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Original Sin: Ritual Child Rape & The church Paperback – October 16, 2012
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In fact, I wonder if both works are the sections deleted from his original PhD dissertation?
Most of the comments I was going to make have already been covered in the earlier review by J.Lacey. The main reason I gave this book a 4 star rating is due to it's complete lack of documentation, notes, and bibliography. The book could have been twice as thick if the author had supplied the sources and comments on the quotations that were inset throughout the text. I would have loved to have followed up on his sources and read his quotes in context. A very interesting read (although somewhat repetitious in places) but it comes off as more of a New Age book rather than the factual text it purports to be.
There are many quotes in the book - mostly offered as little side lines from the main narrative - and they mostly deal with Christian misogynistic views and their stance on the use of drugs by Pagan cults and the need for Christian sobriety. There are no footnotes, end notes, bibliography, or any research material offered in the book. I also believe this to be a sequel to Dr. Hillman's The Chemical Muse, which directly dealt with ritual drug use in the classical pagan world and indeed, I'd say 85% of this book deals with that subject alone. He offers compelling evidence that the church waged the "first war on drugs" and began the "war on women" which we are still fighting to this day.
Dr. Hillman's views on women and their place in ancient society was informative and he eloquently described the reasons and means by which early church fathers sought to silence females and to relegate them to the roles of second class citizens. The quotes he offers by St. Ambrose, Cyril and Tertullian regarding women are chilling in their all-out-hatred of the female gender and reveal an early Christian campaign to create a "third class" of humans who were - in the writings of St. Ambrose - to be regarded as less than slaves. It is no wonder that even today, women fight tooth and nail for respect and places of leadership within the Christian community.
When Hillman finally gets to the "meat of the matter" in the final chapters, the author's hypothesis on ritual child rape is not as well supported. He describes how he believes the ritual was performed - even makes some statements of how Cyril of Alexandria participated and commented on the ceremony - yet offers no concrete quotes from the prelate's writings to actually support his theory. He remarks very briefly on the Gospel of Mark's assertion that a young naked man was with Jesus at Gethsemane (and yes, this IS in the Bible) yet never expands on it, nor offers any theories on why the gospel included such an obtuse comment and how it might have effected early Church teachings (that, in itself could have taken up an entire chapter). In his radio interview, Dr. Hillman claimed that child abuse has been rampant in the church since its inception and church elders constantly dealt with the issue - so I hoped that Original Sin would include documentation to support this, yet the author never addressed this idea in the book. (That would have been an informative and fascinating read, as well as a strong support for his claims).
I do not find Dr. Hillman's premise to be preposterous; in fact, I have no problem entertaining the idea the idea that the church has been abusing children for centuries, yet I'd hoped the book would have offered stronger support for the claim. I would recommend this book for a fast, interesting read on Pagan ideals and how they were obliterated rather than as a treatise on a tradition of child abuse.