David Mathisen, Do Ancient Star Myths Tell the Same Story? |426|

#81
The only exposure I've had to Joe Atwill's theory is on your podcast so I don't have a great deal of knowledge on it. My impression of it at the time was that it was weak and didn't merit further consideration. Were aspects of official Christianity a Roman creation? Without doubt especially after Coinstantine. Are the gospels embellished? Surely. Were the temple prophecies written after the fact? Quite likely. Does this prove Jesus didn't exist? No.

I do believe the Christ transcends the person of Jesus. It is a higher consciousness. Jesus was able to become an open door for the Christ mind to flow through him and thus was aptly named Jesus Christ. Anyone who can let the Christ light shine through them also could rightly be called the Christ. Thus we could understand that the Christ not Jesus the person is the "only begotten son of God".

Jesus isn't the son of God in a unique way. As far as ranking of who is on top of spirit teachers, I have no idea. But considering the vast amount of time humans have been on Earth and Jesus only getting out of the cycle of rebirth a couple thousand years ago, probably not.
se my above post with the roman arch
 
#82
agreed, so why does David seem reluctant to go there?
Maybe David sees coherence through the fog of distortion? The NT seems to blend esoteric knowledge with almost petty ideological distortions that cannot over run the core mythos. Unfortunately so often the distortions are relied upon as authority and the mythos is ignored.

I would think that the classic story of Jesus is mythic and probably astronomical - Jesus as the solar aspect of deity and the 12 disciples being the zodiac? And then there are the 3 Marys - and the evident connections to the Egyptian tradition. David has, no doubt, a far more informed and erudite POV here.
 
#83
ALEX,
take a gander at "Tess Clark" mythosedecoded.wixsite.oom. this woman seems like a guest that would go "toe to toe" with you where ever the evidence goes. This gal is not afraid to break an egg to make an omelet.
 
#84
I'm curious to know what people's thoughts are on what came first, astrology or the "gods"? To be more specific, did people watch the star patterns first and then make up stories to explain the movements, or did the "gods" (whatever they may be, Atlanteans, aliens, spirit beings, or fictional characters) come first and then their names given to star clusters by ancient astrologers?

In other words, do you think Orion could have been a real guy someone decided to name a constellation after, or was the name just made up for the constellation and the story made up for it only later became a religious belief?
 
#85
check with Immanuel Velikosky. the topics posed by the author are all addressed and footnoted in detail in the 1950's best seller "Worlds in Collision". Events happen first in the sky. Alex you owe us a show on Velikosky. Remember follow the knowledge.
 
#86
check with Immanuel Velikosky. the topics posed by the author are all addressed and footnoted in detail in the 1950's best seller "Worlds in Collision". Events happen first in the sky. Alex you owe us a show on Velikosky. Remember follow the knowledge.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look him up.
 
#87
se my above post with the roman arch
Hi Alex -- The arch of Titus shows that Jerusalem was indeed sacked by the Romans under Titus and Vespasian, but I'm not sure why you think this contradicts my research -- on the contrary, it supports my arguments (please see my extensive treatment of this entire history in my 2014 book The Undying Stars, and also numerous blog posts dealing with the rise of Literalist Christianity: blog is fully searchable and those interested can look for terms such as "Josephus" or "Vespasian" etc). As you no doubt remember, we discussed Joe Atwill's theory in our first interview. I expressed the opinion that Atwill has done some worthwhile research concerning the figure of Josephus and his machinations, but I disagree with many of Joe Atwill's conclusions, particularly his central thesis that the gospel accounts are primarily a "Roman psyop" designed to subtly mimic the (supposedly historical) events of the conquest of Judaea as described in the (supposedly historical) accounts of Josephus. If Atwill's thesis were correct, then why would these Roman psyop originators need four gospels? The reason there are four gospels is actually because they are based on celestial phenomena, and the four gospels correspond to the four great "stations of the year" -- the summer solstice (longest day and longest of the four gospels), the winter solstice (shortest day and shortest of the four gospels), and the two equinoxes (roughly equal in length, corresponding to the two gospels that are roughly equal in length and halfway between the longest and shortest gospel). The four "gospellers" correspond to four constellations who ruled the four stations of the year in a previous precessional Age: the Ox (Taurus), the Eagle (Aquila, above Scorpio), the Lion (Leo), and the Man (Aquarius), as I explain at some length in a blog post here: https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-vision-of-ezekiel-and-tetramorphs.html
Furthermore, the events described in the gospel accounts can be shown to be based on celestial metaphor, with very clear correspondences to other ancient myths based on celestial metaphor. For example, the stories of the birth of the Christ in the gospels show numerous remarkable parallels to the stories of the birth of the Buddha (stories which were written down hundreds of years before the sack of Jerusalem -- thus disproving Atwill's theory that the gospel accounts are based on the supposedly historical accounts of the wars in Judaea written by Josephus): https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2018/12/birth-of-buddha-birth-of-christ.html
Additionally, many of the stories in the gospels have remarkable parallels to the stories in the Odyssey of ancient Greece, which also was written down many hundreds of years prior to the supposed "New Testament era" and the sack of Jerusalem. Here is a blog post discussing just some of the remarkable parallels between the events in the Odyssey and the episodes included in the gospel stories: https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2018/03/parallels-between-odyssey-and-gospels.html
I would think that anyone can see that these examples disprove the core conclusions of Atwill's theory. However, I do think Joe Atwill has done some valuable research -- what he has discovered is that Josephus is connected to the rise of Literalist Christianity, a conclusion with which I also agree (again, see my 2014 book The Undying Stars). What is far more likely, in my opinion, is that someone (known to us as "Paul" but that is probably a pseudonym) was teaching ancient mysteries involving the Christ Within (ancient doctrines that are not teaching a literal or historical Jesus) and the fact that this ancient secret teaching was being given out on a widespread basis appalled certain factions who wanted to keep it secret. Note that "Paul" himself declares that the teachings he is spreading are both ancient and secret: see for instance 1 Cor 2: 7, and also Ephesians 3: 5, and also Romans 16: 25, etc. He declares specifically that his teaching is about "Christ in you" (not an external, historical, or literal Jesus) -- see for example Colossians 1: 27.
To try to contain the "damage" of this Gnostic teaching which was gaining widespread traction, Literalist Christianity was created -- probably with the help of someone (possibly a group of someones) who knew what they were doing (knew the ancient esoteric system very, very well and very, very thoroughly). This is why the gospel accounts are based on the very same ancient system. If Josephus was indeed an actual historical figure, he is certainly a likely candidate for one of those who helped create the literalist psyop.
The purpose of the ancient system involves connection with the divine realm. Just like my Karate Kid metaphor, there are those who would prefer that nobody know about this ancient system (if you want to be the only one who knows kung fu in the village, then you will not be happy with someone like Mr. Miyagi -- or someone like the figure we know as "Paul" -- who is going around and teaching people this ancient system. If you want to be the only ones in town who know this system, then you might tell people "All that wax-the-car stuff: it's just about waxing the car, not about some sort of higher esoteric teaching involving martial arts" -- this is exactly what Literalism is constantly telling people).
Here is a recent video I made to try to articulate some of this:
 
#91
Hi Alex -- The arch of Titus shows that Jerusalem was indeed sacked by the Romans under Titus and Vespasian, but I'm not sure why you think this contradicts my research -- on the contrary, it supports my arguments (please see my extensive treatment of this entire history in my 2014 book The Undying Stars, and also numerous blog posts dealing with the rise of Literalist Christianity: blog is fully searchable and those interested can look for terms such as "Josephus" or "Vespasian" etc). As you no doubt remember, we discussed Joe Atwill's theory in our first interview. I expressed the opinion that Atwill has done some worthwhile research concerning the figure of Josephus and his machinations, but I disagree with many of Joe Atwill's conclusions, particularly his central thesis that the gospel accounts are primarily a "Roman psyop" designed to subtly mimic the (supposedly historical) events of the conquest of Judaea as described in the (supposedly historical) accounts of Josephus. If Atwill's thesis were correct, then why would these Roman psyop originators need four gospels? The reason there are four gospels is actually because they are based on celestial phenomena, and the four gospels correspond to the four great "stations of the year" -- the summer solstice (longest day and longest of the four gospels), the winter solstice (shortest day and shortest of the four gospels), and the two equinoxes (roughly equal in length, corresponding to the two gospels that are roughly equal in length and halfway between the longest and shortest gospel). The four "gospellers" correspond to four constellations who ruled the four stations of the year in a previous precessional Age: the Ox (Taurus), the Eagle (Aquila, above Scorpio), the Lion (Leo), and the Man (Aquarius), as I explain at some length in a blog post here: https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-vision-of-ezekiel-and-tetramorphs.html
Furthermore, the events described in the gospel accounts can be shown to be based on celestial metaphor, with very clear correspondences to other ancient myths based on celestial metaphor. For example, the stories of the birth of the Christ in the gospels show numerous remarkable parallels to the stories of the birth of the Buddha (stories which were written down hundreds of years before the sack of Jerusalem -- thus disproving Atwill's theory that the gospel accounts are based on the supposedly historical accounts of the wars in Judaea written by Josephus): https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2018/12/birth-of-buddha-birth-of-christ.html
Additionally, many of the stories in the gospels have remarkable parallels to the stories in the Odyssey of ancient Greece, which also was written down many hundreds of years prior to the supposed "New Testament era" and the sack of Jerusalem. Here is a blog post discussing just some of the remarkable parallels between the events in the Odyssey and the episodes included in the gospel stories: https://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2018/03/parallels-between-odyssey-and-gospels.html
I would think that anyone can see that these examples disprove the core conclusions of Atwill's theory. However, I do think Joe Atwill has done some valuable research -- what he has discovered is that Josephus is connected to the rise of Literalist Christianity, a conclusion with which I also agree (again, see my 2014 book The Undying Stars). What is far more likely, in my opinion, is that someone (known to us as "Paul" but that is probably a pseudonym) was teaching ancient mysteries involving the Christ Within (ancient doctrines that are not teaching a literal or historical Jesus) and the fact that this ancient secret teaching was being given out on a widespread basis appalled certain factions who wanted to keep it secret. Note that "Paul" himself declares that the teachings he is spreading are both ancient and secret: see for instance 1 Cor 2: 7, and also Ephesians 3: 5, and also Romans 16: 25, etc. He declares specifically that his teaching is about "Christ in you" (not an external, historical, or literal Jesus) -- see for example Colossians 1: 27.
To try to contain the "damage" of this Gnostic teaching which was gaining widespread traction, Literalist Christianity was created -- probably with the help of someone (possibly a group of someones) who knew what they were doing (knew the ancient esoteric system very, very well and very, very thoroughly). This is why the gospel accounts are based on the very same ancient system. If Josephus was indeed an actual historical figure, he is certainly a likely candidate for one of those who helped create the literalist psyop.
The purpose of the ancient system involves connection with the divine realm. Just like my Karate Kid metaphor, there are those who would prefer that nobody know about this ancient system (if you want to be the only one who knows kung fu in the village, then you will not be happy with someone like Mr. Miyagi -- or someone like the figure we know as "Paul" -- who is going around and teaching people this ancient system. If you want to be the only ones in town who know this system, then you might tell people "All that wax-the-car stuff: it's just about waxing the car, not about some sort of higher esoteric teaching involving martial arts" -- this is exactly what Literalism is constantly telling people).
Here is a recent video I made to try to articulate some of this:
I will again point out that I am playing the role of the loyal opposition here... I am first and foremost a huge supporter of your tremendous accomplishments regarding star myth research... BUT as the song lyric goes "I've read this script and the costume fits, so I'll play my part." :)

this is from
Evidence of an ancient conspiracy in the works of Josephus ...
https://www.starmythworld.com › mathisencorollary › 2016/12/11 › evide...


And Josephus is by no means a reliable narrator.

In fact, he is a deeply compromised narrator, as Mr. Atwill once again freely acknowledges.

Josephus, by his own account, was one of the military leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, as well as a very high-ranking priest from a highly-regarded family. In his account of the Roman conquest, Josephus describes how he went over to Vespasian in order to save his own life, more than two years before the eventual sacking of the Temple and conclusion of the war -- and how he was afterwards rewarded by the Flavian family with a new life in Rome, including an apartment in Vespasian's own villa (where Vespasian himself had lived, before he built a new palatial villa for himself after becoming emperor), an annual pension for the rest of his life, a new wife (he said he was tired of his old one) selected from among the prisoners, a large quantity of land in Judea which furthermore would be free from taxation, punishment of those who dared to accuse Josephus, and finally ongoing "kindnesses" and "respect" from all of the Flavian emperors and their own families.

In other words, Josephus was a collaborator with the conquering Romans -- and judging by the incredible rewards he was accorded by the Flavians, the services he provided in his collaboration were extremely valuable to them. The emperor basically adopted Josephus into his family: in fact, Josephus took the emperor's family name, Flavius, which is why you will often see his name given as "Flavius Josephus."

Far from requiring us to conclude that the gospel accounts are a "skillful satire" and vanity-piece for the Flavian emperors, mirroring the supposed "history" given to us by Josephus in his account of the conquest, we should also consider the possibility that the history written by Josephus and perhaps even the events themselves as he describes them are part of a skillful manipulation by Josephus himself.

In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that this is the case: that Josephus fashioned the events of his supposed history after patterns that can be found in the world's ancient mythology, patterns which are also incorporated into the gospel accounts. These patterns are mythological in nature. For whatever reason, Josephus was creating a narrative which was based upon clearly-recognizable mythological patterns.
==


- I believe you've taken things in exactly the wrong direction - josephus is most likely not a real historical figure. nothing about his account unbelievable personal story adds really adds up, rather the writings of josephus are most likely a collective effort of hired roman historians writing a very fact-based version of history with a very heavy purposeful roman spin.

- but even if you want you don't want to go this far you get away from the fact that most scholars agree josephus' the jewish war is giving us a historical account of this battle/conquest. he may be embellishing for self-aggrandizement and is certainly playing up to his Roman bosses, but every historian I'm aware of is on board with the idea that this is the account of someone who has boots-on-the-ground.

- you say there is "overwhelming evidence" josephus is not history but mythology. and you seem to be using the star myths as evidence of this. this seems to me like old-fashioned christian apologetics, "the bible is true, just hang on I'll show you some passages in the bible in order to prove it."

- none of this precludes the possibility that josephus and other writers wove ancient star myths into their text. there's plenty of evidence that writers throughout history have done this in order to connect with their audience, but that doesn't make the new testament or the old testaments star myth literature.
 
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#93
I will again point out that I am playing the role of the loyal opposition here... I am first and foremost a huge supporter of your tremendous accomplishments regarding star myth research... BUT as the song lyric goes "I've read this script and the costume fits, so I'll play my part." :)

this is from
Evidence of an ancient conspiracy in the works of Josephus ...
https://www.starmythworld.com › mathisencorollary › 2016/12/11 › evide...


And Josephus is by no means a reliable narrator.

In fact, he is a deeply compromised narrator, as Mr. Atwill once again freely acknowledges.

Josephus, by his own account, was one of the military leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, as well as a very high-ranking priest from a highly-regarded family. In his account of the Roman conquest, Josephus describes how he went over to Vespasian in order to save his own life, more than two years before the eventual sacking of the Temple and conclusion of the war -- and how he was afterwards rewarded by the Flavian family with a new life in Rome, including an apartment in Vespasian's own villa (where Vespasian himself had lived, before he built a new palatial villa for himself after becoming emperor), an annual pension for the rest of his life, a new wife (he said he was tired of his old one) selected from among the prisoners, a large quantity of land in Judea which furthermore would be free from taxation, punishment of those who dared to accuse Josephus, and finally ongoing "kindnesses" and "respect" from all of the Flavian emperors and their own families.

In other words, Josephus was a collaborator with the conquering Romans -- and judging by the incredible rewards he was accorded by the Flavians, the services he provided in his collaboration were extremely valuable to them. The emperor basically adopted Josephus into his family: in fact, Josephus took the emperor's family name, Flavius, which is why you will often see his name given as "Flavius Josephus."

Far from requiring us to conclude that the gospel accounts are a "skillful satire" and vanity-piece for the Flavian emperors, mirroring the supposed "history" given to us by Josephus in his account of the conquest, we should also consider the possibility that the history written by Josephus and perhaps even the events themselves as he describes them are part of a skillful manipulation by Josephus himself.

In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that this is the case: that Josephus fashioned the events of his supposed history after patterns that can be found in the world's ancient mythology, patterns which are also incorporated into the gospel accounts. These patterns are mythological in nature. For whatever reason, Josephus was creating a narrative which was based upon clearly-recognizable mythological patterns.
==


- I believe you've taken things in exactly the wrong direction - josephus is most likely not a real historical figure. nothing about his account unbelievable personal story adds really adds up, rather the writings of josephus are most likely a collective effort of hired roman historians writing a very fact-based version of history with a very heavy purposeful roman spin.

- but even if you want you don't want to go this far you get away from the fact that most scholars agree josephus' the jewish war is giving us a historical account of this battle/conquest. he may be embellishing for self-aggrandizement and is certainly playing up to his Roman bosses, but every historian I'm aware of is on board with the idea that this is the account of someone who has boots-on-the-ground.

- you say there is "overwhelming evidence" josephus is not history but mythology. and you seem to be using the star myths as evidence of this. this seems to me like old-fashioned christian apologetics, "the bible is true, just hang on I'll show you some passages in the bible in order to prove it."

- none of this precludes the possibility that josephus and other writers wove ancient star myths into their text. there's plenty of evidence that writers throughout history have done this in order to connect with their audience, but that doesn't make the new testament or the old testaments star myth literature.
Alex,

Haven't been sure quite how to respond to this post. First, glad to hear you are "playing role of loyal opposition" and are "first and foremost a huge supporter"! My difficulty is seeing how what you are writing here is a disagreement with what I am saying.

You say "this seems to me like old-fashioned christian apologetics" which is a critique that I don't understand. I have already indicated in some of my responses above (through use of qualifiers when speaking of Josephus) that I am not dogmatic about existence of an individual "Josephus" (I will leave that to historians to debate -- not my primary area of interest or focus). As I stated in my first post on this string of posts, and as I tried to emphasize during our Q&A in the interview, I am only "dogmatic" about what I am confident that I can demonstrate with overwhelming evidence -- and what I can demonstrate with overwhelming evidence is that the world's ancient myths (both those recorded in writing as "scriptures" in cultures such as India, and also in the Bible, and also those passed down primarily by oral tradition) are based on a system of specific celestial metaphor, and this system can in fact be shown to be world-wide: the same system, world-wide, already in existence by the writing of the first extended texts we have extant, including the clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia (including Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh cycle) and the Pyramid Texts of Egypt.

That is what I can demonstrate with evidence -- when we venture into questions of "who came up with this system?" "what does this system mean?" "what is the main message this system is trying to convey?" "how did aggressive literalism arise and stamp out this system?" and "does this system necessitate ancient aliens?" we are entering into a very different area of discussion, and one that cannot at this remove be "proven" with overwhelming evidence.

I can, however, demonstrate that the various descriptions and episodes within the texts of Josephus contain remarkable parallels to episodes in much more ancient texts, such as episodes in the Odyssey, and that those ancient myths (such as the battle scenes in the Odyssey) are based on celestial metaphor. This is what I was demonstrating in the post you cited above.

The parallels between scenes in the Odyssey (in which Odysseus describes his men being speared like fish by the Laestrygonians) and scenes in the account of Josephus (specifically the scene in Book 3 chapter 10 of Wars of the Jews by Josephus, in which Josephus describes his men as being speared like fish by the Romans) are so precise that it is difficult to argue that Josephus (whoever or whatever he is -- I will leave that to the historians) is describing a literal and historical event.

The parallels are so specific (and there are many other examples in other episodes of the supposed histories of Josephus) that it seems quite likely that it was lifted from myth and given an update (Laestrygonians replaced by Romans, etc). I am arguing this based on evidence, not on a process akin to "old-fashioned christian apologetics," and I am discussing it because it is quite clear from history (history which I do not dispute) that Roman generals Vespasian and Titus (later emperors) suppressed a rebellion in Judaea and sacked the temple, and most likely used the treasures of the sacked temple (which appear to have been hidden away, as the Copper Scroll shows, which was found among the Dead Sea scrolls, meaning that someone most likely collaborated with the Romans) in order to continue paying the armies which eventually enabled Vespasian and Titus to become emperors and establish a dynasty.

This all took place right around the same time that the literalist faction of Christianity was battling with, polemicizing against, anathematizing, and suppressing the Gnostic understanding of the idea of a "Christ Within" (as opposed to a literalist and external figure). As we know, the literalist version won out, and violently stamped out the Gnostic version (the burial of the Nag Hammadi texts which were later discovered in the twentieth century, indicate that possession of Gnostic texts after the literalists had gained power was extremely dangerous -- that's why someone buried them out in the desert, because being caught with them would likely have led to very severe and possibly fatal consequences).

Whoever wrote the Josephus texts appears to have had a very solid grasp on the ancient esoteric system. If you don't want to believe that there was an individual "Josephus," that's fine, although I'm not sure what evidence you are citing in order to conclude that. What is quite clear is that Jerusalem was sacked in AD 70, and not long after that we have the first evidence of inscriptions dedicated to Mithras (and also directly associated by name on inscription with the Praetorian Guard). No historian will dispute that the history of Mithraism and that of literalist Christianity are closely interwoven. As I explain in The Undying Stars, and in several blog posts on the subject, all of which can be found using search terms, there is excellent reason to believe that the rise of an aggressive and intolerant literalist Christianity was connected to the chain of events set off by the sacking of the temple, the founding of the society of Mithras, and a very well-executed campaign to get control of the Praetorian Guard, then the army, then the imperial office itself (all of these assertions can be supported with historical evidence).

I hope that helps to clarify things and to answer some of your questions / objections.

However, I will again return to my primary starting-point: I can demonstrate, with absolutely overwhelming evidence, that the ancient myths and scriptures (from around the world) are based on a common world-wide system, very ancient. How that system was subverted and then overthrown by literalists is a very important question, and one that is still very relevant to us today. There is plenty of room to debate that, and I am always happy to hear hypotheses and look at evidence that people offer.
 
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#94
I'm curious to know what people's thoughts are on what came first, astrology or the "gods"? To be more specific, did people watch the star patterns first and then make up stories to explain the movements, or did the "gods" (whatever they may be, Atlanteans, aliens, spirit beings, or fictional characters) come first and then their names given to star clusters by ancient astrologers?

In other words, do you think Orion could have been a real guy someone decided to name a constellation after, or was the name just made up for the constellation and the story made up for it only later became a religious belief?
This is a great question. Its one I have pondered for ages. I think the most important first step in exploring it is to understand that the people who came up with astrology were 'animists' - they saw their reality as conscious, and they saw the sky as close, intimate. They didn't have our ideas of light years.

Let us suppose there was a sense that night sky contained different aspects of spirit and was so divided into 12 portions [on whatever logic]. Each portion would be identified by a prominent star pattern which might be remembered by an image that fitted the 'spirit' of the division. The way to remember these would be via a story - a myth containing the moral and the symbolism connected to the character of the spirit of that segment of sky.

We are dealing with a pre-literate culture in which deep truths are remembered orally through mythic narrative forms.

I was listening recently to a book that asserted that the Prophets of the OT were in fact not the seers they later became but were poets and musicians - minstrels and bards. If you dig into Druidic lore you will see that bards were transmitters of ancient lore and people of profound skills of memory who used poetic form and music to recall and convey enduring truths.

Mythic dramas conveyed symbolic truths that were known only to those who were given the keys [via initiation], and for the rest they had satisfying moral dramas.

Astrology is deeply complex. In the hands of a competent astrologer it is very useful. But how can that be if the premise of astrology is the literal placement of planets in signs and houses? And yet the connection between precise calculations of seemingly physical agents and a person's life seems to make sense. How? Why?
 
#95
However, I will again return to my primary starting-point: I can demonstrate, with absolutely overwhelming evidence, that the ancient myths and scriptures (from around the world) are based on a common world-wide system, very ancient. How that system was subverted and then overthrown by literalists is a very important question, and one that is still very relevant to us today. There is plenty of room to debate that, and I am always happy to hear hypotheses and look at evidence that people offer.
Hi David. This is such an important question to anybody who wants to understand how and why Christianity lost control of its foundational message and ended up delivering something unrelated to it.

Part of then problem seems to be that Christianity was transformed from being an essentially mystical system to one that anchored Jesus Christ in history - pulling it out of the mystical/mythic mentality into a materialistic one. There are arguments that this was a deliberate attempt to set the faith up as being distinct from the pagan roots, so there was a clear watershed between the before and after states. Not a successful approach, as Catholicism shows us. In fact the faith survives because it does meld with indigenous traditions.

The idea that the Bible is a literal source of divine truth is, I understand, comparatively recent. So I am wondering if historicism might not be better than literalism as a descriptor?

The historical Christ has a spatial and temporal character that no mythic Christ can have. This means it can be 'owned' in a way a myth cannot be owned. The historic Christ becomes IP, and it can be patented. You can't do that with a myth. The Church can declare that it alone has the means for salvation. In effect the Christian Church privatised the Mysteries and attempted to brand them. But it could do so only because it had developed a unique product - the historic manifestation of the Son of God in a certain time and in a certain place.

By itself this is an origin story. But then Christianity decided to copt the Jewish tradition as a stronger source myth.

Despite its intent, Christianity has been unable to escape the pagan roots. The ancient truths continue to filter through. Not even the early 'Church fathers' were able to think in a purely Christian way. That took time and deprivation.

It is interesting to me that atheistic materialism seems to have grown naturally out of Christianity as it progressively denied its 'pagan' foundations via the intellectualisation expressed in theology. A denial of the spiritual foundation of humanity must result in a denial of the divine.
 
#96
Alex,

Haven't been sure quite how to respond to this post. First, glad to hear you are "playing role of loyal opposition" and are "first and foremost a huge supporter"! My difficulty is seeing how what you are writing here is a disagreement with what I am saying.

You say "this seems to me like old-fashioned christian apologetics" which is a critique that I don't understand. I have already indicated in some of my responses above (through use of qualifiers when speaking of Josephus) that I am not dogmatic about existence of an individual "Josephus" (I will leave that to historians to debate -- not my primary area of interest or focus). As I stated in my first post on this string of posts, and as I tried to emphasize during our Q&A in the interview, I am only "dogmatic" about what I am confident that I can demonstrate with overwhelming evidence -- and what I can demonstrate with overwhelming evidence is that the world's ancient myths (both those recorded in writing as "scriptures" in cultures such as India, and also in the Bible, and also those passed down primarily by oral tradition) are based on a system of specific celestial metaphor, and this system can in fact be shown to be world-wide: the same system, world-wide, already in existence by the writing of the first extended texts we have extant, including the clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia (including Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh cycle) and the Pyramid Texts of Egypt.

That is what I can demonstrate with evidence -- when we venture into questions of "who came up with this system?" "what does this system mean?" "what is the main message this system is trying to convey?" "how did aggressive literalism arise and stamp out this system?" and "does this system necessitate ancient aliens?" we are entering into a very different area of discussion, and one that cannot at this remove be "proven" with overwhelming evidence.

I can, however, demonstrate that the various descriptions and episodes within the texts of Josephus contain remarkable parallels to episodes in much more ancient texts, such as episodes in the Odyssey, and that those ancient myths (such as the battle scenes in the Odyssey) are based on celestial metaphor. This is what I was demonstrating in the post you cited above.

The parallels between scenes in the Odyssey (in which Odysseus describes his men being speared like fish by the Laestrygonians) and scenes in the account of Josephus (specifically the scene in Book 3 chapter 10 of Wars of the Jews by Josephus, in which Josephus describes his men as being speared like fish by the Romans) are so precise that it is difficult to argue that Josephus (whoever or whatever he is -- I will leave that to the historians) is describing a literal and historical event.

The parallels are so specific (and there are many other examples in other episodes of the supposed histories of Josephus) that it seems quite likely that it was lifted from myth and given an update (Laestrygonians replaced by Romans, etc). I am arguing this based on evidence, not on a process akin to "old-fashioned christian apologetics," and I am discussing it because it is quite clear from history (history which I do not dispute) that Roman generals Vespasian and Titus (later emperors) suppressed a rebellion in Judaea and sacked the temple, and most likely used the treasures of the sacked temple (which appear to have been hidden away, as the Copper Scroll shows, which was found among the Dead Sea scrolls, meaning that someone most likely collaborated with the Romans) in order to continue paying the armies which eventually enabled Vespasian and Titus to become emperors and establish a dynasty.

This all took place right around the same time that the literalist faction of Christianity was battling with, polemicizing against, anathematizing, and suppressing the Gnostic understanding of the idea of a "Christ Within" (as opposed to a literalist and external figure). As we know, the literalist version won out, and violently stamped out the Gnostic version (the burial of the Nag Hammadi texts which were later discovered in the twentieth century, indicate that possession of Gnostic texts after the literalists had gained power was extremely dangerous -- that's why someone buried them out in the desert, because being caught with them would likely have led to very severe and possibly fatal consequences).

Whoever wrote the Josephus texts appears to have had a very solid grasp on the ancient esoteric system. If you don't want to believe that there was an individual "Josephus," that's fine, although I'm not sure what evidence you are citing in order to conclude that. What is quite clear is that Jerusalem was sacked in AD 70, and not long after that we have the first evidence of inscriptions dedicated to Mithras (and also directly associated by name on inscription with the Praetorian Guard). No historian will dispute that the history of Mithraism and that of literalist Christianity are closely interwoven. As I explain in The Undying Stars, and in several blog posts on the subject, all of which can be found using search terms, there is excellent reason to believe that the rise of an aggressive and intolerant literalist Christianity was connected to the chain of events set off by the sacking of the temple, the founding of the society of Mithras, and a very well-executed campaign to get control of the Praetorian Guard, then the army, then the imperial office itself (all of these assertions can be supported with historical evidence).

I hope that helps to clarify things and to answer some of your questions / objections.

However, I will again return to my primary starting-point: I can demonstrate, with absolutely overwhelming evidence, that the ancient myths and scriptures (from around the world) are based on a common world-wide system, very ancient. How that system was subverted and then overthrown by literalists is a very important question, and one that is still very relevant to us today. There is plenty of room to debate that, and I am always happy to hear hypotheses and look at evidence that people offer.
==
Hi Dave... I just re-read :
https://www.starmythworld.com/mathi...n-ancient-conspiracy-in-the-works-of-josephus

it's really great and I agree with a lot of it, but there are some points of differences as well.

In short, the Biblical narrative can be shown to be based from first to last upon celestial patterns that inform all of the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories of humanity.

- this is pretty strongly-worded and doesn't seem to fit with...

Joseph Atwill has provided extremely valuable evidence regarding this ancient deception, with his perceptive analysis comparing the gospel accounts and the histories of Josephus. While I disagree with the main conclusions that he has reached, I believe that his are understandable conclusions to suggest as one possible explanation for the evidence at hand, particularly if the celestial metaphors are not understood, and the connections of those same patterns to other myths (including but not limited to those which we find in the Odyssey of ancient Greece, as well as strong parallels to the mythology of ancient Egypt not discussed in the above examination).

- here you seem to be offering the middle ground position that I think might be most likely (IMO) -- Josephus was doing the Roman's bidding by writing their history in the way they wanted it to be written to further their goals re political/social control. along the way he was weaving these ancient myths into the story.

One thing should be fairly certain from all of the above discussion, and that is that the events in the gospel accounts are not literal and historical in nature, but rather metaphorical.

- again, maybe I'm being picky but isn't this too strongly worded. don't most biblical scholars agree that some parts of the new testament are historical?

I happen to believe that they are actually metaphors intended to convey profound truths about our human condition and about the nature of the simultaneously physical-and-spiritual universe in which we presently find ourselves, and that they should not be dismissed as a clever Roman satire.

- again, this might be too picky, but if Josephus was using the metaphors as a literary device to engage readers and subconsciously pull them into his story then maybe he wasn't concerned about the genuine deep spirituality they contained.

Now, thanks to the insights of Joseph Atwill, we can see that the works of Josephus are almost certainly not completely literal and historical in nature either -- and that Josephus is almost certainly part of an ancient conspiracy involving the transition to literalist Christianity, a conspiracy which has resulted in the suppression of that beneficial message for centuries (and which later resulted in the destruction or suppression of the ancient wisdom preserved in the traditions of other cultures around the world).

- agreed, Josephus and the NT are not completely literal and historical in nature... just partially.
- agree again re conspiracy, but I think the conspiracy was about subduing Judea and the subversion of the ancient myths came along for the ride in the words of a skillful writer.
 
#97
This is a great question. Its one I have pondered for ages. I think the most important first step in exploring it is to understand that the people who came up with astrology were 'animists' - they saw their reality as conscious, and they saw the sky as close, intimate. They didn't have our ideas of light years.

Let us suppose there was a sense that night sky contained different aspects of spirit and was so divided into 12 portions [on whatever logic]. Each portion would be identified by a prominent star pattern which might be remembered by an image that fitted the 'spirit' of the division. The way to remember these would be via a story - a myth containing the moral and the symbolism connected to the character of the spirit of that segment of sky.

We are dealing with a pre-literate culture in which deep truths are remembered orally through mythic narrative forms.

I was listening recently to a book that asserted that the Prophets of the OT were in fact not the seers they later became but were poets and musicians - minstrels and bards. If you dig into Druidic lore you will see that bards were transmitters of ancient lore and people of profound skills of memory who used poetic form and music to recall and convey enduring truths.

Mythic dramas conveyed symbolic truths that were known only to those who were given the keys [via initiation], and for the rest they had satisfying moral dramas.

Astrology is deeply complex. In the hands of a competent astrologer it is very useful. But how can that be if the premise of astrology is the literal placement of planets in signs and houses? And yet the connection between precise calculations of seemingly physical agents and a person's life seems to make sense. How? Why?
Thanks everyone for your questions and comments -- Michael thank you for your insights here and in other posts -- in reply to some of the questions I've made a new video which attempts to address some of the areas being discussed -- always a stimulating interaction with Alex and the wider Skeptiko family! Cheers
 
#99
David,
I agree in some aspects with your thoughts. if the night sky is the same as it always was why did the myth making epoch stop so long ago?
I am a catastrophist in thought. What are you thoughts on catastrophic events causing a great myth making epoch?
 
Stamping out the ancient wisdom by Christianity and Western civilization also involved stamping out human sacrifice in the western hemisphere, head hunting in the pacific islands, immolation of widows on their husband's funeral pyres in India, and other practices across the globe that the world is a better place without.

And might it not be somewhat unfair call a religion which produced the Book of Revelations, so many parables in the bible, and the allegories of later Christian writers as "literalist".

From a brief look at your web site it seems to me that with all those star myths in the bibile, Christianity has done well to preserve the star myths and since the bible is the most read book in the world it has done much to spread them too.

And Western technology (with its roots in Christianity - see below*) including the printing press have preserved what remnants of the star myths still survive.

The reason we have so little information about the cultures of our remote past is not just because they lacked writing. It is because loss of culture is a common phenomenon when two cultures meet and one supersedes another. This has happened innumerable times throughout human history. In our own time we see Islam doing this. Singling out Christianity and Western Civilization for special criticism is fashionable these days but it is problematical because it creates the misimpression that these cultural influences are harmful when in fact they have reduced human suffering immeasurably in untold ways. This fashionable misunderstanding can lead to loss of advances that we take for granted which billions of people across the globe are benefiting from. If we don't understand history we are condemned to repeat it.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html
Jürgen Habermas​
For the normative self-understanding of modernity, Christianity has functioned as more than just a precursor or catalyst. Universalistic egalitarianism, from which sprang the ideals of freedom and a collective life in solidarity, the autonomous conduct of life and emancipation, the individual morality of conscience, human rights and democracy, is the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of a continual critical reappropriation and reinterpretation. Up to this very day there is no alternative to it. And in light of the current challenges of a post-national constellation, we must draw sustenance now, as in the past, from this substance. Everything else is idle postmodern talk​
Behind the European Declaration of Human Rights lies Christianity, behind universities, hospices, hospitals, lies Christianity, behind the abolition of slavery lies Christianity. It is a delusion that Christianity has done no good what so ever.​
Richard Feynman​
Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure — the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it — the humility of the intellect. The other great heritage is Christian ethics — the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual — the humility of the spirit.​
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry​
We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.​
...​
Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. And this had concrete consequences.​
...​
Children were rudely brought up, and very strong beatings were a normal part of education. In Rome, a child's father had the right to kill him for whatever reason until he came of age.​
...​
One of the most notorious ancient practices that Christianity rebelled against was the frequent practice of expositio, basically the abandonment of unwanted infants.​
...​
Another notorious practice in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children.​
...​
But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.​
Nancy Pearcey​
Contemporary atheist Luc Ferry says the same thing. We tend to take the concept of equality for granted; yet it was Christianity that overthrew ancient social hierarchies between rich and poor, masters and slaves. "According to Christianity, we were all 'brothers,' on the same level as creatures of God," Ferry writes. "Christianity is the first universalist ethos."​
James Hannam in firstthings.com​
*"... the "scientific revolution" was a continuation of developments that started deep in the Middle Ages among people whose scientific work expressed their religious belief. ... Given the advantages Christianity provided, it is hardly surprising that modern science developed only in the West, within a Christian civilization."​
[more at the link]​

Here is another factor in how Christianity caused the Western society to become the most advanced in the world: The church's restrictions on marriages within families led to weakening family ties that resulted in unique psychological changes among westerners that did not occur to people in other regions.

https://phys.org/news/2019-11-incest-dawn-individualism.html

If you're from a Western society, chances are you value individuality, independence, analytical thinking, and an openness to strangers and new ideas.

And the surprising reason for all that may very well have to do with the early Roman Catholic Church and its campaign against marriage within families, according to new research published in Science by Joseph Henrich, chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and a team of collaborators.
...
"There's good evidence that Europe's kinship structure was not much different from the rest of the world," said Jonathan Schulz, an assistant professor of economics at George Mason University and another author of the paper. But then, from the Middle Ages to 1500 A.D., the Western Church (later known as the Roman Catholic Church) started banning marriages to cousins, step-relatives, in-laws, and even spiritual-kin, better known as godparents.
...
 
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