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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:49 pm 
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The Gospel Story of the Two Thieves

In the New Testament gospel story, Jesus Christ is depicted has being hung on a cross between two "thieves," "criminals" or "malefactors."

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This episode is represented at Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27, Luke 23:39-43 and John 19:18. The passage in Matthew says:

Quote:
Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.

The Greek word rendered here as "robbers" and elsewhere as "thieves" is λῃσταί or lestai, plural of λῃστής or lestes (G3027), which Strong's defines as: "a robber, plunderer, freebooter, brigand." The Greek word is used 15 times across all four gospels. In Matthew, both criminals mock Christ, and there is no hint of a "penitent thief."

Mark 15:27 says:

Quote:
And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.

Here again the Greek word rendered "robber" is lestes.

In a note in the RSV, we learn that there is in some Bible editions an insertion, Mark 15:28, which reads:

Quote:
And the scripture was fulfilled which says, "He was reckoned with the transgressors."

We thus learn that this episode is included in order to "fulfill prophecy" (Is 53:12), i.e., as part of the messianic scriptural blueprint used by the creators of Christianity, suggestive of the motif's fictional/mythical nature.

John 19:18 reads:

Quote:
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

The word here is simply ἄλλους or allous, from allos or "other."

The passages at Luke provide more details (RSV):

Quote:
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

This passage does not identify these individuals as "thieves." They are simply crucified "criminals." Departing from Mark and Matthew, Luke does not use the word λῃστής or lestes here to describe the "robbers." The Greek word at Luke 23:39 for "criminals" is κακοῦργος or kakourgos, meaning "bad-doer." Hence, the Latin "malefactor" is closest to the literal translation. the same word κακοῦργος (G2557) is used in the NT only in Luke 23, at verses 32, 33 and 39, and at 2 Timothy 2:9.

These facts are suggestive of a later interpolation, especially since the term is used elsewhere only in a pastoral epistle widely accepted as pseudepigraphically attributed to Paul but which was evidently written in the middle of the second century. Could 2 Tim 2:9 be tied into Luke 23?

Moreover, in Luke one of the thieves has become not only penitent but also pretty chatty for someone nailed to a cross, a posture that would preclude talking. Does this extraordinary dialogue, found only in Luke and contradicting Matthew, really sound as if it is "historical?" Who recorded it? Is it verbatim? Did the scribe ask the crucified man to speak up? It frankly sounds like fictional dialogue.

History of the 'Two Thieves' Motif within Christianity

Where does the story of Christ hanging between "two thieves" come from and why was it emphasized? This motif gained great popularity throughout Christendom, with the characters receiving various names. As I write in Christ in Egypt (357ff, a six-page subsection discussing the "Two Thieves"):

Quote:
According to Christian tradition, the thief going to heaven is named Dysmas/Dismas/Desmas/ Demas/Dimas/Dymas, while the one destined for hell is Ctegas/Cystas/Cesmas/Gestas/Gistas, the names being introduced in several texts, including the apocryphal Acts of Pilate or Acta Pilati. In most manuscripts, Demas appears on the right of Jesus, while Gestas is on the left. In one manuscript of the Acts, however, and in several other texts, these positions are reversed. It is interesting that the manuscript of the Acta Pilati in which the positions are reversed, with Demas on the left and Gestas on the right...

The fact that the names of the thieves are "widely divergent," as are their roles, indicates a mythological construct, not a true story. This suspicion of myth is borne out by the apocryphal tale found in the Arabic Gospel of the Saviour's Infancy (23), in which appears a story of two robbers—held to be the same as the "two thieves"—assaulting the Holy Family in Egypt, by the names of Titus and Dumachus, the former of whom discouraged the latter from carrying out the crimes. For this act, according to the Infancy Gospel, "Titus" was promised by "the Lord"—a 2-year-old child!—to sit at his right hand in heaven. This tale is patently fictional, as well as illogical, as the omnipotent God/Jesus could surely have prevented himself from being robbed, as he could have thwarted Herod from assailing him and from heartlessly massacring a bunch of infants.

As part of the rise in popularity of this penitent thief story, Theophilus, patriarch of Alexandria (385–412), wrote a "classic Coptic" tract called Homily on the Crucifixion and the Good Thief. Theophilus is, of course, the infamous leader who provoked mobs of Christians to destroy the Serapeum and whose successor and nephew, Cyrus, murdered the Egyptian female sage Hypatia. Theophilus also "cleaned out" the local Mithra temple or Mithraeum.

The inclusion and emphasis of this motif within Christianity appears to be part of the usurpation of these religions, and the reason for its popularity in Christendom seems to be as a selling point for sinners who repent - so long as they profess Christ with their mouths, they can attain to heaven.

The Two 'Companions' Theme in Other Religions

Interestingly, we find this motif of a divine figure surrounded by two important characters, whether "malefactors," "thieves" or other, in Egyptian and Persian religion, as well as within Buddhism. In Christ in Egypt, I discuss the "two-thieves" motif's relation to the well-known imagery of the Persian god Mithra surrounded by the two "torchbearers," Cautes and Cautopates.

Image

This imagery of the god between two important figures is abundant within Mithraism, which was widely spread from Persia to Great Britain during the centuries concerning Christian origins. Surely, the creators of subsequent Christian art depicting Christ hanging between two "companions" were not oblivious to this motif within Mithraism.

In Mithraism, one of the "torchbearers" is pointing up to the heavens, while the other points down to hell, much like the Christian tale of the penitent thief going to heaven, while the other is destined for hell. Moreover, Mithraic astronomy as explained by Dr. Roger Beck indicates these two represent the months following the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the one pointing upward indicating the movement towards the "heaven" of the summer solstice and the one pointing downward showing the path to the "hell" of the winter solstice.

Within Egyptian religion, as discussed in CIE, we find an interesting depiction in the Dendera zodiac of the Egyptian god Horus situated on the line of the vernal equinox, surrounded by the baboon god Aan and a jackal, representing Anubis. Both of these animals are considered to be "thieves," and the fact that Horus is thus "crucified" on the line of the vernal equinox or at "Easter" is significant and suggestive of both the Christian and Persian iconography, predating the former by centuries.

Furthermore, there exists imagery from pre-Christian times of the Buddha surrounded by two subordinated figures, the Indian gods Brahma and Indra.

Image

This image not only establishes the Buddhist motif of the godman between two figures, but it also demonstrates how priestcraft is used to usurp or subordinate other religions, with the new divine figure raised above the older ones. Here two Hindu gods are not only demoted under Buddha, but they are also made into malefactors who tempt Buddha with the delusions of the evil being Mara.

In Buddhism's Relation to Christianity, Dr. Michael Lockwood comments on this blatant subordination of Hindu's most revered gods - something that Krishnaite priests had also done with their godman:

Quote:
The Buddha and early Buddhism took an agnostic stance against the widespread polytheism of the masses. However, in India, one fights mythology with mythology.

We have seen how the Buddha, in his search for enlightenment, had been attacked by the Great Tempter, Mara, his alluring daughters, and his troops... The temptations represented by Mara's daughters were blatantly sexual, of course, and sexuality was considered a fundamental component of the god Brahma's powers. Mara, also, more than once attempts to persuade Buddha to give up his ascetic life, with the assurance that he would then become a universal monarch on earth, like the god Indra in heaven. Thus the two gods represent the two realms in which the Buddha-to-be/Buddha had been assailed: 1) the sexual and procreative realm of Brahma, and 2) Indra's realm of wealth, power and fame. The gods, however, stand, flanking him in subdued submission.

Thus, we can see that this "Christian" motif of the god between the two evil-doers is unoriginal and, indeed, mythical, possibly influenced by Mithraism, Egyptian religion and Buddhism, as well as the Jewish scripture mandating that the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) must be counted "among the transgressors."

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Mithras' Cautes and Cautopates / Jesus' two thieves

Horus Between Two Thieves

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The Mythicist Position
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:55 pm 
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Heracles and the Kerkopes

The Kerkopes were a race of mischievous marauders who were punished by the gods for their immorality by being turned ugly. They are typically depicted as ape-like.

As Ovid(1st century BCE-CE) wrote in Book XIV of the Metamorphosis, in The Pilgrimage of Aeneas:
Quote:
For once the Father of the Gods, who loathed
The fruad and falsehood of the Cerocopes
And all their crafty crimes, transformed the men
Into misshapen animals that seemed
Both like and unlike humans, shriveling
Their limbs, tilting and flattening their noses,
Ploughing their cheeks with wrinkles of old age.

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But the point is, they were known for their marauding. In other words, they were... thieves. And then came Heracles.

In Book IV of his Library of History, chapter 31, Diodorus of Sicily(1st century BCE) wrote:
Quote:
and Heracles, healed now of the disease and serving Omphale as her slave, began to mete out punishment upon the robbers who infested the land. As for the Cercopes, for instance, as they are called, who were robbing and committing many evil acts, some of them he put to death and others he took captive and delivered in chains to Omphale.


And how many did he take captive?
And in what manner did he 'deliver them in chains'?

From the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, dated to the 6th century BCE:

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A metope from the National Museum at Paestrum, also dated to the 6th century BCE:

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From the National Archaeological Museum of Palermo:

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And one more, (couldn't find the source):

Image


Interesting, the most common depiction of this scene has a son of a god forming a 'cross' between two thieves, who are hanging from said 'cross'.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:53 pm 
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^That's dam interesting.

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The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:13 pm 
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I posted my astral interpretation of the two thieves myth at viewtopic.php?p=16619#p16619

Basically, the old south pole star in the golden age, Canopus, stands as the common foot of three crosses readily visible among the stars in the traditional shape depicted on Calvary. But Canopus is only visible from southerly latitudes so this stellar motif got forgotten, distorted and airbrushed from history by the cultural genocide inflicted by European Christendom, with its vain imagination that things it could not see were not real.

This Calvary motif gradually shifted further north in the sky over the last ten thousand years due to precession. For the last thousand years it has gradually started moving south again.

My speculation is that this is a typical example of an old oral history, a stellar myth that was passed down from time immemorial. When it came to the commission of myths to writing only the garbled version of Jesus crucified among the criminals emerged. So much has been lost and forgotten, it is essential to try to reconstruct the fragments, and to look at the sky to see what the ancients also saw. The cross is the archetype of ignored reality.

This motif of Christ crucified among thieves is central to the redemptive power of Christianity, with its assertion that salvation is found among people whom the world despises and rejects, and that Jesus stands in solidarity with the lost of the world. It has an important liberatory message for the status of astrotheology, that the stone the builder rejects will become head of the corner.

As Acharya has noted, the Mithraic motif of the sun standing between the spring and autumn equinoxes, shown in the Tauroctony image of Mithras in between the two helpers with raised and lowered torches, also adds a resonant symbolic power to this myth.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:44 pm 
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The Solar Origin of the Two 'Thieves' Motif?

Here is a very interesting discussion of the sun god surrounded by two "standards," a mythical motif that obviously dates back many centuries before the common era.

In The Message of the Indus Seals and Tablets (170), Egbert Richter-Ushanas remarks:

Quote:
On seal 409 the sun-god, to be recognized by the rays emanating from his shoulders, puts his right foot on the slopes of the mountain. Two minor gods open the door of heaven supervised by a third. The sun-god holds an instrument in his hand that looks like the Indus sign for woman. Feldhaus thinks...that it served as a key for opening the door of heaven. According to Edzard it is a saw... Another instrument that may have been used for dispelling the darkness stands outside the door-wings. Two "standards" are placed at both sides of the god. They consist of the signs for god and the sun in respect to its rising and setting.

This imagery, apparently on an Akkadian seal* (3rd millennium BCE), is comparable to the story in the Epic of Gilgamesh of the hero passing through Mt. Mashu, following the path of the sun through the "twelve leagues of darkness." The mountain itself is twin-peaked, representing sunrise and sunset. The symbolism of the sun between the two peaks is very ancient and widespread, found in Mesopotamia, Egypt and in the Americas, among other places. Here is another possible if not probable source of the later imagery of Mithra and Jesus, et al., between two figures.

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Note that the "ballcourt" is where the solar-maize god/hero Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan is supposed to resurrect.

I am also reminded of the solar "Horus of the Two Horizons," Ra-Horakhty. Note that this sacred-mountain myth origin does not exclude our previous discussions here, such as concerns the equinoxes or constellations. On the contrary, it is likely that all of the various connotations were indicated by one mythological system or another, accreted over the centuries by the process of syncretism. If there is one thing the ancients were good at, it was syncretizing myths and incorporating multiple meanings in motifs and symbols. Indeed, they positively thrived off of such "coincidences," reading into them divine will and an exquisite order to the cosmos. I would surmise, however, that this sunrise-sunset Twin Mountains theme is among the earliest and most primitive connotations, as it requires no advanced knowledge.

------------

* Ushanas (1997:178) cites the original seal 409 as coming from "Boehmer XXXTV,392^1 5," referring to R. M. Boehmer, Die Entwicklung der Glyptik während der Akkad-Zeit, Berlin, 1965.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:57 pm 
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This is my list of the evil-good dichotomy.
We find this association in all miths, religions and some philosophies and in all american adventure films.

Dark-Light
Boaz-Jachin
Cain-Abel
Cautopates-Cautes
Devil-Angel
Dragon-George
Elijah-Elisha
Female-Male
Gesta-Dismas
John-Jesus
War-Peace
Hariman-Ahura Mazda
Left-Right
Hell-Paradise
Winter-Summer
Isis-Osiris
Moon-Sun
Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde
Black-White
North-South
Day-Night
Life-Death
Moses-Joshua
Hate-Love
West-East
Romulus-Remus
Satan-Michael
Snake-Maria
Seth-Horus
Sunset-Sunrise
Ying-Yiang

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http://KRST.iuppiter.eu
http://RUM-MOLH.iuppiter.eu

Millions of pages were written to comment the Gospels, interpreting them literally and building theological or catechetical scaffolding. Other authors have interpreted them with the aim to refute because they had identified discrepancies and inconsistencies in the narrative. All have fallen into the error of considering them as the testimony of events really happened. from KRST


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