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To Walter - Could you clarify one thing

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  • A J
    Walter Hey, if a prominent well-known biblical studies PROFESSOR EMERITUS like David Noel Freedman didn t know this, why would you expect an
    Message 1 of 28 , Mar 1, 2005
      Walter

      "Hey, if a prominent well-known biblical studies
      'PROFESSOR EMERITUS' like David Noel Freedman didn't
      know this, why would you expect an 'amateur-scholar'
      like myself to have known it too?"

      That's alright, Walter - One Stone is still held the
      man of the century, despite some rather obvious flaws
      in his 'Theory'.

      aj

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    • A J
      [Let s see if I can t get this one off before Yahoo! ... yahoos!] George You wrote, 1) the Baptist movement required a SINGLE immersion that was good for life
      Message 2 of 28 , Mar 1, 2005
        [Let's see if I can't get this one off before Yahoo!
        ... yahoos!]

        George

        You wrote, "1) the Baptist movement required a SINGLE
        immersion that was good for life (regardless of
        whether contamination was encountered or not).".

        That may be what has come down to us, but does the NT
        itself actually support the idea that John was a
        'once-in-a-lifetime' baptist?

        A few further observations I've to make on this
        subject-:

        1). The word 'baptism' is only found in the NT - it
        derives from Greek baptein, 'to dip'. This doesn't
        mean that baptism is itself a non-Jewish practise - we
        may still find it in the OT under a different name.

        2). Not one of the gospels which actually mention the
        baptism are accompanied by the KJV's footnotes
        referring us to verses in the OT - John's wearing of
        camel hair garments and eating of grasshoppers are,
        but not the baptism itself. This does indicates that
        the baptism is of non-Levitical origin.

        3). The common phrases are "baptized of him [..]
        confessing their sins" and "the baptism of repentance
        for the remission of sins" - yet nowhere in the book
        of Leviticus (that I am aware of) does it say that
        baptism (ablution) cleanses sins (only sacrifices do
        this). This certainly indicates that the Baptist
        movement was influenced from without, but ...

        4). Mark 1.8 directs us to Isaiah 44.3; "For I will
        pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon
        the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed,
        and my blessing upon thine offspring:".

        Presently, I favour the possibility that the baptism
        is of Jewish/Levitical origin. Reason? Leprosy is a
        disease which necessitates frequent washing. And there
        is this nagging voice at the back of my mind (it's
        Jewish, but speaks with an Egyptian accent) which
        keeps mentioning the fact that Osarseph (our man
        Moses) was himself a leper - the Samaritans felt a
        deep affinity with Moses, and Jesus was a Samaritan.

        aj

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      • Walter R. Mattfeld
        Dear AJ, It may be that what we have here in baptism , which you noted, is a GREEK WORD meaning dip , may be a _fusion_ or adaptaion of Hellenistic Greek
        Message 3 of 28 , Mar 1, 2005
          Dear AJ,

          It may be that what we have here in "baptism", which you noted, is a
          GREEK WORD meaning "dip", may be a _fusion_ or adaptaion of
          Hellenistic Greek concepts to earlier Jewish concepts of ablutions.

          I haven't, however, explored Hellenistic Greek "baptism" of sins ( if
          such exists) to see if they parallel early Christian concepts.

          Regards, Walter
        • A J
          Walter George pointed out earlier the similarity between John s baptising and the dunking of Achilles in the Styx to render him immortal. It would be useful to
          Message 4 of 28 , Mar 1, 2005
            Walter

            George pointed out earlier the similarity between
            John's baptising and the dunking of Achilles in the
            Styx to render him immortal.

            It would be useful to know which word/s were actually
            used in the Greek texts describing Achilles 'baptism'
            (Stratius, I presume) - frankly, I've no idea where to
            start looking.

            aj

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          • Walter R. Mattfeld
            ... Dear AJ, Neither do I. The issue is, the meanings and nuances of the Greek words used in describing Achille s _dipping_ in the river Styx. The Styx was
            Message 5 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
              --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, A J <andrej1234au@y...>
              wrote:
              > It would be useful to know which word/s were actually
              > used in the Greek texts describing Achilles 'baptism'
              > (Stratius, I presume) - frankly, I've no idea where to
              > start looking.

              Dear AJ,

              Neither do I. The issue is, the "meanings and nuances" of the Greek
              words used in describing Achille's _dipping_ in the river Styx. The
              Styx was not just any river, for the "washing away of sins," it was
              in Greek thought, a river of the Underworld, which the dead had to
              cross by a ferryboat. To do this, they paid the ferryman one silver
              obol. Pious Greeks therefore opened the mouth of the recently
              departed and slipped a tiny silver obol coin (about the 1/2 the size
              of a USA dime) under the tongue, to pay the ferryman. Excavations of
              ancient Greek graves have found the tiny silver obol within the oral
              cavity (within the jaw).

              How Achille's mother was able to get to the Styx, without being dead
              first, is a mystery. Usually a three-head hound barred entry and exit
              into the Underworld.

              Personally, I see NO relationship or "parallels" between Achille's
              _dipping_ in the Styx and Jewish ablution rites or Christian baptism.

              Regards, Walter
            • A J
              Walter I ve done a little research myself into the history of baptism in ancient Greece, and what it has revealed is quite surprising (although whether it s
              Message 6 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                Walter

                I've done a little research myself into the history of
                baptism in ancient Greece, and what it has revealed is
                quite surprising (although whether it's acceptable is
                another matter).

                http://www.earth-history.com/Europe/Pagan/will-02.htm

                PAGAN REGENERATION: A Study of Mystery Initiations in
                the Graeco-Roman World
                by Harold R. Willoughby
                Chicago., Ill., The University of Chicago Press (1929)

                "On the day following the assembly came the cry, 'To
                the sea, O Mystae!' and the candidates for initiation
                ran down to the sea, there to purify themselves in its
                salt waves--a lustration believed to be of greater
                virtue than that of fresh water. 'Sea waves wash away
                ill sin,' said Euripides. [..] Tertullian, in speaking
                of this rite, declared, 'At the Eleusinian mysteries
                men are baptized and they assume that the effect of
                this is their regeneration and the remission of the
                penalties due to their perjuries.' This striking
                affirmation by a Christian writer shows that the
                initiates themselves applied the new birth comparison
                to their own experiences in Eleusinian baptism. The
                rite was believed to be more than merely cathartic.
                Regenerative powers were credited to it which operated
                to make the initiate in some sense a new being. It was
                with this rite particularly that the Eleusinian
                devotees associated the idea of personal
                transformation."

                Of course, John's baptisms are reputed to have taken
                place in the Jordan, which isn't salty (oder?) - but
                if they were anywhere near Qumran, they most certainly
                would have been very near the Dead Sea, which the
                Israelites themselves called the Salt Sea.

                There appear to be some other similarities between
                this movement and the one in Israel-:

                Only persons whose hands were clean and whose speech
                was intelligible were admitted - above the doorway to
                the temple on the island of Rhodes were writ the words
                '[Enter] who are pure and healthy in hand and heart,
                and who have no evil conscience in themselves'.

                Followers also ate bread and drank 'wine', although in
                this instance the 'wine' was barley mixed with water
                and infused with mint (Demeter, in whose honour the
                celebrations were held, was a goddess of cereals).

                There appears to have been celebrated a sacred
                marriage, of which the author of this tract says, "...
                it would be a more or less realistic rite after the
                order of the marriage of the Basilinna at Athens with
                the god Dionysus, in which the city was united by
                proxy to the god." - this recalls to my mind the
                Lamb's marriage to his Church.

                The actual rites themselves were passion plays,
                designed to invoke certain emotions within the
                initiates watching. The story ran thus: Grief, Hope,
                Joy - all of these are found in the Christian
                philosophy, and in that Hope holds a primary position,
                just as it seems to me to do in these Eleusinian
                Mysteries as the bridge between Grief and Joy. And I'm
                sure I needn't mention that Joy is also praised in the
                Christian philosophy.

                There are a few other less significant similarities,
                but I'll not go into them (must start on that other
                possibility - the cult of Mithras also baptised, and
                in Greece ... apparently).

                aj

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              • George
                Walter, It is easy to make this sweeping statement: Personally, I see NO relationship or parallels between Achille s _dipping_ in the Styx and Jewish
                Message 7 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                  Walter,

                  It is easy to make this sweeping statement:
                  "Personally, I see NO relationship or "parallels" between Achille's
                  _dipping_ in the Styx and Jewish ablution rites or Christian
                  baptism."

                  After all, this not an everyday idea.

                  However, there are scholars before us who wrote about the
                  potential relationship.

                  I, for one, see VIRTUALLY no relationship between
                  Old Testament references to ablution and the EXTREMELY
                  odd requirement the Essenes had for DAILY ablutions
                  first thing in the morning.... or the non-biblical
                  (Old Testament) requirement for a "baptism in the watery
                  grave" that we associate with John the Baptist.


                  And yet, the New Testament rhetoric associating
                  baptism with a "watery grave" and having one's OLD
                  SELF die in the rite of baptism goes right to the
                  core of what the waters of the Abzu and the waters
                  of Styx represented.

                  Regards,

                  George
                • George
                  AJ, In your discussion with Walter, you quote from this online article: http://www.earth-history.com/Europe/Pagan/will-02.htm PAGAN REGENERATION: A Study of
                  Message 8 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                    AJ,

                    In your discussion with Walter, you quote from this
                    online article:

                    http://www.earth-history.com/Europe/Pagan/will-02.htm

                    PAGAN REGENERATION: A Study of Mystery Initiations in
                    the Graeco-Roman World
                    by Harold R. Willoughby
                    Chicago., Ill., The University of Chicago Press (1929)

                    "On the day following the assembly came the cry, 'To
                    the sea, O Mystae!' and the candidates for initiation
                    ran down to the sea, there to purify themselves in its
                    salt waves--a lustration believed to be of greater
                    virtue than that of fresh water. 'Sea waves wash away
                    ill sin,' said Euripides. [..] Tertullian, in speaking
                    of this rite, declared, 'At the Eleusinian mysteries
                    men are baptized and they assume that the effect of
                    this is their regeneration and the remission of the
                    penalties due to their perjuries.' This striking
                    affirmation by a Christian writer shows that the
                    initiates themselves applied the new birth comparison
                    to their own experiences in Eleusinian baptism. The
                    rite was believed to be more than merely cathartic.
                    Regenerative powers were credited to it which operated
                    to make the initiate in some sense a new being. It was
                    with this rite particularly that the Eleusinian
                    devotees associated the idea of personal
                    transformation."

                    The "Eleusinian" rites are quite old, as indicated in
                    this particular text:


                    http://plato-dialogues.org/tools/loc/eleusis.htm

                    By Socrates' and Plato's time, the "Eleusinian mysteries" were an
                    official festival of Athens celebrated under the leadership of the
                    Archon-King with the help of priests from three noble families
                    (genoi ) of Athens : the hierophant, in charge of exhibiting the
                    sacred objects (the hiera ), was from the Eumolpidæ (the "good
                    singers"), the priestess of Demeter was from the Philleidæ and torch-
                    bearers (dadouchoi ) from the Ceryces (the "heralds"). These priests
                    tracked their origins to Eumolpus, the Thracian king son of Poseidon
                    and Chione, the daughter of Boreas and Orithuia, herself a daughter
                    of Erechtheus, king of Athens.


                    And perhaps it is more than just a coincidence that the Old Testament
                    interest in "Singers" appears to ratchet up significantly with the
                    Chronicles texts, which many analysts suggest are Hellenistic in
                    time-frame.


                    And your comments on Mithras is also interesting and revealing.
                    The Romanized cult of Mithras practically appears out of nowhere...
                    in that we find no Roman "Mithraeum" where there is a mixture of
                    other languages or vocabulary in its operation.

                    This suggests that there was a major "translation" between
                    another cult and the Roman version.... unless one is going to
                    suppose that Mithraism as we know it was INVENTED by the
                    Romans. This would seem unlikely ... and that it is the
                    Roman construction of an older and quite non-Roman
                    cultus.


                    While Walter may find it inconvenient to draw connections
                    between these pagan water rituals and the rise of New
                    Testament baptismal traditions, I think this is going to become
                    a fruitful area of discussion!

                    Walter, I understand your interest in keeping Hellenistic ideas
                    separate from the Old Testament. But I think there is sufficient
                    evidence that "baptism" and "immersion" as we know it from the
                    New Testament is ALREADY quite separate from Old Testament
                    uses for water.

                    Regards,

                    George
                  • Walter R. Mattfeld
                    Thankyou AJ, I recall now the Mystae story from Burkhart s writings on the Mystery Cults. Regards, Walter
                    Message 9 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                      Thankyou AJ, I recall now the "Mystae" story from Burkhart's writings
                      on the Mystery Cults.

                      Regards, Walter
                    • Walter R. Mattfeld
                      ... Dear George, While I do not share your views on the river Styx being what is behind the New Testament s baptism notions, I do acknowledge Hellenistic Greek
                      Message 10 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                        --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "George"
                        <historynow2002@y...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Walter,
                        >
                        > It is easy to make this sweeping statement:
                        > "Personally, I see NO relationship or "parallels" between Achille's
                        > _dipping_ in the Styx and Jewish ablution rites or Christian
                        > baptism."
                        >
                        > After all, this not an everyday idea.
                        >
                        > However, there are scholars before us who wrote about the
                        > potential relationship.
                        >
                        > I, for one, see VIRTUALLY no relationship between
                        > Old Testament references to ablution and the EXTREMELY
                        > odd requirement the Essenes had for DAILY ablutions
                        > first thing in the morning.... or the non-biblical
                        > (Old Testament) requirement for a "baptism in the watery
                        > grave" that we associate with John the Baptist.
                        >
                        >
                        > And yet, the New Testament rhetoric associating
                        > baptism with a "watery grave" and having one's OLD
                        > SELF die in the rite of baptism goes right to the
                        > core of what the waters of the Abzu and the waters
                        > of Styx represented.
                        >

                        Dear George,

                        While I do not share your views on the river Styx being what is
                        behind the New Testament's baptism notions, I do acknowledge
                        Hellenistic Greek concepts may lie behind it. More specifically
                        concepts from the Dionysus Cult.

                        He was a bridegroom of the Mysteries. Chrsit is called a bridegroom
                        too. D. dies and is resurrected, so too, Christ. D. was born of a
                        mortal woman, Semele, and Hera sought the child's life, having him
                        murdered, torn to pieces or cut up and eaten by 12 Titans, to prevent
                        his growing up to be the king of the world, as intended by his
                        heavenly father, Zeus. Christ is also hunted by Herod to prevent his
                        becoming king of the world.

                        D. enters the underworld via Lake Lerna on the Pelonpenessus of
                        Greece, to retrieve his mother Semele, who has died. His followers
                        throw a sacrifical gaot or lamb into the lake to appease Cerebus the
                        3-headed hound who allows no-one to return from the underworld to the
                        earth's surface. THen atrumpet is blown and summons up D. and mother
                        Semele, they have returned from the underworld.

                        Perhaps the New Testament's notion of an angelic trumpet blast
                        announcing the resurrection of the dead borrows from D. imagery ?
                        Perhaps Dionysus' retrun from the underworld via a freshwater lake
                        has been recast and fused with Jewish ablustion bath notions by the
                        early Christains ? In a sense, the lake is atype of grave and
                        Christians saw their emersion in freshwater as a sort of grave.

                        That is to say, George, you're right about Chrsitain baptism notions
                        not being strictly Jewish ablutions, their Greek, its just that you
                        had the wrong connection, its not the rievr Styx, is Lake Lerna.

                        Cf. the below for more info:


                        Thyia - A festival from Elis. Three large, empty pitchers were placed
                        inside a temple, and the doors to the temple were closed. The priests
                        then placed a seal upon the doors, and the citizens of Elis were
                        allowed to affix seals of their own to assure that the temple was not
                        entered. Then, according to ancient accounts, the priests checked the
                        seals, opened the temple doors, and found the pitchers miraculously
                        filled with wine.
                        LERNAEA (lernaia) were mysteries celebrated at Lerna in Argolis in
                        honour of Demeter and also to Dionysus, for both deities had shrines
                        there. Dionysus had descended by the marsh of Lerna to the nether
                        world to seek his mother Semele. Pausanias says that part of these
                        rights might be revealed to the uninitiated, but that which belonged
                        to Dionysus might not. Probably these mysteries reproduced the
                        doctrines of Eleusis about a future life. We are told that there was
                        a doubtful tradition to the effect that Philammon instituted these
                        mysteries. In ancient times the Argives brought firs for them from
                        the temple of Artemis Pyronia on Mount Crathis. (Pans. ii. 36, 37,
                        viii. 15; Maury, Relig. de la Grèce, ii. 370.) [L. S.] [G. E. M.]
                        "Emergence from the Waters Festival" - In Argos and surrounding
                        areas, the tale of Dionysos descending into the underworld to
                        retrieve his mother Semele was the key myth behind a group of local
                        festivals. Lake Alkyonia, near Lerna, was believed to be the lake
                        into which Dionysos descended into and emerged from the underworld.
                        It is also the lake into which, according to local myth, Perseus
                        flung the dead body of Dionysos.
                        It is believed that these festivals typically involved the following:
                        " Dionysos descends into the underworld, usually symbolized in the
                        form of an effigy of some type (usually a straw man) that was thrown
                        into a lake, well, or other body of water. At the same time, they
                        threw a lamb into the waters as a sacrifice to placate Kerebos (the
                        guardian at the gates of Hades).
                        " Later, a trumpet was blown over the water, both to signify that
                        Kerebos had been placated and to summon Dionysos back to the world of
                        the living.
                        " Dionysos then reemerged from the underworld, with his mother Semele
                        in tow.
                        This is believed to have been a spring rite, probably intended to
                        bring Dionysos into mystic union with Demeter & Kore and their myth
                        cycle. This festival may also have been imported to Rhodes, where an
                        inscription was found describing a functionary of the god "who rouses
                        the god with the water organ."

                        Trieteric Rites - Sources describe a wide range of "trieteric" rites
                        (collectively known as "trieterica") that were celebrated throughout
                        Greece. "Trieteric" means "every other year", and these festivals
                        typically involved the myth of the god's death and rebirth. Some
                        cities celebrated two separate festivals, one for death and one for
                        rebirth. Evidence for such festivals exists from Arcadia, Thebes,
                        Orchomenos, Delphi, and many other localities. Some of the other
                        rituals described herein, such as the Agrionia, are sometimes
                        categorized as Trieterica.

                        http://www.winterscapes.com/thiasoslusios/other_festivals.htm

                        Regards, Walter
                      • George
                        Walter, Thank you for your comprehensive response to these ideas. You conclude, among other things, with: That is to say, George, you re right about
                        Message 11 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                          Walter,

                          Thank you for your comprehensive response to these
                          ideas. You conclude, among other things, with:

                          "That is to say, George, you're right about Chrsitain baptism notions
                          not being strictly Jewish ablutions, their Greek, its just that you
                          had the wrong connection, its not the rievr Styx, is Lake Lerna."


                          I have to wonder, Walter, if Lake Lerna is yet another
                          manifestation of the ubiquitous notion of "Oceanus" and the
                          underground river that circles the earth.

                          Wouldn't you think it is likely that Lake Lerna is merely
                          a localized version of a reference to waters of the underworld?
                          Certainly it would be difficult to believe that Lake Lerna is
                          the ORIGINAL formulation for notions of the Abzu.... just as
                          Dionysus may well not be the ORIGINAL formulation for Tammez
                          (and other variant names for this type of divine personality).

                          My earlier references to the River Styx should also be
                          interpreted in this light .... not to be SPECIFIC to a
                          known body of water ... but as a general reference to the
                          power of the "waters of the underworld".

                          Certainly the symbolism of the River Styx is notorious; I
                          am hesitant to conclude that "Lake Lerna" is equally notorious
                          for its underworld connections.

                          Regards,

                          George
                        • Walter R. Mattfeld
                          Dear George, You are correct that some Greeks, in myths, did see River Oceanus as the source of all the earth s rivers, and some of these connections were
                          Message 12 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                            Dear George,

                            You are correct that some Greeks, in myths, did see River Oceanus as
                            the source of all the earth's rivers, and some of these connections
                            were understood to be under the earth as well flowing on the earth.

                            The "connection" for me is that Dionysus emerges from the underwolrd
                            with his _deceased_ mother, Semele, via a body of freshwater (Lake
                            Lerna in Greece on the Peloponneus). For me, this is about as close
                            as I can come to the Christian notion of a person being emersed into
                            a watery grave and arising from it to a new life, versus a mere
                            ritual ablution of washing away sins. The Christian view is not only
                            of sins being washed away, as perhaps existed in Jewish ablutions,
                            but of an association with death and dying and coming into a new
                            life. Lake Lerna is the best I can come up with for imagery at the
                            moment. Of course Jesus' baptism was in the _river_ Jordan NOT the
                            Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea. I am _not_ aware of any myths of a
                            person's arising from a river and being considered having died to
                            sin, and being reborn into a god's death (Christ's) and his body.
                            Regards, Walter
                          • Walter R. Mattfeld
                            ... notions ... Dear Geroge and ABHers, It appears _I am in error_ due to a faulty memory- the Styx is not associated with the underworld, its the Acheron
                            Message 13 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                              Walter wrote earlier:
                              > That is to say, George, you're right about Christian baptism
                              notions
                              > not being strictly Jewish ablutions, their Greek, its just that you
                              > had the wrong connection, its not the river Styx, is Lake Lerna.
                              >
                              >

                              Dear Geroge and ABHers,

                              It appears _I am in error_ due to a "faulty" memory- the Styx is not
                              associated with the underworld, its the Acheron river- my apologies
                              to all for the misinformation. George do you have handy that recipe
                              again for my eating crow ?

                              cf. the below from a Classical Dictionary:

                              "Styx, a river in the north of Arcadia, near Nonacris, descending
                              from a high rock, and falling into the Crathis. The ancients believed
                              that the water of this river was poisonous; and that according to one
                              tale Alexander the Great was poisoned by it. It was also said to
                              break all vessels made of glass, stone metal and any other material,
                              except of the hoof of a horse or a mule." (p. 728. "Styx." William
                              Smith. A Classical Dictionary. London. John Murray. 1875)

                              "Acheron, the name of several rivers, all of which were, at least at
                              one time, believed to be connected with the lower world...The river
                              of the lower world, round which the shades hover, and into which the
                              Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus flow. In late writers the name Acheron is
                              used in a general sense to designate the whole of the lower world."
                              (p. 5. Acheron." Smith. 1875)

                              "Achilles...His mother Thetis foretold him that his fate was either
                              to gain glory and die early, or to live a long but inglorious life.
                              The hero chose the former...Later traditions:...His mother wishing to
                              make her son immortal, is said to have concealed him by night in the
                              fire, in order to destroy the mortal parts he had inherited from his
                              father, and by day to have anointed him with ambrosia. But Peleus one
                              night discovered his child in the fire, and cried out in terror.
                              Thetis left her son and fled...According to other accounts, Thetis
                              endeavored to make Achilles immortal by dipping him in the river
                              Styx, and succeeded with the exception of the ankles, by which she
                              held him." (p. 6. "Achilles." Smith. 1875)

                              Regards, Walter
                            • A J
                              Walter [..] I do acknowledge Hellenistic Greek concepts may lie behind it. More specifically concepts from the Dionysus Cult. He was a bridegroom of the
                              Message 14 of 28 , Mar 2, 2005
                                Walter

                                "[..] I do acknowledge Hellenistic Greek concepts may
                                lie behind it. More specifically concepts from the
                                Dionysus Cult.

                                "He was a bridegroom of the Mysteries. Chrsit is
                                called a bridegroom too. D. dies and is resurrected,
                                so too, Christ. D. was born of a mortal woman, Semele,
                                and Hera sought the child's life, having him murdered,
                                torn to pieces or cut up and eaten by 12 Titans, to
                                prevent his growing up to be the king of the world, as
                                intended by his heavenly father, Zeus. Christ is also
                                hunted by Herod to prevent his becoming king of the
                                world.

                                "D. enters the underworld via Lake Lerna on the
                                Pelonpenessus of Greece, to retrieve his mother
                                Semele, who has died. His followers throw a sacrifical
                                gaot or lamb into the lake to appease Cerebus the
                                3-headed hound who allows no-one to return from the
                                underworld to the earth's surface. THen atrumpet is
                                blown and summons up D. and mother Semele, they have
                                returned from the underworld."

                                There's only one thing missing - the baptism itself
                                (can't have a baptist movement without a baptism). The
                                idea that this can be found in Dionysus' return to the
                                land of the living via Lake Lerna might be sound, if
                                it weren't for the fact that Christ's return to the
                                land of the living was via a cave (Where was this cave
                                located - just to the northwest of Dan, perhaps?).

                                aj

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                              • A J
                                Greetings As I mentioned in another post, Christ s return to the land of the living was via a cave - and this took place sometime around the vernal equinox.
                                Message 15 of 28 , Mar 3, 2005
                                  Greetings

                                  As I mentioned in another post, Christ's return to the
                                  land of the living was via a cave - and this took
                                  place sometime around the vernal equinox. This is in
                                  keeping with traditional beliefs concerning dieties of
                                  fertility who spent part of their year in the
                                  underworld.

                                  Yet that sojourn in the nether regions was naturally
                                  considerably longer than the mere three days ascribed
                                  to Jesus in the NT - gods of fertility whose departure
                                  from this earth bring the winter might be thought to
                                  'die' in the fall, and in fact fertility gods who are
                                  reborn around the time of the vernal equinox might
                                  rightly be thought to die around the time of the
                                  autumnal equinox.

                                  How convenient, then, that the baptism which initiated
                                  the neophytes into the Eleusinian Mysteries should
                                  also have taken place around the time of the autumnal
                                  equinox - I therefore propose that, if the Baptist
                                  movement had anything at all in similar with the
                                  Mysteries, then John's baptism took place at that time
                                  of the year and was a baptism to death, not to life.

                                  There were, in fact, two rites performed by the
                                  celebrants of the Mysteries, and they were six months
                                  apart - the first, considered the lesser, was about
                                  the time of the vernal equinox, and unfortunately very
                                  little appears to have been written about this one;
                                  the second, the greater, was the autumnal baptism
                                  itself, of which we know considerably more.

                                  If the Baptism movement and the passion of Christ were
                                  leavened with elements of the worship of Demeter and
                                  Persephone (I wonder what that name means!), it's only
                                  a short step to convert the Mother-Daughter motif of
                                  the Greeks into one of Father-Son - other elements
                                  appear to also be there: birth, death and rebirth,
                                  grief, joy, acceptance of one's fate.

                                  Must pop off to watch Doctor Who.

                                  aj

                                  Find local movie times and trailers on Yahoo! Movies.
                                  http://au.movies.yahoo.com
                                • George
                                  Walter, Between you and our Phony-Gibson, the waters are getting pretty muddy about the Styx. One might even say that the waters are becoming Stygian! Let s
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Mar 3, 2005
                                    Walter,

                                    Between you and our Phony-Gibson, the waters are getting
                                    pretty muddy about the Styx. One might even say that
                                    the waters are becoming Stygian!

                                    Let's solve one problem at a time. Walter, you write:
                                    "... the Styx is not associated with the underworld, its the Acheron
                                    river....and then you cite this reference:
                                    >
                                    > cf. the below from a Classical Dictionary:
                                    >
                                    > "Styx, a river in the north of Arcadia, near Nonacris, descending
                                    > from a high rock, and falling into the Crathis. The ancients
                                    believed
                                    > that the water of this river was poisonous...."

                                    As we have seen from citations from Perseus.org, Styx was NOT
                                    just a physical body of water, but a water that became associated
                                    with death and the underworld.

                                    I'm still trying to determine which came first .... the idea that the
                                    physical River Styx was DEADLY ... and thus it became associated
                                    in more recent periods of the ancient world with the waters of
                                    Acheron - - or, instead, that there was a belief that the River
                                    Styx connected to the waters of Acheron, and that this is why it
                                    was DEADLY.

                                    But I think it is indisputable that the River Styx became an allusion
                                    to the waters of the underworld by some ancient writers. And that
                                    the REAL River Styx was held to LITERALLY be a "River of Death".


                                    Walter, I thought your citation of Smith on the Acheron was very
                                    helpful:

                                    "Acheron, the name of several rivers, all of which were, at least at
                                    one time, believed to be connected with the lower world...The river
                                    of the lower world, round which the shades hover, and into which the
                                    Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus flow. In late writers the name Acheron is
                                    used in a general sense to designate the whole of the lower world."
                                    (p. 5. Acheron." Smith. 1875)"

                                    As you can imagine, if several rivers called Acheron were "believed
                                    to be connected with the lower world...", then it would hardly be
                                    surprising if some ancient writers depicted a DEADLY river, like
                                    the Styx, in the very same way! As I quoted in a prior post:

                                    "... The Styx was transferred by the Greek and Roman poets to the
                                    invisible world [see Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Biogr. and Myth. art.
                                    STYX]; but the waterfall of Nonacris continued to be regarded with
                                    superstitious terrors..."

                                    Related to this topic is the McGrew-Gibson dispute regarding whether
                                    the ancients ever viewed the Styx as the body of water the dead had
                                    to travel across. Perhaps we should thank him for this mini-education
                                    in Stygian matters. It would seem that the dispute is whether the
                                    Greeks (as opposed to latter-day commentators) ever employed the
                                    idea that Styx was an underworld feature vs. that the Styx was the
                                    body of water CROSSED by the dead.

                                    The latter is a red herring; the former point is relevant to the
                                    Achilles/Styx issue. Certainly, it does not matter to the issue of
                                    Immortality-and-Achilles whether Styx is the river crossed or not.
                                    The issue is whether the waters of the Styx are associated with
                                    life-and-death.

                                    By all accounts (especially NOW!), we can see that even the
                                    PHYSICAL river Styx is associated with life-and-death. It was
                                    considered
                                    somehow poisonous, and yet in every other way some sort of normal
                                    body of water. The Styx was believed to be DEADLY if drunk..... not
                                    that it would make your THROAT or STOMACH "invulnerable".

                                    And if the gods broke an oath sworn to Styx, they would lie in a
                                    DEATH-LIKE state for a year .... because Styx was about "mortality
                                    vs. immortality" - - not about invulnerability vs. vulnerability.

                                    As we discussed in an earlier post, while the association of Achilles
                                    and the waters of Styx may have been a little too recent to have
                                    influenced the "baptist" movements of Palestine, the two separate
                                    strands:

                                    1) Myths of Achilles associated with "immortality and mortality"
                                    were quite old;

                                    2) And a reference to Ares being dipped in waters of the Styx are
                                    also quite old.

                                    Thus, retracting the specific reference to Achilles, but continuing on
                                    with the theme of "life-and-death" associated with Styx, there seems
                                    to be sufficient evidence to explain the WHY - - when the myths of
                                    Achilles and the Styx finally collide! Achilles traditionally evoked
                                    issues of mortality-vs-immortality and the waters of Styx were also
                                    traditionally connected to issues of "life-and-death".

                                    Regards,

                                    George
                                  • George
                                    James, The only mention I could find of something put on or ... No eagle. Regards, George
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Apr 21, 2005
                                      James,

                                      The only mention I could find of something put on or
                                      above DOORS is AJ's discussion about Rhodes:

                                      > There appear to be some other similarities between
                                      > this movement and the one in Israel-:
                                      >
                                      > Only persons whose hands were clean and whose speech
                                      > was intelligible were admitted - above the doorway to
                                      > the temple on the island of Rhodes were writ the words
                                      > '[Enter] who are pure and healthy in hand and heart..."

                                      No eagle.

                                      Regards,

                                      George
                                    • emarhalys
                                      ... Yes and I spent yesterday looks at the ruins of the ophel trying to figure out about the masonry of the Southern Wall. I still haven t found good
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Apr 23, 2005
                                        --- In AncientBibleHistory@yahoogroups.com, "George"
                                        <historynow2002@y...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > James,
                                        >
                                        > The only mention I could find of something put on or
                                        > above DOORS is AJ's discussion about Rhodes:
                                        >
                                        > > There appear to be some other similarities between
                                        > > this movement and the one in Israel-:
                                        > >
                                        > > Only persons whose hands were clean and whose speech
                                        > > was intelligible were admitted - above the doorway to
                                        > > the temple on the island of Rhodes were writ the words
                                        > > '[Enter] who are pure and healthy in hand and heart..."
                                        >
                                        > No eagle.

                                        Yes and I spent yesterday looks at the ruins of the ophel trying to
                                        figure out about the masonry of the Southern Wall.

                                        I still haven't found good illustrations of Roman gates
                                        architecture. I did run across course work and references but no
                                        pictures. I'll keep looking though.

                                        James m> Rogers
                                        emarhalys@...
                                        >
                                        > Regards,
                                        >
                                        > George
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