Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Hebrew Language, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

Archaeological discoveries of recent years have taught us that alphabetic writing, the beginning of which, from Egyptian or Phoenician sources, was always conjectural and disputed, is older than was at one time believed. In 1904 and 1905 Sir Flinders Petrie found in the Sinai Peninsula inscriptions in an archaic language which he dated about 1500 B.C. Other inscriptions, in a primitive Canaanite alphabet, were discovered in 1929-35. Prof. S. Langdon, in a letter to the Times (October 5, 1935), claimed that these inscriptions gave us the oldest specimens of a Western Semitic alphabet, and that they belonged to the fifteenth century and showed that written language (besides the Egyptian and the Babylonian characters) was in use in Palestine at that time. Bibliolaters (Sir C. Marston, The Bible Comes Alive, 1937, etc.) at once announced that another Rationalist myth of the last century had been demolished, and that this was the language in which the Mosaic books had been written. Apart from the fact that others date the inscriptions two centuries later than Langdon, and decline to call the language early Hebrew, Rationalist criticism of the Old Testament is not in any degree based upon the obscure question of the origin of alphabetical script. Even if we find that people were writing in such a script in Palestine, in 1500 B.C. or earlier, the legends of Genesis remain Babylonian in origin, the patriarchal age and its wonders (longevity, etc.) are as mythical as ever, and not one line is altered of the immense research of the higher critics (almost all Christians), which proves that the Old Testament as we have it is a compilation, largely fraudulent, of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., and that if the Hebrews had any documents at all before the eighth century B.C., we do not know their contents. It has generally been assumed that the historical books embodied something like "annals" (in a vast amount of fiction) of the Hebrew people. Whether they were written or oral is not material.


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