"Orthodoxy" (orthodoxeia) is
not a word to be found in scripture. Rather, it originated with
the organization of the Catholic Church. Thus, the 4th century
propagandist of the True Faith, St. Augustine, pronounced that:
Religion is to be sought .. among those alone who are called
Christians, or the orthodox, that is, the custodians of sound
doctrine and followers of right teaching."
– Augustine, De Vera Religione, 391.
For three centuries
a bewildering plethora of Christian cults had vied with each
other and their pagan adversaries. Eventually, at a time of acute
political crisis, one particular faction insinuated itself into
the political establishment. With real power within its grasp,
it stressed not universal love but disciplined obedience of Church
leaders and a conformity of thought.
and creeds, learned by rote, displaced speculations
on the divine. This sterile "sound doctrine" rejected
and condemned the more esoteric notions advanced by rival factions
and wild notions of egalitarianism, poverty and common
and its Critics
enmity of the Christians towards each other surpassed the fury
of savage beasts against man."
– Ammianus Marcellinus, 4th century Roman historian.
in vain for orthodoxy in the 1st or 2nd centuries. "Apostolic
teaching" is a fantasy invented by the Church. The "early
Fathers" were bitter rivals, protagonists in a struggle between
fiercely competitive groups and schools of thought.
It was only three centuries after the
supposed "facts" of JC's life and teachings that rancorous
assemblies of ambitious and fanatical clerics decided what
precisely was that
life and teaching.
distinction between orthodoxy and its opponents was never as
clear cut as later 'official' Church historians were to maintain.
so-called Gnostics had held positions of authority within the
as did the Apologists later stigmatised as heterodox and heretical.
even appears to have had its own factions. The synoptic "12
Apostles and a ministry of 12 months" has
a hint of gnosticism about it, connecting the superstar
with the zodiac and astrology. A rival faction of the orthodox
favoured a much longer ministry for their hero and a rebuttal
of the more esoteric gnostic doctrines. Their ideas entered the
canon in the Gospel of John.
favoured a set of simplistic tales, little more than "comings and goings" of the godman, comprehensible
to the uneducated, and readily re-enacted in pageant and ceremonial.
These fables were held to be "true accounts from recent
a series of councils and assemblies spanning two centuries, an officially
approved and obligatory dogma was hammered
was then stamped upon the credulous mind of humanity. Those with
the temerity to question the creed and sacraments were criminalized,
persecuted and eliminated.
Invention of Orthodoxy
Epistles attributed to Ignatius make the earliest references
to events which feature 'Jesus of Nazareth.'
Ignatius was the first to name "Mary" and
use the term "Catholic". He
attacked both the Judaisers and the Docetists.
of the epistles are certainly later forgeries – and
they probably all are.
Heresy hunting bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus was the main
promulgator of the cult of the "Virgin Mary".
This pillar of early orthodoxy had some pretty unorthodox
views of his own.
He dates the crucifixion of JC in the late 1st
century when his hero is an old man!
A wealthy orator and legal advocate before his mid-life
conversion, Cyprian rapidly established himself as bishop
of Carthage and the boss of north African Christianity.
advocate of the Church hierarchy, Cyprian achieved
a rare distinction in the early church: he
actually was executed in 258, as "ringleader
of an unlawful association."
century literature of gnostic "romances" had
proved immensely popular. Those close to the growing Church
plagiarised and edited these texts, purging them as best
they could of gnostic esoterics and adding in the one message
truly their own: obedience of the bishops.
epistles had been compromised by 1st century Jewish Gnosticism.
But in the mid-2nd century Marcion had appended them to his
own (the original) gospel and were too widely known to be
answer was new letters by "Paul", the so-called Pastoral
Epistles, universally acknowledged to be spurious.
The fake epistles use the device of "Timothy" and "Titus",
companions of Paul, to instruct the brethren in how they
were to organize the local
They are, it seems, sent as bishops to Ephesus and to Crete
where they exercise authority over both clergy and
laity, guard "the purity of the Church's faith",
and ordain priests.
the original Pauline epistles the Pastorals exclude
all reference to "spiritual gifts" (the tool of
the apocalyptic sects) and concentrate instead on establishing
a hierarchy of cadres.
thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ... ordain priests in every city ..."
the first time there is mention of bishops and presbyters
holding positions of power (the word bishop itself appears
to have been borrowed from the civic administration of Syria,
the "episcopi"). Charisma
is now conferred by a solemn laying on of hands:
I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by
the putting on of my hands."
– 2 Timothy
with Attitude, First Voice of Orthodoxy
The Pastorals provided "scripture" which
established divine approval of episcopal authority. The falsehood
had now to be constructed that none less than the Apostles themselves
had established that very hierarchy which led, in an unbroken
line, to the entrenched authorities of the Catholic Church in
Rome. For this the Epistles of St. Ignatius served
official "Catholic history" Ignatius bears witness
to the beliefs and organization of the early Christian church
(which, of course,
turns out to be all very Catholic and orthodox). And yet the
tour and insistent martyrdom" of Ignatius conceals a more
mundane reality: almost certainly
Ignatius was an inconsequential Christian zealot from
Syria who got himself executed in Rome.
a century later, one (or several) eminent churchmen of Asia
Minor used the dead
as a prop for a
series of letters bringing church organizations and
wayward priests into the subordination of bishops. Ignatius himself
is made a disciple of the Apostles. The
fabrications also present an opportunity to colour in more
details of the Jesus fantasy and to fix the
godman himself in an historical past.
started that process ... building up a dramatic story of
Jesus' life ... making use both of his authority as a bishop
and would-be martyr, and also of previous writers' efforts
to extract information from what they considered to be references
to the Messiah in the Old Testament."
– Ellegard, Jesus -100 years before Christ, p206-6.
authors of "Ignatius",
probably using a copy of Josephus as their
source, chose the rule of the most infamous of Roman
prefects, Pontius Pilate, as the time-frame for his
godman's sojourn on earth. Joy of joy, Josephus provides
so many telling details from the period, including
of many rebels. Indeed, there is scarcely a name, or an incident,
in the entire New Testament which is not presaged
in the works of Josephus.
and again Ignatius asserts
that the supremacy of the bishop is a divine institution.
He goes so far as to affirm
that the bishop stands in the place of Christ Himself!
ye are obedient to the bishop as to Jesus Christ
it is evident to me that ye are
living not after men, but after Jesus Christ ...
Be ye obedient also to the presbytery as to the
Apostles of Jesus Christ."
– ad Trallians, 2.
a breathtaking assertion at (supposedly) so early
a date Ignatius tells
us that bishops are to be found even in "the
farthest parts of the earth" (ad Ephes.3)
The next act in the coup will be the elevation of St
Peter – supreme pastor of
the Church, resident of Rome, and bishop of the whole
examples of mid-2nd century fraud were followed by others: "letters by Ignatius" were
still being written into the 5th century!
10+ year Ministry for Jesus, who Lived into Old Age!"
This hero of Catholic orthodoxy made
his reputation by castigating numerous 2nd century heresies which
he called "diseases
of the human mind". Heresy hunting became his life's
attacked the "licentious practices" and "foolish
doctrines" of the heretics – spread, it seems,
by the aid of "silly women".
Irenaeus was not above a bit of Jesus fictionalising himself:
aeons are not typified by the fact that Christ was baptized
in his 30th year: He did NOT suffer in the twelfth month
after his baptism, but was MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS OLD WHEN
Heresies, II, 22.
Irenaeus tells us that Jesus's public ministry
continued at least 10 years, and that JC was seen
alive in Asia, with his disciple John and others, up to the time
40th and 50th year a man begins to decline towards old age,
which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office
of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify;
those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple
of the Lord, affirming that John conveyed to them that information.
And he remained among them up to the times of Trajan."
Trajan's reign began in 98 AD, by which time
Jesus would have already been just over 100 years old! Thus according
to the venerated saint, Jesus was crucified as a very old man!
Some variants of the story even
suggest an age of 120!
Storyteller Irenaeus was probably the
author of the lurid account of the "sufferings martyrs" in
his home city of Lyons.
What better method to drum up sympathetic
support than a bogus tale of heroics?
Styled a "champion of Church unity" Cyprian
coined the phrase:
can have God as Father who does not have the Church as mother."
Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate.
For all that,
Cyprian spent almost his whole time as bishop embroiled in
Church politics. Initially a student of the severe Tertullian,
Cyprian clashed with "anti-pope" Novatian over the
re-admittance of the lapsi and with Pope Stephen II for
rejecting baptisms performed by heretics and apostates.
"Jesus Born about 100 BC"
4th century Christian Bishop of
Salamis and heresy hunter:
For nearly forty years Epiphanius exerted his authoritarian influence
across the eastern Mediterranean. From his see of Constantia
(Salamis) on the island of Cyprus this senior bishop's distaste
for the "poisons
of heresy" and lust for power drove him to intervene
in Antioch (against the Apollinarians,
who said Jesus had no human soul once Christ had entered him);
against Origenism in Jerusalem, with
its allegorical interpretations of biblical events, and against Arianism everywhere.
In fact, this notorious heresy hunter identified no fewer than
80 exotic and prosaic heresies, the remedy for which he set
out in his "Medicine chest" ("Panarion").
Epiphanius, of course, knew the
"Truth" – which for him meant Jesus was born during
the reign of the Hasmonean
king Alexander Jannaeus, who ruled Judaea between 103-76 BC.
"For with the
advent of the Christ, the succession of the princes from Judah,
who reigned until the Christ Himself, ceased.
The order failed
and stopped at the time when He was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, in
the days of Alexander, who was of high-priestly and royal
And this Alexander,
one of the anointed and ruling princes placed the crown on
his own head ...
After this a foreign
king, Herod, and those who were no longer of the family of
David, assumed the crown."
– Epiphanius (Haer.,
Perhaps Jesus was born twice,
with a century in between his visitations?
With the death
of Alexander, power passed to his wife, Salome and when she died,
a struggle for
succession broke out between Jannaeus's two sons, John Hyrcanus
II and Aristobulus II. In
63 BC Roman general Pompey arrived and confirmed Hyrcanus as
BC) but real power passed to Antipater and Herod as client kings of Rome.
The A B C of Literalist Fraud
Proof Needed – Miracles the Only Evidence."
there is no need, to persons of intelligence, to attempt
to prove, from the deeds of Christ subsequent to his
baptism, that his soul and his body, his human nature like
ours, were real, and no phantom of the imagination.
For the deeds
done by Christ after his baptism, and especially his miracles,
gave indication and assurance to the world of the
Deity hidden in his flesh."
– Bishop Melito of Sardis (died 177).
Tellingly, when early
Christian Apologists struggled to prove the "truth" of
their beliefs they turned, not to contemporary evidence of Jesus’ existence – which
surely they would have done if they could! – but to the prophets
and psalms of the Old Testament.
They cut verses out of context and altered them to make them appear
to be speaking about Jesus. Later, with the
tradition' taken from the Gnostics, pious fraudsters set the
words into the vignettes plagiarized from the Old Testament. The multitude
of micro-stories were then strung together in a meandering itinerary.
result was the Gospels, not historical documents, but catechisms,
written for the sole purpose of inculcating faith.
Only in a later age,
when the Church had assumed the mantle of absolute power, would the Empty Tomb, the True Cross, the Apostles' bones and
the rest of the paraphernalia of fraudulent "evidence" appear.
The Closed Mind, the Prison of Orthodoxy
pure and uncorrupted "orthodoxy" never existed, nor
did it, with the Lord's guiding hand, convince the foolish
of their errors by contending with wilful and perverse heresy. "Orthodoxy" eventually
emerged from a plethora of competitive sects after a considerable
and prolonged struggle.
story of the godman, never more than a disjointed pageant
of heroic failure,
ignominious death and an unfathomable godly rebirth,
became the almost empty canvass upon which "schismatics, heretics,
and apostates" painted a rich and variegated dreamscape
of human suffering, sorrow and hope.
took time to get its act together, taking what it could use
sources it would later condemn.
At first, only
slowly did it marginalise and eliminate its critics. But
the pace quickened once what became orthodoxy was empowered
as the State/Church
from the throne room and the palace, orthodoxy would
fashion itself to the needs of the caesars, confirming it's
empire, a Universal and Catholic faith. In the
end only a narrow dogma remained, chanted and
learned by rote.
"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
Now that settles things so no more questions!
Maxwell Staniforth, Early Christian Writings (Penguin,
L. Boyle, St. Clements, Rome (Collegio San Clemente, 1989)
Jean Ritchie, The Secret World of Cults (Harper Collins, 1991)
John Riches, The World of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
Nicholas Carter, The Christ Myth (HRP, 1993)
Thomas Sheehan, The First Coming (Crucible, 1986)
Michael Walsh, Roots of Christianity (Grafton, 1986)
Peter Roberts, In Search of Early Christian Unity (Vantage, 1985)
Do you really
think it all began with a sanctimonious Jewish
wonder-worker, strolling about 1st century Palestine?
Prepare to be enlightened.
Jesus – The
holding to the idea that some sort of holy man
lies behind the legend? Better check out...
Godman – Gestation
of a Superhero
closer look at the glib assertion that the Jesus
story "got off the ground quickly and spread
What DID the
Early Christians Believe?
currents fed the Jesus myth, like streams and tributaries
joining to form a major river.
the legend – The
Syncretic Heritage of Christianity
of the mythology of Christianity is a rehash of
an older and even more transparent fabrication – Judaism.
Story – The Way
of the Rabbi
ingenuity and cunning is matched by mankind's equally
monumental credulity and wishful thinking.
organisation, authority and membership preceded
rather than followed the justifying doctrine. As
the organisation and its needs changed so has the ‘Testament
of God’ adapted accordingly.
Dogma – The
Word in all its Savage Glory
religious policeman to grandee of the church,
from beast fighter in Ephesus to beheading in
Rome, Paul's story has more holes than a swiss
Paul the Apostle – Dead
in the water?
by ambitious Christian clerics, a cancer of superstition,
fear and brutality was imposed across Europe.
of Darkness – The
Criminal History of the Christian Church
Christian Heaven may have been a vain folly but
the Christian Hell has been real enough.
on Earth – A Brutal
Superstition Spreads Across the World
to the status of State religion the Christian Church
reigned over the destruction of civilization. As
the centuries passed religious barbarism grew ever
of the World – The
Terrible Cost of "Christendom"
For two millennia
Christianity's anti-sexual, puritanical doctrines
have inflicted untold damage on the mental, emotional
and physical lives of countless millions of people.
hung-up Christians – Loved-up
a Jewish father (stern patriarch) and a Christian
mother (obsession with guilt and heaven) it is
not surprising that Islam grew up a bit of a tartar.
Desert Storm – 'Christendom'
Reaps a Whirlwind
help us. The richest, most powerful nation in history
has a psychotic infatuation with Jay-a-sus
The Christianizing of
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Copyright © 2005
by Kenneth Humphreys.
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