, 47 tweets, 14 min read
Was #Jesus a #Mythical figure based on the #Greek #god #Dionysus?
Um, #NO, and here is why. (#Updated and #Expanded)
Dionysus (Roman Bacchus, also called Liber) was the Greek god of wine. In the mainstream myth, he is the son of Zeus and a mortal woman named Semele. Despite having a human mother, he was born a full- fledged god, and went around the ancient world, teaching, fighting Amazons
(with the aid of war elephants) and even invading India. He used his powers in a variety of ways, from making women go insane to turning pirates into dolphins. He eventually brought his dead mother from the underworld to Olympus, where she became a goddess. In most traditions, he
was born twice (some say thrice).
Is Dionysus the basis for Jesus Christ?
Prepare for a very long “No”.
1. Born on December 25th?
Nope. Jesus was never said to be born on December 25th in the Bible, so even if Dionysus was born on December 25th, this would be no parallel.
2. Born of a virgin?
Zeus slept with Dionysus Mother Semele (I.e. they had SEX). After she died, due to seeing Zeus in his full glory, Zeus rescued Dionysus (a six month old fetus at the time) and stitched him into his thigh. Three months later, Zeus gave birth to Dionysus. Zeus was DEFINITELY NOT a
virgin! Only in Orphism/Orphic cult was Dionysus claimed to be "virgin born" (a big misnomer, as we’ll see), but that isn't mainstream Greco-Roman myth. Indeed, in the Orphric mysteries, Dionysus was originally a god named Zagreus, who was born of an affair between Zeus and his
daughter Persephone (Roman Prosepine. Zeus raped her whie in the form of a serpent. Repeat: SEX! In one version, his mother is the goddess Demeter, who likewise had SEX (her daughter was Persephone, which she conceived with Zeus by means of…SEX!) After Zagreus was killed by the
titans, Zeus struck them with his thunderbolt, recovered Zagreus' heart and turned it into a potion. He gave Semele it to drink and she became pregnant with Dionysus, aka Wine God number 2 (some sources would say Wine God number 3)! However, in his earlier form, Zagreus, he was
not a product of a virgin conception or birth, and there is nothing that states that Semele was indeed a virgin when she drank the potion, so there was no virgin conception there either. Plus, in some accounts, Zeus swallowed the heart and then had sex with Semele.
Now, Jesus Mythicists may protest, saying that Pseudo-Hyginus, the ancient Roman Mythographer (2nd century AD), stated in his book Fabulae (section 167), that after Semele took the potion, Juno aka Hera, took the form of Semele’s nurse Beroe and convinced her to ask Jupiter aka
Zeus to come to her as he comes to Juno, “So that you may know how great a pleasure it is to lie with a god.” Semele asks Jupiter this, and she gets rewarded by being struck by a thunderbolt.
Most guys would just say that they had a headache.
At first, this seems like a “virgin” birth…until you realize that not only is Semele NOT called a virgin in the passage, but that Hyginus tells a different version of the tale in section 179. In it, Hera/Juno discovers that Zeus/Jupiter wants to have sex with Semele,. She does
the Beroe trick again, and says… the same thing she said in the other version. Semele agrees, asks Zeus/Jupiter the same question, and the text states that “she got what she asked for.” Zeus/Jupiter came with thunder and lightning, and Semele was consumed by fire as a result,
her son being born afterwards.
Now…why didn’t Zeus/Jupiter’s other mistresses get toasted when he slept with them?
Didn’t he sleep with them like he did with Hera?
Well, as it turns out, he didn’t.
At least, not in the same way.
You see, Semele was asking for Zeus to come to her in his full godly form, not in the form of a mortal. She wanted to see and experience his full divine glory when they made love. Diodorus Siculus, a first century Greek Historian, confirms this in his “Library of History”.
Pseudo-Apollodorus in his “Bibliotheca” recounts another version of the tale that has the same concept of Semele asking for Jupiter to come to her as he came to Hera when he courted her. In this version, they were already lovers. The manifestation was so terrifying that she died
of fright. Indeed, there is no Greek tradition that depicts Dionysus as the only child of Zeus conceived through sexual intercourse (nor indeed is there a myth of Zeus conceiving any of them with the aid of a virgin whose virginity he didn’t take); Zeus had SEX with them. Repeat:
This should really get us to understand that Semele’s request was not just for a fling, like Zeus had with other mortal mistresses like Alcmene; she wanted s GODLY fling. She wanted the full experience of sleeping with a God, with his power and glory unleashed, and it
killed her.
Indeed, if you think about it, both of Hyginus’ accounts of Dionysus’ birth can be reconciled: Jupiter made Semele pregnant with the potion, then wanted to have sex with her. Hera tricked her, Jupiter came in his glory, and, well, lightning is known to cause fire.
Thus he could be relating the same version of the story.
There is not one trace of virginity mentioned in the tale, and indeed, when we look at Hyginus 179 more closely, where it states that “she got what she asked for”, we can conclude that they were indeed having sex when
Semele died. After all, she “did get what she asked for”, and she wanted Jupiter to sleep with her in the way that she did with Hera, not the way he did with his other mortal mistresses. She wanted his full power during their tryst, and she got burned for it.
We also have to remember that the stories of Dionysus were varied. Some thought he was never born in human form.
None of these are virgin births.
And yet Jesus Mythicists keep repeating this as if it was…Gospel.
3. Wise men? Christmas star? Shepherds at his birth?
4. Placed in a manger?
5. Called Holy Child?
No again.
6. Turned water into wine?
Oh, he did…in a text that dates to the 2nd century AD! The text in question is “Leucippe and Clitophon” by Achilles Tatius, and
though it mentions Dionysus turning water into wine…the New Testament was written in the first century AD! Jesus died around AD 30-33 AD!
Who…is copying…from whom?
7. Pictured as riding triumphantly on a Donkey, with people waving palm branches?
No, he was depicted as riding on a mule, with crowds (most of the time satyrs) waving olive branches, not palm branches.
Sounds similar…until you realize that this was standard treatment of kingly
figures (including Emperors and generals) in the ancient Greco-Roman world. Even religious figures had this done to them at times.
Indeed, these depictions of Dionysus had no influence on the old Testament prophecy about the Messiah riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey (Zechariah
9:9). Indeed, Dionysus’ triumphant procession is more similar to that of Solomon’s, who rode to Gihon on King David’s mule and, after being anointed, was cheered by a crowd (1 Kings 1:32-40. In both instances, it is a mule that is being ridden, but there were no olive branches in
Solomon’s procession. Nor were there satyrs or gods appearing in human form, let alone riding animals.
Its possible that the ancient Hebrews, Greeks and Romans shared similar ways of treating triumphant rulers or religious figures, but this would be a sharing of cultural ideas
and practices, not an example of one faith borrowing the ideas of another.
8. Called “God of the Vine”?
Yes, Dionysus was.
I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you can find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus is called the same.
Go look.
I’ll wait.
9. A king? A eucharist/Lord’s Supper where his flesh was symbolically eaten?
Dionysus was never a king, nor did he have a “Lord’s Supper”. He was torn or cut to pieces by the Titans. Zeus fried the Titans with his thunderolts, then took Dionysus’ heart and ground it into a
potion for Semele to drink (in some accounts he swallowed the heart.
This is not a Lord’s Supper.
This is cannibalism.
10. Crucified?
No, he was torn to pieces (some say cut into pieces) by the Titans.
There is an artifact found that appears to show Dionysus on a cross, but this not only was dated to the 4rth century AD (again, who is borrowing from whom?), but it is now considered a forgery.
Indeed, some say it is a fake made in the…20th century. One reason for this is that Dionysus is depicted with bent arms and legs, which is how medieval Christians depicted the crucified Christ. However, in the ancient world, the limbs were depicted and being straight.
In other
words, an anachronism!
11. Resurrected?
Diodorus Siculus gives an account where, after Zagreus is slain by the titans, Demeter (Dionysus’ mother in this version of the tale), puts Dionysus’ pieces back together and brings him back to life, similar to what we see in both the myth
of Osiris and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, though without the latter’s horrid appearance and other downsides. Nevertheless, this was not in the same league as the resurrection of Christ: Dionysus did not resurrect himself. Demeter resurrected him. Jesus, on the other hand,
resurrected himself! Dionysus' Resurrection is more in line with those of Horus, Osiris, Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter (the latter two New Testament examples), and various other resurrections where someone needed someone else to resurrect them.
Jesus didn’t need anyone to do it for
He did it all on his own.
Plus, as already noted, in most accounts of Zagreus’ murder, his heart was turned into a potion after he died. Semele drank it, and as a result got pregnant with him. In one, Zeus swallows his heart and then has sex with Semele, and she gets
pregnant with Dionysus.
This is not a resurrection.
It’s a reincarnation.
12. Resurrected on March 25th?
No, there was no Dionysian equivalent of Easter.
12. Put on trial?
Yes, Dionysus was on trial, but if you read the account of it in Euripides’ “Bacchae”, you’ll see they are about a similar as Katy Perry and a Vogon alien from “the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
13. Also called King of Kings, Alpha and Omega, etc?
I think we can conclude that Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine, was not the basis for Jesus Christ, the Way the Truth and the Life.
Homer the Blind Poet, "The Iliad", 14.374-390 (Go further down passed 390 to get the entire context),
Pseudo-Apollodorus (Greek Mythographer), "Bibliotheca", 3.26-30, 36-39
Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 155, 167, 179
Ovid “Metamorphoses” 6.93-123
Nonnus, "Dionysiaca" 5. 562, 6. 155, 24.43, 31.28, 48.41
Diodorus Siculus, “Library of History”, 3.62, 3.63-64
Achilles Tatius’ Leucippe and Cliptophon, 2.2.2-3
“The First Fossil Hunters” by Adrienne Mayor, 55
“Alexander the Great: Son of the Gods’ by Alan Fildes and Joann Fletcher, 102-03
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