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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #31

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Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
Odin sacrifices himself to himself and hangs himself for nine days from Yggdrasil, which is the source of his classification as a dying god.
Yet Odin does not die during this experience. He remains alive the whole time, and receives the wisdom of the runes at the end of his trial.

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However, it's not a pre-Christian concept in this case as it dates from around the 9th-10th century, I believe.
I think that's correct, yes.

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Originally Posted by History Chick View Post
Okay. You said: "Proponents of the 'dying/rising god' myth will be horrified to learn that it never existed in antiquity but was fabricated by modern scholars (and pseudoscholars) with ideological motivations."

Perhaps you worded it wrong but I fail to see how it could be taken any other way. When more than one person misunderstood you, maybe it's because you've worded it poorly.

I agree that relating the ancient rebirth myths to Jesus' resurrection may not always be appropriate but that's not what you initially said. You specifically said the myth never existed.
I may have phrased it poorly by not being sufficiently specific, but I stand by what I've said: current academic consensus has declared the 'dying/rising god' myth a fabrication which did not exist in antiquity.

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Not according to everything I've read.
Considering your utterly credulous and uncritical acceptance of Wikipedia's excruciatingly inaccurate article on this subject, you'll forgive me for not placing much faith in what you have read.

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Well, it is Wikipedia... but whether going off that list or not, my point was merely that there are a number of ancient myths with the death and rebirth of a god. Whether or not that should be of a perpetual cycle, we'll have to agree to disagree on.
The academic consensus is on my side. I'm happy to stand with the academic consensus.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:22 AM   #32

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Let's hear from some genuine scholars.

Frankfurter reviews Mettinger:

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The identification of gods who die and are resurrected is most prominently associated with J.G. Frazer in his Golden Bough.

From its very first edition (1890), The Golden Bough revolved around the notion that at the core of religion lay a myth -- ritually enacted -- of a royal god who incarnated the power of fertility, who was annually killed and then, as the grain, resurrected to reign anew.

While this myth-ritual scheme would be most prominently represented in gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, Frazer regarded it as general to all religions, seeking its traces in Africa and the Americas, and certainly, if unspokenly, as the basis for the story of Christ's death and resurrection.

In the years following the publication of The Golden Bough in ever-expanding editions the dying/rising fertility-god myth came to be embraced by numerous scholars (notably Joseph Campbell), even while the actual evidence for its existence across cultures, and even in Mediterranean antiquity, progressively eroded.

Most recently, the historian of religions Jonathan Z. Smith and the semiticist Mark Smith have declared the myth of the dying and rising god a fantasy, the product of uncritical comparison rather than a close consideration of evidence.

More to the point, J. Z. Smith has used the dying/rising god myth as an example of the kinds of errors that cripple the enterprise of comparative religion when scholars ignore the following principles:

comparison must always be towards differentiation in regard to a general category ("dying/rising god") rather than in finding links across individual examples ("Osiris like Attis");

concepts of "myth" and "ritual" must be defined and regarded as fundamentally separate dimensions for narrative; one should avoid generalizing elaborate patterns across all religions;

one should consider the evidence for a myth or a ritual as the product of a particular historical context, not as timeless outcrops of a widespread pattern;

one should not take similarity as evidence for genealogy or influence;

and finally, in the face of evidence for gods who "die" but don't "rise," one should not impose the total Frazerian pattern but accept that one transition might occur without the other.

...

But it is precisely in this rigorous attention to differences and to the various meanings of gods' deaths and reappearances that Mettinger's work fractures the very usefulness of the category "dying and rising god."

By the end of the monograph, the category emerges as a rather simplistic generalization for a very wide array of gods and a very murky range of rituals. What does it mean, for example, for these gods to "die"? They might descend for a time to the underworld, disappear from agricultural or seasonal experience, or frame ritual traditions of mourning -- in no case identical to "death" as experienced on a regular human (or even royal) scale.

Likewise, a god's "resurrection" means vegetative, agricultural, or seasonal emergence, a divine image's "appearance" by procession at a particular temple, or the frame for ritual traditions of celebration -- not the kind of revivification imagined in the biblical tradition (e.g., Ezekiel 37, Daniel 12, 2 Baruch 50-51).

J. Z. Smith once recommended that the comparison of religions involves ultimately the "rectification" of the categories by which one compares phenomena -- those essential lenses or contexts into which we experimentally set our data.

In this case, Mettinger's methodological precision and attention to textual detail reveal the "dying/rising god" classification to be, in fact, a non-classification -- a Christian theological holdover, like "sacrament" or "faith," from a time when all comparison was meant to legitimize or delegitimize dogma.
(Source).

Last edited by Sankari; November 16th, 2012 at 01:34 AM.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:32 AM   #33

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Phil Porvaznik compiles some helpful data:

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The assertion made by skeptics is that the story of Jesus found in the New Testament is patterned after the alleged "dying and rising gods" of antiquity that existed long before Christianity. This view became popular among scholars during the so-called "history of religions" school at the turn of the 20th century.

The category of "dying and rising gods," along with the pattern of its mythic and ritual associations, received its earliest full formulation in the influential work of James G. Frazer The Golden Bough (1st edition 1890 in two volumes, 2nd edition 1900 in three volumes, 3rd edition in 12 volumes, 1906-1915, with an abridged one-volume edition published in 1922).

This theme was repeated by other scholars of mythology such as Joseph Campbell who edited Pagan and Christian Mysteries (1955), and his more famous The Hero with a Thousand Faces (originally 1949), whose views were made popular through a 1988 PBS series "The Power of Myth" interviews with Bill Moyers.

However, on the "dying and rising gods" motif the Encyclopedia of Religion (1987) concludes:

"The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts.

...In most cases, the decipherment and interpretation of texts in the language native to the deity's cult has led to questions as to the applicability of the category. The majority of evidence for Near Eastern dying and rising deities occurs in Greek and Latin texts of late antiquity, usually post-Christian in date."

("Dying and Rising Gods", volume 4, pages 521, 522 article by Jonathan Z. Smith, from The Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Mircea Eliade, emphasis added).

Smith is emphatic: "Some of these divine figures simply disappear, some disappear only to return again in the near or distant future; some disappear and reappear with monotonous frequency.

All the deities that have been identified as belonging to the class of dying and rising deities can be subsumed under the two larger classes of disappearing deities or dying deities.

In the first case, the deities return but have not died; in the second case, the gods die but do not return. There is no unambiguous instance in the history of religions of a dying and rising deity." (volume 4, page 521-522, emphasis added).

Boyd/Eddy state in The Jesus Legend: "While the claim that aspects of the Christian view of Jesus parallel, even are indebted to, ancient pagan legends and myths has a long history, it gained prominence with the birth of the history of religions school (Religionsgeschichtliche Schule) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries....

The history of religions school was extremely popular in academic circles for several decades, but owing to trenchant critiques by such scholars as Samuel Cheetham, H.A.A. Kennedy, J. Gresham Machen, A.D. Nock, Bruce Metzger, and Gunter Wagner, it eventually fell out of fashion." (The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition [Baker Academic, 2007], pages 134,136).

Although the category was largely abandoned by most reputable scholars and historians by the mid-20th century, there are exceptions. Tryggve N. D. Mettinger of Lund University in Sweden, wrote a recent (2001) scholarly critique challenging the modern consensus and attempts to "resurrect" the dying and rising theme. He nonetheless admits:

"There is now what amounts to a scholarly consensus against the appropriateness of the concept [of dying and rising gods]. Those who still think differently are looked upon as residual members of an almost extinct species.

...The situation during the last half of the century was thus one when it seemed fairly clear that there were no ideas of resurrection connected with Dumuzi / Tammuz, and that the ideas of a resurrection in connection with Adonis are very late.

The references to a resurrection of Adonis have been dated mainly to the Christian Era....Frazer's category was broad and all encompassing. To Frazer, Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis were all deities of the same basic type, manifesting the yearly decay and revival of life. He explicitly identified Tammuz and Adonis.

The category of dying and rising deities as propagated by Frazer can no longer be upheld."

(T.N.D. Mettinger, The Riddle of Resurrection: "Dying and Rising Gods" in the Ancient Near East [2001], page 7, 40, 41)
(Source).
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:24 AM   #34

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Originally Posted by Sankari
That is not what I said.
Well maybe you should take some time to be much more clear to express your meaning in what you type. Just a thought.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:41 AM   #35

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Originally Posted by Sankari
Yet Odin does not die during this experience. He remains alive the whole time, and receives the wisdom of the runes at the end of his trial.
Why do you think Odin did not die?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:55 AM   #36

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Originally Posted by Sankari View Post
Osiris is not a 'dying-and-rising god.'

I could go on and on. Seriously, that list is just plain idiotic. It's enough to make a professional academic weep tears of laughter.

Don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has a good list of these mythological deities and the fables which surround them. Any so called 'professional academic' that would laugh at such would not be 'professional academics' in the first place.

Not quite sure what you find so funny about it, especially considering that you believe in a book that many 'professional academics' believe to be mythology.

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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:03 AM   #37

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Originally Posted by Naomasa298 View Post
The serpent and dying god are found in Shinto mythology as well - the serpent being the eight-headed Yamato-no-Orochi, and the dying god being the female Izanami, who is the goddess of creation and death.
I need to learn more about Japanese and Chinese mythology. I am ot familiar enough with it.

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Fertility goddess?
Yep and goddesss of the harvest.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:13 AM   #38

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I need to learn more about Japanese and Chinese mythology. I am ot familiar enough with it.



Yep and goddesss of the harvest.
Have you seen Naomasa's thread on Japanese mythology?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #39

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Have you seen Naomasa's thread on Japanese mythology?
Nope, got a link?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:16 AM   #40

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Nope, got a link?
I'm sure you have seen it, but here it is again:
http://www.historum.com/asian-histor...ai-thread.html
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