Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cristianismo e as religiões de mistérios

Cristianismo e as religiões de mistérios

I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions.

(1)Arguments offered to "prove" a Christian dependence on the mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other. As we all should know, mere coincidence does not prove causal connection. Nor does similarity prove dependence.

(2)Many alleged similarities between Christianity and the mysteries are either greatly exaggerated or fabricated. Scholars often describe pagan rituals in language they borrow from Christianity. The careless use of language could lead one to speak of a "Last Supper" in Mithraism or a "baptism" in the cult of Isis. It is inexcusable nonsense to take the word "savior" with all of its New Testament connotations and apply it to Osiris or Attis as though they were savior-gods in any similar sense.

(3)The chronology is all wrong. Almost all of our sources of information about the pagan religions alleged to have influenced early Christianity are dated very late. We frequently find writers quoting from documents written 300 years later than Paul in efforts to produce ideas that allegedly influenced Paul. We must reject the assumption that just because a cult had a certain belief or practice in the third or fourth century after Christ, it therefore had the same belief or practice in the first century.

(4) Paul would never have consciously borrowed from the pagan religions. All of our information about him makes it highly unlikely that he was in any sense influenced by pagan sources. He placed great emphasis on his early training in a strict form of Judaism (Phil. 3:5). He warned the Colossians against the very sort of influence that advocates of Christian syncretism have attributed to him, namely, letting their minds be captured by alien speculations (Col. 2:8).

(5) Early Christianity was an exclusivistic faith. As J. Machen explains, the mystery cults were nonexclusive. "A man could become initiated into the mysteries of Isis or Mithras without at all giving up his former beliefs; but if he were to be received into the Church, according to the preaching of Paul, he must forsake all other Saviors for the Lord Jesus Christ....Amid the prevailing syncretism of the Greco-Roman world, the religion of Paul, with the religion of Israel, stands absolutely alone."[21] This Christian exclusivism should be a starting point for all reflection about the possible relations between Christianity and its pagan competitors. Any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused immediate controversy.

(6) Unlike the mysteries, the religion of Paul was grounded on events that actually happened in history. The mysticism of the mystery cults was essentially nonhistorical. Their myths were dramas, or pictures, of what the initiate went through, not real historical events, as Paul regarded Christ's death and resurrection to be. The Christian affirmation that the death and resurrection of Christ happened to a historical person at a particular time and place has absolutely no parallel in any pagan mystery religion.

(7) What few parallels may still remain may reflect a Christian influence on the pagan systems. As Bruce Metzger has argued, "It must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite direction."[22] It should not be surprising that leaders of cults that were being successfully challenged by Christianity should do something to counter the challenge. What better way to do this than by offering a pagan substitute? Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, who was the Roman emperor from A.D. 361 to 363.

O que eu acabei de postar está em acordo com o site a enciclopédia católica:

"But the Mysteries had already fostered, though not created, the conviction of immortality. They gave no revelations, no new and secret doctrine, but powerfully and vividly impressed certain notions (one of them, immortality) upon the imagination."

"Exactly opposite, and disastrous, were the tendencies of the idealistic Hindu, losing himself in dreams of Pantheism, self-annihilation, and divine union. Especially the worship of Vishnu (god of divine grace and devotion), of Krishna (the god so strangely assimilated by modern tendency to Christ), and of Siva (whence Saktism and Tantrism) ran riot into a helpless licence, which must modify, one feels, the whole national destiny. We cannot pass conventional judgments on these aberrations. It is easily conceded that pagans constantly lived better than their creed, or, anyhow, than their nmyth; blind terrors, faulty premisses, warped traditions originated, preserved, or distorted customs pardonable when we know their history: astounding contradictions coexist (the ritual murders and prostitution of Assyria, together with the high moral sense revealed in the self-examination of the second Shurpu tablet; the sanctified incest and gross myth of Egypt, with the superb negative Confession of the Book of the Dead)."

"Naturally, it has been sought to trace a close connexion between these rites and Christiaity (Anrich, Pfleiderer). This is inadmissible. Not only was Christianity ruthlessly exclusive, but its apologists (Justin, Tertullian, Clement) inveigh loudest against the mysteries and the myths they enshrine. Moreover, the origin of the Christian rites is historically certain from our documents. Christian baptism (essentially unique) is alien to the repeated dippings of the initiandi, even to the Taurobolium, that bath of bull's blood, whence the dipped emerged renatus in æternum.

The totemistic origin and meaning of the sacred meal (which was not a sacrifice) wherein worshippers communicated in the god and with one another (Robertson Smith, Frazer) is too obscure to be discussed here (cf. Lagrange, "Etudes, etc.", pp.257, etc.). The sacred fish of Atergatis have nothing to do with the origin of the Eucharist, nor, even probably, with the Ichthys anagram of the catacombs. (See Fr. J. Dölger: ICHTHYS, das Fischsymbol, etc., Rome, 1910. The anagram does indeed represent Iesous Christos Theou Houios Soter, the usual order of the third and fourth words being inverted owing to the familiar formula of the imperial cult; the propagation of the symbol was often facilitated owing to the popular Syrian fish-cult.) That the terminology of the mysteries was largely transported into Christian use (Paul, Ignatius, Origen, Clement etc.), is certain; that liturgy (especially of baptism), organization (of the catechumenate), disciplina arcani were affected by them, is highly probable. Always the Church has forcefully moulded words, and even concepts (soter, epipsanes, baptismos, photismos, teletes, logos) to suit her own dogma and its expression. But it were contrary to all likelihood, as well as to positive fact, to suppose that the adogmatic, mythic, codeless practices and traditions of Paganism could subdue the rigid ethic and creed of Christianity. [Consult Cumont, opp. cit.; Anrich, "Das antike Mysterienwesen, etc." (Göttingen, 1894); O. Pfleiderer, "Das Christenbild, etc." (Berlin, 1903), tr. (London, 1905). Especially Cabrol, "Orig. liturgiques" (Paris, 1906); Duchesne, "Christian Worship", passim; Blötzer in "Stimmen aus Maria Laach", LXXI, (1906), LXXII, (1907); G. Boissier, "Fin du Paganisme" (Paris, 1907), especially 1, 117 sqq.; "Religion Romaine", passim; Sir S. Dill, op. cit.; C. A. Lobeck, "Aglaophamus" (1829); E. Rohde, "Psyche" (Tübingen, 1907); J. Reville, "Relig. ` Rome, s. l. Sevès;res" (Paris, 1886); J. E. Harrison, "Prolegomena" (Cambridge, 1908), especially the appendix;

No comments: