jeudi 24 novembre 2016

Responding to Criticism


1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

HGL I
= somewhere else : Anonymous author for Saint Peter?
http://notontimsblogroundhere.blogspot.com/2016/11/anonymous-author-for-saint-peter.html


F2Andy
= On Creationism : More on Petrine Authorship
http://oncreationism.blogspot.com/2016/11/more-on-petrine-authorship.html


HGL II
= my added comments this post.

HGL I
The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.

F2Andy
Well it is an important question, but as you seem to concede it is established that it is not an obstacle at all.

HGL II
Not quite. I concede it is possible it is not an obstacle, but (as seen further on) I am not sure.

HGL I
The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.

F2Andy
That is a different question, but yes, it is important too. However, as you say, two works prove fairly well that anonymous authors did believe they would successfully pass their works off as that of the apostles.

HGL II
I didn't quite say that. They could also be by St Peter and not divinely and infallibly inspired even so. And he could have said so and that admission could be why they are not in canon.

Also, if they were or one of them was by a forger, this would illustrate we have checks working normally, even if not always at first occasion infallibly (and since Church is only infallible universally or when bound universally by St Peter, a purely local acceptance is not enough to bind the faithful conscience).

But one or two forgers is not necessarily a proven fact. Will have to look closer.

Wiki
"The terminus post quem—the point after which we know the Apocalypse of Peter must have been written—is revealed by its use (in Chapter 3) of 4 Esdras, which was written about 100 AD."

HGL II
Two problems again:

  • 1) is Apocalypse of St Peter using 4 Esdras, or is 4 Esdras using Apocalypse of St Peter, if 4 Esdras is a forgery (Esdra or Ezra living c. 500 or 550 years earlier than 100 AD)?
  • 2) Do we know 4 Esdras is a forgery, that is written 100 AD? Do we even know it is written 100 AD if it is a forgery?


Anyway, the contents seem fairly orthodox, and were used by Dante, at least if one can take Apocalypse of St Peter as incomplete and omitting Purgatory (which Dante supplies by fantasy.

It could also be that St Peter - like later Dante - made a fantasy Apocalypse and interrupted when told St John would have a real one.

So, doctrinally speaking, I don't have a total confidence it must be forgery.

It seems to have been widely read in Ethiopia. Probably eliminated when Ethiopian Copts were told the rest of the Church didn't use it.

Sorry, a moment:

Wiki
There is also a section which explains that in the end God will save all sinners from their plight in Hell:

"My Father will give unto them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that passeth not away, ... It is because of them that have believed in me that I am come. It is also because of them that have believed in me, that, at their word, I shall have pity on men... "

Thus, sinners will finally be saved by the prayers of those in heaven. Peter then orders his son Clement not to speak of this revelation since God had told Peter to keep it secret:

[and God said]"... thou must not tell that which thou hearest unto the sinners lest they transgress the more, and sin."

HGL II
That might seem to rule it out, someone might have been engaged in wishful thinking.

At least if Hell is to be taken as Hell and not as Purgatory.

HGL I
The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.

F2Andy A
Fair point, but these were not rejected out of hand as soon as they appeared. They were accepted by some Christians and were sufficiently well regarded that we still have both w orks.

HGL II A
I suppose they were rejected out of hand by most Christians. Ethiopians seem to have been an exception.

F2Andy B
If we look at the epistles traditionally attributed to Paul, most modern scholars now consider the Pastoral epistles to be written by another author. Yes, the early church did have some checks, but the evidence is that those checks were not perfect, and some works got through that were attributed to an apostle but written by someone else.

HGL II B
The modern scholars considering Pastoral Epistles as not by St Paul are influenced by a Protestant realisation that they portray a Catholic type of Church Hierarchy - along with a Protestant unwillingness to admit this Hierarchy existed from the start.

HGL I
Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.

F2Andy
That depends on what you mean by canon. If you consider canon to be only those works accepted by the church since ca. 400, then no. However, there is evidence it was considered canon prior to that, i.e., its mention in the Muratorian fragment.

HGL II
I was not considering "works of canon" as being rival, but "canons" (not yet the final collection) as being rival ones. The Muratorian canon therefore as rival with another which was not including Apocalypse of St Peter. You seem to take it Muratorian canon was also a universal canon, but on an earlier stage, but in reality, on that earlier stage you did not yet have a single canon.

The Muratorian canon was never binding on the Church, like, say, fasting till 18:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays was in AD 100 before it was relaxed to fasting till 15:00 on Wednesdays and Fridays until that went laxer so being fisheater -vegan on Fridays is now enough, most Fridays around the year for a normal layman. Or in Latin rite, even fisheating lacto-vegetarian on Fridays.

The Muratorian canon was rather one of several canons that ran parallel, but contemporary. If even as much as that. We do not know of its "context in real life" (Sitz im Leben as the German scholars say) and we cannot conclude anything from its not having been adopted universally than that it was not a universal Church canon.

Wiki
The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in a 7th or 8th century codex from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains features suggesting it is a translation from a Greek original written about 170 or as late as the 4th century. Both the degraded condition of the manuscript and the poor Latin in which it was written have made it difficult to translate. The beginning of the fragment is missing, and it ends abruptly. The fragment consists of all that remains of a section of a list of all the works that were accepted as canonical by the churches known to its original compiler. It was discovered in the Ambrosian Library in Milan by Father Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1 750), the most famous Italian historian of his generation, and published in 1740.[1] The text of the list itself is traditionally dated to about 170 because its author refers to Pius I, bishop of Rome (142—157), as recent:

Wiki quoting Muratorian
But Hermas wrote The Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the chair of the church of the city of Rome. And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after their time.

Wiki
A few scholars[2] have also dated it as late as the 4th century, but their arguments have not won widespread acceptance in the scholarly community. For more detail, see the article in the Anchor Bible Dictionary. Bruce Metzger has advocated the traditional dating.[3]

Wiki's notes
  • 1) Muratori, Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevii (Milan 1740), vol. III, pp 809–80. Located within Dissertatio XLIII (cols. 807-80), entitled 'De Literarum Statu., neglectu, & cultura in Italia post Barbaros in eam invectos usque ad Anum Christii Millesimum Centesimum', at cols. 851-56.
  • 2) Hahneman, Geoffrey Mark. The Muratorian Fragment and the Development of the Canon. (Oxford: Clarendon) 1992. Sundberg, Albert C., Jr. "Canon Muratori: A Fourth Century List" in Harvard Theological Review 66 (1973): 1–41. [Link provided : www.jstor.org/pss/1509348]
  • 3) Metzger, Bruce M., 1987. The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance. (Clarendon Press. Oxford) ISBN 0-19-826954-4


HGL II
So we have no clear indication whatsoever that Muratorian canon was ever a universal one, or a precursor of the universal 27 books canon, which is from late 4th Century.

Therefore, certainly, the watchdogs did their job pretty well fro m the start, except in Ethiopia. From where we have most copies or fragments of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Here is some speculation on where the forgery originated, if such:

Wiki's note 5, Apoc. Pet. again
Oscar Skarsaune (2012). Jewish Believers in Jesus. Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 386–388. ISBN 978-1-56563-763-4. Skarsaune argues for a composition by a Jewish-Christian author in Israel during the Bar Kochba revolt. The text speaks of a single false messiah who has not yet been exposed as false. The reference to the false messiah as a "liar" may be a Hebrew pun turning Bar Kochba's original name, Bar Kosiba, into Bar Koziba, "son of the lie".

HGL II
So, presumably, if I might do guesswork presuming that it is a forgery, the following scenario is possible:

  • During Bar Kochba revolt, a Christian of Jewish origin is torn between love of the Faith and love of Jewish relatives, perhaps apostasising, perhaps never having been Christians, and he hopes they will be released from Hell.
  • In that extremely chaotic situation, he manages to pull off a forgery. It's clue being the sentiment that Hell is just Purgatory.
  • It is everywhere or nearly so rejected.
  • It finds its way to Ethiopia, where it is copied and survives, and where Christianity having much Jewish connexions faced similar anguish as he.
  • Somewhere either in Bar Kochba's or post Bar Kochba's Palestine or in Ethiopia, the Muratorian text is written, and most of that text is rejected, and only the exotic canon survives.


Unlike Council of Carthage, where all of the context around canon is also surviving, one knows the canon is a Conciliar decree. One can guess it was not disputed elsewhere. But by then, the debates on this or that or sundry book of the Bible, as to NT, was over, same as with smaller debates on OT (is there a "First Esdra" before the Esdra which nowadays Vulgate cites as First? Are there a III and IV Maccabees after the II Maccabees where Vulgate ends OT?) which mean that the Latin translation, later replaced by Vulgate is somewhat different from Greek, possibly, and Slavonic versions of LXX canon, sth which Council of Carthage does not fix.

From your link
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/apocalypsepeter-mrjames.html
Some artless iambic lines of uncertain date are appended here, which show what was thought of the doctrine:

' Plainly false: for the fire will never cease to torment the damned. I indeed could pray that it might be so, who am branded with the deepest scars of transgressions which stand in need of utmost mercy. But let Origen be ashamed of his lying words, who saith that there is a term set to the torments.'

HGL II
One could speculate that St Peter had one revelation, wrote it down, but knew it was not definite, perhaps the last words were his own wishful thinking, it was confided to his disciple St Mark who took it to Alexandria, where it came into somewhat wrong hands when Origen blew up the final words into the doctrine of Apokastasis ton panton.

But apart from that, that doctrine is so attractive to some, that giving it apostolic certificate would have been attractive to very many - and in that case St Peter's apocalypse was the one which was most discreet and managed to make it basically half way.

Meanwhile, the Public Revelation was not finished when St Peter died and the error which might have been innocent in him was corrected a few decades later by Apocalypse of St John. And it may have gained ground as canonic slower, precisely where that "of St Peter" had a good reputation.

In other words, the manuscript, with this rejecting addition, eventually came into hands of people clearly feeling, as most Christians since, that the doctrine of redemption from Hell is false.

From your link
There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) along with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday.

HGL II
This was written 1924.

It is not certain that the version in Palestine includeded the disputed doctrine.

Also, Palestine concurs with an origin from Bar Kochba revolt.

It is certain that the author of those lines for some reason thought Muratorian fragment connected to canon of Rome, but that begs the question how he knows Pastor Herma s and Pope St Pius I were only known in Rome and surroundings. The history of the text does not guarantee it is an earlier Roman canon, as far as I can see.

F2Andy
It seems Clement of Alexandria considered it to be scripture, by the way.

HGL II
He is between Palestine and Ethiopia.

See also my speculation on its origins.

HGL I
So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.

F2Andy
This is just conjecture. We really do not know how many early churches accepted it, or what their reasons for rejecting it might be (it could have been that its theology was not aligned with that church). However, from the above link:

"There is no mention of it in the Gelasian Decree, which is curious. At one time it was popular in Rome for the Muratorian Canon mentions it (late in the second century?) alo ng with the Apocalypse of John though it adds, that 'some will not have it read in the church.' The fifth-century church historian Sozomen (vii. 19) says that to his knowledge it was still read annually in some churches in Palestine on Good Friday."

This suggests it was considerably more popular than it "never made it beyond one or two local Churches" as you would have us think.

HGL II
Make it three and regional rather than local : parts of Palestine, Alexandria at times, parts of Ethiopia.

That is the known carreer of Apocalypse of St Peter.

Note that Alexandria is both where St Peter sent St Mark and where Origen and Clement the Stromatist (neither of which is now considered a Saint by Roman Catholics) were later based.

HGL I
And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.

F2Andy
This presupposes God works to preserve his word. Given the amount of evidence of copying errors in the Bible, this seems unlikely to say the least.

HGL II
It would be unlikely if we had only o n e single version of the Bible and it could be shown to have copy errors. But if we have many and one of extant and used versions has original reading or its translation, this is not so.

F2Andy's link
For example, 2 Kings 24:8 says that Jehoiachin succeeded his father as the nineteenth king of Judah at the age of eighteen, whereas 2 Chronicles 36:9 informs us that he was "eight years old when he became king." The honest person must admit that these two passages are in disagreement.

HGL II
Not really, Jehoiachin may have become king, as in coregent of his father, at age 8, and later have succeeded his father who died when he was 18.

I will look at Haydock comment.

II Paralipomenon 36:
9 Joachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.

Ver. 9. Eight years old. He was associated by his father to the kingdom, when he was but eight years old; but after his father's death, when he reigned alone, he was eighteen years old, 4 Kings xxiv. 8. (Challoner)

He only enjoyed the throne three months and ten days. (Tirinus)

We must however observe, (Haydock) that the Alexandrian Septuagint, the Syriac, and Arabic read here, eighteen. (Calmet)

"It is, in my opinion, a pity that the translators have not mended such apparent errata of the scribe of the present Hebrew out of 2 Kings xxiv. 8., or out of Septuagint, or out of common sense." (Wall) (Kennicott)

These eight years may be dated from the captivity, and not from the king's birth. (Usher) (Du Hamel)

[Kennicott, marked in list of commenters as heretic : † Kennicott (1783)]

IV Kings 24:
8 Joachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, *and he reigned three months in Jerusalem: the name of his mother was Nohesta, the daughter of Elnathan, of Jerusalem.

Ver. 8. Eighteen. One Hebrew manuscript reads "thirteen," (Haydock) or 3 instead of 8. (Kennicott)

The number seems also (Haydock) to be incorrect in Paralipomenon, where we find that Joachin was only eight years old, as the Syriac and Arabic have 18 in both places, and it could not well be said, that he did evil, &c., (ver. 9.) at the age of 8, much less that he had wives so soon, ver. 15. (Calmet)

Some attempt to reconcile both places, by saying that the eight years refer to the commencement of his father's reign; (Junius) which is very unusual: (Calmet) or to the servitude of Babylon, when Jerusalem was taken under Joakim. (Hardouin.)

Sanctius conjectures that Joachin was associated with his father when he was 10 years old, and after 8 years became sole king. (Kimchi, &c.) (Du Hamel)

[It is the heretic † Kennicott (1783) who appeals to one manuscript]

HGL II
Now, either we have some kind of historical mystery to solve, or Syriac and Arabic texts are the correct ones.

Either way, since the mystery can be resolved and the Syriac and Arabic texts are extant, saying "God has preserved His word" has not been falsified.

The site with pageThe Reality of Copyists' Errors (B. Thompson and E. Lyons) seems, thus, to be caught up in being too tied to Masoretic Versions and also incapable of thinking outside the box, when it comes to reconciling the texts.

Or, as their criticism involves "The honest person must admit", they might have rejected attempts of thinking outside the box as dishonest.

HGL I
Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.

F2Andy
I thought this was well-established. Acts describes the arguing between Paul and the Christia ns in Jerusalem. Here are some web pages by, I think, Christians, acknowledging those differences.

http://doctrine.org/jesus-vs-paul/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/9.25.html http://www.voiceofjesus.org/paulvsjesus.html

Now, I am assuming Peter followed Jesus theology here, rather than Paul's, but given Peter was with Jesus for three years, this seems a valid assumption.

HGL II
" the arguing between Paul and the Christians in Jerusalem" - where so? I guess you got content of one of the pages wrong.

There was one argument between Sts Peter and Paul which is mentioned in Galatians, but the difference is not St Peter having another theology than St Paul, it is rather that St Peter momentarily was adapting to people having another one, even if St Peter's own theology since the vision in Acts 10, where St Peter starts out different from St Paul and finishes acc epting it, and the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 which involve Jerusalem bringing the theology of St Paul to triumph.

So, by the time St Peter wrote epistles, his prejudices were no longer interfering with the Christian theology which we know.

HGL I
A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.

F2Andy
A valid point... but it hardly proves that Peter was the author.

HGL II
It is valid for removing one potential disproof of Peter being the author.

Tradition saying so is the positive proof for it.

As for any other authorship questions. If you want to know if that man with the pipe and the long face whom they call John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was the real author of Lord of the Rings, what method do you use? I go by the tradition which goes back to his publishers.

That is, he was the author.

HGL I
St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.

F2Andy
I stand with modern scholarship on this, and belief Mark was the original, and Matthew and Luke are derived from it.

HGL II
Even though you should have read up by now on Markan priority being a hunch, invented for a commodity in Bismarck's Germany, spread by a Soft Totalitarian state control over Universities in the German Reich of the Hohenzollerns?

Or didn't you read that link? I admit, I didn't read the triple link contesting on possibility of Sts Peter and Paul having different theologies.

But that is a more well known story. As to the background for Markan priority in the scholarship after Franco-Prussian war, it was news to me, unknown to myself a few weeks ago.

And before looking at the three links (you'll excuse me for being somewhat rationalising, and Apocalypse of St Peter was more important to come to terms with), I have already a hunch of what they are about.

Some Jews are converting today. Just as apocastasis ton panton is attractive to Christians of Jewish origin, so is continuing to keep the law as per OT ritual (as if the Jews were actually doing that, without the temple and all), it is also attractive to Jews wanting to disprove CHristianity without attacking Jesus, perhaps by ruse, because they have historically been attacking Jesus and know that won't work with Christian populations, and perhaps also in some cases because they are impressed (after very lately actually reading NT) with Jesus as an OT scholar, as a rabbi.

So, St Peter remaining ritually an Ebionite (the kind of Christians or half-Christians from 1st C AD who opposed St Paul, and required continuing the law) is of course attractive to them from this perspective, as confirming Jesus was that too and therefore discrediting historical Christianity.

HGL I
But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.

F2Andy
So how do you think these guys did check the authorship? Letters were frequency written by scribes and carried by couriers. If the courier said the letter came from Peter, exactly how would that be confirmed?

HGL II
If you were a Roman Emperor, like Trajan or Hadrian, and sent a letter to Pliny the Younger when he was a magistrate on how he was to conduct the persecution of Christians (no ratting out of hidden ones, except by denunciation, but no tolerance of those admitting to be so), how did Pliny the Younger know the letter was from Trajan?

It was also delivered by courier.

The point is, post office with services for everyone was not invented.

And couriers implied a routine of verifying how genuine the correspondence was.

In one case, a letter from St Paul includes the words of his writing this or that with his own hand. One theory could be that he was giving a sample of his handwriting, so one could identify his signature next time. This is a less likely theory, since majuscules were very stereotype, not easy to pick one handwriting from another - it also presupposes that on this occasion the courier was known so one could know t h a t letter was no fake. More probably, though, St Paul was giving a second grade relic of himself, precisely as handkerchiefs which had touched his clothes served as second grade relics and were instrumental in God's miracles.

Miracles being performed is of course one recourse which is very likely with the autographs of God's own words.

If that manuscript from St Peter hadn't been from St Peter, it could not have given a blindborn man back his eyesight or raised that dead. Speculating, since I have not heard of any actual such story about this case, though the parallel is true when picking out the True Cross of Christ from the crosses of the two robbers, when St Helen found them.

Other - non-miraculous - means would be:

  • couriers known to both parties;

  • "the fisher ring", a k a being a ring with a seal on it and belonging to Popes:

    Popes have traditionally each of them a ring, with allusion to St Peter being a fisherman, where the artwork on the sealing wax identifies the seal and the letter as being from that particular seal, that particular ring (and when a Pope dies, his fisher ring is broken) : St Peter could be the origin of this custom;

  • "ad limina visits" : every diocesan bishop in Western Rite, and every major Patriarch (bishop over other bishops) in Eastern Rites has to visit the Pope in order to show his submission (Orthodox would argue back then rather just communion) under (with) the Pope.

    If St Peter had sent his epistle to such and such a bishop, that bishop could later ask on his ad limina, "did you send this letter"?

  • couriers being Church officials + safe guards against false such:

    If your President sends you a letter, unless it is just a polite answer to fan mail ... wait, (I saw you are accessing your own blog in UK), if Elizabeth sends you a letter and it is not just a polite answer to fan mail, for instance if you are a leaseholder on her freehold or sth, and she wants the ground back for a natural park or sth, you don't expect her to send by ordinary mail. Even more so if you are an officer in her service, and get a letter in war time.

    You expect her to give extra assurances the letter is from her, by going through some official, you expect these to be recognisable both by some kind of uniform and also by knowing things about public service or military routine that a common Englishman who would impersonate wouldn't know.

    The same would have been true of a deacon being sent from St Peter to anywhere he was adressing his both epistles. He would have to be good at Christian theology (which was being less openly preached to everyone, and which was only partly expressed in writing) and to know things a deacon would know but ordinary Catholics wouldn't.

    Of course, back in these days, he might even be required to perform a miracle as part of authentifying his being from a hagiographer.


HGL I
The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?

F2Andy
And yet modern scholarship seems reasonably sure the Pastoral epistles atre example of just that!

HGL II
That modern scholarship is of Protestant inspiration.

Catholics have so often last two centuries in English and German speaking countries had occasion to prove the Catholic concept of hierarchy from the Pastoral letters, that Protestants more willing to part with Scripture than to become Catholics have come up with that idea.

Such semi-apostates from Protestantism to Atheism are very much in control of modern Academia.

And apostasising to the full to Atheism has basically founded Atheism as a non-Christian branch of Protestantism.

vendredi 18 novembre 2016

Continuing a few arguments


1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

... from previous post.

Objection
The style of writing and the philosophy exposed is considered by many to be too advanced for a Galilean fisherman. I will acknowledge he could have used a secretary, and his philosophy could have developed over decades in the church.

Answer
And the three years or so with Our Lord Jesus Christ, who created the universe and who is the Wisdom of the Father?

That teaching him philosophy?

It's like saying that having an excellent fishing boat and an excellent net and setting out in excellent weather on an excellent fishing water can land you with a good catch. Totally mythical, of course!

Objection
More significant is that he uses the Septuagint as a source for Old Testament quotes, which certainly is bizarre for a Hebrew-speaking Jew.

Answer
Since he wrote the letter he can not have been a monoglot.

If the Christian Church later rather systematically accepted LXX for at least a Greek speaking reference, what is so curious with arguing the Apostles themselves did so from start and did so because Christ had told them to?

Objection
In 1 Peter 5:1, the author refers to himself as an elder, a position that appeared later in the church, further indicating a later authorship.

Answer
Again presuming without proof that certain things hitherto presumed there from scratch in the Church were later.

Actually, one Catholic has presumed that the word "presbyteros" could be used as we now use "bishop" (he is indeed older than the other priests, often) and "bishop" as we now use "priest" (that was his solution to why "bishops" could marry like Eastern rite priests, others have said bishops were only later exclusively recruited from monks).

Objection
In 1 Peter 1:1 the author mentions "the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia," Various sources on the internet (eg here indicate that this sequence of states was established by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72. I have found only limited support for that claim outside articles dating the epistle, so count it as suspect:

http://archive.org/stream/cambridgeancient015566mbp/cambridgeancient015566mbp_djvu.txt

Answer
That second link (which I do link to) is from 1936 and as title suggests from Cambridge.

Cambridge being more reformed and anti-Catholic was also more anti-Christian and more modernist, at least back then, when modernism was very firmly held at bay on most accounts in the Catholic Church.

It is sad that these outdated resources can be so preeminent over more recent ones, just because the more recent ones have copyright holders who either think they will be ruined or are published by editors having such bank loans that they are not eager to share knowledge as such for free.

If people could read more modern texts, this claim might have been already exploded, or clarified as Vespasian in a sense doing that, but formalising or reestablishing what had been there.

Supposing this were the exact truth:

The sequence of provincial boundaries mentioned in 1 Peter 1:1 was set up by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72.


It could still be exactly true that it was just one of the older states, bearing a double name, for instance "Asia and Bithynia" which was by Vespasian divided.

Or it could be true that one of the provinces had another name before, but was nicknamed "Asia", while all of these are in Asia Minor, a bit like Florida is called "The Sun State" - and even so Vespasian established it under that name, as if a future president were to rename Florida officially "Sun State".

If I knew the history of Vespasian better, I would of course probably be able to tell.

But this argument is probably, when coming from Cambridge University Press 1936, even in a reference work not purporting to argue, a bit due to the influence of German academia.

The page you linked to on "Theopedia" actually admits on top:

In particular, German scholarship is the strongest supporter of the idea of pseudonymnity.


This has a real connection to Marcan priority thesis. That too came from German scholarship and from pressure of Bismarck against the Gospels being reliable, since he was afraid of Papal implications of St Matthew:

The ChurchinHistory Information Centre : BISMARCK AND THE FOUR GOSPELS, 1870 - 1914
by William R. Farmer (University of Dallas) Editor of A NEW CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY
http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/booklets/farmer%28n%29.htm


Passage also available on:

Biblical studies and the shifting of paradigms, 1850-1914
Auteur : Henning Reventlow, Graf.; William R Farmer
Éditeur : Sheffield, Eng. : Sheffield Academic Press, ©1995.
http://www.worldcat.org/title/biblical-studies-and-the-shifting-of-paradigms-1850-1914/oclc/276348918


And on:

Biblical Studies and the Shifting of Paradigms, 1850-1914 (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) Paperback – November 1, 2009
by Henning Graf Reventlow (Editor), William R. Farmer (Editor)
https://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Shifting-Paradigms-1850-1914-Testament/dp/1441125892/ref=sr_1_13?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1479488322&sr=1-13&keywords=William+R.+Farmer


It is page 24 in the google book and paper versions.

By Kulturkampf is meant that conflict which dominated relations between Germany and the Vatican during the decade of the eighteen seventies. This conflict arose soon after the close of the first Vatican Council and pitted the iron chancellor prince Otto von Bismarck against Pius IX. The issue was an age old question of church and state. Constantine had simply announced to bishops of the church that he had received a revelation from God that he was to exercise the office of bishop on all matters outside the church, just as they were to exercise jurisdiction on all matters internal to the life of the church. Therefore, it has always been tempting for the head of any government in Christendom to presuppose the right of a Christian ruler to exercise sovereignty over Christian subjects. Kaiser Wilhelm was no exception and Bismarck was his appointed minister. Pius IX, on the other hand, was the inheritor of a tradition according to which, as the head of the Roman Catholic church, he was responsible for every Roman Catholic, including those who were German citizens.

At issue was whether Catholics in Germany in a showdown were to obey the pope or the Iron Chancellor. From the pope's point of view it was a matter of whether these Catholics were going to obey man or God, he being God's appointed representative by way of Christ who had been sent by God. Christ in turn had sent Peter whose infallible successor he (Pius IX) was. From Bismarck's point of view it was more a matter of whether these German citizens were to be subject to the laws promulgated by elected representatives of the German nation, he guiding the legislative process by means of influence over a Protestant majority within the dominant Prussian parliament.

The conflict broke out when Dr. Wollmann, a Catholic instructor of religion in the gymnasium at Braunsberg in East Prussia, having refused to signify his assent to the Vatican decrees of 1870 on the supremacy and infallibility of the pope, was excommunicated and deprived of his right of giving instruction in the Catholic faith [5]. It helps to know that although Dr. Wollmann was giving instruction to Catholics, he in fact, in accordance with a long-standing arrangement, had been appointed by government officials, and his salary was paid by the state. Ordinarily this arrangement worked well, since such appointments were made in consultation with church authorities. The state in turn took for granted that no local bishop would dismiss a government appointee without due cause.


Read on where you like.

But German scholarship on the Bible came out of the 1870' tainted with subservience to State expedience. Bismarck targetted the Gospel of Matthew (as literally reliable) about like Pim Fortuyn would target the Qoran. Bismarck had to be less direct, Bible believing even Protestants but especially Catholics were not exactly a very insignificant minority, he couldn't just start throwing people into prison for it. He would have lost the throne if he had.

But he could appoint and did appoint professors of theology. And the power was abused, consciously by his wanting to do so, or unconsciusly only if he was very blind to what he was up to.

I am therefore glad of having been finally raised in the German speaking part of my childhood, in Austria, not under Bismarck.

And if you know anything about Cambridge, it was probably on Bismarck's side.

Objection
There is no mention of Mosaic law; this was a big issue in the early church, as Acts and the Pauline letters make clear, and that suggests the letter is later, after the issue had been resolved.

Answer
It is probably after St Peter had made his position clear enough, after he had been ambiguous about it as witnessed by Galatians.

Objection
The letter finishes "By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you", and some suggest this indicates Peter dictated the letter to Silvanus, which accounts for the good Greek. However, the Greek indicates that Silvanus was the courier, not the scribe.

Answer
As if living among Greek speakers for years couldn't make your own Greek rather perfect. Indistinguishable from native at 2000 years distance.

Objection
Very, very few people today would argue for Petrine authorship of this book. The Word Biblical Commentary, which is a conservative commentary series, argues against Petrine authorship. Of all of the books of the Bible, this is the one that is most difficult to defend in regard to authorship.

Answer
Very few except Catholics and Evangelicals and Mormons, you mean.

Very few among the non-Christians, that is non-Catholics.

quoting Origen
Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built, against which the gates of Hades shall not prevail, has left one acknowledged epistle, and, it may be, a second also; for it is doubted.

Objection
Why so much doubt?* for one thing, 2 Peter 3:15-16 refer to Paul's letters as scripture; the early church would not have regarded them as such, indicating this was written relatively late.

Answer
St Paul's writings were accepted as Holy Writte by the adressees as soon as received and authentified as really his.

Objection
There is some evidence 2 Peter is based on Jude, again giving a later date.

Answer
Would the evidence be such that, like Jude and Peter cannot both have it from in part genuine OT tradition confirmed by Christ (during the 3 years they walked with him) but one of them HAD to have it from the other?

A bit like Flood deniers are saying Babylonians and Bible authors cannot have had account of Flood from event, but one of them had to plagairise fiction from the other?

Objection
This article makes the case that they are similar because both were authored by Jude (so in 2 Peter 3:1, this is the second letter after Jude, not 1 Peter):

Answer
Not linking, since answering that article would involve reading it, I haven't the time right now, but I would like to know why the similarities aren't such that they can be explained by Sts Peter and Jude sharing a common cultural background and a common Master (a bit closer to each other than to Matthew, John, or Paul with Barnabas.

That will be another day.


As in previous,
Hans Georg Lundahl

* In general, because one Church would be in a position to know genuiine Apostolic authorship before another one was, as communication capacity varied under persecution, the debates would go faster to full scale acceptance for some than for others./HGL

Anonymous author for Saint Peter?


1) Anonymous author for Saint Peter? 2) Continuing a few arguments 3) Responding to Criticism

Sn known on a forum as Pixie has been reading a bit too much Richard Carrier, I'd say, unless it is Bart Ehrman:

The issue of motive is an interesting one. Why would an anonymous author want to pass of his letter as that of Peter? The most likely answer is that the author was a sincere Christian, who felt his letter was important, and perhaps was what Peter would have said, and gave it Peter's name to lend it authority within the church.

It is worth noting that we do have a Gospel of Peter, which, like the letters, explicitly claims to be the work of the apostle. Christianity nevertheless rejects the Gospel of Peter, so the church itself acknowledges that some texts that claim Petrine authorship were not actually written by the apostle.

Similarly, the Apocalypse of Peter is no longer considered canon, although it originally was, despite claiming Petrine authorship.


Elementary, my dear Pixie!

The question is not why an anonymous Christian would want to pass himself off as the Apostle Peter - two works prove fairly well some did or were thought to have done so.

The question is how an anonymous author would succeed in passing himself (as author ego) off as the Apostle Peter.

The rejection of the Gospel and Apocalypse which both bear that name, show that early Christians did have some checks.

Now, saying that the Apocalypse of St Peter originally was canon is most probably not true. There were some rival canons before all the 27 books were complete in one collection, and that one accepted by all the Church.

So, this books never made it beyond one or two local Churches, either because another one knew it to be spurious, or because one had not sufficient proofs for considering it genuine.

And that latter is, considering God has promised to preserve his word and no Church considers Apocalypse as St Peter canon, one sign it is probably not genuine either.

There are various reasons for supposing Peter was not the author of 1 Peter. To start with, the theology is Paul's not Peter's.


Supposing without proof that Sts Paul and Peter had very diverse theologies.

Secondly, there is no mention of Jesus on a personal level. It does, however, mention the "sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories" in a general way (see also 1 Peter 2:21-24 in particular). It reads as someone who knows Jesus suffered, and is aware of the theology, but not as someone who was there at the time. Even 1 Peter 5:1 ("a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed"), where the author claims to be a witness, there is nothing personal; there is no sense of the author drawing on his own experience.


On tvtropes, there is a trope called "Genre Blindness".

TVTropes : Genre Blindness
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenreBlindness


There it refers to characters in a plot being blind to the genre the plot is set in.

Most often, genre blindness refers to readers being blind to what kind of work a work is.

You just exhibited that.

A letter of exhortation is not a personal narrative.

It is a letter of exhortation.

St Peter can have had ample opportunity to explain the Gospel in terms of his personal memories and corroborated by Gospels like Matthew and Luke - Mark being their conflation, under his dictation - to the adressees on another occasion.

He speaks to them as if he had known them long enough to know they were going to listen to him.

Suppose he somehow hadn't, he could have decided to depend on their getting actual Gospels from elsewhere than from him, if he was in prison, he might not have had opportunity to write much more.

But the reason why he can't have been in such a position is, if he had been, the guys who got this letter from an unknown person would hardly have taken him for Peter the Apostle, just because he said so.

This type of critique of Christianity is so dependent on early Christianity being essentially an anonymous bookmarket and not a Church.

But it was a Church, and if there was some bookmarket going in, it was not very anonymous. At utmost we don't really know for one of the books (1/27 vs 26/27) whether it was written by St Paul or by St Barnabas. That Epistle is that to the Hebrews.

One can imagine situations in which things either actually get so muddled one doesn't know, or someone over cautious isn't sure even when one reasonably does know it is Saint Paul's.

And suppose it were St Barnabas', and someone was unsure, asked St Paul, and Saint Paul said something like "I endorse it" or "yes, that is exactly what I wanted to say" (when not specifically asked if he had written it himself), and that was enough for it to be canonic and to be probably St Paul's while some circumstance made it possible it just possibly could have been St Barnabas'.

The idea of knowing whether St Paul or St Barnabas wrote it by looking at handwriting is a bit out of hand, since in one place it seems St Paul says he is writing this or that with his own hands. If he specifically says so, it means he was giving his secretary a leave. He might have wanted to give the Church a relic of himself (like those handkerchiefs which people touched his garments with and which healed the sick) and so done it specifically for one occasion.

That means he usually wrote by dictation and that means the handwriting usually was some secretary's.

The idea of someone succeeding to forge a writing by an apostle and get it accepted by the Church, well, why don't you try to forge an order by President Obama (who is still such) or by subsequent President Trump, just to know how easy it is to do so?

I don't think you will succeed, nor would the anonymous Christian you pose as author of the canonic petrine epistles.

Btw, if you really try (don't take this literally, unless you really, really need to) do sth good which will hopefully not be too much resented so you don't get into trouble for it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Dedication of Basilica's
Sts Peter and Paul in Rome
18.XI.2016

* On Creationism : Were The Petrine Epistles Authored By Peter?
http://oncreationism.blogspot.fr/2016/10/were-petrine-epistles-authored-by-peter.html

mardi 15 novembre 2016

A Follow Up on Antonin Scalia and Matthew Archbold


So The Apostles Faked the Resurrection? Really?
The lives (and deaths) of the Apostles prove that Christ really did rise from the dead.
Matthew Archbold | Sep. 12, 2016
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/matthew-archbold/so-the-apostles-faked-the-ressurection-really


Now, Justice Scalia is here quoted as saying:

"The 'wise' do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. It is really quite absurd [to them]. The Ascension had to be made up by groveling enthusiasts as part of their plan to get themselves martyred."


Matthew Archbold continues this line by examplifying:

(1) Simon-Peter was martyred in Rome. Peter, it is believed, asked to be crucified upside down, because he didn't feel himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus.

Does that sound like someone who made up a story? If so, he was really sticking to it, huh?

... (2) Andrew ... (3) James the Greater [after returning from Western Hispania, I might add] ... (4) Philip ... (5) Bartholomew ... (6) Thomas ... (7) Matthew ... James the Less [not one of the Twelve, but fosterbrother of God] ... (8) And Simon the Canaanite was crucified.

Now, can you realistically argue that it's even remotely possible that the apostles invented the resurrection?


There are two things Matthew Archbold forgets.

The graver issue is this, after mentioning James the Less, he adds:

(who let's face it, had to deal with constantly being called "the less" his whole life)


C'mon, is it really that traumatising to be called Jimmy Shorty while the other Jimmy is called Jimmy Longshanks? That is what "the greater" and "the lesser" actually mean. Christ had two James, one was taller and one was shorter. (And a third, see below.)

The less important thing is that Richard Carrier would have an objection ready.

How do we know that Simon-Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, Philip, Batholomew, Thomas, Matthew, Simon the Canaanite, not to mention (looking up most) (9) Jude Thaddaeus and (looking up the rest) (10) James ("son of Alphaeus" - not identic to James the Less), (11) (not needing to look up) Matthias who replaced Judas the Traitor, not to mention (12) St John, who despite living to old age and laying himself peacefully in his grave had before been boiled in oil and only miraculously survived even existed?

Because of the tradition of the Church.

Same as I know Jefferson and Washington existed because of the tradition of US, same as I know Caesar and Augustus and before them Romulus, Numa, Ancius Martius, sorry, Tullius Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquin the Old, Servius Tullius and Tarquin the Haughty existed because of the tradition of Rome. Same as I know Odin, Thor and Frey were in the region of Uppsala (which Frey founded) because of Swedish/Norse tradition.

Of course, traditions are more trustworthy the more bearers of them can be cited.

The basics of this is that, if the twelve apostles didn't exist, even more people had to conspire to invent them and invent how this that or the other had met them and been ordained by them - we are talking the generation of Clement of Rome, Ignace of Antioch, Polycarp, Irenaeus of Lyons, Papias.

Each seeming to be part of a larger Christendom than St Paul when he founded Churches had seen with his eyes. And of St Paul, even Richard Carrier does not quite doubt the historicity. Nor, I presume, that of St Barnabas, his codisciple under Gamaliel (whose historicity Richard Carrier hardly doubts either), nor perhaps even of St Narn, the first bishop of Bergamo, ordained by St Barnabas? Or St Prosdocimus of Padua, ordinaed by Saint Peter?

But suppose these were all no more real than the seven Chronicles of that other (non-Italian) Narnia, how abut the generation after that, which remembers both these and the first generation which had seen Jesus walking on the shores of Lake Genesareth?

I think at least that generation would be attested to even Richard Carrier's satisfaction by men like Celsus or Proclus and such.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Eugene I of Toledo*
15.XI.2016

* Eodem die natalis sancti Eugenii, Episcopi Toletani et Martyris; qui fuit beati Dionysii Areopagitae discipulus, et in territorio Parisiensi, consummato martyrii cursu, beatae passionis coronam percepit a Domino. Ipsius autem corpus Toletum, in Hispania, postea fuit translatum.

vendredi 11 novembre 2016

Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman?


Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Answers to Grace and Frank Turek · somewhere else : Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman?

somewhere else : Was Lack of Autographs a Major Problem to Bart Ehrman? · Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : The leper

I am listening to J. P. Holding on this one:

Bart Ehrman: Deceit and Cunning - J. P. Holding
Theology, Philosophy and Science
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe3ICj7U8P4


J. P. Holding refers to Bart Ehrman as saying the lack of the "original piece of paper" (or more likely papyrus or vellum) was a major problem to Ehrman in his studies. 8:20. At 8:47 J. P. starts psychologing about Ehrman's wondering about the attitude of the others.

We do have autographs for quite a lot of later texts. Say the text I was perhaps going to edit if I had stayed in Academia back in 1993, I think there was one manuscript, namely the autograph by Matthias Sunnessen of Skenninge, the confessor of St Bridget, or perhaps two manuscripts, one of which is autograph. That text was not related to St Bridget otherwise, it was his devotional given to the then king of Sweden for betterment of his life - a meditation on the seven penitential psalms, or on the seven "O psalms." Psalms like "O radix Iesse" and so on.

We have an autograph now, and it is about 650 or more years old.

For Shakespear studies, the Folio edition plays a role, not quite as autograph of Shakespear, but as close enough.

So, would the gospellers not have chosen vellum for such a momentuous task (it had been know since BC)? And would the Church not have preserved it with very great veneration?

Well, that is basically what the Church actually did.

The autographs were displayed in Constantinople up to when Iconoclasm attacked the veneration of the Gospel autographs. Not sure what exactly happened, whether they were destroyed or hidden, but they are no longer on display, and it did not wait till the Turkish conquest in 1453.

This means that if we don't have a very solid foundation left now, in the normal text critical sense, we do know it existed - unless we take the line that the Gospel Autographs were fakes, like some have taken the line that the relics of the Holy Cross are fakes. We know it existed for centuries and was consulted.

But Bart Ehrman was studying among people who either never heard of Gospel autographs in Constantinople - or who dismissed as a matter of course the genuinity of relics displayed by Iconodules. He had a reason to ask questions about their logic. It was not personal megalomania to be annoyed by both the "lack of autographs" and the lack of reaction to the lack of autographs.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris XI
St. Martin of Tours
11.XI.2016

mardi 8 novembre 2016

Correcting Theodore Gracyk's analysis


Source for Gracyk:

St. Thomas Aquinas:
The Existence of God can be proved in five ways.
Argument Analysis of the Five Ways © 2016 Theodore Gracyk
http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/web%20publishing/aquinasfiveways_argumentanalysis.htm


Source for St Thomas:

Summa Theologiae : First Part : Question 2 The existence of God :
Article 3, Whether God exists?
http://newadvent.com/summa/1002.htm#article3


The First Way: Argument from Motion

  • 1.) Our senses prove that some things are in motion.

  • 2.) Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion.

  • 3.) Only an actual motion can convert a potential motion into an actual motion.

  • 4.) Nothing can be at once in both actuality and potentiality in the same respect (i.e., if both actual and potential, it is actual in one respect and potential in another).

  • 5.) Therefore nothing can move itself.

  • 6.) Therefore each thing in motion is moved by something else.

  • 7.) The sequence of motion cannot extend ad infinitum.

  • 8.) Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.


The actual word of St Thomas:

The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.


What did Gracyk get wrong:

"Things move when potential motion becomes actual motion."

No, what Saint Thomas said is that things move or change* if they are in potency to sth other than their actual (nature, state, quality, place etc.).

If I walk from a library to a train station, when I was in the library, I was in potency of being in the train station.

When I walk, each foot is moved by me when rest of me is not actually moving on that foot, but standing (and changing angle) on the other.

When Sun is moved from zenith, it is because it was in potency of being in sunset.

*The word cambiare in Latin is only used for monetary or other commercial exchange, including barter, so change something from a state to other is "movere" in Latin).

The Second Way: Argument from Efficient Causes

  • 1.) We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world.

  • 2.) Nothing exists prior to itself.

  • 3.) Therefore nothing [in the world of things we perceive] is the efficient cause of itself.

  • 4.) If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect).

  • 5.) Therefore if the first thing in a series does not exist, nothing in the series exists.

  • 6.) If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now.

  • 7.) That is plainly false (i.e., there are things existing now that came about through efficient causes).

  • 8.) Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past.

  • 9.) Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.


The actual word of St Thomas:

The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

What did Gracyk get wrong:

"We perceive a series of efficient causes of things in the world."

No, but when we perceive, we analyse a series of efficient causes. He did not say "it is manifest and we perceive by senses" (as for first way), but he said "in the world of sense" (both what we perceive and what we analyse about what we see) "we find" (rationally speaking : we analyse).

Foremost:

"If a previous efficient cause does not exist, neither does the thing that results (the effect)."

Substitute prior to previous.

"If the series of efficient causes extends ad infinitum into the past, for then there would be no things existing now."

Substitute "into more causing and less caused causes" instead of "past", which is not the issue (that would be the parallel kalaam argument), substitute "effects" for things (the thing itself may not be an effect, but its state may be so, like my state two meters over natural ground is caused by the architecture under me, without it causing my existence), and the "now" is similarily irrelevant.

"Therefore efficient causes do not extend ad infinitum into the past." Delete "past". It's about the more causing and less caused.

"Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God." Verbally correct, but he takes, after the foregoing, "first" to mean "earliest" which was not St Thomas' meaning.

If you want Kalaam, I think you find that in Saint Bonaventura or in Duns Scotus.

Saint Thomas explicitly rejects Kalaam in I P, Q46, A2.

On the contrary, The articles of faith cannot be proved demonstratively, because faith is of things "that appear not" (Hebrews 11:1). But that God is the Creator of the world: hence that the world began, is an article of faith; for we say, "I believe in one God," etc. And again, Gregory says (Hom. i in Ezech.), that Moses prophesied of the past, saying, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth": in which words the newness of the world is stated. Therefore the newness of the world is known only by revelation; and therefore it cannot be proved demonstratively.


And in his answer to objection 7, he rejects Kalaam:

Reply to Objection 7. In efficient causes it is impossible to proceed to infinity per se--thus, there cannot be an infinite number of causes that are per se required for a certain effect; for instance, that a stone be moved by a stick, the stick by the hand, and so on to infinity. But it is not impossible to proceed to infinity "accidentally" as regards efficient causes; for instance, if all the causes thus infinitely multiplied should have the order of only one cause, their multiplication being accidental, as an artificer acts by means of many hammers accidentally, because one after the other may be broken. It is accidental, therefore, that one particular hammer acts after the action of another; and likewise it is accidental to this particular man as generator to be generated by another man; for he generates as a man, and not as the son of another man. For all men generating hold one grade in efficient causes--viz. the grade of a particular generator. Hence it is not impossible for a man to be generated by man to infinity; but such a thing would be impossible if the generation of this man depended upon this man, and on an elementary body, and on the sun, and so on to infinity.


So, the second way cannot be analysed so as to make God the earliest cause. God is the foremost cause in a simultaneous series.

Also, when speaking in "second way" of "things", rather than "effects", Gracyk anticipates on the distinction between things that are contingent (can exist and can be non-existing) and things that are necessary, from which the contingent things get their being.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Octave of All Saints
8.XI.2016

mercredi 2 novembre 2016

Answering Three Points in a Paper by Carrier


Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?
By Richard Carrier, Ph.D. | Independent Scholar | www.richardcarrier.info
August 2014
http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/2014/08/car388028.shtml


Contrary to an oft-repeated myth in contemporary scholarship, before Christianity began both Romulus and Osiris were believed by their devotees to be slain deities subsequently resurrected to heavenly glory (as were many others of the type, from Zalmoxis to Dionysus to Adonis to Inanna), who now could bring glory or salvation to their followers.[4]


Osiris like Balder was slain and considered alive in the other world - in Osiris' case that of the dead. He was NOT resurrected again ON EARTH.

Romulus was not even slain, but disappeared in battle and was therefore considered to have been a manifestation of the divine.

Osiris could bring salvation - because he was lord of the dead, precisely because he was NOT resurrected.

Romulus could bring glory - because while alive on earth he was a warrior.

It is possible that Osiris was a real man, it is overwhelmingly likely that Romulus was one.

I place the probability that Odin and Thorr were real men somewhere in between. If Hebrews, I hope Thorr repented and Christ indirectly made reference to his return to Holy Land by the explanation of why James and John were called Boanerges.

I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principal apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion’s “actual” teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).


The problem with this is, with the false Gabriel, we know who witnessed his appearance, namely Mohammed, and we know it was one man. And Gabriel was not believed to have been born as a man himself.

With Moroni, we know who witnessed his appearance, also exactly one man, Joseph Smith, and we know Moroni himself was not believed to be one man.

With Delphic Apollo, you have instead a succession of mediums, though with Nine Muses and Egeria we are back to the one man as intermediate, again : Hesiod and Numa Pompilius.

Nowhere are Nine Muses, Egeria, Moroni or Jibreel believed to be men.

And nowhere are they believed to be seen by more than one person at a time, as with Delphic Apollo not being "experienced" by more than one person at a time.

Nowhere do we find gods clearly becoming men, while we do find men becoming gods (though Euhemerus may have overdone it with Zeus and Kronos and Uranos - or he might have not so, I think Saturn was legitimately ancestor of Latinus and Lavinia, and I think this implies a rebellious son back in Greece : for Odin and Thorr and Frey, I have as little or less doubt about human historicity).

This “Jesus” would most likely have been the same archangel identified by Philo of Alexandria as already extant in Jewish theology.[6] Philo knew this figure by all of the attributes Paul already knew Jesus by: the firstborn son of God (Rom. 8:29), the celestial “image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4), and God’s agent of creation (1 Cor. 8:6). He was also God’s celestial high priest (Heb. 2:17, 4:14, etc.) and God’s “Logos.” And Philo says this being was identified as the figure named “Jesus” in Zechariah 6. So it would appear that already before Christianity there were Jews aware of a celestial being named Jesus who had all of the attributes the earliest Christians were associating with their celestial being named Jesus. They therefore had no need of a historical man named Jesus. All they needed was to imagine this celestial Jesus undergoing a heavenly incarnation and atoning death, in order to accomplish soteriologically what they needed, in order to no longer rely upon the Jewish temple authorities for their salvation.[7]


You are forgetting the possibility that Philo may have ultimately become a Christian. And identified Zecharias 6 as a prophecy about him. So did St Jerome later:

Jesus. When the prophet set the crown on the high priest's head, in order to shew that it did not belong to him, except as a figure of the Messias, he added, behold a man, who is also God, called Orient, or "raising up," and establishing the kingdom, which was promised to David. (St. Jerome) (Worthington)


Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
All Souls' Day
2.XI.2016

mercredi 19 octobre 2016

What did Early Christians Believe About Greek and Roman Gods?


On CMI, the article "Atheism", I found this assessment:

Early Christians were referred to as “atheists” because they did not believe in the Greek or Roman gods. Yet, while they positively affirmed the non-existence of those gods they likely believed that those gods were deceptive demons whom they did believe existed (1 Corinthians 8:4–6).


Actually, the major Greek and Roman god they were required to and refused to believe in was the Emperor's Genius.

And as far as I know, they did not deny that Tiberius or Nero were men of flesh and blood.

First Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians, Chapter 8: [4] But as for the meats that are sacrificed to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no God but one. [5] For although there be that are called gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many, and lords many). [6] Yet to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

That was Douay Rheims, now to KJV:

4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Here is The Complete Jewish Bible:

4 So, as for eating food sacrificed to idols, we “know” that, as you say, “An idol has no real existence in the world, and there is only one God.” 5 For even if there are so-called “gods,” either in heaven or on earth — as in fact there are “gods” and “lords” galore — 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom were created all things and through whom we have our being.

Now to the commentary thereon:

Ver. 4.
An idol is nothing. The apostle seems to allude in this place to the Greek signification of this word, eidolon, signifying a false representation; as for instance in ghosts, which are said to appear sometimes at night. Umbrœ tenues, simulacra luce carentium. (Calmet)

Ver. 5.
Many gods, &c. Reputed for such among the heathens. (Challoner)

Ver. 6.
To us there is but one God, the Father; of whom all things, and we unto him. Of or from the Father are all things, even the eternal Son and the Holy Ghost, though they are one and the same God with the Father.

And one Lord Jesus Christ: by whom are all things, and we by him. All things were created by the Son of God, the eternal and uncreated wisdom of the Father, from whom he proceeds from eternity, and also by the Holy Ghost, all creatures being equally the work of the three divine persons. The Arians and Socinians pretend from this place, that only the Father is truly and properly God. The Catholics answer, that he is called the God, of whom all, because from him always proceeded, do proceed, and shall always proceed the Son and the Holy Ghost, though one and the same God in nature, substance, &c. And that when he is called the one God, by these words are excluded the false gods of the heathens, not the Son, and the Holy Ghost, who are but one God with the Father. St. Chrysostom also here observes, (hom. xx.) that if the two other persons are excluded, because the Father is called one God, by the same way of reasoning it would follow, that because Jesus Christ is called the one Lord, neither the Holy Ghost, nor even the Father, are the one Lord, whereas the Scriptures many times express the divine majesty, as well by the word Lord as by the word God. (Witham)


Now, none of the versions and none of the Catholic commentaries actually say in so many words "Yet, while they positively affirmed the non-existence of those gods they likely believed that those gods were deceptive demons whom they did believe existed".

For some of the pagan gods this is very straightforward.

Apollo gave prophecies which drove Laios and Oedipus to attempted killing of son and real unbeknownst killing of father. Which drove the grandfather of Perseus to try to prevent his being conceived and born. Which drove Orestes first to killing of mother and thereby to what could have been either madness or real persecution by real demons (what is called "demonic obsession," as opposed to "demonic possession" when demons take control of the victim's body), after which Apollo seems to have appeared as one of the parties in a court, other party being the Furies (the demons persecuting Orestes), judge being Athena, goddess of the city and outcome being Furies getting a CULT of worship in Athens in return for accepting to have been defeated by Apollo. And Apollo also agreed to this.

Humans :
Orestes among others.
Demons :
Apollo, Furies, Athena. All of which worshipped as gods.


Note that other stories featuring Athena may signifiy other things. When Athena gives council (not magic aid, but council) to Ulysses, it could have been a demon, but could also have been a guardian angel, working through a shape from which Ulysses was ready to take advise. And when Athena was spinning along her friend Arachne, originally this was about two maidens in Athens who were very good at spinning.

Humans :
Ulysses, Athena (1), Arachne
Demon OR guardian angel :
Athena (2)
Worshipped as same goddess :
Athena (1+2+3, see above the Orestes case).


And what happens when a Pagan is sacrificing to Apollo or Athena and then gives away the meat to the poor?

At worst, a demon is there, but at best, nothing at all. This is the case St Paul was talking about. The verses do not give a general theory about all there is in Paganism, and do not even mention the case of mythological stories or how we stand to these. They are about the general concept of other things than God being called gods and about the practical consequence thereof, idol worship. They do not specify what exactly these things are instead, unless you take "whether in heaven or in earth" as referring to Christian explanations (some divine interventions, some demonic ones) rather than the Pagan division between celestial and chthonic divinities.

Why is this important?

Because the New Atheism, among others basing itself on the charge of "atheism" against Christians, has declared "Christians are atheists about all gods except one, we just take it one step further". That may be very true for Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment Christians who think that for instance not just it is wrong to worship at the altar of Helios, not just is Helios not a god, but he is not even a person taking the visible solar object on a ride. But this was not the attitude of the first Christians. Nor were they saying that "Tiberius" was a pure myth, or that "Nero" was such. And similarily, they were not denying that Hercules and Romulus existed. Though especially of the former, or of his ancestor Perseus, when it is said he and Andromeda were taken up to the stars, they did say that the devil added lies about them.

This is not a matter of pure speculation on my part, it is a matter of looking up the Church Fathers. References will be added later, in comments.

This truth is of course highly unwelcome to two kinds of people : Atheists who claim to be "atheists about just one more god" than we, and Christians who want Christians to be fideists.

By the way, another kind of Anti-Christian argument also would not find it welcome if my position here were widely known. Those who (like Richard Carrier) argue that supernatural legends are likely to come about without any reference to fact. Those who argue "if Greeks could invent Hercules out of nothing and connect him to later Spartan Kings, if Romans could invent Romulus and Remus from the mere name of their city and consider the first as the first of seven kings, why should not Christians have invented Jesus out of nothing?"

And my answer is Greeks and Romans were - as far as historical narrative is concerned, as opposed to theology - just marginally wrong about very real and very historic persons called for real Herakles (or however that was pronounced 500 years before Homer) and Romulus (presumably Romlos or Romelos?). Only in theology, in worshipping Hercules and Romulus, were the Greeks and Romans versy wrong, but in history there were just marginal traits which would need weeding out before Hercules and Romulus are reduced to human types of "very strong man" and "very surprising avenger". Nothing like what an Atheist would need to weed out of the Gospels.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Cergy, L'Astrolabe
St Peter of Alcantara
19.X.2016

mercredi 12 octobre 2016

A Case for Considering Western Atheism as Protestantism Losing Christianity


I just had a look on the preview of Hemant Mehta's I sold my soul on e-bay. (He prefers his first name to be pronounced HEH-mint).

I didn't see all that many pages in the preview, but noticed this one. Study guides for the chapters and the one for chapter 1 had a first question:

"Hemant Mehta after becoming an atheist continued to practise core teachings of his childhood religion, Jainism."

OK. I am not surprised.

"Would you expect this of someone becoming an atheist?"

I would.

I would expect anyone losing his religion (which a certain Oasis song isn't really about, it's also a way of describing curse words - expression obviously from in a religious surrounding where cursing is not done by religious people) to keep rather much of it, except the items he wanted to lose.

And since, historically, much of the historic atheist community surrounding for instance non-compromising acceptance of atheistic versions of Big Bang, Abiogenesis, Biological Evolution starts with Protestants about a 100 or even 150 years ago losing their religion (and not in the Oasis sense!) en masse, this historic, though loose, atheistic community actually does bear traces of its Protestant background.

Richard Dawkins and George Bernard Shaw both came from Protestant families. Unlike what G. K. Chesterton had led me to expect, and what Shaw's reply to him had seemed to confirm, both families were Anglican. I was going to say Dawkins was more Anglican and Shaw more Puritan. But the root of that difference is not between religious traditions of their families.

Shaw was born at 3 Upper Synge Street[n 1] in Portobello, a lower-middle-class part of Dublin.[2] He was the youngest child and only son of George Carr Shaw (1814–1885) and Lucinda Elizabeth (Bessie) Shaw (née Gurly; 1830–1913); his elder siblings were Lucinda (Lucy) Frances (1853–1920) and Elinor Agnes (1855–1876). The Shaw family was of English descent and belonged to the dominant Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland;[n 2] George Carr Shaw, an ineffectual alcoholic, was among the family's less successful members.[3] His relatives secured him a sinecure in the civil service, from which he was pensioned off in the early 1850s; thereafter he worked irregularly as a corn merchant.[2] In 1852 he married Bessie Gurly; in the view of Shaw's biographer Michael Holroyd she married to escape a tyrannical great-aunt.[4] If, as Holroyd and others surmise, George's motives were mercenary, then he was disappointed, as Bessie brought him little of her family's money.[5] She came to despise her ineffectual and often drunken husband, with whom she shared what their son later described as a life of "shabby-genteel poverty".[4]


I suppose, what is more Puritan in Shaw, is that having seen and probably despised his father as an alcoholic, he took after some Puritan attitudes to alcohol, incompatible with the Anglicanism. On the other hand, when Dawkins insists that the human mind is very fragile, he is also closer to Puritanism than to, for example, Classic Puseyism.

Nevertheless, precisely because ATHEISM as such is a one question position and not a religion (Hemant likes to remind of "bald a hair colour"), this means that exchanging ALL of their previous religion for Atheism* would in its turn have meant embracing sheer nothingness, a sheer void of the mind. Even if either of them had desired it, they would not have got it.

Apostasy may lose you all Sanctifying Grace you had. It does NOT lose you every religious habit you had.** This means Dawkins retained any Anglican habit he didn't go about losing, Shaw retained a few less, since in joining Fabians, he intended losing some, and so on. Precisely as Hemant Mehta is an atheistic version of Jainism, or is Jainism minus theism and minus the other aspects of Jainism he rejected. However, a little like Shaw had Fabians, Hemant has had more recently Western Atheists as at least partly models for at least his thought.

When C. S. Lewis left his childhood Puritanism*** he retained some of its habits. Like, I presume, relishing secret and non-obvious pleasures, which had been part of the system of "culpability" (Puritan Trademark, not just the general phenomenon) he had been early on part of. He later took a model for his atheism which was based on Frazer's analysis of Mythology (an approach revived recently by Mythers), the tutor he had, who was an atheist ex-Calvinist and Ulster Scot, nicknamed "The Great Knock".

Ex Catholic atheists also exist. Like Tim O'Neill°, after whom the url of this blog is named.

But these are a newer and less formative part of the Western Atheist Community. Earlier on, Catholics tended to go either Deist (like Voltaire) or Positivist (like Comte, like Fustel de Coulanges, like Maurras) or for that matter Diabolist, when apostasising. Not specifically strong atheism. Since they are newer and when becoming atheist in some sense°° let themselves be formatted into the Atheist community - the Western Atheist one, not philosophical Atheism in general - they are also less formative for it.

Jews are perhaps not newer than Anglicans, but earlier on fewer, in the nascent mid 19th C. atheist community. Not sure if they have by now outnumbered them, very possible. But I still think Atheism (the Western brand, not the "hair colour bald") owes more to Anglicanism than to Judaism.

Since Russian revolution, Russian Communism (and some Russian Jewish influence too) has helped to remold Western Atheism considerably. But let's not forget, Karl Marx and Engels were both from Protestant families, though in Marx' case a previously Jewish one:

Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 to Heinrich Marx and Henrietta Pressburg (1788–1863). He was born at 664 Brückergasse in Trier, a town then part of the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine.[18] Marx was ancestrally Jewish; his maternal grandfather was a Dutch rabbi, while his paternal line had supplied Trier's rabbis since 1723, a role taken by his grandfather Meier Halevi Marx.[19] Karl's father, as a child known as Herschel, was the first in the line to receive a secular education; he became a lawyer and lived a relatively wealthy and middle-class existence, with his family owning a number of Moselle vineyards. Prior to his son's birth, and to escape the constraints of anti-semitic legislation, Herschel converted from Judaism to Lutheranism, the main Protestant denomination in Germany and Prussia at the time, taking on the German forename of Heinrich over the Yiddish Herschel. [20] Largely non-religious, Heinrich was a man of the Enlightenment, interested in the ideas of the philosophers Immanuel Kant and Voltaire. A classical liberal, he took part in agitation for a constitution and reforms in Prussia, then governed by an absolute monarchy.[22] In 1815 Heinrich Marx began work as an attorney, in 1819 moving his family to a ten-room property near the Porta Nigra.[23] His wife, a Dutch Jewish woman, Henrietta Pressburg, was semi-literate and was said to suffer from "excessive mother love", devoting much time to her family and insisting on cleanliness within her home.[24] She was from a prosperous business family that later founded the company Philips Electronics: she was great-aunt to Anton and Gerard Philips, and great-great-aunt to Frits Philips. Her sister Sophie Presburg (1797–1854), was Marx's aunt and was married to Lion Philips (1794–1866) Marx's uncle through this marriage, and was the grandmother of both Gerard and Anton Philips. Lion Philips was a wealthy Dutch tobacco manufacturer and industrialist, upon whom Karl and Jenny Marx would later often come to rely for loans while they were exiled in London.[25] In contrast to her husband, Henrietta retained her Jewish faith.[26]

  • These informations from wiki is not common knowledge and I had simply thought of Marx as a childhood Lutheran, so here goes for references:

  • 18) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, p. 7; Wheen 2001, pp. 8, 12; McLellan 2006, p. 1.
  • 19) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, pp. 4–5; Wheen 2001, pp. 7–9, 12; McLellan 2006, pp. 2–3.
  • 20) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, pp. 4–6; McLellan 2006, pp. 2–4.
  • 21) Wheen 2001. pp. 12–13.
  • 22) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, pp. 5, 8–12; Wheen 2001, p. 11; McLellan 2006, pp. 5–6.
  • 23) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, p. 7; Wheen 2001, p. 10; McLellan 2006, p. 7.
  • 24) Nicolaievsky & Maenchen-Helfen 1976, pp. 6–7; Wheen 2001, p. 12; McLellan 2006, p. 4.
  • 25) Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life, (Fourth Estate, 1999), ISBN 1-85702-637-3
  • 26) McLellan 2006, p. 4

  • And refernces are useless without bibliography, only citing the books relevant for above here:

  • McLellan, David (2006). Karl Marx: A Biography (fourth edition). Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-1403997302.
  • Nicolaievsky, Boris; Maenchen-Helfen, Otto (1976) [1936]. Karl Marx: Man and Fighter. trans. Gwenda David and Eric Mosbacher. Harmondsworth and New York: Pelican. ISBN 978-1-4067-2703-6.
  • Wheen, Francis (2001). Karl Marx. London: Fourth Estate. ISBN 978-1-85702-637-5.


And Engels:

Friedrich Engels was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, Province of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, Prussia (now Wuppertal, Germany).[6] Barmen was an expanding industrial metropolis, and Friedrich was the eldest son of a wealthy German cotton textile manufacturer. His father, Friedrich, Sr., was a Pietistic Protestant,[7] and Engels was raised accordingly. As he grew up, however, he developed atheistic beliefs and his relationship with his parents became strained.[8] His mother wrote to him of her concerns:[9] She said that he had "really gone too far" and "begged" him "to proceed no further".[9] She continued:

"You have paid more heed to other people, to strangers, and have taken no account of your mother's pleas. God alone knows what I have felt and suffered of late. I was trembling when I picked up the newspaper and saw therein that a warrant was out for my son's arrest."[9]


When his mother wrote, Engels was in hiding in Brussels, Belgium, soon to make his way to Switzerland. In 1849, he returned to the Kingdom of Bavaria for the Baden and Palatinate revolutionary uprising.

  • On these references we learn that references are not always to scientific works and that copyright laws can suck, these days:

  • 6) A copy of Friedrich Engels' birth certificate is on page 577 of the Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 2 (New York: International Publishers, 1975).
  • 7) de = die deutsche Wikipädie, Friedrich Engels (Fabrikant)
  • 8) Friedrich Engels. "Letters of Marx and Engels, 1845". Marxists.org. Retrieved 2010-02-13.

    But link alas leads to:

    “File No Longer Available!”

    The file you have tried to access originated from the Marx Engels Collected Works. Lawrence & Wishart, who hold the copyright for the Marx Engels Collected Works, have directed Marxists Internet Archive to delete all texts originating from MECW. Accordingly, from 30th April 2014, no material from MECW is available from marxists.org. English translations of Marx and Engels from other sources will continue to be available.

  • 9) Elisabeth Engels' letter contained at No. 6 of the Appendix, Collected Works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Volume 38 (International Publishers: New York, 1982) pp. 540–541.


What about Sanger, Galton, Huxley?

Sanger was born Margaret Louise Higgins in 1879 in Corning, New York,[5] to Michael Hennessey Higgins, an Irish-born stonemason and free-thinker, and Anne Purcell Higgins, a Catholic Irish-American. Michael Hennessey Higgins had emigrated to the USA at age 14 and joined the U.S. Army as a drummer at age 15, during the Civil War. After leaving the army, Michael studied medicine and phrenology, but ultimately became a stonecutter, making stone angels, saints, and tombstones.[6] Michael H. Higgins was a Catholic who became an atheist and an activist for women's suffrage and free public education.[7] Anne was born in Ireland. Her parents brought the family to Canada during the Potato Famine. She married Michael in 1869.[8] Anne Higgins went through 18 pregnancies (with 11 live births) in 22 years before dying at the age of 49. Sanger was the sixth of eleven surviving children,[9] and spent much of her youth assisting with household chores and caring for her younger siblings. Supported by her two older sisters, Margaret Higgins attended Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, before enrolling in 1900 at White Plains Hospital as a nurse probationer. In 1902, she married the architect William Sanger and gave up her education.[10] Though she was plagued by a recurring active tubercular condition, Margaret Sanger bore three children, and the couple settled down to a quiet life in Westchester, New York.


Her father is the kind of apostate who leaves Catholicism for Protestant culture.°°° Phrenology was was founded by Johann Kaspar Lavater [In 1769 Lavater took Holy Orders in Zurich's Zwinglian Church, and officiated until his death as deacon or pastor in churches in his native city. His oratorical fervor and genuine depth of conviction gave him great personal influence; he was extensively consulted as a casuist, and was welcomed with enthusiasm on his journeys throughout Germany. His writings on mysticism were widely popular as well.], Franz Joseph Gall was of a Catholic family, but a merchant one and a student of medicine and of inmates in lunatic asylums. Also by the next: Johann Spurzheim's childhood religion is not mentioned by English wiki, but it is by the German one. [Er war Sohn des protestantischen Bauern Johann Spurzheim, von dem er seinen Vornamen bekam. Nachdem Johann G. Spurzheim in der Schule seines Heimatdorfes Latein und Griechisch gelernt hatte, begann er an der Universität von Trier Theologie, Philosophie und Hebräisch zu studieren, weil sein Vater ihn in einem geistlichen Amt sehen wollte. Doch als die französische Armee 1799 in seiner Heimat ankam, floh er nach Wien, um dort Medizin zu studieren.] George Combe would become the chief promoter of phrenology throughout the English-speaking world after he viewed a brain dissection by Spurzheim, convincing him of phrenology's merits. And he was from Edinburgh. A largely Calvinist to Enlightenment city when he was born.

Galton was born at "The Larches", a large house in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, England, built on the site of "Fair Hill", the former home of Joseph Priestley, which the botanist William Withering had renamed. He was Charles Darwin's half-cousin, sharing the common grandparent Erasmus Darwin. His father was Samuel Tertius Galton, son of Samuel "John" Galton. The Galtons were famous and highly successful Quaker gun-manufacturers and bankers, while the Darwins were distinguished in medicine and science.


Quakers? That is like Alumbrados, except Alumbrados were a totally Spanish movement and thence as Catholic as Western Atheism (in general, not in Hemant's case) is Protestant, namely by habit. Quakers are the Protestant and more successful version of Alumbrados, and Galton is an example of what the Spanish Inquisition (which repressed Alumbrados) was ultimately trying to prevent. Symbolically, he was born 2 years after Spanish Inquisition had ended.

Thomas Henry Huxley (an agnostic, not a hard atheist) has an article giving us no indication as to his possible childhood religion. But Anglican is possible. However, I click on his "family tree" and guess John Collier was as close to him, as Ali to Mohammed. Son in law, it is called. Citing from that second article:

Collier's views on religion and ethics are interesting for their comparison with the views of THH and Julian Huxley, both of whom gave Romanes lectures on that subject. In The religion of an artist (1926) Collier explains "It [the book] is mostly concerned with ethics apart from religion... I am looking forward to a time when ethics will have taken the place of religion... My religion is really negative. [The benefits of religion] can be attained by other means which are less conducive to strife and which put less strain on upon the reasoning faculties". On secular morality: "My standard is frankly utilitarian. As far as morality is intuitive, I think it may be reduced to an inherent impulse of kindliness towards our fellow citizens". On the idea of God: "People may claim without much exaggeration that the belief in God is universal. They omit to add that superstition, often of the most degraded kind, is just as universal". And "An omnipotent Deity who sentences even the vilest of his creatures to eternal torture is infinitely more cruel than the cruellest man". And on the Church: "To me, as to most Englishmen, the triumph of Roman Catholicism would mean an unspeakable disaster to the cause of civilization". His views, then, were very close to the agnosticism of THH and the humanism of Julian Huxley.


My emphasis.

If not Protestant in the sense of Protestant positive pieties, it's retaining as a residual Protestant piety the Newton like hysteria about Roman Catholicism.

Bertrand Russell was born in a family already atheist, or partly so.

Bertrand Russell was born on 18 May 1872 at Ravenscroft, Trellech, Monmouthshire, into an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy.[71] His parents, Viscount and Viscountess Amberley, were radical for their times. Lord Amberley consented to his wife's affair with their children's tutor, the biologist Douglas Spalding. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time when this was considered scandalous.[72] Lord Amberley was an atheist and his atheism was evident when he asked the philosopher John Stuart Mill to act as Russell's secular godfather.[73] Mill died the year after Russell's birth, but his writings had a great effect on Russell's life.


His father had been an Aristocrat becoming Deist at age 21, presumably Anglican first. John Russell, Viscount Amberley And since his father (Bertrand's grandfather) also has an article, this can be checked. John Russell, 1st Earl Russell

Russell was born small and premature into the highest echelons of the British aristocracy. The Russell family had been one of the principal Whig dynasties in England since the 17th century, and were among the richest handful of aristocratic landowning families in the country, but as a younger son of the 6th Duke of Bedford, he was not expected to inherit the family estates. As a younger son of a Duke, he bore the courtesy title "Lord John Russell," but he was not a peer in his own right. He was, therefore, able to sit in the House of Commons until he was made an earl in 1861, and transitioned into the House of Lords.


Whig, that means much more likely to be Puritan than to be Anglo-Catholic - even when Anglican. As he was, religion is stated as Church of England.

Bertrand's mother, Katharine Russell, Viscountess Amberley, née Stanley. And again, her own religious views are not indicated, but we can check with her family. Church of England? Whiggish?

Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley was presumably Church of England. He was CERTAINLY a Whig. Political party : Whig ; Liberal. And what about the mother? Henrietta Stanley, Baroness Stanley of Alderley, the grandmother, the mother's mother of Bertrand Russell, we do get some info. "Henrietta Maria Stanley, Baroness Stanley of Alderley (née Dillon-Lee; 21 December 1807 – 16 February 1895), was a Canadian-born political hostess and campaigner for the education of women in England." In Canada, Anglicans are not usually Anglo-Catholic.

She was a descendant of both Charles II (by his mistress Barbara Villiers) and James II of England (by his mistress Catherine Sedley). Her ancestors were Roman Catholic and had had pronounced Jacobite leanings; one of them was Maréchal de camp Arthur Dillon, a supporter of the Old Pretender. The family, exiled to France, eventually converted to Anglicanism but preferred to remain living abroad. In 1814, Henrietta and her family moved to Florence, Tuscany,[1] where she attended the receptions of Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, the widow of the Young Pretender.[2] Her non-English upbringing was prominent and her grandson, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, commented:

My grandmother's outlook, throughout her life, was in some ways more Continental than English. She was always downright, free from prudery, and eighteenth-century rather than Victorian in her conversation. Her French and Italian were faultless, and she was passionately interested in Italian unity.[1]


So ex-Catholic Anglicans, anti-Papal, presumably, since supporting the Sardinian take over of Rome.

What about John Stuart Mill?

John Stuart Mill was born on Rodney Street in the Pentonville area of London, the eldest son of the Scottish philosopher, historian and economist James Mill, and Harriet Burrow. John Stuart was educated by his father, with the advice and assistance of Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place. He was given an extremely rigorous upbringing, and was deliberately shielded from association with children his own age other than his siblings. His father, a follower of Bentham and an adherent of associationism, had as his explicit aim to create a genius intellect that would carry on the cause of utilitarianism and its implementation after he and Bentham had died.


He was not an Anglican:

As a nonconformist who refused to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, Mill was not eligible to study at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.[12] Instead he followed his father to work for the East India Company, and attended University College, London, to hear the lectures of John Austin, the first Professor of Jurisprudence.[13] He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1856.[14]


Let's look up some ... James Mill, John Austin, Jeremy Bentham and Francis Place.

James Mill ... James Milne, later known as James Mill, was born at Northwater Bridge, in the parish of Logie Pert, Angus, Scotland, the son of James Milne, a shoemaker and small farmer. His mother, Isabel Fenton, of a family that had suffered from connection with the Stuart rising, resolved that he should receive a first-rate education, and sent him first to the parish school and then to the Montrose Academy, where he remained until the unusual age of seventeen and a half. He then entered the University of Edinburgh, where he distinguished himself as a Greek scholar. In October 1798, he was ordained as a minister of the Church of Scotland, but met with little success.


Kirk of Scotland was indeed not Anglican, but Calvinist. Explains why a bit further south his son was a non-Conformist.

John Austin (legal philosopher) - In opposition to traditional natural-law approaches to law, Austin argued that there are no necessary connections between law and morality. Human legal systems, he claimed, can and should be studied in an empirical, value-free way.


Whatever previous Protestantism there might be, we don't know. We do know that this is completely anti-Catholic.

In 1819, Austin married Sarah Taylor and became neighbors and close friends with Jeremy Bentham and James and John Stuart Mill. Largely through Bentham’s influence, Austin was appointed professor of jurisprudence at the newly founded University of London in 1826. Austin’s lectures were not well-attended, and he resigned his university post in 1834. Thereafter, aside from two stints on government commissions, Austin lived largely on his wife’s earnings as a writer and translator. Plagued by ill health, depression, and self-doubt, Austin wrote little after the publication of his major work, The Province of Jurisprudence Determined (1832). This work was largely ignored during Austin’s lifetime. It became influential only after his death when his wife, Sarah Austin, published a second edition in 1861.


And that means we can look up her ...

Sarah Austin (translator) : Born Sarah Taylor in Norwich, England in 1793, she was the youngest child of John Taylor, a yarn maker and hymn writer from a locally well-known Unitarian family.[1] Her education was overseen by her mother, Susannah Taylor. She became conversant in Latin, French, German and Italian. Her six brothers and sisters included Edward Taylor (1784–1863), a singer and music professor, John Taylor (1779–1863), a mining engineer, Richard Taylor (1781–1858), a printer and editor and publisher of scientific works. Family friends included Dr James Alderson and his daughter Amelia Opie, Henry Crabb Robinson, the banking Gurneys and Sir James Mackintosh.


Unitarian, also indebted to Protestant Reformation, since the uncle and nephew Sozzini were one of the four parallel reformations going on or starting in 1517. Note, not the more brutal ones.

Jeremy Bentham's article looks as if he had been without religion from the start. Perhaps not quite surprising, since he was born in 18th C. and Francis Place also had no childhood religion, if however a childhood trauma.

Or not. He was born in a debtors' prison, but not because his mother was in prison for debts, but because his father oversaw it.

Born in the debtors' prison which his father oversaw near Drury Lane, Place was schooled for ten years before being apprenticed to a leather-breeches maker. At eighteen he was an independent journeyman, and in 1790 was married and moved to a house near the Strand. In 1793 he became involved in and eventually the leader of a strike of leather-breeches makers, and was refused work for several years by London's master tailors; he exploited this time by reading avidly and widely. In 1794, Place joined the London Corresponding Society, a reform club, and for three years was prominent in its work, before resigning his post as chairman of the general committee in 1797 in protest at the violent tactics and rhetoric of some group members. In 1799 he became the partner in a tailor's shop, and a year later set up his own highly successful business at 16 Charing Cross. ... It was around this time that he became involved in the movement for organised, public education, believing it to be a means of eradicating the ills of the working class. In the early 1820s he also became a Malthusian, believing that as the population increased it would outstrip the food supply. Despite himself having fathered fifteen children, he advocated the use of contraception, although was not specific about in what forms. It was on this topic that he wrote his only published book, the influential and controversial Illustrations and Proofs of the Principles of Population, in 1822.


Here some wikipedians are driving "show your sources" to absurdity. There is a note 1 to a Spartacus Educational. And there is a note beside it saying [better source needed]. Perhaps this educational would be a not too good source for claim Illustrations and Proofs of the Principles of Population was his only book, but it would hardly have gotten away lying or even dreaming up the title and the year of publication. Here is what I find about the site:

In September, 1997, Spartacus Educational founder and managing director John Simkin became the first educational publisher in Britain to establish a website that was willing to provide teachers and students with free educational materials. According to a survey carried out by the Fischer Trust, Spartacus Educational is one of the top three websites used by history teachers and students in Britain (the other two are BBC History and the Public Record Office’s Learning Curve). The Spartacus Educational website currently gets up to 7 million page impressions a month and 3 million unique visitors.


That COULD explain why British history students can believe average life span of Middle Ages was extremely short (will have to look first before deciding on this) while John Simkin has insufficient evidence for that. But John Simkin would (as little as I) dream of giving an apparent title with a wrong year or wrong author. Actually, it seems the site has withdrawn a page called Life in the Middle Ages:

Page Not Found

Sorry, but the page you were trying to view does not exist.


On the other hand, they now have Yalding: Medieval Village Project KS3 Am looking at it. For the burial records of 1329 to 1336, the child deaths are numerous and even teen deaths will have to be regarded as a separate category to those of men and women over 20 to get median of the latter as high as between 41 and 43. The medium is 46.6.

Well, John Simkin seems to have had a good argument for 1329 - January 1336, at least! Based on those years, that village, life expectancy at birth was 22.44 years, medium. True, I lowered it by counting all deaths below 1 year as 0, instead of fractions, but still. Also, the death balance between women and men over 20 were 3 to 22. Perhaps these years were not quite typical. But what they do show is some very clear child mortality and also rather low life expectancy above the age of 20. Wonder if the same holds for the Clares of that time, the proprietors of Yalding.

Back to Protestant roots of most Western Atheism. Influences of Bentham in his turn are listed as: Protagoras · Epicurus · John Locke · David Hume · Montesquieu · Helvétius · Hobbes · Beccaria · Adam Smith.

The first two are obviously Ancient Greeks, who owe nothing to Protestantism, any more than the family background of Hemant.

John Locke  "Father of the Fundies"
David Hume  starting w. Kirk of Scotland?
Montesquieu  Catholic w. Protestant wife
Helvétius  Freemason
Hobbes  Anglican?
Beccaria  Catholic?
Adam Smith.  starting w. Kirk of Scotland


Three certain Protestants (including Montesquieu's wife), two probable ones, makes five on balance. One certain Catholic (Montesquieu), one probable such, makes two on balance. One freemason. If we take certains only, 3P+1C+1F. If we takes probables too, 5P+2C+1F. So, Protestants get 3/5 or 5/8 of his post-Classic influences. Note that not all of these were atheists. Hobbes, I read somewhere, believed God was a bodily being ... as I think do Watchtower Society and Old Russellians.

Wittgenstein who lost faith was a Catholic at start - of a family which had been previously Protestant and Jewish. He was influenced by an Otto Weininger

Otto Weininger was born on April 3, 1880, in Vienna as a son of the Jewish goldsmith Leopold Weininger and his wife Adelheid. After attending primary school and graduating from secondary school in July 1898, Weininger registered at the University of Vienna in October of the same year. He studied philosophy and psychology but took courses in natural sciences and medicine as well. Weininger learned Greek, Latin, French and English very early, later also Spanish and Italian, and acquired passive knowledge of the languages of August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen (i.e., Swedish and Danish/Norwegian).

In the autumn of 1901 Weininger tried to find a publisher for his work Eros and the Psyche – which he submitted to his professors Friedrich Jodl and Laurenz Müllner as his thesis in 1902. He met Sigmund Freud, who, however, did not recommend the text to a publisher. His professors accepted the thesis and Weininger received his Ph.D. degree in July 1902.[4] Shortly thereafter he became proudly and enthusiastically a Protestant.


And Strindberg was a lapsed Lutheran who went Arian and Alchemist, among other things. And Ibsen was of a family which would have formally been Lutheran and which may have lapsed even a generation or two before. Though probably rather into freemasonry than rank atheism. His greatgrandfather was obviously a Lutheran, since his widow married a Lutheran "priest":

Henrik Ibsen (1726–1765), merchant in Skien, who married Wenche Dishington (1738–1780). After Ibsen's death, Wenche married parish priest Jacob von der Lippe (1732–1804)


Camus? On the one hand, his adhesion to Algerian Communist Party was not really doctrinally Marxist. Then again, his "Atheism" was rather Agnosticism - as is more typical of lapsed Catholics, perhaps, than strong Atheism. This - his being Agnostic - I learned from la biquipedia, along with fact his influences include Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. Also, though his mother was Spanish, his father was Alsatian. Now, let's look at N and S.

Schopenhauer was born on 22 February 1788, in the city of Danzig (then part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; present day Gdańsk, Poland) on Heiligegeistgasse (known in the present day as Św. Ducha 47), the son of Johanna Schopenhauer (née Trosiener) and Heinrich Floris Schopenhauer,[19] both descendants of wealthy German patrician families. When Danzig became part of Prussia in 1793, Heinrich moved to Hamburg, although his firm continued trading in Danzig.


In other words rather certainly a Protestant, Lutheran, possibly looking down on Polish Catholics.

Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned forty-nine on the day of Nietzsche's birth.


Rather probable he was a Protestant. Yes, indeed:

In 1854, he began to attend Domgymnasium in Naumburg. Because his father had worked for the state (as a pastor) the now-fatherless Nietzsche was offered a scholarship to study at the internationally recognized Schulpforta (the claim that Nietzsche was admitted on the strength of his academic competence has been debunked: his grades were nowhere near the top of the class).


In other words, like Astrid Lindgren, a famous Swedish Atheist and a storyteller, Nietzsche was "God's grand child" as certain Evangelicals have termed a "syndrome" of turning away from God after too much family saturation. A phenomenon which seems to be more apparent among Protestants having "priest"/pastors as fathers, or having "born again Christian" parents (with great involvement of emotional type), than among Catholics having priests and monks as uncles or nuns as aunts.

Have I made my point?

If Hemant Mehta had been the first atheist we knew of ever, atheism could have been a branch of Jainism, and so be a clearly Eastern Atheism. Since he is not, atheism is really Western Atheism°°** a branch of Protestantism.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Evagrius, Priscian
and Companions, Martyrs
12.X.2016

* Capital letter : it is certainly the name of a school, philosophically speaking! If not more than one ... ** This means if certain people think I'd change habits about how openly or rather not I speak of sex, just because I apostasised, should I do so, and think they would be helping me to get laid by getting me off God, they are wrong. I would most probably not even then want to just get laid or to have a large and "safe" sexual experience before settling for marriage. I might be a walking encyclopedia, but I am not trying to become a walking Kama Sutra. My on and off but mostly atheist grandmother was even more prudish than I, my mother not much less. *** Ascendancy, but if his preacher grandfather was perhaps not Calvinist and not Ulster Scots, he was at least very Puritan in outlook. ° Not sure if apostasy was his own or happened earlier in family. °° Different for different persons, obviously. °°° Like some of the National Socialists who were later hanged in Nüremberg : Alois Brunner was of a Catholic small town family, but at 11 went to a big town for continued school, where Protestants dominated. *° Locke's religious trajectory began in Calvinist trinitarianism, but by the time of the Reflections (1695) Locke was advocating not just Socinian views on tolerance but also Socinian Christology. However Wainwright (1987) notes that in the posthumously published Paraphrase (1707) Locke's interpretation of one verse, Ephesians 1:10, is markedly different from that of Socinians like Biddle, and may indicate that near the end of his life Locke returned nearer to an Arian position, thereby accepting Christ's pre-existence. In fact, historian John Marshall suggests that Locke's view of Christ ended, "somewhere between Socianism and Arianism." - a nice fit for Watchtower Society, then. But his defense of "Christianity in general" is such as Fundies including Trinitarians are citing to this day. °°** With Theravada Buddhism as the real Eastern Atheism.