Friday, August 17, 2012

An Outsider Author: Norma Cox; H. G. Wells on Socrates

An Outsider Author: Norma Cox

Just as there are "outsider artists," artists working as primitives, naively, without schooling in the arts, so there should be recognized a category of outsider authors.   By happenstance, one well-known outsider artist, Richard S. Shaver, moved to the Ozarks of Arkansas about the same time as did an outsider author, Norma Cox.   Cox, one of the subjects of Diane Kossy's book Kooks, was an outsider author who created, in "Secrets," a series of publications sent from Marshall, Arkansas, a novel mythology, much in the way that William Blake and H. P. Blavatsky created their own novel mythologies.  
On first reading, Norma Cox's works -- three of which,  Christianity and the Sun God, For Love of Allah!, and Illuminism in the Ozarks have been published on the Internet -- seem close to fantasy.  If the reader can suspend his disbelief, however, the flow of ideas and images is strangely compelling.   (The three titles named have been posted at jrbooksonline and at 
Cox was virtually self-taught as an author and researcher.  That she was no professional is evidenced by her reference to an old encyclopedia which she consulted, while not naming the title.  What she offers as a seemingly unsubstantiated opinion about Muhammad is, in fact, also stated by Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and in the 11th edition (1910) of the Encyclopedia Britannica.   Both works state that Muhammad was guided by a Jewish rabbi when he wrote the Koran.   Gibbon even adds the information that there is some evidence that Muhammad's mother was Jewish.  If so, then Muhammad would qualify as being an halachic Jew.   Was Muhammadanism originally just one more project which Jewry created and aimed at the gentiles?  If that was the case, then Jewry lost control of Muhammadanism much the way that it lost control of Christianity once it had spread to northern Europe.  
The following is an excerpt from Norma Cox's For Love of Allah! :   

    " States the reference book: "Tradition says that Mohammed drew up the Koran with the assistance of a Persian Jew rabbi and a Nestorian monk."

    " Pointed out are Jewish expressions used: Gan Eden (paradise);Gehinnom (Jewish Gehenn) and Sabbath. Pertinent is this, quoting directly: 'Of the sacred writing of the Jews, he (Mohammed) cites only thePentateuch and the Psalms. In chapter XX1 he represents the Almighty as saying, "I have promised in the books of Moses and in the Psalms that my virtuous servants on earth shall have the earth for their inheritance." Of the New Testament he cites nothing whatever.'

    " Considering, one cannot help but wonder if perhaps the Jew was thinking far into the future, to the time when the Koran could be used for the benefit of his people."


[ Originally written and posted on MySpace on Nov. 15, 2009 ]

H. G. Wells on Socrates
Below is what H. G. Wells has to offer in his The Outline of History regarding Socrates.  What I find most striking is the balance with which Wells approaches the topic and the celerity with which he then moves on to the next topic.  What a great balancing act it was to write a world history within 1300 pages!  Wells also shows ideological balance.  He does not idealize Socrates, but he does not accept the implicit suggestion that Socrates was largely a corrupter of the youth of Athens.  Wells's Outline of History is well worth reading again.

    " Another leading figure in this Athenian movement, a figure still more out of harmony with the life around him, and quite as much an original source and stimulant of the enduring greatness of his age, was a man called Socrates, the son of a stone-mason. He was born about sixteen years later than Herodotus, and he was beginning to be heard of about the time when Pericles died. He himself wrote nothing, but it was his custom to talk in public places. There was in those days a great searching for wisdom going on; there was a various multitude of teachers called sophists who reasoned upon truth, beauty, and right living, and instructed the developing curiosities and imaginations of youth. This was so because there were no great priestly schools in Greece. And into these discussions this man came, a clumsy and slovenly figure, barefooted, gathering about him a band of admirers and disciples.

    " His method was profoundly sceptical; he believed that the only possible virtue was true knowledge; he would tolerate no belief, no hope that could not pass the ultimate acid test. For himself this meant virtue, but for many of his weaker followers it meant the loss of beliefs and moral habits that would have restrained their impulses. These weaklings became self-excusing, self-indulging scoundrels. Among his young associates were Plato, who afterwards immortalized his method in a series of philosophical dialogues, and founded the philosophical school of the Academy, which lasted nine hundred years, Xenophon, of the Ten Thousand, who described his death, and Isocrates, one of the wisest of Greek political thinkers; but there were also Critias, who, when Athens was utterly defeated by Sparta, was leader among the Thirty Tyrants appointed by the Spartans to keep the crushed city under;  Charmides, who was killed beside Critias when the Thirty were overthrown; and Alcibiades, a brilliant and complex traitor, who did much to lead Athens into the disastrous expedition against Syracuse which destroyed her strength, who betrayed her to the Spartans, and who was at last assassinated while on his way to the Persian court to contrive mischief against Greece. These latter pupils were not the only young men of promise whose vulgar faith and patriotism Socrates destroyed, to leave nothing in its place. His most inveterate enemy was a certain Anytus, whose son, a devoted disciple of Socrates, had become a hopeless drunkard. Through Anytus it was that Socrates was at last prosecuted for "corrupting" the youth of Athens, and condemned to death by drinking a poisonous draught made from hemlock (329 B. C).

    " His death is described with great beauty in the dialogue of Plato called by the name of Phaedo. "



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