World History – Chapter Fourteen
The Spiritual Empire of Darkness and the false Prophet
The Anglo-Saxon invasion of England, composed of many tribes including Angles, Saxons, and Jutes from the area of far northern Germany, was achieved with very little resistance after the battle of Deorham in 577, Durant tells us in his 4th volume of his epic history, The Story of Civilization, called The Age of Faith. The many small kingdoms that resulted and the seven which came to dominate (Mercia, Northumberland, East Anglia, Wessex, Essex, Sussex, and Kent with the Angles forming the first three, the Saxons the second three, and the Jutes the latter) were themselves combined into one kingdom by King Egbert of Wessex in 829. During that period of time, even before King Egbert, another invasion began to take place from a people further north than the Germanic tribes that displaced the Roman Britons, the Celts. These newer invaders we have come to call the Vikings. We will come back to them in a little while.
In the East, five years after Justinian died in 565, leaving a great empire behind him and the plague and climatic catastrophe that rocked the world, a man named Mohammed was born into a poor family in Arabia, a country almost completely composed of desert, a wilderness, the total wealth of which would not have furnished the inside of the church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) in Constantinople. The majority of the people were nomadic, meaning they moved around without living in one fixed location but in tents tending their herds and flocks much like the Rechabites of Jeremiah 35.
The desert Arab, idolatrous to the extreme as it says in Jeremiah 3:2, worshipped many deities, gods, and feared a multitude of spirits called Jinn, a word which is familiar to you in the word, Genie, as in “Genie in a bottle”. Occasionally, they offered human sacrifice and worshipped stones. The most important center of this stone worship was Mecca. In it, in a square structure called the Kaaba which is where our word, cube, comes from, was the sacred Black Stone. Among the many gods in the Kaaba which were worshipped was Allah which is etymologically linked to Al-il-lat according to Durant, mentioned as a major Arabian deity centuries before by Herodotus. Allah’s daughters were also worshipped; al-Uzza, al-Lat, and Manah. The Muslim’s might claim that Allah had no son but he most certainly did at one time have daughters. The Quraish tribe controlled the shrine, its priests and guardians, and controlled the government of Mecca.
It has also been said by some scholars I have read that the word, Allah, comes from a contraction of words, al-ilah, meaning “the one worshipped” and “the lord of this house”. An early reference I have read speaks of pagan Meccans praying to Allah while standing beside the image of another god, Hubal, which some scholars claim is actually a derivation of the ancient Canaanite, Baal, the Babylonian Bel, known as “the confounder”. Note that Beelzebub, the prince of devils, is translated as “lord of the house” by Strong’s Greek Dictionary and called Satan himself by Jesus in Matthew 12:24-28. Herodotus, as I’ve pointed out before, had connected Zeus of Grecian
mythology to Bel of Babylon who is also Baal or Baalzebub (Lord of the Flies in Hebrew) of Canaan and Beelzebub (Lord of the house) in Greek, according to Strong’s. Comparative mythologists like Campbell connect Zeus with Viracocha in Peru, Odin in Norse mythology, and Quetzlcoatl of Mexico along with numerous other deities around the world. It is very clear by these associations that the god, Allah, was not then and is not now the God of the Bible, Jehovah, the creator, but a derivation of Satan himself. There are several noteworthy books from which to study the origin of the god, Allah; one of which is ‘Muhammed’s Mecca’ by W.M. Watt, who has written a number of scholarly works on Islam. By the way, I will be spelling Muhammad’s name with some variation and there will be no points taken off in a test or quiz if you do the same. There are many ways of spelling his name in print.
The orphaned Muhammad’s name means “highly praised” and in the book attributed to him that he did not actually write but containing a number of sayings and phrases he is alleged to have written down in several other places, the Koran, he equates himself with the Holy Spirit of God. It is claimed by some in the Islamic world that Muhammad was the Paracletos, the Comforter, promised to come to teach men all things in John 14:26.
Returning to Durant for a moment, he states that we know almost nothing of Muhammad’s youth, although there are many Islamic “fables” concerning it. It is said that he was a highly self-disciplined man, a merchant, who turned progressively to religion by the age of forty. There were many Christians in Arabia, and in Mecca, with at least one who was close to Muhammad, named Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a Catholic, who “knew the Scriptures of the Hebrews and of the Christians” according to Marmaduke Pickthall in his ‘The Meaning of the Glorious Koran’. This is the basis for the theory of some extremists that the Roman Catholic Church had a hand in the formation of Arabic Islam as a bulwark against the Greek Church. This is a bit of a stretch as the Greek Church had not split from Rome at the time of Islam’s formation and the influence of one person hardly constitutes proof that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church was involved in a conspiracy. It is clear, though, that Muhammad knew of the Bible and understood much of it but his knowledge was incomplete as, in the Koran, there are several gross errors, including mixing personages and the time frames they lived in with the events that characterized their lives. It is interesting to note, as well, that the Koran makes it quite clear that the Holy Land, Israel, belongs to the Jews so that the Koran itself makes the Palestinian people trespassers. As with the references to who Allah actually is, I will be glad to provide these verses called suras upon request.
Muhammad visited Medina, the place where his father died, and was influenced by the large Jewish population there. Durant says, “He felt the need of a new religion – perhaps of one that would unify all these factious groups into a virile and healthy nation; a religion that would give them a morality not earth-bound to the Bedouin law of violence and revenge, but based upon commandments of divine origin and therefore of indisputable force.” Islam, at its outset, was, like Roman Catholicism, essentially a political religion, destined to be an excuse for conquest and control.
He withdrew eventually, during the holy month of Ramadan, to a cave at the foot of Mt. Hira, three miles from Mecca, and would spend many days in fasting, prayer, and meditation. The year 610 was three years after Pope Bonface III began the first official use of the title of Pope, and was called Universal Bishop, by order of Emperor Phocas ruling from Constantinople, after a coup d’etat, or overthrow of the legitimate emperor, Maurice. In 610 Heraclius overthrew Phocas and beheaded him, having his mutilated body dragged through the streets. It was a year ending a period of violent uncertainty in the empire. Phocas was the last emperor to have a monument in the city of Rome in the Roman Forum itself. The Roman Empire, ruled from Constantinople, ruled the Middle East at this time.
One night in 610, as he was alone in the cave, according to tradition written down in the Hadith or sayings attributed to Muhammad but not written in the Koran, he was visited by a 600 winged angel calling himself Gabriel who forced this merchant who some accounts say was illiterate to write what he commanded on the pain of death. There are various accounts of how this happened and of the details of what happened. It seems that upon returning to his wife, whose “Christian” cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, had influenced them, he was convinced that the revelations were truly from heaven. You see, Muhammad had thought he was being oppressed by a demon. There are no winged angels in the Bible, only winged cherubim, called living creatures in Ezekiel 10:20 & beasts in Revelation 4, of which Satan was one (Ezekiel 28:14) who lost his position due to rebellious pride (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18). He can appear as an “angel of light” as per 2 Corinthians 11:14 and either has led or will lead angels into rebellion as per Revelations 12:4,9 and Matthew 25:41. Gabriel, God’s special messenger to Daniel and to Mary, appears in the form of a man as in Daniel 9:21 but is called an angel in Luke 1:19, 26. Also, note the reference in Revelation 21:17. (All references from the traditional English Bible, commonly called the KJV). There is no Biblical reference to Gabriel having any wings, much less 600.
So began a period of bloodshed and conquest by the descendants of the archer, Ishmael, unparalleled in human history (see Genesis 21:20 & Revelation 6:1,2). Muhammad had many similar visions after that causing him to fall into convulsions or faint, covered in sweat. It is possible that he was suffering from epilepsy because the sound of a bell would precede the fits he had, which some say is a frequent occurrence in epilepsy. But, this is mere speculation and many of the known symptoms of an epileptic seizure are missing from the accounts of his visions so we can probably safely dismiss such a purely physical ailment and ascribe something more spiritual and sinister to his condition. Over the next several years he announced himself more and more as the messenger of Allah, who he said was the one true god. His claims of one god were disturbing to the merchants who depended on pilgrimage and the worship of many gods for their income, but he did gain some important converts including his wife and his cousin Ali along with high standing people in the community. The community leaders who followed him later became known as his “Companions” and they are the ones that wrote down his sayings, creating the Koran, lest those sayings be lost to posterity.
The rest of the politically powerful in the city had people who had converted to Islam after being freed from slavery imprisoned, but Muhammad’s followers paid a fortune in fines to free them. Muhammad, known as The Prophet, suggested the freed followers emigrate to Abyssinia, current day Ethiopia, and they were received by the Christian king. This was in 615, the year that Pope Boniface the IVth died and Pope Pope Deusdedit began his pontificate.
It is also the time of the reign of Flavius Heraclius Augustus over the Roman Empire from the east, ruling from Constantinople. The empire was in disarray with the Persian Empire making great inroads into the Middle East and a distinct lack of imperial authority being characteristic of the time in Muhammad’s world. Things were so bad that Heraclius considered moving the capital to Carthage, rebuilt and populous by the second century, a center of Christianity in North Africa. But, the former general under the Emperor Maurice chose not to make the move but preferred to strengthen his army.
In 616, those citizens who still believed in the many gods of the Kaaba formed an alliance to fight Muhammad and his followers and by 620 Muhammad left Mecca and went to Taif but he and his group were thrown out of that town and he went back to Mecca where he “married”, at age 50, the seven year old daughter of one of his most important followers. Finally, rather than be massacred by the authorities, Muhammad and his followers fled to Medina on July 16, 622 and historians like Durant mark this event, called the Hegira or flight, as the beginning of the Muslim era. Now, the religion grew to be spread around the world. Durant says that, at Medina, Muhammad ended many kinship ties that so characterized Arabian society and tried to replace “bonds of blood with those of religious brotherhood in a theocratic state”. A theocracy is a state run by a religious organization. The Vatican is a theocracy as were many early Protestant countries such as England where church and state were one with the king or prince being the head of both. Once again, political religion raises its ugly head. No distinction was made between secular and religious affairs, all came under religious jurisdiction. Notice the difference between that concept and the Lord Jesus Christ’s refusal to engage in a civil dispute over property in Luke 12:13-21, only admonishing the petitioner with a parable about covetousness.
The authority of the Prophet, the false prophet, Muhammad, became absolute. His followers made up for their lacking in physical necessities by raiding caravans like common brigands, with one particular raid organized by Muhammad that took place on a special holy day. Mecca sent as small army to try to destroy the Prophet. They were defeated in what Muslims call a miracle at Wadi Bedr (a wadi is a dry riverbed). When a woman poet condemned his thievery and murderous ways in a poem one of his followers killed her in her sleep and was blessed for it by Muhammad himself. Islam means “submission” in Arabic and submission to Muhammad’s criminal behavior became the norm for this warlike cult and cult it was, not much different than the followers of a Jim Jones or David Koresh, only more successful, following their leader’s own peculiar view of the world and eternity to the death, theirs and others.
When another poet, a man, criticized him, that poet’s head was laid at his feet. As Muhammad was also head of state as well as head of religion, this was viewed as perfectly acceptable in the light of the poet’s treason.
Formerly allying themselves with Muhammad, the Jews of Medina now turned on him and his interpretation of their scriptures, claiming to be their own awaited Messiah. As a result he not only changed the direction that Muslim’s were to pray in, from Jerusalem to Mecca and the Kaaba in 624 but he also exiled certain Jews from the city. In the meantime, early in 625, the Meccan leadership went forth to do battle with Muhammad and his followers again. This time, outnumbering the Muslims 3 to 1 the Meccans defeated them, even injuring Muhammad. The Meccan leader’s wife victoriously munched on the liver and made anklets and a necklace out of the skin and nails of a fallen Muslim warrior who had killed her father, uncle, and brother at the last battle. Muhammad, upon recovering, accused another group of Jews of plotting with his enemies and banished them. They proceeded to ally themselves with the Meccans and as a result faced Muslim wrath, as did many other Jewish clans. Finally, Muhammad was victorious consistently in battle and on the diplomatic front and entered Mecca in triumph. In his two remaining years until his death in 632, he continued to be the winner, even seeing all of Arabia submit to his command, his increasing skill as a general, and his drawing to him of other skilled generals, formerly his enemies, and his new religion.
Muhammad was tolerant of other religions as long as they did not oppose him in any way. He protected Christians in Arabia and merely limited their ability to charge interest on loans. One of his more infamous demands was that the Muslims observe a calendar he personally devised which kept their dating all out of sync with the seasons, and which gained a year every 32 and ½ years. He drew up no code of laws, had no system of government and pretty much dictated the life of his subjects based on his own whims. Muhammad was polygamous, in that he had a number of wives and concubines, which was not unusual in that world and he did marry a very young girl which was also not that out of the ordinary as women often suffered through arranged marriages from an early age with men that were either much older or strangers or both. Women and power were Muhammad’s great indulgences. However, he was also extremely vain; perfuming his body, painting his eyes, dying his hair, and wearing a ring inscribed with “Muhammad, Messenger of Allah”. He would fit right in with many TV preachers today, it would seem. Toward the end of his life he was known to sneak out in the middle of the night and go to the nearest graveyard, ask forgiveness of the dead, congratulate them on being dead, and pray aloud for them. On June 7, 632, Muhammad died after a brief illness. He was 62 or 63 years old depending upon whom you read.
Pope Honorius I was ruling from Rome, having succeeded Boniface V at his death in 625 after a pontificate Boniface V spent pulling the English Christians more firmly into the Catholic dominion. Honorius I, who was pope until 638, was later condemned as a heretic at the Council of Constantinople or First Trullan Council in 680, long after his
death, for his compromising with the sect of the Monophysites, who believed that Christ only had one nature. This had been rejected at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. For Honorius’ attempt to compromise by upholding the alternative view called Monothelitism, that said that Christ had one will but two natures, human and divine, he was used as an argument against the doctrine of Papal Infallibility put forth at the First Vatican Council of 1870.
Having defeated the Persians in 627, the emperor Heraclius allied with the Ethiopians, and regained all of the territory he had lost. In 630, at the height of his and Muhammad’s power, he marched into Jerusalem and Muhammad marched into Mecca, Heraclius restoring a relic called The True Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which supposedly encompasses the ground where Jesus was crucified. The emperor took sick immediately after his victory and never fought at the head of his army again. Before his death, the Eastern Roman army would come face to face with the triumphant Muslim army, which had united the Arabian Peninsula at the battle of Yarmuk in 636. The Roman army was defeated by the Muslim army there in a battle that is marked as one of the most important in the world as it represents the advent of Islamic conquest of the Middle East and, for that matter, all of Islam’s conquests outside of Arabia. I want to now talk about Muhammad’s other legacy, the Koran.
The word Koran or Qur’an means a reading or a discourse in Arabic and is considered to be the sacred scriptures to the Muslim. If you want to make a comparison with Roman Catholicism, Muhammad would be like Mary, the mother of God, and the Koran would be like Jesus Christ, the living, eternal Word. Of course, to a Bible believing Christian Muhammad is merely another in a long line of false prophets typifying the anti-Christ, the beast to come, in many different ways. The Koran is an accumulation of sayings, spoken by one man. Muhammad dictated some of the writings put down on parchment, leather, palm-leaves, or bones and they were spoken to an assembly, and deposited with other revelations in no special chronological or logical order. After Muhammad’s death it was ordered by his replacement in 633, the Caliph Abu Bekr, that these writings be brought together in a book for the edification of the Muslims. As these were brought together in various forms it became clear that there were too many different versions saying different things so another successor to Muhammad, another Caliph, in 651, ordered a definitive and official revision to be the standard for all Muslims. In spite of this, copies in various languages and dialects speak differently so it is considered imperative for the Muslim who truly wants to know to learn Arabic, the first and official language of Islam. The 114 chapters, called suras, are arranged in order of their length with the longest first, not doctrinal import or chronological sequence. Since the earlier revelations were shorter the Koran is actually written in a kind of reverse chronological order. The book is considered the first literature written in Arabic and the best. Muhammad borrows much from the Bible and mixes up timelines and puts people with other people who did not live at the same time, however. The Koran also makes odd statements about how the Holy Land does indeed belong to the Jews which makes the Palestinian Arab an interloper. There are contradictory statements about Christians and
Jews, as well, first honoring them as “people of the book”, stating the gospels are the word of God and should be believed, but then going on to say that Christians and Jews are to be despised and that if a rock had one hiding behind it the rock would cry out and tell the Muslim that there was a Jew or Christian hiding behind it. Of course, this is irrelevant to the Muslim as like a modern Christian he or she is less concerned about what their holy book actually says as much as what some important person of the faith (to them) says that it actually means.
Now, to the efforts of the first Muslims to spread their religion; Muhammad’s successors, from 632 to 1058, cut a swathe of conquest, using the superior horsemanship of the Arabian nomad to overthrow the Roman and the Persian cavalry and infantry formations. In 635 they took Damascus, in 636 Antioch where Christians were first called as such, in 638 Jerusalem, the year that the emperor Heraclius died who had so proudly rode into Jerusalem to reconquer it eight years earlier. By 640, all of Syria was Muslim, and by 641 Persia and Egypt had been conquered. At first the Muslim conquerors were gracious to the Christians over which they ruled, even respecting their holy places. Islam spread through Afghanistan and then to throughout Asia Minor to the Black Sea. In the struggles for control of Islam, Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad was killed and became a martyr and those devoted to him became the Shia sect of Islam, called Shiites in today’s news. The minority sect of Islam, they are in contrast to the Sunni sect which represent the majority view. Two important dynasties ruled over Islam early on; the Umayyads from 661 to 750 and the Abbasids from 750 to 1058. From Spain to India, Islam was prevailing by force of arms and diplomatic persuasion.
In 1060, the Seljuk Turks of Central Asia conquered Armenia, which had been the first country to be called a Christian nation by historians and although only an individual person can be truly called a Christian, it does make for a convenient categorizing of nations by the predominant profession of faith. The Armenians had retained their independence by being nominally under the Caliph, keeping their faith and operating independently.
The Eastern Roman empire aka the Byzantine empire was led by a long line of rulers who squabbled over minute points of theology and engaged in bloody and ruthless, often fratricidal or killing within one’s family, infighting and assassination. While emperors fought over whether or not images should be used in worship and Iconcoclasts, influenced by Islam’s ban on pictures and images, destroyed many thousands of priceless pieces of art as relics of idolatry their empire was crumbling around them. The word, Byzantine, has become a term to describe a complex and treacherous, deceitful working behind the scenes, undecipherable to the outside, to impose one’s ideas or bloodline in power. The word, craft, is used in Daniel 8:25 for this type of political shenanigans according to Strong’s dictionary. The negative phrase, “the smoke filled room”, used to describe the location of so many modern, political decisions by the powerful and power hungry, is a like phrase to the term, Byzantine. Councils were called, Popes were consulted, and royal families saw their sons and daughters dismembered, beheaded,
and eviscerated (insides cut out), in vainglorious and useless disputes by an apostate church-state over the proper way to worship God and the proper persons to decide that worship. The empire was doomed as the long chain of emperors and empresses became more and more detached from the nightmare that the world that was the beneficiary of the heritage of Rome had become although its death was prolonged by the occasional resurgence of intelligent and able emperors. The common people fared no better than their leaders. Durant tells us “The populace, disordered and manipulated by divisions of race, class, or creed, was fickle, bloodthirsty, periodically turbulent; bribed by the state with doles of bread, oil, and wine; diverted by horse races, beast baitings, rope dancing, indecent pantomimes in the theater, and by imperial or ecclesiastical pageantry in the streets. Gambling halls and saloons were everywhere; houses of prostitution could be found on almost every street, sometimes at the very church doors.”
The society and the empire were hopelessly corrupt but experienced a sort of revival under Macedonian emperors from 867-1057. While Western Europe was sinking into an abyss of misery and ignorance lit only by the devoted in Ireland, writing books and sending out missionaries and keeping civilization alive, the Eastern Empire recovered some of the territory lost to the Arabs, reclaimed south Italy for the empire, and experienced a rebirth of literature and art. The Greek side of the Roman Catholic Church grew stronger, with the power of the Byzantine state behind it as Russia, Bulgaria, and Serbia came under its sway in conversion. This was deeply resented by the impoverished and debased Papacy at Rome. To the empire, the west seemed crude and barbaric, with Anglo-Saxons, Franks, and Germans nothing more than a violent and illiterate laity led by a corrupt clergy. The Pope rejected the Byzantine emperor’s choice for the king of the Franks, elected a rival emperor to the established one in Constantinople, and tried to make influential inroads into Greek dominated south Italy. The Eastern and Western parts of the state-church began to split severely over these political, not creedal, differences first and foremost.
Then, in 1043, Michael Cerularius was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople, a monk of noble birth, intelligence, a broad education, and a strong will. He rejected any submission to Rome. In 1053 he circulated a Latin treatise or paper, criticizing the Roman church for, among other things, enforced clerical celibacy whereby priests were now forbidden to marry (see 1 Timothy 4:1-5). He then closed all churches that followed Latin ritual and excommunicated their priests.
Pope Leo IX, also of noble birth, was famous for leading his own armies into battle and for attempting to reform the Roman church with traditional morality. He sent a letter to Cerularius demanding that he accept the authority of the Pope and branding any church that did not as Satanic. In a diplomatic vein he sent a delegation to the emperor and the patriarch to discuss the growing differences between the eastern and western church. Some historians say that Leo’s legation, his legates, deposited a Papal Bull, a public statement with the Pope’s authority, on the altar at St. Sophia church in response to Cerularius’ condemnation of the Roman church and his refusal to submit to Rome
excommunicating Cerularius, kicking him out of the Christian church. Others say it was a preemptive strike but was delivered in July, 1054 several months after Leo’s death in April and was not the product of the Pope’s will. In any event, Cerularius convened a council representing all of Eastern Christianity and the split or schism was complete. There would now be a church called Eastern Orthodox in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, also a state church willing and capable of killing anyone who opposed it, particularly those who adhered to the scriptures as their final authority rather than a Patriarch, king, or Pope. Two of the three measures of meal leavened by the woman in Matthew 13:33 (see also Luke 12:1; Exodus 12:15) were prepared. For a thousand years the Papacy would covet the return of the Eastern church fomenting wars and encouraging loyal secular leaders to win the East for Rome. Some scholars have blamed part of the reasons for the great wars of the 20th century on this effort based on a vision of the Virgin Mary in the early part of that century that promised that Russia would be won over to the Pope’s side of Christianity.
In the British Isles, Wales was a refuge for many Roman Britons of Celtic stock, from the Anglo-Saxon invasion of England. It had been converted to Christianity early on, perhaps as early as the first century by the missionaries Pudens and Claudia who had come under the ministry of Paul while in Rome according to J. Davis in his “History of the Welsh Baptists”. Studying Schaff’s ‘History of the Christian Church’, Ruckman’s ‘History of the New Testament Church’, and Durant shows that Christianity came early to the British Isles, was unique and clearly showed the influence of Antioch and the early, apostolic Christians and only later, by diplomacy, threats, and force came under the dominion of the Roman church. In the sixth century, Roman Catholicism was imposed on Wales. The Welsh, the people of Wales, were politically united under King Hywel the Good who ruled between 910-950, and provided them with a unified code of laws. Gruffydd ap Llywelyn defeated the English country of Mercia which, in turn resulted in the conquest of Wales for the English by King Harold in 1063.
After the death of Patrick and until the eleventh century Ireland was divided into seven kingdoms; three in Ulster which is the proper name for what we call Northern Ireland today, Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Meath. They fought among themselves and quite early also raided the British coast. The chronicles called these raiders, Scots, a Celtic word for wanderer, which referred in the early part of the first millennium AD to the Irish. Government was tribal, warfare was endemic or common, and the family was the supreme governing entity. Several families made a clan, several clans made a tribe. The prefixes Ui or O began to be affixed to a tribal name to indicate descent from a common ancestor about the ninth century or the 800’s. For instance, the O’Neills claimed descent from Niall Glundubh, King of Ireland in 916. Early Christian monks opened schools of every scope and degree including studies in Bible, Latin, Greek, and Gaelic grammar, (Gaelic is the native language of Ireland). Poor students (in the English language a student used to be called, scholar, and a teacher, master; see 1 Chronicles 25:8; Malachi 2:12 in the Authorized Version), poor students were maintained by public funds as the Irish made every sacrifice to encourage literacy and learning. The time
before Rome took control could hardly be called The Dark Ages in Ireland. Ireland was united under the great king, Brian Boru, between 941 and 1014. Politically and materially, they may have been far behind their contemporaries by our standards, but culturally they were the most advanced in the West, until 1172, when the English or Anglo-Norman king Henry II, under the authority of a papal bull of the English Pope, Adrian IV, invaded Ireland for Rome and England. Ireland has suffered much since that time. I have in my possession three large books, one called ‘Ireland in Poetry’ as Ireland had a long, profoundly deep, and literate poetic history, and “Irish Legends”, and “Legendary Ireland”, showing pictures and relating stories of Irish mythology and mythic history.
The tribes of Scotland, once called Caledonia; among them the Celtic Picts, had been so hard to conquer that the Roman Empire had built a wall separating them from the rest of Briton, called Hadrian’s Wall. Late in the 5th century (400’s) a tribe of Gaelic Scotti from Northern Ireland migrated there and basically took over. Three other groups of people; Picts, Briton refugees from the Anglo-Saxon invasion, and Anglo-Saxons themselves competed for the area of Scotland. In 617, Saxons under Edwin, king of Northumbria, captured a hilltop stronghold of the Picts and named it Ed(w)inburgh. It was retaken by Picts and Scots in 954 and made the capital. Malcolm II united much of Scotland in 1018. Duncan I, between 1034 and 1040 united Picts, Scots, Celtic Britons, and Anglo-Saxon settlers into one kingdom of Scotland. Duncan was defeated by the English at Durham and murdered by his general, Macbeth, in 1040, who reigned for 17 years and was murdered by Duncan’s son, Malcolm III. He also had a play written about him by Shakespeare. You might have heard about it. Of the 17 kings who ruled Scotland from 844 to 1057, 12 died by assassination.
Further south, the Germanic Anglo-Saxon invasion had barely been successful over the Celtic Britons (I highly recommend a book called “The Isles” by Norman Davies) when another invader, whom we mentioned at the beginning of this class, began their bloody work. According to Durant, the Northmen or Norsemen aka the Vikings were Teutonic (Germans) whose ancestors had moved from the general area the Anglo-Saxons had come from into Denmark, Sweden, and Norway displacing the Celtic population who had displaced a Mongolian population who were related to Eskimos and Laplanders (Lapland is the northernmost cultural region of Scandinavia). Dan Mikillati, an early chieftain, gave his name to Denmark or Dan’s march or province, Sweden came from Tacitus’ Suiones, and Norway was simply the Norge or northern way. I would also recommend Gywn Jones’ ‘A History of the Vikings’.
Gorm gave Denmark unity and ruled in the late 9th century (800’s to early 900’s) and early 10th century, Harald Bluetooth, his son, gave it Christianity between 945 and 985, Sweyn Forkbeard conquered England between 985 and 1014 and made Denmark one of the great powers of Europe for a time. King Olaf Scottkonung made Sweden nominally Christian sometime between 994 and 1022. In the mid-800’s, Norway, a conglomeration of 31 principalities ruled by a warrior chieftain, was almost all united under Halfdan the
Black, who became its first king. His son, Harald Haarfager, between 860 and 933, conquered the rest of it. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a long history of the people who invaded Roman Briton, declares that in 787, before England had even been united under Anglo-Saxon rule “came three ships to the West Saxon shores….and they slew folk These were the first ships of Danish men that sought land of Engle folk.”
In 793 a Danish expedition sacked the famous monastery of Lindisfarne and murdered its monks. In 838 East Anglia and Kent were raided and in 839 a pirate fleet of 350 ships moored in the Thames river and sacked Canterbury and London. Monasteries were destroyed, libraries were burnt, and cities ruined. By 871, most of England north of the Thames River was Viking.
Then, at the age of 22, a great English king rose to the throne of West Saxony; a man named Alfred who would become known as Alfred the Great. He would translate part of the Bible and carry it with him. He was possibly an epileptic, suffering a seizure at a wedding feast, but he is portrayed as a hunter, handsome and graceful, Durant tells us, and surpassed all of his family in the warrior arts and wisdom. After being defeated by the Danes he managed to turn the tables in 878 at the battle of Edington. Half of the Danish invaders moved to attack France and the other half agreed to stay within a limited area of northeastern England called Danelaw. He then conquered the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, uniting them against the invaders, rebuilt his army, built a navy, established common law for all of his kingdoms, reformed the administration of justice, provided legal protection for the poor, and built or rebuilt towns and cities.
In 894, a fresh invasion of Danes, allied with Welsh Celts not yet conquered by the Anglo-Saxons, was defeated by Alfred’s son, Edward’s army and navy. Alfred died in or about 899 at a comparatively young, by our standards, 50-52 years of age. At the end of the 900’s another Scandinavian assault resulted in victory and the forcing of King Ethelred to pay a tribute to the conquerors which became known as the Danegeld. Later, after ordering the slaughter of many of the Danes he fled to Normandy when King Sweyn of Denmark conquered England in revenge. Ethelred had married the daughter of the Norman Duke Richard I. The Normans were also descendants of Viking conquerors on the west coast of France. By 1016 the invasion of England by Cnut, the Dane, was complete.
Before we move on to the continent during this era, I want to mention some important Anglo-Saxon literature. The history known as The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle I’ve already mentioned. Another is the epic poem, Beowulf. Alfred’s life is preserved in The Life of Alfred by Asser. Caedmon is the oldest name of a poet on record of Anglo-Saxon origin, preserved only by comments of the Venerable Bede in his Ecclesiastical History.
The greatest of Medieval kings who ruled an empire comprising modern France and Germany was born in 742. His name was Charlemagne.
The Merovingian dynasty had ruled the Frankish tribes in what is now France since before the great Clovis in the late 400’s forced Catholic Christianity upon his subjects. This line of kings eventually became ineffectual and basically worthless but had produced strong major domos or “mayors of the palace” who did their fighting for them like Charles Martel (the hammer) among others, who had defeated the Muslim invaders at Tours in 732 thereby stopping the northern advance of Islam into the rest of Europe from Spain. Pepin III overthrew the impotent Merovingians and began the Carolingian dynasty with Pope Zacharias’ blessing. This dynasty ruled the Franks from 751 to 987. Charlemagne was his son.
Charlemagne became sole king after his brother died in 771. He aided Pope Hadrian II in his struggle against the Lombard king, Desiderius, who had invaded the states directly controlled by the papacy. Charlemagne’s victory allowed him to claim Lombardy, part of Italy as his own. Returning to his capital of Aachen, he began a series of 53 campaigns that carved out an empire consisting of Germany, France, and part of Italy. He allied himself with one Muslim king in Spain against another but was forced to return home due to a revolt in German Saxony. As he retreated through the Pyrenees he was attacked by a force of Basques who wiped out his rear guard. This resulted in the epic poem, The Song of Roland, which was written down three centuries later. Finally, Charlemagne did conquer a strip of Northeast Spain for his empire. By becoming the military wing of the Papacy and forcing his empire to accept the Roman Catholic religion, Charlemagne became a type of the anti-Christ to come. In 800 Pope Leo III crowned him emperor of the Romans. By receiving the crown from the Pope he affirmed, even if unwittingly as some historians say, the Pope’s authority over kings and princes and created the Holy Roman Empire. Charlemagne was a ruthless dictator who was especially cruel, Durant says, in spreading Roman Catholic Christianity by force of arms. He had four wives and five concubines, many illegitimate children, and even encouraged his daughters to forebear marriage and they also produced many illegitimate offspring. He finally died in 814 and is said to have been buried with his finger pointed to an open Latin Vulgate on his chest, open to Matthew 16:26, although a later emperor, Otto III reported that when he opened Charlemagne’s tomb he was sitting up on a throne and no open Bible was in sight.
As is the case with most great conquerors, his successors were incompetent and quarrelsome. Viking invasions and demands for territory weakened their power significantly as did constant infighting and civil wars. When Louis V died in 987, the nobles of France with the approval of their archbishop elected Hugh Capet as king and Capetian line would rule France until the revolution. The western part of France had been lost to the Normans, Vikings, who had also established a strong base in the island of Sicily and other parts of Europe. Virtually the modern states of Italy, Germany, and France (although not by those names) had been partitioned by the Treaty of Verdun in 843 with different kings receiving different grants of territory.
Throughout the first part of the Dark Ages, the Jews lived a miserable existence but God’s mercy permitted them to grow in influence in both Catholic Europe and the Islamic world. Jewish communities sprung up everywhere and in the cities of Palestine and Babylonia the Jewish scribes created great bodies of law and commentary known as the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. Their great dispute was over the divine origin of not just the written law that Moses had left them but of the oral law which had been passed down from priest to priest, the “traditions of men” which Jesus so roundly condemned. The Mishna or oral teaching was designed for memory by repetition and was the theme of many schools of Rabbinical thought. Durant puts it this way;
“Israel now had a law, but no state; a book, but no home. To 614 Jerusalem was a Christian city; till 629, Persian, till 637, again Christian; then till 1099, a Moslem provincial capital.”
In Frankish lands, the Merovingian kings persecuted them mercilessly. Although there are stories of Charlemagne using Jews in various professions and protecting them in that regard one king even threatened that if they did not convert to Catholicism he’d have their eyes torn out. Jews were often advisors to kings in medicine and other sciences.
The Spanish Jews called themselves Sephardim and traced their origin to the tribe of Judah. Before the Muslims conquered Spain the Visigothic kings of Spain made life miserable for them. The Jews, therefore, were very helpful when the Moors of North Africa and the Arabs invaded in 711. The Muslims encouraged immigration and 50,000 Jews came from Palestine and North Africa and some towns were completely inhabited by Jews. However, in 1066, the favored Jewish aristocracy that had been encouraged by enlightened Muslim rulers came to an end when Arab Spaniards revolted, crucified the most prominent Jewish advisor to their king and massacred 4000 Jews at Granada. The long peace between all Spanish Jews and Muslims came to an end within two decades of that event.
Groups of Christians who did not follow or submit to either the bishop of Rome or the Patriarch of Constantinople continued from the time of the apostles to the Reformation and beyond. We have mentioned several groups in previous classes but a mention from Foxe’s ‘Acts and Monuments’ will suffice to show what danger they faced by refusing to adopt infant baptism or the authority of the Pope or Patriarch. Welsh Christians were faced with a Roman Catholic Missionary named Austin who, when the Celtic Christians he faced refused to accept infant baptism, had them slaughtered. The majority of the Welsh submitted to the dictates of the Papacy after that. ‘Acts and Monuments’ offers a revealing look at the history of New Testament Christianity, the minority, running along side of the state church of the Dark Ages. As in 1 Kings 19:18, God kept a remnant of believers separate who did not follow the herd.
We have spoken of several important dates here with many momentous events happening around the end of the first millennium AD. This particular time is worthy of note as a natural dividing line separating the Dark Ages into two sections or, as traditional historians insist, separating the Dark from the Middle Ages or the Medieval period. The conquest of England by the Danes, the fall of the Carolingians in France, and the Muslim invasion of Spain made the first millennium AD appear as if it was to be the last. The world appeared to be engulfed in cataclysmic political and religious events. In the book, ‘The First Apocalypse’ by James Reston, Jr. Europe at the year 1000AD is discussed. He goes into great detail about the political, religious, and ethnic upheavals in Europe at the end of the age. Other chroniclers tell us that Viking and Muslim invasions, Magyar invasions from the east, the fall of once victorious Frankish dynasties, and general uncertainty led many to surrender their land to the Roman church itself and wait humbly and often terrified for the end of history. When it didn’t happen the way they thought it would those foolish enough to have surrendered their property to the church of the so-called Vicar of Christ sitting in churches awaiting the end learned that it was lost to them forever.
Proceeding to the period after the expectations of the end of the world were dashed when the end of the first millennium came and went, the Viking conquest of England under Cnut was brutal and although he is heralded by historians as a true statesman, he was also extremely cruel to the English at first. He did, however, marry the widow of the defeated English king, a woman who was the daughter of the Norman Duke Richard I, making an alliance with her brother who was now the duke. He accepted Catholic Christianity and built many churches, thereby ingratiating himself to Rome. He also managed to keep continuity in Anglo-Saxon England by continuing cultural norms and legal systems. Finally, after his insecure, youthful rule he became himself more and more English and ultimately he brought the Isles twelve years of peace. He began to appoint only the English to positions of authority. He was not only King of England but King of Denmark and in 1028 he was King of Norway, as well. To quote Durant, “he came in as a Dane, and died as an Englishman”. Culturally, the Danish invasion was a disaster but the English recovered and architecture and the literature that Alfred promoted returned after a time. Cnut died at the young age of forty, in 1035.
Before the last Danish king, Harthacnut, died he summoned from Normandy the surviving son of Ethelred the Unready and Emma and recognized his Anglo-Saxon stepbrother as the new king of England. What a twist, huh? But, it gets better and more soap opera like. The new king, Edward the Confessor, was as much a foreigner as any Dane, having lived at the Norman court since the age of 10. He brought his French language and priests to England and his friends became high officials; religious and secular. He gave them royal grants, built Norman castles, and permitted them to show contempt for his English subjects spurring on the Norman conquest decades before it actually happened by force of arms. There was only one Englishman who had the power to influence the Norman acting, English king and that was Earl Godwin, governor of Wessex, and first counselor to the Danish kings that preceded Edward. He became a
powerful influence and his daughter even married the king. Edward, though, had no children. Godwin’s son, Tostig, married the daughter of the count of Flanders and Godwin’s nephew Sweyn became ruler of Denmark, making Earl Godwin the most powerful man, by alliances, in Northern Europe, even more powerful than the King himself. Out of envy, Edward’s Norman friends convinced him to depose Godwin, who then fled to Flanders. His son, Harold, went to Ireland and raised an army against Edward the Confessor’s Norman dominated government. English nobles, resentful of the haughty Normans, who were only one or two generations away from their barbaric Viking ancestors, asked Godwin to return and promised support to overthrow Edward’s friends. Harold and his father, Godwin, with their loyal troops, invaded England and ran off the Normans who surrounded the king. Godwin then died. Harold went on to conquer Wales for England and presented Edward with the head of Welsh chieftain, Gruffyd.
Edward had begun building Westminster Abbey in 1055 and he was laid to rest there in 1066. On January 6, the assembled nobles elected Harold king. However, William, Duke of Normandy, illegitimate son of Robert I, also claimed the throne, claiming to have been promised it by Edward in 1051 as gratitude for 30 years of safe protection in Normandy. In spite of that promise, Edward also recommended Harold for king. William then claimed that as Harold had accepted knighthood from him that he, William, was Harold’s master and was promised support by Harold for his claim to the throne. William appealed to Pope Alexander II, who condemned and excommunicated Harold and granted the throne to William. Tostig, Harold’s brother, raised a Viking army to invade from the north under the leadership of Harald Hardrada, of Norway, under a promise of the English throne, even though Tostig was allied with William. Harold of England defeated Hardrada’s army at the battle of Stamford Bridge but was defeated at the battle of Hastings on October 14. William, the Pope’s man, was crowned king on Christmas day. Harold, whose body had been badly mutilated, was buried in pieces in a church he had built at Waltham. Norman England, a combination of Celtic Briton, Anglo-Saxon, French, and Viking civilization had officially begun.
Otto I the Great was the Charlemagne of Germany. Twenty four at his succession he created a German church tied to the state and united a powerful state consisting of present day German and Austria, loosely allied to the Pope. He also successfully defeated the Magyar tribe who had invaded his realm. Responding to an appeal for aid from Pope John XII he conquered Italy and was crowned Roman Emperor of the West by the Pope in 962.
Otto II married the daughter of Romanus II, the Byzantine emperor, but died trying to conquer southern Italy. Otto III, starting in 996, attempted to unite all Christendom under a revived Roman Empire, ruled from Rome. This figure, in typology, of the anti-Christ to come at the end of the church age installed his own pope, Gebhart, but his early death cancelled his dream. Henry II elevated the empire to its height, conquering territory, and bringing a brief golden age to Central Europe. He appointed two popes himself. Henry IV, fought with Pope Gregory VII, who had forbade the appointment of powerful bishops
by laymen in a dispute called the investiture controversy that would last for centuries and for Henry IV resulted in a ten year war of diplomacy and violence that ended in his death in 1106.
Now, we are going to address the Bible itself during the period we have discussed, particularly in what is known to us today as England. The Cambridge History of the Bible edited by G.W.H. Lampe in 1969, has on page 427 of Volume 2 this interesting statement;
“No doubt only a small part of the translations actually made have come down to us…”
As we have seen England was dominated by Celtic Britons for at least 500 years before the Romans conquered in the middle of the first century with their laws, language, and massive building programs. In a very short time missionaries from the region of Syria would pass through Rome and deliver the gospel to the natives of Britain. Celtic Britons living in what might be referenced in the Bible as “the isles” had God’s word long before traditional and even so-called Christians historians honor the imposition of Roman Catholicism by the monk Augustine in 597. That is simply an error as is ascribing all Christian efforts in history to Rome.
John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, written in 1583, gives seven proofs that the gospel was spread all over Britain long before the Roman church arrived. Taking the testimony of the ancient chronicler, Gildas, writing in 633, he says that Britain received the gospel while Tiberius still reigned. Tiberius was the emperor under whom Christ was crucified. He then points out the old legend that Joseph of Arimathea, who gave Christ his own tomb, was sent by Philip the Apostle to Britain in about 63AD. This can be found in Volume I, page 306.
Walter Scott states in The Story of Our English Bible that “Christ and him crucified was preached in Great Britain as early as the first century, especially during the reigns of Nero and Domitian, A.D. 54-68, 81-96, and probably by the immediate companions of the Apostle Paul, while numerous translations of portions of the Scriptures from the …(Old) Latin Bible…were made and circulated during the second century. It is an interesting circumstance that Bran, a British king, was at Rome as a hostage for the good behavior of his country, during the imprisonment of Paul in the imperial city. He was probably converted by the Apostle, as on his return to Britain he was accompanied by certain Christian teachers, among who was Aristobulus (Romans 16:10). Bran preached Christ in Wales.” (page 126).
William of Malmesbury, writing in the 1100’s, reconfirms that Christianity was brought to Britain by at least the year 63, by Joseph of Arimathea and 12 companions in his On the Antiquity of the Church at Glastonbury as cited by Bruce Metzger on page 443 of his 1977 work, The Early Versions of the New Testament.
John Marsden, who wrote a biography of The Venerable Bede, says that the Romans brought Christianity as far as Hadrian’s Wall in 121AD in his book, The Illustrated Bede.
Foxe goes on to say that Tertullian, the early church “father”, wrote in his Against the Jews that the gospel was taken to Britain and many places not covered by Roman authority. Metzger even admits that in his book.
Foxe’s third proof is a citation from Origen, who died in 254, that Christ was preached in Britain before the days of Eleutherius in 180. The fact that Origen states that Christianity was a great civilizing force in Britain in the first two centuries is also cited by Metzger.
Metzger cites J.M.C. Toynbee who says that Origen’s and Tertullian’s first hand account “testify to a well established Christian community, capable of at least some missionary effort, and to a fairly widespread diffusion of the faith, in the province (Britain) by about the year 200” (quoting Christianity in Roman Britain, an article in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, as cited in Metzger, page 444).
Foxe takes the word of the Venerable Bede as his fourth argument who claimed that the missionaries to Britain, the first ones, did not come from Rome but from what we call today “the Middle East”. Fifth, he says that one Nicephorous claimed that Simon Zelotes, an apostle called in Luke 6:15, also spread Christianity as far as Britain. Sixth, he quotes a Peter of Clugni saying that the Scots refused to acknowledge the primacy of the bishop of Rome (the Pope) above their practice of the faith, and seventh, he goes on to say that a King Lucius had received the faith in 180 from two missionaries, Fagan and Damian.
Bede wrote, in the 600’s, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, and he also wrote about Lucius, king of the Britons, in the second century, receiving Christ as referred to Blair in his 1996 book, Anglo-Saxon England, originally published by the Cambridge University Press.
William of Malmesbury is cited by Metzger as talking about the missionaries who converted King Lucius and how they found the church “that had been built the previous century by the hands of the disciples of Christ”.
The Christian community in Britain was, according to Foxe, Bede, Constantius, and Gildas was decimated by the persecution of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 303 and almost destroyed. Foxe says that we have no copies of the Celtic scriptures written before 300AD because they were all destroyed. Bede, using what he claims are “ancient documents” tells about the early Celtic Christians who were killed in that persecution. Gildas refers to the destruction of churches and their rebuilding. The persecution by Diocletian in 303 and the sack of Britain by the Saxon invaders in 449 destroyed any Bibles in Celtic Briton or the Old Latin in Britain.
Gerhard Herm’s The Celts, a secular book, admits that the Celtic church flourished and was quite different than what the Pope desired with Christianity advanced by “the power of persuasion alone”. (try the Holy Spirit, Gerhard). I have already pointed out how Ireland produced missionaries and copied scriptures while Europe was languishing in darkness at the beginning of this period.
Blair has pointed out that missionaries from Ireland had a great influence in converting Anglo-Saxons and Jutes. Bede relates how Columba came to preach to the Picts in present day Scotland and how he converted the Anglo-Saxons using the “writings of the prophets, evangelists and apostles” as cited by Marsden in his The Illustrated Bede.
Peter Blair, in his Anglo-Saxon England, says “During its long period of isolation the Celtic Church had developed in complete independence and diverged considerably from the paths followed by Rome, not merely in matters of form and ritual, but more fundamentally in its whole organization. Rome could not readily brook the continued existence of what it regarded as schismatic ways and still less could it contemplate that so large a Christian community which shewed remarkable missionary zeal should not recognize the pope as its spiritual head.”
In Marsden’s book on Bede he records Bede’s account of Caedmon, who translated scriptures into English, which is Anglo-Saxon. Astoundingly, writing in the 600’s, Bede tells us that “reading of the scriptures is in general use among them all”.
Herm’s book quotes a poem from the 600’s;
“Grant me, sweet Christ, the grace to find
Son of the Living God!----
A little pool but very clear
To stand beside the place,
Where all men’s sins are washed away
by sanctifying grace…”
These allusions to such verses as Isaiah 4:4; Ezekiel 16:9; Mark 16:16, and John 6:69 show remarkably the depth of the knowledge of the Bible available to Anglo-Saxon England. John 6:69 is clearly represented in “Son of the Living God” and evidences the ancient authority of this phrase in the King James Bible. The oldest Anglo-Saxon book still surviving in its original binding, according to Anne Savage’s book The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles is the Stonyhurst Gospels containing the Gospel of John, the very gospel that modern, liberal scholars have placed in a separate category from the other three, them being called the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John is the one that was written for the express purpose of getting people saved (John 20:31).
Blair reports that a copy of all four gospels was ordered in 678 for a newly dedicated church at Ripon. At the close of that century a version of the book of Psalms was
translated by a person named Guthlac into Saxon. Aldhelm’s translation of the Psalms into a musical form to be sung or recited called a Psalter was found in the Royal Library at Paris. With regard to Bible translations, Wycliffe, in the preface to his Bible in the 1300’s states that Bede translated the Bible into Saxon. Bede had access to Greek manuscripts because, according to the historians I have mentioned, there were many well stocked libraries by this time in England, thanks partly to the work of the Celtic missionaries from Ireland and Scotland, one Scottish missionary, Aidan, being responsible for the conversion of a King Oswald. The Danish Vikings burnt a great many of these libraries, according to Foxe.
From the time of Alfred the adjective Englisc was in regular use, meaning both Englishman and the language, English. Alfred’s main chronicler, Asser, states that Alfred was in the habit of having the scriptures read to him. He studied translations and kept his own translation in Saxon close to him, calling it his Enchiridion or Manual, which stayed with him day and night. Asser claims that King Alfred’s children learned the Psalms by heart and that Alfred recited the Psalms and sang them day and night. William of Malmesbury recorded that Alfred memorized many of the verses of both the Old and New Testament, as well. J. Bosworth’s The Gospels records that the Scriptures were translated into Anglo-Saxon and revered by them.
Blair and Bosworth both report that the Anglo-Saxon translated scriptures were read in the churches and in daily use. Dore says in his Old Bibles that in the late 10th century, that is the 900’s, Aelfric took early translations of the Bible and translated them into Old English, the language of the day. Metzger supports this by saying that the West Saxon gospels contain a note associating them with Aelfric. The Worcester Fragment, written in the 1200’s but supposedly copied from a much earlier work that didn’t survive talks about men who preached the gospel. Aelfric aided in memorization because he paid close attention to rhythm. According to these scholars I’ve mentioned scripture study and memorization were widespread among Christians in Britain in spite of the commonly held notion that few Christians had scriptures and could read. In Thompson and Hicks’ World History and Cultures Aelfric, the Anglo-Saxon translator, is said to have rejected the Petrine theory that says that Peter was the first pope and that Bede, Aldheim, and Aelfric rejected the apocrypha that is found in the Vatican manuscripts and Bibles. The Rushworth Version of the Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, completed by Faerman and Owun about 950 contains them in the old Northumbrian and Mercian dialects.
These versions were not translated from the corrupted Latin and Greek texts but from the Old Latin Version which had been in constant use until Jerome created the Vulgate. The Gospel According to Saint Luke in Anglo-Saxon and Northumbrian Versions Synoptically Arranged, with Collations Exhibiting ALL the Readings of All the MSS, by Walter Skeat points out the similarity of the Anglo-Saxon versions and how they were not arrived at from using the Roman Catholic Church’s corrupt Latin Vulgate.
The Lindisfarne Gospels were originally done in Latin in 698 and redone by Aldred in 950 in the Old English dialect of Northumbrian. The Lord’s Prayer is written in part like this;
thu art in heofnum
that art in Heaven
gehalgad thin noma
be hallowed thy name
thin ric to-cymeth
thy kingdom to cometh
thin willo sie
thy will be done
in eortho suae in heofne
in earth as it is in heaven
We are now wrapping up what secular historians call The Dark Ages. Traditionally, the next period is called the Middle Ages or the Medieval Period. We will see the Papacy supreme, the Crusades, and take a close look at Medieval society, learn about the Inquisition, the Reconquista, and cover the period up until the first glimpses of the Reformation. But, first, a look at Aztecs, Mongols, Easter Island, and African empires.