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Ancient Egypt

Cradle of Early Christianity

Traces the sources of the Christian religion to ancient Egypt.

The earliest Christian myths emerged in the melting pot of gnostic Alexandria—not in orthodox Jerusalem, classical Athens, or legalistic Rome. In this book, Tjeu van den Berk traces the sources of the Christian faith to the banks of the river Nile. Focusing on ancient archetypes, van den Berk underscores the striking similarities between the Egyptian and Christian religions. In this fascinating study, he explores the symbolism of the Trinity, the cross, and the myths of a god born of a virgin. He also traces the origins of the stories of Lazarus and Saint George, and he finds stunning parallels between Egyptian mythology and the Book of Revelation. 

257 pages | 37 halftones, 36 line drawings | 6 x 9

Religion: Christianity, Comparative Studies and History of Religion

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
Introduction 14
A Christian trail in the Nile valley 14
A culture, overwhelming and enduring 17
Our vision is not new 19
1. A mythic worldview 21
The philosophy of an ancient Egyptian 21
The phenomenological approach 25
The Nile valley offered a natural bedding for the gods 28
Jung’s experience 29
Symbol 34
The frog 36
The dung beetle 39
Lastly 44
2. God is born of a virgin 46
Incarnation 46
The divine child 48
Theogamy, a fairy tale 49
Theogamy, a myth 53
Theogamy, a legend 62
Theogamy, a gospel 71
Did the evangelists take the virgin birth literally? 75
3. ALEXANDRIA, city of cities 78
Introduction 78
Alexander the great, founder of the city 79
The Ptolemies built the most splendid city of antiquity 82
Three cultural wonders 84
The Museum 85
The Library 86
The Serapeum 88
Serapis 88
Alexandria, an Egyptian city 93
Destruction of the Serapeum by the Christians 96
4. The Osiris myth 99
The triumph of an immigrant god 99
The Osiris myth 101
Osiris of Abydos 108
Osiris mysteries 113
A private initiation in Abydos 118
The judgement of Osiris, another initiation ritual? 122
5. An Egyptian Christ 126
The Christ myth and the historical Jesus 126
Similarities between the Christ myth and the Osiris myth 129
Three days in the realm of the dead 130
The immortal soul and its judgement 133
A personal judgement of the soul 135
6. The trinity of Nicaea, an Egyptian symbol 138
Osiris and Christ, persons of the trinity 138
The church fathers in Nicaea tinkered with an
Egyptian archetype 141
A Jewish trinity 144
Asherah, spouse of Yahweh and their daughter Anat 149
The monotheistic reform in Jerusalem 153
Jews to Egypt 155
7. Egyptian mysteries in the church and in the gospel 159
Initiation in Rome 159
The ‘secret gospel’ of Mark 163
The raising of Lazarus 166
An Osirian initiation ritual 169
8. Early Christianity in Alexandria 175
Introduction 175
Jews in Alexandria 176
The first Jewish pogrom in history 177
First Christians in Alexandria 181
One indirect early witness: Apollos 184
Jews worshipping Abraxas and Christians worshipping Serapis 186
9. Four Christian tracks in the Nile valley 191
Introduction 191
Seth-Christ on the cross 193
Seth-George and the dragon 202
The rich miser and the poor Lazarus 207
The feast of the Virgin who gives birth to a child 212
10. A woman appeared in heaven 220
An unprecedented triumphal march 220
‘Una quae es omnia’ (The one who is all) 222
‘I am Who was, Who is and Who will be’ 224
‘And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman’ 226
The appearance of the great mother goddess 231
Book of Revelation 12, an Egyptian myth. 233
‘The bride shall live in the heavenly chambers’ 236
Afterword 238
Egyptian timeline 243
Bibliography 249
Source of the figures 256

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