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The story of the Bible - by Macleod Yearsley - PDF ebook

The story of the Bible

The story of the Bible



One finds by experience that even those who are accounted well-educated and well-read show a woeful ignorance not only of nature and her varied phenomena but of the working of their own bodies and the origin of their own species. 

Some have a dim notion that Darwin " said we came from monkeys" — a statement as inaccurate as unjust; but few seem to possess any clear idea of what Evolution really means. To the suggestion that this ignorance might be easily dispelled, the reply is not seldom given that books upon the subject are too long or too technical, or that "there is no time for such studies." 

Similar ignorance and apathy exist with regard to religion, and the grotesque myths of cosmogony and doctrine are swallowed in blind faith. 

Many people feel that conventional religious beliefs are completely at variance with science; some are frankly skeptical as to the teachings of the ordinary clergyman; but few have the moral courage to voice their doubts, and they see nothing dishonoring in avowing that they "leave all that sort of thing to the parsons, who are paid to look after it." By a number of persons religion, in fact, is professed merely as a business or social asset.

 I have, therefore, ventured to presume that the follow- ing pages, in which the facts concerning the origin of man and the genesis of his religious systems are treated in the merest outline, may be of service to those who are anxious to know the truth and to pursue it. I have endeavored to summarize the results of the researches of recognized authorities in several departments of knowledge, with a view to enabling the busy " man in the street " to dispense with the reading of the voluminous literature available. 

The statements set out may be considered as accepted facts, and, as such, should appeal to all who, anxious to ascertain the truth, can reason without bias and are not intimidated by convention. That the broad and simple facts of geology, anthropology, and evolution should be made a prominent factor in the education of our youth must be patent to every fair-minded person. 

That the absurdities of the Biblical cosmogony should be taught daily, in schools and churches, by those who know them to be fabulous cannot be too strongly condemned. I wish to express my indebtedness to the authors of the works named in the Bibliography, and my special gratitude to my friend Mr. Edward Clodd for his unfailing kindness not only in reading the manuscript but in freely giving valuable suggestions and advice.

Contents:

I. THE EARTH AND MAN 1
Introduction — The Age of the Earth — The Length of Time Man has Lived on the Earth — Man's Habit of Asking Questions

II. MAN'S FIRST SEARCH FOR EXPLANATIONS - 22
Man's Earliest Questions — Speech and Thought — Explanations — Naturism — Animism — Sleep and Death — Ghosts and Magic — Origin of Kings and Priests — Fasting and Trance — Origin of Doctors — Man's next Questions — Myths about Man's Origin — How Death Came into the World


III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SACRED TRADITIONS - 47
How Primitive Ideas Took Shape as Gods — Myths and their Transmission

IV. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SACRED WRITINGS- - 56
Origin of Writing — Development, and Spread of Writing —The Art of Printing — The Influence of Writing — Character of Scriptures and their Supposed Inspiration — The Scriptures of Different Peoples
V. THE MAKING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT - - 71
The Bible as a Sacred Book — The Early History of the Jews
— How the Old Testament was Built Up— The Prophets —
The Hagiographa — The Apocrypha

VI. SOME OLD TESTAMENT STORIES CONSIDERED - 98
Introduction — The Creation — The Fall of Man — Noah's
Flood — The Tower of Babel — Abraham and Isaac — Jacob at
the Ford of Jabbok — Joshua — Samson — The Reputed Wisdom
of Solomon — Daniel — Esther — Jonah — An Instance of Primitive Law — The Story of Yahweh


VII. THE ORIGIN AND RISE OF CHRISTIANITY - - 133
Introduction — The World in which Christianity Grew Up — The Cult of Mithra — The Jewish Expectation of a Messiah — Jesus as a Vegetation- and Sun-God — Jesus as the Messiah — Possible Origin in a Mystery Drama — Reasons for the Survival of Christianity — What Christianity Absorbed from other Sources

VIII. THE MAKING OP THE NEW TESTAMENT - - 171
Introduction — The Order in which the Books Appeared —The Three Groups of Books Considered — The Pauline Books — The Gospels — Revelation — Apocryphal Books
Note to Chapter VIII. — Mr. Robertson's Theory

IX. THE LIVES OF GREAT TEACHERS AND THEIR
LEGACIES TO MANKIND 193
Introduction — The Teachers and Writings of Ancient Egypt
— Chaldaea and Hammurabi — India and Brahmanism —
Buddhism — Persia and Zarathustra — China: Lao-Tsze and
Kung-Foo-Tsze — The Wisdom of Ancient Greece — The Wisdom of Ancient Rome — Mohammed and his Teaching — Summary and Conclusion

Author: Macleod Yearsley
Publication date: 1922

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