Loisy disappoints

A Review of Le Mandéisme et les Origines Chrétiennes (Paris: Nourry, 1934) I just finished reading Alfred Loisy’s book on Mandeism. It was a disappointment. Given the high regard that many mythicists retain for Loisy, this came as something of a surprise. Yet, the little I have personally interacted with Loisy’s work has, admittedly, been less than satisfactory. I feel it’s time to give my reasons and to call Loisy out. From the Mythicist Timeline: – Listed in the Timeline as a Jesus “skeptic,” Loisy was a historicist and is often termed a “modernist.” He was excommunicated (1908). – Loisy argued that, though Christianity was complex, from the beginning it saw the presence of God in Jesus. – Loisy was … Continue reading

Thoughts on Mandaism (first post on this new blog)

I’ve just finished reading Mark Lidzbarski’s German translation of the “Book of John” (Mandaic). I hope to put a precis of the book up on this website. Lidzbarski was a real Mandaic specialist, a true devotee of this obscure and much-reviled religion. He copied out—by hand—the entire Book of John (which I also possess in photocopy). The result is a work of art, and one remains speechless before the gargantuan effort represented by those 290 pages in impeccable handwritten Mandaic (not a single crossing out can be found). Even the footnotes are in Mandaic, with only a few abbreviations in German to guide the reader. While I’m presently struggling to get a foothold in reading Mandaic, Lidzbarski’s work as a … 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