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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Thomas Brodie wrote:
New Testament texts are explained as depending not on oral tradition but on older literature, especially older scripture. The New Testament books are Scripture reshaping Scripture to speak to a changed situation.

This use of "oral tradition" can be unclear. Within theology, it means the hypothesis that the Gospels derive from a spoken account going back to an historical Jesus. But we could turn it around, and say there actually must be an oral tradition about Jesus, but this tradition is purely mythical, developing the idea of Jesus Christ as a solar god, and then elaborating this myth into the historical fiction of the gospels that we have today. What this alternative oral tradition requires is that the Midrash was used by the gospel authors according to a cosmic heuristic, that the 'changed situation' of which Brodie speaks includes a universal natural vision of a new age, as well as the political need to respond to empire in the common era.

A prominent strand within Christ Mythicism exhibits an irrational psychological blockage towards any study of cosmic motifs within analysis of Christian evolution. This strand (eg Carrier, Godfrey) is rejected by the smarter thinkers such as Doherty and Price (and of course Acharya). Astral themes such as solar allegory are a central part of the evidence for why the Christ Myth Hypothesis is compelling. The Christ Myth Theory cannot hope to advance while its scientific cornerstone is rejected.

It seems that writers such as Brodie may not give due weight to the astral factors that guided the selection of Midrash, although I have not read his book so cannot presume on this. Even so, some writers remain so influenced by baleful Christian brainwashing regarding supernaturalism as superior to naturalism that they are emotionally unable to explore how the observed patterns of the heavens were used to construct Christ from Jewish Midrash and other sources.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Here's another book that backs up one of the contentions included in my book Christ Con: To wit, the myth of massive martyrdom. I heard about it from Bob Price.

The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom

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In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors.

According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because they refused to renounce Christ. These saints, Christianity’s inspirational heroes, are still venerated today.

Moss, however, exposes that the “Age of Martyrs” is a fiction—there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches.

The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were—and always will be—persecuted by a hostile, secular world. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:13 pm 
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^ ahh, I was just about to start a new thread but, I'll post it here ...

The History and Controversy of Persecution in the Early Church

Candida Moss is giving a lecture March 21, 2013 at 7:30 PM at the Washington National Cathedral

The Myth of Persecution by Candida Moss



Acharya has a subsection entitled: 'The Myth of Massive Martyrdom' in Christ Conspiracy pages 5 & 6 where she discusses the fabrication of Christian persecution.

Huff Po: The Myth of Christian Persecution

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:32 am 
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cythara wrote:
This information on Celsus is very interesting. I have never heard of him, but the writing you quote here agrees with what I think actually happened; Christianity began in Persia modified by Greek Neo-Platonic philosophy and logical inquiry. This would have been the very best beginning of a new religion - a religion based on seeking truth of what we can know 'for sure' about the cosmos around us. A branch of this religion made its way down into Palestine, possible being taught by Jesus and John, upon whose deaths (by however means) the religion was seized upon by Pharisees and into it was combined 'Teacher of Righteousness' texts found at Qumran, their secret "University of Sacred Forgeries".
...


I think it reasonable to offer a suggestion/warning here. NEVER look for ways to salvage a kernel of truth in anything and particularly not in religions as they are so ill-defined.

You will find that these "kernels" are so different from the myth that it does not matter in the least if the kernel is correct or not. You will also find there are as many different kernels to discover as there are approaches to take in searching for them.

For example take King Solomon of polygamist fame. It is currently popular to say he was just a hilltop warlord. It should be clear the difference between the Solomon of the bible and a hilltop warlord is so great any hilltop warlord will suffice and in fact none is required to invent this as a kernel of truth. And on top of that no evidence this is the case. And BTW: No evidence there were hilltop warlords in the first place.

For your suggestion I would point out you should first establish there was such a Persian movement. I would also point out all the physical evidence indicates Christianity originated in modern northern Syria and eastern Turkey and later spread to Judea.

On a related subject, the Qumran scrolls (looted by Israel in 1967.) There is nothing that brings the crazies out of the woodwork like those scrolls. Unless you have dug into the boring, academic publications you know next to nothing about them or their contents. And they are too boring for me. Connecting the "teacher of righteousness" with Jesus was the invention of the academic Barbara Thiering and it is ignored by everyone else in the scroll business as an academic. Unfortunately many people who make their living with lectures and selling books have popularized the connection.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:03 pm 
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Dr. Spong on the Gospel of John

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:12 pm 
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Quote:
"In light of the importance of cosmological perspectives in the ancient world, it is unfortunate that the study of cosmology has been relatively under-served in New Testament studies" ...

"A fascination with, and fear of the heavens goes deep into human history. In the Ancient Near East, the stars were universally regarded as divine beings, and "astral mythology" is pervasive throughout the literature and iconography of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Babylonians in particular made meticulous observations about the heavenly bodies, and the interplay of their scientific calculations and their religious beliefs remains a fascinating area of inquiry...."

"This cosmologically-conscious world provides the context for the biblical literature, both Old and New Testaments." ... "As many OT scholars have observed, Genesis 1:1 is a YHWH-exalting assertion within the context of Ancient Near Eastern worldviews. Other OT texts such as Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 manifest motifs drawn from astral mythology, albeit substantially reworked in light of Israelites’ distinctive religious history."

"It is apparent from these brief examples that an understanding of ancient cosmology will prove relevant to our understanding and appreciation of the NT documents. As mentioned earlier, few studies have undertaken such a project, and none has sought to cover the entire NT with an eye to its theological emphases."

- Cosmology and New Testament Theology: A Brief Introduction by Sean McDonough and Jonathan Pennington

^ Both are Christians and Professors of New Testament Studies in an admission against Christian interests as "astral mythology" is another way of saying astrotheology. (Bold emphasis is mine)

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:38 pm 
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Poetic Astronomy

Here's another very interesting modern book that confirms claims in Christ Con and could also be posted in the Astrotheology of the Ancients thread.

Quote:
Poetic astronomy in the ancient Near East: The Reflexes of Celestial Science in Ancient Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, and Israelite Narrative

by Jeffrey L. Cooley, Eisenbrauns, 2013

Description

Modern science historians have typically treated the sciences of the ancient Near East as separate from historical and cultural considerations. At the same time, biblical scholars, dominated by theological concerns, have historically understood the Israelite god as separate from the natural world. Cooley’s study, bringing to bear contemporary models of science history on the one hand and biblical studies on the other hand, seeks to bridge a gap created by 20th-century scholarship in our understanding of ancient Near Eastern cultures by investigating the ways in which ancient authors incorporated their cultures’ celestial speculation in narrative.

In the literature of ancient Iraq, celestial divination is displayed quite prominently in important works such as Enuma Eliš and Erra and Išum. In ancient Ugarit as well, the sky was observed for devotional reasons, and astral deities play important roles in stories such as the Baal Cycle and Shahar and Shalim. Even though the veneration of astral deities was rejected by biblical authors, in the literature of ancient Israel the Sun, Moon, and stars are often depicted as active, conscious agents. In texts such as Genesis 1, Joshua 10, Judges 5, and Job 38, these celestial characters, these “sons of God,” are living, dynamic members of Yahweh’s royal entourage, willfully performing courtly, martial, and calendrical roles for their sovereign.

The synthesis offered by this book, the first of its kind since the demise of the pan-Babylonianist school more than a century ago, is about ancient science in ancient Near Eastern literature.

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"Poetic astronomy" related to religion can be called "astral mythology" or "astrotheology."

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Quote:
Jesus and Dionysus in The Acts of the Apostles and early Christianity

Jesus and Dionysus in "Acts"

Abstract: This paper provides a strong affirmative to an old question: does "The Acts of the Apostles" quote Euripides' "Bacchae"? There are enormous consequences alike for the interpretation of "Acts", for the relationship between Christianity and Dionysiac cult, and for our understanding of the missionary methods of the early Christians.

Notes: This paper was extensively trialed both in NT and in Classical seminars and both in the UK, Ireland and the US, where it won general assent. I expect it to make a considerable impact both upon NT and upon Classical scholarship, since it will help to interest Classicists in a very great Greek prose text.

Date: 01-07-2006
Journal: Hermathena
Volume: 180
Pages: 65-104
Publisher: Department of Classics, Trinity College, Dublin

'Dionysus theomachos? Echoes of the Bacchae in 3 Maccabees' by J.R.C. Cousland, Biblica, Vol. 82 (2001) 539-548

Neil Godfreys' head must be about to explode from the parallelomania. I'm shocked that he's even willing to blog it at all. Here's a highly qualified and respected scholar admitting parallels between Jesus and Dionysus (another Pagan sun god) with a bit of borrowing in the book of Acts ... talk about a conniption fit.

I thought the comment by 'blood' was funny and just a pun towards Godfrey's fear of parallels, at least if they come from Acharya - anybody else is fine:

"Moles is not a New Testament scholar, and this is clearly a case of parallelomania if we ever saw one. Therefore, we’re entitled to ignore everything he’s written here. Signed, the Society of Biblical Literature."

Code:
Jesus and Dionysus in The Acts of the Apostles and early Christianity
http://vridar.org/2013/08/26/jesus-and-dionysus-in-the-acts-of-the-apostles-and-early-christianity/

Jesus and Dionysus: The Gospel of John and Euripides’ Bacchae

Neil Godfrey: "No, I am not going to argue that Christianity grew out of the worship of Dionysus or that original idea of Jesus was based upon Dionysus. Rather, I am exploring the possibility that the portrayal of Jesus that we find in the Gospel of John is in significant measure a variant of the Greek Dionysus myth."

http://vridar.org/2013/04/29/jesus-and-dionysus-the-gospel-of-john-and-euripides-bacchae/

Jesus and Dionysus (2): Comparison of John’s Gospel and Euripides’ Play
http://vridar.org/2013/05/09/jesus-and-dionysus-2-comparison-of-johns-gospel-and-euripides-play/

Jesus and Dionysus (3)
http://vridar.org/2013/05/12/jesus-and-dionysus-3/

The Point of the Dionysiac Myth in Acts of the Apostles, #1
http://vridar.org/2013/08/28/the-point-of-the-dionysiac-myth-in-acts-1/

The Bacchae
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bacchae

More on Dionysus in this thread on page 3 here:

viewtopic.php?p=26580#p26580

viewtopic.php?p=27363#p27363

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:52 pm 
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SNORE^^. Well, if you're not going to argue anything useful, then why tell us about it?

The resource below not only validates our suspicions as to pre-Christian iconography, but it also demonstrates the bigoted reactions to earlier research that is probably correct but that shocked Christian sensibilities and therefore needed to be ignored and stamped out.

Quote:
Demons, Druids and Brigands on Irish High Crosses: Rethinking the Images Identified as the Temptation of Saint Anthony

...in the early 1930s...medieval scholar Arthur Kingsley Porter...wrote a book on the Irish crosses, in which he offered new insights, some roundly accepted and others almost shocking to the scholarly world in their novelty. Among the more untenable suggestions, in the eyes of other scholars, was Porter's tracing, in some scenes, of elements from Iris myths, amounting to a rejection of the purely Christian nature of the illustrations that continues to be assumed within the academic world...

In other words, he dared to trace pre-Christian elements in these supposedly Christian cross, an effort this PhD candidate Sally Tomlinson continues in her doctorate thesis, quoted above. It is evident that increasing numbers of scholars are working to resurrect the pre-Christian pagan mythology's obvious influence upon Christianity. That's what freedom of being out from under the clergy's thumb can do for humanity.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:11 pm 
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The Elephantine Papyri and Jewish Polytheism

In my book The Christ Conspiracy, I included a chapter on "The Myth of Hebrew Monotheism," in which I provided evidence that the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews were not strict "monotheists" as is the impression given within Christianity and rabbinical Judaism. This fact disposes of the Mosaic lawgiver myth of a "historical" Moses "discovering" monotheism. We know that this impression is erroneous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that forms of "monotheism" are much older, as in Egypt, long before even Akhenaten. (See Did Moses Exist? for a discussion of this subject.)

Modern scholarship proves this contention of Israelite polytheism, which is mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament as well, with the "chosen" "whoring after" the deities of their pre-Israelite Canaanite ancestors. These Canaanite gods and goddesses were influenced by and influenced in return the Egyptian pantheon, so it is rational and scientific to look to Egypt for biblical traditions. Although we see in the Bible a story of the attempted compelling of all Jews and Israelites north and south to follow only Yahweh, even in the fifth century BCE Jewish polytheism was practiced abundantly enough to refute this notion.

This fact is demonstrated by the papyri found at Elephantine, Egypt, written in Aramaic between 494-400 BCE. These texts show that the inhabitants of this Jewish colony in Egypt practiced polytheism by worshipping not only Yahweh but also his "wife" or consort Anath, along with the Canaanite deities Bethel, Ishum and Herem, among others. (See Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus, 29-30)

Says Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (391):

Quote:
...Initially, the mode of worship of the Elephantine Jews (so manifestly opposed to Deuteronomistic rules) was a peculiar development of possibly North-Israelite syncretistic elements in a polytheistic Egyptian environment. A reassessment of the largely polytheistic nature of the Israelite religion before the Babylonian period has led modern scholars to reconsider the Elephantine experience as a vestige of preexilic Yahwism, which the Bible would label in retrospect as Canaanite corruption. The findings at Elephantine are strikingly similar to what was discovered in other preexilic Jewish sanctuaries, notably at 7th-century Kuntillet 'Ajrud....

What the above paragraph indicates is that the Jews at Elephantine were practicing the original Jewish religion, which only gradually became "monotheistic," much later than is believed and after the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE, during which Jewish priests and scribes evidently latched onto Zoroastrian ideas. This fact of continued Jewish polytheism is indicated also by the syncretism during the Greco-Roman period of Yahweh with Zeus and other gods. It also accounts for the imagery in Jewish mosaics with zodiacs and Greek gods such as Dionysus. (See also my Moses-Dionysus Connection research, in my ebook and Moses book.)

In light of this fact of Jewish polytheism and syncretism, it is not difficult to understand how Jewish, Greek and Roman authorities and vested interests adapted the numerous deities of the Mediterranean and beyond into the gospel figure of Jesus, as yet another synthesis of Jewish and Pagan religion and mythology.

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