(1922) Sat 24 Jun 95 21:08 By: LARRY SITES To: DENNIS WEBBER Re: Paul taugh Jesus, NOT! St
(1922) Sat 24 Jun 95 21:08
By: LARRY SITES
To: DENNIS WEBBER
Re: Paul taugh Jesus, NOT!
Dennis Webber to Larry Sites on 06-21-95 13:37 re: Paul taugh Jesus, NOT!
DW>I had only recently joined this conference (my BBS had only recently go
DW>FIDO access) and was wondering if you had ever posted any additional
DW>information on "Mithraism" in the past; and if so, would be willing to
DW>repost it here again..?
DW>I would be particularly interested on any other works from Mr. Shmuel
DW>Golding in this area, as he appears credible and factual.
Nothing from him but here's a few other things:
From : LARRY SITES
To : ALL
Subj : BAR MITHRA
The Sept/Oct issue of Biblical Archaeology Review pages 40-53 has an
article by David Ulansey titled, "Solving the Mithraic Mysteries". He says
that the earliest literary evidence for the Mithraic mysteries is the
historian Plutarch in 67 bc who said that a band of pirates in Cilicia were
practicing "secret rites" of Mithras.
Ulansey goes on to suggest that the symbolism of Mithra slaying the bull is
an esoteric symbolism for a god that is capable of altering the physical
universe. Ancient people believed the earth was the center of a fixed
sphere of stars. In 128bc Hipparchus discovered the precession of the
equinoxes through the celestial equator from Tarus, the bull, to Aries, the
ram. Thus it was observed that there must be a god capable of moving
the clestial sphere above the earth, ie "killing" the bull so that the
next sign might live.
He goes on to suggest that the symbolism of Mithra being born from a rock
in a cave represents a god being born from the cosmos, ie as seen from
outside the universe. He likens this to the Orphic myth of the
snake-entwined "cosmic egg" out of which the universe was formed when the
creator-god Phanes emerged from it at the beginning of time.
In other words, Mithra was the latest and greatest in a long line of ever
greater gods based on the then current understanding of the physical
universe. It is easy to see how the christians of that time co-oped him to
be a part of their mythos just as they presently presume the observations
of evolutionary science support their superstitious nonsense and in
centuries past stole all the good religious stories such as the life of
Buddha to be saints of their own misrepresentation.
From : J.J. HITT
To : ALL
Subj : AUGUSTINE ON MITHRAS
Stumbled into an interesting quote today:
"I remember that the priests of the fellow in
the cap [Mithras] used at one time to say,
'Our Capped One himself is a Christian."
-- Saint Augustine (John I, Disc 7.)
From : FREDRIC RICE
To : ALL
Subj : MITHRAS INFORMATION 1 OF
Subject: Mithrasism and Christianity
Date: 24 Jun 1994 09:24:19 GMT
Organization: Wellington City Council, Public Access
As promised, here's the commentry from "The Paganism in Our
Christianity" by Arthur Weigall (paper edition published G. P. Putnam's
Sons, New York --- London, the Knickerbocker Press, 1928) on Mithrasism's
influences on early Christianity. Weigall was an academic Anglican
clergyman writing before the war. The references he gives can probably
still be hunted up if anyone's interested.
The Influence of Mithra
During the first three and a half centuries A.D. the increasingly powerful
rival of Christianity was the religion known as Mithraism, that is to say,
the worship of the solar god Mithra or Mithras which had been introduced
into Rome by Cilician seamen about 68 B.C., and later on spread throughout
the Roman world, until, just before the final triumph of Christianity, it
was the most powerful pagan faith in the Empire. It was suppressed by the
Christians in A.D. 376 and 377; but its collapse seems to have been due
rather to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines and ceremonies
had been adopted by the Church, so that it was practically absorbed by its
rival, Jesus Christ supplanting Mithra in men's worship without the need
of any mental somersaults.
Originally Mithra was one of the lesser gods of the ancient Persian
pantheon, but he came to be regarded as the spiritual Sun, the heavenly
Light, and the chief and also the embodiment of the seven divine spirits
of goodness; and already in the time of Christ he had risen to be co-equal
with, though created by, Ormuzd (Ahura-Mazda), the Supreme Being [J.M.
Robertson, /Pagan Christs/, p. 290.], and Mediator between him and man
[Plutarch, /Isis et Osiris/, ch. 46; Julian, /In regem solem/, chs. 9, 10,
21.]. He appears to have lived an incarnate life on earth, and in some
unknown manner to have suffered death for the good of mankind, an image
symbolising his resurrection being employed in his ceremonies [Tertullian,
/Praescr/., ch. 40.]. Tarsus, the home of St. Paul, was one of the great
centres of his worship, being the chief city of the Cilicians; and, as
will presently appear, there is a decided tinge of Mithraism in the
Epistles and Gospels. Thus the designations of our Lord as the Dayspring
from on High [Luke, i. 78.], the Light [2 Cor. iv. 6; Eph. v. 13, 14; I.
Thess. v. 5; etc.], the Sun of Righteousness [Malachi iv. 2; and much used
in Christianity.], and similar expressions, are borrowed from or related
to Mithraic phraseology.
Mithra was born from a rock [Firmicus, /De errore/, xxi.; etc.], as shown
in Mithraic sculptures, being sometimes termed ``the god out of the
rock'', and his worship was always conducted in a cave; and the general
belief in the early Church that Jesus was born in a cave is a direct
instance of the taking over of Mithraic ideas. The words of St. Paul,
``They drank of that spiritual rock ... and that rock was Christ'' [I Cor.
x. 4.] are borrowed from the Mithraic scriptures; for not only was Mithra
``the Rock'', but one of his mythological acts, which also appears in the
acts of Moses, was the striking of the rock and the producing of water
from it which his followers eagerly drank. Justin Martyr [Justin Martyr,
/Dial. with Trypho/, ch. 70.] complains that the prophetic words in the
Book of Daniel [Dan. ii. 34.] regarding a stone which was cut out of the
rock without hands were also used in the Mithraic ritual; and it is
apparent that the great importance attached by the early Church to the
supposed words of Jesus in regard to Peter --- ``Upon this rock I will
build my church'' [Matt. xvi. 18.] --- was due to their approximation to
the Mithraic idea of the /Theos ek Petras/, the ``God from the Rock''.
Indeed, it may be that the reason of the Vatican hill at Rome being
regarded as sacred to Peter, the Christian ``Rock'', was that it was
already sacred to Mithra, for Mithraic remains have been found there.
The chief incident of Mithra's life was his struggle with a symbolical
bull, which he overpowered and sacrificed, and from the blood of the
sacrifice came the world's peace and plenty, typified by ears of corn. The
bull appears to signify the earth or mankind, and the implication is that
Mithra, like Christ, overcame the world; but in the early Persian writings
Mithra is himself the bull [J.M. Robertson, /Pagan Christs/, p. 298.], the
god thus sacrificing himself, which is a close approximation to the
Christian idea. In later times the bull is interchangeable with a ram;
but the zodiacal ram, Aries, which is associated with Mithra, was replaced
by a lamb in the Persian zodiac [Bundahish, ii. 2.], so that it is a lamb
which is sacrificed [Garucci, /Les Myste`res du Syn. Phrygien/, p. 34.],
as in the Paschal conception of Jesus. That this sacrifice had originally
a human victim, and that it later involved the idea of the sacramental
death of a human being, is clear from the fact that the Church historian,
Socrates, believed that human victims were still sacrificed in the
Mithraic mysteries down to some period before A.D. 360 [Socrates, /Eccles.
Hist.], bk. iii., ch. 2.].
Thus the paramount Christian idea of the sacrifice of the lamb of God was
one with which every worshipper of Mithra was familiar; and just as Mithra
was an embodiment of the seven spirits of God, so the slain Lamb in the
Book of Revelation has seven horns and seven eyes ``which are the seven
spirits of God'' [Rev. v. 6.]. Early writers say that a lamb was
consecrated, killed, and eaten as an Easter rite in the Church; but Easter
was a Mithraic festival [Macrobius, /Saturnalia/, i. 18.], presumably of
the resurrection of their god, and the parallel is thus complete, in which
regard it is to be noted that in the Seventh Century the Church
endeavoured without success to suppress the picturing of Christ as a lamb,
owing to the paganism involved in the idea [Bingham, /Christian Antiq./,
viii. 8, sec. 11; xv. 2, sec. 3.].
The ceremonies of purification by the sprinkling or drenching of the
novice with the blood of bulls or rams were widespread, and were to be
found in the rites of Mithra. By this purification a man was ``born
again'' [Beugnot, /Hist. de la Dest. du Paganisme/, i. p. 334.], and the
Christian expression ``washed in the blood of the Lamb'' is undoubtedly a
reflection of this idea, the reference thus being clear in the words of
the Epistle to the Hebrews: ``It is not possible that the blood of bulls
and of goats should take away sins''. In this passage the writer goes on
to say: ``Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil,
that is to say his flesh ... let us draw near ... having our hearts
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water''
[Heb. x. 19.]. But when we learn that the Mithraic initiation ceremony
consisted in entering boldly into a mysterious underground ``holy of
holies'', with the eyes veiled, and there being sprinkled with blood, and
washed with water, it is clear that the author of the Epistle was thinking
of those Mithraic rites with which everybody at that time must have been
Another ceremony in the religion of Mithra was that of stepping across a
channel of water, the hands being entangled in the entrails of a bird,
signifying sin, and of being ``liberated'' on the other side; and this
seems to be referred to by St. Paul when he says: ``Stand fast in the
liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with
the yoke of bondage'' [Ga. v. 1.].
Tertullian [Tertullian, /Praescr./, ch. 40.] states that the worshippers
of Mithra practised baptism by water, through which they were thought to
be redeemed from sin, and that the priest made a sign upon the forehead of
the person baptised; but as this was also a Christian rite, Tertullian
declares that the Devil must have effected the coincidence for his wicked
ends. ``The Devil'', he also writes, ``imitates even the main parts of
our divine mysteries'', and ``has gone about to apply to the worship of
idols those very things of which the administration of Christ's sacraments
In this rite he must be referring both to the baptismal rite and also to
the Mithraic eucharist, of which Justin Martyr [Justin Martyr, /1 Apol./,
ch. 66.] had already complained when he declared that it was Satan who had
plagiarised the ceremony, causing the worshippers of Mithra to received
the consecrated bread and cup of water. The ceremony of eating an
incarnate god's body and drinking his blood is, of course, of very ancient
and originally cannibalistic, inception, and there are several sources
from which the Christian rite may be derived, if, as most critics think,
it was not instituted as an actual ceremony by Jesus; but its connection
with the Mithraic rite is the most apparent.
The worshippers of Mithra were called ``Soldiers of Mithra'', which is
probably the origin of the term ``Soldiers of Christ'' and of the
exhortation to Christians to ``put on the armour of light'' [Rom. xiii.
12. Compare also Eph. vi. 11, 13.], Mithra being the god of Light. As in
Christianity, they recognised no social distinctions, both rich and poor,
freemen and slaves, being admitted into the Army of the Lord. Mithraism
had its austerities, typified in the severe initiation rites endured by a
``Soldier of Mithra''; and the Epistle to Timothy, similarly, exhorts the
Christian to ``endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ'' [2 Tim.
ii. 3.]. It also had its nuns and its male celibates [Tertullian,
/Prascr./, ch. 40.]; and one of its main tenets was the control of the
flesh and the repudiation of the world, this being symbolised in the
initiation ceremony, whereat a crown was offered to the novice, who had to
reject it, saying, as did the Christians, that it was to a heavenly crown
that he looked. We hear, too, of hymns which could be used with equal
propriety by Christians and Mithraists alike [/Rev. Arch./, vol. xvii.
(1911), p. 397.]. The Mithraic worship always took place in caves, these
being either natural or artificial. Now the early Christians, openly and
for no reasons of secrecy or security, employed those subterranean rock
chambers known as catacombs both for their burials and for public worship.
LIke the Mithraic caves, these catacombs were decorated with paintings,
amongst which the subject of Moses striking the rock, which, as I have
said above, has a Mithraic parallel, is often represented. The most
frequent theme is that of Christ as the Good Shepherd; and although it is
generally agreed that the figure of Jesus carrying a lamb is taken from
the statues of Hermes Kriophoros [Pausanias, iv. 33.], the kid-carrying
god, Mithra is sometimes shown carrying a bull across his shoulders, and
Apollo, who, in his solar aspect and as the patron of the rocks [/Hymn to
the Delian Apollo./], is to be identified with Mithra, is often called
``The Good Shepherd''. At the birth of Mithra the child was adored by
shepherds, who brought gifts to him [/Encyc. Brit./, 11th ed., vol. xvii.,
The Hebrew Sabbath having been abolished by Christians, the Church made a
sacred day of Sunday, partly because it was the day of the resurrection,
but largely because it was the weekly festival of the sun; for it was a
definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the
people by tradition, and to give them a Christian significance. But, as a
solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra; and it is interesting
to notice that since Mithra was addressed as /Dominus/, ``Lord'', Sunday
must have been ``the Lord's Day'' long before Christian times. I may
again mention here, in passing, a subject to which I have already referred
and will return in a later chapter, namely, that of the origin of our
Christmas. December 25th was the birthday of the sun-god, and
particularly of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as
the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.
The head of the Mithraic faith was called /Pater Patrum/, ``Father of the
Fathers'', and was seated at Rome; and similarly the head of the Church
was the /Papa/, or ``Father'', now known as the Pope, who was also seated
at Rome. The Pope's crown is called a tiara, but a tiara is a Persian,
and hence perhaps a Mithraic, headdress. The ancient chair preserved in
the Vatican and supposed to have been the pontifical throne used by St.
Peter, is in reality of pagan origin, and may possibly be Mithraic also,
for it has upon it certain pagan carvings which are thought to be
connected with Mithra [J.M. Robertson, /Pagan Christs/, p. 336.].
[ End ]
Larry Sites JC's Fireman: Luke 12:49
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