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  1        The Pauline Epistles 2514-2534
  2        The Pauline Epistles—Re-studied and Explained  2535-2536
  3        Jerome and Gennadius Lives of Illustrious Men 2537-2539
  4        Saint Jerome, On Illustrious Men  2540-2542
  5        Polydore Vergil, On Discovery 2543-2546
  6        Anti-Theistic Theories 2547-2551
  7        The Safe Side  A Theistic Refutation of the Divinity of Christ 2552-2558
  8        Cults and Isms 2559-2563
  9        The Passion of the Christ 2564-2565


from: [Hermann Detering]

The Pauline Epistles, Re-Studied and Explained, by Edwin Johnson [1842 - 1901] [see 1838, 1882-1887], M.A., Formerly Professor of Classical Literature in New College, S. Hampstead: Author of "Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian Origins," "The Rise of Christendom," etc., [1890]. [found 10/17/2003 (referenced in Article #4, 129)]. [The source for this "e-book", reportedly: the Boland Library, Leiden].

[Note: numbers in brackets, interspersed, apparently represent original page numbers].


The present effort towards the elucidation of the Pauline problem is due to the initiation of Mr. F.F. Arbuthnot [1833 - 1901] [see Addition 36, 1884-1887], M.R.A.S., editor of the Oriental Translations (New Series), and the encouragement of one or two other friends. I desire specially to thank Mr. Arbuthnot for the generous recognition of my labours in the cause of literary and historical science which I find in his writings.

It will be understood, of course, that I have merely attempted to write, within moderate limits, a suggestive treatise; for to exhaust the Pauline question would be to exhaust the question of the origin and development of Christian Letters as a whole.

Let me add one word. I [Edwin Johnson 1842 - 1901] have applied the simplest analytic tests in the study of literary material; but it leads to results that are, I freely admit, astounding to myself, no less than to the learned world in general. I am not surprised that the imputation of madness should be made against me by HASTY THINKERS; but I trust that calm and thoughtful readers will accept what I have written as a credible, though always corrigible, statement of literary facts.

E.J. [Edwin Johnson 1842 - 1901]" [1].


"The Pauline Epistles.

Chapter I.


          I am writing this brochure on the Pauline Epistles at the suggestion of some friends, who are interested in my researches, and who desire to see the unusual opinions which I have set forth either confirmed or confuted. They have, I believe, given a certain measure of assent to the general principles of historical investigation which I have laid down; but they are of opinion that I should descend into further details, and show, if I am able to do so, that what I have alleged concerning the whole system of Church literature is true of some particular part of it-say the Pauline Epistles.

          These are celebrated compositions. They have long been supposed to be the productions of one of the most remarkable men who took part in the foundation of the Christian Church; and this some 1,800 years ago. I, on the contrary, assert that these long-inherited notions of our education are entirely illusory and false. I MAINTAIN THAT THE PAULINE LEGEND AND EPISTLES DATE FROM THE REVIVAL OF LETTERS [see below] IN EUROPE; THAT THE EPISTLES WERE IN ALL PROBABILITY NOT THE COMPOSITION OF ONE MAN, BUT THE PRODUCT OF SEVERAL PENS, and that their contents should be used to throw light on that remarkable period when the great Church organisation was breaking asunder, in consequence of internal dissensions.

          The unpleasant part of my task is this: I must contradict incessantly the statements originally made by the publishers [10] of these writings, which were received without effective contradiction, and are still held, almost by the whole world. It is impossible to approach the probable truth until this contradiction shall have been decisively made; and I can hardly hope to carry any readers with me, save those who have been, like myself, harassed by the obscurity which envelopes our past, and who desire to set their minds at rest upon one of the gravest questions that can occupy the minds of serious thinkers.

          The question of the Pauline Epistles is a large question. For, although the documents themselves are of no great bulk, they allude to, and they rest upon, a mass of other documents of the Jewish and the Christian Churches.

          Everyone is aware that the legend of Paul's life and Epistles could not have been written until the collection of Biblical books in use among the Jews was known [see 2503 ('The Old Testament became a "biography of Jesus"'), 2506]. Everyone is aware that there are allusions in the legend [of Paul's life and Epistles"] to Rabbindom and its writings. If, therefore, to speak in general terms, the Rabbinical writings were not known until the beginning of what I have called THE AGE OF PUBLICATION (c. 1500 A.D.) [same as: "Revival of Letters"?], so nothing of the Pauline writings could have been known till that same epoch[?]...." [6].


          'Not to confuse my readers with too many details, I would beg them to keep in mind the date 1533 as one of the best landmarks in chronology I am able at present to point out. In that year Polydore [Polydore Vergil c. 1470 - c. 1555 ("Italian-English


ecclesiastic and historian" (Webster's Bio. Dict.))] is stated to have addressed Henry VIII. [King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547)], pointing out that next to nothing was known of English history, and disparaging the few monkish writings on the subject which had come into his hands. The same year [1533] Leland [John Leland c. 1506 - 1552 ("English antiquary")] is alleged to have set out on his literary tour through the monasteries, which occupied him till 1539. IF THESE DATES BE TRUSTWORTHY, THE RESULTS OF HIS INVESTIGATIONS SHOW THAT THE WHOLE SCHEME OF CHURCH HISTORY MUST HAVE BEEN LAID DOWN AND BROUGHT AS IT WERE, TO A SHORT FIRST EDITION DURING ABOUT THE PERIOD 1500-1533.

          But the bad dating of documents is the great scandal of the student. I cannot write in the smooth and confident manner of the handbooks which are in general use, because I know from repeated experiments and tests that we have not a "fifteenth-century" date that can be trusted, and that a great number of "sixteenth-century" dates are false. But I may insist in perfect confidence that not in Italy itself could Church literature have been commenced before the close of that dark age we call the "fifteenth century."' [9-10] [End of Chapter I.].

'Chapter II.

Polydore [Polidoro Vergilio (Eng. Polydore Vergil) c. 1470 - 1555, "Italian ecclesiastic and Humanist" (Webster's Bio. Dict.)] on the Origin of Christianity [title: On Discovery (see 2543)].

I MUST return to the question of the Pauline Epistles. It is impossible to determine what form they had assumed in Colet's [John Colet 1466 or 1467 - 1519 ("English scholar and theologian." (Webster's Bio. Dict.))] time, or what his exact teaching may have been. In fact, I hold it impossible to suppose that the full Pauline Epistles, as we have them, could have been taught in England at the time to which Polydore refers. There can have been extant, in my opinion, only the little book of Sentences, called "The Apostle," which is so frequently alluded to in Church books, out of which the larger Pauline Epistles were gradually evolved.

The difficulty of the student is, as I have said, that he can find nothing but bald, meagre statements, and dates so fallacious that no more than a rough value can be ascribed to them....' [11].

'....Polydore quotes also another passage from the same writer, by which he says it appears beyond doubt that the two Apostles were the "Authors of the Religion among the Romans." A few texts are further quoted on various points from "The Apostle," and that is all. There is nothing whatever to show that the Pauline Epistles, as we know them, had any special value or weight for the writer. On the contrary, the writers on whom he mostly relies are the Latin Doctors of the "illustrious list ["Lives of Illustrious Men", by "Jerome"]." And there need not have been any Greek writers at all in his hands—for all the use he makes of them Latin texts suffice; and it is one of many incidental proofs that Latin, not Greek, is the proper and original language of


the Church. So far the extremely meagre, cold, uninteresting, and, it must be added, early, account of Paul and his writings in the Historian of Inventors.


          I would now ask the candid reader to consider with me the striking evidence which this writer bears, as it seems, on the face of it, unconsciously, to the fallacy and delusion of supposing that the legend of Paul had come down to him [19] through an immense interval of time. A man who has anything like a real perspective of past time before his imagination does not, and cannot, bound over vast intervals without an effort. He does not see the events of a thousand years agone [ago] as distinctly as he sees those of his own time. Yet this is what Polydore appears to do, and what many of us, in our ignorance of a true chronological perspective, are in the habit of doing.' [12].

'For example, the late Dr. Edwin Hatch [1835 - 1889], of Oxford, said that "MANY INSTITUTIONS AND ELEMENTS OF INSTITUTIONS WHICH HAVE SOMETIMES BEEN THOUGHT TO BELONG TO PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY BELONG, IN FACT, TO THE MIDDLE AGES." My comment upon this is that both "Primitive Christianity" and "Middle Ages" are figures of speech, not phrases of science. If, for an earnest though not a radical student, like Dr. Hatch, the "primitive" resolved itself into the "mediaeval," the meaning is, that many hundred years must be deducted from the alleged age of the institution. But it will be found, in turn, that the supposed Middle Age institutions resolve themselves into modern institutions and I mean by modern, in common with previous historians, those which can fairly be dated from the Tudor ["royal family that ruled in England from 1485 to 1603" (R.H. Dict.)] period.

Dr. Hatch says: "In the minds of many persons, no doubt, the past centuries of Christianity seem to be all alike shrouded in a common mist, and the institutions of one age [23] are not distinguishable from those of another." And why is this so? Simply and solely, as I have been explaining, because the literary pictures or frescoes from which we derive these misty impressions of indistinguishable ages were composed during one short period, by one class and faction, who, with all their devices, had not subtlety enough to represent a growth of Church institutions, during an alleged space of time so vast, in a manner agreeable to our knowledge of the laws of human life.' [15]. [Compare: "Donation of Constantine"].

'Let me beg my readers to fix in their memory this thought: the germ of the great Pauline legend is a pure invention. THAT PETER AND PAUL WERE JOINT ROMAN MARTYRS AND FOUNDERS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION IS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE WHOLE MYTHOLOGY. To discuss whether Peter ever was in Rome, and, if not, whether his inseparable brother could have been there, is to mistake the whole question. We have to [24] deal with something much more interesting than a mixture of fact and fiction in the ordinary sense. IT IS FROM FIRST TO LAST A SYSTEM OF PURE ALLEGORICAL MYTHOLOGY THAT HAS BEEN CONSTRUCTED ABOUT THE NAMES OF PETER AND OF PAUL.' [15-16].


"THE PLOT OF THE PAULINE LEGEND has been so contrived that a variety of lesser lights appear to sparkle round this great luminary of the ecclesiastical firmament. Books have been written for the mere purpose of ascertaining the personality of these minor characters, so incidentally named in the Timothean Epistle. Although the Pauline Epistles cannot for a moment be compared in point of interest and value with splendid works which were produced not far from the same epoch—the works that pass under the name of Dante [1265 - 1321] and of Chaucer [1342 - 1400]—how much greater pains have been taken to magnify the personality and to extend the renown of Paul ["d. prob. AD 62–5" (Ox. Dict. C.C.)] [Fictional character (see Article #4, 105-151; etc.)]!

How little do people reflect on the immense power of the greatest literary organisation in our world of the West, the organisation that we call the Church, either to exalt its favoured personalities, or to depress and to cover with ignominy its detested foes!


"Luther [Martin Luther 1483 - 1546] would not have the Pauline authorship of Hebrews; and there was no overt criticism until Luther's time.


Consequently profitless debates on this question have gone on to the present day." [31].

"In short, when we say that Paul is the Ideal of Rome and of the West, we point to the all-paramount influence of the Latin or Roman Catholic Church. The life, Westward career, and the death of Paul in the metropolis are an allegory [Fiction, etc.], not of the true story of Church origins, but of that which the monks wished us to believe was the true story of those origins." [31].



          'My readers may be wearied and disgusted with these things; yet they are most necessary to be understood, if the truth about this extraordinary series of alleged Letters ["The Pauline Epistles"] is to be understood, which contain so many Apostolic precedents for the Apostolic life of the monasteries, loosely arranged and tacked together under the form of Epistles, and connected with a personal narrative or biographical romance.

          To conclude on this head. If the student picks out from the Epistles and arranges together all the significant alleged autobiographical statements of Paul, he can but derive from them the impression that, if there really was such a person, he was the most inconsistent and incomprehensible man that ever wrote. If he adds to this study the legends in the Acts, the bewilderment will increase, and the problem must be abandoned as utterly defying solution.

          But if he studies the earlier and later sources indicated by the monastic faction itself, where the gradual rise of the whole legend is hinted, he will be of opinion that the incomprehensibility of the Ideal Person arises from the fact that his creators had themselves fixed upon the design to be "all things to all men," always under the condition that there should be subservience to their rule. Their one [65] endeavour is to fix the names of CHRIST and of the APOSTLES in the minds of men, by means of all arts of expansion and variation, designed coincidences or designed contradictions in the books. All this cajolery about Paul, splendide mendax [brilliant liar], is a remarkable effort of wit of a certain order; end [and] the Apostle [Paul] of Contradictions and Mendacity will doubtless continue to be evoked by all the sects SO LONG AS THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH SHALL REMAIN IN EXISTENCE.' [42-43] [End of Chapter IV. [VI.]].

'Chapter VII.

Fabricated Testimonies to Paul.

          The further study of this subject will serve to show what great pains have been taken by the monastic literary faction to establish the fame, and to protect the Epistles, of this great imaginary Doctor [Paul!] of the Gentiles. One cannot but admire the success with which they appear to have studied human nature, and to have created a multitude of illusions, into which the learned world has so readily fallen.

          I proceed to show how they ascribe to others of the mock "Illustrious List" a number of mock "testimonies" to Paul and his Epistles, always begging the reader to bear in mind that what we have to do with is a literary Round Table—in other words, with a collaboration of literary men, all working in one library and upon one scheme, laid down for them originally, as it seems highly probable, by one[?] master-spirit in FICTION.


          Paul is made by them to allude to an Oral as well as a Literary Teaching—2 Thessalonians ii. 15; and this illusion—Word or Epistle—no doubt haunts the minds of many persons: it is the dogma of the Catholic Church; but the truth is that THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM IS SOLELY THE WORK OF LITERARY MEN. He is made to require obedience to his epistolary commands (2 Corinthians ii. 9, vii. 15), while Peter is made to refer to the obscurity of Paul's Epistles, and to warn against their abuse (2 Peter iii.15)....' [44].

          'Seneca. [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.]—The eleventh [twelfth] name is that of Seneca. And there is just as good reason to set him down among the friends of Paul as there is in the case of any of those just named. The words of the compiler of the List of the "Illustrious" are quite definite:

          "Lucius Annaeus Seneca of Corduba [Spain], disciple of Sotion, and uncle of Lucian, the poet, was of most continent life. I would not place him in the Catalogue; of Saints, if I were not provoked thereto by the Epistles which are read by a very large number of persons, of Paul to Seneca, or of Seneca to Paul. In these, being teacher of Nero, and most powerful of that time, he says that he [Seneca] wishes to be in the [68] like place among his sect that Paul holds among the Christians. Two years before Peter and Paul were crowned with martyrdom he [Seneca] was put to death by Nero."

          In all the older editions of Seneca a pair of empty little Epistles, duly forged for the purpose of establishing this connection, have come down to us. No one now believes in them; but how suggestive is the fact! It should of itself have led to the discovery of a multitude of similar forgeries in the old Latin writings. In this case there was probably some desire, not only to support the fable of Paul's connection with Nero, but to cast lustre upon his name by association with the beautiful writings of the stoic sage.' [45].

          'Ignatius. [(?) c. 35 - c. 107]—The sixteenth name among the mock "Illustrious" is that of Ignatius, who appears to be made to write some vague allusion to Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians. But the Ignatian Greek is most vile, and the Ignatian Epistles were really composed in Latin.' [45].

'But let us return to the List [Lives] of the "Illustrious Men." The monks have studied in another way to extend the fame of Paul and his Epistles—namely, by representing that swarms of heretics lived after the time of Paul, the most eminent of whom, however, they make bear witness to him. One of their great feats in this way is in the invention of the great heretic Marcion [c. 100 - c. 165 C.E.].


The Heretic Marcion. [d. c. 160]—They first pretended that "Justin," philosopher and martyr, wrote notable volumes against Marcion, which they have never produced. They add that "Theophilus of Antioch" also wrote a book against "Marcion," which also they have failed to produce! Again, one Philip, a Cretan bishop, put forth a splendid book against "Marcion," of which the same must be said! One "Modestus" did the like! They make their "Irenaeus" [c. 130 - c. 200] allude to the remarkable volumes that have been written against this Marcion! They make one "Rhodon," an "Asian of Roman education," write another leading work against Marcion, in which he must show how the Marcionites differ among one another!

Our learned men have been deceived by all this placarding of Marcion, as they were intended to be. But the curious fact remains, that the very man among the "Illustrious," under whose name a long work against Marcion has at last been handed down to us, has not ascribed to him in the List any work against Marcion at all! This man is their notorious "Tertullian" [c. 160 - 220]!

All this offers another illustration of the system of trickery by means of which curiosity is excited, a work is advertised beforehand, and the minds of readers are prepared to expect some fresh wonder in the world of orthodoxy and of heresy. But meantime no such sect as "the Marcionites" has ever been discovered, except in the brains of these fabricators, any more than a sect of "Wiclifites" or "Lollards" has been discovered from any independent source.

"The purposes however, of all this machination is patent enough to the truly critical student. The desire is to represent that the Catholic Church had always been surrounded by heretics, that she had always triumphed over them, and that these very heretics had in some sense acknowledged [73] the Creed, however they might have travestied it, and the Catholic and Apostolic books, however they might have endeavoured to alter them in their own interests.

Thus another imaginary confirmation has been added to the system of invention, and once more the learned world has fallen into the snare spread for its feet.

Here, again, I must refer my readers for the full details to the handbooks, always warning them against the misunderstandings of the credulous compilers. WHEN YOU READ IN THE IMAGINARY "IRENAEUS," OR "TERTULLIAN," that the heretics "confess the Scriptures, but change the interpretation," or that they "add to, and take away from, the genuine instrument," THIS IS SIMPLY WHAT THESE SECRET PLOTTERS WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE, AND WHAT THEY HAVE SUCCEEDED IN MAKING THE LEARNED WORLD BELIEVE. In this connection they continue to insinuate their theory of the "inflexible canon of truth," "the truth of the Christian faith, and the truth of expositions," and the denial to the heretics of the possession of the true Scriptures. YOU DETECT BENEATH IT ALL THE STRIFES OF THE EARLY REFORMATION. But what mere pedantry it is, in the eyes of the literary critic, to assert that there is any important substantial difference between the books used by one Christian sect and those used by another!


These secret monks, conscious that they are wholesale forgers, divert attention from their craft by freely charging their crimes upon others. They delight, again and again, to point out what they call by the quaint name of "Apocryphal" writings—writings which they advertise, and which they mean to be read, not in public, but in private, because they serve to excite curiosity, to amuse, and to enhance the value of those which are alleged to be canonical and true.' [47-48].

"No! there is only one explanation of these curious phenomena:


'I have already pointed out that this Marcion [d. c. 160] legend is relatively late, and placed under the name of "Tertullian [c. 160 - c. 225]."' [49].

'....and the defeated world has at last been cowed into the belief that there must be some great "basis of fact," as they say, beneath all these tales about Paul, his elders, and his disciples, his troops of friends and of foes.' [50].

'To show my readers how absurd the received notions about the Pauline Epistles and the rest of the New Testament books truly are, this very "Tertullian," with all his volubility, and his declamation about Marcion, does not show that he has the Pauline Epistles, as a closed collection and in a fixed order, in his own hands. On the contrary, the attempts of our old-fashioned critics to discover the number or the order of the books in him [Marcion] have altogether failed. The like remarks apply to the "third century," and to every age preceding that of printing and publication.

But I hope I have sufficiently shown, to all attentive readers, the futility of attempting to extract truth by the oldfashioned [old-fashioned] method out of a system of writing in every respect FICTITIOUS, in reference alike to time, to places, and to the names of authors.

The Pauline writings were not composed either in Syria, or in Africa, or in any places named; but in all probability in some of the Italian monasteries; and the system was carried on through other monasteries of the order, particularly in France; and it is through the hands of the French Benedictines of St. Maur that the work of their elder brethren has been handed down to us.

The attentive reader will perhaps at this point exclaim, [77] "Oh, what a tangled web men weave, when once they practise to deceive!"


It is indeed so. Once assume the real personality of any of the alleged "Illustrious," and you are inevitably committed to the whole List. You cannot dispense with the great Latin master and teacher of Cyprian, with the declaimer called Tertullian. But when you examine the List to ascertain what is said about this long-winded inveigher against Marcion, you find no mention of the book [Adversus Marcionem (Against Marcion)] at all! You are then involved in another fable, and the Pauline investigation leads you into the Tertullianic investigation.

Let me make short work of this matter by explaining once for all the TERTULLIANIC FABLE. In the great Dictionaries of Church writers, under the names of Photius and Suidas, there is no mention of Tertullian at all—a clear proof of the very late origin of the fable. The chapter about him [Tertullian] in the List of the "Illustrious" has been cunningly devised so as to convey several false impressions. In the first place, the monks would have us believe that his father was a proconsular centurion of Carthage; that he flourished under Severus [Lucius Septimus Severus, Roman Emperor 193 - 211 (146 - 211)] and Caracalla [Roman Emperor 211 - 217 (188 - 217)]; that he wrote "many volumes, which I pass by, because they are known to most people"! The truth is, that here is one of a number of previous advertisements of works that have been planned.

Further, it is said that he lapsed into the Montanist heresy, and in many books made mention of the new prophecy; and that he "specially wove many volumes against the Church," on Pudicity ["modesty, chastity"], on Persecution, on Fasts, on Monogamy, on Ecstasy; that he was reported to have lived to decrepit age, and to have published many opuscles[rare] [opuscules] [opuscule: "minor work"], which are not extant!

Thus the most striking of the tracts that have been handed down to us under the name of Tertullian [c. 160 - 220] are entirely ignored. But curiosity has been excited. The man is described as of "keen and vehement genius;" and doubtless a writer of that kind, a clever and most audacious fellow, had been enlisted to aid in the nefarious work of falsehood. I can only infer that, if anything was known of the Tertullianic tracts about the middle of the "sixteenth century," it cannot have been before that time; and that all the declamation about the diffusion of Christianity in the [78] alleged "second century," and about the Pauline Epistles, must date from a late time, when all fear of detection was past [?].

I refer my reader again to the important little book of Polydore [Polydore Vergil c. 1470 - c. 1555]. This writer cites several well-known Tertullianic tracts, the "Apologetic," "On the Soldier's Crown," etc., which are not named on the List ["Lives of Illustrious Men," by "Jerome"]. If I could be quite confident that Polydore was writing about 1533 [see 2543], the problem would be solved.' [50-51] [End of Chapter VII.].


'The question is now: Where had the Latin text of the Pauline Epistles, or of any part of the Bible, been written? And the answer probably is: In some monastery or monasteries of the order of St. Benedict [c. 480 - 543 (died at Monte Cassino)] in Italy the oldest of the literary monasteries being that of Monte Cassino [87 miles southeast of Rome].

[83] I speak with a certain hesitation, because the desire of the monks has necessarily been to show that they took part in the Revival of Letters in Italy, before those Letters passed over the Alps into North Europe. There are, however, suspicions that Christianity did not first take root in Rome, but in the provinces; and these are supported by the tale of an early African text set down under the name of "Tertullian." But the citations made by this great disguised Church Latinist closely agree with those in "Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200]," who is merely tile [the] personal symbol of the literary activity of the monastery of St. Irenaeus at Lyons. And IT IS VERY PROBABLE THAT FRENCH BENEDICTINES ARE REALLY SIGNIFIED BY "TERTULLIAN."

Again, the tales in what I may call the Jerome-Augustine-Cassiodorus system are intended to mislead. It is essentially one false tale, to the effect that there was an "old translation, a vulgate edition," and that there was a vast number of books of this edition in circulation, each copy varying from all the rest, and that a number of vicious interpreters and unskilled translators had been busy upon them; that there had been an "infinite variety of them," that they "could not possibly be numbered." Those fables are flatly contradicted by the facts. For the substantial coincidence of all the earlier discovered Latin texts is the obvious fact; and the variations are trifling and immaterial, all of them apparently designed for the purpose of evading suspicion of that confederacy and collaboration which is revealed to every clear-sighted person. Among the samples of the Vulgate, which they would have you believe was scattered over the world, the Italian (Itala) is named by "Augustine." And the Italian has come to designate the oldest Latin Lections [lection: "A portion of a sacred writing appointed to be read in church; a 'lesson'." (O.E.D.)] that have been discovered.


I shall now point out some of the monasteries of the order whence these Latin Lections, forming parts of the New Testament, were brought to light. They show that THE [NEW] TESTAMENT WAS A GRADUAL FORMATION. It is not correct to say that fragments are here broken off from the larger whole of Gospels, Acts, or Epistles; but rather they are bits, destined to be fitted into the system of mosaic or patchwork.

Attentive study of all the evidence that has been collected will convince the student that out of a very few lines, as the [84] Church historian [Polydore Vergil] says, certain Pauline Lections were formed, and those Lections were then gradually expanded into the Epistles as we now have them. Now, here the startling fact confronts us, that from the ITALIAN MONASTERIES very little of the Pauline writings appears to have come. The oldest MSS. of the List of "Illustrious Men" come from Verona and Vercelli (where the name of Eusebius [Eusebius of Caesarea c. 260 - c. 340] appears to have originated), and from the Vatican. Two of the oldest MSS. of the Gospels also come from Verona and Vercelli; but the Pauline Epistles are wanting.


Let me now call attention to the famous literary cloister at Bobbio, in Lombardy, The codex from this monastery, now at Vienna, contains a few Lections only preparatory to the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic Epistles. It is wrong to call them fragments, as I have already explained.

But from the cloister of Bobbio comes another well-known document, called the "MURATORI FRAGMENT," published by that scholar in 1740. The guesses of scholars about this parchment are quite worthless, owing to their ignorance of the system of monkish FICTION. There is no beginning to this document, and the Latin is often fearfully bad and unintelligible. Under the influence of the falsehood about the "Greek truth and the Greek origin," it has been guessed that this Latin is a clumsy translation from the Greek. But the facts, as usual, are dead against this opinion. The monk puns on fel and mel in a way he could not do were he a translator, There are Scottish expressions in it; the monastery was tenanted by Scottish monks under the rule of St. Benet; and the language is the barbarous Latin, perhaps of the early Tudor time. There is a notice alluding to the "Pastor of Hermas," supporting the falsehood about that mock-illustrious man. All this shows that we have tracked the members of the Round Table to one of their fortresses of fiction, where a part of the history of our island is said to have been written by the monk "Jonas."

We see from this document that the New Testament is in course of construction. It has only a complete notice of Luke and John among the evangelists. The writer adds the Acts, and then goes on to the Pauline Epistles, of which he considers the most important to be Corinthians and Romans, and briefly characterises their contents. He is at one with Jerome [c. 345 - 420], and others of the faction, in stating that [85] PAUL, AFTER PRECEDENT OF JOHN, wrote to seven churches as representative of the whole Church. He gives them in the following order: Corinthians; Ephesians, Philippians Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians, Romans.

He [apparently, 'the monk "Jonas"'] seems to feel it necessary to explain why Epistles addressed to particular Churches should be regarded as the common property of the whole Church and the same with regard to the four addressed to particular persons. He says that they lay down the Church discipline, and, therefore, are held in honour of the Catholic Church and are sanctified. In short, he is in almost exact agreement with the rest of the faction, with a few variations. And his remarks are another confirmation of the opinion that the PAULINE EPISTLES HAVE BEEN DESIGNED, and are in course of execution, WITH THE OBJECT OF RECOMMENDING THE CHURCH THEOLOGY AND DISCIPLINE IN THE SETTING OF ROMANTIC PERSONAL NARRATIVE.

The only way to determine the probable age of this document is by determining the time when Letters began to be cultivated. That again, leads to the question of the beginnings at Monte Cassino [87 miles southeast of Rome] [see 1847, 1849], which the Benedictines allege to be their oldest school. They themselves admit that they are all in the dark at the end of the fifteenth century but the cloister suddenly appears to be ablaze with scholars in the sixteenth. I can only infer that there, and in every cloister, there were but faint beginnings in literature from the modern epoch. And it is impossible to trace anything of these Epistles higher than the Benedictine beginnings.


This seems all there is to be said about Paul in relation to the Italian monasteries.

I come now to France. In the Imperial Library of Paris is the Codex Claromontanus. This is commonly called a Greek-Latin MS. Let me rather call it a Latin-Greek MS., and warn my readers against any such nonsense as that it was written in "the sixth century."

Now, this book contains all the Epistles of Paul, with some little exceptions, which show how the fabrication of this literature was going on during the sixteenth century, as we call it.

It is very interesting to note that the whole of the little Epistle, Romans i. 1-7, to the end of the phrase, "beloved of God"—the Lection used for the Vigil of the Nativity has been omitted. The reader will observe that the Epistle [86] might just as well begin after the Salutation with the words, "First I thank my God," etc.

Then it is clear that several hands have been busy over this MS., adding and improving on some early model. This Lection, Romans i. 27-30, 24-27 in Latin, has been so added, also Corinthians xiv. 13-22. This Codex was only published by Tischenendorf [Konstantin von Tischendorf 1815 - 1874] in 1852; yet it has been considered one of the most valuable MSS. extant,

From Paris also comes the Codex San Germanensis, now at St. Petersburg. The Abbey of St. Germains was one of the great haunts of the Benedictines. Possibly here, rather than in any other of their literary seats, we may conjecture, the Benedictine Round Table of literary abbots was set up.

Now, this MS. [Codex of San Germanensis] is essentially the same in Greek with the Claromontanus, but badly copied, which the reader, after all my explanations, will not be surprised to learn. It is full of blunders, and has what have been called some "monstrous readings" from the correctors—that is to say, the Greek is fearfully illiterate. The Latin is substantially the same as D. Again an evidence that Greek is not the original.

The Codex Augiensis, a Latin-Greek MS., bought from the monastery of Augia Major or Reichenau in Switzerland by Bentley, is now in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. It was published by Scrivener in 1859. The Latin begins with Romans iii. 19. The Codex Boernerianus is merely a variation in some particulars of the same model. The latter book was once joined to the St. Gall Codex of the Gospels.

In addition to these, there are the Munich "fragments," so-called, of the Pauline Epistles, described by Tischendorf: More properly they are Pauline sentences, forming part of the basis of the Epistles. After all the talk of these wonderful Epistles, it must come with a shock of surprise upon the student that the monasteries of the Continent can produce but so scanty a stock of even alleged ancient MSS., in Latin, of the Pauline Epistles. The Codex Bezae, or of Cambridge, must be regarded as one of the most important of the alleged Greek-Latin, in reality Latin-Greek, books. It is stated that Beza procured this MS. from the Benedictine monastery at Lyons so late as 1562, and that he presented it in 1582 to the Cambridge Library, which at that date


must have been a quite insignificant collection. It is alleged that, in addition [87] to the Gospels and the Acts, it once contained the Catholic Epistles. But a mere brief Lection, to be found in 3 John, is all that now remains. The omissions are remarkable, It is the work of a French Benedictine, ignorant of Greek, and so poor a Latinist that, in a one instance at least, he has coined a Latin word out of the French! The Latin is evidently the same with that of the old Latin books, with slight variations. I mention this Codex because it is one of the strongest proofs of the Latin original and the late origin of the books.

It seems, notwithstanding all the tales told us about the Revival Biblical scholars, Erasmus [1466/9 - 1536], or Luther [1483 - 1546], or Polydore [c. 1470 - c. 1555], the Alcalà editors, the Fathers and Doctors of the Council of Trent, there is nowhere to be found a Latin MS. of the Bible of the complete Pauline Epistles that one can, with fair certainty, assume to have been in use before or during the Council of Trent. It seems to he [be] an affair of sentences, texts, aphorisms, and nothing more.20 [footnote?]

But let me now give some particulars about our own country, in regard to whose literary culture the same enormous illusions prevail as with reference to the Continent.

There is in the Bodleian Library a copy of the Pauline Epistles in so-called Saxon letters, ending Heb. xi. 34. But Anglo-Saxon letters are a sixteenth-century invention; and it is impossible to trace the study of them higher than the Elizabethan scholars, or a hint of them in existence before the time of Henry VIII [King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547]. The original text is simply the old Latin revised, and the arrangement of the Epistles shows dependence on the monks who write under the name of "Augustine [354 - 430]." And much the same may be said of the Harleian MS., 1772. There is no ground whatever for assigning these books to an earlier time than the later sixteenth century.

I wish I could give the reader a precise account, or anything like it, of the number of copies of the Pauline Epistles in any crudest form during the reign of Henry VIII. [King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547)], [88] for beyond that reign it is impossible to ascend. I would beg the reader to dismiss from his mind the tales about Wicliff [John Wycliffe c. 1330 - 1384] and about Tyndal [William Tyndale (Tindale) 1494? - 1536]: there is absolutely no evidence from the writers of the time, Polydore [c. 1470 - c. 1555] and Leland [c. 1506 - 1552], that any translation of the Bible had been put forth under either of those names, or any name. The question is solely of the Latin text.

Now, our earliest English bibliographer is said to have been the Benedictine, "John Boston [died 1430 (Internet)], of Bury St. Edmund's," who is alleged to have been a fifteenth-century man, though his date is uncertainly given. I have discovered that the work under this name could not have been a fifteenth-century production, because John Leland [c. 1506 - 1552 ("English antiquary")], the first who bore the title of Librarius in England, and who ransacked the religious houses, it is stated, during 1533-9, knows nothing of him, though he knows other Benedictine catalogues, and though he appears to have visited the cloister, and faintly mentions another writer, under the name of "John of St. Edmund's [close enough?]."


I am forced [error?], therefore to assign the catalogue in question to a time a little later than Leland [John Leland c. 1506 - 1552]. The evidence is in general agreement with that of the librarian. An extreme dearth of books of any kind throughout the country is revealed. At the same time, that imposing device of drawing up a string of imaginary names, and of advertising books under them, which are not yet to hand, and of actually leaving blanks for the dates to be filled in afterwards, is also plainly disclosed. It is a tell-tale book. And I have no hesitation in saying that the student who thoroughly examines this catalogue21 [footnote?] will be cured of the idle fantasy in which we have been bred [brought up, trained, etc.], that a great mass of books has been transmitted to us from early or Middle Christian Ages.

Now, this neglected catalogue contains one of the best accounts of the structure of the Latin Bible which has ever been handed down to us. It reveals to the critic what is revealed in the writings of all the NEW TESTAMENT men, that the BOOKS HAVE BEEN ARTIFICIALLY CONSTRUCTED ON A SYSTEM OF CORRESPONDENCE TO THE OLD TESTAMENT [see Article #1, 11, 88.].

To the Legal Books of the Old Testament, or Pentateuch, [89] correspond the Four Evangelists. To the Historical Books of the Old Testament, from Joshua to Job, correspond the Historical Books of the New Testament—viz., the Acts, the Epistle of James, the Second Epistle of Peter, the Third Epistle of John, the Epistle of Jude.

To the Sapiential [Wisdom] Books of the Old Testament—viz., Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Ecclesiasticus, and Book of Wisdom, correspond the fourteen Epistles of Paul, including Hebrews, and enumerated in the order in which we have them.

To the Prophetal Books of the Old Testament—viz., the Psalter, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the Twelve Prophets, corresponds the Apocalypse. But the same writer has another division of the New Testament, where he distributes the books into three orders (1) Evangelists; (2) Apostles, which include all the Epistles, the Acts, and the Apocalypse; (3) Doctors, under which head are included the Decrees or Canons of General Councils, "from the times of Constantine." Reference is made to the fable of Nicaea, and the second symbol[?] alleged to have been there adopted.

Next to the Old and New Testament, it is alleged that the Catholic Church has decreed the acceptance of the Scriptures of the four synods—of Nicaea, of Constantinople, of Ephesus, and of Chalcedon.

Moreover, in this third [(3)] order of New Testament books, the writings of the Holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church—to wit, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Gregory, Basil, Origen, Isidore, Bede, and many other orthodox, which are "so infinite they [that] they cannot be numbered," are named!

It is added: "Hence truly it appears how great fervour in the Christian faith they had, for the assertion of which they let so many and so great and memorable works to posterity. In these orders of books the agreements of the two Testaments clearly appear; because, even as after the Law the Prophets, and after the Prophets the Hagiographa; so, after the Gospel the Apostles, and after the Apostles the Fathers and


Doctors, succeeded in order." Reference is made to "Hugo" and to "Gelasius," who are simply members of the literary faction.

This purely Benedictine account of the New Testament, alleged to have been drawn up in our country, is quite authoritative. It is supported by the whole order. It [90[]] indicates, more clearly than any document I have met with, not only the artificial structure of the books, but the fact that the Fathers and Doctors, alias ["Otherwise (called or named)" (O.E.D.)] the "Catholic Writers" of Jerome's List, as this monk designates them, alias the mock "Illustrious Men," or masked Benedictines of the Revival, are most certainly the New Testament men; and that no critical reader of Paul's Epistles has any right to dispense with their aid, or can possibly understand their purport apart from their elucidations of these "Fathers and Doctors."

If this Boston catalogue [reportedly by 'the Benedictine, "John Boston, of Bury St. Edmund's"'] [see 2527] cannot be traced above ["before or earlier" (R.H. Dict.)] the middle of the sixteenth century, it offers one more important item of proof for the opinion that the [New Testament] books were of quite recent composition. But I should add that there is no mention of the MS. till the time of Archbishop Usher [James Ussher 1581 - 1656].' [54-58] [End of Chapter VIII.].

          "The attentive student who rejects the glib statements of modern handbooks, which have been based on a series of fables, and looks into the matter for himself, will discover many proofs that the Biblical books floated into recognition along with the classics and the Arabian books of science, and overcame the latter in popularity because of the influence of the ECCLESIASTICAL CORPORATION at the back of them." [62]. [found this paragraph 10/25/2003 (See Article #4, 123-124)].

          "....All that I need say about the Wiclif [John Wycliffe c. 1330 - 1384] myth is that it was a recent concoction at the end of the reign [1509 - 1547] of Henry VIII.; that Polydore [c. 1470 - c. 1555] gives a version of it, which is flatly and angrily contradicted by his contemporary, John Leland [c. 1506 - 1552], who says that he has seen few of the rumored many Wiclif [98] Latin books. As to his rumored writings [of Wiclif] in the vernacular [apparently, English], he does not say that he has seen a solitary scrap of them.

          Again: it is necessary to contradict a string of tales relating to Tyndale [William Tyndale 1494? - 1536], and Coverdale [Miles Coverdale 1488 - 1568], and the Lord Cromwell [Oliver Cromwell 1599 - 1658], and the introduction of an English Bible during the reign of Henry VIII [King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547)]. With regard to the allusion in the English Chronicle under the name of Edmund Hall, the Latin writers give no sign of recognition of any such person, or of any such story; nor do they betray the slightest consciousness of the existence of any translation of the Scriptures in the vernacular. So poor and scant is the evidence for the existence of any intellectual culture at all among the mass of the people: it can only have been a few texts rendered from the Latin in the pulpit, that could have obtained any lodgment in their memory, as we may see from the sermons in the name of Hugh Latimer [c. 1485 - 1555].


          Thus, after long wanderings, we come back to the statement about Dean Colet [John Colet 1466 or 1467 - 1519] and his associations with Paul's Church and Paul's Epistles and Paul's school. And again I positively assure my readers, as the result of all my researches, that they will find it utterly impossible to trace Pauline knowledge in this country above ["before or earlier"] his time [c. 1500]." [63]. [End of Chapter IX.].

'how idle is the opinion of those who think they can leap over the literary history of these late ages, that they can swiftly pass through a vast tract of "Middle Ages," and make themselves at home with "Jerome [c. 395 - 420]," or any of his imaginary preceding gang of "Illustrious Men." I wish also to show how moderate is the opinion that I have announced, to the effect that the Pauline Epistles cannot be traced in any form above the time of Henry VIII [King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547)]. and Martin Luther [1483 - 1546]. And in what form they were extant at that time cannot now be determined. The testimony of the authorities of the Roman Church is not to be set aside; and their testimony, freed from self-contradictions, amounts to this: that they had no accepted ancient Vulgate so early as 1546, and that the Vulgate, which is to be taken as ancient, is now about 300 years old!' [69].


          'I may point to a few more incidental evidences from the Lutheran literature tending to confirm the opinion that it was members of the Order of St. Augustine who had the main part in connecting together Paul and Luther. For example, one of the Erfurt theologians tells how Luther, on returning to that town from a visit to his parents, was caused to fall down during a thunderstorm to the ground like another Paul, and was determined to seek the cloister of the Augustinians, and to find salvation in the life of the monk. The tale is confirmed by others.

          On entering the convent he himself takes the name of Augustine, and is said to make the works ascribed to that imaginary Illustrious [Augustine] his favourite reading, along with the Bible, and especially Paul....' [80].

          'The Jesuits have, I think, a saying to the effect that Paul begat Augustine, and Augustine [354 - 430] began Luther [1483 - 1546]; the inward meaning of which is, to the critic, that there is not the interval of 350 years between Pauline and Augustinian, or of 1,1000 [1,100] years between Augustinian and Lutheran ideas; [125] but that the ideas in question are substantially the same, and of the early [15th century?] Reformation time.

          D'Aubigny [Jean Henri Merle d'Aubigné 1794 - 1872] observes that "the monastic; orders were perhaps more in favour of the Reformation than against it. This observation applies more particularly to the Augustinian order." I believe in the general truth of this remark, and I should explain the fact by reference to the temperament and habits of our Northern peoples by which the monks were influenced,


and which indeed they were compelled to comply with. They led a movement of revolt against the tyranny of the Pope, which was a popular movement; and, in rejecting the vow of celibacy, they also followed the current of popular sympathy. The more enlightened spirits desired to establish a book religion; but the opposed party were strong enough to make themselves felt in the books. And it seems to me that the Pauline Epistles and the rest of the books have all the appearance of documents that have passed through the hands of some editorial board, which comprised the various opinions extant among the Orders. In that way the Augustinian or Lutheran Paul may be reasonably accounted for.' [80].

          'Here I may quote some acute remarks of Hardouin [Jean Hardouin 1646 - 1729] [see Appendix III, 722-732], whose writings contain much truth for the literary critic, however mixed with priestly sophistry. He [Hardouin] protested against the honour done to the imaginary Augustine [354 - 430], the fraud of whose writings he had exposed: "As if no greater than Augustine had arisen among those born of woman! You make a more illustrious man of him than of Peter, Paul, and the rest! Christ does not please you, nor Paul; the words of Paul or of Christ do not please you unless Augustine interprets. This is a new Paul, a new Christ. And yet nothing can be said more contrary and adverse to the faith of the Church than pseudo-Augustine is in all his chapters. Men care less whether they are Christians than [126] whether they are called Augustinians. It is enough for me to be a Christian."

          He insists that Paul does not teach Augustinian doctrine—on the contrary, it is Augustine who has brought "another Gospel" into the world, a contrary and a bad Gospel (Kakaggelion). This sheds new light on the Epistle to the Galatians. And how strange it is that this very Epistle, so peculiarly protected by Luther, should here be claimed by the redoubtable Catholic champion [Jean Hardouin] as anti-Lutheran in its denunciation of an innovating Gospel [?].

          Evidently the [Pauline] Epistles must either remain an insoluble riddle of literary history, or we must, as before, assume that the composers were double-minded or many-minded men, who have either consciously or unconsciously uttered confused and self contradictory voices in respect to the primary tenets of the Christian religion.' [81] [End of Chapter XII.].

'[127] Chapter XIII.

The Authors of "Verisimilia" ["Probabilities"]: Their Analysis of the Epistles.

          I WISH now to render my English readers a service by imparting to them some of the results of analysis by the authors of the able Latin work, "Verisimilia," 1886.

          I have a particular interest in this work, which is devoted to the dissection of many parts of the New Testament writings; because, at the same time that Professors Pierson [Allard Pierson 1831 - 1896] and Naber [S.A. Naber 1828 - 1913] were engaged in their study, I was engaged upon an analysis of the alleged "second century" or post-apostolic literature. The publication of their book was shortly followed by the publication of my own essay, "Antiqua Mater;" and it was noticed by interested reviewers in Holland and France how curiously my own results confirmed


those of my predecessors. They showed from an examination of the New Testament

that it did not contain a true nor the earliest account of the origin of our religion; and, in turn, I showed that the alleged followers of the Apostles did not know what the alleged Apostles knew. Therefore the Church story of her own origin must be rejected, and we must make a fresh research among the documents, with the view to discover the positive facts. My readers are aware of what I have since done towards the solution of the great problem. But I would now point out that again the results of my confrères—always with one important exception-coincide in a striking manner with my own.

          The exception is that they [Pierson and Naber] have not questioned the Church chronology as I have done. Taking for granted that the Church did come into existence some 1,800 years ago, and that the scheme of centuries is genuine, they have nevertheless seen that the Catholic Church is behind the Pauline Epistles. Upon this point, then, it appears to me [128] that some side-light from the minds of these acute and learned scholars will be welcome to my readers....' [82].

'If Paul is not fully known in the "second century," as he certainly is not, he is discernible in no following age before the Revival of Letters [date? (same as "the Age of Publication (c. 1500 A.D. [see 2515])")?].

          A few observations on the complete failure that has attended the efforts of those who have assumed the Pauline Epistles and the New Testament in general to be early documents of Christianity, may be cited. In allusion to the obscurity and difficulty of the Epistles, which have tasked the efforts of commentators ever since the writer of 2 Peter iii. 16, it is justly asked, How can this strange phenomenon be accounted for? Here you have, according to the theory of the Church, not a collection of memoranda for the writer's own use, but letters to communities recently founded, of plain, unphilosophic people, written by a man who makes no pretension to learning! How is it that he is so hard to understand? A great literary apostle who has never learned to write: the enigma and despair of the acutest exegetes!

          [131] It is assumed that these are historical documents, and that you must seek the explanation of them from the history of the time in which they were written. Yet we cannot ascertain the time without the aid of these very Epistles, so dark and hard to understand! A must be explained by B; B cannot be understood without A, and A is unintelligible!

          Then the notion that Paul dictated carelessly and lost his thread, and did not think it worth his pains to revise and correct, is dismissed as a very lame excuse for the glaring faults of grammar and of logic.

          The German writers have got themselves into utter confusion over the question of Jewish and Gentile Christianity, because they have not seen that the documents are mere compilations of diverse literary Jewish and Christian materials....' [84].


'THE NOTION THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT CONTAINS THE BEGINNING OF CHRISTIANITY MUST BE OVERTHROWN, EVEN AS THE OLD THEORY OF INSPIRATION HAS BEEN OVERTHROWN. Then occur these remarkable words [from Pearson and Naber]: "The opinion which [132] most people hold, that there is something primitive in the New Testament, comes to us from the Revival of Letters and the movement of Luther." And again: "What the Egyptian priests said to Herodotus, 'your history, Greeks, is very recent,' we must now apply to the sacred writers [New Testament writers]. They are scarce more than of yesterday."

          Once more I cannot refrain from the expression of regret that these able and independent scholars [Pierson and Nabor] were not led to examine the chronological question, where lies the root of all these illusions. After the statement made about the Revival and Luther, it may seem strange that they should add that they can believe the Epistle to the Romans may have been written sixty years after Christ! But it merely shows that their thought was not exerted, was slumbering, in common with the whole learned world, upon this question. If they had once asked themselves, When was the chronological table of New Testament events laid down, and if they had investigated the point with the like acumen to that which they have shown in other parts of the subject, they would inevitably have been led to assume the "sixteenth century" as the starting-point for fresh inquiry into the origin of the Catholic Church. At the time, however, that this book was published I was in the same situation as these authors. I acknowledge the help I have had from them with sincere thanks, and doubt not that, if these lines should meet their eyes, they will give a candid consideration to all that I have advanced.

          It is true that there is much that is older than the New Testament; but not, in my opinion, older by many years. The Symbol is older; the Eusebian history is older; and the key-book, the Latin "List of Illustrious Men," is older than the New Testament. But all these books have been planned upon one scheme of art, which can be clearly understood, WHEN once THE FALSE NOTION THAT WE HAVE TO DO WITH TESTIMONIES HAS VANISHED.

          Our authors [of Verisimilia ("Probabilities") (see 2531), Allard Pierson and S.A. Naber], in summing up, say: "The main thing is this: We are ignorant of the first beginnings of the Christian religion." I so far agree with them: that THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ORIGINATED IN A SECRET SOCIETY, and that the origin of a secret society can only be conjectured from what is published and gradually comes to light. It continued in great part a secret society—as they themselves point out—while [133] the composition of much of its literature was going on. The literature itself is evidence of its recent origin, of the immense pains that were taken to conceal the fact, and to impose on the world the belief as to its antiquity....

The meaning of this is, that the literary men who constructed the various ideals of Christ and of Paul gradually elaborated their design, as I have shown in these pages, on the basis of the Church History.


But when they say, "Here [in the New Testament] we see how, before the Council of Nicaea, the Catholic Church arose and flourished and became a great institution," I must, of course, dissent from the note of alleged time. THE MYTH OF THE NICENE COUNCIL IS EUSEBIAN—i.e., BENEDICTINE, AND IS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. The first Council that we can believe in is that of Trent, and even that, on the evidence of Catholic writers, had not the authorised canonical writers in its hands, and has, probably, handed down no genuine documents to us.

Finally, I agree with the authors of "Verisimilia" ["Probabilities", published by Allard Pierson [1831 - 1896] and S.A. Naber [1828 - 1913], 1866] that


and I hope I have shown my readers by all-conclusive proofs that it is not possible to separate the one from the other, or to trace the origin of either to any other body of men than the literary men of the monasteries at the time of the Revival of Letters [date? (same as "the Age of Publication (c. 1500 A.D.) [see 2515]"?)].' [85-86]. [End of Chapter XIII.].

"My task is now accomplished. It has been said by a great writer that THE STATEMENT WE ARRIVE AT IN ATTEMPTING TO SATISFY OUR OWN CURIOSITY IS OF UNIVERSAL VALUE [I (LS) hope this applies to]. I trust that it may be so in this case. Certainly it was a painful, a most distressing curiosity to know, after long years spent in the calling of the teacher, what I ought to hold and teach as true Christianity, THAT GOADED ME TO UNDERTAKE THESE INVESTIGATIONS. In one respect the result has been a grievous disappointment: because, instead of discovering a solid basis of witnessed and accredited facts, I have found nothing but clear and irresistible evidence of the schemes and devices of a SECRET LITERARY SOCIETY [see Article #4, 129, 425.], whose bold statements have again and again to be contradicted out of their own writings." [91].

_____ _____ _____





Edwin Johnson [1842 - 1901], M.A., 1894 [OCLC has 1890]

Formerly Professor of Classical Literature in New College,

S. Hampstead: Author of "Antiqua Mater: A Study of

Christian Origins," "The Rise of Christendom," and others.

Study Version

Updated presentation and editing by Michael Hoffman, 2003.

Why everyone should read this book

This 100-page book from 1894 [OCLC (WorldCat) has 1890] shows that:










        No Cathedrals are ancient; they are from the early part of the modern period, such as 1400.


        We don't know how many centuries actually lie between the time of Augustus Caesar [63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E. (First Roman Emperor 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.)] and the modern era -- the time of the Roman Empire is likely several centuries closer.


The Radical Critic Hermann Detering [see] pointed out to Uwe Topper that Johnson anticipates Illig, Topper, and the New Chronology. The New Chronology holds that the Dark Ages -- the years 600-900 -- didn't exist; for example, the year 911 is the year 614, relabelled, with later historians projecting fantasy events into the phantom 300-year period that never existed, as though I claimed there were 300 years between now and now, filled with all sorts of literary inventions. Johnson goes even further, writing "It has been said that Greek letters were silenced in Italy during about the period "700-1400" of our chronology. The statement is really without meaning, for the period is imaginary." Uwe Topper was amazed to discover the present book, which made his own would-be radical New Chronology look like a mere leap-year calendar adjustment.


        I survey many radical theories of Christian and religious origins, but this book is the most extremely paradigm-shifting theory I've found. Most excited books putting forth a new earth-shattering theory are really pretty narrow, accepting the great bulk of received liberal-critical paradigm, proposing to shift just a couple of aspects.


        Prior to this book, Johnson wrote the more conventionally radical book Antiqua Mater. The present book is a sequel that leaps even beyond the excellent Antiqua Mater in terms of amount of deep paradigm shifting.

Many of Johnson's points are revolutionary, even if some might turn out to need repositioning such as in light of the Nag Hammadi library and Dead Sea scrolls. How would Johnson interpret these finds? What adjustments do we make to the paradigms of Johnson and Erman [Ehrman] to integrate Johnson's findings with Bart Ehrman's 2003 book "Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew"?

Resources and printing

About this version

See also: Mysterious Religions...' [1-2 of 109].

● ● ● ● ●




1. Time and Place of Composition, and Character.

2. Literature.

3. Manuscripts.

4. Editions.

5. Translations.

6. The Present Translation.

Jerome and Gennadius Lives of Illustrious Men.

I. Introduction

This combined work of Jerome [c. 342 - 420] and Gennadius [Gennadius of Marseilles fl. 470] is unique and indispensable in the history of early Christian literature, giving as it does a chronological history in biographies of ecclesiastical literature to about the end of the fifth century. For the period after the end of Eusebius' Church History it is of prime value.

1. Time and Place of Composition, and Character.

1. The work of Jerome was written at Bethlehem in 492. It contains 135 writers from Peter up to that date. In his preface Jerome limits the scope of his work to those who have written on Holy Scriptures, but in carrying out his plans he includes all who have written on theological topics; whether Orthodox or Heretic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, and even Jews and Heathen (Josephus, Philo, Seneca). The Syriac writers mentioned are however few. Gennadius apologizes for the scanty representation which they have in Jerome on the ground that the latter did not understand Syriac, and only knew of such as had been translated.

The motive of the work was, as the preface declares, to show the heretics how many and how excellent writers there were among the Christians. The direct occasion of the undertaking was the urgency of his friend Dexter, and his models were first of all Suetonius [c. 69 - after 122], and then various Greek and Latin biographical works including the Brutus of Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.].


Jerome expressly states in his preface that he had no predecessor in his work, but very properly acknowledges his indebtedness to the Church History of Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 340], from whom he takes much verbatim. The first part of the work is taken almost entirely from Eusebius.

The whole work gives evidence of hasty construction (e.g., in failure to enumerate the works of well-known writers or in giving only selections from the list of their writings) but too much has been made of this for ill[.] [In]such work absolute exhaustiveness is all but impossible, and in the circumstances of those days, such a list of writers and their works is really remarkable. He apologizes in the preface for omitting such as are not known to him in his "Out of the way corner of the earth." He [Jerome] has been accused of too great credulity, in accepting e.g., the letters of Paul to Seneca as genuine, but on the other hand he often shows himself both cautious (Hilary, Song of S.) and critical (Minutius Felix De Fato).

The work was composed with a practical purpose rather than a scientific one and kept in general well within that purpose-giving brief information about writers not generally known. This is perhaps why in writings of the better known writers like Cyprian [d. 258] he does not enumerate their works.

2. The work of Gennadius was written about 430 according to some, or 492 to 495 according to others. Ebert with the Benedictins [Benedictines (French)] and others before him, makes an almost conclusive argument in favor of the earlier date on the ground that Gennadius speaks of Timotheus Aelurus who died in 477 as still living. This compels the rejection of the paragraph on Gennadius himself as by a later hand but this should probably be done at any rate, on other grounds. The mss. suggest that Gennadius ended with John of Antioch, although an hypothesis of three editions before the year 500, of which perhaps two were by Gennadius, has grounds. The bulk of the work at least was composed about 480 (probably chapters 1-90) and the remainder added perhaps within a few years by Gennadius or more probably two other hands.

Gennadius style is as bare and more irregular than Jerome's but he more frequently expresses a critical judgment and gives more interesting glimpses of his own-the semi-Pelagian-point of view. The work appears more original than Jerome's and as a whole hardly less valuable, though the period he covers is so much shorter.' [1-2 of 5].

"3. Manuscripts.

The manuscripts of Jerome and Gennadius are numerous. The translator has seen 84 mss. of Jerome and 57 of Gennadius and has certain memoranda of at least 25 more and hints of still another score. It is certainly within bounds to say that there are more than 150 mss. of Jerome extant and not less than 100 of Gennadius.

The oldest of those examined (and all the oldest of which he could learn were seen) are at Rome, Verona, Vercelli, Montpellier, Paris, Munich and Vienna." [page 2 of 5].


"6. The Present Translation.

1. Text. It was proposed at first to make the translation from the text of Herding. This, and all editions, gave so little basis for scientific certainty in regard to various readings that a cursory examination of mss. was made. At the suggestion of Professor O. von Gebhardt of Berlin the examination was made as thorough and systematic as possible with definite reference to a new edition. The translator hoped to finish and publish the new text before the translation was needed for this series, but classification of the mss. proved unexpectedly intricate and the question of the Greek translation so difficult that publication had been delayed. The material has however been gathered, analyzed, sifted and arranged sufficiently to give reasonable certainty as to the body of the work and a tolerably reliable judgment on most of the important variations.

While anxious not to claim too much for his material and unwilling to give a final expression of judgment on disputed readings, until his table of mss. is perfected, he ventures to think that for substantial purposes of translation, if not for the nicer ones of a new text, the material and method which he has made use of will be substantially conclusive.

The following translation has been made first from the text of Herding and then corrected from the manuscripts in all places where the evidence was clearly against the edition. In places where the evidence is fairly conclusive the change has been made and a brief statement of evidence given in the notes. When the evidence is really doubtful the reading has been allowed to stand Wit]1 [with the (?)] evidence generally given.

The materials of evidence used are 1. eight mss. collated entire by the translator A. Parisinus (Corbeiensis or Sangermanensis 7 cent.) T. Vaticanus Reg., 7 cent.; 25 Veronensis, 8 cent.; 30 Vercellensis 8 cent.; 31 Monspessalanensis 8 or 9 cent.; a Monacensis 8 cent.; e Vindobonensis 8 or 9; H. Parisinus 10 or 9.

2. Occasional support from readings gathered by him from other mss., chiefly 10 Cassenatensis 9 cent.; 21 Florentinus, 11 cent.; 32 Toletanus 13 cent.; 40 Guelferbyrtinus, 10? cent." [page 4 of 5].

_____ _____ _____


from: Saint Jerome [c. 342 - 420], On Illustrious Men, Translated by Thomas P. Halton, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, Washington, D.C., c1999 ("written at Bethlehem in 492" (see 2537)). [Note: no manuscript history (see 2538-2539)].


          'One of the best-known episodes in the life of Jerome is the personal crisis he experienced over his love of the classics, precipitating his famous dream. "I dreamed, I stood before the judgment seat of God and heard His verdict: 'you are a Ciceronian, not a Christian; where your treasure is, there is your heart also' [Mt. 6:21]."4 However, throughout his life the classics never lost their influence on him, as the analysis of his work indicates, even if they took second place to Scripture and Christian doctrine.' [xxiii].

'Johannnes Quasten has identified Jerome as "the first to compose a history of Christian theological literature" and credits the work as


the basic source for the history of ancient Christian literature ... Through more than a thousand years all historians of ancient Christian literature regarded De viris illustribus [On Illustrious Men] as the basis of all their studies, and their sole endeavor was to write continuations of this great work.11

          The idea of such a history, however, is rightly attributed by Quasten to Eusebius of Caesarea [c. 260 - c. 339], who stated as one of his goals in the introduction to his Ecclesiastical History:


to report on the number of those who in each generation were ambassadors of the divine word orally or through written compositions; who and how many and when they were who, driving on to the extreme of error because of yearning for innovation, proclaimed themselves authors of "knowledge falsely so-called [very awkward]."12' [xxvii].

          'Jerome died on September 30, 419 or 420. His reputation in antiquity was legendary.... The western church has since 1295 venerated him, together with Ambrose, Augustine, and Gregory the Great, as one of the four "great Church teachers of the West."' [xxix].


          "7. Let Celsus, then, learn, and Porphyry and Julian,14 those rabid dogs barking15 against Christ; let their followers learn—those who think that the church has had no philosophers, no orators, no men of learning;16 let them learn the number and quality of the men who founded, built, and adorned the church, and let them stop accusing our faith of such rustic simplicity,17 and recognize instead their own ignorance. Salutations to you in the Lord Jesus Christ." [2] [End of Preface].


"V. Paul, Formerly Called Saul"

          "6. It ought to be understood that at his first defense,12 the power of Nero having not yet been consolidated, nor his wickedness erupted to such a degree as the histories relate concerning him,13 Paul was liberated by Nero, that the gospel of Christ might be preached also in the West, as he himself writes in the Second Epistle to Timothy, at the time when he was about to be put to death and dictated his epistle while in chains:[.]14" [12].

          "8." "[Paul,]in the fourteenth year of Nero on the same day as Peter, was beheaded at Rome for Christ's sake16 and was buried in the Ostian Way, the thirty-seventh year after our Lord's passion.17" [13]. [Note: in this entry, no mention of the famous forgeries: "Letters from Paul to Seneca and from Seneca to Paul"].

["Notes"] "

12. h.e., 2.22.2. [h.e. = Historia Ecclesiastica (Ecclesiastical History), by Eusebius]

13. On Nero's persecution cf. h.e. 2.25. 1–4, quoting Tertullian, Apol. 5.

14. 2 Tm 4.16–18." ....

16. Cf. DVI 1.6, and Eus., h.e 2.25.8, quoting Dionysius of Corinth.

17. h.e. 2.25.7." [14].

"VIII. Mark the Evangelist"

          '4. Philo, then, most eloquent of the Jews, seeing the first church of Alexandria still following Jewish customs, wrote a book on their manner of life5 as something creditable to his nation, and, as Luke says that "the believers at Jerusalem had all things in common,"6 so he recorded what he saw was done at Alexandria, under the learned Mark [Crap! No connection between Philo and the Fictional character—Mark].7 [see "Notes", 7., below]' [18].

["Notes"] "7. Eusebius wrongly [my guess: purposely!] identified Philo's account of the Therapeutai with the Alexandrian primitive Christian community." [18].

'XI. Philo the Jew

          [1. (the text design does not include 1.)] Philo the Jew, born in Alexandria1 of a priestly stock,2 and for that reason included by us among ecclesiastical writers, because, writing a book on the first church in Alexandria of Mark the evangelist, he engaged in praise of us Christians, recalling that they existed, not just there, but in many provinces, and calling their dwellings monasteries.3 [see "Notes" 3., 2542]

          2. From that it is apparent that the first church of believers in Christ was such as the monks now intimate and emulate, so that nothing is held in private by anyone, not one among them is rich, not one poor, their patrimonies are divided among the


needy, they spend their time in prayer and the psalms, in doctrine and continence, just as Luke describes how believers lived at the beginning in Jerusalem.4

          3. They say that Philo came at great risk to Rome in the reign of Gaius, to whom he had been sent as an ambassador of his people,5 and that he came a second time in the reign of Claudius and spoke with the apostle Peter in the same city [of Rome] and that he became his friend6 [see "Notes", 6., below] and that for this reason he embellished with his praises the followers of Mark, a disciple of Peter, at Alexandria.

          4. Countless and distinguished works7 of his survive on the Pentateuch: ....


["Notes"] "3. ....a misreading [details?] [of Eusebius] unquestioned by Jerome" [24].

["Notes"] "6. h.e. 2.17.1. That he met with Peter is repeated in Photius [c. 810 - 895], Bib. cod. 105, but is unlikely, and Photius's added detail that Philo converted to Christianity is even more unlikely." [25].

"XII. Lucius Annaeus Seneca

          [1. (the text design does not include 1.)] Lucius Annaeus Seneca of Cordova,1 a disciple of the Stoic Sotion,2 and paternal uncle of the poet Lucan3, was a man of very temperate life whom I would not place in a catalogue of saints, were it not that I was prompted to do so by those Letters from Paul to Seneca and from Seneca to Paul4 [many references, but, no overt information describing these famous forgeries (Christian bogosity!)] which are very widely read.

          2. In these, when Seneca was Nero's teacher and the most influential person of the period,5 he said that he wished to have the same position among his own [i.e., the pagans] which Paul had among the Christians.6

          3. Two years before Peter and Paul were crowned with martyrdom, he was put to death by Nero.7" [26-27] [End of entry: "Lucius Annaeus Seneca"].

● ● ● ● ●



from: Polydore Vergil [c. 1470 - 1555], On Discovery, Edited and Translated by Brian P. Copenhaver, The I Tatti Renaissance Library. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England, 2002 (thirty Latin editions: 1499 - 1555). [I thank Edwin Johnson (see 2515-2517) for this reference].



Polydore Vergil (ca. 1470–1555) was an Italian scholar, priest and diplomat who spent most of his life in England. Born in Urbino, educated in Padua and (probably) Bologna, he published his first books in Italy just before the close of the fifteenth century and then moved to England in 1502. Having risen through the patronage of the court of Urbino, he entered the service of Adriano (later Cardinal) Castellesi as subcollector of the papal tax called Peter's Pence. His new life in England had its rocky moments, including loss of office and months of imprisonment in the Tower of London in 1515. Yet Polydore survived the shocks of the Reformation and Henry VIII's [Henry VIII, King 1509 - 1547 (1491 - 1547)] marriages. Except for a few trips to Basel and Italy, he stayed in England until 1553, two years before he died in Urbino, all the while holding church offices that required public assent to England's abrupt shifts of religious policy under Henry, Edward VI [King of England and Ireland 1547 - 1553 (1537 - 1553)] and Mary Tudor [Mary 1, Queen 1553 - 1558].

          Despite its isolation, Urbino was a good place for a young humanist to learn his trade. While Polydore grew up there, Federico da Montefeltro [1422 - 1482], Urbino's ruler, was buying hundreds of manuscript volumes, many from the Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci [1421 - 1498], to build a splendid collection of Latin, Greek and even a few Hebrew and Coptic texts for the elegant palace that still crowns this little cliff-top town. When he came to write a chapter on books for On Discovery, Polydore gratefully acknowledged the ducal library. One book that he read there was Niccolò Perotti's Cornucopiae, a huge commentary on the Latin epigrams of Martial that outgrew its genre to become kind of accidental dictionary at a time when works of reference were still scarce." [vi].

"In outline his [Polydore] strategy is simple. Moses and the biblical patriarchs who preceded him lived before almost all the Greeks; therefore, many discoveries commonly attributed to the Greeks must be assigned instead to these ancient Hebrews. This is the main message of On Discovery. By discrediting the many Greek claims to priority, Polydore kills two birds with one stone. He diminishes Rome's debt to Greece, and what he subtracts from the Greeks he credits to the Jews as forerunners of Christianity.

          Chronology, to which he frequently refers, is a critical part of Polydore's case. His chronology (see the Note on Chronology) comes from Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 339], a Christian apologist who located almost all the major figures of Greek myth and history in post-Mosaic times. Although in principle he rejects the myths (fabulae) and sometimes dismisses their gods and heroes as unreal, Polydore makes no distinction in practice between mythic time and historical time. He questions discoveries attributed


to Ceres, Heracles, or Mercury in the same way that he debates laws made by Solon or battles fought by Xerxes. At one moment he declares that only the one God is real and the rest are illusory; at another that evil demons were mistaken for gods; or again that the gods were really mortals falsely honored as divine by other mortals out of gratitude or admiration. He does not call this last theory by its name, euhemerism [see 2545], but he is conscious of its ancient sources (I.I.5)." [xix].

"Having begun my discovery of Polydore more than three decades ago, I have piled up more obligations [to wife, friends, institutions] than I can remember...." [xxix].

"Book I

: I :

On the origin of the gods and of the word 'God.'

Long ago when there were demons in the earth—aerial or infernal spirits whom the sacred writers call the princes of this world—they practiced divination with idols consecrated to mortal men. Using evil arts, they would pretend that they were either good demons or heavenly gods or else souls of heroes or other beings of that sort, and they flooded human hearts with so much error that in no time they turned the minds of a good part of humanity completely away from the worship of the true God. You should not be astonished that evil demons disguise themselves as gods since, as the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians II, Satan himself takes the form of an angel of light—of God, that is, who is light. And so, according to the Evangelist Matthew, chapter 14, when the apostles were in a boat tossed about on the deep with a storm beating against them and Jesus came walking toward them on the water, they were troubled, taking him for a ghost. Even though Christ spoke to them, Peter supposed he was seeing a vision and did not believe that it was Christ until he knew so through experience, after Christ commanded him to walk on the water in the same way—all this because they were so wary of the tricks that demons used to play...." [27].

'Diagoras [Diagoras of Melos, late 5th century B.C.E.] the atheist as well as Theodorus of Cyrene [465 - 398 B.C.E.] thought that there is no God at all. Epicurus said that God does indeed exist but that he gives nothing, pleases no one, cares for nothing, as Lucretius [c. 99 - 55 B.C.E.] writes:

          not won by virtuous service nor touched by wrath.

And Vergil [70 - 19 B.C.E.] in his poem on Damon:

          not believe that God's concern is mortal men.

And so it is significant that toward the end of book I On the Nature of the Gods Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.] says: If God is such that he is touched by no kindness, no affection for humanity, then good riddance to him, and so on. Thus, Epicurus


[341 - 270 B.C.E.] could have said nothing more absurd. If God is as he [Epicurus] says, he is by no means to be called God, but a vicious monster. Thus has he [Epicurus] ripped religion by the roots from the human soul.

          It was Anaximander's [610 - c. 547 B.C.E.] opinion, according to Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.], that the 5 gods come to be by birth, appearing and disappearing at long intervals. We must explain enough about the origin of these gods so that we can get to the real truth. THE EGYPTIANS BOAST THAT THE RACE OF GODS FIRST APPEARED AMONG THEM, for they were the first who came to be, according to Diodorus Siculus [1st century B.C.E.] in the first book of his Histories—as we shall show below. THEY THOUGHT THAT THERE ARE TWO GODS, THE SUN AND THE MOON, who are eternal; they called the SUN OSIRIS and the MOON ISIS according to a reliable interpretation of the name. But Lactantius [c. 240 - 320], citing the Sacred History of Ennius [239 - 169 B.C.E.] in the first book of his Divine Institutes, calls Saturn the parent of all the gods because he begot Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Pluto and Glauce as children from Ops, AND THEY WERE HELD TO BE GODS BECAUSE THEY WERE GREAT BENEFACTORS OF MORTALS.

          IN SHORT, THE GODS HAVE MANY ORIGINS....' [31, 33].

"it was not unreasonable that the Greeks, according to Herodotus [c. 484 - between 430 and 420 B.C.E.] in book I, thought that the gods came from men [euhemerism (see 2544)]. [33].

"The chronology (which is the reason for mentioning the [Roman] consuls in this passage) works out if you read it this way; otherwise, not." [97]. [another chronology problem. See: Addition 21, 1069-1124, search: chronology].

          "I would not venture to say who first established an aristocracy, a government of nobles such as the Romans had for a long time after the kings had been driven out, unless it should be assigned to the Thebans, who (according to Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 339] ruled over the Egyptians in the time of King Ninus. Their lordship we called dynasteia or power because authority to run the commonwealth was given to those who were more powerful and nobler. And this was around the year 3185 after the creation of the world, when Abraham was born." [205]. [another Chronology statement].

"Note on Chronology


In his chapter on the origin of religion (DIR 1.5.2), Polydore [c. 1470 - 1555] makes the following chronological argument, one of many in On Discovery. He begins with Lactantius, who maintains that 'temples were first constructed and new ways of worshipping the gods began in Jupiter's time or a little before...But in order to establish its origin precisely,' he adds,


let us put the beginning of this custom in the time of Belus, the father of Ninus, who first reigned over the Assyrians about 3180 years after the creation of the world. The Babylonians and Assyrians called this Belus their god and worshipped him. Those who maintain that the gods have been worshipped since the beginning are therefore mistaken.

Writing in the early fourth century and contending that pagan religion was not as old as had been thought, Lactantius [c. 240 - 320] referred to Theophilus [d. 412] (who in turn had cited Thallus) to show that Saturn was contemporary with a Belus worshipped by the Assyrians and Babylonians 322 years before the Trojan War, about eighteen centuries before his own day. But Polydore locates Belus more than five centuries earlier...." [493]. [More chronology problems (see Addition 21, 1069-1124, search: chronology)].

"Note on the Text


From its first publication in 1499 until the author's death in 1555, De inventoribus rerum [Eng. On Discovery] appeared in thirty Latin editions, first catalogued by John Ferguson in 1892. The Latin text in this volume is based on a collaboration of the nine editions, listed below, that contain significant variants." [503].

"Notes to the Translation"

"His [Polydore [c. 1470 - 1555] views on the primacy of the ancient Hebrews in discovery owe a great deal to the case made in these works for the antiquity of Jewish religion and its consequent superiority over Greek belief, of Moses over Plato." [561].

"Atheism in the strict sense was rare in antiquity, but the term also applied to people who believed in the wrong (e.g., alien) gods or to those who criticized the gods or simply to one's enemies." [563].

"Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 339] locates Kronos around his year 685 of Abraham, closer to the key date of the Fall of Troy than Lactantius placed Saturn and Belus. In any case, by dating Saturn and Belus thirty-two centuries after the creation, Polydore, like Eusebius, was assuming that the world began about fifty-two centuries before Christ." [575].

● ● ● ● ●


from: Anti-Theistic Theories, by Robert Flint [1838 - 1910], D.D., LL.D., F.R.S.E., Corresponding Member of the Institute of France; Emeritus Professor of Divinity in the University of Edinburgh; Author of 'Theism,' 'Historical Philosophy in France and French Belgium and Switzerland,' etc., Seventh Edition [9th edition 1917], William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh and London, MCMVI (1879) (Baird Lecture 1877).


The Memory of my Mother

I dedicate this volume

In sorrowful and affectionate remembrance

of her love and virtues" ["vi"].


Lect.                                                                                                                     Page

            I. Atheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

           II. Ancient Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

          III. Modern Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

         IV. Contemporary or Scientific Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .111

          V. Positivism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .176

         VI. Secularism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .211

        VII. Are There Tribes of Atheists?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250

       VIII. Pessimism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290

         IX. History of Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .334

          X. Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380



            I. The Terms Theism, Deism, Atheism, and Anti-theism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441

           II. Absolute Atheism Implies Infinite Knowledge,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 446

          III. Physicus,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .450

         IV. History, Causes, and Consequences of Atheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 456

          V. Lange's History of Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459

         VI. Chinese Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 462

        VII. Hindu Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .463

       VIII. Early Greek Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .465

         IX. Epicurean Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467

          X. Materialism in the Middle Ages,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .468

         XI. Materialism of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,. . . . . . . . . . . . .469

        XII. La Mettrie,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .472

       XIII. Mirabaud and Von Holbach,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 473

       XIV. English Materialism in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,. . . . . . . . .474


        XV. Recent Materialism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .479

       XVI. Materialism and Force,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485

      XVII. Materialism and Life,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 488

     XVIII. Materialism and Mind,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .496

       XIX. Materialism and Morality,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .500

        XX. Positivism and Its Schools,                                                                              504

       XXI. Positivist Law of Three States,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 506

      XXII. The Positivist Religion,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507

     XXIII. History of Secularism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 508

    XXIV. The Atheism of Secularism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 513

     XXV. Darwinism and the Universality of Religion,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .519

    XXVI. Alleged Atheism of South American Tribes,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .521

   XXVII. Alleged Atheism of North American Tribes,.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .523

  XXVIII. Alleged Atheism of Polynesians and Australians,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .524

    XXIX. Alleged Atheism of African Tribes,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .528

     XXX. Alleged Atheism of Esquimaux,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 530

    XXXI. Sir J. Lubbock's Miscellaneous Instances of Atheistical Peoples,. . . . . . . .531

   XXXII. Polytheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .532

  XXXIII. Pessimism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 533

  XXXIV. Histories of Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536

   XXXV. Hindu Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .539

  XXXVI. Greek Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .541

 XXXVII. Jordano Bruno,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .544

XXXVIII. Spinoza,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .546

  XXXIX. Modern German Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .551

        XL. Modern French Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .553

       XLI. Modern English Pantheism,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 554


'If one man can honestly believe that there are a thousand fantastic gods, another may honestly believe that there is no god [or, one god]. Without hesitation or reservation, therefore, I grant that FEUERBACH [Ludwig Feuerbach 1804 - 1872] fully meant what he said when he wrote, "THERE IS NO GOD; IT IS CLEAR AS THE SUN AND AS EVIDENT AS THE DAY THAT THERE IS NO GOD, AND STILL MORE THAT THERE CAN BE NONE;" Gustave Flourens [1838 - 1871] when he penned these words, "Our enemy is God. Hatred of God is the beginning of wisdom. If mankind would make true progress, it must be on the basis of atheism;" and Mr Bradlaugh [Charles Bradlaugh 1833 - 1891] when he told his audience....' [7].

"It is proverbially difficult to prove a negative, and there can be no negative so difficult to prove as that there is no God." [9]. [Ridiculous!]. [See: Article #2, 19, 105.-109.].

'Feuerbach, as I have already mentioned, declares it "clear as the sun and as evident as the day, not only that there is no God, but that there can be none." We seek in vain, however, for the demonstration of this startling assertion. In its place there is


presented to us an unreasoned and superficial hypothesis as to the origin, nature, and history of religion. RELIGION, IN FEUERBACH'S OPINION, IS SELF-DELUSION IN THE FORM OF SELF-DEIFICATION. It is his own nature which man projects out of himself, personifies, and worships. He idealises himself, believes the ideal real, and adores the imaginary being whom he has created. Religion is thus a phase of insanity under which the whole human race laboured for thousands of years, until the one wise man appeared who discovered that his fellow-men had been idiotically bowing and cringing before their own shadow. It is this discovery which makes it "clear as the sun and evident as the day, not only that there is no God, but that there can be none."'


"Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] nor Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.] was able to raise himself to the sublime thought which seems to us so simple—the thought of absolute creation, of creation out of nothing by an act of God's omnipotent will. Both granted to matter a certain independence of God; both believed it to be in itself uncreated. Both failed ["Both" did not delude themselves as much as this author (Flint)], in consequence, to gain a complete and decisive victory over materialism." [56].

'In 1851 Mr Henry G. Atkinson [1812 - 1890?] and Miss Harriet Martineau [1802 - 1876] published their 'Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development,' advocating without reservation or restraint a crude materialism and utter atheism. They taught that "philosophy finds no God in nature, nor sees the want of any;" that "fitness in nature is no evidence of design;" that "all causes are material causes influenced by surrounding circumstances;" that "mind is the manifestation or expression of the brain in action;" that "instinct, passion, thought, are effects of organised substances;" that "only ignorance conceives the will to be free;" that "there is no more sin in a crooked disposition than in a crooked stick in the water, or in a hump-back or a squint;" and that "we ought to be content that in death the lease of personality shall pass away, and that we shall be as we were before we were—in a sleep for evermore." It was no wonder that England was shocked to be asked in the middle of the nineteenth century to receive this old and sad [true] story as good news of great joy. But in the years which have since elapsed a host of compositions have appeared avowing quite as nakedly disbelief in God, spirit-freedom, responsibility, and belief only in the properties and products of matter.1' [100-101].

"Michelet [Jules Michelet 1798 - 1874] and Strauss [David Friedrich Strauss 1808 - 1874], while adhering to the distinction between idea and nature, logic and physics, contended that God is personal only in man, and the soul immortal only in God [how they had to dissemble in those Christian times (straight jackets)], meaning thereby that God as God is not personal, and real souls not immortal. Feuerbach [Ludwig Feuerbach 1804 - 1872], Bruno Bauer [1809 - 1882], Max Stirner [1806 - 1856], Arnold Ruge [1802 - 1880], reduced the idea to mere nature and returned to naked atheism. With a strange fanatical sincerity they preached that the universal being of humanity, or the individual man or nature, was the sole object of supreme veneration." [104].


"Note XXIII., page 232

History of Secularism.

          Jeremy Bentham [1748 - 1832], James Mill [1773 - 1836], Thomas Paine [1739 - 1809], Robert Taylor [1784 - 1844], Richard Carlile [1790 - 1843] and Robert Owen [1771 - 1858], may be described as those who directly prepared the way for the secularist movement. Bentham and Mill did so by the manner in which they inculcated utilitarianism and political reform, not by the explicit avowal of their atheistical opinions...." [508].

          "Perhaps the earliest periodical organ of popular atheism in this country [England] was the 'Oracle of Reason,' the first number of which appeared in November 6, 1841, and the last on December 2, 1843. In the course of its brief existence it had four editors—Charles Southwell [1814 - 1860], George Jacob Holyoake [1817 - 1906], Thomas Paterson, and William Chilton, the first three being in rapid succession imprisoned for blasphemy." [509].

          'In 1851 Mr Holyoake first made use of the term "Secularist," as more appropriate and distinctive than "Atheist;" and in 1852 he commenced organising the English freethinkers according to the principles of secularism. For a short time he had an ally in Mr Thomas Cooper [1805 - 1892], but in 1856 this honest and courageous man became convinced of the truth of Christianity.' [509].

'....I fail to see, then, that Mr Holyoake's position is at all an intelligible one. Mr Bradlaugh's [Charles Bradlaugh 1833 - 1891] I quite understand indeed, it would be rather difficult not to understand words like these

[Mr Bradlaugh] "What we say is, and what you do not say is, that theological teachings prevent human improvement, and that it is the duty of every secularist to make active war on theological teachings. It is no use saying, ignore the clergy. You cannot talk of ignoring St Paul's Cathedral—it is too high.. You cannot talk of ignoring the Religious Tract Society—it is too wealthy. You cannot talk of ignoring Oxford and Cambridge Universities—they are too well endowed. They command too many parties to enable you to ignore their power, but you may strive to crush it out a little at a time. You cannot strike all errors effectually at once, but you can strike at some and encourage others to strike too. This is the secularist's work Paine [Thomas Paine 1739 - 1809] and Carlile [Richard Carlile 1790 - 1843] cut out years ago. This is the secularist's work Southwell and yourself [?] undertook. This is the secularist's work in which every man has got his share to do, who feels as I feel. The secularist's work which we have to do is to cut down, as my friend put it, the banyan-tree of superstition, which tree seeks to send its roots down into every baby brain, and which holds by the habit-faith of the rich, and by the ignorant credulity of the poor. Every branch of this superstitious tree bears poisonous fruit; but before you can get the


branches effectively destroyed, you must cut away the roots as well as gently train the tree [confusing. apparently, while the tree is being destroyed]. The upas-tree ["poison-tree" (O.E.D.); "A poisonous or harmful influence or institution" (Webster's Third N.I. Dict.)] of religion overspreads the whole earth; it hides with its thick foliage of churchcraft the rays of truth from humankind, and we must cut at its root and strip away its branches that reason's rays may go shining through, and give fertility to the human soil, long hidden from their genial warmth."

          There can be no doubt what this means; no doubt that it signifies war,—war open and incessant—a war of life and death—war to the uttermost. So be it. There really is, I believe, no other relationship possible between religion and secularism.1'


● ● ● ● ●


from: The Safe Side  A Theistic Refutation of the Divinity of Christ, by Richard M. Mitchell,

If any man can convince me and bring home to me that I do not think or act aright, gladly will I change; for I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still in his deception and ignorance.—Marcus Aurelius

Published by Richard M. Mitchell, New York, c1893 (Chicago 1887).


          "Christianity surpasses any nation in power and number of officers, and it costs vast sums, which are an idle waste if its doctrines are erroneous, and it continues to cause political trouble wherever it exists. IF, therefore, CHRIST WAS NOT THE SON OF GOD AND IF ALL THE DOCTRINES FOUNDED ON THAT SUPPOSITION BE FALSE, it is as important to discover those facts as it is to know the contrary if they be true. The exact truth is what is wanted and to obtain it the first step is to refuse to give to the Bible the deference that can be felt only by its most confined believers. The spirit with which we are required to search the Scriptures is not the spirit we should employ in searching for the truth. We should be as intent upon exposing its errors as its truth and should demand of it greater accuracy instead of less than is demanded of other books.

          It is a theory within the Christian system that their doctrines have grown up under eighteen[? (my received theory: sixteen)] hundred years of constant contention and that they have demolished a world of opposition by the overpowering evidence of their truth. But this is a deception growing out of the vast amount of contention among themselves. They have mistaken much of their own loud noise for that of enemies who did not exist. Their frail defenses have stood, not because they were impregnable, but because comparatively no effort was made to destroy them. But little has been written against the whole system and most of that the church has successfully suppressed.

          Nevertheless, its weakness is being fast exposed, not by the efforts of concerted opponents, but by the widening difference between the ideas of God as drawn out by His works and the ideas of God as set forth by the writers of the Bible. There have been few as yet to tell of the many evils of that system, though they are most serious, and it is time that they be investigated, not with a spirit of superstitious fear, but with a confidence in our own judgment and that in accepting each little item of fact which may be found there is no danger, for God is on the side of truth."

[13-14] [End of Preface].

          "With the decline of the Christian religion history will have to be rewritten. At the present time there is no study more instructive, none more valuable to us all, than a study of the enormous injury which the false governing ideas of that religion have wrought in every branch of knowledge. Andrew Dixon [Dickson] White [1832 - 1918], LL.D., L.H.D., ex-president of Cornell University, in a series of articles published in the Popular Science Monthly, has pointed out how it operated to retard


progress in various branches of science, his last article, at the present writing, being a history of the ruinous part its errors took in retarding a knowledge of the science of medicine. Buckle's [Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 - 1862] History of Civilization in England is also a highly interesting and instructive illustration of the rich experience we may gain when our minds become disconnected from governing [Christian] ideas the most ruinous our race has ever known.

          An erroneous opinion is quite general regarding the number and age of old manuscripts...." [87-88].

          'Even the Essenes did not originate their religious tenets, for Josephus [c. 37 - c. 100] states that "These men lived the same kind of lives as do those whom the Greek call Pythagoreans." The ethics of Christianity was consequently venerable with age in the time of Christ, for Pythagoras [6th century B.C.E.] lived about 560 years before that time, or some 350 years before the sect of Essenes was founded. The only apparent difference between the Christians and Essenes is that the former did not adopt all the tenets of the latter. It is probably, however, that this difference was but the growth of time through the gradual neglect and final abandonment of first one and then another of the too rigid practices of the Essenes.' [213].

'Precisely what Irving[?] said of Mohammedanism may be said of Christianity: It is a great truth[?] coupled with a great falsehood. There is but one God and for such divine directions as he wishes to give us he needs neither Mohammed nor Christ.'


'[John] is the favorite gospel, and well it may be, for it was written exclusively in the interest of those supported by the adherents of the church.

          The author [Walter Richard Cassels 1826 - 1907] of Supernatural Religion has given all the evidence bearing upon the authorship of the Fourth Gospel [John], about one-third of his second volume being devoted to that subject. He proves conclusively that it was not only written at a very late date, certainly after the time of Justin Martyr [c. 100 - c. 165 C.E.], but that its author was undoubtedly a stranger in Judea. He shows, for instance, that the writer made two or three geographical errors, alludes to certain Jewish customs as your customs, and mentions the Jews in a manner and with a spirit that would have been hardly possible with the Apostle John. He states that "the Jews are represented as continually in virulent opposition to Jesus; they are not spoken of as the favored people of God, but are denounced as children of the devil." ....' [297].

"When Justinian [Emperor 527 - 565 (483 - 565)] put all municipal governments into the hands of the church he delegated to it greater power and far great official patronage than he retained for himself. Few citizens ever had occasion to come in personal contact with the emperor, but this new power given the church did reach each and all, and through its local tyranny and the edicts of the emperor there could be no safety for the pagan population, of which the largest part of the empire was still


composed.1 [see footnote, below] It was immediately following these edicts that the pagan population turned to Christianity, not from any spirit of loving kindness or any new light going to prove that Christ was the Son of God, but from personal interest and fear of church authorities.

          This was success enough to have filled their wildest ambition; there hardly remained a power for churchmen to ask for, and it ought to have been the dawn of their promised era of love, enlightenment, and peace; but actually it extinguished the dimming twilight of mental liberty and inaugurated a reign of hypocrisy and fear. It placed over the Roman people a far-reaching, bigoted tyranny, under which Christendom sank into ["Christendom" created] the night of the Dark Ages. This retrogression of civilization occurred in Christian countries only. The Mohammedans during that time advanced from a semisavage state to a high degree of intelligence and refinement." [366-367].

          [footnote (see above)] "1Gibbon [1737 - 1794] estimates that at the conversion [argued] of Constantine [Emperor 306 (312) - 337 (280? - 337) (baptism 337)], about two-thirds of a century before the baptism [380 C.E.] of Theodosius [Theodosius I, Roman Emperor 379 - 395 (c. 346 - 395)], only about one-twentieth of the inhabitants of the Empire were Christians." [367].

"FOR MORE THAN A THOUSAND YEARS THE MOST SEVERE WARS WERE MORE OR LESS CONNECTED WITH CHRISTIANITY, during which time those who denied its truthfulness were overwhelmed and lost in a sea of passion against which contention was impossible. The religious feeling had but little to do with it. The truthfulness of any part of Christianity could not under any circumstances be proven by wars, but they produced a far more powerful feeling than was possible in any other way. They were a series of false issues (as far as religion was concerned) from beginning to end, under which the divinity of Christ seemed to be proven beyond the possibility of doubt.

          On the other hand, there never has been any disposition to combat Christianity simply on the grounds of its doctrines. It has always been a matter of indifference with unbelievers, so much so that even in our time they generally remain silent rather than incur the opposition which those sentiments often create. If they remain silent now for such small reasons, how much less was their speaking probable when to do so was almost certain death. There is not now nor never has been any feeling except on one side of this question, and that is the side where the fear and superstition lie. Both the excitement and interest have always been the Christian's own. The Romans from the first regarded Christian doctrines with indifference and contempt, and that indifference at least has been a characteristic of all unbelievers to this day. The two or three instances of persecution encountered before the time of Constantine were not persisted in and operated to the advantage of the church. Excepting those short seasons Christianity never had serious official opposition. If at first there had been even moderate interest antagonistic to it, it would probably never have reached success enough to be known in history." [375-376] [End of Chapter XVI. "Inertia of Ideas."].


          'Notice that when an Indian has a good house or has advanced a little more than the average he is claimed as a Christian. It is a theory with the church that there is little or no difference between civilization and Christianity, while in practice the latter is placed above civilization which it will hold back rather than that its doctrines shall be shaken. It is willing to grant its diploma of civilization to any who profess Christianity. Those Indians supply the most flattering example that the church can produce of the works of societies whose labors to civilize are based upon the theory that that end may be attained by preaching "Christ and him crucified." They also supply another illustration of the fact that none ever believe unless that belief has been impressed upon the mind by parents or guardians or other instructors in youth.

          The Chinese [see 2632-2636] in this country present a still more inviting field for conversion of pagans to Christianity, because of their greater intelligence....' [387].

          "Christianity originated among the most enlightened people upon the earth, and it is owing to that circumstance only that it is among that class today. Mankind advanced, not because of Christianity, but in spite of it. But true to its custom, to claim everything and prove nothing, the church claims civilization as its work. In the nineteen hundred years of its existence, it cannot produce an example of one item of human advancement for which we are indebted to doctrines growing out of assertions that Christ was the Son of God. On the contrary, progress in every science has been combated because of the never-failing conflict with the ignorant authors of that assertion ["Christ was the Son of God"]. (See Hon. Andrew D. White's late writings upon this subject.)" [387-389].

"CATHOLICISM DIFFERS FROM PROTESTANTISM ONLY AS STRONG BRANDY DIFFERS FROM WEAK. Every fault of the former is found in the latter in a modified degree. Long experience has brought the church—Catholics and Protestants alike—to the exact point where their social, pecuniary, and political interests lie, and gradually all their efforts have been directed to that point alone; and in their eager pursuit of an end which they have mistaken for religion they have arrayed themselves in opposition to advanced education and foster superstition, ignorance, and wretchedness." [402].

          "SALVATION IS PART OF THE PARAPHERNALIA OF THE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM. Having established in the mind fears of a future existence of eternal torture, it became necessary to balance this with the system's theory of salvation. For nearly seventeen hundred years the church has been playing upon human feelings by elevating and depressing first one and then the other of these two great opposing doctrines. It is through the constant working of this seesaw that all its great financial, social, and political success has been attained. Either one of those doctrines would be useless to the church without the other. THERE MUST BE THE TERROR, THE ESCAPE, AND THE CHURCH, the self-asserted channel through which alone safety may be secured." [424-425].


          "CHRISTIANITY PRESENTS, IN SUBSTANCE, THESE ALTERNATIVES: BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST AND BE SAVED OR REFUSE TO BELIEVE IN HIM AND SUFFER DAMNATION. These are given as the two alternatives of the question, and consequently when in doubt it is assumed to be the safe side to believe. These two seeming alternatives are but the Christian presentation of the question; it is one side only. It is their demand to believe in Christ accompanied with what they hold up as an inducement and as a threat. The other alternative can only be presented by those who have taken the other side of the question. But in a Christian country only the Christian presentation of this question is heard and therefore we grow up under the supposition that that presentation includes the two and only alternatives. Hence it is that believing is supposed to be the safe side and that vast numbers are held by that error to a partial support of that religion...." [429-430].

'THE CRIMES AND WICKEDNESS COMMITTED IN ITS [CHRISTIANITY] CAUSE GREATLY SURPASS THE SUM TOTAL OF ALL OTHER CRUELTIES KNOWN IN HISTORY, not alone in the wars it led to, but in the cruelties practiced by Christians upon other Christians because of difference upon trifling points of doctrine, questions that in no way take any part whatever in regulating our conduct for our good. Any attempt to enumerate those horrors would but weaken the account, for they extended through many centuries and reach so near our time that even now a picture of a man burning at a stake or enduring other torture is recognized as a religious picture. Darwin [Charles Darwin 1809 - 1882] states that those crimes were so great as to have effected a deterioration in the intelligence of the human race. He says:


During this same period the Holy Inquisition selected with extreme care the freest and boldest men, in order to burn or imprison them. In Spain alone some of the best men, those who doubted and questioned—and without doubting there can be no progress—were eliminated during three centuries at the rate of a thousand a year.

          Buckle [Henry Thomas Buckle 1821 - 1862] more fully shows the complete success of the Church in securing power over the minds of the Spaniards, and that in the use of that power the people were degraded and reduced to the lowest degree of poverty, ignorance, and wretchedness.

          The revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the cruelties of the Spaniards in the Netherlands, the Inquisition, etc., created a sympathy for the Protestants that obscured their bigotry and intolerance. They were seemingly, though not actually, contending for free religion. Being in revolt against the Catholic Church, they were necessarily usually on the defensive and seldom in a position to be aggressive; but in the few instances in which they [Protestants] were in power they exhibited such a spirit as to raise a doubt whether, upon equal footing in Europe, they would have shown themselves much, if any, less cruel than the Catholics.


          Nor do those doctrines in our day give any increased peace of mind where any increase is needed. The unnatural attendance of large numbers at noonday prayer and evening meetings, as well as at two or three services on Sundays, is never brought about by religion alone. Those excessive acts of devotion expose the fact that within the system FEAR STILL PREDOMINATES OVER ALL OTHER FEELINGS. Although OF

LATE YEARS MANY IN THE CHURCH ARE ASHAMED OF THEIR ETERNAL-TORTURE DOCTRINE and try to modify it, yet the words upon which it is based cannot be expunged from the Bible, and those orthodox believers having large caution are haunted with that possibility and in secret fear are driven to those useless exercises. Their conscience may be clear so far as their own acts are concerned, but the book for which they have such superstitious awe has terrible words in it, that no ingenious sophistry of theologians or pretense of loving kindness can wipe away. Many of those dreadful words were the utterances of Christ himself. Few were to be saved and the mysterious allusions to the elect throw some doubt upon even the sanctifying effect of faith itself.

         A man [less common with a woman] somewhat wanting in self-esteem, having average or large caution and undoubting faith in the Bible, cannot by the most conscientious government of his everyday life ever free himself from doubts as to his future state, and if his self-esteem be very deficient the doctrines of Christianity will be a lifelong terror to him [my oldest brother, a prominent Christian leader, told me many years ago: I have to renew my faith every day. My wife doesn't. She is busy with antique auctions, etc.]. To such men never for a moment have its teachings been "glad tidings of great joy." The very pretense of it is begotten in fear. The heaven of the New Testament is but flattery to the Almighty. It is heaven by not being hell. It is not that it is so much a place of bliss as that it is not a place of torment. Belief in a future existence, accompanied by so much uncertainty and terror as Christianity teaches, brings with it no joy and the mind that is burdened with it WOULD FIND RELIEF IN THE CONVICTION THAT THERE IS NO FUTURE LIFE AT ALL.' [433-436].

"The question of the divinity of Christ cannot be dismissed under the indolent plea that it is the safe side to number credulity among the highest virtues. As between the two alternatives of that question it is the safe side to reject it." [443] [End of Chapter XIX. "The Safe Side."]. [Compare: "Pascal's Wager" (see 2638)].

'Christianity and the immortality of the soul are two separate and distinct questions, the truth of the latter not being dependent upon the truth of the former. But it is the custom of churchmen to claim the latter as a doctrine peculiarly their own. They try to make it appear that none can believe in immortality and not believe in Christ. One writer calls it "a remarkable concession" when such a belief [apparently: "can believe in immortality and not believe in Christ"] was expressed by a theistic author [this author: Robert Flint?] whom he described as "an advanced and able thinker."' [445].


'Darwin [Charles Darwin 1809 - 1882]1 says:


I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for His existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent Deity. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man until he has been elevated by long-continued culture.' [456].

          "We often hear old people say that it has taken one life to learn how to live . This is an important fact, that nearly all feel as they become old. We then discover that, at the expense of great loss of both time and property, we have learned lessons that would have been invaluable to us when young, but which we cannot make use of again. Our lives seem largely to have been devoted to learning that which when learned we cannot use. But the experience we had was just what our natural mental qualities led to, and, therefore, the lessons we learned it was intended we should learn; and as we cannot make use of the knowledge thus acquired in this life it must

["it must"! Ridiculous! Here, the usually objective deist author—collapses! The "siren song" of Immortality—irresistible! The "grasping for hands that are not there" (Appendix X, 829 (Mencken))]

be that it was experience with reference to the life to come.1"

[460]. [End of Chapter XX. (except footnote) "Immortality."].

"I regret the necessity of objecting in any way to the sentiments ["supposed God", etc.] of Col. Ingersoll [Robert Ingersoll 1833 - 1899] [see: 2208-2225], the leader in the liberal movement of the past twenty years...." [463].

"Our most religious duty and greatest progress consist in discovering our own powers and our greatest happiness is found in exercising them

The End" [475].

● ● ● ● ●


from: Cults and Isms, Twenty Alternates to Evangelical Christianity, by Russell P. Spittler, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids 6, Michigan, 1962. [Note: a Christian presentation]. [See: 2180-2181]. [See: Who's Who in Religion, c1992]. [Member of the faculty, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, 1976 - at least 1997 (Internet)]. [See: 2648 (Crowd, Groupthink)].


to those who are seeking the Truth


to those who have been found by Him"


          I never ceased to be amazed at the variety and vitality of religious societies spawned by the seeking heart. Without the controls of written revelation and driven by understandable inner demands for spiritual realities, many men and many movements have peeled away from the evangelical center of Christianity and now populate its fringe. A number of these constitute the "Third Force"—a term popularized by Henry P. Van Dusen, who was thinking of historic Protestantism on the one hand and Roman Catholicism on the other.

          In this small volume twenty movements of varying distances from the evangelical center of Christianity are surveyed. The general pattern followed in each case had been to outline briefly both the history and distinctive teachings of the group then to provide a compact evaluation from an evangelical standpoint. The book is, therefore, intended to supply the evangelical Christian with a brief but adequate SURVEY OF THE MAJOR AMERICAN CULTS.' [7]. [from: 2180].

THIS CHART [year 1962] [see 2560-2563] SUMMARIZES BRIEFLY THE DISTINCTIVE TEACHINGS OF THE GROUPS DISCUSSED IN THIS BOOK. Astrology, Anglo-Israelism, and Father Divine are omitted, since they major on one specific teaching and are not complete systems. Membership statistics, which have been provided where applicable, have been drawn chiefly from the Yearbook of American Churches, 1962 Edition, edited by Benson Landis and published by the National Council of Churches. Other sources, however, have been used in some cases. [end papers].

[Comment (Lino Sanchez): from page 2563: "LITERAL HEAVEN [see 2646; etc.] FOR REDEEMED; LITERAL HELL [see 2643, 2647; etc.] FOR UNREDEEMED [see 2496; etc.]":

More Christian Fictions [see 2505]! The pinnacle of accumulated Christian philosophies. "Christianity" (Christianism)!, the solace of millions!, and, as is usual for ideas of Christians—principally paid for by millions of others—paid by the egregious sadism of threats of Christian hell, etc.; paid by condemning others (sinner class, etc.), which is a foil, a vast vent, mental and physical torture, etc.; paid for by (in two words) Christian barbarism! Judgement!, a great favorite of Christian sadistic impulses. The chronic vicious hard sell sadism of Christians. Etc.! The nightmares (and living hell) of millions. CHRISTIAN LOVE!].







Inclusive                                                                         Local

Membership                                                             Churches



Christianity [Christianism]

National Association of Evangelicals enroll 1.6 million, but serves 10 million. Thousands are in unaffiliated groups


 1,647,546                                                                               4,398



   317,852                                                                                3,037


   175,257     [see 2147-2157]                                                 468



                     Prohibits reporting of statistics.

                     Estimated membership 403,000



  250,000                                                                                 4,170


"My guess is that more than one third of denominationally identified Christians in the United States have read or are reading Unity material." - Marcus Bach



                     (Not available)


                     (Not available)


                     Established in 5,000 localities

                     in 255 countries

Zen Buddhism

   20,000                                                                                       53


                     Estimated membership 45,000


    5,875                                                                                        68



42,104,900                                                                   23,393


                     (Not available)




   171,747                                                                                    79

                     [for Christianism, and other isms, see:

                   Article 18, 363-373]


                     (Not available)


                     (Not available)






Sources of Authority

The Godhead




The Bible

Trinitarian. Father, Son and Holy Spirit–three distinct Persons who are one in essence


The Bible; The Book of Mormon;

The Doctrine and Covenants

The Pearl of a Great Price

Three Gods

The Father has a body of flesh and bones



The Bible;

Writings of Ellen G. White



Revelation from the spirit world through mediums

Impersonal principle



Science and Health and other writings of Mary Baker Eddy

Impersonal principle

Jesus was a Christian Scientist

Holy Spirit is "divine science"



Writings of "Pastor" Russell and Judge Rutherford

Jehovah alone is God

Christ is "God's chief Son"


Writings of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore

Impersonal principle



Teachings of Frank N.D. Buchman



Tibetan "Mahatmas";

Writings of Helena P. Blavatsky

Impersonal principle


Writings of Baha'u'llah

God is one, the same one worshiped by all religions

Zen Buddhism

Writings of Gautama Buddha

No divine being known; this is beyond human comprehension


Rosicrucian secrets

Not stressed


Bible is "crown of revelations";

Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

The Father and the Spirit are aspects of Christ



The Church



Human reason

Tends toward atheism




The free mind and the Christian tradition

The Father alone is God

Christ a Great Teacher


The free mind and the Christian tradition

God found within the universe


"The Word of God" as a personal encounter

God is indefinable because He is different from all else that exists; Christ divine






Human Nature and Sin

Way of Salvation




Sin entered world through Adam's transgressions; all men are by nature sinful

Man is saved by grace through faith in the vicarious atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ


"What god is, man may become"

Found in the "restored church" founded by Joseph Smith






No Fall

Man is his own savior



Sin and evil have no true existence

By understanding "divine science"



All die for Adam's sin

Secured by Christ's ransom-death

Second chance


Sin generally ignored

By self-improvement



Deals primarily with committed sins; ignore origin of sin and the Fall

The Five C's

International peace action


Sin inevitable

Through meditation

Repeated reincarnation permit perfection


Sin is imperfection

Recognize relative nature of truth

Zen Buddhism

Sin is wrong desire

The "eightfold path"


Man capable of self-mastery

Mastering Rosicrucian secrets


Sin is not transmitted

Salvation is not by faith alone




Found only in the Roman Catholic church


Vast potential in man

Scientific, cultural, technological advance




Man basically good

Concerned self-improvement


Man basically good

Largely through collective social action


Man basically evil

By "personal encounter" with God in Christ






The Future


Evangelical Christianity

Literal heaven for redeemed; literal hell for unredeemed [see 2559]


Three degrees of heaven



Millennium in heaven

Annihilation of the wicked


No hell

Spirit existence determined by life here



No hell

All will eventually understand "divine science"



Armageddon ahead, then the "New World" on earth





Not stressed


Repeated reincarnations till soul loses consciousness


Not stressed

Zen Buddhism



Not stressed


Judgment already past

Second Coming occurred in arrival of Swedenborg's message



Generally orthodox, except for doctrine of purgatory


Further "evolution"




Here and now of greater importance

Future uncertain


No literal hell

Future uncertain


Either orthodox or mythical              [end papers]



● ● ● ● ●


from: Secular Nation, A publication of Atheist Alliance International, Volume 9, Number 2 - Second Quarter, 2004.

"An Ungodly Sacrifice: A Review of Mel Gibson's


by Earl Doherty" [28].

          "IT IS SUPREMELY IRONIC THAT THE FAITH MOVEMENT [CHRISTIANITY (CHRISTIANISM)] THAT HAS MOST HAILED ITSELF AS THE RELIGION OF LOVE [see: The Jerome Biblical Commentary (a junkyard of accumulated Christian philosophies); etc.] CONTAINS THE TWO MOST BRUTAL AND INHUMAN CONCEPTS EVER TO EMERGE FROM MANKIND'S RELIGIOUS COMPULSIONS: [1] THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS AND [2] THE PUNISHMENT OF HELL. Christian history is replete with the extermination of heretics, crusades against the infidel, religious wars between its own sects, bloody inquisitions and witch-burnings." [30].

"To his disciples Jesus declares, as Christianity has declared to the world for two millennia[?]: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The line is disconcerting coming from the Jesus of this film, as played by Jim Caviezel. His is a relatively unpretentious portrayal, a gentle good man with an appealing charisma. For him to voice the sentiment that has long served to divide families [Christianity has divided my family and friends; thus, much of the impetus for developing this website—], peoples, nations, turn non-believers into infidels, consign vast portions of humanity that never knew or had a chance to know this singular savior to the ranks of the damned, seems out of place even in this film.

          BUT THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE EFFECT OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF: DIVISION, FACTIONALISM, ALIENATION. No one faith has ever gained nor will ever gain, a universal following. And so there will always be outsiders, pagans, enemies, candidates for damnation. Sectarian allegiance instills a sense of superiority, privilege, sanctity, while those not part of the spiritual elite are relegated to outer darkness. Gibson's film drives this home, with its setting of murderous conflict between differing religious convictions, a conflict that continues to wreak havoc even unto our own day." [30].


          'THE SAVING DEATH OF JESUS REPRESENTS A PRIMITIVE CONCEPT [see 1377], the principle of blood sacrifice both of animals and of humans, which was regarded by ancient and prehistoric man as the fundamental way to placate and intercede with the gods. It was part of the natural order; in fact it was so taken for granted that no one anywhere in the bible, Old or New Testaments, offers a justification for it, or an explanation of how it works. Christians today are just as much in the dark about why the death of Jesus should have atoning power with God. Ironically, those same modern Christians would universally regard the ritual killing of humans or animals as outdated and repugnant in any other area of society's life. And yet they continue to endorse it by their adherence to the idea of Jesus as a blood sacrifice on their behalf.

          As modern science and culture progress, the suffocating weight of ancient superstition is hopefully becoming more evident and more unacceptable. The extreme expression of anything always provokes a backlash. The further the pendulum swings in one direction, the more energy is imparted to it for the backward swing. Perhaps we ought to be thankful to Mel Gibson for laying out the stark reality of Christianity's world view." [30] [End of text].

'Earl Doherty lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and is the author of The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? [see 2694 (Doherty)] and Challenging the Verdict: A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ." His Web site is' [30].