> I have always considered very plausible the idea that
> Christian deities have been shaped over the years as
> amalgamations and offshoots of former gods and figures as
> they happen to have been assimilated from other cultures and
> In Christ, I could see something of Horus and Mithra, for
> example (Zoroaster as well?)... in Mary, Isis (Astarte,
> Is this valid thinking?
> I think some people are saying that the Christ/Mithra
> connection has been debunked... god, how I hate that word.
> However, I would like to know how that happened?
I don't think it is valid thinking. There are many essays debunking the Jesus story as being original but there are also scholarly rebuttals of such claims. Sorry to bring up J/ P. Holding, again but I'll give one glaring problem with one of the more common misconceptions that Jesus = Mithras , the idea that both were born on the 25th of December. J. P. Holding:
Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th in a cave, and his birth was attended by shepherds.
This claim, which I have seen repeated in part by the Secular Web's James Still, is a mix of truth and obfuscations. Let's begin with the December 25th part by noting Glenn Miller's reply, which is more than sufficient: "...the Dec 25 issue is of no relevance to us--nowhere does the NT associate this date with Jesus' birth at all." This is something the later church did, wherever they got the idea from -- not the apostolic church, and if there was any borrowing at all, everyone did it, for Dec. 25th was "universally distinguished by sacred festivities" [Cum.MM, 196] being that it was (at the time) the winter solstice.
Next, the cave part. First of all, Mithra was not born of a virgin in a cave; he was born out of solid rock, which presumably left a cave behind -- and I suppose technically the rock he was born out of could have been classified as a virgin! Here is how one Mithraic scholar describes the scene on Mithraic depictions: Mithra "wearing his Phrygian cap, issues forth from the rocky mass. As yet only his bare torso is visible. In each hand he raises aloft a lighted torch and, as an unusual detail, red flames shoot out all around him from the petra genetrix." [MS.173] Mithra was born a grown-up, but you won't hear the copycatters mention this! (The rock-birth scene itself was a likely carryover from Perseus, who experienced a similar birth in an underground cavern; Ulan.OMM, 36.)
J. P. Holding laboriously goes through every facet of the claims that Jesus = Mithras and replies to them all in this essay: Mighty Mithraic Madness - Did The Mithraic Mysteries Influence Christianity?
> Also, I read somewhere that the origin of haloes came from AE
> depictions of Isis and Horus. Interesting. Remember we were
> wondering why some Renaissance painters used haloes and
> others didn't, and why Michelangelo and da Vinci didn't...
> though da Vinci was coerced into supplying them in his remake
> "Madonna of the Rocks." The Russians even went so far as to
> institutionalize haloes in all of their beautifully stylized
> icons and symbolic religious paintings. By the Middle Ages,
> belief was absolute and enforced with an iron hand,
> alternately a fist for coercion and a palm for accepting
> gifts, alms, tithes, and payment for indulgences.
Don't fall off your chair Ananda but I believe it is probably true that the origin of haloes came from AE depictions of Horus or Osiris. However, these depictions are only creations of the artists concerned. There is not a single description in the Bible of Jesus with a halo. The word "halo" is not found in the Bible.
Is Bush a Horus figure? Probably!
> Well, anyhow, I find it hard to believe that the Christ and
> Mary that fleshed out over the years just materialized out of
> the thin rarefied ether of heaven and fell on earth full
> blown with no other vertical or horizontal influences or
> histories to help us create them.
Erm, I don't think that's how it happened... Jesus was born, he didn't just appear fully blown but I've probably misuderstood what you were driving at here! The whole of the OT builds up to the arrival of Jesus also, so his arrival wasn't unexpected...
> Or were they indeed
> products of the spontaneous combustion of divine inspiration
> and miraculous events such as no one could invent or even
> come together to help create?
I believe Christ's birth was a natural happening, except that instead of a normal human baby spirit coming into the womb, some weeks or months after the original act of sex, a Divine being in the form of Jesus enetered her womb. Apparently, a foetus doesn't come to life until some time after the actual sex act. I forget when this is exactly supposed to be now...
Mary was probably a virgin in the sense that her union with Joseph was pure. This is a big sunfect in and of itself. I could expand if you request...