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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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 than none.

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 revitalise all.

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".

Ms 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 it.

Arash Salardini


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