Comment by Diana Agorio on October 21, 2010 at 12:57pm
The music for this video is "Beyond Words" by atheist former opera star, Markella. http://markella.com/
Comment by DeSwiss on October 21, 2010 at 5:13pm
Syncretastic!!!

Comment by rationalrevolution on October 22, 2010 at 6:35am
Sorry, but nope. This is bun, based on crap from Acharya S, and stuff like Zeitgeist.

There are a lot of pagan influences on Christianity, but these all came after the religion was adopted by the Romans, they have nothing to do with the origins of the New Testament stories.

I cover some of this toward the bottom of my article about historicity of Jesus:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm

And cover more of the Jewish writings that preceded the Jesus story here:

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_followup.htm
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 22, 2010 at 3:08pm
@rationalrevolution,
I have absolutely nothing to do with Acharya Sanning and I think Zeitgeist smacks of conspiracy theory.

If you read the associated blog post with the video, rather than jumping to conclusions, you would know better than to cast me in a catagory where I do not belong.

http://www.thinkatheist.com/profiles/blogs/whos-your-daddy-the-cuckold
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 22, 2010 at 3:29pm
Thanks, Doone. I am completely mystified as to why scholars on both ends of the spectrum, from Christian scholars to Price, Sanning, et al, consistently neglect to look at Palestinian religion as the origin of Christianity. The Christian scholars are obsessed with Judaism and from what I have heard about the others, they are obsessed with the council of Nicea. Neither Judaism nor the council of Nicea explain 1st century CE Christianity.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 22, 2010 at 3:45pm
As Doone knows because he is more familiar with my work than most others on this site, there is all kinds of evidence that Christianity evolved from Palestinian paganism and that Jewish influences were secondary. But, I will throw out just two things that show that the pagan culture of Palestine is more important in describing early Christianity than Judaism:

1. The central tenet of Christianity is that "Jesus died for your sins." That is a belief in human sacrifice and Judaism rejected human sacrifice rituals. Yet, there is solid archaeological evidence and literary evidence of human sacrifice rituals in Palestine during the 1st century CE.

2. Many of the first Christian preachers were eunuchs. Judaism rejected castration of priests. But, castration was a well known practice in the most prominent pagan cults in the Levant during the 1st century CE.
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 22, 2010 at 10:38pm
@Diana Agorio

Ahh, actually I didn't notice the associated link.

Having now read it, and the comment you sent to me, (BTW I'm the author of everything on my site), I'd say that I agree with *some* of the points, but still not most.

This is still a similar trap that folks like Acharya S fall into. The problem is an issue of intent.

The days of the week in English are based on the names of Anglo-Saxon gods, with Monday also being Moon-day and of course Sun-day being the day of the Sun, and Saturday being based on the Roman god Saturn.

However, that doesn't mean that every time someone writes a story and has an event happen on Friday that they are making some kind of intentional reference to Frige of the pagan pantheon.

Yes, ancient Judaism is descended from pagan Canaanite religion, but that doesn't mean that people hundreds or thousands of years after the branching kept ancient Canaanite symbolism in mind.

These astrological and various ancient pagan explanations for things are far more contrived than other simpler explanations.

If you look back at enough different random myths you can draw associations between anything, you could take pretty much any book and come up with similar "explanations".

The name Diana comes from the Roman goddess, but that doesn't mean that everyone who names their kid Diana or who uses Diana in a story has that fact in mind and intends for it to have some hidden meaning.

The explanations that I give for many passages in the Gospel of Mark are very simple and straight forward, and most of all, directly provable. I mean clearly the crucifixion scene is based on psalm 22, there is no controversy about it. It's clear that literary allusion is used throughout the text of the Gospel of Mark, its quite direct to show it.

My explanation puts the gospel narrative in a context, and provides a motive for the writing of the story.

The context is the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The writer is moved by the destruction of Jerusalem and the subjugation of the Jews by the Romans to write a, quite typical actually, story that portrays the Jews as people who deserve destruction, using allusions to Jewish scriptures that foretold the destruction of the Jews at the hands of their own god.

So what we find in the Markan narrative are lots of passages that make literary allusions to Jewish scriptures foretelling the destruction of the Jews as punishment from their own god.

There is nothing mystical about it, it's a direct commentary on a contemporary event using typical techniques of Jewish midrash.

Now, what you say is true regarding Judaism being ultimately derived from prior regional pagan religions, and traces of the ancient pagan roots of Judaism can be found throughout the "Old Testament", but that doesn't mean that the writers of the Gospels had any knowledge of these origins or had any references to them in mind, and indeed as I point out in the articles I linked, the only writer that really even matter is the writer of Mark, since everything else is just copied from it with only minor revisions, most of which are just expansions on the original literary allusions.

Judaism evolved from "Palestinian paganism", some 700-1,000 years of years prior to Christianity, but there is no indication that knowledge of or interest in this early origin existed at the time of the rise of Christianity.

The classic example is the issue of the "12 disciples". Yes, the 12 disciples are symbolic. All of the "pagan origins" of Christianity folks will tell you that it's based on "the signs of the zodiac", but that isn't really the case.

"Mark 3:
13 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 So he appointed the twelve:"

Clearly this is rooted in Jewish tradition:
"Deuteronomy 1:
22 All of you came to me and said, 'Let us sen
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 22, 2010 at 10:41pm
Whoops, my post got cropped, here is the rest:

The classic example is the issue of the "12 disciples". Yes, the 12 disciples are symbolic. All of the "pagan origins" of Christianity folks will tell you that it's based on "the signs of the zodiac", but that isn't really the case.

"Mark 3:
13 He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, 15 and to have authority to cast out demons. 16 So he appointed the twelve:"

Clearly this is rooted in Jewish tradition:
"Deuteronomy 1:
22 All of you came to me and said, 'Let us send men ahead of us to explore the land for us and bring back a report to us regarding the route by which we should go up and the cities we will come to.' 23 The plan seemed good to me, and I selected twelve of you, one from each tribe."

"Joshua 3:
10 Joshua said, 'By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites: 11the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan. 12 So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.'"

"Joshua 4:
4 Then Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelites, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe."

It's obvious that the author of Mark, when he fabricated the symbolic 12, did so based on Jewish tradition, based on his reading of the Hebrew scriptures. He was patterning the appointing of the 12 on the story of "Joshua" appointing 12 followers to serve him.

Now, ultimately it's true that the whole notion of "12 tribes of Israel" is itself likely based on ancient zodiac symbolism, but this fact would not even have been known to 1st century Jews, who all believed that there literally were 12 ancient tribes of Israel.

So to claim that when the author o Mark referrers to "the 12" that he is making some kind of astrologically symbolic reference is just nonsense. What the author of Mark was referring to was the popular Jewish narrative of heroes appointing 12 followers in Jewish stories.

The reference in Mark to "the 12" is no more astrological symbolism than a modern story about Diana getting murdered on a Friday would be symbolic of a conflict between the ancient goddess Diana and the goddess Frige.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 22, 2010 at 11:21pm
@rational revolution,
Once again, you jump to incorrect conclusions about my methodology.
If you read the portion of my blog about Josephus, I gave an example of a 1st century CE Jew using Palestinian pagan mythology as the basis for his story about Joseph and Hyrcanus. I give a bunch of other examples by Josephus in my book and demonstrate that he and others knew that their stories were based on astrological tales and myths. Rationalizing myths was a very fashionable style of writing during the Greco-Roman period. One well known example is the work of Heraclitus, who wrote sometime between the 1st century BCE and the 2nd century CE. Even more notable, is that Christians continued to add to Heraclitus' rationalized myths, adding more stories that changed mythical tales into descriptions of people.

Also, you apparently do not know very much about Canaanite/Phoenician religion. It certainly was not dead by the 1st century CE. And, you are assuming that all of Judaism was disconnected from its pagan roots at that time and that they did not know things like the zodiac symbolism of 12 in their stories.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 22, 2010 at 11:40pm
BTW: You said: (BTW I'm the author of everything on my site). You are Robert Price? Don't you think it is just a tad dishonest to create a website in third person to plug your books?

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