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Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:16:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
I can't say that I have ever heard of this author. This is not surprising as I tend to shy away from the genre of books that tells you what opinion to hold. I prefer to get the facts straight first, then I am perfectly capable of developing my own crackpot ideas.
The composite/god status of Jesus is an opinion widely held by those involved in comparative mythology, but rarely, if ever, published. "Born-agains" tend to be very dangerous people. They will do great damage to the careers, property and person of those who are foolish enough state a doubt to their beliefs.
Even the famous mythologist Joseph Campbell, who was appalled by the Judeo/Christian tradition, kept his mouth shut in public. Sometimes, though, he couldn't keep it in. Buried in the middle of Campbell's brilliant "Occidental Mythology" (The Masks of God series) you find things like this…

And the rite of baptism that he (John) preached, whatever its meaning at the time may have been, was an ancient rite coming down from the old Sumerian temple city Eridu, of the water god Ea, "God of the House of Water," whose symbol is the tenth sign of the zodiac, Capricorn (a composite beast with the foreparts of a goat and body of a fish), which is the sign the sun enters at the winter solstice for rebirth. In the Hellenistic period, EA was called Oannes, which is in Greek Ioannes, Latin Johannes, Hebrew Yohanan, English John. Several scholars have suggested, therefore, that there was never either John or Jesus, but only a water–god and a sun–god…..and I shall leave it to the reader to imagine how he (John the Baptist) came both by the god's name and his rite….

That is about the most doubt that anyone feels safe enough to express in print. You must remember that these are scholars who live by the credo of "publish or perish"
Myself, I have no such restrictions and will be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Remember these books are not going to refute Christianity. They are only going to tell you the story behind other, older, religions. It is up to you to honestly do the comparison.
The best books are out of print and would require dusty searches in the stacks of major libraries. To save you that trouble these, which are not bad, are all fairly new and at amazon.com (I've already checked availability for you)

MYSTERIES OF MITHRA by Franz Cumont
PERSONALITIES OF MITHRA IN ARCHAEOLOGY AND LITERATURE by A.D.H. Bivar
MYSTERIES OF MITHRA by G.R.S. Mead
TEACHINGS OF ZOROASTER AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE PARSI RELIGION by S.A. Kapadia
DIONYSOS —ARCHETYPAL IMAGE OF INDESTRUCTIBLE LIFE by Carl Kerenyi

That should get you started.
Seek and ye shall find.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Tiptup
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USA
86 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:18:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Tiptup's Homepage Send Tiptup a Private Message
Books that are about general mythology will be even better. Although I am not sure that makes them non biased. The many courses in mythology tend to teach their students from the point of view that none of them could possibly be real, because the phenomena spoken of is impossible. Hebrew and Christian stories are taught with this as the pretext. That does not leave many open to the idea that some of those stories might contain truths. Well, I shall read those books you quoted and get back to you.

Tiptup

-------------------------
I DON'T MAKE SENSE-I GOT MY PRIDE; DON'T NEED NO MEANING; I FEEL NO SHAME-I WILL NOT BELIEVE; I GOT NO CHOICE-I'M OUT OF CONTROL; AND I LOVE IT!!
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DVF
Skeptic Friend

USA
96 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:19:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send DVF a Private Message
Wow.
I get a little busy, don't check out this forum for a year or so, and I come back to find people talking about snake semen.
Anyway.

I read one of Wells' books, "The Jesus Myth," and if he was trying to tell me what to believe, I didn't notice. While it's not the most exciting book I've ever read, it does take a good look at some of the hard factual evidence from angles such as what documents exhist, why those documents are assigned certain dates, etc. Amoung the interesting ideas that Wells puts forth are that the Acts of the Apostles may very well predate the Gospels, and that the Jesus of Acts and the apostolic letters may not be the same person as the one described in the Gospels. Wells makes his points over several hundred pages discussing the age of papyrus fragments as interpereted by the style of lettering used to make such and such a character at this time eriod in that region etc. I'm not about to go into it, but the book is worth reading for anyone interested in the topic.

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Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:19:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
Jacobson— Mythology is never (except here in California and sometimes in Kanas science classes) taught as being history. Anyway, being a Christian, you already know that the Gods of earlier cultures are "false Gods". Dionysos, Mazda and his son Mithra are—by every Christian standard—lies.
You don't need pantheistic mythological reading. My point is that if you combine the story of Mithra and that of Dionysos you get about 90% of the story of Jesus. Add to that the sayings of Hercules and the autobiography of Apollonius and you have the entire thing covered.
The greater part of the story of Jesus does not come at it earliest from documents that are 2000 years old but rather from documents that are 2500 years old. And that is the problem with beliveing it to be an historic event.
Christianity is entirely made of "pagan" mythology. Even the title "Christ" is a translation of an older Gods' name; Krishna–the anointed one.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Tiptup
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USA
86 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:20:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Tiptup's Homepage Send Tiptup a Private Message
[QUOTE]Originally posted by JohnPaul Slater:
Jacobson— Mythology is never (except here in California and sometimes in Kanas science classes) taught as being history.

Well, as far as I know, these were beliefs that people held that existed in history. Just because we see no logical reasons for these beliefs today, does not mean that in the past there may have been. Just because something seems outlandish and far-fetched, does not mean that there could be truths behind them, especially when people strongly believed them.

[QUOTE]
Christianity is entirely made of "pagan" mythology. Even the title "Christ" is a translation of an older Gods' name; Krishna–the anointed one.

Well I was going to wait until after I looked over all the evidences before I bring this up, but I suppose it can't hurt to speak about it now. Before I had even come to this entire website, I already agreed with that statement of yours.

Now correct me if I am wrong, but most (if not all), the religions of the world are related to the Zodiac. I don't know where you stand on this, being more knowledgeable on the subject of myths than I, but as far as I know, all the world's religions have themes and ideas in common. Its not as if Christianity came along and just mixed a bunch of strikingly alien ideas together with Hebrew myths on top for flavor. They already possessed many similarities. I believe this was due to the Zodiac, because these different religions matched many of their ideas with certain constellations.

Now if all of this were true, then it would seem that none of the myths are true because they stem from the same birthplace. Or from a "wacko" Christian point of view, maybe all these religions were misguidedly foretelling the coming of the true God-man Jesus. Maybe all these "pagan" religions were skewed versions of a one true religion, one that the Jewish people still held to in its true form, and one that Jesus fulfilled.

An interesting thing to note is that these gospels, which you believe to be compilations of pagan myths, mention a group of three magi or wise men that visit Jesus in his childhood. (Matthew 2:1-12) This time of year we often see them as a part of religious Christmas displays. (Even though they, according to the story, did not come until at least a few years after Jesus birth.) Now these wise men were certainly not Jewish, and the story implies that they did not receive any revelations from God's messengers as the Shepherds had. All it says it that they saw the star that announced the birth of the King of the Jews, and that they came to worship him. Sounds to me like "pagan" astrologers, who studied the Zodiac, came to worship Jesus because his birth and a path to him were written out in the stars.

I think you know where I am going with this. And I can surmise that you are thinking that I am nuts for proposing something so ridiculous and obviously impossible. But from my point of view, nothing is impossible for God. If He sets all of history to lead up to, and possibly prepare the world, for the birth of His Herculean Son, then I believe that He did. Of course if we believe that anything we don't or can't understand is impossible, then I suppose its all nonsense. But seeing as how I am already a Christian, already believing a multitude of seemingly miraculous stories, the idea that God did something like this, is not far-fetched.

In any rate, all those similarities you see between Jesus and characters in pagan religions were already spoken of and prophesied about of the Messiah in the Hebrew Old Testament. So just by trying to write every prophetic statement concerning the "coming" Messiah would cause him to look like those other religious figures without ever consulting "pagan" sources.

Also before I go, if you find it hard to believe that the Zodiac has any relation to Jewish or Christian beliefs, then I suggest you just read through the bible and you'll find tons of references to
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Antares
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3 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:23:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Antares a Private Message
This argument reminds me of another challenge to Jesus not too long ago. There was a whole movement by skeptics/atheists that declared that the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament (over 200 that in light of one another could only refer to the Jesus presented in the New Testament)were added post Jesus. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls shot that theory to hell. Jacobson hinted at one point in defense of a historical Jesus, but I don't think he quite followed it through. He hinted at the scriptures remaining relatively unchanged as a mark of their truth (or at least their basis in truth). Even were I to concede that elements of Jesus' life have been exaggerated or were plain out and out lies (which I do not). The science of historical literary criticisim tells us that the base of the story is true, and that there was a historical Jesus. The core of the four gospels all stand up to careful scrutiny in their format and presentation, documentation styles, and multiple other tests applied to ancient documents to test their veracity. Does this mean that critics would say that every word in the gospels are true. By no means. Homer's account of the Trojan war the second most accepted historical account by literary historian/critics is known to be full of literary embellishments. However they would agree that there was a historical Jesus, and he did do some things in his time which raised some eyebrows. I do know that this isn't enough for you. You want to see the nail marks in his hands. I can't convince you that there was a Jesus, because you've already made presuppositions that he could not exist. But let me tell you this it is widely accepted that Jesus existed and yes, I know athiest and agmnostic scientists that have come to the conclusion that he did exist. The true element of question is whether he was that which Christians have come to believe he was. You may say that there is a lack of outside collaboration (while collaboration outside of scriptures may have been helpful, it is a minor factor in historical literary science) but why would there have been outside colllaboration Jesus was a radical in a remote area of the Roman Empire under the rule of one of Rome's lessor governors. Believe what you wish, but at least see why the New Testament gospels are widely accepted as truth among literary historians.

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Slater
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USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:24:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
You're an interesting person Jacobson. I was astonished to read your thoughts on galactic magnetic flux and it's predicted affect on background radiation. (Last month the Italians published findings that (if verified) would indicate the universal expansion is actually accelerating. This would throw a monkey wrench into many accepted theories. That's one reason this is such a f***ing wonderful time to be alive. So many new and wonderful things are being discovered.)
You want the facts.
You express chagrin about Christians ignoring the statistics about people involved in role playing games. You might remember that I felt the same way about Atheist statistics.
You show a very healthy skepticism —until you reach the subject of God. Then you stop dead in your tracks. You suspend you disbelief. Magic suddenly becomes possible. Why is that?
Okay, ya wanna know about Magi without actually buying the books I recommended. What the heck, it's Christmas, here goes.

The problem starts with the fact that the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament are not actually the same book. (Bet you didn't know that) They have more or less the same content but the OT has been edited and put in a different order so that it seems to be leading up to the birth of the Messiah.
In the Hebrew Bible God doesn't even get mentioned in the entire second half. The prophecy of a Messiah is there all right but it is fulfilled about three-quarters of a page after it is made, and not by Jesus.

Who are these Magi guys and why are they saying such terrible things?

When Theodosius the Great outlawed Zoroasterism and ordered the destruction of the temples it almost disappeared entirety (Ever ask yourself why the noses are missing from every classical sculpture? Christian zealots)
It only survived outside of the empire in India. It is still the religion of the Parsi. The Magi are an order of priesthood.
After being crucified and returning to life to save mankind, and before he rose bodily into heaven, The Good Shepherd promised that he would return to judge the living and the dead. I'm referring of course to the demi-God Mithra.
The first time he was born, by virgin birth, from a rock of all things (he later said that it was on this rock that he built his church) he was found and raised by shepherds (that's why he was a "good" one). His worshipers didn't want this to happen to him a second time so a priestly order of watchers was set up. They did watch the Zodiac, particularly the sign of Capricorn, for information about Mithra's return. (They are still watching to this day).
Now the way the Zodiac works, and why is banned by most Christians, is because the planets move against the background star fields. We think of the planets as being named after the Gods and so miss the whole point on how astrology was supposed to work. The planets ARE the Gods. That is why you could count on them to tell you about the return of God's Son Mithra.
Would Mithrans care about the birth of a Jewish King? Probably, but the would have sent dignitaries to the palace. Magi (where our word "magic" comes from) were interested in the second coming (they still are). The traditional "gifts of the Magi" are the traditional Parsi offerings to God.

So, no, I do not think you are nuts at all for suggesting that astrologers came to worship Jesus. That is just what the story says they did. But it isn't a Jewish story, not even close.
For Magi to come to a virgin birth to glorify their newborn king has nothing what so ever to do with Judaism. The Jews already had a Messiah, he didn't really work out that well. The Zoroastrians had their Magi scanning the skies. You have the wrong myth in the wrong place.
As the story goes on it gets further and further into the life of Mithra.

Could have been worse though.
Before the Ecumenical council of Nicaea threw out the Gospel of Thomas and the Sophia of Jesus Christ and The Gospel of Mary and the Apocryphon of John the story of Jesus contained most of the life of the Buddha too.

The problem that I'm having with you is when you say things like; "with God all things are possible."
There is almost an audible click as the discerning part of your brain turns off. Suddenly you disdain people who don't include obvious fantasy in their philosophy.
Yet in every other part of your life you require proof, you require logic. The subject of God comes up and you have a completely new standard.
Why?

I am suggesting that Christianity is not the end result of God evolving "pagan" religions
into the one true faith (and sending countless pagans to Hell in the interim). I am not even suggesting that it is the logical result of the early Indo/European belief system.
I am suggesting that it is a Roman construct created for political expediency.
Exactly the same as the Greeks had done hundreds of years before when they created the God Serapis. No magic, no mystery just politics.

Footnote: When the Christians were "cutting off the noses to spite the faces" of the classic statuary they always left the statues of Serapis unharmed. Serapis with his smiling face and full beard, with his right hand raised casually pointing to heaven above was (and still is) the official image of Jesus.

You don't need to resort to unfounded claims of the so-called super natural to explain any of this stuff.

Happy Solstice to all.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Slater
SFN Regular

USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:24:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
[quote]"The science of historical literary criticisim tells us that the base of the story is true, and that there was a historical Jesus."
Nice bluff Antares but I gotta call you on that one. When did literary criticism stop being a matter of opinion and become a science?

[quote]"I do know that this isn't enough for you. You want to see the nail marks in his hands. I can't convince you that there was a Jesus, because you've already made presuppositions that he could not exist"

Have we met? Sorry, but I don't recall you.
Let me tell you how I came by my "presuppositions". In the early '60s, while still an undergraduate, I was a Member of a Christian club at University. One day an old (in his 40s) black man walked in and started debating with the members about Atheism . I did not join in but only watched from the side-lines.
"Youse aint got no proofs that der eben is a God," he slurred.
Our leader, a lovely young woman, replied, " I do not need proof for I have faith." A quote from a movie that had been on TV the week before.
This didn't sound right to me. I was training to go into the sciences. Of course there must be proof. Everyone knows it's true except this crazy old guy. I'll find the proof, how hard can it be? It will only strengthen my faith.

That was the beginning of decades of research and my first step to becoming an Atheist. An honest consideration of the facts, you should try it some time.

You tell me that I wouldn't believe even if I had evidence. There is no way we can prove your assumption as there is no evidence for me to ignore.
If you have any "nail marks" available trot them out. You would be the first one in the past 40 years.

But the real question is "Who do you say that I am?"
Are you saying that Jesus was some unwashed rabble rouser in a third rate Roman colony? Are you saying he was somebody who was executed after starting a drunken brawl in the Temple courtyard?
Or are you saying that He is GOD?
Because there is a different standard of evidence required for these two vastly different claims.
Acts mentions Simon the Magician, and roundly condemns him. We have four other sources for Simon, all of whom liked him. We can be pretty sure that Simon was an historical figure. But he was just a minor player, a first century Penn and Teller, not a God.
We have no other sources for Jesus Christ. Nothing, zilch, nada. So please send me the e–mail address of those "atheist and agnostic scientists that have come to the conclusion that he did exist," because I do not believe you and I would like to find out their reasons. I tend to suspect that you made these scientists up out of whole cloth.

And while we are calling bluffs that bit about the Essene documents (Dead Sea Scrolls) foretelling Jesus, it just isn't true. The Jesus story is, as I've pointed out again and again Mithric, it isn't Essene.
It was an ancient story before Jesus was a twinkle in Joseph's eye.

If the base of the story is true then you should fall on your knees to the prophet Zoroaster. He is the one who revealed it to mankind first, sometime around 550 BCE.

A word of advise. Evangelism is fronded upon in the better circles. It is considered socially unexcitable behavior. But if you feel compelled to keep doing it, you would be more effective if you didn't make things up that can so easily be checked. That or stick with very gullible people.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Antares
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3 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:25:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Antares a Private Message
John Paul:
I was inaccurate on one account I said literary criticisim when I meant to say textual criticisim. Textual criticisim is based on theories that have been put in place by great learned men. Just as evolution is based on theories put in place by great learned men. Like any theory there is a margin for error. The theories where possible have been verified by outside sources. But just because a certain text has no outside textual verification does not take away from the application of textual criticisim theories to determine their veracity.

I do apologize for my error. But, textual criticisim is a valid science based upon theories which have been tested and proven.

As I said as well, this does not mean there are naot huge amounts of embellishment within a text. In fact this very same science would determine that a lot of what happened in the New Testament gospels are false. So while the science I support here supports a historical Jesus, It does not support my beliefs in what he did. As I said, I don't think the argument is whether there was a historical Jesus, but what was he.

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Antares
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3 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:25:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Antares a Private Message
John Paul:
I will also apologize for my evangelistic manner, and my presuppositions about you.

The presuppositions were grossly unfair, and the evangelistic nature of parts of my criticisim were not appropriate in this argument. I certainly don't want to turn anyone away from my ideas because of a certain ineptness in the presentation.

As to your other point about the Dead Sea Scrolls, I was not debating whether the messianic prophecies were mithric or essene in origin. Merely stating a fact. Many so-called messianic prophecies (I say so-called because there are prophecies agreed upon by Jewish and Christian scholars to refer to a messiah) were largely debated, and widely believed to be added post Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls did prove this idea to be false. Whether or not you believe the prophecies, or even believe they are messianic prophecies or even believe that they are from another origin entirely, I was merely pointing out a widely regarded theory that was disproved.

Neither one of my arguments were bluffs, though I must admit I went into them with more zeal than thought.

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Slater
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USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:27:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
Antares—Mithric vs. Essene messianic prophecies is very important.
First let me define what I mean by a prophet.
A prophet is a kind of confidence man (or woman) who makes specious claims of having powers ordinary people do not possess. Usually they are in relation to some God or other. The most famous was the Pythoness at Delphi who could tell you the predictions of Apollo. For a price. A big price.
Today they tend to shy away from Gods (after the witch burnings of an earlier day) and only claim a personal super power. Some are content to prophesize celebrity weddings in the tabloids. One will even give you investment advice from a ghost from lost Atlantis.
They are more a matter for the police than for theologians.

What you must keep in mind is that in Jesus day you couldn't throw a rock without hitting a claim of a "hero/God". Every culture had at least one.

Essene messianic prophecies were Jewish—had nothing what so ever to do with the Jesus story.
Mithric messianic prophecies were Zoroastrian . They fit the Jesus story to a T.
The reason is very simple. "In this sign shall you conquer"
Constantine was one of three Emperors of the West, there were three more in the East. He wanted the entire Roman Empire for himself.
The legions were overwhelmingly worshipers of Mithra. A religion brought to the legions by Persian foot soldiers hundreds of years before. All of whom were expecting the second coming of the demi-God Mithra.
The story of Jesus is the story of Mithra retold with bits and pieces of other Gods thrown in to spice it up.
The result is the second coming of Mithra. Not only that but He is magically telling Constantine that he is backing him to be the one and only Emperor of Rome. The troops eat it up—they love it! Constantine goes on to become Constantine the Great. Thousands are slaughtered.
After things settle down in Byzantium, which is now modestly named Constantinople, it is found that things are getting out of hand with Christianity. It seems that there are a bunch of rival religions all calling themselves Christianity all trying the gain power from the Emperor.
After an Ecumenical Council, the murders of half a dozen Bishops and the murders of Constantine's wife and son, there you have it. A Christianity that perfectly supports Constantine's reign.
Hallelujah the Prince of Peace, pray to him or we'll slit your throat. Thousands more are slaughtered. "Pagans" singing the praises of Jupiter are fed to the lions by Christians on an on going bases.
Constantine never became a Christian. You wouldn't really expect him to seeing that he was the one who had it made up to begin with.
The Emperor Julian realized that this was just a short-term fix and would be detrimental in the long run. He did his best to restore classical religion but, sadly, his life was cut short. Europe, as he had feared, was plunged into the dark ages for a thousand years by Christianity.

Was there a "historic" Jesus? It couldn't matter less.

Merry Christmas.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Slater
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USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:27:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
About that science of textual criticism.
It's a new one on me; funny I usually keep up on that type of thing. Can you tell me who did this research and what their credentials are? And while you are at it, do you know of a University that offers textual criticism as a science on their curriculum?

Now I don't mean to tar you with the same brush Antares, but many Evangelicals will tend to make what is called "an appeal to authority" and then neglect to tell you who the authority is. Some I have know have even made things up just to impress me. I'm not implying that you have, I'm sure it just slipped your mind. But this is a hobby of mine and I would like to see their findings.

Now I have here on my shelf four books that I picked up in a used book store. They are all from the beginning of the last century and they are all about Tarzan of the Apes. The condition of the paper, the type and the language used are consistent with the time. The technology mentioned, the political figures in power at the time, all check out. Each book is consistent in its description of Tarzan. Each teaches high moral values, particularly about courage and honesty.

The doubting Thomas' say there was no Tarzan because he could work miracles (he talked with animals, swung through the trees, did feats of strength that are impossible with a human skeletal system) and that his story closely resembles that of "The Jungle Book"—a known work of fiction that predates Tarzan's publication. That and there is no other evidence of him having existed outside of these books.

An exact parallel, I might point out, with the New Testament hero Jesus. (Walk on water, swing through the jungle—no difference)

How do we use this textual criticism science of yours to find out if Tarzan was fiction or fact?

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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Tiptup
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USA
86 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:28:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Tiptup's Homepage Send Tiptup a Private Message
Slater,
I would like to debate with you on many of the things you have brought up here. Unfortunately I have been very busy of late, and will continue to be for quite awhile yet. So in the meantime, perhaps you can clear up a few statements you made.

1. What Hebrew bible are you speaking of, and, specifically, what content differs in it from the "Christian old testament"?

2. Can you explain what you said about the Hebrew messianic prophecies being fulfilled by a Messiah that didn't work out too great?

3. How are the prophecies in the Hebrew bible not like the all other religions' ideas of a "Christ-like" figure?

I have a few ideas about what you might be referring to when you spoke of the Hebrew bible and the supposed Messiah. Unfortunately, this is not an area I am completely knowledgeable in. So unless you specify what you meant, I will have a hard time knowing how to take or return your points. Also, I still plan on reading those books you mentioned.

Tiptup

-------------------------
I DON'T MAKE SENSE-I GOT MY PRIDE; DON'T NEED NO MEANING; I FEEL NO SHAME-I WILL NOT BELIEVE; I GOT NO CHOICE-I'M OUT OF CONTROL; AND I LOVE IT!!
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@tomic
Administrator

USA
4607 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:29:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit @tomic's Homepage Send @tomic a Private Message
All this Mithra stuff is ringing some bells like I've heard it before but can't quite remember any details. It has me interested in learning more so I am gonna look into it myself.
I will say that it is not an unheard of idea. We already know how Christianity has co-opted with other religions and cultures, why not this one, too?

@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!
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Slater
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USA
1668 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2001 :  19:30:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Slater a Private Message
Jacobson (or are you Tiptup now?)—"1. What Hebrew bible…" THE Hebrew bible.
Reading the OT leads you almost step by step to the coming of the Messiah. Reading the Hebrew Bible would leave you with no such impression. You can check it out by talking with your local Rabbi. He or she would probably be more than happy to straighten you out on the subject.
If you should happen to live in a Jewishly challenged area try Jack Miles' Pulitzer Prize winning book "GOD a biography"

" 2. Can you explain …a Messiah that didn't work out too great?"
That would be Handel's Messiah ;–)
Isaiah VII "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel: GOD WITH US" Izzy tells this claptrap to his king in the Hebrew Bible and runs right out to find the kid. Overjoyed with this sign from God the King charges into battle—and promptly loses. Ooopsy

"3. How are the prophecies in the Hebrew bible not like the all other religions' ideas of a "Christ-like" figure?"
The Hebrews were not expecting a God; just a human hero. They, by that time, were strict mono-theists.
Everyone else was expecting a "Good" God to save their tails from "Evil" Gods.
Mithra the only begotten son of God—Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Light, Wisdom, and Life—was to save mankind from the clutches of Angra Mainyu, the God of the Lie. (And, yes, that is where our word ANGER comes from)
You run into a theological brick wall when you try to impose a "savior" motif onto mono–theism. First you need a "second" God to do the saving and to explain why the first God didn't do it. Then you are faced with the problem of the second God saving you from the wrath of the first God, when you are trying to promote the worship of the first God to begin with. You wind up being saved FROM God.
Our boy, Hank Hannagraff, says that multiple Gods in "mono" theism is a mystery beyond man's meager understanding. It is "beyond logic."
To me it just looks like trying to force the old square peg into the sacred round hole.
Worst case scenario; to make God #1 seem nice without an opposing nasty deity you have to convince the worshippers that it is they –themselves– who are evil. You are forced to depend on a psychologically induced masochism to get away with that nonsense, which removes the religion from its original purpose.
Not a pleasant state of affairs for any concerned. But an obvious give–away that the religion was a construct by bureaucrats. A very flawed construct, by political toadies whose main concern was "crowd control."



@tomic— when you first try to look up Mithra you will find quotes like "It was Christianity's main competitor in Rome," Christmas day may even be mentioned , even photos of Mithra slaying the bull—then nothing.
The Church tried their damnedest to wipe Mithraism off the face of the earth, and did a good job of it.
The best material is in some very dry scholarly works on the subject. The web does have some sites that are interesting but don't give as many sources as one could wish for.
One Christian site says that it was a copy cat religion of Christianity starting later on. They neglect to explain why, if it came later, Magi are in the NT and Zoroastrians free the Jews from Babylon in the OT. Details, details.
Good luck.

When the dead talk -- they talk to him
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