Pg. 102 of David Markson’s copy of Heroes and Heretics by Barrows Dunham:
On which Markson has placed multiple marks (checks/lines/underlines) next to a quote by Lucretius from Book I of his De Rerum Natura:
“Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.”
Which translates to:
“So great the evils to which religion could prompt.”
Markson utilized this quote of Lucretius on pg. 94 of This Is Not A Novel:
“Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum, Lucretius said.
Such are the evils that religion prompts.”
And I utilized his utilization of said quote in a previous post in which I listed a bunch of instances in his novel Vanishing Point where he emphasized the “evils that religion prompts.”
This time I thought I’d list some such instances from the other three novels of Markson’s tetralogy…
“Savonarola was burned at the stake in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 1498. Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in the Campo de Fiori in Rome in 1600.
Savonarola was granted the kindness of being hanged beforehand. Bruno was alive and conscious.” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 32).
“The Second Commandment was taken so literally in the Lithuanian ghetto when Chaim Soutine was a boy that he was physically beaten when he tried to draw.” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 38).
“Auschwitz. Dachau. Treblinka. Maidanek. Sobibor. Chelmno. Mauthausen. Ravensbrück, Birkenai. Belzec. Theresienstadt.” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 58).
“Dante situates Mohammed in the ninth chasm of the Malebolge for having sown division in the Church. He is seen slashed open from his chin to his anus and with his innards spilling out.
In retaliation, Muslim fundamentalists in the early 1990s threatened to blow up Dante’s tomb in Ravenna.
Seven hundred years after the fact.” (Reader’s Blocks, Pg. 68).
“Plato finished the Laws in his late seventies, among other things sanctioning the death penalty for those who question the state religion.
Did he stop to remember how and why Socrates has died fifty years before?” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 81).
“In 1666, a committee in the House of Commons was ready to call both the Plague and the Great Fire God’s retribution against England for harboring an athiest such as Thomas Hobbes.” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 144).
“Pietro Torrigiano took a hammer to a Madonna he had sculpted in Seville when he was not paid what he anticipated.
And was jailed by the Inquisition for sacrilege.” (Reader’s Block, Pg. 172).
“One of the ennobling delights of Paradise, as promised by Thomas Aquinas:
Viewing the condemned as they are tortured and broiled below.” (This Is Not A Novel, Pg. 7).
“Tommaso Campanella spent twenty-seven years in a papal dungeon for heresy.” (This Is Not A Novel, Pg. 49).
“Hypatia, who was battered to death by Christian fanatics.” (This Is Not A Novel, Pg. 94).
“Basically every justification for persecution on the part of the Inquisition was at hand in St. Augustine.” (This Is Not A Novel, Pg. 115).
“Burn down their synagogues. Banish them altogether. Pelt them with sow dung. I would rather be a pig than a Jewish Messiah.
Amiably pronounced Luther.” (This Is Not A Novel, Pg. 156).
“Pope Leo XII. Who in the 1820s issued an edict forbidding the waltz in Rome.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 41).
“Be informed, Christian, that after the devil thou hast no enemy more cruel, more venomous, more violent, then the Jew.
Proclaimed Luther.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 42).
“Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God.
Pronounced the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem—well before a State of Israel existed.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 42).
“There is no indication whatsoever of anything even remotely resembling a State of Israel on the maps in most contemporary Arab schoolbooks.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 64)
“In the late spring of 1944, at the height of their efficiency, the forty-six ovens in the crematoriums at Auschwitz were incinerating as many as twelve thousand corpses per day.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 68).
“Sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, not the earth.
Said Luther, dismissing this fool, Copernicus.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 94).
“Teilhard de Chardin was forbidden by the Jesuits to publish any of his philosophical writings while he lived.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 113).
“The first Crusade fought its way into Jerusalem in July of 1099. Some seventy thousand surviving Muslims—the majority being women and children—were methodically slaughtered. Such Jews as remained were burned alive in a synagogue.
All this being God’s will, the Crusaders’ motto reassured them.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 125).
“One would like to curse them so that thunder and lightning strike them, hell-fire burn them, the plague, syphilis, epilepsy, scurvy, leprosy, carbuncles, and all diseases attack them. Ignorant asses.
Being Luther, in a contemplative mood re the papal hierarchy.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 126).
“Billy Graham’s anti-Semitic exchange with Richard Nixon as preserved on White House tapes.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 136).
“We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant.
Pointed out the disaffected Muslim Wafa Sultan in 2006.” (The Last Novel, Pg. 167).
Such are the evils that religion prompts…
“Christianity must be divine, since it has lasted seventeen hundred years despite the fact of being so full of villainy and absurdity.
Wrote Markson in The Last Novel on pg. 63.
Villainy and absurdity…
“Men never do evil so completely and so cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
According to pg. 94 of Markson’s Reader’s Block.
Evil so completely and so cheerfully…
“Human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind.
Tom Paine called religions.
Senseless and criminal bigotry.
Nehru saw in them.”
Wrote Markson in The Last Novel on pgs. 20-21.