orgy

Wishing all J&M readers a happy and safe sordid orgy of commercialism and excess!

(This is a rewrite of a 14 year old strip)

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Discussion (29)¬

  1. Laripu says:

    Happy arbitrary demarcation of time. 🙂

  2. tfkreference says:

    Remember the season is the reason for the season.

    (And the reasoning for the seasoning.)

  3. Edward Speers says:

    It’s highly unlikely that the date, December 25th, was appropriated from the pagan celebration of Saturnalia. The first suggestion of the date proceeded the pagan celebration by many years. The early Christians wanted to distance themselves from the Pagans and would not have incorporated a celebration from them into their liturgical year. The date was chosen for one of two reason. December 25th is the first day after the winter solstice, Northern Hemisphere, that there is a noticeable increase in daylight hours and Jesus is seen as the light of the world. The other reason given is that it was believed the ancient world that conception took place on the same day as your death. Jesus death is believed to have taken place on March 25th plus 9 months gives you December 25. There is no date given in the Bible so Jesus actual day of birth can never be known.

  4. M27Holts says:

    With a clear absence of archeological evidence. Plus the inconsistencies in the gospels. And the fact that the gospels were compiled 400 years after the supposed birth of Jebus. And no roman historians or official documentation verifies the life of jesus. The balance of evidence would suggest that jesus is as mythical as Robin Hood…

  5. Jveeds says:

    Edward Speers: not clear where you’re getting your assertion regarding the “non-Saturnalia” appropriation of Dec. 25 for the supposed birthdate for Jesus. As we know, pagan (Roman) feasts of Saturnalia and Kalends had been used or celebrated for hundreds of years BEFORE Jesus’ time. Later on, the medieval Lord of Misrule at the “Feast of Fools” (see Harvey Cox’s still delightful 1969 book of that name) picked up or elaborated on the old traditions.

    The early first Christians of the 80s CE when the gospels were being written (40 years later, as I think M27Holts meant to say) were not averse to appropriating whatever they could. In fact, as Spong and other scholars have nicely documented, the early Christians, particularly going into the 3rd and 4th centuries were delighted to “appropriate” or simply grab and go with whatever Hebrew scriptures suited their ideological or theological purposes. Some would say that the entire Christian Testament is simply a rehashing (or “midrashing” in my terminology) of the Jewish texts, particularly Exodus, Isaiah, Daniel, Job, Samuel et al.

    As you say, though, the winter solstice IS a pretty handy time period to invent a divine birthdate. Nevertheless, I don’t know of any sources that claim March 25 as the specific crucifixion date…though it does fit with modern Passover celebrations and makes sense in a variety of “rebirth”, “fertility” and hearkening to “the East”. Perhaps you could supply sources for that.

    Most likely (IMHO) the December birthdate does appropriate pagan fests in order to rebut or replace them. It was (and is) the time-honored the “Christian” thing to do!

  6. Doug says:

    Edward Speers – see https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-rome/saturnalia it wascelebrated as such long before the mythical Jesus was supposedly consuming O2.

    “Saturnalia, the most popular holiday on the ancient Roman calendar, derived from older farming-related rituals of midwinter and the winter solstice, especially the practice of offering gifts or sacrifices to the gods during the winter sowing season.”

    “The pagan celebration of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and time, began as a single day, but by the late Republic (133-31 B.C.) it had expanded to a weeklong festival beginning December 17. (On the Julian calendar, which the Romans used at the time, the winter solstice fell on December 25.)”

  7. Ed Speers says:

    I actually used the wrong pagan celebration I’m sorry but something I read recently had used the wrong Pagan festival. It wasn’t Saturnalia but Sol Invictus. Sol Invictus was declared a Pagan festival day in 276CE which was earlier than the Christian declaration of December 25th as Jesus birthday in 336CE but the first suggestion of that date for Jesus birth date sometime in the mid 3rd century. Regardless it is highly unlikely that the emerging Christians who wanted to distance themselves from the Pagans would usurp their most important festival.

  8. Edward Speers says:

    M27Holts You might try reading “Did Jesus Exist?” by Bart Ehrman. Historical Jesus definitely existed.

  9. Someone says:

    Deck the halls with news of heartache, fa la la la la, la la la la.
    ‘Tis the season for an outbreak, fa la la la la, la la la la.
    Watch the virus slay the masses, fa la la, la la la, la la la.
    Just stay at home, you dumbasses, fa la la la la, la la la la.

  10. Len says:

    @Edward Speers:

    Regardless of the total lack of authentic contemporary writings that actually mention the person of Jesus (ie, not something along the lines of “Dear diary, I’ve heard of a tribe of guys two towns away who say they follow someone they call the Christ”), pretty much all of the scholars who affirm his existence are or were Christians, whose livelihood depended upon that belief being supported. That’s not exactly a convincing basis for argument.

    I just re-read the article at the link below. You may also find it interesting.

    https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/did-jesus-exist/

  11. PW says:

    Remember a ? turkey is for Christmas, not life

  12. M27Holts says:

    @edward speers. I have. The problem with all historical documentation is that, without corroboration from modern archeological science, remains fiction. I have read a lot of books that claim Jesus was a real single individual. But all by christians…who obviously suffer greatly from confirmation bias. He may be identified one day, but I think that is unlikely. He.is more than likely a work of fiction…like I said…unless archeology gives us more evidence…and yes I meant 40 years…sorry chaps…too.much ale…

  13. Rrr says:

    Having already celebrated (via videolink) the opening of presents by a much younger generation, and having also consumed a celebratory dinner on pickled herring, shrimps* and beer, I am not exactly in the mood for learned discourse or tomb-diving. Even tome-diving.

    But, perhaps due to this state of stupor, a couple of vague memories erupt from my inner core:

    1. I must have read somewhere that the ancient Egyptians owned a similar myth, of one Isis (same name by another name?) being born of a virgin mother, son of god, saviour of the world etc. Much of the details omitted here or maybe even wrong. Sorry. Similar in Babylon IIRC.

    2. Somewhere else I read a blurb for a book claiming that long before Greek or Roman civilisation an advanced society existed in Central Europe and Central Asia, spreading myths, rites and merchandise (and most of all, language!) over most if not all of humanity’s cradle from Ur to Éire and from Bilbao to Bombay. Source of this power appears to have been astronomical observations enabling the priests possessing the secret knowledge to predict when Sol would return. Magic! Several stone calendars have existed, all over the place, for that purpose.

    What really made the whole shtick stick, so to speak, would have been a much more portable device found outside of Halle in today’s Germany: a bronze disc depicting a partial moon and a constellation nearby it, consisting of seven stars. The disc was also marked with gold inlays around the edges for aiding orientation presumably. In short, when this configuration could be observed was the time for portentious pronouncement — hence power, when it turned out to be correct.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the book itself, nor have I read it. However it seems not impossible it contains a few grains of truth. Apart from the linguistic clues, it is accepted that quite advanced trade routes (tin, silver, amber, pottery, beverages etc) existed long before the classical civilisations did. And don’t forget the hereditary evidence in DNA (cell core and mitochondrial) — though it seems unclear how that traces to Sol. Of course, it might just be one more midwinter tale spun off a peculiar archaeological artifact. 😉

    In short: Open another bottle and honour the long tradition of welcoming brighter times ahead!

    * Being one myself, I usually forgo the traditional ham 😀

  14. Son of Glenner says:

    Edward Speers & M27Holts & Len: I’ve had a look at a YouTube video of Bart Ehrman, giving a lecture about his book “Did Jesus Exist?”. In it, he states that he is not a Christian, describing himself as an agnostic, leaning towards atheism.He devotes quite a lot of his time to summarising the arguments in Len’s link before then trying to refute them, ie to prove that there was a historical Jesus.

    For what it’s worth, I lean towards the position of M27Holts and Rrr.

    BTW, Rrr, Central Asia is hardly the cradle of humanity. The “cradle of humanity” is usually taken to be somewhere in East Africa. But Central Asia was indeed the launchpad for what became many civilisations, including in Western Europe, while other civilisations developed independently in the Americas. Your point about priests and astronomy applies to civilisations in both the “Old World” and the “New World”. Pyramid-building also developed independently in both Old and New Worlds.

  15. Rrr says:

    Son of G — wait a second, that sounds weird? :p
    Anyway, I recline corrected. Of course the cradle of humanity is generally considered to be in Africa. What I should have said was “the cradle of Western civilisation as we know it” — while a big lot is not as well known to us Westerners about other seeds of civilisation such as East Asia, Aboriginal Americas and Oceania. Lack of written history is partly to blame, but also cultural barriers.

    Jared Diamond spins an appealing tale in Guns, Germs and Steel: in brief that the accident of continental orientation gave the biggest contiguous land mass, Eurasia, a huge benefit in offering variety of life forms to the early humans, versus other locations of real estate on this planet where stuff evolved a bit slower; although amazingly, often on similar tracks.

  16. Donn says:

    Seems at least as likely that there were several of them, right? I hope the historians are checking for that – not that it makes a whole lot of difference to me, but if you’re one of those who are really excited to hear that there was a real “Jesus”, it might be even more exciting to find out that there were three or four of them.

  17. Rrr says:

    Donn: You mean kind of like crowdsourcing? That would certainly compete for a world’s first title! 😀

  18. M27Holts says:

    I still think that Jesus was a myth. Just like the Monster invented by a victorian hotelier to get people to flock to a glacier cut body of water in scotland…

  19. Rrr says:

    M27Holts: Could that be another transcendental aspect of transsubstatiation, or classic reincarnation?
    I mock, just not sure what.

  20. Donn says:

    Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but … I think when people hear that “historians” mostly agree there was a real Jesus, there’s some not-very-logical part of them that wants to extend that to evidence that “it’s all real!” The existence of competing real Jesuses isn’t unlikely at all – several guys over the course of a few generations, peddling similar Jewish reforms, some talk of messiah, reports of miracles. Centuries later the stuff gets written up as a very untidy, conflicting story featuring one supernatural being. Multiple identities behind it would help keep it real real.

  21. Rrr says:

    Donn: Yes, I even seem to remember a claim quite recently from someone in a White Edifice of being yet another instance of teh meesiah. YAM.
    By deduction, probably more, most or all of them are also bogUS. Psych wards are probably full of such cases. SAD!
    Here’s hoping at least one of them has a vacancy for this incumbent. Perhaps by releasing someone less crazy?

  22. Laripu says:

    https://m.xkcd.com/

    It’s a Christmas topology joke.

  23. M27Holts says:

    ^ haha excellent joke. Though I had to think about it for a moment or so…and I haven’t got a hangover either…today has started well for me…

  24. Troubleshooter says:

    So J & M want to keep Christ OUT of Christmas, while virtually the entire evangelical Christian community insist that Jesus is the reason for the season. Makes perfect sense! [smh]

    I wonder where they stand on keeping Saturn in Saturnalia…! [chuckle]

  25. Algolei says:

    Remember, it was Christians who put the X in Xmas: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmas#Use_of_%22X%22_for_%22Christ%22

  26. Aname says:

    December 25th is the (Roman) birthday of Mithras, the deity at the core of Mithraism. Mithraism is viewed as a rival of early christians, a number of Mithraic temples in Rome were destroyed or built over by christian temples. Mithraism was suppressed and eliminated by the end of the 4th century CE (Theodosius’ anti-pagan decrees).

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    M27Holts says:
    December 25, 2020 at 9:20 am
    I still think that Jesus was a myth.

    Nope, he wath a mythter. Hith mother was a myth, though.

  28. Rrr says:

    I think they thrive on the mythery. :þ

  29. Jveeds says:

    @M27Holts, @Len, @Edward Speers, et al.

    Re: did Jesus really exist? Having read a great deal of Ehrman, who I really respect as a disinterested theologian…it’s quite clear that NOWHERE does he say that Jesus DEFINITELY existed. Ehrman does make a case that some historical figure which we now know as Jesus PROBABLY existed, though perhaps not as a person regarded as divine at the time..perhaps thought of as a magician/healer or apocalyptic vigilante–of which the period had many. So I’m with Holts: the evidence is sketchy and derives from 40 to 140 years after the fact as reported by people vested in believing.

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