Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tacitus on the jewish religion

Tacitus (AD 56 – AD 117) was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. (warning--not PC)

4. Moyses, wishing to secure for the future his authority over the nation, gave them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that practised by other men. Things sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden. In their holy place they have consecrated an image of the animal by whose guidance they found deliverance from their long and thirsty wanderings. They slay the ram, seemingly in derision of Hammon, and they sacrifice the ox, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis. They abstain from swines flesh, in consideration of what they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable. By their frequent fasts they still bear witness to the long hunger of former days, and the Jewish bread, made without leaven, is retained as a memorial of their hurried seizure of corn. We are told that the rest of the seventh day was adopted, because this day brought with it a termination of their toils; after a while the charm of indolence beguiled them into giving up the seventh year also to inaction. But others say that it is an observance in honour of Saturn, either from the primitive elements of their faith having been transmitted from the Ideai, who are said to have shared the flight of that God, and to have founded the race, or from the circumstance that of the seven stars which rule the destinies of men Saturn moves in the highest orbit and with the mightiest power, and that many of the heavenly bodies complete their revolutions and courses in multiples of seven.""""

more on Myths of the Old Testament

Hebrew calendar unreliable

5. This worship, however introduced~ is upheld by its antiquity; all their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart. and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren. Still they provide for increase of their numbers. It is a crime among them any newly-born infant. They hold that the souls of perish in battle or by the hands of the executioner are mortal. Hence a passion for propagating their race and a contempt for death. They are wont to bury rather burn their dead, following in this the Egyptian custom, bestow the same care on the dead, and they hold the belief about the lower world. Quite different is their about things divine. The Egyptians worship many animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely conceptions of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations of God in human shape of perishable materials. They believe that Being to supreme and eternal, neither capable of representation or decay. They therefore do not allow any images to their cities: much less in their temples. This flattery paid to their kings, nor this honour to our Emperors. From the fact, however, that their priests used to chant to music of flutes and cymbals, and to wear garlands of and that a golden vine was found in the temple, some thought that they worshipped Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean. """

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