Christianity’s Criminal History, 93

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

 
As the historical-critical exegesis of the Bible teaches us, Jesus—the apocalyptic man who, totally within the tradition of the Jewish prophets, waits for the immediate end: the irruption of the ‘God’s imperial rule’, and thereby makes a complete mistake (one of the most solid results of exegetical investigation)—certainly did not want to found any Church or institute priests, bishops, patriarchs and popes.

As late as the middle of the 2nd century, the Roman Christian community had about thirty thousand members and 155 clerics. None knew anything about the appointment of Peter, nor about his stay and martyrdom in Rome.

 
The list of fabricated Roman bishops

The oldest list of Roman bishops was provided by the father of the Church, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, in his work Adversus Haereses, roughly between the years 180 and 185. The original Greek text is not preserved; only a complete Latin copy of the 3rd century or 4th, if not the 5th. Literature about it is hardly noticeable, the text is ‘spoiled’ in a manifest way. What remains a mystery is the origin of the list. Ireneus wrote down a little more than the names.

And nowhere is there talk of a primacy of Peter! By the end of the 2nd century Peter was not yet counted in Rome among the bishops. And in the 4th century it is affirmed that he was pope for twenty-five years! Bishop Eusebius, a historian of little confidence, even guilty of falsification of documents, transmitted in his time the succession of Roman bishops.

Eusebius ‘perfected’ also the list of Alexandrian bishops, very similar to that of the Romans. The same with the Antioquian list, associating an Olympiad with each one of the bishops Cornelius, Eros and Theophilus. In the list of bishops of Jerusalem he also worked with artificial computations, not having ‘practically any written news’ of the years in which they were in office. Later, Bishop Epiphanius made an exact dating comparing it with that of the emperors.

Around the year 354, the Catalogus Liberianus (Liberian Catalogue), a relation of popes that goes from Peter to Liberius, indicating dates in days and months, was continued and ‘completed’, as indicated by the Catholic Gelmi, who immediately added: ‘All these data have no historical value’.

The Liber Pontificalis (Book of the Popes), the official book of the popes, the oldest list of the Roman bishops, contains ‘a great abundance of falsified or legendary material’, which the author ‘completes by new findings’ (Caspar). In short, it carries so many fabrications that until the 6th century it has hardly any historical value, not naming Peter, but a certain Linus, as the first bishop of the city. Thereafter Linus is in second place and Peter in the first.

In the end a ‘position of Peter’ is constructed (Karrer) and becomes ‘papacy’. ‘Like a seed’, writes the Jesuit Hans Grotz in a poetic way, ‘Peter fell on the Roman earth’. And then many others fell, as is still happening today. Little by little all the ‘successors’ of Peter could be counted, as has been said, with the year in which they acceded to the papacy and the date of their death, apparently in an uninterrupted succession. (Editor’s Note: Deschner’s books have no illustrations but see the image that I chose for this post: part of a poster of the purported bishops of Rome from St. Peter to Pope Francis under the heading ‘I Sommi Pontefici Romani’. The poster is so large that, already unfolded, I had to hang it on a wall to photograph it.)

However, over time the list of Roman bishops was modified, perfected, completed in such a way that, in a table compiled by five Byzantine chroniclers, of the first twenty-eight bishops of Rome only in four places do the figures agree in all columns. Indeed, the final editor of the text, perhaps Pope Gregory I, seems to have expanded the list of names to include twelve saints, in parallel with the twelve apostles. In any case, the list of Roman bishops of the first two centuries is as unreliable as that of the list of the Alexandrians or Antiochenes, and ‘in the first decades it is pure arbitrariness’ (Heussi).

Note of the Ed.: Fabricated list of popes. Starting at the left,
St. Peter. Note the noblest faces the artist used for these
non-existent popes to make the faithful believe that the first
popes were not only saints, but also holy men of the white race.

The invention of a series of traditional names and tables, partly constructed, artificially filling the gaps, existed long before the appearance of Christianity and its lists of bishops falsified from the beginning. It is comparable to the Old Testament genealogies, which through a succession of names without empty gaps, guaranteed participation in the divine promises; especially the list of high priests after the exile, as a list of rulers of Israel.

Furthermore, the ancient pastors of Rome were not considered in any way ‘popes’. For a long time they had ‘no other title than that of the other bishops’ (Bihimeyer, Catholic). Whereas in the East, patriarchs, bishops and abbots were long known as ‘popes’ (pappas, papa, father), this designation appears in Rome for the first time on a tombstone from the time of Liberius (papacy 352-366).

At the end of the 5th century, the notion acquired a naturalisation certificate in the West, where the Roman bishops used the word ‘pope’ to call themselves, along with other bishops, although they did not do so regularly until the end of the 8th century. And until the second millennium the word ‘pope’ does not become an exclusive privilege for the bishops of Rome.

The first to refer to Mt, 16, 18, is, of course, the despotic Stephen I (papacy 354-357). With his hierarchical-monarchical conception of the Church, rather than episcopal and collegial, it is to a certain extent the first pope.

Not even Augustine, so fond of Rome but sometimes oscillating delicately among the pope and his African brothers, defends papal primacy. That is why Vatican I, of 1870, even reproached his ‘erroneous opinions’ (pravae sententiae) to the famous father of the Church. Sumus christiani, non petriani, ‘We are Christians, not Petrians’, Augustine had affirmed.

Similarly, like the bishops and fathers of the Church, the ancient councils did not recognise the primacy of law of Rome.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support this site.

Published in: on August 28, 2018 at 10:04 am  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 93  
Tags:

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.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support this site.

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.

______ 卐 ______

 

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.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support this site.

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.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support this site.

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.

______ 卐 ______

Liked it? Take a second to support this site.

Apocalypse for whites • XXIX

by Evropa Soberana

 
Christianity takes hold outside Judea

As soon as the Jews learn about the events in Rome with the Christians, they begin to plan an uprising and, perfectly coordinated, rebel throughout the Roman Empire. Thus, in the year 66, in a rapid and well-planned coup d’état, they put to the knife all the non-Jewish inhabitants of Jerusalem except the slaves. Nero uses his legions to crush the revolt harshly in the rest of the Empire, but in their capital the Jews become strong. In the year 68, just as General Vespasian left to take Jerusalem, Nero is mysteriously murdered.

Vespasian, then, becomes emperor and sends his son Titus to the front of the X Legio, with the aim of crushing the Jews. The year 70 Rome triumphs; Jerusalem is devastated and sacked by the Roman legionaries and it is said that in the process a million Jews died under Roman arms (only in Jerusalem the town had accumulated, during the siege, three million Jews). This year 70, fateful, traumatizing, outrageous and key for Jewry, sees the enslavement and dispersion of Jews throughout the Mediterranean (Diaspora), greatly enhancing the growth of Christianity.

There are successive emperors (Trajan, Hadrian) very aware of the Jewish problem, who do not pay much attention to Christians, mainly because they are too busy with the Judaic puzzle in ‘holy land’, repressing the Jews again and again, without destroying them completely.

In this time, the new religion grows little by little, gaining followers among the enslaved masses thanks to its egalitarian ideology and also in high positions of the administration: among an increasingly decadent and materialist bureaucracy. Christianity glorified misfortune instead of glorifying the struggle against it; considered suffering as a merit that dignifies itself and proclaimed that Paradise awaits anyone who behaves well. (Remember how the pagans taught that only fighters entered the Valhalla.)

It is the religion of the slaves, and they willingly subscribe to it. Early Christianity played a very similar role to that of the later Freemasonry: it was a Jewish strategy dressed up using weak and ambitious characters, fascinating them with a sinister ritualism. The result was like a communism for the Roman Empire, even favouring the ‘emancipation’ and independence of women from their husbands by capturing them with a strange and novel Christian liturgy, and urging them to donate their own money to the cause (a scam quite similar in its essence to the current New Age cults).

This map in Spanish shows the extension of Christianity around the year 100. The Roman Empire is represented in a lighter shade than the barbarian territories. Note that the areas of Christian preaching
coincide exactly with the densest Jewish settlement areas.

It is at the beginning of the second century that the figure of Christian fat cats called ‘bishops’ begins to take on importance. Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote in the year 107, in the most corny way: ‘It is obvious that we must look to a bishop like the Lord in person. His clerics are in harmony with their bishop like the strings of a harp, and the result is a hymn of praise to Jesus Christ of minds that feel in unison’. St. Ignatius is captured by the Roman authorities, and thrown to the lions in 107. (It is interesting to pay attention to the names of the preachers, since they always come from eastern mestizo and Judaized areas; in this case, Syria.)

Around the year 150, the Greek Marcion tries to form a kind of ‘de-Judaised’ purification in Christianity, rejecting the Old Testament; giving pre-eminent importance to the Gospel of St. Luke and adopting a Gnostic worldview with Orphic and Manichean airs. This is the first attempt of reform or Europeanization of Christianity: trying to deprive it from its obvious Jewish roots.[1] Marcion’s followers, the Marcionites, who professed a Gnostic creed, are classified as heretics by mainstream Christianity.

This map shows the general expansion of Christianity in 185. Note the great difference with respect to the previous map and note also that the area most influenced by Christianity is still the Eastern
Mediterranean: a highly Semitic zone.

Sometime after the year 200, in view of the incorporation into Christianity of great new masses that did not speak Greek but Latin, a Latin translation of the Gospels began to circulate in most western Christian centres.

The emperor Diocletian (reigned 284-305) divided the Empire into two halves to make it more governable. He keeps the eastern part and hands over the western part to Maximian, a former comrade in arms. He establishes a rigid bureaucracy, and these measures smell like irremediable decadence. Despite this, Diocletian is a just and realistic veteran. He allows its Christian legionaries to be absent from pagan ceremonies, provided they maintain their military discipline.

But this was precisely the trickiest issue, where the bishops insolently defy the authority of the emperor. Diocletian, however, is benevolent and only one Christian pacifist is executed. However, he now insists that Christians participate in state ceremonies of a religious nature, and the Christian response to this decision is growing pride and arrogance, with numerous revolts and provocations.

But even at this point, Diocletian renounces to apply the death penalty, contenting himself with making slaves of the rebels that he captured. The answer to this are more riots and a fire in the imperial palace itself, and provocations and Christian insolence occur throughout the Empire. But the most Diocletian does is to execute nine rebellious bishops and eighty rebels in Palestine, the area most troubled by Christian rebellions.

One of these rebels was a spawn named St. Procopius of Scythopolis. To get an idea of which kind of creature Procopius was, let’s see the words of a contemporary, Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea: ‘He had tamed his body until turning it, so to speak, into a corpse; but the strength that his soul found in the word of God gave strength to his body… He only studied the word of God and had little knowledge of the profane sciences’. That is to say, this sub-man was a sick body and a crushed and resentful spirit, moved away from all the natural goods of the world, and who only knows the Bible and the speeches of the bishops.

In the beginning Christianity was nourished of similar men: Jewish practitioners of an asceticism bordering on sadomasochism who turned their bodies into a wreck, and their spirits into tyrannical and resentful shepherds.

Despite the softness of these persecutions, Diocletian goes down in history as a monster thirsting for Christian blood (history is written by the victors). The certain thing is that, after emperor Diocletian’s reign, Rome entered frank decay.
 
____________________

[1] Note of the Editor: In our times, adepts of Christian Identity also desperately try to square the circle by claiming that Aryans descend from the biblical characters.

Kriminalgeschichte, 46

The Council of Nicaea, with Arius depicted
as defeated by the council, lying under
the feet of Emperor Constantine.

______ 卐 ______

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 
The Council of Nicaea and the profession of ‘Constantinian’ faith

Constantine had recommended the place, Nicaea, for the bonanza of its climate and had promised a pleasant stay. He was the one who convened the council, not the ‘Pope’. He also opened it on May 20 and held the presidency. The emperor paid the expenses of the participants, on whose number the data oscillate between 220 and 318 (for the 318 children of Abraham!). Silvestre, the supreme pastor of Rome, missed the meeting.

The emperor presented himself before the bishops ‘like an angel of God descending from heaven, resplendent in his bright garments, dazzling with light, with the fiery glow of purple and adorned with the clear gleam of gold and costly precious stones’ (Eusebius). The lords of the clergy themselves were guarded by guards and halberdiers ‘with sharp drawn swords’.

By decree of the sovereign they were ‘offered every day an opulent maintenance’. According to Eusebius, at a banquet ‘some sat at the table on the same cushions as the emperor, while others did on both sides. It could easily have been thought or imagined that it was an image of the kingdom of Christ, which was only a dream and not a reality’. As far as the dogmatic aspects are concerned—no recordings were made—, the great majority of these servants of God showed little or no interest, something that the host did not care about.

Although Constantine may not have led the sessions—a problem that has been much discussed—he did determine its course and make the decisions. For this he made sure to have the majority, and even imposed the decision formula. The formula was the somewhat changeable concept (which means the same, identical, but also similar, of the Greek homos) of the homousios of the homousia: the equality of the natures of the ‘Father’ and of the ‘Son’: ‘a sign of antagonism in front of science, which thought about the paths of Origen’ (Gentz).

In the Bible, not a single mention is made about it. That slogan—which, notoriously the emperor himself had formulated—had been opposed to the beliefs of the majority of the Eastern episcopate, even though it stemmed from Gnostic theology. The Monarchians had also used it, other ‘heretics’ (anti-Trinitarians). However, the young Athanasius, who accompanied Bishop Alexander as a deacon, ‘had not used it in his first writings as a motto of his theology’ (Schneemelcher) and ‘it took him 25 years to take a liking’ (Kraft). Although already in the council ‘he pronounced against Arianism’ and did not put it in writing until a quarter of century later.

No reasons were given nor was explained in more detail that decision of faith. The emperor, who was undeniably interested in unity and who considered the dispute of the clergy only as an intransigence, forbade any theological discussion and simply demanded compliance with the formula.

The ‘Holy Fathers’ (Athanasius), whose presence presumably gave the dictator a happiness ‘that exceeded any other’ and whom for a quarter of a year he honoured and covered them with honours, obeyed. And today, millions of Christians continue to believe in the fides Nicaena, the faith confession of Nicaea—which should be better called, according to Johannes Haller, the faith of Constantine: the work of a layman who was not even baptized. ‘We believe in one God, the almighty Father… and in one Lord, Jesus Christ… true God of the true God, begotten, not created, of the same nature (homousios) as the Father…’

In the West, the Nicaea confession of faith was still barely known a few decades later and in orthodox circles it was the subject of discussion. Even the father of the Church, Hilarius, initially opposed that baptismal faith; although he later returned to it. However, the holy bishop Zeno of Verona, a passionate enemy of the infidels and the Arians, mocked a creed that worked with formulas. At the end of the 4th century, in the sermons of Gaudentius of Brescia or Maximus of Turin, it is still mentioned ‘Nicaea at no time’ (Sieben, Jesuit).

Even Luther, in 1521, admits to hating ‘the word homousios’ although in 1539, in his work On the Councils and the Church he accepts it. Goethe is right when he affirms that ‘the dogma of the divinity of Christ decreed by the Council of Nicaea was very useful, even a necessity, for despotism’.

The behavior of Constantine was not in any way an isolated event. Since then, the emperors, and not the popes, were the ones who made the decisions about the Church. Throughout the 4th century the bishops of Rome did not play any decisive role in the synods nor were they determining authorities. From Constantine, the ‘imperial synodal power’ prevailed.

The confession of faith of the Arians, which contrasted the homoiusios (of a similar nature) to the homousios, was snatched from the speaker’s hands, in Nicaea, shattering the document before he had finished reading it. ‘At once it was rejected by all and branded as erroneous and false; there was a great tumult’ (Theodoret). In the sacred meetings, speaking through the mouth of Eusebius, a participant in them, there reigned ‘everywhere bitter disputes’, as was often the case in councils.

The emperor threw directly into the fire, without even reading them, the writings of complaints and quarrels of the bishops. All those who shared ‘of good will the best opinion’ received ‘his highest praises; on the contrary, he rejected the undisciplined with horror’.

Arius was again condemned.

Published in: on December 9, 2017 at 5:28 pm  Comments Off on Kriminalgeschichte, 46  
Tags:

Kriminalgeschichte, 34

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Chapter 7: The Christian Sons of
Constantine and His Successors

‘Since Constantine, the emperors were much more devoted Christians than they had ever been as pagans’.

— Frank Thiess

‘During the 4th and 5th centuries, the alliance between Christianity and the Imperium Romanum provided the inhabitants of the empire… an entirely new image of the world’.

— Denys Hay

 

Everything seemed very promising: a new idea of the world, the Imperium as a Christian institution oriented towards peace, the emperors turned into zealous Christians…

Statue of Emperor Constantine II.

Indeed, the sons of Constantine, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans, along with the father, were compared by Eusebius with the Trinity. Almost since they began to walk, they were accompanied by experienced prefects, dressed in purple, in the ranks of the army. They were barely fifteen, twelve, eleven years old, and they took part in campaigns on remote fronts. Good Christians and intrepid soldiers: an ideal combination advocated for centuries by a religion of peace that has never brought peace anywhere.
 

The first Christian dynasty founded on family extermination

The imperial father did the pioneering work. Scarcely had he died and Constantius II, who considered himself an envoy of God and ‘bishop of bishops’, and once even practiced sexual continence, began in August 337 the extermination of almost all the male members of the imperial house in Constantinople: his uncle Dalmatius, half brother of Constantine who had lived many years surrounded by spies, and the father of Emperor Julian, Julius Constance, very hated by the Empress St. Elena, amen of six cousins and other badly seen courtesan personalities. Among these, the almost omnipotent Ablabius, prefect of the praetorians, whose daughter Olympias was promised as a child to Constantine. (Later, Constantius married her to the king of the Armenians, Arsaces III, and she was killed by the former wife of the sovereign with the complicity of a priest who mixed poison in the wine of mass.)

Christian mercy only respected Julian, who was five years old (he would be assassinated during a campaign against the Persians); his stepbrother Gallus was also saved because he was so sick that he seemed lost anyway (he would die in Istria in 354).

Constantius was a Christian, so were most of his obedient assassins, soldiers of his guard; Julian deduced from all this that ‘there is no beast as dangerous to man as Christians are to their fellow-believers’.

And just as no man in the Church had criticised the murders of relatives perpetrated by Constantine, no one censured those of the devotee Constantius, ‘one of the most notorious Christian princes of the century’ (Aland). Eusebius alludes to the ‘inspiration from above’ to justify the carnage. In Constantius one could contemplate a revived Constantine, the bishop wrote, and he was not mistaken. The praises dedicated to the multiple parricide and bellicose Constantius are almost as dithyrambic as those deserved by the military leader and exterminator of relatives, Constantine.

Paradigm of the cruelty according to Amianus, Constantius did not take long in sending a message to the bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, the preceptor of Julian, asking him never to speak with him about the destinies of his family.

And six years later, Julian and Gallus were imprisoned in Macellum, a sinister fortress hidden between mountains— ‘without authorizing anyone to approach us, without studies worthy of such a name, without conversations, although we were surrounded by a splendid service’, remembers Julian. A secret agent of the emperor suggested Gallus, the first-born, that Constantius was not guilty of the death of his father, and that the extermination of his family had been an uncontrolled act of the soldiery.

Kriminalgeschichte, 32

Editor’s note: The author states below: ‘This provision [by Constantine] had serious consequences, as it was one of the first to deprive Jews, in practice, of owning farms’. This is how the first seeds were planted for the Jews to do what today is called ‘white collar’ jobs.

In the days of Ancient Rome the Jews still did not have an IQ superior to Whites. This policy of cornering Jews to work outside of what is now called ‘blue collar’ jobs continued until the French Revolution. Although the anti-Semitic seed of Constantine described below could be applauded by white nationalists, seeing it in perspective was a shot that backfired.

Parallel to allowing Jews in banking and usury, throughout the Middle Ages the best genes of White intellectuals ended, excuse me the crude expression, in the asses of the novices of the monasteries instead of in the fair sex. Unlike the Christians, medieval Jews never practised vows of celibacy. The artificial selection of genes that raised the IQ of the Jews at the expense of the lack of descendants of intelligent Whites (Aryan monks) was a courtesy of Christendom.

In previous chapters the author constantly used quotation marks around the word ‘pagans’. In this chapter he removed the quotation marks. Since ‘pagan’ was Christian newspeak of the 4th century, in some instances of this entry I’ll take the liberty to substitute the textual ‘pagan’ for something like ‘adepts of Greco-Roman culture’.

Below, abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity):

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Constantine against Jews, ‘heretics’ and pagans

The emperor was not very friendly with the Jews, surely he was greatly influenced by the permanent anti-Semitic attacks of the doctors of the Church, which we have seen in chapter 2, and the recent Synod of Elvira, which had sanctioned with very strong penances the relations between Christians and Jews, in particular the attendance to blessings of fields and banquets celebrated by Jews.

The Roman emperors were quite tolerant of Judaism; not even Diocletian tried to force them to comply with the pagan rites. But after the Council of Nicaea Constantine comes to the conclusion, reflected in an epistle to all the communities, that the Jews ‘tainted by delirium’, ‘wounded by the blindness of the spirit’, ‘deprived of the right judgment’, are ‘an odious nation’ and except for one day a year forbids them to set foot on the city of Jerusalem that he and his mother had filled with churches.

In addition, he forbade them to have slaves like Christians. This provision had serious consequences, as it was one of the first to deprive Jews, in practice, of owning farms. The Christian who Judaized was sentenced to death. In addition, Constantine renewed a law of Trajan, promulgated two hundred years before, according to which the pagan who was converted to Judaism was condemned to the stake.

Even harder was the policy against the ‘heretics’, and this already from the time of the regency, from the year 311, on the grounds that many of those who had abjured Christianity wanted to receive baptism again. This resulted in a schism with bloody repercussions that lasted for several centuries. It is at that time when the definition of ‘catholic’ as opposed to the figure of the ‘heretic’ appears for the first time in an imperial document.

The Donatists rejected the association with the State, the Constantinian alliance between the throne and the altar. They judged that they were the true Ecclesia sanctorum and that the Roman Church was the civitas diaboli. They appealed to the Christian’s beliefs by demanding greater austerity for the clergy. Constantine’s campaign against Licinius turned against the Donatists at the instigation of Bishop Caecilianus in a campaign that lasted several years, presided over by the decision to ‘not tolerate even the slightest hint of division or disunity, wherever it may be’. Moreover, in a letter from early 316 to Celsus, vicar of Africa, Constantine threatened: ‘I intend to destroy the errors and repress all the nonsense, in order and effect to offer to all the human race the only true religion, the only justice and unanimity in the worship of the almighty Lord’.

To the Donatists he took away their churches and their fortunes, exiled their chiefs and commanded troops who slaughtered men and women. The hecatomb of the adepts of Hellenism had not yet begun and Christians were already making martyrs of other Christians.

Constantine also fought against the Church of Marcion, an older church and at some point probably also more followed than the Catholic Church. Constantine prohibited the offices of the Church of Marcion even when they were held in private homes; had their images and properties confiscated, and ordered the destruction of their temples. His successors, most likely instigated by the bishops, stepped up the persecution of this Christian sect after having defamed it and by all means, including through falsifications during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. In 326, shortly after the Council of Nicaea, Constantine issued a scathing edict ‘against heretics of every kind’, in case it was authentic of course and not a figment of Eusebius.

Constantine’s actions against the ‘heretics’ set an example, but at least he respected life most of the time. After all, he did not care about religion as much as the unity of the Church on the basis of the Nicaea Council, and hence the unity of the empire. Undoubtedly, he had an exclusively political concept of religion, although religious problems always, and from the first moment, were presented in relation to social and political conflicts. In the interest of state power he promoted the unity of the Church. This, and not another, was the cause of his hatred of all kinds of discord. ‘I was sure that, if I could complete my purpose of uniting all the servants of God, I would reap abundant fruits in the public interest’, he wrote in a letter to Arius and Bishop Alexander.

In the year 330, Constantine sends a sentence against the Neo-Platonic school and even orders the execution of Sopater, who had been presiding over this school since the death of Iamblichus. The adepts of Hellenism become ‘fools’, ‘people without morals’ and their religion a ‘hotbed of discord’. Constantine’s true intention was that all humans ‘revered the one true God’ and that they forsake ‘the temples of the lie’.

While the adepts of Hellenism of the western provinces still enjoyed relative tranquillity, in the East the persecutions began after the definitive defeat of Licinius (324). Constantine forbade the erection of new statues to the gods, the worship of existing ones, and the consultation of oracles and all other forms of Greco-Roman worship.

In 326 Constantine came to order the destruction of all the images, while in the East he began the confiscation of temple properties and the plundering of valuable works of art. In his new capital, blessed on May 11, 330 after six years of work funded in part through the treasures confiscated from the temples, Constantine banned the worship and the festivals of the adepts of Hellenism and rents were no longer paid to the temples of Helios, Artemis Selene and Aphrodite.

Constantine, described as a ‘renegade’ and ‘innovator and destroyer of ancient and venerable constitutions’ by Emperor Julian, but praised by many modern historians, soon prohibited the repair of Greco-Roman temples and ordered numerous closures and destructions ‘directed precisely against those who had been most revered by the idolaters’ (Eusebius). He arranged the closing of the Serapis of Alexandria, the temple to the Sun-God in Heliopolis, the demolition of the altar of Mamre (because the Lord himself had appeared there to Father Abraham, in the company of two angels), and that of the temple of Aesculapius in Aegae, the latter being fulfilled with such diligence ‘that not even the foundations of the ancient ravings remained’ (Eusebius).

Constantine also ordered the destruction of the temple of Aphrodite on Golgotha, for the ‘great scandal’ that it represented for the believers; it was also the turn of Aphaea in Lebanon from whose sanctuary came ‘a dangerous web to hunt souls’ and which, according to the emperor, ‘does not deserve the sun to shine’. There was no stone left upon a stone; and the very famous Heliopolis was burned down and reduced to rubble by a military command.

Constantine burned Porphyry’s controversial writings. From the year 330, when Neo-Platonism was forbidden, Christians abounded in looting of temples and breaking images, as all Christian chroniclers celebrated and despite such activities having been implicitly prohibited by the Council of Elvira.

Contrary to what Christian historians would like us to believe, the emperor, naturally, was not interested in fighting face to face with the Greco-Roman culture that still held the majority in much of the empire and retained part of its strength, which of course does not mean that there were not well received ‘the small material expropriations’ (Voelkl): the stones, the doors, the bronze figures, the vessels of gold and silver, the reliefs, ‘the valuable and artistic ivory votive offerings confiscated in all the provinces’, as Eusebius highlights.

‘Everywhere they went stealing, looting and confiscating the images of gold and silver and the bronze statues’ (Tinnefeid). Constantine did not even respect the famous tripods of the fortune-teller of the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. The historian Kornemann notes ‘a theft of works of art as has never been seen in all of Greece’.

Even St. Jerome criticized that the city of Constantinople had been built with the booty of almost all other cities. ‘In the blink of an eye, whole temples would disappear’, rejoices Eusebius. The entire Olympus was gathered in the ‘new Rome’, where the emperor, even without daring to tear down the temples, had all the statues removed from them. The most venerated gods were installed in bath-houses, basilicas and public squares. The deified Apollo, which had been the most venerable monument in the Hellenic world, was converted into a Constantine the Great. ‘Immense riches disappeared from the coins or went to fill the empty coffers of the Church’, Voelkl reminds us.

Eusebius tells us that… the temples and sanctuaries, once so proud, were destroyed without anyone ordering it, and churches were built in their place and the old delirium was forgotten.

However, at the Easter of 337 the sovereign fell ill. First he sought remedy in the hot baths of Constantinople, and then in the relics of Lucian, protective patron of Arianism and disciple of Arius himself. Finally he received on his farm, Achyronas of Nicomedia, the waters of baptism despite his desire to take them on the banks of the Jordan in imitation of Our Lord. At that time (and until about 400) it was customary to postpone baptism until the last minute, especially among princes responsible for a thousand battles and death sentences. As Voltaire suggests, ‘they believed they had found the formula to live as criminals and die as saints’. After the baptism, which was administered by another colleague of Lucian named Eusebius, Constantine died on May 22 of the year 337.

While the Christians have almost dispensed with their common sense for praising Constantine, obviously there are very few testimonies of his critics that have reached us, among them those of the Emperor Julian and the historian Zosimus.

Kriminalgeschichte, 28

Below, abridged translation from the first
volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte
des Christentums
(Criminal History of Christianity)

 

The Catholic clergy, increasingly favoured

Obviously, an earthly paradise was inaugurated at least for the Constantinian ‘court bishops’, and for the Catholic hierarchy whose servility before the emperor assumed, like Eusebius in his writings, ‘the psalmist’s tone when he speaks of the Lord’ (Kühner). Others sang in chorus, like the Fathers of the Church: Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria. And they did not lack motives. The Christian religion, once persecuted, became recognized and official. Moreover, the Catholic Church and its prelates enjoyed growing privileges that were worthy of power and wealth.

The emperor made donations to the clergy of large estates in Syria, in Egypt, as well as in Tarsus, Antioch, Alexandria and other great cities. We must bear in mind that Oriental donations meant, in addition to income, import operations especially in the market of spices and essences of the East, much appreciated by the Romans. In a word, the famous Patrimonium Petri began to accumulate, of which we will have occasion to occupy ourselves very often later on.

In Constantine’s time begins the metonymy (both in Latin and in Greek) of the word ‘church’ to mean both the community of believers and the building, formerly also called templum, aedes and other names. Constantine continued to erect churches in Ostia, Alba, Naples, and also in Asia Minor and Palestine. As he himself wrote to Eusebius, ‘all of them must be worthy of our love for the splendour’ and monuments to their victories.

Now, all these churches—the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome, the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, inaugurated by the emperor in person (335), whose pomp should be superior to that of all others, that of the Nativity in Bethlehem, that of the Apostles and that of Peace (Irene) in Constantinople, the great basilica of Antioch, those of Tire and Nicomedia, endowed with ‘truly imperial’ splendour, ‘decorated with many and rich votive offerings of gold, silver and precious stones’—they consumed immense sums. All the more so because the construction mania of the emperor was emulated by other members of the imperial family, and especially by his mother, Helena. Eusebius, as chronicler of the court, never tires of praising ‘the inexhaustible generosity of imperial donations’.

The clergy, in particular, received from Constantine ‘the greatest honours and distinctions, as men consecrated to the service of the Lord’. Again and again Eusebius reiterates that ‘they were honoured and envied in the eyes of all’, ‘he increased their prestige through laws and decrees’, ‘the imperial generosity opened wide the coffers of the treasure and distributed its riches with a generous hand’. And there were many bishops who were able to emulate the grandeur and splendour of the imperial court itself. They received special titles and incense cleansings; honours were given to them on their knees, they were seated on thrones conceived in the image and likeness of the throne of God.

Others recommend humility in their sermons!

So many and such were the signs of Constantine’s favours that the influence and economic power of the bishops increased rapidly. They participated in the free distribution of wheat. In their favour only for them, the emperor annulled the laws that disadvantaged the single people or without children. He equated them with the highest officials, those who were not obliged to genuflect in the presence of the sovereign.

In 321, the churches were authorized to receive inheritances, a right that pagan temples had never enjoyed, except in very special cases. On the other hand, for the Church this privilege was so lucrative that only two generations later the State was forced to issue a decree ‘against the plundering of the most gullible devotees, especially women’ (Caspar). This was not an obstacle to the fact that, only a century later, the ecclesiastical patrimony had reached gigantic proportions, as there were more and more Christians who ‘for the salvation of their souls’ made donations to the Church, or left whole fortunes. That custom became a kind of epidemic during the Middle Ages, seizing the Church a third of the extension of all Europe.

Constantine trusted so much the prelates that he even delegated to them part of the powers of the State.

In the trials, the testimony of a bishop had more strength than that of the ‘distinguished citizens’ (honoratiores) and was unassailable. But there was more, the bishoprics acquired their own jurisdiction in civil cases (audientia episcopalis). That is, anyone who had litigation could go to the bishopric, whose sentence would be ‘holy and venerable’, as decreed by Constantine. The bishop was authorized to sentence even against the express wish of one of the parties, and in addition the ruling was unappealable; the State being limited to the execution of the sentence with the power of the secular arm.

‘Soon the Church became a State within the State’ (Kornemann).