Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Forgery of the Old Testament and Other Essays by Joseph McCabe

The Forgery of the Old Testament and Other Essays, Joseph McCabe.  Buffalo, N.Y.:  Prometheus Books, 1993.  e-book, 139 pps.

Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was an Franciscan priest in the U.K. who after a time found his faith lacking and turned atheist.  He was a prolific writer of scholarly critiques on religious subjects.  His many essays appeared in a series of "little blue books".  The essays in this book were first published in 1926 and 1927.

     This book presents Joseph McCabe's thoughts-- and a bit of his research-- on the Bible, the question of eternal life, and the truthfulness of religious scholars.  He proposes that monks and scholars had their hands and inkwells close by the books that we now know of as the bible and that these books were significantly altered.  Joseph McCabe was proficient at reading Hebrew.  He stated that some of the Old Testament was plucked from Babylonian legends or Persian legends, some was a re-manufactured rendition of historical events which become quite something else in their re-telling, and that the older manuscripts demonstrate several versions of Hebrew and thus were written in different time periods.  He correctly pointed out that Old Hebrew, Middle Hebrew, and Modern Hebrew-- similar to Old English, Middle English, and Modern English-- were clearly distinguishable from each other.  Because they appear to follow each other in some number of Old Testament books [or Hebrew Bible as it is referred to today], the supposition that each book was written by one author during a specific time period cannot be supported.  What most people think they know of the early Hebrews and development of Judaism ain't necessarily so.  Religious scholars attempt to appease the masses by pointing out what McCabe referred to as "kernels of truth."  History has been falsified throughout the Old Testament.  Anyone who uses the Hebrew Bible as an accurate history would do well to read some Joseph McCabe. 

sapphoq reviews says:  Joseph McCabe's work has certainly earned its place in the library of any knowledgeable skeptic interested in religious questions.  Although bits of the vocabulary is outdated by virtue of when he lived and published, there is much to be gained from reading his words.  His arguments demonstrating exactly how Christianity's most sacred books came into being and how playing loose with the truth had a hand in the creation of those books certainly deserves a careful perusal by skeptics, rational thinkers, non-theists and Christians alike.  Highly recommended.

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