Saturday, April 14, 2007

new book, new interesting stuff

9:53 AM Posted by: M., 3 comments

I have just started reading the book series by Will Durant on the History of Civilization. Right now, I am working on Volume I called, Our Oriental Heritage.

I am reading the initial section on ancient religions and I am seeing a lot of practices that were parts of hundreds of different groups--and these practices are so similar to Christianity.

For one, I was reading that a lot of Greek and Roman and other groups saw the snake as possessing divine power in reproduction--thus the serpent in the Adam and Eve myth could directly symbolize their sexual awakening.

Another interesting thing is the practice of eating gods. A lot of groups had "totems" that were animals who were considered taboo--forbidden to touch, eat etc. But, occaisionally, they would hold rituals where they would eat the god--eat the dove, or the fish, or the pig...that is totally like communion where we eat Jesus's body. The ancient people even claimed (as we do) that they "felt the spirit moving within them as they ate it."

Also, Durant posits that the view of God as "father"likely developed out of ancestor worship. Initially, gods were animals, but then those gods turned into human gods and the ancestors were worshipped. People believed that men were physically begotten by the gods.


3 comments:

Brad Kamanski's Online Business Alliance Blog said...

Marie,

It is truly a sad day in Heaven when someone considers denouncing their faith. I will say a prayer for you. It is raining outside. Must be God crying...

HeIsSailing said...

Marie:
"Also, Durant posits that the view of God as "father"likely developed out of ancestor worship. Initially, gods were animals, but then those gods turned into human gods and the ancestors were worshipped. People believed that men were physically begotten by the gods."

I sometimes wonder how the El Elyon of the old testament became Abba Father in the New. But I am suspicious that it came from ancestor worship. I say this just because there are a couple of places in the Epistles where Paul warns his readers not to heed needless Geneologies, or ancestor worship.

I dunno - just something to consider.

agnosis said...

Marie,
If you ever want to check out primary resources, James Pritchard's "Ancient Near Eastern Text" is a classic and standard reference. There are amazing paralells. For example, one of the most common stories types in Egypt were ones that contained a farmer brother and a shepherd brother who would fight over something or someone.

Brad,
It's thundering over here, that must be the gods of the Greek pantheon falling on the ground laughing at your comment. This type of feeble and unintelligent harassment is embarassing.