Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's Written in Stone: Jesus May Have Been A Copycat!

Tablet Ignites Debate on Messiah and Resurrection

According to historians, archaeologists and anthropologists, there were over sixteen crucified saviors before Jesus Christ. . Some were born of a virgin. Some were born in a cave or barn.

From Wikipedia:

The central figure of one of the most widespread mysteries, Osiris-Dionysus, was consistently localised and deliberately merged with local deities in each area, since it was the mysteries which were imparted that were regarded as important, not the method by which they were taught. Other prominently cited parallels are with Tammuz, Horus and Mithras. Horus was one of the life-death-rebirth deities, and was connected and involved in the resurrection of Osiris, whose Egyptian name (Asar) is very similar to the root of Lazarus. In the view of some advocates of the Jesus Myth theory, most prominently Freke and Gandy in The Jesus Mysteries, Jewish mystics adapted their form of Osiris-Dionysus to match prior Jewish heroes like Moses and Joshua, hence creating Jesus.

So maybe the discovery of this stone tablet isn't quite as shocking as it at first seems:

Published: July 6, 2008

JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

Dominic Buettner for The New York Times
When David Jeselsohn bought an ancient tablet, above, he was unaware of its significance.

If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.

Then this article delivers the coup de gras:

“This should shake our basic view of Christianity,” he [Israel Kohl of Hebrew University in Jerusalem] said as he sat in his office of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem where he is a senior fellow in addition to being the Yehezkel Kaufman Professor of Biblical Studies at Hebrew University. “Resurrection after three days becomes a motif developed before Jesus, which runs contrary to nearly all scholarship. What happens in the New Testament was adopted by Jesus and his followers based on an earlier messiah story.”

Will this article and the translation of the stone's Hebrew spark waves of anti-Semitism? Or will evangelicals scream "fake scholarship" or "what do you expect of non-believers?"

Will this discovery even hit the pulpits this Sunday? I doubt it. Preachers wouldn't like to confuse their flocks!

O.K. - Who copied who? All three are "Madonna and Child" but the one on the left predates the other two by perhaps 2000 years. It is, of course, the Egyptian goddess with her son Horus. The middle one is a 19th century Maori "Madonna and Child." The third is from 14th century Burgundy, France.

Obama's Sister Souljah Moment

A Magdalene Laundry ca. 1900

I have to apologize to Barack Obama for what I said in an earlier post:

The faith-based initiative was risky from the start, and it was only by the grace of God (sorry) that Bush was tight-fisted enough not to give the program the money he promised. There are plenty of non-religious, non-profit orgamizations doing what the government should be doing. And there are a host of people waiting to volunteer their time and efforts who don't need to say, "First tell me Jesus is your personal savior, then you can have your bowl of soup." And who will the bulk of the money go to? Only churches big enough to have a grant proposal writer, a promotion director and a glossy introduction kit. Megachurches will get bigger and small churches may go the way of the Dodo. Question: does Joel Osteen really need more money? And just where is Rod Parsley going to come up with an agency to feed the poor instead of himself? He'd have to agree to some kind of transparency - something many megachurch/televangelists are loathe to do. Something stinks in the Obama campaign.

It now looks like Obama will not tolerate proselytizing nor will he tolerate discriminating hiring practices for those programs that the government will help to fund. In other words, he wants to expand faith-based initiatives but without the faith-based hypocrisy. Someone told me to look up the work of Catholic Charities because they closely adhere to the kind of faith-based initiatives Obama wants to target: (from wikipedia)

Catholic Charities is a worldwide network of charities whose aim is to "reduce poverty, support families, and empower communities." It is one of the largest and most respected charities. Catholic Charities traces its origin to an orphanage founded in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana by the French Ursulines Sisters.

Catholic Charities, however, has hit a snag in the department of "support families" department:

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley and leaders of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston formally announced the agency will terminate its adoption work, abandoning its founding mission after the Massachusetts state legislature passed a law requiring that homosexuals be allowed to adopt children, and refused to make an exception for religious organizations, even after appeals from both the Governor and the Archbishop of Boston.

So, will Obama's administration of funds tolerate such kind of homophobia? It looks like Archbishop O'Malley would rather the children needing parents become Duplessis Orphans than give them over to loving same-sex couples. Yeah, better to give the kids lobotomies than to do that! Or what about going back to the old system of the Magdalen Laundries?

Obama: PLEASE tell faith-based agencies that they can't have their cake and eat it too.