Show Notes - Episode 66
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; ... there is nothing new under the sun.” - Ecc. 1:9
Biblical stories with origins and ties to other, much older stories
[CBB] – Anti-semitism week
We are taking next week off
Execute episode 66
A word (or a few) about Zeitgeist and reverse indoctrination
My first steps out of Christianity
Their accounting of things was fraught with embellishments and flat out lies
We are conditioned as evangelicals to think in terms of conspiracy)
The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Acharya S.
The Astrology angle
Source: https://www.samwoolfe.com/2013/04/plagiarism-in-bible.html and others
Genesis 3 – the fall of humankind
Eve eats from the tree of knowledge which God forbade her to do, which is how sin entered humanity and with it the power of evil. The messaging here is similar to the myth of Pandora’s Box. Pandora, the first human woman according to Greek mythology, was created by the gods in their image and likeness or an amalgam thereof). Pandora opens a box she is told not to (like the forbidden fruit of Genesis 3). Once Pandora opens the box, evil enters the world.
Both Pandora and Eve Are depicted as being curious and tempted by the forbidden thing. Both the Greek myth and the account in Genesis communicate the idea of original sin through their respective tales. Both stories use the woman's disobedience to explain the existence of sin, sickness, and disease in the world.
Oh, and there were plenty of Jews in ancient Greece. There is no way ANY story based on Greek myth would have gone unnoticed by the jews and the timeline of the Bible lines up nicely with the period where Jews and jewish cultural influence can be pinpointed by history. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Greece
But this story goes back further still... let's look at the Gilgamesh Epic.
For those not in the know, The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic Mesopotamian poem It is among the earliest known works of literature, dating back to the 18th century BCE. There is an Adam and eve parallel in this document as well. The story of Enkidu and Shamhat also tells of a man being created from dirt by a god and sent to live among the animals.
In Genesis, Adam is charged with naming all the animals. Enkidu is introduced to Shamhat – temple prostitute of harimtu – who is sent to seduce him in the hopes of “civilizing him.” I'm not sure how you civilize a man by appealing to his most base impulses, but that's just me. Another parallel, although a smaller piece of the story than Adam and Eve, involves Enkidu realizing he's naked and being given covering by Shamhat. Apparently this happens on the heels of Enkidu tasting beer and bread for the first time. The process of becoming civilized culminates with the animals turning their backs on him, resentful of the changes he has undergone.
The notion of snakes being evil tricksters also originates with the Gilgamesh Epic. In both Gilgamesh and the Bible, it's a snake that is ultimately responsible for evil being in the world. In the Bible, he influences Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. In Gilgamesh, a snake steals a plant from Gilgamesh that gives it immortality and that ascension of power in a serpent is interpreted as the advancement of evil in humanity and the world at large.
The deluge myths in The Gilgamesh Epic and in the book of Genesis are so similar that many scholars say there is no way that the Biblcal account could possibly be thought of as unique. This is where the story comes from, period.
Andrew R. George, a translator of the epic argues that the flood story in Genesis 6-8 closely matches the Gilgamesh flood myth in such a way that Genesis must have been derived from it. As Andrew notes, the Genesis flood story follows the Gilgamesh flood story “point by point and in the same order”.
In the epic, the god Ea warns Utnapishtim of a great flood and tells him to build a large boat in that is capable of saving all living things. Just like Noah, Utnapishtim builds his boat, puts two of every animal and his family on it, then comes the great storm. When the rain stops, he offers a sacrifice to Ea and even sends out a bird to find signs of dry land.
Flood stories have been found in many texts which predate the Bible. It’s found in the epic of Ziusudra and the epic of Atrahasis (which is nearly identical to the epic of Gilgamesh). In Hindu mythology, texts like the Satapatha Brahmana mentions a great flood, in which Vishnu advises Manu to build a giant boat.
More From the Gilgamesh Epic
It is generally agreed that the Epic of Gilgamesh has, to some extent, had cultural contact with the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The nature and extent of this contact remain contested areas of scholarly discussion. Arguably the most overt connection between the two works of literature is in the advice given to Gilgamesh by Siduri and in the advice given by Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes 9. The two passages are quoted below:
You, Gilgamesh, let your belly be full,
Keep enjoying yourself, day and night!
Every day, make merry,
dance and play day and night!
Let your clothes be clean!
Let your head be washed, may you be bathed in water.
Gaze on the little one who holds your hand,
Let a wife enjoy your repeated embrace,
Such is the destiny [of mortal men]. (Gilgamesh OB VA+BM i. 6-14, translation in George 2003).
7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8 Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9: 7-9).
Now let's steer away from Gilgamesh and look at another big player in OT lore: Moses.
Moses and Krishna
I set out looking for this one because of the information in Zeitgeist. I wanted to see just how much they managed to fabricate. In this instance, like with almost everything else in the first half of the movie, there are facts augmented with fiction and many forced tie-ins. They trace a line of literary lawgivers all with similar names – Manou, Mises, and Moses, most notably. And yes, there are similarities, but there are also similarities in a lot of characters in a lot of fictional stories.
I did, however, find one that many scholars believe to have a direct tie-in and that is with the Hindu god Krishna. Let's look at some of the similarities.
Moses: set adrift by his mother when he was 3 months old in a reed basket because Pharaoh had ordered the deaths of all Hebrew male babies. Krishna's uncle Kans also ordered all male offspring born to his sister Devki slaughtered at birth.
Krishna is carried across the Yamuna is a reed basket by his father in an effort to protect him form Kans.
Both Moses and Krishna were separated from their mothers due to an immediate threat on their lives and both found themselves as infants floating on a river in a basket.
Moses is found by pharaoh's daughter (in the bible – in Islam it's his wife) who takes an immediate shine to him, of course. In the biblical account, he is adopted by pharaoh's wife/daughter and raised in the household of the Pharaoh.
So Moses is raised as a family member of the person against whom he would lead a revolt that culminates with the great exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the children of Israel from slavery.
Krishna was actually related to the person whom he would go on to kill: Kans, King of Mathura, He would also be heralded as the one who liberates an oppressed people from that land. Both had two mothers: the biological mother who gave him up to save his life, and the adopted mother who had a direct tie to the respective men each would stand up to and rise up against as adults.
Moses and Krishna both left the lands of their childhoods in their efforts to rescue their people from cruel and powerful rulers. Moses led his people to Sinai from where his people crossed the River Jordan. Krishna left Gokul and Vanquished his uncle in Mathura.
The parting of waters also plays into both stories. In Exodus, it's the parting of the Red Sea. In Krishna's story, After Kans is killed, his wife swears revenge on Krishna. Her brother waged endless wars against Krishna's adopted kingdom of Mathura. After years of unending conflict, Krishna takes his people to the coast of the Arabian sea near the delta of the Godavari. He asks the sea to give shelter to his people shelter and, according to tradition, the sea then receded and the land revealed is modern day Dwarka.
The story of Krishna dates back to the fourth or fifth century BCE. The story of Moses? He was allegedly born in 1391 BCE, centuries after the story of Krishna entered into Hindu canon. Other lawgiver stories with similarities to Moses' story go back as far as the THIRTEENTH century BCE. So Moses can really be looked as an amalgam of a lot of people, but clearly with origins that are much older than the account in the Hebrew bible.
Some also believe that the story of Dionysus has certain parallels to the story of the exodus, but with a more hedonistic “free your mind and the rest will follow” kind of vibe. Moses and Krishna led their people out of oppression. Dionysus led people away from their puritanical inhibitions. It's thin, but the parallel exists. Dionysus was also spared from Hera's wrath and hidden in Zeus's thigh to gestate. The whole baby saved from slaughter scenario once again.
The Buddha had a temptation experience just like Jesus. The story dates back to about 500 CE.
Prince Siddhārtha Gautama lived a sheltered, privileged life until he met his subjects - and learned about real human suffering. The prince vowed to discover his purpose and left his comfortable home behind to travel the land.
Siddhārtha eventually realized he needed a middle-ground between his former self-indulgent lifestyle and the complete rejection of all worldly pleasantries. So, he sat beneath a fig tree and began meditating.
During this time, a demon named Mara appeared and tried tempting Siddhārtha. Mara brought beautiful women to entice the young man, then tried scaring him away from his searching with scores of demons. Neither tactic worked, nor did Mara's attempt to sway Siddhārtha by stroking his pride. In overcoming Mara's temptation, Siddhārtha reached enlightenment and became the Buddha.
Hercules and Sampson – super human strength, both kill a lion w/ their bare hands
Jonah and Saktideva – Another story borrowed from Hinduism
The story begins when Saktideva learns the princess of Vardhamanapura wishes to marry a man who has set eyes upon the "Golden City" - a place no one has ever heard of or visited. [then how is it a city???] Saktideva lies about visiting the Golden City himself, but the princess sees through his deception. So, Saktideva sets out to find it.
Midway through his journey, Saktideva encounters a massive storm - complete with a hurricane - which sinks his vessel. Although his companion clings to a plank until another boat rescues him, a large fish swallows Saktideva. The companion eventually manages to catch the fish, gut it, and free an unharmed Saktideva from its stomach.
The Tower of Babel
In the 19th century, a group of Iraqis discovered ruins while digging the foundation for a garden. Years later, German engineers realized the discovery was likely the remains of Etemenanki, a grand structure many believe inspired the Bible's Tower of Babel.
Babylonians built the tower sometime in the 6th century BCE and dedicated the 300-foot-tall building to the god Marduk. Although many attribute the destruction of the tower to the Persian king Xerxes, historians think the passage of time and lack of upkeep proved its downfall [not the intervention of a narcissistic god].
Tales of towers and the sudden separation of languages appear in several religions and cultures. The Hindu "Confusion of Tongues" legend describes a great tree that grew tall and wide to protect people. Eventually, Brahma cursed the tree for being prideful and cut off its branches, scattering them to create differences in language. [Is this where the concept of Jesus cursing the fig tree came from?]
An Armenian story, meanwhile, features a group of arrogant giants who build a tower ultimately toppled by God's wrath. Across the Atlantic, a Mexican folktale describes a tower built to reach the heavens. It failed, however, after fire reigned down from above and the workers suddenly began speaking different languages.
Abraham and Harischandra
Hinduism also includes a story about a man whose faith ultimately spared the life of his child.
King Harishchandra came owed Vishwamitra the rights to his kingdom, so, left with nothing and unable to pay his full debt to Vishwamitra, Harischandra sold his wife and son to a Brahmin and took a job at a crematorium. This was a lowly and looked-down-upon profession in their society.
One day, a snake bit Harishchndra's son Rohita, killing him instantly. Though devastated when his wife brought Rohita's remains to the crematorium, the former king stood true to his work and refused to accept the body without charging a fee.
Since his wife had nothing, she offered her clothing as payment. Impressed by Harishchandra's adherence to the rules, Vishwamitra and Vishnu decreed Harishchandra and his wife fit to be gods - and brought Rohita back to life.
Brama, Vishnu, and Shiva are a type of the Holy Trinity – and paganism is loaded with “triple goddess” imagery
The Book Of Proverbs and The Egyptian 'Instruction of Amenemope'
“In 1888, an archeologist obtained an ancient Egyptian papyrus for the British Museum. Researchers didn't attempt to translate it, however, until years later - when they discovered the text contained many similarities to the Bible's Book of Proverbs.
Scholars named the Egyptian text the Instruction of Amenemope, after the supposed author who inscribed 30 wise sayings. According to historians, the text predates Proverbs, though most believe Solomon was aware of Amenemope's writings when he created his collection of wisdom.
The parallels appear between Proverbs 22:17-23:12, and include "Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate" (Proverbs 22:22) and "Guard yourself from robbing the poor, from being violent to the weak" (Amenemope 4.4-5).
The Ten Commandments and the Book of the Dead
Here are the 10 Commandments
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall make no idols.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet.
...and here is Spell 125 in the Book of the Dead, written centuries earlier
I have not reviled the God.
I have not laid violent hands on an orphan.
I have not done what the God abominates . . .
I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer.
I have not caused anyone’s suffering . . .
I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste.
I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields.
I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance.
I have not taken milk from a child’s mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage . . .
I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water.
I have not quenched a fire in its time . . .
I have not kept cattle away from the God’s property. I have not blocked the God at his processions.
Now let's talk about Jesus...
For starters, Zeitgiest was right to an extent, but they went too far in the direction of embellishment and overstatement to be taken seriously. There are, however, a lot of parallels in the storytelling about heroes throughout history. If anything, we learn a lot about our own psychology by analyzing the similarities between the Jesus myth and some of the stories that came before it.
The story of the life of Jesus, so vital to the Christian faith, is not original either. This is probably the story which actually has the most parallels with other religions, suggesting that the story is universal and expressed by many cultures in a similar way.
Carl Jung called these universal stories or symbols archetypes and Joseph Campbell argued in his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, that the story of Jesus is just one way of expressing the archetypal story of the archetypal hero.
Zeitgeist outlines some striking similarities between the life and death of Jesus and previous gods from other religions, such as Horus, Mithras, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, as well as many others.
Where Zeitgeist gets it wrong:
Dec. 25 birthdays – total fraud. Not true in any case
Virgin births – not substantiated in most of the original stories
Numbers of disciples – not all Christ archetypes had 12 followers
All of the above are, however plot devices used in some archetypal stories.
However, there are still similarities between Jesus and other gods, suggesting that the authors of the Bible borrowed myths from other religions. For example, the story of the “dying-and-returning-god” is considered a pattern or archetype by many, particularly by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. The gods Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris and Dionysus died and were then resurrected. It seems likely that the story of Jesus was following a pattern found in other myths, which in turn were following a common ‘dying-and returning-god’ pattern. This suggests that there never was a real, historical Jesus.
Some real similarites:
SOME believe he was the product of a virgin birth – not likely
Tie-ins to the story of the Magi and other astrological parallels to Jesus
“Lion of the tribe of Saki” vs. Judah
Performed exorcisms and healings
Last supper and forgiveness of enemies imageries
Odysseus (a huge reach)
A carpenter, like Jesus
More Moses parallels than Jesus (antics of his dimwitted followers, just like some of the wilderness antics of the Israelites but some also equate them with the apostles)
Born of a vestal virgin (but did that make her an actual virgin?)
Assumed into Heaven by a whirlwind (Elijah tie-in?)
Makes appearances on earth after his physical death
Romulus is dubbed as Quirinus (or “triple deity”)
Believed to have been put in a manger upon his birth
Performed public miracles
Water into wine (figuratively – throwing off societal convention, hedonism, etc.)
Son of a god (Zeus)
It is recorded that Zeus is both the father and great-great- great grandfather of Heracles, just as Jesus is essentially his own grandpa, being both “The root and offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16) as he is part of the triune God which is the father of Adam and eventually of Jesus. Both are doubly related to the Supreme God.
Descends into Hell (Hades) and returns
Son of a god (Apollo)
Came to Earth through a miraculous birth
Was a “god man” (Earthly manifestation of divinity)
Birth was a fulfillment of divine prophecy
Gave believers the powers of prophecy, glossolalia (speaking in tongues), performing miracles, healing the sick, and raising the dead
Zoroaster (6th century BCE)
Baptized in a river
Started public ministry at age 30
Performed exorcisms and healings and other public miracles
Promised a second coming
Attis (also shaky in terms of validity)
Followers ate his flesh when it turned to bread
This one is actually a huge fabrication with details that predate Zeitgeist by quite a bit. The problem is that so many of the details have become skewed over time, we could take hours showing how much Horus' story doesn't parallel Jesus'. There is really only one traceable parallel with a smattering of other similar literary tropes that show up in a lot of ancient hero and savior stories.
Herut tried to have Horus murdered. Horus’ mother [is told to]“Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child.” [in much the same way that] an angel tells Jesus’ father to: “Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt.
That is literally it. And it's also a stretch.
And since I mentioned hero tropes, here are some that can be found in multitudes of stories that long predate the account of Jesus but were told as means to similar ends:
Born of a virgin
Only begotten son of a god
Birth announced by a star or other zodiac/astrological tie-ins
Lowly birth and meagher existence (underdog tale)
Performing of exorcisms, healings, and other public miracles
Persecution and execution for threatening religious or political convention
Descent into the underworld
It is in things like this – looking at one piece of literature and seeing more in it than there is to be seen – where, in my opinion, the real danger in belief (in anything) without proof lies. We're told that the Bible is the word of God and as Christians we are just supposed to accept this and deal with the Bible accordingly. We are told that there are no contradictions in the bible when, in reality, if you turn to the first page, you'll find several even before you get through the creation myth and it just snowballs from there.
We are told that the stories in the bible are literally true; these people lived and they actually, factually did all of these things. We grow up being taught this and as adults we just accept it. The problem is that it's easy to also accept things like Zeitgeist. Why? Because the psychology tricks that evangelicals play on you to get you to believe the Bible also work when presented with conspiracy that goes counter to what you've been taught to believe.
I bought into Zeitgeist because it was presented in a way that I had already been taught to think and they knew it. And while I have no problem with aggressive anti-evangelism and evangelical deprogramming (in a consensual setting), I have a huge problem with weaponizing psychology to replace lies with more lies. As I've said many times before, the Bible is rife with fodder for open criticism. Why resort to embellishment, lies, and deception to make our point?
I even had to vet and re-vet lots of the bullet points I made for each section, particularly the ones that related to Jesus because I figured out doing research that a SCARY number of sources pull from the same information that Zeitgeist and its questionably-monikered author did. Even Bill Maher has some of the same information about Jesus in his documentary Religulous, that is found in Zeitgeist which I find to be more than a little irresponsible and lazy in terms of research. I'm pretty sure I weeded out all the misinformation but feel free to call me out if I still made some. We're about truth on this show, not selling our opinions.
But even if I still let something through that might be... factually challenged, the point I want you to take away from this message tonight is this: Good stories and elements of good stories keep coming back around, whether intentionally plagiarized or just bearing similarities of other stories. These devices and tropes keep coming around for several reasons. They get people's attention, they have high levels of relatability, and they either entertain or frighten, depending on the intent. Any roller coaster enthusiast or horror movie addict will tell you that those two things can, and do show up together from time to time.
Is the Bible a complete fabrication? I wouldn't go that far. I also wouldn't put it past two people centuries apart from coming up with some of the same basic concepts and storytelling devices. We all love a good hero's tale and we especially like a good underdog story. People don't change that much.
Now... do I think the Bible plagiarized a lot of this shit? Most definitely. I've said it before, too: these people understood how people think. Just because they were primitive doesn't mean they were stupid. They knew a lot about psychology, they just didn't know what that was at the time. They latched on to devices, tropes, and story themes that they knew would grab and hold people's attention and I'm sure they “borrowed” a lot of the stories they told from other cultures based on the audience those stories appealed to when they were new. This was long before copyright and long before a majority of people were even literate.
What this means for us today is that we should be weighing what we know about the Bible against what we intend to believe about it. If any part of it is misrepresented, you have to reject it in full. In my opinion, the minute you dub something the all-authoritative word of god and plagiarize just one story and swear it's both original and literally true, you're done. You can't call something true if it's foundation is one of lies or deception.
Here's an idea for ya: start looking into the origins of some of these stories from the standpoint of free thought. Learn about the cultures who told them first. Some of those stories actually did have very noteworthy moral and social messages, even if they were clouded by theism. From a purely secular and anthropomorphic standpoint, I think learning more about them would be a fascinating way to build on our understanding of people and it's understanding that leads us to getting and staying unbound.