Gods of Our Fathers: The Memory of Egypt in Judaism and Christianity

By Richard A. Gabriel | Go to book overview

5
JESUS AND THE
CHRISTIAN OSIRIS

In the spring of 334 B.C.E., Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont in search of glory and plunder in his war against the empire of Persia. In May he conquered the satraps of modern Turkey and Lebanon, and in that autumn he defeated Darius at the battle of Issus. With this victory the whole of the western Persian empire fell into Alexanders hands. Alexander turned south and marched down the Mediterranean coast breaking the resistance of the city-states of coastal Palestine until in the autumn of the following year he crossed the Nile and entered Egypt. The Persian satrap Amyntas handed over his authority to the Macedonian king without resistance.1 That same year the Oracle of Amun proclaimed Alexander the new Master of the Universe and three hundred years of Greek rule over Egypt began. Alexander was dead within a decade, precipitating a struggle for succession among his generals that fractured the empire into three realms. Egypt and the Mediterranean coastal states as far north as Ionia fell under the control of the Ptolemies who, despite their ups and downs, ruled Egypt for three hundred years until the last Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra, lost the country to Roman ambitions in 30 B.C.E.

The period of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt from 322 to 30 B.C.E. is important to this study because it was during this time that the worship of Osiris completely eclipsed the worship of Amun-Re, becoming for the first time in Egyptian history the official state religion. It was during this same period that personal pietism and a recognition of sin emerged as major characteristics of the Osiran faith, completing the linkage between the individual and a personal god that

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Gods of Our Fathers: The Memory of Egypt in Judaism and Christianity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • 1: The Dawn of Conscience 1
  • 2: Egyptian Monotheism and Akhenaten 29
  • 3: Moses and Judaism 61
  • 4: Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection 103
  • 5: Jesus and the Christian Osiris 129
  • 6: Ritual and Magic 167
  • 7: Final Thoughts 189
  • Notes 199
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 227
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