J.M. Robertson

On this date in 1856, John Mackinnon Robertson was born on the Isle of Arran, Scotland. He left school at 13, joined the staff of the Edinburgh Evening News in 1878 and several years later moved to London so he could work on the National Reformer, Charles Bradlaugh‘s publication, which he edited until 1893. That year Robertson founded the Free Review, which he published for two years. He lectured in the United States in 1897-98. In 1900 he traveled to South Africa to report on martial law for the Morning Leader. From 1906-18 he served in Parliament.

Robertson specialized in comparative mythology and believed Jesus never existed. He wrote Christianity and Mythology (1900) and Pagan Christs (1903), still influential works. Other books include Short History of Christianity (1902) and the two-volume Short History of Freethought (1915). His expertise extended to economics, linguistics and politics. Physiologist and science writer Homer W. Smith described Robertson as an “outstanding exponent of rationalism and one of the foremost scholars produced in England in the last six decades.” (Man and His Gods, 1952.) D. 1933.

Freedom From Religion Foundation