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Post Donation of Constantine; from Gary Moore
Created by John Eipper on 01/13/18 4:28 AM

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Donation of Constantine; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA, 01/13/18 4:28 am)

Gary Moore writes:

This is in response to A.J. Cave's enumeration (January 11th) of how Bible literalism has had to ignore archaeology.

(I'd never thought about the fact that Adam couldn't be the first man and also be 5,000 years old, if profuse evidence shows the Sumerians were older.  This is a whole different difficulty from the Creationists denying paleontology.)

My odd thought in response is that the belief process now sounds much like belief a thousand years ago--say, around 1018 AD--when the popes believed in the Donation of Constantine, though later popes, even in the 1500s, began to crumble and agree with scholar Lorenzo Valla that this hoary old writ (giving the entire Western Roman empire to Pope Sylvester I) was a hoax, a fake, a "pious fraud."

Apparently it was penned around 700-800 AD, when the Church was desperately seeking to prove it shouldn't be attacked by various hordes of the Dark Ages, and since it purported to be from a time hundreds of years even earlier, the Dark Ages was unlikely to be able to check. Even in those years, though, its use of bloopers like "satraps," "consuls," and other anachronisms should have made its fakery obvious, but there was a lack of will to compare and contrast. We may never know the specific monk or canon who sat down to create this whopper, though the Internet Age is strange. Will he be on YouTube someday?

The centuries-long inviolability of the Donation's illusion circles back to my original question in this thread: All the time, we use the word "faith." But what is it? Is faith (at the most stellar height of irreverence) like a physiological climax, something you can sort of make yourself do--though not exactly on purpose? Or is it the manifestation of just the right convergence of upbringing and stress? Or, of course, there's Adam's answer, from 5,000 years ago.

JE comments:  Faith as orgasm?  There may be something to the comparison.  As Gary Moore points out, both are sort of voluntary, sort of not.  And it's ultimately up to you to get there, even when others are involved.

The Donation of Constantine may have been the biggest charitable contribution of all:  handing the entire Roman Empire to the papacy.  Imagine, say, a letter from President Trump giving a US state to WAIS.  (I trust it won't be a s*%#hole state.) 

This gets me thinking:  why don't we start a WAIS thread on History's Hoaxes?  It's Godwin time:  remember the Hitler Diaries from 1983?


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