The Place of Christianity Among the Religions of the World Joseph Estlin Carpenter

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The Place of Christianity Among the Religions of the World  by  Joseph Estlin Carpenter

The Place of Christianity Among the Religions of the World by Joseph Estlin Carpenter
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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free.This is an OCR edition with typos.Excerpt from book:III. THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST. When Demetrius Phalereus wasMorePurchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free.This is an OCR edition with typos.Excerpt from book:III. THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST. When Demetrius Phalereus was librarian at the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus in the middle of the third century B.C., he is said to have conceived the bold idea of making a collection of all the books to be found in the world.

The Christian writers Eusebius and Epiphanius credited him with a special desire to gather the sacred books of the Ethiopians, Indians, Persians, Elamites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Romans, Phoenicians, Syrians, and Greeks. The good fathers were doubtless led away by their rhetorical zeal in this wide enumeration. The idea which it represents, however, is an interesting one. In the light of the bestknowledge of the first centuries of our era, cultivated minds were well aware that some of the greatest doctrines of religion and morals existed in various forms among many races.

So far was this fact from exciting apprehension, that it deserved rather to be welcomed with joy. The loyal disciple of Jesus could hail the truth wherever he saw it- whatever things have been rightly said among all men, declared Justin the Martyr, are the property of us Christians.

In the contraction of knowledge which followed the decline of the older Greek culture, and the erection of a rigid orthodoxy as a barrier of separation between the Church and the rest of the world, the broad and sympathetic outlook of early Christianity upon Gentile faiths was changed into hostility and mistrust. Not till the great movement of the eighteenth century for the liberation of the mind from ecclesiastical domination, indicated in the French Revolution on the one hand, and in German philosophy on the other, did a new attitude become possible. In this country, indeed, the supremacy of the Evangelical party checked any great advance in this dir...



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