lundi 20 mai 2013

Orpheos Bakkikos - a Christian Connexion, Probably

Pre-Christian Crucifix according to Acharya S

First of all, I do not know exactly what dialect and what period would say Ορφεος instead of Ορφευς. And I do not know at what period an iota might look like an arrow pointing downwards either, except it was hardly a byzantine minuscule or even uncial, that much I do know. A Roman who was bad in Greek and parted from the Latin transcription Orpheus (seized as Orphe-us, analogous to ferre-us in Latin and to Latin words like Priam-us transliterating as Πριαμ-ος) would do. But other possibilities might be known to Grecicists better than I (me being frankly said lousy at Greek).

Some Christians had noted the similarity between Orpheus who descended into Hades to get Eurydike out and failed and Christ who succeeded where Orpheus had failed, only his bride being the Church comprised parts already in Hades, namely all the just souls that had been gathered down there since Adam's sin up to Crucifixion. So, in a sense, it was also a second Exodus.

And that brings us to Moses, where Acharya has pointed out a connexion with Dionysos or Bacchus, only wrong way around.

Other reason for such a description - of Christ - might be that the Christians were first of all persecuted according to the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus, the one beginning "sei quis uelitod Bacanal habuisse" ... maybe because the Disciples of Christ as well as the Israelites following Moses stroke "existing powers" as similar to Dionysus' attitude towards Pentheus. Or maybe because wine is used - though in quite another way - in the Holy Mass.

When I say "a Christian connexion" I do not quite mean that it was made by a Christian. He would hardly have described his own as Bakkikoi or his and our Lord God as Bacchus or as "Orpheus of the Bacchus-worshippers."

An infiltrator getting out and making his report about them might have done so. A sympathising, curious, but not adept outsider might have done so as well, in a syncretistic way. A bit like lore about Christ and about the Apocalypse found its way into the Norse Mythology about Ragnarok and Baldur.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
University Library of
Nanterre / Paris X Campus
Monday of Pentecost

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