Canonized Romanticism

Chapter VI

Doubtless, despite the evidence assembled, the blunt charge that so apparently impossible a transaction as the conversion of myth into history has really occurred will still remain incredible and unacceptable. The great cry will be raised as to how so amazing and stupendous a blunder could have occurred. With the universal presumption of so much honesty and integrity, and likewise high intelligence in a people divinely inspired as the devout early Christians are believed to have been, it becomes difficult for the general mind to comprehend how such flagrant error could have gained the day and consummated so gross a miscarriage. To what extent was the crime knowingly perpetrated? Was it motivated by sincerity working in ignorance, or by intelligence working in insincerity?

The answer to these queries is by no means simple or easy. It is involved in no end of difficulty arising mainly from the destruction of evidence and the biases and prejudices of the reviewers of what evidence is available. But if all the facts in the situation were truly known, it is pretty certain that the full solution would comprise a vast jumble and admixture of all the varying degrees of intelligence and ignorance, sincerity and insincerity, in one grand plot. Nearly all human and historical transactions are the resultant of a mixed group of forces actuated by every degree of intelligence and sincerity, or the want of them. It may perhaps be questioned whether any act or decision of people anywhere at any time is of downright deliberate insincerity. Some allegedly justifiable "reason" lurks behind or under every deed. People do evil things of deliberate intent, but they hardly do them with insincerity. Justification is found somewhere in the depth of feeling or thought. Generally it will be found that where apparent insincerity is operative, it is unintelligence that warps the action into evil direction. Granting inherent sincerity in human nature, its miscarriage into foul expression must be due to want of keen intelligence. This is indeed the conclusion arrived at in the finale by Plato and Socrates in their dialectical inquiry into the nature of the good. The basic and ultimate evil is nothing but--in one or other of its manifold forms--ignorance. So declared Buddha, Orpheus, Hermes, Solomon and other sage teachers of early man. It is assumed legitimate to accuse a person if he does badly when he should know better. The acme of all evil charge is that a person does wrong knowingly. If in the conversion of myth into history there was this commission of knavery in spite of better knowledge, the verdict must be rendered accordingly. Again, if the wreckage of the myth resulted from ignorance and misguided motives, the judgment must be more lenient, although there is no sentiment in nature and she punishes ignorance as well as knavery.

Our glance at the possibility of insincerity in the motive behind the alteration is actuated by no mere truculent attitude, but is warranted by a more substantial reason. Any history of early Christianity must face and deal with the perpetration of an extensive series of what are known among the historians as "pious frauds" by the Fathers and partisan leaders in the first centuries and the Church’s connivance at them then and later. The charge is brought by many chroniclers of the period and confessed by most Christian apologists. The assembling of data substantiating it, while an invidious task, must be made in sufficient force to justify the introduction of it as a count in the case against the historicity of the Son of God. If the charge of fraudulent literary practice in the handling of religious data in the early day can be upheld, it strengthens by so much the likelihood that the transfer of meaning from the impersonal Christos to the man Jesus was made. The proof of fraud and deception greatly heightens the probability that the change occurred. If analysis of the whole situation extant at the time reveals that the transaction was of such a nature that knavery would be suspected of being a highly probable element in it, the discovery of such chicanery in the immediate wake of the suspicion certainly will tend to increase the validity of the non-historical claim. If, in point of fact, it would seem necessary to posit fraud as accessory to the great transformation in the character of the Christos, the disclosure of fraud in the actual situation amounts to strong prima facie evidence that the case was as suspected. It is surely to be agreed that the proven presence and practice of religious fraud in the first centuries of Christian history must be weighed realistically in relation to every development of the ecclesiastical polity then and after. A superficial view would not fail to conclude that there must be a close and perhaps immediate link between such a transaction as the personalizing of the Messiah and the prevalent impostures in the field of religion. If fraud is known to have been a strong feature of the picture, it becomes necessary to determine what part it played in the historization of the Jesus character. To many it is certain that the revelation of such an unknown and unsuspected element in the case will serve as an all-sufficient clue to the solution of the whole complication. It will be seized upon readily as the missing key to the entire mystery. While this may be according too much importance to the item, the presence of fraud is nearly always presumptive testimony to a sinister motive or maneuver.

To begin with, an initial suspicion and distrust is awakened in the mind of the student when he is confronted from the start with the presence and volume of documents, books, gospels and apocrypha bearing the prefix "Pseudo-" to their title. There is the "Pseudo-Mark," the "Pseudo-Acts," the "Pseudo-Dionysus" and others in bewildering profusion. Nothing less than plagiarism and forgery are at once suggested by this phenomenon. Then the field of early Christianity is cluttered up with works controverting alleged "heresies" on all sides. Indeed most of the works that stand as the chief contemporary histories of the first centuries of Christianity bear the title "Against Heresy." This is notably the case with the books of Eusebius, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius, a quintet of historians on whom the Church has relied mainly to buttress its egregious claims to unique authority and its defamations of the "pagan" religions. But it is time to gather the amazing data on this score.

It may be generous to present the most favorable aspect of the evidence first. A passage of this sort is found in Mead’s Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (88):

"It must not be supposed, however, that the re-writers and editors of the old traditions were forgers and falsifiers in any ordinary sense of the word. Antiquity in general had no conception of literary morality in its modern meaning, and all writing of a religious character was the outcome of an inner impulse. . . . It should also be remembered that the mythologizing of history and the historizing of mythology were not peculiar to the Jews, but common to the times; what was peculiar to them was their fanatical belief in divine favoritism and their egregious claims to the monopoly of God’s providence."

Mead’s statement that antiquity did not possess our modern standards of literary morality adds strength to the general claim that the purpose of ancient writing was never strictly to record the facts of history, but rather to depict mystical realities and intellectual concepts. One is obviously privileged to use one’s fancy when the truth of objective occurrence is not the theme, and the experience of the inner life is. It may alleviate to a degree the weight of obloquy that may seem to fall upon the perpetrators of so much literary crime to remember Mead’s explanation of its religious background.

In The Hero Lord Raglan briefly states that pious frauds of this (and every other conceivable) type were a commonplace of medieval ecclesiasticism. And the medieval was but a prolongation of ancient practice.

In The Anacalypsis (522) Higgins, alleging that it was not uncommon for the priests to charge their opponents with absurd opinions they never held for the purpose of disgracing them, remarks that "this has always been considered by priests a mere allowable ruse in religious controversy. It is yet had recourse to every day."

In Anthon’s Classical Dictionary (Fourth Ed. 929, Art. Oraculum) the text stands as follows:

"The only evil spirit which had an agency in the oracular responses of antiquity was that spirit of crafty imposture which finds so congenial a home among an artful and cunning priesthood."

From a source within the fold of orthodoxy itself comes a confession that is singularly and creditably frank. If all Christian authors and apologists had been as candid as von Mosheim, the faith of the Church would have presented a better defense than unfortunately can now be made. Speaking of the Gospel of Hermas in his celebrated history of the early Church (p. 91), he writes:

"At the time when he wrote it was an established maxim with many of the Christians that it was pardonable in an advocate for religion to avail himself of fraud and deception, if it were likely that they might conduce toward the attainment of any considerable good. Of the list of silly books and stories to which this erroneous notion gave rise, from the second to the fifteenth century, no one who is acquainted with Christian history can be ignorant."

He says again (288) that "it is with the greatest grief that we find ourselves compelled to acknowledge" that some of the weaker brethren, in their zeal to assist God with all their might, resorted to such dishonest artifices as could not admit of any just excuse and were utterly unworthy of that sacred cause which they were unquestionably designed to support. One of the illegitimate devices resorted to, he charges, was the measure of composing eight books of Sibylline verses, designed to play upon the general ancient reverence and credulity of the populace respecting the pagan oracles and their pronouncements, in order to win approval of the Christian claims. Some Christian, or perhaps an association of Christians, in the reign of Antoninus Pius, "composed" the books with a view to persuade the ignorant and unsuspecting that even so far back as the time of Noah a Sibyl had foretold the coming of Christ and the rise and progress of his Church. The trick succeeded, says Mosheim, with not a few, nay even some of the principal Christian teachers themselves were imposed upon by it. But it eventually brought great scandal on the Christian cause; since the fraud was "too palpable to escape the searching penetration of those who gloried in displaying their hostility to the Christian name."

Another group of zealots, he goes on, trafficking with the great name and authority of the Egyptian Hermes Trismegistus, concocted a work bearing the title of Poemander, and other books, replete with Christian principles and maxims, and sent them forth into the world. "Many other deceptions of this sort, to which custom has very improperly given the denomination of pious frauds, are known to have been practiced in this and the succeeding centuries." The authors, he claims, were in all probability actuated by no ill intention, "but this is all that can be said in their favor, for their conduct in this respect was certainly most ill-advised and unwarrantable." He shifts the major blame for "these forgeries on the public" to the Gnostics, but admits that he yet can not take upon himself "to acquit even the most strictly orthodox from all participation in this species of criminality: for it appears from evidence superior to all exception that a pernicious maxim, which was current in the schools not only of the Egyptians, the Platonists and the Pythagoreans, but also of the Jews, was very early recognized by the Christians and soon found amongst them numerous patrons, namely, that those who made it their business to deceive with a view of promoting the cause of truth, were deserving rather of commendation than of censure."

Is it possible that we are here standing at the very cradle of what the world has come to call "Jesuitry"? If so it can be seen that this bad excuse for allegedly good action had its remote birth in the methods of ancient sacred writing depicted in our second chapter, used originally with esoteric integrity of purpose, but twisted into fraudulent usage by later piety working with less intelligence and probity. It is another cardinal instance and proof of what is claimed, that all corruption of religion and theology came in through the decay and loss of the principles of genuine esoteric schematism. The case grows more solid with every additional observation that the major cause of all religious decadence and perversion was this early-century transmogrification of allegory into history. This will prove to be the mysterious key to the confusion and chaos in the entire religious domain. Mosheim’s honesty in refusing to wash away the knavery here recorded is commendable and will in the end serve the interests of true Christianity.

In Vol. II (p. 5) of his work he again admits he can not deny that pious fraud found a place in the propagation of Christianity in the third century. And again he says it is certain that in the earliest ages of the new faith it was "not uncommon for men to fill up the chasms of genuine history with fictitious conceits, the mere suggestion of their own imagination." And candor could go no further than it does in another passage (Vol. I, 106), in which he admits that when once certain of the Christian writers had been unfortunately tempted to have recourse to fiction, "it was not long before the weakness of some and the arrogant presumption of others carried forgery and imposition to an extent of which it would be difficult to convey to the reader any adequate idea."

The eminent historian Lecky, in his History of Rationalism (I, 164) somewhat ironically records his conclusion:

"Making every allowance for the errors of the most extreme infallibility, the history of Catholicism would on this hypothesis represent an amount of imposture probably unequalled in the annals of the human race."

Bacon, of Yale Divinity School, tells us that an extraordinary license was accorded in John’s day to the preacher to employ allegory, myth, symbolism, legend, parable, whatever he would, in the interest of religious edification. He says we know there were others in John’s time who used the same liberty of expression.

In a work entitled Discourse of Free Thinking (p. 96) the author, Collins, remarks that

"these frauds are very common in all books which are published by priests or priestly men. . . . For it is certain that they may plead the authority of the Fathers for forgery, corruption and mangling of authors with more reason than for any other of their articles of faith."

The Encyclopedia Britannica, dealing with the apocryphal books, says that "since these books were forgeries," the epithet (apocryphal) in common parlance today denotes any story or document which is false or spurious, using the word in the disparaging sense. It adds the significant sentence that each of them at one time or another had been treated as canonical. This lines up a point of considerable importance, testifying to the fact that the books were originally among those esoterically apprehended and hence as genuine as any others, and that when the esoteric sense was lost, their unintelligibility got them rated as false. There is practically convincing evidence to show that the word "apocryphal," like many another, did not have in its original usage any connotation of falsity or baseness. It referred to those books of the ancient wisdom which from the spiritual and mystical profundity of their contents were held as too esoteric for the masses. The etymology of the word apo, "from," and kryptein, "to hide" or "conceal," indicates this fully and categorically. The Apocrypha were the books of the recondite doctrine, hidden from the ignorant populace. This point holds much vital significance for study in this whole field.

Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 502) states that

"the most extravagant legends, as they conduced to the honor of the Church, were applauded by the credulous multitude, countenanced by the power of the clergy and attested by the suspicious evidence of ecclesiastical history."

Such a Christian authority as The Catholic Encyclopedia (VII, 645) says that

"even the genuine Epistles were greatly interpolated to lend weight to the personal views of their author. For this reason they were incapable of bearing witness to the original form."

In an enlightening lecture entitled Paul the Gnostic Opponent of Peter, Massey reveals that

"as Irenaeus tells us, the Gnostics, of whom Marcion was one, charged the other apostles with hypocrisy, because they ‘framed their doctrine according to the capacity of their hearers, fabling blind things for the blind according to their blindness; for the dull according to their dulness; for those in error according to their errors.’"

A strong statement is made in the History of the Christian Religion to the Year 200, by Charles B. Waite, to the effect that a comprehensive review of the first one hundred and seventy years of Christianity discloses the ignorance and superstition of even the most enlightened and best educated of the Fathers; with rare exceptions they were men who utterly despised learning, especially that of the pagans attempting to study the laws of the material universe. Construing in the narrowest sense the maxim that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, they construed the Jewish scriptures and sayings of Christ in the most fanciful and whimsical ways. Their credulity was unbounded and "they had a sublime disregard for truth. . . . Their unscrupulousness when seeking for arguments to enforce their positions is notorious, as well as the prevalence among them of what are known as pious frauds."

Waite says of Eusebius, the Christian historian, that not only the most unblushing falsehoods but literary forgeries of the vilest character darken the pages of his apologetic and historical writings. In speaking of such and other irregularities, Miss Isabel B. Holbrook, a capable student of esoteric religions, writes in one of her brochures:

"Among the most notorious of these forgeries were gross liberties and interpolations concerning Christ into the writings of the historian Josephus, of Porphyry and other heathen and Church writers."

Waite further declares that Eusebius has contributed more to Christian history than any other and "no one is guilty of more mistakes."

"Eusebius has a peculiar faculty for diverging from the truth. He was ready to supply by fabrication what was wanting in historical data."

Niebuhr terms Eusebius "a very dishonest writer."

The thirty-second chapter of the Twelfth Book of Anselm, Evangelical Preparation, bears for its title this scandalous proposition: "How it may be lawful and fitting to use falsehood as a medicine and for the benefit of those who want to be deceived." (From Gibbon, Vindication, 76.)

Chrysostom is quoted (Comm. on I Cor., IX, 19; Diegesis, p. 309) as saying: "Great is the force of deceit, provided it is not excited by a treacherous intention."

Even Cardinal Newman appears to endorse subterfuge for the glory of the faith. In the Apology for His Life (Appendix, 345) he writes: "The Greek Fathers thought that when there was a justa causa an untruth need not be a lie."

What could be more explicit than this entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia (XII, 768)?"

"There was need for a revision, which is not yet complete, ranging over all that has been handed down from the Middle Ages, under the style and title of the Fathers, Councils, Roman and other official archives. In all these departments forgery and interpolation as well as ignorance had wrought mischief on a great scale."

Lecky states that the Fathers laid down as a distinct proposition that pious frauds were justifiable and even laudable. As a consequence of the necessity of enforcing their egregious claims to exclusive salvation, says Lecky, the Fathers immediately filled all ecclesiastical literature with the taint of "the most unblushing mendacity." Heathenism had to be combated, and therefore prophecies of Christ by Orpheus and the Sibyls were forged and lying wonders were multiplied. Heretics were to be convinced, and therefore interpolations and complete forgeries were made. Age after age it continued until it became universally common. "It continued till the very sense of truth and the very love of truth seemed blotted out from the minds of men."

In The Anacalypsis Higgins avers that

"every ancient author without exception has come to us through the medium of Christian editors, who have, either from roguery or folly, corrupted them all. We know that in one batch all the Fathers of the Church and all the Gospels were corrected, that is, corrupted by the united exertions of the Roman See, Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the monks of St. Maur."

As to this serious charge he writes (Anac., 697):

"Lanfranc, a Benedictine, was head of the monks of St. Maur about A.D. 1050, and it appears that this Society not only corrected the Gospel histories, but they also corrected the Fathers, in order that their Gospel corrections might not be discovered; and this was probably the reason for the publication by them of their version of the whole of the Fathers."

It is not difficult to see why the labors of Higgins, Massey, Thomas Taylor, the Platonist, and others who were unsparing in their candid handling of obscure facts of history were relegated to oblivion as thoroughly as could be done.

Higgins further says (Anac., 522) that nothing which appears to be told by the orthodox Fathers in a regular and systematic manner against the heretics is credible. He berates Bishop Laurence of the English Church for his destructive translation of the Book of Enoch, and charges the iniquity of his having been made an archbishop, instead of being deservedly disgraced in return for so base an act.

Higgins confesses that his exertions to discover the truth are "in opposition to the frauds of the priests of all religions in their efforts to suppress evidence and to keep mankind in ignorance." He charges that Enoch was quoted by Clement and Irenaeus like any other canonical scripture. The Christians in opposition held it to be spurious, because it so clearly gave the prophecy of the coming of the pagan Avatars.

Lardner is quoted by Higgins as saying that Victor Tununensis, an African Bishop, of about the sixth century, wrote a chronicle ending at the year 566, in which it is recorded that in the year 506 at Constantinople, by order of the Emperor Anastasius, "the holy Gospels, being written by illiterate Evangelists, are censured and corrected."

What must be thought of the declaration of Augustine, founder of Christian theology, when he writes (Civ. Dei, Lib. IV, Cap. XXXI)?:

"There are many things that are true which it is not useful for the vulgar crowd to know; and certain things which although they are false it is expedient for the people to believe otherwise."

In his great work Gibbon asserts that Eusebius, "the gravest of the ecclesiastical historians" "indirectly confesses that he has related whatever might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion."

Augustine wrote a treatise On Lying, in rebuke to the clergy.

"This work," says Bishop Wadsworth, "is a protest against the ‘pious frauds’ which have brought discredit and damage to the Gospel, and have created prejudice against it from the days of Augustine to our own times." (A Church History, IV, 93-4.)

Massey says he will speak of certain things "when we begin to explore the monstrous deeds and fraudulent machinations of the evangelists."

From the Editorial Preface to The Lost Books of the Bible the following excerpt is culled. It is in reference to the Gospel of Nicodemus:

"Although this Gospel is by some among the learned supposed to have really been written by Nicodemus, who became a disciple of Jesus Christ and conversed with him, others conjecture that it was a forgery toward the close of the third century by some zealous believer who, observing that there had been appeals made by the Christians of the former age to the Acts of Pilate, but that such Acts could not be produced, imagined it would be of service to Christianity to fabricate and publish this Gospel; as it would both confirm the Christians under persecution and convince the Heathens of the truth of the Christian religion. The Rev. Jeremiah Jones says that such pious frauds were very common among the Christians even in the third century. . . . The same author, in noticing that Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History charges the Pagans with having forged and published a book called ‘The Acts of Pilate,’ takes occasion to observe that the internal evidence of this Gospel shows it was not the work of any heathen . . . and Mr. Jones says he thinks so, more particularly as we have innumerable instances of forgeries by the faithful in the primitive days grounded on less plausible reasons."

A note to page 99 of The Lost Books of the Bible states that Tertullian is authority for the allegation that the book called the Acts of Paul and Thecla was forged by a Presbyter of Asia, who, being convicted, "confessed that he did it out of respect of Paul." Pope Gelasius included it in his decree against apocryphal books. Notwithstanding this a large part of the history was credited and looked upon as genuine among primitive Christians.

Another discredited work was named The Death of Pilate, and still another, The Paradise of Pilate, described by Lundy (Monumental Christianity, 243), would regale the reader with some conception of the highly "fanciful" nature of these forgeries, if there was space. We may be pardoned for outlining briefly the first of these two: Tiberius being grievously sick and having heard of the fame of Jesus as a healer of diseases, dispatched a messenger to Pilate to have him send Jesus to Rome to cure him. Pilate replied that he had crucified him as a malefactor. On his way back to Rome with the message, the messenger met Veronica--the woman who touched the hem of Christ’s garment--who gave him the cloth handkerchief with which the Lord had wiped his face on the way to crucifixion, and in so doing had impressed his features indelibly upon it. This cloth was brought to the Emperor and he was healed. Pilate was summoned to Rome and thrown into prison, where he killed himself with a knife. His body was thrown into the Tiber and such terrible storms of heat, thunder and lightning followed that the Romans took it up and sent it to Vienne where it was thrown into the Rhone(?). The same storms and tempests recurring, the body was sent again to Lake Lucerne, where it was sunk into the deep waters, said even yet to bubble and boil as if by some diabolical influence.

We might ask in Jerome’s words: Would this be matter of edification or of destruction?

Lundy (Monumental Christianity, 245) expostulates against the rejection, as spurious, of two apocryphal Letters of Pilate found in Thilo’s and Tischendorf’s collections; one addressed to Claudius and the other to Tiberius, in both of which Jesus’s miracles, his divine sonship, his crucifixion and resurrection are referred to, and the supernatural signs which attended his coming are read as indicating the end of the world. Lundy then puts forth the question, "Are all these forgeries?" If they are only traditions they are certainly very early ones, and their various statements wonderfully agree, he argues. Taken in connection with early Christian monuments, as to the whole story of our Lord’s life, death, resurrection and ascension, they must relate facts of a then recent occurrence, which, he thinks, can not be doubted.

"Were three of four generations of men utterly deceived and mistaken? And is all Christian civilization built upon a lie?" Look at the monuments, he says, and see what pains have been taken to record the verities of early Christianity. "Had the things portrayed not been facts, how could art all at once forsake her fond mythologies and depict such wonderful inventions as these?"

How indeed, millions will ask in concert with Lundy. The answer is--by the most incredible stupefaction of mortal mind that ever befell humanity; through the complete blinding of insight into the original nature of occult portrayals of the verities Lundy refers to, which are spiritual realities and not events of objective history. The monuments portrayed the dramatic enaction as the paintings did, and ignorance mistook them for pictures of factual occurrence. How indeed? By the unbelievable transfer of the hidden purport of scripture from the plane of mind to the plane of "history"; by the whole astonishing series of confusions which this work is written to reveal at last in their glaring falsity and blighting power.

A modern sleuth-hound on the trail of Christian imposture is Joseph Wheless, mainly in his work, Forgery in Christianity, an achievement of great value for its data, but perhaps marred by the Freethinker’s irrational hatred of all Biblical religionism. It is a remarkable assemblage of material laying bare the falsity of Christian claims, and all drawn directly from Christian sources. It is a strong case which can be supported entirely upon the admissions of your opponents. On page 43 of the work he affirms that

"no one can now doubt that Lecky, after voluminous review of Christian frauds and impostures, spoke the precise historical truth: ‘Christianity floated into the Roman Empire on the wave of credulity that brought with it this long train of Oriental superstitions and legends.’"

The Catholic Encyclopedia (IV, 498) admits it was the custom of the scribes to lengthen out here and there, to harmonize passages or to add their own explanatory material. It also maintains that "it is the public character of all divines to mold and bend the sacred oracles till they comply with their own fancy, spreading them . . . like a curtain, closing together or drawing them back as they pleased."

A most curious item that comes to light is a supposed letter prefixed to the Clementine Homilies, an epistle from Peter to James, in which Peter is made to write as follows:

"For some of the converts from the Gentiles have rejected the preaching through me in accordance with the law, having accepted a certain lawless and babbling doctrine of the enemy. And these same people have attempted while I am still alive by various interpolations to transform my words unto the overthrow of the law; as though I also thought thus but did not preach it openly: which be far from me. . . . But they professing somehow to know my mind, attempt to expound the words they heard from me more wisely than I who spoke them, telling those who are instructed by them that this is my meaning, which I never thought of. But if they venture such falsehoods while I am still alive, how much more when I am gone will those who come after me dare to do so!"

The Encyclopedia Britannica presumes that the "enemy" whose lawless and babbling doctrine has exercised Peter is none other than Paul. Massey makes much of the Peter-Paul controversy, declaring that Paul’s advocacy of the esoteric spiritual interpretation of all scripture made him the target for the attacks of the Petrine faction that swung over to the exoteric view. The Encyclopedia ventures the theory that the character of Simon Magus mentioned in the Acts and in this letter is a cover for Paul himself, and descants on the identification.

In the article "Midrash" the Encyclopedia testifies that "the tendency to reshape history for the edification of later generations was no novelty" in the fourth century B.C. Pragmatic historiography is exemplified in the earliest continuous sources, viz., the "Deuteronomic" writers, i.e., allied to Deuteronomy, and there are many relatively early narratives in which the details have been modified and the heroes of the past are the mouthpieces for the thought of a later writer or of his age. Numerous instructive examples of the active tendency to develop tradition may be observed in the relationship between Genesis and the Book of Jubilees, or in the embellishment of Old Testament history in the Antiquities of Josephus, or in the widening gaps in the diverse traditions of the famous figures of the Old Testament (Adam, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Ezra, etc.) as they appear in non-canonical writings. The Midrash of the Jews and most other ancient sacred literature represented just this tendency to exploit a romantic sense in the old material:

"The rigid line between fact and fiction in religious literature which readers often wish to draw, can not be consistently justified, and in studying old Oriental religious narratives, it is necessary to realize that the teaching was regarded as more essential than the method of presenting it. ‘Midrash,’ which may be quite useless for historical investigation may be appreciated for the light it throws upon the forms of thought. Historical criticism does not touch the reality of the ideas, and since they may be as worthy of study as the apparent facts they clothe, they thus indirectly contribute to the history of their period."

This nears the statement of truth about the theme, but misses final agreement with it, in the last sentence, which makes the Midrashic style of dealing with truth a mere help in understanding the "history of a period." As so often reiterated already, the ancients were not concerned with the tawdry day-to-day eventualities of history; their aim ever was to dramatize the genius, meaning and spirit of all history in systematic type-forms and personifications of aspects of verity.

It is perhaps impossible that the general public can ever be awakened to the enormity of the corruption of old texts. None but the few scholars who have had time and occasion to go over the immense detail of the inquiry are in position to appreciate the full import and truth of this matter. It is well, then, to ponder deeply the sincere words of a competent and conscientious student, G. R. S. Mead, expressed in his Fragments of a Faith Forgotten (p. 18):

"The Received Text is proved to have suffered in its traditions so many misfortunes at the hands of ignorant scribes and dogmatic editors that the human reason stands amazed at the spectacle."

On page 11 of the same work he says with reference to the Christian religion:

The student of Christianity "is amazed at the general ignorance of everything connected with its history and origins. He gradually works his way to a point whence he can obtain an unimpeded view of the remains of the first two centuries and gaze around on a world that he has never heard of at school and of which no word is ever breathed from the pulpit."

And certainly the truth of his next statement (p. 14) must now be conceded:

"For upwards of one hundred years liberal Christendom has witnessed the most strenuous and courageous efforts to rescue the Bible from the hands of an ignorant obscurantism which had in many ways degraded it to the level of a literary fetish and deprived it of the light of reason."

It is profitable to dwell with Mead on Marcion’s view of the Gospels. In that great Gnostic’s understanding of theology the Christ had preached a universal doctrine, a new revelation of the Good God, the Father of all. They who tried to graft this on to Judaism, the imperfect creed of one small nation, were in grievous error and had totally misunderstood the teaching of Christ. The Christ was not the Messiah promised to the Jews. That Messiah was to be an earthly king, was intended for the Jews alone and had not yet come. Therefore the pseudo-historical "in order that it might be fulfilled" school had adulterated and garbled the original Sayings of the Lord, the universal glad tidings, by the unintelligent and erroneous glosses they had woven into their collections of teachings. "It was the most terrific indictment of the cycle of New Testament ‘history’ that has ever been formulated." Men were tired of all the contradictions and obscurities of the innumerable and mutually destructive variants of the traditions concerning the person of Jesus. (This surely points to the certainty that there were no real facts to go upon.) No man could say what was the truth, now that "history" had been so altered to suit the new Messiah-theory of the Jewish converts.

As to actual history, then, Marcion started with Paul; he was the first who had really understood the mission of the Christ, and had rescued the teaching from the obscurantism of Jewish narrow sectarianism. Of the manifold versions of the Gospel he would have the Pauline alone. He rejected every other recension including those now ascribed to Matthew, Mark and John! The Gospel according to Luke, "the follower of Paul," which he might have been expected to embrace, he also rejected, regarding it as a recension to suit the views of the Judaizing party. His Gospel was presumably the collection of Sayings in use among the Pauline Churches of his day.

Mead says Marcion also rejected some of Paul’s Epistles because they had been tampered with by the "reconciliators of the Petro-Pauline controversy." Mead calls Tertullian’s denunciation of Marcion’s party of intelligent people, a work called Against Marcion, "but a sorry piece of angry rhetoric."

In his published lecture on Paul Not an Apostle of Historic Christianity (p. 9) Massey says

"it becomes apparent how Paul’s writings were made orthodox by the men who preached another gospel than his; with whom he was at war during his lifetime and who took a bitter-sweet revenge on his writings by suppression and addition after he was dead and gone."

Another great Gnostic teacher, Basilides, suffered at the hands of the ignorant party bent on literalizing all the Gospels of a spiritual Christos. Mead says that Basilides’ Exegetica were the first commentaries on the Gospel teachings written by a Christian philosopher, and in this, as in all other departments of theology, "the Gnostics led the way." We can only regret, he says, that we have not the original text of the Gnostic doctor himself before us, instead of the very faulty copy of the text of the Church Fathers’ Refutation. Hippolytus muddles up his own glosses and criticisms with mutilated quotations, imperfectly summarizes important passages which treat of conceptions requiring the greatest subtlety and nicety of language, and in other respects does scant justice to a thinker whose faith in Christianity was so great that, far from confining it to the narrow limits of a dogmatic theology, he would have it that the Gospel was also a universal philosophy explanatory of the whole world drama. In its proper interpretation such indeed it is.

Heracleon and Bardesanes were other splendid Gnostic Christians whose work was contemned by the bigotry of the ignorant. Bardesanes was the agent directly creditable with establishing the first Christian state, for he induced the Prince Abgar Bar-Manu to make Christianity his state religion. Caracalla dethroned Agbar in 216. In revulsion against this act Bardesanes made an extensive defense of the Christian faith. Even Epiphanius is compelled to call him "almost a confessor." He wrote many Christian treatises in Syriac and Greek. Mead says that the Gnostics were still in the Christian ranks, were members of the general Christian body and desired to remain so; but bigotry finally drove them out "because they dared to say that the teaching of the Christ contained a wisdom which transcended the comprehension of the majority."

Mead cites the great Lepsius as saying (Die Apocryphen Apostelgeschichte, 1883) that "almost every fresh editor of such narratives, using that freedom which all antiquity was wont to allow itself in dealing with literary monuments, would recast the materials which lay before him, excluding whatever might not suit his theological point of view," and substituting "other formulae of his own composition, and further expanding and abridging after his own pleasure."

There was a wide circulation of "religious romances," Mead says, in the second century. Irenaeus himself says there was "a multitude of Gospels extant" in his day.

Considerable authority is back of the broad statement that the Pentateuch contained material other than that now found in it before it was re-composed by Esdras or Ezra. It is pretty certain that even after this re-writing it was still further corrupted by ambitious Rabbis of later times, and otherwise remodeled and tampered with. Sometimes, according to Horne, annals and genealogies were taken from other books and incorporated as additional matter. Such sources were used "with freedom and independence." Indeed this author concludes with the sentence: "They can not be said to have corrupted the text of Scripture. They made the text." This collection made in this free fashion, observes Kenealy, is what the Old Testament is in Horne’s view--excerpts from the writings of unknown persons put together by those who, he says, were divinely inspired. "No infidel has ever made so damaging a charge as this against the authenticity of the Old Testament."

As to both the Kabalah of the Jews and the Mosaic Bible, it is just about certain that the Western nations have not the original documents. Both internal and external evidence demonstrates on the testimony of the best Hebraists and the confessions of the learned Jewish Rabbis themselves that an ancient document forms the essential basis of the Bible, and that it received very considerable insertions and supplements in the process of adaptation. The Chaldean Book of Numbers and the Book of the Nabothean Agriculture are mentioned as being very close to the contents of this basic archaic document.

Mead establishes the fact that Celsus categorically accuses the Christians (ii-27) of changing their Gospel story in many ways in order the better to answer the objections of their opponents; his accusation is that "some of them, as it were in a drunken state producing self-induced visions, remodel their Gospel from its first written form and reform it so that they may be able to refute the objections brought against it."

Higgins sums up much data with the conclusion that "there is undoubted evidence that our Gospel histories underwent repeated revisions." He adds that "those who would revise the Gospels would not scruple to revise the Sibyl." This hint is in reference to well-founded charges that the Christians had even reached back into the Sibylline predictions of the pagan oracles and changed them to make them jibe with orthodox preachments.

An evidence of corruption of text is found in an editor’s note on page 295 of Josephus’ Antiquities, which admits that "Josephus’ copy considerably differs from ours."

Joseph Wheless (Forgery in Christianity) is authority for the statement that eight Epistles and the Martyrium are confessed forgeries.

"They are by common consent set aside as forgeries which were at various dates and to serve special purposes put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch."

With reference to the Christian handling of the Sibylline Books and prophecies, one of the strongest indictments of Christian duplicity and insincerity is framed by the facts and the evidence. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that a letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, authenticating the Epistle to them, may itself be a forgery.

Says Higgins (Anac., 565):

"Among all nations of the Western parts of the world the prophetesses called Sibyls were anciently known. There were eight of them who were celebrated in a very peculiar manner, and a work is extant in eight books (published by Gallaeus) which purport to contain their prophecies. This work in several places is supposed to foretell the coming of Jesus Christ. They have been in all times admitted to be genuine by the Roman Church, and I believe also by that of the Greeks; in fact they have been literally a part of the religion; but in consequence of events in very late years not answering to the predictions, the Roman priesthood wishes to get quit of them, if it knew how; several of its learned men (Bellarmine, for instance) having called them forgeries."

"It is the renewed case of the ladder: being no longer useful, it is kicked down. The Protestant Churches deny them altogether, as Romish forgeries. These Sibyls were held in the highest esteem by the ancient Gentiles. And it appears from the unquestionable text of Virgil that they did certainly foretell a future Savior or something very like it. We find, on examination of the present copy of them, that they did actually foretell in an acrostic the person called Jesus Christ by name. The most early Fathers of the Greek and Roman Churches plead them as genuine, authentic and unanswerable proofs of the truth of their religion, against the Gentile philosophers who, in reply, say that they have been interpolated by the Christians. . . . I saw pictures of the supposed authoresses of these prophetic books in several places in Italy. Their figures are beautifully inlaid in the marble floor of the Cathedral Church at Sienna and their statues are placed in a fine church at Venice, formerly belonging to the barefooted Carmelites. They are also found placed round the famous Casa Santa at Loretto."

Higgins says that "Sibyl" means "cycle of the sun." There was supposed to be a prophetess for each Sibyl or Cycle. A new prophetess presided over each Cycle as it passed. There were eight. At the time of Christ another was to come. Elsewhere it is said that the tenth was to mark the consummation of the age.

The Anacalypsis says that The Apostolic Constitutions quote the Sibylline Oracles and say:

"When all things shall be reduced to dust and ashes and the immortal god, who kindles the fire, shall have quenched it, God shall form those bones and ashes into man again, and shall place mortal men as they were before, and then shall be the judgment, wherein God shall do justice."

Justin Martyr, about 160 A.D., says the Cumaean Sibyl prophesied the coming of Christ in express words. Justin tells the Greeks that they may find the true religion in the ancient Babylonian Sibyl, who came to Cuma and there gave her oracles, which Plato admired as divine. Clemens of Rome also quotes the Sibyls in his Epistle to the Corinthians. They are also quoted by Theophilus, Antiochus, Athenagoras, Firmianus, Lactantius, Eusebius, St. Augustine and others.

"Take the Greek books, learn the Sibyl, how she proclaims one God and those things which are to come." Higgins says there are several works extant purporting to be the writings of Peter, Paul and other early Christians, in which the Sibylline oracles are quoted as authorities in support of Christianity.

Dr. Lardner admits (Higgins) that the old Fathers call the Sibyls prophetesses in the strictest sense of the word. They were known as such to Plato, Aristotle, Diodorus, Strabo, Plutarch, Pausanius, Cicero, Varro, Virgil, Ovid, Tacitus, Juvenal and Pliny. What can they have foretold, Higgins asks--and claims he can answer: The same as Isaiah, as Enoch, as Zoroaster, as the Veddas, as the Irish Druid from Bocchara, and as the Sibyl of Virgil: a renewed cycle of the sun and its hero or divine incarnation, its presiding genius. They all admit of ten ages, yet they are not agreed as to the time when the ages commence; some making them begin with creation, some with the flood, but the Erythrean Sibyl is the only one who correctly states them to begin from Adam. He says that ten periods of 600 years each make up the ten ages, or one Great Age.

Some of the testimony regarding the Sibyls is assembled by Wheless in his Forgery in Christianity (p. 142). He says that Justin in many chapters cites these oracles and points for Christian proofs to "the testimony of the Sibyl," of Homer, of Sophocles, of Pythagoras, of Plato. From the Ante-Nicene Fathers he takes this:

"And you may in part learn the right religion from the ancient Sibyl, who by some kind of potent inspiration teaches you, through her oracular predictions, truths which seem to be much akin to the teachings of the prophets. . . . ‘Ye men of Greece . . . do ye henceforth give heed to the words of the Sibyl . . . predicting as she does in a clear and patient manner the advent of our Savior Jesus Christ,’" as Wheless adds--"quoting long verses of Christian-forged nonsense." (A.N.F. i, 288-9).

"It is a fact that no critic can deny," says Higgins, "that the Sibylline oracles have been greatly corrupted by the Christians."

Gibbon (D. and F., p. 443) says in re the Sibylline Oracles: "The adoption of fraud and sophistry in the defense of revelation" is apparent in their handling by the Christians.

There must be great significance attaching to Wheless’ declaration (Forgery in Christianity, p. 195) that Justin Martyr quotes no Gospels, except loose "Sayings of Jesus," in his writings, but draws profusely from the Sibyls, Oracles, etc. Even Irenaeus makes no mention of the four Gospels (Wheless); and according to Higgins (574) Justin says that "the Sibyl not only expressly and clearly foretells the future coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, but also all things that should be done by him." (Cohort and Gr., p. 36; Lardner: Works, Chap. XXIX.)

The most succinct and telling statement concerning the Sibyls, however, is made by Higgins (576) when he says:

"Almost every particular in the life of Christ as detailed in our Gospels is to be found in the Sibyls, so that it can scarcely be doubted that the Sibyls were copied from the Gospel histories, or Gospel histories from them. It is also very certain that there was an Erythrean Sibyl before the time of Christ, whatever it might contain."

It is hardly probable that any factual evidence can ever be produced at this remote date to substantiate the charges of copying on one side or the other. But it is not reasonable to suppose that a document vastly earlier copied from its successor, although to uphold claims of antecedence for some of their documents, doctrines and ceremonial rites, the Christians did actually resort to the plea of "plagiarism by anticipation" so naïvely put forth by some of the early Fathers. As the oracles of the pagans were adjuncts of all religion for many centuries B.C., the implications of plagiarism fall on the Christians. Whether copied or not, the material fact is that the contents of the oracles and those of the Christian Gospels correspond to such a degree that comparative religion study would rate them both as emanating from a common source and being elements of a common tradition. Practically all the tangled problems of the chronology of documents and priority of texts might be solved on the general terms of this hypothesis.

An early writer bearing testimony to much in Christian history is Papias. He emphatically declares that the Christian Gospels were founded on and originated in the Logia or Sayings. Massey derives "myth" from mutu (Egyptian), "utterance," "saying," and relates it to mati, "utterance of truth," from which he derives, it is believed with good reason, the Gospel of Matthew (Egyptian: maatiu). There is an abundance of evidence to support the contention that the body of the great spiritual tradition handed on from remotest times was incorporated in collections of the most notable and vital utterances taken from the lines assigned to be spoken by the Christos or solar-god figure in the great astronomically-based cryptic ritual of the mighty Mysteries of the past. These collations of sacred utterances of the divine Son to mankind were circulated, but in secret, all over the ancient field under the name, in Greek at any rate, of "the Logia" or "Sayings of the Lord." It is almost beyond question that they were the root documents from which the canonical Gospels were elaborated, or perhaps simply extracted, and to cover deterioration were emended, interpolated, edited by many scribes in turn. In general statement this is as near the true history of the source, origin and nature of the Christian Gospels as can be determined. All the data bearing in any way on the matter can be focused with complete harmony and consistency on this thesis; and there are no data that are hostile to it. The hypothesis precisely fits and elucidates all the data and in turn the data support the thesis. It is the only thesis of which this happy situation can be predicated.

In this connection it seems warrantable that the name Mu, applied (by Churchward particularly) to a "lost continent" and age, is just a form of the word that means "utterance of truth." In the primordial days of cosmic creation, the Lord "uttered his voice" and his utterance was the Logos, which prescribed the form of the universe that his voice called into being. The land of Mu was no more a local region on a globe than "the abyss of the waters" was the Pacific Ocean, or the Garden of the Hesperides was in Spain or that other garden, Eden, was in Mesopotamia, or "the kingdom of heaven" in Germany.

Since the time of the existence of the Gospels some portions of texts have been found in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere called Sayings or Logia, of which whole passages agree almost verbatim with their counterparts in the Gospels. Why such a fact is not accorded its full weight is hard to see. Of course Christian defenders unanimously claim for these documents a date well posterior to the Christian writings and allege they are copies of Gospel material. Yet surely documents containing identical data were extant in very ancient pre-Christian times, and this fact would seem to be in the end conducive for the priority of the Logia to the Gospels.

Shirley Jackson Case, of Chicago University Theological School, in his work to support the historicity thesis, admits broadly that before Paul’s time pre-Christian Christianity was in existence not only in Palestine, but also in the Diaspora. A broad admission of this sort could include vast facts and data carrying a very definite refutation of many Christian claims, and in fact does so.

It must have taken much strongly evidential proof to bring Kenealy (The Book of God, p. 408) to say that

"assuming that the copies or rather phonographs which had been made by Hulkiah and Esdras and the various anonymous editors were really true and genuine, they must have been wholly exterminated by Antiochus; and the versions of the Old Testament which now subsisted must have been made by Judas or by some unknown compilers, probably from the Greek of the seventy, long after the appearance and death of Jesus."

One of the Church Fathers complains that his writings "had been falsified by the apostles of the devil; no wonder, he adds, ‘that the Scriptures were falsified by such persons.’" (Catholic Encyclopedia, V, p. 10.) This complainant was Bishop Dionysius.

According to Wheless, Erasmus and Sir Isaac Newton detected fraud in the translation of passages.

It is probably a record of truth which the Catholic Encyclopedia (VI, pp. 655-6) makes as to the authentic authorship of the four canonical Gospels.

"The first four historical books of the New Testament are supplied with titles (Gospel according to [Greek kata] Matthew, etc.) which, however ancient, do not go back to the respective authors of these sacred writings. . . . That they do not go back to the first century of the Christian era, or at least that they are not original, is a position generally held at the present day. . . . It thus appears that the titles of the Gospels are not traceable to the Evangelists themselves."

While this may not point directly to fraudulent practice, it indicates some manipulation that could possibly hide covert intent.

On the general score of the authenticity of the Gospels Wheless writes as follows:

"The possibility of the pretence that the precious Four Gospels, circulated nondescript and anonymous in the churches for a century and a half, is patently belied by the specific instance of the ‘Gospel according to Mark,’ of which Gospel we have the precise ‘history’ recorded three centuries after the alleged notorious event. Bishop Eusebius is our witness in his celebrated Church History. He relates that Peter preached orally in Rome, Mark being his ‘disciple’ and companion. The people wanted a written record of Peter’s preachments, and (probably because Peter could not write) they importuned Mark to write down ‘that history which is called the Gospel according to Mark.’ Mark having done so, ‘the Apostle (Peter) having ascertained what was done by revelation of the Spirit, was delighted’ . . . and that history obtained his authority for the purpose of being read in the churches." (H. E., Bk. II, Ch. 15.)

Wheless gives other data indicating that Peter was dead at the time alleged. But he cites Eusebius from a later passage in his Ecclesiastical History, in which this "historian" gives another version: the people who heard Peter "requested Mark, who remembered well what he (Peter) had said, to reduce these things to writing . . . which when Peter understood, he directly neither hindered nor encouraged it." (H. E., Bk. VI, Ch. 14.) "Peter thus was alive but wholly indifferent about his alleged Gospel" (Wheless). It evidently was not "inspired" if Mark only "remembered well."

It is claimed that Peter was "martyred in Rome" 64-67 A.D. The earliest date claimed for "Mark" is some years after the fall of Jerusalem, 70 A.D. The great Pope Clement I (died 97 A.D.?) first to fourth successor of Pope Peter, knew nothing of his great predecessor’s "Gospel according to Mark," for, says the Catholic Encyclopedia (IV, p. 14):

"The New Testament he never quotes verbally. Sayings of Christ are now and then given, but not in the words of the Gospels. It can not be proved, therefore, the he used any one of the Synoptic Gospels."

Wheless comments on this, that of course he did not and could not; they were not yet written. And no other Pope, Bishop or Father (except Papias and until Irenaeus) for nearly a century after "Pope Clement" ever mentions or quotes a Gospel, or names Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

"So for a century and a half--until the books bobbed up in the hands of Bishop St. Irenaeus and were tagged as ‘Gospels according to’ this or that Apostle, there exists not a word of them in all the tiresome tomes of the Fathers. It is humanly and divinely impossible that the ‘Apostolic authorship’ and hence ‘canonicity’ or divine inspiration of these Sacred Four should have remained for a century and a half unknown and unsuspected by every Church Father, Pope and Bishop of Christendom--if existent. Even had they been somewhat earlier in existence, never an inspired hint or human suspicion was there, that they were ‘Divine’ or ‘Apostolic’ or any different from the scores of ‘Apocryphal or pseudo-Biblical writings with which the East had been flooded’--that they were indeed ‘Holy Scripture.’ Hear this notable admission: ‘It was not until about the middle of the second century that under the rubric of Scripture the New Testament writings were assimilated to the Old’ (C. E., III, 275)--that is, became regarded as Apostolic, sacred, inspired and canonical--or ‘Scriptures.’"

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all Jews; their Gospels were written in Greek. Also they speak of the Jews in the style and spirit of a non-Jew. Luke adds (I, 1) that there were many other like Gospels afloat. The Cath. Ency. confesses that no one knows why out of many such Gospels the Sacred Four were chosen. Wheless says that Matthew was used by the Ebionites, Mark by "those who separate Jesus from Christ," Luke by the Marcionites, and John by the Valentinians. Wheless will probably be disputed when he says that it is "proven that no written Gospels existed until shortly before 185 A.D., when Irenaeus wrote; they are first mentioned in Chapter XXI of his Book II."

The "heretics" were making use of many Gospels, the orthodox claimed only four for their own. It is claimed and likely with justice that the "gospel" up to the middle of the second century was entirely oral and traditional, or with few written texts, and those held in more or less secrecy by the esotericists of the day. This would quite well accord with the thesis of the existence of Logia or Sayings of divine authorship. The Gnostics or other "heretics" were likely the ones who began to reduce the "gospel" to writing and to bring it out to general use, like the "occultists" of our own age. The orthodox, in self-defense, in all probability did likewise, selecting four and editing them to uphold conceived positions on doctrinal matters. It is confessed in several places that the "heretical spurious gospels" prepared the way and doubtless furnished the incentive for the canonized four. "The Gospels are thus anti-heretical documents of the second century after Gnosticism first appeared." This fact makes them far other in spirit and no doubt in contents than what the Christian populace has always innocently believed them to be--pure historical records of factual occurrence.

Pope Papias--who said that Jesus died at home in bed of old age!--is among the first, about 145 A.D., to name a written Gospel. Quoting the old presbyters (whose memory must have gone pretty far back to the first century), he says that Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatever he remembered. It is not in exact order that he relates the sayings or deeds of Christ. "For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him." Matthew, he says, put the Oracles (of the Lord) in the Hebrew language, "and each one interpreted them as best he could." Papias did not have in his important church any other Gospels and had only heard of such writings from the elders at second hand.

There has been much question of the genuineness of Mark (XVI, pp. 9-20. On this the Encyclopedia Britannica (II, p. 1880) says: "The conclusion of Mark (XVI, 9-20) is admittedly not genuine. Still less can the shorter conclusion lay claim to genuineness." Of the 15th and 16th verses of this chapter the "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel" and the "saved" and "damned" clauses, etc., are obvious interpolations. Reinach (Orpheus, p. 221) says that it is a "late addition" and "is not found in the best MSS." The New Standard Bible Dictionary (p. 551) states that the longer form has against it the testimony of the two oldest Uncial MSS. (Siniatic and Vatican) and of one of the two earliest of the Syriac versions, all of which close the chapter at verse 8. In addition to this is the very significant silence of Patristic literature as to anything following verse 8. Eusebius says that the portion after verse 8 was not contained in all the MSS. Jerome also says it was wanting in nearly all. But Jerome put it into the Vulgate (Cath. Ency.). The latter authority says:

"Whatever the fact be, it is not at all certain that Mark did not write the disputed verses. It may be that he did not; that they are from the pen of some other inspired writer and were appended to the Gospel in the first century or the beginning of the second."

But the Council of Trent decreed they were part of the inspired gospel "and must be received as such by every Catholic." (C. E., IX, pp. 677-8-9.) The New Commentary on the Holy Scripture (Part III, pp. 122-3) comments:

"It is as certain as anything can be in the domain of criticism that the Longer Ending did not come from the pen of the Evangelist Mark. . . . We conclude that it is certain that the Longer Ending is not part of the Gospel."

Massey says we learn from Origen that during the third century there were various different versions of Matthew’s Gospel in circulation. Jerome, at the end of the fourth century, asserts the same thing; and of the Latin version he says that there were as many different texts as there were manuscripts!

Reinach contends that the episode of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, which was inserted in John’s Gospel in the fourth century, was originally in the (apocryphal) Gospel according to the Hebrews. (Orpheus, p. 235.)

As to John XXI the Ency. Brit. has it that, as XX, 30-31 constitute a formal and solemn conclusion, Chap. XXI is beyond question a later appendix. "We may go on to add that it does not come from the same author with the rest of the book." (E. B., ii, p. 2543.)

Even the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer ("For thine is the glory," etc.) is omitted as spurious by the Revised Version. It is not in the Catholic "True" Version. As to that Wheless comments: "It may be remarked that the whole of the so-called Lord’s Prayer is not the Lord’s at all; it is a late patchwork of pieces out of the Old Testament, as is readily shown by the marginal cross references."

Reinach, citing the Ency. Brit., under various titles, says of the Peter, John, Jude and James Epistles--the "Catholic Epistles"--"not one of them is authentic."

A bit shattering is the word of the same Encyclopedia (I, p. 199):

"John . . . is not the author of the Fourth Gospel; so, in like manner, in the Apocalypse we may have here and there a passage that may be traced to him, but the book as a whole is not from his pen. Gospel, Epistles and Apocalypse all come from the same school."

This was the school of the Mysteries, the Essene Brotherhoods, the Associations of Therapeutae, from which all the oldest documents of a sacred character emanated, and the traditions of which the Gnostics essayed to carry on into the new formulations of Christianity. This is a very important datum. Reinach holds that John--or whoever poses as "John"--is a forger.

Eusebius says that II Peter "was controverted and not admitted into the canon." The Ency. Brit. endorses the view and says its tardy recognition in the early Church supports the judgment of the critical school as to its unapostolic origin.

Tertullian (Cath. Ency., XIV, p. 525) cites the Book of Enoch as inspired, and also recognizes the IV Esdras and the Sibyl, but does not know James and II Peter. He attributes Hebrews to St. Barnabas.

The Apostolic Constitutions, supposed to have been compiled by Clement of Rome and held in high esteem, were until 1563 claimed to be the genuine work of the Apostles. They were composed about 400, and were a collection of ancient ecclesiastical decrees concerning the government and discipline of the Church, in a word, a handy summary of the statutory legislation of the Apostles themselves, promulgated by their own great disciple Clement. Their claim of apostolic origin is manifestly quite false and untenable, Wheless insists. The Catholic Encyclopedia has recognized them as the work of the Apostles and confirmed them as ecclesiastical law.

Likewise the Liber Pontificalis or Book of the Popes, a purported history of the Popes beginning with Peter and continued down to the fifteenth century, Wheless claims is full of spurious correspondence, liturgical and disciplinary regulations, biographies, etc., which certainly must be held under suspicion.

And so the list of tamperings and forgeries runs on down into the Middle Ages, a revelation of duplicity enough to shake the faith of the earnest souls confiding in holy leadership, if it was all known. Lorenzo Valla in 1440 first revealed the forgery of the Donation of Constantine. The Symmachian Forgeries are confessed by the Catholic Encyclopedia. Voltaire pronounced the "False Decretals" of Isidore "the boldest and most magnificent forgery which has deceived the world for centuries." They appeared suddenly in the ninth century, and in them the Popes of the first three centuries are made to quote documents that did not appear until the fourth or fifth century. They are full of anachronisms.

Then comes the sorry recital of lists of deceptions concerning sacred relics, starting with those of the person of Jesus, his bones, his garments, utensils used by him, the cross, nails, bottles of his blood and also of Mary’s nursing milk, etc., etc., which are so obviously fraudulent that one would think the ecclesiastical system which either forged them or winked at their exploitation would blush at the record. The Catholic Encyclopedia does confess the policy of tolerance of "the pious beliefs" which have helped to further Christianity and a general indulgence toward all the fatuous superstitions connected with relics, saints, healing and the rest. As no church was to be built without dead men’s bones under the altar, so it would seem as if indeed no church system can be historically promulgated without the skeleton of the dead past buried deep in the core of its heart and in its holy of holies.

The Catholic Encyclopedia announces (III, p. 105) that Chosroes (Khosra) II, King of Persia, in 614 took Jerusalem, massacred 90,000 good Christians, captured the cross of Christ and carried it off whole in triumph to Persia. Yet the same authority says that we learn from St. Cyril of Jerusalem (before 350) that the wood of the cross, discovered about 318, was already distributed throughout the world, to show up in enough pieces to have built a colony of summer cottages. This is indeed a miracle of multiplication surpassing Jesus’ legerdemain with the five loaves and two fishes. Wheless cites authority for the statement that more than seven hundred relics of the thorns pressed on Jesus’ brow have been enumerated. For fuller detail reference should be had to Wheless’ book, Forgery in Christianity. Draper in his The Intellectual Development of Europe tells of the shock which the revelation of such unblushing imposture gave to all Europe at different times and which prepared the way for the Reformation.

The vast fraud of his Church is said to have burst upon Luther as he ascended the twenty-eight steps of white marble leading up to the porch of the palace of Pilate allegedly trodden by Christ, which were brought to Rome from Jerusalem by St. Helena. It must be remembered that the great surge of the Reformation came from the natural revolt of the human conscience against dupery and hypocrisy. It will be admitted that the amount of such deception necessary to cause a revulsion sufficiently strong to overthrow a pious system consecrated and venerated by centuries of sacred indoctrination and loyalty must have been of terrific proportions.

Higgins alleges that even the Koran was forged twenty years after Mohammed’s death. For priestcraft it may indeed be recognized that necessity is the mother of invention.

Among the writings of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in the eleventh century, has been found a verbal description of Jesus in Latin attributed to one Lentulus, a friend of Pontius Pilate and his predecessor in the government of Judea. The letter purports to have been addressed to the Roman Senate by Lentulus. It has been taken to be fictitious. No such person as Lentulus is known of in Judea.

Much of the alleged "historical testimony" supporting Jesus’ human existence is material of this sort.

Origen writes that the difference between the copies of the Gospels is considerable, partly from the carelessness of individual scribes, partly from the impious audacity of some in correcting what was written, as well as from "those who added or removed what seemed good to them in the work of correction." (Origen, M. Matt., XV, p. 14.) Wheless asserts that as far as the Gospel of John was concerned, it was not identified with the Christian Church until Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, wrote about it A.D. 185, when the Gnostic Gospel was brought forward. This was founded on the Egyptian Mysteries, John being the Egyptian Taht-Aan. Massey endorses this etymology.

Grethenbach (A Secular View of the Bible) refers to the text of Jesus’ agonized cry of heroic spirituality from the cross--"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"--and says it is omitted from the earlier copies of the Book of Luke, and is probably an interpolation from the similar expression of Stephen (Acts, 7:60), and is missing from the other Gospels. This author likewise points out that all the details of the crucifixion given in the four Gospels are wholly left in silence by the epistolary authors, an extraordinarily singular fact, since, he says, Paul himself must have been in Jerusalem at the time it occurred, and John and Peter are known to have been there likewise.

Mead cites evidence (F. F. F., p. 166) to authenticate his statement that in the "romantic" cycle of "Gospel" writing connected with Simon Magus, the legend of Peter’s being in Rome in later versions is belied by data in the earlier ones, in which Peter does not travel beyond the East. We have already noted Jerome’s admission that the present Matthew was not the original Gospel of that name, and that the earlier text was "re-written" by a certain Seleucus.

Another work of Mead’s--Did Jesus Live 100 Years B.C.?--adduces the datum that the authorized translation of "almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" is not correct, and that the "imperfect original of it is untranslatable."

This may be the appropriate place to introduce the evidence that is extant as to the mishandling and juggling of the Greek adjective chrestos, meaning "good," "just," "righteous," and the substitution of "Christos," "the anointed one," for it by the Christian writers. It is doubtful, however, if much can be made for or against the historicity from the data available. It is at any rate a matter of considerable importance that the early prevalence of this spelling, or this word, should be known, as such things have apparently been designedly kept from general knowledge.

The etymology of Christos has already been outlined as meaning the "Anointed One," and its evident derivation from the Egyptian KaRaST, the name of the mummy-babe in the coffin, with the significance of divinity buried in flesh, has been indicated. KaRaST has been translated as "fleshed," and it may be of cognate origin with the Greek word for "flesh," kreas. Christos and Messiah are equated in the similar meaning of "Anointed." Oddly enough, the Egyptian mes and the Sanskrit kri both mean "to pour," "to anoint."

It seems that Chrestos is by no means a mere variant of Christos, with the same meaning. The Greek dictionary gives the word as meaning "good-natured," "kind," as applied to men, and "propitious," "favorable," as applied to the gods. The distinguished German savant Lepsius gives the Egyptian nofre (more generally spelled by Egyptologists nefer) as meaning "good," "beautiful," "noble," and says it is equivalent to the Greek Chrestos. He says that one of the titles of Osiris, On-nofre (Un-nefer) must be translated "the goodness of God made manifest," which is probably correct.

Chrestos appears in a number of places throughout the Bible text. In I Peter 2:3 it occurs with the translation of "gracious." In Psalm 34:8 it is rendered "good." W. B. Smith, in Der Vorchristliche Jesus, holds that chrestos as found in the latter passage is equatable with Christos.

Clement of Alexandria in the second century founded a serious argument on his paronomasia (juggling of the spelling, or punning), by which he makes the assertion that all who believed in Chrest (i.e., "a good man") both are and are called Chrestians, that is, "good men." And Lactantius sets forth that it is only through ignorance that people call themselves Christians instead of Chrestians: "who through the mistake of the ignorant (people) are accustomed to say Christ with the letter unchanged." (Lib. IV, Chap. VII.) It is thus apparent that the Greeks were accustomed to call Christ by the name Chrestus, not Christus.

In his The Early Days of Christianity Canon Farrar has a footnote on the word Chrestian occurring in I Peter 4:16, where in the revised later MSS. the word was changed into Christian. The eminent churchman remarks here that "perhaps we should read the ignorant brethren’s distortion, Chrestian." Most certainly we should, as the name Christus was not distorted into Chrestus, but it was the adjective and noun Chrestus which became distorted into Christus and applied to Jesus. There is much evidence that the terms Christ and Christians, spelled originally Chrest and Chrestians (Chrestianoi in Greek) by such writers as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clement and others, were directly borrowed from the temple terminology of the pagans and meant the same thing, viz., "good," "honest," "gracious," and the noun forms from the adjective.

Philo uses the adjective-combination theochrestos (God declared), which was worked over into theochristos (anointed of God). There may be something in the suggestion that while Christos means "to live" and "to be born into a new life" (the basic meaning of "anointed"), Chrestos signified in the Mystery phraseology the death of the lower or personal nature in man, that part of us which must die daily, as St. Paul sees it. An interesting clue that points in the direction of a cryptic theological meaning of the sort is given by the fact, brought to our notice by chance, that the zodiacal sign of Scorpio was known in esoteric studies as Chrestos-Meshiac, while Leo was called Christos-Messiah, and that this nomenclature antedated by far the Christian era, as a representation or dramatization in the rites of Initiation in the Mysteries. It is clearly evident here that Scorpio stood as symbol of the sinking sun of deity in its autumnal descent into matter, Leo standing for the glorified sun risen to the zenith. This is further attested by a writer of penetrating discernment of ancient structures, Ralston Skinner, who in his profound study, Sources and Measures, brings out a parallel to the Scorpio-Leo, Chrestos-Christos analysis. He writes:

"One (Chrestos), causing himself to go down into the pit (of Scorpio, or incarnation in the womb) for the salvation of the world; this was the sun, shorn of his golden rays and crowned with blackened ones (symbolizing this loss) as of thorns; the other was the triumphant Messiah, mounted up to the summit of the arch of heaven, personated as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah."

It is more than a shrewd guess that we have in this zodiacal characterization, which allocates Chrestos to Scorpio and Christos to Leo symbolism, the true basis of a distinctive use of the two words or spellings. We know well that the vowels in ancient Egyptian, Hebrew and other languages were of quite indifferent rating and value. There seem to have been almost no vowels in the hieroglyphics, and up to the sixth century no vowels were written in the pre-Masoretic texts of the Hebrew scriptures. It is not likely that there was any essentially marked or significant difference between Chrestos and Christos. They may have been used more or less interchangeably. But the insatiable tendency of the ancient mind to devise constructions that would graphically pictorialize basic principles, laws and truths, took form seemingly in this instance in seizing upon the two names, Chrestos and Christos, as descriptive of the two stages of incarnating and resurrected Messianic deity. This is the one inescapable theme of ancient religious writing. It would match the many other twofold designations, such as Sut-Horus, Horus the Elder-Horus the Younger, Osiris-Horus, Cain-Abel, Jacob-Esau, John-Jesus, Judas-Jesus and other pairs that represent the two opposite phases of deity, the God in matter, the Karast, and the God restored to heaven, as the Christ. Much Christian thought even makes the distinction between Jesus the man and Christ the God. It was in all probability the case that the religionists referred to Jesus as the Chrestos, or "good man" who was to be through and after his initiations and transfigurations reborn into the true Christos. The reason, then, for the indicated tendency of the Christians to change the term Chrestos over to Christos is plainly seen. It was their obvious purpose to establish the claim that their divinely prophesied and celestially born Messiah had indeed become the fully deified Savior. This should be a notable clarification and it has the subtle agreement of the zodiacal symbolism to support it.

Incidentally we have in Skinner’s data the probably true significance of the symbolic "crown of thorns" so tragically pressed down upon the brow of Jesus in the Gospels.

But it is of no little weight to establish the datum that the term Chrestoi, meaning "good people," full of sweetness and light, was pre-extant to Christianity. This is in part certified by the statement of Canon Farrar in The Early Days of Christianity that "there can be little doubt that the . . . name Christian . . . was a nickname due to the wit of the Antiochians. . . . It is clear that the sacred writers avoided the name (Christians) because it was employed by their enemies (Tacitus: Annals XV:44). It only became familiar when the virtues of Christians had shed lustre upon it. . . ."

It is quite more likely that the Christians chose the name Christian (rather than Chrestian) for the luster that the high name would shed on them than that their virtues shed luster upon the name. The name needed no extraneous illumination; the Christians (as has been seen) doubtless did.

However that may be, the fundamental and crucial fact of the whole matter seems to center in Massey’s findings with reference to the derivation of the stem KRST, with whatever voweling, from the mummy KaRaST of Egypt. In the Agnostic Annual he says:

"In a fifth century representation of the Madonna and child from the cemetery of St. Valentinus the new-born babe lying in a box or crib is also the Karest, or mummy-type, further identified as the divine babe of the solar mythos by the disk of the sun and the cross of the equinox at the back of the infant’s head. This doubles the proof that the Christ of the Christian catacombs was a survival of the Karest of Egypt."

Justin Martyr uses the word Chrestotatoi, meaning "most excellent." Thirlby alludes to the vulgar custom of the early time of calling the Christians Chrestians. Higgins ventures the supposition that "Christianoi" was likely a corruption of the more common Chrestianoi.

Lucian in a book called Philopatris makes a person named Triephon answer the question whether the affairs of the Christians were recorded in heaven: "All nations are there recorded, since Chrestos exists even among the Gentiles." The Greek is here given as Chresos.

Dr. John Jones (Lex. in voce.) observes that this word is found in Romans 16:18. Higgins comments:

"And in truth the composition of it is Chrestos logia, i.e., Logia peri tou Chrestos, oracles concerning Chrestus, that is, oracles which certain impostors in the Church at Rome propagated concerning Christ, Chrisos being changed by them into Chresos, the usual name given them by the Gnostics and even by unbelievers."

Paul in this Romans passage calls the doctrine Chresologia, and Higgins says Jesus was called Chresos by St. Peter as well as by St. Paul. Bishop Marsh says of the passage in I Peter 2:3 that some editors give Chrestos, others Christos, "where the preceding verb egeusasthe determines the former (Chrestos) to be the true reading." (Marsh’s Various Readings of the New Testament, Vol. I, p. 278.) Higgins asserts that "anointed" covers everything meant to be described by Chrestos.

In Did Jesus Live 100 Years B.C.? Mead states in a footnote that the most ancient dated Christian inscription (October 1, 318, A.D.) runs: "The Lord and Savior, Jesus the Good"--(Chrestos, not Christos). This, he says, was the legend over the door of a Marcionite Church. And the Marcionites were anti-Jewish Gnostics and did not confound their Chrestos with the Jewish Christos (Messiah). Mead says elsewhere that Chrestos was a universal term of the Mysteries for the perfected "saint," and that Christos was more especially limited to the Jewish Messiah idea.

Mackenzie writes that

"the worship of Christ was universal at this early date . . . but the worship of Chrestos--the Good Principle--had preceded it by many centuries, and even survived the general adoption of Christianity, as shown on monuments still in existence."

He cites examples of the occurrence of the word Chreste from the catacombs.

It is notable indeed that Justin Martyr, the earliest Christian author, in his first Apology, called his co-religionists Chrestians, not Christians.

In a lecture entitled The Name and Nature of the Christ, Massey writes:

"In Bockh’s Christian Inscriptions, numbering 1,287, there is not a single instance of an earlier date than the third century wherein the name is not written Chrest or Chreist."

There is no manifest reason why a fact as significant as this should not be widely recognized and publicized both for the sake of truth and for the sake of the principle now being so strenuously defended, that the citizens of a democracy are entitled to correct information on matters of any importance.

It is also definitely worth noting that in the excerpt from Suetonius’ Lives of the Twelve Caesars, one of the four alleged extra-Gospel historical references to Jesus, the name claimed to be an allusion to Jesus is the word Chrestus. Commenting on this, Harry Elmer Barnes, in The Twilight of Christianity, justly ventures the suggestion that the word in this form gives us no assurance that the historical Jesus is the person hinted at, or indeed that it refers to a person at all.

It is frankly in the line of philological speculation, but with the apparent identity of root derivation of two words to suggest its plausibility, to point to a possible relation of the words Chrestos, Christos, with the Greek impersonal verb chrea flat line over the e, "it is necessary," "it is fitting," "it is right," "it is good." There is a dialectical or philosophical connection that is by no means far-fetched. All religion is concerned primarily with the relation of the soul to body in its cycles of descent and return. It is to be recalled that these cycles were known in the Greek Orphic and Platonic systems as kuklos (cyclos) anagkes, "the cycle of necessity." Chrea[see above] is kindred to the stem of the word "cross," and the Christ on the cross was the Christ-soul undergoing the experience of the cycle of necessity. Also the whole evolution of the Christos is, in a very real philosophical sense, under the impulsion of what may be, and often has been, called divine necessity. The soul advances to divinity, stage by stage and cycle by cycle, under the necessity of its own nature. The fact that chrea means "it is good" as well as "it is necessary" points to the practical certitude that it is cosmically good for the soul to make the pilgrimage round the circle of the cosmos, through the gamut of all values.

The final fact of basic import in the item is that the KRS stem is cognate with the same root that yields the word "cross." The Karest in the mummy-case was a variant figure for the Christ on the cross, the deity in the kreas or flesh. It occurred to some symbologists some time and somewhere to adopt a variant spelling to set over the descending phase of divinity in the cyclical round against the reascending phase, in which the pilgrim soul was called the Christ. The term Chrest was adopted to designate the divine soul going down into the tomb of the mortal body; the Christ was that same soul emerging out of it, "on the eastern side of heaven, like a star." As the Book of Ecclesiastes phrases it, this is almost certainly "the conclusion of the whole matter."

In his History of the Christian Religion to the Year 200, Waite considers certain very old texts to have been basic for the three Synoptic Gospels, and says that these source books contain no evidence as to such matters as the miraculous conception, the physical resurrection, or the miracles. He points out also that the early Apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, Ignatius and Polycarp make no mention of the miracles or the material resurrection. Indeed they make no reference to the Gospels or the Acts and produce no quotations from them save such as may have been picked up from extant collections of Logia. He comments on the account of Mary’s life given in the Protevangelium, her being given by the priests to the widower Joseph, then about eighty years old, with six children by a former wife.

As to the Vulgate the Catholic Encyclopedia (XII, p. 769) states that under Popes Sixtus V and Clement VIII the Latin Vulgate, after years of revision, attained its present shape. And says Wheless, this translation, which was fiercely denounced as fearfully corrupt, was only given sanction of divine inspiration by the Council of Trent in 1546, under the curse of God against any who questioned it. The tinkering with the text came after the Council, but the latter’s decree was not altered to conform to the amended rendering.

Irenaeus either misquotes Mark or the text has been made to differ from his wording in one place, for he says that Mark commences with a reference to the prophetic spirit, and that his is the Gospel of Jesus Christ "as it is written in Esaias the prophet." Eusebius admits "fraud and dissimulation" in the handling of scripts.

Wheless says the proudest boast of the Church today with reference to its ex-Pagan Saint Augustine is that whenever a contradiction between his philosophy and the prescribed orthodox faith arose, "he never hesitates to subordinate his philosophy to religion, reason to faith." (Cath. Ency., II, p. 86.) Augustine himself flaunts his mental servitude when he says: "I would not believe the Gospels to be true unless the authority of the Catholic Church constrained me."

Gibbon adduces much reliable authority to indicate that even in such a matter of historical record as the number of their sectaries martyred in the persecutions under the several Roman Emperors, the Christians have outrageously falsified the figures. Gibbon’s pages should be read more generally, so that a saner view might be taken of this item of Christian claims, which have been grossly overstated to win the sympathy which martyrdom arouses.

Miss Holbrook asserts that

"Of the 150,000 various readings which Griesbach found in the manuscripts of the New Testament, probably 149,500 were additions and interpolations. One of the Greek manuscripts called ‘Codex Bezal’ or ‘Cambridge Manuscript,’ is chiefly remarkable for its bold and extensive interpolations, amounting to some six hundred in the Acts alone."

Gibbon has testified to the "vulgar forgery" of the insertion of the two admittedly spurious passages regarding Christos in the text of Josephus.

Alexander Wilder (Article on Evolution) says that

"such men as Irenaeus, Epiphanius and Eusebius have transmitted to posterity a reputation for such untruth and dishonest practices that the heart sickens at the story of the crimes of that period." A commentator adds: "the more so, since the whole Christian scheme rests upon their sayings."

It is quite possible--and lamentably so--that Massey’s bitter words are entirely sane and true, that the "Christian scheme (as it is aptly called) in the New Testament is a fraud, founded on a fable in the Old."

There is a letter written by one of the most respected Fathers of the Church, St. Gregory of Nazianzen to Jerome, which reveals in pretty clear light the early Church’s policy of deception. Gregory wrote to his friend and confident, Jerome, as follows:

"Nothing can impose better on the people than verbiage; the less they understand, the more they admire. Our Fathers and Doctors have often said, not what they thought, but what circumstances and necessity forced them to."

Ominous indeed is Massey’s serious indictment of Christianity’s early duplicity in one of his lectures:

"And when Eusebius recorded his memorable boast that he had virtually made ‘all square’ for the Christians, it was an ominous announcement of what had been done to keep out of sight the mythical and mystical rootage of historic Christianity. The Gnostics had been muzzled and their extant evidence as far as possible masked. He and his co-conspirators had done their worst in destroying documents and effacing the tell-tale records of the past, to prevent the future from learning what the bygone ages could have said directly for themselves. They made dumb all Pagan voices that would have cried aloud their testimony against the unparalleled imposture then being perfected in Rome. They had almost reduced the first four centuries to silence on all matters of the most vital importance for any proper understanding of the true origins of the Christian superstition. The mythos having been at last published as a human history, everything else was suppressed or forced to support the fraud."

A particularly sharp critic and accuser of Christianity is Alan Upward in The Divine Mystery. He states that in the interests of God and heaven "the theologians have laid their ban on all the sciences in turn, on the lore of the stars, of the rocks, of the atoms, of the frame of man, of his mind, of the Hebrew language and history, of Eastern history, of the history of life." It must be confessed there is much gravamen in this indictment. A religion claiming to be the supremely true one should assuredly have possessed the basic data and correct knowledge which would have enabled it to pronounce unerringly upon every department of truth, in every branch of science. Yet no organic system has ever been found to be so atrociously in error in every arena of knowledge. Outside its own chamber-room of hypnotized faith it has stood for long periods as the enemy of truth in every empirical realm. Truth has had to batter its way through the serried array of ecclesiastical fanaticism, ignorance and stubborn bigotry over long centuries. Truth has never been its chief and primary concern or objective. Instead, it has aimed at psychologization and regimentation of the masses, and to this end it has ruthlessly swept aside all the formulations of intelligence which would have hindered the easy achievement of its goal. Besides fighting every science it has wrecked the splendid temple of ancient mythology and closed the doors of the schools of esoteric truth, and kept them closed to this day. It is with regret that one has to agree with Upward in his stinging accusation against the religion of one’s childhood: "Falsehood is found in every religion, but only in the Catholic Christianity is it the foundation of religion." And Upward points to the fact that since with each fresh discovery of truth in scientific fields the cry goes up all over Christendom that science has uprooted the bases of religion, this is sure evidence that a religion resting so far off the center of verihood that every new factual discovery shakes it to its fall, can not be a true or safe religion. A faith that hangs constantly so precariously that the snapping of a single strand in the rope will send it crashing, can not be stabilized in truth.