Stephen J. Bedard posted a blog where he linked to an article of his that was published in Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism.
HELLENISTIC INFLUENCE ON THE IDEA OF RESURRECTION
IN JEWISH APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE
I must say I was very impressed with that article. It is exactly the kind of scholarship that interests me. You did a good job of conveying the complexity of the Graeco-Roman world. You showed the subtle connections that are missed by thinking of religions as being entirley isolated from eachother.
I haven’t read as much about Judaism, and so I was glad to see you go into some detail about the Jewish beliefs about the afterlife. I knew Judaism had contact with Hellenism, but I’m not very familiar with the specifics beyond having read about Philo.
I noticed you mentioned Set and Osiris. Murdock writes about some theories of Set. Based on several quotes from scholars, she proposes that Set was originally the Samaritan god Seth, and that Seth entered Egyptian religion when the Samaritans conquered Egypt. The scholars she refers to are: James Bonwick, Dr. Samuel Sharpe, Dr. Louis Herbert Gray and Rev. Dr. Sayce
She also points out that Set originally wasn’t considered evil, but only later became the opponent of Osiris by playing a negative role in his death and resurrection story. Interestingly, Osiris and Set were considered brothers and were even combined as the dual god, Horus-Set.
Murdock doesn’t write about this, but I see a potential connection with the Coptic Gospel of Thomas attributed to Didymos Judas Thomas. I was reading elsewhere that, in later tradition, Judas “the twin” was considered the twin of Jesus. This isn’t to say that Set was a direct borrowing superimposed upon Judas. But, in the way you demonstrate in your article, Set may have been an influence on certain traditions about understanding Judas’ role.
The following quote from your article reminded me of something else that Murdock writes about.
“For a long time, the Egyptian idea of resurrection would have held little attraction for the Hebrews as it originally was a privilege only for the Pharaoh, and later for the very wealthy who could afford the elaborate burial procedures. However, the Middle Kingdom brought great theological advancements…”
Prior to the New Kingdom, love (mri) was bestowed upon a subordinate by a superior which also included by a god bestowing love to a follower, but this was strictly hierarchical except in certain situations such as a leader being beloved by his people. With the New Kingdom, love became a more common ideal where the follower could offer love to a god. There was an equality in that the person could, through love, join with their god. It was at this time that the epithet meri became extremely popular and was applied widely, in particular with Isis.
This is where Murdock points out that there is good evidence for an etymological connection not only between meri and Christian Mary but also meri and Jewish Miriam. She references a couple of sources that hypothesize that Miriam may have been an Egyptian name (the Catholic Encyclopedia and an editor’s note in Faiths of Man by Major-General James G.R. Forlong). She also references Rev. Dr. William Robertson Smith as connecting Miriam with Meri, and references Rev. Henry Tomkins as connecting Mary and Meri. Furthermore, she references both Dr. James Karl Hoffmeier and Alan H. Gardiner as connecting both Mary and Miriam with Meri.
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