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John Mackinnon Robertson PC (14 November 1856[1] – 5 January 1933[2]) was a prolific journalist, advocate of rationalism and secularism, and Liberal Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom for Tyneside from 1906 to 1918. Robertson was best known as an advocate of the Christ myth theory.

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 Electoral record

2 Views 3 Selected works 4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Biography[edit] Robertson was born in Brodick
Brodick
on the Isle of Arran; his father moved the family to Stirling
Stirling
while he was still young, and he attended school there until the age of 13. He worked first as a clerk and then as a journalist, eventually becoming assistant editor of the Edinburgh Evening News.[3] He wrote in February 1906 to a friend that he "gave up the 'divine'" when he was a teenager.[4] His first contact with the freethought movement was a lecture by Charles Bradlaugh
Charles Bradlaugh
in Edinburgh
Edinburgh
in 1878. Robertson became active in the Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Secular Society,[5] soon after.[4] It was through the Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Secular Society that he met William Archer and became writer for the Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Evening News.[4] He eventually moved to London
London
to become assistant editor of Bradlaugh's paper National Reformer, subsequently taking over as editor on Bradlaugh's death in 1891.[3] The National Reformer finally closed in 1893. Robertson was also an appointed lecturer for the freethinking South Place Ethical Society[6] from 1899 until the 1920s. An advocate of the "New Liberalism,"[7] Robertson's political radicalism developed in the 1880s and 1890s, and he first stood for Parliament in 1895, failing to win Bradlaugh's old seat in Northampton as an independent radical liberal. Robertson was a staunch free trader and his Trade and Tariffs (1908) "became a bible for free-traders pursuing the case for cheap food and the expansion of trade".[8] In 1915 he was appointed to the Privy Council. At the United Kingdom general election, 1918, as a Liberal candidate he contested Wallsend, a constituency based largely on his Tyneside seat, but finished third. He contested the United Kingdom general election, 1923 as Liberal candidate for Hendon without success. Robertson died in London
London
in 1933.[3] Homer Smith
Homer Smith
has described Robertson as an "outstanding exponent of rationalism and one of the foremost scholars produced in England in the last six decades."[9] Electoral record[edit]

General Election 1895: Northampton
Northampton
(2 seats)[10][11]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Liberal Henry Du Pré Labouchère 4,884 27.0 -4.1

Conservative Charles Gustavus Adolphus Drucker 3,820 21.0 +2.5

Lib-Lab Edward Harford 3,703 20.4 -9.1

Conservative Jacpb Jacobs 3,394 18.7 -2.2

Social Democratic Federation Frederick George Jones 1,216 6.7 n/a

Independent Liberal John Mackinnon Robertson 1,131 6.2 n/a

Majority 117 0.6

Turnout

83.5 +2.3

Liberal hold Swing

Conservative gain from Liberal Swing

Robertson

General Election 1906: Tyneside[10]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Liberal John Mackinnon Robertson 11,496 62.5 +11.2

Conservative James Knott 6,885 37.5 -11.2

Majority 4,611 25.0 +22.4

Turnout

79.3 +4.4

Liberal gain from Liberal Unionist Swing +11.2

General Election January 1910: Tyneside[10][12]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Liberal John Mackinnon Robertson 13,158 62.8 +0.3

Conservative Alfred Henry John Cochrane 7,807 37.2 -0.3

Majority 5,351 25.6 +0.6

Turnout

81.5 +2.2

Liberal hold Swing +0.3

General Election December 1910: Tyneside[10][12]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Liberal John Mackinnon Robertson 11,693 63.0 +0.2

Conservative Helenus Macaulay Robertson 6,857 37.0 -0.2

Majority 4,836 26.0 +0.4

Turnout

72.1 -9.4

Liberal hold Swing +0.2

Robertson

General Election 1918: Wallsend[13]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

National Democratic Matthew Turnbull Simm 10,246

n/a

Labour John Chapman 6,835

n/a

Liberal Rt Hon. John Mackinnon Robertson 3,047

n/a

Majority 3,411

n/a

Turnout

n/a

National Democratic win

General Election 1923: Hendon[13]

Party Candidate Votes % ±

Unionist Rt Hon. Philip Lloyd-Graeme 13,278 51.9 -10.9

Liberal Rt Hon. John Mackinnon Robertson 7,324 28.6 +8.2

Labour Charles Latham 5,005 19.5 +2.7

Majority 5,954 23.3 -3.5

Turnout

67.3

Unionist hold Swing -9.6

Views[edit] Economically, Robertson has been described as an underconsumptionist, and he gave an early form, perhaps the earliest formal statement, of the paradox of thrift in his 1892 book The Fallacy of Saving.[14][15] Robertson was an advocate of the Christ myth theory, and in several books he argued against the historicity of Jesus. According to Robertson, the character of Jesus in the New Testament developed from a Jewish cult of Joshua, whom he identifies as a solar deity.

1900 Christianity and Mythology ;

Long before Biblical Judaism was known, the people of Palestine shared in the universal rituals of the primeval cults of sun and moon, Nature and symbol; and the successive waves of conquest, physical and mystical, have only transformed the primordial hallucination.[16]

1902 A Short History of Christianity ;

The older portions of the Pauline epistles show no knowledge of any Jesuine biography or any Jesuine teaching —a circumstance which suggests that the Jesus of Paul is much more remote from Paul's day than is admitted by the records.[17]

Oxford theologian and orientalist Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare
Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare
wrote a book titled, The Historical Christ; or, An investigation of the views of Mr. J. M. Robertson, Dr. A. Drews, and Prof. W. B. Smith (1913), directed against the Christ myth theory
Christ myth theory
defended by the three authors. Selected works[edit]

Modern Humanists (1891) Miscellanies (1898) History of Freethought
Freethought
in the Nineteenth Century, (1899) Christianity and Mythology. Watts. 1900.  (1900) Studies in Religious Fallacy (1900) A Short History of Christianity. Watts & Co. 1902.  (1902) Pagan Christs - Studies in Comparative Hierology. Watts & Co. 1911 [1903].  Letters on Reasoning. Watts. 1902.  (1905, 2nd edition) A Short History of Freethought: Ancient and Modern Volume 1, Volume 2 (1906) Rationalism
Rationalism
(1912) The Baconian Heresy: A Confutation (1913) The Historical Jesus: A Survey of Positions (1916) The Jesus Problem: Restatement of the Myth Theory (1917) Shakespeare and Chapman (1917) Short History of Morals (1920) The Shakespeare Canon (1922-1932) Jesus and Judas (1927)

References[edit]

^ Page, Martin. (1984) Britain's Unknown Genius An Introduction to the Life-Work of John Mackinnon Robertson. London: South Place Ethical Society, p. 13. ISBN 0902368109 ^ Wells, G. A., ed. (1987) J. M. Robertson
J. M. Robertson
(1856–1933) Liberal, Rationalist, and Scholar: An Assessment by Several Hands; edited by G. A. Wells. London; Pemberton, p. 26. ISBN 0301870012 ^ a b c "The Rt. Hon. J. M. Robertson". Retrieved 13 February 2010.  ^ a b c Wells, G.A. Ed. (1987) J.M. Robertson (1856–1933) Liberal, Rationalist, and Scholar: An Assessment by Several Hands Edited by G.A. Wells. London; Pemberton, p. 13. ISBN 0301870012 ^ " Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Secular Society". About us. Retrieved 2 October 2013.  ^ "Progress Through Two Centuries: A Short History of the South Place Ethical Society". Archived from the original on 18 January 2000. Retrieved 13 February 2010.  ^ Tanner, Duncan (13 February 2003). "Political Change and the Labour Party 1900-1918". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 11 March 2017 – via Google Books.  ^ Michael Freeden, 'Robertson, John Mackinnon (1856–1933)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006, accessed 5 April 2009. ^ Smith, Homer W. (1952). Man and His Gods. Little, Brown and Company. p. 477 ^ a b c d British Parliamentary Election Results 1885-1918, FWS Craig ^ Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1901 ^ a b Debrett's House of Commons & Judicial Bench, 1916 ^ a b British Parliamentary Election Results 1918-1949, FWS Craig ^ Robertson, John M. (1892). The Fallacy of Saving.  ^ Nash, Robert T.; Gramm, William P. (1969). "A Neglected Early Statement the Paradox of Thrift". History of Political Economy. 1 (2): 395–400. doi:10.1215/00182702-1-2-395.  ^ Robertson, John Mackinnon (1900). Christianity and Mythology. Watts & Company. p. 422. Long before Biblical Judaism was known, the people of Palestine shared in the universal rituals of the primeval cults of sun and moon, Nature and symbol; and the successive waves of conquest, physical and mystical, have only transformed the primordial hallucination. (Image of p. 422 at Google Books)  ^ Robertson, John Mackinnon (1902). A Short History of Christianity. Watts & Company. p. 13. The older portions of the Pauline epistles show no knowledge of any Jesuine biography or any Jesuine teaching —a circumstance which suggests that the Jesus of Paul is much more remote from Paul's day than is admitted by the records. (Image of p. 13 at Google Books) 

Further reading[edit]

Anonymous (1901). "Reviewed Work: Christianity and Mythology by John M. Robertson". The Monist. 12 (1): 145–146.  Bowen, Clayton R. (1919). "Reviewed Works: The Historical Jesus by John M. Robertson; The Jesus Problem by John M. Robertson". The American Journal of Theology. 23 (3): 378–381.  Moncrief, J. W. (1903). "Reviewed Work: A Short History of Christianity by John M. Robertson". The American Journal of Theology. 7 (1): 201.  Case, Shirley Jackson (1920). "Reviewed Work: The Jesus Problem. A Restatement of the Myth Theory by J. M. Robertson". Harvard Theological Review. 13 (3): 295–296.  Dekkers, Odin (1999). J. M. Robertson: Rationalist and Literary Critic. Ashgate.  Mackenzie, John Stuart (1892). "Modern Humanists by John M. Robertson". International Journal of Ethics. 2 (2): 263–264.  Watt, Paul (2017). Ernest Newman: A Critical Biography. The Boydell Press.  Wells, George Albert (1987). J. M. Robertson
J. M. Robertson
(1856-1933): Liberal, Rationalist, and Scholar: An Assessment. Pemberton. 

External links[edit]

Works written by or about J. M. Robertson
J. M. Robertson
at Wikisource Works by J. M. Robertson
J. M. Robertson
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about J. M. Robertson
J. M. Robertson
at Internet Archive

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by Hugh Crawford Smith Member of Parliament for Tyneside 1906–1918 Constituency abolished

Political offices

Preceded by Harold Tennant Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade 1911–1915 Succeeded by E. G. Pretyman

Party political offices

Preceded by George Lunn President of the National Liberal Federation 1920–1923 Succeeded by Donald Maclean

v t e

Christ myth theory

Biblical minimalism Historicity of the Bible Textual criticism Criticism of the Bible People whose existence is disputed

Proponents

John M. Allegro Joseph Atwill Bruno Bauer Georg Brandes Thomas L. Brodie Richard Carlile Richard Carrier Paul-Louis Couchoud Earl Doherty Arthur Drews Charles François Dupuis David Fitzgerald Kersey Graves Tom Harpur Edwin Johnson Albert Kalthoff Alvin Boyd Kuhn Raphael Lataster Samuel Lublinski M. M. Mangasarian Michael Martin Michel Onfray Robert M. Price J. M. Robertson Acharya S Gilbert T. Sadler William Benjamin Smith Thomas L. Thompson G. A. Wells Thomas Whittaker Frank Zindler

Organizations

Mythicist Milwaukee

Conferences

Mythinformation Conference Ehrman-Price Debate

Documentaries

Zeitgeist: The Movie Batman & Jesus The God Who Wasn't There The Pagan Christ

Publications

Anacalypsis The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors The Christ Myth The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus
Historicity of Jesus
in Past and Present Did Jesus Exist? (Wells) The Jesus Mysteries The Pagan Christ Caesar's Messiah The Jesus Puzzle The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross Journal of Higher Criticism

Critics

Greg Boyd Joseph Estlin Carpenter Shirley Jackson Case Maurice Casey F. C. Conybeare Bart Ehrman Maurice Goguel T. J. Thorburn H. G. Wood

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 7479661 LCCN: n80037006 ISNI: 0000 0001 1591 3476 GND: 116576782 SUDOC: 033402841 BNF: cb124271831 (data) NLA: 36572261 SN

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