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.

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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.

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