Mithraism

I don’t want to hijack another thread so I’ll start a new one.

  1. Justin Martyr said that Mithraism was copied from Christianity. Can someone link me to good source that shows Mithraism copied from Christianity rather than Christianity copying from Mithraism?

  2. What’s the difference between Mithra and Mithras and which one is (or is it both?) that is said to have similarities to Christianity?

I assume you’ve done the basic wiki thing, but…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_Mysteries

And perhaps you know this rather popular work, but if not, see challenge #4.

books.google.com/books?id=qn1FU3lLcnsC&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=EDWIN+M.+YAMAUCHI+christianity++strobel&source=bl&ots=psFo7DkawX&sig=XL8A4d9vb8TIqYG4beIe5h5z180&hl=en&ei=BBWPSYudHozaNO6Tua0L&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#v=onepage&q=EDWIN%20M.%20YAMAUCHI%20christianity%20%20strobel&f=false

It’s a start.

GKC

I have Stroble’s book and have been Googleing but was hoping for more info.

I wish you well. Let us know if you find something useful.

GKC

Is it true that in the Encyclopedia of World Religions, they say that Christianity copied from Mithra? If so, it goes against all the scholarly things I’ve read so far.

Mithraism is far more ancient than what these books claim. Mithra definitely preceded Christianity. According to one theory, God sends a teacher to earth approximately every 2000 years (Precession of the Equinoxes) and Mithra was one of them. The teachers for the various ages:

10000-8000 Age of Leo - Hermes (Egypt)
8000-6000 Age of Cancer- Hercules (Greece)
6000-4000 Age of Gemini - Rama (India)
4000-2000 Age of Taurus - Mithra (Europe)
2000- 0 Age of Aries - Krishna (India)
0 - 2000 Age of Pisces - Jesus (Middle-east)

From this list Mithra is much older than Christianity. It is difficult to say what similarities it has with Christianity since much of its teachings were shrouded in mystery or destroyed by the more dominant religion (Christianity).

I don’t think either one is a copy of the other - they just had different teachers.

Does this writer make sense?

pleaseconvinceme.com/2012/is-jesus-simply-a-retelling-of-the-mithras-mythology/

Hercules was a “spiritual teacher?” :confused:

Who would have thought?

Mildly weird, IMO. :stuck_out_tongue:

Some teachers teach by giving sermons or verbal teachings (for example Krishna’s Bhagvat Gita), others by their life story which serves as a role model (eg Rama who did not give any verbal teachingsl) or both (Jesus who gave teachings as well as a life of sacrifice).

The twelve labors of Hercules serve as a role model of the struggles of all men - there is a deep hidden meaning in each of those labors. But maybe you should stick to simpler, more obvious stuff.

Justin does not say this. Always go to the sources! I have a selection online here:

tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/literary_sources.htm

You can find Justin here:

tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras/literary_sources.htm#Justin Martyr

The passage from 1st Apology chapter 66 is the one in question, which says that the Mithraic ritual meal was a mockery of Christian communion.

  1. What’s the difference between Mithra and Mithras and which one is (or is it both?) that is said to have similarities to Christianity?

Mithra is the ancient Persian god. He has no similarities with Christianity. He exists in Zoroastrianism, but very little is known about him. Zoroastrian literature only began to be written down in the 4th century AD, and exists only in medieval copies.

Mithras is the Roman god. He first appears in ancient literature around 80 AD, and in the archaology – we know most about him from archaeology – ca. 100 AD. Plutarch, writing around 110 AD, says that his cult was found among the Cilician pirates ca. 68 BC; but this is probably wrong, and a confusion with Mithra, because there is practically no archaeology for Mithras in Cilicia, and all of what there is is much later. The Romans called Mithras the “Persian god”.

Mithraic studies was created by the great Franz Cumont ca. 1894, who thought that Mithras and Mithra were the same, and that Mithras was the Roman version of Zoroastrianism. The archaeology shows that this is wrong; there are none of the distinctive underground temples of Mithras outside of the Roman empire, and the archaeology shows an origin in Rome in the first century AD, spreading out from there with the legions.

In 1971 at the conference of Mithraic studies it all came to a head, and various papers were read which more or less torpedoed Cumont’s idea. It’s dead and won’t come back (so Roger Beck, a modern Mithraic scholar). However speculation as to some link between the two continues, since the names are so similar. Probably there is something, but we don’t know what.

The Wikipedia article was deliberately poisoned by a gang of trolls back in 2011 (who drove off all the real contributors) to make it advocate the Cumont position. Much of what it says is deliberately misleading or untruthful.

My own site may help you.

tertullian.org/rpearse/mithras

Cranks like “Acharya S” profess that Mithras predates Christ, and that Christianity is borrowed from Mithras. No scholar thinks the latter. A handful of points of contact are exaggerated wildly to “prove” this. But as Manfred Clauss says in the standard undergraduate textbook, “The Roman cult of Mithras”, these similarities all arise from the common milieu of the ancient world. They don’t show borrowing in either direction.

In my own amateur opinion the statement of Justin says something about the cultists he knew in Rome in 150; it doesn’t give us general information.

All the best,

Roger Pearse

Interesting: what evidence is there that this is what the author of these fables intended? Have you read any of the ancient sources, for this? Or is this from some modern book?

Do be wary: there are some very stupid, dishonest, and uneducated people out there who simply make these sorts of claims up. I don’t see how that helps anyone.

I suspect, unless evidence appears, that no such narrative can be found in antiquity about the labours of Hercules.

All the best,

Roger Pearse

We need to distinguish between Mithra and Mithras. The ancient Persian cult of Mithra or Mitra is not relevant here.

According to one theory, God sends a teacher to earth approximately every 2000 years (Precession of the Equinoxes) and Mithra was one of them.

Neither Mithra nor Mithras was a teacher. Both were gods.

It is difficult to say what similarities it has with Christianity since much of its teachings were shrouded in mystery or destroyed by the more dominant religion (Christianity).

Be exceedingly wary. Some muppets come up with a wild claim, and, when asked for evidence, dodge by saying “well all the evidence was destroyed”. That’s called having your cake and eating it!

All the best,

Roger Pearse

I’ve never heard of this “encyclopedia”. Cumont was prone to write as if there were similarities, and his speculations made their way into older encyclopedias (including the 1911 Britannica and old Catholic Encyclopedia) and these get exaggerated by headbangers; but of course nobody holds Cumont’s views now.

It’s a bit of a weird page. The list of claims at the top of it is straight out of Acharya S, and is complete twaddle, as the writer seems to know.

The debunk of the claims is mostly sound, although no ancient source connects Mithras with 25 Dec. (always ask for one, if the claim is made, and watch them dodge!). The trouble is that the author has read Vermaseren’s obsolete “Mithras: the secret god” (1956) which is full of rubbish borrowed without care from Cumont. Vermaseren was a great archaeologist, but here he puts forward the ideas of others; and they are wrong. That book has hardly a single footnote in it.

Shepherds did not attend the birth of Mithras. But the rest is fairly sound, down to the “How could they have imagined that”. From there on, the author is just speculating.

Some scholars believe that the Mithra religion might have reached the same prominence as Christianity had fate been slightly different.
And yes…there is debate on who copied whom. As one poster noted, I think Mithra was first by many years.

.

This is a reference to the pre-scholarly claim by Ernest Renan. It involves multiple mistakes of fact, but then Renan knew little about Mithras.

And yes…there is debate on who copied whom.

Not really.

As one poster noted, I think Mithra was first by many years.
.

Persian Mithra has no similarities. Roman Mithras was nnot first.

I am not suggesting that there really was a monster named hydra or that any of the other labors actually occurred - it is all mythology. However there are university courses in Greek mythology that study the stories about the labors of Hercules to examine their meaning. But perhaps they are all stupid and dishonest (although they sound educated)

We seem to have drifted from the topic - so best not to say any more about this.

Thanks. There’s a lot to read and I’ll read more later, but in conclusion, is it possible Christianity copied from Mithraism, or is it impossible?

I don’t know much about this topic, but for dialogue’s sake let us say that Mithraism thought up some “Christian” things first.

What does that prove to me? It proves that many pagans do not have complete and intact revelation, and that Christians have Divine Revelation.

In the souls of pagans, deep down there is some kind of thinking that is mystical and may have some resemblance to Divine Revelation, but is very “off” in its conclusions.

Thanks be to the Lord for Divine Revelation; may we humbly adhere to it!

Indeed so and I don’t believe anyone suggested otherwise.

However there are university courses in Greek mythology that study the stories about the labors of Hercules to examine their meaning. But perhaps they are all stupid and dishonest (although they sound educated)

Friend, you were asked for evidence…

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