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An explanation of "Corrupted Text" (Lyrics)

January 12, 2019

Since we have had some questions about the lyrics to "Corrupted Text," we thought we should provide an explanation.  The lyrics aren't anti-Christian at all, but rather the opposite; the line in question seems to be the allusion to Hobbes' proof of how early Christian writers included Plato's metaphysics into their conception of Jesus' teachings.  Hobbes argues that Jesus did not intend for Platonic Idealism to be a part of his doctrine, and further describes how Platonic theory is incompatible with Judaism.  Here is a more thorough explanation:



            Inspired by Hume’s “Of Miracles” and the second half of Hobbes’ Leviathan, “Corrupted Text” mocks belief in miracles and visions, while noting how early Christian writers inadvertently included concepts derived from ancient pagan philosophy into their sacred texts. 

            Hume’s essay (1739) explains how people enjoy telling stories than create enjoyment in the listener, while the listener derives pleasure from hearing and thinking about the strange and exciting tale.  Meanwhile both the teller and listener are too uneducated and irrational to determine if the “marvelous” story, frequently involving so-called miracles, is true or false:


“The most ignorant and barbarous of these barbarians carry the report abroad.  None of their countrymen have a large correspondence, or sufficient credit and authority to contradict and beat down the delusion.  Men’s inclination to the marvelous has full opportunity to display itself.  And thus a story, which is universally exploded in the place where it was first started, shall pass for certain at a thousand miles distance.”


            In his entertaining and humorous discussion of how early Christian writers misunderstood, intermixed, and mistranslated Jewish and ancient Greek teachings, Hobbes relates how well-meaning individuals took symbolic language like hell, demons, angels, and eternal punishment, and reinterpreted the metaphors literally, in a way that has harmed mankind and led to a series of grave errors.  For instance, Hobbes criticizes the effects of “introducing the demonology of the heathen poets, that is to say, their fabulous doctrine concerning demons, which are but idols, or phantasms of the brain, without any real nature of their own, […] such as are dead men’s ghosts, and fairies, and other matter of old wives’ tales” (Ch. 44).

            Since other metal bands have already exhausted nearly all aspects of religious criticism, Crypteria wanted to take a more philosophical approach to the topic.  Expect philosophical considerations in future lyrical material as well; our next album will feature a song inspired by Kantian Idealism, “Illusion of Nearness.”


And here is one more passage from Hume, for those who would like to read more on the subject:


“It forms a strong presumption against all supernatural and miraculous relations, that they are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations; or if a civilized people has ever given admission to any of them, that people will be found to have received them from ignorant and barbarous ancestors, who transmitted them with that inviolable sanction and authority, which always attend received opinions.  When we peruse the histories of all nations, we find ourselves transported into some new world; where the whole frame of nature is disjointed, and every element performs its operation in a different manner, from what it does at present. Battles, revolutions, pestilence, famine, and death, are never the effect of those natural causes, which we experience.  […] But we soon learn that there is nothing mysterious or supernatural in the case, but that all proceed from the usual propensity of mankind toward the marvelous, and that, though this inclination may at intervals receive a check from sense and learning, it can never be thoroughly extirpated from human nature. 

It is strange, a judicious reader is apt to say, upon the perusal of these wonderful historians, that such prodigious events never happen in our days.  But it is nothing strange, I hope, that men should lie in all ages.”


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