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(augmented and re-worked)
Introduction to Antiquity
by Andy P. Antippas
Several years ago in a bookstore on Magazine Street, notable for never having
anything of interest, I nevertheless found an orange covered plastic spiral
bound book called Antiquity Unveiled: Ancient Voices from the Spiritual Realms
Disclose the Most Startling Revelations, Proving Christianity to be of
Heathen Origin (Philadelphia, Oriental Publishing Co, 1892). The copy I acquired
is merely an “exact photographic reproduction” of the original, published in
1970, by Health Research, Mokelumne Hill, California, a metaphysical/occult
house. They apparently published an abridged version of Antiquity Unveiled ten
years earlier which had been so successful, it financed this complete version.
The whole of the book is available at:
The “author,” or more properly, the “transcriber” of the Antiquity is J. M.
Roberts. He was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in 1821 and died in
1888. He was a lawyer, a Republican and an active Abolitionist. In 1873, after
receiving communications from his dead father, who had been a U. S. Senator, he
became a firm believer in Spiritualism and, in 1878, he started a weekly
journal, Mind and Body.
On March 26, 1880, he was in session with a medium (never identified) that
channeled the first of 160 messages from both famous and obscure historical
figures devoted to declaring the fraudulence of Christian and Judaism’s
origins. A considerable number of the spirits made the case Apollonius of Tyana,
the Capadocian Greek philosopher, was actually the personage referred to as
Jesus of Nazareth. The sessions lasted until 1886.
Roberts published the transcriptions of these communications, along with his
commentary, in Mind and Body. Roberts’ arranged for translations of the non-
English messages, and researched all the communications to verify the personal
information provided by the spirit visitors. The nameless “Compiler” of
Antiquity, and the author of the Preface, says Roberts planned to publish all
the communications in book form himself, but died before he could realize his
ambition. The “Compiler,” understanding the importance of the information
conveyed, undertook to do it in his behalf.
I agree with the “Compiler”; however, I found much in the 608 pages tedious and
very repetitive. I undertook to do what I suppose is a redaction and a
conflation. I chose the text of seven of the spirit visitors, combined
it with information from other communicators, and added comments from other
communicants, new scholarship to help the spirits make their
case in vocabulary and tone keeping with their original testimony. In the course
of my research, I hoped to find information provided by the spirits about their
contemporary milieu that might have been unknown by the 1880’s; that didn’t
happen. At some other time, with more leisure, I would like to place the whole
of the work in the context of the Spiritualist environment of the 19th century.
Any such consideration would certainly include the Fox sisters and Daniel Home
and Browning’s satire on the latter, his greatest casuist, “Mr. Sludge, The
Medium.” That dramatic monologue may even have an as yet unrecognized allusion
“How last night, I no sooner snug in bed,
“Tucked up, just as they left me,—than came raps!
“While a light whisked” . . . “Shaped somewhat like a star?”
“Well, like some sort of stars, ma’am.”—“So we thought!
“And any voice? Not yet? Try hard, next time,
“If you can’t hear a voice; we, think you may:
“At least, the Pennsylvanian ‘mediums’ did.”
Oh, next time comes the voice! “Just as we hoped!”
Are not the hopers proud now, pleased, profuse
O’ the natural acknowledgment?
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