The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors
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This is one of the most controversial books about the Christian narrative of Jesus ever published. Is the need for a deathless hero who saves humanity part of the deep structure of our brain? Is religion simply filling a psychological need which is part of being human? This book may be picked apart in its details; however, it was one of the first to explore this 'big' question, an answer to which is as pressing today as it was then. The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors raised a host of questions, few of which have yet been adequately answered, over a century later. Having said that, there are serious flaws in this book. Graves was apparently not working from original sources, with the exception of the Bible; he also muddles Vaishnava Hinduism and Buddhism, two belief systems with fundamental differences. That said, the traditional narratives of Krishna and Buddha do contain motifs in common with the NT stories of Jesus.
This book has 347 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1876.
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Excerpt from 'The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors'
"The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors." What an imposing title for a book! What startling developments of religious history it implies! Is it founded on fact or on fiction? If it has a basis of truth, where was such an extraordinary mine of sacred lore discovered? Where were such startling facts obtained as the title of the work suggests. These queries will doubtless arise as soliloquies in the minds of many readers on glancing at the title-page. And the author is disposed to gratify this natural and most probable, in some cases, excited curiosity by a brief explanation. In doing this, he deems it only necessary, to state that many of the most important facts collated in this work were derived from Sir Godfrey Higgins' Anacalypsis, a work as valuable as it is rare—a work comprising the result of twenty years' labor, devoted to the investigation of religious history. And although embodying many important historical facts which should have commanded for it a word-wide circulation, but a few copies of this invaluable treasury of religious knowledge have ever found their way into this country. One of these copies the author of this work obtained, at no inconsiderable expense, long enough to glean from its pages such facts as he presumed would be most interesting and instructive to the general reader, some of which will be found in nearly every chapter of this volume. With the facts and materials derived from this source, and two hundred other unimpeachable historical records, the present work might have been swelled to fourfold its present size without exhausting the author's ample store of materials and would have possessed such unwieldy dimensions but for a strict conformity to the most rigid rules of eclecticism and condensation. Encouraged by the extensive demand for his former work, "The Biography of Satan," which has passed through seven editions, the author cherishes the hope that the present work will meet with a circulation commensurate with the importance of the many invaluable facts which it contains. For he possesses the sad conviction that the many religious errors and evils which it is the object of this work to expose, operate very seriously to retard the moral and intellectual growth and prosperity of all Christian countries. They have the effect to injure mentally, morally and religiously the great body of Christian professors.
Dr. Prince, of Long Island (now deceased), wrote to the author, respecting the thirty-fifth chapter of this work, entitled "The Logical View of the Incarnation," after he had seen it in the columns of a newspaper, "It is a masterly piece of logic, and will startle, if it does not revolutionize, the orthodox world. And the chapters comprising 'The Philosophical View,' and 'The Physiological View,' were afterward pronounced specimens of profound and unanswerable logical reasoning." We thus call the reader's attention to these chapters in advance, in order to induce that thorough attention to their facts and arguments which will result in banishing from his mind the last vestiges of a belief (if he entertain any) in the doctrine of the divine incarnation.
IMPORTANT FACTS CONSTITUTING THE BASIS OF THIS WORK.
IGNORANCE of science and ignorance of history are the two great bulwarks of religious error. There is scarcely a tenet of religious faith now propagated to the world by the professed disciples of Christ but that, if subjected to a rigid test in the ordeal of modern science would be found to contain more or less error. Vast acquisitions have been made in the fields of science and history within the last half century, the moral lessons of which have done much to undermine and unsettle our popular system of religious faith, and to bring into disrepute or effectually change many of its long-cherished dogmas. The scientific and historical facts thus brought before the intelligent public, have served as keys for explaining many of the doctrines comprised in the popular creed. They have poured a flood of light upon our whole system of religion as now taught by its popular representatives, which have had the effect to reveal many of its errors to those who have had the temerity, or the curiosity, to investigate it upon these grounds. Many of the doctrines and miraculous events which have always been assigned a divine emanation by the disciples of the Christian faith, are, by these scientific and historical disclosures, shown to be explainable upon natural grounds, and to have exclusively a natural basis. Some of them are shown to be solvable by recently developed spiritual laws, while others are proven to be founded wholly in error. The intelligent community are now acquainted with many of these important facts, so that no man of science can be found in this enlightened age who can popularly be termed a Christian. No man can be found in any Christian country who has the established reputation of being a man of science, or who has made any proficiency in the whole curriculum of the sciences, whose creed, when examined by an orthodox committee, would not be pronounced unsound. It is true that many of the scientific class, not possessing the conviction that duty imposes the moral necessity of making living martyrs of themselves, have refrained from fully avowing or disclosing to the public their real convictions of the popular faith.
The changes and improvements in religious ideas now observant in the most intelligent portion of the community, are due in part to the rapid progress of scientific discovery and the dissemination of scientific knowledge in Christian countries. The explorer in the field of religious history, however, comes in here for his meed of praise. New stores of historic facts and data may be reckoned among the recent acquisitions of the laborious archeologist; new fountains of religious history have recently been unsealed, which have had the effect to reveal many errors and false claims set up for the current religion of Christendom—a religion long regarded as settled and stereotyped. For many centuries subsequent to the establishment of the Christian religion, but little was known by its disciples of the character, claims and doctrines of the oriental systems of worship. These religions, in fact, were scarcely known to exist, because they had long been veiled in secrecy. They were found, in some cases, enshrined in religious books printed or written in a language so very ancient and obscure, as to bid defiance for centuries to the labors of the most indefatigable, profound and erudite archeological scholar to decipher it. That obstacle is now partially surmounted.
The recent translation for the first time of the Hindoo Vedas into the English language (the oldest bible now extant or ever written) has revealed to the unwelcome gaze of the Christian reader the startling fact that "the heathen" had long been in possession of "holy books," possessing essentially the same character, and teaching essentially the same doctrines as the Christian bible—there being, as Horace Greeley expressed it, "No doctrine of Christianity but what has been anticipated by the Vedas." (See Vol. II., Chap. i, of this work.)
If, then, this heathen bible (compiled, according to the Christian missionary, Rev. D. G Allen, 1400 B. C.), contains all the doctrines of Christianity, then away goes over the dam all claim for the Christian bible as an original bible as an original revelation, or a work of divine inspiration.