But, while thus lamenting this unfortunate perversion into a mistaken channel of ornithological energy, we must not overblame those who caused it.
At the same time various details (as comparison with the Book of Kings shows) are relatively old and, on a priori grounds, it is extremely unlikely that the unhistorical elements are necessarily due to deliberate imagination or perversion rather than to the development of earlier traditions.
The older Protestantism uncompromisingly judged the monastic ideal and life to be both unchristian and unnatural, an absolute perversion deserving nothing but condemnation.
The basis of this growth is partly the story-telling instinct innate in all men, which loves to heighten an effect, sharpen a point or increase a contrast - the instinct which breathes in Icelandic sagas like that of Burnt Njal; partly the instinct of idolization, if it may be so called, which leads to the perversion into impossible greatness of an approved character, and has created, in this instance, the legendary figures of Peter the Hermit and Godfrey of Bouillon (qq.v.); partly the religious impulse, which counted nothing wonderful in a holy war, and imported miraculous elements even into the sober pages of the Gesta.
The second confusion is the tacit assumption that the pleasure of the hedonist is necessarily or characteristically of a purely physical kind; this assumption is in the case of some hedonistic theories a pure perversion of the facts.
Whatever their faults, they had served the house of Tudor well, and it was a grotesque perversion of justice to send them to the scaffold on a charge of high treason.
One of the most striking instances of the way in which mistakes of chronology may lead to the perversion of historical records is shown in the Book of Daniel in connexion with the familiar account of the capture of Babylon by Cyrus.
It is clear that two things are to be considered: the one the guilt of taking bribes or presents on any consideration, the other the moral guilt depending upon the wilful perversion of justice.
Although his making religion the sole factor of this evolution was a perversion of the historical facts, the book was so consistent throughout, so full of ingenious ideas, and written in so striking a style, that it ranks as one of the masterpieces of the French language in the 19th century.