Dionysian influence on christianity

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Dionysian influence on christianity

Hey Peeps.

Something I came across during a school project, I think you'd find this as funny as I did.

It is possible that Dionysian mythology would later find its way into Christianity. There are many parallels between Dionysus and Jesus; both were said to have been born from a mortal woman but fathered by a god, to have returned from the dead, and to have transformed water into wine. The modern scholar Barry Powell also argues that Christian notions of eating and drinking "the flesh" and "blood" of Jesus were influenced by the cult of Dionysus. Certainly the Dionysus myth contains a great deal of cannibalism, in its links to Ino (however, one must note that Dionysian cannibalism has no correlation with self-sacrifice as a means of propitiation). Dionysus was also distinct among Greek gods, as a deity commonly felt within individual followers. In a less benign example of influence on Christianity, Dionysus' followers, as well as another god, Pan, are said to have had the most influence on the modern view of Satan as animal-like and horned.7 It is also possible these similarities between Christianity and Dionysiac religion are all only representations of the same common religious archetypes. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the story of Jesus turning water into wine is only found in the Gospel of John, which differs on many points from the other Synoptic Gospels. That very passage, it has been suggested, was incorporated into the Gospel from an earlier source focusing on Jesus' miracles.8

According to Martin A. Larson in The Story of Christian Origins (1977), Osiris was the first savior, and all soteriology in the region borrowed this religion, directly and indirectly, including Mithraism and Christianity, from an Osirian-Dionysian influence. As with their common dying and resurrected saviors, they all share common sacraments, ostensibly grounded in their reliance on seasonal cereal agriculture, having adopted the rituals with the food itself. Larson notes that Herodotus uses the names Osiris and Dionysus interchangeably and Plutarch identifies them as the same, while the name was anciently thought to originate from the place Nysa, in Egypt (now Ethiopia).

The subject of Dionysus is complex and baffling. The problem is further complicated by the fact that he appears in at least four characters: first, as the respectable patron of the theatre and the arts; second, as the effeminate, yet fierce and phallic mystery-god of the bloodthirsty Maenads; third, as the mystic deity in the temples of Demeter; and fourth, as the divine savior who died for mankind and whose body and blood were symbolically eaten and drunk in the eucharist of the Orphic-Pythagorean celibates. Beyond this, almost all barbarian nations had their own versions of Dionysius under many names. And yet there is a simpler explanation: Dionysus, Bromius, Sabazius, Attis, Adonis, Zalmoxis, Corybas, Serapis, and Orpheus himself are replicas of their grand prototype Osiris; and the variations which appear among them resulted from the transplantation of the god from one country to another, and reflect simply the specific needs of his multifarious worshipers (37-38).

- taken from the Wikipedia Article of Dionysus