NEW TESTAMENT FORGERIES by Madalyn O'Hair Reproduced from the +quot;American Atheist Radio

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NEW TESTAMENT FORGERIES by Madalyn O'Hair Reproduced from the "American Atheist Radio Series" department of the August 1989 issue of the _American Atheist_ magazine. ************************************* SUMMARY: An investigation into the life of Jesus turns up myths and lies. ABOUT THIS SERIES: When the first installment of a regularly scheduled, fifteen-minute, weekly American Atheist radio series on KLBJ radio (a station in Austin, Texas, owned by then-President Lyndon Baines Johnson) hit the airwaves on June 3, 1968, the nation was shocked. The programs had to be submitted weeks in advance and were heavily censored. The regular production of the series ended in September 1977, when no further funding was available. The following is the text of "American Atheist Radio Series" program No. 349, first broadcast on July 5, 1975. [Text begins] Back at the turn of the century, a man by the name of Joseph Wheless attempted to prove that everything about the Bible was a forgery, and I have been exploring some of his contentions here during the last several weeks. In order to look at the New Testament, Wheless believes that one must first accept, or tentatively assume, certain matters to be true. He attempts to sketch the life of Jesus Christ as one of these facts, but has difficulties with that. Let us look at some of this. Jesus was a native of Galilee (Matt. 2:23; 13:54-55), or else he was a native of Judaea (John 4:43-44). He was born in the days of Herod the king (Matt. 2:1); or else at another date, thirteen years later when Cyrenius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-7). There are destructive contradictions in his lineage and parentage which have been the subject of much discussion for a thousand years. In one report (Matt. 1:1-16) there were twenty-eight generations from David to the time of the Jews being carried to Babylon, and fourteen generations from there to Jesus Christ, if his father was Joseph. However, in another report (Luke 3:23-38) there were only seventy-eight generations from Adam to Jesus, again counting Joseph as his father; and of these there were forty-two generations from David -- but the lineage is different, all the fathers are not the same, and in any event, Joseph was not Christ's father. The Holy Ghost did that. But aside from that, Jesus became a Jewish sectarian religious teacher of the zealot reformer type. He was so zealous that his own family thought him insane and sent out to apprehend him (Mark 3:21,31); and many thought of him as possessed by the devil and mad (John 10:20) -- his own disciples thought him mad (John 2:17). His ministry lasted one year according to the first three Gospels and three years according to the fourth. He repeated throughout the ministry that he had come only to his own Jewish people (Matt. 15:24, Acts 3:25-26, Acts 13:46, Rom. 15:8), and he enjoined his twelve apostles only to preach to the Jews (Matt. 10:5-6). He himself declined to assist a Gentile (Matt. 15:22-28). His own ministry said that there was to be an immediate end of the world (Matt. 10:7, Matt. 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27, Mark 13:30) and he exhorted his disciples to teach the same (Matt. 10:23, Matt. 26:63-64, Mark 14:61-62). Of course, there were to be none but Jews in heaven or in the new Kingdom of Heaven on the earth (John 4:22). These were to be 144,000 Jews, the "sealed" saints, who alone constituted the original Jewish Kingdom of God (Rev. 7:3-8). We use this short outline. We find then that nothing was written on the subject during the generation of Jesus. But the earth did not come to an end, and soon the failing new Jewish faith was offered to the pagans of countries round. The "Word" was spread by mouth. Written books did not come into existence at first at all. It is very difficult to indicate when the writings began, so we need to find out first when they were not written, when they were not available. But, for one hundred and fifty years, little or nothing besides the Old Testament and pagan oracles were known or quoted. Indeed up to the year 150, no Christian writer quoted the Gospels at all, with the exception of Papias (A.D. 70-155), who spoke of a narrative by Mark and a collection of sayings of Jesus. There are twenty-three books in the New Testament from Acts to Revelation. Of these, in these, there is not a solitary reference to or a word of quotation from, any of the four Gospels, the first four books in the New Testament. There is scarcely a trace of the wonderful career and miracles of Jesus, and not a word of his gospel or teachings is either mentioned or quoted. The 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 the apostle Paul fulminates against anyone who would teach any interpretation but his own, saying: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8) From all of this, the conclusion is inevitable: that when the twenty-three Acts and Epistles were written, none of the four Gospel biographies of Jesus had yet seen the light. The Acts and Epistles, therefore, with Revelation, were written before any of the Gospel biographies. And as the long years passed and one generation of disappointed Messianic Jews after another was gathered to their fathers, the believers in the Second Coming grew restless and even in the New Testament asked questions as in 2 Peter 3:4: "And 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." And, of course, they still continue to the date of this broadcast. It was when this impatience began, at a critical juncture, that Wheless believes in an effort to revive and stimulate the jaded hopes of the Jewish believers and to spread the propaganda amongst the pagans, the written Christ-tales began to be worked up. There were at hand, the pagan oracles, the Jewish literature, and other apocryphal and forged writings. So, whereas the Old Testament depended on "inspiration" and "revelation" for authenticity, the New Testament is silent on this subject. And it was not until the middle of the second century that the New Testament was attached to the Old Testament. The dubious and disputed status of the sacred writings was, indeed, not settled until the Council of Trent, in the year 1546. It was at that time that the Latin Vulgate Version was declared to be authentic and _almost_ infallible. But a number of these books were bitterly disputed and their authenticity and inspiration denied by the leading reformers, Luther, Grotius, Calvin. As we have it today, there are a number of entire books doubted, and these are the Epistle to the Hebrews, that of James, the Second and Third of John, Jude, and Apocalypse. The doubted "portions" are three in number: the closing section of St. Mark's Gospel, 16:9-20, some verses in Luke (22:43-44) and in John 7:53 to 8:11. There are Christian apocryphal writings. In general they imitate the books of the New Testament, and with a few exceptions, fall under the description of being Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses. Some of the material then available included the following: ** A gospel written by Jesus Christ's own hand; ** Letters and portraits of Jesus Christ and his personal correspondence; ** Letters written by his virgin mother; ** Pilate's official report to the Emperor of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus, with Pilate's confession of faith; ** The reply of Tiberius and the trial of Pilate; ** Official documents of the Roman Senate about Jesus; ** Gospels, Epistles, Acts, by every one of the twelve apostles; ** Official documents of church law and government, written in Greek, by the apostles; ** Records of the earliest popes and apostolic succession; ** And scores of other pious forged documents. One work is especially interesting. Forged in the name of John the Apostle, it records how all the apostles were preternaturally transported from different quarters of the globe to the Virgin's deathbed, those who had died being resurrected for the purpose. A Jew who dared to touch the sacred body instantly lost both hands, but they were restored through the mediation of the apostles. Christ, accompanied by a band of angels, came down to receive his mother's soul. The apostles then bore the body to Gethsemane and deposited it in a tomb, whence it was taken up alive to heaven. This was 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 came to life again for the heaven trip. Wheless cites scores of these works. I am stunned by the authorities he quotes. The church, today, relies on the word of its early historians in so many things -- but never tells us that the historians also accepted other ideas. For instance, Eusebius, on whom the church relies greatly, vouches that he himself translated from the Syriac documents in the archives of Edessa. These included, in three documents, 1. A letter of Abgar to Christ, 2. Christ's reply, 3. A picture painted from life, of Christ. I am absolutely stunned by this. If we cannot believe Eusebius on this matter, how can we believe him on any matter? It should be mentioned that Abgar was not a personal name of a king of Edessa, but a generic title of all the rulers of that small state, just as we call the Roman emperors caesars, and the kings of Egypt pharaohs. But, in his _Church History,_ Book I, Chapter 13, pages 63 forward, Eusebius blithely states that Jesus was so famous that he was known even in countries remote from the land of Judea and that from Edessa, "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." So Eusebius went to Edessa where the material was, he says, "taken by us from the archives," and "translated from Aramaic into Greek." The actual letter follows where the king declares: "Abgar the Black, sovereign of the country, to Jesus, the Good Saviour, who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem." It is all there -- the entire letter. He implores Jesus to heal him of an ailment. Jesus answers the letter saying he must first die and be "taken up" and that he will then send one of his disciples to not alone heal the disease of the Abgar -- that is, the king -- but will see that the disciple gives him salvation also. This all came to pass then in the year 340, when the disciple Thaddeus went to Edessa and did wonderful works. Of course, the Abgar had been dead for probably three hundred years then and the disciple was a little late getting there. But how can I now ever believe anything that Eusebius has written? And why did not the church make this clear to me when I studied Eusebius under the tutelage of the religious community? Why was this part of his writing kept from me? Actually, Wheless makes me feel like a damn fool for ever having accepted any of it. Eusebius, Wheless says, "is thus seen to have been a most circumstantial liar and a well-skilled forger for God." From this one lie spouted others like toadstools, a whole literature of various books concerning Abgar the King and Thaddeus the Apostle, in which are preserved for posterity a series of five letters written by Abgar to Tiberius Caesar and to neighboring potentates, endorsing Jesus and his healing power in something like testimonials. What staggers me more is that Tiberius answers saying, "Pilate has officially informed us of the miracles of Jesus." These crass forgeries were welcomed into the church and for fifteen centuries have gone unrebuked by either pope or church. Until the beginning of our present century, strong support was made for these letters throughout England by the archbishops there. The portrait of Jesus, reported to have been sent by Jesus himself to the king, is now displayed at both Rome and Genoa and is in many homes in England, in reproduction, available from the church. Of course, this picture is not quite the same as the likeness of the features of Christ miraculously impressed upon a cloth when a woman of Jerusalem offered Jesus a linen cloth to wipe his face as he was carrying his cross towards Calvary. At first this likeness was called in Latin, _vera icon,_ which means true image. But in ordinary language it soon became _veronica_; and by degrees popular imagination mistook the word for the name of a person. And so the tale of Veronica's Veil was formed and from this emerges St. Veronica, the woman of Jerusalem who offered Jesus a linen cloth to wipe his face. Here is myth-in-the-making. Yet the pope displayed and vouched for the fake Veil of St. Veronica on March 19, 1930, in Rome. ************************************************************ Provided by: AMERICAN ATHEIST ONLINE SERVICES, P O Box 140195, Austin, TX 78714-0195. Voice: (512) 458-1244. FAX: (512) 467-9525. BBS: (512) 302-0223. Text reprinted courtesy of the American Atheists Press. Copyright 1994. All rights reserved. This may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of American Atheists Press.


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