Jesus = Ancient Pagan gods??

by Lilycurly 76 Replies latest jw experiences

  • hooberus
    So Tacitus would fall under this category:
    2. The frequent use of post-christian pagan sources.

    I guess you can't call it post christian, but it was certainly after the fact.


    You miss the point. No one is claiming that Christianity was "copied" from Tacitus (but instead that Tacitus was a valid Roman historian who relatively shortly following the event mentioned in a historical context the death of Jesus under the Roman Pilate).

  • M.J.
    the reminiscences of the Israelite Yhwh who once (in polytheistic setting) was a "son of God (El)," a dying and rising god, revealing himself on a mountain, mastering the storm, walking on the sea, etc. And globally not so different from his "pagan" counterparts.

    So...Narkissos, is there any evidence that such "reminicences" could have existed in 1st century Judaism?

  • skyman

    Tacitus wrote "Nero created scapegoats and subjected to the most refined tortures those whom the common people called 'Christians'....Their name comes from Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate" (Annals 15:44).

    There were many Christ. Christ means god or gods son. The Christ that Ponitius killed might not be the Christ of the bible but maybe he was.But he does not tell us anything about the man Christ how he lived and who he was. Don't get me wrong a man Christ did live and died but we don't know any details about him. Did you that another Christ lived and he had a twin brother this is the Christ that became known as Jesus and his life is totally different than the Christ of the bible. This is the real Christ time goes by then one scribe then another changes and adds passages in the letters and personal stories of Christ before long this larger than life Christ emerges on the pages. The road to today's bible took a very long and twisted time getting to the bible we have today, only 18% of the scriptures cannot be refuted from earlier texts which do not agree with each other. Christ lived but not the Jesus we find in today's bible.

  • Got Milf?
    Got Milf?

    Hello everyone, I am new to this forum *Just signed up today* Its kind of interesting because there are a few members that I know, and have known about this forum for a long time now and until I started reading Tom Harpur's "The Pagan Christ" I hadnt really thought of joining this forum. I was just looking through the threads and posts and came across this particular one, which, incidentally, is very pertinent to my train of thoughts right now. I am finding the book to be very eye opening for me, I had never really done any research about religion or Christ or anything like this before. Being brought up a Jehovah's Witness and leaving the so-called "truth" at the age of 13 had kind of sheltered me I suppose from everything else I could have learned about religion. I had already come to the conviction that almost all religions have the same doctrines, same writings, just worded differently, and it comes as a great surprise to me that everything in (every) bible has been stolen, plagiarised in fact, from ancient mythos. I am only in the 3 chapter of the book (just bought it yesterday) but already the gears in my mind are churning away, *some could see the smoke coming out of my ears, lol* and I am completely in awe of the information I am retaining. I will have to check out some of the recommended literature others have posted about once I finish this book, as I am sure my journey for a better understanding has just begun.

    Thats all for now....

  • serendipity

    Hi GM,

    Welcome to the forum!

  • Leolaia
    Narkissos, is there any evidence that such "reminicences" could have existed in 1st century Judaism?

    Absolutely. The Enochic corpus (third century BC to first century AD) with its sophisticated angelology and demonology perpetuates the older polytheistic "divine council" concept and there are many traces of Canaanite and Babylonian mythology in these traditions (such as the fallen angels gathered at Mount Hermon, where the divine council was located in Canaanite mythology, "Danel" as the name of one of the fallen angels, "Gilgamesh" as the name of one of the giants, etc.). The throne room vision of Daniel 7 (dating to the early second century BC) appropriates traditional Canaanite/Israelite language referring to El on the one hand and Baal/Yahweh on the other hand and applies it to the two heavenly figures of the "Ancient of Days" and the "one like a son of man", and in the NT Jesus is identified with the latter figure, and thus is described as coming "on the clouds" just as Yahweh was in the OT and Baal was in Canaanite myth. Furthermore, there was the "Two Powers in Heaven" theology in Second Temple Judaism discussed in rabbinical literature (and rejected as heretical), which similarly posits a Jesus-like figure subordinate to God who functions as a divine agent and who is identified with Yahweh in the OT. There is a clear continuity between the conflict myth between Baal and Yamm/Lotan in the Baal Cycle, and between Yahweh and Yam/Leviathan/Rahab in the OT, and between Michael and the Dragon in Revelation 12. On Michael inheriting the role and traits of Yahweh of the OT, see John Day's book on the conflict myth. So there is much evidence of continuity with older Levantine traditions, and so the parallels in the gospels and elsewhere between Jesus and Yahweh/Baal should be taken into account.

    I also concur with Narkissos (and hooberus to some extent) on the misleading nature of those lists of parallels between Jesus and the mystery cult gods. Each parallel should be looked at individually and critically with consulting original primary sources. Some of these clearly reflect accommodation of Christianity to mystery religions (such as December 25 as the birthday of the savior god), but are much later than the root traditions of Christianity (i.e. December 25 has nothing to do with the NT). In other respects, the sources cited for parallels are from late antiquity and may reflect Christian influence, at a time when Christianity was a strong competitor for a state religion (i.e. from the fourth century onward). Other parallels are certainly genuine and early, such as the dying-rising motif and sacramentalism. I think the list will look much less impressive when one tries to source each claim critically. For instance:

    Changes water into wine at a wedding ceremony

    is one parallel that is cited. Indeed, Dionysian mysteries claimed that their god would miraculously fill pots with wine for festivals in his honor, and these sources (such as Pausanius 6.26.1) preceded Christianity, but there is no myth I know of that posits Dionysius as attending a wedding ceremony as described in the gospel of John, and in fact, the claim was that Dionysius would fill empty vessels with wine, not transform water to wine. The transformation motif however comes from the OT, as the story in John is clearly modeled on the story of the miracle of turning water into blood in Exodus; in both cases, it is the first "sign" performed by the savior figure, John repeatedly casts Jesus in the role of Moses, and the story itself contains words and phrases borrowed from the story in Exodus. So while there may have been some influence from Dionysian mysteries on this story, the better parallel is to Jewish traditions about Moses...and the claimed parallel to Dionysius, meanwhile, has been exaggerated if indeed Dionysius is nowhere described as attending a wedding ceremony. But if he is, and if this story dates to, say, AD 400 or 500 or so, then I would definitely suspect Christian influence.

    If anyone wants to investigate these claimed parallels, one good book is Narrative Parallels to the New Testament, edited by Francis Martin (published in 1988). These pertain to narrative motifs and traditions found in the NT itself, and compares the NT stories with (1) OT stories, (2) Rabbinic stories, and (3) Hellenistic stories.

  • TopHat

    I have come to the conclusion that the Three Wise Men from the East who made a pligrimage to see the newly born King in Bethlehem, are reponsible for the belief in "Mithra"

    Makes sense NO!

    "Owing to the cult's secrecy, we possess almost no literary evidence about the beliefs of Mithraism. The few texts that do refer to the cult come not from Mithraic devotees themselves, but rather from outsiders such as early Church fathers, who mentioned Mithraism in order to attack it, and Platonic philosophers, who attempted to find support in Mithraic symbolism for their own philosophical ideas. However, although our literary sources for Mithraism are extremely sparse, an abundance of material evidence for the cult exists in the many Mithraic temples and artifacts that archaeologists have found scattered throughout the Roman empire, from England in the north and west to Palestine in the south and east. The temples, called mithraea by scholars, were usually built underground in imitation of caves. These subterranean temples were filled with an extremely elaborate iconography: carved reliefs, statues, and paintings, depicting a variety of enigmatic figures and scenes. This iconography is our primary source of knowledge about Mithraic beliefs, but because we do not have any written accounts of its meaning the ideas that it expresses have proven extraordinarily difficult to decipher."

  • Leolaia

    Here is one interesting parallel in the aforementioned book, concerning the Emperor Vespasian who attains miraculous powers through becoming divinized as Emperor:

    "Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made emperor; but these were also given to him. A man of the people who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him together as he sat on the tribunal [in Alexandria], begging for the help of their disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream; for the god declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would deign to touch it with his heel. Though he had hardly any faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank even from making the attempt, he was at least prevailed upon by his friends and tried both things in public before a large crowd, and with success" (Suetonius, Vespasian 8.7).

    Compare Mark 8:22-26, in which Jesus heals a blind man by "putting spittle on his eyes", and 7:33, in which he healed a deaf man's speech impediment by putting spit on his tongue. Two other versions of the same story are related by Dio Cassius (Historia Romana, 65.8) and Tacitus (Historia 4.81). In the first version, Vespasian healed a blind man by "spitting into his eyes" and also healed a "man with a withered hand" (cf. Mark 3:1-6). In the second version, Vespasian was told by the blind man's doctors that "the power of sight had not been completely eaten away and it would return if the obstacles were removed," and this extramissionary view about sight is also expressed in the Markan story, which claims that the man's vision "broke through" (dieblepsen) and began to reach (eneblepsen) everything in view (Mark 8:25) when he was healed, for during his blindness his vision was blocked by obstacles (cf. Matthew 7:1-5 on removing a "log" from one's eye as a metaphor for having clearer judgment without hypocrisy).

    This does not necessarily mean that the Markan story was taken directly from the Vespasian story (or vice versa), but that both arose from a similar Hellenistic millieu in which similar stories and motifs were used about a variety of healers and gods (cf. similar stories about Pythagoras who calmed a storm for his friends to cross a sea, the healing powers of Asclepiades, Apollonius, Hadrian, etc., the resuscitation of dead people by Empedocles, Asclepiades, etc.).

  • mustang

    Hiya, uncleBruce!!!

    Good to hear you back at it again; you must have "built your spread" and graduated by now. Still outbacking the outback?

    I notice you were reading "Messianic Legacy"; good show!!!

    Ironically I was reading that and a mutual acquaintance sent me both the "Da Vinci Code" and "Holy Bold, Holy Grail". HB-HG appears to have been the inspiration for Da Vinci; and Messianic Legacy is the sequel to HB-HG.

    I like the early Church history bit of M-L. And how about that Constantine? Comes right in there and does his best to displace Christ; gotta hand it to those Pagans!!!

    I can't too much agree that James was a good thing. I have read a bit about him and he seems to have never agreed with Jesus while Jesus was alive. But you are right about the Nazarean PARTY: it was a political movement and was quite controversial. How far Jesus was into it is a good question. It looks like he had to walk a narrow line with the Romans ready to pounce on anything looking like sedition and his neighbors ready to promote him to King (on a stick, when the Romans finish with him).

    So, from what I gather, James was convinced with the Resurrection and jumped in and ran the Church @ Jerusalem. But all James was ever going to do was make the Christian movement an offshoot of Judaism that had seen a Messiah; and the Messiah will return to knock off those pesky Romans.

    With that in mind, it doesn't seem that James was doing the thing that Jesus had in mind. James was out to set up a dynasty of Jesus' relatives and did so. (Follow the Desposyni; use that as buzzword on the I-net for some interesting items.)

    But Jesus had "nailed the Law to the tree", remember? Well, James didn't care for that. (His boys would follow the Gentiles into the "privy" and check to see if they were circumcised or not.)

    So, it seems to me that James was the hijacker, while Paul was recruited to put things back in line with what Jesus had started out to do.

    I'm not sure why everybody wants to put James so in charge and make him a great and wonderful hero and call Paul the interloper.

    While I don't agree with all of the 'Pauline become Roman Catholic Church' business, I think its closer than James' Judaic Nazarean Church. Were we supposed to stay with the Mosaic Law and become "second string Jews"? Was that the plan?

    As a Gentile and Protestant, I believe things turned out better than with James in charge.

    But those Desposyni sure gives one cause for pause, don't they? The real kicker here is that the WTS can't let out a breath of the real history or they'll get kicked around the block.

    And the Eastern or Orthodox Church is still alive and kicking. Another old acquaintance of ours assures me that they will get a lot of attention in the near future. Stay tuned!!!


  • Narkissos


    An interesting review here:

    One thing I'd like to add is that such reminiscences of the pre-monotheistic Yhwh didn't need to be conscious. The development to monotheism via henotheism made the once close, active and living Yhwh more dignified but also more remote and abstract. Being the absolute cause of everything (good and evil in the "pure" monotheism of Deutero-Isaiah) he was the immediate cause of nothing. Even his name became too sacred to be uttered. Now the traditional texts kept the memory of a different kind of god whose saving action was perceived, whose name was effectively called upon, etc. There was something missing in official monotheism, which the development of angelology and messianism in Palestinian apocalyptical Judaism filled in a way, but which could easily become something like a "Christ cult" in the Jewish diaspora, where contacts with similar mystery cults would trigger both the Jewish reminiscences and syncretism.

    One case which I find particularly striking is the famous "third-day resurrection according to the Scriptures". Besides the story of Jonah (which is not exactly a resurrection) the best candidate is Hosea 6:1-3:

    Come, let us return to Yhwh;
    for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
    he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
    After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him.

    Let us know, let us press on to know Yhwh;
    his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
    he will come to us like the showers,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.
    As the original context shows, the prophet complained about a Baal- or Tammuz-like depiction of Yhwh as a dying-and-rising god linked to the cycle of rain and vegetation, bringing automatic revival to his mourning worshippers. That this text (and the nostalgy of the ancient Baal-like Yhwh) underlies the Christ myth (albeit in a different, urban rather than rural perspective) is highly probable imo. Which doesn't mean that the early Christians consciously identified Jesus with Baal-Yhwh.

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