FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
HEBREW HOLY FORGERIES
SEGMENTS:R R HEBREW HOLY FORGERIES R R THE INSPIRED FABLE OF TOBIT R R THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING R R EZRA "RESTORES" THE LAW
RR THE "FINDING OF THE LAW" R R THE "SEPTUAGINT" TRANSLATION INTO GREEK R R THE SEPTUAGINT AND THE "VIRGIN-BIRTH" FRAUD
RR OTHER HEBREW SACRED FORGERIES R R THE "INSPIRED" HEBREW SCRIPTURES R R FORGERY BY CONTRADICTIONS
RR OUR "PHONY" CHRISTIAN ERA R R FORGERY BY FALSE TRANSLATIONS R R THE "GOD" FORGERY R R THE "ADAM" FORGERY
RR THE "SOUL" FORGERY R R THE "MOSAIC REVELATION" FORGERY R R THE ANCIENT IDEA OF "HISTORY"
RR CHRISTIAN "REVELATIONS" IN JEWISH FORGERIES R R RETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"Hinneh lash-sheqer asah et sheqer sepharim-Behold, the lying pen of the scribes hath wrought lies."- Jeremiah, viii. 8.
SUNDRY HOLY HEBREW men of old, we are told on the authority of the name of the pseudo-first Jewish-Christian Pope, "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter, i, 21). These literary movings of the Spirit were sometime reduced to writing in "Sacred Scriptures"; and again later Christian authority assures: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. iii, 16),-though this is a falsified rendition: the true reading is: "Every scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired," as the original Greek text is quoted by Father Tertullian. (ANF. iv, 16.)
It is the popular supposition that the 66-(Catholic Bible 73)-"little books" which comprise the Bible as we know it, are the whole sum of Hebrew and Christian "sacred writings," which have claimed and have been accorded the sanction of Divine inspiration and "treated by the Church as canonical." The term "canonical" in ecclesiastical parlance means Books accepted as divinely inspired; books which "were definitely canonized, or adjudged to have a uniquely Divine or authoritative quality," as is the authorative definition. (CE. iii, 267.) "Canonicity depends on inspiration." (EB. i, 653.) The holy Hebrew "canon" was closed, or the last inspired Book of the Old Testament written, according to Jewish "Tradition," by Ezra, about 444 B.C. (Ib. i, 658, 662.) In truth, however, several of the Books of the Old Testament were written much later, and were never heard of by Ezra; and "some found their way in, others not, on grounds of taste-the taste of the period," says Wellhausen. (Einleitung, p. 652, 6th Ed.)
The popular idea is that when the "moving" of the above inspired 66 sacred writings was ended, the moving Spirit retired from the field of Hebrew, and later of Christian literature, and thus closed the "sacred canon" of the respective Hebrew and Christian Testaments. This will be seen to be a mistake, in the judgment of the True Christian Church, according to which the Jews evidently did not know their own inspired writings, and curiously omitted from their "canon" a number of divinely "moved" books and scraps of books, which the better-instructed Christian Church has adopted as full of inspiration into its own present official Bible, as we shall notice in its place. There is also a much greater number of such books, of both Hebrew and Christian origin, which the inspired Church formerly and for ages regarded as inspired and "canonical," but which it now repudiates as "apocryphal" and acknowledges as forgeries; as we shall also duly note.
There is, indeed, an eminence mass of religious writings, the work of Jewish or Christian priests or professional religious persons, or composite productions of both sets of forgers, which are generally known as "apocrypha" or pious forgeries; but which each and all have been held by the Church through many ages of faith as of the highest inspired sanctity and accredited with the full rank of "canonical" truth of God.
The term apocryphal or forged "takes in those compositions which profess to have been written either by Biblical personages or men in intimate relation with them." (CE. i, 601.) "Since these [apocryphal] books were forgeries, the epithet in common parlance today denotes any story or document which is false or spurious, ... apocryphal in the disparaging sense of bearing names to which they have no right; all come under the definition above, for each of then has at one tine or another been treated as canonical." (EB. i, 249-250.)
That the above 66 (or 73) Books of the accepted Bible of Christianity come exactly, both as to manner of spurious origin and matter of fictional content, within the above definition of apocrypha or forgery, shall be made exceedingly evident. A brief review of these acknowledged religious forgeries in the name of God and of his inspired biographers, will afford a curious and instructive study of the workings of the fervid, credulous and contorted priestly mind, reckless of truth, and shed a floodlight of understanding on the origins and incredibility of the so-called "canonical" Books of the Bible, Hebrew and Christian alike.
While speaking here immediately of the Jewish Apocrypha or pious forgeries, it is to be noted and borne in mind that it is the Holy-Ghost-guided True Christian Church which alone has accepted and cherished these spurious productions of Jewish priestcraft-(scornfully repudiated by the Jews), has adulterated and re-forged them to more definite deceptive purposes of Christian propaganda, and has outdone Jewry by adding innumerable like forgeries,-"a whole literature" of fabrications-to its own spurious hagiography, or sacred writings. There will thus occur some necessary and unavoidable over-lappings of Jewish and Christian forgeries in the course of our treatment.
"It must be confessed," admits the Catholic Encyclopedia, "that the early Fathers and the Church, during the first three centuries, were more indulgent towards Jewish pseudograph [i.e. forged writings] circulating under venerable Old Testament, names. The Book of Henoch [Enoch] and the Assumption of Moses had been cited by the canonical Epistle of Jude. Many Fathers admitted the inspiration of Fourth Esdras. Not to mention the Shepherd of Hermas, the Acts of St. Paul (at least in the Thecla portion) and the Apocalypse of St. Peter were highly revered at this and later periods. ... In the Middle Ages ... many pseudographic [i.e. forged] writings enjoyed a high degree of favor among both clerics and laity." (CE. i, 615.)
A curious and edifying side-light on the chronic clerical flair for forgery is thrown by a sentence from the paragraph above quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia. The earliest papal decree condemning certain of these pious forgeries is itself a Christian forgery! "The so-called 'Decretum de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris,' which contained a catalogue of some half-hundred works condemned as apocryphal, was attributed to Pope Gelasius (495), but, in reality is a compilation dating from the beginning of the Sixth century." (CE,. i, 615.)
And, be it noted, these Christian forgeries were not at all condemned by the Church as forgeries and pious lies, but simply because they contained some dogmatic doctrines which were regarded by the Orthodox as "heresies" they were condemned "always, however, with a preoccupation against heresy." And again in the same article: "Undoubtedly it was the large use heretical Circles, especially the Gnostics made of this insinuating literature which first called out the animadversions of the official guardians of doctrinal purity." (Ib. p. 615.)
The same authority cautiously and clerically explains, that "ancient literature, especially in the Orient, used methods much more free and elastic than those permitted by our modern and occidental culture. Pseudographic [falsified] compositions was in vogue among the Jews in the two centuries before Christ and for some time later. This holds good for the so-called 'Wisdom of Solomon,' written in and belonging to the Church's sacred cannon.-[This admits that this book of the Catholic Bible is spurious.] In other cases, where the assumed name did not stand as a symbol of a type of a certain kind of literature, the intention was not without a degree of at least literary dishonesty." (Ib. p. 601.)
Apocryphal religious literature consists of several classes, one of the most important subdivisions being that designated as "apocalyptic," and which consists of "pretended prophecies and revelations of both Jewish and Christian authorship, and dating from about 200 B.C. to about 150 A.D.," the latter being the approximate date of the new "canonical" Books of the New Testament, Their general subject is the problem of the final triumph of what is called the Kingdom of God. Speaking particularly of the apocalypses, the best known of which are the Hebrew Book of Daniel, written about 165 B.C., and the Jewish-Christian Book of Revelation imputed to the Apostle John of Patmos, a recent secular authority (corroborated at all points by clerical authorities) points out that many if not all of the Jewish apocalypses are adulterated with "alterations and interpolations by Christian hands, making the alleged predictions, point more definitely to Jesus," which pious tempering "gave certain of these Jewish works a very wide circulation in the early Church. ... The revelations and predictions are set forth as though actually received and written or spoken by ancient worthies, as Enoch, Moses, etc. ... They were once widely accepted as genuine prophecies, and found a warm reception in Jewish and early Christian circles." (The New International, Encyclopedia, vol. i, p. 745.) This form of pious fraud is admitted as quite the expected thing: "Naturally basing itself upon the Pentateuch and the Prophets, it clothed itself fictitiously with the authority of a patriarch or prophet who was made to reveal the transcendent future" (CE. i, 602),-most usually long ex post facto.
The vast and varied extent of Jewish-Christian forgery of religious books is shown by the groupings under which the several kinds of apocrypha forgeries are quite exhaustively considered in the technical works treating of them, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Biblica, as well as the more popular Britannica and New International Encyclopedias, where the subject is fully discussed. "Speaking broadly," says the first, "The Apocrypha of Jewish origin are coextensive with what are styled of the Old Testament, and those of Christian origin the apocrypha of the New Testament. The subject will be treated ["according to their origin"]-as follows: (I) Apocrypha of Jewish origin: (II) Jewish Apocrypha with Christian accretions; (III) apocrypha of Christian origin, comprising (1) apocryphal Gospels; (2) Pilate literature and other apocrypha concerning Christ; (3) apocryphal Acts of Apostles; (4) apocryphal doctrinal works; (5) apocryphal Epistles; (6) apocryphal Apocalypses, (IV) the apocrypha and the Church." (CE. i, 601.)
What a catalogue of confessed ecclesiastical forgers, and fraud in the name of God, Christ and his Apostles, and the Church of God, for the propaganda of priestly frauds as "our Most Holy Faith"!
What will probably-In view of the foregoing and what is yet to come-be appreciated by many as a peculiarly rare bit of apocrypha (in its secondary sense) is the following, uttered apparently with the due and usual ecclesiastical solemnity, in the celebrated Dictatus of Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), stating the presumptuous pretenses of the Papacy:
"The Roman Church has never erred, nor will it err to all eternity. No one may be considered a Catholic Christian who does not agree with the Catholic Church. No book is authoritative unless it has received the papal sanction. ... The pope is the only person whose feet are to be kissed by all princes"; "the Pope may depose emperors and absolve subjects from allegiance to an unjust ruler." (Cited by Robinson, 'The Ordeal of Civilization, pp. 126, 128; Library of Original Sources, vol. iv, p. 126-321.)
This puts the stamp of canonical inspiration and verity on some dozen Jewish books and parts of books of the Catholic Bible which the Jews and the whole body of otherwise discordant sects of Protestants hesitate not unanimously to pronounce apocryphal and forged. These "apocrypha" are either entire rejected Jewish books, all doubtless with Christian "interpolations," or apocryphal chapters or parts, interpolated probably by the same industry into the equally apocryphal books of the accepted Jewish canon. The names of these books, original and interpolations, and which are not included in the Hebrew Old Testament, -- but are in the True Church Bible,-are: Tobit, Judith, Baruch, with the Epistle of Jeremiah, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach (or Ecclesiastics), I and II Maccabees, Prayer of Manasseh, Additions to Esther, and Additions to the Book of Daniel, consisting of the Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Holy Children (in the Fiery Furnace), the History of Susannah, the History of Bel and the Dragon, and sundry such precious fables. (See CE. iii, pp. 267, 270; iv, 624, passim.) These are all included in the Greek Septuagint and in the Latin Vulgate, were read as Scripture in early Christian Church, and were declared by the Council of Trent, at its Fourth Session, in 1546,-under the Curse of God on all skeptical doubters,-to be "inspired and canonical"; and they are so held by the Roman, and some of the Greek and Oriental Catholic Churches, but are declared "apocrypha" and forged by Jewry and all the rest of Christendom. To several of these extra-revelations of Judaism included in the Christian True Bible, head-notes apologetic for their inclusion are attached, of which that to the celebrated Book of Tobit or Tobias is typical: "Protestants have left it out of their modern Bibles, alleging that it is not in the canon of the Jews. But the Church of Christ, which received the Scriptures not from the Jews, but from the Apostles of Christ,-[who were all Jews, to believe the Christian record]-by traditions from them, has allowed this book a place in the Christian [sic] Bible from the beginning." (See Cath. Bible, Tobit, et passim). We may admire in synopsis the divine inspiration of
THE INSPIRED FABLE OF TOBIT
This Book of Tobit, or Tobias, scoffed both by Jews and Protestants as a ridiculous fable, but held by all True Believers as a precious revelation of God, to disbelieve which is to be damned, is a veritable treasure-trove of exalted heavenly inspiration, for the preservation of which Jew and Gentile alike may be dubiously grateful to the pious "tradition" of the Apostles of Christ, as above said. This Tobias was a very pious and stubborn Israelite of the Captivity, who, before departing, had cached all his available cash with his kinsman Gabelus, of Rages, a city of the Medes, "taking a note of his hand" for its repayment on demand. While captive in a strange and pagan land, Tobias wan visited by a piteous calamity, for "as he was sleeping, hot dung out of a swallows nest fell upon his eves, and he was made blind"; which affliction Tobias looked reverently to the Lord as visiting upon him as "revenge for my sins"; as a result Tobias became extremely poor, and his wife took in work. At that time there lived in the city of Rages another pious Israelite by name Raguel, who had a marriageable-or rather muchly married daughter, Sara, who was under grave reproach and even imputation of murder, "Because she had been given to seven husbands, and a devil named Asmodeus had killed them, at their first going in unto her," so that she complained that though sevenfold a widow she remained yet a virgin.
At this juncture Tobias bethought himself of the good money he had left with Gabelus of Rages, and after much palaver decided to send his son, Tobias, Jr., a comely youth, with the note of hand in his pocket, and his dog (name unrevealed), on the long journey to recoup the fortune of ten talents of silver. As Tobias, Jr. started on the journey, a beautiful young man, who was really the Archangel Raphael, met him and introduced himself as Azarias, son of Ananias,-(Ananias must have written the account)-and offered to accompany and guide him upon his journey, which offer was gratefully accepted. As the two journeyed they came to the river Tigris; Tobias waded in to wash his feet, when, lo, "a monstrous fish came up to devour him," whereat Tobias called to his companion for help. The Angel told him to take the monster fish by the gill and haul him out, which Tobias seems to have had no trouble in doing. The Angel then directed Tobias to open the yet live and "panting" fish, "and lay up his heart, his gall, and his liver, for thee; for these are necessary for useful medicines"; this done, they cooked the fish and carried it all along for provisions for the trip. As they journeyed, Tobias asked the Angel what these medicinal scraps were good for; "and the Angel answering said, if thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kinds of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them. And the gull is good for anointing the eyes, in which there is a white speck, and they shall be cured."
So discoursing pleasantly and instructively, the twain arrived at Rages, and the Angel guided Tobias straight to the house of Raguel and his daughter Sara, his sole heiress, and told Tobias to ask for her in marriage. Tobias said that he was afraid of Sara, for he had heard of what happened to those seven other men; but the Angel reassured him, that he would show him how to overcome the devil Asmodeus; that he should marry Sara and go to bed with her for three nights, but should continently confine his activities "to nothing else but to prayers with her", and, assured the Angel, on the first night "lay the liver of the fish on the fire, and the devil shall be driven away," other holy marvels happening on the succeeding nights; "and when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust." The affair was arranged according to these prescriptions; with Sara and her parents; after the wedding supper, the newlyweds were left alone in their boudoir; Tobias did nothing but pray and put a part of the fish liver in the fire, whereupon "the Angel Raphael took the devil, and bound him in the desert of Upper Egypt"; then both prayed some more, the fervid prayers being repeated verbatim. In the morning, Raguel, out of force of habit, called his servants and ordered them to go into the garden and dig an eighth grave for the reception of Tobias; when the maidservant went to the room to arrange for the removal of the corpse, she to her great surprise "found them safe and sound, sleeping both together." The empty grave was filled up, a big banquet prepared, and the happy bridal couple spent two weeks with the bride's family, while the Angel took the note of hand, went to Gabelus, collected the money, and paid it over to Tobias; Raguel gave Tobias one-half of all his property, and executed a writing to give him one-half of the remainder upon the death of Raguel and wife. Tobias sent the Angel back to Gabelus, to invite him to his wedding, and the Angel made him Come.
To proceed swiftly to the climax of marvel, Tobias; and the Angel, leaving the hymeneal cortege to follow as best it could, with such impedimenta of wealth, hastened back to the home of Tobias, Sr., where blind father and the mother were in great grief over the supposed loss of their son and the money with him. But at the behest of the Angel, Tobias, Jr. ran into the house, though "the dog, which had been with them in the way, ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, showed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail," an act which has since become habitual with dogs which have enough tail to wag. After kissing his mother and father, as the Angel had suggested, Tobias, Jr. took the remaining fish gall out of his traveling bag, and anointed with it the eyes of his father; "and he stayed about half an hour; and a white skin began to come out of his eyes, like the skin of an egg. And Tobias took hold of it, and drew it from his eyes, and immediately he recovered his sight. And they glorified God," and Tobias, Sr. dutifully said "I bless thee, Lord God of Israel, because thou hast chastised me, and thou hast saved me: and behold I see Tobias my son." Then, "after seven days Sara his son's wife, and all the family arrived safe, and the cattle, and the camels, and abundance of money of his wife's, and that money also which he had received of Gabelus"; they all feasted for seven days "and rejoiced with all great joy"; then, when Tobias, Sr. suggested doing something handsome for the "holy man" through whom all their good fortune had come, the Angel introduced himself as really not Azariah, son of Ananias, but "The Angel Raphael, one of the Seven, who stand before the Lord"; and he explained, "I seemed indeed to eat, and to drink with you, but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men"; thereupon in true angel style he dissipated into thin air and they could see him no more. The whole Tobias family then, "lying prostrate for three hours upon their face, blessed God: and rising up they told all his wonderful works." Thus endeth happily the reading of the lesson, dictated by the Holy Ghost to the pious Ananias who recorded it for the edification of True Believers. Let us pray that it is true.
THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING
Until the Council of Trent, in 1546, there was no infallibly defined sanction of inspiration of these Jewish "apocrypha"; like the "canon" sacred Books of the Hebrew Bible, all alike were more or lest; eclectically accepted and used in the True Church; but, as said: "The Tridentine decree from which the above list is extracted was the first infallible and effectually promulgated pronouncement on the Canon, addressed to the Church universal. Being dogmatic in its purport, it implies that the Apostles bequeathed the same Canon to the Church as a part of the depositum fidei. ... We should search the pages of the New, Testament in vain for any trace of such action. ... We affirm that such a status points to Apostolic sanction, which in turn must have rested on revelation either by Christ or the Holy Spirit." (CE. iii, 270.)
This is luminous clerical reasoning: a lot of anonymous Jewish fables, derided by Jews and all the rest of the world for want of even common plausibility of fact or truth, and as to which the "inspired" Christian books said to emanate from Apostles, are silent as the grave, are declared after 1500 years to have the ear-marks of Apostolic sanction, which "must have" been founded on divine revelation to them "either by Christ or the Holy Spirit,"-which the Church claims are one and the same person; and it is curious that the "infallible" Council couldn't say which was which, but vaguely and uncertainly opined it must have been one or the other. So much for infallible cock-suredness as to "inspiration" of holy Scriptures. Even the Old Testament itself, says our logician of inspiration, "reveals no formal notion of inspiration," though, again, "the later Jews must have possessed the idea." (Ib. p. 269.) The cursory notice which we shall take of the Old Testament books will serve to confirm that they reveal no notion at all of inspiration; that the later Jews must have had the idea that they were inspired, does not much help the case for them.
In addition to these rejected Jewish books admitted into full canonical fellowship by the inerrant True Church, there are several other Jewish apocrypha which are only semi-canonical and admitted into a sort of bar-sinister fellowship with the legitimates. They have a place in the Orthodox Bible for the "edification" of the Faithful, but are usually printed in the Appendix as suggestive to the devout that they will not be damned for not fully believing these particular forgeries,
Among these are two very celebrated books forged in the name of the great Restorer of Israel, Ezra, under the titles of Third and Fourth Esdras, as the name is written in the True Bibles. "Third Esdras," says the Encyclopedia, "Is, one of the three uncanonical books appended to the official edition of the Vulgate. ... It enjoyed exceptional favor in the early ages of the Church, being quoted as Scripture with implicit faith by the leading Greek and Latin Fathers." (CE, i, 605.) In like errant faith was regarded its companion forgery, Fourth Esdras, of which the same ecclesiastical authority says: "The personage serving as the screen of the author of this book is Esdras (Ezra). ... Both Greek and Latin Fathers cite it as prophetical. ... Notwithstanding this widespread reverence for it, in early times, it is a REMARKABLE FACT that the book never got a foothold in the Canon or liturgy of the Church ... and even after the Council of Trent, together with Third Esdras. it was placed in the appendix to the official edition of the Vulgate. ... The dominant critical dating assigns it to a Jew writing in the reign of Domitian, A.D. 81-98,"-the "screen" Ezra being gathered to his fathers since about 444 B.C. (Ib. p. 603-604; v, 537-8; EB. i, 653, 1393.) It is curious that it is regarded as "remarkable" that the Holy Ghost did not "fall" for this particular forgery, when it did for so many others!
EZRA "RESTORES" THE LAW
A remarkable apocryphal tale relating to the Hebrew Scriptures is enshrined by pseudo-inspiration in chapter 14 of this Fourth of Esdras, regarding the miraculous restoration of Hebrew Holy Writ after its total perishment. In the calamity of the capture and destruction of the Holy City by Nebuchadnezzar, 586 B.C., the Temple of Solomon was destroyed, together with the entire collection of the sacred Rolls of Scriptures, so that not a scratch of inspired pen remained to tell the tale of theocratic Hebrew history and its "revealed" religion. This inconsolable and apparently irreparable loss affected the holy People all the time of the of the Babylonian captivity. But upon their return to the restored City of God, and over a century after their loss, God, we are told in Fourth Esdras, inspired Ezra and commissioned him to reproduce the sacred lost Books, which, judging from the result, of his inspired labors, were many more than the supposed twenty and two of the supposed old Hebrew canon. Accordingly Ezra, employing five scribes, dictated to them (from inspired memory) the textual contents of the lost sacred books, and in just forty days and nights reproduced a total of 94 sacred books, of which he designated 24 as the sacred canon, the remaining 70 being termed esoteric and reserved fir the use of only the wisest. This inspired fable was eagerly accepted for truth by the early Church Fathers, many of whom, from Irenaeus on, "admitted its inspiration"; and it was frequently quoted and commented on as canonical by such Church luminaries as Tertullian, St. Ambrose, Clement Alexandrensis, Origen, Eusebius, St. Jerome, et als., and was prevalently accepted as Scripture throughout the scholastic period. (EB. i, 654, 139 2-94; CE. i 537-8, 601-615.)
This legend, however, had, through a better understanding of "the powers of ordinary human memory," quite faded out by the time of the Reformation, but only to make way for a more modern and rationalistic one, invented by the Jew Levita, who died in 1549. According to his new fable Ezra and the Talmudic "Men of Great Synagogue" simply united into one volume the 24 books which until that time had circulated separately, and divided them into the three great divisions yet recognized, of the Law the Prophets, and the Hagiography or holy writings. This fabulous statement of Levita "became the authoritative doctrine of the orthodoxy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries." (EB. i, 654.) This new legend is cited simply to show how prone is the credulous clerical mind to accept as truth the most baseless fables; and how, when one of their precious bubbles of faith is pricked by tardy exposure or common sense, they eagerly catch at the next which comes floating by.
THE "FINDING OF THE LAW"
Another ancient priestly fiction, which to this day passes current among the credulous as inspired truth of God, is the fabled "finding of the Law" as recorded in the Word of God. We are all familiar with the notable "finding" by the late lamented Prophet. Joseph Smith-thereto led by the Angel Moroni-of the golden plates containing the hieroglyphic text of Book of Mormon, near Palmyra N.Y. in 1823-1827. (Book of Mormon, Introd.) History repeated itself. A like remarkable discovery was made in the year 621 B.C., this time by a priest, with the help of a witch or lady fortune-teller. As related in 2 Kings xxii, corroborated by 2 Chronicles xxxiv, in the eighteenth year of the "good king" Josiah of Judah, while some repair work was being done in the Temple, Hilkiah the priest of a sudden "found the book of the law of Yahweh given by Moses," over 800 years before, and never heard of since. Hilkiah called in Shaphan the scribe, and they took the great "find" to Josiah the King. To verify the veracity of the high-priest, Huldah the lady prophet was consulted; being intimately familiar with the sentiments of God, she at once declared that Yahweh was very angry about it, "because," as the King said, "our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do after all that is written in this book"; and the King at once set about to carry into effect the laws prescribed in Deuteronomy,-just then for the first time in the history of Israel ever heard of or acted upon. This "book of the law given to Moses" 800 years before was doubtless the priestly work of Hilkiah, palmed off under the potent name of Moses to force its very reluctant observance and belief on the superstitious Jews. That this is the fact is the consensus of the scholars, as summarized in the Encyclopedia Biblica, and any modern work of O.T. criticism. An examination of the Bible texts themselves, as made in my previous work, demonstrates that this holy "law of Moses" was totally unknown and unobserved through all the History of Israel from its beginnings until Josiah, and was composed by his priests and enlarged into the present Pentateuch during and after the captivity in Babylon.
THE "SEPTUAGINT" TRANSLATION INTO GREEK
As priestly forged tales were fabricated to account for the origin and preservation of the sacred Hebrew Books, so like pious fraud was adopted to account for their very notable translation into Greek, in what is known as the Septuagint, Version. After the conquests by Alexander the Great and his establishment of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, immense numbers of Jews were settled in the new city, which quickly became the commercial and intellectual center of the ancient world, with Greek the universal language. The holy Hebrew language had became a dead language to the Jews of the "Dispersion"; their synagogue services could not be conducted in the mother tongue. The Alexandrian Jews were accordingly under necessity to render the "Law" into Greek for their public use; and this was gradually done by such of them as thought themselves able to do such work. But this common-place mode of rendering the sacred Hebrew into a Gentile speech did not satisfy the pious wonder-craving Jewish mind. Accordingly, somewhere about 200 B.C., an anonymous Jew invented a more satisfactory tale, which has had incalculable influence on the Christian faith and dogmas. This pious Israelite had the customary recourse to religions forgery; he forged a letter in the name of one Aristeas, an official of Ptolemy II, Philadelphus, the Greek king of Egypt, 285-247 B.C., purporting to be addressed to his brother, Philocrates, and giving a marvelous history of the Translation.
Here, in substance, is what we read of the first origin of the Version, limited therein to the "law" of Moses, as first related by Josephus. Ptolemy had recently established a library at Alexandria, which he purposed should contain a copy of every obtainable literary work extant. This Library became the most extensive and celebrated of the ancient world, containing some 700,000 manuscript books at the time it was savagely destroyed, in 391 A.D., by the benighted Christian zeal and fury of Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria and his crazy monks of Nitria, as related in Kingsley's Hypatia or any history of the times. CE. xiv, 625.) At the suggestion of Demetrius, his Librarian, fables the pseudo-Aristeas through Josephus, that he should enrich the Library with a copy of the sacred law of the Jews Ptolemy wrote to Eleazar the chief priest at Jerusalem, sending the letter and magnificent presents "to God" by the hand of a delegation including Aristeas, requesting a copy of the Law and a number of learned Jews competent to translate it into Greek. The embassy was successful; a richly ornamented copy of the holy law, written in letters of gold, was sent to the King, together with seventy-two Doctors of Israel, deputed to deliver the Book and to carry out the wishes of the King. They were received with great honor, says pseudo-Aristeas, and duly feted for several days; they were then conducted across the long causeway to the Island of Pharos to the place which was prepared for them, "which was a house that was built near the shore, and was a quiet place, and fit for their discoursing together about their work, ... Accordingly they made an accurate interpretation, with great zeal and great pains," working until the ninth hour each day, and visiting Ptolemy every morning. "Now when the Law was transcribed, and the labor of interpretation was over, which came to its conclusion in seventy-two days," the work was read over to the assembled Jews, who rejoiced that "the interpretation was happily finished"; they were enjoined to report any errors or emissions which they might discover, to the "Seventy," who would make the necessary corrections in their work. (Josephus, Antiq. Jews, Bk. XII, chap. 2; CE. xiii, 722.) Thus the translation wag only of "The Law," the Five Books of Moses; and it was open team-work, all the Seventy-two working together, comparing and discussing as they proceeded, and expressly enjoining the Jews to note and report for correction all errors of omission or commission which they might discover.
Thus the pseudo-Aristeas, as cited by Josephus; though, as a matter of fact, this Septuagint Version, so-called because of the legendary Seventy-(two), was in the grossest manner inaccurate, and imported innumerable errors into the Christian religion which was based upon and propagated for several centuries only through the Septuagint texts. Indeed, "the text of the Septuagint was regarded as so unreliable, because of its freedom in rendering, and of the alterations which had been introduced into it, etc., that, during the second century of our era it was discarded by the Church." (CE. iv, 625.) We shall notice the fearful error of Isaiah's "virgin-birth" text; for other well-known instances, it makes out Creation 1195 years earlier than the Hebrew and Vulgate, 4004 B.C., and the venerable Methuselah is made to survive the Flood by fourteen years.
Despite, however, its patently legendary character, the pseudo-Aristeas' account, the forged letter and the story, were eagerly accepted as genuine and authentic by Fathers, Popes and ecclesiastic writers until the sixteenth century, when their spurious character was revealed by the nascent modern criticism. "The authenticity of the letter, called in question first by Louis Vives (1492-1540), professor at Louvain, is now universally denied." (CE. xiii, 722.)
The Fathers, however, could not rest content with this unvarnished original fabrication in the name of Aristeas, of an ordinary human and errant translation of the "Law"; they avidly set about embellishing it in the accepted clerical style, adding fanciful and lying details to emphasize the miraculous and inspired origin of the Version. As this notable instance serves admirably to illustrate the childish and uncritical credulity of the Fathers, their reckless disregard of truth, their chronic zest for any untruth or fable quotable to pander to the glory of God and enhance the pious superstition of the Faithful, let us here watch the growth of this simple human yarn of the Jewish aristeas-forger into the wonderful and ever more embellished miracle as it passes from Father to Father,-exactly as the Gospel-fables grew from "Mark" to "John." According to Fathers Tertullian, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, et als., the 72 were inspired by God each severally for the entire work; in translating they did not consult with one another; they had been shut up incommunicados in separate cells on Pharos, either singly or in pairs, and their several translations, when finished and compared, were found to agree entirely both as to sense and the expressions employed, with the original Hebrew text and with each other (St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Irenaeus, Justin Martyr). Finally, the 72 translated not only the Law, but the entire Old Testament,-several of whose Books were not yet at the time written.
Father Justin Martyr adds near-eye-witness verification to the false and already embroidered history, saying that the "Seventy" were, by order of the King, "shut up in as many separate cells, and were obliged by him, each to translate the whole Bible apart, and without any communication with each other, yet all their several translations were found to agree verbatim from the beginning to the end, and were by that means demonstrated to be of divine inspiration"; and he adds, for confirmation of faith! -- like Paul, protesting he is not lying in anticipation of the accusation: "These things, ye men of Greece, are no fable, nor do we narrate fictions; but we ourselves having been in Alexandria, saw the remains of the little [cells] at the Pharos still preserved." (Ad Graec. ch. xiii; ANF. i, 278-9.) But in repeating the tale to the Roman Emperor, Father Justin makes the unhappy blunder of saying, that Ptolemy "sent to Herod, who was at that time king of the Jews, requesting that the books of the prophets [pseudo-Aristeas said the "Law"] be sent to him; and the king did indeed send them" (I Apol. ch. xxxi; ANF. i, 173); whereas Herod lived some 300 years after Ptolemy died. This forged fable is time and again repeated as sober truth. Bishop Saint Irenaeus emphasizes the miraculous nature of the translation of all the Books, saying that when the 72 identical translations were compared, "God was indeed glorified, and the Scriptures were acknowledged an truly divine; ... even the Gentiles present perceived that the Scriptures had been interpreted by the inspiration of God. And there was nothing astonishing in God having done this. ... He inspired Esdras the priest (after the return from captivity) to recast all the words of the former prophets, and to reestablish with the people of God the Mosaic legislation." (Adv. Haer. III, xxi, 2; ANF. i, 451-2.)
In the course of a century or two before the Christian Era, the other Hebrew sacred books were likewise translated into Greek for the use of the Greek-speaking Jews of "the Dispersion," together with numbers of the forged Jewish apocrypha, and all these were added to the rolls of "Scriptures." This final and adulterated form of the Septuagint "was the vehicle which conveyed these additional Scriptures [i.e. the apocryphal Tobias, etc.] into the Catholic Church." (CE. iii, 271.) This vagary of the Holy Ghost in certifying the ill-translated and tempered Septuagint for the foundations of Christian Faith, was very disastrous, as CE. points out: "The Church had adopted the Septuagint as its own; this differed from the Hebrew not only by the addition of several books and passages but also by innumerable variations of text, due partly to the ordinary process of corruption in the transcription of ancient books, partly to the culpable temerity, as Origen called it, of correctors who used not a little freedom in making 'corrections,' additions, and suppressions, partly to mistakes in translation, and finally in great part to the fact that the original Septuagint had been made from a Hebrew text quite different from that fixed at Jamnia as the one standard by the Jewish Rabbis." (CE. vii, 316.) So Yahveh only knows what he actually said and did in the 4004 years up to the time his Son came to try to "redeem" his people from some of the tangles of his Holy Law.
Matters grew worse as time progressed: the ex-Pagan Greek Fathers who founded Christianity, propagated the new Faith for several centuries only from the tortuous texts of this falsified Septuagint, which was the only Old Testament "Scriptures" known to and used by them as the source of the "prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ" and the holy mysteries of the Jewish-Christian Faith. "Copies of the Septuagint." says CE., "were multiplied, and, as might be expected, many changes, deliberate as well as involuntary, crept in." (CE. xiii, 723.) Indeed, the itch for Scripture-scribbling was so rife among such ex-Pagan Christians as could write and get hold of a copy, that St. Augustine complains: "It is possible to enumerate those who have translated the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek, but not those who have translated them into Latin. In sooth, in the curly days of the faith whoso possessed a Greek manuscript and thought he had some knowledge of both tongues was daring enough to undertake a translation." (De Doct. Christ. II, xi; CE. ix, 20.) So the Faith was founded on befuddlement of the Blessed Word of God as any nondescript scribbler palmed it off to be.
We shall more than abundantly see that Holy Church never possessed or used a single book of "Scripture" or other document of importance, to the glory of God and the glorification of the Church, which was not a rank original forgery and bristled besides with "many deliberate changes" or forged interpolations.
THE SEPTUAGINT AND THE "VIRGIN-BIRTH" FRAUD
The most colossal of the blunders of the Septuagint translators, supplemented by the most insidious, persistent and purposeful falsification of text, is instanced in the false translation of the notoriously false pretended "prophecy" of Isaiah vii, 14,-frauds which have had the most disastrous and fatal consequences for Christianity, and to humanity under its blight; the present exposure of which should instanter destroy the false Faith built on these frauds.
The Greek priest who forged the "Gospel according to St. Matthew," having before him the false Septuagint translation of Isaiah, fables the Jewish Mary yielding to the embraces of the Angel Gabriel to engender Jesus, and backs it up by appeal to the Septuagint translation of Isaiah vii, 14:
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel." (Matt. i, 23.)
Isaiah's original Hebrew, with the mistranslated words underscored, reads: "Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel";-which, falsely translated by the false pen of the pious translators, runs thus in the English: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. vii, 14.) The Hebrew words ha-almah mean simply the young woman; and harah is the Hebrew past or perfect tense, "conceived," which in Hebrew, as in English, represents past and completed action. Honestly translated, the verse reads: "Behold, the young woman has conceived-[is with child)-and beareth a son and calleth his name Immanuel."
Almah means simply a young woman, of marriageable age, whether married or not, or a virgin or not; in a broad general sense exactly like girl or maid in English, when we say shop-girl, parlor-maid, bar-maid, without reference to or vouching for her technical virginity, which, in Hebrew, is always expressed by the word bethulah. But in the Septuagint translation into Greek, the Hebrew almah was erroneously rendered into the Greek parthenos, virgin, with the definite article 'ha' in Hebrew, and e in Greek, (the), rendered into the indefinite "a" by later falsifying translators. (See Is It God's Word? pp. 277-279; EB. ii, 2162; New Commentary on the Holy Scripture, Pt. I, p. 439.) And St. Jerome falsely used the Latin word virgo.
"As early as the second century B.C.," says the distinguished Hebrew scholar and critic, Salomon Reinach, "the Jews perceived the error and pointed it out to the Greeks; but the Church knowingly persisted in the false reading, and for over fifteen centuries she has clung to her error." (Orpheus, p, 197.) The truth of this accusation of conscious persistence in known error through the centuries is proved by confession of St. Jerome, who made the celebrated Vulgate translation from the Hebrew into Latin, and intentionally "clung to the error," though Jerome well knew that it was an error and false; and thus he perpetuated through fifteen hundred years the myth of the "prophetic virgin birth" of Jesus called Christ.
Being criticized by many for this falsification, St. Jerome thus replies to one of his critics, Juvianus: "I know that the Jews are accustomed to meet us with the objection that in Hebrew the word Almah does not mean a virgin, but a young woman. And, to speak truth, a virgin is properly called Bethulah, but a young woman, or a girl, is not Almah, but Naarah"! (Jerome, Adv. Javianum I, 32; N&PNF, vi, 370.) So insistent was the criticism, that he was driven to write a book on the subject, in which he makes a very notable confession of the inherent incredibility of the Holy Ghost paternity-story "For who at that time would have believed the Virgin's word that she had conceived of the Holy Ghost, and that the angel Gabriel had come and announced the purpose of God? and would not all have given their opinion against her as an adulteress, like Susanna? For at the present day, now that the whole world has embraced the faith, the Jews argue, that when Isaiah says, 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son,' the Hebrew word denotes a young woman, not a virgin, that is to say, the word is ALMAH, not BETHULAH"! (Jerome, The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary, N&PNF, vi, 336.)
So the Greek Father or priest who forged the false "virgin-birth" interpolation into the manuscript of "Matthew," drags in maybe ignorantly the false Septuagint translation of Isaiah vii, 14, which the Latin Father St. Jerome purposely perpetuated as a pious "lie to the glory of God." The Catholic and King James Versions purposely retain this false translation; the Revised Version keeps it in, but with a gesture of honesty, which is itself a fraud, sticks into the margin in fine type, after the words "a virgin" and "shall conceive," the words, "Or, the maiden is with child and beareth,"-which not one in thousands would ever see or understand the significance of. So it is not some indefinite "a virgin" who 750 years in the future "shall conceive" and "shall bear" a son whose name she "shall call" Immanuel, Jesus; but it was some known and definite young female, married or un-married-but not a "virgin"-who had already conceived and was already pregnant, and who beareth a son and calleth his name Immanuel, ... who should be the "sign" which "my lord" should give to Ahaz of the truth of Isaiah's false prophecy regarding the pending war with Israel and Syria, as related in Isaiah vii, and of which the total falsity is proven in 2 Chronicles xxviii, as all may read.
Although Papal Infallibility has declared that "it will never be lawful to grant ... that the sacred writers could have made a mistake" (Leo XIII, Encyc. Provid. Deus; CE. ii, 543), yet, the fraud being notorious and exposed to the scorn of the world, and being driven by force of modern criticism, CE. definitely and positively-though with the usual clerical soft-soaping, confesses this age-long clerical fraud and falsification of Holy Writ, and relegates it to the junk-heap of discredited-but not discarded-dogmatic myth:
"Modern theology does not grant that Isaiah vii, 14, contains a real prophecy fulfilled in the virgin birth of Christ; it must maintain, therefore, that St. Matthew misunderstood the passage when he said: 'Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, etc."! (CE. xv, 451.)
Thus is apparent, and confessed, the dishonesty of "Matthew" and of the Church of Christ in perverting this idle, false and falsified text of Isaiah into a "prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ," and in persisting in retaining this falsity in their dishonest Bibles as the basis of their own bogus theology unto this day of the Twentieth Century. The Church, full knowing its falsity, yet, clings to this precious lie of Virgin Birth and all the concatenated consequences. Thus it declares its own condemnation as false. Some other viciously false translations of sacred Scripture will be duly noticed in their place.
As Thomas Jefferson prophetically wrote,-as is being verified: "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter"!
OTHER HEBREW SACRED FORGERIES
The marvels of the canonical apocrypha of the Hebrew sacred Books, or of the whole 94 miraculously "restored" by Ezra, could not slake the thirst of the Jewish intellect for such edifying histories, and their priests were very industrious in supplying the demands of piety and marvel-craving. Making use, as above admitted, of the most "venerable Old Testament names," they forged a voluminous literature of fanciful and fantastic fairy-tales in the guise of sacred history, revelations, oracles or predictions, all solemnly "set forth as thought actually received, and written or spoken by ancient worthies, as Enoch, Moses, etc., which were widely accepted as genuine, and found a warm reception in Jewish and early Christian circles." Scarcely is there a Biblical notable of Israel in whose name these pious false writings were not forged, including Adam and Eve and most of the ante- and post-Diuvian Patriarchs. It is impossible here to much more than mention the names of some of the principal ones of these extra-canonical apocrypha and forgeries of the Jews, as listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Biblica, most of them worked over with surcharge of added Christian forgeries, to adapt them to their pious propaganda.
The names of these "intriguing" volumes of forgotten lore, listed somewhat after the order of their distinguished pretended authors and times, are: Life of Adam and Eve; Testament of Adam; The Book of Creation; the Books of Seth (son of Adam); Book of Enoch (grandson of Adam); Secrets of Enoch; Parables of Enoch; Book of Lamech; Book of Noah; Book of Zoroaster (identified with Ham, son of Noah); Apocalypse of Noah; Apocalypse of Abraham; Testament of Abraham; Testament of Isaac; Testament of Jacob; The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs; Testament of the Three Patriarchs; Testament of Naphthali; The Prayer of Menasseh; The Prayer of Joseph; The Story of Asenath (wife of Joseph); Prayer of Asenath; The Marriage of Asenath; The Assumption of Moses; The Testament of Moses; Book of Jannes and Mambres (the Egyptian magicians with whom Moses contended); Penitence of Jannes and Mambres; The Magical Books of Moses; The Book of Jubilees, or Little Genesis; Book of Og the Giant, Treatise of the Giants, Josippon; Book of Jasher; The Liber Antiquitatem Bibliarum, ascribed to Philo; The Chronicles of Jerameel; Testament of Job; Psalm CLI of David, "when he fought with Goliath"; Testament of Solomon; The Contradictio Salomonis (a contest in wisdom between Solomon and Hiram); The Psalms of Solomon; Apocalypse of Elijah; Apocalypse of Baruch; The Rest of the Words of Baruch; History of Daniel; Apocalypse of Daniel; Visions of Daniel; Additions to Daniel, viz.: The History of Susanne (Chap. 13), the Song of the Three Children, Story of Bel and the Dragon (Chap. 14); Tobit; Judith; Additions to Esther; The Martyrdom of Isaiah; The Ascension of Isaiah; III and IV Esdras; Apocalypse of Esdras; Story of the Three Pagans, in I Esdras; I, II, III, and IV Mitceabee"; The Prophecy of Eldad and Medad; Apocalypse of Zephaniah, Stories of Artaphanus; Eupolemus; Story of Aphikia, wife of Jesus Sirach; The Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates; The Sibylline Oracles.
Quite half of the above Jewish false-writings, separately listed under the grouping of "Jewish with Christian Accretions," the Catholic Encyclopedia describes with comments such as "recast or freely interpolated by Christians," "many Christian interpolations," etc., "presenting in their ensemble a fairly full Christology" (CE. i, 606). If the pious Christians, confessedly, committed so many and so extensive forgeries and frauds to adapt these popular Jewish fairy-tales of their God and holy Worthies to the new Christian Jesus and his Apostles, we need feel no surprise when we discover these same Christians forging outright new wonder-tales of their Christ under the fiction of the most noted Christian names and in the guise of inspired Gospels, Epistles, Acts and Apocalypses.
THE "INSPIRED" HEBREW SCRIPTURES
The processes of the formation of the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures are, however, interesting and intriguing, if sacred tradition is true. According to priestly lore, the man Moses, "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (another Christian assurance; Acts vii, 22), sat down in the Wilderness of Sinai and under divine inspiration wrote his Five Books of prehistorical history, codes of post-exilic divine Law, and chronicles of contemporary and future notable events, including four different names of his father-in-law-(Viz.: Jethro, Ex. iii, 1; Reuel, Ex. ii, 18; Jether, Ex. iv, 18, and Raguel, Num. x, 29, while a fifth name, Hobab, is awarded him in Judges iv, II), together with a graphic account of his own death and burial, and of the whole month afterwards spent by all Israel mourning his death. He also records the death of his brother Aaron at Mt. Hor (Num. xx, 28; xxxiii, 38), just six months before his own death; though, in amazing contradiction, he elsewhere records Aaron as having died at Mosera, just after leaving Sinai (Deut. x, 6), thirty-nine years previously-and thus nullifies the entire history of the wonderful career and deeds of Aaron as high priest during the whole 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness, of which the Books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are largely filled; as also many other matters and things occurring for some centuries after his death, and known as "post-Mosaica" to the scholars.
Joshua, the successor of Moses, next wrote the history of his life and times, working in, too, a sketch of his own death and funeral obsequies (Josh. xxiv, 29-30), and quoting the celebrated miracle of the nun standing still, of which he says, "Is it not written in the Book of Jasher?"-which Book of Jasher was not itself written until several hundred years later, at least in or after the time of David; for it is recorded: "And he [David] bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow; behold, it is written in the Book of Jasher." (2 Sam. i, 18.)
The Book of Judges was written by nobody knows whom, nor when, except that it was long "post-exilic." It relates that, "Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it" (Jud. i, 18); whereas it was not until David had reigned seven years and six months in Hebron, that "the King and his men went to Jerusalem" and failed to capture it, "nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, and called it the City of David." (2 Sam. v, 5-9.) It is further recorded in Judges that the tribe of Dan made a silver idol of the Hebrew God and hired a grandson of Moses to serve it, and "he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the captivity of the land" (Jud. xviii, 30)-about a thousand years later.
The gifted Samuel. Prophet of the heathen High Places of Baal worship, gives his name and inspiration to two books of mythical history written piecemeal until the "return from captivity," as above indicated, and early in his work he records the historic episode of the calling up of his own ghost from the dead by the famous Witch of En-dor. (I Sam. xviii, 1, 7-19.)
The ex-bandit David, "man after God's own heart"-after murdering a man to get his adulterous wife, and engendering of her his all-wise son and hero, Solomon, wrote the 150 songs of the Hebrew Hymn Book, many of his psalms singing of the long posthumous Babylonian Captivity.
Solomon himself, who was son-in-law to nearly everybody in the heathen nations round about who had eligible daughters, wrote the wisdom of the ages into his Book of Proverbs, though not one of them is by Solomon, and in his lighter (headed or hearted) spells penned his erotic Canticles, which for realistic lubricity quite outdo Boccaccio, and would be really unmailable under the Postal laws if they weren't in the Holy Bible and clerically captioned "The Church's Love unto Christ." These are indeed but one collection out of the great many pornographic stories of The Holy Ghost's Decameron, enshrined in God's Holy Word for delectation of the Puritans of Faith.
Other divinely inspired and anonymous writers, falsely entitling their effusions under the names of this or that Prophet or other wholly fictitious personage, as Job, Esther, Ruth, Daniel, gave forth yet other inspired histories, books of oracles or prophecies, apocalypses or high powered visions into Futurity, and a miscellany of sacred novels, love-stories and nondescript musings or ravings known collectively as the hagiographa or holy writings of the Jews. All these together, now thirty-nine in number, comprise the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. It being out of question to review each of these here, it may be stated with assurance that not one of them bears the name of its true author; that every one of them is a composite work of many hands "interpolating" the most anachronistic and contradictory matters into the original writings, and often reciting as accomplished facts things which occurred many centuries after the time of the supposed writer, as Psalms, isaiah, Daniel, and the so-called "historical" books. For scientific detailed demonstration of this the Encyclopedia Biblica digests the most competent authorities; my own Is It God's Word? makes the proofs from the sacred texts themselves. See the recent "Religions Book of the Month Club's" notable Unraveling the Book of Books, by Trattner. (1929.)
But as the Christian religion depends more vitally on Genesis and Moses than on all the other sacred writings and writers, we may appeal to the admissions of CE., thereto driven by force of modern criticism, for the destruction and abandonment of the Moses Myths.
"It is true that the Pentateuch, so long attributed to Moses, is now held by the vast majority of non-Catholic, and by an increasing number of Catholic, scholars to be a compilation of four independent sources put together in final shape soon after the Captivity." (CE. i, 622.)
This scores strongly for Hebrew-Christian forgery and fraud in attributing this primitive system of Bible "science" and barbarous law to a god as a pretext for priestly domination of the superstitious people. That God-given forged law thus prescribes for priestcraft: "The man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest, ... even that man shall die." (Deut. xvii, 12.) The whole Five Books of Moses are thus a confessed forgery in the names of Moses and of God; every one of the Thus saith the Lord a thousand times repeated, with speeches and laws put into the mouth of the God, are false and forged. Speaking of the "difficulty, in the present condition of Old Testament criticism, of recognizing more than a small portion of the Pentateuch as documentary evidence contemporary with Moses,"-who, if he ever lived, which may be confidently denied,-never wrote a line of it, CE. further confesses to the natural evolution-not the "divine revelation"-of the Hebrew mythology into a (no less mythological) monotheistic religion: "The Hegelian principle of evolution ... applied to religion, has powerfully helped to beget a tendency to regard the religion of Israel as evolved by processes not transcending nature, from a polytheistic worship of the elements to a spiritual and ethical monotheism." (CE. i, 493.) But this finally and very late evolved monotheism is neither a tardy divine revelation to the Jews, nor a novel invention by them; it was a thousand years antedated by Amenhotep IV and Tut-ankh-amen in Egypt,-nor were even they the pioneers. We have seen the admission that the Zoroastrian Mithra religion was "a divinely revealed Monotheism" (CE., ii, 156). But the Hebrews were confessed and notorious idolaters and polytheists until after the Captivity; that fact is a thousand times alleged throughout the Scriptures as the sole reason for their troubles and captivity. As above suggested, and as thoroughly demonstrated by the texts in my other book, the Hebrew God Yahveh was but one of the many gods worshipped by the Hebrews; and Yahveh never claimed more than to be a "God above all gods," to be preferred before them all;-as at Sinai he enacted: "Thou shalt have no other gods before [in preference to] me,"-thus admitting the other gods.
FORGERY BY CONTRADICTIONS
Contradictions throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments alike, abound by the many thousands, and in virtually every book of both Testaments,-as every one knows who has read the Bible even casually. See some thousand and more of the most notorious and vital ones as cited in "deadly parallel" in my Is It God's Word? as one of the most conclusive proofs of uninspired human origin and of confusion worse confounded of tinkering, "interpolation" and forgery outright, by the pious priests of Israel and Judah, and the Ezra "school" of forgers of the "Law and the Prophets."
OUR "PHONY" CHRISTIAN ERA
"It was a monk of the 6th century, named Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Little), who fixed our present Christian era, laying down that Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December, A.U.C. 753, and commencing the new era from the following year, 754. That date, as we shall see, cannot be correct and, instead of being an improvement on, is farther from the truth than the dates assigned by the early Fathers, St. Irenaeus and Tertullian, who fixed the date of the Nativity in the 41st year of Augustus, that is to say, 3 years B.C., or A.U.C, 751 ... All this points to the fact that Herod died in the year 4 B.C., and that our Savior must have been born before that date ... Our Savior was born some time before Herod's death, probably two years or more. So that, if Herod died in the year 4 B.C., we should be taken to 6 or 7 B.C. as the year of the Nativity" (CE. 735-6).
This, of course, discredits the date given by the inspiration of  Luke, and demonstrates that both he and Matthew merely alleged fictitious dates for what in all human probability was a purely fictitious event. The new Era of Christ was, however, very slow in gaining recognition; the first official secular document dating by it was a charter of Charlemagne, after 800 A.D., and it did not come into general use until about 1000 A.D. I may mention a fiery sermon I once heard, in which the expounder of truth vindicated the glory of God by declaiming that every Jew and Infidel confessed to Jesus Christ every time he dated a letter or mentioned the year of an event. Being simply a hearer of the Word, I could not rise to suggest, that by the same token we confess more to the Pagan gods than to the Christian,-for more than half the months and every day of the week are named for Pagan deities, and we name them much more often than we do the years of grace and salvation of Christ. After this bad start from Gospel error and contradiction, we now turn to further evidences of "Gospel truth" in contradictions and forgery.
Among the most signal of these incessant contradictions and scientific impossibilities of Divine Inspiration, are those relating to the capital matter,-for the credit of the Christian Religion, of the time and manner of Creation of earth and Man, based on Holy Writ and on the "chronology" worked out, with several hundred disparate results, from the inspired pedigrees of the ante-Diluvian Patriarchs. So fatally important is this to Christianity, that the 'True Church-"which never deceived anyone" and "has never erred,"-speaking through CE., thus admits that Christianity stands or falls with-"the literal, historical sense of the first three chapters of Genesis in as far as they bear on the facts touching the foundations of the Christian religion, e.g., the creation of all things by God at the beginning of time, the especial creation of man, the formation of the first woman from the first man, the unity of the human race"! (Papal Biblical Commission, June 30, 1909; CE. vii, 313). Thus: No Adam and Eve, no Garden of Eden and Talking Snake, no "Fall" and Curse-therefore: No Savior Jesus Christ, no Plan of Salvation, no truth in the Christian Religion! The fatal point is elucidated with inexorable logic and dogmatic truth by the "Reformed" ex-Father Peter Martyr: "So important is it to comprehend the work of creation that we see the creed of the Church take this as its starting point. Were this Article taken away, there would be no original sin; the promise of Christ would become void, and all the vital force of our religion would be destroyed"! Father Luther inherited the same faith and bequeathed it to his dissident following: "Moses spoke properly and plainly, and neither allegorically nor figuratively; and therefore the world with all creatures was created in six days." Calvin, in his "Commentary on Genesis," argues that the Genesis account of Creation is literally true, and warns those who dare to believe otherwise, and thus "basely insult the Creator, to expect a Judge who will annihilate them." Again he says: "We know on the authority of Moses, that longer ago than 6000 years the world did not exist." So too, the Westminster Confession of Faith, in full Protestant force and effect today-specially lays it down as "necessary to salvation to believe that all things visible and invisible were created not only out of nothing but exactly in six days." And the Churches have murdered countless thousands to impress this beautiful impossible truth.
Notwithstanding the crushing disproofs of those primitive forged "Fables of Moses," by every fact of astronomy, geology, anthropology, biology, and kindred sciences, known to schoolboys today, Faith clings fatuously to its fetches: Arkansas ("Now laugh!"), Mississippi, Tennessee, three States of the Twentieth Century United States, have made it crime by Law to teach the sciences which discredit the Genesis Myths, upon which Christian Superstition utterly depends;, and like medieval laws are sought to be imposed in all our States. The True Church, like all the others, still founds its "Faith and Morals" upon these old Hebrew forgeries of Genesis and peddles them to its Faithful; but it knows better. Thus the whole True Faith is shipwrecked by these heretical confessions of CE., forced from it by the truths of heretical Modernism, in full face of the fierce inspired fulminations of the Syllabus of Errors: "In an article on Bible chronology it is hardly necessary in these days to discuss the date of the Creation. At least two hundred dates have been suggested, varying from 3483 to 6934 year B.C. all based on the supposition that the Bible enables us to settle the point. But it does nothing of the kind. ... The literal interpretation has now been entirely abandoned; and the world is admitted to be of immense antiquity"! (CE. iii, 731.) Again the "sacred science" of Genesis and of Christianity is further admitted to be false, and the fabulous "Septuagint" Bible on which Christianity was founded before the era of the second century forgeries of Gospels and Epistles, to be a holy fraud, in these further excerpts accrediting the true revelations of modern Science as against those of Moses:
"The church ... does not attach decisive influence to the chronology of the Vulgate, the official version of the Western Church, since in the Martyrology for Christmas day, the creation of Adam is put down in the year 5199 B.C., which is the reading of the Septuagint. It is, however, certain that we cannot confine the years of man's sojourn on earth to that usually set down. ... Various explanations have been given of chapter v (Genesis) to explain the short time it seems to allow between the Creation and the Flood. ... The total number of years in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint differs, in the Hebrew it being 1656, in the Samaritan 1307, and in the Septuagint 2242. ... According to Science the length of this period was much greater than appears from the genealogical table. ... In any case, whether we follow the traditional or critical view, the numbers obtained from the genealogy of the Patriarchs in chapter xi must be greatly augmented, in order to allow time for such a development of civilization, language, and race type as had been reached by the time of Abraham." (CE. iii, 731-3.)
FORGERY BY FALSE TRANSLATIONS
We have noted the capital forgery wrought by the Church in consciously and unconscionably adopting and perpetuating the false translation in the Septuagint, of the "virgin shall conceive" pretended prophecy of Isaiah vii, 14. Indisputably the whole forged fabric of supernatural Christianity is based on, and depends upon, this one monumental forgery falsely used to give credit to the Christian forgery of "the Gospel according to Matthew" as to the Divine and miraculous "Virgin birth of Jesus Christ." Out of scores of other notoriously falsified translations of the sacred Old Testament texts, attention is here called only to several of the most signal ones which vitally affect and destroy the validity of the most essential pretensions of truth of the Christian religion. These frauds of translation and others, have been thoroughly examined and supported by numerous texts from the original Hebrew, and falsified verses of the English versions, in my 'Is It God's Word?,' to which references must be made for a more complete treatment than is here pertinent. Those now cited in summary are all of them deliberate falsifications and forgeries in translation which go to the vitals of the Hebrao-Christian system of holy imposture.
If the Hebrew originals had been truthfully translated, we should have no such false pretenses for faith as the Hebrew One God anciently revealed to Adam, and to Moses, no Adam, no man "but little lower than the angels" because of his immortal soul, no unique "revelation' of the "Ineffable Name" Jehovah to Moses; all that we would have,-all that the Hebrew texts reveal-is a primitive polytheistic idolatry of the crudest and most superstitious order. Let us see.
(a) The "God" Forgery
The first sentence of the translated Bibles is a falsification and forgery of the highest importance. We read with awed solemnity of faith: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. i, 1). The Hebrew word for God is el; the plural is elohim, gods. The Hebrew text of Genesis i, 1, reads: "Bereshith bara elohim," etc.,-"In-beginning created gods the-heavens and-the-earth." And, in the same chapter we read in Hebrew honestly translated,-thirty times the word "elohim" gods, to whom are attributed all the works of creation in the six peculiar "days" of Genesis. This is plainly evident from the Hebrew texts of Genesis i, which even false intention could not hide in the translation, "And-said elohim (gods), let-US-make man (adam) in-image-OUR, after-likeness-OUR" (i, 26). And when "adam" had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, "the Lord God" said, "Behold, the-man has become like one of US, to know good and evil" (iii, 27). And when the Tower of Babel was abuilding, "The Lord [Heb. Yahveh] said ... Come, let US go down," etc. And thus, some 2570 times the plural, elohim, gods, is used in the Hebrew texts, but is always falsely translated "God" in the false singular, when speaking of the Hebrew deity, Yahveh.
In the three Genesis verses above quoted, we have three different designations of the Hebrew deity or deities: elohim, gods, falsely translated "God"; "Lord God" (Heb. Yahveh-elohim); and "Lord" (Heb. Yahveh). Yahveh is the proper name of the Hebrew God, in English rendered Jehovah: Yahveh-elohim is a Hebrew "construct-form" honestly meaning "Yahveh-of-the-gods." Invariably (with rare exceptions to be noted), these personal names are falsely rendered "Lord" and "Lord God," respectively, for purposes of pious fraud which we shall now expose to the shame of a theology of imposture. We will return to this after noting a pair of others.
(b) The "Adam" Forgery
There was no first man "Adam," according to the Hebrew texts of the story. The word adam in Hebrew is a common noun, meaning man in a generic sense; in Genesis i, 26, we have read: "And elohim (gods) said, Let us make adam (man)"; and so "elohim created ha-adam (the-man); ... male and female created he them" (i. 27). And in the second story, where man is first made alone: "Yahveh formed ha-adam (the-man) out of the dust of ha-adamah-the ground" (ii, 7). Man is called in Hebrew adam because formed out of adamah, the ground; just as in Latin man is called homo because formed from humus, the ground,-homo ex humo, in the epigram of Father Lactantius. (Lact., Divine Institutes, ii, 58; ANF. vii, 58.) The forging by the common noun adam into a mythical proper name Adam, was a post-exilic fraud in the forging of fictitious genealogies from "in the beginning" to Father Abraham.
(c) The "Soul" Forgery
In Genesis i is the account of the creation of elohim-gods-on the fifth day, of "nephesh hayyah-the moving creature that hath life," and of "nephesh hayyah-every living creature"-out of the waters (i, 20, 21); and on the sixth day of "nephesh hayyah-the living creature" out of the ground (i, 24); and he gave to ha-adam-the-man dominion over "kol nephesh hagyah,-everything wherein there is life," (i, 30.) So reads the Hebrew text-all these dumb animal living creatures are by God called "nephesh hayyah," "literally "living soul," as will be found stuck into the margins of the Authorized Version. In chapter ii we have the history of ha-adam made from ha-adamah; and, in wonderful contrast to these lowly "living creatures" (nephesh hayyah), Yahveh-elohim "breathed into his nostrils nishmath hayyim-(living breaths), and ha-adam became nephesh hayyah-a living soul"! (ii, 7.) In Hebrew nephesh everywhere and simply means soul, and hayyah (living) is the feminine singular adjective from hai, life. Man, therefore, was created exactly the same as the other animals; all had or were nephesh hayyah-living souls, indistinctly. The "false pen of the scribes," who in translation made the dumb animals merely living creatures, and "Creation's micro-cosmical masterpiece, Man," a "living soul," falsely altered these plain words so as to deceive into a belief of a special God-breathed soul in man, far different from the brute animal that perisheth.
(d) The "Mosaic Revelation" Forgery
When Yahveh appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, nd announced himself as "the God of thy fathers," he was a total stranger to Moses; Moses did not at all know him, had never heard of him; so that he asked, "What is thy name?"-so that he could report it to the people back home in Egypt, who had never heard it. After some intermission, the God came directly to the point, and declared-l quote the exact words-one of the most notorious falsities in Holy Writ:
"And elohim spake unto Moses, and said unto him., anoki Yahveh-I am the Lord
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of el-shaddai, but by my name Yahveh (JEHOVAH) was I not known to them." (Ex. vi, 2, 8.)
Here we have the positive averment of the Hebrew God himself to the effect that here, for the first time since the world began, is "revealed" to mankind the "ineffable name" of Yahveh, here first appearing in the Bible translations, and there printed as JEHOVAH in capital letters; for more vivid and awe-inspiring impression. But this is a capital Lie of the Lord, or of his biographer who imputed it to him. In verse 4 of Genesis ii, the name YAHVEH first appears; "in the day that Yahveh-elohim made the earth and the heavens." Its first recorded use in the mouth of a mystical personage, was when Mother Eve "conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from Yahveh-the Lord." (Gen. iv, 1.) One hundred and fifty-six times the personal name YAHVEH occurs in the Book of Genesis alone; and scores of times in the mouths of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, as any one may read in Genesis, with the assurance that every single time that the title "the Lord" and "the Lord God" appears, it is a false translation by the priests for the Hebrew personal name YAHVEH. Throughout the Hebrew "Scriptures" the Divine Name thousands of times occurs: "The sacred name occurs in Genesis about 156 times; ... in round numbers it is found in the Old Testament 6000 times, either alone or in conjunction with another Divine name." (CE. viii, 829, 331.) More exactly, "What is called the Tetragrammaton, YHVH, appears in the Old Testament 6823 times as the proper name of God as the God of Israel. As such it serves to distinguish him from the gods of the other nations." (EB. iii, 3320.) Thus was the Hebrew tribal god YAHVEH distinguished from Bel, and Chemosh, and Dagon, and Shamash, and the scores of "gods of the nations"; just as Bill distinguishes its bearer from Tom, Dick, and Harry. This was precisely the Hebrew usage-to distinguish one heathen god from another. And this the false translators sought to hide, giving names to all the "other gods," but suppressing a name for the Hebrew deity, who as "the Lord," or "the Lord God," was high and unique, "a god above all gods,"-the one and only true God.
But yet more malicious and evil-intentioned of deception: 6828 times is the name of the Hebrew God concealed by false rendition for the deliberate purpose of forging the whole Hebrew Bible, as translated, into semblance of harmony with the false avowal of Exodus vi, 3, that "by my name YAHVEH was I not know unto them." Search as one may, outside Exodus vi, 3, the god-name YAHVEH (Jehovah) is never to be found in the translations in a single instance, except in Psalm lxxxiii, 18, and Isaiah xii, 2 and xxvi, 4. The false translations thus "make truth to be a liar," the lie of Exodus vi, 3 to seem the truth; and a barbarous heathen tribal god among a hundred neighbor and competitive gods to be the nameless One Lord God of the Universe. The Hebrew-Christian One God is a patent Forgery and Myth; a mycological Father-god can have no "only begotten Son"; Jesus Christ is a myths even before he is mythically born in the fancies of the Church Fathers, as we shall soon have ample evidence to prove.
With respect to the mythical Hebrew-Christian God or gods, we may safely say, as says Father Justin Martyr apropos of the other mythic Pagan gods: "And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned." (First Apology, ch. vi; ANF. i, 169.)
THE ANCIENT IDEA OF "HISTORY"
We may pause a moment to catch a vitutable [what? - RW] view which will be of great aid to understanding the mental processes of the ancient writers in their portrayal of events, real or fanciful, which they set about to record as "history." These pioneers of historical literature lived in an age of simple-minded credulity, and everything which they saw recorded or heard related, however extravagant and seemingly incredible or impossible, passed all as perfectly good history in their receptive and uncritical minds. Speaking of the legendary, the traditional, the supernatural stories, myths, folk-lore and fables,-"in short, everything which seemed to testify to the past,"-which formed the raw material of the early historians, the Encyclopedia Biblica gives a graphic picture of primitive history-writing, not only Hebraic but Gentilic:
"Their sources, like those of the Greek logographers with whom it is natural to compare them, were poems, genealogies, often representing clan-groupings, tribal and local traditions of diverse kinds, such as furnish the materials for most of the Book of Judges; the historical traditions of sanctuaries; the sacred legends of holy places, relating theophanies and other revelations, the erection of the altar or sacred stone, the origin of popular usages-e.g. Bethel; laws; myths of foreign or native origin; folk-lore and fable,-in short, everything which seemed to testify of the past.
"To us the greater part of this material is not in any proper sense historical at all; but for the early Israelite as for the early Greek historian it was otherwise; our distinctions between authentic history, legendary history, pure legend, and myth, he made as little as he recognized our distinction of natural and supernatural. It was all history to him; and if one part of it had a better attestation than another, it was certainly the sacred history as it was told at the ancient sanctuaries of the land.
"The early Hebrew historians did not affix their names to their works; they had, indeed, no idea of authorship. The traditions and legends which they collected were common property, and did not cease to be so when they were committed to writing; the written book was in every sense the property of the scribe or the possessor of the roll. Only a part of the great volume of tradition was included in the first books. Transcribers freely added new matter from the same sources on which the original authors had drawn, the traditions of their own locality or sanctuary, variants of historical traditions or legend. Every new copy was thus in some measure a fresh recension. ... Scribes compared different copies, and combined their contents according to their own judgment or interests. ... Of records or monuments there are but a few traces, and these for the most part doubtful." (EB. ii, 2075-76.)
To say nothing now of the Old or New Testament "canonical" and "apocryphal" literature, countless examples of this imaginative method of history-writing abound in all the ancient writers, as all who are familiar with such classics as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Josephus, Livy, will readily recall. One of the most inveterate forms of imaginative creation on the part of the old historiographers was the invention of sayings and whole speeches which, just as do the fiction-writers of today, they put entire into the mouths of the personages of whom they were writing, which discourses they not only invented whole, but always wrought them in the style and manner of the writer and his epoch, and not in those of their ancient subjects. All are familiar with such instances in Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton, and which we all known are pure inventions of those writers. Naming several of the ancient historians above mentioned, and others, a distinguished philosopher of history thus describes the art:
"Such speeches as we find in Thucydides (for example), of which we can positively assert that they are not bona-fide records. ... Thus Livy puts into the mouths of the old Roman Kings, Consuls, and generals, such orations as would be delivered by an accomplished advocate of the Livian era... In the same way he gives us descriptions of battles, as if he had been an actual spectator; but whose features would serve well enough for battles in any period." (Hegel, The Philosophy of History, ii. 2.)
Speaking of much later times, and of a different class, but like type, of writers, Hegel again says: "In the Middle Ages, we except the Bishops, who were placed in the very center of the political world, the Monks monopolized this category as main chroniclers." (Ib. p. 3.)
As typical illustration of the principles and practices above described of the best of the ancient writers, but more especially as an example of the kind of "history" written by the most learned and illustrious historian of Jewry, fellow-countryman and contemporary of the supposed Apostolic writers of the New Testament books, it is of the highest significance to cite some of the solemn historical recordation of Josephus, from two of his most famous works; they will make more appreciated at their real value some of the inspired historical recitals of contemporaneous 'sacred history.'
In his Antiquities of the Jews Josephus follows closely the subject matter and order of narration of the early Old Testament, books, beginning with the Creation, giving the full substance of those histories, and adding quaint comments all his own and expansions and embellishments unknown to or unrecorded by Moses. In Eden, not only the Talking Snake could speak, but all the now dumb animals: "All living creatures had one language, at that time" (I, i, 4). After our parents had eaten of the Fruit of Knowledge and, discovering themselves naked, hid themselves from the Creator, "This behavior surprised God," who delivers a lengthy speech of retrieval not recorded by Moses (Ib.); and such orations are plentiful and detailed between God and all the other notables who came into personal contact with him; a gem is his oration to Noah. He relates the wars waged by the wicked posterity of Cain, to the great distress of Adam, who predicted the two-fold destruction of the earth, once by water and again by fire. As the Sethites were good people and intelligent, and had made great discoveries in astronomy, which they wished preserved for such posterity as might survive the yet future Flood, "they made two pillars, the one of brick, the other of stone; they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the Flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit these discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day." (Ib., I, ii, 2.) He relates with naive and realistic garnishment the tale of Sodom, and Lot and his daughters, and of Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt, which is Gospel truth, "for I have seen it, and it remains at this day"! (Ib. 1, xi, 4.) These historical drolleries might be quoted ad infinitum from Jewry's greatest historian.
The name of Solomon was most potent conjure in the Orient through all the succeeding centuries; the spells and charms, amulets and fetishes inscribed with his mystic symbol and pronounced in his name, were the terror of all the devils who so populated the Jewish mind, and the Christian. A noted instance of the potency of this Name, exhibited before the Roman Emperor Vespasian and his court and army, and witnessed by Josephus himself, so circumstantial, so faith-compelling, so artless and childishly fabling, that I am constrained to quote it for the light it sheds on the "historical" methods of the "age of apocryphal literature":
"God also enabled him [Solomon] to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sensitive to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return, and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, relieving people that were demoniacs in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: he put a ring, that had a root of one of the sorts mentioned by Solomon, to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantation which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly; for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon's abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed, may not be unknown to any people under the sun; for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters."- (Josephus, Antiq. Jews, Bk. VIII, Ch. ii, 5; Whiston's trans.)
This is followed by the full text of the autograph letters between Solomon and Hiram regarding the building of the Temple.
Whether the same kind of root of Solomon's magical powers just above used by Eleazar, or one of another species of like power, it was very difficult to obtain and the quest was attended with many dangers, which of course enhanced the value and potency of its magic; but here is Josephus's solemn description of the plant and account of the eerie and risky manner of securing this treasure, known locally as Baaras root:
"Its color is like that of flame, and toward evening it sends out a certain ray like lightning: it is not easily taken by such as would do it, but recedes from their hands, nor will yield itself to be taken quietly, until either the urine of a woman, or blood, be poured upon it; nay, even then it is certain death to those that touch it, unless anyone take and hang the root itself down from his hand, and so carry it away. It may also be taken another way, without danger, which is this: they dig a trench quite round about it, till the hidden part of the root be very small, then they tie a dog to it, and, when the dog tries hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up, but the dog dies immediately, as if it were instead of the man that would take the plant away nor after this need anyone be afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet, after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into any men that are alive and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them."
Instead of artful mendacity, some readers, in view of this, may charitably impute artless simplicity of wit to some of the devil-exorcising fable-mongers of the New Testament, the pious Fathers who forged its Books.
If such examples are abounding in the most brilliant of Jewish historians, distinguished for nobility of lineage, for statesmanship and for literary ability, what may be expected from the admittedly "ignorant and unlearned men" such as traditionally wrote those Gospels and Epistles of the Christians? We may now appreciate the full significance of the admission of the Catholic Encyclopedia, speaking of the Church Fathers and writers through all the Ages of Faith "before the eighteenth century," of whom it says:
The early ecclesiastical writers were unconscious of nearly all the problems to which criticism has given rise. ... Looking at the Divine side, they deemed as of trifling account questions of authorship, date, composition, accepting unreservedly for these points such traditions as the Jewish Church had handed down. ... The Fathers saw in every sentence of the scripture a pregnant oracle of God. Apparent contradictions and other difficulties were solved without taking possible human imperfections into view. Except in regard to the preservation of the sacred text there was nothing to elicit a critical view of the Bible in the age of the Fathers, and this applies also to the Scholastic period." (CE. iv, 492.)
CHRISTIAN "REVELATIONS" IN JEWISH FORGERIES
Christians no doubt believe in simple faith that the wonderful inspired truths of their New Testament were original pronouncements of Jesus Christ or directly revealed by him to his holy apostles, who in turn revealed them to the populace for the first time as the "good news" of the new religion for the salvation of sinful man. Even a brief glance at a few of the most, notable of the Jewish forgeries of the "age of apocryphal literature" will dispel that pious belief, and show the most characteristic and essential doctrines and dogmas of Christianity to be but refurbished vagaries of the fanciful and fabulous speculations of already existing Jewish apocryphal writings of the times just preceding and within the new Christian era. These writings were put forth falsely as the utterances of long since dead or wholly legendary Old Testament notables, and were neither inspired nor revealed heavenly truth, but simply vain and forged speculations of their fantastic writers. We shall see the cardinal tenets of "revealed" Christianity in a glance at a few of these Jewish pseudographs, and let the Christian apologist explain.
This literature is of the highest value today because of the light it throws on the growth of eschatological and Messianic doctrines among the Jewish people just previous to the rise of Christianity, especially since these doctrines have, in a purified form, found a permanent place in the Christian system." (New Int. Enyc. i, 745.)
The Book of Enoch, forged in the name of the grandson of Adam, is the fragmentary remains of a whole literature which circulated under the pretended authorship of that mythical Patriarch. In its present form, the work, of 104 chapters, is composed of five Books, with the following titles, of which those of Books 3 and 4 are of particular significance, namely: 1. The Rape of Women by Fallen Angels, and the Giants that were Begotten of Them; 2. The Visions of Enoch begun; 3. The Visions continued, with Views of the Messiah's Kingdom; 4. Man's Destiny revealed in Dreams from the beginning to the End of the Messianic Kingdom; 5. The Warnings of Enoch to his own Family and to Mankind. This work is a composite of at least five unknown Jewish writers, and was composed during the last two centuries B.C. The forged Book of Enoch is quoted as genuine and inspired in the Christian Epistle of Jude (14, et seq.), and as "Scripture" in the near canonical Epistle of Barnabas; with the early Church Fathers and Apologists, among whom Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Anatolius, Origen, St, Augustine, etc., "it, had all the weight of a canonical book," but was finally condemned as a forgery by the forged Apostolic Constitutions,-an instance of the very dubious divine guidance of the inspired Church against all error. Father Tertullian devotes an entire chapter "Concerning the Genuineness of the Prophecy of Enoch." in which he gives fantastic patristic reasons as to how the Book survived Noah's Flood, either by the providence of Noah himself or by the Providence of God as in the mythical case of Esdras. In answer to the scoffing objections that the Jews rejected the Book, "I suppose," he seriously argues, "that they do not think that, having been published before the Deluge, it could have safely survived that world-wide calamity, the abolisher of all things." But, he urges, "let them recall to their memory that Noah, the survivor of the deluge, was the great-grand-son of Enoch himself," and that Noah probably preserved it at the behest of Methuselah. But, again, "If Noah had not preserved it in this way, there would still be this consideration to warrant our assertion of the genuineness of this Scripture: he could equally renewed it, under the Spirit's inspiration, after it, had been destroyed by the violence of the Deluge, as, after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian storming of it, every document of the Jewish literature is generally agreed to have been restored through Ezra." But the good Father had other and equally cogent clerical reasons for accepting the Book as inspired Scripture: "But since Enoch in the same Scripture has preached likewise concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us which pertains to us; and we read that 'every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired.' ... To these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a testimony in the Apostle Jude." (On the Apparel of Women, II, ii; ANF. iv, 15-16.) By this excerpt from the pious Father may be judged the value of the "testimony" of Apostles and Church Fathers as to the inspiration, truth and authenticity of holy "Scriptures,"-which is nil.
Of the immense significance of these forged Jewish "sacred writings" in general upon Christian "revelation," and of the fabulous Book of Enoch in particular, with its elaborated myth of the Messiah, CE. thus confesses: "Jewish Apocalyptic is an attempt to supply the place of prophecy, which had been dead for centuries, and has its roots in the sacred oracles of Israel. ... Naturally basing itself upon the Pentateuch and the Prophets, it clothed itself fictitiously with the authority of a patriarch or prophet who was made to reveal the transcendent future. ... Messianism of Course plays an important part in apocalyptic eschatology, and the idea of the Messiahs in certain books received a very high development. ... The parables of Henoch, with their pre-existent Messiahs, mark the highest point of development-(hence not Divine Revelation)-of the Messianic concept to be found in the whole range of Hebrew literature." (CE. i, 601, 602.) From these uninspired ravings of Jewish forgers came thus the "divine revelation" of the co-eternal "Son of God" worked up instead of the old "revealed" human King "of the seed of David."
The forged Book of Enoch, thus vouched for, is notable for being "the earliest appearance of the Messiah in non-canonical literature." It is of the greatest importance for its doctrine of the Jewish Messiah, who here appears as wholly an earthly human deliverer and King over Israel forever, and for the origin of the exalted titles applied to the Messiah in the New Testament Books, as well as of a number of supposedly distinctive Christian doctrines, first "revealed" by Jesus the Christ. In this Book we first find the lofty titles: "Christ" or "the Anointed One," "Son of Man," "the Righteous One," "the Elect One,"-all of which were boldly plagiarized by the later Christians and bestowed on Jesus of Nazareth The Messiah, just as in the New Testament of later times, exists from the beginning (48, 2); he sits on the throne of God (45,3); and all judgment is committed unto him (69, 27). The acceptance of Enoch as a Messianic prophet by the Christians led to his rejection by the Jews. Here is the earliest invention of the Christian Hell of fire and brimstone for eternal torture: "The wicked shall go down into the Sheol of darkness and fire and dwell there forever"; this being "one of the earliest mentions of Sheol as a hell of torment" (CE. i, 602-3; EB. i, 223-5). It is the oldest piece of Jewish literature which teaches the general resurrection of Israel, a doctrine expanded to include Gentiles in later "interpolations" into New Testament books. It abounds in such "Christian" doctrines as the Messianic Kingdom, Hell, the Resurrection, and Demonology, the Seven Heavens, and the Millennium, all of which have here their apocryphal Jewish promulgation, after being plagiarized bodily from the Persian and Babylonian myths superstitions, as we have seen confessed. There are numerous quotations, phrases, clauses, or thoughts derived from Enoch, or of closest kin with it, in several of the New Testament Gospels and Epistles, which may be readily found and compared as catalogued in the authorities below cited;-Pagan-Jewish myths and doctrines which shared in molding the analogous New Testament "revelations" or formed the necessary link in the development of doctrines from the Old to the New Testament. The CE. says of the Book of Enoch:
"It had left its imprint on the New Testament and the works of the early Fathers. ... Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and even St. Augustine suppose the work to be a genuine one of the patriarch. ... The work is a compilation, and its component parts were written in Palestine by Jews of the orthodox school ... in the latter part of the second century before Christ. (See CE. i, 602. passim; EB. v, 220-224.)
In Fourth Esdras, as in the Apocalypse of Baruch, we find for the first time, the fatal phrase and doctrine, "all mankind sinned with Adam" (CE. i, 604), whence Paul forged his fearful and accursed dogma of original sin and eternal damnation. Fourth Maccabees, erroneously ascribed by Eusebius and others to Josephus, dates from about 4 B.C., just after the death of Harod. It is strongly indoctrinated with the Stoic philosophy, from which the author "derived his four cardinal virtues, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance; and it was through Fourth Maccabees that this category was appropriated by early Christian ascetical writers" (CE. i, 605-6), and later "canonized" by the Church. (CE. xi, 391.)
The Assumption of Moses was forged in the name of that worthy as its genuine author, about the beginning of, or early in the Christian era, with the ostensible purpose of confirming the Mosaic Laws in Deuteronomy. It gives the parting communications of Moses to his successor, Joshua, and unfolds, in a series of pretended predictions, delivered in written from, the course of Israel's history down to Herold's time. Here is found the legend of the dispute between Michael Archangel and Satan over the body of Moses, which the Christian Epistle of Jude (v. 9) cites as God-inspired truth. (CE. i, 602-3.) The book of Jubilees, or little Geneses, is a fabricated embellishment of the Old Testament Genesis, written in the name of Moses somewhere between 135 B.C., or 60 A.D., and purports to be a revelation made to Moses by the 'Angel of the Face' of events from Adam to Moses' own day; the Patriarchs are made the exponents of the writer's own Pharisaic views and hopes. It is quoted as good "Scripture" by Greek and Latin Fathers down to the twelfth century, when its forged character was discovered.
One of the most important of apocryphal forgeries is the Apocalypse of Baruch, "a pseudograph with evident Christian interpolations" (CE. i, 604), written by a Jewish Pharisee about 50-90 A.D., who speaks in the first person in the name of Baruch, secretary of the Prophet Jeremiah. The book begins by declaring that the word of the Lord came to him in the 25th year of King Jeconiah,-who reigned only three months, and was carried away captive to Babylon eleven years before the fall of Jerusalem, 586 B.C., which event the forgery bewails; it is filled with the Messianic hopes of Jewry at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The book furnishes a setting and background of many distinctive New Testament doctrines and problems, treating of Original Sin, which it traces to the sin of Adam, Forgiveness, Works, Justification, Free Will, etc., and this enables us to estimate the contributions made in this respect by Jewish forgeries to inspired Christian thought as developed in the so-called Pauline Epistles,-which Paul never wrote. Some notable Fathers, such as Athenagoras, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Irenaeus, cite Beruch as a Prophet, and vouch for him as on the same footing as Jeremiah, just as Irenaeus vouches for Susanna and Bel and the Dragon as the
Father Justin, in several chapters, accuse the Jews of having "removed from Esdras and Jeremiah passages clearly mentioning the Savior," as also from Psalms; he says: "they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translation affected by those Seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as having been crucified, and as dying." (Dial. Trypho, chs. lxxi-lxxiv; ANF. i, 234-235.) But these passages, says Middleton, were never in the Hebrew Scriptures; "they were not erased by the Jews, but added [to their copies] by the Christians, or forged by Justin." (Op. cit., 41, 42.)
To which extent these pious Jewish forgeries formed the background and basis of the Christian doctrines and dogmas of pretended direct "revelation," and informed the thought and utterance of Jesus Christ-the raw material and working tools of the Christian propagandist, may be realized from this acknowledgement:
"The most important and valuable of the extant Jewish apocrypha are those which contain the visions and revelations of the unseen world and the Messianic future. Jewish apocryphal literature is a theme which deserves the attention of all interested in the development of the religion of Israel, that body of concepts and tendencies in which are fixed the roots of the great doctrinal principles of Christianity itself, just as its Divine Founder took his temporal generation from the stock of orthodox Judaism.
The Jewish apocryphas furnish the completing links in the progress of Jewish theology and fill what would otherwise be a gap, though a small one, between the advanced stage marked by the deutero-canonical-[i.e. long doubted but finally accepted]-books and its full maturity so relatively perfect that Jesus could suppose as existing in the popular consciousness, without teaching de novo, the doctrines of Future Retribution, the Resurrection of the body, and the existence, nature and office of angels." (CE. i, 601.)
All these divine and "revealed" doctrines of Christian faith we have seen to be originally heathen Zoroastrian mythology, taken over first by the Jews, then boldly plagiarized by the ex-Pagan Christians. Dean Milman, of St. Paul's, thus describes the universality of these notions among the heathens and the borrowing by the Jews and Christians of what were originally Pagan superstitions-now become articles of Christian revelation:
"Satan, angels, immortality, resurrection-all Persian and Zoroastrian doctrines imbibed by the Jews. ... During the whole life of Christ, and the early propagation of the religion, it must be borne in mind, that they took place in an age, and among a people, which superstition had made so familiar with what were supposed to be preternatural events, that the wonders awakened no emotion, or were speedily superseded by some new demand on the every-ready belief."
Thus, again, the most precious Christian truths, of supposed divine "revelation" through God, Christ and apostles-were plagiarizations from forged Jewish pseudo-Scriptures, taken over into them from long contact with the Zoroastrian Persians. These myths and superstitions Jesus the Son of God found ready at hand "in the popular consciousness" of the ignorant wonder-craving Jewish peasantry; and, Lo, our "revealed" Christian religion! We may begin to suspect the later "inspired" books of the "Apostles" as not beyond the taint of Pagan superstition and of the suspicion of Christian forgery.
RETURN TO THE CHAPTER INDEX
Free Zip Copy: FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
RETURN TO THE WRITINGS OF:
Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible, for it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.