Christianism logo image


Subjects (abstracts): "The Twelve Apostles"; Roman and Christian Imperialism; The Hero; "The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus"; "Death-Sentence on Heretics"; etc.

from: Christian Myths and Legends, 12 "Scott Pamphlets". Publisher: Thomas Scott [1808-1878], ["London, 1866-76"]. "The Twelve Apostles". Published by Thomas Scott, Mount Pleasant, Ramsgate, 1870. 38 pages. Price Sixpence. [found 3/1/96].

"Analysis of the Arguments"
Contained in the Following Tract.

1.The names of the Twelve Apostles are given with variations in our New Testament, and that of Peter is used anachronously.

2.Josephus, and all extant contemporary historians and writers, never mention the Twelve Apostles.

3.A suffering Christ has not any existence in genuine history, or in Jewish belief; consequently the very subject of the Twelve Apostles' preaching is unhistorical.

4.John of the Apocalypse was ignorant of our four Gospels.

5.So was St. Paul.

6.So were the Apostolical Fathers.

7.Consequently the "gospels" used by the writers mentioned in Nos. 4, 5, and 6, must have been gospels now considered apocryphal.

8.Justin Martyr was ignorant of our fourth Gospel.

9.It cannot be shown that our four Gospels were known before the time of Irenaeus.

10.The text of our four Gospels is corrupt.

11.That text contains four editions of Christianity.

12.Our four Gospels do not contain a genuine and authentic history of the Twelve Apostles.

13.The ecclesiastical history of the Twelve Apostles is inconsistent, spurious, and mythological.

Therefore, the Twelve Apostles are only myths. " ["4"].

PAGE 200

"When the myth that the true Christ had appeared as a sufferer had been invented, its inventors had not any facts to work on. Consequently they ransacked the Old Testament for passages in it which might be found to bear testimony to the new idea. Passages which had not any reference to a Christ or Messiah were pressed into this service. While passages which referred obviously to a triumphant Christ were asserted to refer to his reappearance: an idea not to be found in any part of the Old Testament!" [17]. [See: #7, 190-191].

'This "bringing in of a better hope" was the business which formed the occupation of those who wrote the so-called Apocryphal Gospels in the early part of the second century of our era: of those who wrote the Pauline epistles: and lastly, of those who wrote our four Gospels about the time of Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200], who was bishop of Lyons, A.D. 177. These subjects will be treated in detail hereafter.' [17].

"Here we have a period of more than one hundred and forty years between the supposed death of Jesus Christ and the first appearance of the alleged authentic accounts of Him; and when we see that the religion of the Mormons is not quite thirty years old, it is evident that the above-mentioned period of 140 years was more than sufficient to allow the Christian religion to become crystallized. " [17].

"Justin Martyr [c. 100 - c. 165], A.D. 161, is the oldest Christian writer whose extant works may be confidently regarded as genuine. He quotes from our Matthew, and may allude to our Luke and Mark--but he certainly refers to other gospels which we do not possess; and he never refers to our John.

Here seems to be the proper place to state the important fact--That there were current towards the middle and end of the second century a considerable number of other gospels than our four. There was a gospel of the Hebrews, of the Egyptians, of Peter, of Thomas, of Bartholomew, of Matthew, and of the Twelve Apostles; and these gospels were used not only by heretical parties, but they were appealed to sometimes by orthodox writers. " [22].

"From the foregoing premises we are led irresistibly to the conclusion that our New Testament is a growth, not a revelation; and that as a history it is not supported by any contemporary writer, by any fact, or by any person who can be proved to have been an eye-witness of the events recorded. Consequently our New Testament cannot be accepted as evidence that the Twelve Apostles, or even their Divine Master ["JESUS"], ever really existed [See: #3, 42, 203.]. " [29]. [See: #3, 41-104].

PAGE 201

"Ecclesiastical History of the Twelve Apostles.

Now, let us examine the story Ecclesiastical Tradition tells regarding the Twelve Apostles.

Writing towards the end of the second century of our era, Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200] says that there existed then only four genuine graves of the Apostles, namely, those of Peter and Paul at Rome, that of John at Ephesus, and that of Thomas at Edessa in Mesopotamia. This is very strange. If the early Christians knew the graves of the Apostles, they would certainly have regarded those graves with profound respect and veneration. Moreover, according to ecclesiastical tradition, both the apostles James were killed at Jerusalem. One of these, James the Greater, was actually bishop of Jerusalem. Now if there ever had been such a man, and had he been put to death in the original seat of the primitive church, how is it conceivable that no Christian knew where he was buried?

Ecclesiastical traditions are much at variance with each other regarding the places where the Twelve Apostles died, or were put to death. Thus these traditions variously represent Peter to have been put to death at Rome and at Edessa,--Philip at Athens and Scythia,--Bartholomew at Cyprus and at Milan,--Judas, the brother of James, in Phoenicia and in Persia,--Simon Zelotes in Egypt and in Mauritania,--Andrew in Scythia and at Patrae in Achaia,--Matthew in Ethiopia and in Persia,--Thomas in Edessa, Scythia, and India. According to Matthew (xxvii. 5) Judas Iscariot hanged himself, but according to the writer of the Acts (i. 6) Judas fell headlong, and his bowels gushed out.

In reading these stories, any reader who knows that inversion of a story into its opposite is a characteristic of legendary history,* must be struck by the numerous instances where the place where the death of one and the same apostle occurred is inverted north and south, east and west, V.C. [?], Rome and Edessa--Scythia and India--Ethiopia and Persia! The most appropriate narrative for comparison with it is that contained in the well known legends relating the Returns of the Grecian heroes from the Trojan War". [29-30]. [See: #7, 186-188].

PAGE 202

"If a hero be known, chiefly, as the performer of super-human exploit, both hero and exploit are purely mythical.

When we are told (2 Sam. xxiii. 8) that Adino, single-handed, slaughtered about eight hundred men; or (Iliad xx., xxi.), that Achilles, by his personal prowess, routed a victorious army of about a hundred thousand Trojans; or (Joshua x. 12), that Joshua caused the sun to stand still in the midst of heaven about a whole day, or that Daniel (vi. 22, 23) came unhurt out a den full of lions; or (John xi. 1-15), that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been in a grave four days; or (Acts xvi. 26-40), that Paul and Silas were delivered from a jail by an angel; or (Tertullian, de Praescriptione c. xxxvi.), that John was put into a cauldron of boiling oil, from which he came out unhurt; in all these cases, and in all cases analogous to them, contemporary history does not know anything of either the hero or the exploit; nor has either the one or the other left unmistakably any physical trace of its existence on earth.

To this it is objected frequently that it is possible these heroes may have exited and performed those exploits. To this the answer is, that although possibility must form an essential part of all sound argument, and must, as it were, lie under the major of every syllogism; yet, without an adequate truth lying under an accompanying minor, possibility by itself cannot prove anything. Thus, all gods are immortal; Jupiter is a god, therefore Jupiter is immortal. True; if you can prove that Jupiter is a god. This you must do before those premises can sustain that inference. The mere finding of a foundation-stone never can prove that a superstructure existed on it. " [32-33].

'About eighteen hundred years ago, among a nation in a state of civilisation, within the limits of the Roman Empire, twelve men are said to have laid the foundation of a religion which has spread over Europe, over the greater part of North America, and along almost all the sea-coasts of the southern hemisphere. Yet, who these men were, what books they wrote, what doctrine they taught, where they lived, where they died, where they were buried, what persons were acquainted with them, are matters utterly unknown, and regarding which extant tradition only darkens the obscurity which surrounds them. Every trace of those twelve men has disappeared from the pages of genuine and authentic history, as completely as a picture obliterated by a sponge moistened in the waters of Lethe. The Twelve Apostles

"Have sunk by Fate oppressed:
Their name, their place remembered not:
Not one grey stone to point the spot
Of their eternal rest. "
Turnbull and Spears, Printers, Edinburgh.' [38].

PAGE 203


from: Roman and Christian Imperialism, J. Westbury-Jones, Kennikat, 1971 (1939). [Note: this book is important, and sometimes muddled (in addition to Christian apologetics).

See: Book Review Digest, 1939, p. 1027, Westbury-Jones, John. Roman and Christian Imperialism. Reviews by Max Radin, and Shirley Jackson Case.].


'It was an incalculable advantage for Early Christianity that it came into being at a time when Judea was included in a strong, well-disciplined, tolerant and, on the whole, just Roman empire. It is impossible to tell, though easy to surmise, what might have happened to the new teaching in Palestine itself if the Jewish authorities had been independent of a higher control and could have worked their own pleasure freely upon both Jesus Christ and His disciples. Nor, even had it obtained a sufficient footing in that quarter, would it have found those liberal opportunities of spreading into other lands which it enjoyed in the days of the apostle Paul. It was the Roman aegis that sheltered Christ with such protection as He for a time received, and that enabled Paul to travel in safety over land and sea to preach the new doctrines in Asia Minor, Greece, and even Rome itself.'1" ["1T.G. Tucker, History of Christianity,

p. 3. "] ["xi"].

[See: compare: #6, 179 ("Rome"), written and submitted before serendipitously finding this book (noted this book on a shelf, while searching for another, at San Diego State U.), 2/10/96].

[See previous references to Imperialism: #5, 155; #6, 179].



Alexander the Great. Augustus Caesar. Jesus Christ

of Nazareth

Imperialism is as old as the world. Modern research has shown that the Egyptian was the first great empire builder and the true forerunner of Alexander, Augustus, and Jesus Christ. The word 'imperialist' has in recent times earned an evil connotation in the minds of many people, because they associate it with despotism and tyranny [Yes! especially, the "losers"!].

Imperialism as understood by the Roman was foreign to the Greek mind. The Greeks had no word to express 'imperium', yet pride of race which accompanies the conception of imperial policy was in no way wanting among the Greeks.

The concept of imperialism came from the Stoics [?]; a philosophical school founded in Athens about 300 B.C. by Zeno of Citium. " ["59"].

"Chronologically, Stoicism synchronized with the history of the Roman Empire; subsequently its forces were absorbed in the development of Christianity. " [60].

PAGE 204

"The case of the Jewish people, on the other hand, is unique and deserves careful consideration. Theirs was a nation strong, capable and strictly cohesive, and though the Hebrew in spite of his exclusiveness dreamed of a universal kingdom which he designated the Kingdom of Heaven, nevertheless he had no political aspirations[?], and no imperialist ideals[?].

The Christian Church, however, which also claimed to be a universal society, came under the influence of Stoicism, and eventually became imbued with imperialism.

His Holiness the Pope gave expression recently to the same idea:

'We want to separate nothing in the great human race. The Catholic Church has a mandate, and that mandate is universalism. The world goes badly to-day because too many people know nothing about universalism. They forget that the human species is one great human race in which there is no room for special races [read: non-Catholics!].'

'Rome taught the Church the great idea of imperialism, or rather nourished the seed which Christ had already implanted when He said, 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel'. Without Rome to illustrate what that meant, its significance might have been missed. The spirit of empire certainly captivated St. Paul [See: #4, 105-151], who of all the earliest Christians had the greatest spiritual sweep. Rome not only taught but prepared [made] the mould for Christian imperialism....1" [60-61].

"The first Adam was not born, 'he became a living soul'. The second Adam ["Jesus"] was not born, 'he became flesh'. " [75].

"No true portraits of Christ have come down to us, indeed no attempts were made at reproducing His likeness by any of His early followers. The following description of Him is probably a forgery of the twelfth century.

Letter of Lentulus the Governor of Judaea to the Roman Emperor

'There appeared in these our days a man of great virtue, named Jesus Christ, who is yet living among us, and of the Gentiles is accepted for a prophet of truth, but his own disciples call him the Son of God. He raiseth the dead and cureth all manner of diseases. A man of stature somewhat tall and comely, with very reverend countenance, such as the beholders may love and fear. His hair of colour of a chestnut full ripe, plain to his ears, whence downward it is more orient and curling and wavering about his shoulders; in the midst of his head is a seam or partition in his hair, after the manner of the Nazarites. His forehead plain and very delicate; his face without spot or wrinkle, beautified with a lovely red; his nose and mouth so formed as nothing can be reprehended; his beard thickish, in colour like his hair, not very long, but forked; his look innocent and mature; his eyes grey, clear and quick. In reproving he is terrible, in admonishing, courteous and fair spoken; pleasant in conversation, mixed with gravity. It cannot be remembered that any have seen him laugh, but many have seen him weep. In proportion of body excellent; his hands and arms most delicate to behold. In speaking, very temperate, modest and wise. A man for his singular beauty, surpassing the children of men.'" [79-80].

PAGE 205

"'The edict of toleration,' writes Pressensé, 'issued by Galerius (in 311) is one of the most amazing monuments of history....the emperor, in his clemency, conceded to them [Christians] the right to assemble together and only asked of them that they should pray to their God for his restoration to health. " [198].

"In speaking of the laws which affect the Church directly, it will be convenient to take as the two boundary lines [1] the edict of Milan1 ["1The authorities for the Edict of Milan are: (a) Lactantius....(b) Eusebius.... "] (313 A.D.) on the one hand, and [2] the letters to Palestine [?] about 323 A.D. on the other. They are two distinct epochs in the annals of the Christian faith. " [?] [203].

"The edict of Milan A.D. 313 [see following excerpt (201)] apprised the world that a new era had begun. Unhappily the Church entered on an altogether new career, that of patronage and State protection. That which it was about to gain in material power, it would lose in moral force and independence. Constantine was able to raise to the throne the religion so long proscribed.'" [198].

"The real glory of Constantine [c. 274 - 337] lies in this, that in an age that had no understanding for toleration he remained in general throughout his reign loyal to the policy upon which he and Licinius had agreed in their meeting at Milan in the month of February 313. The 'Edict of Milan' may be a fiction, but it can hardly [?] any longer [?] be doubted [?] that letters were sent from the imperial chancery to the governors of the provinces directing them to permit all sects alike openly to profess their religious beliefs and to celebrate their own religious rites. " [201].

[See: Raleigh Lecture on History Constantine The Great and the Christian Church, Norman H. Baynes, Read March 12, 1930 (see 71: Galerius; 72: Edict of Milan; etc.)].

[See: #6, 167, 171-174 (Constantine)].

PAGE 206

"The first laws affecting the Church deal with exempting Catholic clergy from certain civic duties. The wording is interesting ["Cod. Theod. [XVI, 2,1]...Oct. 31, 313 A.D. "].

'We have heard that the clergy of the Catholic Church are so harassed by a faction of heretics (probably the Donatists) as to be burdened with nominations to office and public business. Men of the religion above mentioned are to be free from these duties.'1

Such exemptions had long been enjoyed by the heathen priesthoods and some of the learned professions.

The clergy were exempted from paying tribute money, and set free from any financial burdens, the motive being to thwart the ill-will of heretics [?].

These immunities were granted with such profusion as to produce a result fatal to the interests of the state and the Church. Great numbers eagerly sought ordination. This was only one of the many subterfuges adopted by men to escape the burdens which pressed so heavily upon them. So grievous was the weight of taxation that many took orders simply to escape the burden. [Here, unbearable. Following, bearable.]

Thus the state lost her due from many subjects well able to bear the burdens both of taxes and of personal service, and the Church was put to shame by the unworthiness of her priests. " [204].

"Perhaps there was nothing which promoted the external success of the Church more than the grants of money and land, and more than all, the right of receiving legacies which was now conferred upon it.

The edict of Milan [fiction] (313) began the work by restoring all the churches, houses and lands which had been confiscated in the previous persecutions. Then follows a law which shows that church property even before the date of its publication had been free from taxation, and also ordains that it shall retain this immunity. It reads thus:

'Except our private property and the Catholic churches and the household of Eusebius of distinguished memory, no one shall by our order enjoy special advantages of family property.'2 [2'Praeter privatae res nostras et ecclesias catholicas...', Cod. Theod., xi. I, I, June 16, 315 A.D.] Most important is the law dated 321: 'Let any man have the power to leave on his death-bed any goods he pleases to the most sacred and venerable council of the Church. Let not his will be held invalid.'1 [1'Habaet unusquisque licentiam sanctissimo catholicae venerabilique concilio...', Cod. Theod., xvi. 2, 4, July 3, 321 A.D.]

It is highly probable that up to the time of Constantine [Emperor 306 (312) -337] the Christian Church, like the Jewish corporations, had not been allowed to inherit property bequeathed by wills. After 313, probably, wealth flowed into the Christian Church, so that this edict legalizes what had been permitted for eight years. "


PAGE 207


from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, [Sir] William Smith [1813-1893], ed., 3 Vols., AMS Press, 1967 (reprint of 1890 edition) ("1844-49"), Vol. 1, 836.

'Constantine [c. 274 - 337] deserves the name of Great: he rose to the highest pinnacle of power, and owed his fortune to nobody but himself....He overcame all obstacles through his own exertions; his skill vanquished his enemies; his energy kept the hydra of anarchy headless; his prudence conducted him in safety through conspiracies, rebellions, battles, and murder, to the throne of Rome....Christianity was made by him the religion of the state [simplification (See: #6, 167, 171-174)], but Paganism was not persecuted though discouraged. The Christianity of the emperor himself has been a subject of warm controversy both in ancient and modern times, but the graphic account which Niebuhr gives of Constantine's belief seems to be perfectly just. Speaking of the murder of Licinius and his own son Crispus, Niebuhr remarks (Hist. of Rome, vol. v. p. 359), "Many judge of him by too severe a standard, because they look upon him as a Christian; but I cannot regard him in that light. The religion which he had in his head must have been a strange compound indeed. The man who had on his coins the inscription Sol invictus, who worshipped pagan divinities, consulted the haruspices, indulged in a number of pagan superstitions, and on the other hand, built churches, shut up pagan temples, and interfered with the council of Nicaea, must have been a repulsive phaenomenon, and was certainly not a Christian. He did not allow himself to be baptized till the last moments of his life, and those who praise him for this do not know what they are doing. He was a superstitious man, and mixed up his Christian religion with all kinds of absurd superstitions and opinions. When, therefore, certain Oriental writers call him ...[Greek word] they do not know what they are saying, and to speak of him as a saint is a profanation of the word. "' [William Plate].


from: The Hero, a Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama, Lord Raglan [1885 - 1964], with an introduction by Walter Kaufmann, New American Library, 1979 (1936).

[found 2/25/96].

PAGE 208

'Preface [Lord Raglan]

It is often said that "there is no smoke without fire. " What those who use this expression mean by it is that their wish to believe any story or part of a story makes it historically true. They never apply it to a story which they know to be historically untrue, however much "smoke" it may have emitted.' [vii].

"modern stories, such as those I have mentioned, are assumed to be fictitious unless there is good reason to believe them historical, old stories are commonly assumed to be historical unless they can be proved to be fictitious. Interest in historical fact, which is notoriously rare among moderns, is gratuitously assumed to have been universal among the ancients. In the following pages I shall try to show that the "smoke" which arises from these oft-told tales is the outcome of mythical and not of historical fires. " [viii].

'Introduction [Walter Kaufmann]

A few claims about Lord Raglan could hardly be controversial: his books are beautifully written, crisp and clear, terse and pungent, and controversial to the marrow. He was not a professor and did not write the way most professors write.

He was born in 1885, educated at Eton and Sandhurst, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1905, and later served with the Egyptian army and as district commissioner in the Mongalla Province. In 1918 he joined the army in Palestine and spent more than two years among the Arabs in Transjordan. In 1921 he succeeded his father as Lord Raglan and retired.

In 1933 he published Jocasta's Crime, a study of incest, and was elected president of the Anthropological Section of the British Association. The Hero followed in 1936, and his ideas are developed further in How Came Civilization (1939) and The Origin of Religion (1949). He was president of the Folk-Lore Society from 1945-47 and also wrote articles on the Lotuko tribe in the Sudan and the Arabs of Transjordan.

He died September 14, 1964, and the following day The New York Times said in its long obituary: "In his time, he thwarted the slave traders of Sudan and settled blood feuds in Jordan...While in the Sudan, he also...completed the first Lotuko-English dictionary.... "' [ix].

"He [Lord Raglan] was neither an amateur nor a professional scholar but, like Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and George Berkeley, David Hume and Edward Gibbon, John Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell, a highly intelligent man who wrote on matters in which he had a consuming interest, dispensing with academic claptrap. What is more, he had something to say and said it clearly and powerfully, leaving us in no doubt at all about where he stood. He thought that most of the received views of the subjects he wrote about were wrong and could be shown to be based on little or no evidence, and he proposed views of his own and tried to show that they were obviously right.

Since The Hero first appeared [1936], writing of this kind has become almost extinct. " [ix-x].

PAGE 209

"Raglan leans over backward not to include or even mention Jesus, confident, I suppose, that every discerning reader will think of Jesus and compute his score for himself. Here is Raglan's list of twenty-two motifs:

(1) The hero's mother is a royal virgin;

(2) His father is a king, and

(3) Often a near relative of his mother, but

(4) The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and

(5) He is also reputed to be the son of a god.

(6) At birth an attempt is made, usually by his father or his maternal grandfather, to kill him, but

(7) He is spirited away, and

(8) Reared by foster parents in a far country.

(9) We are told nothing of his childhood, but

(10) On reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom.

(11) After a victory over the king and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,

(12) He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and

(13) Becomes king.

(14) For a time he reigns uneventfully, and

(15) Prescribes laws, but

(16) Later he loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects, and

(17) Is driven from the throne and city, after which

(18) He meets with a mysterious death,

(19) Often at the top of a hill

(20) His children, if any, do not succeed him.

(21) His body is not buried, but nevertheless

(22) He has one or more holy sepulchers.

The story of Jesus in the Gospels contains all but five, namely 1-3, 12, and 14, and Raglan might well wish to include 1. The implication is clear and, no doubt, intended: it would be foolish to suppose that this story is based on historical facts. One might grant that Jesus lived, taught, and was crucified, but the story we have was made to conform to a traditional pattern, if Raglan is right. " [xi-xii].

"Clearly, Raglan is not at his best in the Old Testament. " [xiii].

'as Murray [Gilbert Murray] noted, "It is the same wherever we turn our eyes in the vast field of Greek legend. " Here we are indeed in an essentially unhistorical world, the realm of myth, and Raglan illuminates it brilliantly. In effect, he gives us a more plausible version of "The Birth of Tragedy" than Nietzsche did.' [xv].

"We only need to add that in the story of Jesus in the Gospels, which were written in Greek, a historical kernel is smothered by myth. "

[Walter Kaufmann clings to "a historical kernel"!] [xv].

"Above all, Raglan's work should be studied carefully, and anyone who turns to his books is sure to find it is a joy to read them. " [End of Introduction] [xvii].

PAGE 210

[Lord Raglan]

'"The study of genealogy," says Dr. Round,5 "is rich in illustration of the mental perversity of man, of his misdirected toil, of his self-deception. " It is astonishing how many distinguished men have not merely employed pedigree-fakers, but have taken a hand in the game themselves....Mr. Oswald Barron6 [6The Ancestor, vol. ii, 187-90 (see 165, for footnote 5)] has amusingly shown how prone literary men have been to boast of fictitious pedigrees and to assume coats of arms to which they had no shadow of a claim. His list of offenders includes Montaigne, Spenser, Browning, Carlyle, Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Tennyson.' [23].

"We thus see arrayed in defence of false genealogy the powerful forces of religion and patriotism; of custom and tradition; of family pride and individual vanity; and of euhemerism and rationalization; not to mention the popular love of the marvellous and the romantic. On the other side are only the puny and disunited columns of critical investigation. It is not surprising that, although hundreds of them have been proved false and none has ever been proved true, the traditional pedigrees still hold the field. " [29].

'"Psychologists like Wundt," says Professor Malinowski,6 "sociologists like Durkheim, Hubert and Mauss, anthropologists like Crawley, classical scholars like Miss Jane Harrison, have all understood the intimate association between myth and ritual, between sacred tradition and the norms of social structure...Myth as it exists in a savage community, that is, in its living primitive form, is not merely a story told but a reality lived. It is not of the nature of fiction, such as we read to-day in a novel, but it is a living reality, believed to have once happened in primeval times, and continuing ever since to influence the world and human destinies. This myth is to the savage what, to a fully believing Christian, is the Biblical story of Creation, of the Fall, of the Redemption. "' [126].

'The myth, then, has nothing to do with speculations or explanations, any more than it has with historical facts. Strictly speaking, it is nothing but the form of words which is associated with a rite. To give a simple example--when we part from a friend, we shake him by the hand and say "Good-bye. " The handshake is the rite; and the expression "good-bye," which is a shortened form of "God be with you," is the myth. By calling upon God to be with our friend, we give strength and validity to the bond which the handshake sets up, and which will draw us together again.'


"In the earlier chapters of this book I took a succession of well-known heroes of tradition, and attempted to show that there is no justification for believing that any of these heroes were real persons, or that any of the stories of their exploits had any historical foundation. In the course of the discussion I had frequent occasion to suggest that these heroes, if they were genuinely heroes of tradition, were originally not men but gods, and that the stories were accounts not of fact but of ritual--that is, myths. " ["173"].

PAGE 211


from: The Center for Hermeneutical Studies In Hellenistic and Modern Culture, The Graduate Theological Union & The University of California, Berkeley, California. Protocol of the Twentyfifth Colloquy: 12 December 1976 The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus, Alan Dundes, Professor of Anthropology and Folklore, University of California, Berkeley, 1977.

Organization of this Booklet ("98" pages):

A.The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus [by: Alan Dundes]: pages "1"-32

B. "Responses" (16) (written) [Authors include: Samuel Sandmel. Morton Smith.]: pages 33-78

C. "Colloquy" (24 participants): pages 79-96

D. "Selected Bibliography of Alan Dundes": pages 97-98

[Alan Dundes]

"If one wished to apply Raglan's twenty-two incident pattern to the life of Jesus, one might include (1) Virgin mother, (4) unusual conception, (5) hero reputed to be son of god, (6) attempt to kill hero, (7) hero spirited away [flight into Egypt], (8) reared by foster parents [Joseph], (9) no details of childhood, (10) goes to future kingdom, (13) becomes "king" (cf. the mock title of king of the Jews: INRI), (14) "reigns" uneventfully for a time, (15) prescribes laws, (16) loses favor with some of his "subjects" (e.g., Judas), (17), driven from throne and city, (18) meets with mysterious death, (19) at the top of a hill, (21) body is not buried, and (22) he has a holy sepulcher. While one may well quibble about the applicability of one or two of Raglan's twenty-two points, it would appear that Jesus would rate a score of seventeen (which would rank him closer to Raglan's ideal hero paradigm than Jason, Bellerophon, Pelops, Asclepios, Apollo, Zeus, Joseph, Elijah, and Siegfried). If one accepts the validity of the general outlines of the European hero pattern as delineated by Raglan (and others), then it would appear reasonable to consider that the biography of Jesus does in fact conform fairly well to this pattern. " [10].

[Lord Raglan, on Robin Hood: "We can give him thirteen points. " (see 208 (The Hero, 289)].

'Raglan's pattern provides a new vantage point for those who seek to understand the life of Jesus as it is reported in the Gospels. For example, Bible scholars have bemoaned the lack of information about the youth and growing up of Jesus. Luke and John tell us almost nothing of the period between birth and adulthood. The point is that this is precisely the case with nearly all heroes of tradition. That is why Raglan included his trait 9 "We are told nothing of his childhood. "32' [10-11].

[Reference to childhood: A. See following (213) excerpt. B. See works on childhood, of Lloyd deMause].

PAGE 212


[Wayne Shumaker, Professor of English, U.C. Berkeley] "Shumaker: I agree that the infancy narratives are unimportant, because no one paid much attention to children until the nineteenth century. Therefore only legend was available for the childhood stories. " [85]. [Applicability to heroes?].

[Edward C. Hobbs (Theology and Hermeneutics of the New Testament) (Professor: Graduate Theological Union), to Alan Dundes] "The oddity is that the bulk of your materials comes from the infancy narratives, which means Matthew and Luke only. Do these materials derive from the oral tradition? There were theories like the Proto-Luke hypothesis, which suggested that Luke interrogated the Virgin Mary in her old age [entry, for best humor!]. But these days the general view is that both Matthew's and Luke's infancy narratives are purely literary constructions. They do not go back to any kind of oral tradition. For example, the first two chapters of Matthew are constructed out of materials in Genesis and the first couple of chapters of Exodus. " [87].

[Hobbs] "there were no birth stories circulated orally. They are literary constructions, which appear for the first time when Matthew wrote them. " [88].

"Dundes: I am not worried about whether the pattern is Indo-European, or whether it is the pattern. There are many hero pattern studies; I used Raglan because he is the most recent and detailed, but I am not out to defend all his details.

Hobbs: But you have to defend some pattern!

Dundes: Yes, but the heroes' lives have these common elements. And I see a similarity in the life of Jesus to these other heroes. I am not trying to be a textualist! I am dealing with too many heroes for that. " [93].

"Dundes: I was interested to find that the pattern is not convincing to most people. Even if one does not accept all of Raglan's points, a virgin birth seems a rather particular form of event, so I hope I have done more than just point out what makes a narrative interesting. I frankly did not expect much acceptance of the psychological argument; and, in fairness, I should say that folklorists do not accept it any more than this group. Folklore is not in any way tied to Freudian theory! But I was surprised the pattern found so little favor. " [96]. [End of Colloquy].

PAGE 213


from: In Quest of the Hero, Part I: The Myth of the Birth of the Hero [by: Otto Rank]. Part II: The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama [by: Lord Raglan]. Part III: The Hero Pattern and The Life of Jesus (this is the 1977 version + additions + format changes. Other changes?) [by: Alan Dundes , "179"-223]. Princeton U., 1990.

[Introduction: Robert A. Segal]

'Striving to disentangle folkloristic concerns from historical ones, Dundes points to folklorist Francis Lee Utley's [Lincoln Wasn't There or Lord Raglan's Hero, 1965. Clever, tour de force! Value? Caveats (etc.)!] "somewhat tongue-in-cheek" application of Raglan's pattern to the case of Abraham Lincoln--an incontestably historical figure who nevertheless garners a full twenty-two points.75 Concludes Dundes:

The fact that a hero's biography conforms to the Indo-European hero pattern does not necessarily mean that the hero never existed. It suggests rather that the folk repeatedly insist upon making their versions of the lives of heroes follow the lines of a specific series of incidents. Accordingly, if the life of Jesus conforms in any way with the standard hero pattern, this proves nothing one way or the other with respect to the historicity of Jesus.76

Of course, the historical Jesus for most Christians includes much of Raglan's pattern.' [xxix].

PAGE 214

[Alan Dundes]

'Raglan, for example, was anxious to show that the lives of traditional heroes were "folklore" rather than history. Thus it was perfectly all right to argue that Old Testament or Jewish heroes were folkloristic rather than historical. But heaven forbid that a proper member of the British House of Lords should apply this line of reasoning to the life of Jesus! Moses might be folklore but Jesus was history or, to put it another way, Moses was "false" while Jesus was "true." Raglan even went so far as to remark that "the compilers of the 'historical' books of the Old Testament were not historians writing for students, but theologians writing for the faithful" (Raglan 1956:112), an observation, which of course, could be equally well applied to the New Testament!

This may be a somewhat exaggerated statement of Lord Raglan's position; but since he does not discuss Jesus, it would appear reasonable to assume that he felt Christ was fact while Moses was fiction. (In 1958 Lord Raglan told Professor Albert B. Friedman that of course he had thought of Jesus in connection with the hero pattern, but that he had no wish to risk upsetting anyone and therefore he elected to avoid even so much as mentioning the issue--personal communication from Professor Friedman, April, 1977.) To be sure, Raglan does not categorically deny the historicity of any of the heroes he considers [Not correct! see 211 (The Hero, 173)]. It is rather their common biographies which he labels as nonhistorical....To say myth comes from ritual is not to say where the alleged ritual came from.' ["179"-180].

[See: 181-182: Celsus; Justin Martyr; etc.].

"I do not intend to treat Jesus as miracle worker or healer or religious teacher. Rather, my purpose is to examine his life in the light of the hero pattern as this pattern has been described by folklorists. " [191].


from: A Rationalist Encyclopaedia, A Book of Reference on Religion, Philosophy, Ethics and Science, Joseph McCabe, Gryphon Books, 1971 (Watts, 1948).

[See biography of Joseph McCabe, 369: former monk of the Franciscan Order ("Father Antony"); author of "30" translations, "200" books, (delivered) "2,000" lectures; etc.].

'Apostates. In the law of the Roman Church to-day--not in ancient times, but as it is printed in the twentieth century--"heretics" means apostates from the creed, and they are condemned to death. See Death Sentence for details. "Good faith" on the part of such seceders is not admitted in the Canon Law or Catholic theology.' [24].

PAGE 215

["Death--Sentence on Heretics"] '....It is a milder untruth to say that the Church merely judges a man heretical and the State imposes the lethal punishment. Fr. de Luca insists that the Church itself has "the right of the sword"; and, lest an opponent of the Church who has not been baptized in it should think himself safe, he explains that in a Catholic country (Italy or Spain to-day) unbelievers may be "compelled to accept the faith," when they at once come under the savage law. Only fear of the consequences in Great Britain and America restrains the present fanatical Pope from enforcing this law in Spain, but the end is attained by charging the culprits with Bolshevism.' [139].

'Scott, Thomas (1808-78), publisher. A Catholic of wealthy family, at one time a page at the French Court, who became a Rationalist and spent large sums in propaganda. He paid prominent Rationalists to write pamphlets which he printed and distributed by post for fifteen years. The 200 "Scott Pamphlets" filled sixteen volumes. He was a good Hebrew scholar, and wrote several himself'. [531].

[See 200-203: Christian Myths and Legends].

PAGE 216