• In total there are 0 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 0 guests (based on users active over the past 60 minutes)
    Most users ever online was 1230 on Sun Jul 14, 2024 2:51 am

Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

#98: Aug. - Sept. 2011 (Non-Fiction)
User avatar
Interbane

1G - SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 7203
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2004 12:59 am
19
Location: Da U.P.
Has thanked: 1105 times
Been thanked: 2166 times
United States of America

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

Meaning is obviously objective when we are discussing facts. If all agree that a statement is obviously true, whether a statement of logic or of induction, then we take our intersubjective consensus as objectivity.
Meaning isn't objective, the fact are. Meaning is the human subjective supplement, even if agreed upon by consensus. If you remove each subject and the meaning does not "stay attached" to the object, but must be reinvented or retaught, then it is an aspect of the subject, not the object.

I believe our consensus is important, and that human flourishing is good. Not because of anything objective, but because it is an axiom that increases my own personal happiness through reciprocal altruism. The same can be said of my adherence to humanist ethics. It is an ESS, making my own life easier through my obedience to a code of ethics. I understand this is subjective, and also understand that it's one of the most important parts of my worldview. You don't need an objective anchor to keep you from slipping into more depressing philosophies. You just have to understand that "absolute anchors" for our beliefs and ideas are to be seen as a quixotic ideal rather than a reality.

There is room for me to be persuaded here. I still haven't wrapped my head all the way around how "free floating rationales" fit into our universe. The universe, able to be described mathematically, manifest higher level mathematical phenomena. There is something algorithmic, and objective, about these free floating rationales. It is mathematically describable behavior or action that remains even if all observers are absent. If all humanity died off, the free floating rationale behind many ESS's(applying to all surviving lesser animals) would remain observable for any alien species to recognize. It is an aspect of the object, but shares many characteristics with other intangible concepts such as "meaning" or "function".
D.M. Murdock
Almost Comfortable
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:09 am
13
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 45 times

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

Evemerism v. Mythicism
DWill wrote:I'm puzzled because the trend in the discussion is to assume a beginning in allegory or symbolism followed by an accretion of ordinary details that bring the god down to earth so that it can be better grasped by the people. It seems just as possible, and to me more common, for the process to happen in reverse.
The process by which real people have supernatural and mythical attributes added to their mundane biographies is called "euhemerism" or "evemerism," as well as "apotheosis." In some instances, the development certainly happened that way. However, we can determine when the reverse is the case, as we know very well that numerous gods and goddesses of antiquity were based on celestial and other natural phenomena, largely for the purpose of passing along information via anthropomorphization so that even a small child can understand it.

Again, this process of anthropomorphizing various celestial and natural phenomena is well known and should not be puzzling, especially as concerns such obvious "characters" as the sun or moon god/desses. For example, the Greek gods Helios and Apollo are clearly sun gods, i.e., anthropomorphizations of the sun, not "real people" who had solar attributes attached to their biographies. The process of their creation becomes clear via the study of mythology dating back thousands of years. Ditto with many of these other characters.

Indeed, it is the task of the mythologist and religion scholar to discern which of the ancient gods were astronomical in origin or otherwise based on nature worship, and which may have been "real people." As concerns ancient gods who were clearly evemerized heroes, only a very few hold up to scrutiny, such as the Egyptian divine physician/architect Imhotep. Although adding supernatural attributes to the mundane biographies of real people such as Alexander the Great or any number of Caesars is not uncommon, turning them into out-and-out gods as happened with Imhotep is in fact very rare.

In actually, gods like Osiris, Horus, Isis, Zeus, Hercules, Apollo or goddesses like Aphrodite and Amaterasu, et al., were never real people.

Image
The sun god Helios in his chariot pulled by white solar horses.

Image

Above we see the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu emerging from her cave during the month of December, i.e., the winter solstice, to return light and life to the world. Again, Amaterasu was never a "real person," nor is there a need to make of her one.

For more on this subject of gods as astrotheological entities, see my article "Who are the Anunnaki?," which was cited in the book Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology by Dr. Kenneth Feder.
User avatar
Robert Tulip

2B - MOD & SILVER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6503
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
18
Location: Canberra
Has thanked: 2735 times
Been thanked: 2666 times
Contact:
Australia

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

D.M. Murdock wrote:Evemerism v. Mythicism
DWill wrote:I'm puzzled because the trend in the discussion is to assume a beginning in allegory or symbolism followed by an accretion of ordinary details that bring the god down to earth so that it can be better grasped by the people. It seems just as possible, and to me more common, for the process to happen in reverse.
The process by which real people have supernatural and mythical attributes added to their mundane biographies is called "euhemerism" or "evemerism," as well as "apotheosis." In some instances, the development certainly happened that way. However, we can determine when the reverse is the case, as we know very well that numerous gods and goddesses of antiquity were based on celestial and other natural phenomena, largely for the purpose of passing along information via anthropomorphization so that even a small child can understand it.
Looking at this theme of apotheosis, wikipedia states " Traditional mainstream theology views Jesus Christ as a pre-existing deity who undertook mortal existence, not as a mortal being who attained divinity." This is highly interesting regarding the evemerist argument, because it shows that Christianity is intrinsically mythical, in its postulation of supernatural entities. People these days find this absurd, so liberal Christians tend to support the evemerist argument that Jesus was 'man made into God', not God made into man. So mythicism comes full circle in a way, back to the traditional orthodox view that Christ was 'god made man', except that mythicism ascribes this process to human invention rather than divine intervention.
Again, this process of anthropomorphizing various celestial and natural phenomena is well known and should not be puzzling, especially as concerns such obvious "characters" as the sun or moon god/desses. For example, the Greek gods Helios and Apollo are clearly sun gods, i.e., anthropomorphizations of the sun, not "real people" who had solar attributes attached to their biographies. The process of their creation becomes clear via the study of mythology dating back thousands of years. Ditto with many of these other characters.

Indeed, it is the task of the mythologist and religion scholar to discern which of the ancient gods were astronomical in origin or otherwise based on nature worship, and which may have been "real people." As concerns ancient gods who were clearly evemerized heroes, only a very few hold up to scrutiny, such as the Egyptian divine physician/architect Imhotep. Although adding supernatural attributes to the mundane biographies of real people such as Alexander the Great or any number of Caesars is not uncommon, turning them into out-and-out gods as happened with Imhotep is in fact very rare.

In actually, gods like Osiris, Horus, Isis, Zeus, Hercules, Apollo or goddesses like Aphrodite and Amaterasu, et al., were never real people.
This question of discernment of delusion from fact is central to the philosophical deconstruction of Christianity. To the list that Ms Murdock has just provided of gods who had fantastic historical tales embroidered around their original perceived divine nature, we really have to add one Jesus Christ, who also was never a real person. And as the apotheosis process indicates, this assessment is more in line with traditional theology than is evemerism. By starting with the understanding of a divinity as a divine being, purely spiritual and eternal, the next question is what were the physical observable facts that gave rise to the belief. This is where astrotheology is central to a coherent understanding: by recognising that the purpose of the ancients in inventing their gods was to explain observable cosmic phenomena with their apparent eternal regularity, we can establish a material natural basis for the supernatural mythology.

The cosmic hymn in Philippians 2 says
Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here we see the Pauline idea that Christ was originally God, not man, and deigned to become as nothing in order to be exalted. This movement from the infinite to the finite to a singularity provides the basis for exaltation. Christ had to die on a cross because that was the most ignominious way to show how the world ignored the divine. In comparison to this mythology, evemerism completely fails to engage with the orientation towards the infinite at the center of faith. Modern reason basically rejects this idea of the infinite becoming finite, so Christians who claim a rational faith clutch at the straw of evemerism, even though it hollows out the heart of faith.
User avatar
tat tvam asi
Reading Addict
Posts: 1367
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:57 pm
14
Location: Florida
Has thanked: 571 times
Been thanked: 549 times

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

Very keen observation Robert. It's true that the mythology takes a mythical deity and then brings it down into the flesh, what has been called the orthodox Christian "carnalizers." When viewed against what was going on with the Philo and the Therapeutan collegia around the Roman Empire during the early first century, it is clear that the idea of the Son of God was not carnalized yet at that point.

And it's clear that the allegorical works of the Therapeuts mentioned by Philo were considered as early proto-gospels by later generations of church fathers. A scientific analysis shows a more abstract mythology gradually getting itself more organized and narrowed down with time. Finally, the more detailed historical Jesus begins to appear into the historical record over a century after the supposed life time. It seems clear enough to me that I'm looking at various writers trying to bring an historical setting to the myth and coming up with different ideas as to how that historical setting should go. And these various attempts were thrown together and attempts at harmonization have occured every since.

The writers show geographical mistakes as well, as if they were not writing in and around the very region described in the myth. They look to the Greek Septuagint instead of the Hebrew scriptures when trying to tie OT quotes into their Son of God fulfillment of prophecy attempts, which, are easily seen for what they are. What orthodox Jews living in Israel, knowing the geography and the Hebrew scriptures would do such a thing and make so many mistakes in the process? It sounds more like Graeco-Jewish allegorizing to me, an effort that likely spanned the collegia brotherhood network spread around the empire outside of ancient Israel in large part. Trying to rationalize the NT by asking questions about the politics in Israel at the time of the early, concerning orthodox Jews, doesn't make very much sense to me because it's more than obvious that this mythology wasn't created in Israel just after those times in all actuality.

It seems to be more about ancient Israel from an outsider perspective, and indeed from a perspective of the future looking back at earlier times gone by and trying to impose mythical thoughts and ideas on those earlier times - much the same as we find in OT with the fictional Egyptian Captivity, Exodus, and Conquest of Canaan via "Joshua", or "Yeshua" the heroic Jewish general. Did an historical Jesus, named after the general Yeshua of this previous myth, predict the destruction of the Temple, or did a writer have the second named character of Jesus/Yeshua, in a newer updated mythology, predicting the destruction of the Temple to try and make it look like this new hero character was all-knowing and could tell the future? The Orthodox Jewish authorities are blamed for the destruction 'about to come'. They are the "bad guys" of this myth in very obvious ways. Who would see them in this light? Graeco-Jewish hellenizers operating outside of the orthodox Jewish community in the diaspora perhaps? Blaming them for what happened in Israel after the fact?

And with a myth like this in circulation how long would it take for a certain anti-semitism to emerge? The orthodox Jews rejected this hellenized Graeco-Jewish myth as a heresy against Judaism. And the fact that they would not submit to these ill-conceived attempts at historicizing a hellenized Graeco-Jewish myth made the Jews all the more hated by those seeking to promote this historical fallacy. There's been some talk of anti-semitism as a reason for leaning towards an historical Jesus, but there's really no reason to assume that the anti-semitism had to originate from an historical act of the Jews killing one of their prophets as a blaspemer IMO. There's no record of this in the first place. Nothing from the Jews or Romans about any of this happening in the early first century. Herod owed a great deal of money to Philo's brother in Alexandria and there were mixed emotions going around about Rome putting him in power. The anti-Herodianism that starts off the gospel accounts is perfectly understandable from the perspective of the Graeco-Jewish communities feelings over in Alexandria.

The character is made to flee to Egypt and then return. And upon returning strikes at the very heart of the orthodox Jew's power and authority. And how long would it take for a myth like this to influence a certain anti-semitism when the orthodox Jews were being painted as evil and corrupt? The Romans, simply doing their duty, are painted as being forced around into doing things that they didn't feel like doing just to appease the evil and corrupt orthodox Jewish authorities. The whole thing is very fishy to say the least...
Last edited by tat tvam asi on Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Robert Tulip

2B - MOD & SILVER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6503
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
18
Location: Canberra
Has thanked: 2735 times
Been thanked: 2666 times
Contact:
Australia

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

tat tvam asi wrote:Very keen observation Robert. It's true that the mythology takes a mythical deity and then brings it down into the flesh, what has been called the orthodox Christian "carnalizers." When viewed against what was going on with the Philo and the Therapeutan collegia around the Roman Empire during the early first century, it is clear that the idea of the Son of God was not carnalized yet at that point.
'Carnalizing' sounds like turning ideas into meat. How I see it is that from the start, Christianity promoted a vision of worldly transformation, a shift of ages. It is a fairly reasonable question to ask how you can have a transformation if you don't have an agent who is responsible for the transformation. So the pressure was on to pick up on the hints in Paul that point towards Christ as material agent. Recognising that this carnal reading struck a popular nerve, the original indefinite idea of Christ as myth was shunted to the margins and suppressed in the popular vision, even though it remains central to the Christological question of how to unite the two natures of Jesus Christ in a single person, the hypostatic question of the anointed savior, how the Christ of faith is the Jesus of history. If we now ignore the apparent errors about the Jesus of history, how much is really left of the Christ of faith? Is it possible to rebase the eternal vision in astronomy?
And it's clear that the allegorical works of the Therapeuts mentioned by Philo were considered as early proto-gospels by later generations of church fathers. A scientific analysis shows a more abstract mythology gradually getting itself more organized and narrowed down with time. Finally, the more detailed historical Jesus begins to appear into the historical record over a century after the supposed life time. It seems clear enough to me that I'm looking at various writers trying to bring an historical setting to the myth and coming up with different ideas as to how that historical setting should go. And these various attempts were thrown together and attempts at harmonization have occured every since.
It is so interesting to compare this evolution of Christian faith with evolution in nature or technology. We see that a crude starting point always encounters various practical difficulties, and only those versions that adapt to respond to these difficulties survive into the future. The difficulty faced by the proto-Gospel was that the religion of Christ, as an overturning of old thought, was well suited as the basis of a mass movement, which required simplicity. Against 'only believe and be saved' any complex eschatological astronomical vision would always be marginal. The origin of orthodoxy is in its ancient popularity, and until now the philosophical basis of this popularity has never really been understood and analyzed.
The writers show geographical mistakes as well, as if they were not writing in and around the very region described in the myth. They look to the Greek Septuagint instead of the Hebrew scriptures when trying to tie OT quotes into their Son of God fulfillment of prophecy attempts, which, are easily seen for what they are. What orthodox Jews living in Israel, knowing the geography and the Hebrew scriptures would do such a thing and make so many mistakes in the process? It sounds more like Graeco-Jewish allegorizing to me, an effort that likely spanned the collegia brotherhood network spread around the empire outside of ancient Israel in large part. Trying to rationalize the NT by asking questions about the politics in Israel at the time of the early, concerning orthodox Jews, doesn't make very much sense to me because it's more than obvious that this mythology wasn't created in Israel just after those times in all actuality.
Yes, for any forensic detective there are holes in the story that you could drive a truck through. Evangelical apologists still manage to ignore these holes, such as the apparent origin in the Greek speaking diaspora.
It seems to be more about ancient Israel from an outsider perspective, and indeed from a perspective of the future looking back at earlier times gone by and trying to impose mythical thoughts and ideas on those earlier times - much the same as we find in OT with the fictional Egyptian Captivity, Exodus, and Conquest of Canaan via "Joshua", or "Yeshua" the heroic Jewish general. Did an historical Jesus, named after the general Yeshua of this previous myth, predict the destruction of the Temple, or did a writer have the second named character of Jesus/Yeshua, in a newer updated mythology, predicting the destruction of the Temple to try and make it look like this new hero character was all-knowing and could tell the future? The Orthodox Jewish authorities are blamed for the destruction 'about to come'. They are the "bad guys" of this myth in very obvious ways. Who would see them in this light? Graeco-Jewish hellenizers operating outside of the orthodox Jewish community in the diaspora perhaps? Blaming them for what happened in Israel after the fact?
Like the way King Josiah inserted a prophecy of his glorious rule in the supposedly earlier book of Kings. The aim of the Gospels was to be believable, but they were written at a time when hardly anyone could refute their errors, and those few could easily be isolated and ignored. Putting the prophecy of the destruction of the temple into the story was easy, and showed remarkable restraint, as though the writers thought carefully about how far the credulity of their audience would stretch, and deliberately remained within that limit, while also stretching it with the miracles, all aimed at showing that Jesus was special.
And with a myth like this in circulation how long would it take for a certain anti-semitism to emerge? The orthodox Jews rejected this hellenized Graeco-Jewish myth as a heresy against Judaism. And the fact that they would not submit to these ill-conceived attempts at historicizing a hellenized Graeco-Jewish myth made the Jews all the more hated by those seeking to promote this historical fallacy. There's been some talk of anti-semitism as a reason for leaning towards an historical Jesus, but there's really no reason to assume that the anti-semitism had to originate from an historical act of the Jews killing one of their prophets as a blaspemer IMO. There's no record of this in the first place. Nothing from the Jews or Romans about any of this happening in the early first century. Herod owed a great deal of money to Philo's brother in Alexandria and there were mixed emotions going around about Rome putting him in power. The anti-Herodianism that starts off the gospel accounts is perfectly understandable from the perspective of the Graeco-Jewish communities feelings over in Alexandria.
Christianity was targeted at the broad masses of the Roman Empire who had to accept each other and so could not accept an exclusivist myth, such as the older doctrines of any of the previously isolated communities, whether from Israel, Rome or Egypt. Christ proved remarkably accommodating towards other beliefs, turning their gods into disciples, angels, demons, etc. Jewish exclusivism was an affront to this new syncretic model.
The character is made to flee to Egypt and then return. And upon returning strikes at the very heart of the orthodox Jew's power and authority. And how long would it take for a myth like this to influence a certain anti-semitism when the orthodox Jews were being painted as evil and corrupt? The Romans, simply doing their duty, are painted as being forced around into doing things that they didn't feel like doing just to appease the evil and corrupt orthodox Jewish authorities. The whole thing is very fishy to say the least...
But the context of the critique of Judaism was the effort to construct a new mythology that would delegitimise the pagan Greco-Roman imperial gods. This is why Jesus expresses respect for Moses, and why Paul calls Jesus the second Adam. It is about adapting Judaism to the new historical dispensation of empire. We see this adaptation hidden in injunctions such as 'walk the extra mile' which I have heard refers to a Roman rule that imperial soldiers could force locals to carry the soldier's pack for one mile, but not for two, so refusing to give the pack back to the occupying controller was an act of sedition, aimed at shaming Rome into seeing that its dominance was immoral. This targeting of Rome as the main source of evil was extended in the common identification between the Antichrist and empire. It was mainly when the empire took over the church that this angle was downplayed by targeting the Jews.
User avatar
ant

1G - SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 5935
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:04 pm
13
Has thanked: 1371 times
Been thanked: 969 times

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

For example, Christianity practiced such 'blocking' by burning all pagan texts, demolishing pagan institutions, building and art, and outlawing critical ideas as heresy and blasphemy. Murdock suggests that a primary motive for this conduct was to conceal the truth of Christian origins in myth.
First of all, I'll admit that I have not read the book, but I genuinely intend on putting it on my list of must reads.

Having said that, what evidence (archeological/historical) is there related to the above claim?
What is the counter-evidence?
AlSylvester
Permanent Ink Finger
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:23 pm
13
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

Have you heard of the Gnostic Gospels? Perhaps you should read them. They were buried I am sure because they contain information as to how religion? was understood by some in the past. Jesus actually was tied to the ancient religion. How could you begin a new religion, Christianity, if people knew it was a copy of the past? Myself I have studied alchemy now for many years, the alchemists did everything by metaphor or allegory. Why? To protect themselves from being burned at the steak or worse! Murdock is exactly right!

Al
User avatar
johnson1010
Tenured Professor
Posts: 3564
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:35 pm
15
Location: Michigan
Has thanked: 1280 times
Been thanked: 1128 times

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

Myth making is rampant in human culture.

When you look at a guy like David Crocket, then you look at the MYTH of Davy Crocket, how can anybody be confused as to the process of building a god out of a historical figure?

Davy didn't take that particualr swerve, but he might have.
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?
User avatar
Robert Tulip

2B - MOD & SILVER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6503
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
18
Location: Canberra
Has thanked: 2735 times
Been thanked: 2666 times
Contact:
Australia

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

johnson1010 wrote:Myth making is rampant in human culture.

When you look at a guy like David Crocket, then you look at the MYTH of Davy Crocket, how can anybody be confused as to the process of building a god out of a historical figure?

Davy didn't take that particualr swerve, but he might have.
The question here though, is whether Jesus Christ was elaborated from a historical individual like Davy Crockett, or perhaps was entirely invented, as it seems is likely with another legendary American hero, Paul Bunyan. So we do see a confusion in the process of building a god. Apollo and Jupiter were obviously cosmic in origin, with the historical stories added to personify them. Christianity claims that Jesus was grounded in history, whereas the evidence suggests it is more likely that he came from the sky like the Greek Gods.
Wikipedia wrote:historians hold that Paul Bunyan, and specifically the idea of Bunyan as a giant lumberjack with a giant blue ox sidekick, was created in the 20th century for an advertising campaign
Image
User avatar
Robert Tulip

2B - MOD & SILVER
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame
Posts: 6503
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 9:16 pm
18
Location: Canberra
Has thanked: 2735 times
Been thanked: 2666 times
Contact:
Australia

Re: Christ in Egypt: A Philosophical Deconstruction of Christianity

Unread post

AlSylvester wrote:Have you heard of the Gnostic Gospels? Perhaps you should read them. They were buried I am sure because they contain information as to how religion? was understood by some in the past. Jesus actually was tied to the ancient religion. How could you begin a new religion, Christianity, if people knew it was a copy of the past? Myself I have studied alchemy now for many years, the alchemists did everything by metaphor or allegory. Why? To protect themselves from being burned at the steak or worse! Murdock is exactly right!

Al
Good point Al, but burned at the steak is an interesting Freudian slip.

Here is source material on why these texts were buried, when heresy was made a criminal offence and all heretical texts were sought to be burnt.
http://www.earthnewsnetwork.com.au/Documents/nhl.pdf

Why were these texts buried-and why have they remained virtually unknown for nearly 2,000 years? Their suppression as banned documents, and their burial on the cliff at Nag Hammadi, it turns out, were both part of a struggle critical for the formation of early Christianity. The Nag Hammadi texts, and others like them, which circulated at the beginning of the Christian era, were denounced as heresy by orthodox Christians in the middle of the second century. We have long known that many early followers of Christ were condemned by other Christians as heretics, but nearly all we knew about them came from what their opponents wrote attacking them. Bishop
Irenaeus, who supervised the church in Lyons, c. 180, wrote five volumes, entitled The Destruction and Overthrow of Falsely So-called Knowledge, which begin with his promise to set forth the views of those who are now teaching heresy . . . to show how absurd and inconsistent with the truth are their statements . . . I do this so that . . . you may urge all those with whom you are connected to avoid such an abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. He denounces as especially "full of blasphemy" a famous gospel called the Gospel of Truth. Is Irenaeus referring to the same Gospel of Truth discovered at Nag Hammadi' Quispel and his collaborators, who first published the Gospel of Truth, argued that he is; one of their critics maintains that the opening line (which begins "The gospel of truth") is not a title. But Irenaeus
does use the same source as at least one of the texts discovered at Nag Hammadi--the Apocryphon (Secret Book) of John--as ammunition for his own attack on such "heresy." Fifty years later Hippolytus, a teacher in Rome, wrote another massive Refutation of All Heresies to "expose and refute the wicked blasphemy of the heretics."
This campaign against heresy involved an involuntary admission of its persuasive power; yet the bishops prevailed. By the time of the Emperor Constantine's conversion, when Christianity became an officially approved religion in the fourth century, Christian bishops, previously victimized by the police, now commanded them. Possession of books denounced as heretical was made a criminal offense. Copies of such books were burned and destroyed. But in Upper Egypt, someone; possibly a monk from a nearby monastery of St. Pachomius, took the banned books and hid them from destruction--in the jar where they remained buried for almost 1,600 years.
Post Reply

Return to “Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection - by D.M. Murdock”