Martyr myths, 1

Editor’s Note:

I added on the sidebar an image of the boy Bran under the tree of his house in Winterfell because the central message of this site has not reached even several regular visitors: if the white man does not recover his story, the apocryphal story for us that the Jews invented will lead to white extinction. (In fact, I have just used that image for my laptop’s desktop, and I recommend you do the same.)

This is something so obvious that even hurts to repeat it, but it apparently does not fit into the little heads of the people of the alt-right because, as I said in my previous entries, many have not even read the story of their race that Pierce wrote.

Of course, Who We Are is just an introduction to a more scholarly study (which includes what we have been translating, step by step, from Deschner’s ten books). But the fact that white nationalists are not even able to read Pierce’s entertaining book cannot but mean that, unlike the Jews who weaponize their stories in their struggle against us, whites are unwilling to review the Jewish POV about their past. And only a historical review of the white man’s past can shed light on how it was that we arrived at the darkest hour in the West.

When writing these words I cannot help but remember the ubiquitous advertisements throughout London that I saw on my last visit: advertising visuals of black men with white English women!

Where is your fucking hate, English readers of Rudyard Kipling’s poem about the wrath of the awakened Saxon? Why can’t you become an exterminationist like me consumed by hatred? Why is there so much negation and abnegation in your hearts? Why is there so little fate in your looks?

Following what I said in my recent posts using the end of Game of Thrones, I must add that white nationalism will continue to be obvious quackery as long as they are unable to face the most basic facts of their own story.

Candida Moss is one of those English liberals unable to see that their liberalism is the most destructive ideology for their race that has appeared in history: a Night King whose objective is to wipe out the entire white race. But her book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, sheds light on one of the myths that helped Judeo-Christianity conquer the Aryan soul so long ago. Following are some excerpts from the introduction to Candida’s book:

 

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The Myth of Christian Martyrdom

What if Christians weren’t continually persecuted by the Romans?

The evidence for Christian martyrdom is of three basic types: evidence for persecution from Roman sources and archaeology, stories about martyrs, and descriptions of Christian martyrdom in the writings of church historians. On the Roman side, there is very little historical or archaeological evidence for the widespread persecution of Christians. Where we do have evidence for persecution, in the middle of the third century, it is not clear that the Romans were specifically targeting Christians at all. Even the so-called Decian persecution in 250 CE was about political uniformity, not religious persecution. Nothing in our evidence for Decius’s legislation mentions targeting Christians. Before Decius, the prosecution of Christians was occasional and prompted by local officials, petty jealousies, and regional concerns. That Christians saw themselves as persecuted and interpreted prosecution in this way is understandable, but it does not mean that the Romans were persecuting them. This interpretation does not match up with the political and social realities: Christians were ridiculed and viewed with contempt, and they were even sometimes executed, but they weren’t the subjects of continual persecution.

Then there are the stories about early Christian martyrs, commonly known as “martyr acts” or martyrdom stories. Most of these stories have been handed down from generation to generation and accepted as authentic on the basis of tradition. The vast majority of these stories, however, were written long after the events they purport to describe. There are literally hundreds of stories describing the deaths of thousands of early Christian martyrs, but almost every one of these stories is legendary. There are many pious reasons why someone might choose to fabricate a story about a martyr, and there are plenty of examples of genuine errors, but for those interested in the history of martyrdom, fabrication causes a problem. In some of these cases, scholars are not sure that the people described in these stories even existed, much less that they were martyred.

The problem with forged martyr stories was so widespread that in the seventeenth century a Dutch Jesuit priest named Héribert Rosweyde began to sort through the European manuscripts that preserved the earliest stories of the martyrs. The size of the task of cataloging thousands of manuscripts proved to be too much for Rosweyde alone, and the project was eventually taken over by a group of scholars led by an ambitious priest named John Bolland. The Society of Bollandists, as they came to be known, spent the next three centuries culling the corpus of hagiographical literature (literature pertaining to the saints) into a huge sixty-eight volume collection of texts about the saints. Of these sixty-eight volumes of texts and commentary, they decided that only a handful of stories were historically reliable. The rest—the vast majority—had been thoroughly edited or had simply been made up.

Scholars of early Christianity agree that there is very little evidence for the persecution of Christians. Although there are references to the deaths of Christians in the writings of the early church, these are vague and often exaggerated. For the first two hundred and fifty years of the Christian era there are only six martyrdom accounts that can be treated as reliable. These stories describe the deaths of Christianity’s oldest and most beloved saints: the elderly bishop Polycarp, the young mothers Perpetua and Felicity, the teacher Ptolemy, the philosopher Justin Martyr, the martyrs of Scillium, and the brave members of the churches of Lyons and Vienne in ancient Gaul, modern-day France, who endured unspeakable tortures at the hands of the Romans. Even today some of these martyrs are mentioned in the religious services of the Catholic Church.

When we look closely at even these stories, however, it becomes clear that they have been significantly edited and changed. They refer to theological ideas that didn’t exist in the period described in the stories and contain elements borrowed from other ancient sources. Details like these suggest that even the earliest stories have been tampered with…

There’s almost no evidence from the period before Constantine, or the Age of the Martyrs, to support the idea that Christians were continually persecuted. Most of this information comes from later writers, especially from the anonymous hagiographers who edited, reworked, and even forged stories about martyrs during periods of peace. The stories of beloved martyrs like St. Valentine, St. Christopher, and St. George were written long after the time in which these people supposedly lived, by authors who were preserving folklore, not facts.

Published in: on May 23, 2019 at 11:10 am  Comments (8)  

Robert Morgan’s comment

“Pressed and addressed. The number of christian men and women who advanced science even when at odds with certain religious authority overwhelmingly makes the case that chirstianity itself is not at war with science.”

No, you didn’t address the point at all. I don’t even think you’ve understood it. What you need to do is show how belief in Jesus or the fables of Christianity led to the development of specific scientific theories. That would show how Christianity is tied to scientific advancement. But you’ve failed completely to do this. The fact that some scientists were nominal Christians doesn’t prove anything, except perhaps that they were hypocrites capable of ignoring the blatant contradiction between a scientific understanding of cause and effect and what is presented as fact in the Bible. But that Christians are capable of being hypocrites is a point already well understood by everyone.

You’re just arbitrarily giving credit to Christianity where none is due. By this logic you should likewise give credit to belief in Zeus or Aesop’s fables for classical civilization, or give credit to Buddhism for Chinese civilization. In reality, one thing has nothing to do with the other.

More consistent with the facts is what I said above in #403, that it was the innate genius of the white race that is responsible for science emerging when and where it did, despite Christianity’s best efforts to retard it. Besides, Christianity has spread to many corners of the world, and currently it’s growing most rapidly in Africa. If it truly were responsible for fostering a spirit of scientific inquiry, where are the negro Newtons? Nowhere. Negroes are still negroes with an average IQ of about 70, despite being sprinkled with holy water.

Published in: on May 15, 2019 at 11:05 am  Comments (4)  

Robert Morgan’s comment

Too often conspiracy theorists follow the rule of cui bono, and focus only on what supposed conspirators got as a benefit. But the question of what the Jews got out of Christianity must be evaluated along with what whites got out of it, and continue to get out of it. The answer: Empire. Although they were hypocrites, Christianity provided its adherents with a very fine excuse to conquer the world. Christianity, with its imaginary “brotherhood of man” a centerpiece, gave whites the opportunity to conquer their racial enemies for their own good. It justified and still justifies incorporating them into its body politic, thus making them stronger (at least, that was the hope, and is still the hope, even as the flaws of diversity become ever more apparent.)

But there are plenty of reasons to condemn Christianity besides the fact that it elevates the Jews in the esteem of whites, which seems to be the Marcionite author’s primary complaint. First among these reasons is its unrealistic assessment of human nature, and pig-headed misunderstanding of reality itself. Christianity is a pre-scientific belief system that is entirely hostile to rational explanations of phenomena. It’s unfortunately no exaggeration to say that the Bible itself, and especially the New Testament, sets forward what is literally a psychotic view of reality. Things appear out of thin air, corpses come back to life, people become possessed by demons, etc. This sort of defect would not be cured by a divorce from the OT; nor would many others equally grave or worse.

Then we have the supposed sayings of Jesus, which taken together and taken seriously, are a prescription for poverty and even self-destructiveness to the point of suicide. Love your enemies he says, and if they steal from you, give them even more. If they strike you on one side, you must obligingly turn and offer them the other as well. Further, he says that you must become as a little child, i.e., become completely irrational, in order to be saved. The heaven of Jesus is not obtained by means of special knowledge, but only faith. No argument about this is allowed, for unlike Socrates Jesus isn’t about discovering the truth, he simply states he IS the truth, and if you can’t accept that, then it’s eternal damnation and hellfire for you. This hostility to reason, coupled with Christian millennialism that awaited Christ’s supposedly imminent return, was a powerful toxin that disabled the civilizational impulses of white people for almost a thousand years. This toxin caused the fall of classical civilization, and though its effects eventually lessened, it may yet cause the fall of our own, perhaps even precipitating a war that will end all life on Earth.

Published in: on May 9, 2019 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  

Depressing days

El Greco’s landscape of Toledo depicts the priory in which John of the Cross was held captive. To see the Greco landscape in the original blue and green click: here.

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I do not have a single male friend in the metropolis where I live.

Since I have finished writing my third and last book in Spanish—I really should not write another one!—as often happens with writers, an existential void was created in my state of mind.

I visited the Café of the Gandhi Bookstore where many years ago I was meeting with a group of friends. But I did not see any familiar faces.

Back home I realised that I had forgotten to buy a book. I have been quoting the expression ‘dark night of the soul’ in this site, taken from a famous poem by John of the Cross (1542-1591). For centuries this Spaniard has had a reputation as a profound mystic, and I wanted to read his book explaining the poem on the dark night of the soul.

At home I saw the book online. It surprised me that it contained concepts such as fighting the demon of lust and the devil. That means that John of the Cross was another idiotic Christian like millions of idiotic Christians who have been there for two millennia. The only difference is that his poetry is good. His poem starts with these words (translated to English):

In an obscure night
Fevered with love’s anxiety
(O hapless, happy plight!)
I went, none seeing me
Forth from my house, where all things quiet be…

But Aztec poetry was also good despite its psychotic customs, as I have shown elsewhere. In other words, aesthetic qualities do not vindicate the poet.

When trying to invent an activity these days I caressed the idea of having a podcast again. But I dispatched it: even if I did find a technician to handle the audio, my revolutionary thinking is not legal even by First Amendment standards in the US. And if I cannot speak out as a revolutionary conspirator, it is better not to talk at all because not saying what I think depresses me.

It is truly a dark night of the soul to have to live in a world in which whites, for the first time in western history, refuse to fight. Both the image of my previous post and what a commenter said in that thread epitomise what I mean.

Published in: on April 27, 2019 at 8:02 pm  Comments (26)  

European civilisation’s foe

Yesterday a blogger posted an article, ‘The burning of Notre Dame’ on his WordPress site that Counter-Currents republished today. I would like to take issue with its first paragraph:

As news spread of the fire consuming the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the first reaction of most people was shock and sadness. You don’t have to be Catholic or French to feel as if some part of you has been lost. That was not just an old building or a historically important place. It was a symbol of Western civilization. Stand inside a great church and you feel the awe and power that inspired the builders. That cathedral was the primal roar of a people celebrating their creator and the essence of who they were as a people.

I am sorry, but Notre Dame was not ‘a symbol of Western civilisation’, but of Western Christian civilisation. Big difference, as explained in one of the essays, excerpted on this site under the title ‘The Red Giant’, that moved me to start a blogging career.

In ‘The Red Giant’ the term ‘Western Christian civilization’ is repeated twenty-eight times, in contrast to ‘European civilization’. As the author put it:

It’s the Western Christian civilization that feeds all these processes (population explosion etc.). So the Western Christian civilization is in fact the worst enemy of what I call European civilization: another reason for wanting the Western Christian civilization to go away.

Even sophisticated intellectuals of the Alt-Right cannot see the difference between Western Christian civilisation and European civilisation, the latter so beautifully expressed in the sculpture of Apollo or in the immense temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders that I would call the Notre Dame of the Ancient World. In fact, not even Lord Clark himself, the author of the 1969 TV series Civilisation, could distinguish between the two.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 116

The non-white Honorius:
one of the children-emperors.

Editors’ note: To contextualise this translation of a 5-page section, ‘Honorius, Stilicho, Alaric and the first incursions of Germanic Christians’ taken from Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, read the abridged translation of Volume I.
 

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At first, in the name of the western emperor Honorius (395-423), crowned when his father Theodosius was already on his deathbed, and who was only eleven years old when he died, the half-vandal and general of the imperial army (magister militum), Flavius Stilicho, ruled.

Son of a Vandal officer, who led a cavalry regiment with Valens, Stilicho was Catholic. He ordered that the golden ornaments to be removed from the doors of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. He also ordered the burning of the very ancient Sibylline books, and prosecuted the ‘heretics’, especially the Donatists, thanks to the intervention of Augustine, and restored the privileges of the Church. […]

In Stilicho’s time the irruption in Italy of the Visigoths occurred, a Germanic tribe that had embraced Christianity prematurely. The Goths became the main missionaries among the Germanic peoples. Soon most of the ‘barbarians’ that had settled since the middle of the 4th century in the Danubian provinces, especially in Pannonia and Messia (where in other times there were already ‘bishoprics’), were no longer ‘pagans’ but Arians. According to the historian of the Church Socrates, impressed by their defeat before Constantine, that is, forced by the sword, the Goths ‘believed in the religion of Christianity’.

These despots eager of power constantly fought against the Romans—in 315, 323, 328—who defeated them, with an especially serious defeat in 332, in which their dead, which apparently included women and children, were estimated at one hundred thousand. The most recent investigations also admit that Constantine’s warlike successes and the political relationship of the Goths with the Roman Empire gave ‘impulse’ to the Christianisation of the latter. Already bishop Theodoret, the father of the Church, said that such policy proved its effectiveness in a curious saying: ‘The historical facts show that war gives us greater benefits than peace.’ […]

According to Eunapius of Sardis (around 345-420), a fervent enemy of the Christians, the betrayal of the monks also allowed the attack of Alaric in the Thermopylae. Be that as it may, Greece had never been so devastated before: Macedonia, Thessaly, Boeotia, Attica. The Thebans were saved by their thick walls. Athens (which was protected by Athena and Achilles, a tendentious pre-Christian tale) was terribly plundered. The rest of the country, its villages, temples and works of art, suffered harsh punishments; Corinth was set on fire, and Boeotia was desolate for decades. […]

Honorius, mounted on the victory cart and with Stilicho at his side, hurried to Rome, for the Milvian Bridge, with the glorious spoils of victory in the escort of Christ, as Prudentius sings.

Unhistorical Jesus, 3

Editor’s note: Today I changed the subtitle of this site from ‘Two lies are murdering the white race’ to ‘The Jewish Question and Christianity are one and the same’. In the excerpts reproduced below from chapter 5 of Richard Carrier’s magnum opus, he wrote:

Thus it should not surprise us that Christianity converted all the military imagery of popular messianism into spiritual metaphor, to represent what we would now call a culture war.

Emphasis appears in the original. In the next page he added:

That the Christians and the Zealots both may have come from the same sectarian background, and pursued collectively the only two possible solutions to the problem facing the Jews at the time, reveals Christianity to be more akin to something inevitable than something surprising.

Definitively, Carrier’s On The Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reasons for Doubt contains key passages that substantiate the content of the masthead of this site, the Rome vs. Judea essay, linked in the sticky post above.

These are the first paragraphs of the chapter “Background Knowledge (Context)”:

 

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The previous chapter surveyed the background knowledge directly relating to the Christian religion (origins, beliefs and development) that we must take into account when evaluating any hypothesis regarding the historical existence of Jesus. This chapter will survey the most important background knowledge regarding the context in which Christianity began (political, religious and literary), as well as its most pertinent scientific and historical analogs.

Elements of Political Context

The origin of Christianity makes sense only within the peculiar political context that produced it, and in light of analogous movements throughout history.

Element 23: The Romans annexed Judea to the imperial province of Syria in 6 CE, bringing the center of the Holy Land under direct control of the Roman government, ending Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem and the temple of the Most High God, along with most of the Holy Land that had been promised by God to the Jews.

In fact, God had promised that the Jews would not only rule their own land, city and temple, but subjugate all peoples and rule the whole world as the chosen people of God (Zech. 14.9-18; Psalm 2), which was also a common feature of messianic belief (Elements 3 and 4), one timetable for which predicted this outcome was imminent (Element 7). The Roman annexation contradicted all of this, which would have inevitably produced cognitive dissonance between what Jews expected (the fulfillment of God’s promise) and what happened (the Jews lost their sovereignty and became a subject people). The result was a permanent state of violent tension between the Roman occupation and Jewish rebellion that concluded in three devastating wars (against Nero in 66-70 CE, against Trajan in 115-117 and against Hadrian in 132-136) and countless smaller rebellions (beginning with Judas the Galilean in 6 CE), all of which the Jews consistently lost.

Element 24: (a) Owing to their vastly greater resources (in materials, money and manpower) and superior technical ability (in the training, equipping and supplying of their armies) the Romans were effectively invincible and could never be expelled from Judea by force or diplomacy. (b) This fact was so empirically evident and publicly tested and demonstrated on such a wide scale that it had to have been evident to at least some Jews, even while many either didn’t see it, denied it even when seen, or imagined celestial aid would redress the imbalance.

In other words, the traditional messianic hope (of a conclusive military victory over all of Israel’s neighbors) was a doomed hope, and that would have been obvious to at least some Jews. History would of course decisively prove this, as messianic movements were either wiped out quickly (Element 4) or led to the utter defeat and destruction of Jerusalem and the entire Jewish polity (already in the Neronian War of the 60s; even more so in the subsequent wars under Trajan and Hadrian: Element 23). This had happened before, most infamously to both Carthage and Corinth in the same year (146 BCE), which any educated observer would know about. In fact, up to the time Christianity began, Roman victory was always the outcome, without exception, for every nation that ever stood against any concerted Roman conquest and occupation.

For example, even the infamous defeat of Varus by the Germans in 9 CE was decisively redressed by Germanicus only a few years later, illustrating the futility even of a victory against the Romans. This was a phenomenon so consistently repeated that it had already become a popular joke by the time of Christ, which is called even still a ‘Pyrrhic victory ‘, from the legend, widely circulated in antiquity, that in the third century BCE the Greek upstart Pyrrhus had won his victories against the Romans at such cost that he declared ‘one more victory and I’m done for’ (or words to that effect), which prophecy was fulfilled in short order. After centuries of history repeating itself like this without fail, only a fool would bank on a future rebellion against the Romans having any other outcome. And though fools were always to be found, not all men are fools.

It would therefore be extremely improbable if no early-first-century Jews could foresee this (even if most, evidently, did not). Predicting this outcome would have been all the easier for anyone aware of recent analogous events, from the fates of Carthage and Corinth to the early Jewish rebellions described by Josephus, which were so quickly and easily suppressed that the reality must have become apparent to some. It would have been a simple matter to put two and two together: Roman military might plus Jewish military messianism equals the inevitable destruction of the Jews.

Element 25: The corruption and moral decay of the Jewish civil and temple elite (regardless of to what extent it was actual or merely perceived) was a widespread target of condemnation and often a cause of factionalizing among Jewish sects. This is evident throughout the narrative of Josephus regarding the causes and outcomes of the Jewish War, as well as in the literature recovered at Qumran (e.g. 4Q500), and in much of the apocryphal, apocalyptic and pseudepigraphical literature produced or popularized by first-century Jews. It is also a persistent theme in the Christian Gospels, which in that context do not seem aberrant in this respect but in fact typical.

Element 26: For many Jews in the early first century (in accord with the previous element) the Jewish elite became the scapegoats for God’s failed promises (in accord with Elements 23 and 24): the reason God withheld their fulfillment (and instead allowed the Romans to rule) was imagined to be the Jewish elite’s failure to keep God’s commandments and govern justly. God would come through only when all sin had ended and been atoned for (Dan. 9.5-24). The Dead Sea Scrolls, for example, repeatedly denounce the Jewish civil and temple elite as responsible for the evil that has befallen the land, in terms similar to those found in the Christian Gospels. […]

Element 27: (a) The temple at Jerusalem was the central focus of most Jewish messianic hopes (as, for the Samaritans, was Mount Gerizim), which entailed that as long as the ‘corrupt’ Jewish elite control led it, God would continue Israel’s ‘punishment’ (in accord with Elements 25 and 26); and as long as the Romans remained in power, they would maintain the corrupt Jewish elite’s control of the temple. Accordingly, (b) Jewish religious violence often aimed at seizing physical control of the temple and its personnel.

Element 28. […] But if any Jews had realized that such a reconquest was impossible (as some must, in accord with Element 24) but still sought a means to escape their cognitive dissonance (in accord with Element 23) without denying the evident facts or abandoning deep-seated religious beliefs, then for them only one solution remained: to deny the physical importance of the temple at Jerusalem itself. […]

Therefore, if any religious innovator had proposed that God had arranged a supreme sacrifice capable of cleansing all sins once and for all (such as, e.g., through the ritual atoning sacrifice of his firstborn son: Element 10), and further arranged that God’s spirit would, as a result, dwell forever within each individual who pledged himself to him (and thus no longer dwell, or dwell only, with in the temple at Jerusalem: Element 18), then his message would resonate among many Jews as an ingenious and attractive solution to the problem of Jewish elite corruption and Roman invincibility (Elements 23-26), by eliminating the relevance of the temple to messianic hopes, and thus eliminating the basis for any doomed military conflict with Rome […].

The basic Christian gospel—imagining that the death of a messiah had conclusively atoned for all sins, and that by joining with him God would dwell in us (instead of the temple)—would thus be recognized by many Jews as an ingenious and attractive idea. […]

The only sacred space this doctrine required one to physically control was one’s own body, a notion already popularized by philosophical sects such as the Stoics, who taught that nothing external can conquer a man who in his wisdom remains internally free. Not death, nor imprisonment, nor torture represented any victory over him. This was therefore a battle one could always win, even against the ‘invincible’ Romans. One merely had to believe it, to feel it was true, that God now lived in you. No other evidence was required. Thus it should not surprise us that Christianity converted all the military imagery of popular messianism into spiritual metaphor, to represent what we would now call a culture war. […]

The relevance of this observation is that the earliest Christian gospel makes far more sense as a product of its political context than it does when completely divorced from that context, and in consequence, theories of historicity [of Jesus] that ignore that fact are unlikely to have any objective merit. The centrality of the temple was a continual problem for the Jews. A physical location requiring political control entailed military domination. So long as the Romans had the latter, the Jews would never have the former. The Zealots took the logical option of attempting to remove the Romans and restore Jewish control. But the Christians took the only other available option: removing the temple from their entire soteriological (or ‘salvation’) scheme.

Christians could then just await God’s wrath to come from heaven (in accord with Element 10), while in the meantime, God’s promise could be delivered unto the kingdom they had spiritually created (Rom. 14.17-18; I Cor. 4.19-20), first in an anticipatory way (in the moral and ‘supernatural’ success of the Christian community), and then in the most final way (in the apocalypse itself: e.g. I Cor. 15.24, 50; 6.9-10; Gal. 5.19-25; 1 Thess. 4.10- 5.15). That the Christians and the Zealots both may have come from the same sectarian background, and pursued collectively the only two possible solutions to the problem facing the Jews at the time, reveals Christianity to be more akin to something inevitable than something surprising.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 115

Editors’ note: To contextualise these translations of Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, read the abridged translation of Volume I.
 
Head hunting

Christendom liked to contemplate the heads of defeated enemies; the rulers found pleasure in it and also the governed. It was customary to send throughout the Empire the heads of the notable men who had been punished, as trophies of war. As Mark Twain said in The Mysterious Stranger, ‘They all did their best—to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history—but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognized that all the competent killers are Christians…’

Already Constantine, the first Christian ruler, made that in the year 312, after the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, his troops took the head of the emperor Maxentius in the triumphal procession, throwing stones and excrement, and then sent to Africa. Also the head of the usurper Julius Nepotianus, who rebelled probably at the behest of Constantinople, was paraded in the year 350 in Rome, the 28th day of his government.

Three years later, in many provinces of the Empire they could contemplate the head of the usurper Magnentius; as a sign of Christian victory, the heads of Procopius, a relative of Emperor Julian, in 366; of Magnus Maximus in 388, and of Eugene in 394. At the end of the 4th century or the beginning of the 5th century, the heads of Rufinus, Constantine III, Jovin, Sebastian and even, at times, the relatives of fallen persons in disgrace were exposed.

In addition to their hostile policy to the Goths, the governments of Arcadius and Honorius were characterised for persecuting so-called ‘pagans’ and ‘heretics’, and for taking even more stringent measures than those of their father, who in 388 still greeted the priests of classical culture in Emona, belonging at that time to Italy.

Published in: on March 2, 2019 at 6:55 am  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 115  

Darkening Age, 21

Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Story of Saint Paul: The Burning of the
Books at Ephesus
, designed ca. 1529, woven before 1546 (medium:
wool and silk, woven under the direction of Jan van der Vyst).

 

Editor’s note. Bold-typed emphasis in the last paragraph is mine. In chapter eleven of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, Catherine Nixey wrote:

In Egypt, a fearsome monk and saint named Shenoute entered the house of a man suspected of being a pagan and removed all his books. The Christian habit of book-burning went on to enjoy a long history. A millennium later, the Italian preacher Savonarola wanted the works of the Latin love poets Catullus, Tibullus and Ovid to be banned while another preacher said that all of these ‘shameful books’ should be let go, because if you are Christians you are obliged to burn them’…

* * *

Before there had been competing philosophical schools, all equally valid, all equally arguable. Now, for the first time, there was right—and there was wrong. Now, there was what the Bible said—and there was everything else. And from now on any belief that was ‘wrong’ could, in the right circumstances, put you in grave danger.

As Dirk Rohmann has highlighted, Augustine said that works that opposed Christian doctrine had no place in Christian society and had scant time for much of Greek philosophy. The Greeks, Augustine said dismissively, ‘have no ground for boasting of their wisdom’. The Church’s authors were greater, and more ancient. John Chrysostom went far further. He described pagan philosophy as a madness, the mother of evils and a disease.

Classical literature was filled with the incorrect and demonic and it came under repeated and vicious attack from the Church Fathers. Atheism, science and philosophy were all targeted. The very idea that mankind could explain everything through science was, as Rohmann has shown, disparaged as folly. ‘Stay clear of all pagan books!’ the Apostolic Constitutions advised Christians bluntly. ‘For what do you have to do with such foreign discourses, or laws, or false prophets, which subvert the faith of the unstable?’ If you wish to read about history, it continued, ‘you have the Books of Kings; if philosophy and poetry, you have the Prophets, the Book of Job and the Proverbs, in which you will find greater depth of sagacity than in all of the pagan poets and philosophers because this is the voice of the Lord… Do therefore always stay clear of all such strange and diabolical books!’…

An accusation of ‘magic’ was frequently the prelude to a spate of burnings. In Beirut, at the turn of the sixth century, a bishop ordered Christians, in the company of civil servants, to examine the books of those suspected of this. Searches were made, books were seized from suspects and then brought to the centre of the city and placed in a pyre. A crowd was ordered to come and watch as the Christians lit this bonfire in front of the church of the Virgin Mary. The demonic deceptions and ‘barbarous and atheistic arrogance’ of these books were condemned as ‘everybody’ watched ‘the magic books and the demonic signs burn’. As with the destruction of temples, there was no shame in this…

What did the books burned on such occasions really contain? Doubtless some did contain ‘magic’—such practices were popular prior to Christianity and certainly didn’t disappear with its arrival. But they were not all. The list given in the life of St Simeon clearly refers to the destruction of books of Epicureanism, the philosophy that advocated the theory of atomism. ‘Paganism’ appears to have been a charge in itself—and while it could mean outlawed practices it could, at a stretch, refer to almost any antique text that contained the gods. Christians were rarely good chroniclers of what they burned.

Sometimes, clues to the texts remain. In Beirut, just before the bonfire of the books, pious Christians had gone to the house of a man suspected of owning books that were ‘hateful to God’. The Christians told him that they ‘wanted the salvation and recovery of his soul’; they wanted ‘liberation’. These Christians then entered his home, inspected his books and searched each room. Nothing was found—until the man was betrayed by his slave. Forbidden books were discovered in a secret compartment in a chair. The man whose house it was—clearly well aware of what such ‘liberation’ might involve—‘fell to the ground and begged us, in tears, not to hand him over to the law’. He was spared the law but forced to burn his books. As our chronicler Zachariah records with pleasure, ‘when the fire was lit he threw the books of magic into it with his own hands, and said that he thanked God who had granted him with his visit and liberated him from the slavery and error of demons’. One of the books removed from the house in Beirut is mentioned: it is very possible it was not magic but a history by a disapproved-of Egyptian historian.

Divination and prophecy were often used as pretexts to attack a city’s elite. One of the most infamous assaults on books and thinkers took place in Antioch. Here, at the end of the fourth century, an accusation of treasonous divination led to a full-scale purge that targeted the city’s intellectuals. By sheer chance, Ammianus Marcellinus, a non-Christian and one of the finest historians of the era, happened to be in the city; a wonderful piece of luck for later historians and wretched luck for the man himself, who was horrified. As Ammianus describes it,

the racks were set up, and leaden weights, cords, and scourges put in readiness. The air was filled with the appalling yells of savage voices mixed with the clanking of chains, as the torturers in the execution of their grim task shouted: ‘Hold, bind, tighten, more yet.’

A noble of ‘remarkable literary attainments’ was one of the first to be arrested and tortured; he was followed by a clutch of philosophers who were variously tortured, burned alive and beheaded. Educated men in the city who had considered themselves fortunate now, Damocles-like, realized the fragility of their fortune. Looking up, it was as if they saw ‘swords hung over their heads suspended by horse-hairs from the ceiling’.

And, once again, there was the burning of books as bonfires of volumes were used as post-hoc justification for the slaughter. Ammianus Marcellinus writes with distaste that

innumerable books and whole heaps of documents, which had been routed out from various houses, were piled up and burnt under the eyes of the judges. They were treated as forbidden texts to allay the indignation caused by the executions, though most of them were treatises on various liberal arts and on jurisprudence.

Many intellectuals started to pre-empt the persecutors and set light to their own books. The destruction was extensive and ‘throughout the eastern provinces whole libraries were burnt by their owners for fear of a similar fate; such was the terror which seized all hearts’. Ammianus wasn’t the only intellectual to be scared in these decades. The orator Libanius burned a huge number of his own works…

* * *

The Great Library of Alexandria might have attempted to collect books on every topic, but Christianity was going to be considerably more selective…

One surviving Byzantine manuscript of Ovid has been scarred by a series of ridiculous redactions—even the word ‘girl’ seems to have been considered too racy to remain. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Jesuits were still censoring and bowdlerizing their editions of the classics. Individual abbots, far from Umberto Eco’s avenging intellectual ideal, sometimes censored their own libraries. At some point in the fifteenth century, a note was left in a mutilated manuscript in Vienna. ‘At this point in the book,’ it records, ‘there were thirteen leaves containing works by the apostate Julian; the abbot of the monastery… read them and realised that they were dangerous, so he threw them into the sea.’

Much classical literature was preserved by Christians. Far more was not. To survive, manuscripts needed to be cared for, recopied. Classical ones were not. Medieval monks, at a time when parchment was expensive and classical learning held cheap, simply took pumice stones and scrubbed the last copies of classical works from the page. Rohmann has pointed out that there is even evidence to suggest that in some cases ‘whole groups of classical works were deliberately selected to be deleted and overwritten in around AD 700, often with texts authored by [the fathers of the Church or by] legal texts that criticised or banned pagan literature’. Pliny, Plautus, Cicero, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Livy and many, many more: all were scrubbed away by the hands of believers…

The texts that suffer in this period are the texts of the wicked and sinful pagans. From the entirety of the sixth century only ‘scraps’ of two manuscripts by the satirical Roman poet Juvenal survive and mere ‘remnants’ of two others, one by the Elder and one by the Younger Pliny.

From the next century there survives nothing save a single fragment of the poet Lucan.

From the start of the next century: nothing at all.

Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings ‘of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated’. He warmed to the theme in another sermon: ‘Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!’

The fifth-century writer Theodoret of Cyrrhus observed the decline of Greek literature with similar enthusiasm. ‘Those elaborately decorated fables have been utterly banned,’ he gloated. ‘Who is today’s head of the Stoic heresy? Who is safeguarding the teachings of the Peripatetics?’ No one, evidently, for Theodoret concludes this homily with the observation that ‘the whole earth under the sun has been filled with sermons’.

Augustine contentedly observed the rapid decline of the atomist philosophy in the first century of Christian rule. By his time, he recorded, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy had been ‘suppressed’—the word is his. The opinions of such philosophers ‘have been so completely eradicated and suppressed… that if any school of error now emerged against the truth, that is, against the Church of Christ, it would not dare to step forth for battle if it were not covered under the Christian name’…

Much was preserved. Much, much more was destroyed. It has been estimated that less than ten per cent of all classical literature has survived into the modern era. For Latin, the figure is even worse: it is estimated that only one hundredth of all Latin literature remains. If this was ‘preservation’—as it is often claimed to be—then it was astonishingly incompetent. If it was censorship, it was brilliantly effective. The ebullient, argumentative classical world was, quite literally, being erased.

Unhistorical Jesus, 2

An icon of Saint Mark the Evangelist

 
How we know Mark was the earliest Gospel

How did students of the four Gospels determine that the earliest of them is Mark? The answer is fairly simple and the case is overwhelmingly clear. How certain is the conclusion? It is so certain that only a small percentage of scholars hold to any other theory. The large agreement among different interpreters of the Gospels that Mark came first is for a simply reason. That reason is what happens when you lay side by side the three “Synoptic” Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

These three Gospels have been called “Synoptic,” a word which means “seeing together,” because they share in common a large amount of material, follow the same basic order, and stand apart from John, whose Gospel is unique among the four.

Long ago people realized you could display the text of the three Synoptic Gospels side by side in columns to form a synopsis or parallel Gospel or a harmony. When you do this you find that a large percentage of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are parallel. They share a large amount of verbatim agreement, though each of the three has unique ways of diverging from each other in small and large matters. Much is the same and some is different.

For a long time, people who have studied the Gospels in synopsis (parallel columns) have referred to “the Synoptic Problem.” That problem is: how do we account for the agreements and differences in the parallel accounts and in the other material in the Gospels? Many of the observations I will share here come from a book that I think is the simplest and best-explained handbook on the topic, by Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze.
 

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Editor’s note: The rest of the above article may be read: here.

I must refer again to the bold-typed words in the first instalment of this series. For those priests of the 14 words who are knowledgeable about the secular approaches to the New Testament, the implications of those bolded words are enormous. But for white nationalists who are not so educated in this matter, before you continue reading my Mondays’ essay-review of Carrier’s book, I would recommend a little online research to become familiar with the evidence that Mark was the earliest of the four canonical gospels.

This is fundamental, as the other gospels are mere re-writings of the original Mark gospel, where the authors added fictional material of their own to an already fictional talltale.