All Hallows Day reflection

The Forbidden Book (Ooms), Academy of Fine Arts, Brussels

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) encapsulated this brave new metanarrative thus:

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed tutelage. Tutelage is the inability to use one’s own understanding without another’s guidance. This tutelage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one’s own mind without another’s guidance. Dare to know! Have the courage to use one’s own understanding! is therefore the motto of the Enlightenment…. If it is only given freedom, enlightenment is inevitable…. We [do] live in an age of Enlightenment. We have some obvious indications that the field of working toward the goal of religious truth is now being opened.”

Looks fine on the surface. Science trumps any metanarrative about some mythical sky fairy and we, the Rationalists, use only Reason to theorize about nature and our place in it.

The argument is so logically flawed because the whole nature of real science is in following leads, theorizing or hypothesizing, finding evidence to support or deny those, shifting position constantly, in the light of new evidence and gradually positing various natural laws which appear to be backed up by continuing evidence.

Exceeding the speed of light is one recent event which shows this methodology in action.

This is a far cry from the type of “Reason” of the British Society and Freemason philosophers whose aim was to supplant one Religion with another, all in the name of Reason but employing none of the methodology of reason – rather the methodology of a counter-metanarrative.

And by this legerdemain, these people have laid the groundwork for great oppression of people in the name of reason.

Friedrich Schiller (1759-1804):

“The attempt of the French people to gain possession of the rights of man and to win political freedom has only shown its incapacity and unworthiness, and has swept back along with it a considerable part of Europe into barbarism and serfdom…. In the lower classes we see only lawless instincts which hasten to their bestial satisfaction now that the restraints of society are removed. So it was not moral control, but external coercion, which hitherto held them back. So they were not free men, as they declared, oppressed by the state! When civilization degenerates, it falls lower than barbarism can ever reach, for the latter can only become a beast, while the former lapses into the devil.”

In The Enlightenment’s Crusade Against Reason, Linda de Hoyos comments:

In point of fact … the goal of the Enlightenment was not “religious truth,” but the severance of Man from God. Its motto was reason, but in the name of challenging what it called the superstition of religion, the Enlightenment acted to destroy science. In the name of freedom, it established the preconditions for terror and tyranny.

She goes on:

Even before Voltaire launched his 50-year-long tirade against Leibniz, the British Royal Society mafia had sprung into action to counter and, where possible, suppress Leibniz’s work. Specifically, the British Aristotelians were concerned that Leibniz had emerged in France at the end of the seventeenth century as the major challenger to and victor over the philosophy of Rene Descartes. The danger was that Leibniz would replace Descartes as the hegemonic world view in France. The British Royal Society was determined that the discarded Rosicrucian would be supplanted instead by what Leibniz called the “occult physics” of Isaac Newton.

Newton has been written on by many:

The cases of Newton’s plagiarism of Leibniz’s calculus and the controversy between Leibniz and Newton’s defender Samuel Clark are well known. From Holland, Leibniz was also challenged by Pierre Bayle, editor of the foremost philosophical journal of the time, the Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres. It was Bayle’s attempt to revive Manichaeanism which prompted Leibniz to write The Theodicy, which was published in 1710. With the exception of The Monadology, published in 1720, no major works of Leibniz were published until 1765, when New Essays was finally issued. Even today, thousands of pages of Leibniz’s writings lie moldering in archives, yet to see the light of day.

It’s this dishonesty, having to use the same tactics of suppression they accuse Church authorities of and writing their own metanarrative to replace the old, that really stinks with the Rationalists. And here is one quite crucial point:

As Leibniz explained in The Theodicy, he felt compelled to answer the “Dictionary of M. Bayle, wherein religion and reason appear as adversaries, and where M. Bayle wishes to silence reason after having made it speak too loud: which he calls the triumph of faith.”

In explaining Leibnitz, de Hoyos writes:

Everything is fine as long as science limits itself to a simple measurement of a body in space–an activity with which Voltaire was very preoccupied in his middle years. The problem arises when the scientist asks why the body “fills this space and not another; for example, why it should be three feet long rather than two, or square rather than round. This cannot be explained by the nature of the bodies themselves, since the matter is indeterminate as to any definite figure, whether square or round.”

The champions of the omnipotence of Science fell foul their own strictures on truth and presented theory as fact, which is every bit a metanarrative as anything in the gospels.

The Schiller Institute and many others have shown the connect between Voltaire and the French Revolution and it is generally accepted that if he was on the side of the angels, they were not angels of light. Voltaire himself was outraged by the appearance of Leibnitz. In 1741, he asserted that the British Royal Society would:

“not hesitate to pronounce that in equal times two and two is four: because in truth, when everything is weighed, that is what it amounts to. Frankly Leibniz is come but to embroil the sciences. His sufficient reason, his continuity, his fullness, his monads, etc., are the germs of a confusion.”

Then we get to de Hoyos’s point:

Newton was indeed at the center of the ideology of freemasonry, which had been brought over to France from England by British Royal Society member Desaguliers, and in which such Enlightenment luminaries as Montesquieu and Voltaire were prominent members. Desaguliers had created an elaborate structure of freemasonic ritual and formula with Newton as the key to understanding. Freemasonry was the overtly political arm of the British Royal Society’s operation to destroy Leibniz and republicanism on the continent.

Voltaire’s library points to his own role as a conspirator of the British-instigated nobles’ rebellion against the king, which provided the spark for the Revolution of 1789. Voltaire’s library is full of books like Essays on the Nobility of France, History of the Ancient Governments of France, History of the French Parlements, and histories of Rome. The preoccupation with pagan Rome was central to the Jacobin Terror itself, as Robespierre’s younger comrade St. Juste proclaimed: “The world has been empty since the Romans, and is filled only with their memory, which is now our prophecy of freedom.”

The placing of the Goddess of Reason, in its pornographic manner, within Notre Dame is more than a proclamation of reason – it is induced mob mockery of “religion” and the blame for that must be laid at the feet of the thought leaders of the Revolution and prominent in that was Voltaire.

Leibnitz was Pangloss to Voltaire.

The great problem with the Royal Society through to Voltaire and others like him was that there was a hidden agenda and that agenda was anything but irreligious. In fact, it was distinctly religious. It was just that the Religion was the opposite one to Christianity.

This is what the modern “Rationalists” entirely fail to understand. Writing in 1774, Voltaire declared that:

… we have mocked occult qualities too long. We ought to laugh at those who do not believe in them. Let us repeat a hundred times that every principle, every original source of any work whatever of the Great Demiurge is occult and hidden from mortals.”
He wasn’t interested in replacing religion with science – rather, he was interested in replacing Christianity with a different religion, Gnosticism, which guards itself from criticism by fragmenting itself so that no one can zero in on any particular aspect of itself and the hollowness of its assertions and its strawmen. This is precisely what had happened in the first major challenge to the fast-expanding faith in the early days of the church and that was a gnostic assault which threatened to stop the church in its tracks.

It is this dishonesty which should have so-called rationalists highly suspicious of Voltaire, of Newton and of the British Society.

Just how deeply ingrained the hegemony of the RS is can be seen in people’s statements that “evolution has been proved”. No it hasn’t – only the fossil record has been “proved”.

To jump from that to “evolution has been proved” is false sequitur.

Evolution and natural selection are theories based on evidence. They are not facts in themselves and yet that is how they’ve been accepted by generations of scholars since the Enlightenment. On the other hand, whilst pushing this legerdemain, they happily attack the “myth” of Christianity by saying it is “contrary to reason”. It’s this selective blindness which suggests an agenda rather than the real pursuit of truth and any historical scholar should rail against it as really quite shoddy.

De Hoyos brings in Rousseau:

If Voltaire’s tirades against God and king were the intellectual currency of the nobles who launched the early days of the French Revolution, Rousseau’s ideas were the fuel of the Jacobin terror. How else could Danton’s Committee of Public Safety sentence to death the chemist and friend of America Antoine Lavoisier with the words: “The Revolution has no need of science!”

What do you make of Rousseau’s:

The right of any individual over his estate is always subordinate to the right of the community over everything; for without this there would be neither strength in the social bond nor effective force in the exercise of sovereignty’?

De Hoyos:

The “natural man” to which he sings a paean is not the French peasant, but the sans coulottes leader Marat, who had no problem finding refuge in London whenever he came under scrutiny in Paris and who led the Jacobin slaughters in Paris. “I am the anger, the just anger of the people,” Marat proclaimed, “and that is why they listen to me and believe in me. These cries of alarm and of fury that you take for empty words are the most naive and most sincere expressions of the passions that devour my soul.”

These are the “rationalists”, the ones to whom modern man will entrust his protection in this new age. These are the ones who will sever Man’s connection with his Maker and leave the sheep at the mercy of the wolves.

And in case that is seen as too colourful language, Marat declares that:

“When a man lacks everything he has the right to take what others have in superfluity. Rather than starve, he is justified in cutting another’s throat, and devouring the palpitating flesh.”

Nice one – there is your Brave New World where man [the oligarch] is in charge of the affairs of man [the citizen] who has no defences, now that they’ve all been prised away.  Just why do you really think Christianity had to be stamped out? Just whom was it getting in the way of?

De Hoyos:

The Enlightenment’s assault on Christianity in the name of “reason” had made hatred the emotional fuel of the “revolution.” The concept of imago viva Dei, man made in the living image of God, had been swept aside and replaced with Rousseau’s “natural man.”

It was never a “natural man” of reason, as purported but a brute, a beast, the rule of the mob and the mob is always manipulated by the “thought leaders” of the time, as was shown, centuries later in the Frankfurt School’s legacy in the 60s and the new relativism which rules today.  Would you entrust your safety to the Committee of Public Safety?

Two examples of the shoddiness of the Rationalists

One area where the “Rationalists” have attempted an assault is in the revisionist late dating of the gospels, an appropriate topic on All Hallows Day.  By the end of this article, you might be asking whatever is the connection between Rationalists and dating of the gospels.  The point is that the late dating is a Rationalist move and they are doing to the faith exactly what they did to science in the C18th century.  I’ll start with the late dating and then move on to the Rationalist hijacking of Science.

This post does not refer to the historicity of Jesus nor to His divinity but only in correcting shoddy scholarship on the matter. Many people are cited, various sites are sourced. Not everything on those sites or from those authors is cited by me because some of it is a bit wonky when it strays into assertion.  Only the parts which stand up are quoted.

The essential issue with the late dating battle is whether any of them were written before AD70, the destruction of the Jewish Temple. If they were, then there is immense trouble for late datists and by extension, the so-called Rationalists themselves.

Therefore, what is glossed over as a relatively minor issue by the Rationalists is, as they know fullwell, critical to the authenticity of the message of the gospels. Hence the flood of material supporting late dating in the last century, much of which dominates the issue today, including the Wiki entry.

What appears below is a series of fragments, unedited, from which you can conclude for yourselves, rather than me weaving it into a narrative:

From Harvard House:

Luke reveals that he wrote his gospel before writing the book of Acts. The introduction to each book refers to a person named Theophilus. So the initial three verses in each book reveal the sequence for writing each book.

“. . . it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4).

Later, when Luke wrote the book of Acts, he again refers to Theophilus and reminds him of the previous book. The former account of Luke is the gospel of Luke.

“The first account [gospel of Luke, emphasis mine], I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach . . . ” (Acts 1:1-3).

Str Org:

The so-called “search for the historic Jesus” is over one hundred years old. Virtually nothing discovered during that time undermines the Gospel accounts. There is no “new evidence” supporting the idea that the miracle-working Son of God was the result of an evolution of myth over a long period of time. To the contrary, recent discoveries have given more credibility to the content of the Gospels themselves.

For example, we know the Apostle Paul died during the Neronian persecution of A.D. 64. Paul was still alive at the close of Acts, so that writing came some time before A.D. 64. Acts was a continuation of Luke’s Gospel, which must have been written earlier still. The book of Mark predates Luke, even by the Jesus Seminar’s reckoning. This pushes Mark’s Gospel into the 50s, just over twenty years after the crucifixion.

It is undisputed that Paul wrote Romans in the mid-50s, yet he proclaims Jesus as the resurrected Son of God in the opening lines of that epistle. Galatians, another uncontested Pauline epistle of the mid-50s, records Paul’s interaction with the principle disciples (Peter and James) at least 14 years earlier (Gal 1:18, cf. 2:1).

The Jesus Seminar claims that the humble sage of Nazareth was transformed into a wonder-working Son of God in the late first and early second century. The epistles, though, record a high Christology within 10 to 20 years of the crucifixion. That simply is not enough time for myth and legend to take hold, especially when so many were still alive to contradict the alleged errors of the events they personally witnessed.

There is no good reason to assume the Gospels were fabricated or seriously distorted in the retelling. Time and again the New Testament writers claim to be eyewitnesses to the facts. And their accounts were written early on while they’re memories were clear and other witnesses could vouch for their accounts.

Earliest Christian History:

I think the best evidence for an early date for three of the gospels; (Luke, Matthew, and Mark) is to look at 1 Timothy 5:18 – Paul goes on to quote from Deuteronomy but then quotes from the gospel of Luke: “For the workers deserves his wages: Look up 1 Timothy 5:18 on bible gateway and a footnote will tell you of Paul’s quoting from the gospel of Luke.

1 Timothy can be dated from 61 (after Paul’s release from Prison) to 66 or 67 (Paul’s death) So the gospel of Luke was written before this date and since Matthew and Mark were written before [that], this gives a clear early dating of the gospels. One of the largest factors influencing dating in this discussion is a refusal to accept the possibility that Christ was actually able to foretell the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.

An assumption used as the accepted first premise of an argument.

Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, according to [most] scholars, is authentic and written in either the winter of 55AD or the early spring of 56 AD. In 1 Corinthians, Paul includes 20 quotes from the gospel of Luke. Eighteen are short phrases, that he assumes are familiar to his readers. The last two are longer quotes that he presents as “quotes”.

This would indicate that the gospel of Luke not only existed by 55-56 AD, but was commonly known and used so that Paul could reference it without having to explain what he meant or [to] whom/what he was quoting.

Luke … repeats 89% of the gospel of Mark within it. So apparently Mark was already in existence prior to the writing of the gospel of Luke. This pushes the date for Mark to 50 AD at the lastest. Possibly (and probably for it to be well enough known that Luke would copy it) to something in the last half of the 40s AD.

Other references:

The earliest known reference or quote from the gospel of Mark outside of other Bible books is found in a letter written by Clements of Rome in 97 AD. He quotes directly from the gospel of Mark, acknowledging the gospel of Mark as the source of the quote. So if you reject the evidence within the Bible itself, the absolute latest Mark could have been written was prior to 97 AD.

Some scholars attempt to get around the issue of Luke (and Matthew – who repeats 92% of Mark) quoting from Mark, and move Mark back to a later creation date, by suggesting that Mark was NOT the source used by Luke and Matthew, but rather there was a now unknown “gospel” that they call the “Q” document (“Q” coming from the Latin word for “source”). That all three authors are quoting from this unknown document.

But whether that shared source is Mark itself, or a fourth document that Mark and both the others shared, it still means that there was a “gospel” of the life of Jesus in existence and used prior to 56 AD. And that it survives in the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke (and Paul who may be quoting “Q” rather them Luke).

Carm org:

# Mays, James Luther, ed., Harper’s Bible Commentary, New York: Harper and Row, 1988.

The latest firm chronological marker recorded in the book—Festus’s appointment as procurator, which, on the basis of independent sources, appears to have occurred between A.D. 55 and 59.

# Robertson, A.T., A Harmony of the Gospels, New York: Harper & Row, 1950, p. 255-256.

“It is increasingly admitted that the Logia [Q] was very early, before 50 A.D., and Mark likewise if Luke wrote the Acts while Paul was still alive. Luke’s Gospel comes before the Acts (Acts 1:1). The date of Acts is still in dispute, but the early date (about A.D. 63) is gaining support constantly.”

Bethinking:

Many have undertaken to draw up a record of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who were eye-witnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. [Luke 1:1-4]

There is no mention in Acts of

- the crucial event of the fall of Jerusalem in 70
– the outbreak of the Jewish War in 66
– the serious deterioration of relations between Romans and Jews before that time
– the deterioration of Christian relations with Rome during the Neronian persecution of the late 60s
– the death of James at the hands of the Sanhedrin in ca. 62, which is recorded by Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews (20.9.1.200)

The prominence and authority of the Sadducees in Acts reflects a pre-70 date, before the collapse of their political cooperation with Rome.

The relatively sympathetic attitude in Acts to Pharisees (unlike that found even in Luke’s Gospel) does not fit well with in the period of Pharisaic revival that led up to the council at Jamnia. At that time a new phase of conflict began with Christianity.

Acts seems to antedate the arrival of Peter in Rome and implies that Peter and John were alive at the time of the writing.

Christian terminology used in Acts reflects an earlier period. Adolf Harnack points to use of Iusous and Ho Kurios, while Ho Christos always designates ‘the Messiah,’ and is not a proper name for Jesus.

Other books assist in the dating, e.g. Corinthians:

The book repeatedly claims to be written by Paul (1:1, 12-17; 3:4, 6, 22; 16:21).

It is widely accepted by critical and conservative scholars that 1 Corinthians was written by 55 or 56. This is less than a quarter century after the crucifixion in 33. Further, Paul speaks of more than 250 eyewitnesses to the resurrection who were still alive when he wrote (15:6). Specifically mentioned are the twelve apostles and James the brother of Jesus.

1. Clement of Rome refers to it in his own Epistle to the Corinthians (chap. 47.)
2. The Epistle of Barnabas alludes to it (chap. 4).
3. Shepherd of Hermas mentions it (chap. 4).
4. There are nearly 600 quotations of 1 Corinthians in Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian alone (Theissen, 201). It is one of the best attested books of any kind from the ancient world.

Of the four Gospels alone there are 19,368 citations by the church fathers from the late first century on. This includes 268 by Justin Martyr (100-165), 1038 by Irenaeus (active in the late second century), 1017 by Clement of Alexandria (ca. 155-ca. 220), 9231 by Origen (ca. 185-ca. 254), 3822 by Tertullian (ca. 160s-ca. 220), (ca. 160s-ca. 220), 734 by Hippolytus (d. ca. 236), and 3258 by Eusebius (ca. 265-ca.339; Geisler, 431).

Earlier, Clement of Rome cited Matthew, John, and 1 Corinthians, and 95 to 97. Ignatius referred to six Pauline epistles in about 110, and between 110 and 150 Polycarp quoted from all four gospels, Acts, and most of Paul’s epistles. Shepherd of Hermas (115-140) cited Matthew, Mark, Acts, 1 Corinthians, and other books. Didache (120-150) referred to Matthew, Luke, 1 Corinthians, and other books. Papias, companion of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, quoted John.

Rylands:

The earliest undisputed manuscript of a New Testament book is the John Rylands papyri (p52), dated back from 117 to 138. This fragment of John’s gospel survives from within a generation of composition. Since the book was composed in Asia Minor and this fragment was found in Egypt, some circulation time is demanded, surely placing composition of John within the first century. Whole books (Bodmer Papyri) are available from 200. Most of the New Testament, including all the gospels, is available in the Chester Beatty Papyri manuscript from 150 yeas after the New Testament was finished (ca. 250). No other book from the ancient world has as small a time gap between composition and earliest manuscript copies as the New Testament.

This story appeared on Page A6 of The Standard-Times on April 19, 2003.

But a literary tale dated by some scholars at 72 AD or earlier, which comes from an ancient collection of Jewish writings known as the Talmud, quotes brief passages that appear only in the Gospel of Matthew. In his 1999 book, “Passover and Easter: Origin and History to Modern Times,” Israel J. Yuval of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University states that Rabban Gamaliel, a leader of rabbinical scholars in about 70 AD, is “considered to have authored a sophisticated parody of the Gospel according to Matthew.” The Talmud, a text not often touched by New Testament scholars, also contains a number of obvious references to Jesus and his family.

Jesus is called a Nazarene as one of the names given him. Another dubs him Yeshua Ben Pandira, which means Jesus born-of-a-virgin in a combination of Hebrew and Greek. His father was a carpenter, his mother was a hairdresser and Jesus, the Talmud says, was a magician who “led astray Israel.” And, it says, he was “hung” on the eve of Passover.

German church historian Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930), a rationalist scholar of high repute among Protestants and Rationalists, said that the Synoptic Gospels were written before 70 A.D. (i.e., before the fall of Jerusalem). After many years of doubt or denial on the question, he concluded that the Gospel of St John is by him and can be dated 80-118. He placed the Gospels of Mark and Luke before the year 60, and Acts in the year 62. Shortly before his death, he signified his acceptance of the tradition that St Luke derived his information on the infancy of Jesus from Mary His Mother.

KWL:

Early dating of the books of the New Testament is held by numerous modern scholars. Modern research adduces several complementary arguments for the credibility and early dating of the Gospels, Acts, and letters of St Paul:

(1) Argument from internal indications of dating.

Italian Biblical scholar and Orientalist, Giuseppe Ricciotti, takes as his starting point the conclusion of the Acts of the Apostles. Acts concludes with St Paul in prison, before his trial had taken place and before the general persecution of Christians under Nero, which began in 64. It was written about 62 or 63, therefore. St Luke wrote Acts after his Gospel, as he states at the start of Acts. His Gospel, therefore, cannot be dated after 60, and tradition places it third in the list of Gospels, something confirmed by the Gospel’s prologue, which refers to “many others” who have also written narratives of Christ, among whom would certainly be Matthew and Mark. This dating puts Matthew and Mark no later than 60. Ricciotti argues for the following dates: Matthew 50-55; Mark 55-60; Luke c. 60; John c. 100.

(2) Argument from history.

Anglican bishop J.A.T. Robinson, well-known for the theological liberalism of his book Honest to God (1963), in an epoch-making work Redating the New Testament, came to the conclusion that the late dating of the Gospels by the school of ‘form criticism’ is totally dependent upon “the manifold tyranny of unexamined assumptions.” Robinson begins his study by noting that in the entire New Testament, “the single most datable and climactic event of the period—the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, and with it the collapse of institutional Judaism based on the temple—is never once mentioned as a past fact.” He proposes the following dates: Matthew 40-60; Mark 45-60; Luke 57-60; John 40-65; and indeed he dates the entire New Testament before the year 70.

(3) Argument from early patristic tradition combined with internal comparison of the Gospels.

Anglican canon, and Professor of New Testament Greek, John Wenham, arguing from the likenesses and differences between the Synoptic Gospels, and early tradition regarding their order and place of writing, concludes that the Gospel of St Matthew was written around 40, St Mark about 45, St Luke by the mid-50s, and Acts of the Apostles in 62. Early Fathers and writers are unanimous in asserting that St Matthew wrote first, and in Hebrew. Those who say so include Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Cyril of Jerusalem. Later writers say the same: St Gregory Nazianzus, St John Chrysostom, St Augustine, St Jerome.

(4) Argument from Jewish oral and written tradition.

Swedish Biblicist, Birger Gerhardsson, demonstrates the reliability of the sayings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels from the teaching and memorisation methods of the Jewish rabbis and disciples at the time of Christ. “Turning to Jesus’ oral teaching, we must reckon with the fact that he used a method similar to that of Jewish—and Hellenistic—teachers: the scheme of text and interpretation. He must have made his disciples learn sayings off by heart; if he taught, he must have required his disciples to memorize.” The same evidence has been presented by Harald Riesenfeld, also of Sweden, and Thorleif Boman of Norway. French scholar Marcel Jousse in his own studies demonstrated the Semitic characteristics and rhythm of the sayings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. Other scholars point also to the wide use of shorthand and the carrying of notebooks in the Graeco-Roman world, the practice in schools of circulating lecture notes, and the common practice among the disciples of rabbis to make notes of their sayings.

(5) Argument from Hebrew basis of the texts.

French scholar Jean Carmignac was struck by the Semitisms (Hebrew or Semitic way of writing and speaking) of the Greek text of St Mark’s Gospel when in 1963 he began to translate it into Hebrew. His work The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels summarises twenty years of research on the Hebrew language background to the Gospels. Carmignac names forty-nine scholars who uphold the Semitic origin of one or other of the Gospels. He adduces multiple examples of Semitisms, and divides them into nine categories: Semitisms of borrowing, imitation, thought, vocabulary, syntax, style, composition, transmission, and translation. In essence, he demonstrates that the Synoptic Gospels can only have taken shape in the Jewish culture of the first half of the 1st century A.D., and thus they evince the authenticity of their content and origin. “In short, the latest dates that can be admitted are around 50 for Mark, … around 55 for Completed Mark; around 55-60 for Matthew; between 58 and 60 for Luke. But the earliest dates are clearly more probable: Mark around 42; Completed Mark around 45; (Hebrew) Matthew around 50; (Greek) Luke a little after 50.” Based upon the same arguments, French philosopher and specialist in Hebrew thought Claude Tresmontant proposes the following dates: Matthew before 36, Mark 50-60, and Luke 40-60.

The Hebrew origins of our Greek manuscripts have been studied by scholars in Jerusalem such as Robert Lindsey, David Flusser, Pinchas Lapide and David Bivin. Lindsey comments, “My own encounter with the strong Hebraism of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke came several years ago when I had occasion to attempt the translation of the Gospel of Mark to Hebrew. What first caught my attention was the very Hebraic word order of the Greek text of Mark. Usually I only needed to find the correct Hebrew equivalents to the Greek words in order to give good sense and understanding to the text. In other words, the syntax or word relationships were just such as one would expect in Hebrew.” The Greek text reads like a word-for-word translation of a Hebrew text. At times, obscure phrases in Greek can be understood by translating back into Hebrew, thus arriving at a Hebrew idiom or term or saying whose meaning was lost in translation. St Jerome says that he himself made a copy of the Hebrew original of a ‘Gospel according to the Hebrews’—a work, now lost, which scholars judge to be akin to St Matthew’s Gospel. Other ancient writers, Clement, Origen, Eusebius and Epiphanius, attest to the same or a similar work.

(6) Argument from internal comparison of language.

French Biblical scholar Philippe Rolland argues, as Ricciotti, for the early dating of Acts and contends that falsification of the facts by Luke was completely impossible, given that many readers and listeners to Acts were eyewitnesses to the events described therein. He accepts the basic argument of J. Robinson regarding the fall of Jerusalem. He then demonstrates the similarity of language between the discourses of St Peter in the Acts of the Apostles and the two epistles by him. He demonstrates likewise the similarity of language between the discourses of St Paul in the Acts of the Apostles and the several epistles by him. He proposes the following dates: Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew, A.D. 40; Greek translation of Matthew, and Gospel of Luke, 63 or 64; Mark, 66 or 67; John, towards 100. These dates are accepted and proposed by Italian Biblical, Oriental and Patristic scholar, Tommaso Federici.

(7) Argument from dating of papyri.

German papyrologist Carsten Peter Thiede examined three papyrus fragments of the Gospel of St Matthew—acquired in 1901 in Luxor, Egypt, and now kept at Magdalen College, Oxford—and concluded that they can be dated to about the year 60 A.D.

The Moorings:

One great difficulty besetting a late date for the Gospels is the names they have borne throughout church history. They have always been known as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four attributions refer to leading figures in the early church. Matthew and John were among the twelve original disciples of Jesus. Mark helped in the work of both Paul (Acts 12:25; 13:5; 2 Tim. 4:11) and Peter (1 Pet. 5:13), the foremost apostles of early Christianity. And Luke was a frequent companion of Paul during his later missionary travels. Hence, either as an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry or as a close associate of eyewitnesses, each man had the firsthand information needed to write a Gospel.

The problem of expert witnesses

In courts of law, expert witnesses are brought in and in the Knox case [Perugia], an overturning of a conviction was based on their testimony, which has been challenged and is at the basis of the appeal currently underway.

It’s no different to biblical scholarship and the evidence is perhaps more real than much of what the “independent experts” had left to pronounce upon in Perugia. Over and over, people make sweeping statements that “the bible’s been through so many hands and is so changed”, therefore it is untrue.

My point here is not whether it’s true or untrue but that sweeping staements such as that are based on pseudo-Enlightenment Rationalists which is about as reliable as asking Alex Ferguson if ManU is the greatest club in the world. They could point to the Apologists in the same light but the difference is that the Apologists have extant texts, the Rationalists have denial and their concept of “reason”.

In the end, it really does come down to whom you believe. What has been stated so far is fairly easy to establish as evidence. What follows below is more in the nature of what biblical scholars have made of that evidence.

Reverend George H. Duggan, S.M., is a New Zealander. After earning his S.T.D. at the Angelicum in Rome, he taught philosophy for fifteen years at the Marist seminary, Greenmeadows, and then was rector in turn of a university hall of residence and the Marist tertianship. He is now living in retirement at St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream. He is the author of Evolution and Philosophy (1949), Hans Kung and Reunion (1964), Teilhardism and the Faith (1968), and Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1987). His last article in HPR appeared in October 1992. He wrote:

D. F. Strauss (1808-1874), in his Life of Jesus, (published in 1835-6), anticipated Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) in holding that the Gospels, although they contain some historical facts, were mainly mythology and were written late in the 2nd century. Similarly F. C. Baur (1792-1860), an Hegelian rationalist, held that the Gospels were written between 130 and 170.

But Strauss, in the words of Giuseppe Ricciotti, “honestly confessed that his theory would collapse if the Gospels were composed during the first century.”

If they were so early, there would not be enough time for the myths to develop. Moreover, it is plain that, the nearer a document is to the facts it narrates, the more likely it is that it will be factually accurate, just as an entry in a diary is more likely to be accurate than memoirs written forty or fifty years afterwards. John A. T. Robinson was therefore justified when he ended his book Redating the New Testament with the words: “Dates remain disturbingly fundamental data.”

This has now begun to turn around but in 1992, he wrote:

The current dating of the four Gospels, accepted by the biblical establishment, which includes scholars of every persuasion, is: Mark 65-70; Matthew and Luke in the 80s; John in the 90s. These dates are repeated by the columnists who write in our Catholic newspapers and the experts who draw up the curricula for religious education in our Catholic schools.

For much of this late dating there is little real evidence.

This point was made by C. H. Dodd, arguably the greatest English-speaking biblical scholar of the century. In a letter that serves as an appendix to Robinson’s book Redating the New Testament, Dodd wrote:

“I should agree with you that much of the late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton, the offspring not of any argument that can be presented, but rather of the critic’s prejudice that, if he appears to assent to the traditional position of the early church, he will be thought no better than a stick-in-the-mud.”

Many years earlier the same point was made by C. C. Torrey, professor of Semitic Languages at Yale from 1900 to 1932. He wrote: “I challenged my NT colleagues to designate one passage from any one of the four Gospels giving clear evidence of a date later than 50 A.D. . . . The challenge was not met, nor will it be, for there is no such passage.”

In 1976, the eminent New Testament scholar, John A. T. Robinson, “put a cat among the pigeons” with his book Redating the New Testament, published by SCM Press. He maintained that there are no real grounds for putting any of the NT books later than 70 A.D.

His main argument is that there is no clear reference in any of them to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple which occurred on September 26th of that year. This cataclysmic event brought to an end the sacrificial worship that was the center of the Jewish religion and it should have merited a mention in the NT books if they were written afterwards.

In particular, one would have expected to find a reference to the event in the Epistle to the Hebrews, for it would have greatly strengthened the author’s argument that the Temple worship was now obsolete.

Robinson dated the composition of Matthew from 40 to 60, using dots to indicate the traditions behind the text, dashes to indicate a first draft, and a continuous line to indicate writing and rewriting. Similarly, he dated Mark from 45 to 60, Luke from 55 to 62, and John from 40 to 65.

Robinson’s book was the first comprehensive treatment of the dating of the NT books since Harnack’s Chronologie des altchristlichen Litteratur, published in 1897. It is a genuine work of scholarship by a man thoroughly versed in the NT text and the literature bearing on it.

But it was not welcomed by the biblical establishment, and it was not refuted, but ignored. “German New Testament scholars,” Carsten Thiede has written, “all but ignored Redating the New Testament, and not until 1986, ten years later, did Robinson’s work appear in Germany, when a Catholic and an Evangelical publishing house joined forces to have it translated and put into print.”

In 1987, the Franciscan Herald Press published The Birth of the Synoptics by Jean Carmignac, a scholar who for some years was a member of the team working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He tells us he would have preferred “Twenty Years of Work on the Formation of the Synoptic Gospels” as a title for the book, but the publishers ruled this out as too long.

Carmignac is sure that Matthew and Mark were originally written in Hebrew. This would not have been the classical Hebrew of the Old Testament, nor that of the Mishnah (c. 200 A.D.) but an intermediate form of the language, such as the Qumran sectaries were using in the 1st century A.D.

Papias, the Bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor, who died about 130 A.D., tells us that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, and Carmignac has made a good case for holding that the same is true of Mark. He found that this compelled him to put the composition of these Gospels much earlier than the dates proposed by the biblical establishment.

He writes: “I increasingly came to realize the consequences of my work . . . . The latest dates that can be admitted for Mark (and the Collection of Discourses) is 50, and around 55 for the Completed Mark; around 55-60 for Matthew; between 58 and 60 for Luke. But the earliest dates are clearly more probable: Mark around 42; Completed Mark around 45; (Hebrew) Matthew around 50; (Greek) Luke a little after 50.”

On page 87 he sets out the provisional results (some certain, some probable, others possible) of his twenty years’ research and remarks that his conclusions almost square with those of J. W. Wenham.

Wenham:

In 1992, Hodder and Stoughton published Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke by John Wenham, the author of a well-known grammar of New Testament Greek. Born in 1913, he is an Anglican scholar who has spent his life in academic and pastoral work. He tells us that his attention was drawn to the Synoptic Problem in 1937, when he read Dom John Chapman’s book Matthew, Mark and Luke. He has been grappling with the problem ever since and in this book he offers his solution of the problem; but his main concern is the dates of the Synoptics.

Wenham’s book received high praise from Michael Green, the editor of the series I Believe, which includes works by such well-known scholars as I. Howard Marsall and the late George Eldon Ladd. The book, Green writes, “is full of careful research, respect for evidence, brilliant inspiration and fearless judgement. It is a book no New Testament scholar will be able to neglect.”

Green may be too optimistic. Wenham will probably get the same treatment as Robinson: not a detailed refutation, but dismissed as not worthy of serious consideration.

Wenham puts the first draft of Matthew before 42. For twelve years (30-42) the Apostles had remained in Jerusalem, constituting, in words of the Swedish scholar B. Gerhardsson, a kind of Christian Sanhedrin, hoping to win over the Jewish people to faith in Christ. Matthew’s Gospel, written in Hebrew, would have had an apologetic purpose, endeavoring to convince the Jews, by citing various Old Testament texts, that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of David and the long-awaited Messiah.

The persecution of the Church in 42 by Herod Agrippa I, in which the Apostle James suffered martyrdom, put an end to those hopes. Peter, miraculously freed from prison, went, we are told “to another place” (Acts 12:17). There are grounds for thinking that this “other place” was Rome, where there was a big Jewish community and where he would be out of the reach of Herod Agrippa. There, using Matthew’s text, and amplifying it with personal reminiscences, he preached the gospel. When Agrippa died in 44, Peter was able to return to Palestine. After his departure from Rome, Mark produced the first draft of his Gospel, based on Peter’s preaching.

Luke was in Philippi from 49 to 55, and it was during this time that he produced the first draft of his Gospel, beginning with our present chapter 3, which records the preaching of John the Baptist.10 It was to this Gospel, Origen explained, that St. Paul was referring when, writing to the Corinthians in 56, he described Luke as “the brother whose fame in the gospel has gone through all the churches” (2 Cor. 8:18).

We know that Luke was in Palestine when Paul was in custody in Caesarea (58-59). He would have been able to move round Galilee, interviewing people who had known the Holy Family, and probably making the acquaintance of a draft in the Hebrew of the Infancy Narrative, and so gathering material for the first two chapters of the present Gospel. In the finished text he introduced this and the rest of the Gospel with the prologue in which he assures Theophilus that he intends to write history.

There are no grounds for putting Luke’s Gospel in the early 80s as R. F. Karris does,11 or, with Joseph Fitzmyer, placing it as “not earlier than 80-85.”

The date of Luke’s Gospel is closely connected with that of Acts, its companion volume, for if Acts is early, then Luke will be earlier still. In 1896, Harnack put Acts between 79 and 93, but by 1911 he had come to the conclusion that “it is the highest degree probable” that Acts is to be dated before 62. If Luke does not mention the outcome of the trial of Paul, it is, Harnack argued, because he did not know, for when Luke wrote, the trial had not yet taken place.

Hemer and others:

C. J. Hemer, in his magisterial work, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, which was published posthumously in 1989, gives fifteen general indications, of varying weight but cumulative in their force, which point to a date before 70. Indeed, many of these point to a date before 65, the year in which the Neroian persecution of the Church began.

In 1996, Weidenfeld and Nicholson published The Jesus Papyrus by Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew d’Ancona. Thiede is Director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany, and a member of the International Papyrological Association. Matthew d’Ancona is a journalist and Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph, a London newspaper.

The book is about several papyrus fragments, and in particular three found in Luxor, Egypt, which contain passages from the Gospel of St. Matthew, and one found in Qumran, which contains twenty letters from the Gospel of St. Mark.

The three Luxor fragments-the Jesus papyrus-came into the possession of the Reverend Charles Huleatt, the Anglican chaplain in that city, who sent them in 1901 to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he had graduated in 1888. They did not attract scholarly attention until 1953, when Colin H. Roberts examined them. He dated them as belonging to the late 2nd century. Then in 1994, they came to the notice of C. P. Thiede, who suspected that they might be much older than Roberts thought. Examining them with a confocal laser scanning microscope, and comparing them with the script in a document dated July 24, 66, he came to the conclusion that the fragments should be dated as belonging to the middle of the first century.

The Qumran fragment is small-3.3 cm x 2.3 cm-an area that is slightly larger than a postage stamp. It contains twenty letters, on five lines, ten of the letters being damaged. It is fragment no. 5 from Cave 7 and it is designated 7Q5. A similar fragment from the same Cave-7Q2-has one more letter-twenty-one as against twenty, on five lines. The identification of this fragment as Baruch (or the Letter of Jeremiah) 6:43-44 has never been disputed.

In 1972 Fr. José O’Callaghan, S.J., a Spanish papyrologist, declared that the words on 7Q5 were from the Gospel of St. Mark: 6:52-53. This identification was widely questioned, but many papyrologists rallied to his support, and there are good reasons for thinking that O’Callaghan was right. Thiede writes: “In 1994, the last word on this particular identification seemed to have been uttered by one of the great papyrologists of our time, Orsolina Montevecchi, Honorary President of the International Papyrological Association. She summarized the results in a single unequivocal sentence: ‘I do not think there can be any doubt about the identification of 7Q5.’”14 This implies that St. Marks’ Gospel was in being some time before the monastery at Qumran was destroyed by the Romans in 68.

Those who object that texts of the Gospels could not have reached such out of the way places as Luxor or Qumran as early as the 60s of the first century do not realize how efficient the means of communication were in the Empire at that time. Luxor was even then a famous tourist attraction, and, with favorable winds a letter from Rome could reach Alexandria in three days-at least as quickly as an airmail letter in 1996. Nor was Qumran far from Jerusalem, and we know that the monks took a lively interest in the religious and intellectual movements of the time.

New Testament scholars dealing with the Synoptic Gospels will obviously have to take more notice of the findings of the papyrologists than they have so far been prepared to do, however painful it may be to discard received opinions.

When was St. John’s Gospel written?

John, the son of Zebedee, and one of the Apostles, wrote the Gospel that bears his name, was established long ago, on the basis of external and internal evidence, by B. F. Westcott and M. J. Lagrange, O.P., and their view, though not universally accepted, has not really been shaken.

St. Irenaeus, writing in 180, tells us that John lived until the reign of the Emperor Trajan, which began in 98. From this some have inferred that John wrote his Gospel in the 90s. But this inference is obviously fallacious. The majority of modern scholars do indeed date the Gospel in the 90s, but a growing number put it earlier, and Robinson mentions seventeen, including P. Gardner-Smith, R. M. Grant and Leon Morris, who favor a date before 70.

To them we could add Klaus Berger, of Heidelberg, who puts it in 66. Robinson decisively refutes the arguments brought forward by Raymond Brown and others to establish a later date, viz. the manner of referring to “the Jews,” and the reference to excommunication in chapter 9. He adds: “There is nothing in the Gospel that suggests or presupposes that the Temple is already destroyed or that Jerusalem is in ruins-signs of which calamity are inescapably present in any Jewish or Christian literature that can with any certainty be dated to the period 70-100.”

Robinson also points out that John, when describing the cure of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda, tells us that this pool “is surrounded by five porticos, or covered colonnades” (5:2). Since these porticos were destroyed in 70, John’s use of the present tense-”is”-seems to imply that the porticos were still in being when he wrote. “Too much weight,” he admits, “must not be put on this-though it is the only present tense in the context; and elsewhere (4:6; 11:18; 18:1; 19:41), John assimilates his topographical descriptions to the tense of the narrative.”

This article will have served its purpose if it has encouraged the reader to consider seriously the evidence for an early date for the Gospels, refusing to be overawed by such statements as that “the majority of modern biblical scholars hold” or that “there is now a consensus among modern biblical scholars” that the Gospels are to be dated from 65 to 90 A.D.

The account I have given of the writing of the Synoptic Gospels is categorical in style, but it is presented only as a likely scenario. However, it would seem to be more likely than one based on the assumption that among the Jews, a literate people, it was thirty years or more before anyone wrote a connected account of the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.

“I do not wish,” C. S. Lewis once said to a group of divinity students, “to reduce the skeptical element in your minds. I am only suggesting that it need not be reserved exclusively for the New Testament and the Creeds. Try doubting something else.” This something else, I suggest could include the widely accepted view that the Gospels were written late.

It will be easier to do this if the reader is acquainted with the judgment of the eminent jurist, Sir Norman Anderson, who describes himself as “an academic from another discipline who has browsed widely in the writings of contemporary theologians and biblical scholars.” At times, he is, he tells us, “astonished by the way in which they handle their evidence, by the presuppositions and a priori convictions with which some of them clearly (and even, on occasion, on their own admission) approach the documents concerned, and by the positively staggering assurance with which they make categorical pronouncements on points which are, on any showing, open to question, and on which equally competent colleagues take a diametrically opposite view.”

Duggan’s notes:

1 The traditional dating is given in the Douay-Rheims-Challoner version in its introductions to the Gospels: Matthew about 36; Mark about 40; Luke about 54; John about 93. 2 Ricciotti, The Life of Christ (E.T. Alba I. Zizzamia), Bruce, Milwaukee, 1944, p. 186. 3 Redating the New Testament, SCM Press, London, 1976, p. 358. 4 Thus in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Geoffrey Chapman, London, 1989, D. J. Harrington puts Mark before 70; B. T. Viviani, O.P., puts Matthew between 80 and 90; R. J. Karris, O.F.M., puts Luke 80-85; Pheme Perkins puts John in the 90s. 5 Redating the New Testament, p. 360. 6 Quoted in J. Wenham, Redating Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Hodder and Stoughton, London, p. 299 note 2. 7 C. P. Thiede and M. d’Ancona, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London, 1996, p. 45. 8 J. Carmignac, The Birth of the Synoptics, (E. T. Michael J. Wrenn)

Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago, 1987, pp. 6, 61. 9 Ibid., p. 99 note 29. 10 Robinson suggests that this may be the case, op. cit. p. 282 note 142. 11 R. J. Karris, in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 670. 12 Richard Dillon and Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice-Hall International, London, 1968, Vol. 2, p. 165. 13 J. Wenham, op. cit., pp. 225-226. 14 C. P. Thiede and M. d’Ancona, op. cit., p. 56. 15 Robinson, op. cit., pp. 272-285. 16 Ibid., p. 275. 17 Ibid., p. 278. 18 “Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism” in Christian Reflections, Geoffrey Bles, London, 1967, p. 164. 19A Lawyer Among Theologians, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1973, p. 15.

Talmud

The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem was predicted not only by Jesus but also by other learned Jews of the time. There are 3 fragments in the Talmud which refer to something terrible happening “40 years before the destruction of the Temple”, which is said to have had various consequences, one of them being that the “sacrifices lost their efficacy”.

Johanan Ben Zakkai, a friend of Nicodemus, cried out when the Temple gates once opened of their own accord, “O Temple, Temple . . . I know that thou shallt be destroyed!” He was referring by this to Zech. 11:1, “Open your doors, O Lebanon, so that fire may devour your cedars!” ‘Lebanon’, according to the Rabbis, is a cryptic name for the Temple, because its root letters form the word ‘whiten’: the Temple therefore “whitens” the nation’s sins.

The clearest prophecy of the destruction of the Temple is of course the 9th chapter of Daniel, referred to in passing by the Jewish historian Josephus, who also recorded the remarkable fact of the Temple’s east gate opening of its own accord during the night.

The strongest proof that the destruction of the Temple was considered possible is in Josephus’ Jewish Wars: During the Feast of Tabernacles “four years before the Jewish revolt”, when “the city was still flourishing and in perfect peace”, a certain Jesus, the son of Ananus began to proclaim strange tidings, crying out with great volume: “A voice cries out against Jerusalem, against the Temple of God, against the whole nation!”

He continued night and day “in all the streets and alleys of the city”, and even though both Jewish and Roman officials scourged him until his bones were laid bare, “he shed no tear nor did he rebuke his torturers”. He kept this up for “seven years and five months, right up to the siege of the city”. Finally, to his cry of “Woe to thee, Jerusalem!” he added the words “Woe, woe to myself also!”. Soon after the seige commenced, Josephus tells us, he was killed by a stone from a Roman ballista.

Doctor Bo Reicke wrote:

“it is nothing short of jingoistic and uncritical dogma to claim in New Testament criticism that the gospels must have been written after the Jewish revolt [AD 66-70], simply because they contain prophecies of the destruction of the second Temple which could only have been inserted at a later date”.

The Rationalist hijacking of science

Coming back to Leibnitz and his “wherein religion and reason appear as adversaries”, this has fuelled all subsequent Rationalist argument, has been the cornerstone of the dogma of Science which dominates school thinking today and has suppressed a simple truth – that true reason, unimpeded by hatreds and true science, meaning the finding of meaning in phenomena, should lead to a placing on the table of all evidence, no matter what its source and slowly, some sort of non-relativistic “truth” appears as a result.

I think the greatest crime of the Rationalists, apart from their course being a one-way ticket to oppression, is that they distort truth by setting science and metaphysics against one another. In a broader context than just that of Christianity, this might be their greatest crime against humanity and the reason we are suffering as we are.

The reason why the truncated narrative of the Rationalists is so dangerous is that it effectively blinds people to part of the whole puzzle, suppresses it and leads to an inability to comprehend the whole, including the very nature of Them and what they’re about.

That the Rationalists have been able to get away with hoodwinking the peoples of the west with their shoddy tactics is, quite frankly, a crime and the rational philosophers are the druids of that thought process. Going back to Sir Norman Anderson, it’s as well to look again at his description of the rationalist/liberal treatment of theology:

Remember, he was “astonished by the way in which they handle their evidence, by the presuppositions and a priori convictions with which some of them clearly (and even, on occasion, on their own admission) approach the documents concerned, and by the positively staggering assurance with which they make categorical pronouncements on points which are, on any showing, open to question, and on which equally competent colleagues take a diametrically opposite view.”

Drawing on the Schiller Institute material:

During the first half of the 1700s, the most important activities of Venetian intelligence were directed by a salon called the conversazione filosofica e felice, which centered around the figure of Antonio Schinella Conti. Conti was a Venetian nobleman, originally a follower of Descartes, who lived for a time in Paris, where he was close to Malebranche. Conti went to London where he became a friend of Sir Isaac Newton.

We can approach these Venetians in three groups:

First there is the group around Pietro Pomponazzi, Gasparo Contarini, and Francesco Zorzi, who were active in the first part of the 1500’s.

Second, there is the group of Paolo Sarpi and his right-hand man Fulgenzio Micanzio, the case officers for Galileo Galilei. This was the group that opposed Johannes Kepler in the early 1600’s.

Third, we have the group around Antonio Conti and Giammaria Ortes in the early 1700’s. This was the group that created the Newton myth and modern materialism or utilitarianism and combatted Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. These three groups of Venetian game-masters are responsible for a great deal of the obscurantism and garbage that weighs like a nightmare on the brain of humanity today.

These Venetian intelligence officials are the original atheists and materialists of the modern world, as reflected in the sympathy of Soviet writers for figures like Galileo, Newton, and Voltaire as ancestors of what was later called Dialectical Materialism.

Conti directed the operations that made Newton an international celebrity, including especially the creation of a pro-Newton party of French Anglophiles and Anglomaniacs who came to be known as the French Enlightenment. Conti’s agents in this effort included Montesquieu and Voltaire. Conti was also active in intrigues against the German philosopher, scientist, and economist Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, whom Conti portrayed as a plagiarist of Newton. Conti also influenced Georg Ludwig of Hanover, later King George I of England, against Leibniz.

The Conti conversazione was also sponsored by the Emo and Memmo oligarchical families. Participants included Giammaria Ortes, the Venetian economist who asserted that the carrying capacity of the planet Earth could never exceed three billion persons. Ortes was a student of the pro-Galileo activist Guido Grandi of Pisa. Ortes applied Newton’s method to the so-called social sciences. Ortes denied the possibility of progress or higher standards of living, supported free trade, opposed dirigist economics, and polemicized against the ideas of the American Revolution.

The ideas of Conti, Ortes, and their network were brought into Great Britain under the supervision of William Petty, the Earl of Shelburne, who was the de facto doge of the British oligarchy around the time of the American Revolution. The Shelburne stable of writers, including Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Malthus, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, and other exponents of British philosophical radicalism, all take their main ideas from Conti and especially Ortes.

Francesco Algarotti, author of a treatise on “Newtonian Science for Ladies,” was another Venetian in the orbit of the Conti conversazione. Algarotti was close to Voltaire, and, along with the French scientist Pierre Louis de Maupertuis, he helped form the homosexual harem around British ally Frederick the Great of Prussia. Frederick the Great was Britain’s principal continental ally during the Seven Years War against France, when British victories in India and Canada made them the supreme naval power of the world.

The homosexual Frederick made Algarotti his court chamberlain at his palace of Sans Souci. Maupertuis had become famous when he went to Lapland to measure a degree of the local meridian, and came back claiming that he had confirmed one of Newton’s postulates. Frederick made him the president of the Berlin Academy of Sciences. Frederick corresponded with Voltaire all his life; Voltaire lived at Sans Souci and Berlin between 1750 and 1753. Voltaire quarreled with Maupertuis and attacked him in his “Diatribe of Doctor Akakia.” The mathematicians Leonhard Euler of Switzerland and Joseph Louis Lagrange of Turin were also associated with Fredrick’s cabal.

Galileo’s fame was procured when he used a small telescope to observe the four largest moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and the phases of Venus. (The first telescope had been built by Leonardo da Vinci about a hundred years before Galileo.) He reported these sightings in his essay The Starry Messenger, which instantly made him the premier scientist in Europe and thus a very important agent of influence for the Venetian Party. This entire telescope operation had been devised by Paolo Sarpi, who wrote about Galileo as “our mathematician.” In 1611, a Polish visitor to Venice, Rey, wrote that the “adviser, author, and director” of Galileo’s telescope project had been Father Paolo Sarpi.

Kepler and Galileo were in frequent contact for over thirty years. In 1609, Kepler published his Astronomia Nova, expounding his first and second laws of planetary motion. Nonetheless, in Galileo’s Dialogues on the Two Great World Systems, published in 1633, Kepler is hardly mentioned. At the end, one of the characters says that he is surprised at Kepler for being so “puerile” as to attribute the tides to the attraction of the Moon.

Newton’s real interest was not mathematics or astronomy. It was alchemy. His laboratory at Trinity College, Cambridge was fitted out for alchemy. Here, his friends said, the fires never went out during six weeks of the spring and six weeks of the autumn. And what is alchemy? What kind of research was Newton doing? His sources were books like the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum of Elias Ashmole, the Rosicrucian leader of British speculative Freemasonry.

Newton’s love of alchemy and magic surfaces as the basis of his outlook, including in his supposed scientific writings. In his Opticks, he asks, “Have not the small particles of bodies certain powers, virtues, or forces, by which they act at a distance. … How those attractions may be performed, I do not here consider. What I call attraction may be performed by Impulse, or some other means unknown to me.” This is Newton’s notion of gravity as action at a distance, which Leibniz rightly mocked as black magic. Newton’s system was unable to describe anything beyond the interaction of two bodies, and supposed an entropic universe that would have wound down like clockwork if not periodically re-wound.

How then did the current myth of Newton the scientist originate? The apotheosis of Newton was arranged by Antonio Conti of Venice. Conti understood that Newton, kook that he was, represented the ideal cult figure for a new obscurantist concoction of deductive-inductive pseudo-mathematical formalism masquerading as science.

The bottom line

Whether you accept la Rouche’s Venetians or wish to give them a different name, the major players still did as they did, it is verifiable in many sources and at a minimum, it raises serious questions about the hijacking of a movement which truly should have been enlightened but was diverted into strange paths championed by those who were under the influence of people who controlled the old money.  It’s the same crowd the whole time, it needs no suspension of disbelief and is quite simply – logical.

Everyone knows about the infiltration of the church, e.g. by P2 and the Black Nobility but fewer people know about the infiltration and perversion of science.  The bottom line is that, far from being rational human beings in charge of our own destiny, we are manipulated cogs who are mocked as sheeple by the movers and shakers going back many years.  It is fair to say that a Christian is tied to a gospel account and accepts an abstract concept as his protector but at least he has one and at least he came to it by free will.  There is no true Christian [in terms of John 3:16] who did not come to that by anything less than free will – by definition.

The analogy of marriage can be employed to an extent.  Whereas it’s conceded that many marriages are arranged, yet a love match is an arrangement whereby two people voluntarily give up their freedom for each other.  The difference between that along with Christianity and on the other hand the Rationalist view of the world is that the Rationalists have used coercion, false doctrine, pseudo-scientific metanarrative and give no choice to the poor student who goes through the university wringer – politically and philosophically speaking – it is like extruded sausages coming out of a mincer, giving themselves airs as freethinkers, which they most assuredly are not.

That’s precisely what the Rationalists accuse the Judaean Christian west  of having produced.

My purpose in writing this was to show that, far from being neutral and free from values, free from bias and prejudice, the Rationalist is every bit as dogmatic and zealous as any fire and brimstone preacher ever was.  It’s just that he’s either not honest enough to admit it or else he hasn’t really stopped to consider this.  You’ll notice that in all of this, this article has been more than friendly towards science and why not?  Science is a most acceptable way to approach the explanation of natural phenomena.

It’s the third force , the Rationalists – the Contis, Newtons, Voltaires, Hegels and so on – who are and always have been the problem.

PoMo is a direct consequence of them and is the darling of Them.

The outcome of the protest

The protests in London are yet another example of people being sold a dummy.  It was a good piece of advice given me not to look at the intention – what issued from the mouth – but at the net result, so what has the result been in London?

Has it brought down the capitalist system?  Has it seriously inconvenienced the City, hampered its operations, made the slightest bit of difference?  Is it likely to?

Not a bit of it.  Here is the result:

… and of course, the real agenda:

As many OoL and other pundits have said, more often on their own blogs, this is all about socialism, about bringing down Capitalism, which in their Marxist rhetoric means the whole free enterprise system and if the Church also comes down in the process, so much the better.

Why are these protesters not in the foyer of the stock exchange or any number of city offices dedicated to the wicked capitalism?  There are three addresses for a start I could have given them – key members of Them – and that might have at least inconvenienced the receptionists.

It’s not going to win any friends to start calling the protesters “useful idiots” and yet the net result of their actions is to eventually cripple the Church of England.  Williams is both so far out of touch and is such a good leftist that he joins the Pope in wanting to see free enterprise dead.

Presumably, in the Brave New World following this, the Rationalist utopia, the established Church both in Rome and here sees itself picking up many of the spoils, whilst others pick at the carcass of freedom to see what they can gain for themselves, not unlike the blow against tyranny struck in London during the riot – freedom to help yourselves to that which you have no legitimate claim to.

Cue the strongman who’ll bring “order” back in, a la Cristina Kirchner – with food in the belly, the citizenry won’t care about anything else.    And seeing as we’ve gone all religious today, what does the bible call such a person and his abomination of desolation?

8 Responses to “All Hallows Day reflection”

  1. Sackerson November 1, 2011 at 13:37 Permalink

    Your last stuff re the protesters suggests that you’ve bought the spin.

    We don’t have free market capitalism as people might think of it, because we don’t have sound money, so people aren’t saving and the winners are simply skimming off the output of the money press. If this is capitalism, the sooner it dies the better.

    And we don’t have democracy either, as the latest debacle over petition-initiated Parliamentary debate has shown.

    Question Time was interesting because although Dimbleby played the usual line of characterising Farage as the fringe troublemaker, it was simply the question from the audience that was making all three party spokespeople squirm. Out came all the usual rubbish about threats to our trade, employment etc posed by daring to have a referendum on EU membership.

    So, a liberal democracy that is neither. But we musn’t make a fuss, must we? And aren’t those protesters deliciously dirty, my dear? Shouldn’t they be working in Primark or something?

    If we are heading back to the political arrangements of the eighteenth century, it’s hardly surprising that the people will take to the streets, since (as Farage said) the results of this first, online petition essay in people’s democracy has left us – and those who will soon come after us – wondering what’s the point?

  2. Sackerson November 1, 2011 at 13:41 Permalink

    Oh, and why the protesters aren’t in the London Stock Exchange, or outside Parliament? Surely, surely you know. I bet you’re more familiar with SOCA than I am. Why not go the whole hog and expect the protesters to paint targets on their chests and heads?

  3. James Higham November 1, 2011 at 13:49 Permalink

    Sackers, don’t really know what you’re saying at the start. I’m saying that we don’t have free enterprise because They ensure we don’t. They pervert that just as much as they pervert the church – all in the name of reins of power and causing mayhem in the lower echelons.

    The protesters, with their “tear down all Capitalism” are buying the Marxist spin about Capital and Labour – it was never that way. Though the protesters eyes are on 1. the JPMs and GSs of the world, they don’t understand that these are just the manifestations of a much greater malaise going back in history … and 2. their own pockets.

    Your second comment – soft target, in other words. They can’t get near to the real enemy so they think the church is a soft touch.

  4. Sackerson November 1, 2011 at 16:00 Permalink

    Still disagree, I’m afraid. The kind of capitalism we have now IS, as their banner says, the crisis, and there are many of us who think more power to the protesters’ elbow.

    And you’re just NOT allowed to protest in places where you once could – you’ll even get arrested for reading the names of KIA service personnel outside Downing Street, that’s already happened.

    If you think the protesters’ agenda is more sinister, shame on the Establishment for letting things get to the state where the general public sympathises with the malcontents. And are all the OWS people commies, too? I think we should be told.

  5. James Higham November 1, 2011 at 18:37 Permalink

    If you think the protesters’ agenda is more sinister

    Sometimes, Sackers, I think you deliberately misunderstand. I never said they were sinister – I said they were misinformed, sucked in by the word Capitalism as used by the left, by the socialists, encompassing all free enterprise. So even though we don’t even have that, the protesters see it as bad because Them is bad. This is their political naivety and it’s a long haul to get the left to see this.

  6. Sackerson November 1, 2011 at 19:41 Permalink

    I don’t pretend, just slow, but I get there. If capitalism is become a dirty word, whose fault is that?

  7. James Higham November 1, 2011 at 21:31 Permalink

    Them, Sackers, Them.

  8. Revolution Harry November 1, 2011 at 22:39 Permalink

    An enjoyable, challenging and interesting read James. Thanks for the effort it must have taken.

    Yes, indeed, it’s the fault of Them.

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