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PostPosted: Thu Jul 18, 2013 2:00 pm 
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The Egyptian Origin of the Christian Eucharist?

A number of cultures in antiquity engaged in a sacred meal or "Lord's Supper" of one sort or another, but Egypt always beckons while looking for archetypal precedents for Christian doctrine. Egypt is not the only source, but it remains one of the major influences on religion in a wide swathe for a period of thousands of years. As I demonstrate in Christ in Egypt, Egyptian influence upon the Christian effort was extensive.

As we may have expected, the Communion or Eucharist, whereby the god's blood and body are symbolically shared among his followers, in order to imbue spiritual oneness, can be found in pre-Christian Egypt. The Egyptian ritual revolved around the great Lord of the Underworld and Resurrection, Osiris. This sacred tradition comes hand in hand with the subject of wine, which is germane to my Moses book.

In any event, I touched upon this subject in CIE, but I've come across a wonderful quote that summarizes this issue nicely.

The annual rise of the Nile was associated with Osiris, god of the dead, of life, of vegetable regeneration, and of wine. In the dynastic era, Egypt had become a producer as well as an importer of irp [wine]. It remained an elite beverage; hence its protection by the most important deity in the Egyptian pantheon. After a fashion, Osiris and wine were made for one another. According to legend, he had died and been reborn, and the vine was a natural example of renewal—every winter it withered back to its roots, every spring it put forth new shoots. The end and resurrection of Osiris were celebrated over the Oag festival, immediately preceding that of the Drunkenness of Hathor. For the duration of its festivities, Osiris was known as "the lord of irp through the inundation," and the hieroglyphics [sic] that constitute the event's name show three wine jars on a table, with a fourth being offered by a human hand. In the latter stages of the dynastic era, the worship of Osiris, and consumption of wine, became even more closely intertwined. His devotees, after prayers and rituals, would eat bread and drink wine in the belief that these were the transubstantiated flesh and blood of their divinity.

(Gately, Iain. Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. New York: Gotham Books, 2008.)

As one might imagine, we could go off on a riff, so to speak, in a number of directions from this pithy paragraph. Suffice it to say that, if one thought something here sounds familiar, one would be correct. The same motif was applied to the mythical Jesus centuries later, obviously.

There is much more to this subject, which would require a monograph unto itself. Interested parties are referred to Christ in Egypt.

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


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