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We are told in Matthew Jesus is presented as being an aristocrat, and in Luke born to a poor carpenter. How about, Joseph was poor but was engaged to a girl of royal lineage? Is that difficult? The fact that Matthew has the kings arriving two years later seems to have passed her by. I find this sort of objection also in Hoffman's reconstruction of Porphyry which is likely where it originates.

But why can't Jesus be saying one thing after another and that three evangelists recorded one sentence each? Lastly, I'm not sure why Ellerbe has gospel 'contradictions' in chapter 2 subtitled with the period AD , surely this belongs in the previous chapter - does she need an editor? On Celsus: neither Ellerbe nor her source, Lloyd Graham, give the reference: which is Contra Celsus ii,27 - we are told "The Church edited its message with each translation" [16], then she quotes Celsus as being witness to the "falsification of Christian writings already in the second century" but the quote says nothing of translation but of modifying what was said.


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And Origen's response to this was that he only knew of Gnostics who did this. The reason Ellerbe doesnt point the reader to Origen's Contra Celsus is because she doesn't want you to read the answer. Of course, she might reply that Marcion was a Christian What's really ironic is Ellerbe uses Holland-Smith to give us the supposed Roman view of Christians from the man-on-the-street, and Lloyd Graham is used for the intellectual Roman Celsus.


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  • Then we get a quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia about falsifications, but sorry that's in an article on the Renaissance, and the context of the quote is falsifications made in later centuries to the timeline being discussed. We are told "scholars have shown that all four canonized Gospels have been doctored and revised.

    Baigent and Graham's books have mutually exclusive theses; Graham is a Christ myther, while Baigent presents the "Jesus married Mary Magdelene" theory popularised in Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" - Ellerbe seems to use these works for their criticisms of church history and the bible, regardless of consistency in her own argument. Since when were Baigent and Leigh "scholars", anyway? Neither of them are qualified historians. Athanasius is made to be at the Council of Hippo [16] when in fact he died 20 years previously - this error is the result of inferring the wrong thing from her source, which again is Baigent and Leigh.

    Jesus as political rebel [18] - this also comes from Baigent and Leigh. She also claims Origen died in , that happened 30 years earlier. Finally for this chapter I'll note the accusation that Constantine executed his son judicially though and had his wife killed too, without saying why - although officially we'll never know.

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    Holland-Smith posits that the two had been acting promiscuously but can only say that this is "unlikely" in return - how come Ellerbe missed this? Oh yes, she doesn't want to give explanations, just shock the reader! Riane Eisler is her source, and her sources include an encyclopedia - again - and H.

    The number of errors in this chapter were just amazing, and especially since in her interview with Giles she claimed to know a lot about church history, and had spent five years writing the book. We next get a classic example of how not to use sources from Church Fathers.

    The Dark Side of Christian History by Helen Ellerbe | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

    We are told Jerome warns,"Regard everything as poison which bears within it the seed of sensual pleasure" 33 - which within the context of Ellerbe's writing appears to have a sexual connotation what with Carpocratians and Augustine on sexuality and Clement on lust; however it is not. Don't believe me? The quote comes from one of Jerome's letters to Furia, a widow intent on maintaining her widowhood having abandoned the desire to remarry and look after her family instead.

    Jerome calls widowhood "second of the three degrees of chastity" - still think this is about sex? Read on. Here then, is the context of the given quote: "Some persons who aspire to the life of chastity fall midway in their journey from supposing that they need only abstain from flesh. They load their stomachs with vegetables which are only harmless when taken sparingly and in moderation.

    If I am to say what I think, there is nothing which so much heats the body and inflames the passions as undigested food and breathing broken with hiccoughs. As for you, my daughter, I would rather wound your modesty than endanger my case by understatement.

    Regard everything as poison which bears within it the seeds of sensual pleasure. A meagre diet which leaves the appetite always unsatisfied is to be preferred to fasts three days long. It is much better to take a little every day than some days to abstain wholly and on others to surfeit oneself. Well, that's what happens when you rely on Barbara Walker; yes, Walker has the quote in her section on Sex. And her source is Lewis Mumford, a social philosopher who contributed to books on regional planning!

    There's a section on reincarnation which I'd like to look at in the near future. She thinks the Christians burned the Library at Alexandria 46 , and Porphyry's "36 volumes" as well - I've no idea what that refers to, his 15 volume "Against the Christians" was burned certainly but since - according to remaining fragments - it insulted the reader, it's hard to imagine it surviving anyway!

    I have now traced the source of this claim to one Alexander Wilder, a professor of pathology in the 19th century who was an early fellow of the Theosophical Society. Such is what happens when you take L M Graham's esoteric ramblings and assume they are an authority!

    She further thinks this period of history should be termed the "Dark Ages", something historians today consider inaccurate. In chapter 5 we get what is one of the most outrageous of all her faulty reportage of sources; regarding the Knight's Templar. We are told that "incredible stories began to circulate about the Templars" and we're given a list of anti-Christian things an initiation ritual was supposed to involve.

    Then we get this: "Accused of homosexuality, of killing illegitimate children, and of witchcraft, the Templars were murdered and their property confiscated. However, I do find this in J. Russell's Witchcraft in the Middle Ages pp, with the connection to traditional witchcraft accusations of the time.

    It is possible that she has forged the two sources together, since she does have Russell in front of her and has used him elsewhere. Walker isnt much better, her sources include the Encyclopedia Britannica and a scholar from ! There's also an inadequate treatment of the Cathar heresy. Other non-authorities used: Charles Panati, a former physicist and a former science editor for Newsweek.

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    And James Haught, whose book Holy Horrors is indeed a horror - in terms of documentation - it doesn't have any! He also published a cut down version of the book as an article in Penthouse men's magazine!! Add to this a news-stand magazine Gnosis from which we get quotes from Theodore Nottingham, a writer of children's stories and John Kimsey, an English lecturer, neither of whom are relevantly qualified. And here's a 'don't know', Walter Nigg, who gets called a historian, but actually he doesn't tell us what his qualifications were in, in his book The Heretics.

    Nigg is used several times in the book notably for the quote on page 20, which comes from E Schwartz who wrote in Since The Heretics was originally written in German, one questions the usefulness of say, the quote from Malleus Maleficarum p , which by the time it arrives in Dark Side has gone through two translations. She continues: 'Witches now took the role of scapegoats that had been held by Jews. Any personal misfortune, bad harvest, famine, or plague was seen as their fault.

    Some thought that a woman who died during this period should be refused a Christian burial. Perhaps the most interesting chapter is the last, 'A World Without God. After introducing the 'Age of Enlightenment,' she notes that, 'These new beliefs and attitudes mirrored those of orthodox Christianity.

    As orthodox Christians believed there to be a division between heaven and earth, so scientists perceived there to be a similar division, coined by Descartes as that between mind and matter. As Christians believed God to be detached from the physical world, so scientists thought that consciousness and physical reality were detached from one another. Although orthodox Christianity and modern thinkers differed in their belief about the devil, both understood the physical world as a realm devoid of divinity and sanctity.

    Elsewhere, she notes that, 'Scientists and philosophers also embraced the concept of hierarchy and applied it to their work. Hierarchical order requires all components to be separated and ranked according to their superiority or inferiority; if focuses upon a component's difference rather than upon its supportive relationship and connection to the whole. Scientists similarly focused upon the separation, isolation and analysis of increasingly smaller particles. Little attention was given to the relationship connecting a component to its surrounding elements or environment. Once people accepted that, it was not difficult to believe that God did not exist at all.

    Canon law is the positive law of the Roman Catholic Church and stood along side imperial, tribal, feudal, urban, mercantile, manorial, and customary law. Pope Innocent III , educated at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna, wrote a number of decretals that became part of canon law. One decretal denied a request from a feudal lord in France to legitimatize two sons from a second marriage while his first marriage was canonically valid. This decretal admitted the pope had no competence in purely feudal disputes, but said in matters where sins were being committed the papacy had jurisdiction.

    A third decretal addressed a civil war in Germany caused by the election of two rival kings and said the pope has the authority to decide between the two kings and whether a king of Germany is fit to be emperor. In another case, Innocent excommunicated the entire country of France, with the exception of unbaptized infants, to pressure its king Philip II Augustus to reconcile with his lawful wife who he abandoned for another woman.

    In a further attempt to placate the pope, King John entered into a feudal arrangement with Innocent in which the Roman Catholic Church would get marks per year and King John would get to rule England. This added to the grievances the English barons had against John and they forced him to sign the Magna Carta in Innocent opposed this important document in the development of constitutional law, not because of the rights it bestowed, but because it was enacted without his consent. The following quote from St. Paul supports civic virtue because it means that membership in families, clans, tribes, and ethnic groups is not as important as membership in the human race:.

    So the Law was serving as a slave to look after us, to lead us to Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. But now that faith has come we are no longer under a slave looking after us; for all of you are the children of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus, since every one of you that has been baptized has been clothed in Christ.

    There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave nor freeman, there can be neither male nor female…for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3. When the Catholic Church lost its influence because of the Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment, the result was the Thirty Years War, the French and American revolutionary wars, the Franco-Prussian War, and the two-phase European civil war called world wars.

    The Age of Enlightenment also gave us Darwinism, the pseudo-scientific idea that human beings, not just their bodies, evolved from animals and that some human races were more evolved than others. Darwinism justifies scientific racism, eugenics, and genocide. The first attempt to eliminate a category of human beings in the 20th century was carried out in German South-West Africa in