William Morgan and the Welsh Bible

William Morgan was born in 1545 at Ty Mawr Wybrnant, in the parish of Penmachno, near Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. He attended St John’s College, Cambridge where he studied a range of subjects including Philosophy, Mathematics and Greek.

The Welsh translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures was completed by 1567. It was basically the work of two scholars, William Salesbury and Richard Davies, with Thomas Huet’s translation of the book of Revelation. William Morgan, a Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholar, later revised their translations, adding his rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures. The complete Bible was finally printed in 1588, and by means of it, the goal ‘that every Welshman could draw the truth of the Scriptures from the fountain-head in his own language’ was realized ( Wales: A History, by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, p.155). Why was royal consent given? For the political expediency of religious uniformity and discouraging Catholicism. The fledgling Anglican Church was committed to national sovereignty over England and Wales, and the disappearance of medieval Catholicism, meant replacing the Mass with scriptural exposition. The Act of 1563 actually stated: ‘that the Welsh people might better learn to love and fear God, to serve and obey their Prince (meaning, Elizabeth I), and to know their duties toward their neighbours’..

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William Tyndale c.1494- 1536

WILLIAM TYNDALE, born about 1494, near Gloucester, England, at a turbulent time, that of Henry VIII. He excelled in the study of Hebrew, Greek and Latin. In July 1515  he received a Master of Arts degree at Oxford University.

By 1521 he was an ordained Roman Catholic priest. At that time Catholicism in Germany was in turmoil because of Martin Luther’s activity, but England remained a Catholic country until Henry VIII finally broke with Rome in 1534, and in this respect, was a religious backwater.

About 1521 he came to the home of Sir John Walsh as a tutor for his children. Mealtimes around Walsh’s table often found the young Tyndale debating with the local clergy. Among them was John Stokesley, who had known Tyndale at Oxford. He later replaced Cuthbert Tunstall as bishop of London.

Tyndale matter-of-factly challenged their opinions by using the Bible. In time, the Walsh family became convinced of what Tyndale was saying, and the clergymen were invited less often and were received with less enthusiasm. Naturally, this embittered the clerics further against Tyndale and his beliefs. Tyndale grew convinced that the Bible alone should determine the practices and doctrines of the church and that every believer should be able to read the Bible in his own language..

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The Socinians in Poland

The Socinians

Faustus Socinus (or Fausto Sozzini), an Italian influenced by Servetus’ writings, was moved by his brutal execution at the hands of Calvin, to examine the Trinity doctrine. He concluded that it had no basis in the Bible. Faustus decided to leave his comfortable life as a courtier and share the truths he had learned from the Bible. (Reason and Religion in the English Revolution: The Challenge of Socinianism)

Hounded by the Catholic Inquisition, Socinus travelled to Poland, where, by 1574, he found a small group of Anabaptists who called themselves “The brethren.. who have rejected the Trinity.” To Socinus, this religion was clearly the closest to the truth of the Bible. So he settled in Kraków and began to write in defense of their cause.

These Socinians, as they later came to be called, wanted most of all to restore the pure Christianity taught in the Bible. They felt that the Protestant Reformation had merely skimmed off some of the corruption of the Catholic Church while leaving its unbiblical teachings intact.

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John Hales 1584- 1656

John Hales was a principled English protestant divine born at Bath in 1584. After an education at Oxford, he was elected fellow of Eton College, the capacity for which he is best known. By 1636, his liberal theological views had brought him into conflict with the masterful,autocratic William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, who however, was so charmed by his learning and conversation, that he appointed him as a canon of Windsor.

Hales was a man of learning, well read in many branches of literature, a man of sound common sense, well balanced and moderate in his views, disliked extremism, with a reputation as a peacemaker among his contemporaries. He taught a passion for unity, the value of study, a questioning of religious dogma, but also the necessity of faith.  He greatly admired the teachings of Faustus Socinus (see Post: The Socinians in Poland ), and Clarendon said of Hales, ‘he would often say that he would renounce the Church of England tomorrow if it obliged him to believe that any other Christians should be damned, and that nobody would conclude a man to be damned who did not wish him so.’

Hales was one of the earliest admirers of Shakespeare, Dryden saying of him, ‘there was no subject of which any poet ever writ, but that he would produce it much better done in Shakespeare’. Like many scholars, Hales wrote little, and reluctantly. His miscellaneous writings were collected and published in 1659, under the title ‘Golden Remains of the Ever Memorable Mr. John Hales’

In 1649, Hales was turned out of his Eton fellowship, having refused to take the oath of ‘engagement’ to the Cromwellian regime. This oath took the form: “I do declare and promise, that I will be true and faithful to the Commonwealth of England, as it is now established, without a King or House of Lords.” He refused on the basis of neutrality. He spent the rest of his life in great want, which was relieved to some extent by the sale of his valuable collection of books. He died on 19 May 1656.

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Is the Fish a Christian symbol?

The outstanding unity of early Christian thought began to fade after the death of the apostles. From the second century, Greek philosophy and other pagan practices were mixing  into accepted doctrine.  From the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325, Emperor Constantine’s fusion of the pagan religion of Rome with apostate Christianity moved ahead at a rapid pace.

In 378 A.D, Emperor Gratian granted Damasus, bishop of Rome, the right to bear the old religious title ‘Pontifex Maximus’. During his rule, much was done to embellish the catacombs beneath the city, the tombs of the martyrs. The former healthy Christian respect for the example of faith set by those who were martyred was now contaminated with the corrupt hero worship of Rome and turned into the saint worship of the following century..

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William Whiston 1667- 1752

William Whiston was born in Leicestershire on 9th December 1667, the son of an Anglican clergyman. He is often simply dismissed as a devout eccentric. How accurate is this?

William Whiston was a brilliant Cambridge University colleague of Sir Isaac Newton. If you consult the English edition of the writings of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (see section below), you will likely be reading the translation published by Whiston in 1736. Although other translations exist, his scholarly rendering, along with his notes and essays, has yet to be surpassed and is still in print. Many consider this work to be Whiston’s ultimate achievement.

Not to be overlooked, however, is the Primitive New Testament, Whiston’s translation of the Greek Scriptures. It was published in 1745, in his 78th year.

Love for the Bible was the motivation for what Whiston did. He lived in the ‘Age of Reason’ and Deism, the teaching that reason alone is an adequate basis for belief in God, was growing.  According to James E Force’s book William Whiston: Honest Newtonian , he strongly upheld “the traditionalist view that the Bible is the one infallible source of ancient history.” Sir Isaac Newton, foremost English scientist and philosopher, and author of the 1687 Principia Mathematica, had a profound effect on William Whiston. How?

After Whiston was ordained in 1693, he returned to Cambridge University to study mathematics and become an assistant to Newton. Three years later, Newton relinquished his position as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, and Whiston was appointed in his stead. Whiston lectured on astronomy and mathematics, but Newton’s influence also spurred him to take a deeper interest in Biblical chronology and doctrine.

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The Bible came from Arabia

Rating: ★★★★★

The Bible Came from Arabia

What to make of a radical theory, effectively rewriting Biblical geographical and historical preconceptions?
In short, as I understand the theory, the original land promised to Abraham was not the land of Palestine as we know it, but an area of western Arabia, bordering the Red Sea, now known as Asir. Evidence presented is almost entirely founded upon place-name or topographical evidence, but the author never discounts the ancient presence of some Jewish people in Palestine. After the return from Babylonian exile , in 537BC, the Jews `returned’ to the site of present day Jerusalem, hence the Biblical term `daughter of Zion’. Some thirty locations we associate with the Bible, predating 537BC, such as Salem, Zion, Hebron, Beersheba, etc. being named in Palestine in similar fashion to York (UK), New York (US). Other authors have identified this phenomenon associated with displaced peoples worldwide, such as The Key by John Phillip Cohane (1969). Biblical history after the Babylonian exile is largely accepted by the author.

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The truth about Christmas

Christmas is said to mark the birth of Christ, and it is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians around the world. But this holiday has close ties to an older festival known as the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun.” The impact this pagan tradition had on how Christmas was celebrated is one of the ways in which Christianity became corrupted as it developed after the fourth century.The winter solstice is the time when the Sun reaches its southernmost rising and setting points in the northern hemisphere and the Suns apex at noon is at its lowest point of the year. The days are short and the nights are long.

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The Two Babylons

Rating: ★★★★★

The Two Babylons: or, the Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and his Wife (1916) by Alexander Hislop

Hislop’s work, nearly 100 years old, is still the best starting point for studying comparative religion. Of course, there is much in it that is no longer valid, and so long as the Vatican still stands,it will probably always feature on their banned books list, however, the main theme of the book is incontestable, which is probably why I know of no serious rebuttal.

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Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets


Rating: ★★★★★

Missing Links Discovered in Assyrian Tablets: Study of Assyrian Tables of Israel (1985) by E Raymond Capt

As I am not a British Israelite, what can I say about the core belief, that peoples descended from the ten tribes of Israel, taken into captivity by the Assyrians, eventually settled in the British Isles? Since in a general sense, we accept a Near-east origin of civilisation..

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