For Easter, Richard Carrier Discusses the Evidence for Dying and Rising Gods in the Ancient Near East
The Easter weekend brings some dark news from the world of ufology. The History channel put out a press release yesterday announcing the imminent return of Ancient Aliens, which will launch its thirteenth season (and ninth calendar year) on April 27 with a two-hour season premiere. According to History, to fill the time, the upcoming season will strip mine recent news reports, including the recent revelation of the Pentagon’s UFO tracking efforts at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the recent claims that voids discovered in Egypt’s Great Pyramid are secret chambers. The series will also claim that statues in the Marquesas Islands and on Sardinia are extraterrestrial because their stylized art resembles supposed “alien features.” History claims that the show reached 47 million viewers in 2017, though this number includes some creative math that counts the same 1.2 million actual same-day viewers multiple times if they watch episodes on different days and at different times.
However, since it is Easter, I thought it might be interesting to highlight atheist historian Richard Carrier’s blog post this week claiming that pagan faiths had dying and rising gods long before Jesus. This is an old claim, going back to the Church Fathers’ ideas about counterfeit Christs, but more recently favored by anti-Christian nineteenth and early twentieth century authors of the so-called “Christ myth” school, who claimed that Jesus never existed. It was also the conclusion of Sir James George Frazer’s Golden Bough, which pointedly compared Osiris, Attis, and Adonis as resurrecting gods. This caused a scandal in 1890 because of the implication that the Christian story was just another myth. In the full and final third edition of the book, Frazer devotes part of Part IV: Adonis, Attis, Osiris to a comparison of the story of Christ’s resurrection to its pagan counterparts, though it was tactfully omitted in the more widely read 1922 single-volume condensation of the book to avoid upsetting Christian readers.
Carrier titled his post “Dying-and-Rising Gods: It’s Pagan, Guys. Get Over It.” It claims to explain why dying and rising gods were at the center of a network of competing cults of savior gods in the ancient Near East. Carrier believes that “Historians still tend to be dogmatically ignorant of the actual facts pertaining to these gods, refusing to look at any of the evidence. Which failure discredits them on this point. No correct opinion can be had, in ignorance of all the relevant facts pertaining to it.” His goal is to prove that dying and rising savior gods not only existed but were the inspiration for the myth of Christ.
I have a difficult time with this topic because it crosses between what I believe to be true and what can be demonstrated conclusively to be true. Carrier alleges that there are many dying and rising savior gods, and scholars have spent most of the last century trying to prove this contention wrong, despite what seems to me to be good evidence to the contrary. I explored this a bit in my book Jason and the Argonauts through the Ages. In that case, I looked at the evidence that Jason started out as a dying and rising god figure, on the strength of ancient art that showed him being swallowed by a dragon and emerging from it in triumph. I concluded that a full reading of the oldest extant evidence—including Homeric references, art, and poetic fragments—suggested that Jason as a character emerged from a healing god figure who had descended into the underworld and returned with some sort of immortality salve. But I also explained that this was nothing more than informed speculation because of the lack of explicit textual documentation from the Mycenaean period and the Greek Dark Age. In many cases, exactly how much you see a god who triumphed over death as similar to Jesus is in the eye of the beholder because of the fragmentary and biased nature of the sources.
Carrier introduces into evidence Justin Martyr’s claim in Dialogue 69 that Hercules, Asclepius, and Dionysus died and were resurrected. These are among the clearest examples. Hercules killed himself on a funeral pyre, and his soul was granted immortality as a god on Olympus. This, however, was also the Romans’ belief about their deified emperors, and it did not involve a return to earthly life. Asclepius was struck dead for hubris, but Jupiter (Zeus) heard his son Apollo’s prayer and brought him back from the dead, and then raised him to a (minor) god. Frankly, he was more Lazarus than Jesus. Dionysus is the best example, for in the less popular Cretan telling of his life, perhaps inspired by a Minoan-Mycenean original, the Titans tore the infant Dionysus to pieces, but Zeus used his heart to reconstitute him by pureeing the remains and giving them to Semele to drink (Diodorus Siculus, Library 5.75.4; Hyginus, Fabula 167). Diodorus explicitly connects this to an initiation rite, which makes plain that the story was a symbolic one, meant to represent the rebirth of those undergoing initiation.
Carrier’s next god is, of course, Osiris, whom he says was not only brought back to life after his death but also returned to Earth, citing Plutarch’s Isis and Osiris 19, where the revived Osiris teaches his son Horus various arts. From our perspective, it certainly sounds like Osiris was walking the Earth, but that’s a Greek gloss on an Egyptian myth, and the Egyptians were more casual about the permeability of the division between the physical and spiritual realms. In their myths events often seem to take place simultaneously in the real world and the realm of the gods. Plutarch even admits this (25-27, 54, 58), noting that the parts of the story set in the real world were the vulgar belief, while the priests maintained in secret that the actual events took place in the sphere of the moon. It is of course irrelevant what the “official” belief was so long as a real tradition of earthly resurrection existed among the populace in some form.
These examples are fairly clear, but also have relatively little in common with Jesus, Osiris more than the others. The other gods Carrier cites are more difficult to deal with because less is known.
The first is Zalmoxis, a Dacian or Thracian deity whom I have examined in connection to the Dracula story, for Zalmoxis’s weather-magician priests became, in time, the evil scholars of the Scholomance, where Dracula studied. Herodotus, who doubted such things, nevertheless reported that the Thracians believed that Zalmoxis had descended into a cave for three years before he rose from the dead (Histories 4.94). Herodotus believed Zalmoxis had really been in hiding, but as I said years ago, I agree with Carrier that the original story almost certainly involved a cult of resurrection and immortality. Carrier, though, tries to tie too nice a bow on it by suggesting that Herodotus wrong reported three days as three years, thus making the story better agree with Christianity.
His next god—actually, goddess—is Inanna (Ishtar), who in a famous poem known in Sumerian and Babylonian forms, descends into the Netherworld and becomes a corpse, her body hung upon a hook for three days and three nights until the gods sprinkle it with the water of life and she returns to life. While Carrier claims that her resurrection was “transferred” to her husband Dumuzi (the biblical Tammuz), portions of the poem discovered in the twentieth century made plain that Dumuzi was also believed to have spent half the year dead in the Netherworld and half the year alive among the gods—basically like Persephone. While Inanna died once, Dumuzi died and was resurrected each year. Thus, the next god Carrier discusses, Adonis, isn’t really a resurrection story in his own right but rather a Greek syncretizing of the Tammuz story. After all, both Jerome and Origen confirm their identity. It is both petty and silly for Carrier to describe either god as living in “outer space,” literalizing the heavenly realm of the gods in a way that neither Greek nor Mesopotamian would accept.
He doesn’t need to do this because the stories he presents are pretty compelling on their own. Plutarch’s account of the death of Romulus mirrors the story of Jesus, with elements of the transfiguration, the resurrection, and the road to Emmaus reflected. After the Romans condemned Romulus to death and executed him, one of his followers came across the resurrected Romulus, who announced his own divinity, as Quirinus:
At this pass, then, it is said that one of the patricians, a man of noblest birth, and of the most reputable character, a trusted and intimate friend also of Romulus himself, and one of the colonists from Alba, Julius Proculus by name, went into the forum and solemnly swore by the most sacred emblems before all the people that, as he was travelling on the road, he had seen Romulus coming to meet him, fair and stately to the eye as never before, and arrayed in bright and shining armour. He himself, then, affrighted at the sight, had said: ‘O King, what possessed thee, or what purpose hadst thou, that thou hast left us patricians a prey to unjust and wicked accusations, and the whole city sorrowing without end at the loss of its father?’ Whereupon Romulus had replied: ‘It was the pleasure of the gods, O Proculus, from whom I came, that I should be with mankind only a short time, and that after founding a city destined to be the greatest on earth for empire and glory, I should dwell again in heaven. So farewell, and tell the Romans that if they practise self-restraint, and add to it valour, they will reach the utmost heights of human power. And I will be your propitious deity, Quirinus.’ (Life of Romulus 18.1-2, trans. Bernadotte Perrin)
The story is repeated in nearly identical words by Dionysus of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.63.3-4 and Livy, Roman History 1.16. Livy’s version is the most important because he is the only one of the authors to have composed prior to Christianity, but he is also missing many of the elements that look to us most like Christian ones. Livy, too, puts Proculus down for a faker and asserts that he made it up to gain power for himself.
Carrier finishes up with Baal—who definitely died after his battle with Mot (death) before being ground into meal, sewn into the ground, and resurrected in some way that does not survive in the extant tablets—and Melqart, the Phoenician god, whose death and resurrection in perfected divine form can be inferred circumstantially, but which can’t be entirely proved.
But Carrier wants to overstate his case, so he expands his definition of “resurrection” beyond what we would consider the definition of the term. Therefore, he starts to include what the Greeks called nekia, or a voyage to the Underworld. The Greeks (and many other non-Greek peoples) believed that living men could descend to the Underworld, communicate with the dead, and return to the land of the living. Odysseus does this, as does Hercules, and so, too, Orpheus. They did not die and undergo resurrection as a result. Carrier recognizes this, but he includes them as similar tales, and he expands still further to include myths of basically ghosts. Since the Greeks didn’t have a clear distinction between the physical body and the spirit—which had the shape and solidity of the earthly body—he includes stories of ghosts, miracle stories of risen corpses (like, again, Lazarus, whose own resurrection is reported by the Gospels themselves), and even instances of people mistakenly declared dead.
“It’s time to face this fact. And stop denying it. It’s time to get over it already. Resurrected savior gods were a pagan idea. All Christianity did, was invent a Jewish one,” Carrier writes.
The problem I have is more one of tone than of facts. Carrier is snippy and rude, and seems downright contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with him. While I disagree around the edges, and also think that Carrier overstates some of the evidence, it is true that there were dying and rising gods. This fact was well-known down to the twentieth century. When the myth-and-ritual folklorists and mythologists of the 1800s overstated the number of resurrecting gods—as Carrier sometimes does, notwithstanding his debunking of canards about Mithras, for example—the reactionary forces tried to wish them all away, and even at present we still read of scholars who deny the existence of dying and rising gods. As I found in writing my Jason book, in which I tried to argue that the Mycenaean Jason might have been one such god, this position has remained the default even though it is patently false, thus we have the absurdity of recent arguments that while there were gods who died and came back to life, there is no such thing as a dying-and-rising god (other than Jesus, of course) because the category simply can’t exist as a category. It made writing my own book that much more difficult due to the need to thread the needle and explain how gods could die and come back to life even if the mandarins of mythology both knew this and pretended not to know it.
The fact is that some gods and demigods died and came back to life in some form or another.
3/31/2018 09:16:30 am
And if the Mandarins of Mythology were not so bound by desire to make Christianity seem unique, there would be more willingness to acknowledge this fact.
3/31/2018 11:34:09 am
In the Christian view, no one goes to heaven because of being "morally perfect." "Perfection" to enter heaven has to do with faith and believing in a risen Christ. It has nothing to do with individual human greatness. It involves believing in Christ as the Savior from our inherent sinful nature. No one comes to the Father, or heaven, except through the Son. Jesus wept on the occasion of his friend, Lazarus, dying, and then raised him from the dead, even as He, Himself, was later raised from the dead. In the future, there will be mass resurrections...and a final judgment.
3/31/2018 11:57:42 am
And there you go, reinfrorcing my point. According to the Christian view, as I see it, a person who kills and eats 99 human babies each day for 99 years is equal to a person who saves the lives of 99 human babies every day for 99 years, and there is something wrong with that. the person who accepts Jesus as savior 1 second before death is saved, the other damned - and it may be the babykiller who is saved.
Epipope of Defilement Athanasios Gazanakis
3/31/2018 01:33:24 pm
Actually there is no monolithic "Christian view". There has long been a debate on salvation through faith and salvation through works. If one applies logic to Mr. Gunn's presentation of the Christian view (which is tilting at windmills but allons y) then dead babies don't go to heaven because they can't know about much less have "faith" in "a risen Christ".
3/31/2018 04:05:35 pm
God is a God of punishments and rewards. Some people are bound for heaven early in life, and some very late in life. Everything is written in the Books. God is keen on justice and fairness, from His perspective. We are His creations, not the other way around.
EPIPOPE OF DEFILEMENT ATHANASIOS GAZANAKIS
3/31/2018 04:16:54 pm
Well, that sounds like crazy talk I must say.
3/31/2018 04:22:32 pm
...from His perspective. If you dare to question God about anything, go ahead. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, prepare to receive your answers. Just remember to ask in Jesus' name, not mocking....
EPIPOPE OF DEFILEMENT ATHANASIOS GAZANAKIS
3/31/2018 05:41:19 pm
Seriously my friend? Jesus can suck it, in Jesus's name.
4/1/2018 11:51:32 am
Gunn, you exemplify why I find Christianity in general to be abhorrent. If God doesn't want people to question him, he shouldn't have made people capable of asking questions. And if whether or not you like his son bestest is more important than how you behave in life, then God isn't even playing by HIS OWN rules. There is nothing "just and fair" about either of those ways, and it's sickening to hear people twist around until it somehow is.
4/3/2018 08:18:36 pm
I'm a Universalsit Christian. So for me it's nto about saying they are equal. It's saying even the Serial Child Murderer probably is that way for a reason and does not deserve Eternal Damnation for it.
3/31/2018 09:27:09 am
I think a major problem in this research is that we're looking for some sort of textual determinance, the kind we get from biblical writings, from oral myths of pre-literate cultures. And so we grasp at ancient writers and their relatively modern (because they have writing) interpretations of distant, pre-literate cultures. Like history, myths don't repeat, they rhyme, so you'll never get exact correspondences from culture to culture.
3/31/2018 11:01:56 am
Indeed, in the writings of Paul and Ignatius there are frequent references to citing the written scriptures of the Jews and treating them as authoritative.
3/31/2018 01:03:19 pm
I don't know about the Torah but the Talmud only began to be written down as opposed to oral long after the Jews had writing.
3/31/2018 03:49:42 pm
"Peanut butter be upon him" but only from the Hawaiian fast food place....
3/31/2018 04:19:00 pm
You're thinking of "Pono bud be upon him." Da kine, brah!
3/31/2018 11:02:17 pm
Oooh, I forgot about that one!! Well, it is the Aloha Snackbar, so what do you expect, Skippy or what ???
3/31/2018 08:07:41 pm
"The written word is, I believe, what led to their being considered as True with a capital T." If you haven't read it, get a copy of "How the Bible Became Holy" which is actually about how writing transformed pre-Christian oral traditions into The Word.
4/1/2018 12:04:15 pm
Wow, I find that to be a terribly insulting and Eurocentric viewpoint. "The ancients told their stories and "believed" them, but not in the way we do since writing came in..." WOW.
Christianity is a mystery religion, an offshoot of mystical Judeasm, and it was formed in a time and a place where syncretism happened because of the convergence of ancient belief systems. It's far more likely that Jesus's early movement added these themes in the years after he death as it moved away from its radical Jewish roots.
3/31/2018 03:41:51 pm
"Christianity is a mystery religion, an offshoot of mystical Judeasm"
3/31/2018 04:36:40 pm
For a good explanation of how Christianity was originally a mystery cult (albeit an explanation tainted by Jesus mythicism, which I do not agree with) see: http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp13D.htm [The Mystery Cults and Christianity]. Too often, we assume that the way Christianity is now presented is the way it has always been presented.
3/31/2018 05:38:24 pm
Thank you but I don't care. I want to hear the explanation of what sounds like a facile statement from the person who made it.
4/1/2018 02:49:49 pm
What is it that you don't understand about Christianity's roots as a mystery religion? Perhaps you should start with the core of the religion; the synoptic gospels in which an itinerant Jewish preacher surrounds himself with an inner circle of hand picked disciples to whom he entrusts a deeper understanding of his messianic teachings a simpler understanding of which is conveyed to wider audiences through parables. After that maybe do some broader reading around mystery religions and it should all become clearer.
4/1/2018 03:53:50 pm
So you don't know. Gotcha.
4/2/2018 03:45:46 pm
Use to, was a mystery school, did not last long after Constantine. There are current schools that teach this mystery, but not publicly, usually.......Official Xtianity has not a clue as to the real meaning of anything these days...All is money.
3/31/2018 11:32:43 am
Are you familiar with this Amar Annus paper?
3/31/2018 12:08:10 pm
Why do you allege that Carrier has a single issue obsession? He recently wrote a book about science education in the Roman Empire (nothing to do with Christian origins): https://www.amazon.com/Science-Education-Early-Roman-Empire/dp/163431090X/?ie=UTF8&tag=richardcarrier-20
3/31/2018 02:11:50 pm
If one subscribes to the historical possibility of a Nazarene named Jesus,, who led a sect of mystic and aesthetic Jews that believed in Redemption and Resurrection through the blood sacrifice of a Messiah, then it is no surprise how much attention is paid to fulfilling the ancient scriptures and oral traditions pertaining to this Messiah.
3/31/2018 04:03:38 pm
I would have said "Everything SAID TO BE said and done by Jesus and his followers".
3/31/2018 02:32:27 pm
Nice post, Jason. The subject matter isn't in my wheelhouse so it was very interesting to read about. The comments were very informative, as well.
3/31/2018 02:58:41 pm
Nothing to see here Patrick, the meat and potatoes for your report to Scott will be found in the previous two blog entries.
3/31/2018 02:42:35 pm
I'm not very well versed in this, but Isn't this part of a larger topic ? For instance, didn't Greek (?) mythology have a holy trinity as well, the female trinity of the Hag, the Matron and the young Nymph ?
3/31/2018 10:01:01 pm
The GILF, the MILF, and the TILF, learned from the Templars.
3/31/2018 03:23:32 pm
Your work is greatly appreciated, Jason. Happy Easter!
An Anonymous Nerd
4/1/2018 10:13:36 am
I added a comment but I doubt he'll publish it: The gist of my comment was that his flattening out of and labeling as "irrelevant" the differences between these Ancient world myths was similar to Christian conversion tactics and to the modern fringe, and that it depressed me to see an actual scholar do such a thing.
An Anonymous Nerd
4/1/2018 01:09:32 pm
To his credit he published my comments but he sure does devolve really fast to argument from insult.
4/1/2018 02:02:45 pm
In all fairness, you seem to be misunderstanding Carrier's argument. Carrier is not arguing (as you seem to be interpreting him) that the myth of the dying/rising god, having arisen in one place, spread throughout the world. Rather, his argument is the much simpler (and less ambitious) claim that there are multiple stories of gods or semi-divine figures who, having died, come back to life - some upon the Earth where they once lived, others within the divine realm where they once lived.
4/1/2018 02:56:11 pm
"But we live in a world where Ishvara worship is the norm"
4/1/2018 03:44:34 pm
AmericanJMJKillah: Ishvara is a term in Hinduism and Buddhism for any being that is claimed to be the Supreme Creator God. Since much of the world believes in a Supreme Creator God, I, as a Buddhist, say that Ishvara worship is the norm. Do you understand this?
4/1/2018 03:47:14 pm
AmericanJMJKillah: As evidence for my claim, see, as an introduction, the wikipedia article for Ishvara.
4/1/2018 03:59:45 pm
It's NOT AT ALL LIKE WHAT YOU SAID. You literally TOLD ME TO LOOK UP THE PART THAT CONTRADICTS YOU. In Ireland that's called an idjit.
4/1/2018 04:12:42 pm
You quote words that prove me right, viz.: In medieval era Hindu texts, depending on the school of Hinduism, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god, or special Self.
4/1/2018 04:40:36 pm
"Depending on the school" you idiot. I gave you back your list which proves that "depending on the school" you are WRONG and you assert that it shows you are right.
4/1/2018 05:17:52 pm
AMERICANJMHKILLAH: Why do you insist that my meaning of Ishvara is wrong? So many meanings have been given to this word by so many different thinkers and schools; some of these thinkers and schools use it in my sense, others not.What definition of Ishvara would you like me to give? Surely it is impossible to define the term Ishvara in a way that would satisfy all schools or thinkers who have used the word. Indeed, in its strictest sense, the term Ishvara merely means Master or Lord - a term that can apply to people as well as gods of various types.
An Anonymous Nerd
4/1/2018 05:22:57 pm
No, I know it's not a hyper-diffusionist argument he's making. Granted, given the mentality he's exhibiting it's likely he's taking me that way!
An Anonymous Nerd
4/1/2018 05:29:24 pm
PS: He's stopped taking my comments, it would seem, as I replied to the latest reply he made, the one where he willfully misquoted me, and it's not published.
4/1/2018 05:41:19 pm
An Anonymous Nerd: You, Jason Colavito, and Richard Carrier may find it easy to accept that the plot point of "divine entity dying or seeming to, then rising or seeming to" is not exclusive to Christianity, but many other people, as Jason Colavito and Richard Carrier have pointed out, do not.
4/1/2018 05:51:44 pm
"Why do you insist that my meaning of Ishvara is wrong?"
4/1/2018 06:51:16 pm
AmericanJMJKillah: Ah, so now we are moving away from the factual condemnation ["You are using the term Ishvara in a wrong sense"] to the preferential condemnation ["You, although using the term Ishvara in a correct sense, should not, because it has many other meanings and I should not have to guess which meaning is correct."]. This position of yours is an opinion that I disagree with; many other words have multiple meanings that may need to be clarified [such as Lord, State, Matter, etc.] yet people (including myself) use them regardless. Language is an ambiguous thing! Why are you so hateful? Calling me an idiot repeatedly, etc. This sort of anger and accompanying vituperation, manifested over a mere difference in opinion over what vocabulary I should use, is not healthy to the person manifesting it (as the Dhammapada says) and is not an effective way to persuade other people. Have you considered taking anger management classes? Or reading about how to effectively communicate criticism of other people to others?
4/1/2018 07:26:14 pm
It's because you're an idiot and an irredeemable Humpty-Dumptyist who expects every reader to understand your particular idiotic Humpty-Dumpty meaning of a jargon term you readily admit is polysemic. Have you considered seeing a counselor to help you stop douching it up? The Dhammapada can suck it. I like the phone book and Cosmopolitan. Stop flogging your banana leaf books. You talk like everyone lives in your idiot universe. Newsflash: no one does.
4/1/2018 07:53:24 pm
AmericanJMJKillah: What some people consider to be jargon, other people consider to be normal parts of their vocabulary. I imagine, for example, that many people, ignorant of the fictional scene in which Humpty Dumpty says that a word is what he says it is and not more nor less would find your use of the term Humpty-Dumptyist to be an incomprehensible jargon-based insult. I, for my part, am not denying that other people have the right to use the term Ishvara in other ways, but we are in agreement that it is a polysemic term that can mean Supreme Creator God - the sense that I use it in. Douche being another polysemous term, your calling me that is itself something that may require interpretation among other people.
4/1/2018 08:43:27 pm
"Indeed, in its strictest sense, the term Ishvara merely means Master or Lord"
4/2/2018 08:52:20 am
Americanjmjkillah: To quote Wikipedia: "As a concept, Ishvara in ancient and medieval Sanskrit texts, variously means God, Supreme Being, Supreme Soul, lord, king or ruler, rich or wealthy man, god of love, deity Shiva, one of the Rudras, prince, husband and the number eleven."
4/2/2018 11:52:24 am
In Samkhya school of Hinduism
4/2/2018 12:38:13 pm
enough!: Are you meaning to argue against a claim that I made? Because from what you quote (from Wikipedia, I presume), you merely assert that certain Hindu schools denied the existence of a Supreme Creator God or denied that it was Ishvara. Certainly, there has been and is much diversity within Hindu schools of thought, as even Tibetan Buddhist treatises about other religions recognized. But the quotations that you have made support my claim that certain schools of Hinduism called a Supreme Creator God Ishvara:
4/2/2018 02:03:20 pm
No, only that as the guy who called you an idiot pointed out, I can't read his name, it has many meanings and you've latched onto one and expect everyone to know what you mean. It's not at all like "the good Samaritan".
4/2/2018 07:14:00 pm
Enough!: It is true that the word Ishvara has many meanings and I use it with one particular meaning, but my meaning is a permitted meaning that is supported by Buddhist texts and some forms of Hinduism. If someone were to ask me in what sense I mean the term Ishvara, I would explain. But arguably, given the term's many meanings, anyone using the term Ishvara would have to explain at least something about the sense in which the term is used.
4/2/2018 11:15:12 pm
AMJKFLLAH was right. You are an idiot. You just like to argue.
4/3/2018 06:43:47 pm
Enough!: It is true that I like to have precise definitions of words, and this can lead to arguments, but how does this make me an idiot? I would think that an idiot would not try to figure out the meanings of words but would settle for any old blather, regardless of quality.
4/3/2018 07:19:14 pm
I can. Everyone who speaks English (well) knows what a "good Samaritan" is. Virtually no one who speaks English (well) knows what an "Ishvara worshipper" is. I'm on Team Idiot and second Mr. Enough!.
4/3/2018 08:53:27 pm
Stickler: So you would deny that there is a community of people called Samaritans who predate Jesus and any derived story about a good Samaritan who helps a stranger?
4/4/2018 12:33:34 am
"Stickler: So you would deny that there is a community of people called Samaritans who predate Jesus and any derived story about a good Samaritan who helps a stranger?"
4/4/2018 05:44:07 pm
Stickler: How can you doubt the existence of Samaritans? They still exist in Modern Israel! They are written about by multiple scholarly sources over millennia! I can provide sources if you ask.
4/4/2018 09:22:02 pm
Jesus Christ you really are an idiot.
4/4/2018 09:45:57 pm
Stickler: And yet you continue to reply to me. My major problem with the assertion that "Good Samaritan" can only be understood with reference to popular culture or the Bible is as follows:
Our name is legion
4/5/2018 06:50:50 pm
JESUS FUCKING AMITABHA YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Why do you keep going on with this "well there's 'good' and then there's 'Samaritan'" NONSENSE?
4/5/2018 08:53:08 pm
Our name is legion: I have been wondering myself why I get so involved in these types of discussions, and I suppose that it has to do with my great desire to uncover the truth. Therefore, when people allege that I make false statements, I think much about whether they are correct. If they are (as I see it) correct, I acknowledge my error. But if their correction is itself incorrect, I, as a seeker of truth, try to correct them.
4/1/2018 03:26:03 pm
One thing I always wondered was how much the distinctions between Christianity and various gods that died and then somehow lived on in different ways various academics have pointed out would have been considered very important distinctions by most ancient peoples
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
4/1/2018 07:02:45 pm
They mattered in the case of Christianity because the Christian resurrection story was about a human who lived in a specific time and place, one not very long before the present, and who died an ignominious death. Pagans in the Roman Empire found those aspects of the story bizarre and ridiculous. The kind of finicky distinctions made by the comparative mythologists, on the other hand, probably didn't matter nearly as much.
4/1/2018 07:34:31 pm
"a human who lived in a specific time and place"
4/1/2018 03:48:45 pm
I Am Risen
4/1/2018 04:47:40 pm
I urge all my followers to watch the live performance of Me Superstar on TV tonight, then if appropriate to re-enact my dirty, dirty conception. You guys could learn something from Papa Joe!
4/1/2018 09:33:00 pm
Happy Easter, everyone. I hope all of you can enjoy some quality time with friends and family.
4/3/2018 08:15:21 pm
The difference between Pagan Dying and Rising Gods and The Gospel and that these Pagan Myths were allegories of Death and Rebirth and only sought to reinforce the notion that Death is a natural part of the "Circle of Life" we have to accept. While The Gospel is that Jesus defeated Death and eventually ALL (I'm a Universalist) will Rise again to Eternal Life.
The Name Jared is tainted forever by Subway
4/3/2018 08:54:46 pm
Anyone who needs to be taught "that Death is a natural part of the "Circle of Life" we have to accept" is too stupid to live. Cya at the Ren Faire!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.