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By Paul Carus

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Extra resources for The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day (Open Court paperback)

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They state, "We do not permit our women to teach in the Church, only to pray and to hear those who teach. ". This was rubbish, but it was for this very reason that dozens of gospels were not selected-because they made it quite clear that there were very many active women in the ministry of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, Martha, Helena-Salome, Mary Jacob Cleophas, Joanna. These were not only ministry disciples; they're recorded as priestesses in their own right, running exemplary schools of worship in the Nazarene tradition.

What I was doing was putting together written chronological accounts of things that these families knew the substance of but did not necessarily know the detail of. It is the reason why in Britain and Europe I necessarily spend far less time on this biblical aspect, because there's a lot of what we'll talk about tonight that in Europe is taken as read. It was never any secret when my book came out, for the majority of these people, that Jesus was married and that Jesus had heirs, because it was written as such in very many family archives, not necessarily just private but in the open domain.

So tonight we're going to embark on a time-honoured quest. Some have called it the ultimate quest. The Christian Church has condemned it as a heresy, and it is, of course, the quest for the Holy Grail. A heresy is described in all dictionaries as "an opinion which is contrary to the orthodox dogma of the Christian bishops", and, in this regard, those other quests which comprise much of today's scientific and medical research are equally heretical. The word "heresy" is, in essence, nothing more than a derogatory label, a tag used by a fearful Church establishment that has long sought to maintain control of society through fear of the unknown.

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