Thursday, November 15, 2012

Suns of God: The Solar Pantheon, pt. 1

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for quite a while already, and I think its time has come now. Some of these may have popped up among the examples of misuse of linguistics. Some of these have not, yet are more examples of the same. There are also some claims I think need sources, and some that just seem confused. Finally, there is a parallel to Jordan Maxwell's works pointed out, a similarity I will write more about later on. Jordan Maxwell is a kook, and this will be established pretty solidly if needs be.

This post only serves to document problems in a chapter of The Suns of God, and doesn't look at the argument she presents, just the quality of the evidence she presents as part of the argument.

The Solar Pantheon

As a reaction to the theory that speakers of Indo-European entered India a few thousand years ago, she states an indication this early in the book as to her disbelief in the standard theory as accepted by pretty much every historical linguist in the relevant field, every archaeologist in the relevant field, etc:
Many scholars have claimed the spread of cultures occurred in the reverse direction, i.e., out of India. [1, p. 90]
These many scholars either lived more than one and a half century ago or support this claim because of (generally) Hindu nationalist sentiments, lack of understanding of the evidence regarding things, and so on. There is a reason such a stance is a very small minority position in Academia, as far as the spread of Indo-European culture goes.
In any event, Osiris's presence in India can be found in, among other deities, the god Iswara, while Isis is Isi. As British scholar and Indianist Sir William Jones states, "Iswara, or Isa, and Isani, or Isisis are ... unquestionable the Osiris and Isis of Egypt." Like Osiris, Iswara was "arghanautha" the lord of the argha or boat." From this boat myth comes the story of the "Ark of Noah" and Jason's Argo, which Plutarch (c. 45-125 CE) reports was commanded by Osiris. [1, p. 90]
The arghanautha-claim is of Theosophist origins and has no apparent ancient source. It turns out the Hebrew for the ark of Noah would be tevat noah, a phrase that never occurs in the Bible in the first place; the Bible talks of Noah building a תבה, and then in the Greek LXX translation, he built a κιβωτός, a kibotos. Only when it was translated into Latin did it become known as an ark, and only later on was the ark referred to as 'the ark of Noah'. But of course a story where a phrase sounding a lot like ark o' Noah sounds more convincing at first glance than would a similar piece of make-believe where some phrase along the lines of tevat noah was the origin - hearing such foreign phrases has no emotional content, they don't convince by hinting at coincidences that are too good to be true. Would someone like to bet that if the Theosophists who made this claim up had been Swedish-speakers, the ancient phrase they would have made up would have sounded more like Noas ark? If they were Russians, Ноев ковчег (noyef koftchek) is a likely candidate. But essentially, this is a fake etymology for an English phrase not even present in the Bible (ark of Noah), posited to explain the origin of the myth. More rational explanations can be hoped for.
The spread of the Egyptian culture included a purported migration to Mesopotamia, with the Egyptian priesthood supposedly becoming the famous "Chaldeans." Diodorus Siculus relates the Egyptians as maintaining that "a large number" of their colonies went "into the civilized world," with "Belus" taking his colonists to Babylon, where he "appointed priests [Chaldeans] who were exempt from taxes and free of all civic obligations, just like those of Egypt." Another colony went with Danaus to Argos, "nearly the oldest city in Greece." Diodous also writes that the Egyptians claimed the Athenians and the Colchians of Pontus as their own, and that "the Jews lying between Syria and Arabia, were also settled by certain expatriates from Egypt." This latter assertion explains why the male children of these ethnicities are circumcised, as circumcision is "age-old custom imported from Egypt." [1, p. 90]
Except the claim is that Greece also had Egyptian sources - and Greece has never to my knowledge practiced circumcision. Circumcision probably predates even Egyptian practices, though, as it is quite common in most afro-asiatic tribes.

Regarding this bit, duly notice she is only reporting the claimed achievements of Osiris, and not claiming there to be a historical man behind the name; however, it does seem she accepts that these narratives hide real facts regarding movements of ideas, tribes, doctrine and practices.
Osiris then returned to Egypt, ... Diodorus also describes the origin of certain rituals - e.g., the focus on wine and not cutting one's hair - practiced by a widespread brotherhood that in Palestine would become known as Nazarites or Nazarenes, major players in the creation of Christianity.[1, p. 91]
There seems to be some confusion as to who the Nazirites were. The Bible says any Jewish person - including females - could be a Nazirite. This would usually be for a limited time, during which they could not drink wine (or even eat grapes), or cut their hair. A person could also enter the status of being a nazir for life. This was clearly not a brotherhood, unless she is talking of some other movement with a similar name - which of course she is, but it seems she is conflating things rather badly.
 [after discussing the Egyptian god Seb] ... Seb is Osiris's earthly "father"; ... In addition, Seb is "Io-sef," or Joseph; hence, like Jesus, Horus is the "son of Joseph."
Suns of God is clearly not a book aimed at a specialist audience, not written for polyglots of ancient languages. If it were written for a specialist audience, it would be quite different - having a chapter early on describing and justifying the method used, somewhere mentioning what transliteration of words from languages written in other scripts is utilized, etc. Using no such standardized orthography, it is difficult to know where to look this up in Egyptian dictionaries and such. A meaning for the prefix could also help. This way, there is no reasonable way of looking the claim up.
Furthermore, Osiris is "O-Sur-is," Sur meaning sun in sanskrit and bull in Hebrew. As the Bull, Osiris is the sun in the Age of Taurus.

Except, Osiris was likely ASAR in Ancient Egyptian [Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary vol. 1]. I am not denying that ASAR and Hebrew Sur may be cognates - however, it is clearly unlikely ASAR would be picked for its similarity to Sanskrit Surya. Acharya tops this off by making even more confused and unsupportable contentions: Drews, who by and large stands for a theory similar to that of Acharya, came up with another etymology: JES-IRIS or HES-IRIS [197, drews witness to the historicity of Christ].
By what method has she obtained this etymology? Etymologies cannot just be pulled out of a hat. I would like to see some kind of methodology to this, not just assertion - assertion suggests to me that this is just wishful thinking and the looking for similar words in languages around the middle east.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt says Osiris etymology is unknown, but wsir - mighty - is one of the more likely options. the sun in the Age of Taurus (4400-2250) which would make him date to at least that period, although it is claimed that he is 10,000 years old or more.
A very very very reliable argument indeed.
The Passion and Resurrection of Osiris have been major mythical motifs that made their way into Christianity: "That the Passion - as it was distinctly called - and Resurrection of Osiris were yearly and openly celebrated by the worshippers of the Alexandrian gods with alternate demonstrations of grief and joy, ..."
Of course it was not called a passion, as this word is of Latin etymology, from Latin passio. This particular word means suffering originally. It is not that weird that someone who was tortured to death in some manner would have his death described as a suffering. Using capitals for Passion is even more misleading, as capital letters are a fairly recent invention (medieval, really), definitely not shared by the ancient Egyptians, hence, they did not in written form distinguish suffering and Suffering the way we can distinguish passion and Passion. Of course, it could be distinguished by some other means - lexical, perchance (the use of a synonym with different connotations) - but even then, explaining how it was done would be quite called for, rather than just reusing modern conventions for distinguish Passion and passion.

At page 95 she claims Osiris had twelve disciples, and offers Bonwick as a source - we have already seen that her 19th century sources are often not trustworthy; an actual reference to some more trustworthy source would be called for at this point. I will not run down a labyrinth of secondary, tertiary, and n-ary references again.

She accepts claims that some gods of antiquity have a history dating back 17000 years with no doubt as to the accuracy of this statement, yet the acceptance of this is based on evidence that goes back 3300 years.

The great Roman tolerance of religion earlier lauded by Acharya is denied by Acharya:
These mysteries became so extreme in their debauchery that they were banned in 186 BCE by the Romans, ... At the time the mysteries were prohibited, thousands of initiates were slaughtered, ..." [p. 96]
"As we can see, Dionysus is Zeus is the Sun is Iao is Yahweh." [p. 97]
I do not think we can see that just yet, as she has not provided sufficient evidence thereof. However, this phrasing occurs a lot in the work of one Jordan Maxwell and the presence of it here is no surprise. Reading (or watching) works of his provides a great sample of bad fact-checking, fabrications and general bullshit. Jordan Maxwell also thinks courts are called courts because tennis is played on a court, and it is all just a racket, and that is why legal proceedings take place at courts. No seriously, that is the level of argumentation he presents.

On page 97, she claims Paulus/Saulus was just another evemerized sun-deity, on account of his name being similar to the Latvian word for sun, saule. In what way is that a sensible argument at all?
Another of the motifs that Dionysus and Jesus share is the virgin mother. In one version of the Dionysian myth, his mortal mother, fecundated by Zeus Pateras, or "God the Father," is consumed at the god's birth by the attendant blaze, which is appropriate for a sun god. Because in the one version the mother does not survive the birth, and the baby is born from Zeus's thigh, it is claimed that Dionysus was not "born of a virgin." Oddly enough, despite his numerous paramours Zeus himself was called "the virgin"; [p 101]
I call Marcus Varro on this. Certainly, it is possible Zeus was called a Virgin, but I find none of them. I have not looked too carefully, but it is not up to me to look carefully - it is up to Acharya to provide backup that I can find and evaluate.
In addition to the various other correspondences between the Dionysian and Christian myths, both Dionysus and Jesus were said to have been carried in their mothers' wombs for seven months, per Siculus and the Gospel of the Hebrews, respectively. [p. 101]
Why is the source Freke and Gandy, and not, say Cyril of Jerusalem, Discourse on Mary Theotokos? A scholar of greek who reads primary sources - as she purports to be - would, I presume, be a scholar of greek who reads primary sources on account of actually reading primary, greek-language sources? (Yes, Cyril of Jerusalem does say exactly that, though, but ... still.)
Additionally, Christ was not depicted as crucified until the 6th-7th centuries, so there is no scientific reason to conclude that the Orpheus image was copied from Christianity. [p 102]
I agree with the conclusion - yet, I do think sources for the claim regarding when crucifixions appear in Christian art should be substantiated, as there are sources placing it about two centuries earlier. 
Jes Chrishna was the name of the ninth incarnation of Jesnu, or Vishnu, whose animal is the fish, as in the case of Joshua, the son of the fish Nun... Jes is a title of the sun. Jesse was the name of the sun-god of the southern Slavs.[1, p. 103]
This is quoted from Drews' Witness to the Historicity of Christ. He provides no further source for the name of the sun-god of the southern slavs. As he was not a scholar of slavic religion (or even languages), taking his claim at face value is not quite justified. Jasnyj is indeed a word for 'bright' in Russian (with similar words appearing in quite many of the Slavic languages), however, Slavic of the relevant time-period did not permit geminate consonants, and closed syllables were not permitted either. I find no reference to a Slavic sun-god by that name anywhere. 

As both Jesnu and Joshua are symbolized by the fish, so too is Jesus: all three are solar avatars and essentially the same.  [1, p. 103]
This claim that Joshua is symbolized by the fish requires backup.
More from this chapter will be posted during the weekend.

No comments:

Post a Comment