"The Weeping of Tammuz"


According to a Protestant I’m debating, Lent is “of pagan origin” (:rolleyes:) and is “the weeping of Tammuz”.

Here is a site that espouses this… aloha.net/~mikesch/lent.htm

How should this claim be responded to?


Well, God gave wisdom to all peoples, even pagans, to a greater or lesser extent. A season of abstinence from pleasures to contemplate greater things is a bit of wisdom that was given to the peoples of the world. It is a good thing, even though it was corrupted by idolatry.

It is perfectly legitimate to cull good, wise and helpful practices from other non-Christian cultures and “baptize” them, if you will, so long as the practices themselves are not contrary to Scripture. Fasting and abstinence are Scriptural practices- Jesus Himself fasted for forty days before beginning his ministry.

Also, according to Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Lent is of Roman origin, and since Tammuz was not part of the Greco-Roman pantheon, I doubt if there was much weeping for him on the part of the Romans.


I looked around the site. As for the author of it, the first thought I had was a quote from that great social commentator, Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”




Two Babylon garbage. Easy to refute.


I presume he believes that Jesus was also following pagan custom for his forty days in the desert. :rolleyes:


So this person admits that the early Christians thought it appropriate to fast for some period of time in preparation for Pascha? Great. They’re already halfway there.

Since they did well to demonstrate that Lent’s duration of forty days was not decided until later, perhaps one should ask: “Well, if it was appropriate to fast, which was agreed, and there was no general consensus of how long this should last–who better to look to than Our Lord? Who better to imitate?”

Also, the line about how Jesus’s fasting was “in no way” connected with his Passion is simply untrue. His infinitely meritous actions, his perfect obedience, is what effects salvation for us. In fasting for forty days “in the desert,” Christ recalls Israel’s disobedience “in the desert.” He is obedient where we were not. By offering his infinite merit alongside of our finite transgression, Christ pays and satisfies man’s debt. This is the essence of salvation.

To share in the life of Christ, to die with him, to live anew with him–this is redemption, our Gospel. In Lent, the Church seeks to better unite our actions with Christ’s. What’s there to disagree with?


By going to the source :slight_smile:

Which can be read, & searched, here:
*]philologos.org/__eb-ttb/default.htm[/LIST]**See the chapter on Easter. The link to Mike Scheifler’s site refers to Tammuz on that page only in its title. **

A proper answer would require a good deal of work :eek: What we are up against is this sort of thing:
*]…The forty days’ abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, “in the spring of the year,” is still **= in the **1860s] observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: “Three days after the vernal equinox…began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun.” Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson’s Egyptians. This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god. At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for “forty nights” the “wailing for Proserpine” continued; and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called “Castus” or the “sacred” fast, was, by the Christians in his time, believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her “excess of sorrow,” that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto, the god of hell. As the stories of Bacchus, or Adonis and Proserpine, though originally distinct, were made to join on and fit in to one another, so that Bacchus was called Liber, and his wife Ariadne, Libera (which was one of the names of Proserpine), it is highly probable that the forty days’ fast of Lent was made in later times to have reference to both. Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the “month of Tammuz”; in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April…[/LIST]**There are a lot of inter-connected remarks, which all need unpicking if the main issue is to be dealt with. The author goes effortlessly from Babylon to Mexico, throwing in inexact or mistaken comments about Adonis & Osiris in passing: & that is just the beginning of his comments about Lent. To deal with one item in isolation is all but impossible - it is like unpicking the threads of a tapestry. **

**FWIW, there are several lapses of logic & errors of fact in that quotation - the book is useful as a means of developing the ability to think critically. :cool: **


Read the book - & find out :slight_smile:

The book’s basic thesis - or one of them - is that Catholicism is a prettified version of the so-called “Babylonian Mystery Religion”; & that Nimrod (see Genesis 10:8-12) invented it, by perverting the religion of the Patriarchs. Everything Catholic - sorry, Popish - is derived from the OT Babylon & its “BMR”, & the contents of the “BMR” are found by trawling through antiquity. Since it is not difficult to find at least one respect in which very different things are similar, it is not very hard to identify just about anything as evidence of the “BMR”: Lent included.

There is far more to his argument, but that is it in a nutshell :slight_smile:


Yes. I think there is a bit more to his argument. However, I did notice that one thing was missing. Intellectual content.


The duration of Lent is based on New Testament and Old Testament events: Jesus’ time in the wilderness, Moses’ fast, the Israelites’ 40 years in the desert, which happened before the rise of Babylon.
The timing of Lent is based on early Christians’ preparation for Easter, based on Passover, when Christ was crucified. Passover was established before the rise of Babylon, too.
There are practical reasons for six weeks betwwen neo-pagan festivals (42-43 days), which aren’t really derived from ancient paganism but from the attempt to collect all pagan feasts, organize them by season and divide the year into eight seasons, representing the phases of agriculture in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere today. The season they call Imbolc (it has other names) is February through mid-March and is characterized by light food and plenty of dairy. This is meant to reflect what wowuld be available if we were still low-tech subsistence farmers. It’s modern and an attempt to mimic unknown details of an older way of life. It isn’t the origin of Lent, nor is Babylon.


Babylon’s real rise to prominence was under Hammurabi in the 17th century; that’s if a very late chronology for him is followed; most books seem to follow the Middle Chronology, which begins his reign in 1792.

Depending on which one follows, the First Dynasty of Babylon (which lasted 299 years) began in:
*]1950 - Hammurabi 1848-06
*]1894 - Hammurabi 1792-50
*]1830 - Hammurabi 1728-1686
*]1798 - Hammurabi 1696-54[/LIST]Were you thinking of the recovery of Babylonian independence & authority under Nebuchadnezzar after the collapse of Assyria in 609 :slight_smile: :slight_smile: ?

Until the First Dynasty - H. was its fifth king of 11 - Babylon was not much more than a small settlement.

FWIW, the book from which all this stuff about Tammuz comes was written when the chronology of Ancient Iraq was even more incomplete than it is now.


This particular protestant (Methodist In Residence) is more than a little:p amused to discover that the anti-Catholic site mentioned contains the answer to the question of the origins of Lent:

Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days: Matt 4:2, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2.

That would be, unless all those lovely Methodist saints who taught me, were deluded, the origin of Lent: Right there in the Gospel accounts of Our Lord’s life!!:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

One of those cases of someone who is:cool: determined not to be confused by the facts, perhaps???:shrug:
I swear that some people will:rolleyes: argue with anything that Catholics do & believe, just on reflex.


:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


This guy I’ve been debating is currently discussion alleged “pagan-ness” of Christmas, Easter, etc. In response to his comment about Christmas I stated:

It’s a well known fact that Christ was not born on Dec. 25; He was most likely born sometime in late September or early October. To put it very briefly, the Church did indeed use the pagan holiday date for Christmas, but not so it could “force conversions.” Rather, Dec. 25th was the celebration of the days lengthening once again, which to the pagans meant that the sun god would bring light and warmth to the earth, once more. By co-opting this date, the Church made it the celebration of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. It wasn’t done to force conversions, but rather to make it easier for Christians to celebrate alongside their pagan neighbors without raising suspicions that they, the Christians, were denigrating the sun ‘god’, which could get them killed. The only conspiracy was of the pagan officials against Christians.

He responded:

[quote=Protestant]Good use of sophistry to justify sin.

In regards to Easter I stated:

Easter is the first Sunday following Passover, just as it was when Jesus celebrated it with his Apostles, so there is nothing pagan about that. Only the name Easter comes from a pagan source, but the holiday is based on the Hebraic calendar not on any Roman god or goddess worship.

To which he retorted:

[quote=Protestant]Check your 2008 calendar, Easter is March 23, Passover is April 20. Egg laying bunnies, coloring eggs, sun rise services and the time of celebration all come from pagan sources. I have information explaining this if you would care to look it up.

Regarding Fasting stated:

[quote=Protestant]The fast has to be God’s fast, pagans fast too.

He previously made a comment that if Christ showed up today we Catholics who “crucify him again”. I responded to him and he then stated, “Your Christ will show up in the next 20-25 years.” So what he is trying to say that Our Christ is the anti-Christ. I haven’t studied these topics very much, how should I respond to his comments?


**I think He would be recrucified by all or any Christians - not just Catholics. **

**As for the argument from “pagan origins” - how does the historical origin of a feast-day make it unChristian ? The problem is that - & one has to apologise for saying this: Catholics don’t worship Saturn, or keep the Saturnalia. We do however adore Christ - not the “gods of the nations”. This rather spoils the idea that we worship the “gods of the nations” - but it’s not our fault. **

**That a thing is from this or that culture or age or place, does not say anything about its moral or theological value; nor about whether it can be used or adopted among Christians. **

**The argument also implies that once a day has been used for honouring Saturn, or Cybele, or Adonis or whoever it may be, it cannot be recovered by Christ. March 25 was the feast of the Hilaria, in honour of Cybele - therefore, it is for ever lost to Christ; Christians must never celebrate a Christian feast on that day. The Church does - & rightly. What’s more, the Annunciation is a very different feast, & a different kind of feast - its entire significance is different. **

**Significance, not the (material) issue of origin, is what makes a thing. If people use, for bad purposes, Christian feasts that are kept on days that have never had any significance in Church history but a Christian one, those purposes don’t become Christian because of the name of the day, but remain bad: murder on the feast of a martyr is still ****sinful, even though the feast is good. Conversely, a good act such as commemorating a saving of deed of Christ do not become unChristian on a day formerly observed to honour a divinity alien to Christians **


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