It is currently Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:24 pm

All times are [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 63 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:07 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Thank you. That's a useful quote that illustrates my point and may be part of what Allen is summarizing above.

"I am not certain what you are seeking"

Perhaps you would need to have read my book Christ Con to follow my post, although I thought it was pretty obvious what I am seeking, since I provided the quote and citations, as well as a link to what is supposed to be the original text in Greek and Latin. The title of my post "Was Origin One of the First Mythicists?" indicates what I am after here.

I am aware of Celsus's overall skepticism (CC, 70ff), but, as I say, in Christ Con I also quoted scholars specifically stating that the pagan philosopher had questioned the very existence of the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament. That perspective would make of Celsus one of the earliest doubters and, indeed, mythicists.

For example, I cited Gnostic scholar Jean Doresse, who likewise recites part of what Allen says above, concerning Celsus's critique:

Quote:
In this he asserts that the teaching of the Gospel derives, in part, from Plato, from Heraclitus, from the Stoics, the Jews, from the Egyptians and Persian myths and the Cabiri.

Although he does not cite the relevant commentary in Celsus, Doresse is obviously referring to one of the same passages as Allen.

As I also cited in Christ Con, in Fiction as History, Bowersock concludes:

Quote:
The fiction and mendacity that Celsus wished to expose in his True Discourse were nothing less than the Christian representation of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

It should be noted that Celsus book was apparently published around 177, fairly shortly after the canonical gospels as we have them emerge clearly into the historical record. That would make him possibly the first serious mythicist.

Naturally, this contention has been refuted, and apologists have repeatedly and fallaciously asserted that no one before the 19th century doubted the existence of Jesus. Of course, I would like to remind here that the debate is better framed not as whether or not a Jesus existed but whether or not the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a mythical figure.

In this latter regard, what Dr. Allen says of Celsus above would make of him a mythicist, claiming that Jesus is a composite figure of characters, real and mythical, as I stated above.

What I am interested in finding is the original Greek/Latin of Celsus that Allen cites above that essentially proves Celsus was a Jesus mythicist, contending that the godman of the Christians was a fictional composite. As has been the case in the past, in which Migne deliberately removed the Epiphanius passage in which the Church father describes the bringing out of a divine baby born of a virgin mother in Egypt, it would not surprise me if some of these relevant passages in Celsus were a) never translated into English; and b) omitted from Migne, which is the edition I linked to above.

Since this issue serves as a lynchpin in the mythicist case, it is necessary to track down Allen's sources and post them for the world to see. I will continue to do so.

In searching for Celsus's original words, it should be kept in mind that his book was lost/destroyed, such that we are relying on Origen's recounting of what he said. Thus, we don't necessarily have direct quotes from Celsus. Here is part of Celsus's analysis of the Persian/Mithraic mysteries, with which he compared to Christianity:

Image
Image

Here is the original Greek/Latin of this chapter (if Migne be trustworthy in this instance):

Image
Image

(Migne, Patrologia cursus completus, v. 11, cols. 1323-1326)

In book 6, chapter 23, Origen remarks of Celsus:

Quote:
Let Celsus know, moreover, as well as those who read his book, that in no part of the genuine and divinely accredited Scriptures are "seven" heavens mentioned; neither do our prophets, nor the apostles of Jesus, nor the Son of God Himself, repeat anything which they borrowed from the Persians or the Cabiri.

Here Origen is taking the perspective, of course, that all these figures were "real people," and the impression is given that Celsus is accusing such "real people" not of being myths but of rehashing myths. Obviously, we know that Origen's claim here rings hollow, since there is clearly much in the New Testament from the Persian and mysteries religions. (It should also be noted that, contra Origen, the Jews were very much engaged in delineating "seven heavens.")

I can see that Allen's summary encompasses much of what Origen claimed was in Celsus, spread across many pages. I had read and excerpted the English translation provided by Hoffmann - surprising that he would be so intimate with Celsus's skepticism and then irrationally lash out at others who share in such rational and scientific insights. It's great to see Allen's conclusions are the same as I provided in Christ Con, and it would still be good to highlight all the relevant parts in the original Greek/Latin.

Here's the original text for Contra Celsum 6.23, as quoted in English above:

Image

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:16 am 
Offline
Hercules

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:11 pm
Posts: 85
Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Acharya

I cannot help in finding the original Greek/Latin version of Origen on Celsus, but the following site has all three books of Origen's Against Celsus:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PATRISTC/ANF4-17.TXT

Some Christians claim that Celsus affirmed the existence of a historical Jesus, but the passages they use are just passages from a hypothetical Jew talking to the alleged Christian Jesus in a fictional conversation.

Celsus thought the Jewish scriptures were late compositions, and he labelled Christianity “blockheaded wisdom” to accept the Jewish scriptures yet reinterpret them allegorically. To give the Jewish viewpoint, Celsus introduces a hypothetical Jew, who says to the Son of God:

"You were born in a small Jewish village. Your mother was a poor woman who earned her bread by spinning. Her husband divorced her for adultery. You were born in secret and were afterwards carried to Egypt, and were brought up among the Egyptian conjurers. The arts which you there learnt, you practised when you returned to your own people, and you then persuaded them you were God. It was given out that you were born of a virgin. Your real father was a soldier named Panther. The story of your divine parentage is like the story of Danaë.

You say that, when you were baptized in Jordan, a dove descended upon you, and a voice was heard from heaven declaring that you were the Son of God. Who saw the dove? Who heard the voice, except you and another who suffered as you suffered? The prophets have foretold that a Son of God is to come. Granted. But how are we to know that they referred to you? They spoke of a glorious king who was to reign over the world. You, we know only as wandering about with publicans and boatmen of abandoned character.

You tell us that the wise men of the east came at your birth to adore you, that they gave notice to Herod and that Herod killed all the children in Bethlehem to prevent you from becoming king. You yourself escaped by going to Egypt. Is this story true? And, if it be, could not the angels who had been busy about your birth have protected you at home? When you grew up, what did you accomplish remarkable? What did you say? We challenged you in the temple to give us a sign as your credential. You had none to give.

You cured diseases, it is said. You restored dead bodies to life. You fed multitudes with a few loaves. These are the common tricks of the Egyptian wizards, which you may see performed every day in our markets for a few halfpence. They too drive out devils, heal sicknesses, call up the souls of the dead, provide suppers and tables covered with dishes, and make things seem what they are not. We do not call these wizards sons of God. We call them rogues and vagabonds."


Another second century skeptic, Lucian of Samosata, made some criticisms, although his comments could have either referred to Christians or Chrestians as he never used the name Jesus or Chrestos in his writings.

In about 150 CE, Marcion in his Antithesis made critical comparisons between the "good" god in his gospel and the evil demiurge Jewish god of the old testament. Interestingly Marcion did not make any comparisons between his Isu Chrestos, son of the good god, and the biblical Jesus version in the Christian gospels. This would be one indication that the Christian gospels were written after Marcion's New Testament and had not yet become available when Marcion wrote his Antithesis.

Rik


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:44 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm
Posts: 5205
Location: 3rd rock from the sun
The video below reminds me of the chapter in Christ Conspiracy entitled: The Myth of Hebrew Monotheism

Atheism - A History of God (The Polytheistic Origins of Christianity and Judaism)

_________________
Astrotheology.Net
Mythicists United
Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
2015 Astrotheology Calendar
Astrotheology Calendar Special
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube
The Mythicist Position


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:20 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Here's a video by Graham Hancock, in which he discusses the Egyptian civilization and the appearance of the zodiac there. The relevant part is linked here:

Quest for Civilization, 9:18


_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:20 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Prometheus Crucified

Here's another modern book with information confirming research in Christ Con:

Crucifixion in the Ancient World by Dr. Martin Hengel (1926-2009), a renowned German New Testament scholar and professor of religious history.

Hengel has a chapter titled, "Prometheus and Dionysus: the 'Crucified' and the 'Crucifying' God," in which he says:

Quote:
The only possibility of something like a "crucified god" appearing on the periphery of the ancient world of the gods was in the form of a malicious parody, intended to mock the arbitrariness and wickedness of the father of the gods on Olympus, who had now become obsolete. This happens in the dialogue called Prometheus, written by Lucian, the Voltaire of antiquity. When describing how his hero is fastened to two rocks in the Caucasus, Lucian uses all the technical terms of a crucifixion: Prometheus is to be nailed to two rocks above a ravine in the sight of all, in such a way as to produce the effect of a "most serviceable cross"...

Hengel appears to be saying that the Prometheus myth is the "only possibility" of an ancient crucified god, besides Jesus. As we can see, even this one example is enough to show that the Christian passion is unoriginal and unhistorical. However, if we include in the definition of "crucify" its various other meanings, such as "affixed to a cross" or in cruciform, as well as "to treat with gross injustice; persecute; torment; torture," then we can include many other gods such as Osiris and Dionysus, who suffer passions.

In Prometheus (1), Lucian states:

Quote:
...nailed up...and he will be in full sight of everyone as he hangs there... We must not crucify him low and close to the ground...crucify him above the ravine with his hands stretched out...by be crucified in your stead...

(Hengel's translation, 11).

One relevant part of Lucian's Greek is:

Quote:
οὔτε γὰρ ταπεινὸν καὶ πρόσγειον ἐσταυρῶσθαι χρή

This is the passage Hengel renders, "We must not crucify him low and close to the ground." As we can see, the word here for "crucify" is ἐσταυρῶσθαι or estaurosthai, from the Greek verb σταυρόω or stauroo, meaning to "fence with pales," but also "to stake, impale or crucify." The Germanic term "stave" derives from this term. In this passage and elsewhere, therefore, Lucian employs the same Greek term used in the New Testament to describe Christ's cross, σταυρός stauros. Again, "to crucify" can also be used to describe someone staked to the ground, using a stauros.

Lucian (125-180 AD/CE) wrote at the middle to end of the second century, just before the canonical gospels as we have them clearly emerged in the historical record. He is recounting a much older account, however, in which Prometheus is depicted as crucified, an image we possess in artifacts preceding the Christian era by centuries. There is no question that in the pre-Christian myths Prometheus suffers a horrible fate that includes him be hung in the shape of a cross, as on this piece of pottery:

Image
Prometheus crucified using chains on a Greek vase, c. 350. BCE

Hengel also gives the models for Lucian's depiction:

Quote:
For the model see Hesiod, Theogony 521f., and Aeschylus, Prometheus 52ff. Possibly Hesiod and Aeschylus already depicted the binding of Prometheus after the manner of an apotympanismos... Hesiod, Theogony 521, speaks of a post or pillar to which the god is fastened...(bound with inextricable bonds, driving a shaft through the middle)... Apollodorus 1.7.1 speaks of Prometheus being nailed.

It is clear that in his description of Prometheus's crucifixion, Lucian is following not the gospel accounts but the texts of Hesiod and Aeschylus, dating to many centuries before the common era. (The word apotympanismos refers to the Athenian punishment of being beaten to death with "sticks, cudgels and clubs.")

The image of Prometheus staked or on a stauros, again the same term used to describe Christ's "cross" is also found on pre-Christian pottery:

Image
Prometheus bound to a wooden stake or stauros, i.e., a cross, on a Greek vase, c. late sixth to early seventh cents. BCE.

Turning to Hesiod's Theogony, written in the 8th century BCE, at 521-525 we read of Zeus:

Quote:
...And ready-witted Prometheus he bound with inextricable bonds, cruel chains, and drove a shaft through his middle, and set on him a long-winged eagle, which used to eat his immortal liver; but by night the liver grew as much again everyway as the long-winged bird devoured in the whole day.

Hesiod's original Greek is:

Quote:
δῆσε δ᾽ ἀλυκτοπέδῃσι Προμηθέα ποικιλόβουλον δεσμοῖς ἀργαλέοισι μέσον διὰ κίον᾽ ἐλάσσας: καί οἱ ἐπ᾽ αἰετὸν ὦρσε τανύπτερον: αὐτὰρ ὅ γ᾽ ἧπαρ ἤσθιεν ἀθάνατον, τὸ δ᾽ ἀέξετο ἶσον ἁπάντη νυκτός ὅσον πρόπαν ἦμαρ ἔδοι τανυσίπτερος ὄρνις.

In his play Prometheus Bound, written in the fifth century BCE, Aeschylus opens by referring to the god Hephaistos's role in crucifying Prometheus:

Quote:
And now, Hephaestus, yours is the charge to observe the mandates laid upon you by the Father—to clamp this miscreant upon the high craggy rocks in shackles of binding adamant that cannot be broken.

Like Jesus, ordained by God the Father to be crucified for the sake of mankind, who has sinned against the Father, Prometheus is likewise crucified because of his "offense" against Zeus by giving the divine gift of fire to humanity. Says Aeschylus of the ill-fated Prometheus:

Quote:
Such is the prize you have gained for your championship of man.

Here's the Greek:

Quote:
Ἥφαιστε, σοὶ δὲ χρὴ μέλειν ἐπιστολὰς ἅς σοι πατὴρ ἐφεῖτο, τόνδε πρὸς πέτραις ὑψηλοκρήμνοις τὸν λεωργὸν ὀχμάσαι ἀδαμαντίνων δεσμῶν ἐν ἀρρήκτοις πέδαις.

Writing c. 180 BCE, demonstrating an ongoing popularity of the Prometheus myth, mythographer Apollodorus (Library 1.7.1) states:

Quote:
Prometheus moulded men out of water and earth and gave them also fire, which, unknown to Zeus, he had hidden in a stalk of fennel. But when Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephaestus to nail his body to Mount Caucasus, which is a Scythian mountain. On it Prometheus was nailed and kept bound for many years. Every day an eagle swooped on him and devoured the lobes of his liver, which grew by night. That was the penalty that Prometheus paid for the theft of fire until Hercules afterwards released him, as we shall show in dealing with Hercules.

(Frazer translation)

The Greek:

Quote:
Προμηθεὺς δὲ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ γῆς ἀνθρώπους πλάσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ πῦρ, λάθρᾳ Διὸς ἐν νάρθηκι κρύψας. ὡς δὲ ᾔσθετο Ζεύς, ἐπέταξεν Ἡφαίστῳ τῷ Καυκάσῳ ὄρει τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ προσηλῶσαι: τοῦτο δὲ Σκυθικὸν ὄρος ἐστίν. ἐν δὴ τούτῳ προσηλωθεὶς Προμηθεὺς πολλῶν ἐτῶν ἀριθμὸν ἐδέδετο: καθ᾽ ἑκάστην δὲ ἡμέραν ἀετὸς ἐφιπτάμενος αὐτῷ τοὺς λοβοὺς ἐνέμετο τοῦ ἥπατος αὐξανομένου διὰ νυκτός. καὶ Προμηθεὺς μὲν πυρὸς κλαπέντος δίκην ἔτινε ταύτην, μέχρις Ἡρακλῆς αὐτὸν ὕστερον ἔλυσεν, ὡς ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ Ἡρακλέα δηλώσομεν.

As we can see, it's much the same story as told by Hesiod and others centuries before. It would thus appear that Lucian's account reflects an ancient tradition, centuries older than the Christian tale.

In my mind it is unquestionable that Christ's crucifixion was based significantly on that of Prometheus, as well as the hanging on a tree of Attis and the deaths of Osiris and Dionysus, among others, including the Norse god Odin, who is hung on a tree and suffers a wounding with a spear. (See the subsection "The Sacred Spear and the Side-Wounding" in my book Who Was Jesus?, 246fn.)

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:42 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Here's a PDF bibliography of books related to iconography, especially that of the Middle Ages. Note that the article about the priapus gallineceus artifact is included in this list and that the author has also written an article about the use of the cock as a symbol of Christ:

Baird, Lorrayne Y. "Christus gallinaceus: A Chaucerian enigma; or the Cock as Symbol for Christ in the Middle Ages," Studies in Iconography 9 (1983): 19-30.

Notice also that there is a section about astrology. I'm sure that I could find a number of the contentions in Christ Con in these various publications.

Iconography: A Checklist of Some Useful Sources for Scholars and Students of Medieval Art and Drama

Also note that - quelle horreur! - some of these books date to - gasp! - the 19th century!!

Someone had better tell the compiler, Dr. Clifford Davidson, a professor emeritus at Western Michigan University that he is obviously incompetent, since he included "outdated" scholarship. [/sarc]

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:41 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan and Christ

As we know, I included in The Christ Conspiracy a limited discussion of the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl, also known to the Maya as Kukulkan, both names meaning "Feathered Serpent." In Christ Con (121), for example, I included a quote from Barbara Walker:

Quote:
This devoured Savior, closely watched by his ten or twelve guards, embodied the god Quetzalcoatl, who was born of a virgin, slain in atonement for primal sin, and whose Second Coming was confidently expected. He was often represented as a trinity signified by three crosses, a large one between two smaller ones. Father Acosta naively said, "It is strange that the devil after his manner hath brought a Trinity into idolatry." His church found it all too familiar, and long kept his book as one of its secrets

With this pithy paragraph, I could do a lengthy analysis of where each of its components comes from, a sizable study that does not end with the above parallels. Indeed, I already have a significant draft of material for a possible future book. Unfortunately, the apparent lack of interest in real Mesoamerican mythology (as opposed to the "2012" myths) does not make the endeavor worthwhile at this time.

Whence Come the Mesoamerican Religious and Mythological Structure, Ritual and Tradition?

In Christ Con, I averred that Phoenicians may have brought the story from the Americas back to the Mediterranean, where it could have been found in the library at Alexandria. I think that explanation may be too simplistic, and, although there are images of bearded males in Central America that appear to be "Semitic," we don't have any direct proof of contact or cultural exchange.

These cultural commonalities between the Old and New Worlds were so striking that the conquistadors, priests and other early travelers and chroniclers continually posited that one or more "Lost Tribe of Israel" had landed in the Americas and taught the "savages" there the "true faith." Thus were the commonalities between Judaism and Mesoamerican religion explained, while those between Mexican mythology and Christianity were explained by the purported arrival on American shores of either the proselytizing St. Thomas, flying on the back of an eagle, or Jesus Christ himself.

No Direct Evidence of Israelites

To my knowledge, there is no credible evidence of the Hebrew script in Central America, for example, nor do we find iron, both of which things one would think Israelite travelers would introduce to their apparent subjects, as the newcomers completely dominated the natives with their religion, which is what this theory indicates. All that conversion and imposition of religious rituals and myths without contributing any clear Hebrew words to the Mesoamerican vocabulary? It should be noted, however, that some native languages do appear to have similar root-words with Semitic dialects, as they do with other languages. This fact does not prove the biblical Israelites were ever in Central America, but it does increase the mystery of whence came the Mesoamerican peoples. (The DNA studies are another discussion.)

Moreover, would not someone among these "Lost Tribes" have thought of introducing the wheel? Again, to my knowledge, there is no evidence for the use by the Mesoamericans of the wheel - it is quite astonishing to consider that they could have built their incredible edifices without it. Or any metal, for that matter. Incredible!

The Mormon Connection

The parallels between Judeo-Christian and Mesoamerican traditions were so profound and well known that Mormon founder Joseph Smith attempted to explain them while creating a cult of his own. Now his Mormon descendants continue to try to prove the Book of Mormon by raising up these striking similarities. And that fact brings me to a paper by a Mormon scholar named Diane Wirth that one can easily read online:

Quetzalcoatl, the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ

In this article, Wirth - who attended Harvard in addition to her Brigham Young background and thus knows how to write in a scholarly fashion - is attempting to prove true the Book of Mormon, in its assertion that the "Lost Tribes of Israel" settled in the Americas. She is also attempting to equate Jesus Christ (as in "He walked the Americas") with Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan, thus demonstrating the obvious parallels between these two figures.

Wirth also has a book called Parallels: Mesoamerican and Ancient Middle Eastern Traditions, which I have not read yet but will be shortly. Here, obviously, she delves into the commonalities between Mesoamerican and Semitic religion and tradition.

What is of interest to the mythicist student/scholar are the many parallels, of course, between the New and Old World traditions, including the Judeo-Christian/biblical one. Wirth's work is valuable in that, in attempting to prove the connection between the Mesoamerican and biblical cultures, she has done a thorough study of the literary record, including primary sources as far back as we have them (minus discoveries since she wrote these publications). Thus, we have a clear path already cut that, when trimmed of the cultic viewpoints attempting to prove Mormonism to be true, leads us to the scientific core of this comparative-religion study.

In this regard, below I excerpt some relevant parts of Wirth's paper. Keep in mind that she is a true believer in the historicity of Jesus Christ and his divine mission, which, Mormons believe, extended to the Americas both before and after his purported advent on Earth. In this regard, it does not behoove her to skew the data favorably towards mythicism, although she most assuredly has presented us with numerous elements on which to follow up.

Quote:
Legends about Quetzalcoatl from Mexico and Central America bring forward tantalizing resemblances to aspects of the life and New World ministry of Jesus Christ. In the past, some leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints occasionally drew attention to certain of those similarities. Among those mentioned in post-Spanish conquest manuscripts were that Quetzalcoatl was the Creator, that he was born of a virgin, that he was a god of the air and earth (in his manifestation as the Feathered Serpent), that he was white and bearded, that he came from heaven and was associated with the planet Venus, that he raised the dead, and that he promised to return. The full picture, however, is extremely complex.

In light of ancient sources and modern studies that have appeared in recent decades, some proposed links between Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl remain quite plausible while others are now questionable. This article examines and sets into a helpful context possible links that may derive from, or be related to, the Nephites' knowledge of and teaching about the Savior.

Wirth next proceeds to go through the proposed links, both plausible and questionable. The criteria for "questionable" parallels includes absence in the extant pre-Columbian record, along with specifics that seem too "Catholic." As Wirth says:

Quote:
Spanish chroniclers, desiring to please adherents of both Christianity and the religion of the indigenous natives, emphasized the powerful symbolic continuity between the Catholic and Mesoamerican belief systems. They did this by frequently combining myth and history from pre-Hispanic times. Such manipulation was even a native tradition in Mesoamerica. Kings caused historical records to be manipulated in order to strengthen and authenticate their legitimacy to rule their people. Because of these practices, scholars are sometimes in a quandary as to what is historical and what is mythological.

Wirth next asserts:

Quote:
Some post-conquest stories clearly rest on Christian embellishment. For example, an account of a language that was no longer understood, akin to the episode of the Tower of Babel, appears in the Popol Vuh of the Quiché Maya, who live in the Guatemalan highlands. A story about parting waters, also mentioned in the Popol Vuh, is comparable to Moses' dividing the sea; and the writers of the Tí­tulo de Totonicapán attest that they came from "the other part of the sea, from Civán-Tulán, bordering on Babylonia." Referring to the latter source, Allen Christenson notes that "most of the scriptural material [of the writings of Totonicpán] was taken directly from a Christian tract, the Theologia Indorum, written in 1553 by a Spanish priest named Domingo de Vico." Thus, apparent references in Mesoamerican texts to events known from the Bible cannot always be taken seriously.

On the other hand, although some accounts from ancient America may sound overtly Christian, we should not dismiss them entirely for exhibiting such missionary influence. In fact, these manuscripts sometimes report the same events that are recorded in other documents from Mesoamerica. Because it is highly doubtful that such correspondence is coincidental or that Catholic friars contacted one another as they related nearly identical information from different cultures in separate regions and from various time frames, such accounts may be authentic and thus warrant serious consideration.

While it appears that Wirth is calling into question the Mesoamerican "Babel" or language-confusion account, as well as the parting of the waters, there is little reason to suppose that these common mythical motifs came from the Bible. Obviously, if there is a passage with the word "Babylonia" or other specific like that, we can designate it as post-Columbian biblical influence.

Biblical Influence or Common Mythical Motifs?


When such extraneous matter is trimmed, which includes removing Spanish-Mexican hybrids such as "Our Lady of Guadalupe," there is a core mythological and cosmological Mesoamerican tradition that is clearly not influenced by either Christianity or Judaism yet is startlingly similar, enough to drive these comparative-religion studies for the past 500 years.

Moreover, because we know that these various motifs can be found in other, "Old World" religions and mythologies apart from and frequently preceding Judaism, Christianity and the Bible, we are not as surprised as our forebears in this scholarship, who believed the Bible was the inerrant Word of God full of unique, historical figures and events. Discovering a basic framework of many of these motifs and characters was so stunning that the Europeans could only guess that far-wandering Jews, Christ, Thomas or other Christians had taught the natives long prior to Columbus. Or, these true believers fell back on the "devil got there first" retort, which allowed them to push it all out of their minds. In any event, the parallels are real, and we who have been studying comparative religion and mythology can discern them without denial based on piety and belief.

Quote:
In this discussion we will concern ourselves with those aspects of Quetzalcoatl that some LDS authors suggest are related to Christ. This will include accounts about the ruler Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl, whose history is often confused with that of his god, Quetzalcoatl. The Maize God of the Maya is also important to this analysis because characteristics of this supernatural entity may also relate to the life of the Savior.

Quetzalcoatl and the Maya Maize God

To identify our principal characters, we begin with the Mexican deity Quetzalcoatl, whose name means "Feathered Serpent" (see fig. 2). Farther east the Yucatec Maya name for this god is Kukulcan, which has the same interpretation. Several ancient leaders who worshipped Quetzalcoatl/ Kukulcan took upon themselves this appellation, much as Muslims today add Mohammed to their names.

Wirth goes on to show through ancient texts, which include pre-Columbian codices, murals, pottery, wall inscriptions and other artifacts, that Quetzalcoatl and the Maize God were often syncretized, both sharing a story of descent into the underworld, death and resurrection, among other attributes. This story can be found in the Popol Vuh and is confirmed as pre-Columbian by its presence on the San Bartolo mural as well as other inscriptions.

Here's a video about the Heart of Sky/Quetzalcoatl/Maize God myth (go to 0:59 to start):



The Mesoamerican Virgin Birth

For the rest, see Wirth's article. She hastily dismisses the Mesoamerican virgin birth motif as having little significance because it is attached only (in the extant record) to the supposed historical king Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. There is reason, however, to suggest that this motif was likewise attached to the god(s) Quetzalcoatl as well, which is how it ended up as a motif for the king, not because the story suffers from Christianization. As we know, virgin births (parthenogenesis) were common in many places in the world.

When analyzing what may or may not have been original to the Mesoamerican religion, it should be kept in mind that, in a crime against humanity, thousands of codices were burned, destroying possibly a huge body of knowledge, only fragments of which we can reconstruct now. The presence of the virgin birth as a mythical motif elsewhere means we are not surprised at all to find it attached to any number of individuals, including in the Americas. The question is, how far back does it go? Did the concept come "out of Africa" with the early migrations, such that it ended up in the Americas? Or was there much later contact(s)?

Wirth goes into the creation accounts, including the comment by another scholar who concluded, "Comparative analysis also suggests that the often suspected Christian influence is minor..." Indeed, it is so minor that I keep wondering where it is, other than the few things I've addressed here, such as the use of the word "Babylonia" or the Virgin of Guadalupe and all such hybrid artifacts. Where else in the texts do we find the encroachment of any peculiarly Christian ideas or terminology? As I say, almost everything in the mythology that we know about can be compared to other religious and mythological systems, most if not all of which predate the creation of Christianity. Hence, none of it need be the result of Christian influence.

Resurrection

Wirth concurs with the above assessment for the most part, as she discuss also the blatant resurrection theme in Mesoamerican mythology, represented abundantly in the stories of Quetzalcoatl and the Maize God, as well as the Hero Twins. Lord Papan too is said to have died and resurrected. The Mesoamericans were much like the Egyptians in their afterlife beliefs and much else.

In this regard, professional Maya scholars, archaeologists and linguists, or "Mayanists," often use the term "resurrection" to describe the revivification of Quetzalcoatl and the Maize God. They are not shy to use it or to step on Christian feet, as we have seen elsewhere. The people of Central America most assuredly perceived resurrection from death to life in the same way we do, per our Christian conditioning regarding that concept. No hair splitting or nitpicking will suffice to change that fact.

Wirth also explores the theme of Quetzalcoatl representing the "Bread of Life" and being sacrificed for mankind, ideas found concerning the Christian savior:

Quote:
The Bread of Life

Both Quetzalcoatl and the Maya Maize God are responsible for bringing maize to humankind, maize being the most important staple in Mesoamerica. According to legend, Quetzalcoatl transformed himself into an ant in order to retrieve seeds from the Mountain of Sustenance, where maize is kept. Ceramics portray the resurrected Maize God bringing maize to the surface of the earth from the Mountain of Sustenance. These kernels served as food and were believed to be the substance from which humans were created.

Next follows a discussion of the World Tree or Tree of Life and the motif of resurrection:

Quote:
The Tree and Resurrection

A World Tree (Tree of Life) is also significant to this scenario. To the Maya, the World Tree is a motif of resurrection and life and has been for over 2,000 years. In Maya myth the Lords of Death hang the decapitated head of Hun Hunahpu on a nonbearing tree, after which it bears fruit. When his sons defeat those denizens of the Underworld, the Maize God Hun Hunahpu is resurrected.

In the human realm, Pakal, the great Maya king of Palenque, is buried in a magnificent sarcophagus deep within the Temple of Inscriptions. The carving on the lid of the sarcophagus depicts Pakal as the young Maize God, with the Tree of Life springing from his body in resurrection.... This is Mesoamerica's most famous and remarkable story in stone, carved approximately 800 years before the Popol Vuh was set in cursive writing after the arrival of the Spanish. Much of this ideology had already existed for many centuries in Mesoamerica.

(Note that Pakal is not an "ancient astronaut," as erroneously portrayed in a number of places.)

As we can see, a Harvard-educated scholar publishing in a peer-reviewed journal has stated definitively that the idea of the king resurrecting from death (as the Tree of Life) predates the pre-Columbian contact by many hundreds of years. Wirth would like to take this idea and remove it from nature, apparently, in order to use it to demonstrate the "truth" of Mormonism and claims that Quetzalcoatl is based on Jesus. However, as we can see so blatantly, here is a nature myth, representing the return to life via foliage. No biblical interpretation is necessary; nor did this idea come from Christianity to Paganism. On the contrary, this nature-worshipping concept was adopted into Christianity, as a central theme. The idea of a the resurrection via the World Tree or other plant is reminiscent of the Native American practice of burying the dead in fallow fields in order to nourish the later crops and other plants. Life from death, it's that simple. No Bible or Jesus is necessary.

The Sun

No discussion of Quetzalcoatl (or Jesus) would be complete without bringing in the sun. Wirth emphasizes the fact that Quetzalcoatl is significantly solar in nature:

Quote:
The Maize God, as well as Quetzalcoatl's counterpart, Nanahuatzin, are solar gods. To further substantiate this connection between the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl and the Maya Maize God, we may look to a story in the Popol Vuh wherein the Hero Twins, sons of the Maize God, go to the Underworld to play a ball game with the Lords of Death. These demons of the Underworld trick and decapitate one of them, Hunahpu. Later in the story, like Nanahuatzin, the Twins jump into a fire pit, an act that leads eventually to Hunahpu's resurrection as the sun. Regarding the conclusion of this story, Raphaël Girard explained:

"Hunahpu rises triumphant and ascends to the heavens, symbolizing at one and the same time the appearance of dawn and the shoot of maize breaking through from the Underworld onto the earth's surface, where it is crowned by a crest of green leaves, identified with the magnificent feather headdress of the young Solar deity."

The ball of the ball game was considered Hunahpu's head, as well as the life-giving sun. In art, the ball sometimes is portrayed with a skull inside it, denoting this tradition. Played throughout Mesoamerica, this ball game exhibited rich cosmic and mythological significance.

As we can see, Mesoamerican mythology includes the sun god resurrecting out of the underworld to ascend to heaven, as "lord of the dawn," a motif found around the world, including in the solar cult of Christianity. We are also reminded of the discussion of the biblical "shoot of Jesse" that is often applied to Jesus. (Isaiah 11:1)

There is much more to Wirth's studies, in which she has done mythicists a great favor by summarizing the primary sources applicable to the parallels between the Mesoamerican and Judeo-Christian religions. When reading her work, of course, one must keep in mind that she is a Mormon attempting to prove the Book of Mormon to be true, assuming a priori that Christ is a historical figure, so some of her conclusions can be ignored.

Image
Quetzalcoatl on the cross of the four directions

Further Reading

Maya watchtowers discovered to align with solstices and equinoxes
December 21, 2012 is coming - are we all going to die?
A critical history of 2012 mythology
Our Lord and Savior Quetzalcoatl

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:20 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Re the Celsus post above, John Felix got the book and reports the following:

Quote:
OK. The reference to 1287-1503 is nearly, but not quite, the entire Book VI of Contra Celsum (and I extracted the range to a new PDF, consisting of 109 pages instead of the 979 pages of the original). I also extracted the other references to much smaller PDF files. Using software I experimented on just one paragraph from the new PDF I saved as "Patrologiae_cursus_completus_951-954.pdf" and was able to convert it fairly accurately to unicode, though not perfectly, using my OCR software:

'Απιλλων τ? χdαρδν άτώ γηtνου σώματος. Οδδέν δ3 τοcούτον ήμείς περί τού 'Ιησού χαί τής δυνάμεως α* τού δοξάςομεν. Τδ yUp γεγεννημένον άπδ τής Παρ-θένου σώμα ήν άπδ τής άνΟρωπίνης ύλης σννεστη-χδς, δεχτιχδν τϋιν άνθρωπίνων τρανμάτων χα' θανά-του.

The shorter references might be worth the work of cleaning up the text.

Now what?

I haven't analyzed what he is saying vis-a-vis what I wrote above, and I don't have time right now to touch up the Greek, but I wanted to get his FB comments into the forum before they disappear down a rabbit hole.

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:11 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
More on Celsus's True Discourse: Early Critic Contends Christianity an Eclectic Mishmash of Earlier Philosophies and Religions

Okay, I'm finally get back to unraveling this mess!

Quote:
In his Book of Truth Celsus had asserted that almost all Christian doctrines were warped versions of Platonic idealism, but in addition Christians had certain other dogmas and rites eclectically put together of borrowings from the philosophy of the Stoics, the Jewish tradition, the mysteries of Mithra, the myths of Typhon, Osiris and the Cabiri.

To recap, the above sentence is on p. 11 of Dr. Don Allen's book, Mysteriously Meant, for which he provides the citation "Origen, Contra Celsum, PG XI, 1287-1503." As it turns out, Allen's short summary pertains to Books 6 and 7 of Origen's work, specifically the section from 6.1 to 7.59, these latter designations being chapters in the books. This section constitutes a lengthy and tedious discussion by Origen mainly of philosophy, but some of the pertinent quotes are as follows. As one can see, Allen's summary is accurate - and very important, as Celsus was a Pagan critic of Christianity writing about 177, just a few years after the canonical gospels as we have them suddenly burst onto the scene. Celsus, therefore, is one of the earliest witnesses to their existence and first Pagans to read them.

Greeks Borrowing from Jews or Vice Versa?

Throughout his book True Doctrine, Origen asserts, Celsus argues for the superiority of Greek philosophy over Jewish/Christian scriptures. He also evidently contended for the precedence of what became Greek thought over biblical ideas. Dating the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible to Moses's time, Origen naturally objects and claims the Jews had these ideas first. Here is a theme we see repeated throughout Christianity's early centuries: Wherever parallels are raised, it is always that the Pagans stole them from the Jews or that the devil anticipated Christianity and planted the ideas in Pagan heads. In any event, Pagans are the bad guys, according to Judeo-Christianity. Like many early Christian fanatics, Origen, supposedly a former Pagan but a serious water-carrier for the Jewish scriptures, seems to revel in abusing Pagans.

In chapter 1 of book 6, Origen states that Celsus has "quoted a considerable number of passages, chiefly from Plato, and has placed alongside of these such declarations of holy Scripture as are fitted to impress even the intelligent mind; subjoining the assertion that these things are stated much better among the Greeks (than in the Scriptures)..."

In chapter 2 of book 6, Origen complains that Celsus unfavorably compares the "simplicity of the language of the Scripture, which appears to be thrown into the shade by the splendour of polished discourse." In other words, the Jewish writings are cruder than Greek philosophical treatises.

Chief Good and Logos

Chapter 3 and 4 refer to the abstract notion of the "chief good," which is τὁ πρῶτον ἀγαθόν to proton agathon in the Greek and summum bonum in the Latin.

Image

Many important ancient Latin writers discussed the "chief good" or summum bonum, including Marcus Tullius ("Tully") Cicero and Seneca, the latter of whose works appear to have influenced the composer(s) of certain "Pauline" epistles.

In attempting to establish priority, in book 4 Origen refers to "Our wise men, however--Moses, the most ancient of them all, and the prophets who followed him--knowing that the chief good could by no means be described in words, were the first who wrote that, as God manifests Himself to the deserving, and to those who are qualified to behold Him, He appeared to Abraham, or to Isaac, or to Jacob."

Chapter 5 contains a discussion of the Logos or "Word," another word used abundantly in pre-Christian literature. In Chapter 7, Origen again asserts the antiquity of Moses and the prophets, as predecessors of Plato and older "even than Homer and the invention of letters among the Greeks..."

Heraclitus and Plato

In chapter 12, Origen complains that Celsus "is not even acquainted with the words (of our sacred books)" but misunderstands them, concerning the wisdom-is-foolish statement by Paul, for example. Origen asserts that Celsus "wished to show that this statement was an invention of ours, and borrowed from the Grecian sages." So, here we see again that Celsus is attributing scripture to the Greeks, reiterated in chapter 13 as referring to Heraclitus and Plato, whom Origen is quick to point out post-date the alleged time of Moses and other prophets.

Egyptian Wisdom

Oddly enough, Origen hoists himself on his own petard in chapter 14, in which he admits that Moses and other prophets were not dealing strictly with knowledge bestowed supernaturally upon them by God:

Quote:
Nor did he [Celsus] observe that from the very beginning our wise men were trained in the external branches of learning: Moses, e.g., in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; Daniel, and Ananias, and Azariah, and Mishael, in all Assyrian learning, so that they were found to surpass in tenfold degree all the wise men of that country.

Of course, in this admission, Origen boasts that these prophets were better educated and superior in intellect than their teachers. Nevertheless, the church father essentially is admitting Pagan influence on biblical prophets and writers.

In chapter 15, regarding a discussion of humility, Origen says that Celsus "imagines it is borrowed from some words of Plato imperfectly understood..." We read in chap. 16 that the scripture concerning the rich man and camel is traced by Celsus also to Plato and that "Jesus perverted the words of the philosopher." Origen specifically states that Celsus has "perused the Gospels," which would mean, again, he is one of the earliest non-Christians to lay eyes on them directly, since he wrote True Doctrine around 177, when the canonical gospels as we have them had just shortly before burst onto the scene. Celsus's testimony, therefore, is invaluable.

Chapter 17 complains that Celsus has either ignored or is unacquainted with scriptures regarding the "kingdom of God," as he has quoted none of them. So, we find a sketchy commentary on whether or not Celsus had all of the scriptures in front of him. Origen, it should be recalled, wrote decades later than Celsus (fl. 177), around 248.

More discussion of Plato follows, with Origen once again asserting priority to the biblical writers - a claim we know is also sketchy, since some of the texts were written after Plato's time, and Moses most assuredly did not write the Pentateuch. In chapter 19, Origen remarks:

Quote:
Celsus in the next place alleges, that "certain Christians, having misunderstood the words of Plato, loudly boast of a 'super-celestial' God, thus ascending beyond the heaven of the Jews." By these words, indeed, he does not make it clear whether they also ascend beyond the God of the Jews, or only beyond the heaven by which they swear. It is not our purpose at present, however, to speak of those who acknowledge another god than the one worshipped by the Jews, but to defend ourselves, and to show that it was impossible for the prophets of the Jews, whose writings are reckoned among ours, to have borrowed anything from Plato, because they were older than he.

Origen also states here:

Quote:
I do not, indeed, deny that Plato learned from certain Hebrews the words quoted from the Phædrus, or even, as some have recorded, that he quoted them from a perusal of our prophetic writings...

This contention is important, as it does not deny that there are germane correspondences between biblical and Greek philosophy. However, there is no solid evidence that the OT scriptures were circulated among Greeks during Plato's era. In reality, it was considered blasphemous to allow nonbelievers access to the Jewish writings. Nevertheless, we must keep in mind that philosophers at higher levels of learning co-mingled more freely in various circumstances, such as the University of Alexandria or within various mystery schools and brotherhoods that ringed the Mediterranean and beyond.

Mithraic Mysteries

Chapters 21 and 22 discuss the concept of "seven heavens," which Celsus is evidently tracing to Paganism, especially the Mithraic mysteries, so here is where Allen's claim that Celsus traces Christianity back to the mysteries of Mithra may be found.

Quote:
After this, Celsus, desiring to exhibit his learning in his treatise against us, quotes also certain Persian mysteries, where he says: "These things are obscurely hinted at in the accounts of the Persians, and especially in the mysteries of Mithras, which are celebrated among them. For in the latter there is a representation of the two heavenly revolutions—of the movement, viz., of the fixed stars, and of that which take place among the planets, and of the passage of the soul through these. .. But it seems to me, that to quote the language of Celsus upon these matters would be absurd, and similar to what he himself has done, when, in his accusations against Christians and Jews, he quoted, most inappropriately, not only the words of Plato; but, dissatisfied even with these, he adduced in addition the mysteries of the Persian Mithras, and the explanation of them. Now, whatever be the case with regard to these—whether the Persians and those who conduct the mysteries of Mithras give false or true accounts regarding them—why did he select these for quotation, rather than some of the other mysteries, with the explanation of them? For the mysteries of Mithras do not appear to be more famous among the Greeks than those of Eleusis, or than those in Ægina, where individuals are initiated in the rites of Hecate. But if he must introduce barbarian mysteries with their explanation, why not rather those of the Egyptians, which are highly regarded by many, or those of the Cappadocians regarding the Comanian Diana, or those of the Thracians, or even those of the Romans themselves, who initiate the noblest members of their senate? But if he deemed it inappropriate to institute a comparison with any of these, because they furnished no aid in the way of accusing Jews or Christians, why did it not also appear to him inappropriate to adduce the instance of the mysteries of Mithras?

See also my post above, in which I've included a snapshot of the relevant Greek in Origen concerning Mithra.

The Cabiri

In chapter 23, Origen reiterates that Celsus had claimed borrowing from the "Persian mysteries," but he tosses in the Cabiri, which is where Allen evidently gets that part of his summary:

Quote:
Let Celsus know, moreover, as well as those who read his book, that in no part of the genuine and divinely accredited Scriptures are "seven" heavens mentioned; neither do our prophets, nor the apostles of Jesus, nor the Son of God Himself, repeat anything which they borrowed from the Persians or the Cabiri.

Gnostics

Next follows a lengthy discussion of the Gnostics, whose works Celsus apparently also had read. Origen delineates that these writings are not "really Christian." Again, Celsus's testimony is of vital importance, because he was smack dab in the middle of when Christianity truly was organized, during the latter half of the second century. As we know, the "Christian" movement prior to that time was influenced largely by Gnosticism, so Celsus's perception of the Gnostic writings as "Christian" appears to have been mainstream at the time, confirming that organized Gnosticism preceded "Orthodox" Christianity, a fact explainable most satisfactorily if Jesus is a mythical/spiritual figurehead who was later falsely placed into history.

Eclecticism

In chapter 34, Origen quotes Celsus as saying that Christianity is the result of a process in which "they continue to heap together one thing after another":

Quote:
"They continue to heap together one thing after another—discourses of prophets, and circles upon circles, and effluents from an earthly church, and from circumcision; and a power flowing from one Prunicos, a virgin and a living soul; and a heaven slain in order to live, and an earth slaughtered by the sword, and many put to death that they may live, and death ceasing in the world, when the sin of the world is dead; and, again, a narrow way, and gates that open spontaneously. And in all their writings (is mention made) of the tree of life, and a resurrection of the flesh by means of the 'tree,' because, I imagine, their teacher was nailed to a cross, and was a carpenter by craft; so that if he had chanced to have been cast from a precipice, or thrust into a pit, or suffocated by hanging, or had been a leather-cutter, or stone-cutter, or worker in iron, there would have been (invented) a precipice of life beyond the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a cord of immortality, or a blessed stone, or an iron of love, or a sacred leather! Now what old woman would not be ashamed to utter such things in a whisper, even when making stories to lull an infant to sleep?"

Old Testament Midrash

In chapter 35, apparently in response to observations by Celsus that the New Testament writers had used the Old Testament in their creation, Origen remarks:

Quote:
It is our practice, indeed, to make use of the words of the prophets, who demonstrate that Jesus is the Christ predicted by them, and who show from the prophetic writings the events in the Gospels regarding Jesus have been fulfilled.

This process as part of what is called "midrash" is what I call the utilization of "messianic blueprints." Here we see whence comes Allen's contention that Celsus asserted Christians had borrowed "the Jewish tradition." So, Celsus had it right: Christianity is a combination of Paganism and Judaism, a fact that should be as obvious to us today as it was to him in the second century. Note that I have a chapter in my book Who Was Jesus? entitled "Did Jesus Fulfill Prophecy?", an excerpt of which can be found at the link.

Jesus Not a Carpenter?

In refuting Celsus's comments in chapter 34, Origen makes a strange claim in ch. 36:

Quote:
...the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and...in none of the Gospels current in the Churches is Jesus Himself ever described as being a carpenter.

Image

Note that Origen uses the very word τεκτων tekton, which most assuredly is in our canonical gospels as we have them. Therefore, as late as the middle of the third century (c. 248), the gospels being used in the churches did not claim Jesus was a tekton, commonly translated as "carpenter" but also used to describe other craftsmen, including masons. Indeed, the word tekton in modern Greek means "Freemason." It is quite astonishing to read a fervent Christian fanatic and early Church father argue against Jesus being a tekton/carpenter and admitting that whatever gospels Celsus was reading, they weren't those used authoritatively in churches of Origen's time.

Could there be any clearer admission that Christianity was not based solidly on some set-in-stone biography of a real person but was compiled and changed according to needs? No doubt Origen would find all the modern "biographies" about the great carpenter Jesus to be distressful and erroneous. (See my article "Was the historical Jesus a carpenter?")

Typhon, Horus and Osiris

In chapter 42, Origen relates Celsus's argument against the biblical battle between Satan and God/Jesus, and here he raises comparisons with the story of Typhon and Horus:

Quote:
"The ancients allude obscurely to a certain war among the gods, Heraclitus speaking thus of it: 'If one must say that there is a general war and discord, and that all things are done and administered in strife.' Pherecydes, again, who is much older than Heraclitus, relates a myth of one army drawn up in hostile array against another, and names Kronos as the leader of the one, and Ophioneus of the other, and recounts their challenges and struggles, and mentions that agreements were entered into between them, to the end that whichever party should fall into the ocean should be held as vanquished, while those who had expelled and conquered them should have possession of heaven. The mysteries relating to the Titans and Giants also had some such (symbolic) meaning, as well as the Egyptian mysteries of Typhon, and Horus, and Osiris."

Since Celsus's time, many people have noted the comparison between the battles of Jesus/Satan and Horus/Typhon/Set. This is the last part of the quote from Allen, which, as we can see, is accurate. There is much more in these books and chapters of Origen against Celsus, including a specific reference to the Stoics in chapter 71 of book 6.

Marcion

Note that Celsus also discusses Marcion (ch. 74), who compiled the first New Testament in the middle of the second century. Analyzing Celsus's words about Marcion would be a whole other post.

Chaldeans, Persians, et al.

Chapter 80 also contains some interesting contentions:

Quote:
After this, it seemed proper to Celsus to term the Chaldeans a most divinely-inspired nation from the very earliest times, from whom the delusive system of astrology has spread abroad among men. Nay, he ranks the Magi also in the same category, from whom the art of magic derived its name and has been transmitted to other nations, to the corruption and destruction of those who employ it. In the preceding part of this work, (we mentioned) that, in the opinion even of Celsus, the Egyptians also were guilty of error, because they had indeed solemn enclosures around what they considered their temples, while within them there was nothing save apes, or crocodiles, or goats, or asps, or some other animal; but on the present occasion it pleases him to speak of the Egyptian people too as most divinely inspired, and that, too, from the earliest times—perhaps because they made war upon the Jews from an early date. The Persians, moreover, who marry their own mothers, and have intercourse with their own daughters, are, in the opinion of Celsus, an inspired race; nay, even the Indians are so, some of whom, in the preceding, he mentioned as eaters of human flesh. To the Jews, however, especially those of ancient times, who employ none of these practices, he did not merely refuse the name of inspired, but declared that they would immediately perish. And this prediction he uttered respecting them, as being doubtless endued with prophetic power, not observing that the whole history of the Jews, and their ancient and venerable polity, were administered by God; and that it is by their fall that salvation has come to the Gentiles, and that "their fall is the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles," until the fullness of the Gentiles come, that after that the whole of Israel, whom Celsus does not know, may be saved.

That's basically the end of book 6, but Allen's citation proceeds into book 7, all the way to chapter 59. That book in itself would require another lengthy study.

Early Mythicism

Although at times it appears that Celsus believes there was a "historical Jesus" somewhere under all the layers of myth and midrash, his consistent tendency to trace different parts of Christian doctrine to other religions and mysteries is the same as that of the much later mythicist school. In fact, it is obvious that many of these older scholars are following closely in Celsus's considerable footprints in not a few of their contentions. In consideration of this fact, laid out so neatly in Allen's summary, it's a head scratcher that there exist even among mythicists those completely ignorant or in denial of these obvious influences on Christianity, including not only the Greek philosophers but also the mysteries and myths of the Cabiri, Mithraists and Egyptians. As an educated person of his vitally important era, we can see how Celsus would connect the dots in the same way as the better educated mythicists of the past (and present).

Next, I will analyze the second and bolded/enlarged sentence in Allen's quote, as below.

Acharya wrote:
Was Celsus One of the First Mythicists?

In Christ Con, I quoted scholars contending that the pagan philosopher Celsus, immortalized by Origen for his assault on the Christian absurdity, had questioned the very existence of Jesus. If so, this questioning would constitute one of the earliest recorded accounts of such doubt, a point of contention for apologists who claim no one in antiquity doubted Jesus's existence.

In this regard, here's a great quote from a book called Mysteriously Meant by Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Don Cameron Allen (Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1970; p. 11). I've briefly tried to find the original quotes in Origen, by checking the attached Migne edition of Contra Celsum - unfortunately, the search feature does not seem to be working on this document, and it is difficult and time-consuming to slog through it.

Quote:
In his Book of Truth Celsus had asserted that almost all Christian doctrines were warped versions of Platonic idealism, but in addition Christians had certain other dogmas and rites eclectically put together of borrowings from the philosophy of the Stoics, the Jewish tradition, the mysteries of Mithra, the myths of Typhon, Osiris and the Cabiri. The story of Christ is no more than a concatenation of various old myths plus the remembrances of various wandering Greek and barbarian wonder-workers who had plagued antiquity.

This last sentence, of course, sounds much like my "Jesus Mythicist Creed": The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. (Being a Greek, Celsus apparently thought of the Jewish "wonder-workers" or messiahs as "barbarians.") Allen cites the first sentence as "Origen, Contra Celsum, PG XI, 1287-1503." He then cites the last sentence as "Ibid., cols. 951-54."

On p. 12 of the same book, Allen remarks:

Quote:
...Biblical tales, which Celsus assumed were all imitations of Greek myths.

...the biography of Christ, which, in the opinion of Celsus, was conflated out of the myths of Hercules, Bacchus and Orpheus. History knew, Celsus said, a considerable number of females who were pregnant by supernatural penetration; for example, the mother of Plato had born a child to Apollo.

For the first claim regarding Celsus here, Allen cites Contra Celsum, PG XI, cols. 1098-1106. For the last part of this quote, he cites cols. 1047, 1498.

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:02 pm 
Offline
Newbie

Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:41 pm
Posts: 2
This information on Celsus is very interesting. I have never heard of him, but the writing you quote here agrees with what I think actually happened; Christianity began in Persia modified by Greek Neo-Platonic philosophy and logical inquiry. This would have been the very best beginning of a new religion - a religion based on seeking truth of what we can know 'for sure' about the cosmos around us. A branch of this religion made its way down into Palestine, possible being taught by Jesus and John, upon whose deaths (by however means) the religion was seized upon by Pharisees and into it was combined 'Teacher of Righteousness' texts found at Qumran, their secret "University of Sacred Forgeries".

This religion was meant for 'export only' and was sent back out to turn non-Jews into 'second class Jews' to be ruled from the Temple in Jerusalem. It was initially meant as a means of political subversion against Roman rule in Palestine. Paul and/or his disciples figured out they could take this religion for themselves, use the Jewish Septuagint connection for a ready made 'ancient well' of 'prophecy' and voila'! A new religion was born.

This Judeo-Christian religion competed with other and earlier versions of Christianity (now lumped together as 'Gnosticism') and eventually won out because it was rabidly organized, while the other sects were not. Thereafter, the victors wrote the 'history' of Early Christianity as if they were the only ones that ever existed. Lies upon lies upon lies.

I am going to have to see if I can dig up an English copy of this writer.

I believe it is most important that Christians understand their religion was NOT originally based on Judaism and that by researching back into history and their own natures, they can 'resurrect' the ORIGINAL CHRISTIANITY as a stand alone religion have absolutely no connection with either Jesus or Judaism. This is important, particularly given it is absolutely clear now, that Judaism was a faked religion from its very inception, not in the Bronze Age of the Middle East as it claims, but in the minds of some low political hacks returning from Babylonian exile to try and re-establish their rule over Judean and Samaritan peasants after the year 536 B.C.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:11 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Thanks for the interest and sharing.

You may want to read some of my books, which build upon the same basic ideas found in the summary of Celsus's work here. Christianity is a combination of Judaism and Paganism, drawing on mythical motifs from around the known world of the time, including into Persia and India. In fabricating this new religion, its framers drew heavily upon the Jewish scriptures as well, of course. One can delineate many biblical verses, particularly from the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint.

Added into this mix is a hefty dose of Greek philosophy, as well as Persian religion and mythology, which had already been incorporated significantly into Judaism during the "Babylonian Exile" and earlier. India also plays a huge role in this syncretic effort, as did Syria. I discuss the role of all these nations/ethnicities.

I have also written a nearly 600-page book showing the Egyptian roots of much "Christian" doctrine, myth and tradition, Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. In this regard, the crucible of the Christian effort is Alexandria, Egypt, where this multifaceted stew was concocted largely. Thrown into this mix are Buddhist scriptures and religious ideas as well.

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:24 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 2142
Celsus: Christ Story a Collection of Myths and Legends, Bible Imitates Greek Myths

Continuing with the analysis of Celsus, we read in Dr. Don Allen's book Mysteriously Meant (11):

Quote:
The story of Christ is no more than a concatenation of various old myths plus the remembrances of various wandering Greek and barbarian wonder-workers who had plagued antiquity.

This summary follows the sentence previously analyzed contending that Celsus had asserted Christianity as an eclectic mishmash of myths and traditions from various cultures, including the Stoics, Jews, Mithraists and followers of the Egyptian religion and Cabiri mysteries. Hence, we can see that the first part of the sentence here has been covered that the story of Christ is a concatenation or compilation of myths. The last part of Allen's contention is cited as coming from columns 951-954 in Contra Celsum, PG XI, a section that corresponds roughly to book 3, chapters 26-27.

In these two chapters, we discover some interesting assertions, including that in "adducing from history marvellous occurrences," as Origen claims he does, Celsus raises up the story of a figure called Aristeas of Proconnesus. Previously, in book 3, chapter 3, Origen had remarked:

Quote:
In the next place, miracles were performed in all countries, or at least in many of them, as Celsus himself admits, instancing the case of Æsculapius, who conferred benefits on many, and who foretold future events to entire cities, which were dedicated to him, such as Tricca, and Epidaurus, and Cos, and Pergamus; and along with Æsculapius he mentions Aristeas of Proconnesus, and a certain Clazomenian, and Cleomedes of Astypalæa.

Asclepius and Jesus

The comparison with the Greek god Aesclulapius or Asklepios/Asclepius is appropriate, since the Christ myth apparently drew significantly upon this mythical figure, including his dark, long-haired and bearded appearance.

Image
Bust of Asclepius

See also "Asclepius and Jesus":

Quote:
Indeed, Asklepious having all powers...had chosen to be men's benefactor in every respect, establishing healing places...in their midst, where he ever sought to bring cheer to whoever was in need. Here, he raised [anastenai] people from the dead, restored...the damaged limbs of men and women, and delivered innumerable people from sufferings and distresses. He even stretched forth his hand...to those at sea in the midst of a storm, and advise people on how to settle their affairs. Aristides deems Asklepios the gentlest and most manloving of the gods..., as the greatest miracle-worker who does everything for the salvation of men... It is no wonder that early Christian apologists thought Asklepios as a threat to the infant church, and that the New Testament author of Revelation alluded to Pergamon as "the seat of Satan."

In this regard, Asclepius was called "Soter," meaning "Savior," the same term used for the later Christ, as at John 4:42, in which the evangelist deems Jesus ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου or "savior of the world."

Image
The first line is a broken "Asklepios," while the second line reads SOTERI.

A form of the word soter meaning "savior" or "to save" is also used repeatedly in the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint to describe the Jewish tribal god Yahweh. Luke 1:47 also calls God soter.

As comparison between Asclepius and Jesus, including Celsus's commentary, would be the subject of another monograph. It may be that the Therapeuts at Alexandria, Egypt, were worshippers of Asclepius, at least in the form of the Greco-Egyptian Serapis, who resembles both the Greek god and the Judeo-Christian godman. It should be recalled that the church historian Eusebius contended that the short allegorical works of the Therapeuts served as the basis of the gospels.

Note also that these Therapeuts were highly Buddhistic and appear to have been part of the lineage of Buddhist medical missionaries purportedly sent to Egypt by Ashoka.

In any event, we can see where Allen's summary is accurate regarding Celsus bringing in "various old myths" in discussing the Christ story. To our knowledge, Celssus did not used the Greek equivalent of "concatenation" or state explicitly that Jesus was a combination of these various entities.

Aristeas the Wonder-worker

The subsequent part of Allen's summary concerning the "wandering Greek and barbarian wonder-workers who plagued antiquity" represents a reference to a discussion of Aristeas, a "semi-legendary Greek poet and miracle-worker" who supposedly lived during the seventh century BCE. Aristeas may be an euphemerized/evemerized or apotheosized individual of that era, if he is not entirely mythical.

Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484–425 BCE) relates that Aristeas, alleged author of poetic verses called "Arimaspian," purportedly had the ability to resurrect and supernaturally transport himself after he supposedly dropped dead onto the floor of a fuller's shop in Proconnesus. The fuller went to tell others of the sudden death, when it was learned that another man had just arrived who had purportedly met and spoken to the Greek wonder-worker on the road to Cyzicus. Aristeas is recorded as disappearing and reappearing other times after that. Some 240 years later, it was related, Aristeas reappeared in southern Italy "to command that a statue of himself be set up and a new altar dedicated to Apollo, saying that since his death he had been travelling with Apollo in the form of a sacred raven."

Tales of manifestation or bilocation and disappearance also were told centuries later about the Greek sage and wonder-worker Apollonius of Tyana. In any event, we can see whence comes Allen's summary of wonderworkers raised in comparison to Christ.

After this discussionof Aristeas in Contra Celsum 3.26-27, Origen remarks in chapter 27:

Quote:
How is it possible that, while supposing the marvels related by the disciples of Jesus regarding their Master to be wholly fictitious, and finding fault with those who believe them, you, O Celsus, do not regard these stories of yours to be either products of jugglery or inventions? And how, while charging others with an irrational belief in the marvels recorded of Jesus, can you show yourself justified in giving credence to such statement as the above, without producing some proof or evidence of the alleged occurrences having taken place? Or do Herodotus and Pindar appear to you to speak the truth, while they who have made it their concern to die for the doctrine of Jesus, and who have left to their successors writings so remarkable on the truths which they believed, entered for the sake of "fictions" (as you consider them), and "myths," and "juggleries," upon a struggle which entails a life of danger and a death of violence?

Here we learn that Celsus undeniably considered the supernatural stories about Jesus to be "wholly fictious," and his criticisms sound much like the enduring thread of doubt in the biblical miracles that has come down to us through the centuries. While many people who consider themselves to be rational do not believe in such supernatural aspects of the gospel story, they do believe that there was a "historical" sage, rabblerouser or political rebel underneath all the fictions, a viewpoint called "euhemerism" or, for pronunciation's sake, "evemerism." At the very least, Celsus is to be viewed as an evemerist, if not a mythicist.

Although Origen makes Celsus out to be a believer in the Aristeas miracles, we do not know if that was the intent of Celsus's comments - highly unlikely in consideration of his disbelief in the Jesus miracles - because we do not possess the original of Celsus, only Origen's refutation. It should be recalled that Origen is writing his critique over 70 years after the publication of Celsus's book, and the Greek philosopher was long dead at the time. Since Origen felt the need to address Celsus's book, especially so thoroughly, it is apparent that the Greek critic was continuing to make an impact and was being cited by intellectuals of Origen's day, seven decades later.

Allen's summary of Celsus's views thus appears sound and accurate enough. In this regard, this modern scholar has confirmed that even in antiquity there was doubt about the historicity of the gospel account and that the story was viewed a concatenation/mishmash of religious and mythological doctrines, traditions, rituals and ideas from ancient times and a variety of cultures. This perspective is the same I expressed in The Christ Conspiracy, as on the back cover:

Quote:
...Christianity and the story of Jesus Christ were created by members of various secret societies, mystery schools and religions in order to unify the Roman empire under one state religion. In making such a fabrication, this multinational [effort] drew upon a multitude of myths and rituals that already existed long before the Christian era, and reworked them for centuries into the story and religion passed down today.

Biblical Tales as Greek Myths

Moving on in Allen's book, we find on pp. 11-12 the following:

Quote:
...Origen recalls Celsus' mirth over the silliness of the story of Adam and Eve and his comment that "more rational Jews and Christians were ashamed of these things and try to allegorize them."... The special understanding concealed in these legends can be disclosed in other Bible tales, which Celsus assumed were all imitations of Greek myths.

As we can see, Celsus possessed a rational view of biblical myths much like what we share today. The contention of "allegory" has been used numerous times since antiquity, including abundantly by Origen himself, all the while the same apologists will claim that the Bible represents "literal history."

This latter contention Allen cites as appearing in Migne/PG in cols. 1098-1106, which corresponds roughly to book 4, chapters 41-48, of Contra Celsum. Chapter 41 addresses Celsus's comparison of the biblical flood myth with the Greek myth of Deucalion, claiming that the latter was the original. This particular argument has been used by countless individuals over the centuries since Celsus, including within the discipline of Jesus mythicism. In response to this conclusion, Origen feels the need again possibly to misrepresent Celsus's views by asserting that the latter himself believed in the Greek myth, a claim for which we possess no independent evidence but which likely is calumny, based on Celsus's overall skepticism of supernatural myths and motifs.

According to Origen, Celsus wrote:

Quote:
"They speak, in the next place, of a deluge, and of a monstrous ark, having within it all things, and of a dove and a crow as messengers, falsifying and recklessly altering the story of Deucalion; not expecting, I suppose, that these things would come to light, but imagining that they were inventing stories merely for young children."

Origen complains about Celsus's "hostile" tone and says that the latter was incredulous that Noah's ark could hold all the animals of the world - again, a scientific perspective held by rationalists today as well. It is amusing to note the use of faux outrage here about Celsus's tone, since Origen himself relishes in lambasting and possibly misrepresenting a long deceased man in order to ridicule him.

In chapter 42, we discover that Celsus has revealed he read the biblical book of Genesis closely in dissecting the story of the dove released from the ark. Says Origen:

Quote:
[Celsus] imagines that Moses so wrote, having recklessly altered the accounts related of the Grecian Deucalion; unless perhaps he regards the narrative as not having proceeded from Moses, but from several individuals, as appears from his employing the plural number in the expressions, "falsifying and recklessly altering the story of Deucalion," as well as from the words, "For they did not expect, I suppose, that these things would come to light."

Again, if he did indeed believe as Origen suggests, Celsus shows his good sense in averring that the "Books of Moses" or Pentateuch were written not by the Israelite lawgiver but by several hands.

Origen then complains again about the Greek myths, wondering how critics can impart to them an "air of dignity, by investing them with an allegorical signification; but when they wish to throw contempt our biblical narratives, they assert they are fables, clumsily invented for infant children!" This latter part again sounds about right, but Origen is using here an old tactic of conflation and misdirection, as he lumps Celsus in with all other critics and summarily dismisses through distraction fallacies the critic's logical and rational observations.

Again, we do not know if Celsus himself believed in the Greek myths as historical fact or supernatural "reality." Rather, it is likely that he always understood them as allegory, as educated people are wont to do. It is likely Celsus would have held the Greek myths in contempt as well, if he had been confronted with those who believed them to be historical fact, having taken place in the third dimension on planet Earth.

In any case, here we see that Allen's summary is correct once more, as concerns Celsus's views of the Bible containing imitations of Greek myths.

Christ's Biography Conflated from Myths of Hercules, Bacchus and Orpheus?

In a similar vein as previously discussed in the "concatenation" section above, on p. 12 Allen again asserts:

Quote:
...the biography of Christ..., in the opinion of Celsus, was conflated out of the myths of Hercules, Bacchus and Orpheus.

For this contention, Allen cites columns 1047, 1498, representing sections 4.16-17 and 7.53-54, respectively.

In chapter 17 of book 4, Origen raises the story of Dionysus, "deceived by the Titans, and expelled from the throne of Jupiter, and torn in pieces by them, and his remains being afterwards put together again, he returned as it were once more to life, and ascended to heaven..." Presumably, Origen is saying that Celsus brought up this tale in like manner as did early Church father Justin Martyr decades before Celsus, around 150 AD/CE.

In his First Apology, Justin remarked:

Quote:
Chapter 21. Analogies to the history of Christ.

And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; Aesculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heave; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus.

In this regard, it appears that Celsus was engaging in a similar exercise in bringing up various myths and comparing them to the story about Christ. Hence, Allen's conclusion that Celsus opined the Christ myth likewise to be a mishmash of such myths, although I do not see any such direct statement by Celsus. I have not scrutinized the Greek, however, to see what Allen, a sober scholar from Johns Hopkins, may have been looking at. It is important, nevertheless, that this professional scholar himself was aware of this viewpoint - how many other academics also have been aware of this mythicist perspective?

Chapters 53 and 54 of book 7 are of little help as well, as they do not state outright what Allen has summarized. However, 53 recounts Celsus's words wondering why, if they reject Hercules and Asclepius, the Christians did not light upon other respectable figures such as Orpheus, "who was confessedly a divinely inspired man, who died a violent death."

In chapter 53 also, Origen quotes Celsus as accusing Christians of mutilating various Sibylline oracles, in order to include a supposed prophecy of their godman, Jesus, and his ignoble crucifixion:

Quote:
But you have had the presumption to include in her writings many impious things, and set up as a god one who ended a most infamous life by a most miserable death.

Naturally, Origen objects to all of these characterizations.

In the end, Allen's summaries are largely accurate as generalizations of the direction in which Celsus appeared to have taken his polemic, according to Origen. The last quote from Allen here may be challenged in its precision, as we do not see readily a direct quote from Celsus indicating as much. However, we may infer from other sections that he had concluded Christ to be an apotheosized/evemerized/deified figure at the very least and perhaps wholly fictional. In any event, this concatenation or mishmash of mythical motifs, Jewish scriptures and adventures of multiple wonder-workers cannot be considered a "real person" but is a myth. This fact was obvious to some rational and educated critics from the date of the clear emergence of the canonical gospels into the historical record.

In consideration of the quotes from Justin Martyr, as well as Ambrose, who "urges Christians 'to seek in the fables the shadows and counterfeits of Jesus" - the "sons of Jove" - we would not be remiss in doing likewise. Yet, since these ancient gods and goddesses preceded Jesus, it is quite obviously the latter who is a counterfeit of the former. Interestingly, Ambrose labeled Jesus sol novus noster or "our new sun."

_________________
Why suffer from Egyptoparallelophobia, when you can read Christ in Egypt? Try it - you'll like it:

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:36 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm
Posts: 5205
Location: 3rd rock from the sun
I've not had a chance to read this book yet but, in it's description Thomas Brodie makes precisely the same case as what Acharya S has been saying for 20 years; that the writers of the New Testament simply used the Old Testament as a blueprint.

Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery by Thomas L. Brodie

Image

Quote:
Book description at Amazon:

"In the past forty years, while historical-critical studies were seeking with renewed intensity to reconstruct events behind the biblical texts, not least the life of Jesus, two branches of literary studies were finally reaching maturity. First, researchers were recognizing that many biblical texts are rewritings or transformations of older texts that still exist, thus giving a clearer sense of where the biblical texts came from; and second, studies in the ancient art of composition clarified the biblical texts' unity and purpose, that is to say, where biblical texts were headed.

The primary literary model behind the gospels, Brodie argues, is the biblical account of Elijah and Elisha, as R.E. Brown already saw in 1971. In this fascinating memoir of his life journey, Tom Brodie, Irishman, Dominican priest, and biblical scholar, recounts the steps he has taken, in an eventful life in many countries, to his conclusion that the New Testament account of Jesus is essentially a rewriting of the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, or, in some cases, of earlier New Testament texts. Jesus' challenge to would-be disciples (Luke 9.57-62), for example, is a transformation of the challenge to Elijah at Horeb (1 Kings 19), while his journey from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and beyond (John 2.23-4.54) is deeply indebted to the account of the journey of God's Word in Acts 1-8.

The work of tracing literary indebtedness and art is far from finished but it is already possible and necessary to draw a conclusion: it is that, bluntly, Jesus did not exist as a historical individual. This is not as negative as may at first appear. In a deeply personal coda, Brodie begins to develop a new vision of Jesus as an icon of God's presence in the world and in human history."

As one commenter says:

Quote:
A great counterpoint to Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist, December 25, 2012

"The "discovery" in "Memoir of a Discovery" is Brodie's realization that Jesus is a literary character and did not exist as a historical person at all. This is diametrically opposed to the thesis of Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth which answers that question with an unqualified "yes."

Ehrman's book repeats over and over again the assertion that no reputable New Testament scholars deny the historicity of Jesus, and Brodie's book certainly blows that assertion out of the water. Brodie is an established biblical scholar who heads an institution devoted to biblical scholarship and has published widely on topics in New Testament studies.

Ehrman's key point is the existence of multiple independent witnesses to the historical Jesus. Brodie argues that none of these are genuinely independent witnesses. All of the New Testament sources are actually dependent on Old Testament texts and each other, and later sources are dependent on the New Testament. Ehrman cites Josephus as another independent witness, and Brodie discounts that independence also. He points out that a genuinely independent witness generally provides information we don't find elsewhere, but Josephus doesn't. Moreover, Josephus could have had access to the gospels, and Brodie cites evidence making that plausible.

Ehrman makes much of his criteria for historicity, but he virtually ignores all of the scholarly work being done of late on criteria for literary dependence. As a result, the Ehrman book "cannot deal adequately with Price and Thompson, and shows little awareness that -- whatever some of their opinions -- their work has a place in a central new field of biblical research." (229)

A key problem with Ehrman's approach, which Brodie corrects, is that Rule One in any valid list of criteria for historicity would be to determine the literary context of a source, and this is missing from Ehrman's approach. As Brodie puts it, "If a newspaper announces cheap flights to Mars, it is important to note whether the advertisement occurs in the Travel Section or in the Cartoons-and-Jokes Page. Clarity on the literary factor is Rule One." (122) The gospels can be seen as having been intentionally written to look like history though most of their stories come from rewriting Old Testament texts. Given that understanding, the simplest interpretation that explains the literary data is to see the gospels as portrayals of a literary character. "In essence: once the literary connection is seen, the historical explanation is unnecessary; it goes beyond what is needed to explain the data." (159)

Brodie also addresses Ehrman's insistence on the reliability of oral tradition and his assertion that early Christians would not have invented a crucified messiah. Literary connections make oral tradition unnecessary, and "when there was a need to express the ancient contradiction or paradox between God-based hope and life's inevitable sufferings it was appropriate to express those sufferings in a clear contemporary image -- Roman crucifixion. It was doubly appropriate in the context of a rhetorical world that sought dramatic effect and energeia (graphic presentation) . . ." (230-1)

I highly recommend reading Brodie's Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus after reading Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist. You'll read something that comes off as absolutely certain and then read a counterpoint that calls into question everything you were just starting to take for granted. Even if you don't agree with everything Brodie says, you can't help but recognize the reasonableness and validity of most of his arguments, yet according to Ehrman such arguments are unreasonable and invalid.

- Amazon

Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus–Review of Thomas Brodie’s New Book

Another reviewer says:

Quote:
"This is one of the best books I've ever read on the historicity of Jesus and the formation of the New Testament. Brodie states that the life of Jesus is completely derived from Old Testament stories; he gives several examples to demonstrate this; and he describes the compellingly logical methods he used to reach his conclusions. He concludes that in the New Testament Jesus symbolizes god, and that Paul, also a fictional character, symbolizes Moses. But despite his realization that the NT is a reworking and modernization of the OT, and that both books are populated by swarms of fictional characters, Brodie, oblivious to the fact that god is but one more fictional biblical character, insists without evidence that god planned that the NT would come out exactly the way it did! (127, note 2) Brodie, so analytical and brilliant when determining that Jesus and Paul are myths created by unknown authors, fumbles when it comes to god's authorship. Why doesn't he apply the same detective skills in tracking down god's hand in all this as he does with the rest of his book?

Brodie throws in a little theology, arguing unconvincingly that god exists, offering a garbled apologetic explanation of the problem of evil, and naively stating his belief in the harmony of science and religion.

I especially enjoyed Brodie's insightful approach to Josephus, a supposedly independent witness to Jesus' existence. Brodie points out that even if Josephus did mention Jesus, which is questionable, he very likely read about him in the gospels, which of course indicates that he probably was not an independent witness.

I read that Tom Brodie, who is a Catholic priest, was rewarded by his church for writing this book with a suspension from his teaching duties--such a reward for such a good book."

- here

Rene Salm has added this book to his mythicist timeline saying:

Quote:
"Thomas Brodie. Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. In this book, the 76-year old Brodie drops the bombshell that he has been a Jesus mythicist since the 1970s: Jesus is a literary character who did not exist as a historical person at all. Brodie, an Irish Dominican priest, counters Ehrman’s 2012 book, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Evidence for Jesus of Nazareth. Brodie may hold the palm for being the first scholar from within academe to openly espouse the Jesus mythicist thesis. After appearance of his book, Brodie was forbidden by the Church from teaching."

_________________
Astrotheology.Net
Mythicists United
Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
2015 Astrotheology Calendar
Astrotheology Calendar Special
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube
The Mythicist Position


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:29 am 
Offline
Moderator

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:17 pm
Posts: 2301
Location: Everywhere
Neil's been running a blog on Brodie's book over @ the Vridar blog too. It seems that the fall out from this book has now taken it's toll and the local clergy have taken issue with Brodie for expressing his opinions.

_________________
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.

ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:32 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 9:24 pm
Posts: 5205
Location: 3rd rock from the sun
Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Neil's been running a blog on Brodie's book over @ the Vridar blog too. It seems that the fall out from this book has now taken it's toll and the local clergy have taken issue with Brodie for expressing his opinions.

Oh, he has several blogs discussing Thomas Brodie's books HERE but, I really enjoyed Brodie's review of Bart Ehrmans' DJE?:

Quote:
"Thomas Brodie gently leads up to a damning indictment of Ehrman. Ehrman is way behind the times. Ehrman is regurgitating scholarship of the 1950s apparently completely unaware of any developments since the 1980s.

There is no need to skate on thin ice, says Brodie. Nor is there any need to resort to oral tradition to explain the contents of the Gospels or other New Testament literature.

"Since around 1970 an alternative explanation of the New Testament and related texts has been emerging. Researchers are recognizing precise ways in which New Testament texts are explained as depending not on oral tradition but on older literature, especially older scripture. The New Testament books are Scripture reshaping Scripture to speak to a changed situation, and they may also reshape one another. Yet, whatever its source, each text is worked into something distinctive, and in that sense is independent. The dependence of the gospels on the Old Testament and on other extant texts is incomparably clearer and more verifiable than its dependence on any oral tradition — as seen, for instance, in the thorough dependence of Jesus’ call to disciples (Lk. 9:57-62) on Elijah’s call (1 Kgs 19). The sources supply not only a framework but a critical mass which pervades the later text. (p. 229)""

- Thomas Brodie’s Review of Bart Ehrman’s Did Jesus Exist?

It's too bad Neil Godfrey is so caustic with us here; even though his very own blogs demonstrate that other scholars in are total agreement with what Acharya S has been saying for many years - Neil just can't handle it.

_________________
Astrotheology.Net
Mythicists United
Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
2015 Astrotheology Calendar
Astrotheology Calendar Special
Stellar House Publishing at Youtube
The Mythicist Position


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 63 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Truth Be Known | Stellar House Publishing
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Live Support