Serapis-Christian links overlays??

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GakuseiDon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by GakuseiDon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:07 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
GakuseiDon wrote: Do you have any ancient sources that say Serapis was "purely invented and acknowledged as such", thereby lacking 'subversive political force of an incarnate messiah'? Two ancient sources that write about the origin of Serapis are Plutarch and Tacitus.

Both writers refer to how Serapis is identified with many gods: Aesculapius; Osiris; Jupiter; 'most people with Pluto.' This was common in their day. I don't see that they would have had any issue with adding Christ to the mix, assuming that Christians were prominent enough at the time. But it also didn't mean that Serapis was a 'made-up' god, and I don't know of any evidence in ancient sources that asserted that it was 'common knowledge'.
You don't think Serapis was a 'made-up' god?
Reread Robert Tulip's comments. My question is: is there evidence that ancient people thought that Serapis was "purely invented and acknowledged as such", thereby lacking 'subversive political force of an incarnate messiah'?
MrMacSon wrote:To which "time" are you referring that 'Christians were prominent enough'?
The Alexandrians of Hadrian's time, if we assume that the letter is genuine.
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:54 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
MrMacSon wrote:To which "time" are you referring that 'Christians were prominent enough'?
The Alexandrians of Hadrian's time, if we assume that the letter is genuine.
You seem to jump from 'hook' to 'hook'. You didn't reference Hadrian or his letter the first time round. Did you read my recent post about Hadrian having a serapium? And accounts that show there is an alleged trail of how the letter was preserved? Did you get my point that Hadrian, Seutonius, Pliny-the-Younger, and Tacitus were contemporaries who knew each other so, if Hadrian's letter is genuine, Seutonius's, Pliny-the-Younger's, and Tacitus's writings about Christians/Chrestianos raises the question about what "Christians" they were referring to?
GakuseiDon wrote:Reread Robert Tulip's comments. My question is: is there evidence that ancient people thought that Serapis was "purely invented and acknowledged as such", thereby lacking 'subversive political force of an incarnate messiah'?
Does it matter if 'ancient people thought that Serapis was "purely invented and acknowledged as such" '?

Even if they did, why tie such thought/belief to the qualification you add?
Last edited by MrMacSon on Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger Pearse
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by Roger Pearse » Thu Jan 22, 2015 2:52 pm

May I suggest that the subject of the letter is not the religious beliefs of the Christians, but the utter lack of stability or principle of the Egyptians?
For the Egyptians, as you know well enough, are puffed up, madmen,20 boastful, doers of injury, and, in fact, liars and without restraint, always craving something new, even in their popular songs, writers of verse, makers of epigrams, astrologers, soothsayers, quacksalvers. 5 Among them, indeed, are Christians and Samaritans and those who are always ill-pleased by the present, though enjoying unbounded liberty. 6 But, lest any Egyptian be angry with me, thinking that what I have set forth in writing is solely my own, I will cite one of Hadrian's letters, taken from the works of his freedman Phlegon,21 which fully reveals the character of the Egyptians.

"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....
The point is that the Egyptians take nothing seriously. He lists groups known to be mutually hostile and then says the Egyptians claim to be both: "... 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."

This is not saying that "Christian" can mean "worshipper of Serapis". This is saying that Egyptians may call themselves all sorts of things, but don't worship Christ, nor indeed Serapis. The Jews are not Jews, nor the Samaritans, nor the Christians, because they're all practising magic! "Their only god is money, and this the Christians, the Jews, and, in fact, all nations adore."

All the names, all the cults, in fact, have been emptied of meaning, he says, because the real religion of the Egyptians is money.

All the best,

Roger Pearse

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:09 pm

Roger Pearse wrote:May I suggest that the subject of the letter is not the religious beliefs of the Christians, but the utter lack of stability or principle of the Egyptians?

The point is that the Egyptians take nothing seriously. He lists groups known to be mutually hostile and then says the Egyptians claim to be both:
"... 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."
I agree the primary subject of the letter is about Egyptians.
  • As with any person, community, or society - in any time - there are are a number of categories within which people function: economic-dimensions, family-dimensions, philosophical/theological-dimensions, peer-dimensions, etc
But, as you also say -
This is not saying that "Christian" can mean "worshipper of Serapis".
My point is that Hadrian's reference to "Christ" and 'Christians', in conjunction with his contemporaries' references to them (Seutonius, Pliny-the-Younger, & Tacitus), and the prevalence of the cult of Serapis at the time, suggests the terms "Christ" and 'Christians' may not have always or universally referred to 'Jesus the Christ' or followers of the narratives about 'Jesus the Christ', especially in the 1st or 2nd centuries (any maybe later ie. the 3rd C)
.

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:58 pm

GakuseiDon wrote: My question is: is there evidence that ancient people thought that Serapis was "purely invented and acknowledged as such", thereby lacking 'subversive political force of an incarnate messiah'?
Does this help?
In the mystery system of the ancient Egypt, Ausar (mispronounced Osiris) was the primary deity. According to the legend, Ausar was the invisible leader of the gods on earth, and the sole judge of the dead in the underworld. He was portrayed to have a single “nature” which was divine, but not human – this would become relevant later. Before the arrival of the Greeks in ancient Egypt, the cult of Ausar was undoubtedly the biggest in the land, or perhaps the biggest in the ancient world. However, at the arrival of the Greeks in ancient Egypt, the almighty cult of Ausar would forever change. The Greek leader of conquered Egypt, Ptolemy I Lagi (aka Ptolemy I Soter) replaced the cult of Ausar with the newly created cult of Serapis. Serapis’ attributes were drawn from the preexisting indigenous cult of Ausar and the less popular cult of Apis bull, which when combined formed Serapis. Ptolemy I Lagi calculated that the creation of Serapis would ease tension of Greek invasion and unify the Africans and the Greeks in the country. Alas, his calculation paid off! The people in the country were unified under the cult of Serapis, and Ptolemy I Lagi became the first historical Savior (Soter in Greek) and the central figure of the Serapis cult (ie. Serapis Soter) – the hellenization of ancient Egypt was complete.

Ptolemy I Lagi had long gone, but the cult of Serapis he created remained. The Greco reign in ancient Egypt lasted for almost 300 years until it was forcefully overthrown by the Romans. Though conquered by the Romans, the Egyptians spread their cult of Serapis and its derivatives like wild fire to Rome. It must be said that while the Romans conquered ancient Egypt militarily, the ancient Egyptians conquered Rome spiritually. When the aftershock of Serapis tsunami finally reached Rome, the indigenous pagan cult of Rome was swept into the dustbin of history. Roman elders, under Constantine, felt threatened under the invasion of a foreign cult. They quickly devised a control strategy which they found in dyophysitism. Dyophysitism is a theological doctrine that recognizes the dual nature of Christ, the divine and the human. At the council of Nicaea I, Constantine and the appointed Roman elders accepted Serapis as Christ the savior (ie. Soter Christos), with dual nature of divine and man. Dyophysitism emerged after the council of Nicaea I, but the Coptic Egyptians who originally introduced the cult of Serapis to Rome utterly rejected dyophysitism because they only recognized the divine Osiris-like characteristics in Serapis, but could not recognize Serapis as human. These Coptic Egyptians who only recognized the divine nature of Serapis, now Christ, were known in history as Monophysites. The council of Nicaea I marked the beginning of a long struggle between the monophysites and the dyophysites.

In spite of the disagreements between the monophysites and the dyophysites about the nature of the created Christ, Christianity developed in the Roman Empire, where it became the official religion of the Empire. However, the disagreements divided Christianity and its central authority into two distinct units. The monophysites or the heretics, as they were mostly called, occupied the Eastern end of the Holy Roman Empire (i.e., Byzantine Empire - North East Africa and Constantinople) while the dyophysites occupied the Western end of the Holy Roman Empire. After a series of council meetings among the church patriarchs to resolve the nature of Christ and over 900 years of struggle between the monophysites and the dyophysites, monophysitism somehow evolved into a new spiritual philosophy called monism. Monism, perhaps of Sufi origin, is a spiritual doctrine that promotes the existence of one Supreme Being or substance, but denies the existence of duality in god or substance. The original followers of Monism were called Mahometans or Mohammedans. It is not really clear how monophysitism was absorbed into monism, but it is very clear that the two spiritual principles are very similar. The general consensus was that the absorption of monophysitism into monism started during the crusades when the Saracen and the Seljukian Turks, who appeared to practice some form of monism, invaded and took over the monophysitic North Eastern part of the Holy Roman Empire.

http://ajendu.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/soteriology.html

References:

Martin Bernal: “Black Athena – vol I.” (1987)

Walter, Williams: “The Historical Origin of Islam.” (2001)

Walter, Williams: “The Historical Origin of Christianity.” (1992)

Zachary P. Gremillion: "The African Origin of Freemasonry." (2005)

Gladys M. Draycott: "Mahomet founder of Islam." (1916)

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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:16 pm


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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:25 pm

Image
Two-faced Osiris/Apis (Serapis) is born from the lotus flower

From Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa, Canopus (1736 excavations)
Period of Hadrian 131-138 AD

Bust of Osiris who is born from the lotus flower, erroneously restored in '700 with the lower part female. In the Serapeum of the Canopus Hadrian begins a courageous attempt at religious reform, deifying his lover Antinous, drowned precisely in the canal called Canopus which linked Alexandria to the main branch of the Nile, through the assimilation with Osiris, the god that dies and is reborn, in his turn associated by the Ptolomies with Serapis, Alexandrian divinity of salvation.

http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/x-Sched ... 1_009.html

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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:28 pm

Image

The Shrine of Serapis (Serapeum), which must have been a symbolic representation of the Valley of the Nile, was restructured after the journey of Hadrian in Egypt of 130-131 AD, during which the emperor'’s lover Antinous lost his life. The Serapeum was purposely decorated with statues portraying the cults of Osiris (the god that dies and rises again), identified with the deified Antinous, and the cult of the Alexandrian god Serapis, of whom Hadrian was a strong supporter. A complex hydraulic system operated a waterfall fountain, which drew water from a large cistern, that celebrated the cycle of the flood of the Nile, bearer of life. Above the fountain was a bust of the goddess Isis-Sothis-Demeter.

http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MEZ/MEZ_Sala03_01.html
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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:30 pm

Image

Antinoo/Osiris

From Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa, Pecile (1736 excavations)
Period of Hadrian131-138 AD
White marble
Height 241 cm.
cat. 22795.

Statue of the divinity Antinous/Osiris in white marble, signifying Upper Egypt. The statues of the Serapeum of the Canopus demonstrate how the emperor Hadrian had deified his favourite Antinous, who drowned precisely in the canal called the Canopus which linked Alexandria to the main branch of the Nile, through his assimilation with Osiris, the god who dies and is reborn, in his turn already associated by the Ptolomies with Serapis, Alexandrian divinity of salvation.

http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/x-Sched ... 0_011.html
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MrMacSon
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Re: Serapis-Christian links overlays??

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:32 pm

Image

Isis-Sothis-Demeter

From Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa, Palestra (found circa 1550)
Period of Hadrian 131-138 AD
White marble
Height120 cm.
cat. 22804.

Monumental bust of the goddess Isis-Sothis-Demeter, considered the bearer of the flood of the River Nile. The bust did in fact tower above a fountain that was supplied by a huge cistern which, operated by complex hydraulic mechanisms, was able to reproduce in the Canopus a sort of flood of the Nile. The association of Isis with Sothis was due to the fact that in 139 a new Sothic cycle was beginning (every 1465 years) and Hadrian had programmed a series of festivities for the occasion.

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