Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm Posts: 4657 Location: 3rd rock from the sun
In general yes, as well as errors such as those monumentally egregious and sloppy errors by Richard Carrier Ph.D. (which may be what you meant by another text):
"... However, in "skimming" Brunner's text, as he puts it, Carrier has mistakenly dealt with the substantially different Hatshepsut text (Brunner's "IV D"), demonstrating an egregious error in garbling the cycles, when in fact we are specifically interested in the Luxor narrative (IV L)."
HA! It seems that the apologetic site that posted Carrier's error(to which JP over at Tekton had linked all of his "debunkings" of Luxor) has retracted the article and now all of JP's links just lead to an ad for godaddy.com.
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm Posts: 4657 Location: 3rd rock from the sun
Thank you for pointing that out - it has happened many times before too. Tekton & many others simply do not have the integrity to be honest about these issues. They absolutely REFUSE to acknowledge that Acharya S/Murdock may be right on many issues.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
As AS responds, "Parallelophobia is the particular disease of people who haven't been paying close attention." Richard's blog is just another attack on Acharya S (without ever having actually read a single book by her) for his fanboys who consider him their "hero" (rook hawkins/tom verena). Of course, he brings up Kersey Graves who has nothing to do with it at all.
Carrier is maintaining the panels are "in all essentials identical" - they are not, as she demonstrated in her book, Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, which Carrier has obviously never read. And the details are important. Apparently, Carrier skimmed Acharya's response (which includes highly respected Egyptologists) about as well as he skimmed through Brunner's book:
"...However, in "skimming" Brunner's text, as he puts it, Carrier has mistakenly dealt with the substantially different Hatshepsut text (Brunner's "IV D"), demonstrating an egregious error in garbling the cycles, when in fact we are specifically interested in the Luxor narrative (IV L)..." http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/luxor.html
AS also commented on FB that Carrier needs to find something else to do rather than to attack fellow mythicists, especially those who prove him wrong - is that really the most constructive thing Carrier can do with his time?
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:17 pm Posts: 2281 Location: Everywhere
What I find stupid about Carrier's logic is that he's trying to propose an either or scenario - either the gospels are midrash of the OT or they are taken straight from Egyptian religion. How can they possibly NOT be both? We know all of the evidence for midrash and we know all of the evidence for an appeal to popular Egyptian motifs widespread in the region.
We know that Neith-Isis was considered "The Great Virgin" (hwnt) in pre-Christian times. We know that this "Great Virgin" was considered the mother of a God-Man. So why isn't Carrier looking to find out why Matthew was quote mining Isaiah looking specifically for something that could be used in order to claim the virgin birth of a God-Man foretold? He went into the OT with intention, clear intention. Why would he have clear intention? Well, probably because he was trying to attach a very popular motif to the Christian tradition and make it appear as sanctioned by the OT. How is it that Carrier fails to touch on this?
_________________ The Jesus Mythicist Creed: The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.
Ugh, I'm pissed. I had to type this twice since Chrome crashed on me the first time. Nearly two hours wasted on this shit. Anyway...
I'd like to see him elaborate more on the whole 'Matthew reversed parts of Daniel' bit. When I was a Christian I was big into the whole prophetic typology doctrine, the idea that Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament stories through parallels- Jonah in the whale for three days, Jesus dead for three days, etc.
And yet, as into that doctrine as I was, and as much as I actively sought out, with a bias, to try and find parallels(as Origen once instructed his readers to do), I never noticed nor ever even heard of what Carrier proposed here. That's not to say there's not something to it. I'm just saying it's not that succinct. I honestly see more of a parallel to other myths than I do with Daniel. One quick example is the whole three gifts of gold, frankensense, and myrhh reminds me a lot of how in Egypt incense was offered to the sun god three times a day, frankensense in the morning, myrhh in the afternoon, kyphi in the evening. And it's also interesting that these were given by Persian magi, from which tradition says there were three magi who gave the three gifts. That's interesting because Jerome told us that Eubulus wrote that in Persian Mithraism there were three classes of magi.
Anyway, it seems a bit inconsistent that Carrier would remind us that correlation does not necessarily equal caustion (though it can often be a damn good indicator. It was correlation that inspired me to research the inspiration for the Wachowskis after seeing The Matrix, and sure enough, in a 1999 web chat session, they affirmed that they did intentionally incorporate elements from Christianity. So in that case, correlation rightly led me to suspect causation, and my suspicions turned out correct. And that's just one of many examples.) and yet correlation is all we are offered for his suggestion that Matthew reversed parts of Daniel. And as I said, it's not even that obvious of a correlation at that. It seemed a little convoluted.
From what I saw, the only thing that could be considered causation for the Matthew-reverses-Daniel thing was in the last paragraph where Carrier appealed to the "Jewish background" of Christianity. And yet, in turn, that Judaism in which Christianity has its background had itself an alleged background in Egypt, so the story goes.
The Old Testament claims Moses founded the religion of Judaism after the Exodus out of... Egypt. That pioneer generation was born and raised in Egypt, as were several generations before them. That's all they knew, they didn't know anything else. That is perhaps part of the reason why the story has Moses receiving this new religion by divine revelation straight from God personally, and not from any historical records or traditions left behind by Abraham or Jacob or Joseph or whoever. The Bible doesn't shed much light on the religion, if any, of those patriarchs. They didn't found Judaism, it was Moses, a man who was, as Acts 7:22 reminds its audience, educated in "all the wisdom of the Egyptians". Should we be expected to believe that an infant adopted and raised by a princess of Saudi Arabia, and was educated in all the wisdom of the Saudis, would not be significantly influenced by the religion of Islam? Even if he later converted and founded his own religion? Did Christianity arise with no significant influence from Judaism? Did Islam arise with no significant influence from Christianity and Judaism? Did Buddhism arise with no significant influence from Hinduism? Etc.?
No. So clearly as per the Old Testament narrative, i.e., as per Judaism itself, it had a significant background in Egypt. Hence the whole incident of worshiping the golden calf. The golden calf is a motif mentioned in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts (R.O. Faulkner- Utt. 485A, line 1030), which far predate the Old Testament. And it is used in reference to the deceased king, who is identified primarily with Osiris (Faulkner- Utt. 219, etc., etc.). Perhaps this is a connection to the Apis, also often identified with Osiris as a form of his Ba. And in much of the artwork depicting the Hebrews worshiping the golden calf, the calf is depicted as an Apis, that's how succint the correlation is.
But Apis & Osiris aside, the golden calf was still something that the Egyptians had far earlier. And so the choice of these Hebrews to turn on Yhwh and to worship the golden calf showed that they were not just raised in Egyptian culture, but they evidently had been practitioners of Egyptian religion as well. They chose to go with somthing familiar to them rather than some strange ancient forgotten god of their dead ancestors.
And they continually kept turning back to and indulging in Egyptian religion throughout the Old Testament. Jeremiah chapters 7 and 44 tell of Jews living in Egypt worshiping a "queen of heaven", most likely Nut, the sky goddess, and Osiris's mother. It even says that they were offering bread and drink offerings to her, which reminds me of the Eucharist.
And Ezekiel 16:26 and Ezra 9:1 also testify to their repeated returning to Egyptian & other pagan religions.
Plus Solomon married a princess of Egypt, strengthening the connection to Egypt, and bringing an Egyptian bloodline into the nobility of Israel and Judah, and the Old Testament claims that Solomon's kingdom bordered Egypt, so they were neighbors.
And then in 2 Chronicles 36, the king of Egypt made his brother the king over Judah and Jerusalem. Thus again placing Egypt over the throne of the Jews. At this point one would have to wonder that if there really was a Jesus who descended from David, did he have Egyptian heritage?
And even the Exodus narrative and Old Testament aside, just going by history, according to this archaeologist here in this video:
During the alleged time of Joshua's conquest after Moses died, the area of Canaan was under the rule of... Egypt.
So whether by the fiction or by history, the beginnings of ancient Israel seem to be intimately linked to Egypt.
So all Carrier's approach does is point out that Judaism is a middle man, a transitional form, if you will, in the evolution to Christianity. Plus there was a significant population of Jews in Egypt centuries prior to Christianity, especially in Elephantine. Hell, they even had a temple to Yhwh there right next door to a temple to Knum.
And don't forget that the author of Matthew himself places Jesus in Egypt, albeit for a brief time. However, the Jewish midrash/talmudic(?) version of Jesus, Ben Stada-Pandera, has Jesus living in Egypt until he was an adult, and learning Egyptian magic which was how he performed his miracles. And also, Revelation 11:8 likens the city of Christ's crucifixion to Egypt.
So it almost seems that either side is making an effort to TRY and connect Jesus in someway with Egypt.
And also, as of the date of this post, our earliest manuscripts of the New Testament were found in... EGYPT. Not Jerusalem, not Antioch, not Rome, etc., but in Egypt.
So even Christianity's formative years seem to be polluted with a connection to Egypt.
So if, as Carrier seems to infer, a "Jewish background" is causation to explain his correlations for the Matthew-reverses-Daniel thing, would an Egyptian background of that "Jewish background" infer causation for the correlations observed between Christianity(and Judaism) with Egypt?
And one more thing, I think all of us here have pretty much always agreed with Carrier that "The only parallels that remain are paralleled in all Ancient Near Eastern religions of the time and Roman and Hellenistic religions afterward, and thus are not uniquely Egyptian at all."
In fact, in her books Acharya appeals to several other myths from other cultures concerning the motif of non-sexual and even virgin births. So where on earth did he get that "uniquely Egyptian" bit from? I'll have to go back and re-read Acharya's Luxor articles, but I don't recall her claiming that, and her books make clear that such is not her position, so if I can't find any statement from her claiming the "uniquely Egyptian" bit, then I would conclude that Carrier is just setting up strawmen.
Disappointing. I kind of liked him in "The God Who Wasn't There."
Anyway, about the Luxor thing, I can't comment too much on it as I haven't read much about it, I was never really that interested in this particular detail.
But I will point this much out- The New Testament authors allegedly wrote from the middle 1st century to the early 2nd century, no? Same time as when Plutarch lived and wrote. Thus the sources available to Plutarch were no doubt also available to the authors of the New Testament books.
Moreover, if they wrote in the 1st to early 2nd century CE, the original intent and interpretation of the authors of the Luxor inscription is not necessarily the interpretation of Egyptians living in the 1st to early 2nd century CE. By analogy, much like how Carrier admits that the original intent of the author of the Immanuel prophecy in Isaiah chapter 7 was not the same interpretation that the author of Matthew had. So in that respect it almost doesn't matter what the original author intended, "Matthew" still used the Immanuel passage, and used it in a different way.
So my point is, merely pointing out differences between the meaning intended by the original author of a text and the intended meaning of a 1st-2nd century writer who might have been influenced by that same text does NOT negate the fact/possibility that the 1st-2nd century author still used that same text.
Just as the author of Matthew interpreted Isaiah 7:14 in a different way than the original author, so also, if it turns out to be the case that somehow the author of Matthew was influenced by the Luxor inscription, it would simply be the case the the author of Matthew (or his source) interpreted it differently than the original author, just as he did with Isaiah 7:14 and various other texts we know he took out of context. (Btw, Carrier claiming that the Deir text was the same text in its expanded form would only be relevant here if the author of Matthew or Luke was aware of both. They wouldn't have to be. Could've been aware of just Luxor. Could've been aware of neither and just got info second or third hand the way many other writers did, such as Plutarch himself.)
So to bring this back around to Plutarch, I brought all of this up because Plutarch made a curious admission about the views of Egyptians in his day concerning interbreeding between gods and humans. In Plutarch's Life of Numa, chapter IV, he wrote:
But it is hard to believe that a god or deity could feel the passion of love for a human form; although the Egyptians not unreasonably say, that a woman may be impregnated by the spirit of a god, but that a man can have NO MATERIAL UNION with a god. However, it is very right to believe that a god can feel friendship for a man, and from this may spring a love which watches over him and guides him in the path of virtue.
So Egyptians in the time of Plutarch and the New Testament authors, 1st to early 2nd century CE, believed that a god can impregnate a human with its spirit (just as Yhwh did to Mary), but that it is impossible for a human to have a physical union, or sex, with a god and likewise impossible for a god to fall in love romantically with a human.
So how then would such Egyptians as these have interpreted the Luxor inscription? And so if a tourist came through, like say... from Judea, had come passing through and inquired about the temple and its inscriptions, how would these Egyptians have explained the conception & birth scene to that tourist? Since they didn't believe in sex and love between gods and humans, but only friendship and impregnation through spirit, they clearly would not have explained this scene as a sexual copulation, but as a miraculous non-sexual incorporeal spiritual impregnation.
And one last thing, since the birth of Hatshepsut was brought up, I figure it would be relevant to cite the words of Dr. Jan Bergman & Dr. Helmer Ringgren in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Volume 2, edited by Gerhard Johannes Botterweck, beginning on page 338:
1. Egypt. The Egyptian words for "girl, virgin," are 'dd.t, rnn.t, and ESPECIALLY hwn.t. This last word is already attested in the Pyramid Texts, including the expression, "the girl in the eye," i.e., the pupil. It means "girl, virgin," in a general sense, but can also denote the young marriageable woman in particular. ... In the Legend of the Birth of Hatshepsut, Queen Ahmose is characteristically presented to Amon as a virgin (hwn.t) and "the most beautiful of all women." In this context it is to be observed that her husband is called a "young child," which apparently means that the young king was not able to consummate the marriage; thus the queen, although married, is a VIRGIN. Therefore, the sole fatherhood of Amon cannot be doubted. In the Legend of the Youth of Hatshepsut that follows, Hatshepsut herself is described as "a beautiful young girl" (hwn.t).
So combine that with the 1st century intepretation by Egyptians that gods & humans could not have intercourse or fall in love, but rather could only interbreed through impregnation by a spirit, and you have most of the crucial elements that are characteristic of the conception & birth of Jesus, and so if anyone were to have inquired of the priests at Deir and/or Luxor about the birth scene at the temple, this is probably what they would have been told.
Defining Mythicism: Parallelomania, Luxor, and Acharya S http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/defining-mythicism-parallelomania-luxor-and-acharya-s/
I still laugh out loud when I think back when Rook claimed to be a "historian and ancient text expert" with a high school education. Rooks hatred for Acharya S and her work is a bit odd since he's apparently studying to have the same skills Acharya S has possessed since before Rook was ever born. Until ya realize he gets his info about Acharya from Carrier who also has never read a single book of hers. No need to be a Parallelophobe.
Before I respond to this professionally jealous bilge - I've already got a lengthy draft - am I reading it correctly? If so, I'm astonished. Did Carrier really admit that he's been using the wrong inscription all this time? And did he then try to cover up that egregious error by claiming those who point it out are full of "nonsense?"
Imagine the brouhaha if I were writing "debunking" articles about the wrong inscription - and then if I refused to admit my extremely important error by claiming it doesn't matter and that those who point out my mistake are "nonsensical?"
Wow - that's incredibly unprofessional and unscholarly. Figures Rook would hook into such apparently shoddy scholarship.
If I've read his rant incorrectly, please let me know before I continue with my formal refutation, which at this point is quite easy.
The bottom line is that, despite all of Carrier's doubling down to cover up his egregious error and the distractions and deflections off the topic at hand, the Luxor nativity scene - especially without the text, which would not have been understood widely by the time of the Christian effort - remains highly important in Jesus mythicist and comparative religion studies.
How is it that Carrier fails to touch on this?
He seems to be oblivious to the massive body of literature cranked out by mythicists and other Bible critics over the past several centuries. Such ignorance can hardly qualify anyone as an "expert" on Jesus mythicism.
The influence of Egypt on the Christian effort is well known, pervasive and not to be ignored by any scholar who wants to be taken seriously within the field of mythicism. If someone wishes to know more about this subject, he or she could actually read my book Christ in Egypt, rather than attacking me personally and pretending to know all about my work, without having read a single book.
_________________ Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm Posts: 4657 Location: 3rd rock from the sun
Here's the latest load of crap from Carrier:
"Jackson: I’m curious to find out what books by Acharya S/Murdock have you actually read? Did you actually read her book Christ in Egypt or no?
[Richard Carrier responds] "I have read her section on Luxor there, yes (which, BTW, does not say some of the things her defenders claim it says, so they are doing her no favors by misrepresenting her claims and arguments). Note that I am reporting what Brunner says (an actual Egyptologist), and choosing my words carefully. Make sure you actually have right what I have in fact said, before comparing it to what she said (and not just what you think she said).
But if you are reading her book, then take note of how my blog post is designed to expose her tortuous logic there. For example, note that she agrees Amun appears to the queen in the disguise of her husband at Luxor; but doesn’t explain why that makes sense unless he planned to have sex with her. Otherwise, why pretend to be her husband? Likewise, both temples were constructed by the same person and thus cannot plausibly be telling two completely different religious stories, yet one of them (the longer redaction) is sexual, as even Murdock admits. So she has to hope you don’t notice that, in effect, the same author told two radically different versions of the same story at the same time for no reason. And so on. So it’s important to notice what she avoids talking about, as much as what she attempts to argue."
- So, saying "I have read her section on Luxor there, yes" doesn't actually claim he read the book, which implies he probably didn't but doesn't want to admit it. Why couldn't he have been categorically clear and just say, "Yes, I read the Luxor section from the book." He may have even gotten glimpses of that section from Google books rather than the book, which leaves out quite a bit. I mention it here because Carrier's goes on and on about Dr. Brunner in such a way that Carrier seems oblivious to the fact that Acharya read Brunner's book and that's where much of her information on this issue came from. If Carrier actually read the book or even the online article he would know that Acharya cites Dr. Brunner and several other Egyptologists. So, to me, Carrier's blog comes off as disingenuous. He doesn't substantiate a single claim he makes with any source citations to back up his claims.
- (From the article) "She simply cites other people making the same mistake she did, as if a mistake many people make ceases to be a mistake, which is a non sequitur. "
Is Carrier claiming Brunner made a mistake? Because Acharya provides commentary from Brunner as well, which even the article explains. In fact, that's how she figured out Carrier was looking at the wrong scene. The error is Carrier's and he just can't admit it.
- (From the article) "Brunner himself agrees with me in concluding that the narrative depicts sex"
How exactly does Egyptologist, Dr. Hellmut Brunner agree with you when he died in 1997? Acharya cites several Egyptologists, including Brunner, in which they demonstrate Carrier to be in error. Is Carrier claiming everyone else is wrong and that only Carrier has it right?
- Not sure what Carrier is even referring to regarding "defenders ... are doing her no favors by misrepresenting her claims and arguments" since he gave no examples. Same with "not just what you think she said."
- "both temples were constructed by the same person"
Notice Carrier provides no source for this claim?
- "(the longer redaction) is sexual, as even Murdock admits. So she has to hope you don’t notice that"
If Carrier read the article careful enough he'd notice that she discusses that so, the claim that she hopes one won't notice is just dumb.
I haven't had time to address the article yet so, I guess I'll start here:
RC: "There is sex in the scene and plenty of lurid details, pillow talk, and everything I say, couched in the coy terms of ancient writers"
So, there's sex scenes, lurid details of it, plus, pillow talk and everything else Carrier says? Right after that Carrier then says:
RC: "one should not obsess on whether Egyptian iconography depicts beds the way you see them at a Sears showroom, or whether pillow talk actually involves pillows. That’s just silly. It’s the words that describe what is going on. And the words say in effect just what I said they do. That I relate them into modern analogs is besides the point."
So, Carrier is categorically clear that he concedes that the Egyptian iconography at Luxor shows no sex scenes. At least that's a start.
RC: "The D text she refers to is the narrative accompanying the panels at the Deir el-Bahri Temple Complex built by Queen Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC. The Luxor Temple was built at the same time by the same queen."
Notice Carrier never cites a source to substantiate his claim regarding both temples being built at the same time by the same person? We've all heard the phrase: "Rome wasn't built in a day." Neither were the Deir el-Bahri Temple Complex nor Luxor.
I posted the following comment on Richard Carrier's blog. This is the first communication I have had with him.
Dear Richard, I read your comments here with interest after seeing them discussed at Acharya's freethoughtnation site. I led a discussion on her book Christ In Egypt at booktalk.org, where this theme of Egyptian parallels was discussed in depth. There is a pervasive prejudice against discussion of Egyptian mythic sources for Christianity due to cultural factors and associations that are not readily recognised. These factors, seen in the history of Egyptian studies going back at least to the Renaissance, have led to an academic bias that endangers the reputation of anyone who studies this material. Yet parallels such as Osiris=Lazarus, Isis=Mary, Horus=Jesus, Set=Satan and Anubis=John have abundant evidence to support them. The Jesus Myth Theory addresses deep cultural problems in Western civilization. Egyptian parallels are at the center of these problems. Lightly dismissing them distorts the analysis of the theological basis of the Gospels. Acharya has investigated this material with integrity, courage, depth and rigour. She has uncovered some intriguing material on the history of suppression of evidence, explained in detail in Christ in Egypt. I'm glad to see you have opened this dialogue, however circumspectly. I hope your engagement will lead to broader scholarly discussion of Egyptian sources in Christianity. Robert Tulip
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