Monday, October 07, 2013


Greatest Enemy of the Human Race?

David Harvey, obituary of Geoffrey de Ste Croix, The Guardian (February 10, 2000):
He described himself as "an atheist, politely militant", and was increasingly militant with advancing years. St Paul replaced Plato as his "greatest enemy of the human race", and later that distinction went to Jahweh, the Old Testament Jehovah, whose cruelties never ceased to appal him. Yet he was always anxious not to offend sincere believers, and spoke with respect of the best Christian scholarship. He found little to quarrel with in liberation theology: Jesus was OK, his dad was appalling.
R.C.T. Parker, "Ste Croix, Geoffrey Ernest Maurice de (1910–2000), ancient historian," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
On the death of his father in 1914 his mother, Florence Annie MacGowan, daughter of a prominent protestant missionary to China, John MacGowan, took him home to England. She was a fervently committed member of an extreme protestant group, the British Israelites, who identified the British with the lost twelfth tribe of Israel. A devoted only child, he acquired a profound knowledge of the Bible at his mother's knee; it may be supposed that he acquired there too his strong feelings about religion (in later life he often described himself as a ‘politely militant’ atheist), and a certain earnestness and missionary zeal that always marked him.

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