Monday, April 24, 2006

The Egyptian Origins of Christianity?

An article that lists a number of ancient Egyptian inventions and then moves on to ask if the Egyptian religion influenced Christianity - the subject of a new book entitled The Egyptian Origins of Christianity by Lisa Ann Bargeman: "Bargeman asserts that many Christian rituals and beliefs, specifically Roman Catholic ones, may have come from ancient Egyptian tradition. Her book juxtaposes the Bible with the Egyptian sacred text, The Book of the Dead, using specific themes and ceremonial practices to argue that Christianity directly evolved from the Egyptians."
As well as a summary of some of the main arguments from the book and extracts from an e-mail interview with Bargeman, there are comments from a scholar who is opposed to her ideas.


Anonymous said...

A "contribution to scholarship" this book is obviously not.
The "amen" from "Amon" alone marks the lady as fully ignorent, and so do most of the examples given (which are at the _Egyptian_ end already unsound - let alone when used in comparisson).
Such pseudoscience does not really belong in a blog like this.

Andie said...

Dear Anonymous

My field is prehistory, and I am not in any way qualified to judge the scientific value of this or any other book dealing with this topic - and would certainly not attempt to do so on the basis of such a short article.
However, I did think that it might be of interest to those who do have an interest in the subject to know that the book has been published, and that there is a short article about it available.
I don't attempt to judge the reviews posted here - I leave that to those who are qualified to do so.
I always appreciate comments posted, especially when they correct errors or offer helpful suggestions about improving the blog, but I do reserve the right to select my own content on the basis of what I believe may be of interest to visitors.

Kind regards

Anonymous said...

The poster criticising this article is on point. Bargeman has done little service, if any, in publishing this work, as her research in the topic of what ancient Egyptian concepts are or mean is neglible.

Dr. Hurtado (who opposes the notion that Christianity is influenced by ancient Egyptian concepts) is right in saying whatever influence there was is trivial. Mithraism, and even the Attis myth of Greek mythology could stand in for the same concepts, and really make a lot more sense as source of Christian origins.

The idea of a dying god who is regenerated to life has innumerable parallels in the ancient Near East, so honing in on Egypt as the source is just a reflection of poor research on Bargeman's part.

Rather than archaeology, Bargeman's work reflects examples of "wishful thinking", such as wishing there *were* a direct connection, as this would all be so easy to understand.

Unfortunately, the origins of Christian ritual are both reworked Judaic rituals and new innovations based upon old myths of many cultures, so claiming any single source is plain silly.

Andie said...

Posting on behalf of the author, Lisa Bargeman:
Hi, there. I'm the author. The "amen" from "Amon" comment criticized above is a direct quote from Yosef Ben Jochannen, not from myself. I enjoyed hearing him speak at Ramapo College of New Jersey and believe in his reason and intelligence, whether some of his views are correct or not. I agree that there is a parallel with Mithras and Apis as the final commentator notes - I believe that I noted this in my book, in fact - and Robert Graves once noted that as well. I see no reason why we all should not "hone in" on our areas of interest; I think that's what life is all about. The person commenting that the contribution is "negligible" but still referring to the Near East, etc., yet indicates - as do the Editors in Chief of the German language journal (devoted entirely to the serious archaeological study of Egypt) Kemet who reviewed my book - that there is a connection of whatever magnitude, whether minute or grand, between Egypt and Christianity. This fact, therefore, is not questioned by the scientific community, even if my personal views are contested. Thank you for reading and for your comments, and be good to one another. - Lisa Bargeman, Author of The Egyptian Origin of Christianity

Plato said...

This is a wonderful work and should be read by everybody. I have been a student and teacher of ancient Egyptian history and culture for over 50 years. The Egyptian pharaoh (Horus) was considered God and the son of God, born of a virgin (Isis), and resurrected at death. He was part of a tripartite spirit or trinity connected with his father Osiris and the holy sprit or supreme being Amen or Amen-Re. The pharaoh's birthday was celebrated every year on the 25th of December (a miscalculation of the Winter Solstice) in a manger with a madonna and child (Isis and Horus) and a cow, possibly symbolizing fertility. Egyptians appealed to the supreme God Amen after prayers and believed in salvation--the saving of the soul. The believed they would be judged at death and could achieve salvation by declaring their innocence of the 42 bad things they were to avoid (sometimes called the 42 Sins) and then declare all the good things they had done in life. If they passed the judgement, their soul would be saved and would be reincarnated into a new life. The 42 Sins of the Egyptians is the oldest moral code in the world and was taught to Moses, when he was raised in Egypt. They became the basis for the Ten Commandments. So what percentage of Christianity comes from Egypt? Probably over 90%. One should remember that all religions are made up and are just forms of speculation. They're based on beliefs, which are not necessarily truths. The best religion is your own private religion. If your last name is Grey, be a Greyest, if your last name is Stagg, be a Staggist. Religion is a nebulous subject and has no definites. Your own ideas are as good as anyone else's. Just treat others as you want to be treated and try to improve life for all and perhaps there will be a reward. After all, you're going to return here when you die, so why not make this a better place. This is God's kingdom. Egyptians were celebrating the nativity with isis and Horus up until the third and forth centuries. By the fifth century Isis and Horus had become Mary and Jesus.