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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Question About the Gnostic Gospels

If the Gnostic Gospels, such as the Coptic Gospel of [pseudo-]Thomas, are supposedly as valuable for understanding the life of Jesus as the canonical New Testament, how come Tatian made no use of them?

During the middle of the 2d century, an Assyrian by the name of Tatian, or Addai, became a Christian.  He was under the tutelage of Justin Martyr, but when Justin died, Tatian became a follower of the Gnostic Valentinus.  He was then excommunicated from the Christian church in Rome, and moved eastwards first to Macedonia, then later to his native Mesopotamia. Scholars agree that he died around 185 A.D.

Tatian's main claim to fame was the production of the Diatessaron ("through the four"), which synthezied the four Gospels into a single, continuous narrative.  This apparently remained "the' Gospel for Syriac-speaking Christians until roughly a century later, when it was supplanted by the Pehsitto's separated Gospels.

Despite adhering to a system of doctrine closer to that of Valentinus than to that of the orthodox, Tatian made no use of the Gnostic Gospels in his Diatessaron.  This would be strange given both his own Gnostic predilections had the Gnostic material enjoyed wide currency and status as a legitimate "alternative" Christianity in Tatian's time. Given that there would be no state-sanctioned persecution of Christian heresy until roughly a century and a half after Tatian's death, such an omission may require an explanation.

Quite simply, the Gnostic gospels did not exist in Tatian's day,during the second third of the second century.  He was probably instructed in Gnostic teachings through treatises or word of mouth. Perhaps the Gnostic gospels were composed as Gnostic adherents recognized that the Jesus of the four canonical Gospels was not "one of us".  Perhaps Tatian's Diatessaron served not only the purposes of orthodox believer, but inadvertently drove home to Tatian's fellow Gnostics the wide gulf between their beliefs and those of the historical Jesus.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Witness of an Early Graffiti Artist





The above is a reconstruction of a Graffiti discovered on the Palatine Hill in Rome in 1857.  The structure was originally part of Caligula's palace, and used as a boarding school for imperial page boys after his death in 41 A.D. Called the Alexamneos Graffito from the Greek writing in it, it has been dated variously from the mid first century to the early third century; the latter date being when the building ceased to be used and was sealed off to accommodate the expansion of other buildings around it.

Translated, the Greek inscroption reads, "Alexamenos worships his god"; Alexamenos apparently being the figure on the left who raises his hand in salute to a crucified figure with the head of a donkey or a horse. Beneath it, in a different hand, is the Latin inscription "Alexamenos fidelis", or, Alexamenos the Faithful. Many have taken it to be one of the earliest extra-biblical references to Jesus Christ and the Christian religion.  While others have argued it may reference some Gnostic cult and that the crucified figure is horse-headed rather than donkey-headed, there is much to commend the common conclusion that it is anti-Christian graffiti--and that it may well date from the earlier end of the proposed spectrum of possible dates. Certainly interpreting Alexamenos as a Christian makes the most sense,; for very little else, if even that, would be known about some other cult that worshiped a horse-headed deity; and the figure being worshiped definitely seems to be crucified, and what is known about Gnosticism suggests that Gnostics were very uncomfortable about Jesus' connection with material life and death, especially something as shocking as crucifixion.

Most readers probably know the New Testament testimony that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. However, other sources close to the time note this as well. The Roman writers Tacitus and Pliny the younger, both writing in the early 2d century, unsympathetically note the crucifixion of Jesus, and mock the Christians for their honoring a crucified man.  Tacitus further upbraids the Jews for worshiping an ass's head; a calumny earlier answered by Flavius Josephus in his Reply to Apion, written shortly after 70 A.D. Debate rages over the authenticity of a passage in Josephus concerning Jesus, which also notes that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, with a wide consensus that Josephus' testimony probably contains a core from Josephus himself which was later interpolated by Christian scribes.

If Alexamenos was in fact a Christian mocked by an unsympathetic contemporary,several things stand out from the graffito.

(1) The crucifixion is central to the early Christian faith.

(2) Jesus is associated with the Jewish God.

(3) Early Christians saw Jesus as an appropriate object of worship.

(4) The Christian faith first spread in Rome among persons more familiar with Greek than Latin, and hence of likely eastern Mediterranean provenance.

Clearly, someone unsympathetic to Jesus and his followers is impressed by a Christian's worship of a crucified figure that points as well to a common Graeco-Roman calumny against the Jews.  Hence, we have in this crude graffito not only an early record of Christianity, but perhaps as well testimony to faith in the divinity of Jesus as far antedating the Council of Nicaea.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Could the Narrative be Changing?


This refers to an article posted on Patheos, which sounds an alarm that Texas may approve a history textbook which sees Moses as an influence on the American Founder.  Uncle Cephas sees this as alarmist at best, obscurantist at worst.

One of the dynamics at work here involves consensuses among the academic historians who inform the writing of textbooks and the currricula we use. For the past few decades, there has been a questioning of the secularist paradigm, with which I am sympathetic.

For several decades in the early 20th century, the "progressive" historians dominated. One name associated with this was Charles Beard, who held that economic rather than philosophic motives dominated the thought of the Founders. This, of course, was an early attempt to apply Marxist insights into American historiography. Events battered this school of thought first in 1939, when many intellectuals or intellectual wannabes (including tertiary and secondary history teachers) were shocked that Stalin, hitherto the "great progressive", made a pact with Hitler over the corpses of Poland and the Baltics. A further blow to the "progressive" school of historiography hit between 1947 and the early 1960's, during the Cold War. In the USA, there was a swing back towards the idea of liberty. However, with the great disillusionment with the Cold War that arose from the late 1960's through the 1970's, the star of Beard's "progressive historiography" rose again.

From the mid-'60's through the '70's, there was a strong alliance between "progressive" thinking (again, informed partly by Beard and his disciples) and a militant opposition to traditional theism. It was helped enormously by the "separationist" interpretation of the First Amendment held by the Supreme Court during the period--even to the point where any sympathetic treatment of traditional Christianity became highly suspect.

I believe that an important change, ironically enough, occurred with the Iranian Revolution, in which the smart, educated money lost when the Mullah Khomeini did an end-run around the odd-son favorites in the Iranian Tudeh (Communists) at roughly the same time American Evangelicals were abandoning the Democratic Party of their grandfathers over pro-life and private schooling issues. Immediately, we had the specter of "fundamentalism" haunting the globe, as if the thought and histories of an older American "Democratic Evangelicalism" (cf. Sydney Ahlstrom) traveled the same routes as Twelver Shi'ite Islam from the Safavids until now. In the early 1980's, American media people and policymankers (I spent 1989-1995 in the US State Department) were unbelievably shocked and sometimes hysterical about the phenomenon--and, thanks to being educated in paradigms that wrongly perceived theistic traditions as unchanging, as well as being mere epihenomena in the body of "real" (money and power) history, utterly clueless when attempting to understand and address the sudden "retreat of secularism" (after Peter Berger).

So, take a good look at the Patheos blog article. Someone clearly senses that the "progressive" narrative is under questioning and attack, and is quite unhappy about it. Hence the shrill, exaggerated tone and the silly suggestion that "stupid Texans" think that Moses was an 18th century American.

Frankly, if the Texas books in question are what I suspect them to be (re-appropriation of the Bible as a source for the limited government ideal), I think that both students and teachers win in getting a wider and more varied perspective on history.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thoughts of a Random History Teacher


The blog Patheos has run a post raising the tocsin that the barbarians have entered the gates and made Moses an American Founding Father.  After all, some history textbook in Texas supposedly says so

First of all, I am neither a Texan nor a Baptist nor a Pentecostalist. I have also laughed at Texan jokes.

Sorry, folks, but the Texas books in question DO NOT say that Moses was an 18th century American hobnobbing with the likes of James Madison, George Read, John Jay, etc. They merely note that Moses cast a very long shadow over how Western people have thought about the relationship between people, state, and law--including our own American ideas.

For almost two centuries prior to the writing of the US Constitution, Western political theory was shaped by an argument between proponents of royal absolutism and a school called monarchomach, who argued that the ruler is subject to law and established by political compact rather than immediate divine right (an important distinction). The latter school informed the Puritan and Calvinist view of politics; and what Moses wrote about king and Torah in Deuteronomy 17:14ff. was powerful grist for the monarchomach mill. The 18th century American colonists, who knew their Bibles and were shaped by Calvinist educations, knew that.
If this upsets the triumphalism of those who worship nature, the state, or cosmos, or they're afraid their kiddies will learn that they have derived political benefits from people who believed in the Christian God, WELL, AIN'T THAT TOO DAMN BAD. It's historical fact, whether we like it or not.

Christian conservatives (Eek! Help! Fire!) and ANYONE who wants accurate historical knowledge win. "Progressive Secular Humanists", who have for so long loudly boasted that they can handle any historical or material fact, yet whine, whine, whine when someone mentions the Abrahamic God in a history textbook, make themselves look petty and obscurantist. Worse yet, it shows them bearing false witness against their neighbors (nod to Moshe Rabeinu).

Friday, October 31, 2014

A bit of whimsy

In days of old, when knights were bold,
And most trade was by barter,
The English barons forced King John
To sign the Magna Carta!

Just a test before I try to pick up blogging again!

Friday, June 20, 2014

John Kerry Bullies Africa





Here is a horrible case of American international bullying--and I am not one who reflexively accuses his country of being the international "bad guy".

Back in the 1880's, missionaries of the Protestant, Catholic, and Islamic faiths reached the Kingdom of Buganda (the state of the Baganda people, who speak the Luganda language).  Both Christian sects made great headway, including in the royal court.

Among the Christian converts were forty-odd teenaged males serving as pages to the Kabaka, or king of Buganda. Mwanga II, their master, was shocked when he learned that these lads would no longer submit to being sodomized, for apparently, in traditional Baganda society, as in ancient Roman society, a dominant male could use his subordinates pretty much as he pleased. Unwilling to permit such a slight to his royal dignity, Mwanga ordered these young men killed; some by beheading, others by being burnt alive.  The twenty-odd who were Roman Catholic are today officially recognized as martyrs by their church; while Ugandan Protestants preserve the historical memory of the others.

The blood (and ashes) of the martyrs turned indeed into the seed of the church, just as the [North] African Tertullian said back in the 2d century.  The northwestern shores of Lake Victoria are now heavily Christianized.

Scroll down to the 21st century.

Now the United States of America, the lodestone of Western civilization so-called, had slapped Uganda with sanctions for continuing to criminalize sodomy.  I am certain that this reads well with the LGBT lobby, who have been major supporters of the Obama administration.  America has struck a blow for the rights of sexual minorities, and has publicly told Uganda that it will not stand for the imprisonment of homosexuals.  At the same time, the aptly named Foggy Bottom utters nary a peep about Saudi Arabia, where homosexuals are publicly executed.  Perhaps this is because Uganda has no money for the Sunnite terrorists in Syria, whom the Obama administration (with a cheering section among Congressional Repubs) sought to support, even as it now decries the depredations of the same groups in Iraq.

But perhaps there's something even worse afoot.

Uncle Cephas spent a couple of years as US Vice Consul in Bangkok, Thailand back when that city was a Mecca for sex tourism--including some of a very perverted kind.  I did not seek the excitement, but, remaining satisfied with my own wife, I still could not avoid noticing the pervasiveness of the sex industry.  Sordid is perhaps too gentle a term to describe it.  Worst of all were the American and European HIV-AIDS cases prowling for casual partners as young as they could find them, all the while telling themselves they were helping the world's poor.

Hence, part of me can't help but feel that just maybe, Barry, Hillary,and John want their LGBT friends to enjoy a new playground in Africa now that southern and southeastern Asia may be wising up to Western perverion tourism.  If the Africans want nothing to do with this, my sympathies are with the Africans--and for the record, I am not even black (at least as far as I know).

Or, perhaps, Barry, Hillary, and John want an America where the wealthy, powerful, and politically-connected may do what they will to their subordinates. Hence this bullying of a far away land which, unlike some with which we try to make nice, never did us an ounce of harm.

For shame!







1 Kakumba, Makko Buganda Ffumbe Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
2 Rugarama, Yusuf Ankole Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
3 Sserwanga, Nuwa Buganda Ngeye Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
4 Balikuddembe, Yosefu Mukasa Buganda Kayozi Catholic Nov 15, 1885 Nakivubo Beheaded and Burned
5 Mukasa, Musa Buganda Ffumbe Anglican May 25, 1886 Munyonyo Speared
6 Kaggwa, Anderea Bunyoro Catholic May 26, 1886 Munyonyo Beheaded
7 Ngondwe, Ponsiano Buganda Nnyonyi Nnyange Catholic May 26, 1886 Ttakajjunge Beheaded and Dismembered
8 Ssebuggwawo, Denis Buganda Musu Catholic May 26, 1886 Munyonyo Beheaded
9 Bazzekuketta, Antanansio Buganda Nkima Catholic May 27, 1886 Nakivubo Dismembered
10 Gonza, Gonzaga Busoga Mpologoma Catholic May 27, 1886 Lubowa Beheaded
11 Mbwa, Eriya Buganda Ndiga Anglican May 27, 1886 Mengo Castrated
12 Muddu-aguma Anglican May 27, 1886 Mengo Castrated
13 Mulumba, Matiya Busoga Lugave Catholic May 27, 1886 Old Kampala Dismembered
14 Muwanga, Daudi Buganda Ngonge Anglican Namanve Castrated
15 Kayizzi, Kibuuka Buganda Mmamba Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
16 Mawaggali, Nowa Buganda Ngabi Catholic May 31, 1886 Mityana Speared, Ravaged by wild dogs
17 Mayanja, Kitoogo Buganda Ffumbe Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
18 Muwanga Buganda Nvuma Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
19 Lwanga, Karoli Buganda Ngabi Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
20 Baanabakintu, Lukka Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
21 Buuzabalyawo, Yakobo Buganda Ngeye Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
22 Gyaviira Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
23 Kibuuka, Ambrosio Buganda Lugave Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
24 Kiriggwajjo, Anatoli Bunyoro Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
25 Kiriwawanvu, Mukasa Buganda Ndiga Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
26 Kiwanuka, Achileo Buganda Lugave Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
27 Kizito Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
28 Ludigo, Mukasa Adolofu Toro Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
29 Mugagga Buganda Ngo Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
30 Sserunkuuma, Bruno Buganda Ndiga Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
31 Tuzinde, Mbaga Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
32 Kadoko, Alexanda Buganda Ndiga Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
33 Kifamunnyanja Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
34 Kiwanuka, Giyaza Buganda Mpeewo Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
35 Kizza, Frederick Buganda Ngabi Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
36 Kwabafu Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
37 Lwakisiga, Mukasa Buganda Ngabi Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
38 Lwanga Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
39 Mubi-azaalwa Buganda Mbwa Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
40 Munyagabyangu, Robert Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
41 Muwanga, Njigija Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
42 Nakabandwa, Danieri Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
43 Walukagga, Nuwa Buganda Kasimba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
44 Wasswa Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
45 Muzeeyi, Jean-Marie Buganda Mbogo Catholic Jan 27, 1887 Mengo Beheaded - See more at: http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/06/02/the-untold-story-of-the-uganda-christian-martyrs/#sthash.F6iOxwm8.dpuf
1 Kakumba, Makko Buganda Ffumbe Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
2 Rugarama, Yusuf Ankole Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
3 Sserwanga, Nuwa Buganda Ngeye Anglican Jan 31, 1885 Busega Dismembered and Burned
4 Balikuddembe, Yosefu Mukasa Buganda Kayozi Catholic Nov 15, 1885 Nakivubo Beheaded and Burned
5 Mukasa, Musa Buganda Ffumbe Anglican May 25, 1886 Munyonyo Speared
6 Kaggwa, Anderea Bunyoro Catholic May 26, 1886 Munyonyo Beheaded
7 Ngondwe, Ponsiano Buganda Nnyonyi Nnyange Catholic May 26, 1886 Ttakajjunge Beheaded and Dismembered
8 Ssebuggwawo, Denis Buganda Musu Catholic May 26, 1886 Munyonyo Beheaded
9 Bazzekuketta, Antanansio Buganda Nkima Catholic May 27, 1886 Nakivubo Dismembered
10 Gonza, Gonzaga Busoga Mpologoma Catholic May 27, 1886 Lubowa Beheaded
11 Mbwa, Eriya Buganda Ndiga Anglican May 27, 1886 Mengo Castrated
12 Muddu-aguma Anglican May 27, 1886 Mengo Castrated
13 Mulumba, Matiya Busoga Lugave Catholic May 27, 1886 Old Kampala Dismembered
14 Muwanga, Daudi Buganda Ngonge Anglican Namanve Castrated
15 Kayizzi, Kibuuka Buganda Mmamba Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
16 Mawaggali, Nowa Buganda Ngabi Catholic May 31, 1886 Mityana Speared, Ravaged by wild dogs
17 Mayanja, Kitoogo Buganda Ffumbe Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
18 Muwanga Buganda Nvuma Anglican May 31, 1886 Mityana Castrated
19 Lwanga, Karoli Buganda Ngabi Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
20 Baanabakintu, Lukka Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
21 Buuzabalyawo, Yakobo Buganda Ngeye Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
22 Gyaviira Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
23 Kibuuka, Ambrosio Buganda Lugave Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
24 Kiriggwajjo, Anatoli Bunyoro Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
25 Kiriwawanvu, Mukasa Buganda Ndiga Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
26 Kiwanuka, Achileo Buganda Lugave Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
27 Kizito Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
28 Ludigo, Mukasa Adolofu Toro Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
29 Mugagga Buganda Ngo Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
30 Sserunkuuma, Bruno Buganda Ndiga Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
31 Tuzinde, Mbaga Buganda Mmamba Catholic June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
32 Kadoko, Alexanda Buganda Ndiga Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
33 Kifamunnyanja Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
34 Kiwanuka, Giyaza Buganda Mpeewo Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
35 Kizza, Frederick Buganda Ngabi Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
36 Kwabafu Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
37 Lwakisiga, Mukasa Buganda Ngabi Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
38 Lwanga Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
39 Mubi-azaalwa Buganda Mbwa Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
40 Munyagabyangu, Robert Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
41 Muwanga, Njigija Buganda Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
42 Nakabandwa, Danieri Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
43 Walukagga, Nuwa Buganda Kasimba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
44 Wasswa Buganda Mmamba Anglican June 3, 1886 Namugongo Burned
45 Muzeeyi, Jean-Marie Buganda Mbogo Catholic Jan 27, 1887 Mengo Beheaded - See more at: http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/06/02/the-untold-story-of-the-uganda-christian-martyrs/#sthash.F6iOxwm8.dpuf

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Alternative History: Adolf Hitler

I recently read of some students in Germany who made an alternative history film of Hitler as a young boy being killed by an automobile, ending with the body sprawled as a Swastika.  While by no means an admirer of Hitler or the National Socialist movement, I'm queasy about killing children.  However, this prompted a bit of alternative history speculation:


An Alternatative History Ending for Adolf Hitler



The Obituary




Early July, 1914—A Telegram

Dear Cousin Nicky:  As Christian princes, we must do our best to preserve peace and justice in this fallen world.  Hence, while I deplore the murder of our Austrian Cousin Ferdinand and sympathize with the deep mourning of his people, I will do my best to dissuade Vienna from war; if I can be sure of your help in using Russian influence to reign in the passions of the Slave states in the Balkans.  Willy

Dear Cousin Willy: Despite Pan-Slavist hotheads in my government, I am of the same mind as you are.  I have instructed my ambassadors to push for Austro-Serbian reconciliation, and to offer Russia’s good offices in this effort.  My prayers are with your efforts with Vienna.  Nicky.

From Konrad Hauftoffel’s Aborted Crisis: European Diplomacy following the Sarajevo Assassination (1962).

…A rare fit of calm and deliberation on the part of Germany’s Wilhelm II, coupled with an uncharacteristically quick response from Tsar Nicholas II, averted conflict.  While the ordered mobilization ended with large armies standing idle, along with concomitant expenditures on the parts of all European governments and resultant socialist coffee house jokes at the expense of chanceries everywhere, the aborted crisis of 1914 gave new confidence to Europe, especially after King George of Great Britain proposed an immediate international conference on securing a lasting peace in the Balkans with the cooperation of the French Government…


München Abendzeitung, July 13, 1962

Adolf Hitler, Noted Wallpaper Designer and Housewares Entrepreneur, Succumbs to Stroke.

Early this morning, Adolf Hitler, retired founder of Hitler and Sons Housewares and Design succumbed to a sudden stroke.  He was seventy-three years of age, and is survived by his wife of forty-three years Hildegard, daughters Pauline Franzenbrenner of Heilbronn and Klara Müller of Köln, and by sons Karl, current head of Hitler and Sons Housewares and Design, Friedrich, Wilhelm, Franz, and Johann, a dentist with a practice in Augsburg; in addition to grandchildren Heinz Franzenbrenner, Karl Franzenbrenner, Margarete Franzenbrenner, Dietrich Müller, Hilde Müller, Friedrich Hitler, Alois Hitler, and Klara Hitler.  Half-brother Alois, Junior predeceased him, as did sister Paula.  The death was announced by Wilhelm Hitler, vice-president in charge of advertising for the family firm.

Born in Braunau am Inn in Austria in 1889, Hitler immigrated to Germany, Hitler received only a gymnasium education before  moving to Vienna to unsuccessfully pursue an education in fine arts and a career as a freelance painter.  Drawn to nationalistic ideology in his youth, he used a small inheritance from his father Alois, a former Austrian customs officer, to immigrate to München at the age of twenty-four, where he spent most of the rest of his life.  Naturalized as a German subject through brief service in the general mobilization of 1914, Hitler was demobilized when the 1914 crisis subsided.

Friends of the family note that Hitler called the end of the 1914 crisis a turning point in his life.  Realizing he was unlikely to succeed as a fine artist, he decided to devote himself to growing a career in  house painting and wallpaper hanging.  A diligent worker with a charismatic personality, Hitler attracted a growing clientele and the loyalty of a small cadre of coworkers.   After contracting to work on the home of Max Frankenberger, the noted art collector, Hitler once explained some of his own ideas about wallpaper design to his patron.  Intrigued, Frankenberger  put Hitler in touch with various sources of finance and materials, launching Hitler on his career as a wallpaper designer.  By the age of thirty-three, Hitler found his growing business required a large manufacturing plant, and with the help of several backers, purchased a defunct munitions factory, which he had re-configured to manufacture his wallpapers.   It was close to this time that he met Hildegard Kurz, daughter of a pharmacist, whom he married in 1924 at the Marienkirche in München.  Through his father-in-law Anton Kurz, Hitler met the financier Jesaia Kahn, who encouraged Hitler to pursue his ideas about new designs for housewares and provided seed capital for this venture.   Kahn was also able to introduce Hitler to a New York-based cousin, who added an international dimension to his growing business empire.

Youngest son Johann Hitler notes that his father, initially attracted to German nationalism in his youth and steeped in conventional anti-Semitic attitudes, came to pan-Europeanist views with the growing international caution and era of easing tensions following British King George V’s call for further discussions about preserving European peace.  “Father used to joke about how he once couldn’t get away from the cosmopolitan Austro-Hungarian-Bohemian state quickly enough and thought himself too good for what he once called the ‘Jewish stink’ of Vienna; but he notes that the help he received from Frankenberger, Kahn, and Kahn’s American cousin ended up making him a wealthy man.  Deals with department stores everywhere from Baghdad and Moscow to Kansas City, Missouri convinced Father that we live in one world.  He grew very sentimental when he took the family on a vacation to his native Austria, even in the neighborhood where he had experienced poverty and rejection as a young man, and by the time I met my dear wife Babette, who is Jewish, his admitted youthful anti-Semitism had largely dissipated.  He grew very enthusiastic when he heard of the arrangement Emperor Karl of Austria made with the Slavic and Rumanian minorities and Austria-Hungary’s evolution from Dual to Plural Monarchy.  His association with the Pan-European Party began about that time, and he even briefly considered running for office on its ticket, before business concerns brought him back down to earth.  However, he came to firmly believe, “Today, Mitteleuropa; tomorrow, the World”.  The high point of his life was when he heard that at the 1957 Lemburg Meeting of Kaiser Wilhelm IV, Emperor Otto of the Plural Monarchy, and Tsar Alexis of Russia, a Hitler tablecloth covered the dinner table.  He observed that when young, he thought a European war might bring him to a grand destiny, but that it was a general peace that made it possible for the Hitler name to be known and appreciated all over Europe and the world.”

Son Wilhelm also noted that while officially retired from his business, Hitler continued to contribute ideas for wallpaper and housewares design until shortly before his death.  He noted that his father was never happier than when he had a drawing pen or pencil in hand and a sheet of paper in front of him.

In addition to provisions for family members in Hitler’s will, bequests were made to various Catholic and Protestant charities in München, the Frankenberger Museum of Realist Art, the Pan-European Party, and the Tsar Alexis Research Center for Hemophilia and other Genetic Disorders in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

The wake and funeral services are scheduled to be held at the Heiligegeistkirche in Münichen, where the Hitler family attended.