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Subjects (abstracts): Short Studies in the Science of Comparative Religions; Faiths of Man   Encyclopedia of Religions

from: British Biographical Archive (microfiche).

'Forlong (James George Roche) [1824 - 1904]. Major General, H.B.A.[?], b. Lanarkshire, Scotland, Nov. 1824. Educated as an engineer, joined the Indian army '43, fought in the S. Mahrata campaign '45-6, and in the second Barmese war. On the annexation of Barma he became head of the Survey, Roads and canal branches. In '58-9 he travelled extensively through Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, etc. From '61-71 was a superintending engineer of Calcutta, and in Upper Bengal, North-west Provinces, and Rajputana, and '72-76 was Secretary and Chief Engineer to the Government of Oudh, He retired in '77 after an active service of 33 years, during which he frequently received the thanks of the Indian and Home Governments. In his youth he was an active Evangelical, preaching to the natives in their own tongues. He has, however, given his testimony that during his long experience he has known no one converted solely by force of reasoning or "Christian evidences." A great student of Eastern religions, archaeology, and languages, he has written in various periodicals of the East and West, and has embodied the result of many years researches in two illustrated quarto volumes called Rivers of Life [1883, a Monumental Classic!], setting forth the evolution of all religions from their radical objective basis to their present spiritualised developments. IN AN ELABORATE CHART HE SHOWS BY STREAMS OF COLOR THE MOVEMENTS OF THOUGHT FROM 10,000 B.C. TO THE PRESENT TIME.

Wheeler, J.M. A biographical

dictionary of freethinkers.

1889.' [available on CD Rom,

from Robb Marks, Bookseller,

1/800/66 WALDO].

• • •

PAGE 683

from: Short Studies in the Science of Comparative Religions, Embracing all the Religions of Asia, Major-General J.G.R. Forlong [1824 - 1904], With Maps and Illustrations, London, Quaritch, 1897. [a Classic!].

[Source: Ballantrae Reprint: 905/450-7998; e-mail:].

'By the first century B.C. Alexandria had dethroned Balk and Samarkand as "the Maka of the west." It was a vast centre of religious philosophies, arts and industries, where the Egyptian Chrestos, "the good," had given place to a "Divine Logos"—to the Jewish "wisdom of Solomon," and of "Jesus, son of Sirach," and then to the Jesus of Paul. Here the religions of Zoroaster, of Magi, Thrakian Bodistai, Essenes, Jews, Greeks and Christians, were familiar to every reader, and freely discussed in numerous literary and religious societies, and no doubt also the great philosophies of VedÆntists and Buddhists, and of all the schools preceding and following the reformation of the great Guru and of Jaina-Bodhists.' [53-54].

'Article VIII

Jehovah, Yahvè or Yahuê

Translated "Lord" in the English Bible

....Yahue was a not uncommon divine name among Asyrians and Syrians, and became the tribal "Lord" of Hebrews about 1000 B.C....

With some of the prophets, Yahue rose to be a highly spiritual conception, and still more so with men like Hillel of Christ's time, and in the Theos or "Eli" of Christ, but among Gnostik Christians he fell to be a cruel and subordinate deity, and has been very variedly regarded in these days of more matured research in the science of Comparative Religions.' [383].

'The Rev. Professor R. Smith—a good Hebraist, if poor churchman— "regretted, as a believer in Biblical inspiration," that highly competent scholars like Lenormant, Bishop Colenso, Professors Tiele, Land, Delitzch, Sayce, and others should have come to the conclusion that "the God of the Bible was a Phenician deity," for if so, he is a form of Shem or "Sams the Server," of Bel, Baal and Hab-bal—an interpretation disturbing if not fatal to the Hebrew as well as Christian faith; for the great Creator of Genesis becomes then a mere tribal pagan god; and Hebrews are then mere borrowers of their religion, and all details of their social and political life from the old Turanian races—a conclusion we came to and fully stated in 1879, see Rivers of Life [1883], ii. 460-76. But what have scholars to do with "regrets," a priori premises and "consequences" in true scientific research? Let us get at the truth and hold it fast, and then all things must eventually fall into their right position.' [389].

PAGE 684

'Mr. Grant Allen in an important article in Fort. Rev. of Jan. '90, though erroneously attributing the setting up of all sacred stones to sepulchral rites (which last is refuted by Mr. A. Lang in the Contp. Rev. of March '90), wrote: "I don't see how we can avoid the inference that Jahveh the god of Hebrews, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God afterwards sublimated and etherealized as the God of Christianity, was in his origin nothing more or less than the ancestral fetish stone (the ashr and ashêrê) of the people of Israel, however skulptured, and perhaps in the very last resort of all, the monumental pillar of some early Shemitik sheikh or chief"; upon which Mr Lang remarks, that "if so, we may as well shut up the book of the history of Religion." But why so? All gods have been similarly symbolized, as we have frequently shown here, and in Rivers of Life, see especially ii. 531-5.' [396].

"And truly gods are but our highest ideals and must therefore expand and be from time to time symbolized by those objects which seem to embody the attributes most prized; if procreation of the species, then by the agent of the Creator; if increase of herds and flocks were sought for, then by bulls, cows and rams; if corn and wine, then men worshiped sun and rain and prayed for fruitful seasons. None of these symbols or objects however were meant by pious and learned men to efface the god or spiritual idea, but rather to render it concrete, visible and more get-atable by the busy unthinking masses." [396-397].

'Whatever, says the Rev. Sir Geo. Cox (Life of Colenso, p. 605), "was the origin of the name Jahvê, it was the sacred and mysterious name of the Phenician Sun God, and it is useless to shut our eyes to the fact that Israelites actually worshiped the Phenician Baal under this designation,".' [398].

'Gnostiks, who were the first learned and distinguished Christians, and with a great knowledge of Eastern and Egyptian faiths, said, according to Dr Davidson (Gos. St John), that "Jehovah was the devil's father, ...a Demiurge whom only the elect are to escape from through the Aeon Christ...."' [410].

'Thus Yahve has not escaped the universal law of all existences, birth, life, and old age, if not yet death; and after a close, calm, unbiased study of the Hebrew God-Idea we wonder not that religious men gradually FRAMED A NEW GOD and found him in a good and pious "son of man [Jesus!]."' [411] [End of Article].

PAGE 685

'Article IX

Sacred Books of the West

In Their Chronological and Historical Aspects

The Greek Septuagint and Bible of Hebrews

The Septuagint is considered to be a translation from the Hebrew "Temple Standard" of about 250 to 230 years B.C., and as that "Standard"—the Bible compiled by Ezra with subsequent additions—was lost in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 71 A.C., the question arises: "Have we a genuine Bible—a true 'Word of God' such as Christ and his apostles knew"?' [413]. [See: #22, 423].

'Professor Swete of Cambridge agrees (Academy, 27 Oct. 94) that "it is impossible to dissent from the superiority of the LXX over the Hebrew text...which is more than 1000 years older than any known Hebrew text."* ["*The Professor seems to forget that the oldest existing Hebrew belongs to the 10th century and the oldest LXX to the 4th or 5th century."] He adds: "the LXX brings us into touch with a text differing sometimes widely from that of the MSS reflected in the Masoretic Hebrew." The Academy correspondence ending with Sir H. Howarth's paper of 3rd November 1894, shows that it is generally agreed no reliance can be placed on the Masoretik, though the revising committee accepted it as their standard rather than the LXX, which was the rule of faith and of Christendom for 15 centuries. It was only displaced in the 16th century when Protestants, longing for an "infallible book" instead of an "infallible church," ignorantly took refuge in the Hebrew bible, presumably because written in the original language.' [422].

'many ancient and modern critics alike hold, that Masorites drew largely from the Samaritan and quasi LXX [Septuagint] opinion once started flows on, and the corrupt Masoretik text has continued to grow, and reached its zenith of power in 1885, when our learned Westminster Revisers made it the foundation for a new English and American bible, to supercede that first issued by King James in 1611. The revisers meekly observe in their preface, that they have followed this Masoretik Text, "as it has come down in MSS. ...of no great antiquity...the earliest being 916 A.D." But here they are a century too early according to the orthodox Encyclopaedia of the evangelical Schaff Herzog, who says, "the oldest MSS. of the Hebrew bible is only 1009," or about 600 years later than the earliest Greek MSS. [manuscripts] of the New Testament.

What abundant time and opportunity for the play of the honest and dishonest, the whims and manipulations of priests and copyists, not to speak of the unavoidable errors, amounting we are assured to upwards of 100,000 in the Greek versions alone? Like Josephus, Origen, Jerome and other bible-makers, we must still complain: "THERE IS NO TRUE AND UNCORRUPT VERSION OF THE BIBLE." EVEN THE LOST "TEMPLE STANDARD," AND LXX OF THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. WERE NO DOUBT PRIESTLY COMPILATIONS FROM EZRA'S VERSION, ITSELF OF UNKNOWN AUTHORITY.' [436-437].

PAGE 686

'Our Greek printed version of the New Testament belongs only to the times of the Protestant Reformation, and is simply a collation from MSS., none of which are older than the 11th century. Its variations or erroneous readings have been variously estimated by learned ecclesiastiks at from 20,000 to 50,000. In the MS. collection for Griesbach's [Johann Jakob Griesbach 1745 - 1812] edition, it was computed that there were 150,000 varied readings; but this is foreign to our present Study, though we may quote the following from the pious Dean Alford's "How to study the New Testament":—

"These Gospels, so important to the Church, have not come to us in one undisputed form. We have no authorized copy of them in the original language, so that we may know in what precise words they were originally written. The authorities from which we derive their sacred texts are various ancient copies, written by hand on parchment. Of the Gospels, there are more than five hundred of these manuscripts, of various ages, from the fourth century after Christ to the fifteenth, when printing superseded manual writing for publication of books. Of these five hundred and more, no two are in all points alike; probably in no two of the more ancient can even a few consecutive verses be found in which all the words agree."

Men who in those days tried to collate and issue a pure "Word of God," carried their liberty if not lives in their hands. The good and zealous William Tyndale [c. 1494 - 1536] was strangled, and then publicly burned at Antwerp in 1536, because he tried to give his countrymen a printed bible'. [439].

"Article XI

Short Texts in Faiths and Philosophies:

Being An

Epitome of the Scriptures and Sentiments of the Good

and Wise, Arranged Chronologically, to Show

the Movements of Thought Through the Ages.

The great advance of research and discoveries in the science of Comparative Religion and Archaeology, makes it advisable to now consider how we actually stand in this respect at the close of the XIXth century. We will here therefore give a brief chronological resumé of much ancient thought, culled from well-recognised sources: from writings on rocks and stones, mummy cases and cloths; from temple walls, buried tablets, lÆts or st_lae, papyri, bibles and sacred records; and, for clearness and brevity, will throw together the more prominent teachings in the form of free but carefully-translated texts, and in modern language—summarized so as to clearly bring out the leading points of each teacher, sect or school. This ought to enable us to trace the veritable footprints of each and all, as they wandered along—often in doubt and darkness—towards a truer conception of the universe, the unknown and unfathomable future." [553].

PAGE 687

'Many of the wise maxims, precepts and teachings which are found in the writings of Ptah Hotep or Ani of 5000 years ago, and even of the age of the first pyramids, say, 6000 years ago, "APPEAL TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE ANCIENTS," says M. [M. = (apparently) Monsieur] Renouf [Sir Peter Le Page Renouf 1822 - 1897] in his [1879] Hib. Lecs. Even in these far back times we see many of our present rites, symbolisms and doctrines; as of a divine mediator, a dying and risen God, a Trinity, a death unto sin, and a life eternal, a Heaven, a Paradise or Ades; a millennium and final judgment, the observance of a Sabbath, Eucharistik fetes, Lents and sacrifices, circumcision, baptism, and other mysteries; so that it is not strange to hear modern writers speak of the Hebrew bible having borrowed ideas and even passages from the "Ritual" or "Bible of the Nile." [see 693]

Other religions treat more or less fully of similar matters, the value of which each reader will best appraise when all are thus grouped together. The latest faith should naturally be the best and most advanced. But whatever form the god or ideal takes, it is evident that the pictures on the canvases are merely the highest conception of each people at a particular period of their civilization. IGNORANCE OR CULTURE, CLIMATE AND CIRCUMSTANCES SEEM TO HAVE DETERMINED OUR HOPES AND DESIRES, LOVES AND FEARS, AND THEREFORE OUR GODS, HEAVENS AND HELLS, FAITHS AND PHILOSOPHIES....' [554-555].

• • •

PAGE 688

from: Faiths of Man  Encyclopedia of Religions, in Three Volumes, J.G.R. Forlong [1824 - 1904], Introduction by Margery Silver, University Books, 1964 (1906).

[a Classic!]. [reprint available from Ballantrae Reprint].

Volume 1, A-D

[Major entries in the "Subject Index": Animals; Ascetics; Astronomy; Books; Buildings; Countries; Festivals; Images; Gods; Language; Legends and Superstitions; Persons; Philosophy; Places; Plants and Trees; Races; Religions and Sects; Rites and Customs; Saints; Symbols; Writing [xxix-xxxvii]].

[See: "Pala. Phallos."; "Priapos."; "Sun."; "Zodiak."].

[Introduction by Margery Silver, 1964]

"James G.R. Forlong


With FAITHS OF MAN we are proud to restore to our readers' shelves a classic in the field of Comparative Religion that has been for too many years accessible only in the reference rooms of the world's greatest libraries. The first compact, unbiased, anthropologically oriented encyclopedia in English dealing (in alphabetical order) with every aspect of the world's diverse religious phenomena—Christian and non-Christian both—James G. Forlong's three volume work remains not only the single most useful tool ever produced on the subject but also the most readable." [v].

"James George Roche Forlong, at the age of fifty-nine, published [Rivers of Life (Monumental!), 1883] his first major studies on Comparative Religion, he had been retired for about six years from a brilliant engineering career of more than three decades duration in the Anglo-Indian Army." [x].

"The Scotland of Forlong's youth was a country in which traditional public provision for popular educational opportunity of high calibre had encouraged a general appreciation of serious learning and an intellectual atmosphere congenial to fresh, fertile, scholarship. While W.R. Smith's ordeal with the Free Church in the 1880's did reflect the sterility of that institution and its academic arm, it also says something for the level of Scottish sophistication....

The Encyclopedia Britannica itself, which provided the mise en scene ["milieu", etc.] for this moral drama, had begun as a commercial publishing enterprise in eighteenth century Edinburgh." [x].

PAGE 689

"A hard-headed, practical scientist by training and profession, forthright and empirical in his routine dealings, Forlong found himself unable to meet his emotional needs through a simple commitment of faith. A man also of deep religious temperament and humanitarian impulse, he earnestly and actively attempted, during his first years abroad, to spread Christianity, proselytizing among the natives in their own tongues (he became familiar with seven and fluent in four). But months of association in isolated location camps with his Asiatic labor crews began to spark his interest in their own religious concepts, symbols and ceremonies. He ceased to preach and began to inquire. Having been formally educated in classical languages, he turned to the philosophies of Greece, Rome, Israel. Familiarizing himself also with the precepts of Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tzu, whom he taught himself to read in the original". [xi].

"every other reference work on the subject in use today [c. 1964], if it is more than superficial in scope (and sometimes even then), is the result of the combined efforts of a large staff of trained specialists. Forlong's was a solo performance of virtuoso calibre: the breadth, variety and authenticity of his information is matched only by his gift for clarification, which converts complex matter into fast, pleasant reading, not by simplifying or truncating but by sifting the most abstruse concepts, deeply apprehended, through the interwoven meshes of scholarship to lucid definition. His articles—packed with information, allusion, authoritative documentation and far-flung loops of interpretive connection—are a rich, thick broth of divers and appealing nutrients." [xii-xiii].

'Forlong did not consider himself an atheist ("no reasonable man denies the possibility of a God" [?]); more wistfully than adamantly he remained a Christian, and in more than a titular sense, but one who knew that transubstantiation and virgin births were old in the world's folklore, that the CHRISTMAS RITES ADAPTED BY THE CHURCH "WERE BASED ON THE BELIEF IN A NEW-BORN SUN GOD, and were connected with ideas of renewed fertility," that in fact "All faiths are growths, and all borrow from that which went before.—Christianity absorbed too much from older systems to be able to claim originality." A Christian who took to his heart Buddha as well as Jesus, he pointed out that "To clothe—to feed—to heal—were duties inculcated more than two thousand years before Christ.—Early Hindus urged their fellows to return good for evil," wrote the man [Forlong] who had begun his religious adventure as an evangelist fifty years before.' [xvi].

PAGE 690

'Though he himself had an abhorrence of those commercial clergymen whom he regarded as mere retailers of beneficence, it was without complacence that he cited contemporary statistics of church attendance and the complaints of church men on the general decline of faith, from which he concluded "that dogmatic Christianity is rapidly decaying, and the power of the priest is destined to disappear forever." He suggests as a remedy that "What we need is the constant yearning after moral improvement in ourselves and in others."

It is this quality of dispassionate passion which makes Forlong's book not only useful but often exhilarating....Too long out of print, this book will be welcomed back to the shelves both of students in the field and others whose interest in human motivations extends beyond the confines of POPULAR FICTION.' [xvi-xvii].

"Editor's Preface"

"[Forlong's executors, who published this book, no doubt chose the editor who wrote this preface. His name is not given.]" [xxv].

"Author's [J.G.R. Forlong] Preface

We do not always adhere, in this work, to the present vernacular spelling of the names of deities, persons, rites, symbols, doctrines, etc: for we are chiefly concerned in comparing these phonetically, and with reference to corresponding features of other faiths. Present modes of spelling, and etymologies, belong to writings and days comparatively modern. Sanskrit writings, thinks Prof. Max Müller [1823 - 1900], only date from about the 4th and 5th centuries B.C., though unwritten Vedas were then many centuries old. In every province and country the same word is variously spelt and pronounced.

The student must carefully distinguish between certain letters. The soft h (Hebrew Heh, interchanging with s) is not to be confused with the guttural h or kh (Hebrew Kheth, Greek Khi). The hard k (Latin q), is distinct from the soft k, which is often the English ch. The th stands sometimes for t (Hebrew Teth); and ph for an aspirated p, not for f. On the other hand b often passes into f and v: the hard g becomes j; the l interchanges (in Egyptian; or in Chinese as compared with Japanese) with r, and even with k in Polynesia, and with d in Africa. Among kelts the Gaelic k becomes the Brythonic p. The letters m and n also interchange, and a final n (in Syrian dialects of Arabic for instance) replaces l. The m also passes into v, and b, and w. The t in Turkish speech replaces the l of Finnic dialects.

Nouns, and especially proper names, had their bases in a sound denoting some phenomenon, or attribute, which the early word-coiners understood. For these we must seek in the most ancient sources, not accepting proposed etymologies, ancient or modern, too readily. The spelling is often the mechanical attempt to present sounds as known to the writer locally. Writing was a comparatively modern accomplishment, and orthography is still more recent. It is usually an erratic and objectionable attempt to maintain the dialect of a city or province, as when Rabbis and IslÆmis, in the 6th and 7th centuries A.C., tried to make all men speak Hebrew or Arabic as they did themselves, thus hiding from us many ancient and valuable meanings, and the history of words." [xxvii].

PAGE 691

'He who would probe the dark hints thrown out by the words and ways of mythologywritten or unwrittenshould have "imagination and intuitive genius, and a memory well stocked with all the facts of superstition already laid bare" (Prof. Tyndall [John Tyndall 1820 - 1893] on Scientific use of the Imagination). Let such imagination have full scope, yet must it be subjected to the hard facts of experimental science, and to logical deductions therefrom. By all means push imagination into the unknown; but check, and if possible explode, conjectures that cannot be verified logically, mathematically, or by actual experiment. Knowledge often casts light far beyond its immediate boundary, so that the wisely imaginative need not be said to leap in the dark. It is ignorance that keeps us all back; and, next to this, hazy and confused ideas; for truly, as Francis Newman [1805 - 1897] long ago wrote, "CONFUSION AS TO TRUTH IS MORE FATAL THAN FALSEHOOD." Some half century ago we made up our mind never to say we understood a subject till we had so studied it, by itself, as to be able to write its history in a definite article. This Encyclopedia is one of the results. It calls in question, and aims at establishing, or disestablishing, all doctrines, rites, and symbols, in as few words as possible; going to the roots of all things, persons, saints, and gods, reverently, but severely, and logically.' [xxviii] [End of "Author's Preface"].

PAGE 692


[See: "Bible.": Ox. Dict. C.C., 1997, 198-205]

[See: chart: #11, 242]

'The Greek Byblos, or Bublos, was the name of the "papyrus" reed—whence the town of Byblos in Phoenicia (Gebal), where the papyrus grew as well as in Egypt. Hence the Greek Biblos for a papyrus roll, and a book; or Biblion (see Matt. i, 1; Luke iv, 17), and ta Biblia, "the Books"; with Latin Biblia, "the book." There are in all twelve great Bibles, or "Divine Libraries" (Bibliotheca Divina, as Jerome called his Bible).


Egyptian Ritual (charms, hymns)

say from






Akkadian and Babylonian Ritual (charms, litanies, hymns, legends)







Vedas of Aryans (hymns, ritual)







Zend-Avesta of Persians (charms, hymns, ritual, laws)







Tao of the Taoists







Li-King of Confucians







Tri-pitaka of Buddhists







Old Testament Canon of Hebrews







Sutras of Jains







New Testament Canon of Christians







Koran of Moslems







Granth of Sikhs






PAGE 693

The following gives an idea of the comparative length of some of the more important of these:

Hebrew Old Testament





English Bible,





Rig Veda alone,














It is remarkable that of these Bibles we have only for the first two [Egyptian; Akkadian and Babylonian] anything approaching the originals. The rest are all known from late manuscripts.


'As regards the MSS. now available for the Old Testament, those of the Greek Septuagint translation are 600 years older than the Hebrew; but neither in Hebrew nor in Greek have we any originals of the "Word of God" (see our article in the Asiatic Quarterly Review, Oct. 1893). Sir H.H. Howarth (Academy, 16th Sept. 1893) says: "The Hebrew text of the Bible, before which so much incense has been burnt...and which was the sheet anchor of the last Revision, ought to be discarded in favour of the Septuagint. It ought to be discarded not because the Septuagint was the Bible of Christ [which it was not—Ed. [?]], and of the early Christians, but because the Masoretes have not preserved the original text, but one prepared, and edited, by Jews as lately as the 2nd century A.D., for polemical purposes; and because instead of being reliable the Hebrew text has been disarranged, and otherwise tampered with by its promulgators. The appeal is not from Greek translation to the original text of the Bible, but from honest Greek translation (of unknown Hebrew MSS.) to a Bible mutilated by Rabbi Akiba, and his men, for various reasons, some uncritical, others probably sinister." [This however is rather a one-sided view. The "Septuagint" means the Greek text of the great Uncials of 4th and 5th centuries; and there are considerable differences between the Vatican and the Alexandrian MSS. Greek readings are often valuable; but the Greek text is as imperfect as the Hebrew, and also often altered for religious reasons; while mistranslations which make no sense frequently occur, with other corruptions.—Ed.]' [303-304].

"(3) The Codex Vaticanus [Greek] is the oldest ["Bible"], and belongs to the 4th century. It originally included all the Bible; but parts of Genesis and of the Psalms are missing. It does not give the Books of Maccabees. The New Testament is completeexcept the latter part of Hebrews, and the Revelation, added by a later hand in the 15th century. In the 10th or 11th century a scribe re-inked the whole, but left out letters—and even words—which he thought incorrect, and added accents, thus ruining the MS. [manuscript]" [317].

PAGE 694

'We must call to mind what Ernest Renan wrote in 1888 in his History of Israel, which should be carefully studied. "The whole (Hebrew Bible) is a multiplicity of collations, never made officially, but in a complex sporadical fashion, without skill or unity. In these ancient times men had no idea of the identity of a book: everyone wished his own copy to be complete, and added to it all the supplements necessary to keep it up to date. There were not two copies alike, while the number of copies was extremely limited. At that epoch a book was not recopied but remade. When anyone wished to revive an old work, he also reinvigorated it, by combining it with other documents. Every book was composed with absolute irresponsibility, without a title or the author's name: was incessantly transformed; and received endless additions and commentaries...."' [305-306].

"The following is a list of SOME of the principal European translations, not including the versification of Genesis and other parts of the Old Testament (printed in 1655) attributed to the Anglo-Saxon Caedmon (650-680 A.C.). According to chroniclers there were many versions before the Reformation [16th century].

709 A.C.Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherbourne, is said to have rendered the Psalms into Anglo-Saxon verse.

735 A.C.Bede was said to be translating the fourth Gospel into Anglo-Saxon when he died.

900 A.C.The Vespasian version in Kentish dialect of the Psalms (MS. Cotton, Vespasian A1). [note: the original has 901 before 900]

901 A.C.King Alfred is said to have died doing the same for the Psalms.

997 A.C.The Pentateuch and Joshua in West Saxon by Aelfric: with Judges added later.

1160 A.C.The French version of Valdus (noticed in the Preface to the Authorised Version [1611]).

1343 A.C.A German version by a recluse of Halle.

1350 A.C.The German Stuttgart translation of the New Testament from the Latin.

1360 A.C.A French version under Charles V.

1370 A.C.A Bohemian, German, translation of parts of the Bible, Teple's version.

1382 A.C.The whole Bible in English, by Wyclif and his followers, Translated from the Latin Vulgate.

1394 A.C.The German Bible of King Wenceslaus.

1430 A.C.The Hussite German Bible.

1466 A.C.The Strasburg complete German Bible.

1483 A.C.Kaburger German Bible.

1488 A.C.The first printed Hebrew Bible.

1514 A.C.The Complutensian Polyglot printed. Including Hebrew, Septuagint, and Vulgate, with the Targum of Onkelos and its translation into Latin.

1525 A.C.Tyndale's New Testament in English.

1530 A.C.Tyndale's Pentateuch. [William Tyndale 1494? - 1536: "strangled and burnt at the stake" (Ox. Dict. C.C.)]

1535 A.C.Miles Coverdale's Bible. From Luther's, and the Vulgate.

PAGE 695

Excursus: from: The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume II, Baker, 1958 (1853-1868).

"Luther's Bible." "The New Testament was in type Sept., 1522 ["the first complete Bible in 1534"]; it was published with woodcuts at Wittenberg without name of printer or of translator (Das Newe Testament Deutzsch) and was sold for one and one-half florins." [145].

"For the Old Testament he [Luther] used the edition of Brescia, 1494 (the copy is now at Berlin); for the New Testament, the second edition of Erasmus (1519), but he consulted the Vulgate, and for the Old Testament had the assistance of his friends Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Aurogallus, and all available helps. In the preface to Sirach he mentions the earlier German translation, but he seems on the whole independent of it. The influence of Luther's work was great even outside of Germany. It formed the basis of the Danish translation of 1524, of the Swedish and Dutch of 1526, of the Icelandic of 1540, and, through the mediation of Tyndale, influenced the English Authorized Version of 1611." [145].

1537 A.C.Matthew's Bible (said to be by J. Rogers). Printed by Royal Permission.

1539 A.C.Tavernier's Bible (founded on the last).

1539 A.C.The Great Bible (or Cranmer's).

1557 A.C.Whittingham's New Testament. The first English Bible with division into verses.

1560 A.C.The Geneva printed Bible. First Edition. The most popular of all, for half a century, among Puritans, and called the "Breeches" Bible.

1568 A.C.The Bishop's Bible. A revision of the Great Bible.

1582 A.C.The Rheims Bible of Roman Catholics, from the Vulgate. New Testament only published at first; and the Old Testament at Douai 1609.

1611 A.C.The so-called Authorised Version, ordained by JAMES I to be read in churches, instead of the Bishop's Bible. Translated from the Greek (N.T.) and Hebrew (O.T.)

PAGE 696

Excursus: from: #24, 529-530.

from: King James the First Daemonologie (1597) Newes From Scotland declaring the Damnable Life and death of Doctor Fian, a notable Sorcerer who was burned at Edenbrough in Ianuary last. (1591)

[Author: King James the First] [reprint: The Bodley Head, 1924].

[Newes From Scotland]

"....yet for more tryall of him [Doctor Fian] to make him confesse, hee was commaunded to haue a most straunge torment which was done in this manner following.

His nailes vpon all his fingers were riuen and pulled off with an instrument called in Scottish a Turkas, which in England wee call a payre of pincers, and vnder euerie nayle there was thrust in two needels ouer euen up to the heads. At all which tormentes notwithstanding the Doctor neuer shronke anie whit, neither woulde he then confesse it the sooner for all the tortures inflicted vpon him.

Then was hee with all conuenient speed, by commandement, conuaied againe to the torment of the bootes [this was the second time. from 18-19: "Lastly he was put to the most seuere and cruell paine in the world, called the bootes...."], wherein hee continued a long time, and did abide so many blowes in them, that his legges were crushte and beaten togeather as small as might bee, and the bones and flesh so brused, that the bloud and marrowe spouted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made unseruiceable for euer. And notwithstanding al these grieuous paines and cruell torments hee would not confesse anie thing, so deepely had the deuill entered into his heart...." [27-28].

"....The rest of the witches which are not yet executed, remayne in prison till farther triall, and knowledge of his maiesties pleasure."


" is well knowen that THE KING is the child & servant of God, and they [witches] but seruants to the deuil, hee is the Lords annointed, and they [witches] but vesselles of Gods wrath: HE IS A TRUE CHRISTIAN, and trusteth in God, they [witches] worse than Infidels, for they [witches] onely trust in the deuill....

FINIS." [King James the First 1566 - 1625].

_____ _____ _____

PAGE 697

Excursus: from: the Internet (

'While riding through the bustling streets of London from 1603 to 1621, one was liable to hear the shout "Long live Queen James!" King James I of England and VI of Scotland was so open about his homosexual love affairs that an epigram had been circulated which roused much mirth and nodding of the heads: Rex fuit Elizabeth: nunc est regina Jacobus—"Elizabeth was King: now James is Queen."'

'James would have laughed his more prudish biographers to scorn, for, like Oscar Wilde [1854 - 1900] addressing the jury, in 1617 James addressed the venerable Privy Council with an official affirmation of his right to love men:

"I, James, am neither a god nor an angel, but a man like any other.

Therefore I act like a man and confess to loving those dear to me more than other men. You may be sure that I love the Earl of Buckingham more than anyone else, and more than you who are here assembled. I wish to speak in my own behalf and not to have it thought to be a defect, for JESUS CHRIST DID THE SAME, and therefore I cannot be blamed. CHRIST HAD HIS SON JOHN, AND I HAVE MY GEORGE."'

[I thank Daniel Noriega, and Eloy Rodriguez, for this research].

Excursus: from (9/1/98): Rictor Norton (

'James's address to the Privy Council comes from E.S. Turner, The Court of St. James's (New York, 1959 [126-127])....

I think "SON JOHN" is basically an affectionate term of endearment rather than a term of family relationship. King James sometimes refers to his boyfriend as "my son". It more or less has the same meaning as "my dear brother", "my dear boy", "my dear friend" etc. The reference is to John the Baptist, "who leaned always on the bosom of Jesus" according to the Bible.'

1881 A.C.The Revised New Testament in English.

1885 A.C.The Revised Old Testament in English." [308-309].

PAGE 698

'The suppression of the "Bible in the vulgar tongue" began in the 14th century. The Parliament of Richard II (1370-1399) forbade the use of English Bibles, and in 1408 a Convocation at Oxford decided that none might translate, or read, the Scriptures save with a bishop's permit. Pope Alexander V declared that the disobedient must be burnt at the stake. From 1413 to 1423 fresh Acts of Parliament were passed enacting that "Whosoever read the Bible in his mother tongue was an enemy of God, his King, and country, and should forfeit all his properties, and so also should his heirs." Restrictions, as to reading and comments, continued under Henry VIII even after Matthew's Bible had appeared, in 1537, by the royal sanction. But each martyrdom served only to increase interest in the forbidden Scriptures, and by the middle of the 16th century all Teutons were reading an open Bible. Not however till knowledge of Greek began to spread among the middle class (and only about the middle of the 19th century) did free criticism develop among the people generally. Roman Catholics, early foreseeing the results of such criticism, have ever continued to place severe restrictions on Bible reading. This was also to a certain extent the case among the Jews, for no Scriptures were of "private interpretation"; and, as an orthodox Jew reminds us (Jewish Chronicle, 27th April 1883), "no strictly literal translations of the Scriptures were allowed" (see also Rivers of Life, ii, p. 257).' [309].

'Prof. Huxley [Thomas Huxley 1825 - 1895] says... : "In this nineteenth century, as at the dawn of modern physical science, the cosmogony of the semi-barbarous Hebrew is the incubus of the philosopher, and the opprobrium of the orthodox. Who shall number the patient, and earnest, seekers after truth, from the days of Galileo [1564 - 1642] [and, before!] till now, whose lives have been embittered, and their good name blasted, by the mistaken zeal of Bibliolaters? Who shall count the host of weaker men whose sense of truth has been destroyed in the effort to harmonise impossibilities—whose life has been wasted in the attempt to force the generous new wine of science into the old bottles of Judaism, compelled by the outcry of the same strong party? It is true that, if philosophers have suffered, their cause has been amply avenged. Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science, as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed, if not annihilated; scotched if not slain. But ORTHODOXY is the Bourbon [political Bourbon] of the world of thought. IT LEARNS NOT, NEITHER CAN FORGET."' [311-312].

PAGE 699

"Buddha. Buddhism."

'Buddhism is at once easy to understand, and satisfying; it rules conduct; and makes life worth living for whosoever acts well his part. The Hindu, the Moslem, the Christian, are none of them as light-hearted or joyful as the Barman [Barman = (apparently) singular, of Burmese. See: Vol. 1, 256-261 ("Barmah. Burmah.")]. The Hindu is sorrowful, the Moslem fanatical, the Christian unfriendly to all whose gods are not his own. The tree is best known by its fruits; and the comparison is best illustrated by the Indian criminal statistics.

Proportion of Population per Criminal.



















The average for Christians is one criminal in 527 persons. The proportion is 6·6 times as large as in the case of Buddhists. The Buddhist has no Saviour to bear his sins, but he has no Satan to accuse as a tempter: he has no eternal hell to fear (if he is a true Buddhist); but he has the results of good conduct in which to trust. At worst NirvÆna is delayed by failure in duty. He sees the justice of that; and in his ears ever rings the voice that cries "Be good and you will be happy."' [363].

"Christ. Christianity."

'The Samaritans, as well as the Jews, believed in an "anointed one" (John iv, 25); yet many looked on Jesus as a Hebrew Stoik, resembling Pythagoras, and the Buddhist-like Essenes of Judea (see Essenes). But WHEN WE COME TO CONSIDER THE PLACE OF JESUS IN HISTORY, WE ARE CONFRONTED BY THE STARTLING FACT THAT WE HAVE NO CONTEMPORARY INFORMATION. The epistles precede the gospels, and the earliest epistles [probably 2nd century (see #4, 113, 471.)] date not earlier than 20 years after the crucifixion.

THOUGH BORN IN THE GREAT LITERARY AGE OF AUGUSTUS, JESUS IS UNNOTICED BY ANY GREEK OR ROMAN POET OR HISTORIAN (see Mr Moncure Conway's Modern Thought): "THERE IS NOT A SENTENCE, OR A WORD, ON WHICH HISTORY CAN FIX AS CERTAIN EVIDENCE THAT HE [JESUS] EVER LIVED AT ALL." [Tolstoi regards this as unessential, considering that we posses Christ's words. The same fact characterises the history of Buddhism. In each case the monumental evidence begins with texts carved 300 years after the death of the Master, when the faith was first recognised by an emperor—Constantine or Asoka. Christian texts of certain date are few and doubtful till 326 A.C., when they suddenly become numerous and definite in Palestine [sources?]. In the Roman catacombs Christians are hardly distinguishable from the worshipers of Mithra, or of Apollo, before this date. The oldest Christian building known is probably the synagogue of the Marcionites on Mt. Hermon—built in our 3rd century—and the name of Christ even here is concealed by the spelling Khrestos.—Ed.]' [427-428].

PAGE 700

'The sermons of Chrysostom are sufficient evidence that, in the 4th century, luxury, licence, and gross superstition, not confined to pagans, were equally rife at Antioch. Witchcraft especially led to terrible cruelties. The great fathers of the age, Cyril of Jerusalem, Basil, and the two Gregories, denounced the superstitions of the ignorant pilgrims. Persecution of pagans, Jews, and heretics, began under Constantine and archbishop Eusebius; the Christian who became a Jew, and the Jew who married a Christian, suffered death. Heretics might not hold assemblies, nor read their sacred books; especially Arians and Donatists, many of whom were burnt with their writings (see Lecky's Hist. of Rationalism, ii, 32). In the 5th century pagans were forbidden to hold any civil office, and their venerated shrines were levelled with the ground. Vainly they protested with tears that their temple symbols represented an ever present god, the solace of their troubles, and the source of their holiest joys: "the tie that linked them to their revered dead and dearest associations." Eusebius [c. 264 - 340 ("Gr. ["classical Greek"] ecclesiastical historian")] eulogised his emperor [Constantine c. 280 - 337]; Augustine [354 - 430] fanned the flames of persecution; both alike drawing their arguments from the New and the Hebrew scriptures (see Gibbon, chap. XXX). THE BIBLE BROUGHT ON THE CHRISTIAN WORLD A BAPTISM OF BLOOD. The dogma of Transubstantiation cost three or four hundred thousand human lives. In Greek provinces there fell 100,000 Manichaean heretics alone, and 50,000 were slain during the famous image controversy of the 9th century. The Crusades, says Mosheim (Ecc. Hist., i, p. 257), cost five million lives in the States of southern and central Europe.' [430-431].

'"FOR CENTURIES," says Mr. B.F. Underwood (Dominion Review, 1897-1898), "THE FAIREST REGIONS OF THE EARTH WERE...STREWN WITH HUMAN SKULLS." The extermination of the Albigenses—heretics of Languedoc: the expulsion of the Moriscoes—the luckless remnant of Moorish Moslems—from Spain: the expulsion of the Jews also, from Spain, Portugal, and England, and their terrible persecutions in the Middle Ages: the famous schism leading to the burning of the learned Rector Huss, and of Jerome of Prague at Constance in 1491 A.C., with the Hussite wars (costing 150,000 lives): the destruction of some 12 MILLIONS OF NATIVES IN AMERICA by Cortez, and Pizarro, and their priests: the massacre of St Bartholomew (at least 40,000 being slain): the slaughter of 50,000 in the Netherlands by the Emperor Charles V, and of thousands more by his cruel son: the burning of 30,000, and the torture of 290,000 more, by the Inquisition in Spain [see #19, 378 (Llorente)] alone; the burning and hanging of thousands, due to the command, "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live [Exodus 22:18]," in England, Scotland, and Ireland: ALL THESE ENORMITIES FOLLOWED THE GROWTH AND ASCENDANCY, IN THE WEST, OF LATIN CHRISTIANITY. RELIGION WAS MADE A CURSE TO MAN, BY THE SAVAGE CONSCIENCE OF IGNORANT PRIESTS.' [431].

PAGE 701

'Prof. Ramsay (Phrygia, ii) says of Christianity that, "in the fourth century it became, more and more markedly, the opponent of education, and looked on culture, literature, and art, with growing disfavour." Its clergy were so ignorant in these regions, that "in 448 a Phrygian bishop was unable to sign his name, but able to frame canons to bind the whole world at the Council of Constantinople. ...The church became identified with the policy of centralised depotism, and the destruction of individual sickened and died." Persecutions by the Church were not only "stupendous folly, but a terrible blow to the world, to civilisation, and humanity." Old and honoured Pagan names were proscribed by the first council in 325 A.C.; and the wise and cultured must have sighed when they thought of the times of Marcus Aurelius and the Stoiks, whom ignorant Asiatics had replaced.' [435].

'The faith must be the measure of the reception of truth...for Christianity is a faith, not a science to be is a belief without, or independent of, demonstration." Christians are to accept its many miracles and occult dogmas, its prophecy of the future of this world, its narratives, often unhistorical and mutually irreconcilable. Want of historical evidence is to be no excuse for unbelief. In all religions we are bidden to accept every superstition or legend, vision or miracle, found in their Bibles. Having faith we need not trouble to give reasons for our hopes. Pious Christians therefore do not usually attack Agnostiks, or Rationalists, who care nothing for "young men's visions and old men's dreams."' [444].

'But much learning and long discussion are needed before the masses can be roused to appreciate the thoughts of more advanced minds, or even to see the uselessness of slaughter for opinion's sake. The tyranny, greed, and immorality of priests did more than even the invention of printing. It roused popular anger against a corrupt Church. Cruelty had marked the rule of Churches since the pious Empress Theodora, in the 9th century, had offered up 100,000 lives to her deity: or a queen of the Netherlands a holocaust of 18,000 souls. According to Buckle upwards of 50,000 were slain about the same time for their heresies in other parts of Europe. Basil II, after a bloody conquest of the Bulgarians, "gouged out the eyes of 15,000 captives." Richard I practised similar cruelties on Moslems at Acre, and Edward the Black Prince butchered 3000 prisoners when he took Limoges. Secret imprisonment, slow torture, strangulation, starvation, and private assassination, were the deeds thought just by those who professed to be "messengers of peace and goodwill to men." In the 15th century the decay of the Church, and the progress of education, led to general skepticism in Italy; while among Teutonic nations the rule of Italian foreign prelates became intolerable....Venus and Ashtoreth became the Virgin Mary; Apollo and Horus became Christ; Jupiter and Osiris God." But, AS MEN INCREASED IN KNOWLEDGE IN NORTHERN EUROPE, THE WHOLE SYSTEM BECAME DISCREDITED AND OBSOLETE.' [449].

PAGE 702

'In 1886 Mr J. Thomson, after travelling over much of Africa, said (Rl. Geog. Socy. Journal, November 1886) that "for every negro that missionaries have influenced by Christianity a thousand have been driven to degradation"—bold language which led to much dispute, but which had a basis in fact. In West Africa proselytism has proceeded for 200 years, the result being 6400 communicants in the most densely populated region of the Dark Continent, where IslÆm has made its greatest advance. In 1884 a missionary was still conscientiously obliged to own that, "the old fetish deities are reverenced, and everywhere consulted by our Christians before they agree to attend our ordinary missionary meetings...most of them consider the new Faith a kind of fetish."' [455].

'In public comments on the Census of 1881 it was said, that in France there were 7 millions who did not even acknowledge the name of Jesus. In Exeter hall (1893), Father Hyacinthe said that "only three millions of the French were Roman Catholics, while thirty millions were virtually excommunicated, through rejecting the dogmas" (Times, 2nd May 1893). Dr. Gilder, Pastor of Berne, told the Basle Conference of 1879 that Switzerland, with 1½ million Protestants, and a million Roman Catholics, had only 3000 communicants; and that "one commonly hears people say: 'no one believes heaven is six feet underground...I keep Sunday in bed, or in the woods'" (Official Report, Basle Conference, 1880). From the elaborate statistics of 1893 (Rev. R. Howie, Free Church General Assembly), it seems that from 27 to 38 per cent. of the Scotch Christians go to no church at all. What then are we to conclude from all this independent evidence, but that dogmatic Christianity is rapidly decaying, and that the power of the priest is destined to disappear forever?' [457] [End of entry: "Christ. Christianity."].

Excursus: from (Internet): Larry Wright, Lecturer/Teacher, Swindon, England, 8/25/98:

"Church attendance has been in decline in the UK since 1846!!!! With the exception of two minor short lived upsurges, in 1910 and after both WW's – 1918 and 1945."

PAGE 703

_____ _____ _____

Excursus: from (Internet (3 pages)): The Economist: 'INDEX TERMS Religion IBritain, congregation decline; DATE 27–Jun–98 WORDS1459 Maidenhead

The attempts of one towns clergy to fight faithlessness Religion

IT IS certainly not lack of choice that stops Maidenhead's residents from worshipping God. This town of 50,000 souls on the river Thames has, among others, five Church of England churches; two Catholic, two Methodist, two Baptist, a United Reformed and a Christian Science church; a synagogue; a mosque; a Sikh temple; a Quaker meeting house; Salvation Army and Jehovah's Witnesses' halls; and an evangelical "house church". But, as elsewhere in Britain (see), worship is out of fashion, as people increasingly devote their days of rest to worldlier pursuits, such as shopping and sport. "Religious Trends" (Christian Research, £25) predicts that, in the year that Christendom celebrates the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus's birth, only 973,000 adults will attend Catholic mass each week, compared with 1.6m in 1980. Anglican churches' Sunday services will attract only 832,000, down from 968,000 in 1980. At their annual conference this week, Methodists, who face a similar decline, took steps toward rejoining the Anglican from which they broke away from in 1795: they voted in favour of a joint Bishop of Wales for Anglicans, Methodists and members of there other Protestant groups; they voted for talks on closer links with Scottish Anglicans; and on June 25th, as The Economist went to press, they were voting on a plan to save money by sharing church premises and/or ministers with the Church of England in some parishes....'

" seems that religious attendance in Maidenhead, as elsewhere in Britain, is still on a downward trend. Almost two–thirds of Britons still claim to believe in God (compared with almost everyone in America) but few feel obliged to give thanks to the Creator they profess to believe in. Clearly, in these less deferential times most people do not think of God as the jealous deity who instructed Moses in the proper way to worship Him. We are too comfortable to need God's help, Britons seem to think, and He does not need our hymns." [End of Article].

[I thank Eloy Rodriguez, for this research].

_____ _____ _____

Excursus: from (Larry Wright): The Observer (chart), 9/11/97:

"The corners of England where the church bells toll in vain Figures for district council areas, show the percentage of non-churchgoers England 89%"

PAGE 704

"Clement of Alexandria."

'Cassiodorus avowedly altered the writings of the philosophik Clement, in accordance with what the Latin Church thought orthodox, so that we now find in them, according to Dr Donaldson (Encycl. Brit. [9th edition, Vol. V, 820 (reference to Hypotyposes, which have not come down to us, but have been commented upon)]), "many opinions which Clement opposed," WHICH SHOWS US HOW MUCH RELIANCE CAN BE PLACED ON THE ORDINARY TEXT OF THE FATHERS (see Bible) as regards Clement's real opinions on the "anger and other affections of the Deity, the Resurrection and Transmigration of the Soul"—as to which he would seem to have followed Plato.' [466-467].


'"The Christian religion," he [Denis Diderot 1713 - 1784] said, "is, to my mind, the most absurd and atrocious in its dogmas, the most unintelligible, the most metaphysical, the most puerile and unsociable in its morality, considered, not in what is common to it with universal ethics, but in what is peculiarly its own, and which makes it the most intolerable of all. ....nature invites man to love himself and increase his happiness: Religion makes him love a dreadful god, really worthy of hatred, despise himself, and sacrifice to his terrible idol the sweetest and most lawful pleasures. Nature tells him to take reason for his guide: Religion says it is a corrupt and faithless guide, implanted by a treacherous god, to mislead his creatures. Nature calls on him to seek labour and just ambition, and to be brave, active, and industrious: Religion says, 'be meek and poor in spirit,' live in retirement, busy thyself with prayers and ceremonies, doing nothing for thyself or others. Blush not even for thy crimes or vices, but go to thy god, or to his priests, and wash away thy sins with prayers and offerings."

The Church tried to suppress such teachers by force, and then by argument. It succeeded for a time, but TRUTH CAN ONLY BE CONQUERED BY BRUTE FORCE; and the world rejoiced at the centenary of this great teacher [Diderot!]. The Encyclopedists started a new era of European thought on true linesthe education of the people; and to-day, after many throes, the religion that they taught is, perhaps, the real religion of the best and most cultivated men and women.' [542-543].

Volume 2, E-M


'We must not forget that the gospels and literature of the Gnostiks (excepting a few works such as the Poemandres, or "Shepherd of Men," and the Pistis Sophia or "wise belief") were destroyed by the triumphant Catholics of the 4th century, so that "it is hardly possible to obtain more than an incomplete and fragmentary conception of this once powerful and popular movement."' [151].


PAGE 705

'The English word "God-spell," meaning "God's news," is a rendering of the Greek "Eu-angelion, or "good message" (see Bible, and Christ). We possess no text of the four Canonical Gospels older than the 4th century, and no really reliable notice of their existence before about 175 A.C. (the Muratorian Canon giving a list of New Testament Books): for QUOTATIONS IN THE "FATHERS" ARE ADMITTED TO BE UNTRUSTWORTHY, OWING TO CORRUPTIONS IN THE TEXTS OF PATRISTIC LITERATURE. In the Canonical Epistles—that is to say as late, at least, as 63 A.C.—we do not find any allusion to written accounts of the life of Christ, or of his teaching. The traditional views as to the origin of the Gospels rest on statements made by Eusebius, in our 4th century, WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE RELIABLE; and there is no earlier evidence, save a fragment of Matthew's Gospel found in Egypt, on papyrus, which is attributed to the 2nd and 3rd century. By the end of the 3rd century there were many gospels, and, collections of Logia or "sayings" of Christ (see Apokruphal Gospels); but Celsus objected that there was no true account. Papias is quoted by Eusebius as an authority; but even he "never saw the Lord." Justin Martyr does not speak of four Gospels, though he is supposed to have quoted them. Irenaeus is the first (as his text stands) to mention the four. It is admitted, by those who are aware of textual studies, that certain passages in our text are very doubtful (Luke xxii, 43, 44; John v, 4; viii, 1-11) as not occurring in the oldest MSS.; and the same applies to the last verses of Mark (xvi, 9-20); while those in Matthew (xxviii, 16-20) seem also to be a later addition to the original book. [Such interpolations naturally gave rise to the view that the Gospels were written late....—Ed.]'


PAGE 706


'To the ancients the soul after death dwelt forever in the world of ghosts (see Hel). They did not look forward with any pleasure to such a future. Akhilleus, in the Odyssey, would rather be a slave on earth than a king in Hades. The Hebrew philosopher [see Achilles (Odyssey), below] (Eccles. ix, 4, 5) says: "It is better to be a living dog than a dead lion, for the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten"....This is the Hebrew creed from the first, and down to the latest books of the Old Testament. "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. iii, 19): "ALL GO UNTO ONE PLACE, ALL ARE OF DUST AND ALL TURN TO DUST AGAIN" (Eccles. iii, 20). "While I live," says the Psalmist, "I will praise Yahveh" (Psalm cxlvi, 2), for there is no remembrance of him after death. The Jew of to-day (see Jewish World, 8th May 1885) recognises this: "Judaism knows no belief in reference to the state of the soul hereafter. It has no dogmas in respect to any life after the body is committed to the grave....Its sages have but speculated and pondered, like the votaries of all creeds, on the conditions of Divine judgment; and Rabbinical views have never been other than speculations....The question has been considered a morbid one, and of no practical importance....The eupeptic man is likely, hereafter, to deride as ludicrous such speculative discussions as 'Is salvation possible after death'? These can tend to no earthly good; are wholly and solely visionary and incapable of the least proof; and often lead to mischievous results such as spiritualism in all its vagaries, which, with like religious teachings, have unhinged the mind of scores of unfortunate people." These remarks are in the same tone that characterised the teaching of Buddha 2400 years ago. The Pharisees however became acquainted with Persian ideas, according to which the pious followers of a reincarnate prophet, having in them "the fire of life," were to be in future reborn on earth, as his companions in a millenium. The Sadducees, representing the better educated upper class, never accepted this belief, and remained content with the teaching of their ancient scriptures in the matter....Even the Pharisee, though he held (according to the Mishnah) that "all Israel" had a portion in the "life to come," never included any of the Gentiles: for they were "like the beasts that perish."' [263-264].

[Note: Ecclesiastes dated (by Bishop Colenso [John William Colenso 1814 - 1883 (Bishop of Natal)]) 320 - 200 B.C.E. (see Vol. 1, 313-314)].

Excursus: from: The Tree of Life, an Archaeological Study, Studies in the History of Religions, (Supplements to Numen), XI, E.O. James, Brill, 1966. [Note: extensive Bibliography: "xiii"-xviii].

"Achilles, like Enki in the Babylonian land of No-return; opined, 'speak no comfortable words to me, glorious Odysseus, concerning death. I had rather be another man's serf of the tilth, a portionless man whose livelihood was but small, rather than be lord over all the dead that have perished.' 5) ["5) Od. [Odyssey (probably 8th century B.C.E.)] xi. 488f."]". [85].

PAGE 707

'Col. Ingersoll (born 11th August 1833, and dying 21st July 1899), said at the grave of his beloved brother in 1886: "Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of the two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word. But in the night of death Hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing....We have no fear of death....Our religion is Help for the living, and Hope for the dead."

....Seven weeks before his own death, in his poem called "The Declaration of the Free," the same writer ["Col. Ingersoll"] in the last stanza says:—

"Is there beyond the silent night

An endless day?

Is death a door that leads to light?

We cannot say.

The tongueless secret locked in fate

We do not know. We hope and wait."

Such are the humble thoughts of Agnostiks, which are now moulding those of this cultured and religious age. No apology is needed for presenting them to thoughtful readers.' [266-267].

'Buddhist priests, in reply to the author's anxious arguments on the subject, answered calmlyyet with amazement: "Why do you Christians agitate yourselves so much about the hidden future, if, indeed, such future there be? ....Cato, Seneca, Epict_tus, Servius Sulpicius, Marcus Aurelius, all, like the Hebrews, spoke of death as the final end, and offered to the bereaved no comfort save the idea of "eternal rest." They had no belief in either the Tartarus, or the Elysian fields, of popular religion, any more than the educated of our own day who cast aside the heaven and hell of the Bible. Euripides denounced the desire of immortality as a "foolish aspiration." Prof. F. Newman says that "it is the fruitful and fatal perverter of the sense of duty, by which alone theology becomes beneficial" (Theo. Rev., Jany. 1879). He adds that "the result of all my studies devoted to these subjects, during a long life, convinces me that immortality has been to the Christian Churches, either a noxious doctrine or a dead faith." In 1886 (PalinodiaLife after Death) he writes: "I always regarded as trash Plato's arguments for immortality, as, I make no doubt, Cicero did. Therefore, as soon as I ceased to trust the Scriptures of the New Testament as a divine revelation, my acceptance of a future life as a dogma at once fell away...."'



"The legend of Virgin birth attaches to Zoroaster, Buddha, Plato, Alexander, and many other heroes, as well as to Christ, and is abandoned even by dignitaries of the Church of England (see Times, 3rd to 23rd November 1902)." [464].

PAGE 708

Volume 3, N-Z


'In his [Origen c. 185 - c. 254] time there were at least seven Greek versions of the Jewish Scriptures: of these he selected and compared, in parallel columns, the four that he regarded as most important, namely what he called the "Septuagint," with the versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. This formed his "Tetrapla" or "four-fold" comparison, to which he added the Hebrew, and the Hebrew in Greek characters, the whole being known as the Hexapla or "six-ply" document. All this labour has perished, and we only thence learn that the Old Testament, in our 3rd century, abounded in variant readings due either to differences in the Hebrew copies, or to differences of translation. The same, we know, was also the case with the New Testament, according to the notes of Origen, who wrote thereon many scholia, homilies, and commentaries. His work thus included both grammatical criticism, moral teaching, and secret "pneumatic" or mystic interpretation; but what remains to us—being chiefly in Latin translation—has been garbled by later orthodox scribes, so that we often remain uncertain as to the real ideas of Origen.' [50].


'Many writings that were not Paul's are believed to have been fathered on him (see Hebrews, Epistle of). The so-called "Pastoral" epistles (to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon) are especially doubted as "Deutero-Pauline." WE CAN INDEED HARDLY CALL EITHER PAUL HIMSELF, OR CHRIST, OR THE APOSTLES, TRULY HISTORICAL FIGURES'. [95].


'In 1877 a Gossain of BanÆras sacrificed a boy of twelve to Siva, in order to find treasure; in 1883 a Banya (or tradesman) family of twelve persons committed suicide to "please the gods": and not long ago creditors in N. India have been known to immolate a cow, or an old woman, that the sin of such impious sacrifices might fall on the debtor's soul. Mr Deshmukh (Journal Anthrop. Socy., Bombay, Feb. 1882) says that it used to be quite usual to bury a woman in the foundations of any very important building; and Sir Bartle Frere (who was nearly 40 years in W. India) says that: "No Rajput or Mahratta fortress could be built with any certainty of permanence or safety—in popular estimation—till the head man of an ancient tribe—usually a Bh_l—was buried in the foundations of the keep, or other prominent part." He might however give his son as the corner stone; and the same idea is found among early MalagÆsy tribes, Siamese, Barmese, and others. Such then are the innumerable miseries that man has inflicted on his fellows, and on dumb beasts, on account of his belief that "without blood there is no remission of sins"; that a substitute must be offered for himself; and that union with a deity must be attained, in some mystic manner, by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, or partaking (as among Azteks) of some food symbolizing the divine body (see Crosses).' [224-225].

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"Secularists. Secularism."

'The founder of popular secularism in England seems to have been Mr George Jacob Holyoake, who formulated the system while imprisoned, with his friend Mr Charles Southwell, for blasphemy in 1841-1842. But such belief is as old as Confucius in China, and lay at the root of the Stoik philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. It was voiced in the life-long cry of Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion." Mr Charles Bradlaugh and his party (from 1865 to 1880) did more than any others to advance secularism, which may now be regarded as one of the religions of the world—the Buddhism of the West, which has a strong hold on thousands who do not confess the name. Mr Holyoake wrote a pamphlet called Paley Refuted; but yet earlier the Diegesis of the Rev. R. Taylor, B.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, was written in his cell in Oakham Jail, in February 1829, and Holyoake followed up, and systematised ideas which Taylor could not recommend to his own generation; for he [Holyoake] taught that Theocrasy meant priestly power, which checks human efforts to do good.' [261].

'In America the teaching of Col. Ingersoll has been much the same (see American Truth, August 1888). He says that: "Secularism embraces everything that is of any real interest or value to the human race...all that tends to preserve or increase the happiness of some sentient being....It is the religion of this world, and if there is another, necessarily the religion of that as well....It teaches us to be good here and now."' [263].

"Prof. Huxley [Thomas Huxley 1825 - 1895] complained that the legends of Genesis closed every door leading to the fields of biology and critical history." [263].

'Septuagint. See Bible, and Origen: also Short Studies (ix, pp. 413-452). The Greek version of the Old Testament is so called, from the legend that it was the work of "seventy" translators. [The main contentions of the author favour the Septuagint text as older and more reliable than the Masoretic Hebrew; but he points out that we have no early MSS. to show us what the original temple copy of the Hebrew scriptures contained.—Ed.]' [265].


'No religion in the past forbade slavery. As Renan [Joseph Ernest Renan 1823 -1892] says: "There is not one word in all Christian literature that tells the slave to revolt, or the master to free the slave, or that touches the problem of public right which arises out of slavery."' [319].


PAGE 710


'It is an absolute truth that our mental state depends entirely on that of our bodies, and that no "mind" is perceptible except through nervous action. Healthy thought is possible only under healthy conditions of the animal, or living being. If such being be immature, or too old, it cannot accomplish the highest work for which it is fitted in its best age. The mind soon becomes conscious of weakness; and hence we see that the aged withdraw from the consideration of difficult questions, even when they have spent the best part of their lives in debating them. Old age seeks rest, and often finds it in the comforting assurance which friends are ever ready to urge—for who would be so cruel as to suggest disturbing doubts and fears? But such final yielding to opinions which, in days of vigorous intellectual power, we had tried, and found wanting, and had cast aside as superstitious, must (as Renan saw) be regarded, NOT as A "DEATH-BED CONVERSION," BUT rather as THE RESULT OF WEAKENED MENTAL GRASP.' [344].

'We must set aside alike the visions of Buddha, Christ, or Muhammad, however earnestly the believers urge that these great teachers strove with MÆra, Satan, or Ibl_s, and communed with gods in lonely groves, or on desert mounts. No doubt, like the child Samuel, they heard their Lord calling them, as many an hysterical girl hears him in these days also: but we have learned now, in such cases, to call in the doctor; and we should certainly not allow a physician to practice long in our hospitals, if he diagnosed the case as one of possession by a devil, or of inspiration by a god.

Belief in such possession or inspiration; in spirits, souls, ghosts, devils, deities, and spectres, is nevertheless still very general throughout Europe; and they are still very real "beings," and causes of terror, throughout Asia, Africa, America, and Oceania. The belief in the spirit which is the life of any being has always, from the first, lain at the very root of every religion since man first gazed on death. Once, in an Indian jungle, the author turned aside from the pursuit of game to interview ghosts....' [344-345].

PAGE 711

[Promotion for (at the back of this book):

Short Studies in the Science of Comparative Religions,

Major-General J.G.R. Forlong, 1897]

'"The ninth article is a learned treatise on 'The Greek Septuagint and the Bible of the Hebrews.' it is strong meat for timid Churchmen. The critical position is that of the extreme Left. Much is made of the destruction of the original manuscripts, and the subsequent corruption of the text. The roll of the Temple Standard was, we are told, sent to Rome by Josephus and disappeared; while the Septuagint is supposed to have been lost at the burning of the Bruchium Library, 47 B.C. 'Our various texts,' it is affirmed, 'all belong to medieval times, and come from unknown and dubitable sources.' ...."' [next to last page of book ("11")].

'"'ALL GODS, BEING THE WORK OF MEN'S MINDS, if not indeed of their hands, require to be kept up to their duties, and in the prayers of most priests as well as laymen their duties are rather alertly pointed out to them, for peradventure ["perhaps, possibly"] they sleep, and require rousing. Only if our God never forgets, leaves, or forsakes us do we "praise his holy name." Jacob chose Yahve because of his promised bounties to him. Useless and negligent gods were often cast aside, and even flogged, as we shall see in China and Polynesia.'"—Free Thought, 17th October 1897.' [last page of book ("12")].

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