Postmortem Journeys - Resurrections and Descents into Hell - the Case of Jesus compared with Osiris, Tammuz etc - Peter Myers, May 3, 2004; update September 26, 2012. My comments are shown {thus}; write to me at contact.html.

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Osiris in Egypt was a man, a king, who, having being murdered and his body dismembered, was brought back to life, and ascended to Heaven to become one of the gods.

E. A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934) was Curator of Egyptian Antiquities at the British Museum. He notes in his book Osiris & the Egyptian Resurrection, Volume 1 ([1911] Dover Publications, New York, 1973):

{p. v} I dedicate this book on the Fundamentals of Sudani and Egyptian religion by permission to the Honourable Lionel Walter Rothschild, Trustee of the British Museum, with sincere gratitude and thanks.

{p. 79} Osiris ... was very different from the gods into whose heaven he entered, for he was at one time an inhabitant of the earth. Because he was the first man who had raised himself from the dead,

{p. 80} he became the type and symbol and hope of every dead man, and the older gods in heaven seem to have thought it right to set apart a place in the Other World where he could live with all those who died believing in him, and rule over them.

Osiris' Resurrection was regularly re-anacted in the Osirian liturgy.

Walter R. Mattfeld compared the Resurrections of Christ and of Tammuz (Dumuzi), one of the gods of Babylonia. Tammuz had first Descended into Hell. And the Apostles' Creed states, of Jesus Christ:

"He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead ..."

That "Descent into Hell" is puzzling, until one learns that a similar thing was said of the goddess Ishtar, and of her husband Tammuz.

In the Book of Enoch, which was important at Qumran, Enoch is taken on a visit to Heaven, and to Hell.

Enoch's depiction of The Seven Heavens, and Hades (jpg):

Angels Of The Seven Heavens:

The Book of Enoch shows influences from Zoroastrian angelology and demonology: zoroastrianism.html; also see zoroaster-judaism.html.

A dissident view, claiming that Enoch is much earlier, and denying borrowing from Zoroastrian themes, is presented by Margaret Barker, in her books The Lost Prophet and The Older Testament. I think she's wrong.

The Book of Enoch, in turn, was influential in the theology of Mani and of Mohammad. The character Enoch shows up in the Koran as Idris.

Some may scoff at these religious themes, as anachronistic. But insofar as they tell us where we've come from, they are a priceless treasury. Would we rather have a cultural lobotomy?

(1) The Apostles' Creed
(2) Walter R. Mattfeld on the Descent into Hell, of Tammuz (Dumuzi) and Christ
(3) Otherworldly descent has a long history and broad distribution in the Ancient Mediterranean - Seth L Sanders
(4) The Descent into Hades, by Ted G. Davy
(5) The Lost Books Of The Bible - Enoch
(6) The first book of Enoch, by Jona Lendering
(7) Enoch's descent into Hell - the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) chapters 53-56
(8) The Book of Enoch Quoted in the New Testament
(9) Mani and the Book of Enoch
(10) Did Mohammed Know Slavonic Enoch?, by E. J. Jenkinson
(11) Sir James Frazer on the Myth of Osiris
(12) Hell's Pre-Christian Origins: Hell, Hell-fire, Dragons, Serpents, and Resurrections, by Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
(13) Descent Of The Goddess Ishtar Into The Lower World
(14) The Enoch Literature, by Mike Magee
(15) Alain Danielou on the parallel between the death and resurrection of Tammuz, Oriris etc, and of Christ

(1) The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed is one of the Three Creeds of the Christian Church. The others are the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, as explained by Rev. C. Knapp in his book The Three Creeds of the Church (A. R. Mowbray & Co., London, 1909):

The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator.

Legend has it that the Apostles wrote this creed on the tenth day after Christ's ascension into heaven. That is not the case, though the name stuck. However, each of the doctrines found in the creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The earliest written version of the creed is perhaps the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542).

The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Hence it is also known as The Roman Symbol. As in Hippolytus' version it was given in question and answer format with the baptismal candidates answering in the affirmative that they believed each statement.

... Traditional English Version

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick {living} and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.

(2) Walter R. Mattfeld on the Descent into Hell, of Tammuz (Dumuzi) and Christ

An article exploring parallels between the resurrection of Christ and Tammuz:

Of particular interest is a cylinder seal impression showing the cycle of the Dumuzi/Tammuz resurrection myth.

Tammuz, Dumuzi, Ningishzida and Jesus Christ

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

27 April 2004

McCall understands that the individual between 'the snakelike creatures' may be Dumuzi (the biblical Tammuz of Ezekiel 8:14, whom Jewish women mourned in the Jerusalem Temple).


"Cylinder seal impression which may portray Dumuzi retained in the underworld, flanked by snakes." (cf. illustration and text on p. 71. Henrietta McCall. Mesopotamian Myths. London. British Museum Publications in cooperation with the University of Texas Press, Austin. 1990, 1993)

I make the following proposals on the below seal : The seal is divided into four scenes, (1) Dumuzi's Capture and binding; (2) His descent into the underworld via its gate; (3) His being naked in the underworld and under demonic control; (4) His resurrection as Vegetation in the Spring. Perhaps the structure below the half-naked Dumuzi is the barred gate of the Underworld that he descends into (?); The bearded individual to the observer's left, wearing a horned crown with hands and feet bound (?), may refer to the "demi-god-king" Dumuzi's being first bound and then carried off by Ugalla demons to the underworld leaving his sceptre behind which above his arms (?) ; the "snake-like creatures on either side of the bound Dumuzi may represent the Ugalla demons who bound Dumuzi; the individual on the observer's right may be a "naked" Dumuzi in the underworld guarded by Ugalla snake-like demons (?); the individual standing on the quadruped may be Dumuzi as a vegetation god, and this god holds two tree branches, perhaps bearing fruits (?) perhaps symbolizing his return to the earth in the Spring as the vegetation which comes back to life after Winter (?); the beast he stands upon may be the serpent-dragon called Mushhushshu, meaning "furious snake," who's curious tail is replicated in another seal (scroll down below) ? Professor Langdon understood that the Mushhshshu beast was but another form of Ningishzida (nin.gish.zida meaning perhaps, 'Lord of the Good Tree'), who was another aspect of Dumuzi, and the beast might even be an aspect of Dumuzi himself to the degree that Dumuzi was called ama-ushumgal-anna 'the great serpent-dragon of heaven'. Click on the following url for hymns about Dumuzi as a "bridegroom" and his "binding" by demons

The "binding of Dumuzi by the demons appears to invove "sticks of wood" for his hands, and the seal (below) seems to be a "stick-like" object binding his hands and feet. Cf. the below quote from the hymn titled the Dream of Dumuzi :

"The Ugallu, hated and feared by men, Are coming on the boats. They carry wood to bind the hands; They carry wood to bind the neck. Sister, run!"

The seventh Ugallu cried:

"Rise, Dumuzi! Husband of Inanna, son of Sirtur, brother of Geshtinanna! Rise from your false sleep! Your ewes are seized! Your lambs are siezed! Your goats are seized! Your kids are seized! Take off your holy crown from your head! Take off your me-garment from your body! Let your royal sceptre fall to the ground! Take off your holy sandals from your feet! Naked, you go with us!"

The Ugallu seized Dumuzi."

Note: The seal does NOT follow in detail the above hymn exactly. There may have been different portrayals of the events of the binding of Dumuzi, or the artist may have simply taken "liberties" with the iconic portrayal. For example, Dumuzi is shown only half-naked, his upper torso having no clothes as he enters the gate to the Underworld. This iconographic portrayal does, however, agree with the myth called the "Descent of Inanna into the Underworld." Inanna was Dumzui's bride, and she has him taken to Hell to be her surrogate so she can be released from the Underworld. In the Inanna myth she surrenders various peices of clothing at each of Hell's seven gates until she appears completely naked when presented to her sister who is Hell's ruler. So, Dumuzi's partial nakedness at Hell's gate in the seal may be reflecting aspects of the Descent into Hell by his bride Inanna. Upon Inanna's release from Hell, all her clothing was restored her as she passed back through the various gates. Of interest in the seal is that the last image (4) shows Dumuzi fully clothed again as in scene (1) when he was bound, which suggests for me his release from Hell and restoration of his clothes to him as occured for Inanna when she returned to the earth's surface. The Mushhshshu serpent-dragon Dumuzi stands on was, according to Professor Stephen H. Langdon, as aspect of Ningishzida, whom was considered a Vegetation deity, the name Ningishzida being understood to mean "Lord of the Good Tree," so perhaps the two branches with fruit held by Dumuzi allude to the serpent-dragon as a Tree-deity ?

I understand that certain motifs associated with Dumuzi/Tammuz and his companion Ningishzida came to be assimilated to Jesus Christ in New Testament times, being fused with additional resurrection motifs from the Greek 'god of the Vine' (wine), Dionysus. Could the "branch" held to the nose of certain reprobate Jewish priests/worshippers in Ezekiel's vision (Ezek 8:17) be alluding to the two branches being held by the god Dumuzi/Tammuz who stands on the Serpent-dragon in the below seal ? That is to say the Tammuzi/Dumuzi cult was introduced to Jerusalem by some Jewish priests by Exilic times and perhaps some of these concepts came to be fused to the Messiah-Christ by some heretical Jewish groups by Christian times ? Dumuzi's branch, which symbolizes him as the Spring vegetation may have come to be reinterpreted as the Davidic "branch" associated with the Messiah (Jer 23:5) ? Christ is portrayed as a bridegroom who willingly lays down his life in the Spring as a surrogate in Hell for his "bride" the Church, whereas Dumuzi also called in hymns "the bridegroom," is an unwilling surrogate for his bride, Inanna. Inanna was three days and nights in the underworld before being released and the same period holds for Christ. Dumuzi is allowed a resurrection from Hell in the Spring for six months each year because his sister Geshtinanna was willing to become his surrogate for him rather like Christ. Christ is called the "True Vine," and Geshtinanna means "She of the Vinestock."

Note -below- the Mushhushshu two-horned serpent-dragon beast which supports on its back a bearded god (not identified by McCall) with mace in hand and wearing a horned crown. The Mushhushshu was associated with several different gods over a long period of time, Ninazu ("Lord Healer'), father of Ningishzida, who was also identified with the beast, possibly Dumuzi, to the degree Langdon has noted that Ningshzida is an aspect of Dumuzi, later Marduk and even Asshur were also identified with the serpent-dragon. The beast's tail appears similar to the quadruped in the Dumuzi seal above. Another horned god presents a human petitioner carrying an offering, perhaps a goat ? (cf. p. 53. H. McCall. Mesopotamian Myths. 1990, 1993)

(3) Otherworldly descent has a long history and broad distribution in the Ancient Mediterranean - Seth L Sanders

Re: Descent into Hell?

To: Seth L Sanders <> Subject: Re: Descent into Hell? From: "Dale M. Cannon" <> Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 19:48:22 -0500 (CDT)

yeah -- it has to do with a NT psg -- one of the Epistles where it is said that Jesus "preached to those that were in prison" -- which the Nicene Fathers, who had by then long renounced all things Judaic (including Judaic Christianity) interpreted to mean "Hell" as the prison, when it very well could have been that Joshua the Nazarene (Jesus) was brought off the tree of cruicifixion while still alive and brought back to health in prison (collusion between Pharisees like Nicodemus and and Joseph of Arimithea and the Roman authorities) and there preached.

KOn KThu, 8 Aug 1996, Seth L Sanders wrote:

"Descent into Hell", the phrase or idea found in the Apsotles' Creed of in Nicodemus - does this phrase or equivalent idea appear in any part of the DDS? Tom Simms

The short answer: sadly, nothing of the sort has been found there.

The long answer: Otherworldly descent has a long history and broad distribution in the Ancient Mediterranean. For an overview see GG Stroumsa's recent article in Death, Ecstasy, and Otherworldly Journeys, ed. M. Fishbane and JJ Collins (SUNY), and for a rich variety of detail see the fat conference volume on Apocalyptic in the Ancient Mediterranean edited by David Hellholm. A good example of a very old account of a descent to hell and return to the surface is that of Ishtar, which you can find reliably translated in Stephanie Dalley's Myths from Mesopotamia (Oxford, with brief but insightful notes) and a trifle more literally in Benjamin Foster's fine, eclectic collection, From Distant Days (CDL).

To my knowledge (and others on the list know more than me) while there are descents to hell mentioned in the sectarian scrolls, they're strictly one-way tickets. The notion of a round trip (in John Collins' pungent phrase) on the part of a visionary or (semi)divine figure to the underworld and back in order to preach and/or suffer does not appear in the scrolls.

Furthermore, there are not even any tours of hell in the scrolls, according to Devorah Dimant ("Apocalyptic Texts at Qumran" in J. VanderKam, ed. The Community of the Renewed Covenant, referring to a term used by M Himmelfarb in her survey, Tours of Hell (Fortress), which is a good place to start on this question). However, there are otherworldly visions including hellish places found all over the ancient Hellenistic world, and before. Note, for example, that Plato's Myth of Er (see the Republic) already describes a roundtrip otherworldly journey with a vision of the punishment of souls. A classicist like Walter Burkert considers this comparable to the apocalypses of Late Antiquity.

There are a number of apocalypses including otherworldly tours of heaven, places where the winds and snows are stored up etc. found among the scrolls. The otherworly tours sometimes include visions of places of punishment. Devorah Dimant mentions ten apocalypses or visionary narratives among the 25 Aramaic literary works preserved at Qumran; maybe the richest one is I (Aramaic, nee Ethiopic) Enoch. If you want to see what we've got preserved, much of it is translated in Garcia Martinez's The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated. I Enoch is a good place to start.

Two caveats: 1. there are Qumran scrolls that describe God's throne (Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, 4Q Berakhot etc.), and in Jewish mystical literature of later periods, people who have visions of the throne are described as "those who descend to the throne." There is not much agreement on what this means, but there might be a notion of descent to heaven!

2. Descent to hell and ascent to heaven has very ancient antecedents reaching back to Mesopotamian myths (and rituals?) found in the 3rd millenium BC. But the question is complicated by the phenomenological issue of shamanism. Traditional societies across the world have stories and practices of otherworldly journeys undertaken by an expert visionary. It seems to be a basic sort of myth that people experience. On the general issue, a flawed but brilliant work is M. Eliade's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy.

Christ's descent has a long prehistory but not one that shows up here.

Finally, on the entire reason why anyone would want to or be afraid to compare Christ to Ishtar, see JZ Smith's shrewd Drudgery Divine (U Chicago).

Seth L. Sanders Dept. of Near Eastern Studies The Johns Hopkins University==

(4) The Descent into Hades, by Ted G. Davy

When Christians recite the Apostles' Creed they affirm their belief that Jesus descended into hell ...

Hades, otherwise known as the Underworld, was the abode of the dead or, more accurately, of departed souls. ...

One of the earliest known journeys to Hades is that of the divine Krishna of India. An esoteric version is presented in the Kathopanishad: the visit of Nachiketas to Yama, Lord of Death, suggests the necessity for making the journey with full consciousness. The reward is immortality. This is a profound theme and no theosophical interpretation of the "descent" is complete unless its implications are taken into account.

Everything known about the religion of ancient Egypt points to the immediate afterdeath state as being pivotal in the spiritual quest. The litanies and rituals described in the Book of the Dead hint at the change in consciousness experienced by the individual at the end of each incarnation; and also by the initiate while still embodied. This feature exerted an important influence on the Greek Mysteries.

From the ancient Middle and Near East comes a rich collection of descent myths. One is that of Gilgamesh, hero of the Babylonian epic. Another is the colorful story of the goddess Ishtar who descended into Aralu, the Akkadian Hades; a Sumerian version is similar. Variations of the myth can be traced from there to the north and west. In Phoenicia the goddess Astarte and her consort Adonai appear in the principal roles; elsewhere these are identified as Venus and Adonis; in Asia Minor it is Magna Mater, the Great Mother Cybele, associated with her consort Attis; and so forth.

The famous Eleusinian Mysteries celebrated not far from Athens were the origin of most of the classical references to a descent into Hades, including Plato's. Their establishment is described in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which dates from the seventh century B.C. -- very early for a literary source. In it the story is unfolded how the god of the Underworld, Hades, abducted Persephone, daughter of Demeter. A simple tale yet one that sustained an important religion for two thousand years or more.

Also from classical sources are two examples from Greek mythology that have stood the test of time and are perennially fascinating. The most famous is the story of Orpheus who went to Hades to plead for the release of the soul of his dead wife, Eurydice. His beautiful music captivated the god of the dead, who granted his request on condition that if Orpheus looked back when leaving the Underworld, Eurydice must return to Hades. Orpheus failed to honor this rule of the spiritual path and his journey was in vain. In the Orphic Mysteries to which Orpheus lent his name, the descent theme was prominent. In a later phase of this religion, devotees were buried with small gold tablets on which were etched not only descriptions of the entrance to Hades, but also intimations of the mystic ritual to prepare the departing soul for its afterdeath journey. What originally had been a conscious and meaningful experience had by then become a mere formula; nevertheless these ancient tablets have served to indicate the nature of the Mystery teaching (Guthrie, W. K. C., Orpheus and Greek Religion, p. 171 ff., and Harrison, J. E., Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, ch. XI and Appendix).

A late example of the postmortem journey is the assertion in the Christian Apostles' Creed that Jesus Christ "descended to hell, on the third day rose again from the dead." There is no mention of this incident in the gospels, and the few references elsewhere in the New Testament are vague and not necessarily relevant. How, then, did the descent into hell find its way into the Creed? Among early influences was The Book of Enoch which describes a visit to hell, though not by Jesus. The most imaginative description of Jesus' descent is found in the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, which is probably the main source for many later versions such as the popular medieval English mystery play, "The Harrowing of Hell."

Early church fathers, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, among others, regarded the descent literally and attempted to weave it into their theology. Probably from the second or third century onwards it was an accepted belief. Perhaps it was even cited as one of the Articles of Faith, but it does not appear to have been written into the Apostles' Creed until about the seventh century. ...

The list could be expanded with the addition of such examples as the journey to the Land of the Dead by Quetzalcoatl, the great Toltec god, revered also by the Aztecs in ancient Mexico. Other Amerindian traditions are startlingly similar to Orphic and related teachings on the after-death states. Not only in ancient religions was the descent into Hades a universally popular theme. It is found in the works of the most honored authors in classical literature; for example, Homer, Hesiod, Aristophanes, Vergil, and Lucian; and long after the Mysteries ceased to be a living religious force it continued to attract writers of the quality of Dante, Milton, and George Bernard Shaw. ...

At the lowest level, the experience no doubt included seeing the shades of departed friends. Plato spoke of those who "descend into Hades, allured by the hope of seeing and conversing with departed loved ones" (Plato, Phaedo, §68a); to which may be added evidence suggested in early literature. In Homer's Odyssey, the hero Odysseus on descending into Hades met with his late mother as well as comrades who had fallen in the Trojan War. In the famous scene in Vergil's Aeneid (Book VI), the hero Aeneas goes down into the Underworld to seek the spirit of his father. In The Frogs of Aristophanes, the Mysteries are parodied, and a scene in Hades depicts recently deceased playwrights participating in a debate. ...

From remarks by Plato and others, the privileged initiates were also enabled to witness souls returning from the Elysian Fields after their allotted time, and preparing to go back to earth in a new physical body (Plato, The Republic, X, §614 ff). For reincarnation was taught in the Mysteries, and described in Orphic terms as the "cycle of necessity."

The highest degree of initiation depended not only on arduous preparation by the candidate, but also on the presence of a hierophant -- the high priest of the Mysteries. Only with his protection could the consciousness of the initiate be safely transformed to a deathlike state, leaving behind the physical body in a trance condition. ...

Initiates were unafraid of dying, confident that their afterlife would be a pleasant experience. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter it is asserted: "happy that earth-born man who has beheld [the august Mysteries]! He who is not initiated and has no part [in them] does not enjoy the same happy lot when dead" ("The Homeric Hymn to Demeter," II, 11. 480-83). The playwright Sophocles and the poet Pindar both expressed an almost identical thought. Pindar added another line: the initiate, he said, knows the end of life; he also knows its god-given beginning (Pindar, Threnoi, fragment x.).

In passing, it is interesting to note the similarities between descriptions of the descent into Hades found in classical writings, and modern case histories of persons who have had near-death experiences -- that is, those who, after a short period during which they were presumed dead, returned to ordinary consciousness and reported on what they remembered (cf. Ring, Ken, Seminar on "Near Death Experiences." The American Theosophist, January 1983). In the growing literature on this subject are cited phenomena which faintly suggest the initiatory experience. These include -- an initial entry into darkness: this was characteristic of the descent; going through a tunnel: this is reminiscent of Aeneas' journey, and several pertinent references to caves in classical literature; seeing a bright light: a reminder of Apuleius' revelation in the Egyptian Mysteries, "at midnight I saw the sun shining with a splendid light" (Apuleius, Metamorphoses, XI, 23); meeting deceased relatives: a common experience recorded of Odysseus among others; losing the fear of death, and a change in personal attitude, wherein the individual has a greater sense of purpose in life and is more caring: as far as can be known such qualities characterize those who had partaken of the Mysteries. ...

(From Sunrise magazine, December 1983/January 1984. Copyright © 1984 by Theosophical University Press)

(5) The Lost Books Of The Bible


DAVID RICE to LARRY SITES on 01-20-95 22:44 re: JESUS IN HELL

RD> Hell is only mankinds grave. The bible even says that Jesus went to Hell. Bet you didn't know that.

LS> Quote the verse, please.

Now I realize what his post to me with a verse from acts without any context was about. He couldn't even come up with a verse to suport his assertation with as his acts 2:31 or whatever only says Jesus didn't just die.

DR> I do not recall any Bible verse stating Jesus went to Hell, but it is part of the Christian mythology of Jesus. It is said that he went to Hell for three days (just like most of the sons of god before him) to "plead for the lost souls." I think Jesus's trip through Hell is in one of the Apocrypha.

Oh, it's in the bible all right, but it's a typo! See below from a previous post of mine.

I just finished reading The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed and Did Jesus Write This Book, both by Charles Francis Potter. He proposes that the Books of Enoch and similar writings were "lost" on purpose because they document the evolutionary development of theology later grafted onto Jesus. In particular he points to Enoch as the source for the beatitudes and "but I say" and ethical teachings of Jesus. As evidence he cites the exclusion of the books of the Psalms of Solomon, Epistle of Barnabas, and Shepherd of Hermas. These are found in various of the oldest existing manuscripts and attested to by early church fathers.

Barnabas, for example, is included in the Codex Sinaiticus, Clement of Alexandria quotes it as scripture and Origen terms it a "Catholic Episle." Barnabas 16:5 quotes Enoch 89:55, 66, 67 and Barnabas chapter 4 reads "as Enoch says". Enoch was recogonized as scripture in the first century by the current new testament book of Jude, in the second century by Barnabas and Athenagoras, and in the third century by Clement of Alexandria, by Irenaeus, and Tertullian. After Hilary, Jerome and Augustine it was "lost".

On page 95 of The Lost Years of J Revealed, Potter shows that the phrase "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." was added to Acts 8:37 because it isn't in fourth century Codexes Vaticanus and Sinaiticus nor the fifth century Codexes Alexandrinus and Ephraemi. It's still in the King James Version but has been removed from the Revised, American Standard Revised, and the new Revised Standard Version. In a strange twist of fate, he notes that the ethiopian eunuch falsely attributed as saying this, may in fact have been the source of the book of Enoch transported to europe where it escaped destruction and a copy was discovered late in the 19th century.

On the next several pages, Potter shows that the "he" refered to in 1 Peter 3:18-20 that "went and preached to the spirits in prison", the source of the credial phrase about descending into hell, is not Jesus but in fact originally refered to Enoch! He lists several Greek specialists that support this translation: Bowyer, Spitta, Cramer, Rendel Harris, M.R. James, Moffattt and Goodspeed. In Enoch chapters 6 to sixteen, Enoch not only preached to these spirits but the circumstances of their imprisonment are explained. This story became a point of contention between Augustine and Tertullian. Guess who became the heretic and who the saint and which believed what? Fundi scholars attribute this little change to a scribal error known as "haplography", or writing only one of two identical groups of letters occuring near together. Another accident like "losing" all the copies of Enoch, no doubt. BTW, these "spirits" were the fallen angels of Genesis 6:1-4, Isaiah 14:12 and 24:21-23. Paul was apparently aware of this and still afraid of them when he gives the reason why women should cover their heads in church in 1 Cor 11:10, "because of the angels.".

Further evidence of the evolution of biblical theology can be found in Luke 3:22 which in the "Gospel of the Ebionites", several ancient manuscripts, quotations by Justin, Clement, Origen, and even Augustine describes the descent of the Holy Spirit as Jesus baptism thus, "Thou are my Son, today I have begotten thee." This clear text is the basis for Adoptianism, or the belief that Jesus was only a human till god endowed ( or adopted) him with divine nature. This belief can be traced back through Arius, Lucian, Paul of Samosata, to Theodotus of Byzantium and Artemon in Rome about 185 and before that to the Ebionites of the first and second centuries, the survivors of Qumran and Jerusalem in 70. The Ebionites are also the ones that first call Paul a liar! What does the present day bible say at Luke 3:22? The "today" has been removed to match the eternal divinity dogma and all the Adoptionists are declaired heretics even by Augustine who knew what the bible originally said!

(6) The first book of Enoch, by Jona Lendering ©

The First book of Enoch is one of the Old Testament pseudepigrapha, in other words a book with a Jewish, religious content that was once regarded as one of the sacred scripture but was not recognized as truly inspired by the rabbi's who made the canon of the Jewish Bible.

The name 'Enoch' (or Henoch) can be found in Genesis, where this patriarch is mentioned as the seventh descendant of Adam and Eve.

Jared had lived 162 years when he begat Enoch, and after he begat Enoch, he lived 800 years, and begat sons and daughters. All the days of Jared were 962 years. Then he died. Enoch had lived 65 years when he begat Methuselah, and after he begat Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years, and begat sons and daughters. All the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God. Then he vanished because God took him. [Genesis 5.18-23]

Since the writer of Genesis does not write that Enoch died and 'walked with God', later generations thought that he had seen all mysteries of the universe. From the third century BCE on, authors used him as their spokesman, attributing all sorts of secret knowledge to his revelation. Five of these texts were joined together at an unknown moment, and are now known as the First book of Enoch. It is also called the Ethiopian book of Enoch, because the book is best known from some forty manuscripts from Ethiopia. However, there are many Aramaic fragments of the constituent parts among the Dead Sea scrolls, a handful of Greek fragments and one scrap in Latin.

The title First book of Enoch suggests that there has to be a Second book too. This is a text on the lives of Enoch and his descendants; it is only known to us in a Slavonic translation and it is not known when it was written. The Third book of Enoch was written in the fifth/sixth century and describes how the second-century rabbi Ishmael journeyed into heaven and saw God's throne and chariot. This work has influenced the Zohar, the sacred book of Jewish Cabbala.

Back to the First book of Enoch. It consists of five main parts, which can be subdivided. These parts were composed at different times and never meant as a unity.

1. The Book of watchers (§1-36): a third century or early second century BCE text on the Last judgment and the reason why God will judge harshly. introduction (§1-5): the Last judgment; narrative (§6-36): the fallen angels, their children by mortal women, the corruption of mankind, Enoch's unsuccessful intercession for the fallen angels, a vision of mankind's doom, and Enoch's journey to Earth, Hell, and Heaven. 2.The Book of similitudes (§37-71): a text from the first century CE, dealing with aspects of the Last judgment. first parable: a description of heaven, where Enoch sees the habitations of the just, the angels and the Messiah (§38-44); second parable: a description of a.o. the Messiah, the messianic age and his judgment (§45-57; click here for a quotation); third parable: a description of phenomena during the judgment by the Son of man (§58-71). 3.The Astronomical book (§72-82): a treatise from the third century BCE on meteorology, astronomy and the calendar. 4.The Book of dream visions (§83-90): two visions that were composed during the Maccabaean revolt (165-160 BCE). first vision: the Deluge as the first judgment (§83-84); second vision: a history of Israel until the Maccabaean revolt (§85-90). 5.The Epistle of Enoch (§91-108): warnings, blessings and an apocalypse, composed in the early second century BCE. the Apocalypse of weeks (§91 and 93) woes to the sinners, adhortations to the righteous ones (§94-104) an appendix (§105-108)

This complex work was extremely influential and is very important. It is the oldest known apocalyptic text -older than the canonical book of Daniel - and this proves that it is incorrect to maintain that the apocalyptic genre originated in the age of the Maccabaean revolt.

Several other pseudepigrapha refer to 1 Enoch. One may think of the Book of jubilees and the Book of giants. It is also quoted in the New Testament, e.g. by Luke and Jude.

The Enochic books were very popular in the library of the sect at Qumran. Oddly enough, there are only fragments of the first and last three units; the Book of similitudes is conspicuously absent, which may be explained from the fact that the library contained no manuscripts of compositions from the first century CE. Several copies make it clear that the Book of watchers and the Book of the dream visions were already joined in c.100 BCE.

The First book of Enoch is quoted in the Christian Bible (Epistle of Jude 14-15). Its theory that the Messiah would arrive seventy generations after Enoch is present in the Gospel of Luke (click here for more information).

A translation of the First book of Enoch can be found in James Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (1983 New York), volume one, pp.5-89.

(7) Enoch's descent into Hell - the Book of Enoch (1 Enoch) chapters 53-56

The translation is by R.H. Charles, 1912 (see ref. below). He notes, on p. 104,: "The deep valley here is that of Jehoshaphat, where, according to Joel 3:2,12, God was to assemble and judge the Gentiles."

Poor Gentiles - I am one. It's clear that Jewish thought envisaged that Gentiles would either be banished to Hell, or wiped out. Zoroastrian thinking envisaged a similar outcome for those it considered Pagan.

Sacred-texts Christianity Apocrypha

BOOK OF ENOCH {1 Enoch, complete}

From-The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament R.H. Charles Oxford: The Clarendon Press {1912}

... [Chapter 53]

1 There mine eyes saw a deep valley with open mouths, and all who dwell on the earth and sea and islands shall bring to him gifts and presents and tokens of homage, but that deep valley shall not become full.

2 And their hands commit lawless deeds, And the sinners devour all whom they lawlessly oppress: Yet the sinners shall be destroyed before the face of the Lord of Spirits, And they shall be banished from off the face of His earth, And they shall perish for ever and ever.

3 For I saw all the angels of punishment abiding (there) and preparing all the instruments of Satan. 4 And I asked the angel of peace who went with me: ' For whom are they preparing these Instruments?' 5 And he said unto me: ' They prepare these for the kings and the mighty of this earth, that they may thereby be destroyed.

6 And after this the Righteous and Elect One shall cause the house of his congregation to appear: henceforth they shall be no more hindered in the name of the Lord of Spirits.

7 And these mountains shall not stand as the earth before his righteousness, But the hills shall be as a fountain of water, And the righteous shall have rest from the oppression of sinners.'

[Chapter 54]

1 And I looked and turned to another part of the earth, and saw there a deep valley with burning 2 fire. And they brought the kings and the mighty, and began to cast them into this deep valley. 3 And there mine eyes saw how they made these their instruments, iron chains of immeasurable weight. 4 And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: ' For whom are these chains being prepared ? ' And he said unto me: ' These are being prepared for the hosts of Azazel, so that they may take them and cast them into the abyss of complete condemnation, and they shall cover their jaws with rough stones as the Lord of Spirits commanded.

6 And Michael, and Gabriel, and Raphael, and Phanuel shall take hold of them on that great day, and cast them on that day into the burning furnace, that the Lord of Spirits may take vengeance on them for their unrighteousness in becoming subject to Satan and leading astray those who dwell on the earth.'

7 And in those days shall punishment come from the Lord of Spirits, and he will open all the chambers of waters which are above the heavens, and of the fountains which are beneath the earth. 8 And all the waters shall be joined with the waters: that which is above the heavens is the masculine, 9 and the water which is beneath the earth is the feminine. And they shall destroy all who dwell 10 on the earth and those who dwell under the ends of the heaven. And when they have recognized their unrighteousness which they have wrought on the earth, then by these shall they perish.

[Chapter 55]

1 And after that the Head of Days repented and said: ' In vain have I destroyed all who dwell 2 on the earth.' And He sware by His great name: ' Henceforth I will not do so to all who dwell on the earth, and I will set a sign in the heaven: and this shall be a pledge of good faith between Me and them for ever, so long as heaven is above the earth. And this is in accordance with My command. 3 When I have desired to take hold of them by the hand of the angels on the day of tribulation and pain because of this, I will cause My chastisement and My wrath to abide upon them, saith 4 God, the Lord of Spirits. Ye mighty kings who dwell on the earth, ye shall have to behold Mine Elect One, how he sits on the throne of glory and judges Azazel, and all his associates, and all his hosts in the name of the Lord of Spirits.'

[Chapter 56] 1 And I saw there the hosts of the angels of punishment going, and they held scourges and chains 2 of iron and bronze. And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: ' To whom are 3 these who hold the scourges going ? ' And he said unto me: ' To their elect and beloved ones, that they may be cast into the chasm of the abyss of the valley.

4 And then that valley shall be filled with their elect and beloved, And the days of their lives shall be at an end, And the days of their leading astray shall not thenceforward be reckoned.

5 And in those days the angels shall return And hurl themselves to the east upon the Parthians and Medes: They shall stir up the kings, so that a spirit of unrest shall come upon them, And they shall rouse them from their thrones,

That they may break forth as lions from their lairs, And as hungry wolves among their flocks. {end}

Scanned and Edited by Joshua Williams Northwest Nazarene College, 1995

(8) The Book of Enoch Quoted in the New Testament

Page 2 of 2

The Gospel scriptures here are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible

Book of Enoch [c. 150 B.C.] New Testament

Enoch lxxix In the days of sinners the years shall be shortened, ... and every thing done on earth shall be subverted and disappear in its season. ... In those days the fruits of the earth shall not flourish in their season, ... heaven shall stand still. The moon shall change its laws, and not be seen at its proper period; ... and all the classes of the stars shall be shut up against sinners.

Enoch lxi 9 And trouble shall seize them when they shall behold the Son of Woman sitting upon the throne of his glory.

Matthew 24:7,21,22,29,30 There shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places ... great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. ... Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. ... Then shall the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

Enoch xlvii 3 He sat upon the throne of his glory, while the book of the living was opened in his presence, and while all the powers which were above the heavens stood around and before him.

Enoch l In those days shall the earth deliver up from hers, that which it has received, and destruction shall restore that which it owes. He shall select the righteous and holy from among them.

Enoch liv In those days shall the mouth of hell be opened into which they shall be immerged; hell shall destroy and swallow up sinners from the face of the elect.

Revelations 20:11-13,15 I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, ... and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne; and the books were opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Enoch xl 1 After this I beheld thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, and an infinite number of people, standing before the Lord of spirits.

Revelations 5:11 I beheld and heard the voice of many angels roung about the throne, ... and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.

Enoch xiv 3 In that day shall the Elect One sit upon a throne of glory, and shall choose their conditions and countless habitations.

Matthew 25:31,32 Then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another.

John 14:2 In my father's house are many habitations.

Enoch xiv 4 In that day I will cause my Elect One to dwell in the midst of them. I will change the face of heaven: I will bless it and illuminate it for ever. I will also change the face of the earth: I will bless it, and cause those whom I have chosen to dwell upon it.

Revelations 7:15 He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Enoch xcii 17 The former part of heaven shall depart and pass away, a new heaven shall appear.

Revelations 22:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

Enoch lxi 4-9 The word of his mouth shall destroy all sinners, and all the ungodly shall perish at his presence. ... Trouble shall come upon them, as upon a woman in travail. One portion of them shall look upon another; they shall be astonished, and shall abase their countenances; and trouble shall seize them, when they shall behold this Son of woman sitting upon the throne of His glory.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 Then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 That wicked whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth.

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.

Enoch lxvi 5-8 I beheld the valley in which ... arose a strong smell of sulphur which became mixed with the waters; and the valley of the angels, who had been guilty of seduction, burned underneath its soil. Through that valley also rivers of fire were flowing, to which the angels shall be condemned, who seduced the inhabitants of the earth.

Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire.

Matthew 25:41 Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

Revelations 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

Enoch civ Now will I point out a mystery. Many sinners shall turn and transgress against the word of uprightness. They shall speak evil things; they shall utter falsehood.

1 Timothy 4:12 The Spirit say it expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, ... through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies.

Enoch xlviii 1-7 In that place I beheld a fountain of righteousness which never failed, encircled by many springs of wisdom. Of these all the thirsty drank, and were filled with wisdom, having their habitation with the righteous, the elect, and the holy.

John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Revelations 20:6 I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Enoch xlviii He has preserved the lot of the righteous, because they have hated and rejected this world of iniquity, and have detested all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of spirits.

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father.

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.

Enoch ii, xxvi 2 Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done and committed against him. ... [who utter with their mouths unbecoming language against God, and speak harsh things of his glory.]

Jude 14,15 Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

(9) Mani and the Book of Enoch

Manes (c. 216-276 e.v.)

by T. Apiryon

Copyright © 1995 Ordo Templi Orientis. All rights reserved.

Also known as Mani or Manichaeus; Persian philosopher and religious teacher, founder of the Gnostic religion of Manichaeism (see Chapter 201 of Liber Aleph). Crowley's placement of Mani in this position is curious. Mani was a later teacher than Basilides, Valentinus and Bardesanes. Also, whereas these teachers considered themselves Christians, Mani was the founder of an entirely new religion, which claimed to be the culmination of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Buddhism. The reader who is unfamiliar with Gnosticism may benefit by reading the sections on Basilides, Valentinus and Bardesanes before proceeding with Mani.

Mani's Persian name was Shuriak, or Cubricus in Latin. He was born in southern Babylonia of noble Persian stock. His father, Patak, was from Ekbatana, and was a religious leader of a Jewish-Christian baptizing sect called the Mughtasilah, founded by a prophet known as Elchasai, and it was within the religious framework of this sect, and under the careful tutelage of his father, that Mani was raised. When he was twelve years old, he experienced a vision in which an Angel named At-Taum, "The Twin," instructed him to withdraw from the Mughtasilah and begin to purify himself with ascetic practices. The Angel returned to Shuriak the young man, and this second time, called upon him to preach a new religion.

In 242 e.v., he proclaimed a new, universal religion at the Persian court of Shapur I, proclaiming himself to be Mani, "The Vessel," the prophesied Paraclete, the divine helper of mankind, and the last of the great prophets. In his new religion, he consciously sought to reconcile the great religions of redemption, Christianity (Gnostic), Zoroastrianism (Zurvanite) and Buddhism (Mahâyâna), in a new Syncretism which also incorporated elements of Greek philosophy and Indian Jainism; while refuting patriarchal Judaism. He was not, at first, well received, and was forced to flee the country. He travelled to Trans-Oxiana (modern Uzbekistan), India and Western China, making converts wherever he went. He intended that his religion be a world-religion, in fact the first world-religion, and he consciously adapted his teaching to accommodate local beliefs and customs. He was regarded by his Christian adherents as the Paraclete, by his Persian followers as the Zoroastrian redeemer Saoshyant, and by his Buddhist disciples as the Avatar Maitreya.

In addition to an extensive body of anti-Manichaean literature in many languages, Mani and Manichaeism have themselves left us numerous texts in Latin, Greek, Coptic, Middle Iranian, Uighur, and Chinese. Manichaeism is, therefore, relatively well understood today. Among the extant Manichaean sacred texts are: The Living Gospel; The Treasure of Life; the Pragmateia; the Book of Mysteries; the Epistles; The Book of Giants; and Psalms and Prayers. These books were, at least in part, considered to have been inspired by Mani's Angel, At-Taum. There is also the Shahburagan, a summary of the Manichaean teachings prepared for Shapur I; the Ardahang, a picture-book illustrating Mani's view of the world; and the Kephalaia, a collection of the sayings of Mani.

Mani eventually returned to Persia, where his following had greatly increased. This time, he was favorably received by Shapur and by his successor, Hormisdas I. He was allowed to preach freely, and was even given a city in Khuzistan for his residence. He finally fell victim to the established Zoroastrian priesthood during the reign of Bahram I, the successor of Hormisdas. He was arrested at Gundev Shapur in 276 e.v. and thrown into prison in chains, where he died after 26 days. His corpse was flayed, and his skin was stuffed with straw and nailed to the gate of the city. His Persian followers were then subjected to severe persecution, but Manichaeism outside Persia flourished. Records show the Manichaean religion to have spread to Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, North Africa, Asia Minor, Armenia, Dalmatia, Rome, Spain, Southern Gaul, Trans-Oxiana, Turkestan, India, China and even Tibet.

In the doctrine of Manichaeism, "The Teaching of Light" as it was called, the Universe was originally divided between two eternal, uncreated, and utterly irreconcilable principles: Light and Darkness. The Realm of Light was located in the North, tended upwards, and extended infinitely to the North, East and West. It was ruled by the Father of Greatness (identified with Zurvan in Persia), and was manifested as five "worlds": Nous (Mind), Ennoia (Thought), Phronêsis (Prudence), Enthymêsis (Reflection), and Logismos (Reason); which are surrounded by a great number of Aions. Twelve of these Aions, the "first-born," surround the Father, three to each quarter of the Heavens.

The Realm of Darkness (Hylê) was located in the South, tended downwards and extended infinitely only to the South. It was ruled by the Prince of Darkness, and was also manifested as five "worlds": smoke, fire, storm, mud and darkness. From each of these five worlds grew a tree, and from the Five Trees came the five species of demons. The demons were divided into two sexes, and their existence was characterized by constant warfare and procreation. Each world of Darkness was ruled by an Archon: a Demon, a Lion, an Eagle, a Fish and a Dragon. The Prince of Darkness combined within himself the attributes of all five Archons.

Due to its inherent restlessness, the Realm of Darkness was always approaching the borders of the Realm of Light and contending with its forces. Once, a chance shift in the battles within Darkness elevated the Prince of Darkness to the highest point of his realm, where he beheld the Light, and the magnificence of the Realm of Light bred in him the desire to possess it. He resolved to make war on the Realm of Light with his demons.

The Father of Greatness saw that it was necessary to meet the challenge of the forces of Darkness. But his Aeons were meant for peace, and they could not be sent to do battle with the demons; so the Father resolved to go to battle himself. To do this, He called forth three Evocations from Himself.

In the First Evocation, the Father called forth the "Great Spirit" or "Wisdom" (Sophia). The Great Spirit projected the "Mother of the Living," and the Mother of the Living projected the "First Man" (identified with Ohrmazd in Persia). The First Man, with his five sons, fire, wind, water, light and ether who composed his Soul and were also the "five garments of Light" which made up his armor, descended into the Realm of Darkness to do battle with the invading demons.

While battling the Demons in the Realm of Darkness, the First Man managed to sever the roots of the Five Trees of Darkness, thus preventing the further growth of evil. However, the demons eventually overwhelmed him. He sacrificed his Soul, composed of his five sons who were his five garments, to the swarming demons. The demons devoured his sons, his Soul, and left him lying unconscious on the battlefield.

Light, the substance of the Soul of the First Man, was thus engulfed by the Darkness of matter. Over time, this Light was poisoned by matter, and lost consciousness of its nature; but also matter was poisoned by the Light, and gradually became utterly dependent upon it for survival.

Eventually recovering consciousness, the First Man stirred himself on the battlefield and prayed seven times for help to the Father of Greatness. The Father heard his prayer, and responded by initiating the Second Evocation of Himself, in which He called forth "The Friend of the Lights," who called forth "Great Architect" who called forth the "Living Spirit" (identified with Mithra in Persia). The Living Spirit called forth five sons: "Bearer of Brightness," "King of Honor," "Adamas of Light," "King of Glory," and "the Supporter" (Atlas), who descended into Darkness to find the First Man.

The Living Spirit then sent out an awakening Call to the First Man below. The Call, together with the First Man's Answer, arose from the depths into the Realm of Light. The Living Spirit accepted the Call and donned it as a cloak; and the Mother of the Living accepted the Answer, and donned it as a cloak. The Living Spirit and the Mother of the Living then went down into the Realm of Darkness where the First Man and his sons were. "Call" and "Answer" together became personified as a divinity named "Reflection of Life" or the "Great Idea."

Encountering the First Man, the Living Spirit stretched forth his right hand to him, lifted him up from the Darkness, and led him back to the Light; but the Soul of the First Man, the particles of Light from his five sons, remained behind, submerged in Darkness, awaiting redemption. Reflection of Life strengthened the desire of the lost particles of Light for their Home in the North.

The Living Spirit then returned to the Realm of Darkness and made war upon the demons. He created the World from their bodies and the Light imprisoned therein. From their bodies he fashioned the eight earths, from their skins the ten heavens. He fastened the five Archons, living, in the firmament. He divided the Light which was within the Realm of Darkness into three parts, according to its degree of mixture with matter. From the remaining undefiled Light he created the sun and moon, from the remaining Light which had been slightly defiled he created the stars. He created three great Wheels for the redemption of that Light which was retained by matter: the Wheel of Fire, the Wheel of Water, and the Wheel of Wind; all under the control of the King of Glory. Bearer of Brightness was set to hold up the ten heavens, and Supporter was stationed to hold up the three upper earths. The Living Spirit had created the World as a vast mechanism for the Redemption of the Light-- all that remained was for the mechanism to be set in motion, a task to be accomplished by the Third Evocation.

At the entreaty of the Mother of the Living, the First Man and the Living Spirit, the Father of Greatness called forth the Third Evocation. The principle figure of the Third Evocation was the "Third Envoy," or the "God of the Realm of Light," who dwelt within the sun. The Third Envoy was of both male and female aspect, and engendered twelve daughters, the Maidens of Light, who represent the Zodiac.

Before the great universal machine could be set in motion, the Third Envoy had to create a pathway to the Realm of Light. This he did in the form of the "Pillar of Glory" or "Column of Light," also called the "Perfect Man." The Pillar of Glory can be seen in the night sky as the Milky Way. When the universal machine was set in motion, the purified particles of Light would ascend via the Pillar of Glory to the moon during the first fifteen days of each month. When the moon became full, it would empty its collected Light into the sun during the final fifteen days of each month, whence the redeemed Light would pass on to a place called the "New Aeon"-- a place designed by the Great Architect and ruled by the First Man. The New Aeon was consubstantial with the Realm of Light, but would remain apart from it until the Last Day.

Upon completion of the Pillar of Glory, the Third Envoy set the sun and moon and the Three Wheels of Fire, Water and Wind in motion. It was then necessary to deprive the Archons, suspended in the sky by the Living Spirit, of the Light they had consumed. To accomplish this task, the Third Envoy revealed his/her male and female aspects naked to the Archons. The male Archons, beholding the nakedness of the female aspect of the Third Envoy, the Virgin of Light, ejaculated. Their seed fell to earth, and with it the Light they had swallowed. A portion of their seed fell on the water, and became a huge sea monster which Adamas of Light attacked and defeated. The portion of the seed that fell on land became the five types of vegetable life. The female Archons, sickened by the turning of the wheel of the zodiac to which they were bound, aborted the embryos they carried as a result of their unions in Darkness. The abortions fell to earth and became demons which began to devour the plants and procreate, thereby producing the five types of animal life. Through the changing of the seasons and the cycle of life, the process of the redemption of the Light had been initiated.

The Prince of Darkness beheld the beginning of the process of Redemption, and feared the final loss of the particles of Light. In order to bind the Particles of Light to itself more closely, Darkness conceived of an Averse Creation. It conjured two demons, the male Asaqlun or Saklas and the female Nebroel or Namrael to devour the offspring of the other abortions, absorbing and concentrating their Light; they were then to unite and produce two children in the male/female image of the Third Envoy.

The Light collected by the two demons by devouring the other demons was passed on to their two children as the Soul, and the two children were named Adam and Eve. Imprisoned along with the Soul of Light in the demon-born bodies of the first human pair is the Dark Spirit, Az, composed of lust and greed, who was placed there by Darkness to ensure that the Light would continue to remain imprisoned in matter.

In a counter-maneuver, the Third Envoy called forth Yiso Ziva, "Jesus the Radiant" or "the Shining" to awaken Adam and enlighten him with respect to the divine origin of the Soul, and its imprisonment in the body. Jesus the Radiant took on material form, crucifying himself on the cross of matter, to confront Adam. Enlightened, Adam resolved upon chastity, renouncing the prolongation of suffering which was procreation. Eve, however, was seduced by a demon, and bore to the demon two children, Cain and Abel. The continued bondage of a portion of the Light was thus assured, and its ultimate redemption was considered the responsibility of Humankind.

To assist Humankind in its Work towards Redemption, Jesus the Radiant called forth the "Mind of Light," the Father of All Apostles (the Holy Spirit), to send prophets who would bring the Gnosis to the people and show them the Way to Redemption. The Mind of Light caused Adam and Eve to unite one time to bring forth the first such prophet, whose name was Seth. Later prophets were Noah, Shem, Abraham, Enosh, Nikotheos, Enoch, Buddha, Aurentes, Zoroaster, Jesus (whose crucifixion was the resolution of the earlier crucifixion of Jesus the Radiant on the cross of matter), Paul, and, finally, Mani, who was the "Seal of the Prophets."

With the Gnosis comes the will to redemption, and the Gnosis enables the Soul to withstand evil by clothing it in the five virtues of Love, Faith (or Law), Perfection, Patience and Wisdom. Religion is the weapon of the Gnosis in striving to keep the Soul awake and resolute against the attacks of Darkness which cause forgetfulness. When the individual dies, the body descends to Darkness. The Soul, if awakened, ascends the Column of Light to the moon, thence to the sun, and thence to the New Aeon. If asleep, the soul is reincarnated on earth.

The Last Day, the end of the World, will occur when the deliverance of the Light is nearly complete, and the World, being deprived of most of its Light, is in a degenerate state of materialism. The Last Day will be signaled by a great war, followed by the second coming of Jesus. Jesus will separate the remaining awakened souls from those remaining asleep, then withdraw himself with the last awakened souls to the New Aeon. Bearer of Brightness and Supporter will abandon their posts, and the great mechanism of the World, now useless, will collapse upon itself in a great fire which will burn for 1468 years, liberating the last remaining particles of Light from matter. These particles will gather together to form the "Last Man," or the "Last Statue," and ascend to the New Aeon. Darkness will collapse into a lifeless clod, which will be cast into the pit that was once its realm, and the pit will be sealed with an enormous stone. Having been deprived of the Light upon which it had become dependent, it will be powerless to ever again attack the Realm of Light. Finally, the New Aeon will be united with the Realm of Light, and the restoration of the Light will be complete.

The Manichaean Church had the task of caring for the Light that remained in the world, protecting it from injury, and attempting to purify it and lead it on to the path of deliverance. The means of accomplishing this task was strict ascetism, the reduction of all relations of life to a minimum.

In practice, such rigid ascetism can only be accomplished by a few; thus, the Manichaean community was divided into two distinct groups: the Electi, or "Perfect," who adhered to a rigid ascetism and who formed the real core of the Church, and the Auditores, or "Hearers," who gathered around the Elect to hear their teachings and to obtain merit by serving them. The church hierarchy, recruited only from the Elect, consisted of Mani's successor, the Head of the Church, called the Archêgos or Princeps, twelve master teachers called Magistri, 72 Bishops or Deacons, and 360 Presbyters or Elders. Women could become Elect but not officers.

The Elect were bound by the Three Seals: of the Mouth; of the Hand; and the Genitals. These Seals required them to abstain totally from meat and wine, lying and hypocrisy, work, sexual intercourse, ill-treatment of animals and plants, pollution of water, and the owning of personal property. They were allowed one vegetarian meal per day, and were required to fast every Monday and for two successive days five times each year. They were dedicated to contemplation, study and the translation of religious writings (the Manichaeans had developed their own script), and were enjoined to pray, by the singing of hymns facing the sun or moon, seven times each day. By adherence to this strict regimen, the Elect expected to achieve deliverance for their Souls at death.

Such a life could obviously not be led without external support, which was provided by the Hearers. The guilt incurred by the Hearers in performing the work necessary to support the Elect was absolved by the Elect, but nevertheless resulted in a delay of the deliverance of the Souls of the Hearers by a period of one or more incarnations. The Hearers were expected only to live by ten commandments: 1. to take but one spouse; 2. not to fornicate; 3. not to lie; 4. not to be hypocritical; 5. not to worship idols; 6. not to practice magic; 7. not to kill animals (though they were allowed to eat meat from animals killed by others); 8. not to steal; 9. not to doubt their faith; and 10. not to neglect their duties to care for the Elect. Four prayers per day were prescribed for the Hearers. They were expected to fast every Sunday. Once each year, for 30 days, they were expected to eat only one meal per day along with the Elect. Before his conversion to Christianity, Saint Augustine was a Manichaean Hearer for nine years. He later advocated the wholesale burning of all their books, regardless of their beauty.

The restrictions on ownership of personal property, although applicable to the individual Elect, did not extend to the Manichaean community as such. The accumulation of communal property was permitted, and many communities accumulated considerable wealth through money lending.

The Manichaeans rejected the Eucharist and most of the Christian sacraments, replacing them with their own ceremonies of prayer, recitation and reading of scriptures, music, singing, fasting and feasting, and weekly confession. The central ritual of the community was the Table-- the daily common meal-- in which the Hearers would ritually serve, and the Elect would ritually consume, such foods as were to considered to possess a high content of Light, such as cucumbers, melons, wheat bread and fruit juice. The Light would be absorbed into the bodies of the Elect, there to be retained until their deaths, when it would be delivered up the Column of Light with their souls. The Light contained within animals was considered to be too closely bound to matter for liberation through digestion.

The Manichaeans also celebrated the annual feast of the Bema, or the Master's Chair, each Spring. The Bema was a commemoration of Mani's death, and was the culmination of the 30 day fast enjoined on the Hearers.

Manichaeism ultimately failed in Europe and the Middle East by its inability to compete with Islam and Christianity. The rival faiths offered much easier paths to understand and to follow, were far more ruthless in their campaigns of conversion, and, unlike Manichaeism, threatened an afterlife of eternal torture for unbelievers. Perhaps even more significantly, both Muslims and Christians were allowed to become wealthy; which assured the support of the nobility and the merchant class.

Manichaeism continued to flourish in the barren plains of Central Asia, where it became centered at the city of Turfan in what is now northwest China. It even became the state religion of the short-lived Uighur Empire, until it was wiped out in the 13th century e.v. by the Mongol invasions. It survived in Southern China as the "Religion of the Venerable Light" until the 17th century e.v.

Even after its official demise in Europe in the 6th century e.v., a number of similar Christian sects arose from its ashes, persisting until well into the Middle Ages. The most important of these sects were the Bogomils of Bulgaria and the Cathars or Albigenses of the Languedoc region of Southern France. While these later sects were "Manichaean" only in the sense that they shared certain concepts and practices with the old followers of Mani, they were, nevertheless, as vigorously persecuted by the political-religious power structure as were the Manichaeans.

The Cathars were highly successful from about 1150 e.v. to 1209 e.v., and helped to turn the Languedoc into a prosperous medieval center of learning and culture-- the birthplace of the troubadours-- where Christian (Cathar), Jewish and Islamic scholars freely intermingled and discoursed upon theology, philosophy and science. The Cathars were probably highly influential in the development of the traditions of the Holy Graal, and may also have influenced the Knights Templar. Some scholars believe that what we know today as the Hebrew Qabala was codified in the spiritual melting-pot of Southern France and Spain during these times. Pope Innocent III proclaimed what came to be known as the Albigensian Crusade against the "dangerous Cathar heretics" in 1209 e.v. During the 40 years of this infamous horror, many thousands of men, women and children were brutally slaughtered and their cities pillaged; and the Languedoc was reduced to rubble and barbarism. References:

Baigent, Michael; Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln; Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Dell, NY 1982 Benton, William (Publ.); Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1768/1973 Burkitt, F.C.; The Religion of the Manichees, Cambridge, 1925, reprinted by AMS Press, NY, 1978 Couliano, Ioan P.; The Tree of Gnosis: Gnostic Mythology from Early Christianity to Modern Nihilism, Harper San Francisco 1990 Forlong, J.G.R.; Faiths of Man, a Cyclopaedia of Religions [Bernard Quaritch, 1906], University Books, NY 1964 Jackson, Samuel McCauley (Ed. in Chief); The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 1953 Laetscher, Lefferts A. (Ed. in Chief); The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, an Extension of the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 1955 Lieu, Samuel N.C.; Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China, A Historical Survey, Manchester Univ. Press, 1985 Puech, Henri-Charles; "The Concept of Redemption in Manichaeism" [1936], in The Mystic Vision, Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, Bollingen Series XXX.6, edited by Joseph Campbell, Princeton/Bollingen, Princeton NJ 1968 Rudolph, Kurt; Gnosis, Harper & Rowe, San Francisco, 1977 Scholem, Gershom; Origins of the Kabbalah, Jewish Publication Society/Princeton University Press, Princeton 1962/1987 Widengren, Geo; Mani and Manichaeism, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, NY 1961/65 Yamauchi, Edwin; Pre-Christian Gnosticism, Tyndale Press, London, 1973

Originally published in Red Flame No. 2 -- Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic Ecclesiastical Gnosticism by Tau Apiryon and Helena; Berkeley, CA 1995 e.v.

(10) Did Mohammed Know Slavonic Enoch?

E. J. Jenkinson

E. J. Jenkinson, "Did Mohammed Know Slavonic Enoch?", The Moslem World, Volume XXI (1931), pp. 24-28.

[We prefix a note to this account of the Slavonic Enoch from the text of W. R. Morfill (Oxford, 1896).

"The Book of the Secrets of Enoch" in its present form was written about the beginning of the Christian era. Its author or final editor was a Hellenistic Jew, and the place of its composition was Egypt.

Written at such a date, and in Egypt, it was not to be expected that it exercised a direct influence on the writers of the New Testament. On the other hand, it occasionally exhibits striking parallelisms in diction and thought, and some of the dark passages of the latter are all but inexplicable without its aid.

Although the very knowledge that such a book ever existed was lost for probably twelve hundred years, it nevertheless was much used both by Christian and and heretic in the early centuries. - Editor.]

While the pseudepigraphic writings have been extensively used to illustrate the New Testament, they have not as yet perhaps entirely come into their own as sources for Mohammedan tradition. The parallels between Koran and Hadith, and the Slavonic group of pseudepigraphic writings are many and striking. This is especially true of the work known as "Slavonic Enoch," or "The Book of the Secrets of Enoch."

In the following study we shall use the text given in Dr. Charles' "Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament," and use the same labels A and B to define the two recensions.

Let us commence with Enoch himself. In Koran 19.56-57 we read, "And mention Idris in the book; for he was a great person, a prophet, and we exalted him to a high place." This Idris is one of the elusive personalities of the Koran. Sura 21.85 mentions him along with Isma'il and Dhu-l-Kifl as one of the patient ones; and Nöldeke suggests, not unreasonably, that Idris is none other than Andreas, Alexander the Great's cook. Post-Koranic Muslim writers, however, will have it that he was Enoch. As for the exaltation, some commentators understand this to refer to the honor of the prophetic office, and his familiarity with God; but others suppose that his translation is meant, for they say that he was taken up by God into heaven at the age of three hundred and fifty, having first suffered death; and been restored to life; and that he is now alive in one of the seven heaven, or in Paradise.

While in the above tradition Enoch was taken up at the age of three hundred and fifty years, the book of the Secrets of Enoch agrees with Gen. 5:23 in making it three hundred and sixty-five years. The idea that he revisited the earth, and then again went either to Paradise or to one of the heavens, agrees with Slavonic Enoch.

Traditionally it is said that books were sent down to prophets before Mohammed (Cf. Koran 2.4), and thirty such are attributed to Enoch by Al-Baidawi. Enoch has the books of the former prophets (33.8-10) where books of Adam, Seth, etc. are mentioned. The books written by Enoch himself are referred to in a number of passages. "Bring out the books from my storehouses, etc." (Enoch 22.12).

Idris appears in Moslem legend as initiated in science and arts, and was also credited with being the first astronomer and chronologist, and with being skilled in medicine. This agrees with Slavonic Enoch in that he is shown the mysteries concerning the heavenly bodies and their times, and in the fact that there is a great deal of chronological matter in this book. Chapter four introduces the angels rulings the stars; chapter eleven the course of the sun and moon; chapter twenty-four the mystery of creation; chapter 40.2-7 (A only), "I know all things - the heavens, and their end and plenitude - I have measured and scribed the stars, etc."; chapter forty-eight the sun's passage; and in chapter fifty-four he instructs his sons to hand down his books for the instruction of posterity.

Finally we note that his association with arts is confirmed by the introduction of recension A, which commences with: "There was a wise man, a great artificer."

The traditions which link Enoch with astronomy, and which look towards a solar myth in the background, may have partly arisen by deriving the name Enoch from chanack, to initiate, and from his three hundred and sixty-five years corresponding to the days of the solar year. Moreover the emphasis in Slavonic Enoch on the sun's course would have no little influence on the Mohammedan tradition, if we grant that they are indeed indebted to this work.

In Moslem tradition Enoch was the first to use pens. With this compare Slavonic Enoch 22.12: "The Lord said to Pravuil, 'Bring out the books from my storehouses, and a reed for quick writing, and give it to Enoch -'"

Two other points of contact with regard to Enoch himself may be noticed in passing: the Moslems claim that the angel of death visited Enoch in the form of a man, while the Slavonic work tells of two angelic beings in the form of men; furthermore, the Islamic belief that Enoch went through Hell is again in accordance with the Jewish Pseudepigraph.

What has been cited above may appear inconclusive as a proof that Mohammed personally knew and used the earlier writing, but it makes it tolerably certain that this book has had no little influence upon the tradition of Islam as a whole. Other arguments and parallels make the cumulative argument stronger. A slight variation here and there between the two sets of authorities is inconsequential, in view of the general carelessness of Moslem writers, and their notoriety for inexact citation.

The belief in seven heavens appears in Sura 41 and Sura 65, which agrees with our B text: the A text of the Secrets (21.6 to 22.3) which introduces an interpolation, bringing the number up to ten, may here be disregarded. The four rivers of Paradise occur in Sura 108 and Sura 47.2, and in Secrets of Enoch 8.5-7. Heaven as a garden of fruitful trees, as in Sura 2.25: 2.41: 69.23, finds its counterpart in Enoch 72 and 7.8.

Traces of direct imitation of Enoch are to be found in the fact that both Enoch and the "prophet" make a tour of the heavens. The Moslem version appears in Koran 17.1 and in the Mishkatu'l-Masabih. Again Gabriel encounters both Mohammed and Enoch (Cf. Sura 2, "Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel: for he hath caused the Koran to descend on thy heart, etc."; Sura 53, "One mighty in prayer, etc."). He also saw Gabriel another time by the lote tree, beyond which there is no passing; near it is the garden of eternal abode.

This tree, say the commentators, stands in the seventh heaven, on the right hand of the throne of God; and this is the uttermost bound beyond which the angels themselves must not pass: or, according to others, beyond which no creature's knowledge can extend. The parallel here is in the idea expressed in Slavonic Enoch 21.3, where at the end of the seventh heaven Gabriel is sent to Enoch, and says to him, "Have courage, Enoch - Come with me."

The well known eschatological theme of the casting of Satan out of Paradise figures both in the Koran and the Jewish apocryphal writing. Compare Koran, Sura 7, "Get thee down from Paradise - give me respite till the day of resurrection," with Slavonic Enoch 29.4-5 (A).

The figure of the balance is less decisive, by reason of its wide circulation. Thoth guards the scales (in a papyrus from an Egyptian tomb of the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty) while Rashnu presides over the scales at the bridge of destiny, in old Persian teaching. Michael, Hermes, and Mercury are shewn to have held the same office. Here the Koranic references are 7.8-9: 23.102: 55.7-9: 42.17. Slavonic Enoch talks of a set of scales to weigh the winds, in 40.11. Neared is Enoch 44.4-5, where the judgement of the righteous is compared to the weighing in the scales of a market place. Best of all is the passage in Enoch 52.15, where it is written, "For all these things will be laid bare in the weighing scales and in the books, on the day of the great judgment."

Let us now glance for a moment at the idea of Hell entertained by our authorities. Koran, Sura 22, tells of beating with maces of iron, and Enoch 10 of angels, fearful and merciless, bearing terrible weapons. Koran 22 relates that boiling water will be poured on the heads of the condemned, while Enoch 10 expatiates on a fiery river coming forth. According to Mohammed the condemned will suffer in Hell from both heat and cold. This theme is well worked out in the recently recovered Apocalypse of Peter, but we must look for the Koranic doctrine elsewhere. We find it, in fact, in Slavonic Enoch 10, where we read that the whole place is fire, and everywhere there is frost and ice. (Koran, Sura 61 and 77.)

The doctrine of Islam concerning the guards of Hell (Cf. Sale. Preliminary Discourse, p. 73) is found in Enoch 18, in the soldiers there called Grigori. The same belief is, however, expressed in the Talmud (Midrash Yalkut Shemuni, part II, fol. 116).

The investing with the garment of Paradise, which is such an old theme with Gnostic writers, and mystics generally, finds a place in both our writings. Compare Koran 76, "Upon them shall be garments of green silk, etc.," with Enoch 22.8, "Go and take Enoch from out his earthly garments, and anoint him with my sweet ointment."

In conclusion we may compare the reference to looking on God's face in Koran, Sura 10, etc., and the parallel idea in Enoch 22.1.

In this preliminary study there is doubtless much that has been overlooked, and possibly other parallels between the Koran and the Secrets of Enoch may be discovered. Yet even from so much as has been here brought forward it appears that most probably, either at first or second hand, Mohammed did know Slavonic Enoch.



(11) Sir James Frazer on the Myth of Osiris

Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941).

The Golden Bough. 1922.

Ch. 38. The Myth of Osiris

XXXVIII. The Myth of Osiris

IN ANCIENT EGYPT the god whose death and resurrection were annually celebrated with alternate sorrow and joy was Osiris, the most popular of all Egyptian deities; and there are good grounds for classing him in one of his aspects with Adonis and Attis as a personification of the great yearly vicissitudes of nature, especially of the corn. But the immense vogue which he enjoyed for many ages induced his devoted worshippers to heap upon him the attributes and powers of many other gods; so that it is not always easy to strip him, so to say, of his borrowed plumes and to restore them to their proper owners.

1 The story of Osiris is told in a connected form only by Plutarch, whose narrative has been confirmed and to some extent amplified in modern times by the evidence of the monuments.

2 Osiris was the offspring of an intrigue between the earth-god Seb (Keb or Geb, as the name is sometimes transliterated) and the sky-goddess Nut. The Greeks identified his parents with their own deities Cronus and Rhea. When the sun-god Ra perceived that his wife Nut had been unfaithful to him, he declared with a curse that she should be delivered of the child in no month and no year. But the goddess had another lover, the god Thoth or Hermes, as the Greeks called him, and he playing at draughts with the moon won from her a seventy-second part of every day, and having compounded five whole days out of these parts he added them to the Egyptian year of three hundred and sixty days. This was the mythical origin of the five supplementary days which the Egyptians annually inserted at the end of every year in order to establish a harmony between lunar and solar time. On these five days, regarded as outside the year of twelve months, the curse of the sun-god did not rest, and accordingly Osiris was born on the first of them. At his nativity a voice rang out proclaiming that the Lord of All had come into the world. Some say that a certain Pamyles heard a voice from the temple at Thebes bidding him announce with a shout that a great king, the beneficent Osiris, was born. But Osiris was not the only child of his mother. On the second of the supplementary days she gave birth to the elder Horus, on the third to the god Set, whom the Greeks called Typhon, on the fourth to the goddess Isis, and on the fifth to the goddess Nephthys. Afterwards Set married his sister Nephthys, and Osiris married his sister Isis.

3 Reigning as a king on earth, Osiris reclaimed the Egyptians from savagery, gave them laws, and taught them to worship the gods. Before his time the Egyptians had been cannibals. But Isis, the sister and wife of Osiris, discovered wheat and barley growing wild, and Osiris introduced the cultivation of these grains amongst his people, who forthwith abandoned cannibalism and took kindly to a corn diet. Moreover, Osiris is said to have been the first to gather fruit from trees, to train the vine to poles, and to tread the grapes. Eager to communicate these beneficent discoveries to all mankind, he committed the whole government of Egypt to his wife Isis, and travelled over the world, diffusing the blessings of civilisation and agriculture wherever he went. In countries where a harsh climate or niggardly soil forbade the cultivation of the vine, he taught the inhabitants to console themselves for the want of wine by brewing beer from barley. Loaded with the wealth that had been showered upon him by grateful nations, he returned to Egypt, and on account of the benefits he had conferred on mankind he was unanimously hailed and worshipped as a deity. But his brother Set (whom the Greeks called Typhon) with seventy-two others plotted against him. Having taken the measure of his good brother's body by stealth, the bad brother Typhon fashioned and highly decorated a coffer of the same size, and once when they were all drinking and making merry he brought in the coffer and jestingly promised to give it to the one whom it should fit exactly. Well, they all tried one after the other, but it fitted none of them. Last of all Osiris stepped into it and lay down. On that the conspirators ran and slammed the lid down on him, nailed it fast, soldered it with molten lead, and flung the coffer into the Nile. This happened on the seventeenth day of the month Athyr, when the sun is in the sign of the Scorpion, and in the eight-and-twentieth year of the reign or the life of Osiris. When Isis heard of it she sheared off a lock of her hair, put on a mourning attire, and wandered disconsolately up and down, seeking the body.

4 By the advice of the god of wisdom she took refuge in the papyrus swamps of the Delta. Seven scorpions accompanied her in her flight. One evening when she was weary she came to the house of a woman, who, alarmed at the sight of the scorpions, shut the door in her face. Then one of the scorpions crept under the door and stung the child of the woman that he died. But when Isis heard the mother's lamentation, her heart was touched, and she laid her hands on the child and uttered her powerful spells; so the poison was driven out of the child and he lived. Afterwards Isis herself gave birth to a son in the swamps. She had conceived him while she fluttered in the form of a hawk over the corpse of her dead husband. The infant was the younger Horus, who in his youth bore the name of Harpocrates, that is, the child Horus. Him Buto, the goddess of the north, hid from the wrath of his wicked uncle Set. Yet she could not guard him from all mishap; for one day when Isis came to her little son's hiding-place she found him stretched lifeless and rigid on the ground: a scorpion had stung him. Then Isis prayed to the sun-god Ra for help. The god hearkened to her and staid his bark in the sky, and sent down Thoth to teach her the spell by which she might restore her son to life. She uttered the words of power, and straightway the poison flowed from the body of Horus, air passed into him, and he lived. Then Thoth ascended up into the sky and took his place once more in the bark of the sun, and the bright pomp passed onward jubilant.

5 Meantime the coffer containing the body of Osiris had floated down the river and away out to sea, till at last it drifted ashore at Byblus, on the coast of Syria. Here a fine erica-tree shot up suddenly and enclosed the chest in its trunk. The king of the country, admiring the growth of the tree, had it cut down and made into a pillar of his house; but he did not know that the coffer with the dead Osiris was in it. Word of this came to Isis and she journeyed to Byblus, and sat down by the well, in humble guise, her face wet with tears. To none would she speak till the king's handmaidens came, and them she greeted kindly, and braided their hair, and breathed on them from her own divine body a wondrous perfume. But when the queen beheld the braids of her handmaidens' hair and smelt the sweet smell that emanated from them, she sent for the stranger woman and took her into her house and made her the nurse of her child. But Isis gave the babe her finger instead of her breast to suck, and at night she began to burn all that was mortal of him away, while she herself in the likeness of a swallow fluttered round the pillar that contained her dead brother, twittering mournfully. But the queen spied what she was doing and shrieked out when she saw her child in flames, and thereby she hindered him from becoming immortal. Then the goddess revealed herself and begged for the pillar of the roof, and they gave it her, and she cut the coffer out of it, and fell upon it and embraced it and lamented so loud that the younger of the king's children died of fright on the spot. But the trunk of the tree she wrapped in fine linen, and poured ointment on it, and gave it to the king and queen, and the wood stands in a temple of Isis and is worshipped by the people of Byblus to this day. And Isis put the coffer in a boat and took the eldest of the king's children with her and sailed away. As soon as they were alone, she opened the chest, and laying her face on the face of her brother she kissed him and wept. But the child came behind her softly and saw what she was about, and she turned and looked at him in anger, and the child could not bear her look and died; but some say that it was not so, but that he fell into the sea and was drowned. It is he whom the Egyptians sing of at their banquets under the name of Maneros.

6 But Isis put the coffer by and went to see her son Horus at the city of Buto, and Typhon found the coffer as he was hunting a boar one night by the light of a full moon. And he knew the body, and rent it into fourteen pieces, and scattered them abroad. But Isis sailed up and down the marshes in a shallop made of papyrus, looking for the pieces; and that is why when people sail in shallops made of papyrus, the crocodiles do not hurt them, for they fear or respect the goddess. And that is the reason, too, why there are many graves of Osiris in Egypt, for she buried each limb as she found it. But others will have it that she buried an image of him in every city, pretending it was his body, in order that Osiris might be worshipped in many places, and that if Typhon searched for the real grave he might not be able to find it. However, the genital member of Osiris had been eaten by the fishes, so Isis made an image of it instead, and the image is used by the Egyptians at their festivals to this day. "Isis," writes the historian Diodorus Siculus, "recovered all the parts of the body except the genitals; and because she wished that her husband's grave should be unknown and honoured by all who dwell in the land of Egypt, she resorted to the following device. She moulded human images out of wax and spices, corresponding to the stature of Osiris, round each one of the parts of his body. Then she called in the priests according to their families and took an oath of them all that they would reveal to no man the trust she was about to repose in them. So to each of them privately she said that to them alone she entrusted the burial of the body, and reminding them of the benefits they had received she exhorted them to bury the body in their own land and to honour Osiris as a god. She also besought them to dedicate one of the animals of their country, whichever they chose, and to honour it in life as they had formerly honoured Osiris, and when it died to grant it obsequies like his. And because she would encourage the priests in their own interest to bestow the aforesaid honours, she gave them a third part of the land to be used by them in the service and worship of the gods. Accordingly it is said that the priests, mindful of the benefits of Osiris, desirous of gratifying the queen, and moved by the prospect of gain, carried out all the injunctions of Isis. Wherefore to this day each of the priests imagines that Osiris is buried in his country, and they honour the beasts that were consecrated in the beginning, and when the animals die the priests renew at their burial the mourning for Osiris. But the sacred bulls, the one called Apis and the other Mnevis, were dedicated to Osiris, and it was ordained that they should be worshipped as gods in common by all the Egyptians, since these animals above all others had helped the discoverers of corn in sowing the seed and procuring the universal benefits of agriculture."

7 Such is the myth or legend of Osiris, as told by Greek writers and eked out by more or less fragmentary notices or allusions in native Egyptian literature. A long inscription in the temple at Denderah has preserved a list of the god's graves, and other texts mention the parts of his body which were treasured as holy relics in each of the sanctuaries. Thus his heart was at Athribis, his backbone at Busiris, his neck at Letopolis, and his head at Memphis. As often happens in such cases, some of his divine limbs were miraculously multiplied. His head, for example, was at Abydos as well as at Memphis, and his legs, which were remarkably numerous, would have sufficed for several ordinary mortals. In this respect, however, Osiris was nothing to St. Denys, of whom no less than seven heads, all equally genuine, are extant.

8 According to native Egyptian accounts, which supplement that of Plutarch, when Isis had found the corpse of her husband Osiris, she and her sister Nephthys sat down beside it and uttered a lament which in after ages became the type of all Egyptian lamentations for the dead. "Come to thy house," they wailed. "Come to thy house. O god On! come to thy house, thou who hast no foes. O fair youth, come to thy house, that thou mayest see me. I am thy sister, whom thou lovest; thou shalt not part from me. O fair boy, come to thy house ... . I see thee not, yet doth my heart yearn after thee and mine eyes desire thee. Come to her who loves thee, who loves thee, Unnefer, thou blessed one! Come to thy sister, come to thy wife, to thy wife, thou whose heart stands still. Come to thy housewife. I am thy sister by the same mother, thou shalt not be far from me. Gods and men have turned their faces towards thee and weep for thee together ... . I call after thee and weep, so that my cry is heard to heaven, but thou hearest not my voice; yet am I thy sister, whom thou didst love on earth; thou didst love none but me, my brother! my brother!" This lament for the fair youth cut off in his prime reminds us of the laments for Adonis. The title of Unnefer or "the Good Being" bestowed on him marks the beneficence which tradition universally ascribed to Osiris; it was at once his commonest title and one of his names as king.

9 The lamentations of the two sad sisters were not in vain. In pity for her sorrow the sun-god Ra sent down from heaven the jackal-headed god Anubis, who, with the aid of Isis and Nephthys, of Thoth and Horus, pieced together the broken body of the murdered god, swathed it in linen bandages, and observed all the other rites which the Egyptians were wont to perform over the bodies of the departed. Then Isis fanned the cold clay with her wings: Osiris revived, and thenceforth reigned as king over the dead in the other world. There he bore the titles of Lord of the Underworld, Lord of Eternity, Ruler of the Dead. There, too, in the great Hall of the Two Truths, assisted by forty-two assessors, one from each of the principal districts of Egypt, he presided as judge at the trial of the souls of the departed, who made their solemn confession before him, and, their heart having been weighed in the balance of justice, received the reward of virtue in a life eternal or the appropriate punishment of their sins.

10 In the resurrection of Osiris the Egyptians saw the pledge of a life everlasting for themselves beyond the grave. They believed that every man would live eternally in the other world if only his surviving friends did for his body what the gods had done for the body of Osiris. Hence the ceremonies observed by the Egyptians over the human dead were an exact copy of those which Anubis, Horus, and the rest had performed over the dead god. "At every burial there was enacted a representation of the divine mystery which had been performed of old over Osiris, when his son, his sisters, his friends were gathered round his mangled remains and succeeded by their spells and manipulations in converting his broken body into the first mummy, which they afterwards reanimated and furnished with the means of entering on a new individual life beyond the grave. The mummy of the deceased was Osiris; the professional female mourners were his two sisters Isis and Nephthys; Anubis, Horus, all the gods of the Osirian legend gathered about the corpse." In this way every dead Egyptian was identified with Osiris and bore his name. From the Middle Kingdom onwards it was the regular practice to address the deceased as "Osiris So-and-So," as if he were the god himself, and to add the standing epithet "true of speech," because true speech was characteristic of Osiris. The thousands of inscribed and pictured tombs that have been opened in the valley of the Nile prove that the mystery of the resurrection was performed for the benefit of every dead Egyptian; as Osiris died and rose again from the dead, so all men hoped to arise like him from death to life eternal.

11 Thus according to what seems to have been the general native tradition Osiris was a good and beloved king of Egypt, who suffered a violent death but rose from the dead and was henceforth worshipped as a deity. In harmony with this tradition he was regularly represented by sculptors and painters in human and regal form as a dead king, swathed in the wrappings of a mummy, but wearing on his head a kingly crown and grasping in one of his hands, which were left free from the bandages, a kingly sceptre. Two cities above all others were associated with his myth or memory. One of them was Busiris in Lower Egypt, which claimed to possess his backbone; the other was Abydos in Upper Egypt, which gloried in the possession of his head. Encircled by the nimbus of the dead yet living god, Abydos, originally an obscure place, became from the end of the Old Kingdom the holiest spot in Egypt; his tomb there would seem to have been to the Egyptians what the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem is to Christians. It was the wish of every pious man that his dead body should rest in hallowed earth near the grave of the glorified Osiris. Few indeed were rich enough to enjoy this inestimable privilege; for, apart from the cost of a tomb in the sacred city, the mere transport of mummies from great distances was both difficult and expensive. Yet so eager were many to absorb in death the blessed influence which radiated from the holy sepulchre that they caused their surviving friends to convey their mortal remains to Abydos, there to tarry for a short time, and then to be brought back by river and interred in the tombs which had been made ready for them in their native land. Others had cenotaphs built or memorial tablets erected for themselves near the tomb of their dead and risen Lord, that they might share with him the bliss of a joyful resurrection. {end}

(12) Hell's Pre-Christian Origins: Hell, Hell-fire, Dragons, Serpents, and Resurrections

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

18 Feb. 2004 Updated and expanded

My interests here are in determining the pre-Christian origins of the religious motifs found in the the book of Revelation.

Revelations' motifs were not hatched out of thin air by its narrator, he is drawing from earlier religious concepts and giving them a new meaning.

Lambert has pointed out that his studies have indicated that the Mesopotamians were of a mind to re-interpret and transform older myths into newer religious concepts. It would appear that the Hebrews, Jews and Christians weren't doing anything new in their transformation of the earlier ancient myths:

"The authors of ancient cosmologies were essentially compilers. Their originality was expressed in new combinations of old themes, and in new twists to old ideas. Sheer invention was not part of their craft." (p. 107, W.G. Lambert, "A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis,: [1965], in Richard S. Hess and David T. Tsumura, Eds., I Studied Inscriptions From Before the Flood, Winona Lake, Indiana, Eisenbrauns, 1994)

Mention is made in Revelation of a "lake of fire" set aside for the ungodly and the Devil (Serpent). My studies of Mesopotamian myths have failed to identify the above motifs in their notions of the underworld. It is a different case, however, with the Egyptian and Greek myths.

Mesopotamian myths make no mention of a "lake of fire" or a body of water that is fiery in the underworld. Greek myths also fail to mention a "lake of fire," but they do mention two "fiery" rivers of the underworld, evidently branches of the river Styx. The first river is called Phlegethon meaning "the flaming" while the second river is called Pyriphlegthon meaning "flaming with fire".

Smith :

"Phlegethon, i.e., the flaming, a river in the lower world, in whose channel flowed flames instead of water." (p.567. "Phlegethon." William Smith. A Classical Dictionary of Biography, Mythology, and Geography. London. John Murray. 1875)

"Pyriphlegethon, that is, flaming with fire, the name of one of the rivers of the lower world." (p.631. "Pyriphlegethon." Smith. 1875)

The Roman Aeneas in Virgil's work (written to honor Caesar Augustus in the first century BCE) witnesses Hell's firey waters and the eternal torture of the damned by Hell's keepers:

"From his vantage point, Aeneas can see Phlegethon's rushing, fiery current, which churns the white-hot boulders in the moat. The Fiery Tisiphone, wearing a bloody mantle, guards the unyielding gate from atop an iron tower. The sounds of dragging chains, grating iron, and savage lashings do not drown out the groans and cries of the prisoners, beyond the fortress's three ring of walls." (p. 69. Alan E. Bernstein. The Formation of Hell, Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds. 1993. Cornell University Press. Ithaca & London)

Egyptian myths speak of a "fiery Pool, Sea or Lake" in the underworld and show this body of fiery water on the walls of tombs- Horning calls the body of water "Der Feuersee" or Fire-Sea (cf. tomb wall paintings of the period of Sethos I and Ramses VI, p. 160, figures 130-132 [in color], Erik Horning Tal der Konige, Die Ruhestatte der Pharaonen, Augsburg, Weltbild Verlag GmbH, 1995, ISBN 3-89350-741-8)

Golet observes on the Papyris of Ani (ca. 1250 BCE), a version of the so-called "Book of the Dead" (with magic charms to ensure the righteous dead make it to the Egyptian paradise) :

"The scene shows four cynocephalous baboons sitting at the corners of a rectangular pool. On each side of this pool is a flaming brazier. The pool's red color indicates that it is filled with a fiery liquid, reminding one of the 'Lake of Fire' frequenty mentioned in the Book of the Dead." (p.168, commentary to plate 32 [in color], Raymond Faulkner and Ogden Goelet, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Book of Going Forth by Day, San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1994, ISBN 0-8118-0767-3)

Wilkinson noted that the Egyptian the Lake of Fire contained the bodies of the damned, and pictures exist of their darkened bodies floating in it fiery red waters.

" was also an important element in the Egyptian concept of the underworld, often in ways strikingly similar to the medieval Christian conception of hell. According to the Coffin Texts and other works, the underworld contained fiery rivers and lakes as well as fire demons (identified by fire signs on their heads) which threatened the wicked. Representations of the fiery lakes of the fifth "hour" of the Amduat depict them in the form of the standard pool or lake hieroglyph, but with flame-red "water" lines, and surrounded on all four sides by fire signs which not only identify the blazing nature of the lakes, but also feed them through the graphic "dripping" of their flames. In a similiar manner, in a scene from the funerary Book of Gates, the damned are subjected to the fiery breath of a huge serpent..." (p.161. "Brazier." Richard H. Wilkinson. Reading Egyptian Art, A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Painting and Sculpture.1992. Thames & Hudson. London)

Muller notes scenes of the damned being tortured in the underworld. They are hacked up with knives,consumed in flames erupting from a great underworld serpent or dragon, dragon in Greek means "great serpent" (fig.187. p.179. W. Max Muller. The Mythology of All Races, Egyptian. Vol. XII. Boston. Marshall Jones Company. 1918) placed in fiery pits, their bodies or "shades" float in underworld an river, the subterranean Nile (fig. 188. p. 180), or consigned to "a lake of fire" after judgement (fig. 186. p.179).

Bernstein's scholarly work on the origins of Hell, notes that the Egyptian damned are placed in fiery pits, hacked up, burnt by fiery serpents, or placed in a lake of fire, but, this is NOT an eternal punishment, each day brings a new round of destruction for the newly dead, quite contrary to the Christian notion of the damned enduring Hell fire for all eternity.


"However horrible the suffering of these victims, their punishment is not eternal. The dismemberment and burning lead to quick destruction. Each night, Re or Osiris consumes the enemies collected the previous day." (Alan E. Bernstein. Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds. Ithaca & London. Cornell University Press. 1993)

Perhaps early Christians dwelling in Egypt picked up the Egyptian and Greek themes and transformed the "fiery" rivers and "fiery" lake/sea/pool into a "lake of fire" ?

The motif of judgements of the dead appear in both Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek myths. The big difference is that only the Egyptian myths have the notion of a reward of a blissful life along the fruit tree-laden banks of a heavenly freshwater Nile while the Mesopotamians see only a dismal life for eternity in a dark and dusty underworld for the righteous and unrighteous (cf. p.279, illustration of "The field of reeds" E.A. Wallis Budge, The Dwellers on the Nile, N.Y. Dover Pub., [1926], 1977).

Greek myths later embrace the notion of Elysian fields for the righteous dead.

The Christian myths mirror the Egyptian paradise to a degree, the saved will, like the righteous Egyptians, wander the banks of a great freshwater river called the water of life, that issues from under God's throne in Jerusalem, empting into the Dead Sea, and will partake of the fruits on its trees lining its banks (Rev 22:2).

Budge (an Egyptologist) points out Christian indebtedness to Egyptian themes of the underworld:

"All the available evidence goes to show that whilst the Hebrew conception of Leviathan was of Babylonian origin that of a hell of fire was borrowed from Egypt. Similarly, the seven-headed dragon and beast of the book of Revelation, like the seven-headed basilisk serpent mentioned in Pistis Sophia, have their origin in the seven-headed serpent which is mentioned in the Pyramid texts." (p.279, Vol.1, E.A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, NY, Dover Pub. Inc., [1904] 1969).

Not noted by Budge, is the appearance of seven-headed serpents and serpent-dragons in Mesopotamian art forms.

The god Ningirsu is portrayed slaying a seven-headed fiery dragon-serpent called a Mushmahhhu (cf. p. 165, fig. 135, Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary, University of Austin Press, 1992).

Heidel shows a Sumerian mace head with a seven-headed serpent on it and a cylinder seal with two gods slaying a fiery seven-headed serpent-dragon (cf. figs. 15, 16, Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis, Universtity of Chicago Press, [1942], 1994)

I note that in Revelation an angel appears with a chain to bind the great serpent (Dragon, Satan, the Devil) in the underworld for a period of time.

Budge noted that in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, that a great serpent, called Apep (Greek: Apophis), which dwelt in the underworld (It was the enemy of Osiris, the god of the resurrection, and it sought to destroy men's souls) is to be fettered in chains, abused, and then his body is to be destroyed finally by fire (cf. Vol.1, pp.324-5, "Ra and Apep," E.A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, N.Y., Dover Pub., [1904], 1969).

"...the deceased says: 'I have brought fetters to thee, O Ra, and Apep has fallen because thou hast drawn them tight. The gods of the South, and of the North, of the West and of the East have fastened chains upon him, and they have fastened him with fetters; the god Rekes hath overthrown him, and the god Hertit hath put him in chains." (Vol. 1, p.325, Budge)

"He (Apep) is given over to the fire which obtains mastery over him...his bones are burnt with the fire...may his soul, and body, and spirit...nevermore exist." (Vol.1, pp.270-1, Budge, Gods of the Egyptians)

Greek myths mention a serpent-man called Typhon who is overcome and consigned to the depths of the underworld by a victorius Zeus. Perhaps the Christian imagery of Satan as a man and a serpent, to some degree, recalls the Greek myths ?

"Typhon or Typhoeus-

"A monster of the primitive world, who is described sometimes as a destructive hurricane, and sometimes a fire-breathing giant. According to Homer, he was concealed in the earth in the country of the Arimi...In Hesiod, Typhon and Typhoeus are two distinct beings. Typhon is represented as the son of Typhoeus, and a fearful called the youngest son of Tartarus and Gaea...He is described as a monster with 100 heads, fearful eyes, and terrible voices, who wanted to acquire the sovereignty of the gods and men, but, after a fearful struggle, was subdued by Zeus with a thunderbolt. He begot the winds, whence he is called the father of the harpies...he was buried in Tartarus, under Mount Aetna...Typhoeus was identified with Set, who typified the power of darkness, who slew Osiris." (p.1622. Typhon or Typhoeus." Harry Thurston Peck. Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities. New York. American Book Company. 1896, 1923)

Perhaps Satan as a great serpent being chained in the underworld or "bottomless pit/abyss" (Rev 20:1-3) is drawing from the Typhon and Apophis imagery ? As for the pit being bottomless or a great abyss, Greek myths mention that the underworld of Tartarus is as far removed from the earth's surface as is heaven. Perhaps Greek imagery is being borrowed here ?

"Tartarus. According to the earliest Greek views, a dark abyss, which lay below the surface of the earth as the earth is from the served as the prison of the dethroned Cronus and of the conquered Titans...In later times its significance altered, and it came to mean the lower regions as the place of damnation, in which the wicked who had been condemned by the judges of the world below suffered endless torments." (p.613, "Tartarus," Oskar Seyffert, The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art, New York, Gramercy Books, [1891], 1995, ISBN 0-517-12311-8)

The Book of Revelation notes that a thousand years must pass after the first resurrection, then comes a second resurrection. The only myth remotely similar to this notion of a "thousand years wait" for souls in the underworld is from Plato.

Plato mentioned in his myth of Er, that "...souls come to a place of judgement in a meadow on the earth's surface, and, after a thousand years' journeying, for the good souls through the sky and for the wicked beneath the earth, they move on again..." (p.46, M.R. Wright, Cosmology in Antiquity, London, Routledge, 1995)

Virgil, evidently influenced by Plato, mentions a thousand year waiting period in the underworld:

"After death, some ingrained evil remains, which must be purged by punishment through wind, water and fire. Each of us must undergo our own treatment as spirits, until at last we are sent to Elysium, where in the fulness of time, when the last stain of sin is gone, a few of us become ethereal fire. All the rest, after a cycle of a thousand years, are called by the god to Lethe to prepare for rebirth." (Virgil, The Aeneid, vi. 734-751 in K.W. Gransden, The Aeneid, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990)

Did the early Christians adapt the thousand year wait in the underworld for souls into a delayed second resurrection ? Did they transform the notion of souls turning into ethereal fire into a fiery consumation of the unrighteous ?

Bernstein notes Plato's understanding that souls are immortal and will either enjoy an eternity of bliss or punishment :

"Plato explicitly states that the punishments of the incurable, which last forever, are of no benefit to them...The eternal punishment of the incurable deters the curable..." (p. 57. Bernstein. 1993)

"These themes, then, are certainly clear in Plato: the soul is immortal; it is judged for the character it acquires during its life in the body; it can be rewarded or punished after death. The rewards of the blessed and the punishment of the incurably wicked endure forever." (p.58. Bernstein. 1993)

It would appear that the Christian notion of the damned suffering torment for all eternity is drawing from post-Platonic notions, probably viavarious sects ofa Hellenized Judaism, as the Jewish Apocryha preserves a notion of eternal punishment for the wicked :

The writers of Maccabees and Paul also share the notion of a heavenly reward for those who endure life's trials. Eleazar and his sons are regarded as athletes who win a crown, for their loyalty to God (4 Macc 17:8-18 RSV). The enemy, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, is to be punished after death, in eternal fire with eternal tortures (4 Macc. 12:11-12 RSV), similar notions appear in the Book of Revelation (Rev 20:10).

4 Macc 12:11-12 (RSV) "You profane tyrant...justice has laid up for you intense and ETERNAL FIRES AND TORTURES AND THESE THROUGHOUT ALL TIME WILL NEVER LET YOU GO." (Herbert G. May & Bruce M. Metzger, editors. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. New York. Oxford University Press. 1977)

Rev 20:10(RSV) "...the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, AND THEY WILL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER."

Revelation associates the name of Babylon with the seven-headed beast, which is given power by a dragon (Satan, the Devil, 'the serpent") the whore rides. While many have correctly pointed out that Rome is being alluded to because of her fame for being a city founded on 7 hills, the imagery of a dragon associated with the name Babylon, is drawing upon Babylonian myths.

In Babylonian art forms the supreme god of Babylon, Marduk, is frequently portrayed in association with a dragon. Sometimes he is portrayed as sitting on a throne over the beast's back, its legs in a striding motion, recalling Ezekiel's statement about God's throne being "mobile" from the Cherubim beasts moving under it. At other times the dragon is shown seated at Marduk's feet (Marduk standing). Scholars understand that Marduk's presence is alluded to via symbols associated with him. Thus his spade or shovel, called a maru, appearing on an altar, or a dragon upon an altar, being adored by a worshipper on some seals, alludes to the worship of Marduk (and his invisible presence).

Although a dragon is associated with Babylon's god, Marduk, it is NOT represented in art forms as 7-headed. Canaanite myths found at ancient Ugarit, a port in northern Syria (which came to an end ca. 1175 BCE) mention the stormcloud and thunder god Baal, alternately, his sister Anat (Baal-Hadad or Baal of Sephon), defeating a 7-headed serpent of the sea called Lotan (p.50. line 39. "The Palace of Baal." J.C. L. Gibson. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh. T & T Clark, Ltd. [1956], 1978), which has been compared to Yahweh-Elohim's defeat of a great sea-serpent called Leviathan (Job 41:1; Ps 74:14; 104:26; Isa 27:1).

Gibson (Anat claiming victory over a seven-headed sea serpent on Baal's behalf) :

"What foe rises against Baal, what enemy against the rider of the clouds ? Did I not destroy Yam [Sea] the darling of El, did I not make an end of Nahar [River] the great god ? Was not the dragon [Tanin]captured and vanquished ? I did destroy the wriggling serpent [Lotan], the tyrant with seven [sebet] heads [rasm]..."

Revelation describes Rome as a 7-headed beast arising from the sea, the same place were dwelt the 7-headed Leviathan (Rev 13:1) but this beast has a body like a leopard, feet of a bear and lion's mouth; the dragon gives power to the beast (Rev 13:2-4), as noted earlier, above, dragon in Greek means "great serpent," thus the 7-headed beast of sea still retains a faint connection to the great 7-headed sea serpent, enemy of the gods and mankind, of the Canaanite and later Hebrew myths (in Babylonian myths, Marduk defeated Tiamat, the salt-sea, in the form of a horned and winged dragon). Later verses portray the beast as scarlet or red (the dragon associated with Marduk was also portrayed as red), and the harlot that rides it, is said to be seated upon "many waters," interpreted as many peoples and nations (Rev 17:15), perhaps drawing upon Egyptian and Assyrian imagery when their kings boasted of their invading armies being like flood waters irresistably overcoming the lands of their enemies (cf. Jer 6:22-23).

Something that has intrigued me is the historical origins behind the myth of a "Christ in Hell" concept. I suspect it is merely an "updating" of a very old Sumerian myth, in which Tammuz, the bridegroom, becomes the surrogate in hell for his bride, Ishtar (Inanna in Sumerian). There are of course a few new twists. Tammuz (Dumuzi to use the Sumerian form) is an unwilling surrogate for his wife, while Christ as the bridegroom, willing lays down his life for his bride, the Church, rescuing mankind from the power of death.

In a variant version, Ishtar/Inanna, before making her descent into the underworld through its seven gates, tells her servant that if after 3 days and 3 nights she is not back, that her father is to be alerted of this so that he can arrange her return to life and escape from the underworld. After the alotted period passes her father, Ea is petitioned, he sends a male-god surrogate, Asusnamir, who secures his daughter's freedom. Her dead body, hanging from a stake or nail, is sprinkled with the "water of life," and she is restored back to life to ascend out of hell and be reunited in heaven with her father (cf. pp.47-49, "Innana's Descent into Hell," Fred Gladstone Bratton. Myths and Legends of the Ancient Near East. New York, Barnes & Noble, [1970], 1993, ISBN 1-56619-439-3. Note: other myths make Inanna the daughter of Anu who dwells in heaven, Ea dwelling in the watery abyss called the Apsu).

Another variation has Tammuz allowed to be released from Hell for six months each year, while his sister Geshtinanna, becomes his surrogate in the Underworld. Some scholars understand her name to mean "the Vine-stock" from which grapes and wine are produced, and so she is a "fore-runner" ofChrist, "the true vine," whose blood is the blood of the grape (cf. pp.61-62, "Dying Gods of Fertility," Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness, A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1976, ISBN 0-300-01844-4).

As Ishtar/Innana passed each gate in hell she lost articles of clothing until she was naked when brought before her sister, Ereshkigal, who ruled the underworld. This nudity motif probably lies behind Christianity's portrayal of sinners as naked in hell, as opposed to the clothed righteous who dwell in heaven with their father (Inanna being restored her clothes at each of the gates in the course of her ascent).

Dumuzi/Tammuz, the shepherd god, in Sumerian myths, was later portrayed as a gate-keeper of Heaven's gate. Access to the father of the gods, Anu, for mankind was available only through Dumuzi's intercession, he personally bringing men before the supreme god and seeking Anu's favor upon the human petitioners. Perhaps the notion of Christ passing on the keys to heaven and hell (?) to Peter are new twists to this ancient myth ?

I understand that the early Christians have merely "reworked and updated" the ancient Mesopotamian resurrection myths, Christ replacing Dumuzi/Tammuz/Asusunamir and the Church replacing as the bride, Inanna/Ishtar.

In conclusion, some of the concepts as found in the book of Revelation, suggest mythic themes were being borrowed by early Christians from the myths of Canaan, Mesopotamia, Egypt, as well as Hellenistic Greece, and re-interpreting them with "new twists," to paraphrase Lambert's observation.

Bibliography : Alan E. Bernstein. Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds. Ithaca & London. Cornell University Press. 1993. Jeremy Black and Anthony Green. Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, An Illustrated Dictionary. University of Austin Press. 1992. Fred Gladstone Bratton. Myths and Legends of the Ancient Near East. New York, Barnes & Noble, [1970], 1993. E.A. Wallis Budge. The Gods of the Egyptians. [2 vols.]. New York.Dover Publications. [1904], 1969. E.A. Wallis Budge. The Dwellers on the Nile. New York. Dover Publications. [1926], 1977. Raymond Faulkner and Ogden Goelet. The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Book of Going Forth by Day. San Francisco. Chronicle Books.1994. J.C. L. Gibson. Canaanite Myths and Legends. Edinburgh. T & T Clark, Ltd. [1956], 1978. K.W. Gransden. The Aeneid. Cambridge University Press. 1990. Erik Horning. Tal der Konige, Die Ruhestatte der Pharaonen. Augsburg. Weltbild Verlag GmbH. 1995. Thorkild Jacobsen. The Treasures of Darkness, A History of Mesopotamian Religion. New Haven. Yale University Press.1976. W.G. Lambert,."A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis." p. 107. : [1965], in Richard S. Hess and David T. Tsumura, Eds., I Studied Inscriptions From Before the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns.1994. Herbert G. May & Bruce M. Metzger, editors. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. New York. Oxford University Press. 1977. W. Max Muller. The Mythology of All Races, Egyptian. Vol. XII. Boston. Marshall Jones Company. 1918. Harry Thurston Peck. Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities. New York. American Book Company. 1896, 1923. Oskar Seyffert. The Dictionary of Classical Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art. New York. Gramercy Books. [1891], 1995. Richard H. Wilkinson. Reading Egyptian Art, A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Painting and Sculpture.London. Thames & Hudson.1992. William Smith. A Classical Dictionary of Biography, Mythology, and Geography. London. John Murray. 1875. M.R. Wright. Cosmology in Antiquity. London. Routledge. 1995.

(13) Descent Of The Goddess Ishtar Into The Lower World

[From The Civilization of Babylonia and Assyria, M. Jastrow, 1915]

To the land of no return, the land of darkness, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin directed her thought, Directed her thought, Ishtar, the daughter of Sin, To the house of shadows, the dwelling, of Irkalla, To the house without exit for him who enters therein, To the road, whence there is no turning, To the house without light for him who enters therein, The place where dust is their nourishment, clay their food. They have no light, in darkness they dwell. Clothed like birds, with wings as garments, Over door and bolt, dust has gathered. Ishtar on arriving at the gate of the land of no return, To the gatekeeper thus addressed herself:

"Gatekeeper, ho, open thy gate! Open thy gate that I may enter! If thou openest not the gate to let me enter, I will break the door, I will wrench the lock, I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors. I will bring up the dead to eat the living. And the dead will outnumber the living." The gatekeeper opened his mouth and spoke, Spoke to the lady Ishtar: "Desist, O lady, do not destroy it. I will go and announce thy name to my queen Ereshkigal." The gatekeeper entered and spoke to Ereshkigal: "Ho! here is thy sister, Ishtar ... Hostility of the great powers ..." When Ereshkigal heard this, As when one hews down a tamarisk she trembled, As when one cuts a reed, she shook: "What has moved her heart [seat of the intellect] what has stirred her liver [seat of the emotions]? Ho there, does this one wish to dwell with me? To eat clay as food, to drink dust as wine? I weep for the men who have left their wives. I weep for the wives torn from the embrace of their husbands; For the little ones cut off before their time. Go, gatekeeper, open thy gate for her, Deal with her according to the ancient decree." The gatekeeper went and opened his gate to her: Enter, O lady, let Cuthah greet thee.

Let the palace of the land of no return rejoice at thy presence!

He bade her enter the first gate, which he opened wide, and took the large crown off her head: "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the large crown off my head?" "Enter, O lady, such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." The second gate he bade her enter, opening it wide, and removed her earrings: "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my earrings?" "Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." The third gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed her necklace: "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my necklace? " "Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." The fourth gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the ornaments of her breast: "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the ornaments of my breast? " "Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." The fifth gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the girdle of her body studded with birthstones. "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the girdle of my body, studded with birth-stones?" "Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." The sixth gate, he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed the spangles off her hands and feet. "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove the spangles off my hands and feet?" "Enter, O lady, for thus are the decrees of Ereiihkigal." The seventh gate he bade her enter, opened it wide, and removed her loin-cloth. "Why, O gatekeeper, dost thou remove my loin-cloth ?" "Enter, O lady, for such are the decrees of Ereshkigal." Now when Ishtar had gone down into the land of no return, Ereshkigal saw her and was angered at her presence. Ishtar, without reflection, threw herself at her [in a rage]. Ereshkigal opened her mouth and spoke, To Namtar, her messenger, she addressed herself: "Go Namtar, imprison her in my palace. Send against her sixty disease, to punish Ishtar. Eye-disease against her eyes, Disease of the side against her side, Foot-disease against her foot, Heart-disease against her heart, Head-disease against her head, Against her whole being, against her entire body." After the lady Ishtar had gone down into the land of no return, The bull did not mount the cow, the ass approached not the she-ass, To the maid in the street, no man drew near The man slept in his apartment, The maid slept by herself.

[The second half of the poem, the reverse of the tablet, continues is follows:]

The countenance of Papsukal, the messenger of the great gods, fell, his face was troubled. In mourning garb he was clothed, in soiled garments clad. Shamash [the sun-god] went to Sin [the moon-god], his father, weeping, In the presence of Ea, the King, he went with flowing tears. "Ishtar has descended into the earth and has not come up. The bull does not mount the cow, the ass does not approach the she-ass. The man does not approach the maid in the street, The man sleeps in his apartment, The maid sleeps by herself." Ea, in the wisdom of his heart, formed a being, He formed Asu-shu-namir the eunuch. Go, Asu-shu-namir, to the land of no return direct thy face! The seven gates of the land without return be opened before thee, May Eresbkigal at sight of thee rejoice! After her heart has been assuaged, her liver quieted, Invoke against her the name of the great gods, Raise thy head direct thy attention to the khalziku skin. "Come, lady, let them give me the khalziku skin, that I may drink water out of it." When Ereshkigal heard this, she struck her side, bit her finger, Thou hast expressed a wish that can not be granted. Go, Asu-sbu-iaamir, I curse thee with a great curse, The sweepings of the gutters of the city be thy food, The drains of the city be thy drink, The shadow of the wall be thy abode, The thresholds be thy dwelling-place; Drunkard and sot strike thy cheek!" Ereshkigal opened her mouth and spoke, To Namtar, her messenger, she addressed herself. "Go, Namtar, knock at the strong palace, Strike the threshold of precious stones, Bring out the Anunnaki, seat them on golden thrones. Sprinkle Ishtar with the waters of life and take her out of my presence. Namtar went, knocked at the strong palace, Tapped on the threshold of precious stones. He brought out the Anunnaki and placed them on golden thrones, He sprinkled Ishtar with the waters of life and took hold of her. Through the first gate he led her out and returned to her her loin-cloth. Through the second gate he led her out and returned to her the spangles of her hands and feet Through the third gate he led her out and returned to her the girdle of her body, studded with birth-stones. Through the fourth gate he led her out and returned to her the ornaments of her breast. Through the fifth gate he led her out and returned to her her necklace. Through the sixth gate he led her out and returned her earrings. Through the seventh gate he led her out and returned to her the large crown for her head.

[The following lines are in the form of an address - apparently to some one who has sought release for a dear one from the portals of the lower world.]

"If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release, To Tammuz, the lover of her youth, Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil; With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis lazuli, That the votaries may cheer his liver. [his spirit] Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure, With precious stones filled her bosom. When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure, She scattered the precious stones before her, "Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish! On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring. Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women! That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense."

(14) The Enoch Literature, by Mike Magee

© Dr M D Magee Contents Updated: Sunday, January 21, 2001

1 Enoch is a non-canonical book of Jewish scriptures used by the first Christians and much treasured by the sectaries of Qumran who kept multiple copies. It is cited in the New Testament at Jude 5:14 and refered to indirectly at 2 Peter 2. Over a hundred phrases in the New Testament can be traced to the 1 Enoch. Plainly, though, there came a time when the church thought the idea of fallen angels was dangerous, and Filastrius declared it heretical in his Book of Heresies. Nor did the rabbis like the book's teaching about corrupt angels. As early as the second century AD, Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai cursed those who believed the Enoch works, suggesting that it was seen as a stimulation to revolutionaries like Jesus and Bar Kosiba.

We get used to our conventional ways of representing biblical names but there are often different ways of writing them because of the problems of deciding on the correct vowel sounds and because some Semitic consonants have no equivalent in English. So with Enoch, alternatives are Henoch (Josephus) and Chanoc (Philo), which show that the name did not begin with a vowel and it might have been almost like our "k."

Enoch has little role in our bible, but was a far more important man than we now imagine. Biblicly, he was the son of Cain (Gen 4:17), and therefore the third after Adam, and he built a city named after him. Or he was the seventh after Adam (Jude 5:14; 1 Enoch 60:8). Seven is the complete or perfect number obtained from the merging of heaven (3) and earth (4), so Enoch is the perfect man - the man at the boundary of heaven. Irenaeus describes him as "a man raised to heaven by pleasing God while angels fell to earth by transgression." Only Noah and apparently Abraham besides Enoch walked with the gods (Gen 6:9; 17:1).

The city he built, like much of his legend, is not developed in the Jewish scriptures but is said by some to have been Annuchta in Elam, a possibility that suggests a Persian connexion. Annakos, the eponymous founder of Annakos in Phrygian Iconium, lived 300 years and prophesied Deucalion's flood. If this is Enoch, the legend might have come into Palestine with Syrian colonists. After the birth of Methuselah, his eldest son at 65 years of age:

Enoch walked with the gods (Elohim, always mistranslated as God) 300 years ... and he was not, for the gods (Elohim) took him. (Gen 5:22-24)

Enoch had lived another 300 years, making 365. This suggests that Enoch represented an ideal year - he was perfect because he represented the expectations of a new year and so he was the Spirit of the New Year. The new year festival held at Easter was most important to Persians, and gave rise to the Jewish Festival of Lots (Purim). To judge by this story, the Old Year, standing for the reality of the wickedness of the world infested by the Evil Spirit's demons, was crucified to put an end to it. Celestially, it was the spring equinox when the sun crossed the celestial equator making a notional cross in the sky.

Enoch as the ideal year would not of course see death. It would be the year in which Ahuramazda was victorious over the Evil Spirit and time would stop so that those who lived, or were resurrected, the righteous, lived forever. Only wicked years saw death. The novelty of Jesus as an Enochian figure was that he seemed to see death on the cross as an atonement for human sin, but was then resurrected into timeless life. He was thus seen as the ultimate Saoshyant or Saviour in Zoroastrian religious terms. Enoch appears in the epistle to the Hebrews as proof of a man who "by faith was translated that he should not see death for he pleased God." Enoch and Elijah, in Christian tradition, were the two "witnesses" (Rev 11:3) as men who had not died. 1 Enoch 12:2:

And his activities had to do with the Watchers, and his days were with the holy ones.

Another Enoch in the scriptures is the third son of Midian, a son of Abraham. Midian is an allegorical name of Media, suggesting that the author was suggesting Enoch came out of Persia. Yet another Enoch, the eldest son of Reuben, founded the family of the Hanochites.

1 Enoch

Early Christians used non-biblical Jewish literature as well as the scriptures. Before their discovery at Qumran, Jewish works like 1 Enoch and Jubilees were known only in the versions transmitted in Christian communities. Early Christian writers often cite passages from these non-canonical works.

The Ethiopic and Slavonic books of Enoch discovered in 1821 and 1880 are called 1 Enoch and 2 Enoch. Several copies of the Book of Enoch, have also been found at Qumran. In Victorian times scholars had no doubt that the book was a unity, though Lücke and Hilgerfeld both recognized the Similitudes as later. The Similitudes were surely later, because they were Christian additions, and so the book of Enoch was not a unity! The Victorians also thought the work was from Hasmonaean times, but now it is known mainly to be earlier. Though nothing appears of it in the scriptures, in legend, Enoch was so remarkable that he filled, according to Slavonic Enoch, 360 books with revelations and invented all the skills that benefit sages - writing, arithmetic and astronomy. He seems to be a Hebrew version of Orpheus or Zoroaster. To judge from the datings from Qumran 1 Enoch is at least third century BC, but it plainly has its roots in Zoroastrianism.

Western scholars tried to relate the citations from ancient works to 1 or 2 Enoch but had only limited success. Many of the citations did not correspond to anything in either 1 or 2 Enoch. Plainly, 1 and 2 Enoch were only a portion of all the Enoch books that once circulated throughout the Near East. Citations and allusions to "books" or "apocalypses" of Enoch abound in Jewish, Christian and Moslem works, such as Al Tabari, suggesting that an extensive "Enochian" apocalyptic literature existed around his name.

1 Enoch has the following curious features:

It has no scriptural quotations except for the song of the angels, "Holy, Holy, Holy," (Isa 6:3) if this can be claimed as a quotation. It has no suggestions of an advanced temple cult, extensive priesthood, or commitment to a sacrificial religion. The law of Moses is not central to the apparent belief system of the people who wrote the Enochian literature.

These features suggest that 1 Enoch is independent of Jewish tradition or opposed to it. 1 Enoch disapproves of the changes made by the "Returners of Babylon" who were seen as polluted apostates (1 Enoch 89:73; 93:9). Margaret Barker (The Lost Prophet) writes:

[quote} The Enochic version of the history of the return from Babylon makes it clear that the returned exiles were innovators whose ways were not acceptable. By implication, the Enoch group preserved older ways. [endquote}

The origin of the school of belief in 1 Enoch might have preceded the announcement of the law of Moses by Ezra. Yet it is strongly eschatological and depicts Enoch as a wise man, a scribe and a priest who interceded with God on behalf of the fallen angels, and presided over the Book of Life at the Last Judgement.

This all could mean that the original returners from exile, those who took advantage of Cyrus's decree to return voluntarily, objected to the conscripted returners who came later with Ezra. These earlier returners would have been no less conditioned by the Persian administrators to conform to Persian norms of belief and behaviour, but there were few of them and they will have looked back to whatever degree they could to the Israel of the kings for the few centuries that it existed. They are the group who perhaps took the Persian idea of the Saoshyant and saw him as a supernatural king, thus beginning the belief in a messiah. The present books of Ezra and Nehemiah have completed blocked them out, unless it is to depict them as being among the Am ha Eretz at the time of Nehemiah and Ezra.

In trying to see behind the bible we are like geologists looking at the strata of the earth that have often been overlaid with new material, folded and compressed, melted together or completely eroded away. Contrary to the utter brainlessness of those who refuse to see it as anything other than perfect, it is self-evidently a complex geology of many different traditions and fragments as well as later, more complete material all assembled together, edited, added to and taken from. Beginning in the Persian period, the Persian administrators gave the colonists a history based on the Assyrian records of Abarnahara. Then Greek and Maccabaean layers were added while each time parts of the earlier tradition was subtracted or edited. Since the books were all separate, the editing was far from consistent, and only at certain times such as the Ptolemaic period was it possible to attempt any consistent editing. So it was that the Priestly interpolations were made to the earlier books. From this modern scholars, if they are scholars and not biblical apologists, have to find genuine history.

External sources like the Enochian literature can help us to see some of the directions from which the biblical traditions have arrived. A partly erased tradition exists in books like Jubilees, which is a version of Genesis, the Assumption of Moses, the Testament of Judah and parts of Daniel. It depicts the last judgement as a trial before the throne of God and the struggle of two spirits, one Good and one Wicked, described as angels or princes. A relic of this appears in Jude 1:9 where the archangel Michael contends with the Devil over the body of Moses. The erased tradition has a book that is opened to permit the wicked to be judged and punished. The righteous are called the wise and are rewarded by eternal life among the fixed stars of heaven, observing below the wicked being judged and cooked in the fiery pit.

The Book of the Watchers

The first book in 1 Enoch has been called the Book of the Watchers. It follows the brief introduction in chapters 1-5, beginning in chapter 6-16 with an account of the fall of the angels, and the judgement to be made on them and their offspring, the giants. The account in Genesis of the fall of the angels (Gen 6:1-4) looks to be a highly expurgated rump of the Enochian cycle of legends on the fall of angels. The author of Genesis has cut it down so severely that it now reads clumsily, though he evidently felt obliged to nod at least toward the legends to placate some faction. The same is true of the few cryptic references to Enoch himself.

In fact, the story is two stories intertwined. One describes how Asael brought human knowledge to the earth, corrupting the creation with knowledge of the eternal secrets of metallurgy and cosmetics, until he was bound by the angel, Raphael, under the rocks of the burning desert. In the Similitudes 55:4, the Elect One judges Asael as the chief of the wicked angels. Elsewhere in the same book (1 Enoch 69:2) the same angel is only 21st in rank of the rebel angels, while in a Qumran fragment (4Q201) of the Book of Giants, he is tenth. In the Book of Dreams he is a fallen star who corrupted Adam and Eve by encouraging them to explore forbidden gnosis. Thus the Book of Dreams explains what is absent from the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis - why the wicked serpent is even present in the perfect garden.

Adam and Eve might have been a late insertion into Genesis 2-3 probably to replace an Enochian version of the origins of sin that has been suppressed. Only Paul mentions the Adam and Eve fable in the New Testament. The cause of evil in the world in the Adam and Eve legend is human disobedience, that places the burden of sin on humanity, and particularly on women. Originally it was a parable of the estrangement of humanity from God when they disobeyed him, rather than the cause of evil in the world. Enoch offers a different version of the origin of sin, much closer to the Zoroastrian idea in that sin is caused by evil forces that oppose and try to diminish God's creation. As Margaret Barker puts it:

[quote} Enoch describes the corruption of superhuman forces which have opposed and diminished the creation, and put it in bondage to decay. [endquote}

In Romans 8, Paul blames the decay of creation on its being in bondage - the corruption brought by Asael.

In the account of the scapegoat in Leviticus (Lev 16:6-28), the purpose of the goat is explained as an appeasement to the desert spirit, Azazel. Nothing more is known about Azazel, but the monotheistic Israelites seem to be offering a spirit other than God a goat as a sacrifice, albeit disguised as the bearer of the nations sins. He sounds like the demon Asael imprisoned in the desert by Raphael but still requiring his annual ration of sins. Some of the versions of 1 Enoch call Asael Azazel.

The other story intertined with that of Asael in 1 Enoch 6-10 is of how 200 angels led by Semihazah bound themselves together by oath then descended to earth to take human wives. Their offspring were the wicked demaons that infested the earth with misery. This is strongly Zoroastrian, the Daevas being the old gods of the heavens, the shining ones, or stars, who were categorized by Zoroaster as evil. The Evil Spirit in Zoroastrianism confounded the Good Spirit in its creation of Good Things by creating Bad Things, and here is an explanation of how the wicked demona were generated to plague the world by the Wicked 200 Stars or Angels seducing unwary human females. The fate of the 200 demaons was to be confined by the Archangel Michael for 70 generations before they saw their demon offspring destroy each other. Then they were judged at the Last Judgement and taken to their own destruction. With the destruction of these "Watchers," the world would be restored to the original perfection of its pristine state. Only at this point does Enoch have a part to play - telling the fallen angels of the judgement against them.

Now the cosmic legends of angels breeding with women supposes that angels could lust and had the wherewithal to rape and fornicate. These are strange yearnings and bodily equipment for eternal beings. Gods are immortal and could have no need for procreation, so angels ought not to have "privvy members." The Greek gods used many strange methods of birth, often the result of having to make supposedly masculine figures behave as females, but, when they acted sexually, it usually was in the form of animals.

Why do these angels lust after sex? Why indeed should God's Good Creation of angels revolt against him? In the Zoroastrian outlook, revolution and disobedience were the work of the Wicked Spirit created by him to disrupt Arta, the cosmic order created by God. It looks as though a half understood story that revolt was the work of the Evil Spirit has been retold wrongly as a rebellion of initially Good Angels.

The Judaic religion was apparently opposed to knowledge. In the myth of Adam and Eve, knowledge is forbidden but the pair disobey their instructions and find it. The immediate result was the knowledge of sex, though no explanation is given of why this pair should have been sexually endowed if God expected them to be obedient and therefore immortal. Knowledge for Enoch made him as a god and that is the fear of the gods in Genesis but in fact knowledge makes Adam and Eve mortal - it is depicted as a curse for them. In the Hebrew language the word for sex is a euphemism, "to know." So knowledge or wisdom was immediately linked to sexual knowledge.

In the Enochian stories, women seem to have been aware of their sexual charms even before the angels fell. How were human beings reproducing if not sexually, or were all humans created immortal and therefore gods in the first place. Humans are themselves therefore, the fallen angels. Another explanation for the fall was "Pride." The king of Babylon (Isa 14) fell through excessive pride, and so too the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:16). In Philippians 2:5-11, Jesus is exalted because he was humble unlike the proud angels that fell for trying to equal God. Here is the origin of the Essene obsession with humility displayed plainly in the gospels with the last being first and the first last.

Corrupt Priests as Fallen Angels

In Hellenistic times, the corrupt priesthood who came to be the Sadduccee class were regarded as fallen angels who lusted after human women - in other words simply women, particularly non-Jewish ones. Heaven was conceived as being a celestial temple, and the earthly temple was part of it - a bridge to heaven. Bridges were indeed built to access the temple across the Tyropaeon Valley (Robinson's Arch and Wilson's Arch), probably for symbolic reasons as well as practical ones. Within, the temple was built in tiers in a pyramidal fashion with the successive steps leading ever higher to the holier parts. Highest was the Holy building itself with its Holy of Holies where God dwelt, supposedly entered only once a year by the High Priest.

Priests were therefore considered to be heavenly beings - angels. Their ministrations to God in the temple exactly reflected the ministrations of God's attendant angels in heaven, a parallel that appears in Hebrews 9. The corruption began when Alexander overthrew the Zoroastrians and his generals began the Hellenization of the Persian empire. The history of the temple under the Ptolemies in the third century is scarcely known, except that the earlier Ptolemies favoured the cult for their own political ends. They offered favours and wealth to the Jerusalem temple and it is inconceivable that they did not get something for it. They placed priests in power acceptable to themselves. When the Greek appointees took over the temple, they behaved in an unangelic way, and the stories in the Enochian cycle of fallen angels were allegories of the corruption of the sacerdotal class.

The displaced Persian priests and their sympathizers, the traditionalists, started a counter movement and began to write anti-Hellenistic propaganda. Much of it is now the Enochian literature, and it seems plain that the Essenes were at the tail end of this movement, some of whom eventually started Christianity. Thus the beginnings of the Enochian tradition might be as far back as the start of the fifth century but it had its biggest boost, as a protest against the Graecized Sadducees or their predecessors, when the Greeks took over the temple in the third century.

Cosmic Mysteries

An angel then (Chapters 14-36) takes Enoch on a tour of the earth and the lower heavens showing him cosmic mysteries. He receives celestial wisdom, apparently the forbidden knowledge of Adam and Eve, and sees the Tree of Life making him into an angel. So, obtaining forbidden knowledge is wicked but, in the Enochian tradition, knowledge itself is not being the attribute of gods, enabling a righteous man to walk with them. This theme of an angelic being giving a specially chosen exceptionally righteous man a tour of heaven is repeated in Ezekiel, and in the Christianized book called Revelation, where it tends to show that it was Jesus who was being given the tour originally, not John. Christians made Jesus into the lamb of God and so had to have someone else being shown around. The revelation was to Jesus not of him!

In 1 Enoch 14, the hero goes up to heaven with winds, mists and clouds until he sees a crystal wall surrounded by fire, and a crystal house with stars and lightning as its ceiling. Within it another house was made of flame which had a crystal throne with shining wheels, fire flaming from beneath it and Great Glory upon it in shining white robes. A myriad myriad angels stood before him, and cherubim.

Here is a primitive description of the sun god sitting on his throne in his heavenly abode. The ancient belief was that the sky was of stone, the source of meteorites, and the rigidity that kept the fixed stars in their places. When metals were found to be superior to stone as tools and weapons, the sages had to find metals in the heavens instead of stone. Their answer was in the crystalline ores from which metals were smelted. Crystals were stones, and metals came from them through heat, so the heavens were made of stone but it was crystalline. The heavenly traveller meets a crystalline wall - the sky itself - and a crystal house or heavenly temple, the abode of God.

The references to flame and fire mean the sun, and God is the gleaming brilliantly white corona, seen in solar eclipses - the Great Glory. The myriads of attendant angels are the stars, and the throne had wheels because it was the solar chariot in ancient legends, taking the sun in its daily run across the sky. Enoch has to take the message of the fate of the "Watchers," who have left heaven to take human wives - errant priests marrying out of the religion.

In Exodus 24:10:

They saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

God's throne was standing on a sapphire pavement - the blue crystalline sky! Here too he is surrounded by angels, the stars. In Isaiah, God says:

The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

The throne of God is to be in His house, the temple, considered as part of heaven, and Isaiah is appointed a messenger of judgement, just as Enoch was. Job asks:

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

In Ezekiel, a vision of a chariot throne is seen again, with strange creatures, and the prophet again has a message to transmit. Enoch, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Revelation are all narratives of similar visions of a sun god enthroned in heaven, or rather beyond heaven because his throne is on a crystal sea (Rev 4:6;15:2) or pavement - the sky itself is beneath him. Ezekiel and John both add a rainbow, lightning and thunderous sounds to the description. God's throne was on the sky, showing that God was beyond it - the power behind the heavens. Hence we read in Psalm 19 that "the heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork," declaring the transcendence of God in the same way as Zoroastrianism saying that the heavens were God's cloak.

The descriptions of heaven in Ezekiel echo the iconography of Assyria and Persia. The building on a high mountain (Ezek 40:2) is the temple in the sky. Persian worship was originally outdoors, the massy heavens offering the only roof they wanted, but when they did begin to build temples, they often built them on high places, either natural mounds or artificial ones when there was no alternative. Perhaps this reflected their gradual move from pure Mazdayasnaism to Mithras worship, the lesser god growing as the visible face of the hidden God behind the universe, until he took his place when the Greeks replaced the Persians.

Ezekiel's temple was decorated with trees and cherubim (Ezek 41:17-19), typical Assyrian motifs, and from it came a great river, again a motif of the time - a celestial river, a misunderstanding of the sky represented as the crystal sea. The metaphorical nature of these visions is often made explicit - the elements of the vision are "like" their analogy showing that they were not them. So one "like unto the son of man" of Daniel was not a man. In the Enochian allegories, those "like" men were angels. Priests going about their duties in Assyrian and Persian reliefs are shown with wings. The descriptions of Ezekiel are apparently explicit descriptions of temple iconography.

The "revelations" of Deuteronomy were earlier because God was not seen, only heard (Deut 4:12). In Exodus 13:18-23, Moses cannot see God and live. Biblicists follow the bogus internal history of the scriptures and think that the bulk of Isaiah and Ezekiel are earlier than they are, simply because they profess to be, as any pseudepigraph would! It is the scholarship of simpletons taken in by religious pig-in-a-pokery. It is like attributing a text in Esperanto to the Reformation because it says it is!

The law was given by the Persians whose god was Mazda, an unseen god. Mithras was their visible god, associated with the sun, and the evidence points to Mithras replacing Mazda in later traditions, but particularly when the Persians lost power. The reason was probably precisely that he was more visible and therefore comprehendable to simpler folk than a hidden god. Modern Christians are not satisfied with an unseen God and have to have their images or fantasies about Jesus to bring god near to them.

The Book of Similitudes

The second book (chapters 37-71) in the originally found version of 1 Enoch is the Book of Similitudes, but no trace of this has been found among the fragments of about eleven editions of Enoch at Qumran, and it is suspected to be a Christian replacement for the Book of Giants, which appears in its place in the Qumran versions.

The "Elect One," familiar in the Qumran texts, occurs fourteen times in 1 Enoch, (see 45:3, for example). The "Elect One" would "sit upon the throne of glory" and the "Elect One" would "dwell in the midst of them," so 1 Enoch is the source of the "voice out of the cloud" saying to Jesus in Luke's mistranslated verse: "This is my Son, the Elect One (Greek "ho eklelegmenos,"): hear him."

In the second Similitude, the mountains are allegorized as powerless before Yehouah Elohim. Plainly these are not mountains in a geographical sense but metaphors for powerful evil entities - the great alien empires that were undermining the traditional religion of the believers. In 1 Enoch 18:13, the fallen angels are like burning mountains. In Jeremiah 51:25, Babylon is a destroying mountain that would itself be burnt, while in Revelation 8:8, a burning mountain falls from heavem. These are defeats of the great powers seen as Evil Spirits. The Christianized Revelation is an older work edited to celebrate the unrecognized victory of Jesus and the Nazarenes over the Jerusalem garrison that allowed him to control the temple for several days.

The Similitudes (1 Enoch 41) also mention a great oath that binds together the forces of nature - it is a cosmic covenant that kept the sea in check, the heavenly bodies in their places and secured the order of creation. The angel entrusted with upholding this oath, according to 1 Enoch 69:16-21, is none other than the archangel Michael, the Jewish version of Mithras, the Zoroastrian guardian of covenants! The great universal oath means Arta, the Persian principle of order. To seek to break it was to join the Evil Creation and therefore be an enemy of God.

The Astronomy Book

The third book of 1 Enoch is called the Astronomy Book because it continues Enoch's tour of the heavens showing him how the heavenly bodies move and how the seasons change (chapters 72-82). The fragments of the Astronomy Book found at Qumran are from a bigger book than that extant today. The archangel Uriel shows how the heavenly bodies are controlled, astronomy and astrology being accepted as a part of eastern celestial religions.

The proper calendar was to be a solar one, linking the source with Jubilees and the Dead Sea Scroll sect, and also to the solar calendar of the Persians and the Babylonians. At some stage a lunar calendar was accepted by the Jerusalem priesthood, possibly by the Sadduccees, and the traditionalists saw this as an affront. Enoch's Astronomy Book highlights the importance of the intercalated day every quarter that gave 364 days to a normal year of twelve 30 day months. The year was therefore just 1? days short of the correct length. Every quarter had a patron angel as did every month making 16. This is reflected in the Qumran texts and probably in the organization of the Nazarenes - twelve apostles, three priests and a prince. In Micah 5:5, the prince is accompanied by eight principal men and seven shepherds.

Artaxerxes modified the Persian calendar, but all he did, it seems, was give each day of the month a different name, but they were names of Yazatas, the Persian spiritual helpers, and so angels, in effect. The months were also named after Good Spirits. It seems that the Jews retained the Babylonian names of months and did not attempt to name their days simply referring to them by number, or they reverted back to the Babylonian system when the Greeks took control.

The Book of Dreams

Next is the fourth book, the Book of Dreams in which Enoch relates the dreams of his youth - dreams of the end of the earth and of the history of the kingdoms of God up to the setting up of the throne of the Messiah - to his son Methuselah (chapters 83-91). The end of the history seems to be the establishment of the Jewish kingdom under the Maccabees in 167 BC.

What is curious is that the history is disguised by allegorizing it in animal form, like Animal Farm by George Orwell. As such it helps to explain some of the metaphors of Christianity. Adam is a white bull, the twelve sons of Jacob, the Jews, are sheep, enemies of the sheep are eagles, vultures and ravens. Here is an apparent Zoroastrian division between the Good Creation of the domestic animals and the scavengers that disposed of corpses from the silent towers. Jesus, at an early stage of the evolution of Christianity, was seen as the flawless Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). Angels in this scheme are men in white, as they are in the gospels, and three sheep were elevated into their ranks - Noah, Moses and Elijah. Later, the men who habitually wore white - other than practising priests who were considered angels anyway, the temple being heaven - were the Essenes who considered themselves as priests and aspired in their purity and righteousness to be angels.

The angels were the shepherds of the sheep, as they are in Ezekiel 34. Wicked shepherds neglect their flocks, and at the end of the story, the wicked shepherds and the sheep who blindly followed them were judged (1 Enoch 90:22-27). The sheep that chose wickedness are thrown into a fiery pit, as are those set aside to the left hand in Matthew 25:41. In the quotation Jesus gives from Isaiah in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:17), he declares himself to be the messiah, promising to give sight to the blind and free the captives, so that blindness is equated with bondage by parallellism. Pharisees were described as blind guides in Matthew. 23:16.

Blindness then is a metaphor for succumbing to temptation by bad angels. It is not physical blindness, showing that all of Jesus's cures of blindness were metaphorical eye openings, as should have been obvious to anyone, especially if they care to call themselves scholars. There can be few Christian ministers and scholars who are not aware of this simple and logical metaphor, but they will not let on to their own flocks. They too are blind guides, by precisely the same criteria. They are dishonest dissemblers continuing to fool simple believers for their own gain.

[quote} There was a relationship between the words blind, lame, deaf and dumb and the names of the various categories of evil angels. [endquote} Margaret Barker

"Watcher" is the name for an evil angel that is similar in Hebrew to the word for blind! The Enochian Book of Dreams says that Watchers were the demons that made people blind.

The Epistle of Enoch

Lastly, the fifth book, the Epistle of Enoch, is really the testament of Enoch to his children (chapters 92-105) rather like the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. It is like the books of the prophets, an exhortation to obedience to avoid adverse judgement. The reward for the righteous in the Book of the Watchers is a ripe and prosperous old age, but in the Epistle of Enoch it is to dwell with the angels, rather suggesting that the revelation that occurred was a gradual one by the Persian priest-administrators to people initially unaware of the wonders of eternal life for the obedient. The Sadducees, like most modern Jews, considered prosperity in life God's blessing, but the writing cannot have been in that direction because the Sadduccees did not believe in angels either - far too Persian! - so they would not have been writing about "Watchers." The Persian influenced Jews came to believe from their teachers in the Persian concept of an everlasting reward in a perfect world.

More interesting is that the Book of Watchers contained no criticism of the temple but the Epistle of Enoch does, declaring that the coming of the Last Days would be signalled by its renewal. The Enoch faction evidently saw the temple as having been corrupted - the view of the Essenes and the Dead Sea Sectarians. When Jesus cleansed the temples, he declared in Enochian terms that the Judgement would soon follow. He plainly declared his belief that the world in its corrupt form was about to end.

Within the Epistle of Enoch is another work that has been named the Apocalypse of Weeks. It is another history of Israel forced into a framework of seven and seventy week periods. All such ideas of artificial history, though they seem strange to us, were expressions of the Zoroastrian concept of Arta or Asha - order. The different attempts would today be called hypotheses. Here the idea was that God had made the world in such a way that important events would appear in sequences of seven and seventy weeks of years. Their objective was ultimately to be able to descry the signs of the end coming. They were modifications of the Zoroastrian theory of history. Here, a momentous revelation of gnosis in week seven is followed by the triumph of the righteous in week eight, the rebuilding of the temple in week nine and the Final Judgement in week ten. Blindness is again the metaphor for those who succumb to temptation and sinfulness.

Is Enoch Zoroaster?

One passage in 1 Enoch features the acceleration of time as the eschaton draws near. 1 Enoch 80:2:

But in the days of the sinners the years will become shorter, and their seed will be late on their land and on their fields, and all things on the earth will change, and will not appear at their proper time.

From Adam, life-spans have diminished, and will continue to diminish, until the End. Time speeds up as the eschaton approaches, so that years, months and days are shortened until the natural processes of organic growth and aging are no longer synchronous with the accustomed advance of the seasons. The Oracles of Hystaspes a Parthian pseudepigraphic apocalypse, like the Sibylline Oracles, that survives mainly in the seventh book of the Divine Institutes of Lactantius, contains a passage that features eschatological time shortening. After various woes:

The year will be shortened, the month diminished, the day compressed to a brief moment ...

If the Oracles of Hystaspes are genuinely Zoroastrian, time shortening has been taken by Jewish apocalyptists from Iranian eschatology. A shortening of life-span could be interpreted to reflect an acceleration in time's motion and thus the maturity process, so much so that in the words of Jubilees:

The heads of children will be white with grey hair, and a child three weeks old will look like a man who is a hundred ... (Jub 23:25)

The author of the apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas quotes the 1 Enoch three times, twice calling it "the scripture" (Barnabas 4:3;16:5,6). Barnabas 4:3 has the concept of shortening time, but also refers to a "beloved," hastening to claim "his inheritance," absent from 1 Enoch.

3. ... as Enoch says, For to this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that his beloved should make haste and come to his inheritance. 4. And the Prophet also says thus: "Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth and there shall rise up after them a little king, who shall subdue three of the kings under one." 5. Daniel says likewise concerning the same: "And I beheld the fourth Beast, wicked and powerful and fiercer than all the beasts of the sea, and that ten horns sprang from it, and out of them a little excrescent horn, and that it subdued under one three of the great horns." (Ep Barnabas 4:3-6a)

Does Barnabas use a different Book of Enoch, or is he mistaken in attributing this quotation to Enoch? When he cites "the prophet also says" in verse 4:4, is he quoting a different source? Is it Daniel? Or is Enoch being quoted here as well? In the Qumran fragment 4Q385:3, Ezekiel relates how he addressed God and the reply he had:

Let the days hasten on fast until all men will say, Indeed the days are hastening on in order that the children of Israel may inherit ... and the Lord said to me, I will not refuse you, Ezekiel: Behold, I will cut short ... the days and the years ...

Barnabas 12:1 reads:

Similarly again he describes the cross in another prophet, who says, And when shall all these things be accomplished? The Lord says, When a tree shall bend and stand erect and when blood shall flow from the tree

Kister argues that this parallels closely, and perhaps has as its source, the text of the Ezekiel pseudepigraphon (4QPseudo-Ezekiel, 4Q385):

And I said, O, YHWH, when will these things happen? And YHWH said to me ... And a tree shall bend and stand erect ...

Do these parts of Barnabas suggest Enoch and Ezekiel are the same? Such identifications as Phineas and Elijah, or Shem and Melchizedek occur in Jewish tradition. If John the Baptist can be Elijah, why could Ezekiel not have been Enoch? Such an identification might have been in the lost Enochic literature.

With his tradition of extensive writings, Enoch looks like Zoroaster himself. John Reeves of Winthrop University (Jewish Lore in Manichaean Cosmogony: Studies in the Book of Giants Traditions,) has argued that Zoroaster and Enoch were the same person, or were seen as the same person, and this is why the Enochian literature is so great. In Manichaeanism, Enoch and Zoroaster are the same - both the heavenly entity, the "Apostle of Light" in human form. Interestingly, in 3 Enoch, a Rabbinic work of about the third century AD, Enoch reveals himself to the heavenly traveller, Rabbi Ishmael, as the Metatron, the greatest of angels and identifiable with Mithras (Mitra) and the archangel Michael (3 Enoch 10:3-6). Gods and mythical figures in antiquity with similar roles are often equated. Pseudo-Eupolemus equates Enoch with Atlas:

The Greeks say that Atlas discovered astrology, but Atlas is the same as Enoch.

Many Greeks thought Zoroaster had discovered astrology, but Jews attributed its discovery to Enoch. In the late Denkard tradition, Zoroaster toured the supernal and nether worlds, as did Enoch. The Coptic Zostrianos also recounts a heavenly tour undertaken by Zostrianos. M Scopello has noted parallels between the Apocalypse of Zostrianos from Nag Hammadi and the Book of the Secrets of Enoch. Zoroaster was suposedly escorted by immortals, as was Enoch (Gen 5:24). In Sefer Josippon, however, Abraham invented astrology and instructed Zoroaster in its mysteries!

Zoroaster was identified with several other notables by ancient writers: Nimrod (Pseudo-Clementine, Homilies 9.3-6; Cave of Treasures; perhaps Gen Rab 38:13), Balaam (Origen, Contra Celsum 1.60), Ezekiel (Alexander Polyhistor apud Clement of Alexandria, Strom 1.15), and Baruch (Book of the Bee). Theodore bar Konai reported a tradition that Zoroaster was originally a Samaritan priest named Azazel!

King Vishtaspa (Hystaspes) was Zoroaster's first important convert and patron. A work thought to be by Vishtaspa, such as the Oracles, would have been considered authentically Zoroastrian. If the Oracles of Hystaspes were thought to be dependent upon Zoroaster, and if Zoroaster and Enoch were identified by some ancient assimilation, then it seems plausible to refer to the Oracles as if they were an Enochic work. This is perhaps how Barnabas or its source treated the Oracles of Hystaspes as if they were part of the Enochian literature.

The "Beloved"

In Barnabas, "His beloved" is clearly meant to be Israel, so we have here an example of the Jewish idea of the matrimony of God and Israel that was probably the source of the ceremony at Cana in John's gospel, not a booze-up but a messianic celebration of the forthcoming union of God and his beloved, Israel. The "Beloved" has become masculine but that is merely Christianization. It has become a Christological title.

Manichaeans used this title, "The Beloved," to mean Jesus. In the "testimony of Vishtaspa," quoted by Mani, is a chapter devoted to the testimony of Vishtaspa about the Beloved (al-habib). This "testimony of Vishtaspa" sounds like the Oracles of Hystaspes. If the Oracles of Hystapes was Zoroastrian who was the original "Beloved?" Zoroaster? Enoch personifying the perfect year - the year of salvation? Or was it a later editorial interpolation?

In Barnabas 4:4, the author speaks of the little king that will rise up after the ten kingdoms to subdue three of the kings, ascribing the notion to "the prophet." The End Time is indicated by this sequence of rulers and the wars of these rulers are some of the woes that precede the End. A tradition associated with the Oracles of Hystaspes, according to D Flusser, states:

Ten kings will emerge simultaneously. They will divide the world ... then a mighty enemy from the far North will suddenly rise up against them. When he has destroyed the three who control Asia he will be taken into alliance with the others and will be made their chief.

The Iranian source of this tradition is suggested by the Jamasp Namag which features three rulers who are destroyed by an adversary from the north. Only in the Oracles and Barnabas are time shortening and the ten eschatological rulers so closely interlinked.


(15) Alain Danielou on the parallel between the death and resurrection of Tammuz, Oriris etc, and of Christ

Alain Danielou was a linguist, a musicologist, and an Orientalist, a specialist on India's religions and philosophies, and brother of Cardinal Jean Danielou.

Danielou wrote in his book Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus (Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont 1992) - also published under the title Shiva and Dionysus:

{p. 11} If thought exists in individuals, then thought must perforce be part of the cosmic principle from which they themselves came. There exists therefore a universal thought, a universal self-consciousness, and thus creation is not simply a chance matter, but the choice of a transcendant will which caused it to be as it is.

{p. 28} The great Semitic civilization of Egypt absorbed numerous Shivaite elements, in particular the cult of Osiris ...

{p. 29} To attribute to Jesus of Nazareth the miracles and legends of Dionysus or Krishna does not detract from his message, but serves to make his divine nature more easily understood.

{p. 32} A great cultural movement extending from India to Portugal took place during the sixth millennium B.C. This movement is apparently related to the diffusion of Shivaism ...

{p. 33} The cults of Osiris, the bull and the ram, appear just after the dawn of Egyptian civilization.

{p. 36} The myths concerning the young god and the Cretan goddess are similar to those of Shiva and Parvati. An echo is found in the myths of Ishtar and Tammuz, Isis and Osiris, and Venus and Adonis.

{p. 38} In Egypt, it is Osiris whose myths and legends are connected with Shivaite myths.

{p. 229} The message of Jesus is opposed to that of Moses and, later on, to that of Mohammed. It seems to have been a message of liberation and of revolt against a Judaism which had become monotheistic, dry, ritualist, puritan, pharisaeic and inhuman. ... The Christian myths appear to be closely linked to those of Dionysus. Jesus, like Skanda or Dionysus, is the son of the Father, of Zeus. He has no wife. The goddess-mother alone finds her place next to him. He is surrounded by his faithful, his bhaktas, who are of the people, fishermen. His teaching is addressed to the humble and the outcast. He welcomes prostitutes and those who are persecuted. His rite is a sacrifice. It is in the Orphic tradition that the passion and resurrection of Dionysus occupy a central position. It is through Orphism that many of Dionysus' "miracles" were attributed to Jesus. Several aspects of the Orphic legend of Dionysus are to be found in the life of Jesus. The parallel between the death and resurrection of the god and of Christ is self-evident.

The myths and symbols tied to the birth of Christ, to his baptism, his following, his entry into Jerusalem on an ass, the Last Supper (banquet and sacrificial rite), his Passion, death and resurrection, the

{p. 230} dates and nature of the various feast days, his power of healing and of changing water into wine, inevitably evoke Dionysiac precedents.

It would therefore seem that Jesus' initiation was Orphic or Dionysiac and not Essenian as sometimes suggested. His message, which is an attempt to return to tolerance and to a respect for the work of the Father-Creator, was totally perverted after his death. Later Christianity is, in fact, diametrically opposed to it ...

{end} More at danielou-paglia.html.

S. G. F. Brandon on the development of ideas of the Judgment of the Dead (including Karma) in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greco-Roman Culture, Hinduism and Buddhism: judgment.html.

S. G. F. Brandon on the derivation of the story of Adam and Eve, from the Epic of Gilgamesh: adam-and-eve.html.

Write to me at contact.html.