Christianity’s Criminal History, 102

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. In the previous chapter, not translated for this site, the author describes the high level of education in the Greco-Roman world before the Christians burned entire libraries and destroyed an amazing quantity of classical art.

 
Since the time of Jesus Christianity has taught to hate everything that is not at God’s service

The Gospel was originally an apocalyptic, eschatological message, a preaching of the imminent end of the world. The faith of Jesus and his disciples was, in this respect, firm as a rock, so that any pedagogical question lacked any relevance for them. They did not show the slightest interest in education or culture. Science and philosophy, as well as art, did not bother them at all.

We had to wait no less than three centuries to have a Christian art. The ecclesiastical dispositions, even those enacted in later times, measure artists, comedians, brothel owners and other types with the same theological standard.

Soon it was the case that the ‘fisherman’s language’ (especially, it seems, that of the Latin Bibles) provoked mockery throughout all the centuries, although the Christians defend it ostensibly. This, in despite Jerome and Augustine confess on more than one occasion how much horror is caused by the strange, clumsy and often false style of the Bible. Augustine even said it sounded like stories of old women! (In the 4th century some biblical texts were poured into Virgil hexameters, without making them any less painful.) Homines sine litteris et idiotae (illiterate and ignorant men), thus the Jewish priests describe the apostles of Jesus in the Latin version of the Bible.

As the Kingdom of God did not come upon the Earth, the Church replaced it with the Kingdom of Heaven to which the believers had to orient their entire lives. This meant according the plans of the Church; for the benefit of the Church, and in the interest of the high clergy. For whenever and wherever this clergy speaks of the Church, of Christ, of God and of eternity, it does so solely and exclusively for their own benefit. Pretending to advocate for the health of the believer’s soul, they thought only of their own health. All the virtues of which Christianity made special propaganda, that is, humility, faith, hope, charity, and more, lead to that final goal.

In the New Testament it is no longer human pedagogy what matters, which is barely addressed. What is at stake is the pedagogy of divine redemption.

In the work of Irenaeus, creator of a first theological pedagogy, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Gregory of Nazianzus and Gregory of Nyssa, the idea of a divine pedagogy is often discussed and God becomes the proper educator. Ergo all education must, in turn, be engaged in the first and last line of God and this must be his role.

That is why Origen teaches that ‘we disdain everything that is chaotic, transient and apparent and we must do everything possible to access life with God’. Hence, John Chrysostom requires parents to educate ‘champions of Christ’ and that they should demand the early and persistent reading of the Bible. Hence, Jerome, who once called a little girl a recruit and a fighter for God, wrote that ‘we do not want to divide equally between Christ and the world’.

‘All education is subject to Christianization’ (Ballauf). Nor does the Doctor of the Church Basil consider ‘an authentic good he who only provides earthly enjoyment’. What was encouraged is the ‘attainment of another life’. That is ‘the only thing that, in our opinion, we should love and pursue with all our strength. All that is not oriented to that goal we must dismiss as lacking in value’.

Such educational principles that are considered chimerical, or ‘worthless’ (everything that does not relate to a supposed life after death), find their foundation even in Jesus himself: ‘If someone comes to me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his brothers, his sisters and even his own life, he can not be my disciple’.

How many misfortunes such words have been sowing for two thousand years…

Christianity’s Criminal History, 91

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

 
There is no evidence of Peter’s stay and death in Rome

Nor was he ever the bishop of Rome. It is an absurd idea, but it is the basis of a whole doctrine that the popes and their theologians literally put on the roof. There is no definitive proof, even that he was ever in Rome.

The Christian community of Rome was founded neither by Peter nor by Paul or the ‘blessed founding apostles’ (in the 6th century, Archbishop Dorotheus of Thessalonica attributed a double bishopric to them), but by unknown Judeo-Christians. Already then, between these and the Jews there were so serious disturbances that Emperor Claudius, in the middle of the 1st century, ordered the expulsion of Jews and Christians, among whom no differences were made: Judaeos, impulsore Chresto, assidue tumultuantes [Claudius] Roma expulit (‘Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from Rome’—Suetonius).

Peter’s stay in Rome has never been demonstrated, although today, in the era of ecumenism and the approximation of Christian churches, even many Protestant scholars assume it. But assumptions are no demonstration. Even when according to legends full of fantasy, Peter suffered martyrdom in Rome and was crucified as his Lord and Saviour, although, out of a desire for humility, with his head down…

In reality, there is not a single solid proof about that. Not even Paul, who would be the one who founded the Roman community with Peter, and who writes his last epistles from Rome (although he never cites his adversary, Peter, in them) knows anything about it. Nor is there any data about it in the history of the apostles, the synoptic Gospels. Likewise, Clement’s important first Epistle, from the end of the 1st century, knows nothing of the history of ‘You are Peter’ or of another appointment by Jesus, nor of any decisive role of this apostle. Clement limits himself to reporting with imprecise words about his martyrdom. In short, throughout the 1st century there is silence in this regard, as well as in the 2nd century.

The oldest ‘witness’ of Peter’s stay in Rome, Dionysius of Corinth, is suspect. First, because his testimony comes from the year 170 approximately. Secondly, because this bishop is very far from Rome. And thirdly, because he affirms that Peter and Paul not only found together the Church of Rome but also that of Corinth: an aspect that contradicts Paul’s own testimony. Does a guarantor of this type deserve more confidence about the Roman tradition?

But those who doubt this, or even deny it, ‘only raise an infamous monument to their ignorance and fanaticism’ (Gröner, Catholic). But is not precisely the other way around? Is not fanaticism more frequent among the faithful than among the sceptics? And also ignorance? Don’t religions, Catholicism and the papacy live on it? Don’t their dogmas overflow in the irrational and supernatural, in logical absurdities? Do they fear nothing more than authentic criticism? Haven’t they instituted a strict censorship, the index, the ecclesiastical authorisation to be able to print, the anti-modernist oath and the bonfire?

Catholics need Peter’s visit, they need the corresponding activity of this man in Rome, who will head as ‘founder apostle’ the list of Roman bishops, the chain of his ‘successors’. In this theory the ‘apostolic’ tradition and the primacy of the pope are largely based.

They affirm therefore, especially in popular writings, that the presence of Peter in Rome ‘has been demonstrated by historical research beyond all doubt’ (F.J. Koch); ‘it is a result of the investigation confirmed in a general way’ (Kösters, Jesuit); it is ‘totally incontestable’ (Franzen); it is attested in ‘all the ancient Christian world’ (Schuck); there is ‘no’ news of antiquity ‘as sure as this’ (Kuhn), which does not make any more certain the image that Peter has ‘set up his episcopal chair, his seat, in Rome’ (Specht / Bauer).

In 1982, for the Catholic Pesch ‘there is no longer any doubt’ that Peter died martyred in Rome under Nero. (However, the martyred bishop Ignatius does not say anything about it in the 2nd century.) Pesch considers it unquestionable. But neither he nor anyone else provides any proof. For him it is only ‘an attractive idea to assume that Peter left for Rome’.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 88

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

 
All the ‘general epistles’ of the New Testament, seven in all, are fakes

Among the so-called general epistles are the first and second of Peter; the first, second and third of John, that of James and that of Judas. Still in the 4th century, at the time of the Father of the Church Eusebius, although they were read in most of the churches, only two were unanimously considered authentic: the first of John and the first of Peter.

It is not until the end of the 4th century that all the general epistles are considered canonical in the West. The situation is now different and all of them are designated as ‘anonymous or pseudo-epigraphic writings’, no matter how much the ancient Church introduced them with the name of several authors (Balz).
 

Peter

Under the name of Peter, a Christian falsified two epistles. This is certainly true for the later writings of the New Testament such as the Second Epistle of Peter, something that even Catholic scholars no longer doubt.

This letter, which, suspiciously, is almost a literal copy in many passages of that of Judas, enjoyed little confidence in the old Church. Throughout the 2nd century it is not quoted. The first to affirm its indisputability was Origen, but still in the 4th century Bishop Eusebius, the historian of the Church, states that it is not authentic, and Didymus the Blind, a famous Alexandrian scholar whose disciples included Rufinus and St. Jerome, says it is faked.

‘Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ’, thus begins the forger to legitimise himself as a witness, has ‘seen himself’ the magnificence of Jesus and also heard the call of God ‘from heaven’ in his christening. He not only warns the faithful that God finds them ‘without spot or worthy of punishment’, but attacks the ‘false prophets’, the ‘false teachers’ and advises to capture and kill them ‘as irrational animals’.

The Second Epistle of Peter, which is intended to be taken as the testament of the apostle, was written long after his death, perhaps three generations later; and was attributed to St. Peter in order to counteract the doubts about the Parousia. The letter is full of controversy against the ‘heretics’, especially the blasphemers ‘who go through life freely and say: where is your promised return? Since the parents died, everything remains as it was at the beginning of creation’. The daring forger, who claims the same apostolic authority as Paul, simulates from the beginning to the end of the epistle the fiction of a Petrine origin. He supports it with his own testimonies seen and heard, and appeals to ‘the deep feelings of his beloved ones’. He also claims for himself the First Epistle of Peter, even though the great differences between both letters exclude the possibility that they come from the same author.

But it is notorious that the First Epistle of Peter is also falsified notwithstanding the fact that, for Luther, it is ‘one of the noblest books of the New Testament and the authentic Gospel’. It is precisely the evident kinship with the Pauline epistles, confirmed by modern exegesis (for what Luther was so enthusiastic) that makes Peter’s authorship unlikely.

Moreover, the place where it is written is apparently Rome, because by the end the author expressly greets ‘from Babylon’: a frequent secret name in the apocalyptic literature for the capital of the Empire, where Peter should have been when he suffered martyrdom in 64 AD. However, the name of Babylon to designate Rome appears in all likelihood because of the impression caused by the destruction of Jerusalem, and this happened in AD 70, that is, several years after the death of Peter. It is also extremely strange that the famous canonical index of the Roman Church, the Muratorian Canon (around 200), does not mention this epistle of Peter: a letter of its presumed founder. We will not review other criteria, also formal, that make less and less likely a Petrine origin of this document.

About the First Epistle of Peter, whose word ‘Peter’ carries the tagline of ‘an apostle of Jesus Christ’, recently Norbert Brox has stated in Faische Verfasserangaben (book author information) that, by its content, character and historical circumstances, it shows ‘no connection with the figure of the historical Peter; nothing in this epistle makes this name credible’. Today it is considered ‘completely a pseudepigraphic’ (Marxsen), ‘without any doubt a pseudonym writing’ (Kümmel). In short, another falsification of the New Testament, conceived between the years 90 and 95, in which the deceiver indiscreetly invokes Christ, and demands to be ‘holy in all your life’s journey’, ‘to reject all evil and falsehood’, not to say ‘lies’ and ‘always demand pure spiritual milk’.
 

John

According to the ecclesiastical doctrine, three biblical letters come from the apostle John. However, in none of them the one who writes cites his name.

The First Epistle of John started to be quoted as early as the middle of the 2nd century; and in those times it was already the subject of criticism. The Muratorian Canon reviews, around the year 200, only two epistles of John, the first and one of the so-called small epistles. It is not until the beginning of the 3rd century when Clement of Alexandria notarises the three epistles. However, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries they were not considered canonical everywhere. This only happened well into the 4th century. ‘They are not recognised unanimously’, Bishop Eusebius writes, ‘they are ascribed to the evangelist or to another John’.

The First Epistle of John is so similar in its style, vocabulary and ideology to the Gospel of John that most Bible researchers attribute both writings to the same author, as tradition has always done. But since the latter does not come from the apostle John, neither can the First Epistle of John be his. And since the second epistle is, so to speak, an abbreviated edition (thirteen verses) of the first one, which is almost unanimously attributed to the same author, nor can it have been penned by the apostle John. And that he even wrote a third one is something that the ancient Church already questioned.


 
Note of the Ed.: This handsome 1526 painting by Albrecht Dürer, The Apostles in the Alte Pinakothek of Munich shows Peter and John. It cannot be more deceptive from the historical point of view. Not only the Semites of the 1st century looked like Untermenschen as we have already seen, but the Apostle John did not even write the gospel attributed to him.

Even conservative bibliologists admit today that the author of the three epistles of John is not the apostle, as the Church has been teaching for two millennia; but that he was one of his disciples and that the ‘Johannine tradition’ had transmitted it. About the main epistle, the first, which from the beginning was not the subject of discussions, Horst Balz says: ‘Just as the apostle John, son of Zebedee and brother of James, cannot be considered author of the homonymous Gospel, so much less he may be behind the First Epistle of John’.

 
Other apostles

The alleged epistle of James was also falsified. Like most of the ‘general epistles’ it only imitates the epistolary form. This text, which is especially difficult to fix temporarily, contains proportionately few Christian features. It borrows numerous elements from the Cynic and Stoic philosophies and even more from the wisdom of the Jewish Old Testament, for which many authors consider it a slightly retouched Jewish writing.

Although the epistle claims to have been written by James, brother of the Lord, many important reasons exclude this possibility. For example, he only quotes the name of Jesus Christ, his divine brother, twice. He does not miss a syllable while writing about the laws of Jewish ritual and ceremonial, but, unlike most authors of biblical letters, he uses the formalities of Greek epistolary. He writes in good Greek, something unusual for a New Testament author. It is a surprising text with rich vocabulary and many literary forms such as paronomasia, homoioteleuron, etc. This and many other features show that this epistle, which constantly preaches those who apostrophise as ‘dear brothers’, the ‘faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord in Glory’, is a ‘more elaborate version of literary falsification’ (Brox) than the First Epistle of Peter.

It is curious that the epistle of James, later canonised in the West, is absent in the Muratorian Canon, Tertullian and Origen. Bishop Eusebius reports on the little recognition it enjoyed and the questioning of its canonicity. Luther also dismissed it. He even comes to threaten to ‘throw the rubbish into the fire’ and ‘expel it from the Bible’.

Finally, the brief Epistle of Judas, the last of the epistles of the New Testament which in the first verse claims to have been written by ‘Judas, slave of Jesus Christ, the brother of James’, is also included in the numerous falsifications of the ‘Sacred Scriptures’. This epistle also betrays ‘clearly later epochs’ (Marxsen).

It is a matter of fact ‘that in the early times falsifications were made under the name of the apostles’ (Speyer); that authenticity is claimed about them, that the ‘apostles’ give their names and that the texts were written in the first person. It is also a fact about ‘all the writings of the New Testament’, as the theologian Marxsen emphasizes, that ‘we can only provide the exact names of two authors: Paul and John (the author of the Book of Revelation)’. And, finally, it is also a fact, and one of the most worthy of attention, that more than half of all New Testament books are unauthentic, that is, they have been falsified or appear under a false name.

In the next section we will show pars pro toto (part of the whole) that, in addition, in the ‘Book of books’ there is a whole series of counterfeits in the form of interpolations.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 86

Saint John the Evangelist, a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Domenichino. The problem with the splendid Christian art is that the painters have Nordicized the Semites of the 1st century. Had photography existed in the 1st century of our era, the Aryans would never have projected their beautiful physiques on the ugly rabble of Palestine.

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Neither the Gospel of Matthew, nor the Gospel of John, nor John’s Book of Revelation come from the apostles to whom the Church attributes them

Due to the great importance of the ‘apostolic tradition’, the Catholic Church published all the Gospels as books of the apostles or their disciples, which justified their prestige. But there is no proof that Mark and Luke, whose names appear in the New Testament, are disciples of the apostles; that Mark is identical to the companion of Peter, or that Luke was Paul’s companion. The four Gospels were transmitted anonymously.

The first ecclesiastical testimony in favour of ‘Mark’, the oldest of the evangelists, comes from Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, in the middle of the 2nd century. But today there are many researchers who criticise the testimony of Papias; call him ‘historically worthless’ (Marxsen), and even admit that Mark ‘has never heard and accompanied the Lord’.

The apostle Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, is not the author of the Gospel of Saint Matthew which appeared between the 70s and 90s, as is generally assumed. We ignore how he got the reputation of being an evangelist. It is evident that the first testimony comes from the historian of the Church, Eusebius, who in turn accepted the claim of Bishop Papias: about whom he writes that ‘intellectually, he should have been quite limited’. The title ‘Gospel of Matthew’ comes from a later period: we find it for the first time with Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian. Both died at the beginning of the 3rd century. If the apostle Matthew, contemporary of Jesus and witness of his works, had written the Gospel that is attributed to him, would he have had to borrow so heavily from Mark? Was he so forgetful? Did he have so little inspiration?

All critical biblical research considers that there is no reason why the name of the apostle Matthew should appear on the Gospel, since it was not written in Hebrew, as the tradition of the ancient Church affirms, but in Greek. No one is known to have seen the Aramaic original, nor is anyone known to have translated it into Greek; nor in the manuscripts or citations is the slightest remnant of an original Aramaic text preserved. Wolfgang Speyer rightly includes the Gospel of Matthew among ‘fakes under the mask of religious revelations’. K. Stendhal ventures that it is not even the work of a single person but of a ‘school’. According to an almost unanimous opinion of all the non-Catholic researchers of the Bible, that gospel is not based on eyewitnesses.

The most recent Catholic theologians often painfully turn on these facts. ‘In case our Greek version of the Gospel of Matthew had been preceded by an original version in Aramaic…’ writes K. H. Sohelkle. Of course, ‘in case’, says Hebbel with irony, is the most Germanic of the expressions’.

‘An original Aramaic Matthew must have been written several decades before the Greek Matthew’. Not even they themselves believe this. Lichtenberg was not the first to know but was the first to say it accurately: ‘It is clear that the Christian religion is supported more by those people who earn their bread with it than by those who are convinced of its truth’.

It is interesting that the first three Gospels were not published as apostolic, the same as the Acts of the Apostles, whose author we also ignore. The only thing we know is that he who wrote these Acts of the Apostles simply puts on the lips of his ‘heroes’ the most appropriate phrases: something common in old historiography. But these inventions not only constitute a third part of the Acts of the Apostles but are also their most important theological content and, what is particularly remarkable, the writing of this author represents more than a quarter of the entire New Testament. It is generally supposed that the author of the Gospel of Luke is identical to the travelling companion and ‘beloved physician’ of the apostle Paul. But neither the Gospel of Luke nor the Acts of the Apostles are very Pauline. Researchers do not believe today that either of these two works was written by a disciple of Paul.

The Acts of the Apostles and the three Gospels were not signed with the true name or even with pseudonyms: they were anonymous works like many other proto-Christian works, such as the Epistle to the Hebrews of the New Testament. No author of the canonical Gospels cites his name, not once does he mention a guarantor, as the later Christian treatises so often do. It was the Church the first to attribute all these anonymous writings to certain apostles and their disciples. However, such attributions are ‘hoaxes’, they are a ‘literary deception’ (Heinrici). Arnold Meyer notes that ‘with certainty only the letters of the apostle Paul are authentic, who was not an immediate disciple of Jesus’. But it is well known that not all those epistles that appear under his name come from Paul.

 
John

Since the end of the 2nd century, from Irenaeus, although at first not without controversy, the Church attributes without reason the fourth Gospel to the apostle John: something that all critical researchers have questioned for more than two hundred years. There are many weighty reasons for raising questions.

Although the author of this fourth Gospel, who curiously does not mention any author, affirms having leaned on the chest of Jesus and being a reliable witness, he assures and repeats emphatically that his ‘testimony is true’, that ‘he has seen’ and that he ‘knows’ he is telling the truth so that we ‘may believe’. But this Gospel did not appear until about the year 100, while the Apostle John had been killed long ago, towards the year 44 or, probably, in 62.

The Father of the Church, Irenaeus, who was the first to affirm the authorship of the apostle John, has intentionally confused him with a priest, John of Ephesus. And the author of the second and third epistles of John, which are also attributed to the apostle John, calls himself at the beginning, ‘the presbyter’ (a similar confusion also occurred between the apostle Philip and the ‘deacon’ Philip). Even Pope Damasus I, in his canonical index (382), does not attribute two of John’s epistles to the apostle John, but to ‘another John, the presbyter’. Also, even the Father of the Church Jerome denied that these second and third epistles belonged to the apostle. The arguments against the authorship of the apostle John as ‘the Evangelist’ are so numerous and convincing that even Catholic theologians are starting to manifest, little by little, their doubts.

The same could be said about the Book of Revelation of John, whose author is repeatedly called John both at the beginning and at the end of the book, who also appears as a servant of God and brother of Christians, but not as an apostle. The book was written, according to the doctrine of the ancient Church, by the son of Zebedee, the apostle John, since an ‘apostolic’ tradition was needed to guarantee the canonical prestige of the book. But it did not last long given that the Book of Revelation, which appeared in the last place of the New Testament, was rejected by the end of the 2nd century by the critics of the Bible who otherwise did not deny any dogma.

Pope Dionysius of Alexandria (died 264-265), a disciple of Origen and nicknamed ‘the Great’, categorically denied that John was the author of the Apocalypse. Pope Dionysius points out that primitive Christians have already ‘denied and completely rejected’ the ‘Revelation of John’.

They challenged each and every one of the chapters and declared that the work lacked meaning and uniqueness and that the title was false. They affirmed, in particular, that it did not come from John and that they were not revelations since they were surrounded by a multitude of incomprehensible things. The author of this work was not one of the apostles, no saint and no member of the Church, but Cerinthus, who wanted to give a credible name for his forgery and also for the sect of his own name.

The theologian and Protestant bishop Eduard Lohse comments: ‘Dionysius of Alexandria has very accurately observed that the Revelation of John and the Fourth Gospel are so far apart in form and content that they cannot be attributed to the same author’. The question remains whether the author of the Book of Revelation wanted to suggest, by his name John, to be considered a disciple and apostle of Jesus. He does not say that explicitly: it was done by the Church to confer apostolic authority and canonical prestige on his text. And so falsifications started: the falsifications of the Church.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 82

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

 
The ‘Holy Scriptures’ are piled up

No evangelist intended to write a kind of revelation document, a canonical book. No one felt inspired, neither did Paul, and in fact none of the authors of the New Testament. Only the Book of Revelation: the one that, with difficulty, became part of the Bible pretends that God dictated the text to the author. But in 140 Bishop Papias did not consider the Gospels as ‘Holy Scriptures’ and gave preference to oral tradition. Even St. Justin, the greatest apologist of the 2nd century, sees in the Gospels—which he hardly quotes while he never ceases to mention the Old Testament—only ‘curiosities’.

The first to speak about an inspiration of the New Testament, which designates the Gospels and the epistles of Paul as ‘holy word of God’, was the bishop Theophilus of Antioch at the end of the 2nd century: a special luminary of the Church. On the other hand, in spite of the sanctity and divinity that he presupposes about the Gospels, he wrote a piece of apologetics about the ‘harmony of the Gospels’, as they were evidently a little too inharmonious.

Until the second half of the 2nd century the authority of the Gospels was not gradually accepted yet. Still, by the end of that same century the Gospel of Luke was accepted with reluctance; and that of John with was accepted with a remarkable resistance. Is it not odd that proto-Christianity did not speak of the gospels in the plural but in singular, the Gospel? In any case, throughout the 2nd century a fixed canon ‘of the Gospels did not yet exist and most of them were really considered a problem’ (Schneemelcher). This is clearly demonstrated by two famous initiatives of that time which tried to solve the problem of the plurality of Gospels with a reduction.

In the first place, there is the widespread Marcion Bible. This ‘heretic’, an important figure in the history of the Church, compiled the first New Testament in Sacred Scripture, and was the founder of the criticism of its texts, written shortly after the year 140. With it Marcion completely distanced himself from the bloodthirsty Old Testament, and only accepted the Gospel of Luke (without the totally legendary story of childhood) and the epistles of Paul; although, significantly, the latter without the forged pastoral letters and the epistle to the Hebrews, also manipulated. Moreover, Marcion deprived the remaining epistles of the ‘Judaistic’ additions, and his action was the decisive motive for the Catholic Church to initiate a compilation of the canon; thus beginning to constitute itself as a Church.

The second initiative, to a certain extent comparable, was the Diatessaron of Tatian. This disciple of St. Justin in Rome solved the problem of the plurality of the Gospels in a different way, although also reducing them. He wrote (as Theophilus) a ‘harmony of the Gospels’, adding freely in the chronological framework of the fourth Gospel the three synoptic accounts, as well as all kinds of ‘apocryphal’ stories. It had great success and the Syrian Church used it as Sacred Scripture until the 5th century. The Christians of the 1st century and to a large extent also those of the next century did not, therefore, possess any New Testament. As normative texts they used, until the beginning of the 2nd century, the epistles of Paul; but the Gospels were still not cited as ‘Scripture’ in religious services until the middle of that century.

The true Sacred Scripture of those early Christians was the sacred book of the Jews. Still in the year 160, St. Justin, in the broadest Christian treatise up to that date, almost exclusively referred to the Old Testament. The name of the New Testament (in Greek he kaine diatheke, ‘the new covenant’, translated for the first time by Tertullian as Novum Testamentum) appears in the year 192. However, at this time the limits of this New Testament were not yet well established and the Christians were discussing this throughout the 3rd and part of the 4th century, rejecting the compilations that others recognised as genuine. ‘Everywhere there are contrasts and contradictions’, writes the theologian Carl Schneider. ‘Some say: “what is read in all the churches” is valid. Others maintain: “what comes from the apostles” and third parties distinguish between sympathetic and non-sympathetic doctrinal content’.

Although around 200 there is in the Church, as Sacred Scripture, a New Testament next to the Old—being the central core the previous New Testament of the ‘heretic’ Marcion, the Gospels and the epistles of Paul—, there were still under discussion the Acts of the Apostles, the Book of Revelation and the ‘Catholic Epistles’. In the New Testament of St. Irenaeus, the most important theologian of the 2nd century, the book Shepherd of Hermas also appears which today does not belong to the New Testament; but the Epistle to the Hebrews, which does belong in today’s collection, is missing.

The religious writer Clemente of Alexandria (died about 215), included in several martyrologies among the saints of December 4, barely knows a collection of books of the New Testament moderately delimited. But even the Roman Church itself does not include around the year 200, in the New Testament, the epistle to the Hebrews; nor the first and second epistles of Peter, nor the epistle of James and the third of John. And the oscillations in the evaluation of the different writings are, as shown by the papyri found with the texts of the New Testament, still very large during the 3rd century.

(Papyrus Bodmer VIII, at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, showing 1 and 2 Peter.)

Even in the 4th century, Bishop Eusebius, historian of the Church, includes among the writings that are the subject of discussion the epistles of James, of Judas, the second epistle of Peter and the so-called second and third epistles of John. Among the apocryphal writings, Eusebius accepts, ‘if you will’, the Revelation of John. (And almost towards the end of the 7th century, in 692, the Quinisext Council, approved in the Greek Church canons, appear compilations with and without John’s Book of Revelation.) For the North African Church, around the year 360, the epistle to the Hebrews, the epistles of James and Judas do not belong to the Sacred Scriptures; and according to other traditions, neither belonged the second of Peter and the second and third of John.

On the other hand, prominent Fathers of the Church included in their New Testament a whole series of Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and Epistles that the Church would later condemn as apocryphal but in the East, until the 4th century, they enjoyed great appreciation and were even considered as Sacred Scripture, among others, Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Didache, etc. And even in the 5th century it is possible to find in a codex some ‘apocryphal’ texts, that is, ‘false’ together with the ‘genuine’ ones.

The so-called Catholic epistles needed the most time to enter the New Testament as the group of the seven epistles. The Father of the Church St. Athanasius, the ‘father of scientific theology’ was the first one to determine its extension (whom the investigators also blame for the falsification of documents, collecting the 27 known writings, among them the 21 epistles). St. Athanasius lied without the slightest hesitation when affirming that the apostles and teachers of the apostolic era had already established the canon. Under the influence of Augustine, the West followed the resolution of Athanasius and consequently delimited, almost about the beginnings of the 5th century, the Catholic canon of the New Testament in the synods of Rome in 382, Hippo Regius in 393 and Carthage in 397 and 419.

The canon of the New Testament, used in Latin as a synonym for ‘Bible’, was created by imitating the sacred book of the Jews. The word canon, which in the New Testament appears only in four places, received in the Church the meaning of ‘norm, the scale of valuation’. It was considered canonical what was recognised as part of this norm, and after the definitive closure of the whole New Testament work, the word ‘canonical’ meant as much as divine, infallible. The opposite meaning was received by the word ‘apocryphal’.

The canon of the Catholic Church had general validity until the Reformation. Luther then discussed the canonicity of the second epistle of Peter (‘which sometimes detracts a little from the apostolic spirit’), the letter of James (‘a little straw epistle’, ‘directed against St. Paul’), the epistle to the Hebrews (‘perhaps a mixture of wood, straw and hay’) as well as the Book of Revelation (neither ‘apostolic nor prophetic’; ‘my spirit cannot be satisfied with the book’) and he admitted only what ‘Christ impelled’.

On the contrary, the Council of Trent, through the decree of April 8, 1546, clung to all the writings of the Catholic canon, since God was its auctor (author). In fact, the real auctor was the development and the election through the centuries of these writings along with the false affirmation of their apostolic origin.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 80

Editor’s note: This section is pivotal to understand the milieu where the New Testament was concocted by Jews to fight a hostile Rome toward the Semitic peoples.
 

Counterfeits in Diaspora Judaism

Not a few of the literary falsifications of the Jews are due to the effort to reincorporate a considerable part of the Greek philosophy to the Pentateuch, which supposedly the Greeks had stolen.

To ‘demonstrate’ this daring accusation the Jews forged, for example, the Orphic hymns. They also inserted texts from the Old Testament into the works of Hesiod and other pagan epics. They even made Homer a strict defender of the Sabbath precepts! Abraham appeared as the father of astronomy. Moses was ahead of Plato, and according to Clement of Alexandria even Miltiades won at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) thanks Christian strategy: the military art of Moses.

What did the Jews have to offer culturally to the Greeks? What great philosophers and literati? The Old Testament? The Greco-Roman world also respected sacred texts but it did not value the biblical books. For them the essentials came from other religions. The omens of the prophets on the other hand were ex eventu; stories of crazy miracles, and ridiculous ceremonies. They hated Jewish nationalism.

It is true that the schools of rabbis forced the strict accuracy in the transmission. ‘Imputing to any doctor of the law a word he had not said would be simply a crime’ (Torm). But in Jewish literature of the same period the phenomenon of pseudonyms proliferated considerably. The increasingly expansive Jewish mission in Jesus’ times used a huge propaganda literature, with unscrupulous falsifications, appearing a ‘flowering of Jewish pseudo-iconography’ (Syme).

Precisely during the diaspora the Jews must have felt inferior to the Greeks. Thus they tried to correct this complex: they wanted to value their Judaism, their faith, the superiority of their religion by demonstrating their superiority through seemingly ancient writings, making the Jewish prophets much older than the Greco-Roman philosophers, as if the former were their teachers.

Through Aristotle, the Jews suggested sympathies towards monotheism, as well as through Sophocles and Euripides who attacked polytheism. They also attributed to Hecataeus of Abdera, a contemporary of Alexander the Great, a glorifying work on Abraham, and assigned as of the 1st century and to the poet Phocylides of Miletus, who lived in the 6th century, a didactic poem written in 230 hexameters: a popular moral philosophy that unites what is Greek to the Jewish, the resurrection of the flesh, and the continuation and deification of souls.

This was an effort toward a self-esteem in a superior environment, or subtle propaganda campaigns for Hellenistic Judaism under a pagan mask. And precisely among the Christians these forgeries were much more successful than the pseudo-epigraphic apocalypses and the books of the patriarchs.

Within this context we can mention the famous Judeo-Alexandrian letter of Aristeas, written for recognition and exaltation of the Pentateuch of the Septuagint, Jewish law and of Judaism: apparently written in the 3rd century BC, although probably authored in the 2nd if not in the 1st century.

Beginning of the letter of Aristeas (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana).

The official of the court Aristeas informs in it of the translation of the Jewish Pentateuch into Greek by seventy-two Jewish men (six of each tribe) on the island of Faros, for the royal library of Alexandria. The number of translators, rounded from seventy-two to seventy, gave name to the oldest and most important translation of the Old Testament into Greek, the Septuagint Version. According to the pious legend, each of the translators worked separately but each one produced, word for word, the same text: something that all the Fathers of the Church believed, including Augustine. Within this context we may include the fact that the Jews used the Greek sibyls in their writings: exactly the practice that later the Christians would do with the predictions and prophecies under non-Jewish names and, naturally, cases of vaticinium ex eventu (postdiction): pure lies.

The Sibylline Oracles, fourteen books of prophecies of divine inspiration, whose origin extends from the 2nd century BC (third book) to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD (book fourteen), also referred to those divine prophetesses of Antiquity. Books one to five were forged by Hellenistic Jews, although it is true that the Christians falsified them even more with their numerous introductions. The books six, seven and eight are pure Christian forgeries of the second half of the 2nd century, including a very celebrated cantata to Christ and the crucifixion. In books eleven to fourteen it is really difficult to know who faked more, Jews or Christians.

Many spiritual guides have considered these lies as authoritative texts, such as the freedman Hermas, Justin, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, but especially Lactantius (who quotes the eighth book thirty times). But even a Father of the Church like Augustine fostered respect for such false documents.

The influence of this Judeo-Christian Sibylline texts was great and its influence reaches from Antiquity to Dante, Calderón, Giotto and Michelangelo. From the 2nd century Christian apologists adopted these Jewish texts to fight a Rome hostile to Christians.

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Kriminalgeschichte, 20

Note of the Editor: In this section Deschner says:

Therein lies the destructive tendency, of consequences that even reach us today, that instead of the ‘natural cosmos’ there is an ‘ecclesiastical cosmos’: a radical religious anthropocentrism, whose numerous repercussions and ‘progress’ endure beyond medieval theocracy [emphasis added].

Bingo! This is exactly what Savitri Devi tried to convey in Impeachment of Man, and also the Nazis right after they reached power.

Pay due attention how these early Christian writers refer to the adepts of Greco-Roman culture as ‘gentiles’ (the painting in this post depicts Clement, author of Exhortations to Gentiles).

 

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Below, abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz
Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums

(Criminal History of Christianity)

The defamation of the cosmos and pagan religion and culture (Aristides, Athenagoras, Tatian, Tertullian, Clement and others)
 
Aristides

By the middle of the 2nd century, Aristides, one of the first apologists, whipped (in a text of apologetics that was not discovered until 1889 in the monastery of St Catherine of Sinai) the divinization of water, fire, winds, sun and, of course, the cult of the land; this being the place ‘where the filth of humans and animals, both wild and domestic… and the decomposition of the dead’, ‘recipient of corpses’.

Nothing, then, of the animal kingdom or the vegetable kingdom. Nothing of pleasure. And the polytheistic worlds are ‘madness’, ‘blasphemous, ridiculous and foolish talk’, which are the source of ‘all evil, hideous and repugnant’, ‘great vices’, of ‘endless wars, great famines, bitter captivity, and absolute misery’, all of which falls upon humanity ‘because of paganism’ and only for that.
 
Athenagoras

[On the other hand], at the end of the 2nd century the Athenian Athenagoras wants to see God, the father of reason, even in creatures devoid of it, and demands that the image of God be honoured not only in the human figure, but also in birds and terrestrial animals. Prudently, this Christian declares that ‘it is necessary that each one choose the gods of his preference’. Athenagoras does not harbour the intention to attack their images and does not even deny that they are capable of working miracles; Augustine takes a very similar stance.

How humble, or could almost say pious, Athenagoras seems in his A Plea for the Christians, when he asks for the ‘indulgence’ of the pagans Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, and praises their ‘prudent government’, their ‘kindness and clemency’, their ‘peace of mind and love of humans’, their ‘eagerness to know’, their ‘love of truth’ and their ‘beneficent actions’. He even assigns them honorary titles that did not correspond to them.
 
Tatian

However, at the same time, that is, towards 172, the Eastern Tatian writes a tremendous philippic against paganism. For this disciple (Christianized in Rome) of St Justin and future leader of the Encratites ‘heresy’, for the ‘barbarian philosopher Tatian’, as he called himself, the pagans are pretentious and ignorant, quarrelsome and flatterers.

They are full of ‘pride’ and ‘bell-like phrases’, but also of lust and lies. Their institutions, their customs, their religion and their sciences are nothing more than ‘follies’, ‘stupidity under multiple disguises’, ‘aberrations’. In his Oratio ad Graecos Tatian criticizes ‘the talk of the Romans’, ‘the frivolity of the Athenians’, ‘the innumerable mob of your useless poets, your concubines and other parasites’.

The ex-pupil of the sophists finds ‘lack of measure’ in Diogenes, ‘gluttony’ in Plato, ‘ignorance’ in Aristotle, ‘gossip of old women’ in Pherecydes and Pythagoras, ‘vanity’ in Empedocles. Sappho is no more than a ‘dishonest female, a prey to wrath of the uterus’, Aristippus a ‘lustful hypocrite’, Heraclitus a ‘vain self-taught’. In a word: ‘They are charlatans not doctors’, ironizes the Christian, ‘great in words but lacking in knowledge’, who ‘walk on hooves like wild animals’.

Tatian makes a tabula rasa of the classical rhetoric, of the schools, of the theatre, ‘those hemicycles where the public greets listening to filth’. Even the plastic arts (by theme and chosen models), and even what the whole world has admired and still admires, the poetry and philosophy of the Greeks, Tatian continually opposes the ‘frivolity’, ‘folly’, the ‘sickness’ of paganism to Christian ‘prudence’. Faced with ‘the rival and deceitful doctrines of those whom the devil makes blind’ he opposes the ‘teachings of our wisdom’.

With this discourse (‘unique and forceful requisition against all the achievements of the Hellenic spirit in all disciplines’ according to Krause) it begins the undermining of all pagan culture, followed by ostracism and almost total oblivion in the West for more than a millennium.

Tatian militated on the very front of the ancient Church—which stretched from St Ignatius (who rejected all contact with pagan literature and could almost be said that rejected instruction in general) and his co-religionist Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, the polygraph Hermias and his Satire on pagan philosophers as crude as elemental, the father of the Church Irenaeus, the bishop Theophilus of Antioch and others who manifested their unrest against the old philosophy—, condemned as ‘false speculations’, ‘ravings, absurd, delusions of reason, or all these things at once’.

According to St Theophilus (a rather mediocre spirit, but the head of a prestigious site), what the representatives of Greek culture spread, without exception, is nothing more than ‘babble’, ‘useless talk’, since ‘they have not had the less hint of truth’, ‘have not found even the slightest bit of it’.
 
Tertullian

For Tertullian, the height of impiety and the culmination of the seven deadly sins, which are generally assumed in the Gentiles, is the worship of multiple gods, not taking into account that in the end these are but the forces of nature personified and deified, or those of sexual potency. Tertullian, perhaps more than any other Christian author before him, undertook a systematic struggle against this worship.

Tertullian notes with satisfaction that the pagans had little respect for their own idols and for the uses of their religion. He puts in sights the impassibility of the gods, the indignity of their myths; he mocks and gets scandalised that Christians cannot go anywhere without stumbling over gods. He prohibits them from any activity remotely related to ‘idolatry’, as well as the elaboration and sale of images and all professions useful to paganism, including military service.
 
Clement

Even a friend of Greek philosophy as Clement of Alexandria, in his Exhortations to Gentiles rebutted all those ‘sanctified myths’, ‘impious altars’, ‘diviners and insane and useless oracles’ and all their ‘schools of sophistry for unbelievers and gambling dens where madness abounds’.

As regards the ‘mysterious cults of the ungodly’ Clement intends to ‘reveal the delusions hidden in them’, their ‘holy frenzy’ since there is nothing more in them than ‘deceitful orgies’, ‘totally inhuman’, ‘seed of all evil and perdition’, ‘abominable cults’ that would no doubt only impress ‘the most uncultured barbarians among the Thracians, the most foolish among the Phrygians, and the most superstitious among the Greeks’.

Christians of antiquity did not understand the fascinating cycle of the life of plants, so celebrated by the pagans, or the interpretation of ancient myths in relation to fecundity, which implied the participation in tellurian and cosmic realities, as well as the experience, deeply religious, of the echo of the beautiful and the vital in every human being. Therein lies the destructive tendency, of consequences that even reach us today, that instead of the ‘natural cosmos’ there is an ‘ecclesiastical cosmos’: a radical religious anthropocentrism, whose numerous repercussions and ‘progress’ endure beyond medieval theocracy.

While condemning the divinization of the Cosmos, Clement launches in his Protrepticus a systematic anathema against sexuality, so linked with pagan cults, ‘with your demons and your gods and demigods, properly called as if we were talking about semi-donkeys [mules]’.

At the beginning of the 4th century, the Synod of Elvira promulgated a series of anti-pagan provisions: against ‘worship of idols’, against magic, against pagan customs, against marriage between Christians and pagans or idolatrous priests, all sanctioned with the highest ecclesiastical penalties. The pagan cult involved excommunication even in articulo mortis, as well as for murderers and fornicators. However, the council in question abstained from extremist positions. In Canon 60, for example, it denied the categorisation of martyrs to those who had perished during the tumults resulting from the destruction of ‘idolatrous images’. This was because Christianity was not yet an authorized religion.

The tone changed when it was elevated to the category of official religion. In the conflict with the old believers the great inflection occurs in 311, when emperor Galerius authorized Christianity, albeit grudgingly.

Kriminalgeschichte, 14

Below, translated excerpts from the first volume of Karlheinz
Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums

(“Criminal History of Christianity”)

For centuries the crying against the heretics spread; not an objective polemic, but the demagogic of denigration. ‘In these circles to vilify was considered more important than a refutation’ (Walter Bauer). We can verify it in paleo-Christian literature.

 
The ‘beasts with a human figure’ of the second century (Ignatius, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria)

In the first Clementine Epistle, written about the year 96 C.E. (and attributed to the supposed third successor of Peter), the oldest document in patristics, he attacks the leaders of the Corinthian opposition who wanted to turn to the East, abandoning the West, and calls them ‘heated and reckless individuals’, ‘leaders of contention and disagreement’, who ‘tear apart the members of Christ as they eat and drink, and become fat, shameless, vain and braggart, hypocrites and fools’, ‘a great dishonour’…
 
St Ignatius

Ignatius of Antioch says that ‘heretics’ live ‘in the manner of the Jews’, who propagate ‘false doctrines’, ‘old fables that serve no purpose’. ‘He who has been tainted by it, is guilty of eternal fire’, ‘he shall die without delay’. And also those who teach error ‘will perish, victims of their disputes’. ‘I warn you against these beasts with a human figure’. The holy bishop, who calls himself ‘wheat of God’ with ‘seductive benevolence’ (Hümmeler) and his ‘language full of the ancient dignity ‘(Cardinal Willebrands), was the first to use the word ‘Catholic’ to designate what today is the confession of seven hundred million Christians.
 
St Irenaeus

Towards the year 180, Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyon, intervened in the chorus of those who thundered ‘against the heresies’. He was the first ‘father of the Church’ because he was the first to take for granted the notion of a Catholic Church and knew how to comment theologically; but he was also the first to identify the masters of errors [‘heretic’ Christians—note of the Ed.] with the figure of the devil, who ‘declared the beliefs of others as deliberately malicious’ (Kühner).

Irenaeus also advanced, like the great polemicists of the Church, the attacks against Gnosticism: one of the rival religions of Christianity and perhaps the most dangerous for the latter. Of undoubtedly of older origin, although little is known of its origins and many points remain controversial today, it represented an even more extreme and pessimistic dualism; its diffusion occurred with incredible speed, but in an infinity of variants that confuses the scholars. As it also borrowed many Christian traditions, the Church believed that the gnosis was a Christian heresy and as such fought against it, though of course without achieving the ‘conversion’ of any head of school or sect of the Gnostics.

The fact is that many of these, because of their personal qualities as has been granted by the Catholic Erhard, ‘fascinated many faithful of the communities’. From the year 400 more or less, Catholicism was dedicated to systematically destroy written documents of this religion, which had a rich collection of them. Even in the middle of the 20th century, when in a place in Upper Egypt a complete Gnostic library was found in Nag Hamadi, there were ecclesiastics to resume defamation of the gnosis ‘a poison of infiltration… to eradicate’ (Baus).

Irenaeus harasses the ‘mental lucubration’ of the Gnostics, ‘the malice of their deceptions and the perversity of their mistakes’. He calls them names, ‘vain histrionics and sophists’ who ‘give vent to their madness’. This saint, whose importance for theology and for the Church ‘can hardly be overestimated’ (Camelot), in his main work exclaims: ‘Oh, and oh pain’ as to the epidemic of ‘heresies’, to correct himself immediately: ‘It is much more serious, it is something beyond the woes and exclamations of pain’. The father of the Church particularly censures the hedonism of his adversaries.

According to the account, the Marcosians, who reached as far as the Rhône valley (where Irenaeus learned of their existence), were prone to seducing rich ladies, although Catholics also always preferred the poor. [Note of the Ed.: Deschner seems to write with irony here] It is true that some Gnostics were in favour of debauchery, but there were also rigorous ascetics. Irenaeus puts a lot of emphasis on incontinence. ‘The most perfect among them’, he affirms, ‘do all that is forbidden without any embarrassment; they surrender themselves without measure to the pleasures of the flesh, secretly dishonour the women whom they seek to indoctrinate’.

The Gnostic Marcus, who taught in Asia, where they claimed to having become acquainted with the wife of a deacon, had ‘as an assistant a little devil’, a ‘forerunner of the Antichrist’ who ‘had seduced many men and not a few women’. ‘His itinerant preachers also seduced many simple women’.

The priests of Simon and Menander were also servants of ‘sensual pleasure’, ‘they use magical spells and formulas, and practice making love filters’. And so were the supporters of Carpocrates; even Marcion, despite his acknowledged asceticism. He is branded as ‘shameless and blasphemous’ by Irenaeus. ‘Not only must the beast be raised; it must be wounded on all sides’.
 
Clement of Alexandria

At the threshold of the third century, Clement of Alexandria considers that ‘heretics’ are ‘deceitful’ individuals, ‘bad people’, unable to distinguish between ‘true and false’, who had no knowledge of the ‘true God’ and of course, were tremendously lustful. They ‘twist’, ‘force’, ‘violate’ the interpretation of the Scriptures.

Thus, Clement, praised even today for his ‘breadth of sight and his spiritual benignity’, defines Christians of other tendencies as those who ‘do not know the designs of God’ or the ‘Christian traditions’; who ‘are not afraid of the Lord but only in appearance, as they commit sin by resembling the pigs’. ‘As human beings converted into animals, they are the ones who despise and trample on the traditions of the Church’.