Plato’s Aristocracy and Why Catholics are Losing the Culture War

Whether you like it or not, we in the West have a layered class system and our inability to see it and plan accordingly has led contemporary Catholics to lose our cultural impact on the global stage. Before we get to the reasons why, let’s look at the classical Greek and Indo-European idea of society and rank and then move on to how Catholics are losing their social and political influence:

Political Society is like a Human Body:

For Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Zeno and the Stoics, the soul of the human is aristocratic and consists of estates or ranks. You will find this doctrine in Plato’s Timaeus (the book Plato holds in Raphael’s “School of Athens”) and in his Republic. You will also find it referenced or built upon in almost call classical Catholic treatments of government. See also Saint Thomas Aquinas’s De regno.

Here is how Plato puts it together:

  1. Head = Philosophers, Scholars, Astronomers, Mystics, Priests
  2. Chest = Generals, Warriors, Police (for the Greeks, nobility always is martial)
  3. Stomach and Genitals = Merchants, Farmers, Artisans, Lawyers, Corporate Owners, CEOs
  4. Arms and legs = Laborers or at the very bottom Slaves (Plato doesn’t explicitly identify them as “arms and legs” but it could be implied)

Plato’s City-Man

It’s easy to see how the cosmo-man fits together:

  1. The head thinks and plans. This is the philosopher and mystic who examines reality and plans or foretells the future and explores future contingencies for the cosmo-man (the State).
  2. The chest keeps the cosmo-man alive by pumping blood and moving air. The chest is brave and forces the body to fight and run. He fights enemies inside and outside the populace.
  3. The stomach receives food and produces capital and art through procreation.
  4. Slaves work the limbs and get things done.

Many have noted that Plato’s four strata are deeply Indo-European and map perfectly onto the Vedic system (1500 BC) of India:

  1. Brahmins (priestly scholar class)
  2. Kshatriyas (royal warrior class)
  3. Vaishyas (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers)
  4. Shudras (laboring classes)

Nota bene: the Rigveda (the oldest Sanskrit text) identifies the 4 levels descending with the human body in a modified way: 1) head/mouth > 2) arms > 3) stomach/loins > 4) feet.

For Plato and the Greeks (and for Europe), people could move up and down the classes based on merit. For example, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle went from level 3 to level 1. The High Priest Aaron went from level 4 to level 1. King David went from level 3 to level 1. However, in Hindu theology, a person cannot move up and down the classes in this life (because of the false theology of reincarnation). This is a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern philosophy.

Trigger Warning: You maybe be triggered by the talk of classes and castes

We like to think that human society is now finally enlightened and that there are no castes or classes. Whether you call it a “caste” or a “demographic,” you’re just moving around words. The concept may become more humanitarian over time, but the idea of “political layers” transcends cultures and transcends time. Human society has different parts.

The Platonic way of understanding political levels has little to do with wealth. Bill Gates is very rich, but he still belongs to level 3 as a merchant and producer. A modern example of how the the levels can be transcended is how both Barack Obama and Donald Trump ascended from level 3 to level 1. A person at level 3 could be poor, middle class, or a billionaire.

The 4 Levels of Society in Contemporary Society:

In America we may think of ourselves as egalitarian and without castes, but we still preserve this natural human hierarchy of political layers:

  1. Head (priestly scholar class). This was the Catholic Church’s ecclesial hierarchy (from AD 600-1500). Now it is the University, the Professor, Politician, Judges, the “experts” and (since the 1960s) the TV Media and Social Media (Facebook). They are still almost impossible to circumvent. They seek to influence our daily thoughts and our children. And as always, they are usually very rich.
  2. Chest (royal warrior class). This is the military, but more and more so it is the IRS, FBI, CIA, police, ATF, TSA, game warden, et al. They have the power to imprison us and kill us. In a good political system, they are inspired by the Head to promote justice and protect the innocent. It was for fear of a corrupted “chest level” that the United States allowed its citizens to arm themselves with weapons and, notably, firearms.
  3. Stomach/Loins (artisans, merchants, tradesmen and farmers). This is your “middle class” white collar executives, and your corporate owners. They bear the load of society according to Plato, they must be controlled through “myths or noble lies” crafted by the philosophers. Civil religion is the best way to do this. It can be Roman imperial paganism with an Emperor cult (very powerful). In the same way it can be 16th century Church of England with civil obligations ordered to the king or queen who is “Head of the Church.” Or it can be a form of state-controlled Catholicism (Napoleonic Catholicism or Chinese Communistic Catholicism) or controlled Protestantism (state Protestantism/Lutheranism found in Northern European nations). In the last 30 years, the controlled state religions are being replaced with political correctness and class Socialism.
  4. Limbs (laboring class). We no longer call them “servants” but our society has people who are deeply in debt (in the Bible, debt is de facto slavery) and who work only to: pay off debt (to banks), have food, and have a roof over their heads.

How do we fix it?

Now for the first question:

Where are you in the hierarchy? The most important point in this essay is that you can ascend and descend in these layers. It has always been accomplished in every age. The common born Socrates reached level 1 (but he was killed by level 2). Popes have arisen from slave status level 4 to high priest status level 1. Many Roman Emperors began as level 2 generals and then later became level 1 emperors and even philosophers (Marcus Aurelius). In fact, it has always been quite easy for some people to ascend to level 1. Just be aware that level 1 people are often killed by level 2 people.

Now for the second question:

Isn’t it obvious that Christians are leaving or being forced out of level 1 (head) and level 2 (chest)? Christians are less welcome in Universities. Less welcome in politics. Less welcome in film, TV, and media. It’s a given. This means a revolution is under way whether we recognize it or not. The TV stations, the internet, the news media, and the social media have driven out everything Christian and are replacing it with a new state-sponsored religion of political correctness, which is really environmentalism, pansexuality, and moral tolerance. 

Now for the third question:

What is our response as Christians? There are two options for us:

  1. FIRST OPTION: We can fight to take back levels 1 and 2 through intellectual and moral excellence.
  2. SECOND OPTION: We can recreate our own parallel society/culture and seek to win the long distance race of permanence. This is sometimes called the Benedict Option (hat tip to Eastern Orthodox author Rod Dreher) since it follows Saint Benedict creating an alternative culture and intellectual climate.

Taylor Marshall’s conclusion on the matter:

My belief is that Christians currently have possess all 4 levels in action whether or not we are recognized in society (we have intellectuals, warriors, artisans, laborers).

Therefore we should be pursuing both strategies at the same time:

  1. We should be fighting to take back levels 1 and 2 (apologetics, academics, along with undermining the anti-Christian institutions).
    AND
  2. We should build parallel institutions (e.g., our own Universities, schools, Troops of Saint George, our own TV/radio stations, our own art, our own Social Media outlets, our own news stations).

Some of us can push forward and fight on the front lines of layers 1 and 2 now, while some of us can retreat and construct our own parallel society (of layers 1-4).

Why Catholics are struggling at the moment to accomplish this transition:

The hardest part is that Christians (especially Catholics) are still deeply tied to all the old institutions, old universities, old political parties, and old means of communication (eg, announcements during liturgy and bulletins). This means we are having a very difficult time establishing a pivot.

Also, the Catholic hierarchy in the West still acts like it is operating at level 1 influence. Sadly, this is not the case. Secular nations have spent the last several decades figuring out ways to transform bishops from level 1 priestly spiritual leaders into level 3 producers of funds (taxation of church is the end game) and into level 3 producers of government service (grants to do government work which we saw occur in America under President Obama).

The ultimate aim here is the same as that of King Henry VIII – to make the bishops into level 3 producers and transfer their wealth, land, and production (offerings) to the State. See 16th century England, Denmark, Sweden, Norway for details on how it all goes down.

The difficulty in establishing a Christian pivot for a new era can be observed in how both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis are so deeply wedded to the European Union and traditional forms of communication (eg, Encyclicals) as means for bringing about Catholic influence. The Pope might as well be talking about feudalism and the Code of Hammurabi. It’s like carrying bows and arrows into an era of nuclear war.

The most brilliant minds in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are talking about the Benedict Option (Option 2: parallel institutions), but we need to engage both fronts. The intellectuals who are currently “fighting the culture war” while trying to win back levels 1 and 2 are either Jewish (Ben Shapiro, Mark Levin, Michael Savage) or secular in outlook (Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnis, Jordan Peterson). Some might see this “diversity” as a strength. I see it as as weakness. Here’s why:

As much as I like listening Jordan Peterson or even Ben Shapiro, I sometimes cringe when I think of how much better an equipped Christian could respond. We have a profound intellectual tradition (Thomism), but we are not using it. This is likely why God has allowed Christian influence to wane.

Where are the Christians? We need to spend the next decade prayerfully cultivating sharp and relevant Christian minds to engage the culture and social media. It’s required for the common good of society and for the moral excellence of next generation. It’s not enough to possess them only within our own parallel “Benedict Option” institutions. We need them out front in the current culture war. And in case you’re ready to sign up for this “level 1” position, be mindful of those level 1 intellectuals and prophets who came before you marked with blood: Isaiah, Socrates, Cicero, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul, Boethius, Thomas Becket, and Thomas More to name a few.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Saint Paul never once mentions the word Hell

I’m writing a commentary on Romans for the New Saint Thomas Institute, and I’ve been going over his passages on salvation and damnation. I’m certainly not the first to notice it, but Paul never once mentions “hell” or “hades” or “gehenna” in his epistles. This is interesting, because our Lord Jesus Christ speaks about hell all the time. Yet Paul does not mention the word once.

Don’t take this too far. Saint Paul speaks plenty of human damnation and believes in punishment in the afterlife. For example:

“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed…But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” (Rom 2:5, 8)

“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Gal 1:8-9).

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among those who have believed.” (2 Thess 1:8-10)

“All will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thes 2:12)

My belief is that Paul is does not use the language of “Hades” because it conjures ideas of Homer and Virgil in Roman audiences. And he does not use the language of “Gehenna” because it’s an exclusively Jewish idea. So “eternal condemnation” and “fire” are his favorite categories for Gentile audiences.

There is a lot of crazy stuff on the internet (and bookstores) on Saint Paul. If you want a concise Catholic commentary on all the writings of Saint Paul, please check out this book: The Catholic Perspective on Paul.

 

Are Catholic Canonizations of Saints Infallible? Yes

On the interwebs you sometimes bump into a few Catholics that assert that canonizations are not infallible or are reversible. They will cite saints who are allegedly un-sainted (eg. St George, St Christopher, St Philomena – I explain why they are NOT un-sainted in this podcast) or they will object to canonized saints that they don’t like (eg, St John XIII or St Josemaria).

Canonizations are Infallible. Here’s why:

Concerning the Potential Problem of “Damned Saints”:

When a person is damned, he hates and curses God forever in Hell. That’s what damnation is. It’s a decision to reject God and His love. The damned person lacks all charity toward God. As Thomas Aquinas, would say, he belongs to the Kingdom of Satan. He is officially anti-Christ.

If the Church mistakingly were to canonize a damned man, then that means monks and nuns would be praying the Liturgy of the Hours and commemorating a man who currently curses God – and doing so annually in the liturgical cycle. Moreover, this would entail that priests are celebrating Masses in honor of a man who is literally diabolical. Even more so, churches, chapels, and cathedrals would be erected and consecrated in honor a man who hates God. No doubt, the devil would love all of this. So canonizations are infallible.

Concerning the Potential Problem of “Make-Believe Saints”

The same goes saints who are claimed to not have existed. If someone were to say that St George or St Christopher were make-believe people, then you have the Liturgy of Hours and Holy Mass celebrated to what amount to cartoon characters. It would be like celebrating Mass in honor of Luke Skywalker. It’s a mockery of true religion.

[Shameless plug: Check out my #1 Bestselling Historical Novel Sword and Serpent for a plausible biography of Saint George (and the “Dragon”) along with Saint Christopher by clicking here.]

We can grant that the legends and hagiography about certain saints are exaggerated or embellished, but we cannot say that the Church formally venerates imaginary people, celebrated Mass in honor of imaginary people, or that there are Churches dedicated to imaginary people.

If so, the devil would love all of this. So canonizations are infallible. It’s also worth noting that when a Pope canonizes a saint he invokes his authority as Vicar of Christ and successor to Saints Peter and Paul in a way similar to declaring dogmas infallible.

I recently wrote a history of the process of canonizations. You can read it here: “How Saints are Canonized: from Local to Papal Canonizations over Time.”

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Men – 2017 Edition

Every year I assemble a Top 10 Manly Gifts for Your Husband, Father, or Man in your Life. It’s immensely popular and throughout the year I meet men all over the country who say to me: “Hey thanks for recommending X on your list, ‘Top 10 Manly Christmas gifts’. My wife got it for me and I love it.”

The goal is to list gifts that he likes, but may not think of or ask for himself. If you need something interesting, different, and approved, check out this list.

Nota bene: In years past, I have recycled some of the most popular gifts, like this here Swiss Army Knife that is perfect for men, but especially for young or teenaged boys. If your son or husband doesn’t have a Swiss Army, get this one for him ASAP. He’ll love it and use it all Christmas morning to open boxes and gifts for everyone.

This year I wanted to change it up with 2 rules:

  • I have to own/use it.
  • It’s never been on a previous Top List before.

So here we go:

10. Amazon Echo or Show

I purchased an Echo for Joy and thought it was so cool I also got a Show for the kitchen counter. With just her voice, she can call up recipes, measurements, news, etc. But a guy can use it to call up weather, movie times,weather, his calendar appointments for the day, and any sport results or sport times coming up in future.


You can also fact check on it. For example, the other night we were debating how many people died in World War I. So I just said, “Alexa, how many people died in World War I?” and she answered: “17 million people died in World War I including 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel.” How cool is that? We use it often and it’s great gift.

  • The Amazon Echo has no screen just sound (You can play music on it and it sounds GREAT).
  • The Amazon Show has a screen that shows images and text of what you ask or request.

9. Whisky Ice Ball Mold

I love scotch and I love the gigantic sphere ice cubes. My father got me these molds and they are easy to use and work great.

They are the #1 Bestseller on Amazon for this type of thing and they are the best. The “cool” thing about these large ice balls is that it melts slower than normal ice so you’re drink is cool but NOT watered down. It’s amazing. Get him some whisky ice ball molds for his stocking for only 9.99 by clicking here.

8. The Roku Premier

I love our Roku. I canceled cable which saves a lot of money. The Roku allows us to watch Amazon Prime content or Netflix. Get rid of cable. Get rid of ads. The Roku plugs into your TV or into your Receiver and streams content.

I like the Roku Premiere which is the most up to date version at only $65. Click here to get it.

7. Resistance Exercise Bands

I used to think you needed heavy weights and weights only, but these bands proved me wrong. I like to stretch with them and to place them under my feet and then do arm exercises.

They stretch and work the muscles well and you can do various muscle groups and angles that you could NEVER do with traditional weights. It’s a great addition to any work out routine. If your guy doesn’t lift, these are a threatening introduction. You will be sore but in a good way. Get the mixed pack for 29.95 – you’ll need different resistance levels for various exercises.

6. Wool Gloves

I’ve worn a pair of these for decades. They are rough and tough but they actually dress up pretty nice with a blazer or peacoat in the winter. You’ll get compliments on them.

Every man needs gloves. These are practical and stylish. At $25, these gloves are awesome.

5. Patagonia — Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover

Sweatshirts and even sweaters are just okay. This pullover is stylish and tough. I’ve been wearing one of these for…decades (am I that old?). Patagonia is a great brand and it’s not going to fray or rip. They are for great skiing, camping, sitting by the fire, or for taking out the trash. I like the one depicted below:

At $200 it is on the expensive side, but I think it’s worth it and it’s a gift that will last for over 10 years. Check out the various color options (I also like black and charcoal) by clicking here.

4. Audio Technica AT-LP60BK Record Player

This is the record player that my family got me 2 years ago. It’s great. We’ve had so much fun with it, from listening our parents old LPs, to searching out and buying new music on vinyl.

The benefit is that we actually sit down in chairs, but on an LP and sit and listen to the record and talk about it. Music is often in the car or on the run. Vinyl makes it an experience again. It’s a cool gift. Get this one for $89 (higher quality than what anyone had in the 70s) and throw in one of his favorite vinyl records from the past.

3. Pomade

The secret to great hair is pomade. Remember George Clooney in Oh Brother Where Art Thou? His hair was legit because his pomade was legit:

Most guys think this is stuff for Presidents or movie stars in the 1950s. Um, yeah? What’s wrong with that? It’s awesome. This is a cheap gift but it makes your hair awesome. Just a dab will do ya! Get the Pomade by Crew (it’s in my hair now) for $34.

2. Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation (Works with Amazon Alexa)

We got one in the summer and it’s AMAZING. We save tons of money on electric and heating and we are more comfortable. It actually senses when you are in the house and over time adjusts the power usage and temps to be most comfortable and save money. So if you leave the house every Tuesday for 5 hours at noon, it learns that and adjusts which save a lot of cash.  It also looks super cool on your wall:

It hooks up to your mobile devices and phones. And remember how I recommend Amazon Show or Echo above – this thermastat can be voice controlled via Alexa. It’s a game changer. Start your smart home with Alexa. I had a lot of fun setting it up and watching it adjust and save money week after week (it keeps track of usage and shows you much you’re saving.)

Don’t be scared by the $244 price tag. I promise you’ll save that much easy in your first year using it. Get a Nest Thermostat here.

1. A Grown Man’s Victornox Slicing Knife

If you could just get one gift, get him this one. I know he needs a nice carving knife, because I also know that most men use the old knives that their wives use every day – the ones that your uncle gave you on your wedding day. However, every man needs to learn how to age and prepare meat and this is STEP ONE: A NICE SLICING KNIFE.

My father has a PhD in meat science so he’s passed on some education to me, and this knife is awesome:

  • It has over 1,000 5 star reviews. Rave reviews.
  • It’s made by Victornox (the people who make the Swiss Army Knife).
  • It’s #1 Bestseller in Carving Knives.
  • There are better knives but for the price ($43), this is a steal.

Best of all, he can carve Christmas dinner with it. It will be his knife in the kitchen. Get the Victornox 12 inch Slicing Knife (don’t opt for a cheap one!) at amazon.com.

So there it is. If you’re a man and you like this list, subtly forward to this to your loved ones or slyly share it on Facebook. If you’re shopping for the men in your life, any of these are great gifts and I stand by the as someone who proudly uses all of them.

Final personal plug: My third and final novel in my Sword and Serpent Trilogy (about St George and Constantine) came out last week, and is trending as a #1 New Release on Amazon.com.

If your father or son loves battle, war stories, Roman history, gladiatorial games, and saints’ stories, please get him a copy of the first book in the Trilogy: Sword and Serpent by clicking here or the image below.

Happy Advent!
Taylor Marshall

#1 New Release Catholic Fiction Novel = Taylor Marshall’s Storm of Fire and Blood

Storm of Fire and Blood (Sword and Serpent Book III) has remained an Amazon #1 New Release for almost one week.

This Catholic novel continues the historical fiction tale of St George, St Catherine of Alexandria, Constantine the Great, St Nicholas, St Christopher, and Sabra to Britain, and then back into the heart of the Roman Empire climaxing in the Diocletian Persecution of AD 303.

If you like Saints’ stories, Lord of the Rings and The Princess Bride, then this Trilogy is for you:

The previous 2 books in the Trilogy are Amazon #1 Bestsellers in their categories, and all 3 books are back up in the Top 20 of their categories.

Here’s a video of Taylor explaining the new book:

Brief Synopsis of the Sword and Serpent Trilogy:

Book I: Sword and Serpent tells the story of a young man Jurian (St George) who experiences the mysterious murder of his father and later the murder of his mother. He journeys to Rome to uncover clues and along the way he meets St Blaise, St Christopher, St Nicholas and eventually Pope Marcellinus in Rome. The Pope reveals prophecy going back to Pope St Linus (2nd Pope after St Peter), which guides him to Cyrene in North Africa where he encounters the Dragon Molech. I don’t want to ruin the ending for you. Here’s the book:

Book II: Tenth Region of the Night picks up where Book I ended and introduces Jurian/George to Aikaterina (St Catherine of Alexandria), St Helena, and Constantine as Jurian rises through the Roman military but also seeks to find his kidnapped friend Menas (St Christopher). Book II begins in Egypt and follows a trail of mystery to the gladiatorial games and Christian martyrs.

Book III: Storm of Fire and Blood follows the narrative arc with Jurian/George in exile while being escorted by a young Constantine to Britain where Constantine’s father Constantius and his grandfather King Coel await him. This book sets ups several precedents for Arthurian legend and chivalry in England before heading back into the heart of the Empire for a confrontation with the draconian Emperor Diocletian.

If you’ve read the first 2 books, you need to read Book 3. All the readers say that it is the stand out novel and the best of the 3. If you have not yet begun, please join and and read Book 1: Sword and Serpent.

And everyone is invited to our Sword and Serpent Discussion Group on Facebook (370 members).

What was St Nicholas like as a Young Priest: Sword and Serpent Book 3 released!

Happy feast day of Saint Nicholas!

What was Saint Nicholas like as a young priest? Could he bi-locate? Could he read souls?

These are topics that I explored in my bestselling historical novel Sword and Serpent, in which I imagined a young and clairvoyant Saint Nicholas meeting a traveling pair of young future saints: Saint George and the recently baptized Saint Christopher.

These novels explore the historical martyrdoms of Christians under the Emperor Diocletian from the point of view of St George, St Christopher, St Nicholas, St Catherine of Alexandria, St Helena, Constantine, and dozens of other men and women who will go on to be known as Catholic saints. The novels are “clean” but contain gruesome and detailed accounts of martyrdoms, Roman battles, and gladiatorial bouts. If you mixed together Catholic Saint stories, The Princess Bride, and Lord of the Rings – you’d get the Sword and Serpent Trilogy.

Sword and Serpent Book 3: released today!

The first 2 novels were Amazon best-sellers in their categories – and on the feast of Saint Nicholas, we are announcing the print version of the third and final novel in the Sword and Serpent Trilogy is released: Storm of Fire and Blood.

The consensus from the reader reviews from the ebook version is that this third novel is exhilarating, well-researched, and the best of the three in the trilogy. Some have said it is the best book that they’ve read all year:

Here are the three novels in the Sword and Serpent Trilogy:

Just like first two novels in the series: we are having a Launch Party to get the word out with prizes.

How To Join the Party and Get FREE Books (hashtag: #SwordAndSerpent #TenthRegion #StormofFireandBlood)

Here are 8 epic ways you can do epic things and win epic stuff:

1. Take an Epic #Selfie with the Book
(Prize: a Free signed copy of Storm of Fire and Blood)

HOW TO ENTER: Take a photo with the book Storm of Fire and Blood. Extra points will be awarded for costumes or exotic places. We once had one taken in front of the Colosseum in Rome! The more epic, the more likely you are to win. Take a photo, post it on Facebook and then send an email to swordandserpent+selfie@gmail.com with a link to your picture.

RULES:

  • This is not a random drawing. This is a performance-based contest that will be judged. Be epic. Get the family to dress up as Jurian, Sabra, Aikaterina, Menas, Helena, et al. and snap a selfie with the book. Or maybe take a photo of yourself holding the book in someplace amazing. If you get a photo of yourself standing next to Pope Francis holding the book, you win hands down!
  • Selfies with any version of the Storm of Fire and Blood count (printed, ebook).

2. Just Get the Book Contest (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Buy just one copy of Storm of Fire and Blood and then send an email to swordandserpent+boughtbook@gmail.com simply stating “I bought a copy.” If you buy more than one copy, please send one email for each copy you bought. *If you already reviewed the novel before today and emailed me about it, you’re already entered into this contest.

You can get a copy of Storm of Fire and Blood by clicking here.

RULES:

  • You can enter for each copy purchased. (For example, if you buy four copies, send an email saying “I bought 4” in the subject line.)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

3. St Nicholas Gift Contest (Prize: an iPad Mini mailed to your house! AND a free signed copy of Storm of Fire and Blood)

HOW TO ENTER: Several reviewers on amazon.com said that Sword and Serpent would be a perfect Christmas gift. This contest honors Saint Nicholas who is an important character in the book – it’s also his feast day this week. To win this prize, purchase at least 4 copies (1 for yourself and 3 as gifts to give away at Christmas) and send an email to swordandserpent+gifts@gmail.com. You can order copies by clicking here.

RULES:

  • You must purchase at least 4 copies to enter.
  • If you purchase multiples of 4, you can enter that many times (8 copies = 2 entries; 12 copies = 3 entries; 80 copies = 20 entries – enter how many copies you got in the subject line: “I got 8 copies as Christmas gifts” – that’s 2 entries in this prize)
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24 and will receive an iPad for free.

4. Review the Novel at Amazon.com (Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card AND a free signed copy of Storm of Fire and Blood)

HOW TO ENTER: Read the book and leave a friendly review at amazon.com. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • Please leave a review at amazon.com before December 24.
  • Even though GoodReads is not a retailer, we’ll count GoodReads reviews too. So if you review at Amazon and goodreads, that’s two entries. Way to go! Click here for GoodReeds reviews.
  • Send an email to swordandserpent+reviewed@gmail.com with a link to your review.
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

5. Write a Blog Post about Storm of Fire and Blood
(Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card + a promo link to your blog from my blog)

HOW TO ENTER: Write a blog post about Storm of Fire and Blood with the amazon link to the book in your review. Next, send an email to swordandserpent+blog@gmail.com with a link to your review.

RULES:

  • The post does not have to be a “book review.” It can be a theological reflection or an interview with me about the book.
  • Please include this exact amazon.com link: http://amzn.to/2BFTyWh
  • Winner will be drawn at random on December 24.

6. Facebook The Book (Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card)

HOW TO ENTER: Write an update on your Facebook wall about Sword and Serpent and include a link to the amazon link and the link to the book trailer. Next send an email to swordandserpent+facebook@gmail.com.

Please use this photo and this link to the book: http://amzn.to/2BFTyWhRULES:

Okay, there are the contests. They all end on Dec 24 2016. Get busy taking epic selfies. By the way the easiest contest to win is #3 – Just Get the Book: Storm of Fire and Blood.

To everyone who already made Storm of Fire and Blood possible and helped it get to #1, THANK YOU!

Happy winnings and Happy Advent!

Saint George, pray for us!
Taylor

Epic Book Trailer for Sword and Serpent, Book I:

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 9.49.35 AM

Saint George pray for us,
Taylor Marshall

Who Were the Historical Wise Men? Dr Marshall Interviews Fr Longenecker on Mystery of the Magi

Who were the historical Wise Men from Saint Matthew’s Gospel?

Father Dwight Longenecker discusses his research connecting the Magi to the court of the ancient Nabateans. He has some fantastic insights into the identity and theological importance of the Magi. Watch this interview as we discuss “What is a Magi?” and “Where did they come from?” and much more:

You can learn more about Father Dwight Longenecker’s new research and book Mystery of the Magi by clicking here.

 

The Tomb of Christ was once buried under an Idol of Lust

National Geographic has recently shown how the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem dates back to the first century. They also provide an excellent illustration of how the site of Golgotha and the Tomb changed over the years and became what we now know as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

Many are shocked to discover that a Temple to the Aphrodite (goddess of sexual lust) was built by Hadrian in around AD 135 over the location of Golgotha and the Tomb of Christ, as depicted below by National Geographic. In fact, a status of goddess was located directly over the site of the crucifixion of Chirst:

As in our own era, sexual exploitation may seek to bury the cross of Jesus, but the power of the cross will topple all idols dedicated to lust.

The reality of this blasphemy is depicted in my historical-fiction novel: Tenth Region of the Night, when Sabra (the young girl rescued in the Saint George legend) visits Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem) to see the Tomb of Christ only to find it sadly “buried beneath a Temple to Aphrodite.”

Asoldier nearby, noticing her beauty, wrongly concludes that she desires to visit the Temple of Aphrodite:

“I have no interest in the cultus,” she said quietly, heart pounding. “My interest is more…historical. Something happened outside the city’s old walls that interests me greatly, and I wish to see the site for myself. I…I did not know about the Temple of Aphrodite, in all truth.”

The soldier’s eyes widened. “This site you wish to see…do you mean to say, the site of mankind’s darkest hour?” he asked, his voice just as low as hers. “Am I wrong to think that is your interest?”

“Our darkest hour, and the brightest,” she said. “Victory disguised as defeat.”

“Something men of my calling can rarely understand,” he said, touching the mark of the Legion on his upper arm. “But that site has been buried for centuries, domina. Did no one tell you that?”

“Buried?” Sabra echoed. Her heart felt strangely numb. “Forgotten…”

“Not by all of us,” Orentius said softly. “I came early to the Legion, and late to the sea. I should rather have been a fisherman.”

Tenth Region of the Night is the sequel to my best-selling novel about the Roman legend of Saint George and the Dragon: Sword and Serpent. If you’d like to explore Roman history in the years just before the conversion of Constantine the Great, check out the best-selling Sword and Serpent Trilogy.

The third book in the Sword and Serpent Trilogy, Storm of Fire and Blood, will be released next week – probably on December 6 – Feast of Saint Nicholas (a major character in all 3 books):

Godspeed,
Taylor Marshall

Receive a free pre-release copy of Sword and Serpent BOOK 3!

The most popular historical Catholic fiction novel series for the last four years has been the Sword and Serpent Trilogy and it has received consistent 5 star reviews from readers. (If you haven’t read Book 1, you can get it TODAY on Kindle for $1 special by clicking here).

I’m both delighted and relieved that I’ve finished writing the Sword and Serpent Trilogy about St George, Constantine, St Helena, St Christopher, St Catherine, and others: Book 3 is finished and the cover art is ready!

Read on if you’d like a free advanced pre-release copy:

Book 3 is titled Storm of Fire and Blood and it follows St George, St Christopher, and Constantine to Britain and back to Asia Minor as the Diocletian sparks off. The title refers to persecution of “fire and blood” that Diocletian initiated in AD 303.

This the third installment to my best-selling Catholic historical fiction novel Sword and Serpent about Saint George, Saint Christopher, Saint Nicholas, and Constantine is ready for printing.

sword and serpent box shot cropped

My publication team will be choosing 200 “FIRE AND BLOOD Launch Team” readers who will receive a FREE advanced digital copy before the publication date and their name printed in the back of the book with a thank you message from me.

Here is who we are looking for in our Launch Team:

  1. Readers who have read Sword and Serpent Book 1 or 2 already
  2. Readers who can read the book in about 1 week
  3. Readers who are willing to promote the book with a tweet or Facebook or Instagram post
  4. Readers who are willing to write a review on Amazon.com
  5. Readers who won’t share or publish their advanced digital copy to the public

So if you’d like to get an advanced copy and read it before the book is published for the public (and have your name printed in the book), please apply using this form:

Click here to join the Sword and Serpent 3 FIRE AND BLOOD Launch Team!

I look forward to sending out a free copy to you!

Godspeed,
Dr Taylor Marshall

Click here to join the Sword and Serpent 3 FIRE AND BLOOD Launch Team!

When William Shakespeare died on the Feast of Saint George

Here’s a fun St George fact:

William Shakespeare died on the feast day of Saint George: April 23.It fits nicely with Shakespeare’s play Henry V which features the battle cry:

Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish author of Don Quixote (and solder at Battle of Lepanto) also died on April 23.

It’s also worth noting that the novel Dracula begins on April 23, the feast of Saint George, since Dracula a “slaying the dragon myth.” Dracula translates as “little dragon.”

On of the the readers of my Saint George historical novel Sword and Serpent also recently pointed out the center placement of Saint George on the Russian Coat of Arms up until 1917 (year of Our Lady of Fatima):

If you’d like to learn more about Saint George in history, please join our Sword and Serpent Discussion Group on Facebook by clicking here.

Godspeed,
Dr. Taylor Marshall

PS: Book 3 in the Sword and Serpent Trilogy comes out later this year.