Let us on this Christmas Eve make note that tomorrow we once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, that date stabilised by the early Christian Church in order to benefit from that same day’s previous pagan pubic holiday, known as “The Nativity of the Unconquered Sun”. In their 900-page tome, The Nazarene Gospel Restored, Robert Graves and Joshua Podro observe that even today the Armenian church still preserves this tradition, and add that the so-called massacre by King Herod of the Bethlehem first-born is nowhere recorded in contemporary Jewish nor even non-Jewish documents. And while it will most likely be common knowledge amongst On This Deity readers that that the subject of tomorrow’s festival was really no more than an exotic (and mostly gorgeous) hybrid of Jewish multiple-messiah traditions, rampant Mithraic insertions (probably by St. Paul) and a wholesale Greek misinterpretation of Jewish myths as real events, nevertheless even they will most likely be shocked to discover that the very term ‘Nazarene’ has a highly questionable provenance. In truth, early Christian writers employed a whole host of near-Nazarene titles to describe Jesus Christ: ‘Nazarene’, ‘Nazorean’ and ‘Nazirite’ all having wide and varying meanings. Podro and Graves note that the absence of evidence even of the town of Nazareth itself at this early date suggests that the first original use of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ was merely a poor rendition of ‘Noseriyyah’, or ‘Galilean’. That even such basic and fundamental truths about Jesus Christ still remain open to such differing interpretations must, on this festival evening, shake every free-thinking Westerner’s mind to the core.
That the Greedheads have, however, so deflated the power of this Christian festival through their determination to extend its capitalist claws into November and even late October has ultimately worked in favour of we Heathens. For between them, the Christians and the Capitalists have handed back to us a delightfully long and extended Winter Festival.
Have a Cool Yule.
Happy Holidays Dorian, and thanks so much to you and all your collaborators for writing such informative and inspiring articles which enrich each day for me- Hope to see many more in 2011! 🙂
And a Happy Yule to you and your family, Mrs Cope. I’m going to play Lord Buckley’s THE NAZZ in honour of your Xmas Eve post.
Thanks for the daily edification and ROCK ON.
Nicely put! The chapter in Zeitgeist about the appropriation of world myths as the basis for Christianity is fascinating (if a little unnecessarily “keen” in some places).
Agreed that On This Deity has been a great addition to the interweb and I look forward to what you and your contributors will bring forth in 2011. Merry Yule to you and your family!
Tjugo dagar knut, Julen åker ut.
I too will take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy Yule and thanks you for your efforts.
Sending lots of goodwill to you and your family. Also looking forward to your ongoing lessons (well they are for me).
I’ll add my holiday greetings to you and your family and also my thanks for your time and efforts. I commented at the end of November to let you know that some of my students have become avid reader. There is a current resonance in oppression and dissent that we’ve not seen for well over a generation and so it’s more important than ever for youth to know they are following in such noble footsteps.
…What is it like in the USA to lean NeoPagan & Socialist
– & yet work in Retail to subsist during the Holidays – ?!?
…Well – it’s painful & protracted to a large extent…
…Long ago exposed to suggestion that the two most vlauable things in the universe
are Intelligence & Compassion
– so – to paraphrase the Archdrude – it means EVERYTHIINNNG!
– to commune (even thru whatever vicarious future shocking 21st Century medium)
– w/ seekers of [(f)actual] Truth & emissaries of true (Kewl!) Good Will
…WFMU ( http://stream0.wfmu.org/freeform-128k ) helps – ! : p …
Have loved all your tweets throughout the year, and look forward to more.
Hope y’all have a fab holiday