god figures before jesus

Medievalguy
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god figures before jesus

Hey everybody, I know the information is most likely out there somewhere on this site, but I'm kinda crunched for time. I'm writing a 10pg paper on religion for a class and thought the rough was due wensday. I just found out it's actually due in the morning. (Hence the crunched for time) Would anyone be able to give me the quick and dirty on the various gods that "existed" before or around the time of jesus? Specifically the ones that follow the same hero pattern, you know, birth, death, resurection stuff. Again, apologizes that I didn't go and find this all on my own, but i'm trying to put together 10 good pages from scrap. Thanks a bunch. Smiling


Iruka Naminori
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Sucks to be you. ;)  I

Sucks to be you. Eye-wink  I like writing, but hate regurgitating information.

This thread is actually a pretty good start: http://tinyurl.com/377qx9

Also, check out Dionysus (can't remember if he was included) and Osiris.  Try Googling "pagan christs" and maybe "pagan origins of the christ myth." 

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serotonin_wraith
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I checked an apologetics

I checked an apologetics site for their explanation, and I'm stuck on something.

They said that if Christianity borrowed from pagan religions, then the pagan religions must have borrowed from the Old Testament to make their stories seem to fit that. Fair enough, I thought, Christianity just happened to win out through conquest and oppression. But then, if the other religions were trying to fulfill prophecy, why didn't they use the name Yahweh or Jehovah for their god, instead of Zeus etc?

Can anyone help?


MattShizzle
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What about religions before

What about religions before the OT?


serotonin_wraith
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But did the 'hero' stories

But did the 'hero' stories come before the OT?

If so, it seems strange that the OT writers would try to start it off again from the very beginning with the first 'prophecies'.

With the hero stories that came out after the OT was written, were they trying to fulfill the OT version, or were they looking back to their own prophecies, written before the OT was?


Rook_Hawkins
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Okay, here is the story

Okay, here is the story folks.  There were heroic stories before the OT.  Thomas L. Thompson who is coming on my show in the near future (and is a friend and colleague) has written two very good books on the subject of legend and the OT, and how the OT authors took from existing Near East myths. 

My suggestion would be to look for these books: The Mythic Past; The Messiah Myth 

As for the New Testament, the genre of the New Testament is very important, as deciding what the genre is tells you the motivations of the author.  The most obvious conclusions have been drawn from Charles Talbert (What is a Gospel) and Dennis R. McDonald (The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark).  Their conclusions, when understood, are that the Gospels are the genre of legend and myth, and that it is allegorical re-interpretation of the OT and Greek myths (like that of Odysseus). 

I made this image for a presentation for my Intro to History course, so please don't use this, but you can get an understanding of how the influences work:
 

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I think that Gilgamesh was

I think that Gilgamesh was pre-OT. 


Brian37
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serotonin_wraith

serotonin_wraith wrote:

But did the 'hero' stories come before the OT?

If so, it seems strange that the OT writers would try to start it off again from the very beginning with the first 'prophecies'.

With the hero stories that came out after the OT was written, were they trying to fulfill the OT version, or were they looking back to their own prophecies, written before the OT was?

I think it is quite simple to understand the history of religion once you understand human behaivor.

Humans throughout history are notorious for sticking a false answer in when the reality is that they dont really have one.

So the easyist way to look at it is what makes more sense?

1. Apollo really pulled the sun across the sky with a chariot. WHICH Romans litterally believed as passionately as people believe in Jesus today.

2. People made up a hero story because they didnt understand reality and wanted an answer  even if it was false.

The "motifs" go way back even before the first known written tradition.. Religious people get stuck mistaking detail changes for being original.

Humans compete, they always have and religion is no different.

Here are some motifs.

1. Sacrafice. SO, humans sacrifice themselves in war, in work and even with animals. All religion did is popularize this concept by humans projecting human quailites on a fictional being.

2. Forgiveness. AGAIN, SO. I am quite sure that at plenty of people even back to the first oral tradition, may have stole from someone, or hurt someone only to be forgivin by that person.

AND AGAIN, all religion does is project that human quality on a fictional being.

3. Justice, long before the OT the Egyptians carved out their concept of "judgement day".

I see religion as merely a product of human emagination in competition. Coke vs Pepsi. Coke comes out with a Cheriry product and Pepsi says, "Hey I want in on that action". So they come up with a new name, new color can and a slightly different flavor to make them stand out" But that doesnt make Pepsi's Cherry flavored soda the first soda ever, and certainly not the first beverage.

A skeptic will point out "The Epic of Gelgamesh" which has a flood story and the Christian will shout, "Hey that is not the same" missing the point that the flood in the Epic was written long before Hebrews or Christians. It never occurs that someone might have passed down that story, even if Hebrews never directly saw it.

Code of Hamurrabi "Eye for and Eye". Again, the believer assumes that there is no possible way, even if not written, that oraly it couldnt have morphed it's way into that culture to then be written down by Hebrews claiming it as theirs.

It never occurs that the idea of "mother and child" on the Temple of Luxor could have been seen by someone, passed down, if not written, orally later to be written down in the Bible.

It never occurs to Christians, that THOT's healing of blindness is a much older story than the ones Christians claim about Jesus. It never occurs to them that maybe, just maybe the story was passed down, even if undetected by writing.

We see human compitition all the time. We've even seen relgion split in America. "The book of Mormon" is only seen by them as true. But to all others is blatantly evedent that the Mormans got it from somewhere and that it didnt POOF come out of nowhere.

So if one applies natural human behaivor to human history it is much more easy to understand why these stories continue. It happens merely because people WANT it to be real and they will do anything to insure that it not only competes, but that it spreads and dominates. Hero worship is merely an anthroproporphic projection of our own egos written down in myth.


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