Christianity’s Criminal History, 78

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 
Portrayals of the biblical female world

Among the singularities of the Old Testament lies the more or less strong opposition, that it always found a place in Christianity, about this section of the ‘Word of the Lord’: the most extensive. It not only was full of enormous warlike cruelty, but also consecrated deceit, hypocrisy and treacherous murder. For example, the heroic deeds of Phinehas, who sneaks into the tent and pierces a couple of lovers with a sword; the bloodthirsty actions of Judith, who enters the camp of the Assyrians and treacherously murders General Holofernes; the fatal blow of Jael, who amicably attracts Sisera, the fugitive captain of the king of Hazor, who is exhausted, and murders him from the back.

These and other similar acts have more than two thousand years and not only do they appear in the Bible: they have been justified and exalted through the ages. Even in the 20th century the cardinal archbishop of Munich and expert in the Old Testament, Michael Faulhaber, military prior of the emperor, follower of Hitler and post festum of resistance, pompously praises ‘the act of Judith’: the action of a woman that, according to Faulhaber, has ‘lied’ first, then ‘woven a network of conscious lies’ and finally ‘killed a sleeper in a treacherous way’. However, ‘as a warrior of the Most High, Judith felt she was the depository of a divine mission. The struggle for the walls of Betulia was ultimately a war of religion’.

If something ‘sacred’ is at stake, the Church hierarchs always consider any diabolical action valid provided that it is in the interest of the Church; that is, of their own. Consequently Christian Friedrich Hebbel, a vehement detractor of Christianity (‘the root of all discord’, ‘the smallpox virus of mankind’) with his Judith (1840), which made him famous, is disqualified for presenting only one ‘sad caricature of the Biblical Judith’.

Another poet deserved a much more favourable opinion from the same ecclesiastical prince. After Faulhaber reminded us the feat of Jael with the words of the Bible (‘Her right hand to the workman’s hammer, And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head, She crashed through and transfixed his temples’), he says nonetheless that this is ‘unworthy, perfidious, hypocritical and murder’. But the Bible glorifies this woman as a ‘national heroine’ through the hymn of the prophetess and Judge Deborah. And so the entire Catholic world celebrates her for two millennia and also her most famous author, Calderón de la Barca:

In one of his sacramental plays he provided Judge Deborah with the allegorical figures of prudence and justice; and Jael the other two cardinal virtues, temperance and strength. Jael, who destroys the head of the enemies of the revelation, becomes a projection of the Immaculate, who, according to the words of the Latin Bible, crushes the head of the old serpent. Hence Calderón’s words while destroying the head of Sisera: ‘Die, tyrant, to arms’. Under the pen of Calderón the whole story of Deborah becomes a little Marian doctrine.

Nice expression that of the ‘little Marian doctrine’!

At least for those who know—because the great mass of Catholics are ignorant—, Mary is not only the Immaculate, the caste, the queen, the triumphant dominator of the impulses: but the successor in the head of Janus of her ancient predecessor, Ishtar, the virgin Athena, the virgin Artemis, also the great Christian goddess of blood and war; not only ‘our beloved Lady of the Linden’, ‘of the green forest’ but also of murder and massacres, from the beginning of the Middle Ages until the First World War.

Faulhaber published on August 1, 1916, ‘the day of commemoration of the mother of the Maccabees’, in ‘war edition’, the 3rd revised edition of his Charakterbilder der biblischen Frauenweit (Portrayals of the Biblical Female World) to ‘bring to the German feminine world in bloody and seriousness the days and the examples still alive of biblical wisdom: the sources that still emanate spiritual strength and altars still flaming above-earthly consolations’. Women could ‘learn much war wisdom’ from these biblical women; ‘much sense of courage’, ‘much spirit of sacrifice’. ‘Even in the days of the war the Word of the Lord is still a light in our path’. And in the 6th edition, Cardinal Faulhaber presents his Portrayals in 1935, the Hitler era, and praises Deborah as ‘a heroine of ardent patriotism’, ‘which makes in her people a rebirth of freedom and a new national life’.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 72

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 

Fabrications in the Old Testament

The boldest, daring and of greatest consequence of this type was to attribute to the spirit and dictation of God all the writings of the Old and New Testaments.

—Arnold Meyer

 

The bibles of the world and some peculiarities of the Christian Bible

The ‘book of books’ of Christians is the Bible. The German translation Bibel appears for the first time in the moral poem ‘The runner’ of Bamberg’s school teacher and verse builder, Hugo von Trimberg (born around 1230, he was also the author of a collection of homiletic fables and about two hundred hagiographic almanacs). The term coined by Hugo derives from the Latin biblia, which in turn has its origin in the neutral plural ta biblia (the books).

The Bible is a ‘sacred’ scripture and texts. Books and sacred writings form, in the history of religions, part of the trade, of the business on which it depends closely and not only the monetary but also the political and, ultimately, anyone sheltered by the human heart.

The bibles of mankind are therefore numerous: the three Vedas of ancient India, for example, the five Ching canonical books of the Chinese imperial religion, the Siddhanta of Jainism, the Typitakam of Theravada Buddhism, the Dharma of Mahayana Buddhism in India, the Tripitakam of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tao-tea-ching of Taoist monks, the Avesta of Persian Mazdaism, the Qur’an in Islam, the Granth of the Sikhs, the Gima of Mandeism. There were many sacred writings in the Hellenistic mysteries, which were already referred to in the pre-Christian era simply with the word ‘writing’, or with the formula ‘is written’ or ‘as written’. In Egypt the sacred writings go back to the most ancient times and a sacred text has already been cited in the 3rd millennium BC, Words of God (mdw ntr).

Of course, we know that the Bible is not just a book among other books but the book of books. It is not, therefore, a book that can be equated with Plato’s, the Qur’an or the old books of Indian wisdom. No, the Bible ‘is above them; it is unique and unrepeatable’ (Alois Stiefvater). In its exclusivity, the monotheistic religions insist with emphasis—and that is precisely why they are, so to speak, exclusively intolerant! ‘Just as the world cannot exist without wind, neither it can without Israel’ says the Talmud. In the Qur’an it is said: ‘You have chosen us from among all the peoples; you have raised us above all the nations’. And Luther also boasts: ‘We Christians are bigger and more than all creatures’.

In short, the Bible is something special. But Christianity did not have its own ‘Sacred Scripture’ in its first 150 years, and for that reason it assimilated the sacred book of the Jews, the Old Testament, which according to the Catholic faith precedes ‘the Sun of Christ’ as the ‘morning star’ (Nielen).

The name Old Testament (Greek diathéke, covenant) comes from Paul, who in 2 Cor. 3:14 talks about the Old Covenant. The synagogue, which naturally recognizes no New Testament, does not speak of the Old but of Tanakh, an artificial word formed by the initials of Torah, nevi’im and ketuvim: law, prophets, and remaining writings.

The Old Testament, as they were transmitted by the Hebrews are, to date, the Holy Scriptures of the Jews. The Palestinian Jews did not establish the final received texts until the Council of Jamnia, between the 90s and 100 AD: twenty-four texts, the same number as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. (The Jewish bibles of the 15th century were the first that proceeded to a different division and gave rise to thirty-nine canonical books.) In any case, God, to whom these Sacred Scriptures refer and from which they come, needed more than a millennium to compile and finalise the Bible.

The unique thing about the Christian Bible is that each of the different confessions also has different bibles, which do not coincide as a whole; and what some consider sacred, to others seem suspicious.

The Catholic Church distinguishes between Protocanonical writings, that is, never discussed, and Deuterocanonical writings whose ‘inspiration’ was for some time ‘put into doubt’ or was considered uncertain. This Church has a much wider Old Testament than that of the Jews, from which it proceeds. Besides the Hebrew canon, it collected within its Holy Scriptures other titles. In total, according to the Council of Trent in its session of April 8, 1546, confirmed by Vatican I in 1879: forty-eight books, that is, in addition to the so-called Deuterocanonics, Tobias, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch and letters of Jeremiah, Maccabees I and II, Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children (Vulgate, Daniel 3:24–90), Story of Susanna, Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14; Septuagint epilogue), Esther 10, 4-16, 24.

On the contrary, Protestantism, which gives authority exclusively to the books that appear in the Hebrew canon, does not consider as canonical or manifested by God, the Deuterocanonics added by Catholicism. It grants them little value and calls them ‘apocryphal’, that is, that what Catholics call books never had canonical validity.

Luther, in defining what belonged to the canon, relies on the ‘inner spiritual testimony’ or the ‘internal sense’. He eliminates, for example, the second book of the Maccabees because Luther was disturbed by the passage on the purgatory, whose existence he denied. On that same book and also on that of Esther, Luther opined that ‘they have too many Jewish and pagan remnants’. Nevertheless, he considered the Deuterocanonical writings to be ‘useful and good to read’ although were not inspired by God, in any case by the ‘internal sense’ of the reformer.

An early German translation by Martin Luther.
His translation into the vernacular was highly influential.

In the Synod of Jerusalem, the Greek Church included, in 1672, among the divine word four other works that did not appear in the Council of Jamnia: Wisdom, Ecclesiastical, Tobias, and Judith.

Much broader than the Old Testament was the canon of Hellenistic Judaism, the Septuagint (abbreviated: LXX, the translation of the seventy men). It was elaborated for the Jews of the Diaspora in Alexandria by various translators in the 3rd century BC: the book for the Greek-speaking Jews, the oldest and most important transcription of the Old Testament into Greek, the language of the Hellenistic period, and the official Bible of Diaspora Judaism. It became part of the synagogue.

The Septuagint, however, collected more writings than the Hebrew canon and more also from those later considered valid by Catholics. The quotations of the Old Testament that appear in the New (with the allusions 270 to 350) come mostly from the Septuagint and it constituted for the Fathers of the Church, who used it with insistence, the Old Testament or Holy Writ.

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