Advice of the Guardian of the Ragusa Capuchins

Adam and Eve (Gen 3 24)
A Watson Heston (1890) parody depiction of Adam and Eve fleeing from the Garden of Eden, as described in Genesis (3:24), which visually is similar to Voltaire’s c.1765 verbal descriptions of the Biblical paradise and “Holy Land” in his Advice of the Guardian of the Ragusa Capuchins (shown below). [2]
In famous publications, Advice of the Guardian of the Ragusa Capuchins to Brother Pediculoso, on his Departure for the Holy Land is a circa 1765 satirical walk though the Bible according to the ridiculing humor of Voltaire.

In c.1765, Voltaire, during his time at Ferney, 1759 to 1778, penned a satirical pamphlet entitled “Advice of the Guardian of the Ragusa Capuchins to Brother Pediculoso, on his Departure for the Holy Land”, wherein he presents a walk through the Bible as akin to, in modern retrospect, a walk though Candy Land or Alice in Wonderland; the 1828 English translation of which, as re-published by George Holyoake (1848), is as follows: [1]

“The first thing you will do, brother Pediculoso, will be to visit Paradise, where God created Adam and Eve, so well-known among the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Persians, the Medes, the Egyptians, and the Syrians, that not a single writer of all those people has ever mentioned it. It will not be difficult to find; for it is situated at the sources of the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Araxes, and the Nile; and though the sources of the Nile and the Euphrates are 1000 leagues from each other [see: §:Four Rivers) (ΡΊ)], that is nothing: you have only to ask the way of the capuchins at Jerusalem, and you cannot possibly miss it.

Do not forget to eat some of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; for it must be confessed that you are a little stupid and somewhat ill natured: when you shall have eaten of that fruit, you will become a very good and a very wise man. Perhaps you may be uneasy respecting the consequences; for in the book of Genesis it is said expressly, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Never fear, my dear brother, but eat away—Adam ate, and lived 930 years afterwards.

As to the serpent, which was "the most subtle of all the beasts of the field," he is chained, you know, somewhere in Upper Egypt: several of our missionaries have seen him. Bochart will tell you what language he spoke in, and the song with which he seduced Eve; but take care that you are not seduced too. Then you will find out the ox that guarded the gate of the garden, for you are of course aware, that cherub in Hebrew signifies an ox; and that is the reason why Ezekiel calls the king of Tyre a cherub. Vide St. Ambrose, the abbe Rupert, and, above all, the cherub Calmet.

Examine carefully the mark which the Lord put upon Cain. See whether it is upon the cheek or the shoulder. He deserved to be branded for killing his brother; but, inasmuch as Romulus, Richard III., Louis XL, and hundreds of others have done the same, it is a matter of no great consequence whether the murderer is pardoned or not, especially as the whole race is damned for an apple.

As you intend to push on as far as the city of Enoch, which Cain founded in the land of Nod, you will be particular in ascertaining the exact number of masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, weavers, hat makers, painters, wool carders, laborers, herdsmen and shepherds, handicraftsmen, judges, and gaolers he had in his employ, when there were but four or five persons on the face of the earth.

Enoch was buried in that city which his grandfather Cain built; but he is still alive. Find him out; ask him how he does, and give him our compliments.

From thence you will pass between the legs of the giants who were begotten by the angels upon the daughters of men, and you will present to them the works of the reverend father don Calmet; but be careful to speak civilly to them, for they don't understand raillery.

You will go the top of Mount Ararat to see the remains of the Ark. Ascertain the correctness of its dimensions, as given by the illustrious Le Pelletier. Measure the mountain carefully, and then measure St. Gothard and the Pichincha in Peru. Calculate, with Woodward and Winston, how many oceans it would take to cover them, and to rise 15 cubits above. You will also have the goodness to bring us, in the original Hebrew, the text which places the deluge in the year of the creation of the world 1656; in the Samaritan, that which says the year 2309, and that of the Septuagint which makes it 2262; and to reconcile these three texts.

Present our respects to our father Noah, who planted the vine. The Greeks and the Asiatics were so unfortunate as to know nothing of him, but the Jews could boast of their descent from him in a right line. Ask him to let you see the covenant which God made with him and the beasts. We are grieved that he should get drunk, and warn you not to follow his example. Above all, get a memorandum of the precise time when Gomer, the grandson of Japhet, began to reign in Europe, which he found thickly peopled. This is a historical fact to verify.

Find out, if you can, what has become of Cainam, the son of Arphaxad, so celebrated by the Septuagint, and of whom the Vulgate says nothing. Beg of him to conduct you to the Tower of Babel, and see if the remains of that tower correspond with the dimensions given by the reverend father Kircher.

From the Tower of Babel you will go to Ur in Chaldea, and you will inquire of the descendants of Abraham the potter, why he left that fertile country, to go in search of a tomb at Hebron, and to buy corn at Memphis; why he made his wife [Sarah] pass for his sister [see: Gary Greenberg], and what he got by that contrivance; but, above all, learn, if you can, what cosmetics she used to make her look handsome at the age of ninety. Ascertain whether she made use of rose or lavender water as a perfume, when she arrived at the courts of the king of Egypt and of the king of Gerar; for these things are essential to our salvation.

You know that the Lord made a contract with Abraham, to give to him and his descendants all the countries from the Nile to the Euphrates. Ascertain the exact reasons why that contract has not been fulfilled.

While you are in Egypt, find out where the horses came from, which Pharaoh sent into the Red Sea in pursuit of the Hebrews; for, all those animals having perished in the sixth and seventh plagues, certain infidels have pretended that Pharaoh had no cavalry. See the book of Exodus, of' which Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, Livy, and all the Egyptian writers make such particular mention.

We will say nothing of the exploits of Joshua, the successor of Moses, nor of the moon which he made to stop at midday in the valley of Ajalon, and the sun which stood still upon Gibeon. These are trifles which happen every day, and not worth taking any trouble about.

But there is a matter of infinitely more consequence to morals, and which would contribute essentially to our improvement in honesty, humanity, and justice—I mean the history of the Jewish kings. Ascertain exactly how many assassinations they committed. Some fathers of the church compute them at 580; others, at 970: it is important to know the true amount. You will understand me to allude only to those cases where the murdered were near relatives of the murderers, for, as to the others, they are innumerable. Nothing can be more edifying than a true account of all the murders committed in the name of the Lord: it would serve as an excellent commentary upon the sermons on brotherly love.

When, from the history of the kings, you enter upon that of the prophets, you will enjoy, and cause us to enjoy ineffable pleasures. You will have many inquiries to make, and many explanations to receive; but, when you come to Ezekiel, then will your very soul dilate with joy. First of all, you will see the four animals with the faces of a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a man; then the wheel with four faces, like unto the waters of the sea, (each face having more eyes than Argus,) going upon its four sides and not turning as it went. You know that God commanded the prophet to swallow a whole book of parchment: inquire carefully of all the prophets you meet, what were the contents of that book.

Get Ezekiel to show you the tile upon which he drew a plan of Jerusalem, while he was bound with the bands which the Lord gave him; and to tell you why he was commanded to lie upon his left side 380 days, and then 40 days upon the right.

In reporting your conversations with Ezekiel, be careful, my dear brother, not to alter his words, as you have done: that is a sin against the Holy Ghost. You have said that God commanded the prophet to bake his bread with cow dung; but the Vulgate says, (Ezekiel, chap. iv. v. 12,) "Comedes Mud, etstercone qnod egreditiu de homine operus ilhul in oculis eorwra." "Thou shalt eat it, thou shalt cover it with the ordure which comes out of the body of man." The prophet ate, and cried out "Pouah! Pouah! Pouah! Domine Deus Mens, ene anima mea non est polluta." "Pouah! Pouah! Pouah! Oh, Lord God, I never made such a breakfast in my life." Always be careful to preserve the purity of the text, my dear brother, and do not change it the least tittle.

If the breakfast of Ezekiel was rather filthy, the dinner of the Jews of which he speaks is somewhat cannibalish: "The fathers shall eat their sons, and the sons shall eat their fathers." It is well enough, perhaps, for the fathers to eat their children who are plump and tender; but, for the children to eat their tough, old, stringy fathers, that is a new fashioned cookery.”

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1. (a) Voltaire. (c.1765). “Advice of the Guardian of the Ragusa Capuchins to Brother Pediculoso, on his Departure for the Holy Land” (or: “Instructions of the Chief of the Capuchins at Ragusa, to Brother Pediculso, on his Departure for the Holy Land”); in: The Correspondent, Volume 2 (pgs. 65-67), 1828; in: The Movement, Anti-Persecution Gazette, and Register of Progress (pgs. 267-68) (editor: George Holyoake), c.1848.
(b) Voltaire. (1759). Candide (translator: Lowell Bair; Appreciation: Andre Maurouis) (pg. 10). Random House.
2. Heston, Watson. (1890). The Old Testament Comically Illustrated (pg. 19). The Truth Seeker Co, 1892.

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