H. Detering, “The Gnostic Meaning of the Exodus”—A commentary (Pt. 12)

Simon MagusPart 2—Person or cipher? In the Clementine writings, the adversary Simon is nothing less than a (false) Christ figure. This is clear from the way Peter speaks of him: “For who would not marvel at the wonders done by him [Simon Magus], so as to think of him as a god come down from the heavens for the salvation of human beings?” (Rec. 2.6; Gebhardt p. 49; emphases added.) Epiphanius knows the same claim: “He [Simon] therefore came forward, and under the name of Christ…” (Pan. 21.2.1). This must cause wonder. For over fifteen hundred years the West has been inured to only one Christ figure: Jesus of Nazareth. However, when one investigates the many ‘heretics’ and the plethora … Continue reading

Jesus mythicism on the upswing…

NOTE: Only days after this post’s appearance, Father Thomas Brodie (see below) has been removed from his position at the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick which he helped set up, according to The Irish Sun (Jan 21, 2013). The influential Irish scholar has also been “banned from any lecturing, teaching or writing while a probe is under way.” The newspaper article subheading reads: “A TOP priest has been forced to quit a Bible-teaching job after writing a book claiming Jesus did not exist.” In his book Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery (Oct. 2012), Fr. Brodie makes public the fact that he has questioned the existence of Jesus since the 1970s.—R.S. (Added Jan 22, 2013.) … Continue reading

Happy Mythicist New Year!

At the beginning of ‘the year of our Lord 2013’ it must be noted with amazement that still not a single Biblical Studies professor, whether tenured or not tenured, publicly endorses the mythicist viewpoint regarding Jesus of Nazareth. (Please correct me if I’m wrong. See first comment below.—R.S.) This startling fact is a testament to the monolithic refusal of both scholarship and society to embrace the results of scientific investigation and reason. In the field of religion, mankind still lives in the Stone Age. Yet, the facts—laboriously brought to light by maverick scholars over the last two hundred years—show that Jesus of Nazareth is the chimera of a bygone era, an invented figure. From the virgin birth to the resurrection, … Continue reading

Charles Guignebert

Charles Guignebert (1867–1939) was born in the Val-de-Marne, into a family of artisans that was not particularly pious. Despite his secular upbringing he became interested in the history of Christianity and studied under Ernest Renan, obtaining a doctorate in the field with a thesis on Tertullian. From 1906 he was a professor of history at the Sorbonne. In 1919 Guignebert assumed the chair of the History of Christianity faculty there, a position he held until 1937. With Alfred Loisy, Guignebert was among the first to adopt a scientific rather than confessional approach to Christian history. “The gospels are texts of propaganda,” he wrote, “calculated to organize and authenticate the legend represented in the sacred drama of the sect by making … Continue reading

Joseph Turmel

Among the great French religious modernists of the twentieth century, Joseph Turmel was a native of Rennes. His family was both very large and very poor, his parents pious and unlettered. However, Joseph’s keen intelligence was noticed early. He entered the large Seminary of Rennes and subsequently studied theology at the University of Angers, was ordained priest in 1882 and immediately appointed professor of dogmatic theology at the Seminary of Rennes. Turmel’s faith was ardent, and he worked hard to defend the Church against the incredulous. However, he himself became subject to doubts with the appearance of Gesenius’ commentary on Isaiah. Despite Turmel’s attempts to convince himself of error, those doubts grew with his continued study of the Pentateuch. On … Continue reading

Alfred Loisy

Alfred Firmin Loisy (1857-1940)       “The believer of the past is above all one who confesses, who frequently confesses—who does so more often even than Catholic morality requires to atone for sinfulness. He is a man who practices intellectual obsequiousness, acknowledging what the Church requires by fiat and accepting all that it teaches him without examination, contesting neither the sense nor the logic of what he believes and considering himself a minion who learns from the Church all that he needs regarding the great subjects touching upon his existence—what he must do in order to be a good person and (above all) what he must accomplish to be a good Christian. His activity is thus ultimately regulated by an exterior authority … Continue reading

Ernest Renan

Historian, philologist, Semitic scholar, and critic, Ernest Renan was considered one of France’s foremost thinkers during the later years of the Second Empire. Born in Brittany, he began studies for the priesthood and became an accomplished Hebraic scholar. Renan’s work on sacred texts, however, presented him with grave doubts concerning the divine inspiration of the Bible and revealed religion in general. In 1845 he gave up his ideas of becoming a priest and devoted himself to the new religion of science. His conviction that the future of the world rested in science is expressed in l’Avenir de la Science (English: The Future of Science), written around 1848 though not published until 1890. Renan never lost his idealism nor abandoned the … Continue reading

The French school of biblical rationalism

Charles-François Dupuis (1742-1809) Constantin-François Volney (1757-1820) * Ernest Renan (1823-1892 Arthur Heulhard (1849-1920) * Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) Salomon Reinach (1858-1932) * Joseph Turmel (1859-1943) Salomon Reinach (1858-1932) Éduard Dujardin (1861-1949) * Charles Guignebert (1867-1939) Daniel Massé (1872- ?) André Ragot (1874-1971) E. Moutier-Rousset (?-?) * Prosper Alfaric (1876-1955) * Paul-Louis Couchoud (1879-1959) * Georges Ory (1897-1983) Guy Fau (?-?) Georges Las Vergnas (1911-?) Charles-François Dupuis (1742-1809) Man of letters, scientist and politician. Born in the Oise region, Dupuis was the son of a school teacher of modest means. His talents were precocious, particularly in geometry, which brought the lad to the attention of the Duc de la Rochefoucauld. Dupuis was granted a scholarship to the college of Harcourt, eventually received a diploma in theology and, in 1766, … Continue reading