Discrepancies in the Pentateuch

It is alleged that the Pentateuch was written by Moses, and yet it contains the account of his own death (Deuteronomy xxxiv. 6); and in Genesis (xiv. 14), the name Dan is given to a city, which Judges (xviii. 29), tells us was only called by that name at that late day, it having previously been known as Laish. Well might Josiah have rent his clothes when he had heard the words of the Book of the Law; for there was no more of Moses in it than there is of Jesus in the Gospel According to John.

We have one fair alternative to offer our theologians, leaving them to choose for themselves, and promising to abide by their decision. Only they will have to admit, either that Moses was an impostor, or that his books are forgeries, written at different times and by different persons; or, again, that they are full of fraudulent interpolations. In either case the work loses all claims to be considered divine Revelation. Here is the problem, which we quote from the Bible — the word of the God of Truth:

"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name of Jehovah was I not known to them" (Exodus vi. 3), spake God unto Moses.

A very startling bit of information that, when, before arriving at the book of Exodus, we are told in Genesis (xxii. 14) that "Abraham called the name of that place" — where the patriarch had been preparing to cut the throat of his only-begotten son — "JEHOVAH-jireh"! (Jehovah sees.) Which is the inspired text? — both cannot be — which the forgery?

Now, if both Abraham and Moses had not belonged to the same holy group, we might, perhaps, help theologians by suggesting to them a convenient means of escape out of this dilemma. They ought to call the reverend Jesuit Fathers — especially those who have been missionaries in India — to their rescue. The latter would not be for a moment disconcerted. They would coolly tell us that beyond doubt Abraham had heard the name of Jehovah and borrowed it from Moses. Do they not maintain that it was they who invented the Sanscrit, edited Manu, and composed the greater portion of the Vedas?

Marcion maintained, with the other Gnostics, the fallaciousness of the idea of an incarnate God, and therefore denied the corporeal reality of the living body of Christ. His entity was a mere illusion; it was not made of human flesh and blood, neither was it born of a human mother, for his divine nature could not be polluted with any contact with sinful flesh.* He accepted Paul as the only apostle preaching the pure gospel of truth, and accused the other disciples of "depraving the pure form of the gospel doctrines delivered to them by Jesus, mixing up matters of the Law with the words of the Saviour."+

f "Sup. Rel." vol. ii., p. 107; "Adv. Marci," iii. 2, § 2; cf. iii. 12, § 12.

Finally we may add that modern biblical criticism, which unfortunately became really active and serious only toward the end of the last century, now generally admits that Marcion's text of the only gospel he knew anything about — that of Luke, is far superior and by far more correct than that of our present Synoptics. We find in Supernatural Religion the following (for every Christian) startling sentence: "We are, therefore, indebted to Marcion for the correct version even of 'the Lord's Prayer.'"*

If, leaving for the present the prominent founders of Christian sects, we now turn to that of the Ophites, which assumed a definite form about the time of Marcion and the Basilideans, we may find in it the reason for the heresies of all others. Like all other Gnostics, they rejected the Mosaic Bible entirely. Nevertheless, their philosophy, apart from some deductions original with several of the most important founders of the various branches of Gnosticism was not new. Passing through the Chaldean kabalistic tradition, it gathered its materials in the Hermetic books, and pursuing its flight still farther back for its metaphysical speculations, we find it floundering among the tenets of Manu, and the earliest Hindu ante-sacerdotal genesis. Many of our eminent antiquarians trace the Gnostic philosophies right back to Buddhism, which does not impair in the least either their or our arguments. We repeat again, Buddhism is but the primitive source of Brahmanism. It is not against the primitive Vedas that

Gautama protests. It is against the sacerdotal and official state religion of his country; and the Brahmans, who in order to make room for and give authority to the castes, at a later period crammed the ancient manuscripts with interpolated slokas, intended to prove that the castes were predetermined by the Creator by the very fact that each class of men was issued from a more or less noble limb of Brahma. Gautama-Buddha's philosophy was that taught from the beginning of time in the impenetrable secrecy of the inner sanctuaries of the pagodas. We need not be surprised, therefore, to find again, in all the fundamental dogmas of the Gnostics, the metaphysical tenets of both Brahmanism and Buddhism. They held that the Old Testament was the revelation of an inferior being, a subordinate divinity, and did not contain a single sentence of their Sophia, the Divine Wisdom. As to the New Testament, it had lost its purity when the compilers became guilty of interpolations. The revelation of divine truth was sacrificed by them to promote selfish ends and maintain quarrels. The accusation does not seem so very improbable to one who is well aware of the constant strife between the champions of circumcision and the "Law," and the apostles who had given up Judaism.

The Gnostic Ophites taught the doctrine of Emanations, so hateful to the defenders of the unity in the trinity, and vice versa. The Unknown Deity with them had no name; but his

first female emanation was called Bythos or Depth. * It answered to the Shekinah of the kabalists, the "Veil" which conceals the "Wisdom" in the cranium of the highest of the three heads. As the Pythagorean Monad, this nameless Wisdom was the Source of Light, and Ennoia or Mind, is Light itself. The latter was also called the "Primitive Man," like the Adam Kadmon, or ancient Adam of the Kabala. Indeed, if man was created after his likeness and in the image of God, then this God was like his creature in shape and figure — hence, he is the "Primitive man." The first Manu, the one evolved from Swayambhuva, "he who exists unrevealed in his own glory," is also, in one sense, the primitive man, with the Hindus.


Thus the "nameless and the unrevealed," Bythos, his female reflection, and Ennoia, the revealed Mind proceeding from both, or their Son are the counterparts of the Chaldean first triad as well as those of the Brahmanic Trimurti. We will compare: in all the three systems we see

The Great First Cause as the One, the primordial germ, the unrevealed and grand All, existing through himself. In

* We give the systems according to an old diagram preserved among some Kopts and the Druses of Mount Lebanon. Iren^us had perhaps some good reasons to disfigure their doctrines.


Indian Pantheon


Ophite System


Ilu, Kabalistic En-

The Nameless, or

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