All posts for the month November, 2018

Babylon and Avignon

Published November 27, 2018 by amaic
Image result for babylon and avignon


 Damien F. Mackey


“Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity”.

Matthew Bunson



For centuries, now, comparisons have been drawn between the biblical Babylonian Captivity of 70 years duration and the Avignon Captivity of the Church in France of approximately the same length of time.


At: for instance, the question is asked


What was the Avignon Papacy / Babylonian Captivity of the Church?


with the following answer being given:

The Avignon Papacy was the time period in which the Roman Catholic pope resided in Avignon, France, instead of in Rome, from approximately 1309 to 1377. The Avignon Papacy is sometimes referred to as the Babylonian Captivity of the Church because it lasted nearly 70 years, which was the length of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:10).

There was significant conflict between King Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII. When the pope who succeeded Boniface VIII, Benedict XI, died after an exceedingly short reign, there was an extremely contentious papal conclave that eventually decided on Clement V, from France, as the next pope. Clement decided to remain in France and established a new papal residence in Avignon, France, in 1309. The next six popes who succeeded him, all French, kept the papal enclave in Avignon.

In 1376, Pope Gregory XI decided to move the papacy back to Rome due to the steadily increasing amount of power the French monarchy had developed over the papacy in its time in Avignon. However, when Gregory XI died, his successor, Urban VI, was rejected by much of Christendom. This resulted in a new line of popes in Avignon in opposition to the popes in Rome. In what became known as the Western Schism, some clergy supported the Avignon popes, and others supported the Roman popes.
The Western Schism gave rise to the conciliar movement (conciliarism), in which ecumenical church councils claimed authority over the papacy. At the Council of Pisa in 1410, a new pope, Alexander V, was elected and ruled for ten months before being replaced by John XXIII. So, for a time, there were three claimants to the papacy: one in Rome, one in Avignon, and one in Pisa. At the Council of Constance in 1417, John XXIII was deposed, Gregory XII of Rome was forced to resign, the Avignon popes were declared to be “antipopes,” and Pope Martin V was elected as the new pope in Rome. These decisions were accepted by the vast majority of Christendom, and so the Western Schism was ended, although there were various men claiming to be the pope in France until 1437. ….


And again at: we read:


The great Italian humanist and poet Petrarch wrote of the popes during the so-called Avignon Papacy:


Now I am living in France, in the Babylon of the West . . . Here reign the successors of the poor fishermen of Galilee; they have strangely forgotten their origin. I am astounded, as I recall their predecessors, to see these men loaded with gold and clad in purple, boasting of the spoils of princes and nations; to see luxurious palaces and heights crowned with fortifications, instead of a boat turned downward for shelter.


These pontiffs — all of them French — resided at Avignon, France, instead of Rome, from 1309 to 1377. The letters of Petrarch were a reflection of his own dislike for Avignon and his desire to see the popes return to the Eternal City. But Petrarch’s harsh caricature of the popes also has served as ammunition for writers, critics, and heretics ever since. Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity. ….


[End of quote]


I now find it rather intriguing that I had proposed in my article:

Not the Templars, but the enemies of the Jews, arrested on the 13th day of the month


that the famous incident when King Philip IV is said to have arrested the Templar knights, on the 13th day of a month (October), may actually have had its origins in the story of Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus – with whom I had then likened King Philip IV of France – and the evil Haman. More recently, I have historically identified Haman as the Jewish king, Amon (= Jehoiachin/ Coniah). See my article:


‘Taking aim on’ king Amon – such a wicked king of Judah



The drama narrated in the Book of Esther – and perhaps picked up in a garbled fashion in the later accounts of King Philip IV and the Knights Templar – would be cosmically ‘re-enacted’ in the great drama at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, again on the 13th day (13th May to 13th October), culminating in the promised great miracle. See my book:


The Five First Saturdays of Our Lady of Fatima


The stupendous Miracle of the Sun, 1917, on October 13th (same day Templars were supposedly arrested, 13 October 1307) presages the ultimate Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of whom Queen Esther was a type.

Maccabeans and Crusaders, Seleucids and Saltukids (Seljuks)  

Published November 24, 2018 by amaic
Image result for crusaders


 Damien F. Mackey



“Modern authors tend to accept as an axiom that in the twelfth century, there existed a strong identification between crusaders and the Maccabean warriors.

Penny Cole wrote, for example, that “in all essential ways the struggles of the Maccabees against the persecutor Antiochus . . . and by association, of the crusaders against Muslim infidel, are substantially identical”.”

Elizabeth Lapina




Elyse Sulkey compares – but also unfavorably contrasts, with reference to Guibert of Nogent – the Maccabees and the Crusaders, when she writes as follows in her article, “Guibert of Nogent: The Development of Rhetoric from Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism”:


During the twelfth century, authors began to reach back into the Old Testament to find biblical precedents for the crusaders, which eventually led to the use of the Maccabees as “proto-crusaders.”54 The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel force active in the mid-second century BCE who fought to reassert Judaism in Judea against the influence of Hellenism and the Seleucid Empire.55  The Maccabees made an apt comparison for crusaders because they used forced conversion and conquest to meet their aims, much like the crusaders.56 In his early works, Guibert followed traditional models of exegetical debate about the Old Testament.57

From the beginning of The Deeds of God through the Franks, Guibert set out to ensure that his audience understood that Jews, even the Maccabees, are lesser than their Christian counterparts. In the introduction he stated that he wrote his chronicle of the First Crusade because “[he] thought, if [he] may dare to say this, that it deserved being told with greater dignity than all the histories of Jewish warfare, if God would grant someone the ability to do this.”58 Guibert thus makes it clear that despite their accomplishments, one of his goals in writing The Deeds of God through the Franks was to elevate Christian crusaders above the well-known Jewish warriors. He does this throughout The Deeds of God through the Franks by demonstrating Jewish theological shortcomings, a technique often employed in anti-Judaic writing.


Later, Guibert further emphasized the higher status of the crusaders in comparison to the Maccabees. He retold the sermon of Pope Urban II in Clermont declaring that the pope had said, “If the Maccabees once deserved the highest praise for piety because they fought for their rituals and their temple, then you too, O soldiers of Christ, deserve such praise, for taking up arms to defend the freedom of your country.”59 The pope continued on to tell the crusaders they were fighting the Antichrist. In this instance, a comparison was being drawn that the Maccabees fought for their own sake, while the crusaders fought for God as well as the protection of their country.60 This comparison elevated the crusaders for their righteous, spiritual cause while putting the Maccabees in a realm of corporeal selfishness.


Guibert continued this critique of the Maccabees when he related the “despicable vanity of the Jewish people.”61 Though Guibert excused Jewish fathers now celebrated by the Church, such as David, Joshua, and Samuel, he accused the Jews of being a “wretched” people who served God only to fill their own bellies.62 Guibert then declared that these “idolaters” were given their victories, while the Christian crusaders were sacrificing to achieve theirs.63 While Guibert seemed to emphasize the disadvantages the crusaders faced, he later said “if celestial help appeared long ago to the Maccabees fighting for circumcision and the meat of swine, how much more did those who poured out their blood for Christ, purifying the churches and propagating the faith, deserve such help.”64 Guibert used these passages not only to demonstrate to his readers the weakness of the Maccabees, who needed worldly comforts and divine help in order to succeed, but to assure his readers that the crusaders would be victorious because of their greater sacrifice and true devotion to God. Later in The Deeds of God through the Franks, Guibert reminded us of his previous point by stating that neither Ezra nor Judas Maccabeus suffered as much as the crusaders for their victories.65 This passage also served to illustrate how the crusaders did not just possess purer motive and devotion than the Maccabees, but actually surpassed the accomplishments of their greatest warriors.66

[End of quote]

Region of Erzurum conquered by Seleucids, by Seljuks




The proximity of Erzurum to the important centers of civilization in addition to its natural conditions and geographical location made it one of the oldest settlement centers of Anatolia. Some excavated stone artifacts take back the history of the settlement in this area as early as the Paleolithic age.

The Macedonian King Alexander conquered the region in the 4th century B.C which was dominated by the Hurris, Hayasas, Urartians, Assirians, Cimmerians, Iskıts, Meds and Persians in turn after 3000 B.C.This region was reined by the Seleucids after the death of Alexander.Later on by the Roman Empire was the scene of the bloody wars between the Romans and Parthes.With the division of the Roman Empire into two parts in 395,Erzurum which was included in part of the Byzantine Empire changed hands between the Byzantines and the Sassanides a number of times. The invansion of the region by the Hun State which was established on the north of the Blacksea between the years 295-398 was the first entry of Turks into the region.In this period there was a city by the name Karin in the location of Erzurum and another city by the name Erzen on the west of the Erzurum Plateau in this period.Anatolius who was the general of the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius 2(408-450) who himself had taken the Erzurum region back from the Huns,had a castle built in the most strategic location of the region where Karin was located against the attacks that could come from Iran and changed the name of the city to Theodosiopolis. ….


Erzurum changed hands between the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim Arabs consisting of the Ummayads and the Abbasids until the year 949.The Muslims named Theodopolis as “Kalikala” which meant “Carpet City” Erzurum the population of which reached 200 thousand in the 7th century was one of the largest cities of the world at the time.The Seljuk Turks who entered the Byzantine territory in order to conquer Eastern Anatolia captured Erzen which was located on the west of the plain in 1048. The people who ran from Erzen which had been ruined after the attacks,found rescue in Kalikala and changed its name to Erzen. The original Erzen which that was ruined after the attacks,was later named as Kara Erzen and in time as Karaz. And the new Erzen was later referred to as Roman Erzen which in turn became Erzurum, the modern name of the city. …

[End of quote]


Preceding the article, “Great Seljuq Empire”:

one is cautioned: “Not to be confused with Seleucid Empire”.


“The Great Seljuq Empire (Modern Turkish: Büyük Selçuklu Devleti; Persian: دولت سلجوقیان‎) was a medieval Turko-Persian[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks.[9] The Seljuq Empire controlled a vast area stretching from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. From their homelands near the Aral sea, the Seljuqs advanced first into Khorasan and then into mainland Persia before eventually conquering eastern Anatolia”.


One might easily, however, confuse the names, Seleuc-id and Seljuk, or Saltukid.

Just as one may be excused for noticing many striking parallels between the Macabbees and the Crusaders, fighting to regain the Holy City of Jerusalem.


Elizabeth Lapina provides further such similarities at:





Narratives of the Crusades and, more specifically, of the First Crusade provide one of the most important clusters of references to the Maccabees – primarily the Maccabean warriors, but also the Maccabean martyrs – in Christian medieval sources. Many authors writing about the crusades used the stories of both types of the Maccabees, the warriors and the martyrs, to interpret current events in the Holy Land. There was a particularly large number of references in connection with one event: the Battle of Antioch, fought between crusaders and Muslims on June 28, 1098. Two more crucial references appear in the context of two more battles fought by Prince Roger of Antioch in the vicinities of the city: the Battle of Tall Danith (1115) and the Battle of the Field of Blood (1119). Although there seems to be no direct connection between Antioch and the Maccabean warriors, the city was of paramount importance for the Maccabean martyrs. Although the locations of the martyrdom of seven Maccabean brothers, their mother, and Priest Eleazar and of their initial burial (the remains eventually found their way to Constantinople and Rome) are uncertain, a number of patristic sources mention Antioch in connection with them.



There is no doubt that at one point Antioch was the center of the Maccabean cult. In one of his sermons, St. Augustine of Hippo argues vehemently that the Maccabean martyrs belong not to the Jewish but rather to the Christian tradition. As proof, he refers to a church dedicated to the Maccabees in Antioch. Augustine found it ironic and fitting that the city bearing nearly the same name as King Antiochus IV, the persecutor of the Maccabean martyrs, would celebrate those whom he persecuted.


In Late Antiquity, Antioch suffered an unprecedented series of disasters from which it never recovered. The Crusades, however, signaled a rediscovery of the city by western Christians. On their way to Jerusalem, crusaders stopped at Antioch and besieged the city for eight months. Within days of its capture, they found themselves besieged in turn by an impressive army assembled by Kerbogha, atabeg of Mosul. The lack of supplies was drastic, desertions multiplied, the majority of horses were lost, and reports were made to the Byzantine emperor Alexius that the annihilation of the crusaders was imminent. In desperation, unable to continue their resistance in the long-depleted city, crusaders opted for a battle, in the course of which they routed Kerbogha’s troops.


Apart from its purely military significance, the Battle of Antioch was at the very center of medieval conceptions of the First Crusade. For many authors, the triumph of crusaders at this particular point, when everything foreboded disaster, proved the extent of God’s support for the Christian side. For many contemporaries, this was made evident by a number of miracles reported in connection with the battle: the discovery of the Holy Lance; a multiplication of visions; and – most importantly for the present discussion – intervention of a number of saints, perhaps an entire celestial army, on the side of crusaders. In this manner, the battle would end up, to some degree, upstaging the capture of Jerusalem a year later. It is unclear what exactly the crusaders and medieval chroniclers of the Crusades knew about the importance of Antioch within the cult of the Jewish martyrs in Late Antiquity. When describing the city, crusading sources do not mention the Maccabees. One of the rare exceptions is the so-called Charleville Poet, who claims that Antioch was  very ancient: “The book of Maccabees asserts its [Antioch’s] existence, when the priest is said to have perished, next to Daphne.” The poet is apparently alluding to the assassination of the pious Priest Onias in the vicinity of the city, described in the Second Book of Maccabees (2 Macc 4:34). Still, it is possible that crusaders learned about the ancient cult of the Maccabees at Antioch during their interactions with the local population, which included a sizable Christian minority. At least some of the chroniclers of the First Crusade must have had access to St. Augustine’s above-mentioned sermon. And they were undoubtedly familiar with King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whom a variety of medieval sources present as an Antichrist-like figure. Just as St. Augustine did centuries earlier, they must have been capable of constructing an associative link between Antioch and the Maccabees through the intermediary of Antiochus. Whatever the case might be, the connection between the city of Antioch and the Maccabees displays a certain degree of continuity from Late Antiquity to the crusading period. However, if in Late Antiquity it was the Maccabean martyrs that attracted attention …


Damien Mackey’s comment: On this subject, and for further Maccabean-Christian parallelism, see my article:


Hadrianic patterns of martyrdom

Elizabeth Lapina continues:


… during the crusading period it was the Maccabean warriors.


In general, medieval writers of history were always eagerly looking for biblical prototypes of later events and figures. While Maccabean martyrs hardly resembled crusaders, Maccabean warriors did. Maccabean warriors shared the name of the Maccabean martyrs, but, of course, not their fate, fighting Antiochus actively under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. Both the Maccabean warriors and crusaders fought for control of the city of Jerusalem and took pride in the restoration of holy sites. While the Maccabees fought against a Pagan enemy, crusaders struggled against Muslims, whom they frequently associated with Pagans. Last but not least, both profited from divine help on the battlefield. Modern authors tend to accept as an axiom that in the twelfth century, there existed a strong identification between crusaders and the Maccabean warriors. Penny Cole wrote, for example, that “in all essential ways the struggles of the Maccabees against the

persecutor Antiochus . . . and by association, of the crusaders against Muslim infidel, are substantially identical.”


Indeed, Baldwin I, the second ruler and first Latin king of Jerusalem, was called a “second Maccabee” in the laudatory inscription on his tombstone. Describing the Battle of Tall Danith, in which Prince Roger of Antioch emerged victorious, Fulcher of Chartres exclaims as follows: “For when did victory of fighters ever depend upon the number of men? Remember the Maccabees, Gideon, and many others who confided not in their own strength but in God and in that way overcame many thousands.”



Part Two: Maccabees models for Teutonic Order


“This was interesting because I work on the Teutonic Order’s crusade in Lithuania,

and in the Order’s Latin chronicles the Maccabees are the main model”.

A reader commenting on Part One


I did a quick check on this subject at Google and found the following verifications of what the reader above has claimed regarding Part One of this series:


Here are just a few of my findings:


This study examines the religious and historical literature of the Teutonic Order, the brotherhood of warrior-monks whose northern crusade subdued and converted the eastern Baltic region during the late Middle Ages.Chapter One presents the background against which the Teutonic Knights produced their Biblically-inspired works. It establishes that the early years of the 14th century were a time of crisis for the Order.Chapter Two focuses on the Rule of the Teutonic Order and the Biblical foundation upon which its statutes rested. It was to this Rule that the Knights turned in their “generation of crisis,” and it was from this Rule that their Order drew its stubborn will to survive. The Rule rekindled in the warrior-monks a sense of Biblical mission and it inspired them to defend themselves not only with the sword, but also with the written word.Chapter Three provides an overview of the Order’s crisis-born literature; Deutschordensliteratur is defined and circumscribed according to specific documents, authors and themes. A work by work survey pays special attention to Biblical translations.The Order’s German rendering of I and II Maccabees is the subject of Chapter Four. The Makkabaerbuch receives thorough treatment as the work best typifying the literary efforts of the brothers. ….


The Maccabees as Role Models in the German Order

Henrike Lähnemann (Newcastle University)


Across the different genres of literary and pragmatic texts used in the German Order, the Maccabees, especially Judas Maccabeus, figure prominently as forerunners of the Teutonic Knights on a historical, typological and allegorical level. The main focus of this paper will be on how the Maccabäer, 1 the most comprehensive vernacular version of the Books of the Maccabees ever prepared, 2 adapts that material for the Order. 3 The framework for understanding the way in which biblical epic is presented is provided by the prologues to the

Statuten des Deutschen Ordens, in which the Maccabees occupy a key position ….


The Statutes of the Teutonic Knights: A Study of Religious Chivalry

Indrikis Sterns



We remember also the struggle, praiseworthy and pleasing to God, of the knights who were called the Maccabees; how stoutly, for their honor and their faith, they fought with the pagans who wished to force them to deny God, and, with His help, defeated and exterminated them so that they cleansed once again the Holy City which the pagans had defiled, and restored once again peace in the land.


  1. These struggles, this holy Knightly Order of the Hospital of Saint Mary of the German House has zealously imitated and has deserved to be graced with many honorable members, for there are knights and chosen fighters, who for love of honor and the fatherland have exterminated the enemies of the faith with a strong hand. They also, from abundance of love, receive visitors and pilgrims and the poor. They also from tender-heartedness, serve with fervor the sick who lie in the hospital. .


The defence of the Holy Land and the memory of the Maccabees


Nicholas Morton




This article explores the evolving use of Maccabaean ideas in sources concerning the conduct of Christian holy warfare between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. It demonstrates that the memory of the Maccabees and other Old Testament exemplars played an important role in shaping the idea of crusading and its subsequent evolution to encompass new frontiers in the Baltic and Iberia, as well as structural developments in crusading, such as the establishment of the military orders.


Stapel, Rombert

Title: The late Fifteenth-Century Utrecht Chronicle of the Teutonic Order : manuscripts, sources, and authorship ….



425 The most notable biblical exempla used by the military orders are arguably the Maccabees: E. Poleg, ‘On the books of Maccabees: an unpublished poem by Geoffrey, prior of the Templum Domini’, Crusades 9 (2010) 13–56; Morton, ‘Defence of the Holy Land’; M.C. Fischer, ‘The books of the Maccabees and the Teutonic Order’, Crusades 4 (2005) 59–71.


The Teutonic Order: Politics and Religion in the Baltic Crusades


Collin Chadwick


…. Book 1 of the Chronicle of Prussia ends with the author directly linking the knights to the Maccabees, a Jewish family mentioned in the Apocrypha to the Bible who were said to have defended a realm around Jerusalem during the second century BC. Part of a tradition of drawing comparisons between crusaders in the Holy Land to the struggles of heroes of the 0ld Testament who battled to protect the Promised Land, the mention of the Maccabees is significant for its implications in the adopted crusading ideology in the Baltic. The Teutonic Knights compared their endeavors to those of the Israelites and Maccabees so they could style themselves as a new generation of defenders of the Holy Land. …. Even with the Holy Land permanently lost to the Muslims, the 0rder continued to use such Biblical metaphors to justify their actions in the Baltic. ….




Japheth and Iapetos

Published November 23, 2018 by amaic
Image result for nakedness of noah

Part One: Hesiod and Book of Genesis



“Neither has a speaking part, both serving primarily as genealogical agents,

sons of parents who are more significant, who themselves marry and have sons”.

 Bruce Louden


The biblical patriarch, Japheth, is often considered to have been picked up in Greek myth by the almost identically named Iapetos, and also in Hindu myth by Pra-japati, thought to have the meaning, “Father Japheth”.


Here Bruce Louden, in his article “Hesiod and Genesis: Iapetos and Japheth”, draws some connections between the biblical and Greek versions. He takes the standard line of pagan precedence over the Hebrew (biblical) account: “Japheth … may well derive from Hesiod’s Iapetos”:


Each foundational for their respective cultures, each a combination of several of the same genres of myth, Hesiod and Genesis overlap in ways that remain under-analyzed. The tradition preserved at Gen 6:2 and 4, in which “the sons of the gods” (plural in the original, often edited out of translations) mate with mortal women and give birth to a race of heroes, is unexpectedly close to Hesiod’s Bronze Age (Works 155-69; cf. Pindar Olympian 9, 53-56).

Scholars have long recognized a number of Near Eastern elements in Hesiod (M. L. West: 1966, 1997), while more recent analyses (e.g., López-Ruiz: 2010) suggest Northwest Semitic ties in particular (Ugaritic, Syrian / Phoenician), the same context out of which Genesis is thought to have evolved (the Biblical Canaanites = Phoenicians). But Genesis also includes specific allusions to Greek culture (Javan) in the aftermath of the Flood myth. Noah’s son Japheth, father of Javan, appears to be the same name as the Hesiodic Iapetos, a specific intersection of both traditions.


Neither has a speaking part, both serving primarily as genealogical agents, sons of parents who are more significant, who themselves marry and have sons. Genesis 9:27 uses wordplay on Japheth’s name, “May God extend Japheth’s boundaries,” where “extend,” is the Hebrew, yapht, much like Hesiod on the name Titans (Theog. 207-9: Τιτῆνας . . . τιταίνοντας). Both characters are linked to their respective Flood myths (Iapetos is grandfather of Deukalion). Pindar, at a fairly early date (468), knows a complete version of the myth (Olympian 9, 40-56), and makes prominent mention of Iapetos. In Hesiod Iapetos’ brother Kronos castrates his father Ouranos. Japheth’s brother Ham sees Noah naked, passed out from drinking, and tells Shem and Japheth. When Noah wakes he curses Ham, but directs the curse at his son Canaan (9:20-27). ….


… many assume Genesis 9:20-7 is an abbreviated excerpt from a longer tale. The Talmud (b. Sanhedrin 70a) suggests that Ham originally committed a much greater offence, that he castrated Noah, or sexually abused him (on the basis of parallels between “and he saw” also at Gen 34:2 of Shechem violating Dinah; if correct, Ham would offer unexpected parallels with the Derveni Papyrus, López-Ruiz: 139-42).


Damien Mackey’s comment: For the true nature of Ham’s action and sin, I would agree entirely with the following version, except to suggest the alternative possibility that Noah’s wife, with whom Ham had sex, may not necessarily have been Ham’s own biological mother:


Noah planted a vineyard and got drunk. Then, Ham, Noah’s son, committed some act that resulted in a curse placed on Canaan. These happenings have been heavily debated by theologians: some say Ham saw that Noah was naked; some say Ham committed a homosexual act with Noah, and some say it is and will remain an unsolved mystery, but there is another possibility that we have accepted. We have concluded that Ham went into the tent and had sex with his mother; this union produced Canaan. When Noah woke up, he cursed Canaan, Ham’s unborn son. Noah didn’t curse himself, nor did he curse Ham, but he cursed Canaan and gave him the name which means “humiliated.” This is the only scenario that makes sense and here are our reasons for promoting this view:


  • The term saw the “nakedness of his father” (Genesis 9:22) is the same term as used in the Levitical law when dealing with incest (e.g. Leviticus 20:11 “And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness:” – KJV). This clearly means having sexual relations.


(b)  Noah knew that the result of this union would upset the balance between good and evil (1 John 3:12, Genesis 4:25).

[End of quote]


Bruce Louden continues:


In Hesiod Kronos castrates his father, but Iapetos has also committed unspecified offences for which he is punished in Tartaros (Iliad 8.479; cf. his name’s likely derivation from ἰάπτω [Chantraine]). Iapetos and his wife Klymene produce four sons (Theog. 507-616), three of whom are severely punished: Atlas, Menoitios (who seems most like Ham: Theog. 514-16), and Prometheus, referred to eight times as “Son of Iapetos.” Not only are there multiple points of contact with Hesiod, but after the flood Japheth becomes the father of Javan (10:2), the same eponym as the Greek Ion (from *Ἰαϝων). ….


Based on the congruence of these motifs, the characters’ occurrence at similar stages of larger creation myths, and Japheth’s specific connection to Greek culture (as father of Javan) we might best see this part of Genesis as having evolved in a dialogic relation with Hesiod’s account (cf. Louden 2011, which argues that parts of Genesis evolved in a dialogic relation with The Odyssey).


Damien Mackey’s comment: The Odyssey, I think, would be later, much of it being based upon the books of Tobit and Job. See e.g. my article:


Similarities to The Odyssey of the Books of Job and Tobit


Bruce Louden concludes:


There is no evidence external to the Bible for the names of Noah’s sons (Carr 162), and recent scholarship has moved the dates up for Genesis considerably (Carr passim). Elsewhere the Bible several times transposes other cultures’ divine names to human characters (Nimrod: Ninurta; Esther: Ishtar, Mordecai: Marduk). Though the resultant versions lack an exact match between the two characters (they do not occupy the same sequential position in their Flood myths), Japheth, who is absent from all other Near Eastern accounts, may well derive from Hesiod’s Iapetos.




  • Carr, David M. 1996. Reading the Fractures of Genesis. Westminster.
  • López-Ruiz, Carolina. 2010. When the Gods Were Born: Greek Cosmogonies and the Near East. Harvard University Press.
  • Louden, B. 2011. Homer’s Odyssey and the Near East. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wadjenbaum, Philippe. 2011. Argonauts of the Desert: Structural Analysis of the Hebrew Bible. Equinox.
  • West, M. L. 1966. Hesiod: Theogony. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • West, M. L. 1997. The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Clarendon Press.



Part Two: Japheth and Prajapti



“In the Indian account of the Flood, “Noah” is known as Satyaurata,

who had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti.

The other two were called Sharma and C’harma (Shem and Ham?)”.

 Emmanuel Enid




Bill Cooper has written as follows about the biblical Japheth, in “The Early History of Man: Part One. The Table of Nations”:


(1) Japheth


Literally the progenitor of many nations — all the Indo-European peoples, in fact — it would be surprising indeed if his name had gone unremembered among them. As it is, we find that the early Greeks worshipped him as IAPETOS, or IAPETUS, whom they regarded as the son of heaven and earth, and the father of many nations. Likewise, in the ancient Sanskrit vedas of India, he is remembered as PRA-JAPATI, the sun and ostensible Lord of Creation.

His name was further corrupted and assimilated into the Roman pantheon as IUPATER, which eventually became that of Jupiter. None of these names are recognised as being of Greek, Indian or Latin origin; but are rather mere corruptions of the Hebrew name of Japheth. Similarly, the early Saxon races perpetuated his name as Sceaf, (pr. ‘sheef’ or ‘shaif’), and recorded his name in their early genealogies as the son of Noah, the forebear of their various peoples.



Again, we read at: of Japheth’s presumed wide-ranging Indo-European influence:


Japheth is the Father of the Europeans and the Indians (of India, not America)


To begin with, it is well known that Japheth’s name has been preserved in both branches of the Aryan family, which very early split into two major divisions and settled in Europe and India. The Greeks, for example, trace themselves back to Japetos. In Aristophanes’ The Clouds, Japetos is referred to as one of the Titans and the father of Atlas. Japetos was considered by the Greeks not merely as their own ancestor but the father of the human race. According to their tradition, Ouranos and Gaia (i.e., Heaven and Earth) had six sons and six daughters, but of this family only one – Japetos by name – had a human progeny. He married Clymene, a daughter of Okeanos, who bore him Prometheus and three other sons. Prometheus begat Deukalion who is, in effect, the “Noah” of the Greeks, and Deukalion begat Hellen who was the reputed father of the Hellenes or Greeks. If we proceed a little further, we find that Hellen himself had a grandson named Ion; and in Homer’s poetry the Greeks were known as Ionians.


Meanwhile, the Indian branch of this Aryan family also traced themselves back to the same man. In the Indian account of the Flood, “Noah” is known as Satyaurata, who had three sons, the eldest of whom was named Jyapeti. The other two were called Sharma and C’harma (Shem and Ham?). To the first he allotted all the regions north of the Himalayas and to Sharma he gave the country to the south. But he cursed C’harma, because when the old monarch was accidentally inebriated with strong liquor made from fermented rice, C’harma had laughed at him. In primitive Aryan speech the title Djapatischta means “chief of the race,” a title which looks like a corruption of the original form of the name “Japheth.” We know little about Japheth from Scripture, except that in Hebrew his name means “fair.” We know much more about his seven sons (see Appendix 11).


Out of the spreading of Japheth’s seven sons, there emerges a reasonably clear picture in which a single family beginning with Japheth multiplied in the course of time and peopled the northern shore of the Mediterranean, the whole of Europe, the British Isles and Scandinavia, and the larger part of Russia.


The same family settled India, displacing a prior settlement of Hamites who had established themselves in the Indus Valley. Isolated groups of this same people seem to have wandered further afield towards the East, contributing to small pockets of Japhethites which, in course of time, were almost, if not wholly, swallowed up by the Hamites. It is possible that some of them contributed characteristics found in the people of Polynesia, and it is conceivable that in the Ainu of northern Japan there is a remnant of Japhethites.


Noah had said that God would enlarge Japheth (Genesis 9:27). It seems that this enlargement began very early in Japheth’s history, but it has been a continuing process and occurring in every part of the world, with the exception of the Far East. The children of Japheth have tended to spread and multiply at the expense of the Shem and Ham families. This enlargement did not mean that Japhethites were the first to migrate far and wide, for wherever they have spread, whether in prehistoric or historic times, they have been preceded by even earlier settlers whose racial origin was not Indo-European. This pattern of settlement of the habitable areas of the world has had a profound significance in the development of civilization, a significance which is considered in some detail in another Doorway Paper.


It has been established by many lines of evidence that the actual names provided in Genesis 10:1-5 were indeed those of real people, whose families carried with them recognizably clear recollections (though often in corrupted form), of their respective forebears, so that they have survived to the present day, still bearing the kind of relationships that are implied in this ancient Table of Nations. And even the patriarchal name is often unmistakably preserved!




Moses and Cecrops

Published November 22, 2018 by amaic
Related image


“Just as Moses was the “legislator of the Jews” so the Greek myths tell us,

that it was Cecrops who first gave the people of Athens their laws”.

 John R. Salverda


Taken from:


Jerusalem’s History as Athenian Myth


What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? After even a cursory examination of the two, it is hard to deny that the founding “myths” of Athens share many curious and intricate coincidences with Jewish history and the symbolisms of Jerusalem. For as the founding myth of Athens goes; Cecrops (herein presented as the Athenian version of Moses), lead the Athenians up out of the land of Egypt.

He took a colony out of the Egyptian city of Sais, (see the Scholiast on Aristophanes Plutus 773). Diodorus tells us, “the Athenians, they say, are colonists from Sais in Egypt, and they undertake to offer proofs of such a relationship; for the Athenians are the only Greeks who call their city “Asty,” a name brought over from the city Asty in Egypt. Furthermore, their body politic had the same classification and division of the people as found in Egypt.” (Diodorus Siculus book 1 Chapter I.28.4). Similarly from Plato, as his ancestor Solon was told by the Priests of Egypt, “At the head of the Egyptian Delta, where the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which Amasis the king was sprung. And the citizens have a deity who is their foundress: she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, which is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes called Athena. Now, the citizens of this city are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them.” (Plato Critias). Just as in the story of Moses leading the twelve tribes to the promised land, so the Greek myth of Cecrops has him leading his people to the area of Athens and dividing the land into twelve districts. Strabo tells us that, “Cecrops first settled the multitude in twelve cities,” (Geography 9. 1. 18 – 20). Notice here not only the division into twelve but also Strabo’s reference to “the multitude” that Cecrops was accredited with settling at the colony of Athens (Sais = Zoan = Tanis = Tanit = Athena = Zion). It’s not my contention that there were two groups, both sharing the stories of Moses and coming out of Egypt, one going to Jerusalem and the other going to Athens, for it is more probable that colonists from Palestine (not necessarily Judeans) brought the stories of Moses to Athens long after the exodus, and even after Jerusalem had been established for a while. For it is not just the story about coming up out of the land of Egypt that they share.


Another example of how Cecrops was like Moses, can be seen in the writings of Pausanias, who says, “For Cecrops was the first to name Zeus the Supreme god, and refused to sacrifice anything that had life in it, but burnt instead on the altar the national cakes which the Athenians still call pelanoi.” (Description of Greece 8. 2. 2-3).# Thus even a kind of monotheism such as that which was advocated by Moses, who was the first to name Yahweh (Ex. 3:14), had [its] parallel in the Greek myth of Cecrops (however corrupt, he advocated Zeus as the “supreme god”). Notice also the bit about the “national cakes” in regards to Moses setting up the festival of the unfermented cakes. Just as Moses was the “legislator of the Jews” so the Greek myths tell us, that it was Cecrops who first gave the people of Athens their laws. Moses also wrote the universal founding story in the book of Genesis …


Damien Mackey’s comment: My own view is that Moses, substantially the author of the Pentateuch, only edited, not “wrote” the Book of Genesis. See e.g. my:


Tracing the Hand of Moses in Genesis



John Salverda continues:


… and it is evident that the Athenians were well aware of it, because it is used liberally, as I will demonstrate, in the foundation myths of Athens. Some even say that Cecrops invented writing, another allusion to Moses who is sometimes said to have invented the alphabet.


Cecrops was an anguipede (serpent footed,) this is noteworthy because wayward Jews blasphemously pictured Yahweh, the God of Moses, as an anguipede (This is such an outrageous claim that I implore the reader to look it up on his own. Simply search the term on the internet, there are dozens of sites anxious to malign the Jews for this particular idolatrous blasphemy.). Furthermore, don‘t let the fact that the history of Athens is full of serpents throw you off, for (besides the serpent stick carrying Moses), each of the twelve tribes of Israel had its own leader at the Exodus, and the tribal chief of Judah, was a man named “Nahshon,” which is the usual Hebrew word for “serpent.” So, while it was Moses who led the tribes up out of Egypt, it was this Nahshon (serpent), who led the specific tribe of Judah, the founders of Jerusalem, at the Exodus. ….


The Greek myths tell us that it was Cecrops who invented marriage (instituting monogamy), while among the Hebrews it was Moses who outlined the institution of marriage when he compiled [sic] the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis … 2:23,24 (And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be as one flesh.). The Greek myths tell us that Cecrops was the first to recognize patriarchal paternity (Egypt was a matrilineal society). While Moses wrote [sic] Genesis 3:16 (Unto the woman he said, …thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.) in order to redefine the roles of men and women for the Israelites as opposed to the custom of their previous Egyptian overlords ….


The Garden of Eden had two trees and a fountain, they are mentioned all together at the same place in the narrative, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” (Genesis 2:9,10). Many people think that the scriptural creation story was originally two stories rolled into one, but perhaps there were originally three or four (or even more) sources and it was Moses whose task it was to compile them into a single account. The story of Moses includes an outline of his “sin” for which he was precluded from entering his own “Eden,” a land flowing with “milk an[d] honey” the “promised land” because he had struck a rock with his staff and produced a fountain. The Greek myth about the founding of Athens contains a very similar motif when it comes to the contest between Poseidon and Athena, “the Sea-God standing, striking the rough rock with his tall trident, and the wounded rock gushing sea-brine, his proof to clinch his claim. Herself (Athena) … from the earth struck by her spear, she shows an olive tree,” (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 70 ff). …. In the contest between Poseidon with his miraculous fountain, and Athena, the well known goddess of “knowledge” (of “good and evil?”), with her miraculous tree, we have a kind of doublet with the myth of Pallas verses Athena, as to which version of the maiden would supersede. Was it going to be the fountain (of youth?), or the tree (of eternal life)? Apparently it would be the tree. The result of “picking” the tree was a massive flood. In the book of Genesis Moses tells us that there was a kind of contest between God and the Serpent as to whom mankind would obey. The people were allowed complete freedom of choice, in picking of the tree, mankind decided on the Serpent. God eventually brought the flood. According to Moses, a dove delivers to Noah, the olive branch in spite of the flood. The dove is symbolic of “the woman” delivering her seed, and in Greek mythology it is the totem bird of Hera (Her Latin name, “Juno” is the usual Hebrew word for “dove.”) the parthenogenic mother of Hephaestus, while the branch of the olive tree turns out to be symbolic of the Messiah. Logic propels us to conclude that in the parallel Athenian version of the tale, Athena represented the Serpent, while Poseidon represented God. In the Scriptural book of Genesis, of course, choosing the Serpent was a mistake and a promise was made to correct the error at a later date by means of the Messiah (a promise that was symbolized by the olive branch and as the seed of the Woman).


Now, it is not my intention to equate Athens with Eden, although the temptation is strong to do so (“Athens, a town said to be the first established in the world.” So says Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 164), and I would not be averse to the suggestion that the names of the two places have a common ancestor. My point is that the two places share similar stories because the Athenian story tellers were from Israel and were well aware of the stories of Jerusalem and that Cecrops was actually the Athenian version of Moses, the stories that Cecrops told were very similar to the stories that Moses wrote. Specific motifs and themes that we usually associate with the writings of Moses in Genesis and Exodus were carried by Hebrews who migrated to Greece and set up Athens as a local rival to Jerusalem, (as they had done back home at Bethel and Dan) thus they turn up in the Greek myths as the foundation stories of Athens, this is the simplest explanation for the phenomenon. Some may even have been Judeans who had originally come to Thebes in Boeotia with Cadmus and then moved to Athens at a later date. Indeed, if the Greeks knew of Moses as Cecrops, and used the Hebrew alphabet, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t know something about what Moses wrote, such as the Theogony of Genesis and the story of Eden. After all, they do seem to have known quite a bit about Moses and not only mere generalities, but even down to intricate details of theological doctrine.


The olive tree is the well known symbol of the Jewish nation (Rom. 11:17-26), more particularly the olive branch is the symbol of peace (shalom), and is incorporated into the name of the capital city of the Jews, Jeru-“salem,” featured herein as the original concept of the Greek city Athens, which is also symbolized by the olive tree in the Greek myths. The symbolism of the olive branch is included in the writings [sic] of Moses, delivered by the “dove” to Noah as the remedy for the flood, some take it as the symbol of the Messiah (Christos “anointed” with oil, olive oil). (not to mention the, very ancient, Zodiacal character of Virgo who carries the “branch”) Athena (called Athena-Parthenos, meaning “the virgin”) was a female personification of the city state of Athens, “the virgin citadel of Cecrops” (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5. 646 ff), in the same way that (the Virgin) Zion was a female personification of Jerusalem. “The virgin, the daughter of Zion, … the daughter of Jerusalem” (Isa. 37:22). ….




The people of Athens were a special breed, they had superior conditioning during their early developmental stage, by virtue of their ancient religion. The culture and institutions that were advanced by them were instrumental to the evolution of civilization in general and of free societies everywhere. What religion shaped this remarkable populace? They thought the people of their city to be the most ancient of all civilizations (Everyone else were considered to be “barbarians” even the Egyptians).


They believed that they had been tested at the foundation of their civilization by a great and jealous god as to whom they should worship, instead of the god they chose a serpent woman and her tree, making her their goddess of knowledge. This was done by the free choice of a woman. For their insubordination they endured a great flood sent by the angered god. They spent some time in Egypt, and considered themselves to be part of a great multitude that was lead up out of the place by a famous ancestral law giver. He taught them to worship the highest god, instituted patriarchal monogamy, invented writing and began an annual festival of cakes. He divided them into twelve groups and settled them in their new land. They had with them … an ark that contained the promise of an immortal king as cult object. They were warned not to look upon the secret contents, under penalty of death, but they had disobeyed. They set the capitol of their land at a city, represented by the olive tree (the symbol of peace), with a mountain, upon which they built their holy temple (the Parthenon, named for the “virgin,” upon the Acropolis). They placed in their temple their extraordinary ark. This city became the seat of wisdom for their nation. Do these themes sound familiar? How many intricate, particular, distinctive motifs does one need to see matched up in a series, before it is admitted that they add up to be no mere coincidence?

…. As heirs to the legacy of Athens it is no wonder that so many western nations are predisposed toward Christianity, this predisposition is a feature of their ancient cultural development. As they were familiar with their own ancient religion, a production of Judaism, they were well prepared to accept Christianity, which is in many respects, the evident culmination of that same religion, Judaism.



Hindu appropriation of Jesus Christ

Published November 19, 2018 by amaic
Image result for christ and krishna



“Both Christ and Krishna were known to be threatened by the local ruler

when they were young. Both have very similar stories …”.




The author of the following post (2011) imagines that Jesus Christ was derived from Krishna:


Is Jesus Christ derived from Lord Krishna?


Have you every noticed the amazingly coincidental similarity between these two names – Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna – and asked yourselves, why the names of two major religious figures in two major religious are exactly [sic] the same? Have you [ever] looked at the evolution of religions and wondered if it’s possible that Christianity is actually derived from Hinduism (partly the story of Lord Krishna)?

Well, you’re not the only one! Many leading experts believe that not only the name Jesus Christ is a derivative of Lord Krishna, but also, the religion of Christianity might be partially and fully derived from Hinduism! [sic, or vice versa]


Once we start comparing Christianity and the teachings of Christ with the life and teaching of Lord Krishna (and Hinduism in general), we immediately start seeing glaring similarities in the two. It would be naive to assume that these similarities are purely coincidental/circumstantial and that Christianity evolved all by itself to have the name of [its] main deity to be exactly the same as one of the Trinity in Hinduism, among other obvious similarities!


Let’s analyze some of these similarities –



Krishna means “of darker color” and Christ means “covered in dark/olive oil” – Now, this one is obviously almost exactly the same and makes even the most skeptic Christians wonder how can even the names have exactly the same meaning! Some Christian skeptics have gone on to claim that Christ doesn’t mean dark and rather, it means “anointed”, which is a valid point because “anointed” indeed is one of the old translations of the word “Christ”. But then we ask the simple question: How would an “anointed” person look like? Would he look somewhat discolored? Would he look darker? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes! Just think about it for a second, if I cover myself with any anointments, would the color of my skin change to darker? Yes, it would. If someone is still skeptic, we went deeper into the Hebrew language and found that the word “Chrism” actually refers to anointment by Olive oil! A person covered with olive oil will certainly look darker and can be thought of as “of darker color” or in other words – “Krishna”! The similarity in both the name Krishna and Christ but also the very meaning of the names – “Dark color” and “Covered with dark (Olive) oil” – are uncanny and can’t be refuted. It’s not hard to surmise that the early Christians were aware of the name “Krishna” and it’s meaning and significance and they modeled the name “Christ” exactly after “Krishna” both in the meaning and the intent.


Both Christ and Krishna were known to be threatened by the local ruler when they were young. Both have very similar stories – In Krishna’s case, it was Kansa (also known as Kamsa) who wanted to kill him. He tried to imprison Krishna’s parents but they were able to flee and survive in time. Surprisingly, Jesus Christ has a very similar story as well in which the evil king Herod actually issued a royal decree to warrant Christ’s death. Further, Kansa killed all offsprings of Devaki trying to ensure that Lord Krishna would also die as one of the children; this same story also shows up in Bible as the story of the Massacre of Innocents in Matthew where King Herod ordered that all young children in Bethlehem be killed to ensure Jesus’ death. Also, just as in the case of Lord Krishna, Christ’s parents (Mary and Joseph) survived in a very similar fashion. Lord Krishna grew up in Vrindavan hidden away from Kansa while Jesus grew up in Egypt in hiding from Herod. Since the stories are so surprisingly similar, it’s not difficult to see why the Christian version might be derived from then existing Hindu version.


Both Christ and Krishna were divine beings / “sons of God” walking on the earth as mortals – This one is obvious but extremely important because of the fact that Christ is not depicted as an angel or a jinni or some other supernatural creature in the Bible! Instead, Christ is considered the Son of God Himself! This is intriguing because Christian myths are full of all manners of supernatural/divine creatures sent by God to earth for various purposes; but why ONLY Christ is the son of God? Why are not all the angels also sons of God? The answer becomes obvious when we draw parallels with Hinduism: Lord Krishna is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. This is why He is not same as minor gods, pretas and other creatures. Lord Krishna is a conscious manifestation of God Himself. Now if Christ were to come from Krishna, it’s logical to assume that the early Christians took the Hindu story of Lord Krishna and transformed it into their own versions/interpretations, but the main details like being Son/Avatar of God stayed the same.


Both Christ and Krishna clearly state that the only way to salvation is through them – Lord Krishna, in Bhagwat Geeta, states that Moksha is attained by those who completely surrender to Him and Him alone. Those who do not surrender to Lord Krishna and rather worship false gods will not attain Moksha/Salvation/Nirvana. In Bible, Jesus Christ again asserts, in exactly the same fashion, that the only real way of attaining salvation is by accepting Jesus as your lord and savior! Please also note that this is a somewhat unique case because it doesn’t apply to other Abrahamic religions. For example, Mohammed, in Islamic traditions, doesn’t claim that salvation can be attained only by accepting Mohammed as our lord and savior. Only Jesus claims, exactly the same as Lord Krishna does, that we must accept Him as the lord and savior to attain true salvation. The similarities are again obvious!


Similarities between Christ’s Cross and Lord Krishna’s Maharoopa/Vishwaroopa – Now this one would require at least one full book to fully analyze as the philosophical and religious implications of both are truly immense. I’ll probably cover it more completely in later articles but here let me briefly mention that the Cross signifies Christ’s willingness to accept all the sins/pains in the world. In other words, Cross implies that the results of all the actions of humans in the world go to the Christ. This is exactly the same as what Lord Krishna implies in the Maharoopa when he says that all results of all actions of all beings go to him. This is just one similarity between the Cross and Maharoopa, but the readers would certainly see more as they look deeper.


So we see that the similarities between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna, and consequently Christianity and Hinduism, are unmistakable from linguistics, philosophical, religious, historical and mythical perspectives! There are hundreds of more similarities that clearly prove that Christianity is simply a distorted or perhaps a misinterpreted version of a facet of Hinduism! ….



At this site: we get:


25 Similarities between Lord Krishna and Jesus Christ


  1. Similarities in their names —


Christ‘ and ‘Krishna‘ – similar pronunciation.


Krishna means “of darker color” and Christ means “covered in dark/olive oil”


  1. Both were called Savior, and the second person of the Trinity —


Hindus believe that Krishna is the 8th incarnate of Lord Vishnu – the protector and the second personality of the Hindu Trinity of deities. Most Christians believe that Christ (Jesus) is the Son of God, the second personality in the Trinity.


  1. Both were sent from heaven to earth in the form of a man —


Both were god-men: being considered both human and divine.


  1. They were divinely conceived. Krishna’s and Jesus’ mothers were holy virgins —


The virginal state of Devaki is a matter of debate. The divine Vishnu (one of the three deities in the Hindu Trinity) himself descended into the womb of Devaki and was born as her son Krishna.


The virginal state of Mary when she conceived Jesus is also a matter of debate. The Holy Spirit (one of the three persons in the Christian Holy Trinity) was responsible for Mary’s pregnancy.


  1. Both were born at unusual places —


Krishna was born in a prison cell. Christ was also born in a cave, although some say a manger in a barn.


  1. Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid (asleep) state.


  1. Rays of light illuminated the area after they had taken birth.


  1. Angels in both cases issued a warning.


  1. Both Christ and Krishna were known to be threatened by the local ruler when they were young —


Kansa wanted to kill Krishna. For this purpose, he sent demons and animals. Jesus Christ has a very similar story as well in which the evil king Herod actually issued a royal decree to warrant Christ’s death.


  1. Innocent children were killed to ensure that Lord would also die — Kansa killed all offsprings of Devaki trying to ensure that Lord Krishna would also die as one of the children; this same story also shows up in Bible as the story of the Massacre of Innocents in Matthew where King Herod ordered that all young children in Bethlehem be killed to ensure Jesus’ death.


  1. Similarity in places where their parents stayed —


Krishna’s parents stayed in Mathura. Mary and Joseph stayed in Muturea; (similar names again)


  1. Both Krishna and Jesus Christ were of royal descent but lived their childhood as an ordinary boy —


Krishna was a cowherd. Christ is often depicted as a shepherd.



  1. Both grew somewhere else hiding from ruler —


Lord Krishna grew up in Vrindavan hidden away from Kansa, while Jesus grew up in Egypt in hiding from Herod.


  1. Their foster-parents had to go to pay taxes —


Krishna’s foster-father Nanda had to journey to Mathura to pay his taxes, just as Jesus foster-father Joseph is recorded in the Gospel of Luke as having to go to Bethlehem to pay taxes.


  1. Krishna was Mischevious Boy. Similar to Jesus leaving his parents to go the temple.


  1. Connection with mountain —


Krishna is reported as having uprooted a small mountain.Jesus is recorded as saying: “if you had faith as a mustard seed you would say to the mountain uproot yourself and be cast into the ocean“.


  1. Connection with huge Giant Serpent —


One day, wrestling and playing by the river, children saw that the Yamuna river was poisoned, so Krishna jumped in to kill the Giant Serpent that was poisoning the river. He danced on the serpents head and set if free, cleaning up the river making the river Holy once again.


Similar to this story, Yahweh slayed Leviathan. (The prophet called Leviathan a serpent that has many Heads, a sea-creature, a hideous demonic creature who is apparently under the direct leadership of Satan himself) Jesus gone into the river to be Baptized (Baptism is a sort of rebirth, cleansing, new beginning).


In that day Jehovah with His great and fierce and strong sword shall punish the sea-monster, the darting serpent, the sea-monster, that twisting serpent; and He shall kill the monster in the sea.” Isaiah 27:1


  1. Both performed many miracles, including the healing of disease —


  1. They were both considered omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (everpresent).


  1. The missions of Krishna and Jesus were the same — the salvation of humanity.


  1. “Sermon on the Mount” ….


…. December is also the time of year when the celebration takes place of Lord Krishna speaking the Bhagavad-gita at Kuruksetra (Gita Jayanti). This could mean that Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” is none other than a similarity to Krishna’s sermon (lecture) delivered to Arjuna while Krishna was mounted (riding) on His chariot. The Bhagavad-gita is a sermon, given 5,000 years ago, that provides indispensable spiritual guidance to all people, which is also said about Christ’s sermon, said to have taken place on the Mount of Olives.


  1. Similarity in teachings —


  • We also learn in the Bhagavad-Gita that total devotion to Krishna will allow man to achieve eternal life and never know death again. In the New Testament we learn that Christ is the the only way. ‘…that whosoever believeth in Christ should not perish, but have everlasting life.’


  • In Bhagavad-gita (7.6-7) Krishna said, “I am the cause of the whole universe, through Me it is created and dissolved, all things are dependant on Me as pearls are strung on a thread.” Jesus said, “Of Him and through Him, and unto Him, are all things. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1.3)


  • Krishna had said (Bg.4.7), “For the establishment of righteousness I am born from time to time.” This compares to Jesus in John 18:37, wherein he says, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”


  1. Both selected disciples to spread his teachings.


  1. Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons : Krishna by an arrow and Christ by nails —


At the time when Krishna left this planet, His foot was pierced with an arrow, while Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear.


  1. Both are said to be incarnate again in scriptures —


There is a description of many ominous signs that are to signify the second coming of Christ. There are even more symptoms of the terrible age of Kali (Kalyug – that we are going through) that indicates the time before the coming of Krishna’s (Lord Vishnu’s) next incarnation as Kalki – that are disclosed in the Vedas.



Many more comparisons could be given.

Jesus Christ appropriated by Greece as Apollonius of Tyana

Published November 19, 2018 by amaic
Image result for philostratus commissioned by empress



“Logically, it is the New Testament accounts that are

far more reliable than those of Apollonius”.

Matt Slick



We read at:

Apollonius of Tyana also did miracles and rose.

What about him?


by Matt Slick


Apollonius of Tyana (a city south of Turkey) is sometimes offered as a challenge to the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. It is said that Apollonius, who lived in the first century, also performed miracles, had disciples, died, and appeared after his death the same as Jesus. Therefore, critics conclude, what Jesus did isn’t unique. Some even say that this is evidence that the Christian account of Christ’s healings, miracles, and post death appearances were merely copied from the accounts of Apollonius. Are these accusations supportable? No, they aren’t.


First of all, the accounts of Apollonius were written well after he is supposed to have lived by a man named Philostratus (170 – 245 A.D.). This is long after the New Testament was written. Therefore the written accounts of Apollonius were not written by eyewitnesses as were the gospels. If critics want to maintain that the New Testament is full of myth and must be discredited, then so must the accounts of Apollonius since the writings are written several generations after the fact. By contrast the New Testament was written by the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life. Logically, it is the New Testament accounts that are far more reliable than those of Apollonius. Also, this would mean that if any borrowing was done, it was done by Philostratus, not by the gospel writers.


Second, the eyewitness accounts of the New Testament writers were written before the close of the first century. For example, we know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Acts do not contain the account of the fall of Jerusalem which occurred in 70 A.D. This fall included the destruction of the Jerusalem temple which was prophesied by Jesus in Matt. 24:1, Mark 13:1, and Luke 21:5. Such an incredibly major event in Jewish history would surely have been included in Acts and the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) if they were written after 70 A.D. since they would verify Jesus’ predictive abilities. But, it is not included. Therefore, it is safe to say that they were written by the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life, unlike the accounts of Apollonius.


Third, Philostratus is the only source for the accounts of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, etc., are different writers who’s epistles were gathered by the Church and assembled into the Bible. That means that there is no verification for Apollonius other than the single writing of Philostratus.


Fourth, Philostratus was commissioned by an empress to write a biography of Apollonius in order to dedicate a temple to him. This means that there was a motive for Philostratus to embellish the accounts in order satisfy the requirement of the empress.1


It is not likely in the slightest that the gospels borrowed from Apollonius. It is most probably the other way around, especially since Philostratus had a motive to satisfy the empress who had commissioned him to write a biography of the man for whom a temple had been constructed.


  1. Strobel, Lee, The Case for Christ, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998, p. 120.



Apollonius is clearly another of those many pagan appropriations of Old and New Testament biblical characters (e.g., Buddha, and also various Greek mythological heroes, appropriating Moses; Socrates a composite of the prophet Jeremiah, Eleazer of the Maccabees, and Jesus; Julius Caesar a composite, including of Jesus Christ; Mohammed a composite of Tobias and of various New Testament figures, including, once again, Jesus Christ).



Robert M. Price asks the question, at:


Was There a Historical

Apollonius of Tyana?


Apollonius of Tyana is a fascinating character in his own right, intrinsically deserving of scholarly attention. But much contemporary discussion of this ancient superhero is due to his possible relevance to the question of the historical Jesus, for his story as we read it in Philostratus’ third-century hagiography The Life of Apollonius of Tyana bears a striking resemblance to that of the Christian Savior at many points. The parallels raise the question of literary genre, possible literary dependence, and euhemerism (whether a legendary superhero may be a magnification of an actual historical figure whose features may be dimly discerned via historical criticism). My focus is narrower still. It is sometimes observed that in Apollonius

we have a strong precedent for Jesus as most scholars see him, as a genuine historical figure subsequently embellished by his admirers. After all, if we can discount the miracle stories attached to the sage of Tyana and still believe he existed, why not Jesus? Both figures conform in a whole host of details to the Mythic Hero Archetype,1 but such figures may result from Man becoming Myth, or from Myth becoming Man. What are the deciding factors? And which was the case with our pair of subjects?


I shall suggest that all signs point to Apollonius having originated as a purely mythical hero, precisely like Asclepius, Hercules, Dionysus, and Theseus. Remember, these ancient heroes were also believed to have walked our earth in mortal form and to have worked wonders among the mortals whom they outwardly resembled. They were supposed to have been begotten upon mortal women by deities visiting from heavenly Olympus. When their earthly missions were complete, these demigods returned to heaven themselves. But they never in fact lived on earth.

The only real difference between these ancient superheroes and Apollonius is that his (fictive) sojourn among mankind was imagined to have been more recent.


Philostratus informs us that he derived his biographical data on Apollonius from various sources including local legends/folk memories emanating from shrines boasting of visits from the philosopher-thaumaturge (much as tour guides cross their fingers behind their backs while

telling visitors to Glastonbury that no less than Joseph of Arimathea, King Arthur, and Queen Guinevere lie buried there). But, he says, his principle source of information was the journal kept by Apollonius’ disciple Damis the Assyrian, who carefully recorded every word and every

movement of his master. But all this is a pose, a ruse, no more to be believed than Edgar Rice Burroughs when he claims his novel A Princess of Mars was recounted to him by Captain John Carter who had astrally travelled to the Red Planet. We do not believe, and of course are not intended to believe, that Carter actually encountered green-skinned, four-armed Tharks on Mars. Are we going to believe that Apollonius and company ran across dragons and humanoid giants?

A narrative, as D.F. Strauss warned us, has no more credibility than the least believable parts of it.2 And that pretty much poisons the well for Philostratus’ hagiography of the man of Tyana.


But even if we did not have these fairy tale elements to contend with, we would still have to regard the whole work as fiction. There is simply no way Damis could have taken down Apollonius’ discourses in such detail and with such eloquence unless the gods had provided him with a tape recorder. As we read, enthralled by the wit and wisdom of the philosopher, we find ourselves suspending disbelief. We look no deeper than the placid surface of the polished

narrative, as when we watch a movie or read a novel (which is what we are doing here). It is possible that Philostratus was working from a set of notes taken down by Damis, but what reason is there to think so? Occam’s Razor warns us not to posit redundant and superfluous explanations. If it reads like a work of de novo fiction, why should we complicate things by positing extra ostensible causes for the effect, which do nothing to make the work more understandable? So fiction it is.


But why the pose that Apollonius was a figure of recent history? Apollonius supposedly lived in the first century CE. Philostratus was writing about him in the third. Others had written of Apollonius, e.g., Moeragenes, whose account did not meet with Philostratus’ approval. But does the fact that this character, as a character, already existed establish his existence as a historical figure? It only proves that Philostratus was not his inventor. More simply, it is by no means unlikely that Philostratus and Moeragenes were alike simply taking for granted the result of the process of “euhemerizing” an ancient, mythic hero, distilling a whittled-down, hypothetically historical prototype, just as euhemerists like Herodotus posited a historical Hercules, an ancient Steve Reeves.



In the case of Apollonius, scholars have reasoned that, if Philostratus felt he had to clean up his hero’s reputation, making him a sublime philosopher instead of a charlatan conjurer, wouldn’t that imply that Apollonius actually was a magician? Why would he invent such a strike against Apollonius? But this fails, too. It seems rather that Philostratus was trying to rebut a general disdain of philosophy and philosophers by those who considered them no more than frauds and parasites…. Nero was opposed to philosophy, because he suspected its devotees to be addicted to magic, and of being diviners in disguise; and at last the philosopher’s mantle brought its wearers before the law courts, as if it were a mere cloak of the divining art. I will not mention other names, but Musonius of Babylon, a man only second to Apollonius, was thrown into prison for the crime of being a sage, and there lay in danger of death; and he would have died for all his gaoler cared, if it had not been for the strength of his constitution. (4:35)4


I want to start with a form-critical analysis of the miracle stories starring Apollonius in order to determine, if possible, where they came from and what purpose they served. Do they seem to presuppose or imply an origin in a genuine historical figure or only the evolution of a mythic character like Hercules or Asclepius? And what light do they shed on claims for an eyewitness origin of the narratives?


Nativity Stories


To his mother, just before [Apollonius] was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer, in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened but asked what sort of child she would bear. And he answered, “Myself.” “And who are you?” she asked.

“Proteus,” he answered, “the god of Egypt.” (1:4)

Does this open the possibility that Apollonius is a fictive historicization of the mythical Proteus? Obviously, this annunciation tale is mythical. No one disputes that. The real question is whether the larger Apollonius narrative of which it forms a tiny part, is of any different character. In one sense, it is, insofar as the Apollonius epic is made the vehicle for huge amounts of philosophical paraenesis aimed (where else?) at the readers for their edification. Apollonius becomes the mouthpiece for Philostratus himself, just as Socrates was for Plato. This becomes blatantly obvious when it comes to the trial of Apollonius. The sage is called before the fiendish emperor Domitian. There is an exchange, but then Apollonius abruptly and literally vanishes into thin air, to reappear across the Mediterranean to the speechless astonishment of his disciples, whom he had sent on ahead.


But then Philostratus shares with us the speech Apollonius would have given had he not so rudely departed. Wait a minute! Which is it? Philostratus has already made it clear (in a passage to be considered presently) that Apollonius planned to teleport away from the courtroom, as he did, so he could not have prepared the speech Philostratus shares with us. And was Apollonius planning to read the speech? And how would Philostratus have obtained a copy? He thus reveals himself as the omniscient narrator using his hero as a ventriloquist dummy.


As for the actual “events” of Apollonius’ life, is any of them free from strong suspicion of being entirely fictive and fanciful? I think that the sage of Tyana is here revealed as being fully as mythical as the shape-shifting god Proteus of whom he is the avatar. Traditionally we have supposed these fanciful episodes and anecdotes were merely decorative embellishments to highlight the greatness of his hero for the edification of his original audiences. But if the whole

thing looks like a myth-cycle, why should we suppose it rests upon any (in any case indiscernible) historical basis? Let William of Occam again be our conscience: the notion of a more modest, historical Apollonius is a fifth wheel, a redundant and superfluous pseudo-explanation.


One more note: Proteus, like various ancient gods, could assume any form at will, which means he had no true form at all, but only seemed to be this or that. Thus Proteus’ announcement of his own impending birth as Apollonius means that the birth itself was a holy sham, as is pretty

much made explicit in this passage. My point, here as elsewhere, is that Philostratus is actually presenting his hero as a theophany, not as a wise mortal later rewarded by exaltation to heaven.

The Life of Apollonius of Tyana begins (and continues) by extolling Apollonius as superior to all rivals. But eventually we are surprised to see our author lionizing someone else. When Apollonius betakes himself to India, he gladly defers to the venerable Gymnosophists, or naked philosophers,5 as wiser than himself. He does not presume to teach them aught, but rejoices to sit under their instruction. Apollonius almost becomes a John the Baptist glorifying a greater:

“The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29b-30). It would appear that Philostratus himself greatly admired what he knew of Indian philosophy and used his commission to eulogize Apollonius6 as an opportunity to promote exotic Oriental mysticism to his Hellenistic readership. This may account for the similarities between the annunciation to Apollonius’ mother and annunciation/nativity stories of the Buddha. First, here is Apollonius’ birth story.


Now he is said to have been born in a meadow… [J]ust as the hour of his birth was approaching, his mother was warned in a dream to walk out into the meadow and pluck the flowers; and in due course she came there and her maids attended to the

flowers, scattering themselves over the meadow, while she fell asleep lying on the grass. Thereupon the swans who fed in the meadow set up a dance around her as she slept, and lifting their wings, as they are wont to do, cried out aloud all at once,

for there was somewhat of a breeze blowing in the meadow. She then leaped up at the sound of their song and bore her child, for any sudden fright is apt to bring on a premature delivery. But the people of that country say that just at the moment of the birth, a thunderbolt seemed about to fall to earth and then rose up into the air and disappeared aloft; and the gods thereby indicated, I think, the great distinction to which the sage was to attain, and hinted in advance how he would transcend all

things upon earth and approach the gods. (1:4-5)


Now, two versions of the Buddha’s annunciation and birth:


Before she conceived, she saw in her sleep a white lord of elephants entering her body, yet she felt thereby no pain. […] In that glorious grove the queen perceived that the time of her delivery was at hand. Then… from the side of the queen… a son was born for the weal of the world, without her suffering either pain or illness. […] When in due course he had issued from the womb, he appeared as if he had descended from the sky, for he did not come into the world through the portal of life; and, since he had purified his being through many aeons, he was born not ignorant but fully conscious. (Buddhacarita, i. 4, 8, 9, 11)7


Bodhisattva, the foremost in three worlds, worshipped by the world, seeing the (right) season, freed himself from the wonderful Tusita abode8… and… became a baby white elephant with six tusks… the set of tusks made of gold… and entered on the right side, the womb of his mother… Mayadevi, sleeping on a comfortable bed, had this dream: “A lordly elephant the colour of snow or silver, with six tusks… entered my womb.” […] Then Mayadevi… arose from her beautiful bed… descended from the top of the magnificent palace, going into the asoka grove, seated [herself] comfortably in the asoka grove. […] Then Mayadevi, entering the Lumbini Park…, walked from tree to tree… until she came gradually to that plaska tree, the greatest and most excellent jewel of trees… Then that plaska tree, bent by Bodhisattva’s glory, bowed down. Then Mayadevi stretched out her right arm like

the lightning in the sky… Magically arriving in this fashion, Bodhisattva remained in his mother’s womb. At the completion of ten months he issued from the right side of his mother. (Lalitavistara, VI. 2, 3, 22; VII.22)9


You can see that both Buddhist Nativity stories make clear that the infant to be born (in a purely illusory manner) is an illusion, only outwardly a baby, as he merely uses a woman’s womb as a conduit. He is a pre-existent heavenly being, already filled with supernatural wisdom. Furthermore, both the Buddha’s mother and Apollonius’ mother give birth in a peaceful rustic location, and both births are signaled by either a lightning bolt or a gesture reminiscent of one. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Apollonius Nativity has been influenced by its Buddhist counterpart. And of course both are not only equally mythical, but they are part of completely mythical epics. If there was a historical Gautama Buddha, as most assume, whoever and whatever he may have been, he cannot be found in the canonical hagiographies. I side with older scholars who discounted any historical existence of the Buddha. ….


Part Two:

That Nineveh anachronism again

“… Nineveh was so laid waste that it was considered a total myth of the Bible

throughout most of the recent centuries, that is until it was discovered

by Sir Austen Layard in the nineteenth century”.


Archaeology of Ancient Assyria




Poor old Nineveh!

That ancient city gets dragged into various pseudo-histories purportedly belonging to AD time.

And so I could not help exclaiming at the beginning of my article:


Heraclius and the Battle of Nineveh


What! What! What! The Byzantine emperor, Heraclius (reign, 610 to 641 AD), fighting a “Battle of Nineveh” in 627 AD!

And here I am mistakenly under the impression that the city of Nineveh was completely destroyed in c. 612 BC, and that it lay hopelessly dead and buried until it was archaeologically resurrected by Layard in the mid-C19th AD. ….


Again I found that the Prophet Mohammed, a supposed contemporary of Heraclius – the latter being suspiciously, I thought, “A composite character to end all composites”:


Heraclius and the Battle of Nineveh. Part Two: A composite character to end all composites


was likewise supposed to have had various associations with the (presumably long dead) city of Nineveh. See e.g. my article:


Prophet Jonah, Nineveh, and Mohammed


Now I find that Apollonius of Tyana, supposedly of the C1st AD, was guided in his extensive travels – somewhat reminiscent of those of Tobias and the angel Raphael in the Book of Tobit (including “Nineveh”, “Tigris” and “Ecbatana”):


A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit


by one, Damis, said to have been a native of Nineveh.

And this Apollonius of Tyana is thought by many to have been the real model for Jesus Christ.

I would have to agree with the following comment:

The case of Apollonius of Tyana is not comparable with the evidence we have for Jesus. We have multiple sources for the life of Jesus, while we only have one source for Apollonius. This source, Philostratus, claims to have recorded what eyewitnesses said about Apollonius, but your professor probably neglected to mention that the only eyewitness Philostratus mentions is one Damis from Nineveh. This city didn’t even exist in the first century (which means Damis probably did not exist, either). ….


If Nineveh did not then exist, and Damis “probably did not exist”, then I think it would be safe to say that neither did Apollonius of Tyana probably exist, but was a fictitious Greek appropriation of Jesus Christ whom Apollonius occasionally resembles quite remarkably.



In the amusingly entitled: “APOLLONIUS CREED VS. JESUS THE ROCK”, David Marshall writes:


One of the supreme principles of modern thought is that there must be no great inexplicable “gaps” in Nature. This is the source of controversy in biology, where proponents of Intelligent Design claim that life reveals micro-machinery that naturalistic evolution cannot explain. Critics of ID reply that no, all such “gaps” can in principle be explained, and the more we understand the story of life, the more such gaps have and will continue to close. Likewise, those who affirm miracles say that events such as the Resurrection of Jesus, or the sudden healing of a loved one after prayer, cannot easily be displayed on naturalistic grounds. Skeptics again beg to differ: “Nothing to see here, move along, folks. We may not have all the details, but nothing has happened that cannot in principle be explained by deceit, inattention, cognitive dissonance, the Will to Believe, confused reporting, or perhaps a timely group hallucination or two. These are all events that happen commonly in the natural world, and as Hume explained, prosaic explanations are therefore infinitely more likely than a miracle.” Which sounds like begging the question to believers. The same debate has now raged for two centuries over the person of Jesus, and reports about his life. Here, it appears, lies a God-sized gap in Nature if ever there was one. A man who healed the blind! Who spoke with a voice of thunder, casting traders out of the temple as if the place belonged to him! Who fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, and raised the dead! Who claimed to be “one with the Father,” and spoke as if all of Israel’s history, indeed all world history, would somehow be consummated by his mission, which involved his own sacrifice and then ultimate conquest of that ultimate boogeyman, death! All skeptical “historical Jesus” scholarship can be seen as a Herculean attempt to plug this gap in the universe. That includes the most famous and popular such attempts in our day, such as the work of scholars like Bart Ehrman and Paula Fredrikson, populists like Reza Aslan, the writings of the famous (or infamous) Jesus Seminar (and stars emerging from that constellation like John Crossan, Marcus Borg, Robert Funk, and John Spong), and the more radical writings of people like Richard Carrier and less-educated fellows on the “Jesus mythicist” fringe.

I believe Christians should look on their colossal effort to “plug the gap” as an act of kindness. Opponents of the Christian faith are doing wonderful work for truth: they sift ancient writings over hundreds of years (Thomas Jefferson was already part of the game), turning every stone along the Sea of Galilee, sifting every play, drama, epic and farce out of Athens, tunneling under the pyramids of Egypt, knocking on the doors of forest mystics along the Ganges, climbing the Tibetan plateau, in the world’s greatest scholarly manhunt. Our skeptical friends (atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, New Agers, nominal Christians) have been searching high and low for centuries, to locate their “missing man:” someone, anyone, who faintly resembles Jesus of Nazareth. Or, to put the matter another way, those who find the Jesus of the gospels both attractive and threatening would dearly like to find a genuine “Fifth Gospel.” (A term that has been used for both the so-called “Gospel of Thomas” and for Fyodor Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov). To summarize what I think is the true state of affairs, the actual results of this massive manhunt, let me begin autobiographically. Then let’s take a brief look at one of the most popular ancient comparisons to Jesus. I have argued in three books that this search for a credible analogy to Jesus of Nazareth has utterly failed. (Or, from the Christian perspective, succeeded wildly, by showing just how huge the gap is between Jesus and all those the world would compare to him). I first set this argument down in a book called Why the Jesus Seminar can’t find Jesus, and Grandma Marshall Could. After detailing twelve fatal errors committed by Jesus Seminar fellows, I described 50 characteristics that define the gospels, and make them unique. (Having to do with setting, style and literary qualities, character, moral teachings, pedagogy, social qualities, and theology). I then analyzed some works that are often compared to the gospels, including the “Gospel” of Thomas and Apollonius of Tyana, and found that when analyzed objectively, at best these supposed “closest parallels” only resemble the real gospels on 6-9 out of 50 characteristics. (The closest parallel I have found so far is The Analects of Confucius, which is our best source for the life of Confucius – though it lacks many of internal qualities that demonstrate the general historicity of the gospels). Later, for a Harvest House book called The Truth About Jesus and the “Lost Gospels” I analyzed all extant Gnostic “gospels.” In doing that research, I found myself in for an even greater shock. It turned out that eminent scholars, having searched the ancient world high and low, offered up ancient “parallels” to the gospels that were as different from them in almost every meaningful way as a sea slug is from a falcon. “Great scholars” like Ehrman, Crossan, and Elaine Pagels had clearly fooled themselves, and their followers, to a monumental degree, seeing what just was not there, and missing what was. As C. S. Lewis memorably put it (so I quote roughly, from memory), “They claimed to see fern seed, and overlook an elephant standing fifty yards away in broad daylight.” Finally, in a chapter of Faith Seeking Understanding called “The Fingerprints of Jesus,” I focused on five qualities that the gospels share: his aphorisms or sayings, how he treated the weak, the cultural transcendence of his teachings, his revolutionary attitude towards women, and the particular character of his miracles. I made the case that like fingerprints, “These traits help the gospels grip the mind of the reader and mark them as unique. They are not the sorts of things a disciple would add intentionally, or in some cases even could invent.” This “forensic” argument for Jesus and the gospels is distinct from, but I think complements, traditional and more purely historical arguments. (Such as those made by Craig Blomberg in his excellent “The Historical Reliability of the Gospels”). In the gospels, I argue, we meet a unique person, a person whose personality has imprinted itself powerfully on the minds of those who recorded the strange and wonderful events that took place in Palestine. Skeptics OUGHT to easily find numerous real parallels to the gospels. Again and again they seem to have persuaded themselves that they have succeeded and found this unholy “holy grail.” But all such parallels have turned out to be mirages, a room full of grails as fake as those in Indiana Jones. (But much more obvious!) Every such attempt collapses upon sober analysis, as Lewis again noticed decades before the Jesus Seminar was yet a twinkle in Robert Funk’s eyes: “I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends and myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this.” Space and time being limited, I cannot give a very full argument here. I will, therefore, focus briefly on one of the most popular alleged parallels: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana. Apollonius is mentioned again and again by skeptics who hold him up as proudly as a fourth-grader with a five-pound trout. About 300 AD, the Roman governor Hierocles already compared the “god-like” Apollonius favorably to Jesus in his Lover of Truth. Like Jesus, Apollonius was said to have done miracles and to be “divine.” Harvard Jesus scholar Paula Fredriksen likewise wrote that Apollonius “had numerous miracles attributed to him: spectacular healings, exorcisms, even once raising someone from the dead,” showing that Jesus’ miracles were not “unprecedented or unique.” Funk also advised us to compare stories about Jesus with “what was written about other teachers and charismatic figures of his time,” placing Apollonius at the top of her list: “It is revealing to know that there are other stories of miraculous births, that other charismatic figures healed people of their afflictions and exorcised demons.” In my debates with Robert Price and Richard Carrier, both similarly pointed to Apollonius as a strong parallel to the life of Jesus. Carrier said, “Now everything he says about the gospels is true of all kinds of faith literature in all religions . . . There are other examples that look more like the gospels, for example, the Book of Tobit. Or Plutarch’s biography of Romulus. Or Philostratus’ biography of Apollonius of Tyana. There are a lot of these examples of faith literature that look more like the gospels. And if you wanted me to sit down and research and find the most similar example, I could. But it’s not necessary. There’s plenty of examples like this that have all the characteristics of the gospels . . . ” This “gap” in the universe has thus, in their eyes, been completely filled. Until, that is, you take the time to actually read the Life of Apollonius, or any of these works. (The ones he gives here are quite ridiculous. Another, perhaps even more comical parallel Carrier gave elsewhere in the debate was The Golden Ass – the story of a man who accidentally bewitched himself and turned into a donkey until he ate some roses and turned back into a man). When one stops laughing, one has to shake one’s head. The sober historian will begin by reminding skeptics that not only did Apollonius live after Jesus, his “life” was written up some 150 years after the gospels. In fact, it was written by one Philostratus, for the Empress Julia Domna, an early 3rd Century patroness of the arts and opponent of Christianity. The story tells how a popular 1st Century philosopher journeyed (like Hercules) to exotic locales, from Africa to India. The author claimed to work from (among other sources) letters his subject wrote to kings and philosophers, and from the diary of his Boswell and most famous disciple, one Damis of Ninevah. (A city which, unfortunately, did not actually exist at the time of the diarist’s alleged birth, however). As I reminded Dr. Price, if you want parallels to Jesus to show that Jesus is really not so special, it is best to find some that are credibly independent of the gospels. If Apollonius were at all like Jesus, if his “miracles” were at all like the ones worked in the gospels, one very plausible hypothesis would be that Philostratus prettied him up to match his competitor. (A common tactic in religious entrepreneurship). Given that the book was sponsored by an opponent of Christianity, this hypothesis seems even more credible. And Philostratus may indeed have intended that at times. But one need not stress this point too much, because if you read the two sets of writings, what cries out to the heavens, the “elephant” in the room, is that in fact, Apollonius is nothing at all like Jesus. Not even his miracles, ripped off as some likely were from the gospels, are much like those of Jesus. I found that in fact, Apollonius of Tyana only shared six of 50 characteristics with the gospels fairly strongly, three weakly. Most of what they shared was not very important to historicity: that like Jesus, Apollonius was a teacher, and used a Q&A format to teach, and that the book tells stories. Let me briefly detail eight points of difference that are historically relevant: 1. The gospels were written within the plausible life-times of Jesus’ first followers. Apollonius was written some 150 years after most the events it allegedly records. Such a gap is of deep significance to historicity. 2. Jesus carries out a remarkable, and unique, dialogue with the Hebrew tradition. He is Jewish from head to foot, steeped in the traditions and faith of his people. But he also challenges that tradition to the core, citing and fulfilling a plethora of prophecies and types and images from the ancient Hebrew world. One cannot do justice to this unique quality of the gospels, to which I know of no parallels, in a few words. Apollonius is not a dialogue with tradition, it is a monologue. In some ways a typical tourist, Apollonius floats dreamily across the world on a cushion of Greek arrogance. He is pleased to find his hosts in Babylon and India speak Greek. (This often happens in Greek novels, which center on lucky coincidences in far-away places). He visits all the sights, and takes the proper verbal snapshots, like backdrops to a James Bond flick. He is warmly welcomed by foreign priests, whom he instructs in superior (Greek, presumably) ritual. Why does this matter to those who want to know whether the gospels are telling the truth about Jesus or not? Apollonius is the kind of work a moderately clever writer could produce from his veranda, in pajamas and slippers. The gospels are not: they record an earthshattering encounter with a unique historical person who challenged his beloved tradition to its core. 3. The gospel writers relate many details about places correctly. Dozens of facts have been confirmed independently from Luke’s description in Acts of the Apostles, for instance. By contrast, Philostratus sends us a series of post-cards from prominent cities on the edges of the ancient world. He describes how the citizens of Tarsus congregate by the river “like so many waterfowl,” a tunnel under the Euphrates River, and a city in India hidden by what Star Trek fans might call a cloaking device. His account of geography and customs bare a relation to reality so long as his guru sticks to ground trampled by Macedonian army boots. But when he ranges past the conquests of Alexander the Great, Damis proves an “errant story teller:” “His description of the country between the Hyphasis and the Ganges is utterly at variance with all known facts regarding it . . . Damis, in fact, tells nothing that is true about India except what has been told by writers before him.” (JW MCrinkle, quoted in Phillimore, Apollonius of Tyana, preface) Apollonius also describes special Indian fauna: griffins, phoenix, apes that cultivate pepper trees, sluggish, 30 cubit marsh dragons, and lively alpine dragons: “there is not a single ridge without one.” 4. The Gospel narrative is mostly understated, “Just the facts, Ma’am” in a style that contrasts sharply with the words of Christ. Everyone else is a straight man, not because the disciples lack personality, but by contrast to the unforgettable central figure. “Master, master, we are perishing.” “Are you the one, or should we look for someone else?” This distinguishes the gospels from Job, Bhagavad Gita, Candide, or most ancient novels or plays, in which the animating genius appears not as a figure within the text, but the literary puppet-master who brings all characters to life. All the characters in Job, for example, speak with the same gusto, even God. But in the gospels, the “spice” comes from the words of Jesus, not from Mark or even (usually) John. This, too, reflects the fact that the gospel writers were talking about a real, memorable person, not merely telling pretty stories. But Philostratus is telling stories. Apollonius contains much dialogue, in easy, colloquial tones, full of phrases like “But tell me,” “By Zeus!” and the idiom of informal philosophical discourse: “So then . . . ” “And what else could it be?” “We may rather consider this to be the case.” The words of Apollonius do not much stand out from the text, in my opinion. 5. The gospels are full of realistic details, as even A. N. Wilson pointed out, when he was still a skeptic. It is often said that novelists can easily make up such details. But did they? Philostratus wants us to know his subject was remarkable, and tries to show this through the reaction of onlookers. At one point, Apollonius took a vow of silence. But when he entered a town in conflict, he shamed it into making peace by a gesture and the look on his face. Another time, the sages discussed how boiled eggs keep a child from alcoholism. “They were astonished at the many-sided wisdom of the company.” It is hard to believe anyone was so impressed by such folklore, even in the 1st Century. One rare realistic touch comes when the sage talks to an Indian king through an interpreter. But this is spoiled by an earlier claim that he spoke all languages without studying. (As Eusebius already pointed out 1700 years ago). Besides crested dragons, spice-loving panthers (an addiction that proved their downfall), and 400 year-old elephants that shoot at enemies with their trunks, the hero’s surprising fame in India, and his inane observations, which little justify that fame, allow the text to “work” for a modern audience only as a farce. Imagine the following dialogue between Steve Martin as Apollonius, and Bill Murray as a customs official, who at first takes Apollonius for a spirit: Bill Murray: “Whence comes this visitation?” Steve Martin: “I come of myself, if possible to make men of you, in spite of yourselves! All the earth is mine, and I have a right to go all over it and through it.” Murray: “I will torture you, if you don’t answer my questions.” Martin (baring teeth): “I hope that you will do it with your own hands, so that you may catch it well, if you touch a true man.” Murray (batting eyes): “By the gods, who are you?” Martin (with a magnanimous flourish): “Since you have asked me civilly this time and not so rudely as before, listen . . . I am Apollonius of Tyana . . . I shall be glad to meet your king.” Subdued, the official offers gold, which the sage refuses. Then he suggests a barbecue, but recalls with horror that Apollonius is a vegetarian. Finally he offers vegan hors d’ouvres — unfortunately not organic: Murray: “You should have leavened bread and huge dates as yellow as amber. And I can offer you all the vegetables that grow in the garden of the Tigris.” Martin: “Wild, natural vegetables are more tasty than the forced and artificial!” The unintended comedy of Philostratus’ work makes me rather glad that skeptics often appeal to it as a parallel to the gospels: I would have missed the fun of reading this unconsciously silly book otherwise. One wonders, though, how so many brilliant, highlyeducated skeptics can seriously claim Apollonius as some sort of parallel to Jesus. They are none so blind. 6. Jesus noticed and cared about individuals. Where the disciples noticed a “Samaritan” “woman,” Jesus saw a hurting individual with a history of failed relationships who hungered for God. He often noticed individuals – a lady who had endured much from doctors, a woman about to be stoned, a man of faith, Zaccheus the Short – where others saw members of a class – tax collector, blind beggar, guide. Jesus possessed a quality rare in the healing profession, of looking a patient in the eye. With the sick, too, he saw not just a condition to attend, but a mother or brother or friend. If we possessed divine healing powers, would we think to ask a blind beggar who called on us, “What do you want?” Jesus did not dispense medicine to a procession of charity cases: he met and cared for human beings. Richard Carrier claimed that “Apollonius of Tyana notices individuals,” as Jesus does. In fact, the disciples of Apollonius seem a nebulous lot. In his early days, the sage gathered seven, of whom nothing is said, apart from this parting shot when the philosopher set off for India: “I have taken council of the gods, and I have told you of my resolve . .. Since you are so soft, fare you well, and be true to your studies. I must go my way where Science and a higher Power guide me.” But Apollonius’ servants are forced to accompany him. Damius, whom he meets later in Ninevah, is probably no more than a rhetorical device. He serves two rhetorical purposes: to chronicle his master’s adventures, and as foil to allow Philostratus to comment on sights along the way. When needed, extras appear, like the servants. They are just props. When confronted by two men with rival claims to buried gold, Apollonius judges their claims from universal principles: “I cannot believe that the gods would deprive the one even of this land, unless he was a bad man, or that they would, on the other hand, bestow on the other even what was under the land, unless he was better than the man who sold it.” With pompous disinterest in real people like that, no wonder Apollonius became a wandering sage. So no, Apollonius does not really notice individuals – he’s too busy preening and offering “wisdom.” As for that alleged wisdom: 7. Jesus’ teachings were surprising, shocking, paradoxical, and challenging. They were always original and surprising in form or context. G. K. Chesterton explained: “A man reading the gospel sayings would not find platitudes. If he had read even in the most respectful spirit the majority of ancient philosophers and of modern moralists, he would appreciate the unique importance of saying that he did not find platitudes. It is more than can be said of Plato. It is much more than can be said of Epictetus or Seneca or Marcus Aurelius or Apollonius of Tyana. And it is immeasurably more than can be said of most of the agnostic moralists and preachers of the ethical societies; with their songs of service and their religion of brotherhood.” The gospels startle a reader by “strange claims that might sound like the claim to be the brother of the sun and moon,” “startling pieces of advice,” “stunning rebukes,” and “strangely beautiful stories.” An objective reader: “Would see some very gigantesque figures of speech about the impossibility of threading a needle with a camel or the possibility of throwing a mountain into the sea. He would see a number of very daring simplifications of the difficulties of life; like the advice to shine upon everybody indifferently as does the sunshine or not to worry about the future any more than the birds. He would find on the other hand some passages of almost impenetrable darkness, so far as he was concerned, such as the moral of the parable of the Unjust Servant. Some of these things might strike him as fables and some as truths; but none as truisms.” By contrast, Apollonius of Tyana is choked with platitudes: “Is there any form of consumption so wasting as (falling in love)?” “Blessed are you then in your treasure, if you rate your friends more highly than gold and silver.” Apollonius says little that is unique, and is often simplistic, making raids into the inane. But Philostratus is supposed to be one of the more clever writers of his time. Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John (according to our skeptics) are all anonymous writers, except maybe for Luke. Even on the traditional account, Jesus’ disciples were a motley and mostly low-class crew. So why do the sayings of Jesus shine so much brighter than those of the “great sage,” as transcribed by a “leading writer?” (And why do his words stand out from everyone else in the gospels?) The simplest explanation is clearly the best: the words of Jesus truly do trace to one unique genius, and represent a genuine, early memory of the actual teachings of our Lord. 8. But what about miracles? Isn’t Apollonius proof that the miracles of Jesus were nothing special? Actually, I think such claims are proof, again, that some of our skeptical friends need to visit the eye doctor. The uber skeptic, Morton Smith, argued that miracles appear in the gospels because, indeed, Jesus did such things: “All major strands of the gospel material present Jesus as a miracle worker who attracted his followers by his miracles. All of them indicate that because of his miracles he was believed to be the Messiah and the son of a god. Anyone who wants to deny the truth of these reports must try to prove that within 40 to 60 years of Jesus’ death all the preserved strands of Christian tradition had forgotten, or deliberately misrepresented, the most conspicuous characteristic of the public career of the founder of the movement.” (Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God?, 4) Smith’s own solution was to conflate “miracle” with “magic,” which as I argue in Jesus and the Religions of Man, shows a failure in critical observation in itself. (Another way Smith dealt with Jesus was by inventing a saying of Mark to make Jesus look gay, probably as a gag). But this observation is accurate: Thomas Jefferson aside, one can’t credibly take the miracles out of the gospels, anymore than one can de-bone a horse and still ride it. Glenn Miller has shown in a detailed summary that for two and a half centuries before the time of Jesus, miracle workers were essentially absent from the Roman world. (“Copy-Cat Savior” at Skeptics like John Crossan often point to alleged parallels like Honi the CircleDrawer and Hanina ben Dosa, who strictly speaking, did no miracles at all. One prayed for rain, and rain came in a timely manner. But even that was reported long after the fact, and after the writing of the gospels. The desperation on the part of those who would make Jesus less lonely, is palpable. It is stunning that such seem to be the closest parallels skeptics can find, after an epic canvassing of ancient records. The search for an historical person who parallels Jesus on these points – the character and fact of his miracles – should convince us not that miracle workers were common, but exceedingly rare. No one seems to have found any records in the ancient world that parallel the realism, piety, practicality, and historicity of the miracle stories of Jesus. So what about Apollonius’ “miracles?” Philostratus begins his work by reminding us that a philosopher can dabble in magic without tainting his credibility, as he says Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates, and Anaxagoras all did. For the most part, he prefers to describe Apollonius as philosopher rather than magician. Occasionally, though, his hero disappears or foretells the future. The Hindu gurus also practice levitation, for which a metaphysical explanation is given. The secret to virtue is not magic, but “science.” Often, when called on to cure people of an illness, Apollonius chose to rebuke them of sin, instead, and let them know they had what came to them, coming to them. Often this looks like blaming the victim. Anthropologist Rene Girard even used Apollonius as a case study of scape-goating. When the people of Ephesus asked the good sage to save them from a plague, he did so by having them stone a beggar to death. Beaten to a bloody pulp, the beggar’s eyes glowed red, thus revealing him to be a demon. Girard reacted to this “horrible miracle” by noting, “Jesus is poles apart from Apollonius. Jesus doesn’t instigate stonings; rather, he does all he can to prevent them.” (Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightening, 54) Philostratus also raised a girl from apparent, but possibly misdiagnosed death. Even those at the scene “could not decide” whether or not she had been alive. So while Philostratus, writing long after the gospels and probably aware of them, claimed his sage did miracles, too, they were infrequent, and of a totally different character from those of Jesus. Parallels with Christ’s miracles are therefore superficial, and this “proof text” is the exception that proves the rule. There simply are no serious parallels to Jesus in the ancient world, on this, as on many traits, or the sum total of those traits, even less. For two thousand years, skeptics have tried to find some parallel to the life of Jesus, so as to render it less unique, and, if possible, dismiss it as “just another tall tale.” This attempt has utterly failed, revealing Jesus as unique indeed. Apollonius of Tyana is a dreadful choice as a parallel Christ. It is about someone whose career mostly occurred after the life of Jesus, was written up hundreds of years later, perhaps purposely in order to compete with or undermine Christianity. Yet even so, read these two sets of ancient writings, and no comparison could be more incongruous. No one could be less like Jesus than the cocky, banal, self-satisfied, inane, and ridiculous Apollonius, who has nothing much to say that has not been said better on Saturday Night Live. Why is that? Philostratus is supposed to the more cosmopolitan and clever writer. Something obviously much deeper and more remarkable is going on in the Gospels than mere literary cleverness. It says something about the gospels that so many skeptics have spent so much time looking for parallels, yet the best they can come up with is something like Apollonius of Tyana. Divine fingerprints rest upon the gospels, of a visitation to which no remote parallel has yet been found. ….

Judas Maccabeus “the Hammer” and Charles Martel “the Hammer”

Published November 16, 2018 by amaic
Image result for judas hammer maccabeus

Judas Maccabeus – Judas the Galilean

Part Two: “The hammer” of God



“Other views link the name [Maccabee] with a root that means “to extinguish”,

since the Maccabees extinguished the Greek persecution, or with makkav, “a hammer”; Judah, like Charles Martel, was the hammer of his enemies”.


In the early days of the rebellion, Judah received a surname Maccabee. Several explanations have been put forward for this surname. One suggestion is that the name derives from the Aramaic maqqaba (“makebet” in modern Hebrew), “hammer” or “sledgehammer” (cf. the cognomen of Charles Martel, the 8th century Frankish leader), in recognition of his ferocity in battle. Others believe it is in reference to his weapon of choice.

It is also possible that the name Maccabee is an acronym for the Torah verse Mi kamokha ba’elim Adonai, “Who among the gods is like you, O Adonai?”, his battle-cry to motivate troops. (Exodus 15:11). Rabbi Moshe Schreiber writes that it is an acronym for his father’s name Mattityahu Kohen Ben Yochanan. Some scholars maintain that the name is a shortened form of the Hebrew maqqab-ya ¯hû (from na ¯qab, ‘‘to mark, to designate’’), meaning ‘‘the one designated by Yahweh.’[3]

“The victory at the battle near Poitiers and Tours would later earn Charles the cognomen “Martellus” (L., and so “Martel”, Fr.: “the hammer”) from 9th century chroniclers who, in the view of Pierre Riche, “seem to have been… recalling Judas Maccabaeus, ‘the Hammerer,'” of 1 Maccabees, “whom God had similarly blessed with victory” ….”[28]:44

Twelve years later, when Charles had thrice rescued Gaul from Umayyad invasions, Antonio Santosuosso noted when he destroyed an Umayyad army sent to reinforce the invasion forces of the 735 campaigns, “Charles Martel again came to the rescue.”[29]:TBD

The Battle of Tours ( October 10, 732), often called Battle of Poitiers and also called in Arabic بلاط الشهداء (Balâṭ al-Shuhadâ’) The Court of Martyrs was fought near the city of Tours, close to the border between the Frankish realm and the independent region of Aquitaine. The battle pitted Frankish and Burgundian forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by ‘Abd-al-Raḥmān al-Ghāfiqī, Governor-general of al-Andalus. The Franks were victorious, ‘Abd-al-Raḥmān was killed, and Martel subsequently extended his authority in the south. Ninth-century chroniclers, who interpreted the outcome of the battle as divine judgment in his favour, gave Charles the nickname Martellus (“The Hammer”), possibly recalling Judas Maccabeus (“The Hammerer”) of Maccabean revolt. Details of the battle, including its exact location and the exact number of combatants, cannot be determined from accounts that have survived.

As later chroniclers increasingly came to praise Charles Martel as the champion of Christianity, pre-20th century historians began to characterize this battle as being the decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam. “Most of the 18th and 19th century historians, like Gibbon, saw Poitiers (Tours), as a landmark battle that marked the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe.” Leopold Von Ranke felt that “Poitiers was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world.”

While modern historians are divided as to whether or not the victory was responsible — as Gibbon and his generation of historians claimed — for saving Christianity and halting the conquest of Europe by Islam, the battle helped lay the foundations for the Carolingian Empire, and Frankish domination of Europe for the next century. “The establishment of Frankish power in western Europe shaped that continent’s destiny and the Battle of Tours confirmed that power.”

In a 2011 article on the subject, Mitchell First argues persuasively, based on an analysis of ancient Greek and Latin orthography, that the kuf spelling is the older one. He also agrees with the now commonly accepted theory, first put forth by the American Bible scholar Samuel Ives Curtiss, Jr. in 1876, that makkabi derives from Hebrew makevet or its Aramaic cognate makava, a hammer or mallet. First writes:


As to why Judah was called by this name, one view is that the name alludes to his physical strength or military prowess. But a makevet/makava is not a military weapon; it is a worker’s tool. Therefore, it has been suggested alternatively that the name reflects that Judah’s head or body in some way had the physical appearance of a hammer. Interestingly, the Mishnah at B’khorot 7:1 lists one of the categories of disqualified priests as ha-makavan [“the hammerhead”], and the term is explained in the Talmud as meaning one whose head resembles a makava. Naming men according to physical characteristics was common in the ancient world.


The derivation of makkabi from makevet or makava certainly makes better sense than any of the contending explanations.

What I would take issue with is the assertion made by First and others before him that since a hammer “is not a military weapon,” Judah Maccabee must have been likened to one because of his physical appearance, or else because of his physical power or strength of character.


The fact of the matter is that in both ancient and medieval times, hammers were military weapons. First himself mentions the French warrior Charles Martel, “Charles the Hammer,” the grandfather of Charlemagne, best known for stemming the Muslim advance into Europe at the Battle of Tours in 734. While this epithet, too, may have referred only to Charles’s prowess as a commander, the martel de fer or “iron hammer” was a feature of medieval warfare. Typically, it was mace-like or club-like at one end and pointed like a pickax at the other, and it was most commonly wielded by mounted cavalry to smash the armor of enemy soldiers.

…. Two individuals in history have been known as “The Hammer of God”: Judah Maccabee and Charles Martel. The title “Maccabee” was given to Judah the son of Mattityahu Bar Hashmonay. (Judas Maccabeus is another way of saying Judah Maccabee.) The word “Maccabee” comes from the Aramaic word “Maqaba” and means “The Hammer.” (The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Aramaic language is closely related to Hebrew and Arabic. According to the New Testament, Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus Christ. Aramaic is an important Jewish language. Many Jewish sacred texts, such as the Talmud and the Kaballah (the Zohar), are written in Aramaic as are several traditional Jewish prayers, such as the Kaddish, and traditional songs, such as the Passover song Chad Gadyo. Assyrian Christians of Iraq, Syria and Iran still speak Aramaic.) Judah Maccabee fought against the tyrannical Seleucid Greeks beginning in the year 167 BC. Centuries later, after defeating a massive Moslem army in central France, Charles the son of Pepin was called “Martel,” meaning “The Hammer” in Latin. Charles the Hammer beat back an invasion of Europe by the Muslim Empire in October 732 AD. Charles Martel defeated the Moslems at the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers).


Naqia of Assyria and Semiramis

Published November 16, 2018 by amaic


 Damien F. Mackey


“When Josephus named Nebuchadnezzar as builder of the [hanging] garden, both he and his readers would have been confused between Nineveh and Babylon, and between Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, because at the time they were reading his account, the Book of Judith was already in circulation”.


What a terrific book! I read it in one go.

I am referring to Stephanie Dalley’s The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (OUP, 2013). Apart from her unscrambling of the Classical texts on the subject of the Seven Wonders of the World, and being able to conclude that it was not Nebuchednezzar II the Chaldean, but rather the Assyrian king Sennacherib, who created the ‘hanging’ gardens that became so famed in antiquity, Dalley provides an abundance of important information on Assyro-Babylonian technology, art and architecture.

Despite the necessary technicalities, this book, written by a most disciplined researcher – “a world expert on ancient Babylonian language” – is easy to read and enjoyable.

In Chapter 6, “Confusion of Names”, Dalley makes this important point (p. 107):


Several confusions have been identified. It would be satisfactory if we could account for them, to strengthen yet further the argument that the Hanging Garden was built by Sennacherib in Nineveh rather than by Nebuchadnezzar or Semiramis in Babylon. Four distinct pairs of names are relevant for tracing the story of the legendary garden: ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ named for Sennacherib, the city name ‘Babylon’ used for Nineveh, the river ‘Euphrates’ named instead of the Tigris, and ‘Semiramis’ confused with other queens and with ‘Nitocris”. For each of them an explanation can be given.


[End of quote]


When reading Dalley’s account here of name confusion, I was immediately reminded of the situation right at the beginning of the Book of Judith, about which I have written much. And, indeed, the point has not been missed on Dalley either. For she writes on the next page (p. 108), referring to Judith as a “late” text (but I would prefer to say a late copy of the original):


Sennacherib was evidently confused with Nebuchadnezzar in several late texts. In the opening words of the Book of Judith the two kings are confused: ‘It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh’. When Josephus named Nebuchadnezzar as builder of the garden, both he and his readers would have been confused between Nineveh and Babylon, and between Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, because at the time they were reading his account, the Book of Judith was already in circulation.

[End of quote]





“Here, then, we have a group of material that indicates attachment of Naqia’s deeds to the name ‘Semiramis’. As second wife of Sennacherib, she bears comparison with the historical Sammu-ramat for having her name on inscriptions written during her lifetime, and for supporting publicly first her husband and then her own son, both as kings”.


Stephanie Dalley




Continuing with Stephanie Dalley’s intriguing and helpful Chapter 6, “Confusion of Names” (The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (p. 120):


An accretion of legends is attached to the name ‘Semiramis’ in Greek texts, and the use of the name for more than one woman can be explained through that concept.

She was variously credited with leading campaigns with her husband ‘Ninus’, and with building works in Babylon, among them the famous Hanging Garden: Diodorus Siculus wrote that she founded a large city in Babylonia on the Euphrates including the temple of the Babylonian Zeus and the Hanging Garden (he does not actually name the city), and Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote that Semiramis, not Bel, founded Babylon.

[End of quote]


An original ‘Semiramis’ is posited by some writers to have been contemporaneous with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, obviously long before the days of Queen Sammu-ramat. According to:’sHistoryfromAdamtoAbraham.pdf


…. Hislop identifies Ninus as Nimrod, the great hunter that defied God and built the Tower of Babylon and his wife Semiramis and son Tammuz as the great trinity who were worshipped all over Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Greece and Rome and other cultures around the world.


Whilst Roy Schulz – as we can read at the same site – takes Semiramis back to pre-Flood times: “Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and sensual love. She was actually a harlot or prostitute! Venus was the wife of Vulcan in pre-Flood times and so is the Semiramis of post-Flood history. She was actually a very distasteful type of person”.


Queen Sammu-Ramat and Naqia


Stephanie Dalley, referring to who she thinks to have been the “original ‘Semiramis’”, tells of this Queen Sammu-ramat (p. 121):


The original ‘Semiramis’ was a historical queen at a time when Nimrud, not Nineveh, was the main royal residence. If you were an Assyrian early in the 8th century BC you would have known about Sammu-ramat, daughter-in-law of Shalmaneser III, wife of Shamsi-Adad V, and mother of Adad-nirari III, because she was the most powerful woman in the world at that time. You would know that she in person, contrary to the custom of queens at that time, joined her son in a campaign to Arpad in the vicinity of modern Aleppo with the result that her own name was inscribed on a royal stela, as partner in heroism with her son the king. That stela was set up on the border of Assyrian territory on the upper Euphrates, and was discovered in recent times.


Dalley thinks that this real event may have inspired the campaigns attributed to ‘Semiramis’ by the later writers: “The inscription shows without a doubt that Sammu-ramat campaigned with her son, which suggests that the campaigns later ascribed to Semiramis by Ctesias and others may have had some link, however tenuous or garbled, with a genuine event”.

Two documents similarly connect, now Sammu-ramat, now Naqia, to great Assyrian kings. Dalley continues here:


The extent of [Sammu-ramat’s] fame during her lifetime is confirmed by the existence of another stela, inscribed only with her name and titles, found during excavations in the city of Ashur on the Tigris, and first published in 1913:


Statue … of Sammu-ramat the palace woman [means ‘queen’, ‘official consort’: Dalley] of Shamsi-Adad king of the universe, king of Assyria, mother of Adad-nirari, king of the universe, king of Assyria, daughter-in-law of Shalmaneser, king of the four quarters ….


[End of quotes]


Compare this text with one that Dalley now gives for Queen Naqia (on p. 124):


Naqia, the palace woman of Sennacherib king of the universe, king of Assyria, daughter-in-law of Sargon king of the universe king of Assyria, mother of Esarhaddon king of the world, king of Assyria … a palace befitting royalty for Esarhaddon my beloved son ….


[End of quote]

Based on my article:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib


I would immediately have to query here the mention of “Sargon”, whose name I have shown to have been – in at least one case – unjustifiably inserted by Assyriologists into a gap in a text.


Continuing on now with Dalley’s account of this latter queen, Naqia, we read on the same page:


Naqia was closely associated with Nineveh because her husband built two palaces there and made the city his capital. Many letters were written directly to her, and we have a document recording the loyalty oaths that she imposed on members of her family, requiring them to support her two royal grandsons. Another text particularly relevant here is that which records the building work she undertook at Nineveh on behalf of her son Esarhaddon, who ruled vast territories including Babylonia ….


That is the text quoted (in small print) above.

Dalley continues, drawing a further connection of Naqia with ‘Semiramis’:


Here, then, we have a group of material that indicates attachment of Naqia’s deeds to the name ‘Semiramis’. As second wife of Sennacherib, she bears comparison with the historical Sammu-ramat for having her name on inscriptions written during her lifetime, and for supporting publicly first her husband and then her own son, both as kings. There was every reason, therefore, to conflate the two great queens, two great builders, Naqia would be the wife of the later Assyrian king to whom Diodorus referred when he wrote: ‘the Hanging Garden, as it is called, which was built, not by Semiramis, but by a later Syrian [a Greek reference to Assyrian: Dalley] king …’ His account that ‘Semiramis alongside a Ninus founded ‘Babylon’ on the Euphrates gives details that are applicable to Nineveh: two palaces, technical details of water supply, walls adorned with hunting scenes.


A Religious Revolution



“A strange religious revolution took place in the time of Adad-nirari III, which can be compared with that of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ikhnaton. For an unknown reason Nabu (Nebo), the god of Borsippa, seems to have been proclaimed sole god, or at least the principal god, of the empire”.


Francis D. Nichol


The influence of two historical queens, Nefertiti and Naqia, ought not to be underestimated. Nefertiti may have been the one who religiously spurred on her husband, pharaoh Akhnaton, and may therefore have been instrumental in fostering the strange and somewhat Indic cult of Atonism in EA’s Egypt. If so, then she would have been acting just like the biblical Jezebel. For, the very first we hear of Queen Jezebel is in association with Baal worship (I Kings 16:31): “[King Ahab] also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him”. And she, again, was apparently the wind beneath his idolatrous wings (I Kings 21:25): “… there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up”.Likewise, Queen Semiramis may have been instrumental in the case of the (different) religious reform at the time of Adad-nirari III. Writing of “The Age of Semiramis” in his Chapter XVIII, Donald MacKenzie will make some interesting observations about her, including this one: “Queen Sammu-rammat of Assyria, like Tiy of Egypt, is associated with social and religious innovations”. Here is a part of MacKenzie’s intriguing account of this semi-legendary queen:

…. One of the most interesting figures in Mesopotamian history came into prominence during the Assyrian Middle Empire period. This was the famous Sammu-rammat, the Babylonian wife of an Assyrian ruler. Like Sargon of Akkad, Alexander the Great, and Dietrich von Bern, she made, by reason of her achievements and influence, a deep impression on the popular imagination, and as these monarchs became identified in tradition with gods of war and fertility, she had attached to her memory the myths associated with the mother goddess of love and battle who presided over the destinies of mankind. In her character as the legendary Semiramis of Greek literature, the Assyrian queen was reputed to have been the daughter of Derceto, the dove and fish goddess of Askalon, and to have departed from earth in bird form.

It is not quite certain whether Sammu-rammat was the wife of Shamshi-Adad VII [we now take this as V] or of his son, Adad-nirari IV [III]. Before the former monarch reduced Babylonia to the status of an Assyrian province, he had signed a treaty of peace with its king, and it is suggested that it was confirmed by a matrimonial alliance. This treaty was repudiated by King Bau-akh-iddina, who was transported with his palace treasures to Assyria.

As Sammu-rammat was evidently a royal princess of Babylonia, it seems probable that her marriage was arranged with purpose to legitimatize the succession of the Assyrian overlords to the Babylonian throne. The principle of “mother right” was ever popular in those countries where the worship of the Great Mother was perpetuated if not in official at any rate in domestic religion. Not a few Egyptian Pharaohs reigned as husbands or as sons of royal ladies. Succession by the female line was also observed among the Hittites. When Hattusil II gave his daughter in marriage to Putakhi, king of the Amorites, he inserted a clause in the treaty of alliance “to the effect that the sovereignty over the Amorite should belong to the son and descendants of his daughter for evermore”. ….

As queen or queen-mother, Sammu-rammat occupied as prominent a position in Assyria as did Queen Tiy of Egypt during the lifetime of her husband, Amenhotep III, and the early part of the reign of her son, Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton).

The Tell-el-Amarna letters testify to Tiy’s influence in the Egyptian “Foreign Office”, and we know that at home she was joint ruler with her husband and took part with him in public ceremonials. During their reign a temple was erected to the mother goddess Mut, and beside it was formed a great lake on which sailed the “barque of Aton” in connection with mysterious religious ceremonials. After Akhenaton’s religious revolt was inaugurated, the worship of Mut was discontinued and Tiy went into retirement. In Akhenaton’s time the vulture symbol of the goddess Mut did not appear above the sculptured figures of royalty.


What connection the god Aton had with Mut during the period of the Tiy regime remains obscure. There is no evidence that Aton was first exalted as the son of the Great Mother goddess, although this is not improbable.


Queen Sammu-rammat of Assyria, like Tiy of Egypt, is associated with social and religious innovations. She was the first, and, indeed, the only Assyrian royal lady, to be referred to on equal terms with her royal husband in official inscriptions. In a dedication to the god Nebo, that deity is reputed to be the protector of “the life of Adad-nirari, king of the land of Ashur, his lord, and the life of Sammu-rammat, she of the palace, his lady”. ….


During the reign of Adad-nirari … the Assyrian Court radiated Babylonian culture and traditions. The king not only recorded his descent from the first Shalmaneser, but also claimed to be a descendant of Bel-kap-kapu, an earlier, but, to us, unknown, Babylonian monarch than “Sulili”, i.e. Sumu-la-ilu, the great-great-grandfather of Hammurabi. Bel-kap-kapu was reputed to have been an overlord of Assyria.


Apparently Adad-nirari desired to be regarded as the legitimate heir to the thrones of Assyria and Babylonia. His claim upon the latter country must have had a substantial basis. It is not too much to assume that he was a son of a princess of its ancient royal family. Sammurammat may therefore have been his mother. She could have been called his “wife” in the mythological sense, the king having become “husband of his mother”. If such was the case, the royal pair probably posed as the high priest and high priestess of the ancient goddess cult–the incarnations of the Great Mother and the son who displaced his sire.


The worship of the Great Mother was the popular religion of the indigenous peoples of western Asia, including parts of Asia Minor, Egypt, and southern and western Europe. It appears to have been closely associated with agricultural rites practised among representative communities of the Mediterranean race. In Babylonia and Assyria the peoples of the goddess cult fused with the peoples of the god cult, but the prominence maintained by Ishtar, who absorbed many of the old mother deities, testifies to the persistence of immemorial habits of thought and antique religious ceremonials among the descendants of the earliest settlers in the Tigro-Euphrates valley. ….

It must be recognized, in this connection, that an official religion was not always a full reflection of popular beliefs. In all the great civilizations of antiquity it was invariably a compromise between the beliefs of the military aristocracy and the masses of mingled peoples over whom they held sway. Temple worship had therefore a political aspect; it was intended, among other things, to strengthen the position of the ruling classes. But ancient deities could still be worshipped, and were worshipped, in homes and fields, in groves and on mountain tops, as the case might be. Jeremiah has testified to the persistence of the folk practices in connection with the worship of the mother goddess among the inhabitants of Palestine. Sacrificial fires were lit and cakes were baked and offered to the “Queen of Heaven” in the streets of Jerusalem and other cities. In Babylonia and Egypt domestic religious practices were never completely supplanted by temple ceremonies in which rulers took a prominent part. It was always possible, therefore, for usurpers to make popular appeal by reviving ancient and persistent forms of worship. As we have seen, Jehu of Israel, after stamping out Phoenician Baal worship, secured a strong following by giving official recognition to the cult of the golden calf.


MacKenzie now proceeds to draw his hopeful religious parallel between EA and Sammuramat alongside Adad-nirari III:


It is not possible to set forth in detail, or with intimate knowledge, the various innovations which Sammu-rammat introduced, or with which she was credited, during the reigns of Adad-nirari … (810-782 B.C.) and his father. No discovery has been made of documents like the Tell-el-Amarna “letters”, which would shed light on the social and political life of this interesting period.


…. The prominence given to Nebo, the god of Borsippa, during the reign of Adad-nirari … is highly significant. He appears in his later character as a god of culture and wisdom, the patron of scribes and artists, and the wise counsellor of the deities. He symbolized the intellectual life of the southern kingdom, which was more closely associated with religious ethics than that of war-loving Assyria.


A great temple was erected to Nebo at Kalkhi, and four statues of him were placed within it, two of which are now in the British Museum. On one of these was cut the inscription, from which we have quoted, lauding the exalted and wise deity and invoking him to protect Adad-nirari and the lady of the palace, Sammu-rammat, and closing with the exhortation, “Whoso cometh in after time, let him trust in Nebo and trust in no other god”.