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Historicity of the Christ Mass by Only Johnson 1913
See also The Pagan Origins of Christmas - 40 Books on CDROM and The Pagan Christ, Over 200 Books on DVDrom (Christ Myth) Mithras, Buddha etc
Again it is Christmas with its countless haunting memories—the Christmastide of 1913? Nay, but of 1921, if the most up to-date chronologists are to be credited. That is to say, the Christ was born B.C. 8, and not A.D. 1, as erroneously computed by Dionysius Exiquus, a learned monkish astrologer commissioned by the Emperor, cir. 530, to ascertain exactly when Jesus was born. That Dionysius, in dating the Birth, fell about four years short of actuality had been generally conceded by experts; but Sir William Ramsay,-in his authoritative Luke the Physician, pronounces in favor of B.C. 8, and his reasons may now be said to hold the field:
"Colonel Mackinlay (The Magi: How They Recognised Christ's Star) has maintained that the Birth was in B.C. 8, at the (autumnal) Feast of Tabernacles; and he has advanced distinctly stronger arguments for this view than can be brought forward in favor of any other year. A year later than 5 or earlier than 8 would be fatal to the historicity of Matthew and Luke. A date later than B.C. 5 would place the birth after Herod's death; a date earlier than B.C. 8 would put the Ministry (of Christ) too early."
Anyhow, the Dionysian chronology has never been officially rectified, and the Bethlehem Birth Legend, with the Magi and the Moving Star, the Massacred Innocents, etc., is consequently robbed of so much as even the chronological sine qua non of historical certitude.
But, if the year of the Nativity is uncertain, still more disputable are the day and the month. To appropriate the season of the pagan Saturnalia was, doubtless, a clever stroke of ecclesiastical business, but that is the most that can be said for It. In his masterly Conception of Christ, Prof. Pfleiderer observes with truth:
"In the ritual of Mithras Sunday was celebrated as the day sacred to the Sun-God, and the great festival of the year was the celebration of the returning Sun at the winter solstice. December 25th was the Birthday of Sol Invictus long before it became the Birthday of the Christian Saviour."
In the second century, when Christianity was in the process of crystallization, many competing nature-cults—from Persia, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere—fermented in the Roman world, among them, more particularly, those of Mithras, the Persian Sun-God; the Egyptian Osiris; the Assyrian Gods, Adonis and Attis; the Greek Gods, Bacchus and Dionysius, and many others. All thest had remarkable features in common. Their gods were born on or near Christmas Day, mostly in caverns and of virgin mothers. They led beneficent lives; succumbed to the powers of darkness; were buried and rose again, generally on the third day.
The striking similarity in creed and ritual between Mlthraism and Christianity was naturally highly perplexing to the early Christian fathers. For a time, indeed, it seemed a toss-up which would dominate. Good Justin Martyr got over the difficulty by declaring: "The birth of Jesus in the stable was the prototype of the birth of Mithras in the cave"—overlooking the trifling fact that Mithras was born at least 500 years before! He first saw the light, according to Plutarch, on December 25, in a cave and of a virgin. He went forth doing manifold works of beneficence, earning, in consequence, the titles of "Saviour," "Redeemer," and, in particular, "Mediator" between the powers of light and darkness. He had twelve companions; was buried in a rock-tomb; rose again shortly afterwards, his resurrection being celebrated over an empty sarcophagus from which an image of Mithras had mysteriously disappeared. The lamb was his frequent symbol, and eucharistic rites perpetuated his memory.
What then? Is the religion of Christ a mere farrago of pagan cults, a worthless spiritual asset? By no means. Profound truths underlay them all, and their infusion into Christianity, instead of constituting beguilements of the Devil (as Tertullian and Justin would have us believe), really testify eloquently to the eternal divine unity of spirit that Is in man. St Augustine, of a surety, knew what he was about when he declared:
"That which is called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist from the planting of the human race until Christ came In the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already subsisted, began to be called Christianity."
In the story of Jesus of Nazareth it is surpassing difficult to disentangle the personal factor from the glutinous accretions of kindred teaching and teachers. But, however elusive may be data for a Life of Jesus on the Dictionary of National Biography model—and they are sufficiently intangible—yet, in the domain of spiritual consciousness, the impression He has produced, and is ever more producing, is one of unapproachable, awe-inspiring ubiquity. He never once strayed from the Immediate presence of the Eternal Father. His spirit was as truly nourished therein as was His body in the realm of light and air. He lived His life on the plane of perfect oneness with Supreme Love and, therefore, rightly claimed to be the Son of God,
Whose voice still soundeth on,
From the centuries that are gone,
To the centuries that shall be.
What He is (says the strenuous Pathfinder of the City Temple), that we are called to be; His divine sonship shall be ours also. Out of the travail of the human soul God is bringing forth the Christian man, for whom the creation has waited long; and out of the discipline and anguish of every individual human life He is fashioning a Son of God for whose habitation earth is too small and the heaven of heavens is not too large.
Thy Kingdom Come!
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