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Horus Vs Jesus - Is It True?

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Hopefully I put this in the right section....

 

For a while I thought that the similarities between Horus and Jesus were undeniable. Recently I saw this.

One of the claims have to be true, so, is Horus similar to Jesus or not?

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It seems to be true, yep. The story of Horus predated the story of Jesus.

 

I found another website that also has the comparisons, but also has a good list of citations, so you can look up the specifics yourself. It isn't uncommon for religions to influence each other, just as it isn't uncommon today. For example, Sikhism is a mix of Islam and Buddhism. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Jews in ancient Egypt were influenced by religious stories around them.

 

Anyway, if this issue really bothers you, I suggest that you stop stop here. Keep digging until you can really say you've found the most credible sources that have given you the honest truth. You can find the Egyptian Book of the Dead on Sacred Texts for example. Nothing like going straight to the source. Good luck to you. :)

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Is Horus similar? Similar? Sort of. That's about it. I've read the stories. All of them I could get my hands on. The only thing I couldn't do was to read them in the original form (which I wish I could have). If you really, really, really, want to see Horus in jesus or vice-versa then you will. Read the stories in context and you'll see that Horus is a rather dynamic character unlike jesus.

 

mwc

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This topic comes up in cycles. I read those links and discussions as well. This really comes back to the world recently through Acharya S making it popular again, citing Gerald Massey and other Eyptologists from over a hundred years ago. She basis this on 3rd hand information without citing actual sources directly, or any modern scholars who support this. In short its outdated and based on less the "cutting-edge" information. Richard Carrier, and atheist author who posts over at infidels.org has a discussion of this here: http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/Luxor_Inscription.html

 

Here's a quote from his conclusion:

 

And yet the Christian narratives are, like most myths,
very much original creations
(that's why the two versions--in Matthew and Luke--are so radically different from each other).
Understanding their background and cultural and historical context is certainly helpful, and necessary, but it doesn't lead to any plagiaristic scandal of the sort Acharya S wants there to be
. She may still be right that what we are told is actually a myth about Jesus, not historical fact, but that is a conclusion that requires a lot more evidence than what we find at Luxor.

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This topic comes up in cycles. I read those links and discussions as well. This really comes back to the world recently through Acharya S making it popular again, citing Gerald Massey and other Eyptologists from over a hundred years ago. She basis this on 3rd hand information without citing actual sources directly, or any modern scholars who support this. In short its outdated and based on less the "cutting-edge" information. Richard Carrier, and atheist author who posts over at infidels.org has a discussion of this here: http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/Luxor_Inscription.html

 

Here's a quote from his conclusion:

 

And yet the Christian narratives are, like most myths,
very much original creations
(that's why the two versions--in Matthew and Luke--are so radically different from each other).
Understanding their background and cultural and historical context is certainly helpful, and necessary, but it doesn't lead to any plagiaristic scandal of the sort Acharya S wants there to be
. She may still be right that what we are told is actually a myth about Jesus, not historical fact, but that is a conclusion that requires a lot more evidence than what we find at Luxor.

 

Thanks for the Richard Carrier quote. I think that about sums it up. I've always found laughable the so-called disproofs of Christianity on the basis of Christianity's similarity to other religions. I think arguments of this type suffer from what I call "the Dan Brown fallacy," because Dan Brown thinks that simply because two cultures use similar looking symbols, they must either mean the same thing by those symbols or the symbols were orignially connected. When a rapper give a "V" sign, he means by that sign "peace," when an Englishman does the same he means "fuck you." The "V" sign means two different things in two different cultures. And the signs do not share common origin. The Englishman's "V" sign purported stems from the battle fo Agincourt. The rapper's "V" sign is just an easier way to make the "peace" gesticulation.

 

Similarly, the fact that parts of the Horus myth and parts of the Jesus myth share similarities is no proof any connection whatsoever. Also mertiless is the suggestion that simply because we treat the Horus myth as myth we must therefore treat the Jesus story as myth on pain of logical inconsistency.

 

There are good reasons not to take all the details of the Jesus story literally. But those reasons are not contained in the Horus myth or, so to speak, anything else "we find at Luxor. I don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but that is because I know enough about the real world to know that such things do not happen, not because I perceive any connection between that legend and other ressurction myths such Norse myth of Baldur's ressurection.

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I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

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I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

 

The American flag and the Puerto Rican flag are similar because there is an actual connection between the two countries. Feudalism in medieval Europe and feudalism in medieval Japan are similar even though there was no connection between the two areas.

 

The Puerto Rican "got their flag" from the Americans. Oda Nobunaga did not "get his feudalism" from Charlemagne.

 

Similarites by themselves prove nothing at all.

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I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

 

The American flag and the Puerto Rican flag are similar because there is an actual connection between the two countries. Feudalism in medieval Europe and feudalism in medieval Japan are similar even though there was no connection between the two areas.

 

The Puerto Rican "got their flag" from the Americans. Oda Nobunaga did not "get his feudalism" from Charlemagne.

 

Similarites by themselves prove nothing at all.

 

 

There were common motifs that many religions drew from. To call "copycat" is a straw man. To say there were several themes such as dying, resurrection, baptisms, virgin births, etc. that religions drew from is significant. Again, the early church fathers took is so seriously that they ascribed the pagan religions as deceptions of the devil. Tertullian said, "the devil by the mysteries of his idols imitates even the main part of the divine mysteries." . . . "He baptizes his worshippers in water and makes them believe that this purifies them from their crimes." . . . "Mithra sets his mark on the forehead of his soldiers; he celebrates the oblation of bread; he offers an image of the resurrection, and presents at once the crown and the sword; he limits his chief priest to a single marriage; he even has his virgins and ascetics."

 

edit: I want to add another point here. Most of Christianity accepts that humans have an "immortal soul". A few sects rightly reject this because it is not Biblical. The idea of an immortal soul owes more to Plato than to the Bible. Yet it is accepted without question by most Christians. Why is it so hard to believe that other themes also originated before and outside of Christianity? In fact, there are Christians who accept the parallels and use them to support Christianity. C.S. Lewis said, "We must not be nervous about 'parallels' and 'pagan christs': They ought to be there - it would be a stumbling block if they weren't. We must not, in false spirituality, withhold our imaginative welcome." (C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1961, pp. And, "Now as myth transcends thought, Incarnation transcends myth. The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of a Dying God, without ceasing to be myth comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens-at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences...by becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle". (C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock, "Myth Became Fact")

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I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

This is a somewhat misunderstood reference which is used to support the Christianity copied pagan religions, that Justin Martyr was trying to explain away similarities. But what Justin was really saying was in defense of accusations against Christianity being a new, dangerous sect, and was not actually talking about comparing Christian and Pagan beliefs, but between the Pagan gods and the Hebrew scriptures.

 

He was trying to establish that Christianity was not some new sect, but had its roots way back in the Hebrew scriptures; and that what they saw in their gods was the fabrication of demons imitating what they had seen in prophecy regarding the coming Christ, but misunderstanding and falling short of it. His argument was that they should not dismiss Christianity as new and dangerous, but the actual fulfillment of what their gods were only cheap imitations of that the demons created from knowing scripture. "You say this about your gods, who you can see imitated the Hebrew Scriptures, but ours actually fulfilled it." That's the gist of his argument, not to explain away similarities, as is often cited. He was trying to persuade them by showing there were parallels that they weren't overtly catching. He went to lengths to point them out to them.

 

And again, as in how Richard Carrier points out, no-one is saying that pagan ideas may not have influenced certain Christian ideas, of course many ideas of culture all get blended into the myth-making processes. But it's lacks support to simply claim they are a case of wanton plagiarism. Citing Justin Martyr as red-faced to see these parallels and making excuses for them is not really supported by the text. Same sort of thing with the Luxor inscriptions.

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I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

 

Here is the quote from Justin Martyr, in his First Apology:

 

And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know ho many sons your esteemed writers ascribe to Jupiter: Mercury ... Aesculapius ... Bacchus ... Hercules; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon. And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know ...If we even affirm that he (Jesus) was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that he (Jesus) made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Aesculapius."

 

Justin Martyr lived in the second century AD/CE and, as a result, is fairly close in time to the supposed events of the New Testament. And even he recognized, in his time, that the story of Jesus was nothing new, but very similar to stories being told of other gods and demi-gods in his day.

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He was trying to establish that Christianity was not some new sect, but had its roots way back in the Hebrew scriptures; and that what they saw in their gods was the fabrication of demons imitating what they had seen in prophecy regarding the coming Christ, but misunderstanding and falling short of it. His argument was that they should not dismiss Christianity as new and dangerous, but the actual fulfillment of what their gods were only cheap imitations of that the demons created from knowing scripture. "You say this about your gods, who you can see imitated the Hebrew Scriptures, but ours actually fulfilled it." That's the gist of his argument, not to explain away similarities, as is often cited. He was trying to persuade them by showing there were parallels that they weren't overtly catching. He went to lengths to point them out to them.

True enough. But let me just post this little (well, more than a little) bit from Dialogue with Trypho:

 

Chapter LXIX.—The devil, since he emulates the truth, has invented fables about Bacchus, Hercules, and Æsculapius.

 

“Be well assured, then, Trypho,” I continued, “that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah’s days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine. Or, “an ass.” The ass was sacred to Bacchus; and many fluctuate between οἶνον and ὄνον. into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, ‘strong as a giant to run his race,’ has been in like manner imitated? And when he [the devil] brings forward Æsculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? But since I have not quoted to you such Scripture as tells that Christ will do these things, I must necessarily remind you of one such: from which you can understand, how that to those destitute of a knowledge of God, I mean the Gentiles, who, ‘having eyes, saw not, and having a heart, understood not,’ worshipping the images of wood, [how even to them] Scripture prophesied that they would renounce these [vanities], and hope in this Christ.

Clearly this wasn't written like the apologies. To convince anyone the religion wasn't dangerous. This is simply trying to establish that this new religion is really somehow old and that these others copied from it rather than the other way around. This is just a simple example and probably not even one of the best. I just happened to have old Justin open in another tab so we what we get. ;)

 

The point being here that in his attempts to show that xianity is so old and the one that is being copied it is showing his hand that he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho). What I don't ever remember reading in any of these types of apologies and such was anyone discussing how any jesus was similar to Egyptian gods and with Egyptian temples in Rome and lots of xian activity in Egypt (Alexandria) they should have been familiar with Horus and especially Isis (whose iconography was later applied to Mary). But I can't think of a single example (not even to say 'what's his name wrote on that').

 

How those similarities got there is something entirely different. I tend to think it wasn't the demons as Justin does but he's fairly convinced so who knows?

 

mwc

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Citing Justin Martyr as red-faced to see these parallels and making excuses for them is not really supported by the text. Same sort of thing with the Luxor inscriptions.

 

I cited Tetullian.

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I think playing around with apologists and so on may prove to be futile.

 

Is there or is there not sufficient proof that much of Jesus' life is replica to that of Horus?

 

If I told a story, brand new in all its qualities with significant details, then 20 years later another story was told that mimicked numerous amounts of those significant details, there would be reason to suspect the stealing of ideas.

 

Can we look at the stories of Horus, Isis and Osiris et al and find that we have much of what is in the biblical narratives to already have existed and been taught in the cultures wherein the Hebrews traveled amongst and lived amongst, or even had access to?

 

Perhaps we should do our own investigative work ourselves instead of quoting one author who we say shows that other authors are invalid, who themselves did their own homework, according to who they fancied and on and on... thats picking favorites and choosing according to our bias and not true investigative research.

 

Take Christmas for example, the SuN appears to stop in its tracks on the 22, 23, and 24 of December, then makes its way, rising again in our perspective. Strange how the SoN is said to do the same thing, continue one way until stopping in procession, appearing motionless for 3 days and then rising again, that alone begs many questions.

 

Of course the True Believer™ would say that it is simply God's way of teaching the gospel in the stars....

 

So which came first, the Horus or the Egg?

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I am not an expert on this subject and the fact that both Christians and non-Christians can explain away the parallels between two religions shows me how similar ideas can crop up independently from each other.

 

Coming from a mathematical background, a couple of ideas that follow include the development of the Pythagorean Theorem in Greece and China (could have been disseminated via trade routes) and the knowledge of zero which seems to have cropped up in Mesopotamia, India and Central America.

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I think playing around with apologists and so on may prove to be futile.

 

Is there or is there not sufficient proof that much of Jesus' life is replica to that of Horus?

 

If I told a story, brand new in all its qualities with significant details, then 20 years later another story was told that mimicked numerous amounts of those significant details, there would be reason to suspect the stealing of ideas.

 

Can we look at the stories of Horus, Isis and Osiris et al and find that we have much of what is in the biblical narratives to already have existed and been taught in the cultures wherein the Hebrews traveled amongst and lived amongst, or even had access to?

 

Perhaps we should do our own investigative work ourselves instead of quoting one author who we say shows that other authors are invalid, who themselves did their own homework, according to who they fancied and on and on... thats picking favorites and choosing according to our bias and not true investigative research.

 

Take Christmas for example, the SuN appears to stop in its tracks on the 22, 23, and 24 of December, then makes its way, rising again in our perspective. Strange how the SoN is said to do the same thing, continue one way until stopping in procession, appearing motionless for 3 days and then rising again, that alone begs many questions.

 

Of course the True Believer™ would say that it is simply God's way of teaching the gospel in the stars....

 

So which came first, the Horus or the Egg?

 

But Christmas is the nativity, not the resurrection story.

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The point being here that in his attempts to show that xianity is so old and the one that is being copied it is showing his hand that he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho). What I don't ever remember reading in any of these types of apologies and such was anyone discussing how any jesus was similar to Egyptian gods and with Egyptian temples in Rome and lots of xian activity in Egypt (Alexandria) they should have been familiar with Horus and especially Isis (whose iconography was later applied to Mary). But I can't think of a single example (not even to say 'what's his name wrote on that').

Again, this is ascribing a motive to him that I don't see the text supporting. It seems easier to read this as him trying to find parallels and put them in front of the face of the readers in order to try to persuade them. It's not feeling embarrassed about it and trying to explain it away. He's actually stretching the stories to try to make it fit as a form of evangelism. He's creating the similarities. From Justin Martyr's First Apology XXI,

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven,
we propound nothing different from what you believe
regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter."

 

I see him stretching analogies to try to persuade them to see similarities where they weren't; not trying to excuse them away because he's embarrassed.

 

Yes there are loose parallels, just as there are between Jesus and Horus, or Thor, or whatever god you wish to find comparisons with. But his use of these loose parallels is really not much different than Acharya S's use of them: Justin's being to try to manufacture a connection to persuade them to become Christian, Acharya's to try to dissuade. But the problem is that with both of these sides of manufacturing parallels, it raises the question of how close a parallel has to be before it actually is a parallel?

 

The more generalized you make it to be, the less it really is because it can then be extended to include a great deal more than just the subject at hand. (Santa and Satan contain the same letters!, as an extreme example). That's the whole problem with what I've seen with citing these out-dated scholars like Gerald Massey and Kersey Graves. Not only are overly generalized, they either ignore or were unaware of many factors that reduce the significance of these "parallels".

 

A quote from the scholar Richard Carrier again, http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ric...ier/graves.html

 

"Most scholars immediately recognize many of his findings as unsupported and dismiss Graves as useless... In general, even when the evidence is real, it often only appears many years after Christianity began, and thus might be evidence of diffusion in the other direction. Another typical problem is that Graves draws far too much from what often amounts to rather vague evidence."

 

and from the same article Carrier addresses Grave's approach and cites the passage you did above,

 

"Another example is something written by the first philosophical defender of Christianity, Justin Martyr, who wrote around 160 A.D. These passages show the sort of stories that even Christians acknowledged as predating their own, and
you can see how Graves sometimes embellishes and goes a bit too far with this kind of evidence--and there is no better evidence before the 3rd century,
when Christian ideas were already affecting pagan thought
. However, you will see here that there is a small kernel of truth in what Graves argues, but since he rarely cites sources and engages in almost no critical examination of texts we can't tell when he is right or wrong and that makes him useless to scholars.

 

Justin wrote in his Dialogue of Justin and Trypho (the Jew) (69-70):

 

Be well assured, then, Trypho, that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that the devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and traveled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when the devil brings forward Asclepius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? . . . And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah's words?

 

Although I have not exhaustively investigated this matter,
I have confirmed only two real "resurrected" deities with some uncanny similarity to Jesus which are actually reported before Christian times
, Zalmoxis and Inanna, neither of which is mentioned by Graves or John G. Jackson (another Gravesian author--though both mention Tammuz, for whom Inanna was mistaken in their day). This is apart from the obvious pre-Christian myths of Demeter, Dionysos, Persephone, Castor and Pollux, Isis and Osiris, and Cybele and Attis, which do indeed carry a theme of metaphorical resurrection, usually in the terms of a return or escape from the Underworld, explaining the shifting seasons. But these myths are not quite the same thing as a pre-Christian passion story.
It only goes to show the pervasiveness in antiquity of an agricultural resurrection theme, and the Jesus story has more to it than that, although the cultural influence can certainly be acknowledged.
"

 

I'll come back to this later.

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One thing that has been of interest to me is the concept many of these ancient religions had of a "father" god that died and then came back as a "son" and this creates the "Madonna" figures we often see. We see this with Tammuz, Osiris and many others. While each story differs, there seem to be some commonalities between them. The Christian story differs in some significant ways, but it also seems to carry this same theme. The "father" god sends his "son" to die for the world, but in actuality the "father" and the "son" are one and the same god. The added concept of the Trinity makes this father/son story a bit unique, but the essence of the story seems to be pretty much the same as these other ancient versions.

 

An interesting book to read on the subject (from a Christian perspective) is "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hyslop. He stretches things, to be sure, but he does a decent job (in my opinion) of comparing ancient religions looking for these similarities. I think the book was written sometime in the late 1800's and the concept of the book is to try to show that the Catholic church is the "Babylon" and "whore" of the book of Revelation, but his research could easily be used to examine all of Christianities connections to virtually every other ancient pagan religion.

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But Christmas is the nativity, not the resurrection story.

 

 

In Winter day's get shorter, the winter solstice Celebration was the Pagan ritual of the birth of the New Sun/ (meaning day's will start to get longer after this week) or Xtians.. Birth of the New Son. Day's get longer for the Pagans they are happy because they can farm, life can't live without the sun, nor for Xtians the Son. Everything is Relative, and Xtians aren't the first to lay claim of celebrating Sun/son births on Dec 25

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Again, this is ascribing a motive to him that I don't see the text supporting. It seems easier to read this as him trying to find parallels and put them in front of the face of the readers in order to try to persuade them. It's not feeling embarrassed about it and trying to explain it away. He's actually stretching the stories to try to make it fit as a form of evangelism. He's creating the similarities.

[...]

I see him stretching analogies to try to persuade them to see similarities where they weren't; not trying to excuse them away because he's embarrassed.

So you essentially didn't read what I had written? Otherwise I am very confused by your response.

 

You even go so far as to repost the text that I had originally quoted.

 

I'll go ahead and quote the part you highlighted (from myself) and then we'll go from there: "he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho)." You say no. This isn't the case. That he's actually looking for parallels within the various beliefs of the day to draw others to this new religion. Makes perfect sense unless you're arguing with a fictional Jew. Then that's suicide. Jews aren't drawn into pagan religions through these nifty parallels. Your argument might, maybe, work in the apologies but not with old Trypho. It falls down flat and dies.

 

So I'll use your text that you copied and pasted (which looks to be the same as my own) to just highlight a few key sentences). Actually I'll just remove everything else for easy reading and it doesn't need to be copied a third time I don't think:

 

do I not perceive that the devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses?

do I not perceive that the Scripture [..] has been in like manner imitated?

And when the devil brings forward Asclepius [...] he has imitated the prophecies about Christ?

has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah's words?

 

What I was saying earlier, and perhaps it got lost in all the text, is that you can see he is aware of the similarities. He isn't using them as some twisted recruiting tool. He is explaining them away (and just remember that you're the one that inserted the element of embarrassment as a motive and not me...necessity is the mother of invention and he's doing it out of necessity). He is telling this "Trypho" that the devil copied them into these other religions and that is why these "anomalies" exist. He accounts for them. Obviously he wouldn't mention them if this issue never came up but he must have been confronted with it at some point and used this discourse to lay out his version of things and have this Trypho come around to his way of thinking adding weight to his argument.

 

Anyway, this is the crux of Justin's argument: "...I shall show that this prophecy of Isaiah refers to our Christ, and not to Hezekiah, as you say..." from the preceding chapter. He then goes through the Greek religions above (and a couple more) and then he uses the LXX over the MSS to demonstrate the devil has corrupted the Jewish religion and the xians have the one true ancient religion. He is explaining away the anomalies in the texts and the various parallels in the religions. He's using the "we didn't copy from you/them but rather the devil did this the other way around a long time ago...you guys are the ones that have been fooled/corrupted and not us xians (who are really ancient by the way)."

 

Also, as I pointed out in what I had originally written I didn't know of anyone that had written of an Egyptian connection at all. I knew of later iconography but that's different. So I'm not sure why the side-track into Massey and whatnot. I even think my first post into this thread shows I don't think there is a connection here.

 

mwc

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I'll go ahead and quote the part you highlighted (from myself) and then we'll go from there: "he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho)." You say no. This isn't the case. That he's actually looking for parallels within the various beliefs of the day to draw others to this new religion. Makes perfect sense unless you're arguing with a fictional Jew. Then that's suicide. Jews aren't drawn into pagan religions through these nifty parallels. Your argument might, maybe, work in the apologies but not with old Trypho. It falls down flat and dies.

So I'm clear, you are acknowledging above that this argument I presented makes perfect sense, until you factor in he's writing to a fictitious Jew, and because you couldn't persuade a Jew with this line of argument, for that reason it falls flat? So if we can then remove that his target audience is the Jews, then it makes my argument work well to describe that this is no "making excuses" for similarities?

 

Yes, his discussion is based off a dialog with this fictitious Jew, but is it not possible his audience is either pagan or Christian and not the Jews, and he is using this dialog with a fictitious Jew as a means to communicate ideas to them, like arguments that show to the pagans how Christians have roots in the ancient religion of the Jews, using Trypho as a "literary vehicle"? Sort of like here on this website when you have atheists posts dialogs with an apologist in order to show the logic of their thought over the Christian?

 

I know there are scholars that see the intended audience are either Christians or pagans in this "Dialog with Trypho". In fact from reading this here (link), the opinion that it was written to a Jewsish was the majority opinion up until the twentieth century, but "since then it has been faulted for being uncritical".

 

So if this is the case, then, then the argument I presented above does make perfect sense as you put it, not just here but elsewhere as well?

 

 

What I was saying earlier, and perhaps it got lost in all the text, is that you can see he is aware of the similarities. He isn't using them as some twisted recruiting tool. He is explaining them away (and just remember that you're the one that inserted the element of embarrassment as a motive and not me...necessity is the mother of invention and he's doing it out of necessity). He is telling this "Trypho" that the devil copied them into these other religions and that is why these "anomalies" exist. He accounts for them. Obviously he wouldn't mention them if this issue never came up but he must have been confronted with it at some point and used this discourse to lay out his version of things and have this Trypho come around to his way of thinking adding weight to his argument.

Likewise, if your premise that his target audience was Jewish... this might make perfect sense. ;)

 

 

Also, as I pointed out in what I had originally written I didn't know of anyone that had written of an Egyptian connection at all. I knew of later iconography but that's different. So I'm not sure why the side-track into Massey and whatnot. I even think my first post into this thread shows I don't think there is a connection here.

This is all true. Something of note to make here too of Justin's writings above is that whether he was using them to make excuses for similarities, or stretching to make similarities in order to establish some superiority for Christ above the pagan gods who were a demons attempt to make them look like Christ (my thoughts on it), this much is true: it does not establish that these pagan similarities predated Christ. It merely shows they would have been there when Justin wrote.

 

It is quite arguable that the pagan gods were influenced by Christian beliefs, just as those who much later look at Krishna looking like Christ cannot establish those similarities existed prior to the possible later influence of Christianity. My feeling is there was a two-way influence, as that would be consistent with the normal pattern of myth-making in societies.

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Justin Martyr lived in the second century AD/CE and, as a result, is fairly close in time to the supposed events of the New Testament. And even he recognized, in his time, that the story of Jesus was nothing new, but very similar to stories being told of other gods and demi-gods in his day.

 

The Bible recognized that too. So, what's the big deal about other deities, and there similarities of Christ. Judaism had been around alot longer than these situations being discussed, as well as the Book of Isaiah which were written alot of the prophecies about the Hebrew Savior.

 

I have to look it up, but I think it's in Acts that they said these people would not last/or go away, as the other sects before them.

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Yes, his discussion is based off a dialog with this fictitious Jew, but is it not possible his audience is either pagan or Christian and not the Jews, and he is using this dialog with a fictitious Jew as a means to communicate ideas to them, like arguments that show to the pagans how Christians have roots in the ancient religion of the Jews, using Trypho as a "literary vehicle"? Sort of like here on this website when you have atheists posts dialogs with an apologist in order to show the logic of their thought over the Christian?

If you take my use of "your argument might, maybe, work" to mean this...then yes. ;)

 

What I mean is I can see your point. I'm just not in agreement with you over it. When I read through these texts I don't see people (Justing in this case) drawing intentional parallels for the benefit of the reader but rather someone acknowledging known parallels and explaining them as best they can.

 

So he would say something like "Let me tell you why xians also do X like those who believe in Y do." It's a response to someone saying "You xians simply do as Y do. Why should I bother with you?" He tells his story about how "Y" was really stealing from the xians from way back when the "devil" tricked everyone. The xians did it first.

 

But if I'm already in the "Y" cult what benefit is there to me to switch to the xians? The pagans had a sweeter deal on most every level. I can't see this working as an evangelistic tool. The simple idea that "Hmmm...Justin says that we were duped by some evil force and his religion is really older than mine so I should switch and in the process give up my lifestyle for his ascetic one" is not that compelling. Maybe it's true but it seems more like something someone would write to convince those that were already in the cult (or on the cusp) that they chose wisely. After all, Justin managed to turn a very wise Jew to his way of thinking (it's a must read).

 

And it's not that his audience was necessarily Jewish. Meaning If this was to be a recruitment tool then an argument with a Jew would likely imply a Jewish audience but if this was meant for a different purpose (like the one I stated) then his audience could be anyone (though Greek becomes more likely as they'd not notice the large errors the Jewish audience would).

 

This is all true. Something of note to make here too of Justin's writings above is that whether he was using them to make excuses for similarities, or stretching to make similarities in order to establish some superiority for Christ above the pagan gods who were a demons attempt to make them look like Christ (my thoughts on it), this much is true: it does not establish that these pagan similarities predated Christ. It merely shows they would have been there when Justin wrote.

Now that I read this I'm not so sure that we're all that far apart on this but maybe we're just differing on terms or some methods?

 

What you're saying (I highlight it) is true. He does do this. But it's born of necessity (like I said above). When you read through his efforts to make a prophecy be about his christ instead of Hezekiah he has to place his knowledge as superior. He has to place his religion as older. He has to then explain that the similarities aren't coincidence and they are the result of the xians stealing from the others. No. The others were tricked. Long ago. He then explains the how and why using the prophecies. The prophecies show that his christ, and so his religion, is the better thing. It's the pure form of what everyone else thought they had. It's not a matter of how or why those similarities exist. He never says (meaning he never says how the xian traditions came to be). They're just there. He does say that the others are corrupt forms of those traditions rather than the other way around.

 

It is quite arguable that the pagan gods were influenced by Christian beliefs, just as those who much later look at Krishna looking like Christ cannot establish those similarities existed prior to the possible later influence of Christianity. My feeling is there was a two-way influence, as that would be consistent with the normal pattern of myth-making in societies.

Again we agree. The problem here is time frame. By the time Justin rolls around there wasn't enough time for xianity to be a large enough influence on these cults if we assume that it started in 1C CE. They simply did not have enough people in the right places for this to happen by mid-2nd century. Now, if we're talking 3rd, 4th and later centuries I'm in total agreement (we might even see something by late 2nd/early 3rd but I'd say that's pushing it pretty hard). I'd say the changes appear in iconography first and foremost with rituals and so on coming later on (which is why there is such a difficult problem sorting out the symbols from graves).

 

This is why I believe that the Horus connection is late. The Mithra connection is late. Most of the christ/pagan connections are late. Are the some that could be as early as 1C? Sure. People obviously are talking about them (at least in the 2C) but were they intentional? Did the authors "create" a pagan christ? Did the authors simply write what were familiar themes (even a Jewish author would know these pagan themes) and so they were taken as pagan by the pagans that joined (eventually morphing into a "pagan" christ)? I'm sure there are plenty of other options/variations but you catch my drift. But since the temple structure was an allegory for creation/the universe (see Josephus/Philo and some others) it's no surprise to see this stuff pre-existing in the Jewish religion (and with jesus becoming a replacement for the temple rituals in some ways to have this transfered to him it's easy to see how these pagan ideologies would be an unintentional fit).

 

I personally think (and have been trying to write it out) the idea that you can create the story from an entirely Jewish background within an entirely 1C Jewish belief structure (I'm hesitant to use the word "create" but it's good enough). It's also fairly easy to understand how the story would become pagan as pagans joined and brought their beliefs with them.

 

mwc

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