The Egyptian Origin of Christianity

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The Egyptian Origin of Christianity focuses on the ceremonial parallels between the modern Roman Catholic Church and ancient Egyptian ceremony. While all forms of Christianity display strong parallels to the rituals of ancient Egypt, perhaps the strongest examples can be seen in Roman Catholicism. Ancient travelers dispersed from North Africa, carrying with them their traditions and customs. The importance of the Egyptian sway can no longer be denied. It has prompted great thinkers like Siegfried Morenz, Director of the University of Liepzig Institute of Egyptology, to remark that "the influence of the Egyptian religion on posterity is mainly felt through Christianity and its antecedents. Egypt's contribution to the Old Testament is actually a product of that country's relationship with Syria; its contribution to the New Testament, indeed, even to early Christian theology, must be seen as a special instance of that general influence exerted by Egypt upon the Hellenistic world." It is that influence which is explored in The Egyptian Origin of Christianity in order that the true nature of religion as a whole may be elucidated.

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About the Author:

Lisa Ann Bargeman graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature. She has written several books on World Religion and currently works for a scientific publisher.

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Imagine, if you will, opening the doors to a shrine, and blessing yourself with holy water as you enter. You prepare to sit and pray, for God can provide solace from all earthly problems. Once you have confided in statues (imbued with the spirit of the living God) and sung the hymn, others join you in the chant with relics and devotional items. Litanies are read. A priest gives the sermon, makes the Sign of the Peace, and prepares the celebrant for communion. The morning hymn in an Egyptian church was: Awake graciously, which meant in peace; thou awakest graciously so let us awaken graciously in peace. These are Egyptian rites, and it is tradition rather than coincidence that have made then so. Astoundingly these rituals have been flawlessly perpetuated for five thousand years. But even more astounding is the fact that this miracle has gone for the more part unrecognized.

Papal custom rejects change. Modern governments have been much more amendment-worthy than papal law through time. But rigidity has its benefits, for it is successfully preserved such theological solemnity from before the third and fourth centuries BCE to the present.

Nowhere can this be better demonstrated than through the mass service.

"The priest opens the shrine containing the image, prostrates himself before it, cleanses and perfumes it with incense, adorns and embellishes it, places crowns upon it, anoint it and beautifies it with cosmetic. Finally he wipes away his prints."

The sounds like the Roman Catholic tabernacle rather than as ancient Egyptian rite, and indeed, these customs can be compared to the daily cleansing of the monstrance and cup, as well as that of daily elaborate adornment.

The tabernacle (which houses the monstrance and cup) is a version of another Middle Eastern relic, the Judaic Ark of the Covenant. The Most-Holy-of-Holies contained therein is preserved in the sanctity of darkness. "The Egyptian gods would have shared Yahveh's wish 'that he would dwell in the thick darkness' (I Kings viii, 12)". This is also true of the Indian Bhagavadgita, for "at midnight, in the thickest darkness, the Dweller in every heart revealed Himself in the divine."

Egyptian serdab-statues were locked away behind closed doors and kept in barely-illumined rooms. Seen only by gazing through peepholes provided for the purpose, clergy were permitted the privilege of gazing upon the dark storehouses of sacred items.

Today the Ark of the Covenant is not usually moved from the sanctum of the church, but traditionally the Egyptian Ark was quite mobile. Both priests and statuary were floated in symbolic barks across the water, and the "communion" came to everybody. Presently Christian festivals of the saints parallel those of the ancient local gods. The true meaning of praise through communion is the unification of multifarious peoples to god through the use of a symbolic or sacred food. Communion is not a new idea; Hatshepsut wrote of Amon, he "is my bread and I drink from its dew. I am of one body with him." Meals could be used as commemorative memorials, and provisions after Egyptian burial rites were much like our protocol for funeral repasts.

As communion invokes fasting, a devout Roman Catholic fasts for an hour before communion's receipt and consumes particular fish rather than meat on Fridays. Of Egyptian derivation are such fasts as those to and from fish, resulting from legend of holy sacrament; "Osiris...was torn [apart] by Set...When Isis reassembled the pieces...[part of the body] had disappeared, eaten by a letos-fish. This accounts for the priestly fish-taboo in Egypt, relaxed only one day in the year."

The nexus of communion is personal fulfillment through renewal, most clearly expressed through a sacred prophet's ressurrection. As Christians celebrate Jesus, Egyptians celebrated Osiris. Both unjustly-persecuted patriarchs, braving death for the glory of resurrection, attracted worshippers re-enacting or "going through the motions" of their martyrdom. Known as experiencing "mysteries" (The Stations of the Cross are libations of this type), such involvement promotes both patronage and drama by reinforcing a Freudian system of punishment and reward.

Between the two evangelists there are vivid similarities. The divine son comes down from heaven. God came down to earth to guide the world: "I am Thoth, the eldest son of Re, whom Atum has fashioned... I descended to earth with the secrets of 'what belongs to the horizon'." The aspects of his godliness are, in some way deified, a Christian example being The Bible's Sofia, or Wisdom, and an Egyptian example being Toth - female and male aspects of the same prinicple; "wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets."

The word "god" is itself an Egyptian innovation and was written NTR in their language. It is supposed that the substance natron (a natural salt from which soap is made) forms the root, symbolizing purity and renewal. NTR is the primary self-produced producer, and it is also a quality which the gods possess greater than the gods themselves; an essential energy.

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