Archive for July, 2012

Christopher Hitchens errors concerning the deaths of John Wycliffe and Myles Coverdale

Simon Peter SutherlandThe late and somewhat outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens in his popular book “God is not great” made many claims from both history and the present and from historical texts, religious texts and books regarded as sacred by many, out of which he attempted to dismatle the walls of religion brick by brick by applying the written content towards his criticism based upon his logic and interpretation of which his claims towards history. It is clear that his understanding of religious narratives have impacted the lives of many modern atheists and religious folk today.

Hitchens certainly wrote a book in which he attempted to grind his axe against all things religious and Christian. Yet the problem is that many folks regard this book as somewhat dynamic and excellent, yet many of them are ignorant of the clear cut errors of Hitchens work.

One such error is in his claim that devout Christian men such as John Wycliffe, Myles Coverdale and Tyndale were all burned alive at the stake.

In his book, “God is not great” Hitchens writes the following, quote; “Devout men like Wycliffe, Coverdale, and Tyndale were burned alive…”

This is simply not accurate at all. Although he was correct that Tyndale was burned, he was not burned alive, on the contrary, Tyndale was strangled first, then his body was burned and the facts remain that early English Bible translator John Wycliffe was not burned alive at all, but suffered a stroke on 28 December 1384 during a service at Lutterworth Church and died the last day of that month. Wycliife was not burned alive at the stake.

Likewise, early Bible translator Myles Coverdale was not burned alive as Hitchens claimed but died on 20th January 1569 at London of natural causes.

What is clear to me is that Hitchens was so intent on lashing out in a war of words against all thing religious, that his own bitterness towards Christianity is demonstrated by his total lack of ability to even present accurate research into the historical facts behind one of the religions which he was so vehemently attacking.

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The gospel of Mary, Papyrus 463 at John Rylands Library

One of only two Greek fragments of the hugely controversial and so-called ‘Gospel of Mary’ is now on display at Rylands Library, Manchester.

 

The manuscript itself dates back to the 3rd century AD and is Gnostic in its content and the content is believed by some to have been written by Mary of Magdela. But this is highly improbable since the book itself was most likely composed during the late 2nd century AD, however the manuscript is on display with ancient Mummy portraits and Papyri which is part of an exhibition that is said to be both rare and “ground-breaking”.

 

The Faces and Voices exhibition is at John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester and is on now until  25 November 2012, so I will no doubt be posting thoughts about the exhibition and the contents during that period.

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