Serapis-Christian links overlays??

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Jan 09, 2015 5:00 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:I have read the English translation. I have also read a number of academic analyses on the claims that the HA contains more than one hundred fake documents, on the claims surrounding its authorship, and on other features of this "mockumentary" which are noted above. It was apparently written sometime in the 4th century for the amusement of the aristocratic class. (Who else could afford (or even read) Latin codices? Certainly not the working class.)
It would be appropriate to provide citations or links to said "academic analyses on the claims that the HA contains more than one hundred fake documents".

Moreover, even if the HA is largely fake, it is still possible some documents or text incorporated in it (such as Vita Saturnini 8) are genuine.

There is discussion here: &reference to discussions here Essential Papers on Judaism & Christianity in Conflict: From Late Antiquity to Reformation (1991) (edited by Jeremy Cohen)

It rates in the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Second Edition edited by Everett Ferguson

Moreover, why would 4th C Christian-dominated aristocrats preserve Vita Saturnini 8 with its contrary-to-then prevailing views of Christian doctrine and views very contrary to orthodox views of the development of Christianity ??
Last edited by MrMacSon on Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Leucius Charinus » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:02 pm

MrMacSon wrote:It would be appropriate to provide citations or links to said "academic analyses on the claims that the HA contains more than one hundred fake documents".
I already provided the reference by the editor at livius.org ..... http://www.livius.org/hi-hn/ha/hist_aug.html

There is also the INTRODUCTION by the Loeb Editor .... http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... tion*.html
  • In a discussion of the genuineness of these documents a distinction must be drawn between the speeches, on the one hand, and the letters and senatorial decrees and acclamations on the other. Since the time of Thucydides it had been customary for an historian to insert speeches in his history, and it was an established convention that they might be more or less fictitious. Accordingly, none would question the right of the biographer to attribute to the subject of his biography any speech that he might wish to insert in his narrative. With the letters and decrees, however, the case is different. Like those cited by Suetonius, these claim to be actual documents and it is from this claim that the question of their authenticity must proceed. In spite of occasional expressions of scepticism, the genuineness of these documents was not seriously questioned until 1870, when C. Czwalina published an examination of the letters contained in p. xxithe vita of Avidius Cassius.42 He showed that various letters, professedly written by different persons, show the same style and tricks of expression, that they were all written with the purpose of praising the clemency and generosity of Marcus, and that they contain several historical errors. He thus reached the conclusion that they were forgeries, but not composed by the author of the vita since his comments on them are inconsistent with their content.43

    A similar examination of the letters and documents in the other biographies, particularly in those attributed to Pollio and Vopiscus, reveals the hand of the forger even more plainly.44 They abound not only in errors of fact that would be impossible in genuine documents, but also in the rhetorical bombast and the stylistic peculiarities that are characteristic of the authors of these series.


    //////


    Similar additions are to be found in the vita of Caracalla;53 they contain repetitions and elaborations of previously narrated incidents and are evidently not the work of the writer of the bulk of the life. Besides these longer and more obvious interpolations there are countless others of varying extent, consisting of entries of new material and corrections and comments of later writers. Many of these have been inserted in the most inappropriate places, to the great detriment of the narrative, and the excision of these passages would contribute greatly to the intelligibility of many a vita.

    The literary, as well as the historical, value of the Historia Augusta has suffered greatly as a result of the method of its composition. In the arrangement in categories of the historical material, the authors did but follow the accepted principles of the art of biography as practised in antiquity, but their narratives, consisting often of mere excerpts arranged without regard to connexion or transition, lack grace and even cohesion. The over-emphasis of personal details and the introduction of anecdotal material destroy the proportion of many sections, and the insertion of forged documents interrupts the course of the narrative, without adding anything of historical value or even of general interest. Finally, the p. xxivlater addition of lengthy passages and brief notes, frequently in paragraphs with the general content of which they have no connexion, has put the crowning touch to the awkwardness and incoherence of the whole, with the result that the oft-repeated charge seems almost justified, that these biographies are little more than literary monstrosities.

Moreover, even if the HA is largely fake, it is still possible some documents or text incorporated in it (such as Vita Saturnini 8) are genuine.
Yes of course it's possible, but one would not want to be IMO reliant upon this possibility in any way, shape or form.
There is discussion here:
The footnote shows Baur to have considered the document spurious, Gelzer regarded it as authentic, Harnack admits the letter is controversial and must be used cautiously.
and here From Jewish Magic to Gnosticism by Attilio Mastrocinque[/list]
Questions the authenticity of Hadrian's letter.
On the question of authenticity.
It rates in the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, Second Edition edited by Everett Ferguson
Yes it rates a mention.
Moreover, why would 4th C Christian-dominated aristocrats preserve Vita Saturnini 8 with its contrary-to-then prevailing views of Christian doctrine and views very contrary to orthodox views of the development of Christianity ??
The conversion of the aristocrats proceeded under Constantine and Constantius, but many were still pagan.
  • Statistics and the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy
    Author(s): T. D. Barnes
    Source: The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 85 (1995), pp. 135-147
    Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/301060 .
I don't see the HA as anti-Christian or pro-Christian literature. It was some kind of fabricated pseudo-historical creation by a "college of scribes". That it was dedicated (among others) to the Emperor who published the NT Bible is not IMHO a good sign for the state of the non peer-reviewed publication system at that time.



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 MrMacSon » Fri Jan 09, 2015 6:44 pm

Cheers.

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Leucius Charinus » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:15 am

MrMacSon wrote:Cheers.
You are welcome Mac.

Blood wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
The following is sourced from the editor at http://www.livius.org/hi-hn/ha/hist_aug.html

Among the many games that are played in the Historia Augusta is the invention of no less than 130 fake documents, most charmingly introduced in the introduction of the Life of Aurelian. Fake sources were not a new practice (cf. the invented letters in Plutarch's Life of Alexander). What is new, however, is that the author the Historia Augusta invents sources to disagree with them. This is, to the best knowledge of the author of this article, unique in ancient literature; the only possible (but unlikely) exception is, again, the source "Damis" that is used by Philostratus in his vie romance of Apollonius of Tyana.
You mean to tell me that ancient writers could actually invent fake letters, fake sources, and fake sources to disagree with the fake sources that agree with them ? That cannot possibly be true, because we are constantly told by New Testament scholars that this could never happen; at least, not with their sources, i.e. the NT, Josephus, Tacitus, Eusebius, et al.
The good Father Thomas Brodie (who is not at all convinced about an historical Paul) is suggesting a literary "school".

I can only reiterate what AM had to say. AFAIK Arnaldo Momigliano is regarded as a "continuator" of Gibbon, and uses heavy doses of irony in all his writings.
  • 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.


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 Leucius Charinus » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:37 am

Leaving aside the HA reference for the moment ...
  • Serapis (Σέραπις, Attic/Ionian Greek) or Sarapis (Σάραπις, Doric Greek) is a Graeco-Egyptian god. Serapis was devised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt[1] as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The god was depicted as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian trappings, and combined iconography from a great many cults, signifying both abundance and resurrection. A serapeum (Greek serapeion) was any temple or religious precinct devoted to Serapis. The cultus of Serapis was spread as a matter of deliberate policy by the Ptolemaic kings, who also built an immense Serapeum in Alexandria.

    ///

    In his Description of Greece, Pausanias notes two Serapeia on the slopes of Acrocorinth, above the rebuilt Roman city of Corinth and one at Copae in Boeotia.[8]

    Serapis was among the international deities whose cult was received and disseminated throughout the Roman Empire, with Anubis sometimes identified with Cerberus. At Rome, Serapis was worshiped in the Iseum Campense, the sanctuary of Isis built during the Second Triumvirate in the Campus Martius. The Roman cults of Isis and Serapis gained in popularity late in the 1st century when Vespasian experienced events he attributed to their miraculous agency while he was in Alexandria, where he stayed before returning to Rome as emperor in 70. From the Flavian Dynasty on, Serapis was one of the deities who might appear on imperial coinage with the reigning emperor.

    The main cult at Alexandria survived until the late 4th century, when a Christian mob destroyed the Serapeum of Alexandria in 385, and the cult was part of the general proscription of religions other than approved forms of Christianity under the Theodosian decree.
If the main cult survived this long was it mentioned by Epiphanius? IDK.



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 Leucius Charinus » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:08 pm

https://www.academia.edu/10112707/Jesus ... r_of_Horus
Was Jesus an avatar of the egyptian Horus?



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 MrMacSon » Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:02 pm

Blood 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.
Tacitus does, apparently -
according to Tacitus, Serapis (ie. Apis explicitly identified as Osiris in full) had been the god of the village of Rhakotis before it expanded into the great capital of Alexandria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serapis#History
There are 2nd century AD/CE artifacts - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Votiv ... 88.172.jpg
With his (i.e. Osiris's) wife Isis, and their son Horus (in the form of Harpocrates), Serapis won an important place in the Greek world. In his Description of Greece, Pausanias notes two Serapeia on the slopes of Acrocorinth, above the rebuilt Roman city of Corinth and one at Copae in Boeotia.[8]

Serapis was among the international deities whose cult was received and disseminated throughout the Roman Empire, with Anubis sometimes identified with Cerberus. At Rome, Serapis was worshiped in the Iseum Campense, the sanctuary of Isis built during the Second Triumvirate in the Campus Martius. The Roman cults of Isis and Serapis gained in popularity late in the 1st century when Vespasian experienced events he attributed to their miraculous agency while he was in Alexandria, where he stayed before returning to Rome as emperor in 70. From the Flavian Dynasty on, Serapis was one of the deities who might appear on imperial coinage with the reigning emperor.

The main cult at Alexandria survived until the late 4th century, when a Christian mob destroyed the Serapeum of Alexandria in 385, and the cult was part of the general proscription of religions other than approved forms of Christianity under the Theodosian decree.

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

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:52 pm

Interestingly,
Christ is interpreted as the symbolic representation of the celestial divine community that overcomes the earthly hegemony of the Caesars and the pagan deities. Bolland confirmed the origin of Christianity in a pre-Christian Jewish Gnosticism, assuming it, like M. Friedlander, in the Alexandrian hyper-Hellenized diaspora. The original Jerusalem mother community is of course mere fiction.

Christ is the representation of true Reason and doctrine. It's the good (Chrestos) god, like the Serapis of Egypt, secondarily shaped into the Jewish messiah.

http://www.egodeath.com/drewshistorymyt ... oc51777080

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:57 pm

... copying this in here from the other thread ...
MrMacSon wrote:Hadrian wrote in 134CE [to Servianus(?)]
MrMacSon wrote:There is this letter that Hadrian purportedly 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."
It is disputed, but is alleged to have been reproduced by the Sicilian writer of the 3rd C Vopiscus (in Vita Saturnini 8), who claimed to have, in turn, taken it from a writer named Phlegon.
That is interesting. It comes from the Historia Augusta.

Augustan History

There's some kind of edit war about this quote in particular:
A letter of Hadrian written from Egypt to his brother-in-law Servianus is quoted at length (and was accepted as genuine by many authorities well into the 20th century).[citation needed] Servianus is saluted as consul, and Hadrian mentions his (adopted) son Lucius Aelius Caesar: but Hadrian was in Egypt in 130, Servianus's consulship fell in 134, and Hadrian adopted Aelius in 136.[citation needed] The letter is said to have been published by Hadrian's freedman Phlegon (whose existence is mentioned nowhere except in the HA, in another suspect passage).[citation needed] A passage in the letter dealing with the frivolousness of Egyptian religious beliefs refers to the Patriarch, head of the Jewish community in the Empire. This office only came into being after Hadrian put down the Jewish revolt of 132, and the passage is probably meant in mockery of the powerful late 4th-century Patriarch, Gamaliel.[15] Christian theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot argued for the authenticity of the letter since it doesn't state it was written in Egypt (132) and that an alternative date for the adoption of Aelius was on or before 134.[16]

[15] R. Syme, Emperors and Biography, pp. 21–24.
[16] "The Christian Ministry",Joseph Barber Lightfoot, p70, org pub 1868
And about the quotes in general:
A peculiarity of the work is its inclusion of a large number of purportedly authentic documents such as extracts from Senate proceedings and letters written by imperial personages. Records like these are quite distinct from the rhetorical speeches often inserted by ancient historians – it was accepted practice for the writer to invent these himself – and on the few occasions when historians (such as Sallust in his work on Catiline or Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars) include such documents, they have generally been regarded as genuine; but almost all those found in the Historia Augusta have been rejected as fabrications, partly on stylistic grounds, partly because they refer to military titles or points of administrative organisation which are otherwise unrecorded until long after the purported date, or for other suspicious content. The History moreover cites dozens of otherwise unrecorded historians, biographers, letter-writers, knowledgeable friends of the writers, and so on, most of whom must be regarded as figments of the author's fertile and fraudulent imagination.
Which of course deserve their own pinch of salt, since it's wikipedia...

The text itself (with the context) can be found here:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... t_al*.html
From Hadrian Augustus to Servianus22 the consul, greeting. The land of Egypt, the praises of which you have been recounting to me, my dear Servianus, I have found to be wholly light-minded, unstable, and blown about by every breath of rumour. 2 There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. 3 There is no chief of the Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, or an anointer. 4 Even the Patriarch himself, when he comes to Egypt, is forced by some to worship Serapis, p401by others to worship Christ. 5 They are a folk most seditious, most deceitful, most given to injury; but their city is prosperous, rich, and fruitful, and in it no one is idle. 6 Some are blowers of glass, others makers of paper, all are at least weavers of linen23 or seem to belong to one craft or another; the lame have their occupations, the eunuchs have theirs, the blind have theirs, and not even those whose hands are crippled are idle. 7 Their only god is money, and this the Christians, the Jews, and, in fact, all nations adore. And would that this city had a better character, for indeed it is worthy by reason of its richness and by reason of its size to hold the chief place in the whole of Egypt. 8 I granted it every favour, I restored to it all its ancient rights and bestowed on it new ones besides, so that the people gave thanks to me while I was present among them. Then, no sooner had I departed thence than they said many things against my son Verus,24 and what they said about Antinous25 I believe you have learned. 9 I can only wish for them that they may live on their own chickens, which they breed in a fashion I am ashamed to describe.26 10 I am sending you over some cups, changing colour27 and variegated, presented to me by the priest of a temple and now dedicated particularly to you and my sister. I should like you to use them at banquets on feast-days. Take good care, however, that our dear Africanus28 does not use them too freely."
Which should be more useful than dealing in extracts. For reasons that are not clear, the quote you provide varies (perhaps trivially - but still) from the quote in this translation.

Just off the cuff, the reference to "even the Patriarch himself" may be difficult to reconcile with genuine authorship by Hadrian (not because it is an anachronism - it likely refers to the Jewish nasi of the Sanhedrin - but because of how breezy the whole passage is with familiarity of Jewish and Christian traditions), which explains for Huller why it "never gets its due."
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Stephan Huller » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:13 pm

Could also refer to the Alexandrian leader of some cult that was at once 'Jewish,' 'Samaritan' and 'Christian' at the time.

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