Christianity’s Criminal History, 140

For the context of these translations click here

(Left, Pope Gregory in the great window at
the Church of the Good Shepherd (Rosemont, Pennsylvania).)

Modern research attributes to this pope regular studies and very solid instruction, ‘an eminent cultural and moral training’ (RAC XII 1983). However, precise data on Gregory’s scientific culture are lacking. In that blessed Christian age, it did not actually exist. ‘Criticism and judgment fade’, wrote Ferdinand Gregorovius in the middle of the 19th century. We no longer hear from schools of rhetoric, dialectics and jurisprudence in Rome. Instead, he discovers that ‘more room than ever has been made for mystical enthusiasm and material worship’. And in much more recent times Jeffrey Richards confirms: ‘The philosophical and scientific training had long since disappeared’. Gregory had probably only studied Roman law, having reached the last remnant of classical training …

At that time there was hardly anyone in Rome who knew Greek. And the papal biographers of the Liber Pontificalis show how badly Latin was written… For Gregory the only relevant philosophy is in the Bible, ‘his supreme authority’ (Evans). And all the wisdom in the world, ‘science, the beauty of literature, the liberal arts’ are things that only serve for the intelligence ‘of Scripture’, that is, for a life of constant repentance and penance. But everything that does not directly serves religion is rejected by Gregory. He eliminates it completely.

The pope, one of the four ‘great’ fathers of the Latin Church and patron of educated people, ordered the burning of the imperial library on the Palatine (where the western emperors, their Germanic heirs and the Byzantine rulers continued to reside) as well as the library of the Capitol. In any case, the English scholar John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres, affirms that the pope had had manuscripts of classical authors destroyed in Roman libraries.
 

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Editor’s Note:

See what Catherine Nixey says in this section of her book about the destruction of old libraries by Christians. Even if he had not been assassinated, I believe that George Lincoln Rockwell would have failed because he never saw that it was not yet time to do any activism, but to spend long and painful years in the temple of ‘Delphi’, so to speak.

For those who survived him after the attack that took his life, the correct tactic would have been to follow what Rockwell had started with the journal National Socialist World, but this time bringing out the true history of our parents’ religion. Himmler and his gang had already done something similar with their pamphlets for the members of the SS, since they already contemplated the CQ although in a more embryonic way than we do in The West’s Darkest Hour. And the German psyche had already been prepared by 19th-century philosophers like Schelling and Hegel, who spoke of a more pantheistic conception of ‘God’ than the crude theism of Judeo-Christians.

Jumping directly into activism in 1960s America, as Rockwell did, tacitly implied that the masses of Americans were already awake and that they only needed a good guide. But they weren’t. And not even the pundits of white nationalism today are. Otherwise, by now they would have said something about the climax of the essay considered the masthead of this site:

435 CE: In this year occurs the most significant action on the part of Emperor Theodosius II: He openly proclaims that the only legal religion in Rome apart from Christianity is Judaism! Through a bizarre, subterranean and astonishing struggle, Judaism has not only persecuted the old culture, and Rome, its mortal archenemy, adopts a Jewish creed—but the Jewish religion itself, so despised and insulted by the old Romans, is now elevated as the only official religion of Rome along with Christianity!

Using the metaphors of Savitri, there can be no ‘lightning’ (action) without ‘sun’ (wisdom), and the fact is that in white nationalism the blackest darkness reigns just before the dawn, as they are still allergic to Delphi’s wisdom by ignoring Christianity’s history. Karlheinz Deschner continues:
 

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Around 600 Gregory lectured harshly in a letter to the Gallic bishop Desiderius of Vienne, because he taught classical grammar and literature. Filled with shame and ‘great disgust’ he attributes to his ‘grave iniquity’ a blasphemous occupation, as if the same mouth could not ‘sing the praises of Jupiter and the praises of Christ’.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 139

For the context of these translations click here

 

Gregory I, work of the Danish sculptor
Christian Carl Peters (1883-1884).
Frederik’s Church, Copenhagen.

We can thus consider Gregory as the founder of the temporal power of the papacy. Without yet existing a Church-State there was already a kind of State, or at least an important factor of power. Gregory elected the bishops, together with the large landowners, the provincial governors and defined their powers, especially the judicial power. The pope also influenced commerce and controlled, in conjunction with the senate, measures and weights. And to him they belonged—this being perhaps what increased his power the most—enormous territorial extensions, great agricultural estates throughout Italy and beyond.

Despite everything Gregory remained, like his predecessors, the subject of the emperor, his superior. The imperial person and government were considered sacred. The monarch of Byzantium also fought ‘heresies’, promulgated ecclesiastical edicts and convened councils…

Between the exarch of Ravenna and the pope there were no good relations. Italy, and especially the territorial chaos of its middle part, was a focus of small, almost continuous wars. That is why the exarch wanted to protect the corridor of land between Ravenna and Rome, and the pope himself wanted to protect Rome; but there were no longer enough troops for it. The Roman garrison, considerably depleted by the plague and without receiving soldiers, was on the brink of a mutiny.

Gregory assumed command. He took charge of the city, intervening decisively in all military actions, from the appointment of officers to the operations of the generals or the negotiation of armistice conditions. He took care that no one evaded the service of arms under the pretext of service to the Church. Furthermore, he recruited people from the monasteries to guard the city walls, although he avoided putting soldiers in the nunnery monasteries. He even designed military installations for Campania, Corsica and Sardinia. He took care to reinforce the weak points of the imperial enclaves with reinforcement troops and fortifications. He appointed a commander for Naples, whose population he threatened: ‘Whoever opposes his just orders will be considered as a rebel against Us, and whoever obeys him obeys Us…’

 
The beginning of papal propaganda in England

The beginnings of Christianity in Britain remains in the dark. Early Northern Christians had been Scandinavian merchants. In the year 314 there is a testimony of three British bishops who participated in the synod of Arles.

Roman rule over Britain, established in 43 c.e. by Emperor Claudius with four legions (barely 40,000 men), had finished around 400. In 383 Theodosius abandoned Hadrian’s Wall, and at the beginning of the 5th century the Romans, under the orders of Stilicho and Constantius III, withdrew. Faced with the attacks of Picts and Scots, the British called to their aid the Germanic tribes of Jutes and Saxons, and later also the Angles, who created a series of regional kingdoms that fought each other. Such were those of Kent, Sussex, Essex, and Wessex as well as those later of Mercia, Northumbria, and Middlesex, both rising to supremacy. But the period between 450 and 600, called Dark Ages, remains the least known period in English history.

In the time of Gregory the province of Brittany of the old Roman rule consisted of the Roman-British kingdoms in the west and the pagan kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, who had established themselves in the rest of the island territory. In August 598, Gregory wrote to Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria that the Anglo people lived ‘in an outer corner of the world’ and that ‘they still venerate the tree and the stone…’ with a veneration that was not without sense and beauty.

Towards the end of the 6th century King Ethelbert of Kent married the Merovingian and Catholic princess Berta, great-granddaughter of Clovis, niece of Brunichilde and daughter of the Frankish King Chabert of Paris. In her entourage was Bishop Liuthard, who was supposed to celebrate the Christian liturgy, although Ethelbert was still a pagan. But upon becoming the most powerful king of England and being recognised as sovereign, Gregory hastened to send (595-596) the prior of his monastery of St. Andrew, Augustine, with some 40 monks, as emissaries to the ‘barbarians’… Unfortunately Ethelbert allowed the Roman monks to develop their propaganda in the kingdom…

The fables of the Trinity and Peter, etc., now replaced the cult of Odin and the Druids. At Pentecost 597, or more likely 601—if it really happened—the king had many Angles baptised. There are no sure testimonies of the ‘conversion’ of Ethelbert, but he was certainly the founder of three Episcopal churches in Kent and Essex: those of Canterbury, Rochester and London, which already existed in 604 when Augustine died. And with his predominantly civil laws the king protected ecclesiastical possessions as well. But at his death in 616 (or 618), and this does appear with certainty, his son and his successor Eadbald was still pagan, and so was probably his second wife.

In 602 reinforcements arrived from Rome. Abbot Mellitus, who two years later was already bishop of London, came with his troops dressed in monastic robes, carrying all kinds of ornaments, sacred vessels, relics, and various papal letters. The news of the conversion reached Constantinople. Nor was the exhortation lacking to destroy paganism and to continue the work of conversion amid the warnings and evocations of the terror of the final judgment. ‘Therefore, my most illustrious son’, Gregory wrote to the king, ‘keep carefully the grace you have received from God and hasten to spread the faith among the people who are subject to you. Increase still more your noble zeal for conversion; suppress idolatry, destroy their temples and altars…’

Thus wrote the preacher of humility. But when the occasion required it—and that was always the supreme rule of his conduct—Gregory knew how to act with greater caution and adopt an apparently more conciliatory tone, which at times may even seem comical. For example, to his ‘dearest son’, Abbot Mellitus, leader of the new troop of propagandists, he wrote that he had resolved

after long reflection on the situation of the Anglos. It is unnecessary to destroy the pagan temples of those towns, but only the idols that are in them. Then those temples must be sprinkled with holy water, altars erected and relics deposited. Because if such temples are well built, they can perfectly be transformed from a dwelling place of demons into houses of the true God, so that if the same people don’t see their temples destroyed, lay down their error from their hearts, recognise the true God and pray and go to the usual places according to their old custom…

Isn’t this a magnificent religion? If the temples are ‘well built’ there is no need to demolish the devil’s work. None of that: they can then serve the work of God. You just have to destroy the ‘idols’ and let the new ones in exclusively.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 138

For the context of these translations click here

Use and abuse of slaves as livestock

From Gregory himself we know that many bishops did not care for the oppressed or the poor. On the occasion of the appointment of the defensor romanus as rector, he wrote to the coloni of Syracuse:

I therefore recommend that you obey his orders with good spirit, which he considers appropriate for the furtherance of the interests of the Church. We have authorised him to severely punish anyone who dares to be disobedient or rebellious. We have also instructed him to resume the investigations on all slaves who belong to the Church but who have escaped and to recover with all prudence, energy and promptness the lands that someone illegally occupies.

For the cultivation of his lands it is natural that Gregory needed entire armies of slaves, of settlers tied to the ground. ‘Free ecclesial peasants were scarce’ (Gontard). The pope did not confront slavery. Where else could the ‘treasurer of the poor’ have obtained the money to meet his needs? Not to mention the maintenance of ‘jobs’, which in his time was the concern of any master. Gregory certainly reminds the lords—for his Church will have to do justice to the rich and the poor simultaneously, which is perhaps the greatest of all his miracles—that slaves are people and that they have been raised equal by nature to their masters. But although men have been created equal, absolutely equal, without a doubt that circumstances have completely changed. Then it would be necessary, according to Gregory himself, to admonish the slaves ‘so that at all times they consider the baseness of their state’ and that they ‘offend God, when with their presumptuous behaviour they contravene the order established by him’. Slaves, the holy father teaches, must ‘consider themselves as servants of the lords’, and lords as ‘fellow-servants among servants’. Beautiful expression!

Isn’t this a profitable religion? By nature, Gregory teaches that ‘all men are equal’ but a ‘mysterious disposition’ places ‘some below others’, creates the ‘diversity of states’, and of course as ‘a sequel to sin’. Conclusion: ‘Since each man does not walk in the same way through life, one has to dominate over others’. God and the Church—which in practice are always identified with the high clergy!—exists for the maintenance of slavery. And from Great Britain to Italy, passing through Gaul, there was in his time a constant trade in Christian slaves.

The Roman Church needed slaves, and the monasteries needed them. Gregory himself encouraged, through the Gallic rector Candide, the purchase of Anglic boy slaves for the Roman monasteries. Everyone bought and abused slaves as if they were cattle. And even to an enemy such as Agilulf, king of the Lombards, the pope could assure him that the labour of the forced ones would be beneficial to both parties. If the most unfortunate escaped their misery, which happened frequently enough, the holy father naturally pressed to be returned to their owners. He chased the escaped slave from a Roman monastery as well as the escaped baker from his brother. But then the pope was magnanimous and instead of punishing the crime of the coloni with the deprivation of his possessions, he wanted to see them punished with a beating by ‘duly returning the slaves to his friends’ (Richards).

Gregory, who insistently proclaimed the imminent end of the world, and who with the struggle for faith made this preaching the ‘guiding idea’ of his pontificate, still had time to do great business. And he made Saint Peter an increasingly wealthy character. He greatly increased the profits of his estate and laid the foundations for the decisive and victorious territorial rule of the papacy. With his Sicilian latifundia he supplied grain to Rome, paid the imperial troops of the Roman parts, took care of supplies and defence, and in times of crisis he even commanded the Roman garrison. In this way the ‘treasurer of the poor’, as he called himself, set in motion the evolution towards the State of the Church, with a hardly imaginable sequence of failures, wars and deceptions.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 137

For the context of these translations click here

Saint Gregory the Great
by Francisco Goya.

‘The property of the poor’

The same man who prophesied the calamitous end of the world and the impending divine judgment carried out an ecclesiastical property policy as intense as if that divine judgment were never to come.

The pope had a series of well-organised patrimonies, about fifteen at the beginning of his pontificate, and territory of many hundreds of square kilometres, called the patrimony of St. Peter. This meant that all this did not belong to the pope, the clergy or the Church, but actually belonged to the blessed prince of the Apostles. And that property of Peter extended from North Africa, where to Gregory’s great joy the almost depopulated territories were worked by prisoners of war (the cheapest ‘labour’), passing through Italy, the urban territory of Rome (Patrimonium urbanum), to Corsica, Sardinia, Dalmatia, Istria and Provence: a property of enormous extension and certainly the largest in Italy. Much of it came from imperial foundations. Perhaps the last gigantic increase was due to the estates of the Arian Church, which was plundered after the destruction of the Ostrogoth kingdom. And while private property diminished more and more, the riches of the Church were always increasing.

In Sicily, the granary of Rome since ancient times, the patrimony of ‘Saint Peter’ was so great that Gregory divided it into two administrative centres (rectories): Palermo and Syracuse, with about 400 tenants in total (conductores). And he personally was informed that for years ‘many people suffered violence and injustice by the administrators of Roman ecclesiastical property’, from whom he had deprived them by taking away their slaves. In the exploitation of the territories, the pope had the support of some of his closest associates as well as the rectors of different patrimonies (obliged with an oath before the supposed tomb of Peter, covered by him with 100 pounds of gold).

Gregory, who ordered the deacons of Catania to wear sandals (compagi) because it was the only thing allowed to Roman deacons, despite his gloomy penitential sermons and his corrosive expectation of the destruction of the world, still found time, surprisingly long, to take care of the fields, the belly mares, the old oxen, the useless cows and the slaves, who had to be naturally baptised members of the holy Church whenever possible. The methods of the holy father do not seem to have been too scrupulous. The main reason was to increase revenue before the impending doomsday and to present the boss with a perfect balance sheet. It has been written that his slogan was: ‘Prestige, efficiency and discipline’. Today, that could be the creed of any American marketing scholar…

Papal real estate continually provided Gregory with large amounts of merchandise and money, making the Catholic Church the leading economic power in Italy… The miserable peasants who were already being deprived with the taxes on the land (burdatio) that were collected three times a year, in addition to the leases and deliveries to the Holy Catholic Church, saw themselves oppressed… But Gregory called himself ‘treasurer of the poor’, describing the immense pontifical riches as ‘the property of the poor’: one ‘of the most beautiful expressions of him’, sings the Church History Manual.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 136

For the context of these translations click here

 

The altar of Gregory in St. Peter’s Basilica
contains the remains of Pope Gregory.

 
‘Thinking different from most—almost a crime worthy of death’

Soon this pope, like most of his predecessors and especially those who followed him, intervened harshly against those who thought differently, against all non-Catholics. His great goal was propagatio fidei, the planned extension of papal power, at almost any cost.

For this reason he interfered in the affairs of England and in the Frank-Merovingian kingdom, whose kings he vainly sought to win over to ecclesiastical reform. He recommended torture and imprisonment as coercive means, and occasionally also the peaceful transformation of pagan places of worship or Gentile customs, ‘so that people thus confidently go to the usual places’, always following the circumstances. He also advised, on occasion, promising converts a tax cut and ‘converting’ the stubborn with higher taxes. To the Sardinians, who still persisted in their paganism, their bishop had to Christianise them by force, as if they were slaves!

But not only did Gregory propagate the conversion of the ‘pagans’ in Sardinia, Sicily, Corsica, and elsewhere. He also tirelessly fought ‘heresy’ and intervened with great zeal in the war against heretics within the missionary war for the expansion of the faith outward, gladly called ‘defence of the Roman Church’ or ‘the pastoral care of the pope’. Not even those who were simply outsiders or disagreed could remain unmolested. ‘Thinking differently than most, leading a different way of life from that led by people in general, increasingly meant a direct questioning of the doctrines and practices of the common people, already constituting almost a crime worthy of death’ (Herrmann)…

Gregory was a propagandist convinced of the virtue of humility. And humble, of course, it is only he who is where the pope is and obeys him with the greatest submission. Conversely, in Gregory’s mind a ‘heretic’ could in no way be humble. The ‘heresy’ was a priori the opposite, a division of hearts, the ruin of souls, a service to Baal and the devil; it was apostasy, rebellion and pride. ‘The place of heretics is pride itself… the place of the wicked is pride, as conversely humility is the place of good’. Tolerance towards ‘heretics’ was unthinkable from the beginning, from New Testament times. The ‘heretics’ were already fought in the primitive Church as ‘antichrists’, as ‘firstborn of Satan’, ‘animals in human form’, ‘beasts’, ‘devils’, ‘slaughter cattle for hell’ and so on. All of this was, indeed, an old and accepted tradition in the Church, which a worthy predecessor of Gregory, Pope Gelasius I (492-496), had summed up in this sentence: ‘Tolerance towards heretics is more pernicious than the most terrible destructions of the provinces by the barbarians’.

In Africa, where after the total annihilation of the Arian vandals the Catholic imperial house prevailed again, the pope was annoyed by the Manicheans, some remains of the Arians, and to a great extent also the Donatists. Once again, as in Augustine’s time, domination was the champion of the impoverished! But soon Gregory forced the repression of the ‘heretics’. In a letter to the African prefect in 593, he is extremely surprised that the state does not act energetically against the sectarians. He later protested also by sending three bishops as delegates to Constantinople before the emperor, for the violation of the imperial laws in Africa. But the truth is that in the second half of his pontificate there is no longer any talk of the Donatists at all.

The ‘great’ pope hated anything that wasn’t Catholic, otherwise he wouldn’t have been ‘great’…

For Gregory the pagans had neither divine nor human rights. And messing it all up—as has been done in his circles to this day—he presented the pagans as persecutors of the Catholics! It is true that he did not advocate outright violence, lashing, torture and jail at any cost for the Gentiles, who according to him ‘live like wild animals’. Nothing of that! Magnanimous and good-natured as he was, he cordially encouraged to wipe out the pagan tenants from ecclesiastical lands by financial imposition. The stubborn and hard-headed peasant who refused ‘to return to the Lord God’ had to ‘be burdened with so many taxes that this punishment would push him to enter the right path as quickly as possible’.

And if even with the most unbearable tax pressure someone was reluctant to enter ‘the right path’, the Holy Father was a little tougher. He then ordered a rigorous prison and, in the case of slaves, even torture which Augustine, the preacher of the mansuetudo catholica or ecclesial meekness, already allowed. And he allowed it not only with slaves but also with all schismatics (Donatists). The clever Numidian thinker twists the words and calls torture emendatio, as if it were a kind of baptismal cure and preparation, a trifle compared to hell.

Gregory thus Christianised the sad remains of Sardinian paganism in the light of doctor Augustine. In 599 he exhorted by letter ‘with the greatest fervour’ to Archbishop Januarius of Cagliari ‘to pastoral vigilance against idolaters’. He first recommended conversion through ‘a convincing exhortation’ and not without evoking ‘divine judgment’. Then he wrote clearly:

But if you find that they are not willing to change their way of life, we wish that you arrest them with all zeal. If they are slaves, punish them with whipping and torment, seeking their correction. But if they are free people, they must be led to repentance employing severe prison, as it should be, so that those who despise hearing the words of redemption, which save them from the danger of death, may in any case be returned by bodily torments to the desired healthy faith.

Through bodily torments a healthy Catholic mentality is achieved…

At that time, ‘pagans’ still existed in many regions, not only where Archbishop Januarius himself tolerated them among his tenants. There were pagans in Corsica, in Sicily, in Campania, let alone in Gaul and even in Great Britain. Everywhere Gregory pushed for their disappearance.

For this he not only set in motion his clergy but the nobility, the landowners and the civil arm too. He had to strike everywhere in union with the ecclesiastical arm. Thus, in 593 he ordered the praetor of Sicily to render all his assistance to the bishop of Tyndaris in his work of annihilating the ‘pagans’. And in 598 he ordered Agnelo of Terracina to seek out the tree worshipers and punish them so that ‘paganism’ would not be passed on to others. He also required the assistance of Mauro, the local military commander. And of course all of this happened, to put it in the words of John the Deacon, ‘through the application of legitimate authority’.

Pope Gregory accepted and even openly sanctioned the religious war to subdue the Gentiles… They had to submit by force without further ado and then more or less smoothly seek conversion: a rule that the Catholic historian Friedrich Heer defines as ‘the Christian policy of conquest and expansion until the eve of the First World War’. In this regard Gregory worked, as we see in his letter to the emperor, with the old Ambrosian idea that ‘the peace of the res publica depends on the peace of the universal Church’. He consequently kept his military commanders and even his own soldiery, which repeatedly prevailed victorious… In the eyes of the Catholic historian of the popes, all this happened ‘in an absolutely natural way’ as by himself Pope Gregory was ‘the bulwark and leader’, the ‘consul of God’, who took in his hands ‘in an autonomous way the history of Italy, the history of his country’.

Christianity’s Criminal History, 135

For the context of these translations click here

 
Left, Mass of St. Gregory, c. 1490, attributed to Diego de la Cruz, oil and gold on panel (Philadelphia Museum of Art).

From Gregory I, the humble servant of servants, until the 20th century it is well known that the popes had their feet kissed. The peculiarities were regulated by the ceremonial books. But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s. That is why all the emperors, including Charles V, also regularly performed this ugly rite on the portico of St. Peter’s basilica.

It is understood that Gregory’s personal conscience was marked by the origin, career and status of his character. He always made himself respected by both the clergy and the laity. In modern parlance it could be said that he was a Law-and-order type, a person of order, a former prefect of police, a judge of the criminal who strongly insisted on obedience and discipline, especially by monks and nuns, taking a special interest in their morality—or immorality—as well as in the observance of their vow of poverty.

Gregory used to call his clerics and officials, whose influence was decisive in the Roman municipal administration, ‘soldiers of Peter’ and also ‘soldiers of the Roman Church’ (milites beati Petri, milites Ecclesiae romanae). The first monk elevated to the pontifical throne administered the Lateran almost in the manner of a monastery, populating it in any case with monks, whom he elected to high offices. But he, who adopted the humble monastic catchphrase of ‘servant of the servants of God’—which after his death became an official title of the popes—naturally wanted to be ‘the first servant in the Church of God’ (Altendorf).

Gregory never used the name of St. Peter without the tag ‘prince of the apostles’. He strictly forbade subjects (subditi) to dare to pass judgment on the life of prelates or superiors (praepositi). Even if they were unworthy and justly deserved to be censured, they should not be reproached. Rather, one had to voluntarily embrace the yoke of reverence.

 
The man of double standards

Where he had power, Gregory exercised it without regard, very proud of his justice in front of his subordinates. Archdeacon Lorenzo, who for his sake was preferred in the papal succession and who could not hide his disappointment, lost his post. A year later, Gregory burned him in a solemn ceremony and in the presence of all the clergy ‘for his pride and other crimes’.

Yet more significant is the following event. The monk Justus, a doctor at the Monastery of Saint Andrew, who cared for the increasingly ill pope, confessed to brother Copious that he had hidden three gold coins. When Gregory found out, he rigorously forbade anyone to treat Justus, that no one from the monastery should visit him on his deathbed or assist him. And after his death his corpse had to be thrown with the three coins into a dunghill while the assembly shouted: ‘To hell with you and your money!’

With such severity Gregory understood the monastic vow although, personally, everything that he hadn’t given to his monasteries he sold, distributing the money among the poor. As a monk he was so wealthy that in 587 he was able to make another donation to the Monastery of Saint Andrew (to which with the expression of owner he called ‘my monastery’). Furthermore, at least thirteen years after becoming a Benedictine monk, he still possessed many rustic goods.

Undoubtedly, the pope was also a man of compromise and double standards. As hard as he was always with the defrocked monks and nuns, forcing them to return to the monastery, in the case of nobles he could make exceptions.

Venantius, a patrician of Syracuse and probably a friend of Gregory, left his monastery in contempt of the ecclesiastical precept. He took home the beautiful and dominant lady Italica who made him the father of two girls, also becoming the epicentre of a circle of anti-monastic literati. But Gregory didn’t force him to return to the monastery. He only tried with great effort to convince him to do it voluntarily, although in vain. What is more, he aided the children born of that anti-canonical marriage, proving once more—as Jeffrey Richards, his modern and often benevolent biographer says—‘that in Gregory’s image of the world was a law for the rich, and another for the poor’…

One last example about Gregory’s double standards: When Bishop Andrew beat a poor woman who lived off ecclesiastical charity so barbarically that she died shortly after, the pope simply forbade him to celebrate Mass for two months—perhaps to the satisfaction of the bishop himself. On the contrary, Gregory had ‘all carnal sinners’ locked up in the prisons of the monasteries, so that a modern researcher (Grupp) writes that this ‘evokes the old slaveholders’, taking such crowds into those monastic houses of repression that according to the monk John Climacus—a contemporary of Gregory, somewhat younger than him—they ‘could hardly take a step’.

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Editor’s note. ‘But, as we also know, the one who was actually being kissed was not his foot, but God’s’.

This means that even proud kings had to symbolically kiss the feet of the god of the Jews, since the god of the New Testament is the same as the god of the Old Testament.

When will American white nationalists see something so obvious? Or is it that they don’t realise that the Christian religion of our parents is somehow connected with the empowerment of Jewry?

Published in: on February 1, 2021 at 1:30 pm  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 135  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 134

For the context of these translations click here

 

CHAPTER 7

Pope Gregory I (590-604)

A 1627 interpretation of Gregorio
Magno by Francisco de Zurbarán

‘Just and loving was Gregory, both with the poor and the economically weak, as with the slaves, the heretics and the Jews.’ —F.M. Stratmann, Catholic theologian

‘The history of the Church has not produced many characters who have rightfully carried the nickname of The Great’. —Heinrich Kraft

‘Nor was it the worst that he advised proceeding against the recalcitrant with whipping, torture and jail, but with naive cynicism he recommended the increase in taxes as a means of conversion: those who converted had to be relieved of the established taxes, and those who were reluctant had to be softened with tax pressure’. —Johannes Haller
 

The flight from the world and the desire to make a career

Of the more than 260 popes, only Leo I and St. Gregory I (590-604) are the pontiffs who, in addition to the title of Doctors of the Church, bear the appellation of ‘The Great’ (San Gregorio Magno). He came from the ‘big world’. The first monk who reached the supposed chair of Peter was of the senatorial lineage of the Anicius; that is to say, of the high and rich Roman nobility, de senatoribus primis. All ecclesiastical writers emphasise the ‘noble’ or rich origin of their heroes. Even in the purely external aspect of him it was the ‘miracle of his time’ for being a man of average height, with small, yellowish eyes, a discreet aquiline nose, and four miserable little curls, and a powerful, almost bald skull: a miracle in himself, and not only in his time. Well, that truly extraordinary head multiplied and, like a holy relic, it could be in many cities at the same time: Constance, for example, possessed the head of Gregory, as did Prague, Lisbon and Sens.

By 573 Gregory was praefectus urbis, the highest civil office in Rome. Decked out in precious stones and flanked by an armed personal guard, he resided in a sumptuous palace because, although he was ‘already driven by the yearning for heaven’, as he confesses, he was interested in beautiful appearances, in their ‘external standard of living’ and without excessive disgust he served ‘the earthly world’.

The family was wealthy with possessions in and around Rome, and especially in Sicily. He even had contacts in Constantinople, and also apparently was intensely religious. Wealth and religion are not excluded in any way. Quite the contrary: whoever God loves makes him rich, and despite the camels and the needle eyes, he gets to heaven. The powerful bloodline of Gregory had already given the world two popes: Agapetus I and Felix III, whom he himself calls his ancestor (atavus). And the Church also canonised his mother Silvia…

Already between his election and consecration on September 3, 590, Gregory, who because of his weakness almost always lay in bed, had called to fight the bubonic plague from Egypt, to which even his predecessor Pelagius II had succumbed on February 8, 590.

Of course, Gregory declared the plague as punishment from God, as revenge for the sins of the Lombards, the ‘pagans’, the ‘heretics’ and demanded their conversion ‘to the true and upright Catholic faith’ through repentance, penance, prayers and songs of Psalms for three days, ‘while it is still time for tears’.

He also set in motion among the ruins of the destroyed city a spectacular seven-round procession—with it Ferdinand Gregorovius begins History of Rome in the Middle Ages—with pitiful choral songs and tedious invocations to all possible martyrs, including those who never had existed but were invented in the bloody comedy of the doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose of Milan. The success was tremendous but an eyewitness told St. Gregory of Tours that then ‘in the space of an hour, while the people raised their voices in prayer to the Lord, eighty men collapsed and fell dead’. In any case, in Constantinople, by God’s inscrutable design, between 542 and 544 the plague had claimed the lives of 300,000 people.

Amid such gloomy feelings, visions and realities of worldly decay—not only was the plague raging: ancient temples were also being razed, and even the papal granaries and churches—, Gregory, who has been called ‘the last Roman’ and ‘the first medieval pope’, surprisingly started his career knowing exactly what he wanted…

In 590 Gregory ascended the pontifical throne despite his ailments and, naturally, supposedly against his will. This was part of the etiquette and until the 20th century it has been part of clerical hypocrisy. In his time, however, even the humblest ecclesiastical offices were so coveted that in 592 or 593 Emperor Maurice forbade soldiers from entering monasteries and civil servants from embracing the clerical state. And Gregory knew very well that ‘someone who strips off his worldly garments to immediately occupy an ecclesiastical office only changes places, but doesn’t leave the world’.

Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 11:55 am  Comments Off on Christianity’s Criminal History, 134  

Christianity’s Criminal History, 101

 

Editors’ note:

To contextualise these translations of Karlheinz Deschner’s encyclopaedic history of the Church in 10-volumes, Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums, see the abridged translation of Volume I (here).

 

The Christian Book Burning
and the Annihilation of Classical Culture

Where is the wise person? Where is the educated one? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

—St. Paul, I Corinthians 1:20

Charlatanism is initiated among you by the schoolteacher, and as you have divided the science into parts [sacred & profane], you have moved away from the only true one.

—Tatian

After Jesus Christ, all research is already pointless. If we believe, we no longer demand anything that goes beyond our faith.

—Tertullian

If you want to read historical narratives, there you have the Book of The Kings. If, on the contrary, you want to read the wise men and philosophers, you have the prophets… And if you long for the hymns, you also have the psalms of David.

—Apostolic Constitution (3rd Century)

Religion is, therefore, the central core of the entire educational process and must permeate all educational measures.

Lexicon for Catholic Life (1952)

 
Constantine ordered to burn the fifteen books of the work Against the Christians written by Porphyry, the most astute of the opponents of Christianity in the pre-Constantinian era: ‘The first state prohibition of books decreed in favour of the Church’ (Hamack). And his successors, Theodosius II and Valentinian III, condemned Porphyry’s work again to the bonfire, in 448. This happened after Eusebius of Caesarea had written twenty-five books against this work and the doctor of the Church Cyril nothing less than thirty.

Towards the end of the 4th century, during the reign of Emperor Valens, there was a great burning of books, accompanied by many executions. That Christian regent gave free rein to his fury for almost two years, behaving like ‘a wild beast’, torturing, strangulating, burning people alive, and beheading. The innumerable records allowed to find the traces of many books that were destroyed, especially in the field of law and the liberal arts. Entire libraries went to the fire in the East. Sometimes they were eliminated by their owners under the effect of panic.

On the occasion of the assaults on the temples, the Christians destroyed, especially in the East, not only the images of the gods but also the liturgical books and those of the oracles. The Catholic Emperor Jovian (363-364) had the Antioch library destroyed by fire: the same library installed there by his predecessor Julian the Apostate. Following the assault on the Serapis in 391, during which the sinister Patriarch Theophilus himself destroyed, axe in hand, the colossal statue of Serapis carved by the great Athenian artist Bryaxis, the library was consumed by flames.

After the library of the Museum of Alexandria, which already had 700,000 rolls, was consumed by a casual fire during the siege war by Cesar (48-47 BC), the fame of Alexandria as a city possessing the most numerous and precious bibliographic treasures only lasted thanks to the library of the Serapis, since the supposed intention of Antony to give Cleopatra, as compensation for the loss of the library of the museum, the entire library of Pergamum, with 200,000 rolls , does not seem to have come to fruition. The burning of libraries on the occasion of the assault on the temples was indeed something frequent, especially in the East.

It happened once again under the responsibility of Theophilus, following the destruction of an Egyptian sanctuary in Canopus and that of the Marneion of Gaza in 402.

At the beginning of the 5th century, Stilicho burned in the West—with great dismay on the part of the Roman aristocracy faithful to the religion of his elders—the books of the Sibyl, the immortal mother of the world, as Rutilius Claudius Namatianus complained. To him, the Christian sect seemed worse than the poison of Circe.

In the last decades of the 5th century, the libelli found there (‘these were an abomination in the eyes of God’—Rhetor Zacharias)—were burnt in Beirut before the church of St. Mary. The ecclesiastical writer Zacharias, who was then studying law in Beirut, played a leading role in this action supported by the bishop and state authorities. And in the year 562 Emperor Justinian, who had ‘pagan’ philosophers, rectors, jurists and physicians persecuted, ordered the burning of Greco-Roman images and books in the Kynegion of Constantinople, where the criminals were liquidated.

Apparently, already at the borderline of the Middle Ages, Pope Gregory I the Great, a fanatical enemy of everything classical, burned books in Rome. And this celebrity—the only one, together with Leo I, in gathering in his person the double distinction of Pope and Doctor of the Church—seems to have been the one who destroyed the books that are missing in the work of Titus Livy. It is not even implausible that it was he who ordered the demolition of the imperial library on the Palatine. In any case, the English scholastic John of Salisbury, bishop of Chartres, asserts that Pope Gregory intentionally destroyed manuscripts of classical authors of Roman libraries.

Everything indicates that many adepts of the Greco-Roman culture converted to Christianity had to prove to have really moved their convictions by burning their books in full view. Also, in some hagiographic narratives, both false and authentic, there is that commonplace of the burning of books as a symbol, so to speak, of a conversion story.

It was not always forced to go to the bonfire. Already in the first half of the 3rd century, Origen, very close in this regard to Pope Gregory, ‘desisted from teaching grammar as being worthless and contrary to sacred science and, calculating coldly and wisely, he sold all his works of the ancients authors with whom he had occupied until then in order not to need help from others for the sustenance of his life’ (Eusebius).

There is hardly anything left of the scientific critique of Christianity on the part of adherents to classical culture. The emperor and the Church took care of it. Even many Christian responses to it disappeared! (probably because there was still too much ‘pagan poison’ on its pages). But it was the classical culture itself on which the time came for its disappearance under the Roman Empire.
 

The annihilation of the Greco-Roman world

The last emperor of classical antiquity, the great Julian, certainly favoured the adherents of the old culture, but simultaneously tolerated the Christians: ‘It is, by the gods, my will that the Galileans not be killed, that they are not beaten unjustly or suffer any other type of injustice. I declare, however, that the worshipers of the gods will have a clear preference in front of them. For the madness of the Galileans was about to overthrow everything, while the veneration of the gods saved us all. That is why we have to honour the gods and the people and communities that venerate them’.

After Julian’s death, to whom the orator Libanius felt united by faith and friendship, Libanius complains deeply, moved by the triumph of Christianity and by its barbarous attacks on the old religion.

Oh! What a great sorrow took hold not only of the land of the Achaeans, but of the entire empire… The honours of which the good ones participated have disappeared; the friendship of the wicked and unbridled enjoys great prestige. Laws, repressive of evil, have already been repealed or are about to be. Those that remain are barely fulfilled in practice.

Full of bitterness, Libanius continues to address his co-religionists:

That faith, which until now was the object of mockery and that fought against you so fierce and untiring, has proved to be the strongest. It has extinguished the sacred fire, the joy of sacrifices, has ordered to savagely neat [its adversaries] and demolish the altars. It has locked the shrines and temples, if not destroyed them or turned them into brothels after declaring them impious. It has abrogated any activity with your faith…

In that final assault on the Greco-Roman world, the Christian emperors were mostly and for a long time less aggressive than the Christian Church. Under Jovian (363-364), the first successor of Julian, Hellenism does not seem to have suffered major damage except the closure and demolition of some temples. Also the successors of Jovian, Valentinian I and Valens, during whose government appears for the first time the term pagani referring the faithful of the old polytheism, maintained an attitude of relative tolerance toward them.

The Catholic Valentinian with plenty of reasons, because his interest was in the army and needed inner peace, tried to avoid religious conflicts. He still covered the high positions of the government almost evenly, even with a slight predominance of the believers in the gods.

Under Valens, nevertheless, the high Christian officials already constituted a majority before the Hellenes. Yet he fought the Catholics, even using the help of the Hellenes for reasons, of course, purely opportunistic.

Although the emperor Gratian, for continuing the rather liberal religious policy of his father Valentinian I, had promised tolerance to almost all the confessions of the empire by an edict promulgated in 378, in practice soon followed an opposite behaviour, for he was strongly influenced by the bishop of Milan, Ambrose.

Under Valentinian II, brother of Gratian, things really turned around and the relationship between high Christian officials and the adherents of the old culture was again balanced and the army chiefs, two polytheists, played a decisive role in the court. Even in Rome two other Hellenes of great prestige, Praetextatus and Symmachus, exerted the charges of praetorian and urban prefect respectively.

Gradually, however, Valentinian, as his brother once did, fell under the disastrous influence of the resident bishop of Milan, Ambrose. Something similar to what would happen later with Theodosius I. Ambrose lived according to his motto: ‘For the “gods of the heathen are but devils” as the Holy Scripture says; therefore, anyone who is a soldier of this true God must not give proof of tolerance and condescension, but of zeal for faith and religion’.

And indeed, the powerful Theodosius ruled during the last years of his term, at least as far as religious policy was concerned, strictly following Ambrose’s wishes. First, the rites of non-Christians were definitively banned at the beginning of 391. Later the temples and sanctuaries of Serapis in Alexandria were closed, which soon would be destroyed. In 393 the Olympic games were prohibited. The infant emperors of the 5th century [1] were puppets in the hands of the Church. That is why the court also committed itself more and more intensely in the struggle against classical culture, a struggle that the Church had already vehemently fuelled in the 4th century and that led gradually to the systematic extermination of the old faith.

The best-known bishops took part in this extermination, which intensified after the Council of Constantinople (381), with Rome and the East, especially Egypt, as the most notorious battlefields of the conflict between the Hellenes and the Christians.
 
___________

[1] Deschner is referring to emperors Arcadius, Theodosius II and Honorius whose reigns will be described in other translations of his books.

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 ______

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

Why Europeans must reject Christianity, 10

by Ferdinand Bardamu

 
Section IV: Christianity and the narrowing of the Western intellectual horizon

Christians declared all-out war on the secular foundations of the Roman state. In doing so, they inevitably attacked Rome’s tradition of great art and architecture, as well as the vast storehouses of scientific and technical knowledge that had been accumulated over the centuries. Christians who desired the total eradication of paganism had nothing viable with which to replace the secular culture of the late antique world.

Many Christians, conscious of the inferiority of their own religious traditions when compared to the majestic scientific and philosophical achievements of Western culture, attacked secular learning out of envy and spite. This intellectual poverty of the Christian religion induced a significant narrowing of Western intellectual horizons. The entrenchment and consolidation of the Nicene state religious cult obviated the necessity of a classical education for worldly success. Many pursued a religious vocation instead, an option that suddenly became attractive as the Christian church increased in power and influence.

The 4th century witnessed the dismantlement of the public education system by zealous Christians, who were disgusted with the paganism of the classical academic curriculum. The Christian emperors, unlike their pagan antecedents, did not patronize secular philosophy and science; the administrative apparatus responsible for disbursement of state funds, now controlled by an ecclesiastical bureaucracy, withheld them in the case of teachers who specialized in the classics. This angered many of the last remaining pagans of late antiquity, who bitterly complained about the role of Christianity in spreading a general lack of interest in pursuing a secular education.

A man with a classical education was no longer as highly esteemed as he once was before the age of Constantine. The leaders of the empire’s most powerful institution, the church, contemptuously dismissed their learning as mere “worldly wisdom.” In the eyes of the church, reliance on the faculty of reason alone was the mark of demonic possession, a path fraught with snares for lost souls on the way to eternal damnation in the fires of hell.

This made the educated man condescending and arrogant, as well as too sophisticated for the simple message of the gospels, which he derided as a collection of childish fables. An educated man would also question Christian doctrine, even embrace heresy, making him especially dangerous from an ecclesiastical point of view. The existence of the classical curriculum posed a significant obstacle to the imperial policy of Christianization. By downgrading and marginalizing the pursuit of a secular education, the church was able to gradually eliminate this threat, producing a more docile public, like the sheep in the parables of Jesus. From now on, Christians like Martin of Tours would have more important things to do than learn how to read and write.

The final triumph of orthodoxy over reason is enshrined in the church’s canon law, which forbade clergy and laity from reading the secular literature of antiquity. This canonical prohibition was famously enforced by Pope Gregory I, who severely reprimanded his bishops for instructing students in classical literature. “One mouth cannot praise both Christ and Jupiter at the same time,” thundered Gregory from the Papal See in Rome.

The Church controlled all medieval scriptoria in Europe. Advice to monks from church leadership, ordering them to despise all secular knowledge as “foolishness in the eyes of god,” exercised a damaging influence on the scribal transmission of classical literature, merely strengthening the clerical refusal to not copy works of pagan origin. What followed was the inevitable loss of the knowledge needed to run an advanced pre-industrial society.

This only worsened and prolonged the Dark Ages, reducing Europeans to a Neolithic existence in the process. Gregory’s hatred of Rome’s secular past was so fierce he was rumored to have personally hunted down and burnt every copy of Titus Livy’s History he could get his hands on. The Library of the Palatine Apollo, first established by Augustus in Rome, was burnt to the ground on his orders. This was to protect the faithful from being contaminated by the “poison” of secular Greek and Latin literature.

Isidore of Seville was the only real “intellectual” for 200 years of western European history. His Etymologies, the most popular and widely used textbook of the Middle Ages, was written in support of Christian “fundamentalism.” Although unsurpassed in topical comprehensiveness, Isidore’s intellectual depth and range of knowledge are considerably inferior to the Roman encyclopedists who preceded him.

Isidore lived in a geocentric universe enclosed within a rotating star-studded sphere, not unlike the cosmology of the ancient Hebrews. Between the flat earth and the outer sphere are seven concentric inner spheres. The concept of infinite space was completely alien to Isidore’s way of thinking; the universe is a small place with definite boundaries. The fact that all knowledge could be summarized in a single volume shows how drastically intellectual horizons had narrowed under Christian influence. Isidore regarded all pagan science and philosophy as heresy anathema to right-thinking Christians.

The church, using the Etymologies as a guide, censored and suppressed the pagan literature quoted in its pages. Isidore further denigrated intellectual curiosity as “dangerous” and “harmful.” Isidore’s widely influential Monastic Rule warned monks of the dangers of reading pagan literature; the rule stated that ideally monks should be completely ignorant of all secular knowledge. Isidore’s condemnation of secular knowledge reinforced the prevailing “fundamentalist” orthodoxy of the church, which demanded the censorship and suppression of all pagan science and philosophy.