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71 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Horus of Nazareth3 juin 2011
Robert M. Price
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Yes, she published her own book. So did Hume. Nuff said.
Some may think to accuse Ms. Murdock of committing the fallacious appeal to authority because she peppers her text with information ascribed to various scholars and includes their professional titles or academic posts. But she is not thereby trying to lend a weight to her thesis which it would not possess on its own. Rather, she is trying to help us place the specialists whose work she is discussing. I am no Egyptologist, so it helps me to know who I am "listening to" here and that it is never just some convenient crank.
This is no doubt the best book by this controversial author. Any and every fault, real or perceived, that one might have detected in "The Christ Conspiracy" was already absent from "Suns of God," and it is hard even to remember them while one is reading "Christ in Egypt." Just so no one will suspect Acharya paid me to puff this thing, I suppose I ought to supply a couple of minor criticisms. My main one is that, as in the case of the great Robert Eisenman, she seems to me to over-document her case, almost to the point that I fear I will lose track of the argument. But, like all good teachers, she periodically pauses to draw the threads together. And of course the danger is implied in the scope of the subject. She quotes a previous scholar concerning this occupational hazard: "Unhappily these demonstrations cannot be made without a wearisome mass of detail" (Gerald Massey, "Ancient Egypt: Light of the World," p. 218, cited p. 313).
The book is more extensive and encompassing than many dissertations I have read, containing over 900 sources and nearly 2,400 citations in several languages, including ancient Egyptian. The text abounds in long lost references, many of them altogether new to English rendering, including de novo translations of difficult passages in handwritten German. This is the kind of thing that gives me, as a researcher, a migraine as soon as I see them coming in the distance!
Besides random judgment calls re this or that proposed parallel or conclusion, my only continuing disagreement with the Acharya is on her model whereby a committee of creators sat down to formulate the Christian religion. Such a scenario is by no means impossible, but it seems unnecessary to me. I prefer the old Romantic idea of Hölderlin and the early form-critics of an anonymous and nebulous "creative community." It is hard to track down rumors, myths, or ascendant religious symbols to specific names. But this difference hardly matters. We are in agreement on the thoroughly syncretic character of primitive Christianity, evolving from earlier mythemes and rituals, especially those of Egypt. It is almost as important in "Christ in Egypt" to argue for an astro-religious origin for the mythemes, and there, too, I agree with the learned author. Let me outline the main argument that persuades me, some of it learned here, some already assimilated and facilitating my acceptance of much that Acharya offers.
First, I find it undeniable that, as Ignaz Goldziher ("Mythology among the Hebrews") argued, following the lead of "solar mythologist" Max Müller (yes, the great historian of comparative religion and world scripture), many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations. This theory is now ignored in favor of others more easily made into theology and sermons, but it has never been refuted, and I find the evidence overwhelming. And once you recognize these patterns in the Old Testament, you start noticing them, albeit to a lesser degree (?), in the New. Hercules' twelve labors surely mark his progress, as the sun, through the houses of the Zodiac; why do Jesus' circumambient twelve disciples not mean the same thing? And so on.
Second, for Egyptian influence to have become integral to Israelite religion even from pre-biblical times is only natural given the fact that from 3000 BCE Egypt ruled Canaan. We are not talking about some far-fetched borrowing from an alien cultural sphere. The tale of Joseph and his brethren is already transparently a retelling of Osiris and Set. The New Testament Lazarus story is another (Mary and Martha playing Isis and Nephthys). And so is the story of Jesus (Mary Magdalene and the others as Isis and Nephthys). Jesus (in the "Johannine Thunderbolt" passage, Matthew 11:27//Luke 10:21) sounds like he's quoting Akhenaten's Hymn to the Sun. Jesus sacramentally offers bread as his body, wine as his blood, just as Osiris offered his blood in the form of beer, his flesh as bread. Judas is Set, who betrays him. Mourning women seek for his body. The anointing in Bethany ("Leave her alone! She has saved the ointment for my burial!") is a misplaced continuation of the women bringing the spices to the tomb, where they would raise Jesus with the stuff, as Isis used sacred ointment to raise Osiris. Thus Jesus "Christ" makes more sense as Jesus "the Resurrected One" than as "Jesus the Davidic Scion." In the ritual reenactments, three days separate the death and the resurrection. Jesus appears on earth briefly, then retires to the afterworld to become the judge of the living and the dead--just as Osiris does.
Osiris is doubly resurrected as his son Horus, too, and he, too, is eventually raised from the dead by Isis. He is pictured as spanning the dome of heaven, his arms stretched out in a cruciform pattern. As such, he seems to represent the common Platonic astronomical symbol of the sun's path crossing the earth's ecliptic. Likewise, the Acts of John remembers that the real cross of Jesus is not some piece of wood, as fools think, but rather the celestial "Cross of Light." Acharya S. ventures that "the creators of the Christ myth did not simply take an already formed story, scratch out the name Osiris or Horus, and replace it with Jesus" (p. 25). But I am pretty much ready to go the whole way and suggest that Jesus is simply Osiris going under a new name, Jesus, "Savior," hitherto an epithet, but made into a name on Jewish soil. Are there allied mythemes (details, really) that look borrowed from the cults of Attis, Dionysus, etc.? Sure; remember we are talking about a heavily syncretistic context. Hadian remarked on how Jewish and Christian leaders in Egypt mixed their worship with that of Sarapis (=Osiris).
Third, Eusebius and others already pegged the Theraputae (Essene-like Jewish monks in Egypt) as early Christians, even Philo the Jewish Middle Platonist of Alexandria) as a Christian! Philo and various Egyptian Gnostic sects experimented with the philosophical demythologizing of myths such as the primordial Son of Man and the Logos. Philo equated the Son of Man, Firstborn of Creation, Word, heavenly High Priest, etc., and considered the Israelite patriarchs, allegorically, as virgin-born incarnations of the Logos. All, I repeat, all, New Testament Christological titles are found verbatim in Philo. Coincidence? Gnostic texts are filled with classical Egyptian eschatology. Christian magic spells identified Jesus with Horus. It seems hard to deny that even Christians as "late" as the New Testament writers were directly dependent upon Jewish thinkers in Egypt, just like the Gnostic Christian writers after them. And if the common Christian believer saw no difference between Jesus and Horus in Egypt (or between Jesus and Attis in the Naasene Hymn), why on earth should we think they were innovators?
I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock: "we assert that Christianity constitutes Gnosticism historicized and Judaized, likewise representing a synthesis of Egyptian, Jewish and Greek religion and mythology, among others [including Buddhism, via King Asoka's missionaries] from around the `known world'" (p. 278). "Christianity is largely the product of Egyptian religion being Judaized and historicized' (p. 482).
81 internautes sur 89 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Another Great Tome by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S18 mars 2009
Benjamin D. Steele
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Christ In Egypt is more than 500 pages crammed full of examples and quotations all fully cited. This book follows the same theme as Murdock's earlier books, but it's different in that the author is focusing on just one mythological parallel to Christianity. I've never studied Egyptian religion too deeply, but the way she presents it makes me very curious to learn more. In particular, she has helped me to better understand the importance of the Coptic Christians and the Alexandrian Jews, and this has given me more of the context behind the development of Gnosticism.
If you're not familiar with the authors work, she mostly writes about comparative mythology in terms of Christianity. In particular, she emphasizes astrotheology (related to cultural astronomy, ethnoastronomy, and archeoastronomy) which is a field that is growing in popularity within a certain sector of scholars. If you'd like to learn more before deciding whether you want to buy this book, I'd recommend checking out her website or blog (Truth Be Known). She has some good introductory articles that explain what astrotheology is. Also, she runs a discussion board which is a wealth of information. Specific to this book, excerpts can be found on the Stellar House Publishing website.
You might be familiar with astrotheology from the first part of the movie Zeitgeist, but that movie is only a very basic presentation. So, don't dismiss Murdock's work based on criticisms that you've read about Zeitgeist. Christ In Egypt is partly a response to those criticisms and it's a very thorough response. If you're genuinely interested in this topic, I'd recommend reading the book (which is something many of her critics don't do) and making up your own mind.
As for the issue of Murdock's scholarship, here is an excerpt from the preface of Christ In Egypt:
"I have been compelled to do extensive and exhaustive research in the pertinent ancient languages, such as Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Coptic, while I have also utilized authorities in modern languages such as German and French. . . . In my analysis of the ancient Egyptian texts, I consulted and cross-referenced as many translations as I could find, and I attempted to defer to the most modern renditions as often as possible."
Murdock cites more than nine hundred scholarly sources and primary texts which includes thousands of footnotes, around 60 illustrations, and a 36 page long bibliography. She references the contemporary mythicist scholars Earl Doherty, Robert M. Price, and G.A. Wells; she goes into great detail about the criticisms of Gerald Massey; and she has a large section where she discusses her disagreement with Richard Carrier. Both Price and Doherty praise her work and reference it, and Price wrote a foreword to one of her earlier books (Who Was Jesus?). Also, here are some of the modern Egyptologists she references: Rudolf Anthes, Jan Assman, Hellmut Brunner, Claas J. Bleeker, Bob Brier, Henri Frankfort, Alan H. Gardiner, John Gwyn Griffiths, Erik Hornung, Barry Kemp, Barbara Lesko, Bojana Mojsov, Siegfried Morenz, William Murnane, Margaret A. Murray, Donald B. Redford, Herman te Velde, Claude Traunecker, Reginald E. Witt, and Louis V. Zabkar. One nice thing about Murdock's books is that the bibliographies give you many directions in which to study further.
As a side note, many would like to separate Murdock's work from authors who act as popularizers, but I noticed that she includes Freke and Gandy in her bibliography. I'm glad she did because I personally get tired of the haughty attitude many people get about scholarship. Popularizers like Freke and Gandy (along with Tom Harpur) play an important role as their books make for excellent introductions, but keep in mind that Murdock is a very large step beyond introductory material. If you feel a need to be dismissive towards the lesser scholarship of popularizers, please realize that Murdock's Christ In Egypt is as scholarly as it gets.
As such, even though I highly recommend this book, it might not be a good introduction for most people partly because of its massive size. She is meticulous in her scholarship which means that you have to be seriously interested in the subject to want to read a book like this. I personally appreciate the excess of data. And, with a subject that attracts many critics, the more details and examples provided the better the argument is supported.
Murdock's Christ in Egypt seems to be quite unique... despite there being many books that discuss Christianity and Egyptology. She realized how much info was out there, but the problem was that it was scattered across many sources. Her enormous goal was to collect as many scholarly references as she could find. In doing this, she researched materials that had never been published before and materials that had never appeared in English before. She amazingly managed to stuff a lot into a single book (although I suspect she could've expanded it into multiple volumes). As far as I know, there presently is no better resource available.
Biographical info (from her website):
"Acharya S, whose real name is D.M. Murdock, was classically educated at some of the finest schools, receiving an undergraduate degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin & Marshall College, the 17th oldest college in the United States. . . . Acharya is also a member of one of the world's most exclusive institutes for the study of Ancient Greek Civilization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. . . . Acharya S has served as a trench master on archaeological excavations in Corinth, Greece, and Connecticut, USA, as well as a teacher's assistant on the island of Crete. Acharya S has traveled extensively around Europe,and she speaks, reads and/or writes English, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese and a smattering of other languages to varying degrees."
32 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Life-changing, academically sound, and necessary!29 mai 2011
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"Christ In Egypt" is an eye-opening book, with so much academic and historic reference that is almost difficult to read. This book makes the clearest connection ever made between the Horus typology of ancient Egypt, and the Christ story which evolved much later. After reading this, I was convinced...and still am...that historically, Christ is a myth formulated around an existing myth that seemed to provide the proper historic and typological references needed to sustain it and define it. I was a pastor for 25 years, and am a graduate of Emory University and Candler School of Theology (M.Div, Ph.D), and I can tell you that this book both shook me and set me free. Thanks, Archaya for writing this book, and putting it out there like this. Your guns were loaded!!
21 internautes sur 23 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A serious, provocative work with some shortcomings28 juillet 2010
R. Verarde, Ph.D.
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D. M. Murdock is one of the most interesting maverick scholars writing today. She is challenging the status quo and exposing conspiracies among religious scholars that severely limit free and open inquiry. Make no mistake about it, she is extremely well-informed on all the pertinent issues regarding early Christianity. Evangelicals who try to dismiss her as ill-informed or biased are barking up the wrong tree (nothing new there!).
My complaint about Christ in Egypt is that it is overly long. It over-kills its main point. Moreover, it's main point is an inference that is never really spelled out and examined. The inference is this: there are a multitude of thematic parallels between the Horus and Christ myths; therefore the Christ myth is derivative and thus non-historical. This is a problematic thesis on a couple of levels. First, and foremost, as Murdock herself admits, the Horus myth is nowhere spelled out in a single narrative text, as the gospel of Jesus is. The Horus myth has to be cobbled together from a variety of sources, many of which are pictorial rather than verbal and require interpretation. The type of comparison engaged in is thus between gospel apples and Egyptian oranges.
That doesn't mean it has no value or that Murdock hasn't made some kind of a case for a profound Egyptian influence upon the shaping of Christianity. She has. But the twofold inference that: a) Christianity is derivative and therefore unoriginal, and b) Jesus is a fictional rather than historical figure, has not been sufficiently demonstrated by this work, in my view. Is she arguing direct or indirect influence? If direct, she would have to show the mechanisms of that influence--the extant texts or traditions from which the gospel writers would have drawn in shaping their narratives. The distance between ancient Egypt and first century Israel was vast, counted in thousands of years. As with all ideas, Egyptian myth themes morphed in many ways along the centuries as they migrated into the Hellenistic world of Jesus' day. So much so, that one has to ask, when does an idea or tradition become something other, something faintly reminiscent but with its own creative twist? How do we define an original? Murdock is certainly correct in one sense, that in religion there is nothing new under the sun. Christianity may in fact be a revival of a very ancient tradition that predates second temple Judaism and has its ultimate roots in ancient Egypt. But, again, historically speaking that is a long road to hoe. See Margaret Barker's work to get a sense for how one might begin to trace the continuities between nascent Christianity and ancient but repressed Hebrew traditions.
Second, mythologizing and historicizing are two sides of a coin. They are reciprocal. Mythologizing does not, by itself, disprove a historical reality at its base. The relationship between a historical figure of Jesus and the theological or mythologized narrative of him is a complex one that can't be determined solely on the basis of textual or thematic parallels with other myths. The gospels draw, no doubt, upon many extant myths and figures, including the Odyssey, as Dennis MacDonald has shown. Conversely, a historical figure or set of events could hardly be expected to be conveyed by ancient, theologically driven witnesses in stark realistic terms such as would be preferred in a modern court. We expect ancient events to be expressed through theological and mythological filters of those who witnessed them. The presence of mythic themes and motifs does not, by itself, disprove a historical reality.
All that said, this book and the thesis it develops give one pause to consider the extent to which ancient myths and religious themes permeated the first century Jewish landscape. My own sense of it is that the themes involved are probably archetypal and have a way of spontaneously reemerging in various places when the conditions are right. Somehow these themes are projections of some deep part of the human psyche and reveal some mystery to us about who we are, where we've come from, and where we're going. To get a good sense of that, I would recommend, in addition to Murdock's suggestive works, reading Symbols of Transformation by C. G. Jung.
21 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The real history of the Christian religion...10 mai 2009
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This book succeeds on so many levels. It is very thorough and includes massive references. These provide so many other avenues of exploration and verification. D.M. Murdock has given us a great gift. She has brought together seemingly unrelated fields of information and has provided a system of understanding that allows us to understand how the Christian religion came together. Christianity is not understood as a revolution, but as an evolution. She demonstrates how understanding the Christian religion as syncretic evolution fits far better with the historical record.
I can now understand how gnostic Christianity would emerge with its seemingly unconnected beliefs when compared to the Bible. The story of how a messianic theology coming out of Alexandria evolved into the Christian religion is simply great detecting. It reads like a mystery novel unfolding its complex plot. She takes puzzling statements by the Christian Church fathers and shows how the early Church was clearly taking not only the rituals of sun worship, but its theology as well.
""St. Cyprian spoke of Christ as the true sun (sol verus)." Cyprian also writes, "O, how wonderfully acted Providence than on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born." "St. Ambrose says precisely, 'He is our new sun (Hic sol novus noster).' Similar figures are employed by Gregory of Nazianzus, Zeon of Verona, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great, etc." Christ in Egypt page 112-113 Clement of Alexandria calls Christ the "Sun of the Resurrection"
D.M. Murdock obviously put a lot of work and research into this book. It is well worth reading and reveals insights into what is the true origin of Christianity. This information should have been available to the general public long ago. It is understandable why this hasn't been presented before because for many centuries any criticism of the "truth" of Christianity would be met by death, loss of the ability to make an income, and other social pressures. I have also learned to appreciate the finer points of the Egyptian religion. It is no longer this dark and scary entry into the land of mummies and monsters born of curses and superstition. It is a very sophisticated philosophy of light and darkness, good and evil, and the purification of the soul.
I highly recommend this book and encourage you to read it slowly and thoughtfully, taking time to place yourself back in time with D.M. Murdock when humanity saw things much differently.