Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Dilling Exhibit

As I have come across people calling themselves rationalists or atheists that have unabashedly referred to the Dilling Exhibit when discussing the Talmud, I have decided to write up a proper debunking of the exhibit's content. For those who have never heard of it, the Dilling exhibit is a quote-mine of Talmudic material, whose intent is to make the Talmud seem as though it accepts and downright encourages theft, pedophilia, murder and various other obviously bad things.

Some Christians also repeat similar allegations regarding the content of the Talmud, whether for anti-Semitic or anti-Judaic purposes. (These two are somewhat distinct things, with different causes, uses, objectives and so on. However, sometimes they do have common ground and there are representatives of both that share the same misunderstandings, misrepresentations and downright fabrications. I may attempt a small dissection of these two topics at some points, but such a dissection will necessarily only be an overview of the relevant literature.)

The Talmud is notoriously difficult to read. In part, this is due to the time that has passed since it was written, and to purely cultural differences - were a rabbi of the 4th century and I to try and express the same sentiments, we would probably express them in wildly different manners. Three main hypotheses for its obscure style are easy to come up with: design, cultural distance (already hinted at above) and incompetence.  I find the two first to be the most likely explanations. Other Jewish works from the same time are often somewhat less difficult to understand (then again, mystical works may be significantly less easy to understand, but the causes seem to be somewhat distinct from the causes underlying the problems when reading the Talmud) - provided you know the involved vocabulary (which is not necessarily easy). The Talmud is, by its nature, a discussion, and as such it records contradictory stances as well as sometimes far-flung reasoning to support whatever point the involved rabbis are trying to make. I suspect the talmudists wanted to make their work force the reader to become a participant in the discussion, rather than just a "reader" (obviously, some of the quoted rabbis may not have been aware their sayings would be recorded - so it is possible the recorded statements merely reflect a general style to engage the pupils?). To that purpose, it is fairly well made - the reader gains much from having a reading partner that has participated in the talmudic discourse earlier.

The final option is that the authors did not really realize the importance of (linguistic) frames of reference at all, and assumed the text would be understandable to anyone despite obvious flaws in understandability. However, the great emphasis the Talmud places on study, on learning from teachers, etc, seems to argue against this particular explanation. I severely doubt the talmudic rabbis where incompetent at expressing their ideas.

I do admit the Talmud has its bad moments - some of which are pretty terrible, even -, as does every old religious work. (And most newer ones as well.) However, some of the criticism it has received is definitely not justified, and reflects badly on the originators of those particular bits of criticism. Either their criticism originates in ill will or in ignorance. Both are road-blocks for rational thought.

This will be a long-term project, of course, just like the Murdock-Walker-etc project. Until I have finished The Christ Conspiracy, this particular project may not see very frequent updates (not that I can say The Christ Conspiracy-debunking has seen frequent updates either!), and it may also take a back seat to The Suns of God. However, the pace at which the debunking is performed is not the important thing - once it is done, I will be happy to have carried it out, as it will remain online for the foreseeable future for those for whom a source such as this is useful.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Christ Conspiracy: Ch 16: Etymology Tells the Story

This chapter reaches some of the lowest depths this far in scholarly quality throughout the book. Murdock - who claims to be a linguist[1] - showcases her utter lack of care or understanding for linguistic methodology (for the relevant subfields of linguistics, obviously, as e.g. generative linguistics is of no or little relevance to her thesis). Few of the etymological claims she makes in it are built on any foundation whatsoever, and the few that stumble close to realistic guesses are interpreted in ways that derive too much mileage out of them.

Throughout this book has been a recurring theme that essentially weaves a tapestry of human unity not widely perceived. In order to appreciate further this unity, we can turn ot etymology, or the study of the origin and development of words, to demonstrate how closely cultures are related and how there has been basically one mythos and creed with many different forms. We will also discover, therefore, further evidence of what has been demonstrated herein concerning the Christ conspiracy.[2, p. 255]
Commendable as it is to claim human unity for the sake of peace, I think the unity she claims indeed is false. What is superior - to be peaceful due to a history of unity, or to be peaceful in spite of a history of conflict? It is better to learn from history (and not redo the mistakes of the past) than it is to learn from fabrication.

Many people believe that the concept of God as Father originated with Christianity, but this assumption is erroneous, as numerous pre-Christian cultures had their God the Father as well. [...]In the Greek mythology, the sky-god father-figure, aka "Zeus Pateras," who is a myth and not a historical figure, takes his name from the Indian version, "Dyaus Pitar." Dyaus Pitar in turn is related to the Egyptian "Ptah," and from Pitar and Ptah comes the word "pater," or "father." "Zeus" equals "Dyaus," which became "Deos," "Deus" and "Dios"--"God."[2, p. 255]
Although she indeed is correct that the idea of a fatherly God indeed predates Christianity and can be found throughout the early civilized world, and right in connecting Dyaus Pitar (द्यौष्पितृ), Jupiter and Ζεῦ πάτερ, she has the order of the connection down wrong - Jupiter, द्यौष्पितृ and Ζεῦ πάτερ all three derive from a common source, Proto-Indo-European *Dyēus phter. I have earlier documented this in a blog post about general abuse of linguistics.
Although most people think the name Jesus originated with the Christian godman, it was in fact quite common, particularly in Israel, where it was Joshua. As such the name appears in the Old Testament over 200 times. As demonstrated, the name Jesus also comes from the monogram of Dionysus, "IES," "Yes" or "Jes," among others. Jacolliot elaborates on these widespread names:
As we have seen, all these names of Jesus, Jeosuah, Josias, Josue derive from two Sanscrit words Zeus and Jezeus, which signify, one, the Supreme Being, and the other, the Divine Essence. These names, moreover, were common not only amongst the Jews, but throughout the East. 
[2, p. 256. 3, p. 301; the surrounding text does not contain any justification for the claim.]
Indeed, Jesus was a common name in Roman-ruled Israel, and may very well have been common before the Roman conquest too. Every serious scholar of early Christian history knows this, and it is also widely repeated in newspaper articles on findings that in some way or other have been interpreted as pertaining to Jesus of Nazareth, such as the (fabricated) James ossuary. I seriously doubt the claim that most people think that the name Jesus originated with Jesus of Nazareth - certainly I have run into the occasional ignoramus who genuinely believed something along those lines, but except for pre-sunday school kids, very few seem to hold such a notion. Obviously, there does not appear to be any need to debunk this particular mistaken belief. Murdock may want to be thorough, but if so I think that effort should have been invested elsewhere.

Jacolliot just makes an assertion without anything to back it up, no philological reasoning or anything, and Murdock quotes this wholesale in support of her position. Something more substantial is required.

As we can see, the source Murdock refers to does not establish the relevant correspondence by argument. If such an argument exists, it is somewhere else in that book - which the phrasing kind of suggests ("as we have seen" - where? It is not in the same chapter). For clarity and ease of following the argument, Murdock should have referred to wherever Jacolliot actually shows this correspondence. She does not. Furthermore, Jacolliot 's life span does not significantly overlap with the neogrammarian school of linguistics, and thus every etymology he suggested is suspect until shown to be in agreement with more methodological linguistics.
In other words, anyone anointed would be called "Christ" by the Greek-speaking inhabitants of the Roman Empire, who were many, since Greek was the lingua franca for centuries. As noted, in Greek Krishna is also Christos, and the word "Christ" also comes from the Hindi word "Kris" , which is a name for the sun, as is evidently "Krishna" in ancient Irish.[2, p. 256]
The claim that Krishna is ancient Irish for sun has been debunked previously in this blog. It would be good if she would specify which version of Greek Krishna is Christos in - in modern Greek, at least, I have found Κρίσνα, but then again my Greek is almost non-existent and it is possible there are texts where Χριστός does refer to Κρίσνα. I find it unlikely, though. The "As noted" part seems to be a kind of trick - nowhere is this noted elsewhere in the book, so I guess she thinks she can get away with not showing it if she indicates she has indeed shown it already. does almost exclusively find Χριστός in works related to Christianity, but does not find Κρίσνα or potentially different variants at all - seems as though its corpus of Greek texts either use a different name altogether, or are not interested in him whatsoever. It is of course possible that I just did not happen upon the name ancient Greeks used for him, or that their corpus is too small or that Krishna is not much discussed in the entire corpus of Greek texts of antiquity (although I found a suggestion that he is referred to as 'Herakles' by Megasthenes).
 Satan is an adaptation of the Persian representative of evil "Ahriman," the twin brother of "God," the same as the Egyptian Set, Horus's twin and principal enemy, also known as "Sata," whence comes "Satan." Horus struggles with Set in the exact manner that Jesus battles with Satan, with 40 days in the wilderness, among other similarities, such as the revealing from the mount "all the kingdoms of Earth." This myth represents the triumph of light over dark, or the sun's return to relieve the terror of the night. Horus/Set was the god of the two horizons; hence, Horus was the rising sun, and Set the time of the Sun-SET.[2, p. 257]
Satan, properly speaking, comes from the Hebrew verb שָׂטַן - to oppose, withstand, to be an opponent. There is of course no etymological connection between Set the Egyptian God and sunset. Whether Set and שָׂטַן are etymologically connected is less trivial to answer, as both Hebrew and Egyptian have several consonants that somewhat inconsistently are transcribed by s, and the same holds for t as well, and the Egyptian and Hebrew consonant systems were somewhat different. The Egyptian Seth apparently may have been pronounced something like Sutah originally, which doesn't really make it any more similar to Satan.  Set/Seth is a short word - which is rather significant as it increases the chance of random similarities. Finally, functionally Seth seems to occupy a rather different role in the Egyptian religion than Satan occupies in different Abrahamic traditions. To show that they somehow have the same origin, Murdock has to present some reasonable manner in which the two have diverged to reach their known forms from a common source. She does not do so, and is content with making just another assertion. 

In Hebrew, the name "Satan" or "Shaitan" merely means "adversary," not absolute evil being. The title of Satan as the "adversary," also at 1 Peter 5:8, refers to the sun as "Lord of the Opposite, which means a sign or constellation opposite to the sun at any given point." [2, p. 258]
As a source for this claim, she gives Kersey Graves' The Biography of Satan. He does indeed say the exact same thing, but provides no further source. Murdock, in a defensive rant about the quality of Graves' works, says she has researched his sources and found his claims justified. Why does she not then give a reference to the relevant source, instead of the un-verifiable Graves? I have attempted to find astronomical/astrological uses of adversarius and ἀντίδικος on, but to no avail (duly note my Greek and Latin are weak, and it takes me quite some time to work through the relevant texts). Some attestation of an astronomical use of either of these words - but preferrable the greek one - would be good. I doubt there is one, though. If someone knows of such a use, I would be happy to admit to this being a reasonable claim!

As for the defense of Graves' quality, I would suggest Murdock produces an annotated and referenced edition of his books, if she really thinks his value has been as underrated as she seems to think. In this case, Graves, as is his wont, omits to provide any source for his claim, so tracing it down is well-nigh impossible.
The origin of the "devil" also can be uncovered through etymology, in that the word comes from the Sanskrit term "deva" or the Persian "daeva" both of which originally referred to angelic entities, usually female, who were demonized by Christian propagandists. In actuality, "devil" shares the same root as "divine." In addition, the word "demon" is a Christian vilification of the Greek word "daemon," which likewise referred to a divine spirit. [2, p. 258; ]
Devil is not derived from Deva. Looking at the path the word has taken, it is pretty clear it is the result of several layers of sound changes on top of several layers of borrowing - it comes from Latin diabolus, from a Greek word of similar form, Διάβολος. Other languages throughout Europe have forms that have gone through fewer or different sound changes, and when we try and reconstruct what the ancestor of Swedish djävul, Dutch duivel, German Teufel, Russian дьявол, Spanish diablo, Irish diabhal, Italian diavolo, etc, we are led to conclude that the scholarly consensus on this particular word is pretty solid. Again, Murdock is misled by accidental similarity between English and "eastern" languages. It is not clear, by the way, that the devas primarily were feminine. In fact, there is a separate Sanskrit word for feminine beings of the same kind, viz. devi. Divine and devil do not share a root - divine comes from divus (whence also deus), devil ultimately from Greek διαβάλλω, to slander. The daevas were already considered evil by the Zoroastrians, so any Christian demonization of them does not have to be posited. An old Zoroastrian creed states "I declare myself a Mazdah-worshipper, a Zoroastrian, an enemy of the Daevas, holding Ahura's law"[4, p. 125, see also 137-138.]. Ultimately, the amount of confusion present in Murdock's claim here is staggering.

Of course, the English word 'devil' and deva/devi/daeva do look (and sound) similar, but a linguist would realize this kind of coincidence does happen. Murdock further focuses too much on English - as though English reliably contains hints as to secrets about religion and history that other languages do not. She claims to know Spanish, French and German - why does she never use hints hidden in these languages to support her case, or is English somehow special in retaining them? Is the Volksgeist of the anglosaxons especially well suited to be consciously deceived (explaining why so many of them do believe in the existence of the devil as the main opponent of God) but unconsciously somehow retain an unusual number of hints towards the truth in the shape of their words? Magic thinking is magic. 

As Hazelrigg says: The "Holy City" is likewise a term essentially solar, being the same as the Phoenician word hely, and having its root in the Greek helios, Sun; whence Heliopolis, the city of the Sun.[2, p. 259]
Except, in the Bible it was עִיר קֹדֶשׁ, ʿi:r qodeš. Greek helios and Germanic holy have no connection, and it is worth noting that holy, heilig, helig, etc were not used in Christianity until Germanic tribes were converted. In Greek, holy was hieros, in Semitic languages it was derived from qodeš and in Latin, obviously, sanctus. Hazelrigg tries to deduce the origins of a concept through looking at a linguistic coincidence in a language spoken over a millennium later. Hazelrigg was an astrologer, and not a linguist. His understanding of the world lacked all scientific rigor. 
"Bethany", site of the famous multiplying of the loaves, means "House of God," and is allegory for the "multiplication of the many out of the One." [2, p. 259]
Except "Bethany" does not mean "House of God". There has been some debate as to its meaning, with suggested translations being house of dates, house of misery and a few others. The claim that it is allegory for the "multiplication of the many out of the One" should be given some kind of supporting argument - assertion does not quite cut it.
The "great" king Solomon, so-called wisest man in the world, with his 1,000 wives and concubines, should today be considered an immoral criminal, were the story true. obviously, this absurd tale is not historical. In fact, "Sol-om-on" refers to the sun in three languages: "Sol" is Latin, "om" is Eastern, and "on" is Egyptian. "On" means both "sun" and "lord," reflecting an association found in countless cultures. Solomon can also be  traced to the same root as "Salvation," which is related to "Salivahana," the Indian savior-god. [2, p. 260]
 Again, as said elsewhere, Solomon does not come from Sol-om-on - in fact, in the Hebrew language his name was (and still is) Šəlomo, a transparently semitic name, with the -n on the end in European renditions of the name stemming from a Greek grammatical addition, much like how Philo was rendered Philon in Greek. "Om" or "on" signifying sun in the relevant languages needs some back up as well, and there are of course more than one Eastern language. Her source for this claim claims that On is Ethiopian, rather than Egyptian, so she is at the very least misreading or misrepresenting her source on a tiny detail there as well (although I cannot find such a word in either). As for Salvation, it derives from Indo-European *solo, which meant whole, and by Latin had changed meaning towards safe. Salvation, thus, is making safe, as in saving. As for Salivahana, the provided source is Higgins, whose credibility should by now be recognized as worthless. All other sources I have found on Salivahana seem to indicate his life-span was significantly later, and the similarity may very well be entirely random. Few sources I have been able to obtain say much about him, though. India has had a significant amount of royalty (of which Salivahana was a member), deities and royal deities, and finding one whose name is superficially similar to someone else cannot be particularly challenging.

I have previously pointed out fabricated words in her works - including the claim that Scandinavians call the sun "John" and that Persians call it "Jawnah" [2, p 262]. There is further rather tendentious interpretation of Jesus' mentioning the sign of Jonah at Matthew 16:4, as in that sign being the sun. The very same gospel makes it clear what the sign of Jonah is supposed to be, though: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Yes, an astrotheological interpretation is still possible, but Murdock's interpretation skips over the important bit of actually explaining what the sign of Jonah is supposed to be, and hurries along to a JESUS = SUN conclusion a bit too carelessly.

Towards the end of the chapter, she goes on with some made up words, such as old Irish "budh" for the sun (which I previously have written about), conflating "Bull" and "Baal", and so on.

Like all other sciences, etymology is not exact or perfect, and etymological speculation at times may be faulty. Nevertheless, the theme demonstrated is too overwhelming to be dismissed.[2, p. 263]
Etymology is especially far from exact or perfect when no attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff are made, when unbridled speculation is the order of the day, and when it is driven by ideology rather than genuine scientific curiosity tempered by rational skepticism. Murdock's attempt showcases all these problems The theme she tries demonstrating is far from overwhelming, and in fact is easily dismissed - and on good grounds even then. However, the theme I have been trying to demonstrate - her credulity, unscientific mindset and lack of scientific rigor - is indeed too overwhelming to be dismissed. Indeed, there are more problematic claims in this chapter - some, I have decided not to include because obtaining sources gets tedious at some point, some I have decided not to include because they are similar to other problematic claims that I did include, and so on.

As a final comment, the chapter does not produce a coherent argument, just showcasing a bunch of supposed connections between religious ideas in disparate places. The linguistic evidence presented is too often English-centered (for regions where no Germanic languages ever have been widely spoken) or just pure speculation (often even demonstrably mistaken speculation). Together, these two problems combine to make the chapter lack direction, coherence or even a proper point. Meanwhile, easily impressed ignoramuses will be convinced and the arguments presented will be repeated on every religion-oriented forum ever as undeniable truths, and people will be mislead into thinking that this is genuinely how linguistics is done.

[1] D.M. Murdock,, on her website she also has a repost of a third-party blurb for or review of her book The Christ Conspiracy where she is called a linguist, The first link contains this explicit statement: "Again, I am not a "skeptic" with some passing interest in mythology. I am what I say I am: an archaeologist, historian, mythologist and linguist."
[2] D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy
[3] Jacolliot, Bible in India
[4] James Hope Moulton, Early Zoroastrism, 1926. Hartz, O'Brien and Palmer also concur in their Zoroastrism, 2010 (pages 91 and 140).

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Christ Conspiracy, Chapter 14 pt II

Chapter 14 indeed contains several rather remarkable examples of flawed logic, factual errors and terrible sourcing. Since some of the sources are hard to find, I will again post a set of problems I have found with no claim as to completeness - several more posts on this chapter are probably going to appear soon.

The cross and crucifix are very ancient symbols found around the world long prior to the supposed advent of the Christian savior. In the gospel story Jesus tells his disciples to "take up the cross" and follow him. Obviously, the cross already existed and was a well-known symbol, such that Jesus did not even have to explain his strange statement about an object that, we are led to believe, only gained significance after Jesus died on it. [1, p 218]
The cross was a significant Roman execution method before Jesus' time too, as anyone acquainted with the history of Roman occupation would know. Outside of the Roman empire (but within the reach of its influence) Alexander Jannaeus had crucified several hundred pharisees a bit more than a century earlier. It seems - and this may be a misreading - that Murdock tries to debunk the notion that the crucifixion of Jesus was the first crucifixion ever. It obviously was not the first crucifixion ever, but no one claims that either. As for the pericope where Jesus tells his adherents to take up the cross, this does indeed seem to be a later addition to the gospel story added by someone who didn't realize how illogical it indeed does sound. Nevertheless, the cross may have had a (political) significance as a symbol of Roman occupation in Israel before Jesus, and this should be clear. Murdock's objection is based on weirdly halting logic - the particular gospel pericope she is referring to cannot be used to establish that the cross is a pre-Christian religious symbol; however, other evidence indeed can, but the significance thereof is not clear.

The cross, obviously - especially those variations with equal-length arms - is a pretty obvious symbol, one of the simplest possible geometrical figures. It being ubiquitous in religions around the world is no mystery.

She further repeats claims from a variety of not quite trustworthy sources, such as A. Churchward, on the antiquity of the cross as a symbol among the pygmies. Certainly it may be antique among them as well, but Churchward and similar authors had an ability to ascribe way more significance to such facts than is justifiable, and relied on less than reliable evidence.
Easter is "Pessach" in Hebrew, "pascha" in Greek and "Pachons" in Latin, derived from the Egyptian "Pa-Khunsu," Khunsu being an epithet for Horus. As Massey says, "The festival of Khunsu, or his birthday, at the vernal equinox, was at one time celebrated on the twenty-fifth day of the month named after him, Pa-Khunsu" [1, p. 220]
The derivation from Pa-Khunsu seems rather unjustified and requires a fair bit more supporting data - Massey provides no justification, and the Latin for pascha/pessach is not pachons. does not find it in its vast corpus of Latin texts. Thesaurus Linguae Latinae does not know of such a word either. The word does exist in Greek, but does not pertain to Easter, but rather to a month in the Egyptian calendar (still present in the Coptic calendar, although the name has gone through some sound changes rendering it slightly different in its modern form). The month's name indeed derives from Khunsu, but we cannot derive Pesach from that month's name in any reasonable manner.
The word "Hell" is also derived from the European goddess Hel, whose womb was a place of immortality. The Christians demonized this womb and made it a place of eternal damnation, and, since volcanoes were considered entrances into the womb of mother earth, it became a fiery hell. The original Pagan hell had no locality and was often situated in the same place as heaven. [1, p. 222]
The concept of a fiery hell was present in Christianity way before Christianity started entering into areas where worship of the goddess Hel, or concept of her kingdom were commonplace (see, e.g. Luke 16, hinting at such imagery at least being in use in early Christianity). In fact, the word 'hell' (as opposed to the concept, which earlier went by names such as Hades, Gehenna, Tartaros) only entered Christianity as its doctrines were translated into the germanic languages. Even in the first Bible translation into a Germanic language - Wulfila's translation into Gothic, the word is 'gaiaininnan', a clear borrowing of Gehenna. Here, though, the etymological fact she presents is fairly accurate - the Goddess Hel indeed is related to the word Hell, but what many readers will fail to know here is that the origin of words for a concept need not correlate with the origin of the concept. (An important thing anyone worthy of the title 'linguist' understands.) 
... The word astronomers use to indicate the sun in its high point of ascension is perihelion. Now you may notice there is a Hell in this word (peri-hel-ion), at least it can be traced to Hell, or Hell to it. Helion, the last part of this was was pronounced by the Greeks Elios, and is synonymous with Acheron, which is generally translated Hell. So that we have "peri," which means around, about, and "helion," Hell-that is, the sun roundabout Hell.[1, p. 222]

This is industrial-grade wrong. Murdock, claiming to be a linguist, should have some clues as to this, but it turns out she does not. Robert Graves - her source for this entire quote - really deserved more criticism than most were willing to level at him, since this kind of ignorant albeit imaginative unfettered fabrication really stands out as low points in his intellectual achievements. It turns out perihelion is a relatively recent word:

perihelion (n.) "point at which a celestial body is nearest the Sun," 1680s, coined in Modern Latin (perihelium) by Kepler (1596) from Latinizations of Greek peri "near" (see peri-) + helios "sun" (see sol). Subsequently re-Greeked."  N) [2]

The word has nothing to do with "Hell", and Perihelion as a word is way more recent than 'Hell' as a word is (and my awkward insistence on noting that I am speaking of these words as words is due to the sheer amount of obtuseness I have seen when debating Murdock's fans online). The connection between Helios and Hell is also spurious, as Hell is, as already pointed out, a Germanic word - not used in the geographical variations of Christianity whose populations speak French or Greek or Spanish - and one that has been used to translate a Latin and Greek concept into a few Germanic languages. Certainly the Christian notion of hell is of pagan vintage, but it is not derived from Germanic paganism (even if Germanic paganism very well may have shared a similar concept - it is more likely, though, that Christianity derives its concepts from the beliefs that were dominant in the region it developed, that is Roman, Greek and various Semitic belief systems around the Mediterranean). Murdock seems incapable to realize that Christianity, as it entered the anglosphere, caused English both to acquire Latin and Greek terms and to repurpose Germanic words in order to have a sufficient vocabulary to describe its doctrines. She seems to fail to realize that the English names of terms often have nothing to do with the origin of these concepts. English is not a representative language of how things were in antiquity, a thing Murdock often fails to realize: English is not the be-all end-all of how reality and mankind's linguistic conceptualizations thereof interrelate.

In a segment on how the Lord's Prayer is derivative from earlier sources (and therefore made up later), Murdock should have been able to spot the error in this particular claim:
"...the Lord's prayer was a collection of sayings from the Talmud..."[1, p. 228; 3, p. 469]
It is a quote, so not a claim of her own, but even cursory research into it will show that the Talmud is more recent than the NT. Yes, it does contain some material that is undoubtedly old - e.g. Yehudah Hanasi's redaction of the Mishnah is about the same age as the NT and probably in great part based on traditions going back decades and even centuries prior to his life, there is any number of midrashic and targumic notions throughout the Talmud that may go back to pre-Christian times, as well as things that seem to parallel various intertestamental writings - so indeed, Talmudic material may very well predate Christianity at times. However, there is no implication whatsoever that things in the Talmud must be older than things in the NT, as the Talmud was finally redacted in the fifth century.

However, there is a subsequent claim in the same clause, which seems to require some further backing up and not just assertion:
"..., many derived from earlier Egyptian prayers to Osiris." [1, p. 228, 3, p 469]
This full quote is from Barbara Walker. Walker refers to Wallis Budge's Egyptian Magic (New York, Dover Publications, 1971)., p 116. It is worth informing that neither "talmud" or "mishnah" is mentioned throughout that work, nor does it speak about Egyptian texts as sources of other texts. (However, I will admit that the edition I have used is not the same Walker has used, so other authors may have introduced additional commentary to it. In that case, though, the name of the other authors should be mentioned in referring to their writing.) Establishing the existence of similarities needs a comparison between the texts, and nowhere does Walker provide such a comparison - she only provides what essentially is a huge corpus of texts and leaves the act of comparing them to the critical reader. The uncritical reader, of course, will think she actually is referring to a source that has done such a comparison. The provided source does neither pretend to have done that or make any comparable claim, and giving it as a source for the claim that similarities exist is misleading. Murdock, the ability to evaluate the credibility and value of sources is a key skill of any good scholar.

In computer science, there is a somewhat jocular saying that captures the essence of a rather important problem with Murdock's work: garbage in, garbage out. No matter how much effort you put into analyzing the data, if the data is wrong and you are hell-bent on deriving results from it, the result will be worthless.

1) D.M. Murdock, The Christ Conspiracy
3) Walker, Barbara. The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, article "Jesus", p. 469