Friday, June 8, 2012

Bogus Quote: Augustine on Egyptians and Resurrection

Earlier this week I reported on what is looking to be a bogus quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Turns out this is a good week for finding bogus quotes – I have another that is being thrown around, this one supposedly from St. Augustine: 

The Egyptians alone believe in the resurrection, as they carefully preserve their bodies. They have a custom of drying up their bodies and making them as durable as brass.

You’ll find this one offered up by Acharya S and her crowd as some sort of proof that the Egyptians believed in resurrection. Some Wiki-nut even inserted it gratuitously into the Wiki article on Osiris, though they are not wholly to blame: They got it from what should have been a more reputable source., which actually used an 1800s book by a guy named Pettigrew – not Augustine’s original text. On her own forum, Acharya puts on a show for her followers, giving them (she says) the “original Latin,” though typical of her incompetence, what she links them to is Pettigrew’s text. Then she says, of this and other equally insensate sources that call Osiris’ revivification a “resurrection,” “…no amount of deceptive blather and apologist cult tactics will remove these facts.”

Yeah, right.

Thankfully, one intelligent soul did source the quote, and it comes from a sermon numbered 361. A look at the context tells us what’s really going on:


From this, it is entirely clear that the quote is partially misreported. As it is posed by Acharya, it is made out to be a statement of fact, when it is actually a sarcastic and hypothetical challenge. Augustine is answering a person who apparently thinks the whole body needs to be preserved, for resurrection to occur. In response, Augustine sarcastically replies that in that case, only the Egyptians can believe in bodily resurrection, while all other Christians have no basis for it. 

In this rendition, Augustine is also clearly referring to Egyptian Christians in his own time versus “other Christians”. His statement has nothing to do with Osiris, or with Egyptians prior to the Christian era.

But of course, such carelessness is typical of the bogus quote crowd. Thankfully, this one doesn't seem to have spread too far and wide yet -- and maybe it can be stopped or at least slowed by revelation of the facts.


  1. Diggin this false quote feature u got going!

    However, have you seen this:

    Wondering what your words are, and would love to see some critique on it?

  2. Thanks!

    Never seen it but it looks pretty wacky. May put it down for Forge fodder.

  3. Exactly my sentiments, hehe.

  4. Thanks for the heads up on this one. For some reason, I had not run across it. I have already blogged on the supposed pre-Christian references by Augustine to "true religion" here:

    It's amazing what happens when you read the original sources instead of just relying on quotemines by crackpots.

  5. I have added my own post on this particular blunder and added a few extra details I managed to dig up. Of course, I gave credit and a link to this post. Mine is here:

  6. Thanks labarum. And I may have a use for some of that, too. I'll be starting a YT series called Bogus Quote Break in July and I wanted to use this one as a first example.