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Christ in Egypt: Introduction

#98: Aug. - Sept. 2011 (Non-Fiction)
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FTL99
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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In response to DWill's comment I am reminded of this quote:
"The human mind has long suffered an eclipse and been darkened and dwarfed in the shadow of ideas the real meaning of which has been lost to the moderns. Myths and allegories whose significance was once unfolded to initiates in the Mysteries have been adopted in ignorance and reissued as real truths directly and divinely vouchsafed to mankind for the first and only time! The early religions had their myths interpreted. We have ours misinterpreted. And a great deal of what has been imposed on us as God’s own true and sole revelation to man is a mass of inverted myths ... Much of our folklore and most of our popular beliefs are fossilized symbolism.

The lost language of celestial allegory can now be restored, chiefly through the resurrection of ancient Egypt; the scriptures can be read as they were originally written, according to the secret wisdom, and we now know how the history was first written as mythology."

- Gerald Massey, Natural Genesis Vol. 2, page 378 ff
Here is an excerpt about Gerald Massey: Who Is Gerald Massey?
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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I guess the Egyptians could be called rational in a certain sense, the sense of pulling off these great tasks as Robert suggests.

But of course they were also very irrational in their quest for immortality and the ancient alchemical type of beliefs of a mystical bent. Now there were those priests and higher ups who knew the myths as allegory, but from what I understand they still believed that travel through the underworld was real, and that "the Osiris" would have to navigate these various tests and trials.

But in anycase this investigation will begin to concern explicit passages from the Pyramid and Coffin texts as we move through the up coming chapters. And that may help to shed light on just what exactly the ancient Egyptians believed, and therefore just what exactly was passed along as the early Christian movement sought to take possesion of these ancient mythological motifs.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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This post completes my summary of the Introduction to Christ in Egypt, with the last two sections, Timeline of Destruction and The Art of Mythmaking.

Murdock quotes a terse summary of "the violent overthrow of the Egyptian religion by the Christian mobs in the fourth century." (p23) Devastating edicts from the Emperor forbade pagan religion and made hieroglyphs illegal. It reminds me of the account of the destruction of Gnostic texts in The Nag Hammadi Library. The holders of texts deemed heretical made their last stand against the advancing Roman legions, who were bent on burning every document they could find that would question the new absolute faith of the literal Christ. The Gnostic priests resorted to hiding their sacred texts in jars in the desert, knowing that otherwise their ideas were destined for the flames. This is why we only have a small fraction of the lore of the ancients, because deliberate fanatical amnesia obliterated most of it.

Murdock asks, perhaps with tongue in cheek, if the current malaise of Christianity is a sort of "mummy's curse". (p24) This refers to the famous story that the discoverers of the tomb of King Tut in the 1920s fell victim to various mysterious maladies, with the superstition that a hidden Egyptian magic had cursed them. Looking at this question rationally, it does though make sense that a brutal mindless cultural genocide inflicts psychological harm on the perpetrator, whether it be how Americans wiped out the Indians, Australians killed off most of the Aborigines and banned their languages, or, in the ancient precedent, how monolithic Christianity banned religious diversity. When you say a lie is the only truth, it engenders a cultural pathology in which the victors become snared in their own hypocrisy. They want to say their victory is morally legitimate, but the evidence suggests otherwise, and they live with the nagging conscience of their denial of their evil deeds, until they confess the truth and seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Like Lady Macbeth, they try to wash away the blood on their hands but cannot.

In The art of mythmaking, Murdock points out that culture is complex, and there is no simple mapping of a myth onto its precedents. However, if we look at the main themes, the continuity from Egypt to Christianity is obvious. Egyptian religion, after the Christian holocaust, was 'utterly mute' until the deciphering of the hieroglyphs in the nineteenth century. Comparing this rediscovered material with Christian traditions led to the hypothesis that "the creators of the gospel tale picked various themes and motifs from pre-Christian religions and myths ... and created a new story that hundreds of millions since have been led to believe really and truly took place in history." The most plausible explanation is that Jesus Christ is "a fictional character created out of older myths, rituals and symbols." (p25)

In re-working older precedents, the Christian authors had a main eye to plausibility. They wanted a miraculous story that the masses would believe, but they also had to negotiate with the remnants of the defeated older doctrines, by compromising in their mythic pantheon and recognizing how Egyptian myth spoke to deeply felt archetypes such as the virgin mother and the resurrected savior. There is a strong element of what Robert Graves described in his brilliant introduction to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology as the survival of conquered gods in subordinate position. So the Egyptian gods did not die under the Christian onslaught, they simply went incognito, continuing to exist with other names in the Bible. Horus became Jesus, Isis became Mary, and Osiris spread out among a few characters, notably Lazarus, in order to return from the dead, much as he had done previously for more than three thousand years, but adapted to the new imperial dispensation.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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In 356 C.E. Constantius II ordered the Egyptian temples of Isis-Osiris closed and forbade the use of Egyptian hieroglyphics as a religious language. In 380 C.E. Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity to be the official Roman state religion, and all pagan cults were thereafter forbidden. These edicts were devastating to Egyptian culture and religion, both of which had been preserved over millennia through the Egyptian language and the writing systems of Egyptian priests. In 391 C.E., the Patriarch of Alexandria, Theophilus, summoned the monks to arms and turned them against the city of Memphis and the great shrine of Serapis, the Serapeum, the main temple of the Osiran-Isis religion. The attack was akin to ordering the destruction of the Vatican. Egyptian priests were massacred in their shrines and in the streets. The ferocity of the violence consumed priests, followers, and the Egyptian intellectual elite of Alexandria, Memphis and other cities of Egypt who were murdered and their temples and libraries destroyed. The institutional structure of Egyptian religion, then more than four millennia old, was demolished in less than two decades. p. 23-24
"Reading through this horrendous destruction, and knowing the cultural climate of our day, in which the Christian faith appears to be losing ground to secularism and a swelling Islam, one might wonder if Christianity is now suffering a global "mummy's curse." - Murdock p.24
What I wouldn't do for a time machine in which one could go back through these historical periods looking for evidence of what had really happened!

Why Alexandria? Why focus this destruction on the religion, temples, and priestly class which bore such a striking resemblence to the newly forming and evolving religion of Christianity? Growing up taking a believer's position I never really paid much attention to this part of history. That was just God seeing to it that Satan's evil religions were wiped out, right? God had every right to bring down such horrific destruction on these false religions, didn't he? Apretty common believer position outlook.

But what if that's all completely backwards? What if God is and has always been an evolving social concept that has no literal meaning to begin with? What if these early Christians were simply trying to cover the tracks of evidence revealing the evolving procress of their own sacred mythos? Then the devil, as a personification of the darker side of humanity, was fast at work within their minds. A beautiful lie was being passed around in the name of light, peace, and goodness. But it was an incorrect assertion nonetheless. Whether or not any such historical person as Yeshua the Messiah ever existed, the bottom line is that the gospel stories are addressed to a fictional and mythological theme. One that was largely present in Egypt for millenia before the emergence of Christianity. And it seems that certain leaders decided that that history and antiquity of several main motifs in the Christian mythos ought to be destroyed and forgotten in favor of claiming a supernatural genesis in the early to mid 1st century.

And through all of this there is no unified single myth in which the stories of Osiris, Isis, and Horus are given in a biblical type of format. And they may never have been. Perhaps such a collection had been around in Alexandria, but there's no way of knowing for sure. What scholars rely on are a wide body of various writings in which they attempt to gather together for some type of narrative.
As we can see, even with the abundant, currently available primary sources there is no one place to find a unified myth. Indeed, there exists no single, unified myth, although there are basics repeated in many places, such that we can draw a general outline, to which we need to append varying details - such constitutesthe very definition of myth.
Like the scholars of Egyptian myth who must create a narrative by piecing together bits of "biographical" material, it is our contention that the creators of the gospel tale likewise picked various themes and motifs from pre-chirstian religions and myths, including and especially the Egyptian, and wove them together, using also the Jewish scriptures, to produce a unique version of the "mythos and ritual." In other words, the creators of the Christ myth did not simply take an already formed story, scratch out the name of Osiris or Horus, and replace it with Jesus. They chose their motifs carefully, out of the most popular religious symbols, myths and rituals, making sure they fit to some degree with the Jewish "messianic scriptures," as they are termed, and created a new story that hundreds of millions since have been led to believe really and truly took place in history. Over the centuries, those who have clearly seen this development have asserted that this history is a fallacy imposed upon long pre-existing myths and rituals that have been reworked to result in the gospel story. In other words, we are convinced that "Jesus Christ" may well be a fictional character created out of older myths, rituals, and symbols....
....in writing this book about such a contentious subject that invokes such passion, it is my fervent hope to impart a clearer and more comprehensive sense of the ancient world, as well as an appreciation for the beauty and brilliance thereof, including and especially its religous and spiritual traditions, as can be discerned form the example of "Christ in Egypt." With these facts at hand, as well as that there is no one concrete course for the complete story as found in the New Testament, but there are many scattered sources used by the priesthood which created the tale, and that reconstructing their deeds can be very difficult, let us proceed through a scientific analysis of "The Horus-Jesus connection."
p.26
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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FTL99 wrote:In response to DWill's comment I am reminded of this quote:
"The human mind has long suffered an eclipse and been darkened and dwarfed in the shadow of ideas the real meaning of which has been lost to the moderns. Myths and allegories whose significance was once unfolded to initiates in the Mysteries have been adopted in ignorance and reissued as real truths directly and divinely vouchsafed to mankind for the first and only time! The early religions had their myths interpreted. We have ours misinterpreted. And a great deal of what has been imposed on us as God’s own true and sole revelation to man is a mass of inverted myths ... Much of our folklore and most of our popular beliefs are fossilized symbolism.

The lost language of celestial allegory can now be restored, chiefly through the resurrection of ancient Egypt; the scriptures can be read as they were originally written, according to the secret wisdom, and we now know how the history was first written as mythology."

- Gerald Massey, Natural Genesis Vol. 2, page 378 ff
That's something to be wrestled with. I hope you'll understand that the question I'm raising has to do with claims of originalism. That the elements of Egyptian religion were originally not to be taken literally, but as expressions of the mystery of cosmos, has been claimed here, but in any historical sense can this be shown as generally true? If, instead, it was a priesthood that had the esoteric keys to the religion, while the masses went about their ways more or less superstitiously worshiping hundreds of deities, how can it be claimed that when the scene changes to Israel around the time of Jesus, that the beliefs were manipulated into more literal and instrumental forms? Given the nature of that culture, wouldn't it be likely that that would happen naturally? The Hebrew scriptures are topheavy with what purports to be real history. Of course, then, the Jesus resurrection story would arrive as an event in history; it couldn't be any other way, and it wouldn't require any top-down arbiters to accomplish this. The primarily oral culture would take it in in just that form. (The power of the arbiters in deciding what the faith would be, and in squelching any variants, would come later.)

In other words, there was not, in all likelihood, an alternate scenario whereby Christianity could have taken hold as an allegorical/astrotheological body of myths. The example of the gnostic breakaways is probably instructive. They could not muster enough institutional or popular strength for their esoteric teachings to win out.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: December 25th Birthdate

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Hi everyone!

I wanted to stop by to say that I appreciate you discussing my book here. There is so much fascinating material I've managed to dig up and share in this book. I hope you enjoy discovering it as much as I did.

For example, in the discussion of the Egyptian recognition of the winter solstice, I obtained the hieroglyphic "Wörterbücher" or dictionaries of Dr. Heinrich Karl Brugsch, handwritten in 19th-century German. These were difficult to translate even for the native German speaker whose assistance I gratefully enlisted. To my knowledge, other than Budge, no one had focused on Brugsch's fairly lengthy discussion of the Egyptian winter-solstice recognition and celebration, which is so very interesting to me.

Included in Brugsch's dictionary was the fascinating hieroglyph of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys holding the baby sun over the life-giving ankh or Egyptian cross, an obvious reference to the "birth" of the sun at the winter solstice.

Image

In the chapter "Born on December 25th" I spend some 40 pages (79-119), including images, demonstrating that Egyptian winter-solstice motif and its relationship to the Horus the Child and other Egyptian gods.

There was much more of this sort of data that, with great difficulty at times, I was able to bring to a modern English-speaking public in my book.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: December 25th Birthdate

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D.M. Murdock wrote:Hi everyone!

I wanted to stop by to say that I appreciate you discussing my book here. There is so much fascinating material I've managed to dig up and share in this book. I hope you enjoy discovering it as much as I did.

For example, in the discussion of the Egyptian recognition of the winter solstice, I obtained the hieroglyphic "Wörterbücher" or dictionaries of Dr. Heinrich Karl Brugsch, handwritten in 19th-century German. These were difficult to translate even for the native German speaker whose assistance I gratefully enlisted. To my knowledge, other than Budge, no one had focused on Brugsch's fairly lengthy discussion of the Egyptian winter-solstice recognition and celebration, which is so very interesting to me.

Included in Brugsch's dictionary was the fascinating hieroglyph of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys holding the baby sun over the life-giving ankh or Egyptian cross, an obvious reference to the "birth" of the sun at the winter solstice.

Image

In the chapter "Born on December 25th" I spend some 40 pages (79-119), including images, demonstrating that Egyptian winter-solstice motif and its relationship to the Horus the Child and other Egyptian gods.

There was much more of this sort of data that, with great difficulty at times, I was able to bring to a modern English-speaking public in my book.
Many thanks DM, it is wonderful to have you join the discussion here at Booktalk. Focusing on the 25 December relation to the winter solstice presents a very important framework for understanding Christian origins in natural cycles. I look forward to more detailed discussion of this question. For ancient cultures that were close to nature, and completely reliant on the cycle of the seasons for their subsistence, observation of the annual 'death and rebirth' of the sun around the winter solstice is an obvious logical focus for celebration of new life.

The difficulty you mention in researching your book, lacking any institutional support, illustrates the deep cultural problems faced by any effort to get people to consider the error of supernatural religion. The JudeoChristian idea that God, and so by extension Jesus and humanity, are aliens on our planet, with humanity 'made in the image' of an imaginary being who is outside nature, deeply infects western civilization, serving to justify and legitimize the plunder of the earth, the inequality of the sexes, the nefarious power of the church, the destruction of indigenous cultures, and even the dangerous mentality of rapture and magical apocalypse that brainwashes Christians into thinking their false prophecy is from a true God.

It all opens the basic question of how we understand good and evil. It seems to me, in reading Christ in Egypt, that the deceptive destruction of ancient natural wisdom by the Christian church was a great evil, whose consequences are still reverberating around our planet.

However, the meaning for religion is ambiguous. Traditional religion may be evil, but there is still hidden within the Christian texts a good message of love and justice that resonates with human experience from millennia before the time it was reconstructed in the gospels to serve the human interests of its writers. My view is that a new Christian reformation is possible, rebasing the Gospels on the scholarly insights of how Christianity evolved from earlier myth. The astrotheological reading of scripture is a way to extract the wheat from the weeds and sort the sheep from the goats. These powerful metaphors do not need to be junked along with the literal historical baggage in which they have been preached to the ends of the earth.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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I see the value of correcting factual errors, debunking falsehoods, and correcting historical misunderstandings because I see the search for Truth as a good in and of itself, a priori. But on a purely naturalistic framework, how does one judge a victorious idea or culture (for sake of argument the Christian idea/culture 'won out' over other indigenous cultures) as "Evil" or wrong? From a Darwinian standpoint we are the end result of millenia-old "survival of the fittest", the strong dominating the weak and thus securing the right to pass on their genes and memes, no?
Assuming the "weaker" cultures and ideas must be superior sounds like an equally unsupportable position. They are superior? According to what standard? Apparently not the standard that nature ultimately used to produce we homo sapiens.
Finally, Christian reformation is *impossible* around any idea that admits to its historical claims being false. Christianity put itself into that position by the words of the apostle Paul, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile..." 1 Cor 5:17 It's either based on veritable truth-claims or it is a lie and should be debunked and ignored.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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Welcome to BT pendrake777. You've made quite an entrance. lol
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Introduction

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pendrake777 wrote:I see the value of correcting factual errors, debunking falsehoods, and correcting historical misunderstandings because I see the search for Truth as a good in and of itself, a priori. But on a purely naturalistic framework, how does one judge a victorious idea or culture (for sake of argument the Christian idea/culture 'won out' over other indigenous cultures) as "Evil" or wrong? From a Darwinian standpoint we are the end result of millenia-old "survival of the fittest", the strong dominating the weak and thus securing the right to pass on their genes and memes, no?
Assuming the "weaker" cultures and ideas must be superior sounds like an equally unsupportable position. They are superior? According to what standard? Apparently not the standard that nature ultimately used to produce we homo sapiens.
Finally, Christian reformation is *impossible* around any idea that admits to its historical claims being false. Christianity put itself into that position by the words of the apostle Paul, "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile..." 1 Cor 5:17 It's either based on veritable truth-claims or it is a lie and should be debunked and ignored.
Hello Pendrake, and thank you for your thoughts. Your comment on Darwin illustrates how study of old ideas such as the Egyptian origins of Christianity is relevant to our contemporary understanding of themes such as evolution and morality.

I think you misunderstand evolution. 'Survival of the fittest' is a tautology that means organisms best adapted to their niche will be durable, fecund and stable. It does not mean the strong will defeat the weak. If an organism tries to be too strong (think US military), it will undermine the economic basis of its existence. There are natural constraints on the growth of armor. This is why Christ said blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. It is a recognition that trying to prosper through domination will only work for a short time. And this shows that the binary picture of Christianity as true or false is far too simplistic. Seeing that the popular story is a lie does not prove there is no hidden message.

Astrotheology looks for the hidden messages within Christianity. For example, the myth of Christ as the alpha and omega maps to the precession of the equinox from the first sign, Aries, to the last sign, Pisces. This cosmic interpretation reconciles Christianity with science.
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