Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 325

[553:1] This picture would give us the story of Hercules, who strangled the serpent in his cradle, and who, in after years, in the form of a giant, ran his course.

[553:2] This would give us St. George killing the Dragon.

[553:3] This would give us the story of the monster who attempted to devour the Sun, and whom the "untutored savage" tried to frighten away by making loud cries.

[553:4] This would give us the story of Samson, whose strength was renewed at the end of his career, and who slew the Philistines—who had dimmed his brilliance—and bathed his path with blood.

[553:5] This would give us the story of Oannes or Dagon, who, beneath the clouds of the evening sky, plunged into the sea.

[553:6] This would give us the story of Hercules and his bride Iôle, or that of Christ Jesus and his mother Mary, who were at their side at the end of their career.

[553:7] This would give us the story of the labors of Hercules.

[553:8] This is the Sun as Seva.

[553:9] Here again we have the Sun as Siva the Destroyer.

[553:11] This would give us the story of Samson, who was "the friend of the children of men, and the remorseless foe of those powers of darkness" (the Philistines), who had stolen away his bride. (See Judges, ch. xv.)

[554:1] This would give us the stories of Thor, the mighty warrior, the terror of his enemies, and those of Cadmus, Romulus or Odin, the wise chieftains, who founded nations, and taught their people knowledge.

[554:2] This would give us the story of Christ Jesus, and other Angel-Messiahs; Saviours of men.

[554:3] This would give us the stories of spellbound maidens, who sleep for years.

[554:4] This is Hercules and his counterparts.

[554:5] This again is Hercules.

[554:6] This would depend upon whether his light was obscured by clouds, or not.

[554:7] This again is Hercules.

[554:8] This is Apollo, Siva and Ixion.

[554:9] Rev. G. W. Cox.

[555:1] Who has not heard it said that the howling or whining of a dog forebodes death?

[555:2] Bunce: Fairy Tales, Origin and Meaning.

[556:1] Quoted by Bunce: Fairy Tales.

[557:1] See Bunce: Fairy Tales, p. 34.

[558:1] "The Sun," said Gaugler, "speeds at such a rate as if she feared that some one was pursuing her for her destruction." "And well she may," replied Har, "for he that seeks her is not far behind, and she has no way to escape but to run before him." "And who is he," asked Gaugler, "that causes her this anxiety?" "It is the Wolf Sköll," answered Har, "who pursues the Sun, and it is he that she fears, for he shall one day overtake and devour her." (Scandinavian Prose Edda. See Mallet's Northern Antiquities, p. 407). This Wolf is, as we have said, a personification of Night and Clouds, we therefore have the almost universal practice among savage nations of making noises at the time of eclipses, to frighten away the monsters who would otherwise devour the Sun.

[558:2] Aryan Mythology, vol. i. p. 103.

[559:1] Tylor: Primitive Culture, vol. i. p. 308.

[559:2] Müller: The Science of Religion, p. 65.

[559:3] Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 1.

[560:1] As the hand of Hector is clasped in the hand of the hero who slew him. There, as the story ran, the lovely Helen "pardoned and purified," became the bride of the short-lived, yet long-suffering Achilleus, even as Iole comforted the dying Hercules on earth, and Hebe became his solace in Olympus. But what is the meeting of Helen and Achilleus, of Iole and Hebe and Hercules, but the return of the violet tints to greet the Sun in the West, which had greeted him in the East in the morning? The idea was purely physical, yet it suggested the thoughts of trial, atonement, and purification; and it is unnecessary to say that the human mind, having advanced thus far, must make its way still farther. (Cox: Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 822.)

[560:2] The black storm-cloud, with the flames of lightning issuing from it, was the original of the dragon with tongues of fire. Even as late as A. D. 1600, a German writer would illustrate a thunder-storm destroying a crop of corn by a picture of a dragon devouring the produce of the field with his flaming tongue and iron teeth. (Baring-Gould: Curious Myths, p. 342.)

[561:1] M. Bréal, and G. W. Cox.

[562:1] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 59.

[562:2] Ibid.

[562:3] Ibid. p. 181.

[562:4] Book iv. ch. i. in Anac., vol. i. p. 137.

[562:5] P. 6.

[562:6] Squire: Serpent Symbol, p. 33.

[562:7] Aryan Mytho., vol. ii. p. 33.

[562:8] Williams' Hinduism, p. 88.

[563:1] Müller's Chips, vol. ii. p. 260.

[Pg 564]


We maintain that not so much as one single passage purporting to be written, as history, within the first hundred years of the Christian era, can be produced to show the existence at or before that time of such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ, or of such a set of men as could be accounted his disciples or followers. Those who would be likely to refer to Jesus or his disciples, but who have not done so, wrote about:

a. d. 40 Philo.[564:1]
40 Josephus.
79 C. Plinius Second, the Elder.[564:2]
69 L. Ann. Seneca.
79 Diogenes Laertius.

79 Pausanias.
79 Pompon Mela.

79 Q. Curtius Ruf.
79 Luc. Flor.
110 Cornel Tacitus.
123 Appianus.
140 Justinus.
141 Ælianus.


Out of this number it has been claimed that one (Josephus) spoke of Jesus, and another (Tacitus) of the Christians. Of the former it is almost needless to speak, as that has been given up by Christian divines many years ago. However, for the sake of those who still cling to it we shall state the following:

Dr. Lardner, who wrote about A. D. 1760, says:

1. It was never quoted by any of our Christian ancestors before Eusebius.

2. Josephus has nowhere else mentioned the name or word Christ, in any of his works, except the testimony above mentioned,[564:3] and the passage concerning James, the Lord's brother.[564:4]

3. It interrupts the narrative.

4. The language is quite Christian.

5. It is not quoted by Chrysostom,[564:5] though he often refers to Josephus, and could not have omitted quoting it, had it been then, in the text.[Pg 565]

6. It is not quoted by Photius, though he has three articles concerning Josephus.

7. Under the article Justus of Tiberius, this author (Photius) expressly states that this historian (Josephus), being a Jew, has not taken the least notice of Christ.

8. Neither Justin, in his dialogue with Typho the Jew, nor Clemens Alexandrinus, who made so many extracts from ancient authors, nor Origen against Celsus, have even mentioned this testimony.

9. But, on the contrary, Origen openly affirms (ch. xxxv., bk. i., against Celsus), that Josephus, who had mentioned John the Baptist, did not acknowledge Christ.[565:1]

In the "Bible for Learners," we read as follows:

"Flavius Josephus, the well-known historian of the Jewish people, was born in A. D. 37, only two years after the death of Jesus; but though his work is of inestimable value as our chief authority for the circumstances of the times in which Jesus and his Apostles came forward, yet he does not seem to have ever mentioned Jesus himself. At any rate, the passage in his 'Jewish Antiquities' that refers to him is certainly spurious, and was inserted by a later and a Christian hand. The Talmud compresses the history of Jesus into a single sentence, and later Jewish writers concoct mere slanderous anecdotes. The ecclesiastical fathers mention a few sayings or events, the knowledge of which they drew from oral tradition or from writings that have since been lost. The Latin and Greek historians just mention his name. This meager harvest is all we reap from sources outside the Gospels."[565:2]

Canon Farrar, who finds himself compelled to admit that this passage in Josephus is an interpolation, consoles himself by saying:

"The single passage in which he (Josephus) alludes to Him (Christ) is interpolated, if not wholly spurious, and no one can doubt that his silence on the subject of Christianity was as deliberate as it was dishonest."[565:3]

The Rev. Dr. Giles, after commenting on this subject, concludes by saying:

"Eusebius is the first who quotes the passage, and our reliance on the judgment, or even the honesty, of this writer is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine."[565:4]

Eusebius, then, is the first person who refers to these passages.[565:5] Eusebius, "whose honesty is not so great as to allow of our considering everything found in his works as undoubtedly genuine." Eusebius, who says that it is lawful to lie and cheat for the cause of Christ.[565:6] This Eusebius is the sheet-anchor of reliance for most we know of the first three centuries of the Christian history. What then must we think of the history of the first three centuries of the Christian era?

[Pg 566]

The celebrated passage in Tacitus which Christian divines—and even some liberal writers—attempt to support, is to be found in his Annals. In this work he is made to speak of Christians, who "had their denomination from Christus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate."

In answer to this we have the following:

1. This passage, which would have served the purpose of Christian quotation better than any other in all the writings of Tacitus, or of any Pagan writer whatever, is not quoted by any of the Christian Fathers.

2. It is not quoted by Tertullian, though he had read and largely quotes the works of Tacitus.

3. And though his argument immediately called for the use of this quotation with so loud a voice (Apol. ch. v.), that his omission of it, if it had really existed, amounts to a violent improbability.

4. This Father has spoken of Tacitus in a way that it is absolutely impossible that he should have spoken of him, had his writings contained such a passage.

5. It is not quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, who set himself entirely to the work of adducing and bringing together all the admissions and recognitions which Pagan authors had made of the existence of Christ Jesus or Christians before his time.

6. It has been nowhere stumbled upon by the laborious and all-seeking Eusebius, who could by no possibility have overlooked it, and whom it would have saved from the labor of forging the passage in Josephus; of adducing the correspondence of Christ Jesus and Abgarus, and the Sibylline verses; of forging a divine revelation from the god Apollo, in attestation of Christ Jesus' ascension into heaven; and innumerable other of his pious and holy cheats.

7. Tacitus has in no other part of his writings made the least allusion to "Christ" or "Christians."

8. The use of this passage as part of the evidences of the Christian religion, is absolutely modern.

9. There is no vestige nor trace of its existence anywhere in the world before the 15th century.[566:1]

[Pg 567]

10. No reference whatever is made to this passage by any writer or historian, monkish or otherwise, before that time,[567:1] which, to say the least, is very singular, considering that after that time it is quoted, or referred to, in an endless list of works, which by itself is all but conclusive that it was not in existence till the fifteenth century, which was an age of imposture and of credulity so immoderate that people were easily imposed upon, believing, as they did, without sufficient evidence, whatever was foisted upon them.

11. The interpolator of the passage makes Tacitus speak of "Christ," not of Jesus the Christ, showing that—like the passage in Josephus—it is, comparatively, a modern interpolation, for

12. The word "Christ" is not a name, but a TITLE;[567:2] it being simply the Greek for the Hebrew word "Messiah." Therefore,

13. When Tacitus is made to speak of Jesus as "Christ," it is equivalent to my speaking of Tacitus as "Historian," of George Washington as "General," or of any individual as "Mister," without adding a name by which either could be distinguished. And therefore,

14. It has no sense or meaning as he is said to have used it.