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Deceptions and Myths of the Bible Paperback – June 1, 2000
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Though I did like the book and found it to be thought-provoking, the main thing that makes me feel uncomfortable is that there is no biographical information on the author. I have searched web pages and news groups, but all I can find is more than a few quotes from this book, and others seeking information about the author him(her?)self, and the general reliability of his information. Obviously "Lloyd M. Graham" could be a pen name. However, the copyright is under simply "Lloyd Graham." Also disconcerting is the total lack of a bibliography. For a book which is written with a scholarly approach, there is little scholarly research cited! Other than the Bible, only a few other books are mentioned as sources, and only as footnotes at least in the edition I have.
Graham spends a lot of time outlining what can easily be described as New Age cosmology. The zodiacal precession theory he uses is reminiscent of what Anthony Burgess used as the foundation for his book "The Wanting Seed" (also recommended). One way to make this palatable is to view the astrological beliefs as what the [i]ancients[/i] believed, not necessarily the author, thus giving the Bible an entirely different spin than what we're used to. Someone familiar with Gnosticism would probably be more at home with this work.
It should, hopefully, be obvious that much of what he writes, especially concerning our solar system is just plain wrong, and is reminiscent of Carl Sagan's synopsis of Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision". Still, how much would the ancients have known about what we know now? Again, the book is more readable if you imagine yourself living 3000 years ago or more. I don't see how anybody can realistically deny the influence of astrology in ancient religions, and be so stubborn as to deny a carry over of this symbolism into the Bible. Also, it seems that much of what Graham postulated is being increasingly supported or at least argued by modern biblical scholars, at least that's the impression I get.
Graham's overall tone is angry, hostile, and contemptuous of whoever reads his book. He spends a huge chunk of his book towards the end with a scathing attack on the Roman Catholic Church, which seemed to me to be off-topic given the main subject matter.
I have read some other New Age material, and Graham's book is far better than the usual pseudo-mystical fare. There is much meat; good argumentation (though little documentation), typical New Age word games (though interesting), a lot of stuff about the Bible itself and history that one may not be familiar with, and it gives the reader much to think about which is very rare in "bookdom". I would hope that if the author is still with us that he would rework it into a new, better edition with a proper bibliography and with an objective tone.
Much of the criticism of this book involves the lack of documentation, footnotes and bibliography. Would those who complain of these flaws also note that their Bible equally lacks original documentation, footnotes and bibliography? Graham attacks this book on its own terms. His intention is not to present another reverent scholarly text on the group of writings known as the Bible. Yes, this is a screed, but it is a brilliant screed. Graham's hermeneutics are original and do not indulge in the incestuous patter of which you may be accustomed. Do not mistake Graham's presentation of the mindset of the writers of the Bible as his own. Do not confuse his exploration of the confusion of the Bible as his own confusion. This book may be as important to your spiritual liberty as Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" was to the freedom of the American Colonials. Let the man speak for himself:
"There is nothing 'holy' about the Bible, nor is it 'the word of God.' It was not written by God-inspired saints, but by power-seeking priests. Who but priests consider sin the paramount issue? Who but priests write volumes of religious rites and rituals? No one, but for these priestly scribes sin and rituals were imperatives: their purpose was to found on them an awesome religion. By this intellectual tyranny they sought to gain control, and they achieved it. By 400 B.C. they were the masters of ancient Israel. For so great a project they needed a theme, a framework, and this they found in the Creation lore of more knowledgeable races. This they commandeered and perverted - the natural to the supernatural, and truth to error. The Bible is, we assert, but priest-perverted cosmology." [Lloyd M. Graham, Deceptions and Myths Of The Bible, p. 1]
"The Bible is not 'the word of God,' but stolen from pagan sources. Its Eden, Adam and Eve were taken from the Babylonian account; its Flood or Deluge is but an epitome of some four hundred flood accounts; its Ark and Ararat have their equivalents in a score of Deluge myths; even the names of Noah's sons are copies, so also Isaac's sacrifice, Solomon's judgement, and Samson's pillar act; its Moses is fashioned after the Syrian Mises; its laws after Hammurabi's code. Its Messiah is derived from the Egyptian Mahdi, Savior, certain verses are verbatim copies of Egyptian scriptures. Between Jesus and the Egyptian Horus, Gerald Massey found 137 similarities, and those between Christ and Krishna run into the hundreds. How then can the Bible be a revelation to the Jews?" [Lloyd M. Graham, Deceptions and Myths Of The Bible, p. 5]
"From all this we see that the mystery of life is man-made, not God-made. When an ignorant priesthood introduced the supernatural into a perfectly natural universe, it threw confusion into the human mind. The result was a myriad warring religions and philosophies all trying like the blind men with the elephant, to explain the whole by something felt (emotional) instead of seen (mental). Only in our theory can these warring elements be harmonized, and the paradox posed by religion - divine source and savage nature - be resolved." [Lloyd M. Graham, Deceptions and Myths Of The Bible, pp. 13-14]
"Strip the theists of their mythological authority and you see the atheists have been right, not in denying a Creator, which they do not, but in denying the God of religion, which they do and rightly so. It is from these that all enlightened government comes, including that of our founding fathers, most of them atheists and we could fill pages with their atheism. In spite of this fact no avowed atheist can hold a government position. This too is due to religion. The Church fears atheism, not because it is inimical to human welfare but because it is inimical to its welfare. The churchmen want their mythical God because in him they live and move and have their cake and eat it too. The Church has thus become an institution for the care and maintenance of God, not man. You can say anything about man, and the Church will do nothing, but speak one word against its God and the whole benighted crew will rise in wrath against you. They should read Joshua again, then ask themselves which is the true God, the God of Joshua or the God of Jesus? They cannot both be right, yet Joshua was written before the darkness fell completely. That darkness is still upon the churchmen and while they sleep nature's savage forces kill and kill; compare them with Joshua's God and you find they agree completely." Lloyd M. Graham "Deceptions and Myths of the Bible"