Mythicism

Did Jesus Exist? Price/Ehrman Debate- Who Won? Who's Next?

On Friday October 21, 2016, Dr. Robert Price and Dr. Bart Ehrman finally debated on whether or not Jesus existed. The Mythicist Milwaukee team held the debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Turner Hall. After the debate many people in Milwaukee and online were already discussing who won and what the main takeaways were from the debate.

We decided to invite the experts on a podcast to get their opinion on this debate and where the mythicist position is headed. Matt Dillahunty, Dr. Richard Carrier, David Fitzgerald and Kristyn Whitaker Hood join hosts Sean Fracek and Jason Lawson to discuss the debate.

Matt Dillahunty explains why he feels at this point the mythicist position is not ready for the spotlight. But is it getting there? Also, If you are in that camp that feels Dr. Richard Carrier should be the next to debate Dr. Bart Ehrman, you will get a sneak peek of what that would like in this interview. 

Batman & Jesus Movie News

Movie Production News

Holy Lincoln Memorial, Batman! For those who missed the Batman & Jesus teaser trailer on the big screen at the Reason Rally 2016 - watch it now!

The Batman & Jesus teaser trailer was filmed in April at Calvary Church in downtown Milwaukee.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the filming to be in the congregation. It's not often you have the opportunity to attend a Batman church.

Check out a behind-the-scenes clip montage from the day.

Director, Jozef K. Richards screened the trailer for the crowd gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. One of the few presentations on the big screen, some attendees were confused to begin with while others wondered if it was all a joke.

Richards was interviewed about Batman & Jesus on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show podcast. He is also featured with Paul Provenza on the Reason Rally 2016 Roundup podcast.

Subscribe to the Batman & Jesus newsletter. 

Like us on Facebook too for crying out loud!

 

 

Guest Blog: "Good News or Just Bad Writing?" by Eric Wojciechowski

GOOD NEWS OR JUST BAD WRITING?

 The lack of detailed teachings in the Gospels is an indication there never were any

Eric Wojciechowski

Eric Wojciechowski

When Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon opened the tomb of King Tutankhamun, the first words allegedly spoken were from Carnarvon to Carter asking if he, ahead of him, could see anything. To which Carter replied, “Yes, wonderful things.” Now imagine that's all we ever got from a find of this significance. Imagine the story trailed off into how the servants and hired hands moved “glorious, wonderful” objects out and put them on display for all to be astonished. And everyone gasped at the wonders of ancient Egypt.

If told like this, the writer would be ostracized for not sharing in these wonderful things. The author would be torn apart for not describing all the contents of King Tut's tomb. We'd have to conclude that either the author didn't know about any of the items or there never were any glorious and wonderful items to start with.

What if the story continued? These wonderful things were moved from city to city, put on display. They wowed the crowds who saw them. The unique treasures amazed the masses and the elders and experts were all astonished at what they saw.

A lack of detail in a story is an indicator there is no story. In other words, the author is expecting the reader to fill in the gaps he couldn't provide. And it's an example of bad writing. It's all telling, no showing. A rule, or at least, a high recommendation for writers is that when telling a story, one should show as much as possible. Failure to do so suggests there isn't anything of substance and is an indication of lazy writing. And it's rampant in the gospels.

The gospels say on numerous occasions things like "and he (Jesus) went out and preached and all were amazed". Well what did he preach? What did he say? We're left with lame parables but the "amazing" stuff is never shown.

When an author omits details, it's usually because he doesn't have any. It's cheating. In the story, audience reactions are used in place of real material. The reader doesn't get to experience the shock or revelation on their own, because the information, is missing. Because of this, the gospel author's solution was to tell us he did great things but they had no idea how to show us something so great that would sway reader opinion. I believe this is because the gospel authors couldn’t think of anything wowing enough to show so they hoped the reader would be amazed based on audience reaction. In other words, there is no good news. Just bad writing.

What would Plato's Dialogues be without the dialogues? We don't know if Socrates ever said the words that Plato recorded but to demonstrate the wisdom of his hero, Plato put something into Socrates' mouth. Plato chose to show us the great things his teacher said. Imagine if, instead, Plato's Republic went like this: “And Socrates went out to Glaucon and Adeimantus and Thrasymachus and many men of Athens and those from foreign lands, and he amazed them with words of justice and education and the roles of men.” This would be bad writing and completely forgettable. This is telling, not showing. And yet, this is exactly what the gospels record of Jesus' teaching.

Let's examine a bit of Mark. The experts suspect Mark was the first gospel that Matthew, Luke and John later borrowed and copied from. So the origin of the canonical gospels begins with Mark. And although I'll be primarily using mark, I argue the same problem persists in all of them. Bad writing.

After Jesus is baptised, he begins his ministry by coming to Galilee and proclaiming the “good news” of God, that the kingdom of God is near to coming. He orders those who hear this to repent and believe in, again, the “good news”. He then goes to Capernaum, enters a synagogue and teaches. And it says they were astounded at his teaching for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22). This is where my writer hat throws a red flag. What did he teach? What was so great? Why couldn't the author show it, spell it out? I'm predicting it's because the author couldn't think of anything that would match the astonishment of those in the synagogue.

The gospels are littered with accounts like this. Jesus teaches and astounds his audience but we never get to read these astonishing teachings. The best we're given are the parables. This is a very poor substitute because the parables, while some nice poetry, are nothing that would woo crowds of elders, scribes and high priests. So the “teachings” that are left undefined must be different. In fact, the author of Mark seems to say this very thing.

In Mark 4:10-12, Jesus takes his disciples off to the side and says, about the parables, “To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.” And he does this, he explains, “In order that they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand.” So the parables can not be the same as the undetailed teachings. If his all tell, no show teachings can't be understood and are confusing, how are they amazing crowds?

No, what the author of Mark has done is thought of nothing but the clever parables. The secret teachings of the Kingdom of God are missing because the author either couldn't think of anything wowing enough to amaze his readers or, there never were any wowing teachings in the first place. The other possibility is that the author of Mark just didn't know and only heard of them.

If one gospel, that of Mark, were like this, maybe he could be forgiven. But as I mentioned above, the other three canonical gospels do the same thing. They lay out parables but as for those amazing teachings, we're left to guess.

One might argue that the Sermon on the Mount is indeed one of the teachings I claim are missing. And after Jesus delivers it, it does record how astonished the crowds were. However, this sermon is a collection of things so vague as to be practically meaningless. It is my opinion that this was the best attempt anyone ever gave to try to make it appear Jesus had something incredible to say. What exactly does it mean to be more righteous than the scribes or Pharisees? (Matthew 5:20) If this is a message for the world, how about including the Aztecs or Native North Americans? And what does “righteous” even mean here? Or what does it mean to be poor in spirit? (Matthew 5:3) Or pure in heart? (Matthew 5:8) Also, what are we to make of the view on divorce? As recorded here, Jesus tells that it is only acceptable should the woman commit adultery. This, right here, speaks more about the common view of women two-thousand-years ago rather than a just god.

No, the Sermon is no different than anything else recorded in the gospels. It isn't anything new or wowing. It's clearly written by a very mortal man of his time. It's more parables and vague statements. Read Matthew 5:14-16 and ask yourself, is this the message of god that was wowing crowds?

We must also ask why is the Sermon only in Matthew with a sprinkle of Beautitudes in Luke? Seems the best answer is that the author of Matthew and Luke were doing their best to give Jesus something great to say. But the message in the Sermon is so very common that it gives away a very human, non-divine authorship. How about some remarks regarding germ theory and why people get sick? How about pointing out the benefits of clean teeth and a low salt, vegetarian diet? How about discussing that there's nothing to be afraid of regarding lightning? How about teaching sign language? The Sermon is indeed more of the same as anything else Jesus allegedly teaches. I suspect it is because there never was anything incredible from Jesus. Only authors trying their hardest.

There are estimated to have been dozens of other gospels that are now lost to history. And maybe these hold the great speeches and details of great impressions. But if so, why didn't the Christian community preserve them? It appears there was nothing significant to warrant preservation. Wouldn't all the words of Jesus have been as carefully preserved as Muslims have with the words of Muhammad in the Hadith?

On the contrary, we do have the Gospel of Thomas which is a collection of one-hundred-and-fourteen quotes allegedly from Jesus. No context is given, just quotes. You would think that all the great stuff would be here, right? Nope. Nothing at all in any of them is of any significance. More of the same as in the canonical gospels, more parables and quite frankly, nonsense. Certainly nothing an elder or group of people would be flocking to.

Gospel of Thomas quote number thirteen has Thomas being taken aside by Jesus and told something. And when he returns to the other disciples they asked what Jesus told him. And Thomas answered, “If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up." So here, again, more expectation that something great is being said but never put on display.

Here is another: Quote twenty in the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like." Jesus said to them, "It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky."

This is just pure and simple bullshit. This is the same type of language a sham of a psychic would use or Silvia Browne to act like they know something when they don't. It's an indication that the author has no clue at all and is hoping this mustard seed analogy will suffice. Quite frankly, Elvis Presley fans have preserved more, memorized more, quoted more and cherished more words from that legendary singer than anyone recalled from when Jesus allegedly lived and spoke. This should be an embarrassment among Christians but for some reason, it isn't. Asking us to accept the wisdom of Jesus with the material we have would be like asking us to accept how great Elvis was if he only released a few mediocre seven-inch singles yet we kept being told he had these great hits and stage performances and even a movie career, none of which we could see.

The unity of all the gospel authors having nothing, absolutely nothing to unpack about secret teachings or what these speeches were is an indicator there were none at all. If at least one or a few gospels reported on them, then missing detailed teachings in others would not be a big deal. But the fact that no one has anything at all to put on display suggests to me there never was any big astonishing teachings and that each gospel author used the same cheat of bad writing to tell us something great was going on when it wasn't.

It would be excusable if the hidden message was revealed at the end of the gospels, if all these things Jesus was teaching that wowed the audiences were put into the reader's lap at the end of the story. It would be understandable if the gospel authors teased us until the end. But it doesn't work out like that. We never know what Jesus says. The four canonical gospels end with Jesus' death, with the author hoping that in the end the astonishing and amazing teachings will be taken for granted.

I know what you might be thinking. Each gospel does reveal what the good news, what the message is. The end itself, the death and resurrection is it and so was revealed. I beg to differ. If Jesus went around astonishing audiences and elders with a story that his life was going to end with a death and resurrection, the author would have just written this. Besides, the first time in Mark Jesus tells his disciples about his forthcoming death and resurrection, he tells them in Mark 8:31-33 about it and tells them to keep it to themselves, don't tell anyone. So this is clearly not what he'd been teaching to the crowds. And in Mark 1:22, Jesus is said to have taught the crowds as one having authority and not as the scribes. So his teachings to the elders and high priests are something different than bragging he's about to pull the greatest magic trick in human history. I suspect, however, that if he was talking about his predicted death and resurrection, the audiences wouldn't have been amazed and astonished. They would have laughed him off and returned to their business. Unless we are to assume ancient audiences of priests and scribes were fools and easily swayed by a bunch of talk like this, the teachings about the coming resurrection don't make sense. So in place of missing great teachings and messages, the gospel authors direct us away with stories about curing illnesses which Jesus specifically told people not to talk about.

Which is interesting. In the beginning of Mark, Jesus at Mark 1:40-45, heals a leper and forbids him from telling what happened. But the former leper runs right out and is apparently so happy to be healed, he starts telling everyone. This happens numerous times, Jesus heals, forbids from telling anyone, and yet, it gets out causing Jesus no privacy.

So Jesus tells people not to describe their healing but concentrate on his teachings and yet, the gospels record numerous healings and never any detail at all about his teachings.

Can we garner from the pieces what the great, astonishing teachings were? Were they about the good news, the Kingdom of God, which is how the gospel of Mark starts with the reason Jesus shows up? Doubtful, as already addressed in Mark 4:10-12 Jesus didn't tell the masses about it. He told the disciples only. And what did he tell them about the Kingdom of God? In Mark 4:30-34, (and quote number twenty in the Gospel of Thomas) Jesus decides to tell what the Kingdom is like and the best he (the author of Mark) can say is that it's like a mustard seed and must be carefully attended to if it's going to grow proper.

What? Seriously? This, again, is a bunch of nothing. My writer hat has sprouted dozens of red flags that what we're dealing with is bad writing. The author couldn't think of anything to make his reader feel the power of something like the Kingdom of God so he cheats. He goes lazy and gives a silly parable that is meaningless. And then, to rub it in, Mark 4:33-34 the author says that Jesus only explains everything in private to his disciples and speaks in parables to everyone else. Again, more lazy in the shadows.

The bottom line is that if Jesus really had anything great to say, no one bothered to record it. And if it was ever recorded, no one bothered to preserve it. And if that's the case, I can only conclude that the life of Jesus and what he had to say isn't worth anything more than the stories of other mythical characters.

Paul seems to confirm this. His writings are the earliest Christian writings which we have preserved. And he never talks of anything other than the death and resurrection. He knows nothing of these healings or Jesus' ministry or how he wowed crowds. He never quotes from Jesus' astonishing teachings (or even the parables) to give direction for the early church. You'd think he would pull from the words of the founder to assert his authority. But when he wants to quote anything to make a point on how things should be run, he goes back to the Old Testament. The one and only time he quotes the words of Jesus are his words at the Last Supper. But he tells the reader in 1 Corinthians 11:23 that he got it directly from Jesus, whom he never met. So he admits up front it came from a revelation (a dream or hallucination or something akin to a shamanic meditation). He admits he didn't get it from another person or from a written record of the event. Paul's only concern is of the death and resurrection which, like the Last Supper information, he specifically tells us in Galatians 1:12 that it was not taught to him by any man but discovered through revelation.

This is a major red flag. If Paul, the earliest of writers, tells us that he knows what he knows because Jesus told him through revelation and that he didn't get anything from anyone who was there, that's a big indicator there was nothing there in the first place. It appears that everything we're looking at is made up.

If Jesus taught anything amazing, whether in public to vast crowds or in private to the initiated inner circle, no one bothered to preserve it. Simply said, there's just nothing of significance in the gospels which leads me to conclude there never was and the authors cheat, using the lazy tactic of making us think there's something based on audience reaction in the story.

Imagine losing the Theory of Relativity short of total war. That's what we have to believe if we believe we lost Jesus, the Son of God's, teachings less than a couple decades after his death. Would the Word of God be lost so easily if there was one? I challenge that instead, there never was any. No teaching, no message, nothing. Just bad writing.

Jesus has a Nazareth Problem w/ Rene Salm

Rene Salm on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

Author René Salm's controversial analysis of Christian origins started with his 2008 book "The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus," an archeological exposé showing that the town of Nazareth did not yet exist in the time of Jesus. His recent book "NazarethGate: Quack Archeology, Holy Hoaxes, and the Invented Town of Jesus" is the fact-based sequel that was released in 2015. René has lived in nine countries from Sri Lanka, to Lebanon, to the United States.

His universal approach to religion emphasizes our common spirituality over differences hardened by dogma and simple names. Besides being an author, he has worked as a composer/musician and also as a mental health technician caring for those severely disturbed. René considers himself among the "New Atheists" and also among the growing number of "Jesus Mythicists," that is, scholars who believe that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist as a human being but was invented by the early Church. 

During this podcast interview, Rene shares his insight into why he feels the location known as Nazareth did not exist when Jesus would have lived. Rene has scrupulously combed through a vast amount of archaeological reports to prove out his hypothesis. He also has a unique stance on Jesus mythicism. He not only feels that Jesus did not exist, he has an alternate explanation of a figure in antiquity that may have been the model that was used in the Gospel narratives. Don’t miss this incredible interview! 

Experiencing Myth with Tim Freke

Timothy Freke Joins us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

Tim Freke is the standup philosopher that is pioneering an accessible new way to experience a profound spiritual awakening. 

He has spent his life exploring the awakened state he often simply calls the ‘mystery experience’ and is able to guide others directly to it.

Tim has an honors degree in philosophy and is an internationally respected authority on world spirituality. He is the author of over thirty books that have established his reputation as a scholar and free-thinker. He became well known for his groundbreaking work on Christian Gnosticism with his close friend Peter Gandy, including "The Jesus Mysteries", which was a top 10 best-seller in the UK and USA, and a ‘Book of the Year’ in the UK Daily Telegraph.

He is often featured in documentaries and chat shows broadcast by the global media, such as the BBC and the History Channel. Tim blogs for The Huffington Post and care2.com among many others. 

in May of 2015, Tim is returning to Las Vegas to present a Mystery Experience Retreat, featuring his latest groundbreaking ideas from the book he is currently writing called 'SOUL FORMATION : The Meaning of Life'.

Kenneth Humphreys Finds the Humor in the Fables of Religion

Kenneth Humphreys holds a Master's degree from the University of Essex in history and social sciences, a post-graduate pedagogic certificate from the University of Leicester, and a higher national certificate in business studies. He taught for many years in the UK and abroad. Religion, and in particular the claims of Christianity, have been a life-long interest.  

His new Book “Jesus Never Existed: An Introduction to the Ultimate Heresy” is a scholarly yet easily digestible and entertaining approach to the Christ myth theory.  His website Jesus never existed.com receives more than a million visitors a year. He is now fully occupied as a writer, radio broadcaster, and public speaker, and campaigns energetically against the tide of resurgent superstition and unreason.

Kenneth frequently uploads very entertaining videos questioning Jesus’ historicity on his YouTube channel. In this interview Kenneth shares his incredible sense of humor and knowledge on the Christ myth theory. This is a must listen interview for anyone that is interested in the fables that are found in the Bible. 

 

Dr. Richard Carrier Deconstructs Christianity in One Hour

Dr. Richard Carrier deconstructs the mythological origins of Christianity as well as how it has adapted through the centuries in this one hour interview. He addresses the evolution of early Christianity through the lens of myth and the politics of the second and third century of the Roman empire.  

Dr. Richard Carrier is an atheist activist, author, public speaker, and blogger. He is a trained historian and one of the leading current proponents of the Christ myth theory. Carrier received a PhD in ancient history from Columbia University in 2008: his thesis was entitled 'Attitudes towards the natural philosopher in the Early Roman Empire'. He has published several articles and chapters in books on the subject of history and philosophy 

He is the author of the books “Proving History” and “On the Historicity of Jesus”. These books explain and utilize a historical methodology that employs Bayes's Theorem for the purpose of historical inquiry; specifically within the context of Jesus studies. He is also an advocate of atheism and metaphysical naturalism, which he has defended in his book “Sense and Goodness Without God.” 

In 2014 Dr. Carrier published his latest book entitled: “On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt” , which is "the first comprehensive pro-Jesus myth book ever published by a respected academic press and under formal peer review"

He will be traveling to Milwaukee on April 25th as the keynote speaker of the  Mythinformation Conference brought to you by Mythicist Milwaukee. Make sure to purchase your tickets today!

What is Mythicism? Who is DM Murdock?

DM Murdock talks with us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show: 

D.M. Murdock, aka Acharya S is an independent scholar of comparative religion and mythology She was classically educated at some of the finest schools, receiving a degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin & Marshall College. DM Murdock is also a member of one of the world's most exclusive institutes for the study of Ancient Greek Civilization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.

Murdock has served as a trench master on archaeological excavations in Corinth, Greece, and Connecticut, USA, as well as a teacher's assistant on the island of Crete. Murdock speaks, reads and/or writes English, Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese to name a few.

DM Murdock is the author of several books, including The Christ Conspiracy and Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection  among many others. She is a proponent and leading scholar of the Christ myth theory. Her latest Book “Did Moses Exist?” provides a massive amount of information from antiquity about the world's religious traditions and mythology, including how solar myths, wine cultivation and fertility cults have shaped the Bible and Judaism. This book is revered as the most comprehensive study to date on the subject of Moses.


Jamie DeWolf on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

If you were every curious about Scientology, its origins and or how it operates this is a must listen: 

Jamie first became known to Bay Area audiences as a performance poet. He went on to become the National Poetry Slam Champion, the Oakland and Berkeley Grand Slam Champion. Jamie is also a mentor for Youth Speaks, the nation’s leading presenter of Spoken Word education.

Jamie has toured the country with his performance trio known as “The Suicide Kings”. The three-man show premiered at the Living Word Festival in 2007 and toured world-wide.

Jamie has written and directed many short films, directed and films documentaries and PSA’s and has written and co-directed his first full-length feature film entitled “Smoked”, which was chosen to premiere at the Oakland Underground Film Festival in 2012 .

Jamie host an acclaimed Bay Area monthly variety show, entitled “Tourettes Without Regrets”, which was awarded “Best of the Bay” by the SF Guardian and the “Best Underground Cultural Event” by the East Bay Express..

Jamie is also great-grandson of Scientology’s creator L. Ron Hubbard, Jamie is an outspoken critic of the church that has lead to church harassment and a stalking campaign. He was the host of the first ever anti Scientology summit in Clearwater, Florida and was a keynote speaker at the first international conference in Dublin, Ireland.

White Horses: Another Common Mythological Thread

 

White horses (carrying their respective prophets or leaders) are yet another recurring figure in a large number of highly-visible religions and mythologies: Muslim, Christian, Celtic, Greek, Norse, Hindu, Buddhist and even the Native American Blackfoot tribe.

Below are their stories in short. Interesting to see another common thread throughout various historical cultures' myths. Add to our list if you have found others!

Muslim
Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراق al-Burāq "lightning") is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is the title of one of the chapters (sura), Al-Isra, of the Quran.

Christian
The Rider on the White Horse (Revelation 19:11-21) is a story of a magnificent white horse which carries Jesus Christ as he leads angels and saints in a dramatic battle between good and evil after Jesus' return to Earth.

The verse reads as follows:
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty...

Celtic
In Celtic mythology, Rhiannon, a mythic figure in the Mabinogion collection of legends, rides a "pale-white" horse. Because of this, she has been linked to the Romano-Celtic fertility horse goddess Epona and other instances of the veneration of horses in early Indo-European culture.

Greek
In Greek mythology, the white winged horse Pegasus was the son of Poseidon and the gorgon Medusa. Poseidon was also the creator of horses, creating them out of the breaking waves when challenged to make a beautiful land animal.

Norse
In Norse mythology, Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir, "the best horse among gods and men", is described as gray. Sleipnir is also the ancestor of another gray horse, Grani, who is owned by the hero Sigurd.

Hindu
In the Puranas, one of the precious objects that emerged while the devas and demons were churning the milky ocean was Uchaishravas, a snow-white horse with seven heads. (A white horse of the sun is sometimes also mentioned as emerging separately). Uchaishravas was at times ridden by Indra, lord of the devas. Indra is depicted as having a liking for white horses in several legends - he often steals the sacrificial horse to the consternation of all involved, such as in the story of Sagara, or the story of King Prithu.

Buddhism
Kanthaka was a white horse that was a royal servant and favourite horse of Prince Siddhartha, who later became Gautama Buddha. Siddhartha used Kanthaka in all major events described in Buddhist texts prior to his
renunciation of the world.

Native American Blackfoot
In Blackfoot mythology, the snow deity Aisoyimstan is a white-colored man in white clothing who rides a white horse.

Breathing Life Into Myths

While Mythicist Milwaukee visited Egypt recently, we toured the temple of a Queen of Egypt from ancient times - that of Queen Hatchepsut. She was an interesting character who did everything she could to get into power and stay in power. This included inventing a story about her divine birth in order to take the throne from the male heir. 

Hatcchepsut was born to Queen Ahmose and King Thutmose I. After the king died, Hatchepsut made up a story of how Egypt's supreme deity at the time, Amen-Ra, impregnated her mother - and she had her story backed up by Egypt's high priest. 

When we heard this story, bells went off. A god blowing into a woman to impregnate her? Sounds like a familiar tale that may have been borrowed and modified throughout the years. Below is a summary of Queen Hatshepsut's story, followed by a few other religious tales that share this motif.

Queen Hatshepsut - Ancient Egypt

Ruled: 1479-1458 BC

Hatshepsut (or Hatchepsut) was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty in Egypt's New Kingdom. She is generally regarded by egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. 

Her rise to power went against all the conventions of her time. She was the first wife and Queen of Thutmose II and on his death proclaimed herself Pharaoh, denying the old king's son, her nephew, his inheritance. To support her cause she claimed the God Amun-Ra spoke, saying "welcome my sweet daughter, my favourite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the King, taking possession of the Two Lands." She dressed as a king, even wearing a false beard and the Egyptian people seem to have accepted this unprecedented behaviour.

In the depictions, Amun-Ra appears with the unborn Hatshepsut and then with her mother (Queen Ahmose) in the form of Hatshepsut's father (Thuthmosis I). Amun impregnates the queen with his divine breath then reveals his true nature and fortells that Hatshepsut will rule Egypt. Amun-Ra then visits Khnum to instruct him to create Hatshepsut´s body. A heavily pregnant Queen Ahmose is led to the birthing chamber by Heqet and Khnumwhere she is assisted by Meskhenet. In the final scenes, the newborn Hatshepsut and her Ka are suckled by twin Hathors while Seshat records her birth.

Toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III and into the reign of his son, an attempt was made to remove Hatshepsut from certain historical and pharaonic records. This elimination was carried out in the most literal way possible. Her cartouches (name in hieroglyphs) and images were chiselled off some stone walls in her temple, leaving very obvious Hatshepsut-shaped gaps in the artwork.

Isa (Jesus) - Islamic Religion

Allegedly lived: 7-2 BCE (sources vary extremely on this date)
Story written in the Quran: ~850-950 CE (AD) (sources vary on this date)

In verses 21:91 & 66:12 of the Quran, Allah says that he breathed into Maryam's (Mary's) shirt/empty space/vagina (various sources translate this differently) in order to conceive Isa (the Islamic Jesus).    

    "And she who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our spirit (roohina) and appointed her and her son to be a sign unto all beings." S. 21:91     

    "And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit (roohina), and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient". S. 66:12.

 

 

Adam - Christian Religion

Allegedly lived: ~4,000 BC (sources vary on this date)
Story written in the Bible: ~500 BC (sources vary on this date)

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth] and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:4-7

Based on what we conclude, we doubt Queen Hatshepsut knew what she would inspire when she invented the story of her divine birth. We pulled the stories from the Bible and the Quran only because they are the most relevant religions in modern times. 

There are many more stories that explain gods or god men impregnating humans. Can you name any others?

What Happens When You Die?

The Final Judgement event is one of the most popular stories that originated out of ancient Egyptian mythology. It was one of the earliest explanations for what happens after one dies. It also reminded early Egyptians that the wicked in life will be punished in the afterlife. To this day, Egypt reproduces scenes of this event on items marketed to tourists on everything from clothing to bath towels, jewelry to hand-woven silken rugs. (We couldn't help but buy papyrus calendar with the judgement scene on it when in Cairo!) Following is a short summary of the event:


The Final Judgment

Once the journey through the underworld is complete, the deceased reach the Hall of Final Judgment. Judgment involved a two-part process:

Part 1: Standing before the 42 divine judges

Here they stood before 42 divine judges and pleaded their innocence of any wrongdoing during their lifetime. The Book of the Dead provided them with the correct words to use for each of the judges, ensuring that they would pass this part of the judgement process even if they had not been completely innocent. (We saw replica pages of the Final Judgement instructions from the Book of the Dead at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.)

Part 2: Weighing the heart

The second part of the judgement process was the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ ceremony. The heart, which contained a record of all the deceased’s actions in life, was weighed against the feather of the goddess Ma’at. This feather was the symbol for truth and justice and helped determine whether the deceased person had indeed been virtuous. If the heart was found to be heavier than the feather, it was fed to Ammut, the ‘Devourer’, and the soul was cast into darkness. If the scales were balanced, the deceased had passed the test and was taken before Osiris who welcomed them into the afterlife. For those who were concerned about this test, they could recite the spell (usually Spell 30B from the Book of the Dead) inscribed on their heart scarab amulet to prevent their heart from ‘betraying’ them.