; and that of the rites of baptism and sacrifice equally ubiquitous." Pfleiderer: "the product of a powerful and many-sided development of the ancient world in which various factors had long been at work." Carus: "C is not the work of one man but the product of ages." E. Carpenter: "a restatement and renewed expression of world-old doctrines....several of the main doctrines of C [Christianity]--namely, those of Sin and Sacrifice, the Eucharist, the Savior, the Second Birth, and Transfiguration--were common to nearly all the religious [religions] of the ancient world." Bentwich: "when C ceased to be a Jewish heresy, it proceeded to incorporate with its Jewish element a large part of the myths of the Aryan and Semitic peoples." S.E. Johnson: "a network of diverse movements..."

PAGE 1389

Enslin: "The claim for C [Christianity]...that it is the 'faith once for all delivered to the saints' positively absurd." Charles: "a synthesis of the eschatologies of the race and the individual." Whittaker: "To regard C as primarily an ethical movement, afterwards corrupted by reviving pagan illusory." Lundy: "finds its parallel, or dimly foreshadowed counterpart, article by article, in the different systems of Paganism." Renan: "Nearly everything in C is mere baggage brought from the pagan mysteries." It developed, as Baron says, in "an age more typically syncretistic than any other in history." Gunkel: "C [Christianity] is a syncretistic religion." Toynbee: "a whole series of syncretistic religions: Mithraism, Christianity, Manichaeism, and Islam....The Christian Church is as striking a phenomenon as the Roman Empire." Zielinski goes farther than most scholars when he says that the "real OT of C [is] the ancient classical faith."

Greek influence on C [Christianity] [see #5, 157-158; etc.]. Ritschl emphasized the influence of Greek philosophy on Christian dogmas. Moody: "The influence of Greek philosophy upon the ultimate form of ancient Catholicism is amazingly great..." Draper: "For long after its introduction to Western Europe, C was essentially a Greek religion." Hellenism, says Wendland, "created the forms into which C found entrance..." Bentwich: "Nor was it the ethical teaching of C which came from a Hellenistic development, but its dogmatic and gnostic elements." Angus: "Plato is the father of Greek and Christian mythicism." Collins points out that Origen "far from disowning an agreement between Platoism and C" tried to show "the conformity between them." Lake: "The ethics of the Stoics were almost wholly adopted by the leaders of Christian thought, especially in the West, and the teaching of Jesus as represented in the Gospels was interpreted in the interests of this achievement, which, like the other syntheses, was largely effective in proportion as it was unconscious." Latourette: "Stoicism affected C [Christianity] through a number of channels. Some modern scholars ascribe to it a substantial part in shaping C."

Apparently there was also a Buddhist influence. Carus: "That Luke quotes Buddhist texts as 'Scriptures' has been proved by Edmunds in his Buddhist and Christian Gospels." Catholic Encyc.: "Between Buddhism and C [Christianity] there are a number of resemblances. The Buddhist order of monks and nuns offers points of similarity....There are moral aphorisms ascribed to Buddha that are not unlike some of the sayings of Christ [see: "Sayings of Jesus", 1403-1404]....there are many the Gospel stories of Christ. reality the story of Buddha became the vehicle of Christian truth in many nations." Parallels have been pointed out by Max Muller, Renan, Rhys, Davids, E. Carpenter, Rendel Harris, Oldenberg and others; but see esp. Edmunds above: he points out that the story of the prodigal son and of the Talents are Hindu, adding: "there is good reason to believe that other elements in Luke are also Hindu."

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Bevan: "The Christian Church inherited the great problem of Hellenistic Judaism, how to find the right relation between Hebrew religion and Greek philosophy and culture." Klausner: "C [Christianity]...borrowed many...things from Philo. For example, the idea of grace, any number of ethical opinions, and the like." Besides borrowing and assimilating from the whole Roman world C became a mystery religion (see Mysteries). It had to compete, as Robertson says, with the many cults of a suffering and dying savior-god. Riddle: "as C became a gentile movement in response to the needs of its environment it shaped itself after the pattern of the salvation cults so popular in the gentile world of that day. Jesus became a cult lord, and C became a cult..." Lake: "C [Christianity] became a Graeco-Oriental cult, offering salvation, just as did the other mystery religions....its success was partly due not to any difference from the other cults, but to the fact that it made more exclusive claims, combined with a higher [different?] ethical standard..." Enslin: "By the second century C had become one of these cults..." Hellenism made itself felt in C, says Guignebert, "through its religious feelings, its rites and hopes of salvation, the spirit of its Mystery cults....The frail little Jewish plant, transplanted into this fruitful Hellenistic soil, quickly became a luxuriant tree." Lake: "C [Christianity] became the Jewish contribution to the Oriental cults, offering, as the Synagogue never did, private salvation by supernatural means." Further, there became many sects--Augustine complained of 93; or a "loose federation of communities" as Voelker puts it. Different sects taught different things but on the whole, says Leuba, "The universalization of the individual will is the root of the ethical purpose of C....They have believed that the ideal could become the actual." "On all essentials of virtue and morality," says Farrer, "the Church taught nothing that had not been taught for centuries before her existence....It is utterly false to say that this idea of the brotherhood of all men rests on the teaching of C [Christianity]." (This idea came from the Stoics).

PAGE 1391

To understand C's appeal we must keep in mind the kind of age that produced it. Robertson: "the spirit of subjection had eaten away the better part of all self-reliance." Gibbon: "The decline of ancient prejudice exposed a very numerous portion of human kind to the danger of a painful and comfortless situation." Wenley: "From whatever standpoint one views it, salvation by wisdom was a failure." Virgil had written: "The inextinguishable instinct of humanity craves for a voice of revelation to solve the mystery of life and death." Angus: "We can detect from the beginning of the first century B.C., until the end of the first A.D., a widespread disgust with life--a taedium vitae." Denis: "Men were thirsty to believe and worship." Bevan: "to believe that in order to conquer all possible terrors of the need only to know Jesus." Derwacter: "seeking a way of redemption by vicarious suffering."

J.E. Carpenter: "As the Spirit might be equated with the Lord, the believer was thus personally identified with Christ." Loisy: "Let us never forget that the message which fired this hope was at once urgent and easy to deliver: God and his Christ were on the point of coming....the gospel message appealed in the main to simple the the disinherited..." La Piana: "a religion of the lower classes, among whom it found the greater part of its followers." Schmidt: "It...reached down to the earth's little ones, the weak, the ignorant, the debased." Goodenough: "For what the heathen mind wanted was that the Deity be made accessible..." Kautsky: "To be rich, and to enjoy one's wealth, was a crime calling for the most drastic penalties....The class hatred of the modern proletariat has scarcely taken such fanatical forms as those taken by C." Weiss: "The rich are rather to be pitied...." Troeltsch: "Economic life is viewed with complete childlikeness..." Rostovtzeff: "Men had grown weary and unwilling to seek further. They turned greedily to a creed that promised to calm the troubled mind....the Christian religion gave men the assurance of happiness--beyond the grave. Thus the center of gravity was shifted, and men's hopes and expectations were transferred to that future life....Such an attitude of mind was entirely foreign to the ancient world." Of C [Christianity] Celsus wrote: "Let no educated man enter, no wise man, no prudent man, for such things we deem evil; but whoever is ignorant...unintelligent...uneducated...simple, let him come and be welcome." Glover: "The first four or five generations of Christians could not, on the whole, boast much culture." Harnack says as late as Aurelius "lower classes, slaves, freedmen, and laborers very largely predominated." Gratz has said Judaism won the aristocrats, C the poor. Bertholet repeats him. But Radin says Judaism won from both; and Montefiore: "Like C, it was better and more attractive in low places than in high ones." Murray: "one binding force among Christians was in the conscious misery of the subject populations." Allen: "C surged up from below, from the dregs of the world." Legge: "the Christian religion was from its foundation organized on the democratic lines laid down in the text: 'He that is greatest among you shall be your servant'." Practically all early Christian leaders, says Legge, were "uneducated men". No one, says Lea, would join the infant church "who did not regard the things of earth as vile in comparison with the priceless treasures of heaven" and Case points out: "The lack of human wisdom in early C was thought to make all the more evident its divine origin and power." The decisive fact in C's appeal, says Goguel, "was faith in the resurrection....C is not the religion of Jesus; it is that of the worshippers of Jesus." If, says Lecky, "we compare the different virtues that have flourished among pagans and Christians, we invariably find that the prevailing type of excellence among the former is that in which the will and

PAGE 1392

judgement, and among the latter, that in which the emotions are most prominent....Christian civilizations have been as inferior to the pagan ones in civic and intellectual virtues as they have been superior to them in the virtues of humanity and chastity [?]." C succeeded, says Otto Rank, because "out of the man sacrificed for an idea, it created the ideology of a willing self-sacrifice of one who dies for all others and precisely for that reason is himself immortalized." C was, says Cadoux, "a moral reformative movement on a scale and with a potency unparalleled at any other epoch before or since." In the beginning, says Reville, C was the religion Jesus lived and not that which later on "his disciples built around his person and work." Though as Cumont says "It is hardly necessary to state that a great religious conquest can be explained only on moral grounds" C was despised, says Tucker, "not because they held non-Roman views but because they held anti-Roman views; not because they did not believe in Jupiter and Venus, but because they refused to let any one else believe in them; not because they threatened to weaken Roman faith, but because they threatened to weaken and even to wreck the whole fabric of Roman society....the Christians were regarded as the 'Nihilists' of the period."

I conclude with statements from two enlightened moderns. Albert Jay Nock: "The history of organized C [Christianity] is the most depressing study I ever undertook, and also one of the most interesting. I came away from it with the firm conviction that the prodigious evils which spot this record can all be traced to the attempt to organize and institutionalize something which is in its nature incapable of being successfully either organized or institutionalized." Rebecca West: "the Christian philosophy, which abased his origin to criminality, and started him so low only to elevate him to the height, most disagreeable to most people, of company with godhead, after dragging him through all sorts of unpalatable experiences, including participation in a violent and apparently unnecessary death."'

[309-314] [End of entry (CHRISTIANITY)].

PAGE 1393

'FORGERY Job: "God does not need our lies."


Chrysostom: "Great is the force of deceit provided it is not excited by a treacherous intention." Cardinal Newman: "The Greek Fathers thought that, when there was a justa causa, an untruth need not be a lie." Catholic Encyc. "Forgery differs very slightly from fraud....the forging of papal letters was even more frequent in the Middle Ages than in the early Church." Mosheim: "It was an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by that means the interests of religion might be promoted." Dean Milman: "It was admitted and avowed that to deceive into Christianity was so valuable a service as to hallow deceit itself." Lecky: "the deliberate and apparently perfectly unscrupulous forgery of a whole literature....The Fathers laid down as a distinct propostion [sic] that pious frauds were justifiable and even continued till the very sense of truth and the very love of truth seemed blotted out from the minds of men." Edersheim (a Christian Jew): "It will scarcely be credited how general the falsification of signatures and documents had become." Burkitt: "literary piety [he means literary honesty] is a quality...which hardly makes its appearance in Christendom before 150. Indeed, there is not much of it to be found even then." Draper: "a want of fair dealing and truthfulness almost incredible to us; thus Eusebius naively avows that in his history he shall omit whatever might tend to the discredit of the church, and magnify whatever might conduce to her glory. The same principle was carried out in numberless legends, many of them deliberate forgeries, the amazing credulity of the time yielding to them full credit, no matter how much they might outrage common sense." Tyndall: "When arguments of proofs were needed...a document was discovered which met the case, and on which the name of an apostle or of some authoritative contemporary of the apostles was boldly inscribed. The end being held to justify the means, there is no lack of manufactured testimony." In borrowing so much from heathen religions it was, says Carpenter, only by "a good deal of deliberate mystification and falsification that this derivation has been kept out of sight."

A FEW INSTANCES OF CHRISTIAN FORGERY. Halliday: "the very jejune forgery, the Correspondence between the Pagan and the Christian thinkers" which represented Seneca as having taken his ideas from Paul. Schmidt: "Overbeck has conclusively shown that a number of edicts of toleration ascribed to Hadrian and the Antonines are Christian forgeries." Reinach: "The author of Revelation calls himself John the he was not the Apostle John, who died perhaps in Palestine about 66, he was a forger." Origen himself proved that certain passages in Josephus, which represented him as having heard favorable things about Jesus, were forged interpolations. Streeter cites the epistle of Jude which the author of 2nd Peter converted into a "tract for the times so vitally needed that--feeling sure Peter, if alive, would have taken that line--he deemed it justifiable to gain for it immediate publicity by putting at the head of it the name of the Apostle." Taylor wrote in Diegesis: "Whether a Church which stands convicted of having forged its Creed would have any scruples of forging its Gospels, is a problem that the reader will solve according to the influence of prejudice or probability on his mind."

PAGE 1394

But we must remember that the Christians were determined to 'prove' that everything good in heathen religions or literature had been stolen from them. The Fathers always said, when accused of borrowing from heathen religions, that (in the words of Justin) "the deceiving serpent counterfeited." Christian practices, he said, "the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithra"--which antedated C by centuries! Said Justin: "It is not we who take our opinions from others, but they who take theirs from us." Firmicus, goaded by pagan twitting, cried. "Habet Diabolus Christos suos--the Devil has his Christs!" Bentwich: "The position assumed is that Greek philosophy is derived from the Hebrew wisdom; and the thesis is supported by spurious quotations from popular Greek poetry of prehistoric times. These ideas and methods were commonly accepted in the 2nd century, the golden age of literary forgery, by early Christian scholars, and through them passed into the thought of the Middle Ages [, Present, and, Future]." Waxman: "The Septuagint was the only Bible the gentile Christians knew, and in the heat of polemics against Judaism, the partisan Christians did not hesitate to manipulate their Bible in such a way as to prove their doctrines. As a result, the text became corrupt." (See Margolis, The Story of Bible Translations).

We must also remember, as Streeter says, that "accuracy and veracity were virtues not widely practiced in the Ancient World--they would be thought quixotic [word choice? I prefer: stupid!] in dealing with political or theological adversaries." Harnack: "We must remember here the ancient idea that we are not bound to sincerity toward our enemies." Henry Osborn Taylor: "the Fathers of the Church were accustomed to a historical tradition and practice in which facts were presented so as to conduce to worthy ends." As Maine says (Ancient Law) fictions in respect of laws were thought necessary. Or it was thought, as Lobstein says, that "myth, no less than history, can serve as a means and channel of revelation from above..." And as Collins said in his Discourse "these frauds are very common in all books which are published by priests or priestly men." Or as Anthon put it: "that spirt [sic] of crafty imposture which finds so congenial a home among an artful and cunning priesthood." "No man surely can doubt," said Middleton in Free Inquiry, "but that those who would either forge or make use of forged books would in the same cause make use of forged miracles." The early Christian view was voiced by Clement [Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - c. 215 (St.)]: "They have borrowed from our books the chief doctrines they hold." We must [?] assume that most of the Christians really believed that.'

[318-320] [End of entry (FORGERY)].

[See (Forgery): Appendix III, 713-732; etc.].

[See: Forgery in Christianity, Joseph Wheless, 1930].

PAGE 1395

'GNOSTICS In Syria and Palestine, says Lightfoot, the atmosphere "was laden with Gnosticism." Bigg: "The second century is the palmy age of Gnosticism....a formidable rival to C [Christianity]....ramified into numerous sects." Box: "C was compelled to fight for its life against Gnosticism." Norton: "The most dangerous enemy of early C..." though, as Walker says, it was represented "by some of the keenest minds in the Church in the 2nd century." Epithets applied to Gnostics by certain early Christians: firstborn of Satan; seducers of women; savage beasts; scorpions; ravening wolves; demoniacs; atheists. J.E. Carpenter: "It drew into itself elements from many sources, Babylonian, Persian, Phrygian, Syrian, Egyptian, Greek. It had affinities with the Babylonian dualism of an upper and a lower world, with the Persian dualism of light and darkness, with the Greek dualism of matter and spirit." Anz traces its origin to Babylonia, Bousset to Persia, Amélineau and Reitzenstein to Egypt, Grill to India. Many, like Clement, think it older than C; Burkitt questions this. Moxom: "All forms of Gnosticism were docetic; they evaporated the facts of the gospel history into myths and symbols." In it, says Dean Inge, are all the features of "degenerate mysticism." But of all Christian movements finally suppressed none, says Schmidt, was of greater importance. It is a great injustice, says von Dobschutz, to treat Gnostics "as mere intellectualists." Rostovtzeff: "the belief in esoteric spiritual knowledge." Angus: "For over half a millennium the approach to religion for thoughtful minds was by the Gnostic path." McGiffert: "The Gnostics simply carried out consistently the Hellenistic tendency which voiced itself to a limited degree in Paul." Draper: "The doctrine of atonement originated among the Gnostic heretics." Rhys: "Gnosticism was itself subdivided into more than fifty sects, each with its own bishops, organization, and accepted books." Other Christian sects abhorred it because it treated Jesus as a phantom; the OT God as cruel and brutal; and the Mosaic account of the creation and fall, as Gibbon says, "with profane derision." It had a powerful influence on C [Christianity] and did much to shape many of its doctrines and dogmas.' [321-322] [End of entry].

["GOSPELS"] '....St. Augustine: "I should not believe in the Gospel if I had not the authority of the Church for so doing." Christian prepossession does strange things to scholars: for instance Prof. Guignebert says on one page we cannot "legitimately" seek in the gospels for a life of Jesus, for they "tell us absolutely nothing" and what they relate of his life is "obviously incredible" but 400 pages later he says: "Jesus was arrested, tried, condemned, and executed. Of that alone are we certain." (His emphasis!) Celsus said Christians systematically edited and altered the gospel stories generation after generation--and practically all reputable scholars accept that view. As for the innumerable contradictions in the gospel stories, the theory ('form criticism') of Bultmann and Dibelius is, I think, generally accepted, that the stories "were compiled out of narratives and sayings" known in different communities, with different traditions and in some respects different stories. As Gilbert Murray says, the legends were "exposed to varied and incalculable influences in the interests of different doctrines and communities." Centuries passed before they took the form we know: for instance, Schmidt points out: "Conybeare has shown that before the Council of Nicea in 325 Eusebius again and again quoted the Great Commission in Matt. xxviii, 19, as follows: 'Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations in my name'." Apparently we do not yet know when the form of the gospels which we have today was accepted without further editing and changing.' [324] [End of entry].

PAGE 1396

'JESUS The name G.F. Moore: "a very common personal name among the Jews was, as every Jew knew, nothing but the late Hebrew and Aramaic pronunciation of the name Joshsua." Couchoud: "The name Chrestus was common among slaves and freedmen; it occurs more than 80 times in the Latin inscriptions of Rome." His birthplace Warschauer says the "story of the census made by Quirinius, which caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, is open to a whole series of chronological and historical objections..." Robertson says the 'Chronicon Paschale' reveals that Egyptians "still deify a child-carrying virgin, and adore a child in a manger." Jesus as man, Encyc. Bib. says the genealogy in Matthew "could not have been drawn up after Joseph ceased to be regarded as the real father of Jesus." In short, the idea of his godhood came later. Jesus' birthday Frazer: "The Gospels say nothing as to the day of Christ's birth, and accordingly the early church did not celebrate it." Schmidt says later the Church celebrated as his birthday "the festival of the epiphany of Dionysus on the 6th of January." Clement assigned it to Nov. 17, 3 B.C. Many dates were believed in. Centuries passed before the Roman Church took Dec. 25th, the birthday of the sun, the 25th instead of the 22nd being used because of a miscalculation in the exact time of the solstice. Both bishops Papias and Irenaeus said Jesus lived to be an old man and died a natural death. It took a long time to assimilate him to the sun-god myth. Jesus' death Harnack: 'One thing is sure, namely, that the idea of the forgiveness of sins has nothing to do with the death of Jesus." Jesus' appearance As late as the 5th cen. Augustine, says the Cath. Encyc., "mentions that in his time there was no authentic portrait of Christ, and that the type of features was still undetermined, so that we have absolutely no knowledge of his appearance." He was variously represented by Christians as dwarfed, ugly, sometimes almost repulsive; in the Middle Ages Christians abandoned all notions of his appearance as Jewish and often made him blond. Miracles attending Jesus Lecky: "there was not an historian, from Tacitus down to the meanest writer in Augustan history, who was not convinced that numerous prodigies foreshadowed the accession and death of every sovereign." Jesus as the sun Briffault: "Christ was always assimilated to the sun." Mills "'Son of God', i.e., of Ahura, was precisely a most noted and ever iterated title of the fire..." Jesus as a fish Vogelstein: "In early C the fish is a regular symbol of Christ." Briffault: "Joshua, the first savior of Israel, was called 'the son of Nun', that is to say, 'the son of the Fish.'" Tertullian: "But we little fishes followers of our Fish, Jesus Christ, are born of water, not otherwise can we obtain eternal salvation." Jesus as the lamb Weigall: "in the 7th century the Church endeavored without success to suppress the picturing of Christ as a lamb, owing to the paganism involved in the idea." Jesus and the Christ Mosheim: "The prevalent opinion among early Christians was that Christ existed in appearance only." Guignebert: "Christian propaganda created, developed, and elaborated a Christ myth at the expense of Jesus." Cadbury: "With the Jesus of history...Paul's christ has little in common." Archbishop Wand: "The resultant Christ-myth is the foundation upon which the Early Church built the orthodox teaching of early Catholicism." McCown: "Strauss showed how little connection there was between the two." Schweitzer: "the supra-mundane Christ and the historical Jesus had to be brought together into a single personality at once historical and raised above time. That was accomplished by Gnosticism and the

Logos Christology....we may consider it fortunate that the Synoptics were already so firmly established that the Fourth Gospel could not oust them..." Jesus as a god Jackson and Lake: "There is nothing in the Gospels which proves that 'Lord' was

PAGE 1397

used of Jesus by his disciples during his ministry." Trypho said: "It is an incredible thing, and almost impossible that you are trying to prove--that God endured to be begotten and to become a man." Hook: "The Egyptian Pharoah of old was both a god and the son of a god..." Schmidt: "Countless men...become gods. But innumerable gods have also become men..." E. Carpenter: "Krishna, the beloved hero and prototype of Christ." Hannay: "every iota in the life of Jesus (as told in the gospels) belonged to sun gods all over Asia." (Such as the attempt in myth to kill the infant Krishna and other gods). Among all peoples, says Carus, is the story "of a god who walked on earth unknown." Loisy: "He was a savior-god, after the manner of an Osiris, an Attis, a Mithra. Like them he belonged by his origin to the celestial world; like them he had made his appearance on the earth; like them he had accomplished a work of universal redemption; like Adonis, Osiris and Attis he had died a violent death, and like them he had been restored to life; them he had predestined, prepared, and assured the salvation of those who became partakers in his passion." Justin Martyr said to critics of C: "When we say also that the Word, which is the first birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, was crucified and died and rose again and ascended to heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter." Dujardin: "In the mystery religions the second god is the son of the great god." Gilbert Murray:


....He was the fruit of the marriage of earth with Heaven through the spring Sun and Rain; a son of God and an earthly Kore or maiden; a Babe who will become King..." Attitude of Jews toward Dodd: "It is as a false prophet who supported his claims with sorcery that Jesus appears in the Talmud..."' [325-327] [End of entry (JESUS)].

[See (Jesus): #3, 41-104; etc.]. [See (Jesus): 1379-1381].

PAGE 1398

'LOGOS SCHOLARS IN GENERAL AGREE THAT JESUS WAS ASSIMILATED TO THE GREEK LOGOS CONCEPT. As to what this difficult term meant I have in my notes scores of definitions but space here for only a few. Moody: "Christians identified the Logos with...the Son of God." Wand: "the notions connected with the terms Son, Logos, and Spirit were all called under contribution to explain the unique sense in which God was believed to be the Father of Jesus." Hatch: "Logos, which, signifying as it does, on the one hand, partly thought and partly will, and, on the other hand, also the expression of thought on a sentence and the expression of will in a law, has no single equivalent in modern language." Renan: "archetype of the true, the beautiful, and the good in itself." Walker: "the Logos, which flows out of the being of God himself, and is the agent not merely through whom God created the world, but from whom all other powers flow." Edersheim: "'the image of God', upon which man was made, or, to use the Platonic term, 'the archetypal idea'." Bentwich: "It is described in endless metaphors..." Dollinger: "A notion related to the Platonic ideology, yet essentially different, is found in the Hebrew books; it is the notion of Chokhmah, of Wisdom, taken as the essence of the eternal ideals, the archetypes of God bears within himself." Knox: "Philo has merely substituted a new word, Logos, for the old word Wisdom." Norton: "Logos or Divine Reason unites man to God, and all men partake of the nature of God in so far as the Logos enters into them and they follow its guidance." Lake: "Stoic philosophy, with its belief in a God immanent in the universe, could use Logos in the sense of the governing principle of the world....On the other hand, a transcendental theology such as Platonism, believing in a God entirely above all existence in the universe, needed a connecting link between God and the world, and could use Logos in this sense." Carus: "the doctrine of God as the Word of the Logos which can be found in China and India, in Persia, in Greece, in ancient Egypt." Loisy: "Life and Light: that, precisely, is the Logos..." Dodd: "It may denote 'reason' or 'rational principle'. It may denote the 'meaning' which a man has in his mind when he thinks or wills. It may denote the 'word' in which this meaning is uttered." Justin Martyr: "we worship and love the Word..." Athenagoras: "God who is the eternal mind, had the Logos in Himself, being from eternity instinct with Logos..." Theophilus: "God having his Logos within, in his own bowels, begat him, belching him forth along with his own Wisdom before all things." For Origen, Logos was "that power of Immaterial Reality which stretches out and mingles with the world of matter." Harnack: "a man must be blind not to see that for that age the appropriate formula for uniting the Christian religion with Greek thought was the Logos." Gilbert: "the foreign to the gospel of Jesus and to the OT." Gardner says in the 4th gospel Logos "is clearly meant as an alternative for the miraculous birth." Latourette: "the Logos doctrine of John's gospel was descended ultimately from Plato." J.E. Carpenter: "the Fourth Evangelist introduced the person of the Son of God under...the Logos." Catholic Encyc.: "Always the Church has forcefully moulded words, and even concepts (as Savior, Epiphany, Baptism, Illumination, Mysteries, Logos) to suit her own Dogma."'

[328-329] [End of entry].

PAGE 1399

'MARK That Mark was the first gospel (of those in the NT), argued by Wilke and Weisse, is now the opinion of practically all scholars. As Tasker says, "only certain Roman Catholic scholars" still argue for Matthew's primacy, and do so because it "contains the famous Petrine passages" on the founding of the Church, which other scholars believe to have been late forgeries. Shotwell: "the first definite statement which has come down to us that Peter and Paul founded the Roman church is made by Dionysus of Corinth about 170....There is no trace in the second century that Rome claimed supremacy because of its connection with Peter, nor is there evidence of the special use of Matthew in Rome." Of Mark's gospel, says Streeter: "a rough pioneer attempt to satisfy the Greek and Roman interest in biography." This gospel was written in Rome and in Syria "vastly enriched" to become the gospel of Matthew. Guignebert: "all liberal critics admit that our Mark is a composite work." Ropes: "Mark's motive was not historical but theological." Jackson and Lake: "Mark seems to have had the single object of persuading his readers that Jesus was the Messiah." Matthew goes farther and "expounds his view that the teaching of Jesus had the force of a new law." Weisse: "shows very distinct traces of having arisen out of spoken discourses..." On Mark, see B.W. Bacon, of whose work Prof. Easton says that "for many years to come" it must be "the indispensable discipline for every student of Mark."' [330] [End of entry]. [See: 1373, 1375-1376].

'PAUL Enelow says he was an "intellectual giant", Fisher, that no man of his time stood so high intellectually and morally; but Loisy, a far greater scholar, says his role has been greatly overemphasized. Why "did such important documents as as [sic] the Didache and the Epistle of Barnabas ignore him?" His mind, thought and method, say Dujardin, "belong to the realm of the irrational." He was a mystic, says G. Stanley Hall, and "his mind was essentially ejaculatory." Cadbury says if scholars can hold such "variant views" of Paul it is testimony to his "actual many-sidedness"--or to the differences between scholars! For such as Baur, Schweitzer, Bultmann, Lohmeyer he was a creative and systematic theologian; for Wrede, Deissmann, Riddle, Klausner and others, an emotional high-strung man of action. As Cadbury says, he is a "confessed enigma". He seems to have had some kind of ailment; some like Meyer have thought it a disease of the eyes; others like Herzog and Leitzmann that it was neurasthenia; Alexander, Ramsay and others that it was Malta fever; and a larger group including Ewald, Schmiedel, Hausrath, Wrede, that it was epilepsy. Paul and Jesus Goguel says it is "scarcely probable" that he ever saw Jesus; Renan, Wellhausen, Prat and others concur; Sabatier, Machen, Weiss and others dissent; still others say the matter is insoluble. Enslin points out that no gospel story is ever appealed to or mentioned by Paul, and it appears that he possessed no "sort of compendium of Jesus' words or deeds." In any case, "there is a vast difference between the nature of the messages of Jesus and Paul." Paul and Jews Montefiore: "Either this man was never a Rabbinic Jew at all, or he has quite forgotten what Rabbinic Judaism was and is." Dobschutz: "Paul tries over and over again to come to terms with the synagogue." Paul and Hellenism Bacon: "Paul's theology is almost unintelligible to modern thinkers not deeply imbued with the atmosphere of Hellenistic religious thought." Reitzenstein: "to his Hellenism he was indebted for his love of freedom." Paul and C [Christianity] Emmet: "It becomes increasingly clear that it is a mistake to regard Paul as the founder of Hellenistic or even of Hellenic C." Riddle: "It is usually supposed that gentile C [Christianity] was the product of Paul, but this supposition is being replaced

PAGE 1400

by the counter-proposition that PAUL WAS A PRODUCT OF GENTILE C [CHRISTIANITY [which included influence of: Old Testament, Epicurus, Philo, Seneca, Josephus, et al., etc.]]." Case and others concur. Streeter points out that Paul was not (his emphasis) the founder of the church in the three most important cities, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome. Paul's teaching "This is the most dreadful thing about the teaching of Paul, that for him the flesh and sin are identical....Hence the abysmal pessimism of Paul." He gave to C [Christianity], says Wernle, "all the Jewish sins of narrowness, fanaticism, and the restricted conception of God." Leuba: "Grand mysticism may be said to have begun in C with the raptures of Paul and the writings of the Johannine Gospel." Mary E. Andrews: "Paul uses the Law when it is convenient to do so, rejecting it as freely..." Weinel: "saw marriage only from the primitive sensual point of view." He formulated, says Charles, "no single eschatological system"; and upon the mild ethics of Jesus, says Reinach, he superimposed "the harsh doctrine of original sin, redemption and grace, which gave birth to 18 centuries of arid disputation and still weighs like a nightmare on humanity." Rebecca West has written that "he perpetually betrayed his art because he was also a great man of action, and constantly abandoned the search for truth to seek instead a myth to inspire vigorous action." Will Durant, who makes sweeping statements not based on fact, says: "NO ONE HAS QUESTIONED THE EXISTENCE OF PAUL." ON THE CONTRARY A NUMBER OF SCHOLARS HAVE; and some of the eminence of Bauer, Steck and Van Manen have denied the genuineness of all the Pauline Epistles and place them in the 2nd century. The Encyc. Bib. says "none of them are by Paul." Ramsay wrote that "two of the most learned Jews of modern times" were convinced that the Pauline letters were spurious "because there is much in them which no Jew could write." Klausner, a Jew, dissents. Of the Fathers, Tertullian called him the apostle of the heretics; Justin does not mention him [Paul], nor the Clementine Homiliae and Recognitiones. Irenaeus is the first of those whose writings we have [pause] to treat his [Paul] epistles as canonical.'

[335-336] [End of entry (PAUL)].

[See (Paul): #4, 105-151; etc.]. [See (Paul): 1367].

'PHILO Cheyne: "no Jewish teacher ever felt the 'transcendence' of God more than Philo." Jackson and Lake: "the parent of much Christian terminology and even theology." Renan: "No other Jew had such a perfect knowledge of Greek culture....To pick Greek philosophy out of the Bible, to prove that all the grand discoveries of Greece had been made by Hebrew genius a thousand years before, was the desperate attempt made by Philo." Tennant: "The mingling of biblical exegesis with Greek developed in Philo into an elaborate system of apologetics." Inge: "Philo's object is to reconcile...Moses and Plato." Gilbert: "simply no limit to the amount of Greek thought Philo quietly educed from the words of the Hebrew Law." The best works of Philo known to me are Goodenough's and Wolfson's.' [337] [End of entry].

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'RESURRECTION Case reminds us that a man of praetorian rank swore on oath that he saw Augustus ascend to heaven; Lucan said the soul of Pompey "sprang forth from the fires" when the body was half-consumed and ascended. Dill: "only the hardiest minds remained incredulous....Philosophers of all schools, except the Epicurean, were swept into the current." Gilbert: "the current belief in the Graeco-Roman world that the spirits of various distinguished men had visibly ascended to heaven..." It was widely believed of Pythagoras that he returned the dead to life and after his own death appeared to his disciples. As for the resurrection of Jesus, "A fact so stupendous," says Sanday, "needs to be supported by strong evidence." But the only proof, says Weisse, is "the existence of a belief" in it. Bauer said of Reimarus that he had fully exposed the contradictions in the story "and nobody had refuted him." Weigall: "Nobody in his senses now believes that Jesus ascended into heaven in 'His body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature', as the obsolete 4th Article of Religion in the Anglican Prayer Book says....ascension into the sky was the usual end to the mythical legends of the lives of pagan gods." Goldziher: "Ascensions to heaven are generally acknowledged to be solar features." Trachtenberg: "the phoenix was often cited by Church Fathers and rabbis as conclusive proof of the resurrection of the dead." Loisy: "Unconsciously faith procures for herself all the illusions she needs for the conservation of her present possessions and for her advance to further conquests." Pfleiderer says the end of Mark and the Gospel of Peter prove that the earliest Christians had no such belief in a resurrection of Jesus, and "Paul knows nothing of it." The belief came, says Guignebert (and many others) when C moved beyond Israel and borrowed from the mystery religions, for Osiris, Attis, Adonis and other gods died and arose from death. To prove that Jesus arose, says Wernle, Christians circulated the story of the empty grave. Farrer: "In his argument against the Christians Celsus pointed out that the idea of resurrection, judgment and rewards were old and stale." Prof. Case has devoted an entire book to this subject.' [338-339] [End of entry].

'SAVIOR Carus: "The idea of a savior is purely pagan; it was so little Jewish that even the word was unknown to the Jews." Buddha: "Let all the sins that were in the world fall on me, that the world may be delivered." J.E. Carpenter: "A long list of gods may be easily compiled who bear the title 'Savior' in Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece....the term gained special significance for Christians in respect of two prominent figures, the Roman Emperor and the god Asklepios....Augustus and Jesus could be designated 'Son of God' and theos Soter." In his study of Christ and Krishna, Tiele says, "the sun, born as the son of God, threatened by the powers of darkness, growing up as the shepherd of the heavenly kine ["Archaic pl. of cow" (O.E.D.)] soon reveals himself as the triumphant hero, the deliverer of the world." (See my novel The Divine Passion). Hannay: "The whole story of the life of Jesus and his position as Savior has been the common property of Asia for thousands of years before the Christian era; the story being always the same...that of the annual Sun. His lowly birth in winter, his struggles with the cold and stormy January and February, his Passover, Cross-over, Crossification, or Crucifixion at the spring equinox, when, by his crossing over the Equator and ascending into the northern half of the sky, he ensures the salvation of mankind [?]."' [340-341] [End of entry].

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'SAYINGS OF JESUS Oesterley, so sound, as with many Christian scholars, when they deal with the OT, so prepossessed when he deals with the New, says: "Nobody would deny the distinctiveness, and in many directions the uniqueness, of our Lord's teaching." MANY DENY IT, as I shall show in a moment. Even Schweitzer said: "A few moral maxims, a few halting parables--that is all that can be produced in the ways of parallels." (!) Well, he had not seen Strack and Billerbeck's monumental work--the commentary on Matthew alone runs to more than a thousand pages; or Montefiore's Commentary of the Synoptic Gospels and Rabbinic Literature and Gospel Teachings; or G.F. Moore's two-volume Judaism; or Hurst's Literary Background of the New Testament; or Schechter's Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology. Typical of the nonsense of popularizers is Will Durant again: "Who knows but that Epictetus had read in some form the sayings of Jesus and was, without knowing it, a convert to Christianity?" The trouble for Mr. Durant and those like him is the fact that the philosophy of Epictetus was current long before Jesus was born. Kuiper and Zahn argued the same thing and were exploded by Bonhoffer. It must be assumed either that Jesus uttered thoughts often in the identical words found in writings before his time, or that such thoughts and sayings were attributed to him by his followers. Nearly all reputable scholars take the latter view.

Guignebert: "Strictly speaking, we do not find any original body of doctrine in the Gospel." Harnack: "Jesus brought forward no new doctrine....It is not difficult to set against every portion of the utterances of Jesus an observation which deprives them of originality." Glover: "there was little new in Christian teaching." E. Carpenter: "anyone familiar with the writings of antiquity...knows perfectly well that the reported sayings of Jesus and the Apostles may be paralleled abundantly from these sources." Baron: "Both Jewish and Christian scholars have repeatedly emphasized the fact that, individually examined, the sayings of Jesus can be traced to similar apothegms in rabbinic literature, many of which must have come down from an age preceding the Christian era." Cardinal Newman as quoted by W.S. Lilly perceived: "There is little in the ethics of C which the human mind may not reach by its natural powers, and which here or there...has not in fact been anticipated." Robertson: "There is not one teaching in the Gospels' that cannot be paralleled in the "ethical literature of the Jews, Greeks, Romans and Hindus..."

The parallels fill volumes and can only be suggested here. Sermon on the Mount Wernle: "there is no lack of parallels to the Sermon on the Mount." Charles: "reflects in several instances the spirit and even reproduces the very phrases of" the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. Reinach: "To speak of the authenticity of the Sermon on the hardly consistent with serious criticism." Rodrigues and others have shown that everything in it can be found in Jewish and other sources which could not have borrowed from the Christian. (On the correct translation of this and other matters in the NT see Moffatt, The Parallel New Testament.) Renan perceived that the sayings of the Sermon were "the current money of the synagogue." Lord's Prayer Klausner: "Every single clause in it is to be found in Jewish prayers and sayings in the Talmud." McClintock and Strong: "based upon expressions and sentiments already familiar to the Jews, indeed parallel phrases to nearly all its contents have been discovered in the Talmud." Of the Jewish Kadish, which contains much of the Prayer, Basnage says it is "the most ancient of all that the Jews have perceived." Trattner: "It is possible to match the Lord's Prayer sentence for sentence, phrase for phrase, and word for word, with passages culled

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from the OT, the Talmud, and Jewish liturgy." The Beatitudes, says Loewe, more biblical than rabbinic, "go straight back to Hannah's song, or to the Suffering Servant, or to the 'meek' of the Psalms." Angus: "There are many pagan texts, especially in Seneca, Epictetus, and Aurelius, parallel to 'the Kingdom of God is within you'." J.E. Carpenter: "the proverb to which classical wisdom supplies so many parallels, 'they that are whole have no need of a doctor, but they that are sick'." Hannay: "Confucius was the first to clearly teach the Golden Rule..." Pick: "In one of the treatises of the Talmud called Challah we find, almost verbatim, what our Lord says in Matt. v, 28..." Rabbi Simeon said: "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." (This was said a century after Jesus but it is utter nonsense to argue, as so many Christians have, that Jewish parallels after Jesus were copied from him. It takes amazing obtuseness to argue that Jews would imitate and copy those whom they regarded as abomination.) Montefiore: "except in a few polemical directions, Gospel teaching had no influence upon Rabbinic teaching." As for the golden rule statement, it was of course ancient; Christians have argued that it appeared only in its negative form before Jesus, but Strack and Billerbeck found it in both its positive and negative form in Aristeas. Besides, says Kittle, "The idea of a difference between them was quite unapparent to the men of antiquity." That is, whether it is, Do not unto your neighbor...or, Love your neighbor as yourself. And finally Olmstead points out: "Were not our ears to attuned to the familiar phrases of the Authorized Version, the outlandish phraseology and syntax, the monotonous repetition of 'and' and 'for', the constant appearance of apparently superfluous 'therefores', the highly irregular sequence of tenses, the large number of strangely placed participles, all would have warned us that we were reading an Aramaic-English jargon[?]."'

[341-343] [End of entry].

[See: #3, 66, 344.-348. ("The Jesus Seminar")].

'SENECA Birt says of his De Beneficiis: "the finest work produced by antiquity on the subject of the love of man..." HIS [SENECA] MORALITY, says Klausner, "PREPARED THE WAY FOR C [CHRISTIANITY]. Schmidt: "the correspondence between Paul and a Christian forgery. There is [obviously!] no reason to believe that Seneca ever heard of Jesus or Paul." Fleury has proved that some expressions used in the forgery were borrowed from Tacitus.' [343] [End of entry].

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'SIN M. Joseph: "Judaism utterly repudiates such a doctrine as that of original sin." Montefiore: "The idea of original sin and of an historic fall never became a dogma of the synagogue." H.W. Robinson: "The OT has no doctrine of 'original sin'." Tennant: "no doctrine of the fall of the race in Adam....There is no evidence that any connection between human sinfulness and Adam's transgression had as yet occurred at all to the Hebrew mind....the view that the fall consisted in the union of Adam and Eve is on the whole foreign to the rabbinical way of thinking." And Tennant, whose The Sources of the Doctrines of the Fall and Original Sin is the best book on the subject known to me, goes on to say that the idea of original sin did not exist among the first followers of Jesus, but came in with heathen influences. Reinach: "Orphism held the doctrine of original sin." Angus: "Orphism...taught a doctrine of original sin....never since eradicated in the West, and influencing all European thought." The rabbinic view, says Strack and Billerbeck, was that man "possesses complete moral freedom....fundamental difference of view between C and Judaism as regards man's moral nature." Farbridge says in Mesopotamia the sacred tree symbolized immortality, among the Buddhists, wisdom, and among Christians, temptation. Cheyne: "C has ever regarded a deep sense of sin as a condition of its blessings." Sin for Paul, says J. Weiss, "having once entered into the world then develops a royal dominion over mankind....he saw in sexual lust the actual original sin." Reville: "The dogma of original sin and of the fundamental corruption of the human race is indissolubly bound up with a conception of history which no well-instructed person in our day can possibly hold." Plato said sin was due to ignorance; Aristotle, that "Sin is not a matter of knowledge, sin is wickedness." Lecky: "Sin, in the conception of the ancients, was simply disease....the philosophies of ancient Greece and Rome appealed most strongly to the sense of virtue, and C [Christianity] to the sense of sin." Otto Rank: "Guilt consciousness is actually a consequence of increased self-consciousness..."' [343-344] [End of entry].

'SON OF GOD Angus: "Orpheus...kept the old Bacchic faith that a man might become a god..." Case: "In Graeco-Roman times the term 'Son of God' applied to the hero-prince was of very common occurrence....The list of persons who had been assigned divine origin before the rise of C [Christianity] is extensive."'

[344] [End of entry].

'SUNDAY Loisy: "Quite early a particular day was consecrated to Jesus, 'the Lord's Day'. This was the first day of the week, honored among pagans as the day of the sun. The day of the sun was not consecrated to Jesus because the Christ rose on that day, but because it [Sunday] was the fitting day for his resurrection....And was there not an analogy perceptible to all, and spontaneously accepted by all, between the risen Christ in his glory, and the sun in heaven and the solar gods abounding throughout the East?...The Christ in his glory was thought of as a Being of Light; light was the substance of his being. We need to search no further than the pages of the NT for proof...that this luminous Being belonged from the first, his Jewish traits notwithstanding, to the family of the celestial gods, especially to that of the solar deities." Sunday was not adopted by the Roman Church until the 4th cen.'

[344] [End of entry].

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'STOICS Halliday: "that great system of novel thought." Zeller: "Stoicism is not only a philosophy, but also a system of religion." Wenley: "The Stoic creed is pantheistic." Cumont: "Stoicism placed the realization of its ideal in this world." Dill: "The great Stoic doctrine of the brotherhood and equality of men..." Farrer: "Stoic doctrine, subsequently borrowed by Christians, of the brotherhood of all men..." Pfleiderer: "Next to philosophy [which philosophies?],...[Stoics are (?)] the most important preparation for C [Christianity]...[?]" Bonhöffer: "Among all the various types of philosophic world-view which the Greek world put forth, not one is as near to C [Christianity] as the Stoic type." Bentwich: "the most characteristic, as it was also the most powerful, intellectual expression of Hellenistic culture."' [345] [End of entry].

'These Notes, much too long, but omitting a great deal that I am sure some readers would find absorbing conclude with the words with which more than a century ago Strauss concluded his famous Life of Jesus, that caused such an uproar, with very unhappy results to himself: "The results of the inquiry which we have now brought to a close have apparently annihilated the greatest and most valuable part of that which the Christian has been wont to believe concerning his Savior." Many modern scholars would think that an extreme statement, knowing as they do that religion is born of myth and develops through myth: see some of their statements in the first pages of my Notes to Jesus Came Again [see 1378-1382].'

[350] [End of book (excepting advertisement)].

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"Vardis Fisher [1895 - 1968] ["1925 Ph.D. University of Chicago (Magna cum Laude)" [10]]: An American Atheist Author Richard M. Andrews"

'In Tiger on the Road, Tim Woodward's biography of Fisher (Vardis used to say MOST PEOPLE WOULD RATHER MEET A TIGER ON THE ROAD THAN FACE THE TRUTH ABOUT THEMSELVES), Woodward wrote:

No one who read it was lukewarm about the Testament of Man [see 1377]. The series evoked reactions from worshipful praise to sneering contempt. It divided critics and scholars--and anyone else who took the sixty or seventy hours needed to read it--into those who deeply admired Fisher and those who washed their hands of him for good. This was not surprising, as the series questioned some of the most fundamental beliefs in western society.

For its author [Vardis Fisher], the Testament's toll was beyond calculating. It would cost him twenty of his most productive years, a close friend and publisher, and any hope of maintaining the reputation he briefly enjoyed as one of the nation's up and coming novelists. People told him he was wasting his time on scholarly books that delved deeply into the past when he could have been writing novels that would have secured his reputation as an artist. Few who knew him doubted his ability to write 'successful' books, but he wasn't writing the Testament for the best-seller lists. He [Vardis Fisher] was convinced he was writing it for the ages.1

Fisher was ridiculed by reviewers and vilified in the nation's most influential magazines. In order to write the Testament series he had to read over two thousand books on history, anthropology, psychology, theology, and comparative religion. The series was unique among literary endeavors. The only books I have read that come close to the kind of books in the Testament are Gore Vidal's Creation and Julian.'


"When Fisher brought Jesus Came Again to his publisher, Caxton Press, they refused to publish it unless it was rewritten with a divine Jesus. They explained to him that America was in a cold war with the Soviet Union, and Christianity was the best defense against communism, and that they would do nothing to undermine the CHRISTIAN IDEOLOGICAL HOLD ON AMERICAN CULTURE.2" [3].

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'The Testament series is not the only writing of Fisher that the Atheist will find of interest. His Children of God demystifies the Mormon story of Joseph Smith. Also of interest are Fisher's newspaper columns in the Idaho Statesman and Idaho Statewide, which became the Intermountain Observer. Tim Woodward in his biography of Fisher states:


["Jesus": Santa Claus for adults! Etc.]

We'd get a bunch of cancellations, but the Statewide was the kind of paper that published things regardless of what people thought. We never censored anybody's writing.6

Vardis Fisher was an extremely important American author who never failed to talk and write about Atheism. He never failed to say he was an Atheist and was proud of his Atheism. He did this in one of the most conservative states [Idaho (much Mormon influence)] of the Union between 1930 and 1968, when he died. That type of courage is heroic and much needed in our country today....' [5].

"By the time the Testament had reached the early Christian era, Fisher was established in his fourth literary role, as state curmudgeon, through weekly columns in various Idaho papers. He had found a kindred spirit in J.H. Gipson of the Caxton Press, but even Gipson refused to publish books with the Testament's negative view of Christianity. Fisher and Gipson shared vehement atheism and vehement anticommunism; ironically, as Fisher's biographer Tim Woodward points out, Gipson's objection came not from a desire to promote religion but from the belief that books so destructive of Christian values would promote communism." [6].

"Vardis Fisher rose from a life of poverty, ignorance, and superstition to one of some affluence, a Ph.D., and freedom from the Mormon religion of his family; he was able to become an Atheist intellectual. His Testament of Man books were a bold attempt by a lone Atheist to popularize his Atheism. Though his attempt to do this was not a complete success, his books are still with us and could still be used as a tool for the advancement of Atheist philosophy. One can only hope that Fisher's Testament will find it's [its] way back into print so that a new generation of hungry minds will not be denied access to one of the greatest historical fiction series ever written. The impact of good fiction writing can be great [COMPARE: GOSPELS, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT]. No one would deny that Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses will make a lasting impression on Islam. If Atheists could find a way to obtain the Testament and make it as available as the Verses, it could have a major impact on religion in general."

[8] ["Vardis Fisher Chronology", and, "References", follow].

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