2011-04-29

Jesus Potter Harry Christ, ch.4: Going Pagan — a review

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art b...
The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(All posts in this series are archived here.)

Chapter four of Jesus Potter Harry Christ is predominantly a survey of pagan deities and heroes whose stories contain echoes of the Jesus Christ story: Gilgamesh, Dionysus, Pythagoras, Orpheus, Asclepius, Osiris, Tammuz (Adonis), Attis, Mithras. Derek Murphy is not arguing that the Jesus story was a direct borrowing of any of these or that these pagan gods and heroes are the same thing as Jesus. What Murphy does argue is that it is important to understand the cultural and ideological background from which Christianity emerged. To this end, the very clear similarities between these pagan figures, and certain practices associated with the worship of some of them, are significant, and especially so in an age of unprecedented religious tolerance and syncretism.

The title of the book is an attempt to focus readers on the argument that literary borrowing is often a more subtle and complex cultural process than a simplistic, deliberate, one for one correspondence from earlier iconic figures and stories. The author is currently a PhD student in comparative literature so it is not surprising to find a wider range of literary models than the Harry Potter series sprinkled throughout the book. Continue reading “Jesus Potter Harry Christ, ch.4: Going Pagan — a review”


2007-06-28

an old pic . . . my angle . . . (nothing more)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

While visiting the British Museum I took this pic of Mithras Slaying the Bull from this angle because it shows (more than other images I can recall) how the scorpion is, like the snake and dog, sucking in the life juices of the bull — whether its blood from the dagger wound or the testicles. (Okay, the blood sucking dog and serpent is clearer as such in other images, but this angle does display the scorpion’s target of attack in this particular statue.)

So what does this have to do with the Gospel of Mark? Who knows…. David Ulansey may have something to say about it. So, in close step with Ulansey, might Michael Patella, who similarly sees the origins of Christianity embedded in cosmological developments otherwise known to practitioners of Mithraism. Continue reading “an old pic . . . my angle . . . (nothing more)”

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