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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyMon 10 Jun 2019, 19:34

Reading through;

http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/display.php?page=Mithras_and_Jesus

Yes it can be argued that Mithras is supposed to be a mythical figure but then some will counter act by saying so is Jesus.
How ever is it not strange that it is said that both came from virgin birth.
Both walked around with 12 disciples. Both  performed miracles. Both are supposed to have died on the cross.

Because Mithras is supposed to have lived in a period before the birth of Jesus Christ is it possible that early Christianity copied the so-called Mithras culture.

Or did the Mithras culture who lived AFTER the birth and death of Jesus Christ adopted/copied the early Christian beliefs  


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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyMon 10 Jun 2019, 23:45

Dirk,

did some research and about the about us of your link. The guy seems to have done a lot of work about the question, but there seems to be a lot of questions and controversies and until, as nordmann said, there are some studies peer viewed by university studies the controversies will remain. I hope that the author don't come overhere too.

I had from the past the Sol Invictus cults especially in the Roman army in mind, but now it seems that Mithraism is also linked to a Persian sun god...
And there seems to be controversies about Roman Sol Invictus and the Persian one from Mithra mysteries...
Also met links about universal religion and all that...
I don't know if I will again engage in that kind of studies after my exchange with Tim about Zoroastherianism, as there is nearly nothing on solid historical ground and with confirmation from excavations until now...
Some survey of sources, even a book from Amazon, on the first sight not peer reviewed by university studies...
https://en.wikipedia.usorg/wiki/Sol_Invict
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism
and
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/invincible-mithras.html
https://www.amazon.com/Deus-Sol-Invictus-Persian-Conquering/dp/1902932838

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 09:10

Why isn't this thread called "Horus and Jesus"? Or for that matter "Sol Invictus and Jesus", or "Dionysus and Jesus", or why not go for the one with probably the most points of comparison, "Hercules and Jesus"? What one is doing in each case is selecting items of narrative from one deity myth with which one is maybe most familiar and then citing their presence in others, but whether one is doing this in order to demonstrate the non-historicity of Jesus (or Hercules, Dionysus, Mithras, etc), or attempting to distill the Jesus character in the narrative down to an adduced historical basis through elimination of the obviously borrowed elements, or even attempting to "disprove" that they are borrowed at all, one is always left faced with a point of subjective choosing where one has to arrest pursuit of this aim - either one is faced with the prospect of undermining one's own subjective position on the matter through dearth of fact versus quantity of supposition, or one is forced to re-evaluate one's position entirely based on the small quantity of actual fact emphatically contradicting one's initial supposition anyway.

There are two reasons for this in my view. One is the rather obvious one whenever one analyses any mythical construct - the point of the initial construction, if it ever included any requirement to reference actual historical data, only did so in peculiar and quite specific circumstances. In the Christian case this was a rather well advertised Roman/Greek requirement for any proselytised religion aiming for widespread appeal within a Hellenic culture and "official" backing within the over-riding Roman culture to contain such an historical claim (which is why Gnosticism failed so emphatically to cut it in that regard, despite its apparent "head start" in the theological stakes, and which was duly ditched/suppressed/forcibly eliminated from within an orthodoxy that certainly favoured an accommodation of historical claim on which to predicate its theology over "pure" mystery as Gnosticism advocated). Unless one's analysis of myth takes into account that its purpose is to employ claims of historicity only to facilitate its appeal, and then only in particular historical contexts, then one isn't really examining its "origin" at all and has probably placed too much emphasis on the pseudo-historical claims over the actual historical reasons that may have applied in inventing them in the first place. Secondly, once one assumes that myth "borrows" from other myth in terms of certain detail then one risks misunderstanding or at least underestimating the motive and method behind its adoption. In terms of narrative such "borrowing" is of course quite obvious and can easily be identified and even quantified, but narrative is only one factor in myth (very much to do with its translatability between communities, and even entire cultures if designed well enough) and is far outweighed by its philosophical or theological core or, better expressed, its perceived relevance to the values, current thinking, intellect, desires, social mores, and validation requirements which are prevalent within a culture or wider community at any given time. Myth that is adaptable enough to retain this relevance will survive, and whether points of narrative within it are perceived as literal fact or not, as history has frequently demonstrated, is hardly of importance at all in this respect.

The notion of "borrowing" also conjures up the idea of an intentional conspiracy on the part of the designers, something however which again doesn't survive historical scrutiny, the design of myth always revealed as being a much more organic, diffuse and spontaneous process when one looks purely at whatever actual historical fact one can scrutinise in pursuit of establishing how the process occurred in any given instance. It is far more honest, and more historically rewarding in fact, to approach such a task in terms of myth as an evolutionary process within human society, an evolution which is actually contingent on such elements of narrative confluence occurring regularly - in fact one can hardly imagine any myth surviving at all had it not been subject to this process too. Therefore, if one really wants to zero in on any one particular narrative and gauge the historicity or otherwise of component parts, then one should really start by sociologically examining the communal context in which the narrative first emerged in that form. By understanding the circumstances, including the philosophical perspectives most current at the time and to which any theological meme must attach in order to gain momentum through proselytisation, then one can see beyond the obvious "borrowing" of incidental points of narrative and maybe begin to see the myth in its proper context, part of an historical sequence of myth adoption and evolution that has more or less been going on since the social structures allowing widespread adoption were first established.

My own view on the historicity of Jesus as presented in Christian myth is one that I have probably over-addressed here before. Using standard historiographical criteria there is very little to suggest even a "root" historical person on which the very obviously mythical character is based (which should not preclude one from checking against data anyway, especially as new data comes to light), there is however an avenue of exploration regarding the character being based on a conglomeration of badly recorded/remembered actual people which may be at least partly justified by the historical record and on that basis is worth investigating (especially by anyone with more than historical curiosity invested in the myth in question), and - as I am personally prone to adopt, myself - there is also an Occam's Razor historiographical approach that allows for tentative links with real historical events within this mythical narrative just as with any other, but events that have been so badly transmuted in how they are referenced in the narrative that it is probably pointless to examine historicity or otherwise of component elements, of which Jesus is one, and instead encourages concentration on what the historical record tells us of the myth's development in sociological terms - in other words with emphasis on the real people who contributed to its promulgation rather than the probably nebulous characters presented as historical figures who populate it.

But however successful or not one may be in prosecuting any of the above approaches to evaluating historicity of mythical elements, or in measuring any individual myth's dependence on others for its popular narrative form (as previous discussions here have amply proved) this will never divorce a character from its mythical role, or even dilute its function in the myth, especially a central character whose relationship with the myth is akin to the parasite around which the oyster constructs its pearl. And this is true for all myth - attempting to "disprove" or "devalue" a myth on the grounds of the number of elements that it has obviously inherited from others, or due to the obvious refutability of any quasi-historical claims within it, is to misunderstand myth and its function entirely.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 18:32

Very interesting post. I am fascinated by the idea of the evolution of human consciousness being reflected in our myths. With the dawning of the terrible awareness  - consciousness - of the fact that all men inevitably suffer and die, a need to create a deity in our own image - a god who also must suffer and die - makes complete sense, as does the hope of a god-like resurrection.


I know very little about the cult of Mithras, but I understand that the blood ritual of Mithras and Catholic ideas of the miracle of transubstantiation were linked. Didn't the early Church argue endlessly about all this?


As ever, I hope this hasty post does not reveal that I have not understood a word of the above.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 19:16

Well, a lot depends on why, in your view, Mithras is a "cult " whereby Jesus represents a "religion ". Do you know why? (Historical question)
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 19:40

Oh heck, do we have to define "cult" -  I suppose we must? Was it too modern a word to apply to the followers of Mithras? I was not using the word "cult" in a pejorative sense - or I don't think I was. It just sort of slipped out - jolly careless of me, I admit.  I was using it in the original, 17th century sense - see below. I suppose members of a "cult" became inferior to followers of a "religion" during the 19th century? But I don't know for sure.  When in a hole, keep digging.



Early 17th century (originally denoting homage paid to a divinity): from French culte or Latin cultus ‘worship’, from cult- ‘inhabited, cultivated, worshipped’, from the verb colere.

Ah, "inhabited", "cultivated" - as opposed to "pagan", such as those living in the rural wilds of Devon?

EDIT: Pagan - late Middle English: from Latin paganus ‘villager, rustic’, from pagus ‘country district’. Latin paganus also meant ‘civilian’, becoming, in Christian Latin, ‘heathen’ (i.e. one not enrolled in the army of Christ)
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 19:54

Thank you. I think I understand the prejudice now. So, what makes one of these (many) cults a religion?

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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 20:00

I'm being grilled! Honestly - I come back in all innocence and I get the Spanish Inquisition, just because I  carelessly said "cult". This is worse than spelling Dionysus wrong.

I don't know - you tell us. You usually do.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 21:07

Temp, I take it your above post was written with a latent "wry-grin" emoticon as I 'm sure you're not being grilled, albeit maybe Nordmann is indeed testing you a little ... but then this is primarily a discussion forum and so relies on challenge and counter-arguement. Nevertheless and more generally, I think Nordman's question does remain valid, especially given the title/subject of this thread: why indeed should belief in Mithras be dismissed as 'just' a cult, while belief in Jesus be seen as a 'proper' religion. Initially of course, Christianity was also just a minority cult, and seen as a dangerously subversive one at that. Are religions then just cults that have lasted the test of time to become 'proper' with age , simply through their long-term survival and establishment support?
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 21:40

@Temperance wrote:
I'm being grilled! Honestly - I come back in all innocence and I get the Spanish Inquisition, just because I  carelessly said "cult". This is worse than spelling Dionysus wrong.

I don't know - you tell us. You usually do.

Temperance,

I was so delighted to see you back and still am. And if you don't know nordmann after all those years of our "community"...and what the heck (I learned it from you) for me: "Religion" is a "Cult", which "made" it...And now I am waiting for the comments of "our" nordmann...and I see now that MM "mij klopte (dialect) in de spurt" (beat me in the sprint?)(started to reply to you before the lady called for the evening coffee)...

PS: Something similar from MM?
"Are religions then just cults that have lasted the test of time to become accepted with age and establishment?"...


PPS: and I find: "Spanish Inquisition" an itsy bitsy too strong...


PPPS: and I see now that it is "delightful", but perhaps you understood my creolic?


Kind regards from a Paul, enjoyed by your return.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 21:52

I was going to put the smiling idiot emotithingy, MM, but I thought that might be misunderstood. I didn't mean that the followers of old Mithras were "just" a cult: as I admitted (as I always do) I was being careless in my choice of words. I'm sure many of the Mithraic lot were very nice people in their own way - even if they did have some odd ideas. Must definitely put a few "wry grins" after typing that -  Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy  Very Happy .

Seriously, I know it was an interesting question, but nordmann is a bit scary when he starts firing questions at you.

That said, I shall not run off and hide again, because I have been thinking about this all evening and I found this article in the Guardian:


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/may/27/cults-definition-religion





Some groups that were once seen as "cults" have historically evolved to become generally regarded as religions. Power devolved from a single leader to a broader church government and such groups ceased to be seen as simply personality-driven and defined by a single individual...
...Some groups may not fit the definition of a cult, but may pose potential risks for participants. Here are 10 warning signs of a potentially unsafe group or leader.
 Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability. 
 No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
 No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.
 Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
 There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
 Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
 There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader.
 Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
 The group/leader is always right.
 The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.


Oh dear. So obviously "Christianity" - or  rather the established church - may also be viewed as a dangerous "cult". Perhaps the earlier cult was actually the safer option? Which I suppose is what nordmann was getting at. 

But I'm more interested, to be honest, in the significance of the Christian - and other - myths, and how "fiction" can be truth, and how such fictitious "truth" is relevant - vital indeed - to our lives today. That's why I mentioned the Orestes myth over on the Myth thread: I was going to post there about the fact that medical students who wish to specialise in psychiatry are all taught this myth; and that Orestes' anguished declaration: "It was I, and not Apollo, who killed my mother" is actually relevant in the treatment of mental illness today (even if we haven't actually done our mums in - or even, indeed, wished to). It's a myth about how - among other things - accepting responsibility for ourselves and for our own actions and decisions helps to restore us to sanity. The gods, I believe, appreciate that rather rare quality in humans: honesty.

So what then was the Mithraic blood ritual really all about - and what was/is its link to the Catholic Mass?  Both bizarre, bloody and distasteful rituals, or something, in Christianity, deeper and more meaningful? Answers on a postcard, please.


Last edited by Temperance on Tue 11 Jun 2019, 22:30; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 21:55

Thank you, Paul.

My message to nord was tongue-in-cheek, so I hope he hasn't taken it the wrong way. But I was put on the spot - a spot of my own making, I must add.


Mithras and Jesus Is?-T6ZesR5qcDYwUL5tQwhu9ng1jwm2aR1-lHwBPBlE2I&height=300
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 22:19

Temp, your link to Monty Python's "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" sketch doesn't work, and so I'm reposting it here in full below. I perfectly understood the allusion when you originally mentioned it, but I'm not sure Paul did, and so maybe it needs reposting in full to explain where the "unexpected" Spanish Inquisition comedy meme comes from:



It's very silly but then it is Monty Python, so what do you expect?
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 11 Jun 2019, 23:29

Thanks for the "élucidation" MM, "éclaircissement" (enlightenment?)
And now I see in my paperback Collins that "elucidation" is also English Cheers
Really English is but Dutch and French...I think...or is there some Danish in it too...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 07:15

MM wrote:
 ...why indeed should belief in Mithras be dismissed as 'just' a cult, while belief in Jesus be seen as a 'proper' religion. Initially of course, Christianity was also just a minority cult, and seen as a dangerously subversive one at that. Are religions then just cults that have lasted the test of time to become 'proper' with age , simply through their long-term survival and establishment support?

That word "proper" has got to me. It makes me squirm because it is spot on, of course - indeed the key to all this; and the irony is that last thing Jesus of Nazareth was was "proper". I think true Christianity - the early ideas before the Romans and the intellectuals took it over -  was (is) indeed "dangerously subversive" in its view of what matters in life, so we need to look at what actually was so very "subversive" about it. What was it trying to "subvert" and why? Perhaps worth considering also that not all Christians at the time were Christians, just as some non-Christians today (including people I have met here) are very Christian indeed -  if you see what I mean. I discussed my ideas about this on the old Marxist thread - suggested that it was a revolutionary way of thinking and (attempting) to live. It's the religion of paradox. But that was dismissed, as I remember,  as poppycock.

I'm going to have to read up a bit about Mithras:  I am abysmally ignorant about Mithraic practice and belief. It was fundamentally a masculine belief system, was it not, the followers of Mithras being keen on the masculine qualities of strength, vigour and obedience? It was the religion of choice for the Roman soldiers, so presumably was not a "subversive" belief at all. But the Emperor - not some Jewish weirdo from a backwater in the east and his rambling stories about how to live - remained the one true god. So how was it Christianity, not Mithraism, eventually became the official, extremely "proper", Imperial religion? As ever, the Devil decides, if you can't beat them, join them, and subvert the subversives. What a clever old so-an-so he is. And always does things "properly", of course, then as now.

PS Please understand that when I use the word "Devil", I am speaking metaphorically: I'm not a complete nutter. Smile
Rambling post while still half asleep - need tea.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 08:45

Dirk's original question was of the order of "which came first - Mithraism or Christianity?", as in who exactly was copying whom? However with myth this is rarely as important as adoption and currency of belief in the myth - the sequence chronologically in which elements of myth migrate between myths and become believed as relevant by a critical mass of any population is of far more importance than attempting to pin-point a time of origin for any particular elements that the myths may contain.

For me therefore there is practically nothing to be learnt from Mithraism alone when attempting to understand how Christian myth developed to the point where it became a suitable candidate for official proselytisation and what it adopted from other cycles and sources up to that point. Mithraism too contains perennial themes and features which it adopted from other myth cycles (in fact the "Mithraic Mysteries" almost certainly evolved from an original "foreign" interpretation of Persian religions which Persians themselves might well have considered misinterpretation, over-interpretation, or even outright heresy), and if one examines these one finds these themes also echoed in earlier cycles, and so on.

The construction of Jesus doesn't seem to have relied on any direct "lift" of the character from a particular myth cycle - like all of the most successful elements of the most pervasive myths the amalgamation includes a myriad sources, representing in fact those components of earlier mythology, theology and philosophy deemed most relevant to those who originally placed faith in its construct, and also as with other highly successful myths this wasn't done all in one go either. The Jesus we end up with has been assembled through accretion of credulity, and in my opinion there is ample evidence to suggest that this accretion is by no means over, as the wildly differing interpretations of the character even among those who invest in the myth today readily testifies.

Try this Jesus out for size, for example

However the character as basically depicted in the narrative, even prior to such subsequent and wildly diverse interpretation - a Herculean/Orphean Mystery God with an appealing tendency to employ Socratic rhetoric as he confronts traditional Jewish mythical tropes - certainly screams of a rather more inventive Greek input into his composite character than might have come from other sources, at least at a crucial early point in that character's development within the myth. And that was even before he adopted Asclepian, Hippocratic and other demigod components from Greek myth cycles (though after his Greek demiurge role as promoted by Gnostics fell out of favour in orthodox belief - this bit still remains with his Jewish dad). If you're going to trace his origin as a concept I reckon the Hellenic route will prove far more fruitful than quasi-Persian or Egyptian contributors to the whole (though, thanks to Rome and its traditional policy of throwing nothing out theologically, these also got lumped into the mix too, of course).

Yours sincerely,
Tommy Torquemada
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 11:43

I remember seeing a temple of Mithras in London many years ago - I'm not sure if you could enter it at that time or viewed it through a spy-hole.  (Don't take that as necessarily true because I can misremember things and this would be from about 40 years ago - and I got "BalanceTonPorc" as mentioned on another thread wrong and I was only thinking back over a few hours.

I'm not very good at remembering the names of books I've read especially if it was some time since but I remember reading something where the Christ was compared with Odin/Woden (I think Woden was hung at some point?).  However, I only have a general idea of the Norse myths though I did watch the first series of American Gods adapted from the Neil Gaiman novel.  People who were more versed in Nordic myth than I am probably realised that "Mr Wednesday" played by Ian McShane was Odin/Woden/Wotan earlier than I did.  His talking to the two ravens was a hint I suppose.
Don't want to get too far off topic, Lost Christianities by Bart Erman (hope I've remembered his name correctly) is still on my "want to read" list.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 12:28

@nordmann wrote:
 Try this Jesus out for size, for example 


I'd rather not, if you don't mind. I know Plato was a wrestler, but this is taking the Greek connection too far.  And I don't want a tattooed Jesus, thank you very much.

Trying to see the funny side and failing dismally. It's horrible.

Comfy chair for you, nordmann, for posting that - with extra cushions.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 16:08

@Temperance wrote:
And I don't want a tattooed Jesus, thank you very much.

I don't think first century Jews would be very likely to have any tattoos. Amongst all the other religious restrictions intended to set the Jewish people clearly apart from their neighbours, doesn't Leviticus (19:28) specifically say: 
"Do not cut your bodies [ie scarification] for the dead [ie in remembrance or as a souvenir], nor put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."?
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 18:28

I've been horribly depressed all day after reading about the tattooed Jesus "built like a brick shithouse" - what a horrible quote from the Guardian article. I can't bear it, and I've been trying to figure out why I'm so offended. I think it's because I'm possibly a  snobby pagan at heart. What a dreadful confession. I like the Greeks, especially when they give us gifts - which clearly they did quite a bit. Maybe their responsibility for the gift - the "creation" - of Jesus was the greatest of their contributions to Western thought: that Athenian altar to "the unknown god" was pretty significant after all. As TT says:


@nordmann wrote:
 However the character as basically depicted in the narrative, even prior to such subsequent and wildly diverse interpretation - a Herculean/Orphean Mystery God with an appealing tendency to employ Socratic rhetoric as he confronts traditional Jewish mythical tropes - certainly screams of a rather more inventive Greek input into his composite character than might have come from other sources, at least at a crucial early point in that character's development within the myth. And that was even before he adopted Asclepian, Hippocratic and other demigod components from Greek myth cycles (though after his Greek demiurge role as promoted by Gnostics fell out of favour in orthodox belief - this bit still remains with his Jewish dad). If you're going to trace his origin as a concept I reckon the Hellenic route will prove far more fruitful than quasi-Persian or Egyptian contributors to the whole (though, thanks to Rome and its traditional policy of throwing nothing out theologically, these also got lumped into the mix too, of course).


What can I say, except, "Well, yes"? I like "the Hellenic route"; it's elegant and beautiful, but that probably means I am indeed just a religious snob - and a female snob to boot. That said, a Jesus to appeal to the macho working class male who is a football and/or biking fan (see Guardian article) does not  mean we have to dumb the Christ figure down and change the image to something more "acceptable" to such a male audience. I refuse to accept that as the next evolution of the myth. I refuse it absolutely. Appreciating the beautifully simple profundity of the  Greek-inspired Gospels is not being "girly" at all. What utter nonsense. There was nothing "girly" about Roman soldiers who were converted; if there was, who cares anyway? I've nothing against tattooed bikers (well, not much), but I do not want Christ himself depicted as one just to keep them happy.

We have strayed from what I think Dirk wanted to discuss. Sorry, Dirk.

PS MM - didn't know Leviticus disapproved of tattoos. Was it a hygiene thing, or to do with forbidding anything that smacked of non-Jewish religious rituals?


PPS Did the Greeks go for the tattooed look? I do so hope they didn't. I can't imagine Plato or Socrates with a little quote from the Delphic oracle inked up their arms.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 12 Jun 2019, 22:45

Temperance,

"I'm going to have to read up a bit about Mithras:  I am abysmally ignorant about Mithraic practice and belief. It was fundamentally a masculine belief system, was it not, the followers of Mithras being keen on the masculine qualities of strength, vigour and obedience? It was the religion of choice for the Roman soldiers, so presumably was not a "subversive" belief at all. But the Emperor - not some Jewish weirdo from a backwater in the east and his rambling stories about how to live - remained the one true god"


Temperance, I had done already that much reading for the Zoroastrianism thread for Tim, and then for the lady Jacqcurious and then again for Sol Invictus and Mithraism and in between I got the impression that seemingly the sun god from Mithraism is another than the Roman one and some slept the Indian what was it again Veda? in that mix...and then on the internet as I mentioned in this thread some universal religions...at the end I got a headache from all that mixing where reason and logic was far to seek...
As said I stop with it and will for the moment return to more searching for the history of D Day for instance (Jour J as I read this afternoon in a French documentary about the weather forecast from the neutral Ireland and brought to Eisenhower by a Scot).
If you want to drink your morning thee in all mind tranquility? (gemoedsrust) better to stay in your own personal view of religion/philosophy, while if you look on the internet there seems to be myriads of myths/religions/blogs and each seeks followers as on facebook (or is it on another new medium?)
From now on I read only university articles Wink and even there I read about vitriolic controversies as for instance about Persian studies. I mentioned the link upstream on this thread.


Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyThu 13 Jun 2019, 21:21

LiR wrote:



I remember seeing a temple of Mithras in London many years ago ...



I have just been watching "Rome's Invisible City" on BBC4. This was all about the underground world of Rome - the amazing aqueducts and sewers. But there was also a segment of the programme which looked at - yes! - a temple dedicated to Mithras! There was a beautiful fresco shown which depicted Mithras looking a bit like Superman: he wore a rather splendid, billowing red cloak. Dr Michael Scott told us that there were several hundred such temples throughout the Empire and that, besides the one in London (mentioned by LiR), there was one as far north as Edinburgh! Yes, Edinburgh! That really surprised me.

Paul - maybe it is wiser to keep off religion and/or philosophy here. Someone has commented to me that entering a thread with the word Jesus in it is akin to self-harm Shocked Shocked Shocked .That's going a bit far, but I take the point you and my friend have both made. I really should go for the quiet mind option. But Mithras is jolly interesting. I'll see if I can find an image of him in his Superman costume.


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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyThu 13 Jun 2019, 21:27

Here it is. I like the stars on his cloak - very stylish. Hope the image "takes".


Mithras and Jesus C17ec7c7ca87bc7c918c6245de0188b6
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyThu 13 Jun 2019, 21:42

Yes, nice spangly pajamas/romper-suit ... but a bit rough on the bull, no?
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 08:35

@Meles meles wrote:
Yes, nice spangly pajamas/romper-suit ... but a bit rough on the bull, no?


And he's going to ruin his lovely romper-suit with all that blood - he'll never get it out.


Seriously, I'm fascinated by the image of Mithras: here is a relief (restored in original colours) from a museum in Strasbourg. Mithras  is not at all the big, butch, bull-slaying god I imagined him to be. He has an almost "fey" look about him. Love the little hat - is that a Phrygian cap?



Mithras and Jesus Strasbourg-Koenigshoffen%2C_Second-Century_Mithraic_Relief%2C_Reconstruction_ca._140_CE%E2%80%93ca._160_CE






Why is there a lobster in the picture: did the lobster play an important part in the Mystery religions? No lobsters in Christianity, as far as I know.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 10:03

It's a scorpion, grabbing the bull's testicles, and, along with the dog, snake and raven, it's a key part of the scene. According to the Roman Military Research Society

"In every mithraeum, the place of honour was occupied by a tauroctony, a representation of Mithras killing a sacred bull. In the Graeco-Roman myth, Ahura Mazda had sent a crow to instruct Mithras to slay the bull and release from its dying body the plants, animals and all the beneficial things of the earth. In the depiction, Mithras, wearing a Phrygian cap and pants, slays the bull from above while looking away. A serpent, symbolizing the earth, and a dog are routinely depicted drinking from the bull's open wound (which often spills blood but occasionally grain), while a scorpion (representing ‘autumn’) attacks the bull's testicles sapping the bull’s strength. Typically, a raven or crow is also present, and sometimes a goblet and small lion. The torch-bearers Cautes and Cautopates, the celestial twins of light and darkness, stand on either side with their legs crossed, Cautes with his brand pointing up and Cautopates with his turned down. Above Mithras, the symbols for Sol and Luna are present in the starry night sky. It has been proposed that the tauroctony is a symbolic astrological representation of the constellations rather than an Iranian animal sacrifice scene with Iranian precedents. The bull is Taurus, the snake Hydra, the dog Canis Major or Minor, the crow or raven Corvus, the goblet Crater, the lion Leo, and the wheat-blood for the star Spica. The torch-bearers may represent the two equinoxes, although this is less clear. Mithras himself could also be associated with Perseus, whose constellation is above that of the bull."

... they missed the scorpion from that list, who of course represents the constellation scorpio/scorpius, and it denotes 'autumn' because astronomically that is when the sun passes through the scorpius constellation.

You commented on the nice stars on his cloak ... it might be a specific constellation, although I don't know which one, or it could be just symbolising the cosmos or the 'starry heavens' generally. There's a lot about Mithraic astronomy/astrology here: The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras though most of that is probably just conjecture, and at the end of the day it's all still basically astrology (made up woo) rather than astronomy.

EDIT - I think that constellation on his cloak is the Pleiades, also known to the Greeks and Romans as the Seven Sisters.


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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 11:21

Hence his starry cloak in the first image? There are seven  stars shown.


That link to the Roman Military Research Society was good - and I'm usually not the least bit interested in military stuff. I was struck by something in the definition of Mithra:


Etymology.The Proto-Indo-Iranian word *mitra- (nominative *mitras) means "[that which] binds", deriving from the root mi- "to bind", with the "tool suffix" -tra- (cf. man-tra-). This particular meaning is preserved in the mithra "covenant" written in Avestan, the old Eastern Iranian liturgical language used to compose the sacred hymns and canon of the Zoroastrian sacred scripture of the Avesta. In Sanskrit, mitra literally means "friend", one of the aspects of binding and alliance...

Probably not in the least bit relevant, but the reference to "binding" immediately made me think of that early Christian hymn, St. Patrick's Breastplate : the phrase "I bind unto myself today" is repeated throughout this hymn - I can imagine its words appealing to soldiers who were, or who had been, followers of Mithras. The entire thing reads like an oath of loyalty:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.



The cult was dying out during Saint Patrick's lifetime, I believe, so I find it interesting that the "binding" reference crops up just as Christianity was gaining popularity. The BBC 4 programme  also noted last night that the followers of Mithras were, besides the military, the poor and the rejected in society - another link with Christianity?


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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 12:01

I think one can waste a lot of time researching Mithraic Mysteries as a bone fide "religion" and attempting to isolate theological precepts within it. The whole point of its existence in early empire Rome seems to have been as a form of "freemasonry" whereby low ranking officer class military could give each other a leg up in what had become probably the best organised facet of Roman politics, better even than their tax collection bureaucracy (and that was impressive too!), most definitely the largest single element in terms of membership, but which had inherited its republican forerunner's system of reserving top appointments for Patrician family members. Mithraism was only one of the arcane "clubs" within the military designed to engender a powerful representative union of professional soldiery - albeit the one that was probably most effective - and its quasi-religious set-up reflected previous such enterprises which had centered on other presumed deities (Sol Invictus, Minerva, Fortuna and a host of "local" deities for garrisons stationed near Rome's most distant borders).

The theology, if such is the correct term at all, seems to have had a primary purpose of establishing very strict rituals and protocols, the most important protocol being that members were sworn to secrecy regarding what went on at meetings etc. This "arcanum" was by far the most important feature of the sect - it doubled as a way of identifying fellow members in a manner not necessarily perceived by non-members, and also as a way of helping keep the religion defined within highly consistent parameters of "faith" which also helped ensure its longevity, being resistant to change from within, infiltration from without, and "corruption" through cross-pollination with competing "faiths".

All of which members seem to have been exceedingly good at maintaining - to the extent that it is extremely difficult to work out after its demise exactly what was going on at all, how much credence even its members afforded whatever theological precepts it had adopted, and indeed just what exactly these precepts might have been had they existed at all.

Its primary contribution to posterity, once its "career army" function dissipated, seems to have been that it undoubtedly helped form the structure of early Christianity within urban settings, especially those removed from Hellenic/North African influence in which diocesan and monastic models lent themselves most readily to adoption within the new theology and its emergent organisation. In Rome itself, and certainly within almost every surviving archaeological example in larger towns spread across the Western Empire, the notion of a "chapel", as well as the arcane nature of worship and ritual, quite literally transferred from Mithraism to Christianity quickly and, apparently, rather seamlessly.

So, while the fabric and modes of Mithraism translated quite readily into Christian use and expres​sion(and maybe even some of the language used - such as "bind" in your example, Temp), we know also that practically none of its theology followed suit. This would tend to indicate also that its theological base had never been designed for any purpose which early Christians could put to use, or felt a need to, and this supports the theory therefore that it had never been that strong anyway, probably with as many regional variations as there were regions in which it once flourished, and that it had always been the mode of ritual and worship that held primary appeal to its members. Once a new and improved form of freemasonry and concealed patronage presented itself for use with official approval from the state (that which would become the power structure of the church in its Western Roman episcopal form) it simply lost all point. What's more the new version wasn't restricted to junior officer military classes and enhanced mobility and promotion options that were far more varied in scope, something that became really important with Roman restrictions on social mobility implemented by various emperors addressing the failing economy. In fact some of the recorded "persecutions" through imperial decree that occurred in the 4th century may indeed have been prompted by a desire to curb the power of such organisations to circumvent "official" channels, laws by decree, and edicts, and though we know of no concerted effort to do the same with Mithraism when it was at its peak, we certainly know that Marcus Aurelius was probably not alone when he asked how much non-Roman beliefs should be allowed to prosper in Rome, and cited Mithraism in particular - his dad had been a huge fan and MA had almost certainly been indoctrinated at a young age, though his later philosophical stance suggests that he had long ago dismissed its theology as "fake" and probably knew it for the freemasonry function it certainly placed value on. Marcus was a very competent administrator as well as a seasoned military veteran, so he well knew just how this sect functioned and what its primary role had always been.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 12:08

As I stated on another thread, with apologies I cannot add any profound thoughts or learned essays on this subject but in case anyone is interested a link to the London Mithraeum site (closed 14-29 July this year for art work) https://www.londonmithraeum.com/  I've looked on the thread and don't think the link has been added before but if I'm wrong on that count I apologise.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 14 Jun 2019, 12:57

Very interesting post, nordmann - thank you.  study
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptySun 16 Jun 2019, 12:32

Perhaps this thread has run its course, I don't know, but, having read the Boss's posts, I have been very interested to find out more about the link between Mithraism and the Freemasons. I was told earlier today that the Freemasons were banned from a recent service in a local town (the annual "Mayor's Service", where the great and good of Middlemarch have reserved seats and parade about looking and no doubt feeling very important indeed). I googled about a bit, as one does, and stumbled on this. How dubious a source it is I'm not sure - sounds as though it has been written by a Scottish Freemason  - one who calls himself "Ursus Major"; his grasp of the history involved seems pretty confident. Confidence, of course, is no guarantee of good sense - or good history. The paragraph I quote below I found particularly interesting, given that the "Bible Thumpers" (Ursus Major's expression) do indeed seem to disapprove of Freemasonry - because of its pagan roots, or something else? Or is the whole thing a lot of male "woo-woo" that has lasted down the centuries? As the paragraph states: "Mithraism casts a long shadow".




Mozart was a devoted Mason, as was his father—and Haydn too. George Washington took his Masonic affiliations very seriously. He wouldn't set foot inside a Christian church, but was the Grand Master of two lodges. With Ben Franklin, it was three: one also in France. The Prince of Wales (later George IV) was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge; several kings of Sweden and Denmark were also at one time Grand Master of this London- based Grand Lodge, and all the future monarchs of the U.K. from George IV through George VI were Grand Masters. (Queen Elizabeth II, being female, is not allowed to be a Mason: Mithraism casts a long shadow.)





http://www.skirret.com/papers/mithraism-freemasonry_connection.html
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyMon 17 Jun 2019, 09:19

Claiming a direct historical link between Mithraism (we don't even know what the Romans called this by the way - or even if it was classified as a religion at all) and freemasonry brings one straight into the Dan Browne realms of stupidity and fantasy. However there seems no denying that in terms of arcane ritual and a role in secular career advancement then they certainly covered a lot of the same bases. I hope my comment above wasn't interpreted to infer such a link - nothing could be further from what the historical record apparently supports.

When it comes to these arcane "cliques" within Roman society that borrowed heavily from existing religious tropes to enhance the "mystery" element fundamental to their nature, then in fact I reckon the biggest clue as to how they actually operated and also how they were interpreted at the time comes in fact from Christianity itself. In a period when the church was adopting (or had adopted along the way) various precepts, concepts, terminology and actual structure from the Roman civic and religious world, one important such feature in the context of this thread was that of "Disciplina Arcani". This developed quite early as a Christian practise, the church itself records it in use as early as the beginning of the 3rd century in Rome (it's a bit much to call it actual "doctrine" since it was more a convention to protect doctrine rather than to assist in its dissemination), and was ostensibly a reaction to a situation whereby this vast cosmopolitan society, in which Christianity was just one sect competing for survival among many, meant that rituals, rites and general observance within the religion were being complicated tremendously by the presence of what Christians called "Catechumens" (as opposed to the real "faithful"). This term covered everyone who professed an interest in participation in Christian ritual, though had avoided baptism and other basic rites, and could mean anyone from committed Christian slaves who probably feared baptism and its potential dangers if discovered by their owners, all the way to wealthy Romans who were attracted to the mumbo-jumbo, iconography, etc, and liked to turn up for masses but had no interest in the theology beyond this. They might even have been regular attendees at other sects' rituals, for just the same reason.

This represented a dilemma for early Christian administrators - it was important that the "best bits" of doctrine could be advertised to these potential recruits, but it was also evident that too many of these sorts in the congregation would inevitably lead to the whole thing breaking down. Their solution, which basically borrowed from how other sects also had addressed the same dilemma, was to split the congregation into two, with the "faithful" recruited automatically into a system and structure protected by the same means as all other arcane mystery cults of the period.  This appears to have been a solution that developed in fact over a much longer period than church historians tend to believe - Celsus, writing in the 2nd century, had already noticed this "mystery faith" arcanity and included it in his criticism of Christianity (Celsus disliked all such sects, though in Christian history he is always presented as "picking on them").

When developing this arcane structure early Roman Christians in particular had many models to follow - besides the long established Delphic/Eleusinian, Vestal and Syballine cults (officially approved at the highest authority), then one had a myriad such cults related to social status and careers (eg. Mithraism within the military, Jupiter-Dolichenianism among the disenfranchised equestrian class in empire Rome, etc). Besides these, Christianity also existed contemporaneously with many more, and in fact some have tried to trace direct Christian theological development from two in particular, the "Mater Magna" and "Orphic" cults (at once a very easy claim to make theologically but difficult to prove historically).

So you can see why I reckon any simplistic developmental link drawn between Mithraism and freemasonry also has to be approached very cautiously indeed. It might be better to suggest that the class and career system pertaining in post-feudal Europe probably mirrored very closely those which had existed in imperial Rome, and the reaction to this by those who wished to enhance their advancement in either field in otherwise difficult circumstances was to "unionise" within arcane societies, whether or by how much they were dressed up as being "religious".

And don't forget - one of the most blatant examples of a long-lived and especially successful such "career cults within broader religions" is the one that still officially uses "Disciplina Arcani" to shield its top appointment methods from public scrutiny, employs rather convenient if obscure and potentially non-Christian theological justification to justify its secret rites and rituals, and of which Jorge Mario Bergoglio has most recently benefited*.

* (That we know of, child molesters etc are only identified when they are excluded from the club, though are still bound by its rules when it comes to discussing how the club works)
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyMon 17 Jun 2019, 11:57

Referring back a bit, Marcus Aurelius attended the secret Eleusinian mystery rites - according to Jung  who wrote papers about them with theories about secret loving cults. Not wishing to stall this most interesting discussion I will, if able, my simple mind reflection  from experience on the fuzz of faiths and cults in another thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyMon 17 Jun 2019, 13:01

Good point about Marcus A, Priscilla. Of all the extant contemporary records regarding how ritual and religion were perceived in that society we are lucky that one of the best judged and most thoroughly researched of such types of philological evidence has actually survived, moreover written by someone who knew what he was talking about. He never said as much outright, but in his writings he indicated strongly that he had first hand experience of having attended many such rituals, certainly had a strong and uncritical curiosity about them (almost scientific, one might say), and drew conclusions based on what he most likely had witnessed close-up rather than on relying purely on hearsay.

Had he also attended Christian ritual within Rome itself (as a "Catechumens" who couldn't be refused entry, I assume, though we can only conjecture on this point), then he would certainly have lumped them into the category of deists/theists who, he reckoned, weirdly neglected to implore their god or gods of choice solely or at least primarily for personal interventions and guidance regarding improvement in their own personal morality and conduct, the only thing he reckoned a god would be good for, at least if it was to serve any useful purpose at all beyond the function already served by existing gods. Otherwise the deity of choice was simply a pale reflection of the established god model within official Roman religion, something that sat in the background and administered the contexts in which we function, but left morality and self-improvement down to each individual (which as a strong Stoic Marcus A would have placed extremely high on his own personal agenda).

Ultimately, if he did attend "mystery faith" rituals along with everything else he investigated, and remember his original religious indoctrination as a child was very likely via Mithraism, he ended up rejecting them all as missing the point of life - best summed up in his admirable and very popular statement about the existence or otherwise of any god versus the function that god must (or at least should) serve:

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

In other words, a god which itself does not adhere or conform to Stoic principles is probably as much use as a "comfort blanket" (or less if, like the Jews, one simply fears it all the time or feels "bullied" into "loving it - a torture blanket in fact). And it doesn't matter how much ritual or mystique one wraps around it, or how much dialogue one claims to engage in with it, if such is only to pretend that the god is serving a value beyond that which Stoicism proves it most likely isn't, and which is better served anyway through close personal self-motivated adherence to moral standards - god or no god.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 09 Jul 2019, 11:35

I would like to question the original statement 

'How ever is it not strange that it is said that both came from virgin birth.
Both walked around with 12 disciples. Both  performed miracles. Both are supposed to have died on the cross.'

Given that the Mithraists left no books behind, how do we no any of the above?

According to Bart Ehrman in his book 'Did Jesus Exist?' there are no reliable sources to indicate that Mithraists believed any of the above concerning Mithra.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyTue 09 Jul 2019, 11:46

From a primary (not eye witness) source for the existence of Jesus

The letters of Paul are considered by scholars to have been written within 20 to 30 years of Jesus’ death.  Of the letters credited to Paul; 1 Thessalonians, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians and Philemon are accepted as having been written by him. 

Paul lived at around the same time as Jesus, he met disciples of Jesus and Jesus’ brother James and so his letters could be considered contemporary and those who claim that Jesus never existed have consistently failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for Paul’s references to Jesus.

Paul’s references to Jesus’ life

1 Gal 4v4  ‘.But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law’
Jesus was not a spiritual being, he was born of a woman, a human being.

Rom 9 v 5 ‘Theirs are the Patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ’
Jesus is descended from the patriarchs, he is Jew.

Rom 1v3 ‘regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,’
Jesus is descended from king David, he is of the tribe of Judah.

Rom 9 v 5 ‘Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us as do the other apostles and the Lord’s bothers and Cephas?’
Jesus had more than one brother.

Gal 1 v 19 ‘I saw none of the other apostles--only James, the Lord's brother.’
One of Jesus’ brothers was called James

1 Cor 15 5’and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,’
Jesus had 12 followers, known as apostles

Rom 9 v 5 ‘Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us as do the other apostles and the Lord’s bothers and Cephas?’

Gal 2 v 8, 9 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle … James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars’
Two of the apostles are called Peter (Cephas) and John

Romans 9 to 11
Jesus was rejected by the Jews

1 Co r 11 23 ‘For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.’
Jesus initiated the eating of bread and wine in remembrance of him.

1 Co r 11 23 ‘The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread’
Jesus was betrayed and he initiated the eating of bread and wine in remembrance of him on the night he was betrayed.

1 Cor 1 23 ‘but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’
Jesus died by crucifixion

1 Cor 5 v 7 ‘For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed.’
Jesus died at the Passover.

1 Thess 14-15 ‘the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus’
Paul considered the Jews to be responsible for Jesus’ death

1 Cor 15 3 ‘For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried,’
He was buried

1 Cor 15 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
Paul believed he rose from the dead on the third day.

1 Cor 15 5 ‘and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.’
He was seen by various people including Peter, James and the apostles.

1 Cor 15 6 ‘After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.’
This happened within fairly recent times as the majority of the 500 are still alive. Therefore there were plenty of people around who could verify the truth of this to the Corinthian church.

1 Thess 5 1 ‘Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.’
They believed that Jesus would return.

It is not surprising that scholars consider that Paul could not have written this about Jesus unless he existed.  He was writing to Churches who had contact with Christians from elsewhere including from Palestine.

That Paul does not say more about Jesus can be put down to the fact that Paul was writing to churches who had no doubt about the existence of Jesus, he was not trying to convince them, and to Paul not actually having met Jesus during his lifetime.  However, Paul certainly met people such as Peter, John and James who had met Jesus.  Paul’s references to Jesus in the letters mainly arise because of the matters that Paul is writing to the churches about and often to illustrate a point.  None of Paul’s letters were written to set out a biography of Jesus; why should he need to.  With the exception of Romans they are letters written to deal with an immediate situation.  However, there is still a surprising amount that one can obtain about Jesus’ life from references in his letters.  And they also confirm the gospels.

Paul’s references to Jesus’ teaching
1 Cor 7 10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
It is notable how Paul differentiates between his teaching and that of Jesus.

In addition there are several references in Paul’s letters that seem to refer to Jesus’ teachings.

Tim
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 10 Jul 2019, 07:59

I think Ehrman's point was that one of these characters has more extant scriptural reference than the other, so it is futile to attempt to use scripture as one's main source when investigating the comparative historicity of either. He has even in his lectures, if I recall, at least on one occasion referred to the difficulty faced by the Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en Nations in British Columbia as a modern parallel for how little oral history is regarded (and to whose cost) when an authority bases its definition of evidence purely on written source. Even if - as is certainly the case with many indigenous people within Canada in their ongong struggle to regain control and autonomy - the "written" evidence can so easily be demonstrated to contain important ambiguities, inherent legal contradictions, and in fact very one-sided self-serving testimony when it comes to interpretation. Worse for the Nations concerned, the insistence that it is the only valid testimony and its consequent rather unilateral interpretation, along with the judgements that follow, rest solely with an "authority" who subscribes completely to what that "evidence" reinforces as a status quo.

When one discusses myth especially, even more than in the very real issue of land rights, it is very important to acknowledge the role that oral transmission plays in its construction over time, including (I might add) much of such orally transmitted output that subsequently makes it into a myth's scriptural canon. Discounting purely oral tradition completely and choosing instead to interpret only extant written scripture as valid, even if it also very much relied on similar transmission vectors in its initial composition, is frankly silly - at least if one is trying to determine historical fact based on the available clues, and of course if one also subscribes personally to neither myth. It appears that if one subscribes to one side, as with the Canadian high court, and one has what one considers extant scriptural "evidence" backing its claims to historicity as one requires to see it in order to sustain "belief" in the myth, then the temptation to diminish the validity of any competing myth not so well served by recorded testimony of any pedigree, and to instead accommodate written source as pedigree enough in one's own case regardless of how dubious this pedigree may often be, is seemingly too great to resist.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 10 Jul 2019, 08:53

I think Ehrman's point is that the academic consensus is that Jesus existed (there is, as I have posted, a primary source, that source being a series of letters that have since become to be viewed by the church as scripture, although they were not written as such) and that Mithra did not.  In fact the only reliable evidence for the Mithraic mysteries is archaeological (no scriptural references at all) and that there is no consensus amongst scholars as to what that archaeology means other than what Dirk posted at the start of this thread cannot in fact be ascertained from that archaeology.  

I realise that there are some who do not accept the academic consensus on this just as that there was some who claim that the holocaust did not happen, however that does not alter the consensus.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyWed 10 Jul 2019, 09:12

Reliance purely on archaeology would lead one to conclude that neither existed, at least in the manner their relative myths traditionally have presented them as "historical" characters. However it also reveals an investment in belief that both existed on the part of actual living people of that era (in which Mithras wins the chronological contest regarding "who came first"). However Dirk's question, as far as I understood, concentrated solely on the chronological order, not on the historicity of the characters at all.

And you should be careful before you claim that Mithras has no scriptural reference at all on his side - or are you saying that the Visp-Rat, the Yasht, and other portions of the Zend-avesta do not count as scripture? The difficulty with the Roman version of the myth has always been ascertaining to what extent, if any, such scripture played a role in that myth to which they subscribed, not that the focus of that myth had no scriptural precedent at all.

Tim wrote:
I realise that there are some who do not accept the academic consensus on this just as that there was some who claim that the holocaust did not happen, however that does not alter the consensus.

Finally, are you really going to equate people who challenge "academic consensus" regarding particular scriptural interpretation of biblical texts with actual holocaust deniers? Even by your own standards of bias, Tim, that is one of the vilest depths to which you have yet sunk. In matters of interpretation of documents with vague historical reference versus matters of established, documented, historical fact within living memory, then even you must appreciate the very different quality of whatever consensus each engenders - and for that matter the nature of the challenge to either.

An abjectly pathetic comment on your part, in fact ... which reveals much of how your mind actually works.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyThu 18 Jul 2019, 10:24

As Priscilla pointed out, this is - or was - a very interesting discussion. I hope the two posts above - both unfortunate in their own way - have not ruined it.

I don't really care whether Jesus or Mithras (or Plato or Socrates for that matter) really "existed": the ideas do, and that is what matters. I find myself agreeing entirely with this article by Adam Rutherford. He attended an "Alpha" course (God help him) and found it - well, read for yourselves, if you can be bothered.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/jul/17/alpha-course-historical-jesus


On balance, I think a man called Jesus probably did exist and he formed the basis for Christianity. But I also think that the teachings of the biblical character Jesus are much more interesting, so in some ways I am grateful that we are getting this out of the way in the second week. Surely his words are more important than his fact?

Well, no. Mike spells out that it is central to their faith that he was utterly real, a physical incarnation of God. He has to have existed, and died, or else Christianity is meaningless. Mike goes on to state that no one really seriously challenges the historicity of Jesus. So this all leads me to ask this question: if I followed the actions of Jesus to the letter, loved my neighbour, turned the other cheek and generally was a good egg,but at the same time regarded him as simply a mythical archetype of goodness and the Golden Rule– if I did all that, come judgment day, could I enter paradise?

No one has an answer. Toby believes that doesn't necessarily condemn me to hell, but probably does prevent access to heaven. Mike looks shifty: I think he disagrees. Toby quotes CS Lewis: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance." I would have thought that the physical truth of Christ's life shouldn't matter, because the message is the same, whether he lived or not. But if the reality of his existence is central, then the historicity is essential. If Alpha dictated that Christ's existence were simply a matter of faith, then I would have no beef. But by straining so hard to back it up with facts, hearsay as they are, the whole case falters.

This seems to me a bizarre way for a religion that claims to be inclusive to proceed. I cannot join, because I won't close my eyes. Christ has to have lived for Christianity to be true. Why does it have to be this way?




PS I have read in the past week that Tarsus was a great centre of Mithraic worship. Interesting that Christ is referred to by Luke - who was so influenced by Paul - as "the Dayspring" - wasn't Mithras called that too?
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyThu 18 Jul 2019, 22:24

Temperance,

I haven't read the article yet, but as you I can understand that it isn't that important if the very person of Jesus existed or not...
"I don't really care whether Jesus or Mithras (or Plato or Socrates for that matter) really "existed": the ideas do, and that is what matters"
And I even think from the references that the man existed, as the other "prophets" of that time and if I understood it well the Muslims take Jesus also in the queu of prophets...

"the ideas", Temperance and there we come to the core...what are the "ideas"?...
Who started to "constitute the "ideas"? The "kerkvaders" (Church fathers?) and the Trinity? Who made up the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost( something I found back in Zoroasterianism) Arianism had another vision on it.
And so I can understand that they had to start with the "immaculate conception" of Mary to be logical as she beared the Son of God...
https://reshistorica.forumotion.com/t1396-mary-immaculate-conception-perpetual-virginity


Yes, who made in Christianity that concept of duality both human and God? In that they differ completely from the Muslims: God is great and Mohamed is his prophet...

Or perhaps it is all in your article Temperance? Will have to read it...and still busy with the fifth century after JC, where the transformation from Roman empire to Germanic kingships took place...

See you tomorrow for further comments...

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 19 Jul 2019, 07:26

No, they are not in the article. Paul, the Holy Trinity and the so-called Immaculate Conception are not the "ideas" I was thinking of. I'm not interested in arguing about dogma any more - I'm interested in what works to make life worth living. Those are the ideas I am puzzling over still - have done all my life. I's all a bit late now, but then one keeps trying, even if the ship is sinking. An "unexamined life" and all that? Jesus meets Socrates yet again. Not sure where Mithras fits in to this - perhaps he doesn't. I speak as a nearly not expert - just an interested bystander really. Story of my life.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 19 Jul 2019, 11:40

Temperance, just a quick look in. 

I understand now what you mean, will try to make an "elaborated" Wink comment this evening.

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptyFri 19 Jul 2019, 23:06

Temperance,

I haven't forgotten you, just too late again after my replies about the decline of the Western Roman empire.

With me it is not! "uit het oog uit het hart" (literally: out of the eye, out of the heart)
They translate on the reverso:
https://context.reverso.net/translation/dutch-english/Uit+het+oog%2C+uit+het+hart
In that I prefer: out of sight out of mind, although I still prefer "heart" for "mind" as that in my opinion gives a more social connotation...?

Kind regards from Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptySat 20 Jul 2019, 22:37

Temperance,

"I'm interested in what works to make life worth living. Those are the ideas I am puzzling over still - have done all my life. I's all a bit late now, but then one keeps trying, even if the ship is sinking. An "unexamined life" and all that? Jesus meets Socrates yet again. Not sure where Mithras fits in to this - perhaps he doesn't. I speak as a nearly not expert - just an interested bystander really. Story of my life."

Yes Temperance and we discussed it many times overhere. But I am glad that you don't glide in the arms of the dogmatic church, which has in my opinion always made a pact with the secular powers or perhaps the other way around. Not the humanistic narrative of what Jesus teached or what the "kerkvaders" (I see now that it in English is "Church Fathers" too) made of it.

Those politicians, who use the Church for their own purposes and the Church a willing cooperative, at least the ultramontanists (I stick to the Catholic Church, as I know this one best)
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ultramontanism
in that Church, who stick also to Mass in Latin and the priest with his back to the attenders in the church. I have a horror of those Christians and I am nearly sure you can extend it to other religions as in Britain's Anglicans. I still remember father Le Pen with his speeches on the background of Joan of Arc, some religious, historical political mix. And I think as I see it in the US you have also such far right Repblican tendencies based on links with religion and the Bible.
I gave here the example of a thread on Passion Histoire, when you read it thoroughly: Are the French going more to the Mass?, it was just about that phenomena...I guess some members are also in that thinking world. I said that I thought that there was in France a clear separation between Church and State...and that was the end of the thread, while there came no further replies. And perhaps the Orban Hungary...he started also in the Christian party...
Just to say, as I of course I know Belgium best, how the right wing politics infiltrate in the Belgian politics, I mentioned it already in another thread, and now they reside in the Belgian parliament, because the people voted for them.
I mentioned the cloister of Maleizen
Temperance it is mostly in Dutch, I hope that Dirk Marinus will read it and give the tendencies
https://www.reddit.com/r/belgium/comments/83g6nc/minister_crevits_verwittigt_inspectie_over/
And these tendencies overthere are:
http://www.profamilia.nl/
Het gezin is de bouwsteen van het volk dat de natie vormt.
Op de schouders van de natiestaat rust de Europese beschaving.

The family is the building material of the "folk" that forms the nation
Upon the shoulders of the nationstate rests the European civilisation
https://www.provita.be/
https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Maria_Belgi%C3%AB
In the time of the BBC I made a whole thread about Opus Dei as I had seen an inside documentary from the French TV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_Dei
And those of the Flemish university student council that Dirk mentioned
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katholiek_Vlaams_Hoogstudentenverbond
The KVHV (Katholiek Vlaams HoogstudentenVerbond or Catholic Flemish Students Union) is a Flemish political student society which concerns Flemish nationalism and conservatism. It accepts male and female members and has chapters in GhentLeuvenAntwerpBrussels and Sint-Katelijne-Waver. Previously KVHV had chapters in AalstKortrijkOstend, and Mechelen.


Temperance, that said, I know that it isn't this what you asked to me, but you see why I am so glad that you don't stick to all these...hmm...seeking for a word...
No you and me, discussed already several times, if I recall it well, what matters and in the discussion with Abelard about "Le Petit Prince", which tends perhaps to existential ideas as I read, but in my opinion too vague to find any answers to your questions, I mentioned my take...during the time that we are overhere, we can only do our best to be there for the others, as it is in my opinion the best compensation for the difficulties during our short existence (no afterlife till we find it out) and gaves again in my opinion the most satisfaction fro our well being, perhaps a feeling inherited from the dawn of our human existence, that human that just started to exist by the cooperation with his equals. And if I have understood it well you made an allusion on these statements to Abelard pointing that you agreed with that opinion.


During my search for this thread and the one about Zoroasterianism, I came on a site, in fact some sites Wink, which tried to lurr you in a socalled "super religion" taking all the so-called good stuff from the different religions...I felt immediately that it were again all the old phenomenons of "fishing" for "souls" to stick again as before to a "Church"...and so again sticking to all that that I mentioned above...


And yes, those "humanists" don't underestimate them, before you know it you are in their "Church" and you need stickers and have to go to their congresses...


Temperance, I don't want to "convert" you, everyone has one's own individuality and has to seek what fits best with one's person. I can only say what I! made of it. And if I look around me, especially the last years, everyone goes on with his daily life and don't bother about all that religious and existential stuff. It is perhaps only you and me and perhaps nordmann with his philosophical approach...


Kind regards from your supporter Paul.


PS: as it is always that difficult to find the right translation in English for "medestander" they said in my dictionary: supporter, partner (partner has in our language quite another connotation) I looked on the internet
https://www.mijnwoordenboek.nl/vertaal/NL/EN/medestander


PPS: 
the partner ; the supporter ; the comrade ; the brother-in-arms ; the ally ; the sympathizer ; the kindred spirit ; the person of same mind
From that I find "brother-in-arms" the best connotation Wink
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptySun 21 Jul 2019, 07:25

Thank you for your reply, Paul. I cannot respond today - and we have, in any case, lost sight of Dirk's original topic!

I have to take a summer break now, but my best wishes to you and to all at Res His.

Temp.
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PostSubject: Re: Mithras and Jesus   Mithras and Jesus EmptySun 21 Jul 2019, 20:13

Temperance,

thank you for your immediate reply. And now I recall I wanted to add, that if you have a "human" of confidence, you can always go to this one in my opinion. Two heads are better than one. And also to one of the Church, any Church (even the "Church"of humanism) again in my humble opinion. In these Churches they aren't all as I described them above.

Have a good summer break and all my best wishes to you too.

Kind regards from Paul.
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