AM sorry to trouble my readers with a matter so personal as the present
subject. It has been found out that I am not infallible. Like my fellow-mortals,
I can fall into error. I have to acknowledge and regret a stupid blunder,
perceived, alas! too late (p. 15 of the Historical Jesus and Mythical Christ;
also p. 419, Vol. II., "Natural Genesis").
2. In comparing with Egyptian certain Syro-Chaldaic and
Aramean words which have been left untranslated in the Greek text of the New
Testament, I included the word "sent," entirely forgetting that
it was English when I compared it with the Egyptian "shent," a
"pool," and "sunnt," a healing bath. The nature of
my inadvertence is proved in the very next lines by the remark:—"There
is no need to strain a single point for the purpose of making ends meet!"
3. It was foolish, but such is the simple fact, and I will not
seek to minimise my mistake. Any one engaged in attacking what he considers the
supreme delusion of the European mind, and the crowning error of all time, ought
to be free from the smallest errors himself. Would that it were possible! For
the most is sure to be made by the enemy of the least lapse, more especially by
those who have been consecrated to the service of falsification.
4. My error drew the attention of a Mr. Coleman, and induced
him to write an article in the Religio-Philosophical Journal of Chicago
last October, of which no copy was sent to me by the writer or publisher. To
this my attention has just been called; also to a letter by the same writer
which appeared in the same journal, dated February 5th, headed "Opinions
of Eminent Egyptologists regarding Mr. Massey's alleged Egypto-Christian
parallels." Unfortunately, the letter will necessitate a reply to the
previous article. In this letter the Rev. A. H. Sayce is reported to say of me
to Mr. Coleman, "Many thanks for your very thorough demolition of Mr. Massey's crudities. It is difficult to understand how a man can have the
effrontery to put forward such a mass of ignorance and false quotation. You have
done a real service to the cause of truth by exposing him so fully. You ask me
if I can detect any errors in your essay. Errors enough on the part of Mr. Massey, but they have all been exposed impartially and mercilessly by
5. Mr. Coleman continues, and quotes the following from "one
of the ablest Egyptologists in England," who is "now connected
with the British Museum," of whom he says, "owing to the rather
personal character of some of his remarks, it is thought better that his name be
not published." The writer says to Mr. Coleman,—"You are
right in your exposure of Mr. Massey. Some people think him dishonest; and that
he is quite conscious of the ridiculous blunders which he publishes. I do not
think so after having examined his large book. It is a work which I should have
thought could only have been written in Bedlam. No lunatic could possibly write
more wild rubbish, without the least consciousness of the incredible ignorance
displayed throughout. The man is AT ONCE an ignoramus of the worst kind,
viz., not in the least being aware of his ignorance, and he has the pretension
of explaining things which cannot be understood (except by trusting other
persons) without a considerable knowledge of different languages, which he does
not possess." If the words here used have any real relationship to known
facts, it seemed to me that the Egyptologist who has taken the place of the late
Dr. Samuel Birch must be the writer of the letter quoted by Mr. Coleman.
I wrote to Mr. Renouf stating my inference, and asking him to favour me with a denial if
he were not the writer. This is Mr. Renouf's reply. The underlining is mine:—
"Sir,— You are mistaken in thinking that the extract
from Mr. Coleman's letter 'points undoubtedly' to me. There are more
persons than one at the Museum besides me, to whom it might be supposed to
'point.' But whatever indiscretion there may have been till now in this
matter, I am not disposed to add to it by answering any questions as to my
knowledge of the authorship of the letter to which you refer.—I am, Sir, your
That answer I look upon as eminently unsatisfactory; and I
think my view will be shared by others. Only one person wrote the letter; and
this explanation brings at least three under suspicion, without identifying or
absolving the right one. If Mr. Renouf be the writer, instead of clearing
himself he has imitated the ink-fish and taken refuge in the cloud which he has
cast around his confréres at the Museum. I cannot think the reply is
calculated to deceive! It contains no denial, however, and perhaps the discretion
shown too late may not prove to be the better part of valour; but I leave blank
for the time being where I have not the absolute right to fill in a name.
6. We have heard the language like this of Mr.—— before (put
in better English), when anything very upsetting has been presented to the
world. Such damnation is dirt cheap! Also, the time has passed for
denunciation to be mistaken for disproof. That is the kind of authority I had already
counted on, and discounted, when I say, "They must find it hard to take
Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth."
7. By the by I may confess to Mr. —— that I escaped from
Bedlam many years ago; I would also remind him that the proper name for Bedlam
is Bethlehem; a most ancient mad-house in which the patients have been
confined for eighteen hundred years; and that our Bedlam also was once a
"religious house." I am not mad myself; but I am possessed by the
conviction that a good many other people are, and that no insanity is quite so
virulent as that which dates from the ancient Bedlam. I had already
warned my readers that they must expect little help from those Egyptologists and
Assyriologists who are bibliolators first and scholars afterwards. Bibliolatry
puts out the eye of scholarship or causes confirmed strabismus.
8. I admit in the preface to my "Natural Genesis"
that "as a matter of course the author will have blundered in manifold
details." At the end of three years I doubt whether I have!
But of course in a work of so fundamental and pioneering a nature there will be
some oversights, crudities and even graver faults that cannot be avoided in a
first edition. Why, 30,000 errors have had to be corrected in the latest edition
of the "Word of God." And it does seem at times to be a providential
part of the scheme of things that where the truths entirely fail to command
attention first, the errors are sure to secure some sort of advertisement
for the work. In this way, even a Coleman can be turned to account.
9. Madness may be a matter of opinion; but whoever charges me with
intended "false quotation" lies!
10. I spared no time to get at my facts, and neglected no available
sources of knowledge, whether directly open to myself or derivable through the
minds of those who are great linguists. As I also say in my preface I took the
precaution of consulting Dr. Samuel Birch for many years after he had offered,
in his own words, to "keep me straight" as to my facts,
obtainable from Egyptian records. He answered my questions, gave me his advice,
discussed variant renderings, read whatever proofs I sent him, and corrected me
where he saw I was wrong. I never could understand the interest he took in me
and my work. He could have had no sympathy with my real aim and ends (which are
not wholly proclaimed even on my title-page), yet he was always ready to enrich
my poor means with the treasures of his knowledge, so precious for my purpose;
whether by letter or in person, whenever I sought him out amongst the Mummies
"In a corner found the toys,
Of the old Egyptian boys,"
or got my verification direct from the monuments, including the hieroglyphic
texts and pictures in his own copy of the Book of the Dead.
11. And now for Mr. Coleman.
12. He has been trying to discredit my work for over three years
past. His assumption of superiority is immense, and might prove imposing if his
methods of attack were not so verminously mean. His latest labour-in-vain has
been to try and rear a pyramid on its apex—the sole point of a single fact—which
can be sent toppling over with a single kick. Where it suits his purpose he uses
an imperfect report of a Lecture so that he may convict me of errors which are
not to be found in the Book that he seeks to discredit, and industriously essays
13. In the article referred to he says: "In recent numbers
of the London Medium and Daybreak there has appeared Mr. Gerald Massey's lecture
on 'The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ,' as revised and corrected by
the author, and as delivered by him in London not long since. In this lecture,
which attempts to establish that the Jesus and the Disciples of the New
Testament had no existence in the flesh, but were only personifications of
Egyptian myths, we find a large number of asserted parallels between the life
and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and certain portions of the Osirian and other
myths of Egypt."
14. The opening paragraph contains two positive, provable,
falsehoods. The version of my lecture made use of by him was a reprint
from an imperfect report in the New Zealand "Rationalist," which was not
revised by the author. If it had been he could only have assumed
to know what he asserted without knowing. But it is not true! It is also false that in
this lecture, or in my book, I try to "establish that Jesus and the
disciples of the New Testament had no existence in the flesh, but were only
personifications of ancient Egyptian myths"—whatever that may
15. On the contrary, I demonstrate the existence of the only
possible historic Jesus known to Celsus, to Irenæus, to the Jews, who allow
that he had twelve disciples, whom they call the "twelve godess
16. What I do also demonstrate is that the mythical twelve were the
followers of Har-Khuti in Egypt ages earlier.
17. This is a prime specimen of his mode of working, and one it is
well to keep in mind all along. This is the mode of demolition which
Professor Sayce endorses, warrants, glorifies; and Mr. —— declares to be
18. Again, I have used the Hebrew word
II., 419), on which our learned Hebraist remarks, "This asserted Hebrew word
Shiloam is a fabrication. There is no such Hebrew word in existence as Shiloam—in
unpointed Hebrew Sh, L, O, M"! "To identify Salem, or Shalem, with
Siloam in Hebrew, the letter 'm' was required. There being no 'm' in the correct
word, Shiloach, Mr. Massey manufactured a Hebrew word and printed it in Hebrew
letters, as if to deceive the very elect."
19. Now, look at that for a lie! with no room left for the
least little wriggle out of it!
20. As Mr. Coleman obviously knows nothing of Hebrew beyond
the names of letters, perhaps Mr. Sayce, or Mr. —— will look it out for him in Fuerst, at page 1388,
Col. 2, where the word appears with the meaning of "well" in health;
and on page 1376, Col. 1, where it means Peace. It is used for the Prince
of peace (Is. ix. 6). And Fuerst further says "Shiloah is
(Shloam). It is quite impossible that Mr. Sayce should not have known this
at the time he gave his sanction to Mr. Coleman's falsehoods and consummate
effrontery; and it was cruel not to arrest him as he was careering round in this
wild way instead of tickling the poor creature's vanity with insincere applause.
21. The lie and libel were so unnecessary that I am compelled to regret the wanton
waste of pure malignity. When I say the "Pool of Peace" is
Salem, or Shloam in Hebrew, I do not say that it is the Pool of Siloam; and am
only rendering the word "Peace." And as Shloam means
"peace" and salem means peace, I used the alternative of "salem
or shloam." I knew the two words were spelt differently, and that
Shloam may be pointed Shaloam; I also knew that they were identical in meaning. Moreover, the Pool of the waters that flow softly is a form of the Pool
of peace. Not that either of these was involved or at all necessary to my
argument. When I say "THE Pool of Peace" is in
Hebrew Salem or Shloam, I am speaking of THE mythical pool
which in Egyptian is the Pool of Hept or Peace, not the topographical pool of
Siloam. I was only concerned with the identity of THE mythical
original which had various localisations in different lands, Judea included.
22. Mr. Coleman runs a long rigmarole about the goddess "Nu" and
the place "Annu," in which he flounders in the bottomless bog
of his own helpless ignorance, past all pulling out by those who have
taken him by the hand—viz., Messrs. Sayce and —— .
23. He who enters this domain so unprepared and unequipped as Mr. Coleman, must be a
fore-damned fool. I could have pitied his impotency but for his ineffable
conceit and aggressive insolence.
24. Because I use the words "An" and "Annu" as
synonyms, this great Egyptologist asserts that I identify the Lady of "An"
with the goddess "Nu" to form the word Annu. As the monkey
exclaimed when he saw the elephant taking in water at such a rate, "To
drink with the tail is immense!" An and Annu are simply Egyptian
variants of one word; different spellings of the same word were the result of
familiarity with matters upon which my corrector is so utterly ignorant that he
looks upon and denounces the variants in Egyptian spelling as my distortion of
Egyptian names, and sapiently suggests that "there always appears to be
an object" in my changes! He thinks the "Lady with the long
hair" is Tefnut, and not the goddess Nu as I had inferred,
partly because the Ritual says "The hair of the Osiris is in the shape
of that of Nu" (Ch. xlii.), and partly because the Osiris ascends the
heaven, or Nu, with his long hair down to his shoulders. Either way it matters
25. What I do regret is that I could not have had the advantage of knowing what Mr. Coleman thinks about Egyptian mythology before writing my book. The
opinion of such an expert on the most profoundly allusive and problematical
Sayings might have seriously modified the result. He further charges me with
having got certain goddesses mixed up; it being his mission to teach me how to
separate them once more and distinguish between them individually. Here he tries
to turn his ignorance to account by taking advantage of the reader's and
producing the impression that the ignorance is mine. He throws dust in the eyes
of others and then says it was I who did it. And Mr. Sayce, in a
cloud of it, swears it to me!
26. I may admit that this parallel of the Woman at the Well, which is but one out of
fifty, is the weakest one. But it is enough for my purpose to show that the Osiris or Osirified (these being identical in character) appears at the Well or
Pool of Peace; that he claims to be the Well and personates the Water; that the
source of this water of life given to the Son is the Father; that a well or flow
of this water comes out of Osiris to him; that the well of this water comes
through him (Cf. John vii. 38, and iv. 14.); that he washes in the "pool
of Peace," where the Osirified are made pure or healed: where the "certain
times," as I have called them (because the seasons for healing are dual
in the Ritual) are detailed thus—"The Gods of the pure waters are
there on the fourth hour of the night and the eighth hour of the day," saying,
"pass away hence" to him who has been cured or healed.
27. Here it is noticeable that in the still-continued process of eliminating that
which looks too mythical, this passage containing the angel descending
to trouble the waters and turn them into a Pool of healing has been dropped from
the latest revised version of John's Gospel.
28. In converting the original mythos into later history, this
process of picking the owner's name or sign from stolen goods has gone on
from the first, and is not yet ended!
29. I do not say or suppose anything so simple as that the writer of John's
Gospel was copying from some "variant and obscure chapter in an ancient
Egyptian papyrus." That is Mr. Coleman's foolish way of
putting it. That
was not exactly the way in which the Osirian legend got literalized in Rome.
If it had been preserved and continued as mythos, it could not have
re-appeared under the guise of historic Christianity.
30. The matter had to be manipulated, converted, assimilated, in which process the
original features have been somewhat defaced. This has to be allowed for in
judging of my parallels, comparisons, and interpretations.
31. There must of necessity be a wide gulf between any one who accepts the Gospel
history as pure matter of fact, and one who treats it as mainly mythical. The
two can only talk to different classes of minds separated for the time being by
that gulf, across which they can hardly hear each other speak.
32. But perhaps the most perfect of all my critic's manifold errors and monstrous
blunders is this.
33. He writes a long essay in six columns to defend a passage in the Johannine
Gospel against my mythical interpretation, with the intention of demonstrating
the "stupendous display of ignorance and absurdity" which he finds in
my volumes. He fights tooth and nail on behalf of the historical
interpretation against the mythical. His one line of argument, his raison
d'être all through, is that the events under review, the woman at the well,
the Christ who drinks there, and other circumstances, are historical! And
yet in the opening paragraph of his article he had started with saying—"
is significant that most of these so called New Testament parallels are derived
from the fourth Gospel, popularly ascribed to John. Every competent biblicist
knows that the account of Jesus and his teachings given in John's Gospel differs
widely from those given in the first three Gospels; and there is no reasonable
doubt, in the light of historico-critical biblical science, that, while large
portions of the latter are genuinely historical, the Gospel of John, as a whole,
is UNHISTORICAL, MYTHICAL."
34. Good God! the man is here throwing away the child with the water it was washed
in! If this be so, and, as I demonstrate, the mythical gospel was first, no
matter how late it appeared in the canonical gospel ascribed to John, the
supposed history of the Synoptics goes to the ground! Where is the sanity in
supposing that the Mythical matter of John's Gospel is the result of tattooing
Egyptian fables all over the face of historic fact (as previously pourtrayed by
the Synoptics), and disfiguring the human features past all recognition? The
Christ of John is indefinitely divine, and that is first: the final phase
looks definitely historic. That is how the Mythology was humanised. The
Myth-Makers were Fabulists, but not the forgers of facts; the forgers are they
who converted the fable into historic fact. Mr. Coleman says only just what I
say and show on behalf of the Mythos. But what then was the sense, or where was
the sanity in labouring to prove it to be historic bit by bit, when, as a
whole, it is entirely unhistorical and mythical?
35. Yet Messrs. Sayce and —— assure Mr. Coleman, with their compliments, that he
36. I fancy some of my readers will suspect that he is not—quite.
37. And this is what it is to be demolished! This is doing a
"real service to the cause of truth." So says the Rev. Mr. Sayce, and he is
38. Mr. Coleman charges me with limiting my quotations from the Egyptian
Ritual to Dr. Birch's version of the "very corrupt Turin Text," as
if he were an authority respecting the Texts!—and then of misquoting the Texts
to establish my parallel. Whereas my slight departures from the Text (in Bunsen)
are the result of various emendations or corrections made by the Egyptologists,
such as Renouf, including Dr. Birch himself, to whom I took them for his final
opinion, and with whom I have gone over Text after Text for that purpose. I
neglected no available source of knowledge, early or late. Also in regarding,
condensing, and connecting certain passages, I wrote with the whole matter of
the Mythos in mind, and had the Ritual well-nigh by heart; which is to be at an
enormous disadvantage when judged by Mr. Coleman.
39. In denouncing the "corrupt Turin Text" he is merely
"monkeying round," by quoting the words of Mr. Renouf (Hibbert
Lectures, p. 177). He consistently omits the rest of the sentence.
Mr. Renouf, like M. Naville, is an expert in Textual and Verbal Criticism, and it is he who
says on the same page:—
" Dr. Birch's translation, though made about thirty years ago, before
some of the most important discoveries of the full meaning of words, may still
be considered extremely exact as a rendering of the corrupt Turin text; and to
an Englishman gives nearly as correct an impression of the original as the text
itself would do to an Egyptian who had not been carefully taught the mysteries
of his religion."
40. Mr. Coleman's method, however, is the correct one for a defender of the Great
Superstition to adopt; and if he were obsessed by the spirit of some fanatical
Spanish monk, one of those who urged on the Mexican massacres, dead and damned
ages since for his bigotry and cruelty, and re-incarnated to continue the old
battle against Truth, he could not have more cleverly struck the track of the
Jesuit. It is what the Christians in all ages have done to get rid of,
discredit, and mystify, the pre-Christian evidences of the mythical origins;
only he lacks the requisite knowledge for doing the work.
41. Nor is this a matter of mere Textual interpretation; and I am calmly confident
that no mere verbal changes will invalidate the fundamental facts, the true
doctrines, the identifiable mythology, found in the versions of Birch, Lepsius,
42. On the contrary, the closer the inspection made by men of insight the more will
my interpretation of the vastest number of facts ever yet collected and collated
43. Mr. Coleman has been soliciting certificates. I will give him one written on a
label bound to last and stick like pitch-plaster. It is my recognition of his
claims to be
THE GENUINE GNOSTIC.
calls to Europe, high and low,
And all the Americas,—
"That is the man who does not know;
I am the man who does"!
The others join in Chorus; Oh!
They make his brain-bee buzz!
"You are right, dear friend! He does not know;
You are the man who does"!
44. From personal knowledge of him, and the imposture of his pretensions, I know him
to be incompetent to discuss matters of Egyptology. He is not an authority in
any department of literature, and has not a soul beyond the making of fly-dirts
on the window to obstruct the light,—or of violating the privacy of letters so
foolishly entrusted to him.
45. In setting himself up as a critic and corrector, mentor and censor, advocate,
judge and jury, all in one, he has greatly mistaken his vocation. If he must
pose as a man of letters and a symbolist, he should have been a printer's
reader, allowed once a week to carry a typical banner at the tail of a Lyceum
procession on Sundays. He may pass for one of the learned amongst those who know
no better; in the realm of the blind the one-eyed man is a king. He shows some
cleverness in writing about what he does not understand, where he is not likely
to be brought to book. But he is no more capable of judging, or qualified to
give a verdict, in a matter like this, than the weevil that worms its way
through one of Turner's canvasses is fitted to pass an opinion on the picture.
46. He has an irritating itch for recognition, or notoriety, but has shown no sign
of possessing, or being possessed by, the genuine passion for truth. Like an
incipient Herostratus or Guiteau—the fellow who culminated as a fool gone
insane with vanity—he would do anything to be talked about, or written to—even
commit Massey-cre—if he were only able.*
47. Never did any writer known to me put forth such strenuous or futile efforts to
lift himself up by his own shirt-collar and add a cubit to his stature in the
eyes of the lookers on.
48. From the beginning to the end of his attempts, his aim and object, the total
drift of all his deprecation, is to belittle my work, and make himself look
large to his readers through a mist of his own making. A chief part of his
criticism consists in proclaiming that he does not see! I never said he did, or
could. Nelson at Copenhagen put up the glass to his one blind eye and could not
perceive the signal flying. Mr. Coleman often puts his glass to two, with the
same result of not seeing.
49. I have had to congratulate him on writing to me to set him right on the subject
of astronomy, before he put his foot into it on a matter most fundamentally
important to my subject; the ignorance shown by his questions being astounding.
50. With all his native impudence he has asserted (in the Religio-philosophical
Journal), that the name of Jesus Christ was unknown until the middle of the
first century A.D. (cf. the second book of Esdras—a
pre-Christian book of the Secret Wisdom.)
51. In the same journal he classed Baring Gould as being on my side, in
opposition to all other writers on the subject of Jehoshua Ben Pandira, and
entirely overlooked the fact that although Baring Gould used the same Talmudic
material as myself, his conclusions were totally antipodal to mine; and that he
remains as orthodox to-day as were his conclusions then.
52. And now Mr. Coleman may pass with his certificates.
53. There is an American story of a dog who ran after a wolf, fast and furious at
first, but before the race was over, the dog was seen to be flying still faster—a
" leetle bit in front of the wolf!"
54. Mr. Coleman is not an authority, and has no reputation to lose. But his private
backers have; and they have committed the unpardonable sin against scholarship
of endorsing and justifying false statements made against me by Mr. Coleman,
without taking the trouble to test the truth of his assertions or to verify the
alleged facts for themselves. They were so ready to make a mountain of an
underhand, underground worker's little molehill; they were so eager to have me
knifed, that they have warranted a blade which was treacherously limp and
55. Mr. Sayce marvels at my effrontery in making assertions, some of which
Mr. Coleman has so falsely put into my mouth; and then charges me with
"false quotation"; and he calls Mr. Coleman's puerile performance a "very
thorough demolition," and a "real service to the cause of truth." He rejoices over what he terms an impartial and merciless
56. To my thinking the Professor is rather Uriah-Heepishly thankful for exceedingly
small mercies, and says grace to a miserable meal.
57. Mr. —— vouches for the fact that his correspondent is "quite
right;" and it appears that neither of them knows better, or else their
vision was overclouded with the bile of a bitter bigotry. Either way, I warn my
American friends that Mr. —— has made use of the official stamp (the
Hall-mark, so to say,) of the British Museum, to pass off spurious wares upon
unsuspecting people in the United States! and I fancy that, for all lovers of
truth, justice, and fair play, I have so far demonstrated the congenital
incompetence of my critics to sit in judgment on my work.
58. It really makes one ashamed of scholarship to think of two reputed great
scholars backing by taking shelter behind a pretender to knowledge like Mr. Coleman to discredit me and condemn my work instead of handling the matter for
59. My publishers tell me they sent a copy of the "Natural
Genesis" to Mr. Sayce over three years ago. I have not heard that he attempted to expose my mass
of ignorance and false quotation, dispute my facts, refute my interpretation, or
controvert my conclusions. True, he is not an Egyptologist nor a master of
mythology. But that is no excuse nor justification for the conduct which I
resent. It only serves as cause for all the severer condemnation. Of course in
writing a letter he might have claimed privacy for his opinions, but cannot
plead that privilege now the letter is made public.
60. The other writer, whom I hold to be Mr. Renouf (pro. tem.), is a
professed Egyptologist, a good grammarian, an expert in textual criticism. I am
a devoted student of his writings in common with those of other Egyptologists. But I never could think highly of his insight or range of vision. To a mind like
his, in a case like mine, the profoundest acquaintanceship with the largest mass
of facts—the widest and truest generalisation based on the facts, or the
subtlest interpretation of them, will only look like a departure away from and
a going beyond the facts as limited for him.
I have dived deeply, and he fails to see
The ocean hath its due profundity.
You may transcribe texts and decipher inscriptions, but with the light shut out
all round by non-application of the comparative method, and from lack of
illumination within, you cannot touch the Egyptian origins in mythology or
language, time or space, or interpret the mystery of Egypt to her own forgetful
61. Every day discoveries are proving how limited has been the outlook, how
non-evolutionary and untrue the interpretation of Egyptologists concerning the
past of that people; and the latest discoveries made have swept away many of the
mental landmarks, and effaced the limits of Egyptologists like Mr. Renouf, who
have only just blazed the veriest surface of the subject. But I claim
that every fresh fact made known of late years is in favour of my
interpretation. In England they have been too long the victims of the Hebrew and
Indo-Germanic delusions respecting the beginnings.
62. Mr. Renouf has declared (Hibbert Lectures, p. 243) that "neither Hebrews
nor Greeks borrowed any of their ideas from Egypt" (see Herodotus,
Plato, Plutarch, Diodorus Siculus, and others). He thinks the "mythological
symbolism" of Egypt arose from "varieties of metaphorical
language" which "reacted upon thought" and "obtained
the mastery" (Ib. p. 237). Following Max Müller he says, "Mythology,
we know, is the disease which springs up at a peculiar stage of human
culture" (Ib. p. 251). Nonsense. 'Tis but a dream of the metaphysical
theorist to suppose that mythology is a Disease of language, or anything
else except his own brain. Mythology was a primitive mode of thinging
the early thought; the beginnings of its sign-language being earlier than words. It remains the repository of man's most ancient science; and, truly
interpreted once more, it is destined to be the death of all those false
theologies to which it has unwittingly given birth.
63. He has said (Ib. p. 177) it is perhaps hopeless to expect that the Egyptian
legends alluded to in the "Book of the Dead" will be recovered. My
claim is to have recovered them, by application of the comparative process to a
world-wide range of mythology; and it will be easier to denounce the audacity as
lunatic than to disprove the right to make that claim. I do not pretend and I do
explain. He is one of those critics who suspect error in what they do not
understand—e.g. the Father-God Seb in one phase of character is the
Earth. But when Seb is called the Mother, Mr. Renouf suspects an error in
the text. It is only the mother who can bring forth. Hence we find the back of Seb opens to bring forth.
64. In his off-hand way of damning by denunciation an old friend of mine, Mr.
McLennan (whose name Mr. Renouf mis-spells twice over, once as McLellan in
the text (p. 30), and once as McLennon in the index), he asserts that the
"representations" made in the zodiac of Denderah were "not
anterior to the Christian era, or Roman domination; they were borrowed from the
Greeks, and were entirely unknown to the Egyptians." (Ib. p. 30.)
Whereas the inscription found at Denderah states that the Temple had been restored
in accordance with a plan discovered in the writings of Kufu; whilst the chief
celestial types pourtrayed all over the planisphere prove themselves to be
solely Egyptian! When I pointed out this passage to Dr. Birch, he said, "Certainly;
the types in the planisphere are not Greek. Renouf should have done as the
artists did who gave the Greek on one side, the Egyptian on the other."
65. All that he was warranted in saying is that the mythological types, Typhon, Sut,
Isis, Horus, Seb, Shu-and-Tefnut, and the rest of those that never were
Greek, have been reproduced at a later period by Greco-Egyptian artists,
with a few modernisations. If he intended to distinguish between the Zodiacal
and extra-Zodiacal signs of the planisphere, he should have said so. But of the
twelve signs the Virgin is Isis, and the Sagittarius is composed of Shu and
Tefnut. He must have known, however, that when Depuis and McLennan spoke of the
Zodiac of Denderah as being ancient, they meant the planisphere, and were
not distinguishing the one set of signs from the other.
66. Rays of light from the newest dawn would bring no quickening influence to such
as are mentally bound and doomed till death to remain the representatives of an
expiring system of thought.
67. The resurrection of Egypt has brought forth a Spectre that will frighten
Historic Christianity to death; or haunt the minds of men till they lose their
unworthy fears and listen like truth-lovers to the message which she brings to
them from the Grave.
68. What says Professor Mahaffy, after getting a glimpse of the ghost, and finding
that the dead language has come to life again? He admits that "every
great and fruitful idea," "theological conception," religious
and moral doctrine, now called Christian, were also Egyptian. But, he says, "I
recoil from opening this great subject now; it is enough to have lifted the veil
and shown the scene of many a future conflict."
69. I have not recoiled. The odium of opening this great subject now is mine. I am selected for the honour of receiving, not the civic wreath for crown of
reward, but the first blows of the bludgeon on the head from those who raise the
howl of insanity.
70. " You will win at last," said Captain Burton, "
last' generally comes too late!" Well, I don't know. The train I ride
in travels with increasing speed.
71. For the present I have to ask my indiscriminating assailant to assume that
responsibility to which he is committed by Mr. Coleman and produce the evidence
for his accusations. He says he has examined my work; now let him
cross-examine me. I am scarcely mad or Quixotic enough to think he will, but
should he do so, I will undertake the printing of his exposure to the extent of
fifty pages, the size of the present pamphlet.
72. I mean business.
73. I court honest criticism, and welcome genuine correction. I do not mind being
misunderstood, but do resent misrepresentation. I am in search of realities
myself, and have no tolerance for men or things in masks. I try to follow Truth,
like the old Egyptians, my masters, with all the force of sincerity, all the
fervour of faith. That is comparatively easy now-a-days when bon-fires are no
longer made of man or book, and the penalties are so very slight. A loaf or two
of bread the less; a greeting here or there with an offensive epithet, a rotten
egg, or a dead cat, are things to be smiled at when we remember our fore-runners
that were her lovers from old, who beat out a pathway for us through all the
long dark night of the past, and lit it with illimitable rows of their burning
bodies, each turned into a flaming Torch for Truth.
74. A correspondent writes:—"I am reading this extraordinary 'Seven Souls'
lecture, and have been able to follow you as far as the following statement,
whereat I stick. I am compelled to trouble you for an explanation. You say: 'The
Roman Cæsar, the hairy, pubescent, or anointed one, was an impersonation of
this supreme soul; he happens to be the eighth by name in Octavianus!' This
looks like converting history into typology. Whatever the root significance of
the term 'Cæsar' may be, was it not the historical Julius Cæsar who
really made, i.e., signalised it, by his deeds?—the name subsequently
becoming a complimentary title assumed by the Emperors who were supposed, each
in turn, to reflect the lustre of the Great Julius?"
75. No. But this may serve as a useful illustration of the
historical versus the mythical view of the Christ. I fear, however, that it is a failing of mine
to make too many passing allusions, and use too few words where explanations may
be most needed. I mean the Cæsar (of whom, in the case of Julius, the
Roman legends related that he was born with very long hair; like the long-haired Horus, or the long-haired Christ), had a mythical origin, and bore a title that
was typical. Historical rulers were invested with divinity in this way, and made
into mundane representatives of the Gods. It has been my work to trace such
origins on various lines of research. For these mythical origins are manifold;
they can only be distinguished and determined by knowing their Genesis in
natural phenomena. In the present instance, I suggest or claim that the Cæsar
as well as the Ra, the Repa, the Buddha, or the Christ, was a titular
representative of the eighth, the total and eternal soul—mythically the
re-born Sun; mystically the re-born Spirit or glorified Ghost of Man.
AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
76. Many enquirers have asked me why the "Natural Genesis" is not
in the British Museum? This question I could not understand, but a friend has
verified for me the fact that my book is not to be found by means of the written catolgue in the reading-room. Doubtless it is to be got at some other way
known only to the initiated, but these would-be readers during three years past
were simple enough to suppose that the Second Part of one and the same work
would be entered along with the First Part, it having been published in 1883.
* A literary correspondent writes of this Sahur:—"I
know little about Egyptology, but I do know that the fellow deserves a—well, a
'serendible good drubbing' for his insolence to you. Should you reply, please
give him a kick from me, if only in a foot-note."