Impeachment of Man, 1

by Savitri Devi

Excerpted from Chapter I: Man-centered creeds

Of all moral ideas, that of our positive duties towards creatures of other species (animals, and even plants) is perhaps the slowest to impress itself upon the human mind. It seems as though it were alien to the spirit no less than to the letter of all successful international religions, save Buddhism. And one who is fully conscious of its importance—one who recognizes in it the expression of a fundamental moral truth—may as well wonder in amazement how creeds that omit to mention it altogether (let alone to stress it) have yet been able to secure themselves such numerous followings, and, what is more, how their narrow conception of love is still claiming to be “the highest,” and how that claim rouses no protest on behalf of the better men. This is, no doubt, enough to lead him to gloomy conclusions concerning the inherent coarseness, selfishness and ugliness of human nature in general.

Theoretically, the man-centered creeds and philosophies sway the whole world minus the greater part of India, Burma, Ceylon, and the countries of the Far East to the extent that these have actually come under the influence of Buddhism. That does not mean that there are no individuals in England and America, in Germany and Russia, who look upon all life as sacred, and to whom the infliction of pain upon animals is even more odious that that upon human beings. That does not mean, either, that all people who, in India and elsewhere, are catalogued in the census reports Hindus, Buddhists or Jains are, in fact, paragons of active kindness towards all living creatures. Far from it!

But we notice that, from those very civilizations in which cannibalism was generally admitted, sprang, now and then, a few individuals—an infinitesimal, powerless minority—whom the custom disgusted. And from amidst a world in which slavery was considered as a necessary evil by respectable people, sprang a few individuals who condemned it, either openly or secretly, in the name of human dignity.

And we see that it is the opinion of those better individuals that finally triumphed. One of the best among the ancient Mexicans, King Nezahualcóyotl, tried in vain, in the fifteenth century A.D. to put a stop to human sacrifices within his realm. But today, the murder of a man, be it even as an offering to a deity, is considered a criminal offence and would be punished by law nearly all over the world. The minority, in Mexico, became a majority—and would have become so, apparently, anyhow, even if no Christian adventurers had ever landed there. Minorities often do, with time, become majorities.

To those to whom the age-old exploitation of animals seems normal just because it is practically universal and as old as man, we shall say that there are today people who strongly disapprove of it—never mind if they be but a handful scattered among millions of human beings still at a more barbaric stage of evolution.

There are men and women—and the author of this book is one of them—who, at the sight of one of their contemporaries eating a beefsteak in a restaurant or a chicken sandwich in a railway carriage, feel no less a disgust than some rare Mexicans of old possibly did when they saw the cooked limbs of a prisoner of war served up on gold and silver plates at State banquets. There are men and women today, few indeed as they may be, who are as much saddened when they see a tired horse drawing a cart as certain other “queer” people might have been once, when they met a slave cutting wood or grinding corn for his owner under the supervision of a merciless taskmaster.

Those few are now “dreamers,” “eccentric folk,” “cranks”—like all pioneers. But who can tell whether their opinion will never become that of average man, and their principles the law of the world? If not… then we believe that the human race is not worth bothering one’s head about at all.

All the splendour of the material world; all the grace, strength and loveliness of millions of beasts, birds, fishes, trees and creepers; the majesty of the snow-clad mountains, the beauty of the unfurling waves—all that and much more—is not worth, in God’s eyes, the immortal soul of a human imbecile—so they say, at least.

That is why the hunting of tigers and deer, the butchering of innocent woolly lambs, so glad to live, the dissecting of pretty white guinea pigs or of intelligent dogs, are not “sins” according to the man-centered faiths—not even if they imply the most appalling suffering. But the painless chloroforming of worthless human idiots is a “crime.” How could it be otherwise? They have two legs, no tail, and an immortal soul. However degenerate they be, they are men.

I cannot help here recalling the answer of a French medical student, a member of the “Christian Federation of Students,” whom I has asked, twenty- five years ago, how he could reconcile his religious aspirations with his support of vivisection. “What conflict can there be between the two?” said he; “Christ did not die for guinea pigs and dogs.” I do not know what Christ would actually have said to that. The fact remains that, from the point of view of historical Christianity, the boy was right. And his answer is enough to disgust one forever with all man-centered creeds.

The God of the Christians, the God of Islam, and the God of most of those later Free Thinkers who are not out and out atheists, never succeeded in shaking off completely the habits he once had when he was but the patron deity of a few tribes of desert wanderers, slaves in the land of the Pharaohs. He was able to raise himself from the rank of a national god to that of a God of all humanity.

But that is all. His love seems to have been spent out in its extension from the “chosen People” of Israel to the Chosen Species of mankind. He had not in him the urge to broaden his fatherly feelings still beyond those narrow limits. It never occurred to him how narrow they were in fact and how irrational, how mean, how all-too-human that childish preference for man was, in a God that is supposed to have made the Milky Way.

The great creeds of the world west of India remained man-centered, it would seem, because they never could free themselves entirely from the marks of their particular tribal origin among the sons of Abraham. The Jews never were a race that one could accuse of giving animals too great a place in its everyday life and thoughts.

Christ, who came “to fulfil” the Jewish law and prophecies (not to introduce into the world a different, more rational, and truly kindlier trend of thought) appears never to have bothered his head about the dumb creatures.

We speak, of course, of Christ as the Christian Gospels present him to us. That Christ—we have no means whatsoever of finding out whether a “truer” one ever lived—never performed a miracle, never even intervened in a natural manner, in favour of any beast, as his contemporary, Apollonius of Tyana, not to speak of any more ancient and illustrious Master such as the blessed Buddha, is supposed to have done. He never spoke of God’s love for animals save to assert that He loved human beings a fortiori, much more. He never mentioned nor implied man’s duties towards them, though he did not omit to mention, and to stress, other duties.

If the Gospels are to be taken as they are written, then his dealings with nonhuman sentient creatures consisted, on one occasion, of sending some evil spirits into a herd of swine, that they might no longer torment a man, and, another time, of making his disciples, who were mostly fishermen by profession, as every one knows, catch an incredible quantity of fish in their nets.

In both cases his intention was obviously to benefit human beings at the expense of the creatures, swine or fish. As for plants, it is true that he admired the lilies of the fields; but it is no less true that he cursed a fig tree for not producing figs out of season and caused it to wither, so that his disciples might understand the power of faith and prayer.

Fervent English or German Christians, who love animals and trees, may retort that nobody knows exactly all that Jesus actually said, and that the gospels contain the story of only a few of his numberless miracles. That may be. But as there are no records of his life save the Gospels, we have to be content with what is revealed therein. Moreover, Christianity as an historical growth is centered around the person of Christ as the Gospels describe him.

To say, as some do, that every word of the Christian Gospels has an esoteric meaning, and that “swine” and “fishes” and the “barren fig tree” are intended there to designate anything but real live creatures, would hardly make things better. It would still be true that kindness to animals is not spoken of in the teaching of Jesus as it has come down to us, while other virtues, in particular kindness to people, are highly recommended. And the development of historical Christianity would remain, in all its details, what we know it to be.

There has been, it is true, in the West, in recent years—nay, there is, for nothing which is in harmony with the Laws of Life can ever be completely suppressed—a non-Christian (one should even say an anti-Christian) and definitely more than political school of thought which courageously denounced this age-old yet erroneous tradition, and set up a different scale of values and different standards of behaviour. It accepted the principle of the rights of animals, and set a beautiful dog above a degenerate man.

It replaced the false ideal of “human brotherhood,” by the true one of a naturally hierarchised mankind harmoniously integrated into the naturally hierarchised Realm of life, and, as a logical corollary of this, it boldly preached the return to the mystic of genuine nationalism rooted in healthy race-consciousness, and the resurrection of the old national gods of fertility and of battle (or the exaltation of their philosophical equivalents) which many a Greek “thinker” and some of the Jewish prophets themselves had already discarded—politely speaking: “transcended”—in decadent Antiquity.

And its racialist values, solidly founded upon the rock of divine reality, and intelligently defended as they were, in comparison with the traditional man-centered ones inherited, in Europe, from Christianity, are, and cannot but remain, whatever may be the material fate of their great Exponent and of the regime he created, the only unassailable values of the contemporary and future world. But it is, for the time being, a “crime” to mention them, let alone to uphold them—and their whole recent setting—in broad daylight.

The opposite ideologies, more in keeping with the general tendencies of modern Free Thought from the Renaissance onwards, have only broken off apparently with the man-centered faiths. In fact, our international Socialists and our Communists, while pushing God and the supernatural out of their field of vision, are more Christian-like than the Christian Churches ever were.

He who said, “Love they neighbour as thyself has to-day no sincerer and more thorough disciples than those zealots whose foremost concern is to give every human being a comfortable life and all possibilities of development, through the intensive and systematic exploitation by all of the resources of the material world, animate an inanimate, for man’s betterment. Communism, that new religion—for it is a sort of religion—exalting the common man; that philosophy of the rights of humanity as the privileged species, is the natural logical outcome of real Christianity.

It is the Christian doctrine of the labour of love for one’s neighbours, freed from the overburdening weight of Christian theology. It is real Christianity, minus priesthood—which Christ thoroughly disliked—and minus all the beliefs of the Church concerning the human soul and all the mythology of the Bible.

In other words, the rejection of the belief in the supernatural, and the advent of a scientific outlook upon the material world, has not in the least broadened the Westerners’ moral outlook. And, unless they be consistent Racialists, worshippers of hierarchised Life, those who today openly proclaim that civilization can well stand without its traditional Christian (or Muslim) background, stick to a scale of values that proceeds, either from a yet narrower love than that preached in the name of Christ or of Islam, (from the love of one’s mere individual self and family) or, at most, from the same love—not from a broader one; not from a true universal love.

The generous “morality” derived from modern Free Thought is no better than that based upon the time-honoured man-centered creeds that have their origin in Jewish tradition.

It is a morality centered—like the old Chinese morality, wherever true Buddhism and Taoism have not modified it—around “the dignity of all men” and human society as the supreme fact, the one reality that the individual has to respect and to live for; a morality which ignores everything of man’s affiliation with the rest of living nature, and looks upon sentient creatures as having no value except inasmuch as they are exploitable by man for the “higher” purpose of his health, comfort, clothing, amusement, etc. The moral creed of the Free Thinker today is a man-centered creed—no less than that of Descartes and Malebranche and, later on, of the idealists of the French Revolution, and finally of Auguste Comte.

We believe that there is a different way of looking at things—a different way, in comparison with which this man-centered outlook appears as childish, mean and barbaric as the philosophy of any man-eating tribe might seem, when compared with that of the Christian saints, or even of the sincerest ideologists of modern international Socialism or Communism.

Paranoia at TOO

Rejection of a paradigm means basically recognizing that our parents and ancestors got their Weltanschauung and moral grammar (axiology) all wrong.

This is not the case of white nationalists. Yesterday at The Occidental Observer for example, some commenters blamed everything but Christian axiology for the deranged altruism of Pope Francis. According to them, the pope is either a “Marrano” (i.e., a crypto-Jew), a “freemason” or a “Marxist.” Other commenter opined that “Jews, Marxists, Freemasons and homosexuals are over represented within the Vatican machinery.” Another wrote: “Whites have been hypnotized by jews into committing suicide through immigration and race-mixing.” And still others agreed that: “it’s motivated by a need for approval.”

This is paranoia. These white nationalists can speculate on everything except the most parsimonious explanation: Pope Francis I is simply using St Francis as his inspiring saint! Deranged altruism à la Camp of the Saints is nothing but the Jesus message undiluted!

nml_warg_wagAfter more than a week I have received zero comments about my previous sticky post, Solitude.” I give up and have just removed it from its privileged place at the top of this page. But I must say that I believe such “solitude” is related to my complete apostasy from Christianity (and my inner drive to make a difference in the real world): something that apparently racialists are unwilling to do…

Uncle Adolf’s table talk, 81



Night of 3rd-4th February 1942

Christianity as a Jewish psyop for whites—After Jews disappear from Europe the world will recapture its sense of joy.

My thirteen months of imprisonment had seemed a long time—the more so because I thought I’d be there for six years. I was possessed by a frenzy of liberty. But, without my imprisonment, Mein Kampf would not have been written. That period gave me the chance of deepening various notions for which I then had only an instinctive feeling. It was during this incarceration, too, that I acquired that fearless faith, that optimism, that confidence in our destiny, which nothing could shake thereafter.

It’s from this time, too, that my conviction dates—a thing that many of my supporters never understood—that we could no longer win power by force. The State had had time to consolidate itself, and it had the weapons. My weakness, in 1923, was to depend on too many people who were not ours…

There are towns in Germany from which all joy is lacking. I’m told that it’s the same thing in certain Calvinistic regions of Switzerland. Near Würzburg, there are villages where literally all the women were burned. We know of judges of the Court of the Inquisition who gloried in having had twenty to thirty thousand “witches” burned. Long experience of such horrors cannot but leave indelible traces upon a population.

One cannot succeed in conceiving how much cruelty, ignominy and falsehood the intrusion of Christianity has spelt for this world of ours. If the misdeeds of Christianity were less serious in Italy, that’s because the people of Rome, having seen them at work, always knew exactly the worth of the Popes before whom Christendom prostrated itself. For centuries, no Pope died except by the dagger, poison or the pox.

saint-paul-preaching-in-athensI can very well imagine how this collective madness came to birth. A Jew was discovered to whom it occurred that if one presented abstruse ideas to non-Jews, the more abstruse these ideas were, the more the non-Jews would rack their brains to try to understand them. The fact of having their attention fixed on what does not exist must make them blind to what exists. An excellent calculation of the Jew’s part. So the Jew smacks his thighs to see how his diabolic stratagem has succeeded.

He bears in mind that if his victims suddenly became aware of these things, all Jews would be exterminated. But, this time, the Jews will disappear from Europe. The world will breathe freely and recover its sense of joy, when this weight is no longer crushing its shoulders.

Zarathustra’s prologue, 4

Revilo Oliver’s texts on Aryan ethnosuicide and the need to create a religion of hate have moved me to translate some explanatory notes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the bottom of this entry (see also my first post in the comments section).


Now Zarathustra looked at the people and he was amazed. Then he spoke thus:

“Mankind is a rope fastened between animal and Overman – a rope over an abyss.

A dangerous crossing, a dangerous on-the-way, a dangerous looking back, a dangerous shuddering and standing still.

What is great about human beings is that they are a bridge and not a purpose: what is lovable about human beings is that they are a crossing over and a going under.[1]

I love those who do not know how to live unless by going under, for they are the ones who cross over.

I love the great despisers, because they are the great venerators and arrows of longing for the other shore.

I love those who do not first seek behind the stars for a reason to go under and be a sacrifice, who instead sacrifice themselves for the earth, so that the earth may one day become the Overman’s.

I love the one who lives in order to know, and who wants to know so that one day the Overman may live. And so he wants his going under.

I love the one who works and invents in order to build a house for the Overman and to prepare earth, animals and plants for him: for thus he wants his going under.

I love the one who loves his virtue: for virtue is the will to going under and an arrow of longing.

I love the one who does not hold back a single drop of spirit for himself, but wants instead to be entirely the spirit of his virtue: thus he strides as spirit over the bridge.

I love the one who makes of his virtue his desire and his doom: thus for the sake of his virtue he wants to live on and to live no more.

I love the one who does not want to have too many virtues. One virtue is more virtue than two, because it is more of a hook on which his doom may hang.

I love the one whose soul squanders itself, who wants no thanks and gives none back: for he always gives and does not want to preserve himself.[2]

I love the one who is ashamed when the dice fall to his fortune and who then asks: am I a cheater? – For he wants to perish.

I love the one who casts golden words before his deeds and always does even more than he promises: for he wants his going under.

I love the one who justifies people of the future and redeems those of the past: for he wants to perish of those in the present.

I love the one who chastises his god, because he loves his god: for he must perish of the wrath of his god.[3]

I love the one whose soul is deep even when wounded, and who can perish of a small experience: thus he goes gladly over the bridge.

I love the one whose soul is overfull, so that he forgets himself, and all things are in him: thus all things become his going under.

I love the one who is free of spirit and heart: thus his head is only the entrails of his heart, but his heart drives him to his going under.

I love all those who are like heavy drops falling individually from the dark cloud that hangs over humanity: they herald the coming of the lightning, and as heralds they perish.

Behold, I am a herald of the lightning and a heavy drop from the cloud: but this lightning is called Overman. –”



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014), translated below.


[1] See footnote 5. [Note of the Ed.: In this site’s translation: here]

[2] Paraphrase of Luke, 17, 33: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”

[3] A direct quote inverting its sense of Hebrews 12: 6: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” See also, in Part Four, “The Awakening.”

On the two Marys

Gruenwald-crucifixion (detail)
Karen and Amanda:

Instead of engaging in the familiar bleat of “forgive them, they know not what they do”, you two girls ought to come down off your crosses and answer the question. Where’s the resistance? The fact is, there is no way to distinguish the current situation (“domination”, according to you and some others) from active cooperation. People who actively cooperate in their own genocide don’t deserve any pity. Such “victims” are indeed blameworthy.

Jack Frost

Zarathustra’s prologue, 1

Revilo Oliver’s texts on Aryan ethnosuicide and the need to create a religion of hate have moved me to translate some explanatory notes of Thus Spoke Zarathustra at the bottom of this entry (see also my first post in the comments section).



When Zarathustra was thirty years old[2] he left his home and the lake of his home and went into the mountains. Here he enjoyed his spirit and his solitude and for ten years he did not tire of it. But at last his heart transformed, – one morning he arose with the dawn, stepped before the sun and spoke thus to it:

“You great star! What would your happiness be if you had not those for whom you shine![3]

For ten years you have come up here to my cave: you would have tired of your light and of this route without me, my eagle and my snake.[4]

But we awaited you every morning, took your overflow from you and blessed you for it.

Behold! I am weary of my wisdom, like a bee that has gathered too much honey. I need hands that reach out.

I want to bestow and distribute until the wise among human beings have once again enjoyed their folly, and the poor once again their wealth.

For this I must descend into the depths, as you do evenings when you go behind the sea and bring light even to the underworld, you super-rich star!

Like you, I must go down[5] as the human beings say, to whom I want to descend.

So bless me now, you quiet eye that can look upon even an all too great happiness without envy!

Bless the cup that wants to flow over, such that water flows golden from it and everywhere carries the reflection of your bliss!

Behold! This cup wants to become empty again, and Zarathustra wants to become human again.”

– Thus began Zarathustra’s going under.[6]



The above German-English translation by Adrian del Caro is taken from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Cambridge University Press, 2006). This Cambridge edition lacks the more detailed notes by Andrés Sánchez-Pascual in Así Habló Zaratustra (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 2014). Thus, I have translated Sánchez-Pascual’s notes to English. Page numbers refer to that edition in Spanish.


[1] This § 1 of Thus Spake Zarathustra literally reproduces the aphorism 342 of The Gay Science. Only the “Lake Urmi” that appears there is here replaced by “the lake of his home.” The aforementioned aphorism is entitled “Incipit tragædia” (Tragedy begins) and is the last of the fourth book of The Gay Science, entitled “Sanctus Januarius” (St. January).

[2] This is the age at which Jesus begins his preaching. See the gospel of Luke, 3, 23: “Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work.” In the sought antagonism between Zarathustra and Jesus, this is the first of the confrontations. As can be seen throughout the work, Zarathustra is partly Jesus’ anti-figure. And so, the age when Jesus begins preaching is the same in which Zarathustra withdrew to the mountains in order to prepare for his task. Immediately after, a second contrast between the two becomes apparent: Jesus spent only forty days in the wilderness; Zarathustra spent ten years in the mountains.

[3] Zarathustra will pronounce the same invocation to the sun at the end of the work. See, in the fourth part, “The Sign.” [Note of the Ed.: Precisely the chapter mentioned by the end of my 2012 essay, “Dies irae”]

[4] The two heraldic animals of Zarathustra respectively represent his will and his wit. They will provide company on numerous occasions and even act as his conversational partners, especially in the very important chapter of the third part entitled, “The Convalescent.”

[5] “Untergehen.” It is one of the key words that illustrate the figure of Zarathustra. This German verb contains several nuances that hardly may be held simultaneously in the Spanish translation. Untergehen is primarily, and literally, “walk (gehen) down (unter).” Zarathustra, in effect, gets down from the mountains. Secondly the term usually designate the “sunset,” and Zarathustra makes it clear that he wants to act like the sun at sunset. Thirdly, Untergehen and the substantive Untergang are used to mean sinking, destruction, decay; thus the title of the famous work of Spengler’s, Der Untergang des Abendlandes (translated as The Decline of the West). Zarathustra also declines in his task and fails. His task, he says several times, destroys him. As a Castilian terminus technicus of Untergehen, here it has been adopted “hundirse en su ocaso” [Note of the Ed.: literally, “sinking into his sunset”—contrast it with the Cambdridge translation, “go down”] which seems to retain the three senses. However, Nietzsche plays countless times with this German compound word and also in contrast to other compounds. For example, he contrasts and joins Untergang and Übergang. Übergang is “passing to the other side” over something, but it also means “transition.” Man, Zarathustra would say, is “a transit and a sunset.” That is, by sinking into his decline, like the sun, he moves to the other side (of the earth, it is understood, according to the old belief). And “passing to the other side” means surpassing oneself and becoming the Overman.

[6] This same phrase is repeated later, on page 62. The “sunset” of Zarathustra ends towards the end of the third part, in the chapter entitled “The Convalescent” which states: “Thus – ends Zarathustra’s going under!”

The 1st cuckservative

by Jack Frost

Terms like “White supremacist,” “racist,” “anti-Semite” “Nazi” have been devastatingly effective, but they are only effective because they are disseminated by our hostile elites. [a quotation from a Kevin MacDonald article]

They are only effective because whites take them seriously and accept that they’re evil. But this was no mere invention of modern mass media, as they were accepted as evil long before its advent. Racism and white supremacy have been out of style in America at least since the Civil War. White supremacy was offensive to Christians back in that day because it goes against so many Biblical teachings: the insignificance of race, the equal importance and uniqueness of all souls to God, the unimportance of the body, etc.

MatthewThus they abolished it, at great cost to themselves in blood and treasure, before Jews even began arriving on these shores in any great number. Further, doesn’t the Bible (Matthew 19:28-30) predict that when Heaven on earth arrives, that then when Jesus’ followers have completely forsaken their blood relations in order to follow him, that those who were last shall be the first, and the first shall be last?

Here we have the essence of cuckservatism, foretold in the sayings of Jesus. Hence, a devout Christian must prep the bull, in order to make up for having sinfully been first (cf. Mark 9:35). It shows proper humility.

Resurrection fictions

by Randel Helms

resurreccion-Hans Pleydenwurff
The earliest extended statement about the Easter experiences appears not in the Gospels but in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It dates from the early 50’s, some twenty years after the crucifixion. Paul’s statement is as interesting for what it does not say as for what it does:

I handed on to you the facts which had been imparted to me: that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, and afterwards to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over five hundred of our brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, and afterwards to all the apostles. (15:2-7)

None of these appearances, in anything like the sequence Paul lists, is depicted in the four Gospels. Moreover, not one of the Gospel resurrection appearances is identical to those listed by Paul. Paul did not know the Gospel resurrection stories, for the simple reason that they had not yet been invented, and the four evangelists, who wrote twenty to fifty years after Paul, either did not know his list of appearances or chose to ignore it.

Perhaps most surprising of all the differences is Paul’s failure to mention the legend of the empty tomb, which was, for the writer of the earliest Gospel (Mark), the only public, visible evidence for the resurrection. Though Paul vigorously attempts to convince the Christians at Corinth, some of whom apparently doubted, that Jesus indeed rose from the dead (“if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain”), he never mentions this most striking piece of evidence.

Indeed, he had probably never heard of it; it was a legend that grew up in Christian communities different from his own. It may even have post-dated his death, for Mark wrote almost twenty years after his letter to Corinth. Worse yet, Paul would not have agreed with Mark’s theology even had he known it; for Paul, resurrection meant not the resuscitation of a corpse involving the removal of a stone and the emptying of a tomb, but a transformation from a dead physical body to a living spiritual one. “Flesh and blood can never possess the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 15:50).

Not only is St Paul apparently unaware of the resurrection narratives recorded in the Gospels, but his own list of appearances is irreconcilable with those of the evangelists written later. Paul has it that the first appearance of the risen Lord was to Cephas (he always calls Peter by his Aramaic name, and apparently knows no stories about him in Greek). The Gospels describe no initial resurrection appearance to Peter (some women, the number varying from three to two to one, see him first), though Luke says that Peter did see him. According to equally irreconcilable accounts on the Gospels, the first appearance was to Mary Magdala alone (John), or to Mary Magdala and the other Mary (Mathew), or to Mary Magdala, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James (Luke). Again, Paul declares that the second resurrection appearance was to the “twelve,” whereas both Mathew and Luke stress that the appearance before the disciples was to the “eleven,” Judas being dead. Either Paul did not know the story about the defection and suicide of Judas Iscariot or else the “twelve” meant something different to him.

In other words, different centers of early Christianity produced their own collections of evidence of Jesus’ resurrection; these grew up independently and had, in the cases considered so far, almost nothing to do with each other. Of course, the most famous of the stories appear in the Gospels. Already in the mid-first century A.D., when Paul first wrote to the Corinthians, the idea was well established that Jesus rose again “on the third day, according to the Scriptures” (15:34). That is to say, Christians had scoured the Old Testament for passages that could, out of context, be interpreted as ancient oracles about the career of Jesus.

This involved interpretative methods that to modern eyes seem bizarre. Matthew’s assertion, in 21:4-5, based on his failure to understand the parallelism in the language of Zech. 9:9, that Jesus rode into Jerusalem astride two animals at once, is such an example. Moreover, the length of Jesus’ stay in the tomb was computed by reading Hosea 6:1-2 out of context, it being the only passage in the Old Testament with an “on the third day” allusion:

Come, let us return to the Lord;
for he has torn us and will heal us,
he has struck us and he will bind up our wounds;
after two days he will revive us,
on the third day he will restore us,
that in his presence we may live.

Hosea is, in these verses, not discussing the career of a holy man seven hundred years in the future. He is addressing his own countrymen in his own time, calling upon a corrupt people for moral and religious reform, berating people of whom one could say:

Their deeds are outrageous.
At Israel’s sanctuary I have seen a horrible thing:
there Ephraim played the wanton
and Israel defiled himself. (Hos. 6:10)

Some early Christians were aware of the paucity of Old Testament predictions about the length of Jesus’ stay in the tomb, and set about to invent more. Matthew’s additional evidence contains a prophecy in conflict with his own resurrection narrative. According to this evangelist, Jesus was buried on Friday just before sundown, and the tomb was found empty at sunrise on Sunday; thus, Jesus was presumably in the tomb two nights and one day. Nonetheless, Matthew imputed to Jesus the following, composed out of the Book of Jonah: “Jonah was in the sea-monster’s belly for three days and three nights in the bowels of the earth” (Matt. 12:40).

The oldest Christian narratives describing the discovery of the empty tomb on the third day appears in the Gospel of Mark:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic oils intending to go and anoint him; and very early on the Sunday morning, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were wondering among themselves who would roll away the stone for them from the entrance to the tomb, when they looked up and saw that the stone, huge as it was, had been rolled back already. They went into the tomb, where they saw a youth sitting on the right-hand side, wearing a white robe; and they were dumbfounded. But he said to them, “Fear nothing; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here; look, there is the place where they laid him. But go and give this message to his disciples and Peter: ‘He will go on before you into Galilee and you will see him there, as he told you’.” Then they went out and ran away from the tomb, beside themselves with terror. They said nothing to anybody, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8).

The most ancient manuscripts of Mark end at this point, one of the strangest and most unsatisfying moments in all the Bible, depicting fear and silence on Easter morning and lacking a resurrection appearance. But within about fifty years, at least five separate attempts were made by various Christian imaginations to rewrite Mark’s bare and disappointing story; they appear in the Long Ending and the Short Ending of Mark, and in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John.

The first two are second-century interpolations in some texts of Mark and are identified as such in any responsible modern text. They are Mark 16:9-20 (in the King James version and others based on late manuscripts), an unskillful paraphrase of resurrection appearances in other Gospels; and Mark 16:9 in few other late manuscripts, in which the women followed the youth’s instructions to tell the disciples, a statement that conflicts with verse 8 of the original text.

Probably the first large-scale effort to rewrite Mark’s account and make it more pleasing to the faithful took place when the Gospel of Mathew was written in the last two decades of the first century. Although the major written source information was the Gospel of Mark, Matthew made up striking changes in Mark’s resurrection narrative. Mark’s account ends with the women running away from the tomb in terror and in their fear say nothing to anybody. Matthew did not like this ending, however, so he changed it, consciously constructing a fictional narrative that more closely fit what he and his Christian community wanted to have happen on Easter morning: “They hurried away from the tomb in awe and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples” (Matt. 28:8). How did Matthew feel justified in making such a major change in Mark, a source he obviously regarded, for the most part, as authoritative?

The answer is that Matthew was a conscious literary artist who sincerely believed in the resurrection; moreover, he believed he had the authority, granted him by his church and by its interpretation of the Old Testament, to “correct” Mark’s Gospel and theology. Indeed, he had corrected Mark many times before, often doing so on the basis of what he regarded as his superior understanding of the oracles in the Old Testament. For since Jesus’ life happened “according to the Scriptures,” early Christians were confident that in order to find out about him, they did not need to engage in historical research or consult witness (in our understanding of these two approaches); they found detailed history in the ancient oracles of the Hebrew Bible, read as a book about Jesus.

Matthew was a careful student of both the Old Testament and of Mark, which in his time was not yet accepted as canonical Scripture and thus could be changed at need. His study revealed how frequently Mark’s Gospel was transparent upon Scripture (or based upon it), and in ways that Mark himself apparently did not recognize. Mark had composed his Gospel on the basis of earlier oral and written sources, which in turn had found much of their information about Jesus in the Old Testament. Though Mark seems not to have realized that this was so, Matthew readily recognized the relationships between Mark and the Old Testament, and even took it upon himself to extend and correct them.

In this case he saw Mark’s resurrection narrative as transparent upon de Book of Daniel, especially chapter 6, the story of the lion’s den. On recognizing the relationship, Matthew seems to have consulted the Septuagint version of Daniel and believed that he found there details of a more accurate account of the happenings of the Sunday morning than could be found in the pages of Mark; never mind that Daniel’s narrative is a story in the past tense about presumed events in the distant past. Matthew ignored its narrative and historical content and turned it into a prophetic oracle, as had the originators of Mark’s story.

It seems clear that in a literary sense at least, Matthew was right: the account of the empty tomb used by Mark was indeed structured on Daniel’s story of the lion’s den. In the 30’s and 40’s, the empty tomb story was not part of the tradition about the resurrection: Paul was unaware of it. The legend grew in Mark’s community, or one from which it borrowed, as part of its stock of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. As Matthew was to do again nearly a generation later, certain Christians, perhaps in the 50’s and 60’s, searched the Old Testament, a major source of what was for them authoritative information about Jesus, in order to construct their account of the passion and resurrection, and found in the Book of Daniel much of what they needed. Consider the parallels. […]

[Helms’ text cannot be copied and pasted in the internet. Above I typed directly pages 129 to 135 from his book, Gospel Fictions, Prometheus Books, 1988. But I’ll omit Helms’ detailed account of these parallels and jump to page 142:]

In sum, we may say that Matthew’s account of the resurrection is a fictional enlargement of Mark’s fictional narrative, produced, at least in part, because of what he saw as the incomplete and inadequate nature of Mark’s last chapter. Certainly, Matthew sincerely believed in the resurrection; he also believed that his version of the story was more authoritative, more “scriptural,” than Mark’s, but his sincerity does not make the story less fictive. The same may be said of Luke’s enlargement of the Markan resurrection account.

The Gospel of Luke is, like that of Matthew, an expanded revision of Mark. Of Mark’s 661 verses, some 360 appear in Luke, either word-for-word or with deliberate changes. Some of the most dramatic of these changes appear in Luke’s version of Mark’s resurrection narrative.

Luke’s most significant change from Mark—the totally different angelic message at the tomb—finds its origin not in the Old Testament, however, but in Luke’s need to prepare his readers for the story of Pentecost in the Book of Acts, which he also wrote. In the version of the story Luke wishes to present, the disciples cannot be ordered, or even allowed, to leave Jerusalem for Galilee; they must remain for the all-important Pentecost experience.

Matthew composed a Galilee resurrection appearance using the Book of Daniel as the source of what Jesus would have said. But Luke eliminates the angels’ statement that the risen Jesus is going to Galilee; in contrast to Matthew, who composes a new statement for Jesus out of the youth’s speech in Mark (“take word to my brothers that they are to leave to Galilee”—Matt. 28:10), Luke imputes to Jesus a new saying that demands quite the opposite: “Stay here in this city until you are armed with the power from above” (Luke 24:49).

Luke thus presents resurrection appearances only in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Mark implies, and Matthew specifically declares, that Jesus, followed later by his disciples, left Jerusalem immediately after his resurrection and went to Galilee some eighty or ninety miles to the north, where they all met. Luke writes (Acts 1:3-4) that the risen Jesus “over a period of forty days… appeared to them and taught them about the kingdom of God. While he was in their company he told them not to leave Jerusalem.” For Luke, the story of Pentecost, described in the second chapter of Acts, overshadowed any assertion that the disciples were in Galilee meeting Jesus; they had to be in Jerusalem, so he placed them there and constructed a saying by Jesus to justify this change.

The fourth evangelist, John (who was not the Apostle, but a Christian who wrote at the very end of the first century), possessed a collection of resurrection narratives different from those used by Matthew and Luke, and irreconcilable with them.

In Luke, when the women returned to the disciples with the joyous news that the tomb was empty and that two angels had declared Jesus risen, “The story appeared to them to be nonsense, and they would not believe” (24:11); but in John, when Peter and the other disciples hear the women’s message, they run to the tomb and find it empty, whereat, says John, they “believed” (20:28). […]

The Gospel of John , as originally written (circa 100 A.D.), ended immediately after Jesus’ appearance before the doubting Thomas, with this obvious concluding summary:

There were indeed many other signs that Jesus performed in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. Those here written have been recorded in order that you may hold the faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that through this faith you may possess life by his name. (20:30-31)

Early in the second century, however, certain Christians to whom the gospels of Mathew and Luke were important, recognized that both these earlier works stress, in opposition to John, that the resurrection appearances occurred in Galilee as well as Jerusalem. They took it upon themselves to reconcile John with the others by adding a twenty-first chapter.

That this section is not by the author of the rest of the Gospel is clear from the prominence it gives to the “sons of Zebedee” (John 21:2), who are mentioned by this name nowhere else in the Fourth Gospel, though they are central figures in the Synoptics. A major propose of this addition, and another sign of its late date, is betrayed by the last saying attributed to Jesus in the chapter. For no reason apparent in the narrative, we are told that Peter “saw” an unnamed disciple, the one “whom Jesus loved,” and asked Jesus, “What will happen to him?” Jesus’ response was, “If it should be my will that he should wait until I come, what is that to you? Follow me.”

The saying of Jesus became current in the brotherhood, and was taken to mean that the disciple would not die. But in fact Jesus did not say that he would not die, he only said “If it should be my will that he should wait until I come, what is that to you?” (21:21-23)

Obviously, this disciple (in fact all the first-generation Christians) had long since died, and Jesus showed no signs of returning. The tradition persisted, however, that those were the words of Jesus, for the first generation indeed confidently expected the early return of their Lord (had he not said, in Mark 9:1, “There are some of those standing here who will not taste death before they have seen the kingdom of God already come”?). A saying had to be constructed that would not only demystify and reinterpret this persistent legend, so troubling to the faithful, but solve the apologetic problem it presented. Chapter 21 exists, in part, for this purpose; and though the attempt is an unconvincing quibble, it had to be made.

The resurrection narratives in the last chapters of the four Gospels are effective stories that have given solace and hope to millions of believers who have not read them carefully.

Published in: on April 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm  Comments (8)  
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Christmas gift

If, historically, the One Ring (greed) was the primary weakness for Western man, Christianity is also a major culprit. It is race-blind and compels us to navigate our passages favoring universalism. Based on theism, the belief in a personal, Hebraic god, it is hostile to “pagan” (Christian Newspeak for folkish) bonds for the supposed benefit of the “soul.” Our parents’ religion commands us to love our enemy (even Jews) and worship human weakness (including low-IQ negroes). Catholic and Protestant moral grammar goes at the very heart in today’s untamed equality: what Nietzsche called slave morality.

As Manu Rodríguez, a Nietzschean from Spain, said yesterday (my translation), “Christianity is the art of making wolves and bears into kids and lambs. It is the art of weakening, neutralizing and undermining the morale of the population, making even defense impossible.” Earlier this year another visitor of this blog sent me an email containing this paragraph:

Because of your blog I have ordered tons of books that you have read and thus gain the same insights that you do. I have Hellstorm on my shelf now; I have not read it yet. I am about to commence reading Porphyry’s Against the Christians. I can’t wait. The Bible is a book that has plagued me all my life. It is nice to finally read one of the original refutations of this Jewish nonsense.

A year ago I reposted excerpts of a chapter about the Gospels’ nativity fictions that I typed directly from a book authored by a secular scholar on the Bible. Porphyry (234-305 C.E.) was the forgotten pioneer in this field of research.

The reason white nationalists are uninterested in secular studies of the New Testament is the same they are so reluctant to assess the data about the subject that the dollar will crash. The double-helix of the US was precisely a structure intertweaving capitalism with Christianity. But American white nationalists want to save their race without destroying the One Ring wielded by the Kwa* and without dismissing their parents’ religion. They ignore that the nation of their founding fathers was hard-wired to become New Zion (click on the picture of Mammon on the sidebar).

Since this month we will celebrate Christmas with our families, I must say that an intellectual among those who blame Mammon also blames the other big factor. This is a translated quotation from “Rasse und Gestalt: unsere Identität,” a September 2013 speech by Tom Sunic:

The Christian teaching of equality and its contemporary offsprings, liberalism and Marxism is the main cause of so-called anti-racism and self-hatred as well as today’s mongrelized multicultural society. It’s futile to inspirit race consciousness or folk consciousness and to oppose mass immigration of non-Europeans, without first fighting and eliminating the legacy of Christianity.

I would go further and claim that the word “Christian” was 4th century Newspeak of the time. Translated back to Greco-Roman Oldspeak, we could say that Christian is a codeword for artificial Jew. What most significant can be that in this darkest hour of the West, on June 13 of this year in fact, Pope Francis said: “Inside every Christian is a Jew.”

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whose mother language is Spanish, is the first one in history who has adopted the name of St Francis (Francisco I) when nominated Pope. In my compilation of several authors, The Fair Race, you’ll find much support of Sunic’s quote: a deranged Christian sense of compassion à la St Francis did transmute into secular, runaway liberalism.

In one of my essays in Day of Wrath I mentioned the image that Kenneth Clark chose to depict St Francis in the 1969 TV series Civilisation: Hesdin’s The Fool. I added that in Erasmus’ most famous book, The Praise of Folly, women, “admittedly stupid and foolish creatures,” are Folly’s pride. Erasmus took a surprisingly modern, “liberal” position about the role of women in society. Since Folly praises ignorance and lunacy, Erasmus reasoned, women must be instrumental for the Christian cause. In his book Folly is only interested in following the steps of Jesus, the exemplar of charitable simplicity against the budding intellectualism of the 16th century. The fact that Erasmus took St Paul’s (a Jew) “praise of folly” against the best minds St Paul encountered in Athens (whites) speaks for itself and needs no further comment.

I must iterate I find it most significant that the current Pope is the first one to use the name of Francis: the feminine, Christian paradigm of charitable simplicity par excellence. Last month, Pope Francis addressed the European Parliament saying that no longer fertile Europe should accept immigrants.

the-name-of-the-roseYes: I’ve put the Pope and all of his Cardinals in my black list for black sorcery

But here I can only say that the saint of Assisi was one of the most venerated religious figures in history and my idol when, at sixteen, I was struggling with my internalized father. Unlike the current Pope, the medieval Church somehow knew that when the purest gospel reached mainstream Christianity it would be the end of civilization. See, for example, Umberto Eco’s depiction of the Fraticelli in The Name of the Rose, which chapter on Jorge de Burgos’ scary sermon about the coming of the Antichrist I reread a couple of days ago.

Online you can also see the final pages of The Antichrist. If Nietzsche were alive, wouldn’t he say that the suicidal folie en masse that in the 20th and 21st centuries affects westerners is but the culmination of the psyop started by St Paul?



(*) Kwa means Amerikwa: a negative word used to describe the degenerate, racially destructive, Jewified, niggrified, pussified, and depressing place that America has become.

For the context of Sunic’s point of view see also “The Christian problem encompasses the Jewish problem”: perhaps the entry I’ve updated the most in this blog.

Like Sunic I believe that reading literature in traditional, printed books is important to understand the darkest hour. My favorite historical novels are precisely Julian (1964), which depicts 4th century Christianity after the death of Constantine and The Name of the Rose (1980), a complete immersion into the zeitgeist of Christendom a thousand years later. If you prefer non-fiction, remember the above-cited words about Porphyry’s Against the Christians (“It is nice to finally read one of the original refutations of this Jewish nonsense”).

Christmas gifts of Nietzsche’s The Antichrist would probably be a little rude, even though the philosopher tells the plain truth about how the authors behind the gospels inverted our Aryan values. But Julian and The Name of the Rose may appear innocuous enough as gifts for our family, at least at the time of delivering the presents.

Nativity fiction

Gerard David (Flemish painter, 1460-1523) The Nativity

Two of the four canonical Gospels—Matthew and Luke—give accounts of the conception and birth of Jesus. John tells us only of the Incarnation—that the Logos “became flesh”—while Mark says nothing at all about Jesus until his baptism as a man of perhaps thirty. Either Mark and John know nothing about Jesus’ background and birth, or they regard them as unremarkable.

Certainly Mark, the earliest Gospel, knows nothing of the Annunciation or the Virgin Birth. It is clear from 3:20-21 that in Mark’s view the conception of Jesus was accompanied by no angelic announcement to Mary that her son was to be (in Luke’s words) “Son of the Most High” and possessor of the “throne of David” (Luke 1:32 NEB [New English Bible]).

According to Mark, after Jesus had openly declared himself Son of Man (a heavenly being, according to Daniel 7:13), his family on hearing of this “set out to take charge of him. ‘He is out of his mind,’ they said.” Surely Jesus’ mother and brothers (so identified in Mark 3:31) would not have regarded Jesus’ acts as signs of insanity if Mark’s Mary, like Luke’s, had been told by the angel Gabriel that her son would be the Messiah.

But Mark’s ignorance of Jesus’ conception, birth, and background was no hindrance to the first-century imagination. Many first-century Jewish Christians did feel a need for a Davidic messiah, and at least two separate groups responded by producing Davidic genealogies for Jesus, both to a considerable extent imaginary and each largely inconsistent with the other. One of each was latter appropriated by Matthew and Luke and repeated, with minor but necessary changes, in their Gospels. Each genealogy uses Old Testament as its source of names until it stops supplying them or until the supposed messianic line diverges from the biblical. After that point the Christian imaginations supplied two different lists of ancestors of Jesus.

Why, to show that Jesus is “the son of David,” trace the ancestry of a man who is not his father? The obvious answer is that the list of names was constructed not by the author of Matthew but by earlier Jewish Christians who believed in all sincerity that Jesus had a human father. Such Jewish Christians were perhaps the forbears of the group known in the second century as the Ebionites.

The two genealogies in fact diverge after David (c. 1000 B.C.) and do not again converge until Joseph. It is obvious that another Christian group, separate from the one supplying Mathew’s list but feeling an equal need for a messiah descended from David, complied its own genealogy, as imaginary as Mathew’s in its last third. And like Mathew’s genealogy, it traces the Davidic ancestry of the man who, Luke insists, is not Jesus’ father anyway, and thus is rendered pointless.

Moreover, according to Luke’s genealogy (3:23-31) there are forty-one generations between David and Jesus; whereas according to Mathew’s, there are but twenty seven. Part of the difference stems from Mathew’s remarkably careless treatment of his appropriated list of names.

Thus we have a fascinating picture of four separate Christian communities in the first century. Two of them, Jewish-Christian, were determined to have a messiah with Davidic ancestry and constructed genealogies to prove it, never dreaming that Jesus could be thought of as having no human father.

But gentile Christians in the first century, who came into the new religion directly from paganism and were already infected with myths about licentious deities, had a much different understanding of what divine paternity meant. Plutarch speaks for the entire pagan world when he writes, in Convivial Disputations, “The fact of the intercourse of a male with mortal women is conceded by all,” though he admits that such relations might be spiritual, not carnal. Such mythology came with pagans converted to Christianity, and by the middle of the first century, Joseph’s paternity of Jesus was being replaced by God’s all over the gentile world.

“The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and he shall be called Emmanuel,” a name which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:20-23)

The Septuagint, from which Matthew quotes, uses, at Isaiah 7:14, parthenos (physical virgin) for the Hebrew almah (young woman) as well as the future tense, “will conceive,” though Hebrew has no future tense as such. Modern English translations are probably more accurate in reading (as does the New English Bible), “A young woman is with child.” We can scarcely blame the author of Matthew for being misguided by this translation (though Jews frequently ridiculed early Christians for their dependence on the often-inaccurate Septuagint rather than the Hebrew). We can, however, fault him for reading Isaiah 7:14 quite without reference to its context—an interpretative method used by many in his time and ours, but a foolish one nonetheless. Any sensible reading of Isaiah, chapter seven, reveals its concern with the Syrio-Israelite crisis of 734 B.C. (the history of which appears in I Kings 16:1-20).

It is clear, however, that though the mistranslated and misunderstood passage in Isaiah was Matthew’s biblical justification for the Virgin Birth, it was not the source of the belief (indeed Luke presents the Virgin Birth without reference to Isaiah). The doctrine originated in the widespread pagan belief in the divine conception upon various virgins of a number of mythic heroes and famous persons in the ancient world, such as Plato, Alexander, Perseus, Asclepius and the Dioscuri.

Matthew writes that Joseph, having been informed in his dream, “had no intercourse with her until her son was born” (Matt. 1:25). Luke gives us a different myth about the conception of Jesus, in which the Annunciation that the messiah is to be fathered by God, not Joseph, is made to Mary rather than to her betrothed. Embarrassed by the story’s clear implicit denial of the Virgin Birth notion, Luke or a later Christian inserted Mary’s odd question (“How can this be, since I know not a man?”), but the clumsy interpolation makes hash of Jesus’ royal ancestry.

In due course, Jesus was born, growing up in Nazareth of Galilee, a nationality different from the Judean inhabitants of Jerusalem and its near neighbor, Bethlehem. After Jesus’ death, those of his followers interested in finding proof of his messiahnship in the Old Testament worked a Christian reinterpretation of Micah 5:2 concerning the importance of Bethlehem as the birthplace of David and his dynasty:

You, Bethlehem in Ephrathah, small as you are to be among Judah’s clans, out of you shall come forth a governor for Israel, one whose roots are far back in the past, in days gone by.

That is, the one who restores the dynasty will have the same roots, be of the same ancestry, as David of Bethlehem. Prophesying, it would appear, during the Babylonian exile, Micah (or actually a sixth-century B.C. interpolator whose words were included in the book of the eight-century B.C. prophet) hoped for the restoration of the Judaean monarchy destroyed in 586 B.C.

But since some first-century Christians did read Micah 5:2 as a prediction of the birthplace of Jesus, it became necessary to explain why he grew up in Nazareth, in another country, rather than Bethlehem. At least two different and mutually exclusive narratives explaining this were produced: one appears in Matthew, the other in Luke.

Matthew has it that Mary and Joseph lived in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, and continued there for about two years, fleeing then to Egypt. They returned to Palestine only after Herod’s death. For fear of Herod’s son, they did not resettle in Bethlehem but moved rather to another country, Galilee, finding a new home in Nazareth.

Luke, on the other hand, writes that Mary and apparently Joseph lived in Nazareth, traveling to Bethlehem just before Jesus’ birth to register for a tax census. They left Bethlehem forty days later to visit the temple in Jerusalem for the required ritual of the first-born, returning then to their hometown of Nazareth.

Examination of these two irreconcilable accounts will give us a good picture of the creative imaginations of Luke, Matthew, and their Christian sources.

In most of Matthew’s Gospel, the major source of information about Jesus is the Gospel of Mark (all but fifty-five of Mark’s verses appear in Matthew, either word-for-word or with deliberate changes). But Mark says nothing about Jesus’ birth. When one favorite source fails him, Matthew inventively turns to another—this time to the Old Testament, read with a particular interpretative slant, and to oral tradition about Jesus, combining the two in a noticeably uneasy way.

We must remember that for the Christian generation that produced our Gospels, the Bible consisted only of what Christians now called the Old Testament, and a particular version thereof, the Greek Septuagint. But before they wrote the New Testament, Christians created another entirely new book, the Old Testament, turning the Septuagint into a book about Jesus by remarkably audacious and creative interpretation. Meanings it had held for generations of Jews, its historical and poetic content especially, ceased to exist; it became not a book about the past but about its own future.

Of course, other groups such as the Qumran sect also read the Bible oracularly, but Christians specialized this technique, finding oracles about Jesus of Nazareth. If a passage in the Septuagint could be read as a prediction of an event in the life of Jesus, then the event must have happened. Thus, if Micah were understood to mean that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, then Jesus must have been born there, no matter what his real hometown. But as it happens, the Bethlehem birth story, dependent upon the Christian interpretation of Micah, and the magi-and-star legend, dependent upon Hellenistic and Jewish oral tradition, fit together very uneasily. The story of the magi (“astrologers” is a more meaningful translation) says that “the star which they had seen at its rising went ahead of them until it stopped above the place where the child lay” (Matt 2:9).

In all the stories, the astrologers point to a special star, symbol of the arrival of the new force (Israel, Abraham, Jesus). Says Balaam: “A star shall rise [anatelei astron] out of Jacob, a man shall spring out of Israel, and shall crush the princes of Moab” (Num. 24:17 LXX). The astrologers in Matthew likewise point to a star: “We observed the rising of his star” (Matt. 2.2).

Now the source of the story of the king (Nimrod, Herod) who wants to kill the infant leader of Israel (Abraham, Jesus) shifts to the account of Moses in Exodus, the classic biblical legend of the wicked king (Pharaoh) who wants to slay the new leader of Israel (Moses). Indeed, the story of Moses in the Septuagint provided Matthew with a direct verbal source for his story of the flight into Egypt. As Pharaoh wants to kill Moses, who then flees the country, so Herod wants to kill Jesus, who is then carried away by his parents. After a period of hiding for the hero in both stories, the wicked king dies:

And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, “Go, depart into Egypt, for all that sought thy life are dead” (tethnekasi gar pantes hoi zetountes sou ten psychen—Ex: 4:19 LXX).

When Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel for those who sought the child’s life are dead” (tethnekasin gar hoi zetountes ten psychen tou paidiou—Matt 2:20).

Of course, Moses flies from Egypt to Midian, while the Holy Family flees to Egypt through Midian.

“This was to fulfill the words spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” (Matt. 2:23). There is, however, no such passage in all the Old Testament. Matthew had apparently vaguely heard that such a verse was in the “prophets,” and since he really needed to get the Holy Family from the supposed birthplace to the known hometown, he reported the fulfillment but left the biblical reference unspecified.

Like Matthew, Luke faced the same problem of reconciling known Nazarene upbringing with supposed Bethlehem birth. His solution, however, was entirely different, and even less convincing. Whereas Matthew has the Holy Family living in Bethlehem at the time of the birth and traveling to Nazareth, Luke has them living in Nazareth and traveling to Bethlehem in the very last stages of Mary’s pregnancy. Though Luke 1:5 dates the birth of Jesus in the “days of Herod, king of Judaea,” who died in 4 B.C., he wants the journey from Galilee to Bethlehem to have occurred in response to a census called when “Quirinius was governor of Syria.”

As historians know, the one and only census conducted while Quirinius was legate in Syria affected only Judaea, not Galilee, and took place in A.D. 6-7, a good ten years after the death of Herod the Great. In his anxiety to relate the Galilean upbringing with the supposed Bethlehem birth, Luke confused his facts. Indeed, Luke’s anxiety has involved him in some real absurdities, like the needless ninety-mile journey of a woman in her last days of pregnancy—for it was the Davidic Joseph who supposedly had to be registered in the ancestral village, not the Levitical Mary.

Worse yet, Luke has been forced to contrive a universal dislocation for a simple tax registration. Who could imagine the efficient Romans requiring millions in the empire to journey scores of hundreds of miles to the villages of millennium-old ancestors merely to sign a tax form!

Needless to say, no such event ever happened in the history of the Roman Empire.


This is part of the chapter “Nativity legends” in Gospel Fictions by Randel Helms that I typed directly from the book. I omitted adding ellipsis between unquoted passages.

Published in: on December 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm  Comments (4)