Serapis-Christian links overlays??

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:00 am

From The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, [1887]
Unlike the generality of the deities who figure upon the Gnostic stones, the Alexandrian Serapis does not belong to the primitive mythology of Egypt.

. . . < snip > . .

But to return to the Egypt of the times of Gnosticism. In the very focus of that theosophy, Alexandria, the syncretistic sects which sprang up so rankly there during the three first centuries of the Roman empire, had good grounds for making out Serapis a prototype of Christ, considered as Lord and Maker of all, and Judge of the quick and the dead. For the response given to Nicocreon, above quoted, evinces that the philosophers at least saw in Serapis nothing more than the emblem of the 'Anima Mundi,' the Spirit of whom Nature universal is the body, for they held the doctrine of
  • ". . . . . . . the one harmonious whole,
    Whose body Nature is, and God the soul."
So that by an easy transition Serapis came to be worshipped as the embodiment of the One Supreme, whose representative on earth was Christ.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/gar/gar23.htm#fn_72

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:11 am

And Charles William King, in the The Gnostics and Their Remains [1887], makes reference to Ptolemy possibly getting Serapis from Sinope, or Seleucia (rather than Memphis), and quotes Tacitus Histories iv. 84 -
[Serapis's] worship may be said to be only coeval with the rise of Alexandria, into which city it was introduced from Sinope by the first Ptolemy, in consequence of the command (and repeated threats, in case of neglect) of a vision which had appeared to him. After three years of ineffectual negotiation, Ptolemy at last obtained the god from Scythotherius, king of Sinope; but when the citizens still refused to part with their idol, a report was spread, that it had spontaneously found its way from the temple down to the Egyptian ships lying in the harbour.

The prevalent opinion amongst the Greeks was that the figure represented Jupiter Dis (Aidoneus) and the one by his side, Proserpine. This latter the envoys were ordered by the same divine messenger, to leave in its native shrine. Another story, also mentioned by Tacitus, made the statue to have been brought from Seleucia by Ptolemy III, but this rested on slighter authority. It is, however, a curious confirmation of this last tradition that Serapis is named by Plutarch ("Alexander,") as the chief deity of Babylon (Seleucia in later times) at the date of the Macedonian Conquest - a proof that

he at least regarded that god as identical with Belus.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/gno/gar/gar23.htm#fn_72
Who narrates the whole affair at great length--a proof of the influence of the religion in his day--in his Histories iv. 83-4

83 1 The origin of this god has not yet been generally treated by our authors: the Egyptian priests tell the following story, that when King Ptolemy,6 the first of the Macedonians to put the power of Egypt on a firm foundation, was giving the new city of Alexandria walls, temples, and religious rites, there appeared to him in his sleep a vision of a young man of extraordinary beauty and of more than human stature, who warned him to send his most faithful friends to Pontus and bring his statue hither; the vision said that this act would be a happy thing for the kingdom and that the city that received the god would be great and famous: after these words the youth seemed to be carried to heaven in a blaze of fire. Ptolemy, moved by this miraculous omen, disclosed this nocturnal vision to the Egyptian priests, whose business it is to interpret such things. When they proved to know little of Pontus and foreign countries, he questioned Timotheus, an Athenian of the clan of the Eumolpidae,7 whom he had called from Eleusis to preside over the sacred rites, and asked him what this religion was and what the divinity meant. Timotheus learned by questioning men who had travelled to Pontus that there was a city there called Sinope, and that not far from it there was a temple of Jupiter Dis,8 long famous among the natives: for there sits beside the god a female figure which most call Proserpina. But Ptolemy, although prone to superstitious fears after the nature of kings, when he once more felt secure, being more eager for pleasures than religious rites, began gradually to neglect the matter and to turn his attention to other things, until the same vision, now more terrible and insistent, threatened ruin upon the king himself and his kingdom unless his orders were carried out. Then Ptolemy directed that ambassadors and gifts should be despatched to King Scydrothemis — he ruled over the people of Sinope at that time — and when the embassy was about to sail he instructed them to visit Pythian Apollo. The ambassadors found the sea favourable; and the answer of the oracle was not uncertain: Apollo bade them go on and bring back the image of his father, but leave that of his sister.9

84 1 When the ambassadors reached Sinope, they delivered the gifts, requests, and messages of their king to Scydrothemis. He was all uncertainty, now fearing the god and again being terrified by the threats and opposition of his people; often he was tempted by the gifts and promises of the ambassadors. In the meantime three years passed during which Ptolemy did not lessen his zeal or his appeals; he increased the dignity of his ambassadors, the number of his ships, and the quantity of gold offered. Then a terrifying vision appeared to Scydrothemis, warning him not to hinder longer the purposes of the god: as he still hesitated, various disasters, diseases, and the evident anger of the gods, growing heavier from day to day, beset the king. He called an assembly of his people and made known to them the god's orders, the visions that had appeared to him and to Ptolemy, and the misfortunes that were multiplying upon them: the people opposed their king; they were jealous of Egypt, afraid for themselves, and so gathered about the temple of the god. At this point the tale becomes stranger, for tradition says that the god himself, voluntarily embarking on the fleet that was lying on the shore, miraculously crossed the wide stretch of sea and reached Alexandria in two days. A temple, befitting the size of the city, was erected in the quarter called Rhacotis; there had previously been on that spot an ancient shrine dedicated to Serapis and Isis. Such is the most popular account of the origin and arrival of the god. Yet I am not unaware that the same some who maintain that the god was brought from Seleucia in Syria in the reign of Ptolemy III;10 still others claim that the same Ptolemy introduced the god, but that the place from which he came was Memphis, once a famous city and the bulwark of ancient Egypt. Many regard the god himself as identical with Aesculapius, because he cures the sick; some as Osiris, the oldest god among these peoples; still more identify him with Jupiter as the supreme lord of all things; the majority, however, arguing from the attributes of the god that are seen on his statueº or from their own conjectures, hold him to be Father Dis.11

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... s/4D*.html
Ancient sources never say that Ptolemy created Serapis, and in fact Athenodorus, Tacitus and Pseudo-Callisthenes state that this cult had been conducted on the hill Rhacotis from high antiquity”
  • Coppens, Filip (2004). The Canopus Revelation: The Stargate of the Gods and the Ark of Osiris. Netherlands: Frontier Pub.
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:22 am

There is an interesting statement about another serapeum being built in Rome in the 3rd century
In the early 3rd century emperor Caracalla built a large Serapis temple of 135 x 98m with columns of almost 22m in height on the Quirinal hill in Rome.

http://www.mindserpent.com/American_His ... rapis.html
It seems Caracella engaged with a few religions, though not Christianity.
The emperor visited Alexandria for intellectual and religious reasons, staying at the Serapeum and being present at the temple's sacrifices and cultural events. Earlier, during the German war, the emperor visited the shrine of the Celtic healing-god Grannus. Caracalla also visited the famous temple of Asclepius in Pergamum and fully participated in its program, which involved sleeping inside the temple compound and having his dreams interpreted.

It was this religious devotion that led to Caracalla's murder in 217. Although suspicious of the praetorian prefect Macrinus, Caracalla allowed himself to be accompanied by only a small, select corps of bodyguards on an early spring trip from the camp at Edessa to the temple of the moon-god at Carrhae, about 25 miles away. During the journey back on 8 April 217, Caracalla was killed.

http://www.mindserpent.com/American_His ... racala.htm

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:08 am

.
From Egyptian Cultural Icons in Midrash, Vol. 23 by Rivka Ulmer -

p 14
  • Cleopatra. Isis, & Serapis, Rivka Ulmer.JPG
    Cleopatra. Isis, & Serapis, Rivka Ulmer.JPG (68.57 KiB) Viewed 4816 times
I presume the "tannaitic stratum" would be refer to
  • The Tannaim (Hebrew: תנאים [tanaˈʔim], singular תנא [taˈna], Tanna "repeaters", "teachers"); the Rabbinic sages whose views are recorded in the Mishnah, from approximately 10-220 CE. The period of the Tannaim, also referred to as the Mishnaic period, lasted about 210 years.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannaim
Last edited by MrMacSon on Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:20 am, edited 3 times in total.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:08 am

.
From Egyptian Cultural Icons in Midrash, Vol. 23 by Rivka Ulmer -

  • p 130 Rivka Ulmer text.JPG
    p 130 Rivka Ulmer text.JPG (27.94 KiB) Viewed 4816 times
    reference/footnote 130; on p. 130.
    p 130 Rivka Ulmer, ref 130.JPG
    p 130 Rivka Ulmer, ref 130.JPG (109.67 KiB) Viewed 4816 times
http://books.google.com.au/books/about/ ... edir_esc=y

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Wed May 13, 2015 4:51 pm

In New Testament Theology in a Secular World: A Constructivist Work in Philosophical Epistemology and Christian Apologetics, by A&C Black, 2012, there is reference (p 109; via Google Books) to Pauline passages that align with what Aelius Aristides wrote in the 2nd century about Serapis cultic meals
ie. 1 Cor 10:21 and 1 Cor 11:24-25. The commentary then moves on to the Last Supper.

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:14 pm

.
Aristides referred to Serapis and Asclepius as 'saviour gods" in Orations (3.265-266; 27.39). All of Orations 45 is dedicated to Serapis as a savior god.

Aristides Orations 45.16-17
The deeds of Serapis are those by which the life of mankind is saved and administered.
from - Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity, By Luke Timothy Johnson; p. 57, via Google Books
.

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