Alvin Boyd Kuhn's "Who is This King of Glory?"

Alvin Boyd Kuhn's Who Is This King of Glory? begins by quoting the bogus Pope Leo X quote. That by itself is enough to warrant throwing it away.

Indeed, this shall be the next (and last) work of Kuhn we will look at in any detail (though not the last I will read personally) in an effort to undermine the credibility of sources used and absued by Tom Harpur in The Pagan Christ. This work (hereafter referred to as King for short) is one of Kuhn's longest (and at the same time, one of the fullest of irrelevant blather disguised as wisdom), and one in which he makes some effort to address Christian claims. If anyone doubts that Kuhn is of this nature, I present as a witness none other than the Skeptic Earl Doherty, who, though clearly trying not to step on the toes of fellow mythers, had this to say about Kuhn: "Kuhn, especially, is a demanding read, to judge by what little of him I have attempted. His style is dense and flowery and not a little pretentious—perhaps the mark of the mystic mind as it strikes someone who is anything but a mystic."

The initial claim is that the Rosetta Stone "struck a mighty blow at historical Christianity" in showing how Christianity stole all of its ideas from Egyptian religion, though as usual, the reasons why both credentialed Biblical, religious, and Egyptological scholars have failed to notice this is never explained; much less are any of these cited, other than via nebulous references to "ignorant zealots" whose names and works Kuhn never seems to cite or deal with, and insults to the "ineptitude of scholarly acumen" which Kuhn never has the nerve to directly confront. And after telling us this fascinating news 568 ways til Sunday, Kuhn sums up a list of alleged parallel stories (which we will deal with in turn as needed, once he presents his own detailed version), and presents his story of how the world actually works, thus:

The primary truth of human culture which is presented by all sage religions of antiquity is the fact that there resides deeply embedded in the core of man’s constitution a nucleus of what, for want of a better designation, must be called a divine spark or sun. The glow of Christliness--a thing at once both chemically radio-active and intellectual--in us is indeed the hope of our glory. Modern science, through the work of Dr. George W. Crile, late head of the Cleveland Medical laboratories, has rediscovered what the ancient sages were familiar with--the radiant SUN in man. "Every man," proclaimed the ancients and the Medieval "Fire Philosophers," "has a little SUN within his own breast." This sun is the Christ in man, a nucleus of fiery divine spirit-energy.

It no doubt would be fascinating to find out how "Christliness" is indeed "chemically radio-active," and no doubt non-experts like Crile will serve us far better in religious scholarship than, say, Johnathan Z. Smith. As usual, Kuhn's occult gibberish is offered with nothing in the way of substantiating evidence; for those who find this sort of gibberish authoriative, though, it doesn't matter. Kuhn could say things like, "No matter how emotionally, how fanatically the worshipper pours out adoration to a person in objective life, the work of his own evolution is not accomplished until he effectuates the ultimate divinization of the nuclear potentiality of deific fire within his own self-controlled area of consciousness" and a Harpur will not blink an eye; he could sing "The Last Train to Clarksville" and be regarded as a certified genius for his spiritual insight. But enough of the introduction that in Kuhn's usual way says in 10,000 words what could have best been said in 100; let us get to where he finally presents some of that "mountainous evidence" that is alleged to support his points.

It takes another few pages for Kuhn to satisfy himself with occult preaching about "vibration-waves" and such; Chapter 1 of King is nought but more of this. Chapter 2 is first a rambling excursus on religious visions; then, Kuhn proceeds to "debunk" claims that Jesus existed as a person, not with such things as the references to Jesus in the Annals of Tacitus (good grief, no!) but with some straw argument put this way: "He must have lived because it can be shown that it was most eminently desirable, from a psychological point of view, that he should have lived. The conception of Christ as principle could never have developed enough dynamic force or fervor to have enabled Christianity, so to say, to effectuate itself." Whatever that means, and whoever argues such. The closest I have ever seen argued to this was the idea that socially and historically, Christianity could not have arisen without a live Jesus on earth, but this argument works of historical principle, not psychological desire. What box of CooCoo Crispies Kuhn got this argument out of, I cannot guess, but he goes on to ramble about it for several pages nevertheless, with such yippee-yay statements as these peppering the mix:

What was known of old, and must now be proclaimed anew with clarion blast, is that the myth, as employed by ancient illuminati in Biblical scripture, is not fiction, but the truest of all history! So far from being fiction in the sense of a story that never happened and is therefore false to fact, it is the only story that is completely and wholly true! The myth is the only true narrative of the reality of human experience. It is the only ultimately true history ever written. It is a picture and portrayal of the only veridical history ever lived. All other so-called history, the record of people’s acts and movements, buildings and destructions, marchings and settlings, is less truly history than the myth!

No doubt Michael Grant would like to be so informed so that he can stop wasting his own time, because, "Even as a perfectly faithful record of what actually happened, book history is far from being true. This is an admission so commonplace that every courtroom is on guard against the testimony of witnesses because of the incapacity of the human senses in making an impeccable record of event. No history book ever contained a precisely true account of occurrence." Perhaps not; but as yet this has not driven any genuine historian into the epistemic panic that Kuhn seems to think is necessary, much less has it driven them to start believing that we ought put "myth" in its place. Indeed one wonders what makes Kuhn's deconstructionist drivel any better, since other occult writers have presented ideas different than his own. But after pages more of telling us how history is bunk, Kuhn subs in with his own "history" of how cavemen and such and their Sages "plac[ed] at the very heart of every religious system an ideal personage who should typify and personify man himself, in his dual nature as human and divine, struggling forward to the consummation of his high glory," though given Kuhn's screed on history, one wonders why we ought to believe these Sages either, since they presented so many detail-contradictory accounts of this "ideal personage," as Mithra's story is very little like that of Dionysus. But so it is, that these unnamed and undocumented "Sages" aided "ignorant, blind humanity" in this inconveniently undocumented way, and we are assured that the life of Jesus " are seen to match with nearly perfect fidelity the similar cycles of purely allegorical 'events' in the dramatic and mythic representations of some sixteen or more--indeed probably fifty or more--earlier type figures recorded in ancient sacred Bibles of the nations." And which are these? Kuhn for now merely lists (without detail) Zoroaster, Orpheus (Dionysus), Hermes, Horus, Izdubar, Mithra, Sabazius, Adonis, Witoba, Hercules (Alcides), Marduk, Krishna, and Buddha. All of those italicized are ones we have on this site studied in some detail (see series here for most of them) and found no "fidelity match" to speak of, much less a perfect one. Neither religious nor secular scholarship backs up Kuhn's claim of a "body of evidence that sweeps in with crushing force to devastate every one of the arguments from psychology that have been considered," much less (aside from that strawman) that renders Jesus ahistorical. Kuhn's prime evidence is the carving at Luxor which now not even atheists will endorse as a parallel. And with pages more railing against this "psychological" argument that no one uses, we have such as this:

Said W. J. Bryan, "I would accept every statement in the Bible literally, no matter how it contravened my reason." This well illustrates the massive emotional predisposition that is being dealt with here. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Reason has an almost insuperable weight of psychological skullduggery to overcome and push aside before it can gain a hearing at all.

That may be as it is, but I find no such quote attributed to William Jennings Bryan anywhere but from Kuhn. A "juicy" quote like this from the attacker of Darwinism ought to have the Secular Web salivating, but strangely, they do not have it. Nevertheless, Kuhn occupies himself with pages more of babbling incoherently without an argument as such in sight ("The whole flow of evolution, therefore, depends upon the stimuli provided by the contingencies arising in and from the soul’s experiences in material body. Without matter spirit can have no experience. Not the transcendent but the immanent deity grows.") on into Chapter 3, we get what appears to be approaching an argument:

If it can be shown that the ancient sages wrote their great books of wisdom in a form that was purely typological or representative, and in no sense objectively historical, a presumptive argument of nearly clinching force will be established in favor of the non-existence of Jesus, as far as the New Testament is concerned. If practically the only documents in which his "life" is recorded are proven to be non-historical literature, the presupposition is well grounded from the start that he was not a living man but a typical personification of the god in man.

In this argument Kuhn pronounces himself at once dead, and the autopsy reads, "not aware that the Gospels are ancient biographies" -- in form, they match the lives of historical men such as Tacitus' Agricola, and it does not take "entrenched interests of ecclesiastical orthodoxy" to maintain this; secular scholars will say as much. But no, Kuhn means to show "a method of designed cryptology" used "as much to hide their real meaning as to reveal it." Once again without an ounce of historical scholarship consulted, Kuhn declares:

Contrary to all modern reasoning and expectation, they did not write for the obvious purpose of informing, instructing or enlightening the largest number of people. Rather it is evident that they wrote primarily to preserve from popular desecration a treasure of recondite spiritual wisdom and cosmological truth, that was designed to be transmitted as nearly intact as possible from early antiquity to all later ages.

Now isn't that convenient, that Kuhn just happens to have this clue for us while no one else, including atheists with doctoral degrees in history, are unaware of it. Conveniently as well, "To preserve the heritage of truth intact, and not to disseminate it among the illiterate and unappreciative masses, was the primary aim of the writers of the arcane books." Kuhn sees you out there in Romper Room; he has only to look down his nose. But what evidence is offered for the depth and scope of this "esoteric method" of writing history (shades of the Roman Piso theorem), and that it particularly affected the writing of Greco-Roman biographies? After telling us in 10000 words that could have been 10 how much secret work was invoved, credited to "the philosophers, the illuminati, the hierophants of the temples and the initiates in the Mysteries," and more oddities, such as, "[t]he career of a dragon-fly is the whole epic of human life lived in the four worlds of sense, emotion, thought and spirit, typed in the old language by earth, water, air and fire" (so be careful what you swat out there), we are treated to pastiche of quotes avering what no one disputes, namely, that some ancient writers wrote of things symbolically, and Orphic mystics did so especially, and even a few Christians (like Clement of Alexandria, who is hardly exemplary). Factual claims related to Christianity appear little if at all; for example, Massey, described unjustly as the "most discerning" of all Egyoptologists (!) is quoted to the effect:

He adds that the Revelation assigned to John the Divine is the Christian form of the Mithraic Revelation, that in the Parsee sacred books the original scriptures are always referred to as the "Revelation," and that the Bahman Yasht contains the same drama of mystery that is drawn out and magnified in the Bible Revelation. He asserts that the personages, scenes, circumstances and transactions are identical in both.

Well now isn't that nice. The problem is that all the "Parsee sacred books" date from a time quite long after Christianity's origins. Indeed the Bahman Yasht mentions Muslims and so must have been written several hundred years after Revelation, vague claims of its similar "drama of mystery" (whatever that means) notwithstanding. No doubt Massey did not think we needed that information.

Some hereafter summarizes Massey and Higgins, and to do justice (as needed) to those unworthies, we would prefer to wait to address his work directly and not Kuhn's summaries, though this one of Massey gives us a clue to his occult nuttiness:

Moses, avers Massey, received two laws on the mountain, the written and the oral. This oral law was the primitive tradition that contained the Apocrypha, the secret doctrines of the dark sayings and parables, the clue and key to all their hidden wisdom. That which was written was intended only for the ignorant outsiders; the interpretation was for the initiated. With the written version of the Jewish sacred books alone in our possession, we have been locked outside and left there without the key.

More quotes follow showing mystic inclination by specific persons in non-specified ways; though as yet we are given no reason to see these mystics as any less lunatic than Kuhn, merely asserting the theme and playing the song without a glance at evidence. The tenor is set with such rabadash as this:

It is now far over a century since C. F. Dupuis published his once-famous and still valuable work, L’Origine de Tous Les Cultes, in which he asserted that John the Baptist was a purely mythical personage, and identified his name with that of the Babylonian Fish-God, Ioannes, of the Berosan account.

As I wrote of this some time ago versus Hayyim ben Yehoshua: We are told: "John the Baptist is largely based on an historical person who practiced ritual immersion in water as a physical symbol for repentance. He did not perform Christian style sacramental baptisms to cleanse people's souls - such an idea was totally foreign to Judaism." It's foreign to Christianity, too; see here. We are also told that John's name in Greek, Ioannes, "closely resembles 'Oannes' the Greek name for the pagan god Ea" who was the "God of the House of Water." Actually Oannes was a Babylonian merman-deity called "Lord of the Waves" and we know him in the OT as Dagon. We are told that John adapted his rite from the worship of Oannes, though since no one had been worshipping Oannes for quite some time, one wonders where he got it from. One also wonders what other Jews named Joannes/Jochanon did about this issue, and whether they would have cared that their names, in English characters, looked like the merman-god's would in English centuries later. This is one of the few claims of fact in a long piece by Kuhn; the rest is full of the likes of this:

Rabbi Simeon Ben-Jochai, compiler of the Zohar, taught only the esoteric signification of doctrines, orally and to a limited few, holding that without the final instruction in the Mercavah the study of the Kabalah would be incomplete. The Kabalah itself says (iii-folio 1526, quoted in Myer’s Qabbalah, p. 102):

"Each word of the Torah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery."

Why we ought accept this as so; and what specific relevance it has to any specific Torah account, and why it helps Kuhn in particular, is never explained for any such quote offered.

Chapter 4 offers little better; it begins with a blizzard of quotes on the subject of ritual and myth, and these mainly from outdated sources like Raglan and Frazer (see essays here and still, nothing in the way of specific application to Christianity, other than a vague suggestion that "Jesus is more real as mythical hero than as a once-living person." Chapter 5 offers no better; after paragraphs of preaching about Christian ignorance, summary reference is again offered to Massey, to whom we must again attend later, but it is interesting enough that Kuhn says absurdly, "No amount of archaeology can prove a myth."

Kuhn is compelled to admit, lest he look more ridiculous, that yes, "there was bound to come a time when the ancient world would begin to write history of the factual sort," but do not expect Kuhn to help us tell one from the other; conveniently, he tells us without an ounce of proof, the two genres of myth and history were "intermixed" (conveniently indeed, so that the undisciplined have their ease to designate what they like as one or the other, even in the same work). He does assert that for Israel, this transition took place "in the days of Hezekiah" and it was from then that blending of myth and history occurred. Expect no details on this from Kuhn; we are referred only to the allegedly effective work of the likes of Paine and Ingersoll (of whom we have written much on this site).

Pages more of the Massey-fest continue, with helpings of Higgins and Mead; again, these we save until we actually work on Massey and Higgins directly. In terms of hard argumentation, there is little; much of what is offered is simply vague summary, with the occassional claim of data that borders on the outrageous, such as one taken from Bacon that Christianity lost one half of its following to Marcion and other Gnostic "heretics" bent on tearing it away from its Jewish associations and making it over in the true likeness of a Greek Mystery cult of individual spiritual realization. No scholar today, even from the Pagels camp, would be this bold.

Dependence on Massey continues for quite some time; among the blurbs found are this one we have dealt with:

That the Sermon on the Mount is a derivative from ancient arcane religions is seen in the light of the fact that the Seventh Book of Hermes is entitled: "His Secret Sermon in the Mount of Regeneration and the Profession of Silence." The Hermetic books are of great antiquity, perhaps the oldest in the world. Isaac Myer, the Kabalist scholar, so declared them.

That's very nice of Myer, but as we have noted elsewhere, it is well to remember that the title "The Sermon on the Mount" isn't in the Biblical text -- it was first called that, according to an online source (that does not document it) by Augustine; but in any event, it is not called that in the NT, and this "secret sermon" is nothing like Jesus' discourse (it is in fact a dialoghue between Hermes and Tat!)...Furthermore, every source that offers a date for this and related texts puts its composition in the first centuries of the Christian era! ...an academic site with an item by a credentialed scholar [says]: In 1460 a bookfinder brought the Medicis a manuscript from a Macedonian monastery known as the Corpus Hermeticum, written, they believed, by Hermes Trismegistus. We now understand the book to date from the 3rd to 6th Century AD and to incorporate an amalgam of Christian, Neo-Platonic Greek and Jewish ideas, but at the time, Renaissance scholars associated the Greek God Hermes (Roman: Mercury) with the Egyptian God Thoth, bringer of hieroglyphs and human language to the most ancient people known. Endorsed as well is the idea that Josephus' mention of John the Baptist is "a shameless interpolation"; Josephan scholarship today would regard this as a fantasy in the making. So likewise these ideas of convenience taken from Robertson:

"That Joshua is a purely mythical personage was long ago decided by the historical criticism of the school of Colenso and Kuenen; that he was originally a solar deity can be established at least as satisfactorily as the solar character of Moses, if not as that of Samson."

He notes that in the Semitic tradition, wherein is preserved a variety of myths, which the Bible-makers, for obvious reasons, suppressed or transformed, Joshua is the son of the mythical Miriam, that is, he was probably an ancient Palestinian Sun-God. Dupuis (L’Origine de Tous les Cultes) places John the Baptist among purely mythical personages and in harmony with many other writers identifies his name with that of Oannes, the Babylonian fish-avatar of Berosus’ account, the Ea (Hea) of the more ancient Sumerians.

It seems obvious rather that the "suppressed or transformed" comment is an excuse for why the data, as it stands, does not cooperate.

Endorsed also: the idea that Paul teaches a "spiritual resurrection" in 1 Cor. 15; on that see here. Vaguely it is claimed, Much data from various sources go to prove that the New Testament--as now known--was compiled from esoteric texts, which were themselves covered by a thick film of allegory and even veiled behind misleading "blinds," the "dark sayings" of fiction and parable.But as usual, evidence is in short supply; Kuhn merely declares it "impossible that any merely human brain could have concocted the alleged 'life' of the Jewish Jesus, culminating in the awful tragedy of Calvary" and gives the answer of "esoteric comprehension" as the only proof that he is right -- not any sort of literary proof that the Gospels are not ancient biography, much less an accounting of "data" from "various sources" of whatever irrelevant qualification. Pages more are spent repeating the guilt-by-loose-association idea that because someone else wrote sagas that were myths, the Gospels must be these too; "facts" as such again amount to such as this:

The critic . . . will proceed to prove that the stories of the trial, arrest and crucifixion are quite understandable as scenes in a mystery play, but are quite inexplicable as facts of history. The trial is represented as lasting through one night when, as Renan points out, an Eastern city is wrapped in silence and darkness, quite natural as scenes in a mystery-play, but not as actual history.

Yet the only "inexplicable" fact related is one: an alleged problem of one night not being able to cover the trial scenes, because supposedly "an Eastern city is wrapped in silence and darkness" -- a non-factoid, as it happens; Roman officials would start their day well before sunrise, and next Kuhn will tell us that this also prevented anyone from moving at night. This is another case of a "fact" that amounts to, "there must be no one in prisons, because no one would ever break a law."

Kuhn also is under the impression that changing "Red Sea" to "Sea of Reeds" in Exodus has somehow ruined any possibility of historicity for the Exodus account; though his only reason seems to be that it is so because now he can force an esoeteric reading out of the story. He repeats as well the "Trypho error" of Wells and other Christ-mythers (see here). Regarded as "astounding" is the "fact that the doctrine of the Evangel was delivered to Basilides, the consecrated student of sacred things, by the Apostle Matthew and Glaucus, a disciple of Peter!" What of this? Kuhn is on regularly about how easily and readily the esoteric Gospel message was distorted, so of what meaning is it that Basilides may have been second or third in line and able to distort it just as easily? No, Kuhn merely picks his side and declares the one he prefers "right" while ignoring that he can just as easily be hoist upon his own petard.

There follows much discourse about alleged pseudonymous writings; for that, we as usual refer the reader here. Also found as well is the misused "force of deceit" quote of Chrysostom, which we address here; likewise the quote of Augustine re the "vulgar crowd" which we now address here. In this light, how ironic that Kuhn goes on to bemoan that "the general public can ever be awakened to the enormity of the corruption of old texts," even as he offers texts that are entirely corrupt to the point of fabrication! There follows much vague claptrap about how the Biblical text has been corrupted; sound bites are used from various non-authorities about what a sad state the text is in, but no specific of concern is presented, and we are left with such gems as, "assuming that the copies or rather phonographs which had been made by Hulkiah and Esdras and the various anonymous editors were really true and genuine, they must have been wholly exterminated by Antiochus; and the versions of the Old Testament which now subsisted must have been made by Judas or by some unknown compilers, probably from the Greek of the seventy, long after the appearance and death of Jesus." Nothing in the way of evidence here: merely conspiratorial presupposition. Nothing in the way of credentialed textual critics cited; a primary source is Joseph Wheless!

Following this are the standard canards we have seen from the mystical crowd, dating the Gospels very late based on silence (see here for the same arguments responded to). Absurdly Kuhn asserts that Luke was a Jew; and it is said of all the Gospels, "they speak of the Jews in the style and spirit of a non-Jew" though as usual, no specific to prove this is given. Papias is incorrectly called a "pope" and is alleged to have "said that Jesus died at home in bed of old age" though no quote is given, and no such quote appears from fragments of Papias seen here. Much fuss is made over the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20, as if indeed this were any sort of problematic issue for any serious Christian. Likewise over John's adultery pericope but with no arguments to speak of; just a bare statement, "Reinach contends that the episode of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, which was inserted in John’s Gospel in the fourth century, was originally in the (apocryphal) Gospel according to the Hebrews. (Orpheus, p. 235)", as though Reinach were qualified to say so (he was not; he was an archaeologist, and his lack of qualification is shown in that Kuhn admits that Reinach cited the Encyclopedia Britannica as a source for the view that the Catholic Epistles were forgeries!). And so on, with a pastiche of "gotcha" quotes but no such thing as a coherent argument for or against the authenticity of any book named, and a list of past forgeries as though guilt is proved by association (in which case, Kuhn's credibility dies a painful death for his use of false quotes like the one from Leo X). Thankfully we are not alone; for even Higgins is referenced for the view that "the Koran was forged twenty years after Mohammed’s death," and you just try to find a scholar today who says that, either.

We are told, insanely:

Among the writings of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury in the eleventh century, has been found a verbal description of Jesus in Latin attributed to one Lentulus, a friend of Pontius Pilate and his predecessor in the government of Judea. The letter purports to have been addressed to the Roman Senate by Lentulus. It has been taken to be fictitious. No such person as Lentulus is known of in Judea. Much of the alleged "historical testimony" supporting Jesus’ human existence is material of this sort.

"Of this sort"? What about Tacitus, Josephus, Lucian, etc.? We get none of this; we do get the attempt to link the Egyptian KRST to Christ (refuted in the Harpur item above) and this:

In his The Early Days of Christianity Canon Farrar has a footnote on the word Chrestian occurring in I Peter 4:16, where in the revised later MSS. the word was changed into Christian. The eminent churchman remarks here that "perhaps we should read the ignorant brethren’s distortion, Chrestian." Most certainly we should, as the name Christus was not distorted into Chrestus, but it was the adjective and noun Chrestus which became distorted into Christus and applied to Jesus. There is much evidence that the terms Christ and Christians, spelled originally Chrest and Chrestians (Chrestianoi in Greek) by such writers as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Lactantius, Clement and others, were directly borrowed from the temple terminology of the pagans and meant the same thing, viz., "good," "honest," "gracious," and the noun forms from the adjective.

It would be nice if we had a citation or example from any of these writers, but none is given. Rather we are given the non-expert word of the likes of "Ralston Skinner," yet another occult writer, and yet more astrological symbolism and wordplay; we are told that Justin used "Chrestians" in his Apology, without a passages cited or a proof given. We are told that "Paul in this Romans [16:18] passage calls the doctrine Chresologia, and Higgins says Jesus was called Chresos by St. Peter as well as by St. Paul" -- but not an ounce of substantiation from Higgins, and no such word is in Rom. 16:18. Then we have, from Massey:

"In Bockh’s Christian Inscriptions, numbering 1,287, there is not a single instance of an earlier date than the third century wherein the name is not written Chrest or Chreist."

It would be nice to confirm this one way or the other, but the Online Catalog of the Library of Congress finds no book by that title by a "Bockh". Perhaps Massey will have more information, but we doubt it. The appeal to Suetonius is on target but misdirected; see here. Then more sound bites, such as:

Eusebius admits "fraud and dissimulation" in the handling of scripts.

Does he? If he does, Kuhn does not say in what work, nor by whom, nor to what extent. Yet we are supposed to take from this that handling of texts was universally fraudulent. Then this one:

Augustine himself flaunts his mental servitude when he says: "I would not believe the Gospels to be true unless the authority of the Catholic Church constrained me."

Where does Augustine say this? Find out where (and how Kuhn and his source Wheless misrepresent it) here, item 5. Roger Pearse of tertullian.org notes:

This is more difficult. Firstly, Augustine wrote 3 different works De Genesi : De Genesi Adversus Manichaeos libri II; De Genesi Ad Litteram liber imperfectus; and De Genesi Ad Litteram libri XII. Secondly none of these existed in English in 1930. (The first two have never been translated, even now). (Quasten, Patrology IV pp. 377-8). So Wheless has not checked his reference, or read the source he quotes.

However Augustine did say something like this, in Contra epistolam Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti liber I. This exists in the NPNF ()

5. Let us see then what Manichaeeus teaches me; and particularly let us examine that treatment which he calls the Fundamental Epistle, in which almost all that you believe is contained. For in that unhappy time when we read it we were in your opinion enlightened. The epistle begins thus:-" Manichaeus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the providence of God the Father. These are wholesome words from the perennial and living fountain." Now, if you please, patiently give heed to my inquiry. I do not believe Manichaeus to be an apostle of Christ. Do not, I beg of you, be enraged and begin to curse. For you know that it is my rule to believe none of your statements without consideration. Therefore I ask, who is this Manichaeus? You will reply, An apostle of Christ. I do not believe it. Now you are at a loss what to say or do; for you promised to give knowledge of the truth, and here you are forcing me to believe what I have no knowledge of. Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichaeus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manichaeus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you;-If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichaeus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel;-

REFERENCE - FALSE. VERBAL ACCURACY - FALSE. FAIR REPRESENTATION: - FALSE.

COMMENT: Augustine is certainly not discussing gospels, plural, since evangelio is singular. He is referrring to the scripture. But he is in fact reiterating the common patristic defense against perversion of the scriptures by heretics (see Tertullian, De praescriptione haereticorum, for a full exposition) by referring back to the churches founded by the apostles and the common doctrine taught by them (he is NOT, of course, articulating the position of the Council of Trent). Quite why this is unreasonable, Wheless does not say.

Then a "Miss Holbrook" is quoted as saying:

"Of the 150,000 various readings which Griesbach found in the manuscripts of the New Testament, probably 149,500 were additions and interpolations. One of the Greek manuscripts called ‘Codex Bezal’ or ‘Cambridge Manuscript,’ is chiefly remarkable for its bold and extensive interpolations, amounting to some six hundred in the Acts alone."

Nothing specific here; just a big number thrown in the air, without any justification of ramifications explained. Gibbon, likewise, said to have testified to the "vulgar forgery" of the insertion of the two admittedly spurious passages regarding Christos in the text of Josephus, though this position even if held by Gibbon is repudiated by Josephan scholars today.

From here, much ado about alleged destruction of pagan books by Christians; many of these are found refuted or confirmed with much in the way of caveats in our Crimeline project. From here though we see where Harpur got his errors (so far as we have found) about such things as a "Christian mob destroyed the city of Bibractis in 389 in Gaul, and Alesia was destroyed before that." Others seem sound, like the charge against Cardinal Ximines and Arabic manuscripts; others still are vague, as: The treatise of Firmucus has been mutilated at a passage where he has accused the Christians of following Mithraic usages. Mutilated, how? Mutilated like no other part of the text? And having what proven effect? We are not told.

After more from Massey -- again, we reserve this for when we deal with Massey -- Kuhn makes use of quotes of Jesus from late Gnostic texts, not once engaging the issue of their worth or date, though he was quite prompt on the matter of the lateness of the canonical Gospels. He does use one canonical quote said to prove the use of "esoteric doctinre" by Jesus; but this:

Rejoice and be glad for this hour. From this day will I speak with you freely, from the beginning of the truth unto the completion thereof; and I will speak to you face to face, without parable. From this hour will I hide nothing from you of the things which pertain to the height.

...reflects rather the normal progression of any ancient teacher into deeper subject matter. Rather amusingly, Kuhn assures us that a Gnostic text that supports his view has been "unmutilated and unhistoricized" on no other apparent basis than that it does support his view.

Readers will know the error of this appeal at once:

Lundy says that Plato must have learned his theology in Egypt and the East, and doubtless knew, from the stories of Krishna, Buddha and Mithra, that other religions had their mythical crucified victims long antecedent to Christianity. Witoba, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, is pictured with holes in his feet.

As we have shown in our series on these figures, neither Buddha nor Mithra were ever crucified, and the depictions of Krishna and Wittoba so treated post-date Christian missions. And then there is this esoteric gobbledygook:

The nails of the cross have received considerable emphasis in the Gospel story. The nail, Massey shows, was a type of male virility or of the deeper power of nature that binds male (spirit) and female (matter) together for all effective progenation. The nailing of the body of the Christ on the cross would be the dramatization of the incarnational union of the two ends of the life polarity. Spirit must be nailed to matter to give it its quadration, for free from matter it remains in uncreative unity.

So one is led to ask: Is this why the Romans used actual nails when they crucified people? Were the tens of thousands of crucifixions they did nothing but reenactments of Kuhn's esoteric doctrine?

Revelation 8:11 says, "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified." This Kuhn takes with absurd literalism, saying it "mak[es] it necessary to assume two crucifixions or a half crucifixion in each place" and shows that "the crucifixion was nothing but a spiritual transaction." Only ignorance leads Kuhn to say that "Christian exegesis is pretty silent about this verse"; it has in fact fully recognized it as a metaphor indicating that Jerusalem had become as corrupt as Sodom and Egypt. Oblivious to this, Kuhn simply goes on to provide more depth to his own esoteric interpretation. That this really is Jerusalem literally, however, is proven in that 11:1-2 refer specifically to the Jerusalem temple.

It is said:

One of the Sibyl’s prophecies was to the effect that the Messiah would come when Rome shall be the ruler of Egypt. "When Rome shall rule Egypt, then shall dawn upon men the supremely great kingdom of the immortal king and a pure sovereign will come to conquer the scepters of the whole earth into all ages." The earliest Church endorsed these Sibylline utterances and cited them to prove the foundation claims of its own religion. Here surely, then, there is a prophecy whose literal fulfillment gave it the lie.

Perhaps it did; but Kuhn gives no source for this utterance, and it is found nowhere else online. Then we have this oddity:

Paul’s verse in I Cor. 15:17 becomes illogical if the historical thesis is held to: "If Christ be not raised, ye are yet in your sins." Every inference of this statement points to a non-historical and purely intimate personal resurrection. If the resurrection was historical and the verse means what it says, then the logic of the situation makes the resurrection dependent upon the state of sinfulness of the people then, or at any time. He did or did not rise, according as the people’s general sin is eradicated or is still in force. If people are yet sinful, then Christ can not have risen.

One struggles in vain to understand how Kuhn's chain of logic appears here, that the resurrection was "dependent upon" anyone's sinful state. Rather it says that one's sins remain if the resurrection did not happen; that there was no life-changing or atoning power to what Christ did. No better is:

Any number of texts throughout the Bible at once lose all comprehensible meaning if taken in the historical sense. For instance, there is the statement in I Cor., 6:1: "Do you not know that the Christians are to be the judges of the world? . . . Do you not know that we are to be the judges of angels, to say nothing of ordinary matters? . . . Do you not know that your bodies are parts of Christ’s body?" Taking "Christians" in its historical sense, the picture gives us the ludicrous scenario of good Church folk in the judgment pronouncing sentence upon Mohammedans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians! And taking Christ’s body as that of Jesus, the man, we would on Paul’s averment be his physical limbs, joints and viscera. Or is it permissible for literalists to take what they like as allegorical and also take what they want as literal? This is their only resort in the end. It makes inconsistency the necessary base of their structure.

What is "ludicrous" about the above is not stated, and is odd inasmuch as Kuhn as a Theosophist passed his own judgments of error on the same groups. As for the "body language," it is hardly as random as Kuhn would have it: Kuhn, who has no problem playing linguistic games otherwise, seems oblivious to the use of "body" in the sense of, "a body of Theosophists." "Christ" here is a label describing allegiance of the people in question. Then this lunacy:

Also there is I Cor., 8:6, saying, "yet for us there is . . . just one through whom we live." If the Lord Jesus Christ is Jesus, he is here declared to have made all things, most of which were here and made before he came. As the cosmic Logos, to be sure, he conceivably made the worlds; but as the man Jesus, his hands would have plenty to do with a few mountains and rivers.

And yet does Kuhn think we believe that Jesus was not still the Logos even while incarnate? This is a confused and absurd literalism more foolish than that propounded by any fundamentalist of the Bob Jones tradition. With such stataments as, "[Jesus'] proclamation that he was before Abraham in the loins of the cosmic creation, helping to shape the universe from the foundation of the worlds, sounds senseless when the majestic words are supposed to come from the lips of a mere man on earth" ignore the proper understanding of the incarnation, as not that of a "mere man on earth" saying such words, but of a hypostatic divineness inhabiting a mortal body.

Kuhn alludes to a point we have covered with Harpur, the pre-Christian use of the chi rho monogram. Kuhn somehow gets the idea that Christians maintain that "the pagans had the emblem, but of course did not know its real and true import and assigned some base meaning to it," which is not even what his own source says: Not that the symbol had import unrecognized among the pagans, but that Christians gave it new meaning heretofore unassigned. No better is the claim that "the philosophical pagans who had the insignium and knew what it meant in its profoundest sense" -- as we have noted, it was merely someone's initials who made a coin. Not a thing mystical about it.

In what follows Kuhn makes much over those who say much Christian teaching was not original; as if this were part of the package of claims made to begin with. Sound bites follow from mostly non-experts (including endorsement of the idea that Nazareth did not exist at the time of Jesus; now definitively shown false by, among other things, Herodian tombs at the site), such as this sort of thing which deserves obscurity for its outrageousness:

W. B. Smith, Tulane University, in Der Vorchristliche Jesus, derives the "Christ myth" from certain alleged "Jesus cults," dating from pre-Christian times. Jesus, he thinks, is the name of an ancient Western Semitic cult-god, and he finds a reference to the doctrines held by the devotees of this deity in Acts 18:25, where a Jew, Apollo, coming from Alexandria to Ephesus, already learned in the Way of the Lord, preaches Jesus. He connects the name Jesus with the Nazaraioi, the Nazarenes, a pre-Christian religious society.

In all of this, and for all the evidence is has, we may as well go for Allegro's sacred mushroom thesis!

A section follows in which Waite (a judge, not a scholar) is quoted as to the lack of evidence of the Gospels from an early date: "no work of art of any kind has been discovered, no painting or engraving, no sculpture or other relic of antiquity, which may be looked upon as furnishing additional evidence of the existence of those Gospels, and which was executed earlier than the latter part of the second century. Even the exploration of the catacombs failed to bring to light any evidence of that character." That is indeed so. It is also so for the works of Josephus, Tacitus, Livy, Pliny, and every other ancient author of major works. So can we then follow Kuhn into concluding, "It would certainly appear that the event of Tacitus’ life had no relation to the time of its recording" or that the works of Tacitus were not recorded until the third century (when we get our first clear mention) and so "hardly has a legitimate claim to the title of history"? Can we take his reference to "Miss Holbrook" (whoever that is) and say as well, "No autograph manuscript of any work of Livy has ever been known, nor has any credible witness ever claimed to have seen such a manuscript"? Don't count on it. There is also the usual abuse of Ireaneus "four winds" quote and a non-starter view of the origin of the canon, which is rebutted by what we offer here.

A point of fair cogency is made by Harry Elmer Barnes (The Twilight of Christianity, p. 415) that if Jesus had been the Son of God, neither he nor his Father would have allowed his doctrines to be perverted and later almost wholly supplanted by a jumbled compound of Judaism and paganism.

Comments like these of course naively beg the question that such supplanting took place; yet proof of this beyond sound bites is precisely what Kuhn lacks.

Kuhn also offers this familiar error:

A touch of early Christian association of doctrine with Egyptian origins that did not suffer erasure by the vandal hands, is seen in an identification, by Augustine and Ambrose amongst the Christian Fathers, of Jesus with and as the "good scarabaeus," the Egyptian name for the divine Avatar coming under the zodiacal sign of Cancer, the Crab or Beetle. In accordance with the continuation for some time of the Kamite symbolism in Christianity, it was also maintained by some sectaries that Jesus was a potter and not a carpenter. The Egyptian God Ptah was the divine Potter, or shaper of the clay of man’s nature into divine form.

I still have found no evidence of the "good beetle" quote in Augustine -- and even less for such in Ambrose. As usual no work of these writers is cited. Nor is any reference given for this claim about Jesus as a potter from "some sectaries" (whoever they are).

Kuhn continues his potpourri of disjointed sound bites with miscellaneous complaints such as: The speeches in Acts are fully contrived (see here); no other writer mentions Gospel events (many events in Tacitus and Josephus are "only here mentioned" as well); wacky appeal to Mead that ‘Nazoraei’ was a general name for many schools possessing many views differing from the view which subsequently became orthodox; the usual abuse of Irenaeus' "fifty" comment; the same old mistake that Revelation gives Jesus "female breasts" (see analayis at the end of our item on Harpur) -- and then an extended diatribe, allegedly to the shock of believers, that Jesus was ugly in apperance (who really cares, other than those who are shallow as Kuhn?); the usual bits on the slaughter of the innocents; much irrelevant ado about December 25th as Jesus' birthdate and the census -- and amusingly, Kuhn misattributes Luke's words about the census to Matthew. This may be more amusing that Kuhn's attempt to make Herod into "the Egyptian serpent Herut" (and presumably, the Herodian family was named after this serpent as well -- and I find no verification online, other than in occult sources, that the serpent Herut ever "[menaced] young divine souls").

In a section following Kuhn turns his attention to the Apostles' Creed, and claims that in "Greek manuscripts" we find the line, "He suffered under pontos pilètos: he suffered under the dense sea" (of matter). I leave it that even atheists have found this nonsensical.

If you were wondering whether Kuhn would ever deal with secular references to Jesus, he does, with admirable ignorance. He alludes briefly to "evidence of spuriousness" based on "differing styles of Greek or Latin in the language used in the interpolations, the place in the context where the passages have been inserted or other indications open to the eye of critical scholars" but declines to offer any specifics (we have dealt with such charges re Tacitus and Josephus in our series here); beyond this he relies on Mead for the idea that the "Christiani" referred to by Suetonius could have been "Zealots or Messianists of any type" (in other words, Kuhn wants to invent a group wholesale to explain away the far more parsimonious possibility) and the conclusion, contrary to every Tacitean scholar, that Tacitus "is not a sober historian" and on Hochart for the idea that all of Tacitus' works are forgeries. The level of argument speaks for itself, and nothing new is found here not covered in our series.

We skip over a portion hereafter in which Kuhn rattles the cage of the Skeptical commentator Joseph McCabe, accusing him of twisting facts and such (enjoy the intramural fight), and where again, reliance on Massey is heavy. There is reliance, not surprisingly, on the Toledoth Jeshu. A full chapter is then devoted to the "silence" of Paul about Jesus, and this is no more than the same arguments later presented by Earl Doherty (and just as devoid of knowledge of things like the difference between a high and low context world). We need say little more, other than that Kuhn's source, Bacon, is badly outdated in terms of the idea that Paul was greatly influenced by Hellenistic Mystery religions. This was after all the age before refuting works like Sanders' Paul and Palestinian Judaism were around. We do however also see the place where Harpur got his idea that Augustine stole the Trinity from Plotinus. Here however are a few particularly good jokes:

In Paul’s own account of his conversion he writes in this remarkable fashion: "Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood; neither went I up to Jerusalem to them who were apostles before me; but I went away into Arabia." "Flesh and blood" is a strange expression by which Paul indicates that he did not confer with the Christian folks at Jerusalem or elsewhere. It indeed sounds very much like a garbled mistranslation of a Mystery or ritual phrase referring to the soul’s no longer having consort with the flesh of incarnation after its conversion from carnal appetencies.

Kuhn goes on to hypothesize that esoterically, "Jerusalem" means that Paul went not to "heavenly Nirvana" either, but this all runs aground on the simple point that "flesh and blood" is a Semitic idiom for frail humanity; thus all Paul says here is that he did not consult with merely human tradents. This is not helped as Kuhn supposes by Paul putting Sinai in Arabia, and in an entirely different sentence calling his prior analogy (not Sinai itself) an allegory. Then we have:

Again Paul almost categorically denies that he is preaching a Gospel of a living Jesus when he says: "I made known to you, brethren, as touching the Gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man (or from a man), nor was I taught it, save through revelation of the Christ revealed within." Massey comments that in short, Paul’s "Christ was not at all that Jesus of Nazareth whom he never mentions, and whom the others preached, and who may have been, and in all likelihood was, Jehoshua ben Pandira, the Nazarene."

The stab at grammatical gymnatistics is amusing, but it is "relevation" that is modified by "within" not "Christ". Then:

Again in I Cor. 7:4-5 ff. Paul writes of "judging nothing before the time, until the Lord come." A row of exclamation points would hardly mark the significance of this verse. Case himself cites Paul’s writing to the Philippians his confidence that God, who had begun a good work in them "will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ." Further he counts on them to remain "void of offence unto the day of Christ," and encourages them to stand fast. How could the apostle write such things pointing to the future for fulfillment if he knew that the Messiah had just been among them?

How Kuhn could find this a mystery in the first place is itself an oddity; but it runs down to that Kuhn has no idea about Jesus' parousia enthronement in heaven in 70 AD -- as evidenced by his literalist understanding of stars melting and the earth disappearing.

Again Paul’s characterization of Jesus as "the first-born," "the first-born of all creation," "the first-born from the dead," "the first-born among many brethren," would not fit a personal Galilean.

It wouldn't? What if that personal Galileean was an incarnated hypostasis of YHWH? Clearly Kuhn does not even the barest understanding of the theology he is criticizing, and we have no need for his twaddle about "Christ-type of consciousness" and of "cryptic constructions in sacred lore" that he and hos Theosophist misanthropes made up on the spot.

Paul also speaks of "building up the body of Christ, until we all attain unto the unity of Faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man; unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." How could each of us build up the body of Christ, if he be a physical man?

What a profoundly misplaced statement! The metpahor of people in a group as a "body" is attested well in secular and Jewish literature of this period, and we have no need for Kuhn's 60s-hippie rendition of this as "the vibration of the same mind and soul that Christ manifested."

2 Tim. 2:16-18 is then misread as saying that it is false that the resurrection of Christ has passed (as opposed to the general resurrection); and Massey is cited for the creative idea that Paul may have become a convert at a time when Jesus was still alive (nutty enough an idea to never be found in credentialed scholarship, but based on a poor reading of the chronology of Paul's letters). Vainglorious babble like the following from Kuhn will put off intelligent readers of any persuasion all by itself:

Ancient Egyptian necrological science predicated that the gods and the elect of perfected humanity could appear to men in whatsoever garments of solid or etheric matter they chose. They could appear in many different forms, clothed in flesh or clothed in light. Paul, with his Mystery cult associations, must have been familiar with these possibilities in a commonplace way. It was enough for him to know that he had experienced a spiritual vision, that an apparition of a celestial-appearing figure, an angel of light, had flashed across his inner eye. He did not presume to tie the vision back to any earthly personage, particularly to an individual he had never seen. He only says that the radiant light of the Christos enfolded and blinded him.

I wonder if any credentialed Egyptologists have written any peer-reviewed studies on that "necrological science" of the Egyptians...

Another chapter goes to the old Peter vs Paul diatribe, and again, we need say little to these old and stale ideas; it did not in the least concern "the spiritual and the literal construction of Scripture" as Massey alleged (and we wrote on that as well from Massey; see link at end of the prior link). There is vague blatter and soundbiting about pseudonymous Pauline works and very late dates (150 AD!) for Acts, with naturally no objective argument about how to date documents in general, though contraily wild speculation that if only we had them, we could find currently non-extant Gospels earlier than the canonical ones, and that they might just after all reflect Kuhn's own Theosophist cosmology and anthropology. Misplaced hope, however, is far from being evidence or argument.

We have many of the standard arguments about the birth narratives; Kuhn knows a few responses to these, but his main rejoinder to them is to call their proponents deluded and propose instead his more sensible occult interpretation. From that point much of Kuhn is pure reliance on a single work, The Historical Life of Christ by Joseph Warschauer, said to be selected out of scores of "Lives of Jesus" because its handling of many items in the "life" of the subject is fairer than usual to the realistic or concrete view, and less haloed with mystic romanticism, which is Kuhn's spin-doctored way of saying it said exactly what he wanted to hear and spared him the inconvenience of dealing with other scholars with different views. Warschauer's work was in fact written in 1869, so that present readers may rightly dismiss it as badly outdated and may take many of his conclusions with a grain of salt. Since it is all old hat, we need not address every line in detail; suffice to say it is so poorly done from our modern view that Warschauer actually made comparisons of Jesus' birth to that of Mithra. No doubt he did the best he could with what he had in 1869. But Kuhn himself suffers as Warschauer's work suffers. All of this interspersed with more of Kuhn's occult lunacy which we are given as an allegedly more rational alterantive to believing in miracles ("But in the mighty Kamite system the flight into Egypt is the glyph for the descent of the hosts of embryo souls from celestial spheres into incarnation on earth.") But for the sake of information, we will note some of Warschauer's errors by Kuhn, not otherwise addressed in our material:

  • Warschauer thinks it doubtful that every infant born in a Jewish household had to be presented in Jerusalem. It could not be carried out in all cases at any rate. It couldn't? Jews returned to Jerusalem from all over the Empire four times a year at least. No doubt the local synagogue sufficed for some, but in any event Luke says nothing of every Jewish baby from every corner of Rome coming to the Temple, and Galilee itself would be no far trek (especially if, as we believe, Jesus was born during a festival occassion).
  • Concering the alighting of the Spirit upon Jesus at his baptism, it is written: The disqualification of this as history is accomplished by the averment that it was a purely subjective intuition of Jesus himself and not an outward event witnessed by the assemblage on the river bank! The account given of the event by Matthew and Luke carries its own refutation, he acknowledges. For had Jesus’ mission thus been authenticated by such a marvel wrought openly in the sight of a concourse of people to bear it witness, neither Jesus nor the populace could have hesitated, they to acclaim and he to accept, the Messianic character of his person and his status. I wonder how many people Warschauer or Kuhn thought ot be actually present at the time of this event -- the whole "populace"? A "concourse"? Surely they jest; this is nowhere in any text. As it is, it is clear that some part of Jesus' disciples were originally with John, so that we have indications there was indeed some effect, albeit one in need of interpretation.
  • Where was Warschaeur's mind? Kuhn's report speaks for itself: And the scholar reverts to sane criticism when he declares that for anyone who knows the deep-rooted nature of leprosy, it is difficult to believe that Jesus healed the disease with a mere word. Apparently Warschauer was one of those sorts who believed that God, the Creator, could not so much have blown His divine nose without assistance; but medical expert that he was, Warschauer attributed the healing of the paralytic to autosuggestion and reduces other miracles to "symbolic legend" on no grounds stated by Kuhn, if any was given.
  • That Jesus should have twice withdrawn from the Galilean country following the two feedings of the multitude is put down as unbelievable and reduces the course of events to chaos. Why this is so is not explained by Kuhn, if not by Warschauer. Apparently neither were cognizant of the probability that one who multiplied loaves and fishes would thereafter be mobbed to do the same with arrows and spears -- as was indicated in John's Gospel. A strategic withdrawal is only sensible in this context.

    Once finished raping Warschaeur's book, Kuhn returns again to the esoteric conspiracy, with such as this that speaks for itself:

    The ancient sages, it now seems clear, worked in the glow of a great inner light. They were indeed called "Illuminati." It required no small genius to create voluminous scriptures and great dramatic recitals in which the scheme of cosmic truth was inwoven into constructions which themselves were molded in the form of creational procedure. This attempt to synchronize the consciousness of man, the microcosm, with the lilt and tempo of the macrocosmic movement, has dropped totally out of human ken for two thousand years. It has never had the remotest touch of recognition or apprehension in Christian intelligence. The custodians of Christian scriptures have never had the least inkling that their own sacred texts harbored this new-found evidence of so majestic a lost art as the chiasmus indicates.

    And so on, for paragraphs at a time: You don't know about this conspiracy because you are dumb, you idiot. Otherwise, little new, and mainly vague summations, such as, from one named Easton:

    A realistic view is taken by him in regard to the maps of Jesus’ journeys constructed by following mechanically the topography described in the Gospels. He says they represent quite literally nothing whatever. Nor, he adds, are we better off in the chronology, except in the broadest outlines.

    And that is it. No offer of what Easton argued to prove this point, if anything. Specifics are rare and usually involve denials of miracles or odd complaints, such as that the fish with the coin in its mouth (Matt. 17:27) would have too full a mouth to accept Peter's hook (doesn't that depend on the size of the fish, or did Kuhn and Easton think that fish came only in the sizes they got from the supermarket?). It does seem Easton was a little to presumptive at times, though, as he somehow got the idea that John 6:22-26 is "detailing the ferrying of so many thousands of people across the lake from Tiberias to Capernaum". John nohow says that the people regarded are the same group as those who were fed previously.

    In a section after Kuhn applies esoteric interpretations to what he claims were Christian practices, such as dipping candles or a staff of olive wood into the baptismal water. If such practices were indeed used by mainstream Christians, I have yet to see any evidence of it (I will keep looking), but each would certainly have far more prosaic meanings than Kuhn would like (for example, the olive staff would make much more sense as an allusion to the olive branch as a symbol of peace and God's covenant, as opposed to Kuhn's wild thesis of it referring to "the broad symbolic dramatization of the transforming power of spirit upon the carnal nature of the first Adam, man unregenerate"!) This is Kuhn forcing his Theosophy onto the symbols, not consulting the background to get their true meaning from context.

    And so it goes with more occult theorizing too wacky to believe: The entry of Jesus into the Holy City is but the historicized drama of the soul making its regal entry into the "city" of blessed peace and rest after its triumphant battle with the lower forces on earth....That he entered it riding on an ass and her colt is the cryptic fashion of representing the soul’s being carried from the outlying regions of the material experience up to and through the gates of the Holy City by the agency of the animal portion of its own dual nature. And the presence of two generations of the faithful animal is to typify the fact that the soul’s journey from animalism up to divinity can not be consummated in one cycle of experience in the flesh, but must proceed through a succession of lives, passing continuously from the older phase of one generation to the succeeding younger phase. Clearly conscious that it is "far-fetched and strained" an interpretation, Kuhn assures us blandly that it is not, since he can wrest the same meaning out of the functionism of the Egyptian pair Osiris-Horus, Father-Son, Horus the Elder-Horus the Younger, and Kheper, the beetle-god, and the ideologies connected with them. That's a very assuring thought -- I imagine Kuhn could make up much the same sort of story from a trip through the drive-thru at his local McDonald's:

    The entry of Alvin into the McDonald's is but the historicized drama of the soul making its regal entry into the "restaurant" of blessed peace and rest after its triumphant battle with the lower forces on earth....That he entered it and ordered a double cheeseburger is the cryptic fashion of representing the soul’s being carried from the outlying regions of the material experience up to and through the gates of the Holy Restaurant by the agency of the animal portion of its own dual nature. And the presence of two patties of the delicious animal, certainly delivered on different days to the kitchen, is to typify the fact that the soul’s journey from animalism up to divinity can not be consummated in one cycle of experience in the flesh, but must proceed through a succession of lives, passing continuously from the older phase of one generation to the succeeding younger phase.

    If this seems far-fetched or strained, just consider that I can do the same thing using Chick-Fil-A products!

    But in terms of explaining why the entry of Jesus cannot be historical, all Kuhn offers is a one-dimensional and false equation of the supportive Palm Sunday crowd with the angry Passover crowd -- oblivious to the latter as likely being composed of Temple functionaries, not Passover pilgrims.

    Where Kuhn has been otherwise, we do not know. He claims that there is "much doubt as to the Roman practice of physical crucifixion, and particularly on a Tau cross," though historians know of no such doubt in their works, and Kuhn cites no reason for doubt. Kuhn also doubts that all the events of the Passion could fit into one night, but what he provides is nothing but a list of events with no explanation of why they do not fit in a single night, other than a vague claims that "the three court trials seem to throw the decision against the possibility" as though what is described in two of those "trials" (rather, hearings) took longer than 15 minutes each, or even ten. No miracle is needed to fit this all into one night.

    And then we are back to this sort of linguistic gymnastics:

    The name--Messiah--calls for examination, to begin with. It is of combined Egyptian and Hebrew etymology. The mess is from the Egyptian mes, meaning to give birth to, to be born. The -iah is the well-known Hebrew terminal, meaning in its broadest sense "God" or "divinity." In deeper connotation it is a hieroglyph for deity that has descended into matter to be born anew. (As such it is an abbreviated form of the seven-lettered Jehovah, denoting male-female deity in union.) The word Messiah then means "the born God," or "the born deity," in the fuller sense of the "reborn deity."

    The hilarity of this is that the proper transliteration of "Messiah" is Mashiach, and Kuhn is yet again mixing languages -- "Messiah" is an English word, not a Hebrew one! -- so that even if he were correct in the relation to an Egyptian word (in English also, no less!) he would still be on error. Such word games speak for themselves, and for the gullibility of readers like Harpur in giving the likes of Kuhn credence. Past more occult gobbledygook, and between extensive reliance on Higgins (for our later addressing) and an enormous diatribe making symbolic hash from the zodiac, we have:

    Quoting Clement of Alexandria, Thomas Aquinas says the candle "is a sign of the Christ, not only in shape, but because he sheds his light through the ministry of the seven spirits primarily created and who are the seven eyes of the Lord." Therefore the principal planets are to the seven primeval spirits, according to St. Clement, that which the candle-sun is to Christ himself, namely--their vessels, their phulachai, or guardians.

    Does Aquinas say this? The saying is found in a work of the Theosophist Blavatsky, who (again) offers no source or name of this work of Aquinas this appears in. Clement apparently says something close: And they say that the seven eyes of the Lord "are the seven spirits resting on the rod that springs from the root of Jesse." But so far, no line like this from either writer. And what of this sort of thing:

    Enoch refers to the shed blood of the crucified elect long before the time of Jesus.

    And that's all! Enoch does this? Maybe so, but one wonders why Kuhn refuses to give a reference, given the vast amount of Enochian literature. When we are compelled to look for a needle in a haystack, questions must arise as to a writer's credibility.

    I mentioned Kuhn's game with the zodiac; a quote of a single part ought to be enough to show that we have mere creativity and not evidence at work:

    Next comes Gemini and its dual aspecting is readily seen in the Twins. Here the name is simply the Two Brothers or the Twin Brothers. These figure in many Biblical and ancient scriptural allegories, such as the Tale of Kamuas, the stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Pharez and Zarah, Tamar’s twins; but more definitely in the Egyptian Sut-Horus and the Persian Ormazd-Ahriman pairs. The Romulus-Remus legend of Rome’s founding is a variant of it. The two brothers are pictured as in direct opposition to each other, as they battle for alternate victory and suffer alternate defeat in their successive and never-ending conflict in the sphere of manifestation. As spirit descends under the power of sluggish matter the material brother, or power of darkness, is hailed as victor; when spirit overcomes the flesh to put all things under its feet, hell is vanquished and the Christ is triumphant. The one brother can be taken as the spiritual aspect of life, the other as the material, and the two are ever in combat during a cycle of manifestation. As the one increases the other must decrease, and most remarkably this is precisely what John the Baptist declares to be the case as touching him and the Christ. The names of two mythical brothers in a Roman classic fable, Castor and Pollux, have been given to the two twin-stars in the constellation of Gemini. Astronomically it is said that one of them is decreasing in magnitude, the other increasing.

    I suppose as well that Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen are the latest embodiment of this mythology, and that Mary-Kate's treatment for an eating disorder would constitute her being the one that "decreased". If you work hard enough, anything like this is possible.

    And that is all we care to deal with from Kuhn's rambling and disastrous discourse. Is this the short shrift for a volume of hundreds of pages? No, for when half of that is gone as repetitive blather; half yet more is reserved as quoted from works we will deal in later, and over 75% of what is left is merely occult fantasizing, this is really as that is left and needing attention. With this we close the book on Kuhn, having made it clear through several essays that he is a rant in need of an editor, and not a serious or scholarly source as Harpur would make him out to be.

    -JPH