John Vickers.

The crucifixion mystery: a review of the great charge against the Jews online

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the same pernicious influence ; it is not likely to do
much harm in this country, but, being so widely
circulated and translated into six diflferent European
languages, it is pretty sure to strengthen the invete-
rate anti- Jewish prejudice which exists in some
parts of the Continent. And the immense success
of the book is likely to encourage other writers of
fiction to attempt something of the same kind, so as
to perhaps even exceed its exaggerations of ancient



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186 THE CRUCIFIXION MYSTERY.

calumnies. People will not have the least inclina-
tion to imitat« Miss Corelli's Divine Christ, but very
many will be moved by the pictures which she has
drawn, to entertain a strong Jew-hatred, and imitate
the vindictive acts of the Crusaders.

Professor Graetz and other modem Jewish
scholars have expressed a very &vourable opinion
of Jesus ; they believe him to have been a decidedly
more estimable character than he is made to appear
in the narrative of the EvangeHsts. An enlightened
Christian poet or novelist, dealing freely with his life,
would be likely to take the same view, and would
endeavour as far as possible to correct the errors and
misrepresentations of his early biographers. He
would present us with an edifying human picture of
the GaUlean prophet going forth to admonish his
countrymen and labouring as a peacemaker to heal
their strifes. Miss Corelli, instead of writing a Gos-
pel of Reconciliation, has done the very reverse;
she has produced a story which is calculated to force
two great kindred communities that have been set
at variance, further apart than ever. Her notion of
improving on the Evangelists is precisely that of the
second-century writers ; there is always some hope
of divided brethren who stand on the same level
effecting a rapprochement^ but by making Jesus
more divine, and the Jews more .diabolical, she has-
endeavoured, as far as possible, to establish between
their respective followers a perpetual estrangement.

Christian poets have occasionally sought to.enlarge
and embelUsh the Gospel narrative as the authoress
of " Barabbas " has done, and they have generally
imparted to it a more gentle and refined modem
spirit. A great deal may be said in favour of such
attempts as theirs, but what they might venture on
doing with far more confidence of good results
would be, to write from inspiration some account
of the unknown life of Christ. From the age of



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THE CONCLUSION. 187

twenty to thirty, that is, in the period of vigorous
early manhood which preceded his coming under
Essene influences, and receiving the baptism of John,
he is said to have resided quietly with his family at
Nazareth, and worked as a carpenter. It may be
safely inferred that this was really the best and
brightest period of his existence. While he toiled
peacefully at Nazareth, his example and the words
which occasionally fell from his lips may reasonably
be supposed to have much worth for Christian
society as now constituted, and the many thousands
of people who are placed in similar circumstances.
His early biographers, by simply going to Nazareth
and making inquiries, might have gleaned a large
amount of information respecting this portion of
his career if they had chosen to do so, but they
were looking eagerly for the approaching end of the
world, and evidently thought that nothing which he
said and did was worth recording till after he had
put down his tools. We have, as the result of their
negligence, a great blank left, which might be profit-
ably filled up by Christian poets who are in sym-
pathy with orderly human industry. If they would
give us a story of the good son of Joseph, the good
brother, the good neighbour, working peacefully
at his trade, and assisting and encouraging other
workers, their narrative would be read with advan-
tage, not only by Christians, but by Jews ; and the
two communities, which have been inflamed and set
at variance by other writings, might thus to some
extent become reconciled.



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BY THE SAME AUTHOR.



THE HISTORY OP HEROD:

Another look at a Man emerging from Twenty Centuries of
Calumnt/.
Cloth, 8vo. Price 6s.



" Although the writer adds no new matter to the story told
by Josephus, and although he takes the part of an advocate
rather than that of a judge, yet his reading of the text is so
fair, and the consequent inferences are so reasonable, that he
may justly be held to have earned for his client the favourable

verdict of posterity None but an able soldier, a

consummate diplomatist, and a just statesman could have
acquired, as Herod undoubtedly did, the confidence of the
successive rulers of the Roman world, and the respect of his
subjects, as evinced by the tranquillity of his kingdom during
the greater part of a long reign, and the anarchy which fol-
lowed his death Our thanks are due to Mr.

Vickers for having produced an exceedingly lively and well-
written account of the epoch." — Westminster Review,

" There can be no doubt that one will be better able to
jugde intelligently not only of Herod as a man and a ruler,
but also of the Jewish nation from the time of the return
from Babylon to its final overthrow by the Romans, after
reading this book. In the case of a ruler whose reputation
has come to us only through the word of bitter enemies, it
is but fair to cross-examine the witnesses." — The Unitarian
(Chicago).



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" To all impressed with the justice of the ancient aphorism,
' Audi alteram partem/ we would commend the perusal of
this really remarkable volume." — Knowledge.

" Readers of biography and students of history are much
indebted to Mr. Vickers for this contribution towards a better
understanding of a great man, who has certainly come in for
far more than the average share of misrepresentation and
calumny always dogging the steps of eminent men in every

rank of life The * Introduction ' is a masterly

resum4 of the whole case for Herod. The following passage
from it is a fair specimen of the author's style and mode of
conducting his argument : —

" Alexander, C89Rar,Crom well, Peter, Frederic, Napoleon, are
all ably assailed at the present day and ably defended, just as
they were in lifetime, so that between friends and foes they con-
tinue to have a fair trial, and no injustice is likely to be done
to their reputation. Herod the Great, while living, stood more
favourably in general public estimation than most of these ;
he was highly respected by the foremost men in the world —
the men who founded the Eoman Empire ; his government
was the subject of much commendation on three continents ;
his friends, all the time he reigned over Palestine, decidedly
outnumbered his enemies; yet the revolutionary changes
which set in after his death, and the monstrous calumnies
which were heaped upon him, multiplied the latter year by
year and diminished the former, till eventually he had not
a friend left. Consequently, instead of receiving anything like
fair treatment at the hands of posterity, he has had to run a
tremendous gauntlet of protracted hostility, being universally
cursed and execrated, assailed from every side as by a fierce
unreasoning mob, and not defended at all. Admitting the
truth of every evil thing that has been said against him ;
granting that he was an extremely bad man, a cruel tyrant, a
heartless oppressor, a wholesale murderer ; his memory is still
subjected to a shameful injustice only worthy of the ages cf
persecution, so long as we see his bad actions constantly
paraded before the world in the darkest colours, while all the
good which he did is carefully kept out of sight.'" — The
Inquirer.



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Online LibraryJohn VickersThe crucifixion mystery: a review of the great charge against the Jews → online text (page 18 of 18)