Erich von Däniken John J. Begley, S.J. - Essay

John J. Begley, S.J.

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I cannot take [Miracles of the Gods] seriously. I say this not because of the author's thesis concerning the origin of what constitutes a peripheral concern to both theologians and believers alike, visions and miracles; but because the author treats with contempt much that believers take very seriously: the Church, the New Testament, and theology. The Church is condemned for its arrogance and dictatorial behavior in withholding its approval from all reported visions and miracles. The New Testament is rejected for its alleged inconsistencies, misrepresentations, and basic untruthfulness. Theologians and pastors are castigated for their duplicity in withholding from the faithful the truth about the New Testament in order to protect their own livelihood.

In support of his thesis regarding the untruthfulness of the New Testament, the author refers to a number of scripture scholars. References are consistently incomplete. Page numbers are never cited…. So much for scholarship.

Visions and miracles are real according to von Däniken and can be accounted for in the following way. Extraterrestrial beings visited this and other solar systems and left behind descendants….

Von Däniken advances his rejection of Christian faith with the expectation that "a sound thrashing by Christian specialists" awaits him. I suspect that specialists will give this book as much attention as it deserves.

John J. Begley, S.J. in a review of "Miracles of the Gods," in Best Sellers, Vol. 36, No. 2, May, 1976, p. 56.