Kriminalgeschichte, 40

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

 
Christian tall stories

Christians, preachers of love of the enemy and of the doctrine that all authority emanates from God, celebrated the death of the emperor with great public banquets, with festivals in churches and chapels and dances in the theatres of Antioch: the city that, as Ernest Renan says, ‘was full of puppeteers, charlatans, actors, magicians, thaumaturges, witches and religious swindlers’.

The diatribe in three volumes that Julian had written shortly before his death, Against the Galileans, was promptly destroyed, but fifty years later, Cyril, the doctor of the Church still bothered to argue against it: Pro sanela Christianorum religione adversas libros athei Julian in thirty volumes, of which ten have reached us in their Greek text and ten others in Greek and Syriac fragments. Naturally, a bishop like Cyril, an avowed enemy of philosophy who even tried to prohibit its teaching in Alexandria, did not intend to grasp the thought of Julian, but only ‘crush it with maximum energy’ (Jouassard).

The Christians also destroyed all the portraits of Julian and the epigraphs that commemorated his victories, without sparing means to erase from the memory of men the remembrances of him.

During Julian’s life, the most famous doctors of the Church had kept a prudent silence, but shortly after his death, and for a long time more, they dedicated themselves to attacking him.

Ephrem, another saint whose odious songs were repeated by the parishioners of Edessa, dedicated a whole treatise to ‘Julian the Apostate’, the ‘pagan emperor’ and, according to him, ‘frantic’, ‘tyrant’, ‘trickster’, ‘damned’ ‘and’ idolatrous priest’. ‘His ambition caught the deadly release’ that ‘tore his body pregnant with oracles from his magicians’ to send him definitively ‘to hell’. The clerical historians of the 5th century, who sometimes were also jurists, such as Rufinus, Socrates, Philostorgius, Sozomen and Theodoret, speak of Julian in a still worse tone.

While the Christian world defamed the ‘apostate’, as he usually does with its enemies, the Enlightenment corrected that image in the diametrically opposite sense.

In 1699, the Protestant theologian Gottfried Arnold, in his Impartial History of the Church and of Heresy, rehabilitated the figure of Julian.

A few decades later, Montesquieu praised him as a statesman and legislator. Voltaire wrote: ‘Thus, that man who has been described to us horribly was perhaps the most noble of all, or at least the second’. Montaigne and Chateaubriand count him among the greatest historical figures.

Goethe praised himself for understanding and sharing Julian’s animosity against Christianity. Schiller wanted to make him protagonist of one of his dramas.

Shaftesbury and Fielding praised him, and Gibbon believes that he deserved to have owned the world. Ibsen wrote Caesar and Galilee and Nikos Kazantzakis his tragedy Julian the Apostate, premiered in Paris in 1948.

More recently, between 1962 and 1964, the North American Gore Vidal dedicated a novel to him. On the other hand, the Benedictine Baur (representative, in this, of many current Catholics) continues to defame Julian in the 20th century.

After the death of Julian, and having renounced the designated successor, Salutius, a moderate pagan philosopher and prefect of the praetorians of the East who had been a personal friend of Julian, the Illyrian Jovian acceded to the throne.

Kriminalgeschichte, 39

 

Emperor Julian

(Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus)
Caesar: 6 November 355 – February 360
Augustus: February 360 – 3 November 361
Sole Augustus: 3 November 361 – 26 June 363

 
The pagan reaction under Julian

Like his brother Gallus, Julian was also spared from the killing of relatives, although as a member of the imperial dynasty he was kept closely guarded: first in a magnificent estate of Nicomedia, which had been owned by his mother (Basilina, deceased shortly after the birth of Julian), and then in the lonely fortress of Macellum, located in the heart of Anatolia, where his older brother was also imprisoned. The distrustful emperor wove a dense network of spies around both princes, to transmit him each and every one of their words.

They lived ‘like prisoners in that Persian castle’ (Julian), practically arrested and surely threatened with death. In Nicomedia, Julian was given a preceptor, Bishop Eusebius, a relative of Basilina, ecclesiastic and man of the world already known at the time, who, following the custom of Oriental prelates, used to dye his nails with cinnabar and his hair with henna. He was instructed to educate the child severely in the Christian religion; to prevent him from contacting the population, and to ‘never talk about the tragic end of his family’, although at seven Julian was very aware of it and this caused frequent crying spells and terrible nightmares.

In Macellum, where he was confined for seven years with scarcely any other company than that of his slaves, he had as his educator the Arian Jorge of Cappadocia, who was in charge of training him for the priesthood. But then Julian was able to leave the place and settled in Constantinople, where he lived the disputes between Arians and Orthodox and knew the real life of that world of violent riots and fiery mutual excommunications. Towards the end of 351, when Julian was twenty years old, Constantius ordered him to continue his studies in Nicomedia. Julian visited Pergamum, Ephesus and Athens, where he had notable teachers who won him for paganism.

Appointed caesar in 355 by Constantius, and proclaimed augustus by the army in Paris in 360, the same sovereign, who had no offspring, at the time of death appointed Julian as successor… when the two opposing armies marched to the encounter of the other. An ephemeral restoration of polytheistic traditions took place, with the establishment of a Hellenistic ‘state religion’, whose organization followed in many respects the pattern of Christian canons.

Julian tried to replace the cross and the nefarious dualism of Christians by a formula composed of certain streams of Hellenistic philosophy and a ‘solar pantheism’. Without neglecting the other gods of the pagan pantheon, he had a temple built for the Sun god—probably identified with Mithra—in the imperial palace; on numerous occasions he proclaimed his veneration for the basileus Helios, the Sun king, which was already a bi-millennial tradition:

Since my childhood, I was inspired by an invincible longing for the rays of the God, who have always captivated my soul, in such a way that I constantly wanted to contemplate it and even at night, when I was in the country, I forgot everything to admire the beauty of starry heaven…

Today we have become accustomed to interpreting Julian’s reaction as a nostalgic movement, a romantic anachronism or the absurd attempt to turn the hands of the clock backwards. But why do we interpret it that way? Was he refuted, or could he be, instead of being drowned in blood? What is certain and undeniable is that Emperor Julian (from 361 to 363), called ‘the Apostate’ by the Christians, was far superior to his Christian predecessors in character, morality and spirituality.

Trained in philosophy and literature, not only was he ‘the first truly cultured emperor for more than a century’ (Brown), but also deserved ‘a prominent place among writers of the time in the Greek language’ (Stein), and he knew to surround himself with the best thinkers of his time. Julian was zealous in the fulfilment of his duty and enemy of all gentleness, since he never had mistresses or ephebes, never got drunk; the emperor went to work since dawn. He tried to rationalise the bureaucracy and place intellectuals in top government and administrative positions.

Julian abolished the splendours of the court, the possession of eunuchs and jesters, and the whole system of flatterers, parasites, spies and whistleblowers who were fired by the thousands. He reduced the service, reduced the taxes by a fifth, acted with severity against the unfaithful collectors and sanitized the state mail. He also abolished the labarum, that is, the banner of the army with the anagram of Christ, and tried to resurrect ancient cults, festivals and the Paideia: classical education. He ordered the return of the old temples or the reconstruction of those that had been destroyed, and even the return of the statues and other sacred ornaments that adorned the gardens of the individuals who had appropriated them.

But he did not ban Christianity; on the contrary, he allowed the return of the exiled clerics, which only served to foment new conspiracies and tumults.

The Donatists of Africa, while praising the emperor as a paragon of justice, disinfected their newly recovered churches by scrubbing them up and down with sea water, sanded the wood of the altars and the plaster of the walls, regained the influence lost under Constans and Constantius II, and prepared to enjoy their revenge. The Catholics were converted by force, their churches expropriated, their books burned, their chalices and monstrances thrown by the windows and the hosts thrown to the dogs; some abused clerics died. Up to 391, the Donatists continued to have high status, at least in Numidia and Mauritania.

It is true that Julian, as a supporter of polytheism, criticized the Old Testament and its monotheistic rigours, as well as the arrogance of the supposed chosen people, but he granted Yahweh a rank equal to that of the other gods and even admitted that the God worshiped by the Jews was ‘the best and most powerful of all’. A Jewish delegation that visited him in Antioch in July 362, obtained the authorization to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem and the promise of new territories, in a kind of anticipation of the current ‘Zionism’, which motivated the jubilation of the diaspora. The reconstruction of the temple was initiated with great eagerness the following spring, while Julian undertook his campaign in Persia, but towards the end of May a fire, judged ‘providential’ by the Christians, as well as the death of Julian, meant the end of the works forever.

Julian was always in favour of tolerance, even towards Christians. If his dispositions regarding the ‘Galileans’, he said on one occasion, were benign and humanitarian, they should reciprocate by not bothering anyone, nor trying to impose assistance on their churches. In a letter to the citizens of Bosra, he wrote:

To convince and to teach men, it is necessary to use reason and not blows, threats or corporal punishment. I will not tire of repeating it: if you are sincere supporters of the true religion, you will refrain from bothering, attacking or offending the community of the Galileans, who are more worthy of pity than hatred, since they are wrong in matters of such power and transcendence.

Now, and although Julian was a supporter of tolerance… he could not avoid the use of violence against the violent, the Christians who were dedicated to desecrating and even destroying the newly rebuilt temples in Syria and Asia Minor, as well as statues. His legislation in the matter of education provoked many hatreds, inasmuch as he forbade Christians to study Greek literature (saying ‘let them stay in their churches interpreting their Matthew and Luke’). He also demanded the return of the columns and capital stolen from the temples by the Christians to adorn their ‘houses of God’.

If the Galileans want to have decoration in their temples, congratulations, but not with the materials belonging to other places of worship.

Libanius tells how the ships and chariots that returned their columns to the sacked gods could be seen everywhere. On October 22, 362, the Christians set fire to the temple of Apollo in Daphne, which had been restored by the sovereign, and destroyed the famous statue. In retaliation, Julian had the Basilica of Antioch and other churches consecrated to various martyrs razed. (Incidentally, Christians said that the temple had been struck by lightning but according to Libanius, there were no storm clouds on the night of the fire.)

In Damascus, Gaza, Ashkelon, Alexandria and other places the Christian basilicas burned, sometimes with the collaboration of the Jews; some believers were tortured or killed, including Bishop Marcus de Arethusa, so he entered the payroll of the martyrs. But, in general lines, ‘more offended had been the rights of the pagans’ (Schuitze), and in any case said pogrom was no more than a reaction to the excesses of the Christians, their abuses and their diatribes against paganism.

Throughout the empire, from Arabia and Syria, through Numidia, and even the Italian Alps, Julian was celebrated as a ‘benefactor of the state’, ‘undoing past wrongs’, ‘restorer of temples and the empire of freedom’, ‘magnanimous inspirer of the edicts of tolerance’. Even one of Julian’s main intellectual detractors, Gregory of Nazianzus, confessed that his ears ached from hearing so much praise from his liberal regime, according to Ernst Stein, ‘one of the healthiest the Roman Empire ever had’.

During the campaign in Persia, initiated by the emperor from Antioch (which was the main base of operations of the Romans against the Persians), on March 5, 363, a favourable occasion was presented. Julian, who was not wearing a breastplate, fell north of Ctesiphon, on the banks of the Tigris. Why was he unarmed? Was he wounded by an enemy spear or, as some claim, from his own ranks? Nobody knew.

Libanius, who was friend of Julian, assures that the author was a man ‘who refused to render cult to the Gods’. And even a Christian historian claims that Julian died at midnight on June 26, 363, when he was thirty-two years old and had governed for twenty months, victim of an assassin in the pay of the Christians…, a hero without blemish, naturally, who ‘perpetrated this audacious action in defence of God and religion’.

The Persians argued that he could not be one of their own, because they were out of range when the emperor was wounded in the midst of his troops. ‘Only one thing is certain’, Benoist-Méchin wrote, ‘and it is that he was not a Persian’, although he does not provide any definitive proof. ‘Be that as it may’, wrote Theodoret, father of the Church, ‘was he man or angel who wielded the sword, the truth is that he acted as the servant of the divine will’.

Kriminalgeschichte, 38

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

 
First assaults on the temples

Paganism still had many followers among the peasants, the many rectors and philosophers; it was also preserved among the cultivated aristocracy, especially the most rancid senatorial families, even among those of the Eastern empire.

In the year 341, a decree attributed to Constans began not with the classic exposition of motives, but with a propagandistic cry: ‘Let the superstition cease! May the delirium of sacrifices be abolished!’ (caesat superstitio sacrificiorum aboleatur insania). Consequently, the sovereign ordered in 346 the closing, with immediate effects, of the temples located in the cities; in 356, the closing of all the temples was ordered.

The question was to prevent the wicked (perditi) from doing their bad things, which triggered a wave of assaults on the temples. The confiscation of property and death by stepping on a temple, or by participating in the ‘aberration’ of sacrifices or worshiping an image, was one of the points of the laws of Constantius: ‘Whoever such things do, be struck down by the avenger sword’.

Libanius, a pagan Hellene rector of Antioch, wrote that Constantius inherited from his father ‘the spark of the inclination to evil deeds, converted by him into a great fire, because he plunders the treasures of the gods, demolishes the temples, annuls the sacred canons’. Libanius comments that Constantius ‘generalized to the rhetoric (logoi) the contempt of pagan worship, and it is not surprising, because both, worship and rhetoric are related and go together’. The contemporary reader will understand that with this he accused the emperor of going against religion and against classical culture at the same time.

The most fanatical Christians already attacked altars and temples. The deacon Cyril of Heliopolis, for example, became famous with his actions. In Arethusa of Syria, the priest Marcus made to demolish an old sanctuary (what later, being bishop and during the reaction of Julian, it was worth a serious beating). In Caesarea of Cappadocia, the Christian community razed a temple of Zeus, patron of the city, and another of Apollo. In Alexandria, the Arian Georgios destroyed a whole series of sacred places of paganism.
 

Hecatombs under the pious Gallus

(Constantius Gallus in a late copy of 354.) In Palestine, the scene of the process of Scythopolis, occurred the outrages of Gallus, a cousin of Constantius who was saved from the dynastic slaughter of the year 337. We find here another good Christian, assiduous to the church since childhood, great reader of the Bible and supposedly faithful husband of the old Constantina, sister of the emperor and married in second nuptials: a notorious harpy, ‘an unleashed fury’, Amianus wrote, ‘as bloodthirsty as his own husband’.

Gallus sent his brother Julian several letters of reprimand, inviting him to return to Christianity. In 351, the year of his proclamation as Caesar, Gallus scandalized the pagans by carrying the bones of Saint Babylas—incidentally, the first well-documented relocation we know—to the famous Apollo sanctuary in Daphne, which was thus rendered denaturalized.

The Christian Gallus, a great fan of boxing (at that time boxing was very bloody, with frequent breaking of bones), was revealed as a little tyrant in his residence of Antioch, through arbitrariness of all kinds and trials for high treason and witchcraft in which he made fun of all the legal norms and that brought a wake of confiscations, exile, horrible tortures and executions.

The fight against the pagans was tinged with true fanaticism, and he used a network of spies that covered the entire city. The Caesar Gallus, of whom Theodoret says with emphasis that ‘he was orthodox to death until the day of his death’, even induced some lynching by the plebs to get rid of certain uncomfortable fellow citizens. In 352, when the Jews suffered another of their periodic attacks of messianic excitement and rebelled against the prohibition of having slaves who were not Jews, assaulting a Roman garrison to procure weapons and naming someone of name Patrician, the pious Gallus burned entire cities and cut the throats even of the children.

Nor were the high imperial officials saved from this regime of terror; thus it fell the prefect of the East, Thalasius, directly responsible to the emperor. He was succeeded by Domitian, who shortly after his arrival in Antioch was captured by the soldiers, dragged through the streets, hung by his legs and thrown into the river Orontes; the same end suffered his quaestor.

There were several other murders, and towards the beginning of the summer of 354 the population rose ‘for varied and complicated reasons’, as Ammianus writes, but above all because of famine and general misery. Governor Theophilus was killed and dismembered.

Constantius was in need of calling his cousin, despite having promised him full immunity, and asked him to be accompanied by his wife, ‘the lovely Constantina’, since he had not seen her for a long time. Gallus understood that there was something fishy, but he trusted the support of Constantina, the emperor’s sister.

But this supporter died in those days as a result of a fever and the emperor beheaded his man of confidence one autumn morning in 354, in Istria. After the execution he proceeded with the rack, the axe of the executioner or exile against all the friends of Gallus, his officers and officials, and even against some religious people.

Only the death of the sovereign, at forty-four years of age on November 3, 361, avoided Constantius a confrontation with his cousin Julian.

Kriminalgeschichte, 37

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

 
A father of the Church who preaches looting and killing

And it was time for Firmicus Maternus, who expressed with joy that ‘although in some regions the dying members of idolatry still revolt, the complete eradication of such a pernicious aberration in all the Christian provinces’ seems near, which served to launch this proclamation to the Christian emperors: ‘Out with all the pagan ornaments of the temples! To the mint and the crucible with the metal of the idolatrous statues, so that they melt in the heat of the flames!’

In the diatribe De errore profanarum religionum (“On the error of profane religions”), written about the year 347, Firmicus incites emperors Constans and Constantius, called ‘sacratissimi imperatores’ and ‘sacrosancti’ to the extermination, above all, of mystery cults: the most dangerous for Christianity. These were the cults of Isis, Osiris, Serapis, Cybele and Attis, Dionysus-Bacchus and Aphrodite, and the solar cult of Mithraism, the most powerful of the time, characterized by numerous and surprising parallels with the Christian religion.

Many Catholic authors still deny (despite having proved incontestably in 1897) that Firmicus was the author of those bloodthirsty diatribes, which are discredited by their fanatical style full of pleonasms, prototype of future Catholic rhetoric and pamphlets.

Christ, the father of the Church congratulates himself, ‘he has knocked down the column where the devil had his image’, which appears thus ‘almost defeated, turned into fire and ashes’. ‘Little is left now for the devil, totally overwhelmed by your laws, to be totally destroyed, putting an end to the disastrous contagion, once the worship of idols, that poison has been exterminated. Celebrate with jubilation the annihilation of paganism, sing in full voice the hallelujah, for you have won as soldiers of Christ’.

Not yet, however. The religiones profanae still existed, almost all the temples still stood and the pagans still came to their sanctuaries. For this reason, the agitator demands the confiscation of their property, the destruction of the centres of worship. ‘Melt the figures of the gods and mint your coins with them; incorporate the votive offerings into the imperial treasury. The Lord has called you to higher undertakings, when you have crowned the task of annihilating all the temples’.

The spread of Christianity was the highest enterprise, along with the eradication of the pernicious pagan doctrines. Of course, adepts of the Greco-Roman world did not think so, but the other way around. ‘The opinion that, with the irruption of Christianity in the world, it had begun a general decline of the human species’ (Friedlander) was gaining strength.

Always invoking the Yahweh of the Old Testament, as is logical, until then no Christian had claimed with so much emphasis heir to the biblical hecatombs, nor had he used the precedent so systematically to justify resorting to brutality and terror. God threatens even the family and children of the children, ‘lest the cursed seed survive, and there be no trace of the heathen generations’.

As soon as the Church found itself in a position of strength, it stopped rejecting violence in order to exercise it ‘by all means’, as the theologian Carl Schneider says. The old apologetics that spoke of freedom of cults is displaced by libel and diatribe; the ideology of martyrdom and the exemplary lives of the martyrs no longer matters, it is the hour of persecuting fanaticism, of ‘the powerful calls to the crusade’ by a Firmicus ‘denigrating non-Christian religions like no other before him’ (Hoheisel).

The emperors, certainly, were the ones who had the means to apply coercion and violence. But they were also Christians and many proofs will not be necessary to suppose that the book of Firmicus Maternus, dedicated to the emperors Constantius and Constans, would not fail to influence in some measure the anti-pagan policy of them; their prohibitions and their threats. And these, in turn, would determine the position of the author of that Christian pamphlet.

Kriminalgeschichte, 36

Editor’s note: After reading the stories of the white race of Pierce and Kemp, it is obvious that, once the ‘Aryan problem’ is understood, the most practical thing is to exterminate the conquered non-whites instead of using them.

The Aryan problem consists of seeing as capital (slaves) a lower species of humans whose biology allows them to de-code the Aryan DNA and produce fertile mongrels if crossbreeding with them. Since sexual lust is natural among whites, this was precisely how the Roman Empire declined and fell.

In this section we see what Deschner says about the son of Constantine who inherited the empire. Like his father, he forbade Jews from any activity involving slaves: ‘That’s when the Jews’ dedication to financial activities began’. The Christian Constantius practised scorched-earth policies against his Germanic neighbours but not against the Semites at home! In our days the Jewish dominion of the financial sector has its roots in the non-exterminationist, misconceived policies of the Roman emperors. Deschner wrote:

______ 卐 ______

 
Constantius and his Christian-style government

(Bust of Constantius II.) Not content with these perfidious massacres, the ‘religiosissimus imperator’ undertook continuous wars against the Alamanni, the Sarmatians, the Persians and other nations; always very cautious, slow but conscientious, always preparing the campaigns thoroughly, from Mesopotamia to the Rhine. He used to leave only a scorched earth behind him.

That politician of whispering and cabinet, in whose court an extraordinary accumulation of bishops met, had very intimate relations with religion. ‘The first ruler who considered himself enthroned by the grace of God’ (Seeck), and who liked to be called officially lord of the whole earth and ‘my eternity’ (aeternitatem meam), was convinced of being an instrument appointed by the Most High and enjoyed the special protection of an angel, whose vague and vaporous contours he even thought he saw sometimes, floating in the air. He practiced chastity with more conviction than his brother, the fan of the ephebes.

This emperor favoured the Christian priests even more than his father, and confirmed, enlarged and multiplied the privileges granted.

If Constantine had dispensed them from the artisanal contribution, Constantius forgave them the territorial contribution and the tax for the use of mail. In the year 355, he ordered that the bishops could not be tried by the common courts, ‘to avoid false testimonies promoted by the fanatical spirits’. And not only did he exempt them from common services, but their wives and children as well as their servants of both sexes would be exempt in perpetuity from all kinds of taxes and benefits on behalf of the State. However, and this is typical of all ecclesiastical history, such concessions only served to make the clergy claim even more privileges.

Constantius, who was not baptized until the end of his life, as his father had done (and in that case, too, being the Arian officiant Eudocium of Antioch), was an Arian Christian. Father Athanasius, his main adversary, includes him in the large list of great Biblical sinners: he calls him perjurer, unjust, irresponsible and worse than the pagan emperors, leader of the impious, accomplice of bandits and Antichrist. ‘There is hardly room for insults worse than those lavished by Athanasius’ (Hagel).

Like his father, Constantius used Christianity as an instrument of his politics and not the other way around. Therefore, as soon as he saw himself as the sole emperor, his first concern was the unity of the Church, although unlike his father, he preferred to look for it in the Arian patriarchs. Hence he banished one after another of numerous Catholic patriarchs, including Athanasius, Paul of Constantinople and Hilary de Poitiers.

Others, like Pope Liberius and Hosius of Corduba, suffered the weight of his authority: ‘My will must be law for the Church’, he explained to those gathered in Milan in 355. ‘You will obey, or you will be banished’. At the same time persecution continued against the Donatists of Africa that Constantine did not initiate, and even proceeded against a sect of Arianism, that of the Anomoeans, seventy of whose bishops are said to have been exiled by his order.

With the Jews, Constantius was even more brutal than his father. A law of the year 339, which calls them a ‘nefarious sect’ and calls ‘markets’ their places of assembly, prohibits under pain of death at the stake to make it difficult for any Jew to pretend to convert to Christianity.

Now, even if the Jews were authorized to become Christians, the Christian who converted to Judaism faced the ‘deserved punishment’, according to the emperor, of confiscation of all his property. He forbade marriages between Christians and Jews; in particular, he persecuted the entry of women into the Hebrew communities with the death penalty.

The Jews could not buy slaves, even if they were pagans, under penalty of confiscation of property, or death penalty if they dared to circumcise them. Consequently, he forbade them any economic activity whose exploitation necessitated the employment of slaves; surely, that’s when the Jews’ dedication to financial activities began, which made them even more hated. The repression was severe, especially with the Jews of Palestine, after an insurrection that was bloody crushed.

The attitude of Constantius against the pagans was also very hard, probably instigated by the Christian party.

Gospel Fictions, 6


 
Below, part of Gospel Fictions’ sixth chapter, “The Passion narratives” by Randel Helms (ellipsis omitted between unquoted passages):


The story of the garden of Gethsemane is one of the most moving fictional creations in the New Testament. Though Mark’s Gospel is the first to tell the story in written form, its origins in the Old Testament are more clearly revealed in Luke’s version, whose vocabulary betrays its origins in Septuagint III Kings 19, the story of Elijah’s fleeing from Ahab and Jezebel.

The account is obviously fictional, since there could have been no witness to Jesus’ agony in the garden after he left his followers; they were all, according to the story, asleep.
 

Judas’ suicide

Mark had said nothing about the fate of Judas Iscariot after Jesus’ arrest, only that the priests promised to pay him money, not even indicating whether the money was ever paid. But the Christian sense of retribution could not rest with this, and soon legends were circulating that Judas died horribly. Luke knew one of these legends:

This Judas, be it noted, after buying a plot with the price of his villainy, fell forward on the ground, and burst open, so that his entrails poured out. This became known to everyone in Jerusalem, and they named the property in their own language Akeldama, which means “Blood Acre.” (Acts 1:18:19)

[Matthew on the other hand wrote:]

So Judas threw the money down in the temple and left them, and went and hanged himself. (Matt. 27:5)

That there were two such legends also accounts for the two different stories about Judas’ death: he hangs himself in Matthew and burst open in Acts. Both versions of the death are based on oracular readings of the Old Testament.
 

The Crucifixion

That Jesus was crucified by the Romans—the usual method of executing rebels—is the historical basis of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death (Mark 15, Matt. 27, Luke 23, John 19); the accounts are nevertheless fiction, composed for theological purposes.

If, as many hold, the author of the Fourth Gospel knew Mark’s work, why did he assert so strongly, contradicting Mark, that Jesus carried his own cross? Again the answer is a matter of theology rather than history. The Fourth Gospel was written, in part, as an attack upon Gnostic Christianity, which held that the Son of God was not really crucified; some Gnostics in fact held that Simon of Cyrene not only carried the cross, but was himself killed upon it. John dealt with that argument simply by eliminating Simon altogether.

Moreover, John had an entirely different picture of Jesus’ condition at the crucifixion. In the Synoptics, the implication is that Jesus is too weak, following his scouring and beating, to carry his own cross; but for John, Jesus is entirely triumphant throughout the passion. John presents no cry of dereliction from the cross (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”) but instead insists that the dying words were a cry of triumph: “It is accomplished!” (19:30). Such a figure was quite capable of carrying a cross.

Mark continues: “The hour of the crucifixion was nine in the morning” (the third hour, Roman time—Mark 15:25); John, however, tells us that “It was the eve of Passover, about noon,” when Pilate “handed Jesus over to be crucified.” Thus, we cannot know the hour of crucifixion. Nor, in fact, did the evangelists know: their times were fictional creations, parts of a theological framework.

Published in: on November 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags:

Kriminalgeschichte, 35

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

 
First wars among devout Christians

After the massacre, the sons of Constantine shared the spoils. The eldest, Constantine II (337-340) stayed with the western provinces, Gaul, Hispania, Britannia, and established his residence in Trier; the youngest, Constans, the centrals, Italy, Africa and Greece, with its capital in Sirmium (the current Mitrovicz, in Serbia). Constantius II (337-361), who survived and inherited them all, was awarded East and resided in Antioch until 350, when he was not campaigning.

(Bust of Constans)

Soon war broke out between the eldest and the youngest on a question of border demarcation. In early 340, Constantine II left Gaul and invaded Italy by surprise, but fell into an ambush near Aquileia, while trying to force an alpine pass. Constans’ generals killed him and threw the corpse into the river. In those moments Constantius II, as we will see in the following section, was very busy with the quarrels between Christians and especially with the incursions of the Persians in the East, so that Constans could stay with the western provinces without any discussion.

That seventeen-year-old adolescent, owner of two thirds of the immense empire, was the only one baptized among the sons of Constantine and had been educated in chastity, the ultimate Christian virtue, as we know. In fact, he shied away from women but used to enjoy the company of blond Germans, hostages or slaves, with whom he went out to hunt in remote solitary forests, while publicly declaring himself an enemy of pederasty.

Within the domains of Constans the first temple destructions, sporadic at the beginning, are produced in Rome, as well as a renewed persecution against the Donatists. As they did not allow themselves to be corrupted by the monies of the emperor, which the old Donatus had brusquely rejected, Constans decided to expropriate the unbowed clerics and, by force of arms, handed over the Donatist churches to the Catholics.

In 347 there was the bloody crushing of the Bagai insurrection, where the ordinary was assassinated, another Donatus and Bishop Majorinus, principal saint of the Donatists. Others were tied to columns and whipped by order of Macarius, the imperial commissioner, praised by Catholics as ‘advocate of the holy cause’. They began to speak of ‘the Macarian persecution’. Some Donatists died tortured in prisons. Many fled and others were exiled. Donatus himself died, apparently in the wreck of the ship where he was travelling deported. The assets of the exiles were confiscated.

Meanwhile, on January 18, 350, there was in Autun (Lyon) the pronouncement of General Magnentius, born in Amiens and the son of a Frankish and a Breton, who seized the western provinces. According to some later sources he was pagan; however, the coins he minted suggest the opposite, that is, he was a Christian. The Franks and the Saxons supported him at once, and all the towns and fortresses of the Rhine fell into his hands. Britain, Gaul, Italy, and Africa hastened to recognize him as emperor.

Certainly, Magnentius, the first Germanic anti-caesar and the most dangerous of all the usurpers who threatened the throne of Constantius (up to six in all), failed to enjoy his victory for a long time. The emperor left the Balkans for the Danube, to initiate the ‘holy war’, with troops that doubled those of his opponent. According to Theodoret, even the pagans of the army had to be baptized by order of Constantius.

Magnentius was expelled from Italy in 352; was also defeated in Gaul, and on August of 353, seeing himself surrounded in his castle of Lyon, he threw himself on the tip of his own sword, not without having finished with his intimate friends before; his brother Desiderius and his mother. Constantius had the enemy’s head roved around the country, and had many others cut off.

Kriminalgeschichte, 34

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

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Chapter 7: The Christian Sons of
Constantine and His Successors

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

— Frank Thiess

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

— Denys Hay

 

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

Statue of Emperor Constantine II.

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

The first Christian dynasty founded on family extermination

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kriminalgeschichte, 33

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

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Chapter 6: Persia, Armenia and Christianity

‘The origin and founding of that Church are typically Armenian. Gregory [the apostle of Armenia] violently crosses the country, surrounded by troops, destroys the temples and goes Christianizing the population. It was something never seen before in the Hellenic world’.

— G. Klinge

‘The Armenians put to the knife all the Persian army, without sparing a single life’, ‘they did not leave man or woman alive’. ‘They saw the bloodbath perpetrated among the defeated troops. The whole region reeked of the stench of corpses… That is how Saint Gregory was avenged’.

Faustus of Byzantium

‘Console yourselves in Christ, because those who died did so first of all by the country, by the church and by the grace of the divine religion’.

—Wrthanes, Patriarch of Armenia

 

Mosaic icon of St. Gregory the Illuminator
(Pammakaristos Church, Istanbul)

 

Saint Gregory destroys Armenian paganism and founds a hereditary patriarchy

The conversion of Armenia was the work of Gregory the Illuminator, the apostle of the Armenians. Converso to the Christianity of Caesarea, he began to preach the new religion towards the year 280, when Tiridates re-conquered Armenia. He had great ascendancy over Khosrovidukht, a sister of the king, thanks to which he ended up enjoying the favouritism of the sovereign: a very characteristic process, since we know that the clergy have always used women, sisters, wives or beloved of the princes to dominate them. By this procedure the ‘Christianization’ of entire nations was achieved.

Persuaded by his sister, King Tiridates finally sent a delegation headed by Gregory to Caesarea. Once there, the ordinary Leontius made him bishop and spiritual head of the Armenian Church. Shortly after Tiridates and his wife Ashkhen were converted, they promulgated an edict by which all the subjects (as Sozomen, historian of the Church, recounts) were forced to embrace the religion of the monarch. It is the first proclamation of Christianity as the official religion, although from the 4th century the exact date of the disposition is subject to controversy, mainly because almost all the ecclesiastical chroniclers of the period silenced the case systematically.

As strange as that may seem, and while the date is still being discussed, the fact remains that the proclamation of Christianity as the official religion of Armenia initiates a period of tremendous persecutions against paganism.

Backed and protected by the king, Gregory devoted himself to thoroughly destroying the temples to replace them with Christian churches, which were also endowed with generosity. In Artaxata, which had been a prominent centre of polytheism, ‘the wonderful Gregory’ (as Faustus of Byzantium called him) razed the temple of Vahagn (Hercules), that of Astiik (Venus) and that of Anahit; then he built a splendid Christian church destined to be the new ‘national sanctuary’ of Armenia.

At the same time, Gregory had a palace built for his own use. He was named archbishop, first dignitary of the kingdom after the king and katholikos. This title, also adopted by the archbishops of Persia, Ethiopia, Iberia and Albania, was very significant, since formerly it was the one that corresponded to a high official of the public treasury. Gregory the illuminator, revered as a saint by the Armenian Church and also included in the Roman martyrology by Pope Gregory XVI (his dedication is celebrated on September 30), did not fail to attend to his own needs and those of his own, using the properties of the Church for personal benefit and of their relatives.

The Byzantine writer Faustus, author of the grandiloquent history of Armenia in the year 400, devotes dozens of chapters to the successive slaughters that totalled 29 victories over thirty-four years, if we are to believe what this Christian author says (of quite debatable veracity)…

Although the Christians fought in numerical inferiority from one to ten, or even from one to a hundred, they always exterminated their enemies, women and children included. In 1978, a remarkable dignitary of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Mesrob Krikorian, echoes those dithyrambs: ‘In any case, the Christian religion assumed paramount importance for Armenia and for all Armenians of the time’. Faustus emphasizes again and again that ‘all the Persian soldiers were put to the sword by the Christian troops, not sparing one of them’, ‘not even the women of the entourage’, ‘not one escaped alive’,’ they did a general bloodbath’.

A new and beautiful face!

The reading of these chronicles vividly recalls the Old Testament and the massacres and raids of the Israelites. ‘The Armenians made an incursion through the Persian provinces’, ‘they returned loaded with treasures, weapons, jewels and great booty, covering themselves with imperishable glory and enriching themselves inappropriately’, ‘the country was passed over fire and iron’. On occasion, they also fought against Christian Rome, allied or not with the pagan Persians (and with no less success, as is already understood).

Thus, for example, according to Faustus, ‘for six years in a row they devastated the Greek provinces’,’ they put all the Greeks to the sword in such a way that not a single one was spared’, and ‘there is no measure or account of the treasures they brought with them…’ Always, naturally, fighting under the banners of God, trusting in God, overcoming in the name of God; it is God who grants ‘the fate of great victories’.

The clergy and war… united in the first Christian state in the world. Heroic actions ‘by Christ Our Lord’. Undoubtedly, the Armenians did not need the ecclesiastical blessing to start fighting and killing. But the fact is that the blessing was not lacking.

Kriminalgeschichte, 32

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

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

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

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

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

 

______ 卐 ______

 

Constantine against Jews, ‘heretics’ and pagans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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