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)

Justinian, The Emperor (483-565).

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The reputation of Justinian as a great and enlightened monarch, which lingers in our literature, and has recently been refreshed by Masefield's Basilissa (1940), is as undeserved as that of Constantine. For apologetic purposes it was necessary to have at least two "great" Christian monarchs in the five centuries which followed the establishment of the new religion. The youth of Justinian, who was, like his uncle the Emperor Justin, who promoted him, of peasant extraction, may be gathered from the fact that he married a loose actress who had the worst reputation for obscenity in Constantinople. [See Theodora.] Masefield's historical romance is richly informed about the vicious life of the Greeks, but quite false in its delineation of the characters of the Emperor and Empress (properly King and Queen, or Basileus and Basilissa). Bishop John of Ephesus, to whom Theodora was very generous, ingenuously, in a small extant Syriac work, calls her Theodora of the Brothel; and, though the purple persuaded her to alter many of her ways, she was ferocious in temper and quite unscrupulous. There is no evidence whatever of an improvement of the taste or character of Justinian after his accession. His Empire grew because, in Narses and Belisarius, he had two outstanding commanders. Experts recognize no military capacity in the Emperor himself. Eulogists point to the Justinian Code, or reformed Code of Greek-Roman law, as a proof of his ability and beneficence, but it was notoriously compiled by Trebonian, his chief lawyer, who, as Dean Milman pointed out in his History of Latin Christianity, "has incurred the suspicion of atheism." It had, in any case, no influence on European law until the later Middle Ages, Sir Henry Maine says (Ancient Law, Pollock's edition, p. 305). Letoumeau points out that the really beneficent innovators in ancient law were Hadrian and Alexander Severus (or their Stoic lawyers).


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