Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Answer Is 42 - Julian.

From the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the original question was about the meaning of life, and all that stuff, but Deep Thought seemed to have lost track of this and suggested that this wasn't really the question to which 42 was the answer.

Anyway, 42 is the number of the Epistle that Julian (332-363AD) wrote where he explains why Christians are to be forbidden from teaching the Liberal Arts.  The meaning of life should only be taught by Pagans.  Julian also invented the conflict between science and faith, where he defined faith to be Christianity and science to be all other opinions known to mankind.  This is roughly the position taught in the US today, as the concepts of theology can science have been completely changed to meet the definitions of Julian so that the conflict between faith and science can be realized.

I have Julian's viewpoint as paraphrased by Edward Gibbon in 1776.  What I don't have is the original source, since Gibbon did not include references.  Thus, I have been searching through the various historians along with the works and letters of Julian.  The Historians are Socrates, Sozomen and Ammianus Marcellinus. All of these mention his forbidding Christians to teach, as well as the edicts either forbidding the children of Christians to study or using soft coercion to get them into the public, pagan schools.

The letters is a collection of fantastic idealization of classical Greek religion with references to religion scattered everywhere.  Within these, letter 25 gives the instruction to the Jews to rebuild the temple.

Letter 36 mentions the theft of books in Alexandria and demands that the library of George be transferred to Antioch.  This includes writings of all sorts.  Letter 42 doesn't seem to be on line except as an image, so I will attempt to type this in (noting that the source uses 'f' for 's' ... :) ):

Epistle XLII.  An Edict forbidding the Christians to teach polite Literature.

True learning, in my opinion, confifts not in words, in elegant and magnificent language, but in the found difpofitions of a well-formed mind, and in juft notions of good and evil, of virtue and vice.  Whoever therefore thinks or teaches otherwife feems no lefs deftitute of learning than he is of virtue, Even in trifles, if the mind and tongue be at variance, it is always efteemed a kind of difhonefty.  But if in matters of the greateft confequence a man thinks one thing and teaches another, does he not refemble thofe mean-fpirited, difhoneft, and abandoned traders, who generally affirm what they know to be falfe, in order to deceive and inveigle cuftomers?

All therefore who profefs to teach ought to be ftrict in their morals, and fhould never entertain opinions oppofite to thofe of the public; fuch, efpecially, ought to be thofe who inftruct youth, and explain to them the works of the ancients, whether they are orators, or grammarians; but particularly fophifts, as they affect to be the teachers, not only of words, but of manners, and infift that civil philofophy is their peculiar province. Whether this be true or not I fhall not at prefent confider.  I commend thofe who make fuch fpecious promifes, and fhould commend them much more, if they did not falfify and contradict themfelves by thinking one thing, and teaching their fcholars another.  What then?  Were not Homer, Hefiod, Demofthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Ifocrates, Lyfias, guided in their ftudies by the Gods, and efteemed themfelves confecrated, fome to Mercurry, and others to the Mufes?  It is abfurd therefore for thofe who explain their works to defpife the Gods whom they honoured.

I do not mean (I am not fo abfurd) that they fhould change their fentiments for the fake of inftructing youth; I give them their option, either not to teach what they do not approve, or, if they choofe to teach, firft to perfuade their fcholars, that neither Homer, nor Hefiod, nor any of thofe whom they expound, and charge with impiety, madnefs, and error, concerning the Gods, are really fuch as they reprefent them.  For as they receive a ftipend, and are maintained by their works, if they can act with fuch duplicity for a few drachms, they confefs themfelves guilty of the moft fordid avarice.

Hitherto, I allow, many caufes have prevented their reforting to the temples; and the dangers that every where impended were a plea for their difguifing their real fentiments of the Gods.  But now, when the Gods have granted us liberty, it feems to me abfurd for any to tech what they do not approve.  And if they think that thofe writers whom they expound, and of whom they fit as interpreters, are truly wife, let them firft zealoufly imitate their piety towarrds the Gods.  But if they think their ideas of the moft holy Gods erroneous, let them go into the churches of the Galileans, and there expound Matthew and Luke.  In obedience to your rulers, you forbid facrifices.  I wifh that your ears and your tongues were (as you exprefs it) regenerated in thofe things of which I wift that myfelf, and all who in thought and deed are my friends, may always be partakers.

To mafters and teachers let this be a general law.  But let no youths be prevented from reforting to whatever fchools they pleafe.  It would be as unreafonable to exclude children, who know not yet what road to take, from the right path, as it would be to lead them by fear, and with reluctance, to the religious rites of their country.  And though it might be prper to cure fuch reluctance, like madnefs, even by force, yet let all be indulged with that difeafe.  For the ignorant fhould, in my oopinioni, be inftructed, not punifhed.

Epistle 43 is with regard to confiscation of the property of Christians (actually the Arians).  Epistle 49 is the origin of the welfare state:

Epiftle XLIX.TTo Arsacius, High-prift of Galatia

It is not fuficient for you only to be blamelefs.  Intreat or compell all the priefts that are in Galatia to be alfo virtuous.  If they do not, with their wives, children, and fernats, attend the worfhip of the Gods, expell them from the prieftly function; and alfo forbear to converfe with the fervants, children, and wives, of the Galileans, who are impious towards the Gods, and prefer impiety to religion.
...  (more admonitions to virtuous behavior by pagan priests)
I have ordered Galatia to fupply you with thirty-thoufand bufhels of wheat every year; of which the fifth part is to be given to the poor who attend on the priefts, and the remainder to be diftributed among ftrangers and our own beggars.  For when none of the Jews beg, and the impious Galileans relieve both their own poor and ours, it is shameful, that ours fhould be deftitue of our affiftance.

Epistle 52 bans Christians from certain public offices.

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