Georges Ory

Georges Antoine Alphonse Ory (1897–1983) was the son of Alphonse Ory, an employee of the French public administration of postal services and telecommunications, and of Marie Guérin. Ory studied in Paris where he received diplomas in liberal studies and political science as well as a license to practice law. From the age of 19 he was active in the Grand Lodge of France (Masons). He would eventually be listed among its dignitaries. In April 1933 he married Suzanne Crozier in Neuilly-sur-Seine. It is not known if they had children.

Ory was an active member of the Parti Radical (a centrist party despite its name) which upholds the principles of private property and secularism (anti-clericalism). He was elected Secretary of the party at the Congress of Reims (1929). At the same time he worked as a correspondent for several newspapers and magazines. Ory was elected representative of the Third Paris arrondissement (1935-42), a position he retained after the Nazi takeover of Paris (14 June 1940). In 1941 Ory was with the Ministry of Production. Shortly thereafter he was awarded the “titular de la francisque,” a decoration of the Vichy regime under Maréchal Petain.

In 1949, together with Prosper Alfaric, Georges Ory co-founded the Cercle Ernest Renan in Paris, a “ Center for the history of religions, for biblical criticism and free research [libres recherches] into the origins of Christianity.” The Cercle (CER) has been at the cutting edge of French Jesus-mythicism for over half a century and continues to publish quarterly Cahiers and to offer monthly lectures in Paris. Ory was also prominent in the Union Rationaliste, and was the principal religion contributor for its Dictionnaire Rationaliste (1964), writing over fifty entries including those entitled “Jésus Christ,” “Gnosticisme,” “Paul-Louis Couchoud,” and “Charles Guignebert.” The dictionnaire is an indispensable resource for liberal French trends in religion. In 1971 (at the age of 74) Ory handed over the presidency of the Cercle Ernest Renan to Guy Fau. In 1962 we have a notice from The Humanist that Ory is giving a lecture in London on “A New Analysis of Christian Origins.” He retired to the Côte d’Azure and thereafter wrote numerous articles for the Cercle Ernest Renan. He passed away in 1983, but many of his remarkable writings continued to be published after his death, even into the 1990s. Hence, the list of his works below is as yet incomplete and provisional.

Ory wrote prolifically on Christian origins during the last three decades of his life. He clearly was a “mythiste”, as we read in his 1963 Analyse des Origines chretiennes where he titles one of his chapters “Jésus-Christ n’a pas été un Messie humain”. Some notes can be culled regarding Ory’s thought. He identified John the Baptist as the original Christian messiah. He further identified this figure with the Samaritan heresiarch Dositheus (see CER nos. 10 & 11 below). My research has independently led to similar conclusions. (Dositheus is the Greek [“Gift of God”] comparable to Semitic Matthew < Mattai.) Ory refused to identify the Essenes with the Dead Sea Sect (À la Recherche des Esséniens, 1975). He supposed that Marcion had a disciple, Lucanus, who was ultimately responsible for the third gospel and who succeeded Marcion at the latter’s death. Lucanus led the Marcionite community in Rome and considered Christ a heavenly being. “Jesus” was a composite.

Ory’s thought is far-ranging and includes pre-Christian gnosticism as well as formulation of the Christian canon (e.g., the role of Clement of Rome). As they become available to me, I have begun to translate the most seminal of Ory’s writings on early Christianity. Thus far, Ory’s articles on “John the Baptist”, “Samaria: The Messiah’s Homeland”, and “The Christ and Jesus” have appeared on this website.—René Salm

Works

The following list does not contain Ory’s many short works of less than four pages. His writings of book length are marked by an asterisk. My thanks to Messrs. E. Tuccinardi and S. Mazzariello who helped greatly in compiling this list.

1953 – Autour de saint-Pierre de Rome (extrait de la causerie de G. Ory) Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 12.
1954 – Cybele Mère des dieux. (Contribution à l’année mariale 1954.)
Causerie tenue au Siege du CERCLE PARISIEN 20 février
1954 – La grande déesse mère des dieux. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 16.
1954 – La diaspora ou “dispersion” des juifs au debut de notre ère. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 22.
1955 – Les catacombes romaines. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 27.
1955 – À la recherche de Simon le Magicien. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 28.
1955 – Valeur historique des écritères chrétiennes. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, nos. 29/30/33/34.
1956 – La “Conversion” de Simon le Magicien. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 9. (16 pp.)
1956 – Jean le Baptiseur. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 10. (24 pp.)
1956 – La Samarie, patrie d’un Messie. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 11. (16 pp.)
1956 – Le Mythe Samaritain d’Hélène. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 12. (32 pp.)
1956 – Un Rite Magique de Simon le Samaritain. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 37.
1957 – Une chronologie du christianisme. Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, nos. 47/48. (5 pp.)
1957 – Les Apôtres et Saint Pierre, histoire vraie ou Légende? Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, nos. 15-16. (32 pp.)
1958 – Noms et Titres de Jésus. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 19. (24 pp.)
1959 – Une Chronologie des Origines Chrétiennes. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 21. (32 pp.)
1959 – Les Manuscrits de la Mer Morte. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 23. (28 pp.)
1959 – Le Secret du Carré Magique. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 61.
1959 – Orphisme et Gnose Chrétienne. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 64.
1959 – L’ncendie de Rome et les Chrétiens. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 66.
1960 – Interpolations du Nouveau Testament, 1: Les Épitres. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 28. (48 pp.) OCLC Number: 312522019.
1961 – Le Rite de la Mort et de la Résurrection. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, nos. 78 & 79. (4 pp).
1961 – Le Mythe de la Rédemption et de la Descente aux Enfers. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 85 bis. (9 pp.)
1962 – Interpolations du Nouveau Testament, 2: Les Actes des Apôtres. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 28. (40 pp.) OCLC Number: 312522191.
1962 – Les Citations de l’Ancien Testament dans le Nouveau. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 35. (16 pp.) OCLC Number: 312524402.
* 1963 – Analysis of Christian Origins (2015 Paul Davidson translation of Analyse des Origines Chrétiennes). Éditions Rationalistes, 92 pp. – Also: Paris, Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 38. – English edition: London: Secular Society Limited.
N.d. “Notes complémentaires”. In Léon Herrmann, Saint Paul et les dieux païens 1. OCLC Number: 764722275.
1963 – Anciennes écritures Chrétiennes. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, nos. 97, 98, 99. (No. 105, Fev. 1964).
1963 – Esquisse d’une Critique de la “Vie de Jésus” de Renan. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 100 bis.
1963 – Les Débuts du Christianisme en Gaule. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 101. (4 pp.)
1964 – Pape, Terre Sainte et politique Paris: Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 106. (4 pp.)
1964 – Ambiguité des Sources Judaïques du Christianisme. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 41. (32 pp.)
1964 – Un Mythe Chrétien Primitif, 1. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 42. (48 pp.)
1964 – Le Christianisme et les Mystères. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 44. (40 pp.)
1964 – Ambiguïté des Sources Juïques du Christianisme. (Problèmes du Christianisme, no. 218). Cahiers Rationalistes.
1965 – Origines Hellenistiques du Christianisme. Les Prismes: Collection Feuilles volantes, no. 40. (5 pp.)
1966 – l’Historicité de Barabbas. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 130.
1966 – Marcion et Luc interpolés par les Esséniens? Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 50.
1967 – Un Nommé Barnabas. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 136.
1967 – Saint Paul a-t-il cru à l’Éxistence historique de Jésus?. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 55. (16 pp.)
1968 – Eusèbe et les Martyrs Lyonnais de 177. Bulletins du Cercle Ernest-Renan, no. 140. (3 pp.)
* 1968 – Le Christ et Jésus. Paris: Éditions du Pavillon, 285 pp. Preface by Henriette Psichari (Mrs. Ernest Renan)
– Bruxelles: Éditions du Cercle d’Éducation Populaire. Cahier 31. 1962.
– Paris: Éd. du Pavillon. 1968.
1968 – Préparation à la Lecture des Évangiles Synoptiques. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 60. (24 pp.)
1970 – Une Reponse inédite à Loisy sur l’historicité de Jésus. Being an extract from the Hibbert Journal, 1939, and from “The Creation of Christ” (the English version of Couchoud’s Jésus, le Dieu fait Homme). Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 67. (20 pp.)
1970 – Rationalisme et histoire des Religions.. Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 65.(24 pp.)
1971 – Quelle ’tait l’origine de Paul?. [Together with A. Ragot, Orphisme et Christianisme]Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 69. (24 pp.) OCLC 654383, 765364611, 462738222, 661148008.
1971 – Des pains, des poissons et des hommes. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 71.
1973 – Mythisme et Historicisme, 1: Le Mythe et l’Histoire. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 80. (24 pp.)
1973 – Mythisme et Historicisme, 2: Jésus Christ appartient-il au Mythe ou à l’Histoire des Faits réels?. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 81. (40 pp.)
* 1975 – À la Recherche des Esséniens. Essai critique. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, hors série. (80 pp.)
1977 – Editorial pour le centième Cahier. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 100.
1977 – L’Évolution du Symbolisme de la Croix. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 100. (14 pp.)
1979 – Compte Rendue de Louis Rougier “Du Paradis a l’Utopie”. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 110.
1979 – Paul Louis Couchoud à l’occasion de son centenaire. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 112.
* 1980 – Marcion. Paris: Cercle Ernest Renan (95 pp.).
1980 – Activités de membres du Cercle en dehors du Cercle. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 115.
1982 – Les origines chrétiennes devant l’histoire. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 124.
1982 – Saint Pierre, ce celebre inconnu. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 132.

The following writings by Ory were published posthumously.

1984 – Réflexions sur les écrits clémentins: Qui était Clément? Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 133.
1984 – L’Epitre aux Galates. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 135.
1984 – (Presentation de J.K. Watson): L’Eglise de Jerusalem, mythe ou réalité?. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan. no. 137
1985 – Les origines chrétiennes devant l’histoire. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 139.
1987 – (Commentaire de J.K. Watson): L’Oreille coupée. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 151.
1990 – (Avec J.K. Watson): L’enfant-dieu et la communion primitive. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 165.
1994 – Le mystère de la crucifixion. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 185.
1994 – Au sujet de la croix. Paris: Cahiers du Cercle Ernest Renan, no. 188.

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