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)

Saracens, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A name, usually said to mean "Orientals," given indiscriminately to the Moslem by Christians in the Middle Ages, though in classical geography Saracene was a district of the Sinaitic Peninsula, and the Greeks and Romans called the Arabs of the Syrian desert "Saracens." The name was in Europe specially applied to the Arabs who settled in Sicily and South Italy. Sicily had been raised to a high degree of civilization by the ancient Greeks, but had degenerated under the Christian Greeks or Byzantines. In the eighth century the half-barbaric Moslem tribes of Africa began to raid the island and the coasts of Italy, and for more than a century they proved a terrible scourge, ravaging the land as far as the walls of Rome. More enlightened and more sceptical Arabs got control and built up (while Rome lay in the horrors of the Dark Age [see Rule of the Whores]) an admirable civilization. A census showed that 2,000,000 people lived very prosperously in one part of the island, whereas in the nineteenth century this part had only 1,000,000 inhabitants, and they lived in squalor and ignorance. See Amari's Storia dei Musulmani in Sicilia, 3 vols., 1854-72. All the agricultural, industrial, and artistic improvements of the Arab civilization were imported, and science was as assiduously cultivated as in Spain. By the year 1000 (the lowest point of barbarism in the rest of Italy) Sicily had eighteen cities and 900 towns and villages. It is another instance of the creation of a high civilization out of barbaric material in two generations, while apologists seek to excuse the Church for not achieving this in a thousand years. This section of history is important also in showing (with the history of Arab Spain) the true sources of the recovery of civilization in Europe. The Norman pirates settled in South Italy, and in time took over the Arab empire-another instance of a rise from barbarism to civilization, under sceptical rulers, in two generations. Rome was, as usual, hostile, but largely through Frederic II, the Arab culture, which Frederic enthusiastically shared, spread to the cities of North Italy and very materially assisted their renaissance.


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