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Edwin Johnson, A Radical Advocate of Chronology Criticism

Uwe Topper on Edwin Johnson

A machine translation with some cleanup by Michael Hoffman.

From http://www.efodon.de/html/archiv/chrono/topper/johnsohn.htm.

© Uwe Topper; published in Efodon synesis No. 6/2001


Near the end of the 19th Century, there were in Central Europe several scholars, who recognized very exactly, how the Gespinst of Christian historiography distorted is. They fought violently and with unusual logic and sharpness against on why its work has today still large value. With this historical criticism in German language RA-dikalitaet after nearly hundred years only again by Christoph Marx was represented and recently by Dr. Eugen Gabowitsch with large energy advanced. Therefore the book of the English Philologen Edwin Johnson "The Pauline Epistles" (http://www.radikalkritik.de/pauline_epistles.htm)(Watt and CO, London 1894) is from completely special interest in our work.

Some sentences therein sound like my own in my book "The Large Action" (Tübingen 1998), without I could praise myself Johnson to have read ["without my even having discovered the 19th-Century innovative works by Johnson"?]. A theologian, who represents the radical criticism in Berlin after Dutch school, Dr. Hermann Detering, referred me recently to this book [Edwin Johnson's book "The Pauline Epistles", 1894], of which it says on its web page (www.radikalkritik.de), it represents just as radical criticism as from Illig and Topper.

However Illig is far overtaxed with this probably-meant evaluation, because its 296 (297) years, which he cuts out in the Middle Ages, can not measure with Johnson's certainty that 1500 years church history are too much. Radically the historical criticism of Heinsohn and Illig is main for the steinzeit and the beginnings of history ("Sumerer ", old Egyptians, early Perser etc..)

Johnson's realizations fit better the radical statements of Jean Hardouin, Wilhelm Kammeier und Christoph Marx. In view of the accuracy and the Durchblicks of this research work, which Johnson submitted more than hundred years ago, many results of our chronology criticism of the last decades find an important additional argumentative support.

Johnson recognizes for example that also 16th Century still no firm data possesses; the earliest useful date in England is 1533 (P. 9, last exp., I quote after the Internet version, used the other page numbers than the original, whereby these are always indicated).

But only in the following decades a reliable dating system begins in England.

Latin the first language of the church was, not Greek (P. 12, center and repeatedly), and the church developed not in the Orient, but in Central Europe against 1500 (P. 18 and P. 26). So for instance I wrote with bangem into "the large action", without being able to call the good proofs, the Johnson as a theologian submitted. One would have to define still more exactly, what is meant with "at the beginning of the church". As far as I understand Johnson, he cannot imagine a catholic church without the possession of a firm Bible text, and that is probably an acceptable fixing of the boundaries. Religious organizations may before have existed - were above all the monk medals - however which one taught there and one believed, extracts itself from our knowledge.

The literary secondary sources, which Johnson uses, are unfortunately only scarcely mentioned, there it mainly on original documents 16. Century falls back. It knew however the writings of Jean Hardouin (P. 20 center), who I only break-by the piece read could, and speaks of a board round (P. 19 center) with director and implementing monks, as it had sketched comb eggs with the term "large action", without the latter would have seen the implementing persons in such sharpness.

Also haste with the production of the Bible - at least the New Testament - represented Johnson compellingly and this as argument for their recent age used (P. 33 center), completely like I 1998 wrote and in "falsifications of history" (2001, P. 240) quotes, where I outline the race between the Spaniards and Erasmus of Rotterdam: "then the version of the Erasmus is almost the so hot looked for original text of the Bible." If I would have known Johnson, I would have inserted myself the word "almost" to save to be able and a reference to its work.

It is amazing, like many theologians and scholars looks through had and in this enlightened age, the second half 19. Century, their research published. They were read and fought, hushed up by no means.

Johnson did not begin as a chronology critic, but by examining realistically the holy writing in the follow-up of Baur and Harnack. Its first large book is ANTIQUA MATER, A Study OF Christian Origins (Truebner and CO, London 1887) (http://www.radikalkritik.de/antiqua_mater.htm). Therein it examines the church texts alleged 2. Century and it recognizes that they must be older not younger, but than the drawing up of the New Testament.

In this earlier work Edwin Johnson holds still the critical point of view of well-known theologians such as D F. Strauss, Ferdinand Christian Baur and Adolf Harnack, which rejected or at least questioned the historicity of the Biblical reports very critically. Genuine chronological doubts did not emerge yet. Nevertheless we can use some passages for our work, because they are valuable without chronological corrections also, there it the relative pre and afterwards the Ebioniten, Gnostiker etc. to make clear.

In its later book published, "The Pauline of Epistles" (at this time the professor is already emeritiert) the chronology criticism is fully spread seven years, in a sharpness, as it had to be intolerable its contemporaries. After it published numerous writings with this new tenor and harvested harsh criticism, it summarizes now its thoughts in a discussion of the Pauline letters, which are the result of its historical-critical life work, and which looks in a revolutionary manner:

The Christian church developed in the benediktinischen monasteries of France (Paris and Lyon) around 1500, which became catholic church fathers by incompetent monks written, which is New Testament as consequence of it developed. There are no older texts, and contents betray the time: Beginning of the printing.

That is indicated as well known as 1460, and already in the next twenty years first Bibles are to have been printed. If all were back dated later these Bibles, which Johnson at least suggest, I would have to correct the chronological acceptance of Johnson around approximately fifty years.

Anyhow I became hellhoerig here and tried, my version that it in 12. Jh. a first beginning of Christian religion to have given could to save. But that is not easy in relation to the knowledge of a theologian, who represented the truth, and which reads with humor and in the consciousness of its weaknesses: The reformation Martin Luther was the first attempt to down-struggle the rising catholic church of France. Before there was no church in the actual sense, i.e. as representatives of the Biblical teachings. The creation of the Bible texts, which was accomplished by the Reformatoren like the catholics with large eagerness in few years - partly together, partly against each other -, put only the foundation-stone for Christian churches, equal which kind.

My draft, which is papacy in Avignon two hundred years rather developed, suffers according to Johnson at two errors: The two hundred years are invented, and the fact that the monks of Avignon, (first was a Tibeter, as seems to me) as first Popes of the catholic church to apply could, a fiction is like all earlier.

On which chronology critics Johnson developed, whether he considered e.g. Newton's late work, knows we only andeutungsweise. As also Johnson writes: "perhaps still nobody does not have this thought had, which I communicate here, anyhow I it anywhere read." But it read Hardouin (P. 20 center) and quotes it (P. 81, likewise P. 98). Of this Jesuiten I had reported 1998 (P. 14) that he 28 years long (1687 to 1715) on behalf of the French king and the church meeting the documents of all Konzilien of the 1. Century up to its own lifetime arranged again and gave change. Ten years later - thus after further corrections - the work was released and is considered since then than obligatory. It was main it, which invented this time novel and best knew. And it was also the none, which said at that time with this clarity.


The most important thoughts of Johnson's seem to be me the following:

Before the Tridentini council (alleged starting from 1545 in Tirol and north Italy) there was still no Vulgata, at least no complete or recognized version of latin Bible. In the following twenty years it develops only. Luther's portion of the Bible creation is enormously, particularly in the letters of the Paulus, which reflects the controversy between rivaling Benediktinern and Augustinern etc. and therefore so complex, contradictory and incomprehensible are. Also some Augustinus texts might come from Luther or its environment.

Since however the text of the Tridentinums was written by Hardouin, we do not know again, what was really decided at that time. Nevertheless - so Johnson - he tells us the whole procedure of the board round. That must probably be because of it that the truth could not be masked anyway, at least not for theologians. And the people did not read the decrees of the Tridentinums.

From Johnson it follows that "reformed" a moenchische movement were, which one can call late form of the Urchristentums perhaps two generations after emergence of the Christianity, which for Johnson not before center "15. Century "to have been can. The catholic church developed only as reaction in addition, evenly on the Tridentinum. Here table "stood for the" round, which Johnson uses as term for the "large action".

When earliest date for trustworthy messages from the time of the reawakening of the sciences, to which time of the printing indicates, Johnson several times 1533, although it expresses itself carefully, because it does not know exactly, when this year lies. It uses dear of terms like "Tudor time", king Heinrich VIIITH from England etc.. About at that time must have been written Beda and Chaucer, the church fathers and the New Testament. It knows also the monasteries, where such work was made: Monte Cassino and Bobbio, Fulda, pc. Irenaeus of Lyon and above all pc. Dénis and pc. Germains of Paris, even knows some the participants (the notorious abbott Tritheim belonged naturally to it), and does not save not with admiration for this achievement, whereby he does not verhehlt however that he feels lies of this order of magnitude unworthily for our culture, exactly the same as he the continuation of these lies by today's scholars sharply condemned (P. 91-92).


If Johnson's conclusions are correct -- and I do not see a possibility of disproving it -- it doesn't mean that our entire literature and writing culture began in 1460 (if the backcomputed date is correct, says Johnson) with the printing press. But our precious Erstdrucke carries frequently no data or is arbitrarily dated, usually clearly predated. We do not know how old they are.

Many handwritten manuscripts -- particularly the Bible texts -- were made late, after the artworks were made. The work was by no means final around 1570, but kept running the whole time, in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries with unreduced strength. In this connection falls also Tischendorfs Name, which I described straight as a manufacturer of the Codex Sinaiticus (2001, chapter VIII).

Against conclusion of the book Johnson discusses the problem of the Jews, which must have already existed. One of the authors, who wrote the Pauline letters, must have been even Jew, as also a Jewish Old Testament must have already been present, if also not absolutely in the shape, which has it today. But much rather as 1500 the just as little can have been. The Masoreten lived its holy writing and the Talmud in the Renaissance, is just as hasty and monstroes manufactured, probably at the same time as the first Christian books. The parallels in the production process, which state Johnson, are convincingly also for that, which does not have view of this literature kind.

As Eugen Gabowitsch straight in the discussion communicated to me, Morosow and Fomenko, the most important Russian chronology critics, knew the writings of Edwin Johnson and partly developed upon them. Therefore the question arises, why isn't this important work in the English language world read any longer?


Still under the impression of the ingenious and exciting book of Johnson, I would like to outline my first resuming thoughts:

Close maintenance of the gospel writers had already easily abated nevertheless genuinely, but, when they wrote their texts; the conception of the "delay" was anyhow genuine (2nd Petrus 3, 15; 2. Kor. of 7, 15 etc.). Since close maintenance for many years can be not vorkatastrophisch (it does not even give with rats), is it the typical trauma of the survivors of a disaster. They had fear of a repetition of the procedure. From the knowledge of earlier disasters, which were stronger and actually a "new sky and it created a new earth" the fear developed that now soon again would before-stand. The "genuine" disaster would have to follow thus soon, believed one. And one calls "close maintenance".

So long we -- Christoph Marx and Egon Friedell following -- 1350 as last large disaster regard, must close maintenance against 1380 (a generation later) have begun and against 1410 abate. At this time the emergence of the Christianity begins, approximately with the Konzilien of Konstanz (1414-1418) and Basel (1431-1443). However the years specified in addition might be wrongly, belong above all not in relation, but arbitrarily to each other fixed.

Since the monotheistische epidemic disease took place world-wide, also Thora and Koran are not older. I know still, how shocked I was, when I read a few years ago in the encyclopedia that the Schia only 1502 had been invented by a Turkish ruler for power-politics reasons. Normally one states that the Shiites itself already in 7. Jh [7th C.?]. separated from the other Muslims (the Sunniten) and the Schia only in 16. Jh [16th C.?]. became the state religion in Iran became. In this area it gives still much to vigorous, but without inclusion of Johnson's work, each study of the chronology will produce unreasonable results.

Reference works

Detering, Hermann (1995): The falsified Paulus. The Urchristentum in the twilight (s. l.)

            html (German) pdf (German)  (English version not found.  Possibly similar: http://www.radikalkritik.de/content.htm)

Gabowitsch, Eugen (2001): Did the Mongols come from the west to Russia? (Efodon synesis No. 4/2001, Hohenpeissenberg)

Johnson, Edwin (1887): ANTIQUA MATER, A Study OF Christian Origins (Truebner A. CO, London)



    (1894): "The Pauline Epistles" (Watt and CO, London)



Topper, Uwe (1998): The large action (Tübingen)



    (2001): Falsifications of history (Munich)



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