January 11, 2000
Mithraic roots of Christianity
I am prompted by the facile and pseudo-intellectual letter
of Mr Tabib who being chuffed by his netsearching skills proceeded
to aptly demonstrate the common wisdom that little knowledge is more dangerous
The roots of Christmas in Mithraism is well known and not subject to
much debate ["Borrowed
ideas"]. The Aurelian Mithramas was on the 25th December. The
identification of Jesus with Mithras, the central figure in the Mithraic
Mysteries was more than coincidence. Mithras (originally Persian Mithra)
was also a messianic figure who was to renew life and redeem all with sacrifice.
He, like Yima, would slay the primordial bull Gush Urvan whose blood would
The symbol of Mithraism was in fact the cross that happily co-incided
with the mode of execution of Jesus himself. Before 12th century the Christian
symbol was largely the fish (PX sounds like the Latin word for fish and
PX is the reverse of XP i.e Xi Rho that are the first two letter of Christos
in Greek). Christmas was celebrated on the sixth of January by the Orthodox
church and as any Orthodox priest is glad to tell you 25th of December
is nothing more than natalis solis invicti of the Mithraists.
But what I find interesting is all the half truths that Mr Tabib uses
to advance his point. Firstly he asserts that all ancient peoples worshipped
the sun. True, but the word Mithra and Mithraism were not Egyptian or Celtic
or anything else but Persian. He then enumerates a assinine mixture of
historical festivals to no effect. For example Horus is the god of day
not the sun; the Egyptian sun god was Ra.
A festival celebrating Isis who has only tenuous links to Ra is in fact
nothing to do with the sun. Odin was also not a sun god. Saturnelia was
not held between 17th and the 25th, it was held between 17th and the 21st.
Hannukkah has little resemblance to christmas and involves the miracle
of light which has no messianic overtones but a symbol of god's covenant
with his people and their deliverance from the Syrian Hellenes.
He requests that " we all accept that we are not the center of
the world and never were". Mr Tabib is obviously unfamiliar with the
history of the Achaemenian empire. However in all fairness there is one
of his assertions that I agree with and that is that Mr Tabib is not "...
an expert in Christian traditions, or any tradition for that matter".
Shashaani was largely correct in her article. I find it interesting
that even when the West, in a rare instance of honesty, credits us with
something however insignificant, there should be an Iranian who refutes