Saturday, January 28, 2012

An Unexpected Gain

It happens often that we try strenuously to do one thing, and fail, but without realizing it we have begun to succeed at something else.
There is no evidence that Constantine the Greatever so much as thought of altering a word of the Bible --but of course there are powerful minds among us who will never be slowed down by such puny considerations as evidence. They have arrived at such conclusions as that the Bible as we know it is a product of the council of Nicea in AD 325 -- yes, sometimes they get the date of Nicea right -- and that its present form was decided there by Constantine, or by Constantine and Pope Sylvester,nevermind that Sylvester wasn't at Nicea, there you go with your "facts" and evidence again, they have arrived at such conclusions, and, mighty minds that they are, if I disagree with them they leap with startling speed to further conclusions such as that I am a Christian, perhaps because they assume that anyone who disagrees with them about anything is a Christian, perhaps because they have heard some of the things I assert said by Catholics and they assume that everything every Catholic says is a lie, who can say? who can keep up with such minds?
I have tried and failed to bring evidence into my discussions with these folks, failed miserably to interest them in such things as the primary sources for Niceaand manuscripts of Bible passages copies before and after Niceaand the total lack of evidence for their theories contained in such documents but again, evidence schmevidence.
Okay, so it really looks like I can't talk to some people about the development of the text of the Bible, but without realizing it I had already begun to investigate the development of some paranoid conspiracy theories involving Constantine and the Catholic Church. Yes, it is a bit of an anachronism to speak of a Catholic Church existing distinct from an Orthodox Church as early as Constantine, and yes, it is more than somewhat ridiculous to assume that, if such a distinction had existed, Constantine would have favored the Church in far-off Rome to the one based in the new capital he had founded and named after himself. The absurdities are many and delicious here. Does the theory of Constantine and Sylvester as Biblical authors and/or editors have anything to do with the Donation of Constantine?Perhaps vast numbers of Catholics and now anti-Catholics are still busily drawing conclusions based on not knowing that the Donation is a forgery. Or maybe it's just these anti-Catholic paranoid moronic conspiracy theorists.
How many people think Charlemagne was the guy from the Song of Roland,of superhuman size and strength with extremely long flowing white hair and beard? How many think he was French? How many think the Franks were French right from the beginning, since before Merovich? How many think Charlemagne and King Arthur were pals and that King Philip murdered the Templars for the Grail and that Jesus was an ancestor of the Merovingians who of course were all as French as could be and that Leonardo was a Templar and that that was why he was buds with the King of France and that the entire Bible, Old and New Testament, was originally written in French by Constantine and Pope Sylvester, two Frenchman, alors! and only later translated into Hebrew and Greek?
Maybe these people have horrible paranoid fears of Frenchmen and see them everywhere. Maybe they saw me exercising my very limited skills in French once and that's why they think I've only been pretending for years to be an outspoken atheist, all the better to ensnare them with my horrible French Catholic treachery.
I've actually gained a little bit of sympathy for these kooks. It's fun leaping pell-mell from one conclusion to the next, even if I do have a little bit of evidence on my side.

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