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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent little book but flawed by lack of references, June 14, 2011
This review is from: The Myth of the Resurrection and Other Essays (Freethought Library) (Paperback)
Joseph McCabe's publisher touted him as "the world's greatest scholar." You would think that "the world's greatest scholar" would have been more appreciative of references and citations (these can be obtained if one looks elsewhere). Also, an index would have helped. Other reviewers have noted these deficiencies.

These deficiences aside, this is an excellent little book and McCabe is well-qualified to write it. At the age of sixteen he entered a Franciscan seminary, was ordained at twenty-three and appointed to teach philosophy. Subsequently, he found his faith "bankrupt" and abandoned both the priesthood and Catholicism. He was a scholar of the first magnitude, steeped in the classics, and proficient in Latin and Greek. He was able to translate the ancient manuscripts from their original sources even the ones (as he points out) which were never translated because they reflected adversely on Christianity. Here was someone who "knew the secrets" and "spilled the beans."

In "The Myth of the Resurrection", McCabe points out that resurrection myths, whether Egyptian, Babylonian, Phoenician, Persian, Phrygian, or Greek go back to long before the time of Christ. Centuries before nations annually celebrated the death and resurrection of Osiris, Tammuz, Attis, Mithra and other gods. Christianity was not unique and was far from the first.

St. Paul, according to McCabe, truly believed in the resurrection of Christ. However, the resurrection accounts of the four evangelists (which were written after Paul's epistles) contain numerous conflicts, contradictions and clumsy fabrications. Read all four Gospel accounts and you will become thoroughly confused. Obviously, says McCabe, some early life of Jesus, in which he was conceived merely as a good man, and was correspondingly mourned, has been crudely tampered with by these later resurrectionists; and, as the first interpolations were not strong enough, more were added. The Church, which the Catholic imagines as "guarding the deposit of revelation", was improving it every half century.

In "Did Jesus Ever Live?" McCabe points out that the Gospels are worthless on this question. No one knows who wrote them, they are based on hearsay and oral tradition, and there is no evidence that they existed before the end of the first century. They gradually developed over time. After examining Jewish and pagan witnesses to the existence of Jesus, McCabe concludes that no non-Christian writer of the first century mentions Jesus with the possible exception of Flavius Josephus. Here McCabe alludes to that famous passage in Josephus which glowingly describes Jesus as a miracle worker and suggests that he was the son of God. However, Josephus, who was a Jewish zealot, could not possibly have written such a passage. It is obviously spurious and a Christian interpolation. However, McCabe believes that a real reference to Jesus may have been cut out by the interpolator and replaced by this clumsy forgery. McCabe concludes that Jesus was a little-known holy man who lived at this time and was gradually turned into a god.

In "How Christianity Triumphed," McCabe clains that St. Paul founded Christianity and St. Ambrose established it. At the time of Constantine Christians numbered about four or five percent of the empire. How did four or five percent become one hundred percent? Through persecution of the pagan religion by a series of Christian emperors which, McCabe says, was relentless for 150 years.

The triumph of Christianity may be dated at the year 420 after which Europe underwent a fearful degeneration. The world passed rapidly into a state of semi-barbarism. The fifth century was worse and the sixth far worse. The succeeding centuries increasingly worse. The great Roman system of education was completely destroyed and all Europe passed into a condition of complete illiteracy and dense ignorance in which vice and violence were only surpassed by superstition. The Church had triumphed and humanity fell deeply into the sordid middle ages.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 26, 2014 3:16:11 PM PDT
Kathy Brisco says:
What I find truly astounding and, frankly, hugely arrogant, is for someone like McCabe - and those like him in the progressive world of Christianity - to think they know better, or know more, than the 100's of millions of Christians whom have come before. The Bible, they declare, is not God's word ... St Paul was wrong ... there was no Adam and Eve, no Jonah, and perhaps no Christ. Of course, these Christian progressives see themselves as to be somehow more enlightened ... above the "unwashed" Christian masses who have for thousands of years clung to such fairy tales and folk lore. THEY, and they alone, are the ones who now understand what it is all about ... if just the rest of us would listen.

Paul warned of us of folks like this; false teachers who would lead others to damnation. False prophets who would even dare to cast out demons and do wondrous works in the very name of Jesus. Yet, at Judgement, Christ will declare that he "never knew " them and cast in to an eternal lake of fire, calling them "workers of iniquity." Time to wake up to these charlatans ... those would come in the name of Christ, but preaching a different Gospel than that preached by Paul.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2014 7:38:39 AM PDT
J. Alan Bock says:
"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."
BERTRAND RUSSELL

Yours truly

J. Alan Bock

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2014 3:19:28 PM PDT
Kathy Brisco says:
Faith, J. Alan Buck ... faith.

Yours truly, too
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