Jerusalem’s History as Athenian Myth
What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? After even a cursory examination of the two, it is hard to deny that the founding "myths" of Athens share many curious and intricate coincidences with Jewish history and the symbolisms of Jerusalem. For as the founding myth of Athens goes; Cecrops (herein presented as the Athenian version of Moses), lead the Athenians up out of the land of Egypt. He took a colony out of the Egyptian city of Sais, (see the Scholiast on Aristophanes Plutus 773). Diodorus tells us, “the Athenians, they say, are colonists from Sais in Egypt, and they undertake to offer proofs of such a relationship; for the Athenians are the only Greeks who call their city "Asty," a name brought over from the city Asty in Egypt. Furthermore, their body politic had the same classification and division of the people as found in Egypt.” (Diodorus Siculus book 1 Chapter I.28.4). Similarly from Plato, as his ancestor Solon was told by the Priests of Egypt, "At the head of the Egyptian Delta, where the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which Amasis the king was sprung. And the citizens have a deity who is their foundress: she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, which is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes called Athena. Now, the citizens of this city are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them.” (Plato Critias). Just as in the story of Moses leading the twelve tribes to the promised land, so the Greek myth of Cecrops has him leading his people to the area of Athens and dividing the land into twelve districts. Strabo tells us that, “Cecrops first settled the multitude in twelve cities,” (Geography 9. 1. 18 - 20). Notice here not only the division into twelve but also Strabo’s reference to “the multitude” that Cecrops was accredited with settling at the colony of Athens (Sais = Zoan = Tanis = Tanit = Athena = Zion). It’s not my contention that there were two groups, both sharing the stories of Moses and coming out of Egypt, one going to Jerusalem and the other going to Athens, for it is more probable that colonists from Palestine (not necessarily Judeans) brought the stories of Moses to Athens long after the exodus, and even after Jerusalem had been established for a while. For it is not just the story about coming up out of the land of Egypt that they share.
Another example of how Cecrops was like Moses, can be seen in the writings of Pausanias, who says, "For Cecrops was the first to name Zeus the Supreme god, and refused to sacrifice anything that had life in it, but burnt instead on the altar the national cakes which the Athenians still call pelanoi.” (Description of Greece 8. 2. 2-3).# Thus even a kind of monotheism such as that which was advocated by Moses, who was the first to name Yahweh (Ex. 3:14), had it’s parallel in the Greek myth of Cecrops (however corrupt, he advocated Zeus as the “supreme god”). Notice also the bit about the “national cakes” in regards to Moses setting up the festival of the unfermented cakes. Just as Moses was the “legislator of the Jews” so the Greek myths tell us, that it was Cecrops who first gave the people of Athens their laws. Moses also wrote the universal founding story in the book of Genesis, and it is evident that the Athenians were well aware of it, because it is used liberally, as I will demonstrate, in the foundation myths of Athens. Some even say that Cecrops invented writing, another allusion to Moses who is sometimes said to have invented the alphabet.
Cecrops was an anguipede (serpent footed,) this is noteworthy because wayward Jews blasphemously pictured Yahweh, the God of Moses, as an anguipede (This is such an outrageous claim that I implore the reader to look it up on his own. Simply search the term on the internet, there are dozens of sites anxious to malign the Jews for this particular idolatrous blasphemy.). Furthermore, don‘t let the fact that the history of Athens is full of serpents throw you off, for (besides the serpent stick carrying Moses), each of the twelve tribes of Israel had its own leader at the Exodus, and the tribal chief of Judah, was a man named "Nahshon," which is the usual Hebrew word for "serpent." So, while it was Moses who led the tribes up out of Egypt, it was this Nahshon (serpent), who led the specific tribe of Judah, the founders of Jerusalem, at the Exodus. The reason for the serpent symbolism will become a bit more apparent when we cover the dual nature of the Messiah later on in this article.
The Greek myths tell us that it was Cecrops who invented marriage (instituting monogamy), while among the Hebrews it was Moses who outlined the institution of marriage when he compiled the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. The previous creation story, which apparently had Lilith, was presumably not so insistent upon the marriage arrangement that was detailed at Genesis 2:23,24 (And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be as one flesh.). The Greek myths tell us that Cecrops was the first to recognize patriarchal paternity (Egypt was a matrilineal society). While Moses wrote Genesis 3:16 (Unto the woman he said, …thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.) in order to redefine the roles of men and women for the Israelites as opposed to the custom of their previous Egyptian overlords (Athena had “accidentally” killed Pallas in the Greek myth, much the same as Eve had superseded Lilith in the writings of Moses.). In the previous two points, concerning monogamy and patriarchal paternity, and having brought up the name Lilith, we are presented with an opportunity to explain the Greek character who was originally known as “Pallas” (of Pallas-Athene fame).
In Assyrian, Ilu (as in the Hebrew term “El”) means “god,” while Ilatu means “goddess.” In Canaanite, Baal means “lord,” while Baalath means “lady,” note the feminine suffix (comparable to the English -ette or -ess). In the Canaanite religion El and Baal are sometimes interchangeable, it is therefore a reasonable assumption that Lilith (Elath?) is related to the term Baalath. Accordingly the name “Baalath” is a tempting theoretical origin for the name of “Pallas” (a phonetic shibboleth and not another name altogether), thus as intimated earlier, Pallas is a plausible Greek version of the Hebrew character Lilith/Baalath. In the Greek myths Pallas is either an anguipede giant who is killed by Athena and flayed to make her serpentine shield, or alternately, her maiden sister whom she kills accidentally (the differing opinion depended upon your view of feminism, no doubt. Was Lilith an evil monster who was killed on purpose, or an innocent maiden who was killed by accident?). In any case the Athena of Athens adopted the name Pallas-Athene in memory of Pallas. Athene is therefore often referred to simply as “Pallas.” And, in contrast to Hera‘s dove, the totem bird of Pallas-Athene is the owl (the Hebrew “kos” however, the night owl was referred to as “Lilith”).
Establishing a connection between the two patriarchal monogamists Cecrops and Moses, can give us a bit more “source material” for understanding the story of Adam and Eve. For apparently there was a previous version of our universal foundation myth, that Moses was tasked to build upon and mitigate. The problem with the earlier story was that it was too feminist. Note the sin of Adam in the Moses version of the Genesis account, “harkening unto the voice of thy wife” (Gen. 3:17). The Greek myth about the founding of Athens contains more obvious details about the change from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society that are not so apparent in the Genesis account. A case in point is the contest between Poseidon and Athena as to which deity would be supreme in Athens. According to Varro, the choice between worshipping Athena or Poseidon was put to the vote of the people of Attica. They were asked to pick which would be more beneficial to mankind, Athena’s olive tree or Poseidon’s fountain. In those days, women had an equal vote with men. The men all voted for the god, and all the women voted for the goddess, but since there was one more woman than there were men, Athena won the referendum. Angered, Poseidon sent a great flood. So terrible was his judgment that it was decided to deprive women of the vote and to forbid children to bear their mother's names for the future. (Augustine, De civitate Dei xviii.9). … Furthermore the day on which the vote took place, the second day of the first Attic month of Boedromion, (on or near the modern August 20th) was henceforth omitted from the calendar. (Plut. De fraterno amore 11; Plut. Quaest. Conviv. ix.6.) Apparently it was a big deal transgression with lasting societal consequences to choose the goddess over the god, a type of Athenian “original sin” committed by the women of Athens (whether Pandora, Persephone, or Eve, it seems like a widespread consensus that the woman always gets the blame).
The Garden of Eden had two trees and a fountain, they are mentioned all together at the same place in the narrative, “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” (Genesis 2:9,10). Many people think that the scriptural creation story was originally two stories rolled into one, but perhaps there were originally three or four (or even more) sources and it was Moses whose task it was to compile them into a single account. The story of Moses includes an outline of his “sin” for which he was precluded from entering his own “Eden,” a land flowing with “milk an honey” the “promised land” because he had struck a rock with his staff and produced a fountain. The Greek myth about the founding of Athens contains a very similar motif when it comes to the contest between Poseidon and Athena, “the Sea-God standing, striking the rough rock with his tall trident, and the wounded rock gushing sea-brine, his proof to clinch his claim. Herself (Athena) … from the earth struck by her spear, she shows an olive tree," (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 70 ff). Perhaps this episode in the life of Moses hearkens back to one of the original versions of the creation story, one that was expunged from his “compilation” that has come down to us in the book of Genesis. In the contest between Poseidon with his miraculous fountain, and Athena, the well known goddess of “knowledge” (of “good and evil?”), with her miraculous tree, we have a kind of doublet with the myth of Pallas verses Athena, as to which version of the maiden would supersede. Was it going to be the fountain (of youth?), or the tree (of eternal life)? Apparently it would be the tree. The result of “picking” the tree was a massive flood. In the book of Genesis Moses tells us that there was a kind of contest between God and the Serpent as to whom mankind would obey. The people were allowed complete freedom of choice, in picking of the tree, mankind decided on the Serpent. God eventually brought the flood. According to Moses, a dove delivers to Noah, the olive branch in spite of the flood. The dove is symbolic of “the woman” delivering her seed, and in Greek mythology it is the totem bird of Hera (Her Latin name, “Juno” is the usual Hebrew word for “dove.”) the parthenogenic mother of Hephaestus, while the branch of the olive tree turns out to be symbolic of the Messiah. Logic propels us to conclude that in the parallel Athenian version of the tale, Athena represented the Serpent, while Poseidon represented God. In the Scriptural book of Genesis, of course, choosing the Serpent was a mistake and a promise was made to correct the error at a later date by means of the Messiah (a promise that was symbolized by the olive branch and as the seed of the Woman).
Now, it is not my intention to equate Athens with Eden, although the temptation is strong to do so ("Athens, a town said to be the first established in the world." So says Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 164), and I would not be averse to the suggestion that the names of the two places have a common ancestor. My point is that the two places share similar stories because the Athenian story tellers were from Israel and were well aware of the stories of Jerusalem and that Cecrops was actually the Athenian version of Moses, the stories that Cecrops told were very similar to the stories that Moses wrote. Specific motifs and themes that we usually associate with the writings of Moses in Genesis and Exodus were carried by Hebrews who migrated to Greece and set up Athens as a local rival to Jerusalem, (as they had done back home at Bethel and Dan) thus they turn up in the Greek myths as the foundation stories of Athens, this is the simplest explanation for the phenomenon. Some may even have been Judeans who had originally come to Thebes in Boeotia with Cadmus and then moved to Athens at a later date. In deed, if the Greeks knew of Moses as Cecrops, and used the Hebrew alphabet, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t know something about what Moses wrote, such as the Theogony of Genesis and the story of Eden. After all, they do seem to have known quite a bit about Moses and not only mere generalities, but even down to intricate details of theological doctrine.
The olive tree is the well known symbol of the Jewish nation (Rom. 11:17-26), more particularly the olive branch is the symbol of peace (shalom), and is incorporated into the name of the capital city of the Jews, Jeru-“salem,” featured herein as the original concept of the Greek city Athens, which is also symbolized by the olive tree in the Greek myths. The symbolism of the olive branch is included in the writings of Moses, delivered by the “dove” to Noah as the remedy for the flood, some take it as the symbol of the Messiah (Christos “anointed” with oil, olive oil). (not to mention the, very ancient, Zodiacal character of Virgo who carries the “branch”) Athena (called Athena-Parthenos, meaning “the virgin”) was a female personification of the city state of Athens, “the virgin citadel of Cecrops” (Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 5. 646 ff), in the same way that (the Virgin) Zion was a female personification of Jerusalem. “The virgin, the daughter of Zion, … the daughter of Jerusalem” (Isa. 37:22).
The early Athenians even had their own equivalent to the Messiah, this would have to have been Erecthonius who was born the seed of Hephaestus and Gaea, the baby king who was supposed to have been in the Ark that was kept in the temple (that‘s right, they kept an ark in their temple). Hephaestus, born to the dove embodied wife of god (Hera) by a virgin birth, is a reasonable mythic symbol to deliver the Scriptural “seed of the woman.” While on the other hand Gaea is the archetypical mother of all the mythic serpents and monsters, she is the mother of Typhon, Echidna, Python, Ladon the never sleeping serpent guard of the apples of the garden of Hesperidies, as well as the dragon who guarded the golden fleece. Together Hephaestus and Gaea engender, in one person, the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent,” resolving the enmity between them and producing the dual- natured “messianic,” archetypical, King of Athens.
The Ark and The Twy-Formed Messiah of Athens
“a boy was born, the lower part of whose body was snake-formed. They named him Erecthonius, … Minerva (Hyginus here uses the Latin name for Athena) was secretly caring for him, she gave him in a chest to Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, daughters of Cecrops, to guard.” (Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 166) “Erecthonius was born, who derives his name from the earth and their struggle. Minerva is said to have hidden him, like a cult-object, in a chest.” (Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 13) “Pallas laid him, the ancient seed of Hephaestos within the chest, until she set a rock in Akte (Attica) for the sons of Cecrops; a birth mysterious and secret” (Callimachus, Hecale Frag 1.2) “Erekhtheus, whom once Athene Zeus’ daughter tended after grain-giving Gaia had born him, and established him to be in Athens in her own rich temple.” (Homer, Iliad 5. 124 ff) We can see from the preceding ancient sources, that The daughters of Cecrops carried with them an ark and were given instructions not to look upon the contents, namely, a baby born to be the dynastic King to the Athenians. An ark, secret, hidden, and mysterious, was kept in Athena’s “rich temple.” Inside the ark something was kept as if it were a “cult object.” Where did they get this idea of keeping a sacred ark in their temple, and why did they represent it as having a baby king in it?
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14) This “Word” was God’s word, it was His promise, the Messianic promise. According to the New Testament Christians, it is believed that God kept His word by producing Jesus, the Christian Messiah. Before the Word was made flesh, it was written by Moses and kept in the Ark. This notion was evidently much older than Christianity, for all over ancient Greece, wherever the Israelites were scattered, they told this story about the special “baby” who was kept in the ark. (not only the twy-formed Erecthonius but also Perseus, Adonis, Telephus, Dionysus, Oedipus, the twins Romulus and Remus, and the twins Pelias and Neleus, were all said to have been ark babies).
While the Jewish Ark in the Temple at Jerusalem contained the Messianic promise composed by Moses, the ark in the temple at Athens was much the same. For as we are informed by Apollodorus; "Athena brought him (Erecthonius) up unknown to the other gods, wishing to make him immortal; and having put him in a chest, she committed it to Pandrosus, daughter of Cecrops, forbidding her to open the chest. But the sisters of Pandrosus opened it out of curiosity, and beheld a serpent coiled about the babe; and, as some say, they were destroyed by the serpent, but according to others they were driven mad by reason of the anger of Athena and threw themselves down from the acropolis." (The Library 3.14.6) See how Apollodorus makes the baby king in the ark out to be no mere person, but that the purpose of Athena was to “make him immortal.” She was hiding this baby king from “the other gods,” (This was to be a “one god” mission, in which “the gods” would have no part.). Erecthonius (also an anguipede, ‘like unto’ Cecrops) was to be the divine King of Kings to the Athenians, just like the Messianic promise was to the Jews in the writings of Moses; "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, ‘like unto’ me; unto Him ye shall hearken". (Deut. 18:15, compare Acts 3:22 “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, ‘like unto’ me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”) alluding to the eventuality that a baby would be born who would fulfill the promise. And again notice how Apollodorus also says that there was a strict rule forbidding the looking upon of the contents in the ark, and deadly consequences for disobeying the rule, just like the Ark of the Covenant.
In modern iconography all the “sons of god” (angels) are of a dual nature, they are dove-people and are envisioned as people with big white wings. (Those Scriptural “giants” in the days of Noah are born to Earthly women of the angelic sons of God, these are often identified with the Earthborn giants of Greek myths, however the Greeks portrayed them as serpent footed rather than dove winged. How they are pictured is evidently a matter of theological interpretation.) The “seed of the woman,” (the “woman” is symbolized as the dove who delivers the “olive branch,” as the Messiah) is the archetypical dove-person. (Gen. 8:11 “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.”) See how the dove introduces the Messiah right after the waters, and compare this to the new testament references to Jesus in all four gospels. (First in Matthew 3:16, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him” Next in Mark 1:10 “And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him” and again in Luke 3:22 “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” And finally at John 1:32 “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.”) In modern iconography the cherub is a baby with wings. The angel baby is clearly symbolic of the Scriptural assurance that a child would be born, the dove baby, Thus, the “Gentile” concept of the cherub is a plausible symbolic representation derived from the widely known Messianic promise. (This brings to mind the cherubic symbols on the Hebrew Ark.)
Some time before Hera (the Olympian dove-woman) and the other Olympians became established, there was Aphrodite, she was a much more ancient (Amorite?) version of the dove goddess. "[Aphrodite] carried by her doves across the sky," (Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.597) "She [Aphrodite] … called to the reign her Amyklaian doves." (Statius, Silvae 1.2.51) "White Turtle-doves are often to be seen. These, they say, are sacred to Aphrodite" (Aelian, On Animals 10.33) "Into the Euphrates River an egg of wonderful size is said to have fallen, which the fish rolled to the bank. Doves sat on it, and when it was heated, it hatched out Venus," (Hyginus, Fabulae 197). "[Aphrodite] carried by her doves across the sky." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 14.597). "[Aphrodite] loves ... snow-white doves." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.673). "Four white doves ... submitted to the jeweled yoke. They took their mistress [Aphrodite] aboard and delightedly mounted upwards." (Apuleius, The Golden Ass 6.6). In the earlier stories of Greek mythology there was an original sin against the god of heaven, it is known as the castration of Uranus. The serpent woman, Gaea encouraged this crime, and the dove woman, Aphrodite was born as a result of it. “But vast Gaia … was vexed in her dear heart … if you will obey me, we should punish the vile outrage of your father; … Kronos the wily took courage … and vast Gaia rejoiced greatly in spirit, and set and hid him in an ambush, and put in his hands a jagged sickle, and revealed to him the whole plot.” (Hesiod, Theogony 126 ff). "Then the son [Kronos] from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members … and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. … Aphrodite (Hesiod, Theogony 176 ff). Accordingly the dove woman Aphrodite produced Eros, the cherubic, bow carrying (“gentile”) symbol of the Messianic promise.
The Scriptural cherub was installed in the garden as a consequence of the original sin, it was the symbol of the law, and was mounted as a “covering” on the Ark of the Covenant, and the bow is a symbol (the arch) of the covenant, “I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.” (Gen. 9:13). Now, while we moderns do seem to think of the cherub as a baby, it is clear that the Scriptural “cherub” is not portrayed as such. “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.” (Eze. 28:13-16). Just as the cherub means the Law, and the cherub means the Messiah, we are propelled by the extension of this logic to conclude that the Messiah means the Law. The Messiah is the Word and the Word is the Law, thus a plausible explanation for the following enigmatic Biblical verse: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Col 2:14) for it was the body of the Christian Messiah (believed by Christians to be the Word and the Law) that was nailed to the cross.
Because we have explained the Christian Messiah as the “seed of the woman” symbolically delivered by the dove, logic impels us to further equate the New Testament “Spirit of God” or “Holy Ghost” with the Old Testament “Woman” of the Messianic promise. A bit more difficult is explaining the relationship between the Christian Messiah and the “seed of the serpent.” The cherub, as the dove baby can be associated with the Messiah, but the cherub also has an association with the serpent. (Often coupled with the cherub is the “seraph,” this is a Hebrew noun that does indeed mean “a flying fiery serpent.” It is plausible that these two terms were originally equivalent, but the same theological difficulties that separated the “twi-formed” Messiah into two, worked similarly on the cherub/seraph symbol of the Messiah. The noun saraph designates the brazen serpent in Numbers 21:8 and Isaiah 14:29 and 30:6 both designate a flying serpent as "flying saraph" and it is generally surmised that the seraphim of Isaiah chapter 6 were winged serpents. Such mythological creatures are amply attested in the artistic legacy of the ancient Near East and in Greek and Roman art.) The cherub’s Scriptural job of guarding the way to the tree of life has a well known and wide spread mythological equivalent. For guarding the way to the “golden” apples of the Hesperidies is a serpent, and also the way to the “golden” fleece is guarded by a dragon. So as you can see, the cherub is not only a dove but also a serpent and sometimes a winged one (a dragon). Gold, a most valued commodity indeed, is often a mythological substitution for the most valued possession of all, “life.” We can thereby identify the cherub as it appears in many other myths such as the winged gryphon (of the “Scythians”) whose job it is to guard “gold” in general. However life is not always symbolized by gold, there are many myths that use no symbol for it and use the term “life” literally or prosaically. Cerberus keeps us from gaining immortality, or rather, life after death. Heracles was seeking immortality as an Olympian when he destroyed the hydra and stepped upon the “crab,” wounding his foot, (Heracles sought life for everyone in capturing Cerberus, he also destroyed the serpent that guarded the aforementioned “golden” fruit of the famous tree in the ancient garden of Hesperidies.) and the “scarab” is a well known Egyptian symbol of eternal life. (The “gryph” in gryphon is an evident shibboleth of “cherub” as is the “serp” in serpent, the “rep” in reptile, the “herp” in herpetology, the “Cerb” in Cerberus, the “scorp” in scorpion, as well as the words “creep,” “crab,” “scarab,” and “harpy.”).
Do you doubt that there is a double nature to the Messiah? Then why do so many spend so much time trying to explain it? The dual nature of the Messiah is dealt with in many ways by many disciplines. Biblical scholars suppose that there must be two Messiahs, one of the tribe of David (the Jews) the Messiah Ben David, as well as one who is called “the Ephraimic Messiah” or “the Messiah Ben Joseph” who is provided for the house of Israel (the gentiles). The Davidic Messiah is everlasting while the other has to undergo death (and resurrection). I consider this Hypothesis to be the rabbinical equivalent to the Zodiacal sign of Gemini, where (whether Castor and Pollex or Romulus and Remus), one of the pair is immortal while the other is mortal. "Kastor was mortal, and the fate of death was destined for him; but Polydeukes, scion of Ares was immortal." (Homerica, The Cypria Frag 7 from Clement of Alexandria, Protrept 2.30.5) “But because Polydeukes would not accept immortality while Kastor was a corpse, Zeus granted them alternating days among the gods and among mortals." (Apollodorus, The Library 3.136-137). The Athenian counterpart to the Messiah has the two natures rolled into one, the Davidic part is represented by the baby half while the sacrificed part is designated by the serpent half. This is quite consistent with the ancient Scriptural symbolism, and I believe is a better answer to the “double Messiah” question. (Therefore I don’t look for two Messiahs but one double Messiah, I expect the Christian Messiah to return as the Jewish Messiah one day, but we shall see.) “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.” (Gen.3:15). And in the new testament as well, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?” (John 12:32-34) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” (John 3:14). As we can see, the Christian Messiah was sacrificed as the serpent, and just as in the Jewish anguipede (serpent footed), so the heel to be crushed is a serpent’s head as well. The sacrifice of the Messiah was foretold in the original promise as “bruising his heel,” and in this one act the serpent’s head was crushed simultaneously. Thus the ancient “enmity” between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s seed had been finally remedied.
“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” (Eph 2:11-19). Notice here how Paul describes the Christian Messiah as making himself “of twain one” and having “made both one” in order to “reconcile both unto God in one body” and abolishing the enmity between the uncircumcised, “far off,” “strangers and foreigners,” and those who Paul refers to as the circumcised, and the “nigh” making both “fellow citizens.” Now, compare this with the words of Diodorus who had a very comparable interpretation for the dual nature of the Athenian messiah, to wit; “Moreover, certain of the rulers of Athens were originally Egyptians, …(a lacuna here is thought to refer to Cecrops) … He was of double form, … because of his double citizenship, Greek and barbarian, that he was held to be of double form, that is, part animal and part man. In the same way, they continue, Erechtheus (Erecthonius) also, who was by birth an Egyptian, became king of Athens” (Diodorus Siculus Book 28,29). See how Diodorus makes the Athenian messiah to be “of double form” in order to reconcile the “double citizenship” of “Greek and barbarian,” Athenian and Egyptian. Although extremely diverse quotes from highly separate sources, these two are very similar explanations for a very similar motif indeed. Both explain the double nature of the great King as referring to his dual citizenship, a reconciliation between civility and barbarity.
The apostle Paul, known as St. Paul by some and Rav Shaul by others, was quite fluent with the customs and philosophies of the Greeks. He was able to quote from the Cilician poet Aratus, and from the Hymn to Zeus by Cleanthes (Acts 17 :22-31). He may well have been familiar with Diodorus and he certainly was aware of the stories associated with the early kings of Athens for he had made a tour of the Athenian temples. Paul saw an altar to the “unknown god” while he was in Athens and recognized it as an altar to Yahweh. “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, ‘What does this babbler want to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,’ because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, ‘May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.’ For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, ‘Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.’” (Acts 17:16-28)
Quote from Herodotus
We don’t have to rely exclusively on the tale that Cecrops lead a multitude out of Egypt to bring the Hebrew stories to Athens. There is another account that indicates a more direct connection between the “Phoenicians” of Cadmus and the Athenians that could have given the Greeks some of the more intricate details of the Hebrew theology that I have outlined here. In my view Herodotus reports the arrival of “Hebrews” first to Thebes and then tells of their movement to Athens. Consider the account of the “Gephyraei” from "Histories" book 5, Pages 57-61 by Herodotus, (the speculation in the brackets about Eretria are mine,); "57. Now the Gephyraei, … according to their own account were originally descended from Eretria [could Herodotus here have gotten Eretria, a Greek city, confused with Eritria, a land on the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea?]; but as I find by carrying inquiries back, they were Phoenicians of those who came with Cadmus to the land which is now called Boeotia, and they dwelt in the district of Tanagra, which they had had allotted to them in that land. Then after the Cadmeans had first been driven out by the Argives, these Gephyraei next were driven out by the Boeotians and turned then towards Athens: and the Athenians received them on certain fixed conditions to be citizens of their State, laying down rules that they should be excluded from a number of things not worth mentioning here. 58. Now these Phoenicians who came with Cadmus, of whom were the Gephyraei, brought in among the Hellenes many arts when they settled in this land of Boeotia, and especially letters, which did not exist, as it appears to me, among the Hellenes before this time; and at first they brought in those which are used by the Phoenician race generally, but afterwards, as time went on, they changed with their speech the form of the letters also. During this time the Ionians were the race of Hellenes who dwelt near them in most of the places where they were; and these, having received letters by instruction of the Phoenicians, changed their form slightly and so made use of them, and in doing so they declared them to be called "Phoenician," as was just, seeing that the Phoenicians had introduced them into Hellas. … 59. I myself too once saw Cadmean characters in the temple of Ismenian Apollo at Thebes of the Boeotians, engraved on certain tripods, and in most respects resembling the Ionic letters: one of these tripods has the inscription, "Me Amphitryon offered from land Teleboian returning:" this inscription would be of an age contemporary with Laius the son of Labdacus, the son of Polydorus, the son of Cadmus. 60. Another tripod says thus in hexameter rhythm: "Me did Scaios offer to thee, far-darting Apollo, Victor in contest of boxing, a gift most fair in thine honor:" now Scaios would be the son of Hippocoon (at least if it were really he who offered it, and not another with the same name as the son of Hippocoon), being of an age contemporary with Oedipus the son of Laius: 61. and the third tripod, also in hexameter rhythm, says: "Me Laodamas offered to thee, fair-aiming Apollo, He, of his wealth, being king, as a gift most fair in thine honor:" now it was in the reign of this very Laodamas the son of Eteocles that the Cadmeans were driven out by the Argives and turned to go to the Enchelians; and the Gephyraei being then left behind were afterwards forced by the Boeotians to retire to Athens. Moreover they have temples established in Athens, in which the other Athenians have no part, and besides others which are different from the rest, there is especially a temple of Demeter Achaia and a celebration of her mysteries.”
Could the word "Gephyraei" be a mere transliteration of the word "Hebrew" in this case (the Hebrew letter “H” being a bit guttural)? The two words are similar enough phonetically, but they also have a similar meaning. We are told by the Hebrew scholars themselves that the root of the term Hebrew, "eber" refers to the idea that they had "passed over," presumably the river Euphrates. While the word "gephyra" is the usual Greek term for a bridge, i.e. "that which crosses over a river." Furthermore, the Latin term for a bridge is "pons" which takes on the combining form of "pont" in words like pontifex (bridge maker) and, pontoon (floating bridge). The Latins referred to things Phoenician as "Punic" and there is speculation that it was the land of Phoenicia that the ancient Egyptians called, the land of "Punt." Therefore one may fairly wonder if the term Phoenician itself isn't somehow related to the terms Hebrew and Gephyraei in the sharing of their meaning, i.e. to cross over (hyper).
The Israelites came up out of Egypt, the Athenians claimed the same, and the city of Cadmus was named after the Egyptian city of Thebes. The Theban serpent that Cadmus destroyed was guarding a fountain not a tree like all the others. However, as Herodotus says, the offspring of the Gephyraei/Hebrews who founded Thebes with Cadmus had moved to Athens, but the Athenians chose the tree over the fountain (the contest between Poseidon and Athena) as it was in the story of the Garden of Eden. The serpentine second nature of the Messiah that was fluent among the Athenians came conceivably from the fact that many of the “Hebrews” of Athens were descendants of those who had immigrated with Cadmus to Thebes as explained by Herodotus. These “Gephyraei” had expected their messiah, whom they had idealized as the Cadmean/Theban culture hero Cadmus, to nail the serpent to the tree. And, in fact, to become that serpent at his own death. “Hidden in the cave there dwelt a Snake, . . . and between its triple rows of teeth its three-forked tongue flickered. ... Agenorides (Cadmus) pressed on and drove the firm-lodged lance deep in the creature’s gullet, till an oak blocked its retreat and Snake and oak were nailed together." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3. 27 ff.) “Why, Cadmus, why stare at the Snake you’ve slain? You too shall be a Snake and stared at." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.28) “Cadmus said ‘Was that a sacred Snake my spear transfixed … ? If it is he the jealous gods avenge with wrath so surely aimed, I pray that I may be a Snake …’ Even as he spoke he was a snake …" (Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 565) “Cadmus, hear what suffering Fate appoints for you. You shall transmute your nature, and become a serpent. … and grant you immortal life among the blessed gods." (Euripides, Bacchae 1357) See how the testimony of the ancient mythographers have portrayed the Theban culture hero (the Cadmean Messiah) Cadmus, as a serpent at his death to be stared upon, just as the serpent that he had transfixed and lifted up? Compare this with the Biblical, Christian Messiah according to John, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” (John 3:14) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:32,33), as he is displayed to be the Scriptural Messiah foreshadowed in Numbers and Psalms; “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he ‘looketh upon’ it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he ‘beheld’ the serpent of brass, he lived.” (Numbers 21:8,9) “they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and ‘stare’ upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psalm 22:16-18)
The name of the Theban serpent was Ismenios, the story of Cadmus connects him with Ares (plausibly from the “Horus” of Thebes in Egypt). Later, possibly due to Assyrian influence (Back in the homeland of Jerusalem, the Hebrews were vacillating their allegiance between Egypt an Assyria as well at this same time.) Apollo superseded Ares/Horus at Thebes. The Apollo of Thebes then became known by the combination name “Apollo Ismenios” (Apollo, an Assyrian influenced Greek transliteration of the name Baal had, like Baal, many combination names, and was often identified with Horus.). I mention this because there was a Baal associated with Jerusalem who, it is said, helped Solomon to build the famous Temple there with a very similar sounding name, Asmodeus. It seems conceivable that a group of heretical Jerusalemites left Jerusalem and took the legend of Asmodeus with them where he became known at Thebes as Ismenios.
Herodotus outlines eight generations (about 200 years) from the time that Cadmus first arrived with the Gephyraei (just after the days of Europa/Jeroboam) until they were driven from Thebes to find refuge in, and become citizens of, Athens (about the time of the Epigony, just before the Trojan War). The people of Athens were amenable to the refugees from Thebes but they did differ from each other on certain theological grounds. The Thebans saw Europa (the Virgin of the lost Israel named for her first King Jeroboam) as lost among the nations for adoring god in the form of a bull, a Judean point of view. However, the Athenians didn’t think of Europa as lost. To them she had settled and peopled the Island of Crete, the Minoans (named for Manasseh?) a group whom they had close ties to. The Athenians had come to see the Cretans as their overlords and sent Athenian youths to be sacrificed to the bull headed symbol of the Cretan god. Their ancient messiah Erecthonius, who had not achieved immortality but had left a dynasty of kings who were known at the time as the “sons of Pandion,” could not deliver them from this Cretan oppression. A faction of the Athenian populace, who trusted in that ancient male god, the jealous one who had demanded exclusive devotion back in the days before the flood, Poseidon, looked for him to sent his redeemer. This would be Theseus, the deliverer and slayer of the Minotaur, but that is another story, the subject of a future article.
Conclusion The people of Athens were a special breed, they had superior conditioning during their early developmental stage, by virtue of their ancient religion. The culture and institutions that were advanced by them were instrumental to the evolution of civilization in general and of free societies everywhere. What religion shaped this remarkable populace? They thought the people of their city to be the most ancient of all civilizations (Everyone else were considered to be “barbarians” even the Egyptians). They believed that they had been tested at the foundation of their civilization by a great and jealous god as to whom they should worship, instead of the god they chose a serpent woman and her tree, making her their goddess of knowledge. This was done by the free choice of a woman. For their insubordination they endured a great flood sent by the angered god. They spent some time in Egypt, and considered themselves to be part of a great multitude that was lead up out of the place by a famous ancestral law giver. He taught them to worship the highest god, instituted patriarchal monogamy, invented writing and began an annual festival of cakes. He divided them into twelve groups and settled them in their new land. They had with them had an ark that contained the promise of an immortal king as cult object. They were warned not to look upon the secret contents, under penalty of death, but they had disobeyed. They set the capitol of their land at a city, represented by the olive tree (the symbol of peace), with a mountain, upon which they built their holy temple (the Parthenon, named for the “virgin,” upon the Acropolis). They placed in their temple their extraordinary ark. This city became the seat of wisdom for their nation. Do these themes sound familiar? How many intricate, particular, distinctive motifs does one need to see matched up in a series, before it is admitted that they add up to be no mere coincidence? Does it surprise anyone that Athens, the cradle of western civilization, the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, Aeschylus, Sophocles, (etc.), and of Democracy itself, should be based upon stories that are traceable to the writings of Moses? (Democrat = Adam-isra-ite) As heirs to the legacy of Athens it is no wonder that so many western nations are predisposed toward Christianity, this predisposition is a feature of their ancient cultural development. As they were familiar with their own ancient religion, a production of Judaism, they were well prepared to accept Christianity, which is in many respects, the evident culmination of that same religion, Judaism.
-John R. Salverda