Saturday, September 15, 2007

Atheist Snake Oil

Here's an article by attorney and atheist activist Edwin Kagin, right from his website:

KAGIN’S COLUMN ON THE GOSPEL OF THADDAEUS

"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain."
Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a., The Apostle Paul

For the protection of persons yet living, the circumstances of the discovery and translation of the following cannot now be revealed. The authenticity of this document, and its accurate rendering into English from first century common era Greek, is assured. It is presented now, and with some urgency, for fear that it might otherwise be lost through the efforts of persons who are aggressively attempting to suppress forever any evidence of its existence. The very zeal of those who seek to prevent this work from becoming known, when considered together with the tone and content of the writing itself, indicates this is something far different, and perhaps more reliable, than the pseudepigraphical writings of the Canon pronounced holy at Nicaea. [EFK]

The article is linked here: http://www.edwinkagin.com/columns/thaddeus.htm


You gotta love the dramatic introduction about "protecting living persons" (lawyer talk for 'I don't want to be sued') and guaranteeing that the document he posted was accurately translated from 1st Century Greek. That seals the deal right there!

Now, let's take a look at one line in Kagin's explosive document:

"It was said that Mary Magdalene wanted only two mites and a mattress and the wit to fall backwards."


Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! FORGERY ALERT!

There is no historical data that proves Mary Magdalene was in fact a prostitute. That traditional story about her was started by the early Church around the time of Pope Gregory, circa AD 600.


I don't need to go into an exhaustive expose on Mr. Kagin's article, because the mistake about Mary Magdalene is one commonly made by forgers of 1st Century documents.

Needless to say, Edwin Kagin's article On the Gospel of Thaddeus is pure BUNK. That line about Mary Magdalene is the electric fan that blew away this house of cards.

By the way, here's another link that deals with the origin of the "Gospel of Thaddeus":

http://www.paulburgess.org/thaddeus.html

That's right. The Gospel of Thaddeus is a fake. In fact, it's not even a "lost" gospel, like the Gnostic gospels. The Gospel of Thaddeus was created by a biblical studies professor as a learning exercise for his students. Fakes abound for the ignorant to enjoy.

Edwin Kagin, outspoken atheist, and author of books against Christianity, ought to be ashamed of the absolutely SLOPPY attempt he made to deceive people with his medicine show. If he can't be bothered to verify the truthfulness of one silly little forged document, I can only imagine how much drivel he packs into his books. Move over, Earl Doherty.

It appears that, in keeping his source secret, Mr. Kagin is only protecting that source from being laughed off the planet. Certainly Mr. Kagin deserves the same.

Mr. Kagin's "document" ends like this:

"May that measure of peace, justice, harmony and understanding denied religion and its deities be attained by mortals through the use of their minds, and may reason, science, curiosity, and discovery replace the fear, the guilt, the pain, and the ignorance of trembling in terror before capricious gods. Ecce homo."

That's a pretty interesting comment made by a practicing Jew from Galilee, don't you think? This ending line only reinforces the real purpose behind the forgery.

Shame on Mr. Kagin. As a lawyer, he should know the value of doing your due diligence, especially when presenting something as "truth".

I believe that Mr. Kagin, caught here with his pants down, is a fine upstanding member of American Atheists. And since good old O'Hair Inc. NEVER bothers to check FACTS on anything Biblical, a rotten scholar like Edwin Kagin is quite welcome in their midst.

7 comments:

Robin said...

Ever heard of satire?

The NeoCon Brownshirt said...

Yes, my previous post is quite satirical. Are you suggesting that Mr. Kagin was presenting that article as satire? Look over his whole website and you tell me.
There is nothing satirical about this man's article. He's dead serious.

Z said...

" There is nothing satirical about this man's article."

Meaning that our Mr. Nutter wouldn't recognize satire if he stepped in a pile of it. In his excitement over finding errors of fact by an atheist (or so he believes), Nut steps into the real trap, and comes out smelling of it.

You seem to focus on the few lines in "Thaddeus" about Mary Magdalene. You are absolutely incorrect in your claim that "Thaddeus" refers to MM as a prostitute. Thad absolutely does not state this anywhere in the text. You are wrong.

Examining the text we see that "Mary was a woman of loose virtue who seemed to know everyone in Judea." While this is not explicitly stated in the gospels (loose virtue), we can certainly infer it. After all, MM was an unmarried woman who consorted with wandering unemployed men and was especially liked by Jesus. She "ministered to Him [Jesus] of their (her) substance" (in other words, she provided Jesus with money or supplies) according to Luke 8:2. In that time and place, this was not how respectable women conducted themselves, much less unmarried women of means. The term "loose virtue" seems to fit even if it does not include carnal relations.

So while MM was not a prostitute, she did conduct herself in a disreputable manner, and from this we can infer other things. The author of Thaddeus does, and it is especially important to note that this is ALL he does. The text says (at greater length than what Nut provided in his hissy-fit), "It was said that Mary Magdalene wanted only two mites and a mattress and the wit to fall backwards. I couldn't say. She had a great fondness for Jesus, perhaps because he had no carnal interest in her." Emphasis on "I couldn't say." He is speculating. He is repeating HERESAY. He is not speaking from knowlege. Given Thad's assumptions, we can begin to see how there came to be so much confusion over whether MM is also the sinner mentioned later. But whatever MM did or did not do, her rep was certainly not pure.

There may or may not be a problem with the lines, "Mary was, in a word, insane, but pleasingly so. She believed Jesus had freed her from seven demons. She was overcome by grief at the story of his death, and feared the demons would now return." We do not know that MM was in fact the same woman that was exorcised of seven demons. The woman with demons is not named in MML or J, but is in some cases assumed to be MM. It is also speculated that Mary of Bethany is the same person as MM AND the woman with demons, as we see in the 3rd century writings of Hyppolytus. Ultimately, Catholic theologians agree that all three are the same woman, but Protestants do not. Evidently, Thaddeus seems to confrim the Catholic version. It is also apparent from the text that Thaddeus does not actually know MM very well. Again, I believe he is merely speculating, but not without reason.

Clearly, Thaddaeus was speaking hearsay. He had to seek out MM, so it seems he did not know her well. He did know that she knew his brother Jesus, and he does indeed seem to confirm that she at least "thought" she had been cured of seven demons. The truth of such a cure is clearly not believed by
Thad, in that from this he concludes she was clearly insane.

Your claim that Thaddeus is a "practicing Jew" is completely unsubstantiated. Thad never says this. On the contrary, we can very well conclude that Thad was quite thoroughly Hellenized (being Greek by temperament), and quite Roman in his allegiance. None of this precludes him from the practice of Jewsih ritual, since even in that time there were numerous sects that practiced varying degrees and kinds of observance -- just as today. We might find reason to conclude from his concluding statement that Thad became a Stoic or a follower of Epicurus, but we simply do not know, nor does it matter. Those philosophies do not prevent him from being a Jew as well.

In all, you simply seem to be looking for a fight--a battle of wits, perhaps. Too bad you came unarmed. Next time, do some fact-checking, don't take yourself so seriously, and please don't step in the poo.

-Z

Anonymous said...

*smirk* Too bad you can't see the joke in these. Ever read Kagin's column on Easter? Absolutely hilarious. What "seriousness" are you talking about?

The NeoCon Brownshirt said...

Meaning that our Mr. Nutter wouldn't recognize satire if he stepped in a pile of it. In his excitement over finding errors of fact by an atheist (or so he believes), Nut steps into the real trap, and comes out smelling of it.

Oh, my, Z… did we touch a nerve here? I know what satire is… it’s the escape clause used by people like Michael Moore when they get busted on factual inaccuracies. Mr. Kagin, an employee of American Atheists, should, as a lawyer, know by now the value of real evidence vs. hearsay.

You seem to focus on the few lines in "Thaddeus" about Mary Magdalene. You are absolutely incorrect in your claim that "Thaddeus" refers to MM as a prostitute. Thad absolutely does not state this anywhere in the text. You are wrong.

What part of "It was said that Mary Magdalene wanted only two mites and a mattress and the wit to fall backwards” do you not understand? Sure seems like the document was calling Mary Magdalene a prostitute to me. And you certainly won’t find that anywhere in the Gospels.

Examining the text we see that "Mary was a woman of loose virtue who seemed to know everyone in Judea." While this is not explicitly stated in the gospels (loose virtue), we can certainly infer it. After all, MM was an unmarried woman who consorted with wandering unemployed men and was especially liked by Jesus. She "ministered to Him [Jesus] of their (her) substance" (in other words, she provided Jesus with money or supplies) according to Luke 8:2. In that time and place, this was not how respectable women conducted themselves, much less unmarried women of means. The term "loose virtue" seems to fit even if it does not include carnal relations.

Here’s your problem: all you can do is INFER what you think about Mary Magdalene. But when you see a document posted by Edwin Kagin, and he won’t reveal the source, or who supposedly translated it, and it contains a statement calling Mary Magdalene a prostitute, a woman of “loose virtue”, or whatever you want to call her, when that fact hasn’t been historically established, it sets off the Bunk Alarm, especially when it’s on a website hosted by an employee of O’Hair Inc.

There may or may not be a problem with the lines, "Mary was, in a word, insane, but pleasingly so. She believed Jesus had freed her from seven demons. She was overcome by grief at the story of his death, and feared the demons would now return." We do not know that MM was in fact the same woman that was exorcised of seven demons.

Try reading Luke 8:3 sometime. What little we know about Mary is that she travelled with Jesus and he cast out 7 demons from her, and she was one of the first witnesses of the Resurrection. The rest of conjecture. Besides, the use of the Anglicized name Mary Magdalene is a dead giveaway. If Tad were real, he would have simply referred to her as the woman Miriam from Magdala.

Your claim that Thaddeus is a "practicing Jew" is completely unsubstantiated. Thad never says this. On the contrary, we can very well conclude that Thad was quite thoroughly Hellenized (being Greek by temperament), and quite Roman in his allegiance.

Thaddeus was raised a Galilean Jew, according to this letter. That means he came from a hick town which, according to recent archaelogical findings, was not hellenized at all, but remained isolated and ethnically Jewish. Just how would a Jew from a redneck village like Nazareth, from a poor family with no education, wind up as an Alexandrian scholar? Especially after being seen traveling with a Galilean troublemaker who the Romans didn’t like very much?

Forgery Alert!

On top of that, the entire document is based on a bunch of hearsay that’s been passed around for years, claiming that Jesus didn’t get crucified, and some grand conspiracy was hatched by His followers while He snuck off and hooked up with Mary Magdalene.

In other words, Mr. Kagin is simply quoting Grail Lore, in the same manner as that other famous atheist, Gore Vidal, who wrote a silly novel based on the same tripe.


In all, you simply seem to be looking for a fight--a battle of wits, perhaps. Too bad you came unarmed. Next time, do some fact-checking, don't take yourself so seriously, and please don't step in the poo.

It seems to me that you’d rather jump in the “poo” yourself.

-Z said...

Oh good grief! Mr. Nut still doeesn't get it -- and like other literalists, can't tell fact from fiction. Probably still thinks the Bible is accurate history.

The NeoCon Brownshirt said...

Yup, I can't tell fact from fiction, just like all those deluded PhD's who believe in mythological figures like Pontius Pilate and Tiberius Caesar.