Serapis-Christian links overlays??

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MrMacSon
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Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:10 pm

Serapis (Σέραπις, Attic/Ionian Greek) or Sarapis (Σάραπις, Doric Greek) is a Graeco-Egyptian god. Serapis was [allegedly] devised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I1 of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm2 ....

... Sarapis was a syncretistic deity derived from the worship of the Egyptian Osiris and Apis [the Bull] (Osiris + Apis => Osirapis/Sarapis) and also gained attributes from other deities, such as chthonic (subterranean) powers linked to the Greek Hades and Demeter, and benevolence linked to Dionysus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serapis
  1. Ptolemy 1 aka Meryamun Setepenre (ca. 367-283 BCE) (aka "Soter"; ie. savior; hence soteriology).

    . There is mention of "soter" on coins minted by his son, Ptolemy II, in 263 BCE.
    .
  2. There is, however, evidence which implies Serapis existed before the Ptolemies came to power in Alexandria - a temple of Sarapis (or Serapis; Roman) in Egypt is mentioned in 323 BCE by both Plutarch (Life of Alexander, 76) and Arrian (Anabasis, VII, 26, 2). The common assertion that Ptolemy "created" the deity is derived from sources which describe him erecting a statue of Sarapis in Alexandria ...

    ... Ptolemy I may have created 'the cult of Sarapis', and endorsed him as a patron of the Ptolemaic dynasty and Alexandria

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serapis

CHRISTIAN ROOTS IN THE ALEXANDRIAN CULT OF SERAPIS

The cult of Serapis was to have sweeping success throughout Greece and Asia Minor, especially in Rome, where it became the most popular religion. There was a Serapis temple in Rome as early as 105 BC. Initiation into the Serapis cult included the rite of baptism, and Sir Alan Gardiner, the British Egyptologist, argued in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 1950 that Egyptian baptism should be seen as analogous to Christian baptism, of which he commented: "In both cases a symbolic cleansing by means of water serves as initiation into a properly legitimated religious life." The cults of Serapis and Isis did not merely survive the emergence of Christianity, but in the 2nd century AD actually increased in popularity. Serapis and Christ existed side-by-side and were frequently seen as interchangeable. Some early Christians made no distinction between Christ and Serapis and frequently worshipped both, while paintings of Isis with her son Horus became identified by early Christians as portraits of Mary with her son Jesus*. The rite of baptism, part of the initiation ceremony of the Serapis cult, was also adopted by the Church as part of its initiation ceremony.

http://dwij.org/forum/amarna/8_serapis_ ... ianity.htm


Hadrian wrote in 134CE [to Servianus(?)]
The Christians among them [the Egyptians] are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ.

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com.au/20 ... ainst.html

Scholars are undecided about the precise origin and meaning of Sarapis (or Serapis as he was called by the Roman emperors). Attempts have been made to demonstrate an origin in Asia Minor, Babylon or Greece, but so far unsuccessfully. It is more likely that Sarapis was 'born' on Egyptian soil. According to an ancient cult legend, Ptolemy I received orders in a dream to transport the cult statue of Pluto from Sinope on the Black Sea to Egypt. When he asked his advisors what the dream meant, they told him that the god was called Sarapis and that the order had to be followed, which it subsequently was. Some researchers interpret the story to mean that Sarapis was a deliberate creation of Ptolemy and his advisors with the intention of uniting the Egyptians and the Greeks living in Egypt under one religion. Others are of the opinion that the intention was to give the Greeks their own deity. There are two arguments against the theory that Sarapis was a Ptolemaic 'invention' - first, this would mean that for the first time in the history of religions an 'invented' deity was worshipped for a long time, and second, the legend demonstrates that the name Sarapis was already known to the advisors. It is clear that the name Sarapis is a graecized form of the name Osiris-Apis, the bull of Memphis identified with the ba* of Osiris and worshipped in Egypt. The fact that the statue of Pluto in Alexandria was given the name Sarapis means that this new god was added to the pantheon as a special form of Osiris-Apis. However, Sarapis is not identical to Osiris; thus it is still only Osiris with whom an Egyptian wants to be identified with after death. There are also striking iconographic differences - Sarapis is never depicted mummiform, but rather as a Greek god with beard and a kalathos on his head.

The basis of the Sarapis theology is supplied by Osiris as the god of the underworld and of fertility. Just like Osiris, Sarapis is linked with the earth and with regenerative power. The kalathos that Sarapis wears on his head points to his links with the earth and its fruits. Just like Osiris, Sarapis, too, was regarded as the lord of the Nile, but also of the sea; he rules the storms and rescues people in peril. Sarapis quickly came to be seen as a healer of all kinds of diseases and this characteristic certainly contributed to him being worshipped in a wider circle. To his aspect as healer he also added that of giver of oracles; in both instances Sarapis used a dream or a vision to appear to believers. Sarapis has a close relationship with Isis; together with her he was worshipped as 'soter', saviour. In the Roman Period, Sarapis became associated with Helios and became the 'Lord of Time' and god of all, and his cult spread through the region around the Mediterranean Sea. In the 2nd century AD, the church father Tertullian could still state that 'the whole earth now swears by Serapis', but by 391 AD the destruction of his temples in Alexandria and Canopus marked the end of the worship of Sarapis.

http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/glo ... spx?id=327

* Ba
  • Untranslatable Egyptian word referring to one of the aspects of a person or a god's being. Unlike what many other cultures believed and believe, the Egyptians did not regard a person as being made up of a body and a soul together forming the sum total of a person, while each representing a separate part of the person. According to Egyptian texts, the 'ba' also had bodily needs, and is thus not the equivalent of our concept 'soul'. The Egyptians thought that the entire person, regarded from different points of view, could be referred to by different words. Just as the 'ka' was the life force, and a name the visible, physical manifestation of the person called by that name, so the 'ba' was seen as the aspect of the non-physical, freely moving personality. The desire for freedom of movement appears regularly in the funerary literature.

    It was the 'ba' which enabled the deceased to leave the tomb, for example to worship the rising sun, to rest in the shadow of a tree, or to drink water from a pond. This highly desirable freedom of movement was perceived to be present in birds. Very swift birds like swallows were seen as the personification of the 'ba'. Migratory birds, who periodically crossed the borders between Egypt/the created world and the regions beyond, were also supposed to be 'ba's. A text in a temple at Abydos relates that migratory birds outside the created world had the bodies of birds and human heads; as soon as they came into the light of the sun, that is, entered the created world, they changed into real birds. The 'ba' was indeed usually depicted as a bird with a human head (and sometimes human arms). The 'ba' was capable of assuming any shape it wanted to. Funerary texts provide many examples of spells which enable the deceased to transform himself at will.
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Stephan Huller
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Stephan Huller » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:16 pm

St Mark was supposedly killed by worshippers of Serapis. His church was located near a shrine of Serapis. Origen was forced to serve in the temple of Serapis (with the other option being fucked in the ass by a presumably well endowed Ethiopian.

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by perseusomega9 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:49 pm

The neo-platonic philosopher Origen or the Cybeleian priest/initiate, or the Christian Origen?
The metric to judge if one is a good exegete: the way he/she deals with Barabbas.

Who disagrees with me on this precise point is by definition an idiot.
-Giuseppe

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Stephan Huller » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:13 pm

Origen Origen

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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Leucius Charinus » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:04 am

MrMacSon wrote: Hadrian wrote in 134CE [to Servianus(?)]

Did he? I don't think so.
The Christians among them [the Egyptians] are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ.

http://stephanhuller.blogspot.com.au/20 ... ainst.html
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... al*.html#8

The source for this is the "Historia Augusta" which is extremely unreliable and its genre has been described as a "mockumentary". Fake Documents abound - totalling 160 forgeries, fake dates, the Novel Invention of (a) Fake Sources and (b) other Fake Sources which disagree with them.




LC
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by DCHindley » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:29 am

When I used to play with Clarion Database Developer (competed with UI2, which created customized dBase/FoxPro style relational databases) in the mid 1990s, they had these 3rd party Overlays that you could Link into the database developer's pseudo-code.

Perhaps, and I am guessing, one of them was named Serapis and the author of the C++ code was named Christian.

Assuming that, without checking it out first (of course - duh), we can thus conclude, without consulting the blogs and boards of amateur piker sensationalist iggorant lollygaggers, that moderate right theologians are absolutely correct and their opinions can with utmost confidence taken as God-given fact.

Tip: Roman Catholic priest and scholar J P Meier is famous for examining an issue from all sides, and often dives deep into enemy territory, properly citing the relevant papers and books, providing his own usually pretty fair evaluations of their contents or arguments, in the copious endnotes. Yet, when he reaches a final conclusion, it is always a moderate one and non-controversial with regard to basic theology shared by all stripes of mainstream Christianity.

Check out his book series A Marginal Jew numbering at least 3 or 4 by now. The earlier ones are actually better, as by the third volume I felt he was running out of steam - the third one just wasn't the same as the first two. I have not seen any others, but I am sure there may be one or two more since volume 3 came out.

While I think Meier is being entirely too deferent to prevailing moderate-right Christian thinking when he chooses the most likely solution to perplexing sets of facts in the NT (and/or OT), boy can he cite sources. I found that if I REALLY wanted to learn about a controversy, I would check the available books and articles out of an academic oriented library and read them. Ironically, that is when you realize how slanted Meier's opinions are about hypotheses other than the ones he prefers, opinions that had seemed so moderate and critical on first review.

Fun, fun!

DCH

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:20 pm

.
Cheers, DCH
Leucius Charinus wrote:
The Christians among them [the Egyptians] are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ.
The source for this is the "Historia Augusta" which is extremely unreliable and its genre has been described as a "mockumentary". Fake Documents abound - totalling 160 forgeries, fake dates, the Novel Invention of (a) Fake Sources and (b) other Fake Sources which disagree with them.
160 forgeries of the "Historia Augusta"?

A few others who cited that passage also referenced 'Giles, [s]1986[/s] ii p86', which I didn't seek to clarify at the time.

DM Murdock/Acharya S discusses the alleged Hadrian passage here Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, via Google Books, with reference to several others who have discussed it.

She said the letter was "reproduced by the Sicilian writer of the 3rd C Vopiscus (Vita Saturnini 8), who claimed to have taken it in turn from a writer named Phlegon." She discusses others who mention the passage as genuine, including DH Tscirhner; Bishop Dr J G Lightfoot, who considers it then (ie. 143* AD) to be mocking Christians; and mentions in several 'relatively reliable' publications [top p 280]. She does allude to others who dismiss it.
  • maybe 134 AD?
Her passage on this is worth a read.

There is also reference here Biblical Repository and Classical Review which says
All the productions of Hadrian have persished except one letter written to Servianus, which Vopiscus transcribed from the works of Phlegon, a freed man of Hadrian, and inserted in the life of Saturninus
and cites "c. 8. p. 485 of 'the book' cited"; which I presume is "Vita Hadriani. Scriptorium historiae Augustae. ed Lips"

Could these early 2nd C references to Christians be consistent with a proposition that Tacitus's, Seutonius's, and Pliny the Younger's early 2nd-century references to Christians are, in fact, references to non Jesus-following Christians ...
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Blood » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:49 am

MrMacSon wrote:
CHRISTIAN ROOTS IN THE ALEXANDRIAN CULT OF SERAPIS

The cult of Serapis was to have sweeping success throughout Greece and Asia Minor, especially in Rome, where it became the most popular religion. There was a Serapis temple in Rome as early as 105 BC. Initiation into the Serapis cult included the rite of baptism, and Sir Alan Gardiner, the British Egyptologist, argued in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology in 1950 that Egyptian baptism should be seen as analogous to Christian baptism, of which he commented: "In both cases a symbolic cleansing by means of water serves as initiation into a properly legitimated religious life." The cults of Serapis and Isis did not merely survive the emergence of Christianity, but in the 2nd century AD actually increased in popularity. Serapis and Christ existed side-by-side and were frequently seen as interchangeable. Some early Christians made no distinction between Christ and Serapis and frequently worshipped both, while paintings of Isis with her son Horus became identified by early Christians as portraits of Mary with her son Jesus*. The rite of baptism, part of the initiation ceremony of the Serapis cult, was also adopted by the Church as part of its initiation ceremony.
Do any early Church Fathers mention Serapis? If not, that seems like a huge oversight if the above assertions are true.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:59 pm

Blood wrote: Do any early Church Fathers mention Serapis? If not, that seems like a huge oversight if the above assertions are true.
If that is true I guess any number of permutations are likely: eg. it as avoided as the new character was being portrayed as new and original. "My god is better than the old gods or your god" would be a key feature of evangelizing then, as it is today?

It seems some aspects of early-Christianity were later written off as heresy, too. As I said previously: Could these early 2nd C references to Christians be consistent with a proposition that Tacitus's, Seutonius's, and Pliny the Younger's early 2nd-century references to Christians are, in fact, references to non Jesus-following Christians?
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Leucius Charinus » Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:46 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
The Christians among them [the Egyptians] are worshippers of Serapis, and those calling themselves bishops of Christ scruple not to act as the votaries of that God. The truth is, there is no one, whether Ruler of a synagogue, or Samaritan, or Presbyter of the Christians, or mathematician, or astrologer, or magician, that does not do homage to Serapis. The Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is by some compelled to worship Serapis, and by others, Christ.
The source for this is the "Historia Augusta" which is extremely unreliable and its genre has been described as a "mockumentary". Fake Documents abound - totalling 160 forgeries, fake dates, the Novel Invention of (a) Fake Sources and (b) other Fake Sources which disagree with them.
160 forgeries of the "Historia Augusta"?
Yes. That is just one of the negative claims of a fair consensus of classical scholars on this text. If the author or authors wanted to include a letter in their account they simply fabricated it. In the 9th century the Pseudo-Isidorian forgery mill fabricated over 300 purported letters between the bishops of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries, and another few hundred letters between the 4th and the 7th century.

The following is sourced from the editor at http://www.livius.org/hi-hn/ha/hist_aug.html
LIVIUS wrote:Historia Augusta: modern name of a collection of (bogus) biographies of Roman emperors of the second and third centuries.
  • Fake Documents abound - totalling 160 forgeries

    One of the most charming aspects is the introduction of fake information, especially in the second half. At least one ruler has been invented, remarkable omens are introduced, and anecdotes are added. The information in the second half of the life of the decadent emperor Heliogabalus is very entertaining, but completely untrue, and only introduced as a contrast to the biography of his successor Severus Alexander, who is presented as the ideal ruler. Ancient readers must have loved these mirror images, and may have smiled when the author of the Life of Heliogabalus accused other authors of making up charges to discredit the emperor, and used them all the same. The "minor" biographies (i.e. the lives of co-rulers and usurpers) are usually entirely invented.
There is also reference here Biblical Repository and Classical Review which says
All the productions of Hadrian have persished except one letter written to Servianus, which Vopiscus transcribed from the works of Phlegon, a freed man of Hadrian, and inserted in the life of Saturninus
and cites "c. 8. p. 485 of 'the book' cited"; which I presume is "Vita Hadriani. Scriptorium historiae Augustae. ed Lips"
Anyone who cites this text without a massive disclaimer is unaware of the scholarship on this text, which has a grand history all of its own. It even includes a fabricated lineage for the Emperor Constantine, to whom the book is dedicated (along with Diocletian).

There is a separate thread here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=772 .... Historia Augusta: Constantinian scriptorium?

FWIW I see a great similarity between genre of the Latin "Historia Augusta" and the Greek "Historia Ecclesiastica", and a further great similarity between the modus operandi of their authorship. Constantine was certainly aware that all public libraries in the Roman empire had both Greek and Latin hemispheres. As a very important and revolutionary publisher of codices, it was important to manufacture for the complete edification of his aristocrats, both Greek and Latin publications.


Could these early 2nd C references to Christians be consistent with a proposition that Tacitus's, Seutonius's, and Plny the Younger's early 2nd-century references to Christians are, in fact, references to non Jesus-following Christians
Any references to anything in the "Historia Augusta" are utterly problematic.

Here is a summary Sourced from Pagan and Christian Historiography in the Fourth Century - Arnaldo Momigliano
  • Extracts

    The Historia Augusta is the classic example of historiographic mystery.


    ◾ The Historia Augusta purports to have been written under Diocletian and Constantine, but the majority of modern scholars prefer — rightly or wrongly — a date later than 360 (7).

    ◾ There are two or three sentences in the Historia Augusta which sound like a criticism of the Christians. One is the good-humoured remark that in Egypt ‘those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are in fact devotees of Serapis’ (Firmus, 8, 2). The Historia Augusta is by no means the big anti-Christian pamphlet which some scholars have seen in it. On the contrary, the ideal emperor Severus Alexander worships Jesus with Abraham in his private chapel.

    ◾For the first time we come across historical work done in collaboration, — which adds to its elusiveness.

    ◾The Historia Augusta is the classic example of historiographic mystery. The work purports to have been written by six authors at various moments of the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine. Some at least of the alleged authors claim to have written in collaboration. This very claim of team-work is baffling: cooperative ‘Cambridge histories were not common in antiquity. The writing is sensational and unscrupulous, and the forged documents included in this work serve no obvious purpose. One or two passages may point to a post-Constantinian date either for the whole collection or at least for the passages themselves. But the date and the purpose of the Scriptores Historiae Augustae remain au unsolved problem.

    ◾The fact that at least one of these historical works, the Historia Augusta, is guilty of professional dishonesty is not a sign of strength, for historiography of this kind.

In summary any propositions at all which rely upon the integrity of this text must be rated initially as "extremely weak".





LC
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A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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