Is the Jesus story an astrological allegory?

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:06 am

Thanks Digit. I'm still not sure that I've quite understood their astrological point properly though, so I've got hold of that bit of the movie script. This is what's actually said:


There is another very interesting phenomenon that occurs around December 25th, or the winter solstice. From the summer solstice to the winter solstice, the days become shorter and colder. From the perspective of the northern hemisphere, the sun appears to move south and get smaller and more scarce. The shortening of the days and the expiration of the crops when approaching the winter solstice symbolized the process of death to the ancients. It was the death of the Sun. By December 22nd, the Sun's demise was fully realized, for the Sun, having moved south continually for 6 months, makes it to it's lowest point in the sky. Here a curious thing occurs: the Sun stops moving south, at least perceivably, for 3 days. During this 3 day pause, the Sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross, or Crux,

Do you think that makes any more sense?
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Postby Digit » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:28 am

It does indeed, and astronomically makes good sense.
The Sun does indeed 'stand still' before moving north once again, or south for that matter, and that applies at any latitude and need not imply sitting on the horizon.
Have you seen pictures of the track of an artificial sattelite moving across a map of the Earth? Having swept south the sattelite begins to move north and appears to slow down to an Earthbound observer before moving north again.
The Sun's appararent lack of movement is the for same reason.
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:33 am

OK, that's good.

So why I got confused was because when the voiceover was talking about the sun being at its lowest point, it showed the sun very close to the horizon. I suppose they exaggerated the visual to make the point not realising that dumb clutzes like me would think they actually meant it was close to the horizon! :oops:
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Postby Digit » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:49 am

One of the problems with theoretical astronomy, as against the practical side Ish, is that the theoretical side assumes an Earth as smooth as a billiard ball, which it ain't!
Take the published sun rise/sun set times in the daily papers, fine, at sea.
I live at the bottom of a glacial valley with hills to the S, SE, and SW, so that I experience sun rise later than published, and sun set earlier, and during the winter solstice the Sun does indeed remain low on the horizon.
In fact, after sunset, if I drive up the hill I can watch the Sun rise in The WEST and view another sunset, all on the same day!
Gets confusing don't it?
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:04 am

Very nice, too - two sunsets in one day!

Anyway, now I'm researching all this, I'm discovering that various Christian writers have known about it for milennia, but that some of them interpret it all differently to us.

Where we would say the Jesus story is probably an astrological allegory, they would say that the birth of the historical figure of Jesus was such a momentous event that God even draw pictures of it in the sky!

Anyway, here are some examples from Acharya's website:

In The Story of Religious Controversy, Joseph McCabe, a Catholic priest for many years, writes:

"…Virginity in goddesses is a relative matter.

Whatever we make of the original myth…Isis seems to have been originally a virgin (or, perhaps, sexless) goddess, and in the later period of Egyptian religion she was again considered a virgin goddess, demanding very strict abstinence from her devotees. It is at this period, apparently, that the birthday of Horus was annually celebrated, about December 25th, in the temples. As both Macrobius and the Christian writer [of the "Paschal Chronicle"] say, a figure of Horus as a baby was laid in a manger, in a scenic reconstruction of a stable, and a statue of Isis was placed beside it. Horus was, in a sense, the Savior of mankind. He was their avenger against the powers of darkness; he was the light of the world. His birth-festival was a real Christmas before Christ.

The Chronicon Paschale, or Paschal Chronicle, is a compilation finalized in the 7th century CE that seeks to establish a Christian chronology from "creation" to the year 628 ce, focusing on the date of Easter. In establishing Easter, the Christian authors naturally discussed astronomy/astrology, since such is the basis of the celebration of Easter, a pre-Christian festival founded upon the vernal equinox, or spring, when the "sun of God" is resurrected in full from his winter death. The vernal equinox during the current Ages of Pisces has fallen in March, specifically beginning on March 21st, lasting three days, when the sun overcomes the darkness, and the days begin to become longer than the night. In the solar mythos, the sun god starts his growth towards "manhood," when he is the strongest, at the summer solstice. Hence, Easter is the resurrection of the sun. As does the ancient authority Macrobius (5th cent.), the Paschal Chronicle relates that the sun (Horus) was presented every year at winter solstice (c. 12/25), as a babe born in a manger.

Concerning the Paschal Chronicle, Charles Dupuis relates:

"…the author of the Chronicle of Alexandria…expresses himself in the following words: "The Egyptians have consecrated up to this day the child-birth of a virgin and the nativity of her son, who is exposed in a 'crib' to the adoration of the people…"

Another important source who cites the Paschal Chronicle and mentions Isis's virginity is James Bonwick in Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought:

In an ancient Christian work, called the "Chronicle of Alexandria," occurs the following: "Watch how Egypt has consecrated the childbirth of a virgin, and the birth of her son, who was exposed in a crib to the adoration of her people…"

The author of Christian Mythology Unveiled cites the "most ancient chronicles of Alexandria, which "testify as follows":

"To this day, Egypt has consecrated the pregnancy of a virgin, and the nativity of her son, whom they annually present in a cradle, to the adoration of the people; and when king Ptolemy, three hundred and fifty years before our Christian era, demanded of the priests the significance of this religious ceremony, they told him it was a mystery."

CMU further states, "According to Eratosthenes [276-194 BCE], the celestial Virgin was supposed to be Isis, that is, the symbol of the returning year."

Interestingly, all sources cited herein relate a different translation of the Chronicle, which would indicate that they used the original Latin text and that it contained the word "virgin."

Regarding Isis's baby, Count Volney remarks:

"It is the sun which, under the name of Horus, was born, like your [Christian] God, at the winter solstice, in the arms of the celestial virgin, and who passed a childhood of obscurity, indigence, and want, answering to the season of cold and frost."

Regarding the astrotheological nature of the gospel story, including the virgin birth/immaculate conception, the famous Christian theologian and saint Albertus Magnus, or Albert the Great, (1193?-1280) admitted:

"We know that the sign of the celestial Virgin did come to the horizon at the moment where we have fixed the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the mysteries of the incarnation of our Saviour Christ; and all the circumstances of his marvellous life, from his conception to his ascension, are to be traced out in the constellations, and are figured in the stars."

As Albert the Great acknowledged, the virgin-birth motif is astrotheological, referring to the hour of midnight, December 25th, when the constellation of Virgo rises on the horizon.

Also, remember Digit how we discussed in another thread about why Christians put certain festivals on Celtic/Pagan festival days, and I was wondering about August 15. This is Acharya's explanation:

The Assumption of the Virgin, celebrated in Catholicism on August 15th, represents the summer sun's brightness blotting out Virgo. Mary's Nativity, celebrated on September 8th, occurs when the constellation is visible again. Such is what these "Christian" motifs and holidays represent, as has obviously been known by the more erudite of the Catholic clergy. Hence, the virgin who will conceive and bring forth is Virgo, and her son is the sun.
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Postby Forum Monk » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:56 am

Yes, the sun does appear to stand still, in a manner of speaking around the time of winter solstice, but it never appears in the constellation Crux. The ecliptic is about 23.5 degrees so the sun will never be at a declination north or south greater than that. Crux is about 60 degrees south. Astrologically, the sun follows the path through the 12 constellations of the zodiac and Crux is not included among the twelve signs. It simply never appears that far south no matter where you stand earth.

There is an old idea by Joseph Seiss and recently revived by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a christian apologist and evangelist, that the zodiac is another is a series of prophetic statements regarding the advent of Jesus Christ. In other words, the creator placed the entire story of the Gospel in the stars for any and all who cared to see it.

see:
http://www.letusreason.org/current4%20.htm
http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/gis/gis_review.html
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Postby Digit » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:14 am

As an amateur author, (there must be some British Lit Agents out there) I am aware that details in a story are important. A modern locomotive passing in the background of a period film can spoil the whole plot, and a number of details in the Nativity story I find interesting.
Joseph had to return to his city of origin for the census, as did his peers, now many people would have been able to 'nip next door' for that, but many may have had to travel the length of the country, so it is unlikely that a single day would have been put aside for the count, and with people travelling, and resting, the idea of 'no room at the inn' indicates a good story teller or an accurate acount.
This being so I have to question the comment in Ish's report of the fixing of the Christ's birthdate.
The time taken for people to travel to their city, register, probably visit the temple etc would have taken some time, so logically the event should have taken place after the grain harvest. Foul weather, including deep snow, is not unknown in that region, though whether that was so 2000yrs ago I don't know, but the middle of the cold season seems to be a very poor time to have many people moving about on foot all over the country.
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Postby Digit » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:19 am

Question Monk. The Earth's tilt is now more than it was 2000yrs ago, so Crux would not have been 60 degrees south, but somewhat less. Any idea how much?
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Postby Forum Monk » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:33 am

I can calculate it but the axial tilt moves +/- 1 degree over a 41,000 year period. So 2000 years ago wouldn't visually be much different than now. Takes more time to calculate than its worth.
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:40 am

Forum Monk wrote:
There is an old idea by Joseph Seiss and recently revived by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a christian apologist and evangelist, that the zodiac is another is a series of prophetic statements regarding the advent of Jesus Christ. In other words, the creator placed the entire story of the Gospel in the stars for any and all who cared to see it.


Well, to take this proposition seriously - which I admit was not my first reaction but now I've recovered from ROFLMAO (!) - we know that the astrological zodiac predates Jesus by thousands of years. So following Kennedy's line of logic, God must have drawn that story in the stars for all those other dying and resurrecting Godmen too who were born of virgins BEFORE Jesus (such as Horus, Attis, Osiris, Dionysus, etc).

In other words, then, God is not a Christian - or even Judeao Christian!

Min - can you hear the stuck pigs? :lol:
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Re: Is the Jesus story an astrological allegory?

Postby Rokcet Scientist » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:48 am

Ishtar wrote:
From a northern perspective, the Sun spends the summer and autumn travelling south and then seems to disappear for three days at the Winter Solstice or December 22.



What "northern perspective" would that be, Ishtar?
Precisely!
Because if your vantage point is well north of the polar circle the sun doesn't even rise for up to 6 whole months every year! Not just an itsy-bitsy 3 days...
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:54 am

oh dear, Rokcet, please don't ask me anything about northern perspectives. I get into a terrible mess with anything astrological as I did here. In the end, I just posted exactly what it said in the film script:

There is another very interesting phenomenon that occurs around December 25th, or the winter solstice. From the summer solstice to the winter solstice, the days become shorter and colder. From the perspective of the northern hemisphere, the sun appears to move south and get smaller and more scarce. The shortening of the days and the expiration of the crops when approaching the winter solstice symbolized the process of death to the ancients. It was the death of the Sun. By December 22nd, the Sun's demise was fully realized, for the Sun, having moved south continually for 6 months, makes it to it's lowest point in the sky. Here a curious thing occurs: the Sun stops moving south, at least perceivably, for 3 days. During this 3 day pause, the Sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross, or Crux,

Anyway, Rokcet, according to our very good resident astrologers, all of this makes sense apart from the bit about the Southern Cross.
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Postby Digit » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:56 am

Takes more time to calculate than its worth.

Why do you think I ducked Monk? :lol:
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:59 am

Digit wrote:The time taken for people to travel to their city, register, probably visit the temple etc would have taken some time, so logically the event should have taken place after the grain harvest. Foul weather, including deep snow, is not unknown in that region, though whether that was so 2000yrs ago I don't know, but the middle of the cold season seems to be a very poor time to have many people moving about on foot all over the country.


Digit, Min knows more about this, but I'm pretty sure that they cannot find any evidence in the historical record of any census in Bethlehem around this time.
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Postby Ishtar » Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:02 pm

Digit wrote:
Takes more time to calculate than its worth.

Why do you think I ducked Monk? :lol:


I don't know if it makes any differences, but i think this story is older than 2,000 years. If we go with the Indian version as the first (which I'm still not sure about), we could be talking about 5,000 years ago. In any case, the Horus story is very old.
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