Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

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Giuseppe
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Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:52 am

So Couchoud, Creation of Christ, p. 443:
Naturally the presentation of the God-Man as an historical person was for some time fluid before it was fixed by the Gospels. From enemies of the faith it evoked the immediate reply that the pretended God was a
simple fomenter of sedition who had got his deserts, a reply indicated in the line of Tacitus about the Chrestus executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate. This saying, the source of which is not given, probably rests on the evidence of the Christians whom Tacitus, as proconsul, had examined in Asia. It is in contradiction to the silence of Josephus and of Justus, and cannot be traced back to any document of the first century when the God-Man had not yet assumed historical form. It is the anti-Christian rejoinder to the Christian presentation of the second century
(p.443)

It is a natural reaction, by part of despisers of the faith of other people, to reduce their beliefs to empty rumors risen about mere charlatans and pretended Gods. We can recognize the same trend at work behind the Celsus's despise of the man Jesus and the Voltaire's despise about the man Moses, Abraham, etc.

Have we in History other examples of deities considered hastily as "historical men later deified" by a member of a "superior race" as a hasty way to condemn the entire related belief in toto?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:31 am

So Herodotus euhemerized Talmoxis out of his despise for the barbaric belief of the Tracians:
I understand from the Greeks who live beside the Hellespont and Pontus, that this Salmoxis was a man who was once a slave in Samos, his master being Pythagoras son of Mnesarchus;
then, after being freed and gaining great wealth, he returned to his own country. Now the Thracians were a poor and backward people, but this Salmoxis knew Ionian ways and a more advanced way of life than the Thracian; for he had consorted with Greeks, and moreover with one of the greatest Greek teachers, Pythagoras;therefore he made a hall, where he entertained and fed the leaders among his countrymen, and taught them that neither he nor his guests nor any of their descendants would ever die, but that they would go to a place where they would live forever and have all good things.While he was doing as I have said and teaching this doctrine, he was meanwhile making an underground chamber. When this was finished, he vanished from the sight of the Thracians, and went down into the underground chamber, where he lived for three years, while the Thracians wished him back and mourned him for dead; then in the fourth year he appeared to the Thracians, and thus they came to believe what Salmoxis had told them. Such is the Greek story about him
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... ection%3D1

The pride of Herodotus is evident: only as disciple of Pythagoras the barbarous Talmoxis was able to be adored as a god by the his fellow-men. This is a perfect example of a "racist" euhemerization of a god.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:38 am

In line of principle, I don't see nothing of different between the Herodotus's euhemerization of Talmoxis as disciple of Pythagoras and Nazi's euhemerization of Jesus as an Aryan hero both deified respectively by men of their people.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:58 am

According to some scholars (but not all) the fact that Moctezuma euhemerized Quetzalcoatl in the figure of Cortes is a modern myth of the same conquerers (to prove the natural inferiority of the Aztechs):

It will be seen that the name Quetzalcoatl does not appear in any of these, the. earliest texts…Yet, notwithstanding the incongruity of certain details recorded (as, for instance, the fact that, unlike the sun, the solar god took his departure toward the east), the current belief is that Moctezuma narrated ‘the Quetzalcoatl
myth’ to the Spaniards and that he sacrificed himself and his people to a foolish. superstitious belief in an imaginary god or hero. It seems strange that, if this was
actually the case, the astute Cortés did not simply inform the emperor that Moctezuma had recounted to him ‘a ridiculous fable about their god,’ a phrase often used by his contemporaries in speaking of native religious myths. And what is even stranger still, is that the keen-minded Friar Sahagun, who obtained a deep knowledge of the native religion and superstitions, writes naught of the
connection…Nor does Bernal Dial
(quoted by Aztec and Hawaiian Beliefs of Returning Gods: How They Influenced the First Encounter with the Europeans by Lucie Johnson, available online)

In this case, if it was really a myth post-conquest, then the real euhemerizer of the god Quetzalcoatl were just the Spaniards!
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:09 pm

In a scene described in Plato's Phaedrus, Socrates offers a euhemeristic interpretation of a myth concerning Boreas and Orithyia:

"Phaedrus: Tell me, Socrates, isn't it from somewhere near this stretch of the Ilisus that people say Boreas carried Orithyia away?

Socrates: So they say.Phaedrus: Couldn't this be the very spot? The stream is lovely, pure and clear: just right for girls to be playing nearby.Socrates: No, it is two or three hundred yards farther downstream, where one crosses to get to the district of Arga. I think there is even an altar to Boreas there.Phaedrus: I hadn't noticed it. But tell me, Socrates, in the name of Zeus, do you really believe that legend is true? Socrates: Actually, it would not be out of place for me to reject it, as our intellectuals do. I could then tell a clever story: I could claim that a gust of the North Wind blew her over the rocks where she was playing with Pharmaceia; and once she was killed that way people said she had been carried off by Boreas..."[5]
Socrates illustrates a euhemeristic approach to the myth of Boreas abducting Orithyia. He shows how the story of Boreas, the northern wind, can be rationalised: Orithyia is pushed off the rock cliffs through the equation of Boreas with a natural gust of wind, which accepts Orithyia as a historical personage. But here he also implies that this is equivalent to rejecting the myth.

Euhemerism https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php? ... z4s1d2SMqD

It is very curious that the most rapid way to "explain" a myth is to invent a presumed historical kernel and to claim even a form of rationality just in virtue of this operation.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
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Re: Did the Pagans as Celsus and Tacitus euhemerize Jesus first?

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:44 pm

Along the same lines, it was embarrassment for the own ignorance the principal factor that moved to euhemerize the mythical persons:

These philosophers wish to account for everything in the development of the human race rationalistically. They want to discover a reason for these unspeakable atrocities of which the gods and heroes even of such progressive races as the Indians the Greeks Romans and Teutons are believed to have been guilty. Their way out of the difficulty is certainly very ingenious and very simple; but is it supported by any evidence? First of all they tell us that they see no reason why such names as Fire or Sun or Dawn should not be accepted as names of real individuals who lived a long time ago.
https://www.giffordlectures.org/books/p ... pment-agni

The principal reasons to euhemerize the god x:

1) despise of the people who adore x

2) embarrassment that x may be considered a pure myth

3) a desire to legitimize something or someone related to an earthly x.


In the case of Jesus, the point 1 is described above by Couchoud. The point 3 is on the hypothesis that the same Christians did the first move to euhemerize Jesus.

The point 2 is what explains the anxiety of modern apologists as James McGrath.

When there are not these factors at work, the god x is considered what he is: pure myth.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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