Is understanding the Christian myth-religion necessary for enlightenment?
What is the relation between minimal, "straightforward" Zen enlightenment, the Core Theory of cybernetic enlightenment, and decoding the Christian myth-religion?
Must cybernetic religionists study and understand the cross? Must they study Attis, Dionysus, Jesus, Osiris?
Can one be said to be enlightened without understanding that type of religious myth -- understanding that category of conceptual language -- even if one wants to have myth-free enlightenment?
What can we modern cyberneticists do to symbolically represent and model the release and complete repudiation of the freewill delusion, comparably to the Cross myth?
One can have enlightenment without understanding how the Hellenistic godman myth works during mystery-religion initiation, so why study the latter, when straightforward and efficient enlightenment itself is the main thing desired?
Any Core Theory of enlightenment worth its salt simply *must* be capable of explaining, and include a fully compelling explanation of, world religions, or world myth-religion, particularly Christianity -- which means explaining how the typical Hellenistic godman myth works during mystery-religion initiation.
Before the cybernetic theory of enlightenment was applied to explaining how the Hellenistic godman myth works during mystery-religion initiation, we had no effective understanding. Today's books on Christianity and gnosticism and mystery-religions don't come very close to grasping how mystery-religion initiation works in the psyche to effect transformation of the mental worldmodel.
Even the entheogen scholars reach a dead end upon recognizing how the myths point to entheogens themselves -- they are merely standing at the entrance, the opening act, and have not yet penetrated into the main act.
We are at odds in our goals -- they are intent on exposing the entheogenic foundation of mystery-religion, while I have never considered entheogens to be an end in themselves -- I have always had a much more looming goal, an exclusive goal, of gaining enlightenment (per Watts' Zen) about self-control power and then decoding how that same enlightenment is present in Christian mystery-religion.
My goal during the 1990s was to decode how my existing core theory of cybernetic enlightenment is present in the Christian mystery-religion -- not first of all to discover the entheogenic basis of religions. Entheogens have always been just one of several foundation stones, toward the real goal of understanding how enlightenment (per my Core Theory) is reflected in world religions. I was always reluctant to include entheogens in the Core Theory, because loose cognition, not entheogens, is important.
However, because they are by far the most ergonomic method, and because they are the historical basis for the major religions, it is logically justified to include entheogens in the Core Theory -- as long as loose cognition remains the highlight, with entheogens as merely the most classic and effective trigger of loose cognition. That is the approach I took in the Introduction/Summary posted at the website, at the Principia Cybernetica site, and the newsgroups.
My first goal was enlightenment as a coherent mental model about self, time, world, will, control, and change -- the Core Theory. By the mid-1990s I basically accomplished that, and then continued to study the mental dynamics of the Cross -- at that time, I still assumed the historicity of Jesus, and knew nothing about mystery-religions or world myth-religion-mysticism.
I was certain that the New Testament and overall Christian Bible contained the same meaning as the Core Theory, like my understanding of Zen as portrayed by Alan Watts (a cybernetic state-shift of understanding about personal controllership). I could very well have stopped there and correctly said that my Core Theory is closed and complete.
But I was determined to enter the conceptual world of Christian myth-religion (while still considering Jesus to be historical) and put the Core Theory to the test, and bolster the Core Theory by using it to successfully understand and explain Christianity in terms of a cybernetic state-shift of understanding about personal controllership. Originally, I didn't particularly think much at all about Christianity, any more than any self-help and typical New Age person does.
I used Watts' Zen, not Christianity, to discover the heart of the Core Theory -- no-free-will on Dec. 12, 1987 and then block-universe determinism on Jan. 11, 1988. At that point, I immediately had the ability, for the first time, to write a compact summary of cybernetic enlightenment, and it was then natural to attempt, for the first time, to explain Christian concepts in terms of the Core Theory and include them to a limited extent in the basic summary.
You can see this minor coverage of Christian concepts reflected in the Jan. 2, 1997 summary at the Principia Cybernetica website: http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Annotations/PHILOSI.0.html. But as the 1990s progressed, although satisfied with the Core Theory in itself and my progress in fleshing it out, the balance of attention shifted away from refining a clarified Wattsian cybernetics explanation of Zen enlightenment toward explanation of the cybernetics of Christianity.
My historical strategy was: first I clarified Watts' cybernetics explanation of Zen, to form the Core Theory, and then I used that Core Theory to similarly decode and explain the cybernetics of the Christian myth-religion -- a much harder task, especially when starting with the assumption of a historical Jesus as opposed to focusing on the mental dynamics of the *idea* of a dying/rising godman (as an idea that rescues/restabilizes controllership at the same time as enlightening about controllership).
As I recall, I read Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach and The Mind's I *after* formulating the Core Theory based on Watts' Zen. These Hofstadter books were helpful stylistically, but I never felt dependent on them -- more like they resonated *with* my thinking and generally strengthened it, rather than giving me new insight and new knowledge.
What books *did* I lean on when applying the Core Theory to figure out how the Bible reflects the Core Theory? Here, no one book leaps to mind, and none of them seem all that close as Way of Zen was -- because almost all the books assume a historical Jesus, weakening their conceptual grasp of the symbolic mystical mythic meaning of the Cross, and they failed to recognize the entheogenic foundation and obsession of the Greco-Roman world.
Wine was the be-all and end-all, the universal touch-point for all topics in the Greco-Roman world; the Romans were absolutely serious in saying "in vino veritas", In Wine Is Truth -- of course the wine they meant by that was actually "visionary plant beverage", so the *real* statement was "in visionary plants is truth". Every time you read "wine" in Greco-Roman culture, always translate that to "visionary plants".
"The king drank wine and died and was miraculously brought back from the dead, and was divinized, and sacrificed to the gods in gratitude for protection and enlightenment" means "the egoic initiate ingested visionary plants, experienced self-control cancellation and cybernetic ego death, and was given the semblance of controllership again, now conceptually corrected to account for the secondary-only nature of the power wielded by personal control agency."
The greatest irony is that my father gave me the book Way of Zen as a gift, but I was so not into books and intellect, I wanted to give it back to him -- I believe he said to keep it anyway. Later that year, I was inspired to look to that book because of a quest for control, and it was the main book I studied during 1986 and 1987.
I adhered to studying that book because it framed enlightenment in terms of personal self-control cybernetics and sudden change of understanding, which is what I wanted and battled for and pursued with all my ability for two full years.
In effect, I used Watts' cybernetics explanation of Zen enlightenment to decode the Christian myth-religion's salvation, regeneration, and conversion. The moment I secured a clarified understanding, the Core Theory, from Watts' system, I immediately turned toward using that Core Theory to similarly decode the Christian system. It was natural to assume that surely Christianity must be a garbled expression of the Core Theory, just as Zen Buddhism is a different garbled expression of the Core Theory.
I did read other Watts books, and bought the Watts library, largely out of the principle of gratitude, because he was my enlightener, garbled and ill-focused as he was. I didn't actually read his coverage of Christianity, though, until around when I was completing my theory-development of Christian myth-religion, 2001-2003.
Watts' view of Christian has many valuable insights, helpful for world-religion perspective. However, like Wilber, he has little feel for Hellenistic mythic thinking; his style is conventional official Christianity and especially Indian metaphysics.
A theory of enlightenment that fails to reveal the essential meaning and operation of the major world religions is worth much less and has not been proven and demonstrated as a sound theory.
A theory of enlightenment that is successful in revealing the essential meaning and operation of the major world religions is worth much more, having been tested and proven and demonstrated as a sound theory. The ability to fully reveal the mystical meaning and dynamic operation of the major world religions is the greatest proof of the soundness and relevance of the theory.
I am not committed to an in-depth study of Islam and Sufism, but I have a solid grasp of Christianity, and a good grasp of Zen, Buddhism, and world myth-religion in terms of the core theory.
No theory of enlightenment is worth enough if it fails to fully and clearly reveal the mystical meaning and dynamic operation of the major world religions. If one has to look to the core theory to clearly and coherently see meaning in the world religions, that theory is well-supported and is the best and most adequate and effective theory available.
The work of defining a core theory cannot be complete until the core theory is integrated into a whole theory that includes the peripheral application of the theory to explain and reveal clearly the meaning of the major world religions. In this sense, a person can't be enlightened if they lack understanding of how enlightenment is reflected, in a distorted and garbled and obscured manner, in the world religions.
The Way of Zen
Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion
Beyond Theology: The Art of Godmanship
Myth and Ritual in Christianity
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self & Soul
Douglas Hofstadter (Editor), Daniel C. Dennett (Editor)
>A question that could be indicated by these words has featured prominently in the third quest for the historical Jesus, but the question with which I am concerned involves the quest for the mythical Jesus. Assuming that the gospel of Christ crucified was not in any way based on historical reminiscence, what answers suggest themselves to the following questions:
>1. Why was it believed that Christ died?
In Jewish esotericism, Hellenistic mystery-religions, and world mysticism in general, the lower, naive, animal-like, child-like mental model of self, time, control, and world leads to a death experience during the mystic state of cognition. A new, adult mental model is formed, and mundane cognition and life returns. Christ, as Hellenistic godman, is a generalized anthropomorphization of this death-and-rebirth experience.
The whole purpose of the Christ figure as a godman figure is to represent the spiritual death and rescuing of the initiate during the mystic state. The core and main purpose of the Christ figure is to represent mystic death and rebirth.
The initiate of the Hellenistic mystery-cults assumes that the savior godman, as archetype representing all initiates, willingly spiritually died and sacrificed the delusion of being a metaphysical sovereign agent, and though utterly helpless and dependent, was thereupon returned to viable life again by God, Zeus, or Isis, being now in a state of righteous reconciliation with the cosmos and logos.
>2. Why was it believed that Christ was executed?
The whole character of earliest Christianity that provided its identifying distinction in its milieu was that it was a political-style mystery-religion -- specifically, anti-Caesar, like the Jews. Many godmen and mythic figures were fastened to the physical realm. Many men in the empire were crucified. (Crucifixion may have even intentionally alluded to the fastening of mythic godmen, and sacrificial kingship, from the start.)
Given these established political and mythic elements in the air, it didn't take genius to create a new political-style mystery religion. Instead of Zeus sending an eagle to peck Prometheus' side "because he stole fire" -- an excuse for achieving the goal of showing Prometheus fastened to the physical (a rock) -- now we have a *political* reason or excuse to picture the godman Jesus fastened to something, a cross like the Romans use.
>3. Why was the execution of Christ specified as crucifixion?
This fits how mythic men and godmen die. They are torn to pieces, hung from a tree, chained to a rock (equivalent to death), embedded in a tree trunk or fastened to it, fall off a donkey and die, ride on a donkey under a low branch and get hung from the tree, or get pulled up into a tree and then torn to pieces.
In these myths, you want a way to represent the experience of feeling cognitively disintegrated and helplessly fastened to the physical realm, and you want to provide a just reason for an innocent person being subjected to death mystically. Execution by jealous collaborator-priests in collaboration with the Roman (eagle) empire provides the reason for the (allegorical-mystical) death and provides the image of fastening. Never mind the fine points of Jewish theology; the metaphorical imagery makes good sense to mystics whether they are Jewish or Hellenistic.
Christ was scourged and crucified -- torn and fastened, in classic mythic fashion. These represents cognitive disintegration and merging with spacetime, experienced by the initiate in the mystic state.
>Speculative answers are definitely of interest, and the assumption that the story is not based on a particular historical precedent may be made for the purposes of exploring the implications of that assumption. Of course, any evidence that can be furnished for the speculation is welcome too.
>The whole passion, trial, crucifixion fiction seems ludicrous ...
As a myth cycle portraying the experience of mystery-religion initiates, the passion makes full sense. You mention only trial and crucifixion, so the initiation character is lost. Spell out the full series to reveal the passion as a complete mystery-myth story cycle describing initiation from start to finish:
Teaching, incomprehension, sacred meal, betrayal, arrest, trial, judgement, scourging, humiliation, crucifixion, death, burial, mourning, arising, ascension. The initiate experiences and partly identifies with all roles; the passion happens in the psyche of the initiate.
In the book The Lost Goddess, Freke and Gandy put the emphasis on the initiate's identification with the Mary/Mary/Sophia side of the Mysteries of Jesus and Mary during the initiation experience, while I put the emphasis on the Jesus/God side of the Mysteries of Jesus and Mary. I emphasize the initiate's experience of the Jesus myth cycle rather than the Mary myth cycle because the canon emphasizes mostly the Jesus myth cycle, and my goal was to explain the mysteries encoded in the received canon.
>I doubt those who wrote it had any grasp of the legalities of the times of Herod and Pilate.
For mystery-myth, a trial was needed, involving a conflict between kingly powers, and rebellion of the Jews against Caesars. The goal of the mystery-myth hierophant is not historical accuracy, but thematic coherence just to the level of detail that is comprehensible and relevant to the initiates. Any more accuracy and historical detail misses the point of the trial: to represent the trial of self-judgment of the initiate regarding their own metaphysical sovereignty as control agents.
>Treating the gospels as history doesn't make much sense. Are there kernels of truth in them? There is truth in most fiction, but discerning the kernels is not the purpose of most novelists. I believe that the gospels were more a product of Gentiles than anything else. This takes it even further from any historicity.
Compare Dionysus' conflict with the king who ends up in a tree and then is torn to pieces. Look at the stages of that drama as yet another mystery-myth initiation story cycle, involving a conflict of political powers, a conflict of the mundane and divine powers of rulership. Timothy Freke and I both are finding a lode of gold here -- an opportunity to relate Caesar, divinization, Dionysus, Jesus, kingship, conflict, and contention over claims to divine authority.
A thousand difficulties with Christianity are neatly and elegantly resolved by assuming the Jesus Mysteries thesis. The Literalist view is a solid wall of difficulties and improbabilities; the Jesus Mysteries view is completely unproblematic. Jesus was *not* a single specific literal man, but he *was* a *roughly* historical-styled godman, part of the Mysteries of Jesus and Mary.
Historical scholars and apologist scholars burn so many calories and spill so much ink trying to resolve the myriad improbabilities of the trial of Jesus, but the trial of Jesus is no sweat at all for the mythic-only Christ theorist, who holds the Jesus Mysteries thesis. Mystery-myth is not expected to be historically precisely accurate, and it would be beside the point to make it so accurate.
>What you are saying fits within Greek mythologies, but doesn't fit that tightly within the Jewish mythology. I maintain that, among Jews of the first century in Judea, Gallilee, etc, it would have been ludicrous.
Yes, it would have been, but they don't matter. What matters is what the Hellenists and the thoroughly Hellenized diaspora Jews who invented the Christian, political-styled mystery-religion thought about such a Hellenistic mystery-myth version of Jewish esotericism.
The Christian mysteries began in the urban areas of the Roman empire as a Hellenistic version of the Jewish religion, and it took a century for that invention to reach Judea and Gallilee, where it was likely correctly understood as a mystery-religion even if some Jews in Judea and Gallilee rejected it as too much a collaboration with the ruling powers of Caesar's empire.
>Among those initiates of Mithraism, those who were into the death and rebirth of Attis, etc, it probably would have been great, sort of like Elvis lives again.
Yes, it was so eagerly created and accepted by those familiar with the Mithraic mileau, but actually they welcomed Christianity because it was an inverse mirror image of Mithraism, the official mystery-religion of the Roman army.
There were two senses of providing a religion to "negate" the Roman army mystery-religion (and other official Caesar-supporting mystery-religions) -- the Jewish approach of monotheism and refusal to worship any idols or other gods, and the Hellenistic approach of providing an exact mirror image of Caesar's mystery-religions, particularly Mithraism.
Actually what happened was a combination of those two kinds of negative responses: the Christian religion was a Hellenistic inverse-Mithraism, also styled superficially as Jewish -- a double-negation or double-opposition of Mithras and his ilk. This motive of resistance to Caesar ran throughout the oppressed Romans and the diaspora Jews and the Judean Jews, so hatred of the collaboration of religion with the Empire was neither unique to the Judean Jews, nor to the oppressed Romans.
Similarly, Jewish esoteric religion is essentially the same as Roman esoteric religion; the whole Gentile versus Jewish distinction is more of an abstract archetypal concept than a reality. Jews and Gentiles were always being pulled together and intermingled; picture two clouds that interpenetrate so much, in a way there is really only one cloud: the Jewish-and-Hellenistic matrix of esoteric religion interpenetrating with social concerns and political allegorism.
Some Jews made a lot of noise about how different the Jews were, but we should *reduce* the assumption of a major divide between Jewish and Hellenistic esoteric religion, and *emphasize* a different polarity instead: the vertical pole between the power elites who used religion to prop up their socio-political dominance, against the oppressed all throughout the Empire whether Judean Jews, diaspora Jews, or Romans such as women and the lower classes of slaves.
Max Rieser explains the tensions between the thoroughly Hellenized Jews versus the conservative Jews versus the Hellenists who managed to rudely borrow or steal many aspects of the Jewish religion of resistance while saying "no thank you" to the inconvenient Jewish customs that had helped somewhat in keeping the Jews from being *wholly* absorbed into Hellenistic culture.
The True Founder of Christianity and the Hellenistic Philosophy
>Then, again, we are superimposing our views
To find a new/old more plausible paradigm that is worth trying to support, we must forget our modern views and learn to think like the cultures of the Roman empire thought. They thought in terms of interpenetrating esoteric allegory and political allegory, intermingled with social concerns and pseudo-historical allegory.
>and categorizing them, calling it a "myth cyle," and believing that several thousand years ago, the population was really into this...
Which population? The population that created Christianity consisted of urban people around the Roman empire, who struggled against each other to craft a Paul, a Jesus, and apostles to give their own group power, authority, and independence. They projected their struggles of defining Christianity into mouthpieces who were fictionally *set* in Judea, but the least thing that matters is what the actual population in Judea thought of the mess of Christianities that was forming during this battle of pens.
>The transfer of our reality maps upon a different culture is fraught with error, and I include mine in that.
That's why I'm abandoning the modern Western reality map and formulating a position based on the mythic and political allegorization techniques that were used by the mythic-only Jesus himself.
>Anyone have a time machine for sale?
You might look for a timelessness machine instead. Mystery religion initiation proved to the Christians that Christ is present -- like Dionysus -- in the psyche. Our question is, was Christ *also*, *additionally* present physically -- because that was all that some of the earliest, most important Church fathers claimed: that *in addition* to Jesus being a mystery-religion godman, he was *also* literally incarnated, killed, and restored to life.
The early version of the JesusMysteries discussion group back then debated this "also", this *addition* of this contended literal Jesus to the undisputed mythically experienced Jesus.
Various factions struggled to define Christianity in more or less opposing ways. Listing the most influential designers of the Christian religion first (timeframe: 100 BCE to 313 CE):
o The Pauline gnostics
o The oppressed non-Jews around the Empire
o The power-establishment in Rome
o The Jewish esotericists
o The Jews in Judea
o The apostles (influence: none)
The Jews of Judea were used as pawns or cardboard fiction; like Hyam Maccoby says of the Pauline religion, it was a cardboard cartoon mock-up of the Jewish religion, used for some sort of ulterior motives. Paul (or the Paul figure) was clearly not a Jew, Maccoby says; Paul ripped off elements from the Jews and cloaked himself with whatever was of value to him, through claiming to have full authority and to have studied with the greatest Jewish teachers.
The Christian religion was formed by Hellenists as an anti-Empire mystery-religion that was superficially styled as Jewish, without the inconveniences and irrelevancies of actually being Jewish. It came from the urban empire, a political-styled mystery-myth cast in a rural backdrop, drawing much authority and allegory from the Jewish religion as symbol of resistance to Empire.
A central theme was that of dividing the spiritual realm from the mundane political realm. Gaining power in the political realm wasn't about to happen for those who created and spread the Christian religion, but the just spiritual kingdom was as near and as available now through the mysteries of king Jesus, the anti-Caesar and anti-Mithra. To win the mundane political realm required a military hero who gave up his physical life in battle.
To win the spiritual kingdom (now insistently taken away from Caesar's claim to it), required each individual follower of the archetypal godman to give up his lower self, or the childish part of his psyche, and the initiate in a mystery-religion can accomplish this complete willing sacrifice of his first-born childself by identifying with the sacrifice of the godman in the mystery-myth realm.
Why was the godman killed? Because the childish way of thinking about self, time, will, and control must be completely rejected in order to attain the adult way of thinking, the adult worldmodel, to ascend into the realm of the gods.
Mystery-religion was a given for the urban culture that created Christianity; what was contentious and led to novelty was the trend of increasingly using mystery-myth religion to prop up the domination hierarchy.
A way was needed to separate mystery-myth religion from the domination hierarchy, and instead use mystery-myth religion to help the downtrodden: the Christian religion was effectively designed to fill that need, though the domination hierarchy in Rome largely succeeded at co-opting the Christian co-option of Caesar's co-option of the religion of king Dionysus and his ilk.
The designers of the Christian religion co-opted Caesar's co-option of Dionysus (the Athenian "democratic people's god") and they did so by also co-opting much of the Jewish religion, even if against the will of some conservative or some esoteric Jews in Judea.
>Now that we have a short list of theories on the origins of the idea of the crucifixion of Christ ... :
>1. Are there any myth-oriented explanations that we have overlooked?
The OT story of Absolom has the king's son riding a donkey under a low branch so that he is hung helpless and later killed by enemies.
The following Absolom material is from a post of mine about "Labyrinth, Balaam's donkey, Golden Ass, Damascus".
--- start ---
I don't understand all the parties and motives in the Absalom story, but here is my paraphrase. It has something to do with the ancient theme of sacrificing the king's son to save the king's kingdom. I read all such religious stories as more or less opaque stories of the sacrifice of one's lower, donkey self-identity, in order to awaken to one's higher self.
King David accepted his people's advice and stayed in the city instead of going to the battle. He commanded "Be gentle with the young man Absalom (David's son) for my sake." David's men won, killing many. Strangely, "the forest claimed more lives that day than the sword" (whatever that means).
--> The king's son Absalom happened to meet David's men. He was riding his mule, and as the mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, Absalom's head got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going. David's men saw this but missed the opportunity to kill Absalom, whom they were personally against.
The man who missed the opportunity to kill his personal enemy Absalom said "I would not lift my hand against the king's son" because of the king's command "Protect the young man Absalom for my sake."
--> The other man took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom's heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. Ten of Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him. Then David's men stopped pursuing Israel. They took Absalom, threw him into a big pit in the forest and piled up a large heap of rocks over him.
Meanwhile, all the Israelites fled to their homes. Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Let me run and take the news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies." "You are not the one to take the news today," Joab told him. "You may take the news another time, but you must not do so today, because the king's son is dead." Two runners delivered the news of victory in the battle. Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well!" He bowed down before the king with his face to the ground and said, "Praise be to the Lord your God! He has delivered up the men who lifted their hands against my lord the king."
The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom safe?" Then the Cushite arrived and said, "My lord the king, hear the good news! The Lord has delivered you today from all who rose up against you." The Cushite replied, "May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be [dead] like that young man."
--> The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: "O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you-O Absalom, my son, my son!"
So the "king", always representing the mystery-cult initiate, has managed to preserve his kingdom and rulership, but only by sacrificing and abandoning his "son" (his lower, egoic childself and way of thinking regarding self-will and self-command).
--- end ---
A kind of cross is involved in Mithraism. I portray Jesus as the anti-Mithras because Mithras was the official mystery-cult of the Roman Army that crucified Jesus in the Jesus story or counter-story. Paul was from Tarsus, from where Roman Mithraism originated. The cross in Mithraism is astrological or astrotheological, regarding the movement of the equinoxes.
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World
By one measure at least, the cross appears *in myth* (of Hellenistic late antiquity) before the cross of Jesus. Before the cross was the symbol for Christianity -- 650? -- XP, the Chi-Rho, was the symbol. The Chi-Rho is like a scepter or sword, like a control-handle, moving the equinoxes, forming an astrological cross -- it's the sign for control of the cosmos and probably control over time from outside and above time. I feel that the symbol originates in Mithraism. It is surrounded by a laurel wreath: victory over the deterministic cosmos and time. Change the symbol around and you have a spear, a crown of thorns, and a cross.
No Hellenistic godman other than Jesus was crucified as far as I've found. Mythic innovation happens by combining familiar elements in new ways. Much about Jesus as crucified pretender to the throne, considered as a combination mythic elements from late antiquity, is not new or unique. The clash of powers of rulership, celestial cross, fastening (to altar or tree) (or being turned to stone), or OT hanging from a tree by the kingly long hair, crucifixion of the Jews by their king -- toss these elements in a blender, and a crucified godman is likely to result.
Page 47 -- "The 'crucifixion' of Prometheus is portrayed in the Greek tragedy Prometheus Bound, a drama often ascribed to the authorship of Aeschylus."
The World of Classical Myth : Gods and Goddesses, Heroines and Heroes
Carl A. P. Ruck, Danny Staples
I hope this deeply insightful book goes into detail on the crucifixion of Prometheus. I've previously posted several key parallels: eagle-pierced side, fastened to the physical, punished by a god.
Where do we find crucifixion in myth? We find crucifixion -- by a king, of those who would overthrow him -- in Jewish history, and Jewish history is deeply related to esoteric myth. I suspect that actual crucifixion and other mundane things were deliberately viewed through the lens of, or in the light of, mythic-state experiencing. To crucify was to mock as a king or rebel -- "mock" here meaning, deliberately torment the actual man in the way that the myths describe.
"Our society is myth-driven. Our myth tells of some rebel being nailed to a tree by the god-king, so you, as actual criminal, are sentenced to literally being nailed to a tree as a rebel would-be independent person, your own ruler." Some priests were supposedly chained to their altar by militant conspiratorial Christian thug-monks -- see the mythic humor, fastening the priest to the altar of his god, just as in the mythic realm, Isaac was fastened to the altar of his god.
Talk about "mythic allusion". To nail an actual man to a cross was a perversely humorous mythic allusion to fastening various divine heroes or godmen to various physical firm objects. Crucifixion was a mythical joke, I propose. Then we can assume that the many crucified Jews crucified by their king may have been mockingly "worshipped" by the king and crowned as king, but even the crowning was a form of torture, so that to "worship" was to "honorably torture and sacrifice".
Our modern categories have dissociated from each other too much. Myth, religion, politics and war, it was all essentially the same thing to late antiquity.
Kirby asks for myth-oriented explanations for the assembly of the crucifixion story. Myth is essentially identified with mystery religions. The "comparative mythology" approach was proposed and then dismissed, one way or another, rightly or not, in the early 20th Century. Showing that Jesus is completely like a myth and therefore can have originated the same way as all myth fails to convince committed adherents to the HJ paradigm.
The most terribly limiting, artificial division and unjustified assumption in modern scholarly categories is the division between studies of "religion" and studies of "myth".
We need serious studies of myth as religion and religion as myth, including Christianity as myth -- not as mysticism, but as 'myth', where 'myth' is considered as religion. Concretely, we have to see a chapter on Christianity and subsections about it, throughout a book about mythology -- where mythology is considered to be religionmyth and mythreligion. Try including Buddha and Mohammed, try including Joseph Smith and see whether or not he fits.
Christianity certainly fits the pattern of myth; the only question here is whether Jesus was *also* a historical man. I could explain and prove completely how Jesus fits mythic thinking 100% where mythic thinking reflects the intense mystic state. If you want something proveable, it's that Jesus fits all the mythic mentality.
Such a proof tends to lend strong support to the case for mythic-only Jesus, against the HJ hypothesis, yet it forever remains a distinct project, requiring separate proof, to prove that Jesus was *also* historical. Most people accept the HJ hypothesis basically out of ignorance of the mythic-only hypothesis and ignorance of the completeness of the mythic-state Jesus. In effect, they are not aware of a viable intense, compelling alternative to the received, HJ view.
It is unclear whether the JesusMysteries discussion group wants or thinks it wants a proof of this "completeness" of the mythic Jesus, but such proof would do much (and then stop short) toward tilting the balance away from HJ and toward mythic-only Jesus. Imagine a teeter-totter -- the evidence for an intense mythic-experience Jesus pushes one end all the way down (this is pretty well provable via study of what myth is about).
The question is, does the other end rise up in the air because there is no such HJ to weigh it down? Or, does the teeter totter bend so that the mythic-experiencing Jesus is fully real and true *and* the HJ is real and true?
In practice, even though we only are asking what happens to the HJ end of the teeter-totter, we do have to study and fully appreciate the completeness of the mythically experienced Jesus. Given that practical need, we can in a way evade such a mystic study of "the complete reality of the mythically experienced Jesus" by assuming that as axiomatic but then adding the debate over whether HJ is *also* true -- like the early Church fathers' debate with the gnostics.
Only later, after all mysteries were forbidden, did the Fathers start treating it as an either-or mutually exclusive situation, where the official Jesus was the HJ, and the anathema Jesus was the mythically-experienced Jesus. The fastest way to proceed is to simply assume as an axiom, for practical utility toward progress in debate, that the mythically experienced Jesus is "complete" in the sense I describe, and ask whether *also* there was an HJ.
How much evidence, of what kind, is there for a pre-Christian religious belief in the crucfixion of a god-man or, I would expand, for a religion-myth figure? Were there religion-myth figures in late antiquity who were, in one way or another, crucified as a rebel or criminal?
And why does it matter? What can we hope to possibly gain from such an investigation? Peter Kirby has praised several points raised in this thread as worthy of further investigation.
o Suppose we find rich precedents for crucified religion-myth figures before Jesus in late antiquity. So what?
o Suppose we don't -- so what then?
o What if we find sort-of crucified sort-of godmen before Jesus -- so what?
What are the possible outcomes of this investigation?
Great thread and I generally agree with the overall propositions. I encourage people to become more literate with the mythic techniques of thinking and reading -- everyone is good at literalistic reading and thinking, but you really need to *also* master mythic thought, which was dominant in the era when the Christian religion came into existence. Too often someone writes "die" literalistically and everyone reads the word "die" as though it can only mean literal death.
Always *try* mentally surrounding the word "die" with quotes. Another key to mythic expressions is to consider the psyche as something half-and-half: lower and higher, male and female, faithless and faithful, good and evil, asleep and awake, accursed and blessed, and all other dualistic pairs. Every dualistic pair can be mapped into this scheme, some pairs reversible. For example, the parent comes first and is killed by their child, or, the child comes first and is killed by the adult -- the parent.
One's lower self is accursed, a liar, a delusion; one must willingly sacrifice it to become reconciled with truth and gods. If one hanging on a tree is accursed, and one's goal is to show one's understanding that one's lower self like all lower selves is accursed, then hanging is the perfect way. You have to differentiate between identifying with one's lower versus higher, or deluded vs. enlightened, or child vs. adult self. To become adult, accurse your child part of your psyche; hang it on the spacetime tree.
Take the esoteric point of view, and all difficulties of interpretation collapse. Do you assume that the Jews were literalists, or even clueless literalist lunkheads as some (Protestant, anti-Works Paulinists) have sought to characterize them? All problems of interpretation and explanation fall away by picturing the Jews as esotericists with a socio-political agenda.
Jack Miles in the recent book Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God supposes that suicide can be most honorable, as at Massada - a way to shame Caesar. Forget about what the denizens of Judea think about such a notion; consider how the thoroughly Hellenized Jews and the Hellenistic, quasi-Jewish, God Fearers might embrace that notion.
The World of Classical Myth : Gods and Goddesses, Heroines and Heroes
Carl A. P. Ruck, Danny Staples
Why not degrade the founder as a slave, a revolutionary bandit? If one is focusing on the lower self of a godman, keeping in mind that all figures in all mythreligion refer to components of and dynamics within the initiate's psyche, it makes mythic sense to portray the founder as being low and high - arrested and elevated, halted and victorious.
Hermes was a thief and bandit, respected by the gods for it.
Do you only look for a "pagan godman who died by crucifixion"? Widen the search to mythic figures (religion-myth figures) and there are plenty of figures who are fastened and punished as violators against the gods -- where the violator and the god, the punisher and punished, are opposing aspects of the initiate's psyche: the earlier, lower self in its delusion, and the later, higher self in its enlightenment and rage against the chimera of the lower self and the lower way of thinking.
During initiation the problem arises of how to forever stop one's childish way of thinking, how to prevent it from taking over one's thinking again -- how to forever stop the rebellion of the lower thinking against higher Reason. Fastening, humiliating, and sacrificing the lower self can be done by hanging it on a tree, if such hanging sufficiently indicates being accursed, as it does in Jewish lore and tradition.
Was the crucified-as-criminal godman a Christian innovation? In some ways yes, in some ways no.
There is evidence in the first century or earlier that refers to one or more god-man or savior *or religion-myth figure* sort of dying, as a kind of rebel criminal, on a kind of cross.
The 'crucifixion' of Hera:
The following is my paraphrase and interpretation of Homer's Illiad, 15.13-33.
o Zeus is part of the initiate's psyche.
o Hera is part of the initiate's psyche.
Zeus (higher thinking) was asleep and wakes to find that Hera (lower thinking) roused the other gods against the Trojans (all metaphors for religious awakening from delusion and from lower thinking). Zeus says "I should've known it was you who made Hector's army panic. Don't you remember the time I strung you up by your wrists, tied your arms with golden cords (suspended in spacetime), hung an anvil on each leg, and left you dangling up there in the winds and the clouds?
Any who tried to rescue you I threw down more dead than alive (as the initiate feels more dead than alive). Maybe you (egoic thinking) will give up all your attempts to fool me, when you learn that your seduction will never work again as a hoax to deceive me (into egoic delusion and that lower, child/animal way of thinking)."
The 'crucifixion' of Ixion:
The following is my paraphrase from page 16 of the book The Apples of Apollo, by Ruck, Staples, and Heinrich:
Ixion was the first human to slaughter kindred blood, luring his father-in-law over a pitfall with burning charcoals. The other Olympian gods were repulsed by Ixion's crime and no one would cleanse him of the blood guilt, but Zeus took pity and agreed to purify him, since Zeus in previous times committed no lesser crimes.
Zeus is a newer persona of the old Ixion. Hera was tipsy with her [mixed] wine, and Ixion tried to take advantage of her. (Zeus also has designs on Ixion's wife Dia.) For Ixion killing the father of his wife Dia, Zeus bound Ixion with serpents, spread-eagled to a fiery wheel of four or more spikes, on which he whirls for eternity. At his feet is a flower [compare the skull at the foot of the cross].
Page 21 has a second illustration of Ixion bound to the fiery wheel. Hephaistos, divine metal smith, fastens Ixion's wrists and ankles not with nails but with brackets or serpents. Page 22 has a 3rd illustration.
Good Ixion search:
Good Ixion page:
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/i/ixion.html -- "the first human to shed kindred blood. This occurred when Ixion invited his father-in-law, Deioneus, to come and collect the price that Ixion owed him for his bride. Upon his arrival, Deioneus fell into a pit filled with burning coals Ixion had camouflaged. ... Because this was a crime new to the human race, nobody could purify Ixion and he wandered an exile. Zeus took pity on him and decided not only to purify Ixion, but to invite him to Olympus as a guest. Once in Olympus though, Ixion became so enamored of Hera ... The cloud bore Ixion the monster Centaurus ...
To punish him, Zeus bound Ixion to a winged (sometimes flaming) wheel, which revolved in the air in all directions. ... Ixion was forced to call out continuously call out: "You should show gratitude to your benefactor." Ixion became one of the more famous sinners on display on Tartarus, and most writers mention him when describing the place. For example, Ovid wrote of him, and Vergil, with his moralistic interpretation of how sin should be punished, awards Ixion a special mention in the Aenead."
I could probably spend an entire day summarizing crucifixion elements from world mythology (or religion-myth). But comparative mythology has already been done, or "tried", or accomplished, by researchers such as Arthur Drews. What would the discovery of a rich precedent for a crucified mythic/mystic savior suggest?
In "Re: [JesusMysteries] Why was Christ Crucified?", Lowell wrote:
>... Welburn says ... "the resurrected youth", probably Lazarus, as wearing only a white robe and spending 6 days and nights being taught by Jesus in the "mysteries of the Kingdom of God". ... the _real_ excitement lies in understanding that when Jesus is teaching the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, he is referring not just to something we call 'mysterious' but rather to Jesus acting as a hierophant in a mystery cult. ...
"When Jesus is teaching the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, he is referring not just to something we call 'mysterious' but rather to Jesus acting as a hierophant in a mystery cult."
Who is this Jesus fellow you refer to who was a hierophant? Beware, Welburn doesn't think to differentiate between "the mysteries based on the Jesus figure" and "the mysteries taught by the Historical Jesus himself". Welburn's same treatment if performed on Dionysus would conclude that Dionysus was a hierophant in the Mysteries of Dionysus -- a category error.
The Beginnings of Christianity: Essene Mystery, Gnostic Revelation and the Christian Vision
>If the orthodox church could edit out Secret Mark, could they not have also savaged Paul's writing? We will never know how many, if any, mystery cult references were in the original Pauline letters.
The notion of "original Pauline letters" should be deconstructed, calling a time-out and unravelling what false or covert assertions might be embedded in that taken-for-granted phrase. One should beware of being a half-skeptic and halting there, proud of one's only relatively critical, skeptical breakaway from gullibility. "I'm such a skeptic, I consider a whopping 50% of the scriptures to be metaphorical or fictional."
>Are there any 'Secret Paul' controversies out there?
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/marshall_gauvin/did_jesus_really_live.html -- "Let me make a startling disclosure. Let me tell you that the New Testament itself contains the strongest possible proof that the Christ of the Gospels was not a real character. The testimony of the Epistles of Paul demonstrates that the life story of Jesus is an invention. Of course, there is no certainty that Paul really lived. Let me quote a passage from the Encyclopaedia Biblica, relative to Paul: "It is true that the picture of Paul drawn by later times differs utterly in more or fewer of its details from the original. Legend has made itself master of his person. The simple truth has been mixed up with invention; Paul has become the hero of an admiring band of the more highly developed Christians." Thus Christian authority admits that invention has done its work in manufacturing at least in part, the life of Paul. In truth, the ablest Christian scholars reject all but [f]our of the Pauline Epistles as spurious. Some maintain that Paul was not the author of any of them. The very existence of Paul is questionable."
http://thecosmiccontext.de/christianity.html - excellent articles that propose Paul was a fictional contended mouthpiece originally created by the gnostics. "The apostles" and "St. Ignatius" were fictional mouthpieces created by power-elites in Rome, who were intent upon co-opting "Paul" to coerce and harness the popularity of earliest, gnostic Christianity.
o St. Ignatius, the Insidious Pragmatism of the Episkopoi of Rome and the Rise of Christianity
o Ignatius, John and Paul: A Trio of Second Century, Hellenistic, Church Fathers
o The Scholar's Dilemma: the Dynamics of second Century Christianity
o Marcion's Place in Early Christianity: Political Powerplay
Such socio-political theories of the origin of Christianity are impressive and essential -- note, however, that they omit the actual religious-experiencing aspect of earliest Christianity.
Horsley writes the construction:
"Insofar as Paul deliberately used language closely associated with the imperial religion, he was presenting his gospel as a direct competitor of the gospel of Caesar."
If Paul didn't exist, he didn't deliberately do anything with language. Learn to transform such constructions as follows:
"Insofar as the creators of the Paul figure used language closely associated with the imperial religion, they were presenting his gospel as a direct competitor of the gospel of Caesar."
Acharya S proposes that Paul is fictional, a recasting of Apollonius of Tyana.
http://www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/Rpcanon.html - may be relevant: The Evolution of the Pauline Canon - Robert M. Price
To support considering the fictionality of Jesus, the JesusMysteries discussion group needs to consider whether all of the following are fictional:
o The apostles
o St. Peter (Arthur Drews: The Legend of Saint Peter - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578849519 )
o St. Paul
o St. Ignatius
(Not to mention Mohammed and Buddha.)
If all these figures are demonstrated to probably be mythic-only, that goes a long way toward doing the same for the Jesus figure. Most "critical skeptics" are still operating within the paradigm of literalism, and a tendency to read scripture or myth as though it were making literalist assertions -- such thinking is chronically stuck in an absurd half-skepticism like the pre-Strauss writers who said the scriptures aren't supernaturally true but are just misinterpretations of natural phenomena.
It is hard to imagine that the apostles and Paul existed but Jesus didn't. In contrast, devising a coherent explanation of the origin of Christianity is much *easier* if you assume that *all* of them are fictional. Widening the scope of skepticism may seem like additional and possibly irrelevant work, but it is probably actually the shortest and easiest path to formulating a simpler model of the origin of Christianity.
The broad question of "how does myth-creation work and how did it work throughout early Christian origins" crucially informs theorizing about the particular question of Jesus as mythic-only.
Neville Lindsay wrote:
>It would be interesting to find a very close parallel, but this is not necessary, in fact it would be surprising. Why, in pushing a new religion, would you make it a copy of another, spoiling any chance you have by marketing a pallid copy. Its success depended on having something different.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
>> o Suppose we find rich precedents for crucified religion-myth figures before Jesus in late antiquity. So what?
>> o Suppose we don't -- so what then?
>It doesn't have to be crucified, just a violent death. If crucifixion hadn't been used before, it would be a good choice.
>> o What if we find sort-of crucified sort-of godmen before Jesus -- so what?
>A good model, just as the secular Jesus-figure seems to rest on previous models.
I don't understand what that terse statement means. I wish this statement were spelled out as a complete, standalone sentence. I think you are asserting that:
If we find sort-of crucified sort-of godmen before Jesus, that would show that the notion of Jesus as crucified godman rests on a good model [what does "good model" mean here?], just as the secular Jesus-figure seems to rest on previous models.
HJ scholars try to find precedents or previous models for their proposed non-supernatural man Jesus, to describe how Jesus himself came about and how he was understood in his time, and to trace which additional historical figures were conflated with the actual man Jesus.
No-HJ scholars try to find precedents or previous models for their proposed non-supernatural man Jesus, to describe how the mythical or fictional Jesus figure came about and how that figure was understood in the era of earliest or proto-Christianity, and to trace which additional historical figures were eventually fused together to form and build up the picture of Jesus as though he were a particular actual man.
I am a no-HJ scholar who emphasizes the completeness and self-sufficiency of the mythically experienced Jesus. Why might I be interested in finding other self-sufficient mythically experienced figures who essentially fit the figure of an arrested and executed man who rose again in righteousness and victory over the world of Caesar and his priestly collaborator?
What can we hope to gain by discovering "a good model for the mythically experienced crucified godman prefiguring the Jesus figure as a foundation and precedent"?
We certainly *can* show and prove the existence of the "good model and precedent" regarding the executed godman Jesus, but that takes some work and summarizing from research such Drews' The Christ Myth, and I'd like to justify doing that work before leaping into it.
This questioning of strategy is part of methodology for research about HJ and the origins of the Christian religion.
1. The ultimate goals are to determine whether and in what way or sense Jesus existed, and to determine the actual origins of the Christian religion.
2. The intermediate goals are twofold:
a. HJ-style research: To show that around the time Christianity was formed, there were various non-supernatural men who fit certain aspects of the Jesus figure.
b. Mythic-Jesus style research: To show that around the time Christianity was formed, there were various mythically-experienced figures who fit certain aspects of the Jesus figure.
The Deconstructing Jesus project is an effective procedure for accomplishing both goals 2a and 2b. The DJ project, in effect, breaks out goals 2a and 2b into various subtypes and provides detailed characterization of each subtype and scriptural and textual evidence that such a subtype was part of the formation of the Jesus figure.
My concern is that of interpretation or overall strategy: what if goals 2a and 2b succeed; where would that leave us? We will have shown that there *were* indeed various non-supernatural men who fit certain aspects of the Jesus figure, and that there were indeed various mythically-experienced figures who fit certain aspects of the Jesus figure.
Suppose we find seven main men who were like Jesus, and seven main godmen who were like Jesus. What would that mean for our ultimate goal, of determining whether and in what way or sense Jesus existed, and determining the actual origins of the Christian religion? It seems to me that an implicit strategy is often to show that any Jesus *beyond* these precedents would be superfluous.
My view, conclusion, and belief is that Jesus existed just insofar as there were around seven main men who were like Jesus, and around seven main mythically experienced godmen who were like Jesus. The actual origins of the Christian religion are that Hellenists formed Christianity as a political-styled, anti-establishment mystery-cult that took many elements from the Jewish religion and chose execution as the method of the godman's and hero's death because the oppressed, the women, and lower slaves throughout the Roman empire could relate to that low form of execution, and because the rebellious Jews were associated with that form of execution.
Each mystical-Jesus thread in the Deconstructing Jesus project is a "mere exercise" to demonstrate or summarize the finished, established demonstrations like Drews put forth, that the Jesus mythically experienced godman was the latest in a long tradition of the mythically experienced dying and rising godman type, where "godman" is open to including figures drawn from religion-myth in general.
Beyond the execution of these exercises of carrying out each type within the DJ project, I'm mainly asking how the Deconstructing Jesus Project will end up. We will end up with seven HJ-like men, and seven mythically experienced Jesus-like religious-mythic figures (who were punished, tormented, or killed in various typical Jesus-like ways for various typical Jesus-like reasons).
At that point, we'll face the question of "so what does it all mean, this collection of deconstructed sub-Jesuses, and the answer is that Jesus was a composite figure drawn from various HJ-like men and a tradition of mythically experienced mythic figures that reflected initiation experiencing. Taking heed of Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, we also ought to consider synergy between goals 2a and 2b above: the "integral goal 2c" is to show how 2a and 2b mutually supported each other.
Rodney Stark's book The Rise of Christianity and Burton Mack's book The Christian Myth generally omit considering 2b, mythic experiencing, and focus only on 2a, socio-political proto-HJs.
The Hellenistic godman thread of the DJ Project inherently involves, by project definition, showing that the mystery-religion aspect of the Jesus figure is based on well-established precedents in the tradition of mythically experienced Hellenistic godmen and mythic figures from world mythology.
The goal of the present thread is to determine why Jesus, considered as the mythic mystery-religion version of Jesus, was portrayed as crucified, executed as a criminal, suffering the lowest form of death. That's easy to answer from mythic reasoning, and the responses have successfully answered it.
Michael Hoffman wrote:
>> What are the possible outcomes of this investigation?
Neville Lindsay wrote:
>Hopefully to find why the authors picked ... getting Jesus killed off in this way.
I let stand Peter's summary of our responses, as the basic answer, with 1st-order of accuracy; he calls it a "list of theories".
Peter Kirby opened the thread by writing:
>A question that could be indicated by these words [Why was Christ Crucified?] has featured prominently in the third quest for the historical Jesus [as an actual existing man], but the question with which I am concerned involves the quest for the mythical Jesus. Assuming that the gospel of Christ crucified was not in any way based on historical reminiscence, what answers suggest themselves to the following questions:
>1. Why was it believed that Christ died?
>2. Why was it believed that Christ was executed?
>3. Why was the execution of Christ specified as crucifixion?
That's a good idea for a thread: given that ordinary mainstream Jesus research has considered it effective to discover who the historical Jesus actually was by investigating why Jesus was crucified, it naturally falls upon the mythic-only Jesus researchers, particularly those of the mystic initiation Jesus-encounter ilk, to propose alternative answers to the question "Why was Christ crucified?" Thinking from within the no-HJ paradigm, especially the experiential mystery-Christ paradigm, what kind of answers to "Why was Christ crucified" are fitting?
Peter usefully summarized (6/6 12:02 a.m.) types of responses (print this and tape it to your monitor). He then listed a next set of questions that I don't personally feel is so interesting for me to work on, basically asking for more detail and textual evidence such as is collected in the DJ Project. Here Peter is specifically asking for *justification for*, or disproof of, our proposed reasons why the creators of the mythically experienced Jesus figure chose to have him die, by execution, by crucifixion.
>Now that we have a short list of theories on the origins of the idea of the crucifixion of Christ, we can ask three more questions:
>1. Are there any myth-oriented explanations that we have overlooked?
Certainly, I listed a couple and know there are more, but have asked for compelling reason to do the work of listing them.
>2. Are there any pieces of evidence or arguments that would suggest that a certain theory mentioned is false?
>3. Are there any pieces of evidence or arguments that would suggest that a certain theory mentioned is true?
I, for one, am either stumped or at a loss to answer 2 and 3, or don't want to spend time on them, or I address them in a different way, with a different approach. I agree with all the answers or theories Peter summarized. I simply assume there is lots of evidence for them and no real evidence against them. I hear Peter as essentially just requesting more details. In outline, the question has been correctly answered to my own satisfaction:
"Thinking from within the no-HJ paradigm, especially the experiential mystery-Christ paradigm, what kind of answers to 'Why was Christ crucified' are fitting?"
It seems to me Peter wants a 2nd-order of accuracy or detail for our responses. Similarly, we can define two orders of detail in the DJ Project: first, come up with a list of Jesus types -- that work is as hard as any. Second, fill in the details to show that, and show how, each type of Jesus is reflected and put forth in the literature.
During this process, ways of thinking about each type of Jesus are refined and developed, and adjusted based on the evidence that is thereby flushed out, and also -- unspoken in the DJ Project -- the overarching understanding of the Jesus figure and the origins of Christianity is developed, including an understanding of the relationship among all this multiplicity of Jesus types.
I, as a mystery-Christ specialist, am inherently not inclined to do "scientific history" styled research. Most people on this list are not mystery-Christ specialists but instead firmly live on the HJ Literalist side of the investigation, as far as the style of their thinking.
There is an asymmetry here: scholars who tend to assume there was an HJ tend to handle the evidence in a certain way -- I would characterize Doherty as using an HJ-style approach to asserting no-HJ, while Freke & Gandy take a mystery-Christ approach to asserting no-HJ. I have in essence criticized JesusMysteries for limiting itself to the HJ-style approach to scholarly investigation, and shutting out ahead of time the Nietzchean and mystery-Christ style approach to philology and scholarly investigation.
Doherty shows that you can assert no-HJ through what I call an HJ style of scholarship -- that style which has been established by scholars who effortlessly *assume* there was an HJ and only want to know what HJ was "really" about.
The present thread is highly significant, profoundly significant, because -- although it ends up reverting, calling for more of what I disparagingly call "HJ-style research" -- it was begun more or less from within the Other Paradigm -- "mythic-style explanation and conceptualization". It's a fine line that we cannot avoid walking; this is the inherent challenge of this discussion group: to *integrate* the *best* of:
o HJ-style research (critical scientific history)
o Mythic-experiencing style of conceptualization and explanation.
I commend Peter for starting and defining a thread that can be fair to us who handle the textual evidence in a way noteworthy for its mythic-experiencing style of conceptualization and explanation ("the quest for the mythical Jesus"!) rather than limiting it only to the same old tired, decrepit, 1-dimensional, and impotent HJ-style research (critical scientific history).
This discussion group ought to uphold and use that scientific history style of debate, but that style goes nowhere if not informed by the best of Mythic-experiencing style of conceptualization and explanation -- the best of the quest for the mythical Jesus, which is a positive and scholarly quest to gather and comprehend the textual evidence, and interpret it to determine how the earliest Christians thought of Jesus.
A critical scientific-history quest for the mythical Jesus requires a different style, a different approach and way of handling the textual evidence than the overly familiar dominant paradigm of investigation that was established by the HJ scholars. The DJ Project and this thread, and Freke & Gandy, demonstrate that it is possible to have a "quest for the mythical Jesus" that uses critical scientific history without mistakenly reducing that approach to that of the HJ scholars.
It could be useful to collect and list the points people raised that warrant further research, lest they be lost.
Discussion participants mentioned these ideas:
>The 'cross' of the believer is a Cynic-Stoic proverb about enduring hardship for the sake of one's beliefs or the movement one belongs to. Forsaking father and mother is like carrying a heavy, onerous cross to one's demise. The cross is not here a symbol of salvation connected with the death specifically of a Jesus figure. This does not refer to a future, specific death on a cross, but Jesus means it in a sense that includes himself.
>'Carry or take up a cross' means a specific death on a cross, an instrument of execution. Whoever is carrying a cross is on the way to his own crucifixion. The saying makes no sense at all unless Jesus is seen as carrying his own cross to his own crucifixion. Whether the crucifixion is literal or not is the major question we need to resolve.
Compare also John 11, where Thomas says "Let us also go [to Lazarus' tomb], that we may die with him."
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
New American Bible: "Let us also go to die with him."
Amplified Bible: "Let us go too, that we may die [be killed] along with Him."
In the Amplified Bible and New American Standard Bible, "Him" is capitalized though it presumably refers to Lazarus rather than Jesus. The capitalization seems to imply that Lazarus is identified or spiritually united with Jesus.
The mythic meaning when explained clearly provides the most compelling alternative for the Historical Jesus view.
Carrying one's own cross does not refer to mere ordinary sufferings. It refers to the same sufferings as Prometheus suffered: the humiliation and psychological torment of experientially discovering that one's personal power is nullified by the omnipotence of the gods or the Fates. This kind of experience, this kind of cross, is the kind that is powerful enough to compete with the idea of a Historical Jesus.
The mystic crucifixion experienced by the mystery-religion initiate after taking the Eucharist of apolytrosis is specifically the suffering and humiliation that is the essence of mystic ego death, when the will (liver/heart) is slain by intensely visualizing cosmic determinism or Fatedness, ultimately implying a closed future, which was the strongly dominant worldview of that era.
After the mystery-religion initiate carries his own apprehended-rebel cross and is crucified, the initiate's lower self (the apparent self-willing agent who authors his own future) is thus crucified as a false upstart rebel, a mere pretender to the power of self-authoring.
o Like the archetypal form of Prometheus, the initiate is then released into a new life with a newly re-formed, higher kind of will that is not susceptible to the giant eagle sent by Zeus.
o Like the archetypal form of Mithras, the initiate is then born out of the rock of astrological determinism, born into a new cosmos that is outside the frozen-future cosmos.
o Like the archetypal form of Jesus, the initiate then arises and comes forth from the tomb, born out of the frozen cosmic space-time matrix-womb with a newly re-formed, higher kind of will that is not susceptible to being slain by the (Roman eagle standard) spear.
The idea of the spiritual crucifixion of the seemingly self-authoring agent fits well with the Hellenistic mythic concepts of the mystery religions of the era. The initiate suffers demise as a steersman sailing into an open, not-yet-settled future -- that version of oneself, and the mental model constructed around it with that idea at the center, is overthrown and soon replaced by a higher identity and some other conception of the will and one's personal ability to control and author one's own will.
Spiritual crucifixion is certainly not mere mundane suffering -- it is the suffering that follows *after* one has died; it is the suffering of Demeter *after* the childish deluded conception of the self, Persephone/Core, has been suddenly carried off to Hades, the realm of entities that no longer exist except as ghostly memories.
In the reverse sequence from Literalist assumptions, the initiate actually dies first and then suffers afterwards, just as Persephone was abducted to the land of dead entities and then Demeter suffers afterwards.
1. First, the impossible self who would claim to author his own future dies as a possibility and as a viable mental model of time, will, freedom, and personal control.
2. Afterwards, the initiate suffers and mourns for the death of that impossible, virtual-only version of himself -- mourns upon seeing that the future is already closed, existing, given or forced upon him, and is pre-authored without his consent or consultation.
3. Finally, the initiate constructs a new mental model of self, identified now with a higher will that transcends the individual person and transcends cosmic astrological determinism or Fatedness.
The more mundane and physical kinds of suffering and crucifixion are less specific, less compelling, and have led to oppression (Jesus was bodily tortured, so his followers should seek and accept bodily torture as well). The latter are low, limited, less interesting types of suffering.
A philosophy limited to such literalist types of suffering and death is not sufficient to provide a compelling alternative to Literalist views.
Purely mystical suffering, identified and explained specifically, provides a compelling alternative. The essence of mystical suffering is experiencing a vision of the closed future and being thus stripped of the accustomed sense of personal power to author one's own future and one's own life-script. Such traumatically insulting spiritual crucifixion of one's own power of will leads to the need and the hope of constructing or discovering a new kind of will and power that cannot be overthrown like the lower will.
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology & Salvation in the Ancient World
Prometheus: Archetypal Image of Human Existence
Jean-Pierre Vernant, Pierre Vidal-Naquet
Myth and Tragedy in Ancient Greece
Chap. 1-5, especially chapter 3, Intimations of the Will in Greek Tragedy.
Stepping down in the cosmic conflict between irreconcilable opposing powers - the boundary-marking pact of the Cross
Mythic elements have sets of meanings. A Christian symbol may have 15 meanings, and I want to focus on the few meanings which most relate to the cybernetic model of ego death and ego transcendence.
The freewill soveriegn agent enters the mystic altered state and discovers that freewill thinking is in fatal conflict with God's determinism. Freewill or determinism must die -- the two kings are incompatible; how can they reconcile their kingdoms and respect each others' boundaries? Out of compassion, God steps down from his throne and voluntarily renounces his cosmic rulership, to allow the creature's freewill virtual existence to continue on into the future, though the creature is to participate in the sacrificial blood-pact boundary-marking ceremony.
This is how the freewill-dependent creature can be justified while consciously entering the kingdom of determinism. This last will and testament of God enables his creatures to justifiably carry their heritage of virtual freewill sovereignty into God's kingdom, as his rightful sons who have a right to the throne of deterministic rulership. I am enthroned as king of determinism, even as I exercise the right of virtual freewill upon which practical life depends.
Have you experienced such a cosmic conflict where your power or that of the other party must die? It is quite something, a religious-scale conflict between Dionysus-eating Titan and lightningbolt-wielding Zeus.
Looking down from Olympus
On a world of doubt and fear,
Its surface splintered
Into sorry Hemispheres.
They sat a while in silence,
Then they turned at last to me.
"We will call you Cygnus,
The god of Balance you shall be."
While the song characterizes it as a battle between love and reason, I would portray it as a battle between freewill and determinism, where freewill is something we dare not lose, yet logically are forced to reject in principle.
I should have written "the esoteric-only conception of the Jesus figure" rather than "the esoteric-only conception of the Jesus figure". When I defined Paradigm B as Jesus as "essentially" a composite figure, I should have stressed as much as possible, with no possibility of miscommunication, that Paradigm B is esoteric-only -- *not* combining an esoteric understanding of Jesus with a literalist view of Jesus as based on a historical kernel individual.
Official Christianity, except for the most vulgar version of official Christianity, *does* think of Jesus as esoteric -- but I object to it because I advocate conceiving of Jesus as being *strictly* and *exclusively* esoteric -- disallowing also conceiving of Jesus as a historical kernel individual. Similarly, it is poor communication to say simply "mythic Jesus" -- instead, I always emphasize "mythic-only Jesus".
Conventional scholars take for granted that Jesus was a historical individual with later additions, and when they talk of the mythic Jesus, they mean the eventual result of starting from the historical individual and adding so much mythic elements that the mythic elements obscure the underlying historical kernel.
Against that dominant scholarly sense of "the mythic Jesus" as that version formed by adding to the kernel-individual, we no-Jesus advocates insist that the Jesus figure is myth all the way down -- and that there was no *single* kernel-individual, but instead, a hundred actual historical individuals were used as models, with the Jesus figure not importantly dependent upon any one particular historical individual.
All conventional scholars agree that Jesus "is mythic" -- that is, the Jesus figure as conventionally conceived was constructed from mythic elements -- the entire debate that is trying to take place, that ought to get more attention, revolves around whether the Jesus figure was constructed solely and entirely from mythic elements, and what the relation of various historical Jesus-like individuals is to the Jesus figure.
Paradigm B -- mythic esoteric Jesus -- means mythic-*only*, esoteric-*only* Jesus, and firmly repudiates the idea that there was a single man serving as the kernel, upon whom the Jesus figure was importantly dependent. Paradigm B *rejects* the standard orthodox view that sees Jesus *both* as a historical single underlying kernel individual *and* as a framework for esoteric meaning (such as visionary gnosis initiation).
The run-of-the-mill reflective Christian thinker tries to have it both ways, with a double-explanation: Jesus is a single literal man *and* Jesus is a visionary figure. Against that run-of-the-mill mainstream "mystic Christian" view, Paradigm B utterly rejects such a double-explanation, and discards emphatically and specifically, the idea that there was a single historical individual as the kernel.
Paradigm B is an extreme radical esoteric view -- the mythic-*only* Jesus, the esoteric-*only* conception of Jesus, conceiving of Jesus as *strictly* a visionary gnosis initiation figure, a paradigm encountered *only* in one's mind, and *not* present as a single historical individual. According to Paradigm B -- the mythic-only Jesus as the no-Jesus advocates maintain -- there were many Jesus-like individuals, but no single Jesus-like individual upon whom the Jesus figure is importantly dependent.
I created the table of views of Jesus
in order to sort out the confusing combinations of mystic/mythic thinking and literalist thinking about the Jesus figure. Everyone except the most vulgar Christians thinks of Jesus as a mystic, esoteric, and mythic figure -- the problem is, they *combine* this "esoteric" conception of Jesus with the assumption that there was a single historical kernel individual underlying the later mystic esoteric mythic figure.
It's utterly common to assume that Jesus existed as a single historical person and he was a mystic who used esoteric and mythic thinking.
We no-Jesus who affirm the mystic visionary meaning of the Jesus figure emphasize that Jesus was not a man who thought mystically, but rather, Jesus was (or is) nothing other than mystic thinking itself. Jesus was not an enlightened esoteric man; he was (or is) enlightened esotericism itself. Jesus was not a brilliant master of myth; he was (or is) nothing other than myth itself.
So we must always say "mythic-only Jesus" to shut out the common view of "mythic Jesus" as "that figure resulting from adding myth to the underlying historical kernel individual". If you ask a normal scholar of Jesus whether they believe the mythic Jesus view, they will say "yes, I agree that the Jesus figure we know is mostly myth, obscuring the underlying kernel historical individual". Then we no-Jesus advocates have to say "that's totally not what I meant!"
The way to jolt and break the slumber of the usual thinking is by specifying "only" -- Jesus was *only* myth, not *also* a historical kernel individual. The convention view amounts to saying that Jesus was literally crucified *and* that he meant a bunch of mystic things by the cross. Everything of import on one's view of Jesus depends on, or is revealed by, how one understands the cross.
The modern conventional Christian mystic view is particularly garbled: such mystics think of the cross as a literal historical event *and* think of the cross mystically -- but such a combination doesn't hold water; it has little plausibility -- it implies that Jesus thought of the cross mystically *and* was literally crucified, in a way that exactly matches his mystic view of the cross, and that the good, ideal Christian is supposed to think of the cross as a mystic symbol of spiritual death and rebirth of the personal will, *and* is supposed to be literally crucified.
My own main basis for rejecting the historical Jesus assumption was originally the illogic or implausibility of adding together both views of the meaning of the cross. My view on this is evolving as I learn more about Greco-Roman mythic thinking and culture. The ancients so loved to munge together myth, punishment, religion, and politics, that they did think of the many actual crucifixions from a largely mythic perspective -- they loved to kill people in the arena through making the person literally die as per various myths.
However, I continue to maintain that there is no *single* historical individual upon whom the Jesus figure depended. Lots of people in year 30 thought of the cross in mythic terms, because they liked to compare and isomorphically conjoin religion, myth, politics, and philosophy, and lots of people were literally crucified.
There were many people then who thought of the cross in mythic esoteric terms as representing the spiritual mystic-state experiential death and rebirth of one's individual self-will and who were literally crucified.
It's not so much the combining of literal crucifixion with mythic-mystic thinking -- such combination happened all the time back then; many individual did both -- take a man on a cross back then, and in his mind is the remembrance of his own mystic mystery-religion initiations including figures such as King Pentheus lifted up into the tree by Dionysus, the mythic figure stuck to the throne in Hades' kingdom, and Ixion affixed to the wheel as punishment, and Prometheus chained to the high rock as punishment for stealing fire from Zeus.
What I object to most of all, is the notion that the Jesus figure is importantly dependent on a *single* historical individual who was a necessary kernel. In fact, the Jesus figure was essentially, that is, entirely, a composite figure drawing from countless historical individuals and countless myths, *not* from a *single* historical individual.
Clark Heinrich asserts the plausibility of Jesus being a hierophant; of the full possibility of the existence of a man who was a hierophant and who was crucified. What I object to in that proposed scenario is not the plausibility that there was a hierophant or mystery-mysticism group leader who was crucified; what I object to is the implication and taken-for-granted scenario that such mystery-mysticism group leaders were rare, or that crucifixions were rare.
To picture such mystic involvement or crucifixion as rare is to paint a false picture of history -- a picture that contradicts, in what it emphasizes and how it thinks, our overall historical data.
I now easily accept the likelihood that a man was a mystery-mysticism group leader and thought of the cross in a mythic-mystic sense and was also himself crucified. What I object to was the view or proposed scenario that such a thing was rare; that we can *distinguish* a *single*, rare, unusual, lone individual who was a mystery-mysticism group leader who thought of crucifixion in a mythic-mystic sense and who was crucified.
Jesus is a *type*, not an *individual*. *This* is how the Greco-Romans thought; *this* is a scenario that fits in with our whole picture of Greco-Roman culture.
History of "king" as religious symbol
Christianity is a religion centered on a man who is crucified as a would-be king as a divine rebel against the mundane ruler, who was betrayed from his own circle of followers, and who had a very famous last supper with mixed wine, and this crux is recalled/ reinstantiated/ commemorated in the Eucharist that the crucified man specifically told us to do in commemoration of his crucifixion.
We're not studying some generic minimal cross, but rather, the cross that is labelled "king" or "rebel king". What's the history of that concept; did it begin with the Jesus figure, or much earlier? It's a given for me that the cross has not a plain man, but a crowned man. Always picture a crown on the man on the cross, always focus on that crown.
What was the concept of "king" all about? What's the history of that concept? What are the precedents, concurrents, and antecedents in myth, religion, mystic experiencing, politics, battle, astrology?
What's the history of the concept and metaphor of the conflict of kings, conflict between a king and a divine ruler?
Jesus is a crucified *king* and that is emphasized by his crown and the placard atop the cross, and he is charged with being a rebel leader -- upstart king, in fact -- against Caesar.
The One behind us all is the victorious true king, and the illusory separate-self in each of us is defeated as a false, rebel king. We gain a kind of divine peace when the self sacrifices its false kingship, bowing and sacrificing it to the One as true King.
The individual psyche battles against the cosmos ruler and the lower configuration of the psyche (the caterpillar) loses, but the psyche (butterfly) gains the new, higher, divine configuration. The lower self concedes defeat and folly of claiming sovereignty -- like a humbly returning profligate prodigal son or a repentant prostitute.
Mystic experiencing, in addition to the immorality of oppression, justifies the inversion of dishonor into honor; by hanging your lower, dishonorable, false kingly self on a tree, you are elevated to identity with true kingship of the One who is the monotheistic ruler of the cosmos, so that you become co-ruler at the right hand of the one who is ruler over the cosmos.
Through deliberate self-dishonoring of our separate lower self, we honor our One higher self: thus the lowest dishonor is the way to the highest honor. Thus did the humiliation of the rebel slave become the principle for founding a new religion within a society based on the hierarchy of honor, via a "downward bounce" tactic that catapulted and co-opted the system of Caesar.
What's the history of the concept and metaphor of the idea of the crucified king? Check the book Sixteen Crucified Saviors, Golden Bough, history of crucifixion, including variations and equivalents of crucifixion such as the entrapment chair in Hades, and equivalents of the king such as Prometheus.
History of "cross" as religious symbol
Crucifixion as religious symbol was natural in the conceptual language of 100 BCE-300 CE. All the elements, and various element combinations, were common, if we integrate myth as mystic experiencing.
"Myth as mystic experiencing" may be a key to recognizing that there are many precedents for Jesus' cross. Trace the coalescence of the composite Jesus, to show that there was precedence to a large extent, including very close equivalents to Jesus' cross -- but an issue is, what year are we looking for a cross before?
This is an Integral (Ken Wilber) quest for the Historical Jesus -- including myth, mystic experiencing, politics of empire, the concept of kingship and sovereignty, psyche-transformation metaphors, ritual drinking, and more.
What was the cross idea all about? What were the ideas of various crosses about? What are precedents, concurrents, and antecedents in myth, religion, mystic experiencing, politics, battle, astrology?
Types of crosses and their dates: what's the history of crosses? The tau cross was used in literal crucifixion, around 100 BCE it was very common and came to represent organized rebellion against the system of Caesar. The flattened-X "celestial cross" (in Mithraism and astrotheology), was around 160 BCE. Check David Ulansey's book on Mithraism.
When was the Chi-Rho used? What kind of cross would have been on Constantine's shield, and what kind did he supposedly see in the sky -- the Chi-Rho? What does the Chi-Rho mean, and why? I propose the Rho is the sword as control-handle of the celestial cross, and the X is the precession of the equinox of fixed stars, together representing rulership over fate/ time/ determinism/ Necessity/ heimarmene.
What's the history of the concept of mythic fastening in myth, mystic experiencing, and punishment? The idea of "chain/nail/tie a rebel godman or king-child to wood/stone/rock/tree/post/pillar" is a main theme of myth/mysticism.
How should we picture the Christian cross? It's classically portrayed as a tau cross, in the ground, with Jesus with crown of thorns, with placard declaring King of the Jews, with blood often from his pierced side (liver/heart) into his cup. Sometimes his heart has a cross and flame atop, and a crown of thorns and pierced side.
When was the tau cross first used as a religious symbol? What about other crosses or equivalents, in the form of an X, Celtic cross, pillar with arms, tree trunk with arms, cosmic sphere with crossed rings, or Chi-Rho "ruler of the cosmos" symbol. We must define what we mean by "the cross as a religious symbol".
If Caesar is represented by a coin with Chi-Rho as ruler of the cosmos, that is a religious symbol. But Christianity compared that Chi-Rho cross of cosmic victory with the Tau cross of total defeat, crucifixion -- the cross of victory meets the cross of defeat, which fits right in with mythic/mystic initiation: to defeat one's lower self is to be victorious as the One higher self.
Caesar is proud of his cross of worldly victory, the Chi-Rho, the sword control-handle controlling the cosmos and rotation of the stars.
In contrast, the worship of the cross of crucifixion -- let us not hasten to label it "Christianity", but rather to forget what we think we know, and comprehend its meaning in its religious and political context -- inverts and co-opts Caesar's cross, worshipping "the other cross", the tau cross of crucifixion rather than the Chi-Rho cross of mundane military victory.
These proto-Christians, these worshippers of the other cross, deliberately worship "the wrong cross", the cross that is the opposite of the one the cult of Caesar meant -- they choose to worship the low type of cross, the cross of shame and lowest dishonor, instead of the high type of cross.
Who, or what figure, most kills the greatest number of egos? Perhaps ask "what teacher uses what figure to most kill the greatest number of egos?" My strategy is to use the mythic-only Jesus figure to kill more egos than any other teacher using any other mythic figure -- but I use other mythic figures as well. Other Hellenistic mythic figures affixed to the physical are representative of no-free-will.
The king-on-cross figure (which Jesus explicitly is) is arguably the clearest, most explicit figure -- the figure closest to profanely revealing the mysteries. According to one view, the Christians were persecuted because they openly profaned the mysteries -- this would explain why the cross was not used until the pagan world was replaced by the Christian.
When the pagan world remained, the legal prohibition against profaning the mysteries remained. When the pagan world was gone, the legal prohibition against profaning the mysteries was gone, and the symbol of the king on the cross then appeared in representations. The crucified king on the cross may be an unacceptably clear representation of the mysteries, constituting profanation of the mysteries. This is why I choose to focus on the Cross when explaining the entheogenic discovery of no-free-will.
The allegorical and metaphorical meaning of the Cross is a tremendous challenge to reason. Applying a very rationalistic, problem-solving mentality to the data of entheogenic cognition, and mixing rationality with the loose cognitive binding of mental constructs that is produced by entheogens, the metaphorical meaning of the Cross can be decoded in ten years or less, given the kind of writings available in the Western world during the 1990s.
The Cross is a metaphorical puzzle or riddle: How can a mortal human being die on a cross, yet have lived at the beginning of the universe, and continue to live after he has died? The death on the cross is the mind's willing sacrifice of the false assumption of personal metaphysical sovereignty. The false sovereign to abandon in order to enter the arrived kingdom of God is the virtual ego as supposed cause of the mind's thoughts and the supposed controller of the mind's assumed free will.
This "death" is not a mere poetic metaphor; ego death is literally experienced as a kind of death during the entheogenic mystic state; the initiate reports "Oh no, I am dying! Have I died? I no longer exist!" Entheogenic cognition perceives time as a timeless eternal block, so that in vision-logic, one has a cognitive perception of frozenness of time so clear and vivid, it is as tangible as an ordinary sensory perception.
The initiate perceives having been resting at this present time-slice for all of timeless eternity, so that when the "thread" of his cognitive stream arrives at this point, this present thought was not only predestined, but actually was already present, frozen at this timeslice from eternity, from the beginning of the universe. How does that mortal initiate continue to live after he has died?
He was mortal because he used to live in the false shape of an ego, and he was doomed to death -- ego death, that is. But now he has died that death on the frozen spacetime cross, and became helpless and dead but was raised up not by his dead power of egoic exertion, but by the Ground of Being or perhaps by some compassionate transcendent controller thereof: the hidden alien God as puppetmaster or Virtual Reality designer.
The initiate has become immortal because he has died his mortal ego-death. Having been raised in Christ, timelessly along with all others who were so raised, ordinary consciousness returns and he continues to live bodily, but no longer takes the egoic assumption of free will seriously. He now has ascended to (consciousness of) deterministic kingdom of God.
His thoughts and acts are now known by his mind as originating not from himself as sovereign ego, but from the Ground of Being which gives rise to all that exists, including all personal thoughts and movements of the will -- thus the mind awakens to its relation with the Ground: the mind is a son that is, in every thought, authored and created by the Ground or its hidden controller, which is the actual Father or progenitor of all personal thoughts.
The egoic mind thought it was the sovereign Father, the ultimate author of its own thoughts, but now it has become a transcendent mind that has realized that its thoughts are ultimately authored or fathered by the Ground or by a hidden puppetmaster that created the Ground.
This is the metaphorical solution to the metaphorical puzzle of how I was a mortal human being that died on a cross, yet lived at the beginning of the universe, and continued to live after I have died.
Finding the solution to this puzzle required combining the best that science and rationality has to offer, with full access to an overwhelming diversity of books, writings, online resources, and theories, together with the intense inspiration of the Holy Spirit, operating within a Christian religious framework that also includes a wealth of books and articles about other religions. This kind of intellectual arsenal also has proven compatible with the development of science and information technology.
Some Christ-myth theorists are limited in their approach, trying too hard to only use the tools that a scientific-history approach to understanding Jesus provides, or only using a history-of-myth approach, or using an entheogen approach alone while denigrating scientific rationality. As Ken Wilber wisely asserts, mental development requires honoring, strengthening, and affirming all approaches together, each one working in its proper relationship to the others.
The mistake everyone makes, the mistake to watch out for, is promoting one approach to the exclusion of others. You must use rationality, cognition, metaphor, art, emotion, and sensory perception all together, as a skillfully unified tool set -- this is how I characterize Wilber's term "vision-logic". Reason and imagination find tentative solutions, then problems, and then they work together to solve those problems, even multi-layered problems.
A multi-tool approach is required to solve a multi-layered problem such as decoding the political-allegory layer of the book of Revelation in conjunction with decoding the interpenetrating experiential mystic-state allegory layer of Revelation. No matter how Christ-like one feels, you cannot understand the meaning or metaphorical puzzle solution of the Cross unless you clearly understand both the political-allegory layer and the experiential-allegory layer, and differentiate them to be able to flip between and dynamically map between these two layers of metaphor.
Similarly, one cannot have the fullest peak experience without having both a full systematic model of ego death together with the full presence of the Holy Spirit of loose cognitive association. Both aspects are needed, to amplify each other.
Cheryl wrote (paraphrased):
>An insightful way to interpret the symbol of the cross includes the concepts of enlightenment and also ground of being. The cross is such an archetypal symbol, it is validly used and interpreted in many ways. It can symbolize the unity of all things, emanating from the point where the separate arms conjoin.
The album cover Thee Hypnotics' _Come Down Heavy_ shows the 4 band members looking up, bodies joined into one at the heart.
If by "the cross" we mean specifically the Cross within the canonical Christian myth-religion, this Cross must be mentally pictured with a man on it who was arrested under the charge of rebelliously aspiring to kingship: highlight in your mind the *crown* of thorns, the *scepter* he was given, and the *sign* over his head, reading "The King of the Jews".
"Jews" is a two-level term, esoterically referring to "all people who have been divinely elected to be given full experiential awareness of no-free-will". Effectively, the Cross means "leader of the awakened marionettes who were then returned to life and raised by the divine up to the level of the divine".
Jesus not merely as king of the puppets, but rather, Jesus as divine leader-king of the divinized puppets. The Cross on a church is thus read as "the path of being made aware of your puppethood and then being lifted up out of the realm of puppethood."
Any authentically mystic reading of mythic symbols must be grounded in *experience*; the intense mystic state of experience. The symbol of the arrested king-claimant fastened to the cross is *not* merely an ordinary-state symbol, but rather, is a metaphorical *description* that *reports* an intense mystic-state experience. Here is where the poseur who pretends to be wise is separated from the authentic magus.
The experienced entheogenist has *felt* and *experienced* spacetime affixion, like a monk's cloak hanging on a hook, like a mask of Dionysus on a marble pillar. Thus one receives the marks of the stigmata.
Treating the cross as a symbol referring to stellar events is ok, reflecting indeed the ancient thinking, but better, follow through by remembering that stellar events were used to tie and point back again to what? To intense mystic-state experiencing, through using the idea of "ascent through ever-slower spheres, to the stopped starry one, tearing beyond it past the deterministic prison's walls" as an experiential report; as a *description* of *experience*.
I wrote that given determinism, we are not guilt-culpable; all guilt is properly attributed to God/Ground/Fate as the absolute controller and author of the cosmos and every thought and act of will. Any just punishment must be of the puppetmaster, not his puppets. That's true, but the key emphasis should be on the essence of guilt-agency.
Most essentially, the meaning of the crucifixion is that we are guilty of falsely acting as upstart rebel sovereign-claimant moral guilt-agents but are really just puppets, therefore any just punishment for the specific underlying claim of being a primary moral agent (the original lie which underlies the falsity of all our guilt- claims) must be the punishment of the puppetmaster -- not just for any and all guilt lumped together, but most fundamentally, for our root "guilt" of claiming to be guilt-agents.
God justly should be punished for our root guilt of claiming to be guilt-agents; we are false rebel upstart kings who are really puppets, so the guilt of our falsely claiming to be sovereigns -- the root guilt under all guilt -- must belong to God, and must be punished in God. How can one man's punishment fulfill justice for another's guilt? It can't. God is justly punished for what he forced us to do -- our rebellious claim to sovereignty was never our act, was never our own guilt in the first place.
The crucifixion allegory represents God being justly punished specifically for our root, underlying, fundamental false claim to moral agency -- all our sins rest on that one root sin. God as puppetmaster is justly punished for our sins which actually our his sins since they originate from him, the puppetmaster of our thoughts and the author of our delusion. We are guilty of one thing underlying all our guilt; that root guilt is the claim to moral agency, the claim that we are culpable for our guilt. We are not actually culpable for our root guilt or all the minor particular guilt-actions that rest on the root guilt premise; God is.
We are guilty at root of claiming moral sovereignty, but God *made* us make this claim; therefore *God* is justly punished for making us make this claim. This root guilt and therefore all other guilt is reassigned from our false ego to God as true controller, and we are thus absolved and emptied of all culpability. The cross allegorically expresses the root cybernetic redemption and absolution.
The book The Jesus Conspiracy seems to imply that there was only one crucifixion in history that included a crown of thorns and pierced side. Do any descriptions of the many crucifixions include any of the supposedly distinct elements applied to Jesus' crucifixion? I suspect that the crucified mock would-be king was a standard idea because so many myths are centered on kings and the humiliation of each person's sense of kingship as a sovereign, prime-mover agent.
The humiliation takes various forms, often of being stuck and fastened to something physical such as throne, tree trunk, rock, or altar. Myth and crucifixion were much closer that we usually assume. Was it common to mock crucified rebels as mythic kingly figures, to mock them as eagle-pecked Prometheus, to put a crown of torment on them? I'm calling into question a foundation of the historical Jesus proposal, which is that there was a *single*, *unique* man with Jesus' attributes and crucifixion details.
Myth, religion, and actual political kingship were tightly intertwined. The idea of kingship was used to express mystic experiencing, and the elements of mystic-myth were used to describe the actual king and the upstart would-be kings who battled him. For example, the battle of the Titans against Zeus, or King Pentheus against Dionysus, or King Saul against King David.
Kings are the most common element in myth, being a metaphor for the false sense of being a prime mover, and myth's primary purpose was to describe and convey mystic experiencing. I expect to see *more* use of mythic elements in actual kingship and battles about rulership and political power than we usually see -- think of the magic, omens, liver-analysis, superstition, and sacrifice intertwined with military battles.
Our present misunderstanding of the era is due to our modern compartmentalization into "myth", way over here, and "religion", way over there, and "politics" and "battle" and "mystic experiencing" and "astrology" separated far apart. This separation without integration serves to protect the illusion of a single historical Jesus, which is based on the assumption of a single, unique figure, as though only in one man could myth, politics, kingship, religion, mystery religion, and mystic experiencing have come together.
But in reality, these elements were normally fused together and tightly intertwined. Therefore the mock-king elements of Jesus' crucifixion could well have been common, so that it would be unlikely that only a single man had a crown of thorns. The crown of thorns and crucifixion made such good sense in the mythic thinking of the time, the idea was likely in the air and could have been applied to multiple people.
There was a creative variety of ways people were crucified, and maybe numerous men were crucified upside-down, or with crown, or on an X cross.
One can experience being fastened to spacetime. Actual crucifixion was deliberately a perverse allusion to that mystic experience, so that even corporal punishment was integrated into pre-modern myth-religion-philosophy-politics-etc. The cross was also interpreted later in abstract, theoretical-mystical ways.
We should investigate the entheogenic origins of Christianity.
>The fact of the matter is, it doesn't change anything that went before. You cannot unmake the last 2000 years of brutality and persecution of those who used plants. Read the histories at least.
>Part of the problem is that some Christians think that the forbidden fruit that Eve tempted Adam with was the "magic" mushroom.
God was right: you die (as metaphysical sovereign self-author, a cybernetic self-control ego death) from entheogens such as Amanita. The toxin-wise, skin-shedding serpent was right: you do not die (bodily death) from entheogens such as Amanita.
If I am ill and dying a kind of death, and find I'm guilty of assuming a logical impossibility (that I'm a sovereign self-author), my suffering and transformation of mental model is like a capital punishment. I'm punished for believing in moral agency and thinking I am ruler enough to possess genuine moral culpability.
The mushroom is forbidden to the ego, in that if the egoic mind consumes the mushroom, the ego will die and will be "punished" for taking egoic moral culpability as real.
There is a moderately complex transformation from the moralist way of thinking about the sin of consuming Amanita and the enlightened way of thinking about the sin of consuming Amanita. The deluded mind is guilty of believing in guilt, guilty like a rebel would-be sovereign. To be genuinely guilty, you must possess genuine control. The main meaning of Paraclete is not comfortor, not Advocate, but rather, defense lawyer.
The devil's important role in God's court of judgement is the accuser -- rather, the accusing party. The defense lawyer in the high mythic court says "The defendent is innocent, because he never had genuine metaphysical control. God made him act like a rebellious sovereign though such a status is logically impossible."
The accuser, thinking in the deluded egoic way, says "The defendent is guilty of trespassing by acting as a sovereign self-author in a world that God is the only ruler of." Court scenes in the bible tales are set in this high mythic court in which capital crimes are judged.
>>This is what they blame our *Fall* on and all of the subsequent evil and trouble that was unleashed on the world. From their point of view it logically follows that we should be punished for bringing this kind of nastiness in on them.
>>I disagree, but it is worse that futile to try to convince them otherwise - not mention dangerous.
Jesus Symbolic Representation of Complete Repudiation of Freewill Delusion
Lesson and Representation of Complete Experience and Comprehension of the Overpowering of the Personal Will
How Thinking of a Symbol of Willing Violent Death and Timeless Affixion to the Physical World Restabilizes the Psyche during Self-Control Seizure
An ancient king might have reasoned, I will completely cancel and overcome and repudiate my freewill delusion and ego sense, to the most extreme degree possible, to get the fullest benefits and favor from the gods for my kingdom. If a little sacrifice of egoic freewill delusion by repudiating freewill and kneeling to the gods gives the spiritual benefit of divinization and calming the psyche storm, then a more perfect, more complete sacrifice will magically correlate with even better favors from the gods for my kingdom.
If the uncontrollable transcendent controller has full power over the will of a local locus of control -- a personal control agent -- then logically, the personal control agent must admit that its will power is completely vulnerable to be made to turn against the full strength of the greatest will of the personal control agent, even the will to preserve the bodily health.
This logical insight is the experience of personal power being completely overwhelmed -- crying uncle, the logic when seen is experienced as a stranglehold, a noose. The uncontrollable transcendent controller shows this to the mind, and makes the mind fully acknowledge and reflect the fact, and concede the logical good sense of the archetypal idea of a person being made willing to prove this.
This logical concession isn't a matter of action, but of comprehending action. Zen: "I have no real personal desire. Then why do I act? If there is a reason for it, may my head be cut off." There is something to this logic of -- rather, about -- sacrificial violence. Our modern era is strange: we say we are against violence, and yet the media and entertainment industry is all violence, all the time, it seems -- one reason I never want to watch it.
Are we not a blood-soaked society, claiming that it doesn't count because it's just amusing video games? Some of the highest insights are elucidated by thinking of force, violence, coercion of will, concession, and release -- and relief! And deification. Part of the challenge of investigating the subject of enlightenment and of the history of world religion is that we want all the uplifting parts of religion, without the shocking history of transcendent violence, force, and power.
Historically, mysticism commonly is a matter of experiencing being overpowered by the transcendent saying "Admit it -- I can and could and might force you to even will your own violent demise, even if that's the thing you, as control agent, least want to do. That's the power I have as uncontrollable transcendent controller, over your will.
I could make you either fight against me and lose, whatever that might mean, or I could show you the truth about the nothingness and absolute dependence of your power with respect to mine, and then return stable virtual power to you, now informed by the truth. Now go, you shall run your kingdom, knowing the relationship between my power, the uncontrollable transcendent controller, and your power, as a puppet, a merely secondary, local locus of control."
By this extreme and logically perfected view, the godman is a logical representation of the ability of the higher power to absolutely bend and take over the will of the secondary controller, demonstrating to the extreme, this relative power relationship.
This representation of extreme overpowering of personal will keeps mental harmony and transforms the mind's mental worldmodel as the assumed power is completely taken away from egoic thinking, ego's arm is twisted and instructed in a kind of absolute overpowering of personal will power from betrayal by one's Achilles' heel: the betraying spring of one's own control-thoughts.
I do anything I want, as secondary controller -- but the catch is, what I want is controlled entirely by the mysterious uncontrollable transcendent controller, who taught me an instructive lesson by putting in my head the willingness to do that which I, as personal control locus, would never want to do: bodily self-destruction. What is the goal in this present analysis? To understand truth, and to understand the history of religion.
Let us change the subject to harmless Buddhism. Levy's book Buddhism: a 'Mystery Religion'? describes Buddhist monks who willingly burning themselves alive just to earn the community divine favor -- a somewhat convincing demonstration of transcendence of the personal will, but I prefer to merely give the nod to a willingly violently sacrificed mythic godman figure such as Attis: it seems more to the point and less superstitious.
Buddhism: a 'Mystery Religion'? Paul Levy. NY: Schocken Books, 1968. Hardcover - 111 pages. Six lectures on aspects of Buddhism. Subjects include: Ordination and the Buddhist Hierarchy in Theravadin Communities; 'The March Toward the Light' Among the Northern Buddhists; The First Council, The Corpus of the Law, and Ananda, Prototype of the Candidate for Ordination; Saints' Lives or Initiation Themes; and Primitive Buddhism and 'Mystery Religions'.
To be enlightened, you must in some sense become (be made) willing to endure bodily suffering and death. It is not at all necessary to harm the body; in fact the actuality of harming the body is utterly irrelevant, and doing so is arguably a failure of comprehension, a misunderstanding.
Self-Control Cybernetics of the Experience of Being Ransomed and Suddenly Released from Doomed Loss of Control by the Godman's Willing Captivity and Complete Suffering and Death
Chapter: "Esoteric Christianity: The Greek Mystery Religions and Their Impact on Christianity"
From Andrew Benson's book The Origins of Christianity and the Bible.
http://www.egodeath.com/bensonmysteryrels.htm -- "According to another version, Baal was arrested (like Jesus). He was sentenced, chastised, and was sent away to die with a criminal (Jesus was crucified with two robbers), while another criminal was freed (Barabbas was freed in place of Jesus). According to this version, a woman cleansed away the blood that was oozing from the heart of Baal , which had apparently been pierced by a spear or a javelin. Afterward, Baal was found in a mountain, where he was being watched over. The goddess Anath prepared a nest for him and cared for him. (Women went to the grave of Jesus to care for his body.) Finally, Baal, or Bel-Marduk, came back alive and well from the mountain. Such myths circulated before the birth of Christianity."
What are the cognitive dynamics of the idea "Jesus (or equivalent mythic godman) gave up his life to redeem us?", and the "ransom 1 to release many" idea? Always remember that myths are first of all a report of mystic-state *experiencing*. The strategy in asking what the "ransom sacrifice of Jesus" legitimately and coherently means, is to first ask "How does entheogenic enlightenment, as an experience, match the dynamic pattern of "releasing many people when capturing one person"?
During self-control seizure and the feeling of being trapped and frozen into the frozen timeless spacetime block, when the mind grasps and comprehends the meaning of the sacrificed-and-ascended mythic godman, as indicating no-free-will and being mysteriously granted practical self-control again (a new lease on life with a new understanding), the mind suddenly is released from self-control struggle and made stable again.
That this happens is a universally reported phenomenon. The single archetypal notion -- being given the comprehension of the godman figure as representing the discovery of no-free-will and as representing that egoically-died godman being brought back to a higher mode of life -- is given to many minds, under many godman-names. By this one universal Idea, Concept, Logos, Word, or Archetype, many minds are transformed into the transcendent mental worldmodel.
When this transformation happens, it is a sudden homeostatic state shift from the experience of a freewill agent desperately struggling to retain self-control power, to the experience of being mysterious injected with the comprehension of the godman's dying and being injected with confident reliance on the godhead, the uncontrollable transcendent controller. The saving idea is given to many minds. The saving idea is that of an Archetype.
The moment the mind is made to picture and comprehend this archetype of a chained and ego-dead godman, the mind experiences a type of release from a closing-in prison. This is the good sense of "God sacrificed his son as a ransom sacrifice to set us free." The godman idea helps the mind make the move that is represented by the godman idea. This dynamic could happen without the godman.
First some minds experienced the core experience of "release-upon-repudiating freewill thinking", then to represent this dynamic, they invented the archetypal idea and told others. After that point, to think of the idea and comprehend it was to immediately follow the same pattern as the idea, and thus it became experienced as "the willing spacetime-fastening death of the mythic godman *caused* my experience of release and enlightenment."
The willing self-sacrifice of the mythic archetypal godman's lower, freewill mode of thinking, serves as a way-showing conceptual pattern to guide one's own willing self-sacrifice of the lower, freewill mode of thinking, and thereby experience the same kind of release and new mode of life that is described in the story of the archetypal godman figure.
Not the literal ransom sacrifice of Jesus sets us free from the jaws of hell and death, but rather, *comprehending the idea* of the egoic-thinking sacrificing figure and his being given faith and reliance on the uncontrollable transcendent controller, causes that same dynamic to happen in the reflecting mind during control-instability escalation.
The vividness of the picture of the godman and his receiving faith and new life upon sacrificing his freewill thinking, enables the mind to most easily grasp the idea of repudiating freewill thinking, being given faith and reliance on the utterly mysterious controllable transcendent controller, and thereby regaining practical control stability combined with knowledge of the secondary-only nature of our control agency.
What about the blood and violence? What dynamic function does it fulfill? It is key that these mythic heroes and warriors willingly sacrificed their freewill thinking; they were made to will that which most emphatically and extremely and absolutely contradicted their egoic accustomed desire. What is the strongest egoic desire? To avoid pain and mayhem and preserve one's bodily well-being.
There is a religious connection between the idea of bloody violence and calming -- look at Kali, look at Jesus' death, look at the Iliad heroes, Caesar's 23 stabbing wounds, the story of the Passover skipping the houses that were marked with the blood of the lamb. Here is where the entheogen researchers haven't ventured near. Yes, blood is the entheogenic wine, but violence and blood figures in all myth, at least in all the godman myths and suchlike in world religion.
How does spilling the victim's blood on the priest purify the priest -- is it just the notion of ingesting the entheogen? No, the victim represents the desire, the self-protecting controllership of the sacrificer. The heart of egoic will power is the drive to first of all, avoid bodily harm to oneself. When the mind is brought to a state in which *even this most fundamental personal desire* is cancelled and suspended, the mind is ready to be made to sacrifice the freewill delusion.
However, the key thing is the cancellation of self-will and freewill thinking -- not of physical harm. The mind is reformed by mentally repudiating freewill thinking, not by causing harm to oneself. The godman idea, as a symbolic embodiment of these self-will dynamics, includes the portrayal of being made willing even to allow harm -- the loose cognition state suspends all accustomed mental construct structures, even including the will to avoid bodily harm to oneself.
The mind can gain full understanding of these relationships by merely thinking of the idea of a single mythic figure who willingly accepts bodily harm. The lightweight pop Buddhists yammer emptily about needing to abandon all desires. They don't realize that such sanity is close to psychotic bodily harm to oneself.
Trendoids get piercings, the radicals get scarification as body art -- but real religion is a matter of being made willing, against all the most fundamental egoic mental structures of self-preservation and personal controllership, to accept bodily harm as a way of crossing out egoic freewill thinking.
The main basis of mental-model transformation is not at all any harmful physical action such as against one's accustomed bodily self-preservation drive, but rather, to bypass that and get to the real point, which is more abstract: repudiating the notion of freewill agency. Willing and permitting physical violence against oneself to the point of bodily death is merely a *metaphor* or the most extremely clear theoretical example of cancellation of freewill personal power.
The godhead could very well turn the mind's will in *any* direction, even the direction of harming oneself against one's deepest desire -- this idea is the idea of being overpowered in the extreme by the godhead.
One's sense of personal power is most extremely exemplified by one's power to avoid willing bodily harm, but one's vulnerable spot is that one cannot, as a merely secondary locus of control, control what one wills; theoretically, the godhead could inject one with the desire to demonstrate overcoming one's own egoic natural inclination to avoid bodily harm.
The mystic said "I wish I could give up all desire." May you get your wish. "I don't like where this train of thought is being directed... I really, really don't like where this is going." Do rational Buddhists believe in Mara the tempting devil, causer of stormy lightning? Buddha's touching the ground, perhaps with other hand out in gesture of divine mysterious gratuitous compassion and calm and no-fear, may be functionally equivalent to the calming effect of the idea of the violent willing sacrifice of the Hellenistic godmen.
"If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, it's just a spring clean for the May queen; there are two paths you can go by; there's still time to change the road you're on."
To change away from the road (deadly unstable train of thought) of extreme turmoil and practical loss of control of the will, when the devil is fascinating the mind with deadly tempting questions and tests about control power, rebuke the devil by understanding the godman sacrifice as symbol of complete repudiation of freewill delusion and mysteriously receive trusting dependence on the godhead.
Picturing the "pleasing to god" idea of the willing complete sacrificed godman as representing no-free-will sets the thinker free from control instability. The idea is the saving thing.
God gave his son, a meaningful mythic figure representing a cybernetic self-control relationship, encountered high in the air at the end of time, judgment day, and second coming, descending on a cloud, as a ransom sacrifice to release the trembling mystic from the jaws of hell, delusion, confused thinking, and practical control instability. Satan falls from heaven like lightning and the mind's spirit is ascended to rule with God as adopted son.
Was the crucifixion of Dionysus a pre-1st Century CE a model that was readily available as a basis for the Hellenisation of a sect of the Kingdom of God movement into a mystery cult with a crucified rising savior?
There are easy, natural parallels between binding to a rock, altar, tree, and cross. Consider a history-of-myth sequence such as:
o Binding of Isaac to the altar
o Chaining of Prometheus to the mountain rock
o Chaining of Ixion to the wheel.
o Dionysus as marble pillar
o Tying of Attis to a tree
o Punishment & display of rebel slaves via crucifixion on tau cross (~200 BCE) -- an idea largely *based on* or inspired by the myths; this form of punishment was inherently mythic-alluding from the start
o Celestial cross of astrotheology and Mithraism
o Tau cross with would-be king as a mythic symbol
The connection of myth, sacrifice, initiation experience, and tau cross, and punishment as metaphor goes all the way back. There's no way to arrange these mythemes in a definite historical sequence; it's a swirl and cloud of mystic experiencing, punishment as mythic metaphor, and actual punishment that deliberately alludes to myths of binding of lower self to deterministic cosmos, which is experienced in the mystic state the initiates undergo. This swirl arose all together; talk of a "crucifixion model available" needs elaboration.
There was something akin to a "crucifixion of Dionysus" myth before the Common Era, providing a crucifixion model as a basis for Hellenizing the Jewish "Kingdom of God" movement into a mystery cult with a crucified and rising savior.
>There are easy, natural parallels between binding to a rock, altar, tree, and
>cross. Consider a history-of-myth sequence such as:
>o Binding of Isaac to the altar
>o Chaining of Prometheus to the mountain rock
It's essential to include:
o King Pentheus lifted up on a tree
"On account of his noble birth Pentheus was a powerful king, but also because of this he was an arrogant man of insolent and impious character, and letting himself be led by such unfortunate features, he came to be punished by the the god of the vine Dionysus." Mystic exegesis: In myth-religion, always replace "death" or "die" by "mystic death", and always replace "king" by "the initiate".
King Ego is ignorant and considers itself to be the controller and author of the mind's thoughts. Dionysus, which is mixed wine and the mental state and knowledge it brings, punishes the sin of the ego; such rebellious sin against the Divine reality deserves death; the false King Ego must die, in helplessness, and then *be lifted up by* the Divine.
The king -- that is, the initiate formerly under the delusion of being a soveriegn self-controller -- must bow to the higher, prior, underlying, overarching rulership of Dionysus/Jesus. We need much more work on a crossover theology of Dionysus/Jesus and the "contest of the two kings, mortal and divine" mytheme.
The main force causing people to assume the historical Jesus is ignorance of knowledge of Dionysus as initiation rite -- or the inadequacy of the theories published so far; the theories need to study the mystic meaning of kingship and realize that the sense of kingship (primary sovereign controllership) is dissolved and suspended in the mystic state.
The problem is, when theorists ask the meaning of the "king", they *only* think of socio-political relations, missing the other half, which is actually the most important half, of the system of interplay of allegory domains. The past decades have not made as much progress in understanding Jesus' kingship mystically, but have started to master the lower, more literal half of the allegory, understanding sociopolitical (but not religious) meanings of kingship or rulership.
Jesus as king has a lesser allegory domain and a greater allegory domain. The lesser domain is the sociopolitical semi-allegory, where 'king' means pretty much 'king' -- literal political rulership -- covered well enough by Burton Mack, Rodney Stark, Wes Howard-Brook (Unveiling Empire, The Church Before Christianity), and any book with the word "Empire" in the title.
Book list: 25 books: Christianity as political rebellion against "divine" Caesar
That's the easy part (child's play, of sorts), to see the socio-political rebellion theme in early Christianity -- it's hardly a matter of "allegory". The greater allegory domain is that of mystic/mythic/religious allegorization, where 'king' means 'the child-mind's delusion of personal sovereign controllership".
The 'king' in King Pentheus vs. King Dionysus, King Caesar vs. King Jesus, and King Saul vs. King David, means *both* a revolution in the socio-political realm *and* a revolution in the mystic-experiencing psyche; 'king' as literal king and 'king' as false mode of psyche and self-concept. It's necessary to fully develop our understanding of both sorts of allegorical kingship, as distinct allegory domains -- the barely allegorical "king as king" idea, and the very allegorical "king as prime-mover self-concept" idea.
o Alexander Jannaeus, the Maccabean king (103-76 BCE) crucified 800 Jews in 87 BCE.
http://www.telusplanet.net/public/dgarneau/euro27.htm, find "jann"
o In the Spartacus rebellion 73-71 BCE, 6000 rebel slaves were crucified.
There was something akin to a "crucifixion of Dionysus" myth before the Common Era, providing a crucifixion model as a basis for Hellenizing the Jewish "Kingdom of God" movement into a mystery cult with a crucified and rising savior.
Did the idea of reading crucifixion as a mythic symbol come from the crucifixions, or vice versa? The idea of crucifixion may be based on the various mystic-state "fastening to the cosmos" myths. There is a very strong resonance between the "fastening to the physical cosmos" mystic mytheme and crucifixion. There is circular influence between godman-affixion myths and actual crucifixion.
It would be good to assign dates to each item I listed.
Why is fastening to the cosmos so often represented by some sort of fastening to a tree trunk? A tree trunk is like the person as experienced during the mystic state: what appears as an isolated 6-foot tall figure is actually deeply rooted in the Ground that gives rise to everything. One discovers that one is as a tree trunk.
Herms and the worship of standing stones, and the pillar of salt idea, are probably all alternative mystic-experiencing metaphors that are equivalent to the "rooted tree trunk" metaphor. It may be that a parallel was drawn between the phallus of a reclining man and the worship of the tree trunk. Religious revelation occurs in a climax (or series of climaxes) that can be closely allegorized by sexual climax -- think of the orchestral build-up twice in the Beatles' song A Day in the Life.
Mystic death and rebirth happens when one's lower self and bodyself sense is frozen into the physical universe in a spacetime unity experience; at that point, the soul or spirit ascends to the transcendent plane above the spacetime block or cosmic rock/cave and one is born out from the spacetime rock.
I suspect the death of Socrates must be considered, and "drinking poison as capital punishment" as a metaphor for drinking mixed wine and then dying mystically during mythic-experiencing. We need to explore the interconnection between:
o Capital punishment (punishment by death)
o Drinking mixed wine
o Drinking poison
o Mystic ego death
o Ego as king
o Righteousness through sacrifice of one's assumed, claimed sovereign agency
The idea of capital punishment is much closer to mystic experiencing than is usually acknowledged. A mortal is under the curse of (mystic) death and is subject to mystic death, and only becomes righteous and divine upon undergoing that (mystic) death of his "mortal" lower self.
A stock idea of antiquity: "The king must be sacrificed for us to gain divine approval, appeasement, vitality, and continued life."
A king in battle crucified his son as a sacrifice to the gods to win victory, which is given by the gods. I don't recall when this was supposed to have taken place.
I haven't looked at this book, though it may have clues for researching the combinations of crucifixion, affixion-to-the-cosmos in myth, punishment, or punishment as metaphor:
The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors
I don't know if that book mentions the Norse tree-affixed godman myth. Northern Europe had outposts of influence in the Mediterranean and may have contributed to the "crucified godman" idea. But the idea was a no-brainer even without the influence of the Northern version of the idea.
Ixion was chained to a fiery wheel, either in the sky or the underworld, for eternity.
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Ixion.html - picture
http://www.bulfinch.org/fables/graphics/ixion.gif - on the right, tied to wheel - compare Peter's upside-down crucifixion
Punishment with death after drinking or eating something is a common theme which connects to Jesus' declaration that he wouldn't drink the mixed wine again until he drinks it in the kingdom of heaven, followed by his death by affixion to wood planted in the ground.
I don't know if anyone has claimed that Dionysus himself was fastened to a tree in any way, or to wood planted in the ground. He was portrayed -- as bearded and therefore initiated -- as a marble pillar with mask and robe. The initiate is represented by the young king Pentheus, who ends up lifted up in a tree, then killed by his own inebriated mother, and thereby becomes united with Dionysus.
Was Dionysus himself portrayed on a tau cross before the common era? I don't know. What might one hope to accomplish by discovering a BCE artifact showing Dionysus on a cross -- what's the potential gain; what difference would it make?
After drinking the witch's potion, the man was turned to a donkey -- the lower self. Upon initiation, including sacred drinking, the donkey was returned to a man, now elevated.
We see a donkey-self on a cross. (What year is this grafitti supposed to be?)
We see some Bacchus/Dionysis on a cross on a pendant, in some year or other. These varieties of crucifixion show that the concept of crucifixion was a natural, appropriate, meaningful religious concept in that era, indicating that Jesus has no monopoly on the cross as a religious symbol.
When thinking in the language of metaphorical representation of mythic/mystic experiencing, the crucified godman is nothing new -- at most, it's a new combination of standard, old, well-known and familiar mythemes. It was, at most, a moderately clever and apropopriate new *expression* of very familiar religious-experiencing ideas. The "crucified godman" idea was, even if new, only new in the same sense as a new Rock song in a familiar genre.
This expression of the standard ideas was popular because it was so appropriate; it took the familiar, common political elements that were used to express other mystery religions (the king as divine, and the king as an opponent of the divine) and combined them with the context of the many crucified rebels of the day, who were naturally seen as heroic figures by many.
In the context of the era, people had every reason to bring together elements of "vying of kings for divine vindication", affixion of the godman to the physical cosmos, mystic-experiencing rites, and the "glorified, divinized rebel slave hero" idea. Nothing could have been easier than putting together this combination -- *it was a no-brainer*.
The ideas forced themselves together; it was inevitable, given that context, that the figure of Christ would assemble itself and become literalized. Here is a scene with inscription divinizing Caesar as honored savior and son of God, with crucified heroic rebels against the system of Honor in the background, with mystic rites and myths of affixed godmen in the temples over there, travelling wonder-workers and philosophers wandering about...
The elements were all so in the air, they pushed themselves together of their own accord, whether you the bystander were ready or not. When it's engine time, it engines; when it's composite-Christ coalescence time, the composite Christ coalesces.
> What do you think? Is there any correlation at all between hanging on a tree and hanging on a cross?
> Have you any idea why the writer(s) of Acts would adhere to a tree hanging instead of a cross or stake hanging?
>Hanging on a tree was the primitive form of the sacrificial fertility practice - find a holm oak in a forest glade
Also feeding into this conceptual complex is the Amanita mushroom, which is fastened to the roots of hosts such as pine and oak. Another kind of fungus literally hangs on the trunk of a tree - shelf fungus, useful as tinder. A single tree, the Birch, can have Amanita fastened to the root and shelf fungus attached to the trunk. The mature Amanita has a Tau cross cross-section.
The red phallic Amanita stands near the base of the tree -- this can be read as evidence that someone was suspended from the tree and sacrificed.
I am emphatically not saying that each component of the Christ myth has a single meaning. Each symbol or mytheme participates in a network of multiple associations -- the more, the better.
Several myths involve dying/rising figures, or bound/released figures, secured to a tree or rock and then released. Attis, Prometheus, and Wotan/ Wodenaz/ Odin/ Odhinn: "Wodhanaz impales himself while hanging on Yggdrasil, the world tree... What this divine madness amounted to was a state of temporary possession by their god... Wodhanaz is a god who enters into and possesses his devotees, producing either a state of mystical exultation and mental inspiration on the one hand, or a state of pure, martial bloodlust on the other - a highly desirable state for a warrior on the battlefields of old." -- http://www.swastika.com/symbols.html (interesting page)
There are overloaded clouds of connections and associations, with no single meaning. There are various mythic meanings and isomorphic connections between mystic experiences, being fastened to the tree or to the world, and moving between slavehood and freedom. The astrological associations are also right: there is a cross here (two rings that cross at an angle around a sphere), that appears in Mithraic symbology. The question is, how many legitimate ways, in the plural, can mythicists think of, to build around the idea of being secured to a tree or cross and then released? It is an error to think that there is only one correct meaning.
If the Jesus figure was to be mythologically worthy, he had to be able to assimilate any and all myths and mystic systems that involved crosses and trees.
>About a figure that tried to be Christ (wasn't it Jaques de Molay that had himself crucified in order to share the experience)
>>The way I heard it Jaques de Molay was crucified by his torturers. It may be the Shroud of Turin is neither the shroud of Jesus nor a forgery, but is simply the shroud that was placed over de Molay after he was crucified. The carbon dating fits.
>I was a De Molay (sort of a junior Mason) when I was a teenager. Part of our initiation was to watch a play about the torture and trial of Jaques de Molay. In the play he was crucified, but taken down before he died and covered with a sheet. We had Mason advisors called "Dads." One of the Dads told the story of the shroud in the car on the way home after the play. I have no idea if this is an oral tradition within the Masons or if the guy just made it up. But, as I said, the date from the carbon dating fits. >George
A must-read book for the Turin shroud is The Jesus Conspiracy. One thing this book establishes as fact for me is that the shroud shows a living man and that the gospels have clear hints that the Jesus character in the Jesus story is rescued from death on the cross and is taken alive to the tomb - similar to some "near-miss" Greek stories.
I take it as axiomatic that there was no historical Jesus in a significant sense. However, I allow that there may have been crucified Jewish rebel leaders around the year 30 and one of them may have been rescued from the cross and revived and a shroud created. However, this does not make the gospel account true; it is essentially mythic even if it does incorporate some factual elements such as a rebel leader rescued from the cross.
This view is stable and unimpeachable, because now, if the shroud is from the year 30, this does not shake my disbelief in the historical Jesus, and if the shroud is from Molay's era, my views still stand. Thus my take on the nature of Jesus' existence does not depend on which era the shroud is from.