The rooster crowed again

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The rooster crowed again. A critical church history is a work of church history by the author Karlheinz Deschner .


medieval depiction of the denial of Peter

The title of the book goes back to a passage from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus said to Peter : "Truly, I say to you: Today, this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times" ( Mk 14, 30  EU )

Then the original Greek text reads: Καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκ δευτέρου ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησεν. - Kai euthys ek deuterou alektōr ephonēsen. - "And again the rooster crowed." ( Mk 14.72  EU )


The work published in 1962, which deals critically with Christianity , is, according to the author, "written by a layman for laymen". The main focus is on the development of the ancient church. This is supplemented by critical considerations on the role of the Catholic Church in particular in the Middle Ages and in modern times . The work is divided into four books. A detailed note section is attached. The sources for more than 4000 text passages in the book are named here, the list of secondary literature used includes more than 700 titles.

First Book: The Gospels and Their Surroundings

According to Deschner, the historical person Jesus stands behind the reports of the Gospels as a charismatic personality who is in harmony with his teaching, but who neither saw himself as the Son of God nor was seen by the disciples (at least before the crucifixion) as the Son of God. This historical Jesus was wrongly convinced of the imminent end of the world and the beginning of the "kingdom of God". His teaching was by no means new and original, but consisted of adoptions from Judaism or the Jewish religion , from various other ancient religions and cults (e.g. various mystery cults , such as the Asclepius, Heracles, Dionysus , Heracles Cult) and Buddhism and Zoroastrianism together. According to Deschner, the Gospels continuously change this image of Jesus and supplement it with a multitude of legends and myths, which also originate from various older religions and myths , i.e. they do not originally refer to the historical Jesus. In doing so, they “deify” Jesus more and more, starting with the early Gospel of Mark, the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, which emerged later, to the Gospel of John: According to Deschner, all the birth , miracle and resurrection stories in the Gospels are later inventions that come from a historical person make a god.

As an introduction, Deschner points out that church forces over the centuries have had an interest in keeping lay people away from the original text of the Bible and cites two examples.

The Synod of Toulouse decided in 1229:

"The laity are not allowed to own the books of the Old and New Testaments."

In an ecclesiastical report under Pope Julius III. (1550–1555) it says:

"Finally, of all the advice we can give at the moment, the most important thing is to strive with all our might that no one is and will be permitted to read even the slightest of the Gospel in the vernacular."

Second book: Paul

In this book, the author traces the polarizations in the early Christian community as well as the actual and supposed work of Paul . According to this, early Christianity was dominated by the conflict between adherents who continued to see themselves as Jews and who respected the Mosaic laws, and Hellenistic Christians who rejected the Jewish laws (especially circumcision ). As an advocate of the Hellenic side, Paul stood in sharp contrast to Peter and the traditional Jerusalem early church . According to Deschner, the history of Christianity is marked from the beginning by power struggles, intolerance and divisions.

Paul was not at all interested in the personality and teaching of the historical Jesus. Instead, he had significantly shaped Christianity through his own theology, which, by adopting elements of Greek mythology from the Galilean itinerant preacher, created a son of God who died for the sins of the people on the cross. The teachings of original sin and predestination and the replacement of the eschatological belief in the near end of the world in favor of an otherworldly conception of the kingdom of heaven also went back to Paul and contradicted the teaching and conceptions of the historical Jesus .

This section has its own chapters on the role of women and the beginnings of celibacy .

Third book: Early Catholicism

The author examines the reasons for the early Christian expansion as well as the establishment of the first Christian offices and the beginnings of the papacy . The emergence of the cult of saints from the veneration of martyrs in the 3rd century is examined in this section as well as the cult of Mary . According to Deschner, essential elements of Catholicism (papacy, baptism, communion, monasticism, veneration of saints and Mary) do not go back to the teaching of Jesus and are in contradiction to it. The history of the persecution of Christians in the first centuries was mythologized and heroized by the church: the extent was in reality far less, there were long periods of tolerance by the Roman state as well as many Christians who quickly renounced their belief in danger or fled. Many martyrs and their stories are even just an invention of the church.

Fourth book: the victorious church

In this book, the struggle of the Catholic Church with Jews, Gentiles and heretics is presented on the basis of numerous historical documents. Here, too, Deschner describes church history as a sequence of power struggles in which one of various beliefs (Catholicism) prevailed, which then intolerantly and mostly with brutal violence fought against other Christian currents (e.g. Arianism ) and other religions. A separate chapter is devoted to the position of the Catholic Church on war. The role of the Catholic and Evangelical Churches during the time of Italian, Spanish and German fascism ( Mussolini , Franco , Hitler ) is examined using numerous sources . According to Deschner, the evidence suggests that church decision-makers have tolerated or even supported fascist crimes in many cases.

Book editions

  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history from the beginning to Pius XII. Publishing house HE Günther, Stuttgart 1962
  • The rooster crowed again. A unmasking of Christianity from the evangelists to the fascists . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1972, ISBN 3-499-16788-3
  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history from the evangelists to the fascists . Econ-Verlag, Düsseldorf-Vienna 1980, ISBN 3-430-12064-0
  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history . Econ-Verlag, Düsseldorf-Vienna 1986, ISBN 3-430-12059-4
  • The rooster crowed again . Moewig, Rastatt 1987, ISBN 3-8118-3266-2
  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history . Goldmann, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-442-72025-7
  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history . Edition Enfer, Lahnstein 2010, ISBN 978-3-941960-06-0
  • The rooster crowed again. A critical church history from the evangelists to the fascists . Alibri, Aschaffenburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-86569-188-0

See also

Web links