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21

Subjects (abstracts): We Jews and Jesus;

Addendum AAdolph von Harnack
Addendum BBruno Bauer
Addendum CSylvain Maréchal

from: We Jews and Jesus, Samuel Sandmel, Provost and Professor of Bible and Hellenistic Literature Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, Oxford, 1965. [a "Must See" book!] [The author was an intermediary between Jews and Christians; of course, Jewish, and Christian, apologetics.].

"....I discuss a question often put to me by Jews, to the effect that PERHAPS THERE NEVER WAS A JESUS." [ix]. [See: #3, 47, 223.].

'...F.C. Baur (1792—1860),...like Strauss [David Friedrich Strauss 1808 - 1874], taught at Tübingen. Baur's main scholarly interest was the history of early Christianity, and particularly in the question, HOW DID IT COME ABOUT THAT CHRISTIANITY MOVED SO RAPIDLY AND COMPLETELY FROM THE JEWISH INTO THE GREEK WORLD? [Answer: CHRISTIANISM ("CHRISTIANITY") WAS FROM the GREEK-ROMAN WORLD!] This question of the rapid Hellenization of Christianity has been the focus of many a scholar's work since Baur's day. Baur's answer to the question took the implicit form of rejecting the question, for his answer was that Christianity was not quickly Hellenized. He could sustain this view only by declaring that New Testament writings, such as the thirteen Epistles of Paul, were not all of them genuine and therefore not from the very early period; instead, most of the Epistles of Paul were, in his opinion, second-century "pseudographs." Whereas Christian tradition has ascribed infallibility to the Gospels, [the following clause, repeat of #2, 22, 132.] Baur offered a most radical opinion, namely, that the Gospels were propagandistic essays. The word Baur used was Tendenz; it is to be rendered in English as "tendentiousness," in the sense of "partisan," rather than as "tendency."' [59-60].

"That the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, and other less important writings are in GREEK means that they are in the same language as the New Testament and hence their contents readily susceptible to study by the New Testament specialist." [69].

"The scholarly world was destined to see endless repetitions of the spectacle Renan [Ernest Renan 1823 - 1892] presented, namely, the New Testament scholar who rejects the historical worth of most of the Gospel materials, but who seems able to muster a Life of Jesus in which he appears to have FORGOTTEN HIS OWN DENIALS."

[73]. [Negation (see: Freud, et al. (Negation, Leo Apostel, ed.))!].

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"Bruno Bauer (1809—82), needs to command our attention. Bauer was a vicious Jew-baiter, and active in opposing the wish of German Jews to attain the heights of citizenship." [61]. [for other perspectives, see Addendum B (Stepelevich, 51)].

"As to BRUNO BAUER, who DENIED THAT THERE EVER WAS A JESUS, Bauer's book, Philo, Strauss, Renan and Primitive Christianity [Philo, Strauss und Renan und das Urchristentum (not translated to English)], published in 1874, summarized his earlier views. Bauer was no ignoramus [sic!], and his writings exhibit his deep and broad learning, and also his prejudices. He knew Philo well; he was only dimly aware of rabbinic literature. We said above that Philo's Logos and the Logos-Christ of the New Testament were links in the same religious, theosophical chain. Bauer contended that Renan and Strauss had completely misunderstood the sequence of developments in early Christianity, for they, in isolating a human Jesus from New Testament legends and theology, supposed that the order of the process was from the man Jesus into a divine being. According to Bauer, the process was exactly the reverse, and what happened was NOT that a man became progressively more and more deified, BUT that an abstraction, Philo's Logos, came to be more and more humanized, and that out of this progressive humanization THERE EMERGED A MAN JESUS WHO HAD NEVER REALLY LIVED [see #3, 46, 216.]. There is this measure of aptness in Bauer's view, that IN THE EARLY CHURCH there was agreement that Jesus was divine, and THE QUARRELS then WERE ON HIS HUMANITY [see: 422 (Grant); 434 (Hoffmann)], affirmed by most but denied by many [sources?]. But Bauer marshaled his evidence one-sidedly, and he did not do justice to the counterbalancing evidence [?]." [75-76].

"Bauer was too well trained a scholar to rest his negative case on mere assertion, and therefore he felt it necessary to give what he considered a more persuasive view of the true nature of the Gospels than did his opponents, and also he felt it necessary to break down their case. This latter especially would seem to have appealed to him and he gave himself to the task both in highly technical writing and also in the more popular book named above ["Philo, Strauss, Renan and Primitive Christianity"].

Bauer remains a curiosity [sic!]. The importance of his denial that Jesus ever lived may help in underlining the assertions of many scholars concerning the unreliability of the Gospel tradition, for it is not too long a stride across the boundary between denying that the Gospels are historical and that Jesus ever lived. Bauer took that step because the real [sic!] boundary line was obscured from him through prepossession....it is worthy of note that at the same time that Renan and the later Strauss depicted a Jesus at variance with Judaism, and BAUER WAS DENYING THERE EVER WAS A JESUS, Graetz and Geiger were asserting the authenticity of the Jewishness of Jesus." [76-77]. [See: Addendum B].

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'LIVES OF JESUS continued to be written in the nineteenth century, but never with any definitiveness. The example of Renan [1823 - 1892], that of capricious selection and exclusion, prompted one scholar after another to write a supposedly more reliable book than that of the scholar whose work the new book was expected to replace. The best characterization of these books can be found by leaping a little ahead, to 1900, when a great scholar of New Testament and Church history, Adolph von Harnack [1851 - 1930], gave a series of lectures in Berlin. The translation of the German title of the lectures is "The Essence of Christianity"; the title of the English translation is What Is Christianity? To Harnack, Christianity was "something simple and sublime; it means one thing and one thing only. Eternal life in the midst of time, by the strength and under the eyes of God." HARNACK RULED OUT OF CHRISTIANITY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, ECCLESIASTICISM, DOCTRINE, DOGMA, THE AUTHORITY OF PERSONS, AND EVEN A CONCERN WITH THE PROBLEMS OF SOCIETY. As to Jesus, Harnack said not one word about the virgin birth, the atoning death, or the resurrection. He said that Jesus never attended a rabbinical school, NOR WAS HE [JESUS] AN ESSENE, but a man who "lived in religion, and whose whole life, all his thoughts and feelings, were absorbed in the relation to God."' [81].

"That Harnack's view represented the extreme in capricious [sic!] selection and exclusion was quickly demonstrated in a book [L'Évangile et l'Église, 1902] called, in its English translation, The Gospel and the Church, by a Frenchman, Alfred Loisy [1857 - 1940]. The latter was then a Catholic priest [excommunicated, 1908]. His attack on Harnack took the form of insisting that the Church could not be disregarded in any effort to understand Christianity; even the Gospels, so said Loisy, were not so much documents about Jesus as CREATIONS by the Church which shaped the Gospels in the light of Church experience, NEED, and BELIEF.23 In a word, Loisy accused Harnack of fashioning Christianity in the light of his own dispositions and preferences." [81-82].

"THE JEWISHNESS OF JESUS WAS ALMOST TOTALLY ABSENT FROM HARNACK [see: Addendum A; B], and the various LIVES OF JESUS, the latest contradicting the previous, managed to put Jesus into a Jewish setting and still immunize him from Judaism." [82].

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'the case for accepting that there was a Jesus of history can [cannot!] rest on the modest lines of a Schmiedel [Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel 1851 - 1935]; that is to say, do passages in the New Testament make more sense by assuming that there was a Jesus than by denying it? [this is a classic orthodox question (rejoinder)] The Gospel speaks of the sisters and brothers of Jesus; in the early Church the view arose that Mary was perpetually virgin, and to this day a usual Roman Catholic interpretation is that these sisters and brothers were cousins. If Jesus had no sisters and brothers, why should the Church, ascribing perpetual virginity to Mary, have invented them? Why invent a Jesus who preached the early end of the world? Why invent some obscure Jew, from that obscure region of Palestine, Galilee? The best refutation of the "Christ Myth" school came from an English scholar, F.C. Conybeare [The Historical Christ, 1914] ["The best", was: Historicity of Jesus, Shirley Jackson Case, c1912 (1928 (with "spins"))], who had himself reached a skeptical [beware, of "orthodox" "skeptics"!] position about Christian dogma; as a consequence, his defense of the proposition that Jesus was a historical character was [apparently atonement for his 1909 book (Myth, Magic, and Morals)] in no sense special pleading, but an able, balanced [sic!] inquiry into the evidence and the probabilities.26' [88].

[Endnote] "26. Conybeare [F.C. Conybeare 1856 - 1924] was capable of writing with acid. His survey of the New Testament, Myth, Magic, and Morals [1909], is as anti-Christian as anything I have ever read. His The Historical Christ [1914] is a skillful denunciation of Robertson [J.M. Robertson 1856 - 1933] and Drews [Arthur Drews 1865 - 1935]. An excellent later book is by the Frenchman, Maurice Goguel [1880 -1955], the translation of which was published under the title Jesus the Nazarene, Myth or History [1926], New York, 1926. Goguel was superb in assessing the deniers; his affirmative case, however, was A TRIUMPH OF PIETY OVER SCHOLARSHIP." [115].

["a triumph of piety over scholarship"! Superb! describes Goguel, Conybeare, et al.].

Comment: for Paul Schmiedel; F.C. Conybeare; Shirley Jackson Case; J.M. Robertson; Arthur Drews; Maurice Goguel; et al. (including apt criticisms of the redoubtable Joseph McCabe); persecutions; etc.; see:

Herbert Cutner [ 1881 - 1969], Jesus God, Man or Myth? An Examination of the Evidence, The Truth Seeker Company, New York, c1950. [A Classic!] [a "Must See" book!].

Note: not one copy of this book in the University of California system.

"the scrolls [Dead Sea scrolls] [discovered 1947 (to 1960's)] ["the documents...date from the mid-3rd century BC to AD 68" (Encyc. Brit.)] contain very little material of that kind which enables them to be dated around specific known events [see #2, 18, 103.], and lack even more noticeably the names of people. Jesus, Peter, and Paul go unnamed in the scrolls." [105].

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'The scrolls are "important," in my opinion, only in themselves, and not in the light that they shed on Christianity. For the scrolls [Dead Sea scrolls] turn out not to have added one jot to the previous knowledge about Jesus.' [106].

[last sentence, repeat of #3, 49, 238.].

"For someone like me, the Gospels, on the one hand, so recreate the Jewish scene that the recreation must be the result of knowledge and reflection of it, and it cannot [sic!] be regarded merely as fictional. On the other hand, there is scarcely an item in the Gospels which does not bristle with problems." [119].

"there has existed, and still exists, a reluctance to recognize that, as the Gospels differ from each other, so necessarily do the portraits of Jesus differ. Christians in general incline to what might be formulated in this way, that the four Gospels give interpretations of the one Jesus. My own opinion goes in a different direction, for I BELIEVE THAT ONE GETS FROM THE GOSPELS NOT ONE JESUS BUT FOUR." [123].

"Two books by Charles Guignebert are to be commended to the student with a bent for history. His The Jewish World in the Times of Jesus [Eng. trans.], New York, 1959, predates the Dead Sea scrolls but is nevertheless not out of date. His Jesus (Eng. trans.), London, 1935, is marred for some Christian readers by his rigid and rigorous historical orientation, and it is therefore in great contrast to the books which blend piety and history. This is especially true regarding its tone, which seems to Christians, and to me, antagonistic to Christianity." [156].

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[Addendum A]

from: Adolph Harnack [1851 - 1930] History of Dogma, Russell and Russell, Vol. 1, 1958.

[footnote (found 8/2/97)] '2It is one of the merits of Bruno Bauer (Christus und die Cäsaren, 1877), that he has appreciated the real significance of the Greek element in the Gentile Christianity which became the Catholic Church and doctrine, and that he has appreciated the influence of the Judaism of the Diaspora as a preparation for this Gentile Christianity. But these valuable contributions have unfortunately been deprived of their convincing power by a baseless [sic!] criticism of the early Christian literature, to which Christ and Paul have fallen a sacrifice. Somewhat more cautious are the investigations of Havet in the fourth volume of Le Christianisme, 1884; Le Nouveau Testament. He has won great merit by the correct interpretation of the elements of Gentile Christianity developing themselves to catholicism, but his literary criticism is often unfortunately entirely abstract, reminding one of the criticism of Voltaire, and therefore his statements in detail are, as a rule, arbitrary and untenable. There is a school in Holland at the present time closely related to [influenced by] Bruno Bauer and Havet, which attempts to banish early Christianity from the world. CHRIST [see: #3, 41-104 Etc.] AND PAUL [see: #4, 105-151 Etc.] ARE CREATIONS OF THE SECOND CENTURY: the history of Christianity begins with the passage of the first century into the second—a peculiar phenomenon on the soil of Hellenised Judaism in quest of a Messiah. This Judaism [Hellenised Judaism] created Jesus Christ just as the later Greek religious philosophers created their Saviour (Apollonius, for example). THE MARCIONITE CHURCH PRODUCED [see #4, 105, 424.-425., 106, 426.-427., etc.] PAUL AND THE GROWING CATHOLIC CHURCH COMPLETED HIM. See the numerous treatises of Loman, the Verisimilia [?] of Pierson and Naber (1886), and the anonymous English work "Antiqua Mater" [Edwin Johnson] (1887), also the works of Steck (see especially his Untersuchung über den Galaterbrief). Against these works see P.V. Schmidt's "Der Galaterbrief" 1892. It requires a deep knowledge of the problems which the first two centuries of the Christian Church present, in order not to thrust aside as simply absurd these attempts, which as yet have failed to deal with the subject in a connected way [?]. They have their strength in the difficulties and riddles which are contained in the history of the formation of the Catholic tradition in the second century. But the single circumstance that we are asked to regard as a forgery such a document as the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, appears to me, of itself, to be an unanswerable [sic!] argument against the new hypotheses.' [51-52].

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[Addendum B]

from: The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Edwards, Editor in Chief, Volume One, Macmillan, 1972 (1967).

"Bauer, Bruno (1809—1882), German theologian and historian". [254].

'Bauer sealed his fate with the article "Theological Shamelessness" (1814 [1841]), in which he denounced the Christian faith as the source of lies and servile hypocrisy; he was dismissed [University of Bonn] in March 1842. Ultimately, BAUER DENIED THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS ALTOGETHER, holding that CHRISTIANITY WAS AN AMALGAM OF STOIC AND GNOSTIC IDEAS IN JEWISH DRESS.' [255].

'Bauer attacked various reform movements as insufficiently radical. Jewish agitation for political rights, for example, was based on the separate religious identity of the Jew, and could never be defended on those grounds against those whose religious prejudices took a different form; the Jew would become free only by ceasing to be religious. Marx answered this argument in his essay "On the Jewish Problem" (1844), and attacked Bauer as "St. Bruno" in The Holy Family: Critique of the Critical Critic, Against Bruno Bauer and Consorts (1845). The real problem, according to Marx, was economic class behavior, and not the religious projections of that behavior.' [255] [Stephen D. Crites].

from: Bruno Bauer and Karl Marx, The Influence of Bruno Bauer on Marx's Thought, Zvi Rosen, Martinus Nijhoff / The Hague / 1977.

'Barnikol [Ernst Barnikol] who studied Bauer's writings for decades, saw him as the acutest critic of religion in modern times, surpassing even Nietzsche and Lenin as regards his "succinct knowledge and criticism"...' [9-10].

'When Bauer proposed a course [University of Bonn] entitled "Critique of the Fourth Gospel" he was requested by the Dean to omit the world [word] "critique". But these difficulties did not hinder Bauer's literary and scholarly work; rather the contrary—they stimulated him to prove that he and not the orthodox theologians, represented science and the correct approach to science.

"I cannot rest", he [Bruno Bauer] wrote to his brother [Edgar Bauer], "until I have completely cleaned out the stable [AUGEAN!]. I am engaged in preparatory work for the critique of the Synoptics. Victory will be mine in the end. I have found the point at which I must pull the strings in order to arrive at the solution."60' [59].

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'8) The famous phrase "religion is the opium of the people" [Karl Marx 1818 -1883] [see #4, 107, 437.] is but a repetition of Bauer's theory that religion lulls the consciousness of believers, reconciles them to miserable reality through drawing an illusory picture of happiness awaiting them in the next world. Bruno Bauer [1809 -1882] was not the first to compare religion to opium. A similar view was voiced, for example, before him by Holbach [Baron d' Holbach 1723 - 1789], who grasped religion as the art of intoxicating human beings,23 or Maréchal [Sylvain Maréchal 1750 - 1803] [see Addendum C], who said that "until now mankind has been ruled by religious means of intoxication" and specifically referred to opium.24 In Feuerbach [Ludwig Feuerbach 1804 - 1872] there is almost no reference to this problem, at least not in the Essence of Christianity, and this fact may be cited against Schaper's25 attempts to represent Feuerbach as the inventor of this phrase. The term appears only once, in Pierre Bayle, but is underplayed there and lacks the significance which was attributed to it in Bauer's and Marx's writings.26 In the Philosophy of Religion Hegel [George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770 - 1831] compares the Indian religion to a man suffering in body and spirit, in an intolerable situation, who therefore strives, through opium, to create a dream world and the joy of madness. Benz called attention to the possible influence of this idea on the Young Hegelians.27' [140].

from: The Trumpet of the Last Judgement, Against Hegel The Atheist and Antichrist, An Ultimatum, Bruno Bauer, Translated by Lawrence Stepelevich, Mellen, 1989.

"as yet not one of his [Bruno Bauer] major works has been completely translated into English [Suppression!].2 That this is the case seems almost incredible, not only because of Bauer's intimate relationship to the first development of Hegelianism after Hegel and his role as the mentor of Marx, but also because of his own considerable theological insight." [1-2].

"When young Karl Marx first encountered Hegelianism, it was Bauer who was his first teacher,3 and for almost seven years, from their first meeting in 1836, they remained close friends, jointly planning a way to render Hegelian theory into an effective instrument of social criticism. It is usually forgotten that Marx was an atheist well before he became a materialist and that it was Bauer's atheism which prepared for Marx's later reception of Feuerbach's humanism....It was principally Bauer who cast a theological shadow over the whole of Marxism, a shadow which has persisted to this day." [2].

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'Albert Schweitzer [1875 - 1965] was one of the very few who recognized Bauer's contribution to biblical theology:

Bauer's criticism of the Gospel narrative is worth a dozen good lives of Jesus, because—as we are only beginning to recognize now, a half century later—it [Bauer's Critique of the Synoptic Gospels] is the most brilliant and complete repertory of the difficulties in the life of Jesus...No one after Paul grasped so powerfully the mysticism of the suprapersonal s_ma xristou [apparently: "body of Christ"].6 ["6Geshichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung (Tübingen, 1921), p. 161."]

Excursus: from: The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer, Macmillan, 1955 (1910 English) (1906 German).

'Since Paul, no one had apprehended so powerfully the mystic idea of the super-sensible...[2 Greek words (apparently: "body of Christ")]. Bauer transferred it to the historical plane and found the "body of Christ" in the Roman Empire.' [160].
[End of 24 page chapter on Bruno Bauer].
End of Excursus.


The theologian William Wrede [1859—1906], who was himself often the subject of Schweitzer's work, was similarly impressed, seeing Bauer as better than a "dozen scholars" and comparing him favorably to Lessing [1729—1781].7

At one time, Bruno Bauer [1809—1882] was a recognized rival of two other unorthodox Hegelian theologians, David F. Strauss (1808—74) and Ludwig Feuerbach (1804—72). Even Bauer's critic, Moses Hess (1812—75) considered that "he stood at the head of the Young Hegelians,"8 and Karl Rosenkranz (1805—79), the historian of the movement, observed that "among the so-called 'Free thinkers' in Berlin, Bauer is undoubtedly the most important; in character as in culture and talent."9' [2-3].

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'In 1843, Bauer...wrote Christianity Exposed [Das Entdeckte Christentum], which was intended to bring about a general appreciation of atheism through a rough dissection of Christian attitudes. It could almost have been written by the Nietzsche of the Anti-Christ, and suggests one reason why; Nietzsche [1844 - 1900] would later praise Bauer as his "entire public."117 The short work was immediately banned, and most of the copies appropriated by the censor....Arnold Ruge [1802 - 1880], although he was by then not well-disposed toward him, could yet hardly contain the note of admiration that rings in his comments upon the work:

Indeed, Bauer is the complete and therefore the last heretic, but he is also, as such, the last Theologian. He denies the whole of Theology, he hates the unspeakable Theologians, he punishes them horribly; but he does this with the fanaticism of Theology, even if in opposition; he is fanatic for atheism, he is superstitiously [?] unbelieving...119' [45].

'....Bauer's anti-semitism was not grounded upon any racial theories, as racial mixing was seen as a positive good,138 nor was it grounded in any Christian prejudice. In sum, JUDAISM WAS CONDEMNED PRINCIPALLY BECAUSE IT WAS A SOURCE AND SUPPORT OF CHRISTIANITY, WHICH BAUER TRULY "HATED" AS THE PRIME OBSTACLE IN THE FACE OF HUMAN PROGRESS.' [52].

'In a final hope to avoid the poverty which had always dogged him, and to charitably provide for the orphaned daughters of his brother Egbert, Bruno [Bruno Bauer] took up farming in the Berlin suburb of Rixdorf. Edgar [Edgar Bauer (brother)] had lost faith in the "Struggle" and after 1870 turned to editing the Catholic Journal Kirchlichen Blätter. It was later reported that he had died insane. Alone, without either family or friends, Bauer faced a dreary end to a career which had begun with so much promise. Of the few descriptions that we now have concerning these last sorry years of Bauer's life, one of the most evocative is a letter written by Peter Gast to Nietzsche in 1888, six years after Bauer's death:

I was in Rixdorf on Sunday in order to see the appearance of the nest in which Bruno Bauer had lived and suffered. Unbelievable! a wasteland, a scenic stupidity that could only be invented by the most daring phantasies of a Gogol [Russian novelist]! The only thing there that had character are three or four nearby windmills.139' [53].

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[Addendum C]

from: The Encyclopedia of Unbelief, Gordon Stein, Editor, Volume Two, L-Z, Prometheus, 1985.

'MARÉCHAL, SYLVAIN (1750—1803), known as "l'homme sans Dieu," was probably the most articulate and militant atheist of the French Revolution.' [439].

"Although Maréchal's hostile remarks on religion derived generally from the literature of the French ENLIGHTENMENT (especially JEAN MESLIER, DENIS DIDEROT, and PAUL HENRI HOLBACH), the ultimate use he made of it was distinctly his own." [439].

'The object of his [Sylvain Maréchal] own cult, in which God would be replaced by such interchangeable abstractions as Virtue, Nature, Reason, and Justice, is solely to consecrate and promote the common good. To do so, Maréchal thinks it is indispensable to have an institution whose express purpose will be to combat belief in God, which he reads as "the pretext for all crimes and the source of all calamities."' [440].

"For Maréchal, religion has...been an instrument of oppressive government and socio-economic exploitation, so that reform of those great evils absolutely requires the triumph of atheism....The atheist is an elitist, not a democratic republican, for he separates himself from the common people, whom superstition renders obedient to God and tyrants." [440].

'Dictionnaire des athées anciens et modernes (1799). In this work, an atheist is defined as someone who practices virtue for its own sake, or whose life is meaningful and fulfilled through his social relations alone, or who has expressed any opinion on religion, morality, or politics that may be interpreted as consistent with atheism. A definition so extremely broad allows Maréchal to include in his Dictionary not only those whom one expects to find in it, but many others whom one does not.

The different categories of "atheists" he lists may be distinguished as follows: (1) more or less true atheists like Democritus, Epicurus, LUCRETIUS, GIORDANO BRUNO, GIULIO CESARE VANINI, THOMAS HOBBES, Meslier, JULIEN DE LA METTRIE, DAVID HUME, Diderot, and Baron d'Holbach; (2) possible atheists such as Cicero, Averroës, Campanella, Michel de Montaigne, RENÉ DESCARTES, Molière, PIERRE BAYLE, and BENEDICT SPINOZA; (3) those who seem atheists only from the standpoint of the strictest religious orthodoxy: Plato, Aristotle, Sir Francis Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, JOHN LOCKE, Nicolas Malebranche, Sir Isaac Newton, G.W. Leibniz, Jean Jacques Rousseau; and (4) those who are the very opposite of atheists: Saint Augustine, Jansenius, Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, Blaise Pascal, Francois de La Mothe-Fénelon, and even Jesus.' [440].

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'Pour et contre la Bible (1801)....What he [Sylvain Maréchal] says in praise of the Old Testament (which he prefers to the New) is usually based on its sublime rhetoric and narrative skill. This literary appreciation does not prevent him, however, from insisting on the "unevenness" of the Bible, and on the obscenities [see #5, 163], immoralities, absurdities, puerilities, and atrocities with which it is replete. His final verdict is that a prudent government should ban it altogether as a dangerous book; for while many excellent things may be found in the Bible from which mature and reasonable readers can profit, it contains too many precepts and examples which the average reader, always credulous and not especially virtuous, could only be expected to abuse, finding in them encouragement for his worst passions.'

[End of essay] [441] [Aram Vartanian].

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