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Subjects (abstracts): The God-Idea of the Ancients; The Bible and the British Museum; A Short History of the Bible

from: The God-Idea of the Ancients, or Sex in Religion, Eliza Burt Gamble [1841 -1920], Author of "The Evolution of Woman", Hyperion, 1981 (Putnam's sons, 1897).

[See: #15, 335-341; #20, 390-408].


Much of the material for this volume was collected during the time that I was preparing for the press the Evolution of Woman, or while searching for data bearing on the subject of sex-specialization." [iii].

"As mankind construct their own gods, or as the prevailing ideas of the unknowable reflect the inner consciousness of human beings, a trustworthy history of the growth of religions must correspond to the processes involved in the mental, moral, and social development of the individual and the nation." [iii].

" has been found that sex ["sex-specialization"] is the fundamental fact not only in the operations of Nature but in the CONSTRUCTION OF A GOD." [iv].

[See: #3, 93; #7, 197].

"An anthropomorphic god like that of the Jews ["the God of Israel, who is also the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ". (The Bible and the British Museum (see 547), 136)]a god whose chief attributes are power and virile mightcould have had its origin only under a system of masculine rule." [iv].

"From all sources of information at hand are to be derived evidences of the fact that the earliest religion of which we have any account was pure Nature-worship, that whatever at any given time might have been the object adored, whether it were the earth, a tree, water, or the sun, it was simply as an emblem of the great energizing agency in Nature. The moving or forming force in the universe constituted THE GOD-IDEA. The figure of a mother with her child signified not only the power to bring forth, but Perceptive Wisdom, or Light, as well." [16].

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PAGE 546

from: The Bible and the British Museum, Ada R. Habershon [1861 - 1918], with a Preface by Sir Robert Anderson, Morgan & Scott, MCMIX.

[reprint available from The Book Tree, P.O. Box 724, Escondido, CA 92033].

[note: the text is interspersed with Christian preaching].

[Chapter titles: The Roman Gallery; The Ephesus Room; The Elgin Gallery; The Hittite Section; The Nimroud Central Saloon; The Assyrian Saloon and Basement; The Nineveh Gallery; The Egyptian Rooms; Babylonian and Assyrian Room; Early Christian Antiquities; Phoenician Remains; The Egyptian Gallery; How We Got Our Bible; Church History; Conclusion].

'Nos. 6 and 7 [refers to "Key To Plate 8."], Case G, are in Syriac. The one contains The Four Gospels in the EARLIER VERSION, and is dated in the fifth century; the other is a copy of the Pentateuch in the LATER VERSION known as the Peshitto (or 'simple'). It became the authorised version of the Syriac Church. This MS. was written in A.D. 464. It "is one of the earliest extant copies of the Peshitto, and the earliest MS. of the Bible in any language of which the exact date is known."' [108].

"It was the Church of Rome that burnt the Bibles and their readers in the days of Wycliffe [John Wycliffe c. 1330 - 1384] and Tyndale [William Tyndale 1494? -1536 ("strangled and burnt at the stake" (Ox. Dict. C.C.))], and the Church of Rome would do exactly the same now if it had the power." [114]. [See: #2, 23-28].

'The MSS. before us [in the Cases (British Museum)] are COPIES of the writings of these "Fathers" [of the Church] of the second, third, and fourth centuries. If we could study them, we should find that THEY ['WRITINGS OF "THE FATHERS"'] CONTAIN A STRANGE MIXTURE OF TRUTH AND ERROR, for it is a great mistake to think that the teaching of the first few centuries of the "Church's" history was pure and trustworthy. THE WRITINGS OF THE "FATHERS" DO NOT COMPARE WELL WITH THE SCRIPTURES ON WHICH THEY PROFESSED TO BE WRITING COMMENTARIES.' [118].

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PAGE 547

from: A Short History of the Bible, Being A Popular Account of the Formation and Development of the Canon, Bronson C. Keeler, The Book Tree [P.O. Box 724, Escondido, CA 92033], 1997 (1881). [a Classic!].

"A popular work must be brief, FOR LIFE IS TOO SHORT, and in these days too full of other duties, to allow much time for the pursuit of special subjects, particularly those which a separate class is supposed to be already exhaustively investigating and fairly reporting. Brevity, therefore, has been kept in view; and yet the author believes that he has substantially covered the entire ground, in so far as a general outline can do it." [Preface].

'The Authorities. The writings of the Christian Fathers, the ecclesiastical history of Eusebius [c. 264 - 340]—the oldest Christian history now extant—and the modern works, On the Canon of the New Testament [1855], by Brooke Foss Westcott [1825 - 1901], D.D., and The Canon of the Bible [1877], by Prof. Samuel Davidson [1806 - 1898], D.D., LL.D., are the sources from which the information must chiefly be drawn.1 As some of the statements from Prof. Davidson will appear to the general reader quite remarkable, a word or two in explanation may be necessary. He is an Englishman, in the recognized head and front of the Protestant students of the world. He is eighty-three years of age, has spent a life in the study of these topics, is one of the ablest if not the ablest authority now living on the subject of the canon, and is the author of The Ecclesiastical Polity of the New Testament; an Introduction to the New Testament, in three volumes; Bible Criticism, in two volumes; Sacred Hermeneutics Developed and Applied; Translation of Geisler's Compendium of Ecclesiastical History, in four volumes; Text of the Old Testament Considered, and The Canon of the Bible, besides a great number of articles in Biblical and ecclesiastical dictionaries. He was requested by the editors of the new edition of the Encyclopedia [Encyclopaedia] Britannica to write the article on the Canon for that work, and accepted the commission, SUPPOSING THAT WHAT THEY [ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA] DESIRED WAS THE FACTS. He told how the Bible had been made up, what books had been put in at different times and what left out, and that the Bible had not always consisted of just the books now in it. When the editors read the article, they declined to publish it as it was. They "mutilated" it, as Prof. Davidson says, and what was left after the eliminating process was completed now appears in the Encyclopedia as the article on the Canon. Prof. Davidson then published the original in book form, entitling it The Canon of the Bible, and in the preface he tells why he issued it. It is from that work that I quote so frequently.' [6-8].

[See: #19, 375-389 (Encyclopaedia Britannica)].

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"The inexperienced person has little idea of the difficulty which the critical party finds in getting its facts before the public; nor of the systematic suppression used by the Christian press and clergy to prevent unpleasant truths concerning the Christian religion from coming out. There is not an orthodox religious newspaper in the world that will publish the FACTS CONCERNING THE ORIGIN OF THE BIBLE, which are given in these pages; there is scarcely a magazine in America that will publish them; and it is but recently that any newspaper would do so. MEN WHO KNOW THE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY TO BE UNTRUE, HAVE TO GET THEIR AUDIENCE AS BEST THEY CAN." [8].

"Furthermore, strange as it may seem, Prof. Davidson's book was the first in English on the Canon1 of the entire Bible worthy the attention of the student; Dr. Westcott's was the first on the New Testament Canon worthy of the same attention; and both these have been published within the past quarter of a century. One would suppose that the Christian clergy would be familiar with the history of the Bible and how it came to be compiled; but the truth is, it is one of the subjects least understood. The Church has shown a persistency amounting almost to a method in educating the world in the wrong things. We have been carefully informed concerning the forty little children and the two she bears, Jonah and the whale, and Daniel in the lion's den; and have been as carefully kept in ignorance concerning the things which utterly overwhelm the Christian theology." [8-9].

"4. Suppose Papias is referring to our present Gospel of Mark; what testimony have we to the authenticity of Jesus' words as contained in it? Just this: Eusebius [c. 264 - 340] says that Papias [c. 60 - 130] said that John the presbyter said that Mark said that Peter said that Jesus said thus and so. THAT IS THE HISTORICAL LINEAGE OF THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE GOSPEL OF MARK. When the reader has that, he has it all. He knows as much of it as the best theologian does, and is just as competent to decide whether or not it is to be credited. Eusebius goes on to say: ...." [19].

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'I have mentioned the fact that the Christian writers previous to the year 150 A.D. quote from tradition or from Gospels other than our four, and that the most violent efforts are now made to have it appear that these quotations are from our present Gospels. For example, Ignatius [c. 35 - c. 107 [?]], in his epistle to Polycarp [traditionally c. 69 - c. 155], without intimating that he is quoting it from any book or that it is other than his own sentiment, says: "Be in all things wise as a serpent, but harmless as a dove,"1 and modern apologists assert that this is from Matthew, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Polycarp says: "Be merciful, and yet ye shall obtain mercy,"2 and the claim is that this is the famous beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." There are a number of such passages as these, but they invariably differ more or less either in meaning or language from the New Testament parallels; and IN NO INSTANCE DOES THE WRITER SAY THAT HE OBTAINED THEM FROM OUR GOSPELS. Even if the passages were identical with those in the New Testament, that would not prove the existence of our Four Gospels, for there were many Gospels in circulation in the early ages of Christianity, which contained passages identical with those now in our four, and the quotations might have been made either from one of those or from tradition.' [24-25].

"While THERE IS NO TRACE OF OUR FOUR GOSPELS PREVIOUS TO THE YEAR 150 A.D. [see Supernatural Religion, Watts 1902 (1874-1877), 433-434: Matthew, Mark, John, no trace before c. 180; "Luke" [?], before 140], and while we do not know who it was after that time that wrote or compiled them, or exactly when they did it, the testimony of the early Fathers as to one of them may throw some light on the subject. Long before our Gospel of Matthew was known, Papias spoke of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and said that it contained a history of a woman accused of many sins before the Lord.1 Coming down later in time we find that both Eusebius [c. 264 - 340] and Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200] agree in saying that the Ebionites used only one Gospel; but Eusebius said it was called the Gospel according to the Hebrews,2 while Irenaeus said it was the Gospel according to Matthew.3 Moreover, both Epiphanius4 (403 A.D.) and Jerome5 (420 A.D.) say that the Gospel according to the Hebrews and the Gospel according to Matthew were the same book under different names. As the Gospel according to the Hebrews was in existence and in use first, the deduction is quite plain that some one subsequently forged Matthew's name to it." [29-30]. [See: #3, 52, 257.; #4, 113, 471.].

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'When the Old Testament was forming, divine origin was not the test of admission.2 Other considerations were applied.3 The questions were, "What are the doctrines of the book? What is its character? Who was its author? Is it orthodox?" The Bible did not form the beliefs. THE BELIEFS FORMED THE BIBLE. After the book had been formed, the process of apotheosis commenced. A long time having elapsed, and its origin having been forgotten, men began to think that because it was written of God, it had been written by God, and they said it was divine.' [34].

"The following is a partial list of the books FABRICATED and in circulation in that age, in addition to the ones now in the New Testament. Those in italics are preserved in The Apocryphal New Testament,2 and those in Roman letters are no longer extant:

The Gospel of Paul, the Gospel of Peter, the First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, Ignatius' Epistle to the Romans, his Epistle to the Ephesians, his Epistle to Polycarp, the Gospel according to the Egyptians, the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Sibylline Oracles, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the Gospel of Perfection, the Gospel of Philip, another Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, the Gospel of Basilides, the Gospel of Thaddeus, the First Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Birth of Mary...." [37-38].

"While there was a great number of sects, three principal ones command the attention of the student, the Paulines, the Petrines, and the Johannines or the followers of Paul, of Peter, and of John; a division which is maintained, in a measure, to this day. The Eastern or Greek Church preferred John,5 and the Western, Peter. The latter divided at the time of the Reformation, and the Roman Catholic body maintained the authority of Peter as the only lawful head, while the Protestants now follow Paul. The doctrines which Protestant clergymen preach so much—predestination, foreordination, sanctification, and similar ones—are Paulisms, Jesus never having taught them...." [39].

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'Chapter V.

Were the Fathers Competent!

Since the early Christian Fathers originated the theory that the books of the New Testament are inspired, the question arises. Were they competent to do so? The popular idea is that they were learned, profound, venerable men, worthy of the highest respect; and so vigorously has this been enforced, that one of the charges on which Servetus [Michael Servetus c. 1511 - 1553] was burned to death by John Calvin [1509 - 1564] was that he had spoken disrespectfully of the Fathers.1 The facts are quite the reverse. The early Christian Fathers were extremely ignorant and superstitious; and they were singularly incompetent to deal with the supernatural. The men who laid the foundation of the canon were Irenaeus (200 A.D.), Clement of Alexandria (210 A.D.), and Tertullian (220 A.D.), and of them Prof. Davidson says:

"The three Fathers of whom we are speaking had neither the ability nor inclination to examine the genesis of documents surrounded with an apostolic halo. No analysis of their authenticity and genuineness was seriously attempted....The ends which they had in view, their polemic motives, their uncritical, inconsistent assertions, their want of sure data, detract from their testimony. Their decisions were much more the result of pious feeling, biased by the theological speculations of the times, than the conclusions of a sound judgment. The very arguments they use to establish certain conclusions show weakness of perception."1

"The infancy of the canon was cradled in an uncritical age, and rocked with traditional ease. Conscientious care was not directed from the first to the well-authenticated testimony of eye-witnesses. Of the three Fathers who contributed most to its early growth, Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200] was credulous and blundering, Tertullian [c. 160 - 220] passionate and one-sided, and Clement of Alexandria [c. 150 - c. 215], imbued with the treasures of Greek wisdom, was mainly occupied with ecclesiastical ethics. ...[Their] assertions show both ignorance and exaggeration."2' [48-49].

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'Lactantius (325 A.D.) believed that demons entered men and injured them through the viscera, producing diseases and mental distempers, 5 but that the sign of the cross would drive them away.6 As to the notion that the earth was round, he said:

"About the antipodes also one can neither hear nor speak without laughter. It is asserted as something serious that we should believe that there are men who have their feet opposite to ours. The ravings of Anaxagoras [c. 500 - 428 B.C.E.] are more tolerable, who said that snow was black."7

"How is it with those who imagine that there are antipodes opposite to our footsteps? Do they say anything to the purpose? Or is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? that crops and trees grow downwards? that the rains, and snow and hail fall upwards to the earth? ....' [52-53].

'"The City of God [by Augustine 354 - 430]," is filled with the narration of these prodigies ["miracles"]. Concerning the theory that the world was round, he said:

"But as to the fable that there are antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets on us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, that is on no ground credible. and, indeed, it is not affirmed that this has been learned by historical knowledge, but by scientific conjecture, on the ground that the earth is suspended within the concavity of the sky, and that it has as much room on the one side of it as on the other. Hence they say that the part which is beneath must also be inhabited. But they do not remark that although it be supposed or scientifically demonstrated that the world is of a round and spherical form, yet it does not follow that the other side of the earth is bare of water; nor even, though it be bare, does it immediately follow that it is peopled. For Scripture, which proves the truth of its historical statements by the accomplishment of its prophecies, gives no false information; and it is too absurd to say, that some men might have taken ship and traversed the whole wide ocean, and crossed from this side of the world to the other, and that thus even the inhabitants of that distant region are descended from that one first man," (Adam).1' [55-56].

"One reason for the intolerable slowness with which men have escaped from the superstitions of theology is, they have allowed themselves to be overawed with the names of Augustine [354 - 430], Jerome [c. 342 - 420], Calvin [1509 - 1564], and other supposedly great thinkers, who were, in fact, utterly incompetent to deal with the questions which they handled." [57].

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'The Christian religion staked its all on the flatness of the earth's surface, and when science proved the rotundity, theology was dealt a blow from which it can never recover. Truly is it said, "THEOLOGY EVER HAS BEEN, AS IT EVER MUST BE, THE BARBARIAN'S INTERPRETATION OF THE UNIVERSE."' [58].

"St. Thomas Aquinas (1270 A.D.) affirmed that diseases and tempests [see #24, 528-530] were the direct work of the devil,5 and Justin Martyr [c. 100 - c. 165], Theophilus of Antioch, Athenagoras, Tatian, Cyprian of Carthage, Tertullian, Origen [c. 185 - c. 254], Jerome, Lactantius, Eusebius—in fact, ALL THE EARLY CHRISTIANS BELIEVED IN DEMONS [see #24, 526-533]. The New Testament writers believed in them. The air was peopled with them and with angels. Every fountain, every tree, every stream, every grove had its sprite. Everything that was done must be done under a miracle. The Almighty had to be invoked to perform the simplest things. Nothing was too great for the credulity of the Fathers, provided only it was improbable; and nothing small enough for belief, if it was at all probable.

The erroneous and grotesque beliefs of the Christian Fathers could be quoted until they filled a large volume, but these few will illustrate the intellectual condition of the ages which originated and transmitted the Bible to us. It will be said that the Fathers were as good as their times. That can not be maintained. They were not even as good. There were men in those days who saw that the world was round. The fact that Augustine, Lactantius, and other Fathers, opposed the theory, shows that there were men who advocated it. In the quotations given above [52-53, 55-56] from Lactantius and Augustine, they recite quite fully the arguments which prove that the world was round. Yet the writers could not see that the arguments were valid, whereas other men could. In short, the sum of the charge against the Fathers is that they were not competent to tell what was evidence of a fact and what was not." [59-60].

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'But one apology has ever been made for these remarkable errors of the Fathers, and that is "spiritual insight." Christian defenders say that, while the Fathers were ignorant, and even superstitious, they were yet "gifted with great spiritual insight." This term signifies the possibility of perceiving something which does not exist and where it does not exist. It is synonymous with "unlimited credulity."

Not alone in nature, but also in literature, the Fathers were ignorant and unscholarly. Jerome and Origen were the only ones who could read Hebrew,1 unless we except Dorotheus.2 Justin Martyr quotes from Jeremiah and calls it Isaiah.3 Clement of Alexandria [c. 150 - c. 215] quotes as Scripture passages which are not in the Bible.4 He quotes as Paul's, words which are not in Paul.5 In quoting from an opponent he would insert—not with intent to misrepresent, perhaps, but with the same result—words not in the original,6 and he even does the same in quoting from the Bible.7 Tertullian quotes as in Leviticus a passage not in that book;8 he misquotes history;9 he cites as in Isaiah a passage not in that book, but in Revelation,10 and he is frequently inaccurate in quotations. The Gospel writers committed the same blunders. The man who wrote the Gospel of Matthew attributes to Jeremiah11 a passage which is in Zechariah;12 and the writer of the Gospel of Mark attributes to Isaiah13 a passage which is in Malachi.14' [60-61].

'"Heretic" [see #2, 23-25; etc.] does not mean a bad or a depraved man, nor a man who believes what is not true. It means a man who uses his own judgment in selecting his belief, rather than submits his judgment to another. The church, TO MAINTAIN ITS POWER, has undertaken the control of belief, and has prescribed what it should be, and the heretic has been the man whose opinion differed from the church's. In very many instances the heretic has been right and the church has been wrong, in many cases it has been the reverse, and in many more both have been wrong. But the principle at stake has been, and ever must be, that A MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO DO HIS OWN THINKING. To be called by epithets has ever been the penalty which intelligence pays to ignorance; and to suffer, the tribute which genius pays to mediocrity. The man who uses the word heretic but betrays his intellectual debasement, and, as between two men, one orthodox and the other heterodox or heretical, the latter is always the more intelligent and almost invariably the more noble and the more moral. So it was with the early heretics....' [74-75].

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"When the Catholic Church began to be formed, about the year 170—180 A.D., the tendency was to use fewer books, and the ones accepted as authoritative began to be called divine. The reader will observe that I have said in one place that the early Fathers originated the theory that these books were divinely inspired, and in another place that the heretics did so. There is no contradiction here. Both the Fathers and the heretics were Christiansthey simply belonged to different sects. In the contest for the mastery it so happened that the sects to which the Fathers belonged—the Petrine—gained the supremacy, and from them arose the present Christian Church. Had the other sects gained the victory, their Fathers would now be the orthodox authorities and the others would be the heretics." [79].

[See: #10, 233 (heretical sects)].

'The charge has been made that Marcion [c. 100 - c. 165] purposely mutilated Paul's Epistles and Luke's Gospel to suit his doctrinal needs. It originated with Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200], and was repeated with great violence by Tertullian [c. 160 - 220] and Epiphanius [c. 315 - 403], and has been reiterated by theologians ever since, until very recently orthodoxy itself begins to admit that it is not true.2 So far from Marcion being a "heretic," he included in his canonical list all that he considered to be the genuine Christian books,3 and he [Marcion] gives indications of having been a much more careful scholar than his accusers. The Epistle which we now call "to the Ephesians" he called "to the Laodiceans," and he prided himself on having restored its true name.1 He omitted from his Gospel the parable of the prodigal son,2 and from the Epistle to the Romans the last two chapters,3 either because they were not there in his time, or because he was satisfied they were interpolations.' [82-83].

'Some illustrations of the charges against him [Marcion] will indicate their worthless character. Tertullian says that he eliminated from Luke's Gospel the saying of Jesus that he came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfil.4 That passage is not in Luke, but in Matthew,5 yet Tertullian actually repeats this charge on three subsequent occasions.6 He says that Marcion must expunge "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," and "It is not meet ["proper"] to take the children's bread, and give it to the dogs."7 They also are not in Luke, but in Matthew.8 Epiphanius likewise charges him with having omitted a passage which in reality is in Matthew and not in Luke.9 The charge that he [Marcion] mutilated the canonical list, and those books which he accepted, will not stand. There is another noteworthy thing: No writer before Marcion's time makes mention of the Gospel according to Luke, and no writer after him does so till Irenaeus, nearly fifty years later. These are the facts. Many think they are sufficient to give ground for suspicion that some one afterwards took Marcion's Gospel and forged Luke's name to it. Others do not. The reader can decide for himself.' [83].

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'The Catholic Church was just forming (about 170 A.D.), by the union of the small sects and churches into one great body, and the necessity of some written source of authority, of a Bible recognized by all, was apparent; and it was this need which formed the canon[.]1 The old books were discarded or suppressed, and the new ones took their place. Previously no two sects had used entirely the same books, and many used only one; and this was true even for a long time after our Four Gospels came into use, and after the effort was made to form one universal canon. Thus the Ebionites2 and the Cerinthians3 used only St. Matthew; the Cerdonians only Marcion's Gospel,4 The Marcionites used, of course, only their own Gospel. The Theodotians rejected St. John, as did also the Alogi;5 and the Petrine Christians naturally preferred Mark's Gospel, which was Petrine,6 just as the Paulists preferred Luke, which favored Paul.6 In the midst of these facts church strength could come only in union and in the adoption of books which should be acceptable to all. That the Bible is such a compromise, its contents attest. The Gospel according to Matthew is Petrine, it being there that Jesus is represented as saying to Peter, "Upon this rock will I build my church."7 Mark is also Petrine, and Luke is Pauline, as the early Christian Fathers testify.6 The Epistles of Peter are Petrine, the Epistles of Paul are Pauline, and the Gospel according to John, the Epistles of John, and Revelation, are, of course, Johannine. I have said that history records at this time the suppression of the old Gospels and the substitution of the new.' [85-86].

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'The two men most influential in determining the canon were Augustine [354 - 430] and Jerome [c. 342 - 420].2 The Catholic Church has followed the former, and Luther [1483 - 1546] and the reformers followed the latter. As to their qualifications for deciding the canon Prof. Davidson says:

"Both ["Augustine and Jerome"] were unfitted for the critical examination of such a topic. The former [Augustine] was a gifted spiritual man, lacking learning and independence. Tradition dominated all his ideas about the difficult or disputed books....His judgment was weak, his sagacity moderate, and the absence of many-sidedness hindered a critical result. Jerome, again, was learned but timid, lacking the courage to face the question fairly or fundamentally, and the independence necessary to its right investigation. Belonging as he did to both churches, he recommended the practice of the one to the other. He, too, was CHIEFLY INFLUENCED BY TRADITION."1' [108-109].

"Three things indicate the grim ferocity of the dogma ["decree, adopted by the Calvinistic council of Switzerland in 1675"];

1, It says that God has guarded the Bible from corruption; yet Griesbach [Johann Jakob Griesbach 1745 - 1812] collected one hundred and fifty thousand various readings in the New Testament manuscripts alone,1 the greater part of which must, of course, be corruptions, since there can be but one correct reading for any passage.

2, It says the vowels were inspired, whereas the ancient Hebrew literature had no vowels. And

3, It says that the vowel-points were inspired; whereas they did not come into use until the seventh century after Jesus, and were not perfected until four centuries later. This last article is a relic of that ancient belief that the translators, the copyists, and all the men who had aught to do with the transmission of the Bible from century to century, were inspired." [120].

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"Résumé.—In taking a brief review of the subject, we find that the greater number of the books of the Bible are anonymous. No one knows who wrote them, and no one knows when they were written. They are, in the cases of the most important books, of those most relied on for doctrinal support, compilations from pre-existing records. But who wrote those records, and who made the compilations, are entirely unknown. When the books of the Old Testament came into use they were not considered inspired. That idea was an afterthought. And the Christian Church places a higher value on some of the books than the original possessors or than Jesus himself did. In the same manner, when the books of the New Testament came into use they were not considered inspired or the word of God. Many Gospels, Epistles and Revelations, not now in use, were read in the churches in the early centuries. About the close of the second century or the beginning of the third, when the Catholic Church was forming, a source of authority for appeal in case of dispute over new doctrines was necessary, and the Fathers instituted the theory that certain books were inspired. But the books which they said were divine were not always the same books which we have now. They declared many books to be inspired which we do not think to be; and they ignored and rejected many books which have since been invested with divine honors. The contentions of the sects made it impossible for the new church to unite on the Gospels which had been first in use, and they were, therefore, discarded, and our present Four Gospels were substituted. To give them greater authority, the names of apostles who had been with Jesus were forged to them, literary forgery in those days not being considered a crime. The Fathers in asserting that the books were inspired, were guided not by critical ability, but by ignorance and superstition. Instead of being great scholars, they were extremely credulous, and in general very inferior intellectually. After much controversy, it became apparent that they could not agree as to what books should form the Bible; and councils took the matter in hand, and FOR NEARLY TWELVE CENTURIES THEY DISCUSSED IT [BIBLE]. And finally, the Roman Catholic Church in the council of Trent [1545 - 1563], and the Greek Church in the council of Constantinople [date?], decided once for all what the list should be for their adherents; and the Westminster Assembly [1643] gave the English-speaking Protestants their CATALOGUE.


[125-126] [End of text]. [See: #22, 421-466].

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Additional References

Christianity and Mythology, John M. Robertson [1856 - 1933], second edition, Watts, 1910. [a Classic!]. [Superbly referenced!]. ["Must See"!].

I thank Larry Wright, Lecturer/Teacher, Swindon, England, for recommending (4/25/98) this book, and for the source of a reprint (I had never had an opportunity to see a copy): Ballantrae Reprint, P.O. Box 92541, 160 Main Street South, Brampton, Ontario, Canada L6W 4R1; 905/450-7998; e-mail:

Symbolism in Relation to Religion, or Christianity: The Sources of Its Teaching and Symbolism, James Ballantyne Hannay, Kennikat, 1971 (1913).

Sex Symbolism in Religion, J.B. Hannay, Appreciation by Sir George Birdwood, 2 vols., Privately printed for The Religious Evolution Research Society, Oakeshott, 1922.

The Rise, Decline & Fall of the Roman Religion, James Ballantyne Hannay, Privately printed for The Religious Evolution Research Society, Mackays, 1925.

I thank Larry Wright, for mentioning (4/24/98) Hannay. I had never seen or heard of James Ballantyne Hannay. Reprints available from Ballantrae Reprint. "Must See"!

from: J. B. Hannay [1855 - 1931], Sex Symbolism in Religion, 1922, Vol. II, 351:


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