Christianism ("Christianity"), Etc.


The bibliography on the subject of literary forgeries and pseudepigrapha is very extensive. In addition to the books and articles that are mentioned in the footnotes of the article, the following selected titles are significant for one or another aspect of ancient, medieval, and modern forgeries." [21]

[Note: bolded brackets, and contents, are by the author (Bruce M. Metzger)].


"Wolfgang Speyer [see 1991], Bücherfunde in der Blaubenswerbung der Antike (Göttingen: Vadenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970). [Deals with writings thought to have descended from heaven [compare: Old Testament. New Testament.], writings from tombs and from the earth, and writings from temples, libraries, and archives.]

Archer Taylor and Fredrick J. Mosher, The Bibliographical History of Anonyma and Pseudonyma (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1951). [Admirable in every respect.]" [21].


L.C. Hector, Palaeography and Forgery (London and New York: St. Anthony's Press, 1959). [Deals with the pre-Mabillon period of palaeographical criticism.]

T.F. Tout, "Mediaeval Forgers and Forgeries," BJRL 5 (1918-20) 208-34.



F.F. Abbott, "Some Spurious Inscriptions and their Authors," Classical Philology 3 (1908) 22-30. [Of a total of 144,044 Latin inscriptions in vols. II through XIV of the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 10,576 are spurious [see 1825 (Paret)]; that is, one to thirteen. Perhaps the most prolific forger was Pirro Ligorio [1513 - 1583] [see 1990] (the successor to Michaelangelo [sic] in supervising the work at St. Peter's in Rome), who was responsible for 2995 of the 3645 spurious inscriptions in CIL VI, 5.]

James A. Farrer, Literary Forgeries (London: Longmans, Green, 1907; reprinted, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1969) German translation by Fr. J. Kleemeier, Literarische Fälschungen (Leipzig: Th. Thomas, 1907). [A wide-ranging account of frauds perpetrated by English, German, Greek (Constantine Simonides), Irish, Italian, and Scottish forgers.] [see 1888-1894 (Farrer)]

Edgar J. Goodspeed, Strange New Gospels (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1931); reissued with significant additions under the title, Modern Apocrypha (Boston: Beacon Press, 1956); reprinted under the title Famous Biblical Hoaxes (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968) [see Addition 34, 1518].' [21-22] [End of Chapter One].

PAGE 1766

"Chapter Thirteen [published 1979]

St. Jerome's Explicit References

To Variant Readings

In Manuscripts of the New Testament" ["199"]

"Among the more scholarly patristic writers Origen and Jerome take first place in the Eastern and Western Churches respectively." ["199"].


The data assembled above tend to confirm the generally favorable estimate held by scholars as to Jerome's sagacity as a textual critic.1" [207].

"Chapter Two [published 1970]

Names for the Nameless in the New Testament

A Study in the Growth of Christian Tradition

As nature abhors a vacuum, so early Christians were reluctant to leave unidentified this or that person who is mentioned but not named in the pages of the New Testament. Since those who are curious generally attempt to satisfy their curiosity, pious readers and hearers of the Gospel narratives sought to supply answers to such questions as: What were the names of the Wise Men and the shepherds who came to worship the Christ-child? A list of the names of the twelve apostles is given in each of the Synoptics, but who exactly were the seventy disciples whom Jesus also sent out (Lk. 10, 1 ff.)? At the time of Jesus' trial several persons are mentioned in the canonical sources without being given more precise identification, such as Pilate's wife, the centurion stationed at the Cross, the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus, and the officer in charge of the soldiers guarding the sepulchre. TRADITION PROVIDED NAMES FOR ALL OF THESE--sometimes several different names...." ["23"].

"Appendix [published 1976, 1977]

A Lexicon of Christian Iconography1

In 1968 the first volume of a monumental publishing enterprise came from the press, Herder's Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie. The editor, the late Engelbert Kirschbaum, S.J., had planned the work to embrace six volumes, 1 to 4 dealing with general Christian themes, and 5 and 6 dealing with saints and other holy persons. The scope of the latter part, however, has subsequently been expanded, with the consequence that instead of two volumes, four will be needed to deal in a more comprehensive way with the saints that are to be included." ["211"].

PAGE 1767

'The longest article in the first volume of the Lexikon is devoted to "Christus, Christusbild" (100 columns). Here the subject matter is considered under headings devoted to Early Christian art, Byzantine and Eastern Christian art, the art of the Carolingian and subsequent epochs, Gothic art, the Renaissance and baroque period, the nineteenth century, and the Eastern churches of the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Of course all artistic efforts to represent the physical appearance of our Lord rest entirely on the pious imagination of artists, for the New Testament, as is generally conceded, is entirely silent as to whether he was tall or short, heavy or slender, swarthy [dark] or light-complected. Several scholars, however, have thought that one or another stray comment in the gospels may bear on the subject. Rendel Harris, for example, raised the question whether Jesus may not have been a short man. The proof text to which he appealed is ambiguous, namely, the statement that Zachaeus climbed a tree in order to see Jesus "because he was little of stature" (Luke 19:3). Harris asked: Who was short, Zachaeus or Jesus? The answer, however, must surely take into account the consideration that, if Jesus had been short in stature, the records would have mentioned [amusing! an apologist's, pathetically grasping, argument from silence] other persons besides Zachaeus who would have had difficulty in seeing him in the midst of the crowds.

Again, some have deduced from a passage in the Fourth Gospel that Jesus was prematurely aged. In John 8:57 the question is addressed by the Jews to Jesus, "You are not yet fifty years of age, and have you seen Abraham?" Why, it has been asked, should Jesus, who presumably had just turned thirty, be compared with someone "not yet fifty" unless he appeared to be much older than his years? But the passage is susceptible of other interpretations. One need not follow A.T. Olmstead who, earlier this century, deduced from the passage that Jesus was born about 20 B.C. and therefore would have been about fifty at the time represented in the account. It is altogether probable that, perplexed over Jesus' earlier paradoxical statement ("Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad," John 8:56), the comment of his hearers means no more than, "You are not yet half a century old, and how can you have seen Abraham, who lived centuries ago?"

The absence of information in the gospels as to Jesus' physical appearance, however, did not discourage Christians in subsequent centuries from imagining what he looked like. Several of the early Church Fathers, including Tertullian and Origen, held that Jesus was ugly and even repulsive. The basis for such an opinion was the Old Testament description of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 applied literally to Jesus ("he has no form or beauty that we should desire him," for he is "like a root out of dry ground"--that is, deeply lined and wrinkled). On the other hand, other Church Fathers, including Augustine and Jerome, supposed that Jesus was supremely handsome, the archetype of manly beauty. They based this opinion on such Old Testament passages as Psalm 45, "you are the fairest of the sons of men," and the Song of Songs, which speaks of one who is like "the rose of Sharon," and who is "the chiefest among ten thousand."

Despite a relatively full list of early representations of Christ (most of them depicting him without a beard), the author makes no reference to the beardless bust

PAGE 1768

of a young man, with the chi-rho symbol behind his head and with a pomegranate (symbol of immortality) on either side of him, in the Hinton St. Mary floor-mosaic, dated by J.M.C. Toynbee to the fourth century (Journal of Roman Studies 54 [1964]: 1-4), and therefore the earliest presumed representation of Christ so far known to have been made in Britain [see Addition 21, 1120-1124 (Ancient Britain (Del Mar))]. The author might also have exploited much more fully (col. 372) the evidence from coins struck by Christian emperors, such as those of Justinian II (685-695 A.D.) [see #2, 21, 121.]. Regrettably there is no mention, much less discussion, of the diversity of representations of Christ (with and without a beard [see #9, 225], with curling and with straight hair), nor of the significance that his image comes to displace that of the emperor on the obverse side of the coin. No illustration of a coin is provided. On the references in the New Testament Apocrypha to early Christian depictions of Jesus, see now J.D. Breckenridge, "Apocrypha of Early Christian Portraiture," Byzantinische Zeitschrift 67 (1974): 101-109.' [213-214]. [See: Addition 21, 1116].

'U. Nilgen's article on "Evangelisten and Evangelistensymbole" is packed with information, well-ordered and illustrated. It may be mentioned here that the significant study on "Portraits of the Evangelists" by A.M. Friend, Jr. (Art Studies, 5, 7 [1927, 1929] was to be followed by further investigation into the antecedents of the Christian representation of the evangelists. These studies, as Professor Friend once told the present writer, involved identifications of the specific classical authors whose iconographic representations Christian artists adopted as models for the four evangelists, namely the philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, and Epicurus, and (for a second series) the poets Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and Menander [see Addition 34, 1641-1643, etc.]. Unfortunately Friend died before he was able to work out completely these identifications, but they will be published, along with the supporting evidence, by Kurt Weitzmann in a posthumous publication of Friend's research (see Illuminated Greek Manuscripts from American Collections, An Exhibition in Honor of Kurt Weitzmann, ed. Gary Vikan [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973], p. 47 [see pages 44-49: "Portraits of the Evangelists in Greek Manuscripts"], n.).' [214-215].

PAGE 1769

from: Bible Myths, and Their Parallels in Other Religions, Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with Those of Heathen Nations of Antiquity, Considering also Their Origin and Meaning, By T.W. Doane [1852 - 1885 (note the brevity of life. note the accomplishments.), with numerous illustrations, Seventh Edition,

"He who knows only one religion knows none."--Prof. Max Muller [1823 - 1900].

"The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christian the true religion which existed before."--St. Augustine. [see #3, 68, 358.]

"Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours."--James Bonwick [(prolific author) 1817 - 1906].

New York, The Truth Seeker Co., Publishers of Freethought Books, 38 Park Row, 1948 (c1882).




PAGE 1770

Out of this number it has been claimed that one (Josephus) spoke of Jesus, and another (Tacitus) of the Christians. Of the former it is almost needless to speak, as that has been given up by Christian divines many years ago. However, for the sake of those who still cling to it we shall state the following:

Dr. Lardner, who wrote about A.D. 1760, says:

  1. It was never quoted by any of our Christian ancestors before Eusebius.
  2. Josephus has nowhere else mentioned the name or word Christ, in any of his works, except the testimony above mentioned,3 [see footnote, below] and the passage concerning James, the Lord's brother.4
  3. It interrupts the narrative.
  4. The language is quite Christian.
  5. It is not quoted by Chrysostom,5 though he often refers to Josephus, and could not have omitted quoting it, had it been then, in the text.


1The Rev. Dr. Giles says: "Great is our disappointment at finding nothing in the works of Philo about the Christians, their doctrines, or their sacred books. About the books indeed we need not expect any notice of these works, but about the Christians and their doctrines his silence is more remarkable, seeing that he was about sixty years old at the time of the crucifixion, and living mostly in Alexandria, so closely connected with Judea and the Jews, could hardly have failed to know something of the wonderful events that had taken place in the city of Jerusalem." (Hebrew and Christian Records, vol ii. p. 61.)


2Both these philosophers were living, and must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest information of the existence of Christ Jesus, had such a person as the Gospels make him out to be ever existed. Their ignorance or their willful silence on the subject, is not less than improbable.

3Antiquities, bk. xviii. ch. iii. 3.

4Ibid, book. xx. ch. ix. 1.

5John, Bishop of Constantinople, who died [407. (c. 347 - 407)]

6It is not quoted by Photius [4th century], though he has three articles concerning Josephus [c. 37 - c. 100].

7Under the article Justus of Tiberius [contemporary of Josephus (Dict. Greek and Roman Bio. and Myth.)], this author (Photius) expressly states that his historian (Josephus), being a Jew, has not taken the least notice of Christ.

8Neither Justin [Justin Martyr c. 100 - c. 165 (?)], in his dialogue with Typho [Trypho] the Jew, nor Clemens Alexandrinus [c. 150 - c. 215], who made so many extracts from ancient authors, nor Origen [c. 185 - c. 254] against Celsus [2nd century], have even mentioned this testimony.

9But, on the contrary, Origen openly affirms (ch. XXXV., bk. i., against Celsus), that Josephus, who had mentioned John the Baptist, did not acknowledge Christ.1 [see footnote, 1772]

PAGE 1771

In the "Bible for Learners," we read as follows:

"Flavius Josephus, the well-known historian of the Jewish people, was born in A.D. 37, only two years after the death of Jesus; but though his work is of inestimable value as our chief authority for the circumstances of the times in which Jesus and his Apostles came forward, yet he does not seem to have ever mentioned Jesus himself. At any rate, the passage in his 'Jewish Antiquities' that refers to him is certainly spurious, and was inserted by a later and a Christian hand. The Talmud compresses the history of Jesus into a single sentence [see #3, 47], and later Jewish writers concoct mere slanderous anecdotes. The ecclesiastical fathers mention a few sayings or events, the knowledge of which they drew from oral traditions or from writings that have since been lost. The Latin and Greek historians just mention his name. This meager harvest is all we reap from sources outside the Gospels."2

Canon Farrar [Frederic William Farrar 1831 - 1903], who finds himself compelled to admit that this passage in Josephus is an interpolation, consoles himself by saying:

"The single passage in which he (Josephus) alludes to Him (Christ) is interpolated, if not wholly spurious, and no one can doubt [see Addition 29, 1281 ("bullshit")] that his silence on the subject of Christianity was as deliberate as it was dishonest."3

The Rev. Dr. Giles, after commenting on this subject, concludes by saying:

"Eusebius is the first who quotes the passage, and our reliance on the judgment, or even the honesty, of this writer is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine."4

Eusebius, then, is the first person who refers to these passages.5 Eusebius, "whose honesty is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine." Eusebius, who says that it is lawful to lie and cheat for the cause of Christ.6 [see footnote, below] This Eusebius is the sheet-anchor ["A large anchor, formerly always the largest of a ship's anchors, used only in an emergency." (O.E.D.)] of reliance for most we know of the first three centuries of the Christian history. WHAT THEN MUST WE THINK OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA?


1[from 9. (1771)] Lardner: vol. vi. ch. iii.
2Bible for Learners, vol. iii, p. 27.
3Life of Christ, vol I. p. 63.
4Hebrew and Christ, Rec. vol. ii. p. 62.
5In his Eccl. Hist. lib. 2. ch. xii.

PAGE 1772

The celebrated passage in Tacitus which Christian divines--and even some liberal writers--attempt to support, is to be found in his Annals. In this work he is made to speak of Christians, who "had their denomination from Christus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate."

In answer to this we have the following:

1. This passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)], which would have served the purpose of Christian quotation better than any other in all the writings of Tacitus, or of any Pagan writer whatever, is not quoted by any of the Christian Fathers.

2. It is not quoted by Tertullian, though he had read and largely quotes the works of Tacitus.

3. And though his argument immediately called for the use of this quotation with so loud a voice (Apol. ch. v.), that his omission of it, if it had really existed, amounts to a violent improbability.

4. This Father has spoken of Tacitus in a way that it is absolutely impossible that he should have spoken of him, had his writings contained such a passage.

5. It is not quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, who set himself entirely to the work of adducing and bringing together all the admissions and recognitions which Pagan authors had made of the existence of Christ Jesus or Christians before his time.

6. It has been nowhere stumbled upon by the laborious and all-seeking Eusebius, who could by no possibility have overlooked it, and whom it would have saved from the labor of forging the passage in Josephus; of adducing the correspondence of Christ Jesus and Abgarus, and the Sibylline verses; of forging a divine revelation from the god Apollo, in attestation of Christ Jesus' ascension into heaven; and innumerable other of his pious and holy cheats.

7. Tacitus has in no other part of his writings made the least allusion to "Christ" or "Christians."

8. The use of this passage as part of the evidences of the Christian religion, is absolutely modern.

9. There is no vestige nor trace of its [Annals 15:44] existence anywhere in the world before the 15th century.1

10. No reference whatever is made to this passage by any writer or historian, monkish or otherwise, before that time,1 which, to say the least, is very singular, considering that after that time it is quoted, or referred to, in an endless list of works, which by itself is all but conclusive that it was not in existence till the fifteenth century; which was an age of imposture and of credulity so immoderate that people were easily imposed upon, believing, as they did, without sufficient evidence, whatever was foisted upon them.

11. The interpolator of the passage makes Tacitus speak of "Christ," not of Jesus the Christ, showing that--like the passage in Josephus--it is, comparatively, a modern interpolation, for

12. The word "Christ" is not a name, but a TITLE;2 it being simply the Greek word for the Hebrew word "Messiah." Therefore,

13. When Tacitus is made to speak of Jesus as "Christ," it is equivalent to my speaking of Tacitus as "Historian," of George Washington as "General," or of any individual as "Mister," without adding a name by which either could be distinguished. And therefore,

PAGE 1773

14. It has no sense or meaning as he is said to have used it.

15. Tacitus is also made to say that the Christians had their denomination from Christ, which would apply to any other of the so-called Christs who were put to death in Judea [? (references for this clause?)], as well as to Christ Jesus. And

16. "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch" (Acts xi. 26), not because they were followers of a certain Jesus who claimed to be the Christ, but because "Christian" or "Chrstian," was a name applied, at that time, to any good man.3 And,

17. The worshipers of the Sun-god, Serapis, were also called "Christians," and his disciples "Bishops of Christ."1 [validity?]

So much, then, for the celebrated passage in Tacitus.' [564-568].

[footnote] '1 [from 9. (1773)] The original MSS, containing the "Annals of Tacitus" were "discovered" in the fifteenth century. Their existence cannot be traced back further than that time. And as it was an age of imposture, some persons are disposed to believe that not only portions of the Annals, but the whole work, was forged at that time. Mr. J.W. Ross, in an elaborate work published in London some years ago, contended that the Annals were forged by Poggio Bracciolini, their professed discoverer. At the time of Bracciolini the temptation was great to palm off literary forgeries, especially of the chief writers of antiquity, on account of the Popes, in their efforts to revive learning, giving money rewards and indulgences to those who should procure MS. copies of any of the ancient Greek or Roman authors. Manuscripts turned up as if by magic, in every direction; from libraries of monasteries, obscure as well as famous; the most out-of-the-way places,--the bottom of exhausted wells, besmeared by snails, as the History of Velleius Paterculus, or from garrets, where they had been contending with cobwebs and dust, as the poems of Catullus.' [566].


1[from 10. (1773)] A portion of the passage--that relating to the manner in which the Christians were put to death--is found in the Historia Sacra of Sulpicius Severus [c. 360 - c. 430?] ["historian and hagiographer"; "priest" (Ox. Dict. C.C.)], a Christian Father, who died A.D. 420; but it is evident that this writer did not take it from the Annals. On the contrary, the passage was taken--as Mr. Ross shows--from the Historia Sacra, and bears traces of having been so appropriated. (See Tacitus & Bracciolini, the Annals forged in the XVth century, by J.W. Ross.) [see: Addition #35, 1688; 1813, 1853, 1991 (Sulpicius Severus)]

2[from 12. (1773)] "Christ is a name having no spiritual signification, and importing nothing more than an ordinary surname." (Dr. Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 64.)

"The name of Jesus and Christ was both known and honored among the ancients." (Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. iv.)

"The name Jesus is of Hebrew origin, and signifies Deliverer, and Savior. It is the same as that translated in the Old Testament Joshua. The word Christ, of Greek origin, is properly not a name but a title signifying The Anointed. The whole name is therefore, Jesus the Anointed or Jesus the Messiah." (Abbott and Conant; Dic. of Relig. Knowledge, art. "Jesus Christ.")

PAGE 1774

In the oldest Gospel extant, that attributed to Matthew, we read that Jesus said unto his disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" whereupon Simon Peter answers and says: "Thou art THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God....Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus THE Christ." (Matt. xvi. 15-20.)

This clearly shows that "the Christ" was simply a title applied to the man Jesus, therefore, if a title, it cannot be a name. ALL PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WHICH SPEAK OF CHRIST AS A NAME, BETRAY THEIR MODERN DATE.

[footnote] 3 [from 16. (1774)] "This name (Christian) occurs but three times in the New Testament, and is never used by Christians of themselves, only as spoken by or coming from those without the Church. The general names by which the early Christians called themselves were 'brethren,' 'disciples,' 'believers,' and 'saints.' The presumption is that the name Christian was originated by the Heathen." (Abbott and Conant: Dic. of Relig. Knowledge, art. "Christian.")

"We are called Christians (not, we call ourselves Christians). So, then we are the best of men (Chrstians), and it can never be just to hate what is (Chrst) good and kind;" [or, "therefore to hate what is Chrestian is unjust."] [Justin Martyr: Apol. 1. c. iv.)

"Some of the ancient writers of the Church have not scrupled expressly to call the Athenian Socrates, and some others of the best of the heathen moralists, by the name of Christians." (Clark: Evidences of Revealed Relig., p. 284. Quoted in Ibid. p. 41.)

"Those who lived according to the Logos, (i.e., the Platonists), were really Christians." (Clemens Alexandrinus, in Ibid.)

"Undoubtedly we are called Christians, for this reason, and none other, than because we are anointed with the oil of God." (Theophilius of Antioch, in Ibid. p. 399.)

"Christ is the Sovereign Reason of whom the whole human race participates. All those who have lived conformably to a right reason, have been Christians, notwithstanding that they have always been looked upon as Atheists." (Justin Martyr: Apol. 1. c. xlvi.)

Lucian makes a person called Triephon answer the question, whether the affairs of the Christians were recorded in heaven. "All nations are there recorded, since Chrstus exists even among the Gentiles."

[footnote] 1 [from 17. (1774)] "Egypt, which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshipers of SERAPIS (here) are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis (I find), call themselves Bishops of Christ." (The Emperor Adrian to Servianus, written A.D. 134. Quoted by Dr. Giles, vol. ii. p. 86.)' [567-568].

PAGE 1775

'NOTE.--Tacitus [c. 55 - 120] says--according to the passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)] attributed to him--that "those who confessed [to be Christians] were first seized, and then on their evidence a huge multitude (Ingens Multitudo) were convicted, not so much on the charge of incendiarism as for their hatred to mankind." Although M. Renan [Ernest Renan 1823 - 1892] may say (Hibbert Lectures, p. 70) that the authenticity of this passage "cannot be disputed," yet the absurdity of "a huge multitude" of Christians being in Rome, in the days of Nero, A.D. 64--about thirty years after the time assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus--has not escaped the eye of thoughtful scholars. Gibbon [Edward Gibbon 1737 - 1794] --who saw how ridiculous the statement is--attempts to reconcile it with common sense by supposing that Tacitus knew so little about the Christians that he confounded them with the Jews, and that the hatred universally felt for the latter fell upon the former. In this way he believes Tacitus gets his "huge multitude," as the Jews established themselves in Rome as early as 60 years B.C., where they multiplied rapidly, living together in the Traslevere--the most abject portion of the city, where all kinds of rubbish was put to rot--where they became "old clothes" men, the porters and hucksters, bartering tapers for broken glass, hated by the mass and pitied by the few. Other scholars, among whom may be mentioned Schwegler (Nachap Zest., ii. 229); Köstlin (Johann-Lehrbegr., 472); and Baur (First Three Centuries, i. 133): also being struck with the absurdity of the statement made by some of the early Christian writers concerning the wholesale prosecution of Christians, said to have happened at that time, suppose it must have taken place during the persecution of Trajan, A.D. 101. It is strange we hear of no Jewish martyrdoms or Jewish persecutions till we come to the times of the Jewish war, and then chiefly in Palestine! But fables must be made realities, so we have the ridiculous story of a "huge multitude" of Christians being put to death in Rome, in A.D. 64, evidently for the purpose of bringing Peter there, making him the first Pope, and having him crucified head downwards. This absurd story is made more evident when we find that it was not until about A.D. 50--only 14 years before the alleged persecution--that the first Christians--a mere handful--entered the capitol of the Empire. (See Renan's Hibbert Lectures, p. 55.) They were a poor dirty set, without manners, clad in filthy gaberdines, and smelling strong of garlic. From these, then, with others who came from Syria, we get our "huge multitude" in the space of 14 years. The statement attributed to Tacitus is, however, outdone by Orosius [early 5th century], who asserts that the persecution extended "through all the provinces." (Orosius, ii. 11.) That it was a very easy matter for some Christian writer to interpolate or alter a passage in the Annals of Tacitus may be seen from the fact that the MS. was not known to the world before the 15th century, and from information which is to be derived from reading Daillé [Jean Daillé 1594 - 1670] On the Right Use of the Fathers, who shows that they were accustomed to doing such business, and that these writings are, to a large extent, unreliable.' [568] [End of Appendix D.]

PAGE 1776

from: Forgers and Critics, Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship, Anthony Grafton, Princeton, c1990.

"The satirist Lucian [c. 117 - c. 180] [was it Lucian? (see 1865-1874)] showed off his forger's dexterity and his critic's competence at one and the same time by forging a work in so convincing a replica of the notoriously obscure style of Heraclitus [fl. c. 500 B.C.E. ("Heraclitus is the first Greek thinker to have a theory of *psych or '*soul' as it functions in the living person." (Ox. Class. Dict.))] that it deceived a famous critic.32 [German reference. "famous critic"? Galen? (see 1865)]" [19].

"If literary and religious forgery and their counterpart modes of criticism survived the fall of the ancient world, however, forgery and criticism of legal authorities became the dominant new forms in the Middle Ages. MOST PRACTITIONERS OF FORGERY AND CRITICISM WERE CLERICS AND LAWYERS. Forgers usually wanted to equip a person or an institution with a basis for possession of lands or privileges....

The most literary and elaborate of medieval forgeries--the Donation of Constantine, the notorious EIGHTH-CENTURY document that tells the tale of how the Emperor Constantine, cured of leprosy by Pope Sylvester, showed his gratitude by conveying the entire Western empire to the Church and departing for Byzantium--makes a powerful effort to give the appearance of including legal documents formalized in expression and attested by the requisite witnesses. The volume of this activity was never small; perhaps half the legal documents we possess from Merovingian [c. 500 -751 C.E.] times, and PERHAPS TWO-THIRDS OF ALL DOCUMENTS ISSUED TO [AND BY] ECCLESIASTICS BEFORE A.D. 1100, ARE FAKES...." [24]. [See: 1743].

[following, is a prologue, to a forgery, by Erasmus] 'Hase's [Karl Benedikt Hase (another forger!)] reputation as man and critic has at least been mixed; that of Erasmus has been almost spotless. Modern scholars quite reasonably revere him [Erasmus] as one of the great exposers of error and mendacity. He had a deep knowledge of ancient history and literature and a keenly discriminating sense of style. Turned on the rich corpus of texts traditionally attributed to Seneca [see 1632, 1736]--some classical and some late, some pseudepigraphical and some forged, and some by another author of the same name--these sharp instruments of dissection easily excised the supposed correspondence of Seneca and Saint Paul from the genuine matter. Erasmus' pungent preface used stylistic, historical, and substantive arguments:

"There is nothing in the letters from Paul worthy of Paul's spirit. One hardly hears the name of Christ, which normally pervades Paul's discourse. [The author] makes that powerful defender of the Gospel cowardly and timorous....And it's a sign of monumental stupidity when he makes Seneca send Paul a book De copia verborum [On Building Vocabulary] so that he will be able to write better Latin. If Paul did not know Latin he could have written in Greek. Seneca did know Greek."12

PAGE 1777

PURGING THE SPURIOUS, IN FACT, WAS CENTRAL TO ERASMUS' SENSE OF HIS CALLING AS A CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR. It inspired his removal of the comma Johanneum (I John 5:7), the most explicit scriptural support for the doctrine of the Trinity, from his first edition of the New Testament. His [Erasmus] distaste for a culture nurtured on literary deceit emerges from his life of Jerome, with its trenchant attack on the medieval legends of superhuman cures and interventions that had distorted and disguised the facts.13 When Erasmus defended the arguments by which he, like Lorenzo Valla before him, had denounced the corpus of Dionysius the Areopagite, he made clear his opposition to all production of fraudulent works, even in support of desirable ends: "In those days even pious men thought it pleasing to God to use this deceit to inspire the people with eagerness to read."14

In 1530, Erasmus published his fourth edition of the works of Saint Cyprian. This included as a stop-press supplement a treatise, De duplici martyrio (On the Two Forms of Martyrdom) [more, Martyrology], which, as its table of contents said, was "DISCOVERED IN AN ANCIENT LIBRARY; MAY IT BE POSSIBLE TO SEARCH OUT OTHER VALUABLE WORKS OF HIS AS WELL."15 The treatise praised the virtues of martyrs in the traditional sense, THOSE WHO DIED TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH; but it went on to praise other forms of Christian life--the life of those willing to die but not called upon to do so, the life of the virgin who struggles to avoid a sin--as equivalent in merit to martyrdom [proto- "Soap Operas"]. It takes a position highly sympathetic to Erasmus, who had always disliked the kind of Christianity that equated suffering with virtue, and had always preferred the human Christ hoping to avoid death in Gethsemane to the divine Christ ransoming man by dying at Calvary. It is preserved in no known manuscript or ancient library. It explicates scriptural passages in peculiar ways, ways also found in Erasmus' New Testament commentaries. And it is written in a beautiful but peculiar Latin honeycombed with biblical and patristic citations and marked by a frequent use of nouns with diminutive endings--the very Latin in which Erasmus wrote the great literary works that he acknowledged, like The Praise of Folly, and the funnier one that he did not [acknowledge], the Julius Excluded from Heaven.

De duplici martyrio is not Erasmus' discovery but his composition; it marks an effort to find the support of the early Church for his theology at the cost--which he elsewhere insisted must never be paid--of falsifying the records of that Church.


[43-45]. [See 1805 (Paret)].

[footnote] "16. Cf. Erasmus' provision by back-translation from the Vulgate of the Greek text of the last six verses of the Apocalypse, in its own way a form of invention of evidence that his manuscripts did not provide. See B.M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1968), 99-100." [139].

PAGE 1778

"Erasmus was not the only grave and learned gentleman to hoax the entire world of learning with an uncharacteristic piece of fakery.

Carlo Sigonio [see 1991], later in the sixteenth century, was the dominant scholar of his day in two or three fields--the reconstruction of the chronology and constitutional history of early Rome, the history of medieval Italy, and the theory of historiography. A revered teacher and prolific writer, he was especially known for his mastery of Cicero's works and HIS own ABILITY TO WRITE PURE CICERONIAN PROSE. Early in the 1580s he brought out a new text supposedly communicated to him by a printer--the Consolation, mentioned above, which Cicero wrote on his daughter's death. This work, preserved only in fragments and testimonies by classical authors, was avidly bought, eagerly read, and immediately denounced. Contemporary readers thought the work tried far too hard to prove its own authenticity; it contained Italianisms of style, alien turns of thought, and even phrases borrowed from earlier Renaissance writers. Though not all agreed where responsibility must lie, many attached it to Sigonio himself, especially when he defended the book, lamely but doggedly, against all attackers. The controversy brought only discredit on Sigonio, and the text itself seems unworthy of his attention, or his authorship.17 Still, it seems certain that Sigonio did write it, perhaps as an exercise in the rhetorical genre of the Consolation, perhaps with help--yet certainly under false pretenses. [see 1901-1903]


In Sigorio's [Sigonio's] case, unlike in Erasmus', there is no obvious idealistic justification for his act." [45, 48].

"THE DESIRE TO FORGE, IN OTHER WORDS, CAN INFECT ALMOST ANYONE: THE LEARNED AS WELL AS THE IGNORANT, THE HONEST PERSON AS WELL AS THE ROGUE. In some contexts, naturally, it did not seem so immoral as in others--or, perhaps, did not seem immoral at all. Nanni [Annius of Viterbo (Giovanni Nanni) c. 1432 - 1502 (Catholic Encyc.)] [see 1744-1746], for example, was a Dominican [Dominicans: "The Hounds of Hell"!]; the mendicant friars of the later Middle Ages often seem to have acted on the assumption that real records and facts needed to be heightened and dramatized if they were to do justice to their sacred subjects. Medieval Dominican biographers of Saint Jerome embroidered the facts they had with the more colorful story that he had reappeared again and again after his death in solid, material form--that he had pushed an insufficiently respectful abbot to the edge of a cliff and allowed him to live only after he promised to build a church and dedicate it to Jerome. Early sixteenth-century Dominicans in Bern adorned a statue of the Virgin Mary with drops of varnish, to show that the statue wept and thus possessed miraculous powers; they even spoke through her lips, inserting a speaking tube to utter supposedly divine prophecies and commands.18 Like those earlier rabbis whose exegetical method of aggadah, the provision of edifying stories, filled in the factual gaps and missing motives in the austere dramas of the Pentateuch, the Dominicans invented the texts and facts they needed even when discussing subjects and beings of the utmost seriousness. There was after all no other way, in this increasingly

PAGE 1779

literate and critical age, to defend the orally transmitted traditions of the late medieval church. Nanni participated not only in a long-term literary tradition of forgery but in the late medieval fiction-producing culture of his order [see Appendix III, 724 (Benedictines [see 1989])]; as well; no wonder, then, that he felt licensed to restore [?] the truth [?] by pia fraus.

But to infer, as some historians have done, from single cases like Nanni's the more general assertion that the flourishing of forgery reveals that early periods did not share our notion of truth and authority, is surely unjustified. Forgery evidently tempts the virtuous as well as the weak, and has been practiced by those who condemned it most sharply. General theses cannot possibly do justice to this tangle of complex individual cases." [48-49].

"If generalizations shed little light on the obscure realm of ends, they brilliantly illuminate the vivid realm of means. Forgers have been as consistent over the ages in their choice of media as they have been diverse in their personalities and interests. A relatively restricted group of colors makes the forger's palette, now as two millennia ago. After all, the forger has to carry out a limited range of tasks, one that has not altered greatly over time. He must give his text the appearance--the linguistic appearance as a text and the physical appearance as a document--of something from a period dramatically earlier than and different from his own. He must, in other words, imagine two things: what a text would have looked like when it was written and what it should look like now that he has found it. Two forms of imagination should lead to two different, complementary acts of falsification: he must produce a text that seems distant from the present day and an object that seems distant from its purported time of origin. Two further technical tasks remain: he must explain where his document came from and reveal how it fits into the jigsaw puzzle of other surviving documents that makes up his own period's record of an authoritative or attractive period in the past. Imagination and corroboration, the creation of the forgery and the provision of its pedigree: these deceptively simple requirements are almost all that a forger has to meet. But they are not exhaustive, and the last one is as crucial as it is often elusive. THE FORGER NEEDS TO GIVE HIS WORK AN AIR OF CONVICTION AND REALITY, A SENSE OF AUTHENTICITY." [50-51].

"The richest of all historical studies on forgery, Wolfgang Speyer's [see 1991] magnificent Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum [1971], arranges material from virtually all primary and secondary sources on ancient criticism in a lucid, jargon-free, and mercifully concise account. Speyer reveals again and again the penetrating insight and meticulous attention to detail that Alexandrian and Christian scholars often brought to the tasks of higher criticism. Yet Speyer's book implies that the criticism now practiced differs fundamentally from that known before the last centuries. He suggests that criticism has become in modern times an objective study applied to all sources; criticism in antiquity was a subjective study applied to sources one wished to attack. The one ["objective"] forms part of philology, the other ["subjective"] part of rhetoric; the one ["objective"] takes an impartial and exhaustive approach, the other a subjective and erratic one. This distinction is vitally important, as we will see, but it needs qualification and supplementation if it is to yield the fullest possible insight.2" [70-71].

PAGE 1780


'A Note on

Further Reading

For a condensed but comprehensive survey of the general history of scholarship in the West, see L.D. Reynolds and N.G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1974), which ranges widely and offers helpful guidance to the monographic literature. More detailed accounts are provided by the old but informative History of Classical Scholarship by J.E. Sandys (Cambridge, 1903-1908), and the two more recent volumes by R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship from the Beginnings to the End of the Hellenistic Age (Oxford, 1968) and History of Classical Scholarship from 1300 to 1850 (Oxford, 1976), best consulted in the revised German edition, Die Klassische Philologie von Petrarca bis Mommsen (Munich, 1982).

The best single prospect of the whole history of forgery, as I have said before, is afforded by W. Speyer's [see 1991] Die literarische Fälschung im heidnischen und christlichen Altertum (Munich, 1971), which includes much material on modern forgery (and criticism) as well as their earlier counterparts. N. Brox offers a lucid and helpfully skeptical supplementary account in Falsche Verfasserangaben (Stuttgart, 1975). The older compilation by J.A. Farrer, Literary Forger [Forgeries] (London, 1907) [see 1888-1894], is broad-gauged and informative, though generally antiquated on points of detail. The most stimulating general treatments in English are G. Bagnani, "On Fakes and Forgeries," Phoenix 14 (1960): 228-244, and R. Syme, "Fiction and Credulity," in his Emperors and Biography: Studies in the Historia Augusta (Oxford, 1971). The best recent survey in English is B. M. Metzger, "Literary Forgeries and Canonical Pseudepigrapha," in New Testament Studies: Philological, Versional, and Patristic (Leiden, 1980), 1-22 [see 1757-1769]; see also D.G. Meade, Pseudonymity and Canon (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1988). both have good bibliographies. Some of the more original and influential articles on forgery in the ancient world are collected in Pseudepigraphie in der heidnischen und jüdisch-christlichen Antike, ed. N. Brox (Darmstadt, 1977).

On medieval forgery, see in general P. Lehmann, Pseudo-Antike Literatur des Mittelalters (Leipzig, 1927; repr. Darmstadt, 1964); H. Fuhrmann, "Die Fälschungen im Mittelalter," Historische Zeitschrift 197 (1963): 529-554; G. Constable, "Forgery and Plagiarism in the Middle Ages," Archiv für Diplomatik, Schriftgeschichte, Siegel - und Wappenkunde 29 (1983): 1-41; and P. Meyvaert, "Medieval Forgers and Modern Scholars: Tests of Ingenuity," in The Role of the Book in Medieval Culture, ed. P. Ganz (Turnhout, 1986), I:83-95.

PAGE 1781

For forgery and its neighbors in Renaissance culture, the most insightful general treatment remains C. Mitchell, "Archaeology and Romance in Renaissance Italy," in Italian Renaissance Studies, ed. E.F. Jacob (London, 1960); for criticism, see the contrasting general accounts of P.G. Schmidt, "Kritische Philologie und pseudoantike Literatur," in Die Antike-Rezeption in den Wissenschaften während der Renaissance, ed. A. Buck and K. Heitmann (Weinheim, 1983), and A. Grafton, "Higher Criticism Ancient and Modern: The Lamentable Deaths of Hermes and the Sibyls," in The Uses of Greek and Latin: Historical Essays, ed. A.C. Dionisotti et al. (London, 1988).

On the new pasts invented in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, see in general I. Haywood, The Making of History (Rutherford, Madison, and Teaneck, 1986). An invaluable guide to the Enlightenment's new forms of historical consciousness is L. Gossman's Medievalism and the Ideologies of the Enlightenment (Baltimore, 1968). Perhaps the deepest study of a modern forger is that found in the notes to D.S. Taylor's edition of Chatterton's Complete Works (Oxford, 1971); see also his fine work, Thomas Chatterton's Art (Princeton, 1978). I. Haywood's Faking It (Brighton, 1987) summarizes the argument of his larger book and briefly considers both some more recent literary forgeries and the related question, into which I cannot enter here, of the forgery of works of art. See also the far more elaborate, and still stimulating, treatment of the latter topic by O. Kurz: Fakes, 2d ed. (New York, 1967).

No single work surveys all the methods of detection applied by modern critics, but R.D. Altick's The Scholar Adventurers (New York, 1950) vividly describes a number of them as applied in specific episodes. Finally, the BRITISH MUSEUM FORGERY SHOW OF 1990 [see 1737-1751] will present the largest assembly yet made of forged texts and objects. Its catalogue (by N. Barker) will not only reproduce many of these but also provide further information on many of the literary forgers and critics discussed in this book.' [151-153] [End of: "A Note on Further Reading"].

PAGE 1782

from: The Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, by Arthur Drews [1865 - 1935], Tr. Joseph McCabe, Watts, 1912. Arno reprint, 1972. [See: 1856-1857].


--It is, however, not superfluous, perhaps, to consider more closely what is regarded as the most important profane witness for the historicity of Jesus--that of Tacitus. Such witnesses still seem to make a great impression on the general public. Even theologians who are themselves convinced of the worthlessness of such witnesses as regards the problem we are considering do not fail, as a rule, to repeat them to "the people" as if they gave some confirmation of their belief in an historical Jesus. That would be prevented once for all if it could be proved that the whole passage is not from the pen of Tacitus at all. However, this statement, which I advanced in the Christ Myth in accordance with the view of the French writer Hochart, has been so vehemently attacked, even by those who, like Weiss and Weinel, admit the worthlessness of the passage as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned, that it seems necessary to inquire somewhat closely into the genuineness of Annals, xv, 44.' [24-25].

'Arguments for the Genuineness.

There can, of course, be no question of any impossibility of interpolating the passage [Annals 15:44 (see 1852-1853)] in the Annals on the ground of "the inimitable style of Tacitus," as defenders of the genuineness repeat after Gibbon.1 There is no "inimitable" style for the clever forger, and the more unusual, distinctive, and peculiar a style is, like that of Tacitus, the easier it is to imitate it. It would be strange if a monastic copyist of Tacitus, occupied with his work for months, if not for years, could not so far catch his style as to be able to write these twenty or twenty-five lines in the manner of Tacitus. Teuffel, in his Geschichte der Röm. Literature (5th ed. 1890, ii, 1137), commends Sulpicius Severus [see 1991] for his "skill" in imitating Tacitus, among others, in his composition. Such an imitation is not, in my opinion, beyond the range of possibility. Moreover, as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned, we are, perhaps, interested only in one single sentence of the passage, and that has nothing distinctively Tacitan about it.

PAGE 1783

Equally invalid is the claim that the way in which Tacitus speaks of the Christians excludes all idea of a Christian interpolation. Von Soden thinks that

Christians "would certainly have put early Christianity in a more favourable light, as they always did when they falsified the story of the rise of Christianity [pause] in the historical works they read."

He overlooks the fact that the injurious epithets on the new religion and its adherents would probably, in the opinion of the forger, tend to strengthen its chances of passing as genuine. They are just what one might suppose to be in harmony with the disposition of Tacitus. The expressions, moreover, are at once enfeebled by the reference to the sympathy [see 1815 (Paret)] that the Romans are supposed to have felt for the victims of Nero's cruelty. It is a common occurrence in the accounts of the Christian martyrs for the pagan opponents of Christianity to find their hostility changed into sympathy, and recognise the innocence of the persecuted Christians. We need quote only the description of Pilate in Matthew and Luke--his "I find no blame in him" and "I am innocent of the blood of this just man"--and the supposed words of Agrippa when Paul is charged before him: "This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds."1 So Pliny the younger condemns the Christians in his letter to Trajan, although he acknowledges their innocence. This, it is true, is not the case with [pseudo] Tacitus; he seems rather to regard the Christians as guilty, whether or no they were the authors of the fire. But he allows the spectators to be touched with pity for the executed Christians, and thus awakens a sympathetic feeling for them in the readers of his narrative.

It is said, however, that Tacitus, "on account of the difficulty of his style and his whole attitude, was not generally read by Christians," so that his text is, "in the general opinion of experts, the freest from corruption of all the ancient writings." So at least von Soden assures us (p. 11). In this, however, he is merely repeating the opinion of Gibbon. As a matter of fact, none of the works of Tacitus have come down to us without interpolations [see 1852, etc.]. This supposed "purity of the text of Tacitus as shown by the oldest manuscripts" exists only in the imagination of Gibbon and those who follow him. It is, further, not true that the Christians did not read Tacitus. We have a number of instances in the first centuries of Christian writers who are acquainted with Tacitus, such as Tertullian, Jerome, Orosius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Sulpicius Severus, and Cassiodorus. It is only in the course of the Middle Ages that this acquaintance with the Roman historian is gradually lost; and this not on account of, but in spite of, the passage in Tacitus on the Christians. This testimony of the Roman historian to the supposed first persecution of the Christians would be very valuable to them for many reasons.' [25-27].

PAGE 1784


is further confirmed by the fact that the other witnesses that are quoted for it are just as vague and indecisive. What propagandist material would not the details of this first persecution of their faith have furnished to the early Christians! Yet what trace of it do we find in them? Let us take the evidence of Melito of Sardis. In his writing to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, in which he endeavours to explain to the Emperor how beneficial Christianity had been to Roman power, we read: "The only emperors who, seduced by evil-minded men, sought to bring our religion into evil repute, were Nero and Domitian, and from their time the mendacious calumny of the Christians has continued, according to the habit of people to believe imputations without proof." In these words, which, moreover, are only known to us from Eusebius,1 there is no question of a general persecution of the Christians under Nero; it is merely stated that Nero tried to bring the Christians into bad repute. Dionysius of Corinth (about 170) also, and the presbyter Caius, who lived in the time of the Roman bishop Zephyrinus (about 200), affirm only, according to the same Eusebius,2 that Peter and Paul died the death of martyrs "about the same time" at Rome,3 [see footnote, 1786] which does not necessarily mean on the same day or the same occasion, or that the "trophies of their victory" are to be seen on the Vatican and the road to Ostia. Of the Neronian persecution they tell us nothing. In Tertullian's Apologeticum1 we read that Nero, cruel to all, was the first to draw the imperial sword against the Christian sect which then flourished at Rome. He thinks it an honour to himself and his co-religionists to have been condemned by such a prince, since everyone who knows him will see that nothing was condemned by Nero that was not especially good. But there is nothing in his [Tertullian] words to show that he was thinking of anything besides the death of the apostles Peter and Paul. Indeed, he says expressly that the apostles, scattered over the world at the master's command, after many sufferings at length shed their blood at Rome through the cruelty of Nero, and he [Tertullian] urges the pagans to read the proofs of this in their own "Commentaries"; which is much the same as when

TERTULLIAN REFERS TO THE ROMAN ARCHIVES [Tertullian: Apologeticus XXI:20 (is "archives" in the Latin?)] THOSE WHO DOUBT THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE OF THE EXECUTION OF JESUS [a classic Bluff (see Loeb, Apologeticus, 112 (footnote [?]))! Tertullian? Century?].2 We read much the same in the same writer's Scorp., ch. xv: "Nero was the first to stain the early faith with blood. Then was Peter (according to the word of Christ) girded by another, as he was fixed to the cross. Then did Paul obtain the Roman right of citizenship in a higher sense, as he was born again there by his noble martyrdom [martyrology!]."3

There remains only the witness of Eusebius and of Revelation [negated] [not presented]. Eusebius, however, merely reproduces4 the statement of Tertullian that Nero was the first of the emperors to become an open enemy of the divine religion. He writes: "Thus Nero raged even against the apostles [Fictional characters! (see #8, 200-203)], and so declared himself the first of the arch-enemies of God. It is recorded that under him Paul was beheaded at Rome and Peter was crucified under him." In proof of this he points to the fact that the names of Peter and Paul have

PAGE 1785

remained until his time on an inscription in the burying-place at Rome [more martyrology!].' [32-34].

[footnote] '3In this connection it may be observed that all these references in EUSEBIUS must be regarded with the greatest suspicion. This man, whom Jakob Burckhardt has called "THE FIRST THOROUGHLY DISHONEST HISTORIAN OF ANTIQUITY," acts so deliberately in the interest of the power of the Church and the creation and strengthening of tradition that far too much notice is taken of his historical statements. "AFTER THE MANY FALSIFICATIONS, SUPPRESSIONS, AND FICTIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN PROVED IN HIS WORK, HE HAS NO RIGHT TO BE PUT FORWARD AS A DECISIVE AUTHORITY; AND TO THESE FAULTS WE MUST ADD A CONSCIOUSLY PERVERSE MANNER OF EXPRESSION, DELIBERATE BOMBAST, AND MANY EQUIVOCATIONS, SO THAT THE READER STUMBLES UPON TRAPDOORS AND PITFALLS IN THE MOST IMPORTANT PASSAGES." (J. Burckhardt [1818 - 1897], Lebon Konstantins, 2nd ed. 1860, pp. 307, 335, 347.)' [32-33].

"....Paulus Orosius also, the friend and admirer of Augustine, relies expressly on Suetonius for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome under Claudius, and even mentions the Neronian persecution, which, according to him, spread over every province of the empire,2 but for this does not quote the witness of either Tacitus or Suetonius. When we further reflect that neither Trajan nor Pliny mentions the Neronian persecution of the Christians in his correspondence, although there was every occasion to do so, since they were discussing the judgment and treatment of the Bithynian Christians, we can hardly do otherwise than regard THE PASSAGE IN SUETONIUS'S LIFE OF NERO as A LATER INTERPOLATION [see 1878]." [36].

"When we take account of these many possible interpretations of Annals, xv, 44, all of which are as probable as, if not more probable than, the customary Christian explanation, the narrative of Tacitus cannot be quoted as a witness to the historicity of Jesus. We may say, indeed, that history has hitherto treated the passage, in view of its importance, with an absolutely irresponsible superficialness and levity...." [55].

"The Roman Witnesses"

'II. Arguments against the Genuineness.

(a) General Observations.--As regards the passage in Tacitus, the simple credulity with which it had hitherto been accepted led to a sceptical attitude, not only abroad, where the Frenchman Hochart,1 the Dutchman Pierson,2 the English author of Antiqua Mater [1887], Edwin Johnson, the American William Benjamin Smith in Ecce Deus (1911), and others assailed its genuineness, but also in German science. Besides Bruno Bauer,3 H. Schiller has drawn attention to certain difficulties in the Tacitean tradition that had been overlooked; and even Arnold acknowledges, though he endeavours to show the unsoundness of the critical view of the passage, that "this reference, which had hitherto been regarded as quite simple and easy to understand, has been very little understood."4 According to Hochart the passage ["The Annals of Tacitus", XV:44] contains as many insoluble difficulties as it does words.5 ....' [37].

PAGE 1786

'Death by fire was not a form of punishment inflicted at Rome in the time of Nero [Emperor 54 - 68 (37 - 68)]. It is opposed to the moderate principles on which the accused were then dealt with by the State. The use of the Christians as "living torches," as Tacitus describes, and all the other atrocities that were committed against them, have little title to credence, and suggest an imagination exalted by reading stories of the later Christian martyrs. The often quoted statements of Juvenal and Seneca have no bearing on this; they are not connected with the Christians, and need not in the least be regarded as references to the members of the new sect sacrificed by Nero.

The victims cannot possibly have been given to the flames in the gardens of Nero, as Tacitus says. According to his own account, these gardens were the refuge of those whose homes had been burned, and were full of tents and wooden sheds. It is hardly probable that Nero would incur the risk of a second fire by his "living torches," and still less probable that he mingled with the crowd and feasted his eyes on the ghastly spectacle. Tacitus tells us in his life of Agricola that Nero had crimes committed, but kept his own eyes of them. THE GARDENS OF NERO (ON THE PRESENT VATICAN) SEEM TO HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AS THE THEATRE OF THE DEED MERELY TO STRENGTHEN THE LEGEND THAT THE HOLY OF HOLIES OF CHRISTIANITY, THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER, WAS BUILT ON THE SPOT ON WHICH THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYRS HAD SHED THEIR BLOOD.1 [see 1815]

Finally, there is the complete silence of profane writers and the vagueness of the Christian writers on the matter; the latter only gradually come to make a definite statement of a general persecution of the Christians under Nero, whereas at first they make Nero put to death only Peter and Paul. The first unequivocal mention off the Neronian persecution in connection with the burning of Rome is found in the forged correspondence of Seneca and the apostle Paul, which belongs to the fourth century. A fuller account is then given in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus [see 1991] (died 403 A.D.), but it is mixed with the most transparent Christian legends, such as the story of the death of Simon Magus, the bishopric and sojourn of Peter at Rome, etc. The expressions of Sulpicius agree, in part, almost word for word with those of Tacitus. It is, however, very doubtful, in view of the silence of the other Christian authors who used Tacitus, if the manuscript of Tacitus which Sulpicius used contained the passage in question. We are therefore strongly disposed to suspect that the passage (Annals, xv, 44) was transferred from Sulpicius to the text of Tacitus by the hand of a monastic copyist or forger, for the greater glory of God and in order to strengthen the truth of the Christian tradition by a pagan witness.1 [see footnote, 1788] [see 1813]

But how could the legend arise that Nero was the first to persecute the Christians? It arose, says Hochart, under a threefold influence. The first is the apocalyptic idea, which saw in Nero the Antichrist, the embodiment of all evil, the terrible adversary of the Messiah and his followers. As such he was bound, by a kind of natural enmity, to have been the first to persecute the Christians; as Sulpicius puts it, "because vice is always the enemy of the good."2 [see footnote, 1788] The second is the political interest of the Christians in representing themselves as Nero's victims, in order to win the favour and protection of his successors on that account. The third is the special interest of the Roman Church in the death of the two chief apostles, Peter and Paul, at Rome. Then the author of the letters of Seneca to Paul

PAGE 1787

enlarged the legend in its primitive form, brought it into agreement with the ideas of this time, and gave it a political turn. The vague charges of incendiarism assumed a more definite form, and were associated with the character of Antichrist, which the Church was accustomed to ascribe to Nero on account of his supposed diabolical cruelty. He was accused of inflicting horrible martyrdoms on the Christians, and thus the legend in its latest form reached the Chronicle [Historia Sacra (see 1990)] of Sulpicius. Finally [third] a clever forger (Poggio?) smuggled the dramatic account of this persecution into the Annals of Tacitus, and thus secured the acceptance as historical fact of a purely imaginary story [Nero, and, "Christians"].

We need not recognise all Hochart's arguments as equally sound, yet we must admit that in their entirety and agreement they are worthy of consideration, and are well calculated to disturb the ingenuous belief in the authenticity of the passage of Tacitus. It seems as if official "science" is here again, as in so many other cases, under the dominion of a long-continued suggestion, in taking the narrative of Tacitus to be genuine without further examination. We must not forget what a close connection there is between this narrative and the whole of Christian history, and what interest religious education and the Church have in preventing any doubt from being cast on it. Otherwise how can we explain that no one took any notice during the whole of the Middle Ages of a passage of such great importance for the history and prestige of the Church? No one, in fact, seems to have had the least suspicion of its existence until it was found in the sole copy at that time of Tacitus, the Codex Mediceus II, printed by Johann and his brother Wendelin von Speyer [see 1991] about 1470 at Venice, of which all the other manuscripts are copies.1 Our historians as a rule are content to reproduce the narrative of Tacitus in somewhat modified [see 1852 ("eclectic")] terms, without making any close scrutiny of Annals, xv, 44 [see 1855]; thus does Domaszewski, for instance, in his History of the Roman Empire (1909), to say nothing of the numerous popular manuals of history. BUT OUR WHOLE SCIENCE OF HISTORY IS STILL, AS REGARDS THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY,



[footnotes (see 1787)] "

  1. In his De l'Authenticit des Histoires et des Annales de Tacite Hochart points out that, whereas the Life of St. Martin and the Dialogues of Sulpicius were found in many libraries, there was only one manuscript of his Chronicle [Historia Sacra (see 1990)], probably of the eleventh century, which is now in the Vatican. Hence the work was almost unknown throughout the Middle Ages, and no one was aware of the [supposed] reference in it to a Roman persecution of the Christians. It is noteworthy that Poggio Bracciolini seems by some lucky chance to have discovered and read this manuscript (work quoted, p. 225). Cf. Nouvelles Considerations, pp. 142-72.
  2. Compare Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., ii, 28." [46].

PAGE 1788

from: "to the path breaker J.W. Ross (1878)", THE ANNALS OF POGGIO BRACCIOLINI AND OTHER FORGERIES, LOUIS PARET. Augustin S.A. 75018 Paris, Pb., 1992 [1995?], Numero d'Imprimeur 2-907 179-17-9 [my copy, is the only copy I have encountered (no copy in the University of California system)]. [See: 1690]. [Note: many misspellings, etc. (most are noted). Translation, etc., problems?].

[typed letter, inserted in book]

'Paris, 26.4.1997

Louis Paret...[Paris address (I mailed a letter requesting communication (no response)), and phone number (did not function for me), omitted]

University of Tennessee Knoxville.


The title refers to the forgery committed by the Florentine Poggio Bracciolini from 1423 to 1429.

This forgery was denounced by J.W. Ross in 1878 and by P. Hochart in 1890 and 1894. The author [Louis Paret] adds 14 arguments to the 18 arguments of Ross and Hochart.

The "Annals" are written on two parchments kept in the Laurenziana Library of Florence.

One, listed as Mediceus II, written in Lombard letters, relates in books XI to XVI the lasts years of Claudius (47 to 54 a.D.) and the first 12 years of Nero (54 to 66, two years before his death in 68). It appeared around 1450 in Florence, in an unexplained manner. "Certain aspects of its discovery are veiled in obscurity" - Michael Grant.

The other, Mediceus II [?] 58.1, written in Carolingian letters, describes in books I to VI, the reign of Tiberius (14 to 37 a.D.) "Rescued from the forests of Germany", it was bought for 500 gold sequins from an unknown seller by Pope Leo X in 1513.

As these Annals (name coined in 1533) were unknown until 1450 and 1513, their origin is wrapped in mystery. They are said without proofs by some Latinists to date from the eleventh century [ninth century claimed for Annales I-VI (see 1852 (Tacitus, Jackson), 238], though during these 400 years (c. 1050 to 1450) no author alludes to these texts.

Dating by C14 will easily reveal the age of the two parchments. The laboratory of Professor Willy Wölffi, which groups the physicists of Federal polytechnic School of Zürich and the Institute Paul Scherrer of Villingen (Switzerland) and ascertained the true age of the Turin Shroud, will easily determine the age of two parchments and the eventual difference of age between them which appeared mysteriously at an interval of 80 years.

Universities can certainly obtain from the Laurenziana the few square centimetres of parchments needed for the dating, from the bottom of pages and from the pages left for unexplained reasons partially unwritten with the uncompleted text.

The other 24 forgeries, culled from the tens of thousands of forgeries exposed by hundreds of specialists, have been chosen for their amusing character or their lethal result.' [End of letter]. [Received this book c. 7/22/2001].

PAGE 1789


(1) the page on Deuteronomy is inspired from F. Delisch (Bible and Babel, 1903) and Joseph McCabe.

(2) the critic of the Ignatius letters and the Pliny letters owes much to R. Joly of the Free University of Brussels.

(30) [sic] the Lyons martyrs [see 1798] are "eliminated" on the obvious basis of Tertullian's Apologet. c. 192 aD and Iraeneus [Irenaeus] adv. Haer; c. 202 aD.

(4) the Donatio Constantini is derived mostly from Ignasz Döllinger, who opposed the dogma of Papal infallibility.

(5) Eleven days are taken from J.V. Leclerc (1838)

(6) the chapter on Ptolemy is summarized for Astronomy from Robert Newton (the crime of Claudius Ptolemy) and for Geograph [apparently, Geography] from G. Berthelot (l'Asie ancienne. 1930)

(7) the forgeries in Ancient times, Middle Ages and modern are quoted from the exhaustive--and exhausting--Fälschungen by W. SPEYER [see 1991] (München 1971) which condenses the findings of 7 industrious Germans from 1890 onward and reports some 6,000 forgeries of all types.

(8) for the Annals of Tacitus, the book "Bible Myths" [see 1770-1776] 1920 gave me in a foot-note the name of J.W. ROSS (1878). In the British Library the book revealed to my surprise that not only the famous paragraph 44. of book XV (146 words) was forged, but the whole book (87,534 words). The two books (1890, 1894) of P. Hochart add only a solid argument for the forgery and some debatable suggestions.

(9) the Historia Augusta (110,000 words) denounced by H. Dessau in 1889, is described briefly.

(10) the chapter Relics is taken mostly from the standard work of Collin de Plancy (1828) and from 7 others [see 1824].

(11) the largely ignored or denied MADOC story is taken wholly from Richard Deacon (N.Y. 1966) who crossed alone the Atlantic Ocean in a small flat-bottomed landing craft of World War II. He obtained information from 30 specialists, mostly in Wales and libraries in Wales, London, New York and Amsterdam.

(12) Marco Polo's Devisement is the story of a true voyage to China, despite the doubts raised by experts since 1828 and repeated in 1995.

(13) the page on Vespucci condenses the authoritative work by F.J. Pohl (N.Y. 1944)

(14) The pages on W. Shakespeare from the definitive "Shakespeare rediscovered" by Clara Longworth Countess Chambrun (N.Y. 1938)

(15) The rehabilitation of Richard III from the mythoclastic "the daughter of Time" by Josephine TEY (n.d.) and from Historical enigmas (1981) of Hugh Williamson.

(16) "a necklace for the Queen" is condensed from standard historical works.

(17) Leo Taxil's fantastic books, from the review HISTORIA.

(18) "History of a myth" by Norman Cohn supplied the pages "Protocols of (the Sages) of Zion". Some Communist statistics explain the articles of the London Times and the Morning Post in 1920.

(19) Several true and false scientific forgeriesfrom [forgeries from] 1917 to 1934.

PAGE 1790

(20) the vexed question of the authorship of the Piltdown skull forgery follows Stephen Jay Gould, and for the Sinanthropus it quotes Hervé Le Goff.

(21) for the Lusitania sinking, H. Le Goff completes with many important details (1982) omitted by Colin Simpson (1971)

(22) The murder of Marshal Tukhatchevsky by Stalin is taken from the review Historia

(23) the statistics of the Nazi death camps are taken from the "Atlas of the Shoah" [Holocaust] by Martin Gilbert [see Addition 37, 2007].

(24) the pages on Eisenhower are wholly from "Other losses'["] by the Canadian James Bacque (Toronto 1989) who for years conducted research in official and military circles in Washington including Col. E.F. Fisher, Chief Historian of U.S. Army.

Though the million of German war prisoners missing represents scarcely 2% of the war casualties of 1939-1945, the fact that [they] died in peace time makes this story worth retelling.

(25) a brief article on art forgeries, maintaining only four well-known fakes--from the review of Science et Vie.' [no page numbers]

[End of Acknowledgements].

PAGE 1791


The following text is not to be construed as denying or affirming the divinity of YESHUA HA NOZRI (Jesus)

Joseph WHELESS [see 1880-1881] writes: "Even a casual study of the Four Gospels reveals that alleged doings and sayings attributed to Jesus are scraps of fiction framed to fit and hang upon the flimsy pegs of some odd ends out of Hebrew scriptures and tortured by the sophistry of Christian priests into a "prophecy of God" somehow "fulfilled" by this or that of the alleged sayings or doings of Jesus.

Like Proscrustes' bed [Greek legend], the Hebrew texts existed and the pious "Fathers" invented Jesus-incidents which they tortured to fit the bed

Pagan fictions

Greek, Persan [sic], Hindu, Chinese, Maya gods or rulers born of virgins

Hebrew texts

Mish[n]ah 5:1
Isaia [sic] 33:16
Jer. 31:15

Hosea 11:1

Isaia 35:5-6

Amos 2:16
Zach. 9:9

Isaia 16:7
Jeremiah 7:11

Ex. 12:46
Psaum [sic] 34:31
Zach. 12:10

Isaiah 22:22


Mary still virgin bears


Birth at Bethlehem
Birth in grotto
Rachel in Babylon cries for
 her children

Flight into Egypt

the Just heals the sick

the just flees naked
rides ass into town

grotto of brigands
[2 Greek words]

none of his bones..broken

side pierced by lance

keys of the House of David


Matt. I: 18-19
Luke I:34


Matt. 2:1
Lk. 2:7
Matt. 2:18 (Herod)

Matt. 2:13-14

Matt. 4:24
Lk. 4:40, 5/35
Mk. 1:44, 3:5, 5:24

Mk. 14:51-52
Mk. 11:1-5
Lk. 19:28-34
Matt. 21:12-17
Mk. 11:17

John 19:34

John 19:33

Matt. 16:18-19


(text [which text(s)?] ignored by Ireneus [Irenaeus] in 180 but known by Tertullian in 200 a.D)' [5] [End of entry]. [See: 1504-1518 (Shires)].

PAGE 1792

'IGNATIUS [see 1706 (Strange)]

IGNATIUS, attested only by Eusebios [Eusebius] of Cesarea, c. 302 (Hist. eccl. III:36) and by 7 forged letters. Eusebius terms him the third Bishop of Antioch in Syria, deducing this from the Chronologie of Julius Africanus who knew "by tradition" the names of the bishops of Antioch since 150 aD to 210 when he wrote. To obtain a list of Antioch bishops corresponding to the list of fabulous bishops of Rome from St Peter down to 150, he eecided [decided] to give Ignatius the third position, after Peter and an unknown second. From this Chronology and as the forged letters gave no clue to any date, Eusebius calculated that Ignatius had been martyred in 107 under Trajan.

Such is the rickety scaffolding accepted by all "pious" writers. AS USUALLY FORGERIES TANGLE WITH OTHER FORGERIES, if Ignatius had been executed in 107, Pliny, Imperial Legate in Bithynia would not have had to requext [request] Trajan in 110, for information about the procedure against the numerous Christians in Bithynia and the usual punishments. Trajan or the Imperial Chancery would have replied curtly, after wondering about Pliny's ignorance, that Christians were to be punished according to the "Institutum Neronianum" (invented by Tertullian c. 192) and the [supposed] execution of Bishop Ignatius [?] 3 years previously.

The credibility of Julius Africanus [c. 180 - c. 250 ("Christian writer")] is about nil, as this worthy reports having seen at Apamea the planks of Noah's arch the terebinth bush where Jacob buried his Mesopotamian idols and Jacob's tent, while he was guarding his flock.

"Ignatius" travels from Antioch to Smyrna (Lydia) mentions no city in the 5 provinces he crosses on the way and sends 7 letters to Christians in Lydia only. The forger is a Smyrniote. The 7 Ignatius letters are addressed to the Christians in Ephesos, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Rome and to Polycarpos, bishop of Smyrna.

According to the letters, Bishop Ignatius is the only one of his community to be condemned. All his flock is left in perfect peace. Phila. 10.1 "I am told that thanks to your prayers..the Church of Antioch in Syria is in peace.. Elect a deacon.. Smyrn. 11.2-3 "your Church should send a messenger to Syria to rejoice.. to have peace and recovered their greatness and been would be well of you to send a messenger with a letter to celebrate with them the recovered peace thanks to God". Polycarp. 7.1-2 " the Church of Antioch is in peace, thanks to God.."

It is absurd to believe that only the Bishop of the sect was seized and sent overseas with an escort of ten soldiers to Rome to be executed.

The forger of Pliny's letter n 96 (p. 10) states that provincial Christians so numerous in the small towns of Bithynia were executed and Christian Romans sent to Rome for execution. But in Antioch, the largest Roman city in Asia Minor, only the bishop is seized to be martyred in Rome. And ten soldiers (10 "leopards") guard him from Antioch to Rome, expensive escort!

Ignatius is taken to Rome under heavy guard, not directly by ship as St Paul did, but through Cilicia and Phrygia, where small Christian communities dating from St Paul existed, but no letter or even a mention of them.

Ignatius writes to 6 Churches but not to his own Church at Antioch, he cites Antioch 3 times (Phil. 10.1, Smyrn. 11.1, Polyc. 7.1) but 14 times "Syria" or "the

PAGE 1793

Church in Syria"[.]

"Ignatius" finds a messenger to carry a letter to Rome, 2000 km distant, but he only suggests 4 times (1 to Antioch, 3 to Syria) (Phil. 10.1) to send a message to the flock in Syria. "it is convenient for you to send one of your faithful to go to Syria to rejoice witthem [with them] over the peace they now enjoy".

The forger makes Ignatius write to 6 Churches but not to his own for a simple reason: if the forged letter to Antioch (probably forged around c. 163 and not in 107) had come to the true bishop of Antioch, the forgery would have been obvious to the Christians there, who recollected no persecution. And neither their bishop Theophilos (c. 160 aD, attested by St Jerome. Ep. 151. ad Algasiam). A successor to the martyred bishop would not have failed to extol in his sermons the memory of his predecessor cruelly martyred in Rome and who now looked down from Heaven upon his successor and his flock.

In his letters Ignatius mentions no companions of martyrdom escorted with him, though he mentions several visitors: the deacon Philo, the Syrian Rheus Agal., one Ephesan and six more in Eph. 2

In the forged letter of St Polycarp to the Philippians in Greece, Ignatius has two companions, Zosimos and Rufus sent with him to Rome for execution. Yet "Ignatius" does not mention these two future martyrs. The Polycarp letter contradicts itself. In chapter 9, Ignatius is already dead, holy, makarios[?]. In chapter 13 ": let us know what you have ascertained about Ignatius and his companions".

In writing fromTroas [from Troas] (180 km NW from Smyrna) (Smyrn. 13:2) Ignatius does not mention their bishop Polycarp. "I greet..I salute.." but no Polycarp. "Your bishop worthy of God" Polycarp is still ignored.

In the "Martyrdom of Polycarpos" (17.2) the forger suggests to Nicetas, father of the Irenarch Herod and brother of alce [Alce] to request the magistrate to deliver the corpse of the martyr. In two letters (Smyrn. 13.2, Polyc. 8.3) "Ignatius" greets the Smyrniote Alce. If Ignatius was martyred in 107 and Polycarp in 163, there is an unexplained interval of 55 years.

The interpolated Polycarp letters prove clearly the place of forgery: Smyrna. Polycarp, the Christian bishop of Smyrna apparently a quarrelsome personnality [personality], provoked the ire of the pagan population who compelled the governor to execute him. The Irenarch ["An Eastern provincial governor or keeper of the peace, under the Roman and Byzantine empires." (O.E.D.)] pleaded that the games being over, Polycarp could not be thrown to the beasts. But he had only a few soldiers under his orddrs [orders] for a province of perhaps one million inhabitants (Roman peace was no mere word) and mob violence obliged him to let Polycarp be executed. A case of intercommunity squabble, infinitesimal compared to the slaughters of Jews and Greeks in Cypre, etc..running into the 50,000. (JUSTER [probably, Jean Juster 1881 - 1915])

All letters are addressed to Smyrna and nearby towns: Ephesos 50 km, Magnesia 80 km, Philadelphia and Tralles 100 km, whereas Antioch is distant by 800 km as the crow flies, 1300 km by the land route. Between Smyrna and Antioch lie Phrygia Cilicia and Caria, with 8 towns visited by St Paul, including Tarsus his birth place and Laodicea, one of the 7 cities of the Apocalypse. Even when he writes from Troas, 2 of the 3 letters are sent to Smyrna.

PAGE 1794

Some 200 years later a forger of the 4th century saw the need of "completing" the Ignatius letters, with letters to the Christian communities in the provinces between Antioch and Smyrna: one to Antioch (at last!) one to Tarsus, birthpaplace [birthplace] of St Paul, another to the deacon Heron and Maria. As the previous forger had forged a letter of Polycarp to the Philippians in Greece, the later forger, an Aryan or an Apolinarist, forged also a letter to the Philippians.

Ignatius is thus taken to Rome under heavy guard, through all the West of the province of Asia. His really amiable escort allows him to pen letters to the Churches there and to receive local Christians. Those should be hunted, according to letter n 97 of Trajan. to Pliny in Bithynia. As "delatores" received part of the property of those they denounced [compare: the Inquisitions], the guardsmen lost the opportunity to make some fast sesterces.

All these letters are similar in general contents. They are really only sermons disguised as letters. They pursue two main purposes:

(1). injunctions for the complete obedience to bhishops [bishops]: By insistence on the hierarchy: Bishop, priest, deacon, the absolute rule of the bishop over his flock. No baptism, no communion, no marriage without his approval. The bishop represents God, his priests are the "Senate of the Apostles", the deacons are "Ministers of Jesus Christ" (Magn. 6). The flock is to revere the bishop as Jesus himself. The priests are subservient to him, as the strings of a lyre. (Ephes. 4:1)

(2) the fight against Heretics, as numerous as the Orthodox. Epiphanos [Epiphanius] in his Panarion [see 1803] lists 80 heresies to match the 80 concubines of the Canticle. In his Philosophoumena Hyppolytos denounces the sects. The greatest heresiarch of the second century was MARCIO of Pontus in Bithynia. He is the "first-born son of Satan". (see p. 12)

Most of the above is taken from Robert JOLY, Université Libre in Brussels. He places [2 vertical marks ("in"?)] 161-2 the execution of Polycarp 165-8, the seven letters of Ignatius [sic].

But he [Robert JOLY] admits both the Pliny letters on the Bithynia Christians in 110 aD under Trajan and the Lyons martyrs in 177 aD under Marcus Aurelius (Hist. eccl. of Eusebios). This author [Louis Paret] does not deal [does deal (see: 1795-1798 (Pliny); 1798-1800 (Marcus Aurelius))] with theee [these] two forgeries.' [6-9]

[End of entry].

'PLINIUS [see 1701-1702 (Strange)]

PLINY jr, born in 62, held many public functions. He was named sevir equitum, in 90 quaestor by Domitian, in 92 tribunus plebis, in 93 quaestor and senator, in 105-7 curator alvei Tiberis. In 100 he redacted the gratiarum acto ordered by a SC ["Senatus Consult" (see: 1797, 1802)], later expanded to the 20,000 words of Panegyrique.

With his friend and senior colleague Tacitus, Pliny was the most prominent lawyer of his times. For 28 years in Rome he pleaded famous cases, some in presence of the emperor. (p. [sic]

PAGE 1795

In 110-111 aD Trajan named his Legatus Augustii pro praetore consulari potestate in the province of Bithynia in Asia minor to redress the provincial finances bankrupted by uncontrolled expenses and thefts.

After 18 months of travel in Bithynia and sending 95 letters to Trajan, most about trifling topics, his letter n 96 appears about Christians in Bithynia, the only letter concerning Christians among the 368 letters of the 10 books of letters.

Pliny's letters were published in his life time in 9 books. Book 10 was published after his death. Sidoine Apollinaire in Gaul (430-487) knew only 9 books. Book 10 contains 107 letters (106 [96] Pliny to Trajan [see 1858], one (n 97) of Trajan to Pliny.

In this letter of 410 words, Pliny asks Trakan [Trajan] to rule under which charge is he to prosecute and condemn Christians. Without waiting for the imperial answer, Pliny writes that he had the native Christians executed (jussi duci) and the Christians of Roman citizenshio [citizenship] noted for shipment to Rome (adnotavi in Urbem remitendos).

Prudently the forger omits the date of the process, the city where these criminal Christians were arrested, their names and their number, the date of executions, the names and number of the Roman citizens to be sent to Rome.

Pliny who for 28 years pleaded in Rome and attended court cases, tells Trajan that he never attended lawsuits against Christians and that he ignores for which crime they are to be punished (cognitionibus de Christianis interfui numquam. ideo nescio qui [quid] et quatenus aut puniri soleat aut quaeri [see 1863]).

Despite this ignorance, Pliny had those who persisted in being Christians executed. Those who abjured by "cursing" Christ were released.

One Christian testified that Christians met before dqwn [dawn] to pray to "Christ nearly God" and expressed their will to commit no crime of assault, theft or adultery.

The forger thought himself very clever in contrasting the innocuous belief of Christians withe the harsh ness [with the harshness] of the judgment over a "perverse superstition held stubbornly" (pertinaciam et inflexibilem obstinationem)

"This case eequir s [requires] Trajan's ruling, in view of the great number of Christians of all ages, ranks, of both sexes. Temples are deserted and sacrificial beasts no longer bought. I will punish their stubborness [stubbornness] and inflexible obstinacy in their perverse superstition." (pravam, immodicam)

The utter lack of logic in Pliny's letter is matched by that in Trajan's answer of 83 words. "You did well..Christians are not to be searched for (conquerendi non sunt) those summoned who persist are to be punished."

One quirk of Roman law was that there was no State prosecutor. To be brought before a judge, criminals had to be denounced by "delatores".


Had Nero burnt or thrown Christians to the dog in 64, Trajan could not have answered ": Thou hast taken the right way..Impossible to follow an absolute rule.."

In 130 by Hadrian's [see 1989] order, all the praetorian edits of permanence were collected into the Edictum Julianum, adopted as statutory for the Senate. No mention of these dangerous monotheist Christians.

PAGE 1796

In 192 aD Tertullian reading Trajan's answer (this shows the forged letters n 96 and 97 were published in the second century [maybe! Interpolated in Tertullian? Etc.?]) writes angrily ": Trajan spares and punishes. If you condemn, why dont [don't] you search for them? If you do not search for them, why dont [don't] you absolve?".

In legalistic Rome, a judge had only to cite a law (lex) or an S C ["Senatus Consult" (see below; 1802)] or an edict, before sentencing Christians, instead of sentencing for a "nomen" synonimous [commonly: synonymous] with crime (flagitia cohaerentia nomini).

Pliny, this experienced lawyer, had in 110 aD never heard of a law, Senatus Consult, Imperial rescript, praetorian edict or of an "exemplum". All these suppose a minimum degree of importance of the custom or of the crime.

Moreover in the Roman Empire, neither a Roman citizen nor a provincial (termed peregrinus in Rome) was compelled to a cult, to render hommage [French] [homage] to a specific god or to the emperor. These obligations incurred only to funcionaries [functionaries] and magistrates, until tje [the] advent of Christian emperors who became "divine" c. 350 aD onward.

Still less a Roman or a provincial could have been compelled to "curse" his local divinity. Absolute religious tolerance was one of the few virtues of Roman rule. Roman authorities were interested in the peaceful collection of taxes and the maintenance of peace.

That Christians were already in 110 so numerous in Bithynia as to leave the temples deserted and sacrificial beasts to remain unsold is highly improbable. Bithynia and Phyrgia were the country of origin of the cult of the Mother Goddess CYBELE impersonated in the black stone brought in great pomp to Rome in 205 bC, to protect Rome from Hasdrubal.

As said before, criminals, in the absence of State prosecutor, could be summoned before judges only by "delatores". If Christians had been considered criminals in Bithynia in 110 aD, delatores who received part of the possessions of the condemned would not have failed to denounce MARCIO [?], a Christian bishop [? (story "improbable" (Encyc. Rel. and Ethics, V. 8, 407, N. McLean))] and wealthy shipowner [? (commonly a description of Marcion, died, c. 160)], surely well-known in a small province.

His son Marcio [Marcion, died c. 160] was in the second century the "arch-heretic" the "son of Satan", violently denounced by all Christian writers: Justin, Denys of Corinth, Philippos of Gortyne in Crete, Modeste Melito of Sardis, Iraeneus of Lyon, Theophile of Antioch, Miltiade, Proclus (himself an heretic) Rhodon, Clement of Alexandria, Bardesane of Syria. Tertullian writes "the Marcio heresy filled the whole world". The pagan Celsus [c. 178 C.E.] known only from the lengthy refutations in contra Celsum of Origen (adv. Marcion. V: xix, knows only two churches: the Catholic and the Marcionite.

MARCIO [Marcion] son went to Rome in 138, exposed his "heresy": Jehovah was a cruel and false god. christ was the real Savior. He offered the sum of 400.000 sesterces to the dignitaries of the Church in Rome but his thesis and his money were not accepted. Surely this sum would have tempted delatores in Bithynia and in Rome.

PAGE 1797

Authenticity of letters 96, 97 [of Pliny]
J. Semler does not mince words. "stolidissimae nugae, fraudesque non piae, sed impudentissimae". (["]stupid nonsense, humbug, very impudent frauds".[)]





E. Desjardins


 F. Boissier


B. Aubé


 E. Renan


P. Dupuy


 E. Babut


E. Havet

(1994) [1884?]

 J. Lebreton


P. Hochart


 R. Goguel


C. Guignebert


 WHC Frend



On Pliny: E. Allain: Pline et ses héritiers. 2 vols. 1901

A.M Guillemin: Pline et la litt. de son temps. 1929, 1969

Betty Radice [see 1858]: in Empire and aftermath. London 1975.

articles by: G. Sicard, J.B. Charpentier, Sherwin-White [see 1863] (1966, 1968, JTS 1952) Sir Ronald Syme [see 1991].' [10-12] [End of entry].


In a lengthy text, 3755 Greek words, in Bk. V of his Historiria [Historia] ecclesiastica, Eusebios of Cesarea [Eusebius of Caesarea] c. 302, writes: "The very illustrious Churches of Lyons and Vienna to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia (about their martyrs)..IV:1 recommend Irenaeus then priest at Lyon to (Eleutherios) Bishop of Rome ..Christians were "insulted, stuck, dragged, pillaged, stone, emprisoned [now, imprisoned] IV:3 beheaded, thrown to beasts..under emperor Antonin.""

Camille Julian, specialist in the history of Gaul, attests this wholesale execution of some 50 Christians? Ernest LAVISSE foremost French historian in the 19th century, in the 47 editions of his History of France (1913-1951) accepts the martyrdom of Blandine, the slave girl steadfast until death.

Eusebios wrote first that the martyrdom took place i, 167 under Antonin the Pius dead in 161. He later changed to 177, under Marcus Aurelius. His history, written 125 years after the supposed event and in Bithynia, 2000 km East of Lyon, as the crow flies or 60 days of sea travel, is obviously forged.

COMPLETE RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE RULED IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. IN ITS 4 MILLION SQUARE KILOMETER, 100 MILLION PEOPLE REVERED 1200 GODS. In Rome and Italy, people revered Egyptian deities (Isis, Serapis) the Anatolian Cybele

(p. ) In the provinces some Roman soldiers and even tribunes revered the Iranian Mithra or local gods.

Only municipal dignitaries had, at fixed feasts, to honor the official Olympian gods and the deified emperor, excluding those murdered for glaring crimes and vices as Caligula or dethroned as Nero.

PAGE 1798

CHRISTIANISM, IF AT ALL NOTICED, WAS CONSIDERED AS A VARIANT OF JUDAISM [see 1504-1518], WHICH WAS NOT ONLY A RELIGIO LICITA [(provisional) permitted religion] BUT IT ENJOYED SPECIAL CIVIC PRIVILEGES as the religion Jews declared in c. 170 "allied of the Roman People" in the war against Antiochos IV Epiphanes. CHRISTIANISM had the added advantage that it did not practice circumcision, equaled by Roman law to castration, rated as a crime, when practiced upon non-Jewish males. The difference between CHRISTIANISM and Judaism were in Pagan eyes minimal, "as a fight about the shadow of an ass" (contra Cels. III:1)

The massive silence described on pages 69 to 73 of Christian writers down to 1470 on the martyrs of Nero in 64 aD includes the Lyon martyrs of 177 aD;

Worse: in his Apologeticum, Tertullian in North Africa in c. 192, 15 years after the Lyon executions of 177, praises Marc Aurel [Marcus Aurelius], as protector of Christians, this very wise Emperor.

In recent times religious writers explain the persecutions of Christians as judged "asocial" and "hating mankind". But St Paul writing to Christians in Rome, mentions 23 "brethren" some in the house of a freedman of Nero. In Gaul and the West all the Christians were "Graeculi" from Asia Minor, Palestine Syria and Roman "Asia" (now Turkey). If they "hated mankind" they could have stayed at home, to hate their fellow provincials, saving the 1000 sesterces for the trip to Italy [A Delight!].

In fact Gauls remained solidly pagan until c. 450, 300 years after Marc Aurel, when finally convinced, at least externally by Imperial edicts, Imperial gold and preference. They had clung tenaciously to their "false" gods and idols (Epona, Esus, Lug, Maternae etc..) Local heroes became Saints.

The first Christian burial attested archaeologically in Lyon dates of 252, 75 years after the supposed mass execution.

That Christians from Vienna (Narbonensis province) could have been "martyred" in Lyon is unthinkable. The Prefect of Narbonensis would not have permitted this breach of his jurisdiction. Even Harnack (Ausbreitung..) admits this.

The legal Codex compounded under Hadrian [see 1989] c. 135 of all edicts of consuls and emperors does not mention this criminal Christians nor legal proceedings against this new sect.

Th. MOMMSEN [Theodor Mommsen 1817 - 1903], despite his profound knowledge of the Roman legal procedures (Römisches Strafrecht) argues lamely that Christians were prosecuted under the law of coercio [coercion(?)], applied sometimes mildly, sometimes harshly" by jusges [judges], not specifying where, when and by whom.

If Nero in 64 aD had executed Christians by the "Institutum Neronianum ["] invented by Tertullian in 202, why neither Pliny nor Trajan mention this edict? The ponderous legal system of Rome precludes the execution of Romans and provincials without lengthy proceedings, witnesses, speeches, appeals to the emperor (provocatio as granted to St Paul in Palestine[)(?)].

Irenaeus, a Greek well attested historical personnage [personage], visited Pope Eleutherios in Rome in 202 aD. He had succeeded to the phantom bishop Pothin (Gree, ?) martyred in 177. In his homelies [homilies] he never mentions his glorious predecessor, who would have showered blessings upon the faithful flock at Lyon.

In his adversus Haeresos IV:30.3, he writes "Egyptians owed nothing to Hebrews..the Romans owe us nothing. On the contrary, the world is in peace thanks to them, so that we can travel without fear, whereever [wherever] we want".

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