A Pagan Prophecy

Pagan prophecy is sweet. Take Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue, a poem written a little while before the birth of Christ about the birth of a divine child. The parallells between the mythical event — constructed by Virgil — and the historical event — the birth of Jesus — are striking.

Justice returns, returns old Saturn’s reign, 
With a new breed of men sent down from heaven. 
Only do thou, at the boy’s birth in whom 
The iron shall cease, the golden race arise…

The reign of Saturn can be accurately compared to the Christian vision of Eden — a Paradise from which mankind has fallen. The divine boy sent from Heaven will both administer Justice and return mankind to this Paradise.

….He shall receive the life of gods, and see 
Heroes with gods commingling, and himself 
Be seen of them, and with his father’s worth 
Reign o’er a world at peace…

I suppose I need not mention the similarity between the boy reigning “with his father’s worth” and Jesus Christ claiming to establish the reign of God in the world (the kingdom of Heaven) by the authority of his father.

…The serpent too shall die, 
Die shall the treacherous poison-plant, and far 
And wide Assyrian spices spring.

“And I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This is the Old Testament prophecy of Christ, God’s promise to man that “the serpent too shall die.”

Assume thy greatness, for the time draws nigh, 
Dear child of gods, great progeny of Jove! 
See how it totters- the world’s orbed might, 
Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault profound, 
All, see, enraptured of the coming time! 
Ah! might such length of days to me be given, 
And breath suffice me to rehearse thy deeds, 

Virgil could not have known that had he been given such “length of days” amounting to approximately 20 more years, he would have lived at the time of the birth of Christ.

What are we to do with all this? The poem could certainly be only coincidentally similar and chronologically close to the events described in Scripture. It would be a remarkable coincidence, I’ll grant that, but not impossibly remarkable.

If one assumes a non-Christian premise, an argument could be made that there has always existed the myth of a divine Messianic figure taking human form and, by the power of Heaven invested in him, establishing an Edenic paradise on Earth, a paradise mankind had fallen from in ages past. It’s just a myth, both for Virgil’s boy and for Jesus Christ. The birth of the former in no way foretells the birth of the latter, for they’re both no more than a embellished product of mankind’s story-telling, myth-making mind.

But why? Why does man naturally develop the myth of a paradise lost, and the coming of a divine savior to restore it? Here are my thoughts, in brief:

Whether we take the Native American stories of Coyote and Opossum, or the Greek’s Echo and Narcissus, or Virgil’s story here, this much seems obvious: These stories lasted not because they are amusing, but because they speak a truth that resonates with human experience.

The myth of Prometheus survives not because the existence or non-existence of Prometheus, but because of the truth contained in his story, the truth that mankind’s journey does seem one of fumbling through the darkness, and that the effort to lift mankind out of the darkness is usually one met by punishment.

To say that a myth is not prophecy because all mankind has a similar myth is only to say that all mankind has been prophesying. If all men tell stories that involve the world being fallen and in need of a savior, and these stories resonate with human person as being valuable and worthy of sharing, it’s not a bizarre opinion to hold, that the world really is a fallen one, and really does need a savior. Far more difficult to hold would be the position that this myth sprung up all across the world, in every major religion and culture, and yet has no tenable bearing in reality.

My point is simply that there are two false ways to view this sort of prophecy. There is the Good Christian method, which says, “Obviously this poem is really about Christ. The poet was inspired by the Holy Spirit to foretell the birth of Christ.” Maybe, maybe not. The poem is a secular one, written for secular reasons. Did God specifically inspire the poet so that his poem would ring with resonances of Scripture? Perhaps, but only if you take as your premise the Truth of Scripture and the reality of God.

Then there is the Good Modern method, which takes as it’s premise the falsehood of Christianity and says “It’s all just myth and only myth.” Maybe, but then why is mankind ceaselessly babbling about it?

It seems to me a third route is necessary — not a middle ground between the two methods, but a paradigm shift. Prophecy is often misconstrued as simply “telling the future.” Throughout history, however, those considered prophets just as often speak the truth about the present, going to tell the people that they are living in sin, worshiping false idols, etc. Prophets tell it like it is. Prophets tell the Truth.

So when Virgil writes a poem about a paradise lost, living in the hope of restoration by a hero, echoing and reechoing thousands of other stories from all over the world and all through time, his poem is a prophecy. Why? Because he tells it like it is. He names a truth tangible in human experience, that this world is imperfect and we wish it weren’t so, and creates a story where that tension is resolved.

The claim of Christianity is simply this: That the truth all humanity has been telling in their myths, that this world needs  saving, has been resolved in the person of Jesus Christ.

I say this to begin a few posts on prophecy — hope you enjoy!

  • LubriciousSquid27
    • PJ

      The life, death, and resurrection of Christ were anticipated in various myths across a wide array of cultures. This is a testimony to the truth of the Gospel. If there were no analogs for the Christ Event, I would doubt its veracity.

      That said, the pagan myths really only prefigure the great economy of salvation on a superficial level. The Gospel is first and foremost Jewish. The incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus are the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets of Israel.

      Much of the continuity and completion found in the New Testament is hidden from those who are unfamiliar with the Old Testament, however, leading amateur readers to assume that the roots of the Gospel are Hellenistic rather than Hebraic. Needless to say, the actual pagans of antiquity found little to appreciate in the Gospels. This despite the apologistic efforts of the likes of Justin Martyr, who did much (perhaps too much) to “enculturate” the Gospel. I think, personally, that he went a bit too far, stretching similarities to the breaking point, but then again he probably did not have access to the full range of biblical texts.

  • http://alsbach-art.com/ Floyd Alsbach

    Nice thinking… I can’t help but wonder what Dante’ thought of this poem by Virgil.

  • http://backoftheworld.com/ Ryan M.

    “What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.” ~ St. Paul on Mars Hill

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

    Very good. This makes me wonder what your thoughts would be on pagan entities like Horus and Mithra, from whom we supposedly stole Jesus’ story (born on Dec 25 of a virgin, death and resurrection) — how these very specific details (albeit the date we celebrate Christmas is essentially arbitrary) bear upon the fact of Jesus. How would you answer the “Christians are plagiarists” argument?

    • Jen

      Actually the date isn’t arbitrary. It’s symbolic. Winter solstice > longest night > all days after the son exists longer = Jesus =sun. Or at least I’ve heard it that way. Interesting just how many details do match up. Makes you wonder why they’re important. The virgin birth thing would be clearly miraculous, and 3 is a revered number in man religions… A bit annoying that they have to be the same though.

      • Jen

        Oops messed up my =s and >s. Soltice=longest night. And the son and sun are reveresed. XD

      • http://backoftheworld.com/ Ryan M.

        Actually, the date was picked because it falls 9 months after March 25th, the date believed to be the first Good Friday: there was a tradition among some of the Jewish people of that day that many great prophets died on the same date that they were conceived.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

          There’s actually more to it than that. If you read about Zechariah and calculate when his clan’s Levite service would have fallen you can make some reasonable guesses about what date Elizabeth conceived from which you can make a reasonable guess about which date Mary conceived and then add 9 months which results in Dec. 25th. pleas the tradition of prophet’s dying on the day they were conceived and there you have it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

        Right, ‘arbitrary’ may not have been the right word for that–but I meant what everyone here is saying: It was a chosen date, not necessarily anywhere near Jesus’ actual birthdate.

      • Rhallman09

        Suggest you all read Taylor Marshall’s argument for December 25 as Christ’s birthday:
        http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2011/12/dec-25-biblical-argument-of-birth-of.html
        Pope Benedict makes the same point. Gee, I don’t know, hmm, I kind of believe them…
        Almost everything is symbolic, that’s the beauty of Catholicism, the symbol is the real thing in fact. I’ve argued this Christmas date to death with many a friend, and the points Benedict and Taylor Marshall make are extremely persuasive.

    • ladycygnus

      Doesn’t his post pretty much answer this question? It would seem our human hearts yearn for that truth which is hidden in these myths. A truth which came into being in an actual historical person called Jesus Christ, who was the archetype of these myths.

      And if you are sitting there thinking “but common, Dec 24!!” remember two things. 1) The 24th is a tradition of the church (although based on historical grounds) neither it nor the number of kings is recorded in the bible. and 2) is it really so crazy that everyone saw a few days after the winter solstice as an appropriate birthday for the end of darkness?

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Re – Dec 25th
        Actually, it was the solstice around 0 CE. The solstice shifts one day backwards in our calendar approximately every 500 years due to it being just ever so off from the solar rhythms. Church tradition kept the date, but not the reason, thus Christmas is still Dec 25, while the solstice is now the 21st.

        • ladycygnus

          Good point. But shows the dishonesty of the makers of this graphic even more. To say “they all celebrated on 25 of Dec” sounds like random coincidence to modern ears who don’t know of the solstice or the shift. To say “They celebrated it on the solstice” makes perfect sense and isn’t a coincidence at all, but poetic timing by each culture.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          Actually, the solstice shifted one day every 124 years in the Julian calendar. At the end of the 16th century, John Donne wrote a poem entitled “A Nocturnal upon St Lucy’s Day, being the Shortest Day”: St Lucy’s Day is the 13th December, 12 days before Xmas.

          The Julian calendar had a leap year every four years, based on a year of 365 1/4 days. The true value is 11 minutes and 14 seconds less. By the time of the Council of Nicea in 325, the Vernal Equinox was falling on 21 March (300 years earlier it had fallen on 25 March) owing to an adjustment of the calendar in 7 AD.

          Because 21 March was the date used by the Nicean Council to calculate Easter, Pope Gregory XIII in the Gregorian calendar restored the equinoxes and Solstices to the dates they had occupied in 325 . He also abolished century leap years, unless they were divisible by 400 (1700, 1800 & 1900 were not leap years, 2000 was and 2100 will not be) This keeps the winter solstice tied to 21 or 22 December for the next 4000 odd years.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            And since the Jewish Passover was set accordingly, the Christians pegged Easter at the same time of year. This led to the Incarnation being set at that same time, and thus Christmas to be set nine months later. There is no evidence that they decided to imitate the holidays of the people who had been oppressing them. Sol Invictus was instituted after the earliest references to a December Christmas. Late Moderns, however, are unduly impressed by coincidence and superficial similarities.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

        Dec 25th

        This is the source of more Internet myths than practically any other topic.

        The traditional date for Christ’s birth was calculated from the traditional day for His conception, Lady Day, March 25 (aka the Feast of the Annunciation. Add exactly nine months to Lady’s Day, and you get Dec 25.

        Lady Day was selected with no concern whatsoever for pagan holidays, solstices, whatever.

        It was based on two things: it was the traditional day Jews gave for the creation of the world, and it was the date the North African Romans in the Second Century calculated Jesus had died. By an old Jewish tradition, the date of the conception and the date of the death of a great prophet fell on the same day, so if the first Easter was on March 25, ipso facto the Annunciation falls on the same date, and since babes are born nine months after conception, voila, Christmas falls on December 25th.

        Now, this reasoning may be true or false, and the tradition may be solemn or absurd, but the one thing this reasoning cannot possibly be is pagan or astrological in origin. Sorry, it is just a myth, but a darned persistent one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

      I would answer it like this: Human nature doesn’t change. The entirety of humanity longs for Christ, throughout all history. They long for their salvation. Christianity is the fulfillment of their longings. Their myths echo our Christ because their myths were the result of them searching for our Christ. This really supports the claim that Christ is the fulfillment of all religion. We are the final and greatest stage. That is why for 2,000 years, Christianity has grown to and remained the largest of the world’s religions.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NANZIBAGBUMPFMGT5TP6HY5RIU Danusdaughter

        Its not the largest of the worlds religions though, Islam is.

        • http://creativefidelity.wordpress.com/ Dan F.

          I think you are mistaken. Current estimates are about 2 Billion Christians (Catholic and Protestant) and about 1.5 Billion Muslims – rough numbers. Do you have a source for more recent numbers?

    • http://www.facebook.com/tom.clarke.96 Tom Clarke

      I just came across this a few days ago. They claimed Horus was ascribed this (virgin birth, death, resurrection, heal the sick etc) 200 years BC. I suggested that they look into when the Hebrew prophesies of the Messiah were written and report back who was the plagiarist.

    • James H, London

      That particular piece of nonsense is brilliantly, gloriously refuted here:
      http://bedejournal.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/its-better-to-remain-silent-and-be.html

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Actually, that’s a very eloquent diversion of the topic at hand, and doesn’t really answer the question. Best example of reducto-ad-Nazisim I’ve ever seen though.
        Understanding the teachings of Jesus within a Jewish context has little to do with the mythos that emerged around him as the later versions of the Gospel (the only copies we still have) were being written down.
        Most of the virgin birth/death/resurrection comes from Paul, and you can’t honestly say he didn’t borrow from Greco-Roman mystery cults. Heck, even Christian apologists of the time recognized the pagan similarities in the Jesus story:

        And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.
        - St. Justin Martyr – First Apology, Chapter XXI

        • James H, London

          Declaring ‘Godwin’s Law’ doesn’t invalidate an argument.

          “later versions of the Gospel” – we know from fragments, palaeography and references in later writings, that Matthew and Luke were composed from primary sources, and Mark from them and the personal notes, or preaching, of Peter himself. The contention that early versions of the Gospels were significantly different from the ones we have, is without foundation. There was no time (since the primary sources were still alive) for a mythology to have developed.

          “Most of the virgin birth/death/resurrection comes from Paul”
          No, they come from the Gospels. Have you ever actually read a New Testament? Paul hardly mentions them, the Gospels go into excruciating detail.

          “you can’t honestly say he didn’t borrow from Greco-Roman mystery cults”
          Well, yes we can.

          The quote from Justin Martyr, while very interesting, is misleading. In the Greco-Roman and Egyptian myths, the deities are conceived by intercourse with the father-gods themselves, not miraculously without loss of virginity; their deaths are regarded as defeats, not atoning for anything. Again, the primary sources (actual Mithraic or Egyptian documents) don’t support the position anyway, and the consensus of academic historians has moved away from the Jesus Myth position. Justin Martyr’s point was to make a case for evangelisation.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Re: Paul – You’re right, I got it mixed up in my head. I meant Matthew. My bad.

            Godwin’s Law: Didn’t say it invalidated anything. I just pointed it out. The invalidation lies in his misinterpretation of the question.

            “There was no time (since the primary sources were still alive) for a mythology to have developed.”
            Yeah, because no one was ever paraphrased or incorrectly quoted to sound better and more interesting, especially not in religion. Seriously? The fact that Matthew was working off a mistranslation of Isaiah doesn’t help his case much…

            “”you can’t honestly say he didn’t borrow from Greco-Roman mystery cults”
            Well, yes we can.”
            …and you’d be wrong. Romulus, Alexander the Great, Perseus, Dionysus, Augustus, Asclepius (who actually was worshiped as a healer/teacher/savior)…

            “their deaths are regarded as defeats, not atoning for anything.”
            We’re talking virgin birth myths here, not savior myths. You’re making the same mistake of getting off topic that your guy in the video did.

            Are you really arguing that because myths weren’t borrowed wholesale and slap-dashed across Jesus’ life, that nothing was borrowed at all? Now that’s burying your head in the sand with aplomb.
            Justin Martyr’s point was “Hey, pagans? We’re just like you.” (He says a similar thing in Ch. 22, as well.)

          • ladycygnus

            Problem is, Jesus was an actual historical figure. Even the earliest accounts of his life attest to the fact that he believed and acted like he was God (Mark 2) and rose from the dead (any of the letters of Paul). We have writings both Christian and non-Christian attesting to this fact. It’s ridiculous to claim it is just a borrowed myth because it’s historically based. If a myth echos real events that doesn’t render the historical events untrue – it only shows how strongly we ache for what is true.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Yeah, because no one was ever paraphrased or incorrectly quoted to sound better and more interesting, especially not in religion. Seriously?

            An interesting version of the Argument from Incredulity; and a nice segue from “might” into “was.” cf. Jan Vansina, Oral Tradition as History for pointers.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            “An interesting version of the Argument from Incredulity; ”
            …but no less accurate or valid, as I am, in fact, calling into question the imaginative abilities of James H.

            “and a nice segue from “might” into “was.””
            My argument is that Matthew “was” added to and misquoted and mis-copied. It’s James’ assertion that since there was “little time” (“might”) between the original source (i.e. – Mark, Q source, and whatever else he threw in) and when firm versions where pretty much agreed upon nearly 200 years after it was supposedly first penned. “Might” was never my argument.

            Vansina’s argument when she discusses culture (section 5. pp.124-146), supports my original argument that culture played a larger role in the original mythos of Jesus. For all of it’s insular nature, the early Christian cults didn’t draw followers exclusively from the Jews, but from the pagan Romans/Greeks/etc., and to ignore the possibility of cultural impact from these sources is ridiculous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

            “…Romulus, Alexander the Great, Perseus, Dionysus, Augustus, Asclepius (who actually was worshiped as a healer/teacher/savior)”

            A lie.
            Aesculapius healed and taught medicine, not morals, and he is not depicted in any story as a ‘savior’ other than in the way a doctor saves a man’s life. He does not save men from sin.
            Does the parenthetical comment apply to Aesculapius alone, or to all the list of names? Romulus in no myth is portrayed as a healer and teacher, nor is Alexander, nor Perseus, nor is Augustus.
            Romulus’ most famous dead is slaying his brother to ensure the safety of the Roman walls.
            Dionysus never heals the sick — in fact he tears Pentheus to bits — and he teaches no moral code, merely the rites of his orgiastic mystery to his followers.
            Perseus is a savior only in the sense that a hero saves maidens from monsters.
            Alexander was a savior only in the sense that a war leader wins a war.
            Augustus — you are out of your flipping mind if you think the Romans regarded him as a healer, teacher and savior. He was an Imperator, and divine honors were paid to his “genius” that is, his guardian spirit. Paying divine honors to dead emperors themselves did not start until later, maybe around Caligula’s time.

            You are the pagan here. You should be ashamed that I know more about paganism than you do.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            “Aesculapius healed and taught medicine, not morals, and he is not depicted in any story as a ‘savior’ other than in the way a doctor saves a man’s life. He does not save men from sin.”
            Aesculapius healed the lame and brought the dead back to life, saving them from death. It would be truly odd to be a savior from sin (a Jewish mindset only, since most of his worship peaked in 300 BCE), but you can’t honestly ignore the parallels there.

            “Does the parenthetical comment apply to Aesculapius alone, or to all the list of names?”
            I love how you ask the question and assume the most incorrect answer possible to show off your (arguably) vast knowledge. It does, in fact, refer only to Aesculapius.

            “You are the pagan here. You should be ashamed that I know more about paganism than you do.”
            Actually, John, I’m a Heathen, and a relatively young one at that. Most of my studies have been devoted to my religion, with only occasional forays into the Greco-Roman mythologies, as fascinating as they are. Based on the vast quantities of knowledge of said mythologies on display in your Orphans of Chaos novels, coupled with the decades more experience and research you’ve had that I’ve not yet attained, I’m not in the least bit surprised your knowledge in this area eclipses mine.
            Your continuously juvenile tone repeatedly catch me off guard, though.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

            Actually, reading Justin Martyr in context, he is pleading for the Christians to be allowed exist.

            His argument is that the Christians believe in things no easier to believe (“nothing different”) than the miracles which sons of Jupiter (such as Aesculapius who healed the sick, or Hercules who went to hell and back) are said to have performed.

            The passage here is making the argument that Christian belief cannot be derided by pagans who believe things no less unbelievable, ergo in justice Christian belief cannot be made illegal if pagan belief is legal, not on the grounds of the incredibility of the belief.

            Visions_from_Afar is lying if he is making the argument that Justin Martyr said Christian lore tells the same story and contains the same content as pagan lore. No sons of Jupiter, for example, were crucified, none of them died for another man’s sins, there is nothing like the doctrine of the Atonement in any Greek Mystery cult as far as any record shows.

            Also note that there is no one parallel to the figure of Christ in the mystery cults, only parallels to his individual acts : Hercules did not heal the sick and Orpheus failed to resurrect the dead even if both men went to hell and back. Aesculapius resurrected Hippolytus from the dead but was slain by a lightning bolt for his presumption.

            Aeneas is an Odysseus figure on the grounds that he suffered the same adventures, met the same monsters, and was treated by Virgil much the same way as Odysseus was treated by Homer. But to make the argument that Orpheus plus Hercules plus Aesculapius was a Christ figure, one would have to show that Christ was portrayed not with one chance resemblance to one demigod in one thing and to another in another, but with a pattern of resemblances in most of all things.

    • Stephen

      Although Marc offers a very intriguing response in his next entry, I would also like to point out that much of this particular argument is simply not true. For instance, Horus was not born of a virgin. Check out this website for a quick answer, and please google this claims, just to so how thoroughly they have been debunked. There is no evidence for most of the claims that proponents of this theory make.

      http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3054/was-jesus-copied-from-the-egyptian-god-horus

  • DanielM.

    I can’t help but think back to this article about the relationship between Myth and Christianity (http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0071.html). The relationship really is quite beautiful, and even daunting. I guess in this topic, we can all agree with Mark Twain when he said that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”.

  • KA

    The first chapter of Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ gives a great overview of pagan prophecies such as this.

  • Brigid

    I LOVE you ,Bad Catholic! May the GOD who is LOVE bless you.

  • Tyler S.

    Tradition by Josef Pieper will concur your thoughts above with incredible depth and clarity. He makes the same argument using the Platonic dialogues. He claims that these stories, legends, fairy tales, etc, are the echoing voice of God from an original revelation in the Garden of Eden. These echoes are lasting exactly because they are truth that resonates with the most fundamental longing and desire in the human heart.

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    Are the prophecy posts a response to the whole “Mayans predicted the end of the world thing?” Also, some of my pre-Vatican 2 Catholic friends have posted “prophecies” saints foretold about similar apocalyptic events. Have you heard about them? And what about Fatima?

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Maybe, but then why is mankind ceaselessly babbling about it?
    Because for most of history, life has sucked for the great majority of mankind, and the hope/dream of the coming of a perfect world to make things all better is often the last thread in the unwoven tapestry of hope.
    It’s not only myth, but it’s not all about Christians, either. Pretty much every Roman Emperor declared himself the product of a virgin birth, typically sired by Saturn or another powerful deity. No doubt most of them hoped their subjects would see them in much the same light as those early Christians saw Jesus.

    • Legoland12345

      Say that to the Jews, Jesus. Have you heard how they saw the afterlife? Hope of the comig of a perfect world (for them) their ass.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        You mean the same Jews waiting centuries for the promised Messiah of prophecy to bring in God’s Kingdom on Earth? Those Jews?

    • James H, London

      No, the later Roman emperors declared they were sired by gods, who deflowered their mothers. The difference is crucial.

    • Mr. X

      “Pretty much every Roman Emperor declared himself the product of a virgin birth, typically sired by Saturn or another powerful deity.”

      Erm… no they didn’t. Emperors were paid divine honours after they died, especially in the eastern half of the Empire, but I can’t think of any who claimed to be the child of a god. (The closest was probably Augustus, but even he was only “son of a god” thro’ his adoption by Julius Caesar.)

      And even when ancient authors did tell myths about divine parentage, they considered getting impregnated by a god as being rather similar to getting impregnated by a man. No author I can think of considered Semele, Leda et al. to be virgins after they were made pregnant in the same way that Mary was supposed to be a virgin after she bore Jesus.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Re: Semele –
        No, they don’t call out that she was a virgin, but last I checked, you don’t lose virginity from eating. Kinda leaves the “bits” intact.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

      “Pretty much every Roman Emperor declared himself the product of a virgin birth, typically sired by Saturn or another powerful deity.”

      Name five.

      There were fifty some odd Emperors in the West between Augustus and Constantine. If “pretty much every” Roman Emperor declared himself the product of virgin birth, you should be able easily to document the claim.

      However, you will also have to explain why Suetonius and Tacitus make no mention whatsoever of these claims of parthenogenesis.

      Well? Julius Caesar never made this claim. Nor did Augustus. Nor Tiberius, nor Caligula, nor Claudius the Stammerer, nor Nero. Nor did Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian ….

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/UZKQ3DPYWKVAIYLKFBM53XLPTM Carl M

    Excellent point and analysis…too bad the “world” has such little insight into reality.

  • Chuck Griggy

    Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand–Matthew 13: 10

    Our Lord “tells it like it is” when He discusses knowledge of the Kingdom and He declares that those who have no faith or belief that “You shall indeed hear but not understand and you shall indeed look but never see–Matthew. And it really does not matter if He speaks in parables or if Virgil writes a poem with deep thought or prophecy.

    For you who have trouble with the Kingdom; that is, your belief or non-belief, start by saying the rosary for thirty days. What is that to a lifetime, thirty days will change your whole thought process, especially if you think further–eternal life. Add to that a little humility and demand nothing but what could change your understanding and see what happens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-A-Carlson/100001401488797 David A. Carlson

    While we are on the subject of pagan prophecy, I would like to point out the prophecy of Ragnarok. I know that the Mayans and Chinese had prophecies of this based on math and astronomy/astrology about 2012, but let me point out that the Norse werent exactly great mathematicians or great astrologers/astronomers. But their prophecy tells of the end of their gods when the Ragnarok came. The great wolf, Fenris, would devour the sun. This could be viewed as the moment when the sun crosses the galactic equator, which has a black hole in the middle. Also, the rainbow bridge Bifrost would shake as the giants crossed it to attack Valhalla and Asgard. Scientists think that the sun crossing the galactic equator will cause some electromagnetic occurences which will be seen physically by disturbances in the aurora borealis. The aurora borealis was believed by the ancient Norse to be the bridge Bifrost.
    Now, Im not some 2012 end-of-the-world nut. I just wanted to point out the similarities.

  • Deven Kale

    All I see here is yet another example of how how a vaguely worded prophecy can be interpreted in many ways by anybody with an agenda. This interpretation has many holes, as does just about any interpretation of any other prophecy. I see no convincing reason to think that this prophecy had anything at all to do with Jesus. More likely they were talking about the Roman god of agriculture rather than the stretch Marc makes here of some paradise of Eden or Heaven.

    • Zepol Aaron

      Marc’s argument is a universal yearning for salvation from a fallen world.

      Let’s not twist his words.

  • Andres D.

    Just as an added comment: I’m pretty sure Virgil was writing about Augustus, during Augustus’ reign, and trying to pass off his text as having been written before his birth, in order to praise the Caesar.


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