Thoughts on ancient gospels and the like

30 August 2007

The Blind and the Crucified

Filed under: Celtic,Emperor Worship,Germanic,parallels,relics — markandmore @ 10:19

The final version of John’s gospel is generally taken to be later than the three synoptics. There are additions in it that can be taken as ecumenical with the European religions. The main detail that we will look at today has correspondences with Germanic and Celtic religions, although not with other Mediterranean religions.

John 19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

A) By adding the spear, the crucifixion of Jesus resembles those of Esus and particularly Odin. Esus had been popularized among educated Romans by Lucan’s epic poem Pharsalia in the +60s. The religion of the northern Teutons and Germans was at this time more the Vanir fertility religion rather than the Odinistic warrior religion. However the Odinists may have started on their migration from Anatolia to Russia to Scandinavia by the +first century as reported in Snorri Sturluson, popularized by Manly P. Hall and as semi-confirmed in Thor Heyerdahl’s last project before he died. Some think that the references to ‘Mercury’ in Tactitus’ Germania (circa +98) are references to Odin. However Snorri Sturluson is late (13th century), but what matters is that during the Christianization of the northern lands, the Crucifixion of Jesus and that of Odin were compared.

B) The spear itself has a fascinating afterlife appearing in the Grail legends, and being possessed by Adolf Hitler until he was defeated. However, like mosheilige_lanze_02.jpgt Christian relics, there are multiple spears.

C) John does not name the soldier with the spear, but in the Acts of Pilate (4th century maybe) the soldier is said to be a centurion named Longinus. This may be based on the Greek word for spear: ‘longke’. The name of course appeals to those (see Gary Courtney and Francesco Carotta) who see the gospels as rewrites of the hagiography of Julius Caesar for Gaius Cassius Longinus was a major plotter in the Julian Passion. In Dante’s Inferno, Cassius Longinus along with Marcus Junius Brutus and Judas Iscariot are the only persons deemed sinful enough to be chewed in the three mouths of Satan.

D) Improbably, for an occupying army, the centurion Longinus was also said to be blind.

There are several parallels of blind executioners

  1. Baldr was the second son of Odin, the All-father. After he dreamed of his death, the gods made every object vow never to harm Baldr, but they overlooked the lowly mistletoe. Loki, the trickster, made a spear from mistletoe and took it to where the gods played their new game of throwing things at Baldr who was never harmed. He gave it to the blind god Hodr, Baldr’s brother, who threw it and inadvertently killed. This is the first event leading up to Ragnorak, and after the destruction of the old gods, a resurrected Baldr will inaugurate a new age.
  2. The Christian saint Alban was condemned to be beheaded, and as the deed was done his executioner became blind.
  3. In the Ulster tale of Fergus and Medb, they are fornicating in the lake to the chagrin of King Ailill, Medb’s husband. Ailill persuaded the blind spear-thrower Lugaid – who has never missed his aim – to throw in the direction of Fergus.lemminkainens_mother.jpg
  4. Lemminkäinen, the hero of the Finnish epic the Kelevala, is shot by a blind herdsman, and ends up piecemeal until his mother, like Isis with Osiris, puts the body back together, and resurrects it.
  5. Our conceptualization of Justice sees her as blindfolded and with a sword.
  6. The Swiss town Sursee in canton Lucerne has an annual festival of Gansabhauet (=beheading the goose) where executioners drawn by lot are blindfolded and attack a dead goose.

As I said, John 19,34 is amazingly ecumenical.


Trevor Ravenscroft. The Spear of Destiny. Spearman 1972.

Manly P Hall. The Secret Teachings of All Ages: readers Edition. Tarcher/Penguin 2003 (originally 1928). p64-6.

J.C.J. Metford. Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend. Thames and Hudson. 1983. See “Longinus, St”

John Grigsby. Warriors of the Wasteland: A Quest for the Sacrificial Cult behind the Grail Legends. Watkins Publishing. 2003 p 41.

Jaan Puhvel. Comparative Mythology. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1987. p214.


28 August 2007

Tower Maidens

Filed under: folktale type,hypostasis,parallels,Paul,tarot — markandmore @ 22:58

That there is some kind of relationship, perhaps a shared identity, between Paul the evangelist and Simon the magus, has been proposed by several writers. However that is a topic for another day. Correspondingly one would therefore expect some kind of relationship between Thecla and Helena, the two women who followed them.

Simon found Helena in a brothel in Tyre and purchased her freedom. He recognized her as the current hypothesis of the Holy Spirit, and she followed him on his travels.

Thecla was a young aristocrat who abandoned her family and fiancee to follow Paul. This is told in The Acts of Paul. Thecla is not mentioned at all in the Pauline epistles nor in The Acts of the Apostles. In the Eastern Churches, she was considered to be an apostle, equal to the major apostles.

The common item that we are interested in is that both women observed from towers:

Clementine Recognitions 2,12: ?Once, when this Luna of his was in a certain tower, a great multitude had assembled to see her, and were standing around the tower on all sides; but she was seen by all the people to lean forward, and to look out through all the windows of that tower. Many other wonderful things he did and does, so that men, being astonished at them, think that he himself is the great God?

Acts of Paul and Thecla, 2,1: … Thecla sat at a certain window in her house. 2:2 From whence, by the advantage of a window in the house where Paul was, she both night and day heard Paul’s sermons concerning God, concerning charity, concerning faith in Christ, and concerning prayer; 2:3 Nor would she depart from the window, till with exceeding joy she was subdued to the doctrines of faith.

There are of course other Tower Maidens. It is in fact Aarne=Thompson folktale type #310.

  1. Some writers try to derive Mary Magdalene from a town in Galilee, but neither archeology nor ancient texts document such a town of Magdala. More likely, magdalene is from the Aramaic, ‘migdal’ which means tower or fortress (here). Like Thecla, Mary Magdalene was an apostle, in fact she was the apostle to the apostles. It is often assumed, without any Biblical foundation, that she was a prostitute — like Helena.
  2. Asenath, the heroine in the +6th century Jewish romance, Joseph and Asenath , who was locked by her father the Egyptian High Priest in a tower away from men. The biblical Joseph, aware that she has converted to the Adonai cult, finally marries her.
  3. Valeda, a seeress of the Bructeri tribe, who prophesied victories against the Romans during the Batavian Revolt of 69-70 (whilst the Romans were a) fighting the Jews b) having a war of succession). She dwelt in a high tower and sent her prophecies by messengers. (Tacitus Histories 4, 61)
  4. Rapunzel is trapped in a high tower by a witch who took her at birth in exchange for vegetables taken by her parents. The tower has no entrance, and Rapunzel must let down her hair for the witch, and later the prince, to climb up. Other folktale versions tell similarly of Petrosella and Persinette.barbara.jpg
  5. Barbara, a fourth century maiden from Nicomedia, Bithynia, was locked in a tower by her father to keep her from suitors. He was infuriated to find that she had converted to Christianity, but her prayers enabled her to escape. Finally he was ordered to kill his daughter, after which he was himself killed by lightening. She became a popular Christian saint who is identified with lightning and cannons, and in the Santeria religion she appears as the male god Shango.
  6. Ethniu. Daughter of Balor of the Fomorians, who was prophesied to be killed by his grandson. He locked her in a crystal tower, but Cian helped by the druidess Birog managed to enter and seduced her. She gave birth to triplets, but Balor threw them into the ocean. Birog saved one child and he became the god Lugh, who like Jesus was a tekton, a craftsman.
  7. Cleito. Plato’s Critias tells how the god Poseidon loved a mortal called Cleitas. He built a tower on an island and surrounded it by three moats. Their first son was Atlas, and the island became known as Atlantis.maidenstower.jpg
  8. Istanbul actually has an ancient structure called the Maiden’s Tower. The major story associated with it is that of Hero and Leander. Hero was a priestess of Aphrodite who was visited by Leander who swam across the strait every night, until the night of a storm when her candles were blown out and he drowned.
  9. Later the story became that sultan’s daughter had been locked away so that the prophecy that she was to die of a snake bite on her 18th birthday, but the effort was in vain.
  10. There is also a Maiden’s Tower in Baku, seemingly of Parsee origin. The only story is that a maiden jumped to her death in the waves below (as did Hero).
  11. There are Magdelene Towers in Budapest, and in Rennes-le-Chateau, and at Magdelene College, Cambridge, and in Drogheda, County Louth (where the Ulster chiefs submitted to Richard II of England.

So what does this series mean?tarottower.jpg

Quispel sees the maiden in the tower as a hypostatis of the cosmological potency standing on the towering house of the world.

Detering sees her as the human soul shut up in the body (the tower), who is set free by the (a) saviour.

There is also the Tower card in the Tarot. This card can symbolize ruin and catastrophe. But it can also imply illumination and epiphany, when false conceptions are left behind.


Edwin Johnson. Antiqua Mater: A Study of Christian Origins. London: Tr�bner & Co., Ludgate Hill 1887 p 106 (pdf). Online at

Gilles Quispel. Gnosis als Weltreligion. Zurich: Origo 1951 p65

Herman Detering. Der Gefälschte Paulus. Patmos 2000. Translated as “The Falsified Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight”. The Journal of Higher Criticism, 10, 2 Fall 2003. p 169-171(pdf). Online at

13 August 2007

Passions of Cut Sleeves

Filed under: Chinese,islam,parallels — markandmore @ 13:47

There is a pioneering work on male homosexuality in China by Bert Hinsch called Passions of the Cut Sleeve. The title refers to the emperor Liu Xin (often referred to by his posthumous name Ai = lamentable) who lived 27-1 BCE and ruled from 7 BCE. His rule was incompetent and unpopular (hence his posthumous name), but has left one charming anecdote. His catamite Dong Xian ( 23 – 1 BCE) fell asleep with him on the same bed. Liu Xin cut off his sleeve rather than disturb the young man. Hence the Chinese idiom, duanxiu zhi pi (=passion of the cut sleeve).

Amazingly, almost the same story is told of Muhammad (570-632 CE), whose favourite cat, Muezza, slept on his robe, and he cut off the sleeve rather than disturb the cat.

16 July 2007

Facile comparisons

Filed under: Egyptian,parallels — markandmore @ 13:28

Gavin C. Schmitt has put up a page on his website called 50 Similarities Between Jesus and Horus (actually only 45). I am not going to comment on the Horus side of the comparison except to say that I am unconvinced until I see detailed references to source documents that I can read myself (English translations will do).

The point that I am making here is that the assumptions on the Jesus side are actually untrue if Mark is the Jesus document that we are using.

1 Both were conceived of a virgin. Not in Mark.
2 Both were the “only begotten son” of a god Mark 1:11- ‘Thou art my beloved Son’. No mention of ‘only’.
3 Hours’ mother was Meri, Jesus’s mother was Mary. Unlike in John where the mother remains anonymous, in Mark she has the Roman name, Maria.
4 Hours’ foster father was called Jo-Seph, and Jesus’s foster father was Joseph. Mark says nothing, not a single word about a father.
5 Both foster fathers were of royal descent. Not in Mark.
6 Both were born in a cave. Not in Mark.
7 Both had their coming announced to their mother by an angel. Not in Mark.
8 Hours; birth was heralded by the star Sirius. Jesus had his birth heralded by a star in the East. Not in Mark.
9 Ancient Egyptians celebrated the birth of Hours on December 21 (the Winter Solstice). Modern Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. Not in Mark.
10 Both births were announced by angels Not in Mark.
11 Both had shepherds witnessing the birth. Not in Mark.
12 Hours was visited at birth by “three solar deities” and Jesus was visited by “three wise men”. Not in Mark. Incidentally neither Matthew nor Luke has both wise men and shepherds.
13 After the birth of Hours, Herut tried to have Hours murdered. After the birth of Jesus, Herod tried to have Jesus murdered. Not in Mark. Herod did order the killing of the children of his wife Miriam after he suspected her of an affair with a Joseph. This is the only historical parallel.
14 To hide from Herut, the god That tells Isis, “Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child.” To hide from Herod, an angel tells Joseph to “arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt.” Not in Mark.
15 When Hours came of age, he had a special ritual where his eye was restored. When Jesus (and other Jews) come of age, they have a special ritual called a Bar Mitzvah. Not in any of the Gospels.
16 Both Hours and Jesus were 12 at this coming-of-age ritual. Not in Mark.
17 Neither have any official recorded life histories between the ages of 12 and 30. See 19.
18 Hours was baptized in the river Eridanus. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. Finally a datum that is actually in Mark.
19 Both were baptized at age 30. The age of Mark’s Jesus is not specified.
20 Hours was baptized by Anup the Baptizer. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This is in Mark.
21 Both Anup and John were later beheaded. Ditto.
22 Hours was taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Set. Jesus was taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain to be tempted by his arch-rival Satan. Mark’s account only says the wilderness. There is no mention of a mountain, high or low. Satan is nowhere in the NT presented as a rival messiah.
23 Both Hours and Jesus successfully resist this temptation. Yes.
24 Both have 12 disciples. Jesus also has Levi and BarTimeus who are not in the count of 12.
25 Both walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, and restored sight to the blind. Yes.
26 Hours “stilled the sea by his power.” Jesus commanded the sea to be still by saying, “Peace, be still.” This is the Markan version.
27 Hours raised his dead father (Osiris) from the grave. Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. (Note the similarity in names when you say them out loud. Further, Osiris was also known as Asar, which is El-Asar in Hebrew, which is El-Asarus in Latin.) Not in Mark.
28 Osiris was raised in the town of Anu. Lazarus was raised in Bethanu (literally, “house of Anu”). Bethany is in Mark, but not Lazarus.
29 Both gods delivered a Sermon on the Mount. Not in Mark.
30 Both were crucified. Yes.
31 Both were crucified next to two thieves. Yes.
32 Both were buried in a tomb. Yes.
33 Hours was sent to Hell and resurrected in 3 days. Jesus was sent to Hell and came back “three days” later (although Friday night to Sunday morning is hardly three days). Not in the NT
34 Both had their resurrection announced by women. Mark 16:8 – And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.This is the last verse. The women never made the announcement.
35 Both are supposed to return for a 1000-year reign. Not in Mark.
36 Hours is known as KRST, the anointed one. Jesus was known as the Christ (which means “anointed one”). Yes.
37 Both Jesus and Hours have been called the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, and the winnower. lamb and winnower are not used in Mark.
38 Both are associated with the zodiac sign of Pisces (the fish). Not in Mark.
39 Both are associated with the symbols of the fish, the beetle, the vine, and the shepherd’s crook. Not in Mark.
40 Hours was born in Anu (“the place of bread”) and Jesus was born in Bethlehem (“the house of bread”). Not in Mark.
41 “The infant Hours was carried out of Egypt to escape the wrath of Typhon. The infant Jesus was carried into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod. Concerning the infant Jesus, the New Testament states the following prophecy: ‘Out of Egypt have I called my son.'” (See Point 13) Not in Mark.
42 Both were transfigured on the mount. Yes.
43 The catacombs of Rome have pictures of the infant Hours being held by his mother, not unlike the modern-day images of “Madonna and Child.” Not in Mark.
44 Noted English author C. W. King says that both Isis and Mary are called “Immaculate”. Not in Mark.
45 Hours says: “Osiris, I am your son, come to glorify your soul, and to give you even more power.” And Jesus says: “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.” Not in Mark.

Sum total: 13 of these 45 points are in Mark. This is not a good score.

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