2015-12-30

Death of D.M. Murdock / Acharya S

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by Neil Godfrey

With great sadness we note the untimely passing of D.M. Murdock (a.k.a. Acharya S). She died on Christmas day, having succumbed to breast cancer. Over the years we’ve had our differences with Murdock’s ideas (and her followers) here on Vridar, but we always respected her energy and tenacity.

In the United States, unfortunately, illnesses like cancer can leave the living with large medical and burial bills. If you would like to help Acharya’s survivors, you can donate to a GiveForward fund set up in her name.

Requiescat in pace.

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Neil Godfrey

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17 thoughts on “Death of D.M. Murdock / Acharya S”

  1. I am disgusted because a Christian puts more emphasis than necessary on the “irony” of 25 dec. Seen impliciter as a sign of inscrutable divine will. Or even divine “revenge.”
    If this is the Christian treatment reserved to a mythicist (even if author of bad arguments).. …puah.

      1. I am glad that you did a post on her passing. I was afraid that nobody much would do so.

        Whatever her faults and limitations, the world is now a less interesting place for the rest of us than it was. I’ve just ordered a copy of her “Christ in Egypt”.

        I would encourage people to donate to her funeral expenses: I fear that she was indeed very poor.

    1. Agreed mostly but not entirely. As a person who’s generally a non-mythicist, and certainly who rejects the current espousal of mythicism by her and a few Gnu Atheists who have little relevant academic background, while Pearse may have lacked some taste, I find it ironic, too.

      One can say that, and also have a bit of mourning for her passing, while at the same time rejecting her ideas.

      1. “SocraticGadfly” or “Steve Snyder” appears to be trolling any site he can find, including Facebook, to drop his feces that I removed from here. What sort of people are these who exploit the untimely death of someone to spread their campaign of denigration and ridicule? My earlier comparison with Pearse was insulting to Pearse.

      2. I followed Neil’s link down the rabbit hole and found a world of ad hominem screed. No thanks.

        Acharya S held beliefs that were fundamentally different than mine. Nevertheless, she stimulated conversation and much of the hyperbolic and overwrought criticism of her appeared to me to be unfair and often sexist. I am not sure how she was held in such esteem by followers, I sometimes thought it was cultish. She was obviously an intelligent person and her passing makes the world a little less interesting. I was saddened to hear the news. I wish the very best to those who loved her.

  2. Acharya wrote not so much scholarly as popular or trade books, intended for a general audience. But in that capacity she helped enormously to introduce the public to mythicism, and a personal response to world religions.

    For that matter, Robert Price noted that in at least one of her later books, she did finally footnote extensively.

    Such things as insight into links between literally dozens if not hundreds of historic world religions, is hard to document, to the full satisfaction of the leading scholars in a hundred separate disciplines. But even a necessarily impressionistic survey inspired many to begin more detailed studies.

  3. Whatever the factual errors and mistaken assumptions in her output, the “astral” aspects of ancient religion and mythology are worth revisiting. Making sense of our existence and place in the cosmos, including such observed features as the (apparently) equal size of the sun and moon, must be recognized as early drivers of religious belief and ritual. The NT contains significant astral symbolism and cultural reference, without endorsing applied astrology as such. The phenomena (comet and conjunction) linked to the presumed arrival of an expected world-saviour surely ties in with the “seventy-sevens” time-line in Daniel.

  4. Thank you, very much, Neil. I appreciate your having offered this acknowledgement of her recent demise. I find the comments stimulating. This was both kind-hearted on your part, and also productive, in my opinion.

    Roger: Many thanks for your own post, which was also quite unique, generally positive (I am glad I read it), and worthy of considerable comment, but I share your perspective on one point: Dorothy was a very impressive gal.

    Like some others here, and elsewhere, have noted, there did appear to be a bit of a cult-like following, surrounding her scholarly accomplishments, on the other hand, there was also a ton of negative commentary regarding her work, so, perhaps her followers simply reacted defensively.

    I consider her work on uncovering links between the Jesus myth and, both Egypt and Mithra, (Persian, not Roman!!) to be of great utility. I realize that Roger and others discount her conclusions in both domains. Her astro-theology work, and that of her colleagues, remains beyond my grasp. It is clear from many sites in Europe, as well as Stonehenge, that huge monuments were constructed to honor the winter solstice, so I found it fitting that she should pass from this planet, to the next, on the day which we celebrate as representing that ancient holiday. What’s four days among friends?

    I intend to follow Roger’s advice, and purchase her books, and offer a contribution to her son’s welfare.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mr. Levin. I tried to write something that would last, without vituperation. You give me some hope that I succeeded.

  5. Followed her website for years–Saw her interviewed on Utube -just found her a kind woman attempting to
    to be measured in her interpretation of history and theology.
    She died young by any standard—-I was moved by her passing and wish
    her family well

  6. I am so very sad to find out that she died. Have been reading The Christ Conspiracy and found it one of the best books I’ve read in years. Was looking forward to buying and reading all of her books. When reading the comments I’m not surprised that the “Christians” are putting her down. Was forced into the Catholic religion as a child and at 6 years old thought it was all a fairy tale, not even slightly believable.

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