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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Thor

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A World Full of Gods: The Strange Triumph of Christianity [Hardcover]

by Professor Keith Morris Hopkins (20 June 1934 – 8 March 2004).

Quote:
He was professor of ancient history at the University of Cambridge from 1985 to 2000.
In 1985 he was elected to the Cambridge chair in ancient history.[2] The fullest account of his career and significance as an ancient historian is in his British Academy necrology (W.V. Harris, Proceedings of the British Academy 130 (2005), 3-27).


[above is edited from amazon.com] plus see below for scan from book jacket.

Exhibit A - Picture of Bust [Pictures Sections]

Image
bust


Exhibit B - Credits [Back of Book]

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credit

Exhibit C - Illustration [Front of Book]

Image
illu

23. Human bust, with cock's face and beak as erect penis, labeled in Greek "Savior of the World" (Vatican, Roman period)

Exhibit D - Author Information [Jacket]

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auth

Also see:
The Phallic Savior of the World Hidden in the Vatican


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Excellent work! See, if you can do it, should any less be expected of a scholar like Ehrman? Apparently this is too much to ask.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Thor

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Thanks GA,
If this is the best that academia can offer in an attempt at rebutting the Christ Myth theory, then this is yet another opportunity to demonstrate again the flimsy grounds on which their theories rest.
Acharya's rebuttal to Prof Ehrman should in the long run be made into a book. I strongly suspect others will be taking this very route of a book length treatment of the matter.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:06 pm 
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natselection1st wrote:
Thanks GA,
If this is the best that academia can offer in an attempt at rebutting the Christ Myth theory, then this is yet another opportunity to demonstrate again the flimsy grounds on which their theories rest.
Acharya's rebuttal to Prof Ehrman should in the long run be made into a book. I strongly suspect others will be taking this very route of a book length treatment of the matter.


Earl Doherty will be composing his chapter-by-chapter rebuttal into an ebook once he's gone through all the chapters.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:09 pm 
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The Phallic 'Savior of the World' Revisited

In preparation for Frank Zindler's book rebutting Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?, I have acquired and read the important study I referenced in my rebuttal of "Errorman's" absurd contentions regarding the phallic cock "Savior of the World" artifact:

Lorrayne Y. Baird's "Priapus Gallinaceus: The Role of the Cock in Fertility and Eroticism in Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages," Studies in Iconography, vols. 7-8, University of Kentucky, 1981-82, pp. 81-111.

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This article by Dr. Lorrayne Baird, a professor at Youngstown State University, contains some very important information, so I am happy that I was pressed to read it in its entirety, as previously I had only referenced it via Google Books. This study alone yields valuable data for mythicist studies in general, as I'm sure does Baird's paper entitled, "Christus Gallinaceus," which analyzes the Christian uses of the cock as symbolizing Jesus. (Baird-Lange, Lorrayne Y. "Christus Gallinaceus: A Chaucerian Enigma; or the Cock as Symbol of Christ in the Middle Ages." Studies in Iconography 9 (1983): 19-30.)

Since Baird does not take the mythicist position in her studies, she may not have noticed some germane connections in that regard, such as that the gospel character of "Peter," who finds no clear place in history but has the earmarks of a mythical figure, may himself be a remake in significant part of the very ancient and highly popular ithyphallic god best known by the epithet "Priapus." ("Ithyphallic" means "erect penis.")

In any event, Baird's study shows that we are analyzing a solar and fertility symbol which, in its myriad forms, was quite popular around the Mediterranean and elsewhere, such as in India with the worship of the Shiva lingam. Because of its obvious solar connotations, this particular genre also serves to illustrate the astrotheology symbolism of Paganism and Christianity. So, thanks to Ehrman we now have even more juicy stuff for the mythicist thesis.

The following are relevant excerpts from Baird's paper "Priapus Gallinaceus," interspersed throughout with my commentary.

Quote:
Several centuries before Christ, the barnyard cock, known as the Persian bird because of its origin, was adopted as a domestic animal by the inhabitants of lands around the Mediterranean. A favorite among these ancient peoples, the cock exhibited qualities which caused him to be readily associated with divine affairs, and the register of gods with which he is associated is truly impressive. His crowing at dawn caused him to become connected with gods of creation, light, dawn and the sun - and by extension with commerce, diligence, work and eloquence. Thus, he was sacred to Zeus; to Jupiter; to Ormuzd, Zoroastrian creator and light god; to Helios-Phoebus-Apollo the Graeco-Roman sun god; to Hermes-Mercury, god of commerce; to Athena Ergane, patroness of workers; to Velchanos, the Cretan Vulcan; to Heracles-Hercules, god of loquacity and eloquence. The belligerence of the cock recommended him to war gods and tutelary deities, and thus he is also associated with Mars, the Roman god of war; with the Akkadian Mars-Nergal; and with Athena, tutelary deity of Athens. In love, as in war, he was champion. His avidity for coition caused him to be associated with Eros and Amor; with Attis the Phrygian god of fertility (also known, in contradiction, as a eunuch god); with the Greek Hermes-Serapis; with the Egyptian Typhon-Set. It is usual to equate these fertility deities with Priapus, the chief ithyphallic Graeco-Roman god of fertility, with whom the cock is also associated as an important part of the cult and the iconography. Though usually identified with male fertility or phallic deities, the cock was sometimes associated with their female counterparts, being sacred, for example, to Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods honored in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome....

...In the Christian era, connections with ancients gods now devalued or scorned cause some ambivalence in acceptance of the cock as a symbol, but when seen as a general principle, the uncomplicated fertility values of the cock were easily taken into the Christian scheme [per Genesis 1:22]... Indeed, the fecundity of the cock continued to be applauded throughout the Christian centuries, as is shown also in a certain coq gaulois - a bronze sculptured cock with a tail shaped like a reaping hook, or perhaps a plow - a figure used in eighteenth century and thereafter in France as a national symbol representing fertility...[pp. 81-82]

Here we learn that the cock as fertility symbol could also be Christian. Baird next recounts a list of related ancient artifacts, such as Greek vases with images of figures with erect phalluses, associated with Dionysus, for example, and others, some of which date to the fifth century BCE. She also notes that the cock is a "watchman," based on his sunrise role, such as for Venus and Mars in the myth of Alectryon.

The Cock and Homosexuality

On p. 83, Baird continues:

Quote:
In ancient Greece and surrounding areas, the most common erotic association of the cock, however, seems to have been homosexual affairs. Concerning Bythinia in Asia Minor, a country notorious in ancient times for sodomy and other sex practices...

When I see the name "Bythinia" or "Bithynia," I am immediately reminded of the passage in Pliny the Younger proffered by Christian apologists and others as "proof" of the supposed existence of "Jesus Christ." To wit, in one of his letters to Trajan (Epistulae X. 96), Pliny, who was governor of Bithynia from 111 to 113 AD/CE, purportedly writes about "Christiani" and "Christo," while in epistle 97 he supposedly includes the form "Christianum." These "Christians" are reputed to sing hymns to "Christ as to God," according to letter 96. For a discussion of whether these terms could actually be "Chrestiani" and "Chrestos," see John Barham's "Pliny correspondence with Trajan: Christians or Chrestians?" I will be expounding upon this "Chrestiani" subject as well, as part of my "Chrestos" series. This debate becomes even more relevant when one discovers from the Church father Hippolytus that the ithyphallic god or "Priapus" was also called Bonus in Latin, which is Agathos in Greek, like chrestos meaning "good." Is it not possible that this seat of phallic worshippers, Bithynia, was also a main site of Priapus followers, and it is these to whom Pliny refers?

In any event, Baird also includes a discussion of artifacts reflecting both the homosexual connotations and the fighting aspect of the cock, relating that the "cockfight as spiritual agon [trial or "agony"] likewise found favor in the Christian Middle Ages." She further says that the "cockfight also decorates early Christian marriage sarcophagi..." (83) Homosexual rape is symbolized by the cock on ancient Greek vases as well. Baird further remarks: "Though relatively meagre as compared to the wealth of material in art, evidence from classical writings also supports the erotic and homosexual symbolism of the cock." (84)

Phalli

Baird next discusses other artifacts such as "phalli" or phallic pillars (also called "herms" when serving as boundary markers) and phallic amulets, such as a giant stone phallic pillar at Delos from the fourth century BCE that appears in association with Dionysus. Directly under this giant phallus, says Baird, "is carved a cock with head and neck in the form of a phallus." So, here we have a sculpture from the fourth century BCE that approximates the later statuary with Soter Cosmou or "Savior of the World" inscribed on it. Baird (85) also explains that, although fertility worship was prevalent in many cultures for thousands of years, it was during this era (4th cent. BCE) when "Priapic anthropomorphism" began to thrive in Greece and elsewhere.

Solar Connection

Baird next remarks (85):

Quote:
How the cock, the solar bird, came to be associated with fertility deities in the first place, and with Priapus in particular, is not precisely known, but in view of the importance given by the ancients to the sun in the process of generation, it seems reasonable to start with the solarian connections of the gods. In his Physics 2.2 Aristotle says that "in Nature man generates man; but the process presupposes and takes place in natural material already organized by solar heat." Also Macrobius, calling on old authorities, reminds us of the origin of all gods from the sun. Because of his crowing at dawn, the cock as universal solar symbol, was appropriate to the gods through this connection long before he became associated with the grotesqueries of phallic anthropomorphism in the Mediterranean area.

Here we see the emphasis again on the sun, with the generalization that, per Macrobius, all gods derive from the sun. Those who are erudite on the subject of ancient mythology, per authorities such as Macrobius and his sources, know well about the solar or "solarian" connections emphasized here, and we are therefore being scientific and scholarly when keeping that view in mind while analyzing religious texts from antiquity such as the New Testament. Mythicism is a pretty empty exercise when such ancient data are ignored, thus making people ignorant.

The Phallus as Symbol of the Bull

In this same regard of dispelling ignorance, Baird includes - in her peer-reviewed paper for a scholarly journal - the following:

Quote:
The earliest phallic cults did not, however, involve the cock, since he was not known until a few centuries before Christ. According to Dulaure, the cult of the phallus originated two to three thousand years before the Christian era in connection with the zodiacal sign of Taurus, symbol of the returning spring sun and regeneration. In this cult thus deriving from an astrological origin, he believes, first the zodiacal bull was worshipped and later the animal itself. The sacred goat, which has similar astrological origins, was also incorporated into the cult and both animals were called Apis.

She goes on to explain that this scholar Dulaure breaks "Priapus" down into "pri," meaning "principle, production or first source," and Apis. While this etymology may not be sound, we are very interested in the fact that this professional scholar from Youngstown State University in a paper published by a modern, peer-reviewed journal from an American university, refers to the age of Taurus. Her source is Jacques-Antoine Dulaure's Des Divinites generatices ou du culte du Phallus chez les anciens et les modernes, des cultes du dieu de Lampasque, de Pan, de Venus, etc., Paris, 1805. The English translation of this work is "A.F.N.'s" The Gods of Generation, New York, 1933. So, not only does this credentialed scholar raise the precessional ages in her paper but she also refers to a book - gasp! - from the 19th century.

In referring to the Taurean analysis by Dulaure, Baird concludes:

Quote:
This emphasis explains the existence of phalli, which survive in great numbers from ancient times. Among Greeks, Phoenicians and Egyptians, this sacred symbol of the fecundating powers of the sun was called Phallus or Priapus; among the Romans, Tutinus, Mutinus or Fascinum; among the Indians, Lingam. Anthropomorphism of the phallus began among the Greeks, especially in Lampsacus, home of Priapus, ithyphallic deity in human or partly human form, who appears in some instances with a crown like the Sun, in others with the head of a cock. Herodotus confirms the Greek origin, informing us that though the Greeks adopted most of their gods from the Egyptians, the ithyphallic images of Hermes (in this form equated with Priapus) came from the Pelasgians, whose sacred tale concerning this god was found, he [Herodotus] says, among the Samothracian mysteries.

So, here we have quite a few mythicist motifs in a short paragraph. The sacred fecundating power of the sun is from sun worship, obviously, while, as we know, nearly 2,5000 years ago Herodotus had already said the Greek gods were essentially based on the Egyptian gods, so one must wonder why the irrational, unscientific and unscholarly resistance to tracing the mythical elements of the gospel story to their pre-Greek Egyptian origins?

In any event, we also discover that the Greek phallic worship came from the pre-Greek inhabitants of Greece and Macedonia, the Pelasgians, contributors to the famous Samothracian mysteries. Hence, the anthropomorphized ithyphallic god symbolized by the cock is evidently part of the mysteries, which explains why the cult's various characteristics are not widely explicated upon in literature, although abundantly represented in imagery. As we know, much ancient knowledge was transmitted via the mysteries, including the Greek traditions whence much of Christianity can be traced and which did not originate many if not most of these concepts. Stopping at Greece while looking for the origins of Christianity is a shallow endeavor that ignores a massive body of data.

Secret Museum Collections

Next from Baird comes a discussion of the herm, previously mentioned, a phallic statue named after the god Hermes (Mercury) and used as boundary markers throughout Greece. In my travels in that land, I saw many of these artifacts both in situ and in museums. They are essentially rectangular posts with large erect phalluses sticking out of them. Baird (93) discusses a famous herm "now contained in the secret collection of the National Museum of Naples" that is part of a stucco mural, in which the "ithyphallic herm is equipped with the crested head, body and wings of a cock." Baird opines that, since the cock is a "solar bird," this artifact could be a "serious monument of the type explained by Macrobius..." In this artifact from the first century BCE, we may well be looking at a prototype for our Soter Cosmou statue.

Note that Baird is not hesitant in stating outright that the University of Naples museum has a SECRET COLLECTION, asserted so matter-of-factly that one understands many museums possess such secret collections, including the Vatican. Indeed, it is in this writer's work that the secret Vatican collection is likewise mentioned, which is why this article was originally of interest. As we can see, it is also a goldmine for other reasons as well.

The reality is that secret and hidden collections in museums are quite common, as such institutions do not and cannot display everything they possess, obviously. In my travels to some 200 archaeological sites in Greece, I encountered many of these back rooms in museums, since I was traveling with groups of students and scholars who were given access to them. I even worked in one of these storerooms while an archaeology student at Corinth, Greece. Anyone who does not know about these rooms in museums not available to the public apparently has not been to museums in the capacity of a scholar.

In any event, Baird next moves into a discussion of the phallic god's epithet "Priapus," by which he eventually became known, to the exclusion of most other names. On p. 87, she gives a lengthy comparative-religion analysis:

Quote:
The ithyphallic god of fertility in human form was worshipped, often in connection with the sun, among many early peoples besides the Greeks: in Asian Minor he appears as the Phoenician Adonis; among the Hebrews, as Baal-Peor and Mepheletzeth; among the Hindus, as Vishnu; among the Babylonians, as Eabani of the Gilgamesh Epic. The Gnostic Sermones ad Mortuos also identify Abraxas with Pan and Priapus... In Egypt more than one god was represented as ithyphallic. Ptah, creator god worshipped at Memphis, was shown as a swaddled mummy with a huge protruding phallus, symbolizing the union of life and death. Often compared to Bacchus or Dionysus, the Egyptian sun-god Osiris (originally a falcon deity worshipped as early as 2,400 B.C.) in later times is sometimes seen as an ithyphallic trinity. In his characteristic posture, holding the erect phallus in his hand, he is believed to be swearing by his divine power. The son or brother of Osiris, Horus, the Egyptian sun god of spring, was similarly represented as holding the phallus in the left hand, the sceptre in the right. The Theban form of this deity shows him producing men and animals in the ejaculation from his phallus, an iconographic motif later adopted by the Gnostics in some representations of their sun god, IAO (ΙΑΩ) or Jai. An allegory pertaining to Siva, sun god of India, expresses the same idea of the phallic creator: seeing that his phallus was so large as to reach his forehead (as is typical of Priapus under whatever name) the god dismembered himself and divided the phallus into twelve parts, from which originated all the tribes of man....

Here we have another mouthful that requires lengthy exegesis. Always noteworthy is the discussion of the SUN, once more underscoring the inadequacy of scholarship that does not factor the solar connection into the analysis of religious origins in general and Christian origins in specific. We also see an unbridled display of comparative religion/mythology that is actually logical and needs no special methodology. Moreover, we note that Osiris and Horus are declared to be sun gods, and we also learn that the Gnostic SUN god IAO - equated by Diodorus and others with the Jewish god YHWH - was depicted in a phallic manner, as were gods of the Old Testament worshipped by the Hebrews, such as Baal-Peor (Num 3:28; 31:16) and Mepheletzeth.

Moreover, in the story of the Indian god Siva/Shiva - here likewise recognized as a sun god, as I demonstrated in Suns of God - is with special emphasis on his phallus, we find the myth of Osiris as well, and these two gods have been associated with each other since antiquity, with the stories of Osiris traveling around India. Although Osiris's parts are 14, representing the fortnight of the moon's waning, here we find one possible origin of the 12 biblical tribes as well. There is much evidence that the original "Abrahamic" Hebrews were in fact a priestly caste from India who moved into the Levant and merged their gods with the Canaanite pantheon. (See my book Did Moses Exist? for more on that subject.)

Priapus and Christianity

As we can see, there is so much material in this Baird article that this post is becoming very lengthy. In her analysis, she includes the influence on Christianity, of course, remarking of the Priapus/phallic cults:

Quote:
As a matter of fact, these cults came into Europe near the time of Christ, entering northern Europe through the Phoenicians, and Gaul through the Romans after the wars of Caesar, thence to spread all over Western Europe...

Here follows an interesting discussion of the phallic cult in Europe, where we can still find vestiges of it to this day, in maypoles and so on.

Indeed, we learn that, in the Middle Ages, Priapus became a Christian saint, under a number of monikers - once again making us wonder about whether or not "St. Peter" is likewise a rehash of Priapus in significant part:

Quote:
St. Foutin in the north of France in Languedoc and in the province of Lyons, St. Gilles in Brittany, St. Rene in Anjou, St. Regnaud in Burgundy, St. Guignole near Brest, St. Guerlichon in Bourges, St. Cosmo and St. Damiano in Isernia in Italy. Thus, the cult of Priapus was widespread throughout Europe... (Baird, 89)

Naturally, a study of these "saints" would undoubtedly prove fruitful and fascinating.

Just before the common era, Diodorus discussed the popularity of Priapus:

Quote:
According to Diodorus Siculus (1.88; 4.6) and other writers, Priapus was considered the highest god, whom all other gods served: he was the Creator of the World, God of the Universe, Almighty Pan. He was identified with the Cosmos, with Helios and with Phanes-Protogonos or Eros Protogonos of Hesiod and the Orphic hymns.

Here we discover the root of the "Savior of the World" epithet, as well as the usurpation of the virgin mother goddess by the parthenogenetically reproducing male creator. The epithet "protogonos" means "first born," so even that is not original to Christianity, as we know.

Next Baird gives a list of natural elements and objects with which Priapus is associated, such as figs, grapes, almonds and pomegranates, each of which possesses fertility and sexual connotations. We also learn about the association with animals, such as the bull, previously noted, and the goat, ass and cock: "In association with fertility symbols and attributes of Priapus, the cock is found in innumerable instances." (Baird, 90)

Cock and Priapus as Protectors

We read further on p. 91 of Baird that the cock is the protector:

Quote:
Mohammed reputedly kept a white cock as a pet to protect him from "machinations of witchcraft, of genii and devils and of the evil eye."

Priapus as protector was revered by fishermen, among others:

Quote:
Priapus, the phallus incarnate, who was himself sometimes figured forth as a cock, was famed as a protector: he watched over sailors, fishermen, travelers, shepherds and beekeepers; he was also guardian of streams and fountains, gardens, vineyards and graves. Graves, in particular, have been a rich source for phallic finds in areas as widely separated as Norway, Italy and Sumatra.... In early Christians graves as I have shown elsewhere, the cock replaced the phallus, serving as a similar protective function, as well as symbolizing Christ and the Resurrection.

The fact that this god was especial to fishermen makes one wonder once again about the fisherman "St. Peter," essentially the leader of the disciples, the bulk of whom were claimed to be "fishermen." It appears that Peter is a combination of Priapus and Mithra, among others, these two also sharing a prevalence in the cult of the afterlife, e.g., depicted on funerary and grave relics. In Egypt, the winged goddess served this purpose of grave protection as well, a cruciform image spread on the corners of coffins.

Cock-Human Hybrid and IAO-YHWH

Discussing the combined cock-human form, Baird (92) remarks:

Quote:
Grotesque figures combining the cock form with the full human male form are found very early; the earliest of these which has come to my attention appears in a scene from Greek drama on an Attic vase by the fifth century B.C.

Speaking of a "love charm" of a "cock-headed demon, crudely drawn, equipped with multiple phalli" who is accosting a "miserable-looking little creature," the object of the love charm, Baird comments that "it is thought to be a representation of Typhon-Set." She also notes that a Gnostic gem "shows the same gesture: the god, Iao, cock-headed and serpent-footed, seizes an abject kneeling figure in the same manner." Again, it should be noted that Iao was equated with YHWH in antiquity.

The Priapus gallinaceus

Next we move into the subject at hand: The genre called Priapus gallinaceus, about which Baird (93) states that the "best example of this type [is] a figure from the cabinet of Cardinal Chigi in Rome..." She also tells the story of Laurentius Beger (17th cent.), contemporary of De la Chausse, who informs us of the following:

Quote:
...in his own day, the cardinals of the Roman Church, to prevent further desecrations or thefts from objects of this kind, as well as to preserve their dignity, wisely had them shut up from public view in a newly constructed Cimeliarchio, or room for keeping the valuables of the Church.

So, here we have another discussion of the secreting of these phallic objects in a safe and hidden place by Church authorities. Not much different than what I originally stated of the phallic bronze hidden in the Vatican.

The Phallic Savior Hidden in the Vatican

Finally, we arrive at what we have come for: The Albani phallic bronze. On p. 94 is where we find the text in Baird relevant to our discussion here:

Quote:
The most remarkable of all the examples of the Priapus gallinaceus grotesque, however, is an antique Roman bronze of the Albani collection. The bronze is a bust with the neck, shoulders and breast of a human male figure, upon which is grafted the crested head of a cock with an erect phallus replacing nose and chin. At the base of the bust appears the inscription ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ [Soter Kosmou] ("Savior of the World"). This object was published under papal and royal authority, exhibited for a time in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is now said to be held inaccessible in the secret collections of the Vatican. During the life of this bronze, officials disagreed upon the probity of the exhibit. One offended cardinal requested that the object be removed from public view; whereupon, Pope Benedict XIV is reported to have answered "that he had no authority over such a personage, being himself but his vicar."

Now we have a much deeper and broader picture of the milieu when Christianity was created: To wit, phallic imagery was quite prevalent and included the priapic "Savior of the World," the cock of which also symbolized both Christ and Peter. In addition, the most famous of these statues has been hidden safely away in the Vatican. As we can see, one "refutes" my contention only through ignorance of all of the above facts, which ignorance exposes the pretense at "expertise."

To reiterate, what I wrote in Christ Conspiracy concerning this phallic artifact was accurate, per this professional academic's scholarship. In addition to the fact that Dr. Baird's contentions confirm my research is the astonishing implication of Pope Benedict XIV's words here, which seem to be claiming that he is but a mere vicar to this "personage" of Priapus or, at the least, Yahweh/Jesus as the ithyphallic god/Priapus. The pope here is likewise acknowledging that the sexual connotation of God as Creator is a sacred attribute that he has no right to contravene; hence, these artifacts are sequestered apparently with great reverence.

Regarding this contention, Baird also says:

Quote:
Scholars have likewise disagreed, but the earliest writers accept the object as a genuine artifact from the cult of Priapus.... De la Chausse explains this most ridiculous seeming of all Priapic objects as a serious and dignified monument by reference to Aristotle and the tradition that the cock was sacred to the Sun, itself governor of the power generation. The phallus, he explains, is placed on the head of the cock because man working with the sun accomplishes generation, through this achieving immortality and thus proving himself Savior of the World.

Again, we are faced with a pregnant paragraph that requires exegesis in a number of directions. Basically, the contentions disprove the skepticism about the Priapus gallinaceus artifacts, by raising known ancient traditions, which would include the moniker soter kosmou or "savior of the world." As we know, many ancient gods and goddesses were called "savior" in various languages, including the Greek soter, the same term inscribed on this artifact. There exists no scientific reason to suspect that the artifact is a forgery.

Referring to Richard Payne Knight's A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus (New York: University Books, 1974), Baird (94) also remarks:

Quote:
The various elements in this composition, he says, "represented the generative power of the Ερως [Eros], the Osiris, the Mithras, or Bacchus, whose center is the sun, incarnate with man," the cock being the "emblem of the sun." Substantially in agreement regarding the divine character of the object, Dulaure (p. 106) adds his belief that the Greeks

Quote:
preserved to the Phallus, and to Priapus himself, its original connections with the sun, and their cult was almost never separated from that of this star, under whatever name it was adored. Determined by these principles, they accorded Priapus the title of Saviour of the World, which was often given to sun-gods, and especially to the different signs which have successively marked the spring equinox, such as Gemini, Taurus, Capricornus [?] and finally Aries.

Subsequently, Baird refers to the Albani priapus as the "Vatican bust," indicating its location, which all scholarly works agree is the Vatican. She recounts that certain individuals have believed this artifact to be buffoonish, stating, as noted, that the "Vatican Saviour-as-Phallic-cock was a scandalous satire on early Christians." (Baird, 95)

She next raises the issue of this phallic symbol representing homosexual practices, considered scandalous, obviously, and remarks that the "opinion that the Vatican bronze reflects this scandal was first advanced by Mamachi, and later accepted by Renan and LeClerq." As we can see, this bronze was considered scandalous and was hidden from public in the Vatican, as I have summarized.

Moreover - and quite importantly - Baird refers to the opinion that the artifact's inscription ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ Soter Kosmou or "Savior of the World" is a fake. In her counterargument, she takes to task those who are ignorant and probably biased irrationally in their haste to paint this inscription as inauthentic:

Quote:
Others have doubted the authenticity of the inscription... One must question whether personal taste has not vitiated scholarly objectivity in this case, however, since the same inscription also appears on other phallic objects also dating from Roman times - as, for example, on the elongated phallus which constitutes a feature of a bronze Roman amulet found in Italy, as well as on a lamp...

Priapus as Eunuch

Baird follows this rebuttal with a discussion of the use of the word Gallos/Gallus, which can mean both cock and castrato. In this era, Priapus is depicted as castrated, per the followers of Cybele and subscribed to by Christians as well, so as to remove the sexuality from the concept of the Savior of the World. To remove the sexual connotation of an erect phallus appears to represent a scene from the "Theater of the Absurd," but such is often what religious fanaticism produces.

Concerning this castration, Baird (96) comments:

Quote:
This mutilation was not, however, accepted by the Gnostics, whose creed and traditions retained traces of Priapus gallinaceus, seen both in their writings and in the iconography of their IAO-ABRAXAS, a god with Priapic connections. In the second century Sermones ad Mortuous of Basilides for example, Abraxas, worshipped as the author of Life, is equated with the sun, with effective nature, with Pan and with Priapus.

So, again we see this theme of the sun.

Bonus autem est Priapus

Furthermore, Baird tells us the following about the Church father Hippolytus (d. c. 236) in his Refutations of Heresies, 5.54:

Quote:
reports that Justinus tried to have Priapus recognized as God the Father, first person of the Trinity, the "Good One." Moreover, Hippolytus (pp. 237-238) says that after he was crucified, Jesus ascended to the Good One and that the Good One
Quote:
is Priapus, and he it is who antecedently caused the production of everything that exists. On this account he is styled Priapus, because he previously fashioned all things [according to his own design]. For this reason...in every temple is placed his statue, which is revered by every creature: and there are images of him in the highways, carrying over his head ripened fruits, that is, the produce of creation, of which he is the cause, having in the first instance formed [according to His own design] the creation, when as yet it had no existence.

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Again, we face a tremendously significant commentary. Here we learn that - logically - the phallic god is held up by a "Justinus" [a third-century priest?] as God the Father, an association entirely applicable that had been going on for many centuries to millennia. For thousands of years, Goddess the Mother was depicted as possessing a womb and represented by yonic symbols. The next noticeable thing is the equation of Priapus with the "Good One," which is Bonus in the Latin and Agathos, Kalos or Chrestos in the Greek. It should be recalled that ritual language in antiquity - particularly in Greek and Sanskrit - produced great significance for certain terms and phrases, such as Chrestos or Agathos, or, as the case is here, Priapus.

IAO-ABRAXAS as Priapus

Next in Baird (96) we read a discussion of the Gnostic god IAO-ABRAXAS as represented by the cock and thus likely related to Priapus:

Quote:
The inscription ΙΑω [sic], usually accompanying the figure is also that of Jehovah, the Eternal God of the Hebrews, as well as of Bacchus, the Roman fertility god... Under one such figure...is found the inscription ΙΑω ΑΒΡΑϹΑΣ ϹΑΒΑωΘ ΑΔωΝΕΟϹ [IAO ABRAXAS SABAOTH ADONEOS], combining the name of Abraxas with the most sacred names of the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah, Sabaoth and Adonai. In addition to this cock-form, Abraxas is also given other attributes of sun gods and fertility deities. A jasper...for example, shows Abraxas with rays...emanating from the cock's head in the iconographic style of the sun-god of Harpocrates (Horus the Child); while in no. 123, he holds a palm branch in the left hand and in the right a purse..., attribute of Mercury, Hermes and Priapus. Thus, the iconography of Abraxas supports his association with ancient fertility gods, and thereby continues the venerable tradition of the cock-as-god into the early centuries of the Christian era.

Again, we are gobsmacked by fascinating information that puts the many pieces together - and that revolves significantly around the sun, a point that cannot be emphasized enough.

Ending the essay (97) are Baird's comments on how the prudish Christianity increasingly devalued Priapus, to the point where he was "demon of lust," remarking:

Quote:
On the contrary, other qualities of the cock, more admirable to official ecclesiastical taste - his crowing to announce the sun, his vigilance and wakefulness, his leadership of his flock, etc. - guaranteed him for an important and dignified role in Christian symbolism, where he is famous as a type of eunuchus dei, or figure of spiritual fruitfulness. As praedicator, or preacher, he guards his flock, uncovers for them the grani puri (kernels of truth), awakens them from spiritual sloth and slumber, announces to them the coming of Christ.

Moreover - a fact that is less widely appreciated - the ancient cock-as-god tradition attaches itself also to the figure of Christ Himself. The Christus gallinaceus, beginning seriously in early Christian art and hymnody, as I shall demonstrate...

Here we read about Baird's future article concerning the Christus gallinaceus or genre of Christ as symbolized by the cock.

It should further be noted that in the citations Baird (103) discusses the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, who likewise can be identified with the healer Priapus, as can be the Old Testament god Yahweh, who is both a phallic deity and the "Good One."

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:55 am 
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I have found this rooster debate to be a fascinating piece of cultural politics.

My mother was a feminist theologian. She led a commission on the status of women in the Uniting Church in Australia, in which she started off with the assumption that Jesus was a feminist because of the life affirming statements in the Gospels, but ended by concluding that the church is the primary social and political bastion of the patriarchy.

Acharya similarly presents a feminist analysis of religion, and I think this is a big part of why her critics like Ehrman use arguments of such banal quality against her. Ehrman’s accusatory tone on this Peter debate is almost like he is insisting she weighs more than a duck. Arguments of this sort indicate that while Ehrman may consider himself a rooster today, tomorrow he will be a feather duster.

The rooster is the symbol of Saint Peter, because of the famous story in all four Gospels of his cowardly triple denial of Christ before the cock crowed. This symbol of Peter’s cowardice is abundantly attested in ancient art. So wherever we find a piece of religious art that uses a rooster, the association with Peter can be considered. A bit like in American politics where an elephant symbolises the Republican Party.

The association with the penis is far more controversial, and requires that we analyse the place of Peter in Christian theology as the key to the patriarchal takeover of religion. The penis symbolises male identity and power.

Essentially, in the Gospels Peter is used to symbolise male idiocy, how the church failed to understand the teachings of Christ. This is why Jesus says to Peter “get thee behind me Satan, You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns." (Matthew 16:23). Readers will recall that Peter received this Satan rebuke for suggesting that Jesus did not have to go through the dying and rising saviour routine.

Just before this, (v19), Jesus supposedly anointed Peter as pope for calling him Christ. We also have the dumb story at the transfiguration where Jesus shone like the sun and Peter said words to the effect of ‘great, lets build a church’. And then Peter chops off a slave's ear when Jesus is arrested, earning a further rebuke from Christ for his violent use of the sword.

As mythical pope, Peter started the tradition of Christian patriarchy, the idea that women are subhuman, not fit to represent god. So it makes perfect sense on this score that the priapus rooster statue should remind us of Peter, because it combines his attributes of cowardice, denial, bluster, violence, stupidity and arrogance, as shown by the male chauvinism of the church.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:33 pm 
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To continue on analysis of the rooster, the issue here is that this baseless insult by Ehrman against Acharya is an emotional tirade that conceals serious issues in the sexual politics of theology, namely the extreme bias against women that has characterised all of Abrahamic monotheism. Gross demeaning of women and celebration of male exclusivity may have been acceptable in Abraham’s day, but times have changed.

Acharya’s original use of this statue looks intended to mock Saint Peter as a symbol of sexism. That seems to be what Ehrman found so offensive in her oblique linkage of the penis to Pope Peter. If we want to open debate today about how religion can address sexual inequality, there needs to be some derision of the extreme sexism and stupidity of an institution, the Roman Catholic Church, which appears to find administration of communion by women nearly as sinful as clerical sexual assault against children. The level of depravity in Catholic gender politics deserves mockery, something that some Christians seem to find so sensitive that they distort discussion of it, just as Ehrman distorted Acharya’s work.

How do the rooster characteristics I mentioned above of cowardice, denial, bluster, violence, stupidity and arrogance relate to Saint Peter? I explained most of them in fairly simple terms above, but here is some more discussion.

Cowardice: This is the basis of the Rooster symbol for Peter, that Jesus predicted Peter would not have the guts to stand up for him when put on the spot three times before the cock crew.
Denial: Three times Peter lied and denied he knew Christ
Bluster: This one requires some knowledge of Peter’s See. Dogmas like the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility require a certain blusterous capacity to defend the indefensible with a straight face, believing absurdities that have proved their worth in spreading confusion and supporting clerical power.
Violence: Peter chopped off the ear of the high priest’s slave with his sword
Stupidity: Jesus gets irritated with all the disciples for their failure to comprehend his identity. For example he explains at Mark 8 that the loaves and fishes are allegory, but this does not penetrate their thick skulls. And then Jesus compared Peter explicitly to Satan for his stupid failure to see the need for his death on the cross. You do have to be rather stupid to defend the literal absurdities of Catholic dogma.
Arrogance: A traditional attribute of the rooster, as cocky and self-assured. The self-centred rooster attitude is very much part of the ability of the church to ignore reasoned comment about its structures and rituals and beliefs and practices.

Cultural views about the penis have changed since ancient times due to current views that women should have equal human rights as men. Heraclitus mocked Dionysian penis-worship as a religious tradition lacking in brains. Nowadays the term dickhead is a pure insult, reflecting stupidity and cruelty. Perhaps in ancient times these attributes of the brainless penis-rooster were seen as endearing, and the statue symbolised more the rooster’s energy and self-will. The fact that Saint Peter symbolised male power within the church illustrates that this rooster-penis statue would readily have been associated with him.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:22 am 
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Historians always have an agenda - an idea they want to convey. The quality of work is assessed on whether their agenda is proven, not whether they have one.

Murdock does not in this instance assert that Walker identified the statue with Peter. Even so, I think it is clear that both Murdock and Walker insinuate that the symbolism of the statue is reminiscent of Peter, who was commonly represented by a rooster. They both have an agenda of supporting a feminist analysis of conventional religion, and uncovering facts that support this analysis. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this agenda, which presents a cogent moral critique of Christianity.

The idea of scholarship without any agenda is farcical. People always have some reason for what they study, some guiding theory or set of values that leads them to consider some facts as important and others as unimportant. Only stupid nihilists like Lewis Carroll's King of Hearts break this basic rule that value-free scholarship is impossible. Both Walker and Murdock have an agenda of showing how the Christian church is thoroughly corrupted by patriarchal metaphysics. This hypothesis is fairly easy to prove, and once accepted lends itself readily to mockery of phallocratic values.

The problem in analysis of agendas in scholarship is that many conventional scholars carefully conceal their agendas, trying to convey an image of 'value free' objective enquiry. And yet, the debate about the historical existence of Jesus Christ is entirely value-laden. The way values have corrupted this debate is especially seen in the ignorant incredulity of conventional Christians when confronted with the lack of evidence for Jesus as a real man. People value the beliefs they have grown to accept as true, and have an agenda of defending them. This is a natural part of human psychology, which can itself be the object of analysis. The existence of this pervasive agenda of the defence of faith is readily seen in the absence of discussion of mythicism in the media and at universities.

Here are a few examples of the rooster as symbol of Peter.
http://www.newstpeters.org/the-nsp-rooster
http://saintpetersbasilica.org/Interior/Sacristy-Treasury/Items
http://andalltheangelsandsaints.blogspot.com.au/2011/08/75-all-saints-from-workshop-of-dr-raffy.html/Museum-8.htm
http://www.flickriver.com/photos/b-e-r-b-e-r/3990347177/

I am reminded of Roman statues of Peter holding a magic wand, with at least one identified as being of Peter because a rooster is also in the statue.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:25 pm 
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Analysis of the symbolism of the penis opens psychoanalytic questions of repressed sexuality. Christian moral teachings tend to avoid such topics. The angry repression in Ehrman's use of this penis rooster image is very interesting, as it illustrates how his fundamentalist evangelical past bubbles up through his subconscious, sublimated into an incoherent claim that Christ historicism is triumphant. Ehrman seems to find it offensive that Acharya deconstructs Christian phallocracy, or perhaps that should be foolocracy.

The use of the rooster to symbolise Peter in the fourth century Roman sarcophagus is clear evidence that the rooster (or cock) was well known as Peter's symbol, together with the keys of heaven. The rooster story is attested in all four gospels, but amusingly, Mark flatly contradicts the other three, as discussed in some detail here.

If you are having trouble opening the images I linked of Saint Peter and the Rooster, try using google images, which is how I found them. I found that all of the urls work, but two lead to sites rather than straight to the images.

Considering the foolocracy symbolism of the Peter penis image, Peter is also considered a champion of the triumph of orthodox belief over gnostic knowledge as the path of salvation. Understanding this feature of church evolution is central to the mythicist deconstruction of faith. The triumph of dogma illustrates how the political process of numbers was decisive. There were far more ignorant believers than knowledgeable scholars, so the successful clique within the church was the small group of heresiologists who demonised knowledge, in order to ally with the vast number of illiterate people outside the church.

This pack of brainless dickheaded foolocrats systematically destroyed the wisdom tradition that had produced the Christ myth. They left us only with fragments and distortions that have survived the mill of time. The task now for mythicist scholarship is to logically reconstruct the process of Biblical evolution, showing how ideas and social movements produced texts that were subsequently censored in ways that still leaves hints of their original intent.

For example, Christ's condemnation of Saint Peter as "Satan" is an interesting alarm bell regarding the question of whether the church has been true to its origins. So too, Christ's prophecy that Peter would be a serial liar illustrates the contempt that the gnostics had for the true believers.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:21 pm 
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Thank you for your thoughtful input, Robert.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:00 am 
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Acharya wrote:
Thank you for your thoughtful input, Robert.

Thanks Acharya, I find it a fascinating topic, opening up interesting themes in philosophy, psychology and religious history and identity.

To say the rooster is a symbol of an event in Peter's life, not of Peter himself, is an interesting semiotic strategy for the apologist. It is rather like saying that the cross is not a symbol of Christ, but of his death. However in both these cases, the sign defines core themes of identity, and so they are commonly seen as signs of the person, not just the event. http://www.christiansymbols.net/apostles_13.php says “Another symbol of Peter is the rooster.”

The Bible tells us that Peter wept bitterly when he heard the rooster, apparently because it showed somehow that Christ had a window into his soul as a serial liar. In this shattering existential moment of truth, the rooster symbolises Peter’s identity as cowardly Christ-denier. These are character traits that emerged when he was put to the test. Peter sought to shrug it off by claiming to be repentant but the incident was generally interpreted as indicating his frail sinful nature.

I do not think it is correct to separate this event from “who Peter is”, because the Bible presents it as definitive and revealing of an existential identity. Indeed, that is how the rooster has traditionally served, with Pope Gregory in the sixth century allegedly calling the rooster the emblem of Saint Peter. The fourth century Roman sarcophagus uses the rooster to say “this is Peter”, not just to illustrate the moment of denial. More modern portrayals quite simply use the rooster as Peter’s symbol.

The absence of images in Christian art where Peter is represented by a phallus is not relevant. It is like asking for a Biblical statement that Jesus was not born of a virgin, and then somehow using this absence as evidence for the virgin birth. The absence of phallic imagery in the Christian art simply reflects the Christian effort to sublimate the desires of the flesh into a transcendental mysticism. It does not mean these natural energies have somehow disappeared.

The mythicist project is about deconstructing the inner meaning of mythical literature such as the Gospels. The cult of male supremacy is central to Abrahamic faiths, but goes hand in hand with sexual repression. The church held that possession of a penis was essential to mediate between man and god, although the penis itself was not seen as the explicit sign of Christian virility. The reaction against paganism included rejection of phallic images. The Hindu lingam is seen by scholars as manifestly sexual in origin, but this reading is denied by those who advocate a false supernatural version of reality.

Again, it is interesting to consider this material against the theoretical framework of Freudian analysis of the cultural repression of sexuality. The uncontrolled ecstatic nature of sexuality has to be controlled in the creative process of constructing civilization, as Freud argues in The Future of an Illusion and in Civilization and its Discontents. This control process causes an inability to see the natural origins of mythical ideas, which are sublimated into a transcendental narrative whose ground is imaginary rather than real.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:02 pm 
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We know that "Peter" was symbolized as a cock, and his name itself a slang term for "penis," as is the word cock. Reading another analysis, it occurs to me that he is likely the old phallic god represented by a lingam stone or rock, as his name indicates.

Quote:
The New Testament, besides establishing sun worship, is a priestly homily on the struggle between the new official religion and the old. We find Jesus a little afraid of the stone god, Peter or Cephas, and always praising and propitiating him.... (Sex Symbolism in Religion, 376)

This contention also reflects the popularity of the god Priapus in this region and era. It would appear that "Peter" is Priapus, demoted so that Jesus will be his master and usurp his cult. Peter's prominence in the gospel tale would indicate how important was the phallic/priapic cult at the time, which should not surprise us.

So, a shallow understanding of the gospel story and Christian history may not yield this peter-phallus analysis, but we can see how it came about - another piece of the puzzle. The emphasis on the "rock" in the Mithra tale, when there is in the Persian version a virgin goddess, is also indicative of a phallic/priapic cult usurped by Christianity.

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