Reading ancient texts quite often brings little eyebrow-raising surprises and curiosities — like this passage from Philo’s On the Life of Moses, II. He explains that the unique beauty of the sabbath resulted from it having “no female” element in it whatsoever:
XXXIX. (209) Moreover, in accordance with the honour due to the Creator of the universe, the prophet hallowed the sacred seventh day, beholding with eyes of more acute sight than those of mortals its pre-eminent beauty, which had already been deeply impressed on the heaven and the whole universal world, and had been borne about as an image by nature itself in her own bosom;
(210) for first of all Moses found that day destitute of any mother, and devoid of all participation in the female generation, being born of the Father alone without any propagation by means of seed, and being born without any conception on the part of any mother. And then he beheld not only this, that it was very beautiful and destitute of any mother, neither being born of corruption nor liable to corruption; . . . .
So one born of a mother is inferior because it is produced by means of “seed”?
It’s enough to make one wonder why the Christians didn’t concoct a myth of Jesus springing forth from the Father himself. Come to think of it, some Christians did believe this. Moreover, I supposed the virgin birth was beautiful because it was not the semen of a pagan god that initiated the process, but the Spirit of God himself. So even the virgin birth is entirely in keeping with this Platonic philosophy.
When Bart Ehrman tries to have us believe that the Christian nativity scene is without any counterpart in the world of pagan myths because there is no “seed” from a god involved in the process, he is surely falling behind the times. By the time of Christianity the learned ones had discovered, with the help of Platonic philosophy, a far higher and purer state of being and generation than was ever possible with anthropomorphic deities. But it’s still the same story, the same motif. Only moved up to a “higher” philosophical plane.
Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)
- Varieties of Atheism #2 - 2023-05-21 02:18:55 GMT+0000
- Varieties of Atheism - 2023-05-20 07:10:56 GMT+0000
- The Troubled “Quiet” before the Jewish Diaspora’s Revolt against Rome: 116-117 C.E. - 2023-05-10 07:58:29 GMT+0000
If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to Vridar. Thanks!
12 thoughts on “Did they really think like this?”
I know im repeating myth that you already know, but the primary reason for miracle births from virgins was because nobody can fake their mother, but they can lie about the father. The Greek religion of course sprout from Chronos or Saturn if your Roman who was assigned Saturday as his day of the week. Elements of this custom can also be seen in Jewish religion, and there are many scholarly texts that do say the Jews did worship Saturn at one stage during the evolution of their religion from its Canaanite start until its conflation and merger of all elements leaving just Jehovah. We can also see this still in other astro religions where 32 and 33 are magic numbers simply because this is the approximate time in years it takes the planet Saturn to make a lap around the Sun. The Sabbath is an old institution, its interesting to see that Jehovah and Jesus and Zeus have parallels.
“Why Did They Think Like This?” — “They” were the opponents of the other denomination of the two beinning Jesus traditions during the period 30 CE – 65 CE. The first, the Jerusalem Jesus Movement initially led by the key disciples, purposing to again take up the sayings of Jesus, soon followed by a group of Hellinst Jews, having taken up the notion that the death and resurrection was a sacrifice for the sins of mankind preformed by the divine or semi-divne Son of God, no one of human procreation being sinners could offer the acceptable sacrifice, this was the real significance of Jesus, to negate the Torah.
Paul soon joined this group, taking up its kerygma.
This calls for a new reconstruction of Jesus traditins. “Christian Origins” is a misnomer, an anachronistic term leading to serious historical misunderstandings. Christian was first used of Barnabus and Paul;s mission in Antioch, it was never used of the Jesus Movement. Paul, having taken his kerygma to the Gentile world, severing Jesus from his message and his Jewish roots, met with its rapid success. In the struggle for dominance Paul’s kerygma became the winner over against the failing Jesus Movement, soon to label it hersey to remove it from the pages of history. Its here that we find the explanation of why we know so litttle of Jesus compared to so many figures of ancient history.
Mythicists simply need to get with the real history of Jesus traditions!
Or, if you take the codex Sanaiticus at its word, they weren’t even called “Christians” at Antioch, but “Chrestians”. This would help explain why Paul’s “Christ” seems to have nothing to do with any Jewish concept of the Messiah – it was originally “Chrest”, the personification of Goodness. But this doesn’t get us any closer to an historical Jesus…
This is disgusting. But Bart explains in his little book on the da Vinci code that women were considered to be incomplete men – and that the gospel of Mary has her becoming as good as a man. Aristotle also considered women and barbarians to be inferior by nature.But the second and third persons of the trinity are in touch with their femininity in a way as inheriting some aspects of wisdom god’s daughter playing before his throne (psalms, proverbs, Job).
“It’s enough to make one wonder why the Christians didn’t concoct a myth of Jesus springing forth from the Father himself.”
Its clearly why the old Semitic “Trinity” of Father (Yahweh/El), Mother (Asherah), Son (Baal) was changed by Christians to Father (Yahweh), Holy Spirit (?), Son (Jesus), and why the Holy Spirit is understood as male despite Spirit being neuter in Greek and feminine in Hebrew.
and I forgot, Son and Holy Spirit swap places in order too.
Yes, they did think like that. They were all a bit nuts in those days.
We, now, are, of course, completely sane.
You may be interested in the important work of Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso regarding the pre-Christian mythical motif of the virgin birth or parthenogenesis:
Ehrman’s position is completely ludicrous. Does he believe Jesus’s virgin birth really occurred? If so, he’s a believer in unscientific Christian miracles. If not, then he must agree it’s a MYTH. If it’s a myth, then where did it come from? Ex nihilo?! But, we’re not allowed to suggest that anything about the Christian story came about ex nihilo!
Ehrman’s obviously not thinking straight and is desperately clinging to something – what it is, we don’t know, because he surely doesn’t believe any “historical” Jesus he’s devised for himself was really born of a virgin.
Here are the facts: The concept of the virgin birth existed an estimated 7,000 years ago and was applied to numerous deities and heroes, with a wide variety of details. Ehrman’s comments ONLY reveal his ignorance of the subject matter and his irrationality in determining a “historical” Jesus.
By the way, I have a 50+page rebuttal of Ehrman’s “scholarship” concerning my work alone. I can also refute most of the rest of his book, including his very shallow and incompetent forays into comparative religion.
Keep up the good work.
I posted this over on Ehrman’s blog, currently awaiting moderation:
I don’t see how this debunks mythicism. A god impregnating a woman to produce a Divine Son is a god impregnating a woman to produce a Divine Son. That the author of gMatthew wanted a G-Rated version to adapt the concept to the more sexually-repressed Jewish culture does not demonstrate that the divine conception of Jesus has nothing to do with the divinely-conceived god-man trope. Or would you also claim that the death and resurrection of Neo in The Matrix was a wholly original idea with zero influence from Christianity, because Neo wore a black trench coat, and his resurrection was triggered by a woman’s kiss? Likewise, the death and resurrection of E.T. was a completely unique and new invention, with no borrowing from Christianity, because Jesus wasn’t a funny looking little alien and didn’t have a telepathic link with an 11 year-old boy. And of course the virgin conception of Anakin Skywalker, which designates him as the Chosen One has absolutely nothing to do with the Christian story, because he was conceived by *the Force* rather than by *Yahweh,* right?
This is not to say that there are no good arguments against mythicism. I just don’t think “The author of gMatthew changed the story a little, therefore there couldn’t possibly have been any imitation of the Pagan god-men at all” is one of them.
One thing I find ironic about Philo’s rampant sexist view of the Sabbath is that in rabbinic Judaism at least, the Sabbath is a wholly feminine holiday, referred to as “Queen Shabbat,” the ceremony officiated by the woman of the house, and so on. Take that, Philo!
“It’s enough to make one wonder why the Christians didn’t concoct a myth of Jesus springing forth from the Father himself. Come to think of it….”
Come to think of it, doesn’t the Nicene Creed assert precisely this?…
My guess is not so much because of “seed” as having to do with uncleanness associated with menstruation etc.