Date: Sun, 22 Jun 1997 22:04:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Geoff Burling)
Subject: An answer to a question
Hello Perry,

I stumbled across your Scientology Comparitive Theology Page today, & have an answer to a question that you posed there.

If my memory serves me right, this is another one of Hubbard's frequent borrowings from the philosopher Will Durant's multivolume work, _The Story of Civilization_. (I have to qualify this attribution, because I read the relevant section about 25 years ago when I was in junior high school.) Durant, in one of the first two books in this series, notices that several major philosophers & theologians of history all seem to have flourished in the 6th century [BC] - Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Thales of Miletus, & a Hebrew figure whose name I don't remember (Jeremiah or Ezra? - I said it has been a while since I read this passage) - & idly wonders if there might be a single cause to this coincidence before turning to a new topic.

Offhand I can recall two more places where Hubbard uses Durant without attribution: one such place is in _Dianetics_, where he writes ``Anything, therefore, which was Roman was villainous. This went to such remarkable lengths that the Roman love of bathing made bathing so immoral that Europe went unwashed for some fifteen hundred years." (Ch.3, para.37). Durant made this claim in the volume _Christ & Mohammed_ (title?), but merely claimed that bathing was neglected by early Christians in the Middle Ages out of contempt for the body. Hubbard also dedicated this volume to Will Durant.

The other place Hubbard uses Durant without attribution was in the early 1950's when he compiled a list of thinkers whose work he claims to have followed. First in this list is one Anaxagoras, a pre-Socratic philosopher, & not a particularly well-known one at that. (If I had sought a name form that group of luminaries, I would have picked Thales, Heraclitus or Pythagoras.) This choice is even more puzzling if we turn to the article on Anaxagoras in the _Oxford Classical Dictionary_, for it claims that his works are fragmentary & his beliefs not well understood by scholars. All that is known about him is that he taught Pericles, the hero of Athenian Democracy. However, if we turn to Durant's book _Greece & Rome_, Durant creates an image of an ancient Scientist who was millenia before his time, with acurate ideas about biology, physics & astronomy. Too bad Durant was wrong.

I hope this helps. If you'd like, you are welcome to quote this letter. Or if you'd rather do the spadework to pin down the quotation, I'd be content with a mere compliment for the lead.

Geoff Burling, just another shade-tree mechanic on the Infobahn:

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