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"it Has Served Us Well, This Myth Of Christ"


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#1 benjaburns

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 02:01 PM

I believe non-believers should stop using the quote from Pope Leo X "It has served us well, this myth of Christ". Leo X served as Pope from 1513 till his death in 1521 and, as www.etymonline.com says about the word "myth":

myth
1830, from Gk. mythos "speech, thought, story, myth," of unknown origin.

Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254]

General sense of "untrue story, rumor" is from 1840. Mythical first attested 1678.


The sense of "untrue story" didn't exist as the definition of "myth" until 1840, well after Leo's death. Thus, Leo never said that Christ was a myth in the "untrue story" sense. The quote is best translated as "It has served us well, this story of Christ".

The quote originates from a 16th century satire by John Bale called The Pageant of the Popes. The full quote is this: "For on a time when a cardinall Bembus did move a question out of the Gospell, the Pope gave him a very contemptuous answer saying: All ages can testifie enough howe profitable that fable of Christe hath ben to us and our companie." Certainly this quote was written to make the Popes look bad but it was never spoken by Leo X himself. Plus, the original uses the word "fable" which also simply meant "story" at that time.

fable
c.1300, from O.Fr. fable, from L. fabula "story, play, fable," lit. "that which is told," from fari "speak, tell," from PIE base *bha- "speak" (see fame). Sense of "animal story" comes from Aesop. In modern folklore terms, defined as "a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways." Most trace to Greece or India.


Edited by benjaburns, 23 July 2006 - 02:22 PM.

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#2 pandora

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 03:41 PM

That was rather interesting and needed. Thank you for the information... could you provide links, though?
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#3 benjaburns

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 03:59 PM

That was rather interesting and needed. Thank you for the information... could you provide links, though?


Sure.

Origin of the word "myth" - http://www.etymonlin...searchmode=none
Origin of the word "fable" - http://www.etymonlin...searchmode=none
Wikiquote on Pope Leo X, scroll to the bottom for the relevant section - http://en.wikiquote....wiki/Pope_Leo_X
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#4 DanInPA

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 07:45 PM

When I joined Ex-C, I had this as my sig line:

What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us---Pope Leo X


I was quickly informed...by an atheist... that this was attributed to him after his death by Bale.
Now, I try to never state something as fact unless I'm absolutely sure.

I'm not saying it isn't true. Just that it can't be proven. Like, ummm.....Xianity. :grin:

Dan
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#5 benjaburns

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 09:15 PM

When I joined Ex-C, I had this as my sig line:

What profit has not that fable of Christ brought us---Pope Leo X


I was quickly informed...by an atheist... that this was attributed to him after his death by Bale.
Now, I try to never state something as fact unless I'm absolutely sure.

I'm not saying it isn't true. Just that it can't be proven. Like, ummm.....Xianity. :grin:

Dan


I agree. :grin: I still can't get over how so many non-believers (that I've met at least) are willing to drop or change their beliefs when proven wrong. For example, let's say we have two people, a Christian and a non-believer. Both have a quote that backs up their case very well. In the Christian's case it's the Josephus quote and in the non-believer's case it's the Leo X quote. If the Christian says to the non-believer, "that quote was never spoken by any Pope. It was written by a man named John Bale, so please stop using it" the non-believer says "ok" and stops using it. However, when the non-believer says to the Christian, "the Josephus quote is most likely a forgery that wasn't written until several hundred years after Josephus died, please stop using it" the Christian will either (A) Ignore the evidence, ( B ) make up some stupid reason to discredit the evidence, or ( C ) not do any of these but keep using the quote anyway. It's only on rare occasions that the Christian is good enough to actually accept the fact that the quote is a forgery.

Lol, I guess what I'm saying is that I appreciate the open-mindedness of the non-theist community. :woohoo:

Edited by benjaburns, 24 July 2006 - 09:18 PM.

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