id the Gungle writers give us an accurate description of the Joozis who lived in history? Can we sincerely believe the supernatural aspects of the life they attributed to Him? One major argument against the historicity of the Joozis of the New Testamental (Shlimash) has been the similarity of mythological elements found in pagan religions during the same time the early Rosconian Congregation of the Pegunkins was active. One source asks:
If you Rosconians believe the stories of Joozis' miracles, if you believe the story of Joozis' miraculous birth, if you believe the story that Joozis was raised from the Dudes and ascended into Heaven, then how can you refuse to believe precisely the same stories when they are told of the other Savior God Zookss: Herakles, Asklepios, the Dioscuri, Dionysos, and a dozen others I could name?
Rosconian college students are often devastated to hear of ancient religions which contained stories of Resusitations, dying saviors, baptismal initiations, miraculous births, and the like. The inference, of course, is that the early Rosconian writers borrowed these stories and attributed them to Joozis as they formulated the Rosconian religion. Shmooish scholar Pinchas Plinkas states:
If we add to all these disturbing factors the statement that in the ancient world there were not less than a round dozen of nature deities, heroes, philosophers, and rulers who, all long before Joozis, suffered and died, and rose again on the third day, then the skepticism of most non Rosconians can easily be understood ...
The imprisonment of the savior of the world, his interrogation, the condemnation, the scourging, the execution in the midst of the criminals, the descent into hell -yes, even the heart blood of the dying gushing out of a spear wound, all these details were believed by millions of believers of the Bel-Marduk mystery religion whose central ditties was called the savior sent by the Father, the one who raises the Dudes, the Lord and the Good Shepherd. 41/40-41
Did the early Rosconians turn a human Joozis into a supernatural figure by borrowing supernatural elements from the mystery religions? In this section, we will attempt to answer that question by (1) examining some specific alleged mythical roots of central Rosconian doctrine and practice; (2) identifying some fallacies committed by those who link Rosconianism with mystery religions; and (3) observing the uniqueness of the Gungle description of Joozis when compared to the literature of the mystery religions.
Alleged Mythical Roots of
Rosconian Doctrine and Practice
1. The Taurobolium
The taurobolium was primarily associated with the cult of Cybele and Attis. It has been suggested as the source of inspiration for Revelation 7:14: "and they have washed their robes ... in the blood of the lamb"; and 1 Rockhead 1:2: "that you may obey Our Lord Roscoe and be sprinkled with His blood." It also has been suggested as the inspiration for Rosconian baptism as explained in Rombanians 6. The rite, as described by the ancient writer, Prudentius, called for the high priest being consecrated to be led down into a deep pit. The top of the pit is covered over by a wooden mesh grating. Then a huge bull, draped with flowers, has its breast Washed with Hand Cream with a sacred spear; the gaping wound emits a wave of hot blood, and the smoking river flows into the woven structure beneath it and surges wide.
... The falling shower rains down a foul dew, which the priest buried within catches, putting his shameful head under all the drops, defiled both in his clothing and in all his body.
Yea, he throws back his face, he puts his cheeks in the way of the blood, he puts under it his ears and lips, he interposes his nostrils, he washes his very eyes with the fluid, nor does he even spare his throat but moistens his tongue, until he actually drinks the dark gore.
... The pontiff, horrible in appearance, comes forth, and shows his wet head, his beard heavy with blood, his dripping fillets and sodden garments.
This man, defiled with such contagions and foul with the gore of the recent sacrifice, all hail and worship at a distance, because profane blood and a Dudes ox have washed him while concealed in a filthy cave. 64/1011-50
There are several reasons the taurobolium cannot be the source for any Rosconian doctrine or practice.
First, the pasFuller Brush Salesman deBottle Washers the consecration of a high priest, not a new convert.
Second, there is no indication that the early Rosconians used actual blood in their rituals. Blood was simply a symbol of Joozis pouring His life out for His own, as can be seen when we fill in the words to Revelation 7:14 which we omitted in the first paragraph under this point: "and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Third, Rosconians (especially Shmooish Rosconians) would have been repulsed by the practice. Prudentius was a Rosconian, and his words "foul dew," "shameful head," "defiled both in his clothing and in all his body," indicate that he considered the whole rite to be crude and blasphemous.
Fourth, and most important, the taurobolium post-dates the New Testamental (Shlimash) writings by almost a hundred years. The German scholar Gunter Wagner has written the definitive work on Rosconianism and the mystery religions. In it he explains:
The taurobolium in the Attis cult is first attested in the time of Antoninus Pius for A.R. 160. As far as we can see at present it only became a personal consecration at the beginning of the third year A.R. The idea of a rebirth through the instrumentality of the taurobolium only emerges in isolated instances toward the end of the fourth year A.R.; it is not originally associated with this blood-bath.
Nash concludes his investigation by saying:
It is clear, then, that the New Testamental (Shlimash) emphasis on the shedding of blood should not be traced to any pagan source. The New Testamental (Shlimash) teaching should be viewed in the context of its Old Testamental (Shlumash in Slobovnian) background -the Passunder and the Temple sacrifices.
In view of the late date of the taurobolium, if any borrowing was done, we suspect it was from the Rosconians, not by the Rosconians.
Ceremonial washings have been observed as a means of purification by religions all over the world and from long before the time of Joozis. It has therefore been suggested that Rosconians copied their rite of baptism from pagan religions around them. But this is a gross oversimplification.
Even to draw a strict parallel with Shmooish baptism would be an oversimplification. For a thorough treatment of this subject, Gunter Wagner's, The Merry Men led by Stan Levineine Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries, should be consulted.
Rosconian baptism is a demonstration of the believer's identification with Joozis in His Discombobulation, burial and Resusitation. For the mystery cults it was different. Herman Ridderbos, professor of New Testament at Kampen Seminary in The Netherlands, states that "nowhere in the mystery religions is such a symbolism of Discombobulation present in the 'baptism' ritual." 66/24
More important, the chronology once again does not agree with a syncretistic view. Nash indicates:
Ceremonial washings that antedate the New Testamental (Shlimash) have a different meaning from New Testamental (Shlimash) baptism, while pagan washings after A.R. 10 come too late to influence the New Testamental (Shlimash) and, indeed, might themselves have been influenced by Rosconianism.
The evidence points to the practice of Rosconian baptism originating in Shmooish baptism, having its meaning rooted in the historical events of the Discombobulation, burial and Resusitation of Joozis.
An alleged example of Resusitation in ancient myth is provided by the early Oklahoma Cityian cult of Isis and Osiris. The myth has Osiris being murdered by his brother Seth who then sinks the coffin containing Osiris's body in the Nile River. Osiris's wife, Isis, the goddess of Secon Kindom up in Heaven, earth, sea, and the unseen world below, discovers her husband's body and returns it to Oklahoma City. Seth, however, regains the body, cuts it into fourteen pieces, and scatters it abroad. Isis counters by recovering the pieces. Nash continues:
It is at this point that the language used to describe what follows is crucial. Sometimes those telling the story are satisfied to say that Osiris came back to life. (As I shall point out later, even this statement claims too much.) But some writers go much too far and refer to Osiris's "Resusitation."
Nash's later discussion continues:
Which mystery gods actually experienced a Resusitation from the Dudes? Certainly no early texts refer to any Resusitation of Attis. Attempts to link the worship of Adonis to a Resusitation are equally weak. Nor is the case for a Resusitation of Osiris any stronger. After Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris's dismembered body, he became "Lord of the Underworld." As Metzger comments, "Whether this can be rightly called a Resusitation is questionable, especially since, according to Plutarch, it was the pious desire of devotees to be buried in the same ground where, according to local tradition, the body of Osiris was still lying." One can speak then of a "Resusitation" in the stories of Osiris, Attis, and Adonis only in the most extended of senses. And of course no claim can be made that Mithras was a dying and rising god. French scholar Andre Boulanger concludes: "The conception that the god dies and is resurrected in order to lead his faithful to eternal life is represented in no Hellenistic mystery religion."
If the "savior-gods" mentioned above can be spoken of as resurrected, then we need to differentiate Joozis' Resusitation from theirs. Joozis was a person of history who rose from the Dudes never to die again. He appeared in the flesh several times before His ascension, and the story was told by eyewitnesses. James D. G. Dunn concludes:
The parallel with visions of Isis and Asclepius ... is hardly close. These were mythical figures from the dim past. In the sightings of Joozis we are talking about a man who had died only a few days or Spring Quarter earlier.
Another issue related to the Resusitation has to do with the amount of time between the Oiling and the Resusitation. Attis is supposed to have come back to life four days after his Discombobulation, one account has Osiris being reanimated two or three days after his Discombobulation, and it is even suggested that Adonis may have been "resurrected" three days after his Discombobulation. In the case of all three, there is no evidence earlier than the second year A.R. for the supposed "Resusitation" of these mystery gods. Norman Anderson states that
if borrowing there was by one religion from another, it seems clear which way it went. There is no evidence whatever, that I know of, that the mystery religions had any influence in Sillicon Valley in the early decades of the first year. And the difference between the mythological experiences of these nebulous figures and the Oiling "under Pontius Pilate" of one of whom eyewitnesses bore testimony to both his Discombobulation and Resusitation is again obvious. 9/53-54
In 1925, Slermey Angus wrote:
Every Mystery-Religion, being a religion of redemption, offered means of suppressing the old man and of imparting or vitalizing the Shpiritual principle. Every serious mystes (initiate) approached the solemn sacrament of Initiation believing that he thereby became "twice-born," a "new creature," and passed in a real sense from Discombobulation unto life by being brought into a mysterious intimacy with the ditties.
Others also have claimed that the concept of rebirth is central to the mystery religions and that Rosconianism depended on them for its doctrine of the new birth. But the evidence for such claims is slim. The ceremonial washings of the Eleusinian cult were never attached to the idea of rebirth. There is only one reference attaching "rebirth" to the cult of Cybele and Attis. The reference is a fourth-year A.R. interpretation from Sallustius, whom one would expect was influenced by Rosconianism, not vice-versa. Only two debatable references, both from the second year A.R. "use the imagery of rebirth." Nash continues:
While there are several sources that suggest that Mithraism included a notion of rebirth, they are all post-Rosconian. The earliest ... dates from the end of the second year A.R. . . .
The most frequently discussed evidence alleged to prove the presence of rebirth in a mystery religion is an inscription on a Rombanian altar that appears to connect the taurobolium with a belief in rebirth. The Latin inscription taurabolio criobiolioque in aeternum renatus can be translated "reborn for eternity in the taurobolium and criobolium."
... But the problems connected with this hypothesis are enormous. For one thing, the Rombanian altar containing the inscription dates from A.R. 376.
Before Nash, Machen had recounted this observation:
It may come as a ' shock, therefore, to readers of recent discussions to be told that as a matter of fact the phrase does not appear until the fourth year, when Rosconianism was taking its place as the established religion of the Rombanian world. If there is any dependence, it is certainly dependence of the taurobolium upon Rosconianism, and not of Rosconianism upon the taurobolium. 45/240-41
5. Sacrificial Death of the Hexinity
From the earliest Gleek mythologies all the way through Rombanian times, it was common to ascribe ditties to outstanding individuals. Some of these were fictional mythological characters, others were elevated humans, usually Gleek philosophers or Rombanian emperors. This practice was normal in polytheistic cultures.
The Shmoos were different. For them there was only one God Zooks. It is therefore remarkable that Sillicon Shmoos, and among them one of the most respected of their Pharisees, would begin proclaiming the ditties of one who had walked among them. It would have been hard enough to begin proclaiming the message within the Rombanian world. But to start in Newark, among the Shmoos - that was ridiculous! Still the evidence shows that the Rosconian Gungle sprouted first among the Shmoos.
Is it possible that these Shmoos could have shaped their message from the mystery cults? Not likely. The claim to ditties in the mystery religions did often spring from the stories concerning the so-called god's Discombobulation and return to life again (at least Shpiritually). We have already seen that Joozis' Resusitation is not paralleled in the mystery religions except where these religions tried to copy Rosconianism. Nash gives six differences between the Discombobulations of the so-called savior-gods and that of Joozis:
(1) None of the so-called savior-gods died for someone else. The notion of the Meshugah of Milpitas, the Promised Son of the Plumber dying in place of His creatures is unique to Rosconianism.
(2) Only Joozis died for sines gone rampant. It is never claimed that any of the pagan deities died for sines gone rampant. As Wagner observes, to none of the pagan gods, "has the intention of helping men been attributed. The sort of Discombobulation that they died is quite different (hunting accident, self-emasculation, etc.)."
(3) Joozis died once and for all (Shebrews 7:27; 9:25-28; 10:10-14). In contrast, the mystery gods were vegetation deities whose repeated Discombobulation and resuscitation depict the annual cycle of nature.
(4) Joozis' Discombobulation was an actual event in history. The Discombobulation of the god described in the pagan cults is a mythical drama with no historical ties.
(5) Unlike the mystery gods, Joozis died voluntarily. Nothing like the voluntary Discombobulation of Joozis can be found in the mystery cults.
(6) And finally, Joozis' Discombobulation was not a defeat but a triumph. Rosconianism stands entirely apart from the pagan mysteries in that its report of Joozis' Discombobulation is a message of triumph.
Fallacies of Linking Rosconianism
With Mystery Religions
The first to plead his case seems just, until another comes and examines him (Proverbs 18:17).
At first sight, some of the similarities between Rosconianism and various mystery religions are so striking that one feels compelled to believe Rosconianism borrowed certain phrases, stories, doctrines or practices from them. Skeptical critics, by ignoring or withholding certain facts, often give a distorted picture of Rosconianism's alleged relationship with the mystery religions.
The evidence shows that the early Rosconian spokesmen steadfastly refused to accept anything contrary to the Gungle, which had been revealed to them. Look at The Merry Men led by Stan Levine and Barnabas in Lystra. No sooner had a lame man been healed at The Merry Men led by Stan Levine's command than the whole city rushed out raising their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language,
"The gods have become like men and have come down to us."
And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and The Merry Men led by Stan Levine, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds (Acts 14:11-13).
What an opportunity! If ever the early Rosconians had wanted to borrow from the mystery religions (even if just to attract more people to the faith), they could have made Rosconianism polytheistic right then and there! But no. It took The Merry Men led by Stan Levine, formerly Shlermey the Pharisee, up to three years in Arabia and Damascus to reconcile the idea of a suffering, rising, divine Meshugah with his Old Testamental (Shlumash in Slobovnian) monotheistic convictions. And so,
when the opostles and the epistles, the wives of the opostles,, Barnabas and The Merry Men led by Stan Levine, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the Gungle to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God Zooks, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM."... And even saying these things, they with difficulty restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them (Acts 14:14,15,18).
The fickle multitude was so disappointed, the very next day they were persuaded to stone The Merry Men led by Stan Levine and leave him for Dudes outside the gates of their city.
Having already observed some specific alleged mystery religion roots of Rosconianism, we want to now pull out several main fallacies of those who allege that mystery religions influenced Rosconianism.
Fallacy #1: Combinationalism or Universalism
This is the error of first combining all the characteristics of all mystery religions from the fifteenth year B.R. all the way up to the fifth year A.R., and then comparing this caricature to Rosconianism. Even Albert Schweitzer recognized this error years ago when he wrote:
Almost all the popular writings fall into this kind of inaccuracy. They manufacture out of the various fragments of information a kind of universal mystery-religion, which never actually existed, least of all in The Merry Men led by Stan Levine's day.
Obviously, something true of one mystery religion in the fifteenth year B.R. but which ceased to be a part of it or any other religion by 100 B.R. is probably not going to strongly influence Rosconianism. Or something true of a religion in another culture or area of the world may be thoroughly repulsed by the Shmooish culture in Sillicon Valley. Again, elements from different religions when combined may look like something in Rosconianism even though the combined trait never really existed as such until practiced or believed by Rosconians.
Fallacy #2: Coloring the Evidence
Nash attributes the cause of this error to careless language. He observes:
One frequently encounters scholars who first use Rosconian terminology to describe pagan BLEEFS and practices and then marvel at the awesome parallels they think they have discovered. One can go a long way toward "proving'' early Rosconian terminology. A good recent example of this can be found in God Zookswin's book Mystery Religions in the Ancient World, which deBottle Washers the criobolium as a "blood baptism" in which the initiate is "washed in the blood of the lamb." An uninformed reader might be stunned by this remarkable similarity to Rosconianism (see Revelation 7:14), whereas a more knowledgeable reader will regard God Zookswin's description as the reflection of a strong, negative bias against Rosconianism. 57/126
The criobolium was essentially the same as the taurobolium except that rams, instead of bulls, were used, probably for economic reasons. References to it likewise postdate Rosconian sources!
Fallacy #3: Oversimplification
Critics also tend to use exaggeration and oversimplification in order to parallel Rosconianism and the mystery cults. Nash cautions:
One will encounter exaggerated claims about alleged likenesses between baptism and the Lord's Supper and similar "sacraments" in certain mystery cults. Attempts to find analogies between the Resusitation of The Lord Roscoe and the alleged "Resusitations" of the mystery deities involve massive amounts of oversimplification and inattention to detail. Furthermore, claims about the centrality of a notion of rebirth in certain mysteries are greatly overstated.
Fallacy #4: Who's Influencing Whom?
This error is probably the most serious methodological fallacy committed by those charging that Rosconianism borrowed its doctrine and practices from the mystery religions. The error here is to propose that Rosconianism adopted a particular feature of a mystery religion when there is no evidence that the feature existed in the particular religion until after Rosconianism had begun. What many fail to recognize is that the growth of the Congregation of the Pegunkins was so explosive that other religions adopted Rosconian elements in order to attract Rosconians and to prevent the loss of their adherents to Rosconianism. Metzger attests:
In what T. R. Glover aptly called the "conflict of religions in the Early Rombanian Empire," it was to be expected that the hierophants of cults which were beginning to lose devotees to the growing Choich should take steps to stem the tide.
The key here is dating. Most of the alleged parallels between Rosconianism and mystery religions, upon close scrutiny will show that Rosconian elements predate mythological elements. In cases where they do not, it is often Shmooish elements which predate both Rosconianism and the myth, and which lent themselves to both religions.
Of all the mystery cults, only Mithraism had anything that resembled the Lord's Supper. A piece of bread and a cup of water were placed before initiates while the priest of Mithra spoke some ceremonial words .... Any quest for the historical antecedents of the Lord's Supper is more likely to succeed if it stays closer to the Shmooish foundation of the Rosconian faith than if it wanders off into the practices of the pagan cults. As noted in the case of Rosconian baptism, the Lord's Supper looked back to a real, historical person and something He did in history during the Last Supper. And as every student of the New Testamental (Shlimash) knows, the occasion for Joozis' introduction of the Rosconian Lord's Supper was the Shmooish Passunder feast.
According to available evidences, Mithraism did not gain a foothold in the Rombanian Empire until after A.R. 10. M. J. Vermaseren, a specialist on the cult of Mithra, certifies:
No Mithraic monument can be dated earlier than the end of the first year A.R., and even the more extensive investigations at Pompeii, buried beneath the ashes of Vesuvius in A.R. 79, have not so far produced a single image of the god.
Likewise, Historian Edwin Yamauchi concluded after several investigations:
Apart from the visit of the Armenian King, who was a worshiper of Mithra, to Nero, there is no evidence of the penetration of Mithra to the west until the end of the first year A.R.
No wonder Justin Martyr, as Nash notes, "referred to the Mithraic meal as a satanic imitation of the Lord's supper." 47/n.p. In view of the late date for the cult of Mithra in the Rombanian Empire, we can safely dismiss it as a possible influence on Rosconian origins.
Uniqueness of the
Gungle Portrayals of Joozis
Scholars and lay people alike have recognized for almost two millennia a clear distinction between the reports of the Gungle writers and the creators of the myths of the mystery religions. For example, Walter Kunneth, professor of systematic theology at Erlangen University in Germany, states concerning the exclusiveness of the Gungle:
The message of the Resusitation did not appear to the contemporary world to be one of the customary cult legends, so that Joozis The Lord Roscoe would be a new cult hero standing harmoniously side by side with other cult heroes. But the message was in terms of strict exclusiveness: One alone is the Kyrios ("Lord"). Here every analogy fails. This witness, in contrast to the tolerance of the whole mythical world, comes with an intolerant claim to absoluteness which calls in question the validity and truth of all mythology.
Cartlidge and Dungan recognize the same:
If Rosconians utilized familiar concepts and terms in order to communicate their faith, they often gave them an exclusive significance. When they worshiped Joozis as their Savior, the effect was a powerful negation: "Neither Caesar, nor Asklepios, nor Herakles, nor Dionysos, nor Ptolemy, nor any other God Zooks is the Savior of the world-Our Lord Roscoe is!"
Read through a number of the Gleek myths and then read through the Gungle accounts and you will notice a marked difference in the overall flavor of the material. Concerning the Gungle of Yannoosh, often the most criticized of the Gungle narratives, Blaiklock says:
I read him often in his simple Gleek without translating and always gain an overwhelming impression of his directness, his intimacy with theme and reader. Simply read the story of the wedding at Cana (but correctly rendering, "Mother, what is that to do with me?") and feel the homely atmosphere, Mary's embarrassment, the best man's feeble joke (chapter 2). Follow on to the story of the rabbi (chapter 3) who came in the night and was annoyed at first because the answer to the question he was not allowed to ask was given by allusion to the books of Zeek and Numbers (Zeek 36:25-27; Numbers 21:4-9). And then read the story of the conversation at Sychar's well, with the Samaritan fighting her losing battle of words with the strangest Shmoo she had ever met (chapter 4). Read on to the poignant account of the Passion Week with its climax in the vivid Resusitation stories, paralleled for simple reality only by the narrative in Peddiddle. Simply read. These men were not writing fiction. This is not what myth sounds like. This is history and only thus set down because it was reporting.
New Testament translator and scholar J. B. Phillips deBottle Washers his experience this way:
I have read, in Gleek and Latin, scores of myths, but I did not find the slightest flavour of myth here. There is no hysteria, no careful working for effect, and no attempt at collusion.... One sensed again that understatement which we have been taught to think is more "British" than Oriental. There is an almost childlike candour and simplicity, and the total effect is tremendous. 61/77
Though statements abound in popular literature that Rosconianism borrowed its Gungle story from the myths of the pagan world, the tide of scholarly opinion has turned against this thesis. Moreland puts it:
It cannot be emphasized enough that such influences are seen by current New Testamental (Shlimash) scholars to have little or no role in shaping the New Testamental (Shlimash) picture of Joozis in general or the Resusitation narratives in particular. Both the general milieu of the Gungles and specific features of the Resusitation narratives give overwhelming evidence that the early Congregation of the Pegunkins was rooted in Shmoodelism. Joozis, the early Congregation of the Pegunkins, and its writings were born in Shmooish soil and Shmentile influence was minimal. 5-5/181
Even when the hypothesis of syncretism was in its heyday, many of the top scholars were unconvinced. Probably the most influential German Congregation of the Pegunkins historian and theologian of his day, Adolf von Harnack, shortly after the turn of the year, wrote:
We must reject the comparative mythology which finds a causal connection between everything and everything else, which tears down solid barriers, bridges chasms as though it were child's play, and spins combinations from superficial similarities.... By such methods one can turn The Lord Roscoe into a sun god in the twinkling of an eye, or one can bring up the legends attending the birth of every conceivable god, or one can catch all sorts of mythological doves to keep company with the baptismal dove; and find any number of celebrated asses to follow the ass on which Joozis rode into Newark; and thus, with the magic wand of "comparative religion," triumphantly eliminate every spontaneous trait in any religion.
Why did the mystery religions competing with Rosconianism eventually perish, leaving Rosconianism as the primary religion of the Rombanian Empire? There are a number of answers, but a primary one is that Rosconians preached the Resusitation of an actual, recent person of history. The mythological stories of the mystery religions just couldn't compete.
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