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Joseph Wheless Forgery In Christianity Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Joseph Wheless

24 page printout, pages 89 to 111 of 322


"Nothing stands in need of Lying but a LIE."

To such an extent are the origins of the Christian Religion
wrapped in obscurity, due to the labyrinthine confusions and
contradictions and forgeries of its early records, that it is quite
impossible to extricate, with any degree of confidence, a thread of
historic truth from the tangle.

The 27 New Testament booklets, attributed to eight individual
"Apostolic" writers, and culled from some 200 admitted forgeries
called Gospels, Acts, and Epistles, constitute the presient
"Canonical" or acceptedly inspired compendium of the primitive
history of Christianity. The only available method to extract from
them approximately just judgments as to the risie and progress of
the new system of beliefs, must be by a series of tentative
assumptions of reletive truth of sundry details of the narratives.
By relative truth of any tentatively assumed "fact," I mean such
"fact" with relation always to its contradictory, -- one or the
other must necessarily be false -- while both may be -- and
probably are. For, as virtually every alleged "fact" recorded in
Gospels, Acts and Epistles is off-set by a contradictory recital,
rendering one or the other untrue, neather can be assumed with
assurance; the actuality of either, and of all, is thus made
doubtful, and is subject to total rejection as our study of the
booklets develops.

On such provisional assumption that sundry of the things
recorded possibly may have happened as in one manner or the other
related, we are able to reach several obvious conclusions as to the
order and approximate times of those dubiously-assumed happenings.
In view, however, of what we have seen, and shall soon more
abundantly see, of the shifty and fraudulent methods of
ecclesiatitical "history"-writing and propaganda, we may be
prepared for some rude upsettings of our inherited traditions of
Christian fact and faith.

The central character of the Christian faith, Jesus, to assume
him as a historical personage, was a Jew, as were, by tradition,
his disciples and entourage. As is, of course, well known:
"Christianity took its rise in Judaism; its Founder and His
disciples were orthodox Jews, and the latter maintained their
Jewish practices, at least for a time, after the day of Pentecost.
The Jews themselves looked upon the followers of Christ as a mere
Israelitish sect, ... 'the sect of the Nazarenes' (Acts xxiv, 15),"
-- the believers in the Promised Messiah. (CE. iii, 713.) In this
they were grievously deceived and disappointed, as, too the world
knows; "Christ's humble and obscure life, ending in the ignominious
death on the cross, was the very opposite of what the Jews expected
of their Christ." (CE. i, 620.)

Jesus was a native of Galilee, "his own country" (Mt. ii, 23;
xiii, 54-55), or of Judaea, "his own country" (.John iv, 43-44). He
was born "in the days of Herod the King" (Mt. ii, 1), about 6 B.C.,
or "when Cyrenius was governor of Syria" (Luke ii, 1-7), about 7
A.D., or some 13 years later. (CE. viii, 377; EB. i, 307-8.) The
destructive contradictions as to his lineage and parentage, and

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other essential particulars, are reserved for opportune notice.
Jesus became a Jewish sectarian religious teacher of the zealot
reformer type; so zealous that his own family thought him insane
and sent out to apprehend him (Mark iii, 31); many of the people
said of him, "He hath a devil, and is mad" (John x, 20); his own
disciples, seeing his raid into the Temple after the money-
changers, shook their heads and muttered the proverb: "The zeal of
thine house hath eaten me up" (John ii, 17).

His ministry, of about one year, according to the first three
Gospels, of some three yeurs according to the fourth, was, by his
own repeated assertion, limited exclusively to his own Jewish
people: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of
Israel" (Mt. xv, 24; ef. Acts iii, 25-26; xiii, 46; Rom. xv, 8);
and he straitly enjoined on his Twelve Aposties: "Go not into the
way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye
not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt.
X, 5-6); to the woman of Canaan who pleaded with him to have mercy
on her daughter, "grievously vexed with a devil," he retorted: "It
is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs" (Mt.
xv, 22-28; vii, 6). His own announcement, and his command to the
Twelve, was "Preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" (Mt.
x, 7), -- the exclusively Hebraic Kingdom of the Baptist (Mt. iii,
2), as of the Jewish Messianic apocrypha which we have noticed.
Jesus lived at the height of the "age of apocryphal literature,"
and in due time got into it, voluminously.

Before his death, time and again he made and repeated the
assurance -- the most positive and iterated of all the sayings
attributed to him -- of the immediate end of the world, and of his
quick triumphant return to establish the Kingdom of God in the new
earth and reign on the reestablished throne of David forever. Time
and again he said and repeated: "Verily I say unto you, There be
some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see
the Son of man coming in his Kingdom" (Mt. xvi, 28; Mk. ix, I; Lk.
ix, 27); "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be
done" Mk. xiii, 30). -- So quickly would this "second coming" be,
that when the Twelve were sent out on their first preaching tour in
little Palestine, their Master assured them: "Ye shall not have
gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come" (Mt. x,
23). Caiaphag, the high priert before whom Jesus was led after his
capture in the Garden, solemnly conjured him "By the living God"
for the truth; and Jesus replied: "Nevertheless I say unto you,
Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man ... coming in the clouds of
heaven." (Mt. xxvi, 63, 64; Mk. xiv, 61, 62.) Some people are
expecting him yet. Of course, there were, could be, none but Jews
in heaven, or in this new Kingdom of Heaven on the new earth:
"Salvation is of the Jews." (John iv, 22.) It was 144,000 Jews, the
"scaled" saints, who alone constituted the original Jewish "Kingdom
of God" (Rev. vii).

With these explicit data we arrive at the first obvious and
positive conclusion: With the expectation of a quick and sudden end
of the world and of all things human, no books were written on the
subject in that generation or, for a little leeway, the next or so,
after the death of the expected returning King. The scant, number
of credulous Jews who accepted this preachment as "Gospel truth"

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and lived in this expectation, were nourished with neighborhood
gossip and oral traditions of the "good news," and needed and had
no written books of inspired record of these things. Thus many
years passed. Only as the dread consummation was delayed, and the
hope deferred sickened the hearts of the expectant Jews and they
waned in faith, and as aecused by Paul and Barnabas, "put it from
you," did the defeated propagandists of the "Faith that failed at
the Cross," give the shoulder to the Jews and "turn to the
Gentiles" (Acts xiii, 46), and begin to expand the failing new
Jewish faith among the superstitious Pagans of the countries round
about. But this was still by the spoken word; on all the
supposititious "missionary tours" the Word was spread by word of
mouth written gospel books were not yet. When at last, the "coming"
being still unrealized -- these books began to be written, we can
accurately determine something of the order of their writing, and
finally, though negatively, the approximate times when they were
written, by ascertaining when they were not yet written.

We have seen that for a century and more the only "Scriptures"
used by the Jewish propagandists of the Christ were the Greek
Septuagint translations of the old hebrew sacred writings, "the Law
and the Prophets" (CE. v, 702; i, 635); supplemented by sundry
Jewish apocrypha and the Pagan Sibylline Oracles; these were the
only "authorities" appealed to by the early "Fathers" for the
propaganda of the new faith. Indubitably, if the wonderful
"histories" of their Christ and the inspired pretended writings of
his first, Apostles, forming noew the New Testament, had then
existed, even in scraps of writing, they would have been the most
precious and potent documents of propaganda, would have been
snatched at and quoted and appealed to with infinate zeal and
ardor, as they have been through the centuries since. But, for some
150 years, as we shall see, little or nothing besides Old Testament
and Pagan Oracles were known or quoted. As said by the great
critic, Solomon Reinach, "With the exception of Papias, who speaks
of a narrative by Mark, and a collection of sayings of Jesus, no
Christian writer of the first half of the second century (i.e., up
to 150 A.D.) quotes the Gospels or their reputed authors."
(Reinach, Orpheus, p. 218.) So, patently, as yet no "Gospels" and
but few if any "Epistles" of our "canon" had as yet been written.
Again, we read the 23 booklets from and including Acts to
Revelation: there is not a solitary referance to a word of
quotation from, any of our four Gospels; scarce a trace of the
wonderful career and miracles of Jesus the Christ; not a word of
his "gospel" or teachings mentioned or quoted. These Epistles,
indeed, "preach Christ Crucified" (from oral tradition), as the
basis of the propagandists' own "gospel." But the written "Gospel
of Jesus Christ" (his life and words and deeds), was unknown:
indeed, jealous of the so-called Petrine preaching which "perverts
the gospel of Christ" as preached by him, the soi-disant Apostle
Paul fulminates: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach
any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let,
him be accursed" (Gal. i, 7, 8); -- so early did priestly
intolerance and priestly curses on opponents come into holy vogue.
Therefore the conclusion is inevitable that when those 23 Acts and
Epistles were written, none of the four "Gospel" biographies of
Jesus the Christ had yet seen the light. "Written Gospels are
neither mentioned nor implied in the NT epistles, nor in that, of

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Clemens Romanus, nor, probably, in that of Barnabas, nor in the
Didache. luke (i, 1-4) implies that 'many gospels' were current"
(EB. ii, 1809), at the time that Gospel was written.

The Acts and Epistles, therefore, with Revelation, were
written before any of the Gospel biographies. If these Christ-
histories had existed, how eagerly would they have been seized upon
to garnish and glorify the preachment of the early propagandists of
the Faith that failed at the Cross, -- and would have perished
wholly but. for the allbelieving Pagan Gentiles, who, when they
heard it, "were glad, and glorified the word of the lord" (Acts
xiii, 48), as orally delivered.


As the long years passed and one generation of disappointed
"Messiah" Jews was gathered unto its fathers and was followed by
another, the believers in the promised "second coming" for the
establishment of the Jewish Kingdom grew restles, and made
pertinent complaint, "Saying, Where is the promise of his coming?
for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were
from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter ii, 4), -- and as they
yet continue. Dubbing these reasonable but disturbing inquirers
"scoffers," the crafty Peter tried in typical priestly form to
squirm out of the embarrassing situation created by the positive
promises of the Christ and the inspired preachments of himself and
his apostolic confreres, by the shifty rejoinder: "But, beloved
["scoffers"], be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is
with the Lord as a thousand yearn, and a thousand years as one day"
(2 Peter ii, 8) -- which doesn't mean anything for an honest
answer; and time and again they cajole the impatient eredtilous:
"Ye have need of patience; ... for yet a little while, and he that
shall come, will come." (Heb. x, 36, 37; cf. 1 Thess. iv, l6-18; 2
Thess. iii, 5; James v, 7, 8; et passim.) But he isn't come yet,
these 2000 years.

It was at this critical juncture, to revive and stimulate the
jaded hope of the Jewish believers and to spread the propaganda
amongst the all-believing Pagaiis, that the written Christ-tales
began to be worked up by the Christian propagandists. Before their
admiring eyes they had for models the "whole literature" of Jewish
apocryphal or forged writings, plus the Pagan Oracles: with immense
zeal and industry they set about to imitate the example before
them, and to reforge these Jewish and heathen forgeries to more
definite Chriiitian uses, and to forge anew another whole
literature of distinctively Christian forgeries and fabulous
histories of the Christ. "In this form of propaganda the Christians
proved themselves to be apt pupils of the Jews. So common, indeed,
had become in early Christian times, the invention of such oracles
that Celsus terms Christians Sibyllistai, believers in sibyls, or
sibyl-mongerrs" (EB. i, 246), that is, peddlers of Christian
forgeries in Pagan form (Ib. p. 261). How great was this pious
fabrication we can only judge from the two hundred, more or less,
of false histories, gospels, epistles and revelations which have
survived, entire or fragmentary, or by title only, through the long
intervening centuries of faith, and of which 27 are yet cherished
as of Divine inspiration.

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Before sketching the welter of these lying works of Christian
hands and childish minds, we may define, by high priestly
authority, the status of the problem of divine inspiration, and
just how the notion of "canonicity" or official inspiration, came
to be, now attributed to, now withdrawn from, this heterogeneous
mass or mess of pious scribblings, and finally clung to only 27 of
yet asserted sanctity. These admissions are very illuminating.

We have aeen that the Hebrew Old Testament itself "reveals no
formal notion of inspiration," though, we are assured, "the later
Jews must have possessed the idea" (CE. iii, 269); -- thus only an
idea or notion somehow acquired, but not through divine
illumination, for as we read, of all the mass of Jewish holy
forgeries "each of them has at one tune or another been treated as
canonical" or divinely inspired. (EB. i, 250.) Whether the
Christian notion or idea as to the divine inspiration of their own
new forgeries was of any better quality may now appear.

The New Testament and the inspired Apostles are silent on the
subject and left the matter to serious doubts and disputations for
many centuries: "There are no indications in the New Testament ...
of a definite new Canon bequeathed by the Apostles to the Church,
or of a strong self-witness to Divine inspiration," admits the CE,.
(iii, 274); that is, there is nothing in the 27 booklets which
would lead to the suspicion of their "inspiration" or truth. There
was then no Church for them to bequeath to, nor was the Canon
settled, as we shall see: "It was not until about the middle of the
second century -- [when we shall see the books were really written]
-- that under the rubric of Scripture the New Testament writings
were assimilated to the Old. ... But it should be remembered that
the inspired character of the New Testament in a Catholic dogma,
and must therefore in some way have been revealed to, and taught
by, Apostles"! (Ib. p. 275.) This is a strikingly queer bit of
clerical dialectic, and leaves the question of the "some way" of
revelation to the Apostles and of their transmission of the "dogma"
to posterity, in a nebulously unsatisfying state.

Further, the dubious and disputed status of the sacred
writings through centuries, and the ultimate settlement of the
controversies by the 'ipse dixit' of a numerical majority of the
Council of Trent, in 1546, -- after the Reformation had forced the
issue, is thus admitted: "The idea of a complete and clear-cut
canon of the New Testament existing from the beginning, that is,
from Apostolic times, has no foundation in history. The cannon of
the New Testament, like that of the Old, is the result of a
development, of a process at once stimulated by disputes with
doubters, both within and without the Church, and retarded by
certain obscurities and natural hesitations, and which did not
reach its final term until the dogmatic defination of the
Tridentine Council. ... And this want of a organized distribution,
secondarily to the absence of an early fixation of the Canonm, left
room for variations and doubts which lasted far into the
centuries." (CE., iii, 274.) The 'modus operandi' of the Holy
Council in ultimately "canonizing" Jerome's old Vulgate Version,
and its motive for doing so, are thus exposed by the keen pen of
the author of the Rise and Fall:

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"When the Council of Trant resolved to pronounce sentence on
the Cannon of Scripture, the opinion which prevented, after some
debate, was to declare the Latin Vulgate authentic and 'almost'
infallible; and this sentence, which was guarded by formidable
anathemas, secured all the books of the Old and New Testament which
composed that ancient version. ... When the merit of that version
was discussed, the majority of the theologians urged, with
confidence and success, that it was absoutely necessary to receive
the Vulgate as authentic and inspired, unless they wished to
abandon the victory to the Lutherans, and the honors of the Church
to the Grammarians." (Gibbon, A Vindication, v, 2; Istoria del
consiglio Tridentino, L. ii, p. 147.) A number of these books were
bitterly disputed and their authenticity and inspiration denied by
the leading Reformers, Luther, Grotius, Calvin, etc., and excluded
from their official lists, until finally the Reformed Church
followed the example of the Church hopeless of reform and swallowed
the canon whole, as we have it today, -- minus, of course, the
'Tobit,' 'Judith,' and like inspired buffooneries of the True

Such books and the vicissitudes of their authority are thus
described: "Like the Old Testament, the New has its deutero-
canonical [i.e. doubted] books and portions of books, their
canonicity having formally been a subject of some controversy in
the Church. These are, for entire books: the Epistle to the
Hebrews, that od James, the Second and Third of John, Jude, and
Apocalypse; giving seven in all as the number of the N.T. contested
books. The formerly disputed passages are three: the closing
section of St. Mark's Gospel, xvi, 9-20, about the apparitions of
Christ after the resurrection; the verses in Luke about the bloody
sweat of Jesus, xxii, 43, 44; the Pericope Adulterae, or narrative
of the woman taken in adultery, St. John, vii, 53 to viii, 11.
Since the Council of Trent it is not permitted for a Catholic to
question the inspiration of these passages." (CE. iii, 274.)
Besides the forgery of the above and other books as a whole, we
shall see many other instances of "interpolated" or forged passages
in the Christian books.


Speaking of the doubtful historicity of the celebrated AEsop
of the famous Fables which go under his name, a critic well states
a valid test of historicity: "We may well doubt, however, whether
he (AEsop) ever existed; we have the most varied accounts of him,
many of which are on their face pure inventions; and the fables
which passed under his name were certainly not written until long
after the period in which he is supposed to have lived." (NIE. i,
191.) We may have occasion to apply this test to the personality of
Jesus of Nazareth and sundry apostolic personages; in any event it
is peculiarly applicable to the numerous Christian stories and
fables treating of them, which on their face are pure inventions,
and which were admittedly forged in the names of Jesut; himself and
of all of his Apostles and of many of the shining lights of the new
Christian faith, just as we have seen was done in the Jewish
forgerier; in the names of the Old Testament notables from Adam on
down the catalogue.

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Leaving for the moment aside the 27 presently accepted
booklets of the N.T., and admitting the many Christian forgeries of
Christ-fables, CE. thus apologetically explains: "The genuine
Gospels are silent about long stretches of the life of our Lord,
the Blessed Virgin, and St. Joseph. This reserve of the Evangelists
did not satisfy the pardonable curiosity of many Christians eager
for details. ... Enterprising spirits responded to this natural
craving by pretended gospels full of romantic fables, and fantastic
and striking details; their fabrications were eagerly read and
accepted as true by common folk who were devoid of any critical
faculty and who were predisposed to believe what so luxuriously fed
their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned
in writing these fictions. The former had no motive other than that
of a PIOUS FRAUD." (CE. i, 606.) The motive above admitted for
feeding with pious frauds the "natural craving" of the ignorant and
superstitiouts Christians for marvel-mongering by the Church, is
confirmed by a distinguished historign: "A vast and ever-increasing
crowd of converts from paganism, who had become such from worldly
considerations, and still hankered after wonders like those in
which their forefathers had from time immemorial believed, lent a
ready ear to assertions which, to more hesitating or better-
instructed minds, would have seemed to carry imposture on their
very face." (Draper, The Intellectaal Development of Europe, i,

This being thus frankly confessed, our clerical writer
describes the general character of these pious frauds: "The
Christian apocryphal writings in general imitate the books of the
N.T.) and therefore, with a few exceptions, fall under the
description of Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses." (CE. i,
606.) Further apologizing for these Christian forgeries, and giving
a smear of clerical whitewash to the forgers, it is speciously
pleaded, that "the term apocryphal in connection with special
gospels must be understood as bearing no more unfavorable an import
than uncanonical." They were forgeries pure and simple; and their
pious value is urged, that "the apocryphal Gospels help us to
understand the religious conditions of the second and third
centuries," -- as indeed they do, in a light very damaging to any
suspicion of truthfulness, common honesty, or anything above the
most mediocre intelligence of the pious Fathers and Faithful who
put these gross fabrications into circulation in the name and for
the sake of Christ. Their pious plea is: "Amor Christi est cui
satisfecimus." (Ib. p. 606.) Of these pious frauds it adds: "The
quasi-evangelistic compositions concerning Christ ... are all of
Orthodox origin." (Ib. p. 607.)


When the new Faith went forth to conquer the Pagan world for
Christ, the pious Greek Fathers and priests of the Propaganda soon
felt the need of something of more up-to-date effectiveness than
Old Testament text and Sibylline Oracles, they needed something
concrete out of the New Dispensation to "show" to the superstitious
Pagans to win them to the Christ and his Church: something
tangible, visible; compellingly authentic proofs. Like arms of
proof for the holy warfare, the invincible weapons of truth -- "the
whole armour of God" -- they forged outright for the conquest of
the unbeliever. What more convincing and compelling proofs of Jesus

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the Christ, his holy Apostles, and their wondrous works of over a
century ago, than the following authentic and autograph documents
and records, held before doubting eyes:











Armed with lying credentials and "proofs" of the fictitious
persons and performances for which credence must be won among the
credulous pagans, the priests and Vicars of God propagated their
stupendous "LIES to the glory of God" and the exaltation of the
Church. We shall catelogue these crude forgeries somewhat more
fully, and look into some of the more notorious.


Half a hundred of false and forged Apostolic "Gospels of Jesus
Christ," together with more numerous orher "Scripture" forgeries,
was the output, so far as known now, of the lying pens of the pious
Christians of the first two centuries of the Christian "Age of
Apocryphal Literature"; all going to swell the "very large number
of apocryphal writings of distinctly Christian origin which were
produced from the second century onward, to satisfy an unhealthy
craving for the occult and marvelous or to embellish the stories of
the saints." (NIE., i, 746.) These N.T. apocryplia include
"numerous works purporting to have been written by apostles or
their associates, but not able to secure a general or permanent
recognition. These may be classified thus: (a) Gospels; (b) Acts of
Apostles; (c) Epistles; (d) Apocalypses; (e) Didactic Works; (f)
Hymns. (Ib. p. 748.) "The name Gospel," says CE. (vi, 656), "as
indicating a written account of Christ's words and deeds, has been,
and still is, applied to a large number of narratives of Christ's
life, which circulated both before and after the composition of our
Third Gospel (cf. Luke i, 1-4). The titles of some fifty such works
have come down to us. ... It is only, however, in connection with
some twenty of these 'Gospels' that some information has been
preserved. ... Most of them, as far as can be made out, are late

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productions, the apocryphal character of which is generally
admitted by contemporary [i.e., present day] scholars." Naming
first as Nos. 1-4 "The Canonical Gospels," now falsely labelled
with the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the twenty best
known ones are listed as follows; viz: The Gospels according to the
Hebrews; of Peter; According to the Egyptians; of Matthias; of
Philip; of Thomas; the Proto-Evangelium of James, Gospel of
Nicodemus (Acta Pilati); of the Twelve Apostles; of Basilides; of
Valentius; of Marcion; of Eve; of Judas; the Writing Genna Marias;
the Gospel Teleioseos. (CE. vi, 656.)

Individual Gospels were forged in the names of each of the
Twelve Apostles, severally, and a joint fabrication under the name
of "The Gospel of the Twelve," was put into the mouths of the
twelve Apostles, using the first person to give the ear-marks of
authenticity to their forged utterances; and separately, "Almost
every one of the Apostles had a Gospel fathered upon him by one
early sect or another." (EB. i, 259.) Several seem to have been
fathered upon Matthew besides the one that wrongly heads the list
of the "canonical Four," such as the Gospel of Matthias, Traditions
of Matthias, also a supposed and probably non-existent writing in
Hebrew hypothesized as the basic document of the Four; probably,
also the so-called Logia, a papyrus scrap of one sheet discovered
at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and containing alleged sayings of Jesus
which in part correspond with, in part radically differ from the
sayings attributed to him in the Four. He was also made responsible
for a so-called Gospel of St. Matthew, dating from the 4th or 5th
century, which "purports to have been written by Matthew and
translated by St. Jerome." (CE.. i, 608,)

This authority also lists the famous Protevangetium Jacobi, or
Infancy Gospel of James, the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy, that of
Gamaliel, the Gospel according to the Hebrews, also According to
the Egyptians; of the Nazarenes; Gospels of St. Peter, of St.
Philip, of St. Thomas, of St. Bartholomew, of St. Andrew, of
Barnabas, of Thaddeus, even notable forged Gospels of Judas
Iscariot, and of Mother Eve; also the Gospel by Jesus Christ. We
have the Gospel of Nicodemus, the History of Joseph the Carpenter,
the Descent into Hades, the Desicent of Mary, the Ascents of James,
the Prophecy of Hystaspes, the Didache or Teachings of the
Apostles; the Gospel of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, the
Transitum Mariae or Evangelium Joannin. This last named pious
Christian work, as described by CE. (i, 607-8) is forged in the
name of St. John the Apostle, and is "prefaced with a spurious
Letter of the Bishop of Sardis, Melito"; it records how "the
Apostles are preternaturally transported from different quarters of
the globe to the Virgin's deathbed, those who have died being
resurrected for the purpose"; a Jew who dares touch the sacred body
instantly loses both hands, which are restored through the
mediation of the Apostles. Christ, accompanied by a band of angels,
comes down to receive his mother's soul, "the Apostles bear the
body to Gethsemane and deposit it in a tomb, whence it is taken up
alive to heaven"; this being an extraordinary miracle, for the body
was dead and the soul carried to heaven from her home and the dead
body laid in the grave, where it comes to life again for the
Heaven-trip. This clumsy fable, says CE., considerably "influenced
the Fathers" (Ib. i, 608), who were notoriously ehildish-minded. A

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very noted and notorious forgery was the Gospel of Paul and Thecla,
of which Father Tertullian relates, that this story wag fabricated
by an Elder of Asia Minor, who, when convicted of the fraud --
[this being the only known instance of such action], -- confessed
that he had perpetrated it "for the love of St. Paul." (Reinach,
Orpheus, p. 235.) The Protevangelium Jacobi was "an Apocryphal work
by a fanciful fabulist, urhampered by knowledge of Jewish affairs,
contposed before the end of the second century with a view to
removing the glaring contradictions between Matthew and Mark,"
regarding the birth and life of Jesus CHrist. (EB. iii, 3343.) An
"Epistle on the Martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and Paul was at a
later period attributed to St. Linus. ... It is apoeryphal, and of
later date than the history of the Martyrdom of the two Apostles,
by some attributed to Marcellus, which is also apocryphal." (CE.
ix, 273; see Acta Apostolorum, Apoerypha, xiv.) Other noted
Fatherly fabrications were the celebrated Epistles I and II of
Clement to the Corinthians, and the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions
and Homilies, purporting to be written by the very doubtful Bishop
of Rome of that name; very voluminous, and written about 140 A.D.,
not a line of New Testament "scriptures" do they quote, but they
quote freely from the O.T. and from various Jewish, Christian and
Pagan works. (EB. iii, 3486.)

Besides the above complete "Gospel" forgeries, there are
several more, and fragments of others, which purport to contain
"sayings" attributed to Jesus which are not contained in the Four
Gospels; and which are known as Agrapha, that is, things not
written. Among these are the Logia of Oxyrhynchus above mentioned;
the Fayum gospel-fragment, a papyrus purporting to give words of
Christ to Peter at the Last Supper, "in a form which diverges
largely by omissions from any in the canonical gospels." (EB. i,
258.) These Agrapha "do not embrace the lenghy sections ascribed to
Jesus in the 'Didiscalin' and the 'Pistis Sophia'; these works also
contain some brief quotations of alleged words of Jesus; ... nor
the Sayings contained in religious romances, such as we find in the
apocryphal Gospels, the apocryphal Acts, or the Letter of Christ to
Abgar. ... In patristic citations ... Justin Martyr, Clement of
Alexandria, Origen, make fslse quotations," -- citing instances.
(CE. i, 225, 226.) In the class of Agrapha are also "words in the
Gospels not regarded as genuine, as Mt. vi, 13b; xvii, 21; Mk. xvi,
9-20; John vii, 53; viii, 2; also alleged quotations from the Old
Testament in the New Testament not found in the Old Testament."
(NIE. 1, 240.)

Of apocryphal Acts of Apostles we are edified by the Acts, or
Travels, (Greek, Pereodui) of Peter, (and separately) of John, of
Thomas, of Andrew, and of Paul; another Acts of Philip, Acts of
Matthew, of Bartholomew, of John, of judas Thomas. There is a whole
collection of Martyrdoms of the several Apostles. Of apocryphal
Epistles, the most famous is the Correspondence between the Abgar
of Edessa, and Jesus; between the Roman Philosopher Seneca and
Paul; apocryphal Epistles of Paul, to the Laodiceans, to the
Alexandrians, the Third Epistle to the Corinthians. Forged
Apocalypses abound, of which that of Peter, the Vision of Hermas,
the Vision of Paul, the Apocalypge of Paul, the Apocalypse of the
Virgin Mary. The didactic Preaching of Peter, the Teaching of the
Apostles, or Didache, containing warnings against Judaism and

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polytheism, and words of Jesus to the Apostles; another set
containing a lament of Peter for his denial of Jesus, and various
ethical maxims a Syriac Preaching of Simon Cephas; a collection of
Hymns or Odes of Solomon. As if these were not enough for Christian
edification, "many heretical or Gnostic works of the same
apocryphal kind were changed into orthodox by expurgation of
objectionable matter or by rewriting, using the same outlines; thus
a series of Catholic Acts was produced, written from an orthodox
standpoint." (NIE. i, 748.) A very celebrated forgery was the
Shepherd of Hermas, forged by Hermas,' supposed brother of Pius,
Bishop of Rome, about 150 A.D. See the vast catalogue (CE. i,

A whole literature of Christian forgery grew up and had
immense vogue under the designation of Acts Pilati, or Acts of
Pilate. One of the most popular of these was called the Gospel of
Nicodemus, of which CE,. says: "The alleged Hebrew orignal is
attributed to Nicodemius; the title is of medieval origin. The
apocryphon gained wide credit in the Middle Ages. ... The 'Acta'
are of orthodox composition. The book aimed at gratifying the
desire for extra-evangelical details concerning oar Lord, and at
the same time, to strengthen faith in the Resurrection of Christ,
and at general edification." (i, 3.) The Descent into Hades is an
enlargement of the reputed official acts or repots of Pilate to the
Roman Emperor. Speaking of the Pilate Literature as a whole, the
Catholic Encyclopedia. in a paragraph which pointedly admits the
falsifying frauds of three luminous liars and forgers of the Faith,
Justin Martyr, the great Bishop Eusebius, and Father Tertullian,
explains that these Acta "dwell upon the part which a reresentative
[Pilate] of the Roman Empire played in the supreme events of our
Lord's life, and to shape the testimony of Pontius Pilate, even at
the cost of exaggeration and amplification -- [hear the soft-
pedaling note], into a weapon of apologetic defense, making the
official bear witness to the miracles, Crucifixion, and
Resurrection of Jesus Christ. ... It is characterized by
exaggerating Pilate's weak defense of Jesus into a strong dympathy
and practical belief in his Divinity." (CE. i, 609.) Father
Tertullian, in his Apologia (xxi), relates the Report of Pilate to
the Emperor, sketching the miracles and death of Jesus Christ, and
says, "All these things Pilate announced to Tiberius Caesar."
Bishop Eusebius thus relates the fable as taken from the Apologia
of Father Tertullian: "The fame of Our Lord's remarkable
resurrection and ascension being now spread abroad, ... Pontius
Pilate transmits to Tiberius an account of the circumstances
concerning the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. ... In this
account, he also intimated that he had ascertained other miracies
respecting him, and that having now risen from the dead, he was
believed to be a God by the great mass of the people. Tiberius
referred the matter to the Senate, ... being obviously pleased with
the doctrine; but the Senate, as they had not proposed the matter,
[rejected it]. But he continued in his opinion, threatening death
to the accusers of the Chriatians; a divine providence infusing
this into his mind, that the Gospel having freer scope in its
commencement, might spread everywhere over the world." (Eusebius,
HE. II, 2.) Father Justin Martyr, in his Apologia, "appeals
confidently as a proof of them to the 'Acta' or records of Pilate,
existing in the imperial archives." Eusebius, relates spurious

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anti-Christian Acts of Pilate composed in the fourth century, the
Acta Pilati or Gospel of Nicodemus, Anphora Pilati, Paradoseis; a
still later fabrication is the Latin Epistola Pilati ad Tiberium,
Also the Letter of Herod to Pilate and Letter of Pilate to Herod;
the Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea. The pseudo-Correspondence of
Jesus with Abgar, King of Edessa, is found in Eusebius (Hist.
Eccles., I, xiii), "who vouches that he himself translated it from
the Syriac documunis in the archives of Edessa, the metropolis, of
Eastern Syria. ... 'This,' adds Eusebius, 'happened in the year 340
of the Seleucid era, corresponding to A.D. 28-29.'" (CE. i, 609,
610.) More monumental lies to the glory of God than those of the
distinguialied Church Fathers are not "A collection of apocryphal
Acts of the Apostles was formed in the Frankish Church in the sixth
century, probably by a monk." (Ib. p. 610.) There were also "the
works accredited to Dionysius the Areopagite, who was not the
author of the works bearing his name." (lb. p. 638.)

Of highest importance because "these Acts are the chief source
for details of the martyrdom of the two great Apostles," as admits
the CE., special notice is made of the "Catholic" Acts of Sts.
Peter and Paul, of which many MSS of "the legend" existed, the
material import of which is thus not quite honestly summarized:
"The Jews have been aroused by the news of Paul's intended visit
(to Rome), and induce Nero to forbid it. Nevertheless the Apostle
secretly enters Italy; his companion is mistaken for himself at
Puteoli and beheaded. In retribution that city is swallowed up by
the sea. Peter receives Paul at Rome with joy. The preaching of the
Apostles converts multitudes and even the Empress. Simon Magus
traduces the Christian teachers, and there is a test of strength in
miracles between that magician and the Apostles, which takes place
in the presence of Nero. Simon essays a flight to heaven but falls
in the Via Sacra and is dashed to pieces, Nevertheless, Nero is
bent on the destruction of Peter and, Paul. The latter is beheaded
on the Ostian Way, and Peter is cruciffed at his request head
downward. Before his death he relates to the people the 'Quo
Vadis?' story. Three men from the East carry off the Apostles'
bodies but are overtaken. St. Peter is buried at 'the place called
the Vatican,' and Paul on the Ostian Way. These Acts are the chief
source for details of the martyrdom of the two great Apostles. They
are also noteworthy as emphasizing the close concord between the
Apostolic founders of the Roman Church." (CE. i, 611-12.)

The reader is desired to bear well in mind the foregoing
paragraph, and particularly the last two sentences, the former of
immense significance when we come to review the falsified fiction
of the foundation of the Roman Church by Peter, -- the "chief
source" of which portentous claim is confessedly founded on the
crude and fantastic "legend"' of an admittedly forged document.
Another admission of forgery by the Fathers, before introducing
them formally, may be noted:, "Such known works as the Shepherd of
Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache or Teaching of the
Twelve Apostles, and the Apostolic Canons and Constitutions, though
formally apocryphal, really belong to patristic literature" (CE. i,
601), -- that is, they are forged writings of the Fathers.

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The "Apotitles' Creed," forged by the Fathers several
centuries after the Apostles, must be added to the Patristic list.
Of this famous Creed, which every Christian presumably knows by
rote and piously recites in numberless services, CE. again
confesses it spurious: "Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally
believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still
under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our
present Creed, each of the Apostles contributing one of the Twelve
articles. This legend dates back to the sixth century, and is
foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose,
which takes notice that the Creed was 'pieced out by twelve
separate workmen.'" (CE. i, 629.) Indeed, "not a few works have
been falsely attributed to St. Ambrose." (CE. i, 387; cf. p. 406.)

We may smile at the peculiarly clerical way in which CE. would
"whitewash" the great Bishop of Milan, St. Ambrose (e. 340-397),
from the lie direct which admittedly he told in that Sermon, --
saying that the Bishop simply "takes notice that the creed was
pieced out," etc.; the truth being that Ambrose positively affirmed
the fable as truth, and may have invented it. His poisitive words
are; "that the Twelve Apostles, as skilled artificers, assembled
together, and made a key by their common advice, that is, the
Creed; by which the darkness of the devil is disclosed, that the
light of Christ may appear." (Ambrose, Opera, tom. iii., Sermon 38,
p. 265; quoted in The New Testament Apocrypha, New York, The Truth
Seeker Co.) -- a work which I feel impelled to commend to all who
wish to know at first hand the 25 remarkable Chureh "Gospel"
forgeries there collected.


In likewise the celebrated Athanasian Creed of the Church,
attributed to St. Athanasius and so held by the Church "until the
seventeenth century" (CE. ii, 34), with most evil resiilts, is now
an admitter forgery. In words of Gibbon: "St. Athanasius is not the
author of the creed; it does not appear to have existed within a
century after his death; it was composed in Latin, therefore in one
of the Western provinces. Gennadius, patriarch of Constitantinoble,
was so much amazed by this extraordinary composition, that he
frankly pronounced it to be the work of a drunken man." (Petav.
Dogmat. Theologica, tom. ii, 1, vii, c. 8, p. 687; Gibbon, p. 598.)


We may look for a moment at several of the most notorious of
the forgeries perpetrated for the glory of God and for imposture
upon the superstitious Christians to enhance Pagan credtulity in
the tales of Christ. If the Gospel tales were true, why should God
need pious lies to give them credit? Lies and forgeries are only
needed to bolster up falsebood: "Nothing stands in need of lying
but a lie." But Jesus Christ must needs be propagated by lies; upon
lies, and what better proof of his actuality than to exhibit
letters written by him in his own handwriting? The "Little Liars of
the Lord" were equal to the forgery of the signature of their God,
-- false letters in his name, as above cited from that exhaustless

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mine of clerical falsities, the Catholic Encyclopedia, which again
describes them, and proves that they 'Were forged by their great
Bisbop of Caesaria: "The historian Eusebius records [HE. I, xii],
a legend which he himself firmly believes concerning a
correspondence that took place between Our Lord and the local
potentate (Abgar) at Edessa. Three documents relate to this
correspondence: (1) the Letter of Abgar to Our Lord; (2) Our Lord's
answer; (3) a picture of Our Lord, painted from life. This legend
enjoyed a great popularity, both in the East, and in the West,
during the Middle Ages. Our Lord's Letter was copied on parchment,
marble, and metal, and used as a talisman or an amulet." (CE. i,
42.) But it is not true, as we have seen already confessed, that
Eusebius innocently believed that these forgeries were genuine --
for they were all shamelessly forged by Eusebius himself: "who
vouches that he himself translated it from the Syriac documents in
the archives of Edessa." (CE. i, 610.) Again it is said by CE.,
that these forged letters, with the portrait, were "accepted by
Eusebius without hesitation, and used by Addision in his work on
Christian Evidences as genuine" (Ib. vi, 217).

It should be mentioned, first, that Abgar was not a personal
name of a King of Edessa, but was a generic title of all the rulers
of that small state: "By this title all the toparchs of Edessa were
called, just as the Roman Emperors were called Caesars, the Kings
of Egypt Pharaohs or Ptolemies, the Kings of Syria Antiochi." (ANF.
viii, 651, note.) With this first check on the forging Bishop, here
is what he said in his Church history, Book I, chapter the
thirteenth. (p. 63 seq.) Note the false fervor of the holy Bishop
to sugar-coat his circumstantial and commodious lie and fraud:
"While the Godhead of our Saviour and Lord Jesut, Christ was
proclaimed among all men by reason of the astonishing mighty-works
which He wrought, and myriads, even from countries remote from the
land of Judaea, who were afflicted with sicknesses and diseases of
every kind, were coming to him in the hope of being healed, King
Abgar sent him a letter asking Him to come and heal him of his
disease. But our Saviour at the time he asked Him did not comply
with his request. Yet He deigned to give him a letter in reply. ...
Thou hast in writing the evidence of these things, which is taken
from the Book of Records which was at Edessa; for at that time the
Kingdom was still standing. In the documents, then, which were
there, in which was contained whatever was done by those of old
down to the time of Abgar, these things are also found preserved
down to the present hour. There is, however, nothing to prevent our
hearing the very letters themselves, which have been taken by us
from the archives, and are in words to this effect, translated from
Aramaic into Greek.

"'Copy of the letter which was written by King Abgar to Jesus,
and sent to him by the hand of Ananias -- [the Bishop was the
Ananias in this tale, and aptly named his letter-carrier], -- the
Tabularius, to Jerusalem:

'Abgar the Black, sovereign of the country, to Jesus, the good
Saviour, who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem: Peace. I
have heard about Thee, and about the healing which is wrought by
Thy hands without drugs and roots. For, as it is reported, Thou
makest the blind to see, and the lame to walk; and Thou cleansest
the lepers, and Thou castest out unclean spirits and demons, and

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Thou healest those who are tormented with lingering diseases, and
Thou raisest the dead. And when I heard all these things about
Thee, I settled in my mind one of two things: either that Thou art
God, who has come down from heaven, and doest these things; or that
Thou art the Son of God, and doest these things. On this account,
therefore, I have written to beg of Thee that Thou wouldest weary
Thyself to come to me, and heal this disease which I have. For I
have also heard that the Jews murmur against Thee, and wish to do
Thee harm. But I have a city, small and beautiful, which is
sufficient for two.'

"Copy of those things which were written by Jesus in reply by
the hand of Ananias, the Tabularius, to Abgar, sovereign of the
country: --

'Blessed is he that believeth in me, not having seen me. For
it is written concerning me, that those who see me will not believe
in me, and that those will believe who have not seen me, and will
be saved. But touching that which thou hast written to me, that I
should come to thee it is meet that I should finish here all that
for the sake of which I have been sent; and, after I have finished
it, then I shall be taken up to Him that sent me; and, when I have
been taken up, I will send to thee one of my disciples, that he may
heal thy disease, and give salvation to thee and to those who are
with thee.'

"To these letters moreover, is appended the following, also in
the Aramaic tongue", -- here following the official record of the
visit of one "Thaddaeus the apostle, one of the Seventy," and him
wonderful works in Edessa. "These things were done in the year 340.
In order, moreover that these things may not have been translated
to no purpose word for word from the Aramaic into Greek, they are
placed in their order of time here. Here endeth the first book."
(HE. i, 13; ANF. viii, 651-653.) Bishop Eusebius is thus seen to
have been a most circumstantial liar and a well-skilled forger for
God. From this episcopal lie sprouted like toadstools a whole
literature of "various books concerning Abgar the King and
Thaddaeus the Apostle," in which are preserved to posterity a
series of five letters -- very much in the style of modern patent-
medicine testimonials -- written by Abgar to Tiberius Caesar and to
neighboring potentates, endorsing Jesus and his healing powers;
with a reply from Tiberius declaring that "Pilate has officially
informed us of the miracles of Jesus.". With respect to the other
letters testimonial, it is recorded: "Abgar had not yet received
answers to these letters when he died, having reigned thirty-eight
years." (Ibid. pp. 657-741, 706.)

These crass episcopal forgeries were welcomed into the Church,
and for fifteen centuries have gone unrebuked by Pope or Church.
Even since the Reformation so strong was the belief in the Abgar-
Jesus forgeries, that notable prelates in England including
Archbishop Cave, have "strenuously contended for their admission
into the canon scripture. ... The Reverend Jeremiah Jones observes,
that common people in England have this Epistle in their houses, in
many places, fixed in a frame, with the picture of Christ before
it; and that they generally, with much honesty and devotion, regard
it as the word of God, and the genuine Epistle of Christ." (Quoted

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in editorial note to the Epistles, in The Lost Books of the Bible,
p. 62.) To such state of superstitious credulity does the Church
with its pious impostures prostitute the minds of its ignorant and
credulous votaries. The portrait of Jesus, referred to above, is
said, in other versions of the Letter, to have been sent by Jesus
to the King; this portrait is now displayed at both Rome and Genoa.
(NIE. i, 38.)


The pious fancy of the Fathers forged another official Letter,
in the name of what CE. calls "a fictitious person," one Lentulus,
pretended predecessor of Pilate as governor of Judaea, to the Roman
Senate, giving a description of the personal appearance of Jesus
Christ, and closing with the words, "He is the most beautiful of
the sons of men." This letter, says CE. "was certainly apocryphal";
it was first printed in the Life of Christ, by Ludolph the
Christian; though it is thought to be traceable to the time of
Diocletian. (CE. ix, 154.) This notion of the personal beauty of
Jesus is not shared by the "tradition" of the Fathers; for Jesus
Christ is declared by Cyril of Alexandria to have been "the ugliest
of the sons of men"; a tradition also declared by Fathers Justin
Martyr and Tertullian; to offset which evil notion there was forged
"a beautiful Letter, purporting to have been written by Lentulus to
the Roman Senate." (Ib. vi, 235.) But St. Augustine, says CE.,
"mentions that in his time there was no authentic portrait of
Christ, and that the type of features was still undetermined, so
that we have absolutely no knowledge of His appearance." (De
Trinitate, lib. vii, ch. 4,5; CE. vi, 211, n.)

This, however, is contrary to the venerated Church fable and
artistic forgery current under the title of "St. Veronica's Veil,"
based on the tale in Luke (xxvii, 27) of the woman of Jerusalem who
offered to Jesus a linen cloth to wipe his face as he was carrying
his cross towards Calvary. On wiping his sweating face, the
supposed authentic likeness of the features of the Christ was
miraculously impressed upon the cloth. The lucky lady "went to
Rome, bringing with her this image of Christ, which was long
exposed to public veneration. To her are likewise traced several
other relies of the Blessed Virgin venerated in several Churches of
the West. To distinguish at Rome the oldest and best known of these
images it was called vera icon (true image), which ordinary
language soon made veronica ... By degrees popular Imagination
mistook this word for the name of a person" (CE. xv, 362), -- and,
Lo! Saint Veronica emerges from the canonizing Saint-mill of Holy
Church. Here we plainly see myth-in-the-making; and may appreciate
the moral splendor as well as crafty thriftiness of the Church of
God which thus supplies its Faithful ready-made with one of the
most cherished female Saints of the Calendar, -- a confessed myth
and forgery. His Holiness especially displayed and vouched for this
fake on March 19, 1930, when he preached his crusade against
Russia. But the Church also, in the Roman Martyrology, credits this
holy icon to Milan, so as to fool many other Faithful. (Ib. p.
363.) This mythical female Saint "has also been confounded with a
pious woman who, according to [Bishop] Gregory of Tours, brought to
the neighboring town of Bazas some drops of the blood of John the
Baptist, at whose beheading she was present," and CE. doesn't even
wink. (Ib.)

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So many confessed Christian forgeries in Pagan and Christian
names having been wrought to testify to Jesus Christ, it was, "one
naturally expects," says CE., that a Jewish "writer so well
informed as Josephus" must know and tell about Jesus; "one
naturally expects, therefore, a notice about Jesus Christ in
Josephus." And with pride it pursues: "Antiquities, VIII, iii, 3,
seems to satisfy this expectation." It proceeds to quote the
passage, which differeth only as one translation naturally differs
from another, from that in the Whitson translation; so I follow CE.
In Chapter iii Josephus treats of "Sedition of the Jews against
Pontius Pilate"; in section 1. he relates the cause and the
suppression of the mutiny, the ensigns of the army displaying the
idolatrous Roman Eagle, brought into the Holy City; in section 2.
he tells of the action of Pilate in bringing "a current of water to
Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money," thus again arousing
a clash with the fanatics; "there were great numbers of them slain
by this means." Passing for the moment the notorious section 3,
Josephus the Jew begins section 4: "About the same time, also,
another sad calamity put the Jews in disorder," which he proceeds
to relate, ending the long chapter. Note that these section numbers
were not put in by Josephus, but are modern editor's devices to
facilitate citation, like the chapters and verses in the Bible. And
now for the much-debated section, sandwiched, in a whole chapter on
"Seditions of the Jews," between the accounts of two massacres of
his countrymen and "another sad calamity"; and thus we read -- note
the parentheses of CE. (viii, 376): --

"About this time," quotes CE., "appeared Jesus, a wise man (if
indeed it is right to call Him a man; for He was a worker of
astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men an receive the truth with
joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (and many also of the
Greeks. This was the Christ). And when Pilate, at the denunciation
of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the
cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him. (For He
appeared to them alive on the third day, the holy prophets having
foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of
Christians named after Him did not cease to this day." (see. 3.)

About this time, also "another sad calamity [?] put the Jews
into disorder," (sec. 4). continues Josephus. CE. devotes over
three long columns to the task of trying to prove that this section
3, or at least "the portions not in parentheses," -- is genuine,
and was written, sometime before his death in 94 A.D., by the
Jewish Pharisee, Josephus. "A testimony so important," well says
CE., "could not escape the critics," -- and it has not. We cannot
follow the lengthy and labored arguments; the simple reading or the
section, in its bizarre context, and a moment's reflection, condemn
it as a pious Christian forgery. If the Pharisee Josephus wrote
that paragraph, he must have believed that Jesus was the Prophesied
Messiah of his people -- "This was the Christ." Josephus is made to
aver, he must then needs have been of "the tribe of Christians
named after Him." But whatever Josephus may have said about Jesus
is, indeed, not "a testimony so important" -- when we remember what
he did aver that he saw with his own eyes; the pillar of salt into
which Mrs. Lot was turned; and Eleazar the magician drawing the

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devil by a ring and Solomonic incantations, through the nose of one
possessed, before Vespasian and all his army. If Josephus had
written that he knew Jesus the Christ personally, and had
personally seen him ascend into heaven through the roof of the room
in Jerusalem (Mk. xvi, 19, 20), or from the open countryside by
Bethany (Lk. xxiv, 50, 51), or "on the mount called Olivet" (Acts
i, 9, 12), -- we should remember that pillar of salt and that
devil-doctor, and smile.

But, when and how did this famous passage get into The
Antiquities of the Jews? it, is pertinent to ask. The first mention
ever made of this passage, and its text, are in the Church History
of that "very dishonest writer," Bishop Eusebius, in the fourth
century, -- he who forged the Letters between Abgar and Jesus,
falsely declaring that he had found the original documents in the
official archives, whence he had copied and translated them into
his Ecclesiastical History. CE. admits, and I have the Contra
Celsum here before me, -- that "the above cited passage was not
known to Origen and the earlier patristic writers," -- though they
copied from Josephus the forged tale of the Letter of Aristeas
about the translating of the Septuagint; and "its very place in the
Josephan text is uncertain, since Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., II, vi)
must have found it before the notices concerning Pilate, while it
now stands after them" (HE. I, ii, p. 63); and it makes the curious
argument, which implies a confession: "But the spuriousness of the
disputed Josephan passage does not imply the historian's ignorance
of the facts connected with Jesus Christ"! For a wonder, that "a
writer so well informed as Josephus" should not, perhaps, know by
hearsay, sixty years after Jesus Christ, some of the remarkable
things circulated about him in current country-side gossip -- (if,
indeed, it were then current). But the fact is, that with the
exception of this one incongruous forged passage, section 3, the
wonder-mongering Josephus makes not the slightest mention of his
wonder-working fellow-countryman, Jesus the Christ, -- though some
score of other Joshuas, or Jesuses, are recorded by him, nor does
he mention any of his transcendent wonders, But, as CE. and I were
saying, none of the Fathers, before Eusebius (about 324), knew or
could find a word in the works of Josephus, of this momentous
"testimony to Jesus," over a century after Origen. That it did not
exist in the time of Origen is explicit by his own words; he cites
the supposed references by Josephus to John the Baptist and to
James, and expressly says that Josephus ought to have spoken of
Jesus instead of James; though Origen does not correctly describe
the reference to James; and the James passage, if not that also
about John, has a suspicious savor of interpolation.

For a clear understanding of this, I will quote the passage of
Origen in his work against Celsus; it completely refutes the claim
that Josephus wrote the disputed and forged section 3. Origen says:

"I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew
accepting John somehow as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the
existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins,
is related by one who lived no great time after John and Jesus. For
in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears
witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising
purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer,

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although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the
cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple
[said that it was 'to avenge James the Just'], whereas he ought to
have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these
calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ,
who was a prophet, says nevertheless -- being, although against his
will, not far from the truth -- that these disasters happened to
the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was
a brother of Jesus (called Christ), -- the Jews having put him to
death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice."
(Origen, Contra Celsum, I, xlvii; ANF. iv, 416.)

Josephus is thus quoted as bearing witness to John the
Baptist, not as the Heaven-sent "forerunner" of the Christ, but
simply as a Jewish religious teacher and baptizer on his own
account; and not a word by Josephus about the Christ, in whom it is
admitted that he did not believe as such, nor even mentions as the
most illustrious of those baptized by John, to the wondrous
accompaniment of a voice from Heaven and the Holy Ghost in dove-
like descent upon his head as he came up from the water. But
Origen, in his effort to get some Christian testimony from him,
misquotes Josephus and makes him say that John was baptizing "for
the remission of sins," whereas Josephus expressly says that the
efficacy of John's baptism was not for remission of sin but for the
purification of the body, as any washing would be. To vindicate
Josephus against Origen, the former's words are quoted. Josephus
recounts the defeat of Herod by Aretas, king of Arabia Petrea; and
goes on to say: --

"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of
Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a
punishment of what he did against John, that was called the
Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded
the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness toward
one another, and piety toward God, and so to come to baptism;
for that the washing would be acceptable to him, if they made
use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but
for the purification of the body: supposing still that the
soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now,
when many others came in crowds about him, for they were
greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the
great influence John had over the people might put it into his
power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed
ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by
putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause,
and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who
might make him repent of it when it should be too late.
Accordingly, he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious
temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was
there put to death." (Josephus, Antiq. Jews, Bk. XVIII, v, 2.)

Beginning in section 4. of the same Book, and at length in
various chapters, Josephus goes into details regarding Salome; but
never a word of the famous dance-act and of the head of John the
Baptist being brought in on a charger to gratify her murderous
whim: the historical reason for the murder of John was political,
not amorous or jealous, as related by Gospel-truth.

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Father Origen again falls into error in citing Josephus, this
time in the dubious passage where Josephus, who does not believe in
the Christ, yet gives him that title in speaking of the death of
James. With typical clerical bent Father Origen imputes the fall of
Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple to the sin of the Jews
in crucifying the Christ; and says that Josephus, in seeking the
cause of the disasters which befell the Holy City and people,
attributes them to the killing of the Christ's brother. The Holy
City and temple were destroyed in 70 A.D., which was well after the
time of the supposititious James, as his demise is recorded in the
suspected passage of Josephus. He related the death of Festus,
which was in 62 A.D., the appointment by Nero of Albinus as his
successor, and the murder of James at the instigation of the high
priest Ananus, before Albinus can arrive. this sentence is to be
read in the text of Josephus:

"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road;
so he (Ananus) assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought
before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose
name was James, and some others; and when he had formulated an
accusation against them all breakers of the law, he delivered
them to be stoned." (Jos., Antiq. Jews, Bk. XX, ix, i.)

Bishop Eusebius cannot pass over this chance to turn another
Jewish testimony for his Christ; he says that "The wiser part of
the Jews were of the opinion that this -- (the killing of James) --
was the cause of the immediate siege of Jerusalem ... Josephus also
has not hesitated to superadd his testimony in his works. "These
things,' he says, 'happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just,
who was the brother of him that is called Christ, and whom the Jews
had slain, notwithstanding his preeminent justice.'" (Euseb. Hist.
Eccles. Bk. II, ch. 23.)

The reader may judge of the integrity of these pretended
Jewish testimonies to the Baptist and to the brother of the Christ,
both suspicious per se, and both falsely cited by Father Origen,
who in all this could not find the famous section 3, first found a
century later by Bishop Eusebius; and which Origen makes it
positive Josephus had not written and could not have written. Is it
a violent suspicion, and uncharitable, to suggest that the holy
Bishop who forged the Letter of his Christ, and lied about finding
it in the Edessa archives, really "found," in the sense of
invented, or forged, the Josephus passages first heard of in his
Church History?

But Bishop Eusebius, with a sort of "stop thief" forethought,
himself imputes forgery to those who would question or discredit
his own pious inventions, while with unctuous fervor pretended
truth he appeals to the wonderful "testimonies of Josephus," which
he has just fabricated. After quoting and misquoting Josephus with
respect to John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, he thur solemnly
couches for their false witness: "When such testimony as this is
transmitted to us by an historian who sprung from the Hebrews
themselves, both respecting John the Baptist and our Savior, what
subterfuge can be left, to prevent those from being convicted
destitute of all shame, who have forged the acts against them?"
(Eusebius, HE. I, xi.) The Bishop justly pronounces his own

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condemnation. This, says Gibbon, "is an example of no vulgar
forgery." (Chap. xvi.) In view of the convicting circumstances, and
of his notoriously bad record, it, is not uncharitable to impute
this Josephus forgery to Bishop Eusebius.


Another story of Pagan superstition related by Josephus, and
twisted by the Christian invention of Bishop Eusebius and the
sacred writers of Acts into inspired "history" and truth of God, is
the celebrated angel-owl passage relating to the tragic death of
the King, Herod Agrippa. Josephus tells that Herod went to Caesarea
to attend a celebration in honor of Caesar; that as Herod entered
the stadium, clad in a robe of silver tissue, the rays of the sun
shone upon it resplendently, making him look like a supernatural
being; whereupon the crowd cried out hailing him as more than
mortal, as a god; but his mortality was quickly made evident by his
sudden illness and death. It may be explained that the word "angel"
(Greek, angelos) means simply "messenger" or herald. Thus proceeds

"But" he [Herod] presently afterward looked up, he saw an
owl sitting upon a certain rope over his head, and immediately
understood that this bird was a messenger [Gr. angelos] of
ill-tidings." Herod was shortly seized with "severe pains in
his belly," and died after five days of suffering." (Jos.
Antiq. Jews, XIX, viii, 2.)

This was too Paganish and prosaic for the pious Christian
fancy of Bishop Eusebius; so while he was forging the "Jesus
passage," he proceeded to give Christian embellishment for
edification to the "owl" story, with its use of the word "angelos."
So he quotes in full the narration of Josephus, under the chapter
heading "Herod Agrippa persecuting the Apostles, immediately
experienced divine Judgment." he first relates the "martyrdom of
James" by Herod, and the imprisonment of Peter, as recorded in
Acts, and proceeds: "The consequences, however, of the king's
attempts against the apostles, were not long deferred, but the
avenging minister of divine justice soon overtook him. ... As it is
also recorded in the book of Acts, he proceeded to Caesarea, and
there on a noted festival, being clad in a splendid and royal
dress, he harangued the people. ... The whole people applauding him
for his harangue, as it were the voice of a god, and not of a man,
the Scriptures relate, 'that the angel of the Lord immediately
smote him and being consumed by worms, he gave up the ghost.' It is
wonderful to observe, likewise, in this singular event, the
coincidence of the history given by Josephus, with that of the
sacred Scriptures. In this he [Josephus] plainly adds his testimony
to the truth, in the nineteenth book of his Antiquities, where he
relates the miracles in the following words: [here quoting Josephus
in full, until he reaches the owl-story, when he thus falsifies]:
-- 'After a little While, raising himself, he saw an angel
[angelos] hanging over his head upon a rope,, and this he knew
immediately to be an omen of evil'! Thus far Josephus: in which
statement, as in others, I can but admire his agreement with the
divine Scriptures"! (Eusebius, HE. II, x.) An angel hanging on a
rope over one's head might well have been taken by a superstitious

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person as ominous of something -- maybe of a hung angel. This pious
story, with the owl piously metamorphosed into an angel, was
apparently cribbed from Josephus also by the writer of Acts, or
maybe "interpolated" into it by the fanciful Bishop. There we find
this Pagan-Jewish anecdote retold by divine inspiration thus
embellished over Josephus and Eusebius: "And immediately the angel
of the Lord [Gr. angelos Kurioul smote him, because he gave not God
the glory: and he was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost"! (Acts
xii, 20-23.) Note the almost identical words, except for the
progressive embellishments: Josephus' owl thus became first an
angel of evil omen, then the avenging minister of the wrath of God,
aided by devouring worms to give true Christian zest and spite to
the simple Pagan superstition. Herod probably died from acute
indigestion caused by the excesses of the festivities, or from an
attack of peritonitis or appendicitis. Profane history of the event
does not chronicle the devouring, avenging worms of God.

The forgery of pious documents of every imaginable character
was among the most constant and zealous activities of the holy
propagandists of the Christian Faith, from the beginning to the
critical era when forgeries were no longer possible or profitable.
A fitting close to this review is the following omnibus confession
-- the Churches cheating each other by forgeries:

"Indeed, in later times, we hear of recovered autographs
of Apostolic writings in the controversies about the Apostolic
origin of some Churches or about claims for metropolitan
dignity. So the autograph of the Gospel of St. Matthew was
said to have been found in Cyprus. ... Eusebius (Hist. Eccles.
vii, 19) relates that in his time the seat of St. James was as
yet extant in Jerusalem. Of old pictures of Apostles, see
Eusebius, ibid, vii, 18. Whether or not even the oldest of
these statements are historically true remains still a mooted
question. We regard it as useless to record what may be found
on these topirg in the vast amount of matter that makes up the
apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and other legendary
documents." (CE. 635.)

Among some of these not already mentioned are found "The
Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Canons of Pseudo-Hippolytus,
The Egyptian Church Ordinance." (CE. i, 636.) Also: "In the last
years of the fifth century a famous document attributed to Popes
Gelasius and Hormisdas adds ... a list of books disapproved, the
works of heretics, and forged Scriptural documents." (CE. vi, 4.)
A glance at the Index-volume of CE. reveals the numerous forged
works attributed to many of the Fathers of the early Church, listed
under the word Pseudo, or false, which word is to be understood as
prefixed to each of the following names: Pseudo-Alquin, Ambrosius,
Antoninus, Areopagite, Athanasius, Augustine, Barnabas,
Callisthenes, Chrysostom, Clement, Epiphanius, Gelasius, Gregory,
Nazianzen, Hegesippus, Hippolytus, Ignatius, Isidore, Jonathan,
Justin, Matthew, Prochorus, Tertullian, Zaeharius. The pious
ignorant "Christians, who for the most part are untrained and
illiterate persons," as shown in the Octavius of Minucius Felix (V,
xi), and the whole Church, were gulled by these frauds for a
thousand years.

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Before looking into the forgery of the New Testament Books, we
shall first draw, from their own words, cameo pen-sketches of those
great men of God and of Holy Church, who under the fond name of
Fathers, but with the minds and devious ways of little children,
forged the sacred documents of the Faith, and by their pious labors
of fraud and forgery founded what is credulously called the Church
of Christ and the Most Holy Christian Faith.

****     ****


Abbreviations used for most often used sources:

The libraries of the Union Theological Seminary and of
Columbia University, in New York City, were the places of the finds
here recorded. Cited so often, space will be saved for more
valuable uses by citing by their initials, -- which will become
very familiar -- my chief ecclesiastical authorities, towit:

The Ante-Nicene Fathers, cited as ANF.; A Collection of the
extant Writings of all the Founders of Christianity down to the
Council of Nicaea, or Nice, in 325 A.D. American Reprint, eight
volumes. The Christian Literature Publishing Co., Buffalo, N.Y.,
1885. [xxx]

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, cited as N&PNF.; First and
Second Series; many volumes; same publishers.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, cited as CE.; fifteen volumes and
index, published under the Imprimatur of Archbishop Farley; New
York, Robert Appleton Co., 1907-9.

The Encyclopedia Biblica, cited as EB., four volumes; Adam &
Charles Black, London, 1899; American Reprint, The Macmillan Co.,
New York, 1914.

****     ****

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****     ****
You are reading
Joseph Wheliss

****     ****

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