Qumranian Source of the Doctrine of the Faith

Amazingly, the same Qumran text - the Habakkuk Commentary - seems to have provided Paul with the idea for his doctrine of faith. Here is the remarkable passage which Paul must have seen during his three-year apprenticeship with the 'But the righteous shall live by his faith.' Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, whom God will deliver from the House of Judgement because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness....

Search for a new bandwagon

The present crisis of the Church has a historical parallel. About five hundred years ago, the Church was heading for a crisis in Europe brought on by the Reformation and the Renaissance soon to be followed by the Enlightenment. However, the growth of European imperialism in the wake of Christopher Columbus' voyages of discovery allowed the Church to combine forces with the emerging colonial institutions and extend its reach across the globe. In a letter to his friend Dona Juana de Torres...

Plausible Sequence of Events Leading to the First Jewish

We may now summarise the possible sequence of key events leading to Christian dominance of Western Civilisation. Early Christianity - a Qumranian institution - was an extremist Jewish movement that arose in reaction to the secularizing influences of the Graeco-Roman world. Its leader in the first century was James the Righteous, an ultra-orthodox Jew. What we now call Christianity grew out of Pauline Christianity, a heresy opposed to the teachings of James. It was the result of a power struggle...

Tragedy in the Vatican

Pope John Paul had been in office only about a month and already there was a systematic campaign to undermine his reforms and even his executive decrees. The limit was reached on September 27, 1979. On that day, there appeared in the semiofficial Vatican voice L 'Osservatore Romano two major articles stating positions on birth control and artificial insemination that directly opposed the views of John Paul. Since L 'Osservatore is seen by the world as the official organ of the Vatican, the...

Empty Walls

I was in Switzerland and Italy (though not in Rome) at the time of election of Albino Luciani as Pope John Paul in August of 1978. I can still recall the excitement that his election caused all over Italy and even in the Italian speaking parts of Switzerland. At one of the pensiones (guest houses) where I stayed, the hostess greeted me with free glasses of Chianti to celebrate the event. At a sleepy little town called Varese near the Swiss border I was even...

Preface Christianity at the Crossroads

unless drastic measures are taken at once, the greatest and the most valuable of all Hebrew and Aramaic manuscript discoveries is likely to become the academic scandal par excellence of the twentieth century. Geza Vermes, Biblical scholar On September 22, 1991, trustees of the Huntington Library in California performed an act of great symbolic significance on that day they released to the public transcripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had remained concealed from public view for nearly four...

Scripture and Authority

In such a scheme based on personal experience and exploration, as opposed to the authority of an exclusivist medium, it is the message that counts. The greatness of the Bhagavadgita as a pluralistic scripture resides in its message. Even without Krishna, the medium, the message remains. In contrast to Islam and Christianity which are historical religions, it is not possible to trace the birth of Hinduism to any historical person or period. As a result, if a great Hindu sage like Krishna or...

State of the Church

To get some idea of the high stakes in the drama now being played in Third World countries, we must first get a picture of the current state of the Church - a secular empire that is crumbling in Europe that now sees expansion in Asia, India in particular with its teeming millions, as its main hope for survival. The so-called 'Thailand Report on the Hindus' - or the Report of the Consultation on World Evangelization Mini-Consultation on Reaching the Hindus - has chapters like 'Biblical Framework...

The Church and the Bank

The World Bank is also a highly successful secular economic entity like the Church, but the comparison does not stop there. Just as the Church has its Doctrine of the Faith, the World Bank too has a dogma it is called the Doctrine of Development. It is never questioned and is held to be beyond debate. As George and Sabelli note But the World Bank is at once a bank with a small b, specialising in commercial loans to sovereign governments, and a development institution whose philosophy, choices...

Acts and the Gospels

What are we to make of the near contemporary, quasi-historical accounts of the Acts which Paul dominates, and its connection with the Gospels of Jesus which are full of contradictions and fantastic stories In the Acts, Paul is very much a flesh and blood figure while Jesus is invoked only to lend authority to Paul's message the message itself is often quite different from what we find attributed to Jesus in the Gospels - and even contrary to it. One explanation is the Gospels, which are later...

Chronological Table for the Rise and Fall of Early Christianity

It is to be noted that early Christians were also known as the Ebionites. 333 BC Fall of the Persian Empire the Jews of Palestine come under the Ptolemies of Egypt, and later under the Syriac Seleucids of Antioch. 171 BC Death of Onias III of Antioch. 171-165 BC Persecution of the Jews of Palestine by Antiochus IV, successor to Onias III. 168 BC Desecration of the Temple of Jerusalem and its 165 BC End of Jewish persecution Temple cleansed and 152 BC Overthrow of the Seleucid rule by Mattathias...

The Spirit of Theocracy

At its heart, the crisis of the Church is a crisis of vision. It must now choose between providing spiritual guidance to a troubled world and secular expansion. As a theocratic institution, throughout its history, the Church has invariably sought secular expansion at the cost of spiritual guidance. Even more, spiritual guidance has been a ruse - no more than the currency to be used for secular expansion. This gets to the heart of theocracy - as corruption of the spirit - which the ancient sage...

Son of God in the Dead Sea Scrolls

As we saw in previous sections, the idea of the messianic 'Teacher o f Righteousness' who was persecuted and killed appears not only in the Scrolls, but also in the Book of Enoch that was once part of the Bible. It is now clear that the idea of the Messiah who would appear amongst them and would later suffer persecution was a common expectation amongst the Jews of Palestine at the time. As Eisenman and Wise point out (p. 18) the very strong Messianic thrust of many of the materials associated...

Church Propaganda Machine

All this highlights the fact that from the earliest times, the Church has been acutely aware of the value of aggressive propaganda and entirely unscrupulous about tampering with records and fabricating myths as needed. The Roman Catholic Church has probably been the most successful propaganda outfit in the history of the world. Already in the Gospels, we see in motion a systematic effort to shift the blame for the crucifixion of Christ away from the Romans to the Jews. Church 57 Ishwar Sharan,...

Josephus on James and Jesus

To return to the early sources, we are not noticeably better off when we turn to Jewish historians of the period including Flavius Josephus (c. AD 37 - 105) - the greatest of them. The following widely quoted passage is found in his Antiquities of the Jews (VIII, 111.3) Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, He was Christ and when Pilate, at the suggestion of many of the principal men amongst us, had condemned...

Doctrine of the Faith and the Holy Inquisition

We may now pause to take stock of one of the central messages of the Dead Sea Scrolls the so-called Doctrine of the Faith, the bedrock upon which Christianity rests, was appropriated by St Paul from a Qumran text known as the Habakkuk Commentary not only was it appropriated, the priesthood of Christianity was released from any accountability by cutting it free from the Law which was binding on every Jew - from the highest to the lowest. And there is a high probability that the life of Jesus of...

Qumranian heritage

We may now sum up research by scholars following the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has shown the official Church version of the history of Christianity to be built up of a massive body of fabrications that cannot withstand scientific scrutiny or historical analysis. Leaving aside such irrational claims as redemption through Faith in Jesus, and the stories of the Gospels represented as true happenings, the Dead Sea Scrolls show that Christianity owes almost everything to an extremist Jewish...

Summary Wages of Exclusivism

The grotesquely misnamed Holy Land has probably soaked up more human blood per square mile than any other tract of land in the world. For well nigh two thousand years, it has been the meeting ground for the followers of the three great exclusivist religious ideologies of the world, who, in the name of their One God, have shed one another's blood with unremitting fury. And in this century, Hindus and Sikhs too came to add their share to the toll when Indian soldiers joined the British in...

Rome the Home of Forgeries

All this bears testimony to the fact that the writings of Christian historians must be treated with utmost caution, for the whole history of the Church is riddled with calculated forgeries and falsifications. For seven centuries and more the Greeks called Rome the home of forgeries. The most famous Church forgery is of course the so-called Donation of Constantine. The Decretum by Gratian of Bologna, though less well known than the notorious Donation has been far more influential. While the...

Evidence of Classical Sources51

It is generally recognized by Biblical scholars and historians that the Gospels - the source from which what we are told of the life and teachings of Jesus is drawn - are highly unreliable as history. They make Jesus bestride the Holy Land like a colossus, but contemporary historical records - which are plentiful - take little notice of him. This is all the more surprising as we do find James mentioned in both Christian and non-Christian sources. There are a few stray references to Christ or...

The Dead Sea Scrolls and their Impact

The story of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 is widely known though its full details are probably lost for ever. It is a complex tale with many actors great and small from several countries, but the following bare facts will serve our purpose. Qumran is an ancient settlement containing a large number of ruins near the northwest coast of the Dead Sea. It lies in what is now the state of Israel, but in 1947, when the first scrolls came to light, it was part of the British mandated...

Devastation of the Americas

The destruction of Native American civilizations by Soldiers of the Cross lies outside the scope of the present work, but the Pope's (and other evangelists') recent forays into Asia which the Church sees as the field of a 'great new harvest' makes it relevant again. As previously observed, Pope John Paul II recently Stood before the Asian Bishops' Conference in Manila and promised A new harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent. Those who have now become the Church's...

The Unknown Christ of Opus

Before examining the theology, or rather, the strategy of Panikkar, it is useful to compare the present state and the recent history of Christianity with that of Hinduism - the main target of Catholic theologians like him (not to speak of Protestant politico-religious entrepreneurs like Pat Robenson). The basic problem for the Church today is its exposure as a secular political and economic institution the public, at least in the West, is no longer buying its claim to being an institution...

From Galileo to the Scrolls monopoly

Suppression of ideas has a long pedigree in the history of Christianity. Pope Paul IV formalized the process in 1559, though by then it already had a thousand-year history. He established the Index of prohibited books which made it a crime to read any work listed on the Index. The practice of proscribing books was abolished by his namesake Paul VI only in 1966. By that time the Index had become wholly ineffective. Before I get to Galileo and the Dead Sea Scrolls, it is worth noting that...

Message of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dead Sea Scrolls research is an involved subject, but its central message may be summarized as follows. The contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls challenge the two most fundamenlal beliefs of Christianity the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and Christianity as the embodiment of the message of Christ. Both these are put in jeopardy by the Qumran material. First, they show that the message of Jesus did not originate with him, and he was also not unique he was at most one of several known as 'Teachers of...

Constantine on Freedom of Worship

Universality of outlook is a feature not only of Hinduism and its offshoot of Buddhism, but of all pagan religions. And this is not merely theoretical. To see this point, it is helpful to look at the Edict of Milan signed in AD 326 between Emperor Constantine and his eastern rival Licinius 37 Ram Swamp, Pope John Paul II on Eastern Religion and Yoga A Hindu-Buddhist Rejoinder, New Delhi, Voice of India, 1995. p. 48. The central ideas expressed in this chapter owe a great deal to Ram Swarup's...

Scrolls monopoly the collapse and after

Time has not stood still since that day in September 1991 when the Scrolls transcripts were released to the public by the Huntington Library, though one could easily get that impression from all the noise emanating from Biblical scholarly circles spilling over into the media. It is now very much a media event. The current situation is what until that time was a debate confined to a small circle of specialists has turned into an acrimonious public squabble and considering the stakes involved...

Tolerance and truth

The lessons for countries of Asia like India are clear the Church must be treated strictly as a business empire and or a political entity interested in the growth of its secular power in the name of God. It has created markets, looted countries and financed wars in the name of Christ. It will do all these again if given the chance, for the Church's method can be summarized by the simple adage of 'the end justifies the means'. It has never backed away from a profitable venture on moral grounds....

Dead Sea Scrolls on Early Christianity

Qumran literature poses two major challenges to the official position of the Church. The first is doctrinal, and the second historical. But the two are not so easily disentangled. To the lay person, and even the Biblical scholar, Christian religion and Biblical history are all but inseparable to the believing Christian they are indistinguishable. This is further complicated by the fact that most scholars working with the Scrolls happen to come from a Catholic background. The Ecole Biblique is a...

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospels History and Propaganda

The new light shed by the Dead Sea Scrolls on the New Testament give us ground for believing that Christianity - or more accurately, Pauline Christianity - was the result of a successful power struggle waged by Paul against the sect known among other names as 'Keepers of the Covenant', 'Congregation of the Poor', and 'Ebionites'. Its leader, as we already saw, was James, known as the 'Righteous'. Jesus was, at best, peripheral to this movement and the struggle, while James was its real leader....

Shattered Foundation

In the year 1555, a Jewish physician living in southern France wrote that the Catholic Church would one day come to grief. By this he did not mean the rise of Protestant Christianity or the Reformation led by Martin Luther and John Calvin -both of which were by then accomplished facts. What he had to say was something far more ominous for the Church according to his vision of the future, Europeans in large numbers would abandon the Church 'with its shattered foundation' and return to paganism....

Jewish Wars and the Birth of Christianity

From all this it becomes evident that the Jewish Wars - more particularly the First Jewish War of AD 66-74 - occupy a pivotal position in the history of early Christianity. The question is what caused it It is not possible to give a definitive answer to that question yet, though the Dead Sea Scrolls when studied alongside the Bible and other sources allow us to shed a good deal of light. In order to understand this, it is necessary to go to several works that are not widely known outside the...

Reformer in the Vatican Pope John Paul I

Albino Luciani, Cardinal Bishop of Venice was elected to succeed Pope Paul VI on August 26 on the third ballot, or the 'third conclave' as the Curia terms it. In electing him Pope, the cardinals the world over - especially those from Third World countries - had made plain their unhappiness with the way things were being run from the Vatican. It was a vote against the establishment - the Curia. It is also possible that the officials of the Curia, living in their own insular world, had been...

Summary

Does this hold any lessons for us today The first point to note is that the Church has not changed. It has not become more tolerant as some Hindu intellectuals fondly believe individual Christians may be tolerant and willing to live at peace with their non-Christian brothers and sisters. That, however, has never been the issue Christians, as a rule, are no better or worse than any other group of human beings. The issue is not Christians as people but the ideology of Christianity and its...

Thought control The Holy Inquisition

The Inquisition has probably left a greater impression on the European psyche than any other institution of the Church. The fact that Americans on the whole are less hostile to Christianity than Europeans is to be attributed to the fact that they have escaped its horrors. The Holy Inquisition was founded by Pope Gregory IX in 1232 in response to wild reports from the clergy that there was an epidemic of witches and heretics. The honour of holding trials was a monopoly of the Dominicans who have...

Vatican Woes Paganisation of Europe

The revelations of the Dead Sea Scrolls could hardly have come at a worse time for the Church. At a time when church attendances - especially in Europe - are at historically low levels, the doctrinal foundations of Christianity have also come under a cloud, making things doubly difficult. According to some scholars, even the historicity of Jesus - something that most people including non-believers had accepted as fact - is now in doubt. More fundamentally, some of the highest officials in the...

Inquisition today the case of Allegro77

At the very outset it would be well to recognize that John Marco Allegro is not a scholar who can even remotely be compared to Galileo. And yet he posed a greater threat where Galileo was persecuted for defying the authority of the Church, the case of Allegro was different he questioned the very foundation of Christianity and Church doctrine. When in a particularly impetuous mood, he wrote one of the Catholic scholars on the International Team who had expressed the wish to become a priest - 'by...

Paul and the Acts of the Apostles

While the Gospels are highly unreliable as history, the book of the New Testament known as the Acts of the Apostles does contain a historical core, though heavily coloured by the needs of Christian propaganda. Nevertheless, when studied alongside the Qumran documents, Acts provides an interesting picture of the struggles between the leaders of the early Church and Paul, and how the backward looking ultra-orthodox Jewish sect of early Christianity gave way to the expansionist Pauline...

Holy Land to the First Century of Christianity

Christianity is the daughter of Judaism - of militant Judaism in fact. This is one of the principal facts to emerge from the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Early Christianity of Jerusalem, the movement that was later supplanted by Pauline Christianity was born in the cauldron of discontent that led to the First Jewish War. Early Christians are sometimes referred to as 'Jewish Christians', though its leader James the Just, known in modern Christianity as James the 'Lord's brother' never saw...

Christianity Today Exclusivism in a Pluralistic World

The two passages cited at the head of the chapter - one from Moses of the Bible, and the other from Krishna of the Bhagavadgita - underscore the fundamental difference that separates an exclusivist creed from an evolved pluralistic tradition. To understand the true dimensions of the crisis that the Church is faced with, and its irrational reaction to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one must be prepared to examine the foundation of Christian faith - both its seeming fragility in the face...

Secular Vatican Mussolini to Mafia

When we examine all this, it becomes clear that the Vatican today is mainly, if not entirely, a secular organization concerned about its economic and political viability. As Baigent and Leigh observe 16 There has been a noticeable change for the worse in the Church's image in India. Indian Bishops have recently launched a campaign to have the majority of their members recognized as a 'backward caste' and even as untouchables to qualify for special government help. Mother Teresa too joined the...

Qumranians Essenes or Zealots

Before we can say anything more about the origins of orthodox Christianity, or Pauline Christianity which Eusebius helped promote in the time of Constantine , we must identify the people whom we have been calling 'Qumranians', and learn of their fate in the turbulent century that saw the birth of Christianity. The orthodox view -the view of the International Team that is - holds the inhabitants of the Qumran ruins to have been a people known as the Essenes mentioned in the works of classical...

Herod and the Herodians

Herod, though a practising Jew, was of Arab descent from both his parents. Being as concerned about his dynastic legitimacy as any of his Jewish subjects, he married a Maccabean princess in order to strengthen his position as their ruler. But once he felt secure enough, he murdered his wife along with her brother and others of their line, effectively extinguishing the Maccabean line. He then proceeded to remove the priesthood from the hold of the old families and replaced them with his own...

Puppetmaster of P2

Few know or have heard of Licio Gelli, but for nearly three decades following the Second World War, he was one of the most powerful and influential men in the world. At one time he practically owned the Italian government as well as those in several Latin American countries. He was the head of a secret international terrorist organization known as 'Propaganda Due' or in short P2. He could make or break governments in Italy and most South American countries. When General Jose Peron returned to...

Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible Qumranian Heritage

A study of the Qumran texts alongside the Gospels and the Acts shows how closely they are related, and derived from the same source. Considering how little time has passed since the Qumran material has been made available to the public, the similarities found so far between the Scrolls and the New Testament must be seen as remarkable. To take just one example, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the leadership of the early Church resided in twelve apostles the most important among these were...

End to Reform Business as Usual

Who could have done it - tampering with evidence on a large scale in the hours and days following the Pope's death Any number of people, for the Vatican had no security at all worth the name it was normal practice for the night guards to sleep on duty. The main beneficiaries were Cody, Marcinkus, Villot, Gelli, Sindona and Calvi - and, of course, the P2. We can leave Cody out though David Yallop makes a case that he could have done it through his contacts in the Vatican. But it seems out of...

Sources of Pluralistic Thought Greece and India

Hindu scriptures are collections of such a-paurusheya wisdom acquired through the ages by various sages through their realized knowledge of God. It is in this sense that the Vedas - the greatest of all Hindu scriptures - are regarded as a-paurusheya. The sages themselves - the authors of the Vedic hymns - are human and historical, but the knowledge that they realized and passed on to future generations is a- paurusheya. This knowledge includes laws governing the cosmos which are clearly...