First, Acharya has made me rethink the astrotheology business. Ignaz Goldziher had already convinced me of the propriety of F. Max Müller's (now unfashionable) "solar mythology" hermeneutic: that many Old Testament (and maybe even New Testament) figures began their narrative lives as fictive personifications of the heavenly bodies. Samson, Elijah, Enoch, Esau, Moses were plainly, like Hercules, Mithras and Apollo, sun gods. So it is no great leap to trace at least some prominent features of the Jesus myth to solar faith.*
No, I am not of that miller's school. J R R T rightly rejected Max Müller even when it comes to ordinary story telling kinds of myth (in his lecture On Fairy Stories, usually published in written form in the volume Tree and Leaf along with the story Leaf by Niggle). Since John Ronald recalled from childhood a miller whose "name was not Sandyman", I wonder if some of the portrait of Ted Sandyman (in LotR, not in the lecture) could have come from his ire at "Max the Miller" and his insensibility to story as story.
Of named legendary and mythological figures, there is exactly one whom I do not believe to have been originally a man. "Apollo." The Delphic Apollo very clearly is a demon. When he "tames" a sibyl like a rider breaks a horse, he acts like a demon taking possession of mediums. It is a Catholic priest and Latin teacher (his title at university was Docent, from Latin Docens, which means Teaching) lecturing on Aeneid VI and the Sibyl of Cumae who put me on the track. Apollo is, alas, no fairy tale. He exists as Apollyon or Abaddon exists. He exists as someone exists who, though fallen, can still take on the shape of an angel of light. He brought the plague on the Greeks, and when he withdrew it he had planted the seeds of Achilleus' wrath. He tricked Akrisios, Oedipus - and Iocaste had to pay a dire price for it. He tricked Croesus. He tricked Orestes in a very much less subtle way - after tricking Agamemnon and plotting a miraculous kidnapping of Iphigenia. He tricked the grandpa of Perseus. His tricks could be cited in the accusations of an exorcist. Christians did not really absolutely like all of Greek literature, they destroyed some, but they scrupulously kept the black book of Apollo in those stories. One could say "Shiva" is his counterpart, and "Shiva" is married to Kali - which means Hell. It is even the same word as Hell.
I said "exactly one"? Oh boy, I forgot about Mithras. Some thinkers - notably C S Lewis and Roy Campbell - have believed there were Pagan prophecies about Christ. Mithras might fit such a role.
But as I believe the Old Testament figures are literally historic people (and Moses would be Amenemhet IV, probably, if you seek counterparts in Egyptian Chronicles) that leaves one Pagan figure, and yes, I believe Hercules existed, was stronger than other men (Samson excepted, as later Beowulf), was treated like a "soldier slave" by his cousin, killed some monsters, was grandfather to the Heraclids who brought the Dorians to Sparta and a few more things.
Max Müller said that Mythology was a disease of language. It would be more appropriate to call language - especially modern languages - a disease of Mythology, was Tolkien's famous retort.** One could say that Max Müller's language about this issue is a disease on his atheist mythology, which does not reckon that the sun has an angel to guide it.
Note that Apollo is not that angel, despite claiming it. Not after what he did to the named human victims of the Delphic cult. But of course, Apollyon Palaios Drakon may prefer titles like Apollo Sauroctonus for purposes of seduction.
Here also I follow the lead of Tolkien. When writing of Pagans as seen by Christians like the Beowulf poet, he says they were not totally unaware of monotheism, but they forgot - in periods - the one true God when indulging in idolatry. In the cult of beings that are not totally non-extant, but rather illusions of the gastbona - the soul-enemy.
Not meaning that either the Sun or Hercules were originally such, only that the worship of them as gods involved worship of the soul-enemies illusions. Especially true, of course, when it comes to "sungods" such as Delphic Apollo or the Aztek version.
OK, Robert M. Price, you said you had an argument about the historicity of Christ, stating He was a solar myth? What was it again? The obvious observation that He is not a Hell-figure?
I took issue with some of her older sources, where she found claims of icons and effigies of crucified gods or heroes, alleged to be Krishna or Indra. I still think the evidence is sketchy, but it has to be explained some way. There must be something going on there, as when we discover nearly identical bas reliefs featuring a horned man in the lotus position, surrounded by forest animals—in both India and Ireland!*
Now, the Indian figure of "crucified Krishna" can very well be an old Christian crucifix, brought by the followers of St Thomas the Apostle, and reinterpreted by Pagans after their lapsing from Christianity or taking over a Christian site. That is what I think is going on. And since this is Robert's assessment of an argument of Acharya's, let's cite her words on same page:
In this regard, it was the great freethinker Thomas Paine who linked Christianity, Masonry and the sun, in an essay I included in Christ Conspiracy entitled "Origin of Freemasonry":
The Christian religion and Masonry have one and the same common origin: Both are derived from the worship of the Sun. The difference between their origin is, that the Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun...*
After those words, it is a wonder some call Euhemerism an incredible rationalisation ... did it even occur to Acharya that Paine was partial in the issue since a freemason, since wearing an apron with an image of the sun when attending lodge ceremonies? It is of course the sun worship of freemasons which is a parody of Christianity. After quoting Paine she quotes Ratzinger:
"Plato took this [idea of a cosmic cross] from the Pythagorean tradition, which in its turn had a connection with the traditions of the ancient East."*
Yes, so? If you start with disbelieving Christianity, that is an explanation of the origins of an erroneous worship. But if you do not, it is evidence that God before creating the sky had the crucifixion in mind, and for that matter before creating birds too, since in psalm 90 he calls the outstretched arms of the crucified "wings". So, this is nowise any kind of argument against the truth of Christianity. Would she have presumed Ratzinger saw it as such? I think not.
Tuesday of Easter Week
Robert M. Price: What I think of Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
[the page includes her response below]
**Are you saying you never heard of Tolkien's retort? Oh boy, at least it deserves to be famous!