It can be noted, first version of the article involved a postID with three consecutive sixes. Hence I made a new version.
How Dangerous Is The Vatican?
Alltime Conspiracies | 12.VII.2016
- The assets of 8 billion dollars of the Vatican are peanuts to those of US : In fiscal year 2015, the federal budget is $3.8 trillion. These trillions of dollars make up about 21 percent of the U.S. economy (as measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP). It's also about $12,000 for every woman, man and child in the United States.
Considering what Sabina Guzzanti said, I would not have minded seeing her in prison.
In Italian law, insulting the Pope can give 5 years of prison.
- As Crimen Sollicitationis was mentioned, it is a document by Antipope Roncalli:
"The 1962 document, approved by Pope John XXIII and signed by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, Secretary of the Holy Office, was addressed to "all Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries, including those of Eastern Rite". It gave specific instructions on how to carry out the rules in the Code of Canon Law: on dealing with such cases, and directed that the same procedures be used when dealing with denunciations of homosexual, paedophile or zoophile behaviour by clerics. Dioceses were to use the instruction for their own guidance and keep it in their archives for confidential documents; they were not to publish the instruction nor produce commentaries on it."
This does not correspond to historic dealing with such cases, where since 1568 De horrendo scelere stated that a priest doing any homosexual act was to be defrocked.
Now, the defrocking was at least indirectly a hint that person might have committed such a crime, while other offenses could also lead to defrocking (notably doctrinal ones).
- Apart from the fact that the Vatican is now occupied by Antipopes, I don't see any subtle "danger" ... except of the Antipopes NOT speaking up where reals Popes precisely should speak up.
Not having anti-Christian divorce laws is definitely not sth which is dangerous to a country, on the contrary.
The Jesus Conspiracy
Alltime Conspiracies | 31.V.2016
- "In 1999 Dorothy Murdock" (a k a Acharya Sanning, she was adept of some type of Hinduism) "argued that Jesus never existed. She and authors like Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy say the story is similar to older myths in Roman, Greek, Egyptian and other cultures."
For some reason Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy have no wiki articles, Peter none at all and Timothy redirects to the book. In other words, very difficult to verify qualifications and biasses outside that book.
However, here is the result of a google search, where google books reveals another of his works, "Soul Story":
"Tim Freke is an internationally respected authority on world spirituality and the bestselling author of more than 20 books, which have been translated into 15 languages. He is pioneering a new philosophy of awakening that has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. He presents life-changing events internationally and online. He has often been featured in the international media including the BBC and The History Channel."
In other words, we are dealing with a New Age quack. The full title of this other book is "Soul Story: Evolution and the Purpose of Life" - which says sth about his bias.
And the resumé so far should make us wary of BBC and of The History Channel.
Here is in fact a little resumé from his own site:
- deep awake guide
- vision and mission
- gnostic scholar
- emergent spirituality
- the deep awake life
- video testimonials
- emergent spirituality
- the deep awake life
- gnostic christianity
- world spirituality
- transformational talks
- the deep awakening retreat
- the deep awake training
- meditation massage training
- 21st century spirituality
- the deep awake state
- paralogical thinking
- soul-to-soul meditations
- emergent spirituality
- ONLINE WORLD TOUR
- deep awake advocates
- deep awake angels
In other words, the man very definitely has an agenda, and not the historically best respected one here in the West.
"Jesus is just another folk hero" (or so these guys and gal said - Acharya has died since ...)
Doesn't argue lack of historicity.
- "Professor George Wells observed"
You forgot to mention what he was professor in, German.
He was not a professor in history or even NT scholarship.
"that the New Testament gospels were written decades after Jesus' lifetime by people who, as far as we can prove, did not know him."
The last sentence is ambiguous, it could mean "we cannot prove they did know him" and it can mean "we can prove they didn't know him".
Either way, for two of them, the record of the Church in attributing authorship is proof at least presumptive that two of the Gospels were written by people who did know him (whether John was the Son of Zebedee or another John, St Irenaeus can have mixed up two people, he was the beloved disciple, as for Matthew no doubt he was the tax collector of Levite extraction). Two others (Luke and Mark) in diverse ways had access to people who did know Him.
- "Christopher Hitchens noted that there is no Roman record of Jesus' crucifixion"
Of course there is, the four Gospellers are Romans, lived in Roman Empire!
They are the only Roman historians that survive between end of Velleius Paterculus' history and beginning of Agricola by Tacitus.
"and the Roman census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem never took place."
Christopher Hitchens seems to imagine 1st C AD Roman Empire is as well documented as 19th C. and if a thing happened, ample documentation would survive to us, like for ... assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
This is not so.
- "The Bible alone cannot prove Jesus' existence, because it is a theological text. The Bible's account needs to be corroborated by other, independent sources."
Brazen and unusually clear expression of a certain incompetence in history.
A text being theological doesn't mean it is fabulous.
Even a text being theological in a fabulous theology doesn't mean the text is fabulous as to the events supposed to take place on earth before human eyewitness.
Frauds can contain fables, but a text being theological doesn't make it any likelier than a text being political or satiric that events in it are fabulous because the text is fraudulent.
I have dealt with people who say historical texts need to be corroborated by other historic texts, independent of ideological context of first text. If that were so, there are a lot of purely secular history we would not have access to, since either it is known from one text, or from more than one, but the authors are dependent on same context.
Here it is expressed clearer than usual, insofar as the reason for the supposed need of "independent confirmation" lies in the fact that the text is theological.
Sure, it is, but theological does not mean ahistorical, if anything, with a theology like Christianity or even Judaism, it means the reverse. For each text, you can discuss likelihood of a fraud being perpetrated which, considering the Apostles died as martyrs is extremely low, unless they were victims rather than perpetrators of fraud, which is also extreme low probability since they were the leaders just after Jesus died and resurrected.
Here a very antitheological bias has been expressed in a very clear and brazen way.
- "But in the 1840's, philosopher Bruno Bauer said, there are no other historical sources"
Yes, he was a Hegelian philosopher, and as erstwhile disciple of ex-Hegelian C. S. Lewis, I am not very impressed by Hegelian philosophers.
It so happens the wikipedian article on him calls him "philosopher and historian" but it also so happens, the biography says nothing of any specific qualifications in general history. ALL he did in "history" was deny historicity of Gospels and invent "histories" for how they came to be.
Check for yourselves:
- "They typically portrayed a much more human Jesus"
Citing on the best known of them:
Gospel of St. Thomas - What Is It?
The "Gospel of St. Thomas" is a collection of teachings that some attribute to Jesus of Nazareth. Portions of Greek versions of the text were found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt in the late 1800's. A complete version in Coptic (an Egyptian language derived from the Greek alphabet) was found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. The complete text has been dated to about 340 AD, while some of the Greek fragments have been dated as far back as 140 AD.
Same resource on second best known:
The Gospel of Judas begins with these words: "the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before the celebrated Passover." Later, the text says that Jesus tells Judas, “you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothed me.” (The Gospel of Judas, Published by the National Geographic Society, 2006.)
A link which also gives St Irenaeus as author for an opinion (earliest traceable) on its authorship:
“They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.” (Adversus Haereses I.31.1; Roberts-Donaldson translation.)
I would not claim that a man who could say “you will exceed all of them [f]or you will sacrifice the man that clothed me,” can be considered as more human than the Jesus of the canonical Gospels. I'd rather say, more diabolic.
- "People who followed Gnostic teachings were labelled heretics, because they did not support the teachings of the early Church"
More than not actively supporting them, they actively contradicted them.
"And when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the early 4th century, these heretics went against the authority of Rome, too."
Here one is supposing there were even Gnostics left by then.
"Valentinianism was one of the major Gnostic Christian movements. Founded by Valentinus in the second century AD, its influence spread extremely widely, not just within Rome, but also from Northwest Africa to Egypt through to Asia Minor and Syria in the east."
"Later in the movement's history it broke into an Eastern and a Western school. Disciples of Valentinus continued to be active into the 4th century AD, after the Roman Empire was declared to be Christian.
"Valentinus and the Gnostic movement that bore his name were considered threats to proto-orthodox Christianity by church leaders and scholars, not only because of their influence, but also because of their doctrine, practices and beliefs. Gnostics were condemned as heretics, and prominent Church fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyons and Hippolytus of Rome wrote against Gnosticism. Most evidence for the Valentinian theory comes from its critics and detractors, most notably Irenaeus, since he was especially concerned with refuting Valentinianism."
Note, the affirmation that Valentinianism continued into 4th C rests on Green, Henry A. (1985). The Economic and Social Origins of Gnosticism. Atlanta: Scholars Press. p. 245. Unless that is misquoted. A paragraph on the history of the sect says:
"Notable Valentinians included Heracleon (fl. ca. 175), Ptolemy, Florinus, Axionicus and Theodotus."
Here is a paragraph on when Ptolemy lived:
"Ptolemy was probably still alive c. 180. No other certain details are known about his life; Harnack's suggestion that he was identical with the Ptolemy spoken of by St. Justin is as yet unproved. It is not known when Ptolemy became a disciple of Valentinius, but Valentinius was active in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and in Rome. Ptolemy was, with Heracleon, the principal writer of the Italian or Western school of Valentinian Gnosticism, which was active in Rome, Italy, and Southern Gaul."
And here one on Theodotus:
"Theodotus of Byzantium (Ancient Greek: Θεoδoτoς; also known as Theodotus the Tanner, Theodotus the Shoemaker, and Theodotus the Fuller; flourished late 2nd century) was an early Christian writer from Byzantium, one of several named Theodotus whose writings were condemned as heresy in the early church."
In other words, no known proponent after 200 ... there is of course the fact that Nag Hammadi manuscripts were from 4th C, but this need not prove there were still Valentinians around to make these copies, it seems that some more Orthodox Christians had been using the texts prior to a condemnation of them.
I don't know of any suppression of Valentinianism by Rome, any more than of "original Baptists" by Constantine's Rome.
It is implausible the Church would have overlooked such an event, and it was keeping fairly detailed records from 4th C.
We also have Marcosians:
"The Marcosians were a Gnostic sect founded by Marcus, active in Lyon, France and southern Europe from the second to the 4th century. Women held special status in the Marcosian communities; they were regarded as prophetesses and participated in administering the Eucharistic rites. Irenaeus accuses Marcus of seducing his followers, and scornfully writes (Adversus Haereses I. 13, 4) that the whole sect was an affair of "silly women.""
I'm suspicious about the "to the 4th century" part. Their founder is anyway earlier than that:
"Marcus was the founder of the Marcosian Gnostic sect in the 2nd century AD. He was a disciple of Valentinus, with whom his system mainly agrees. His doctrines are almost exclusively known to us through a long polemic (i. 13–21) in Adversus Haereses, in which Irenaeus gives an account of his teaching and his school. Clement of Alexandria clearly knew of Marcus and actually used his number system (Stromata, VI, xvi), though without acknowledgement."
And it seems to have lacked other notable people.
In 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, John Peter Arendzen did claim that Marcosians "[i]n the district of Lyons, the Rhone Valley and Spain, [...] continued to exist till well into the fourth century."
But in his main article, on Gnosticism, he says:
"In dealing with the origins of Gnosticism, one might be tempted to mention Manichaeism, as a number of Gnostic ideas seem to be borrowed from Manichaeism, where they are obviously at home. This, however, would hardly be correct. Manichaeism, as historically connected with Mani, its founder, could not have arisen much earlier than A.D. 250, when Gnosticism was already in rapid decline. Manichaeism, however, in many of its elements dates back far beyond its commonly accepted founder; but then it is a parallel development with the Gnosis, rather than one of its sources. Sometimes Manichaeism is even classed as a form of Gnosticism and styled Parsee Gnosis, as distinguished from Syrian and Egyptian Gnosis. This classification, however, ignores the fact that the two systems, though they have the doctrine of the evil of matter in common, start from different principles, Manichaeism from dualism, while Gnosticism, as an idealistic Pantheism, proceeds from the conception of matter as a gradual deterioration of the Godhead."
- "According to Dorothy Murdock, these alternative Gospels were systematically destroyed in the 4th century upon the orders of Emperor Constantine."
What does she base this on?
- "In AD 325 he convened the First Council of Nicaea, where it was finally decreed that Jesus was both God and Man, part of the Holy Trinity."
And that this had been what the Church had taught back to the Apostles, it is not as if the decree was some kind of novum.
"Murdock says that with the Council of Nicea, Constantine was really establishing a new, standardised faith system that taught all other religions and denominations were heresy."
Er, no. Sts Irenaeus and Hippolytus had done so back when Gnostics were in their heyday.
(acc. to Murdock, Constantine invented) "a new form of control over the poor, and the world"
What about only known form of control over the rich?
"Christianity has determined the course of history"
For the better, as long as it was very determining ...