Select a Section to Display in New Tab

12. APPENDIX 4 — ZOROASTER AND ORPHEUS

The First Church of Rome     www.christianhospitality.org     Online Index     Feedback/Discussion

12. APPENDIX 4 — ZOROASTER AND ORPHEUS



(For details on the historical identity, or identities, of Zoroaster, see further http://www.christianhospitality.org/resources/6-days-creation-online/)

Mithraism was a sect of the Magian religion. The Magi were, according to tradition, an Iranian caste, or priestly tribe, and they kept alive in their homeland the ancient paganism of their ancestors. This was very similar to the animism of the early Hindu Scriptures known as the Vedas, which date from the second millennium BC.

However, the most popular form of Magian religion before the rise of Mithraism under the Roman Empire, was Zoroastrianism. This was well known to the Greeks of the East, and later to the Romans, and many intellectual Greeks in the homeland adopted elements of Zoroastrianism into their philosophies and mystic systems, including even such well-known figures as Plato. Zoroastrianism revered the memory and the writings (or alleged writings) of the prophet Zarathustra. The Greeks changed the form of the prophet’s name to Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism was a dualistic cult, believing in the cosmic battle of two principles, that of Good, embodied in the God Ahura Mazda (Ohrmazd), and that of Evil, embodied in the Satanic figure of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman). It believed in a system of cosmic cycles of 7 periods of 1000 years each, and in the repeated embodiment or reincarnation of the Good spirit in the form of successive Saviour figures through the ages, Zarathustra being himself the supreme embodiment, followed by Ukhshyat-ereta (whose name means “Let Truth be embodied!”, the second Saviour-figure (Saoshyant) etc. In many ways, Zoroastrianism was a revolt against, or a reformation of, traditional Iranian religion, and was at first strongly opposed by the Magian hierarchy. Later it was incorporated into the Magian mainstream. The Mithraic cult absorbed elements of Zoroastrianism from its own Magian priesthood. Zoroastrianism is even today a thriving, if numerically rather insignificant, religion. It is the faith of the Parsis (vulgarly, and incorrectly, known as the “fire-worshipers”) of India. They have preserved it in their land of exile in a more strongly monotheistic form, after having been ousted from their homeland in Iran by the Muslims.

As regards Classical religion, the influence of Zoroastrianism is well attested. It seems that the learning and religion of Ancient Greece and Rome owed much more to oriental religion, particularly Iranian religion, than the Greeks or Romans were, in general, willing to admit. This is no more than could be expected, as the Greeks (from whom the Romans borrowed heavily in matters of religion), inherited an empire in the East from the Iranian Persians, through the campaigns of Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century before Christ, and they swiftly adopted oriental manners and modes of thought. Even before Alexander, the Persians had been the dominant power in the Mediterranean world for two hundred years, and the Persians were themselves heirs to the learning, science, culture and religion of ancient Babylon and Egypt. Compared to the Greeks, these were the true “ancients”. The East looked down on the simplistic philosophy and childish mythology of the Greeks and their Italian colonies. The higher ranks of the spiritual and philosophical circles in Greece concurred with the orientals on this point and readily plagiarized their eastern masters.

In its tendency towards monotheism, in its exaltation of the prophet and Saviour figure, in its scheme of world-history manifesting in the material sphere the cosmic battle between God and Satan, in its angelology and extensive demonology, and in many other ways, Zoroastrianism has a curious similarity to the Biblical Scriptures, to Christianity and later Judaism. It is much disputed amongst secular scholars as to who borrowed from whom between the Hebrews and the Zoroastrians.

The origins of great movements, in the ancient, as in the modern, world, can sometimes be traced back to the least significant events — an unusual coincidence of time and place, perhaps, in which seminal figures met and there occurred a mingling of intellectual, religious or scientific ideas. In the case of the Hebrew prophetic faith in Israel, Zoroastrianism in Iran and the Orphic mystery religion in Greece (one of the earliest oriental influences on that country), a report of such an event has survived the wreck of history. This reveals that the twin streams of Zoroastrianism and the Orphic mystery-religion had a common source in the great river of Biblical, prophetic, revelation. In this instance, the findings of history and modern archaeology combine to confirm the veracity of the report.

The point in time and space where these three great movements met, mingled and diverged is recorded in a defence of Christianity (called an “Apology”) composed for the benefit of the Roman Emperor Antoninus in the middle of the second century AD by the early Christian writer, Melito of Sardis. His account is as follows:

(Melito is describing how the ancient, pagan, gods were deified historical figures:) “The Syrians worshiped Athi, a Hadibite, who sent the daughter of Belat, a person skilled in medicine, and she healed Simi, the daughter of Hadad king of Syria; and some time afterwards, when Hadad himself had the leprosy upon him, Athi entreated Elisha the Hebrew, and he came and healed him of his leprosy. The people of Mesopotamia also worshiped Cuthbi, a Hebrew woman, because she delivered Bakru, the paternal king of Edessa, from his enemies. With respect to Nebo, who is worshiped in Mabug, why should I write to you? For, lo! all the priests who are in Mabug know that it is the image of Orpheus, a Thracian Magus. Hadran, again, is the image of Zaradusht {= Zarathustra, Zoroaster}, a Persian Magus. For both of these Magi practiced magic at a well which was in a wood in Mabug, in which was an unclean spirit, and it assaulted and disputed the passage of every one who passed by in all that country in which the town of Mabug is situated; and these Magi, in accordance with what was a mystery in their Magian system, bade Simi, the daughter of Hadad, to draw water from the sea and pour it into the well, so that the spirit should not come up and commit assault. In like manner, the rest of mankind made images to their kings and worshiped them; of which matter I will not write further.”

In this account, the scene is set in the time of one Hadad, king of Syria (Hadad stands for Ben-Hadad, a common name in the Syrian royal line). The era is about 850 BC. King Hadad had a daughter called Simi. Simi became ill, but was healed through the attention of the daughter of Balat, who had been sent on this healing mission to the king’s daughter by a woman called Athi from the city Hadib. This Athi, in turn, was an acquaintance of the great Hebrew prophet, Elisha, in whose ministry many miracles of healing are known to have occurred. Now, some time after the healing of princess Simi, her own father, king Hadad, fell ill of leprosy. The kind and thoughtful Athi once again intervened and requested the prophet Elisha himself to go and pray for the king. As a result, Hadad, too, was healed. We can be sure that these amazing events in the royal palace had an impact throughout the kingdom of Syria.

Now, in that very same era, there were two Magi, devotees of Iranian paganism, plying their mystic trade in the Syrian city of Mabug. One of them came from Thrace in Northern Greece and the other came from Persia. Seemingly, they had met in this great oriental emporium, and had begun to practice their occult art there together. A poltergeist in a well at Mabug caught their attention. Local superstition affirmed that this poltergeist buffeted travellers as they passed by the well and, indeed, tried to prevent their passage. The two Magi determined to exorcise the evil spirit. In order to accomplish their aims they contacted the king’s daughter, Simi, over whom they appear to have claimed some kind of spiritual authority. They instructed the princess to perform the necessary magical rite, which involved Simi’s bringing sea-water to the sweet-water well and pouring it in. Whether Simi complied with their instruction, and whether their exorcism was successful, is left unstated. However, these two Magi became, in time, two of the most famous prophets in paganism. One of them was Zoroaster, the prophet of Persian dualism, and the other was Orpheus, founder of the Orphic mystery-religion of Greece.

The Syrian royal court, in whose circles these two religious innovators operated, was strongly influenced by the ministry of the Hebrew prophet, Elisha. Elisha himself was no innovator, but a successor to the prophetic mantle of the great Elijah, and, like him, an upholder of the traditional faith of Israel. Accordingly, the innovation on the side of the Magi, which was in the direction of a form of monotheism and a system of belief reminiscent of the Hebraic tradition, we can conclude to have arisen by contact with the prophetic circle of Elisha.

The date of the prophet Zoroaster has frequently been disputed. That this report in Melito accurately represents his era, around 850 BC, can be demonstrated by an examination of Greek legend relating to Zoroaster in the light of certain discoveries of modern archaeology in the Near East. A widespread Greek tradition was that Zoroaster, the Persian Magus, was at one time in conflict with the famous king of Assyria, called Ninus, the founder of Nineveh. In one line of tradition, the Magus is named thus, Zoroaster; in another, he is referred to as Xuartes. (The name Xuartes is usually spelled Oxuartes/Oxyartes because the definite article [“o”] has been included wrongly in the name.) So, Zoroaster-Xuartes, according to this Greek tradition, was a contemporary of Ninus.

But who was Ninus? Ninus means “King of Nineveh”. It is an eponym, more a title than a name. There was a third millennium BC Ninus (Ninus I), who was identified in antiquity with Nimrod or Enmekar, and was reinarnated in his successor Ninus II, Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria c. 1850 BC, and in a ninth century BC Ninus (Ninus III). The ninth-century BC “Ninus” or “King of Nineveh” of the Greek legends was Shamshi-Adad V. He flourished around 820 BC. Shamshi-Adad V, or Ninus, living around 820 BC, is said to have fought against Zoroaster-Xuartes, according to the Greeks. Coincidentally, in the account of Melito of Sardis, Zoroaster lived in the time of Elisha, i.e. precisely around the year 820 BC. In Wetzel’s “A Chronology of Biblical Christianity”, Ben-Hadad I, whose name corresponds to the Hadad of Melito, began to rule Syria in 880 BC, Elisha succeeded Elijah 868 BC, Ben-Hadad was succeeded by Hazael in 842 BC, Shamshi-Adad V began to rule in Assyria 823BC, Adad-Nirari III succeeded in Assyria in 810 BC, Elisha passed on 808 BC. This means Elisha was contemporary with Ben-Hadad I, or Hadad, king of Syria, from 868 to 842 BC, and with Shamshi-Adad V, or Ninus, of Assyria from 823-811 BC. It would make sense for the two Magi, Zoroaster and Orpheus, to have been in Syria around 850 BC, in contact with the court of Ben-Hadad (Hadad), and for Zoroaster to have later migrated to the area east of Assyria where he came into conflict with, and finally perished at the hands of, Ninus, or Shamshi-Adad V.

Further strengthening our confidence in the reliability of Melito’s account, we find that the historical Ninus, Shamshi-Adad V, conducted a military campaign against certain tribes, including Iranian tribes, to the east of Assyria. This campaign was commemorated on a monument discovered in the ruins of the temple of the Assyrian king. One of the leaders whom Shamshi-Adad V defeated in this campaign had an Iranian name, whose form corresponds exactly to the Greek Xuartes, the defeated Iranian opponent of Ninus. On the monument, in the ancient script of Assyria, this name is spelled “Munir Suarta” (Munir means “sage”), the “Sage Suarta.” This, undoubtedly is the historical Xuartes, as the Greek “x” at the beginning of the name corresponds to the Assyrian “s.” To Shamshi-Adad V, he will have been just another Iranian rebel chief, but to the Magi who had accepted his reformed version of the Iranian national religion, he was nothing less than the re-embodied Zoroaster, the second World-Saviour in the cosmic battle between Good and Evil.

This Zoroastrian idea of reincarnation can surely, in the light of these discoveries, be traced back to its source. Elisha, whose influence was strong in the Syrian court, was well-known to have had a “double portion” of the same Spirit that was upon Elijah, his prophetic predecessor. Elisha was, as it were, a second Elijah. Is it coincidence that Suarta or Xuartes, the Magus, now claimed that he himself was a re-embodiment of the spirit of his predecessor, Zoroaster? The particular variation in the Zoroastrian system was that this second World-Saviour, Xuartes, followed the first, Zoroaster, after an interval of 1000 years. In fact, it came to be believed that every 1000 years a new World-Saviour would be born into the world, embodying in each case, Zoroaster’s spirit.

This doctrine enables us to identify the first Zoroaster and, at the same time, to understand why Xuartes should have thought of himself as a reincarnation of this man’s spirit. In the writings of the Babylonian priest, Berossus, we find mentioned in the king-list Zoroaster (so named), i.e. the first or original Zoroaster, described by Berossus, not as a prophet, but as a king of the Medes who invaded and captured Babylon. An estimate of the interval between Zoroaster and the Neo-Assyrian Empire based on the number of intervening reigns, results in a date for Berossus’ Zoroaster around the middle of the 18th century BC. The same date for Zoroaster is found explicitly in the History of the Armenians of Moses of Khorene (Hist. I. capp. XV, XVII, XX), drawing on a lost work of the second century BC Syrian scholar Mar Abas Catina, and on Cephalion, in the context of a genealogical register of the kings of Assyria and Armenia, the Assyrian portions of which are identical to those found in Abydenus, Ctesias etc. Abydenus himself drew largely in other portions of his work on Berossus. This implies Zoroaster was born 1000 years, more or less, before the era of Ninus (Shamshi-Adad V). Now, Berossus is known to have accurately transcribed many of the historical records of Mesopotamia. On numerous points his account is confirmed by the researches of modern archaeologists and historians. The place in Berossus’ king-list occupied by this Zoroaster, around the 18th century BC, corresponds to that of the king called Gaddash, or Gandash in the native Mesopotamian king-lists. Berossus refers to an invasion of Babylon by the Medes at that time, and Gaddash is known from the cuneiform writings to have invaded southern Mesopotamia and initiated a new dynasty in Babylon, the “Kassite” dynasty, which endured for several centuries. Moreover, the Kassites’ original homeland was in the highlands east of Babylonia, corresponding to the territory known to the Greeks of Berossus’ era as Media, the land of the Medes. The conclusion must be that Berossus’ Zoroaster, king of the Medes — the first and original Zoroaster who lived 1000 years before the era of Ninus and Xuartes — was connected with the invasion of this first conquering king of the Kassites, Gaddash.

Zoroaster is a Greek transcription of the Iranian Zarathustra. The name is also found in the form Zaradusht (as in Melito), Zaradas, Zerdusht etc. etc. It means “careful camel (or, star) herder,” and seems to be the ancient Iranian name of the constellation Orion, which the Babylonians called the “True Herder of Heaven.” It was believed Zoroaster prayed to Orion that he would be consumed by the heavenly fire, like his ancestor Nimrod, and that his prayer was answered. Nimrod was believed to have been exalted to the stars as Orion, and the ashes of his earthly remains were preserved as objects of worship by his deluded followers. Likewise Zoroaster.

Why would Xuartes (Suarta) believe himself to be a re-embodiment of the Zoroaster in the days of the Median invasion of Babylonia, and identify himself, by name, as the second Zoroaster, or, simply, Zoroaster? Surely because the original Zoroaster was famous as the first conqueror of Babylon who originated from the highlands of Media. As the Median Zoroaster conquered Babylon, and was the first to do so, so the Median Magus, Xuartes, would conquer Assyria now. As it turned out, this aspiration was disappointed. Xuartes was more successful as a mystic than as a warrior, and he was defeated by the Assyrian king, Shamshi-Adad V. What Xuartes left behind him, in the ruin of his military career, was a reformed Magian religion, Zoroastrianism, which perpetuated even to the present day the name of the first and original bearer of the name Zoroaster.





Traditional Evidence in the Early Church Writers of Orpheus’ Borrowing from the Hebrew Scriptures and of His Seminal Influence on Greek Paganism



Orpheus is a figure who appears in pictures on the walls of Christian catacombs in Rome. The following quotations from early church writersexplain why. Orpheus was believed to have repented of his paganism at the end of his career and professed the truth of Hebrew monotheism. Given the connection evidenced here, between the Hebrew prophet, Elisha, Orpheus and Zoroaster (Xuartes), such an event is by no means improbable.

Justin Martyr, Hortatory Address to the Greeks, Ch. 14f.: For I think that some of you, when you read even carelessly the history of Diodorus, and of those others who wrote of these things, cannot fail to see that both Orpheus, and Homer, and Solon, who wrote the laws of the Athenians, and Pythagoras, and Plato, and some others, when they had been in Egypt, and had taken advantage of the history of Moses, afterwards published doctrines concerning the gods quite contrary to those which formerly they had erroneously promulgated. [Ch. 15] TESTIMONY OF ORPHEUS TO MONOTHEISM: At all events, we must remind you what Orpheus, who was, as one might say, your first teacher of polytheism, latterly addressed to his son Musaeus, and to the other legitimate auditors, concerning the one and only God. And he spoke thus: — “I speak to those who lawfully may hear:All others, ye profane, now close the doors, And, O Musaeus! hearken thou to me, Who offspring art of the light-bringing moon: The words I utter now are true indeed; And if thou former thoughts of mine hast seen, Let them not rob thee of the blessed life, But rather turn the depths of thine own heart Unto the place where light and knowledge dwell. Take thou the Word divine to guide thy steps, And walking well in the straight certain path, Look to the one and universal King — One, self-begotten, and the only One, Of whom all things and we ourselves are sprung. All things are open to His piercing gaze, While He Himself is still invisible. Present in all His works, though still unseen, He gives to mortals evil out of good, Sending both chilling wars and tearful griefs; And other than the great King there is none. The clouds for ever settle round His throne, And mortal eyeballs in mere mortal eyes Are weak, to see Jove reigning over all. He sits established in the brazen heavens Upon His golden throne; under His feet He treads the earth, and stretches His right hand To all the ends of ocean, and around Tremble the mountain ranges and the streams, The depths, too, of the blue and hoary sea.” And again, in some other place he says: — “There is one Zeus alone, one sun, one hell, One Bacchus; and in all things but one God; Nor of all these as diverse let me speak.” And when he swears he says: — “Now I adjure thee by the highest heaven, The work of the great God, the only wise; And I adjure thee by the Father’s voice. Which first He uttered when He stablished The whole world by His counsel.” What does he mean by “I adjure thee by the Father’s voice, which first He uttered?” It is the Word of God which he here names “the voice,” by whom heaven and earth and the whole creation were made, as the divine prophecies of the holy men teach us; and these he himself also paid some attention to in Egypt, and understood that all creation was made by the Word of God; and therefore, after he says,” I adjure thee by the Father’s voice, which first He uttered,” he adds this besides, “when by His counsel He established the whole world.” Here he calls the Word “voice,” for the sake of the poetical meter. And that this is so, is manifest from the fact, that a little further on, where the meter permits him, he names it “Word.” For he said: — “Take thou the Word divine to guide thy steps.”

Ibid. 17: And the poet Homer, using the license of poetry, and rivaling the original opinion of Orpheus regarding the plurality of the gods, mentions, indeed, several gods in a mythical style, lest he should seem to sing in a different strain from the poem of Orpheus, which he so distinctly proposed to rival, that even in the first line of his poem he indicated the relation he held to him. For as Orpheus in the beginning of his poem had said, “O goddess, sing the wrath of Demeter, who brings the goodly fruit,” Homer began thus, “O goddess, sing the wrath of Achilles, son of Peleus,” preferring, as it seems to me, even to violate the poetical meter in his first line, than that he should seem not to have remembered before all else the names of the gods. But shortly after he also clearly and explicitly presents his own opinion regarding one God only, somewhere, saying to Achilles by the mouth of Phoenix, “Not though God Himself were to promise that He would peel off my old age, and give me the rigor of my youth,” where he indicates by the pronoun the real and true God. And somewhere he makes Ulysses address the host of the Greeks thus: “The rule of many is not a good thing; let there be one ruler.” And that the rule of many is not a good thing, but on the contrary an evil, he proposed to evince by fact, recounting the wars which took place on account of the multitude of rulers, and the fights and factions, and their mutual counterplots. For monarchy is free from contention. So far the poet Homer.

Justin Martyr, On the Sole Government of God, Ch. 2: Even Orpheus, too, who introduces three hundred and sixty gods, will bear testimony in my favor from the tract called Diathecae, in which he appears to repent of his error by writing the following: — [There follows the same verses quoted above beginning: “I speak …” and ending with “… hoary sea”.]

Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 3. 2: For what did it profit Homer to have composed the Trojan war, and to have deceived many; or Hesiod, the register of the theogony of those whom he calls gods; or Orpheus, the three hundred and sixty-five gods, whom in the end of his life he rejects, maintaining in his precepts that there is one God?

Athenagoras, A Plea for the Christians, Ch. 18: Homer speaks of “Old Oceanus, The sire of gods, and Tethys;” and Orpheus (who, moreover, was the first to invent their names, and recounted their births, and narrated the exploits of each, and is believed by them to treat with greater truth than others of divine things, whom Homer himself follows in most matters, especially in reference to the gods) — he, too, has fixed their first origin to be from water: — “Oceanus, the origin of all.” For, according to him, water was the beginning of all things, and from water mud was formed, and from both was produced an animal, a dragon with the head of a lion growing to it, and between the two heads there was the face of a god, named Heracles and Kronos. This Heracles generated an egg of enormous size, which, on becoming full, was, by the powerful friction of its generator, burst into two, the part at the top receiving the form of heaven (Ouranos), and the lower part that of earth (Ge). The goddess Ge, moreover, came forth with a body; and Ouranos, by his union with Ge, begat females, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; and males, the hundred-handed Cottys, Gyges, Briareus, and the Cyclopes Brontes, and Steropes, and Argos, whom also he bound and hurled down to Tartarus, having learnt that he was to be ejected from his government by his children; whereupon Ge, being enraged, brought forth the Titans. “The godlike Gala bore to Ouranos Sons who are by the name of Titans known, Because they vengeance took on Ouranos, Majestic, glitt’ring with his starry crown.”

Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation of the Heathen, Ch. 7: But the Thracian Orpheus, the son of Oeagrus, hierophant and poet at once, after his exposition of the orgies, and his theology of idols, introduces a palinode of truth with true solemnity, though tardily singing the strain: — “I shall utter to whom it is lawful; but let the doors be closed, Nevertheless, against all the profane. But do thou hear, O Musaeus, offspring of the light-bringing moon, For I will declare what is true. And let not these things Which once appeared in your breast rob you of dear life; But looking to the divine word, apply yourself to it, Keeping right the seat of intellect and feeling; and walk well In the straight path, and to the immortal King of the universe alone Direct your gaze.” Then proceeding, he clearly adds: — “He is one, self-proceeding; and from Him alone all things proceed, And in them He Himself exerts his activity: no mortal Beholds Him, but He beholds all.” Thus far Orpheus at last understood that he had been in error: — “But linger no longer, O man, endued with varied wisdom; But turn and retrace your steps, and propitiate God.” For if, at the most, the Greeks, having received certain scintillations of the divine word, have given forth some utterances of truth, they bear indeed witness that the force of truth is not hidden, and at the same time expose their own weakness in not having arrived at the end.

Idem, Stromata 1. 14: The Greeks say, that after Orpheus and Linus, and the most ancient of the poets that appeared among them, the seven, called wise, were the first that were admired for their wisdom. Of whom four were of Asia — Thales of Miletus, and Bias of Priene, Pittacus of Mitylene, and Cleobulus of Lindos; and two of Europe, Solon the Athenian, and Chilon the Lacedaemonian; and the seventh, some say, was Periander of Corinth; others, Anacharsis the Scythian; others, Epimenides the Cretan, whom Paul knew as a Greek prophet, whom he mentions in the Epistle to Titus, where he speaks thus: “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. And this witness is true.” You see how even to the prophets of the Greeks he attributes something of the truth, and is not ashamed, when discoursing for the edification of some and the shaming of others, to make use of Greek poems.

Ibid 21: And Orpheus, who sailed with Hercules, was the pupil of Musaeus {evidently an earlier Musaeus than his son of the same name, and identified by the Hellenistic writer Artapanus with Moses [Musa in Arabic]}.

Idem, Stromata, 5. 14: And the same Orpheus speaks thus: — “But to the word divine, looking, attend, Keeping aright the heart’s receptacle Of intellect, and tread the straight path well, And only to the world’s immortal King Direct thy gaze.” And again, respecting God, saying that He was invisible, and that He was known to but one, a Chaldean by race — meaning either by this Abraham or his son — he speaks as follows: — “But one a scion of Chaldean race; For he the sun’s path knew right well, And how the motion of the sphere about The earth proceeds, in circle moving Equally around its axis, how the winds Their chariot guide o’er air and sea.” Then, as if paraphrasing the expression, “Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool,” he adds: — “But in great heaven, He is seated firm Upon a throne of gold, and ’neath His feet The earth. His right hand round the ocean’s bound He stretches; and the hills’ foundations shake To the center at His wrath, nor can endure His mighty strength. He all celestial is, And all things finishes upon the earth. He the Beginning, Middle is, and End. But Thee I dare not speak. In limbs And mind I tremble. He rules from on high.” And so forth. For in these he indicates these prophetic utterances: “If Thou openest the heaven, trembling shall seize the mountains from Thy presence; and they shall melt, as wax melteth before the fire;” and in Isaiah, “Who hath measured the heaven with a span, and the whole earth with His fist? Again, when it is said: — “Ruler of Ether, Hades, Sea, and Land, Who with Thy bolts Olympus’ strong-built home Dost shake. Whom demons dread, and whom the throng Of gods do fear. Whom, too, the Fates obey, Relentless though they be. O deathless One, Our mother’s Sire whose wrath makes all things reel; Who mov’st the winds, and shroud’st in clouds the world, Broad Ether cleaving with Thy lightning gleams, — Thine is the order ’mongst the stars, which run As Thine unchangeable behests direct. Before Thy burning throne the angels wait, Much-working, charged to do all things, for men. Thy young Spring shines, all prank’d with purple flowers; Thy Winter with its chilling clouds assails; Thine Autumn noisy Bacchus distributes.” Then he adds, naming expressly the Almighty God: — “Deathless Immortal, capable of being To the immortals only uttered! Come, Greatest of gods, with strong Necessity. Dread, invincible, great, deathless One, Whom Ether crowns.”… By the expression “Sire of our Mother” (Metropator) he not only intimates creation out of nothing, but gives occasion to those who introduce emissions of imagining a consort of the Deity. And he paraphrases those prophetic Scriptures — that in Isaiah, “I am He that fixes the thunder, and creates the wind; whose hands have founded the host of heaven;” and that in Moses, “Behold, behold that I am He, and there is no God beside me: I will kill, and I will make to live; I will smite, and I will heal: and there is none that shall deliver out of my hands.” “And He, from good, to mortals planteth ill, And cruel war, and tearful woes,” according to Orpheus.Such also are the words of the Parian Archilochus. “O Zeus, thine is the power of heaven, and thou Inflict’st on men things violent and wrong.” Again let the Thracian Orpheus sing to us: — “His right hand all around to ocean’s bound He stretches; and beneath His feet is earth.” These are plainly derived from the following: “The Lord will save the inhabited cities, and grasp the whole land in His hand like a nest; “ “It is the Lord that made the earth by His power,” as saith Jeremiah, “and set up the earth by His wisdom.”

Ibid 6. 2: You will also find that Homer, the great poet, took from Orpheus, from the Disappearance of Dionysus, those words and what follows verbatim: — “As a man trains a luxuriant shoot of olive.” And in the Theogony, it is said by Orpheus of Kronos: — “He lay, his thick neck bent aside; and him All-conquering Sleep had seized.” These Homer transferred to the Cyclops. And Hesiod writes of Melampous: — “Gladly to hear, what the immortals have assigned To men, the brave from cowards clearly marks;” and so forth, taking it word for word from the poet Musaeus.




Previous     Next