Comment by rationalrevolution on October 23, 2010 at 9:17am
If you are confusing me with Robert M. Price, we are unrelated, he has nothing to do with my website, we just happen to have the same last name. Will follow-up later when I have more time.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 23, 2010 at 12:17pm
Doone - "The Golden Ass" is a fun book and it really provides a lot of insight about what was happening in religion, contemporary with Early Christianity. "Satyricon" on the other hand will make you want to puke. I am no prude on sexual topics; but, the amount of sex with children in that book is absolutely disgusting.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 23, 2010 at 12:18pm
@DeSwiss, I love your new term: "Syncretastic!!!"
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 23, 2010 at 1:14pm
The following article summary encapsulates the central fallacy in Price's work. He is basically right that Jesus was a "Jewish" myth; but, wrong in thinking that Judaism and Christianity were unique and completely different from paganism. His claim that the pagan influences were added later by the Catholics is a very old Protestant criticism of the Catholic Church. It is a protestant theological perspective, that I was taught as a high school student at a Christian school, closely associated with a Baptist church. But, it is absolutely false. "Pagan" mythology and astrology were just as central in Judaism and Christianity as in "pagan" cults. The term "pagan" did not even exist during early Christianity. The term was invented by Christians when they began persecuting everything that wasn't Christian or Jewish (they also persecuted Jews; but, on a different basis.)

This scholar's work is part of the beginning to correct the theological interpretation of that history, providing an explanation that reflects what archaeological and primary sources show: astrology was the "backbone" of all ancient religion during the Roman period:

"In late antiquity astrology held a key position among the accepted and well-reputed sciences. As ars mathematica closely connected with astronomy, it made its way into the highest political and philosophical orders of the Roman Empire and... became the standard model of interpreting past, present,and future events. Although this is widely
acknowledged by modem historians, most scholars assume that the application of astrological theories is limited to the 'pagan mind,' whereas Jewish and Christian theology is characterizedb y a harsh refutation of astrology's implications.

As can easily be shown, this assumption is not the result of careful examination of the documentary evidence but of a preconceived and misleading opinion about the basic ideas of astrology, which led to an astonishing disregard of Jewish and Christian evidence for astrological concerns. This evidence has been either played down - if not neglected entirely - or labeled 'heretic,' thus prolonging the polemics of the
'church fathers' right into modernity.

After having reviewed the biases of previous research into monotheistic astrology and its crucial methodological problems, I shall propose a different approach. Astrology has to be seen as a certain way of interpreting reality.In this regardi t is the very backbone of esoteric tradition. I shall sketch the different discourses reflected in some
late antiquity's Jewish and Christian documents. It will be shown that the astrological worldview of planetary and zodiacal correspondences was common to most of the sources."

Jewish and Christian Astrology in Late Antiquity: A New Approach
Author(s): Kocku von Stuckrad Source: Numen, Vol. 47, No. 1 (2000), pp. 1-40
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 24, 2010 at 12:16am
BTW: I should clarify that my previous comment was in response to RG Price's claims, not Robert Price (the theologian associated with "The God Who Wasn't There" movie.) I have no idea who RG Price is, other than he thinks it is clever to post links to his website on videos posted on Think Atheist.
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 25, 2010 at 10:30am
You do much the same thing as Acharya S, you throw out tons of miscellaneous bits of information, which don't tie together and aren't relevant. We know this, we know that pretty much any name you can find from 2,000 years ago can be tied back to some other meaning or some other gods, via whatever arcane associations you want to make. Correlations aren't evidence of causation, and correlatoins don't provide any clear indication of intent.

Let's get to some specific examples:

"The 1st century CE Jewish historian, Josephus, tells another tale about a supposed historical Joseph and another version of Benjamin, called Hyrcanus (Josephus n.d.). This Joseph supposedly lived during the Hellenistic period and also went to Egypt. "

"Apollo was the god identified by the Phoenicians with Sydyk, the father of Eshmun. The wolf aspect of Apollo was also sometimes equated with the war god, Ares. Ares was in some sense an alter-ego of Apollo. And, Ares was caught in the act with the unfaithful wife of Hephaestus, Aphrodite. Both Joseph the carpenter and Hephaestus were cuckold husbands of the love goddess."


So you jump through these various hoops to try and associate the Joseph of the Gospel stories with other figures, mythical or historical, but you've failed to look in the most obvious places.

First of all, all this time spent on Joseph is not very useful, because Joseph is essentially an afterthought to the whole narrative, and isn't really very important in the first place.

We know that there are no parents of Jesus even mentioned by Paul, not even Mary, much less Joseph. There is no Joseph in Mark. So Joseph isn't even a part of the origins of the story to being with, he's a latter addition.

Now my position is that the Gospel of Mark was the first narrative written about the Jesus figure, and every other story about Jesus is copied form it. This is something that several other researchers are working on as well, basically a "single document" hypothesis, i.e. that the entire notion of a "real live Jesus" stems from this one single document, the Gospel of Mark, with no other "sources".

Now, my view is that the short version of Mark is the first narrative, then an expanded version of Mark was created. The short version is basically what we have in the Bible, and the expanded version has been lost. The expanded version accounts for so-called "Q".

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke were copied from the expanded version, and it is in the expanded version that Joseph first appears.

So why is the name of Mary's husband Joseph?

Well, firstly, we have to look at Mark. In Mark Joseph of Arimathaea is who buries Jesus. So, by having Joseph as the husband of Mary, there is a Joseph is with Jesus at the beginning and the end. Nice symbolism that has nothing to do with any other mythology, and it also fits a pattern of types of symbolism present in the Gospels.

But there is more than that as well. Why else might Mary's husband be "Joseph"? Well, without getting to all of the obvious details, Joseph is a major figure within the Hebrew scriptures, indeed there are multiple stories about different Josephs in the "Old Testament", from which there are multiple symbolic reasons one could pick Joseph as the husband of Mary.

http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/index.php?search=Joseph&ver...

"“Bethlehem” originally contained a reference to a Canaanite form of Laḫmu, rather than to the Canaanite word for "bread" lehem. So, Joseph the carpenter father of Jesus in Matthew and Luke was from the House of Lahmu: Bethlehem. Like the Josephs before him, Joseph the carpenter also made a trip to Egypt. And, like Hephaestus, he was not really the father of his wife’s child."

The more obvious explanation for citing the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem, however is simply that the writers were again mining
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 25, 2010 at 10:41am
Damn this thing, it cut my post in half and I lost the rest of it.

I forgot the rest of what I wrote, but I'll just make this point again:

"The gospel of Mark is 100% star story, with Jesus as a fetus in a cosmic womb and as a new born baby. He dies on the Arrow constellation, just like all of the other boy gods."

This is total nonsense. There isn't even any birth back story in the Gospel of Mark. Re-read my article on the Gospel of Mark.

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

The Gospel of Mark is thoroughly based on literary allusions to the Hebrew scriptures. This is quite easy to demonstrate, and is in fact the origin of the idea that the Gospels showed some kind of "prophesy fulfillment".

The early Christians were interpreting literary allusion as "prophecy fulfillment".

So we have two completely different views of what the Gospel of Mark is. You view is that its a "star story", the point of which is not clear. My view is that it's an allegorical commentary on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans written shortly after the war with Rome, which makes heavy use of literary allusions to Hebrew scriptures which foretell the punishment of the Jews by their god at the hands of gentiles.

Every other "Gospel" is just a bad copy of this one original story.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 25, 2010 at 1:28pm
@RR
The gospel of Mark was not written for you as a 21st century American. It was most likely written for a late 1st century CE pagan audience. The author was a religious nut writing for a sect that followed magicians, who were by definition very well versed in astrology. If you don't know anything about astrology, you don't know anything about ancient religions. Astrology was fundamental in their belief systems. There is a birth story in Mark which I describe in my book.

Your reading of the Bible is flat because you are not well aquainted with ancient cultures. I don't see any references in your writing to current scholarship in the relevant fields from peer-reviewed material. I recommend that you get access to a database and do a bit more study before presenting yourself as an expert on this topic.

Also: You might do better by making your own videos and blog posts about your work, rather than bashing Acharya Sanning and me as a method of promoting your book. Attacking her or me does not tell anything about your qualifications to write about this topic. I might not agree with Sanning on many things; but, she does at least have some background in archaeology, etc.
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 25, 2010 at 10:26pm
Here is another example:
"Jesus offered the Samaritan woman water from his father’s cup, Apollo’s Krater. She was represented by the same constellation as Eshmun/Asclepius’ mother, Coronis, the Raven/Crow, next to Apollo’s Cup, in Greek astrology. The Greek notion that she was an unfaithful wife is also part of the story because she was described as having five husbands. The woman left her waterpot next to the well and flew off to tell everybody about Jesus. She was the noisy crow and her waterpot became Apollo’s Cup. The gospel stories are creation stories, describing the how the constellations were formed and Jesus was the crafty guy who put them in their place, with his words or logos."

Again, this makes no sense.

The story of the Good Samaritan only exists in Luke. It's pretty clearly an expansion on Mark 12:28-34.

Mark 12:
"28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'[b] 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c]There is no commandment greater than these."

32"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions."

Luke 10:
"5On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

27He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'[c]; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[d]"

28"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise.""

The author of Luke was just expanding on the shorter version of Mark, probably to address questions of interpretation that has arisen by that time, seeing as Luke was probably written some 20-40 years after Mark. So as the question "what does love your neighbor as yourself mean?" poped-up, the author of Luke saw fit to settle it.

Luke is just a copy of expanded Mark, with an attempt by the author to fit the Markan narrative into history. The irony of your claim about this being some "creation story" is that Luke is the least symbolic of all th
Comment by rationalrevolution on October 25, 2010 at 10:51pm
"The gospel of Mark was not written for you as a 21st century American"

Exactly, which is my whole point of putting it in the context of the time it was written, shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem.

"It was most likely written for a late 1st century CE pagan audience."

Most likely not, seeing as virtually every other line is a reference to the Hebrew scriptures...

The Gospel of Mark has around 50 identifiable references to the Hebrew scriptures involving quotes or paraphrases and zero references to non-Jewish writings in the form of quotes or paraphrases.

Kind of an odd way to write a story "for pagans" isn't it?

The story is clearly anti-Jewish and pro-Roman, so surely it had some intention for gentile audiences, but the intended symbolism is based on the Jewish scriptures, not pagan mythology or astrology.

Look at the climax of the story, the crucifixion, it's a virtual wall of literary allusions. Virtually every line is lifted directly from the Hebrew scriptures... hmmm... looks like the intended symbolism might be rooted in those literary allusions eh?

And what do we see?

"Mark: 33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole earth until three in the afternoon."

"Amos 8:
1 This is what the Lord God showed me—a basket of summer fruit. 2 He said, 'Amos, what do you see?' And I said, 'A basket of summer fruit.' Then the Lord said to me,
'The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass them by.
3 The songs of the temple shall become wailings on that day,' says the Lord God;
'the dead bodies shall be many,
cast out in every place. Be silent!'
...
7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who lives in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?

9 On that day, says the Lord God,
I will make the sun go down at noon,
and darken the earth in broad daylight.

10 I will turn your feasts into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on all loins,
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
and the end of it like a bitter day."

Now, call me crazy, but for a story that was written either as Jerusalem was being sacked by the Romans, or shortly thereafter, this might be fitting symbolism don't ya think????

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