The Benjamin Adams Letter
For background see previous chapter.
Following is the full text of the letter. I postpone analysis and discussion until after I show Sadler's reply. I shall follow the
|item numbers shown in the letters. I shall place the critical remark by Adams first, marked by parenthetical numbers (X). I shall place Sadler's response next, marked by a number sign. I then offer my comments on each.|
|March 9, 1959
Dr. Earl L. Douglass
Your letter of March 1 has just come. I share your disappointment that Los Angeles is not closer to San Francisco.
Was interested to hear of your visit with Dr. Sadler and Miss Rowley. It is a pleasure that I have not thus far had except by correspondence. However, I do keep studying the Urantia Book which I consider in itself a remarkable phenomenon. The author (or authors) of the book have not hesitated to "stick their necks out" in so many areas of human knowledge that a critical analysis of the book should eventually supply a verdict of true or false.
It seems to me that, if I were God, this is the sort of book which I would want to supply my human children on such a benighted and remote speck of dust as the earth. Yet, the best and highest service which can be rendered this book is strictly objective and merciless critical analysis thereof.
As I read what it has to say about cosmology, cosmogeny, geology, chronology, biology, anthropology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, nuclear physics, etc. etc., I find myself wishing that I had considerably more competence in all of these fields. But I know that I had better stick to my own field of competence which happens to be Biblical studies. In passing, I note a few statements outside of my field of competence which I am inclined to challenge. On page 477, for instance, is this statement: "There are just 100 distinguishable atomic materializations of space-energy in a dual universe; that is the maximum possible organization of matter in Nebadon." This seems to me to say that only 100 chemical elements are possible. But I can quote several authorities to the effect that at least 103 elements have been identified and named.
However, returning to the field of Biblical studies, I make the following observations:
(1) Page 2074. The teacher of Clement of Alexandria and the founder of the famous Catechetical School of that city was "Pantaenus" not "Poutaenus." (This may be merely a typographical error.)
(2) Page 1557. Philip the Apostle is identified with Philip the Evangelist (or Deacon) who is said to have gone on the mission to Samaria in Acts 8:5.
(3) Pages 2057-60. The bestowing of the Holy Spirit
at Pentecost is represented as occurring on the same day as the ascension
and 40 days after the crucifixion. Now this is an obvious error as the
very word "Pentecost" means 50 and was supposed to be a week of weeks after
(4) Page 542. A quotation from the New Testament
Book of Hebrews is attributed to Paul. This is amazing in view of the generally
sophisticated and critical attitude toward the authorship of most of the
book of the Bible. (E.G. pp 1341-2)
(5) Page 1559. Nathaniel's father is said to be
Bartholemew. But Bartholemew is listed by the synoptic writers among the
Twelve. It is a patronymic meaning "The Son of Tholmai". Thus it is logical
to suppose that Nathaniel of John's Gospel is identical with Bartholemew
of the synoptics, and that his father's name was Tholmai.
(4) Page 542. A quotation from the New Testament Book of Hebrews is attributed to Paul. This is amazing in view of the generally sophisticated and critical attitude toward the authorship of most of the book of the Bible. (E.G. pp 1341-2)
(5) Page 1559. Nathaniel's father is said to be Bartholemew. But Bartholemew is listed by the synoptic writers among the Twelve. It is a patronymic meaning "The Son of Tholmai". Thus it is logical to suppose that Nathaniel of John's Gospel is identical with Bartholemew of the synoptics, and that his father's name was Tholmai.
(6) Page 1362. The synagogue teacher is spoken of as the "chazan." The Hebrew (Aramaic) for this officer is n Zj which would be more correctly transliterated "chazzan," (with a double z).
(7) Page 1365(3) (near bottom). "Far to the east they could discern the Jordan valley and, far beyond, the rocky hills of Moab." But the rocky hills of Moab were not east of Nazareth but east of the Dead Sea.
(8) Page 1648. "Early on the morning of Tuesday, March 30, Jesus and the apostolic party started on their journey to Jerusalem for the Passover." But Hastings Bible Dictionary, Vol. I, p. 411 gives a table which shows that the latest possible date for the Passover in A.D. 28 was Tuesday, March 30 (beginning with the sunset the previous day, Mon., March 29). Thus Jesus and His apostles are represented as setting out for Jerusalem and the Passover on the latest possible date for the Passover to begin. They arrived at Bethany on April 2, three days later. By this time the ceremonies of the Passover Feast and the first-fruits of the Barley harvest "waved" before the Lord would have been completed. True, the Feast of Unleavened Bread would go on for another three or four days, but it seems strange that they would deliberately be so late in arriving.
It is only fair to note that the Urantia Book does not claim to be infallible (p.1008). It is also fair to note that on the other side of the ledger are literally thousands of amazingly accurate details harmonizing perfectly with known geographical and chronological facts. For instance, the U.B. states in opposition to a tremendous weight of tradition that Jesus did not die on Passover Day, but on the day preceding that, in 30 A.D. Passover began at Sunset on Friday, April 7 and continued until sunset Saturday, April 8. This agrees with the point-of-view of John's Gospel but disagrees with the synoptics. Moreover, astronomy bears witness that the first visibility of the preceding new moon was at sunset on Friday, March 24. This would then be the beginning of Nisan 1 in the Jewish calendar. This would bring Nisan 14, the "Preparation for the Passover," to the day beginning sunset April 6 (Thurs.) and Nisan 15, the Passover itself to the day beginning at sunset Friday, April 7, continuing throughout Saturday. This agrees with the Gospel of John and the Urantia Book.
No doubt many more discrepancies will be discovered in the Urantia Book. About all that this will prove is that even "Midway creatures" can make mistakes. But, if for each mistake we are able to spot, we are enriched by 1,000 thrilling new facts, then we have a spiritual gold mine before us in the Urantia Book, and the ore we dig out assays at about 999/1,000. We do well not to accept it blindly, but it merits a considerable measure of our confidence.
Mrs. Adams joins me in extending our bests wishes to you and your wife. He have now completed eight years in this difficult inner city church. During this period we have had the pleasure of taking into the church 289 new members. The turnover has been so great that we only have 282 members as of now. Yet we have prospered by the grace of God, and I now have a full-time assistant with an Italian name (Rev. Richard Fagetti) who I think is well-qualified to carry on.
If you know of anyone in New Jersey who would like an experienced Minister of Visitation, I wish you would let me know, -- perhaps even speak a good word for me. I think I could do a good job for some one in helping to build up their membership.
Most cordially yours,
Benjamin N. Adams.
This was Sadler's
|March 17, 1959
Rev. Benjamin N.
My dear Rev. Adams:
I was very happy to get your letter of March 9, and I think this the first really valid criticism I have ever had from a minister as concerns the Urantia Book. I have gotten hold of several the last year, but it was evident that the critics had never even superficially read the Urantia Book.
If minor discrepancies were to be found in the Urantia Book I have always suspected that they would probably be found in Part IV because that is the part of the Book that was prepsred by the midwayers. The midwayers' mind level is but a trifle above that of the human mind.
My own preoccupation with the Urantia Book has been along two lines. First, I was concerned as to whether or not this was some fraudulent psychic phenomena or possibly a case of subconscious dissociation on the part of the subject such as I was familiar with in the fields of automatic writing, trance mediums, etc. I was the last of my family to accept the Urantia Papers. I finally decided that the who thing was beyond my ability to understand.
My next concern had to do with the consistency of the Papers. I finally decided that a fraud could not go on the witness stand for twenty-five years, to be examined and cross-examined by 250, and to give more than a million words of testimony and never once contradict himself. I decided that this subject must be telling the truth in order to discuss such a wide range of topics and not once slip into a contradiction.
You ask about others who have critically examined the Urantia Book. From a stand point of general science I think the studies of the late Sir Hubert Wilkins were perhaps the msot extended and exhaustive. For more than twenty years he periodically spend time in Chicago going over the Papers. He would work weeks at a time, ten hours a day and his final conclusion was that the Papers were consistent with the known facts of modern science.
Since the Book was
published, a young physicist in Philadelphia has been a very careful student
of the physics of the Urantia Papers. About a year ago he wrote a paper,
with many diagrams, for the Gravitational Society, in which he advocated
that the cosmology of the Urantia Book was the only one that was possible
from the gravitational standpoint.
I was very interested
in your criticisms as proposed in you letter to Dr. Douglass. I would offer
the following comments on these criticisms:
I was very interested in your criticisms as proposed in you letter to Dr. Douglass. I would offer the following comments on these criticisms:
I was indeed cheered to get such an encouraging estimate of the worth of the Book from one who has made such a careful study of it.
I am taking the liberty of sending you a copy of an outline which I gave to a dozen ministers who came to meet with me about six months ago. I told them that while I was unable to explain to them about how we had got the Book I was able to explain to them how we had not got the Book.
I do hope that we will have the pleasure of seeing you and Mrs. Adams one of these days. I am sure, if you have the occasion to come back East, you will not fail to let us have a visit with you.
With all best wishes, I am
William S. Sadler
This remark shows that Sadler worked from a hand-written manuscript, not a typewritten document. Many rumors circulate within the Urantia community that Part IV was given to Sadler in the latter form. If so, he would not have made this mistake, and would not have had difficulty in determining between an "n" and a "u."
Although not mentioned by Sadler, the "a" to "o" shift was due to the same cause.
This remark by Adams led to a spelling change between the first and second printings of the Papers. This spelling change was not detected by Merritt Horn, nor by Kristen Maaherra, in their analysis of text changes. Refer to my paper on "Text Changes In The Urantia Papers."
The name "Philip" occurs seventy-four times within the Papers. Six of those refer to the brother of Herod. In all other cases the reference is to the Apostle. I show the remarks concerning Philip in his work among the Samaritans.
The biblical account of the work of Philip the Apostle in Samaria is found in Acts 8.
P.1557 - §3, P.1557 - §4, P.1558 - §1, P.1612 - §2, P.1616 - §2 all describe the work of Philip the Apostle in Samaria.
Philip the Evangelist
is different from Philip the Apostle. The Evangelist's work is described
in Acts 21. He was one of seven disciples who had entered the work of the
kingdom earlier. One of those seven was Stephen, whose devout faith and
death did so much for the kingdom. See Acts 6 - 8. See also:
The confusion for Benjamin Adams was in the similarity of the names, with both men spreading the gospel in Samaria. Philip the Evangelist is not mentioned in the Urantia Papers.
See discussion in previous chapter.
Since early Christian centuries the Book of Hebrews has been attributed to Paul. A majority of Christian fundamentalists today continue to believe he was the author. Textual studies and analysis provide arguments that some other hand wrote major portions of the Book.
The explanation by Sadler is fitting. Sections of the Book show Paul's thought and expression. This led to the confusion for modern scholars.
Philip and Nathaniel are identified as friends in P.1526 - §3.
Philip invited Nathaniel to be one of the apostles, bottom of page 1526 to top of page 1527.
The selection of Nathaniel (not Bartholomew) by Philip is described in John 1:43-51.
Philip and Nathaniel are listed twice in pair association, P.1538 - §3, P.1681 - §8.
Philip and Bartholomew are shown in pair association in all three synoptic gospels in the listing of the twelve apostles, Matt 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, and Luke 6:14-16.
The synoptic gospels do not use the name Nathaniel.
Clearly, the name
Nathaniel used by John is the same individual with the name Bartholomew
in the synoptic gospels.
Identification of the father of Nathaniel/Bartholomew with the same patronymic is, indeed, strange. Without other evidence we cannot clarify this apparent confusion.
Comments beyond Sadler's are unnecessary.
The paragraph runs
I checked the geographical locations of each of the other locations mentioned in the paragraph. All seem reasonable as viewable locations except for the rocky hills of Moab. Sadler's assignment to a mistake by the midwayers is farfetched. The junior and senior midwayers have been on this planet for 35,000 and 500,000 years respectively. They know every nook and cranny in intimate detail. To assign this difficulty to the midwayers is completely unreasonable. The other possibility is that the phrase became transported from another location, but this also seems unreasonable.
The note by Adams is correct. Moab is far to the south of Nazareth, at least 100 miles, and is located to the east of the Dead Sea, not to the east of Nazareth. It would not be visible from the hill at Nazareth.
Some persons raised
objections to the location of Moab, that it might be viewable from Nazareth.
These are the statements by two biblical reference sources:
The notorious sentence
as it appears in the Foundation's second, and all later printings, (for
those which I have checked), including the current CD version, of The Urantia
The notorious sentence
as it appears in my copy of the first printing of The Urantia Papers, dated
Therefore, Sadler made two changes to the text of this sentence between the first and second printings.
1. He removed the commas around "far beyond."
2. He inserted the word "lay."
These unilateral and arbitrary changes to the text were under his own authority.
Clearly, Sadler's reaction to the Benjamin Adams letter was acute.
Sadler was attempting to correct an impossibility in the original text. Since the distance to the "rocky hills of Moab" was "far beyond" any visibility from the hill at Nazareth, Sadler altered the text to reflect a possible different interpretation. He could now claim that the phrase, "and far beyond lay the rocky hills of Moab" was merely a statement of fact, and not of visibility to Jesus and his father.
I thank Larry Mullins for pointing this out to me.
In fact, as the evidence now stands, it appears to some of us that Sadler was actually perverting the text in order to "fix" this impossibility.
What can we learn from the process of the Revelation if this was an insertion by Caligastia? Did he replace the entire paragraph with a new one? Why would Sadler not check the geographical possibilities? Were so many changes taking place that this particular one was lost in the crowd? Sadler seemed surprised by it. Apparently no one had checked prior to the criticism by Adams in 1959. Literally thousands of passages can be checked, but no person has devoted a life to such study. For example, the many biblical quotes were not compiled until Duane Faw did his work in the 1980's. The Revelation is a gold-mine of possibilities. Only time will develop those. On practical grounds we cannot fault Sadler for every error we may find. But we can fault him for the major error of not recognizing the hand of Caligastia.
Evidence for the Caligastian method of altering paragraphs is accumulating.
Sadler did not respond to item (8) by Adams. He is responding to the following paragraph, which should have been numbered (9) by Adams.
|The Hastings Bible
Dictionary went through several editions and abridged publications. The
1903 edition was titled "A Dictionary of the Bible." A 1926 abridged
edition carried the same title. A somewhat different edition in 1906 concentrating
on the New
Testament was titled "A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels."
In a previous chapter I cited a Dictionary of the Apostolic Church,
1918. (All published by Charles Scribner's Sons.)
The Table published by Hastings is as follows:
|Fourteenth Day (Passover)|
|28||Tuesday||28 March 2 AM||(29) 30 March|
|29||Monday||15 April 8 PM||(17) 18 April|
|30||Friday||4 April 8 PM||(6) 7 April|
|31||Tuesday||25 March 1 AM||(26) 27 March|
|32||Tuesday*||11 April 11 PM||(13) 14 April|
|33||Saturday*||1 April 1 PM||(2)
or (3) 4 April
* According to my calendar calculations these two days are off by one day.
They should be Monday and Friday, respectively.
|First visible appearance
of the new moon at sunset is understood to be about 30 degrees from the
astronomical value, hence two or three days later than the astronomical
new moon. (360 degrees divided by 30 days is equal to about 12 degrees
The parenthetical values in the last column represent the Passover evening.
According to these
calculations the Passover celebration in 28 AD occurred on Tuesday, the
30th of March.
Chris Lingle calculated the New Moon Crescent for the years 26 AD to 34 AD. These were derived from computer software on a MacIntosh Platform, using the Voyager II Moon Phase Ephemeris. See http://www.nazarene.net/Calander/passovr.html.
His values were as follows:
|Year||New Moon Crescent||14th Day (Passover)|
or Saturday(1), April 7
or April 21
|27||Thursday, March 27||April 10|
or Wednesday, April 14
or April 28
|29||Sunday, April 3||April 17|
|30||Thursday, March 23||April 6|
or Wednesday, April 11
or April 25
|32||Sunday, March 30||April 13|
or Saturday, April 18
or Thursday April 8
or April 22
In the year 26 AD my calendar calculations show April 7 as a Sunday.
(2) In the year 31 AD my calendar calculations show March 13 as a Tuesday.
We can see that the
values calculated late in the nineteenth century (Hastings) agree with
those calculated from recent position measurements by our space probes,
except where observation of the New Moon Crescent may be off by one day.
According to the calculations by Lingle the years AD 29, 30, and 32 were
short by one day from the days given by Hastings.
This is crucial, for it determines the date of the Crucifixion in AD 30. See following Chapter.
The troublesome paragraph
for AD 28 runs as follows:
Clearly, if Jesus left Capernaum on March 30 he could not be in Jerusalem for the Passover.
Thus they were four days late for the Passover celebration.
The two following
paragraphs state thus:
If they celebrated the Passover in Bethany it was not necessary for them to be in Jerusalem but it is highly doubtful that devout Jews would depart four days from the most holy of Jewish festivals.
Hence, we must conclude that the date given for the departure from Capernaum is not valid.