samedi 11 août 2012

Not Myth, But Metamyth

Reading up on Zeitgeist The Movie, the Companion Guide, I can only conclude so far, that pagan parallels abound so much that Christianity is far beyond any Pagan myth. If it contains all of them, it transcends each of them. If it transcends each of them, it transcends all of them.

On Christmas you even missed one. The Theogony of Hesiod began with a shepherd seeing something curious. When God arranges the real Gony (birth) of the real Theos (God) - so to speak the real Theogony - he does not miss adressing an angelic message to angels.

And ex-pagan Luke does not miss recording it.

However, you are severely lacking in understanding of even myth. You cite one countryman of mine - a Professor Mettinger whom I met as ma took me on a day off from school and onto her unicersity lessons in Lund. He basically is into calling the Old Testament a Pagan or even Polytheistic Mythology washed more or less free from Polytheism by Pharisees. That day when I was thirteen I was shocked. And I am still not into that theory.

You say - whether citing or summarising his words - that Jonah according to basic logic cannot have happened and therefore is a myth. But the very important premiss that Jonah cannot in actuality have happened does not come from its likeness to myths like Gepetto and Pinocchio. Moral and good though they sometimes are. It comes from a philosophy denying all miraculous.

And such a philosophy is basically either atheist-materialist or pantheist. Neither polytheism nor theism (of which polytheism is not a variety, but which may be present or absent in polytheistic mythologies) could a priori deny miracles like that.

And that brings us to the fact that some Pagan myth is history. Whether Hercules really did the twelve works or not, he existed, he was a companion to Jason, his grandchildren became Spartan kings, he lived a generation before the Trojan War.

Æneas, ancestor or Julius Cæsar and possibly of another emperor too (if Japanese Sungodess in an attempt to render Venus Mater), lived in Troy and later in Italy.

However, most Pagan myth is either basically made up or so much distorted from the history as not to be a correct rendering of it.

Deucalion and Pyrrha are in a way Noah and his wife, but if I am right (playing "the Bible Babel game" the other way round as it were) also include a clear reference to Abraham and Sarah receiving three angels before the fertility miracle (which Greek myth refuses to render straight), and of two angels visiting Lot and his daughters and wife before saving them from Sodom (a destruction Deucalion myth merges into flood), and even one could ask if the end of eucalion myth is not a kind of reversal (artistic but hardly factually accurate) of what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back and became a pillar of salt.

Now if myths as in miracles do happen, I would get to the myth which contains most of them and the best miracles and those best verified to throw light on the others, not the other way round.

If Ficino thought of Plato as worshipping the Son of God of whom the visible Sun is but a feeble image, why can't you?

And, there is no doubt that the Gospels with the Old Testament and the Legenda Aurea beat even the Mahabharata, even in such a matter as quantity.

But Krishna's miracles are basically shown one man, Arjuna (who may have conquered Nod rather than an Indian Kingdom, since Krishna is said to have died in a year which occurred before the Flood), Christ's are shown openly before all of his followers and even his enemies to start with. Even the Resurrection does not quite miss Romans and High Priests, they haver to deal with the Empty Grave and do so with a clumsy lie.

And any comparison between a myth and the Gospel shows the Gospel clearer rooted in facts of even a humdrum nature.

  • Krishna returns to life but his corpse is still burnt - Christ returns to life and his tomb is empty.
  • Krishna is taken up into Heaven in the view of a poet - Christ is taken up into the clouds before eleven disciples.
  • Attis is crucified - Christ is laid down on a cross to be crucified by nails hammered into his hands.
  • Many gods had mothers claiming virginity due to a circumstance like not being a person or receiving virginity back or being a goddess and therefore invulnerable - Mary is a mortal woman and her virginity in maternity is a real miracle.
  • The gods show diverse aspects of Christ between them - Christ shows all noble aspect of the gods. He is not a myth but the focus of all mythology.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Georges Pompidou Library
St Philomena's Day 2012

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