Posted by: Bruce Proctor | September 29, 2017

Edgar Cayce, Dolores Cannon, and the New Testament

9-28-17

I’ve been looking online the past couple days for a better version of Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus than the beat-up, dog-eared, thick-with-annotations mass market paperback I’ve used for years. A.R.E., Cayce’s publisher, offers basically only these small, cheap editions which quickly wear out if you’re at all serious about them. Small, cheap bindings, often unread for decades before I find them, tanning, and of course they don’t hold up.

Why was I looking? The trance-channeled life readings as presented in here–in fact all Cayce’s books– are terribly unwieldy. The past-life readings themselves meander toward their main points, the historical dates of readings often overlapping and thus not in good overall sequence–and hugely: the language Cayce’s source uses is King James or worse archaic language, tortured, often incomprehensible syntax (largely attributable I believe to Cayce’s lifelong Christian fundamentalism, of his reading the KJ Bible cover to cover every year.) Some dating issues here are undoubtedly inevitable, but good editing could make a huge difference. I also find the small size pages unconducive.

Cayce’s source often seems to me to be slavishly and annoyingly true to New Testament tales and theology, taking many of the most outlandish occurrences as, a-hem, “Gospel,” and expounding what “really” happened.  Hundreds of people who came to him for past life readings were told that, among their other lifetimes, they were involved prominently or peripherally in well-known NT situations.

That said, after the number of years I’ve been studying the early Christian movement and times, and have delved deeply enough to know many facts (and conjectures) about this that few do, when I read Cayce these days on early Christianity, he says things that curiously corroborate and often expand on or explain many things about it than what is currently “known.” For instance, I read last night that James, the brother of Christ, was slain by sword in a (presumably anti-Christian) riot, which contradicts the flimsiest currently available conjecture of what happened.

But there is much there: the mixture of populations in the holy land, of Jews, Greeks, Romans, Samaritans, even Phoenicians, as they wove over generations. Overarching everything else, I suppose, is Cayce’s documentation of Jesus’s connections with the Essenes, long before the Dead Sea Scrolls made them famous.

What I was hoping to find, I suppose, was a text that had synoptically laid out the tantalizing concurrences in the NT, Cayce’s readings, and Dolores Cannon’s Jesus and the Essenes, (which for me has become the quintessential demonstration that modern past-life regression might be useful as a validatible scientific, historical tool.)

I did not find the text I sought. What I did find was perhaps the most obscure text I’ve ever found–and I’ve storied my life with many. (Check out if you can, The Sorry Tale by Patience Worth. If you’re turned on to Shakespeare, this remarkable piece of literature could conceivably be your cup of tea.) What I found: The A. R. E. listed a hardcover Edgar Cayce Library Series (Volume 6): The Early Christian Epoch which on the website did have the Table of Contents–nothing more, but exactly the time frame and subject matter I was looking for. Where my paperback had 190 pages of pertinent material, this volume says it has all the pertinent Cayce readings dealing with that era, and it’s 600 pages long. I found the one copy (of 4) at an unfairy-tale price, swallowed hard, and ordered it.

One thing my couple nights of looking showed me is that few if any “serious” biblical scholars are taking Cayce seriously. I don’t know how seriously I take it. It would be a gargantuan task for someone like me–a fool’s errand to most of the world–but this stuff hangs together, not conclusively by any stretch (if there is anything conclusive regarding biblical scholarship!), but intriguing, intriguing, intriguing.

I could start compiling a bibliography, at least, of my odd scholarship: Renard, Charles Hapgood, the Proto-Evangelum of James, the Nepalese Jesus manuscript, Seth, Michael. . .

I could simply pick out some especially important data points from the 3 pivotal texts, and compare them: for instance, Jesus’ brothers and sisters, the stable, the fleeing to Egypt, Mary at the Temple, Essene equality of women with men, Suddi, Judy, and Dolores as convincing characters.

Credibility would hinge much for a student or reader on a their expanding their worldview toward what I call “The Emerging Paradigm.”

If I were to develop this NT-Cayce-Cannon study, it might assist a handful of intrepid scholar-explorers in the next couple generations. You can lay it out there and see what sticks. 

(btw, I am gathering an outline of that paradigm, which has been a major if frequently obscure passion of my life. Many, many are involved with it, in dozens of disciplines and contexts, a great many of them probably unknown to each other, most of them probably beyond the current boundaries of academia.)

 

 

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Responses

  1. Very interesting post. Why have you been so quietly interested in this? There’s a new translation of the New Testament that follows closely to the Greek by keeping the translation simple. It doesn’t elevate the language and tries to avoid the bias of various denominations that have translated it. It’s by David Bentley Hart and will be out October 24. I guess you start with 1 Thessalonians because it was the earlier book written in that collection. I wonder if Elaine Pagels’ scholarship would be worth while. Also Robert Farrar Capon wrote some interesting NT commentary. Godspeed with this work.

    • Hi Katie, I just responded to your comment on my blog. Many thanks! I’ve been meaning to be in touch with you forever, but I seem to have this block or antipathy to new technology. Or it could be my illness. Anyway, here I am. I haven’t read anything by you in a long time, but that’s not from lack of caring. I did start your novel when it came out and read the first few pages. I thought everything about the book looked very good, and a great starting point for the story, and finely written. But I don’t choose my reading anymore, exactly. It may be that I only have room for the direct whoosh of enthusiasm, which does not seem to brook deviation. Hell, I don’t understand it. But I have a couple things you might be interested in helping me with. I’m enclosing the first of my Beethoven-inspired pieces. I wanted a sort of secular hymn, loosely based on his Ode to Joy. I love it as it is, but it begs for lyrics. Would you like to give it a go? Since there’s no introduction, lyrics would have to start at the second verse. The section in the middle with the octaves is without lyrics. Listen to it. If you take to it, I have half a dozen other pieces that need lyrics. The work is good. Lyrics have almost entirely deserted me. The other thing is my journals. I catalogued them a couple years ago. There were about a hundred dating from 1969 I believe. And of course now there are more. My illness has developed that I do a lot of work from bed now. Using the PC is more and more unlikely, but I can write in my journal easily on my side. I write better work by hand. The thing is I don’t want the journals to go with me when I go, and I am discovering there’s some great stuff in there here and there. I’m now on Jnl #53 of the current series, and I’ve started indexing and editing #52. Most of my journals I’ve never ever re-read. With #52, the indexing I undertook was to actually go through it and see if there was anything there. There are some mediocre and bad stretches, but I was astonished at how much in there was very good, really interesting at least to me (which is where we always start, aye?), and had the possibility, I thought, with editing, of being something, for the right reader. So my first responsibility is to putting the current stuff down. That’s my responsibility to my life as it goes on. The way my health is now, two to three hours a day max for any focused work. So my next task is to index #52, then transcribe/edit it. The goal is at some point to complete the work on #52. No deadlines. I wonder how many I’d get through in the next couple decades. (Are you familiar with Emily Carr’s journals? She’s worth a gander.) I want these things saved, if possible, and hopefully finding the right soul(s) who could find the value in them. I thought of you, of course, not to lay anything on you, but that you might think of a way forward for them. I’m not asking for action. More, brain picking. And no hurry, on my part at least! I figure I’ll make it to 90 anyway. That’s enough, eh? It’s nice at least to air out my thoughts with a trusted soul. You might be interested in that Dolores Cannon “Jesus and the Essenes” yourself. The second half, which is the Jesus half, is a great read, underscoring things you never thought were true, and contradicting some you did. I hope you, Bruce, and the homestead are doing fine. With love,Bruce

      • I’m going to answer your email right now…

  2. Thanks, Katie.

    Nice to hear from you! My longstanding interest has been about the earliest days of Christianity, particularly relating to sources predating the rise of the organized church. To research this, I am also needing to familiarize myself with some of the more standard biblical material of that time. Essential materials are for me, for instance, are The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, The Dead Sea Scrolls, and the juicy Morton Smith “The Secret Gospel” which refers to a newly discovered, expanded text of Mark. Many more. Elaine Pagels, especially her Gnostic exegeses on the Gospel of John and of the Pauline Letters, which are astonishing.

    The wider frame of reference which I am developing has to do with the modern rediscovery of what might be called “the imaginal realms” through people who have direct experience of and are mapping this terrain. Up till now such research has been done almost exclusively outside established academic circles. Currently, of course, it’s simply too far out. I hope to establish enough credibility in some of this work to elicit nibbles of interest from the established community. Some of this material is proving, for me, valid, potentially very useful, often thrilling, even revelatory, and could certainly give established scholars fresh and far wider perspectives to pursue their studies.

    This area of study is a part of the even larger picture of reality to be outlined in what I call the “Emerging Paradigm.” Other people have other names for it, but none I know of has tackled with the particular focus and scope of my own.

    Thanks for your interest! If you have more comments or questions, I’d welcome them. That would help kick this loving monstrosity to life. Great to hear from you!


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