Sunday, May 24, 2009

Examining The Pagan Christ: Part Three

I've finished chapter five of Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ, and am now at the beginning of chapter six. So for this installment of my series dissecting his book, I will focus on the fifth chapter, which is where Mr. Harpur brings out all his alleged proofs for an Egyptian Christ. Unfortunately, I'm not that well versed in Egyptian mythology (though I do know the story behind some of them), so I do my best to present what limited information I have here.

Like the Christians many millennia later, the ancient Egyptians believed in one God who was self-created, self-existent, immortal, invisible, eternal, omniscient, almighty, and inscrutable; he was the maker of the heavens and the earth, sky and sea, men and women, animals, birds, fish and creeping things, trees and plants, and the incorporeal beings who were the messenger (angels) that fulfilled his wish and word. [1]

This is only part true. In reality, the Egyptians' conception of their gods has evolved quite a bit through the passing of the dynasties. Mr. Harpur is referring to a specific stage in the development of Egyptian mythology, which was around the time of the Middle Kingdom, and the religion was truly polytheistic during other stages in its history. Ancient Egypt only became truly monotheistic (actually, henotheistic might be more accurate) during the reign of the pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century BC, when he instituted the worship of only one deity, the sun god Aten. This was a short-lived development, however, as the traditional polytheistic religion was in fact reinstated 20 years after Akhenaten abolished it.

Osiris was divine, yet in the myth he became a human who lived on the earth, ate, drank, and suffered a cruel death, then triumphed over death through help of the gods (Horus) and attained everlasting life. Budge adds, "But what Osiris did, they could do, and what the gods did for Osiris they must also do for them.... They like him would rise again and inherit life everlasting." Horus was so closely associated with Osiris that at times they were virtually interchangeable We are reminded at this point of the Jesus of John's Gospel. He said "I and the Father are one". [2]

The main problem is that the Egyptians didn't believe in any sort of "incarnation". There just isn't any evidence that they had that sort of thing in their religion.

Now, the actual story is really a lot less edifying. Though variations of the story exist, the basic plot is the same: During a party, Osiris was tricked into lying down on a chest that was specially designed to fit him. At that point, the chest was nailed shut, trapping him in it. The chest floated in the Nile for a while until it found its way back to Egypt. Set then hacked the pieces of Osiris' body into pieces (The number of pieces varies between 14 and 16). Now, what happens next varies: Either Isis sewed/waxed the body parts back together, or they were buried, and Osiris descended into the underworld to become god of the dead. In any case, the stories are completely different from that of Jesus, save for a few minor similarities, such as one variation of the story where Osiris is called a "saviour of man". (link 1) (link 2) (link 3)

Oh, and one more thing: Budge wrote back 1934. Our knowledge on Egyptology has advanced in the seven decades since he published his works. Better get your facts updated.

The body was the vehicle for the divine spirit. Just as it was soaked in various medications and spices to preserve it, so too each individual is "steeped" in, or anointed with, soul energies that will endure to everlasting life. This is why the mummy was called a Karast or Krist (KRST): The concept of Christ iself comes from a root word meaning "to anoint." The Hebrew word Messiah stems from a similar root. [3]

It's been said before, but I'll repeat it here, just for good measure: KRST is the word for “burial” (“coffin” is written “KRSW”), but there is no evidence whatsoever to link this with the Greek title “Christos” or Hebrew “Mashiah”. (link)

The Egyptian Christ, manifeseted in the sign of Pisces, was fore-ordained to be Ichthys (the Greek word for "fish"), the fisherman, and to be accompanied by fishermen followers. Doctrinally, he was the "fisher of men." [4]

I wonder where Mr. Harpur got this. There is no evidence that Horus was ever called "fisher of men". See the previous link.

(Will be continued in part four.)

End Notes
1. Harpur, Tom. The Pagan Christ. 2004. p. 68
2. Ibid, p. 70-71.
3. Ibid, p. 75.
4. Ibid, p. 88.

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