Archive for mystery religions

Judaism and Ancient Mystery Religions

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 1, 2010 by chouck017894

Beneath the surface of Judaism there has always existed a strong element of mystery. For most Jews, however, the zeal for studying the Torah in search of any relationship to the ancient tantalizing mystery religion ingredients are sufficiently gratified by the body of the Mosaic Law, not to mention the redoubtable commentaries that accompany them.  Thus their esoteric heritage has simply faded into the dim corners of Orthodoxy.

Canonical Judaism shows the influence of ancient mystery religions most closely in the so-called wisdom literature that gained prominence in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE—a timeframe coinciding with the Hasmoneans, a family of Jewish patriots better known as Maccabees.  This also happened to be the timeframe in which the Pentateuch, the Septuagint translation, was being written in Alexandria.  The texts that hint most closely at divine mystery elements are found in Koheleth (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Chokmah (Wisdom of Solomon), Proverbs, and the Book of Job.  These examples of wisdom literature are most notable for the perspective that is expressed, for the viewpoint does not arrogantly segregate mankind into Jews and Gentiles as is typical of priest-composed texts.  Instead, man’s worth is seen in the wisdom literature to be determined as either wise or foolish.  The Lord that is addressed in these wisdom texts is correctly understood as acknowledgment of the unified principles of Creation that produced and approved all that exists.

The Book of Job was a direct restructuring of an 1870-1830 BCE  Babylonian account, and is the most consistently theological work in the Hebrew Bible, focusing on an extensive dialogue on one theological issue—the purpose of suffering.  Its superiority stems from the lack of priestly philosophy and religiosity, and being rich in mythopoeic knowledge of reality.  That reality rests in the story of an innocent man not accusing himself as being deserving of the afflictions he suffered and placing the blame squarely where it belongs (on god).  This, of course, was an unacceptable premise for the priests of Yahweh, and so they fitted the superior Babylonian story with an anticlimax to serve their priestly purpose. 

The book of Proverbs consists primarily of short sayings that express terse insights into human affairs, especially of a social and religious nature such as wisdom, wickedness, violence, concern for others, greed, etc.  Authorship is  popularly credited to Solomon, but indications are that these treasures of wisdom were collected well after the time in which Solomon is alleged to have ruled (c. 960 BCE)—like about three centuries after.

The deuterocanonical book Sirach, written c. 180-130 BCE, was a collection of ethical teachings, and has much in common with Proverbs.  The book closes with the assessment that the wisdom and greatness of God is revealed in all his works, not just in the history and people of Israel, and this is what is presented as justifying belief in God. 

Cholomah is a Hebrew word meaning “wisdom,” and is defined in Cabala (Ha Qabalah, Kabala, Kabbala) as the second of ten sefirot (divine emanations), and regarded as the first power of conscious intellect within Creation.  When Cabalists analyzed the Pentateuch (first five book of the Old Testament) they believed that they had found metaphysical and cosmological doctrines to be concealed in the words broken down into their numerical equivalents.  This would seem to indicate that whoever the authors of those opening four book* may have been, they were proficient at understanding and concealing from the masses profound  knowledge of the Creation processes.  (*The book of Leviticus does not fit comfortably or logically into the book lineup of the Israelite’s alleged history; it is all about priestly authority propaganda and nothing more.)

In the text known as Koheleth, which translates something like “speaker of the assembly,” the main speaker claims to be the “son of David and king in Jerusalem,” and reflects often on the meaning of life.  The author’s assessment is that all of man’s actions are “transitory, “temporary,” “empty,” “vain,” “futile,” and “meaningless.”  The stoic flavored text focuses on mortality and the struggle that permeates life, and does not labor over the yearned for reward of Paradise.  The author’s rather cynical outlook is that the lives of the wise and the lives of the foolish both end in death, but he sees wisdom as being the best way to achieve a more self satisfying and well-lived life.  Even so, he could not credit an eternal reward for having cherished wisdom.  This is not typical priestly party-line material. 

Among the mystery items in Jewish observation to this day is the Menorah, the seven-branched candlestick that became the idolized feature of Judaism.  The ceremonial candelabrum allegedly symbolizes the seven days of Creation (Exodus 37:17-24), but it was not a feature in the earliest worship of Yahweh even though the priest-written history composed in 7th century BCE claims that it had always been an item used in veneration of Yahweh, its use having been suggested to Moses by God.  The object was used in Babylonia (and Egypt) and was absorbed into Jewish tradition during the days of  “Captivity” there.  The seven-branched candlestick in Babylonian observances represented the Sun surrounded by the six then-known planets, and it therefore symbolized for them the journey that the soul made after death.  This association of the soul’s journey was a feature in all ancient mystery religions.

The rabbinical explanations of the menorah as representative of the seven days of Creation is perceptibly faulty, for the central light being ascribed to the Sabbath does not correspond with the “Let there be light” command of the fourth day of Creation.  There is a more ancient tradition than the rabbinical one which is echoed in the Zohar (from Cabala, metaphoric discourses on the Torah), which says, “These lamps, like the seven planets above, receive their light from the sun.”  In ancient sun cult observances, such as in Egypt, the central branch of the candlestick properly represented Wednesday.  Thus the rabbinical view that it represented the Sabbath was neither poetically nor historically accurate.  (Incidentally, Moses is portrayed as having been a priest of the Sun god when in Egypt: in that timeframe in which the story is presented the menorah was indeed in use in the sanctuary, and had to face W. S. W.   So, in a manner of speaking, one could say that Moses had been counseled by God to continue in use of the seven-branched candlestick.)  The first cosmic association with the menorah is in Zechariah, who is alleged to have learned in a vision that the seven lamps were “…the eyes of Yahweh that run to and fro through the universe.”  In other words, the seven planets.  Thus the annual lighting of the Temple candelabra at the autumn festival actually commemorates the creation of stars on the fourth “day.”

These few examples drawn from ancient literature and symbolism still exert influence in today’s faith systems.

Myth of “Saint Peter”

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by chouck017894

Pomp and ceremony and holy razzle-dazzle are effective ways to drown the testimony of quiet truth.  By this means of alleging spiritual entitlement, truth is repeatedly crucified.  This, obviously, is an outsider view of manufactured belief.  And this observation is an expression of grief for the injustices done to truth in the name of spiritual reliability.

The catalyst for this lament springs from the Easter ceremony in Vatican City (April 2010) and the brazen denial that der pope was aware of the sexual transgressions that have  been going on in the church for  millennia.  Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, sniffed that it was all “petty gossip” and “a vile smear!”  According to Sodano the whole uproar over pedophile priests is due totally to the “anti-Vatican media,” but the “successor to (St) Peter, bishop of Rome, (is) the unfailing rock of the holy church,” said Sodano.  Well, that line of succession has quite a long blood soaked history.  And there were occasional breaks in the chain of succession as well, one lasting around five years, for example.  To put it mildly, there are peculiar viruses attached to the “Bishop of Rome” claim that has its roots anchored deep in church-composed “history.”

It was noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data that the claim that a fisherman apostle named Simon but called Peter was in Rome rest entirely on one source—a work titled The Clementines written around the early 200s CE.  In that literary work is a tale of a wonder-working man named Peter coming face to face with the fabled sorcerer/magician named Simon Magus.  Peter allegedly challenged Simon Magus to give proof of his magical power.  To comply the sorcerer levitated into the air.  Peter chose to regard  it all as contest of wills and with his divine powers brought down the magician with such force that it broke Simon Magus’ leg.  Nothing has ever been presented that could be said to support that Peter in The Clementines story referred to Simon (renamed Peter) of Christian Gospels

There is a small fact that came to the aid of the later authors of church “history” and inspired the assertion that the Peter of the Gospel stories was  active in Rome c. 67.   Indeed this tiny fact contributed the names of the alleged first four “bishops of Rome.”  Through the general  timeframe c. 67 to c. 99, there were priests of ancient Pagan mysteries that had been active in Rome for generations, and they were venerated as PTR, which signified them as interpreters or revealers of divine mysteries.  As in Jewish writings the vowels were not inscribed, and the sacred Tau-cross was central in the title indicating his power of interpretation.  This  opened the freedom for church historians to make an identity switch with a former Pagan priest interpreter and present that mutation as the cornerstone of the faith laid down in Rome. 

The interpreters, the PTR of Pagan mysteries, were the highest authority in the Pagan priesthood and the high priest was well-known throughout Rome when the Christian cult was struggling for  identity.  Thus  in the tradition handed down for the first four “bishops of Rome” each take their identity from the Pagan PTR—the title for all Pagan interpreters of the mysteries—whose actual names probably were Linus, Anacletus, and Clement (1).

Thus today if one looks up the list of popes of the Roman Catholic Church in any encyclopedia they will find total untruths listed as facts.  Peter is claimed to have been crucified in Rome in 67 CE, supposedly as part of Nero’s attempt to eliminate Christians—who at that time were not yet referred to as Christians.  Even so, we are to believe that the second “bishop of Rome,” Linus, rushed forward to preside as Christ’s representative.   Linus is asserted to have presided as “bishop” from 67  to maybe 79.  The next “bishop,” Anacletus, third from Peter, is listed as serving from 79 to some uncertain time around 90.  Fourth after Peter (PTR) is listed Clement (1) from 90 to maybe 99.  Marcus Ulpian Trajanus became emperor in 98.  Oddly, the literature in Rome at the entry into the second century CE remained absolutely silent about any person referred to as Christ.  The  rowdy new religion was mentioned by only a few contemporary historians such as Plutarch and Juvenal, but none ever referred to a Jesus or a “Christ” as the central figure of that new religion. 

So how does the legendary Simon, AKA Peter, stack up against the early GospelsThat earlier Peter was an apostle of Jesus who taught and preached only to Jews.  Strict Jewish customs of the times, which considered it “unclean” to venture into Rome, make it illogical that an apostle of a Jewish teacher, who vowed not to preach to the uncircumcised, would toss aside his obligation to his own people to raise a church among Gentiles in Rome.

By Christian lore, Peter was allegedly crucified (upside down) in the Coliseum in 67.  This is awkward, for it would indicate that Peter and Paul were both representing differing doctrines of Christianity in the Roman Empire in the same narrow timeframe.  And this is the basis for the Peter-Paul controversy that has been so laboriously papered over that the faithful today have  little clue of how things just did not and do not match.

Before Christianity assumed squatters rights to what is now the Vatican, the area had been the site of the main temple of Mithras, the Persian god of light.  Remembering the PTR connection to the apostle Simon’s name change, there is a haunting suggestion that the professed remains of “Saint Peter” in the underground  vault in St Peter’s Basilica are of the Pagan PTR, not of the Jewish fisherman apostle Simon, AKA Peter.