Cult of the Mother Goddess, E.O.James


#1

Okay, this was shared with me by a JW, going after the pagan issues…

The first ‘Mary celebration’ – it was apparently inside a pagan temple before it was moved to a basilica…

In the book --CULT OF THE MOTHER-GODDESS, E.O.James, p 207.
“The Council of Ephesus assembled in the basliica of the Theotokos in 431. There, if anywhere, in the city so notorious for its devotion to Artemis, or Diana as the Romans called her, where her image was said to have fallen from heaven, under the shadow of the great temple dedicated to the Magna Mater since 330 BC and containing, according to tradition, a temporary residence of Mary, the title ‘God-bearer’ hardly could fail to be upheld.”

Who is E.O. James? Any credibility to his story?
Any Catholic record of this?

Suggesstions for a reply to this.


#2

Sorry, also this.

From “The Making of the Popes 1978” p227 –
says catholic priest Andrew Greeley: “The Mary symbol links Christianity directly to the ancient religions of mother goddesses.”

(I know, context is important, what else did he say?)


#3

Don’t pay any heed to Andrew Greeley. He’s not a good representative of what the Church teaches. In this case he’s just wrong.

As for the E.O. James book, a few comments. First of all, the Council of Ephesus was not about Mary. It was about Jesus. It refuted the Nestorian heresy which challenged the divinity of Christ.

Does the author really have a problem with Mary being called “God-bearer”? Was the one she bore not God? If the Second Person of the Holy Trinity truly assumed a human nature at the moment of the conception in the virgin’s womb, which is what Christianity has always proclaimed, then Mary bore God in her womb. If Mary is not the God-bearer, then Jesus is not God. Is that the conclusion that E.O. James wants us to reach?


#4

[quote=GotQuestions]Okay, this was shared with me by a JW, going after the pagan issues…

The first ‘Mary celebration’ – it was apparently inside a pagan temple before it was moved to a basilica…

In the book --CULT OF THE MOTHER-GODDESS, E.O.James, p 207.
“The Council of Ephesus assembled in the basliica of the Theotokos in 431. There, if anywhere, in the city so notorious for its devotion to Artemis, or Diana as the Romans called her, where her image was said to have fallen from heaven, under the shadow of the great temple dedicated to the Magna Mater since 330 BC and containing, according to tradition, a temporary residence of Mary, the title ‘God-bearer’ hardly could fail to be upheld.”

Who is E.O. James? Any credibility to his story?
Any Catholic record of this?

Suggesstions for a reply to this.
[/quote]

There’s nothing wrong with this. I have no idea if it’s historically accurate, but it’s certainly doctrinally accurate. Mary is the Mother of God. That’s all this is saying.

Jesus is God. Mary is the mother of Jesus. Thus, Mary is the mother of God (made flesh). I guess ol’ E.O. doesn’t accept the divinity of Jesus.


#5

If Mary is not the God-bearer, then Jesus is not God. Is that the conclusion that E.O. James wants us to reach?

Well, I don’t know about E.O. James, never having read him, but that is certainly what the jws want you to believe. To the jws, Jesus is not God so how could Mary be The Theokotos?
I see they’ve moved on from the 19th century work of Alexander Hislop; “The Two Babylons” to “prove” their misinformation about Mary.


#6

[quote=catsrus]Well, I don’t know about E.O. James, never having read him, but that is certainly what the jws want you to believe. To the jws, Jesus is not God so how could Mary be The Theokotos?
I see they’ve moved on from the 19th century work of Alexander Hislop; “The Two Babylons” to “prove” their misinformation about Mary.
[/quote]

Somehow that first sentence in which GotQuestions mentions that it came from JWs slipped past me. It’s hard to dialogue with JWs about the divinity of Christ when they mistranslate John 1:1 so that the Word is no longer “God” but rather “a god.”


#7

Wow, this old chestnut again? Here’s a *Catholic Answers * tract that addresses this general charge:

Is Catholicism Pagan?
catholic.com/library/Is_Catholicism_Pagan.asp


#8

This jw was trying to find the first “Mary Celebration” and thus Mary worship. For this jw, the Ephesus connection was the first Mary worship. I’ve already gone over latria & dulia with this person.

Don’t pay any heed to Andrew Greeley. He’s not a good representative of what the Church teaches. In this case he’s just wrong.

Is that pretty much the consensus about Greeley?
To be fair, the above quote could have been taken out of context.


#9

[quote=atsheeran]Don’t pay any heed to Andrew Greeley. He’s not a good representative of what the Church teaches. In this case he’s just wrong.
[/quote]

Is he correct, or not ? That’s the issue we have to confront.

He may be correct - or he may not; his rightness or wrongness isn’t the issue. The issue is whether a connection of any kind exists between those goddesses, & Mary. Suppose there is - what of it ? Far too often, critics of the CC, or of Catholic devotion, or whatever, think they have delivered a knock-out blow to Catholicism when they have found a connection - any connection - between Mary OTOH, and Ishtar, Asherah, Isis, Kuan-Yin, or some other divine or semi-divine female outside the Bible or Christianity OTO.

But merely to show that there is or could be some connection between something in the Bible or Christianity, and something outside them, proves nothing - mere connectedness, is not bad or good: it is merely a fact (when there is a real connection at all).

To put that as a question: why do some Christians think it is so terrible that Mary might have (say) something in common with Isis (for instance) ? What is there to forbid Christians to see in Mary the fulfilment of what Isis was thought to be ? Why should we not think, taking a hint from Acts 17, that God was preparing for the coming of His Son in “the fullness of time” by giving the Egyptians an idea of the ideal mother ? After all, if we did not know otherwise, it would be easy to think that the wanderings and grief of Isis were borrowed from the Gospel, which tells of the flight of Jesus, Mary, & Joseph into Egypt, and of the “sword” which pierced the heart of Mary. Why can these things not have been a preparation for the Gospel ?

Or does God never work out His saving purposes even through our errors & idolatries ? If He does not, there can be little for Him to do, in a world populated by sinful and erring men: if He can work and did work among the sinning Israelites - why not among the Egyptians, & other nations; just as Amos seems to imply when speaking of the Philistines ?

If the existence of a connection is a Bad Thing - Catholics need to be told why such a thing is so bad. The reasoning of those who think in that way needs to be made fully explicit - that will be a help both to them, and to us. We aren’t mind readers :slight_smile: [snip] ##


#10

Michael, I think you have made the point very well!

Similarities and cooincidental likenesses do not make for “proof” of the Christian adoption of pagan belief systems. Just as you said, God may very well have prepared his people in the New Israel for his plan of salvation by giving them familiar types and themes both in Old Covenant history and theology as well as in pagan history and theology. This is NOT to say that Christianity is the fulfillment of paganism as it is the fulfillment of Judaism. It is just to recognize the all-powerful hand of God in preparing ALL his people (Jew and Gentile) for his eternal plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, born of a woman, born under the Law. Obviously, the Law prepared the Jews for Jesus and his mission in so many ways. Is it not possible that perhaps God also used the historical pagan images of woman and mother to prepare the Gentiles for how the Savior was to be be born of a woman?

Knowing that one day he would call all into his fold, is it not conceivable that he began to prepare the way for the Lord in anyway he saw fit?

And just because there are conceptual images of motherhood in pagan mythology and pagan historical accounts, that should not make us doubt the role of Mary in salvation history. We would never discount that Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is the one and true savior just because we find NUMEROUS accounts of a man-god in pagan traditions. We certainly wouldn’t claim Jesus is’t the the Christ simply because we find great similarities between our Lord and many ancient pagan historical figures.

This same tact of disproving Christianity on the whole is widely used today in secular history and literature. Some who would recognize the incredible pervading themes of sacrifice, uncommon leadership, servant kingship, resurrection (compared to reincarnation, for instance), life eternal, etc. would try to discredit Christianity by pointing out that so many of our foundational Christian themes and traditions are themes derived from ancient Eastern and pagan mythology.

We would certainly not accept this as a viable case. . .why would we question Mary simply on the basis of similarity and likeness, when we would not demand the same of our whole Christian belief system?


#11

[quote=JaneFrances]Michael, I think you have made the point very well!

Similarities and cooincidental likenesses do not make for “proof” of the Christian adoption of pagan belief systems. Just as you said, God may very well have prepared his people in the New Israel for his plan of salvation by giving them familiar types and themes both in Old Covenant history and theology as well as in pagan history and theology. This is NOT to say that Christianity is the fulfillment of paganism as it is the fulfillment of Judaism. It is just to recognize the all-powerful hand of God in preparing ALL his people (Jew and Gentile) for his eternal plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, born of a woman, born under the Law. Obviously, the Law prepared the Jews for Jesus and his mission in so many ways. Is it not possible that perhaps God also used the historical pagan images of woman and mother to prepare the Gentiles for how the Savior was to be be born of a woman?

Knowing that one day he would call all into his fold, is it not conceivable that he began to prepare the way for the Lord in anyway he saw fit?

And just because there are conceptual images of motherhood in pagan mythology and pagan historical accounts, that should not make us doubt the role of Mary in salvation history. We would never discount that Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is the one and true savior just because we find NUMEROUS accounts of a man-god in pagan traditions. We certainly wouldn’t claim Jesus is’t the the Christ simply because we find great similarities between our Lord and many ancient pagan historical figures.

This same tact of disproving Christianity on the whole is widely used today in secular history and literature. Some who would recognize the incredible pervading themes of sacrifice, uncommon leadership, servant kingship, resurrection (compared to reincarnation, for instance), life eternal, etc. would try to discredit Christianity by pointing out that so many of our foundational Christian themes and traditions are themes derived from ancient Eastern and pagan mythology.

We would certainly not accept this as a viable case. . .why would we question Mary simply on the basis of similarity and likeness, when we would not demand the same of our whole Christian belief system?
[/quote]

The way most of us non-Catholic Christians view such links is not from a coincidental perspective, but from an instigational perspective. In other words, it seems apparent from the New Testament writings and the earliest church writings that Mary’s role was viewed one way (very limited, in fact, she’s mentioned very little in any writings) and then suddenly, her role begins to take on a new shape very different from the apostolic teachings and very similar to the pagan religions that Christianity was beginning to replace. And this occurs at the same time that Christianity becomes the accepted religion of the Roman Empire and suddenly the pagans are pressured into joining the Church, so they do, but without letting go of their original pagan beliefs, they simply transform them into Catholic equivalents. This is not a new phenomena. It’s prevalent today, just examine South American Catholicism or Haitian Catholics. They are an obvious mix of their pagan religions their culture is based on and Catholicism. So what we think occurred in 300 AD is not so far a stretch since we can see the very same thing happening today.

It seems rather logical to us that the source of these Marian ideas came from the culture rather than from God so it’s really viewed as a pollution of the faith with pagan ideals. And as with most things, once a lie is repeated often enough, people begin to believe it. Over the centuries, Catholic theologians have accepted the early Marian dogmas and built new theories onto that pagan foundation further polluting the faith. The more they build onto that foundation, the further from the Gospel they travel, so whereas at first, the theological contraditions appeared subtle and easily accepted, such as “God bearer”, now here we are centuries later, and suddenly the push is to make her Co-Redeemer and Mediatrix. To you, these seem like small steps to make because you’ve accepted so many of the foundational stepping stones, that the subtle difference that pronouncing such titles on her seems insignificant. Yet those of us who refused to get on this wall in the first place are viewing it as such a departure from the deposit of the faith that the Apostles left behind, that we’re startled you’re even considering it - it makes it difficult to view such beliefs as orthodox Christianity, when it’s so obviously heresy.

Again, at least that’s the way we view it. I’m not trying to get into a debate on the subject. It’s been debated for centuries and no one ever convinces the other of their error.

David


#12

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