Tag Archives: dying god

Drudgery Divine

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity by Jonathan Z Smith.

Jonathan Z Smith Drudgery Divine

This fairly slim book consists of five lecture texts:

˙ “On the Origin of Origins” begins the discussion, using the Jefferson-Adams correspondence on religious topics as a point of departure. It also orients around the writings of Priestly and Dupuis, and pinpoints the question of Christian origins in “Protestant anti-Catholic apologetics.”

˙ “On Comparison” is a largely methodological piece, that incisively outlines the gambits of uniqueness and genealogy that have served the agendas of Protestant polemic and Christian supremacism in previous work on the topic.

˙ “On Comparing Words” discusses the philological arguments to date, and their subservience to theological efforts. Quite happily for me, Smith chose to use the term mysterion for illustrative purposes throughout this section. Among other things, I learned about the ancient Greek pun attributed by Athenaios to Dionysos Tyrannos: mysterion = mus terein, “mouseholes!” (p. 56 n)

˙ “On Comparing Stories” has a quick survey of “pagan Christs” literature, before focusing in on Frazer’s ‘dying and rising’ god motif, and its application to Christianity in the work of Pfleiderer; then a discussion of the problems of data for historically-oriented comparisons.

˙ “On Comparing Settings” applies all of the foregoing to the question of comparing early Christianities (note the significant plural!) to other religions of antiquity, also bringing in Smith’s locative/utopian distinction. Smith’s confessed appreciation for and dependence on the Christian origins work of Burton Mack is clearest in this section.

Smith writes, “The Protestant hegemony over the enterprise of comparing the religions of Late Antiquity and early Christianities has been an affair of mythic conception and ritual practice from the outset.” Aleister Crowley’s Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw (a.k.a. Jesus sub figura 888) still deserves that same valuation, despite its opposition to the Protestant hegemony, as he was fighting fire with fire. It was not “a thorough revaluation of the purposes of comparison” in service to “the scholarly imagination of religion,” as Smith would prefer. But Crowley’s tack adds an additional dimension to the history of the enterprise, and for those who wish to soldier on in the mythic and ritual battlefields, Smith’s book is a stone that will sharpen any sword that can hold the edge. [via]


Jesus Potter Harry Christ

Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Fascinating Parallels Between Two of the World’s Most Popular Literary Characters by Derek Murphy is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Derek Murphy's Jesus Potter Harry Christ

The promotional text is a bit of entertaining circus barkery, but I picked this up for the Reading Room because the author used the Hermetic Library’s ad network, it caught my eye, and it looked interesting enough. I have to admit, for me personally, one of my least favourite parts of the Potter series was how very annoyingly Christian the mythos seemed to become in the end. (I have my own preferred ending that involved Harry truly dying to take the last horcrux with him, and Neville becoming the true hero.) The archetype of the orphan, the Hephaestus/Vulcan myth, is really strikingly strong in Western culture, and I railed against the orphan archetype previously. The Christ story really does seem to me to fit this overwrought literary trope as well as the Dying God myth to which it is often linked, but, all in all, this could be another entertaining summer read.

“A controversy over the historical Jesus has been raging for 2,000 years.

A century ago, biblical criticism had revealed Jesus Christ to be almost entirely based on pre-existing mythology. Since then, conservative biblical scholars have regained the discipline and convinced the world that — whatever else Jesus Christ was, he was undoubtedly historical.

Do you believe in the historical Jesus? Confirmation of your beliefs is as near as the local bookstore, where you can easily find several dozen books defending Jesus Christ, the physical man.

Do you think Jesus was mostly a mythological construct? You’ll find ample support for your beliefs in the dozens of other books a few feet over, that argue Jesus never existed at all.

The only way to get past this apparent dead-end of stagnant dogma and repetition, is to examine the roots of the controversy itself — to go beyond the evidence and focus on the underlying issues. Jesus Potter Harry Christ identifies the similarities between Jesus and Harry, to demonstrate that both J.K. Rowling’s magical series and the biblical gospels are literary fiction based ancient mythology and astrological symbolism.

Discover the secrets that biblical scholars don’t want you to know

What the experts are saying

‘For those whose minds can ask questions freely without the enforcement of dogma, Derek Murphy raises a genuine argument which Christian apologists have no answers to besides merely repeating their dogmatic convictions in the hope that re-asserting the dogma will confirm it as truth.’ —John Thomas Didymus, Goddiscussion.com

‘Whether or not one agrees with Murphy’s ultimate position, and whether or not one agrees with his arguments that Jesus was entirely (rather than mostly) mythic, Jesus Potter Harry Christ is well worth wading through, and wade through it one must, simply because of the sheer mass and volume of evidence the author provides. Make this a book whose pages you dog-ear for further reference and second readings.’ —Tim Callahan, Skeptic magazine’s religion editor and author of the books Bible Prophecy and The Secret Origins of the Bible

‘Murphy sifts through various mystery religions and myths of a dying and resurrecting god, and their possible influence upon the Gospel story. For once, it’s done tastefully and without sensationalism. Maybe you’ve read works by Freke, Doherty, and Harpur. Without trying to foist a Gnostic version of Christianity on me, and without succumbing to overzealous scholarship, Murphy gently yet forcefully introduces the strong similarities between Christianity and other first-century religious philosophies and mystery cults, concluding in the strong likelihood that Jesus was a mythical savior.’ —Lee Harmon, author of Revelation: The Way it Happened

‘In the newly-released (and blasphemously-titled) Jesus Potter Harry Christ, Derek Murphy makes the case that J. K. Rowling — the author of the Harry Potter series — achieved her success by tapping into some of the deepest and most ancient longings of the human heart. These same longings, Murphy argues, compelled first-century pagans to construct what he calls “the Jesus myth.” Murphy points to similarities between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ virgin birth, His passion and His return from the grave with the myths of pagan idols like Isis, Sarapis, Horus and Apollo, Murphy hopes to convince his readers that Jesus — just like the gods of mythology — is fiction. In fact, he believes that Jesus is just an amalgam of history’s best myths.’ —Chuck Colson, Christian leader and cultural commentator”

“LET’S SKIP THE INTRODUCTIONS. You don’t need me to tell you that Jesus Christ and Harry are two of the most famous celebrities in the world, whose stories have been translated into dozens of languages and found international support in diverse cultures. What you may not be aware of, however, is the mysterious, complicated and intriguing relationship between them. For example, did you know that the topics ‘I read Harry Potter and Jesus still loves me,’ ‘Even Jesus reads Harry Potter’ and ‘Harry Potter will return sooner than Jesus’ each have their own Facebook group, or that Wikipedia has a page dedicated to ‘Religious debates over the Harry Potter Series’? Much more remarkable than their respective popularity is the significant tension — and unexpected affinity — between them.

At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with each other — and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures suggests otherwise. Harry has been banned, burned, and abused by religious fundamentalists for over a decade. At the release of Rowling’s final book, however, many readers were surprised to discover parallels between Jesus and Harry that, in such apparently diverse world-views, had no right to be there. As a result, recent years have witnessed a revolution in Christian responses to Harry, with many groups, writers and religious leaders praising Rowling’s young sorcerer as ultimately Christian and a clear metaphor for Jesus Christ. And yet the most spine-tingling question has so far been ignored: Why do these similarities exist at all?

Although it is easy to accept that Rowling crafted the literary character of Harry Potter after the figure of Jesus, shouldn’t it pique our interest that Jesus — a monumental figure in modern world religion generally believed to have been historical — has so much in common with the obviously fictional fantasy world and character of Harry Potter? The main distinction, it will be argued, is that Jesus Christ is real: Jesus has traditionally been viewed as a historical figure, while Harry is instantly recognized as fiction. But does this distinction apply to the many seemingly mythical elements in the gospels? Can Jesus’ miracles be separated from Harry’s magic tricks because they really happened — or will we allow that certain features of the gospels were exaggerated or intended to be literary. And if so, where do we stop? What protects Jesus from the claim that he is, like Harry, a fictional character?

This is the starting point of Jesus Potter Harry Christ; an innovative treatise into religious history, comparative mythology, astrological symbolism and contemporary culture. From ancient mystery religions to modern fairy tales, from fictional Hogwarts to the ruins of Jerusalem, Derek Murphy, PhD in Comparative Literature at one of the world’s top universities, zooms in on one crucial question: How do we separate the obviously mythical literature of Jesus Christ from the historical man himself?”

 

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In Nomine Babalon, XXXIII

XXXIII

In the aftermath of the dying god,

Natural law will succeed the synod

Revealing the glory of Revelation;

I raise up the cup and adore Babalon!

In Nomine Babalon: 156 Adorations to the Scarlet Goddess

 

The Hermetic Library arts and letters pool is a project to publish poetry, prose and art that is inspired by or manifests the Western Esoteric Tradition.