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Old 05-13-2001, 09:42 PM   #1
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Post Two questions…

Two questions…

1. I have been researching the similarities between Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus ben Pantera of the Essene movement. I have read that “there are numerous rabbinical sources from the early Christian period which refer to Jesus of the Christian fame as Jesus ben Pantera.” . Does anyone know of any good books on this subject? I found some on a ‘’ search, yet I wanted to hear from someone who has researched this and have found a particular book useful (so far I have two who talk generally about this, “The History of god” and “ Who Wrote the New Testament”).

2. When talking to theists about the differences of the gospels of Mark , Matthew, Luke and John, they state something on the order of “ Yes they are different accounts, yet they still tell the same story..”. In the same breath, when confronted with the similarities between Pagan gods, Gilgimesh and other “pre-Christian” deities and the Christian God, the Bible, and Jesus, they state, “ No, the accounts are different… the flood in Gilgemesh was not used to punish humanity” or “Mithra was not born of a ‘virgin’… ect”. To this I say, “Yes they are different accounts, yet they still tell the same story..”. To ignore the similarities between pre-Christian “deities” and stories is beyond my definition of closed-minded. Would this be considered a specious argument? If so, in what way?

Post-script; This is a VERY good essay.

Old 05-14-2001, 05:50 AM   #2
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jzen:
Would this be considered a specious argument? If so, in what way?</font>

As far as I'm concerned, their argument is specious, especially with respect to the Epic of Gilgamesh. "No, no, Utnapishtim's boat was a square box, Noah's was a rectangular box!" The worst of them will tell you that Gilgamesh was appropriated from the Genesis account! There is no way around the Gilgamesh precedent, and no serious scholar denies that Genesis is plainly a derivation of the Sumerian tale.

Nor can they hope to get around the fact that the Genesis flood myth (and both versions of the creation myth, for that matter) are the products of at least two interwoven, independent accounts. Check out the Genesis volume from the Doubleday Anchor Bible series for an effective demonstration of the "documentary hypothesis."

Mithras is slightly more problematic to debate in terms of chronology, since the Mithras cult was in full swing, especially in the far-flung regions of the Roman empire, contemporaneous with the rise of christianity. But it's clear that the antecedents of the Roman version of Mithraism can be identified with Persian Zoroastrianism of a much earlier vintage, however.

If they dogmatically insist that either of these issues are copies of christian beliefs however, you're probably just wasting your time. Personally, I don't think there's any question that christianity, in the interests of political expediency, absorbed literally dozens of much earlier, so-called "pagan," beliefs.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Post-script; This is a VERY good essay.</font>
This looks excellent. Thanks for the link.

[This message has been edited by hezekiahjones (edited May 14, 2001).]
Old 05-14-2001, 06:49 AM   #3
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HJ --

I found this really good article in BAR that shows the origins of the Mithras cult were rooted in Greek science rather than Persian mysticism. Really a good article. It also shows that the cult predates Christianity by about a century or so.

Old 05-14-2001, 01:19 PM   #4
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:</font>
Excellent - thanks. This book looks well worth picking up. I had a bunch of other links but I lost them all in a self-inflicted bookmark disaster a couple of months ago.

I probably found them via here or maybe here.

If not, the "Gnostic Friends Network" is entertaining, to say the least, with zillions of links.

Also, here is a Zoroastrian page I just found.

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