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Wild Writings of WOGSS

A Paraphrase from Randel Helms' "Gospel Fictions", titled here:
Lazarus Was Osiris

   The fascinating question is why the author of the fourth Gospel (John) placed the resurrection of Lazarus in Bethany. This village near Jerusalem is not known elsewhere in the Gospels as the sight of a miracle; it is not even connected with Mary and Martha when they are mentioned in Luke. Luke mentions no brother, nor does he use the name Lazarus in connection with the two sisters. How does the author of John make the connection?

   I think he combined, with a faulty memory, his knowledge of Luke and Mark. He remembered from Mark that it was "at Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper," that a certain unnamed woman had anointed Jesus with oil. This was enough to move John to open his story of Lazarus thus: "There was a man named Lazarus who had fallen ill. His home was at Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary whose brother Lazarus had fallen ill, was the woman who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair" The woman in Bethany did not wipe Jesus' feet with her hair; rather she ..."poured oil over his head". John has misremembered his sources, confusing this story with the one in Luke, set in Nain, about another unnamed woman: "A woman who had been living an immoral life (brought Jesus oil). She sat beside him weeping ...on his feet... and she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with the myrrh."

   John has blended the two stories together: the woman at Bethany who anoints Jesus' head (who is not described as a sinner)becomes the sister at Nain (though remaining at Bethany) who wipes his feet with her hair. But neither of these women is named..

   Mary and Martha come from a third story, in Luke 10:38-39, and they live in an unnamed village: "Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha made him welcome in her home. She had a sister, Mary, who seated herself at his feet and listened to his words" Thus, Mary who sat a Jesus feet was already misidentified with the woman who anointed Jesus feet, who was already misidentified as the woman at Bethany who anointed his head.

   Lazarus comes, of course, from another story in Luke, Jesus' parable of Dives and Lazarus (16:19-31), neither of whom is related to Mary or Martha or Bethany. What prompted John to put them all together as the characters and setting of his climactic miracle story? A Lazarus who dies, two sisters, and the village of Bethany- all unrelated, all to be joined together in the writer's mind; there must have been a catalyst.

   The answer is not to be found in the Gospels, but the Egyptian myth of Osiris. In the Egyptian myth, Osiris, who dies, has two sisters, Isis and Nephthys. Osiris lies dead in Annu, the Egyptian necropolis, known in Greek as Heliopolis and in the Old Testament as Beth-shemesh (Jer. 43:13) "City of the Sun" and "House of the Sun" respectively. A formulaic name in Egyptian for this city was the "great house of Anu", ...which is readily semitized as Beth-anu. Likewise "Lazarus" (the Greek form of the Hebrew name Eleazar") readily associates itself with the name of Osiris (Asar) (semetized to El-Asar, literally "The Asar").

   According to the pyramid texts, "they come to Osiris the King at the sound of the weeping of Isis, at the cry of Nephthys, at the wailing of these two spirits" At Bethany, Jesus saw "Mary weeping and the Jews her companions weeping."

   Of the dead god in Annu it is said: "O Osiris the King, you have gone, but you will return; you have slept but you will awake; you have died but you will live." On hearing of the death of Lazarus Jesus says, "our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I shall go and wake him." Jesus approaches the tomb and says "Take away the stone". To Osiris it is said, The Tomb is opened for you, the doors of the Tomb chamber are thrown open for you." Objecting to Jesus demand, Martha says "by now there will be a stench, he has been there four days." After Osiris is resurrected we are told "Osiris speaks to Horus, for he has removed the evil which was on the King on his fourth day." The dead one in Annu/Bethany is then told to arise: "I am Horus, O Osiris the King, I will not let you suffer. Go forth, wake up." "Then he (Jesus) raised his voice in a great cry: "Lazarus, come forth."" The wrappings of the dead must be removed: "O King, live, for you are not dead. Horus will come to you that he may cut you cords and throw off your bonds; Horus has removed your hindrance." "The dead man (Lazarus) came out, his hands and feet swathed in linen bands, and Jesus said, "Loose him, let him go."

All this is from "Gospel Fictions" by Randel Helms, and ought to dispel any "Biblical inerrency" claims at the very least. Also it adds great weight to our own ecumenical view of the universality of the Inner Archtypes (IMHO). And it supports the view expressed here some time ago that the N.T. is a deliberately constructed trap, (to divert one from the inner Truth to a literalistic absurdity). More soon.

 

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Key Quotations

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names -- Chinese

To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in the most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of the devoutly religious men. – Albert Einstein

All great truths begin as blasphemies. – G.B. Shaw

Truth is what most contradicts itself. – Laurence Durrell

"Reality" is the temporary resultant of continuous struggles between rival gangs of programers. - What the thinker thinks, the prover proves. – Robert Anton Wilson

Insane people are always sure they’re just fine. It’s only the sane people who are willing to admit they’re crazy. – Nora Ephron

The sane person is not he who has eliminated all contradictions, but one who uses them & applies them in his work. – Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Sanity is madness put to good use. – Santayana

Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation but as a question. - Belief is an obsolete Aristotelian category. – Neils Bohr

Scientists are peeping toms at the keyholes of reality. – Aurther Koestler

Heresies are experiments in mans’ unsatisfied search for truth. – H. G. Wells

Freedom is the Will to take responsibility for ourselves. - Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth then lies. – Fredrich Neitzsche

To me, every dirty act was simply a sacrament of sin, a passionately religious protest against Christianity, which was for me the symbol of all vileness, meanness, treachery, falsehood and oppression. - Something always sings in the mud and scum of things. – Aleister Crowley

In the course of this struggle against sexual urges the sexual force becomes distorted, turning in upon itself to generate destructive impulses centering about the "mortification of the flesh". The struggle against sexuality which played & still plays a large part in the so-called morality of the Christian Church has probably caused more human misery then all the great plagues combined. This struggle, at its height, reduced large segments of the population of Europe to the status of devil-obsessed homicidal lunatics. – unknown (And certainly would again if allowed the chance! Ed.)

No-one gets any second chances until everyone gets a first chance! – Adam Weishaupt

All the body is in the Mind, but not all the Mind is in the body. – Swami Rama

We are part of a symbiotic relationship with something that disguises itself as an extraterrestrial invasion so as not to alarm us. - Great events cast their shadows before them. – Terrence McKenna

 

Alliterative Artillery

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