Extract From a Reply to the Bishop of Llandaff
The bishop says, "the oldest book in the world is
Genesis." This is mere assertion; he offers no proof of it, and I go to
controvert it, and to show that the book of job, which is not a Hebrew
book, but is a book of the Gentiles translated into Hebrew, is much
older than the book of Genesis.
The book of Genesis means the book of Generations; to
which are prefixed two chapters, the first and second, which contain two
different cosmogonies, that is, two different accounts of the creation
of the world, written by different persons, as I have shown in the
preceding part of this work.
The first cosmogony begins at chapter i. 1, and ends
at ii. 3; for the adverbial conjunction thus, with which chapter ii.
begins, shows those three verses to belong to chapter i. The second
cosmogony begins at ii. 4, and ends with that chapter.
In the first cosmogony the name of God is used without
any epithet joined to it, and is repeated thirty-five times. In the
second cosmogony it is always the Lord God, which is repeated eleven
times. These two different styles of expression show these two chapters
to be the work of two different persons, and the contradictions they
contain, show they cannot be the work of one and the same person, as I
have already shown.
The third chapter, in which the style of Lord God is
continued in every instance except in the supposed conversation between
the woman and the serpent (for in every place in that chapter where the
writer speaks, it is always the Lord God) shows this chapter to belong
to the second cosmogony.
This chapter gives an account of what is called the
fall of man, which is no
other than a fable borrowed from, and constructed upon, the religious
allegory of Zoroaster, or the Persians, of the annual progress of the
sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac. It is the
fall of the year, the
approach and evil of winter, announced by the ascension of the autumnal
constellation of the serpent
of the zodiac, and not the moral
fall of man, that is the key of the allegory, and of the fable in
Genesis borrowed from it.
The fall of man
in Genesis is said to have been produced by eating a certain fruit,
generally taken to be an apple. The fall of the year is the season for
the gathering and eating the new apples of that year. The allegory,
therefore, holds with respect to the fruit, which it would not have done
had it been an early summer fruit. It holds also with respect to place.
The tree is said to have been placed in the
midst of the garden. But why
in the midst of the garden more than in any other place? The solution of
the allegory gives the answer to this question, which is, that the fall
of the year, when apples and other autumnal fruits are ripe, and when
days and nights are of equal length, is the mid-season between summer
It holds also with respect to clothing, and the
temperature of the air. It is said in Genesis (iii. 21),
"Unto Adam and his wife did the
Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." But why are coats
of skins mentioned? This cannot be understood as referring to anything
of the nature of moral evil.
The solution of the allegory gives again the answer to this question,
which is, that the evil of
winter, which follows the
fall of the year, fabulously called in Genesis the
fall of man, makes warm
But of these things I shall speak fully when I come in
another part to treat of the ancient religion of the Persians, and
compare it with the modern religion of the New Testament. At present, I
shall confine myself to the comparative antiquity of the books of
Genesis and Job, taking, at the same time, whatever I may find in my way
with respect to the fabulousness of the book of Genesis; for if what is
called the fall
of man, in Genesis, be
fabulous or allegorical, that which is called the redemption in the New
Testament cannot be a fact. It is logically impossible, and impossible
also in the nature of things, that
moral good can redeem
physical evil. I return to
If Genesis be, as the bishop asserts, the oldest book
in the world, and, consequently, the oldest and first written book of
the Bible, and if the extraordinary things related in it; such as the
creation of the world in six days, the tree of life, and of good and
evil, the story of Eve and the talking serpent, the fall of man and his
being turned out of Paradise, were facts, or even believed by the Jews
to be facts, they would be referred to as fundamental matters, and that
very frequently, in the books of the Bible that were written by various
authors afterwards; whereas, there is not a book, chapter, or verse of
the Bible, from the time that Moses is said to have written the book of
Genesis, to the book of Malachi, the last book in the Bible, including a
space of more than a thousand years, in which there is any mention made
of these things, or any of them, nor are they so much as alluded to. How
will the bishop solve this difficulty, which stands as a circumstantial
contradiction to his assertion?
There are but two ways of solving it:
First, that the book of Genesis is not an ancient
book, that it has been written by some (now) unknown person, after the
return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, about a thousand years
after the time that Moses is said to have lived, and put as a preface or
introduction to the other books when they were formed into a canon in
the time of the second temple, and therefore not having existed before
that time, none of these things mentioned in it could be referred to in
Secondly, that admitting Genesis to have been written
by Moses, the Jews did not believe the things stated in it to be true,
and therefore, as they could not refer to them as facts, they would not
refer to them as fables. The first of these solutions goes against the
antiquity of the book, and the second against its authenticity; and the
bishop may take which he please.
But be the author of Genesis whoever it may, there is
abundant evidence to show, as well from the early Christian writers as
from the Jews themselves, that the things stated in that book were not
believed to be facts. Why they have been believed as facts since that
time, when better and fuller knowledge existed on the case than is known
now, can be accounted for only on the imposition of priestcraft.
Augustine, one of the early champions of the Christian
Church, acknowledges in his “City of God” that the adventure of Eve and
the serpent, and the account of Paradise, were generally considered as
fiction or allegory. He regards them as allegory himself, without
attempting to give any explanation, but he supposes that a better
explanation might be found than those that had been offered.
Origen, another early champion of the Church, says,
"What man of good sense can ever persuade himself that there were a
first, a second, and a third day, and that each of these days had a
night when there were yet neither sun, moon, nor stars? What man can be
stupid enough to believe that God, acting the part of a gardener, had
planted a garden in the East, that the tree of life was a real tree, and
that its fruit had the virtue of making those who eat of it live
Maimonides, one of the most learned and celebrated of
the Jewish rabbins, who lived in the Eleventh Century (about seven or
eight hundred years ago) and to whom the bishop refers in his answer to
me, is very explicit in his book entitled “Moreh Nebuchim,” upon the
non-reality of the things stated in the account of the creation in the
book of Genesis.
“We ought not,” (says he) “to understand, nor take
according to the letter, that which is written in the book of the
creation; nor to have the same ideas of it which common men have;
otherwise our ancient sages would not have recommended with so much care
to conceal the sense of it, and not to raise the allegorical veil which
envelopes the truths it contains.
“The book of Genesis, taken according to the letter,
gives the most absurd and the most extravagant ideas of the Divinity.
Whoever shall find out the sense of it, ought to restrain himself from
divulging it. It is a maxim which all our sages repeat, and above all
with respect to the work of six days.
“It may happen that someone, with the aid he may
borrow from others, may hit upon the meaning of it. In that case he
ought to impose silence upon himself; or if he speak of it, he ought to
speak obscurely, and in an enigmatical manner, as I do myself, leaving
the rest to be found out by those who can understand me.”
This is, certainly, a very extraordinary declaration
of Maimonides, taking all the parts of it. First, be declares, that the
account of the Creation in the book of Genesis is not a fact, and that
to believe it to be a fact gives the most absurd and the most
extravagant ideas of the Divinity. Secondly, that it is an allegory.
Thirdly, that the allegory has a concealed secret. Fourthly, that
whoever can find the secret ought not to tell it.
It is this last part that is the most extraordinary.
Why all this care of the Jewish rabbins, to prevent what they call the
concealed meaning, or the secret, from being known, and if known to
prevent any of their people from telling it? It certainly must be
something which the Jewish nation are afraid or ashamed the world should
It must be something personal to them as a people, and
not a secret of a divine nature, which the more it is known the more it
increases the glory of the creator, and the gratitude and happiness of
man. It is not God's secret but their own they are keeping. I go to
unveil the secret.
The case is, the Jews have stolen their cosmogony,
that is, their account of the Creation, from the cosmogony of the
Persians, contained in the books of Zoroaster, the Persian law- giver,
and brought it with them when they returned from captivity by the
benevolence of Cyrus, King of Persia. For it is evident, from the
silence of all the books of the Bible upon the subject of the Creation,
that the Jews had no cosmogony before that time.
If they had a cosmogony from the time of Moses, some
of their judges who governed during more than four hundred years, or of
their kings, the Davids and Solomons of their day, who governed nearly
five hundred years, or of their prophets and psalmists, who lived in the
mean time, would have mentioned it.
It would, either as fact or fable, have been the
grandest of all subjects for a psalm. It would have suited to a tittle
the ranting poetical genius of Isaiah, or served as a cordial to the
gloomy Jeremiah. But not one word, not even a whisper, does any of the
bible authors give upon the subject.
To conceal the theft, the rabbins of the second temple
have published Genesis as a book of Moses, and have enjoined secrecy to
all their people, who by travelling or otherwise might happen to
discover from whence the cosmogony was borrowed, not to tell it. The
evidence of circumstances is often unanswerable, and there is no other
than this which I have given that goes to the whole of the case, and
Diogenes Laertius, an ancient and respectable author,
whom the bishop in his answer to me quotes on another occasion, has a
passage that corresponds with the solution here given. In speaking of
the religion of the Persians as promulgated by their priests or magi, he
says the Jewish rabbins were the successors of their doctrine.
Having thus spoken on the plagiarism, and on the
non-reality of the book of Genesis, I will give some additional evidence
that Moses is not the author of that book.
Aben-Ezra, a celebrated Jewish author, who lived about
seven hundred years ago, and whom the bishop allows to have been a man
of great erudition, has made a great many observations, too numerous to
be repeated here, to show that Moses was not, and could not be, the
author of the book of Genesis, nor of any of the five books that bear
Spinoza, another learned Jew, who lived about a
hundred and thirty years ago, recites, in his treatise on the ceremonies
of the Jews, ancient and modern, the observations of Aben-Ezra, to which
he adds many others, to shew that Moses is not the author of those
He also says, and shows his reasons for saying it,
that the Bible did not exist as a book till the time of the Maccabees,
which was more than a hundred years after the return of the Jews from
the Babylonian captivity.
In the second part of the “Age of Reason,” I have,
among other things, referred to nine verses in Genesis xxxvi, beginning
at verse 31 (These are the kings that reigned in Edom, before there
reigned any king over the children of Israel,) which it is impossible
could have been written by Moses, or in the time of Moses, and which
could not have been written till after the Jew kings began to reign in
Israel, which was not till several hundred years after the time of
The bishop allows this, and says "I think you say
true." But he then quibbles, and says, that "a small addition to a book
does not destroy either the genuineness or authenticity of the whole
book." This is priestcraft. These verses do not stand in the book as an
addition to it, but as making a part of the whole book, and which it is
impossible that Moses could write.
The bishop would reject the antiquity of any other
book if it could be proved from the words of the book itself that a part
of it could not have been written till several hundred years after the
reputed author of it was dead. He would call such a book a forgery. I am
authorized, therefore, to call the book of Genesis a forgery.
Combining, then, all the foregoing circumstances
together, respecting the antiquity and authenticity of the book of
Genesis, a conclusion will naturally follow therefrom. Those
First, that certain parts of the book cannot possibly
have been written by Moses, and that the other parts carry no evidence
of having been written by him.
Secondly, the universal silence of all the following
books of the Bible, for about a thousand years, upon the extraordinary
things spoken of in Genesis, such as the creation of the world in six
days -- the garden of Eden -- the tree of knowledge -- the tree of life
-- the story of Eve and the serpent -- the fall of man and of his being
turned out of this fine garden, together with Noah's flood, and the
tower of Babel.
Thirdly, the silence of all the books of the Bible
upon even the name of Moses, from the book of Joshua until the second
book of Kings, which was not written till after the captivity, for it
gives an account of the captivity, a period of about a thousand years.
Strange that a man who is proclaimed as the historian
of the Creation, the privy-counsellor and confidant of the Almighty --
the legislator of the Jewish nation and the founder of its religion;
strange, I say, that even the name of such a man should not find a place
in their books for a thousand years, if they knew or believed anything
about him or the books he is said to have written.
Fourthly, the opinion of some of the most celebrated
of the Jewish commentators that Moses is not the author of the book of
Genesis, founded on the reasons given for that opinion.
Fifthly, the opinion of the early Christian writers,
and of the great champion of Jewish literature, Maimonides, that the
book of Genesis is not a book of facts.
Sixthly, the silence imposed by all the Jewish rabbins,
and by Maimonides himself, upon the Jewish nation, not to speak of
anything they may happen to know or discover respecting the cosmogony
(or creation of the world) in the book of Genesis.
From these circumstances the following conclusions
First, that the book of Genesis is not a book of
Secondly, that as no mention is made throughout the
Bible of any of the extraordinary things related in [it], Genesis has
not been written till after the other books were written, and put as a
preface to the Bible. Everyone knows that a preface to a book, though it
stands first, is the last written.
Thirdly, that the silence imposed by all the Jewish
rabbins and by Maimonides upon the Jewish nation, to keep silence upon
everything related in their cosmogony, evinces a secret they are not
willing should be known.
The secret therefore explains itself to be, that when
the Jews were in captivity in Babylon and Persia they became acquainted
with the cosmogony of the Persians, as registered in the Zend-Avesta of
Zoroaster, the Persian law- giver, which, after their return from
captivity, they manufactured and modeled as their own, and ante-dated it
by giving to it the name of Moses. The case admits of no other
From all which it appears that the book of Genesis, instead of being the oldest book in the world, as the bishop calls it, has been the last written book of the Bible, and that the cosmogony it contains has been manufactured.
OF THE NAMES IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS
Everything in Genesis serves as evidence or symptom
that the book has been composed in some late period of the Jewish
nation. Even the names mentioned in it serve to this purpose.
Nothing is more common or more natural than to name
the children of succeeding generations after the names of those who had
been celebrated in some former generation. This holds good with respect
to all the people and all the histories we know of, and it does not hold
good with the Bible. There must be some cause for this.
This book of Genesis tells us of a man whom it calls
Adam, and of his sons Abel and Seth; of Enoch, who lived three hundred
and sixty-five years (it is exactly the number of days in a year), and
that then God took him up. (It has the appearance of being taken from
some allegory of the Gentiles on the commencement and termination of the
year, by the progress of the sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac,
on which the allegorical religion of the Gentiles was founded.)
It tells us of Methuselah who lived 969 years, and of
a long train of other names in the fifth chapter. It then passes on to a
man whom it calls Noah, and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet; then to
Lot, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his sons, with which the book of
All these, according to the account given in that
book, were the most extraordinary and celebrated of men. They were
moreover heads of families. Adam was the father of the world. Enoch, for
his righteousness, was taken up to heaven. Methuselah lived to almost a
thousand years. He was the son of Enoch, the man of 365, the number of
days in a year. It has the appearance of being the continuation of an
allegory on the 365 days of the year, and its abundant productions.
Noah was selected from all the world to be preserved
when it was drowned, and became the second father of the world. Abraham
was the father of the faithful multitude. Isaac and Jacob were the
inheritors of his fame, and the last was the father of the twelve
Now, if these very wonderful men and their names, and
the book that records them, had been known by the Jews before the
Babylonian captivity, those names would have been as common among the
Jews before that period as they have been since. We now hear of
thousands of Abrahams, Isaacs, and Jacobs among the Jews, but there were
none of that name before the Babylonian captivity. The Bible does not
mention one, though from the time that Abraham is said to have lived to
the time of the Babylonian captivity is about 1,400 years.
How is it to be accounted for, that there have been so
many thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Jews of the names
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob since that period, and not one before?
It can be accounted for but one way, which is, that
before the Babylonian captivity the Jews had no such book as Genesis,
nor knew anything of the names and persons it mentions, nor of the
things it relates, and that the stories in it have been manufactured
since that time. From the Arabic name
Ibrahim (which is the manner
the Turks write that name to this day) the Jews have, most probably,
manufactured their Abraham.
I will advance my observations a point further, and
speak of the names of Moses
and Aaron, mentioned for the
first time in the book of Exodus. There are now, and have continued to
be from the time of the Babylonian captivity, or soon after it,
thousands of Jews of the names of
Moses and Aaron, and we
read not of any of that name before that time. The Bible does not
The direct inference from this is, that the Jews knew
of no such book as Exodus before the Babylonian captivity. In fact, that
it did not exist before that time, and that it is only since the book
has been invented that the names of
Aaron have been common among
It is applicable to the purpose to observe, that the
picturesque work, called
Mosaic-work, spelled the same as you would say the
Mosaic account of the
creation, is not derived from the word
Moses but from
Muses,) because of the
variegated and picturesque pavement in the temples dedicated to the
Muses. This carries a strong
implication that the name Moses
is drawn from the same source, and that he is not a real but an
allegorical person, as Maimonides describes what is called the
Mosaic account of the
Creation to be.
I will go a point still further. The Jews now know the
book of Genesis, and the names of all the persons mentioned in the first
ten chapters of that book,
from Adam to Noah: yet we do not hear (I speak for myself) of any Jew of
the present day, of the name of Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah,
Noah, Shem, Ham, or Japhet, (names mentioned in the first ten chapters),
though these were, according to the account in that book, the most
extraordinary of all the names that make up the catalogue of the Jewish
The names the Jews now adopt, are those that are
mentioned in Genesis after the tenth chapter, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
etc. How then does it happen that they do not adopt the names found in
the first ten chapters? Here is evidently a line of division drawn
between the first ten chapters of Genesis and the remaining chapters,
with respect to the adoption of names. There must be some cause for
this, and I go to offer a solution of the problem.
The reader will recollect the quotation I have already
made from the Jewish rabbin, Maimonides, wherein he says, "We ought not
to understand nor to take according to the letter that which is written
in the book of the Creation. . . . It is a maxim (says he) which all our
sages repeat, above all with
respect to the work of six days." The qualifying expression
above all implies there are
other parts of the book, though not so important, that ought not to be
understood or taken according to the letter, and as the Jews do not
adopt the names mentioned in the first ten chapters, it appears evident
those chapters are included in the injunction not to take them in a
literal sense, or according to the letter.
From which it follows, that the persons or characters
mentioned in the first ten chapters, as Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch,
Methuselah, and so on to Noah, are not real, but fictitious or
allegorical persons, and therefore the Jews do not adopt their names
into their families. If they affixed the same idea of reality to them as
they do to those that follow after the tenth chapter, the names of Adam,
Abel, Seth, etc., would be as common among the Jews of the present day
as are those of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron.
In the superstition they have been in, scarcely a Jew
family would have been without an
Enoch, as a presage of his going to Heaven as ambassador for the
whole family. Every mother who wished that the
days of her son might be long
in the land would call him
Methuselah; and all the Jews that might have to traverse the ocean
would be named Noah, as a charm against shipwreck and drowning.
This is domestic evidence against the book of Genesis,
which, joined to the several kinds of evidence before recited, show the
book of Genesis not to be older than the Babylonian captivity, and to be
fictitious. I proceed to fix the character and antiquity of the book of
The book of Job has not the least appearance of being
a book of the Jews, and though printed among the books of the Bible,
does not belong to it. There is no reference to it in any Jewish law or
ceremony. On the contrary, all the internal evidence it contains shows
it to be a book of the Gentiles, either of Persia or Chaldea.
The name of Job does not appear to be a Jewish name.
There is no Jew of that name in any of the books of the Bible, neither
is there now that I ever heard of. The country where Job is said or
supposed to have lived, or rather where the scene of the drama is laid,
is called Uz, and there was no place of that name ever belonging to the
Jews. If Uz is the same as Ur, it was in Chaldea, the country of the
The Jews can give no account how they came by this
book, nor who was the author, nor the time when it was written. Origen,
in his work against Celsus, (in the first ages of the Christian church,)
says that the book of Job is
older than Moses. Aben- Ezra, the Jewish commentator, whom (as I
have before said) the bishop allows to have been a man of great
erudition, and who certainly understood his own language, says that the
book of Job has been translated from another language into Hebrew.
another Jewish commentator of great learning, confirms the opinion of
Aben-Ezra, and says moreover,
que Job etait Gentil";
“I believe that Job was a Gentile.”
The bishop, (in answer to me), says, that "the
structure of the whole book of Job, in whatever light of history or
drama it be considered, is founded on the belief that prevailed with the
Persians and Chaldeans, and other Gentile nations, of a good and an evil
In speaking of the good and evil spirit of the
Persians, the bishop writes them
Arimanius and Oromasdes.
I will not dispute about the orthography, because I know that translated
names are differently spelled in different languages. But he has
nevertheless made a capital error. He has put the devil first; for
Arimanius, or, as it is more generally written,
Ahriman, is the evil spirit,
and Oromasdes or
Ormusd the good spirit.
He has made the same mistake in the same paragraph, in
speaking of the good and evil spirit of the ancient Egyptians,
Typho; he puts Typho before
Osiris. The error is just the same as if the bishop in writing about the
Christian religion, or in preaching a sermon, were to say the
A priest ought to know his own trade better. We agree,
however, about the structure of the book of Job, that it is Gentile. I
have said in the second part of the “Age of Reason,” and given my
reasons for it, that the drama of
it is not Hebrew.
From the Testimonies I have cited, that of Origen,
who, about fourteen hundred years ago, said that the book of Job was
more ancient than Moses, that of Aben-Ezra who, in his commentary on
Job, says it has been translated from another language (and consequently
from a Gentile language) into Hebrew; that of Spinoza, who not only says
the same thing, but that the author of it was a Gentile; and that of the
bishop, who says that the structure of the whole book is Gentile; it
follows, in the first place, that the book of Job is not a book of the
Then, in order to determine to what people or nation
any book of religion belongs, we must compare it with the leading dogmas
and precepts of that people or nation; and therefore, upon the bishop's
own construction, the book of Job belongs either to the ancient
Persians, the Chaldeans, or the Egyptians; because the structure of it
is consistent with the dogma they held, that of a good and an evil
spirit, called in Job God and
Satan, existing as distinct
and separate beings, and it is not consistent with any dogma of the
The belief of a good and an evil spirit, existing as
distinct and separate beings, is not a dogma to be found in any of the
books of the Bible. It is not till we come to the New Testament that we
hear of any such dogma. There the person called the Son of God, holds
conversation with Satan on a mountain, as familiarly as is represented
in the drama of Job. Consequently the bishop cannot say, in this
respect, that the New Testament is founded upon the Old.
According to the Old, the God of the Jews was the God
of everything. All good and evil came from him. According to Exodus it
was God, and not the devil, that hardened Pharaoh's heart. According to
the book of Samuel, it was an evil spirit from
God that troubled Saul. And
Ezekiel makes God to say, in speaking of the Jews,
"I gave them the statutes that
were not good, and judgments by which they should not live."
The Bible describes the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob in such a contradictory manner, and under such a twofold
character, there would be no knowing when He was in earnest and when in
irony; when to believe, and when not.
As to the precepts, principles, and maxims in the book
of Job, they show that the people abusively called the heathen in the
books of the Jews, had the most sublime ideas of the Creator, and the
most exalted devotional morality. It was the Jews who dishonored God. It
was the Gentiles who glorified Him.
As to the fabulous personifications introduced by the
Greek and Latin poets, it was a corruption of the ancient religion of
the Gentiles, which consisted in the adoration of a first cause of the
works of the creation, in which the sun was the great visible agent. It
appears to have been a religion of gratitude and adoration, and not of
prayer and discontented solicitation.
In Job we find adoration and submission, but not
prayer. Even the Ten Commandments enjoin not prayer. Prayer has been
added to devotion by the Church of Rome, as the instrument of fees and
All prayers by the priests of the Christian Church,
whether public or private, must be paid for. It may be right,
individually, to pray for virtues, or mental instruction, but not for
things. It is an attempt to dictate to the Almighty in the government of
the world. -- But to return to the book of Job.
As the book of Job decides itself to be a book of the
Gentiles, the next thing is to find out to what particular nation it
belongs, and lastly, what is its antiquity.
As a composition, it is sublime, beautiful, and
scientific: full of sentiment, and abounding in grand metaphorical
description. As a drama it is regular. The
dramatis personas, the
persons performing the several parts, are regularly introduced, and
speak without interruption or confusion. The scene, as I have before
said, is laid in the country of the Gentiles, and the unities, though
not always necessary in a drama, are observed here as strictly as the
subject would admit.
In the last act, where the Almighty is introduced as
speaking from the whirlwind, to decide the controversy between Job and
his friends, it is an idea as grand as poetical imagination can
conceive. What follows of Job's future prosperity does not belong to it
as a drama. It is an epilogue of the writer, as the first verses of the
first chapter, which gave an account of Job, his country and his riches,
are the prologue.
The book carries the appearance of being the work of
some of the Persian magi, not only because the structure of it
corresponds to the dogma of the religion of those people, as founded by
Zoroaster, but from the astronomical references in it to the
constellations of the zodiac and other objects in the heavens, of which
the sun, in their religion called Mithra, was the chief.
Job, in describing the power of God, (ix. 7-9), says,
"Who commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, and sealeth up the stars.
Who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the
sea. Who maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the
south." All this astronomical allusion is consistent with the religion
of the Persians.
Establishing then the book of Job as the work of some
of the Persian or Eastern magi, the case naturally follows that when the
Jews returned from captivity, by the permission of Cyrus King of Persia,
they brought this book with them, had it translated into Hebrew, and put
into their scriptural canons, which were not formed till after their
return. This will account for the name of Job being mentioned in
Ezekiel, (xiv. 14), who was one of the captives, and also for its not
being mentioned in any book said or supposed to have been written before
Among the astronomical allusions in the book, there is
one which serves to fix its antiquity. It is that where God is made to
say to Job, in the style of reprimand,
"Canst thou bind the sweet
influences of Pleiades." (xxxviii. 31). As the explanation of this
depends upon astronomical calculation, I will, for the sake of those who
would not otherwise understand it, endeavor to explain it as clearly as
the subject will admit.
The Pleiades are a cluster of pale, milky stars, about
the size of a man's hand, in the constellation Taurus, or in English,
the Bull. It is one of the constellations of the zodiac, of which there
are twelve, answering to the twelve months of the year. The Pleiades are
visible in the winter nights, but not in the summer nights, being then
below the horizon.
The zodiac is an imaginary belt or circle in the
heavens, eighteen degrees broad, in which the sun apparently makes his
annual course, and in which all the planets move. When the sun appears
to our view to be between us and the group of stars forming such or such
a constellation, he is said to be in that constellation. Consequently
the constellations he appears to be in, in the summer, are directly
opposite to those he appeared in in the winter, and the same with
respect to spring and autumn.
The zodiac, besides being divided into twelve
constellations, is also, like every other circle, great or small,
divided into 360 equal parts, called degrees; consequently each
constellation contains 30 degrees. The constellations of the zodiac are
generally called signs, to distinguish them from the constellations that
are placed out of the zodiac, and this is the name I shall now use.
The procession of the Equinoxes is the part most
difficult to explain, and it is on this that the explanation chiefly
The Equinoxes correspond to the two seasons of the
year when the sun makes equal day and night.
SABBATH OR SUNDAY
The seventh day, or more properly speaking the period
of seven days, was originally a numerical division of time and nothing
more; and had the bishop been acquainted with the history of astronomy,
he would have known this. The annual revolution of the earth makes what
we call a year. The year is artificially divided into months, the months
into weeks of seven days, the days into hours, etc. The period of seven
days, like any other of the artificial divisions of the year, is only a
fractional part thereof, contrived for the convenience of countries. It
is ignorance, imposition, and priest-craft, that have called it
might as well talk of the Lord's month, of the Lord's week, of the
Lord's hour, as of the Lord's day. All time is His, and no part of it is
more holy or more sacred than another. It is, however, necessary to the
trade of a priest, that he should preach up a distinction of days.
Before the science of astronomy was studied and
carried to the degree of eminence to which it was by the Egyptians and
Chaldeans, the people of those times had no other helps than what common
observation of the very visible changes of the sun and moon afforded, to
enable them to keep an account of the progress of time.
As far as history establishes the point, the Egyptians
were the first people who divided the year into twelve months.
Herodotus, who lived above 2,200 years ago, and is the most ancient
historian whose works have reached our time, says,
they did this by the knowledge
they had of the stars.
As to the Jews, there is not one single improvement in
any science or in any scientific art that they ever produced. They were
the most ignorant of all the illiterate world. If the word of the Lord
had come to them, as they pretend, and as the bishop professes to
believe, and that they were to be the harbingers of it to the rest of
the world, the Lord would have taught them the use of letters, and the
art of printing; for without the means of communicating the word, it
could not be communicated; whereas letters were the invention of the
Gentile world, and printing of the modern world. But to return to my
Before the helps which the science of astronomy
afforded, the people, as before said, had no other whereby to keep an
account of the progress of time, than what the common and very visible
changes of the sun and moon afforded. They saw that a great number of
days made a year, but the account of them was too tedious and too
difficult to be kept numerically, from one to three hundred and
sixty-five; neither did they know the true time of a solar year.
It therefore became necessary, for the purpose of
marking the progress of days, to put them into small parcels, such as
are now called weeks; and which consisted as they now do of seven days.
By this means the memory was assisted as it is with us
at this day; for we do not say of anything that is past, that it was
fifty, sixty, or seventy days ago, but that it was so many weeks, or, if
longer time, so many months. It is impossible to keep an account of time
without helps of this kind.
Julian Scaliger, the inventor of the Julian period of
7,980 years, produced by multiplying the cycle of the moon, the cycle of
the sun, and the years of an indiction, 19, 28, 15, into each other,
says that the custom of reckoning by periods of seven days was used by
the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the people of India, the
Arabs, and by all the nations of the East.
In addition to what Scaliger says, it is evident that
in Britain, in Germany, and the north of Europe, they reckoned by
periods of seven days long before the book called the Bible was known in
those parts; and, consequently, that they did not take that mode of
reckoning from anything written in that book.
That they reckoned by periods of seven days is evident
from their having seven names and no more for the several days; and
which have not the most distant relation to anything in the book of
Genesis, or to that which is called the fourth commandment.
Those names are still retained in England, with no
other alteration than what has been produced by molding the Saxon and
Danish languages into modern English:
1. Sun-day from Sunne the sun, and dag, day, Saxon. Sondag, Danish. The day dedicated to the sun.
2. Monday, that is, moonday, from Mona, the moon Saxon. Moano, Danish. Day dedicated to the moon.
3. Tuesday, that is Tuisco's-day. The day dedicated to the idol Tuisco.
4. Wednes-day, that is Woden's-day. The day dedicated to Woden, the Mars of the Germans.
5. Thursday, that is Thor's-day, dedicated to the Idol Thor.
6. Friday, that is Friga's-day. The day dedicated to Friga, the Venus of the Saxons.
7. Saturday from
Seaten (Saturn) an idol of
the Saxons; one of the emblems representing time, which continually
terminates and renews itself; the last day of the period of seven days.
When we see a certain mode of reckoning general among
nations totally unconnected, differing from each other in religion and
in government, and some of them unknown to each other, we may be certain
that it arises from some natural and common cause, prevailing alike over
all, and which strikes everyone in the same manner.
Thus all nations have reckoned arithmetically by tens,
because the people of all nations have ten fingers. If they had more or
less than ten, the mode of arithmetical reckoning would have followed
that number, for the fingers are a natural numeration table to all the
world. I now come to show why the period of seven days is so generally
Though the sun is the great luminary of the world, and
the animating cause of all the fruits of the earth, the moon by renewing
herself more than twelve times oftener than the sun, which does it but
once a year, served the rustic world as a natural almanac, as the
fingers served it for a numeration table.
All the world could see the moon, her changes, and her
monthly revolutions; and their mode of reckoning time was accommodated,
as nearly as could possibly be done in round numbers, to agree with the
changes of that planet, their natural almanac. The moon performs her
natural revolution round the earth in twenty-nine days and a half. She
goes from a new moon to a half moon, to a full moon, to a half moon
gibbous or convex, and then to a new moon again.
Each of these changes is performed in seven days and
nine hours; but seven days is the nearest division in round numbers that
could be taken; and this was sufficient to suggest the universal custom
of reckoning by periods of seven days, since it is impossible to reckon
time without some stated period.
How the odd hours could be disposed of without
interfering with the regular periods of seven days, in case the ancients
recommenced a new Septenary period with every new moon, required no more
difficulty than it did to regulate the Egyptian calendar afterwards of
twelve months of thirty days each, or the odd hour in the Julian
calendar, or the odd days and hours in the French calendar. In all cases
it is done by the addition of complementary days; and it can be done in
The bishop knows that as the solar year does not end
at the termination of what we call a day, but runs some hours into the
next day, as the quarter of the moon runs some hours beyond seven days;
that it is impossible to give the year any fixed number of days that
will not in course of years become wrong, and make a complementary time
necessary to keep the nominal year parallel with the solar year.
The same must have been the case with those who
regulated time formerly by lunar revolutions. They would have to add
three days to every second moon, or in that proportion, in order to make
the new moon and the new week commence together, like the nominal year
and the solar year.
Diodorus of Sicily, who, as before said, lived before
Christ was born, in giving an account of times much anterior to his own,
speaks of years of three months, of four months, and of six months.
These could be of no other than years composed of lunar revolutions, and
therefore, to bring the several periods of seven days to agree with such
years, there must have been complementary days.
The moon was the first almanac the world knew; and the
only one which the face of the heavens afforded to common spectators.
Her changes and her revolutions have entered into all the calendars that
have been known in the known world.
The division of the year into twelve months, which, as
before shown, was first done by the Egyptians, though arranged with
astronomical knowledge, had reference to the twelve moons, or more
properly speaking to the twelve lunar revolutions, that appear in the
space of a solar year; as the period of seven days had reference to one
revolution of the moon.
The feasts of the Jews were, and those of the
Christian Church still are, regulated by the moon. The Jews observed the
feasts of the new moon and full moon, and therefore the period of seven
days was necessary to them.
All the feasts of the Christian Church are regulated
by the moon. That called Easter governs all the rest, and the moon
governs Easter. It is always the first Sunday after the first full moon
that happens after the vernal Equinox, or twenty-first of March.
In proportion as the science of astronomy was studied
and improved by the Egyptians and Chaldeans, and the solar year
regulated by astronomical observations, the custom of reckoning by lunar
revolutions became of less use, and in time discontinued. But such is
the harmony of all parts of the machinery of the universe, that a
calculation made from the motion of one part will correspond with the
motion of some other.
The period of seven days, deduced from the revolution
of the moon round the earth, corresponded nearer than any other period
of days would do to the revolution of the earth round the sun. Fifty-two
periods of seven days make 364, which is within one day and some odd
hours of a solar year; and there is no other periodical number that will
do the same, till we come to the number thirteen, which is too great for
common use, and the numbers before seven are too small.
The custom therefore of reckoning by periods of seven
days, as best suited to the revolution of the moon, applied with equal
convenience to the solar year, and became united with it. But the
decimal division of time, as regulated by the French Calendar, is
superior to every other method.
There is no part of the Bible that is supposed to have
been written by persons who lived before the time of Josiah, (which was
a thousand years after the time of Moses), that mentions anything about
the Sabbath as a day consecrated to that which is called the fourth
commandment, or that the Jews kept any such day.
Had any such day been kept, during the thousand years
of which I am speaking, it certainly would have been mentioned
frequently; and that it should never be mentioned is strong presumptive
and circumstantial evidence that no such day was kept. But mention is
often made of the feasts of the new moon, and of the full moon; for the
Jews, as before shown, worshipped the moon; and the word
Sabbath was applied by the
Jews to the feasts of that planet, and to those of their other deities.
It is said in Hosea ii. 11, in speaking of the Jewish
nation, "And I will cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her
new moons, and her
sabbaths, and all her solemn
feasts." Nobody will be so foolish as to contend that the sabbaths here
spoken of are Mosaic sabbaths. The construction of the verse implies
they are lunar sabbaths, or sabbaths of the moon.
It ought also to be observed that Hosea lived in the
time of Ahaz and Hezekiah, about seventy years before the time of
Josiah, when the law called the law of Moses is said to have been found;
and, consequently, the sabbaths that Hosea speaks of are sabbaths of the
When those priestly reformers (impostors I should call
them) Hilkiah, Ezra, and Nehemiah, began to produce books under the name
of the books of Moses, they found the word
sabbath in use: and as to the
period of seven days, it is, like numbering arithmetically by tens, from
But having found them in use, they continued to make
them serve to the support of their new imposition. They trumped up a
story of the creation being made in six days, and of the Creator resting
on the seventh, to suit with the lunar and chronological period of seven
days; and they manufactured a commandment to agree with both.
always work in this manner. They put fables for originals, and causes
There is scarcely any part of science, or anything in
nature, which those impostors and blasphemers of science, called
priests, as well Christians as Jews, have not, at some time or other,
perverted, or sought to pervert to the purpose of superstition and
Everything wonderful in appearance, has been ascribed
to angels, to devils, or to saints. Everything ancient has some
legendary tale annexed to it. The common operations of nature have not
escaped their practice of corrupting everything.
The idea of a future state was an universal idea to all nations except the Jews. At the time, and long before, Jesus Christ and the men called his disciples were born, it had been sublimely treated of by Cicero (in his book on Old Age,) by Plato, Socrates, Xenophon, and other of the ancient theologists, whom the abusive Christian Church calls heathen. Xenophon represents the elder Cyrus speaking after this manner:
"Think not, my dearest children, that when I depart
from you, I shall be no more: but remember that my soul, even while I
lived among you, was invisible to you; yet by my actions you were
sensible it existed in this body. Believe it therefore existing still,
though it be still unseen. How quickly would the honors of illustrious
men perish after death, if their souls performed nothing to preserve
“For my own part, I could never think that the soul
while in a mortal body lives, but when departed from it dies; or that
its consciousness is lost when it is discharged out of an unconscious
habitation. But when it is freed from all corporeal alliance, it is then
that it truly exists."
Since then the idea of a future existence was
universal, it may be asked, what new doctrine does the New Testament
contain? I answer, that of corrupting the theory of the ancient
theologists, by annexing to it the heavy and gloomy doctrine of the
resurrection of the body.
As to the resurrection of the body, whether the same body or another, it is a miserable conceit, fit only to be preached to man as an animal. It is not worthy to be called doctrine. Such an idea never entered the brain of any visionary but those of the Christian Church; yet it is in this that the novelty of the New Testament consists! All the other matters serve but as props to this, and those props are most wretchedly put together.
The Christian Church is full of miracles. In one of
the churches of Brabant they show a number of cannon balls which, they
say, the Virgin Mary, in some former war, caught in her muslin
apron as they came roaring
out of the cannon's mouth, to prevent their hurting the
saints of her favorite army.
She does no such feats now-a-days. Perhaps the reason is, that the
infidels have taken away her muslin apron.
They show also, between Montmartre and the village of
St. Denis, several places where they say St. Denis stopped with his head
in his hands after it had been cut off at Montmartre. The Protestants
will call those things lies; and where is the proof that all the other
things called miracles are not as great lies as those?
Christ, say those Cabalists, came in the
fullness of time. And pray
what is the fullness of time? The words admit of no idea. They are
perfectly cabalistical. Time is a word invented to describe to our
conception a greater or less portion of eternity. It may be a minute, a
portion of eternity measured by the vibration of a pendulum of a certain
length; it may be a day, a year, a hundred, or a thousand years, or any
other quantity. Those portions are only greater or less comparatively.
The word fullness applies not to any of them. The idea
of fullness of time cannot be conceived. A woman with child and ready
for delivery, as Mary was when Christ was born, may be said to have gone
her full time; but it is the woman that is full, not time.
It may also be said figuratively, in certain cases,
that the times are full of events; but time itself is incapable of being
full of itself. Ye hypocrites! learn to speak intelligible language.
It happened to be a time of peace when they say Christ
was born; and what then? There had been many such intervals; and have
been many such since. Time was no fuller in any of them than in the
other. If he were he would be fuller now than he ever was before. If he
was full then he must be bursting now.
But peace or war have relation to circumstances, and
not to time; and those Cabalists would be at as much loss to make out
any meaning to fullness of circumstances, as to fullness of time. And if
they could, it would be fatal; for fullness of circumstances would mean
when there are no more circumstances to happen; and fullness of time
when there is no more time to follow.
Christ, therefore, like every other person, was
neither in the fullness of one nor the other.
But though we cannot conceive the idea of fullness of
time, because we cannot have conception of a time when there shall be no
time; nor of fullness of circumstance, because we cannot conceive a
state of existence to be without circumstances; we can often see, after
a thing is past, if any circumstance necessary to give the utmost
activity and success to that thing was wanting at the time that thing
If such a circumstance was wanting, we may be certain
that the thing which took place was not a thing of God's ordaining;
whose work is always perfect, and His means perfect means. They tell us
that Christ was the Son of God: in that case, he would have known
everything; and he came upon earth to make known the will of God to man
throughout the whole earth.
If this had been true, Christ would have known and
would have been furnished with all the possible means of doing it; and
would have instructed mankind, or at least his apostles, in the use of
such of the means as they could use themselves to facilitate the
accomplishment of the mission; consequently he would have instructed
them in the art of printing, for the press is the tongue of the world,
and without which, his or their preaching was less than a whistle
compared to thunder.
Since then he did not do this, he had not the means
necessary to the mission; and consequently had not the mission.
They tell us in the book of Acts (ii.), a very stupid
story of the Apostles' having the gift of tongues; and
cloven tongues of fire
descended and sat upon each of them. Perhaps it was this story of cloven
tongues that gave rise to the notion of slitting jackdaws' tongues to
make them talk. Be that however as it may, the gift of tongues, even if
it were true, would be but of little use without the art of printing.
I can sit in my chamber, as I do while writing this,
and by the aid of printing can send the thoughts I am writing through
the greatest part of Europe, to the East Indies, and over all North
America, in a few months. Jesus Christ and his apostles could not do
this. They had not the means, and the want of means detects the
There are three modes of communication. Speaking,
writing, and printing. The first is exceedingly limited. A man's voice
can be heard but a few yards of distance; and his person can be but in
one place. Writing is much more extensive; but the thing written cannot
be multiplied but at great expense, and the multiplication will be slow
Were there no other means of circulating what priests
call the Word of God (the Old and New Testament) than by writing copies,
those copies could not be purchased at less than forty pounds sterling
each; consequently, but few people could purchase them, while the
writers could scarcely obtain a livelihood by it.
But the art of printing changes all the cases, and
opens a scene as vast as the world. It gives to man a sort of divine
attribute. It gives to him mental omnipresence. He can be everywhere and
at the same instant; for wherever he is read he is mentally there.
The case applies not only against the pretended
mission of Christ and his Apostles, but against everything that priests
call the Word of God, and against all those who pretend to deliver it;
for had God ever delivered any verbal word, He would have taught the
means of communicating it. The one without the other is inconsistent
with the wisdom we conceive of the Creator.
Genesis iii. 21 tells us that
God made coats of skin and
clothed Adam and Eve. It was infinitely more important that man
should be taught the art of printing, than that Adam should be taught to
make a pair of leather breeches, or his wife a petticoat.
There is another matter, equally striking and
important, that connects itself with these observations against this
pretended Word of God, this manufactured book called
Revealed Religion. We know
that whatever is of God's doing is unalterable by man beyond the laws
which the Creator has ordained. We cannot make a tree grow with the root
in the air and the fruit in the ground; we cannot make iron into gold
nor gold into iron; we cannot make rays of light shine forth rays of
darkness, nor darkness shine forth light.
If there were such a thing, as a Word of God, it would
possess the same properties which all His other works do. It would
resist destructive alteration. But we see that the book which they call
the Word of God has not this property. That book says, (Genesis i. 27),
"So God created man in his own
image;" but the printer can make it say,
So man created God in his own
The words are passive to every transposition of them,
or can be annihilated and others put in their places. This is not the
case with anything that is of God's doing; and, therefore, this book
called the Word of God, tried by the same universal rule which every
other of God's works within our reach can be tried by, proves itself to
be a forgery.
The bishop says, that
"miracles are proper proofs of a
divine mission." Admitted. But we know that men, and especially
priests, can tell lies and call them miracles. It is therefore necessary
that the thing called a miracle be proved to be true, and also to be
miraculous, before it can be admitted as proof of the thing called
The bishop must be a bad logician not to know that one
doubtful thing cannot be admitted as proof that another doubtful thing
is true. It would be like attempting to prove a liar not to be a liar,
by the evidence of another who is as great a liar as himself.
Though Jesus Christ, by being ignorant of the art of
printing, shows he had not the means necessary to a divine mission, and
consequently had no such mission; it does not follow that if he had
known that art the divinity of what they call his mission would be
proved thereby, any more than it proved the divinity of the man who
Something therefore beyond printing, even if he had
known it, was necessary as a
miracle, to have proved that what he delivered was the Word of God;
and this was that the book in which that word should be contained, which
is now called the Old and New Testament, should possess the miraculous
property, distinct from all human books, of resisting alteration.
This would be not only a miracle, but an ever existing
and universal miracle; whereas, those which they tell us of, even if
they had been true, were momentary and local; they would leave no trace
behind, after the lapse of a few years, of having ever existed; but this
would prove, in all ages and in all places, the book to be divine and
not human, as effectually, and as conveniently, as aquafortis proves
gold to be gold by not being capable of acting upon it, and detects all
other metals and all counterfeit composition, by dissolving them.
Since then the only miracle capable of every proof is wanting, and which everything that is of a divine origin possesses, all the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for impostors to preach and fools to believe.
 Spinoza on the Ceremonies of the Jews, p. 296, published in French at Amsterdam, 1678.
The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists. In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.
Click here to read the actual survey. (It's in PDF)
One of the reasons the freethinker Giordano Bruno was tortured and murdered by being burned alive by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition was that he said the Universe is eternal and infinite which violates the superstitions in the Bible found in Genesis. This new study vindicates Bruno.
Obama supporters forget that when all is said and done, Obama is just another politician. This article shows he's proving that he is nothing but a politician by doing more than any other president to mix religion and government, especially through giving tax-dollars to religious organizations.