Nov 14

Here We Go Again...

Jesus and Mary Magdalene Married!

Sigh. Really? Do we really have to go through this again?
First: There is no "Lost Gospel." The document in question has been well known to researchers for some time. The text relates to the story of Joseph (he of the not-so-technicolor coat) and Aseneth, a figure mentioned in Genesis 41:45 and who is the daughter of a Priest of On (Heliopolis) and bears him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. On the surface it is an explanation as to why Joseph could marry the daughter of a pagan priest and how she converts to the worship of the God of Abraham. Admittedly there is some strange stuff in it. She is locked in a tower where she has a vision of an angel who gives her a divine honeycomb to represent repentance. Bees surround her. Some die some go back to heaven. You can read the whole thing here. It does probably have some occult overtones (a Gnostic initiation ritual perhaps?) and the version we have might be a Christian work,due to the mark of the cross on the honeycomb, but perhaps of an older Jewish document. The original likely was in Greek, but we do not have it. We do have the work in other languages and in at least two different variations.

Second: Mary Magdalene, while a much storied figure, is not a particularly well documented one. There are a dozen passages that mention Mary by name in the New Testament, with most of those associated with her presence at the Crucifixion and later at the tomb. From Luke we are told that she had seven demons cast out of her and that she supported Jesus financially in his ministry. I by no means want to down play her significance. She is mentioned by name more often than almost all of the apostles. Yet most of what people think about her is the creation of later generations. It is not until 591 that Pop Gregory associates her with the prostitute who washed Jesus feet and also Mary of Bethany, sister of Lazarus. Its the books that the early church rejected, not 'lost' - if you throw something away you know exactly where it is, that give her a place of preeminence among the apostles as the favorite student of the Gnostic Jesus. In particular the Gospel of Phillip describes Mary's relationship to Jesus as koinōnos, a physical and spiritual pairing of man and woman. Thus the tradition that Jesus and Mary were married. Mary is also credited, by the way, with Easter Eggs and she even shows up in the sacred writings of the Baha'i.

So, we have a work of admittedly questionable providence and likely occult symbolism. However, there is no clear historical or literary connection to even those traditions that tie Jesus and Mary together sexually. Its simply a sensational headline for the news to grab and generate interest in a book by man known for questionable scholarship.

One more thing to think about: If Jesus had children roughly one thousand nine hundred and eighty four years ago in Palestine, and if we assume just two children per couple living to reproductive age, pretty much all modern humans would be descendants of Jesus.

Oct 14

Pazuzu is not his real name



The above links are a few weeks old, but I have been holding on to them for Halloween.   The first is a Huffington Post piece, where I first learned of the story.  The second is a more detailed  account from a local, to the subject, news agency. The story describes a misguided, broken, and deranged man who calls himself Pazuzu Illah Algarad.  It describes his efforts to be "a worshiper of evil gods"  (let's use his own words and not confuse the issue with bringing up inappropriate references to pop culture concepts of Satan or the Devil.)  It describes the authorities discovery of two bodies on "Pazuzu"'s property.  It also describes the squalid conditions of the home and a history of mental illness.

So what is this story about?  First, let us make clear what it is not about.  It is not about a real demon worshiper.  The name Pazuzu could come from one of three places.  The most likely is the 1973 classic The Exorcist, which identifies the demon as "Pazuzu."  The second, less likely  possibility is that the name is a reference to an evil god in the Pathfinder RPG; itself likely a reference back to movie.  The third is the source for the name, an ancient Neo-Assyrian spirit often associated with disease and famine; usually regarded as an evil being, his aid was nevertheless invoked as a ward against plague and to combat his rival Lamashtu, who is said to prey upon women and children during childbirth.  The subject of our story picked up the name from pop-culture.  There is nothing in any of these stories, or others that you can find on line, that associate anything he was doing with actual worship of Pazuzu, or any other entity or god for that matter.  In arms reach I have books on the occult that range the span of Western history and nothing that man was doing is in any of them.  No one should be afraid of "satanists" living in their neighborhood.  No one should start marching about the lure of the occult.

So what is this story about? Its about the tragedy of mental illness.  Its a story about people drawn to a charismatic and frightful man.  Its about the failure of the system time and again,with which he repeatedly came into contact, to do anything to prevent this horror from happening.  It is about a community that was unable to protect any of the people in the story from their fates, either through apathy or misguided intentions.  It is about the simple fact that some people do bad things all on their own and need no appeals to demons or gods or video games or movies or comic books or their mothers or their priests.  They just do bad things.

This is not a story about religion.

Pazuzu is not his real name.